THE PRISONERS PLAINT, A SERMON PREACHED BY GVALTER ASHTON, Master of Arts, Prisoner in the Kings Bench for Debt, before the Imprisoned and others in that place, vpon the 25. of August. 1622.

1. SAM. 2. 6, 7.

The Lord killeth, and maketh aliue, bringeth downe to the graue, and raiseth vp.

The Lord maketh poore and maketh rich, bringeth low, and exalteth.

LONDON, Printed by Augustine Mathewes. 1623.


CHristian READER, this Sermon was preached for the comfort of the Impri­soned, and now Printed as a Card and Polestar for thy direction, when the same Lot shall fall into thy Lap; expect not in it Philareta ver­ba, pickt words, or matter of transcendent consequence; Onely Items to sustaine thee, when the Lord shall hedge vp thy way, Lament. 3. and compasse thee about with Gall and Wormwood. I freely acknow­ledge, that when I first thought vpon this Text, it was not in my thoughts to expose his Context to publique view, for I know my Infirmities, and my Countrey my grieuan­ces, which haue well nigh made a diuorce [Page] betwixt me and my Studies. The Authors ayme is to encrease thy patience, against thou come to mourne in Dauids Deepes. The winde may change, though it long haue kept his quarter; and he that stands may fall, al­though most watchfull. Reade, traduce not, shauings may haue their weight, so well as greater Wedges. Thus referring these Lines to thy perusall, and Thee to thy Ma­ker, I rest

Thine in the Lord, GVALTER ASHTON.


THough others haue trodden this Tract, and discust these words, yet it is Saint Pauls Rule, [...], That euerie man should abound in his owne Sense.

Thine, G. A.


WHen the people of God were capti­uated by the Babylonians, they requested them to sing some of the Songs of Sion: to which they answered, How can wee sing the Lords Song, being in a strange land, and full of heauinesse? Psal. 127. 3. 4. Mutato nomine de me narretur historia: change but the name, and the case is mine owne; They captiuated, I impri­soned; they suited to sing some of Sions Notes and Ditties, I requested (not to sing I must confesse) but to say, to speake some word of Exhortation; They answered, How can we sing the Lords Song being in a strange land, and full of heauinesse? I might haue replyed, How can a man Preach in a strange place, a house of mourning? But calling to minde, that Saint Paul, and Sylas, when they were confined, did not intermit to pray and praise the name of the Lord their God, Acts 16. v. 25. Hence haue I resolued to make their Patterne my Practise, and at this time to vndertake this dayes Taske.


PSAL. 130. VER. 1.‘Out of the Deepe places haue I called to thee O Lord, &c.’

THe Text is one of Dauids Petitions, when he was in his Prosunditatibus, as Iunius, and Tremellius read the words, in the depth of deepes, distressed in body, distracted in soule, persecuted in person, wounded in spirit. Di­stracted, wounded both in soule and con­science, with the feare of Gods wrath for his sinnes committed, which many times euen in this life, breakes forth into due strokes of vengeance, against all such as trade in sinne, and goe on in the workes of their owne in­uention: yet herein the Prophet Dauid be­wraies a wonderfull measure of faith, in gi­uing [Page 2] the Lord no rest, nor himselfe any ease, but prefers Petition after Petition, request vpon request, and still is not satisfied, like an importunate Suitor, vntill the eares of his God be possest with the voyce of his com­plaint, and hee in mercy haue obtained the desires of his heart; which is not vsuall with many in their daies of triall, and houre of temptations, who are so farre from wrestling with God by deuout supplications for deli­uerance, that they either fall off, from their affiance and trust in God, or else faint vnder the weight of the Crosse, thinking that God hath forgotten to be gracious, and that hee will be no more intreated, if one poore libera nos Domine, doe not produce the effect of their longing and languishing desires; which is to bee marked, as a direction for vs the im­prisoned, that seeing the Lord hath written bit­ter things against vs, and hemb'd vs in on euery side, with wants, oppressions, repro­ches, and the like, therefore wee should not suffer our eyes to sleepe, nor the lids thereof to slumber, vntill wee haue made our peace with God, by true conuersion and godly sor­row, for all those sinnes, which haue brought vpon vs this bondage and immuerement; which being done, the Lord hee cannot but grant vs his gracious liberate, I meane dis­charge from this house of Teares, the com­mon [Page 3] Inne of all the Oppressed.

