TEN SERMONS VPON THE FIRST, SECOND, THIRD and fourth verses of the sixt of Mathew. Containing diuerse necessary and pro­fitable Treatises, viz.

  • A Preseruatiue against the poyson of vaine-glory, in the 1. & 2.
  • The reward of sincerity, in the 3.
  • The vncasing of the hypocrite, in the 4.5. and 6.
  • The reward of hypocrisie, in the 7. and 8.
  • An admonition to left-handed Christians, in the 9. and 10.

Whereunto is annexed another Treatise called the ANATOMIE OF BELIAL: Set foorth in ten Sermons vpon the 12.13.14. and 15. verses of the 6. Chapter of the Prouerbes of Salomon.

Imprinted at London by Richard Field for Thomas Man. 1602.

TO THE RIGHT VVORSHIPFVLL, RODVLPH WARCVP ESQVIRE, AND ONE OF THE IVSTICES FOR THE PEACE IN OX­fordshire, W. B. wisheth all prosperity in this life, and true felicity in the life to come.

RIGHT worshipfull, musing with my selfe, where to find a fit patron for these poore Ser­mons, you comming to my mind, I resolued to go no further for that matter, as not know­ing indeed where to better my selfe. For things spirituall I know you to be of holy Isaaks diet, who longed not so much for curious and dainty meate, as for sauory meate. In regard of humane variety, and carnall curiosity, you shall not find them ve­ry dainty or rare: yet in regard of the spirituall simplicity, and plain­nesse which I haue endeuoured to shew therein, I hope they will not be altogether vnsauory and distastfull. The doctrines therein handled I presume you will grant to be most necessary for these times. For first, though through the abundant light of the Gospell, many are both al­lured and enforced to speake & do more good things, then they could do in the times of darknesse & ignorance: yet considering the subtilty of Sathan, & the corruption of our nature, we haue need to stand vpon our gard: for when he cannot make vs desist from holy actions, yet he will then vse all his art and skill to poyson our affections with the staine of vaineglory. And such is the pronenesse of our corrupt nature to be tainted therewith, that neither touch-wood, or gun-powder are more capable of fire, then our nature is of that poyson of vaineglory & hypocrisie. Againe, sincerity and plaine dealing be had in so little [Page] regard, that of most they be despised, no lesse then the high way to beg­gery and misery: and on the otherside, that Machiuilean principle we know is too well maintained, Qui nescit dissiumulare nescit vi­uere, no dissembling no trading. And further, most men, yea euen the better sort, are as vntoward to good workes, as they that do all with the left hand, consulting still with flesh and bloud, and calling their worst affections to counsell. Now seeing these things are so, what could I propound more necessary, then this preseruatiue against the foresayd poyson? and what more needfull to be set foorth, then the commendations of sincerity, taken from her beauty, from her riches, and inestimable reward? And knowing you to be so sincere a friend to sincerity it selfe, and so vnfained an enemy to fained hypo­crisie, and glosing vaineglory, as you are, what could I present vnto your Worship, more suting with your so Christian and sanctified af­fections, then these poore Treatises of sincerity and hypocrisie?

As for the second part of this booke, it containeth (as the title sheweth) An anatomy of the man of Belial, and vaine man, who liuing only (as the saying goeth) by the finenesse of their wits) are more vnprofitable then the smoke, and (for any religion or goodnesse to Godward) scarce worth the ground they tread vpon. Yet the onely men with most men now adayes, who being very witty and expert to exalt vanity, are very highly exalted themselues: but it is onely of such as are as vaine as themselues. Here you shall see Belial set forth by his names, by his gestures, by his speeches, by his imaginations and by his contentions. By his names you shall at first see his na­ture: By his gestures you shall perceiue his dexterity in teaching, and his facility in learning of euill: By his euill imaginations, and lewd affections, you shall see that his hart is not so secret but it may be and wilbe discouered well inough. But by his delight in contentions, and his maner of contending, you shall easily discerne his turbulent spirite, and soone iudge of what house he commeth: And by his feare­full doome that is awarded him, it will be no hard matter to perceiue how well he may be spared, and how ill the Church of Christ will thriue where the lawlesse libertine is suffered to harbour. But by all to­gether, who (but the wilfull blind) will not see and confesse, what a [Page] monstrous monster the carnall gospeller, or libertine Protestant is? & what dayes we are now fallen into, wherein so much liberty to euill is so freely on all sides both giuen and taken, to the great endangering of the whole body both of Church and common-wealth? To you these Treatises I do offer in a double respect. First, to testifie my thank­full mind for so many Christian kindnesses, and religious fauours, which to my great comfort, and encouragement in my poore Mini­stery I haue receiued from your hands. And next, for that by reason of that place which in your countrey you hold, you haue right good ex­perience of these things. For you that are to iudge (as long you haue, & daily you do) betweene party and party, betweene plea and plea, can­not chuse but be acquainted with all sorts of men: who in their turnes haue all of them played and do daily play their parts before you: yet as Salamon (by the wisedome of God which was with him that he might gouerne well) could discerne the true mother from the false: so can you by the same wisedome easily discerne a counterfeit from one of a sincere and simple hart, though with Ieroboams wife he disguise himselfe neuer so much. And as all men did then feare and r [...]uerence that renowned king, because they saw the Lord with him to do iu­stice and iudgement: so I know nothing that hath so much aduanced, your name and credite in your countrey, and caused the sweete sa­uour thereof to spread it selfe like a precious ointment, both farre and neare, and round about you, but that all men do euidently see (besides your loue of learning, and trauell for the same) that God is with you to do iustice and iudgement, to releeue the poore and di­stressed, to encourage the vertuous and well disposed: but especially to heale the breaches of the common-wealth, and to bind those fast together with the bond of godly vnity, which by vnkind iarres and contentions haue bene likely for euer to haue bene disioyned, distra­cted and dismembred in mind and affection the one from the other. Blessed are the peace makers, saith our blessed Sauior & Prince of peace. And who doth not see how abundantly God hath blessed you? whose heart he hath enclined, and whose trauels he hath imployed, and still doth employ (for the greatest part of your time) in so blessed a worke? Without all suspition of flattery be it spoken, vnto the praise [Page] of God, and the comfort of your soule in the day of the Lord: your rea­dinesse to do good vnto all, your Zeale in religion, your felicity in composing of controuersies, in planting of peace, and in quenching of strifes, and that to the contentment of all parties, doth not a little reioyce the harts of all that are round about you, and shall minister no small occasion to their posterity that is to come, to commend the same to the euerlasting praise of God, and your neuer dying fame. It was Pauls reioycing, that the care of all the Churches being layd v­pon him, yet he through Gods power fainted not vnder his burthen. And surely you may well say, the care both of Church and common-wealth about you lyeth vpon you: but yet God doth enable you to vn­dergo that care. Yea, from what parts almost do they not repaire vn­to you (as vnto the common Phisition of the common-wealthes dis­eases, and the stay of the countrey, and most blessed instrument of e­uery mans peace and welfare, when any of their matters are otherwise like to languish and fall to the ground? When it was first reported that you should be employed in Embassage for her Maiesty into France, although it could not be denied but that your employment that way might, yea and in all likelihoods would (through the bles­sing of God) haue proued very beneficiall to the Church of God in both nations, yet it grew very disputable among some, whether your presence there or at home in your owne countrey, had bene the more necessarie. And so fast hath God vnited vnto you the harts & affections of the poore commons about you: yea and of all sorts, that as vnwillingly they would haue parted with you, if the choyce had bene in them, as the young infant forbeareth the presence of the kind and tender mother. I speake not this to the preiudice of any: neither is there any such cause, for thankes be to God you cannot in this respect say (as sometime Eliah sayd of himselfe) that the Lord hath left you alone: but I speake it to your comfort and encouragement, wheresoeuer you shall be employed, whether in forren businesse or do­mesticall affaires. For though you cannot want your crosses more then other of Gods deare children, who both abroad and at home, do by daily experience find that virtutis est inuidia comes, and that they [Page] are enuied of the malignant no lesse for their vertues, then Iacob was hated of Esaw because of the blessing, yet cannot that gracious a­spect of Gods louing countenance, & fauourable blessing, which haue hitherto continually seconded al your godly indeuours, but be tanquā arrha, as an vndoubted pledge and testimony vnto you, that whither soeuer you shall be lawfully called foorth, to do him seruice in seruing your Prince and countrey, he will not leaue you to your selfe, nor to the malice of the enuious: but will on the contrary stand by you and hedge you in with grace and mercy, wherewith you shall be defended as with a shield. And as he hath promised to honour those that honor him, so shall you assuredly find for euer, as you haue hitherto done, the truth of that promise in due time performed vnto you. Therefore go on still like your selfe, as a faithfull friend to truth and sincerity, and an vnfained enemy to the man of Belial, and vaine man, whose counterfeit dealings shall vanish as the smoke against the wind: and the God of heauen prosper you in your goings. And now, no whit doubting of your willingnesse to peruse these Treatises, nor of your readinesse to construe all things in the best part, and to make your best vse of them, to the glory of God, the good of his Church, the comfort of your soule, and benefit of your countrey: I humbly commend both your selfe, and them to the blessing of God. From my study this 8. of February.

Your worships in all good affection, W. BVRTON.
THE I. SERMON. …

THE I. SERMON.

MATH. 6.1.2.3.4.

Take heede that ye giue not your almes before men to be seene of them, or else you shall haue no reward of your father which is in heauen. There­fore when thou giuest thine almes thou shalt not make a trumpet to be blowne before thee, as the hypocrites do in the Sinagogues, and in the streetes to be praised of men: verily I say vnto you, they haue their re­ward. But when thou doest thine almes, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doth. That thine almes may be in secret, and thy father that seeth in secret will reward thee openly.

THE drift of our Sauiour Christ both in this Chapter, and in the Chapter following, is all one with that which he had in the former. Namely, to teach his followers, that if they would enter into the kingdome of heauen, it is neces­sarie that their righteousnesse do exceede the righteous­nesse of the Scribes and Pharisees: onely with this difference. In the for­mer he confuteth the doctrine of the Scribes and Pharisees, and in these two he noteth and condemneth their life and hypocrisie. From which obseruation two things are to be noted. First, that aboue all things the 1 Church must be purged from false doctrine. For if the doctrine be not whole and sound, it cannot be that the life should be ordered aright, for the doctrine of the Church is the rule of mens liues, if the rule be crooked, then must mens liues be crooked also. Secondly, if the doctrine 2 be refined and throughly purged, yet is it not sufficient to the true study of righteousnesse, vnlesse also the life be rightly instituted, and purged too, and especially from hypocrisie. For if the Carpenter haue neuer so straight a rule, yet if he weare it alwayes at his backe, and do not thereby square out his worke, the building wil go but crookedly forward. And in like manner, if Christian builders haue neuer so good Preachers amongst them, and the doctrine that is taught by them neuer so sound, yet if they cast the word behind them, and hate to be reformed by the same, what else are they like vnto, but vnto the foolish Carpenter, that put his rule at [Page 2] his backe, and worketh altogether at aduenture, to the spoiling of the whole building, and vndoing of himselfe, with shame inough of all that behold him?

Take heede, &c.

The partes of this admonition are two, negatiue, and affirmatiue. In the first part we are admonished what to auoide in giuing of our almes▪ In the second part we are shewed what to do. Concerning the thing that is to be auoided note we three things. First what it is. Secondly, how to auoide it. Thirdly, the reason why it must be auoided. For the first, the thing that is to be shunned in giuing of almes is vaineglory, and that hath two parts. First, inward desire of the same. Next an outward shew of it. The first is the roote, the second is the leaues and the branches. The first is the mother, the second is the daughter. The first is the poyson, the o­ther is the signe thereof, or the breaking out: The first is the fountaine, the second is the streame. The first is the coale, the second is the flame. The first is the cause, the second is the effect of the same. The first is the theefe, the second is his accessary. The first robbeth God of his honour, the second doth publish it. Therefore both the first and the second be damnable: neither the first nor the second are sinnes veniall, as the Pa­pists say, but both the first and the second, the mother and the daughter, without faith and repentance are sinnes eternally mortall. And therefore our Sauiour Christ saith here. Take heede of them: as if they were some dangerous enemies to the soule.

The first thing therefore to be taken heed of, is all inward desire of vaineglory, or worldly praise, and that is forbidden in the first verse, where our Sauiour saith, Giue not to be seene of men, that is: with an intent, purpose, or desire that men should see thee and commend thee for it.Mat. 5.16. Publicke giuing is not forbidden, for Christ saith, Let your lights shine before men, that they may see, &c. But vaineglorious giuing in publicke is forbidden, and therefore he doth not simply say, Do not your almes before men, but addeth, to be seene of them, condemning that end, which is first in heart though last in act. So in Math. 5.16. he saith not, Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good workes, and glo­rifie you, but that they seeing your good workes may glorifie God, your hea­uenly father, who worketh both the will and the deed. So then we see that it is not simply euill to do good workes in the view of men, nay ra­ther it is good so to do, to glorifie God, and encourage others. God is much glorified, when his children walke like their father, being mercifull as their heauenly father is mercifull, though not in that degree of mercie, yet in mercy of the like nature, heauenly, bountifull, free, and harmelesse. [Page 3] By the death of Christ he was knowne to be the naturall sonne of God, and by the good life of Christians aswell as by their death, it may be knowne that they are the adopted sonnes of God. For when Christ died there was a strange alteration of nature, the earth did shake, the powers of heauen lost their power, the graues opened, the dead arose; there was darknesse vpon the face of the earth, as if day had bene turne into night, which when men saw they confessed: yea the very enemies of Christ himselfe confessed to the glorie of the diuine power, saying, doubtlesse this was the sonne of God. So when Christians dye to the world and liue vnto God, when they by the power of Gods spirit, do crucifie sinne and quicken righteousnesse, there is also a great alteration in nature, their nature is refined by grace, their night is turned into day, and their day into night, their present shame is their glorie, and their former glory is their shame, their dead affections are raised vp, the deuowring graues of their hard harts being opened, and now they speake, and do, and studie otherwise then they did, and not like other men. In a word as Christs death was not like other mens death, so Christians liues are not like o­ther mens liues. Christs funerals were solemnized by the Sunne and the Moone, by the powers of heauen, by the graues and the dead, by the earth and the stones, and all the insensible creatures, whereof in their kind some blushed, some trembled, some fainted, and all mourned for the death of their Lord, and feared (seeing such things happen to their Soueraigne) an vtter dissolution of themselues and all nature. These things were not looked for in the world, nor regarded at worldly mens funerals, yea such as beseeme not the Princes of the nations: so Christi­ans liues and deaths too are solemnized and graced with the ornaments of the spirit, and the ioy of heauenly Angels, with the fruites of righte­ousnesse, & the applause of the godly, things not regarded of the wicked, nor beseeming the helhounds of this world: But doubtlesse when men see these lights, they must needes glorifie God, and say God hath done great things for them, and when the wicked themselues see such an alte­ration in them as they may stand a farre off, and wonder at, but neuer attaine vnto, they must be enforced spite of their hearts to giue God the glorie, as Achan did, saying, this is the truth, and so it was, and as the Iewes did, doubtlesse these were good men, the sonnes and daughters of God. A man may by their behauiour know of whose bringing vp they were, by their habite and spirituall attire, a man may discerne them to be the Citizens of the heauenly Ierusalem. Blessed be God, in so much as they must go a little farther with the wicked in the book of Wisedome: and say, we are fooles and they are wise, howsoeuer we counted their life [Page 4] madnesse before: we are they that played the madmen, and haue wea­ried our selues in the wayes of vnrighteousnesse. And with Balam: Oh that we might dye the death of the righteous, and that our last end might be like vnto theirs. And thus we see how for the glorifying of God in this life, it is necessary for Christians to exercise workes of mercy, as giuing of almes, and other good workes appointed of God in his word, euen be­fore men.

As it is necessary for the glory of God, so also is it as necessary for the encouragement of the godly. And first of the painefull Pastor, and Mini­ster of the word, and then of other Christians. To the godly Minister it is no small comfort, and encouragement, when he shall see the Lords peo­ple vnder his charge, fruitfull in good workes aswell as in good words. For then shall he see the fruite of his labours, when after his labour he seeth them fruitfull in all maner of good workes: and on the other side, when they receiue the word in vaine, he may feare that he hath laboured in vaine, in vaine I say as touching their conuersion, though not simply in vaine otherwise, for the word of God is neuer preached in vaine, whe­ther men beleeue it or no, heare it or no, being euer either a sauour of life to life, or of death vnto death: and comming as the raine which neuer returneth in vaine, but either watereth the earth, or drowneth it: and maketh the ground to bring forth either corne or cockle, sweet flowers or stinking weedes, whereof the one shall be preserued, and the other rooted vp, and cast out vpon the dunghill. The husbandman is encou­raged to follow his husbandry when his vines are fruitfull, and his har­uests plentiful, growing timely, ripening kindly, & yeelding abundantly: and no lesse is Gods husbandman the minister of the word encouraged by the timely growing, kindly ripening, and plentifull yeelding of his charge the Lords husbandrie, after he hath taken paines amongst them. The shepheard loueth not only to heare his flocke bleate like sheepe, and go to the greene pastures, but also when time commeth he expecteth their fleece for his gaine, and their yong for the increase of his flocke. So the shepheards of our soules loue more to see the flocke of Christ yeeld their loue, to the encouragement of their shepheards, and the in­crease of good workes, for the enlarging of the flocke of Christ, then only to heare them speake and [...]alke like Christians. It was an incourage­ment to Paule to trauell in birth among the Galathians, when he was in hope to bring them foorth vnto Christ, or to beger Christ in their hearts. What had that blessed Apostle to boast of when he came at Macedonia, but of the zeale of the Corinthians? and when he came at Achaia, what ioy was it vnto him to report of the forwardnesse and li­berality [Page 5] of the Macedonian Christians?2. Cor. 8. Euen so, no lesse comfort is it to godly Ministers still in places abroad to commend the zeale, and loue, and knowledge, and patience, and godlinesse, and charity of their people at home: and the contrarie to all these is as great a crosse and discouragement, as the former is ioyfull, comfortable and encoura­ging.

As the minister of Christ is encouraged by the lights, that is, the good workes of Christians shining before men, so are other Christians also no lesse confirmed, and drawne forward to do the like. So the readi­nesse of the Corinthians,2. Cor. 8.1, 2. was a spur to the Macedonians, and Achaians, yea their zeale (saith the Apostle) prouoked many to be zealous. Iron sharpneth yron (sayth Salomon) so the face of a friend sharpneth a friend,Pro. 27.17▪ that is, one man quickneth another. One peece of wood being set on fire, and layed to another, doth also kindle the other: so one zealous Christian maketh other zealous, which were cold before. Examples are very forcible either to good or euill, for in the affections of men there is a certaine vnity and vnited league, so that when one is moued, another by the same is moued: like a chaine of many linkes one with­in another, draw one and draw all: or like a clocke which hath many wheeles, which all stand still, vntill one be set a worke; but if one be set a going, that will moue his fellow, and his fellow will moue his next fellow, and so one will moue another, the greater the lesser, and the les­ser in some place the greater, the lower the higher, vntill at the last the clocke sound, and tell all the world thereof. And this spirituall mouing of affection by the like affection, and drawing on of one acti­on by another like, which the same affection embraceth, is effected by vertue of the communion of Saints, which we rather beleeue then ex­presse. Thus Nathaniel is drawne by Philip to see Christ, and Philip is drawne by Simon Peter, Ioh. 1.43. and Simon by his brother Andrew. Thus the woman of Samaria being moued by Christ, moueth the best of her neighbours to come out and see Christ. And herein appeareth the vni­ty of the Spirit, which the Apostle speaketh of Ephes. 4.3. and willeth Christians to hold and maintaine with the bond of peace: for the Spi­rit of God is alwayes one and the same, in all men, in all ages, and at all times; and looke what it commendeth to one, it commeth to another, and what it perswadeth one vnto, vnto the same it perswadeth ano­ther. So that one man being moued by Gods Spirit to shew workes of mercy, he doth it, his affection liking the same, commendeth them vn­to another, that mans affections also being ruled by the same Spirite, cannot chuse but affect and entertaine the same things, and so they go [Page 6] from one to another, and all being moued by one and the same spirit. And yet euery one is moued by meanes, and in his seuerall degree and measure, whether it be of faith, or charity, or patience, &c. Dauid was a meane to make many zealous with him, in fetching home the Arke, and in other religious actions no doubt,Psal. 116 10. but how? he first heareth the word, then he beleeueth, then he speaketh, then others heare him speaking, then they beleeue that which they heare from him, and then they affect that which they beleeue, and then they practise that which they affect, as all men do, whose harts are where their treasure is, and their tongues are occupied about that which their harts are set vpon. To conclude therefore this point, seeing as the doing of good workes before men, maketh much for the glorifying of God, and the encou­raging and drawing on of others, both the godly Minister in his place, seeing some fruite of his labours, and also of other Christians, by the example of their brethren, and by vertue of the spirite, which vniteth their affections, let no man condemne the giuing of almes, or exercise of other workes of charitie before men, but do them rather, but alwaies, take heede (as our Sauiour willeth) that ye giue not your almes be­fore men to be seene of men, that is, with a desire of praise, and vaine­glorie.

It is the affection that maketh or marreth all our actions, and is the thing that is more respected with the Lord, then the outward action it selfe be it neuer so good:Pro. 16.2. Salomon is witnesse, for he saith: The Lord pon­dereth the spirits, that is: he considereth with what affections things be done.2. Cor 9.7. And the Lord loueth not a giuer but a cheerefull giuer. Now the gift is in the hand, but cheerefulnesse lodgeth in the heart, and appeareth in the countenance, which the Lord doth more respect then the gift. No one thing doth so soone, and so much poison all our actions as vaineglory doth, a sinne indeed that waiteth on the best, as it did vpon S. Paule, who therefore had a messenger of Sathan sent to buffet him, that is: he had a part vnregenerate to humble him, lest he should be exalted aboue mea­sure, by reason of those reuelations which he had giuen him,2. Cor. 12.7. to shew that the best men are giuen to thinke well of themselues.

How many do giue and forgiue to be seene of men? How many haue Sermons and Dole at their burials only to be praised of men? How many heare the word, and daily frequent the exercises of religion, onely to be seene of men? How many do lend and giue their word vainegloriously, to be praised of men? How many do build aloft like Nimrods, euen till Ba­bel (that is to say, confusion) fall vpon their heads, and onely to get a name amongst men? How many haue euen confessed their faultes and [Page 7] wept for their sinnes too, euen to be seene of men? How many comming through Cathedrall churches, kneele downe by a pillar as though they prayed, onely to be seene of men? And might not Osorius the Papist him­selfe be as vaineglorious as another, when he wrote a booke, de contem­nenda gloria, in contempt of vaineglorie? As many rufflers in the Church make most glorious Sermons in praise of mortification, and sanctificati­on, when themselues are most vaine. This humour waiteth vpon vs all, and maketh all that we do fruitlesse before God: and therefore in all our actions ought carefully to be prayed against, as we are taught by our Sa­uiour himselfe,Psal. 115. saying: hallowed be thy name Lord: and with Dauid: Not vnto vs ô Lord, not vnto vs, but to thy name let the praise be giuen: for to vs belongeth nothing but shame of faces.

This humor of vaineglorie doth steale craftily vpon vs, and doth sub­tilly beguile vs: therefore take heede of it saith Christ. It lurketh in the heart, as dregges in their vessell; if great heede be not taken it will rise vp and marre the wine. It is like a faire spoken theefe at the doore, who if thou take not heed of him, will get in and spoile thee before thou be a­ware. It is like a heard of Players, who with their varietie of bewitching vanities, do cause men willingly to be robbed of them. It is like a moth, that if thou take not heede of it, will breede in thy soules garment and spoile it. It is like leauen, a litle whereof will sower the whole lumpe of dough. It is like Ioab and Iudas, who kill when they kisse, and stab when they embrace. In a word, it is a disease that maketh many to die euen laughing, and sometime depriueth them of their wits. Therefore take heede of it, saith Christ, it is a very daungerous euill: take heede you giue not before men to be seene of men.

Therefore when thou giuest thine almes, thou shalt not make a trumpet to be blowne before thee, &c.

As before our Sauiour Christ forbiddeth all inward affectation of worldly praise, so here he condemneth all outward shew of vaineglorie, and all ostentation of a vaineglorious mind in giuing of almes. According to which rule the Apostle saith:1. Thes. 5.22. Abstaine from all appearance of euill. Now this was in the Scribes and Pharisees very grosse hypocrisie and palpable. For first, they must haue their almes giuing proclaimed by sound of trum­pet. Secondly, not in any priuate place, but in the sinagogues, the most publike and notorious places that were.

For their proclamation of the matter by sound of trumpet, they might pretend some excuse, and that reasonable in shew too, as thereby to call the poore together: for hypocrites are neuer without their pretences and [Page 8] excuses.1. Sa. 15.21. Saul he reserueth of the Amalekites beasts contrarie to Gods commaundement,Gen. 3.10. to offer sacrifice forsooth. Adam hideth himselfe, and pretendeth the cause to be his nakednesse.Ioh. 12.5.6 Iudas grudgeth at the cost that was bestowed vpon his Lord and maister Christ: and to saue his cre­dite, pretendeth care for the poore.2. Sam. 15.7 Absalon intendeth treason, but pre­tendeth a vow made at Hebron. But pretences are no better then couers made of fig-leaues, which the Sunne will soone drie, and the wind will quickly blow away.

Whatsoeuer those hypocrite [...] might seeme to pretend for their trum­pet, it would not serue their turne, neither before God, who knoweth the thoughts and intents of the heart long before they be conceiued, nor yet before men, who by the light of common reason are able in some measure to descrie hypocrisie, in that and the like action. And doubtlesse it could not be otherwise then an euident note of vaineglorie in them: for what needed they make any proclamation for the matter? had they not their Elders? had they not also their Deacons and ouerseers for the poore, that knew well who had neede of almes? might they not enquire of them? or could they not trust them with their contribution? or if they must needes make it knowne to all the world, when they would deale their dole, had they no other way to publish it by, but by sound of trum­pet? A bell might haue bene tolled, if they had any, or if they had none, a bill might haue bene set vp, or a messenger might haue bene sent to the houses of the poore: yet none of these waies would serue the turne but a trumpet must be blowne before them, whereby they might be honou­red, and admired after a mere stately and princely manner. Whereby likewise they did sufficiently bewray their ambitious humor: and there­in did they not a little forget themselues: for they knew by the lawe of Moses (which they had amongst them, and was read daily in their sina­gogues) that trumpets were not appointed to any such end or vse, as they put them vnto. For in the tenth of Numbers, from the second verse to the ninth, it is euident that trumpets were appointed onely for the as­sembling of the congregation, and for the remouing of the campe: the manner of vsing them is more at large there set foorth, to which place I referre them that are desirous to know the same more fully. Againe in o­ther places of the Scripture, we shall see that they were vsed at the coro­nation of Princes, in managing of warre, and solemnizing of Princely af­faires, or businesse of State, and not otherwise: as when Salomon was proclaimed King at Gihon, 1. Kin. 1.39. they blew the trumpet, and cried, God saue King Salomon. So likewise when Athaliah was deposed, and Ioash made King in her steade:2. Ki. 11.14. it is said, that the King stoode by a pillar in the house [Page 9] of God, as the manner was, and all the Princes and trumpetters by the King. And the Apostle commending the vse of knowne tongues in the congregation, and condemning the contrarie, vseth a similitude of the trumpet in warre,1. Cor. 14.8. saying: that if the trumpet giue an vncertaine sound, who shall prepare himselfe to battell? By which both they might know, and we also may vnderstand, that the trumpet is an instrument of state, and therefore not to be made common to euery one, nor for euery thing. There be certaine ornaments and dignities, peculiarly belonging to cer­taine persons, and in no wise to be made common vnto all: as Coronets, chaires of State, cloth of State, garters of Honour, Trumpetters, Pages, Chariots, &c. Neither is it fit for euery obscure Gentleman, neither is it seemely for euery, or any base artificer, or man of trade and occupation, to ride in Coches, to haue Pages runne by their horse side, nor to solem­nize the mariages of themselues, or their sons and daughters with sound of trumpet, as if they were some Princes, or persons of State and high calling. It is too intollerable pride, and too manifest a note of Pharisai­call ambition: whereby they (which do so) make themselues odious and ridiculous before God and all wise men. When the malicious Iewes saw Christ, in life and doctrine to excell other men, they blasphemously said in derogation of both:Mar. 6.3. Is not this the carpenters sonne? But we (when we see such princely ornaments, and solemnities taken vp amongst coun­trie clownes, or other inferiour persons of base estate and meane calling) may well say in defacing of such insolent fooles:Iud. 9.15. Is not this the Carpenter? and is not that the bramble, that hath so exalted himselfe aboue the trees of the forest? What would these persons do, and how would they be ho­noured, if their place, and authoritie, and birth, and wealth, did answer their humour? Nimrod neuer builded so high as they would build: Ab­salon had neuer so many men running before him as they would haue: Nebuchadnezzar the King of pride, neuer strouted it so in his pallace, as they would strout it. Diues was neuer so daintie in his diet, not so costly in his habite, nor so hard-harted to Lazarus, as they would be: Iezabel was neuer such a painted harlot, as some of them would be: Michol was neuer such a scoffer at the zeale of Dauid her Lord and husband, as they would be: Herods mincing minion, and dauncing damsell, did neuer so trip it as they would trippe it. If those daies should come, as they are not farre off, then it were good for Iohn Baptist to looke to his head, and for Naboth to his vineyard, and Dauid to his kingdome and life too. For who so cruell as the harlot, that is made a mother before her time? and who so loftie and lustie as the bramble, that is exalted beyond his desert? Wo to the children that haue such to their parents, and wo to the tenants [Page 10] that should hold of such Landlords, and wo to the subiects where such should dominere, and wo to the sicke where such are Phisitions, whose teeth would teare as fast as their tongue would licke: whose Phisicke must be recompenced with the skinne of their patients. Wo to those souldiers that haue such to their captaines, and to those horses that haue such for their riders. And doubtlesse, great is the abuse on both sides in these degenerate daies, wherein all things are so growne out of order and kind. For as the ploughman in some places, can scarce be knowne from a Gentleman, nor a carter from a Courtier, nor a Gentleman from a No­bleman, nor a Milk-maid from a Ladie: so on the other side is it obser­ued as a fault in persons of state and high degree, that they do so much abase themselues (what the cause is God knoweth) and obscure the light and glorie that God hath giuen them, that a man can hardly know them as they go or ride, from persons of farre meaner estate then they be of: vertitur hoc vitio, &c. this is a vice which many take to be a vertue. They that weare silke, and costly apparell are in Kings Courts, saith Christ, to shew that Princes, and those which attend vpon Princes, should go otherwise then other men: that is, it is a lawfull for them to take and vse for difference sake, those ornaments and dignities, which God hath annexed vnto their places and degrees: alwaies prouided, that no man goeth beyond his calling and abilitie, but a degree vnder, rather then beyond: and that they take not that honour to themselues, as He­rod did, which should be giuen to God. Some are so high minded and phantasticall withall, that to be of euery fashion they will borrow of e­uery man: and then they may go one degree further, then that Philoso­pher took, who said: Omnia mea mecum porto: I carrie all my goods with me: for these may say so: Omnia mea: I carrie all my goods about me: which they may easily do, when they haue metamorphosed or turned their great Okes into gay coates, and their farmes into farthings, and their fee simples into simple fees, and their rents into ruffes, and their lands into laces: for that indeede is the way to bring a castle into a capcase: and then they may well play the king and the begger too; the king abroad, and the beggar at home: and alwaies cry: Omnia nostra no­biscum portamus: and more too, may another answer. for Non solum ve­stra sed aliena, non tua sed mea portas: not only their own but other mens goods too they weare. But when euery bird hath her owne feather a­gaine: monet cornicula risum: the naked [...]hough becometh most ridicu­lous, being stript of her borrowed colours. It was well with old Father Latimer that reuerend Father and religious Bishop, and constant Martyr of Christ, when he could answere the Courtiers in King Edwards daies, [Page 11] that made themselues merrie with his lether coate, and tell them to their faces, that his lether coate had one propertie, which many of their vel­uet coates had not: and what was that? forsooth it is payed for quoth he, and so are not many of yours, so that I may say I weare none but my owne, so cannot many of you do. Neuer a merchant, nor mercer in Lon­don will pull me by the sleeue, and say: Sir, pay for your coate. And tru­ly me thinke such an answer should both comfort those that liue within compasse, and shame many a lustie gallant, and wanton braue Dame in these daies, who when they are gotten into a shoppe booke, are as safe as if they were in a castle: for they will neuer come out vntill they be rent out. Other some through enuie at other mens estate, cannot be con­tent with their owne, and therefore play the toade, who thought by swelling to be as bigge as the oxe, but he burst himselfe with his swel­ling before he could be a quarter so bigge, and so doth the enuious man too.

Others are called to high place, and to beare rule with maiestie and authoritie, and of these two, many are content to forget all that, and to become haile fellow with euery base companion at cards, at tables, at dice, and quaffing, and so liue amongst men not like rulers, but like Aesops blocke, drowned in the bottome of carnall and base delights, for e­uery frogge to leape vpon, and abuse at his pleasure. These men while they neglect and abuse those good meanes which God hath lent them, to grace and countenance them withall, do liue both in contempt, and in some daunger. For too much fond familiaritie breedeth contempt, as too much statelinesse and seueritie breedeth hatred and disdaine, be­cause there is feare without loue. So an vnarmed man many times em­boldneth a theefe, and euen a valiant Gentleman being alone, doth not a litle encourage his enemie to set vpon him, or to lye in waite for him, because he knoweth, that although when he hath his men with him, he is like a threefold cable which cannot easily be broken, yet being alone, he is but as a single cable, or rather as one vntwisted that can easily be twitched in peeces. Therefore to conclude this point: let the abuse on both sides be taken away, and let persons of state vse their stately orna­ments, and instruments to the glory of God, and good of their countrie, and themselues. And seeing as such things are appointed to put a diffe­rence betweene the superiour and the inferiour, let not any presume to vse any noble or princely ceremonie, for the solemnizing of his meane and base affaires: but remember what our Sauiour saith here in my text: When thou giuest thine almes, cause not a trumpet to be blowne before thee. And so much for the first point, namely, the thing that is to be auoyded.

THE II. SERMON.

2. Point. NOW we are to see which way, or by what meanes it may be auoyded, and the way to auoide vaineglorie, in giuing of almes, or in any other action is to take heed of it. So sayth the text. Take heede that you giue not to be seen of men, that is, watch ouer your affections narrow­ly, and examine euery affection and euery cogitation: euery affection what it chiefly desireth, and euery cogitation what it mu­seth vpon, and deuiseth to effect.

Mar. 13. Mat. 26. Take heed (saith our Sauior Christ in another place) watch and pray, lest ye fall into tentation: to shew that there is no true heedfulnesse with­out watching and prayer; and without such kind of heede taking, we soone fall into tentation.

This watchfull heedinesse, and heedie watchfulnesse, is that which S. Paul calleth circumspect walking: Ephe. 5. and the prophane persons of the world by a nickename call precisenesse and Puritanisme. Well what­soeuer the world doth call it or account of it, it sufficeth the godly wise, that wisedom it selfe hath both commended and commanded it. It is the thing that in euery place of the Scripture is vrged vnto vs for our good▪ One Scripture calleth to those that go to the holy assemblies, and saith, Looke to thy feete when thou entrest into the house of God. Eccles. 9. Luke 8. Another Scrip­ture crieth to men, when they are set at a sermon: Take heed how ye heare. Another Scripture calleth to those that go to the Communion,1. Cor. 11. Let euery man examine himselfe before he eate of that bread, and drinke of that cup. Another Scripture crieth out to the whole campe of Israel saying:Heb. 2.12. Take heede lest there be in any of you an euill heart to depart away from the liuing God: that is, from your soueraigne Lord and Captaine, to a Forraigner, to a Rebell, to the Diuell. Another Scripture crieth out to those that are planting, and setting, and weeding in the Lordes garden, Take heede and beware of couetousnesse, for that is the root of all euill, Another giueth war­ning to those that are at their deuotions,Luke 12.1. and seruing God, Take heede of the leauen of the Scribes and Pharises, which is hypocrisie. And euery Srip­ture almost commeth to vs with a friendly watchword, whatsoeuer we are about, & biddeth vs take heed▪ and they stand like Sea marks where­by [Page 13] Mariners are both warned of rockes and sandes, and directed rightly and safely into their desired hauen. And surely if we would well consider that we are alwayes in danger of enemies both visible and inuisible, and those not a few but many, not weake but mightie, not simple but subtile, and that our owne false hearts within vs are the readiest to betray vs, we we would easily confesse, that this is a friendly watchword, and no more then is needfull: Take heed vnto your affections, watch ouer your cogitations, and pray against tentations. The ground that we go vpon is slipperie as yee, our knees are weake, we are soone downe, and being downe do hardly recouer our selues, and therefore we had neede take heede. Sinne is subtill and impudent, it will easily deceiue vs with false colours, as Dra­pers do with false lights, and it will not be said nay; but with often and re­solute resisting the Diuell is driuen away. I am manhood saith malice, and for thy credit: thou needest not feare me. I am good husbandry saith Co­uetousnesse, and for thy profite, thou needest not feare me; I am good fel­lowship saith Prophanenesse and Filthinesse, and for thy pleasure: thou needest not feare me. I am handsome cleanelinesse saith Pride, and will make thee to be admired: thou needest not feare me, Gloria calcar habet saith Vaineglorie, glorie and praise is a spurre to encourage men in well doing: true saith another of the same humour, Virtus laudata crescit, and the maisters euge is the seruants auge in vertue and good seruice, the praise of vertue is the increase of vertue. And this is true, but now a friend with a friendly caueat were very necessarie, and Take heede will serue for all if they be wise. Take heede, ô man, that thy manhood be not malice, that thy good husbandry be not greedy couetousnesse, that thy goodfel­lowship be not beastlinesse, that thy vnitie be not conspiracie, that thy loue be not wanton lust, that thy cleanelinesse be not Sodomiticall ex­cesse, that thy glorious spurres of vaineglorie and praise, be not poisoned by thy desiring of them. Oh master how shall we know these things, wilt thou say? I can giue thee no better counsell then God hath giuen thee, & that is Take heede. But how shall I take heede? Surely by watching and praying. Alas sir, three things hinder my watching, and that is drowsines, and darknesse, and fearefulnesse: I would watch saith one, but sleepe op­presseth me: and I would watch saith another, but darknesse troubleth me, that is, I am an ignorant simple man, not knowing the right way from the wrong, nor vice from vertue, nor a subiect from a rebell, nor truth from errour. And I would watch saith another, but I see the enemies so many and so terrible, that I dare not set my selfe against them, I will put out my light, that I may see no more such fearefull sights, and lay downe my weapon, and let them do as they will, and fall asleepe in my sinne, as [Page 14] men do in their beds when it thundreth: but to be safe against all daun­gers, they will first blesse themselues, and say their Auie Marie, and so commit themselues to the weather. This is good plausible counsell to flesh and bloud, that sauoureth any thing, sauing the things of Gods spi­rite: but how lothsome soeuer you take it to be, for certaine it is not ve­ry wholesome: therefore my brethren let it alone, and take better ad­uice: and that is this. If you be in darknes and ignorance, get you lights both within you and without you, and that good store too. For the ene­mie cannot abide the light, but will put out as many as he can come handsomely by: these lights that thou must set vp without thee, must be first the holy word of God diligently read, orderly preached, and duly frequented: that shall be a lanterne vnto thy feete, and a light vnto thy pathes: that shall descrie vnto thee the right way that thou must walke in: by that thou shalt discouer all false and counterfeit colours: and by that touchstone, thou shalt trie all drosse from gold. Hauing that as the great Sunne-light of the Church, neglect not to reade if thou canst, or at least to heare the good workes and writings of godly and learned men: especially haue conference with them, both soberly, and with a holy purpose to be reformed by them: for they are lights too, not to be negle­cted nor despised, no more then the Moone is, whose light is nothing in comparison of the Sunne light, and is altogether borrowed too of the Sunne: but it is borrowed for thy good. With these lights set vp also be­fore thy eyes, the good works and godly examples of humilitie, & of pa­tience, and of lowlinesse, and of zealousnesse, and of constancie, and of sinceritie, and of loue, and of charitie, and of true deuotion, which thou hast seene or heard of in the Saints and holy men, and women of God: for euen they are lights, and comfortable lights too▪ when Christians meane to keepe Christs watch ouer their hearts and affections. But all these are to no purpose to thee, except thou haue one light within thee, as well as without thee. When God hath bestowed these outward lights vpon thee, then pray thou for the gift of the holy Ghost, that he being in thy heart, may open thy eyes of vnderstanding and iudgement, to see the wonderfull things of Gods lawe: as he opened the heart of Lydia when Paule preached: and also to frame thy will and affections to take pleasure and delight in the Saints and their examples, who excelled in vertue vpon earth: and so much for thee that sittest in darknesse. Now to those that haue lights, that is, preaching inough, and good bookes i­nough, and good knowledge inough, and can discourse of good exam­ples inough, but are oppressed with sleepe, and a spirit of deadnesse and drowsinesse: that is, are carelesse of that they heare, and forgetfull of that [Page 15] they both heare and reade, and make no conscience of any thing lon­ger then it is rung into their eares. I cannot tell well what to say vn­to them: to discourage them I am loath, and to incourage them, as they are I am afraid, but let vs see: is there no way to make them vigilant? that they may take heed of the enemy when he commeth? verily yes. First, they must desire their fellowes and neighbours to call vpon them by ex­hortation, and awaken them: as men do that meane to ride a iourney together: then if they fall asleepe againe, they must cause the watchmen of the streetes, that is their publicke teachers and pastours to smite them and pinch them, euen with speciall application of the doctrine vnto their owne hearts and consciences: then they must resolue to be patient and contented that they be often and loud so called vpon, as Christ did of­ten call vpon his Disciples when they were heauy: and therefore often and loud, because they were heauy. To which ende the congregation should not be pestred with an ignorant nor a cold teacher, nor a straw­bury Sermon man, that either cannot or will not, or will but coldly, and seldomly rouze vp mens drowsie consciences, but such as shall be instant in season and out of season, that is: vppon all occasions, to lift vp their voices like trumpets, and to tell the Lords people of their sinnes, both in generall, and also in particular. And lastly, they must take heede of ea­ting and drinking such things as are like sleepy and drowsie meates: that is, that they delight not in such carnall company, and fleshly pleasures, as will in time both breed a consumption of Gods graces in them, and also harden, and besot them so in their sins, that in time they may grow past all feeling, for consuetudo peccandi (saith Augustine) tollit sensum peccati: the custome of sinne taketh away the feeling of sinne.

Now for those that are discouraged through fearfulnesse of their owne abilitie, and affrighted with the fearfull sights of their enemies, like Elisha his seruant at the sight of the Aramites: there be of two sorts, which haue need of good instruction, and great incouragement. The first sort are dismayed at that which is past; the second is affraid of things to come. The first are such as haue bene in the battell, and haue beene foiled, and ouermatched with rebellious thoughts, and vnsanctified affe­ctions: and these like a weake porter at a gate, hauing opened the doore to some one whom he had a mind vnto, were not onely so troubled by that one sinne of theirs, whom they meant not to keepe alwayes, that they could not tell how to be rid of him any more; but also by that same one false and fained friend haue bene betrayed, in letting in a presse of many other sinnes, which they neuer thought of, to the spoiling of all that was within: which they thought to keepe out, but finding them­selues [Page 16] ouermatched with the preasse without, and wanting strength within, haue euen in a kind of desperate manner sit downe, and let all alone, to come in and do what they will: wishing when it is too late as they imagine, that in time they had taken heede of that one false and deceitfull affection which they entertained. To these men a man can­not say, obstate principijs, withstand the beginnings: for that the fray is already begunne, and they almost, nay altogether put to the worse. But the best counsell for such a one is, redime te captum quam queas minimo, get out of their hands so soone as thou canst: and as Christ said to the woman taken in adulterie, go and sinne no more, least a worse thing happen vnto thee: that is, take better heede another time. But how shall I get out of their hands? wilt thou say: verily of thy selfe a thing impossible: thou must craue helpe of a stronger then thy selfe, or then the enemie that hath thee in possession, and that is Iesus Christ, the vi­ctorious Lion of the tribe of Iuda, who hath alreadie dispossessed the strong man of his hold, and purchased the possession to thy vse: if thou sue to him by earnest prayer, and embrace him by a holy faith, thou shalt recouer thy hold againe. And without these two weapons, it is not possible for thee, by all thy heede taking to auoide the sleights of Sathan. And what though thou carrie a scarre, and weare some shakles of the vnregenerate part: yet be content, and thanke God for thy vi­ctorie by Christ. Iacob could not get the blessing without wrestling, and in wrestling he was smitten, and being smitten, he halted, and con­tinued lame euer after: and thus was it with Israel, that is he that pre­uailed with God. And so shall it be with euery true Israelite and mem­ber of Christ, while the world standeth. But what of all that? Gods power is made manifest in the weakenesse of his children: and so thou may in the end preuaile with God for his blessing, be content to re­ceiue with the blessing of God many a blow, knowing that it is better to go lame and blind into heauen, then otherwise after all ease and car­nall pleasure to go into hell.

Now for those that are afraid to stand vpon their spirituall watch, for feare that they should be foiled and spoiled, they are to be encou­raged and admonished. Great cause of encouragement they haue, for that if God once open their eyes they shal see more with them, then be against them, as the seruant of Elisha did. God himself hath an eye ouer the righteous, and an eare alwaies open to their prayer. Therefore let them watch and feare not, Gods Angels are charged to pitch their tents about them, therefore let them watch and feare not. With their hands they shall hold thee, that thou dash not thy foote against a stone: [Page 17] therefore watch and feare not. Christ himselfe both God and man, thy Mediator doth plead for thee, doth pray for thee, doth pay for thee, therefore watch and feare not. Christs Ministers without are readie to awaken thee with their siluer trumpets of knowledge and wholesome doctrine, if thou chaunce to fall asleepe, therefore watch and feare not. Gods spirit within thee as Lord deputie for Christ Iesus, is ready to do all his offices for thy sanctification and consolation here, and for thy saluation and glorification hereafter, therefore watch and feare not. As Lord priuie seale he is readie to set vpon thee the stampes of rege­neration, and marks of mortification, as dying to sinne, liuing to ver­tue, with increase of faith, and charitie, and patience, and temperance, &c. These are his markes, by which thou shalt know that thou art sea­led vp to the day of redemption. As Lord comforter of Gods elect, he shall speake peace vnto thy soule, when thou art cast downe vnder thy sinnes: and say, Sonne be of good comfort, thy sinnes are forgiuen thee. If thou receiue any wounds in thy inward man, whereby thy zeale, and faith, and repentance, &c. may grow into a consumption, yet watch stil and feare not: for he with his quickening vertue, and soueraigne oyle of heauenly assurance shall restore vnto thee againe the ioy of thy sal­uation, creating in thee still a cleane heart, and renewing a right spi­rit within thee: and therefore keepe thy watch and feare not. And if thou dye, he shall chaunge thy death into life, and thy mortalitie into immortalitie: yea if the boisterous windes of persecution and trouble chaunce to arise, and driue thee either into prison, or to the stake, or to the gallowes, or to banishment, or to the vncomfortable coasts of con­tempt, reproch, or any other crosse whatsoeuer, he can quench the fire, or stoppe the lions mouthes, or open the prison doores, or raise thee vp new friends, or take away thy hunger, or giue thee strength to beare all if he will, or else make all these as meanes to driue thee soo­ner into heauen then thou wouldest be: and therefore take heede, watch and feare not.

But now thou must take heede, that those things which are spoken for thy consolation and encouragement, do not make thee carelesse and remisse: but be admonished in standing vpon thy watch to take heede of two things. First, that thou post not off thy watching vnto o­ther men. Secondly, that thou driue it not off vnto another time. If thou post off this dutie to other men, thou deceiuest thy selfe: for thou hast no more priuiledge then other men haue, thou art in no lesse dan­ger then other men are, thou art subiect to the same passions, the same corruptions, the same lawes, the same iudgements, that other men are [Page 18] subiect vnto: and therefore if other men must take heede and watch o­uer their affections, thou must: if some must, all must: and therefore, lest any man should thinke he were more priuiledged then all men, Christ saith,Mar. 13. Mat. 24. That which I say vnto one, I say vnto all watch. It is a subtiltie of Sathan to make men beleeue that they are exempted, but others are not: that ministers had neede watch ouer their affections, and looke to their waies, but not other men; as in Poperie they say, that Friers, and Monkes, and Nunnes must be more holy, and more deuout then other men. And therefore we say as the disciples said, when they heard Christ say, one should betray him: Is it I? Is this to me? Doth this do­ctrine concerne me? Whom doth he meane? As though Christ had said here; but one of you must take heede and watch. And when we see, or heare of any other man that is come to reape the shame of his vaine­glorious and ambitious attempts, or of others their lasciuious or coue­tous attempts, what is our saying? Alas it is pittie, this was for want of heede taking: but yet we take no more heede then they, for we think it concernes vs not. But this is our great folly. Other men that haue fallen before vs, are like ships that are sunke before our eyes, and cry out vnto vs; looke you to your selues, and come not after vs, for if you do, you shall all likewise perish. Let other men be our warnings, and not our de­puties in these cases. For do man shall go to hell by his deputie, but euery man that hath bene carelesse in his watch, without repentance shall in his owne person die the death.

Secondly, thou that art to beginne, if thou wilt keepe thy watch wel, post it not off vntill another time, for that is another of the diuels sleights: but remember what Christ saith in the Text: When thou doest thine alms, take heede. He doth not say, when thou hast done it: for then it commeth too late, because that action is past with a theeuish affection alreadie. Take heede after the euill is committed, is like, shut the doore when the horse is stolen If thou wilt take the theefe with the manner, thou must watch him euen at the very same instant, when thou art doing of thy good deeds; for then he commeth and doth his feate, and afterward he lurketh in a corner of thy heart, where thou canst not so well find him: and there he both watcheth his time for the like bootie another time, and in the meane time he doth as it were laugh thee to scorne, for that thou wert so foolish, as to let him rob both God of his honour, and thee of his fauour, while he tickled thee, and flattered thee with faire words. As Nehemiah that couragious magistrate dealt with the Sabbath-brea­kers, so must we deale with our vaineglorius thoughts. He watched them when the Sabbath day came, and then he found them, hauing [Page 19] found them, he shewed them the law: when that whould not serue, he threatned them: when threatening would not serue, he apprehended them and punished them, and then they came no more vpon the Sab­bath day. So let vs watch our thoughts and affections, when we are a­bout to do, or are in the doing of our good workes, and then we shall find those theeuish and peeuish thoughts, that go about to rob God of his honour: hauing found them, lay the law of God before them: if that will not serue, threaten them with the iudgements of God: if that will not serue, then lay hands (not vpon thy selfe) but vpon them, and take a more straight examination of thy heart where they are, euen before the Lord chiefe Iustice of heauen and earth: then imprison them by restrai­ning them of their libertie, and refraining of thy selfe from such obiects, and sights, and places, and company, as would animate them against thee. Hauing thus restrained them, feede them with fasting, as it were with the bread of affliction, and with weeping mingled among, as it were the water of affliction: and then with the spirit of feruent prayer, correct them zealously and continually, and spare them not: accuse them, arraigne them, endite them, and condemne them, and feare them not, but still pray: for prayer is flagellum diaboli, as Augustine calleth it, the whippe of the Diuell, which he more feareth, then all the coniurati­ons of Poperie, then all holy water, and crossings: yea more then the dog doth the whip: and as when the dogge heareth the bell at the whips end, he runneth out of the house: so when Sathan perceiueth a Christian ad­dresse himselfe to prayer, though it be neuer so weakely and with great striuing: yet he then feareth the rebuke of God, and giueth place. Oh then let vs pray good brethren, euen then, then when we are about to giue almes, or to heare a Sermon, or to preach the word, or to reproue sinne boldly, or to handle doctrine soundly, or to deale roundly with the consciences of men, and in all other spirituall exercises: and not on­ly in them, but also in our ciuill affaires, in buying and selling, if thou meanest to deale truly, and vse plaine and simple dealing, and to be at a word. Oh then pray also in inuiting thy friends and neighbours to thy house, when thou entertainest the preachers of Gods word at thy table, when thou art troubled in making prouision, and to haue all things cleane and handsome: oh then pray, when thou callest foorth thy children to shew their wit, their aptnesse and towardnes to learne, their profiting in learning, and such like: oh then pray too, when thou cariest thy friend to shew him thy house, and thy roomes, and thy ri­ches, and the workes of thine owne hands, and thy fine gardens and walkes, and thy fruitfull Orchards, and thy fatte cattell, and thy great [Page 20] dealings, and thy daily expenses, &c. Oh in all these go not without thy whippe of prayer to driue away Sathan, and all his theeuish sugge­stions, and vaineglorious cogitations: for euen then when thou thin­kest to do all for the best thou shalt be circumuented and deceiued of thy reward before thou be aware, if thou then (euen then I say) do not take heede.

Then shalt thou heare the whispering, & feel the tickling of a number of spirituall and inuisible theeues in thy hart. Oh saith one to him that stu­deith for a Sermon, when he readeth a trim discourse, or fine simile, that pleaseth himselfe, Oh this will do well to grace thy Sermon withall, oh men will commend thy wit, and thy inuention for this, and thy boldnesse for that, and thy iudgement in that, &c. Oh here is a tickling theefe in the heart: driue him out by prayer: take heed of him: yeeld not vnto him: but pray then and say: Lord none of all these come of my selfe, thou art the giuer of them, they are thy mercies to me ô Lord, I am not able nor worthie my selfe, to carrie such treasures of thy Spirite to thy people: Lord be mercifull vnto me, and sanctifie my heart, that I may seeke thy glorie, and not my owne. Oh hallowed be thy name Lord, hallowed be thy name: not vnto vs, ô Lord, not vnto vs, but to thy name let the praise be giuen. Lord humble my swelling heart with the feeling of my sinne, and my speciall corruptions. Oh Lord driue out these proud though [...]s, these vaine imaginations, these wicked and sacrilegious affections, which go about thus to rob thee of thy honour, both in me the speaker, and in others the hearers: let them not commend thy gifts in me, or in any man, but alwayes to thy praise and glorie. And thus must we be exercised con­tinually, while we liue. In like sort when thou art about to shew thy rea­ding, and discoursing veine, at the table: pray, for then a theefe within thee will be ready to tell thee that all the company will, and do admire thee for thy gift that way. Yea, or if thou sit still and be silent, and neuer speakest but when thou art required, and then very modestly too, yet then watch and take heede, for euen then commeth a spirituall theefe, & perswadeth thee to thinke with thy selfe, surely men will commend me aswell for my silence and modestie, as such a one for his learning & wit: but where is the Kings Atturney all this while to pleade for Gods right▪ I meane the spirite of sanctification, to perswade thy soule to giue the glorie to God, who gaue thee those gifts, and that grace with God and man: where is he? Oh therefore then when thou doest these things, e­uen then I say take heede: watch and pray, Hallowed be thy name: Lord rebuke Sathan, quench these his fierie dartes: humble my proud heart: make it to affect thee and thy glorie, aboue all things, and [Page 21] in all things. In like sort in doing the parts of a ciuill man, entertaining of preachers, or thy honest friends and neighbours, in shewing them thy faire houses, thy well contriued roomes, thy wealth, thy gaines, thy great expences, thy great reuenewes, thy toward children, &c. doest thou not feele a theefe within thee, tickling and dallying with thy false heart, and telling thee, that thou shalt be highly commended for these things, and thy fame shall be spread farre and neare, and thou shalt be spoken of for it, and reuerenced, and admired? &c. doest thou not feele such a theefe within thee speaking such things? And what is all in effect, but to per­swade thee to rob him who hath enriched thee, to disgrace him who hath graced thee: and to wound him who hath healed thee? whereas thou oughtest then to say, I will shew these things, and tell what goodnesse I haue receiued of my mercifull God and heauenly father, that men may commend his goodnesse therein, and spread the fame of his name farre and neare, and may reuerence, and admire his wisedome and power, and mercifull workes towards mortall man, and may both feare and loue his Maiestie for the same. And to this end, let vs watch & pray, that God in al things, and for all things, may haue his due praise and glorie. In like man­ner, when thou giuest thine almes, or buildest anie hospitall, or giuest any thing to the poore of such and such a parish, &c. if thou doest not take great heed, and examine thy heart, and stand with prayer at the doore, then will Sathan be busie, and a spirituall theefe will stand vp in thy hart and say, Oh now this being knowne, how will the poore commend me? how will the world commend me? I shall now get a name that I am a good man to the poore, I hope to come into the Chronicles for my good deeds one day, &c. Oh then scourge these corrupt and diuelish affections, & chase them away by prayer, let them not dwel in thy heart, giue thē no entertainement, desire to giue all the glorie to God, and desire others to do the same for thee: for that he hath made thee both able, and willing to giue, and hath made thee his steward, and deputie to giue euery one his portion, that his fatherly goodnesse hath appointed them. The like is to be done of euery one that praieth in publike assemblies, and heareth the word diligently, and turne ouer their Bibles, and sing reuerently the holy Psalmes and praises of God, & confer of that which they heard, and call their families to account for that which they haue heard at the Sermon, &c. all most holy actions: but take heed now, when thou doest all these, or any of these, that the messenger of Sathan come not like a cunning companion and poison all these. Take heed I say euen then, when thou art about these seruices, for euen as cut-purses, and pilfering rogues watch their times till they see men busie in buying and selling, or [Page 22] come in a preasse: so do these vagrant affections watch our harts when we are about holy businesse, and in deuout conference with our God, to rob God of his honour, and to poison that which we offer him; and if it be poisoned he will none of it. A strange thing, and a hidden mysterie this is, that a man should then rob the Lord of his honour, when he is honoring and seruing him: that we should take from him that which we giue vnto him. Verily so we do, if we take not heed, and nothing is more common then that euil. Thou art deuout in thy prayer, in hearing, in sighing, in sin­ging, in eleuating eyes and hands to heauen: it is well done: but then take heede of the theefe with the poison that thou seest not: and that is, that affection that maketh thee to cast thy eye aside, perhaps to looke whether such a man seeth thee, or no: and that affection that tickleth thy heart, and saith, now I am a good man, I shall be counted a zealous pro­fessor for this, I shall be well esteemed for this, I shall by this meanes get familiaritie, and so commoditie with him & her, and a thousand such odde conceits that come wharting and crossing of thy heart in the best things that thou canst do. All which if thou take not heede of them, euen then at that instant, and pray against them, they will get within thee, and plucke off the garment of puritie, and holinesse, which in Christ Iesus should commend thy action vnto God. And thus thou seest how God is robbed when he is serued: and therefore euen then without any further delay, or dallying take heed, and watch ouer thy heart: and pray against these vile and vaine affections, desiring God to reforme and correct them, that so thou maiest giue him his due, clad in such holy and pure affections as are desirous that all the glorie should be giuen vnto him, from whom, and for whom all things are, and shall be. And in so doing thou maiest safely shew, what God hath done for thee. Take for example in the old Testa­ment Iacob, and in the new Testament the Virgin Mary, and Zacharie the father of Iohn Baptist. Gen. 32.10. Iacob he sheweth his brother how God had blessed him since his comming ouer Iordan, with onely a poore staffe in his hand: and now had giuen him troupes or bands of children and ser­uants: and blessed him with flockes of sheepe, beeues and camels: but in all these things his desire was that God might he glorified, and therefore he said, I am not worthy of the least of these mercies: that is, all that I haue set forth the great and vndeserued fauour of God vnto me. So farre was he from seeking thereby to be counted a great man, as the maner of the world is. So when Elizabeth reioyced with her cosin, for the great fauour and goodnesse of the most high, in chusing her to be the mother of the Lord Iesus: and sayd, Blessed art thou amongst women, she was not proud thereof,Luke. 1.46. but presently gaue the glorie vnto God, and sayd, My [Page 23] soule doth magnifie the Lord, and my spirite reioyceth in God my Sauiour. I shall be magnified indeede, but he that is mightie hath magnified me, and holy is his name: and so made that whole song to set forth the glorious praises of God, in that singular worke which he had done to her. In like sort when Zachary knew that Iohn was borne, to be the forerunner of Christ, he presently gaue the glorie to God, saying, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he hath visited and redeemed his people, &c. And thou ô child shalt be called the Prophet of the most high, for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare the way before him, to giue knowledge of sal­uation vnto his people for the forgiuenesse of their sinnes. But then commeth forth the holy affection, wherein God is delighted and saith, Through the tender mercy of our God, &c.

And this shall we do if we take heed, and still watch ouer our hearts in euerie action, by secret prayer vnto God, that his name may be hal­lowed.

This wise course being taken, we shall be able by the grace of God, in a short time to discerne a false harted affection, from a true and a holy af­fection: a double heart from a single and sincere heart: for in euery man that is regenerate, there is a double motion, the one of the flesh, the other of the Spirite, the one of God, the other of Sathan, and in euerie action if he watch narrowly, he shall find and feele a striuing betweene them. Now here is wisedome, to discerne how much is of God, and how much of Sathan; that we may cherish the one: and crush the other in the head, before he grow to any strength. There will be two fires kindled, and both burning together in one heart, the one must be quenched, and not maintained: the other must not be quēched, but be maintained: for so saith the Scripture, quench and quench not, quench the firie darts of the di­uell, but quench not the Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed vp to the day of redemption. Now then seeing the glory of God is set vp for one marke to aime at, and the good of the Church of God for another: let vs learne by our leuelling and aiming at them, or besides them, to iudge of our affections and cogitations. If thy cogitations be studying and deui­sing how to auoide vaineglorie, and how to get glorie to God, by ca­sting about to make others to praise God in thy graces, and to loue and feare him for the same: then is that cogitation kindled by Gods Spirite, quench it not but cherish it. If thy affections be longing and desiring to bring the same to passe, which thy minde by Gods Spirite hath deuised, then is that a holy affection, & of God: quench it not, but maintaine it, & reioyce in God for it. But if one the contrarie, thy mind be deuising what to do, and what to say, and how to bring things to passe to please men, [Page 24] and not God, and to win credit and estimation amongst men, Gods glory being cast behind thy backe: know that those thoughts and affections are fierie darts of Sathans kindling, quench them, and cherish them not, take heede of them in time. In taking this timely heed, thou shalt by the grace of God be able easilie to espie the beginnings of thy speciall sinnes, and all the degrees of them, and the growth of them, and all the shifts and sleights of Sathan, and shalt euer get the victorie ouer them in Christ Ie­sus. And albeit thou be haunted, and molested, and buffeted with such messengers of Sathan, and pained, and humbled by such prickes and goades in thy flesh while thou liuest, yet here remaineth thy comfort, when death commeth, thou shalt be able to say with the Psalmist, By this I know ô Lord that thou louest me, Psal. 41. because these my spirituall enemies haue not triumphed ouer me: blessed be the name of the Lord God for e­uermore.

But one other side, if thou be carelesse, and put off the matter still from time to time, thinking to repent, and leaue thy sinne when thou art olde, or a dying, as many do, thou doest miserably deceiue thy selfe: for doubt­lesse any one sinne that is growne into a custome, will be too hard for thee, before age come, or sicknesse come. And for proofe of that I say, do but try thy strength with one of thy sinnes, which thou hast accustomed thy selfe vnto, and when thou wouldest leaue it, see how many shifts and delayes, and deuises, and excuses it hath, still pulling thee backe againe, when thy foote is in the stirrop, and thou ready as thou thinkest to ride away from it. Now if it be so with one sinne that thou hast bene familiar withall, what wilt thou do, when all thy sinnes are proued customes? Is it not an vsuall answer of most men, that haue vsed swearing, or lying, or prophane mirth, or sluggish seruing of God, &c. It is my custome, I can­not leaue it. Those young men which were Ieroboams companions be­fore his raigne, would be his Counsellors when he did raigne: so those sinnes which are thy companions now, will be thy Counsellors and mai­sters too hereafter. Therefore say not, thou wilt take heed of them here­after: for hereafter thou art likely in all common sense and reason, to be e­uery way more vnfit, and vntoward then thou art now; but when time and occasion serue, watch sinne, and thou take him, and destroy him, which else in time will ouerthrow thee.

THE III. SERMON.

WE haue heard what it is that Christians must take heede of in doing of good deedes, and the manner how to take heed thereof. Now we are further to consider of the reasons which our Sauiour giueth, hereby to make men the more fearefull of that which he warneth them of, and more carefull to follow his counsell. And his rea­sons containe two propositions, the one is negatiue, the other is affirma­tiue. The first is these words: For else you shall haue no reward of your heauenly father. The other is in these words, Verily I say vnto you, they (that is hypocrites) haue their reward. The first reason is very soueraigne and auaileable against the inward euill, namely all inward desire and af­fection of popular praise, and vaineglorie: and the other is as forcible to disswade from the outward euill, that is, ostentation and shew of vaine­glorie. The former telleth vs what we loose if we take not heed, and keepe not good watch ouer our hearts, against vaineglorious affections, and that is Gods reward: Our fathers blessing a heauenly reward, and in the second reason we are told what we shall get in stead thereof, name­ly the reward of hypocrites, and no more: and that is the praise of men, the wind of mens mouthes, the good opinion of mutable minds, then the which there is nothing more vaine, nor transitorie, nor friuolous, nor ri­diculous: a miserable reward, indeede a punishment, and a torment to a godly mind.

Now we see, that by this bargaine, a man if he take not heede, may be a great looser, and by taking heed he may be a great gainer. Againe, we see that the vaineglorious Christian, that is to say: a plaine hypocrite, is a gainer by his hipocrisie; but his gaine is nothing to that which he expe­cteth, and nothing comparable to his losse. These reasons are vsed by our Sauiour Christ in most high wisedome, as proceeding from one that best knoweth euery mans disease, and euery ones humour, and euery ones delight, and accordingly he fitteth both his medicines, and his mo­tiues. Now seeing as all men are much moued with hope of rewards, es­pecially when for a small matter they are in hope to obtaine a great and a good reward, what could our Sauiour Christ propound of greater [Page 26] force to moue men to embrace sinceritie in all their actions, then Gods reward, which is the greatest and the best? And because hypocrisie is of that bewitching nature, and besotting humour, that it maketh her suters & attendants beleeue, that they shal be both honored here amōgst men, and glorified hereafter amongst Angels in heauen: and so by feeding them with a vaine hope of a double reward for their double dealing, our Sauiour Christ here doth notably coole their courage, by abating no lesse of their wages, then heauen commeth to: assuring them, that whatsoe­uer they dreame of, it wil proue but a dreame. And least any man should thinke that it is otherwise, and God will be better to them then so, (as all hypocrites do) our Sauiour Christ bindeth vp the matter with an ear­nest asseueration, or constant affirming the matter, and saith not, I feare me they haue their reward: I doubt they will loose their reward in hea­uen: I cannot tell, but I stand in great doubt of the matter: for then yet there were some little hope left, like a bone for the hypocritie to picke v­pon: but the goeth more directly to the point then so: saying, verily, and out of all question, build vpon it, know for a certaine what to trust vnto, if you take not heede of hypocrisie, you haue your reward here, there is nothing to be looked for hereafter at Gods hand, but the hypocrites por­tion, and that is hell fire with the diuell and his Angels for euer: for when men haue rewarded them, God will punish them. And thus you see the force of Christs reasons, and the drift of his words, wherein we haue two excellent points offered vs to consider of. First, the reward of sinceritie: secondly, the reward of hypocrisie.

The reward of sinceritie and vprightnesse of heart verily is great: for the Psalmist saith,Psal. 19.11 that in keeping of the commandements of God there is great reward. Sinceritie is commaunded in the first commaundement of the first Table: and more largely in other places of Scripture, which bid vs to serue God with all our hearts,Deut. 6.5. Psal. 103. and with all our soules, and to praise him with all that is within vs. And therefore out of all doubt there is a great reward laid vp for those that are sincere harted Christians, and vpright professors of the Gospell of Christ.1. King. 3.6. Thou hast shewed great mercy to Dauid, saith King Salomon, when he walked before thee in truth and vprightnesse of heart: to shew, that great mercies belong to vpright har­ted men. But what it is, or how great it is, or how good it is, few yet do know, fewer beleeue it, and fewest of all do so feele it, as to be moued therewith.

We know what we haue here, say some, we know not what we shall haue hereafter. Now, ignoti nulla cupido, of a thing vnknowne there is no desire: Therefore that men may desire it, it is fit they should know [Page 27] it. Others there be that (hauing heard of it) are desirous to see it, as Phi­lip sayd to Christ,Iob. 14. Shew vs thy father, and it suffiseth: so say they, Shew vs the reward of sinceritie, and it suffiseth. Dreaming as the Disciples of Christ did awhile, of some earthly and temporall preferment. But as Christ sayd to Philip, He that hath seene me, hath seene my father: because the Sonne was in the Father, and the Father in the Sonne: so we say to them, he that hath seene sinceritie, hath seene the reward of sincerity, be­cause sincerity of it selfe is the gift of God, and Gods reward goeth with his owne gift, according to the saying of a learned father: Sua munera co­ronat Deus in nobis: God doth crowne his owne gifts in vs. Other some there be which haue seene the reward of sincerity a good part of it, that is, haue knowne it, and beleeued such a thing, but haue bin no more moued therewith, to preserue themselues against the poison of vaineglorie, then they of the old world were moued with the report and sight of Noahs Arke, to prepare for them selues against the floud. Others there be that haue both seene it by faith, and tasted of it too, but afterward haue lothed the same, and lusted after vaineglorie: as the vnthankfull Israelites lothed Manna, which did nourish them when all other foode failed: and sell to lusting for the flesh pots of Egypt. It fareth with those that haue left their sinceritie, as it did with those that left Christ after they had heard him a­while. When they heard Christ speake of eating his flesh:Ioh. 6.60. they said, this is a hard saying, who can beare it? and so came no more. So the other hearing that sincerities men shall haue Gods reward, they like that well inough: but when we tell them, nay when Gods word telleth them, that they shall loose the worlds reward, and in stead of commendations, shall be condemned, and hated, and scorned: they say, this is a hard saying, and so giue ouer their sincere courses. But what saith our Sauiour Christ to the woman of Samaria? Iob. 4.10. If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith vnto thee, giue me drinke, thou wouldst haue asked of him, and he wold haue giuen thee water, yea water of life. So it may be said to those that make a iest of sinceritie, or preferre the glorie of the world before the re­ward of sinceritie: If they knew the gift of God, the excellent reward of sinceritie, and who it is that saith, Take heede of vaineglorie: and who it is that will reward the embracers of sinceritie, they would seeke to him for credite, and aske glorie of him, and he would giue them an euerla­sting reward, euen a crowne of glorie which neuer should end. As when Dauid asked life,Psal. 21.4. 1. Kin. 3.13. the Lord gaue him a long life: and as when Salomon asked wisedome before riches, the Lord gaue him both wisedome and riches too.

But now all the enquiring will be, what this same gift of God should [Page 28] be, and what reward they shall haue that giue entertainment to sincerity. Verily, as the Church saith of Christ her beloued: My beloued is white and ruddie, Cant. 5.10. the chiefest of ten thousands: so may the louers of sinceritie say, our beloued is white and ruddie: that is, she is like the kings daugh­ter, all glorious within, she is the chiefest often thousand, she hath many faire sisters, but she passeth them all: her sisters be patience, and humility, and meeknesse, and zeale, and courage, and long suffering, and contempt of the world, and loue of God, with faith, hope and charitie: and all these are glorious and beautifull vertues, yea sweet children of the holy Ghost, when th [...]y come from God: but sinceritie and singlenesse of heart doth excell them all. The Sunne doth giue light to all the starres, and the Queene doth grace her Ladies of Honour with her presence: So sinceri­tie or truth of heart doth beautifie and grace all other vertues: for with­out that they are but naked and counterfeit. She goeth before them, and speaketh for them all, like a foreman of a Iurie, when all the rest (though they be her faire sisters) must hold their peace. Faith is seeble and weake, and loue her handmaid is lazie, and careth for none but her selfe: patience hath a scarre on her face giuen her by intemperancie: deuotions is so fro­zen with cold, that she can scarce go: humilitie is so tired with wrestling against pride, that she looketh very leane and bare: and as for repentance that is so trampled vpon with custome of sinne, that it is scarce to be dis­cerned from hardnesse of heart. Now all these go from vs that haue abu­sed them, into the Lords presence, as Thamar did from her brother Amnon, 2. Sa. 13.18, 19. when he had enforced her: with their garments of diuerse co­lours rent and torne: with ashes vpon her head in token of sorrow: and with great weeping, griefe and shame. For that they must come before their Lord and King their father so defaced, so ragged, so basely and so beastly as they are, as if they had lien all their life time, since they went from heauen, in some stinking ditches with vermine, or in vile stables a­mongst beastes, or in the woods and fieldes of wandring cogitations, a­mongst the euish conceipts of vaineglorie, and vnwholesome affections of anger, and wrath, and couetuousnesse, and vncleannesse: for so they haue indeed. But when they meet with ther sister sinceritie, and vpright­nesse of heart, oh how glad and ioyfull are they: for her sake they know they shall all fare the better. Oh sinceritie, sinceritie, where hast thou bene all this while, say they? vntill thou camest, we could haue no grace, nor fauour, no entrance into the Court gate of our heauenly Ierusalem, no our owne father would not know vs, but tooke vs for counterfeits, vntill we fetched thee: as Ioseph tooke his brethren for spies, vntill they fetched Beniamin whome he loued better then they. And now that we [Page 29] haue met with thee we are glad, our hearts are comforted: thou shalt be heard for vs all, being altogether in Christ Iesus our Mediator. But otherwise, though we said we are Christians, and haue professed Chri­stianitie, and offered to put in for our suretie no worse baile then the Kings owne naturall sonne Iesus Christ, all would not serue, we could not be heard, vntill we brought sinceritie with vs. For she, as res­pecteth God more then all the world, and setteth more by his loue and anger, then by the loue and anger of all the world: so in Christ Iesus she is more respected, and honoured, and rewarded of God then all the world beside. Oh happie man and woman, that professing Christi­anitie or faith in Christ, or repentance for sinne, or patience in afflicti­on, or contempt of the world, or zeale to Gods glorie, or deuotion in Gods worship, or liberalitie to the Saints, or mercie to the miserable, can in all these haue the company of sinceritie, and vprightnesse of heart: then may they say thus: nay our suretie the Lord Iesus wil pleade for vs in this manner: Father, despise not these little ones; they are my friends: and though their faith and repentance be weake and imper­fect, and other graces of thy Spirit be but small and feeble: and for want of nourshing and good looking vnto, be not so well growne, nor so well ordered as they should haue bene: yet forasmuch, as they come be­fore thee, and haue called vpon my name in sinceritie and truth, which thou louest, without counterfeiting, dissembling, and hypocrisie, which thou abhorrest, thou wilt not despise them. Their fruit though they be but little in quantitie, like a graine of musterd seed, yet it is right fruite of the Spirit, true faith, though little faith, true loue though litle and small loue: not like the fruites of hypocrites, which are like the apples of Sodome, faire in shew, and ashes in substance.

