THE YOVNG-MANS Warni …

THE YOVNG-MANS Warning-peece: OR, A Sermon preached at the buriall of WILLIAM ROGERS Apothecary.

With an History of his sinfull Life, and wofull Death.

Together with a Post-script of the use of Examples.

Dedicated to the Young-men of the Parish, especially to his Companions.

By Robert Abbot, Vicar of Crane­brooke in KENT.

Prov. 7.23.

The young Foole, as a Bird, hasteneth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life.

LONDON, Printed by R. B. for P. Stephens and C Meredith, and are to be sold at their Shop at the signe of the Golden Lion in Pauls Church Yard. 1639

To all the Young-men of my Parish, especially to late Companions of William Rogers, Apothecary, Grace, Mercy, and Peace.

DEerely beloved Young-men, that this Sermon (in effect) was preached by mee, among you, you know, and the occasion you know too When I preachd it, it cam to your eares, & it wrought something in some of your eyes, but I little thought [Page] to have presented it to your eyes againe. Impor­tunities from abroad, and at home, have pressed mee to make this adventure. And now it is come, to whom should it come, but unto you? It is true, my love to that dead Young-man, made me willing to satisfie his desire: and your desires to have it, have not made mee willing thus to send it unto you. Yet your courses being the occasion of it, and your welfare be­ing the end of it; you may justly chalenge it, and shall not by mee bee robbed of your right. Who knowes whether God may leave a blessing behind? I cannot bee assured, that, for the [Page] word of God handled in it, or for me the poore instru­ment that is used in it, ye will make much use of it for your good; because (I feare) ye so often prefer an ale-house before the house of God. It may be, ye had rather be without it, than have it; because the sight of it, to you, will be a sting; the sight of it, to others, will bee but a remembran­cer to them, to call upon you still to forsake those courses which ye love. Yet herein have I hope, that you will love to see the pi­cture of him being dead, whom yee loved and fol­lowed as your Doctor while he lived. If it be not drawne to life, my eyes, [Page] eares, and understanding much faile me, besides, ma­ny witnesses will not faile to say, that all is true. I am sure, it is so for substance: and if it be coloured other­wise, even at the first it was rudely drawne, it is for your sakes, that you may still see him the more perfectly, and know your owne estate.

You have had (in your daies) many examples, tea­ching, that there is no bar­gaine to be had in a wicked way; it is folly to lay out your silver, and not for bread. But to have two in one yeere, layes the axe to the root of the trees of the Wood, and preacheth, that except ye amend, yee shall [Page] likewise perish. Not onely as they but worse. Yee have seene two Apothecaries different in their course. The one so many wayes looking home-ward,So he was accounted of all a­bout us some years before he dyed. that he died miserably rich; the other so lashing outward, that hee dyed miserably poore. Both of sweet and mild natures, and of diffe­rent waies in life:So may a good man have, by some di­stemper or over-pow­ring temp­tation, to lash some sin for the example of others. yet both of uncomfortable passages out of the world. The one ha­ving first the devill presen­ting himselfe unto him to be his Physitian: and next CHRIST sitting on the Throne, condemning his unprofitable life, and bid­ding him shift for himselfe, for he would have nothing to do with him. The other, as if hee would prevent [Page] Christ, condemning him­selfe to hell for ever, and ever. The one (being ve­ry rich, and having no chil­dren) was pressed by me, while hee was in peace, and before his last Will was settled, of his thousands to give but one hundred pounds, for the repairing of the Church, or other pious workes. But if hee were worth ten thousand (as he said) he would not give a penny, beside what he had given by will; that is, twenty Marks to the poor, ten pounds to me, and some other petty Legacies.I meane an uncom­fortable death, not judging his eternall estate. If I were rich, I should be loth to pay so deare for such a de­nyall, as he did in the end, full of horror to the last. [Page] The other (being very poore) was pressed by me againe and againe, but to beleeve in Christ for salva­tion. But I could not (for ought I saw) prevaile nei­ther. The one had lived well, except his misery: the other had lived ill, and so in misery worse. I know you feare not the danger of [...]he first example: for you are out of the way of be­ing too rich. If you have enough to goe like gallant Blades, it is all you desire: yet if you have not, your credite must bee good till the quarter day, or the good market comes. But may you not feare the dan­ger of the second? Him ye loved enough, his courses [Page] yee love too well. The Ale-house must bee your Chappell, Kitchin, Work­house: the first draught is your prayer, the next your breakfast, and the last your worke. Yet if ye had but a Priest that would pro­phecy of Wine and strong drinke, and say, Come let us fill our selves with Wine and strong drinke, to morrow shall be as this d [...]y, and much more a­boundant, hee were the only man, and you the on­ly people of the world I know you think yourselv's very familiar with Christ, as if hee would passe by these slips of youth, and imbrace you in the armes of his mercy upon the least [Page] call. But you forget that Christ hath now taken state upon him. He was an In­fant crying in the Cratch, and then he was circumci­sed by wicked Priests, car­ried by an Asse into Ierusa­lem, Hee was a Preacher in Israel, and then he was pressed upon by all, and sought to be intangled by his enemies. Hee was a worker of miracles here, and then sicke soules and bodies troubled him▪ He was under arrests and exe­cutions▪ and then Iudas did kisse, Souldiers buffeted and spit upon him, and Iewes and Gentiles killed him. But now the case is altered, his present state admits no such neere ap­proach. [Page] Will you say hee is my sweet Saviour still? Go then and tell him so: say; Lord, I am idle, un­profitable, and luxurio [...]s, but thou art my sweet Sa­viour still. Say yee to your fathers and mothers, I am drunken, idle, warton, rebellious, but ye are my fa­ther and mother still, and I expect your blessing, and your p [...]rse. Surely such proud and dissolute carri­age shall a thousand times sooner please men on earth, than it shall please Christ in heaven. He hath redeemd you that ye might serve him in righteousnesse and holines all the daies of your life. He hath bought you with a price, that yee [Page] might glorifie God in bo­dy and soule, and (by the grace of God) save your selves from the midst of this wicked generation wherein ye live. Perhaps you may think your sinnes not to be so great, but that you may keep your fellow­ship in the salvation of Christ too. But they are not worthy of pitty who wilfully deceive their own soules: For in foure cases your least sins prove dam­nable in the issue. If they 1 be committed against your consciences. Conscience is in Gods roome to guard you, and if that be affron­ted, it is given to God, and so you build downeward to hell. Then if they bee 2 [Page] committed with pleasure and delight; there is no sin so small, which smels not unsavorily if it pleaseth. It pleased the man to gather 3 sticks, and he died for it. It pleased Lots Wife to look backe, and she was turned into a pillar of Salt. Next, if small sins dispose you to greater. For he that hath avoided the great Rockes, may be swallow'd up in the sand: and he that can keep out great Theeves, may have his house opened by a little Boy who creeps in at 4 the window. Lastly, if the smallest sinnes have a pro­gresse, and go on. A little ball of snow, rowled, is in­creased, and many drops make a floud. Can you say [Page] that you sin not when con­science checks, and saith, Doe it not? Or that you have not taken pleasure in what you have done? Or that you have not bin disposed by your houres of error, to scandalize others, and neglect God and his worship? Or that your lit­tle sins have not multiply­ed so long, as that they may (for any thing you are sure to the contrary) be­come an Ocean to drowne your soules in eternall hor­ror? What now is to bee done, but that you see your wickednesse, and amend all? I am sure it would bring comfort to your friends, to see you in the way to Heaven. I am more [Page] sure it would bring glory to God, and honour to the Gospell, to have his crea­tures and the professors of it from your youth, to live in the obedience of faith. And I know assuredly too, that it shall adde to my crowne of rejoycing, to see all, Christs Lambs, Babes, and Children to walke in that truth which is accor­ding to godlinesse. Vp and be doing, and the God of Heaven be with you. There is no delay must have place now. It is enough (yea [...]oo much) that yee have spent the time past after the course of the wicked world. God hath held his peace, and not unsheathed his sword, and you have [Page] lived as if God were a fa­vourer of sinne. But hath he not now begun to strik? Hath hee not let you see that there is no peace to the wicked? If ye yet goe on, yee kicke against the pricks. If ye come in with bleeding soules: behold your blessed Saviour han­ged on the crosse; he bow­ed his head, as if he meant to kisse you; he stretched out his armes, as if hee meant to imbrace you; and his blessed side was broa­ched, as if he meant that even you should drinke his bloud, to pacifie your souls against conscience of wrath, and his water to purifie your bodies and soules from the dominion [Page] of all uncleannesse. Will you yet neglect so great salvation? My soule shall weepe for you in secret. Yet that there may not be a cause, I hope that you will reade this that I p [...]e­sent unto you, and so make a stand. I hope you will pray to God that the cause may have accesse unto your hearts, and so make an entrance into the good way. And I hope that be­ing entred, you will con­tinue to the end; and then as Saint Paul of his Thessa­lonians, so I of you; Now I live if ye stand fast in the Lord. Even I, who have bin often grieved by you, and have often prayed for you with groanes and [Page] sighs, but now hope to be comforted in my bowels over you, upon your a­mendment; and ever after to continue.

Your Pastour rejoycing in the conversion of such sinners, Robert Abbot.

THE YOVNG-MANS Warning-peece. OR, A SERMON Preached at the Buryall of William Rogers, upon Pro. 4.19.

‘The way of the wicked is as dark­nesse, they know not at what they stumble.’

YE know my use. As Laban said to Jacob in case of marriage, Jt must not be so done in our place: Gen. 29.26 so say I; It is not my custom on fune­rall occasions, to weare out the time upon the dead. Though [Page 2] I grudge not Davids mourn­full Ditty at the death of Saul;2 Sam. 1.19, 20, &c. nor Ieremies Lamentations o­ver Jerusalem, for the un­timely death of Josiah; nor the shewing of Dorcas her Coates,Act. 9.39. given to the poore Saints at her buryall, (for or­dinarily, those that deserve no praise themselves, love to give none to others: Magis vi vorum so­la tia quam mortuorum subfidia.) yet Saint Au­gustine hath said it, that these solemnities are rather the comfort of the living, than the helpe of the dead; and I have beene willing to follow this rule, in ordinary cases. Yet now the case is altred. I have something to say to the person, before I speake to the Text. I am intreated, earnest­ly intreated, by the misera­ble young man who lies dead at our feet, to Preach to all the Young men of the Parish, especially to his wicked com­panions (as hee called them) [Page 3] something at his buryall, to warne them, by his example, to take a better course, that they bee not burned in hell with him for ever and ever.

