THE CHRISTIANS SANCTVARIE: Whereinto being retired, he may safely be preserued in the middest of all dangers. Fit for all men to read at all times, especially for those that are exercised in the schoole of affliction, in the time of Gods present Visitation. Described in two Bookes or Treatises:

  • I. Of the Christian exercise of Fasting.
  • II. Of holy Inuocation on Gods name.

By GEORGE DOVVNAME Doctor of Diuinitie.


LONDON, Printed by Adam Islip for Thomas Man, dwelling in Pater-noster Row, at the signe of the Talbot. 1604.

To the Right worshipfull my sin­guler good friend Mr. Iames Mountague Doctor of Diuinitie, and Deane of his Maiesties Chappell.

WHen as it pleased God by his publicke visi­tation the last yeare, to call vs vnto Fa­sting and mourning, and to mooue the Royall heart of our Soueraigne Lord the King, to proclaime a generall Fast to be ob­serued weekly: I did acknowledge it to be my bounden du­ty, (hauing according to direction of publicke authoritie, assembled the congregation ouer which I am placed, for the obseruation of those Fasts) first, to instruct them in the doctrine of fasting and prayer, and after to stirre them vp to the effectuall practise of these Christian duties. Where­fore, after I had bestowed some paynes that way, I was in­treated by a louing friend that I would not only set downe in writing a couple of my Sermons which especially handle the dutie of prayer; but also pen a Treatise of the Chri­stian exercise of Fasting. The which I was the more easily persuaded vnto, because it was then alledged, and I knew not the contrarie, That there was very little written of this argument in the English tongue. Howbeit, I do now vnderstand, that not onely before that time, but also since I wrot this Treatise, (which I wholly finished the [Page] last yeare) some others haue taken good paines in this kind. To whose godly labors this booke of mine, though publi­shed after them, ought not to be preiudiciall, as though I had gathered into this short sum, what they and & others haue written more at large of this argument: for as I had fully finished this Treatise before I saw theirs, so haue I not since taken any thing from them.

This Treatise of the Christian exercise of Fasting, to­gether with the other of Prayer, containing two Sermons on the 15 verse of the 50 Psalme (which were written in the due season, though published thus late, hauing waited at London euer since the last yeare vpon the printing of my Lectures on the 15. Psalme:) I now dedicat to your Worship, as a small token of my great loue, and a perpe­tuall remembrance of mine vnfained thankfulnesse: Of my loue, in respect of your manifold vertues, wherewith I was long acquainted whiles we liued together in Christs Colledge, that famous seminarie of good learning and true godlinesse: Of my thankfulnesse, in regard not onely of your former goodwill, but also of your late fauours vouchsafed vnto me since you followed the Court. The Lord blesse you and enrich you with his graces, and in­crease your fauour with God and man, to his glorie, and your owne endlesse comfort. Amen.

Your worships in the Lord, George Downame.

THE ANALISIS OF THE FIRST Treatise, being the Christian Exercise of Fasting.

This Treatise containeth the

  • Doctrine of the true and Chri­stian fast, shewing in
    • Generall what fasting is. §. 1.
    • Particular the sorts of fasting. §. 2. viz. that it is either
      • Naturall.
      • Ciuile.
      • Spirituall: and that is either the
        • Morall or chast fast. §.
        • Religious fast. §., where­of there are two
          • Parts, viz. the
            • Outward and bodily exercise of abstinence. §. 16. where we consider
              • From what we are to abstaine, viz. from
                • Helpes of this life, as from
                  • Food wholly §. 17.18.
                  • Sleepe in part. §. 19.
                  • Better apparell. §. 20.
                  • Worldly delights and pleasures. §. 21.
                • Bodily labours and wordly busi­nesse. §. 22.23.24.
              • For how long we are to abstaine, and what the time of the fast is. §. 25.26.
            • Inward and spiritual ex­ercise (§. 27.) of prayer joyned with repentance, which we consider
              • Ioyntly. § 28.29.
              • seuerally, viz.
                • Prayer, whereof the
                  • Parts are
                    • Deprecation of euill. [...]. §. 35.
                    • Precation of good. [...]. §. 36.
                  • Properties
                    • Feruencie. §. 37.
                    • Faith. §.
                • Repentance, the parts whereof are
                  • Humiliation or penitencie ( [...]) which is partly
                    • Inward, and that is the
                      • Sence of our miserie, and sorrow for sin. §. 30.
                      • Humble conceit, and base estimation of our selues. §. 31.32.
                    • Outward as
                      • Lamentation and be­wayling of our mi­serie. §. 33.
                      • Confession of our sinne. §.34.
                  • Amendment ( [...]) which stan­deth in
                    • Eschewing euill, and fasting from sinne. §. 42.43.44.
                    • Ensuing that which is good, both for the time
                      • Present by pra­ctising duties of
                        • Pietie to­wards God. Charitie to­wards men: but especi­ally the works of mercie. §. 45.46.
                      • To come by purposing and promising amend­ment. § 57.
          • Sorts, for it is either
            • Priuat. §. 48.
            • Publicke, where we consider the
              • Appoint­ment of it
                • By whom. §. 49.
                • Vpon what occasion, as the
                  • Obtaining of some publicke blessing §. 50.
                  • Remouing of some publick euil, either of
                    • Sinne,
                    • Punish­ment, ei­ther
                      • threatned §. 51.
                      • inflicted, as
                        • Sword. Famine. Pestilēce. Captiuitie §. 53.54.
              • Obserua­tion of it
                • By whom. §. 55.
                • How, viz. that it is to be sanctified as a Sab­bath of humiliation (§. 56) both
                  • Publickly, by the
                    • Minister. §. 57.
                    • People. §. 58.
                  • Priuately. §. 59.60.
  • Suruey of the Popish and Antichristian fast. §. 61, 62.63.64.


FAsting,VVhat fasting in generall is, viz. being a voluntarie ab­stinence from all food for a time, is distinguished from that abstinence, which being on­ly in respect of the quantitie or qualitie, is a forbearing not of all food, but of such and so much.Not a sober That, which is in respect of the quantitie, is the moderat, sober, and tem­perat vse of food, auoiding all excesse. That, which is in respect of the qualitie,Or abstemious vse of food, is the abstemious vse of food, for­bearing some kind of meat or drinke, which we suppose to be noysome vnto vs, in regard either of our bodies or soules health. The former, which is the sober diet, ought, and the latter, which is the abstemious diet, may, bee per­petuall among Christians. But fasting is an abstinence not onely,But an vtter abstinence therefrom. à tali & tanto, that is, from such and so much, but à toto, that is, from all food. Neither is it a sober or abste­mious vsing of food, but a not vsing, or forbearing of food altogether,Of [...]. Suidas. Varinus. Nor yet a for­ced abstinence during the time of the fast. For therfore is it called [...], which signifieth, not eating, or not ta­king of food. And he is said to be [...], that is, fasting, who is [...], or [...], that is, who hath taken no food. And whereas I call it a voluntarie abstinence, therein I [Page 2] distinguish fasting from that forbearing or wanting of food, which is not voluntarie or purposely intended, but forced, either because men cannot eat, being either in sicknesse,Act. 27.33. Or want. Psal. 102.4. & 109.24. Amos 4.6. or in feare of present danger, or in some other agonie: or because they haue not what to eat, which is not fasting but famine, or as the Scriptures call it, cleane­nesse of teeth. For this forced forbearing or wanting of food is not [...], that is, fasting properly, but [...], which signifieth a priuation of food:Act. 27.21.33. and is not a dutie volun­tarily vndertaken, but an affliction imposed, or a conse­quent of affliction.But a volunta­rie forbearing of food. For [...], fasting, is deriued of [...], which signifieth to fast, or to obserue a fast. And althogh all they which take no food may be said to be [...] or Ie­iuni, that is,Mat. 15.33. Ma [...]. 8.3. Mat. 6.16.17, 18 fasting, yet they are not [...], ieiunantes, such as doe fast: for they onely may be said [...], ieiunare, to fast, or to obserue a fast, who voluntarily abstaine.

The sorts of fasting.2. We see then, what fasting in generall is. The sorts of fasting are to be distinguished according to the varie­tie of the end, for which it is vndertaken. And it is either naturall, or ciuile, or spirituall, according to the threefold life of a Christian in this world: vnto the helpe and fur­therance whereof,For it is either naturall, all voluntarie abstinence is referred. The naturall fast is that which is vndertaken for the health of our life naturall: and is sometimes enjoyned by the Phisition.or ciuile, The ciuile is that which is referred to the wealth of the life ciuile: and is sometimes enjoyned by the magistrat.1. Sam. 14.24. or spirituall. The spirituall fast is that, which is vnder­taken for the furtherance of the life spirituall in the du­ties either of chastitie towards our selues and our neigh­bour, or of religion and repentance towards God, and is ordained of the Lord to be vsed to these ends, as necessi­tie shall require. For although fasting in it selfe be but a thing indifferent, and is not simply either commaunded or forbidden: yet as it may bee a meanes either for the preseruation of chastitie, or for the furtherance of our re­pentance and religion towards God, so farre foorth it is [Page 3] required and commaunded. For as where the Lor [...] for­biddeth any vice or sinne, there he doth also forbid [...]he meanes, allurements, and prouocations thereunto: so where he commaundeth any dutie or vertue, there also hee commaundeth the helpes and meanes which tend thereto. And this is that which an auncient and learned writer sayth,Hieronymus. And that is ei­ther the moral and chast fast, That fasting is not a vertue in it selfe, but a degree to vertue. The spirituall fast therefore is to bee considered of vs, either as a meanes of chastitie, which we may for distinction sake call the morall or the chast fast: or as a helpe to further vs in the duties of repentance and religion,or the religi­ous and de­uout fast. which we may call the religious or the deuout fast.

3. The morall or chast fast is that whereby men or women finding the sober and abstemious diet not suffici­ent to represse the concupiscence of the flesh,VVhat the chast fast is. doe ende­uour to subdue and chastise their bodies, that is to say, to make them chast. This fast therefore is not commanded them, who either haue the gift of continencie in single life, or may lawfully vse the remedie ordained against lust in mariage: for to such, the sober diet, moderating the quantitie of their food, and the abstemious diet for­bearing such things as prouoke lust, is a sufficient preser­uatiue of chastitie; and therefore as a medicinall purga­tion to those that are in health, so this fast to such persons is not onely superfluous, but sometimes also hurtfull and pernicious. As for those who find their bodies more prone to lust and vncleanenesse, and may not lawfully vse the remedie against it, which to single men is not per­mitted at all,1. Thess. 4.4, 5. 2. Cor. 6.19. And what o­ther helpes must concurre therewith, viz. whiles they be single, nor to married persons at certaine times: they are to be admonished to vse all good meanes of chastitie, that they may possesse their vessels, that is, their bodies in holinesse and in honour, as it becommeth the temples of the holy ghost, and not in the passion of lust, like to the Gentils which knew not God. And to this purpose they are to be exhorted, first, to ob­serue [Page 4] perpetually the vertue of sobrietie,Sobrietie in moderating not only the inward fancies & affecti­ons, b [...] also the outward se [...]ces. not onely in re­spect of gouerning their inward affections and fancies, out also in restraining the pleasures of their outward sen­ces, especially of the sight and tast. Of sight, by restrai­ning their eyes from beholding the objects of lust; such as are louely or lasciuious persons, wanton pictures, loue­bookes, obscene enterludes, and such like. For by the sence of sight, concupiscence is ordinarily conueyed to the heart: for as the old saying is, [...], of looking comes louing. And therefore as wee must pray with Dauid, Psal. 119.37. Iob. 3 [...].1. Eccles. 9.8.9. that the Lord would turne away our eyes, that they behold not vanitie; so must we with Iob make a couenant with our eyes: that as the sonne of Syrach ad­uiseth, we should turne them away from a beautifull wo­man, and not to eye the beautie of others: for by the beautie of women many haue beene seduced, and there­by loue is kindled as it were a fire.Temperan­cie in diet. Of tast, by temperan­cie in diet, that neither in respect of the quantitie they exceed by gluttonie or drunkennesse, nor in respect of the qualitie they affect such meats or drinkes as are fit to prouoke lust. And if they find not this sobrietie and ab­stinence to be sufficient for this purpose, then are they so oft as their health will beare, and their necessitie require, by fasting to chastise and subdue their bodies. And be­cause continencie is not a thing in our owne power, but the free gift of God,Mat. 19 11. 1. Cor. 7.7. 3. Prayer. 4. Vigilancie. 1. Pet. 4.7. 1. Thess. 5.6. 5. Diligence & painefulnesse. Auoiding con­trariwise in­temperancie in diet. Hieronym. we are therefore with our fasting to joyne earnest prayer for the same. And to our fasting and prayer we must joyne vigilancie and watchfulnesse, that as the Apostle exhorteth, wee may bee sober, and watch vnto prayer: and thereunto must wee adde painefulnesse in our calling, or in some honest labour.

4. For the greatest enemie to chastitie, and chiefest prouoker of lust, is excesse in meat and drinke: Ciborum saturitas est seminarium libidinis, fulnesse of meat is the se­minarie of lust: for the ouerplus of our nourishment is the matter of generation, which aboundeth where nou­rishment [Page 5] exceedeth, and that abounding prouoketh to lust, &c. And therefore the chiefe preseruatiue against lust, is by temperancie in diet not to subminister matter vnto it. And if temperancie suffice not, to vse also fasting, that by withdrawing the oyle as it were from the flame of concupiscence, it may bee quenched. To which pur­pose, let the order and coherence of the Apostles words, 2. Cor. 6. be obserued:2. Cor. 6.6. Ad Rusticum Monach. de vi­uendi formae. in fasting, (sayth hee) in chastitie. But here two things are to be obserued: The first, that as▪ Ie­rome sayth, our fasts bee moderat, least being too much, they weaken the stomacke, and requiring greater refecti­on, breed cruditie,Ad Furiam de viduitate seru. which is the mother of lust: for as hee sayth in another place, nothing doth so inflame the bodie and prouoke vnto lust, as indigested meat, &c. The other thing, that as we vse fasting sometimes, so must wee vse temperance and sobrietie alwayes, auoiding euermore excesse, especially of such things as are apt to prouoke lust. For what are we better for fasting at any time, if we recompence our fasting with fulnesse at other time? for then our minds by much repletion will wax heauie,August. de temp. serm. 56. Hieronym. ad Eustoch. de cu­stodia virginit. Ad Furiam de vid [...]itate seru. & irrigata corporis nostri terraspinas libidinum germinabit: And the earth as it were of our bodies being well watered, will bring forth the thornes of lust. And therefore as Ierome well sayth, A spare diet, and a stomacke alwayes hungry, is preferred before fasts continued three dayes together: and it is much better euery day to take but a little, then sometimes though seldome to take too much. But as ex­cesse of all meats and drinkes is to auoided, so especi­ally of wine and strong drinkes. It was truly said of the Poet,Terent. Eunuch. Ouid. 2. de Remed. Prou. 23.33. Sine Cerere & Libero friget venus: and of another, vina parant animos veneri. The same is testified by Salomon, Prou. 23. that if we delight in wine, our eyes will looke vpon strange women, and our hearts will speake leaud things. And this the daughters of Lot knew too well:Gen. 19.32, 33. for that incestuous copulation which they could not expect from him whiles hee was sober, they obtained by giuing him [Page 6] wine to drinke. For as one sayth, Proximus a Libero patre intemperantiae gradus ad inconcessam venerem esse consucuit. Valer. Max. lib 2. c 1. Slouthfulnes, &c.

5. The next enemie to chastitie, is slouthfulnesse: which containeth two nurses of lust, idlenesse and drow­sinesse. For the matter which gluttonie and drunkennes prepareth for lust, that doth idlenesse preserue. And therefore not vnworthily are fulnesse of bread, & slouth­fulnesse, reckoned among the sinnes of Sodome, wherby they were incensed to vnnaturall lust.Ezek. 16.49. For idlenesse is both the mother and nurse of lust.

Ouid. 2. de remed.
Haec (otia) ut ames faciunt, haec quae fecere tuentur:
Haec sunt iucundi causa cibus (que) mali.

Theophrast.A Philosopher being asked, what lust or impure loue is, [...], hee said, The passion of an idle mind. For as water which is not stirred putrifieth, and yron that is not exercised, rusteth: so the mind by idle­nesse is corrupted. For as the Grecians rightly say, [...], Idlenesse, or doing nothing, is the beginning of doing ill.Definit. breuior. 69. And as Basill sayth, [...], Euery occasion of idlenesse is occasion of sinne. Such is the disposition of our minds, that if they be not exercised about lawfull things, they will goe a whoring about things vnlawfull. In desiderijs est omnis ani­ma otiosi, sayth Ierome, Euery idle mans mind is ouertaken with lust.2. Sam. 11. And that, the example of Dauid himselfe doth shew, who on a time giuing himselfe to idlenes, was ouer­taken in this kind. And therefore such as haue out of their owne experience prescribed remedies against lust, haue warned men especially to beware of Ergo vbi visus eris nostra medi­cabilis arte, Fac monitis fu­gias otia prima meis. Otia si tolla [...], pe­riere Cupidinis arcu [...], &c. Ouid. idlenesse. Likewise much sleeping and long lying in bed are Rom. 13.12, 13 the workes of darkenesse, the companions of wantonnesse, the nurses of lust. For that matter which by large diet is prepared for generation, and by idlenesse and ease preserued, by long lying and much sleeping is concocted and perfited.

[Page 7]6. Whosoeuer therefore hath a true and serious pur­pose, by fasting to chastise his body;VVhich meanes of chastitie not sufficing in single life, let him with his ex­traordinarie fasting and praying ioyne ordinarie tempe­rance and sobrietie, diligence in his calling, and vigilan­cie. And if hauing vsed these meanes of chastitie in sin­gle life, which is the gift of continencie (to a perpetuitie whereof very few attaine who are fit for procreation) then let him know that God doth call him to mariage, which he hath prouided as a lawfull remedie against lust:1. Cor. 7.2 9. Men are bound to flie to mari­age, as the lawfull re­medie against lust. That those who cannot liue chastly in single life, may liue chastly in mariage: for as there is chastitie in single life, so also in wedlocke. And whosoeuer hauing not the gift of continencie, refuseth this ordinance of God, vnder pretence of chastitie he liueth in vncleannesse: or if he striue ouermuch as it were against the streame, by fasting and abstinence to subdue his body, in an erronious desire of keeping the seuenth commaundement, (which of the most may better be kept in mariage than in single life) he breaketh the sixt, in shortning his dayes, and making himselfe vnapt for the duties of his calling, and vnfit for the seruice of the Church or common-wealth. Neither may any man alledge, that in respect of his outward estate it is inconuenient for him to marrie: for no out­ward inconuenience can be so great, as to liue in sinne.

And thus much may suffice to haue spoken of the for­mer sort of spirituall fasts: may chiefe desire and purpose being to intreat of the religious fast.

7. The religious fast is a solemne exercise of religion, VVhat the re­ligious fast is, viz. wherein we being humble suters vnto the Lord vpon some speciall or extraordi­narie occasion, do abstaine not onely from food and some other com­modities and delights of this life, but also from bodily labours and worldly businesse during the time of the fast, which is a Sabbath of humiliation: that by this outward abstinence our humiliation may be furthered, and our repentance testified, to the increase of our fer­uencie and confirmation of our faith in prayer, for the obtaining of our request at the hands of God. For further explication [Page 8] whereof we are to cōsider,§ 2. That it is an exercise of re­ligion ordai­ned of the Lord. that where I call it an exercise of religion, that is presupposed which before I touched, that this religious fast is an ordinance of God: for no­thing may be offered vnto the Lord by way of religion or worship, which is not appointed and ordained of the Lord: for whatsoeuer is obtruded vnto him for worship, being not ordained by him, is will-worship and supersti­tion. Now, that the Lord hath appointed and ordained that we should humble our selues before him by fasting and prayer, for the obtaining of some speciall blessing from him, it may appeare: first, by euident testimonies of Scripture in the old testament.Both in the old Testamēt, and that not as ceremonial and peculiar to the Iewes. Whereunto if it shall be objected, that the places of the old Testament which re­quire fasting, may seeme to enjoyne it among other cere­monies of the Iewish religion, vnto which Christians are not bound: I answer, that in the Iewish fasts some things were ceremoniall, and so peculier to them; other things were morall, and so common to vs. The things which were peculier to them, were first, the circumstance of the time in their set and ordinary fasts; whether that which was appointed by the Lord on the tenth day of the se­uenth moneth;Leuit. 16.29 & 23.27.29. Zac. 7.5. & 8.19 or those which the Iewes voluntarily vn­dertooke during the time of the seuenty yeares captiuity, in the fourth moneth, in the fift, in the seuenth, and in the tenth. And secondly, there were certaine habits and ie­stures vsed among them when they mourned and fasted, which were part of the pedagogie of the old testament, which as they are abrogated by Mat. 6.17. Christ in the new Te­stament: so were they not greatly required in the Ioel. 2.13. Esay 58.5. old. Such were their putting on of sackcloth, renting their garments,1. King. 21.27. Esay 58.5. Mat. 6 16. 2. Sam. 12.20. Esth. 4.1.3. Ezr. 9.3. Dan. 9.3. & 10.3 sitting in the ashes, putting earth or ashes on their head, not washing or annointing, but deforming their faces, looking sorrowfully, hanging downe their heads, going softly, and such like outward signes and to­kens of humiliation, which were obserued both of the godly and of the hypocrites among them: but with this [Page 9] difference, that the hypocrites rested in these outward shewes, without any true humiliation of their soules: whereas in the godly these signes proceeded from the sorrow of the heart, as vnfained testimonies thereof.

8. But although that circumstance of the time was proper to that people,But as a morall and common to all: and those ceremonies peculier to those times: yet the substance of the fast, which is the humbling of our soules by abstinence, is a morall dutie belonging commonly to all nations, in all ages: for as the morall or chast fast is enjoyned in the seuenth commaun­dement, as a meanes of chastitie, to those that need that helpe; so the religious fast is enjoyned in the second commandement, and in the fourth. In the second, as it is a meanes to further vs in the worship of God, and in the dutie of prayer vpon extraordinary occasion. In the fourth, as the time of the fast is a Sabbath of humiliation, wherein we are to professe our humiliation, and testifie our repentance before God: for when the Lord com­mandeth vs to sanctifie the Sabbath, he meaneth all Sab­baths, not onely the ordinarie and weekly Sabbath,Leuit. 23. but also the extraordinarie, whether they be Sabbaths of joy and festiuitie, wherein by feasting and thanksgiuing we signifie our joy and thankfulnesse for some great blessing receiued, such as was that feast, Nehem. 8,Nehe. 8.9, 10. and the feast of Purim. Esth. 9:Esth. 9.18, 19. or whether they be Sabbaths of humilia­tion; wherein by fasting and prayer we signifie the sor­row & desire of our soules, in respect either of some bles­sing wanting, or of some euill either feared or felt, pre­sent or imminent: such as was the fast proclaimed by Iosa­phat 2. Chron. 20,2. Chro. 20.3. Ezr. 8.21. Ioel. 1.14. & 2.15. Leuit. 23.32. or by Ezra cha. 6. &c. For such a fast by the commandement of God is to be sanctified and ob­serued holy as a Sabbath, euen in such maner as the or­dinarie Sabbath of humiliation was to be sanctified. Nei­ther is it to be omitted, that Esay 58, the day of the fast seemeth to be called an acceptable day to the Lord,Esay. 58.5.13. yea his Sabbath, and his holyday, which euen as the ordina­rie [Page 10] Sabbath is to be consecrated as glorious to the Lord.