What hath soundly comforted all the Saines of God here on earth, but the testimonie of an vpright heart? And is not sound comfort a good reward? What hath encouraged and emboldned them to come before God in prayer, but the testimoniall of a sincere heart, and holy affecti­on? And is not boldnesse in Gods presence a good reward? What hath made the prayers of the faithfull auaileable with God for other, but the sinceritie and vpright affection of them that haue craued their prayers? and are not these sweet odours, that is, the prayers of the Saints a good reward? What made Iacob to be honoured with the new name of Is­rael, that is, preuailing with God for a blessing: but that his wrestling was not in shew, but in good earnest, in sinceritie and truth of heart, with a constant purpose of perseuering, till he had gotten that which he stroue for? And is not preuailing with God a good reward? All the [Page 30] daies of the afflicted are euill (saith Salomon) that is, troublesome, grie­uous, and bitter to flesh and bloud,Pro. 15.15. but a good conscience is a conti­nuall feast: that is, he that hath an vpright heart, and sincere affection before God, feeleth no want. Now such a feast, as it is continuall, so is it prouided by God himselfe, serued in with the Spirit of God, where the Angels do waite, and reioyce: and the worst dishes are the assurance of Gods loue, forgiuenesse of sinnes, peace of conscience, and ioy of the holy Ghost. There all the communication is secret and heauenly between Christ and the soule: the Musitians are the faithfull, and their musicke is praising of God, and their harmonie is the communion of Saints, and all are of one heart and mind: and is not such a feast a good reward? Nay more then this, if this be not inough, whosoeuer will earnestly hegge this gift of God by prayer, and louingly embrace and keepe her as his deare spouse, shall haue with her a large dowrie, a great reward in heauen, in heauen saith Christ. For such gifts come not without crauing, and of our selues we cannot haue it: for if a good wife be the gift of God; much more is a good heart, which God in creating doth giue, & in giuing doth create:Psal. 51. therfore Dauid saith: Create in me ô Lord a cleane heart: to shew that we can no more make the hart sincere, then we can create a hart. But whē such a hart is created by God, he giueth thee a singular gift: & a great portion belongeth vnto it. Part of it shall be payd thee in this life, but the greatest part in the life to come. In this life thou shalt be loued of Christs friends, and moned of good men when thou art wronged: & the more thou dost seek to honor God, the more he will honor thee, as he told Sa­muel. The more thou fliest the vainglorie of the world for sinceritie sake, the more wil true glorie follow thee, according to the Prouerb: Honos fu­gientem sequitur, sequentem fugit: It followeth those that flye from her, like friends which enforce gifts and other curtesies vpon modest persons which refuse them, but flyeth them that follow her, as men do impudent beggers. But besides al this, when death comes, thy deare friend sincerity shall more comfort thee then all the Phisitions in the world. And after death thy name shall liue, and walke vp & downe in the world, to warne some, to comfort some, to admonish some, and to shame some, and to condemne many. But yet here is not all, for then shalt thou first receiue commendation of God, whom thou hast serued, and secondly enter into full and euerlasting possession of thy maisters ioy, which is no lesse then a weightie crowne of glorie immortall, then a kingdome, and inheritance of eternall blessednesse with the Saints and Angels, and God himselfe: where all teares shall be wiped from thy eyes, and thou shalt reioyce for euermore. Where thou shalt enioy for euer and euer, such things as no [Page 31] eye hath seene, no eare hath heard, nor heart to man can conceiue: and nothing shall euer obscure or eclipse the same, nor crosse, nor diminish the same.

And what is all this, or whatsoeuer else can be sayd of it, but scarce a shadow of sincerities reward? Alas, a drop taken out of the sea, and a moate out of the mountaines: like the hem of Christs garment, which did comfort the woman that touched it: but she found more comfort in him, then in the hem. So the description of sincerity is delightsome, & the picture is pleasing: but whosoeuer hath sincerity it selfe, shall find at his left hand the fulnesse of ioy, and at his right hand pleasure for euermore.

Whosoeuer after this Sermon, shall find so much fauour with God, as to meete with sinceritie and vprightnesse of heart in all his actions, and such an affection that preferreth Gods glorie before his owne, and seeketh praise of God and not of man: shall say as the Queene of the South sayd when she came to King Salomon: 1. King. 10. That which I heard of thee I did hard­ly beleeue it, but now I perceiue that the report which went of thee, is no­thing answerable to that which thou art indeed. And though no man deser­ueth such a reward at Gods hand, no nor any reward at all, but shame and confusion, which is our due desert; yet both for his promise sake, as also for his honour sake he will so reward his children. If mortall men will keepe their promise one towards another, as all that haue but common ciuility and honestie will, them much more will Almightie God, who is all truth and righteousnesse it selfe, and can no more breake his promise, then he can denie himselfe, or cease to be God. The Prince promiseth to pardon a traytour, and he keepeth promise with him: this is of the Prin­ces goodnesse, and not of the traytors desert. We are all traytors to God: he hath promised vppon our true repentance to pardon vs: it is of his goodnesse to make vs such a promise, and not of our desert: childish ther­fore are the Papists, who whensoeuer they reade of a reward comming from God, do straite way dreame of some desert or merite to proceede from man and fetch the same.

Againe, in that it pleaseth God so liberally and aboundantly to re­ward the poore trauels, and endeuours of his children, and so gloriously to crowne his owne gifts in them, when notwithstanding they are so stai­ned and abused as they are, let no man maruell thercat: for that is done according to the worthinesse of his Maiesty, and the greatnesse of his owne honour, and not according to the basenesse of our persons. This did Alexander the great consider, when a poore souldier came vnto him to begge a reward for his seruice that he had done: What wouldest thou haue quoth he? A hundreth crownes quoth the souldier. Well quoth the [Page 32] King, though that be too much for thee to aske, and more then thou de­seruest, yet is too little for me to giue that am thy Emperour: so we ac­cording to the basenesse of our mindes and cogitations would begge of God, worldly preferment and credit in the world, gold and siluer, house and land, honour and worship. Well, content thy selfe saith our Soue­raigne, and heauenly father, that is too much for thee to aske, and too litle for me to giue, being Lord of heauen and earth, I will giue thee that that is fit for thee here: and a kingdome hereafter if thou serue me in sinceri­tie and truth of hart, respecting more my glorie then thy owne glorie, or thy life either. For it standeth not with the honour of Gods Maiesty to recompence trauels of his seruants with trifles. God dealeth with his children that are most sincere harted in this world, as great men deale with their children in their minoritie, whom they intend to make their heires: they put them to schoole, and giue them correction, and allow them from hand to mouth, and abridge them of their libertie, and keepe them in awe: but when their fathers are dead, and they come to mens e­state, they are then rewarded with no lesse then all their fathers lands; which if they should haue had before, they would haue spent riotously, and wantonly: so God keepeth his children here in this world vnder schooling, and nurturing them, correcting and crossing them: and giueth them their stint, and allowance of wealth, of health, of credit, of friends, &c. But when they come to a perfectage, and are perfect men growne in Christ (which will not be vntill after tearme of this life) then loe they are made fellow heires of the kingdome of heauen, with the Lord Iesus himselfe, blessed be his name for euer.

Now by this time my good brethren, you haue (I hope) well consi­dered of the matter, and will not denie but that the reward of sinceritie is a great reward, like vnto him that giueth it: a fathers reward, yea a hea­uenly fathers reward, and a heauenly reward.

Consider well, you whose hearts yet long for the vaine praise and e­stimation of men, like sucking weanlings, that cry still after the breast: can the world affoord you any such reward? Can your father and mo­ther? can your friends an kindred? can Kings & Princes? can al the world? Let vs see, sincerity is rewarded with sound comfort, as Christ sayd to the sicke man, Sonne be of good comfort. You that desire to be seene of men, you desire sound comfort, can the world giue it you when God denieth it you? Or can the world take it from you, if God doth giue it you? Sinceritie is rewarded with courage in prayer, and boldnesse before Gods throne of grace. You that desire to be seene of men, desire also to stand boldly before the face of God, but consider: [Page 33] can all the commendations of the world giue you that boldnesse and courage when God doth denie it you? or can al the condemnations and e­uill speeches of the world take it from you, if God doth giue it you? Sin­cerity preuaileth with God. You that desire to be seene of men, you de­sire also to preuaile with God: but consider well, can all the praises of men make you preuaile with God, if God himselfe doth not like you? or can all the world by disgracing of sincere harted Christians, hinder their suite in the Lords Court, if God doth like of them? Sincerity is rewarded with a cōtinual feast, of the loue of God, of ioy in the holy Ghost, of peace of conscience [...], of the merits of Christ. About whose dwelling places God hath charged his owne gard of Angels, to pitch their tents, that the man of earth may not make them affraid, nor the sonne of violence do them any harme. You that desire to be seene of men, you commend this feast, you also desire to be at such a feast: but consider well, can all the men, & Princes in the world make you such a feast, when God will make you fast? or can all the world cause you to fast, or to want when the Lord hath prouided you such a feast? Sincerity shall be rewarded with a crowne of glorie, and inheritance immortall, the kingdome of heauen: for our heauenly father giueth heauenly rewards, and infinite like him­selfe. Now you that desire to be seene of men, desire also such a reward, as the sonnes of Zebedeus did desire each of them a place in the kingdome of heauen: but consider well, when you haue won the commendations of all men, yet cannot all the men in the world giue you that reward: for Christ sayd it was not his to giue: if not his to giue as he was man, then much lesse is it the worlds to giue vnto men: neither can all the world, with the helpe of all the diuels in hell take it from you, nor molest you in it, when God hath giuen it vnto you.

But least any man should yet stand in doubt of that I say, let witnesses be examined: let their records be searched: aske Enoch, he walked with God, that is, he had his conuersation as in the sight of God, his care and study was to please God,Gen. 5.24. and not men: and he was translated from men vnto God. Aske Ioseph, thy heart was vpright toward thy maister, as in the sight of God, insomuch that thy maister tooke no account of thee for anything: neither didst thou care for the loue of thy light mistresse, but in the feare of God didst chuse rather to please him then hir. It is true saith Ioseph, neither did I loose any thing by my vprightnesse, and sincerity: for though I was a while in trouble and disgrace for it, yet the Lord that gaue me the gift of sinceritie, he tooke my part, & caused me to be set at liberty, and brought me with my great credit, & her great shame to high preferment, and now am I free from all troubles, and liue like a [Page 34] king in heauen, as sometime I was a ruler in Aegypt. Aske Dauid, and he will tell thee,Psal. 119.10. that when he could say vnto God, With my whole heart I haue sought thee, then could he most boldly call vpon God, and say: Let me not wander from thy commandements. Aske Saint Paule, and he will tell thee, that he would not presume to craue for the prayers of the Church,Heb. 13.18. but when he could also certifie them that he had a good con­science in all things, and desired to liue honestly. Againe, Paule speaking of himselfe and his fellow labourers, saith thus: We are not as many, which make marchandize of the word of God: 2. Cor. 2.17. but as of sinceritie, but as of God, in the sight of God we speake in Christ. Chap. 4.2. We walke not in craftinesse, neither handle we the word of God deceitfully, but in declaration of the truth we approoue our selues to euerie mans conscience in the sight of God. And what hast thou gotten Paule for thy labour? In how many dan­gers hast thou bene both by sea and by land? By thy owne confession thou hast bene whipped, and beaten with roddes, cast into prison, stoned and laied for dead, hunted from one place to another, and at the last lost thy head: hadst not thou beene better to haue pleased thy honest neigh­bours by preaching Christ after their fashion? No no, sayth Paule, neuer tell me of these matters, I was crucified to the world, and the world to me: that is, I cared no more for the world, then the world did for me: the power of God did appeare in my weaknesses: when I was in prison I was at liberty: when I went from the whip to the dungeon, I sung Psalmes: yea, all this was an honour vnto me that I was not worthie of. From all my daungers the Lord deliuered me. And where I lost my life, there I found it againe: euen euerlasting life. In a word, I haue fought a good fight, 2. Tim. 4.7.8 and haue finished my course, I haue kept the faith: For henceforth is layed vp for me the crowne of righteousnesse, which the Lord the righteous Iudge shall giue me at that day, and not to me onely, but to all them that loue his appearing. Aske King Hezechiah, what was most comfortable to him in his sicknesse, when he looked for nothing but death.Esa. 38.3. Oh, sayth he, I payed, and sayd, I beseech thee ô Lord, remember how that I haue walked before thee in truth, and with a perfect heart, that is, a sound and vpright heart without dissembling, and haue done that which is good in thy sight, to shew that when all faile, yet sin­cerity, and truth of heart shall comfort vs, like a good keeper and kind nurse at the houre of death.

Now then, what remaineth for this point? but that we gather vp the summe of all that hath bene sayd of it, and make the conclusion: and that is this: Seeing that sinceritie shall be rewarded by our heauenly father, both in this life with sound comfort in time of trouble: with courage and [Page 35] boldnesse in time of prayer: with the prayers of the Saints in time of neede: with a continuall feast in the time of affliction: with heauenly consolation in the time of death: and in the world to come, with the king­dome of heauen; let euery man confesse that the reward of sincerity is a great reward. And seeing as it is so great for quantitie, and so good for qualitie, that all the world cannot affoord so much as a shadow there­of, nor tell how to commend it, let euery one of vs be more moued therey to embrace sinceritie, and to seeke praise at Gods hand, rather then all the vaine praises of the world. And seeing as sinceritie is of all vertues the chiefest, and that which graceth all our vertues before God and man, let vs aboue all looke in all our affaires that nothing be done without it.

Lastly, seeing as both Enoch, and Ioseph, and Dauid, and Hezechiah, and Paule, besides many else haue giuen such testimonie thereof: let no man doubt to beleeue, nor feare to follow it, for out of all doubt those that are approued in Gods sight, shall be well rewarded of their heauen­ly father. And so much for the reward of sinceritie.

THE IIII. SERMON.

MATH. 6.2.

As hypocrites do in the Synagogues and streetes, to be seene of men:

WE haue heard heretofore the excellent nature, and hea­uenly reward of sinceritie; now brethren, that we may be as much out of loue with hypocrisie, as we are in loue (I hope) with sinceritie: let vs see the nature and re­ward of hypocrisie: because contraries being layed to­gether, do the better appeare. And first, of the nature of of hypocrisie, vpon these wordes: as the hypocrites do, &c. Of the second branch when we come to the next words, Verily I say vnto you they haue their reward. At this time onely of these wordes: as hypocrites do: wherein our Sauior Christ doth giue vs to vnderstand two things First, that who­soeuer professeth a shew of that which he is not, is an hypocrite: secondly, that the doings of hypocrites are to be made knowne, that euery one see­ing the hypocrite laid out in his colours, with his reward that belongeth [Page 36] to him, may take heede, that he play not the hypocrite, or if he hath play­ed that part, to be ashamed thereof and repent, and follow the Lord euer after in sinceritie and truth of heart.

Now seeing as our Sauiour Christ would haue hypocrites knowne by their doings: I will endeuour my selfe at this time by Gods helpe, to vn­case the hypocrite, who hath plaid his part so long, so impudently, and so vncontrolledly, carying away all the credit of the world, euen to the vn­dermining of the house of God, & endangering the whole estate of Chri­stian Religion. And call this Sermon (if you list) the vncasing of the hypo­crite: for I will (if God will) do my best endeuour to vncase him. Where­in perhaps I shall not behaue my selfe so handsomly and finely to please all parties, as some could do: but yet I hope both soundly and plainly I shall go to worke. You know brethren, that plaine dealing is my profes­sion, though it be counted a iewell for beggers: flattery, and curiositie, and hypocrisie I leaue to them that will dye rich men, and therefore I speed accordingly: and I must needes confesse, that I am wellinough ser­ued, to be so well belaboured as I am with the strife of tongues. Well, if I could handle this matter more learnedly then I can; yet I would of purpose deceiue all such itching eares, as come rather to haue their hu­mours fed, then their liues reformed. A peece of worke both thanklesse and dangerous, yea a most vnpleasant argument haue I taken in hand, e­specially as the case standeth now, when most men come to catch and to cauill, and quot homines tot sententiae, euery mans head swarming with as many odde conceits and vncharitable surmises, as there be heads to heare. But it is no matter my brethren, thinke and speake of me at your pleasure, so long as I haue the truth on my side, I care the lesse, words are but wind, and truth will preuaile in the end, and iudge them that now condemne it. Saint Paule telleth me, that I must passe through good re­port and bad report (and I thanke God so I haue doue meetly well:) and to the Galathians he saith thus,2. Cor. 6.8. Gal. 4.6. Am I Paul become your enemy because I tel you the truth? to shew, that whosoeuer will speake the truth shall be counted an enemy. But what sayth the same Apostle? If I seeke to please men, I cannot please God, and therfore I am at a point. God gaue me an vp­right heart in his sight, and then, as for the fauour and disfauour of the world his will be done. But now to the matter in hand: Do not your almes, that is, your good deedes to be seene of men, as hypocrites do. Our Sa­uiours purpose is to illustrate his precept by an example of counterfeits and players, who do all their feats of purpose to be seene of men: to which end, they haue a stage erected, that mē may see them, making pro­clamation, that whosoeuer come to such a place, at such an houre, shal see [Page 37] such a mans players, that is, such a mans hypocrites make a play, that is, play the hypocrites by counterfeiting and shewing diuerse mens actions and diuerse mens persons, which they are not, neither act they indeede. Therefore seeing that the nature and practise of players doth most fitly serue to set foorth the nature & practise of such as do but counterfeit and dissemble in the profession and practise of religion, when they would be thought to be in good earnest: and seeing that (for their counterfeiting) plaiers were the first, that were termed amongst prophane writers hypo­crites: therefore I say the Scripture hath borrowed that name of them, & translated it to all that play the dissemblers & counterfeits in Gods bu­sinesse or otherwise. Of this iudgement is master Caluin, whose words are these,Cal. Har. in his Euangelicall Harmony, vpon this place: Nam quum hypocritae profanis scriptoribus dictifuerint histriones qui in scena & ludis fictas per­sonas agebant, Scriptura hoc nomen ad homines duplices corde, & simula­tos transtulit: that is, seeing as players which in Enterludes and on stages did faine and counterfeit the persons of other men, were termed hypo­crites by prophane writers, the Scripture hath translated that name vnto dissemblers and men of a double heart. And most fitly are they both called hypocrites, because they both counterfeit alike, and make a shew before men of that which they are not before God: yea so like are they one to another, as things cast both in a mould, or as those men are that for their likenesse in fauour and condition, or for their neerenesse in affinity or office, do call one another brothers.

Amongst Players, one counterfeiteth the King, and yet is no King, but a base fellow in comparison: another counterfeiteth a merchant, and yet is no merchant, but a beggarly companion: others come to fight, and yet do not fight, but dally one with another: others scold and brawle, and seeme to be at mortal enmitie one against another, like some kind of Lawyers at the barre for their Clients: but when they are gone, they are as good friends as euer they were, and laugh at them whom they haue made fooles. But indeed certaine persons amongst Players are to be ex­cepted, which are not counterfeited: for some play the fooles part, and are fooles indeed: some play the varlets part, and are varlets indeede: some play the rogues part, and are rogues indeede: some play the cou­siners part, and are cousiners indeed: some play the parts of lewd men, and lewde women, and are lewde indeede: so that these (I thinke) haue wrong done them to be tearmed hypocrites, because they do not coun­terfeit the parts they play, but are the same indeed that they make shew of, except it be in regard of the persons which they represent, that they be called hypocrites: for those persons they are not indeede, [Page 48] though the qualitie of those persons they haue indeed. In like manner is it with men of a double heart in religion or otherwise. Some seeme to pray, when they do not pray, but babble with their lips, wordes which their minds thinke not of, and their hearts consent not vnto: and keepe a stir for thrise a weeke seruice, not caring for the Sabbath day; and come perhaps of contention too, rather then of any deuotion. These are in shew deuout, but in truth deuout hypocrites. Some pre­tend friendship, while with the lion they offer to lick poore men whole with a dinner at Christmas, or the loane of a little money, or the sale of some rotten commoditie, while with their teeth, that is, by cruell practises (ill neighbours to a smooth tongue) they meane to pray vp­pon them: these are in shew friends, but in truth friendly hypocrites. Some make a shew of zeale to the glorie of God, when their zeale is nothing but bitter malice, and malicious bitternesse: a thing that too many in the ministerie are guiltie of: and wherewith many zealous and faithfull Preachers are vniustly charged by hypocrites. But our com­fort is, that God doth acquite vs, when the wicked do condemne vs; but they that are maliciously zealous, are zealous hypocrites. Some in their humble and courteous behauiour seeme altogether to be com­pounded of humilitie, with kind speeches and friendly offers, as, yours to commaund: I owe you any seruice that▪ I can, (meaning indeed euer to owe it, and neuer to pay any) I haue the courtesie of the towne for you, and I maruell when you will come to our house, and I wote not what, when indeed they meane no such matter: these are humble and kind hypocrites. Some seeme very carefull for the poore, like Iudas, when they would oppresse the Church, and either disburden them­selues, or else enrich themselues with the spoiles of the Church: these are charitable & benefacting hypocrites. Some make a shew of a trou­bled conscience, and seeme desirous of resolution in their pretended doubts, when they purpose onely to entrappe the Preacher: these are afflicted hypocrites. Some seeme to harken to the Preacher very atten­tiuely and deuoutly, when in their hearts they turne most of that they heare into a iest, because they like it not: these are attentiue hypocrits. Some make as though they desired nothing more, then the obseruati­on of the Princes lawes, when in the meane time they freely violate all lawes themselues: these are lawlesse hypocrites. Some crie God forbid, but that euery man should haue his due, and in the meane time pra­ctise all the deuises that may be to defeat euery man: these are conscio­nable, or rather vnconscionable hypocrites. Some pretend the discharge of their office, when they meane thereby to play their parts against some [Page 49] whom they owe a grudge vnto: now these you may call officious hypo­crites. Some seeme more forward then others in the outward profession of the Gospell, that vnder the colour thereof, they may the more freely giue them selues to their pleasures, and euery new-fangled fashion that is daily inuented: these you may call (if you will) hypocrites of the fashion. Some are as the companie they come vnto; and as Pedlers with their packes haue accesse to mens gates to get money: so these with their tales of euery man get accesse to most mens tables, where they buy and sell at their pleasures, they care not whome, and all for a meales meate: these you may call (if you will) pedling hypocrites, or Protestents for the pot and the spit. There be diuerse others, which (if time would tarrie) I wold decipher vnto you: as the daintie eared hypocrite, called Noli me tange­re, who will professe Christ crucified, but cannot abide to haue Christ crucifie his sinnes; and the brazen-faced hypocrite, who in secret will say any thing, and in publike will deny the same againe. But here are enough and too many, to act a play that shall please the world, the flesh and the Diuell. Now what is the religion of all these I pray you? or (to speake the truth) of most men now adaies, but hypocrisie? that is to say, a very play, which euery one studieth to act as artificially as he can, vpon the tickle Stage of this vaine world, to winne thereby credite and commoditie a­mongst men, being before God nothing lesse, then that which they seem to be vnto men. Now all these hypocrites or players may be deuided in­to two sorts or companies. First, such as make a counterfeit profession of religion. Secondly, such as make a counterfeit practise of that which they professe. And both these companies of hypocrites, are either publike or priuate. Publike are those which play their parts in the Church, or in the Commonwealth, and they are also of two sorts: such as abuse their office and authoritie which are publike, or such as abuse the publike assemblies and exercises of religion, seeming there to be that which they are not. Priuate hypocrites are such as play the counterfets in housholds, or other­wise. In housholds and families there is much hypocrisie, that is: many a play plaied by diuerse actors, both comically nnd tragically, that is, in sport and in earnest. The actors in these plaies be sometime the husband, sometime the wife: sometime the maister, sometime the seruants: some­time the parents, sometime the children, and sometime all together, as hereafter more at large we shall see. As in housholds, so elsewhere is much priuate hypocrisie raigning, as in shoppes amongst buyers and sel­lers, and elsewhere betweene partie and partie: making contracts and bargaines with great protestations of loue and kindnesse: and all to de­ceiue.

[Page 40]Some thinke none may be tearmed hypocrites, but such as haue bene forward and zealous professors of the Gospell in shew: but they are de­ceiued. Indeed whosoeuer is a professor of Christianitie, and denyeth the power thereof, is an hypocrite. But of professors there are two sortes: some are very forward, and some are not so forward: some are zealous and make a great shew, & some are not so zealous, nor so much in shew, yet all professors of Christs Gospell. Whosoeuer hath giuen his name to Christ in baptisme, and is a partaker of the Lords table, is a professor of the name of Christ: but if in their liues they serue Sathan, they are but hy­pocrites. But it will be replied, that such as neuer made any shew of reli­gion canot be counted hypocrites, because hypocrisie is a counterfetting or dissembling in religion. It is true indeed: but what count you religi­on? or what is it to make a shew of religion? Is it onely to be a diligent hearer of Sermons? or a daily frequenter of the temple? or to talk much of the Scripture? or to reason well in matters of Diuinitie? or to vse prai­er and singing of Psalmes, and catechizing in the familie? or to keepe company with godly persons? or to speake against vnlawfull swearing and prophaning the Sabbath? or to defie idolatrie and superstition, &c. Surely he that doth all these, maketh a good shew of religion, and if he doth them not to God as well as to men, he is a grosse hypocrite. But what then? Is this all religion? Indeed many thinke so, and deceiue them­selues. But whosoeuer maketh a shew of any religious duties, maketh a shew of religion. And we know that all the duties required in both the tables of the Commaundements, are religious duties being performed by way of obedience to God, as they ought to be. And if they be not so per­formed, they are then done but to the halfes, that is, to men but not to God. Now that religion consisteth aswell in the duties of the second ta­ble which concerne our neighbor, as in the duties of the first, which con­cerne Gods worship: it is euident by the testimonie of S. Iames. Iam. 1.27. Pure reli­gion and vndefiled before God: euen the father is to visite the fatherlesse and widowes in their aduersitie, and to keepe himselfe vnspotted of the world, that is, to helpe those that haue no meanes to helpe themselues. He doth not exclude the duties of the first table, which concerne the immediate worship of God, but sheweth that all that without the other is vaine, as he saith plainely in the verse before: If any man among you see­meth religious, and refraineth not his toung, (meaning from backbiting, lying, slaundering, and maliciousnesse, and filthie talking, against which he inueigheth in the 21. verse) this mans religion is vaine. Now many ci­uill honest men being baptized and admitted to the Lords table, and co­ming at times appointed to the holy exercises of Gods worship, may in [Page 41] some good measure keepe the duties of the second table, and yet not be very forward obseruers of the first table, paying man his due, and being slacke inongh to giue God his due. Now these I say if they keepe the se­cond table, that is, pay euery man his owne, honour their superiors, and liue chastly and orderly, and seeke to preserue life, and keepe hospitality for the poore, and helpe their neighbour to his right, and beare true wit­nesse, they do also make a good shew of religion: but if they do these things but to be seene and commended of men, they are but hypocrites: that is, counterfeits before God. Againe, if they stand more precisely v­pon one thing, that God hath commaunded, then vpon another: it is a signe that their hearts are not vpright with God: for if they were vpright, they would aswell regard his commaundement for one thing as for ano­ther, or else they are hypocrites and dissemblers, to pretend obedience to Gods commaundements when they meane nothing lesse.

But it will be obiected againe, that the duties of the second table may be performed in some sort, euen by a meere ciuill or naturall man, that knoweth not God (as amongst the heathen be many such) nor make any shew of religion at all: or else where is the common distinction of ciuility and religion? Of ciuill actions and religious actions? The answer is easie, and to stand long vpon such a point, were but to trifle away the time. We speake now of Christians in name and profession at the least, and not of the heathen: and euery one that professeth himselfe a Christian, profes­seth also the workes of Christianitie in shew at the least, which are (as hath bene shewed) the workes of the second table aswell as of the first: which selfe same works may be done both ciuilly and religiously too: and so one and the same man in one and the same action: may shew himselfe both a ciuill honest man, and a religious honest man. As for example: the law of the Prince commaundeth me to pay my debts, to helpe my neigh­bour, to releeue the poore, &c. As a subiect owing obedience to my prince I do these things, and therein I do the part of a ciuill man, because I obey vnto ciuill authoritie. But if in doing of the same things, I haue an eye vnto God who commaundeth the same things, and do them in his feare, and of loue vnto his Maiestie: then do I the same things both reli­giously & ciuilly too. As for the heathen or heathenish professors of the Gospell, if they do obey ciuill authoritie for feare or for vaineglorie, or for any other end then the loue of their neighbour, which also must flow out of the loue of God, as being the end of the law: they also play the hy­pocrites because they seeme to loue their neighbour, when they onely loue themselues.

And to make all this more full and plaine which hath bene said [Page 52] let vs heare what our Sauiour Christ saith to the matter, who is the best expositor of his owne mind. In the 23. of Matthew, he pronounceth wo eight or nine times against the Scribes and Pharisees for diuerse kinds of hypocrisie, or diuerse seuerall counterfeit parts which they played, all which were not in matters of religion, most were but not all. First, in the thirteenth verse he saith:Mat. 23.13. Wo vnto you Scribes and Pharisees hypocrites, be­cause yee shut vp the kingdome of heauen before men: for ye your selues goe not in, neither suffer ye them that would enter to come in. There is one kind of hypocrisie: his meaning is, that they had one deuice or other still to keepe men from the hearing of Christs preaching, which was the verie kingdome of Gods grace, and the meane to bring them to the kingdom of glorie: and for that matter they had diuerse pretences: but because the thing they aymed at, was to keepe men from hearing of the Gos­pell preached: therefore Christ calleth them hypocrites. When I consider well of that place of Scripture, it maketh me remember such Church offi­cers, as neuer go foorth to cause men to come to Church, but when the Sermon is readie to beginne, which they neither care perhaps to heare themselues, nor would by their goodwils that others should heare. Now because the preaching of the word, is the kingdome of Gods grace, and the meanes to bring men to the kingdome of glorie, let them take heede of Christs wo, because they shut vp the kingdome of heauen before men: for they themselues go not in, neither suffer they them to enter that wold come in, and all vnder pretence of executing their office in causing men to come to Church. Oh cunning diuell, that vnder pretence of bringing men to church, can keepe men from that, which should let them into the kingdome of heauen, that is, from hearing the word preached.

Verse 14.In the 14. verse our Sauiour Christ pronounceth wo vnto the same persons for another kind of hypocrisie, and that is this: Vnder colour of long prayer, they deuoured widows houses, for which they were to receiue the greater damnation. Here is religious hypocrisie condemned, that is, vnder shew of any religious dutie to practise mischiefe. Some abuse long pray­er, some short prayer, some read prayer, some weekely prayer, to couer their malice, and to make the world beleeue they are deuout persons. Let such as do so take heede: for Christs sentence is already gone foorth against such: they shall receiue the greater damnation.

Verse 15.In the 15. verse he sayth they playd the hypocrites another way, and that was in taking great paines to make men of their painted profession, and then to nusle them vp in al kind of grosse hypocrisie and wickednesse, to which end they would compasse sea and land, and vse all kinds of for­cible perswasions, pretending their soules health, &c. Of this sort are all [Page 53] Iesuits and Seminary Priestes, which in like manner go from place to place, to withdraw men from their right faith to God, and true allegiance to their Prince, and to reconcile them vnto the Church of Rome.

In the 16.Verse 16. verse he noteth another grosse hypocrisie: and that is, to make a conscience of swearing by one thing, and no conscience of swea­ring by another, as to sweare by the Temple was with them no sinne, but to sweare by the gold of the Temple, that was a great sinne. And to sweare by the Altar was nothing, but to sweare by the offering vpon the Altar, that was a great sinne: Such hypocrites are they that make it no matter of offence to sweare at euerie word, by the holy and dreadfull name of God, so they sweare not by that precious bloud which he shed, or the wounds which he receiued, or some part of his most sacred per­son. And to sweare by the creatures of God, as by the light, by the fire, by their siluer, by the bread or other things which God made, as also by their faith and troth: is no sinne, so long as they sweare not by God him­selfe. But marke what our Sauiour Christ saith vnto all such. In the 17.Verse 17. verse he saith thus: Ye foolish and blind, to shew that there are foolish and blind hypocrites, which euer through ignorance and folly commit hy­pocrisie. Whether is greater (saith he) the gold or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? the offering or the Altar, that sanctifieth the offering? whosoeuer therefore sweareth by the Altar, sweareth by it and by all things thereon. And whosoeuer sweareth by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein. And he that sweareth by heauen, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon. And euen so by Christs reason, he that sweareth by the light or any other creature, sweareth by it and by him that made the same and ruleth the same: and he that sweareth by his faith or troth, sweareth by it and by God, from whom is faith and troth be deriued, and on whom they be grounded. But to proceed: In the 23.Verse 23. verse the Lords Iesus taxeth thē for another kind of hypocrisie, & that is this: They tithe mint and annise and cummin, and leaue the weightie matters of the law, as iudgement, mercy and fidelity. This he calleth straining of a gnat, and swallowing of a cammell. A disease that al hypocrites do labor of, to be verie busie and doubtfull in small and trifling matters, and to neglect altogether the weighty and principall duties of the law. Hic mor­bus omnibus fere saeculis & apud omnes gentes regnauit (saith Maister Cal­uin) vt maior pars hominum leuiculis obseruationibus Deum placare stu­duerit. This is a disease (saith he) that hath raigned in all ages, amongst all men, that the greater part of men haue studied to please God with the lightest and triflingest obseruations that could be, and his reason is this, [Page 44] because (saith he) they cannot exempt themselues from all kind of dutie and seruice to God, therefore they flye vnto this as a second remedy, to redeeme most grieuous offences with satisfactions that are nothing worth. And for an instance, he bringeth in the Papists: who passing ouer the great and most substantiall commandements of God, do thinke to make him amends by sweating about cold and naked ceremonies. And such a thing is it that Christ reproues in the Scribes and Pharisees, who cast by the principall points of the law of God, and thought yet both to satisfie him, and to retaine also a name of righteous men, by paying of their tithes, and not of all things neither: but of mint and annife and cum­min, and such toyes, when notwithstanding in greater matters they vsed all the fraud and deceipt that could be, and left no cunning meanes vn­practised, to defeat the Church of her right in the chiefest things. After the manner of many now a daies, who (most hypocritically) will come to the Minister, and saie, you shall haue all your due, God forbid that we should keepe a farthing from the Church that is due. No Sir, you shall haue rather more then lesse of your due. Now these be good Pharisaicall speeches. But when it commeth to triall indeed, it shall be the tithe onely of mint and cummin, &c. that is, of toyes and trifles to speake of, as it might be of the remnant of an apple tree, or if you will the tenth part of an apple. And because you shall not saie, but that they deale well with you and with a good conscience, you shall haue the paring and all, whereas when we come to the vncasing of the hypocrite, we shall find him iust of Ananias his religion,Act. 5. Ier. 43. who told the Apostles that there was all, when there was but halfe, or of the Iewes religiō, in Ieremy 43. who sayd that they would heare the word of God from Ieremy: but when Ieremy spake, they sayd plainely, this is not the word of God, we know the word of God. So say minting hypocrites, we will pay our dues: yea, to the vttermost, but we will set downe ourselues what is due, and more then that you get not: like a good fellow on the way, that bad a man deliuer his purse, and when it was told him that it was against the kings lawes to rob and steale: his answer was; It is true in­deed, the kings lawes must be obeyed, but you must know that for this time I am king, & my cōmandement is that you deliuer your purse: be­hold my Septer (quoth he) and shewed him his sword, euen so is it with those which say, all dues must be payed, but they will set downe what shall be due, & their will shall go for a law: I speake not now of things in controuersie, but of things that be out of controuersie. What deui­ses? what shifts? what art and cunning? what craft and subtily, euen among the meanest aswell as the greatest (except here one and there [Page 45] one, a few amongst many that deale truly▪) and all to defeate and de­fraud the Church of her right: and yet forsooth when they come to pay the tith of their mint and their annise, & cummin, and stubble, and a halfe penny for a shilling: and a shilling for a pound, and a pound for ten, deuouring both fields and flockes, that is, the greatest matters of all, they will say, God forbid, but you should haue your due. And let a Christian Minister demaund, but what the Christian Magistrate hath allowed him: what exclamations shall you heare? what grieuous ac­cusations of hard dealing? of cruell dealing? a couetous man, neuer content, and I know not wat will ensue? I speake it to warne you my brethren to take heed in time, of such grosse hypocrisie: and to repent of that which is past, and deale vprightly as in the sight of God, who will brooke no such dealing at your hands. It is a point that toucheth the state of our soules, and the hazard of our saluation very nearely: and therefore looke vnto it, as you will answer it vnto God. I doubt not but God will still prouide for his seruants, what his gracious will and pleasure is, as he did for his seruants the Apostles, in the Pri­mitiue Church,Act. 5. when Ananias and his wife played their parts with them, lying vnto the holy Ghost, to saue part of their goods, & to keepe a good opinion amongst men: but God tooke them with the manner, and smote them downe with present death, to shew how he can do with all such as play the like parts. And though he doth not strike all such presently as he did them: yet many of them may sensibly feele Gods hand vppon them, in their goods, or in their bodies, or in their cattell, or one way or other, or hardening their heats, or blinding their eyes, that they cannot repent of their wickednesse, because he reserueth for them (I feare) a more fearefull iudgement.

And what else (I pray you) do they but tithe mint, and annise, and cummin, and neglect the greater matters of the law, which in the Church or cōmon-wealth do so vehemently vrge matters of ceremony and circumstance, and in the meane time leaue the principall and most substantiall points of Gods worship vnlooked vnto? What a stirre do some keepe to haue euerie thing in order about the Church, to please the eye and the time withall, but haue no care to haue a learned prea­cher to instruct their soules in the wayes of life and saluation? What a coile do others keepe about sitting and kneeling at the Communion? and neuer regard the due examination of themselues aforehand, that they may come worthily vnto the same?

These and such like matters ought to be done, but the greater mat­ters ought not to be left vndone. Or else (saith Christ) men are like [Page 46] those that straine a gnat and swallow a cammell. Now what a ridicu­lous iest is it, to see one mince and chew a smal crum of bread for feare of choaking, and yet swallow downe a whole loafe? or to straine the li­quour that hath a gnat in it, for feare of hurting their iawes, and make no bones of a cammell, which is a huge beast, that is, of a thing that is more then they are able to compasse, without manifest perill and destruction? Such ridiculous hypocrites are they that keepe a great stirre about trisles, and let foule abuses passe by, yea swallow them downe whole.

And because we are now entred into the bowels of hypocrisie: giue me leaue a little to cleare my selfe of one thing more, wherein (as in di­uerse others) I haue bene not a little mistaken, and that is this. It is ru­moured abrode, that I would haue perswaded the Church-officers of this place to dispense with their oath, in not presenting those things which concerne my selfe in my ministerie: which is all one, as if I shold perswade them to be periured, by a witting and willing abusing of the most sacred name of God, whome they haue called to witnesse against their owne soules, if they do not present all things that they are sworn vnto. It is vntrue, and a wickednesse, that I trust God in his mercie wil preserue me from while I liue; but this indeed I said, that in their oath; as in all other oathes that are ministred iudicially, two things are chief­ly respected, if they be not expressed: the one is the glorie of God, the other is the good of the Church; which I told them they were in the execution of their office, and in al other presentments to haue a special regard of: aduising them to looke most to those things, that do make most for the aduancing of the glorie of God, and the reformation of the Church of God: as namely, the prophaning of the Lords day, by vnnecessarie working thereupon: by carying of wares vp and downe, and open gaming vpon the Lords day, together with blasphemers, drunkards and vsurers, and negligent commers to the church; al which be foule blots and spots in a Christian congregation: and therin shold God be greatly glorified: and not to let these alone, and stand altoge­ther prying into the Minister, for matters of ceremonie and circum­stance: as if they were in office for no other end, but to trouble Gods Minister, and to strengthen the hands of the wicked. But forasmuch as God is glorified also in presenting of euery thing that commeth with­in compasse of their oath, I would haue them answer truly vnto euerie article. And so I say still vnto you that be in office: deale so as God may be glorified, and Gods church may be edified. Leaue this partialitie in doing your office: haue the feare of God before your eyes: and feare [Page 47] more to offend his Maiestie by abusing his holy name, then to offend your honest neighbours by winking at their sinnes. I tell you these things plainely, and in loue to your soules (whatsoeuer men iudge of me) I protest before God (if protestations will serue) your courses that you take be not good. God is dishonoured by you, and the Church of God vnreformed. It is seldome that you go abroad to visite mens hou­ses: I meane those that are frozen in their dregges: and when you doe go, it is so vnseasonably, that it were better that you went not at all. You should go at the beginning of common Prayer, and compell men as much as in you lyeth, to come to the general confession and prayers of the Church, and reading of the Scripture, as well as to the Sermon but you tarry till the Sermon beginneth, and then draw out many with you, that would be gladder to heare the Sermon, perhaps then your selues are, and so you hinder both your selues and them too. And by this meanes you offend double, by bringing in an open contempt both of the Sermon and the common prayers of the Church. For what say many? we are a comming: all in good time: the Sermon is not begunne yet: and so you let them alone: as who say, if they come to the Sermon then all is well. Againe by this meanes, behold another inconuenience while men are left to thēselues, to go & come at their own pleasure, the poore are for the most part defrauded of their allowance, because (men comming not in due time) the collectors cannot haue it of them, vnles they would go as vnseasonablie about in the Sermon time, as you do.

Againe, when you do go, to whom do you go? or whose houses do you visite? Alas, none but a few poore base Alehouses, and the meaner sort: you dare not go to the richer sort, to the better sort: no, you are a­fraid to displease them: you say it is not the custome: but they may, and their wiues may, and their seruants may come at their pleasure, and do what they list: and that see the poorer sort, and they thinke they should be suffered as well as the rich. Againe, when you haue visited some few places or persons; what do you? Do you present anie of them? Neuer. Do you take twelue pence apeece of them according to the Statute? Seldome. And there againe the poore are defrauded by your partiali­tie. And to saie the truth, I do not see with what faces you can present the poore and meaner sort, except you also present the rich, for feare least either periurie or partialitie should flie in your faces. And what are your pretences? Forsooth for the poorer sort: alas they are poore, we haue giuen them warning, &c. as though they haue not had war­ning enough, or should from yeare to yeare still be warned, and neuer be spurred forward by the discipline of the Church. And for the richer [Page 48] sort, why sir, we see them not, we know them not that do offend: do you know any? Can you tell vs of any? And what a stirre wold here be, if we should be so forward? What, would you haue vs noted aboue all men in the towne? and I know not what. A way with these figge leaues for shame, and looke to your oath sincerely. My brethren leaue this halting, and dissembling, and malicious dealing, and partiall dealing in Gods businesse. For all that deale so, do as hypocrites do: and you know that hypocrisie is detestable in the sight of God. It is no maruell (good brethren) that there be so many Schismaticks,Schismatiks. that haue deuided them selues from our congregations, crying out against vs, that we haue no Church amongst vs for want of discipline and gouernement, although therein they be foully deceiued. For they thinke, that because in many places of the land, discipline is either not vsed at all; as where euerie man is let to do what he list: or else abused, as where onely good men are troubled for trifles, or some few of the most inferiour sort, which haue no money to pay, are called in question: that therefore we haue no discipline at all: but they are deceiued greatly. For euen as a rich man hath gold and siluer in his house, though he let it lye and rust, or else mispend it: and as there is a sword in the sheath, though it be not drawne foorth; and power also in the owner thereof to draw it foorth, though he exercise not that power at all, or not aright: euen so in this Church of England is a sword of discipline: that is, Church gouerne­ment, and power in the Ministers and officers of the Church to exercise the same, although in some places it is let rust in the sheath, & in other places perhaps drawne foorth and vsed vnseasonably. But alas many that be ignorant and weake, and yet tender of conscience (howsoeuer most of that sort be caried with a spirit of furie and insolencie) do stum­ble exceedingly at these things: and surely no great maruel, when those that be sworne to present so many things, let all alone, or else turne the edge of the sword against the Ministers of the word, taking, as it were, a pride and felicitie in disgracing and discrediting of them. For (to let passe the corruptions of many which are in place and authoritie to pu­nish faults) surely this is a thing intollerable, for any that are sworne to bring disorders to light, to make no more conscience of their oath, then if the fearefull name of God were a matter of no regard, but to be plaied and dallied withall, or made a cloake for mischiefe and malice, as if God himselfe did either know nothing of your dealings, or had no will or abilitie to punish the same. Neither is it any maruell though the Minister of Christ be had in contempt, and be counted a contenti­ous and a troublesome fellow, when those which should second him [Page 49] with the censurers of the Church are content to let the wicked do what they list, without controulment: nay are as readie to violate Gods orders as others, and assoone as any to misuse Gods Minister for doing of his dutie faithfully. And what will be the end of all this, but a fearefull iudge­ment of God vpon the land, to end the matter withall? As it fell out in the daies of Zedechiah king of Iudah, in whose daies both he and the Priests, and the people trespassed wonderfully, and heathenishly, and pol­luted the house of the Lord, euen as in our daies the house of God is pol­luted and contemned. To redresse this geare, the Lord sent vnto them his messengers, rising early and sending: for he had compassion on his people,2. Chron. 36.15.16.17. and on his habitation; but they did as we do: They mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his Prophets, vntill the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, & till there was no remedy. For he brought vpon them the King of the Chaldeans, who slue their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuarie, and spared neither young man nor virgin, auncient nor aged: God gaue all into his hands. See the 2. of Chron. the 36. Chapter, and the 16. and 17. ver­ses: to shew vs that though God can beare with manie sinnes, yet he cannot beare with the contempt of his word and Ministers. And thus you see brethren, three foule and fearefull monsters brought forth by the ma­lice, and nursed by the negligence, and couered by the hypocrisie of Church officers: and that is, contempt of discipline and gouernment, Schisme and deuision in the Church, contempt of Gods message and messengers, and all attended vpon with the consuming wrath and ven­geance of God. If any man shall think that I haue vrged these things too neare, and too particularly applyed this doctrine: let them but seriously consider as before God, what dammage the Church sustaineth by the corrupt and partiall dealing of Church officers, and I hope they will ea­sily confesse, that a Pastor (whome God hath made a watchman to see that none of Christs sheepe be lost or deuoured) by his pastorall autho­ritie in his owne place, may and ought to say as much as I haue done, yea euen to the Church officers of this place, without offence to any. And I maruel (considering the great mischiefe that ensueth the negligence and counterfeit dealing of Ecclesiasticall officers, and how the fault (when Schismatikes are bred) is returned vpon the Ministers & faithful teachers) that others are so sparing, or no more earnest against them then they are. For if men be ielous ouer their children, & do with great indignation set thēselues against those that are means whereby they are bereaued of thē, yea of their cattell, which is lesse. And if the Church ought also to be as iealous ouer her children, (which through the painefull trauels of her [Page 50] Ministers haue bene begotten vnto Christ) as men are of theirs: then why should not the Fathers, and nurses, I meane the Ministers of the Churches children, for the Lord Iesus open their mouths▪ yea with great zeale and indignation against those, by whose meanes the members of the Church may and do miscarrie? For why should the Church of Christ be robbed of her children: as this very congregation or flocke hath bene of some since my coming hither, through your negligence that be in of­fice, and sworne to bring grosse and noisome abuses to light (the stinke whereof maketh many weake ones to loath their mothers house) and we sit still and hold our peace? But alas sir (will hypocrisie say) what would you haue vs to do? when we present faultes, nothing is reformed: as good let all alone, as get the ill will of our honest neighbours and do no good: money will buy of all, &c. But this is too open a net to daunce in, when all the world shall see, that the least part of the hypocrites care, is to reforme grosse abuses, to do good indeed, and with a religious heart zea­lously to maintaine the glorie of God: but rather bend all their studie to serue the time, to please men, and to crosse the truth. Nay rather if mens hearts be vpright with God,Iosh. 14. they are of Iosuahs mind, who said, Though all Israel will not, yet I and my house shall serue the Lord: so, though no man else will make a conscience of their oath or office, yet we will: and so do I pray you. For if others will be remisse, and partiall, and corrupted when you haue presented faults, and will swallow those Cammels, that you bring out of their stables: that is their sinne, and they shall answere for it. But if you faile in your dutie, seeing and not seeing, straining gnats and swallowing of camels: that is your sinne, and you shall answere it al­so; for euery one shall beare his owne burden. And therefore in the feare of God, let vs looke euery one of vs better vnto in then we haue done: and repent of that which is past, that God in Christ Iesus may be mercifull vnto vs.

THE V. SERMON.

MATH. 6.2.

As the hypocrites do.

WE haue hitherto heard, how vaineglorie, and hypocrisie do defile all our good actions before God: and how by taking heede, vaineglorie is to be auoyded. The reward likewise of sinceritie we haue seene, and in part the ma­ture of hypocrisie; according to the intent and purpose of our Sauiour Christ, who both describeth hypocrites vnto vs in their colours, and in so doing doth plainely tell vs, that he would haue the doings and qualities of hypocrites to be made known vnto the world. To which end it is necessary, that the hypocrite be vncased and viewed well in the light, that euery one espying his vgly visage, and taking good markes of him, may beware of him, auoide his conditions, and escape his punishment. And this worke (as you know good brethren) I called the vncasing of the hypocrite, wherein I shewed you first what is hypocrisie: namely, a counterfeiting of religion, or any religious du­tie, or a doing of that which we do onely to be seene of men, and yet seeme to be such as would approue our waies in the sight of God, pro­fessing the loue and feare of God, when there is no such matter in vs. For which cause they are most fitly compared to players, who make a shew of doing that which they do not indeede, and represent those persons which they are not. Next, how many kinds of hypocrites there be, some being publike, some priuate, some religious, some ciuill. Last­ly, we tooke a particular view of some speciall hypocrisies, described by our Sauiour Christ in the 23. of Mathew, from the 14. verse to the 23. whereof the last was of them, that seeme to make a conscience of trifles, and none of waightie matters, which Christ calleth straining of gnats, and swallowing of camels: all which for breuities sake I do o­mit, because there are many mo yet behind to be vncased: whose acts and monuments are truely recorded: whose visages and pictures are plainely deciphered, and whose bowels and inward parts are deepely searched, and whose iuglings and dissemblings are all fully discouered by Christ the searcher of hearts, in the forenamed 23. chapter of Mathew, and diuerse other places beside. Wherein our Sauiour Christ we see is [Page 52] not sparing but plentifull, not mild but seuere, not short but long, not negligent but painefull, and neuer hath done with them, but euer anone meeteth with them, remembreth them, and neuer lets them passe vntill he hath marked them with his blacke cole of deepe dislike and deadly de­testation, and still warning his disciples to beware of hypocrits, and their leuin of hypocrisie, whereof but a little sowreth and spoileth the whole lumpe. Now seeing our Sauiour Christ bendeth all his force as it were a­gainst hypocrisie, and the doings of hypocrites: I see no reason that any should be offended that I do so too. For hypocrisie in religion is like Iu­das amongst the disciples, a faire spoken theefe, but a cunning and daun­gerous traitor, readie still to betray both Christ and all Christianitie into the hands of their enemies: onely she saith, as Esau said: The dayes of mourning for my father will come shortly, and then I will kill my brother Ia­cob: that is, I onely want and waite a time to do my feates in.

Besides those actes which our Sauiour Christ hath alreadie noted in the Scribes and Pharises to the 25. verse of the 23. of Mathew, we find in the verses following diuerse other parts of their hypocrisie, seuerely taxed, and liuely described by him, whereof some be in actu, some in potentia: that is, some be present, and some are to come. By the former he sheweth what is alwaies the present behauiour of hypocrites, euen when they are at the best: by the latter he prophecieth what they will be when time shal serue, and that he sheweth in the 34. verse: where he saith: that they (which now for the present do garnish the sepulchers of the righteous) shall one day both kill and crucifie, scourge and persecute both Prophets and wise men, in their sinagogues, and from citie to citie.

But for the present thus it is with them. First, they make cleane the outside of the cup and platter:Verse 25. but within they are full of briberie and ex­cesse: & these he further likeneth to whited tombes, which appeare beau­tifull outward,27. but are within full of dead mens bones and of all filthi­nesse: applying his similie vnto hypocrites thus: So are ye also, for out­wardly ye appeare righteous vnto men,28. but within ye are full of hypocri­sie and iniquitie. Christs meaning is, that all hypocrites care is to approue themselues in the sight of men, by setting faire shewes vpon euery thing, but before God they are most wicked & abominable: like the harlot, who to please straungers is very diligent and carefull, and towards others is very courteous, and sober, and kind, but towards her owne husband is most sauage, impudent and shamelesse.

In the next place Christ sheweth, what friends and welwillers hypo­crites are vnto the Prophets, that is, to the Preachers of Gods word: but you must note, that is to them that were dead: and that they are great [Page 53] friends to them, appeareth two waies. First, by the cost that they are at in decking their Tombes. Secondly, by blaming of their forefathers, by whom the Prophets were persecuted and iniuried while they were aliue. And thus would they get a good opinion amongst men, by reuerencing the memorie of the Prophets and holy men of God. For while they did thus counterfeit a loue vnto their persons, they seemed to yeeld to their doctrine: and who would not take them now for most faithfull fol­lowers of their doctrine, and most zealous seruants and worshippers of God? It was a thing very plausible to decke the Tombes of the Prophets, and to erect monuments for them. For by this meanes, saith Caluin: Cal H [...]. E­uang. Mat. 23. quasi ex tenebris eruebatur religio vt in suo honore staret: religion was as it were plucked out of darkenesse and set vp in her due honour. But indeede they meant nothing lesse then to restore the doctrine of the Prophets, which by their death might seeme to be put out. And yet being both straungers vnto the propheticall doctrine, and also most deadly enemies vnto the same, they wold bestow goodly Tombs vpon thē being dead, as though that they and the Prophets had stood both for one and the same cause.

And this saith Caluin, is vsuall with hypocrites, to honour the holy ser­uants of God, & pure teachers of the word after their death, whom they could not endure being aliue. And for this M. Caluin doth yeeld a very singular good reason. This cometh not only from the corrupt custom of the vulgar people, saith he: sed quia duris & seueris correptionibus molesti, ampliùs non sunt mortui cineres, non agrè in illis colendis euanidā religionis vmbram ostentant qui loquentiū vocibus ad insaniam aguntur. But because their dead dust and ashes are no longer troublesome vnto thē with hard and sharpe reproofes: therfore it doth not grieue them to make shew of a vanishing shadow of religion, in reuerencing thē being dead, who were driuen to madnes & rage with their liuely voices. The world (because it durst not wholly despise God, or at least rise vp openly against him, as it were in armes) hath inuented this deuice to worship the shadow of God for God himself: & in like maner doth reuerence the shadow of the prea­chers & Prophets for the doctrine it selfe. What need we go any further for an exāple of this play, then to the Popish church? who are not content with that lawfull and due reuerence that is giuen to the Apostles & bles­sed Martyrs of Christ: but will bestow most impiously vpon them that worship that is due to God: and professe that they cannot honour them inough: when in the meane time by their raging against the faithfull, (which follow their steppes and doctrine ) they do plainely shew howe they would vse the Apostles and Martyrs, if they were now aliue a­gaine, and did performe that dutie which they did when they were on [Page 54] earth. For why else do they with such rage burne and flame out against vs, but because we desire to haue that doctrine to be receiued, and to flourish, which the Apostles and Martyrs haue sealed with their bloud? Let them then a dorne the images of the Saints, with their frankensence, candels, flowers, and all kind of pompe as long as they list, saith Caluin: if Peter were now aliue they would surely pull him in peeces: if Paule were amongst them, they would certainely stone him: if Christ himselfe were aliue and amongst thē, they wold rost him to death with a softfire.

And do not diuerse Protestants play the same part? who will seeme to make much of some Preachers: and giue them good entertainment, as Herod did Iohn Baptist, and yet persecute with might and maine their owne Pastors for teaching the same doctrine which they do? Or for the couering and cloking of their speciall and beloued sinnes, will seeme to the world to be religious, by hearing the preaching, and en­tertaining of the persons of Preachers at their houses, thinking them­selues then safe,Iudg. 18. as Micah did when he had a Leuite in his house, when in their harts they do vtterly loth and detest the sinceritie of that truth, and the strictnesse of those courses, as puritanisme, and too much pre­cisenesse which they vrge? And what is the religion of all such, but a play to be seene of men?

Verse 33.In the 33. verse of the former 23. Chapter, Christ (being about to conclude his Sermon) doth more plainly vncase these hypocrites, and layeth them wide open to all the world, telling what they are, what they must looke for, and what his seruants must look for at their hands. What they are he sheweth, when he saith: O Serpents and generation of vipers! to shew, that they were not only enemies to the doctrine of the Prophets, but most pestilent enemies to the whole church of God, and like vipers will not sticke to eate out the very bowels of the Church their mother, to maintaine their owne state and pride. What they must trust vnto if they truly repent not, he sheweth, when he saith: how should ye escape the damnation of hell? As if it were a thing almost impossible for professed hypocrites to repent and be saued. So hypocrites we see by Christs example are to be handled, though they be the great mai­sters of Israel: their vizards are to be plucked off, and they are to be laid open to the view of the world, and to be haled by force as it were be­fore the tribunall seate of Gods iudgement. What Gods seruants must looke for at hypocrites hands when time shall serue (howsoeuer they seeme now to heare them, and to entertaine them) our Sauiour Christ sheweth, when he saith, he will send Prophets and wise men, and Scribes among them, that is, men endued with all manner of learning, [Page 55] and qualified with aboundance of Gods graces: but they shal scourge them and persecute them from citie to citie:Verse. 34.37. yea euen in Ierusalem, the Lords Prophets shall be killed, and the messengers of the most high shall be stoned to death. In times past their rage was such against the holy Prophets, that neither the holinesse of the Temple, nor reuerence of the Altar, whereupon the sacrifices were offered, could stay them from shedding of innocent bloud. As for example: the bloud of Zacha­rias the sonne of Barachias, meaning indeede him, that was the son of Iehoiada the priest, whom Christ calleth Barachias, that is, the blessed of the Lord: of Barach and ias, which is, the blessed of the Lord, as M. Caluin noteth; because he had spent his whole life in the worship and seruice of God. And this is vsuall in Scripture, to giue vnto men besides their proper names, other names of speciall signification, either for their consolation, or for their humiliation. So Iacob was called Israel, that is, preuailing with God:2 Chron. 24.22. and Salomon, Iedidah, that is beloued of the Lord: and Iames and Iohn, Boanerges, that is, sonnes of thunder: and Iehoiada, Barachias, that is, the blessed of the Lord. So terroris gratia, to terrifie him, Bashur that misused Ieremy, was called Magor Misabib, that is, feare on euery side. And Naoim in the bitternesse of her soule, would be called Marah, that is, bitternesse. But now to the matter of Zacharias, the sonne of Iehoiada Barachias, the blessed of the Lord. Of whose mar­tyrdome and the cause thereof, we may reade sufficiently in the second of Chronicles, the 24. chapter, from the 17. verse vnto the 23. So like­wise in time to come they which now boasted of the Prophets Tombes amongst them: and of learned Preachers in their sinagogues, should through the iust vengeance of God, be giuen vp to such a reprobate mind, that they should shew all kind of raging crueltie against the same Prophets, whom they so much seemed to reuerence. God graunt this prophesie may neuer take place amongst vs, if it be his will: but surely it is much to be feared, that if time should turne, and religion alter (which our sinnes haue iustly deserued) it will proue too true. For hypocrites will play the hypocrites, and shew them selues in their colours when all is done: euen as the Blackmoore will be blacke, if all the water in the sea were spent in washing him. For they that are so forward now in colour of their office and pretence of lawe, to abuse Gods Ministers, as many be: what would they do, if they had Prince and Prelates, and lawe, and all to backe them? They that now in the publike and authorized profes­sion of the Gospell, (and vnder the gouernment of so gracious and Chri­stian a Prince as we haue, who esteemeth of the true Ministers of Christ in the Church, as of the soule in the bodie, the Lord long preserue her a­mongst [Page 56] vs) are not ashamed to contriue wicked plots, and diuellish de­uises, to call their Ministers names into question, by suggesting vnto great persons, most impudent lyes and shamefull slaunders, and that vn­der pretence of their office, and vpon the credite of their oath. They that now so abound in malice against their Minister, for speaking but the truth, that when they can find no matter against him at home, can send an hundred miles for matters obiected and answered, ended and finished ten yeares ago, and to reuiue matters whith haue bene dead and buried so long time, like those that in Queene Maries time, digged vp Bucers bones out of the graue, to endite them and burne them: what cruell per­secutors would these become if time did serue? What would not these men do against the poore seruants of Christ if Queene Maries time shold come againe? except God did giue them repentance, and work a strange alteration. God deliuer me out of their handes, and giue them better minds if it be his will. It were a strange alteration to see some that now bring Bibles to the Church, and turne to places after the Preacher, one day to be instruments to burne so many Bibles as they can come by. It were strange to see such as are now most attentiue in hearing the prea­cher, and most kind in giuing him entertainment, one day to throw a faggot at his head, or to be a witnesse against his doctrine, or to helpe to burne him? Well, such times haue bene, and such times may come again for our sinnes: and then shall the approued be knowne, as the Apostle speaketh, and hypocrites with their light and chaffie profession shall then be discouered, & blowne away with the wind. Many now would answer as Hazael did to the Prophet,2. King. 8.12.13. if any should say to them as the Prophet said to him. I weepe, saith the Prophet, to remember what thou shalt do to the children of Israel when thou art king of Aram, how thou shalt burne their cities. and put their young men to the sword, and dash their infants in peeces, and rent their women with child. What? said Hazael, is thy seruant a dogge, that I should do this great thing? So would many answere now (no doubt:) Are we dogges, that we should so vse God seruants, &c? No doubt of it, in King Edwards daies, he that should haue warned some persons of such things, that were hearers of those reuerend Mar­tyrs and Bishops, Hooper, Latimer, Ridley, Cranmer, & other faithfull Mi­nisters. D. Taylor, Bradford, and others, they would haue bene at defi­ance with thē: yet for al that, they (when time serued) stood foorth to ac­cuse these godly Fathers, & to persecute them to death, that a man wold litle haue thought of be actors in such ttagedies. Wel, God blesse vs all my brethren, & keep vs in his holy feare, and make vs vpright harted, & constant in the profession of religiō: for I do feare greatly else, that if euer [Page 57] time should serue (which God for his mercies sake forbid, if it be his will) too too many would play Hazaels part, though they make a faire shew now, and stand at open defiance for such matters. Well, let no man bragge of his own strength, that he will do this, and he will not do that: for manie good men, euen sincere Christians, may promise and vowe a standing for the truth with Peter, and because they rely vppon their owne strength, may fall with Peter: but I trust God will giue them mercie and repentance to rise againe with Peter: but as for hypocrites and time-seruers, whose hearts are best knowne vnto God, out of question, they will then shew themselues in their colours. Let them now pretend with Iudas neuer so much care for the poore, or loue to Christ, they will one day proue theeues to the poore, and tray­tors to Christ, as Iudas did: and if they once fall with Iudas, let them take heed that they hang not themselues with Iudas, for betraying and persecu­ting innocent bloud. For it is not the approbation of the Elders that will iustifie Iudas, nor his officious kisse that will couer him, nor the law of the land that will warrant him, nor the siluer bribe that will enrich him, nor the praise of men that wil comfort him, nor his forced restitution that wil restore him, nor his constrained confession that will conuert him, nor his faithlesse repentance that will saue him; when his money, & his friends, & his owne tongue, and heart, & hand, & conscience, as a thousand witnes­ses, and God himselfe shall be against him, God grant that all counterfeits and hypocrites, and dissemblers in religion, may in time take heede by his example. There be many both honest and godly religious Christans, whose desire is, with all their harts to please God, by doing those things which his word requireth of them. And these for the loue that they beare vnto the truth, and their hatred that they carry against wickednesse, are by an odious name called Puritanes: and if they fall at any time through occasion, as oftētimes they do through some infirmity against their wils, then are they condemned as hypocrites, but most vniustly. For though all our actions smell of hypocrisie, as maister Bradford well perceiued, when he desired the Lord to forgiue him all his hypocrisies, and confessed a little before his death, that all his prayers, and all his best ser­uing of God were but hypocrisie, meaning in comparison of that since­ritie that is required of euerie Christian: yet notwithstanding are none to be tearmed hypocrites, which fall by occasion through infirmitie, and are onely stained with the dust of it, and infected with the contagion thereof, as men that draw in one and the same aire with hypocrites: but onely such are to be counted for hypocrites, [Page 58] which make a shew of that which they are not, nor meane to be, but with their tongues can hold men cunningly with a faire tale of religion and godlinesse, while their hearts are resolued to practise all kind of mis­chiefe and iniquitie: of such I speake, and not of simple harted and well meaning Christians, who haue (no doubt) their faults as well as other men, though they make not an art of sinning as hypocrites do.

This secret hypocrisie of Gods children doth not a litle trouble ma­ny of them, neither can many be perswaded but that all that they do is done in hypocrisie, as maister Bradford writing to one of his friends, in most of his letters condemneth himselfe for a painted hypocrite, and being thus troubled in their tender consciences, they are still afraide of that woe, that our Sauiour Christ pronounceth against hypocrites. But for the comforting of such tender consciences (whose feare is e­uer that they shall not deale vprightly and sincerely inough in Gods sight) we are to distinguish of hypocrisie: for some hypocrisie respe­cteth men onely, seeking only praise of men and not of God: and some hypocrie there is that respecteth God also, yea most of all, and that stealeth in this fort vpon vs. A Christian that feareth God goeth in pri­uate by himselfe to call vpon God, by prayer. Now in his priuate prayer, somtime his mind is drawne away into a nūber of by-thoughts and wandering imaginations, insomuch as he oftentimes thinkes least of God, when he calleth vpon him, neither is throughly moued with an inward desire of obtaining those things that he prayeth for, nor with a hartie loathing of those sins that he prayeth against: then com­meth Sathan and suggesteth thus: Surely thou art an hypocrite, for thou hast not prayed with all thy heart, nor with all thy soule, nor with all thy might. Againe, sometime the Christian soule prayeth earnestly, with great feeling and groning of spirite, and hath his mind wholy in­tent and bent vpon God, that he is euen rauished, as it were in prayer, thinking of nothing but heauenly things, & when he hath done goeth his way, thinking with himselfe that he hath done very well, and no doubt but God doth highly commend him for it: and flattereth and commendeth his own heart for so doing. The like corrupt thoughts & motions, shall we feele in performing other holy duties of reading our task in the Bible, or meditating or giuing secret almes, &c. And whē we bewaile these corruptions, yet stil we shal be readie to think wel of our selues for it: as one that wept bitterly for his secret hipocrisie, & thē was troubled because he thought he shold be cōmēded for that. In a word, whatsoeuer the Lord worketh in vs, or by vs, we are readie straightway to thinke well of our selues for it: euen this secret hypocrisie is a sinne [Page 59] and a great staine, and is the last sinne that shall be subdued in the god­ly, and needeth also great repentance, and must be washed away by faith in the merits of Christs bloud. I deny not, but that a Christian soul may reioyce and take comfort vnto himself in the performance of such holy duties in priuate, for that it is a liuely signe of the sanctifying grace of Gods spirit with him: but yet there is matter sufficient to humble him remaining, if he doth not still continually returne all the glory vnto God, and not thinke the better of himselfe in so doing neither. But this is not that grosse hypocrisie against which I deale all this while vpon this next, nor against which Christ crieth woe so often, for that is a domineering sinne in the wicked, who study to do al that they do to be seene of men: and thereunto (to blind the eyes of the world) bend all their wits: and yet for the most part do not so much as once thinke, neither will they be knowne to play the hypocrites: these make an art of sinne, and thinke they do well to liue thereby.

Now those that make an art of sinne, and put on profession of reli­gion for their cloake, deale artificially indeed, for being giuen to lying and dissembling, they will inuey egerly against lying and dissembling, like the theefe who hauing found more money about the true man then he would be acknowne of, cried out, Good Lord what a world is this, whom can a man beleeue now a dayes? Art thou not ashamed to lye? diddest not thou tell me thou haddest no more? &c. when not­withstanding he was busie in committing of his robbery. Againe, they will extoll & commend humility, & condemne the proud to the pit of hel, that a mā wold think they were the meekest men in the world, whē all the matter is to haue all submission and reuerence shewed to them­selues, as an vsurer of Londō, who willed the preacher to cry out against vsury, that all might come to him for money. Againe, they will not sticke to frequent Sermons, to commend honest men, to intrude them­selues into good company, & all to make the world beleeue that they are such themselues, as they are whom they do commend, and con­uerse withall. If you bewaile the corruptions of the time, they can be­waile them asmuch as you. If you condemne hypocrisie and dissimula­tion, they can do it as iudicially as you. If you speake of the Ministers duty, they can tell it as well as you. If you alledge Scripture for proofe of any matter, they can be as deepe in Scripture as you. If you will be an A­postle or amongst the Apostles, they are for you: nay they will go a little beyond you and them too, they wil ease you al of your burden, and care: for none shall carry the bagge nor make the prouision but they, because they meane with their brother Iudas to play two parts in one, that is: [Page 60] the tray-God, and the theefe too.

Is this true will you say? how shall we then know hypocrites from ho­nest Christians? if we cannot know them, how then shall we auoide them?Math. 7. Well inough: by their fuites you shall know them, sayth Christ, speaking of those that are sheep without and wolues within, as all hypo­crites be, by their fruits you shal know them. To shew that we must wait a time for the matter, for fruite is not presently ripe so soone as it sowne, but it must haue a time to bud, and to blossome, and to harden, and to ripen: and then taste it, when it is ripe, and you shall then by it know what name to call the tree by. One of you is a diuell sayth Christ, mea­ning Iudas, and one of you shall betray me. Now when Christ sayd that Iudas was a diuell, the same Iudas was a grosse hypocrite, but it was not knowne vnto men vntill he had betraied his maister, and hanged him­selfe. There was a time for Iudas to conceiue diuellish purposes, and there was a time to bring forth the same. So hypocrites haue a time to conceiue mischiefe, which lyeth hidden in the heart, like the infant in the mothers belly, but when the fulnesse of time commeth, forth it must come, and cannot be dissembled any longer, no more then it is possible for a woman to keepe her infant within her, beyond the appointed time of nature. God knoweth them now, and men shall know them hereafter. God seeth when the seed is sowne, how it groweth, and how it ripeneth: yea he knoweth the thoughts of mens hearts long before they are.

Math. 22.The Pharisees come to Christ: Good maister thou art a good man, and teachest the way of God truly, and carest for no man. Tell vs, or re­solue vs of our doubt: Is it lawfull to pay tribute to Caesar or no? In shew these are good trees. Christ seeth the roote, and the sap, and the bud, and presently determineth what they are. Why tempt ye me ye hy­pocrites? and afterward when they accused him to be an enemy to Cae­sar, then the fruite ripened, and all men knew them to be hypocrites. Herod was a craftie fox, and Christ knew him to be one, long before the world espied him. Herod had one sinne that he loued well, and lodged it in his heart. But as Rahell couered her fathers idols with the asses lit­ter, so he had a faire couering for his sinne, he would heare Iohn preach, he would reuerence the man, & seeme to be glad of him, and what was all this? but so much litter to couer a beast withall: a faire couering to cast ouer a foule sinne. For who would haue thought now that such an auditour of such a Preacher had loued his brothers wife, and kept her as his wife? He seemed to like well of Iohn Baptist, but the dancing damsell pleased him better, and his brothers wife best of all: and when [Page 61] for the sauing of his credite before men, in performing of a wicked pro­mise, rashly made to a lewd wanton, he careth not to shed the inno­cent bloud of the man of God, whom before he seemed to reuerence: then is Herods fruite ripe, taste it now, and tell me if he was not an hy­pocrite: and are not all they such hypocrites, as do to their power as he did, though not in that degree and measure of iniquitie? We are pro­fessours of the Gospell say some, and we like our Preachers doctrine well, but our honest neighbours please vs better, and our beloued va­nities best of all. We liue by them, and we are sory that we cannot do for him as we would, for we haue passed our word against him: so was Herod sory too, for that he had passed his promise. And to keepe cre­dite with those that haue pleased, and pleasured vs, we must not call backe our words: so sayd Herod too, but vncase the hypocrite a little, and view him well. First, if thou wilt be counted a true Christian, and a sincere professor of the truth, why doest thou lodge any one sinne with delight in thy heart? tell me that: If thou saiest there is no such mat­ter, then tell me why doest thou frequent the companie, and take such excessiue pleasure in the bewitching vanities of such persons, as will snare thee, and deceiue thee? Then: why art thou so rash as to pro­mise thou knowest not what? Then: when thou seest that thou art in danger of committing wickednesse, who can compell thee to keepe such a wicked promise? Oh I must keepe my credite with men. Oh but hypocrite, first keepe credite with God, and remember thy former promise that thou madest and vowedst to him in thy Baptisme: if all this will not serue, then rush on like an hypocrite, vncased to thy owne destruction.

Many in the world are content they say, to heare the Preacher, so long as he preacheth Christ crucified, or else not: and surely no reason. But open this case, and see if a counterfeit may not be vnder it. For, many are content to sinne freely, and set all vpon Christs score: saying, he shall pay for all. If any man meaneth so when he biddeth the preacher preach Christ crucified, then there is an hypocrite vncased. Many are content to heare that Christ liued in pouertie to enrich them, that he was abased to aduance them, that he was punished to acquite them, that he was moc­ked to grace them, that he was naked to clothe them, that he was hun­grie to fill them, that he was cursed to blesse them, & that he died to saue them: but to heare that they must be poore for his sake, and be abased for his sake, and to be mocked for his sake, and to be crucified for his sake, and crucifie their sinnes which crucified him, they cannot abide; this is not to preach Christ crucified. Christ crucified must dispense with some [Page 62] sinnes of theirs, or else they haue done with him: nay if Christ come now to crucifie their beloued sinne, and their sweete sinne, and their profitable sinne, let Christ take heed that he be not crucified againe by them. What? is Christ crucified for vs? and must we haue our sinnes crucified too? nay we will none of that: we are content to take a place in his kingdom at his right hand and his left hand, but to baptized with his baptisme, and to drinke of his cup, we will not endure. We will do any thing he will haue vs to do, sauing that which goeth about to restraine vs of our liber­tie: we will follow him, heare him, eate and drinke with him, giue him leaue to pay all, and to dye for vs, and commend him for his kindnesse, but to be so kind to him, as for his loue to part with one sinne, that we are in loue withall, to leaue following the fashions of the world, or to part with a locke of haire, is a hard saying: who can abide it? To forgiue our enemies, to lend freely, to releeue the poore cheerfully, to keepe the Sabbath wholy and entirely, to leaue our pleasures at his call, to heare his doctrine more then ordinarie, is a hard saying, who can abide it? To leaue our false weights, and false lights, and false oathes, and false friendship, and to deale simply, and plainely, without fraud and deceit, is a hard say­ing: who can abide it? To leaue our engrossing, our forestalling, our cog­ging and dissembling, our back-biting and slandering, our rash iudging, and condemning of our brethren, is a hard saying, who can abide it? To forsake the filthy fellowship of profane persons, to cast off the company of scoffers, and deriders of religion, to embrace the truth sincerely, and to make much of those that feare God, be they neuer so poore or simple, is a hard saying, who can abide it? To be checked for our swearing and blas­pheming of Gods name, to be called vppon for Catechizing our hous­hold, and to vse thanksgiuing at the table, and singing of Psalmes for our spirituall recreation, and to conferre soberly and friendly of the Sermon, is plaine Puritanisme (as they call it) who can abide it? No, no, Sir, we can no skill of this geare: preach Christ crucified, and we will heare you, otherwise not: we cannot away with this doctrine.

Well, but let the hypocrites know, that if Christ crucified be prea­ched rightly, and applied truly to the conscience, he will make all the veines in the hypocrites heart to ake, he will suffer him to haue but small rest in his bed, and little list to his meate, and lesse pleasure in the world, and least of all in the word of God: for that in the end is the iudgement of God vpon hypocrites, to loath the word because it goeth about to make sinne loathsome vnto them. Christ crucified hath wrought a double worke, he hath both destroyed the Diuell, and also the worke of the Diuell. And so is Christ to be preached, [Page 63] both crucified and crucifying, crucified for our sinnes, and also by his vertue and Spirite crucifying sinne in vs, or else we cannot be saued.

Now let vs pray.

THE VI. SERMON.

MATH. 6.2.

As the hypocrites do.