This I cannot doe, except I first tell you his example. Heare; therefore, that first, and GOD open your eyes to see the danger.This yong man is cal­led misera­ble. I call him a mise­rable Young man, not in re­spect of the devouring judge­ment of GOD upon him for ever▪ for we have nothing to say to that. What are wee that we should sit in GOD's chaire? He did rise and fall to his owne Master,Not in re­spect of Gods judg­ment final. whose judg­ments are alwaies just, often secret: and to Him we leave him, with feare and tremb­ling, though not without some hope.For from him are many ar­guments of hope. For as hee was in his generall course a man of a sweet and pleasing temper, it beginning to grow proverbi­all, That the Divell never abu­sed [Page 4] a better nature; And as he was observed (so farre as I know or have heard) never to sweare or curse, in all his life, till one curse dropped from him in a distempered fit the night before he died: and al­wayes to carry himselfe in words inoffensively to all; ex­cept only once to my selfe, and another who had strugled with him from time to time, to pull him out of the snares of Satan;2 Tim. 2.16. for which yet he was wounded in soule in his sick­nesse, and asked forgivenesse: So, for his worst part, how freely did hee confesse his sinnes? how earnest were his desires, that hee might live but a Yeare, or a Moneth, that he might manifest to the world the Truth of his heart, in his promises to GOD, for amend­ment of Life? How carefull was he to warne his compani­ons, or at least, to wish that [Page 5] they were by him, that hee might warne them, that they might not bee burned in the furnace of Hell, whither he (said he) was going: These things in him, give advantage in us, to some charitable hope, that it may be better with him in the issue, than God would let us see. Though God would not let us see one drop of peace to fall downe upon him to his last gaspe, was it not rather to bridle our presumption, and to make us to runne from the stinking dens of sinne, than to settle our judgements a­bout his finall estate, which is farre out of our reach▪ Though we could not see that hee apprehended CHRIST,Phil. 3.12. might he not bee apprehended of CHRIST IESUS? Though we could not perceive that he knew, GOD (to comfort) might hee not be knowne of God? Gal. 3.9. Therefore have nothing to [Page 6] doe with Gods finall judge­ment upon him; it must bee put over to the highest tri­bunall, to declare him mise­rable before the GOD of Heaven.

Neither doe I call him mi­serable in respect of his repute amongst men. He was loved of all that knew him, hated of none, and desired of all that stood in need of his skill or practice. Ye know that he was an Apothecary, and pra­ctised both Ch [...]urgery and Physicke. How successefull hee was, where he would shew care and diligence, you know too. As hee had put himselfe to it to gaine some skill by his own industry, and by conference and complying with the learned in that Sci­ence, and with all famous practitioners where he came▪ so was hee mounted to the height of same, sought to [Page 7] farre and nigh was he. The sober sought unto him, be­cause of his sweet temper sea­soned with successefull skill. The loose sought to him, be­cause of his prodigall and bib­bing course. The thriftie sought to him, because of his gentle rates upon his care and cures. He would not suffer them to spend all they had upon Physitians. Mar. 5.26. And the covetous sought to him, because of som­thing pleased them not, he would (for the most part) take nothing for what he did. He would confesse, that he could by his practice get an hundred pounds a yeare, and spend an hundred pounds a yeare: yet he sold his owne inheritance, and spent it; and did so ex­ceed in lavishing, that hee scarce left enough to defray the charges of his owne bu­riall. Some sought to him for one cause, some for ano­ther; [Page 8] so that as one was called for grace, he might be so cal­led for place and practise, Luke the beloved Physician. Col. 4.14. There­fore he was not miserable in the eyes of men.

But in re­spect of his own fee­ling.Yet I call him a miserable young man in respect of his own feeling & apprehension. To present this I shall shew you the ground, and his ope­ning of it. The ground of it was thus laid; He had bin re­ligiously trained in his child­hood. Few youths with me would have given a better rea­son of the hope that is in them. 1 Pet. 3 15. This had a deepe ground. He had also lived in a ci­vill way, till he beganne to looke out into the World for himselfe. When hee had some few moneths beene sea­soned with the flatteries of his followers, and, (alwayes leading a batchelours life) be­ing used to make up some of his confections at an Ale­house [Page 9] fire: the fire of the High Priests Hall was not more banefull to Peter (save in the height of Peters pre­sent sinne) than this was to this poore Young mans soule. First, delight in vaine com­pany crept upon him, next drunkennesse, next neglect of Prayer, Word and Sacra­ments; and lastly a setled ob­stinacy in these sinnefull and bewitching courses. I, willing to performe the dutie of a Shepheard, and friend, time­ly fastened my eyes and heart upon it. I went to him, and warned him againe and againe. I told him what fearefull worke hee made, in suffering the Wild Boare to come in, to lay waste his former Conscience. He would still answer mildely, Indeed I will doe otherwise. I had so of­ten pressed him to amendment with so little successe, that he [Page 10] grew weary of it, and mee. He utterly avoyded my com­pany: if I had come in at one doore, he would have gone out at another. He hath ma­ny times professed, that hee could not abide to see mee, or bee in my compan [...]: not because he hated mee (for hee would doe any th [...]ng for mee with all his heart) but because I still told him of his bad life, and hee could not amend yet.

In this state he stood one, or two yeares, or more. At last, as one cloathed with the scales of a Leviathan, hee kicked a­gainst the prickes, and con­trary to all admonitions (a­gainst which custome in sinne had now armed him) he wil­fully forsooke the Church, to­gether with Prayers, Word, Sacraments. Thus hee con­tinued about a yeare and three quarters. In this space (as I could slide into his company, [Page 11] or as he fell into mine) I ad­monished him still, wished him to beware lest the just sentence of GOD went not out against him, that he should never see GODS face in the congregation more: I told him that he trusted his flatterers and drunken companions, more than mee, who loved his soule: and yet withall, that I would proceed against him by Articles and Present­ments, which would end in excommunication, which was a forerunner of GODS shutting him out of Heaven, without his willing and hear­ty Repentance. He answered mildly still, that hee would come to the Church, receive the Sacrament, and change his course. He gave mee day, and day, and day, and yet his place was empty. Vpon some of the promised dayes of ap­pearance, I sent secretly to [Page 12] his house, to call upon him to be as good as his word: he would make some idle ex­cuse or other, and so still persisted. At the length, the Church Officers presented him for his neglect of the Church, and Sacrament, an whole yeare. Halfe a yeare after they presented him againe, for his neglect a yeare and a halfe. In this time I still told him what was done, which yet (said I) shall easily be taken off with an admo­nition, if you will reforme. Hee still mildly promised amendment. At last, ascited he was to answer; and hee knew that I had personally appeared against him to the Iudge of the spirituall Court: for I told him so, (as I remember;) and that it would not bee so easie for him to get off without mee. Hereupon he was more hearty [Page 13] (as I thought) to come to the house of GOD againe, and he set his utmost day,Christ­masseday. 1635. and yet hee failed. At my instance, and fearing the dreadfull sen­tence of excommunication, which now (after his many shifts) was thundering out upon him, hee peremptorily set another day, which was the LORDS-Day seven-night after, and a Commu­nion Day. Then he resol­ved to come to the Church, and to receive the Sacra­ment, to give satisfaction to the Parish and Court, and in the meane time to prepare himselfe.

The Lords-Day before this, in the morning, when (as he said) hee was ready to come to the Church, hee was taken sicke, and betooke himselfe to his bed. It was but as the fit of an Ague, which being over hee was the next morning [Page 14] in his old course againe. A­bout the middle of the weeke after the messenger of death came, and I heard of it. I forthwith addressed my selfe to him, came up into his cham­ber unawares, and said, Oh, how often have you deceived God, your owne soule, and mee! what is now to bee done? I feare you will die, and then what will become of you? I expect your excommunication, and then you will bee cut off from the Church of GOD by Iustice, which you have cut your selfe from by wantonnesse. Hee an­swered, hee had but a surfet of cold: and, if I would be pleased but to write to the Court, to suspend the sending forth of his excommunication till the Court day following, he would the next Lords-Day come to the Church, and re­ceive the Sacrament, and then goe up with my Certificate, [Page 15] and satisfie the Court. I did it, and prevailed: but his sick­nesse prevailed that Thursday, Friday, and Saturday upon him. It had emptied him of hope of life: and no hope of life had filled him with thoughts of this present guilt, and future judgement before that great God who is a consu­ming fire.

Now therefore, you,And next his owne apprehen­sion upon it. ha­ving the ground of the ap­prehension of his owne mise­rie, shall see how hee opened it, and made it knowne both to me and others. There was too great a fire within to bee smothered: it burned in his owne soule, and lightned from his heart and lippes, into the eares, and hearts, of those friends that were about him.

One while he cries out of his sinnes,Manifested by many fearefull speeches. I have beene a fearefull drunkard, powring in one draught after another, [Page 16] till one draught could not keepe downe another: and now I would be glad if I could take the least of GODS Creatures which I have abused. I have neglected my Patients, who have put their lives into my hands, and how many soules have I thus murthered? I have wil­fully neglected Gods House, service, and worship, and now though I have purposed, God strikes me thus, before the day of my promise comes; because I am unworthy to come among Gods people againe.

Another while hee falls to wishing, O that I might burne along time in that fire, (poin­ting to the fire before him,) so I might not burne in Hell! Oh that GOD would grant me to live but one yeare, or but a moneth, that the world might see with what an heart I have promised to GOD my amendment! Oh that GOD [Page 17] would try me a little! but I am unworthy.