The Epigraphe or Title of my Text, with the rest of the context, is a Song of Degrees, and so called as Arius Montanus giues the reason, because the Priests and the Leuites (as they ascended from that place of the Temple, which was called the great Court into a higher roome, named the inner Court of the house of the Lord) did at solemne feast daies, sing this Psalme, with others of the like Inscription, vpon euery staire once; Teach­ing vs, as in a Ceremony, that all those who serue God must doe it with lifted vp hearts, and spirituall affections, according as wee are called vpon, with the words of Sursum corda, in the suffrages of our Church [...]hurgie, and English seruice Booke.

Others be of another minde as Apolina­rius in his Metaphrasis, who saith, that because the voice was more lifted vp, and strained in the singing of this Psalme, then it was in o­thers, hence had it this denomination of A Song of Degrees.

Well, to passe by coniectures, our later ex­positors as Iunius and the rest, thinke that no­thing is meant, but that a certaine excellen­cy lies hid in this Psalme aboue the rest, as being a choise and heauenly Epigrame, and therefore called a Song of Degrees, as the Can­ticles a Song of Songs; The ten Comman­dements, [Page 4] a Doctrine of Doctrines, the Creed, a History of Histories; the Lords prayer a Prayer of Prayers, onely to shew the eminency and excellency thereof.

To conclude then, we are not to be too in­quisitiue and curious, in searching out the reason of each particular, sed quaedam igno­rare, non tantum est boni Christiani, sed etiam & docti Theologi: not onely a good Christian, but a learned Diuine may (without dispa­ragement to his profession bee ignorant of some things.

In the Text these parts be remarkeable.

1 1. The party Suiting.

2 2. The party suited.

3 3. The subiect or matter of the suite.

4 4. The manner thereof, with the condition of the time.

5 Lastly, the (Vbi) or the place where the Prophet Dauid was, when hee does thus plant and supplicate.

1 The party suiting, is exprest in the vowel I. being Dauid by name.

2 The party suited, is the Lord, and more pa­thetically, O Lord.

3 The matter of his suite, is for Audience, or that the Lord would heare his voyce. Lord heare my voyce.

4 The manner of his suite, is exprest in the word (called) or as some translate it, cried; I [Page 5] haue cried; to note Dauids feruency, and earnestnesse in this his suite, together with the Condition of time exprest in the word (haue) which being a note of the Preterper­fect tense, argues his continued and constant suite, as the learned well obserue vpon this place.

5 Lastly the Vbi, or the place where the Pro­phet Dauid was, when he thus called and cried; and that is in Profundis, in the deepe places: vnder the name whereof the Prophet Dauid, Sanctified Ieremie, and other the Penmen of the Holy Scriptures doe by a Tropicall, or a borrowed kinde of speech, signifie great af­flictions and distresses; which often are re­sembled to deepe waters, and so is the phrase taken in the. 69. Psalm. vers. 2. as also in the 124. Psalm. 4. And the Iewes hauing vpon them the perfection of misery, finde not how to expresse their wofull condition, but by this kinde and propriety of speech. Lament. 3. 54.

Moreouer, this phrase is vsed in the same sence among heathen writers, as Aeneas esca­ping the danger of warre, and other mani­fold troubles, is said to bee deliuered from the Deluge, or▪ ouer-flowing of waters, as Virgil hath it in the 7. of his Aeneads, Di­luuio ex illo tot vasta per aequora vectus. And Pindar, writing of a great Battell, betweene [Page 6] the Persians, and the Grecians calls it [...]: The destroying shower of Iupiter; and this seemes to be the reason of this Trans­lation, because distresses holde a certaine Analogie, or correspondencie with waters, and that in diuers respects, according to the properties of water.

