The BEST NAME ON EARTH Together with severall o­ther Sermons lately prea­ched at St. Brides; and in other places.

By T. Fuller, Batchelour in Divinitie.

London Printed for the use and benefit of William Byron, Gent. 1659.

Behold this ancient Citty from whence cam [...]
As from ye sacred Font the Christians name
Heauen grante [...] our once famous London may
What Antioch gaue in time not take away.
Io: Qu

Iohn Stafford Excu: 1657


The BEST NAME ON EARTH Together with severall o­ther Sermons lately prea­ched at St. Brides; and in other places.

By T. Fuller, Batchelour in Divinitie.

London Printed for the use and benefit of William Byron, Gent. 1659.

Collegium Emmanuelis Cantabrigiae

The Best name on Earth.

Acts 11.26. ‘And the Disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.’

1. WE meet with four names in Scri­pture whereby the servants of God converted to embrace the Gospel, were called, before the time that my text was written. These took their denominations from the four Cardinall graces so necessary to mans salvation.

  • 1. From their Holinesse Called Saints.
  • 2. From their Faith Called Believers.
  • 3. From their Love Called The Brethren.
  • 4. From their Knowledge Called The Disciples.

From their Holinesse called Saints, [Page 2] Acts 9.13. I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy Saints at Ierusalem. Acts 9.32. He came down also to the Saints which dwelt at Lydda.

From their Faith called Belie­vers, Acts 5.14. And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.

From their Love called the Bre­thren, Acts 9.30. Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Cesarea, and sent him forth to Tar­sus. Acts 11.1. And the Apostles and brethren that were in Iudea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God.

From their Knowledge called the disciples. The number of the disciples was multiplied. Acts 6.2. Called the multitude of the disciples unto them. [Page 3] And in my text, And the disciples were called Christians first in An­tioch.

2. Observe in the words,

  • 1. Who were called; The Disci­ples: all they, and onely they.
  • 2. What they were called, Chri­stians.
  • 3. Where they were called, at Antioch.
  • 4. And lastly, when they were called; First, neither sooner nor later, but just now when the Church so increased with the preaching of Saul and Barna­bas.

We will chiefly insist on the se­cond and third parts; and therein for the more conveniency, invert the Order, and begin first with the place called Antioch.

[Page 4]3. First then Negatively, not at Ierusalem, and that for two rea­sons.

First, because Ierusalem had lately lost its credit with the great God of Heaven, it was become Bank­rupt in its reputation for her in­gratitude to God, and cruelty to his servants, Matthew 23.37. O Ierusalem, Ierusalem, Thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not? Behold, your house is left unto you de­solate. Yea it was utterly unfit that the name of Christians should begin, or be born in that place where Christ was so cruelly put to death.

[Page 5]4. Secondly, because Ierusalem was of a covetous, envious, and in­grossing nature, ready to monopo­lize and inclose all honour to it self. So that had the name of Chri­stians first begun within the walls of Ierusalem, the Jews would have been ready alone to lay claim thereunto, excluding the Gentiles to have any participation therein. As Christ therefore suffered with­out the walls of Ierusalem, thereby proclaiming himself a publick good, not appropriated to that private nation, and for the same causes the name of Christians be­gan not at Ierusalem but at An­tioch.

5. Secondly, Negatively, The name began not at Rome. O how would the tide of Tybur have [Page 6] swollen beyond bounds and banks, had the name of Christ first begun from that Citie? How would the papists boast (though not without some cause) yet be­yond all measure, that Rome in a manner was the godmother of true Religion, & gave her the name of Christianity? If a father cannot in his writings vail his bonnet in a civil respect to the citie of Rome, and give it a regardfull salutation, because it was the imperiall ci­tie of the world; if an anci­ent Ecclesiasticall Historian can­not give it a Rhetoricall comple­ment, in respect it was so famous a Church, and most ancient Pa­triarchall Seat, having prece­dency before, though not superi­ority above, all other Churches; [Page 7] I say, if in such cases their expres­sions are hailed and tugged by po­pish parasites, to signifie (con­trary to the mind of the speakers) the primacy and infallibility of the Romish Church: how would they ere now have hollowed it in­to the eares of deaf men, & impe­riously upbraided the Church of England, if the name of Christi­ans had its rise from Rome, and originall in the walls thereof? But God hath marred their mark, and payred their pride, and blasted their boasting: Christians were first so called, not at Rome but at An­tioch.

6. Here let us enquire orderly into two things,

  • 1. What was Antioch.
  • 2. What is Antioch.

[Page 8]What was it? I confesse there be many cities in Asia of that name, no fewer then seven and twenty, which I could easily de­monstrate, were it not my work to preach heaven unto you, and not to read a Geography Lecture.

7. The reason why there were so many Antioches is this, because there were two Antiochusses succes­sively, both puissant princes and eminent Emperours of Asia, who founding, repairing, and enlarge­ing severall cities, called them all after their own name. Besides, they had many friends and fa­vourites who to ingratiate them­selves with these princes, called the cities of their own erection after the names of Antiochus.

8. But the Antiochia mentioned [Page 9] in the text, is certainly known to be Antiochia in Coelosyria, so called, because lying in a hollow vale in­terposed between the mountains of Libanus and Antilibanus.

It was commonly called Antioch the great, and was a Metropolis for trade in those Eastern parts.

9. Come we now to consider what is Antioch.

It is a pittifull inconsiderable village, famous onely for what it hath been; the Churches therein are buried in their own Church­yards. It falleth so much under the notice of a Geographer, that it falleth not under it generally; o­mitted in most Mapps, except some charitable ones, which are pleased in pitie to take cogni­zance thereof.

[Page 10]Yea, which is worst of all, a sound Christian and orthodox in his judgement, is hardly to be found in that citie where Chri­stianity first began. It is at this day infected with Mahumetisme, and such few sorry Christians as remain therein, are infected in the Fundamentalls of Religion: for they follow the Greek Church, and deny the procession of the ho­ly spirit from the sonne, the se­cond person in the Trinity.

Use 10. To teach humility to all places of greatnesse, not to confide in their own populous­nesse, but to walk in humility be­fore God, seeing Antioch the great, that voluminous citie, is now e­pitomized to nothing: yea, we may generally observe, that all [Page 11] cities that wear the sirname of Great, are beheld by God with a jealous eye: partly because great­nesse is a flower of the Crown of heaven; partly because great ci­ties presume on their popu­lousnesse to be great sinners; ho­ping in vain that their greatnesse will procure them an Act of In­demnity, and God be moved to let them alone, rather then to pu­nish so many, enough to make the sword of his Justice turn edge, before, it can cut through them.

11. The premises I say have moved the great God of heaven to hold a strict eye, and heavy hand over all cities sirnamed Great; whilest lesser places, Zoars, escape best in general judgements: [Page 12] Nineveh the great, Jonah 3.3. Ha­math the great, Rabbah the great, Babylon the great, Revel. 18.2. No the infinite, Nahum 3.9. And An­tioch, by humane writers called Antiochia magna, are all reduced to ruines.

12. Give me leave to say to this citie of London, as Darius did to Daniel in a holy complement, O Dari­us, live for ever, that is, (under­stand it a finite ever) might he, in life, health, and prosperity, continue to the utmost possibility of na­ture. So say I, O London, last for ever, may it flourish as long as any place hath a subsistence in this sublunary world; how­ever, let it not be high minded, but fear, seeing Antioch a place as plentifull, as puissant, as [Page 13] populous, is now dwingled away to an inconsiderable village.