Another while he plyes his companions, praying that all may be warned by him to for­sake their wicked wayes, lest they goe to hell as he must do. He forgat not his servant who was young: He calls him to him, tells him that he had bin a wicked master to him: but be warned by me. You have a friend that hath an Iron fur­nace which burnes hot, a long time: but if you give your selfe to my sinnes, you shall be burned in the furnace of Hell, an hot­ter furnace, millions of milli­ons of ages. Therefore looke to your selfe, and be warned by my (your Masters) exam­ple, who must bee burned in hell for ever.

Lastly, all his cryes against sinne (to his see [...]ing) would not sufficiently set forth his estate, nor all his wishes, [Page 18] nor all his warning of others: but he comes to a plaine judg­ment,And plaine judgments against himselfe. and condemnation, and leaves nothing for after times, but execution. Hence againe and againe hee doubles it; I have had a little pleasure, and now I must goe to the tor­ments of Hell for ever. And having sometimes (being pres­sed by others) prayed to God that hee would forgive his sinnes, and have mercy upon him: hee would adde, but I know GOD will not doe it, I must goe to Hell for evermore Whatsoever came betweene whiles, this was the close, I must bee burned in Hell, I must to the furnace of Hell, millions of millions of ages.

Thus hee fearefully wea­ryed out the most part of Sa­turday, both day and night. Early on the Lords-day (that day appointed) I went to him againe. I found him deepely [Page 19] mudded in horrour and per­plexity. I asked him then whether some great sinne (not yet thought of) did not lye behind, to hinder the beames of Gods sweet grace from shi­ning upon him? And because he was suspected of whore­dome, and using cruell meanes for the covering of it, I layed it befor him, and asked him in the sight of GOD, and his owne Conscience now, whe­ther he were not guilty? He constantly denyed it both to mee, and three godly friends before, severally: and there­fore I heartily believe him to be not guilty: especially hee constantly professing it when his Conscience was most a­ctive and nimble. I then be­gan againe to offer unto him the comforts of the Gospell. I opened to him the promises of the largest size. I shewed him that GOD was delighted [Page 20] to save soules, and not to destroy them: and that his sweet pro­mises were without exception of time, place, person, or sin, except that against the Holy Ghost, which I assured him, was not committed by him.

All this could not fasten (so farre as I saw) I could heare nothing but that it is too late, I must be burned in Hell. Yet then was hee willing that I should pray for him, (and ther­fore hee was not without hope,) and I did. In which hee was carefull to goe along with mee many times with sighs. After this he was some­thing quieter for a time, and I went to my Office in the Church, where I forgat not him, that GOD would respit him the dayes of repentance, that he might performe the dayes of promise.

When Evening Prayer was done, I went to him againe: [Page 21] and when I had secluded the company, I pressed him with teares; not to cast away that soule for which CHRIST dyed: shewing him that CHRIST rejected none that did not reject him. He answered, Hee had cast off CHRIST, and therefore he must go to hell. But yet (said I) pray with me that Christ would come againe: there is yet an houre in the day; and if Christ (God and Man) comes, he can an will assist you to do a great deale of worke on a sudden. He would not heare of that; he turned away, and said, hee was unfit to pray. Hee often complai­ned that former counsels and Prayers might have done him good, but now it was too late; as if that fearefull say­ing had stucke in his soule, Because I have called, Prov. 1.24▪ 25, 26, 27. and yee refused, I have stretched out [Page 22] my hand, and no man regar­ded; but have set at nought all my counsell, and would none of my reproofe, I also will laugh at your calami [...]y, I will mocke when your feare commeth, as desolation and destruction as a whirle winde.

By this time he began to discover some idle distemper in his braine, for want of sleep: for this was now the fourth day and night (as I remember) that hee had taken no rest. And had not his reason beene so vigorous, and his discourse so piercing, I should have thought want of sleepe a great cause of the whole combate. But when I consider his rea­son, discourse, and life, con­trary to knowledge and Con­science: doubtlesse (whatsoe­ver GOD hath done with [...]is soule, (and wee are bound to hope the best) this example is a warning-piece shot out by the [Page 23] GOD of Heaven, to warne all Young-men with us, to signifie that it is high time for them to leave off their riotous courses, lest a worse thing come unto them.

It is not bad enough to have these horrors and perplexities for sinnes and punishments? He was no swearer, no whore­monger, no thiefe, no scoffer at Religion, no perjured wretch, no wilfull lyar, no proud and s [...]rley resister of good counsell and reproofe, like too many other young­men now a dayes: yet when conscience is awaked, and sits as a Iudge on him, Onely for drunkennesse, neglect of mens bodyes, and neglect of Prayer, Word, and Sacrament, he pas­seth this heavie doome upon himselfe, I must bee burned in the furnace of Hell millions of millions of ages; and at the last, in idlenesse of thoughts [Page 24] and talke he ends his miserable life.

This is your example which he intreated me to lay before you, that ye may be warned by it to keepe you from Hell. The living God present it as a powerfull example to your Consciences that it may work that good which this mise­rable young man wished. And that it may the more prevaile, ye shall have a rule now, as well as an example, shewing the misery and horrour of a wicked life from this pro­verbe.

The Text Pro. 4.19. 1. Con­nected v.1. & 10. The way of the wicked is as darkenesse, they know not at what they stumble.

Salomon had pressed in many words, (because all words were not enough) all Young-men, in his sonne, to avoide the needlesse and vaine society of wicked men;Verse 14. Enter not in­to [Page 25] the path of the wicked, and goe not into the way of evill men. Vers. 15. Art thou allured? Avoide it. Is the way delightfull? Passe not by it. Doth thy way lye that way? Turne from it. Art thou call'd in whithersoever thou goest? Passe away.

This exhortation, being thus pressed with words, is further urged by reasons. First, from the persons and states of wick­ed men;Vers. 16. They sleepe not except they have done mischiefe them­selves, or made others to doe it: for how can they, when they eate the iron bread of wickednesse,Vers. 17. and the So­dome Wine of violence? This breeds no sweete flegme to binde up the senses. Second­ly, hee urgeth it from the course of wicked men, which he sets downe comparatively with the godly;Verse 18. The path of the just is as the shi­ning light, that shineth more [Page 26] and more to the perfect day. The descent of grace is from heaven, as the light shineth: the degrees of grace are not all attained unto at the first, but more, and more: but the pro­speritie of grace, where it is nourished by a godly life, is not to goe out to the perfect day. Therefore it is excellent to be in society with the god­ly. But for the course of wick­ed men:Verse 9.

2. Divided.1. It is as darkenesse, there is the danger of it.

2. They know not at what they stumble, there is the signe of it.

In this course of wicked men there are two propositi­ons,3. Expoun­ded. which I shall labour to open, and apply unto you.

Propos. 1.First, That the way of the wicked is darkenesse.

That ye may conceive this, I shall open unto you (thorow GODS helpe) foure points.

  • [Page 27]1. What is the way of the wicked?
  • 2. How is it darknesse?
  • 3. How it comes to be so? and,
  • 4. Why it is darknesse?

1.1. What the way of the wicked is. Psal. 1. ult. The way of the wicked is the whole course of a wick­ed man, to death, and Hell David saith, The way of the wicked shall perish: that is, his thoughts, words, deeds wher­in he pleaseth himselfe, till at last he sees and feeles the emp­ty vanity of them, when the comfort of them leaves him, and he fall into hell.

2.2. How it is darkenesse. Negatio lucis primi­tivae. This way of the wicked is darknesse, by an absence of that first light which GOD gave to sinlesse, and obedient man. Before man had sinned, hee had the light of know­ledge, the light of grace, and the light of comfort. He could fully and fairely see what was fit for a creature, to keepe him [Page 28] in perpetuall communion and fellowship with GOD. He had the beames of GODS grace in him and about him, keeping out the darkenesse of sin. He had sweet comfort in the injoyment of GOD, and himselfe, and in the best pos­session and use of all the Crea­tures. But when hee fell from the Principles of Life, the Lord and his Law, he quickly was overwhelmed with the darkenesse of ignorance, the darkenesse of sin, and the dark­nesse of misery.Luk. 1.19. Our blessed Saviour came to give light to them that sit in darkenesse, and in the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of Peace: the light of know­ledge,Ioh. 9.39. That they that see not; might see: the light of grace, that they that follow him,Ioh. 8.12. might not walke in darke­nesse, but have the light of life ▪ And the light of com­fort, [Page 29] that he might give beau­ty for ashes,Esa. 61 3. the oyle of joy for mourning, and the garment of gladnesse for the spirit of heavinesse. All wicked men that misse this, that are in hun­ting with Esau, while this blessing is given, following the luxurious courses of the world in wickednesse,2 Tim. 1.10. while CHRIST brings life and immortality to light by the Gos­pell, doe fall into darkenesse,Ioh. 3.19. darknesse, darknesse:Eph. 4.19. Because they loved darknesse rather than light: therefore their cogitati­ons are darkened through igno­rance, Rom. 1.31. their foolish hearts are full of darknesse: they looke to the earth, and behold darkenesse and sorrow: Eph. 5.30. they fall to the darkenesse of hor­rour (for there is no peace to the wicked, saith my GOD,Esa. 57.21. Mat. 8.12. Psal. 69.) they goe downe to the place of darkenesse and the hor­rible pit shuts her mouth upon [Page 30] them. O woe unto them, they have rewarded evill unto their soules.

3. But how doth the wick­ed mans way become to bee darknesse? As outward dark­nesse doth grow upon men three wayes, so doth this, First naturally, by some defect in naturall generation. So there being a naturall defect now in mans propagation, through sin he brings forth blind Whelps. Though more or lesse, for na­turall excellency man bee not borne blinde: yet for morrall rectitude to improve his un­derstanding to the best advan­tage for his happines in Gods way,Ephes. 5.8 hee is darkenesse. Se­condly actually, by too much gazing on the excelling sen­sibles of the world, or by too much heate or cold, which checke or chill the spirits. So when wicked men doe too much gaze upon the deceitfull [Page 31] glories and pleasures of the World, when they are cold in Religion or religious du­ties, and doe hotly pursue the pleasing vanities of this life, they become clouded in the thicke smoake of darkenesse. This blinded that rich foole from securing his soule:Luke 12. Luk 19.2. and Zaccheus before his conversion from going the right way to heaven. For they that will bee rich fall into temptations,1 Tim. 6.9. and snares, and into many foolish and hurtfull lusts which drowne men in perdition and destructi­on. Thirdly, penally, when it is inflicted as a punishment: as when Zedechias his eyes were pulled out as a just pu­nishment upon his wicked life; so when GOD sees the courses of men to be foule and detestable, contrary to the light of the word, and checke of Conscience, which he hath given them; then GOD just­ly, [Page 32] shuts their eyes, Eph. 6 10. stoppes their eares, and takes away the key of knowledge:1 Ioh. 2.11. and so they are in darknesse, walke in dark­nesse, and know not whither they goe, because that darknesse hath blinded their eyes.