THE next sort of hypocrites to be vncased are, secret vn­derminers of the truth, in shew defenders, but in deed de­stroyers of the Church: such are called in Cant. 2.15. foxes which destroy the Vine, that is the Church, who by their grating at the roote of the Vine, do cause the same to bring forth but small grapes, that is, the Church cannot thriue in religion, and good workes because of them: these are called foxes for their craftinesse, and their cruelty. Such a one was Herod, who craf­tily sent for the wise men to enquire where Christ was borne, preten­ding a mind to worship him, when his purpose was to kill him. Such are all close Church-papists, and time-seruers, who to please men do as the most do: but in the meane time by all crafty deuises do vndermine the Church, the Preachers, and cause them to be troubled for toyes & trifles in comparison, to stop the course of the Gospell & in the meane time pretend a care of the obseruation of lawes, which thēselues break as freely as any other, and regard as much as the horse or mule, whose mouthes must be holden in with bit and bridle. Such also are those that come to the Sermon, in shew very deuoutly, and to be edified; but in deede only to watch and catch, at a word and a halfe, taking only what will serue their turne (like the diuell himselfe) to intangle thereby the preacher, if they like him not. You shal haue many of these come order­ly, and marke attentiuely, as if they would latch euery word with their mouthes, but as it was with the Prophet Ezechiels auditors, so is it with them, their harts runne another way, and they meane not to follow any thing that is giuen in charge: and therefore when they are gone, with their mouthes they make iestes of the Sermon. And to the Minister of [Page 64] Christ commonly their answer is: you do well sir, to tell vs our dutie, and to tell euery man his owne: well fare your heart, you do well sir, you do well to discharge your conscience: and if we do not as you bid vs, that is our fault, we must answer for it: and though we do as our honest neigh­bourt do, yet we hope God is a good God, & will hold vs excused, he is not so hard as many would make men beleeue. The last sort of open hy­pocrites that are not yet vncased, are common cauillers, & deprauers of the truth, and of those that teach the same. Some carpe and cauil at that which they vnderstand but like not, as the Lawyer in Luke 14. Maister in so saying thou puttest vs to rebuke also, when Christ touched Law­yers: and as the couetous Iewes, which mocked Christ when he prea­ched against couetousnesse. Luke 17. Some cauil at that which they vn­derstand not, as the Iewes which called Paules preaching babling and new doctrine, when he preached the resurrection.

Obiect.Oh but (will some say) he reuengeth his owne priuate quarrels and grudges in the pulpit: yea he speaketh of malice: and therefore we can­not regard that which he preacheth.Answer. Doth he so? verily the greater is his sinne, if he doth so. But if those be Gods quarels which thou cal­lest his quarrels, and if that be spoken in the euidence of the Spirite, & with plaine demonstration of the truth, which thou sayest is in malice against thee, then is it euident that thou hast played the grosse hypo­crite, so vncharitably to accuse, so rashly to iudge, and so wrongfully to condemne the Minister of the truth: and pretendest thou carest not what: and all to put by the blow of Gods sword, that so thy sinne might not be launced, and yet in the meane time be a professour of religion. And what art thou oh man (sayth the Scripture) that thou iudgest ano­ther mans seruant, whose heart is knowne to his God, and not to thee, and to God he either standeth or falleth, and not to thee? Alas this is an old obiection and slaunder of great antiquity, common to all the true Preachers of the word: and it hath euer bene the common practise of all hypocrites, which meant to liue and dye in their sinnes, when they knew not what to say for themselues, and fearing that the truth would choke them if they should swallow it, to cast it vp againe: saying, that it was spoken of malice and reuenge. So played king Achab, who had sold him­selfe to worke wickednesse: he could not deny but that Micaiah was a true Prophet, a plaine dealing man, but yet he could not away with him: and why so? forsooth because he doth not prophecie good but euill vnto me: that is, he speakes that that likes me not: so many cry now adaies, he hath not the good-wil of his hearers: and why? because he doth not seek to please them, he is too tart, he hath a bitter spirite, he doth not heale but [Page 65] wound: they do not complaine that he hath a flattering spirite, or a lying spirite, or a soothing spirite, or a fearefull spirite, or a pleasing spirite: for all this hypocrites can away withall well inough, because such a spirite is toothsome: but that he hath a quicke and sharpe spirite, and his reproofes are sensible and bitter, this is wholesome, but not tooth­some, and therefore not to be brooked of hypocrites. But now let vs consider my brethren whether this will go for currant payment in the day of the Lord or no: Why hast thou cast my word behind thy backe, will the Lord say? Our aunswer will be, because we did not loue him that deliuered it. But why did you hate him? Because he did not please vs. Not please you, why? did he preach errours and lyes? No, we could not find any fault with his doctrine, that is sound: but yet we cannot away with him, he was too plaine and round with vs. Too plaine? why that was for your good, if planè and sanè, if both plaine and sound. Oh but Lord we like not his life, he was couetous, and hard, and proud, and had no loue in him, he was not sociable, no good compa­nion, not one of his neighbours do loue him. Well shall the Lord say, thine own conscience thou hypocrite, shal giue euidence against thee, and conuict thee of false witnesse bearing against many of my seruants in these respects, & if I now do acquite them, what are they the worse for thy bad constructions and hard words? And if thy conscience do now proue to thy face that all these allegations were but counterfeit deuises to couer thy sinne withall, what art thou the better though all thy neighbours take thy part, for thou knowest: and I know it much more, that many of my seruants haue sought peace at thy hands, and then hast thou prepared thy selfe to warre: they haue vsed all good meanes to procure thy loue and good liking in the truth, and thou hast then construed euery thing in the worst part against them that thou couldest imagine: to their faces thou hast spoken faire words, and be­hind their backes thou hast vsed all lying & slanderous speeches, wher­by thou hast made them odious in the world: & when they would haue taken al paines to do thy soule good, thou hast complotted by al waies and meanes to discourage them, and to greeue and quench my spirite in them. So doe hypocrites which loue not the pure light of truth, and so hast thou done. And admit that all this were true which thou pretendest, yet so long as they came in my name vnto thee, & with my message, reuealed in my word, which thou couldest not disproue, but carpe at, yet oughtest thou to haue heard them, & to beleeue them, and to feare at my word comming out of their mouthes, & in charity to haue iudged the best of their affections, or praied for thē: knowing that [Page 66] I which am the searcher of the hart, would surely call them to reckning for their affections, if they were not vpright in my sight: but now in that thou hast deuised mischiefe of thine owne head, and put it before thee as a stumbling blocke of purpose to fall vpon, and to cause others to fall with thee: & seeing as thou hast through my seruants sides, euen pierced my name, & my glory, and not stayed there, but pearked vp Lucifer-like into my seate, to sit as a peremptory Iudge ouer the hearts & affections of my seruants, when thou hadst no list to yeeld to the truth, to confesse thy faults, & amend thy life, how canst thou deny but that thou art guilty of most saucy and insolent hypocrisie? Moreouer, when thou likedst not the plaine & simple vtterance of my truth, & the confirmation thereof by the sacred testimony of my seruants the Prophets & Apostles, it hath pleased thee ô hipocrite to count my seruāts no scholers, but vnlearned & ignorant fooles, as though my booke contained nothing in it but ri­diculous matter for thee to make thy selfe merry withall. So hath it al­wayes bin with all hypocrites since the world stood: my wisedom hath bin counted foolishnesse, & mans folly high wisedome, but thou shalt know, that they were truly learned which had learned Christ aright, & they were fooles who in the swelling words of mans wisedome haue sought onely to feede thy eares and not thy conscience. Furthermore, I forget not thy hypocriticall shew of maintaining false loue, and vnitie, and peace with the wicked, vnder pretence that the Preachers whom I haue sent vnto thee, haue bin condemned by thee and thy consort, for troublesom & contentious persons, when they haue disquieted thy sin. But let not my seruants be discouraged in my businesse for all this, saith the Lord, For so did they vse my Prophets before them. Ieremy was coun­ted but a babler,Mat. 5. Ier. 20. Eze. 33. Act. 16. Mat. 22. & a contentious person. Ezechiels Sermons were but as the songs of a minstrell, & matter to iest at. Paul was accused of sedi­tion by Dianaes siluer-smithes. My own son who was wisedom it self frō euerlasting with me, he was counted an enemy to Caesar: & the wicked hypocrites turned away whatsoeuer he spake with a ieast. And let no man thinke himself better then these, or too good to pledge thē in that cup of contempt and bitter reproch that they haue begun to them in.

Oh but me thinks now the hypocrite being thus vncased, beginneth to pleade hard for himselfe, saying, that though he come not at those troublesome fellowes, & vnlearned, yet he heareth others and maketh much of thē too, so that he is wrōgfully charged, if men say that he cares not for the word of God, that he is not religious, that he cānot abide to haue his sins reproued, &c. Surely this at a blush is good fruit, but in truth no better thē an apple of Sodom, faire in shew, but being touched, it tur­neth [Page 67] into ashes. For nothing is either more easie or vsuall amōgst hypo­crites thē to do so: that is to say: First, in way of reuenge, to disgrace one whō they like not, by gracing another, & to discountenāce one by coun­tenācing some other. And yet in the mean time pretēd another matter, & that is to be better edified, & I wot not what: & that they may seeme notwithstāding both religious & iudiciall, they will highly cōmend the one, & deeply cast downe the other; but why, or vpō what good groūds they cannot well tell. There be in diuerse places of the world, especially in great cities & other popular places, running auditories, or as one cal­leth thē Circumcellions, wheelers about hither & thither, hearing now one thē another, & then a third, & euery one, & indeed neuer a one lōg, like one that hath a giddy braine, who being whirled into euery place, is truly said to be of no place. These humorous hearers of al mē cōmon­ly cannot away long with their own Pastors teaching, though he teach the truth neuer so soundly, nor so profitably. Except it be between man and wife, I do not know so neare a coniunction of any thing, as is by the ordinance of God, betweene the Pastor & the flocke. Now as no­thing ought to separate man & wife, but fornication or adultery: so no­thing ought to make the flocke leaue their Pastor, but false doctrine & heresie, if he be a teacher. And surely there is no sincere harted Christiā but maketh a conscience of this duty: that is, they dare not leaue the Ministery of their owne ordinary Pastours, by whom they haue sound a­ny profit or spirituall comfort: they dare not so much as yeeld to any such changes, for feare they should not onely be troubled with the spi­rituall itch of the eare, a disease (where it once rooteth) altogether incure­able, but also discourage and make sad the Spirite of God in their faithfull teachers, whereby they may in time be giuen vp of God to flatterers and seducing teachers, fit for their humorous veine & vaine humor. And sure­ly whosoeuer doth duly consider the offence that groweth therby, & the hurt that foloweth also therupō, both to the whole body of the Church in general, & to their own soules in special, they dare not (but in the feare of God) make great cōscience of it.Mat. 18.6. Christ pointing to childrē said, That who­soeuer should offend one of these litle ones, it were better that a milstone were hanged about his necke, and he cast into the bottome of the sea. How much more may that be spoken to those that take a felicity in scandaling & of­fending, in disgracing & discouraging, by their fantastical rouing abrode the greater ones, that is, the Pastors and builders of the Church?

I speake not this, as though we were the worse for your giddie gadding and stragling, but to let you vnderstand, that you are the worse that giue such bad examples, and that you must answer your con­tempts [Page 68] vnto our Lord and Maister Christ Iesus. This humorous course of giddy braines and itching eares is both schismaticall, childish, and vnprofitable. Schismaticall, because they go about to make a rent in the Church of God,1. Cor. 3. and to deuide Christ among them. This disease raigned in Paules time, and it raigneth in our time. I hold of Paul, saith one: I am of Apollos, saith another: and Cephas shall go for my money, sayth a third. But neuer a one of those hold of Christ soundly and substantially. But what is this but to deuide Christ? as the Apostle saith, is Christ deuided? as if he should say, you all would be counted Christs, and to hold of Christ: if you do so, why then do you not regard all his Ministers alike, and heare all alike? Paule as well as Apollos, and Apollos as well as Cephas, and Cephas as well as either of the other: for euerie one of them preacheth Christ, though euery one after his seuerall gift and measure of knowledge, and vtterance, and eloquence. &c. Though one be milder then another, and one sharper then another; yea though one mans gift please your humour better then anothers, yet euery one hath Christ for you. But now as if one had Christ and another not, ye will heare one and not another, and so you deuide Christ which is but one: this is not: well are you not carnall? nay are you not Schis­matikes?

As it is a carnall and schismaticall practise, so is it also childish: for so do children that go to schoole, being once held in to their bookes, and restrained of their libertie, they are weary of that Maister, and de­sire to go to another, or else no more to schoole: so hypocrites when they are required to take a setled course for their profiting in religion, and are restrained of their liberty, in sinne, in vanity, in riot, in pride; and are pressed with the doctrine of mortification and truth of heart, they are weary of such a teacher, and must go to another, or else come no more at schoole: so that it appeareth that they haue no more gouerne­ment of themselues, nor strength of the Spirite, nor stayednesse of affe­ctions then little children haue. As it is both schismaticall and so dan­derous, and childish and so ridiculous: so it is also vnprofitable. For they that leaue the ordinary and standing Ministery of their owne Pa­stour (and none (certaine) gather here a peece and there a peece, but neuer lay any sound foundation, nor make any orderly building, as they do that tye themselues to one man, who keepeth an orderly pro­ceeding, laying all the principles of religion one after another, and one by another, and euerie one in order till all be finished.

I deny not, but that vpon some special occasions a man may be som­time drawne away from his ordinarie teacher, as trauelling from home, [Page 69] or being requested by our faithfull friends of another congregation, to answer for their children (as they call it) at their Baptizing, or to ac­companie some of our friends or our Magistrates departed out of this world, vnto their graue, and such like: if Christ be preached there, that we may follow him: otherwise I see no great necessitie to enforce a man to leaue his ordinarie teacher, to go to a bare reader for a ciuill dutie performing: but rather to remember what our Sauiour Christ answered to one that sayd he would follow Christ, but first he would go and burie his father:Mat. 8.22. Let the dead burie the dead (saith he) follow thou me. To shew that those that haue no list to follow Christs doctrine, are no better then dead men, as touching the life of the spirite in the soule, and they may serue for such a purpose well inough, it is pitty to inter­rupt those that are better disposed, and deuoutly addicted to the hea­uenly doctrine of the Gospell. And further I hold it a thing very ex­pedient and fit, that there be sometimes also an entercourse of Mini­sters labours: that is, that other Ministers be sometimes admitted, yea procured also to exercise their gifts in their brothers charges; both for the confirmation of doctrine, as also for the quickening of the audi­torie: for consent of teachers, is a great confirmation of the truth, in regard of our weakenesse and vnbeleefe, otherwise the truth is strong inough of it selfe, and will preuaile against all the world. And as variety of meates sometime doth make a man haue a better appetite to his ordina­rie diet, euen so is it not amisse that sometime our ordinarie auditours should haue change of teachers, that so they tasting that varietie of Gods gifts and graces which is in diuerse men, they may haue a better spiritu­all appetite vnto the ministerie and doctrine of their ordinarie pastours and teachers. But to runne hither and thither, and commonly to leaue our ordinary teachers, onely either of a fanstasticall desire to heare new things, or of a loathing the plaine & simple maner of deliuery of the truth, or of stomach, in contempt and way of disgracing, and discoura­ging those that God hath set ouer vs, because they haue more sharply reproued their sinnes, or more neerely applied the doctrine to their con­sciences then others do: (a blessed fauor of God indeed, if men had grace so to take it) this is it that I say is both carnal, schismatical, childish, and al­together vnfruitfull: and further it is flatly repugnant to the commande­ment of Christ deliuered by his Apostle, in the 1. to the Thessalonians the 5. Chapter,1. The. 5.12.13. and 12. verse, where he beseecheth the Thessalonians to know them that labour among them, and are ouer them in the Lord, and admonish them; and that they haue them in singular loue for their workes sake. And lastly is the practise of such as neuer professed the Gos­pell [Page 70] of Christ in sinceritie and vprightnesse of heart, with an humble spi­rite, and a holy desire to haue both their iudgement informed, and their liues reformed by the word of truth. But on the contrarie, in palpable and damnable hypocrisie, with shewes, shadowes, and flourishes, to be seene and well esteemed of men, as hypocrites do.

Priuate hy­pocrites.Besides these publike and open hypocrisies, there be also many other lurking in priuate corners, which deserue to be vncased, as in housholds, where betweene man and wife many times much loue is counter­feited, onely before men, and in heart much bitter malice and hatred maintained against each other, which betweene themselues breake out in open and bitter extremities, and behind each others back into foule a­dulteries, and cursed vndoing of the whole family: such an hypocrite is the harlot that Salomon vncaseth in the 7. of the Prouerbes.Pro. 7. Who when her husband is from home, calleth in her louers and companions to lewd­nesse, and coloureth her villany by prating and telling him of her peace offerings, and vowes that she hath performed that day, that is, by talking of religion. I say nothing of those that in shops and markets selling wares, will pretend great loue, saying; If it were not to you I would not sell it so: another should not haue it so, &c. when for the most part all this is but meere cunning, and counterfeiting. I also let passe those that spy­ing a bargaine that they hope to reape a great benefit by, will earnestly protest and pretend vnto the partie with whom they meane to deale, great care that they haue of his good and his ease, rather then of their owne benefit: too many such there be in the world. Well, God will pull off their visour one day, and lay them open to the world. What should I say of those, that being to followe and further mens suites with great persons, or otherwise at law, haue still one tricke or other to delay the time withall? pretending great care to do their friendes businesse, and to followe their clients causes in the best manner that may be, and for their best aduantage, when all their doing is but a cunning kind of fishing for more money, like Felix who often sent for Paule before him, hoping that some bribe would haue bene giuen him to haue enlarged Paule. And a thou­sand more such partes are played in the world, which men in con­tinuall practise, and conuersing one with another in Church and common-wealth, abroad and at home, shall haue occasion to meete withall.

But for the vncasing of the hypocrite at this time, this shall suf­fice. Those that feare God vnfainedly, and detest this vgly beast the hypocrite, will make of that which hath bene sayd: as for those that [Page 71] say, they could make good vse of it if it had come out of another mans mouth, hauing layed of purppse a heape of preiudicate conceipts and vnchristian surmises before them, as so many stumbling blockes, and e­rected a number of proud and disdainfull opinions, and euill constructi­ons of euery thing, as rampiers or bulwarks against the truth, because they meane not yet to forgo their sins, nor to part with their painted visor, I cannot tell what to say vnto them, but euen leaue them to the Lord, their hypocrisie I will not censure: it is like the darkenesse of Aegypt that might be felt: I am sorry to heare that any should haue the word of God in respect of persons, contrarie to the rule of Saint Iames, preten­ding to regard it, if one man speake, and professing a contempt of the same, because another man hath spoken it whom they hate: as Achab did hate Micaiah for no other cause, but because he prophesied not good but euill vnto him, that is, he did not flatter him in his sinne, as others did, and therefore he hated him: these men shew with what good deuotion they come to the preaching of the word of God. If they might chaunge their Minister, they thinke that they should chaunge affections, but they are deceiued: for as the Poet could say, and that truly, so say I, Coelum non animum mutant qui transmare currunt, they change the aire and not their nature, which go beyond the sea: as ap­peareth by those that haue separated themselues from our Church as­semblies in England: Schismatikes they were here, and so they are there. In like manner hypocrites which haue the word in respect of persons, Non mentem sed ministrum mutant, they may well change their Mini­ster, but their mind they change not: their sinnes they leaue not: it is no part of their meaning, what shewes soeuer they make, except God of his great mercy worke a wonderfull alteration.

It seemeth that such persons are of that opinion that Diues was of in hell, who thought that his brethren which were aliue would repent, if Lazarus might haue bene sent vnto them from heauen, he was well acquainted with their humour, for belike when they were all liuing to­gether on earth, neuer a one of them cared for their ordinary teachers, but (saith the holy Ghost) they haue Moses and the Prophets amongst them, if they wil not heare them, let them pretēd what they list, neither would they repent though one should come from the dead vnto them.

Many will tell vs, that another man hath sayd as much, and more then such and such, whom the people mislike, and it is well taken▪ Such a one may say any thing (say they) and no offence will be taken against him: we maruell that they should take it so ill from one more then another: to these we answer.

[Page 72]1 How well soeuer they take it, from one or from another, no­thing is reformed, they will giue all the hearing: but see if any refor­mation follow from one more then another.

2 The cause why they do not so breake out against one man for the same doctrine, aswell as against another, is because his time is not yet come, as Christ sayd in Luke 22.53. When I was daily in the Tem­ple with you, you layed no hands on me, but this is your houre, and the very power of darkenesse. Euery man hath a time appointed him of God, a time to be promoted, and a time to be persecuted: a time to be regar­ded, and a time to be reiected: a time to be made much of, and a time to be set at naught: and when the date of the one is expired, then the o­ther taketh place.

Now to conclude: if any man thinke that I haue dealt too seuerely against hypocrites, or that I might haue caried a lighter hand toward them then I haue done: seeing as there is no man but is stained with some hypocrisie, much or little, in the sight of God at the least, or that in the applicatiō of any point of doctrine in the vncasing of the hypo­crite I haue too particularly, and directly aimed at some, and namely at the partialities, and wilfull winking at grosse abuses, by Churchwar­dens, and other Ecclesiasticall officers with them, contrary to their oath and a good conscience, whereby God is dishonoured, and his worship is contemned, his Sabbaths are polluted, his Church vnrefor­med: and whereby the wicked are strengthened, and the godly despi­sed: whereby his blessings are restrained, and his iudgements hastened vpon vs: then this is my answer. That in both (as I take it) I haue had my warrant from the word of God, which is a sufficient stay vnto my conscience, howsoeuer amongst the vnregenerate and wicked hypo­crites, it is a matter of least waight, and therefore with them of all au­thorities least regarded. And for the first, haue I dealt more seuerely against hypocrites then the Scripture, and namely our Sauiour Christ? or haue I handled it worse then it deserueth? Hath the hypocrite any wrong, to haue no more but the truth sayd and proued against him? Or what? is his seruice so well pleasing to God, or the Church of God so much beholding vnto him for his shewes and shadowes, or rather his trecheries and cousinages, that he of all other may not be vncased? I speake not now of secret hypocrisie, whereof euen the regenerate & faithfull are guilty in their best actions before God, and for which all of vs must desire mercy at Gods hand in the bloud of Christ: but of that hypocrisie which raigneth in the wicked, and of such hypocrites as are professed hypocrites, professed I meane in their owne hearts, whose [Page 73] desire is nothing else but to be seene of men, and nothing lesse then to ap­proue themselues and their doings in the sight of God.

Euery one is stained with some lust: which is adulterie before God, & with some malice, which is murther before God: and with some enuie, which is theft before God: and with some couetousnesse, which is idola­trie before God: and yet euery one is not to be called an adulterer, nor a murtherer, nor a theefe, nor an idolater: because those grosse sinnes are not the studie, nor the profession of the regenerate; but they studying & professing, and indeuouring to serue the Lord in sinceritie, truth and vp­rightnesse of heart, and to deale with men in all good conscience, are cal­led sincere, and iust men, as Iob was:Iob. 1.1. and being in Christ Iesus, through his righteousnesse imputed vnto them, they are iust before God. Hypo­crisie properly is a sinne against the third Commaundement: for none more then the hypocrite doth take the name of God in vaine, who still for the most part, maketh religion a cloke for all maner of iniquitie: which cloke of theirs, when it is once espied or taken from them, they cry out, and rage as men vtterly forlorne and vndone. For take away their clokes, their signes, and their shewes, and then are they naked, and ashamed both before God and man: and as sinceritie graceth the godly before God: so hypocrisie graceth the wicked before men: which is all that they desire or delight in. Giue me the substance of religion, saith sinceritie, and me the ceremonie, saith hypocrisie: giue me the bodie of Christianitie, saith sincerity, and me the shadow, saith hypocrisie: let me haue praise of God, saith sinceritie, and me the praise of men, saith hypocrisie: let not me lack the thing without which I cannot serue the Lord, saith sinceritie, and me to serue the time, and my owne turne, saith hypocrisie: giue me a good conscience before God saith sinceritie: tush, conscience was hanged long ago, giue me goods and worldly riches saith hypocrisie: giue me vertue and honestie saith sinceritie: and let me borrow their clokes to play my part in, and that shall serue my turne saith hypocrisie: giue me peace with God, saith sinceritie: and me with my honest neighbours, saith hypo­crisie, as for God I shall do well inough with him. Handle the matter castè, that is purely, saith sinceritie: cautè, that is, warily, saith hypocrisie. Take heede, for God seeth thee, saith sinceritie: nay take heede that the world see thee not, and then good inough, saith hypocrisie. It is against the word of God saith sinceritie, therefore leaue it: tush so long as he can haue no vantage against me by law, I care not, saith hypocrisie. Qui va­dit planè vadit sanè: that is, he that goeth plainely to worke, goeth safely to worke, saith sinceritie: Qui nescit dissimulare, nescit viuere: that is, he that cannot tell how to dissemble, cannot tell how to liue, saith hypocri­sie. [Page 74] You see then the difference between the nature of sinceritie, and the nature of hypocrisie. The one you see is like a rich King in a beggars cote amongst men. Because as Christ our head said of himselfe, when he liued poorely and contemptibly vpon earth: My kingdome is not of this world, and I haue meate to eate that you know not of: so must Christs members say: we are poore and despised in this life, because our riches are not of this world, and we haue friends that the world know not of. The other is like a King in a play, who for the time maketh a braue shew, domineering ouer such counterfeits as himselfe is, hauing vpon him cloth of gold, and with the same perhaps are couered a number of scurfe and scabbes, lice, and vermine: and when the Play is done, the poore beggarly fellow must be faine to returne home his borrowed coat againe to the right owner, and pay well for the hire thereof. Now you haue heard the difference, consider the matter, consult, and giue sentence, whether this honest man the hypocrite hath so plaied his part before God or mā, that he deserueth stil to go on without noting, and neuer to be vncased or no. And so much shall suffise for the vncasing of the hypocrite, and descrying of his nature. Now it remaineth that you see his reward: & by that time I hope you wil not greatly desire to be an actor in his Play: but of that in the next Ser­mon. Now as for those that thinke I haue too particularly applyed this doctrine: let them know that if Eliah did well in telling of Achab, that it was he that troubled Israel: and if Iohn Baptist did well in telling King Herod that he might not haue his brothers wife: and the Ministers of the Gospell haue the same authoritie that they had: then do we not amisse to make speciall application of our doctrine as they did. Againe, if the Apo­stle said well, when he said, Those that sinne openly, rebuke openly, that o­thers may feare, 1. Tim. 2. then do not they well which find fault with vs, for following the Apostles rule. For whom haue I admonished or re­proued, but publike persons by office, and publike abuses and scandals by them committed and giuen, to the great dishonour of God, and hurt of this Church? Lastly, if a Preacher may speak to the Prince when he prea­cheth before the Prince, and to the Iudges of Assizes, and to the Iurours, and to the Lawyers particularly, and to the Bishops, and to Iustices, all being publike persons, and charge them in Gods name to looke to their office, and amend that which is amisse, and that safely without daunger, yea boldly with good warrant: then do not I see but that any Pastour by his pastorall authoritie may in his owne congregation speake particular­ly to a Churchwarden, or a Sideman, and tell them what they ought to do: yea more, and charge them to do their office faithfully too: yea and more then that, if they haue bene admonished priuately and friendly, and [Page 75] yet will not be admonished, but take vpon them still to dispense with their oath, and suffer Gods Church (as much as lyeth in them to go to wracke) then to reproue them both openly and roundly, that themselues may repent, if they belong to God, or others may feare as the Apostle saith. And vntill the Maior of a towne, and the Churchwardens and o­ther officers of a parish, can shew me by Scripture or common reason, that they be of greater state then Kings, Queenes and Princes be of, or then Noblemen, Iudges, and Bishops be of, or that they be more priuiledged and exempted from the reproofe and censure of the word, especially when their offences are publike and desperate, then others be whom I haue named before, and take to be farre aboue them: surely I must, and shall by Gods grace, both hold my former opinion, and as occasion shall serue, declare the same by practise: that is, by making of speciall applica­tion of the doctrine to the generall and publike offenders and offences of this congregation. Let him that hath an eare to heare, heare what I say: and let him that hath an heart sanctified consider well of it: and let him that hath grace from God, make a good vse of that that hath bene said. As for the rest, I say as Ioshua said: let them chuse what they will do, whether they will make a conscience of their dutie, or dispense with their oath as they haue done: I for my part will surely by Gods grace do that which belongeth to a true Pastor of Iesus Christ. And as Saint Iohn said: he that is filthie let him be more filthie, and he that is froward let him be more froward, and he that will be obstinate let him be more obstinate, and he that will be an hypocrite let him be more hypocriticall, that their sinnes may be full ripe against the day of Gods vengeance. But so many as feare the Lord in truth of heart, and are truly humbled to endure the sifting and triall of the word of God, and are desirous vnfainedly to yeeld obe­dience to the holy will of God: let vs go on forward in our good courses without feare or fainting, and God our heauenly Father, in whom is our trust, will surely keepe vs from finall falling away, and in his rich mercie will pardon all our sinnes in the merite of Christ his bloudy passion: blessed be his name for euer. Amen.

Now let vs praise God.

THE VII. SERMON. Of the reward of Hypocrisie.

MAT. 6.2.

Verily I say vnto you, they haue their reward.

OF the nature of hypocrisie, we haue heard sufficiently in the three former Sermons, and as sinceritie graceth all our good actions before God: so on the contrarie side, we haue seene that hypocrisie disgraceth and shameth vs, yea maketh euen our best deedes to stinke, as most loathsome filth before his heauenly Maiestie: yea and before men too, when once it breaketh out. And this might serue suffi­ciently to perswade vs to take heed of hypocrisie, and counterfeiting in Gods religion, or any religious duties commaunded by God: but be­cause the hypocrite dreameth of some great reward, whereby he shall become some great man, both in this world, and in the world to come, i­magining that as he is liked of men, so he cannot chuse but be loued of God: therefore our Sauiour Christ affirmeth most constantly and in ear­nest manner, that hypocrites haue all the reward that they shall haue. For the praise of men haue they hunted for, and that they haue, & more then that they shall not haue to reward them: but to punish them, a por­tion they shall haue with the Diuell and his Angels in hell. The praise of men what is it? surely euen as men are themselues: & as they are affected; men are but men when they are at the best, and at the highest. Whether it be in wisedome, or in authoritie, or in goodwill, or in abilitie, or what­soeuer else: that is vaine, and vanishing, mutable and inconstant, blind and partiall. A simple reward then is the praise of men, euen fit for such vaine fooles as seeke for nothing else. The hypocrite taketh great paines for the obtaining (notwithstanding) of this vaine reward, as fooles which hunt after a fether blowne vp and down in the wind: they cannot get it vnlesse they will sweate, and almost runne themselues out of breath, and when they haue gotten it, it is but a fether, and nothing lighter. The praise of men what is it? surely but words proceeding from inconstant minds, false hearts, and from those whose hands cannot accomplish the deuises of [Page 77] their hearts. And what are such wordes but wind? and what is more in­constant then the wind? He that obserueth the praises of men, is like him that obserueth the wind: and is fitly resembled to a Windmill, that whir­leth about apace so long as the wind bloweth a main: but when the wind slacketh his gale, then he slacketh his pace: and as the Windmill is turned with the wind, so the hypocrite also turneth with the time. If he may be praised for well doing, then he will do well still: but if he be reproched, or threatned, or not highly esteemed; then he altereth his course, and is gone.

But here perhaps it will be obiected by some,Obiection. that the Scripture com­mendeth a good name in many places, and thereby admonisheth men to get a good name, and to keepe it being gotten. And what is that but to be praised of men? and to get the good opinion and estimation of men?Answer. Indeede this is true: a good report is to be sought for amongst men, and carefully to be kept too, when it is obtained. But this must be propter aliud non propter se: for some other end then simply for it selfe. But the meaning and drift of our Sauiour Christ here, is that we should not make that the end and scope of our well doing, as if that were our sum­mum bonum, that is, our felicitie and happinesse, as hypocrites do, that looke no further, and desire no better thing then the praise of men.

To get and keepe a good name, there be many reasons to perswade vs: but to make the praise of men the end of our well doing; we haue no one reason to perswade vs, but diuerse to disswade vs: as we shall see a­none. For the getting of a good report amongst men, we haue reason: for Salomon preferreth it before riches,Pro. 22.1. and before precious oyntment: that is, before all pleasures and profites whatsoeuer. Before riches he preferreth a good name, and saith, that it is better then riches: and that for three causes. For first, few riches are hardly obtained without much 1 euill: a good name is not obtained without some good deedes. Second­ly,2 riches are meanes, by reason of our corruption to call vs from God. They that will be rich, 1. Tim. 6.9. fall into temptations, and snares, and many foolish and noisome lusts, which drowne men in perdition and destruction, saith Saint Paule. 2. Cor. 9.2. A good name prouoketh vnto golinesse. Your zeale (saith Paule to the Corinthians) hath prouoked many. Meaning: that the good report which he made of them to others where he came, did through the bles­sing of God prouoke many to the like zeale. Thirdly, riches are vncer­taine,3 here to day,Pro. 23.5. and gone to morrow. Trauell not too much to be rich, (saith Salomon) for riches take them to their wings like an Eagle: but a good name is more permanent then life, for it liueth after death. As a good name is better then riches, so is it also better then a precious ointment. [Page 78] For first, the best ointment that is, may be purchased for money: as ap­peareth by that which Mary, Iob. 12.3. Mar. 143. a meane woman bought for our Sauiour Christ: but a good name cannot be bought for thousands. Secondly pre­cious ointment onely suppleth the outward parts,Luk. 10.34. and is soueraigne for outward wounds, but a good name doth comfort the heart: The light of the eye reioyceth the heart, Pro. 15.30. and a good name maketh the bones fat, saith Sa­lomon. Thirdly, a good ointment onely profiteth the annointed, but a good name is profitable to others.Aug. de bono viduita. Nobis necessaria vita nostra, alijs fama nostra, saith S. Augustine: our life is necessarie for our selues, and our good report for others, to encourage them to godlinesse as we haue heard. Lastly, ointment is pleasant in smell onely to those that are nigh:Iob. 12.3. The house was filled (saith the Euangelist) with the smel of that ointment which Mary bestowed vpon Christ, but a good name flieth farre and neare.Mat. 9.26. And this brute went of Christ (saith the Euangelist Mathew) through the land. Againe, a good name is in part a reward of righteousnesse:Heb. 11.39. All these (saith the Apostle to the Hebrewes, speaking of the faithfull, whom he nameth and commendeth in that place) through faith haue obtained a good report. All which commendations of a good name, do serue not onely to perswade vs to get it, and keepe it, for the glorifying of Gods name, and encouraging of our brethren: but also they do greatly condemne two sorts of men in the world. First, those that so they do well, care not what men say of them; but so farre as we can, we must with doing well keepe a good name, for the causes before allead­ged. Secondly, those that make no conscience of detracting a mans good name, being so excellent, but make a continuall practise of slaundering, and backbiting their brethren. And these are worse then theeues: for a theefe may make restitution of goods ill gotten, but he that hath robbed a man of his good name cannot make restitution of it againe. But what is it to haue a good name, or how may it be gotten? Is it so to liue as all men may speake well of vs? No, Wo be vnto you (saith our Sauiour Christ) when all men speake well of you:Luk 6. for he that handleth matters in such sort as shall please all men, must needes be a notorious wicked man, and a cunning deepe hypocrite. What then? that the wicked may commend vs? verily if it be possible, we must so liue as that those which are without (saith the Apostle) may afford vs a good report: that is, those that are not yet of the Church, or not called. But surely it is a hard matter for the wicked to commend the godly: and if they should commend thee being a good man, it will make good men to thinke that thou art leauing thy good­nesse, and enclining to them, whose humours thou now feedest. No: ne­uer looke for a good name but amongst good men: for the wicked, saith [Page 79] Christ,Mat. 5. shal speak al maner of euil saying against you falsly for my name sake: that is: if you loue me and my truth, and because you will not runne with them vnto the same excesse of riot that they vse:1 Pet. 4.4. Pro. 28.3. therefore they speake e­uill of you, saith Saint Peter. They that forsake the law (saith Salomon) praise the wicked: and that is because they are like themselues. And if at any time they condemne the euill or imperfections, which through oc­casion Gods children sometimes fall into, (as commonly the wicked do, which make themselues merrie with the slippes of good men) it is not for any hatred that they beare against sinne, but either to iustifie themselues in their riotous courses and outragious wickednesse: or else to disgrace and deface the beautie of that holy religion which we professe, or both. In a word then it must follow, that a good name is that commendation, which good men through the blessing and motion of the good spirit of God, do bestow vpon good men, for doing of good things, to good ends, and all to comfort and encourage them in their well doing, and that God the giuer and worker of all goodnesse may therein be praised and glorified.

And thus we haue heard both what a good name is, and for what cau­ses it is to be procured and retained. But that we may not (for all that) make the praise of men, whether they be good or bad, the end of vertue and well doing, setting vp our rest when once we come to that; there be many reasons to perswade vs so to beleeue, and to disswade vs from so doing: and all may be drawne from the words of this Text: Verily I say vnto you they haue their reward: the summe whereof, for the matter is, that hypocrites haue all that they shall haue, as touching any matter of re­ward, for the paines that they take. And for the manner of the speech: that it is most certaine true, and not to be doubted of, but that they haue here in this world all the reward that they shal haue: and that is the praise of men if they haue that. Which words do shew most plainely, that hy­pocrites who serue for the vaine praise of the world, are of all men the most vaine and the most miserable: and their reward (of all rewards) is the most vaine, and miserable reward that is.

The vanitie or madde folly rather, of those that make the praise and e­stimation of men, (yea, say they be their honest neighbours, or great states) the end of their good deedes, shall appeare, if we consider their reward. First, by the vncertaintie of it. Secondly, by the deceitfulnesse of it. Thirdly, by the breuitie of it. Fourthly, by the vnprofitablenesse of it. Lastly, by the daunger of it. The praise and hartie liking of men is an vn­certaine reward, and so vncertaine, that nothing is more vncertaine then it, both in the winning, as also in the wearing. Such is the frowardnes, [Page 80] and vnto wardnesse of mans nature for the most part vnto goodnesse, and his weaknesse and wearinesse in the loue and liking of vertue, that it is no small matter to make him tast of vertues fruite, much more hard is it to keep him in a continuall liking of it. One thing the hypocrite is sure of, that he taketh great paines, and is at great cost, and vseth all his art to please this man, or that man, or all men: but whether he shall please them all, or any of them or no, that he is not sure of. It fareth with them as it did with Hester in some sort, though they want Hesters resolution: she was sure that she had a good deede in hand, when she should go into the Kings presence, to speake a good word for the liues of her people: but whether the King would like of her sure, or reach foorth his golden scep­ter vnto her in token of fauour or no, she was not certaine: and therfore she willed them to pray for her. But because it was not so much the li­king of the King,Hest. 4 16. as the good of Gods people, and the glorie of God that she sought: yea to no other end did she desire the Kings fauour, but for the good of her people, and the discharge of a good conscience before God: therefore she put her life in a venture: saying, if I perish, I perish: which hypocrites will not do, because they haue not that hope of a better life, which Hester had.

When a man hath wonne the commendation and liking of men whom they go about to please: are they sure it shall continue? Surely no: mens minds are mutable. Oftentimes of a sudden they will commend a man for that, which vpon better consideration they will mislike: or for nouel­ties sake they will praise a thing at the first, which within a while will grow stale, and out of request. Or some tale-bearer cometh in the hypo­crites way, and crosseth him with some false information, and so breedeth some sinister or wrong construction of a mans labour: and another exte­nuateth the gift, or good will, the worke or the paines: and when we thinke to find a friend as in times past, behold we meete with a hotefoe, or a cold friend. As Dauid who found a great friend of Saul one day, and the next day for no cause his mortall enemie. Tell me now, is there any thing more vncertaine then the good opinion of men?

The de­ceiptfulnes of worldly praise.As it is vncertaine, so is it also deceitfull, and many times false, making men beleeue that they are that which they are not: praising sower for sweet, &c. The hypocrite in seeking to please men onely, meeteth many times with as much an hypocrite as himselfe. One offereth much seruice, and dutie, presenteth him many and rare deuises, dedicateth new and learned Treatises vnto him, talketh very godly and religiously, and salu­teth most humbly, and perswadeth most pithily, &c. The other requiteth him with the like, highly commending him for his paines, for his zeale, [Page 81] for his skill, for his cost, &c. and behind his backe derideth all: he prote­steth that he shall alwaies haue a friend of him, and he shall alwaies be welcome vnto him, and he will helpe him to preferment, and I know not what: when in his heart he meaneth no such matter: and thus hypo­crisie is rewarded with hypocrisie, one shadow with another.

As the praise of men is vncertaine and deceitfull:Of the bre­uity of praise. so also is it for the breuitie of it, a vaine thing: for as a flash of lightning for the time daze­leth the eye, and suddenly vanisheth away: so do the praises of vaine men for a time tickle the eares, and delight the senses of vaine hypocrites, and straight way they come to an end. And if liking last, and all the ef­fects thereof, that is kindnesse, friendship, heartie welcome, hope of preferment, or preferment it selfe; what is all this but a thing of no continuance? neither can a man leaue it to his heires after him.

As it is of no continuance,The vnprofitablenesse of worldly praise▪ so is there no profite in it, I meane: for the most part, men are rather loosers then gainers that serue onely for the praise of men, especially when their humour is once espeid. The hypo­crite that neuer aymeth at the glorie of God, or the good of others, but onely his owne vaine credite and estimation, shall haue faire words e­nough, but little else, except it be sorrow of heart, and vexation of spi­rite, for the losse of his time, and labour, and studie, and goods, and all for the wind of mens mouthes. Nay, if he do winne perhappes (as many flatterers and Parasites do sometime, which obserue great persons hu­mours) for some small counterfeit seruice, or odde trifle, or pleasant ieast, or wittie conceipt, some great benefite, some gainefull office, or great preferment, or high reuerence in the world; yet hath he made but a bad bargaine of it, if he hath no further purpose in all this but to magni­fie himselfe; giuing no honour to God, but all to himselfe: he hath his reward saith Christ:Mat. 16.26. and what profite is in this, to win the whole world, and to loose his owne soule?

As the praise of men is vnprofitable, and a thing which who so labou­reth to get,The dan­ger or it. shall get nothing by it: so is it also for the daunger thereof a vaine reward of vertue. For many times a vaine glorious man being prai­sed to his face, or hearing that his courses are well liked and commended of men, is thereby emboldened to go so farre, without all modestie or discretion, that he shameth himselfe: yea many times fondly presuming vpon them that haue soothed them vp, and made much of them, venture most foolishly and desperately, in pursuing of lewd attempts to their own vndoing.Pro. 17.4. The wicked giueth heed to false lips, (saith Salomon) & a lier hearkeneth to a naughtie tongue, that is, to be ruled by them: and is not that daungerous? Now whose lippes are more full of falshood, then the [Page 82] lippes of the flatterer; who still perswadeth fooles that their copper is good gold, and their blacke is pure white, and that their foolishnesse is high wisedome, and that their crooked waies are the straightest waies? &c. And who doth hearken more to such lippes, then the vaineglorious hypocrite, who doth all to be praised of men, and cannot endure by any meanes to heare any fault found with anything that he doth?: A­gaine, if he be a foole that praiseth the hypocrite, or a foolish man that hath no iudgement or vnderstanding, nor abilitie to discerne of colours, then hath he gotten a blind man to leade him into the ditch. If many wise men, and of great place do praise the hypocrite: then is the foole lifted vp aloft, but to shew his nakednesse, that others may enuie him for his aduauncement, and despise him for his follie, and contemne him for his vnworthinesse.

1. King, 22.King Achab was glad when his going to warre against Ramoth Gi­lead was liked of, and confirmed by the approbation of foure hundred Prophets: the wind of their mouth was pleasant, but most daungerous: for it blew him with a maine gale like a shippe without a Pilote vpon the rockes of his owne destruction. When Herod for his vaine Oration receiued the commendation of his flattering Courtiers and seruaunts, who cried, the voyce of God and not of a man; he felt a sweete and a pleasing wind that blew him vp beyond himselfe, that like one in a traunce (or dreame rather) forgot himselfe to be a mortall man,Act. 12. and so quietly tooke to himselfe that honour that was due vnto God. But it was the most daungerous wind that euer blew vpon him: for it both ripened his sinne, and hastened the vengeance of God immediatly vpon him. Many such daungerous windes and blastes, are Princes and No­blemen, and other persons of great calling subiect vnto: the more neede haue they to looke vnto themselues, and we to pray vnto God most ear­nestly for their standing. Seeing therefore that the praise of men is so vncertaine, so deceiptfull, of so short a continuance, so vnprofitable, and so daungerous, we may safely conclude, that of all rewardes it is most vaine, and that hypocrites in making of that the end of their a­ctions, are most vaine men, or madde fooles: for, they haue their re­ward.

As it is a vaine thing to serue for the praise of men, that is to say, for va­nitie it selfe,The mise­rie of the hypocrite. so is it a thing most miserable, and slauish. For first, though it be a most vaine shadow and fruitlesse vanitie of all vanities that man hunteth after, yet cannot he haue it without great paines taking. Second­ly, before he can weare it, and enioy it freely, he must be censured of all. Thirdly, how often and commonly is he after all his paines and cost [Page 83] that he hath bene at, deceiued of his expectation. For the paines that the hypocrite taketh to please men, he may truely say as Iacob said (though not with so good a conscience) I was in the day consumed with heate, Gen. 31.40 and with frost in the night, and my sleepe departed from my eyes. Yea the feares, cares, and doubtes that he is turmoiled and tossed in, are vnspeakeable: one while he is vexed to know certainely the hu­mour and disposition of him whose praise he seeketh: then he careth how to fit his humour, with what wordes, with what gestures, with what by-matters, what tales and discourses, with what presents: then what companie to haue, and how to consort himselfe with them. And then what is the fittest time to find him both at leysure, and in a good moode. Then it is a world to see how the hypocrite acteth his part, and what paines he taketh: first, in marking the countenances, and gestures, & speeches, & commendations, and welcomes, and faire promises that are shewed him. Then in recounting of them, and descanting vpon them: first, to himselfe, and then to others, thinking and bragging how he was reputed and taken with such and such, and that he was so bold and so bold with him, and better entertained then his betters, and how glad such and such were of their companie, and I know not what: Did you note how attentiue he was (saith he) when I spake such a thing? Did you not marke how he smiled ar such a word? Did you see I pray you, how he tooke me by the hand, how courteously he entertained me, how he bad me sit downe: what commendations he gaue me: he said he neuer sawe a thing better done, nor heard a speech that better plea­sed him in all his life. All this while the foole is counting his chickens, as they say, before they be hatched. But if one come in his way, and seeme to take any manner of exception to anything, or to aduise him in such a point, or such a point, or that he be not so highly applauded, and re­garded for this and that action, or for this and that speech, or for this and that circumstance wherein he pleased himselfe: then his comb is cut, and a cloude is ouercast, his glorie is eclipsed, his market is marred, and he must cast about againe how to haue his cake better baked another time: for that time he cryeth as Caesars Parrot did: Operam & oleum perdidi: I haue lost both labour and cost. Then he vexeth himselfe againe, in mu­sing and studying what should be the cause of so hard successe. I beleeue saith he, that some bodie hath angred him, he was so melancholike: or I may thanke such and such that had told some tales against me. And then is the poore foole beset and hemmed in with a number of odde surmi­ses, and conceipts, and imaginations, whereof euery one doth haunt him, and pull him, like the furious spirite that haunted Saul.

[Page 84]If all for the present runnne currant, and answere his desire, then he thinkes himselfe a iolly fellow: and who but he, with such and such that haue taken good liking of him; and there (as one come to his fooles para­dise) he sets downe his rest.

But now beginneth a new peece of work, & that is, how to keep this credite and commendation wholly to himselfe: and not be dispossessed. For what if the wind turne, and afterward by some mishappe or o­ther those parties that so magnified him before, will not vouchsafe so much perhaps as to salute him, or speake kindly vnto him, or to conuerse with him as in times past? or send for him as they were wont to doe? or giue him so much as a good countenance? as nothing is more vsuall in the world then such alterations in the mindes of men. So was it with Iacob and Laban. When Iacob had taken exceeding great paines in his Vncle Labans seruice, and was still the same man that he was wont to be, carefull of his Vncles good, yet when Laban saw him to prosper and thriue well, he enuied him: and Iacob perceiued it well inough by his countenance:Gen. 31.5. for saith he to Rahel and Leah, I see your fathers counte­nance, that it is not toward me as it was wont. Nowe the godly can make vse of such things, as not to trust in men, nor to set their hearts on the world, but to walke wisely, &c. But they are no whit dismayed at such alterations and chaunges: but knowing that the world is euer like it selfe, and is no chaungeling, except it be from euill to worse, they go on still in doing their dutie, making themselues merrie at the feast of a good conscience before God, whose glorie and fauour are the markes that they aime at, and in him onely they trust. But the hypocrite is then much vexed and troubled, and new feares and thoughts arise in his hart, casting about how to recouer that countenance, and commendations which he hath lost, that is: how to get the shadow that goeth from him.

To this end he resolueth with himselfe to make friends, to frame new deuices, to vse all the art and skill that his braine can affoord, practising, promising, and bestowing much against his nature: flattering here, and lying and dissembling there, much against his conscience: he must creepe to one, and crouch to another, and sooth vp all beyond all modestie and reason: backebiting this bodie, and accusing another bodie, and censu­ring of euery one to feede mens humours, against all honestie and equity: for by honest and simple dealing it cannot be obtained.

And thus by this little you may see what paines, what charges, what cares, what feares, and doubts, and inconueniences a man must vndergo that will hunt for the praise of men: is not then the reward of hypocrisie [Page 85] a miserable reward, and they miserable fooles, that take such paines and vexe themselues so, for the getting of that which is vainer then their own shadow?

The hypocrite before he hath his reward, must not onely take great paines, be at much cost, and vexe himselfe with many cares, feares, and foolish conceipts, which is a maruellous miserie: but also be subiect to the censures and iudgements of euery one: his name must be called in question vpon euery occasion that is offered to speake of him, his whole life ripped vp, and all his actions sifted and scanned at euery mans plea­sure: some will commend him, some will condemne him, some will ad­mire him, some will deride him, some will say he is a good man, some will say he is a bad man, and a deceiuer. And what a miserable thing is this, for a man to haue his name thus haled and pulled, like a bone among dogges, and to be like a tennise ball tossed vp and downe, and canuassed at euery mans pleasure: and all for a vaine sha­dow, which the more he followeth, the more it flieth from him? The A­postle therefore in Gal. 5.26. disswadeth vs from vaineglory in this ma­ner: Let vs not be desirous of vaine glorie, (saith he) prouoking one a­nother, enuying one another. To shew that the fruites of a vaineglori­ous mind are but prouocations to euill, and the reaping of enuie: which like a monstrous monster will spoile her selfe to hurt another. A mise­rable reward then is that, which setteth the enuious man a worke, and prouoketh others also to sift vs, and to practise against vs.

And this is not all, but when the hypocrite hath taken all this pains, and endured all this sifting, he oftentimes commeth short of his expe­cted hope, and therein they are most miserable: like the builders of Ba­bel Tower: they looked for a great name, and loe they reaped a great shame.Gen. 11. For Babel, that is, confusion, fell vpon them. They serue long for Rahel, and the world sendeth Leah in her stead, which they like not so well.2. Sam. 1.15 They runne many times with newes, when they haue no thankes for their labour: like the man that ranne to tell Dauid of Sauls death, who looking for some reward, (or thankes at the least) at Da­uids hand, lost his life for his labour. What paines did Ioab take with the host of Israel, 2. Sam. 10. to quench the rebellion of Absalom? and to kill Ab­salom that monster in nature, who first kindled the fire? What thankes did the messenger looke for at king Dauids hand, when he told him of Absaloms death: and behold the King fell to weeping and crying out for the death of the traytor. What praise and encouragement did Ioab the Kings Generall, with all the Captaines of the armie, looke for at the Kings hand? and loe, they were deceiued of their expectation, [Page 86] for the King would not so much as once shew himselfe vnto them, till he could not chuse.2. Sam. 10. Dauid deserued both loue and commendations at Hanuns hands, whē so kindly he sent Embassadours to see how he did▪ but instead thereof that wicked Ammonite construed euery thing to the worst, suspecting them to come as spies into his land, and so vsed them accordingly with all spite and shame, shauing their beards off by the halfes, and curtalling their garments by their buttockes. And euen so many times it falleth out in the world, when a man thinketh to do for the best, it falleth out for the worst. Is there any thing then more miserable then to hunt for the praise of men? Achitophels counsels were for a while esteemed of as the Oracles of God, but at the last his wise­dome was turned into folly by Hushai Dauids friend: whereupon the foolish hypocrite,2. Sa. 17. [...]3. and hypocriticall traitor went home, and for sorrow hanged himselfe. And so is it vsually in the world: many carrie all the credite for a time, and afterwards when others come in place that shal excell them in one thing or other, then they are no bodie. What is then more miserable then to make the praise of men the end of our la­bor? The children of God see this and beleeue it, and haue good expe­rience of it, and therefore they make no reckening of it, but resolue with themselues as the Apostle hath taught them: We must passe through honour and dishonour, 2. Cor. 6. through good report and badde report, through praise and dispraise. The counterfeit secketh onely for honor, and there he resteth▪ the hypocrite hunteth after praise and commen­dation, and there he resteth: but through dishonour and bad report he would passe, and not stay there: but, as if one were no more to be re­garded then the other, but both to be despised alike. The Apostle tel­leth vs that we must passe through both, and go on in our holy cour­ses: like waies that bring vs to our iourneis end, wherof some be faire, and some be soule: so must we accompt of the praise and dispraise of men. For we haue a iourney to make vnto the kingdome of heauen, wherein we must imitate wise trauellers,Simile. who when they come to a fowle way, they are not much troubled though it doth moile them, and somewhat hinder their pace, but they go on the more warily. And whē they come to faire waies, and pleasant fields, and well furnished Innes, they do not there set downe their rest, but go on their iourney with more boldnesse and comfort. The chiefest thing that they respect, is not so much the foulenesse or fairenesse of waies or weather, as that they be not out of their right way. Euen so in our spirituall iourney, while we walke the pathes of God, we shall passe through the blind lanes, and deepe sloughes of reproches, and priuie slaunder, & through [Page 87] many a storme of tempestuous spirites. What then? We must go on for all that, but so much the more circumspectly and warily. After that we shall meete with friends, and come to faire waies of peace and tranqui­litie, and the pleasing winds of good report and commendation wil blow vpon vs: what then? shall we there rest? as though the end of our iourney were for to come to a greene way, or to a pleasant wind? no: but we must go on still, keeping a good conscience, to cheare vs vp withall, and the better our way be, and the more temperate the aire be, the more chearefully and comfortably should we persist in our heauē ­ly iourney: not so much standing vpon these accidents of praise and dispraise, of liking and disliking, of stormes and calmes, as whether we be in the right way or no, taking heede that we go not too fast for feare of tyring, nor too slow for feare of casting behind, and comming too late.

But vaine hypocrites onely talke of going this iourney, they do not meane to trauell it indeede, but make a shew of such a thing, trauelling and professing religion, and ciuilitie, so long as they may be assured of easie iourneis, good prouision, faire weather, and pleasant waies, or else they are vndone. If they know that dishonour and bad report lye in their way, they will not set out. And if they see that they shall be praised and well esteemed for their labour, they will then go, and run themselues out of breath too, for all that they do, is to be praised of men: but of all men they are most vaine and miserable; for they haue their reward: and what is that else, for the vncertaintie thereof, for the deceitfulnesse thereof, for the breuitie thereof, for the vnprofitablenes thereof, for the daunger thereof: considering also the paines they take for it, and the feares and cares that they are vexed withall for it, and the manifold siftings, and censurings they endure for it, and how often they loose their expectation, reaping the clean contrary to that which they looke for? These things being well considered, (I say) what else is the reward of hypocrisie compoun­ded of, but of vanitie and misery it selfe?

THE VIII. SERMON.

MAT. 6.2.

Verily I say vnto you, they haue their reward.

IF godlinesse should be no better rewarded then with the praise of men, then were true Christians of all men the most miserable, and Christianitie it selfe were a miserable profession. For in this life their lot is to be hated and scorned, molested and persecuted for their vertues sake. The world loueth his owne, saith Christ, but me it hateth: and you it shall persecute for my names sake: yea for my names sake they shall speake all manner of euill saying against you falsely. If the world will not loue vs, then it cannot like of vs, if it doth not like of vs, then it cannot commend vs, if it cannot commend vs, then it must condemne vs, if it cannot loue vs, then it must hate vs, and if it can neither like nor loue vs, what reward then must we looke for in the world? not promotion, but persecution: not life but death. Sometimes the wicked will seeme to commend and loue those that feare God and hate wickednesse: but then I would wish the godly to beware most of all, and to cast a double feare.A double feare, when the wicked commend the godly. First, least they haue put forth their hands vn­to some wickednesse: that is, done something that liketh the wicked, and offendeth God. Secondly, if they be free that way, then let them feare, lest some snares and baites be laid to entrap them in their goings. The Scribes and Pharisees, and Iewish Elders did often commend Christ, but neuer for his good: Good Maister (say they) we know that thou carest for no man, and teachest the way of God truly: there is the baite; then comes the hooke: Is it lawfull to pay tribute to Caesar or no? Now Christ knowing their subtiltie, gaue them no thankes for their commendation, but called them tempting hypocrites,Mat. 22.18. saying: Why tempt ye me ye hypo­crites? And will the wicked deale better with the members then they did with the head? These men are the seruants of the liuing God (saith the cun­ning maid to Paul and Silas, or rather the diuell by whom she wrought) and they bring vnto vs the way of saluation. This was not for the good of Paul and Silas: but to haue them apprehended the more speedily, and handled the more seuerely. It was a cunning sleight of Sathan; and ther­fore [Page 89] Paule and Silas rebuked her for her labour,Act. 16.18. being grieued to be commended by such a one, and commaunded the spirite in the name of Christ to come out of her. In a word, the cōmendatiōs of the wicked, are but traps,Psal. 69.22. & their tables but snares, as the prophet Dauid calleth thē.

And for all this, seeing that it cannot be denied, but that loue and commendation amongst men is a good blessing: in which sense it is sayd that both Christ and Iohn Baptist, and others were in fauour both with God and man:1. Tim. 4.8. and godlinesse hath the promises both of this life and of the life to come, that is, the blessings of God, both temporall and eter­nall belong vnto godlinesse:The godly shall haue praise and renowne in this life. it must also be granted, that euen the god­ly themselues (which are so much hated and scorned in the world by the wicked of the world) haue had, haue, and shall haue their part in that bles­sing of renowne, fame, and commendation: yea a good name shall follow them to their graue, and liue after them too in the world, to the high glo­rie and praise of God, who doth so honour his seruants which haue ho­noured him,1. Sam. 2.30 and to the comfort of their friends, the encouragement of the weake, and to the shame of the wicked. They shall haue praise indeede, but as the brother whom Paule commended to the Corinthians had,2. Cor. 8.18. whose praise (sayth he) is in the Gospell, that is: in embracing the Gospell, or else in setting foorth of the Gospell, as Luke did, whereby his loue, and zeale, and godlinesse towards Christ, were manifested to his great praise and commendation: for vertue and piety is worthy of praise, as vice deserueth the contrary: therefore Peter sayth to seruants: This is praise worthy, 1. Pet. 2.19. if a man for consciēce toward God endure grief, suffe­ring wrōgfully: And the Apostle Paul saith: Whatsoeuer things are of good report, Phil. 4.8. if there be any vertue, or any praise, that is, if there be any thing in­deed praise worthy, thinke on these things. And God forbid (seeing as God hath giuen such a blessing to his seruants, and their vertues a­mongst the godly) but that we should giue vnto vertuous men, and fea­ring God their due praise and commendation.

When poore Mary shewed her loue to the person of Christ, in annointing his body with sweete and precious ointment, and her hu­mility in wiping his feete with the haire of her head, Christ told her that wheresoeuer his Gospell should be preached,Mat. 26.13▪ that deede of hers also should be published for a memoriall of her: to shew that the ver­tuous acts of the Saints are not to be curied in obliuion, but to be had in a thankfull remembrance vnto God. The Lord in his word hath crowned his seruants with fame and renowne, which neuer sought it but fled from it: both according to his promise, and also his gracious and wonted manner of dealing,1. Sam. 2.30. Those that honour me shall be honored of [Page 90] me, saith the Lord. 1. Sam 2. there is his promise, his manner is to giue his seruants more then they seeke for or desire:1. Kin. 3.12.13. as when Salomon desi­red not riches but wisedome to gouerne Gods people well, God gaue him both riches and wisedome too: so when the godly desire that on­ly Gods name may be hallowed, and cry with Dauid, Not vnto vs, not vnto vs ô Lord, Psal. 115.1. but to thy name giue the praise, then doth the Lord giue them that thing which they desire, and that also which they craued not, and that is, commendation from his owne mouth, and a part in his owne ioy. Wel done good and faithful seruant: there is their commen­dation:Math. 25. Enter into thy masters ioy: there is their ful reward. And thus is Moses become famous for being Gods Embassadour to King Pharao, and his Captaine generall ouer the Lords army from Aegypt to the land of promise. Thus Ioseph is famous for his chastity, and faithfull seruice: and the midwiues of Aegypt are renowned for sauing the chil­drens liues, against the Kings commandement. How famous is De­borah for iudging of Israel, and Iael for nailing of Sisera (Captaine of King Iabins host) vnto the ground? How famous is Dauid for con­quering of Goliah, and for his zealous courage in fetching home of the Arke? Now is Eliah famous for reprouing King Achab, and the wi­dow of Sarepta for nourishing the Prophet: Salomon is famous for buil­ding of the Temple: the three children for contemning the Kings dis­pleasure: and Daniel is famous for his being cast into the Lions den. Now Iohn Baptist is renowned for telling the King of his fault, and loo­sing of his head for the same: Peter for his sound confession, & Paul for his heauenly conuersion be both famous, and renowned by the holy Ghost, whose praises are in the word, spread throughout the whole world. So are all the holy Martyrs which suffered for the testimony of the truth, and all Christian benefactours (with the streames of whose loue and liberality many Churches, Christians, Vniuersities, and schooles of good learning, and nurseries of good arts and sciences, (haue bene watered and refreshed) most famous and renowned in the Church of God. And all these hauing shunned (as much as they might) all worldly praise and glorie in the world, haue found most high praise and renowne with God, and all the godly in the word of God: and their praise is not of men, but of God. As for wicked hy­pocrites it is not so with them, but as the godly are crowned with perpetuall fame and renowne, so the wicked are and shall be crowned with euerlasting shame and reproch. Cain is infamous, and his name doth stinke, for murthering his brother Abel. Putiphars wife is infa­mous, and her name doth stinke for her lewd tempting and false accu­sing [Page 91] of Ioseph. Pharaoh is infamous, and his name doth stinke for his cruel handling of the Israelites. Doeg the Edomite is infamous, and his name doth stinke for accusing and killing the Lords holy Priests. Micol is infamous, and her name doth stinke for scoffing at the zeale of Dauid her Lord and husband. Iezabel for her whoredomes, and murthering of Naboth for his vineyard is infamous, and her name doth stinke. Hanun is infamous for misusing of Dauids messengers, and Ammon doth stinke before all the Israel of God vnto this day. Sanballat and Tobiah, for hindering the building of the Lords Temple and holy Citie: Haman for seeking the death of the Lords people: Herod for murthe­ring the young children: Ananiah and Saphira for dissembling with Pe­ter, and lying to the holy Ghost: Simon Magus for his offer of mony for the gifts of the holy Ghost: Elimas for withstanding of Paul: Tertullus for his accusing of Paule: Iudas for betraying of his Lord and maister. The Gadarens for preferring their swine before Christs doctrine. All these, and euery one of them are become infamous, and do stinke before God and man: and their reproch and shame shall neuer be blotted out: For the word sayth:Pro. 10.7. Pro. 13.9. The memoriall of the iust shall be blessed, but the name of the wicked shall rot. And in the 13. of the Prouerbes, 9, verse. The light of the righteous reioyceth: but the candle of the wicked shall be put out: To shew that the name of the wicked is no better then rotten carrion, at the stinke whereof euery one that passeth by shall stop his nose, and the dis­coursing of their liues shalbe as noysome in hearing as the stinking snuffe of a candle burning low in the socket, that euery man shall say, put it out: fie vpon it, away withall. And this is the righteous iudgement of God vpon the wicked, which regarded not to glorifie God, but themselues, therefore to giue them vp to such vile affections, and lewd actions as can breede nothing in the end but a rotten and stinking name.

But wicked hypocrites will take a good order for that, they can haue such as themselues, to perfume their doings (while they liue) with braue commendations, to whom they say as Saul sayd to Samuel: Honour me before this people. And when they dye, there are inough that will for a small reward be hired to commend them in a Sermon to the skies, and then we can haue Pamphlets printed, and Epitaphes engrauen vpon our tombes, which will keepe our names from rotting. Besides all this, we will giue some gownes, and money to the poore, which we can no lon­ger keepe, and may well spare: and all this put together, will cast a most sweete smell. Surely for the godly that liued well, and died in the Lord, it will: for their life is like a waxe candle, made and compounded of sweete matter, which men are content it should burne out, because when it is our [Page 92] it will cast a most fragrant and sweete smell: but the life of the wicked is like a candle made of filthy stuffe, which men will not suffer to burne out, because it is no sooner out, but it stinketh all the house ouer. Al­though you commend it neuer so much, yet men will not beleeue you that it was like that of waxe:Simile. nay if you praise it, wil they not laugh you to scorne, and think you mad, or drunken, or senslesse? Euen so is it with him that praiseth a wicked man either liuing or dead: what doth such a prea­cher but play the foolish Herald, and go about to perswade men that a stinking snuffe is as good as a sweete waxe candle, or that filthie puddle water is as wholesome and as sweete as rose water? Many such there are in the world, who while they so preach, the auditors that haue indgement and knew the life of such a man as well as he (if not better) sit and smile to themselues, and wonder that any man either for money or mo­nies-worth should be hired to become so voide of sense And whereunto shall we compare such Sermons and Epitaphs better, then vnto flowers and herbes that are strawed and pricked vpon dead corpses, buried only in a winding sheet? Those flowers may well be laid vpon the dead corpes for a shew,Simile. or to keepe men from smelling ill aires, and may go with him to the graue, but to keepe it from rotting, and putrifying, from corrup­tion, wormes and stinke, they cannot. So such high commendations bestowed vppon vnworthy persons, as Papists, Atheists, drunkards, whoremongers, and such as liued most prophanely and irreligiously (and so died for ought that any man can tell▪ without repentance, or any life of Gods Spirit in them) are sweete herbes and faire flowers be­stowed vpō them for ornament sake, to please their friends, but to pre­serue their name from rotting & stinking they cannot by any meanes: for God is iust, who hath sayd, Those that dishonor me, I will dishonour: & as for that stinking and rotten cōmendations that they haue bestowed vpon thē, by such as theēselues (who also hunt after the like things) it is all: For they haue their reward: & are they not then in a miserable case?

But yet this is not all, for when the hypocrites reward is come to an end (which soone it doth, like a thing of naught, that is soone ripe, and soone rotten) and when the date of his good deedes, or rather glo­rious sinnes is expired, then must he come to a new reckning for all his hypocrisies, and trecherous robberies committed against the glory of God: while he hath abused the name of God, and taken vnto him­selfe all that praise which was due vnto God onely, like those kind of fellowes, which come to men in the Princes name, to take vp their goods as it were to the Princes vse, and then appropriate them wholly to themselues. And for that they haue both robbed God of his glory, [Page 93] and made his most glorious name and sacred religion their cloake and couering, while they haue most profanely played their parts there­with, to the great dishonour of his Maiesty, and the spoile of the Church, and oppression of their brethren. And seeing as in their best deedes they haue made more account of mens praise, then of com­mendation at Gods hand,Their iudgemēt. their iudgement is from euerlasting decreed, and already is sentence gone foorth against them, which can neuer be reuoked, and that is to haue their part and portion with the diuell and his Angels in hell torments for euer, where they shall not onely be de­priued of Gods gracious presence, which is true felicity, and fulnesse of ioy for euer, but also ly languishing not for a yere or two, nor yet for a 100. nor a 1000. nor 10000. nor a 100000. nor a milliō of thousands of yeares, for thē there were some hope that their paine would one day end (though it were long before, and intollerable in the meane time,) but for euer & euer, perhaps with many of those also whose vaine prai­ses they haue in their life time so much hunted after: where the one shall curse each other; and their rewards, yea the persence of each other, and remembrance of their mutuall folly and vanity; of the one in giuing, of the other in seeking and taking the glory from God: euen the remembrance I say of this their former vanity, folly, misery, madnesse, and impiety, shall like an euer gnawing and tormenting Serpent, sting, wound, and torment their consciences for euermore. Yea if there be any paines or torments in hell greater then other, they shall surely fall to the hypocrites lot: yea, the hypocrites portion is so fearefull, that the wicked seruant that liueth most carelesly, not regar­ding his maisters displeasure, nor once thinketh of his comming, but is found misusing of his fellowes at his maisters comming,Mat. 24.51. is threatned in the Gospell to be cut off, and to haue his portion with hypocrites, where shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth: to shew, that of all sinnes there is none more odious in Gods sight then the hypocrite is, neither shall any be more seuerely punished then he shall be. And thus good brethren you see the reward of hypocrisie in this life,The vse of the former doctrine. 1. It shew­eth the sot­tish vanitie of men, that seeke after praise of the world. and in the life to come: a miserable and a wofull reward, miserable here when it is at the best, but most wofull hereafter when it is at the worst.

Now let vs see what good vse we may make of all that hath bene sayd. And first, seeing the great vanity and misery of the hypocrites reward in this life, and his wofull portion in the life to come, who can wonder sufficiently at the world, yea at himselfe, that is so bewitched and besotted with the loue of worldly praise (as a foole enamored of a cruell harlot) that notwithstanding all this, yet euery man almost ma­keth [Page 94] it his summum bonum, and chiefe study how to obtaine vnto it? Surely most men do know this to be true, euen by experience (the schoolemaister of fooles) but how few do rightly consider of it? It may be, that now and then, some being wearied with their hunting after it, and troubled with vexation of spirite, may fetch a sigh at the matter, and cry (as many do) fie vpon the world, and who would trust the world? and faire words make fooles faine: and I wil not trust mens faire speeches againe in hast, &c. But yet for all that, as soone as the pang is a little past, all is forgotten, and a woing of this common painted harlot they go againe. How many in the world (especially followers of Prin­ces Courts, and attendants vpon great persons) do go beyond them­selues, some in gorgeous building,Building. Apparell. Dainty fare Great gifts. Play. some in sumptuous apparell, some in delicate fare, some in great gifts, some in holding company at play: all which they wold not haue done but to be praised of men? If I should not do as others do, I should be counted a coward, saith one. If I should not keep a feast as others haue done before me (saith another) I shold be coū ­ted a miser, or a beggar, though they begger themselues for it indeed. If I should not haue it something like on my table, and weare somewhat, and giue somewhat more then ordinary, how should I be accounted of? If I should not flatter a little, and please a little (sayth another) I should not be liked. If I should not be very eloquent, and garnish my Sermon with Doctors, Fathers, Poets, Philosophers, aswell as with the Scriptures, though there be no neede of them; and speake all languages, aswell vnknowne as knowne, I should be counted no scholer, nor to haue any learning. But if I do excel others in my building, in my feasting, in my ap­parell, in my almes giuing, in my preaching, and shew of learning, in my courting, my aduenturing: (yea in swearing, and whoring, and drunken­nesse, and riot, and reuelling, say some shamelesse and gracelesse persons) why then I shall be had in admiration, and euerie body will commend me: I shall leaue a name behind me, &c. These things being thus resolued vpon, then commeth foorth the men of the world, their fellowes in folly, and deale their reward. Whose house is that (saith one?) as if he had som­thing to giue towards the building or repairing of it. Such a man built it saith another: now the reward. I assure you saith the inquisitor, it is a ve­ry faire house, and well contriued. Yea saith the third, all the smoke comes out at one chimney, or else is conueyed vnder the ground, &c. and there is his reward: besides occasion ministred of an houres or two discour­sing and descanting vpon his whole life. In like manner are those rewar­ded, that iet in all kind of brauery, with pedlers shops about them: as ma­ny women do? Who is that, sayth one? Such a one saith another. I pro­mise [Page 95] you saith the third, and that is the reward: he is very braue: she is very fine saith another: Is it a man or a woman sayth another? I cannot tell sayth one, by his long haire he should be a woman: by her bare head it should be a man sayth another: Yea, saith another, but God knoweth who payeth for all this. In like sort come from a feast, and see the reward of the world: We had great cheare sayth one: Yea, he may well inough sayth another, for he commeth easily inough by it. And then commeth a third: But I doubt me he must pinch a good while for this geare. And thus you see the worlds reward: are not men well rewarded now, that looke for no more then the praise of men?

Let those Ministers also consider well of this point, that euen against their owne consciences (as they are driuen sometime openly to confesse do bumbast their Sermons with all kind of humanity, besides the word of God, not because they thinke it then necessary, but as some haue freely confessed, in the most famous and publike places of the land, be­cause the eares of the people are troubled with such a kind of itch, that they must needes do it, or else their doctrine would be loathed for the plainesse and simplicity thereof. I speake not against the vse of humane authorities when case shall require, euen in the Pulpit: for I know there is a very good vse of them manie waies: both for confutation of errour, and also for confirmation of doctrine by way of consent, but against the vanitie and weakenesse of those that would not vse it but onely to please men: their vanity and weakenesse I say is to be pitied, and so is also theirs too, that study hard, and preach often, and deliuer sound doctrine, and abound with nothing but the Scriptures, if therein they respect no­thing but the praise of men: For marke I pray you; a Minister studieth hard, taketh great paines, he watcheth when others sleepe, &c. and at length commeth like a woman to trauell, and bring forth the birth of his mind, which by meditation, and study, & other good meanes he hath con­ceiued, &c. when he is deliuered of his burthen, the world vieweth it, & rewardeth him for the same: but how? first perhaps they are away whom he did especially looke for, and desire to please, there is one griefe: then others perhaps fall asleepe, or tarry not to the ende: then there is a­nother crosse: but for those that are most attentiue, perhaps some will inuite him to dinner of conscience or of custome: well, that he could haue had at home: then there is inquiry, what was he that preached to day? do you know him? No saith one: I know him sayth another. How like you the Sermon? He made a good Sermon, sayth one: a pro­per man saith another: he touched all degrees, and spared none sayth a­nother: he had but a soft voyce, saith another, no vtterance, it is pitty, [Page 96] with a little practise he would do well: he was too long sayth another: he hath no learning sayth another? What Vniuersitie was he of? where dwels his friends? what liuing hath he? hath he no more bene­fices then one? He sayd well sayth another, if he can follow it himselfe when he hath done, &c. And afterward perhaps if he stay long amongst them, or chance to haue charge ouer them, they that before praised him to the skies, will be the first that shall picke quarrels against him for one thing or another, and all to remoue him. Is it not then a la­bour well bestowed, to set our selues onely to get praise of men? can there be a greater misery? were we not in a good case thinke you, if we had hope of no better reward then this? no maruell though. But blessed be God, our hope is, and our comfort is, that we (dealing faith­fully and vprightly in Gods businesse) shall be rewarded of God him­selfe in Christ his sonne, with another manner of reward then all the world can giue vs, or take from vs either. In a farre more miserable case me thinke is the hypocrite, then many a mans horse or beast is. The horse is rid hard,The hy­pocrite is more to be pitied for his mi­sery, then the beast. and trauelled sore all day, and at night is turned into a sorry stable, with a galled backe and spurred sides: but yet with his maisters reward, and that is a good baite, and a good word: Let him be well dressed, and well meated sayth the owner: he hath gone well to day: it is as good a horse as euer man put legge ouer. And if he chance to be stolen, or lost, or to dye, his maister maketh great enquirie, and searcheth for to find him againe, or great moane (besides high com­mendations of his beast) because he cannot be had againe. In like maner fareth it with the hypocrite in part, whom euery man rideth, and deri­deth at his pleasure: as the spurre makes the horse to go, so vaine glorie and praise makes the hypocrite to go: and therefore it was well sayd in the Prouerbe: Gloria calcar habet: praise is a spurre, as if the vaineglo­rious foole were a iade that would not go without spurring. When the hypocrite hath ended his iourney, he is turned home againe with a gald conscience: well may he haue a good word: as, It was well done, &c. but scarse many times the worth of an asses baite. And if he be missing, perhaps there is not so much enquiring after him, as after the strayed horse, except peraduenture as Laban sought after Iacob, to call him to account for the manner of his departure. And if he dye, some moane may perhaps be made for him, and a good word from a false heart may chance be cast after him: but it may be more moane will be made for a good seruiceable beast, and the one shall be as soone forgotten as the o­ther. But when death comes, it were happy for hypocrites if then they were horses, or asses, or vile toades: for then should their miserie ende [Page 97] with their liues: but they cannot haue that priuiledge, and therefore they are farre more miserable then the bruite beast which perisheth. Consider well of it my good brethren, and let vs not be any longer bewitch [...]d with this tickling humour, and most vaine vaine as I may call it, of car­ping and caring, and studying and seeking how to please men against God, or to please men & not God: but let vs labour by all good meanes, and call instantly vpon God by humble prayer, that we may be so go­uerned by his holy Spirit and grace, that all our desire and study may be to do chose things, and that in such manner, as may get praise and commendation at his hand, and we may be approued in his sight.