13. Come we now to the name of Christians:

This will bear a double debate, first, whether it was imposed by the enemies of the Church in scorn and derision, or whether the Church it self did assume it as an act of their own election and approbation.

14. I conceive the first utterly improbable: for had the persecu­tours of the Church, the depra­vers of goodnesse and good men, given a name unto them, they would have invented and impo­sed one more defamatory, of greater shame and disgrace, as to call them Hereticks, Nazarites, Cru­cifictians, and the like; and not so [Page 14] noble a name as Christians.

By the way we may observe, that the word Christian is used twice in the Bible, or if you will, but once and an half. Once, 1 Pet. 4.16. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorifie God on this behalf. The half time, Acts 26.28. when Agrippa said, Thou hast perswaded me almost to be a Christian. In both which places we find the word taken in an honourable accepti­on, nothing of shame being im­ported therein; which perswades us to believe, the name was never fastened on Gods servants by their professed enemies.

A second enquiry succeeds, viz.

15. Whether this name was by [Page 15] divine injunction immediately bestowed upon them, or whether the Church meeting together, by a prudentiall Act, with a joint consent assumed it upon them­selves.

I confesse at the first reading, I conceived the text in the Original favoured the former, where I read [...]: now [...] sometimes containeth divine in­spiration therein, and is so used Matth. 2.12. [...]: And being warned of God in a dream. This, I say, inclined me to believe the name of Christians to be revealed from God, and by him immedi­ately imposed on the disciples.

16. But on second thoughts, I find the word sometimes to im­port [Page 16] no more then a plain deno­mination. And so it is used, Rom. 7.3. [...], she shall be called an adulteresse; which moveth me to believe, that without any such immediate revelation from heaven, in an extraordinary man­ner, in the manifestation of Gods will, the Apostles there present, by the assistance of Gods spirit within them, and the generall consent of the Church about them, assumed that name upon themselves.

17. Possibly because many be­lieved, some of the Circumcision and some of the Uncircumcision; and because Gentiles was a name odious to the Iews, and Iews of­fensive to the Gentiles: therefore the word Christians was pitcht up­on [Page 17] as common to both, to bury the former names under it: for though Iew and Gentile did ever remain as words of civil distincti­on, they were henceforward abo­lished, as terms of hatefull dispa­rity.

Quest. 18. But why were they not called Fatherians from God the Father, or holy Ghostians from the holy Ghost? why onely Chri­stians from Christ the second per­son in the Trinity? here, if any return that they are too harsh and ill sounding, too troublesome and tedious to be pronounced, the an­swer is in no degree satisfactory to the question.

For, first, were our tongues as long accustomed to the pronun­ciation of these words, as they [Page 18] have been used to the word Chri­stian, a very lisping utterance would easily be able to expresse them.

Secondly, we in England with­in these last fifteen yeares, have ac­quainted our tongues with as hard terms, with as numerous syllables, & some of Latine, others of Greek extraction, (Presbyterians, Antinomians, Independents, Represen­tatives, &c.) and yet these go down glib with us in our com­mon discourse.

Answ. 19. The true answer is this, we are called Christians from that person in the Trinity, that hath merited most in the re­demption of mankind.

20. And here farre be it from me to make odious comparisons [Page 19] betwixt the persons in the Trini­ty, and their deserts towards us, which have most indeared us un­to them. That person who hath done least for us, hath done more for us then we can requite, then we can deserve, then we can ex­presse, then we can conceive; however, may dust and ashes in all humility confesse this most ne­cessary and comfortable truth, that Christ the second person in the Trinity, is the best friend we have in the Court of Heaven, and hath both done and suffered most in the effecting our salvation.

21. Thence is that expression of David, Psalme 110.1. The Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou at my right hand, untill I make thy ene­mies thy footstool. The Lord, that is, [Page 20] God the Father, said to my Lord, that is to God the Sonne, to Iesus Christ; indeed one can take but little comfort in the Lord, if not for my Lords intercession. The Lord consi­dered in his greatnesse and justice, is our enraged enemy, affording us cause of fear and sadnesse, till beheld as reconciled in our Lord unto us.

22. Now it will plainly appear, that Christ hath performed most for mankind in order to our Sal­vation.

For, first, in operibus ad extra, in all outward actions, Christ the se­cond person in Trinity hath an equall share with the other two. Thus Christ, as well as the other two per­sons in Trinity, created the World, and all therein, John 1.1, 2, 3. In [Page 21] the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

23. Secondly, we are justified by Christ, as well as by God the Father, Gal. 2.17. But if while we seek to be justified by Christ, we our selves are also found sinners, is there­fore Christ the minister of sinne? God forbid.

24. Thirdly, we are sanctified by Christ as well as by the holy Ghost: for as it is said, Rom. 15.16. Being sanctified by the holy Ghost; so it is said, 1 Cor. 1.2. To them that are sanctified through Christ Iesus.

25. Hitherto we have proved, That Christs goodnesse came para­lell [Page 22] with the other two persons in Trinity, in their relation to man­kind, creating, justifying, and sancti­fying us: now it remains that we shew what Christ hath peculiarly done and suffered for us. And this will plainly appear, if we consider, how three parts of four in the Creed, are made up of our Saviours performances for our salvation, wherein he alone had a personall interest.

26. Christ it was, who was conceived of the holy Ghost, Christ it was who was born of the Virgin Mary; Christ it was who suffered un­der Pontius Pilat; Christ it was who was crucified, dead, and buried; Christ it was who descended into hell; Christ it was who the third day rose again from the dead; Christ it is who sitteth on the [Page 23] right hand of God almighty; Christ it shall be, who shall come to judge both the quick and dead: And thus we see, that the greater part of the Creed is but a Chronicle of Christs achievements for mankind, from whom we are justly called Chri­stians.

27. But some will say, grant it fit that Gods servants should be de­nominated from the second person in Trinity, yet, why are they not called Iesuites from Iesus, rather then Christians from the name of Christ?

28. I answer, The name of Iesus which signifies a Saviour, is not of so transitive a nature as the word Christ is, nor can it be so properly applyed to men, without some suspition of blasphemy, and con­fining thereupon; Iesus importeth [Page 24] a Saviour, Christ importeth anoint­ed; now every servant of God cannot be termed a Saviour, but may properly be called a Christ, and an anointed.

29. This may be proved from the expression of David, Psal. 45.7. Thou lovest righteousnesse, and hatest wickednesse, therefore God, thy God hath anointed thee with the oyl of gladness above thy fellows. See we here, That Christ being anointed a­bove his fellows, implieth that his fellows were also anointed, though in an inferiour proporti­on; though the grand shower of graces fell onely on the head of our Saviour, yet some stragling drops did light on all them who truly believe in him, so that every Saint of God is a little Christ or anointed,

[Page 25]30. They may also be called Christians, that is the professours of the faith, maintainers of the do­ctrine which Christ delivered to his Apostles, and endeavourers to imitate the examples which he set before them.

31. Here we must not forget how the heathen made another deduction, and etymologie of the word Christians; for such pagans, in the Primitive times, beholding the love and charity betwixt Christi­ans, how they mutually relieved each others wants; but especially, how they conversed together in the time of plagues and epidemi­call diseases, comforting one ano­ther, when heathen people started from the embraces of their near­est relations: I say, seeing this, [Page 26] they conceived they were called Christiani quasi Chrestani, from [...] the Greek word for mild and meek, as more mercifull men, more pit­tifull and compassionate persons then any others.