4. Why the wayes of the wicked are darke­nesse. Venebrae à tenendo.Now if you would know why the wayes of the wic­ked are thus said to be as dark­nesse? The grounds of that speech may be such as these: First, their sights are hindred from seeing the right way to Heaven. They grope at noon day, running headlong in their owne courses all the life long day, and at what time the night of death, or the sun set of sicknesse comes, and they begin to recollect them, say­ing, where am I now? Is this the way to heaven? Then they see what they did not see, and the whirlewind and tempest takes them, and they are carryed whither they [Page 33] would not. Secondly, their 2 footsteps are troubled from going about the workes of GOD.Exod 10. As the Aegyptians choaked▪ in their palpable darknesse, saw not what they did, or what to doe: so when this darknesse is come upon the wicked man,Ioh. 12.35. Hee that walketh in darkenesse knoweth not whither hee goeth. Here he goes and meetes with a blocke, there he turnes and meets with a bush: and after a thousand calls of GOD to doe this, that, and the other duty of Repentance, faith and holinesse,Vivant a­liud agendo, nibil agen­do, aliter [...]gendo. he is so inwrapped in darknesse, that many things are gone about, and few things are done: those few that are done, are not done as they ought. 3.3. [...], à [...]. Nox a no­cendo. They are drawne on to many a fall, even to the ruine of bodies and soules. As men in darknesse (if they will be doing) stumble and fall: [Page 34] so wicked men in this estate stumble into a thousand pit­fals. Here they fall into pride and niggardize, there into pride and luxury, on this hand into covetousnesse, on that hand into prodigality, here lyes the drunkard, there the lyar; here lyes the worldly old man, there the regardlesse young man. Lord, how doe they fall in darknesse, till they are turned backe into perpetuall rebellions, Ier. 8.4, 5. till they fall and rise no more? Fourthly, they are smitten with feares & terrours when they will give leisure to Conscience to worke. They are taken with feare where no feare is. Psalm. 14. As men in a darke night being a waked by feare­full melancholy, sight of sin, or lash of Conscience, doe thinke every bush a Thiefe, every gale of winde, the mo­ving of Satan, or the wag­ging of every leafe a sum­mons [Page 35] to the Devils approach: so is it with wicked men in this darknesse. Fifthly, their shame is taken from them. They are foole-hardy and con­fident in the darke, because no eye sees them. It is said of the Asse, that being pursued by the Wolfe, he puts his head in­to a bush, that he may not see the Wolfe; as if, because he sees not the Wolfe, the Wolfe therefore sees not him▪ So is it with wicked men; they put their heads into a darke corner of sin and ignorance, and then, as if he that pierced through the darke cloud could not see, they goe on without feare, wit, or shame.Lamen. 1. Esa. 3.9. They lay their iniquities on their skirts, and declare their sinnes as Sodome, they hide them not: as if they hurted not them, nor would bring shame at the lat­ter end,Appli.

Thus have I plained the way [Page 36] in opening this part of the Proverbe:1 Ioh. 2.13. and now I write unto you young men, that you may overcome that evill one. Suffer therefore first a word of conviction, and next a word of exhortation.

1. Hence wicked men are convinced of their miserable estate.Ye may be convinced hence of two things:

1. First, concerning a wick­ed mans estate, that he is in a miserable case, whatsoever he thinkes of himselfe. If thou wert shut up in a dark prison, where thou couldst not have any fellowship with light, wouldst thou not thinke thy selfe in a wofull plight? Much more art thou thus, if thou be in the darknesse of ignorance, sin and misery.

Ob. Though they see it not. Sol. You will say, I see no such matter. If I am in misery, I see it not. It may be so, and yet your misery is not the lesse. As Christ said, because yee say yee see, Ioh. 5 41. therefore your sinne re­maineth: [Page 37] so say I, because you say you see not, therefore your danger is the greater. If in a desperate disease a man say he is well, its a certain signe death is comming on a pace: so is it a signe that misery lies at the doore (though you have shut it out a while) because ye say ye see it not.

Put case it be so (say you) yet you feele no hurt by it for the present.Ob. And though they feele it not. Ye goe on in sinne, and thrive, and are mer­ry, and what evill can come? Take heed; while a man is lusty and strong,Sol. a man can endure hot and cold, night and day, and never shrinke; but when hee is downe, by age, sicknesse, surfeit, or the like, then every blast pierceth through: so while you are in health and prosperity, you are like a Church Wardens Bill, which answereth all is well, when too many things are [Page 38] amisse: but when sicknesse, and death comes, downe you sink with shame and horrour, like the fishes of Jordan which fall into the dead-Sea, and are no more alive.

Object.Yea, but you are not in this darke state; you heare the Word and understand it, and have a power to understand more: therefore certainly you shall not be darknesse for ever;Potentia est dispositio rei ad actū. for a power doth dispose you to the act and exercise which shall follow. Be not deceived. For though it be true of a naturall power, Potentia naturalis, vi principii interni. which comes into act by the power of some inward principle, that if you have such a power, it shall bee brought into act, more or lesse, accor­ding to the power, as when Grapes have a power to drop Wine, and Apples Cydar; and so, if as men, you have a pow­er to reason, it is more or lesse shewed by discourse, either by [Page 39] inward conceptions, or out­ward expressions:2. Potentia obedientia­lis, vi prin­cipij exter­ni. yet is it not true of an obedientiall power, which is drawne out by a power from without; as when the waters of Aegypt are turned into bloud, and the water at the marriage of Cana was turned into wine:Ioh. 2. and so, though you have a naturall power to know (according to your measure) and so to be ac­quit of humane darknesse, yet amidst your hearing and un­derstanding;Act. 26.18. you must be tur­ned from darknesse to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that you may receive forgive­nesse of sinnes, and inheritance amongst them that are sanctified by faith in CHRIST. If therefore you would be freed from this darknesse, you must depend upon God (whom you cannot command at pleasure) to give the increase, and to ac­quit you from this misery.

[Page 40] 2. Therefore thinke it not strange to see the wicked doe, shamefull things.Secondly, ye may be con­vinced hence, not to thinke it strange to see poore sinners to doe that, of which they are afterwards ashamed. The adul­terer watcheth for his twi­light: the drunkard seeketh his cl [...]s scorners to couzen his soule and pursue in: the lyar desireth his say-nothing: and all luxuriants hunt out their coverts and thickets: and when they are rowzed by the Iustice of GOD and man, they cannot indure the light, having such evill deeds; for they are ashamed and con­founded.Ob. Though they doe think their darkenesse not the cause of their shame because they know much. Doe not wonder at all this, and much more in this kinde; because what they wrought, was done in dark­nesse, and now it is brought to light.

But why should I thinke darkenesse to bee the cause of their shame, seeing many of them have a great deale of [Page 41] knowledge? It is true in truth,Sol. ungodly men may gaine a great measure of knowing knowledge:Surgunt indocti, & rapiunt coelum, & nos doctores trucimur in innum. Iudas preached for Christ, and Julian writ for him yea, unlearned men, whose cure is to feel divinity beating in the pulse of their hearts and lives, above the flowing of it in their braines, may take Hea­ven by violence, while the more learned (carefull to know and carelesse to doe) may bee thrust into Hell. But let them gaine what knowledge they can the understanding singly taken is not that which God most delighteth in, to keepe them from shame by it,Esay 66.2. but hee dwels in a contrite and broken heart, to keepe them from the power of sin,2. Therefore be exhor­ted to a­voide the wayes of wicked men. & horor of shame

Secondly, be now exhorted to avoyd the waies of wicked men, which will bring you to such sinnes as darkenesse breeds, and darkenesse feeds. [Page 42] Ye shall one day find that this darknesse breeds carlesnesse, sinful delight, feare, and doubt­ing. 1 In darknesse men are carelesse of their goings and doings: So, while yee are in the wicked way, ye are care­lesse of your duties to GOD and man: and yee regard not though ye walk naked (with­out the garments of faith in Christ,Apoc. 16.15 and the obedience of faith and your shame lyes open. In darknesse sinfull delights are most welcome: when drunkards were more modest, and ashamed of the noon-day, the Apostle saith,1 Thes. 5. they that are drunke are drunke in the night: And Job saith, that the Adul­terer hunteth for the twi­light, and flattereth himselfe, that GOD cannot pierce tho­row the darke cloud. So, while yee are in this blacke way, yee freely drinke of this Cup of the pleasures of [Page 43] sinne, even to the dreggs. In darknesse, they especially that are apprehensive are full of feates, whether they shall re­ceive hurt, full of doubting whether they are, and doe, right or wrong. So while ye are in this pitchy way, in the midst of laughter your heart is heavie: yee some-times feare the hurt yee may suffer, what if I bee sicke? what if I die? what if divine Iustice seaze upon mee? what shall become of me then? Ye some­times doubt whether that bee the way to Heaven or Hell, wherein yee walke. If it bee the way to Heaven, which of the Saints of GOD have gone before mee in it thither? If the way to Hell, why doe I walke in it still? Besides, yee shall one day finde that this darknesse feeds and nourisheth sin. For as men in darknesse, being set upon a course, will [Page 44] be resolute to doe it still: So while ye are in this way, ye will be fatted in obstinacy a­gainst God, and in resolution to doe what ye list. This Christ lamented in Ierusalem, Luk 19.41, 42. Oh if thou hadst knowne in this thy day the things that be­long to thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. This also may you lament in your selves (if you could) with teares of bloud.