Lastly, let his doctrine serue to worke patience in all those that ha­uing deserued commendation, and loue, and good liking of those a­mongst whom they haue laboured, cannot get the fame, or hauing once gotten it, through their faithfull and plaine dealing, or the inconstancie and frowardnesse of men lost the same. Euery man hath his time; as Salomon saith, there is a time to reioyce, and a time to be sorry, so there is a time to be praised, and a time to be dispraised, a time to be lifted vp, and a time to be cast downe againe, least we should looke for our hea­uen vpon earth. And let it not greeue any man to be dispraised: nor great­ly puffe vp any to be commended, but rather be we grieued that we cannot studie to please God better then we do: and be we glad, that we haue the testimonie of a good conscience before God, that we haue deserued better of men, then we find at their hands: and shall find farre better of Gods hands then euer we desired, or deserued. And seeing as the praise and commendation of men is so vaine and miserable a reward, both for the vncertaintie of it, for the deceitfulnesse of it, for the breuitie of it, for the vnprofitablenesse of it, and for the danger of it: let vs neither straine with a good conscience: nor (keeping a good conscience accor­ding to Gods word) greatly regard it, when we haue lost it. For so do miserable hypocrites, who as Christ sayth here in our text, haue their re­ward. If any body hath now put vppon him the Diuels armour of proofe, I meane vnbeleefe (as commonly all hypocrites do) that this do­ctrine may not enter into his hart, let them but consider and weigh well, who hath sayd it, and how he affirmeth it, that hypocrites haue their re­ward. He that hath said it, is the Lord Iesus himselfe, who being the wise­dome of the father, knoweth what he sayth: and being truth it selfe cannot erre: let no man now suspend his iudgement for the matter, or stay his repentance, vntill he heare it confirmed by some Doctours, or Fathers, or Councels: for he hath spoken it, that cannot deceiue any, nor be deceiued by any: yea, vpon whose word and authoritie, [Page 98] all the Doctours and Councels in the world haue builded and must build whatsoeuer they teach, or else they build beside the foun­dation.

As Christ hath sayd it (against whom I say, there is no gainesaying) so hath he affirmed it in most earnest and confident maner: Verily I say vnto you, they haue their reward: that is, in good earnest I speake it, and for a most vndoubted truth I affirme it. And all little inough: for such is the cunning of Sathan to beguile mens soules, that he will still feede them with some hope, that it is not so hard as the Preacher saith it is. Thou shalt dye the death saith God to Ad [...]m, if thou eatest of that tree: No sayth Sathan, ye shall not dye, that is, God doth not meane to deale so hardly with you as he sayth: he is mercifull, and that was but to make you afraid. So playeth the hypocrite still, Tush, tush, sayth he there is no such matter, they haue not their reward, we hope to go to heauen aswell as the best, and that we haue as good a faith to God as any body. What sir: we haue soules to saue as well as you, we would you should know it: Verily sayth Christ, they haue their re­ward: Verily no, sayth the hypocrite: now who shall be beleeued? Christ or Belial? God or the Diuell? Well, but we trust God be more mercifull vnto vs then so: Verily no, sayth Christ (meaning except they repent.) Yea, the hypocrite hath so good an opinion of himselfe, that he thinkes the Lord is as it were beholding vnto him for his play, or counterfeit seruice, and should do him great wrong if he should not receiue him into fauour aswell as others: For (saith Christ) when it shall be sayd vnto them definitiuely: God ye cursed into euerlasting fire pre­pared for the Diuell and his Angels: for when I was naked yee clad me not &c. they will not take this for an absolute and iust decree of the Iudge; but as though they had wrong offered them, they reply againe: Why Lord when did we see thee naked, Mat. 25. and did not clothe thee? &c. If that will not serue, then they will put him in mind what they haue done for him: we haue cast out Diuels in thy name, and heard thee preach in our streetes: so will others plead for themselues: why Lord we haue sharply rebuked Sathan, and reproued sinne by thy word: we haue kept out Church orderly, and duly: we neuer missed a Ser­mon, nor Seruice on weeke-dayes: we gaue as liberally to the poore as any man of our abilitie in the countrey. I haue payd my tithe mint and cummin, saith another, and I hope no body can charge me to haue bene a theefe, or a murtherer, or common whoremonger, &c. and therefore I trust to be saued as well as another. And thus do many deceiue themselues, by imagining (as the Psalmist sayth) that the Lord [Page 99] is like themselues::Psal. 56. that is, not so good as his word: But my brethren be not deceiued, Christ hath sayd it, that is inough: If that be not inough, he hath confirmed it with an earnest asseueration most confidently, to put men out of doubt, and to assure men what to trust vnto, if they liue and dye in pypocrisie: If all that be not inough, then the Lord hath sworne in his wrath,Psal. 95. that they shall not enter into his rest.

Therefore cast away these vaine perswasions, and this false hope, take heed of that Diuell, and vile motion that goeth about to weaken the credit of Gods word with you. And from henceforth let vs so ende­uour to please the Lord, that at his comming he may commend vs, and say, Well done, good and faithfull seruant, enter into thy masters ioy: which shall neuer be sayd to hypocrites: For verily (saith Christ) they haue their reward.

Now let vs pray.

THE IX. SERMON.

MATH. 6.3.4.

3. But when thou doest thine almes, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doth. 4. That thine almes may be in secret, and thy father that seeth in secret, he will reward thee openly.

IN these words we are taught in doing the workes of charitie, to be contrary minded to hypocrites, who hunting after nothing but vaineglorie, or filthy lucre, do alwayes giue their almes to be seene of men. But true Christians must not onely shunne popularity, and auoid worldly praise, but also they must beware of their owne priuate praise, and selfe-liking, and (not arrogating or conceiting to themselues any commendations, nor consulting with themselues how to be recompenced for the same) content themselues onely with the ap­probation and allowance of their heauenly father, and comforting them­selues in the holy obedience of his most glorious will, as a singular fruite of his Spirit, & of their faith, which is wrought in them by that Spirite, [Page 100] no whit doubting, but most stedfastly assuring themselues, that he to whom onely, and for whole loue onely, and at whose bidding onely, they haue done these things, though neuer so secretly (in respect of men) will one day reward them openly. Our Sauiour Christ in saying, Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doth: vseth an hyperbo­licall, or excessiue kind of speech (as Rhetoricians call it) to shew there­by, that with all possible care and diligence, the study of getting vaine­glory must be auoided, and that we must neuer desire in doing good deedes to please the eares and eyes of men: except (as hath bene shewed before) to make them in loue with our good maners, & good fashions, and so to haue them glorifie God with vs: but otherwise in doing of our good deedes to be as secret as may be: as if he should say; be so farre from seeking the applause of the common sort, when thou doest thy good deedes (as the Pharisees did, and all other hypocrites do, who giue not but sell their almes for the praise of men) that thy left hand though it be most neare conioyned vnto thy body, and a fellow worker of the deed with thy right hand: if it had any vnder­standing, may not know, what, or to whom, or how much, or when, or how often thou giuest, or doest good. His meaning is (to speake as plainely as I can) that thou which art a Christian, in doing the workes and duties of christianity, must be so farre from desiring to be looked vpon of man, that if it were possible thou thy selfe shouldest not know that which thou doest aright, but shouldest forget thy owne deed: and neither impute it to thy selfe that thou hast done well: nor stand in thy owne conceit, thinking the better of thy selfe for it, but onely reioyce inwardly that the poore and needie is refreshed, and that thy faith hath brought forth such fruite to the glory of God, and sealing vp of thy ele­ction in thee.

What if men know not, yea what if he that is relieued, do not know him that hath relieued him? (saith Erasmus.) It is inough for thee to haue a witnes of the father, frō whose eies nothing can be hid. He wil reward thee, although thou haue no thanke at all of man: yea though thou doest take no pleasure in it thy selfe, yea though thou doest vtterly condemne and mislike thy selfe, and iudgest thy selfe (as many do) altogether vn­worthy of any fauour, yet thou shalt be rewarded at thy fathers hand. And this I take to be the simple and plaine meaning of these words.

Now let vs come to the doctrine that ariseth from the same. And first, from hence we haue to obserue, that in doing of our good works, all selfe-liking, or conceit of our selues, must be auoided: that we must neither attribute any part of the worke vnto our selues, as a thing done [Page 101] by vs, as of our selues: nor yet thinke that we are euer the better for the same: but to be still as humble, and to carry as low a saile, and as vn­worthy an opinion of our selues for all that good we haue done, as if we had done nothing but euill: or else in doing of good we offend God, and hazard his heauenly reward, which in Christ is layed vp for vs.

The contrary to this,Hab. 1.16. is it as I take it, which the Prophet Habakuk condemneth in the wicked, when he sayth: They sacrifice vnto their net, and burne incense vnto their yarne, because by them their portion is fat, & their meate plenteous: Meaning that they imputed all their wealth vnto their owne industry only, and to the meanes whereby they compassed the same. And surely it is neither good, nor safe, but very vngodly and dangerous in doing of good workes, to make our selues priuie there­unto (if we could chuse) or once to keepe account with our selues of the good that we do. I deny not but that a Christian soule truly hum­bled in the feeling of his owne vnworthinesse and inability, may with some comfort call to remembrance, what duties he hath performed the day or weeke that is past, through the grace and fauour of God, who hath wrought both in him, and by him: so that withall he be (as I say) truly humbled, and prepared thereunto, calling to mind withall, to that end, what graces he wanteth, what sinnes he hath committed, what dan­gers he hath incurred, and with what weaknesse and imperfection the good hath bene performed, which is a rare thing. But surely otherwise it is very dangerous to keepe account vnto our selues, of any good deed that we do: For, by reason of our naturall corruption, which cleaueth too fast to euery one, and hangeth on (if not presseth downe) the very rege­nerate themselues, we are so prone and apt to the study & affectation of vainglory (which is indeed plaine robbing God of his glory) that it is a very hard matter to do good, and not to be proud of it.

It fareth with vs, as it doth with wanton women, who when they vn­derstand how faire they are, casting away all modesty, waxe proud, like the Peacocke that alwayes strouteth it, when his taile is spred. Take for example the Pharisee spoken of in the 18. of Luke,Luke. 18.11.12. whose prayer was proud, boasting of his owne righteousnesse. First, he keepeth a note to himselfe of what grosse sinnes he was free, that other men were ouerta­ken withall: then he scoreth vp his good deedes, and namely his integrity and vprightnesse in tithing, and then his due and constant course of weekely fasting. And hauing thus made his left hand priuy to that which his right hand did, that is, recounting with a wrong affection to himselfe, what he had well done, he spreadeth his taile, and falleth to crowing ouer [Page 102] his poore brother in this sort: I thanke God I am not as other men are, extortioners, vniust, adulterers, or as this Publican: I fast twise in the weeke, I giue tithe of all that I possesse: as if the proud Peacocke should haue sayd: behold my feathers are not of that colour that other birds are of, but his feete were: which he then remembred not.

In like manner do many keepe a score of their good deedes, and re­gister in their note-bookes what they bestow weekely, or monethly, or yearly vpon the poore, &c. I warrant you say some, it costs me euery weeke so much, and so much ordinarily, besides that I spend extraor­dinarily. It were good for them, and others the like, to regard the ad­monition of Christ here: Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doth. Do good, and make no bodie priuy vnto it, if thou canst: no, not thy owne soule: take no notice of any good thou doest thy selfe, least thou be proud of it.

It was the wisedome of God in creating of the woman, not to create her vntill he had first cast Adam into a sleepe, and while Adam slept, he tooke a rib out of his side, whereof he made woman, least if he had bene awake when this was done, he might haue thought that he had had a stroke in it, if it had bene no more but suffering, or consenting to haue one of his ribs taken from him; which yet had bene great folly in him so to haue done. So should it be the wisedome of Christians in doing of good deeds, to cast their carnall affections in a sleepe: least they (seeing and knowing what is done) should imagine that they had a stroke therein, and so should begin to filch and steale some glory to themselues which belonged not vnto them.

The horse doth employ his strēgth to carry & draw, but yet he know­eth not so much: if he did, peraduenture he would not be so subiect vnto man as he is. The sheepe doth yeeld vs her fleece to cloth vs, and her flesh to feede vs, and her lambe for increase, but yet she knoweth not so much: if she did, perhaps she would if she could vpbraid vs by her benefits, and not be so beneficial vnto vs as she is. The birds with their variety of notes do delight our eare, but God saw it not good that they should know so much, for if they should perhaps they would be as mute as nonresidents, scorning to affoord their musicke vnto such fantasticall and vaine mai­sters as they now do serue. The flowers with their varietie of orient and beautifull colours, and fragant, and pleasant smels, do delight our eyes, and refresh our spirits: but God saw it not good that they should know so much, for if they did, perhaps they would disdaine to be abused so much, and so little regarded to the praise of their maker as they are.

In like maner, if we could do good workes to the glorie of our God. [Page 103] and profit of our brethren, and not let our left hand know thereof, that is, not consult with our carnall and crooked affections about them, we should not be so loth to go about them, nor so lazie in doing them, not so lustie when we haue done them, as we are. If the Peacocke were hat­ched blind: or could shut his eyes when he spreadeth his taile, surely his pride would abate, for it is not the hauing of such colours, but the knowing them, and viewing of them, that breedeth conceitednes, and causeth his nature to swell. So, if Christians, when they take any bles­sing from Gods hand, or enioy the graces of Gods Spirite, or bring foorth the fruites of the same Spirite, had not their minds and affe­ctions so much bent vpon them, and set to vew the beauty of them: but could set them to looke narrowly downward vpon their blacke feete, that is, vppon their sinne, and sinfull affections, it would be a meanes greatly to humble them. Therefore the Apostle sayth:1. Cor. 7.30.31. Let them that weepe, be as though they wept not, and them that marry, be as though they maried not. So sayth the Scripture too: Let him that giueth almes, be as though he gaue not. And in another place he saith of himself & his brethrē thus:2. Cor. 6.9.10. We are as men sorrowing, but yet reioycing, and as men reioycing, & yet sorrowing, as poore and yet making many rich, as dying, & yet liuing, &c. So on the other side, as making many rich, and yet as it were poore, & giuing nothing. To shew what manner of men Christians must be.

But how can that be (will some say) that a man should giue almes, or do any other good deed, and not make himselfe priuy to the matter? and count it nothing which he doth? Surely very well, or else truly do ma­ny dissemble, and speake against their owne consciences: for come vnto them, and thanke them for such and such kindnesse bestowed, &c. they will say: Alas sir, for nothing, I know no such matter: it is not so much worth, &c. as if he should say, If I did any such thing, it is with me as if I did it not at al: I am to begin it againe: I keepe no reckning of it: my heart was not set vpon it when it went from me: I weigh it not, &c. Againe, euery true Christian is in part regenerate, and in part vnregenerate: the one part is called in Scripture by the name of flesh, and the other by the name of spirite;Gal. 5.17. the flesh rebelleth against the spirite, that is, the part re­generate against the part vnregenerate: Now this part that is regenerate by the spirite of sanctification and grace, may well be called also the right hand of the soule, and the other part which is still fleshly, carnall, and sensuall, and not sauouring the things of God, may well be called the soules left hand, for the vntowardnesse therof to any goodnesse: in which sense it may truly be said, whē thou doest any good deed, let the spirite, that is, the part regenerate as the right hand of thy soule do it, but let not [Page 104] the other part (which is so vntoward and not regenerate, and fitted for it) haue any thing to do in the matter, more then if it knew nothing at all of it. We must do as men that trauell in company together, and are so earnest in talke that they forget the length of their iourney: and to such ten miles seeme but as one mile: but if a man go alone, and thinketh of nothing but his iourney, then his left foote shall know what paines his right foote taketh, and will keepe account of all his sleps as it were, and thinke his iourney long, and his paines exceeding great. So we in trauel­ling towards heauen (which we must do so long as we liue, by walking in such good workes as God hath appointed for vs Ephes. 2.10.) must count all things but losse and dung, for the excellent knowledge sake of Christ Iesus our Lord, to win him, and to be found in him, not hauing our owne righteousnesse, but the righteousnesse which is of God by faith in Christ, forgetting that which is past, and endeuouring our selues vn­to that which is before, and follow hard toward the marke, for the price of the high calling of God in Christ Iesus. And no maruell though the Apostle made so light account of his owne workes, or righteousnesse: for, he knew they were too light to endure the triall of Gods iustice, & too vncleane to appeare in his most pure presence. Our good deedes are like a faire garment with a filthy lining: or (as the Prophet Esay speaketh) like a menstruous cloth,Esa. 64.6. The beauty and goodnesse of them is from God: the deformity and vncleannesse is of our selues. Shal the one part lift vs vp to any proud conceipt of our selues? No: it is of God, giue him all the glory: and let the other humble vs.

All the gifts and graces of God do beare some part of his image, and stampe, though giuen to diuerse persons, and in diuerse measure and ma­ner: like the Princes coine, which hath the Princes image and stampe vpō it, to put the subiects in mind of their loyaltie and dutie which they owe to their Prince: that (as Christ said) when we see Caesars image and su­perscription we should remember to giue vnto Caesar that that is Cae­sars: so when we see any thing with Gods image vpon it, we may also giue to God that that is Gods. The Princes coine commeth out of the Mint faire and bright, but when it cometh into our hands it taketh soile, and looseth beautie. So the good graces of God come to vs with a most heauenly beautie, but we cannot returne them so againe: for with vs they take soile and loose their beautie. As euery peece of coine hath on the one side the Princes image, and title certaine: so haue all the graces of God, Gods image, and Christes title, to admonish vs of that holy dutie, and absolute praise which we must returne vnto him for the same. Look vpon thy faith, and thou shalt see this superscription vpon it: [...] [Page 105] [...]: This is the worke of God,Ioh. [...]6.29. to beleeue in him whom he hath sent. Looke vpon thy patience, and thou shalt find this grauen vpon it: [...]:Philip. 1.29. to you it is giuen for Christs sake, not onely to beleeue in him, but also to suffer for his sake. Looke vpon thy loue, thy knowledge and iudgement, and euery one beareth the same stampe that thy faith doth [...]: the worke of God: and therefore saith Saint Paul, this I pray that your loue may abound yet more and more in al knowledge & iudgement, Philip. 1.9. to shew that they come from God and not from our selues. Art thou filled with the fruites of righteousnes? thou shalt find this Poe­sie sent with them:Philip. 1.11. They are by Iesus Christ, vnto the glorie and praise of God. Art thou conuerted vnto God? looke vpon the worke of thy con­uersion, and thou shalt find this withall: The worke of God: and therfore saith Ioel: Ioel. 2. Turne vs ô Lord, and we shall be turned. Hast thou a new heart? looke vpon it, and thou shalt find Gods stampe vpon it, and that is this: Created of God. Psal. 51. 1. Cor. 4.7. And ouer all one generall Poesie for all: and that is this: What hast thou, that thou hast not receiued? 1. Cor. 4.7.

If there be any thing besides this that commeth from God, that is of Sathan, or else of our selues. We commonly looke on the one side of the garment, but not on the other. Now, if we thinke vpon our defectes and staines, nay filthie and rebellious pollutions, we would neuer take notice to ourselues of any good we do: but say whē we haue done neuer so wel, as Nehemiah did, when he had most zealously reformed the Lords sab­bath, and set euery thing in very good order:N [...]h. 13.22. Remember me ô God in this, and pardon me in thy great mercie: and as Christ commaundeth vs:Luk. 17.10. When ye haue done all that ye can do (saith he) say that you are vnprofitable ser­uants, and haue done but that which was commaunded you.

Further it is to be obserued, that Christ saith, the right hand must do the worke, and the left hand must not know of it. He appointeth the right hand to the worke, because that is readiest, and quickest, and hand­somest in working. The left hand is not so fit, nor ready, but is rather a hinderance of the work then a furtherance of the same. Christs meaning is, that we must not only not arrogate any glorie to our selues, or liking of our selues: but when we do any good, we must do it with our best affe­ctions, and not once to consult with our carnall, proude, and vntoward affections: for they are like the left hand, and haue many froward cauilla­tions, and odde reasons, and false perswasions to hinder the worke, like so many crooked fingers, which are good for nothing but to pull backe, and hinder, and are altogether vntoward to euery good worke.

Our affections are compared in Exod. 3.5. to feet:Exod. 3.5. Put off thy shooes frō [Page 106] off thy feete (saith the Lord to Moses:) that is, put away all carnall and fleshly cogitations, and earthly reasons from thy affections when thou commest before me, and come with holy affections. And in Eccles. 4.17 Looke vnto thy feet before thou goest into the house of God:Eccl. 4.17. that is, examine with what affections thou goest. For, as the feete do carrie the bodie vp and down in the world: so do our affections carrie our minds and studies and hale vs both in soule and bodie to such things as they like.

Here they are compared (as I thinke) vnto hands, because they are ne­cessary (when they are sanctified) to worke the wil of God, as hands to do externall duties, and as forcibly they effect things, or thrust men forward, or pull mē backward as the hands do, vnto good or euill. Look what the bodie hath after a visible manner, the same hath the soule after an inuisi­ble and spirituall manner. An eye of knowledge to see good from euill, and the right way from the wrong: a taster of iudgemēt to discerne things that differ: as what is good, and what is better, &c. legges of faith, where­by we stand without sinking vnder our burden, and go therwith to God. Shoulders of patience and long suffering, to beare iniuries & crosses man­fully: hands and feete of affections and desires. Of all which there be two sorts: as there be belonging to the bodie, a right eye and a left eye, a right hand and a left hand, a right eare and a left eare, &c. Now, some be in the seruice of God, and in all other good workes as it were left handed: hea­ring with their left eare, that is, with a lazie desire to learne: vnderstan­ding with a grosse vnderstanding, as Nicodemus did vnderstand Christ, when he spake of being borne againe: and marking with a drowsie atten­tion, & taking all things with the left hand, that is, very frowardly, & vn­towardly. But in worldly matters and vanities, which they loue and like well of, they are right handed, and right eyed, and right footed, and right eared: that is, they can worke apace, and see quickly, and go swiftly, and heare readily, &c. Therefore let not thy left hand, that is, thy vntoward affections and sences haue ought to do when thou doest any good work: as we vse to say; tell not such a man of it, for he will hinder it as much as he can possibly. These lefthanded Christians will soone murmure and grudge at a little cost that is bestowed vpon Christ in his poore Church or members, like Iudas who was offended at the boxe of ointment that Mary bestowed vpon Christ: and cauill at euery thing that is spoken, like the cauilling Iewes, which set themselues to carp at euery thing that Christ spake, or his seruants the Prophets and Apostles. And if they once conceiue an hard opinion of the doctrine, or doctour, they will forsake that man, and in time giue ouer hearing the word, as the Capernaits did, and most vntowardly, and vnseemely will they performe whatsoeuer els [Page 107] they go about in Church or commonwealth, if they haue no mind vnto it: and will soone be wearie of well doing, their shoulders of patience and courage being out of ioynt: and in learning and doing of the best things, are as men that altogether worke with their left hand, hauing no list to worke.

A man may easily perceiue a difference betweene those that do good deedes with good affections, and those that consult with flesh and bloud about the matter. Those that do worke with their right hand will shew it by their willingnesse, by their forwardnesse, by their zealousnesse, by their venturousnesse, by their bountifulnesse, by their chearefulnesse, and by their perseuerance. If they bestow any thing towards the building vp of Gods Church, by maintaining of religious exercises, they will giue as the Israelites did to the building of the tabernacle:Exod. 35. they brought till they were stayed by proclamation. If they bestow any thing on the poore mēbers of Christ, they say not as worldlings do: any thing is good inough for them: but they bestow the best they haue, like Mary who would not bestow any oyntment vpon Christ except it were costly and precious.Ioh. 12.3. If they contribute to any necessarie vses, they do as the poore widow did, who cast in all the substance that she had,Mar. 12.42. not doubting but God will prouide more. If they go about to reforme things in Church or com­monwealth, being in authoritie, they do it zealously and throughly, with great courage, and constancie, and resolution:Neh. 13. like Nehemiah whē he reformed the sabbath. If they venture for loue of their Prince, they will breake through an host of men,2. Sa. 23.16. as Dauids worthies did, when Dauid longed for the water of Bethlehem: nothing will be too hard for them.

And on the other side, those that make their left hand priuie to that which their right hand doth, doe consult with flesh and bloud about the matter, and being ruled, and perswaded altogether by carnall rea­sons, and vaineglorious or gainefull inducements, do that good which they do vnwillingly, and niggardly, and cowardly, and sluggishly, and frowardly, and negligently, and are soone wearie of well doing: all which may well be called lefthanded Christians for their backeward­nesse, and vntowardnesse to any good thing. If you aske their reliefe for poore distressed Christians: before you get a peny of them, they wil reason as churlishly against you and them too, as Nabal did agaisnst Da­uid: Who is Dauid? 1. Sam. 25. and what is the sonne of Ishai, &c? If they giue one groate,Act. 5. they will boast of two, as Ananias did. If any thing be giuen to Christs poore Church, that comes not to their share, they repine at it, as Iudas did.Ioh. 12.4. If you require them to do any matter but of smal difficulty, [Page 108] they will answer with the sluggard,Pro. 26.13. There is a lion in the way, that is, it is as much as a mans life is worth. And euen the best of vs all are manie times too much left handed, that is, vntoward to the best things: if Christ calleth vs to heare what he hath to say vnto vs, and to commu­nicate with him at his table, we answer, as the slouthfull Church doth in Cant. 5.Cant. 5. I am in bed, how can I rise? I haue put off my clothes, how shal I put them on againe? I haue washed my feete, how can I defile them? That is, whē we haue no list to heare the Sermon, or to call vpon God, or to receiue the holy Sacrament, a small excuse will hold vs backe, a shadow is euen as good as a wall to stop vs. And otherwise it will not be, so long as we consult with flesh and bloud about Gods matters: therfore saith Christ; Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doth. And that we may do al indeed with our right hand, that is, with our best affections cheer­fully, and comfortably, and prosperously: let vs still consult with the word of God, that we there may learne what is to be done: for our good workes if they be not warranted by the word, are abhominable vnto God, as glorious sinnes. And next, let vs confer with him by prai­er, that we may be enabled to do that good we know must be done: & as for carnall reason, and worldly perswasions shut them out, and do not once call them to counsell about the matter, for they wil both hin­der thee, and spill thy good deed.

THE X. SERMON.

MATH. 6.4.

That thine almes may be in secret, and thy father that seeth in secret, he will reward thee openly.

THat thine alme:] that is, betweene God and thy owne conscience let it be done, that thy conscience may witnesse for thee vnto God, that thou hast sought no­thing lesse then the vaine applause of men, and God (that seeth thy secret thought and intent of hart) may approue of the same, and witnesse for thee against Sa­than and all the world, that thou hast vprightly in thy secret thoughts and affections serued him, and sought nothing more then his glorie. In this case we may learne of Ioseph, who caused euery mans money (of his brethren) to be secretly conueied into his sackes mouth with their [Page 109] prouision: which when they saw by the way at their Innes, they maruel­led, giuing God the glorie, who (as they confessed) had sent it vnto thē, but by whose meanes they knew not. Some are secret inough, and too se­cret in giuing to the poore, for that which they giue is onely in conceipt, that it may be in secret, and knowne to no man: and most prophanely and scoffingly abusing this place, (as they do all other holy things and the whole body of religion) they will giue nothing at all, lest (as they like themselues most wretchedly pretend) that their left hand should know what their right hand doth:Abusers of these words as though the purpose of our Sauiour Christ had bene to disswade men from giuing any almes at all. These men are like the Frier, that would prouide well ouer night against the next day, by carrying with him the remainder of his supper, scoffingly alleadging, or rather blasphemously abusing the wordes of Christ in this chapter: Be not carefull for to morrow: and therefore I do it saith he, because I would haue no care for to morrow. These persons haue learned this lesson of Christ to the halfes: they haue learned to be secret, but not to giue almes in secret: as the Papists haue learned another lesson of Christ, so haue these men learned this: Christ saith: Pray for your enemies, blesse them that curse you: and if thy enemy hunger, giue him meate: if he be thirsty, giue him drinke, &c. In so doing thou shalt heape coales of fire vpon his head. This latter part they haue learned well, namely to heape coales of fire vpon the heads of their enemies: yea of Gods deare Saints, and fag­gots too, and to burne them to ashes too: but the former part which con­taineth workes of loue and charitie, is yet to learne, they can no skill of that. And if some of them be told of their hard dealing, they will not sticke to alleadge this Text, and say: why, doth not Christ say, we must heape coales of fire vpon our enemies heades? Such gibers, and scoffers at the word of God, I couple with Iulian and Lucian their predecessours, wishing them in time to take heed, and pray vnto God (if it be possible) that they may truly repent them of their blasphemous courses: their state is fearefull and daungerous: for that they go on plodding and scoffing at religion. Blessed is the man that commeth not into their way: for it lea­deth as directly as can be, and in time will bring men vnto the sin against the holy Ghost, which is vnpardonable.

Now for the consolation of those that do all their good workes as in the sight of God, debarring themselues from all vaineglorious applauses, and commendations in the world, and in themselues too, it is said further, that thy father which seeth thee in secret, will reward thee openly to shew, first, that we must indeuour to approue our selues vnto God, and not vn­to the world: like an honest wife, that will so attire her selfe, and so be­haue [Page 110] her selfe in all things, as she may please her owne husband, and not other men. And next, that the best way to weane our selues from these vaine desires of worldly praise is, to consider effectually, and to remem­ber continually, that we are still, at all times, and in all places in the sight of our heauenly father, to whom we either stand or fall, and of whome we shall be abundantly rewarded openly (according to his gracious pre­mise) for that which faithfully we haue done in secret. And lastly, to shew that those which seeke for open praise of men, or giue vnto them­selues any secret praise, to the impeachment of Gods glorie, cannot look for any open reward at Gods hand in the day of iudgement: but those that are perswaded of that, and moued effectually with that, do not care which way it goeth with them in the world, so that they may be appro­ued of God their heauenly Father, and carry a good conscience vnto their graues. Here be three things attributed vnto God our heauenly Father: First, that he seeth those things that are done in secret. Secondly, that he will reward the good that we do in secret. Thirdly, that he will reward it openly. Fitly are these things propounded to the children of God, that they may accustome themselues to do whatsoeuer they do, as in the sight of God: and to approue themselues vnto their heauenly Father. And as fitly are these three opposed to the vanitie of the flesh, all which men do so hunt after.

For the first: that God seerh and knoweth all things that are done in secret, the Scriptures in many places do witnesse: Whither shall I go from thy presence? (saith the Psalmist) If I go vp to heauen, thou art there, if I go downe to hel, Psal. 139. thou art there: If I go beyond the sea, thy right hand will there find me out: if I say that darkenesse shall couer me, behold darkenesse and light to thee are both alike, thou art about my bed, and spyest out all my waies, and thou knowest all my thoughts long before: meaning before they are conceiued. Againe:Psal. 94. He that made the eye, shall he not see? and he that made the eare, shall he not heare? And againe, by Ieremie the Lord saith: I the Lord search the hearts, Ier. 17.10. and trie the reines. A point this is very neces­sarie to be vrged. For first, the wicked either beleeue it not, or they re­gard it not. Many will confesse that there is a God, which yet are not a­shamed to say with the wicked in the 10. Psalme: Tush the Lord seeth vs not; or if he seeth what we do, he doth not regard: and thereupon they make themselues bold to commit all wickednesse with greedinesse: for would so many so desperately else giue ouer themselues, some to theft, some to whoredome, some to drunkennesse, some to practising of mur­ther, and some to the contriuing of treason: if they were perswaded that the Lord of heauen and earth did looke vpon them in secret: and take a [Page 111] note of that which they do in secret? and heape vp vengeance as they heape vp sinne? Would the foule mouthed blasphemer sweare againe, when he is reproued for his swearing, in despite of God (whose most ho­ly and fearefull name he doth abuse) and of him that in the name of God doth reproue him: if he were perswaded that the Lord did heare him, & marke how he doth abuse his name? would so many beate their braines, and studie so hard as they do in secret, to practise all kind of wrong and oppression, and how to couer it with flatterie and deceipt, if they belee­ued that God did see them or regard? In a word, would so many come to the Church, and make a shew of great deuotion, and play the hypocrits, hardening their hearts against the word of God, and imagining euill, and descanting vpon euery word at their pleasure, if they did beleeue that God did see them in secret? And what is this but plaine Atheisme? to say there is a God, and not to beleeue that this God seeth in secret? What is this but to make an idoll of the true God? If this be Atheisme (as doubt­lesse it is, though not in the highest degree) then how many Atheists are there which liue so, as if God did not see them in secret? for in secret they conceiue their wickednesse, and in publike they bring foorth vngodli­nesse: for why, they thinke themselues cocke sure, so long as God (as they imagine) doth not see their secret deuises, or not regard them. They thinke that because they see not the Lord, therefore the Lord seeth not them:Num. 23. like Balaam who feared not the Angell because he saw not the Angell: but it is said, that his beast feared him, and stayed so soone as he saw him: to shew, that those which know that God doth see them, and yet go on still in their wickednesse, are worse then the beast: and that asse shall condemne them. This doctrine is also to be vrged in regard of the godly themselues, who though they know and confesse it to be most true, and can alleadge many Texts of the Scripture, to proue that God hath all knowledge, and seeth all things that are done in secret: yet they haue not so powerfull vse of this doctrine as they should. Then is it pow­erfull vnto vs, when (by the Spirite of God) our hearts are kept in awe, and made afraid to do those things that will offend his Maiestie, as Io­seph who (knowing this point well) feared therefore to yeeld to the lewd motion of his light mistresse.

How many sinnes do of a sudden steale vpon vs, and slippe from vs, when we thinke not of this, that God seeth in secret? How many againe are arrested (as it were) and taken in the manner, yea and staid from go­ing forward, when once this meditation commeth to mind: God seeth in secret? We are alwaies conuersant in his eyesight, neither can we pos­sibly do or conceiue any thing, be it neuer so secret, but that he seeth it.

[Page 112]It is a signe of great rashnesse and impudent audacitie, if a sonne with­out feare of his fathers displeasure dareth do a fault in the sight and pre­sence of his father. Nay what strumpet so impudent that in her husbands sight dareth prostitute herselfe before another? yea would she not be a­shamed and afraid too, if but a little child were in presence? What then shall we thinke of our selues, that dare boldly without feare, confidently without doubting, impudently without blush ing, and continually with­out ceassing, do those things in the sight of Almightie God our heauenly Father, which we feare and shame to doe in the presence of a mortall man, or a little child? The breath of man is in his nosthrils, but the least glimpse of Gods diuine, imperiall, and immortall Maiestie, is able to con­found and crush in peeces tenne thousand worlds at once. As God doth see his children in secret, so he doth looke vpon them as a heauenly Fa­ther, and not as a cruell enemie, or rigorous Iudge, when they do well: and being well pleased with Christ Iesus his naturall sonne, doth also take great delights in the indeuours of his adopted children which are in Christ Iesus: and therefore doth he delight in them, because they are in Christ Iesus, and else not. Therefore whatsoeuer deuotion or seruice we offer vnto God in secret or otherwise, it must be offered in and through Christ, for whose sake alone it is acceptable, or else it (being without Christ) is vnto God most abhominable.

Secondly, it is said that our heauenly Father will reward his childrē for that they giue in secret. And this is a good encouragement to the godly. For flesh and bloud (vnlesse it hath some hope of reward) thinks it altogether lost which is giuen to the poore. It is not lost saith Christ, it shall be rewarded of your heauenly Father. Therefore well saith a learned man: Eleemosina non est dispendium, sed negotiatio: Almes giuing is no losse or damage, but a kind of traffique or merchandise from hea­uen. For whatsoeuer we lay out here vpon Christs poore needie mem­bers, it shall be payed againe with aduantage.Eccles. 11.1. Cast thy bread vpon the waters (saith Salomon) for after many dayes thou shalt find it: that is, feare not to bestow thy liberalitie vpon the poore, which can giue thee no­thing againe, and though it seeme to be lost as that which is cast into the sea, yet after many daies, that is, when thou doest least looke for it, and thinkest that it is forgotten, and worne out with time, thou shalt find it againe, thy heauenly Father with whom a thousand yeares are but as one day will reward thee for it, if thou giue of faith in his sonne Christ.

Lastly: because we naturally affect popular praise, and desire to be famous, Christ saith, that our heauenly Father will not onely reward [Page 113] vs, but it shall also be openly. This our Sauiour Christ plainly sheweth in Luk. 14.13.14,Luk. 14.13.14. When thou makest a feast call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, nor thy acquaintance, nor thy rich neighbours, least they also bid thee againe, and a recompence be made thee: but call the poore, the lame, the maymed, and the blind, and thou shalt be blessed, because they cannot recom­pence thee, for thou shalt be recompenced at the resurrection of the iust: that is, if thou regardest a good reward indeed, then rather call the poore then the rich. What recompence this is that shall be giuen in behalfe of the poore Christ also sheweth in Mat. 25.34.Mat. 25.24. where he sheweth that it shall be said to them on the right hand, Come ye blessed of my Father, inherite the kingdome prepared for you from the beginning of the world: for I was a hungred, and ye gaue me meat, &c. for in asmuch as ye haue done it to one of the least of these my brethren, ye haue done it vnto me: that is, I take it as done vnto my selfe, which you haue done vnto these poore ones that beleeue in me, and for whom I haue died. What manner of reward is this?Luk. 1.29. We may well wonder at this reward: as Mary did at the An­gels salutation: for the Angell did not salute her as her neighbours v­sed to salute her: and God doth not reward his children in whom (for his beloued Sons sake) he taketh delight, as men reward their friends. Amongst men ye shall haue a dinner for a dinner, and one good turne for another: but here is a kingdom giuen for giuing a peece of bread, or cloth, or drinke, or cōfortable speeches, which they haue not giuē nei­ther as owners therof, but as stewards put in trust from God. And what kingdome? No lesse then the kingdome of heauen. And how? not as a lease, or a farme, or a coppie hold for yeares: but as an inheritance of their Father for euer. And this shall be giuen them in possession with al the grace and glorie that can be, not in the presence of some few per­sons, of this place, or that countrey, but before all the inhabitants of the whole world, at the sight and hearing wherof, the wicked and vn­godly hypocrites, who sold their good deedes for worldly praise and filthie lucre,Gen. 25.33. Heb. 12.16. as prophane Esau did his birthright for a messe of pottage, shall euen gnash with their teeth for griefe, and consume away like the smoke against the wind, through extremitie of feare, griefe, and shame: being withall at the same instant ouerwhelmed with the most dread­full and intollerable sentence of Gods euerlasting curse, which in like manner is set downe alreadie: Depart from me ye cursed into euerlasting fire, which is prepared for the diuell and his Angels: from which the Lord for his rich mercies sake in Christ Iesus deliuer vs all. Now my brethrē by this time I hope you be perswaded, that there is nothing lost by that which a man doth vnto God in secret, or vnto any of Gods Church [Page 114] for the loue of God. For God that is loue it selfe, and infinite in loue, cannot but infinitely reward the loue of his children, which any way they haue shewed vnto his Maiestie, especially seeing as he crowneth not our gifts to him, but his owne gifts in vs, which we receiued first of him. And what can we desire more? Would we be seene when we do well? behold who seeth vs, euen God our heauenly Father, who is all in all, who cannot deceiue any, nor be deceiued by any. Wouldest thou be rewarded for that thou doest? and would we not loose our la­bour for a toy or a trifle, as many do? then behold our heauenly Father is readie, able and willing to reward vs with a kingdom of eternal hap­pinesse: onely let vs be content with his reward, and tarrie his graci­ous leisure. Would we be openly rewarded and graced by some great person, before many, and before our enemies, that they might be asha­med, and before our friends, that they might with vs reioyce and tri­umph ouer them: then behold, we haue our hearts desire: our heauenly Father will not onely most bountifully reward vs, but also in the open presence, view, and hearing of all the whole world will blesse vs: where all Kings, and Emperours, and Tyrants shall appeare and stand naked: and many of them shall shake and tremble for extreame feare and hor­rour of their owne conscience, and Gods vengeance. Blessed be the most glorious name of our heauenly Father for euer. Amen.

As we haue heard what is to be shunned, and what is chiefly to be re­spected in giuing of almes: so now it will not be amisse to speake some­thing (though but briefly) of almes it selfe:Of almes. and therein to see, first, what this word almes doth signifie. Secondly, to what end, or for what cause God did ordaine that almes should be giuen and taken: or why he would haue any occasion thereof in the world. Thirdly, how men may be mo­ued or induced to giue almes. And lastly, to whom almes must be giuen. For the first: the word almes is deriued of the Greeke word [...], which signifieth mercie. Therefore as that is called grace which is giuen of grace, so that is called mercie which is giuen of mercie. Almes then is some benefite that is bestowed freely vpon the poore and needie, onely of a mercifull and pitifull affection, and fellow feeling of his griefe and want. So the Samaritane is said to haue shewed compassion and mercie vpon the wounded man, when he powred oyle into his woundes, and holpe him vp to his beast, and laid out money for him at the Inne, and gaue his word for him: this was a right almes giuer, which gaue of pitie, and was moued by mercie: which is nothing else but a griefe and sicknes of the mind for anothers miserie, and makes a man readie to releeue the same. And of almes some is true, and some is false; that is true almes [Page 115] which comes from them that giue of mercie, and compassion, or feeling of anothers miserie, who is sicke and troubled in his mind vntill his bro­thers miserie be releeued. That is a false almes which comes from hypo­crites, who giue not of any mercie, or compassion, but of some other straunge affections, seeking either to winne fame, or to auoid shame, or because they are compelled by law to giue something. For otherwise, if they should see their poore brother in neuer so great need alone, and no bodie by them to see them when they giue, or if there were not others to giue before them, and to wonder at them for their hardnesse of heart, or some law to compell them, they would go by him, and come by him too often inough, and let him die too for want, before they would part with any thing to saue him. That our almes may be true almes, or mercies gift indeed, it is not so materiall how honest, or dishonest, how good or how bad he be to whō we giue, nor whether it be much or little that we giue, but with what mind we giue.Musc. Discriminat in hac causa non dati sed danti­um diuersitas, saith a learned Writer: It is not the diuersitie of gifts, but the diuersitie of giuers that make the difference in this cause:Mar. 12.42. The rich men of their aboundance cast much into the treasurie, and the poore widow cast in two mites which makes a farthing. Now (by the iudgement of Christ) she cast in more then the rich men did, because they of their superfluitie gaue some, but she gaue all that she had. And so it is we see by daily experi­ence, that many a meane man considering his abilitie, or rather his inabi­litie, doth giue more when he giueth a peny, then some rich man doth when he giueth a pound. And perhaps as he giueth all that he hath in cō ­parison of some other, so he parteth from it with a better mind then some that giue more, and can better spare it then he. Diuerse do examine (in gi­uing of almes) whether he be a good man or no to whom they giue, as though it were of necessitie required to the truth of almes, that he must be a good man to whom almes is giuen, and not rather a good man that giueth it: Facile dignus est pauper, hoc ipso quod miser est & egenus, vt e­leemosynam accipiat (saith Musculus:) A poore man is capable inough of an almes, in that he is in miserie and want.

Some say, they would giue almes if they were able; but let them giue of that small abilitie that they haue, a little, and it shall be acceptable before God, being giuē of a pitiful mind. There is the alms of the hand, & the almes of the tongue, and the almes of the eyes, & the almes of the heart. The almes of the hand is some visible thing giuen, as gold, siluer, bread, cloth, &c. The tongues almes is two fold: first, good counsell, and comfortable speeches, which oftentimes do more good then gold and siluer: such an almes did Peter bestow vpon the creeple, when he [Page 116] said: Siluer and gold I haue none, but such as I haue I giue thee: in the name of Iesus arise and walke, Act. 2. Secondly, earnest prayer vnto God: such an almes did the Church bestow vpon Peter when he was in prison: and it releeued him more then mony: for it caused the prison doores to open alone, and Peter escaped. Act. 12. The eyes almes, are teares for the cala­mities of other, proceeding from a sorrowfull heart: such an almes did the women of Ierusalem bestow vpon our Sauiour Christ when he went to suffer death. And Christ noted thē in gracious termes for it, saying: Weepe not for me daughters of Ierusalem: but weepe for your selues, &c. The almes of the heart is a certaine griefe and sorrow arising from the feeling of ano­thers miserie, and is the mother of all the rest, if abilitie serue: and of all th [...]se, he that cannot giue one may affoord another. Some giue, but it is grudgingly, and angerly, and some in pollicie onely, to please vnruly persons, and stay a further mischiefe, for feare that else they should lose all: like those that cast bread to a dogge for feare of biting: these giue no good almes. No more do those that giue somewhat of that which they haue ill gotten, to the end they might keepe the rest in the better 4 securitie. Nor they that giue of a vainglorious affection, to seeme to be mercifull, when they be nothing lesse. We are not to iudge any mans hart: but euery man by this doctrine is to examine and iudge his owne heart.

Now we are to see why the Lord will haue almes to be giuen, that is: why it is his pleasure to haue poore men in the world, that shal stand in neede of the rich mans almes; for, it cannot be denied but that this is the Lords doing:Pro. 22.2. as Salomon saith: The rich and the poore meete toge­ther, but the Lord is the maker of all: He could haue made many women for one man (saith the prophet) for he had abundance of spirit, meaning he had power inough to giue many wiues to one husband; but he made but one wife for one husband:Mal. 2.15. and why but one? because he sought a godly seede. So he could haue made all rich, or those rich which he made poore, & those poore which he made rich: for he had abundance and inough for euery one, if euery one had bene a world: and yet he would not do so: but would haue some to be rich & some to be poore. And why so? Surely to giue thereby occasions of patience (as he doth vnto the poore by their pouertie) and of liberalitie, and doing of good, as he doth vnto the rich by placing of poore and needy amongst them. God could haue brought to passe, that sinne should neuer haue bene in the world, if it had so pleased him, but then how should his iustice haue appeared in punishing the vessels of his wrath: and the riches of his mercie bene manifested in pardoning his elect? Euen so, if he had [Page 117] made all rich and none poore, what should then the rich haue had to exercise their liberalitie vpon? and wherwithall should the patience of the needy haue bene tried? Both rich and poore therfore hath he made for the manifesting of the singular worke of his Spirit to his own praise and glory in both. Let not therefore the rich contemne the poore: be­cause they haue not their aboundance for themselues, but as stewards appointed of God to releeue therewith those which want. Neither let the poore enuie the rich, or impatiently beare their burden: because God hath prouided that their want should be supplied by the rich: but let both poore and rich glorifie God in their estate and calling, and know, that if they vse the same to that end that God hath ordained them for, they shall reape vnto themselues the most sweete fruits of the sanctifying spirit, vnto the sealing vp of their euerlasting election and adoption in Christ.

In the next place we are to consider, how men may be moued or in­duced to giue almes willingly and chearefully. First, because almes gi­uing 1 is nothing else but a worke of mercie, as almes it selfe is mercies gift, it can haue no better inforcer to worke then mercie it selfe: that is, a compassion or fellow feeling of another mans miserie, which natural­ly should be in al mē. But because that is by natural corruption deaded in some, & turned into a sottish kind of inhumanitie in others, & weak­ned in all: Therefore secondly, it is needfull that we be regenerated & 2 made new men by the Spirite of God, who by his heauenly grace and effectuall working in vs, may restore that which is lost, and cause mer­cie to appeare in her liuely hew and beautifull colour againe. Thirdly 3 when we are borne againe▪ it is a motiue of no small force, to consider that Christ in his members is miserable, poore, and needie, and that, whosoeuer doth succour them, is iudged to haue succored Christ him­selfe: as appeareth by the testimonie of Christs owne mouth, in Mat. 25. verse 24. and so forward. Now if it be so that Christ is releeued whē his poore mēbers are releeued, what reason hath any hard harted Na­bal to be so close fisted as many are against poore Christians? conside­ring what Christ hath done for them, for whose sake they ought to o­pen their hand, yea and euen to powre out their very hearts, with al the bowels of mercie and compassion that can be? Christ doth feede vs with heauenly bread, namely, with his owne flesh and bloud to eternal life, and shall not we againe feed him (when he is hungrie) with earth­ly bread? Christ doth cloth vs with garments of immortalitie, and shal not we cloth him when he is naked, with garments which soone weare out and come to nought? Christ will receiue vs into his euerlasting [Page 118] and heauenly habitations, and shall not we receiue him (comming as a poore pilgrime amongst vs) into our earthly mansions? Christ came downe from heauen to vs, not onely to visite vs, but also to cure vs; and shall not we visite him when he is sicke in his members? Christ was imprisoned to set vs at libertie, he was wrongfully condemned, to acquite vs, and miserably accursed to blesse vs, and deepely impo­uerished to enrich vs, and shamefully crucified to redeeme vs, and cru­elly tormented to ease vs: and shall not we vouchsafe to visite him in prison, and endure some paine for the ease of his poore members? Yes verily, and wo, yea ten thousand woes be to them that are ashamed of his bands? All this doth euery one professe that saith, I beleeue the com­munion of Saints. Many do speake those words, but few shew the pow­er therof: most professe, but fewest practise the Communion of Saints: which sheweth plainely, that many moe professe the name of Christ, then do indeede belong vnto him. For none of his members be dead and sencelesse, but are all of them fellow and feeling members, suffe­ring one with another, like the members of a mans bodie, and helping one another as they would be helped themselues. To conclude this point, let vs imagine there is some rich man of whom we haue recei­ued more benefits then euer we are able to recompence. He hath no need of our reward, but onely commendeth vnto vs some poore friend of his, whom he specially loueth, & would require at our hands in token of our thankefull mind, to bestow somewhat vpon that his poore frind: would not al the world cry shame of vs if we should refuse it? Christ himselfe is that rich man, vnto whom for infinite benefits we ow not only great thankfulnes, but euen our selues. And this one thing especially he requireth at our hands, that what we could find in our hearts to do vnto him, we would for his sake do it vnto the poore: whō by speciall charge he hath committed to our care: for which cause he said (when Iudas grudged at the ointment which Mary bestowed on him:)Mar. 14.6.7) Let her alone, why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good worke on me: to shew that those should not be hindred which are about to shew the fruits of loue to Christ; and addeth withall (as a reason why shee should not be hindered:) For ye haue the poore with you alwaies, and whē you will ye may do them good: to shew, that as he was once annoynted & honoured in his owne person, so he lookes still to be annoynted and honoured in his members, which who soeuer refuseth, what loue can he imagine that he beareth vnto Christ? For if the loue of Christ were in him, he would count nothing too deare to bestow vpon Christ: nor yet too hard to suffer for Christ.Gen. 29.20. As it is said of Iacob, that he suffered [Page 119] twice seuen yeares for Rahel, and they seemed vnto him but a few daies, be­cause he loued her: to shew, that such is the nature of loue, that it will make the most hard things become easie, and the most heauie things light for their sakes whom we loue. Lastly, it is requisite that the poore moue the rich vnto the workes of mercie by their good behauiour, shewing themselues thankefull and contented, for whatsoeuer is gi­uen them, and not to harden the harts of men against them, by shifting for themselues, or by pilfering and filching, nor by idle loytering, nor by impudent outfacing, nor by slaunderous backbiting, nor by busie tale-carying: nor by taking in ill part that which is giuen them, as too too many do. For, as many husbands which obey not the word, are wonne to loue their wiues without the word, while they behold the pure con­uersation of their wiues, coupled with feare. 1. Pet. 3.1.2. euen so many rich men which are not yet moued by the word to loue the poore, may in time be wonne without the word, while they behold the honest con­uersation of the poore, coupled with thankefull reuerence and faithfull diligence. Now in the last place it remaineth, onely that in a word wee 4 consider to whom almes must be giuen,To whom we must giue. and that is generally to euery one that craueth the same, hauing need therof, according to Christs com­mandement: giue to euery one that asketh of thee. Luk. 6.30. Meaning if he hath need, and thou be able to supply his want: but more especially to those that are godly, and well disposed, according to the restraint that the Apostle hath made in Gal. 6.10.Gal. 6.10. Let vs do good vnto al mē, but especially to those that are of the houshold of faith: but most especially vnto those faithfull ones that are of our own houshold, stock or kinred. As Ioseph gaue messes of meate vnto all his brethren,Gen. 45.22, 23. and change of raiment: but vnto Beniamin whom he loued better then the rest, he gaue three hundred peeces of siluer, and fiue suits of raiment, and vnto his father (who was dearer vnto him then his brother Beniamin) he sent tenne hee Asses laden with the best things of Egypt, and tenne she Asses laden with wheate, and bread, and meate, for his father by the way. And they are no men but monsters, that being able, suffer their parents and kindred to perish for want of releefe. And yet it is not meant that we must giue to euery one that shall aske of vs without exception, for then we shall in short space go a begging our selues; yea if we had the treasures of a King. This did a certaine Em­perour well consider, to whome on a time (as they say) a certaine bold faced companion came, and desired his Maiestie to bestow some reward vpon a poore kinseman of his: I am your kinseman, quoth he, both by fa­ther and mother: for we come all of Adam and Eue. Indeede thou saiest true, quoth the Emperour: and with that drew foorth his purse and [Page 120] gaue him a peny. A penie (quoth the other) shall I haue no more but a penie? a simple reward from an Emperor. Hold thy selfe content, quoth the Emperour, if I should giue to euery one of my kinsemen a peny, I should soone become a poore Emperour. Euen so, if we should giue to euery one that would aske of vs, we should soone emptie our selues, and begge too. But it is meant that we must giue as we are able, hauing respect to time, and place, and occasion, and as we are appointed by order of law, and ciuill pollicie, & yet still in compassion. As for coun­terfeits & idlepacks, they must be wisely looked vnto, and seuerely pu­nished when they are found out:Ios. 9. as Iosua did, who punished the Gibe­onites when they counterfeited themselues to be farre trauellers, when they were his next neighbours. Some become miserable through ga­ming, tipling, & carrowsing, through idlenesse and bad companie kee­ping: to these belong a threefold almes: instruction, correction, and yet some contribution too, as is allowed vnto malefactours in prison, vntill by order of law, and sword of iustice, a riddance may be made of them▪ if otherwise they will not be reformed: for by the rule of the word, he that will not labour, must not eate.

Now let vs praise God.

THE ANATOMIE OF BELI …

THE ANATOMIE OF BELIAL.

SET FORTH IN TEN SERMONS vpon the 12.13.14. and 15. verses of the 6. Chapter of the Prouerbes of Salomon.

The summe whereof is set foorth in the next Page.

Imprinted at London by Richard Field for Thomas Man. 1602.

A Table shewing the generall contents of the Sermons following.

The Ana­tomy of Belial hath two parts.

  • 1. The descrip­tion of a wicked man, and he is described here, two wayes.
    • 1. By his names that are here gi­uen him, viz.
      • 1. A man of Belial, that is, a lawlesse man.
      • 2. A man of vanitie, that is, vnprofitable.
    • 2. By his actions: and they be two fold.
      • 1. Outward and they be two fold.
        • 1. His spee­ches, and they be described by two ad­iuncts.
          • 1. Of their qua­lity, which is e­uill, for they be froward.
          • 2. Of quantitie, which is great, for they are cō ­tinually froward
        • 2. His ges­tures, al which be significāt, and tending to mischiefe, and they be of his
          • Eyes.
          • Fingers.
          • Feete.
      • 2. Inward, of the hart, and they are set forth,
        • 1. Generally. Lewd things are in his hart.
        • 2. Particularly, by noting two vile & odious properties springing frō a lewd hart.
          • 1. That he is gi­uen to i­magine and sur­mise, whose i­magina­tions are
            • 1. Euil.
            • 2. Continu­ally euill.
          • 2. That he rai­seth vp conten­tions.
  • 2. His destru­ction, and that is amplified by noting,
    • 1. The maner of the comming which is fearful, in regard of
      • 1. The speedinesse.
      • 2. The suddennesse.
    • 2. The continuance of it, which is long, yea euerlasting with­out ende, for he shall neuer recouer.

THE I. SERMON.

PRO. 6.12.13.14.15.

The vnthrifty man [or the man of Belijal] and the wicked man, or [the man of vanity], walketh with a froward mouth. 13. He maketh a signe with his eyes, he signifieth with his feete, he instructeth with his fingers. 14. Lewd things are in his heart, he imagineth euill continually, and raiseth vp contentions. 15. Therefore his destruction shall come speedi­ly, he shall be destroyed suddenly without recouery.

THis text may well be called the Anatomy of Belial, be­cause it searcheth and openeth euery veine of him, and e­uery sinew of him,Why this text is cal­led the A­natomy of Belial. to the very heart, and to that which is in the heart, as Anatomies do: and sheweth the causes of euery spirituall disease, and the effects of euery cause, and what it is that bringeth the wicked man to his wofull end, as Anatomies doe. And that so liuely, that if any man desire to see a liuely picture, and a true Anatomy of Belial indeede, let him with pati­ence marke, and behold the hand of Gods Spirit, while Belial is a rip­ping vp: and he will say as the people sayd of another action of our Sa­uiour Christ, we neuer saw such a thing. Mark. 2.12. But all is done, and must be done to this end, that we may know our selues. And this indeed is therefore made the Anatomies speech or poesie: Nosce teipsum, know thy selfe: as if he should say, why dost thou stand still gaping and gazing vpon my naked bones? or prying into my bowels & entrails? or iudging of my heart? &c. good leaue hast thou so to do, but learne by me then what thou art, and what thou shalt be thy selfe.

This Anatomie is altogether spiritual,The parts of this A­natmomy. and hath in it two parts. First, the description of a wiked man: secondly, his iudgemēt. He is described two waies: first, by his name: secondly, by his actions. His name setteth out his nature, and it is double: first, he is called in the Ebrew tongue, A man of Beliall: that is, a lawlesse person. Secondly, he is called in the same tongue, A man of vanitie: that is, a man altogether vnprofitable. As he is described by his names, so also is he knowne by his actions, and they be of two sorts, outward and inward: his outward actions are also two fold, his speeches, and his gestures. His speeches are set forth [Page 124] by two adiuncts, or circumstances: first, of their quality, then of their quantitie: for their qualitie, they be very euill, for they be altogether fro­ward: for their quantitie, they exceede, for he walketh with a froward mouth, that is, he is continually froward. His gestures are also obser­ued, the gestures of his eyes, of his fingers, and of his feete, and all of them are very significant, and tending to set forward sinne. The inward actions of his heart, are layed forth two wayes. First, [...], or in gene­rall tearmes, saying: Lewd things are in his heart. Secondly, [...], or in particular obseruations, by noting two vile properties arising from a lewd hart. First, that he imagineth euill continually. Secondly, he raiseth vp contentions. After his description commeth his iudgement, and that is, to be destroyed: and this destruction is amplified further, by shewing the fearefull manner of the coming thereof: for it shall come speedily without delay, and suddenly without any warning, before he looketh for it. Secondly, the euerlasting continuance of it: for it shall be with­out recouery.

Iudg. 19. v [...]lt.In the Scripture we reade of a Leuite that cut his wife in peeces, when others has wickedly abused her to the death, and sent her quarters vnto the twelue tribes of Israel, with this motion and mes­sage: Consider the matter, consult, and giue sentence. But here the Lord hath cut Belial in peeces, who was the cause of his owne death, and hath hanged vp his quarters (as it were) in his word, which he hath sent into all parts of the world, that his people might consider the matter, consult, and confirme the sentence of the Lord: and also take example by him, least we come into the same case.

But before we come to the particular examination of Belials markes, it shall not be amisse to enquire of three very necessary points.3. Points. The first is, to what end this description is made. Secondly, whether we may by the same description take vpon vs to iudge who is a man of Belial. And thirdly, what may be learned from the coherence of this text, with the rest of the Chapter.

For the first point: Machiuels and Atheistes thinke that all the Bible, and all preaching,To what end this Anatomy tendeth. Not for pollicy. and all religion, is but matter of pollicy, to keepe men in awe: and so consequently that this that is sayd of Belial is so too. For that diuell that told Adam that he should not dye, though he did trans­gresse the commaundement of God: doth also tell these fellowes, that whatsoeuer the Scriptures say, or Preachers babble (as they say) yet they shall not dye the death. But what could Eue say at the last? The Serpent deceiued me. So will these cry one day: Sathan hath deceiued vs. Well, leaue them to the Lord, and let vs know for certaine truth, that whatso­euer [Page 125] is written before hand in the Scripture is written for our learning, as the Apostle saith;Rom. 15.4. and therefore this Scripture also is written for our lear­ning as well as any other.

God hath not taken such paines (as I may say) in making and setting forth Belials picture,Nor to gaze at, in this liuely sort as you see, to that end that we should do nothing but stand and gaze at his picture, but that we should note him well,But to know him & auoide him. Belial in like a run­agate. and learne to know him when we see him, and to auoide him when we know him. For, Belial is like a runagate, who hath done that which he is ashamed of, & hauing stolne the cloke of vertue, and ho­nestie, is runne away with the same vpon his backe, seeking how to hide himselfe in the world. And for feare of being taken, he hath gotten him­self into seruice with great mē of the world, like Elimas with the Deputy. And hath so won their fauors,Act. 13. that he walketh with them in the fields, & strowteth it with them in the streetes: he feasteth with them at their ta­bles: he buyeth and selleth for them in their shops: he tradeth for them beyond the seas: he courteth with the most gallant in the court: He hath found a place in the Vniuersities amongst scholers: in Cities a­mongst merchants:What en­tertainmēt and friend­ship Belial hath in all places. in Churches amongst Preachers: in iudgement hals amongst Lawyers: in Consistories amongst Doctours, and proctors: at Theaters amongst players: in housholds amongst seruants and children: in Gentlemens houses amongst seruingmen and their maisters. He hath learned to insinuate himselfe into the company of all states and degrees: and hath found the fauour to be shrowded amongst Captaines and souldiers, amongst Lords and Ladies, amongst Knights and Esquires, amongst yeomen and artificers, amongst prentises and iourny-men, and where not? And if need be, he can haue a licence to go beyond the seas amongst Italians & Barbarians, and to come from all places of the world,Vertue and godlinesse can neuer get good seruice nor good ma­riage. and be welcome at his good leasure and plea­sure: and all this can Belial do, and more then this too: for, he hath a great number of foule deformed vices, and monstrous vgly abuses, which are all begotten of his owne body, both male and female, which he can easily preferre into seruice. And so well are they brought vp by the double diligence of his brother Machiauell, that many become sutors vnto them, and glad is he that can match his son, or his daugh­ter with one of them, when vertue and godlinesse may go through the world, and can harldy get a seruice, except in the iayle, or in some beg­gers cottage: much lesse can they get a good mariage: and if they do hit vpon a good mariage, it will not be long before they shall be di­uorced againe.

But Belial with his cubs, because they are euery where, are thought [Page 126] to be no where: but the Lord from whom they are run away, he know­eth them well inough. And here he hath made out a warrant,Gods war­rant for the attaching of Belial. you see, to attach them wheresoeuer they can be found, and to summon them to answer for themselues before Gods iudgement seate: which warrant is committed to all Magistrates, Ministers and other of his faithfull peo­ple and subiects. And because many say they cannot know Belial, and they must take heede how they detect any by that name: therefore the Lord hath well prouided here for his people, and in this his attachment hath put downe such markes and notes, of his talke, of his name, of his gestures, &c. that vnlesse men will be wilfully blind, they cannot chuse but know him, although he goeth neuer so disguisedly, and denieth his name neuer so stoutly.

And indeed let Belial be arrested at Gods sute for dishonouring him, or at Christs sute for crucifying him, or at the Churches sute for persecu­ting her, or at the Gospels sute, for slandering of it, or at Religions sute for contemning of it (as all these actions and many more will come against him one day) he will straight way deny his name,What acti­ons come against Be­lial, and at whose sute. and say, You mistake me sir, I am not the man that you looke for, &c. Then those men which want either will, or skill, or courage, or all (nor greatly regarding the words of their warrant) take his word for the matter, and so let him go for an honest man: but those that are wise in God, can easily discerne Be­lial from an honest man, as King Salomon could well descry the harlot from the true mother of the child, because the wisedome of God was with him.1 King. 3. vlt. And the godly wise haue learned to say to Belial as the damsell sayd once vnto Peter: Surely thou art one of them, for thy voice bewraieth thee: So, thou art one of the men of Belial: How Belial is descried by the god­ly wise. for thy filthy speeches be­wray thee, thy outragious oathes bewray thee, thy proud and profane gestures bewray thee, thy lewd and contentious behauiour bewray thee, therefore it is but a folly to denie thy name: for as the Asse is knowne by his braying, and the length of his eares, to be an Asse, though he iet it in a Lions skin: so, thou art knowne by thy conditions to be a man of Belial, although thou goest in the habite of an honest religious, or religious ho­nest man.

When our Sauiour Christ said that one should betray him who was then in presence with him, there was looking one vpon another, and eue­ry man was iealous ouer himself, saying: Is it I? Is it I? But what saith our Sauiour Christ? He that dippeth his finger with me in the dish, that is the man that shall betray me. He named no body: but that was inough, for thus might any one conclude vppon Christs words,A strong argument. He that dippeth his hand now with Christ in the dish, is the traytour: but Iudas dippeth his [Page 127] hand now with Christ in the dish, therefore Iudas is the traitor. In like maner, when God saith, there be wicked men of Belial, and vaine men, lawlesse persons, and vnprofitable, that must be destroyed speedily, so­denly, and without recouery: now euery man will put it off from him selfe, and say, that he is not that man of Belial, &c. But what saith the Lord? he nameth none, but noteth them thus: The man of Belial and the vaine man, walketh with a froward mouth: he maketh a signe with his eyes, &c. that is, he that walketh with a froward mouth, he that is lawlesse in his affections, he that is vnprofitable in his conuersation, he that imagi­neth euill at all times, and raiseth vp contentions, he is that man of Belial, that must be destroyed if he repent not: then may we conclude thus: But such a one walketh with a froward mouth, &c. and hath all the markes of Belial, and therefore he is a man of Belial. And thus we se to what end this description of Belial is set forth, namely to that end that we might know him, when we meet him, and auoide him when we know him. And now let vs go to another point, and see whether it be lawful for Christians to iudge of another,2 Point. A point of ingratitude and an a­buse of Gods mer­cie to out­face the truth. To take the notes that God hath giuen is not to iudge, but to pro­nounce the iudgement of God. Christs wordes Iudge not, how they are abused by the wicked. The impu­dency of the coue­tous man. by this description or no.

It is no small mercy of God so exactly to anatomize, or describe the wicked man: for by this meanes, one shall not be taken for another: and Christians knowing for certaine a wicked man by his picture, may more easily auoide him, more safely reproue him, and more freely giue Vertue her robes and her ornaments againe, when Belial that runagate is stript out of all, and turned out naked as he deserueth. But intollerable is the vnthankfulnesse of many, and by this doctrine to be reproued, that so a­buse the mercy of God, as to outface the truth euen now in the day light of the Gospell, and glorious truth of the Lord. So shamelesse and impudent are the fauourites of Belial, that they will not sticke to say: How know you that he is a wicked man, or a wicked woman? Oh you may not iudge, you may not iudge, when we do but iudge the tree by the fruites, and pronounce that which God hath set downe. Now he that taketh the notes which God hath giuen him, doth not iudge, but onely pronounceth the iudgement of God.

Whatsoeuer the wicked do, yet when they daunce in this net, You must not iudge, &c. they thinke themselues safe, like the foolish bird cal­led the Ostrich, which putteth her head into a bush, and then thinketh that no body seeth her, though all her body be out of the bush. If a wic­ked man be reproued for couetousnesse, what is his defence but this: How know you that I am couetous? you may not iudge, when all his life fauoureth of nothing else but greedy couetousnesse, all his talke is of worldly matters, for heauenly things he can find no leisure, no time to [Page 128] heare the word, and yet how know you that he is couetous? He getteth al mens trades into his hands, to the spoile and decay of many that would liue by him: he will be a mercer, a grocer, a draper, a cutler, an armourer, a girdler, a malster, a brewer, a corne-bodger, a gamester, and what not? and so ouerdroopeth all occupations about him, and vnder him, that none can thriue but he: and yet how know you that he is a worldling?Of the proud mā. In the like sort if the wicked Belial be reproued for pride, he will straight be at defiance with you, and for his defence, this shall be his plea: How know you that he is proud? you may not iudge, &c. when all their whole life bewrayeth nothing else: euery day a new fashion: all the day little inough for their curling, and crisping, and frisling, and pluming, and setting &c. Their gate must be counterfeit, their speech is counter­feit, their beauty is counterfeit, their haire is counterfeit, and yet how know you that teyh be proud?Of the in­continent person. In like manner will the lasciuious and incontinent person pleade for himselfe: you may not iudge, when all his life doth stinke of his filthinesse, when he hunteth harlots houses: yea though the streetes swarme with his bastards, though he doth daily vomit out filthy, shamelesse, and ribaldry speeches: yet he may be an honest man,The wic­ked are patrons one to a­nother. will some say: Oh it is hard to iudge. These are such as claime pa­tronage one of another, claw me, & I will claw thee. They will stand out with it at the barre with God himselfe, as in Math. 3.8. Your words haue bene stout against me (sayth the Lord:) But they aunswere: What haue we sayd? But they that make no conscience of iustifying wicked men, will make no conscience to iustifie wickednesse it selfe in time: as Salomon made no bones of idolatrie, when once he liked idolatrous women.

Howe Christs words in Mat. 7.1. are to be vnder­stood. 1. Cor. 10. 1 Cor. 11. Phil. 1.9.It is sayd indeede, Iudge not that ye be not iudged, Math. 7.1. But that place is to be vnderstood against rash iudgement, not iudgement sim­ply, for other places do allow of iudging, but no place alloweth rash, hastie, and peremptorie iudging. The Apostle Saint Paule handling the doctrine of the Lords supper, sayth vnto his auditours the Corinths, Iudge ye what I say: to shew that Christians must be able to iudge of do­ctrine. And speaking of the preparation of Christians before they come to the Lords table, he saith: Iudge your selues: to shew that Christians must be able to iudge of their owne estate. In another place he prayeth that the Church of Christ may abound in all knowledge and iudge­ment, and giueth a reason, that they may be able to discerne things that differ.Deut. In another place the Lord himself saith: Iudge righteous iudgemēt. All which places (besides infinite more to the like effect) do shew that [Page 129] our Sauior Christ for bad not all kind of iudgement: they may as well con­clude that there must be no Iudges, nor iudgement seats: no courts, nor verdicts, no Assises, nor sessions, because Christ hath sayd: Iudge not: and so we should make a good peece of worke quickly. But harken now what common reason sayth to the matter. Shall not the Goldsmith iudge of mettals, because Christ hath sayd, Iudge not? Shall not the Phi­sition iudge of a sicke body, because Christ hath sayd, Iudge not? Shall not a iury of twelue men iudge of a fellon, because Christ hath sayd iudge not? Shall not the Iudge giue iudgement vpon a malefactour, because Christ hath sayd, Iudge not? Shall not the eare iudge of sounds, and the eye of colours, and the nose of smels, and the pallate of meates, because Christ hath sayd Iudge not? Yes: you will say all. Very well: And shall not a Christian also by the powers of his inward man discerne betweene a good man and a wicked man, because Christ hath sayd, Iudge not? Or doth all power of iudging, and ability of discerning be­long onely to the outward man, and none to the inward man? or shall the inward man be able to iudge of euery thing, sauing of mens actions and behauiour?1. Cor. 2.14. That is very absurd. The naturall man percei­ueth not the things of God, sayth the Apostle, because they are spiritu­all, and must be spiritually discerned: but the spirituall man iudgeth all things, and is iudged of none: that is, of no carnall man is he rightly iud­ged, for the carnall man can no more iudge of the spirituall man and his actions, then a blind man can iudge of colours. Therefore, though Christ hath sayd, Iudge not, yet will no man loose his authority in place of iudgement,They that cry out, you must not iudge, are most rash them­selues in iudging of others. The iudge­mēt which wicked mē giue of the godly and of others is peruerse, & peposte­rous. nor the priuiledge of his sight, nor of his hearing, nor of his tasting, nor the vse of naturall reason. Nay more, though Christ hath sayd, Iudge not, yet these fellowes will not sticke to be most swift iudges of others themselues: for do they see another man zealous in religion, deuout in prayer, a diligent hearer of the word of God, a painefull sear­cher of the Scripture? a seuere reprouer of sinne, and a strict man in his life and conuersation? what is their verdict of such a one? For­sooth, such a one is an hypocrite, a Puritane, a Precisian; oh fie vppon him, none are worse then these professours, a busie fellow I warrant you, a dangerous man, an enemy to the state, &c. But if a man will serue the time, and play the pot companion, and become an vnthrift, a gamster, a tauerne hunter, or a whore hunter, and blaspheme the sa­cred name of God at euery word, and scoffe handsomely at religion: then their verdict is this, and their bolt is leuelled in this manner: Such a man is euen the honestest man that liueth, a notable good fellow, [Page 130] and no mans foe but his owne. A preposterous iudgement they giue on both sides, like the Barbarians, with whom Paule was either a murtherer, or a God. But now heare the iudgement of the word con­cerning these swift iudges,Esa. 5.20. & their crooked measures: Wo be vnto them (saith the Prophet Esai) that speake good of euill, and euill of good: which call light darkenesse, and darkenesse light, sower sweete, and sweete sower. He that iustifieth the wicked, Pro. 17.15. and condemneth the innocent, euen both these are abhomination vnto the Lord, saith Salomon. And in another place: He that sayth to the wicked thou art righteous, Pro. 24.24. him shall the people curse, and the multitude shall abhor him. All which places do teach vs two things. First, that it is lawfull for a man to iudge betweene a godly man and a wicked: but then we must beware how we iudge: that we condemne not, or commend not one for another. Secondly, that those which rashly and vnaduisedly iudge of men at their owne pleasure, are the worst men that liue. Let vs learne then to iudge the Lords iudge­ments.Mat. 7. It is an easie way that Christ hath taught: The tree is knowne by his fruites. He that cannot iudge of meate by his taste is sicke: So, they that cannot iudge of sinne for want of spirituall taste, are verie dangerously sicke. When God hath set vp a torch, and lighted it at noone day, and yet we blindfold our selues and will not see, it is vn­thankfulnesse most peeuish and intollerable, which calleth for a most seuere iudgement, euen depriuation ipso facto, of all spirituall vnder­standing,Rom. 1. and to be giuen vp of God vnto a reprobate sence.