32. But alasse, should heathens now look on the carriage and conversations of Christians one to­wards another, how spitefull and cruell we are, how Bearish, how Borish, how Brutish we are in our mutuall dissentions, they would conclude us not called from meeknesse; so ill we broke our names.

33. Come we now to the uses of what hath been delivered, which may serve to confute two sorts of people.

  • First, Those that are ashamed of the name Christians.
  • [Page 27]Secondly, Those that are ashame to the name Christian.

For the first, We charge this on the account of the Church of Rome, let them get it off as they can. For the word Christian in the citie of Rome, is taken to be a term of dis­grace, a note or brand of infamy; so that when they will disparage a person, they call him a See the Rhe­mish Testa­ment, and Dr. Fulk in his Annotat. on this verse, Acts 11.26. citing one Christo­phorus Francius for the justifying of this obser­vation. Christian, which a­mounteth to as much as a silly fellow, a mean man, a man of no parts or endowments.

34. And will you know the true cause thereof? It is this; All pregnant wits of able and active parts, or of high and honourable pa­rentage, [Page 28] enter themselves into some Order: if men, of Benedictines, Do­minicans, Franciscans, Carmelites, Ie­suites, &c. if women, Bridgittians, Clarians, &c. so that besides the name of Christians, they have an addition from their Order to di­stinguish them from the com­mon sort of people. And if they be Seculars of any considerable E­minency, then are they known by their dignities of Arch-deacons Bishops, Cardinalls, &c. So that such plain poore people which are without welt or guard of any such Religious Accessions, are called Chri­stians, as uselesse in the Church, save as ordinary persons without any de­gree or dignity therein. Thus Christian passeth there for the civil­lest expression of a fool, and doth [Page 29] not Rome shew her self to be An­tichristian to purpose, where the name of Christian passeth for a term of dishonour, or at the best of diminution?

35. In the second place we charge it on our Romish adversa­ries, that they are ashamed of the name Christian, because they write themselves Dominicans, Franciscans, Carmelites, &c. pleasing and priding themselves in those titles, whilest the name of Christian (though not actually disowned) is disused by them, and left in silence and ob­scurity.

36. But here the Romanists turn our own Ordinance against us, and assault us with our own weapons. They heavily accuse us for being ashamed of the name Christian, be­cause [Page 30] calling our selves Lutherans, Calvinists, Hugenotes, Protestants, Remonstrants, Antiremonstrants, &c. Thus as Mary complained, John 20.13. They have taken away the Lord, and I know not where they have layd him. They charge us that we have left out and lost Christ, un­der those many strange names we have assumed to our selves.

37. I must enlarge my self in answer to this Objection. And first I lay down this Foundation, that we never took these names unto our selves, but they were fixed and fastned on us by the spleen & envy of our Romish adversaries; and here we appeal to any unbiassed per­son to be judge betwixt us, whe­ther this be fair and ingenuous dealing of the Papists? who first [Page 31] asperse us with such nicknames, first call us so, and then accuse us for being called so. And this will plainly appear, upon a particular examination of the aforesaid names.

38. To begin with Lutherans and Calvinists. This we say. We acknowledge Luther and Calvin two eminent instruments of Gods glory in their generations; where­of the first was more then a com­mon man, armed cap a pe, with a couragious spirit, to break through, and rout the ranks of the Romish superstitions. However, we utterly disclaime to be called by their names: call us Lutherans, call us Calvinists, call us Protestants, or what they please, we stand si­lent, and return no vous aves, as [Page 32] utterly unconcerned in that call, onely we sind our tongues, when termed Christians: For the disciples were called Christians first at An­tioch.

39. We reade a passage Isaiah 4.1. much appliable to this pur­pose. And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, we will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel, onely let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach. Here we may plainly perceive, that it is the prerogative Royall of the Husband alone, and part of his Maritall priviledge to have his wife denominated from him. God therefore who is a jealous God, may justly be suspitious of our Church her loyalty, if offering to be na­med from any other, but from Christ her Husband.

[Page 33]40. What saith John the Ba­ptist? John 3.29. He that hath the Bride is the Bridegroom: but the friend of the Bridegroom which stand­eth and heareth him, rejoyceth greatly, because of the Bridegroomes voice, this my joy therefore is fulfilled. We al­low Luther and Calvin friends of the Bridegroom, shining and burn­ing lights, starres of the first magni­tude, but Christ alone is the Hus­band, the Bridegroom to whom our Church humbly and heartily appli­eth it self, triumphing to be called after his name alone.

41. Come we now to the third term of Protestants, wherein we take no delight, as cast upon us by our adversaries. Here first, we confesse that in a generall sence all the Saints of God may be termed [Page 34] Protestants. S. Paul himself was one, 1 Cor. 15.31. I protest by your rejoycing which I have in Christ Iesus our Lord, I die daily. Protestation is no more then a solemn and serious profession of the truth.

42. But the name of Protestants, as imposed on those of our Church, had this originall. The German princes being in war with Charles the fitfh Emperour, drew up an Instrument which they called a Protestation, containing a Breviate of the Articles of their Religion, in opposition to the superstitions of the Church of Rome; and this they protested jointly to defend, with their lives and estates: here­upon their Adversaries termed them Protestants; a term now ex­tended to all of their perswasion: [Page 35] but it can never be proved that we took that name to our selves, or took any delight or content­ment therein, as too narrow a name of party, whilst Rechoboth, God hath made us room in the word Christians, seeing that we rejoice in the latitude and com­prehensivenesse thereof.

43. As for the name Hugenots, it was imposed by the Papists on the servants of God, who decli­ning the common superstition re­paired privately to S. Hughs gate at Toures in France, there secretly to here Sermons, and receive the Sacrament. But it cannot be evi­denced, that ever they of the Re­formation in that countrey, appro­priated the name to themselves, or did ever style or write themselves [Page 36] by that Appellation; the same may be said of the remaining names, which without our consent, yea against our wills, have been fast­ned upon us.

44. Here I will not descend to those petty names of private Sects, which these last ten yeares have produced, nor will I honour them with any mention. Chiefly, be­cause as the youngest of discreti­on in this congregation, may re­member the beginning of such names, I hope the oldest may live to see the end of them, when such ridiculous and absurd names shall utterly be abolished.

45. Come we now to the se­cond sort to be confuted; name­ly, such as are a shame to the name of Christian, and these may be re­duced to three ranks.

  • [Page 37]1. The Profane.
  • 2. The Ignorant.
  • 3. The Factious.

To begin with the first. Such may justly forfeit the title of Chri­stian, whose works confute the word, and conversations contradict their denominations; let such either live as they are called, Christians, or be called as they live, Pagans.

46. Scipio the worthy Conquer­our of Africa, had a son that had nothing of his father but the name, being cowardly dissolute, and given to all debauchery. It happen­ed that he came into the Senate-house with a ring on his finger, wherein the picture of his father was most lively made; where the Councel, by an Act of State, com­manded [Page 38] him to forbear the wear­ing of it, adjudging it unfit that he should wear his fathers picture, who would imitate none of his fathers virtues.

47. I am sorry the story is too naturall to be applied, and your meditations have prevented me herein. Let them no longer abuse the name of Christ, but desist from making any further use thereof, except they will make a Reformation of their lives, with all possible speed, to an acceptable proportion.

48. Secondly, it confutes the ignorant, which wear the name of Christ, yet can give no account of Christ, from whom they were so named; demand of them a reason of their denomination, [Page 39] and they are utterly unable to re­turn any satisfaction.