But also in the new Testa­ment.9. But if to these places of the old Testament, we shall add some testimonies out of the new, we shall make it more than euident, that the dutie of fasting belongeth vn­to vs. Where first consider the doctrine of our Sauiour Christ,Mat. 6.16. concerning a fast, Math. 6, for when he prescribeth the maner how we are to fast, he presupposeth the dutie that we are to fast. Neither doth hee alone require this dutie at our hands, but also maketh a gracious promise of happie reward to those that shall fast aright.Vers. 18. Mat. 9.14. Luk. 5.33. Mar. 2.18. And in the same Gospell Chapter 9, as also Luke 5, and Mar. 2, when as the Disciples of Iohn and the Phariseys tooke excep­tion against our Sauiour Christ, because they fasted, but his disciples did eat and drinke: he maketh answer, That although during his abode with them, which was a time of joy and not of mourning, his disciples which were the children of the mariage chamber, were not to fast and mourne, whiles himselfe, who was the bridegroome was among them: yet the time should come when the bride­groome being taken from them, as they should haue oc­casion of mourning, so also they should fast in those dayes.Mat. 17.21. Againe, Math. 17, our Sauiour Christ seemeth to ascribe great efficacy to the prayer of the faithful holpen by fasting; affirming that that kind of vncleane spirit, which by no other meanes can be cast out, goeth forth by prayer and fasting. In the second of Luke the holy Ghost giueth this testimonie of Anna the Prophetesse,Luk. 2.37. That she being in the Temple night and day worshipped God with fastings and prayers. Not that fasting in it selfe is a worship of God, as prayer is, but onely is a meanes and helpe to further vs in the worship of God, & to make our prayers more feruent & effectuall: to which purpose Anna ioyned fasting with her prayers. And hereunto let vs add the practise of the primitiue Church in the time of the Apostles:A [...]. 13.3. In the 13. Chapter of the Acts, the Prophets and teachers which were in the Church of Antioch, be­fore [Page 11] they sent forth Barnabas and Paul to the worke of the ministerie, whereunto the holy Ghost had called them; they fasted and prayed, and layed their hands on them. And in the fourteenth Chapter it is sayd,Act. 14.2 [...]. that Paul and Barnabas when they had ordained to the faithfull, elders by electioni [...]n euery Church; hauing prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they belee­ued. And to conclude, the Apostle Paul testifieth of him­selfe, 2. Cor. 11,2. Car. 11.27. That as he was oft in hunger and thirst by a forced obedience, so he was often also in fastings; wher­by this voluntarie abstinence is meant. Hereby there­fore it appeareth that the Christian exercise of fasting, is not a will-worship, nor an action which is meerely arbi­trary, or left to our free choise, whether we will vse it or not: but a dutie enjoyned and imposed vpon vs by the Lord. Wherefore in the definition I doubted not to call the religious fast, An exercise of religion.

10. But here it will be objected,And yet not ordinarily to be perfor­med. That if fasting be an exercise of religion; a morall dutie, not onely comman­ded in the morall law of God, which bindeth all men, but also commended vnto vs in the Gospell both by the do­ctrine of the holy Ghost, and also by the practise of the faithfull in the primitiue Church; then it may seeme, that so oft as we do not fast, we sinne, &c. I answer, that affir­matiue commandements, though they bind vs alwayes, yet do they not bind vs to performe them alwayes and at all times, but as just occasion is offered, together with a concurrencie of all needfull circumstances: as for exam­ple, we are alwayes bound to pray, namely as we haue just occasion to begge any thing at the hands of God, and may do it in some measure as it ought to be done; but we are not bound to pray alwayes and to do nothing else. And although we are alwayes in this life bound to fast; yet are we not bound to fast either alwayes, or so oft as we are bound to pray: for we are to pray ordinarily eue­rie day, and also extraordinarily as occasion is offered: [Page 12] but we are not to fast ordinarily and euerie day, but vpon speciall and extraordinary occasion. And that we are not bound to joyne fasting with the ordinarie exercise of prayer,1. Cor. 7.3.5. it is manifest by the doctrine of the Apostle, 1. Cor, 7, where he would haue the husband and the wife (who are ordinarily to pray euerie day) to performe mutuall beneuolence, and not defraud one another, vnlesse it be by consent for a time, that they might giue themselues to fasting and prayer, and again come together, that Sathan tempt them not through their incontinencie. And therefore we are not bound to joyne fasting with our or­dinarie and daily prayers, but when we haue just and spe­ciall occasion to humble our selues in prayer, after an ex­traordinary maner. And our Sauiour Christ noteth, that those which do fast,Mat. 9.15. do mourne; and that the time of fa­sting is the time of mourning; and that in the time of joy it is vnseasonable.Phil 4.4. 1. Thes. 5.16. Now ordinarily the faithfull are to be joyfull: and therefore they are not bound ordinarily to fast, and in fasting to mourne, but when they haue some extraordinarie cause of mourning: for as a peece of new cloth put to an old garment maketh the rent worse,Mat. 9.16. so fasting vnseasonably imposed vpon men, ma­keth them not better, but worse. Againe, the time of the fast hath the nature of a Sabbath, wherein we are to lay aside all worldly businesse, and the works of our callings, which ordinarily we are to follow. Neither is it an ordi­narie Sabbath, but the extraordinarie Sabbath of humi­liation; wherein we are after a speciall maner to humble our soules, and to giue our selues to prayer, abstaining not onely from bodily labour and worldly affaires, but also from our food and other delights of this life. And to the sanctifying of this Sabbath we are bound,Esay. 22.12. when the Lord calleth vs to fasting and mourning by some special causes of mourning and humbling our selues (which af­terwards I shall touch) whether they be priuat or pub­licke. But especially we are then bound to obserue this [Page 13] fast, when not onely the Lord by some publicke judge­ment or calamitie, either threatned or inflicted, doth call vs vnto fasting and mourning; but also publicke autho­ritie hath blowne the trumpet,Ioel. 2.1 [...]. and proclaimed a fast: for to such a Sabbath of humiliation, the equity of that law concerning the yearly Sabbath of humiliation is to be extended, Leuit. 23,Leuit. 23.29. Euery person that humbleth not himselfe that day, shall euen be cut off from his people.

11. And this also I signified in the definition,But extraor­dinarily, as speciall and vrgent occa­sion is offered. when I sayd that fasting is a solemne exercise of religion, to be vndertaken of vs, when we are to be humble suters vnto the Lord, vpon some speciall and extraordinarie occa­sion: for when I cal it a solemne exercise, I do not meane that it is a common, vsuall or ordinary exercise, nor yet to be performed after a common or ordinarie maner; but that as it is vndertaken vpon some speciall vrgent occa­sion, so we ought to stir vp our selues in the obseruation thereof, to an extraordinarie measure of humiliation, to an extraordinarie feruencie in prayer, to a solemne and extraordinarie testification and profession of our re­pentance. And when as it is said in the definition, that this exercise is to be vndertaken of vs when we are hum­ble suters to the Lord vpon some speciall or extraordina­rie occasion, it is plainly signified, that this exercise is not at set and ordinarie times to be performed, but when it pleaseth God to giue just and necessarie occasion either by our wants, or by his judgements, of a more speciall and extraordinarie humbling of our selues in the exercise of prayer and profession of our repentance.

12. The causes therefore and occasions whereupon this exercise is to bee vsed,The causes of fasting, are ei­ther the ob­taining of some speciall good▪ are these. First, when we are humble suters vnto the Lord for the obtaining of some speciall benefits: especially, when some matter of great importance is to be enterpris [...]ed: For at such a time an extraordinarie feruency in prayer is required, which may be holpen forward by fasting. Nehemiah intending to [Page 14] moue Artasbaste for the repairing of Ierusalem:Nehe. 1.4.11. first hum­bleth himselfe before God by fasting and prayer, for good successe in that waightie businesse.Ezr. 8.21. And so did Ezra in his voyage towards Ierusalem proclaime a fast: Queene Esther before she durst presume contrarie to the law of the Persians,Esth. 416. to enter into the kings presence, be­ing not called, to make sute vnto him for the preserua­tion of the Iewes against the wicked conspiracie of Ha­man; she with her maids humbled themselues by fasting and prayer for three dayes, and required the like fast to be obserued of Mordecay and the rest of the Iewes, who were at Susban. In like sort, the ministerie of the word be­ing a matter of great importance (for it is the power of God to our saluation,Rom. 1.16. 1. Cor. 1.21. and though it be esteemed folly in the world, yet by the foolishnesse of preaching God is pleased to saue those that beleeue) therefore the Church of God hath thought it expedient before they haue ordained ministers, or sent them forth to the worke of the ministerie, to humble themselues before God by fasting and prayer,Act. 13.3 & 14.23. as we may read in the Acts of the Apostles. It is reported of Iohn the Euangelist, that being intreated by the Churches to write the Gospell of our Sauiour,Hicronym. in p [...]ologo super Math. whereby the heresies of Ebion and Cerinthus, who denied the diuinitie of Christ, might be refuted; he made aunswere, That hee would do it, if first the whole Church would in his behalfe humble themselues before God in fasting and prayer.

Or remouing of some euill, whether it be the euill of sinne.13. But as fasting is sometimes to be joyned with pre­cation or prayer, for some speciall good: so more com­monly it is joyned with deprecation of euill, whether it be the euill of sinne, or the euill of affliction: For when as men do apprehend thewrath of God for sinne, whether it be in the act of their conuersion, or otherwise finding themselues or their countrey guiltie of some more grie­uous sin: it is necessarie that they should humble them­selues before God, after a more speciall maner: And for [Page 15] the better humbling of themselues in prayer, and testify­ing of their repentance, to entertaine this Christian exer­cise of fasting.Act. 9.9.11. Paul in the first act of his conuersion fasted and prayed three dayes together: when as the people of Israell returned to the Lord their God from idolatrie, and lamented their former sinnes: they being assembled at the commaundement of Samuell, 1. Sam. 7.6. do testifie their humi­liation and repentance by a solemne fast: wherein they drew as it were buckets of water from the fountaine of their hearts, & poured the same before the Lord, saying, We haue sinned against the Lord.Ezr. 9.3.6. & 10.6. Ezra when he vnder­stood how the people, of Israell had joyned in mariage with the heathen people contrarie to the law of God, he prayed and fasted, greatly mourning for the trasgression of the people.Neh. 9.1.2. And afterwards the people themselues were assembled with fasting, & with sackcloth and earth vpon them; and hauing separated themselues from the strange wiues with whom they had beene mingled, they confessed their sinnes and the iniquities of their fathers.

14. But when as our sinne hath not only deserued the anger of God;Or the euill of affliction, & that either imminent, but also hath prouoked him, either to threaten his judgements, and as it were to lift vp his hand to strike vs; or else as he hath threatned, to lay his judge­ments vpon vs:Esay 22.12. then doth the Lord especially call vs to fasting and mourning: howbeit the chiefe cause of mour­ning must be, not so much the consideration of the judge­ment it selfe, whether present or imminent; as the dete­station of our sinne, whereby we haue offended God, and prouoked him either to threaten or to inflict that judgement vpon vs.Ionas. 3.5.6. Examples hereof we haue in respect of judgements imminent, in the Niniuits, who when de­struction was threatned against them for their sinnes, humbled themselues before God in fasting and prayer. In Iosaphat, Chro. 20.3. who hearing of an inuasion attempted against him by the Moabits and Ammonits, feared, and set him­selfe to seeke the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout [Page 16] all Iudah.Or present: In respect of afflictions and calamities pre­sent, as famine, sword, pestilence, captiuitie, and such like messengers of Gods wrath, we haue both commaunde­ments, as our rules; and examples, as precedents in this behalfe.As famine, Ioel. 1.14. & 2.12.15. In the time of famine, the Lord by his Prophet Ioel, commandeth the Iewes to turne vnto him, with all their heart, and with fasting, weeping and mourning: And to that end he biddeth them to proclaime and san­ctifie a fast.Ios. 7 6. Sword, And as touching the sword: when the men of Ai had discomforted the Israelits, Iosua and the elders of Israell fasted vntill the euen.Captiuitie, In the time of captiuitie Daniel greatly desired the deliuerance of the Iewes out of the captiuitie of Babylon at the end of seuentie yeares, according to the promise of the Lord by the Prophet Ie­remie, Dan. 9.3. Sicknesse and mortalitie. he turned his face vnto the Lord God, and sought by prayer and supplication, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes. And as touching sicknesse and mortalitie, we haue a notable example in Dauid, 1. Sam. 12.16. who when his child which hee had begotten in adulterie was sicke, he be­sought God for it, and fasted, and went in and lay all night vpon the earth: yea, when some that prooued his enemies were sicke, he professeth Psal. 35,Psal. 35.13. that he clothed himselfe with sackcloth, and humbled his soule with fa­sting, and that he prayed for them with such compas­sion, that hanging downe his head for griefe, his prayer returned vpon his bosome. And if fasting is to bee vsed for priuat persons when they are sicke, much more in a publicke visitation, and in the time of pestilence.

Vpon such oc­casions, neces­sitie is impo­sed.15. These allegations therefore of holy Scripture may be sufficient directions for vs, when we are to vn­dertake this exercise: namely, when we haue some vr­gent cause of a more than ordinarie humbling of our selues before God in prayer. And when such causes are offered, we may not thinke that it is a thing meerely ar­bitrarie, whether we will vse this exercise or not: but by warrant of the former Scriptures we are to be persuaded [Page 17] that the Lord doth call vs to this exercise. It is well said of Basill, Esay. 22.12. Definit. breuior. 129. & 130. [...]. The time of fasting is not euerie mans will, but the necessitie of those who come to Gods worship: and in a time of such necessitie, to fast it is necessarie. When as therefore there is publike necessitie,On publicke persons who haue autho­ritie, to pro­claime▪ Ioel 2.25. And on priuat persons, to ob­serue the fast. those which are in publicke authoritie must thinke, that a necessitie is imposed vpon them, to blow the trumpet in Sion, and to proclaime a fast. And those which are in priuat place, must thinke a necessitie impo­sed on them, to obserue and sanctifie the fast. And if it happen that they which are in authoritie neglect this du­ty; then those, who according to the example of the faithfull, Ezek. 9,Ezek 9.4. which were marked to saluation, doe mourne either for the common calamities, or for the common enormities of the time, which are forerunners of calamities:Math. 6.18. they are to vse this exercise priuatly and secretly, which also they are to do, when their owne ne­cessities require. As for those who neither by publicke calamitie, nor priuat necessitie, can be drawne to this dutie,Rom. 13.14. but continually take care for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof: they must know, that they are but carnall m [...]n;Gal. 6. [...]. who, as they sow to the flesh, so of the flesh shall reape corruption.

16. Thus we haue heard that the religious fast is a solemne exercise of religion,The religious fast, consisteth on two parts▪ viz the out­ward and the inward exer­cise. to bee vndertaken of vs, when we are humble suters to the Lord, vpon some vr­gent occasion. Let vs now consider wherein this exercise doth consist, which is expressed in the rest of the defini­tion, whereout we may gather, that this exercise consi­steth on two points, viz. the outward or bodily, and the inward or spirituall exercise. The former, being the means to the latter; & the latter, being the end of the for­mer: for the bodily exercise profiteth little or nothing at all,1. Tim. 4.8. vnlesse it be referred to the spirituall exercise, as a meanes to further it. The bodily exercise is an outward [Page 18] abstinence from food and some other commodities and delights of this life,In the outward exercise we are to consider from what we are to abstaine, and for how long. It is abstinēce, first frō helpes of this life, as first from food wholly. and also from bodily labours and worldly businesse during the time of the fast, which is a Sabbath of humiliation. Here therefore we are to consi­der in respect of the outward exercise, from what we are to abstaine, and for how long.

17. First, we are to abstaine from food, from whence the whole exercise hath his name. And here we are to vnderstand not an abstinence in part, nor a sober and ab­stemious vse of diet, as I haue shewed before; but a totall abstinence both from meat and drinke, so farre as our health will permit: for this is required to the nature of a fast, as hath bene declared, and further may bee proued by the examples of such fasts as are recorded in the scrip­tures. Dauid when he fasted and mourned for the death of Abner, 2. Sam. 3.35. swore that he would not tast bread or ought else till the Sunne were downe. Ezra, Ezr. 10.6. when he fasted for the sinne of the people, he did neither eat bread, that is, not so much as bread, nor drinke water, that is, not so much as water. The fast which Esther required and performed,Esth. 4 16. was the totall abstinence from meat and drinke. The Ni­niuits when they proclaimed a fast,Ion. 3.7. gaue a charge that none should tast any thing, whether it were meat or drinke. And of Paul it is sayd Acts. 9,Act 9.9. that for the time of his fasting and prayer, he did neither eat nor drinke. That we should not thinke, either that fasting is an abstinence from meat and not from drinke, or that it standeth onely in choise of meats. And yet this totall abstinence from meat and drinke is not so strictly required, but that they whose health cannot beare it, may for their necessarie su­stenance take some little refreshing: for the Lord, who desireth mercie rather than sacrifice,Math. 12.7. doth not so require this outward abstinence, that it should impaire our health, or make vs vnfit for his seruice in the spirituall exercise of the fast; but that it might further vs therein. But here we must take heed, that we vse not this libertie as an oc­casion [Page 19] to the flesh, pretending we cannot, when indeed we will not abstaine.Gal. 5.13.

18. But now let vs consider,The reasons why abstinēce from food is required. why this abstinence from food is required, seeing the kingdome of God doth not stand in meat and drinke, nor yet in abstinence therfrom: and that,Rom. 14.17. 1. Cor. 8.8. as to eat and drinke, so also to abstaine there­from, is in it selfe a thing indifferent. I answere, that al­though in and for it selfe it is not required; yet as it is re­ferred to the inward and spirituall exercise, it is enjoyned. For seeing the bodie is not onely the habitation of the soule, but also it and the members thereof the instruments of the soule, whereby it exerciseth his seuerall functions: who knoweth not, that the actions of the soule are either furthered by the good constitution of the bodie, or hin­dered by the indisposition thereof? and, that the disposi­tion of our bodie doth much depend vpon our diet? For if by intemperancie and excesse wee ouercharge our selues, then are our hearts made heauie, as our Sauiour Christ sayth,Luke 21.34. by surfetting and drunkennesse, and we be­come vnfit for any good office. Or if we be too carefull to pamper our bodies, they will not be so pliable and ob­sequious to the soule, but rather become like pampered horses, which kick against their rulers. On the other side, if by too much abstinence we pine away our bodies, and denie necessarie sustenance thereto, wee doe make our selues not only vnfit for the seruice of God in the church or commonwealth, and for the discharge of our callings, but also guiltie of selfe-murther: For the difference is not great, whether we murther ourselues at once, or by little and little pine and consume our selues away. And surely, where the Lord forbiddeth to kill, he forbiddeth vs to kill our selues. Now if any in their superstitious conceit shall in this their not sparing of their bodie,Col. 2.23. wherby they make themselues guiltie of murther, place religion or merit; then, as they are injurious to themselues, so also impious against God. That therefore the bodie may bee [Page 20] seruiceable to the soule, we are to diet it ordinarily, accor­ding to the rules of sobrietie and temperance: so shall it neither be vnruly to kicke against the soule, nor vnable to serue it. And this disposition of the bodie is the best or­dinarie disposition that may be, for the ordinarie perfor­mance of our dutie in the worship and seruice of God. Notwithstanding, if we shall haue necessarie occasion to humble our selues in prayer after an extraordinarie man­ner, then is it necessarie also, that to our ordinarie tempe­rance and sobrietie, wee should adde the extraordinarie 1 exercise of fasting. First therefore, this abstinence from food is required, as a meanes of humiliation: for by af­flicting 2 the body, the mind is the better humbled. Second­ly, as a signe and testimonie of our humiliation: for in our abstinence from all food, we acknowledge our selues 3 vnworthie of a peece of bread or cup of water. Thirdly, as it causeth the bodily hunger and thirst, so it sharpeneth the spirituall hunger and thirst of the soule: and is ther­fore acknowledged by all men to be a notable meanes to 4 encrease the feruencie of our prayer. Fourthly, as a testi­monie of our repentance,2. Cor. 7.11. when we vse it by way of god­ly 5 reuenge vpon our selues. Fiftly, as an admonition vnto vs, that we abstaining from our food, which is lawfull, should much more abstain from whatsoeuer is vnlawfull. 6 Lastly, as a meanes of almes giuing, without any more impairing of our wealth than if we had not fasted, when that which is denied to the belly, is giuen to the poore. And thus, and in these respects, we are in the time of the fast to abstaine from food.

From sleepe in part.19. Secondly, we are not onely to abstaine from all excesse of sleepe, but also to cut off so much of our ordi­narie sleepe, as the want thereof be not an hinderance vnto vs in the worship of God,Col. 4.2. 1. Pet. 4.7. that so we may watch vn­to prayer. To which purpose, the faithfull vnder the law, when they fasted, made choise to lie vneasily: that so they might take no more sleepe than was necessarie, and ther­by [Page 21] also might shew themselues vnworthie of their ordi­narie case and rest, and might (as I said) the better watch vnto prayer. When Dauid fasted and prayed in the be­halfe of his child,2. Sam. 12.16. Esth. 4.3. he lay vpon the ground all night. Whē the Iewes had notice of Hamans conspiracie against thē, many of them lay in sackcloth and ashes.Ioel. 1.13. The Prophet Ioel exhorting the priests and elders to fast and mourne, because of the famine, he willeth them to lie all night in sackcloth.1. King. 21.27. And in imitation of the faithfull, Achab when he fasted, did also lie in sackcloth.

20. Thirdly,From orna­ments & cost­ly attire. we are to forbeare our better or more costly apparell: especially if it be such as may hinder our humiliation, or minister some matter to our pride: for such is the vanity of our corrupt nature, & our pronenesse to pride, that although apparell was ordained to couer our nakednesse, and to hide our shame, the consequent of our sinne and falling from God: yet if it bee any thing gay or costly, we take a pride therein. When as therefore the Israelits by worshipping the golden calfe, had bro­ken their couenant with the Lord,Exod. 32. Exod. 33.1. and had prouoked him to cast them off: the Lord commaunded Moses and the people to goe towards the land Canaan, signifying, that he would be as good as his promise made to their fa­thers, in giuing to them the land of promise:Vers. 2. And to that end would send his Angell before them, to driue out the Canaanits and the other inhabitants, and to put them in possession:Vers. 3. But as for himselfe, he would not be present among them (or if he should, hee could not but consume them) neither would he haue ought to doe with them, namely, vnlesse they turned vnto him by repentance. For to that end he propounded that threatning, and withall appointed them to lay aside their ornaments and costly rayments,Vers. 5. that hee might know what to doe with them, viz. if they repented, to receiue them to mercie: if not, to cast them off. When as the people therefore heard this euill tidings,Vers. 4. they sorrowed; preferring the fauour of [Page 22] God before the fruition of the land of promise: where­by without Gods fauour, they should haue beene fatted as cattell for the slaughter. And in testimonie of their hu­miliation, they put not on their better attire,Vers. 6. but laid aside their ornaments. And this they did, remouing themselues from mount Horeb, as acknowledging themselues vn­worthie of Gods presence, which hee had manifested on that mount. Where we see the laying aside of ornaments and costly attire, appointed by the Lord himselfe for a signe and testimonie of humiliation. And to the same purpose, they vsed in those times to put on sackcloth; whereby is meant any course or homely garment. Which ceremonie though it were abused by hypocrites in their priuat fasts to ostentation, that they might bee seene of men: yet in publicke fasts it was profitably obserued for the example of others, whose humiliation might bee the more encreased, by the beholding one of another.

From de­lights & plea­sures.21 Fourthly, we are to abstaine from all carnall de­lights, whereby any one of our sences might bee pleased. For the sence of pleasure would abate our mourning, di­minish the sence of our want, and hinder our vnfained hu­miliation before God. Wherefore Ierome saith, that fasting is to abstaine not onely from meats, but also from all plea­sures or allurements.Quest. Euangel. lib. 2. c. 18. And Augustine, The Scripture, saith he, teacheth a general fast, not from the concupiscence of meates onely, but also from all pleasures of temporal de­lights. Thus are we not only to abridge our tast of meats, but also to containe our eies from beholding vanities and pleasures, our eares from hearing mirth or musick, which in time of mourning is vnseasonable, our nostrils, from pleasant odours and effeminate smels:1. Cor. 7.5. Our sence of fee­ling, from the vse of the marriage bed: which as all marri­ed persons are to forbeare vpon consent, for such a time of humiliation, that they may giue themselues to fasting and prayer;Ioel▪ 2.16. so are the Bridegroome and Bride admonished to come forth of their marriage chamber, in the time of [Page 23] the fast. And all these are to be done, partly as meanes of our humiliation, in remouing the impediments thereof; partly as signes of our humiliation, whereby we acknow­ledge our selues vnworthy of these delights; and partly as tokens of our repentance, in that by way of godly re­venge, because all our sences haue sinned, we depriue thē all of their seuerall delights. And as wee are to make all our sences thus to fast: so must wee also weyne our minds from sports and recreations, which would not onely hin­der our humiliation and godly sorrow, but also distract our minds from better meditations in sanctifying the fast. And thus haue I shewed, that in our fast we are to abstaine from food and some other helps and commodities of this life, and also from all outward delights and pleasures.