Ob. Sol. To your hurt, though you thinke it will doe you little or no hurt.Perhaps you may think that all this will do you little hurt. But GOD open your eyes in time that you may see to your amendment, that it will bring you to the darkenesse of Hell, where ye shall finde horror without the least comfort, and torment without the least ease. None of the plagues of Aegypt were so afflictive to Pharaoh, as darkenesse was. This extorted from him this speech, which was not heard [Page 45] before, Goe you and your chil­dren, and serve the LORD. Exo. 10.24. How much more will ye be pressed with the darknesse of Hell, which is the proper place of torment! This makes these poore darke creatures, before they come there, to cry out, I shall bee burned in Hell for ever and ever, what shall I doe, what shall I doe?

If therfore there be any feare of God before your eyes, if any bowels of compassion to your miserable body, and soules, a­void these hellish wayes of wicked men while ye are yong Suppose that Iesus Christ, and Satan stood before GOD to plead for you. Christ could say, Behold blessed Father, I have taken their nature upon mee, I have done, and dyed for them, I have presented thee with a full satisfaction, and have offered to them this great [Page 46] grace to heare my Gospell, and beleeve it: yea, I have beene assistant to the ministery of the Church to convince them of their wicked courses, to move them to come to me, to assure them, that I and mine are all theirs, if they repent and believe the Gospell, yet have they not honored me by faith and love. But Sathan plead [...], Behold thou great God of Heaven and Earth, I never tooke their nature upon mee, yet they love me and my cour­ses better than themselves. I never did any thing for their good, but for their snare and ruine, yet they cleave to mee and my works of darknesse, my pleasures deceitfull plea­sures of sin for a season, more than to thee and thy Word. I never died for them, yet they live and die in my cause and quarrell: drinking, dicing, drabbing, night and day: re­velling [Page 47] with thy good crea­tures, reviling of thy vertuous servants, and resolving still to doe as they have done. I never offered them grace, but sinne, and they have resisted & spur­ned at that, and accepted this with greedinesse. All this and more, may truely bee said by that Lion of the Tribe of Iu­dah, and that roaring Lion that seeketh whom hee may de­voure. Set your selves to pre­sent such a plea to your soules, and thinke whether the devill hath not powerfull reasons to move that GOD, who is a consuming fire, to deliver you up to his hands, so long as you are in darkenesse. What an hell will this be to you before you come to hell, if you re­pent not? What an hell will it be to you to saile by, before you come to hell, if ye repent not, and forsake not your sins? Will yee not thinke of to day, [Page 48] while it is called to day? Will ye still goe on in the wayes of sinne, though ye cannot pros­per? GOD forbid, the safe­ty of your soules forbids it; your Covenant in Baptisme forbids it, and all the mercies wherewith the Lord hath re­newed you from your youth up hitherto.

Ye may thinke your selves safe enough, and that all your darke and riotous courses shall end in a sun-shine of glory and happinesse: but (alas) in your way there lye many things at which ye may stumble, and so tumble into the pit of hell un­awares, which is the next con­siderable proportion in this Proverbe, to wit,

Propos. That wicked men know not at what they stumble.

Do ye desire to gaine to your soules from this?

Then weigh with me these three particulars:

[Page 49]1 What it is to stumble?

2 Whereat they stumble? and,

3 That they stumble, be­cause they know not at what. To stumble is to take an argu­ment of offence at something,1. What it is to stumble. to make them fall still into the wayes of wickednesse. As when the Iewes took these ar­guments against Christ to con­clude against faith in him,Mat. 11.19. He is a man gluttonous, Ioh. 8.48. a wine bib­ber, a friend of Publicans and sinners: Wee say well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a Di­vell. Acts 6.11.13. And when the Iewes took these arguments against Ste­phen, We have heard him speake blasphemous words against Mo­ses, against God, against this ho­ly place, and the Law. And when the Corinthians rai­sed this foundation against Saint Paul, Acts 18.13. This fellow per­swadeth men to worship GOD contrary to the Law: and [Page 50] Tertullus in a slanting speech before Foelix, Acts 24.5. wee have found this man a very pestilence, a mo­ver of sedition among all the Iewes in all the World. These are arguments of offence, to make them that doe receive them still to fall into sin, new sins, old sins, all sins.

2 But whereat ordinarily doe wicked men stumble? Ordi­narily at sixe sorts of things, when they would flatter themselves in their wayes of darkenesse. Either, Ignorance; or, presumption; or, despaire; or, the World; or, scandall; or, the peaceable end of sinners, and the contrary of those that have lived more strictly.

1 They stumble at ignorance on both hands. Sometimes they stumble at the ignorance of sin, and so they fall to sin, and care not, feare not, When Iosiah knew not sin, his sweet nature stumbled with the [Page 51] times: but when he heard the Law of God read, he rent his clothes, and melted to the very heart. When Saul lived a Pharisee, the death of Stephen was nothing, it could be swal­lowed up upon a full stomack: but when the Law came and shewed him what sinne was,Rom. 7. when hee saw sinne revive, to pricks, wound, and kill, then he mourned under his captivi­ty. Sometimes they stumble at the ignorance of Repen­tance:Iohn 3. They are like Nico­demus, who cannot heare of a new life, but hee dreames of entring his mothers wombe a­gaine: and like Peters hearers, who when they sinned knew not what they did; and when they were pricked at the heart for sin, knew not what to doe,Acts 2. Men and brethren, what shall we doe to be saved?

They stumble at presump­tion,2 that God will any time [Page 52] accept of them upon any termes. Therfore, at what time soever, saith one: GOD desi­reth not the death of a sinner, saith another: Christ saith, Come unto me, saith a third: God will that all men should bee saved, saith a fourth. Every presumptuous wretch layeth some sure foundation (which might be sound and sweet to a true penitent) which yet will not serve his turne when he is to try the strength of it, no more than Sampsons ▪ greene Cords could binde him, or a rope of sand can pull down an impregnable Castle.

3. At despaire of their owne strength.They stumble at despaire, and at that on both sides too. Sometimes they despaire of their owne strength. Alas, all the waies of vertue, grace, and glory are too hard for me. I must lie downe in shame, confusion, sinne, and sorrow, but not move a foot to Hea­ven. [Page 53] When Christ preached that no man could come to him, Ioh. 6.65, 66, 67. except it were given him of his Father; many of his Disciples went backe, and wal­ked no more with him: in so much as CHRIST com­plained to the twelve, Will yee also forsake mee? If Christ bee such a manner of person, that accesse to him is so hard, so much above our power, that we must be beholding to a Fa­ther whom wee are not ac­quainted with, then farewell Christ, welcome world who are more familiar.2. Of Gods strength. Some­times againe they despaire of GODS strength and mercy for them. Christ cannot save them, GOD will not save them. Let strength and mercy bee what it will on high, it is too high for them. What is that to me? I am the worst of unworthy sinners. This cast out Cain, hanged Judas, damned [Page 54] both, and any other that de­light in such a downefall.

4. At the world.They stumble at the world of honour, pleasure, profit. The stony hearers stumbled at the care-cloth, the thornes of cares for worldly pelfe.Matth. [...]3. The unworthy Guests stumbled at the new bought purchases of Farmes, and Oxen; and so much as at the new married Wife,Matth 22. I cannot come. The rich worldling at the new Barnes, and store for many dayes. His soule did so al­wayes live in them, that hee thought hee should alwayes live with them. Thus they stumbled and fell. The huge blocke of the World was too great for them to leape over into heaven, and therefore downe they fall, and breake their neckes into the wayes of sinne.

5. A [...] scandallThey stumble at scandall, and at that they trip dangerously [Page 55] on both hands.Being loath to offend their wick­ed compa­nions. Sometimes they are loth to offend their wicked companions; what? shall I forsake them, scanda­lize them, goe without them, (though) in a better way, make them that are my friends my foes, to neglect and scoffe at mee? This made Nicode­mus come to Christ by night.Ioh 3.1. This made many of the chiefe Rulers believe in him, but they confessed him not, Ioh. 12.42, 43. lest they should bee put out of the Syna­gogue: for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. And being offended at the lives of professors. Sometimes againe they take offence at the lives of those that seeme to bee more godly than themselves, and are so (at least) by profession. In­deed, these should bee very carefull to adorne the doctrine of our Lord Jesus Christ: Tit. [...]. and therefore many excellent ex­hortations are spent upon them, in the most sure Word [Page 56] of GOD. Sometimes they are called upon to behave themselves wisely to them that are without: Sometimes to walke honestly towards them that are without: 1 Thes. 4.12. 1 Cor. 10.32. sometimes, to give no offence neither to Jew, C [...]ia [...], nor Church of GOD: yet are they not so carefull in the workes of ho­linesse righteousnesse, and so­briety, as they ought. This is soone espied by wicked men, and so made an argument to stumble at.

which they easily espy though they are in darknesse.You will say, They are in darknesse, how then can they spie such a hole in the coat of him that is better than them­selves? Ile tell you: when men see a thing that may fur­ther them in the way to Hea­ven, they do receive it inward by the meanes of the spirit, and the sweet beames of grace which shine about them;Iames 1. For every good giving comes from [Page 57] the Father of lights: From a light not from without but from with­in. but when they see any thing that helpes them onward to Hell, they have a power of seeing from within. As a Cat sees in a darke night by fyring the aire to her selfe, and for her owne uses: so wicked men being set on fire of Hell,Iames 3. can in their darkest state easily kindle a light for their owne uses to find fodder for their soules in their way to Hell-ward.

They stumble, Lastly,6. At the peaceable end of sinners. Psal. 73. at the peaceable end of sinners. Tru­ly, they dyed like Lambes, There are no hands in their death: just like the good thiefe upon the Crosse, which with quiet and sweet reaches after grace and glory, brea­thed out his soule to GOD; notwithstanding all the wickednesse of his fore-past life:And the troubled deaths of the Godly. whereas many of those who have lived bet­ter, have died with little rest, [Page 58] and no comfort. Hence they stumble thicke and threefold, and make no question to dy no worse than they, though they doe as bad.