49. Laban being questioned for his cozonage by his nephew Jacob, for substituting Leah in stead of Rachel, had nothing to plead for himself, Gen. 29.26. Save onely that it was the custome of the countrey not to marry the younger first. So were some countrey peo­ple taken to task, and seriously catechized about the cause of their names, they would render no o­ther reason, but the custome of the place they lived in; it hath been fashionable say they for ma­ny hundred of years, our fathers, grand-fathers, Great grand-fa­thers, time out of minde, have been called Christians, and we succeed, as to their lands, so to their appellations.

[Page 40]50. It is sad there should be so much darknesse in our land of Goshen, where the Gospel hath been so plentifully preached, and publickly professed: these things I could as heartily wish they were false, as I do plainly know they are true.

51. Lastly, it confutes those who are factious, and willingly and wilfully make rents in the Church; how can these without apparent usurpation be intitled Christians?

52. Well, to conclude, let us leave off all by-names of parties, interest and factions, and re­turn to our best, largest, and ancientest name of Christians: best, because no doubt imposed, if not by the command, by [Page 41] the consent of God himself, and therefore good reason it should alwaies continue as an honour­able denomination. We reade, Gen. 2.19. That whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. It seemeth he gave them expressive and signifi­cant names, such as were breif definitions of their natures, or else God would have reversed and revoked them, and not have suffered them to stand and re­main; seeing therefore the name of Christians was given by a greater then Adam, being, if not jure divi­no, at the least jure apostolico, by the joint concurrence of the apostles thereunto, let it last to all poste­rity.

53. Yea, as this is the best name, [Page 42] because the best men were the au­thours thereof, so is it also, be­cause of the best matter contain­ed therein, the name Christian well understood, it preacheth a double Sermon unto us.

  • 1. It putteth us in mind of what Christ hath done for us, and the many benefits we ob­tained by his life, death, resur­rection, and intercession.
  • 2. It is a remembrancer un­to us of what we should do for Christ, in gratitude to the many favours he hath done for us.

54. Secondly, Christians, it is the largest name, it takes in all Christs little flock within the compasse thereof, agreeing in the same fundamentall doctrine, [Page 43] though there may be difference betwixt them in unimportant controversies, where the errour doth not intrench on salvation; though their opposites may un­mercifully censure and condemn them for the same. O! if God were not more mercifull to us then we are charitable one to another, his flock would be so little, it would not deserve the name of a flock.

55. 3. It is the ancientest pro­per name; Believers, Saints, Bre­thren, Disciples, they were but epi­thites and appellatives; and though they still be in being and lustre, yet they are all out-shined with the word Christian, the best, lar­gest and ancientest name for all of our profession; And the Disciples were first called Christians at Antioch.



Ephes. 2.3.

And were by nature the Children of wrath even as others.

By T. F. B. D.

LONDON, Printed by R. Daniel, MDCLVI.


Ephes. 2.3. ‘And were by nature the Children of wrath even as others.’

IN this chapter S. Paul is the remembrancer to the Ephesians, and reades them a lecture of their badnesse, before their cal­ling and conversion; & surely such thoughts are right profitable to Christians, to call to minde how bad they were whilst they were wilde Olives, before they were in­grafted into Christ: for first it will raise their thankfulnesse to God; What am I, or what is my fathers [Page 2] house, that thou shouldst bring me hither? it will make us pay one tribute of praise more fully, more freely, when we consider if we be vessels of honour, it is no difference in the clay, but in the pleasure of the Potter. Second­ly, it is excellent physick against the pleasure of pride, to let our souls bloud with the considerati­on how bad we have been; he that will not confesse his former badnesse, I suspect his present goodnesse, whether he hath any or not. Lastly, it will make us both pitty the present wofull e­state of wicked men, and hope well, and pray heartily for their future conversion; why should we fear that arm of God should be too short for others, that could [Page 3] reach us? thinke not that we are the last lost sheep that shall ever be found; The most crooked tree will make timber for the temple, if God pleaseth to hew it.

For these and other reasons, S. Paul in this chapter paints out to the life the dead estate of the Ephesi­ans, whilst they were in trespasses & sinnes, following their own lusts, and the power of the Prince of the aire; and in conclusion showes the cause thereof, namely their cor­ruption by nature; so that the last item in this black bill is in effect the very imprimis of all the rest. And were by nature the children of wrath even as others: we will ob­serve this plain method.

  • 1. That by Nature all are the Chil­dren of wrath.
  • [Page 4]2. How it comes to passe that we are so.
  • 3. Seeing so it is, what good use we may make thereof to our selves.

1. That by nature we are the children of wrath, is the very lan­guage of my text; yet lest any should object my text should be but a single Instrument, heare how it is tuned according to the dole­full consort both of scripture and reason in this point: of scripture, Psal. 51.5. behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sinne did my mo­ther conceive me: Romans 5.12. wherefore as by one man sin en­tred into the world, and death by sinne, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.

2. By reason, fetcht from the my­stery of Circumcision under the old [Page 5] Testament, & Baptisme in the new; the whole, saith our Saviour, have no need of the Physitian, but those which are sick.

Secondly, because we want that original righteousnesse where­in we were created, and which is required to the purity and perfecti­on of our nature; which righte­ousnesse was in Adam who was created after Gods own image, con­sisting chiefly in knowledge and holi­nesse ▪ as for Adams knowledge, he gave sufficient proof thereof in gi­ving names to rhe Creatures; if a Godfather at the font give a foolish and fond name to a child, the Bi­shop at confirmation hath power to alter it; had Adam either im­posed improper or insignificant names on the creatures, God no [Page 6] doubt could have reversed and re­voked them, but the text saith Gen. 2.19. whatsoever Adam called li­ving creatures, that was the name thereof, God did concurre with A­dam, and approve their names as brief definitions of their natures: nor was his sanctity any whit infe­riour to his knowledge, each faculty of his soul did look straight for­wards on his proper object with­out squinting aside on any other; so that what was said of this great world, was as great a truth of this little world man, and behold all things therein were exceeding good; now because we want thi [...] originall righteousnesse, we are there­fore the children of wrath.

Thirdly, because all the part [...] and powers of our soul and bod [...] [Page 7] are depraved with originall cor­ruption: now as Nehemiah did by night survey the ruines of the walls of Jerusalem, so let us with shame, sorrow and silence, behold the brea­ches and dilapidations of our souls. Our understandings are so bad that they understand not their own badnesse; our wils which are the Queens of our souls become the vassals of sin; our memory like Jett good onely to draw strawes, and treasure up trifles of no moment; our consciences through errours in our understanding, sometimes accu­sing us when we are innocent, some­times accquitting us when we are guilty; our affections all disaffected and out of order; must not that needs be a monstrous face wherein the blewnesse which should be in the [Page 8] veins, is in the lipps; the rednesse which should be in the cheeks, in the nose; the hair that should grow on the head, on the face? & must not our souls needs seem ugly in the sight of God, who have grief growing there where joy should, & joy where grief should? wee love what wee should hate, & hate where we should love; wee fear where no fearis, and fear not where we ought to fear; and all our affections either mistake their true object, or exceed their due measure: this made the purest Pagans see somewhat of their natu­rall impurity, and the most refined Philosophers complain of their drowsinesse by nature; they saw al [...] was not right, all was not well which made them complain tha [...] nature was Noverca, a stepmother [Page 9] nature was a mother in law, but when or how their own mother dyed, that they could not tell or remember; they could not know how their souls forfeited originall righteousnesse, being a mystery too high for them to mount unto, who wanted the wings of holy writ, & the direction of S. Paul in my text, that we are by nature the children of wrath even as others.