22 Now it remaineth,From bodily labours and worldly busi­nesse. that I should speake of rest from bodily labours and worldly businesse: For the time of the fast hath the nature of a Sabboth. And by the Pro­phet Ioel it is called dies interdicti, Ioel. 1.14. & 2.15 [...] a solemnity, or day of pro­hibition, wherein men are forbidden to do any worke: as ths Lord expoūdeth that word Leui. 23.Leuit. 23.36. It is a day of pro­hibition, or a solemne day, You shall do no seruile worke therein. And Deut. 16.Deut. 16.8. Six dayes thou shalt eat vnleauened bread, and in the seuenth day, which shall be a solemnity or day of prohibition to the Lord thy God, thou shalt doe no worke. So Num. 29.35. For there is the same reason of the extraordinary Sabbath of humiliation, and of the ordina­ry. But the ordinary was a Sabbath or rest,Leuit. in which no worke was to bee done: yea, the Lord threatneth to de­stroy that person from among his people, that shall doe a­ny worke that day. And as I said before, the law of the weekly Sabbath is to be extended to other extraordina­ry Sabbaths: But on the weekly Sabbath, wee may do no worke, therefore not in this.

23 But let vs consider also,Why rest from labours is re­quired. why, and in what respects rest is required in the day of our fast, and bodily labours and worldly businesse forbidden. The Lord forbiddeth [Page 24] labour and worldly businesse, and commaundeth rest on euery Sabbath: not because simply he either liketh of rest, or misliketh labour; but because bodily labors & world­ly businesse are a meanes to distract vs from the worship of God: and rest from them, is a remedy against distra­ction. For euery Sabbath is to be sanctified and set apart from our businesse and affaires, and is to bee consecrated to the worship of God. And further, on the Sabbath of humiliation, we take vpon vs after a more speciall maner to worship God: and therefore that wee may seriously and entirely intend the seruice of God, we are to abandō all other busines and cares. For that is better done which is done alone, as the Philosopher hath truly said, [...].Polit. 4.15. And it is the counsell of the Wiseman, that, what wee doe, wee should do with all our might. For by doing many things our minds are distracted. This therefore doth teach vs, that with free and entire minds, sequestred from all worldly cares, we are to be conuersant in the worship of God; chiefely, when after a more speciall manner we in­deuour to humble our selues before him. For if bodily labours and worldly businesse bee therefore forbidden, because they are meanes to distract vs: then may we be sure that distraction it self in the worship of God is much more forbidden. For distraction breeds hypocrisie in Gods worship, and causeth vs when wee draw nigh to the Lord with our lips, to remooue our hearts farre from him.

24. Againe, the Lord commaundeth vs in all his Sabbaths to rest from labours, that this outward rest might be an admonition vnto vs to rest from sinne. For why (may euery one of vs thinke) doth the Lord forbid me on the day of rest, the lawfull workes of may calling? Or why doe I cease from mine honest affaires? Must I forbeare that which in it selfe is lawfull; and may I doe that which is vnlawfull? Must I therefore for this time [Page 25] sequester my selfe from my honest businesse, that I may attend vanities or sinnes? Or doth the Lord enjoyne me rest, because hee is delighted with idlenesse, and would haue me to doe nothing? No verily. If he forbid me that which is lawfull, much more doth he forbid that which is vnlawfull. And if he commaund me to rest from honest affaires, it is not because he would haue me idle (for idle­nesse is the mother of much iniquitie) but because hee would haue me attend better matters. In a word, he for­biddeth me to doe mine owne workes and businesse, that I may doe his worke, and attend his religion and seruice. Lastly, there may an outward cause be rendered, why on the day of the fast wee are to cease from bodily labours. For our fraile nature cannot well beare abstinence and bodily labour together: for labour setting the bodie in a heat, wasteth the moisture and spirits, which are to bee supplied by nourishment: otherwise we spend vpon the stocke of our naturall moisture, which is as it were the oyle in the lampe of our life.

25. We see then,How long this abstinēce is to be vsed, or the time of the fast. wherein the outward exercise doth consist, and the particulars from which we are to abstain. Now wee are briefely to consider, for how long this ab­stinence is to be obserued. The vsuall time of a fast is the space of a naturall day, viz. from euen to euen, or from supper to supper. For as that was the time appointed for the ordinarie Sabboth of humiliation, so also of the ex­traordinarie, From euen to euen shall you celebrate your Sabboth. Leuit. 23.32. And accordingly it is noted of the Israelits fast,Iudg. 20.26. Iud. 20. of Dauid and his followers,2. Sam. 1.12. Ios. 7.6. 2. Sam. 3.35. 2. Sam. 1. of Iosuah and the el­ders, Ios. 7. that it was vntill the euening. And more par­ticularly of Dauids fast for Abner, that hee refused to eat any meat while it was yet day, but swore, saying, So doe God to me and more also, if I tast bread or ought else till the Sunne be downe. In like sort, not onely the Iews, but also the auncient Christians vsed to fast vntill the Sunne were set.Hieronym. in vita Hilarionis. Howbeit in processe of time they began espe­cially [Page 26] in the Church of Rome to dissolue their fasts at the ninth houre, which is three a clocke afternoone: which now they haue brought to the sixt houre, and for the most part on their fasting dayes goe to supper before noone. But the shortest time that is mentioned in the Scripture of a fast, is vntill the euening: to which cu­stome their practise is most conformable, who fast all day vntill the ordinarie time of supper. This, as I said, is the vsuall time. But the children of God, when they haue beene pressed with more vrgent occasion, haue some­times continued this exercise for more dayes together: As Esther and the Iewes for three dayes,Esth. 4.16.17. Esth. 4: and like­wise Paule, Act. 9.Act. 9.9. The men of Iabesh Gilead, when they mourned for the death of Saule and his sonnes, fasted se­uen dayes, 1. Sam. 31. Daniell one and twentie dayes.1. Sam. 31.13. Dan. 10.2, 3.

Of the fortie dayes fast of Moses, Elias, and Christ.26. As for the fortie dayes fast, which Moses, Elias, and our Sauiour Christ did fast, it was miraculous, and there­fore not to be imitated. Neither did they fast fortie dayes together, either to subdue their flesh, or to humble their soules: But Moses being the publisher of the law, Elias the restorer of religion, our Sauiour Christ the author of the Gospell; the Lord would by this miraculous fast so countenance their doctrine, as that in respect therof they might seeme not men arising from the earth, or authori­sed by men, but the two former as Angels, the third as the sonne of God, sent from heauen: for their abstinence for the time was angelicall. And we might as well take vpon vs to imitate the Angels not taking of food, which they doe not need, as the fast of Christ and of the other two; who were by the power of God aboue the strength of nature so sustained, as that during their fortie dayes, they no more needed food than angels doe. Neither did our Sauiour Christ or either of the other, fast fortie dayes euery yeare, but once onely in all his life. Wherefore vn­lesse we haue the like cause of fasting, and the like power to support vs (as indeed none haue) it is but a vaine thing [Page 27] to goe about to imitat their fast. Now when the fast is continued for more dayes together, it is not vnmeet, that as in the meane time we are to take but one meale euery day in the euening; so also that we should at those times content our selues with a spare diet in respect of the quan­titie, and meane in respect of the qualitie, whether it bee fish, or flesh, or neither; according to the example of Dani­el. But when our fast is once dissolued,Dan. 10.3. whether it bee at the end of one day, or of more, we may freely vse our or­dinary diet, obseruing alwayes the rules of temperance and sobriety. And it fitteth best the faith of Gods chil­dren, when they haue humbled themselues before God, and poured forth their suit into his bosome; to cheere vp themselues in this persuasion, That they hauing cōmen­ded and committed their cause to God, he will dispose of it and them, as shall be most for his glory, and their good. To this purpose consider the examples, of Anna, 1. Sam. 1, who after she had fasted and poured forth her soule be­fore the Lord,1. Sam. 1.18. 2. Sam. 12.20. she went her way and did eat, and looked no more sad: Of Dauid, euen then when the Lord did seeme to haue denied his perticuler request, 2. Sam. 2. He arose from the earth, and washed and annointed himselfe, and chaunged his apparell, and came into the house of the Lord, and worshipped, and afterward came to his owne house, and bad that they should set bread before him, and he did eat. And thus much may suffice to haue spoken of the outward fast.

27 Now for as much as the kingdome of God stan­deth not in meat and drinke,Of the spiri­tuall exercise, or inward fast, without which the outward is of no value. nor in the abstinence there­from, and seeing bodily exercise profiteth little, but piety (which consisteth in duties of religion sincerely perfor­med) hath the promises both of this life, and of that which is to come:Rom. 14.17. 1. Tim. 4.8. therefore all this outward abstinence is no­thing worth, vnlesse it be ioyned with the inward fast and spirituall exercise of religion, and bee referred thereunto, as to the end thereof. For if men rest in the outward fast, as though that in it selfe were acceptable vnto God, they [Page 28] fast no better than the beasts of Niniuie fasted. They fast not vnto God:Ion. 3. Iohn 4.23, 24. for God is a spirit, and they that will wor­ship him, must worship him in spirit and truth. Wherefore as Zacharie sayth to the Iewes, who resting in the outward fast,Zach. 7.5. imagined, that they pleased God therby: When you fasted and mourned in the fift and seuenth moneth these seuentie yeares, did you in fasting fast to me, to me, sayth the Lord? Likewise Esay 58, when as the Lord respected not the fast of the Iewes, whereby they looked to win his fauour, as appeareth by their question, vers. 3. Where­fore haue we fasted, and thou respectest it not, we haue af­flicted our soules, and thou regardest it not? He rendreth this reason: Because neglecting the inward exercise, they rested in the outward.Vers. 5. Is it such a fast that I haue chosen, that a man should for a day afflict his soule (namely by outward fa­sting) and hang downe his head like a bull-rush, and lie downe in sackeloth and ashes: wilt thou call this a fasting or an acceptable day to the Lord? But if men shall not onely rest in the outward fast, as if that in it selfe were an acceptable worship of God; but shall also obserue it with an opinion of satisfa­ction and merit, persuading themselues, that by their fast they satisfie for their sinnes, and merit euerlasting life: then is it much more abhominable in the sight of God, as being derogatorie to the onely both satisfactorie suffe­rings and meritorious obedience of Christ our Sauiour. And such seemeth to haue beene the fast of the Pharisie:Luk. 18.11, 12, 14. who for all his fasting twice a weeke, and his other me­rits which hee alledgeth, went home vnjustified. And such is the fast of the Papists at this day, who not onely rest in their outward fast, which notwithstanding in ma­ny respects is but a mockefast: but also ascribe satisfacti­on and merit thereunto.The inward fast is a solemn exercise of prayer, ioyned with repen­tance.

28. What then is the spirituall exercise and the in­ward fast, whereunto the outward abstinence must be re­ferred? It is an humbling of our soules in a solemne ex­ercise of prayer, joyned with repentance, for the obtai­ning [Page 29] of our speciall suit, holpen forward and testified by the outward fast: as Ezra speaketh,Ezr. 8.21. chap. 8. I proclaimed a fast, that we might humble our selues before our God, and seeke of him a right way, &c. For as the occasion of our fast is some speciall suit or request, which we are vpon vrgent occasi­on to make to God: so the obtaining of our request is the end of our fast. Now that we may obtaine our suit to our comfort, it is necessarie that wee should beg it at the hands of God by prayer. For as Iames sayth,Iam. 4.2. You haue not, because you aske not. And because the Lord doth not heare euery prayer of euery man, therefore that our prayer may be heard, it is necessarie, that both it be qua­lified in some measure according to Gods will,1 Iohn 5.14. and our selues also indued with repentance for our sinnes. For if our prayer be not rightly qualified, we may aske and not obtaine, as S. Iames sayth,Iam. 4.3. You aske and receiue not, be­cause you aske amisse. Neither, if wee repent not of our sinnes,Esay 59.2. Iohn 9.31. Prou. 15.8.29. shall we be heard; because sinne maketh a separa­tion betweene God and vs: neither doth the Lord heare impenitent sinners.

But if any shall object that we are to pray and repent continually, and therefore that this exercise is to little purpose: I answere, that howsoeuer prayer is to be per­formed of vs dayly and ordinarily, and repentance is to be practised of vs continually in the whole course of our liues: yet this hindreth not, but that as the Lord giueth vs extraordinarie occasion, so we may and ought after a so­lemne and extraordinarie manner to humble our selues before him by prayer and repentance,Mat. 11.21. Iob. 42.6. which our Sauior Christ calleth, repenting in sackcloth and ashes, and like­wise Iob, repenting in dust and ashes.

29. Now whereas I said,The two parts of repentance concurring with both the parts of prayer that this inward fast is an extraordinarie exercise of prayer joyned with a profes­sion of our repentance for the obtaining of our suit: we are to know, that as of prayer, which expresseth our suit, there be two parts, and two especiall properties: so of re­pentance, [Page 30] which secondeth our prayer, there are also two parts. The parts of this prayer are, first, deprecation or praying against some euill which we bewaile, and desire to be remooued, whether it be the euill of sinne alone, or the euill of affliction also caused thereby. Secondly, pre­cation for the obtaining of some good, whether it be on­ly the assurance for the remission of our sinnes, and grace to withstand them, or also some other speciall blessing which wee craue. The two especiall properties of our prayer, are feruencie of desire, and assurance of faith. The two parts of repentance are, humiliation in respect of our sinnes past, [...], panitentia. which is penitencie; and an vnfained purpose of amending our liues for the time to come, both in for­saking our sinnes, and also in embracing the contrary du­ties, which is [...] (that is, amendment of life) properly. [...], resipiscentia. Both these parts of repentance must concurre with both the parts of prayer. And both of them affoord their ne­cessarie helpe to both the properties of prayer. For de­precation of pardon, must be joyned not onely with hu­miliation▪ in respect of our sinnes past, but also with a loa­thing of our sinnes, and an vnfained desire and setled pur­pose to forsake them for the time to come. And prayer for grace and assurance of pardon, must bee joyned not onely with a desire and purpose of amendment, but also with a sence and acknowledgement of our infidelitie and want of grace. And our feruencie in prayer, as it must proceed from the sence of our want: so may it not be se­uered from a desire of obedience and purpose of amend­ment. And lastly, the promise of hearing our prayer, whereon our faith is grounded, is made both to those that are humbled for their sinnes past, and vnfainedly desire and purpose amendment for the time to come. Notwith­standing, there is a more speciall concurrence of humilia­tion with deprecation, and of an vnfained purpose of a­mendment with precation: and also a more speciall refe­rence, as of humiliation to the feruencie of our desire, so [Page 31] of repentance, which consisteth in eschewing euill and doing good to the assurance of faith. Yea the inward sence and sorrow, and the outward bewayling and con­fessing of our sinnes in deprecation, are acts of humilia­tion: and the desire, the promise, the vow of obedience and amendment of life expressed in our precation, are acts of repentance.But for distin­ction sake we are first to speake of hu­miliatiō, which is as it were a preparatiue to praier: second­ly, of the parts and properties of prayer thirdly, of re­pentance and amendement of life, which must as it were second ou [...] prayer: Humiliation is partly in­ward, which standeth in two things▪ 1. An inward sence of our miserie and sorrow for the same: 2. King. 22.19. Act. 2.37. Ioel 2.13. Psal. 51.17. Mat. 9.15. And therefore for plainenesse and di­stinction sake, I will first speake of the former part of our suit, cōsisting in the deprecation joyned with humiliation: and after of the second part, which standeth in the preca­tion joyned with amendment of life.

30. For as touching the former: if wee would bee humble and earnest suiters for the remoouing of euill, whether it be sinne, or punishment, or both; it behooueth vs first to be affected and touched with a sence and fee­ling of our miserie, and to be inwardly grieued for our sinnes, that by them we haue offended God, who hath beene so gracious a God, and so mercifull a father vnto vs, and also haue prouoked him to threaten or to exe­cute his judgements against vs for the same. This then is the first thing which we are to labour for in this exercise, that in regard of our sinnes, which haue made vs obnoxi­ous to Gods judgements, our hearts may melt within vs, and be resolued into a fountaine of teares; that they may be pricked with sorrow and remorse, that they may bee rent with griefe, that they may become contrite and bro­ken with godly sorrow. For mourning is so perpetually annexed to fasting, that our Sauiour Christ vseth these words of fasting and mourning indifferently, to signifie the same thing. For being demaunded, why his disciples fasted not; he said, can the children of the mariage cham­ber mourne, as long as the bridegroome is with them? but the dayes will come when the bridegroome shall bee ta­ken from them, and then shall they fast. For further eui­dence whereof,Mark 2.9. Luke 5.34. we may obserue, that where Mathew vseth the word mourne, the other Euangelists haue fast. And to [Page 32] the same purpose, when the Iewes demaunded of the Prophets, whether they were still to obserue the fast of the fift moneth, &c. they propose their question in these words,Z [...]ch. 7 3. Should I weepe in the fift moneth, and seperate my selfe, viz. from companie and delights? And this mourning, they which fasted were wont vnder the law to signifie by out­ward signes:Ios. 7.6. 1. King. 21.27. Ioel 2.13. Esay. [...]8.1. Psal. 35.13. & 69.12. Es [...]h. 4.1.3. Ion. 3.5, 6, 8. Psal. 69.11. Ioel 2.13. as by renting their garments, putting on of sackcloth, sitting in the ashes, putting earth vpon them. In stead of which signes, the thing signified (that is, the inward mourning of the heart) is commended vnto vs, according to the example of Dauid, Psal. 69.11. In fasting I wept with my soule: or as others read, I wept in the fa­sting of my soule. For so the Prophet exhorteth, Rent your hearts and not your garments, and turne vnto the Lord with all your hearts, and with fasting, weeping, and mourning.

31. And to this godly sorrow must bee added an humble conceit of our selues:An humble and vile esti­mation of our selues. that as we be grieued with our selues because of our sinne, so also wee should thinke vilely and esteeme basely of our selues, as being worthie not onely of that judgement which is vpon vs, but of all the plagues threatened in the law, and vnworthie of the least of Gods mercies: vnworthie of food, signified by our abstinence therefrom: vnworthie of our garments, which therefore wee lay aside: vnworthie to tread vpon the earth,Exod. 33.4. which they were wont to signifie by putting earth vpon them. In a word, the outward abstinence is therefore ordained, that by afflicting the bodie, the soule may be humbled. Yea such an vsuall companion of fa­sting is the humiliation of the soule, that not onely the faithfull in the Scripture are said to humble their soule by fasting,Psal. 35.13. Esay 58.5. Leuit. 23.27.32. 1. King. 21.29. but sometimes also euen the outward fasting is called the humbling of the soule. This inward humiliati­on consisting partly in the godly sorrow, and partly in this base estimation of our selues, is very needfull for vs, if indeed we would be humble suiters vnto the Lord, with [Page 33] hope to obtaine:Psal. 51.17. For, the sacrifices of God are a contrit spirit, and a broken heart, which the Lord in no wise will despise,Esay 66.2. yea he hath respect to those who are of a contrit spirit,Psal. 34.17.18. and hee is neare vnto them when they call vpon him.

32. And that we may attaine to this humiliation,How we are to attaine to this humiliation. we are seriously to meditat of the judgements of God pre­sently either threatned or laid vpon vs: for therefore the Lord doth threaten his judgements,Ezek. 33.11. that by humbling our selues before him,Amo [...] 4.12. and preparing our selues to meet him, they might be preuented and turned from vs: and that judging our selues we might not bee judged of the Lord.1. Cor. 11.31. And therefore also doth the Lord inflict his judgement, that we might be humbled vnder his mightie hand:Ier. 5.3. For not to sorrow when the Lord smiteth, it is a signe of an hard and incorrigible heart: And secondly, we are to enter into a serious meditation of the haynous­nesse of our sins, and of our wretched estate in our selues by reason thereof, which we may conceiue: first, by the deserts of them; and namely by that judgement of God which perhaps is the occasion of this exercise: For what­soeuer other causes there may be thereof, the author and inflicting cause is God,1. Cor. 11 32. and the meriting cause is sinne. And not onely that judgement,Lam. 3.39. but also all those plagues both temporall in this life, and eternall in the world to come, which in the word of God are threatned against transgressors. And these threatnings of the law we are both vndoubtedly to beleeue, and also effectually to apply to our selues. Againe, the same appeareth by the sufferings of Christ: For hereby it is most euident, that our sinnes are so heynous and grieuous in the sight of God, that nothing in the whole world could bee found a sufficient ransome to satisfie Gods justice, and appease his wrath for them, or to expiat vs from the guilt thereof, but the precious death of our Sa­uiour Christ the sonne of God. And therefore if God [Page 34] hath giuen vs the spirit of grace and supplication, we shall lament and mourne as a man weeping for his only sonne, when we looke vpon him whom we haue pierced. And thirdly,Zach. 12.10. our sinne will appeare exceedingly sinfull, if we compare and lay together Gods vnspeakable bounties towards vs, and our almost vncredible vnthankfulnesse towards him: For if thou doest truly and vnpartially consider, what thou hast rendred to the Lord for all his benefits which he hath bestowed on thee, and findest no­thing but a heape of sinnes, whereby thou hast shewed thy selfe so vngracious towards him, who hath beene so gracious vnto thee, and dishonored him that hath so ho­noured thee: this, if anything in the world, will make thy 3 heart relent and melt within thee. And to these former considerations let there bee added, when we come to make our request to God who is in heauen full of majestie and glorie, a remembrance of our mold, that we are but dust and ashes; which humbled Abraham when he was to intreat the Lord in behalfe of the Sodomits, Behold, saith he,Gen. 18.27. I haue begun to speake to my Lord, and I am but 4 dust and ashes. And forasmuch as naturally we are selfe-conceited and hard hearted, we are therefore to pray vn­to the Lord that he would giue vnto vs soft and fleshly hearts; and that with the eye-salue of his spirit he would annoint the eyes of our mind that we may see, and with the finger of his spirit hee would effectually touch our hearts that we may be humbled for our sinnes.

Partly out­ward, arising from the in­ward humilia­tion: whereof also are two branches, first, Lamentation arising from the inward sorrow,33. From the inward humiliation two other things arise, which vsually accompany deprecations: Namely, from the inward sence of our woe and sorrow for our mi­serie, proceedeth an outward bewailing and lamenting of our estate, which in the faithfull sometimes breaketh forth into expostulation. And from the base esteeming and judging our selues, ariseth confession of our sinnes, in respect whereof we acknowledge our selues vnworthie of the lest of Gods mercies, but worthie of his greatest [Page 35] judgements. Lamentation is the outward expressing of our inward mourning, whereby we particularly bewaile our wofull estate before the Lord, making our mone vn­to him, and pouring foorth our griefe as it were into his bosome. Examples hereof we haue in Dauids Psalmes, as Psal. 6. & 22. & 38. & 79, &c. in Ieremies Lamentations. In Ezekias, Esay 38.14. who in his griefe did chatter like a crane or a swallow, and mourned like a doue. Thus some expound that place,1. Sam. 7.6. 1. Sam. 7, where it is said that the Iewes bewai­ling their miserabe estate, Drew water and poured it soorth be­fore the Lord, that they vsed this ceremonie before the Lord to signifie, that without his special mercie and assistance, they were as water spilt vpon the earth: to which pur­pose Dauid saith vnto the Lord,Psal. 22.14. 2. Sam. 14.14. Psal. 22.14, I am like water poured out: and the wise woman of Tekoah vnto Dauid, 2. Sa. 14, We shall be like water that is spilt on the groūd, which cannot be gathered vp againe. And to this bewailing of our estate before the Lord, we may be induced by consi­deration of Gods mercy, who because hee is mercifull, doth heare the cry of his creatures in their distresse:Exod. 22. for if the Lord doth heare sometimes the cry of wicked men in their anguish,Gen. 21.17. although perhaps it be not a prayer, but the voice, which the extremitie of their griefe expresseth from them;Psal. 147.9 & yea the crie of vnreasonable creatures, as of the yong Lyons and the rauens, &c. how much more wil he haue respect to the mournefull crie of his owne chil­dren? But the faithfull sometimes in ther mourning and lamentations doe proceed,And some­times brea­keth forth in­to exp [...]stula­tions. as I sayd, to expostulations, which are vehement interrogations expressed from them by their griefe: whereby they doe expostulat with the Lord,Exod 5.22. Ios. 7.6, 7, 8, 9. Psal. 6.3. & 22.1.2. concerning either the greatnesse, or continuance of their affliction: As Moses Exod. 5. Iosua, chap. 7. Dauid, Psal. 6.3. & 22.1, 2. Iob oftentimes, the Church afflicted, Psal. 79. & 80,Psa [...]. 75.5. & 80.4. Lam. 5. And our Sauiour on the crosse, Math. 27. But here we are to take great heed, that our expostulation be an holy fruit of a liuely faith:Lam. 5 20. Math. 27.46. lest if it proceed frō want of [Page 36] patience, it do degenerat into murmuring against God.