First, other dangers assault the body but in one part, either shouldering, or siding, or af­fronting vs; but water in respect of his liquid nature, in a moment of time, doeth enclose vs in on all sides, leauing vs no ordinary meanes of escape; So I appeale to the experience of vs all, who can witnesse that we neuer haue been ouertaken with one only trouble alone, but vpon the instant a second, or a third cala­mitie, like Iobs Messengers, hath come posting one in the necke of another vpon vs, & sicut vnda, vndam trudit; and as euery waue shoues forward his fellow, so the ending of one mi­sery, is but the beginning of another.

Secondly, water hath a swallowing & stife­ling qualitie, witnes the people that perished in the riuer Kison, and the riuer Kison swept them away, Iudg. 5. 21. as also the forefathers of the Egyptians, who tooke a surfet of the Red Sea, and gaue vp the ghost: So afflicti­ons they drowne our spirituall enemies, our vices, our vanities; and while we be vnder the Crosse, our sinnes they become sicke, and [Page 7] languish in vs, and wee in some measure ea­sed from the tyrannie and commanding pow­er therof, He that suffers in the flesh, ceaseth from sinne, 1. Pet. 4. 1.

Lastly, as water is an allay, for the tempe­ring of our strong and fuming Wines; so tribulations they moderate our earthly plea­sures, least we should be drunke with the de­lights thereof, and grow exorbitant, extra orbem, exceeding the listes of Sobrietie and Temperance; and as wine will soone infatu­ate and besot the braine, if it bee not mixt with his quantitie of water: so our pleasures and prosperitie, our wealth and wit, will soone turne to our owne decay, if we be not put in minde to recollect our selues, to walke wisely and discreetly in the vse thereof, by some diuine whip, some nip, some scourge.

But to returne to the mentioned poynts: and first of the first, as namely of the partie suiting, which is Dauid by name, implyed in the vowell I. A man highly in the fauour of God, nay, Gods fauourite, as I may so tearme him, his aduauncement will testifie no lesse: from a Shepheard he is raised to bee a King; from a Subiect, to a Soueraigne; yet this glo­rious bud is blasted, his honour is eclipsed, and his pompe inueloped in the greatnesse of distresse, he is totus in Profundis, deepe in the share of misery.


[Page 8] The Conclusion is obuious, that God out of his vnsearchable wisedome, doeth often plunge his dearest and nearest children in ex­treame miseries and calamities; in miseries which attend their persons, as wants, op­pressions, reproaches, and the like; in mi­series which attend their Soules, as fits of despaire, spirituall desertion, doubting of their saluation: so that if they had not hope of another life after this, they were of all Creatures most miserable, as Saint Paul con­cludes, discoursing of the same subiect, in the 1. Cor. 15. 19.