But here now groweth a question: whether may we iudge of re­probates vnreuealed or no?We may iudge who is (for the present) a wicked man, but not who is a repro­bate. A simili­tude of a Iury. Verily that is a matter that belongeth not to vs, but to the high Iudge of heauen and earth: Neither doth it follow, that because I see such a one is a wicked man, therefore such a one is a reprobate, and a damned wretch: God forbid we should reason so: for though I see now what he is, yet what he shall be here­after I know not, neither do I know what God hath decreed of him from euerlasting. A Iurie of twelue sworne men do find (being led thereunto by their euidence, that such a one is a theefe, and guilty of felonie, but further they cannot go; to say for certaine that such a one shall dye for it they cannot: for the booke may saue him, or the Iudge may repriue him, or the Prince may pardon him, for any thing that they know: So a Christian by the euidence that Gods word giueth, may find such and such to be guiltie of wickednesse: and for the time may by his fruits pronounce, that he standeth in the state of reprobation, so long as he so continueth: but that he shall dye in [Page 131] that case, is more then he knoweth: for the booke of God may be a meane of his conuersion: and God the iudge of quicke and dead may repriue him to a further time of repentance: and in the end God for his mercies sake in Iesus Christ may pardon him all his sinnes, and so receiue him to mercy: but this is more then any man can assure him­selfe of, if he continueth in his wickednesse: therefore let no man pre­sume to be a wicked man still in hope of mercy, for he may so deceiue himselfe.Cases rare and extra­ordinary. The Church perceiued that Iulianus the Apostata, or backe­sliding Emperour had sinned against the holy Ghost, and therefore was a reprobate that way: whereupon they made a decree, that all the Church should pray against him. Paule by a speciall spirite of dis­cerning, discerned of Alexander the Copper-smith to be a reprobate: and so did our Sauiour Christ discerne of Iudas to be a diuell incarnate,Iohn 6. and so a reprobate: but these are no presidents nor warrants for pri­uate persons to hold by, while they giue finall sentence vpon any. And so much shall suffice for the second point, where we see how farre we may safely go in the iudging of other men by the description of Belial, and how farre not: and now let vs come to the third circumstance, and see what we may learne from the coherence or ioyning of this text with the rest of the Chapter.

In this Chapter,The third point: of the coherence of this text with the rest of the Chapter. Salomon maketh a diuision of sinnes, and dealeth against diuerse kindes of sinne: as namely against rashnesse and vaine­glorie in suretiship, but not against suretiship it selfe, as more at large I haue shewed in my Caueat for sureties: and then he taxeth those that liue idlely for want of a lawfull calling, and negligently in their calling, and vnprofitably both, as before I haue declared (according to my poore measure) in my Rowsing of the sluggard (the greatest enemy I confesse one of them that euer I had to deale withall in my selfe.) And these sinnes he prosecuteth vnto the 12. verse. From those he ariseth, and encountreth with greater, and grosser sinnes, both of men and women vnto the ende of the Chapter:Doct. Gods fanne doth find out all. from whence we may note, that the fanne that God sifteth sinne withall shall find out all, and is like the net that bringeth all to the shore. Some thinke to go away with their sinnes as many theeues do with their pilfers, and not to be e­spied: but it cannot be: for if Gods word may haue free passage, it will find them out. How fondly then do they deceiue themselues, which will haue the word to be sincerely deliuered, and throughly ap­plied, and yet thinke that they should be exempted from the censure and reproofe of the word,Luk. 11.45. and not be touched? Of such we reade in [Page 132] the Gospell:Some look to be dis­pensed with for their sins. and namely of a certaine Lawyer, who hearing our Sauior Christ inueying against some great fault amongst that profession, step­peth vp, and bestirreth himselfe as a fish that felt himselfe masked in the net, and sayth, Maister, in so saying thou puttest vs to rebuke also. Where we see, that there are some sinnes that can be contented to sit stil, & see their fellows arrested, but being attached themselues, they storme, and startle at the very sight of the officer: yea at the very glimering of the light when it commeth to them, supposing themselues to be priui­ledged, by reason that they belong some to Princes, some to Noble­men, some to Gentlemen, some to Lawyers, some to Bishops, and some to their officers, and all retaining to great men in the world, that they should be spared for their maisters sake:Partiality is to be found in the world, but not in the word. No man can escape the power and censure of the word Luk. 12.3 The vse of this point. I. King. 18. which partiall dealing may well befound in the world, but in the word it cannot be: for the word of God is of that largenesse that it compasseth all: of that brightnesse that it discouereth all: of that maiesty, that it astonisheth all: of that power, that it apprehendeth all: and of that authority that it commandeth all. Neither can any sinne, or sinnes, withall the shiftes and deuises in the world escape the power and censure of that word, which hath once spoken the word, and proclaimed it to all the world, that whatsoeuer is done in secret shall be preached on the house top, that is, shall be made knowne to all the world. Therefore, thinke it not strange good bre­thren, if you find your selues touched, and rifled too, when you heare a Sermon, for the word of the Lord being deuided aright, will do both. Say not as Achab sayd to Eliah: Hast thou found me ô my enemy? when your secret and deare sinnes are by the power of the word rightly handled, and applied by your Pastour, or whosoeuer else: for God hath found you out, as he did find out Adam hidden amongst the trees of the garden, or else we should haue lost our selues for euer: and there­fore let vs be thankfull to his Maiesty for so great a mercy,The mini­ster doth but hold forth the glasse that sheweth vs our spots, Ier. 43.3. Ioh. 4. Great sins and small sinnes are knit toge­ther. for it is great indeed: and not be angry with his ministers, who do but hold vs the glasse while we see therein our spots. Neither say you as the proud Iewes did to Ieremy: This is not the word of the Lord which Ieremy speaketh, but he speaketh as Baruch the sonne of Neriah prouoketh him. For it is the nature of the word to tell you all that you haue done, as Christ told the woman of Samaria.

Againe, here we may further obserue, how great sins and small sins are knit together, as great theeues and little theeues lye all in one pri­son, go all in one line, stand all at one barre, and haue all one maner of triall: where we are to note, that Gods Spirit is not so carefull to sift out the lesser offences of men: but the greater also. For, as he is the Iudge of [Page 133] all men, so he dealeth vprightly in equity with all men: and not as the Scribes and Pharisees, nor as their Apes the Papistes, who straine gnattes and swallow camels, while they vrge the tithing of mint, and cummin, and rew, and let the weightier matters of the law go by: who make the breaking of a Popish ceremony, or dirty traditions of men a mortall sinne, but neuer vrge matters of substaunce, either in matters of faith,The lawes of the Po­pish church are like the Spiders web. or manners. Neither are Gods lawes like the Spiders webbe, that catcheth onely little flies, but like the net that taketh the Lion as well as the Hare, which straightnesse and vprightnesse bewrai­eth the crookednes of men. For first, how contrarie to Gods course is the practise of Antichrist, and Papists? For how precise are they in the search­ing out of toyes and trifles, ceremoniall and circumstantiall things, and punishing men for the omission of them? But for the profaning of the Sabboth, for the insufficiency of vnpreaching Ministers, for the con­tempt of Gods word, and such like things, they are not so precise; nay scarse do they account of them as of sinnes.Many pro­fessours are zealous a­gainst smal­ler offences in others, and dispēce with foule abuses in themselues! Our force is to be bent against the least sinnes aswell as the grea­test. This also reproueth ma­ny professours of the Gospell, which will seeme to make a conscience of many matters of lesse moment in others, and dispence with very foule abuses, as of swearing, gaming, &c. both in themselues, and in their families. Whereby all of vs are to be admonished to take that course that Gods Spirite taketh here, and that is, to be as zealous a­gaynst one sinne as against another, and to bend our force a­gainst the greatest as well as against the least: and to pull out as well the beames as the motes, out of our owne eyes, as well, as out of other mens. And so much for the doctrine that ariseth of the cohe­rence, or ioyning of this text with the rest of the Chapter.

Now let vs pray.

THE II. SERMON.

PROV. 6.12.

The vnthrifty man [or the man of Belijal] and the wicked man, or [the man of vanity.]

IN the former Sermon we haue heard to what end this description of a wicked man is made, and how far we may go in iudging him.Of the names of Belial. Now let vs cōsider of his marks (by which he is known, as the Leopard by his spots, and the blacke Moore by his skin.) And first of his names, and they be two.The mea­ning of this phrase, the man of Be­lial among the He­brewes. A dissolute and loose man. The first is Adam Belijahall, the se­cond is Ish-auen, which in our English Bibles are translated, the vn­thrifty man, and the wicked man: the wordes in the originall text are more significant. Adam Belijahall is a phrase whereby the Hebrewes do vse to note out a dissolute and loose man, a lawlesse person without a yoake, that giueth himselfe to do what he list, and is not vnfitly tran­slated, an vnthrifty man, ab effectis, from the effects of lawlesnesse, be­cause such commonly neuer thriue, nor come to any good end. So is this word Belial taken in diuerse other places of the Scripture, as in Deut. 13.13.Deut. 13.13. Wicked men are gone out from among you, meaning chil­dren of Belial, as they are called in the originall. These like lawlesse persons haue drawne away (saith the text) the inhabitants of their city vnto other Gods. So likewise is it taken in the 19. of Iudges verse 22. where it is sayd,Iudg. 19.22. That as the Leuite and his wife were making merry, at an old mans house, who gaue them entertainment in their iourney, the men of the city, euen men of Belial (sayth the text) meaning dissolute and lewd persons giuen to all wickednesse, beset the house round about, and smote at the doore, and enforced the old man, the maister of the house, to bring foorth his guest vnto them, where most villanously they abused the Leuites concubine all night vnto death. In like sort it is taken in the first of Samuel 2. Chapter 12. vers.1. Sam 2.12. where it is sayd that the sonnes of Ely were men of Belial: that is, giuen to all wickednesse. In this sence it is vsed also or abused rather,2. Sa. 16.7. in the 2. of Samuel chap. 16. ver. 7. where that cursed [Page 135] Shimei being a man of Belial himselfe, doth most vndutifully raile vpon King Dauid his Lord and Soueraigne, saying: Come foorth thou man of bloud, and man of Belial. And in the new Testament it is also so taken in the 2. to the Corin. the 6. Chap. and 15. vers. where the Apostle saith: What fellowship is there betwixt Christ and Belial? 2. Cor. 6.15. That is, there is no fellowship betwixt Christ and lawlesse persons, that are giuen to wic­kednesse. And thus were dissolute persons called among the Iewes. The Lord calleth such a kind of persons,Exo. 32.9. A stiffe necked people in Exod. 32.9. Alluding to vntamed oxen, which will not (vnlesse they be en­forced) bow downe their neckes vnto the yoake. Such are those that say in the 2. Psalme. 2.3. ver. Let vs breake their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from vs. Psal. 2.2.3. Such are those also that say (in the 19. of Luke ver. 37.) We will not haue this man to raigne ouer vs. Luke. 19.27. Such are all those who allow Christ to be their Priest, to die for them, but not their Prince to beare rule ouer them. Such also are all those that say (as in Psalme 12. ver. 4.) With our tongue we will preuaile, Psal. 12.4 our lips are our owne, who is Lord ouer vs? And all such are called here in my text, men of Belial, & men of vanity and wickednesse: as if obstinate stubburnnesse were their father,His names set forth his nature. 1. Sam. 25. and vaine wickednesse, or wicked vanity their mother, deriuing their reprochfull names from their peruerse nature, and crooked con­ditions: that as Abigaile said, Nabal is his name, and folly is with him: so a man may say, Belial is his name, and stubburnenesse is with him: yea A­uen is he called, for both vanitie and iniquitie are with him: that is, he hath not his name for nought.

He hath beside these,Belial hath as many names as the diuell. as many names as his grandfather the Diuel hath: he is called a diuell, that is, an accuser: so is Belial also an accuser, espe­cially of the brethren, as the diuell is. Apoc. 12.10. He is called Sathan, which signifieth an enemy,Accusers. Apoc. 12.10. for he doth enuy the glory of God, and the peace of Gods people: and such an enemy is Belial. He is called a com­passer of the earth, Iob. 1.7. So do the wicked also, which haue shaken off the yoake of Christ,Enemies. Iob. 1.7. compasse sea and land to make one Proselite, as our Sauiour Christ speaketh in Math. 23.15. that is: They take great paines like the diuel,Cōpassers. Mat. 23.15. Luke. 22.31. to frame others vnto their conditions. He is called a sifter of men. Luke 22.31. Simon, Simon (saith the Lord) behold Sathan hath de­sired to sift you as wheate is sifted: and who hath a greater felicity in sifting of men, and prouing by all meanes to make them fall, then Belial hath? He is called a deceiuer Gen. 3.13.Sifters. Gen. 3.13. And the woman said, the Serpent de­ceued me: but that was the Diuell. So is Belial a deceiuer too: But euill men and deceiuers (saith the Apostle) shall waxe worse and worse; Deceiuers. 2. Tim. 3.13. deceiuing and being deceiued, 2. Tim. 3.13. He is called a Serpent for his subtilty. So [Page 136] likewise are lawlesse Belials for their noysome nature, and dangerous conuersing among men,Serpents. Psal. 58 4. compared to serpents: Their poyson (saith the Psalmist) is euen like the poyson of a Serpent. Psal. 58.4. He is called the wily fox: so are the wicked and lawlesse Belials, both for their crueltie, and for their subtilty called foxes:Foxes. Cant. 2.15. Go tell that foxe (saith Christ of Herod) what ye see. And in the 2. of Canticles the 15. verse, the Church saith, Take vs these foxes, the little foxes which destroy the Vine, for our Vine hath but small grapes. Psal. 91.3. He is called a hunter, Psal. 91.3. and so is Belial too a hunter, for they hunt men as Saule did Dauid, from one place to ano­ther,Hunters. 1. Sa. 24.12. I haue not sinned against thee (saith Dauid to Saule) yet thou huntest after my soule to take it. 1. Sam. 24.12. And at another time Dauid sayd vnto him, The King of Israel is come out to seeke a flea, as one would hunt a Partridge in the mountaines. 1. Sam. 26.20. He is called a red dragon for his cruelty Reuel. 12.3.Dragons. Psal. 44.19. 1. Pet. 5.8. So are the wicked called dragons; Thou hast smit­ten vs downe in the place of dragons (saith the Church of God in Psal 44.19. He is called a roring Lion: Your aduersarie the diuell walketh about like a roring Lion, Lions. Psal. 54.4. therefore be sober and watch (saith Peter in his first E­pistle, the 5. Chapter and 8. verse. So the wicked are called Lions too, for Dauid saith, That his soule was among Lions, Psal. 54.4. He is called a Prince of darknesse,Louers of darknesse. Ephes. 6.12. And the wicked also are called louers of darknesse: Light is come into the world (sayth Christ) and men loued dark­nesse rather then light, Iohn. 3.19. Eph. 4.18. Ioh. 8.44. Ioh. 3.19. And of the Heathen the Apostle saith, They haue their cogitations darkned, Ephes. 4.18. He is called a father of lyes, Ioh. 8.44. When he speaketh a ly, he speaketh of his owne (saith Christ) for he is a lyer, Lyers. Psal. 52.3. and the father thereof. So the wicked are also called lyers: Thou doest loue euill more then good (saith Dauid to Doeg) and lyes more then truth, Psalm. 52.3. And one name more we find that the diuell gaue himselfe, à quantitate, from the great multitude of them: My name is Legion (saith the vncleane spirite to Christ) for we are many, Mar. 5.9. Marke 5.9.Legion. A marke of the Popes Church. Phil. 3.19. So the man of Belial may say, his name is Legion, for there be many of them, and that liketh them well, for they haue nothing else to glorie in, but their great number, or vniuersality (one glorious marke of the Popes Church) which is the glorie of them, whose glorie is their shame, as the Apostle speaketh; Philip. 3.19. And thus much for the meaning of the first word Adam Belijagnall, the man of Belial, Now let vs see what we may profitably learne from the same.There is no concord betweene Christ and Belial. This name noteth out such as are enemies to Christ, and haue Christ an enemy to them: they cannot agree with him, nor he with them: For (saith the Apostle) What concord hath Christ with Belial? 2. Cor. 6.15. As Dagon fell downe when the Arke came in place: so Belial falleth downe when [Page 137] Christ comes in place.The con­trarietie betweene Belial and Christ. Christ hath a burden to beare, but Belial will beare none of his burdens. Christ hath a yoke to put on his seruants, but Belial will put on none. Christ hath a crosse to be taken vp, but Be­lial will take vp none. Christ hath freed vs from the curse of the lawe, but not from the keeping of the lawe: Belial will be free from both. Christ will haue his sheepe to heare his voice: Belial wil come at none of his Sermons. Christ will haue his people often to visite his table in remembrance of him: Belial saith once a yeare is inough: and other­wise, he will come when he lift▪ Christ saith, if ye loue me keepe my commaundements: Belial saith he will keepe none of his commaunde­ments, and yet loue him well inough. Christ saith, by this shall all men know that ye are my Disciples, if ye loue one another, as I haue lo­ued you: Belial by the contrarie is knowne to be none of Christs disci­ples, because he hateth the brethren,Gen. 27. as Esau hated Iacob because of his blessing. Christians loue is Christs loue, that is, heartie and vnfained, heauenly and vehement,A descripti­on of Beli­als loue. found and permanent: Belials loue is onely tongue loue, lip loue, false loue, dissembling loue, no true loue at all, but like the loue of the harlot whose mouth is sweete as hony, but her end is bitter as wormewood:Pro. 5. whose lippes drop as the hony combe, but her feet go downe to death, and her steppes take hold of hell: such a louer is Belial, and such is his loue. In a word, true Christians are vn­der Christs law, they draw his yoke, they mortifie the lusts of their flesh, they trauell in paine to bring foorth the fruites of Gods spirite: but Belial is lawlesse, dissolute, and carelesse, and shamelesse, therefore there can be no concord betwixt Christ and Belial.

The vse of this doctrine is twofold:A double vse of the former doctrine. 1. It be­wraieth a Popish slaunder. first, it bewrayeth the blasphe­mous slaunder of Poperie, that chargeth vs with preaching libertie to sinne, because we preach iustification by faith in Christ onely. Wher­as we are so farre from that slaunder, that we affirme cleane contrarie, that no Libertine Protestant, or dissolute professor of the Gospell hath fellowship with Christ more then the Diuell hath. But indeede they know not what faith is, except the diuels faith: for the diuels do know and beleeue that Christ dyed for sinners: and they beleeue all the articles of the Creede,Papists are men of Belial. and tremble thereat, but yet are they Diuels still. Looke to their liues which liue vnder the Popes yoke, and we shall see that they are the children of Belial: for what sinne is there that they are not sold vn­to, like Achab? And what sinne can be named almost, that is not bought and sold in the market of the Romish church? And the Pope may par­don all as they say, for a thousand yeares, yea (if they will pay well for his pardon) for euer. And what are their Popes themselues, who beare [Page 138] the glorious title of holy Fathers?Of the wic­ked liues of their Popes. Haue not some of them bene Necro­mancers, sorcerers, and coniurers? and some of them Sodomits, & bugge­rers: and most of them common whoremongerers? Was not one of thē a harlot? did she not trauell of a child in going their Procession? And is it not recorded by Platina and other Writers of their owne, to their euer­lasting shame? What should be thought of those sixe thousand skulles of children, which were found in another Popes Mote? What need they care what they do,Popish do­ctrine fit to make men of Belial. so they may be forgiuen for giuing of a litle Apostoli­call gold? They are not ashamed nor afraid when they take a solemne oth to murder Princes, yea Christian Princes, yea their owne most Christian Soueraignes: for they are pardoned aforehand, as he was that poisoned King Iohn, and the Prince of Orange: and that cursed Frier that treche­rously stabbed the late French King: and therefore they are Belials and not we: their religion giueth libertie to sinne, and not ours: they may do what they list, and not they which are iustified by faith in Christ onely.

The second vse of this doctrine, is to teach those that are entred in­to the bodie of Christs Church,The 2. vse, to teach Christians mortifica­tion and o­bedience. Mat. 11.29. and are called by that excellent glori­ous name of Christians, to put on the yoke of Christ, and neuer while they liue to put it off againe: for though Christ saith, Come vnto me and ye shall haue ease; yet it is vpon this condition, that we labour and feele our selues heauie laden: yea though he promiseth to refresh vs, yet it is vpon condition that we put his yoke vpon vs and beare his burden. Whosoeuer then will haue ease by Christ, must not be (like the man of Belial) without the yoke of Christ, but must put on his yoke and carie his burden, that is to say, he must submit himselfe to the censures of Christ his Church, and to the doctrine of the Gospell, and to the re­proofe of the word: and in all things yeeld obedience vnto the truth: yea he must labour by all good meanes to mortifie all carnall lustes, & to ouerrule all his vnruly affections. But this is as hard a saying to flesh and bloud as can be; yea who can endure it? The mother of Zebedeus children thought for the asking she might haue a place in Christes kingdome for her children:Mat. 20.20. but Christ told her of two hard things which she dreamed not of, and that was drinking of his cup, and to be baptized with his baptisme, before they could come into heauen: so we thinke (many of vs) to haue heauen for the asking:Many think to haue heauen for the asking: without a­ny more adoe. but there belon­geth more to the matter then so. And as the Papistes thinke to earne heauen with a Kerelyson, a Pater noster, and a Creede: so many Prote­stants thinke that a sigh, and a little lip-labour and eare-seruice will bring them to heauen. But when they heare of mortifying their belo­ued sinnes, which bring them in pleasure, and profite; and of yeelding [Page 139] obedience vnto the Gospell,Mat. 19.22. it fareth with them as it did with that young man, who went away from Christ with a heauie heart and a sorrowfull countenance. He would follow Christ, but he would not part from his goods: so many will heare Christ preached, and looke to be saued by him too, but they will not leaue their sinnes. If they may be Gospellers and vsurers too, and gamesters too, and adulterers too, and swearers too, then so it is: otherwise Christ shall go alone for al them. These are yet but men of Belial, and without the yoke: content they are to trauell toward Canaan, so they may meete with the commodities of Egypt by the way. Manna without the fleshpots of Egypt was lothsome to the Israelites: so the Gospell without goodfellowship and carnall de­lights is irkesome to the man of Belial. Lots wife was content to leaue Sodome and go to Zoar as she was bidden, but yet she must looke backe, though she were forbidden: so many are content to leaue Poperie and embrace the Gospell, yet not without some looking backe, like those which once openly gaue account of their profiting in religion with com­fort and commendation, but now because their backsliding friends like it not, and prophane persons scorne them for it, they will shew their faces no more in that conflict. The carnall Capernaits would heare Christ, till he spake of eating his flesh, and drinking his bloud, and then because they vnderstood it not, they said, that saying was a hard saying, and ta­king offence thereat came no more. So many now a dayes as carnally minded as they, will heare the Preacher, till they heare something that doth offend them, either for want of good vnderstanding or good affe­ction: and then they say, that either the preacher found not that in his text, or it might haue bene spared: or in such a thing he went too farre: all which in effect is no lesse then (as the Capernaits said) this is a hard saying, 1. King. 3. Of such as keepe the sabbath to the halfes. They are like, 1. The har­lot that wold haue the child deuided. 1. King. 18. 2. The idol Baal, that could not heare. who can abide it? And so like bleare-eyed men which are offended at the brightnesse of the Sunne, will walke no more by the light thereof, ex­cept it be once a moneth, or vpon a sabbath day, for feare of law, or for shame of the world. And many that do keepe the sabbath day, do vse it as the vnnaturall harlot would haue vsed the child for which there was such pleading before Salomon: Let it be neither hers nor mine, but let it be deuided. So they deuide the Sabbath: in the forenoone they are at the Temple, in the afternoone at home. The one halfe shall be giuen to God and after the homeliest fashion too: without any holy reuerence or due preparation: the other halfe to the world, or the flesh, or the diuell, or al, and that with all deuotion and earnestnesse of affection. These may well be likened to the idoll of Achab, to whom Baals Priests cryed, O Baal heare vs. But what said Elias: Crie lowder, for it may be that your God slee­peth, [Page 140] or pursueth his enemies, or else he talketh with some bodie, or is in his iourney. So if the Minister of Christ would haue Belial to heare him, he must crye lowder: O Belial heare vs, for it may be that the men of Beli­al are a sleepe, and must be awaked, or pursuing their enemies, or setting their rackes, or casting ouer their vsurie bookes, or selling their wares, or viewing their grounds, as Nebuchadnezzar did his pallace, or running after their bowles, or playing at cardes, or pursuing of their vanities. And that see others of the inferiour sort, and they become as deafe too as their betters. If a man cry neuer so lowd to these Belials, it will not boote: for they are as deafe as Baal: and if there be no lawe to compell them to sanctifie the sabbath in better sort, we do but loose our labour. Herod would heare Iohn Baptist, so Iohn would let him alone with his brothers wife: so would many also now be hearers of the word, and reuerence as much the Preacher as euer Herod did Iohn, so they may haue a dispensa­tion for some speciall sinne of theirs, which doth yeeld them some filthy gaine or beastly pleasure. But Herod was a man of Belial for all his de­uout hearing of Iohn: and so are these kind of hearers too: for he cast off the yoke of mortification, and so do they.

What it is to put on the yoke of Christ.Well, if we will be Christians indeede as well as in name, we must put on the yoke of obedience to Christs lawes. What he saith we must beleeue: what he commaundeth we must obey: what he promiseth we must desire: what he threatneth we must feare: what he suffereth we must partake: what we vnderstand not we must reuerence: what we like not we must (at the least) affect it: what we brooke not we must yet hunger after:It is a great honour to pledge Christ in his suffe­rings. Christs lawes. and what cup he hath drunke to vs in, we must desire to pledge him in the same with all our heart, and count ourselues not worthie of such an honour, when we haue obtained of God so great a fauour. We must then deny our selues willingly, and for his sake take vp the crosse chearefully, for this is Christs lawe, we must heare his voice and follow him: for this is Christs lawe: we must often remember him by worthie receiuing his holy supper, for this is Christs lawe: we must do to the poore what we would do to him, for this is Christs lawe: we must loue one another as he hath loued vs, for this is Christs law: we must suffer reproches and re­bukes for his sake, for this is Christs lawe: we must learne to forgiue our enemies as he hath forgiuen vs, for this is Christs law. In a word, we must mortifie all our euill lusts and affections, and make our members wea­pons of righteousnesse, for this also is the law of Christ. For this cause the word is called a candle to light vs in darkenesse, a sharpe sword to cut and deuide vs, a hard hammer to driue and breake vs, and a burning fire to purge & consume vs: by ruling our liues wherby, both yong in yeres [Page 141] and yong in knowledge are to redresse their wayes. Psal. 119.9.Psal. 119.9. And the obedience of a Christian is nothing else, but a following of that light: a suffering of that sword to hew and cut him: of that hammer to breake and batter him: of that fire to purge and consume him: of that fanne to winnow and cleanse him: and of that plough to breake and till him: and all this with patience, gladnesse and thankfulnesse. A dutie this is very painefull for flesh and bloud to performe: and therefore is called in the scriptures, a cutting off the hand, & a pulling out of the eie. Mat. 5.29.30.Mat. 5.29. A cutting of the throat. Pro. 23.2. a weaning of the soule.Pro. 23.2. Psal. 131.2. and a crucifying of the flesh with the affections and lusts therof. Gal. 5.24. To shew,As hard to forgo our sinnes as our liues. that is is as hard a matter by nature to forgo our sinnes, as our eyes, or our hands, or our liues. Yet because grace doth go beyond nature, and goodnesse is stronger then euill, and the spirit doth ouercome the flesh, and faith beginneth where reason endeth: therefore Christs yoke is called easie, and his burden light: Mat. 11.26.Mat. 11.26. How Christs yoke is made easie For he hath borne it for vs, and doth beare it in vs, and beareth vs too, and therfore it is light to him that would beare it: as Salomon saith, All the words of God are plaine to him that will vnderstand, and straight to them that would find knowledge. Prou. 8.9.Pro. 8.9. Nay more, as the birds fethers are a benefit vnto her and not a bur­den, because they carrie her vp from the snare of the fowler: so the seruice of Christ it no burthen vnto vs but a benefite,Christs burden is a benefite and no burden. because it freeth vs from the bondage of the Diuell. Therefore let vs go on my good brethren without fainting. Let xs resolue to put on the yoke of Christ, to be obe­dient vnto the Gospell, to cast off our lazinesse in the seruice of God, and to cast away our sins of profite and pleasure, though we go through ho­nour and dishonour as we must, like the yoked oxe, that haleth his bur­then after him through thicke and thinne.It is not i­nough to defie Po­perie. Mat. 5. Many defie the Pope, and thinke then that they are good Christians, and yet are lawlesse in their af­fections. The Turke, the Iew, the Saracene, and the infidell can say so much: but except your righteousnesse exceede the righteousnesse of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye cannot enter into the kingdome of heauen, saith Christ: so, except our righteousnesse exceede the righteousnesse of the Turkes and Saracens we cannot be saued. Therefore as we defie Pope­rie, so we must be carefull to imitate Christ, and to glorifie him by the subduing of our carnall lustes and desires. The commendation that Saint Paul gaue vnto the Thessalonians was,1. Thes. 1.9. Many for­sake Pa­pists, and ioyne with Atheists. for that they turned from their i­dols vnto the liuing God. 1. Thes. 1.9. But what commendation shall we deserue if we forsake Poperie and serue other sinnes? if we leaue the Pa­pistes and ioyne with Atheists, Machiauels, and Libertines? The yoking of a Christian, Dauid calleth a waining of the soule: to shew, that we [Page 142] long after libertie,Why mor­tification is called a waining of the soule. as the child doth after the breast: that is, to cry for it, when we cannot get it. Now in waining of the soule, we must do as nurses do in waining of children: they first annoint their breastes with some sower things to bring the child out of loue withall: then they pro­uide some other wholesome foode for the child: so we must haue before our eyes the discommodities of the world,How to waine the soule. and the miseries of vanitie, and the paines that follow sinfull pleasures: and then let our soules be fed and nourished with the sweet foode of the heauenly word of God. And then feare not: for as Abraham found a sacrifice where he looked for none: euen so, if we be as readie to sacrifice our sinnes, as he was to sa­crifice his sonne at Gods bidding, we shall find new comforts, and plea­sures where we looked for none. And as Sampson first slue the lion, and afterward found a sweet hony combe in the dead lions belly, so if we wil arme our selues to slay our sinnes which like ramping lions do meete vs in the way, we shall by the power of Gods spirit ouercome them, and af­ter that find a most sweet hony comb of Gods mercy in Christ Iesus, by whom we haue ouercome sinne and Sathan, to our euerlasting peace and consolation.Psal. 73.24. He that can truely say with Dauid vnto God: Thou shalt guide me by thy counsell, shall follow with Dauid, and say assuredly, Afterward thou wilt receiue me to glorie. And he that is not come to that point,Pro. 1.27.28 29.30. The feare­full estate of Liber­tines. is as yet at a miserable passe: for the Lord in the first of Prouer. sheweth, that because he hath called to the foolish, to make them vn­derstand his words, and they haue refused to be instructed, or to be guided by his counsell: he will laugh at their destruction, and mocke when their feare cometh vpon them: yea, when their feare shall come vpon them like desolation, and their destruction like a whirle wind. When affliction and anguish shall come vpon them, then shall they call vpon the Lord and he will not heare them, they shall seeke him early,Verse 31. but they shall not find him. Thus saith the holy Ghost: they shall eate of the fruite of their owne way, and be filled with their owne deui­ses. To which the Apostle agreeth, and telleth the men of Belial: that as they regard not to know God,Ro. 1.28. euen so God wil deliuer thē vp to a re­probate mind, to do things that are not conuenient. And moreouer saith Christ:Luk. 19.27. Those mine enemies which would not that I should raigne ouer them bring hither, and slay them before me. A fearefull thing: therfore the chil­dren of God pray heartily: Thy will be done in earth ô heauenly Father, as it is in heauen:Psal. 115. The pra­ctise of Gods chil­dren. and with the Church in the Psalme: Not vnto vs (ô Lord) not vnto vs, but to thy name giue the praise: fighting continually a­gainst their affections, because they fight against their soules. And as the oxe is not readie to worke, vntill he be vnder the yoke, so Gods [Page 143] children thinke not themselues readie to serue God, vntill they haue put on the yoke of Christ:Psal. 40. The com­fort of Gods chil­dren at the houre of death. and then they say as Dauid said, I am readie ô Lord to do thy will. And this shall be a singular comfort vnto vs at the houre of death, to remember that we haue striuen against our affecti­ons, and earnestly laboured, and prayed to obey God, which the man of Belial, or lawlesse dissolute person neuer did. And so much of the wicked mans first name.

The second tearme or name that is here giuen to the wicked man,Of the 2. name of the man of Belial. is [...] Ish auén, vir nihili, saith Tremelius: that is, a man of no worth: Auen signifieth both iniquitie and vanitie: therfore the house of idols is called Beth-auen, because idols are vaine things, and idolaters are vaine & wicked persons: therefore lawlesse loose men are called Ishim auen: because such are both vaine and wicked, yea more, full of vani­tie and iniquitie. First, they are vnprofitable, pursuing (as it were) the wind and the smoke: secondly, they are practisers of mischiefe and wrong.What is prophane­nesse. This is profanenesse, from which the Apostle dehorteth vs, in the twelfth to the Hebrewes and 16. verse: where Esau is propounded as a most liuely image of such prophane persons as preferre earth be­fore heauen, the world before the word, gold before godlinesse, the bodie before the soule, and the shadow before the bodie: as Esau did a messe of pottage before his birthright; and as the Israelites preferred onions before Manna: and as the Iewes did Barrabas before Christ. Such were they that said in Ier. 43. It was well with vs when we made cakes for the Queene of heauen: as many say now adaies: It was neuer merry world since we had so much preaching: it was a good world when we could go to the Abbeys and other religious houses, and haue our bellies full of good cheare for nothing. Ieremie is a babler (said they) and preaching is babling, say these. But what were they and these too? Surely but Ishima­uen, prophane persons.Profane va­nitie and wickednes is called now adaies finenesse of wit. This vaine profanenesse and prophane vanitie, is called finenesse of wit now adaies, whereby many prophane and vaine persons get their liuing, which is nothing else but plaine and lewd shif­ting. This is a matter that men make no reckening of: but such a one is viler then the earth. Yet the custome of the wicked is to commend such, saying: such a one is a good honest man, and doth no bodie any harme, which is vntrue. For Ish-auen, the vaine man is also a wicked man, that is hurtful vnto others.One may be a bad man that doth hurt no bodie. And if it were granted that he did no man harme, yet is he no good man, but a prophane beast and most wicked to Godward. An honest man they say he is, but of what religion is he? what religious exercise doth he frequent? How doth he serue God with his familie? what striuing hath he against his imperfections? When doth he enter into [Page 144] priuate prayer for strength against his speciall sinnes and temptations? What care hath he to bring vp his children in the feare of God? He may be an honest man and yet a prophane man:Honestie is double: ciuill and religious. for honestie is two fold, ciuill and religious. Some are ciuill honest men and not religious: some are reli­gious honest men, and scarce ciuill: some are neither ciuill nor religious: and some are both ciuill and religious. Examples we haue in the Scrip­tures of all these. The Barbarians in Miletum were ciuill honest men, whose ciuill courtesie and courteous ciuility appeared in that kind enter­tainment which they gaue, and that abundance of necessaries which they ministred vnto Paul and his weather beaten company.Religious honest mē giue God his due. But religious ho­nest men they were not: that is to say, such as giue God his due: for they had not so much as the knowledge of the true God amongst them, as doth appeare by those extremities that they ran into at the sight of Paul. For one while they rashly iudged him to be a murderer,Act. 28. and that was when the Viper leaped vpon his hand: another while they did superstiti­ously suppose him to be a God: and that was, when he shooke off the Viper and had no harme. In the first of Kings, the 14. chapter, and thir­teenth verse, it is said of Abijah the sonne of Ieroboam, that when he dyed all Israel mourned for him, because there was found in him some good­nesse toward the Lord God of Israel: that is, he was a man carefull to giue vnto God his right, as well as vnto men: and therefore he was a reli­gious ciuill honest man. Some seeme to be religious without ciuilitie: as the harlot whom Salomon describeth in the 7. of the Prou. who prateth of her peace offerings, and paying her vowes, while notwithstanding in her hushands absence, like a dishonest filth freely violateth her mariage vowe (made vnto him) by prostituting her bodie vnto others: and as Ie­zabel religiously proclaimeth a fast, while most vnciuilly, and with bar­barous crueltie she depriueth innocent Naboth both of his life and liuing: and as those do that deuide the spoiles of the Church among them, de­uouring (as Salomon saith) the sanctified things, & then enquire after the vowes:Prou. 23. that is, make shew of religion. But they that haue neither ciuilitie nor religion in them, are like Esau, who hated his brother Iacob, because God blessed him: and like Hanun the Ammonite, who misused Dauids messengers which were sent of good will to see him: and like Doeg the Edomite, who laid handes vpon the Priestes of the Lord and slue them, when euery bodie else refused to touch them. And such commonly are the men of Belial and the men of vanitie. Good honest men they are counted among such as themselues are;Who is a good. man indeed. but he is a good man indeed, and greatly to be lamented when he is gone, that vpholdeth Gods true reli­gion, and with Cornelius feareth God with all his houshold, and giueth [Page 145] much almes to the poore: and with Iob sheweth himselfe a iust man, and one that worshippeth God aright: becomming also as Iob did, an eye to the blind,What ma­ner of per­sons we must chuse to cōuerse withall. a foote to the lame, and a father to the fatherlesse. Such doth God choose for good men, and such must we choose to conuerse with­all, & not such as spend their time in ridiculous sports and vain pastimes, which vanish away like the wind and smoke, without any profit to those that haue delighted in them. For Dauid saith in the 26. Psalme: I haue walked ô Lord in thy truth: and presently addeth: I haue not haunted with vaine persons, Vain com­pany will draw men from God. neither keepe I companie with the dissemblers: I haue hated the assembly of the euill, and not companied with the wicked: to shew, that whosoeuer consorteth himselfe with vaine and euill companie, can­not walke in the waies of the Lord: and therefore let them that desire to walke in the waies of Gods truth, take heede that they haunt not with vaine persons, but hate the assemblies of the wicked, as Dauid did.

And further here is to be obserued a difference betweene Adam and Ish:The diffe­rence be­tween A­dam & Ish. both do signifie man: but the first noteth the matter of which man was made, that is, red earth: or as Tremelius hath translated it, the dust of the earth, which is the worst of all the earth, and good for nothing. Earth is good for something, and clay is good for something, and sand is good for something, and marle is good for something, and dung is good for something: but dust is good for nothing, except it be to put out ones eyes, and of that was man made which is good for nothing. The confide­ration whereof may greatly humble vs, when we beginne to thinke well of our selues, to waxe proud of Gods gifts, and to despise our brethren. But the man of Belial is so called,Vaine Be­lial is viler then thē earth. to shew, that such a one is the vilest mā that liueth, yea viler then the earth: and according to his name, so is his nature: for of a word that signifies the vilest earth is his name deriued: & accordingly, all his studies, cares, and communications are earthly and prophane. All which the Apostle noteth in one word, when he saith: they mind earthly things: Phil. 3.19. A God they haue, but it is their belly: a glorie they haue, but it is their shame: enemies they are, but it is to the crosse of Christ: and an end they haue, but it is damnation, saith the A­postle.

Ish also is a man, but it noteth a man of strength, and signifieth strength: of the Latines it is translated vir, à virtute: that is, a man of manhood, or strong of strength, or vertuous of vertue: because if man­hood, strength and vertue be not found in man, where should they be looked for? And Adam is translated homo de humo: that is, taken out of the ground, because of all that God made nothing was made of the earth but man. And in our English toung we say of one that is valiant, vertuous [Page 146] and actiue, that is a man indeed. And the Philosopher could say by the light of nature: non vestis sed virtus facit hominem: Not vestures, but ver­tues make a man: which is quite mistaken in these daies, and that saying wholly inuerted: for most men hold, and by their practise do vphold, that non virtus sed vestis, not vertue but brauery makes a man. But why is Be­lial called Ish, which is a word of strength, vertue and perfection? What vertue, excellencie, or perfection is in earthly vaine Belial? Surely no goodnesse is in him, and yet is he Ish, he is vir, a man indeede; but a man whose strength is wholly applyed to vanitie.The strength of the wic­ked is wholy em­ploied in euill. He doth excell, but it is in contriuing of mischiefe: he is quicke witted, but it is in disgracing of truth and her friends: They are wise (saith Ieremie) but it is to do euill: They are expert (saith Esay) but it is to drinke wine and strong drinke: They can take no rest (saith Salomon) but it is onely till they haue made some to fall. Such were they that watched all night to take Christ: they were Ishim, men indeed. They ranne to fetch him vineger with gall to drinke, which wold not go nor creep for a drop of cold water to haue done him good. Such are all those lawlesse and dissolute persons, that can beate their braines, and breake their sleepe, and go late to bed, and rise early in the morning, and trauell hard all day, yea day and night, by sea and by land, farre and neare, refusing no paines, neither sparing for any cost, nor fea­ring any colours, but most audaciously put forth themselues to speake, & to practise what mischiefe they can against godlinesse and vertue, against honest men and good causes, and standing as stoutly in defence of vanity and wickednesse. These haue a kind of felicitie and dexteritie in gracing of the bad, and in disgracing of the good, and do very often strongly pre­uaile in wicked enterprises. And this must teach vs, first, not to be dismai­ed when iniquitie doth preuaile: for the very names that are giuen to wicked men do shew no lesse, but they shall preuaile for a time, which is to verifie the Prophesie of our Sauiour Christ, who foretold that before the end of the world, wickednesse should preuaile, and iniquitie get the vpper hand. Secondly, it doth admonish the children of God, who are haters of wickednesse, to be Ishim, that is, strong, and wise, and valiant, for God and good causes: as Ish-auen, the vaine man is for the Diuell and wicked enterprises.1. Cor. 16.13 And this is not mine but Gods counsel by the A­postle, with whose words for this time I will end: My brethren watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, and be strong.

THE III. SERMON.

PRO. 6.12.

Walketh with a froward mouth, &c.

WE haue heard of the names of Belial:Of Belials actions. and how they do set foorth his nature. Now it remaineth that we consi­der of his actions: whereby he is also described aswell as by his names. And first of those which set foorth his outward behauiour; where, the first member to be ripped vp, is his mouth: which for the qualitie is very euill: for it is froward: and for the quantitie is exceeding great: for it is full of frowardnes, as that which is accustomed to speak froward things. He walketh with a froward mouth: or as Tremelius translateth it, ore per­uerso, with a wry mouth, or a mouth drawne out of fashion.

The mouth is put here Metonymicè, for that which proceedeth out of the mouth:Of his speeches. & that is, froward speeches, and crooked constructions, &c. Walking is put Metaphorically, for a custome and continuance in the said frowardnesse. And albeit I deny not, but that sometime the man of Belial may stumble vpon a good word, or yeeld a good reason, or vtter a wise sentence, or speake to one friendly, or salute courteously, or dis­course learnedly, or determine iudicially, &c. all which Belial can do, when he is not prouoked to anger, or when he is soothed, or is in his good moode (as they say:) yet for all this, he is noted for one that wal­keth with a froward mouth, because commonly, and for the most part, his words are peeuish and peruerse: and ordinarily like Nabal he is, who was so wicked,1. Sam. 25. that a man could not tell how to speake vnto him. And therfore,A man is that which he is for the most part. because of his vsual maner of frowardnes, he is said to walk, not with a wise mouth, nor with a courteous mouth, &c. but with a froward mouth: for denominatio fit â maiori partè, the denomination of any thing (say Logitians) is taken from the greatest part: as the Blackmore is cal­led blacke, though his teeth be white, because all his bodie is blacke.

That a froward mouth is a note of a wicked man, shall easily appeare, if we consider two things.

First, the right vse of his tongue, or the end for which it was giuen. Se­condly, [Page 148] the true difference betweene the wicked and the godly in the vse and abuse of the tongue. Of the first he may be instructed in diuerse places of the Scripture: but especially three. One is in the old Testament, the other two are in the new: that in the old Testament is the 45. Psalme, where in the beginning of the Psalme, the Psalmist calleth his toung, the pen of a readie writer. Psal. 45.1. But what is it that he will write? that is, what will he declare or set foorth? He sheweth in the first verse in generall tearmes: first, that it shall be of a good matter: to shew, that the tongue was made to set foorth none but good matters:The toung was giuen to set forth none but good mat­ters. but what matters doth he meane? He saith, that he will intreat or discourse of the King, meaning Salomon: his Maiestie, his beautie, his riches, his power, his wisedome, his vertues, his ornaments, his honorable mariage with the Queen of Egypt: and vn­der all these he meaneth to shadow out the vnspeakeable Maiestie of Christ, and the excellent dignities and prerogatiues of Christ his church. For otherwise he might seeme onely to set his mind to commend men, and to flatter Princes,Iob. which is a thing condemned by Iob, when he saith: Shall not my maker confound me, if I giue titles vnto men? But frō this place of the Psalme we may learne, that our toungs are giuen vs, chiefly to set foorth the glorie of God,And chiefly the glorie of God. The toung compared to a penne for three causes. and those things that may tend to the extolling of Christ and his kingdome, and to the alluring of others vnto the loue of Christ. But why doth he compare the tongue vnto a pen? Surely, for three causes. First, because as the pen sheweth what the mind thought, so the tongue should expresse the zeale of the heart. Secondly, as the penne doth his message without blushing, so the tongue must speake nothing that a man may be ashamed of, but should boldly iustifie the same. And thirdly, to shew that there must be that consent between the tongue & the heart,And to the pen of a swift wri­ter for three cau­ses. that is betweene the pen and the mind of the writer. As the toung is compared to a pen; so also, to the pen of a swift writer: and that for three causes. First, to shew, that as swift writing is a signe of one that is well practised in writing: so the toung should not be slow, but swift, and well practised in the praises of God. Secondly, to shew, that it must dispatch much in a short time, and not a little in a long time, as the hand of a swift writer doth.1. Thirdly to shew, that the tongue must euer be re­newed and corrected as the pen of a swift writer that writeth much,2. must be stil renewed and corrected.3. And so much for this place of the Psalme. The vse of the toung may further be learned out of two other places in the new Testament: whereof the first is of S. Paul, and the other is of S. Iames:Ephes. 4.29. &c. that of Paul is in the 4. of his Epistle to the Ephesians. 29.30.31. verses: Let no corrupt communication (saith he) proceed out of your mouths, but that which is good to the vse of edifying, that it may minister grace vn­to [Page 149] the hearers: and grieue not the holy Spirit of God, by which ye are sealed vnto the day of redemption. Let all bitternesse and anger, and wrath, crying, and euill speaking be put away from you, with all maliciousnesse: be ye courte­ous one to another. To shew,The toung is giuen to build vp o­thers in goodnesse. that our toungs are giuen vs as well for the building vp of others in goodnesse, as the helping of our selues: and therefore must be accustomed to words of grace, and not vnto corrupt speeches. For as the benefite of the one is great both to our selues and to others, so is the hurt also as great of the other, both to others, and al­so to our selues. To others corrupt speeches are very hurtfull: for if on­ly good speeches,The hurt that com­meth by corrupt speeches. and words of grace serue for the vse of edifying o­thers in grace and goodnesse, as they do (witnesse the Apostle in the forenamed place:) then corrupt speeches can serue to no other vse but to destroy and pull downe men from goodnesse, and to infect them with euill:1. Cor. 15 Be not deceiued (saith the Apostle in another place: 1. Cor. 15.) euill words corrupt good manners: to shew, that some thinke other­wise, but they are deceiued. There be two sorts of people that are de­ceiued with a wrong opinion as touching euill words. First, he that speaketh them: next, they that heare them: and neither of both suspe­cting any hurt to grow thereby:The vaine perswasion of pro­phane per­sons. but vnto both the Apostle saith, be not deceiued. The wicked and prophane person will not sticke to say, that though he doth accustome his mouth to swearing, and filthie talking, and all maner of vile ribaldrie, yet he hath as honest a heart as the best of them all, and meaneth no hurt. Of the same mind also are they that find eares to heare, and memorie to beare away all such filthie com­munications, (yea they can remember such things better then words of grace) but they are deceiued (saith the Apostle) for euill words do cor­rupt good manners. And as they do corrupt good manners,The cor­ruption of good man­ners is the generation of euil mā ­ners in o­thers. so do they ingender euill and wicked manners: for corruptio vnius est generatio al­terius: the corruption of one thing is the generation of another: as in nature we see the corruption of the egge, is the breeding either of a bird, or else of rottennesse and stink: and the turning of the wine is the making of that which was sweete wine, to become sharpe vineger: and the corrpuption of the graine in the earth, is the generation either of a new blade of corne, or else of a weed: euen so the corruption of good manners is the generation of euill conditions: the corruption of cha­stitie is the begetting of incontinencie: the death of humilitie is the life of pride: the corruption of faith is the generation of infidelity: the cor­ruption of sobrietie is the procreation of drunkennesse: and the decay of pietie is the setting vp of prophanenesse. And is all this no hurt? Is there no hurt in euill words, which be as infectious and daungerous to [Page 150] good manners, as any plague, sore is to the bodie?Euill words are hurtfull al [...]o to our selues, and signes of much euill in the hart. As they be hurtfull to others, so are they no lesse euill to ourselues, and signes also of much euill in our hearts. For as a rotten sore argueth a rotten disease, and an vnsound bodie: so a corrupt and froward mouth, argueth a corrupt and froward heart: and as a stinking breath doth bewray an vnsound sto­mach, so a filthie mouth doth argue a filthie mind, which is within like a swines stie, or rather a diuels stie: and therefore in verse 27. of the 4. to the Ephesians, when the holy Apostle doth disswade Christians from sinfull anger, and from dwelling in wrath,A wrathfull heart is the diuels lodg he saith: giue not place to the diuell, as if the diuell did lodge in a wrathfull heart. Which cannot be but to the grieuing of the spirit of God, who is thereby (as much as li­eth in vs) dispossessed of his hold & inheritance. For wold it not grieue any man to be either annoyed in his owne house, or put out of his in­heritance which he hath dearely purchased and paied for? And will it not much more grieue and offend Gods spirit to be dispossessed of his owne inheritance, which God hath purchased with his owne bloud: Act. 20.28. and to haue the diuell set vp in his place like an vsurper?Act. 20.28. And therefore in the 30. verse of the former fourth to the Ephesians, he addeth: And grieue not the holy spirit of God: vsing that as a reason why we should not suffer corrupt communications to proceed out of our mouthes. For, though there be in all men naturall corruption and in­firmitie, which is bred and borne with them, yet by the grace of God, it is so suppressed and corrected in the regenerate,Naturall corruption doth not domineere in the rege­nerate. What it is for corrupt communi­cation to proceede out of the mouth. that it hath no full sway, nor domineering power in them. And therefore he saith not, let no corruption be at all in your minds: but he saith, Let no corrupt com­munication proceede out of your mouths. For it is said in Gen. 6.5. that the imaginations of mans heart are euill continually. But if lewd speeches haue libertie to proceede out of our mouthes: that is, at pleasure to go and come, like a maister of a familie, that is a signe that Sathan hath wonne the hold, and keepeth possession of the heart. And on the contrarie, when good words are frequent and vsual in the mouth, it is a signe that Gods spirit doth beare rule: though now and then by reason of our na­turall corruption that still remaineth in vs, some crooked thoughts wil breake in to our minds, and some froward speeches will breake foorth at our mouthes by force, or by stealth, while we be not so watchfull as we should be.Iam. 3.3.4. The Apostle S. Iames also agreeth with the former as touching the vse of the toung, in his third chapter, verses 3. and 4. where by two similitudes, he sheweth that the tongue hath a double vse, both in regard of our selues, as also in regard of others. And name­ly, first our maker, and then our neighbour. For with our tongues we [Page 151] must blesse God: that is, praise God, and with our tongues we must al­so blesse our neighbour: that is, pray for him, wish him well, and speak well of him, &c. How this little member must be gouerned, he shew­eth by two similitudes.Two simi­litudes. First, of a bit in a horse mouth, which the rider vseth for his owne safetie: which also must be moderated: for if it bee let loose too much,Of a bit in a horse mouth. the horse will stumble, or go which way he lift, or cast his rider: if it be pulled in too much, the horse will either stand still or else go backe, or rise vp to the daunger of the rider. So the tongue if it be too silent, too fearefull, and too much restrained, the owner shall make no way in his heauenly iourney, he shall not be able to keep companie with others: it will make his affections rise vp with desperate cogitations to his own hurt: neither shall God haue his due praise of that member which he ought to haue: neither shall man reape that benefite thereof, which we owe vnto him: as it falleth out when men are so tong­tyed, that they will not preach nor reproue sinne, when they are called thereunto, and when others will not affoord their neighbour their testi­monie or witnesse in time of neede to do him good. And againe, if it be let go too loose, and suffered to be too bold, then it will fling out, and runne riot (as the saying is) to the shame of the speaker and griefe of the hearers. Secondly, he likeneth it to the rudder of a shippe,Of a rudder in a shippe. which is to rule the ship, and to direct her course: whose benefite (if it be well stir­red) redoundeth to many, to the Pilote himselfe who doth guide it, to the owners, to the mariners, and to the whole ship, with all that is in it: and so on the other side is the daunger as great and manifold, if it be not well ordered and stirred. So the tongue is so to be vsed, as that thereby the bo­die may be well ordered, the affections may be bridled, others may be preserued, and all may be edified, by counselling some, by instructing some, by admonishing others, by comforting others, and by praying for all, and interpreting all things in the best part. Which graces whosoeuer hath attained vnto, hath attained to an excellent thing: Iam. 3.2. Yea, a man of wisedome (saith Salomon) spareth his speech, Pro. 17.27. and he that vnderstan­deth is of an excellent spirit: Prou. 17.27.

So that by the testimonie of Dauid, Paule, and Iames, it appeareth, that the end why the toung was giuen vnto man, was to praise God who gaue it,The appli­cation of the former doctrine. and to edifie others, to direct the course of our liues to our owne safetie, and the peace of others. But farre from this vse of the tongue, is Belial, and Ish-auen, the man of vanitie: for he walketh with a froward mouth, a mouth out of fashion and order, not contrarie to nature, but contrarie to grace.A descrip­tion of Be­lials toung. All his words be from the matter, all his vnderstan­dings be commonly wilfull mistakings: all his conceits be malitious con­structions: [Page 152] all his reproofes be quarrellings: all his allegations be cauils: and all his reasons be vnreasonable. I will because I will, (saith he:) all his censures be bitter condemnations: all his admonitions be false accusa­tions: all his communications be mingled with othes, scoffes, and taunts, all his discoursings are bitter deprauings, or vaine ianglings: all his mirth is foolish and ridiculous, and nothing to the praise of God. The most wholesome doctrine he turneth into a iest, taking all with the left hand, and hearing all with the left eare: that is, with the worst affecti­ons that he hath:Psal. 73.8. This is a froward mouth: They are licentious (saith the Psalmist) and speake wickedly, they talke presumptuously. And of such was the Prophet Ezechiel warned.Eze. 33.31. They shall sit and heare thee as my people vse to do, but with their mouths they will make iests of thee. These are they that S. Paul saith are deliuered vp of God in his iudgement vnto a re­probate mind,Rom. 1.29. being full of all vnrighteousnesse: and that appeareth in no one thing more, then in taking all things in euill part.

A peruerse mouth, a note of one that feareth not God.This peruersenesse of the mouth is a true note of a wicked man, and one that feareth not God. The heart is secret, and therefore it is the impudencie of many to outface the matter, although he walke neuer so openly with a froward mouth, when God hath giuen such euident notes of his prophane heart, that a man cannot choose (except hee will be wilfully blind) but know him. Out of the aboundance of the heart the mouth speaketh (saith our Sauiour Christ:Mat. 12.) to shew, that by that which commeth foorth of the mouth the heart may be discer­ned. The righteous will speake of wisedome (saith the Psalmist) and his tongue will talke of iudgement, Psal. 37.30. for the law of God is in his heart: to shew that if wisedome be in the heart it will appeare in the tongue, and so will folly too. To conclude this point: If any seeme to be religious, (saith Iames) and refraineth not his tongue, but deceiueth his owne heart, this m [...]ns religion in vaine. He that cannot speake well cannot do well. And no maruell: for he that cannot speak well, can hardly do well: and he is farre stept into wickednesse, that can neither speake well nor do well.

This doctrine reproueth two sorts of persons. First, such as thinke they need not care what they say, so that they speake the truth, and speake neither fellony nor treason.Two sorts reproued by the for­mer do­ctrine. In which number may be ranged all froward and peruerse hearers of the word, who vse to picke quarrels a­gainst the Preacher, for teaching things that they like not, or that they vnderstand not. Also all husbands and wiues which liue in continuall frowardnesse and bitternesse one with another. As also all idle gossips and Ale knights, who do nothing but wet their lips with drinke, and dry them againe with carying of newes, lyes and tales, and discoursing [Page 153] of euery bodies matters which belong not vnto them. These are such as Dauid prayeth against in the 12. Psal. the 4. verse,Psal. 12.3.4. where he saith, The Lord cut off all flattering lippes, and the tongue that speaketh proud things: which haue sayd; with our tongue we will preuaile, our lips are our owne, who is Lord ouer vs?

Now, these are such as will be carefull inough for speaking of trea­son, or fellony, or any thing that may beare any action at law (although sometime through the iudgement of God they are ouerreached and taken in their owne craftinesse before they were aware.) But with their flattering and deceitfull lips they do much mischiefe: and howsoeuer they may shift in the world, yet for so much as they walke with a fro­ward mouth, the Lord hath branded them in his word for wicked men of Belial.

Secondly,2. Sort. this doctrine reproueth such as will peruersly discourse of mens matters, and dispute contentiously of Gods matters, pro and con­tra: and when they haue defended their popery,Peruerse disputers. their vsury, and their vanity as much as they can, then forsooth it was but for disputation sake. These are counterfeit mad-braines, such as Salomon noteth in the Prouerbes:Pro. 26.18.19. As he that faineth himselfe madde, casteth firebrands, arrowes, and mortal things: so dealeth the deceitfull man with his friend, and saith, am I not in sport? Sober dis­putations tending to edificati­on, are cō ­mendable. I condemne not sober set disputations, which are for e­dification, but contentious frowardnesse of lawlesse libertines, for the maintaining of their malice, and defacing of the truth, which is the practise of a man of Belial, and a wickd vaine man who walketh with a froward mouth: And so much for the qualitie of Belials speeches: now for the quantitie of his frowardnesse: it is to be noted where he saith, he [walketh.]

This word (walketh) is a Metaphor,Walketh. or borrowed speech, taken from those that go in a way, doubling their steppes, vntill they come at their iourneys end: it noteth a continuance of going in them that do go: and being translated vnto other actions, it noteth a continuance of that thing vnto which it is applied,Cōtinuāce in froward­nes is a dif­ference be­tweene the godly and-the wicked. as here it noteth vnto vs the cōtinuance of Belials frowardnes, and that the vaine lawlesse person, doth not now and then stumble vpon a froward word, but maketh frowardnes his continu­all practise. And this is the difference betweene the wicked and the godly, for euen a good and a godly man may sometime speake frowardly, ha­stily and vnaduisedly, as Moses did once, Psal 106.33. So did Iob, and Ieremy too, when both of them cursed the day of their birth. And Saint Iames saith,Ia. 3.2. He that sinneth not with his tongue is a perfect man. But as Da­uid, and Moses, and Iob, and Ieremy did all striue against such imperfe­ctions, [Page 154] & vnruly affections, so do the godly: & hauing once ouercome thē by the renuing grace of Gods holy Spirit,Psal. 51. Psal. 39. they bridle thē vp more straitly thē before. I thought (saith Dauid) I will take heed to my wayes, that I offend not with my toung, I will keep my mouth bridled while the wicked are in my sight. Gods childrē are far from the nature of wicked Belial, which vse to say: What? which of you sweare not sometime? which of you be not fro­ward somtime? be not moued somtime? be not impatient somtime? Yea, indeed it is true, but yet the godly may answer them againe, We walk not with a froward mouth as Belial doth:The wic­ked delight in speaking of the frail­ties of the godly, to iustifie themselues. The com­fort of the godly after their fals. who vseth to alledge and recken vp the faults & frailties of the godly only to iustifie themselues in their liber­tine courses, and lawlesse behauiour. This shall be a great comfort to the godly, to remember how they haue striuen against their headstrong af­fections: and being foiled, and cast downe somtime, haue risen againe by Gods renewing grace, and walked afterward more circumspectly: when the wicked shall find nothing but horrour and horrible desperation, be­cause they haue made a continual practise, & art (as it were) of swimming, giuing themselues ouer wholy like slaues vnto sinne, as vnto a cruell ty­rant, whose crueltie neuer appeareth vntill the day of reckning cometh, to pay men their wages. The fruit of this tree is faire in shew, but in tast most bitter,Rom. 6. for what else is it, but feare & shame, and death eternall? Rom. 6.

And indeede the custome of any sinne is very dangerous: the conti­nuall driuing at the wedges,The cu­stome of sinne is dangerous. Similitudes at length driue them home to the head, and so the great oke is spoiled and broken in peeces: by continuall dropping of raine the hard flint is worne hollow: by continuall blow­ing, the fire is made to flame out: by continuall going, great iournies are gone, and a great way is to be gone backe againe: by continuall leaking, the shippe is sunke at the length: by continuall wooing, the suter speedeth at length: by continuall walking in the Sunne, the face is Sun-burnt at the length: by continuall digging, Castles are vnder­mined, great pits are made, and high mountaines are cast vp. Yea, what should I say more? nothing, but vse and custome doth make men perfect and expert in any thing they go about.Custome and vse maketh vncomely fashions seeme comely. Custome and vse hath made euen those fashions (which at the first seemed very vgly and ab­hominable) to become in account very good and commendable. And if a man doth accustome himselfe to any thing which is hard, and a­gainst the mind at the first, at last (by long vse and custome) he shall find a certaine easinesse, yea a felicity, and dexterity in it, how much more shall we find the like in any sinne which we do accustome our selues vn­to, the pleasures and allurements whereof be so fitting vnto our natures and dispositions? yea doubtlesse, he that hath accustomed himselfe vnto [Page 155] any sinne, whether it be of swearing, or whoredome, or drunkennesse, or hastinesse:How hard a thing it is to leaue that which one hath bene accu­stomed vn­to. or whatsoeuer else, he shall in time find it as easie a matter to be perswaded to cut his throate, or to cut off his right hand, or to pull out his eyes, or to be nailed vnto a post, or to haue his bowels pulled out of his belly, as to be perswaded to leaue that sinne, whereunto he hath accustomed himselfe: as soone shall he cease to desire drinke when he is in extremity of thirst, as to cease from that sinne, and sin­full path wherein he hath vsed to walke: Can a blacke Moore change his skin, Ier. 13. or a Leapord his spots (saith Ieremy?) No more can this people do well, which haue accustomed themselues all dayes of their life to do e­uill. The former is a thing impossible in nature,In nature impossible. and so is the latter too, and therefore let no man accustome himselfe to do euill, nor to walke in any lewd path, but returne betimes, or else at last the way will seeme so long, and the iourney so tedious that must be gone backe againe, that he will rather sit downe,Custome taketh a­way the feeling of sinne. How an e­uill custom may be broken off. The folly of those that thinke custome will excuse them and grace thē. Another difference betweene the wicked and the godly. Zeale in the godly seemeth to be froward­nesse. The smoth words of the wicked are dange­rous. or go on still desperatly, then go backe againe: yea custome is another nature, and taketh away the very sence and feeling of sinne. But if any man hath walked in any dangerous cu­stome, and would be rid of such a haunting spirite and dangerous cu­stomer, let him resolue with himself to endure much striuing, and figh­ting, and much paine, and many blowes and buffetings of Sathan, and therefore must be very earnest with God by continuall prayer, for the creating of a new heart, and renewing of a right spirite within him.

But most wretched are those fooles, and monstrous is the folly of them, who instead of fearing the custome of sinne, and praying vnto God for grace against it, do take it as a sufficient plea, and defence for themselues (being admonished to leaue their sin) to say, Sir it is my cu­stome, you must beare with me: yea accompt it a grace vnto them to do as the custome hath beene of their forefathers, though it be neuer so wicked.

Againe, further we are to note, that euen in outward shew, there is great difference between the wicked and the godly, least we condemne the iust and the innocent causelesse. The godly seem sometime to speak frowardly, when it is indeede earnestly, and zealously for Gods glorie. The wicked for the most part are crosse, & when they speak most faire, and vtter words most smooth (which formally they can do at their plea­sure, per artem adulandi, by the art of flattering) then are they most dan­gerous, like Ioab who in saluting and embracing slue his brother Abner, and like Iudas the traitour, who with a kind kisse (in shew) betraied his Maister Christ. The godly are most moued for the glorie of God: the [Page 156] wicked are most moued for their owne glorie:The mi­nister of Christ shall be coun­ted fro­ward and malicious, if he re­proue sin. like Naman who was in a chafe, because the Prophet came not out vnto him. And as touching the Minister of the word, who many times hath iust occasion to thunder out the iudgements of God against obstinate sinners: he seemeth vnto men of peruerse and froward conditions (who list not to see others o­therwise then they are themselues, nor to muse but as they vse:) to such I say the Minister of Gods word, seemeth to speake of malice, and bitternesse, and by way of reuenge for some old grudge (as they say) and to deale frowardly with his people, when in zeale and earnestnesse he crieth aloud to awake men out of their dead sleepe, and cutteth and launceth them, to cut out their festered corruption: but surely they are deceiued.Reprehen­sion whole­som, thogh not tooth­some. 2. Tim. 4.3 True loue appeareth in plaine dealing. Reprehension indeed hath a sting (as the saying is) which is not very toothsome, but it is very wholesome, and it is not doctrine, but wholesome doctrine (saith Paule to Timothy) which men cannot en­dure. The father seemeth to be out of patience with his child when he seuerely rebuketh and correcteth him, but then is he most tender ouer him, and carefull for his good. So the fathers of our soules seeme to be our enemies when they sharply rebuke vs for our sinnes, but then they loue vs most, and are most desirous (or at least should be) that we might be saued: Am I Paule become your enemie, because I tell you the truth? (saith the Apostle to the Galathians:) to shew, that if we tell men the truth without flattery, we shall be counted their enemies. The more I loue (saith the same Apostle to the same people) the lesse am I loued:The more the minister loueth tru­ly, the lesse he shall be loued. to shew that true spirituall loue will procure vs hatred. And what o­ther account will the world make of vs if we deale plainly with them for their soules health, but as of babling fooles and mad men? Ieremy was counted a contentious person, Ezechi [...]ls Sermons we reckned of but as of a fidlers song?Ier. 20. Eze. 33. Act. 17.18. Act. 26.25. What will this babler say? sayd some of Paul, when he came to preach the resurrection of Christ: And too much learning maketh thee madde (saith Festus.) And were not the Apostles words esteemed as words of drunken men, when they were filled with the holy Ghost?Act. 2.13. And Christ hath told vs that men shall speake all ma­ner of euill saying falsly against vs for his names sake: euen as they did of the Prophets before. So that in outward shew, all zealous Christians in generall, and euery true and faithfull Minister of Christ in particular, whose mouthes are still open to find fault, and reproue sinne, shall seeme to the blind world, of all men most froward, but we know, and so many as are taught of God do know, that none but the man of Be­lial, and Ish-auen (that is lawlesse, and vaine persons) are those which walke with a froward mouth. As for the regenerate, though they be [Page 157] (as hath bene sayd) through weakenesse sometime ouertaken with a froward speech,Psal. 1.1. yet blessed are they (saith Dauid) because they walke not in the counsell of the wicked, nor stand in the way of sinners. The grace of God is abounding (sayth Paule) through our sinne, Ro. 6.1. Act. 9. but not if we conti­nue still in our sinne: and therefore (to conclude) as Paule (going to persecute the Church) was obedient to the heauenly vision, and re­turned a true conuert: so let so many as haue walked in froward waies, now take warning by this heauenly vision, and so shall he returne home truly conuerted.

Now let vs praise God.

THE IIII. SERMON.

PROV. 6.13.14.

He maketh a signe with his eyes, he signifieth with his feete, he instructeth with his fingers. Lewd things are in his hart.

WE haue heard before of Belials froward mouth,Of blind gestures. and how he is to be discerned thereby, for a lawlesse, and a vaine man. Now it remaineth that we consider of his outward gestures, and then of the internall shop of his heart, and the stuffe that he keepeth there, together with the matter that he frameth of the same. And first for his outward gestures, they are such as (if we marke them well) do shew that all his behauiour is coun­terfeit. The meaning is, that the man of Belial, and the vaine man, is ve­ry cunning, and skilfull both in playing the hypocrite before God, and al­so in practising of other lewdnesse before the world. In actions religious (wherein consisteth the outward seruice of God) he counterfeiteth ve­ry cunningly,He cōuter­feiteth in religion. making great signes & shewes of deuotion & piety, by e­leuating, or lifting vp his eyes vnto heauen, as the Pharisee did, and [Page 158] by running a pace, or making great expedition to the Temple, as Eze­chiels auditours did, and by turning ouer with his fingers the Bible to places alledged by the Preacher, &c. All which be signes, and instru­ctions vnto the world, that he or she that doth so, is very deuoute, and godly, and haue their harts wholly possessed with the loue and feare of God, and their minds employed about the study and practise of righte­ousnesse, sincerity, and honesty. All which gestures may well beseeme the godly, whose harts indeed are vpright with the Lord: but as for Be­lial, and Ish-auen, they are odious in them, because when they make such signes, and giue soorth such shewes and instructions, the Lord seeth, and telleth vs here in our text, that leud things are in their harts. They are on­ly signes without the things signified, like an Iuy-bush ouer a doore, where no wine is in the house. The wicked that make them, are like the wicked Scribes and Pharises, who vnder colour of long prayer, studied how to deuoure, yea deuoured indeed (as Christ saith) widowes hou­ses. They are also not vnlike to players on a stage, who come forth with long beards and side gownes, like graue Senators and wise Counsellors, when notwithstanding there is neither grauity nor wisedome in them. And as Belial playeth the counterfeit in religious exercises, to couer (with signes of holinesse) the leud things of his hart: so also in his ciuill conuer­sation and dealing amongst men,He coun­terfeiteth in ciuill af­faires. doth he (by making shewes and signes in his outward gestures, of that which he hath not) couer much leud­nesse, and practise much mischiefe. What was the kisse of Iudas but a signe of loue? yet treason was in his hart, and couered therewith. What were Ioabs courteous embracings, and kind salutations: but signes vn­to Abner of a kind friend? yet murther was in his hart, and couered therwith.Pro. 7.14. What is the harlots talking of paying her vowes, and offering her peace offerings: but a signe of a godly woman? yet euen then is leudnesse in her heart, and it is couered therewith. How many in the world do make signes with their eyes and countenance of great loue and kindnesse, with bending the body to embrace, and hastening their feete to meete euen those whom they hate in their heart? How many againe haue put finger to the eye, and seemed to weepe, and taken vp great lamentation, with wringing of hands, and refraining their meate, with other signes of griefe and sorrow, for the hurt, and death of some, whose death perhaps they haue procured, & for whose losse they laugh and reioyce in their harts? What signes of humility also shall we see, or not see, euen in the proudest persons that are? what signes of grauity, in the lighest and vainest? what signes of charity in the cruellest? what signes of liberality from the most niggardly? and what signes of man­hood [Page 159] & valour, euen in the most cowardly persons that are? Long lockes, sterne countenances, bigge lookes, great bragges, monstrous oathes, cru­ell threatnings, and like Saule breathing nothing but slaughter, as if they were more then Lions, and when it commeth to the triall they are lesse then men: like empty vessels, which make the greatest sound when they are empty. Of all which, with many moe the like, it may be sayd, as it is in our text, They make signes with their eyes, they signifie with their feete, & instruct with their fingers, but leud things are in their harts. And againe, as the man of Belial and vaine man, doth oftentimes play the counterfeit both in religion and ciuility, making signes of that which is not in him, yea only to couer the leudnesse that is in him: so sometimes also doth he both openly declare by signes and gestures, the vanity and lightnesse of his heart: and as cunningly likewise by signes and gestures both practise, and also teach mischiefe and leudnesse, when he is amongst his compa­nions. And certainly, when the outward gestures of the body, and the parts thereof are not according to simplicity, it must needs proceed from some euill that is in the hart.

Now, this noting and marking of a lawlesse person by his gestures, & externall behauiour, doth teach vs many very profitable lessons worthy our best consideration.

  • 1 The seuere precisenesse, and precise seuerity of the word of God, which looketh into the very gestures of the body: as the motion of the eyes, of the feete, and the fingers, &c.
  • 2 The tyranny of sin, which exerciseth all the parts of the body, do­mineering ouer the whole man.
  • 3 The nature of hypocrisie, and how it is descried in the outward parts, and gestures of the body.
  • 4 The cunning of the wicked, who can teach sinne, and set forward mischiefe and leudnesse, euen by signes and gestures.
  • 5 Lastly, the aptnesse and pronnesse of our nature to learne euill, e­uen by signes▪ gestures, and dumbe shewes.

Of euery one of these a little: and first, of the strictnesse, and seuere precisenesse of the word of God, in marking and noting the very motions of the body, and euery part thereof. The Lord we see plainly noteth the very gestures of the body,Euery mē ­ber of the body is bound to his good behauiour. as well as the words of the mouth, and actions of our life: yea he teacheth vs not onely how to liue, and how to speake, but also how to go, and to moue our bodies: euery part and member is set to schoole, and bound to his good behauiour. Euen as in the building of the tabernacle, and materiall Temple, there was nothing left to the dis­cretion of them that built it, but a patterne was giuen them by God [Page 160] for euerything, euen to the very pinnes, and ash-pannes, and flesh-hookes, &c. So, in the spirituall building of our bodily tabernacles, and temples of the holy Ghost, nothing is left to our wils and discre­tions, but euen from the very thoughts of the heart, to the outward ge­stures of the body▪ yea to the very mouing of the eyes, the fingers, and the feet, the Lord hath set downe an order in his holy word: and who­soeuer breaketh that order is noted for it by the Lord: but who soeuer wilfully neglecteth it, and setteth the same at naught, is also branded for a man of Belial and vaine person, whose heart is full of lewd things▪ and whofe destruction commeth both speedily and suddenly vpon him. Caines countenance cannot be cast downe, but the Lord will note it,Gen. 4.6. and search out the cause thereof, Gen. 4.6. to be an enui­ous eye, and a bloudy heart against his brother for his goodnesse: to shew, that we must looke vnto our very countenance, least wrath and enuy be espied therein.Pro. 7.13. The harlot is noted well inough for her im­pudent face, and thereby is she also noted for a harlot: to teach women and maidens to watch ouer their countenances and outward beha­uiour, that there appeare not too much boldnesse and lightnesse there­in, because thereby they are discerned, either what they are, or what they would be.Esa. 3.16. The proud women of Israel, could not walke as they did with their neckes stretched out, nor counterfeit a minsing gate, but the Lord doth note them for it: and doth he not note the daughters of England for the same things aswell as the daughters of Ierusalem? The Pharisees could not disfigure their faces when they fasted, but our Sauiour Christ would surely marke it,Mat. 6.16. and haue it recorded in his word to their shame, and the admonition of all others. We are become a laughing stocke (saith the Church of God being in captiuity) and a nodding of the head vnto the Heathen:Psal. 44.13.14. to shew, that the very fleering of the countenance, and the nodding of the head in contempt and de­spite of Gods people, must be answered for before the Lord, aswell as reprochfull speeches, and bloudy actions. And amongst other signes of contempt and reproch shewed by the Iewes against our Sauiour Christ at his death,Mat 27.39. this is noted by the Euangelist for one, that they wagged their heads at him. So, the man of Belial cannot worke his feates by signes and gestures, but the word of God will take notice of it, and tell all the world, that He maketh a signe with his eyes, he signifieth with feete, instructeth with his fingers. And according to this rule must we liue: by this card must we saile, making (as the Scripture teacheth vs) straite steppes vnto godlinesse. So farre are we from teaching men li­berty to sinne (as the wicked Belials of popery slanderously charge the [Page 161] Preachers of the Gospell) that we allow not men so much liberty as to make signes to any euill purpose,Against the slander of Papists. but to carry euen the outward parts of the body, and the motions thereof, in such sort as they be nei­ther offensiue, nor infectiue, but according to sobriety and simplicity. For this is one chiefe end why the grace of God hath appeared (sayth the Apostle to Titus) to teach vs not onely to denie vngodlinesse and worldly lusts, Tit. 2.11.12▪ but also to liue soberly, godly and righteously in this pre­sent world. Which sobriety mentioned by the Apostle in that place, is opposite vnto all lightnesse, and scandalous behauiour which appea­reth as well in the gestures of the body, as in other things.