Confession of our sinnes, arising from the humble and base e­stimation of our selues. Psal. 51.4. Dan. 9.7.34. The other thing which must concurre with de­precation, is confession of our sinnes, which is both pro­fitable and necessarie in these respects. First, that God in his judgements may be justified. And to that purpose it is verie expedient, that the praise of the Lord may ap­peare more glorious, and the sinnes which we con­fesse, more grieuous; to make a rehearsall, as of our sinnes, so also of Gods benefits towards vs: notable ex­amples whereof we haue Nehem. 9. from the fift verse vn­to 36. and Ezr. 9.6. Secondly,Nehe. 5. &c. Ezr. 9.6. 1. Cor. 11.31. that judging our selues, we may not be judged of the Lord: For if we acknowledge and confesse our sinnes, the Lord is faithfull and just to forgiue vs our sinnes,1. Iohn 1.9. and to clense vs from all iniquitie: But if we conceale our sinnes we haue no promise of for­giuenesse: for as Salomon saith,Prou. 28.13. Prou. 28, He that hideth his sinnes shall not prosper, but he that confesseth and forsaketh them, shall haue mercie. And this we see notably verified in the example of Dauid, Psal. 32. for whiles hee concealed his sinne, the hand of the Lord was heauie vpon him to af­flict him: but when he confessed and acknowledged his iniquitie,Psal. 32.3, 4, 5. 1. Sam. 7 6. Ezr. 9.6, 7, &c. Neh 16, 7, Dan. 9.3.5. &c. the Lord forgaue his sinne. The practise of this dutie in solemne fasts is commended vnto vs in many ex­amples of the holy Scriptures, as 1. Sam. 7. Ezr. 9. Nehe. 1. Daniell 9.

In & with this humiliation, our prayer, and especially our depreca­tion is to be made.35. Thus therefore in an inward sence and sorrow for our sinnes, and a base estimation of our selues for the same, together with a bewailing of our woe and confes­sion of our sinne, we are to make our humble supplica­tion and deprecation to the Lord, pouring foorth our soule before him: earnestly beseeching him in the name and mediation of Christ, that he would remoue his judge­ments from vs, and for his sake would forgiue vs our sins which haue most justly prouoked him to indignation against vs.Ioel 2.17. A liuely patterne whereof we haue Ioel 2.17. Let them say, spare thy people ô Lord, &c. and other [Page 37] worthie precedents,Dan., 18. Nehem. 9.32. as Dan. 9, and Nehem. 9. And herein we being summoned as it were before the judgement seat of the Lord, are to immitat the ancient custome of guiltie persons among the Romans, when they were arraigned before the judgement seat; who that they might mooue the Iudges to mercie and compassion, humbly abased themselues before them, vsing long and neglected haire, and putting on mourning weeds,1. Kin. 20.31. &c. And as Benhadad his seruants and followers, when they being vanquished by Achab the king of Israell, desired to make humble sute vnto him for their own and Benhadad his life and libertie: We haue heard, say they to Benhadad, that the kings of the house of Israell are mercifull kings, we pray thee let vs put sackcloth about our loynes, and ropes about our heads, and go out to the king of Israell: it may be that he will saue thy life. So let vs, hauing sinned against God, and made our selues obnoxious to his judgements, come vnto the Lord with all inward humiliation, and outward tokens thereof, as it were with ropes about our neckes, suing vnto him for mercie and pardon, seeing we haue not onely heard that he is mercifull: but also know that he hath commanded vs in our distresse to call vpon him with promise to heare vs:Psal. 50.15. Ioel 2.12, 13. and also hath inuited vs to turne vnto him with all our heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and that we should rent our hearts and not our garments: for he is gra­cious and mercifull, slow to anger, and of great kindnes, and repenteth him of the euill.VVhereunto the other part of prayer, which is pre­cation for good, is to be annexed. Phil. 4.6. Eph. 6.1 [...]. 1. Tim. 2.1. & 5.5.

36. But forasmuch as we are suters to the Lord, not onely for auoiding that which is euill, but also for obtai­ning that which is good: we are therefore to make our requests knowne vnto God, not onely by supplications and deprecations againsts euils; but also by petitions and precation for that which is good: and therefore the ho­ly Ghost both by doctrine and example hath taught vs to joyne them together:Act. 1.14. For if we truly bewaile our sins, [Page 38] and earnestly desire to be deliuered from the guilt there­of: we will also craue assurance of the remission of our sinnes to be sealed vp in our conscience by the spirit of adoption: and not that onely, but also we will desire to be renewed and sanctified by the spirit of God, that sinne may die in vs, and that we may liue vnto God in true ho­linesse and righteousnesse. And lastly, we will craue the assistance of the holy Ghost to strengthen and support vs against all the temptations of the flesh, the world and the diuell. But if besides the euill of sinne we haue occa­sion also to pray against some euill of punishment, then do we commonly pray for the contrarie blessing: or if the obtaining thereof be not expedient for vs (as in tem­porall petitions it many times falleth out) we must wil­lingly submit our selues to Gods good will and pleasure, and in steed of asking preseruation from that which is present, we are to craue patience and comfort in affli­ction, and to beseech the Lord that he would blesse his visitation vnto vs, and cause it to turne vnto our good. And therefore these temporall benefits are not (as I haue elsewhere shewed) to be asked absolutly,In Psal. 50.51. but with this condition, If they may stand with Gods glorie, and our spirituall and euerlasting good.

The 2 proper­ties of prayer.37. And these two were the parts of our prayer. Now in them both there are two things required: fer­uencie of desire that we may, and assurance of faith that we shall obtaine our request.1. Feruencie. As touching the former: Feruencie is required alwayes in our prayers, but espe­cially when vpon extraordinarie occasion we humble our selues before the Lord in prayer: for then we must not onely pray,Ioel 1.14. but also cry vnto the Lord; whereby ve­hement prayer is signified:Ion. 3.8. yea as the Niniuits speake, we are to cry mightily vnto him. And forasmuch as this fer­uencie of desire proceedeth from the feeling of our want, and is commonly proportionable thereunto: therefore doth the Lord afflict vs, that in the sence of our want we [Page 39] might the more earnestly poure foorth our soules before him: and to the same purpose do we afflict our selues by the outward fast, that we might the better giue our selues to prayer: for therefore doe we abstaine from food and delights, that the sence of our want might be increased, and so our feruencie inflamed; therefore do we abstaine from our bodily labors and worldly businesse, that we might the better attend and intend our prayer; and therefore also do we abridge our selues of vnnecessarie sleepe, that we might watch vnto prayer. For this cause some haue called fasting, The wing of praier: because the earnestnes thereof being inflamed by fasting, it doth the more forcibly ascend before the Lord.De ieiunio Serm. 1. [...] (sayth Basill) [...]: Fasting sendeth vp prayer vnto heauen, being as it were a wing vnto it, Tom. 4. homil. ad pop. 71. to helpe it in the ascent. And to the like purpose, Chrysostome, He that prayeth with fasting hath two wings (saith he) namely to lift him vp from the earth. And forasmuch as this is one maine end whereunto fasting is referred, hence it is that so often we do read in the Scriptures of fasting ioyned with prayer. See Ios. 7.7. 1. Sam. 1.10. and 7.5.6. 2. Sam. 12.16. 2. Chron. 20.6. Ezr. 8.23. Neh. 1.4. & 9.1.6, &c. Psal. 35.13. Dan. 9.3. Ioel. 1.14. & 2.15.17. Ionas 3.5.8. Math. 17.21. Luk. 2.37. Act. 9.9.11. & 10.30. & 13.3. & 14.23. 1. Cor. 7.5.In quadrages. Serm. 4. For as Bernard saith, Ieiu [...]ium orationem roborat, ora­tio sanctificat ieiunium: Fasting fortifieth prayer: prayer sanctifieth fasting.

38.2 Faith, which must be groū ­ded first on the mediation of Christ, The second thing required in prayer, is Faith: for as we are in our prayers to call vpon God in the name of Christ; so are we to beleeue, that for Christ his sake the Lord will heare vs, and so farre forth graunt our requests as shall be most for his glorie, and our good: for howso­euer when we fast, we are to bee humbled in our selues, mourning for our sinnes and bewailing our wants; yet we must not so cast downe our selues, that we cast away hope, but contrariwise we are to cast our selues vpon the [Page 40] mercies of God in Christ: yea therefore doth God touch vs with a sence of our want, that feeling our miserie, we might flie vnto him for mercie. And therefore are we to humble our selues before God,Luke 18.14. that being cast downe in our selues, we may bee exalted in Christ. Wherefore in our fast we are so to deplore our miserie, that withall we implore the mercie of God; being well assured, though in our selues we are vnworthy to appeare in his presence, or to lift vp our eyes to heauen, yet comming vnto him in the name of Christ, we and our prayers shall be accep­ted of him in his sonne.2. On the pro­mises of God. This faith is to be grounded al­so on the gracious promises of God made vnto vs in Christ:Iohn 16.23. As namely, that whatsoeuer we shall aske the fa­ther in his name,Psal. 50.15. he will giue it vnto vs, Call vpon me in the day of trouble, I will deliuer thee and thou shalt glo­rifie me. And more specially the Lord promiseth by his Prophet Ioel to the people of the Iewes being afflicted with a grieuous famine,Ioel 2.18.19. That if they humbled their soules before him in fasting and prayer, he would graunt their desire.

And is to be cōfirmed, 1, by experience of those who haue vsed this exercise with happy successe: Ez [...]. 8.23.39. And the same may be confirmed by the experi­ence of those, who hauing vsed this exercise, haue ob­tained their requests at the hands of God. Call to mind the examples in the places before alledged, of Annab 1. Sa. 1. of the Israelits 1. Sam. 7, of Iosaphat 2. Chr. 20. of Neb. cha. 1. of Daniel, chap. 9. of Ezra, who professeth his experience in this behalfe: We fasted, saith he, and besought our God for this, and he was intreated of vs. Of Esther, Mor­dochay and the Iewes, who ordained the fast of Purim to be celebrated yearely on the fourteenth and fifteenth day of the moneth Adar,Esth. 9.22. as dayes of feasting and joy, and as perpetuall monuments of that great deliuerance which they had obtained by fasting and prayer: In which sence they are called, Verba seu document a ieiuniorum & clamoris sui, Esth. 9.31.Verse 31. And for the better confirmation of our faith, let vs to this experience of Gods dealing with the faith­full, [Page 41] add the examples euen of Rehoboam, of Achab, and of the Niniuits: For if when the Lord had threatned destru­ction to Rehoboam, by Shemaiah; to Achab, by Elias; and to the Niniuits, by Ionas: notwithstanding by fasting and humbling themselues, Rehoboam, who with his people had forsaken the Lord;2. Chron. Achab, who had sold himselfe to com­mit wickednesse; and the Niniuits who being not onely aliants from God,1. King. 21.29. but also the posteritie of cursed Cham, had filled heauen and earth with their transgressions,Ion. 3.10▪ es­caped that judgement which was threatned against them: how much more is this exercise to be vndertaken of all those that truly repent and beleeue in Christ, with as­surance of good successe? Feare not my little flocke (saith our Sauiour Christ to all the faithfull) for it is your fathers pleasure to giue you the kingdome,Luke 12.32. and therefore he will not denie you small requests, if they may bee for your good. And if the Lord hath so loued vs, as that he hath not spared his sonne, but hath giuen him for vs all; how shall he not with him,Rom. 8.32. giue vs all things also that may be expedient for vs? He doth not thinke any thing too good or too deare for vs, who hath giuen his sonne to vs in pretium, for a ransome, and reserueth himselfe in pramium, for a reward.

40.2, By the reli­gious perfor­mance of this exercise, wher­by we may be the better qua­lified accor­ding to the condition im­plied in the promise. But you will say: If our faith must bee grounded vpon the promises of God, what helpe then doth fasting affoord vnto it? I answer, first, That fasting being com­maunded and ordained of God, it is to be vndertaken with expectation of a blessing vpon his owne ordinance. And secondly, although our faith may not relie vpon the merit of our fasting (which indeed is none) but only on the promise of God in Christ; yet being rightly perfor­med, it affoordeth a good testimonie to our conscience, that the promise belongeth to vs: for although we be­leeue in generall, the promises of God to be true; yet we shall haue small comfort by them, vnlesse we can be per­suaded that they belong vnto vs. And how can we per­suade [Page 42] our selues that they belong vnto vs, if we haue not the condition implied in the promise? As for example: The Lord hath promised to haue respect to the humble, to be neare vnto them when they call vpon him,Esay 66.2. Psal. 34.18. 1. Pet. 5.5. Luk. 18.14. Mat. 5.6. Iohn 7.73. to giue grace vnto them, and to exalt them: Likewise to them that hunger after righteousnesse, and thirst for his grace, he hath promised, that they shall be satisfied. If there­fore thou wouldest apply these promises to thy selfe, thou must humble thy selfe before God, and not be lifted vp with pride: thou must hunger and thirst after the grace of God and righteousnesse of Christ, and not be full with a conceit of thine owne righteousnesse. But by fasting, our humiliation, as I haue shewed, may be furthered, and our spirituall hunger increased, and so our selues better qualified, according to the condition included in the pro­mise: which condition if we find in our selues, then may we from the promise as it were the proposition, applied to our selues by the testimonie of our conscience, as it were the assumption, gather to our selues a comfortable conclusion. Of which comfort they bereaue themselues, who performe this exercise in an opinion of meriting thereby: for when fasting is joyned with a conceit of me­rit, it doth not so much humble the bodie, as puffe vp the soule, and so make it vncapable of the grace of God: for the Lord giueth grace to the humble, and he resisteth the proud.1. Pet. 5.5. And as the blessed virgin saith, He filleth the hungrie with good things,Luke 1.53. but the rich he sendeth emptie away.

3. By the pra­ctise of repen­tance, concur­ring also with our prayer in this exercise.41. Another notable meanes to confirme our faith in the assurance of obtaining our sute, is to forsake our sins (which make a separation betweene God and vs) and to promise amendment for the time to come, which also is testified by our fast: For it is not sufficient to confesse our sinnes,Esay 59.2. if we would find mercie with God; but also we must forsake them.Prou. 28.13. And if we desire to be deliuered from the euill which doth afflict vs, and to obtaine the contra­rie [Page 43] blessing which doth affect vs: then it behooueth vs to forsake our sinne, which is the cause of the affliction, and also an obstacle, and as it were a partition wall betwixt God and vs,Ezek. 43.8. to keepe his blessings from vs. Wouldest thou then haue thine affliction remooued? remooue the cause, which is thy sinne. And if thou wouldest haue God to repent him of the euill of affliction,Ion. 3.10. which he hath ei­ther threatned or inflicted, then must thou also repent of the euill of sinne, which hath merited the affliction. Now if we shall truly repent of our sinnes, and vnsainedly pur­pose amendment of life for the time to come, then may we persuade our selues that our preseruation and deliue­rance shall be joyned with Gods glorie; & consequently may be emboldned with better assurāce of faith, to desire the Lord to preserue & deliuer vs euen for his own glory, & for his names sake. But here, as we desire any sound cō ­fort, so must we deale soundly with the Lord: and not as the common practise of the most, in the time of affliction, to promise greatmatters vnto the Lord, which they haue no true purpose to performe: for this is to flie vnto God, and to go about to deceiue him with our lippes.Psal. 78.36.

42. And hereby appeareth the great necessitie of joy­ning the practise of repentance with the exercise of prayer in our fast.This repen­tance or a­mendment standeth in two things: And therefore fasting as it was ordai­ned to be an helpe vnto our prayer, so also to bee both a testimonie & furtherance of our repentance, as I haue shewed. Now our repentance standeth in two things, in the eschewing of euill,The former, is eschewing euill: and doing of good. As touching the former: abstinence from euill and ceassing from sin, is signified in our fast, by abstinence form food and de­lights, and by cessing from our labors: For therefore the Lord doth the rather require in our fasts the abstaining and ceassing from things in themselues lawfull, that thereby we might be admonished much more to abstaine from that which is vnlawful.Serm. 1. de ieiu­nio. In which respect, Basil calleth fasting, [...], a medicine to take away sinne. [Page 44] And Augustine, De tempore serm. 64. this is (sayth he) the profit of fasting, that whiles we fast from lawfull things, wee are admonished more and more to forbeare vnlawfull things. If therefore wee auoid things which sometimes are lawfull, let vs chiefely auoid sinnes which are neuer lawfull: if we fast from meats, much more let vs fast from sinnes: Quid pro­dest vacuare corpus ab escis, & animam replere peccatis? What a­uaileth it to keepe the body emptie from meats, and to fill the soule with sinne? For abstinence from things lawfull, if it be not joyned with abstinence from things vnlaw­full, that is to say, if our fasting from food and other de­lights be not joyned with fasting from sinne, it is odious and abhominable in the sight of God.Esay 1.13. Non possum ferre ini­quitatē & diem interdicti. A day of rest, and not resting from sinne, the Lord cannot endure together. It is not the emptinesse of the bellie or cleannesse of the teeth, but the puritie of the foule and cleanenesse of the heart; nor the outward rest from labour, but the spirituall rest from sinne that is acceptable vnto God: without which, the outward fast as it causeth vs to smell worse to men,Arist. problem. sect. 13. quest. 7. according to the prouerbiall phrase, [...] so ma­keth it vs to stinke before God.

Which is the true fast.43. It is well said of the heathen man, that we ought to fast from sinne. For as Serm. 1. de ie­iun. Basill truly sayth, [...]: [...]; Plutarch de cohibend. ira. true fasting is abandoning of euill. And to the like purpose others of the fathers: Chrysostome, True fasting (sayth Tom. 4. homil. 72. ad populum. he) is abstinence from euill: and againe, Homil. de ie­jun. ad Pop. Antioch. De tempore Serm. 173. In Leuit. lib. 10 the commendation of a fast is not abstaining from meat, but auoiding of sinne. Augustine, The fasts of Christians are rather spiritually to be obserued, than carnally. Wher­fore let vs principally fast from sinne. For what a thing is this, that any deceiuer should abstaine from meats which God hath created, and should grow fat with sinne? prin­cipally therefore let our mind fast from euill: for seeing fasting is the humbling of the soule, what a thing is that, to be humbled and abated in food, and increased in sinne? And likewise Cyrill, Wilt thou haue mee shew thee what [Page 45] manner of fast thou must obserue? fast from all sinne, take no food of mallice, receiue no dainties of pleasure, inflame not thy selfe with the wine of lust, fast from bad practises, abstaine from euill speeches, containe thy selfe from wicked thoughts: such a fast pleaseth God. But these testimonies of men were of little weight, if the Lord himselfe did not auouch the same truth. See therefore Esay 58. and Zach. 7. where the Lord rejecteth the fasts of the Iewes,Esai. &c. because whiles they fasted and forbare their food,Zach. 7.5.7. they did not forbeare their sinnes. We must there­fore remember when we obserue a fast, and consecrate a Sabbath of humiliation vnto the Lord,Esay. 58.3.15. that we turne a­way our foot, that is, our affections from doing our owne will therein: neither must we follow our owne waies, nor seeke our owne delights, nor speake a vaine word.

44. And as we are to abstaine from all sinne in ge­nerall:Especially wee are to abstain from those sinnes where­in we haue cheefly offen­ded, & wherby the anger of the Lord is or hath beene e­specially pro­uoked against vs. so especially from those wherein we haue chiefly offended, and haue thereby prouoked the Lord either to shake his rod at vs, or else to correct vs therewith. For they being the cause of the judgement, must be remoued away, if we would haue the judgement it selfe remoued. And therefore the Niniuits, when they proclaimed a fast, gaue in charge, that euery one should turne from his euill way and from that violence (for that was the crying sinne of the Niniuits) which was in their hand. And when God saw their workes, that they turned from their euill waies, he also repented of the euill that he had said that he would doe vnto them, Ion. 3.8, 10. that is to say, he did it not. And we must so ab­staine from our sinnes, as that we may not seeme to haue laid them aside for a day or two, but to haue cast them off for euer.Esay. 58.5. For that is not the fast which the Lord hath cho­sen, that a man should afflict his soule for a day, and hang downe his head like a bullrush. For as the sonne of Syrach sayth, He that washeth himselfe because of a dead bodie, and toucheth it againe,Eccles. 34.27. what auaileth his washing? so it is with a man that fasteth for his sins, and committeth them [Page 46] again: who will heare his prayer, or what doth his fasting helpe him?

Serm. de temp. 173. The latter part is ensuing or following af­ter that which is good. By practising good duties for the present to­wards God & our neighbor, Zach. 7.9, 10.45. But for as much as Augustine saith, It is but a slen­der fast to abstaine onely from sinne, vnlesse we also adde good workes: therefore wee must know it is our dutie, especially on the day of the fast, not only to eschew euill, but also for the present to be exercised in well doing: and for the time to come to purpose and to promise amende­ment. The duties wherin we are to be exercised, are both the duties of pietie and religion towards God, which in the time of the fast are to be performed in a speciall man­ner: and also the duties of loue and mercie towards our brethren; as to execute true judgement, to shew mercie and compassion euery man to his brother. For is not this the fasting that I haue chosen (sayth the Lord) to loose the bands of wickednes,Esay 58.6. to take off the heauie burthens, and to let the oppressed goe free, and that ye breake eue­ry yoke?Especially the duties of mer­cie and almes-giuing. Among the rest, the dutie of almes-giuing and relieuing the poore is commended vnto vs, as it follow­eth in the Prophet: Is it not to deale the bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poore that wander, Vers. 7. vnto thine house? When thou seest the naked, that thou couer him, and hide not thy selfe from thine owne flesh, for so he calleth thy poore brother. Then shall thy light breake forth, Vers. 8. &c. then shalt thou call, and the Lord will answere, Vers. 9. thou shalt crie, and be will say, here am I. If thou ta­kest away from the middest of thee the yoke, the putting foorth of the finger (whereby is meant euen the least injuries) and wicked speaking: Vers. 10. if thou poure out thy soule to the hungry (that is, if with the bowels of compassion thou doest relieue his need freely and chearefully) and refresh the troubled soule, then shall thy light spring out in the darkenesse, and thy darkenesse shall be as the noone day: that is, thine aduersitie and affliction shall be turned into peace and prosperitie.

46. Wherefore it hath beene and is the custome of the godly in the time of their fasts,Which must concurre with our fast. by doing workes of mercie and giuing almes, to relieue the poore. For as our [Page 47] Sauiour hath joyned the doctrine of these three toge­ther, almes, prayer, and fasting; so must we after the ex­ample of Cornelius joyne them in practise.Mat. 6. Act. 10.30.31. Mat. 5.7. Esay 58.9. Prou. 21.13. For as the Lord hath promised to shew mercie to the mercifull, and to an­swere their crie: so on the other side, he that stoppeth his eare at the crying of the poore, himselfe shall crie and not be heard. And surely, vnlesse we will fast for sparing, af­ter the manner of niggards, who will be glad of so good a pretence to spare from their bellies, & to depriue their families of their ordinarie allowance, for the increase of their worldly estate;In alimentis pauperū abrupti apparatus [...]ti­pēdia largiatur. August. de temp. Serm. 173. In Esay 58. Ser. de temp. 64. wee ought to giue so much to the poore, as by our abstinence is saued: Vt ieiunium tuum (saith Ierome) non sit lucrum marsupij, sed saturitas animae; that thy fast be not the gain of thy purse, but the saturitie of thy soule. For as Augustine sayth, Then are our fasts acceptable to God, when as they, whom need doth force to fast, are re­freshed by vs. And againe, Ieiunium tuum te castiget, sed lae­tificet alterum: Let thy fasting chastise thee, but let it com­fort another. So fast, that thou mayest be glad that thou hast dined in another that eateth by that meanes,De temp. serm. 65. for the Lord loueth a chearefull giuer: for when a poore man eateth of thine allowance, in him Christ, who affirmeth himselfe to be hungry in his poore members, doth dine. And elsewhere,De tempore, serm. [...]57. Accipiat esuriens Christus, quod ieiunans minus accepit Christianus. Let Christ, being hungrie in his poore members, receiue that which the fasting Christian hath spared. Castigatio volentis, fiat sustentatio non habentis: Let the chastisement of him that hath and is willing to forbeare, be the sustenance of him that hath not and faine would eat.In Leuit. lib. 10 in fine. And to conclude, Cyrill, In a certaine booke (sayth he) we find it said of the Apostles, Blessed is hee who fasteth to that end, that he may feed the poore.