The Sonne of the morning, CRIST IESVS, the brightnesse of his Father, Qui licet intrauit mundum sine peccato, tamen non exiuit sine flagello, who although he was spot­lesse and without exception, yet was hee spotted with the spittle of the Iewes, disgra­ced, contemned, tormented, and lastly, put to death, and hauing thus suffered, hee is entred into glory, Luke 24. 26. and wee his members must tread in the same steps, not expecting heere in this valley of teares, Halcionis dies a­gere, to liue a life of delicacie or delight, for neuer haue any of Gods Saints enioyed such a Priuiledge or libertie. Come wee to great Eliah, whose tongue was [...], the bri­dle of heauen, in regard that by his prayers he could binde or loose, the influence of the [Page 9] heauens, procure raine, or make a stayall ther­of; yet this great Saint hath his diuident in the Crosse, hee is persecuted by Iezabel, be­comes a man of sorrowes, and bewayles him­selfe, sitting vnder a Iuniper tree, 1. Kings 19. 4. Come wee to Iohn Baptist, the second E­liah, who was Eliah in spirit, though not in person, and behold (his) sufferings, which be no lesse then the losse of his blood, the losse of his head; which being cut off, it's made a recompence for a dauncing, vaulting Dam­sell, and a satisfaction for an incestuous bloo­dy minded mother. Who more beloued of God, then Lazarus the beggar? for being dead, he is attended of Angels, and placed in Abrahams bosome, Luke 16. 22. so that wee may remember him, with Lazarus non est mortuus, sed miseria mortua est, Lazarus is not dead, his misery onely is dead and buryed: And yet who more miserable then Lazarus while he liued? who more beggarly? who more pincht with famine, and cleannesse of teeth? not obtaining a few crummes for his reliefe, at the rich gluttons doore, nor any mercy saue of his dogges onely, that licked his sores. Whereby it appeares how the e­state of Gods children, hath beene alwayes full of woes, and wants; the temptation whereof hath almost shaken the faith of the strongest Saints: for the Prophet Ieremie, [Page 10] though sanctified from the wombe, com­plaines that hee cannot sound the depth of this Iudgement, Ier. 2. 1. 2. and illuminate Da­uid, from the 2. of the 73. Psalm. vnto the [...]3. doth acknowledge that he could not ob­taine, the vnderstanding of this so deepe a mysterie, scilicet, why the Lord should thus clap vp his children in the houses of cor­rection, and giue vnto the wicked Countries of liberty, and Kingdomes of treasure; in so much that the eye of flesh and reason would seeme to conclude, that they are the onely happy men, and the Lords beloued; and that others who be afflicted, how they be reiected and casheered of him. And although no man is able to diue into the depth of Gods counsell, nor yet to clime vp into heauen to search the cause, why God should thus af­flict those, whom hee doth affect; yet I will propound some arguments, such as humane frailty will affoord, both to manifest Gods wisdome and Iustice, in thus correcting and humbling vs, as also to preuent our repy­ning and murmuring against him for the same.

First the cause is in man, that brings God thus vpon his backe to scourge him, and that is his sinne, man suffers for sinne, Lamen. 3. 4. and there being in each man [...] the Sullage of Adams clay, and the reliques of [Page 11] sinne, which are encreased by our dayly vn­cleann [...]sse, and actuall offences, therefore that wee may reforme our selues, and that others may tak [...] vs for an example, God doth wash the best of the sonnes of men, in the bitter waters of Marah, in the sea of affliction. Ma­nasses, Dau [...]d, Iosias, haue drunke deepe of this tart cuppe▪ there being no exemption with him from punishment if men take liberty for to sinne. Sed quicunque stultus est in culpa, sapiens erit in paena, whosoeuer will iest with sinne, may in time grow wise when he comes to smart for h [...]s folly; therefore the Pro­phet Micha do [...]h confesse in the 7. of his Prophecy, vers. 9. That he will beare the wrath of the Lord, because hee had sinned against him; and this wrath of the Lord towards his Saints, is not like the sword of a Iudge pre­pared for destruction, but rather the rod of father ordained for correction. [...] saith the Apostle [...] wee are chastned of the Lord, that we should not bee condemned with the world. Corthin. Epist. 1. 11. 32.

2 The next cause is in the Deuill, whose malice is boundlesse toward mankinde, who like a common Informer cannot endure to bee out of practise, but must bee alwaies nibling at our heeles, slaundering and accusing of vs vn­to God, that hee may get a Commission to [Page 12] meddle with vs, as hee did with the holy man Iob, and to persecute vs, as hee d [...]h the woman in the wildernesse, Reu. 12. [...]. and therefore no maruell if that wee be [...]flicted, distressed, and lodged in a Labyrin [...]h of mi­series, hauing such a vigilant aduer [...]ary, who is fit at euery turne, to giue vs the grand lash and to ierck vs for each slip, if the Lord chiefe Iustice of heauen and earth, [...]ill say but Amen to his wishes and desires.