Some in their wanton and light behauiour are both offensiue to the godly,Our beha­uiour must be in Sobriety. and infectiue to the weaker Christians: these walke not accor­ding to sobriety. Some againe are as counterfeit both in matters of re­ligion, and also in common ciuility, embracing, affable, courting, duc­king, promising, and protesting &c. when there is no good meaning at all in them:Simplicity. these walke not according to simplicity. All which coun­terfeit behauiour the Lord noteth and condemneth, aswell as Cain for for the heauinesse of his countenance, when it bewraied the enuy and malice of his hart. And no maruell: for both charity and chastity are the worse for such gestures as are not in sobriety and simplicity.How cha­rity is bro­ken by signes. Charity is broken as well by a proud or disdainfull looke, as by a railing & slan­derous, or reprochfull speech. As well by the nodding of the head, and fleering of the countenance, and winking of the eye, or putting out the tongue is charity broken, and wrath prouoked, as by the violence of the hand. As charity is broken,Chastity is assaulted by signes. so also is chastity assaulted that way, euen by leud signes and wanton gestures of the body, as wel as by plaine motions, and enticements of speech: both modesty and impu­dency, loue and lust, will all appeare and shew themselues in the ge­stures and motions of the body, though the tongue sit still in silence, & say nothing, according to the saying of Salomō in another place of this booke:Pro. 17.24. Wisedome shineth in the face of the prudent. Many are ashamed to speake what they thinke, but yet by signes and gestures they will shew what they desire:Luk. 19.40. If these should hold their peace (saith Christ) pointing to his disciples which praised him) the very stones would cry. So, if the toung be silent, the eyes, the fingers, and the feete will speake. Therfore euery member must be sanctified, & made a weapon of righteousnesse.

This seuerity of the word of God is it that troubleth all the world: It is counted too great precisenesse to liue so strictly: We cannot looke awry now adayes (say some) but we shall be told of it in the Pulpit. Ah (sayth another) the world is come to a good passe indeed, we must now [Page 162] go to the schoole of good manners againe;This pre­cisenesse doth much trouble Li­bertines. we must learne of the Prea­cher how to go, and how to looke, and when to laugh, and when to be merry. These and such like speeches are rife in the world, but it is onely a­mongst the men of Belial and Ishim auen, lawlesse and dissolute persons, vaine and foolish people, such as haue cast off Gods yoke from them: and like them that sayd of Christ.Luk. 19.27. Psal. 2.3. Psal. 12.4. We will not haue this man to raigne ouer vs: come let vs breake their bands asunder, and cast their cords from vs: our tongues are our owne, we may speake what we list, who shall controule vs? and so are our eyes too, and our fingers too, and our feete too, we will looke, and go, and gesture it as we list, and what hath any man to do with our gestures? These are right men of Belial indeed, whom the Lord (that sit­teth in the heauens) doth laugh to scorne, and shall haue in great derision when destruction shall come suddenly vppon them in his wrath: yea he shall vexe them in his sore displeasure, and breake them in peeces like a potters vessell, if they be not wise vnto repentance in time, euen before his wrath be kindled, yea but a little. This precisenesse that the profane Belials of the world haue in so much contempt,This pre­cisenesse is called in Scripture circum­spect wal­king. is nothing else but that circumspect walking which is commended and commanded vnto vs by the Apostle from the Lord in Ephs. 6. Walke circumspectly saith he, like wise men: as if our life were a iourney to be walked, vpon a narrow bridge ouer a deepe water, ouer which there is no safe passage if a man go lea­ping, and skipping, and gazing about him, as those that wander and roue at scope in the wide fields:Why we must walke circum­spectly. but we must looke to our feete, and to euerie step that we set, or else we are quickly gone, and being downe very hardly recouered againe, without Gods great mercy and grace.

So much for the first point. Now the second thing that we haue to obserue,The se­cond point. is the tyranny of sinne, hauing once gotten possession in the hart: If lewd things lodge in the heart, surely they will take vp all the outward parts of the body to serue at their pleasure, and from one member to a­nother will leudnesse fetch his continual walke.Sins walke. Therefore saith the bles­sed Apostle: Let not sinne raigne in your mortall bodies, to obey the lustes thereof, Ro. 6.12.13. neither giue you your members as weapons of vnrighteousnesse and vncleannesse. To shew, what a tyrant sinne is, who when he hath gotten hold in the heart of a wicked man, will domineere ouer his whole bodie, and euery member shall serue as a weapon to fight withall in the defence of sinne, and to the offence of vertue.

The ty­ranny of sinne de­scribed.When a tyrant raigneth, no man that is vnder him is his owne man, no man can say what is his owne: so where sinne raigneth (the most cruell, subtill and vnsatiable tyrant that euer was, is, or can be) euery member of the body, and euery cogitation and affection of the soule, is held in [Page 163] most miserable bondage and slauery nothing is free to serue the Lord, but all are at Sathans becke, and ready to obey his suggestions. This ty­rant wil not be closed vp in the heart, but will looke out at the eyes as at a window, & will walke abroad: nay rather be caried abroad like a Pope vpon mens shoulders: the hand must feele, and reach him that which he liketh, and giue what he will bestow, and where he will bestow it, and strike whom he liketh not: The eye must seeke out such pleasures as he delighteth in, and the tongue must call for them. Yea, of such bewitching power is this tyrant sinne, that he poysoneth like the Crocodile with his very sight and countenance: he hath greater power ouer his seruants the members of the body: nay his seruants the members, haue greater power ouer others, then the Centerion in the Gospell had ouer his souldiers: I say to one come, Mat. 8.9. and he commeth, to another go and he goeth (saith the Centurion:) but this tyrant doth but looke vppon men, and they feare him: he doth not fawne vpon men, and they affect him: he doth but make a signe with his eyes, and signifie with his going, and in­struct by holding vp of his finger, and it is inough to make men go and come at his pleasure.How sinne entreth. And all his fawning & flattering, & terrifying of mē, is for nothing else in the world but to get in to a man, and to raigne ouer a man which he can easily do. He can by little and little, yea with a lit­tle intreating (where Gods grace is not to make resistance) enter in at the eye, or at the eare, or by touching the body, and tickling the sen­ses, and so from thence into the heart, and there he sitteth like a com­mander, and a cruell tyrant, euen ouer al those members and affections, by which he was first let in, and which first gaue him any entertaine­ment. Adonijah begged onely Abishag the Shunamite to wife when Dauid had done with her: a small request in shew, but he had a further reach: his mind was to the kingdome, which wise Salomon perceiued well inough: So Sathan will request but a little dalliance with the fin­gers, and will but borrow they feete to carry him to such a place, & such a place to heare, or see a play, or the like vanity, and thy countenance to braue or beard such & such: or thy eye, to looke out at: as theeues that will craue a standing in a mans shop to see some straunge sight, when they meane to rob and steale:Of the sub­tilty of sin. a small request in shew. But sinne is deceitfull, and Sathan is an old subtill serpent, trust him not, he hath a mind to a kingdome, and that is, to rule like a hellish tyrant in thee & to get all the members of thy body, and all the affections of thy soule from out of Gods seruice into his slauery and subiection: and this can none espie, but those that haue heauenly wisdome as Salomon had. And therefore as Adonijah made his subtill request against his owne life, when [Page 164] wise Salomon had espied his treachery: so let all wise harted Christians (who by the light of this doctrine haue receiued any inckling of the sub­till pollicy of sinne and Sathan, in entring: and of their tyranny being en­tred into the heart) desire of God by continuall and earnest prayer, that through the gracious assistance of his blessed Spirit (his feare keeping the passage) all these fawning & treacherous motions solicited in the vn­sanctified gestures and behauiour of the body,We are to pray a­gainst the trecherous motions to sinne. may be made against their owne life, that is, that they may be so crushed and checked at the first, that neither eye, nor eare, nor hand, nor foote, nor tongue, nor looke, may euer haue any list, or ioy to serue sinne, or Sathan, or the man of Be­lial any more. And so much briefly for the tyranny of sinne, which hath all the parts of the body at commandement.

The third point.Now come we to the third point, and let vs see how the sinne of hypo­crisie in particular, doth breake foorth and appeare in the very externall behauiour & gestures of the body at one time or another.How hypo­crites are deceiued. Sin is like poyson. Hypocrites are greatly deceiued, who thinke to do well inough, so long as they can keep their harts secret (for so they imagine:) but all sinne in generall, and hy­pocrisie in speciall, is like poyson, and leauen. Now if poyson be drunke into the bowels, it cannot be kept there frō his working, but it wil breake forth and make the whole body to swell, & the very nailes of the fingers, & haire of the head, will tell that poyson is within.And like leauen. And leauen (though it be but a litle in quantity) being buried in a great lumpe of dough, will haue his operation, in such sort that euery part and crumbe of the whole lumpe shall taste of it, so that by the very taste of it, a man shall be able (that hath a sound taste) to say, surely here was leauen. And therefore saith Christ: Take heed and beware of the leuen of the Pharisees, Luk. 12. which is hypocrisie: as if he should say: take heed of hypocrisie, for it is like leuen, it will not only sower, and make vnsauory all your actions before God, but it will breake forth, & by the very taste of your deeds it will be perceiued of men. Yea this poyson will appeare in your faces and gestures: for all will be di­stempered and out of order. It may be that Belial may with his cunning deceiue some: but the seruants of God, which haue the spirit of discretiō cannot so easily be deceiued.1. Kin. 14.6. Ahijah knew Ieroboams wife before he saw her, though she came in disguised apparel: that could he do because he was a Prophet: now though we be not such Prophets as he was, yet (folowing the directiō of Gods word) we may easily discerne an hypocrite if we cō ­uerse lōg with him, & marke him wel. By one letter missed in the pronun­tiation of one word,Iudg. 12. Slubboleth the Ephraimites were knowne frō the Gileadites: so many times, by one word in a sentence, or by one sentence in a sermon, or in a booke, or by the very style and phrase, a man may easily discerne the [Page 165] humour and disposition of a man: & by such a little matter it will be no hard matter to coniecture whether he hath borrowed any popish tooles & patternes to forge his worke by, & so whether he be inclined to pope­ry or no. When Peter was familiar both with Iewes & Gētiles, & soothed vp both sides in their contrary opinions, Paul thought him not sound. So likewise, whē we see men professing the Gospel, to be alike familiar both with Papists & Protestants, & giue the right hand of fellowship as soone to the one as to the other, & to cōmend the Church of the one to be no lesse the family of Christ then the Church of the other, we may iustly sus­pect that they are not so sound as they should be.Halting & iudgling in Gods mat­ters will easily be e­spied if mē be awake. Act. 24.27. Pro. 7.10. &c. 2. Sam. 16. Oh their halting & iug­ling, wil easily be espied if men be awake. Let Felix pretend what he wil: yet by his often sending for Paul, & by his oftē cōmuning with him, with so many sleeuelesse messages sent to him, it will easily be perceiued that he looketh for a bribe. Let the close harlot prate neuer so much of religiō, yet by her impudent behauior it will appeare what she is, & what she desireth. Let Absalō pretēd what he list, vows made at Hebron, &c. yet by the great­nes & gallantnes of his traine it wil be no hard matter to gesse wherabout he goeth, & that his vow was to play the traitor, ex pede Herculē, ex vngue leonē: Hercules was known by his footsteps, the lion is known by his paw, though he shew nothing else: the wolse by his howling, though he be clo­thed in a sheeps skin: & the asse (howsoeuer he be disguised) by his braying, & by the length of his eares wil be known to be but an asse.The hypo­crisie of po­pery how it is discoue­red. So in Popery the nūber of duckings, crossings, eleuatiōs, kneelings, stādings, turnings, & windings, do shew, that Balaam & popish Balamites, are but hipocrites, to build so many altars, & to offer vpon thē as they do, as though they knew not without al those ceremonies what they shold do; & only to blind the eies of the foolish king of Moab & his people.Num. 23. But Balaam hath not in all points so much wit as his asse which beareth him: the mouth doth not al­waies bewray the hart, yet it is true prouerbially that Christ saith in Mat. 12. Out of the abūdance of the hart the mouth speaketh. And there are other signes also to know a mā of Belial by (we see) as well as by his mouth: his hypocrisy wil break out into gestures:It is a fault in Christi­ans not to marke how God doth note out the wicked. Pro. 10.10. All these notes must be taken together. whē he hath so many irōs in the fire he cannot plie them all well. A fault surely it is in Christians, not to marke those things which God hath set down for marks of a wicked mā, & ther­fore they are deceiued. Iacob gathered by Labans countenāce, that his hart was not towards him. Iehoram gathered by Iehues marching, that he came not peaceably, & Salomon taketh the winking with the eye for a note of a man that worketh or soweth sorrow and trouble. But as we haue al these marks here together, so we shall do wel to take them all together, and not to iudge of any man by one of them alone, and then we shall be sure not to be deceiued: for a man may be by nature hasty, and soone displea­sed, [Page 166] & yet not a man of Belial: another may be earnest in contending for some point that he imagineth to be truth, & yet no mā of Belial: another may somtime against his will, through humane frailty imagine euill of a thing that was well intended, & yet not man of Belial: another may be a meanes vnawares of some strife & contention, whē perhaps he intended the cōtrary, & yet no man of Belial: and another may haue a naturall im­perfection & weaknesse, of winking with the eye, or looking downward or another way in talke, & yet no mā of Belial: another may be merily & pleasantly conceited, & yet no Ish-auen, no vaine man. And lastly ano­ther may be somwhat stiffe in his opinions, & hard to perswade, & yet no man of Belial. But this is for certaine: he that is lawlesse, & incorrigible, wilful, obstinate, & inflexible, he whose wil must stand for a law, against al reason and force of argument, he is a man of Belial: he that delighteth in dūghil & filthy vain sports, & spēds his time vnprofitably, as one that hū ­teth after the wind, & pursueth the smoke: he that walketh with a froward mouth, & hath no care to vse his toung to the praise of God, & benefit of his neighbour: he that counterfeith signes of that which is not in him, & which he desireth not to be in him: & he that is cunning to couer a leud heart with counterfeit gestures, & in like manner to practise & teach leud things: & he that imagineth euill cōtinually, & knowes not how to giue a good interpretatiō of any thing, & withal delighteth in stirring vp of strife: he (I say) that is thus broken out, hath assuredly Gods markes vpon him, & may be knowne therby, to be a man of a leud hart, a man of Belial, & Ish-auen, a vaine man, whose destructiō approcheth with speed, & suddē ­ly shall fall vpon him without recouery. And so much for the nature of hypocrisie, and how it may be discouered in the gestures of the body.

The fourth point.Now in the fourth place we are to consider a litle of the cunning of the mā of Belial, which is so great that he can practise sin, & declare his mind by signes & gestures: for sometime they are ashamed, or afraid to speake what they thinke, or to craue what they desire. But whē they make signes with the eye, they signifie with their feet, and instruct with their fingers, that is, they shew their mind by signes, very painfull they are, but it is to their owne destructiō: & very busie to set forward Sathans businesse, but to their owne shame & confusiō.The wic­ked are cunning and paine­full to their owne con­fusion. Very wise they are in their generations, subtill as serpents, & crafty as foxes. This may teach vs to be as wise as they, to hinder sin by as many meanes as they do further it by. Whē Rab­sakeh came to raile, & did raile vpon the God of Israel, & to blaspheme the name of the Lord the most high, what did the seruants of king Heze­kiah? did they reproue him by words? No, least they should cause him to blaspheme more: and because such a dog (or diuell rather) was not to be spoken vnto, by signes & gestures they shewed their dislike & hatred of [Page 167] his blasphemies,Esa. 36.21. & 37.1. in tokē of griefe they rent their clothes. Esa. 36.21. & 37.1. If men shold now a daies vse to rent their clothes whē they heare Gods truth reuiled & his holy name blasphemed, what ragged congregations should we haue in euery place? I suppose that few or none shold come to the Temple with a whole garment vpon his backe. But if the blasphemers flesh might be (by a law established) rent & torne aswel as mens garmēts were, I suppose it were a good way to make their nūber lesser: & surely I thinke that by that ceremony of renting garments, was shewed that the blasphemer was worthy to go naked, or to haue his flesh rent & torne in peeces, or both. When Ionathan would instruct Dauid his friend, of Sauls wrath against him, he did it by signes, giuē him in the shooting of certaine arrowes, & the order of taking them vp againe. When our Sauiour Christ would shew how litle he regarded the tēptations of those which accused vnto him a woman taken in adultery, & how vnworthy they were to be answered,Ioh. 8.6. We may reproue sinne by our ge­stures, How vain [...] men shew their dislike of the truth. Especially at Sermons he turned another way, & wrote or scribled (as we say) on the groūd, as one not minding what they said. So might we also reproue foo­lish and vaine people, aswell by our gestures as by plaine speeches, if we were but halfe so wise for God as the wicked are for the diuell: for they if they like not the truth, or the man that deliuereth it, they will shew their dislike by whispering, or fleering, or turning their backes, & giuing deafe eare, as we see at Sermons, where somtime you shall haue a Church-pa­pist, or a Libertine Protestant, or one that hath an itch in his eares, and is somtime curious to please, who whē they heare a man, or a matter which they like not, they will not speake, for that they know is dangerous, but they wil either fall to whispering with their next fellowes, or to laughing, or to frowning & outfacing the Preacher, or fall asleepe, or reade vpon a booke, or go out of the Church: but such is our simplicity, that if one way be taken from vs, we haue not another. The forcible working that is in outward signes & gestures of the body,The force of outward signes and gestures. with the setting or changing of the countenance, we may somewhat perceiue, if we consider, how the mouing of laughter doth not a litle embolden fooles, iesters, & mery cō ­ceited companions, still to feed that parties humor with iests & odde cō ­ceits whom he hath moued ther withall: & it is their glory whē they haue done, to tell how they made the Queene to laugh, or the Councell to laugh, or the graue Iudges, or such a great man, or such a one to laugh, or any one whō they would delight: & on the contrary there is no such cut or disgrace to the forenamed iesters, &c. as whē they perceiue no change or alteration of mens countenances at their fooleries: yea then are they quite done, as if a dampe had put out their light. And so much briefly may suffice for the cunning and wisedom of the wicked, working their feates by signes, with the vse that we may make thereof.

[Page 168] The fift point.Now last of all in a word let vs but obserue the aptnesse of our nature to learne that which is euil. A word to a wise man (they say) is inough, but a winke (we see here) to a wicked man, is inough: for all our wisdom (na­turally) is in sin. When we are children, we no sooner heare an oath, but we learne to sweare: we no sooner heare a lye, but we beleeue it: we no sooner heare a foolish tale, but it is our own. Yea in any euill custome, or practise, a winke, or a signe with the finger is inough: so wel doth our na­ture and such things agree together. But when the word of God is taught neuer so plainly, & the principles of true religiō proued neuer so soundly & strongly, by all the demonstrations in the world, we cannot learne, not beleeue,The prone­nesse of men to e­uill, and vntoward­nesse to learne the truth, is a great cause of Anti-christs ad­uancement. nor beare any thing away in comparison. And this towardnes & pronnesse vnto euill & error, hath set vp the kingdom of Sathan & Anti­christ in his throne: how many wold rise at midnight to go heare an idola­trous & blasphemous Masse, that wil not stir out of their dores in the day time to a fruitfull & comfortable Sermon? When Patriarches & Prophets came, mē had no list to heare thē, nor to folow thē, because they brought spirituall things which are not sauoured of flesh & bloud: but whē Anti-christ came, with a number of masking & mumming Masse Priests, in all glorious shew to the eye, with piping & singing, with belly cheare, with their Robinhoods, & morrice dances, & all their relegiō like a stage play, ful of carnal delights, & bewitching vanities, thē mē wold run, & heare, & follow, & thinke nothing too much, or too deare to vphold that filthy Si­nagogue (or sinke rather) withal.Those that are apt to learne lies, shall be gi­uen ouer of God to be­leeue lyes. Therfore whē mē were so apt to learne lyes, & so dull & vntoward to learne the truth, God gaue thē ouer to be­leeue lies. Oh how many could then learne many lessons & praiers in La­tin, whē they vnderstood not one word that they said, but might haue cal­led for a curse aswell as for a blessing, & might say Amen to a praier made to the diuel aswel as made to God for ought they knew, which now can learne nothing for their soules health in English? Well, let vs take heede that we continue not stil so vntoward to serue God, & to learne his most glorious will, least God giue vs ouer againe in his iust iudgemēt to walke in ignorance,Mens incli­nation to popery ma­keth Papists and popery to grow. & to beleeue lies. Popery groweth apace in many places, & Papists are very bold: doubtlesse they see (it is to be feared) too much in­clinatiō, & aptnes both in som teachers, & much of the people to receiue their Popish trash again, & that is the matter. Popish pictures shew thē ­selues in euery shop, & street almost, & many think there is great deuo­tiō stirred vp by the sight of thē: yea they hope of a mery world towards. And doubtlesse the Papists cannot brew so fast, but (as they hope) others will be as ready to drinke. Well, the Lord in mercy looke vpon vs & our Christian gouernors, that we may be more & more forward & apt to the embracing, & setting forth of his holy truth & Gospell to our liues end.

Amen.

Now let vs pray.

THE V. SERMON.

PROV. 6.14.

Leud things are in his heart.

WE haue heard before, how vaine and lawlesse the man of Belial is,The cause of Belials distempe­rature. how froward and peeuish, how counterfeit & cunning in his outward behauiour: now we are come to the cause of all, and to the digging vp of that which is the fountaine of all his distemperature and disorder, and that doth the holy Ghost here shew vs, when he saith: Leud things are in his heart: as if he should say, it is no maruell though his behauiour be so bad and barbarous, so vile and full of leud actions, when his heart, which is the fountaine of all his actions, is full of leude things. Then first, here let vs consider what is meant by the hart. And next, what profitable doctrines may be gathered from this sentence: and the co­herence thereof with the rest of the wicked mans description.What is meant in the Scrip­ture by the hart. By hart in this place he meaneth not the fleshly and materiall heart, which is the good creature of God: but the corrupted, and depraued qualities of the heart. For the heart is put sometime for the whole inward man, as in 1. Pet. 3.4. Let the hid man of the heart be meeke and quiet: some­time for the thoughts and affections, for the will and vnderstanding: as in 1. King. 3.9. Giue me an vnderstanding heart: the prayer of Salo­mon. That is, giue vnderstanding vnto my hart, mind, or soule: for hee had a hart before. So that in the heart is vnderstanding, but in the wic­ked it is leud vnderstanding, because he vnderstandeth leude and vile things best. And in Gen. 6.5. it is said, The imaginations of the thoughts of mans heart were euill continually: to shew, that thoughts and imagina­tions lodge in the heart: but in the man of Belial they are leude and wicked. In the 23. of the Prou. 26. the Lord saith: My sonne, giue me thy heart: that is, the affections of thy heart: as thy desire, thy loue, thy ioy, thy feare, thy trust, thy zeale, thy delight, thy sorrow, as if he shold say, if thou desirest any thing desire me: if thou louest any thing loue me: if thou ioyest in any thing ioy in me: if thou fearest any thing feare me: if thou trustest any trust me: if thou be zealous for any thing be zea­lous [Page 170] for me: if thou sorrowest for any thing be sorrowfull that thou canst not do thy dutie to me as thou oughtest: and these things I leaue not to thy choise, but see thou do them indeed. Now all these affecti­ons are in the wicked man of Belial, but they are leud, and not for the Lord. In the fourth of the Hebrewes 12. the word of God is called a de­uider of the thoughts and intents of the heart: so that in the heart lye thoughts and intents: that is, purposes, conclusions, and determinations, but in the wicked they are all leud and naught. So that the meaning of these words (Leud things are in his heart) is, that the man of Belial vn­derstandeth leud things, he thinketh and studieth leud things, he pur­poseth and intendeth leud things, he desireth and affecteth leud things: yea he deuiseth and contriueth nothing else but leud things. This ana­tomizing and discouering of Belials hart in this sort, with the rest of his behauiour, in other parts of his bodie, teacheth vs many excellent pointes of doctrine for our instruction.

  • 1. That the man of Belial is no better within then without.
  • 2. That whatsoeuer a man is without, yet God doth iudge of him by that which is in his heart.
  • 3. That the cause of all outward disorder is in the heart.
  • 4. That a man cannot be a good man vntill the hart be reformed.
  • 5. That the word of God is of that nature, that it discouereth the hidden things in the heart.
  • 6. That the same word of God which sheweth vs the corruptions of our hearts, doth also shew vs to reforme the heart.

The first point.Of the first: That a wicked and prophane man, such as Salomon here speaketh of, is no better within then he is without, but rather worse: is euident both by this, and diuers other places of holy Scripture. Here he saith, that as he is froward in his speeches, and dissolute in his out­ward behauiour, so his heart is leud and wicked. So that if the hart be naught all is naught:If the hart be naught al is naught If there be any goodnes in his heart, it must be either in his vnderstanding, or his will, or his affections: but the sub­iect of all these is leudnes, therfore within there is no better then with­out, but rather worse. In the 6. of Gen. verse 5. it is said: That mans wic­kednesse is great, Psal. 41.1. and his heart is also euill continually. The Psalmist saith, The foole (meaning a wicked man) hath said in his heart there is no God: his waies are corrupt and become abhominable, there is not one that doth good: no, not one.

A descrip­tion of a naturall man.The Apostle Paul searcheth euery part of the naturall man within and without, and findeth all alike: Roman. 3. from verse 11. to 19. Let him be asked the question, and heare his answer. And first of his vnder­standing: [Page 171] What vnderstanding hath the vnregenerate or naturall man? None: There is none that vnderstandeth (saith he) meaning the things of God. How are their affections bent? What? do they not desire to know God? No: (saith the Apostle) There is none that seeketh God. What? is there none better then another? No: (saith the Apostle) They haue all gon out of the way: they are made altogether vnprofitable: there is none that doth good, no not one. But let vs make a better search: it may be there is some goodnesse in some secret corner, or in some of their members. What say you of their throat? Their throat (saith the Apostle) is an open sepulcher: from whence proceedeth nothing but stinke and rottennesse to infect the aire. How are their toungs vsed? To deceipt (saith the Apostle.) What is vnder their lippes: The poison of Aspes. And what in their mouths? Abun­dance of cursing and bitternesse. They are swift in going, whereabout is it? It may be they plie it so fast to saue some bodie that is in daunger, or to visite the poore and needie. No, (saith the Apostle,) Their feete are swift to shed bloud. But yet it may be their trade and manner of liuing is good and profitable to the Commonwealth. No, (saith the Apostle) De­struction and calamitie are in their waies. But yet it may be their life is harmlesse and peaceable amongst their honest neighbors. No, (saith he) the way of peace they haue not knowne. But yet for all this, they may feare God in their hearts, may they not? No, (saith he) The feare of God is not before their eyes. Why then we perceiue that a meere naturall man whol­ly vnregenerate, such as Salomon calleth, The man of Belial, is all one mā both within and without: in his life lawlesse, and in his heart leude and wicked. The vse of this first point is to be made against those wicked mē that (being altogether sold vnto sinne, and hating reformation) will rea­son in this sort: Whatsoeuer my sayings and my doings be, or howsoe­uer my gestures, and outward behauiour be, or whatsoeuer my religion be, yea though I come not at Church to heare the Sermons, nor take a­ny pleasure in the Scriptures, &c. yet I would you should know it, I loue God, and I regard Gods word: yea I haue as good a hart to God as the best of you. But he is deceiued: for if a leud heart be a good heart, then so it is: but a good heart sendeth foorth good things, (being first renewed by the spirite and grace of God) but if thou be a wicked lawlesse Belial, and a vaine man, that walkest in froward customes, &c. then know for a certaine that thy heart is full of leude things, from whence proceed all thy outward disorders. And how can that hart be a good hart to God­ward, that is stored with leud things? And so much for the first point.

The second conclusion that ariseth from this place,The second point. is this: that God iudgeth of a man according to that which is in his heart: (whatsoeuer [Page 172] he be in shewe) yea, though a false heart may be (and is commonly) shrowded vnder a ciuill behauiour, yet it is seene of God, and iudged by him too. God seeth not as man seeth, (saith Samuel) man looketh on the outward appearance, 1. Sam. 16.7. but God looketh vnto the truth of the heart. The hart of man is deceiptfull aboue all things (saith Ieremie) yet I the Lord search the heart, Ier. 17.10. and trie the reines, to giue to euery one according to his wayes: to shew, that the wayes of man are in his heart, and none can knowe them throughly, but the Lord, whose proper office is to search the heart: and that he will surely do.

A needfull point this is for two sorts of people (especially) to think well vpon. The first, are Papistes of all sorts, Church Papistes and all. They are skilfull in their Popish eleuations,The skill of Papists. idolatrous crossings, down low duckings, demure countenances, holy habites, and obseruations of times, but they keepe their consciences to themselues, and the Lord looketh vpon the leudnes and villanies that are lurking in their harts,The villa­nies of Pa­pists. till a fit time serue for the bringing of them foorth: as murthering of Princes, vndermining of kingdomes and states, subuerting the Gospel, enriching the kingdome of Antichrist, vnder colour of wilfull pouer­tie: besides their whoredomes and other abhominations, which make them now so to storme and rage, because they are discouered vnto the world. But let them looke vnto it, God will iudge them for the leude things that are in their hearts. Many ceremonies they make like Balaam with his seuen altars,Their cere­monies. Prayers. &c. but both his and their hearts go one way, and God seeth it well inough. Many prayers and great deuotion they pretend, but after the Pharisees fashion, who when they seemed to pray most deuoutly, then they deuoured most greedily and cruelly poore widowes houses.Inquisitiōs. Their Inquisitions are full of such prancks, e­uen amongst their holy fathers: but I will not nowe stand raking in those puddles: Leude things are in their hearts, and God seeth them well inough, and will iudge them: not so much by that which soundeth in their mouths (although he will also iudge them for that) but especi­ally by that which is in their hearts.

2. Sort. Politicke ProtestantsThis is also to be thought vpon of our politicke Protestants, who say they defie Poperie: but yet are not (many of them) very sound at the heart. They are too well read and practised in Machiauell, to be good Christians: they will not sticke to promise, to protest, to say and vnsay, to do any thing for profite and gaine. These ciuill honest men can outwardly behaue themselues in print, with kind kissings, and cur­teous embracings, with courting and saluting, but in their heart God seeth much crueltie, and couetousnesse, deceipt, prophanenesse, and [Page 173] trecherie: like a legion of Diuels in a common Inne for all that come from hell,Psal. 10. so they bring no godlinesse but gold with them. They creep and crouch (saith the Psalmist) to make the poore fall by heapes into their nets: their courtesie and kindnesse is framed rather by art then by heart: yet all this artificiall dissembling is seene to God, and in time to the world. Wo be vnto them if they repent not, for, Leude things are in their hearts, as in the heart of Belial. Many are sicke of Amnons disease,Amnons disease. who seemed to long for cakes of his sister Thamars making: but he could not be well till he had his pleasure of his sister.Absaloms practise. And as Absolom inuited his brother Amnon to a great feast of purpose to murther him, which he most leudly effected: so can many as pollitikely inuite those to their feasts whom they meane to snare and catch at their tables: of al which it may be said as it is said here of Belial: Whatsoeuer is in their lippes, yet, Leud things are in their hearts, and accordingly will God iudge of them, and iudge them too for leud and wicked persons.

Many of our gilded Polititians, and varnished Protestants at large, are no whit behind their tutour Machiauel, nor his brother the Pope, in shrowding a leud heart vnder ciuill pollicie, and politicke ciuility, to no small endamaging of the Church of Christ: but perhappes they thinke that God doth not note it, and will not iudge them for it. A man may descant vpon Machiauels name, as Abigail did vpon Nabals: Nabal is his name (saith she) and folly is with him. So Macheuil is his name,Machiauels name ope­ned, & he matcheth all in euill, and an euil match also hath he made, for he hath matched a Princesse and a pesant together, Christian reli­gion and carnall pollicie together, (or diuellish pollicie rather) who a­gree like the bondwoman and the freewoman that were in Abrahams house, the one hating, scoffing and persecuting the other, so that there could be no peace in the house, vntill they were parted asunder: yea vn­till the bondwoman and her sonne were cast out of the dores. And this rude companion Carnal pollicie, (who neuer had any other bringing vp, or schooling then in the flesh, which is altogether for it selfe) is fallen grieuously at debate with Pietie: and with his cruell long nailes hath al­most scratched out Religions eyes: and yet saith▪ he loueth Religion wel, yea and protesteth that he maketh much of her too, and of all her friends. And verily I do beleeue him:How car­nall pollicy doth make much of religion. but I beleeue withall, that it is as Iudas made much of Christ, who (being pursebeater) stole what he could frō his maister, and at the last sold him right out, for what he could get. So this same Heliogabalus, (carnall pollicie I mean) by purloyning and stea­ling from Religion, and her friends the Church, all that he can get, doth make much of Religion, and of the Church. And surely not without iust [Page 174] cause doth true religion complaine in many places of the land, that her seruants the Ministers are so shauē and curtalled in their maintenance by pollicie,Religions complaint. (as Dauids embassadours were by Hanun king of Ammon,) that they are almost ashamed to shew their heades: and so weak brought that they cannot follow her, with that courage and chearefulnesse which should be in them. And in most places generally the course is this: (to let passe those gulfes that swallow vp whole liuings of Colledges and Churches,Deuouring gulfes. and allow their shepheard, or some other smokie Sir Iohn like vnto him, some twentie nobles a yeare, and a cast doubler to serue the Cure:) in most places I say (where liuings are laid to the Church) the course is this. If a preaching Minister be called to a place, (a pastorall charge I meane) where great ones dwell, who must pay their tithes as well as other men: and they perceiue that he be but a nouice in the world, then pollicie is called to counsell, who doth giue him entertainement, by art,Politicke practises against the Ministers of Christ. but not from the heart: for leud things are in his heart. Now sir, mai­ster Pollicie will for a time be a diligent hearer of his Sermons, and with his presence and countenance draw on others to like of him, inuite him to his table, commend him for his giftes, in courteous and famili­ar maner to conferre with him: yet with some straunge countenan­ces sometime among, lest perhaps he grow too bold with him in re­prouing his faults, and demaunding of his owne due. Now all this while the world imagineth that here is such a friend, that he were bet­ter lose half his liuing then loose him. And the poore simple man thin­keth that he, which pretendeth such friendship vnto him, which so earnestly intreateth him, so highly commendeth him, so stoutly defen­deth him, so louingly embraceth him, so zealously followeth him, and so diligently heareth him, will not deny him any part of his due, but will let him haue all, yea with the more rather then with the lesse. But he is deceiued: for the miserable worldling is all this while but practi­sing by pollicie to get into his hands the spoiles of the Lords inheri­tance. And in his heart perhaps he thinketh thus with himselfe: Surely I shall so fill him with my morsels, and make him so beholding vnto me for one thing or another, that except he will incurre the note of an ingratefull person, he shall not choose but let me haue his churchright as good cheape as Esau sold his birthright, for a messe of pottage, or halfe for nought: if not, then actum est de amicitia, farewell friendship▪ I will meete with him some other way, and make him wearie of his place. Verily whosoeuer practise thus, haue leud things in their harts. But it may be they thinke that God doth not note them; neither will he iudge them for it. But they are deceiued: for surely he that telleth [Page 175] vs here that leude things are in Belials heart, doth also tell vs, that euen therefore his destruction shall come speedily and suddenly vpon him without recouerie. Politicke and cruell practises against the common wealth. And let them thinke well of this point also, who in the com­monwealth vnder colour of dealing well with poore men, carrie a leude heart and a cruell hand against them. As Achab was sicke for Naboths vineyard which lay hard by his: so many rich men are sicke for poore mens liuings and commodities, because they lye somewhat com­modiously for them: if a faire offer of some base exchange will serue, so it is: if not, then practise his ouerthrow: or by ouerburdening him with taxes, and paiments, or by some other deuice to wearie him, and so to make him giue ouer: but first speake him faire, and giue him a dinner. Herein they play the Lion that came to the sicke foxe,Of the fox and the lion. and offered to lick him whole with his tongue, when in his heart he purposed to teare him in peeces with his teeth: which the foxe perceiuing, he made him answer that his tongue indeed had a soueraigne vertue in it, but it had a compa­nie of ill neighbours, meaning his teeth, and vntill they be remoued, (quoth he) I thinke your Lordship will haue but a few patients. And like to the Lions Phisick is the kindnesse of vsurers in lending their mo­ney,Vsurers kindnes in lending of money. but their deuises be indeed innumerable, and therefore I will not meddle with them at this time. In these and such like cases, it were good for poore men to remember, & to follow the counsell of the holy Ghost, in Prou. 23.6.7.Pro. 23.6.7. Eate not the bread of him that hath an euill eye (saith he) neither desire his daintie morsels. For as though he thought as he saith, he will say vnto thee: eate, eate, when his heart is not with thee. Thou shalt vo­mite vp all thy morsels, and shalt loose all thy sweet words: that is, thou shalt be vpbraided by them, and thou shalt neuer digest them well: they shall do thee no more good then meat which thou art enforced to cast vp againe, which doth not nourish but pine and paine the bodie. And the like caueat he giueth vs in Pro. 26.24.25. He that hateth will counterfeit with his lippes, Pro. 26.24.25. but in his heart he layeth vp deceipt, though he speake fauo­rably beleeue him not, for there are seuen (that is many) abhominations in his heart. Others there be, who (to spie out the libertie of their Christian brethren) come with Herod (that foxe) pretending a desire to worship with them,Mat. 2. when they mean nothing lesse: Leud things are in their hart, and God seeth them. Mat. 22. Others like the Herodians: Is it lawful to pay tribute to Caesar or no? So, what say you to bishops, what think you of the booke of Cōmonprayer? Others are like Saul, who encouraged Dauid to the wars in hope there to haue made him away. Most men come to heare as Gods people vse to do, lending very attentiue eares, and sober countenances to the preaching of the word: but God seeth many leud things in their hart, [Page 176] and much bad stuffe and filthinesse which man cannot perceiue of a long time: all which they must giue account for. For it is a most vile thing to dissemble with his Maiestie by whom we liue, and moue, and haue our being: and a maruellous mercie of the most high that we are not consu­med in our sinnes,A necessary admonitiō. And let vs take heed, that euen now (while this mat­ter doth sound in our eares) we harbour not leud things in our hearts, but pray God to giue repentance and grace to expulse them, and faith in the bloud of Iesus Christ to cleanse our harts. O let vs take heede I say, for we are in his powerfull hands, who can either smite vs as we sit be­fore his holy presence, or else harden our hearts in his iust vengeance vn­to a greater iudgement. As Dagon fell downe at the presence of Gods Arke: so God giue grace that all leud thoughts, & imaginations, al wic­ked purposes and determinations, all leud vnderstanding and miscon­struings (if there be any) may fall downe out of our harts at the presence and hearing of his word. And so much for the second point, which is this, that howsoeuer a man may carrie himselfe in outward shew, to the great admiration of the world, yet God doth looke further, and iudge him ac­cording to the leud things that are in his heart.

The third point.Now let vs come to the third point, and therin consider that the cause of all that euill and disorder which appeareth in the outward parts of the bodie, is in the heart. For when the Lord hath ripped vp the outward parts of Belial: as his mouth, his eyes, his fingers, and his feete: then he saith presently, Leud things are in his heart, as if he should say: No mar­uell though his outward man be so ill occupied: for there is one within that setteth him a worke, and that is a leude heart, which is the cause of his froward mouth, &c. A leude heart, or a heart not regenerated, is like Achan among the tribes of Israel, Iosh. 7. who secretly played the theefe, and brought all out of quiet: for whose sake all were plagued. And as A­chans leude act was the cause of Israels trouble, so his owne leud heart was the cause of his leud act, and of his owne trouble. When Israel was plagued in king Achabs daies, Achab blamed Eliah for it, little drea­ming that himselfe was the cause thereof. Achabs humour liueth still in most men, though Achab be dead: for euery one looketh one vpon another, and saith, that such and such are the causes of the troubles, and stirres that are amongst them: when it may be, if they searched well, they should find the cause (most part of it, if not all) to be the leudnesse and coruption of their owne hearts. Some set vpon the Preachers, as Achab set vpon Eliah, and crie out that they are trouble­some, and preaching hath marred all: but are they not deceiued as A­chab was? For ask them: Is it not the truth that we teach? and that they [Page 177] are so much disquieted withall? they cannot, they will not deny it. Oh but (say some) they liue not according to their doctrine. Well, admit that to be true, (as it is in many) which yet is an accusation more gene­rall then true, and is more maliciously, then truly or Christianly obie­cted: yet are not they found lyers, which say, that preaching of the Gospell is the cause of euill? For, first, they confesse that we preach well, and that our doctrine is of God, and is sound and good. Then of that which is good, properly can come nothing but good: For qualis causa talis effectus:Of good cometh no thing but good. such as the cause is, such is the effect, saith reason. If there follow any euill effect of a good cause, it is per accidens, through some euill accident that came betweene, or vpon: as when wheat was sowed, tares came vp; the wheate was not the cause of the tares, but an ill accident happened vpon the sowing of the wheate, and that was this: while the keepers slept the enuious man came and sowed tares. Indeed Christ is called a rocke of offence, as though he were the cause of of­fences: which yet is not so, for he is the doore of eternall life. And the doctrine of the Gospell is continually matched with many offences,Christ is called a rocke of offence, but is no cause of offence. & yet it is the way to saluation. For where Christ commeth and the Gos­pell is preached, we meete with many lets, which either lead vs awry out of the right way, or else do stoppe vs, lying in our way, or giue oc­casion of falling: and yet of all these, nothing can be imputed to Christ or to the Gospell. Not to Christ: for first, it is his office to leade vs by the hand the right way to heauen. Secondly, he is the light of the world,Ioh. 1. by which we are guided thither. Thirdly, he is the path by which we come thither. Fourthly, he is the doore by which we enter in thi­ther: and therefore none of these lets or stumbling blockes can be im­puted to Christ, nor to the Gospell: for it is the nature of the Gospell, by taking away all lets, to set vs open an easie accesse vnto the king­dome of heauen: and therefore it is called glad tidings. Nothing there­fore is more disagreable to the nature of Christ and his Gospell, then offence and disorder. But this offence happeneth through the leudnes of mens hearts:How Christ is an occa­sion of falling. for as soone as Christ appeareth, by and by men are wrapped in with offences, or rather of themselues runne headlong into them. Thus is he the stone to stumble at, not because he giueth occa­sion of stumbling, but because occasion is wilfully taken. And so the Gospell which is the doctrine of vnitie and peace,Cal. de. scan­dalis. (as Maister Caluin both learnedly and largely doth shew in his Treatise of offences) is the occasion of great troubles and garboiles in the world: because the wic­ked take occasion thereby to set all things in a broile. Therefore if a­ny euill follow the doctrine of the Gospell, it ariseth from some other [Page 178] cause, which is this: Leud things are in his hart, who receiueth euill by the truth. And such men turne euen the best things to a bad end, so soone as they touch his leud heart:Some are like the Spider. like the spider, who being full of poison turneth euery thing into poison that she sucketh. If therfore men wold leaue raking abroad in the doctrine of the Gospell, and the liues of Preachers and other professours, and search at home in themselues, they shall find the cause of most of that hatred and contention, and wilfull mistaking, and rash iudging, and bitter censuring, and wicked liuing that is in our Christian Churches, to be in some an ignorant and prophane heart: in some an idolatrous and superstitious hart: in some a proud and ambitious heart: in some a couetous and worldly heart: in some a drunken and a voluptuous heart: in some a dissembling and Machiuilean heart: in some a scoffing and scorning heart: in some a cruell and Herodian heart: in some a trecherous and Iudas-like heart. Now when all these chaunce to ioyne together against the truth, as Herod and Pontius Pilate did against Christ, then know that the De­uill whose name is Legion, is vp in armes against God, but to his owne destruction.

Now thē, when we haue by the grace of God found out the cause of our euill to be an euill heart in our selues: we may truly say of our harts as Dauid did of Doeg, Psal. 55.12. and prophetically of Iudas: Psalm. 55.12. Sure­ly mine enemy did not defame me, but it was thou my familiar friend, which was bred and borne with me, euen thou my heart with whom I haue bene so familiar, that hast wrought me the greatest part of my woe. Of the same iudgement is the Apostle Iames: Iam. 1.13.14. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God, for God cannot be tempted with euill, neither tempteth he any man. 15. But euery man is tempted, when he is drawne away by his owne concupiscence, and is enticed. Then when lust hath conceiued it bringeth forth sinne, and sinne when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Erre not my deare brethren. Where the Apostle plainely sheweth vs two things: first, that such is our impudencie, shamelesse ignorance, and presumptuous blind boldnesse by nature, that rather then we will acknowledge our selues to be in fault,2. points to be ob­scrued in the words of Iames. and to be the cause of our owne euill, we will not sticke to lay the fault vpon God, and make him the cause of euill. As our first parents did: the woman blamed the serpent and the man bla­med not simply the woman, nor himselfe at all: but the woman for­sooth which God had giuen him. Secondly, that whosoeuer thinketh that God is the cause of his euill, and not that his owne corrupt hart is wholly the cause thereof (the force whereof is so great both to en­tice, and draw vnto euill, to conceiue and to bring foorth euill) doth [Page 179] erre and is deceiued.Into a leud heart the word can­not enter. Hereof it commeth also that the word of God cannot enter into many: it cannot fasten vpon their hearts, because their hearts are full of leud things. Like the Inne where Christ was borne: there was no roome for him in the Inne, and therefore he was faine to lye in the stable. And in many, though it enter, yet it tarieth not,In an euill heart the word can­not abide. but departeth away presently: saying as Christ said, when the Iewes sought after his life: Arise, let vs go hence, as being vnwilling to lodge in so filthie a place, and amongst his enemies. And hence it is likewise, that the Preachers words come out from many when they re­peat a Sermon, as Thamar did from Amnon when he had defiled her, with her garments all rent and torne.Simili [...]. If pure wine be put into a filthy and vncleane vessell, in powring it foorth againe, it will appeare what stuffe was in the vessell, for they come out together: so, if wholesome doctrine be deliuered to a leud heart, in the rehearsing thereof it will appeare with what manner of vnderstanding and affection he heard it. Such caskes do many bring with them to put our Sermons in,A leud hart maketh a leud report of a Ser­mon. that ei­ther runne out like Siues, or else are defiled with ignorance, or ma­lice, or preiudicate conceipts, that it wold loth a man to heare it come from them. For though it came to them in a princely robe, yet it com­meth from them like a beggers cloke: yea though it came to them with a louely countenance, yet it commeth from them like a filthie carrion, dragged and haled in the miry streetes amongst dogges: that a man would thinke the Preacher had bene out of his wits, to deliuer such matter, or in such manner as they vtter it: or else (which is the right) that they wanted both wit, and vnderstanding, or grace, or conscience, or honestie, or all, that heard the Sermon to report it in such a leud manner.

But the best is, the shame turneth to themselues, and no bodie is so much defiled with such hearts as the owners thereof: So saith our Sa­uiour Christ: Those things which proceede out of the mouth come from the heart, Mat 15.18.19. and they defile the man: for out of the heart come euill thoughts, mur­ders, adulteries, fornications, false testimonies, slanders: these are the things which defile the man, meaning him that is troubled with them: as if he did but vomite vpon his owne clothes,A man of a leud hart doth most shame and annoy himselfe. that speaketh from a filthie heart. And verily they are but fooles that do so: for what wise man will carrie one with him still, that shameth him wheresoeuer he goeth. A leud & vnreformed hart, is such an vnmanerly companion, that doth nothing else but discredite our persons, deface our religion, grieue our friends, harden our foes, aduance the Diuell, prouoke the Lord, marre all the good things that come neare it, and alwaies annoy, shame and [Page 180] vexe the owner. Lot had much ado with the Sodomites, but none did more dishonour him then his owne daughters. Noah was vexed with the old world, but none did him so much shame as his owne sonne. Dauid had many enemies, but none put him in such feare and danger, as his owne Absalom. Sampson had much ado with the Philistines, but his owne heifter his wife ploughed vp his riddle to the aduantage of his enemies. Our Sauiour Christ had many enemies, yet none like Iu­das, who was alwaies in his companie. So euery man, yea euery true Christian shall haue many enemies, crosses, troubles, and dangers, but his owne heart is his greatest enemie, which doth flatter him most, and deceiue him soonest: which for want of godlinesse cannot be content with that it hath: which for want of contentation cannot be in quiet: for want of quietnesse cannot haue any ioy of any thing that it enioy­eth: which for want of heauenly wisedome cannot deuide his times a­right, nor tell how to deale with all sorts of people: which for want of patience cannot beare an iniurie, or put vp a wrong: for want of mer­cifull affections cannot tell how to forgiue offences: for want of charitie cannot tel how to construe things well: for want of the feare of God can­not haue a good vnderstanding: for want of a good vnderstanding per­uerteth the straight waies of the Lord: which for want of humilitie can­not see the meaning of Gods wayes: which for want of a lowly affection cannot tell how to seeke peace: for want of Gods grace cannot acknow­ledge his fault: and for want of remorse of conscience cannot repent him of his leudnesse. Such a heart is the heart of the wicked Belial, which be­ing fraught with leud things, disordereth, distempereth, and shameth all the life of that man that hath it and is ruled by it. And so much for the third point: in handling whereof, we haue seene that all the cause of outward disorder and trouble is within a mans owne hart: of the other three points in the next Sermon.

Now let vs pray.

THE VI. SERMON.

PRO. 6.14.

Leud things are in his heart.

OVt of these words (ioyned with the rest of Belials de­scription) we haue hitherto learned three excellent and worthy points of doctrine. First, that Belial is no better within then without. Secondly, that the heart and whatsoeuer is in the heart of man, is knowne to God, who will also iudge a man according to that which is in his heart, whatsoeuer shew he maketh outwardly. Thirdly, that the cause of all outward disorder, and scandalous behauiour▪ is in the wicked mans owne heart. Now, it remaineth that we consider of the three other points, which (being propounded in the former Ser­mon) for want of time I could not intreat of.The heart must be reformed before one can be a good man. Whereof the first is this: that so long as the heart is vnreformed, and continueth stored with leud things, it is not possible to be a good man. For vntill then (as we may perceiue by this anatomie of Belial) the affections will be rebelli­ous and lawlesse, the speech will be froward and peeuish, our religion will be hypocriticall and counterfeit, our prayers will be lippe-labour and cold babling: our zeale will be either none at all, or very bitter & rash, our faith will be meere historicall, our loue will proue onely self-loue, our anger, reuengefull and iniurious, our life dissolute and scan­dalous, our repentance desperate and faithlesse, and our death dread­full and comfortlesse. Therefore if any would reforme his life, he must first reforme his heart, from whence as from a spring floweth continu­ally a streame of corruption and vnrighteousnesse; vnto death, if it be not reformed and altered; or of holinesse and righteousnesse vnto life, if it be well reformed and kept. Therefore Salomon pointing to the right way that leadeth to the reformation of maners,Pro. 4.23. saith: Keepe thy heart with all diligence: and addeth this as a reason: for, thereout co­meth life, Mat. 15.19. and thereout cometh death. And out of the heart (saith our Sa­uiour Christ) proceede euill thoughts, adulteries, murthers, fornications, debate, strife, &c. speaking of an euill and vnregenerate heart: to [Page 184] shew, that a wicked mans heart is like a filthie dunghill, which both breedeth and harboureth all kind of venimous vermine: and as a snake on a sunnie day commeth foorth of her hole: so the wicked, when fit time and occasion serue, do set foorth, and shew the ware and stuffe which was hidden in their heart, saying in the meane time as Esau did. When the daies of mourning for my father Isaac do come, Gen. 27. then I will kill my brother Iacob: which agreeth with that, that Dauid speaketh of his ene­mie, in Psal. 41.6.Psal 41.6. His heart heapeth vp iniquitie within him, and when he commeth foorth he vttereth it. Many counterfeit holinesse, deuotion, sobrietie, loue and kindnesse: and indeede they do but counterfeit, for holy, and deuout, and sober, and louing, and kind, &c, they cannot be, so long as the heart, or inward man is vnreformed. In vaine do we sweepe the channels of the streete,Similitude. except we stop the fountaines from whence they flow. In vaine do we crop the weedes, except we dig vp their rootes from whence they receiue their nourishment. In vaine do we plaister the sore, except it be searched and cleansed to the bottom. So in vaine do we labour to bring forth good actions without, except first we labour to beget good affections within. How canst thou say that thou louest me, Iudg. 16.15. when thy heart is not with me? (said Dalilah to Sampson:) which she vttered as a common knowne principle in nature, to be de­nyed of none: that all loue is but counterfeit and false, which cometh not from the heart. And therefore whosoeuer will loue indeed, must beginne first at his heart, and frame that to loue. And the like is to be said of other affections, and all the actions or effects that proceed frō them.The heart like a great cōmander. The hart among the members of the bodie, is like a great com­maunder among his souldiers: looke which way he goeth, that way go they. Well may we preach, and long may we heare of the reforming of our liues, of mortifying our pride, our strange fashions, our wanton­nesse, our couetousnesse, our malice, &c. the tongue will make but a iest at the matter, so long as the heart is vnreformed: as appeareth by the testimonie that the Lord giueth against Ezechiels Auditours:Ezec. 33.31. They heare thee (saith the Lord) as my people vse to heare: but with their mouths they make iests at thee and thy Sermons: their hearts run after their couetousnesse: to shew, that there is no outward obedience to be looked for, where the heart yeeldeth not to obey: for all actions outward, wil follow the affections of the heart. On the other side, winne the heart, and all is wonne: without which there is no rowing but against the streame. A readie heart maketh a readie hand to giue, a readie tongue to speake, a readie eare to heare, and a readie foote to goe. And a ho­ly religious heart, maketh a holy and religious hearing, speaking and [Page 185] liuing. Who were they that brought so bountifull gifts to the building of the Lords holy tabernacle among the Iewes? as we reade in Exod. 35.21.22.Exod 35.21 22.29. verses. It is said in the 29. verse: Euery one whose hearts mo­ued them willingly to bring, brought some gold, some siluer, some silke, some badgers skinnes, some stones, &c. yea vntill they were forced to stay by pro­clamation: to shew, that when the heart is wonne to be willing, and to like of the worke, the worke shall go well forward: and nothing will seeme hard to a willing mind.Psal. 45.1. When Dauids heart was enditing or fra­ming of a good matter, then was his tongue readie (like the pen of a swift writer) to declare the same.Psal. 108.2. And whosoeuer can say with Dauid, O God my heart is prepared, shall follow with Dauid and say, so is my tongue also, I will sing and giue praise: to shew, that when the heart is not readie to serue God, nothing is readie, for all tarrie for the heart.

Therefore it is that the Scripture doth so much call vpon vs to re­forme our harts.Pro. 23. In the three and twentieth of the Proverbs, the twelfth verse,Vers. 12. Salomon saith: Apply thy heart to instruction, and thine eares to the wordes of knowledge. But first the heart, and then the eares will fol­low; and in the seuenteenth verse:17. Let not thy heart be enuious against sinners, 19. but let it be in the feare of the Lord continually: In the nineteenth verse: O my sonne, heare and be wise, and guide thy heart in the way: And in the 26. verse:26. My sonne, giue me thy heart, and let thine eyes delight in my wayes.

And no maruell: for what shall the Mariners do, if the Pilote be false at the helme of the ship? What shall the souldiers do at the hold, if the captaine of the hold be a traitour? A false heart is like such a Pi­lote and such a captaine: yea a false heart is like Iudas among the disci­ples, who carried the purse, and made the prouision for all the rest, lay­ing vp one groate for his ma [...]ster,Too many such now adaies. and tenne for himselfe. A bad Ca­ter, being a cunning theefe, and a secret traitour. So the heart is the storer; if that be secretly false and trecherous, it will store the bodie with leudnesse: and if it chaunce to speake one word for Gods glorie, he will addresse and set foorth in most braue sort a thousand for his own. Here is much ado when the Lords day cometh, to reforme and decke the bodie,The prin­cipall care of most mē when the sabbath day com­meth. the apparell must not haue a spot or wrinckle, the house fine, and euery thing neate and trimme, but no care to reforme the heart: and therefore the word of the Lord is vnto vs as a tale that is told which we like not, in at one eare, and out at the other: or as water to the Blackemoore; great washing, but we neuer the whiter. When we go to a feast, and when we meete our friends, we haue much [Page 186] care to set our gestures, our words, and our lookes after the ciuillest manner, but the heart is still after the old fashion, badde inough: leude things are in that:The hart is still of the old fashion reforme that and all the rest will be well. Thou wouldest serue God, but thou thinkest that thou art not fine enough: nay rather thinke that thou hast a proude heart, and seekest thy owne selfe. Thou wouldest giue to the poore, but for feare of wanting for thy selfe: nay rather feare that thy heart is not enlarged with the bowels of mercie and liberalitie. Thou wouldest goe to thy neighbour that hath offended thee, and is offended at thee, but for feare that he should thinke thou art glad to seeke vnto him, and so shouldst be more contemned of him: but rather thinke that thy heart is not humble and peaceable.We blame others, whē our selues are in fault. Thou haddest not committed such nor such sinnes, but for such and such persons (thou sayest) who enticed thee thereunto. Nay rather say, that thy heart was not well bounded with the feare and loue of God, but lay open like a common field whose hedge is plucked vp to the ground, for all vnchast, vnpure, and vile thoughts to breake in.How a good heart is to be grounded and boun­ded. What reli­gion will do if it be lodged in the heart. Iosephs heart was surely grounded in the knowledge of Gods will, in the obeying of his word, and strongly bounded with the feare of God: and therfore do his mistresse what she could, she could not by any meanes breake into the hold of his chasti­tie, though she did strongly assault it. Let religion be in thy heart, and that will make thee serue God with the congregation of his people, in such as thou hast, yea through heate and cold: no weather will keep thee from the publique seruice of God. It will make thee with Zache­us to climbe a tree to see Christ, and with the creeple in the fifth of Iohn, Luk. 19. Ioh. 5. desire some bodie to carrie thee into the poole of the heauenly waters, and liuely fountaines of Gods word, when the Angell (Gods Minister) doth stirre them. So farre thou wilt be from saying, the weather is too cold, or too hote, I am not well, I am troubled with a murre,Light ex­cuses serue them that haue no list to serue God. and I know not what; as the manner of many daintie ones is to do, when they haue no loue of God, or his truth in their hearts. So also, let loue, and humilitie, and mercie, and zeale be in thy heart, and they will cause thee to giue & to forgiue, and to seek peace, and to speake of the Lords statutes euen before Kings, and wilt not be asha­med, except it be that for want of those graces thou couldest not per­forme those duties any sooner. And so much for that point, in discour­sing whereof we see plainely, that vntill the heart be reformed, a man cannot be a good man, nor an honest man: and how they take a wrong course, that beginne to reforme their outward partes, and not their hearts first,

[Page 187]Ithe next place we are to consider,Of the na­ture and power of the word of God. of the piercing nature, and sear­ching power, or powerfull searching of the word of God: which dealeth with the heart, searcheth the heart, maketh lawes for the heart, findeth out the leudnesse of the heart, and reproueth the thoughts of the heart: searching and discouering euen the most secret corners and clo­sets of the heart, to see how those lawes are kept or broken: for as the Lord doth see the heart himselfe, and cannot otherwise do because he maketh it, and ruleth it: so by his word he searcheth and gageth the same.God nee­deth no in­formatiōs. Not to be better enformed himselfe of any thing that is there: for he from euerlasting at one instant, had and for euer hath all the thoughts, intents, imaginations and purposes of all hearts in the world open before him, knowing them all before they be conceiued, with the meanes and maner of their entrance, and all the effectes of them being conceiued: but it is to shew vs (his poore creatures) and vnworthy children,What ma­ner of God we serue. that we serue such a God and Father, as doth know vs truly, euen to the very heart, and the most secret thoughts thereof: and further, that we also might hereby learne to know our selues, and reforme our owne hearts, which without the light of the word we could neuer do. And therefore Dauid asking the question how a yong man may reforme his wayes,Psal. 119.9 meaning, how he shall bri­dle his affections, and order his wordes and his deedes, he maketh no other aunswere but this, Euen by taking heede thereunto, ac­cording to thy word. And to this end he hath giuen giftes vnto men. Ephes. 4. euen his spirite of wisedome, and of vnderstanding, and of counsell, and of courage. Esa. 11.3.

Nowe therefore whosoeuer (being endued with that search­ing and powerfull spirite in any measure) handleth and deuideth the word aright, cannot choose but rifle the very thoughts of the hart. Yea, the faithfull Minister of God shall search the hearts of his hea­rers whether he will or no: and sometimes shall be in their bosomes when he hath no such purpose. Some say to themselues as Ieremy did (when he was had in contempt and hatred, for speaking against the speciall sinnes of his time:Ier 20.9.) They will not make any more mention of God, nor speake any more in his name: but the word of the Lord is in their heart as a burning fire, shut vp in their bones, and they are wearie with forbea­ring, yea they cannot stay, but must vtter it. And then they speake so to the consciences of men, that if a stranger, or an vnlearned man come in, in the meane time, he feeleth his heart discouered, and is rebuked of all men (as he thinketh:) for he thinketh that his secret thoughts are [Page 188] then knowne to all men, and he confesseth plainely, that God is a­mongest them, as the Apostle sheweth, 1. Cor. 14.24.1. Cor. 14. which is a very sure argument, that this word which we preach, is the word of God: for what lawes or writings can deale so with the heart and consciences of men, but onely the lawes and Scriptures of the most high, who onely searcheth the heart?

A double vse of the former do­ctrine.Of this point we may make a double vse, first, it may teach vs for a certaine truth, that there is no thought in the heart, but that God is priuie to it: for when he shall giue man a spirite to search, and know­ledge 1 to iudge the hearts of men, which aboue all thinges are so de­ceiptfull that they cannot be knowne (as the Prophet Ieremy telleth vs) meaning that no man by his owne skill can throughly sound the depth of any mans heart, nor perfectly know his owne) how much more doth God himselfe search and know them most perfectly and exactly, who is all wisedome it selfe? Elijah was a sharpe sighted Pro­phet, as any was in all Israel: yet he could see no more then himselfe left, which stood zealously for the glorie of God, and hated Baal: but the Lord saw 7000. in Israel,1. King. 19.14.18. which neuer bowed their knees to Baal, more then Elijah saw. So the Ministers of the word of God may see, and shew vs a little corruption: but God will find 7000. times more then they can find. Dauid was priuie to his owne heart as much as any man, and yet he could not see all the sinnes that lurked there, and ther­fore he prayeth against his secret faultes.Psal. 19.12. 1. Ioh. 3.20. And if our hearts condemne vs (sayth Saint Iohn) God is greater then our hearts, and knoweth all things. Therfore, when by the light of the word of God (shining in our hearts) we see more corruption in our selues then we did before, let vs thanke God, and repent of it, for to that end doth the Lord hold forth that candle, to discouer vnto vs our hidden corruption, and to draw vs to repentance, and not to stay there neither, but pray against more, that we know not of by reason of our ignorance & negligence, and not to thinke ourselues well when we haue repented that which we know.

2 Secondly, seeing as this knowledge is conueyed vnto vs (of Gods mercie and fauour) by the right deuiding of the word of God, let vs learne so to take it and embrace it, as a mercie and fauour of God, who doth thus seeke vs out when we loose ourselues.How a man may be ac­quainted with his owne hart. And whosoeuer would be throughly well acquainted with his owne heart, let him be a diligent searcher of it, by the continuall reading of the Scriptures, hea­ring of Sermons, and dayly meditation in that which he readeth and heareth, for want wherof the wicked blind Atheists and Epicures, and [Page 189] other profane persons which care not for the word of God, know no more the deceipt of sinne, nor the corruption of their hearts, then the bruite beast doth, but glorie and reioyce in that which is their vtter shame: and how can they repent them of that which they glorie in? and that is, the leud things of their hearts, which for want of the heauenly light they cannot discerne. And this is that which Salomon meaneth when he saith,Pro. 5.23. the wicked shall die for want of instruction, and go a­stray through his great folly. And as for their owne naturall light, it is (in comparison) but meere darknesse, and a false light, that (like a Dra­pers shop light) doth deceiue men with false colours. And further, let no man be offended with the minister of God, who doth but hold forth the glasse, which doth shew vnto them the spottes and deformities of their soules: Nay rather let vs accompt him the best teacher that com­meth nearest our consciences, and that a good Sermon that rippetth and tumbleth vp all our hearts.Note that. And if we go from a Sermon which doth not trouble vs, and like a purgation worke strongly in discouering and di­sturbing our hearts, and the sinnes that lurke there: then let vs thinke, that either we haue dead & hard harts, or else that the speaker wanted ei­ther will, skill, or courage, or that his weapons had no edge, and his phi­sicke no strength. But many in steed of making this vse of it, do presently thinke that some body hath told the Preacher some tales of them: as the proude men of Ierusalem sayd that Ieremy spake as Baruch the son of Neriah had prouoked him against them▪ Ier. 43.3. and do maruel how he came to the knowledge of their thoughts, and of their wordes, which in secret they haue vttered,2. King. 6.8. as the King of Aram maruelled who disclosed his secrets to the King of Israel. Now Elisha hauing the spirite of prophe­sie, was able to do it, and did it: so likewise the Ministers of Christ ha­uing the light of the word, with the direction and power of the Spirit of God, can in some measure also disclose vnto vs (when we heare them) the secrets of our hearts: and that we should be out of all doubt for this matter, the Apostle telleth vs plainely, that this is the powerfull wor­king of the word of God▪ Heb. 4.12. Which (sayth he) is liuely and mightie in opera­tion, and sharper then any two edged sword, and entreth through, euen to the deuiding asunder of the soule and the spirite, and of the ioyntes, and of the marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Then as for God himselfe, in the next verse he sayth: That all things are naked and open vnto his eyes. And so much for this first point: namely, the power of the word of GOD, which telleth vs what is in Belials heart.

Now it will be time to see what remedie may be had against thoseThe sixt point. [Page 190] leud things that breede in the heart: whereby we may approue our selues in the sight of God, such as need not feare that sudden and irre­couerable vengeance which is to fall vppon the man of Belial. And surely, whither shall we go for a remedy, but vnto him that hath told vs the state of our harts, and that is to God himself? who doth not only by his word tell vs what we are, but also what we ought to be, and by what meanes we may be as we should be. That which Dauid appoin­ted to redresse the young mans wayes, is the onely meane both for young and olde to reforme themselues by:Psal. 119.9. and that is the word of God. That which discerneth and sheweth vs the diseases of our harts, is that which also prescribeth a remedy against the same: but the word of God hath shewed vs that leud things are in the heart; there­fore the word of God also will shew vs how to reforme the heart: and is like a skilfull Phisition, who both sheweth the disease, and the remedy.

Now, the meanes which are prescribed in the word, are of two sorts, either Restoratiue in regard of the time past, or Preseruatiue in regard of the time to come, and both of God: which the holy Prophet Dauid acknowledgeth when he sayth:Psal. 103.3. My soule prayse thou the Lord, which for­giueth thee all thy sins, and healeth all thine infirmities. And the same doth Ieremy also confesse,Ier. 17.14. when he saith: Heale me ô Lord, and I shall be whole, saue me▪ and I shall be saued: for thou art my praise. For the time past, for­giuenesse is to be had: for the time to come deliuerance from euill. To obtaine forgiuenesse of our leudnesse and wickednesse past two things are requisite: Repentance, and prayer: So much doth the words of Pe­ter to Simon Magus import.Act. 8.22. Repent thee of this thy wickednesse (saith he) & pray God that if it be possible, the thought of thy hart may be forgiuē thee. So our Sauiour Christ also taught vs in that prayer which we (therfore) call the Lords prayer: Forgiue vs our trespasses, and deliuer vs from euill. That our repentance may be soueraigne, and not deadly, there must be faith ioyned therewith, whereby we applying the promises of God to our hearts, may be assured that our sinnes are both fully punished, and freely pardoned in Christ Iesus:Act. 15.9. Our pre­seruatiue. For by faith our harts are purified (sayth Saint Peter.) For our preseruatiue against the corruption, and conta­gion of a leud heart in time to come, there are also two things requi­red. The first is, heedfull watchfulnesse. The second is continuall prayer, and calling vpon God. That this is true, it is very euident by the words of our Sauiour Christ in the Gospell: Take heede, watch and pray (sayth he) least ye fall into temptation. Mar 13.33. To shew, that if we be carelesse, and negligent in prayer, we shall soone fall into the hands [Page 191] of the tempter:Luke 22. And in another place, Take heede least at any time your hearts be surfeted, and ouercome with the cares of this world. To shew, that our hearts must be kept and looked vnto, like little children, which else would euery houre eate and drinke that which should hurt them, or fall into the fire, or water, or incurre one mischiefe or another. And this is that which Saint Paul meaneth, when he requireth vs to walke circum­spectly: and is all one with that of Salomon in the fourth of the Prouerbes. Keepe thy heart with all diligence: as if there were no hold in the world so much assaulted, nor any mans daughter or goods so much layed for, as the heart of man is: and therefore that must be kept with all diligence, and watched most narrowly.

This diligent keeping, and heedfull watching of our hearts must be af­ter the manner of souldiers,The soules armour. with our armour and weapons about vs. And what those are, the Apostle teacheth vs in Ephes. 6.12. &c.Ephes. 6.12.13. &c. and he calleth it the armour of God, because all the world could not tell how to make an armour for the soule, but God: who created it, and knoweth what enemies and assaults it is subiect vnto. A helmet she must haue,A helmet. but that must be of hope, which causeth her with patience to expect the perfor­mance of Gods promised saluation: and this beareth off all the blowes of Sathan. Then a brest-plate she must haue,A brest-plate. but that must be of righteous­nesse: to shew, that the louers of vnrighteousnesse and wrong, are easily thrust through and spoyled: yea (as Paule saith) they pierce themselues through with many noysome lusts, and temptations. A girdle. Then she must haue a girdle to keepe all her armour close about her, and that must be of truth and sincerity, or soundnesse of heart and a good conscience, which is op­posite to hypocrisie. Then a sword she must haue in the one hand,A sword. and a shield in the other, to defend her selfe withall, and to offend her enemies. But this sword must be the word of God, not the Popes Legenda aurea (which hath wel-neare as many lyes as lines in it) nor any of his dirtie Decrees.A shield. And her shield must be a liuely iustifying faith, which must still apply Christ and his merits, and oppose him against all that euer Sathan cannot obiect against her.Shooes. Then she must be shod with shooes, but they must be affections prepared, and alwayes in a readinesse to heare and be­leeue the Gospell, whereby she shall speedily and easily trauell and come to all the rest.Prayer con­tinuall and feruent. And to all these she must ioyne continuall, and feruent prayer, both for her selfe, that she may betime put on, and skilfully vse this armour: as also for others, and namely first, for her Captaines and Lea­ders the Ministers of the word,For her selfe. and next for all the Saints and members of the Church that be her fellow souldiers.For o­thers. And thus we see a Christian man in armes, appointed to keepe diligent watch ouer his heart, being [Page 192] thus appointed with armour of Gods making, and of the Spirits putting on, he is diligently to examine euery thought before it enter, and euery word and gesture before it passe from him: hauing the feare of God in stead of a gard alwayes to keepe the doore and passage.

Now further, that we may watch and pray to good purpose; we must know and remember: First, what we are to pray for. Secondly, what we must pray against. The things that we must pray for, are principally foure.4. things to be pray­ed for. First, that God would create in vs a cleane heart, and renue a right spirite within vs, Psal. 51.10. That is, in stead of an ignorant heart, to giue vs a heart endued with knowledge: in stead of a dull heart, an vnderstanding hart, The heart renued and cleansed. as Salomon prayed 1. King 3.9. in stead of an adul­terous heart, a chast heart: in stead of a subtill and crafty heart, a simple and discrete heart: in stead of a proud and high minded heart, an humble and lowly heart: in stead of a foolish heart a wise heart: in stead of a ma­licious hart, a charitable hart: in stead of a hard hart, a soft & tender hart: in stead of a vaine and profane heart, a holy and religious heart: in stead of a stubburne and rebellious heart, an obedient and tractable heart, and in stead of a counterfeit and dissembling heart, an vpright and a sound heart.3. things to be learned by the words of Dauid in Psal. 51.10. And a heart thus altered and renued by God, Dauid calleth a heart new created: to shew first that we can no more of our selues reforme our owne hearts (whatsoeuer Papists prate) then we can cre­ate a heart. Secondly, that vntill our hearts be renued by the grace of Gods Spirite, they are as if they were not at all. And thirdly, that as all the workes of creation belong to God onely,1. so doth also the reforming and altering of the inward man,2. and euery affection and power belon­ging to the same.3.

The second thing that we must pray for: is, that it would please his diuine Maiesty to ioyne sanctification and illumination together in our minds,Sanctifica­tion. that is, not onely to enlighten our hearts with the vnderstanding of his will, but also to worke in vs the loue of righteousnesse, and obedience to his will: yea, that he would (to that ende) giue vs an vnderstanding heart, or a heart enlightened, that we may keepe his law with our whole hearts. So Dauid prayeth in Psalme 119.34.Psal. 119.34. Giue me vnderstanding, and I will keepe thy law: yea I will keepe it with my whole heart. And that is the way indeed to come vnto a sound and a sauing knowledge of God,A sauing know­ledge. as our Sauiour Christ sheweth in the seuenth of Iohn, verse. 17. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God of no. Not the idle hearer, or vaine disputer, or the carping cauiller, &c, but the doer: yea, he that is re­solued to followe Gods counsels, shall know Gods counsels, and [Page 193] none else. And vntill we haue an actiue vnderstanding in the law of God, not the forme of doctrine onely, or a formall knowledge of the same, but the power of it (as the Apostle teacheth:) vntill then (I say) we be like Balaams Asse, who indeede could do that which other beasts could not do, and that was, to speake, and reproue his maister with a mans voyce, and yet was still a beast: or like Vriah, who ca­ried letters in his owne bosome to his owne destruction.2. Sa. 11.15. Or like vnto the diuels, who sayd in the fourth of Luke, that they knew Christ, but it was to their torment. Therefore whosoeuer would keepe his heart well, and haue it purged and preserued from the leud things of Belial, let him pray that the truth may not swimme aloft in his braine (as it doth in many wicked men,) but that it may sinke downe into his heart, and worke righteousnesse and true obedience to Gods will.

Thirdly,Perseue­rance, or constancy. Psa. 86.11. because our harts are very false to God, and like run- awayes, new fangled, mal-contented, and desirous of liberty, therefore in the next place it will not be amisse to pray with Dauid: O Lord knit my heart vnto thee, that I may feare thy name. And then indeede are we in safety and security: for in his seruice is freedome and protection. But if we wander out of his seruice, and Iust after carnall libertie, then are we in danger, and it will fall out with vs as it did with Dinah the daughter of Iacob, Gen. 34. who was not rauished vntill she wandred abroad among the Si­chemites from her fathers house.