Here perchance some may ex­pect, that as the master of the feast said to him that wanted the wed­ding garment, friend how camest thou in hither? so I should demand of originall sin, foe and worst of foes how camest thou in hither, and by what invisible leakes didst thou soak into our soules? but I de­sire if it be possible to present you [Page 10] this day with a rose without prick­les, to deliver plain and positive doctrine, without thorny disputes or curious speculations, lest as A­brahams ramme was caught in the thicket, so I imbroyle you and my self in difficult controversies; and here in generall to prevent such ob­jections as might be made against this doctrine of the wrath deser­ving condition of men by nature, pray hearken to these three excel­lent rules.

1. Let us not with our wanton wit kick against the pricks of our own consciences, and goe about to prove by arguments that is not, which we by woefull experience find is, or that that is not just which is done by justice it self.

2. Let us not make [...] [Page 11] the doctrine of the chair to deter­mine controversies between God & us; for the wisdome of the flesh is a malefactor, no wonder if the malefactor being made a Judge doth accquit himself: 2ly. it is enmity to God; no reason that hee should be censured by him that is his ene­my, his wayes I say which are of­ten above reason but never against right: let us not make the pallat of corrupt flesh which savoureth not the things of the spirit, our taster in spirituall matters.

3. Let us not busy our brains so much to know how Originall sinne came into us, as labour with our heart to know how it should be got out of us; but the worst is, most men are sick of the Rickets in the soul, their heads swell to a vast [Page 12] proportion, puft up with the em­ptinesse of airy speculations, whilst their leggs and lower parts do wast and consume, their practicall parts do decay, none more lazy to serve God in their lives and con­versations: and here the better to ballace both mine and your judge­ments aganinst all blasts and bil­lowes of private opinions, hearken to the resolution of the Church of England, as she hath delivered her self in the article which is the ninth in number, and beareth the title of originall or birth-sin: ori­ginall sin standeth not in the fol­lowing of Adam, as the Pelagians do vainly talk, but it is the fault and corruption of every man, which naturally is ingendred of the of-spring of Adam, whereby [Page 13] man is very far gone from origi­nall righteousnesse, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth alwayes against the spirit; therefore in every person born into the world it deserveth Gods wrath and damnation: and that this infection of nature doth remain, yea in them that are rege­nerate, whereby the lust of the flesh called in Greek [...] which some do expound the wisdome, and some sensuality, some the af­fection, some the desires of the flesh, is not subject to the law of God; and although there be no condemnation for them that be­lieve and are baptized, yet the A­postle doth confesse that concupi­scence and lust hath of it self the nature of sinne.

[Page 14]So far the golden Article, which as all the rest was written by their hands who had good heads and hearts, in whom wisdome did con­tend with their learning, but their piety was a Conquerour above both; who what they learnedly distilled out of the scripture, faith­fully infused into these Articles: and as the reall serpent of Moses did de­voure the seeming serpents which Jannes and Jambres the Egyptian en­chanters did make, so shall the truth of these Articles outlast and outlive confute and confound all false and erroneous doctrines whatsoever; even when wilfull Heretiques shall have their eyes put out with the beams of truth, and factious Schismaticks want a con­venticle to hide their shame in, [Page 15] and furious Innovatours either run themselves out of breath (if the law do not first overtake them) or else fall down through the giddi­nesse of their own brains; and then shall the eternall truth of these Ar­ticles want nothing but a foe to oppose them, because herein they concurre with the doctrine of S. Paul in my text, that wee are by nature children &c,

Is it so that that we are by na­ture the children of wrath? this serves to confute three sorts of people, namely those who either faintly affirm it, or flatly deny it, or false­ly maintain it: faintly affirm it, and such are those as have writ­ten, Peccatum originis non nisi ex duo­bus scripturae locis effoditur, originall sin is digg'd out but of two or [Page 16] three places of scripture; is diggd out, do they mean is extracted by faithfull consequence? as if what were so deduced were not Scri­pture as well as that which is their [...] in so many words; Is diggd out, and so are gold and pretious stones; and are mysteries of religion of lesse price, because they are to be gathered by some pains? is diggd out, and that is false, for it lyes above ground in plain and pregnant places of scri­pture, though these men had ra­ther stumble at it then behold it. But out of two or three places of scripture, why, out of the mouth of two or three witnesses shall not every truth be established? but out of two or three places of scripture, as if one were not all one with [Page 17] one thousand, when it comes from an infallible mouth; places of scripture are not to be taken out by the tale, but the weight. Thus these men labour to lessen o­riginall sin; O let us all labour to lessen originall sin, but not by ex­tenuating it in our tenets and o­pinions, but by labouring to cru­cify & mortifie it in our lives and conversations; and surely many mens immoderate diminishing originall sin, making it next to nothing, gave the unhappy occa­sion to learned Illyricus to fall foul on that opinion (if his mea­ning there be not mistaken) that originall sin was a very substance indeed; an opinion so absurd, that at the same time I could both laugh at the ridiculous tenet, and [Page 18] weep at the unhappinesse of the man that maintained it; well, let us go backward, and if we want wherewithall to cover his naked­nesse, let us do it with the sheets of his own books, and let his ad­mirable mastery in other things crave a concealment of his errour in this.

Flatly deny it, and such are the Pelagians, who say that all sinne comes onely by imitation, surely Cain never learned to kill his bro­ther by imitation; he was the first that set that black coppy, and wrote not after any other. Indeed chil­dren would not be so bad, or so soon bad, but for bad examples set before them; but bad examples are not the root from whence chil­drens badnesse doth grow, but ra­ther [Page 19] the water or compost tha cause it to spring and sprout more speedily.

Fasly maintain it, and so the Papists, who though they allow the deprivation of originall righte­ousness, will not allow the deprava­tion of our nature, but hold that we differ from Adam no more then a naked man from him whose clothes are taken away; and to make this more plausible, Bellar­mine creates in his brains, that A­dam was created with a reluctanty and rebellion of the inferiour pow­ers of his soul against the superiour faculties thereof, nay blusheth not to affirm that God could not make a man so pure and perfect, but praeter Dei intentionem ex conditione materiae, there would be such a re­bellion [Page 20] in him: Lord! this same Bellarmine at other times without necessity and against reason could conceive how omnipotency props up accidents without a substance, and makes the same body at the same time in severall places, and now he cannot see how an infinite pow­er is antidote strong enough to ex­pell out of the matter any vene­mous quality whatsoever: true it is that there was in Adam, motion, tendency, and propensity of each faculty to its proper object, but as for any obliquity and deordinati­on in them, it neither was nor could be, as repugnant both to Gods goodnesse and mans perfecti­on: But thus they go about to make (as I may say) some cor­ption in Adam in his state of inte­grity, [Page 21] that they may make way for some integrity in the sonnes of A­dam after their corruption: but the best is, that as the Pharisees Act. 23.9. though enemies to S. Pauls per­son, yet friends to his tenets about the resurrection from the dead, and valiantly vindicated both him and the truth from the Sadduces who traduced him for an Heretick; so the Dominicans who are sound in this point, that we are unsound by nature, defend both us and the truth against the Iesuiticall faction that maintain the contrary: on then with courage you learned Friers, and may the school of Do­minick be too hard for the sheild of Loyola; whilst verity is on your side, let victory be at your backs, may you as far surpasse your ene­mies [Page 22] for piety and solid learning, as they go beyond you and all ho­nesty, in policy and treacherous designes. And thus whilst they fight one against another, let us come to our selves, and apply what hath been delivered, first to those that are children to parents, then to those that are parents to children.