3 Thirdly, the Lord doth this plunge vs, to awake vs out of the dead slee [...]e of sinne, and to open our eyes, that wee may see our na­turall wretchednesse and n [...]kednesse, in re­spect of Grace and Purity, which hauing once espied, it should ma [...]e vs, runne to God to petition him, that wee may share in that long white Robe, the rightuousnesse of his Sonne, the Ornament and couering of all his Saints. Aristotle tels vs in the 3. of his Me­teorologicks, that, Omne animal, fulmine per­cussum, vertit faciem ad fulmen. Euery crea­ture, strucke with a Thunderbolt, presently affronts it. Beloued these that haue not an eare to heare God, when hee calls for amen­dement of life, saying, Returne, O Shulamite, returne, returne. Cant. 6. 13. 1. For those the Lord hath a smiting hand, with the which he will either awake them, if they doe belong vnto him, or breake them in peeces like a Pot­ters [Page 13] vessell. The Horse, that hee may spring forwards in his pace, must bee remembred eyther with Spurre or Switch; The sluggish or carnall Christian, following his voyage and pilgrimage vnto heauen, Necesse est pre­matur, vt ad Deum ire compelletur, saith Saint Gregorie, hee must bee lasht with the rodde of affliction, that so hee may learne to ha­sten to the happinesse of all the glorified Saints. This is prefigured in Ioab, in the se­cond of Samuel 14. 29. who being sent for by Absolon, once and againe, yet refused to goe; but when Absolon set fire on his fieldes of Corne, then Ioab arose and went to the house of Absalon: So the Lord in­uites vs to repentance, not once but often by the mouth of his Ministers, by the knocke of his Spirit, by the charme of his mercies; and if wee neglect these blessed Calles and Summons, as Ioab did the inuitement of Ab­solon, the Lord hee will then set fire vpon our Corne fieldes, hee will make the Hea­uens as brasse, that they shall deny vs their deawe, or else the land shall surfet with a surplage of Showers, and bring foorth no­thing but crude and rawe fruites, as of late this Kingdome hath had a share in this Iudgement; and all to awake vs out of the slumber of our crueltie, vncleannesse, with other our wickednesse, that so wee may a­rise [Page 14] and seeke him while hee may bee found, lest hee being not opened to, while he knocks at the doore of our hearts, by the hammer of his Iudgements, he depart and leaue vs to a re­probate sense, so shall our last end bee worse then our beginning.

4 Fourthly, the Lord doth thus plunge vs, that hee may trie our faith and patience, kin­dle our prayers, and prouoke vs to the pra­ctise of all holy duties: for what graces so­euer lye hidd in the soules of his Saints, in the Summer of their Prosperitie, will breake foorth and shewe themselues in the Winter of Aduersitie: That faith which was faint in their dayes of wealth and peace, will grow strong in the houre of tryall and trouble, not parting with GOD, no more then Iacob would doe with the Angell, vntill the Lord haue graciously answered the wishes and de­sires of their hearts; that prayer which was weake while the world smiled vpon them, come once but trouble, it will grow strong, like the Sunne in the Firmament, when hee comes to his Verticall, or Noone poynt. In­deed our Prayers they bee most potent with God, when wee begin to fall off from the world, and decline from the height of sinne. The Romane Captaine Scipio by name, would say of his Souldiers, that their estate stood in the worst tearmes, when they had the most [Page 15] peace. Want of exercise maketh both body and soule rustie. And Saint Ierome well ob­serueth, that Salomon fell so foule, because hee liued in delights; for prosperitie is the Step-mother of all holy vertues; the Starres shewe brightest in the darkest night; sweete Spices smell most pleasantly, when they are crusht and pounded; and Christian ver­tues are most apparant vnder the Crosse: Therefore wee reioyce in tribulation, saith the Apostle, Rom. 5. 3. 4.

5 Fifthly, the Lord does thus afflict vs for a double subordinate end: First, to testifie the respectiue care that he hath of his owne glo­ry. Secondly, to manifest his prouidence and care ouer vs.