Fourthly,A qui [...]k­ning spirit, or cheer­fulnesse. because we are dull, and lazie in the seruice of God, we must also desire the Lord to quicken vs with his grace, that is, to rouse vs vp: by calling vnto vs by his Ministers, or by pinching vs with some fatherly and mercifull corrections when we fall asleepe, and are hard to be awaked: and so to make vs liuely when we are heauy, and fainting a­way vnder our burthen: and still to set an edge vppon our zeale. How needfull this prayer is, it may sufficiently appeare vnto any one that will but consider, that Dauid prayeth in one Psalme, the 119. no lesse then seauen or eight times for this grace. And these are the things which I finde at this time most necessarie to be prayed for of euery one that would haue his heart well purged and reformed: not excluding o­ther things, which others presently, or hereafter vppon fur­ther meditation, and experience, may finde requisite to bee prayed for.

Now, as we must pray for these graces and fauours of God before specified, so also must we beware of foure most daungerous ene­mies, and pray earnestly against them, that through Gods gracious helpe and power we may be deliuered from them.

[Page 194] The first e­nemy, neg­lect of the meanes.The first is, neglect and abuse of the meanes whereby the heart is to be regenerated, sanctified, established, and quickened. These meanes are of two sorts, the outward and inward: the outward meanes are the word and Sacraments:Outward. The word of God (saith Dauid) will redresse the young mans waies, Psal. 119.9 if he take heede thereunto. And the word of God (saith the A­postle) is mighty and liuely in operation (as hath bene shewed before) Heb. 4.12.Heb. 4.12. the Sacraments are also very effectuall signes and seales of Gods fauour towards vs in Christ, and be called of Augustine, visible words: because they do in a manner visibly demonstrate vnto our sight, that which we heard with our eares: and the more we are assured of Gods loue, the more are our hearts inflamed againe with the loue of his Ma­iesty. The inward meanes,Inward. is the Spirite of God working faith, con­uersion, and obedience in our hearts by the outward. So was the heart of Lydia opened and conuerted at the Preaching of Paule:Act. 16. not Paule, but the Lord opened her hart, that she beleeued Paules preaching. And as at the first the Lord by his word and Spirite created the world:Gen. 1.2. Ioh. 1.3. so the Lord by his word and Spirit still createth the hearts of men new againe. Therfore let vs frequēt the preaching & vse reading of the word of God: let vs delight to conferre and meditate vpon the word in all reuerence & sobriety: vse the meanes, and the vse will (in time) beget a blessing. Let vs neuer (my good brethren) giue ouer hearing of the word) as many haue done:How daun­gerous a thing it is to giue o­uer the hea­ring of the word.) for Sathan neuer hath men at such aduantage to worke vpon them what he will, as when men haue giuen ouer hearing the word preached. And seeing as the Spirite is the meane whereby our saith and conuersion are wrought through the preaching of the word, let vs nourish that by all good meanes, taking great heed that we neither quench it nor greeue it. 1. Thes. 5. by taking away the exercises of hearing, and prayer, and medi­tation, and conference, whereby it is nourished: nor by dispensing with a­ny sin in our harts, where the Spirit must raigne. If we want these meanes thē are we to pray for them: Pray to the Lord of the haruest (saith our Sa­uiour Christ) that he would send foorth labourers into his haruest. And for the spirit we must pray as Dauid doth: O Lord take not thy holy spirit away from me: and open my eyes that I may see the wonderfull things of thy law. Wo be to them that despise prophecying,A desperate kind of rea­soning. God hath fore ordai­ned the meanes as well as the end. & thinke these meanes to be more then need, as they that profanely and desperatly reason thus with­out reason: If I be elected I shall be saued, do what I list: if not, I shall be damned, do what I can. These be the speeches of the mē of Belial, whose harts are pestered with leud things, neither can they wisely consider, that as God hath foreordained mē to a certaine end, so also hath he fore ordai­ned the meanes wherby they shal come to that end. Of such contemners [Page 195] and beastly hogs and dogs (as Christ calleth them) we may reade more in Mal. 3.14. and in Iob. 21.15.Mal. 3.14. Iob. 21.15. The effect of both which places is one, that such wicked persons thinke there is no profit in seruing the Al­mighty, and therfore they say vnto God, Depart from vs: we desire not the knowledge of his wayes, and (spending their dayes in all iolity and carnall prosperitie, like oxen set vp a fatting, & neuer vsed to the yoke) at last they go downe suddenly to hell.Of recusāts that refuse to heare the word, there be two sorts. 1. Schisma­tikes.2. Afflicted consciēces. Let them also beware and look to themselues, who giue ouer hearing of Sermons, of which there be two sorts, schismatikes and afflicted consciences: schismatikes are they that cut themselues off from our assemblies, whose propertie is to iu­stifie themselues, and to condemne others, and therein they haue no small felicity: of these, some be Papists, some Brownists, some Anabap­tists, &c. To the first sort we may say as the Apostle doth in Gal. 1.6.7. I maruell that you are so soone turned away vnto another Gospell, from him that hath called you, which is not another Gospell. But some a­mong you intend to trouble the Church of God. And if we be not A­postles, and Ministers of Christ vnto them, yet doubtlesse we are vnto others, who are the seale of our ministerie vnto God in Christ. To the second sort we say as the Church saith in Canticles. 3.1.2.3.4. Thou wouldest find Christ, and canst not, thou hast sought his loue and canst not find it, therefore thou wilt seeke no longer: oh do not so, but heare what the bodie sayth to thee a member of the same: In my bed by night I sought him whom my soule loueth, but I found him not: What then? did she giue ouer seeking?Cant. 3.1.2.3.4. No verily: I will rise (sayth the Church) and go about in the Citie, by the streetes, and by the open places: I will seeke him whom my soule loueth: I sought him, but I found him not. The watchmen that went a­bout the Citie found me, (meaning that she went to the Ministers of the word for comfort) to whom I said, haue you seen him whom my soule loueth? When I had passed a little from them, I found him whom my soule loueth: I tooke hold on him, and left him not, &c. Meaning that she (hauing long v­sed all meanes both priuate and publike) then found him when she was out of all hope to find him: and so do thou that art troubled in thy soule, because thou canst not yet find that alteration of thy heart, and that inward obedience, and that truth of heart, and that comfort and ioy by hearing the word and prayer, &c. which thou desirest and lookedst for: vse all means, continue stil seeking, asking, and knocking, seeke priuatly at home in thy bed, by priuate examination and medita­tion: then conferre with thy Christian neighbors about the state of thy soule: then go to the Ministers of the word, and frequent the publike holy assemblies, with an earnest desire of finding: and doubtlesse at last [Page 196] when thou art out of al hope, thou shalt find comfort. And as in taking of bodily phisicke, many (through the weakenesse of their stomackes) do cast vp that which they take, and yet take the same thing stil, though their stomake loath it: so in taking of spirituall phisicke, though yet thou doest in a manner loath it and distaste it, yet take it still, and at the length strength and delight will grow.

The second enemie that will hinder the reformation of the heart, if it be not auoided,1. Enemie, vnbeleefe. is vnbeleefe, which (like armour of proofe) Sathan commonly putteth vpon the hearts of the wicked, that no perswasion, counsell, nor threatning, will enter where the soule is armed with that: therfore it is said in the Gospel,Mat. 13.58. that Christ could do no great work in his own country, because of their vnbeleef: to shew that vnbeleef doth (as much as lieth in vs) bind the hands of the Lord, and hinder his gra­cious worke vpon vs. Therefore commonly Christ asked this question of those which came to be healed of him: Canst thou beleeue? And to those that did beleeue, he would say, in commendation of faith, Thy faith hath saued thee, go in peace. O woman sayth he to one that would haue no nay, great is thy faith, be it vnto thee as thou beleeuest: and her daughter was healed the same houre: this was the Cananite, a Gentile. Another suing to Christ for his sonne that was possessed with a dumbe spirite, and being asked of Christ if he did beleeue that Christ was able and willing to dispossesse that spirite, cried out with teares, and sayd: I beleeue, Mar. 9.23. Lord helpe my vnbeleefe: to shew that we are to pray against vnbeleefe of heart, euen with teares. The best Christians are sub­iect vnto it, as appeareth in that Christ reproued his Disciples for their vnbeleefe, and hardnes of heart, because they would not beleeue them that had seene him after he was risen again. Mar. 16.14. Where we are also to note, that vnbeleefe and hardnesse of heart do go together. And the Apostle Paul confesseth freely against himselfe, that he was some­time a blasphemer,1. Tim. 1.13. and a persecutor, but he did it ignorantly (he sayth) through vnbeleefe: to shew that vnbeleefe doth not onely hold men in ignorance and blindnesse longer then otherwise they should be, but also doth nourish in them many grosse sinnes. Therefore whosoeuer would haue a better heart then Belial hath, let him pray against vn­beleefe.

3. Enemie, custome of sinne.The third enemie which hindreth our sanctification, is custome of any one sinne whatsoeuer. S. Augustine sayth, Consuetudo peccandi tollit sensum peccati, the custome of sinne taketh away all sense and feeling of sinne.Io. 2.4. It is a despising of the long suffering and patience of God, which should leade vs to repentance: and it breedeth two dangerous [Page 197] diseases, hardnesse of hart, and impenitencie: for, as that way must needs be hard which is drie, and much trampled vpon: so that hart must needs be hardned in sinne, which is voide of the softning grace of Gods Spi­rite, and is accustomed to sinne: therefore such a hearer is compared to the high way: Luke 8.5. & that in three respects: first, because it is croo­ked, and winding this way and that way, like the high way. Secondly, because it is common for all that come, men and beasts, God and the diuel, for good company & for bad, like the high way. And thirdly, be­cause it is hardned by oftē sinning, as the high way is by oftē treading: therfore he that goeth about to reforme his hart, and yet accustometh to lodge any sin therein with loue and delight, doth but deceiue him­selfe.

Now further to withstand these enemies, and to put them to flight, the Apostles counsel is to be folowed,Heb. 3.12. The Apo­stles coun­sell. in Heb. 3.12. Take heed (saith he) lest there be in any of you an euill heart, and vnfaithfull, to depart away from the liuing God: but exhort one another dayly while it is said to day, lest any of you be hardned through the deceitfulnes of sin. The summe of his counsel is this. First, that euery man by himself must looke vnto himselfe, that he 1 hath not resident in him a filthy standing puddle, a wicked & vngod­ly heart, or a heart that makes a practise of sinne, that is wauering, and inconstant in the seruice of God. Secondly, that euery Christian be 2 carefull one for another, and by mutuall and dayly exhortations stirre vp one another vnto godlinesse,A double reason of the former counsell. for which he giueth a double reason: the first is from the nature of sinne, which is deceitfull, and at a blush like vertue: secondly, from the effects of sinne, which are hardnesse of heart, and impenitencie. Though the profane person with Esau seeke the blessing with teares, yet shall he find no place for repentance: so 1 doth this cursed guest reward this wretched hoast,A cursed guest: a wretched hoast. who giueth him 2 welcome and entertainement. And because brotherly loue can see the deceit of sin, better then self-loue: as another mans eye shall see how a mans garment sitteth better then he that weareth it: therefore the A­postle willeth euery man in brotherly loue,Brotherly loue how it worketh. to note and to notifie vnto others, such things as they see amisse in thē. And this holy course, who soeuer doeth wisely, speedily, carefully, & continually obserue, shall do good both to his owne heart, and to other mens; and shall find in the end that the gaine will answer the paine, the fruite will defray the char­ges: and that will be this, he shall find that his heart is not like the heart of Belial, who is still fraught with leud things: and consequently that he shall not neede to stand in feare of that destruction, which so speedily, so suddenly, and so irrecouerably shall fall vpon lawles Belial, [Page 198] and Ish auen, the man of vanitie: and so much for the phisick, or means restoratiue & preseruatiue, to purge & preserue the hart from leudnes.

But here it will be obiected by some, that I speake of things impos­sible. Who can do all this,Obiection. will they say? Can any man so serue God that there shall be no leudnes nor euill in his heart? The heart is deceit­full aboue all things (saith Ieremy) who can know it? Ier. 17.9. Pro. 20.9. if not know it, much lesse reforme it. And, who can say, my heart is cleane (saith Salomon?) And although Dauid that man of God, wished that his wayes were so dire­cted, that he might keepe the statutes of the Lord alwayes,Psal. 119 5. verse. 10. and prote­steth that with his whole heart he hath sought the Lord: yet by his grieuous falles it is euident that there was much leudnesse in his heart: and therefore he prayeth that God would create in him a cleane heart,Psal. 51.10. and deliuer him from bloud-guiltinesse. Was Dauid then a man of Be­lial? or is euery one to take himselfe for a man of Belial, and Ish auen, a vaine person, that hath any wicked imagination or purpose at any time in his heart?Answere. All this is true, and yet betweene the heart of Belial, and of a true seruant of God, there is great difference. For first, God speaking of Belial, saith not simply, leud things haue bene, or may be in his heart, or go and come by stealth at vnawares, or annoy, or haunt his hart: but leud things are in his heart: speaking in the time present, take him when you will, he hath alwayes a leud heart: to shew that there is a continuall residence of leudnesse, and diuels in him. No man can say his heart is cleane, as touching perfection of puritie. No man can say but that leud things haue bin in his heart, haue haunted his heart, & through the de­ceitfulnes of sin haue stolen in, and gotten a lodging there awhile, like the counterfeit Gibeonites which deceiued Ioshua with their old shooes & bottels, &c. & may steale vpon him vnawares, as theeues do when a man sleepeth: but yet the child of God regenerate, may say sometimes truly through the grace of Christ: I thanke God these leud motions, and perswasions, be now gone and put to flight: sinne dwelleth not in me like a freeholder, much lesse raigneth like a tyrant: these leud things haue no quiet rest, nor residence in me: Gods Spirite keepeth the hold, and Iesus Christ with his bloud and Spirite, doth cleanse me from all my sinne, and doth make vp the breach againe which Sathan made. And comfortable is the note that Dauid giueth of himselfe in Psal. 66.18. If I regard wickednesse in my heart, the Lord will not heare me: to shew that though wickednesse get into the heart, so we regard it not, nor like it not, but thinke the time long til he be gone againe, all is well: so cannot the man of Belial say, for he is glad of such a guest, he re­gardeth leud things, & delighteth in them, as in those that he liueth by, [Page 199] and is angry with euery man, with euery Sermon, with euery sentence, with euery word, yea with euery looke that seemeth to dislike of his waies, or that go about to disquiet or disturb his hart, or once to speake of it, or to meddle withal: yea for feare that any man should come neare him, and touch any thing that is in his hart, he will either sit far inough off from the Preacher, that he shall not heare him, or haue his armor of vnbeleefe vpon him, that whatsoeuer is said shal not enter: or wil shape him a short answer that shall seeme to meddle with him, or to iudge of his heart, how vile soeuer his life be, saying: O you must not iudge: who made you a iudge? my heart is knowne to God: looke to your owne: I thanke God I haue as good a heart to God, as any of you all: I loue not this pricisenes, or this purenesse; a man may be too holy, and serue God too much: what? a man that wil liue must dissemble a little, and play the good fellow; and must haue some deuises in his head that all the world know not of, &c. And this is Belials reckoning, cast it ouer who list, & set euery speech in his place, and the Summa totalis, wil be a compound summe, like that which standeth vpon pounds, shillings and pence, and this is the summe of all: it amounteth iust to Atheisme, Epicurisme, Li­bertinisme, a Christian in name, & a Protestant at large: and the summe of this point for an answer final to the former obiection is this. He that in truth, and vnfainedly studieth to please God in the part regenerate, may be said to haue a good heart,Act. 23.1. and a heart reformed. Paul professed that in a good conscience he serued God: and yet in Rom. 7. sayth, I do not the good that I would: I find that when I would serue God, euill is present with me, &c. O wretched man that I am, who shall deliuer me from this bodie of sinne? Then he answereth himselfe: I thank God through Iesus Christ my Lord. Yet this followeth as a heauy burden of his song while he liued, Euill is present with me, I am led captiue to the law of sinne: that is, vnwillingly enough: therefore to end, let none thinke that no body ser­ueth God with a good hart, but he that hath no corruption in his hart, as Anabaptists and Puritanes indeed say: so was it not with Dauid, nor Paul, nor any of Gods children in this life. And happie is he that now can go home, and find by this Sermon leud things chased out of his heart, with a stedfast purpose to serue the Lord with all his heart.

Now let vs pray.

THE VII. SERMON.

PRO. 6.14.

He imagineth euill continually: Fabricatur malum, saith Tremelius, that is, he forgeth or frameth euill.

IN this part of Belials Anatomie, the holy Ghost allu­deth to Carpenters or Smiths, which do by art and skill contriue their worke, and of rude stuffe shape out what they list: shewing hereby that the man of Belial in like sort, like an artificer doth of the rude stuffe of his heart, frame and forge vnto himselfe in the shop of his owne braine what he listeth: but yet this difference is betweene this artificer & other artificers: they, of that which was bad, do make something that will be good: he of that which is good, doth forge out matter that is naught: they of that which was deformed, and without shape, do frame something of good forme and fashion: he of that which was of forme good inough, doth by his art and skill make a deformed thing: they do somtime through ignorance or want of experience faile in their work­manship: he of malice and peeuishnesse, rather then of ignorance, doth alwayes faile in his imaginations; for, he imagineth euill continually.

Now then we are come to the ripping vp of Belials imaginations, which are described vnto vs: First, by their qualitie, which is bad, for he imagineth euill: Secondly by their quantitie: which is great and vni­uersall, for he imagineth euill continually.

The euill qualitie and badde nature of Belials imaginations, will the better appeare, if we consider: first, the materiall cause of them, which is, leud things in his heart: secondly, the formall cause, and that is ar­tificiall forging and framing of them: for of matter and forme doth e­uery thing consist: and first, of the material cause of his images. Imme­diatly before, he saith, leud things are in his heart: now he sheweth what he doth with them; surely nothing, but of that abundance of leudnesse which is in his heart, forge and frame out euill imaginations, wrong iudgements, crooked conceits, pestilent perswasions, and false resem­blances, according to that which is said of man in the 6. of Genesis, when he had vniuersally corrupted his wayes: The Lord saw that the wickednesse of man was exceeding great vpon earth, Gen. 6. and that the imaginati­ons [Page 201] of the thoughts of his heart were onely euill continually: Imaginati­ons come of thoghts. to shew that i­maginations proceede of thoughts: and if the thoughts of the heart be e­uill, the imaginations which come of them cannot but be euill also. And further, as the stuffe is bad, so is the forme and fashion also of his imagina­tions naught: for, as of leud thoughts in the heart he imagineth, so he ima­gineth nothing but that which is euill and leud. And therfore these croo­ked conceits of his are called imaginations,Of Belials mētal ima­ges, & why they are so called. as if he were an image maker, and they his images or idols: and indeed they are the images of his mind, and so they may well be tearmed in two respects: first, because like ima­ges they haue shew or shape put vpon them, both to credit a bad matter, and also the more strongly to delude the beholder: for if one should take a block of wood and set it vp, and say, that is to be worshipped for a god, no bodie would beleeue that saying. And therefore idolaters and idoll makers,Esa. 46. do not go so to worke: but (as the Prophet Esai sheweth) they hew it, and frame it, and make it in shape like a man, or some other crea­ture, and then couer it with gold; a thing which draweth loue and delight vnto it, and then it is of more credit and estimation then it was before: for though it be but a blocke as it was before in regard of the substance, yet do not foolish idolaters so call it: but they call it either a god, as the Israe­lites did their golden calfe, which they erected in the wildernesse when Moses was absent:Dan. 3. and as the Babilonians did call that image which Ne­buchadnezzar set vp: or else a Saint as the Papists call their images, S. Pe­ter, S. Paul, their Ladie, &c. Euen as one in base apparell & of beggerly education is called a clown, & one of no credit: but afterward being in braue aparel, & wearing rings of gold, & hauing a litle wealth about him, is called a gentleman, a wise man, & a substantial man of the parish, thogh indeed he be as base & rude in conditions as he was before, and hath no more wit thē before. So the bad & wretched cōceits of Belial, must haue some color or shape put vpon thē, or els they wil be of no credit. Secōdly they are called images, because as images be false and vaine, and nothing like the things they are made for, (I speake now of idolatrous and popish images) so are Belials imaginations: for, shall we thinke that the Saints wēt as they are painted in Popety! And therfore we truly say of the one: it is as it pleased the painter: & as truly of the other, as it pleaseth the for­get. Now that which hath so bad stuffe for the matter, and so ill fauoured a fashion for the forme, must needes be of a bad qualitie: but such are the imaginations of Belial for they are made of the leud thoughts of his hart, and forged after a false, fond, and strong deluding fashion: therefore for the qualitie thereof they cannot be good: howsoeuer many times the wicked are so shamelesse, that when they haue vttered most vile conceits [Page 202] of others without cause too, yet will not sticke to say, that they iudge charitably of them, and thinke the best, and will not make the worst of things.

Of Belials maisters workhouse warehouse, and ware.And now a little (by the way) of Belials master, for whom he wor­keth: of these mens ware-houses where they lay their stuffe, of which they make these images, and of their worke-houses where these false and vaine mentall images be forged. Surely the Lord created the wicked at the first, though not wicked: he preserueth them, and prouideth for them, though not to be wicked: therefore they should both in bodie and soule serue and glorifie him, but they do not. The di­uell hath bewitched them, and taught them to bewitch others: with his faire promises he hath inueigled them, and taught them to inueigle and deceiue others. And therefore (God withdrawing his grace, and turning Sathan loose vpon them, and so iustly hardning their hearts, and giuing them ouer to themselues) Sathan they beleeue, and not God: him they obey and not the Lord. Their heart is Sathans store-house, their head is his worke-house, they are his apprentises and bond-slaues, and do worke for the Diuell all kind of workes, sauing good workes.

And for euery one of his apprentises and iourneymen, Sathan hath a ware-house and a shoppe, after the manner of Merchaunts and great occupiers: for the Diuell is as great a dealer as any in the world,The great­nesse of Sa­than. and therefore hath neede of many shops, and of many ware-houses, of many factours, and many seruants, and of a legion of diuels. He hath the greatest but not the godliest Monarkes of the world to rule for him: the learnedst, but not the holiest doctours of the world to teach for him: he hath the craftiest but not the conscionablest law­yers of the world to plead for him: he hath the vainest, not the valian­test captaines of the world to fight for him: he hath the most rich, not the most religious Merchants of the world to trafficke for him: he hath the cunningest and the cruellest vsurers and extortioners to exact for him: he hath a legion, yea a million of brokers to hunt for him, to buy and sell for him, to play the baudes for him, to cousin and deceiue for him, & of bloudy mur [...]herers to kill & slay for him: in euery market and shop: he hath some to lie and to sweare, & to deceiue for him: some setting false colors vpon their clothes by false lights, some learning the trick with the finger: some pinching others and enriching themselues by false waightes and measures, and some by extreme prises, exacting vpon the buyers, and some purloyning from their maisters, to pur­chase the gallowes here, and hell hereafter if they repent not. In a word, Sathan hath more offices and officers, and greater reuenewes, [Page 203] and takings, and dealings, and pleasures in his k [...]nde and kingdome, then euer Salomon had in his. He is the greatest Monarke in the world. Monarch (said I?) nay tyrant: for he ruleth with great wrath and cru­eltie. Wo to the inhabitants of the earth that be his subiects.Reue. 12. And be­sides all this outward trading, he hath many shops and shop-keepers, ware-houses and factors in secret, that all men know not of. Yea, in many he occupieth freely, that spit at his name: and manie crie out, that they defie the diuell and all his workes, when they doe nothing else poore slaues, but serue him, and do his workes. In euery wicked man there is a shoppe, and a ware-house: the heart is his ware-house, wherein is store of leud things: his braine is his shoppe, and in that doth he worke and forge out euill images, or imaginations.

So much in generall, of Belials maister, his storehouse, and his ware-house, and his ware. Now in particular (as it were in a bill of parcels) let vs see what wares are stored vp in his hart, and what workes he fra­meth thereof in the shop of his braine. There is in his heart store of malice: and of that he forgeth slaunderous reports, impudent lyes, and vniust reuenge. There is in his heart store of obstinate wilfulnesse, and wilfull obstinacie: and of that he forgeth out peruerse disputations, and crosse languages. There is in his heart store of enuie: and of that he forgeth false suggestions, and impatient murmurings against the prosperitie of his neighbours and brethren: as Esau did against Iacob because of his blessing, and Achab against Naboth for his vineyard. There is in his heart store of hatred against the truth: and of that he forgeth cruell deuises against those that professe the truth. There is in his heart store of disdaine: and of that he forgeth reprochfull speeches, high lookes, and straunge countenaunces against poore simple men. There is in his hart store of arrogancie and pride: and of that he imagi­neth himselfe to be the only man in the world, when he beholdeth his wealth and brauery, like Nebuchadnezzar when he beheld his pallace. There is in his hart store of lightnes & inconstancy: and of that he for­geth strange fashiōs & new fangled deuises. There is in his hart store of vncleanenes, and of that he frameth filthie conueiances for his beastlines, adulteries, and fornications. There is in his heart store of grosse ignorance in the Scriptures: and thereof he forgeth grosse errors, superstitious wor­shippings, & base conceits of the Almighty, thinking him to be like them selues, Psal. 50. There is in his heart store of disloyaltie: and of that he for­geth trecherous practises against his Prince and Countrey, and slie con­ueiances to carrie them out with all,2. Sam. 15.7 like Iudas with his kisse, and Absalom with his vow at Hebron. There is in his heart store of hypocrisie: and of [Page 204] that he frameth counterfeit holinesse to couer his wickednesse,1. Kim. 21.9. Pro. 7.14. like Ieza­bel with her fast, and the harlot talking deuoutly of her vows and peace-offrings. There is in his heart store of couetousnes, and of that he forgeth deceit, and wrong, & a thousand deuises to get the world into his hands. There is in his heart store of prophanenesse and vngodlinesse, and of that he frameth iests against the Preachers of the word, like the scoffing au­ditours of Ezechiel. Ezec. 33.31. There is in his heart loue of sinne, and thereof he for­geth arguments to maintaine sinne withal, and deuises how to smite him with the tongue that shall tell him of it. And as of the leud stuffe that is in their hearts, the wicked frame and forge out euill imaginations both against God and man: so do they also misconstrue, and interprete in the worst part, euen the most holy things of God: and of the best intended actions of the godly, do they frame wrong iudgements, & euill surmises, like spiders who make poison of honie.1. Sa. 25.10 If Dauid in his distresse shall send to churlish Nabal for releefe, the foolish churle will imagine euill against Dauid, and not sticke to say that he is runne away from his Master, and al to saue his purse.2. Sam. 10.3 If kind Dauid send to visit the wicked King of Ammon, Hanun will imagine that his messengers come as spies. If Iohn Baptist will not eate and drinke with men, but be strange and austere, then they will imagine and say,Mat. 11.18. that he hath a diuell. If Christ come eating and drin­king, they wil imagine him to be a glutton, a drinker of wine, & a friend of Publicans & sinners: so that do what one can, he cānot please the wicked man of Belial. If Paul be troubled with a viper, then he is a murtherer, if he shake off the viper without any harme,Act. 28.4.6. then he is a God: so are men commonly in their extremities, whose hearts are either ignorant or vn­sanctified. If any cost be bestowed vpon Christ in his mēbers, such as Iu­das will imagine it to be bestowed in waste.Ioh. 12.5. In like maner is it now in the light of the Gospell: Aske thy due, thou art couetous: crauest thou helpe? then looke for a churlish answer. Doest thou offer kindnesse? thou shalt be suspected and ill rewarded for thy good will. Wilt thou be familiar with men? they wil imagine that thou seekest to burden them. Wilt thou be merie? thou shalt be taken for a scoffer, and without grauity. Wilt thou be strange? then art thou lordly, proud, stout, and high minded. Dost thou intreat for peace? then thou art afraid of them: so they will imagine. Wilt thou eate and drinke with men? they wil imagine that thou art beholding to them, as some thinke that we are beholding to them for hearing the Sermon. Dost thou talk in priuate with a woman? they that are leud will imagine that thou art leud with her. Art thou troubled with a generation of vipers as Iohn was? then thou art a bad mā. If thou escape their malice by the goodnesse of God, then it was more by thy friendes then by the [Page 205] goodnes of thy cause. If thou dost any strange and vnwonted thing, they will imagine thou workest by the diuell. If the wicked man prosper, he imagineth that he hath serued God wel. If any mā be familiar with them whō they loue not, they imagine him to be their enemy also. If any com­mon calamitie happen, they imagine that the Gospell is the cause of it. If any speed better then they, then they imagine themselues to haue wrong. And thus we see al their ciuill affaires to be ful of euil imaginations. Now from home let vs follow him to church (as they say) and see if his iudge­ment in matters religious be any better: and first of Belials imaginations or forgeries, as touching the man of God that teacheth, and then of the matter that is taught. If the Minister speake scholastically, then he seeketh himselfe: if plainly, then he is no scholler: if he please their humor, he is the onely man, and no man may come neare him. If he vse to repeat his doctrine, then he is tedious and wanteth matter: if his deliuerie be mild, then he is afraid to displease: if it be bold and seuere, then he is pe­remptorie and proud. If a man vrge the law, then he driueth men to des­peration: if mortification, he driueth men into melancholy dumpes, and frayeth them out of their wits. If we vrge iustification before God by faith in Christ onely, then they imagine that we denie good workes. If we preach good workes, then we are Popish: if we teach that men must not pray to Saints, nor for the dead, then they imagine we deny prayer: if we say that the salutation of the Angell to Mary is no prayer, then we deny part of the new Testament: if we say the Creede is no prayer, then we deny the Creede: if we preach against common, vaine, and needlesse swearing, then they imagine vs to be Anabaptistes, and deny both the vse of an oath and magistracie: if we speak against gaming, dancing, & other prophanations of the Lords day, then they imagine that we allow Chri­stians no manner of recreation. If we preach against any sin that they vse, then we preach of malice and against them: if we teach doctrine which they conceiue not, then there is no edifying in our sermons: if they like it not, then they imagine that no body else doth regard it: if they come to heare vs, then we are beholding to them for their presence: if they wil not heare vs, yet they imagine that we must speake though it be to the wals. If they let their children or seruants be catechized by the Minister, then they imagine that they do their Minister a great part of friendship in gra­cing of him: if they say ouer their stint of prayers, then God is beholding to them, and heauen they must haue of merit. If they heare sermons, then they imagine all is well, as though God were pleased with eare-seruice onely:Ioh. 3. and alwayes they imagine grossely of spirituall things, like Nicode­mus, who (when Christ spake of being borne againe) imagined that he [Page 206] must go againe into his mothers belly. And as these Belials are them­selues, such do they imagine all others to be, for as to him that hath an ague, all things seeme vnsauourie: so to him that hath an euill heart of his owne, all mens doings seeme to be euill: to verifie the saying of the Apostle in Titus 2.5.Tit. 2.5. To the pure all things are pure: but to the vn­cleane and impure nothing is pure, but euen their minds and consci­ences are defiled: and that is the cause why all things seeme euill vnto them, because their minds and consciences are defiled.

Obiection Answer.But who are pure? (wil some say) are not all men sinners? and doth not sinne defile euery mans minde? It is true, that all men naturally are defiled with euill imaginations, Gen. 6.5. but by faith (which is through the grace of God) in Christ, the hearts of the elect are rege­nerated, and purified,Act. 15.9. because it apprehendeth the bloud and spirit of Christ to cleanse vs from sinne past, and to preserue vs afterward from the dominion (at the least) of sinne to come, like physicke restoratiue and preseruatiue. For, where a iustifying faith is, there is a fanctifying grace. And where faith is Mistresse, there is charity handmaid, which is of that excellent nature and disposition (through the education and instruction of Gods Spirit who begate her) that she iudgeth the best of euery thing that may be well interpreted, 1. Cor. 13. And so much for the qualitie of Belials imaginations, which is euill: for so saith my Text, and experience confirmeth no lesse, but that he imagineth euill. Now let vs consider of the other adiunct of Belials imaginations,Of the quā ­titie of Be­lials euill i­maginatiōs and that is, adiunctum quantitatis, an adiunct or circumstance of quantitie: the euill of his imaginations is of an exceeding great quantitie: for he doth not onely imagine euill, and make the worst or euery thing, but he imagineth euill continually.

Continually] saith the holy Ghost, to shew that the man of Belial is alwayes at worke. This word noteth in the wicked man two things. First diligence. Secondly perseuerance in euill. Great is the diligence of wicked men in sinne: for they lose no time: They cannot sleepe (saith Salomon) except they haue done some euill. Pro. 4.16. No, Sleepe departeth from their eyes vntill they haue caused some to fall. Like gamesters, who cannot find the way to bed vntill either they haue lost all their money, or caused others to lose all. They continue day and night: they are as diligent in the seruice of the diuell, as the diuell himselfe is is hunting after mens soules: for he goeth about continually like a roaring Lyon, seeking whom he may deuoure: and so do his men of Belial seeke whome to deface and deuoure.

This note of continuance cometh in like a barre in the armes of the [Page 207] wicked to put a difference betweene them and the godly. For though the godly or regenerate do sometime fall into euill surmises, and bad i­maginations, through naturall weakenesse and corruption of heart, yet they continue not in it.Rom. 6.1. Shall we continue still in sinnes, (saith the Apostle) that grace may abound? God forbid. No: they dare not continue in a sinne, they are euer checking and controlling their wayes, and confes­sing their sinnes, and condemning themselues, and forsaking their euill imaginations. And if they fall againe into the same sinne (as oftentimes they do,) it is with a greater detestation and lothing of the same sinne, and with a greater and more earnest striuing against it afterward.

And yet the godly are not so simple, and foolishly credulous, as to beleeue euery faire tale, or to be in league with euery flattering face, or to shake hands presently with euery new acquaintance, nor to trust e­uery promise and protestation without any maner of trial nor to make the best of that which is of it selfe naught, and apparantly euill: nor to be free from all suspition, where there is iust cause to suspect; and in so doing they are not to be condemned, but rather to be commended: for as charitie is not suspitious without cause, so is it not foolish and bloc­kish when there is cause.

And seeing as our Sauior Christ himself hath ioyned the innocency of the Doue,The wise­dome of a Christian. and the prudency of the Serpent together; simplicitie and discretion as a most fit match, and well beseeming a Christian soule, let no man separate them asunder, but be simple & wise too. And here­of we haue diuers examples in the Scriptures.Gen. 20.11. Abraham imagined that in Gerar his wife might be abused, and he slaine for his wifes sake: and not without iust cause, for he saw that the feare of God was not in that place, to shew that when good men haue to deale with those that feare not God, they may very iustly imagine that they shall not be well dealt withall. Iacob suspected that al was not wel towards him: and not with­out iust cause,Gen 31.2. for he saw that his vnkle Labans countenance was not towards him as in times past; and againe he marked how Labans sons murmured against him.Gen. 38.15. Iudah imagined Thamar his daughter to be a whoore (though he knew not then who she was:) and not without iust cause, for she sate by the waies side with her face couered, after the ma­ner of whores in those daies, & in that country. The watch-men of the tower in▪ Israel imagined rightly that it was Iehu who came towardes that place,2. Kin. 9.20 because his marching was furious, like the marching of Ie­hu, who belike was knowne to be a hote man. All which examples do teach vs, that when there is iust cause of suspition, and likely tokens of danger and euill, we should not be secure & simple, but wise to see dan­ger, [Page 208] and prouident to auoide it: for that is the part of a wise man (saith the Wise man) to see the plague a farre off, and to flie from it, as Eliah saw (by a cloud that arose) raine comming a farre off, and caused the King to prouide for it before it came. And someime the godly haue i­magined (in good pollicie) of a thing otherwise then they haue known the thing to be: as Ioseph did when he made his brethren beleeue that he tooke them for spies, when he knew them to be no spies. And som­time by the outward likelihoods, as they coniecture of a thing, and are deceiued, as Isaac by feeling of Iacob in rough skins, imagined it had bene Esau: and Samuel by the countenance and stature of Eliah, imagi­ned that he was the man that should be the Lords annointed, but he was deceiued.1. Sam. 5.16 So Elijah seeing none to stand for the glory of the God of Israel but himselfe, imagined that he in that case was left alone, but he was deceiued.

In the imaginations also which commonly men haue of themselues, there is great difference betweene the wicked and the godly:What ima­ginatiōs the godly haue of thēselues for the godly being (in some measure) through the grace of God, priuy to their owne corruptions and infirmities, do still imagine (and that truly) that they come short of doing their dutie to God, suspecting and fearing their owne ignorance and negligence: as that godly, zealous, and cou­ragious reformer of religion Nehemiah did, who when he had most ex­actly and stoutly reformed the Saboth day,Nehe. 13.22 he desired God to be mer­cifull vnto him, euen in that point. And though S. Paul that worthy A­postle of Christ, knew nothing but wel by himselfe in his ministerie, yet did he imagine (and that rightly) that something might be amisse, and therefore said,1. Cor. 4.4. Though I know nothing by my selfe, yet am I not thereby iu­stified. And sometime the godly do imagine that they are forsaken of God, when they are not forsaken, which fearefull coniectures and des­perat imaginations do arise, somtime by the slie suggestions of Sathan, through want of faith to resist him sometime of melancholy impressi­ons in the godly, and those are to be helped by phisick, and good com­pany keeping: and sometime from the affliction and wound of consci­ence, groning vnder the hand of God, especialy after some relapse into some old sinne againe. Which kind of imaginations are to be altered into more comfortable and wholesomer perswasions by spirituall phisicke, that is, by the wise handling, and discreete applying of the promised mercies of God in the Gospell, tempering therewithall the threatnings of the law, either more or lesse, according as the spirituall phisition shal see the partie more or lesse humbled, or not at all, if he be too much humbled and cast downe alreadie.

[Page 209]But the wicked being blinded with selfe-loue,What the wicked do being blin­ded, bewit­ched and benūmed. and bewitched with the vanities of this world, and benummed with the long custome of sin, go on still, drinking in sinne as the horse drinketh in water, and imagi­neth that he is well, when he is gotten into the fooles paradise, and go­eth after his filthy pleasures, as a bird to the snare, and like an oxe to the slaughter. Pro. 5.Pro. 5.

Nebuchadnezzar the King of pride strouting himselfe in his pallace, imagined that he was admired of all the world, but was deluded as it were by his owne shadow, and derided of God and man. In like maner vaine men and women (ietting vp and downe in the world like hobby horses in all brauerie,Hobby horses. with their traines after them, and pedlers packes about them, with a companie of circumstances in strange and wild fa­shions) imagine that they are honored and admired of all men, where­as indeede they are wondred at of the wise, and almost of all men for their vanitie and excesse. Againe, where there is no feare, they imagine feare to be, and where there is both feare and shame, and deadly dan­ger too, they promise vnto themselues al peace and security, suspecting nothing, like the mother of Sisera, & the Ladies of King Iabins Court, who imagined (and could imagine no otherwise) that the cause of Sise­ra his long staying was for no other end but to deuide the spoile,Iudg. 5.30. when indeede he was spoiled himselfe, and that by a woman too. So the rich man in the Gospell, hauing gotten much wealth about him, imagined that he should liue many yeares at ease, but he was deceiued for euen that very night following was his soule fetched away.Luke 12.19. Psal. 55. Wherein is veri­fied the prophecie of the Psalmist, The wicked (whatsoeuer they ima­gine vnto themselues) shall not liue out halfe their dayes: namely, that themselues dreame of.

Therefore (to shut vp this point) as before we haue bene taught by the names of Belial, which signifie lawlesnesse and prophanenesse, to looke to our selues, that we be not lawlesse and prophane: by the mouth of Belial, to looke to our speeches, that we walke not with a froward mouth: by the gestures of Belial, to looke to our outward be­hauiour, that it be in sobrietie and simplicitie: and by the heart of Beli­al, to watch ouer our owne hearts, that leud things haue no residence in them: so now by the imaginations or mentall images of Belial, fra­med in the shop of his braine, of the leud stuffe in the store-house of his heart,An exhor­tation vpō the premi­ses. let vs be admonished to looke carefully vnto our imaginations, that they be not euill, false, vncharitable, vaine, wrong, & crooked. Let vs take heed that we make not our hearts (which should be the temples of God) Sathans ware-houses or store-houses, nor our heads his shops [Page 210] and worke-houses: let vs learne to iudge the best, and alwayes charita­bly of other mens persons, and actions, where it is possible to affoord a good construction. And where there is iust cause of feare and suspition, there let vs learne to be wise, and not too simple and carelesse. Let vs take heed that we be not deceiued with the enchantments and bewit­ching vanities of the world, nor yet blinded with the false loue of our selues. In a word, seeing as the imaginations of Belial are for their qua­litie euill, and for their quantitie vncessantly euill: and seeing that con­tinuance, or dwelling in euill imaginations, and vncharitable surmises, is here put downe for an infallible marke of the man of Belial, and of a vaine man, who is to be destroyed if he repent not, both speedily, sud­denly, and without recouerie: let vs all (that tender the glorie of God, the quiet of our brethren, and the peace of our own soules) look to our hearts and minds, to our thoughts, and imaginations, and learne by the word of God, (striuing by continuall prayer) to amend, correct, con­troll, and examine all our surmises, our opinions, and our conceiued i­maginations, or sinister conceipts, which commonly we frame of our selues, and of others, of our maker, and of our neighbor: happy is he (not that is free from euill imaginations, for then none could be happie) but he that hauing found out his euill imaginations, doth forsake them. And wo be to him (not that hath had a false imagining head, or may perhaps be ouertaken with an vncharitable surmise by occasion, for thē wo be to all,) but wo be to him that heareth what I say, and knoweth himselfe to be guiltie, and yet wil continue in his euil imaginations, for such a one hath Gods markes vpon him, (as we say of him that hath the plague) euen the markes of a man of Belial, which is the plague of the soule to vtter destruction: for he imagineth euill continually.

Now let vs pray.

THE VIII. SERMON.

PROV. 6.14.

He raiseth vp contentions.

THe meaning of these words is this: that where there was no contention, the man of Belial soweth contention: and where contention was either dead, or dying out: he by rubbing and chafing of it, (as it were) fetcheth and reui­ueth it againe.Contentiō like a dog and a lion. Stirred vp by Belial. Contention is like a brawling dogge, or ro­ring lion, which being raised vp, will shew his furious disposition, and put men both in feare and danger. Now Belial is one that raiseth vp this dogge, and awaketh this lion, to his owne danger, and trouble of others. The summe is this: that Belial is a common makebate, a sower of dis­cord, an enemie to Christian peace, and one that cannot fish (as the Pro­uerbe is) but in troubled waters. Whereby we may learne, that an ima­gining head is good for nothing else but to breake vp the ground that the Diuell meaneth to sow with the seede of debate and strife. And now the wicked mans tree beareth fruite (such as it is) euen bitter contention,The tree of wickednes. which is nourished by leud thoughts in the hart, and watered by the cur­sed suggestions of Sathan: it buddeth in the euill imaginations of his head: it blossometh in the counterfeit and prophane gestures of his body: it knitteth in the frowardnesse of his mouth: it ripeneth in the practise of his life, when he raiseth vp contentions: it falleth and rotteth when de­struction commeth speedily and suddenly vpon him without recouerie. Lo then the fruites of a wicked heart, and surmizing head. And one thing followeth another in order (or rather out of order:) for leud stuffe in the heart, maketh euill imaginations in the braine, and euill imaginati­ons serue to raise vp contentions amongst men. And the reason is this: e­uill imaginations or mentall images, are false resemblances, or surmizes that Belial hath framed of himselfe, or of others: and when they come to light, no bodie liketh of them: all men hate them, all men reproue them. Belial maintaines them, and then Contention the brawling curre is rai­sed vp: of himselfe he imagineth that he is wise, when he is but a foole, [Page 212] (especially in respect of true heauenly wisedome:) that he is bountifull, when he is most niggardly: that he is able to do much, when he can do no­thing: and then boasteth of himselfe what he is, and what he can do: as if he should say: Lo, this is my picture. It is nothing like you, saith another. It is saith he: and so dogged Contention is raised vp. Of God and his truth he imagineth carnally, superstitiously, grossely, and blasphemously, and commendeth it, saying: so is the Almightie, such is his nature: as if he should say: Lo, this is Gods image, this is his picture. That see others that be Gods friends,, and religious friends indeed, and they deny it, and de­test it: and then contention is raised vp. Of State-matters, and common­wealth matters he imagineth crosly, and after his owne pleasure. Also of the Preachers methode and doctrine, he imagineth this and that, and fra­meth out a patterne of teaching himselfe: thus he should haue said, &c. and this he defendeth to the raising vp of contention. Of euery mans acti­ons he imagineth euill, descanting at his pleasure, of this mans dealing, and that manslife, of this mans words, and of that mans lookes, and set­teth out euery mans image as he listeth himselfe: which when men be­hold, and see how ilfauouredly, and deformedly they are set forth, they reproue the forger or counterfeiter. For who can abide to haue a wrong picture made of himselfe? If it be vnlike vs in eyes, or nose, or counte­nance, or any part else, we scorne it and deface it. Much more are men moued when they are pictured like beastes, or see a man set foorth with a beasts head: that is a monster, who can abide it? Such a mate is Belial, who imagineth euill, and forgeth pictures (as it were) of euery mans doings and sayings as he listeth himself, some after a beastly maner, some after a monstrous manner, and all after a counterfeit and vnchristian manner.

The wic­ked loue to be soothed & flatteredAgaine, on the other side, as the wicked man delighteth to set foorth euery man after his owne deuice, so can he by no meanes endure to see himselfe set foorth in his owne colours, and as he is indeed: but loueth to be flattered and soothed vp in all his vgly deformities. For when the Mi­nister of God (hauing the spirit of God for his instructer, and the word of God for his warrant) shall paint out the man of Belial in his right co­lours, though the picture and the person do agree, yet the wicked are too curious, or too incredulous, or too peeuish to beleeue it: but will find fault, and say: I am not so bad as he would make me. Swearing, and who­ring, and sabbath breaking, and vsurie, and briberie, and vanitie, and ex­action, and ingrossing, and gaming, &c. are not so ill as we make them: & hence arise contention: for the truth will not be outfaced. Thus we see the reason of the order that is vsed here in placing these words, and how [Page 213] one thing followeth another. Now, for the better vnderstanding of the truth of this matter wherewith the man of Belial is charged, and for the clearing of such doubts as may arise about it, there are foure things dili­gently to be considered of.

  • 1. The causes which moue him to raise contention.
  • 2. The meanes whereby he doth raise contention.
  • 3. How great and odious a sinne it is to raise contention.
  • 4. What difference there is betweene the contentions of the wic­ked, and the contentions of the godly.

The causes of Belials contentious disposition, are principally two. First, the anger and wrath of God. Secondly, his owne euil affections. Gods anger is one cause: for God and he being at oddes, Belial cannot be at peace with Gods children. For he that imagineth euill continually, must imagine euill of all men: he that imagineth euill of all men, must also imagine (as he may well inough) that he is hated of all: he beleeueth no man, and is beleeued of none: he trusteth no body, & is trusted of none: and being thus hatefull & hated, it grieueth him to see others at vnitie: & therefore to bring others into his own case, he raiseth vp contentions be­tween partie and partie: like the Diuel, who being at enimitie with God, (himself) did not cease vntil he had set enimity between God & mā. And this mutuall or ciuill dissention doth commonly follow amongst men v­pon the contempt and neglect of the word of God: and that is an effect of Gods most iust reuenging wrath: for when men refuse to submit thē ­selues vnto the Gospell of peace, and so to be reconciled vnto God: it is iust with God to giue them ouer, and to set them at contention amongst themselues, that they may be deuoured one of another.

According to that which the Prophet Esay saith:Esa. 57.20. The wicked are like the raging sea that cannot rest, whose waters cast vp mire and dirt. There is no peace vnto the wicked saith my God: he doth not say, that the wic­ked do not rest, or will not rest: but they cannot rest: And why? Because God denyeth them peace.2. Tim. 3.13. And the Apostle saith: Euill men shall waxe worse and worse, deceiuing and being deceiued. He saith not that they may, but they shall waxe worse and worse▪ and they shall deceiue and be de­ceiued: as a thing ordained for them, this euill shall come vpon them. And the wise man saith;Pro. 26.21. As the cole maketh burning coles, and wood a fire: so the contentious man is apt to kindle strife. Therfore whosoeuer he be that doth studie contention, and reioyce to heare of strife, let him feare his estate. If he cannot chuse but contend, and desire it, euen for it selfe sake: let him know, that he is branded for a wicked man of Belial, and one whome Gods anger doth euen burne vpon, vntill it hath consumed him.

[Page 214]The second cause which moueth him to moue contention, are his own euill and leud affections, or desires, and chiefly the pride of his heart: as Salomon saith:Pro. 13.10. Onely through pride a man causeth contention. And this proud contentious humour of his, doth chiefly respect his own vainglo­rie, and the furtherance of impietie and mischiefe: Let nothing be done (saith S. Paul) through contention or vaineglorie: Phil 2.3. to shew, that the vaine­glorious are contentious, and the one feedeth and maintaineth the other. And this is that which Salomon speaketh plainely in the 28. of the Pro­uerbs, verse 25.Pro. 28.25. He that is of a proud heart stirreth vp contention; to shew, that pride is of a stirring nature: and a proud heart by stirring of conten­tion may easily be knowne. The second thing that Belials proud conten­tious heart respecteth, is (in diuellish pollicie) the more freely to practise his mischieuous deuises, imagining that he may the more quietly pro­ceede in his wicked enterprises, without any question or molestation of himselfe. Yea out of the contentions of other men, some haue sucked no small aduantage. Saul pursued Dauid, till he heard that the Philistines were come foorth to inuade and destroy his land, and then be returned, by which means Dauid escaped his hands for that time: 1. Sa. 23.27.1. Sam. 23.27. While there was dissention among the people, no man layed handes on our Sauiour Christ, but euery man went to his owne house. Iohn 7.43.Ioh. 7.43. Ioh. 8.1. 44.53. and Christ went his way to mount Oliuet: Iohn 8. the first verse. While the Pharisees and Sadduces were at oddes, and deuided about Paules words,Act. 23.6.7. Paule escaped for that time. Act. 23.6.7. By this polli­cie also did the seditious that were in the citie of Ierusalem, raise a third armie (when they saw the Citie alreadie deuided) to the vtter spoile and ouerthrow of the whole Citie: so the contentions of the Citizens was a vantage to the seditious. And no doubt, but there are many such amongst vs, that would be glad to see ciuill dissention in the land (which God for his mercies sake, if it be his will turne from vs,) that they might then the more freely follow the spoile, and fall vpon the pray. And by what other pollicie (I pray you) doth the vicar of hell still hold his place, but by the contentions of Princes and Nations? To this end did Pope Hildebrand neuer leaue hitching and encroching vpon the Emperours right,The Pope raiseth con­tention be­tweene Princes: and why: vntill he had put him quite beside the cushion (as they say.) And because the Princes of the world should haue no leysure to see the vil­lanies and outragious practises that lurke vnder his triple Crowne, much lesse to call him into question, and least of all to suppresse and deiect him: his practise hath bene, and is, to set variance and contention be­tweene Prince and Prince, betweene nation and nation, that while they are busie in defending of themselues one against another, he may both [Page 215] quietly hold that which he hath gotten, and also more easily enlarge the borders of his Popedome: and all (forsooth) vnder the name of Saint Pe­ters patrimonie: yea, that he with his cup-shorne Cleargie may play Rex, and in time ouerrunne all.Pope Hil­debrand. So Hildebrand, (like a hell firebrand) first by excommunicating of Henry the Emperour of Germany, set his subiects and him at variance, that they rebelling against him, and the Pope at the same time excommunicating him, might driue him to submit himselfe vnto the Pope: which indeed the Emperour most slauishly did, with his Queene and his child, who waited bare footed and bare legged in a cold winter, three daies and three nights at the gates of that proud Luciferian Prelate: and at the last was let in and admitted to the Pope, where he was constrained to yeeld vnto such base conditions as pleased that proude Prelate to bind him vnto, surrendring his Crowne and kingdome vnto the Pope, and receiuing the same againe at his hands. Afterward fearing lest the Emperor would be reuenged of him, for his good entertainment that he gaue him, he excommunicated the Emperor againe, and set vp Ro­dulphus Duke of Sueuia in his place: during which contention, the Empe­ror was at no leisure to deale against the Pope, as afterward he was, whē he had subdued Rodulph, and was setled againe in his Empire in peace. In the same steppes do all Hildebrands successors walke to this day, setting all Christendome together by the eares, that in the meane time they may easily get,Why Pa­pists set strife be­tweene the Ministers & Church gouernors. and quietly keepe, whatsoeuer he can get. The like pra­ctise is taken vp by our home-bred Papists both couchant and dormant: who endeuour by all meanes to set contention betweene the Church-gouernours and the Pastours of the Church, about matters of circum­stance, that in the meane time they with the rest of common aduersaries may do what they list, and go whither they list, running through the countrey, and spoiling the haruest of the Lords Ministers, like Sampsons foxes with firebrands at their tailes.Sathans drift in raising contention betweene The like pollicie doth Sathan still vse in filling the Church with needlesse stirres, and vnkind contentions, by Schismatickes, which robbe the Church of Christ of her children, that the true preaching of the Gospell may by this meanes be hindered and stopped. And to what end else of late, hath there bene such conten­tion euen about some fundamentall points of our faith,Teachers▪ and the doctrine of the Church: but while men are busie in vnderpropping the frame, and to saue the whole house from falling, Sathan with his leauie of Atheists, Papistes, and Machiuilean polititians may runne away with the spoile, and not be espied. And what other drift hath the Diuell, in sowing of discord betweene the Pastour and people,Pastor and people. but to hinder the worke of the word, still buzzing this into the minds of the people, that the Prea­cher [Page 216] is not learned, or else speaketh of malice, &c. The like purpose he hath (as we see by daily experience) in raising of contention betweene neighbour and neighbour,Neighbour and neigh­bour. to breake the bands of loue, and to breede straungenesse and contempt of one against another, lest that by often meeting in brotherly and kind sort, they might mutually stirre vp, and confirme one another in the graces of the holy Ghost, and in the pathes of pietie and religion. The like pollicie hath Sathan also in raising of con­tention betweene man and wife,Man and wife. to interrupt their godly prayers, and good courses of Christian exercises, whereby Gods blessing and fauour may be hindred and kept from them: and he in the meanetime may set in his foote, and worke all kind of mischiefe, wrath, and vncleannesse a­mongst them. Let vs consider well of this, that loue to feede (as it were) vpon stoutnesse, and peeuish affections, only for maistry sake: let vs learn rather to seek after peace & ensue it, for contention wil come fast inough, like weeds amongst the corne, or as dogs that come out as a man rideth, before they be called. And so much briefly for the first point▪ namely▪ the chiefe causes why the man of Belial delighteth in raising vp of con­tentions.

The secōd point. How.Now let vs come to the second point, and see by what meanes he doth raise contentions. The meanes are diuerse, but chiefly three. First, tale­bearing, and tale-belleuing. Secondly, misconstruing, and taking things in the worst sence. Thirdly, busie medling in other mens matters. Of tale­bearers the wise wan speaketh thus:Pro. 26.20. As without wood the fire goeth out, so without a talebearer strife ceasseth: Pro. 26.20. to shew, that strife is main­tained by tales,Of talebea­rers. as the fire is by wood: the more wood the more fire: so the more tales the more strife. And he that carrieth tales, carrieth wood like a scullion, or kitchin boy, to make a bigger fire. They may be com­pared to rogish pedlers, or pedling rogues, which go about with light & trifling wares: vnder pretence whereof many play the theeues, and do much harme otherwise. But if no bodie would looke vpon their wares, they would haue small list to open them: so if no bodie would hearken vnto talebearers, but would reproue them, either by word, or by coun­tenance, surely they would not take such a felicitie in that trade of life as they do:Pro. 25.23. For as the North wind driueth away raine (saith the Wise man) so doth an angry countenance the slaundering toung. But these kind of ver­mine haue more patronage, and better countenance, then honest men: for commonly they tell their tales as Libellers vtter their mind, being a­shamed of their names, lest they should be disproued, and reproued. And their tales commonly go abroad like fatherlesse children, or rather like bastards, without fathers knowne, or maisterlesse rogues, who hang [Page 217] on euery bush a rag that they come at. I will tell you a thing of such a one (saith this base scullion of the diuels kitchin) but I will tell it you in secret, you must keepe it to your selfe, or else I shall be shent, and get ill will▪ I will saith the other, I pray let me heare it: and so the innocent party is bought & sold, haled & pulled, rent & torne, condemned and hanged,Two theeues. 1. The re­porter.2. The re­ceiuer. between two malicious theeues, and he not aware of it. The one robbeth his neighbor of his good name, which is better then gold and sil­uer, and the other is the receiuer. Odiosum genus, a hatefull broode they are: and deserue hanging ten times more then he that robbeth a man v­pon the high way: for he may make restitution of that which he stole, but a mans good name cannot be restored againe. No saith Machiauel slaun­der thy enemy, & speak all euill of him that can be deuised: (yet cunning­ly, that it may be beleeued) if otherwise thou canst not be reuēged of him: for howsoeuer he may, and doth cleare himselfe of the slander, yet a scarre wil remaine do what he can. A diuellish practise, & fitter indeed for Ma­chiauel & his followers, then for any that beareth the face and name of a Christian. This was Absaloms practise, to steale away the hearts of his fa­thers subiects, partly by misreporting of his fathers gouernment, & part­ly by extolling of himselfe: a most traiterous & theeuish practise. In like maner do all aspiring minded talebearers grace themselues by disgracing of others, to rob men of their friends, which is worse then to rob a man of his goods: and such if they repent not, must make iust accompt to hang in hell for it, though they hang not here.

As it is a wicked practise to carrye tales in such obscure sort as hath bene shewed,Of belee­uing tales. so it is as bad to beleeue tales, and to giue credite to tale­bearers without any further proofe and examination of the matter. It hath bene the vndoing of many an innocent and honest man. Ziba co­meth to king Dauid with a smooth tale against his maister Miphibosheth, 2. Sam 16.3.4. Dauid receiued it, but did not examine it: and giuing rash credite vnto it, made no more ado, but presently (without hearing Miphibosheths de­fence) gaue all Miphibosheths lands vnto Ziba, a slanderous & flattering clawbacke. And though Dauid were as an Angell of God in wisedome and discerning (as the woman of Tekoah told him) yet he was too hastie and credulous in that matter. Whereby we may learne that euen the bes [...] men are subiect to this foule fault, and are guiltie of false witnesse bearing against their neighbour, contrarie to the ninth Commaunde­ment: which is done not onely by reporting, but also by beleeuing of false things against our neighbour. And surely men must take heed of this foule vice, which is of so cursed consequence as we see daily. We had need (I say) take heede how we beleeue reports raised against Christian [Page 218] professors of the Gospell: especially against the zealous Preachers of the word: because Christ hath told vs they shall be hated of all men for his names sake:Mat. 10. Mat. 5. and that men shall speake all manner of euill saying against them falsly for his sake. And such as Dauid was shall not want Zibaes e­nough, in Court, and countrey, and citie, and euery where: euery great man, yea euery one that is in authority hath such hangbies too many a­bout him, to hurt honest men in their credite, if they take not heede of them. Surely at another time, Dauid did passing well, when he forbad the publishing of Sauls death amongst the vncircumcised at Gath and Askalon, 1. Sam. 31.20. lest they should insult & reioyce at the death of the Lords an­nointed, the king of Gods people: to shew, that if we must not alwaies publish euen true things, & that are notoriously and famously knowne, when the concealment of thē may be more for Gods glory: much lesse ought we to deuise, or to publish, or to credit false rumours & slaunde­rous reports against the Lords annointed, or any of the Lords people, which tend to no other end but to the dishonor of God, in defacing of his seruants.Ruth. 2.11. In the 2. of Ruth. ver. 11. there is a notable pattern or exā ­ple for newes mongers: All is told me (saith Booz vnto Ruth) that thou hast done vnto thy mother in law, since the death of thy husband, & how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land where thou wast borne, and art come vnto a people which thou knewest not in times past. By which re­lation of Booz vnto Ruth, we may learn, that the vertuous acts of good men are to be spoken of to their cōmendation & comfort, to the draw­ing on of others: & aboue all, & in all, to the glory of God. And that if we will needs be discouering of mens liues & doings, we should speak of their good deeds, and vertuous acts, & not stand raking still in their corruptions, and infirmities, (as the maner of most men is) & in repor­ting, not to eclipse their vertues, but to shew all to the full, as he did that told Booz of Ruth: but so will Belial neuer do.

Taking all things in ill part.The 2. way which the man of Belial taketh for the raising of contē ­tions, is a wilfull & peeuish taking all things in euill part, & construing them to a wrong sense: like the malicious Iewes who alwaies drew the heauenly words of our blessed Sauiour frō the right meaning: when he spake of the temple of his body: shewing how that shold be destroied, & within 3. daies builded again:Ioh. 8.22. they maliciously construed his words, to be meant of the temple of Ierusalem. When he spake of going to a place whither they could not come vnto him: they presently asked if he wold go & kill himself. Whē the blind man (being restored to his sight by our Sauiour Christ) did but answer the Iewes vnto their question, shewing how he came by his sight, & maintained the deed of our Saui­our [Page 219] Christ, they captiously tooke him at the worst, as though he went a­bout to teach them. Iohn 9.34.Ioh. 9.34. So do all wicked lawlesse Belials. Answer their demands & questions, with some reasons that they cannot gainsay, then we go about to teach them: and then to a braule. Speake merrily, and familiarly, thinking no harme against any man, they take it as a deriding, and scoffing at them: and then to a braule. Do but a little re­uerence vnto them, & then they thinke that they are despised. Do much reuerence them, and then they take it as if we mocked them. Admonish them, counsell them, reprehend them, they are aloft straight, and take it that we command them, that we iudge them, that we condemne them: they will not endure it. Their felicity is great that they take in descanting vpon the Princes lawes, vpon the Preachers liues and doctrine, and the doings of all men. In a word, say what you will, do what you can, meane as well as may be meant, be familiar or be strange, eate or eate not, pipe or mourne, all is one, nothing is well taken at the wicked Belials hands: and so long, what can be looked for but contention?

The third way whereby he raiseth vp contention,Intermed­ling in o­ther mens matters. 1. Tim. 5.13. is by busying, and medling in other mens matters which belong not vnto him, and that be­fore he is called thereunto, whereof some be women, some be men. Of contentious and busie bodied women the Apostle speaketh thus: Being idle, they learne to go about from house to house, yea, they are not onely idle, but also pratlers, and busie bodies, speaking things that are not comely. Sa­lomon (speaking of contentious women) saith:Pro. 21.9. It is better to dwell in a cor­ner of the house top, then with a contentious woman in a wide house. To shew, that there is small ease or rest to be looked for with a contentious woman. And in the 19.19. verse he saith, it is better to dwel in the wildernesse, then with a contentious and angry woman. To shew, that there is more comfort and rest to be looked for amongst the wild beasts, then among contentions women.

Of busie headed men, some are intermendlers in Church matters, and some in common-wealth matters.2 Sam. 6.7. Of the first sort are such as Vzzah was, who put his hand vnto the Arke of the Lord, to hold it vp from falling, when he had no calling thereunto. The Lord was very wrath with him for it, and in his iust vengeance stroke him downe for it, euen in the very place with present death. If the Lord were so angrie with Vzzah, who in feare and of a good intent did but touch the Arke of God, then what must they looke for, who of a wicked intent, to carpe and cauill, mali­ciously and proudly meddle with the holy things of God, and matters of Gods Church,Pro. 21.27. without any calling too? The sacrifice of the wicked is an abhomination (sayth Salomon) how much more when he bringeth it with an [Page 220] euill mind? Euen so, the medling of the wicked in Gods matters which belong not vnto them, is an abhomination: much more when they med­dle with a wicked mind,Iob. 21.21. and that also to do hurt thereby. When Peter (of meere curiosity) was inquisitiue to know what should become of Iohn, 22. Christ gaue him a very round checke for his labour, saying: What is that to thee? follow thou me: To shew, that it is a foule fault to neg­lect our owne callings, and to be curious and inquisitiue about other mens affaires which pertaine not vnto vs: and God will surely rebuke such curious persons. Yet how many at this day do imitate Peter in his vaine curiositie, or curious veine, not fearing or regarding the rebuke that they shall haue from God for their labour? What thinke you of Bishops & their calling (say some?) of this mans gifts, and that mans tea­ching say other? Euery cobler and pedler, or tinker, and prentise must know these things, and haue an oare in the Church gouernours boate: and hereof arise contentions, and schismes, and factions, and rents in the Church of Christ. In the meane time examine them how they haue fol­lowed Christ themselues (a thing indeede whereunto they are called:) alas they can say nothing of that matter, their owne callings are negle­cted, they leape in and out of them at their pleasure, their families and themselues without all discipline and gouernement. Alas what aunswer will they make when Christ shall stay them, and say vnto them: What is that to you? follow you me. When Christ was in a heauenly Sermon a­gainst distrustfull care for the world, and fainting feare of persecution, there was amongst his auditours a very saucy, and vnmannerly world­ling, whose heart was so much vppon his halfe penny (as they say) that he could not stay vntill the Sermon was done, but (interrupting our Sauiour Christ) spake vnto him to deuide the inheritance betweene him and his brother: but marke Christs aunswer:Luk. 12.14. Man (saith he) who made me a Iudge and a deuider of lands amongst you? Shewing, that it was no part of his calling, and seeing that it did not belong vnto him, he would not meddle with all: teaching vs thereby also what we are to do in the like cases.

The second kind of busie headed fellowes (whose intermedling in o­ther mens matters, Sathan vseth as his bellowes to blow the coales of contention) are in the common-wealth. Of such we haue a very liuely, yet fearfull example in Absalom, in 2. Samuel 15.2.3. who being a sub­iect, would meddle in the Kings affaires, and take vpon him to gouerne, to heare and examine mens causes before he was called, but it tur­ned in the end to his owne shame and vtter ouerthrow: but marke his vile practise: He riseth vp early, and standeth hard by the entring in of [Page 221] the gate, as though he were a man that preferred the common-wealth before his owne businesse, and were loth that suters should attend too long:2. Sam. 15.2.3.4. then he calleth men vnto him as they went in at the gates, if they had any matter or controuersie before the King, and came to the king for iudge­ment, and then he questioneth with him in this sort. Of what tribe, or citie art thou? then he enquireth what his suite and matter is, whē he heareth it, were it good or bad, he telleth him, that his matter is good and righteous, but there is no man deputed of the king to heare thee. Oh that I were made Iudge in the land, that euery man which hath any matter or controuersie, might come to me, that I might do him iustice. And when any man came neare him to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and tooke him, & kissed him. And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel, that came to the King for iudgement: so Absalom stale the hearts of the men of Israel. Which af­ter grew to an open treason, and rebellion against the king his father, yet against his owne life through the iust iudgement of God against him. In like sort at this day it is amongst vs:The pra­ctise of pet­ty foggers, and hungry Lawyers. do we not see many crafty Lawyers, petty foggers, and others of no calling, wanting worke, that can cun­ningly creepe into mens matters, and counsell them (in shew like friends) of meere pitty to their cause, and of meere goodwill, gratis, for nothing, and can teach them which way to be reuenged of him that hath done them wrong, and how to maintaine sute one against another: when otherwise (but for such vipers) the parties were most likely to haue growne vnto a peace:Mat. 5. Blessed are the peace-makers (saith our Sauiour Christ) then cursed are strife makers.

And yet I deny not, but that if men be lawfully called, they may med­dle in other mens matters,We may meedle to make peace, but not strife. as Counsellours may, and Iudges, the one to counsell and pleade, the other to determine: yea, God forbid else: other­wise many that are not able to followe their owne cause should haue great wrong. And others also may meddle being by parties requested, or by authority appointed as arbitrators to take vp or make a stay of matters, and so to ende strife, and make peace. As euery neighbour will runne with water and buckets, to quench a fire when a house bur­neth: so euery Christian ought to do his best endeuour to make peace, and to end strife, when men are at oddes: but he that shall be a meanes to begin strife, or to enlarge the breach, is like him that setteth a mans house on fire, and afterward in stead of water bringeth more fire to the bur­ning downe of that, and the whole city: such a one is an odious man a­mongst all men, and counted not worthy to liue.

Many of tender conscience are much troubled about this point, namely, what to do if they see another man do euill, as to sweare vainely, [Page 222] to blaspheme Gods name, or to haue any offensiue image in his house, or to vse any vnlawfull recreation, or to spend away the time of holy exer­cises, as the Preaching of the word, &c. in profane exercises, and many other things the like, whether they ought to go vnto them and reproue them for their euill or no:A necessary question. if they should not, they thinke that they are accessarie to their euill: and if they should, much contention and ha­tred, yea mischiefe would (as commonly we see it doth) follow vppon them, because men vnregenerate can by no meanes abide to be repro­ued of their faults, nor hardly the regenerate themselues, except them­selues haue receiued a singular measure of wisedome, and patience, and withall that they be wisely and louingly intreated too.

Answer.Surely in this case men must learne to be wise in the Lord, and take heed that nothing be done in a preposterous zeale, rashly, and without good warrant and discretion, least they do more harme then good when they thinke the contrary. In this case I suppose that many circumstances are diligently to be considered, but especially, we are to looke before, that we haue a lawfull calling, or warrant from God by his word, or some iust occasion which may serue in stead of a calling. We will be a­shamed (and afraid too) to go into our neighbours house, and to search euery roome of his house, without his leaue and consent, and to ex­amine how he came by this, and where he had that, and to find fault with his diet, and his houshold stuffe, and to mislike him because euery thing is not as we would haue it: for such boldnesse were a great argu­ment of folly, want of modesty, and all good nurture: yea it would ar­gue a wonderfull impudencie, insolencie, and shamelesse pride: neither would such a one be regarded, but rather thrust out of the doores by the head and shoulders, and examined like a suspitious person, by what commission or authoritie he doth so busie himselfe in his neigh­bours affaires which belong nothing vnto him. But if a man be sent for, by the housholder, to vew his building, or his stuffe, or any thing that is in the house, and required to giue his opinion of it, and to correct that which he shall find amisse, then with honesty, credit and comfort, he may speake freely.

If I come to a place as a straunger guest-wise, if he shall require me to pray with him in his family, and to Catechise his family, I haue a good calling, I may do it. Otherwise, I see not that I am bound to thrust my selfe into those duties vnrequired: if he shall require my iudgement in good sort, and earnest wise, to be resolued about any matter that is about his house, or any offence committed by himselfe, or by any of his family, as a houshold fault, I doubt not, but that I may safely speake my mind: [Page 223] Or if we be of old and familiar acquaintance, and so continue in friend­ship, then as a friend hauing some interest in my friend, I thinke I may in friendly wise contend with him about that which I see amisse in him or in his family, and admonish him. Or if a Pastour of a congregation shall see any priuate disorder, or abuse in any of his flocke, he ought to go vn­to him, and soberly admonish him. Or if a question be moued in com­pany, tending to any errour, or for the clearing of any doubt, I do not doubt but that vppon occasion thereof (one thing drawing on another) a man may more safely, freely, and with lesse offence speake as God shall enable him for the truth, then otherwise, as many that (of a sudden pe­remptorily and rudely) breake in vpon men, in their priuate discourses. Or if thou be the maister of a famliy, & hearest thy friends at thy table, vse vngodly speeches against religion, or backbiting and offensiue speeches of any, whether present or absent, thou oughtest to tell them of it, least thou make thy house a receptacle of vngodlinesse and mischiefe. And if thou hast so good calling or occasion as thou hast heard before, then thou mayest and oughtest to speake (especially when the case toucheth the glory of God) though no man else wil speake, remembring what our Sauiour Christ sayd, when some carped at his Disciples which praysed him as he rode into Ierusalem: Luk. 19.40. If these should hold their peace, the stones would cry. Or if thou be a man of great place and authoritie, and in sa­uour with the Prince and others of high calling, and seest the Church of God in daunger, as it was by Hamans wicked practise, and no body else will step foorth to speake in behalfe of the innocent; then oughtest thou to put foorth thy selfe, yea though thou venter thy owne life in that case, as Hester did:Hest. 4.19. for (as Mordecai sayd vnto her:) Who knoweth whether God hath brought thee vnto such fauour and dignitie against such a day? Oh how many are there that haue both good calling, and iust occasion offe­red them many wayes, and may haue free accesse vnto Princes, and speake freely, and be heard willingly, whereby they might do much good vnto the poore Church of Christ if they would: but alas, vppon no occasion, and without any warrant they can contend where they neede not, nay where they ought not: and where they should speake there are they tongue-tied: nay, would to God they did not take all occasions of hindering good causes, and of betraying the truth.

But otherwise, if thou hast neither calling (as a Minister in his flocke, or a maister of a family, or a Magistrate in the common-wealth) nor place, nor occasion iustly and fitly offered vnto thee: thē feare to venture (as many do, who haue as they thinke a great gift in a reprehensiue veine) least it fall out with thee as it did with the sonnes of Sceua, who tooke [Page 224] vpon them to do as Paule did, that is, to cast out diuels when they had no such commission nor power, and it be sayd vnto thee as the diuels sayd vnto them: Paule we know, and Iesus we acknowledge, but who are you? Act. 19.14. and withall fall vppon thee (as diuellish minded persons vse to do) and driue thee out naked and wounded. A worke both endlesse, fruitlesse, and dangerous it were for a straunger, a plaine simple man, or any man else whatsoeuer, except he were armed with great power and authority, to go to euery one in a faire or market, that should be heard swearing, or blaspheming, or scoffing, or vainely disposed. Christ would not medle with deuiding of lands, nor with giuing of sentence against the adultresse, because they were matters which belonged not vnto him. Neither would wise Abigail reproue her husband for his churlishnesse toward Dauid, 1. Sam. 25. when he was in his cups, because then he was not ca­pable of counsell nor admonition. According to which examples let vs walke in all abundance of godly wisedome, and the Lord shall giue a blessing, vnto his glo­ry and our comfort.

Now let vs pray.

THE IX. SERMON.

PRO. 6.14.

He raiseth vp contentions.

IN the former Sermon, to what ends, and by what meanes chiefly the man of Belial doth raise vp contentions. Now it remaineth that we consider the greatnesse of the sinne, the more to driue vs out of loue therewith: and next the difference betweene the contentions of the wicked and the contentions of the godly, because it is not simply vn­lawfull to contend at all.The great­nesse of this sinne is shewed. Now for the first, the greatnesse of this sinne, namely, of raising vp contentions, and reuiuing of controuersies (after Be­lials maner) may appeare two wayes. First, by considering what testimo­ny God hath giuen of it (or against it rather) in his word. Secondly, by vewing the scars and harmes (as they say) that this beast hath done: that is, by beholding the blessings that by the meanes of wicked mens con­tentions are quite rooted vp and destroyed. For the first,By the testimony of God a­gainst it. Pro. 6.16.17.18. it is sayd in this present Chapter: There are 6. things which the Lord hateth, yea his soule abhorreth 7. the haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and the hands that shed innocent bloud, an hart that imagineth wicked enterprises, feete that be swift in running to mischiefe, a false witnesse that speaketh lyes, and him that raiseth vp contentions among neighbours. Where a man may per­ceiue by his companions that he is matched withall, what manner of beast the make-bate is: for he goeth to be arraigned in the same line with the haughtie & disdainfull persons, with lyers and murtherers, with men whose dexterity is in doing of mischiefe, and false witnesses, such as put Christ to death, all birds of a feather, beasts of one haire, and whelpes of a litter. All which the Lord sayth he hateth, & abhorreth, & so doth he the contentious person: as if he should say: I do more then hate him, I do hate and abhorre him. To shew, that a full cup of Gods wrath is tempered for such to drinke of. Oh that all contentious Belials had grace to consider well of this, that he might repent: for who can beare the displeasure of a Prince, whose wrath is like vnto the roaring of a lyon? Much lesse can he sustaine the fulnesse of the Princes wrath, which is death at the least, if [Page 226] not with all extremity. If none can abide the wrath of a Prince, whose breath is in his nostrils, and hath power but ouer the bodies and goods of men, then who can endure the wrath of the Lord, when in all fulnesse and extremity it shall be powred vpon him, & shall come with this note also, and signe of extreame wrath, My soule doth hate and abhorre him: all which is spoken after the maner of men, for our better vnderstanding, for otherwise and indeed, in God there be no such passions, nor motions, nor perturbations of mind as there be in men: but these speeches and the like do shew what God in his euerlasting counsell and iustice hath from eter­nall decreed, and what (according to the sayd decree of his) his Maiesty will execute against the wicked.