3. They stum­ble because they know not at whatThus they stumble and stumble; and the cause or the signe of all, is this in the Pro­verbe, They know not at what they stumble. 1. They know not who they are that sinne. As for sinne, they do not know who they them­selves are that sin. They are the creatures of GOD who hath blessed them a thousand wayes, and therefore they should live to the honour of him, and not as if the De­vill had made them.2. Whom they sinne [...]gainst. They doe not know whom they sin against. It is against an infi­nite GOD, who is an infinite good, and therefore the least guilt will not so easily bee ta­ken off as they dreame. Can much Niter and much Sope doe it?Micah 6. Can thousands of Rammes, and ten thousand Ri­vers [Page 59] of Oyle? Sinne against a private man, and it is a tres­passe or battery; sin against a King, it is sedition or treason; but sinne against God, and no name can expresse it,1 Ioh. 1. Rom. 3. 2 Cor. 5. nothing can cleanse it but the bloud of the Lambe, which brings to us the righteousnesse of GOD, which is of infinite worth.3. What sinne will worke. They doe not know what sin will worke. It is the wilde Bore of the Wood that laies waste the Vine of our soules: it woundeth the Conscience, defaceth the Image of GOD, and writes upon us Satans Image and superscription: it brings feare, pit, and snare up­on the inhabitants of the earth and at the last the vengeance of eternall fire. All this and much more, about sin, these poore wretches doe not know, and hence they stumble upon sinne,2. They know not and ruine.

As for Repentance they [Page 60] know neither the necessity, worke,1. The neces­sity of re­pentance. Luk. 13. or worth of it. Doe they present this to their soules, that except they repent, they shall perish? Yes that they doe, and therefore they will repent hereafter. Yea, but are they not deceived in the worke of it?2. Nor the work of it. Doe they not thinke it to bee the worke of an houre, when the whole life of a man were but enough for us to walke in that way? Doe they not thinke it to bee nothing but a conviction for sinne, a sorrow for sinne, and a crying God mercy? Doe they know that it implyes sorrow for sinne seene, purpose to forsake sin sorrowed for, and to returne unto God? Or know they that it is accompanied (if it be sa­ving) with an holy course in godlinesse and righteousnesse? No such matter.3. Nor the worth of it. It is so slen­derly looked after: and so poorely prized by them, that [Page 61] they take it up as old shooes, when they have none else to weare: when they have not a day to live, and an houre to spend in sinne, then they will repent, what ever come of it. Thus these miserable wretches, when they have built a Castle of their owne Repentance, not Gods, do stumble at they know not what.

Now,3. They know not the power of GODS wrath. Psal. 91. for presumption (woe is them) whatsoever they dreame of Mountaines of mer­cy, They know not the power of GODS wrath. They thinke him to bee made up of no­thing but mercy, and that hee should doe them wrong, if they should not have it. They see the light of his coun­tenance so long in their health and prosperity, that they pre­sume hee cannot bend his browes,In the workes of this justice. and turne his backe in after daies. Doe they remem­ber that after God had made the [Page 62] world, his first act was an act of justice upon lapsed Angels, who, though they were in Heaven, were cast downe into Hell, 2 Pet. 2.4. and delivered into the chaines of darknesse, to bee reserved unto judgement? Have they forgotten that his next worke was a worke of justice upon Adam in Para­dise; and the third that wee reade, of a worke of justice upon Cain for committing murther but once?Genesis 4. Have they not read that GOD drowned the first world,Gen. 6.5. Gen, 8.21. first for ima­ginations? Or that he burned with fire and brimstone So­dome and her wicked sisters,Gen. 19▪ Ezek. 16. for pride, fulnesse of bread, abundance of idlenesse, which hatched plenty of lust? Is the justice of GOD upon the world cleane gone out of minde, when his Church was in a Corner, and but a little flocke? Or will they not see [Page 63] the justice of God upon Christ, Hebr. 9 Rom. 8 3. 2 Cor. 5.21 Our surety, in the similitude of sinfull flesh; that hee did not escape it, being made sin for us (that is, by being a sacrifice for sin) that wee might be the righ­teousnesse of GOD in him? They have forgotten all prints of Iustice, that they may put farre from them the evill day, and sinne without feare. But that God that is a God of mer­cy, for the vessels of mercy, Rom. 11. is for those who by wilfull sins make themselves the vessels of wrath, a consuming fire: yea, and when his hand takes hold of judgement,Deut. 22.41, 42. 2 Pet. 3. hee will make his sword drunke with bloud. Then shall they know what now they willingly know not, that hee that blesseth himselfe in his heart, saying, Deut. 29.19, 20. I shall have peace though I walke in the ima­gination of my heart, to adde drunkennesse to thirst, the Lord will not bee mercifull unto him.

[Page 64] 4. They know not what they can do in good because they try not.Doe they stumble at despaire of their owne strength: It is at they know not what still. For doe they not shew great strength in sinne? Why then will they not try what they can doe in vertue? Hath not CHRIST promised his as­sistance in the Word of GOD,Esa. 59.29. 1 Cor. 11.24, 25. Tit. 3.5. Eph. 6. Phil. 4.13. 5. They know not what is the power of Gods m [...]y. Si peccan­tibus, multo magis poeni­ [...]atibus. Esa. 66. and Sacraments? Why will they neglect CHRISTS hand, which is put under to helpe? Why will they not be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might, that they may be able to doe all things through him that helpeth them?

Will they more impotently stumble at the despaire of Gods mercy? Surely they stumble at they know not what. For God is good unto wicked men, much more to those that truely repent. Doth not his Sun and raine blesse obdurate sinners? much more hath hee the bles­sing of peace for those that [Page 65] tremble at his Word, Matth. 11. and are weary and heavie laden with their sinnes.To em­brace pe­nitents. Esay 1. For will they forget how willingly GOD reasoneth with the rebellious Iewes, and promiseth that up­on Repentance he will make their twice dipt scarlet sinnes as white as wooll? Mic. 7.18. Esa. 7.20. Or doe they not regard that GOD tels them that mercy pleaseth him. If hee come in a work of ju­stice, hee shaves with a Raser that is hired (as if hee had no instrument of his owne to exe­cute wrath:Esa. 28.21. Opus justi­tiae est opus alienum.) but if he comes in a worke of mercy, it is his own work, his proper worke. But they forget this, as if Christs bloud did not triumph over all the sins of penitents,Acts [...]. even to the bathing of them that turne to him, who shed it by murther: this they forget, and so doe stumble at headlong despaire.

Doe they stumble at the [Page 66] world?They know not how weake all the world is if it were on their side. 1 Cor. 7. Alas, they know not at what. What is all the world if wee could graspe it into an handfull? It flattereth while it smileth, and the glory of it passeth away. Have wee the confluence of all worlds goods? They cannot keepe off a thousand miseries; Gowts, Consumption, Fevers, Stone, Strangury, death are the porti­ons of this worlds wantons. And when that goes from us, or we from that, it gives a bit­ter farewell to the lovers of it.Eccl. 11. Though a man live many dayes, [...]t let him remember the dayes of darknesse, which will come first or last, and then fare­well profit, farewell pleasure, farewell honour: the white sticke must be broken, worldly comforts must vanish, and if yee have not built your nest in the Rocke Christ,Esa. 41.16. the wind will take you, the world will spew you out, and whither then?

[Page 67]Doe they stumble at the of­fence of their companions?7. They know not how little their compani­ons can do for them. It is at they know not what stil. Call for them all, whom you are loth now to offend in plea­sing GOD, and what can they doe? As the Winter brookes they passe away, faith Iob. Are they touched for sinne? They will bee glad to bee rid of them:Psalm. 119. away from mee yee wicked, I will keep the Commandements of my GOD. Doth the wrath of GOD come? They can say, alas my brother, alas his glory;Iames 1. but as the wrath of man cannot ac­complish the righteousnesse of GOD;Psalm 6. so nor the power of man can stand (with com­fort) against the wrath of GOD. Doth poverty come as an armed man? Prov. 6. A worldly friend will help once, a god­lie friend will helpe twice, but daily to hang upon the pockets, and purse-strings [Page 68] of others, is like a curst wife, a continuall dropping; away with such a like fellow from off the earth, the land is not able to beare such a loathsome guest. Doth death come with this Iron Law, You must goe and make your bed in darkenesse, where they must say to cor­ruption, thou art my mother; to the Worme thou art my brother and sister? Where are their companions now? One stands by and weepes, but cannot helpe: another would come, but feares the flashes of reproofe for god­lesse courses: but let them all come, can they deliver their bodies from the grave, and their soules from the hand of Hell? Psal. 49. The Redemption of a soule cost more than so: they must let that alone for ever. What matters it then to offend such, so they may please God?

[Page 69]Doe they now stumble at the lapses and falls of those that seeme better than them­selves?8. They know not that the falls of Christians is, because they are not Chri­stians enough. Is it not still at they know not what? If a Chri­stian sinne, it is not because hee is a Christian, but be­cause hee is a Christian no more: it is not the profession, but the person that is in all the fault. Hee that is a good Chri­stian, should answer like that blessed Martyr, who when hee was asked what was his name? hee answered. Chri­stian: what was his Coun­trey, answered, Christian: what were his hopes, thoughts words, and deeds? Hee an­swered Christian. He was a Christian all over: and if it bee otherwise, Christianity must not bee blamed, but sinne in him, and Sathan out of him, that put on that faire hood to cover their deformitie. Besides, sinne [Page 70] shall condemn them, not justi­fie the wicked stumbler. They shall goe to hell for that with­out Repentance: the wicked shall not goe to Heaven for being wors [...], because they are bad.