1 His owne glory is preserued when he frees vs out of hopelesse dangers, out of such dangers, as all the Arte, skill, and power of man is able to doe nothing at; witnesse the deliuerance of his Israel at the Red Sea, who being inter mare & hostes, inter gladios & vn­das, hauing the Sea before them, their ene­mies behind them; the sword pursuing them, the waues affronting them, the mountaines on both sides enclosing them, and in the eye of flesh, without all meanes or hope of helpe, yet see, saith Philo Iudens, that vbi desinit hu­manum auxilium, ibi incipit Diuinum: That euen when men be most in misery, that then [Page 16] is Gods fittest time to shew his mercy that euen then the Lord diuides the Sea, making a Lane, or passage for his people to walk in, and so preserues them, shewing that hee is our hope beyond hope, and a present remedie in needfull time of trouble, manifesting his strength in our weakenesse, and his infinitie in our infirmity.

2 Secondly, the Lord doth thus straight vs, to manifest his care ouer vs, and therefore is it, that in our present wants hee doth raise vs friends to bestead vs, at whose hands we haue demerited no such bounty, or of whom wee haue expected no such courtesie; or else by sending some Rauen miraculously to releeue and feed vs, as hee did the Prophet Eliah: 1. Kings 17, 4, 9. and all to shew his mighty protection and prouidence ouer vs, which neuer more shewes it selfe, then when his people bee in greatest straites, and strangest exigents.

6 Lastly, the Lord doth thus afflict vs, least when wee heare of Eliahs persecutions, or Iobs distresses, or other of the Saints calami­ties, wee should account them to bee but fa­bles; therefore he brings vpon (Vs) daies of mourning and nights of sorrow, that we may haue experience in our selues of their suffe­rings; & to this purpose Saint Gregory speakes fitly, Deus electis iter asperum facit in via, ne [Page 17] obliuiscantur eorum, qui sunt patria, the Lord paues our way with thornes, lest wee should suppose our forefathers walked vpon pil­lowes. To conclude, seeing there is in the Crosse occultae qualitates, hidden vertues, powerfull for the curing of our soule infir­mities; Let vs therefore submit our selues vnto Gods hand, as Saint Peter doth aduise vs in his first Epistle, Chap. 5. v. 6. Dauid of his owne experience doth acknowledge a Soueraigne benefit therein, when he said, It is good for mee that I was afflicted, for thereby haue I lear­ned to keepe thy Commandements; and an ancient Writer glossing vpon these words, tells vs that there is in the Crosse a double vertue, [...], a preseruatiue power and a sauatiue power: The Preseruatiue power is like Ionas Whale, which although it seemed to swallow vp and deuoure him; yet the Whale was the meanes of his life and safety; so the Crosse although it make shew to crush and curse vs, yet there­by are wee blessed; Blessed is the man that is corrected. Iob. 5. 17. And as for the Sauatiue power, it is like the Poole of Bethesda, which did not heale vnlesse it were stirred and moued by the Angel: So except we be rack't of the lees of sinne, by some sharpe handling of vs, our hearts will grow so hard, that it is vnpos­sible wee should take out the lesson of Repen­tance, [Page 18] motion is a steppe to dissolution; exer­cise of the body, rarefies and thinnes the bloud, as also cheeres the spirits. So trialls and temptations, make the affections more spirituall, and our hearts lesse earthly min­ded, Therefore thinke it not strange (saith Saint Peter) in his 1. Epist. at the 13. vers. of his 4. Chap. for the fiery troubles which light vpon you, and a fitter word could not haue beene deuised, then to resemble them to Fier.

1 1 Fier, is of a light ascending nature; so afflictions, make vs spirituall minded, and as­cend by holy afflictions, and diuine medita­tions into Sions Mountaine the Church Tri­umphant, which like a hill is exalted aboue the Church Militant.

2 2 Fier, is of a hot and heating nature; So afflictions make vs hot suitors for reliefe, im­patient of the Lords delaying vs, giuing him no rest, nor our selues any ease, vntill he grant and wee enioy whatsoeuer wee shall become suitors to him for.

3 3. Fier, shineth and giueth light; So trou­ble openeth the eyes, Schola Crucis, schola Lucis, saith Saint Bernard; and Manasses who forgat the Lord while he was at liberty in his pallace, could pray vnto him when hee was in prison, and humble himselfe greatly; And Manasses being in tribulations, called vpon the God of his Fathers, 2. Chr. 33. 10.