47. And as we are thus for the present to be exerci­sed,By purposing and promising amendement for the time to come. so for the time to come we must vnfainedly purpose and faithfully promise amendement, in performing du­ties heretofore omitted, and in eschewing sinnes hereto­fore [Page 48] committed. And to this purpose it shall bee needfull for the better setling of our resolution, to bind our selues by a solemne vow, and with the Iewes in the booke of Nehemiah to put our seales vnto it,Nehem. 9.38. that so we may impose a necessitie vpon our selues of well doing: and we are to know, that it is a happie necessitie which forceth vs to better things. The necessitie of this vnfained purpose to be had in this exercise, is euident: because without it wee remaine in our impenitencie. And being impenitent sin­ners, the Lord will not heare vs: as the Lord threatened the impenitent Iewes, When they fast (sayth he) I will not heare their crie,Ierem. 14.12. Ierem. 14. And therefore vnlesse wee re­pent of our sinnes, and resolue to amend; this exercise, which wee (being suters) vndertake for the obtaining of our sute, is performed of vs in vaine. For this wee are to know & to be assured of,Iohn 9.31. That the Lord heareth not im­penitent sinners. Wherefore true is that saying, though of an Apocryphall booke:Teb. 12.8. Prayer is good, with fasting, almes, and righteousnesse.

The sorts of the religious fast, vz. priuat, or publicke. The priuat fast48. And thus we haue heard what the religious fast is, and the parts also wherein it doth consist. Now we are to consider the sorts of it: for the religious fast is either priuat, or publicke. The priuat fast, is that which is obser­ued priuatly: as the fast of some one man, or of a priuat familie. And this is to be vndertaken either for priuat, or publicke causes: for priuat, concerning either our selues and those that belong to vs; so fasted Annah, 1. Sam. 1. Cornelius, Psal. 35.13. Act. 10. Dauid, 2. Sam. 12: or others, as Dauid for those that prooued his enemies: and Darius (though an heathen) for Daniell, Dan. 6.19. when he was cast into the Lyons den. But we are to fast priuatly, not onely vpon priuat occasi­ons, but much more vpon publicke causes. For as it is the dutie of the faithfull,Ezech. 9.4. priuatly to mourne for publicke ca­lamities and common corruptions, which ordinarily are the fore runners of common calamities: so also they may fast therefore.Neh. 1.4. And such was the fast of Nehemiah, chap. 1. [Page 49] and of Daniel, Dan. 9. Mat. 6.16, 17, 18 chap. 9. In priuat fasts our Sauiour Christ requireth that they be so secretly performed, as that vnto men we may not seeme to fast, but onely to our heauenly father, who seeing in secret, will reward vs openly. And for as much as the day of the fast hath the nature of a Sabbath, wherein we are to cease from bodily labors and worldly businesse: therefore those which bee vnder the gouernment of others,Num. 30.14. as wiues, children, and seruants, may not take vpon them to obserue a fast on a working day, without the leaue and liking of their gouernours.

49. The publicke fast is that,The publicke fast Ier. 36.9. which being vpon publicke cause, by publicke authoritie proclaimed before the Lord, is both publickly and priuatly to be sanctified of all as a Sabbath of humiliation vnto the Lord. In which definition there are foure things to bee obserued: first, who are to appoint the publicke fast; secondly, vpon what cause; thirdly, who are to obserue it; fourthly, how. As touching the first:VVho are to appoint it. The appointment of publicke fasts appertaineth to those who haue publicke authoritie to call the people together to the publicke worship of God, and to cause them to cease from their bodily labors and worldly affairs: as appeareth in the examples of pub­licke fasts recorded in the word of God: as 2. Chron. 20.3. Ion. 3.7. 1. Sam. 7.5. Ezr. 8.21. Ioel 1.14. And this they are to doe by proclaiming of the fast, that is, both by giuing publicke notice of it, and also by charging all men to as­semble themselues at the time appointed, to obserue it; according to the direction of the holy ghost by the Pro­phet Ioel: Ioel. 2.15, 16. Blow the trumpet in Sion, sanctifie a fast, that is, by your proclamation (which is meant by sounding the trumpet) appoint a fast to be sanctified, proclaime a day of rest, or Sabbath of humiliation, assemble the people, &c. And here we are to obserue that which is further ad­ded out of Ierem. 36.Ier. 36.9. that this fast is to be proclaimed be­fore the Lord, that both they which haue authoritie, doe proclaime it not in any wicked or worldly respect,1. King. 21.9, 12. but [Page 50] in vprightnesse of heart, as before the Lord: and also that those who are to obserue it, assemble themselues as before the Lord, to sanctifie a fast vnto him.

Vpon what occasion.50. The next thing to be considered, is the cause whereupon the fast is to be proclaimed: that when there is just cause, those which are in authority may take know­ledge of their dutie in this behalfe. And that is (as I haue generally noted before) when we haue some important and vrgent occasion to become humble and earnest su­ters vnto the Lord,As first, for the obtaining of some publick blessing. either for the obtaining of some spe­ciall and publicke blessing, or for the remoouing of some publicke euill: and this either for our selues, or for other churches of Christ.Act. 13.2. As for example, when some publike matter of great importance is to be attempted, then, as we haue extraordinarie occasion to craue the blessing of God vpon vs, so also we haue just cause to fast. Consider to this purpose the examples of Ezra, chap. 8. and of the faithfull in the primitiue Church, Act. 13. and 14. both which being to craue the blessing of God; the former vpon their voyage towards Ierusalem after their capti­uitie; the latter vpon the ministerie of his seruants whom they either ordained or sent forth to the worke of their ministerie, commended their sute vnto the Lord by pub­licke fasting and prayer. Which examples may be a suf­ficient direction for appointing publicke fasts, vpon oc­casions of no lesse importance.1. King. 21.9.12. In the hystorie of the Kings it appeareth to haue beene the custome of the Is­raelits (though that practise was monstrously abused by Iezabell) that publicke matters of importance should bee enterprised with a fast.

For remo­uing some publick euill: whether some publicke sinne, Esay 64.5. 1. Cor. 11.31.91. As touching publicke euils, they be either pub­licke sinnes, or publicke judgements of God for sinne. For if the people of God haue committed some common or publicke sinne, and thereby haue prouoked the Lord to wrath and indignation (as indeed when we sinne, he is angry) then it behoueth them to judge themselues, if they [Page 51] would not bee judged of the Lord, and by humbling themselues before the Lord in fasting and prayer, to ap­pease his anger, and to preuent his judgements. The peo­ple of Israel, when many of them had sinned by idola­trie, and by reason of their sinne stood in feare of the Phi­listims: the Prophet Samuell assembleth them together to Mizpeh,1. Sam. 7.6. where they solemnized a fast, and pouring forth water before the Lord, acknowledged and beway­led their sinne. Likewise, when many of the Iewes, who were returned from captiuitie, had mingled themselues in mariage with the heathen people of the land, contrary to the commaundement of God,Nehem. 9.1. they humbled them­selues before the Lord in a publicke and solemne fast. If wee therefore would auoid the judgements of God as they did, wee must follow the example of their repen­tance, when we haue not beene behind them in sinne.Or publicke iudgement: & that either threatened. But if it please the Lord to manifest his wrath, either by threatening his judgements, or by inflicting them, then doth the Lord as it were call vs to this exercise. Now the Lord threateneth his judgements, first, by his Prophets and ministers,Ion. 3. as by Ionas against the Niniuits, whereupon they fasted; secondly, by some manifest tokens of his wrath, as by earthquakes and other prodigious signes, whereby the auncient Romans being also Gentiles, haue beene mooued to proclaime publicke fasts: thirdly, by giuing vs notice of some imminent danger; as when we heare of an open inuasion intended by forraine enemies,Ier. 36.9. 2. Chron. 20.3. which consideration mooued Iosaphat to proclaime a fast: or vnderstand of some more secret plot or conspiracie, against the Church, the prince, or state, such as was the conspiracie of Haman against the people of the Iewes,Esth. 4.1.3. for the disappointing whereof the Iewes did fast. If therfore the Lord do in like sort threaten vs, & as it were shake his rod ouer vs: we must prepare our selues to meet our God and to turne vnto him by repentance,Am. 4.12. with fasting and prayer.

[Page 52] or inflicted:52. And if judgements threatened should mooue vs to fast, how much more are wee bound to humble our selues vnder the mightie hand of God, when it is vpon vs, scourging and afflicting vs for our sinnes? As for ex­ample, when the Lord sendeth any of the publicke mes­sengers of his wrath, as the sword, famine, pestilence, cap­tiuitie. The ten tribes after two discomfitures receiued at the hands of the Benjamits,As the sword, Iudg. 20. wherein fortie thousand of them were slaine, humbled themselues before the Lord by fasting and prayer. The Prophet Ioel, when the Lord sent a grieuous famine vpon the land,Famine, Ioel 1.14. & 2.12.15. earnestly exhorted the Iewes in the name of the Lord, to turne vnto him with all their heart, with fasting, with weeping and mour­ning, &c. Likewise for the time of pestilence as well as of famine,Pestilence, 1. Kin. 8.37, 38. 2. Sam. 24. Salomon giueth direction, that men should hum­ble themselues before the Lord. Which course his father Dauid had taken, when the Lord sent the pestilence amōg the people of Israel: which judgement was occasioned by his numbering of them, but caused by their owne sins. Moses also, when the plague was begun among the people of Israel for their murmuring, he commaundeth Aaron to take his Censer,Num. 16.46. and putting therein incense, to go among the people, and to make an attonement for them: which Aaron hauing done, and standing betwixt the dead and them that were aliue, the plague ceased. Which doth teach vs, that the meanes to pacifie the wrath of God, and to remooue the plague, is to offer vp our heartie prayers vnto the Lord,Apoc. 5.8. Psal. 14 [...].2. Apoc. 8.3. signified by incense, in the name and me­diation of Christ our high priest, who standing before the altar with his golden Censer, perfumeth the prayers of the faithfull with the odours of his owne sacrifice, and maketh them acceptable vnto God. And for the better humbling of our selues in prayer, and testifying of our repentance, it is very needfull, that as in all other publick calamities, so in this of the pestilence, we vndertake this exercise of fasting. Onely this we are to be admonished [Page 53] of, That in places of infection, the vtter abstinence from food is not so precisely to be vrged, but that the people may, yea ought to take something before they come a­broad, as a preseruatiue against infection.

53. Lastly, for the time of captiuitie,Captiuitie. Zac. 7.5, & 8.19 Ier. 52.4. we haue the ex­ample of the Iewes, who during their captiuitie in Baby­lon, obserued foure fasts in the yeare: the first in the tenth moneth, because on the tenth day of that moneth Nabu­chadnezar with his armies began to besiege Ierusalem: the second, in the fourth moneth, because on the ninth day of that moneth, king Zedekiah and the men of warre flying out of the citie of Ierusalem,Ier. 52.7, 8. were taken by the Chalde­ans: the third, in the fift moneth, because on the tenth day of that moneth the temple was ouerthrown,Ier. 52.12. and the citie sacked: the fourth in the seuenth moneth, because therein Gedaliah, 2. Kin. 25.28▪ 29 together with the Iewes and Chaldeans, who were at Mispeh were slaine; whereupon, the rest of the Iewes who were left, flying into Aegypt for feare of the Chaldees, there was an vtter desolation in the land. These fasts they took vpon them to obserue during their captiuitie, that therein they calling to mind the former judgements of God, as it were in foure degrees for their sinnes, they might the better be humbled to implore the mercie of God for the time to come. But when as these fasts by long custome grew ordinarie, and many of the Iewes obserued them for custome rather than consci­ence (insomuch that they thought this custome was to be obserued after their deliuerance frō captiuitie, the cause of their mourning and consequently of their fasting be­ing taken away, and accordingly mooued that question, Zach. 7:) the Lord, as he reprooueth their former hypo­crisie, in resting in the outward fast without repentance; so he promiseth them for the time to come, that if they would truly repent, and walke in the obedience of his wayes,Zach. 8.19. their daies of fasting and mourning should be tur­ned into daies of feasting and joy.

[Page 54]54. From whence we are to obserue, that if we ac­cording to the examples of the faithfull in the scriptures, shall in the time of our distresse turne vnto the Lord with all our hearts, and with fasting and prayer humble our selues before him, the Lord will take away the cause of our mourning, and turne our fasts into feasts. The which I speake not as though this exercise had been altogether neglected among vs: For to Gods glorie, and to the stopping of our aduersaries mouths, the Papists (who know not what the true exercise of fasting meaneth) it is to be acknowledged, that howsoeuer we haue not beene so frequent in this exercise as were to be wished, yet not­withstanding vpon diuerse publick occasions, there haue beene publick fasts obserued and solemnized among vs, with good and happie successe. As for example, in the time of the great plague, Anno 1563: after the great earth­quake, Anno 1579: after intelligence had of the Spanish inuasion, Anno 1588: in the time of the famine, Anno 1596, and 1597: and now of late in this time of the pestilence, Anno 1603. Besides the priuat and secret fasting of the faithfull, as it hath pleased God to mooue them either by priuat or publicke occasions.

VVho are to obserue the publicke fast.55. The third thing to be obserued, are the persons: who, when a publicke fast is proclaimed, are to obserue it. The Prophet Ioel, Ioel 2.16. besides those of yeares appointeth, that the children, euen those that sucke the breasts, should be assembled to the fast. And the Niniuits proclamation for obseruing the fast,Ion. 3.5.7. was extended not onely to all men, women and children, but also to their cattell. The reason whereof was twofold: first, that the pitifull sight and la­mentable crie of the children and cattell might encrease their sorrow: and secondly, that they might be brought to a deeper sight, and more serious acknowledgement of the heinousnesse of their sinne, which had pulled vpon them such an vniuersall judgement of God, as should not onely afflict themselues, but also extend to the very [Page 55] infants, yea and to the bruit beasts. But this practise is to bee reckoned among the ceremonies which in those times were vsed to augment their sorrow and increase the sence of their sinne, and is no more to be imitated of vs than their sitting in the ashes, the renting of their cloths, their girding of themselues with sackcloth, their putting of earth vpon their heads, and such like: among vs, the Lord requireth no more to obserue the outward fast, than such as by reason of their vnderstanding and discretion, may the better be fitted thereby to humble themselues before him in this solemne exercise of prayer and repen­tance: For the outward fast obserued (as it is ordinarily among the Papists) without any exercise of religion con­curring therewith, is nothing worth. But to all those that are come to yeares of discretion, and are exempted by some present necessitie, is the equitie of that law to be ex­tended, Leui. 23.Leuit. 23.29. Euerie person that humbleth not himselfe on the Sabbath of humiliation, shall euen be cut off from his people.

56. There remaineth the fourth and last thing,How the publicke fast is to be obser­ued. viz. how the publicke fast is to be obserued. And this also I signified in the definition, when I sayd, it is to be sancti­fied both publickly and priuatly, as a Sabbath of humi­liation. Where three things are to bee noted: for first, when as I say it is to be obserued as a Sabbath (which be­fore hath bene proued) we are to vnderstand that therein a double rest is required:Viz. 1. as a Sab­bath or day of rest. the one outward, from bodily labours and worldly businesse; the other inward, from sinne. And contrariwise, that the profanation of this Sab­bath is condemned, whether it be by neglecting the out­ward rest, and imploying the time in bodily labours and worldly affaires; or else by abusing our rest, either to idlenesse, or to vanitie, or to sinne: To idlenesse, when men resting in the outward rest, imagining that nothing else is required at their hands, do nothing, and by doing nothing they do euill; as appeareth by the disjunction in­cluded [Page 56] in that question of our Sauiour Christ, Luke 6,Luk. 6.9. Is it lawfull on the Sabbath dayes to do good, or to do euill? Whereby our Sauiour plainly signifieth, that if we do not good on the Sabbath day, we do euill. To vanitie, when as men giue themselues to sports and pastimes: for if that be vnlawfull on the ordinarie Sabbath, much more is it vnseasonable on the Sabbath of humiliation. Lastly, to sinne, for if the workes of our lawfull callings be forbid­den on the Sabbath, much more the workes of darknes: whereunto whosoeuer addicteth himselfe on the day of the fast, he celebrateth a Sabbath to Sathan, and not vn­to the Lord.As a Sabbath of humiliation Againe, whereas I said it is to be obserued as a Sabbath of humiliation, we learne, that we are there­in to abstaine not onely from labours, as on the ordinarie Sabbath; but also from food, from exercise of sleepe, from brauerie in apparell, and from all worldly de­lights, &c.

To be san­ctified both publickly57. Thirdly, whereas I add that it is to bee sanctified both publickly and priuatly as a Sabbath of humiliation: I signifie, that not onely rest is required, but also an holy rest; and not onely the outward fast, but much more the spiritual exercise of prayer and repentance. And that this sanctificatiō of the day of the fast (which standeth in vsing the meanes of sanctification) is partly publicke, and part­ly priuat. The publick, is in the assembly: for this, as eue­rie other Sabbath,Leuit. 23.27. Ioel. 2.15.16. By the mini­sters is a day of an holy assembly, Leuit. 23.27, Ioel. 2.15.16. Here therefore we are to consider the of­fice of the ministers, who are the chiefe actors in the publicke sanctification of this, and euerie Sabbath; and the dutie of the people. The office of the minister is no­ted in generall termes, Acts 13.2,Acts 13.2. [...], as they performed the publicke function of their ministerie vnto the Lord and fasted: more specially Neb. 9,Nehem. 9.4. Nehem. 8.8. where they are noted to haue read and preached the word of God (as before chap. 8.) and that foure times, and so oft also to haue called vpon the name of the Lord-Likewise [Page 57] Ierem. 36, when Ieremie being shut vp, could not go into the house of the Lord,Ier. 36.6, 7, 9.10. he sendeth Barach with a booke written from his mouth: wherein were specified the judgements of God threatned against the Iewes, that he reading it in the audience of the people vpon the day of the fast, they might be brought to a serious humbling of themselues in prayer, and to vnfained repentance. The dutie therefore of the ministers is, to stirre vp themselues in a more than ordinarie measure of zeale to discharge their ministerie, both in preaching the word of God, and also in prayer. In preaching, that it may bee through the blessing of God a powerfull meanes to worke in the peo­ple those things which in this spirituall exercise are re­quired, viz. humiliation, prayer with feruencie and faith, and repentance. In praying, that it may be an effectuall meanes in and through the mediation of Christ our Sa­uiour, and auaileable with the Lord, for the remouing of those euils, and for the bestowing of those good things for which this exercise is vndertaken.

58. The dutie of the people is,By the people first, to bee present at publick assembly: for if we will sanctifie a Sabbath vnto the Lord,Leuit. 19.30. & 26.2. we must reuerence his sanctuarie: where, as the Lord hath promised his presence, so he requireth ours. And for this cause,Mat. 18.20. as I sayd before, this and euerie other Sabbath is appointed of the Lord to be an holy conuoca­tion:Leu. 23.2.27. We must therefore take heed that we absent not our selues without very just and necessarie occasion, lest we may seeme either secretly to neglect, or prophanely to contemne the presence of Christ, the gathering toge­ther of the Saints,Heb. 10.25. the publicke worship and seruice of God, the call of the holy Ghost, the meanes of our salua­tion, the publicke occasion of the fast; as though neither the publicke judgement nor the common good did con­cerne vs. But it is to little purpose to be present in the publicke assembly, vnlesse we joyne together with the assembly in the sincere worship of God. That being as­sembled [Page 58] together in the name of Christ,Math. 18 19. Act. 1.14. & 4.24. & 8.6. we may as it were with one consent call vpon God, and heare his word: praying with humilitie, in respect of our own vn­worthinesse, with reuerence of Gods majestie, in sence of our wants, with sorrow for our sins, with earnest desire to haue our wants supplied, our sins remitted, and the judge­mēts of God remoued, with faith & assurance to find help to obtaine mercie in cōuenient time, with promise & pur­pose to amend our liues: that in sinceritie and truth we may subscribe to the prayer of the Church,Nehem. 8.6. and say Amen. Hearing also the word, with reuerence, with attention, with faith, with desire to profit, with purpose to practise, with submission to euery part thereof: In a word, so hea­ring the word of God, as in this our present sute, we desire to be heard. Vnto these duties of religion and meanes of sanctification, we are to joyne a publicke dutie of cha­ritie, as a worke of sanctification: for it is and hath bene a laudable custome of the Church of God, that in publicke fasts there should be publicke collection made for the re­leefe of the poore.

And also pri­uatly59. But we are not onely publickly to sanctifie the day of the fast, but also priuatly: both by vsing meanes of sanctification, and also by doing workes of sanctifica­tion. The meanes are especially meditation & prayer: which are to be vsed both with reference to the publicke sanctification; and that not onely before, to prepare and fit our selues for the profitable and sauing vse of the meanes (which Daniel calleth the setting of his face, and the setling of his mind to seeke the Lord,Dan. 9.3. & 10.12.) but also after, to fit and apply the meanes to our vse: and besides, as pri­uat meanes by themselues, without reference to the pub­licke. The workes of sanctification are the duties of re­pentance, whereof I spake before; but especially the workes of mercie and charitie, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.Neh. 13.16.

60. Wherefore the day of the fast is to bee obser [...]ed [Page 59] and sanctified as a Sabbath of humiliation, not onely by outward abstinence & rest, but also by vsing the meanes, and doing the workes of sanctification both publickly & priuatly, spending the whole day besides the publicke sanctification, and the time which is to bee spent in our preparation before, and in our meditation afterwards, in the priuat means of sanctification, as reading, meditation, prayer; & in the priuat works of sanctification, as the du­ties of repentance towards God, and the workes of mercy and charitie towards our brethren. Which course whoso­euer shal take in sanctifying a fast vnto the Lord, he shal be sure to obtaine at the hāds of God, either that particu­lar request for which he is an humble sutor vnto the Lord, or that which is better: the Lord alwayes hearing his children thus suing vnto him, and granting their requests, as shall be most for his glory and their singuler good.

61. HAuing thus set downe the doctrine of fasts ac­cording to the rule of Gods word and practise of ours and other reformed churches,A suruey of the popish fast [...]. we are now to take a briefe view of the Popish fast: that it may euidently ap­peare how little cause they haue with the Pharisey to de­spise others,Luke 18.11. & 5.33. who doe not fast as they do. And first as touching their morall and chast fast, wherby they would seeme to chastise their bodies, and to keepe them vnder, that they some not out lust: they shew themselues vnskil­full Phisitians, who prescribe this medicine to all indif­ferently, as well to those who need it not, as to those who do: For as medicines are not good but when they are necessarie; so this Phisicke where it is not needfull, is hurtfull; and where it doth no good for the obseruation of the seuenth commaundement, it is many times a trans­gression of the sixt. For those who liuing single and haue the gist of continencie, as also those who may lawfully vse in mariage the remedie which God hath ordained against lust, to them daily sobrietie and temperance in [Page 60] diet is needfull, but often fasting euerie weeke is hurtfull and pernicious: to such, an ordinarie fast imposed for keeping their bodies chast, is like a new peece of cloth set vpon an old garment, which impaireth the garment, and maketh the rent much worse.Math. 9.16. And it is against rea­son, that because their Abbie-lubbers and pampered clergie (who hauing vowed to liue single, though they be neuer so incontinent, and liuing in such idlenesse and and belly-cheere ordinarily, as that no true fasting at times would suffice to keepe them chast,) had need to fast oftener than the Pharisey, who fasted twice a weeke: that therefore others, which liue painefully in their cal­lings, and chastly either in single life or mariage, should be bound to the like obseruation of fasts; many of them needing rather kitchen-phisicke and cordials to com­fort them, than fastings and vacuations to keepe them downe.

62. But indeed their fasting is but one of their hypo­criticall pretences of their not intended chastitie: for as if flesh and whit-meats were the onely prouokers of lust, they forbid all vse thereof in the time of their fast, but permit a fulnesse of all other food: whereas not onely some other kinds of food in respect of the qualitie, but also any other kind almost in a greater quantity, is a grea­ter enemie to chastitie than the moderat vse of flesh or whit-meats. Nay that which were strange (if they meant seriously) they permit in their fasts the free vse of wine & the strongest drinks, than which, nothing is more forcible to inflame men with lust, and that not onely at their mea [...] in the middle of the day, but also in the mornings & eue­nings. And besides this, the richer sort among them may truly be said to forbeare the grosser diet, that they may feed vpon more costly and delicat dainties, and as Augu­st [...]ne saith in the like case,De tempor [...] Serm. 56. Corpori suo magis commutasse, quam subtraxisse ciborum abundantiam videntur: For besides their drinking in the morning, and their supper at noone, [Page 61] wherein commonly they pamper themselues with diuers kinds of broths, and great varietie of fishes, with wanton sauces to prouoke their appetit, and strongest wines to helpe their digestion, and choisest dainties to make vp their meele withall; they haue also a banquet in the eue­ning, which may not be called a supper, but a collation, wherein with wine and spiced breads, they haue raysins, almonds and figges, marmalade and suckets, with many other confections and junketting dishes. So that of the Popish fast it may most truly bee sayd, that it is not [...], but [...], not fasting, but feasting. As for the vulgar sort of Papists, their vsuall manner is, either on the day be­fore their fast so to pamper themselues, as that the day of the fast (though they fasted indeed) would be scarce suf­ficient to digest their former repletion: or else at their meele which they take at noone on the day of their fast, so to gorge themselues, that their drinking or collation in the euening may seeme altogether superfluous. Wher­fore to them may be applied that censure of Augustine, De tempor [...] Serm. 157. Tan­tum capiunt manducando, quantum digerere non susficiunt iei­unando: They take so much in eating, as they cannot di­gest by fasting. But looke how they chastise their bo­dies in their fasting, such commonly is their chastitie: Let the stewes permitted among them as necessarie euils, and the huge number of bastards begotten where the Ro­mish religion is professed, and these Popish fasts obser­ued, be witnesse.