9. They know not that sinners end is not al­wayes peaceable.And what doe they stumble at now? Is it at the peaceable end of sinners? It is still at they know not what. For it is not ever true that wicked men finde such a calme when death approacheth: somtimes Hell fire flasheth upon them then:And when it is. sometimes they misera­bly cry out, I am damned, I am damned, Durities hominis pec­catum ob duratio judicii Dei. it yeilds no comfort. I must to Hell: and when it is true, GOD, Satan, and themselves, have an hand in it, God justly seales them up to hardnesse of heart, and then like the Leviathan, they laugh at the Speare. Satan covers their sins, and lockes in their thoughts to dreame of golden Mountaines. Hee labours to [Page 71] make their life and death to be an heaven here, that hee may the more cunningly bring them to hell hereafter.Consuetudo peccandi tollit sen­sum peccati 1 Sam. 25. Them­selves have accustomed them­selves to sinne, and custome in sinne takes away the sense of sinning, and so like Nabal, their heart dies like a stone. And put case that Gods good peo­ple be disquieted when death appeareth; They draw neere to GOD,And yet the unquiet end of the godly may. Esay 6. and see themselves abominable as Esau. They have a circumcised heart, and so are tender at the least touch: which Satan perceiving, hee drives home with all his rage, and skill, to slander his godly course, because his time is but short.

Thus now ye have the whole Proverbe, which sets forth a rule to your miserable exam­ple to shew the miserable e­state of those that are, and walk, and stand, and sit, in the [Page 72] darke wayes of sin and wick­ednesse.

Appli. Therefore let this proverbe sinke into your harts.What shall I say to you Young men? O that I could speake to your hearts so pow­erfully, that yee may be row­zed from lying under the do­minion of sinne any longer! Oh that my Doctrine might drop as the raine, Deut. 32.2. and my speech might distill as the dew, as the small raine upon the tender herbe, and as the showers upon the grasse! Yee have heard the woe, woe, woe, to wicked men. Some­times this keepes them off from vertue and grace, and sometimes that. Here they stumble, and there they stum­ble, before, behind, on this side, and on that, and at last tumble into despaire, and Hell for ever­more.Many have thus stum­bled. Francis Spyra stumbled thus, when hee cried out, I would faine be in Hell, to try the worst that God can doe. And that outlandish wretch thus, [Page 73] who would have given all to his soul, not to forsake him: but when nothing would serve the turne, but he must die, he commended his soule to the devill to be carried into everla­sting torments. And that Eng­lish wretch thus, I give my goods to the King whom I have cozened, my body to the earth, and my soule to the De­vill. And that other wretch (not worthy of a name) thus, My soule I bequeath to the de­vill who ownes it; my Wife to the Devill who drew mee to my ungodly life; and my Chaplaine to the Devill who flattered mee in it.But do not you young men stum­ble thus. But (deare young men) doe not yee so Lay hold of eternall life; and pull your selves (by the migh­ty power of GOD) into that way. Vse no arguments to pull your selves into, or keepe your selves in the way of sinne. Quit your selves like men, [Page 74] and the God of Heaven stand by you for your helpe and suc­cour. Now is the accepted time, now is the houre of sal­vation.2 Cor. 6. God hath shot a war­ning peece from Heaven, stand not out; but vaile to him, be­fore he shoot the vollies of his vengeance against you irreco­verably.

Consider your mo­tives to look about you. Your age is most un­setled.Yee have many motives to make you look about you now for grace and glory. First, your age is a most unsettled age, pe­stered with many lusts of youth, which drop by drop may fall upon you, till you are suddenly over head and eares That which hath been former­ly fained of Hercules, that he stood in two wayes, ready to take either, is true of you. For as a strait tree which is loose at the root standeth trembling, and being unsetled, with a lit­tle strength is pulled this way, or that way: so is it with you [Page 75] who are ready to bee swayed with winde and tyde every way.

Secondly,2. You will easily sa­vour ever of your first liquor. you will easily sa­vour ever of that first liquor which is put into you. Re­ceive the distilled dewes of grace from the Spirit of God, and what a sweet savour shall yee be in the nostrils of God, and man? Receive the blou­dy showers of devillish and worldly temptations, and how will ye stinke like Sodome and her Sisters? If a man, by his owne, and others disorders, have his body made crooked when young, he will be croo­ked in bud, blossome, leafe, fruit, and age; but if hee bee strait th [...] (hee by the grace of GOD) continues strait still. So will it bee with you:Eccl. 1.15. that which is croo­ked cannot be made straite, and that which is wanting cannot bee numbred.

[Page 76] 3. Yee are now sub­ject to the horriblest sinnes,Thirdly, ye are now subject to the horriblest sins. That na­tural corruption which is roo­ted in all mankinde, hath in your age more instruments to bring it to outward appea­rance, as flour [...]shing wit to in­vent, and dexterity in other members to put in execution. As therefore, they that are sick of burning feavers have need of cooling things, and sto­mackefull Colts have need of stronger bits: so the fury of your age must bee held in, as with a bit and bridle, lest it run upon you, and lay your honour in the dust.

4. Your sins will cry loudest. Psal. 25.7.Fourthly, your sinnes being committed will cry loudest. These made David cry out, re­member not the sins of my youth, when my service would have beene most acceptable. These made Iob complaine,Iob 13.26. Thou wri­test bitter things against mee, and makest mee possesse the ini­quities [Page 79] of my youth. These made Paul ply Timothy, 2 Tim. 2.22. to flee the lusts of youth. And these will make you pittifully cry out too late, We have wearied our selves in the wayes of wic­kednesse, when our paths were spred with butter. When we were strong, lusty, and able to doe God service, wee served the Devill:Iob 21.17. Iob 20.11. and now when God distributeth sorrowes in his anger, our bones are full of the sinnes of our youth, which shall lye downe with us in the dust.

5. Lastly, you think that you have a priviledge by your age:5. Your age hath no priviledge to sinne. youth must have its course, they must sowe their wilde Oats. But the counsell of the Spirit is otherwise,Eccl. 11.6. In the mor­ning sow thy seede, and in the evening with-hold not thy hand, for thou knowest not whether shall prosper. Therefore Salo­mon thinkes such more worthy to be laught at, then to bee an­red, [Page 80] Rejoyce O young man in thy youth, Eccl. 11.5. and let thy heart cheere thee in the dayes of thy youth, and walke in the wayes of thy heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou that for all these things GOD will bring thee to judgement. And David doth tie up your unta­med age to the hornes of the Altar, saying, that even you must clense your wayes, Psal. 119.5. by tak­ing heed thereto according to his word.

If therefore there bee any feare of GOD before your eyes,Therefore stumble not at any of these blockes. if yee have any bowels of compassion to your poore soules, walke not in the darke waies of the wicked. Open your eyes to see all the stumb­ling blocks of wicked men, and stumble not into their paths. O thinke what may come here­after;Think how soone yee may dye. Iob 21.23.24, 25. how soone you may die, goe hence, and bee no more seene. One dies in full strength, [Page 81] being wholly at ease and quiet. His brests are full of milke, and his bones are full of marrow: and another dies in the bitter­nesse of his soule, and never eateth with pleasure: And then what dan­ger will follow. and then without the grace of Repen­tance, the mercy of pardon, I must to Hell, to millions of millions of torments. Fare­well companions, farewell time, farewell pleasure;With fear­full com­plaints in vaine. Mic. 6.7. fare­well friends, farewell all your perswasions, &c. and shall I say welcome Hell? O no: I would give thousands of Rams, and tenne thousand Rivers of Oyle; yea, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soule: Luk. 13.7. Mat. 7.25. and 25, 12. but the just Iudge will not accept it, cut it downe, why cumbreth it the ground: depart from me, I know thee not.

Thus you have had your ex­ample and your rule, both shewing the misery of a wick­ed life: you have had my [Page 82] charge and discharge. Shall it fall like raine upon the barren Rockes and Mountaines with­out fruit? Shall it not move one soule to goe from the dens of sinne to GOD? If not, as noble Terentius, when hee had petitioned for the Christians, and saw it torne in peeces be­fore his face, gathered up the peeces, and said, I have my re­ward: I have not sued for gold, silver, honour, or plea­sure, but a Church. So say I, in the middest of your neglect, I have not sued for your gold or silver, for your houses and lands, for your drinkes, dice, or drabs, but for your soules, your precious soules. If I can­not or shall not wooe them to come to Christ, God raise up some child of the Bride-cham­ber which may doe it better. If neither I nor others can pre­vaile, feare that speech of Elies sons,I Sam. 2.25. they hearkened not unto the [Page 83] voice of their father, because the LORD would slay them. Ier. 9.1. In such a case, Oh that my head were full of water, and mine eyes a fountaine of teares, that I may weep day and night for the miserable young men of my people. But GOD grant I may have no such cause: God grant you may not bee in such a state: God grant you may bee now wise to salvation. For it is your salvation God would have, it is your salvation I would have: and woe unto you if you bee enemies to de­sires so good, and no lesse use­full than for your salvation, your salvation for ever and ever.

GOD guide your hearts to the love of God, and to the waiting for of Christ.

FINIS.
A POST-SCRIPT TO THE …

A POST-SCRIPT TO THE READER of this Warning-peece, of the use of ex­amples.

LONDON, Printed by T. B. 1639.

A Post-script to the Reader of this War­ning peece, of the use of Examples.

GOod Reader stay a while: thou hast not yet done. I have for thy good, set be­fore thee an old Rule, and new examples: and of the abuse of examples I am not ignorant. Some looke upon them so as to imitate them, be they never so bad. As Augustus a learned Prince, filled his Empire with Schollers: so Tiberius, a dis­sembling Prince, with dissem­blers: Iulian, an Apostate Prince, with Apostates: and Jeroboham a Calvish Prince, [Page 88] with Idolaters. Others looke upon them so, as to hate the persons as well as the sins. Eve­ry fearefull accident, either in the life or death of men, speakes to them the language of dam­nation.

Howsoever they be abused, I am sure it is most fit, yea excel­lent, to have the white booke of Gods mercies, and the blacke Booke of judgements, alwayes before our eyes. The abuse doth not take away the use no more than the Spartans shew­ed themselves wise in rooting out their Vines, because their people abused their Wine to drunkennesse.