The second considera­tion shew­eth the greatnesse of this sin of raising contention.The second thing that sheweth the greatnesse of this sinne, is (as I said before) the consideration of those blessings and benefits whereof conten­tion is the bane & destruction. Yea, if we consider the excellency of those benefits which by contention and her daughters are taken away, we shall see great cause why the Lord doth hate and abhorre him that raiseth vp contentions amongst neighbours. I say, by her & her daughters, for she is the mother of 4. daughters, whereof euery one doth her part in this tra­gicall and vntimely destruction of those benefits which by them we are depriued of.The dau­ghters of contention. The daughters of wicked Contention are Warre, Sedition, Schisme, and Brawling: and euery one of these bring foorth children like themselues: and whatsoeuer is their meate, bloud is the drinke that they thirst after. Contention is the mother of war, when she commeth among strangers, & goeth betweene nation & nation, beweene Prince & Prince. Of sedition, when she trauelleth at home in her owne coūtry. Of schismes & rents in the body of Christ when she falleth in the Church, about mat­ters of religion, whether they be of substance or of circumstance. And of brawles and vnquietnesse, when she is entertained in families betweene man & wife: & neighborhoods, between one neighbor & another. Wher­soeuer they come they are the death of 2. most noble & excellēt vertues, namely, of order & of vnity. Order is a disposing of all things in their right place: for the Lord who is a God of order, and not of confusion, hath set amongst men many differences, and degrees of rulers and subiects: of pa­rents and children: of maisters and seruants: of husbands and wiues: of old and yong, according to the testimony of the Wiseman in Pro. 20.12. The Lord hath made euen both these, Pro. 20.12. the eare for to heare, and the eye for to see. And mens actions are not well ordered, vnlesse they be well tempered, according to the worthinesse and condition of these degrees. And that cannot be, vnlesse it be done according to the prescript rule of the law of God, which is the head and fountaine of all good order: for he that is the [Page 227] God of order made a law of order. Now, by cōtention & her impes, Gods order is peruerted: subiects rule, & Princes obey: parēts yeeld to their chil­drens affectiōs: wiues domineere ouer their husbāds: seruants beare sway against their maisters: and yong men despise their elders. God hath distin­guished diuerse members in one body: one from another, & set one aboue another, & placed them all in wonderfull maner. The head as a tower, the eies in the same as watchmē, the eie-lids as windowes for light, the mouth as a doore to let in prouision, the toung as a porter to cal for that which is needfull, & to examine that which is doubtful, the eares as spies to harken & to listen, the hands as seruitours & souldiers, the feet as messengers and porters to carry and recarry, the teeth as grinders of natures prouision, the pallate as taster, the stomach as a cook-roome, wherin all things are prepa­red againe for the benefit of nature, & the whole body so to be preserued for the benefit of the soule, who sitteth within as a Queene & commāder, with a Princely companie of heauenly attendants called animales virtutes, the powers of the soule: as reason, & vnderstanding, and memory, & will, & affections: and all together seruing God who made them, & doth pre­serue them, who redeemeth & repaireth them, to the end he may for euer glorifie himselfe in their euerlasting glorification by Christ in his heauen­ly kingdome. All which being beheld in that order that God hath set thē in, do shew the high wisdom of God: but being either wanting, or aboun­ding, or displaced, they make a man not a man but a monster. As when one is borne without head or eyes, or eares, or hands, or feete, or is borne with two heads, & many eyes, &c. more then nature requireth, or hath his eares where his eies should be & his feet where his hands should be, &c. In like sort God in his lawes hath set downe a rule & measure for euerie thing, which being kept doth make a seemly sight, but being brokē, doth breed a confused and monstrous being, whether it be in Church or cō ­mon wealth, whether in citie or countrie, in publicke or in priuate. Now contention displaceth all, setting (as it were) the feet vpward, & turning the head downward, placing the mouth where the eares should be, and the hands where the feet should be, & the eares where the eies should be: that is he is a speaker whē he should be a hearer,A strange yet a com­mon mon­ster. he is silent whē he should speake, he is an actour when he should be a beholder, a talker when he should be a doer. So that cōtention bringeth forth no Christans, but mon­sters. See you one (whether man or woman) cōtending to talke, whē they ought to be silent and to heare others? there is a monster: for then is their mouth where their eares should be. See you a Minister silent, when he should preach? there is a monster in the Church, for his eares are where his toung should be. See you a Magistrate ruled by his officers, who should but [Page 228] see out of him? he hold a monster in the common-wealth: for then are the eies become head, and all this is a monstrous peruerting of Gods order, and is then commonly to be seene, when wicked contentions haue bene raised vp against the truth.

Conten­tion de­stroyeth vnity.As contentious Belial is the bane of good order, so also is he the destru­ction of godly vnity, loue and concord. For whereas Gods order is per­uerted & ouerturned, whether in nature or in grace, the minds of Chri­stians cannot chuse but be distracted & estranged one frō another: which is as deformed a spectacle, as to see the members of a mans bodie displa­ced, or torne in peeces. When S. Luke would set out the fellowship of the Christians in the time of the primitiue Church, he saith: They had all one mind, and one hart. To shew that where diuerse (but especially contrary) minds are, there can be no society, except it be such society as is amongst maried persons, when the one is a Papist and the other a Protestant: they are tyed together indeed, but it is like Sampsons foxes, taile to taile, euerie one looking a contrarie way, striuing (with firebrands at their tailes) to be parted one from another: and therefore they striue to be asunder, because of the fire that is kindled betweeee them, and threatneth to consume them.Phil. 2.2. Therefore the Apostle sayth: Fulfill my ioy, that ye be like minded, hauing the same loue, being of one accord, and of one iudgement, that no­thing be done of contention or vaine glorie, but that in meekenesse of minde, euerie man thinke better of another then himselfe. To shew, that if any thing be done of contention and vaine glorie (two miserable com­panions) we shall both grieue the godly, especially our teachers, and also depriue our selues of peace, and comfortable society.

What true vnity is.But now it may be demaunded: what is Christian vnitie? Surely, it standeth not in ioyning our selues together at a table, to eate, and drinke, and laugh: it standeth not in gaming and holding together (as many do) in sinne and vanitie: nor in a quiet suffering of men to do as they list, without controlment by the Magistrate, and the Minister, or by o­thers that be in office: nor in partaking against the truth, and well af­fected men in religion: nor in scoffing and deriding (among scorners) honest poore men which feare God (as now adayes such kind of fel­lowship is counted good fellowship and vnitie:) for that is conspiracie rather then vnitie. But true godly vnitie consisteth in cleauing fast vnto him, who aboue all things is one, and vnitie it selfe, and that is God, in whom is a Trinitie of persons in vnitie of substance, without whose wor­ship and feare there can be no feare. Therefore sayd Iehu well, when Ie­horam asked him if he came peaceably▪ 2. Kin. 9.22. What peace can that be, so long as the witchcrafts and whoredomes of thy mother Iezabel are yet great and [Page 229] many? To shew, that where sinne raigneth, there is no peace to be loo­ked for: neither must Gods children be in league with such as liue des­peratly in all wickednesse without the feare of God. When Elijah clea­red himselfe, and proued Achab to be the man that troubled Israel, he vsed this reason:1. Ki. 18.18. for, thou hast forsaken the Lord, and his commandement. Thou hast forsaken the Lord, Achab: there is vnity gone; and his com­maundement, there is order gone. To shew, that they which forsake the Lord and his lawes, are the only enemies to vnity and order, and distur­bers of the peace of Gods people. Therefore true Christian vnitie is called the vnitie of the Spirit. Ephes. 4.3.Eph. 4.3. To shew that we must (more then need must) haue no fellowship with any, but with such as are at vnity with the truth, for the Spirit is a spirit of truth.

Now see what an excellent thing Christian vnity is:The excel­lency of Christi [...]n vnity. the name of peace is sweet (saith a learned man:) if the name of it be sweet, how much more is the thing it selfe ful of sweetnesse? as in regard of it selfe and it owne na­ture, so chiefly in regard of the sweete fruites and effects thereof is it most sweete and pleasant. For, where right Christian vnitie and peace is, there is a comfortable communion of Saints, as we reade to haue bene in the Primitiue Church, they met often, and reioyced much. Now what an odious thing is that which depriueth Christians of such a blessing, and blessed meanes of fellowship and great ioy? It is called the band of perfe­ction, Col. 3.14.Col. 3.14. To shew that a man is but a loose Christian without it, and may easily lose, the graces of the Spirite, that is not bound together with this band. And in another place, it is sayd, put on loue: to shew, that a Christian is in a manner but naked, and vncomely without it, like a man without his vpper garment. It is like the fruitfull ground, wherein small things will thriue well.Psal. 133. Dauid speaketh of it as of a thing rather to be admired then to be described. It is like a precious ointment that filleth all the house with a sweet smell, yea with a sauour of life, where it is pow­red out. It is as the beame in the wall, as the foundatiō of the house, as the sinewes in the body, and as the Sunne in the firmament, both profitable and comfortable with his light and his heate. It maketh that strong which was weake: that sweet which was bitter: that straight which was crooked: and that great which was small. It is a large couering and a comely robe, that couereth the multitude of offences.

Now, he that raiseth vp contentions doth but awaken and rouse vp a cruell Lionesse with her whelpes, to teare all these blessings in peeces. He teareth in peeces his brothers best garment, the Churches best gar­ment, the common wealths best garment, and layeth all naked to the scorne and laughter of Cham & his cursed brood. He pulleth the sinewes [Page 230] of the body in sunder, to the intollerable paine & torment of all the mē ­bers. He plucketh the beames out of the building, and vndermineth the foundation of Christians ioy. He maketh their fruitfull ground to be­come barren: he spilleth the sweete ointment, and filleth the place where he commeth with a pistiferous aire. They are the worst people that liue, for they are scorners. Dauid maketh three degrees of sinners in the 1. Psal.Psal. 1.1. Pro. 22.10. and euery one is worse then other: & the last be scorners. Therefore Salomon saith, Cast out the scorner, and strife shall go out, so con­tention and reproch shall cease. Shewing by his manner of speech, that there is no more respect to be had vnto a contentious scorner, or a scornefull contender, then to dung which is to be cast out of the dores vpon the dunghill. Therefore woe be to him that raiseth vp contenti­ons betweene Prince and Prince, as the Pope doth: betweene the Church and her gouernours, as the Popish do: betweene Pastour and people, as Atheists do: betweene man and wife, as make-bates do: be­tweene neighbour and neighborr, as tale-bearers do: betweene plain­tife and defendant,The make­bates annoy themselues. as busie bodies and petti-foggers do. Wo be vnto them (I say) for as they take away the foresayd blessings from others, so also from themselues: they cannot make other to fall, but they must fall themselues: He that diggeth a pit (saith Salomon) shall fall into it, and he that rolleth vp a stone, Pro. 26.27. it shal returne vnto him. He that loueth to breake hedges, a Serpent shall bite him. He that pulleth the beame out of the wall, pulleth the house vpon his owne head. He that wisheth this Sun out of the world, wisheth but a darke and vncomfortable being to himselfe. The contentions of the wicked are like the fight betweene the dragon and the Elephant. The Dragon, he windeth about the Ele­phants legs, and stingeth his belly, but with the fall of the Elephant he is killed himself. According to this is that which Ieremy speaketh in the person of God: Do they prouoke me to anger (saith the Lord) and not themselues to confusion of faces? Ier. 7.19. Thus was it with Corah and his conten­tious company, they contended with Moses & Aron to their owne cō ­fusion. Thus was it with Absalom, and Seba the sonne of Bichri, who troubled Dauid somwhat,Pro. 24.21. Gal. 5.22. and themselues more. Therefore are we for­bidden to meddle or to haue any thing to do with the seditious Pr. 24.21. And S. Paule wisheth that they which trouble the Church of God were euen cut off.The diffe­rence be­tweene the cōtentions of the wic­ked and of the godly. And so much of the greatnesse of this sin of raising of contention, wherby both order and vnity are taken away.

Now let vs see whether it be simply vnlawfull to contend or no: & if it be not, then let vs see the difference betweene the contentions of the wicked, and the contentions of the godly, and what rules are best to be [Page 231] followed in our contendings, and controuersies: that they may tend to Gods glory, & the maintaining of Gods order & his Churches good. A needful question surely this is: for, whē the wicked would make Christ & his seruāts very odious vnto the world, they would accuse them of se­dition & contentiō. And Paul is accused by Tertullus to be not only a mo­uer of sedition among the Iewes, but euen therefore calleth him also a pe­stilent fellow, [...]. yea the plague it selfe, as the Greeke word signifieth. Act 24.5. In like maner are the faithfull Ministers of Christ still vsed, the world continually charging vs (though vniustly) to be busie bodies, troublesome fellows, enemies to Caesar, sowers of discord, &c. And by no meanes wold they haue vs to deale against sin, but to preach plausible doctrine, foolish­ly & childishly abusing the saying of S. Paul to Timothy: 2. Tim. 2.24. The man of God must not striue, but be meeke and gentle, &c. But we are to know that to cōtend is not simply euill,Ier. 15. for the Prophet Ieremy saith that he was borne to contend with the whole world: and because he was so accounted, it grieued him, for he cried out in this sort, Wo be vnto me my mother, that I was borne a contentious man, &c. The kingdome of heauen (saith Christ) is not gotten but by striuing, yea and by violent striuing too, and we are com­manded to striue to enter in at the straight gate, Luke. 13.24.Luk. 13.24. God is said himselfe to contend with man, whō he made, Gen. 6.3.Gen. 6.3. Psal. 95.10. My spirit shall not alwayes striue with flesh And of the Israelites he saith: Forty yeares haue I contended with this generation. Apo. 12.7. 1. Cor. 9.24. And S. Iohn saith that Michael (meaning Christ) had battell with the dragon. And the Apostle Paul saith: So run, that ye may obtaine. So that if we contend against the sins of the world as Iere­my did, & against the diuell as our Captaine Christ Iesus did, & to outrun one another in goodnesse as the Corinthians did, and as we all should do, then our contending is commendable: but so doth not the man of Belial, for he is threatned to be destroyed, because like a make-bate he raiseth vp contentions (as hath bene fully declared before:) to shew that his con­tending is naught & intollerable. Cain & Abel did both sacrifice, yet not both accepted, because they did not sacrifice both with a like affectiō. So the godly, & the wicked do both contend, yet not both in like maner. The difference standeth in matter & maner, which (being wel considered) will put an end to this controuersie, and shew who be troublers of Israel: this will clearly appeare in the example of Achab & Elijah, the one a king the other a Prophet. 2. Ki. 18.18. Achab saith that Elijah troubled Israel (this was when they wanted raine in Israel, and when Elijah stood against the Priests of Baal.) Elijah againe telleth the king that he and his fathers house are they that troubled Israel. But what is it to trouble Israel? let vs see:What it is to trouble. surely it is a borrowed speech: for, to trouble, is nothing else but to [Page 232] mingle and confound together good and bad, vile & precious, corrupt & pure.Simile. As we see in a vessell, where liquor is of diuerse parts and qualities, some thicke, some thin, the liquid & refined standeth aboue, most cleare: the dregs & grosse substāce go downe to the bottom, & there lye pressed downe: shake the vessell, and the dregs rise vp, & all is said to be troubled, that it is hard in that mixture to see which is the one & which is the other. Euen so is it in the Church of God, & common-wealth of Israel: when superstition and impiety are aduanced, which like muddy & dirty dregs should be kept downe: & on the contrary, pure religion and piety, which (like sweet wholesome wine) should be kept aloft, and preserued from mixture, is put downe, & mingled with superstition & humane traditions that be contrary to the word, then all things are sayd to be troubled, and out of order. Now, when things fall out thus, there is great difference be­tweene the affection & iudgement of the wicked and of the godly. The wicked thinke things to be then at best stay, when they with their super­stitions & impieties may preuaile: but the godly (hauing iudgement) are of a contrary mind, knowing for certaine by the wisdom of Gods word, that men are then in greatest danger,When men are in grea­test danger. whē the wicked thinke that they are in greatest peace & safety. And then do they that feare God, hold things to be well ordered & in peaceable state, where iustice & holinesse are pre­ferred, & iniquity & profanesse cast out, as they deserue. And to these ends both contend:Achab and Elijah con­tend. Achab chargeth Elijah to be a troubler & disturber of the Church & common wealth, & standeth stoutly to proue both: for, as tou­ching religion, nothing was more acceptable vnto that corrupt king (who had sold himselfe to worke wickednes) then the aduancement of idolatry, & with might & maine to maintaine the same. Elijah on the other side, endeuored nothing so much as to draw the people from idolatry, & to set vp the true & pure worship of the true God:Who trou­bled Israel. therfore Achab said that E­lijah troubled Israel. And as for the ciuill state, that was also troubled, be­cause the king wold enioy his kingdom, with the commodities of this life, & ruffle it out in all wealth & abūdance, which was much abated for wāt of raine in the 3. yeares of famine: therfore the kingdom of Israel was trou­bled, both as touching religion, & also ciuil gouernment: & this is the sub­stance of Achabs quarrell against Elijah. But now marke how the Pro­phet behaueth and acquiteth himselfe against the king.How Elijah behaued himselfe before the king. He admitteth nothing vnworthy a Prophet & messenger of God: he dealt cōstantly, & defended his ministery couragiously. He did not cast downe himselfe at the kings feet: he did not craue pardon for that which he had done: he did not promise to amēd if in any thing he had displeased the king. Not for that he was proud & arrogant, but because he perceiued the kings accu­sation [Page 233] directly to impeach the credit of Gods word, as if the trouble that he complained of, grew from that, & nothing else. Therefore, thou trou­blest Israel (saith the Apostle) not I, but thou and thy fathers house: for thou hast taken away the true worship of God, & drawest the people to Baal a filthy idoll, by which meanes thou prouokest the Lord against the land: but as for me, I recall them vnto the God of my fathers, & stand for the lawes of God giuen in mount Sinai. Therefore I am not he that troubleth the land: the controuersie is raised by thy selfe, for thou con­tendest with God and his word, which I stand for.

In like sort may we also answer all Papists and Atheists,How to answer Pa­pists and Atheists when they call the professors of the Gos­pell trou­blesome fellowes. when they call vs troublesome fellowes. We stand for the true worship of Iesus Christ, and the glory of God: we receiue the holy Scriptures as containing all things necessary to saluation, so do not they: we vse the Sacraments, not in part, but in whole, so do not they: not with any Popish eleuations, or superstitious adoration or kneeling to the Sacrament, as they do: we will not worship idols, or the creature for the Creator, as they do: therefore not we, but they are contentious disturbers of the Church of God. Hap­py is that Church and common wealth, which is gouerned by the word of God: then vnhappy are those that follow the inuentions of men, & re­iect the commaundements of God. It was a strong argument that Elijah vsed, wherewith he brake the kings hart, and made him to yeeld. And in other places of the Scripture also is this word (troubling) vsed in that same sence: as in Iosh. 7.25.Iosh. 7. Achan troubled Israel, because he did (contrary to Gods commandement) take vnto himselfe (by stealth also) things excommunicate and accursed.Gen. 34. Simeon and Leui also are sayd to trouble Iacob their father, because trecherously they slue the Sechemires, Gen. 34 29.Gal. 1.6. I maruell (saith S. Paul) that you are so soone turned away vnto another Gospell: which indeede is not another Gospell, but some among you trouble you, and intend to peruert the Gospell of Christ. All which places do shew that they are the troublers of Gods Church, which vio­late Gods commandements, which adulterate his worship, which deale falsly with his couenant, which hinder the course of the Gospell, and la­bour to draw away men from the loue of the truth.

Thus then we see, that all are not to be condemned, which haue con­tended, for that in euery contention there are two parts each contrary to other: and if the cause of the one be good, the other must needes be bad. They that defend Gods right, or the Churches right, or their owne right, are not to be called contentious persons, but defendants. And they that complaine of wrong offered to God, or to his Church, or to the common wealth, or to themselues, are not contentious persons, but plaintiues, as [Page 234] they are termed in law.

Peter Mart. loc. com.But because the Magistrate (as Peter Martyr saith) is Lex animata, a liuing law, and representeth the person of God, therefore he is to be re­ceiued, & obeyed without contending, or resisting, so long as he com­maundeth and ruleth by the word of God,How the magistrate is to be o­beyed. or by honest and ciuill de­crees, not repugnant to the word of God: and in things indifferent also he is to be obeyed, although to some they may seeme grieuous: euen as seruants must obey & seeke to please not only their curteous and gentle maisters, but also those that are froward and hard to please. But if he shall command any thing against the word of God, he is not to be obeyed, for the Apostle sayth:Act. 4.19. It is better to obey God then man. And as we ought not in such cases to obey him, so neither ought we to rebell against him, but meekely to submit our felues vnto such penalties and punishments as he by his lawes shall inflict vppon vs. Or if he shall giue bad ex­ample in his owne person, or suffer euill to go vnpunished, we may (hauing a lawfull calling thereunto) and ought, to reproue him for it, or rather to admonish him as a father,Nehe 13.17. as Paule teacheth. Neither can we be iustly condemned for contentious Belials, if in such cases we do lawfully contend against him. Nay more, as impiety must not be obeyed, so it must be reproued, with all zeale and earnestnesse of af­affection (so much as lyeth in vs) by the examples of Christ, Iohn Bap­tist, the rest of the Prophets and Apostles, who cannot (without great impietie) be counted raisers of contention, but sowers of peace, and vnitie, by contending for the truth. Moses and Aron troubled Pharaoh, when they told him of his wicked detaining the Israelites. Io­siah, Hezekiah and Asa, good Kings troubled the idolaters, when they suppressed their groues, their images, and their hill Altars. Daniel and his fellowes troubled Nebuchadnezzar when they told him that they would not fall downe before his image that he had caused to be set vp to be worshipped. So Michaiah troubled Achab, when he told him that he should not returne in peace, if he went to warre against Ramoth Gilead. So Iohn Baptist troubled Herod when he told him that it was not lawfull for him to keepe his brothers wife: and all these were (in their time) coun­ted troublesome,Who are now adaies accounted trouble­some. seditious and contentious persons. And so are they (in our time also) counted, who reproue the abuses and disorders of Princes Courts, the negligence of Bishops, and the corruptions of their Ecclesia­sticall Courts, the couetousnesse of corrupt Patrones, and Nonresidents, the ignorance of idoll shepheards, the lazinesse & idlenesse of others that haue knowledge, the cruelty of Lādlords, the biting of vsurers, the vani­ty of gentlemen, the bribery of officers, the profanation of the Sabbath, [Page 235] and such like: but what then? He that hath not yet learned, that all mē as they are affected, will giue their verdict, hath learned nothing: and he that hath not learned with the forenamed constant souldiers of Ie­sus Christ to go through honour and dishonour, through good report and bad report for the truths sake: 2. Cor. 6.8. hath learned but a little.2. Cor. 6.8. Tit. 1.9. The Minister of Christ must not onely teach sound doctrine (saith S. Paul) Tit. 1.9. but also maintaine the same against gainesayers: to shew, that one cause why the Lord will suffer his truth to be gainesaid, is to trie how his seruants will defend it:1. Cor. 11.19 And there must be heresies (saith the same A­postle) that the approued may be knowne. The heresie we know is of Sa­than, and a worke of the flesh:Gal. 5.20. Gal. 5.20. but the good that commeth thereof is of God, who doth still bring good out of euill, as he did light out of darknes. Ge. 1.9.Gen. 1.9. The flint & the steele are violently stricken the one against the other, yet without this violence there will no fire come: they both weare one another, yet the benefite of light doth re­compence the losse of them both. There was a striuing betweene Iacob and Esau in their mothers belly, which could not choose but be pain­full to their mother, yet without this striuing they could not be born, and the birth of the one (being the Lords beloued) was sufficient cause of ioy to his mother,The truth cannot come forth without striuing. though the other had perished in the birth. The Church militant also is our spirituall mother, in whose body while we liue, there is and will be a strife that the truth may come foorth. It is painefull no doubt to the members of the bodie for a time: yet the birth of truth, the daughter of time, will make a ioyfull recompence for all our sufferings. For a woman in trauell forgetteth all her former sorrowes (saith Christ) for ioy that a man child is borne into the world Ioh. 16.21.Ioh. 16.21. And shall not the spouse of Christ forget all her pain, for ioy that a child of God is borne vnto the kingdome of heauen? For this cause is the Church militant compared to a woman trauelling in birth,Apo. 12.2. and pained readie to be deliuered. Reuel 12.2. To shew, how e­uery true Christian should labour, first to beget Christ in others. Se­cōdly, to conceiue him in himself. Thirdly, to bring him forth, though with much paine and strife in the flesh. And lastly, to bring him vp, and to maintaine the truth to the glory of God. And great reason: for shall we beget children, and not vnto God?Gen. 29.32. Nay rather, say as Leah said, Ge. 29.32. Giue me children, and my husband will loue me: so, giue me know­ledge, and iudgement, and truth, and zeale, and faith, and loue, and re­pentance, and patience, and humilitie, and sinceritie, the fruits of the spirit, and Christ will loue me: and count it a shame to be barren in the graces of the Spirit: as women in old time counted it a reproch vnto [Page 236] them to be barren in child bearing. Amongst many other things which the Lord tooke grieuously against his people the Iewes, this was one: There was no courage for the truth: but for lyes, they haue bent their toungs like a bow. Ier. 9.3.Ier. 9.3. So we haue courage also for euery thing, sauing for the truth. Now to make our dull beast go more liuely, the Lord hath left vs two spurres to pricke him forward.Two spurs. In one place he telleth vs, 1 that because we are neither hote nor cold, he will spue vs out of his mouth.Apo. 3.15. Reuel. 3.15. there is one. In another place he saith: that the fear­full 2 shall haue their part in the burning lake with the dinel and his Angels: there is another. Let vs thinke of these, and mend our pace: alwaies prouided that we haue with vs, for a comfortable preseruatiue in al our conflicts, and for a foueraign restoratiue in all our faintings, that caue­at which Christ hath left vs in his Gospell:A preserua­tiue. Whosoeuer will saue his life, shall loose it: there is the preseruatiue: and whosoeuer shall loose his life for my sake shall find it, there is our restoratiue.A restora­tiue. I speake not any thing to a­nimate such tempestuous spirits, that cannot fish but in troubled wa­ters, (and that for frogges too) but to allay the bitternesse of offence, if our waters be troubled by others, while we fish for men. And thus we see how the matter that is contended for, putteth a great difference betweene the wicked and the godly, and sheweth who are to be coun­ted contentious persons, and who not though they do contend.

The man­ner of con­tending is to be respe­cted.As there is difference in regard of the matter or subiect of their con­tentions, so also in regard of the manner of striuing, there is great dif­ference. As Iehu was knowne to be Iehu by the manner of his mar­ching: so the children of God are knowne from the men of Belial by the manner of their contending. The manner of doing a thing ought alwaies to be respected: for oftentimes it either maketh or marreth the matter. A good matter handled after an ill manner is made euill: and a bad matter handled after a good manner seemeth to be good. Wicked Achab in his counterfeit repentance seemeth a good conuert: and Peter with his presumptuous aduenturing vpon his own strength, had almost marred a good profession.Act. 24. Tertullus with an eloquent O­ration clad in colours of modestie, humilitie, and impudent audacitie, seemeth to haue a good cause against Paul, when Paul by calling the high Priest a whited wall in his owne reuenge, made more matter a­gainst himselfe, and was driuen to pleade ignorance in his owne de­fence. The wicked are wise to do euill, and in their contentious pro­ceedings do vse great art and skill, to the great aduantage and gracing of an euill cause. And the godly are oftentimes ouertaken in their in­nocent simplicitie, and through extremitie of vntempered zeale, do [Page 237] giue themselues the foile. The children of this world (saith Christ) are wiser in their kind then the children of light: to shew, that Christians are foiled more for want of godly wisedome then any thing else. There­fore Christ doth bid vs to be wise as serpents, and innocent as doues: as if he would assigne vs the doue and the serpent to giue in a Christian mans Armes,The armes of a Chri­stian. to teach vs wisedome & innocencie: & surely they are the fittest armes for a Christian that can be. And these two vertues of wise­dome and innocencie are two of the fittest and most necessarie atten­dants that a man can haue to wait vpon the other graces of the Spirit, and to grace his profession withall. For, so long as they serue him, he shall be sure to do euery man right, and himselfe no harme.The wise­dome of the serpēt. The serpēt will beare many blowes on his back, to saue his head which may teach Christians, not to venture their head (as it were) in reuenge of euerie blow: as many do, that for euery trifle will vow to spend their stocke and substance: that will venture their credit, & wearie all their friends, to satisfie their owne minds and peeuish affections.4. Things noted in the doue. In the doue we may obserue foure things. First meekenesse, and that appeareth in her going: for though in flight she be swifter then other birdes, yet in her going she sheweth great meekenesse.Meeknes Secondly, harmelesnesse,Harme­lesnesse. or in­nocencie: for she is so farre from rauening and spoile, that Christ ma­keth her a patterne of innocencie. Thirdly, iealousie:Ielousie. for none is more iealous ouer her mate and young ones: which may teach vs to be iea­lous ouer the glorie of our spouse, and his graces in vs. Fourthly, mour­ning:Mour­ning. therefore Hezechiah said that in his sickenesse he mourned like a doue:Esa. 38. so should we, (for we haue cause) still to be mourning for the decay of Gods graces in vs, and grieued at the wounds which sin doth giue vs. This mourning and sorrowing for our owne sinnes, and also for the sinnes of others, which lie not in our power to reforme, is so ne­cessarie, that it is made a marke of Gods people, in Ezech. 9.4. Set a marke vpon the foreheads of those that mourn for all the abhominations that are done in the midst of Ierusalē. Thus then Christians being armed, clo­thed & prepared let thē go on in Gods name to the battell, & contend with the vncircūcised Giants of the world: but let their wisdom be like the wisdome of the serpent: let them still haue a speciall regard to their head Christ, & a special care to defend him in his church: & let their in­nocencie be like the innocencie of the doue, which is couered ouer (as it were with siluer fethers) with meeknesse, and lowlinesse, harmlesnes, godly iealousie, and continuall mourning for their owne wants, & the faults of others which they cannot reforme. And thus much in generall for the manner of contending amongst the godly, wherein they differ [Page 238] from the wicked, who care not for Christ, because he is none of their head:1. King. 3. like the harlot that cared not if the child were cut in peeces, be­cause it was none of hers: whose meeknesse is haughtines & stern fierce­nesse, bitter crueltie and cruell bitternesse: whose innocentie is spoile and oppression, whose ielousie is only ouer their own glorie, & whose mour­ning for sin, is reioycing in their owne sin, and in the fall of others.

Speciall rules to contend byNow seeing as we be come thus farre, it were not amisse to set down some rules in more particular manner, to guide poore simple Christians in their zealous and earnest contendings and striuings: in following wher­of they may haue comfort to their owne consciences: and others may glorifie God for their wise and godly cariage of themselues, to the aduan­tage of the truth, and the disaduantage of their aduersaries. To which end we are to know, that euery one that contendeth iustly, standeth either for Gods matters, or for mens causes. In striuing about Gods matters, it were good to obserue these rules following: (not that I would bind any man to these: but let euery man as God giueth him experience, impart his godly aduice and counsell for the good of others.) In Gods matters,In Gods matters. if the controuersie be in publike meetings before many, looke to thy cal­ling: if it be in priuate betweene thee and a few, looke also vpon what occasion it groweth, and whether it be offred by thy selfe or by others: if by thy selfe, (especially before thy betters) looke how thou fall into it, and vse great modestie (crauing both leaue to speake, and attention to be heard) with submission of thy iudgement vnto men of iudgement, pati­ently hearing them also with whom thou contendest, as well as thou art desirous to be heard thy selfe: and especially vse some words of prepa­ration, to draw the minds of the hearers to a reuerent regard of that thou sayest: left it be otherwise a profane contention: and do not as many do, who amidst their cuppes, (when men are earnestly employed in other pleasant and wittie discourses) chop in of a sudden with some great que­stion of Diuinitie, vsing no meane at all to diuert and turne the hearers minds from that veine of mirth whereunto they are setled, vnto a mat­ter of more grauitie and maiestie, which requireth sober and aduised at­tention. If the controuersie be occasioned by others, then marke by whom it is raised, and to what end: if by prophane persons, onely to ca­uill and snare thee, then reproofe or silence is the best answer; according to the counsell of Salomon: Pro. 6.4. Answer not a foole in his folly, left thou be like him: and yet answer to his folly: that is, as his folly deserueth: lest he be wise in his owne conceipt. If the question ariseth by those that ate sober & godly: then follow S. Iames his rule:Iam. 1.19. Be swift to heare and slowe to speake: that is, put not foorth thy selfe, (as the maner of many is:) but let others [Page 239] first speake, and be thou required to speake before thou speakest. By this meanes also thou shalt the better be able to speake to purpose, and with mor ease to go through with the matters: like him that followeth another when the ice is broken before him. It is good also to looke vnto thy abi­litie, and not to meddle with a matter that is too high for thee: as many do, (because they would haue men know that they can say somewhat) when indeed they do but bewray their grosse ignorance and pride. This is Dauids counsell in his owne practise:Psal. 131.1. Lord, (saith he) I am not high min­ded, I do not exercise my selfe in matters that are too high for me. Then ob­serue order, and auoid confusion: that is, speake in thy turne, and let not many speake together. Take for example the Apostles, who (being as­sembled in a Councell at Ierusalem about the matter of circumcision, & other points of Christian religion) spake one after another:Act. 15.7.12 &c. First, Peter spake, and then all the multitude kept silence, and then after him Barnabas spake, and after Barnabas, Iames, and all others kept silence. In the next place, looke to the right end of thy contending: and that is fourefold. First, Gods glory. Secondly, truths victorie to the suppressing of errour. Thirdly, thine owne comfort and instruction. Fourthly, the edification of others. To this end auoid all brawling and bitternesse, with vaineglorie and ostentation: and let all things be done in loue. Lastly, if you cannot agree, submit your selues to the iudgement of some learned men, thy Pastour if he be in place, and of abilitie to iudge, or to some other Prea­cher with him,1. Cor. 14.29 or without him if he be not in place: Let the Prophets speak two or three, (saith Paul) and let others iudge, and the spirits of the Prophets shall be subiect to the Prophets. If the spirites of the Prophets, (that is the Ministers of the word) must be subiect to the Prophets, then much more in matters of controuersie must the spirits of those which are no Prophets be subiect to the learned.

In defending our owne causes,What to do in our owne cau­ses, &c. or in pleading the causes of other men: First, let vs be sure that the cause be good, then may we with lesse offence contend about the same, if we haue good calling, and iust occasion, with fit oportunitie (as hath bene shewed before:) For many complaine, & contend which haue done the wrong: these are like dogges, which first 1 bite and then crie: or like theeues which pursue true men: and may be compared to the harlot, who (hauing killed her owne child) contended with her bedfellow about the death thereof,1. King. 3. as though that she had bene 2 the death of it. Secondly, if thy cause be good and iust: first, offer peace and agreement, according to the law of warre: if it be refused, seeke still, and with a mind still of embracing peace: yea suffer much, and put vp much wrong. Thirdly, auoid all occasions of contention, (as much as [Page 240] lyeth in thee by all possible meanes) with great ones: and chiefly take heed, (if thou be a meane person) of hauing too much familiaritie with three sorts of men. First, thy superiours, especially whose hearts are not sure and vpright towards thee:Pro. 23.6. Eate not the bread of him that hath an euill eye, (saith Salomon) for as though he meant it, so will he say vnto thee, eate, eate, when his heart is not with thee: Surely thou shalt vomite vp thy morsels, and loose all thy sweet words. And the poore (saith he) speake with prayers, Pro. 18.23. but the rich answer roughly. And the rich beare rule, much more whē the poore are beholding vnto thē: if they borrow, they must be ser­uants vnto them.An Em­bleme of two pots. Remember an Embleme or Parable of the two pottes swimming both in one streame: the one of brasse, the other of earth: the brasse pot offereth great kindnesse to the earthen pot, and saith: come swimme close by me, let vs go arme in arme, so shall we the better stand against the streame: the earthen pot wisely answered: Not so, for if we two chaunce to hit one against another, (as very like we shall if we be so neare) then my part is like to be the worse, for I shall be broken when thou art whole: therefore either like vnto like, or else keepe asunder. Se­condly, take heede of such as vse to speake faire, and carrie hatred in their hearts:Pro. 26.24.25. For (saith Salomon) he that hateth, counterfeiteth with his lippes, but in his heart he layeth vp deceipt: though he speake fauourably, beleeue him not: for there are seuen abhominations in his heart: that is, many abho­minations. Thirdly, auoid as much as thou canst furious angry men: Make no friendship with the angry man, Pro. 22.24.25. (saith Salomon) neither go thou with the furious man: (that is, haue as little to do with him as thou canst,) lest thou learne his wayes, and receiue destruction to thy soule. Lastly, if thou be wise, and regardest thy owne credite and quiet, contend not with fooles and scorners: that is, with wilfull persons, who will conceiue no reason:Pro. 26.9. For if a wise man contend with a foolish man (saith Salomon) whether he be angry or laugh, there is no rest. Many other rules besides these may the wise hearted Christian prescribe both vnto himselfe and also to others, which by diligent reading, or conference, or experience will daily appeare good vnto him: all which as he doth gather them, he may (if he please) adde vnto these. And so much shall for this time suf­fice, to shew the difference betweene the wicked and the godly in their manner of contending. Happie are ye if ye contend alwaies: and (as the Apostle saith) be earnest in good matters: for that is good: and con­tend in a good maner, for then shall ye ouercome with cre­dit and comfort, and not be ouercome with griefe and shame.

Now let vs pray.

THE X. SERMON.

PROV. 6.15.

Therefore shall his destruction come speedily, he shall be destroyed suddenly, without recouerie.

THe description of the man of Belial is past: now fol­loweth his iudgement: and that is destruction, spee­die, sudden, and irrecouerable. And now he standeth like a theefe at the barre, who when he hath heard his enditement, and is found guiltie, must then heare the sentence of the Iudge according to his desert. As the malefactor goeth from the barre to the gibbet, so the wicked go­eth from his wickednesse to destruction. This is now the taile of sinne which cometh last, but not without a deadly sting. Sin is like the Bee,Sinne like a Bee. that hath both hony which is pleasant, and a sting which is more dan­gerous then the hony is profitable: and whosoeuer will be so foolish and venturous, as to nourish this Bee in his bosome for loue of the ho­nie, shall surely be wounded with the sting, more then the other shall heale againe. And therefore the pleasures of sinne are called pleasures for a season: Heb. 11.25. not pleasures for euer:Heb. 11.25. because in the end they leaue a sting of conscience behind them, which turne all the former pleasure into lothsomnesse and paine: as it did to the rich and delicate glutton in the Gosdell.Luk. 16.25. Luk. 16.25. and as it was once said to him be­ing in hell, so shall it one day be said to all the wicked: Remember ô ye wicked & vngodly, ye lawlesse & vain persons, that you in your life time receiued your pleasures, & the godly (because they were contrary vnto you) receiued paines, therfore now are they comforted, & you tormēted. Thus we see how iudgement and vengeance cometh in to the wicked like a deepe reckening after the feast, to such fooles as haue called in for more then they are either able or willing to pay. This reckening co­meth last, but it troubleth their thoughts, more then all that went be­fore did comfort them.Pro. 5.3. & Such a reckening Salomon speaketh of in Prou. 5.3. &c. The lippes of a harlot (saith he) drop as a hony combe, and her mouth [Page 242] is more soft then oile, but the end of her is bitter as wormewood, and sharpe as a two edged sword: her feet go downe to death, and her steppes take hold of hell. Keepe thy way therfore farre from her, and come not neare the dore of her house, lest thou giue thy honour vnto others, and they yeares vnto the cruell: left the stranger be filled with thy strength, and thy labours be in the house of a stranger, and thou mourne at thy end, when thou hast consumed thy flesh and thy body, &c. Such a reckening doth Dauid bring in for the wicked in Psalm. 73.Psal. 73.5. &c. They are not in trouble as other men, neither are they plagued with other men. Therefore pride is as a chaine vnto them, and cru­eltie couereth them as a garment. Their eyes stand out with fatnesse, they haue more then heart can wish: they are licentious and speake wickedly of their oppression: they talke presumptuously. They set their mouth against hea­uen, and their tongue walketh through the earth: and they say, how doth God know it? or is there knowledge in the most high? Lo, these are the wic­ked, yet prosper they alwaies, and increase in riches. Here is their feast past, now cometh in the reckening: vers. 18. Surely thou hast set them in slip­pery places, and castest them downe into desolation. How suddenly are they destroyed, perished, and horribly consumed? As a dreame when one awaketh, ô Lord, when thou raisest vs vp, thou shalt make their image despised. In the like sort doth Iob bring them in:Iob. 21.8.9. & [...] The wicked grow in wealth (saith Iob) their seed is established in their sight with them, and their generation before their eyes: their houses are peaceable without feare, and the rod of God is not vpon them. Their bullocke gendreth and faileth not, their cow calueth, and casteth not her calfe. They send foorth their children like sheepe, and their sons daunce, they take their tabret and harpe, and reioyce in the sound of the organes: they spend their daies in wealth. There is one banquet past, now cometh in the reckening, and that is this: Suddenly they go downe to the graue. Then to it againe they go which are left behind and, They say vnto God, depart from vs, for we desire not the knowledge of thy waies. Who is the Almightie that we should serue him? and what profit should we haue if we should pray vnto him? Now followeth their iudgement. Often shall the candle of the wicked be put out, and God shall deuide their liues in his wrath: they shall be as stubble before the wind, and as chaffe that the storme carieth away. God will lay vp the sorrow of the father for his children: when he rewardeth him, he shall know it: his eyes shall see his destruction, and he shall drinke of the wrath of the Almightie. Oh that the wicked (the diuels guests) did or could consider this. Oh that we saw sinne in that shape comming toward vs, that we see him in, when he goeth from vs; then would we as much loth it, as before we loued it: for all sinne is in the end both lothsome and wearisome. Therefore the vngodly being in [Page 243] hell, do crie out of their folly, and say, how haue we wearied our selues in the waies of wickednesse? And to the same agreeth the Prophet Esay: There is no peace to the wicked, Esa. 57. saith God, but they are as the raging sea. that alwayes casteth vp mire and dirt: to shew vs, that if we would find rest, we must not enter into the waies of wicked men, for there is no rest in their wayes.Pro. 14.13. And the wise man saith, That to the wicked there is sor­row euen in laughter: to shew, that the mirth of wicked men is but from the teeth outward. The Apostle Paul (to shew the fruit of sinne) asketh this question:Rom. 6. What fruit (saith he) haue you of those things whereof ye are now, ashamed? To shew, that the best fruite that sinne bringeth forth is shame and confusion: as Adam was not ashamed, vntill he had trans­gressed; so is it still with all Adams posteritie.

And here in my text, it is sayd, that the wicked shall be destroyed. As a thing that is altogether vnprofitable, & much hurtfull amongst men, is destroyed, that is, is either rooted vp, or burned with fire, or cast into the riuer, or throwne out into the high way for men and beasts to tread vpon, or caried out into the fields for the foules of the ayre to deuoure, or buried in dunghils and ditches: so shall the wicked be destroyed and come to naught, and the remembrance of them shall perish from the earth.Why the wicked shal be destroy­ed. And good reason; for, to what purpose should the vnfruitfull tree stand? to do nothing but comber the ground? To what vse serueth vn­sauoury salt, but for the dunghil? When the brasen serpent maketh men to fall from God, what must be done withall, but breake it in peeces? Now, who more vnfruitfull then the wicked? therefore when their ap­pointed time is come, they must no longer trouble and comber the Lords orchard, nor hinder the common wealth of Gods Israel. What more vnsauourie then vngodlines? or who more vnprofitable then the vngodly? Therfore, where should their place be but vpon the dunghill? Who cause others to fall from God, but wicked serpents, or serpentine wicked men, with brazen faces, and yron neckes, (as the prophet spea­keth:) therefore God must needes breake them in peeces, like a potters vessels, and make them like Nebustan, yea, he shall bruise them with a rod of yron: by which we may see what account God maketh of the wicked, which are lawles, & obstinate, and how litle cause there is why the godly should either esteeme of them, or stand in awe of them.

Therefore they are compared to things of most light account in the word of God▪ Psalm. 1. They shall be as chaffe (saith Dauid) yea, as the lightest or vnprofitablest chaffe, which the wind driueth away from the face of the earth. Psal. 119. The Lord shal tread them vnder his feet (sayth he in another place.Mal. 4.1.) They shall be as stubble (sayth Malachi) & the fire of the wrath of the Lord [Page 244] of hostes shal consume them. All which places do shew, that as much reck­ning is to be made of chaffe, of dirt, of drosse, and of stubble, as of a wic­ked man that is lawlesse in his own affections. Whatsoeuer their estate and degree be,No respect of persons with God all is one to the Lord; be they poore or rich, there is no respect of persons with God: if men be rich or worshipfull or noble, or beautifull, or strong, or wittie, or learned: if they be wicked and pro­phane, like Belial, they are but rich chaffe, worshipful drosse, noble dirt, strong stubble, beautifull dung: like Iezabel, who after she had painted her face, was throwne out of the windowes for dogs meate; and what the dogs left, was dung for the earth. Shall Iezabel escape or be fauou­red, because she is a Queene, and faire without? No, she shall be more cruelly destroyed, and deuoured of dogs, because she was of cruell and dogged conditions towards the seruants of Gods. Shall Achab escape the bitternes of death, because he is a King? Nay, but as his sword hath made many womē childles in Israel: so shal his mother be made child­les, & he shall be hewne in peeces like an oxe in the shambles. If Herod will so farre forget himselfe, as to take vnto him the glory that is due to God; euen Herod shal be destroyed of lice. If Nebuchadnezzar wil take no warning of his pride, but heare the judgements of God against him as a dreame, surely Nebuchadnezzar that great and proud King shall be turned forth amongst the beasts. But we be Christians, and baptized (will some say.) All is one for that: neither circumcision auaileth any thing, nor vncircumcision, but a new creature. But at Easter we will be holy, and receiue the Sacrament, and then we hope that God will not destroy vs. Yes the sooner for that, if thou be a wicked man. For this cause (saith Paul) are many afflicted,1. Cor. 11. and many are dead, because they haue receiued the Lords supper vnworthily. Will you steale, and rob, and lie, and whore, and deceiue, and swearefalsly, (saith the Lord by Ie­remey) and then come into my house where my name is called vpon? If the Lord doth detest the companie of wicked men in his house, much more then at his table. But wil God destroy the work of his hands? wil he destroy man, whom he made after his owne image? Yea verily: be­cause man through his wickednesse, hath defaced that glorious image of righteousnesse, and true holinesse, he shall be defaced and destroyed himself:Eccle. 7.31. God made man righteous (saith Salomon) but man hath found out many inuentions.

Thus we see, that there is a time of wickednesse, and a time of ven­geance: and when the measure of the wicked is filled vp, then shal they be emptied, and filled with wrath, because they are vessels of wrath. Then shall be fulfilled the saying of the wise man, in the tenth of Prou. [Page 245] verse 7.Pro. 10.7. The memoriall of the iust shall be blessed, but the name of the wic­ked shall rot: to shew, that the wicked, who (like Hanun the Ammonite) stunke in the nosthrils of Gods Israel while they liued, shall be in name when they are dead, like rotten carrion which lieth stinking in a ditch, and euery one shall loath and abhorre the sent of him.Pro. 19.9. The light of the righteous (saith Salomon in another place) reioyceth, but the candle of the wicked shall be put out: that is, when they haue wasted themselues out, they shall leaue nothing behind them, but a filthie name to offend the cares of such as feare God, and to shame their posteritie, and to annoy all men: like a stinking snuffe of a candle burnt out in the socket, which is so noisome, that euery one shall crie, fie vpon it, tread it out.

But this reckening will not come yet (saith the wicked to himselfe) I may liue, and repent when I am old, or when I lie a dying. Indeed so the wicked mockers and deriders of Gods iudgements vse to speak, (as S. Peter sheweth:1. Pet. 3.) Where is the promise of his comming, all things con­tinue still at one stay: but the Lord is not slacke (saith the Apostle) as men count slacknesse: when the sinne is full ripe, then wil the Lord cut it downe, yea, and such wretched speeches, and vngodly conceipts of the Lords long suffering, do ripen the sinne of the wicked blasphemer, and hasten the comming of the Lords hand vpon them, as a blow to a sicke man doth increase his paine▪ and also hasten his death. Indeede the wicked do promise vnto themselues a long time, but God sayth, they shall not liue out halfe their dayes. Psal. 55.23.Psal. 55.23. That is, not halfe the time that they haue appointed, or that they dreame of: for when they shall say to themselues, Soule be at rest, thou hast goods inough for many yeares:Luke 12.19. the Lord shall deny it, and say, Thou foole, this night shall thy soule be fetched away from thee, &c. Luke 12.19.20. And in the booke of Iob, it is said by Zophar (one of Iobs friends) that the reioycing of the wicked is short, Iob. 20. and the ioy of hypocrites is but a moment, 5. though his excellencie mount vp to the heauen, 6. and his head reach vnto the clondes: yet shall he perish for euer, 7. like his dung, and they which haue seene him shall say▪ Where is he? He shall flie away as a dreame, 8. and they shall not find him, and shall passe away as a vision of the night: 9. so that the eye that had seene him shal do so no more, and his place shall see him no more.

A destruction shall come speedily, so also shall it come [sudden­ly, Sodainly.] when the wicked looke not for it. The fall of the house vpon the Philistins was sodem to them, when they looked not for it. The fall of fire vpon the Sodomites was sodaine to them, when they looked not for it. Death came sodeinly vpon Ananias and his wife, euen when they lied to the holy Ghost, and looked not for it. Did Zimri and Cozbi [Page 246] look to haue bene pierced through with Phineas his speare, when they played the open naughtie-packes together? Or did Corah, Dathan, and Abiram looke for the opening of the earth vnder them, when they were swallowed vp for their rebellion against Moses & Aaron? Or did Ieroboam looke for a leporous hand, when he put it forth against the Prophet of God? Or did Sisera looke for death when Iael tooke him napping, and knocked a naile into his head? All these are gone before vs, and crie vnto vs, that we must be alwayes in a readines, because the Lord wil strike down his trees, no man can tel when: and they that are not readie for the Lord whē his axe cometh, shal be cut down and cast into the fire. This is Christs caueat: Be ye ready, for ye know not when the houre is:Mat. 24. & how we shal be made ready, he sheweth when he saith, Take he [...]d, Mar. 13. watch & pray, lest that day come vpō you vnawares: to teach vs, that if we be careles & look not for Gods visitatiō it wil take vs vnprouided.

This circumstance of sodainnesse, or iudgement vnexpected, doth make the destruction of the wicked the more fearefull. Do not men start and feare, when of a sodaine they meete with their friends? as of­tentimes we do in the darke, or at short turnings, and sometimes haue them ouertake vs, and speake sodainely vnto vs, doth it not amaze vs? insomuch as many will say, You made me start, my hart doth yet shake in my bodie, my haire began to stand right vp on my head: much more are men amazed when their enemies sodainly set vpon them but most of all, when some officer commeth sodainly vpon them from the Magi­strate, if their cause be not the better. But oh what vnspeakeable feare, and horrible amazednesse of thoughts and senses wil there be vnto the wicked, when the Lords hand shall on a sodaine be layd vpon them, they not once dreaming of any such matter: as it fell out with Baltha­shar King of Babylon, when in the middest of his cups and meriments, he saw a hand writing vpon the wall against him.

Obiection.But may we conclude of euery one that is sodainly taken away, that he died a wicked man, & in the number of such as this text speaketh of? Surely no:Answere. such kind of reasoning is not good, the argument followeth not, God wil destroy suddenly the wicked men of Belial: that is, before they look for any such thing:Fallacia ac­cidentis. ergo, whosoeuer dieth suddēly is a mā of Belial: it followeth not, for many times God taketh away his children on a so­dain in the accoūt of the world, but not before they be ready for him: & therfore, though they be sodainly affrighted, yea and smitten down, yet they recouer againe by Christ in them for it is not possible for any to perish that is in Christ, or hath Christ (the Sauior) in him but of the wicked it is said, they shall neuer recouer themselues againe. The con­uersation [Page 247] of the godly being in heauen (as S. Paul sheweth) they do stil waite and looke for the comming of the Lord Iesus from thence:Phi. 3.18.19 ther­fore the comming of Christ is not sodaine vnto them: but to the wic­ked and reprobates, which will take no warning, but still put off the e­uil day, saying (as it is in Esai) Though a plague come, Esa. 28.15. it shal not come at vs: all is sodaine to them, and not so sadaine as fearefull. Lots wife was sud­denly taken, yet who shall conclude that she is damned, seeing as God exempted her from those that should perish: but rather let vs think that she was made a piller of salt, to season vs withall.

Enoch was translated, Elias was taken vp by a whirlewind into hea­uen, and yet here was no sodaine comming vnto them. The Prophet was deuoured of a Lion by the way as he returned,1. Ki. 1 [...].24. because he had made a stay contrarie to Gods commaundement: and yet is he called the man of God, and might be saued. There were eighteene persons at one time sodainly slaine with the fall of a tower in Silo, yet Chris [...] saith they were not greater sinners then they which escaped. One reason of Gods sodaine comming vpon his children, to their feare and astonish­ments, is, to shew the wicked what they for certain may look for: for, If iudgement beginneth at the house of God (saith Peter) where shall the sinners & vngodly stand? 1. Pet. 4.17. 1. Pet. 4.17. And if they do thus vnto the green tree, (saith Christ) what shal be done to the dry tree? But Salomon hath well decided this controuersie in his book of the Preacher:Eccles. 9.1.2 By no outward thing (saith he) can a man know loue or hatred, (speaking of the loue and hatred of God) for all things come alike to all, and the same condition is to the iust, and to the wicked. 12. Neither doth man know his time, but as the fishes which are taken in an euill net, and as the birdes, so are the children of men snared in the euill time, when it falleth vpon them suddenly. Yet this difference re­maineth between the wicked and the godly, whensoeuer, wheresoeuer or howsoeuer they be suddenly taken: to the godly, death is a vantage: to the wicked, it is a losse: for then the one changeth his hellish earth for heauen, and the other then changeth his earthly heauen for hel: and therefore of the godly sort it is said commonly,I [...]h. 1 [...]: that they sleepe when they die▪ (as Christ sayd of Lazarus) he is not dead but sleepeth: but of the other it is said▪ that they perish, and are destroyed. The one shall recouer, the o­ther shall neuer recouer.

Without recouerie desperate is that disease, that will neuer be reco­uered: fearefull indeed is that estate, which is alwaies feareful. The wic­ked man dreameth of long life, and repentance at the last gaspe: but what promise hath he of repentance at that time, if he despise the long suffering of God al his life long, and neglect or abuse the meanes of re­pentance? [Page 248] or what charter hath he of his life, one houre longer then he doth now liue? God may, and will (no doubt) haue mercy vpon whom he will: but yet that he will haue mercie vpon thee, that goest on stil in thy wickednesse, without any feare of wandring, or any desire of retur­ning, is more then thou knowest. He that doth so, is threatned with the contrarie: for custome of sin (saith S. Paul) breedeth impenitencie, and impenitencie maintaineth custome in sin, [...]. 2. and both do heape vp wrath against the day of wrath, and the reuelation of the iust iudgement of God. Why did not Cain, and Iudas, and Elymas, and Ananias, and Saul, and Esau, & diuers others repent, that they might haue bene saued? If it had bene in their power when they had listed (as miserable Papistes dreame) doubtlesse they would haue repented:Men cānot repent whē they list. for they were as vnwil­ling (no doubt) to be damned in hell, as any other: but wicked Balaam knew, and confessed that the end and death of the righteous, is so bles­sed, that it is to be wished of all men. No, no: for the most part it falleth out otherwise then men looke for, in stead of repenting and confessing their sinnes, they lie rauing, and cursing, and blaspheming, and talking leudly of their wickednes: lying like blockes, and dying like beasts, that so Gods prouerbe here may be verified vpon them, he is destroyed sud­denly without recouerie. And howsoeuer it be that God is good to Isra­el, and mercifull to those that call vpon his name in truth of heart, and faith in Christ, which feare his name and keepe his couenant, which are displeased with themselues, and breake off their wickednes by righte­ousnesse, as it is in Daniel: yet is he most wise and seuere against the ob­stinate and lawles: against their faces he hath set his bow, and prepared his instruments of warre: vpon their heads will he raine fire and brim­stone, and stormes,Psalm. 7. and tempests, and snares, this shall be their portion to drinke: yea, and as Iob saith,Iob. 20.12. When wickednesse is sweete in his mouth, and lie hidden vnder his tongue, when he sauoured it, and will not forsake it, but keepe it close in his mouth: then his meate in his bowels shall be turned: the gall of Aspes shall be in the middest of him: he hath deuoured substance, and he shall vomit it out, for God shall draw it out of his belly. He shall sucke the gall of aspes, the vipers tongue shall slay him: he shall not see the riuers, nor the flouds and streames of hony and butter: he shall restore the labour, and shall deuoure no more: for he hath vndone many: he hath forsaken the poore, and destroyed houses that he builded not. Surely he shall feele no quietnesse in his bodie: there shall be none of his meate left, therefore shall none hope for his goods. In abundance he shall be filled with paine, and the hands of all the wicked shall be against him: when he is about to fill his belly, God shall raine vpon him & his meat, in his fierce wrath. He shal flie from the iron weapons, [Page 249] and the bow ef steele shall strike him through. The arrow shall be drawne out of his body, it shall shine of his gall, and so shall feare come vpon him. All darknenesse shall be in all his secret places: the fire that is not kindled shal de­uoure him, & that which remaineth in his tabernacle shal be destroyed. The heauen shall declare his wickednes, and the earth shal rise vp against him: the increase also of his house shal go away: it shal flee away in the day of the Lords wrath. Lo, this is the portion of the wicked man from God, and the heritage of God for his words. If then this be the portion of the wicked man from God, what reason haue the wicked to hope for saluation, and not to feare destruction? & how can he imagine that he should recouer when the hand of the Lords wrath shall thus cast him downe? if not in this life, then not at all. For from hell there is no redemption: meaning, for those that are there:Eccles. 11.3 A Popish errour. And as the tree falleth (saith the Preacher) so shall it lie: therefore both falsly and wickedly do the Papists talke of helping and releeuing mens soules by their Dirges, and Masses, and Mattens, and I wot not what else, after their departure out of this life. Falsly I say, because they crosse the course of the Scripture, in broching such an errour: and wickedly, because by such kind of vaine and false hope, they do strengthen the hands of the wicked, that they care not for repenting in this life, neither do they regard the iudgements of the Lord when they are threatned, because they hope to be releeued and released for their money when they are dead.

Therfore is that fire (which shal deuoure the wicked) called vnquen­chable, which it were not, if dirges, and other popish dirt, or any thing else in the world could quench it. Some kind of fire is quenched with water, some with vineger, and some with milk: but nothing wil quench Topheth, That is, hell fire. Esa. 30.33. which is prepared of old (saith the Prophet) euen for the King: the Lord hath made it large and wide: the burning thereof is fire, and much wood: the breath of the Lord, like a riuer of brimstone, doth kindle it. And if his wrath be once kindled, yea but a little, happy are they that kissed the Sonne of God before he was angrie: and blessed are all they that put their trust in him: for as by faith in his bloud, they quench the firie darts of Sathan here: so by the same faith shall they, and do they quench those firie flames of hell which shall burne & torment the wic­ked and vnbeleeuers for euermore. Therefore, if any here, are, or haue bene such as haue bene described by the Anatomie of Belial, that is, loose, lawlesse, prophane, vaine, froward, leud, surmising, suspitious, and contentious, let them seeke vnto the Lord, by timely and vnfained re­pentance: let them embrace righteousnesse and true holinesse, and so mercie shall embrace them: let them forsake their loosenesse, their pro­phaneness, [Page 250] their leudnes, and their vanities, and by a liuely faith (wor­king by loue) take hold of Christ, as of the hornes of Gods altar, and and so assuring themselues of Gods loue in the merites of Christ, they may escape this irrecouerable destruction, or else not: for (otherwise) my text saith, that they shall be destroyed speedily, suddenly, and without re­couerie.

Many vses may profitably be made of this doctrine: but before we come to them, I thinke it not amisse to meet with certaine obiections, that may be made by Atheists and scoffers, against this that hath bene said: yea, and which do many times arise in the minds of Gods deare children, through the weaknesse of their faith, in extremity of grieuous temptations & sore afflictions. Which obiections, forasmuch as I find them moued, and sufficiently answered by many learned and godly, but especially by that excellent learned noble man of France,Plessy de ve­rita. Christ. relig. Mornay du Plessy, in his booke of the trunesse of religion, I wil put them downe euen as he hath done, and for answere vnto them, will briefly shew you the substance and effect of his answeres, supposing them to be so full and sufficient to the purpose, that nothing can well be added vnto them to more purpose, or of more sufficiency: surely whatsoeuer others can▪ I freely confesse my ignorance, I see not what I can. The first obie­ction is this: if God be iust in his threatnings, and that the wicked shall be destroyed, and haue such a portion of plagues as hath bene shewed out of Iob. 20 and other places of Scripture:1. Obiect. then why haue they so much good, Answere. and the godly so much euill here? To this his answere is, that if by good, we meane riches, honour, health, &c. the question is absurd; for godlinesse and vertue is the true good. The pouerty of Lazarus (being a vertuous man) is better then the wealth of the rich man: the sicknes of a wise man with his wisedom, is better then the health of a foole. What goods soeuer a man hath, he cannot be a good man, so long as he him selfe is euil; and these outward things are common to good and bad. If a man must be termed a good man for hauing these goods, then a foole may be termed a wise man in a rich gowne. All these false goods are meanes to the wicked to make them worse and worse: and riches, to corrupt them and others: authoritie, to do violence: health doth make them lustie to do mischiefe: so the euils which men terme euils, are meanes to the good to make them better: as pouertie serueth to bridle lust: basenesse to humble them: incumbrances to driue them to God, and to teach them to succor others. But why are these goods common? Surely because God cannot be but good, insomuch as he maketh his raine to fall, and his Sunne to shine vp all. A father that keepeth his he­ritage [Page 251] for his sonne, will not apparell him like a slaue, in his seruants li­ueries. Princes make their pay common to al souldiers, but the garland is giuen to the valiantest. Kings cast their largesse at all aduenture a­mong the people, but their honors and dignities, they bestow on them whom they do specially fauour. So God for his honor will not reward the trauels of his seruants with trifles. God being liberall and iust, will reward thee according to his honour, and not according to the base­nes of thy heart, and that for two causes. First, because he regardeth not thy workes, but his owne in thee. Secondly, because the reward is not giuen according to thy desert, but according to the worthinesse of him that bestoweth it.A notable speech of Alexander. Alexander the great told a seruitour in his warres, that a hundreth crownes were inough for him to receiue, but not for the Emperour to giue. Corne, and foode, and rayment, and money, &c. are things common to all, not peculiar to his children: therefore beg not these as the best giftes. But what are the goods then that good men haue in this life?What be the goods of good men. Many and excellent: first, they haue grace to make their life allowable to God that knoweth them. Secondly, in him they repose themselues. Thirdly, they haue peace in their consciences: for if God increase not their present estate, they abate their desires. Their foes commend their vertues: all the world bemoneth their wants▪ those which haue the distributing of goods and honours, are blamed for not considering them. Lastly, the very asking of that question, be thou a Christian, or a Heathen? is vnto them an inestimable treasure.

If God would not giue me more, why haue I forgone those which I had? Surely because he saw, that if he had not taken them from thee, they wold haue taken thee frō him. We pluck kniues frō children when they cry to haue them: we suffer the Phisition to take from vs our meats which we loue, and to abridge vs of our pleasures, yea and our of bloud too; because he hath seen our water, or felt our pulse. And shal not God that made vs, and gouerneth vs, and knoweth best our state, & what is good for vs, haue that honor & liberty ouer vs which Phisitions haue?

Another obiection is this:2. Obiect. if it be true that the wicked shall be de­stroyed speedily, sodainly, and without recouery: how is it true that Sa­lomon saith in his booke of the Preacher.Eccles. 7.17 Chap. 7.17. I haue seene a iust man perish in his righteousnesse, and a wicked man continue long in his ma­lice. And to this agreeth in shew the complaint of the Prophet:Esa. 57.1. The righteous perisheth, and noman regardeth it in heart, and mercifull men are taken away. It should seeme that this plague, threatned against the wic­ked, taketh place vpon the godly, for they perish and are taken away in their righteousnesse. The answere to this is not hard,Answere. for death is but [Page 252] the common passage, and what skils it whether we passe it by sea or by land, by our own corruption, or by the corruptnes of common weales? And if God bring his children to that point for one fault, and the iudge for another, what iniustice is in God? Oh what a thing were it, if we could see what fruite the Lord draweth out of their death. The child that seeth his father tread grapes, blameth him for it, thinking they should be kept, not conceiuing to what end the treading serueth: but the father who knoweth the goodnesse of them better then the child, considereth that within two moneths they would wither and drie a­way: and therefore to preserue the vertue of them, treadeth them: when the child commeth to discretion, he museth at his owne folly, and yet as then he thought himself wiser then his father. After the same maner doth the child when he seeth his father make conserues of Roses, and other flowers: he is ready to weepe, and is sory to see them marred, be­cause he would make nose-gayes of them, which he himself would cast away by the next morrow. So God that made good men that which they be, he knoweth when it is time to gather them, that they rot not on the tree, and how long they may be preserued in their kind. He will take somefresh and greene, to preserue them all the yeare long, he will make conserues of their flowers, & wine of their grapes, to keep a long time after. He will make their sauour, their sweete sent, their strength, that is, their godlines, vprightnes and vertue, to liue after them, which otherwise would be buried. Take for example, the Apostles and Mar­tyrs: dost thou not yet euē drink of their liqour? doth not their constant confession make thee to confesse Christ? doth not their death help thee to endlesse life? Could Ignatius and Polycarpus haue liued aboue fiue or sixe yeeres more then they did? and yet, what part of all their ages hath lasted so long, or done so much good, as the last halfe hower wherein they died? Therefore let vs say, we are but babes, and forasmuch as we perceiue the wisedome of our father to be so great, and our owne ig­norance so grosse: let vs rather confesse our weaknesses in all cases, then presume to doubt of his iustice or prouidence in any thing. But the mischiefe is this, that whereas we will not iudge of a song by one note, nor of an Oration by one full sentence: we will presume to iudge of the harmonie, and orderly direction of the world by one action there­in. And if God seeme to hold his peace, and to suffer men to play their parts, ought we not to haue so good opinion of his wisedome, as to thinke that he can tell when it is time to pay home? And though he let the wicked play their part on the stage, and the godly to lie in prison, he can also prouide to end the braueries of the one with iust punish­ment, [Page 253] and the wofull complaints of the other with ioyfull triumphs. The world is a kind of stage-play,The world like a stage play. conueied to a certaine end, by a most excellent maker: whereof we cannot iudge by one act that we see plai­ed, but we must tarrie till all the parts be played, which perhaps wil not be while we liue, nor in many yeares after. When we reade that Ioseph was sold into Egypt, we cannot be angrie inough with his brethren: when he is cast into the dungeon for chastity, thou couldest find in thy heart to blame not onely Pharao, but euen God himselfe: but when thou seest him taken out of prison to reade the Kings dreames, and af­ter as a King in Egypt, a succour to his father in his old age, & the raiser vp againe of his whole house at their neede, then thou perswadest thy self that he which made him to raigne in Egypt, did suffer him to be sold int Egypt, and that the discord which offended thee, and the harmonie which delighteth thee againe, proceede both from one selfe-same mu­sition, that is, from one most wise and iust God.

Another obiection is this.3. Obiect. The wicked fare wel at will: therfore they are not plagued and destroyed,Answere. as hath bene said they are. But we are deceiued, for rather they haue all miserie: for all the good things which we terme good, in the hands of the wicked do turne to euil. Their own sinnes do work them more mischiefe, then all the euils which thou be­wailest in good men: for, there is not a greater mischief then to be wic­ked, and all their commodities haue as litle force against their sinne, as veluet pantofles against the gout, or as Diademes against the headach, or as purple robes against the chollick. What feare do they sustaine in following their wickednes? and so much the more dangerous, because the most shamelesse of them all, dareth not bewray his disease to the Phisition.

We would change (so foolish are we) our state with a poore caitiue that playeth the King on a stage, with a long gowne of cloth of gold, which in the end he must returne home againe to the Vpholster, and pay well for the hire of it, and in the meane time, consider not what ragges, scabs, vermine, itch and scurfe lieth hidden vnderneath it. We would rather go naked then to be clothed: but what skils it whether a man be tormented in veluet, or in canuas, in gold, or in yron? be we rich or poore, as soon as we haue giuen ouer our selues to vice, we are become slaues vnto it: and if it be so, what skils it who we be, if we be not our owne men?

The last obiection is,4. Obiect. that the wicked go long vnpunished: to which the answere is double.Answere. First, they may liue yet to punish vs, who haue bene scourged by them alreadie, and yet are neuer the better. Second­ly, [Page 254] it may be a greater punishment to them, to liue after they haue done amisse, then to haue died in the deede doing: for now they see: first, that their practises haue not successe according to their wils: secondly, that all the mischiefe they haue wrought is in vaine: thirdly, that they haue prouoked God against them, and the whole world, to no purpose: fourthly, that they haue gotten thereby nothing but shame, & torment of mind. If God then by his seeming to be slow, do both amend thee (saith Plessy) and punish them, and both at once, then is [...]he Lord stil iust in his threatnings, as he is in all his workes. Examples we haue hereof sufficient in Nero, in Herod, in Cain, in Iezabel, in Lewes the 9. a French King: all which liued after their cruell murthers, and massacres, and were seuerely punished, though none of those whose innocent bloud was spilled by them, were aliue to see thē punished. The reason is this, God punisheth not as worldly Iudges do, to content them that haue suffered wrong, or to satisfie thy reuenging mind, or to get himselfe the name of a good Iudge, but because he hateth the euill, which he inten­deth to correct, and will also draw good out of it. If he should strike at our appointment, then should he be but our executioner, and we should be the Iudges: but God executeth his owne iudgements, and not ours.

The vses of the former doctrine.These obiections being thus answered, let vs now see what good vse we may make of al the former doctrine. We learne from hence: first, 1 when we see the wicked to flourish, to be contented, and patient, not enuying their exaltation: for God doth lift them vp of purpose to cast them downe: this vse doth Dauid teach vs to make of the wicked mans prosperitie:Psal. 37.1.2. Fret not thy selfe because of the wicked men, neither be enuious for the euil doers: for they shal soon be cut downe like grasse, and wither as the green herb. Psa. 27.1.2. And the truth of this point is further confirmed by our Sauior Christ,Mat. 11.23. who saith▪ that Capernaū was lifted vp to heauē, but they should be a cast downe to hell. Secondly, seeing that the life of the wic­ked (in regard of their wickednes) is so base and miserable, and their end so wretched and fearefull, let vs not desire to liue their life, in regard of their pleasure, but let vs chose rather to suffer affliction with the godly, for righteousnesse sake: as Moses did, assuring our selues, that as God doth lift the wicked vp, to cast them down, and to make them haue the sorer fall: so doth the Lord cast his children downe, to lift them vp a­gaine. This point is confirmed by our Sauior Christ, in Mat. 5.4. Bles­sed are they that mourne now, for they shal be comforted: and this vfe are we taught to make of the wicked mans end. Psal. 37.21.22. where Dauid confesseth that before he knew the end of the wicked (which he lear­ned [Page 255] in the house of God) his heart was vexed at their prosperitie, but when he saw whereunto they were going, and what was their end then he saith, that he (in desiring their estate) shewed himselfe, both foolish, ignorant, and beastly before the Lord. Thirdly, seeing as these outward 3 things are common both to good and bad, this should teach vs, to sus­pend our rash iudgement of the godly, that are vnder the hand of God: because we know not for a certaintie, whether he be so afflicted for his wickednesse, or for some other cause: as the blind man in the Gospell, (by the testimonie of Christ) was blind neither for his own sin nor for the sinne of his parents,Ioh. 9.3. but for the glorie of God. And this vse are we taught in Mat. 7.1. Iudge not, lest ye be iudged: that is, iudge not rashly. And blessed is he (saith the Psalmist) that considereth wisely of the poore & needie: Psal. 41.1.4. the Lord shall deliuer him in time of his distresse. Fourthly, seeing 4 as God doth plague the wicked for our warning, and (as it were) hang them vp in chaines before the world: let vs feare at Gods iudge­ments vpon wicked men, and not ioyne our felues vnto them, least we be partakers of their iudgements: like those that were ioyned in the conspiracie of Corah, &c. Num. 16.26.Num. 16.26 nor stand and gaze, or wonder at them (as the maner is,) but learne by their examples to auoide their wayes,Luke 13.3.5. least we (not repenting) do also perish. Fiftly and lastly seeing as this fearefull vengeance commeth vpon the wicked in this life for sin: whensoeuer we feel the hand of God vpon vs, let vs examine our selues for our sins which are the cause thereof, and not do as the wicked, who neuer looke into that cause, but into secondarie and outward causes, like the dog who biteth the stone, but looketh not vnto the hand that cast it. And as we dayly fall, so let vs pray dayly and hourely, for the re­nuing grace of Gods Spirit, that we may rise againe, and recouer our selues by true repentance, and liuely faith in Iesus Christ: to whom with the Father and the holy Ghost, be all glorie and praise for euer. Amen.

FINIS.

Faults escaped in the printing.

PAge 5. line 35. for commeth, reade commendeth. p. 10. l. 37. monet, r. mouet. p. 11. l. 17 two, r. too. p. 14. l. 5. lothsome, r. toothsome. p. 36. l 33. gaue, r. giue. p. 49. l. 1. censurers, r. censures, p. 55. l. 10. ias, r. iah. l. 18. r. Pashur. l. 19 r. Naomi. p. 68. l. 19. r. this is not well p. 89. l. 36. r. buried. p. 92. l. 30 r sinners. p. 94. l. 1. r. attaine. p, 96. l. 11. blot out, Mo maruell though. p. 98. l. 19. r. God will be more mercifull. p. 154 l. 16. swimming, r. [...]inning. p. 156 l. 27. we, r. were p. 163. l. 15. not, r. but. p. 170. l. 24. r. do shew vs how to reforme &c. p. 191 l. 32. cannot, r. can. p. 206. l. 36. is, r. in. p. 225. l. 1, r. we haue heard to what ends &c. Ibid. l. 7. blot out, at all. p. 233. l. 3. Apostle, r Prophet. p. 243. l. 32. r. Nehustan. p. 248. l. 32. out. r. vp. p. 250. l. 40. r. vpon. p. 253. l. 13. r. into. l. 33. r. so to be clothed.

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