[Page 19] 4 4 Fier, sortneth the hardest iron: So there is no heart so stony, but it will yeeld and melt with tribulations, euen Pharao the cruell will yeeld for a time, while he and his people bee vnder the ten plagues, though after hee turne Apostata, fall off, and aske, who is the Lord, that hee should let the people goe, Exod. 8. vers. 9.

5 5 Fier, workes according to his obiect; it burnisheth gold, but it annihilats drosse; it melts waxe, but it hardens clay; so the god­ly and the godlesse are both sufferers, but in this similitudine passionum, there is dissimili­tudo patientium, though they bee both bur­dened alike, yet they differ in their carriage: The wicked in their sufferings, they mur­mure against the Lord; and seeke to helpe themselues by the deuills Emissaries, his Witches, and Wizards; whereas the godly are patiently obedient, remembring their Masters Motto, Father not my will, but thy will be done, and if it please thee, let this bitter cup of imprisonment, and other distresses passe from mee, yet not my will, but thy will bee done, Therefore let vs reioyce though now for a season we be in heauinesse, 1. Pet. 1. 6, 7.

The Inferences follow.1 First, wee are put in minde, to bee Christianly conceited of all those whom wee see to be exercised with this angry and smyting hand of the Lord, as also [Page 20] to comfort our selues if the same be laid vpon vs, not conceiuing that either they or wee be out of Gods fauour; for [...], that is, although the rod be sharpe, yet the hand that smites is sweet and full of re­freshment; therefore suffer afflictions, and say with the holy man Iob, Though the Lord kill me, yet still will I put my trust in him.

2 Secondly, seeing reformation, the renew­ing of repentance, the examination of our spirituall estate, a breaking off from all our personal and predominant sinnes, which haue prouoked the Lord to deale thus roughly with vs, should be the vse that we are to make of our corrections and afflictions; hence ma­ny Christians are iustly taxed, who are so far from profiting thereby, that instead of sha­king hands, and bidding adieu to sinne and sinfull courses, that they fold their hands like Salomons Sluggard, and make new leagues with iniquitie; And whereas before, they were but bunglers and dullards in acting of sinne, O, now they are Masters of the sinning Arte, as we haue wofull experience in all the Prisons of the Kingdome, into which many Prisoners at their first entrance haue been ci­uilly demeaned, but within a small continu­ance after, I cannot expresse how they haue been Metamorphosed, and growne more stu­pid then Cyparissus, and altogether vnsensible [Page 21] of that diuine stroke which was vpon them, by giuing themselues ouer to all vncleannesse and intemperance, the high road way to hell. It is recorded in the second of the Chron. 28▪ 22. that Ahaz is noted for a speciall Monster, because in the time of his tribulation, hee did trespasse more and more; This is Ahaz, sayth the Text, which is a remarkeable Item of his grosse sinning: So these are monsters in re­ligion, who follow their sinfull Byas, when the Lord is dealing with them, to breake off their sinnes. For when the hand of the Lord is vpon vs, it should span, and weane vs from our sinfull courses, and abridge vs of our for­mer pleasures and delights, making vs Vota­ries to his worship and seruice, and for euer obseruant of his Lawes and Edicts, not tur­ning away like a stubburne generation, nor starting aside like a broken Bowe.

3 The third, is made to our hands in these cond of Sam. 15. 25, 26, &c. where Dauid be­ing pursued by Absalon, and in danger of no lesse then the losse of his Kingdome, flyes to God, and thus vnfoldes himselfe, O Lord, if I shall finde fauour with thee, restore mee; if not, heere I am, doe with mee as it seemeth good in thy sight. Beloued, wee are persecuted by our cruell and mercilesse Cre­ditours, and heere immured, depriued, not of a Kingdome I confesse, but of our Lands, [Page 22] Liuings, Liberties: Let Dauids patterne bee our practise, and let vs all ioyne in one, and say, O God, if wee haue found fauour in thy sight, number the dayes of our trouble, enlarge vs, restore vs to our former ha­bitations; if not, heere wee are, dispose of vs as it seemes good in thy sight.


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