63. But come we to their irreligious fast, which they doubt not to call a worship of God. Howbeit first, it is 1 meerely externall, neither is it joyned with any extraor­dinarie exercise of prayer or repentance among them: and therefore is of no value in the sight of God. And secondly, although it be nothing but an outward exer­cise,2 yet there is not all in it which is required in the out­ward fast: For in their fast is not required abstinence ei­ther from other delights, or yet from labours and [Page 62] 3 worldly businesse, but onely from food. And thirdly, not from all food but only from flesh, egs and whit-meat. as though it were a more holy thing to eat fish than flesh, oyle than butter, broths, jellies, leaches, marmalade, sucket, and such like, than egs, milke, butter and cheese, And if in their fasting, mourning were required, accor­ding to the doctrine and examples of the holy Scripture, the vse of wine and strong drinks which is permitted among thē,Psal. 104.15. Prou. 31.6.7. wold be vnseasonable: For wine maketh glad the hart of man, & is giuen to the sorowfull to expel grief. 4 Neither is their fast from euen to euen, according to the rules & examples mentioned in the holy Scripture. They confesse indeed, that fasting is an abstinence from all food vntill the euening: yea Bellarmine teacheth, that it is not sufficient to a fast, that a man eat but one meele in the day, vnlesse his meele be so late, as that it may be called a supper,De bonès operib, in particular. lib. 2. ca. 2. and not a dinner: and withall professeth, that it is a thing neuer heard of, that any fast should bee dissol­ued before the ninth houre, which is three a clocke after noone: For they say, in Lent they may not eat before eue­ning, and at other times not before three a clock. But the receiued custome of the Church of Rome, which Bellar­mine with flat contradiction to those former assertions doth defend, is to take their meele either at noone or be­fore: besides some bread and drinke in the morning, and their drinking or collation in the euening. And because by their canons they may not in Lent go to supper before their euening seruice be ended: they do therfore dispatch their euening prayer in the morning, that they may be at supper by noone. But indeed both in Lent and other times, their suppers which should be in the euening at the end of the fast, are turned into dinners. And therefore whatsoeuer they pretend to the contrarie, their fast stan­deth wholly in choise of meats, and abstinence from flesh and whit-meats. Durandus saith, because the Pope & Car­dinals, and Prelats, and other religious men when they [Page 63] fast, do eat at the sixt houre, that is, at noone; therfore cu­stome doth wholly excuse all others.

64. Againe, their fasts are statarie, and obserued at set times. Wherefore as they are seldome or neuer vnder­dertaken vpon any speciall occasion, so are they for the most part vnseasonable, and consequently hurtfull, euen as new wine in old vessels:Luke 5.37. and yet imposed vpon all, vn­der the penaltie and guilt of mortall sinne. If any man object that the same times are obserued among vs: I answer, that it is not a fast which is obserued among vs at those set times, but an abstinence only from flesh in a ci­uile respect, viz. that fish and other meats might bee vsed and spent as well as flesh: and that flesh being spared and forborne at such times, might be the more plentifull, and consequently the more cheape. And further, they are al­so 6 superstitious,Col. 1. Tim. standing in the prohibition of meat for religion sake, which is a doctrine of diuels. And so far are they gone in this superstition, as that in their times of fa­sting, they seeme to place the top of holinesse in absti­nence from meats forbidden, and the height of iniquitie in eating flesh: for, to eat one mor [...]ell of flesh in Lent is a greater sinne and more sharply punished among them, than not onely drunkennesse or gluttonie in other meats, but also than whordome or idolatrie, to say no more. Lastly, whereas their fast being a more externall fast, and 7 yet but a mock-fast in respect of a true outward fast; is notwithstanding by them obtruded vpon the Lord, not onely as his solemne worship, but also as a worke satisfa­ctorie for their sinnes, and meritorious of eternall life: it it is sacrilegious, blasphemous, abhominable, and in a word, Antichristian. And so I leaue them.



Psalme 50.15.

And call vpon me in the day of trouble: I will deliuer thee and thou shalt glorifie me.

THIS Psalme (as some of the learned judge) was writ­ten by Dauid, at what time the Angell of God (after the three yeares famine, and three dayes pestilence, men­tioned 1. Chron. 21. & 22.) had shewed vnto him the place which the Lord did chuse for his worship and seruice: For after that place was once knowne and prepared for Gods worship, the lawes concerning sacrifices, and the whole worship of God, were more accuratly and fully to be obserued and kept, as appeareth Deut. 12. But foras­much as the greatest part of the Israelits did rest in the performance of the externall and ceremoniall worship, as though that in it selfe were acceptable to God: the Lord therefore reasoneth with his people concerning his wor­ship, from the 7. verse to the 16, teaching and enfor­ming them, That howsoeuer he had ordained lawes con­cerning sacrifices, which now were more precisely to be kept; yet that he neither required nor esteemed the ex­ternall [Page 66] sacrifices in or for themselues, but that there are certaine other sacrifices which he farre preferreth before those sacrifices of the law: and those are, the sacrifice of praise, verse fourteene; and the sacrifice of a broken and contrit heart, poured forth before the Lord in hartie and earnest prayer, verse fifteene. For we may not thinke that the Lord did wholly condemne sacrifices which himselfe had commanded, but so farre forth as men re­sted in them, as though they in themselues did please him. For if they were rightly and duly offered, namely to testifie the parties humiliation for his sinne, and the ac­knowledgement of his guilt,Le. 1.4. & 3.2. which was signified by lay­ing his hand on the head of his sacrifice; secondly, to signifie his faith in the all-sufficient sacrifice of Christ, figured by that legall sacrifice; and thirdly, to be an ob­ligation for the sacrificing of himselfe vnto God in all thankfull obedience;Rom. 12.1. they were so acceptable vnto God, that they are called the sacrifices of righteousnesse. Psal. 4.5. Psal. 51.19. Neither doth he simply and absolutly reject outward sacrifices, but in comparison of those other sacrifices of praise and prayer, in respect whereof hee would haue his temple (wherein alone the sacrifices were offered,) to be called the house of prayer:Esay 56.7. and thus these places of Scripture are to be vnderstood, Ierem. 7.22.23, Psal. 51.16.17, Hos. 6.6, to wit, comparatiuely; according to that of Samuel, 1. Sam. 15.22, Hath the Lord as great pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices, 1. Sam. 15.22. as when the voyce of the Lord is obeyed? behold, to obey is better then sacrifice, and to hearken is better then the fat of rammes. Out of this context therefore and coherence of these words with the former, we may for our encouragement and stirring vp our selues to the performance of these duties of inuocatiō, obserue, That the calues of our lips, as Hosea calleth the sacrifices of praise,Hos. 14.3. are preferred before the sacrifices of Buls: and the sacrifice of an afflicted soule poured forth before the Lord in prayer, before the sacri­fices of the law.

[Page 67]But now let vs come to the words themselues, which may be diuided into two parts: a precept, and a promise. The precept, enioyneth the faithfull to call vpon God in the time of trouble: wherein foure things are to bee con­sidered.

1 The first is the person to whom this precept is dire­cted, namely the faithfull man: as appeareth not onely by the 5. and 7. verses, but especially by the words which im­mediatly follow this text, vers. 16. But vnto the wicked saith God, &c. Which plainely shew the words of this text not to bee directed to the wicked, but onely to the godly. Whereas therefore the Lord commaundeth the faithfull to call vpon him in the time of trouble, we gather, that the godly haue their times of trouble, and that it is the lot of the faithfull to be vnder the crosse, and to bee exercised with affliction: as the Scriptures elsewhere doe testifie. Ioh. 16.20.Iohn 16.20. You shall mourne (saith our Sauiour Christ to the faithfull) and the world shall reioyce: you shall sorrow, but your sor­row shall be turned into ioy. Act. 14.22.Act. 14.22. Through manifold afflicti­ons we must enter into the kingdome of God. 2. Tim. 3.12. All that will liue godly in Christ Iesus▪ shall suffer persecution. This there­fore our Sauiour Christ said,Luke 9.23. to all (that none should think himselfe exempted) if any man will come after me, let him deny himselfe, Heb. 12.6, 8. Apoc. 3.19. and take vp his crosse day by day and follow me. For whom the Lord loueth he chasteneth, and he scourgeth euery sonne that hee re­ceiueth.

Here therefore first the godly are taught patiently and chearfully to beare their crosse,1. Pet. 4.12. Heb. 12.8. because no strange thing happeneth to them, but that which is common to all the faithfull. Yea the sufferings of the godly, are the sufferings of the body of Christ,Act. 9.4. Col. 1.24. 2. Cor. 4.10. yea of Christ himselfe. For such is the communion of Saintes, that when the godly are affli­cted, with them both Christ himselfe and the church also which is his body, doth suffer. Secondly, those which are not afflicted, are taught, not to be hasty (as many are) in censuring and judging those who are in affliction, as [Page 68] though they were wicked men or hypocrits. Which was a foule ouersight in the three friends of Iob: who condē ­ned him to be an hypocrit, because God had so grieuous­ly afflicted him. And herein those curious persons did of­fend, which we mentioned Luk. 13. for they supposed that those Galileans,Luk. 13.1. whose bloud Pilat mingled with their sa­crifices, were grieuous sinners in comparison of them­selues. In like sort, the Barbarians, when they saw the viper light on the Apostles hand, They said among themselues, surely this man is a murtherer, Act. 28.4. whom, though he had escaped the se [...], yet vengeance hath not suffered to liue. The vse then which we are to make of Gods judgements vpon others, is in steed of censuring them, to judge our selues; and by the exam­ple of Gods correction vpon them, if we will not be like to Balthasar, Dan. 5.22. our selues to learne repentance. For if we in this time of the plague shall take occasion by the judge­ment of God vpon others, to thinke better of our selues and worse of them, we may feare least that sentence of our Sauiour may worthily bee applied to vs: Doe you thinke, that they which are visited are greater sinners than those commonly are which escape the plague? I tell you nay, Luke 13.3, 5. but except you amend your liues, you shall all likewise pe­rish. Neither let the Papists or Atheists thinke the worse of that religion which is professed among vs▪ because the hand of God is vpon vs:1. Pet. 4.17. for as Peter sayth, Iudgement be­ginneth at the house of God. And those sinnes which the Lord seemeth to winke at, or to passe ouer in others, he will not suffer to goe vncorrected in his children. Which course the Lord taketh with his children, both in respect of his glorie, and their good: for if the Lord should spare them, hauing committed some open sinne,2. Sam. 12.14. the enemies of God would be readie to object, that God were a fauourer of such offences, and that such sinnes were the fruits of that religion which his seruants professe. But in respect of their good also the Lord correcteth his owne children sometimes, when he seemeth to spare the wicked, least [Page 69] with the wicked they should goe on in their sinnes, to their destruction.1. Cor. 11.32. As the Apostle sayth, When we are iud­ged, we are chastified of the Lord, that wee should not bee condemned with the world. Thirdly, from this doctrine let Atheists and Papists, and all other wicked persons receiue this terror: for if the Lord doth correct his owne deare children with whom he is reconciled in Christ, how shall his enemies thinke to escape, who haue no part in Christ? For as Peter sayth,1. Pet. 4.17, 18. The time is, that iudgement hath begun at the house of God. But if it begin with vs, what shall be the end of those who obey not the Gospell of God? And if the righteous scarcely be preserued, where shall the vngodly and the sinner appeare? Behold (sayth Salomon) the righteous shall be recompenced, Prou. 11.31. that is, corrected, in the earth; how much more the wicked and the sinner?

2. Wee haue heard that it is the lot of the righteous to be afflicted in this world, let vs now see what is their dutie when they are afflicted: for that is the second thing which is here to be considered, namely, to pray that God would deliuer them, or else arme them with patience. Call vpon me (sayth he) in the day of trouble. Iam. 5.13. In like sort Iames, Is any among you afflicted? let him pray.

But here some bodie will object (who seemeth to him­selfe wiser than his fellowes) that our times are set and ap­pointed of God in his immutable decree, which we may not hope to alter or change by our prayers. I answere, that Daniel, although he knew by the prophecie of Ieremie that seuentie yeares were appointed to the captiuitie of the Iewes in Babylon;Dan. 9.2, yet notwithstanding he thought it his dutie in the end of those yeares to call vpon God for the deliuerance of his people: for hee well knew, which we must also acknowledge, that as the Lord appointeth the end, so also he appointeth the meanes, among which the principall is prayer.Esay 38.1.5. On the other side, Ezechias, al­though hee heard by the Prophet the sentence of the Lord, That he should die and not liue; notwithstanding, by prayer obtained the prolonging of his life. For as [Page 70] God had decreed to adde to his life fifteene yeares, so he decreed prayer to be the meanes whereby that addition should be obtained. And so the Niniuits, though the Prophet Ionas had told them, and they beleeued him, that their citie within fortie dayes should be destroyed;Ion. 3.4, 5. yet by humbling themselues before God by fasting and prayer, and repenting from their euill wayes, they escaped that common destruction. And hereunto may bee added the examples of the faithfull in all ages, who hauing called vpon God in their trouble, haue beene deliuered out of their distresse. Adde also the testimonie of Iames, Iam. 5.16. that the prayer of a righteous man auaileth much with God: and also the commandements of God, and his gracious promises, both in this place and elsewhere in the Scripture. And let vs know that it is damnable curiositie, vnder a pretence of submitting our selues vnto the secret will of God, to re­bell against his will reuealed: For as Moses sayth, The secret things belong to the Lord our God: Deut. 29.29. but the reuealed things vnto vs and to our children for euer, that we may doe all the words of this law. But by this reason a man might as well refuse his food, because the day of his death is appointed and can­not be altered by him, which euery man knoweth to bee both wicked and foolish. Let vs therefore know, that whatsoeuer the secret will of God is concerning vs, that his reuealed will is, that in this time of affliction we should according to the example of Dauid, 2. Sam. 24. pray vnto him: and let vs assure our selues of this, That if God in his secret counsell hath decreed to deliuer vs for our good, he hath also decreed that our deliuerance shall bee begged and obtained by prayer.

Yea, but sayth another, afflictions must be borne pa­tiently and meekely, and therfore wee may not pray a­gainst them.

I answere, that these things may well stand together: for we must patiently beare afflictions, and yet pray a­gainst them. Indeed we may not pray against them abso­lutely, [Page 71] but in our prayers we are willingly to submit our selues to the good will and pleasure of God, and resigne our selues into his hands, following therein the example of our Sauiour Christ:Mat. 26.39. O my father (sayth he) if it be possible let this cup passe from me: neuerthelesse not as I will, but as thou wilt. 2. Sam. 15.26. And of Dauid, who in his greatest distresse said, Be­hold, here am I, let the Lord doe to me, as seemeth good in his eyes. Wherefore whiles it pleaseth God to continue the affli­ction, we are patiently to beare it,Luke 18.1. and yet without fainting to call vpon God for deliuerance: for so the Lord hath commaunded vs in this place.

Now if it bee our dutie in affliction to flie vnto the Lord by prayer, it may not be denied, but that we are to pray in a sence of our want; and consequently, that wee are to be humbled vnder the mightie hand of God, and that we are to mourne vnder the crosse, because by our sinnes wee haue offended God our gracious and louing father, and prouoked him to lay his rod of correction vp­on vs. It becommeth not Christians when they are affli­cted, to be like Stoicks or stockes, without sence and fee­ling: for it is a signe of an hard heart not to mourn when God afflicteth, Ier. 5.Ier. 5.3. Lord thou hast stricken them, but they haue not sorrowed: thou hast consumed them, but they haue refused to receiue correction. Neither is there patience where this [...] or want of feeling is, neither is it possible that any man should profit by affliction, who taketh it not to heart, nei­ther hath any sence thereof. Iob, though the most notable patterne of patience, yet was he notably humbled vnder the hand of God: For when the tidings were brought him of those manifold calamities which had befallen him,Iob. 1.20. it is said, that he arose, and rent his garment, and shaued or polled his head, and fell downe vpon the ground and worshipped. And Dauid, who was both a valiant man, and a man ac­cording to Gods owne heart, professeth of himselfe, Psal. 6.Psal. 6.6. That he fainted in his mourning, that he caused his bed to swim euery night, and that he watered his couch with teares. And [Page 72] Psal. 38.Psal. 38.6, 8. that he went mourning all the way, that he roared for the very griefe of his heart, &c.

Wherefore the hardnesse of their hearts is greatly to be lamented, who are touched with no sence of this com­mon judgement, neither take to heart this fearefull plague: for of such may the Lord most justly take vp that complaint, Ier. 2.Ier. 2.30. I haue smitten your children in vaine, they receiued no correction. And yet more fearefull is their estate, of whom that complaint of the Prophet Esay is verified, chap. 22.Esay 22.12, 13. In that day (the day of publicke trouble and com­mon calamitie) did the Lord God of hosts call vnto weeping and mourning, and to baldnesse and girding with sackeloth: and behold, ioy and gladnesse, slaying oxen, and killing sheepe, eating flesh, and drinking wine, eating and drinking, for to morrow we shall die. But what followeth?Vers. 14. And it was declared in the eares of the Lord of hosts. Surely this iniquitie shall not be purged from you till you die, sayth the Lord God of hosts. But to conclude this point, let vs follow the aduice of the Lord by his Prophet Ioel: There­fore also now the Lord sayth, Ioel. 2.12.13. Turne you vnto me with all your heart, and with fasting and with weeping and with mourning, rent your hearts and not your garments, and turne to the Lord your God, &c. And thus it appeareth, that if we are to call vpon God in the day of trouble, then are wee to humble our selues before God in the sence of our miserie. Againe, if we are to pray in affliction, we must pray with feruencie and with faith: for the sence of our want must not dis­may vs or discourage vs from calling vpon God, but must serue as a spurre to pricke vs forward, and to stirre vs vp to pray with feruencie of spirit,Rom. 8.26. Ioel 1.13.14. & 2.12, 13, 14, 15. and with sighes that cannot be expressed. And that wee may pray with the more earnest­nesse, it is very expedient, that with our prayer we should joyne fasting: onely let vs take heed that our fasting bee not externall onely, but that it be an extraordinarie exer­cise of prayer and repentance, least wee seeme to fast no better than the beasts of Niniuie.Ion. 3.7.

And as wee are to pray with feruencie, so also with [Page 73] faith, being assured, that the Lord doth not onely accept of vs and our prayers in the name & mediation of Christ, but also that our request shall be graunted to vs, so farre forth as is expedient for Gods glorie and our good. For as Iames sayth,Iam. 1.5.6. If any man want wisdome (namely, how to de­meane himselfe in affliction) let him aske of God, who giueth to all men liberally and reprocheth no man, and it shall be giuen him. But let him aske in faith and wauer not, &c. For it is the prayer of faith that saueth the sicke, Iam. 5.15. and helpeth in affliction. And this faith, as it must relie vpon the intercession and mediation of Christ our Sauiour, who presenteth our prayers vnto God,Apoc. 8.3.4. and perfumeth them with the odours of his owne sacrifice, that they may be acceptable vnto him: so also vpon the gracious promises of God made vnto vs in Christ, and namely and especially vpon this promise, Call vpon me in the day of trouble, and I will deliuer thee. Which pro­mises of God if we cannot find in our hearts to beleeue, to what purpose should we pray? Wee are therefore to pray in faith,1. Sam. 30.6. Ps. 3, 4, 5. & 4.8 Rom. 8.28. and thereby to comfort our selues in the Lord our God, and to rest quietly in his good will and pleasure, assuring our selues, That God will cause all things to worke together for the good of those that doe loue him.

Lastly,Luke 18.1, 2. we must pray with perseuerance, and without fainting, as our Sauiour teacheth vs by the parable of the widdow and the judge, Luke 18. And therefore wee must not thinke, that euery delay is a finall repulse; but by the delay of the benefit which we aske, our desire of obtai­ning it should be encreased. And hereunto belong the exhortations of the Apostle, Rom. 12. Col. 4.Rom. 12.12. Col. 4.2. to perseuere in prayer, and to watch in the same with thankes-giuing. And to apply this exhortation to the present occasion: If God in this common visitation doth not seeme to heare vs at the first, and according to our desire remooue his plague from vs; wee must neither faint in prayer, as though he did altogether reject vs, neither must we cir­cumscribe [Page 74] or limit him; as, that if he deliuer vs not by such a time,Iudith 8.10. wee will call vpon him no more: but wee are with faith and perseuerance to craue, and with hope and pati­ence to expect his grace and mercie,Heb. 4.16. [...], to helpe in due and conuenient time.

As therefore it is our dutie to call vpon God in the time of trouble, so must we be carefull (if wee would bee heard) to pray according to God, [...], Rom. 8 27. 1. Iohn 5.14. or as Iohn more plainly spea­keth, according to the will of God: and namely and especially that wee pray with sence and feeling of our want; with feruencie of desire to haue our wants supplied, and our requests graunted; with assurance of faith grounded on the mediation of Christ, and on the promises of God; and lastly, with perseuerance and patience (without fainting or circumscribing of God) to wait vpon him for his mer­cie to be exhibited vnto vs in due time. And forasmuch as we know not what to pray as we ought, Rom. 8.26, 27. wee must therefore craue the assistance of Gods holy spirit, the spirit of grace and supplication, Zac. 12.10. that he may helpe our infirmities, and teach vs to pray according to God.

3. The third thing to be considered, is the person to whom our prayer is to be directed. Call vpon me, sayth the Lord our God, the mightie God described vers. 1. Hee sendeth vs not to any other, either as deliuerers, or as in­tercessours, but commaundeth vs to come directly vnto himselfe. For of them which in their necessitie flie vnto others, may that complaint of the Lord bee verified, My people haue committed two euils, Ier. 2.13. they haue forsaken me the foun­taine of liuing waters, to dig them pits, euen broken pits, that can hold no water. Now we are to call vpon God, first, because it is he that afflicteth vs: For when we are iudged, that is, af­flicted, we are chastised of the Lord. [...]. Cor. 11.32. Esay 45.7. Am. 3.6. It is hee that maketh peace and prosperitie, and it is he that createth euill and affliction. And shall there be euill (namely of affliction) in a citie, and the Lord hath not done it? Seeing therefore it is the Lord [Page 75] that afflicteth vs, it behooueth vs, acknowledging the authour of our affliction,Esay 9.13. to turne vnto him that smiteth vs, as the Prophet Esay speaketh. But here some man will say: If God were the authour of mine affliction, there were great reason that I should both patiently beare it, and al­so flie vnto the Lord for deliuerance: but this affliction which I sustaine, it is to be imputed to the vnfaithfulnesse of such a pretended friend, or to the mallice and injurie of such an enemie, &c. and therefore I see not why I may not wreake my selfe vpon them. But I answere, whatsoeuer is the se [...]ondarie cause of thine affliction, be it the deuill himselfe, it is the instrument of God, who is the authour and principall cause thereof. When it was told Iob, that the Sabeans and Chaldeans had carried a­way his oxen and cammels, he acknowledged the hand of God,Iob.▪ and said, The Lord hath giuen, and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord. When Shemei reuiled Dauid, Iam. 3.6. 2. Sam. 16.10. although his tongue were set on fire from hell, as Iames speaketh of such cursed tongues, notwithstanding Dauid acknowledged the cursed tongue of rayling Shemei to haue beene Gods rod to correct him. And Ioseph like­wise, though hee knew that his brethren for mallice and enuie had sold him into Aegypt, yet he acknowledgeth them to be the instruments of God,Gen. 45.5.8. who by their meanes did in great mercie send him before them, to prouide for them in the time of famine. Which must teach vs, when we are wronged, not with the dog to snarle at the staffe wherewith he is beaten, but to turne to him that smiteth vs, and to pray vnto him that it would please him to re­mooue his hand from vs. Secondly, as the Lord affli­cteth vs, so it is he alone that can and will deliuer vs. For who is able without his leaue to remooue his hand from vs?Psal. 18.2. Psal. 46.1. Hos. 6.1. He is our refuge and deliuerer, he is our hope and strength, and a most present helpe in trouble. Come therefore and let vs returne to the Lord; for he hath spoiled and he will heale vs: he hath woun­ded [Page 76] vs, and he will bind vs vp. Thirdly, he onely that com­maunded vs to call vpon him, he onely hath promised to helpe vs, he onely is able to heare our prayers and to graunt our requests.Psal. 65.2. Therefore thou which hearest the pray­er, vnto thee shall all flesh come. Fourthly, when as we flie vn­to the Lord in time of trouble, we glorifie him, acknow­ledging him to be infinitely good, and therefore willing; omnipotent and all-sufficient, and therefore able to helpe and deliuer those which call vpon him. And for this cause the Lord in this place preferreth the sacrifice of prayer before all the sacrifices of the law.