Ye children to parents have heard how wee are by nature the children of wrath even as others, which wrath-deserving condition is deri­ved to you from Adam by your immediate parents, they alas could not convey life, but must pass death unto you also by the same grant, yet this ought not to lessen your love, abate your affection, diminish your duty unto them, [Page 23] Isay 45.10. woe unto him that sayes to his father, what hast thou begotten? or unto his mother, what hast thou brought forth? Rather imitate the example of David, though he complained that in sinne had his mother con­ceived him, yet he was a father to his father, and a mother to his mo­ther in her old age, taking order with the king of Moab that they should be provided for, 1 Sam. 22.3. grant our parents should turn Ostriches unto us and forsake us when we are young, wee neverthe­lesse are to be Storks unto them, and feed them when they are old, having received from them un­der God the greatest benefit that can be, our being.

Ye parents to children have heard [Page 24] that this wrath-deserving con­dition is derived by you unto your posterity. How solemnly, seriously, and religiously then ought marri­age to be undertaken and used? how too too blame are they who adde to this naturall corruption o­ther stains before God and man? an­tedating their wives, whores, and heirs, bastards; a sinne in some pla­ces that is made so common, that tis made no sinne: have wee too little wickednesse of Peor, whereof wee are not cleansed unto this day, that before the old debt be satisfied ye runne on a new score, and adde bastardy and illegitimation to the naturall infection of your children?

2. Secondly, yee see how (though against your wills) yee have pro­pagated [Page 25] this wrath-deserving con­dition unto your children; know then that you are bound both in honour and honesty, civility and Chri­stianity to pluck them out (what lieth in your power) of this pit wherein they are plunged; and this ye may doe, first, by embra­cing the speediest opportunity to fasten the sacrament of baptisme up­on them; by baptisme the condem­ning power of originall sinne is drowned, in the font the bane is removed, the blot doth remain, the guilt is remitted, the blemish is retained, the sting is gone, the stain doth stay, if not consented to it cannot damn us, though it may defile us. In baptisme, the fi­nall-peaceable-commanding po­wer is washed away, ever after it [Page 26] may be in us, not over us, it may rule as a tyrant, not a king, being ever resisted, often sub­dued, though never expelled. Some prisoners have eaten off their irons with Mercury water, but there is no way to fret of the fetters of ori­ginall corruption, (wherewith our feet are hurt in the stocks, the i­rons have entaed into our souls) but by the water in baptisme, and therefore take heed how yee need­lessely deferr it: let marriage feasts be put of till the parties have got their wedding wardrobe, let churching be deferred to attend the perfect health of the woman, let funerall pomps be delayed, they may be put of without danger, which rather please the living, then profit the dead: these are moveable feasts [Page 27] whereof yee make your own Al­manacks, and set them to fall high­er or lower, sooner or later, at your own pleasure, but oh take heed how causelesly ye put of the bapti­zing of your children, stand not on the shadow till ye loose the sub­stance, ne quod deferatur auferatur, lest what ye delay God deny, & whilst you deferre the christening of your child, God take away the child to be christened, and then, though I will not be the judge to condemn the child, were I one of the Jury I should scarce accquit the father.

Secondly, let them not want good prayers, which if steept in tears will grow the better, good precepts, good precedents, and shew thy child in thy self what he should follow, in others what he should [Page 28] shun and avoid, let them not want wholesome correction, if occasi­on require; blast not their souls with the honey-dew of cockering and indulgence; fetch those little malefactors from the hornes of the Altar, from the sanctuaries of their mouthes, sides, lipps and bosomes: what saith Solomon? folly is bound up in the heart of a child, and the rod of correction shall drive it out, not drive out the heart, but the folly; never was brave spirit spoiled with moderate correction. But the mischeif is, that as in the begin­ning of the year we make much of those weeds which bring the first newes of the approaching spring, nettles are used for pot-hearbs, and s [...]llets made of Eldern buds, so fond parents welcome and [Page 29] embrace in their children the first beginnings of sinne, yea please themselves to hear their infants dis­praise God, swear, call names, talk wantonly, yea this is accounted wit in the little children; I am sure it is want of wit in the greater children, for so I may fitly call their foolish parents who take delight therein. I say no more, but as for those parents who will not use the rod upon their children, I pray God he useth not their children ▪ as a rod for them.

Now least those who at this present time are neither children to parents, nor parents to children, should complain with the Grecian widdows that they this day are neglected in the dispensation of my doctrine, hearken to a generall [Page 30] use which will take us all in, let us all take notice of a bad principle which lurks in our hearts, this na­turall corruption which deserves the wrath of God; in the low Coun­tries half their houses ly buried in the ground, the laying of the foun­dation is counted as much as the rest of the building▪ so half our badnesse lyes secret and unseen, consisting in originall corruption, whereof too few take notice, for though (as I have said before) bap­tisme taketh away the comman­ding and condemning power thereof, yet the blot still remai­ning (as by woefull experience we daily find) makes us backward to all goodnesse, and headlong for­wards to all badnesse, this is that which S. Paul to the Romans (who [Page 31] though he might touch at an im­proper expression, sure would ne­ver land there and dwell so long therein) calls sinne fourteen times, and we shall find it fourteen thou­sand times to be so in our selves. Away then with the sick doctrine of the soundnesse of freewill, and merit of works; we have alwayes that in us which baneth the per­fection of all our performances, namely the lawless law in our members which rebelleth against the law of our mind, and leadeth us captive to the law of sinne which is in our members: Thou shalt not commit adultery, and thou shalt commit adultery, thou shalt not steal, and thou shalt steal, thou shalt not bear false witnesse against thy neighbour, & thou shalt bear false [Page 32] witnesse against thy neighbour; witches (they say) say the Lords prayer backward, but concupi­scence (this witch) in our soul, sayes all the commandments backward, and makes us crosse in our practise what God commands in his precepts. Thus every day we sin, and sorrow after our sin, and sin after our sorrow, and do what we would not, and would what we do not, and the vvind of Gods spirit blovveth us one vvay, and the tide of our corruption hurry­eth us another: these things he that seeth not in himself is sottish-blind; he that seeth and confesseth not, is damnably proud; he that confesseth and bewaileth not, is desperately profane; he that be­waileth and figheth not against it, [Page 33] is unprofitablely pensive; but he that in some weak manner doth all these, is a Saint in reversion here, and shall be one in possession hereafter.



Genes. 49. vers. 6.

O my soul come not into their se­crets.

By T. F. B. D.

LONDON Printed by R. Daniel, for J. S. 1656.


Genes. 49. vers. 6.‘O my soul come not thou into their se­crets.’

AMong the many ar­guments to prove the pen-men of the scri­pture inspired by the spirit of God, this is not the last and least, that the pen-men of ho­ly writ do record their own faults, and the faults of their nearest and dearest relations: for instance hereof, how coursly doth David speak of himself? So foolish was I and ignorant, I was as a very beast before thee.

And do you think that the face of S. Paul did look the more foul by being drawn with his own [Page 4] pencill, when he sayes, I was a mur­therer, a persecutor, the greatest of sin­ners, &c.