I am sure wee have the ex­ample of GOD Himselfe, who would not silence the patternes both of sinne, and judgement, of those hee dearely loved. And if we be versed in his Booke, wee may observe, that he hath beene pleased to make many uses of [Page 89] such examples. Sometimes by them hee doth threaten,Vses of examples. 1. To threaten▪ Deut. 24 9. Iosh. 22.20. 1 Sam. 6.6. Re­member what the Lord did unto Myriam. Did not Acham the sonne of Zerah commit a trespasse in the accursed thing? Where­fore doe you harden your hearts as the Aegyptians and Pharaoh? If yee doe as they have done, yee shall bee punished as they have beene.2. To reproach Iudg. 10.17. Sometimes by them hee doth reproach un­thankefull people. Did not I deliver you from the Aegyptians and from the Amorites, from the children of Amon, and from the Philistims? O my people, remember what Balack King of Moab consulted, Mic. 6▪5. and what Ba­laam the sonne of Beor answered from Shittim to Gilgal. Are yee not ashamed to offend such a GOD as I, who have neither beene a barren Wildernesse, nor a dry Land?3. To comfort. Sometimes by them he comforteth and streng­theneth the hands of the weak, [Page 90] Thine eyes have seene all that the Lord your God hath done unto these two Kings. Deut. 3.21. This your trouble is as the waters of No­ah to mee: Esa. 54.9. as I have said, they shall no more goe over the Earth: so, nor your afflictions shall o­verwhelme you. Will you be dismaied in any trouble, or cast off your confidence, as if Gods hand were tyed up now more than in those dayes? Sometimes by them hee doth maintaine great points of god­linesse.4. To main­taine truth. Iam. 2.21. Rom.4.2, 3. Was not Abraham our Father justified by workes? Not to glory in before God: for A­braham beleeved God, and it was counted to him for righte­ousnesse: but to make him stand out against the blasphemies of the world, the accusations of Conscience, and the upbrai­dings of a dead faith. And will not yee who must bee the chil­dren of Abraham, or perish, walke in the way of so wor­thy [Page 91] a Father?5. To disswade from vice. 1 Cor. 10.7, 8, 9, &c. Exo. 32.6. Num. 25.9. Num. 21 6. Numb. 14.37. Sometimes by them hee doth disswade from vice. Bee not Idolaters as were some of them. Let us not com­mit fornication as some of them did, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Let us not tempt Christ, as some of them al­so tempted, and were destroyed of Serpents. Neither murmure as some of them murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. if yee goe on in such a way, and will not be disswaded, yee will meet with the same plagues which they have found, or worse.6. To fore­warne. 2 Cor. 11.3. Sometimes by them he gives promonition and cau­tion. I feare least by any meanes, as the Serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your mindes should bee corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. Will yee not take heed lest lesse policy make you to fall, as Eve fell, which was full of bitter­nesse to her and hers?

[Page 92] Why exam­ples are of such use. [...]. Iam. 1.2 3.All this use and more hath our good God made of examples, not onely because like leaking Vessels we are apt daily to runne out, and to forget our fashion which we saw in the Glasse, if it be not still represented to us: but also because of the singular profit of examples. For as they profit a world of people, they being like a burning Beacon giving light before men; and being like fire whereat we may give light to thousands of Candles: so doe they last long and hold out to the worlds end, as the poore Widowes mites, and Lots Wifes transmutation.

Neither is it in vaine that GOD hath taken such a course as this.A threefold benefit by examples. It is all for our good, that wee may know how to use examples according to their severall natures. But a­mong the rest you may reape a threefold benefit by them.1. Observati­on. First, an Observation of the cu­stomes [Page 93] and usages of the Church and enemies of it. This will bee an adjument to wis­dome, which is ordinarily at­taineable by experience of our owne dayes, and memory of others. Next an Illustration of the faith,2. Illustration and manners of o­thers, what ever they be. For examples doe not make faith and manners, but give pat­ternes of Gods rules, for the more Expedite practise of them. And lastly,3. Declarati­on of provi­dence. The world doth not make this benefit. a declaration of Gods ordinary providence in his acts of wisedome, good­nesse, mercy, justice, and the like.

From these two uses the world doth, mostly, too farre wander. For want of the first, the Church is many times fil­led with Schismes, and disor­ders. For want of the second, faith and manners are not so cleared, and examples are ta­ken up as necessary Lawes, which onely shew a lawful­nesse [Page 94] where the rule of Scrip­ture doth not oppose. For want of the third, God passeth by, and wee know it not. Let him bee never so wise, by the neglect of the example, we ad­mire it not. Let him be never so good, by the neglect of the example, we love it not. Let him be never so mercifull, by the neglect of the example, we imbrace it not. Let him be ne­ver so just, by the neglect of the example, wee doe not feare and tremble, and avoide the rockes of sinne: and hence it is that I have beene induced to propound these examples unto you also.

How men doe make use of ex­amples of Iustice.It may bee that sometimes men doe observe the way of GOD in the whirewind of justice: but either they are wil­ling to thinke it not so great as it is; or to judge it to reach further than our good God in­tendeth it. If men do think the [Page 95] first, it is because they would flatter themselves in like sinnes. Loth they are to thinke that God should punish that which they love; or that danger should happen to them who have done as they meane to doe still. If men judge the second, it is because they want charity, and judgement in the wayes of God.

Sometimes GOD gives an example of his justice which begins here,And how they should from the se­veral waies of Gods shewing Iustice. and continues for ever and ever: as in many of the drowned first world, and roasted Sodomites. God never made mee so skilfull in his Throne businesse, as to define peremptorily, that every suck­ling and infant of those mise­rable ones were cast into the bottomelesse hell. Hee onely sayes that the floud did sweepe them away, and they were burned with fire and brim­stone, and there leaves us to [Page 96] leave the rest to GOD. They were not in the Arke indeed, nor was Iob in the visible Church, as Isaac and the rest of the Patriarchs were, yet might the All-eye looke upon them as he pleased, and judge, or spare.

Sometimes God gives an ex­ample of his justice which dies here, and (for ought wee know) may end in glory. Thus we are said to bee judged that wee might not bee condemned by the world. 1 Cor. 11.32. No man will judge Iosiah or Ionathan for their untimely deaths. They died in peace, though they died in warre; in peace with God, in warre with men. Nor will they resolvedly reprobate the soules of Er, and Onan, Nadab, and Abihu, Ananias, and Saphira, or their likes. Their sins were great, and grievous, yea dam­nable, and therefore GOD brought fearefull judgements upon them: and as hee hath [Page 97] said, so hath hee done,Psal. 55.23. bloudy and deceitfull men shall not live out halfe their dayes. But for their soules, and how farre his justice extended to them, is among the secrets of his go­vernment, and past our cogni­zance. It is an old lesson never to bee forgotten,Deut. 29.29 That secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things that are revealed, to us, and to our chil­dren for ever.

But what is all this to our examples in this Warning-peece?The Appli­cation of the use of examples to this War­ning-peece. If you apply it aright you shall know how to use them to your good. Bee sure therefore to see Gods hand in both, and his anger against sin in both; without that, such judgings could not ordinarily come into the world. Bee sure also not to extend GODS ju­stice further than what you see or heare. Thus farre God hath gone, goe you no further. Can­not [Page 98] GOD take up his people and whippe them soundly for sinne, but presently the rash world must cry out, They are bastards, and not f [...]r GODS rest?

Indeed you see or heare that one of them had a de­bauched and wicked life. God saw it, and thrust him downe to the gates of hell, and so he did fearefully judge him in this world. Yet withall hee had such remorse, confession, selfe condemnation, desire of others good, and of his owne (though with despaire,) that God hath given us reasons of charity to his soule, and kept the rule of certainty to him­selfe onely. Notwithstanding, let no man of such a course presume; God comes as a swift witnesse against such, and will make his sword drunke with their bloud.Psal. 68 21. For hee will wound the hairy scalpe of every one [Page 99] that goes on still in wicked­nesse.

You see also, or heare, that the other of them had a great deale better life. It is true al­so, that (thus much being con­fessed) hee closed too long and too much with the world, as all that knew him well, com­plained. He was also unthank­full to a parish who had beene loving to a poore father of his (in a free gift of a good main­tenance from them,) when hee would not bee perswaded (both befor the setling of any Will, and before the setling of his last) to give a poore pit­tance out of his great estate to that loving Parish for pious uses, hee having no children of his owne. God saw this too, and whipt him to the purpose, before hee went hence and was no more seene.

Would not GOD have an ir­religious world see how ne­necessary [Page 100] it is to breake off a wicked life by Repentance, Dan. 4.27. and how usefull to honour GOD with our riches? Prov. 3.9. It would make a good mans heart to bleed, that the world should have a second floud of sinne by some, and that, by others, pious and publike workes should bee neglected, opposed and grum­bled at, as if mens riches were their owne, and they might doe with them what they list, as if they were gods. Shall private persons and af­faires (not worth a dunghill to the businesses of GOD) bee the onely object of bounty and munificence? If in such a case GOD withdraw his counte­nance and frowne, is it not worthy our notice? Let God bee GOD, and doe his owne worke, in sparing their soules for ever as hee pleaseth: yet let him shew us examples too of what wee ought to doe, or [Page 101] what wee shall suffer. For if wee doe not amend (for ought I know) he may, and will doe according to our patternes, take away our comforts here, and our comforts for ever and ever, which is infinitely more:

I shut up all in a word. Looke upon your examples and feare and tremble. If they have found GOD thus angry who have beene overtaken by indulged, and over powring in­firmities, how will he look up­on you if ye neglect, and scorn, after such warnings? Yet look upon them so, as you leave not Charitie behinde. Yee may have hope to conceive well of them (who were judged in this world,) because yee knew not their hearts. Yee can have no hope to conceive well of your selves in so doing, because yee know your owne hearts bet­ter. You are apt in excusing some to flatter your selves, and [Page 102] in accusing others to justifie your selves too farre. Neither of these can doe well in the day of your account, which I de­sire may bee comfortable unto you in the day of our LORD IESUS CHRIST.

1 Cor. 10.11.

All these things happened unto them for en­samples: and they are writ­ten for our admonition upon whom the ends of the world are come.

FINIS.

Imprimater.

Thomas Weekes, Cap, Do­mest. Epis. Lond.

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