Wherefore grieuously do they offend, who when the hand of God is vpon them, doe not call vpon him: for they are not onely injurious to themselues, but to the Lord also, whom they rob of that honour which is due vnto him. And this commeth to passe, either because they doe not acknowledge the hand of God, but thinke it to be some misfortune, or rest altogether in the secon­darie causes,1. Sam. 6.9. after the manner of carnall and heathenish men: or because they distrust Gods helpe, and therefore either flie to witches and wizards (that is to say, to the instruments of the deuill, that by his helpe the hand of God may be remooued from them) or else to some other vnlawfull meanes, whereby they make shift to saue their bodily life for a time, with the wofull losse both of bodie and soule for euer: or else because they beleeue not the promises of God made to our prayers, and therefore are discouraged from praying, and become desperat, as though it would nothing auaile them to call vpon God.Iob. 21.15.

4. The fourth and last thing to be considered, is, the time when we are to pray vnto God.Luke 18.1. 1. Thess. 5.17. We are to pray al­wayes, and without ceasing; but especially, as here we are di­rected, in the day of trouble: and that for these reasons. First because our prayers then are most necessarie: for then we feele, and feeling doe confesse, that Gods helpe is so [Page 77] necessarie for vs, as that we vtterly are vndone, vnlesse the Lord doe helpe and succour vs.Psal. 28.1. & 143. Vnto thee O Lord (sayth Dauid) doe I crie, ô my strength be not deafe towards me, least if thou answere me not, I be like to them that goe downe into the pit. Secondly, because our prayers then especially procee­ding from the inward sence of our want, are most feruent and effectuall. For euen as water whiles it runneth at large hath a still motion, but being gathered into straits, runneth with violence: so it fareth with many men, who being at large in ease and prosperitie, either pray not all, or very coldly; but being brought into straits, they poure forth their soules before the Lord like to a streame of water, as the Prophet Ieremie speaketh. To which pur­pose Esay sayth, Lord in trouble haue they visited thee, they pou­red out an Lam. 2. [...]. [...] Esay 26.18. [...] humble and effectuall prayer, when thy chastening was vpon them. Thirdly, because the Lord doth therefore afflict vs, that we should flie vnto him, therefore doth he bereaue vs of other helpes and meanes, that wee might the more firmely relie vpon him. For if wee were not afflicted, it may be we should not seeke to him, or if wee had other meanes, we would relie vpon them. This is te­stified by the Lord himselfe in the prophesie of Hosea: For I will be (sayth he) vnto Ephraim as a Lion, Hos. 5.14, 15. & 6.1. and as a Lions whelpe to the house of Iudah. I, euen I will spoile, and goe away, I will take away, and none shall reseue it: I will goe and returne to my place (that is, I will withdraw my comfortable pre­sence from them for a time) till they acknowledge their fault and seeke me. In their affliction they will seeke me diligently, say­ing, Come let vs returne to the Lord, for he hath spoyled and he will heale vs, &c. And the same may bee confirmed by the examples of men in all ages,Psal. 107. Psal. 78.34. 2. Chr. 33.12. [...]3. who in their trouble doe call vpon the Lord. The Israelits, though a rebellious people, yet when the Lord slew them, they sought him, and they returned, and sought God early. Manasses, though the most wicked of all the kings of Iudah, yet when he was in tribu­lation [Page 78] (being taken captiue and bound in chaines and car­ried to Babylon) he prayed to the Lord his God, and humbled himselfe greatly before the God of his fathers, and prayed vnto him, &c. The prodigall sonne, though he had runne a leaud course, yet when he was pinched with penurie, then hee did bethinke himselfe of returning home to his father, and falling downe before him, said, Father, I haue sinned a­gainst heauen, Luke 15.21. August and before thee, &c. And this is that which some doe well gather out of this text, that God doth therefore afflict vs, that we may call vpon him, that calling vpon him we may be deliuered, that being deliuered we may glorifie him. Fourthly, because the Lord many times doth therefore delay his helpe and deferre our deliue­rance, that our desire may be inflamed, and our faith ex­ercised, as appeareth by the parables of the two friends, Luke 11.5.8. and of the widdow and the judge, and the scope thereof, Luke 18.Luke 18.1. by the practise of the Lord with the Israelits,Iud. 10.10, 13, 16 Iudg. 10. to whose request hee would not at the first condiscend; but when they persisted in prayer, confessing and forsaking their sinne, it is said that his soule was grieued for the affliction of Israel: by the behauiour of our Sauiour Christ towards the woman which was a Canaanit;Matt. 15.22, 23, 28. for when she had cried after him to haue mer­cie on her because her daughter was miserably vexed with a diuell, and our Sauiour aunswered not a word, she notwithstanding persisted in calling vpon him, inso­much that his disciples came vnto him and besought him saying, Send her away, for she crieth after vs: And although he answered, that he was not sent but to the lost sheepe of the house of Israel, notwithstanding shee importuneth him a­gaine, and comming vnto him, worshipped him, saying, Lord helpe me: And hauing receiued another repulse, our Sauiour answering that it was not meet to take the childrens bread, and to cast it to whelpes: she acknowledged her selfe to be such a one, but yet expected such crums as it were [Page 79] from his table. Whereupon our Sauiour Christ hauing tried her sufficiently, commendeth her faith, and graun­teth her request. And lastly, because the Lord in this place hath not onely commaunded vs to call vpon him in the time of affliction, but also hath promised to deliuer vs. And therefore in obedience to this commandement, and in faith in this promise, wee are to poure foorth our soules before the Lord in the day of affliction.

But some man will aske, When is this day of afflicti­on, wherein we are to call vpon God? Affliction is euery thing that crosseth our lawfull desires: and that is either priuat, or publicke: priuat, either belonging to our selues, or to others: to our selues, either in our soules, as the anguish of the soule for sinne, which is the greatest affliction, or other heauinesse and passions melancholike: or in our bodies, as sicknesse, infirmitie, hurts, or wounds: or in our goods, as pouertie, want, losses, debts: or in our good name, as infamie by euill reports or slaunders: or in those that belong vnto vs, as wife, children, and ser­uants. To others, as to our kinred, friends, acquaintance, neighbours, countreymen, brethren in Christ, as all Chri­stians are to be esteemed of vs, though forrainers in re­spect of place, and in respect of affection, not well min­ded to vs: for such a sympathie there ought to bee be­twixt those that are members of the same bodie politick, but much more of the same mysticall bodie of Christ: especially when other respects also concurre of kinred, amitie, acquaintance, neighbourhood, &c. that in a fel­low feeling and Christian compassion, we should mourn when other members of the same bodie are afflicted. When the affliction therefore belongeth to our selues, we are in our owne behalfes to call vpon God: when to o­thers, we are in tender compassion of their griefe to com­mend their cause to God in our prayers. Dauid when those who indeed were his enemies, were afflicted, he humbled [Page 80] himselfe in fasting and prayer for them, Psal. 35.13.Psal. 35.13. 1. Chro. 10.12. In like sort he mourned and fasted for the death of Saule and Iona­than, 1. Chron. 10. and also of Abner, 2. Sam. 3.2. Sam. 3.35.

Publicke affliction is, when the countrey, the Church or Commonwealth is afflicted with any common cala­mitie; as famine, sword, pestilence, desolation, captiuitie, and such like.

Let vs therefore consider, whether this present time be a time of affliction, or not: and if it be, let vs know that this commaundement belongeth vnto vs, and that the Lord calleth vs to fasting and prayer.Esay 22.12. Be it that in re­spect of thy selfe and those that belong to thee thou hast no cause of mourning (as who almost is free?) yet thy brethren, thy sisters, thy friends, thy countreymen, thy fellow members in the bodie of Christ are visited by the hand of God, or the places of their dwelling at least in­fected with this contagious sickenesse. Did Dauid fast and mourne and pray for his enemies when they were in af­fliction, and doest not thou mourne for thy deare bre­thren and friends? But though we had no priuat cause of griefe, yet the common calamitie should most of all af­fect vs: seeing the chiefe cities and many other places of the land (the Lord shooting his arrowes on euery side) are visited with the fearefull plague of pestilence. What? shall we thinke because we as yet through the goodnesse of God haue escaped this plague, that therefore it is not a time of affliction, wherein wee are to humble our selues before God by fasting and prayer? Farre be it from vs, that we should be so hard-hearted, as that we should not take to heart the affliction of Ioseph: Amos 6.6. or such vnnaturall mem­bers of the bodie politicke, or vnsound and rotten mem­bers of the mysticall bodie of Christ, as that when the chiefe citie, and as it were the head of our countrey, be­sides many other places and persons, is so grieuously af­flicted, that we should not condole and mourne together [Page 81] with them, and pray to God for them? Or may we think, that because our selues, and perhaps also the places where we dwell are free, that therefore this affliction and judge­ment doth not concerne vs? yes beloued, it doth neerely concerne vs. For that this affliction is laid vpon the land for sinne, we need not doubt, seeing the Scripture so oft doth teach that truth.Psal. Esay 64.5. Psal. 39.11. Lam. 3.39. Behold (sayth the Prophet Esay) thou art angrie when we offend. Dauid testifieth, that the Lord with rebukes doth chastise men for sinne: and Ieremie, That men are punished for their sinnes: insomuch, that afflictions and pu­nishments in the Scripture are often called iniquities and sinnes. But for whose sinnes I beseech you is this publicke judgement laid vpon the land? For their sinnes alone, who haue beene visited, or are dead of the plague? No I assure you; but for the sinnes of vs all. For although God hauing mercie on vs, doth for our sinnes among the rest afflict others and spare vs, that wee beholding this common judgement in others, deserued by our sinnes as well as theirs, might meet him in his iudgements, Amos 4.12. and turne vnto him by repentance; yet may not wee thinke our selues more righteous than they, or esteeme them as more grieuous sinners than our selues, because the Lord hath hetherto spared vs, vnlesse we would haue that sentence of our Sauiour Christ to bee most justly applied vnto vs,Luk. 13.5. I tell you nay, but vnlesse you repent, you all shall likewise perish.

Wherefore let vs humble our selues vnder the hand of God, let vs turne vnto him that smiteth vs; that of vs, that at the least may be verified which is said of the Is­raelits, when the Lord slew them, Esay 9.13. Psal. 78.34. Ioel. 2.12. they sought him, and turned vnto him. Let vs I say turne vnto him with all our hearts, and with fasting and mourning: let vs call vpon God with vp­right hearts in this time of our trouble, that being deli­uered out of the same, we may glorifie him. Who knoweth if he will returne, and repent of this euill; nay, who knoweth [Page 82] not, or who doubteth but he will haue mercie on vs and deliuer vs (if our deliuerance may bee for his glorie and our spiritual good) seeing he hath so graciously promised in this place, that if we call vpon him in the day of trou­ble, he will deliuer vs, and we shall glorifie him.

Hauing spoken of the commaundement, we are now to intreat of the promise, which is added as a reason or motiue to stirre vs vp to the obedience of the commaun­dement. For as the commaundement teacheth vs, that if we desire deliuerance out of affliction that we may glo­rifie God, we are to begge the same at the hands of God by heartie prayer: so the promise assureth vs that if wee call vpon God in the day of trouble, hee will deliuer vs for his owne glorie and our comfort: for so he saith, I will deliuer thee, and thou shalt glorifie me.

In which words two things are promised, deliuerance, and the end or fruit thereof, which is the glorifying of God.

As touching the former, we are to consider the cir­cumstance of the person promising, and the thing it selfe which is promised. The person is God: for as it is he that afflicteth, so it is hee onely which deliuereth, as the Prophet Hosea sheweth:Hos. 6.1. this therefore teacheth vs vnto whom we are both in affliction to flie for deliuerance (not to Saints in heauen, nor to wisards on earth, but to God alone;) and when wee are deliuered, to returne thankes. And secondly, we may here obserue the vn­speakeable clemencie of our gracious God, who is so readie (as this promise importeth) to aunswere to our prayers, and to graunt our requests: yea, in that he allu­reth vs to call vpon him by his gracious promise, it is eui­dent that he is more readie to heare, than we to pray. So the Lord himselfe testifieth by his Prophet Esay 65.24,Esay 65.24. Yea before the call, I will aunswere, and while they speake I will beare: and the same is signified in the parable of the prodi­gall [Page 83] sonne:Luk. 15.20. for when he was about to returne to his father (by whom is signified God our father) his father saw him being yet a great way off, and had cōpassion and ran and fell on his necke and kissed him. And this, as it is the pri­uiledge of Gods people to haue God neere vnto them in all things which they aske at his hands,Deut 4.7. as Moses saith: so also this is the assurance of the faithfull,1. Iohn 5.14. that if we aske any thing according to his will, he heareth vs. And if we know that he heareth vs whatsoeuer we aske, we know that we haue the petitions that we haue desired of him.

The thing promised, is deliuerance: for so he saith, I will deliuer thee. And the same is promised elsewhere: for that which our Sauiour Christ hath taught vs to aske, the Lord hath promised to graunt: But Christ our Sauiour hath taught vs to pray that we may be deliuered from the euill of affliction, therefore the Lord hath promised deliuerance therefrom. The like promise we haue,Psal. 34.17. Psal. 34, When the righteous crie the Lord heareth them, and deliuereth them out of all their troubles. Psal. 34.19. And againe, Manie are the troubles of the righteous, but the Lord deliuereth him out of them all. Like­wise Psa. 91,Psal. 91.15. to such as loue the Lord this promise is made, He shall call vpon me and I will heare him, I will be with him in trou­ble: I will deliuer him and glorifie him. We are therefore with faith in this promise to call vpon God, in the time of trouble, not doubting of the performance thereof: for God who hath made this promise, is mercifull, and there­fore he will in mercie heare those which in trouble and miserie do call vpon him: For so he saith, Exod. 22,Exod. 22.27. When he crieth vnto me, I will heare him, for I am mercifull. And he is also faithfull which hath promised,1. Cor. 10, 13. and therefore will not suffer vs to be tempted aboue our strength, but with the tempta­tion will giue an issue that we may be able to beare it. It is impos­sible that God in his word or promise should lie: and therefore heauen and earth shall passe away, but not one jot or tittle of this word and promise of God, rightly vn­derstood, [Page 84] shall fall to the ground vnaccomplished. The same [...]aith may be confirmed by the experience of the faithfull in all ages, who hauing called vpon the Lord in the time of trouble, haue bene deliuered out of the same. The Israelits were in grieuous thraldome in Egypt, but when they cried vnto the Lord he heard their voyce, and deliuered them as themselues professe, Num. 201.6.Num. 20.16. Like­wise when they cried vnto him, he deliuered them out of the hands of the Amorits,Iudg. 10.10, 11. the Ammonits, the Philistins, the Sidonians, the Amalekits, and other their enemies, as himselfe telleth them, Iud. 10. Sampson after he had slaine a thousand Philistins with the jawbone of an Asse, he cried vnto the Lord being readie to die for thirst,Iudg. 15.19. and obtained a well in Lechi (for so the place is called) which for a per­petuall monument of prayer, was called the fountaine of him that prayed.Psa. 116.1, 2, 3, 4 Psal. 118.5. Psal. 34.4.6. Dauid often confesseth to the glorie of God, that he had diuerse times called vpon God in trou­ble, and that the Lord heard and deliuered him.Ion. 2. Ionas when hee was cast into the sea and swallowed of the whale, cried vnto the Lord and was restored safe to land. Ezechias hauing receiued the sentence of death,Esay 38.5. the Pro­phet Esay telling him that he should die and not liue, not­withstanding by prayer obtained the prolonging of his life. Manasses, though the most wicked of all the kings of Iudah, yet being in trouble he prayed vnto the Lord and humbled himselfe greatly before God,2. Chr. 33.12, 13. and was receiued to mercie, and restored to his kingdome. And to omit other particular examples, Dauid testifieth of diuerse sorts of men, being in diuerse kinds of troubles, that when they cry vnto the Lord in their trouble he deliuereth them out of their distresse. Psal. 107.6.13, 19, 28.

But for as much as some man may object out of his owne experience, That hee being in trouble hath called vpon God, and yet hath not bene deliuered; and that this is not his case alone, but is and hath beene in all ages the [Page 85] case of many thousands: It behoueth vs therefore dili­gently to consider how this promise is to be vnderstood; for that is the matter of greatest importance which offe­reth it selfe to bee considered of in the vnfolding of this text. For, that the promise is not to be vnderstood abso­lutly & generally of euery prayer, of euerie man, in euery affliction, the experiēnce of all times doth sufficiently de­clare. But by conference of this promise which other places of Scripture, it may appeare, that it doth admit a threefold limitation or restraint: The first, in respect of the partie that prayeth: the second, in regard of the prayer it selfe: the third concerning the thing which is prayed for.

For as touching the first, If any wicked man or impe­nitent sinner shall object against the truth of this promise, that hee hauing called vpon God in the time of trouble, hath notwithstanding not beene deliuered: let him heare what immediatly followeth this promise in the next words of the Psalme verse 16, But vnto the wicked, saith God, what hast thou to do, to declare mine ordinances, or to take my couenant into thy mouth, as though my promises belong vn­to thee? For indeed not onely in this place but in many other places of the Scripture, the promise concerning the hearing of our prayers is restrained to the faithfull, and denied to the wicked, Prou. 15,Prou. 15.8, 29. The sacrifice of the wicked is ab­homination to the Lord, but the prayer of the righteous is acceptable vnto him. And againe, The Lord is farre off from the wicked, but he heareth the prayer of the righteous. Likewise, Psal. 34,Psal. 34.15, 16. The eyes of the Lord are vpon the righteous, and his eares are open to their cry: But the face of the Lord is against them that do euill, to cut off their remembrance from the earth. The man which had bene blind, Iohn 9, deliuereth this sentence as the receiued opinion of the faithfull in those times,Iohn 9.31. We know (saith he) that God hea­reth not sinners (meaning impenitent sinners) but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doth his will, him heareth he. It is ther­fore [Page 86] the faithfull man whose prayer is accepted of God: the just man, who is just before God by faith, and before men by repentance, Iames 5,Iam. 5.16. The prayer of the righteous man auaileth much. Psalme. 34,Psa. 34.17. When the righteous cry, the Lord heareth them, and deliuereth them out of their troubles. The man that feareth God, Psal. 145,Psal. 145.19. The Lord will fulfill the desire of them that feare him: he also will beare their cry, and will saue them. That loueth God, Psal. 91,Psal. 91.14.15. Because he hath loued me, therefore will I deliuer him, I will exalt him because he hath knowne my name. He shall call vpon me and I will heare him, I will be with him in trouble, I will deliuer him, and glorifie him. That walketh vprightly, Psal. 84,Psal. 84.11. For the Lord God is a sunne (that is, the author of light and all comfortable blessings) and a shield (that is, a pro­tector from all euill:) the Lord will giue grace and glorie (grace in this life, and glorie in the life to come) and no good thing will be withhold from them that walke vprightly. That perseuereth, Iohn 15,Iohn 15.7. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, aske what you will, and it shall be done to you. That hath an humble and contrit heart, Psal. 34.18, The Lord is neare vnto them that are of a contrit heart, and will saue such as be afflicted in spirit. Esay 66.2. Esay 66. To him will I looke (saith the Lord) euen to him that is poore and of a contrit spirit, and trembleth at my words. Psal. 51,Psal. 51.17. The sa­crifices of God (that is, that which God esteemeth in steed of all sacrifices) is a contrit spirit; a contrit and a broken heart, ô God, thou wilt not despise. But as for the wicked, the Lord plainely professeth that he will not heare them, Mich. 3.Mic. 3.4. Though they make many prayers, Esay 1.15. Esay 1. though they cry loud in his eares, Ezech. 8.Ezech. 8 18. Wherefore beloued in the Lord, if we continue in our sinnes, whereby we haue prouoked the Lord to execute his judgements vpon vs, and if the Lord seeme not to heare vs, neither doth deliuer vs according to our desire: we may not object against God, either that he is vntrue in his promises, or vnable to helpe vs; but let vs heare what the Prophet Esay saith in this case: Behold the Lords hand is not shortned that it cannot saue: Esay 59.1. neither is his eare [Page 87] heauie that it cannot heare: but your iniquities haue separated be­tweene you and your God, and your sinnes haue hid his face from you that he will not heare. Verse 9.11.12. Therefore iudgement being farre from vs, and iustice not comming neere vnto vs: we wait for light, but lo, it is darknesse: for brightnesse, but we walke in darknesse: for health, but it is farre from vs: for our trespasses are many before the Lord, &c. And that we may descend to some particulers. If we be guiltie of crueltie and oppression, the Lord will not heare vs. Esay 1,Esay 1.15. When you shall stretch out your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you, and though you make many prayers I will not heare: for your hands are full of bloud: or if we bee vn­mercifull to the poore:Prou. 21.13. for he that stoppeth his eare at the cry­ing of the poore, he shall also cry and not be heard, Prou. 21: or if we refuse to heare and obey the word of God: for as Salomon saith,Prou. 28.9. He that turneth away his eare from hearing the law, euen his prayers shall be abhominable: for as in prayer we speake to the Lord, so in the preaching of the word the Lord spea­keth vnto vs. And good reason it is, that the Lord should not heare vs, if we will not heare him. Therefore it is come to passe, saith the Prophet Zacharie, Zach. 7.13. That as he cried and they would not heare, so they cried and I would not heare saith the Lord of hosts. Or if we be close sinners and hypocrits, making faire shewes openly, and yet be addicted to secret sinnes: for as Dauid saith, Psal. 66. If I regard wickednesse in mine heart, the Lord will not heare me.

Wherefore (beloued) as it is certaine that our sinnes are the cause of our affliction: so we must be carefull to auoid our sinnes, if we desire that our affliction may be remoued: for they are as a wall of separation betwixt God and vs.Ezech. 43.8. If therefore thou wilt not ceasse to sinne, nei­ther will God ceasse to afflict thee; vnlesse perhaps hee will giue thee ouer as one that is incurable, as Phisitians sometimes giue ouer their patients, when they thinke them past cure.

And to conclude this point: if when thou callest vpon [Page 88] God in the time of trouble, the Lord doth not deliuer thee, examine they selfe whether thou doest not continue in sinne without repentance: and if thou doest, breake off thy sinne by repentance, and turne vnto the Lord, and he will heare thee: for so he saith by the Prophet Esay, after hee had protested that hee would not heare their prayers whiles they continued in their sinnes;Esay 1.15, 16, 17. Wash you, make you cleane, take away the euill of your workes before mine eyes, ceasse to do euill, learne to do well, seeke iudgement, releeue the op­pressed, iudge the fatherlesse, Verse 18. defend the widdow: Come now, and let vs reason together saith the Lord: though your sinnes were as crim­son, they shall be made white as snow, though they were red like scar­let they shall be as wooll.

The second limitation, is in respect of the prayer it selfe: For we haue no assurance that God will heare eue­rie prayer, but onely such as is made according to his will reuealed in his word, as Iohn saith, this is our assu­rance, that if we aske any thing according to his will, 1. Iohn 5.14. he heareth vs. We must therefore be carefull that our prayer be confor­mable to the word of God, both in respect of the maner and forme how we pray, and also in regard of the end: as touching the manner, there are three things which are especially required. First, that we pray in truth: for it maybe that when thou callest vpon God, thou prayest in hypocrisie and not from thine heart, either because thou prayest with wandring thoughts, or with fained lippes. With wandring thoughts: when as thy tongue vttering a prayer, thy heart goeth a wandring or who­ring after the vanities of this world, or is otherwise di­stracted with other vnseasonable thoughts: For if when thou commest neere to the Lord with thy lippes, thou remouest thy heart from God, thou maist justly feare left in steed of the blessings which thou seemest to aske, thou pull down the judgements of God vpon thee,Esay 29.13, 14. according to the threatning of the Lord by the Prophet Esay, chap­ter [Page 89] 29. For if thou shouldest joyne into one speech, the thoughts of thy mind, and the words of thy mouth (both which the Lord doth vnderstand a like,) thou wouldest be ashamed to deliuer such a speech to a mortall man, which thou art not ashamed to vtter vnto the immortall God. Or how canst thou looke that God should heare or regard thy prayer, when thou doest not heare nor re­gard thy selfe?