This is not usuall in the writings of humane authors, who praise themselves to the utmost of what they could; and rather then loose a drop of applause, they will lick it up with their own tongues.

Tully writes very copiously in setting forth the good service which he did the Roman state, but not a wo [...]d of his covetous­nesse, of his affecting popular ap­plause, of his pride and vain glory, of his mean extraction, and the like.

Whereas clean contrary Moses, he sets down the sinne and pu­nishment of his own sister; the idolatry and superstition of Aaron [Page 5] his brother; and his own fault in his preposterous striking the rock, for which he was excluded the land of Canaan. No wonder then if he tell the faults of Simeon and Levi, both their cruell murther, and the heavy curse which their father laid upon them.

Old Jacob lyes now a dying, the lanthorn of his body was rea­dy to be broken, and the light that was in it to be ex [...]inguished; his twelve sonnes get about him, every one expects a blessing, and they raise their intentions the more, because they knew that he was a prophet.

He begins sadly; Reuben hath a check, and Simeon and Levi have a curse. No doubt old Jacob as a pri­vate man had affection to them [Page 6] both, but now he speaks to them as a prophet; he knowes no natu­rall affection, being acted with spi­rituall inspiration; he leaves off flesh and blood, being prompted by the spirit of God, and tells them, cursed be their wrath, for for it was fierce, and their anger, for it was furious.

I shall use no other method in the words, but such observations as are pertinent to the text, & pro­fitable for your souls.

First, O my soul, &c. seeing Ja­cob doth entertain a discourse with his own soul, wee may learn,

A Christian who can discourse with his own soul, may make good company for himself.

This was Davids precept Psal. 4. [Page 7] vers. 4. commune with your own hearts upon your beds; this is no contradi­ction, there is a kind of discourse which makes no noise: this com­munion is the heart of heavenly meditation, he may give himself a question, and answer it himself; and David what he prescribes to us, practises himself, when he sayes, why art thou so sad O my soul, and why art thou so disquieted within me? trust still in God.

Had people this art of entertai­ning a time to discourse with themselves, it would prevent much mischief; thou mayest divide thy soul into severall parts, and thou maist discourse if thou wilt with every faculty, with thy understan­ding, memory, fancy, and the se­verall affections of thy soul.

[Page 8]Ask that question of thy under­standing which Philip askt of the Eunuch, Acts 10. understandest thou what thou readest? call your under­standing to account whether you understand what you read or not.

Ask thy fancy that question which Acbish once propounded to king David, where hast thou been roving all this day? bring thy fancy to account.

Ask that of thy memory which the master did of the unjust stew­ard, Luke 16. give an account of thy stewardship; ask thy memory what good hast thou measured up.

When thou findest thy self transported with mirth, ask thy soul that question, God did to Sarah, why laughest thou? when thou seest the passion of anger grow [Page 9] too violently upon thee, ask of it that question which God did to the prophet Jonah, doest thou well to be angry?

Consider, if you could thus dis­course with your selves, you would prevent much bad company; for when we runne into the company of good fellowes, wee have but one thing to pretend unto as a thing incident to mans nature, that he loves company. But if we could entertain this discourse with our own souls, wee should be ne­ver lesse alone, then when we are alone, and abate the tediousnesse of solitarinesse with good socie­ty.

Oh my soul come not thou into their se­crets. The next observation is,

That wicked men have certain [Page 10] secrets, which they communicate to those of their own society.

Wee read in the 26. Psalm of the secrets of the Lord; now as the Lord hath his secrets, so the devil hath his secrets of iniquity; and the reason why they keep them secret, is, because otherwise they would not attain to those ends which they propound to themselves: if all their designes were open, they would be frustra­ted and never obtain their hellish intents, and therefore that they may not be hindred in bringing them about, they keep them secret.

And yet know by the way, though they are secrets to men, they are not secrets to God; all things are naked and open before him, he is the searcher of the heart [Page 11] and reins. But no further of this; I come to that which is of more concernment.

It is a dangerous thing to come into the secrets of wicked men.

I divide wicked men into two sorts, those that call people into their secrets, and those that come into their secrets when called; the principalls, and the accessaries: there is a generation of people that think they will fare well e­nough, if they be not the first con­trivers, or the most active instru­ments in an evil designe: they think this will bear them out, if they came in but by the by; oh beloved, know it is not enough to excuse thee.

And know that a man may come into an evil secret, and not [Page 12] command it, contrive it, or act it.

First by consent to it, thus (not S. Paul) but Saul the persecutor came into the mischievous secret of stoning Stephen; for though it was openly acted, yet it was pri­vately plotted. And what did Saul do? he threw never a stone, he did not, but I tell you what he did, he kept the clothes of those that did it: the Iewes put off their upper garments that their hands might be at the more liberty, with the more strength and steady aime to throw their stones at him, which their sleeves hindered; now Paul standing by, and keep­ing the wardrobe of their clothes, was equally guilty with them in that act.

[Page 13]The next thing by which a man may be guilty of a wicked sercret, is by concealing of it, and we find that God brought heavy judge­ments upon meere concealing.

In the fifth of the Acts, it is said of Ananias that he kept back the price, his wife being privy to it, it is not said shee did con­sent, but onely conceal it. Now S Austin saith in this case it is one of the hardest things to clear Gods judgements.

God is just, the fault was in her use of this action, she might have discovered it unto the Church, and so have been spared.

Thirdly, by commending it; though we neither consent to it, or conceal it, yet if thou commend it, thou dost adopt that wicked act to [Page 14] be thine own, and draw the guilt thereof upon thee; and so men come to be guilty of other folkes sinnes.

But if a man be a minister or a magistrate, he may be guilty of sinne otherwise, and neither of these wayes here spoken of; the minister if he doth not publick­ly reprove it, and the magistrate if he do not punish it.

The minister, if he do not re­prove it with Christian discreti­on and moderation; though in the sinnes of great men there is much more danger in reproving them. A crack or want of repair in the top of a steeple is more dange­rous to mend then any part; the mason must have many devices to climb unto it with the danger [Page 15] of loosing of his life: so it is dan­gerous to reprove great persons to high for us to meddle with. But if we be called to it, we must trust in the assistance of God; and wee partake of their sinnes if wee do not reprove them.

But the magistrate is guilty though he do reprove it, if he do not punish it. Ely did reprove his sonnes, it was well he did it, but this is not enough, the heinous­ness of their offences was of that nature, that the proud flesh must be cut off, and not be suffered to fester in the body. But he being a magistrate and not punishing of it, suffered himself.

But now let us come to know the secret; what was the mischief which these two had done? the [Page 16] story is large, and is set down by the spirit of God in the 34. of Ge­nesis.

Now may I request you, when divine providence shall carry you to your quiet meditations, to read the whole story.

I shall give you a brief account of it.

Iacob had but one only daughter, and shee would go gadding a­broad to see other daughters; see what comes of the wandring of virgins from their parents houses, for this was it which wrought her misery, she would go abroad to see fashions, and going forth, she sees and is seen by the prince of the land.

Give now Shechem his due that did her this wrong, he was more [Page 17] honest in his dishonesty then ma­ny in this age, who when they have improved their wicked thoughts upon womens weak­nesse, how many are there who do scornfully & spitefully throw them off, and triumph in the con­quest they have gotten by their own treachery, and the others fault, and throw away the snuff of their wantonnesse which ends their love?