With fained lippes thou prayest,Psal. 17.1. when the desire of the heart doth not agree with the prayer of thy lippes; when thou askest with thy mouth, that which thou doest not desire with thine heart: or when thou pretendest that in thy prayer, which thou doest not intend, or promisest that, which thou doest not meane to performe: this is no better than lying vnto God,Hos. 7.13, 14. when men cry vnto God, but not from their harts, as the Prophet Hosea speaketh: for what doth a man but lie, when hee speaketh otherwise than he thinketh? This is a common fault of men when they are in affliction, to promise and pretend great matters; when notwithstanding their heart is not vpright with God, and therefore the more carefully to be auoided of vs, lest we seeme with the vnsound Israelits when the hand of God was vpon them,Psal. 78.36, 37. to go about to deceiue the Lord with our mouth, and with our tongue to speake lies vnto him.

It is true indeed that God hath promised to heare the prayers of them that call vpon him: but this promise is to bee vnderstood with restraint to them that call vpon him in truth. As Dauid most plainely teacheth, Psal. 145, The Lord is neare to all that call vpon him:Psal. 149.18. what to all? yea to all that call vpon him in truth: For that payer which is accep­table to God, is not onely the moouing of the lippes, or the speech of the tongue, or the lifting vp of the eyes or hands,Psal. 25.1. Lam. 3.41. but it is the lifting vp of our soules, as Dauid de­scribeth his prayer, Psal. 25, A lifting vp of our hearts with our hands vnto God in the heauens, as Ieremie exhorteth vs to pray: [Page 90] it is the pouring forth of our soule before the Lord, as Anna ex­presseth her prayer, 1. Sa. 1,1. Sam. 1.15. and as Dauid willeth vs to pray, Ps. 62.Psal. 62.8. The second thing required in respect of the maner, is, that we pray with feruencie of spirit. It may be when thou callest vpon God, thou prayest for fashion rather then for feeling, and so vtterest a cold or luke-warme prayer like to thy selfe;Apoc. 3.15. which thou mayst justly feare, is no more acceptable vnto God, than luke-warme water to the stomacke.Iam. 5.16. Eccles. 35.17. It is true, that the prayer of the righteous man auaileth much, but with this addition, if it be feruent. This is that prayer which pierceth the clouds, and is effectuall with God. If therefore we would obtaine our sute, let vs craue the assistance of Gods spirit, by whose helpe and direction we may pray with sighes that cannot be expressed, let vs learne to poure forth our soules like a streame of water, Rom. 8.26. Ier. 2.26. [...]. Thes. 3.10. let vs as the Apostle speaketh in the Epistle to the Thessalonians; pray [...] superabundantly or exceedingly, let vs (with reuerence be it spoken to the glorious majestie of God) wrestle with the Lord in our prayers,Rom. 15.30. Col. 4.12. as the Apostle speaketh:Gen. 32.24.28. which kind of wrestling Iacob hauing vsed, Gen. 32, he became Israell, that is, one which preuaileth with God,Hos. 12.3.4. as the Prophet Hosea sheweth chapter 12.3, 4.

The third thing required in the manner is, that wee pray with faith. It may bee when thou prayest thou art in doubt whether thou shalt be heard, and therefore mayst not looke to obtaine thy sute: For it is the prayer of faith, to which the promise is made:Iam. 5.15. Math. 21.22. Mar. 11.24. Iam. 1.5, 6, 7. whatsoeuer you aske in prayer, saith our Sauiour Christ, if you beleeue, you shall receiue it. Likewise Iames, If any man, saith he, want wisdome, let him aske it of God, and it shall be giuen him. But let him aske in saith and wauer not, for he that wauereth is like a waue of the sea tost of the wind and caried away. Neither let that man thinke, that he shall receiue any thing of the Lord. If therefore thou wouldest pray acceptably,Heb. 11.6. thou must pray with faith: for without faith it is impossible to please God. With faith I say in God: for how [Page 91] canst thou call vpon him in whom thou doest not beleeue? with faith in Christ,Rom. 10.14. being assured that both thou, though sin­full in thy selfe, & thy prayer though vnperfect in it selfe, are accepted of God in Christ: for this is to pray in the name of Christ, by whom and in whose name we haue confidence & accesse with assurance through faith in him: Iohn 16.23. Eph. 3.12. with faith in the promises of God made to our prayers▪ and consequent­ly thou art to beleeue not onely that thou and thy praiers are accepted of God in Christ, but also that thy particu­lar request shall be graunted vnto thee: Aske, saith Christ, and it shall be giuen you, Math. 7.7, 8. Iohn 16.23. &c. for whosoeuer asketh, receiueth, &c. And againe, Verily, verily, I say vnto you, whatsoeuer you shall aske the father in my name, he will giue it you. And thus were we to pray in respect of the manner, viz. in truth and from our hearts, otherwise our prayer is dead and without life: in feruencie, otherwise our prayer is cold and luke­warme: in faith, otherwise it is turned into sinne.

Againe, our prayer must be conformable to the will of God, in respect of the end. It may be thou askest riches, to spend the same vpon thy lust: or thou askest deliue­rance out of thine affliction, that thou mightest follow the pleasures, or haue opportunitie or leisure to follow thine accustomed sinne, &c. But we may so aske, and yet notwithstanding the promise, we may misse our desire: for as Iames saith, you aske and receiue not: how so, seeing Christ hath said,Iam. 4.3. aske and you shall receiue? Because you aske amisse: and wherein did they aske amisse? in respect of the end; that you might consume it on your lusts. But we must remember that in this promise the Lord hath joyned these two together, I will deliuer thee, and thou shalt glorifie me. And therefore if we aske deliuerance, we must aske it to this end, that we may glorifie God. Wherefore as it is good for the stirring vp of our feruencie and spirituall hunger, with our prayer to joyne fasting: so also it is ex­pedient for the confirmation of our faith, and setling our [Page 92] resolution in glorifying God, to joyne with our prayers godly vowes of some things whereby God may be glo­rified.Gen. 28.20.21, 22. 1 Sam 1.10, 11. Psal. 66.13, 14. And this hath bene the practise of the godly in all ages, as of Iacob Genes. 28. of Anna, 1. Sam. 1. of Dauid, &c.

The third limitation is in respect of the thing which is asked: for if the cause why thou art not heard and deli­uered, is not to be imputed either to thy person, being one that doth beleeue and repent; or yet to thy prayer, being framed in some measure according to Gods will, both in respect of the manner and the end; then art thou to be as­sured and vndoubtedly resolued, that the thing which thou askest, is either not good for thee at all, or else not yet. And that God doth alwayes heare his children pray­ing vnto him effectually, though not ad voluntatem, accor­ding to their desire, yet ad vtilitatem, according to their profit.Math. 7.11. For if earthly parents who are euill, can giue to their children good gifts, how much more shall our father which is in heauen giue good things to them that aske him?

Thou askest deliuerance out of affliction, and God hath promised to deliuer his chileren that call vpon him; but it may be, it is not a good thing that thou shouldest be deliuered: and therefore in that case, deliuerance is nei­ther included within the compasse of Gods promise, nor yet intended in thy prayer, if it be conceiued aright: For a promise, vnlesse it be of some good thing, it is a threat­ning rather than a promise: we must therefore remember that God hath promised to giue good things to them that aske him. Math. 7.11. And that prayer which is conceiued aright for tem­porall benefits (such as deliuerance out of affliction is) must not bee made absolutly, but with the condition of Gods glorie and our euerlasting good. Whereas thou therefore askest deliuerance out of trouble that thou mightest be restored to thy former estate, it may bee that it is better for thee to be taken out of this world, that thou mayest change thy mortall life for an immortall, and that [Page 93] a finall end may be put both to thy trouble,Apoc. 14, 13. and to thy sinne, which is the cause of thy trouble. It may be, if thou shouldest liue longer, thou wouldest be infected with the common corruptions of the time,Wisd. 4.11. and therefore as it is said of Enoch, Thou art taken away, least wickednesse should alter thine vnderstanding, or deceit beguile thy mind. For when we are iudged, that is, afflicted, though it be by bodily death,1. Cor. 11.32. Vers. 30. wee are chastised of the Lord, that wee should not be condemned with the world. Or, if thou shouldest bee continued longer in this life, it may bee that such com­mon calamities as the Lord is intended to bring vpon the land, should happen in thy time; and therefore God in great mercie taketh thee away, as hee did the godly king Iosias, 2. King. 22.20. that thou shouldest not see the euill which is to come: as it is said of Esay 57.Esay 57.1. The righteous perish, and no man takes it to heart: mercifull men are taken away, and no man vnderstandeth that the righteous is taken away from the euill to come.

Or else it is good for thee, that the affliction which thou desirest to bee remooued from thee, should be con­tinued vpon thee: thine estate and disposition being such, that it is very needfull for thee to bee trained vp in the schoole of affliction, and to be dayly exercised vnder the crosse. And therefore, if God doe see it good to take that course with thee, thou must resolue with patience and comfort to take vp thy crosse,Luke 9.23. [...], day by day, as our Sauiour Christ hath warned thee: and remem­ber, that it is good for a man, if God doe so appoint, to begin betimes,Lam. 3.27. and to beare the yoke of affliction euen in his youth.

Or at the least, it is not good for thee as yet to be de­liuered, because the Lord hath not as yet attained to that end for which hee doth afflict thee. For if it haue beene good for Dauid and the rest of Gods children that they haue beene afflicted,Psal. 119 71. not in respect of the afflictions [Page 94] themselues▪ but in regard of those profitable and excel­lent fruits which the holy ghost by their afflictions wor­keth in them: then assuredly, it is not good for thee, that thine affliction should cease before it hath wrought such good effects in thee, as the Lord by it intendeth to worke: vnlesse thou wouldest giue the Lord occasion to complaine, that thou art one of those whom he afflicteth in vaine.Ier. 2.30.

Now the Lord afflicteth his seruants, either for their triall, or for their chastisement. The Lord trieth them by afflictions, either that his graces may appeare in them to his glorie and the good example of others, or that their weakenesse may be manifested, for their owne amende­ment and instruction of others. If hee trie men for the manifestation of his graces in them, it is expedient that they should bee tried by a triall proportionable to the measure of their graces, either in respect of the great­nesse, or of the continuance,Iam. 1.4. that patience may haue her per­fect worke in them.

And hence it is that the best men haue endured the greatest trials, as appeareth in Abraham, Dauid, and Iob, Iam. 1, 2, 3, 4. &c. Wherefore Iames exhorteth vs to count it exceeding ioy, when we fall into manifold temptations: knowing, that the triall of our faith (for so he calleth affliction) bringeth foorth pati­ence. And let patience (sayth he) haue her perfit worke, that you may be perfit and entire, lacking nothing. If the Lord doe trie vs to discouer and bewray our weakenesse, that so hee may abate our pride, and humble vs before him; it is sometimes expedient that the afflictiō should be prolon­ged, though to our griefe for the present,Deut. 8.16. yet to our good in the end. Because many men are able to endure the first brunt, and therein greatly please themselues, who not­withstanding in the continuance of the affliction, doe no­tably bewray their weakenesse. But because this kind of triall is also a chastisement, let vs consider those fruits [Page 95] and effects which the Lord by chastisements doth worke in his children.

  • 1. First therefore the Lord doth chastise vs, that hee might teach vs to know our selues, and acknowledge our sinnes,
    Gen. 42.21.
    and might humble vs vnder his hand: for prospe­ritie puffeth men vp, and maketh them forget them­selues.
  • 2. That he might stirre vs vp to call vpon him of­ten,
    Hos. 5.15. Luke 18.1. Esa 26.16, 17, 18
    and that with feruencie of spirit: for when men en­joy their ease, they are not vsually either so feruent or so frequent in prayer.
  • 3. That he might reclaime vs from sinne,
    1. Pe [...]. 4.1.
    and might mortifie our corruptions: for as fire purgeth gold, so doth affliction the children of God.
  • 4. That he might teach vs obedience by those things which we suffer.
    Heb. 5.8.
  • 5. That hee might waine our soules from worldly desires.
  • 6. That he might exercise and strengthen our faith and patience.

Well then, call thy selfe to an account, thou which thinkest it so long till thou bee deliuered. First, art thou not yet humbled vnder the mightie hand of God, but continuest still as proud and as vaine as in former times? assure thy selfe it is good for thee that thine affliction should be continued, that thou mayest learne humilitie and the knowledge of thy selfe, and mayest be brought to a more serious consideration of thy sinnes and of thy wretched estate in thy selfe.

2. Doest thou not flie vnto the Lord by prayer, or if thou prayest, doest thou pray but coldly, and as it were for fashion sake? therefore the Lord delayeth to helpe and deliuer thee, that thou mayest learne to call vpon him seriously and feruently.

3. Hast thou not yet repented thee of thy sinne, [Page 96] whereby thou diddest prouoke the Lords anger against thee? Hast thou not yet turned to him that smiteth thee? Therefore doth he continue thine affliction as thou con­tinuest thine impenitencie:Esay. 9.13. and as thou delayest thy re­pentance, so doth he delay his helpe.

4. Hast thou not yet learned obedience by that which thou doest suffer? Therfore doth he still continue thine affliction, to teach thee obedience, and to make thee partaker of his holinesse:Heb. 12.10. for although the chastisement of God vpon thee seeme grieuous for the time, yet in the end it will bring foorth the quiet fruit of righteousnesse vnto thee who art exercised thereby. Heb. 12.11. Psal. 119.71. For which cause Dauid, as hee professeth of himselfe, that it was good for him that hee had beene afflicted, that [...]e might learne the statutes of the Lord: so he pronounceth that man blessed whom the Lord doth chastise and teach in his law, Psal. 94.12. &c.

5. Art thou still addicted to the world, minding and affecting things below, more than the things which are aboue? Therefore the Lord mingleth thy worldly pros­peritie with the gall of affliction, that as nurses by laying bitter things vnto their dugs, doe waine their children from them, so hee by affliction might waine thee from the world: and that through bearing the crosse thou mightest bee crucified to the world,Gal. 6.14. and the world to thee.

6. Hast thou not yet learned patiently to beare the crosse, & to repose thine affiance in God more than in the meanes which God permitteth to thee? Therefore doth he still continue thine affliction, that thy patience might be exercised, and by exercise confirmed, as the Scriptures testifie: therefore doth the Lord bereaue thee of other meanes,Rom. 5.3. I [...]m. 1.3. that thou mightest relie onely vpon him. Here then we are to be admonished to make a right vse of our afflictions, and as we desire to be deliuered for our com­fort, so to labour, that these or such like effects may by [Page 97] our affliction be wrought in vs: for if wee desire to bee deliuered out of affliction, before it hath wrought any good effect in vs, wee desire vnawares that God should giue vs ouer as incorrigible.

When as therefore a faithfull man hath prayed effe­ctually vnto the Lord for deliuerance out of affliction, and yet is not deliuered, let him know that it is not good for him to be deliuered as yet. And withall, let him bee persuaded of these two things: First, that God doth cha­stise him in Apoc. 3.19. loue, for his Heb. 12.10. profit, according to his neces­sitie, as being not Lam. 3.33. delighted with our afflictions: and therefore inflicteth vpon him no greater measure of af­fliction, than in his fatherly wisedome he thinketh neces­sarie. And therefore wee ought to possesse our soules in patience, committing and resigning our selues into the hands of almightie God, as of a most wise and louing fa­ther, and most expert phisition of our soules. A sonne that hath any grace in him, will meekely submit himselfe to the chastisement of a wise and carefull father:Heb. 12.9. how much more ought we to submit our selues to the corre­ction of our heauenly father? A man that hath in his bodie any wounds or sores, he will not onely be patient, but thankefull also towards the surgeon that launceth or seareth his bodie, that hee may cure it: how much more ought we patiently and thankefully to suffer the Lord to afflict our bodies, that he may saue our soules?

Secondly, let him be assured that the Lord doth ne­uer reject the effectuall prayer of a faithfull man, but al­wayes heareth the same graciously, if not according to his desire, yet according to his profit: yea, that hee al­wayes graunteth it, if it be rightly conceiued. For as we are to aske spirituall graces necessarie to saluation abso­lutely; so wee are to beleeue absolutely, that God will graunt the same vnto vs: yea this is a certaine and com­fortable truth, that whosoeuer hath thus much grace, [Page 98] truly and earnestly to desire any sanctifying grace, the same grace is alreadie begun in him, the Lord accepting in his children the will for the deed. And as wee are to aske temporall blessings conditionally, so farre foorth as the graunting thereof may stand with Gods glorie and our euerlasting good; so we are to beleeue and to be assured that God will graunt the same, so farre forth as may be for the glorie of his name, and for our spirituall good.

Wherefore to conclude, if it be good for the children of God to be deliuered out of affliction, the Lord deli­uereth them when they haue called vpon him, according to his most gracious promise in this place: but if it bee not good for them to be deliuered, then deliuerance (be­ing not a blessing) is not within the compasse of Gods promise;2. Cor. 1.5. and therefore in stead of that, he giueth them patience with the inward comfort of the holy ghost, bles­seth and sanctifieth their affliction vnto them, causing it and all things whatsoeuer to worke together for the good of them that loue him. Rom. [...], 28,

And thus much concerning the deliuerance promi­sed, now followeth the fruit of deliuerance obtained. And thou shalt glorifie me. Out of which words wee are briefely to obserue foure things: the first, for the comfort of the godly and the terrour of the wicked. For if wee therefore aske deliuerance, that wee may glorifie God, and haue a certaine purpose and setled resolution, after we are deliuered to glorifie him, especially if wee con­firme our purpose and resolution by a godly vow; wee may from hence conceiue certaine hope that we shall be deliuered, for so much as wee hereby doe plainely see, that our deliuerance and safetie shall bee joyned with Gods glorie:Psal. 6.4.5. & 142.7. & 143.11. and therefore may be bold for the confir­mation of our faith to entreat the Lord (as the faithfull haue vsed to doe) that hee would spare vs for his names [Page 99] sake, and that he would deliuer vs euen for the glorie of his name: that being deliuered, we may praise and glo­rifie his name among men, which being dead we cannot do: For as Dauid saith, In death there is no remembrance of thee: in the graue, who shall praise thee? But if we haue a purpose to continue in our sinnes, and therefore desire deliuerance that we may haue freedome to follow our owne courses; as we cannot intreat the Lord that hee would deliuer vs for his owne name sake, so can we not conceiue hope that we shall be deliuered for our good, seeing our life after our deliuerance is like to be joyned with the dishonour of God.

The second thing serueth for our instruction. That as we are here taught, so we should not onely acknowledge the glorie of God to bee the end of our deliuerance and preseruation, but also bee carefull to referre the same to the glorifying of God: for this is the supreme end of our life and being: Whereunto if our life be not referred, we liue in vaine. Many when they are in distresse will pro­mise and vow a studie and care of glorifying God after they are deliuered, of which vow notwithstanding after­wards they are vnmindfull. But it may be asked, how are we to glorifie God? I answer, both inwardly, and outwardly. Inwardly, in our minds, by intending the glorie of God in all things, or as the Prophet Malachie speaketh,Mal. 2.2. By putting into our harts to giue glorie to his name; that whether we eat or drinke, or whatsoeuer we do, all may be done to the glorie of God. 1. Cor. 10.3 [...]. Outwardly in our words and deeds. In our words, that we make the glorie of God both the matter of our speech, when we praise and magnifie God, giuing him thankes for our deliuerance, and all other his bles­sings, for this is [...] to glorifie God,Luke 2.20. as Luke speaketh chapter 2, and as the Lord professeth in the last verse of this Psalme,Psal. 50, 23. He that sacrificeth praise, doth glorifie me. And we are the rather thus to glorifie God, because this [Page 100] fruit the Lord requireth both in this place and elsewhere in the Scriptures,Psal. 50.14, 15. Psal. 107. and also expecteth the same at our hands. And further, he esteemeth himselfe to bee hono­red and glorified, when he is praised and magnified, and therefore farre preferreth the sacrifice of praise, Heb 3.15. Hos. 14.3. that is, the fruit or calues of our lippes confessing vnto God, be­fore all the sacrifices of goats and buls prescribed in his Law. And for this cause the faithfull in their affliction, vse to promise by vow these sacrifices of praise; which being deliuered,Psal. 116.12, 13, 14, 17, & 118, 21. they are carefull to performe. How­beit it cannot be denied but that the greatest part of men forget to bee thankfull, as appeareth by the storie of the ten lepers,Luke 17 17. to whom being all clensed, one onely retur­ned to giue praise and thankes to God, But let vs in this our affliction for the confirmation of our faith seriously vow these sacrifices of praise vnto God: and if it please God to deliuer vs,Psal. 50.14. let vs bee mindfull to offer vnto the Lord the sacrifice of praise, and pay our vowes vnto the most high: for if with Dauid we should deliberat with our selues what to render vnto the Lord for all his benefits towards vs, we must resolue as he doth, to take the cup of saluation, that is, of thankes for his preseruation of vs,Psal. 116.12.13. and so pay our vowes vnto the Lord. And if this be the onely thing almost which we can render vnto the Lord, we are exceedingly vn­thankfull, if we bee wanting therein. We are also to make the glorie of God the end of our speech, by auoi­ding all idle words, Mat. 12.36. Eph. 4.29. 1. Cor. 15.33. Col. 4.6. and rotten speeches, whereby good maners might be corrupted. And contrariwise, endeuouring that our speech being gracious alwayes and seasoned with salt, God may be glorified thereby, and our brethren edified. Last­ly, we are by our deeds to glorifie God, by bringing forth the fruits of good works: For by this meanes we shall not onely glorifie God our selues (as our Sauiour Christ saith,Iohn 15.8. Math. 5.16. 1. [...]o [...]. 2.12. Herein is my father glorified that you bring forth much fruit) but also be authors vnto others of glorifying him, to which [Page 101] purpose hee exhorteth vs so to let our light shine before men that they seeing our good workes may glorifie our father which is in heauen.

The third thing to be obserued, is a twofold doctrine. For first, when God doth promise vs this grace to glori­fie him, this proueth, that or care and studie to glorifie God, is not a matter in our owne power, but is the free gift of God. And therefore as the Lord here promiseth [...]nd elsewhere sweareth to giue vs this grace, so are we by earnest prayer to begge the same at his hands, as we are taught in the first petition of that forme of prayer which Christ hath prescribed to vs;Math. 6.9. namely, that God would giue vs grace to glorifie his name. And second­ly, whereas the Lord promiseth to the faithfull that they shall glorifie him: hereby it appeareth that the children of God haue a great desire to glorifie God, and esteeme it as a greater benefit than their deliuerance it selfe, if God will vouchsafe to make them instruments of his glo­rie: for that they acknowledge to be the end whereunto their deliuerance is to bee referred. Now the end is al­wayes better than that which is destinated thereunto. And the same thing is signified by the order of petitions in the Lords prayer, whereby we are taught to preferre the glorie of God, before those things which concerne not onely our temporall, but also spirituall good.

The fourth & last thing is a reproofe & check of those who haue no zeale of Gods glorie: for seeing the Lord promiseth to the faithfull that they shall glorifie him, and elsewhere by oath confirmeth that to those that he re-redeemeth he will giue this grace to worship him in holinesse and righteousnesse: Luke 1.73.74. therefore we may easily discerne in what number they are to be reckoned, who haue no care to praise God for this deliuerance, neither haue any de­sire to glorifie him.

To conclude therefore, that this affliction, and hand [Page 102] of God afflicting vs may be remoued; let vs flie vnto God by humble, heartie and effectuall prayer, as we are com­manded in this place; let vs humble our selues vnder the mightie hand of God,Esay 9 13. [...] 4.12. let vs turn [...] vnto him that hath smitten vs, let us be carefull to meete him in his iudgements, let vs re­pent of our sinnes, let vs vnfainedly vow the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiuing, and a serious care hereafter to glorifie God, that so with better assurance of faith we may intreat him to deliuer vs, let vs be mindfull to glori­fie him, and to render our vowes vnto the most high: that so it may plainely appeare, that our preseruation and life is joyned with the glorie of God. Otherwise if we shall forget this great mercie of God, and dishonour him by our sinnes, we are to feare lest some more grieuous iudgement shall befall vs. As our Sauiour Christ said to the man whom he had cured,Iohn 5.14. Behold, thou art made whole, sinne no more, lest a worse thing come vnto thee.



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