It is said of Thamar the daughter of David, that after Ammon had ab­used her, he fell from her; but She­chem had more generous principles, he doth endeavour to make her, whom formerly he had made his harlot, to be his wife.

This done, the sonnes of Jacob will not consent, unlesse they be [Page 18] circumcised, which done, in comes Simeon and Levi and kills them all, men, women and chil­dren. Now two things give ac­cents to their cruelty.

First, that they abused the holy sacrament of circumcision, which God had appointed for a signe and a seal to the children of Israel, and to make this a cloak to their mur­therous intents this is the first aggravation, they brought heaven into their intended designes.

The second was this, that where­as the offence done was personall in Shechem; yet the punishment fell upon the whole city, and the women and children.

What mischief had the women done, whose known weaknesse is their profest armour against any [Page 19] true valiant man? What fault have little infants done, whose fathers were the onely committers of the faults? this added to their cruelty.

But as a musket makes no re­port when discharged in the same place and time with a full cannon; so the act of these is but small in comparison of the cruelty of which this day is our gratefull remembrance: my soul come not thou into their secrets. It was a secret in its nature, but a greater secret in regard of the time and place in which it was committed; it was plotted in the bowels of the earth, and they undermined many yards therein, least the sun ashamed to see it should discover it; or as if they would creep neerer to hell, from whence it was first invented.

[Page 20]And it was a secret in respect of the persons who were joyned and soldered together with an oath of secresie; and mark a double concurrence of cruelty in this se­cret.

The sonnes of Iacob abuse the sacrament of circumcision, under the covert whereof they might the better bring to passe their inten­ded villanies; so Gardiner, he gave the sacrament of the Lords supper, to all those that were conspira­tors in this wicked designe and treason; that so he might enjoyn them to the greater secrecy.

And as in the secret of Iacobs sonnes there were men, women & children slain; so these traitors in­tended not their cruelty against the king onely, but surely that blow [Page 21] had not been given, but many thousands of people whose occasi­ons might have summoned them to that place, would have been sent with the peers of the land the same way of destruction. I do not question but there are those here present, whose memories have not let fall the day of this great deliverance; for it must not be said that the deliverance extended one­ly to those then living, but wee, though then in our mothers wombs, and not thought on, par­ticipate fully in the enjoyment thereof. For had it been effected as it was intended, it is easie for you to judge and conceive the sad con­dition this land had groaned un­der; had it took effect the miseries of this land had been great, but [Page 22] the dishonour to God had been far greater, and if God had suffe­red it to come to passe, presently they had censured their own acti­ons to be good and just, but the snare is broken, and we are delive­red.

Oh let your prayers be there­fore joyned with mine, that wee may be all kept from the secrets of wicked men, and in a thankfull remembrance be constant in our praises to God for this dayes deli­verance.

Some desire that this day may not be kept, but forgot, and me­thinks it looks with a paler co­lour in the Almanack then it use to do, but next year it will be a full jubile, fifty years since the contrivance thereof: let all those [Page 23] whom God shall lend life unto that day, keep in your minds the memoriall of so great a blessing, and to preserve the memory there­of, for what principles of false doctrine had infected this land, had this plot taken effect? and therefore it shall be my prayer; that God will write thankfulnesse in your hearts to a continuall re­membrance of the same.



Iudges 19.30.

There was no such deed done nor seen, from the day that the children of Isra­el came up out of the land of Egypt, unto this day: consider of it, take ad­vice, and speak your minds.

By T. F. B. D.

LONDON Printed by R. Daniel, for I. S. MDCLVI.


Judges 19.30.‘There was no such deed done nor seen, from the day that the children of Israel came up out of the land of E­gypt, unto this day: consider of it, take advice, and speak your minds.’

TRagedyes begin smi­ling, but end weeping & bleeding; so this chapter: the former part thereof merry with feasting, the latter mournfull with murther, a murther most strange, most true; and give me leave a little to un­fold the manner thereof, the ra­ther, because it it a leading case, & I pray God that it may never hereafter have any to follow it. [Page 4] A namelesse Levite with his wife journeyed on the highwayes side, waited on by one servant. Balaam the false prophet rode in state with his two men: Numb. 22. the Levite in this chapter is decently atten­ded, has his man: how many poor ministers now adayes for want of means are forced to be slaves to o­thers, and servants to themselves? going on they come to the city of Gibeon, whose inhabitants were notoriously wicked, addicted to the sinne of Sodomy, where all the pleasure and delight consisteth in the enormity thereof. But as lust in this city was hot, so hospitality was cold, none invite this Levite home to their house; for then a­mongst the Jewes there were no inns, or rather every house was an [Page 5] inne, wherein strangers were free­ly entertained, and at their depar­ture thanks was all the shot they had to discharge. At last comes an old man from his work out of the field at evening, and gives him a free invitation; mark (I pray) his character, [...] he was an old man: your youthfull gallants have more bravery on their backs, then boun­ty in their hands; alass! they have been born since the death of ho­spitality. Even amongst us for the most part they are old men of an ancient stamp and edition almost worn out, which are most to be commended for their hospitable bounty. 2, he came from his work, those are most pitifull to others, who are most painfull in their own callings. Your great gamesters that [Page 6] will play away an estate by whole­sale, are loth to retaile out an almes to the poor, whilst com­monly the best husbands are the best house-keepers; liberality be­ing a fire that is maintained by thrift. The Levite entred into his house, but finds the haven more dangerous then the open sea; more safe might he have been in the wildernesse amongst beasts, then in the city amongst beastly men, who now presse to offer that vio­lence to his person, which is not to be named amongst Christians. At last they are content to spare the Levite himself (which I impute not to their pity, but to Gods pro­vidence) and make his wife the prey of their lust; till the violence and variety thereof caused her [Page 7] sudden death; where marke by the way the justnesse of the wayes of God. This woman had former­ly been false to her husband vers 2. and now see wherein shee had of­fended, therein is shee punished.

Culpa libido fuit, poena libido suit.

By lust shee had sinned, by lust shee doth suffer. She that could not be content to be severall to her husband alone, is now against her will made common to so many, till it cost her her life; yet it might please God so to sanctify this affli­ction unto her, as thereby to bring her to a sight and sorrow for her sinnes, and her shamefull death on earth might occasion to her a glo­rious life in heaven. Her husband laying hand on her corps, with a [Page 8] knife cut it into twelve parts, and severally sends them to the jury of the tribes of Israel.

Hard hearted husband, if the least pity be alive in thy breast, offer not this wrong unto the dead. Is it not enough that her soul is par­ted from her body, but her body also must be twelve times parted from it self? suffer her ashes to sleep in quiet, the pawn for the return of her soul; methinks that knife that cuts her hands should pierce thine heart: but comdemn not the Levite for this deed; it was not cruelty, but pitty and piety that moved him unto it, that the sight of the corps might make the Jewes the more throughly prose­cute the cause, and every tribe that had a part of her body, might have [Page 9] a part in revenging her innocent bloud. Her mouth onely spake whilst she was living, now each peice of her mangled corps speaks when shee is dead, whilest the Isra­elites both attentively heard and ju­diciously understood the language thereof, which made them con­demn the causers of her death for matchlesse offendors: many men have done villanously, but these surmounted them all, there was no such deed done nor seen since &c.

I will not mangle my text as the Levite his wife, with often divi­ding it; let it suffice to observe therein two principall parts,

First, a narrration of a notorious villany, there was no &c.

2 The prescribing of wholesome orders for the future: consult, consi­der, and give &c.

[Page 10]In the first, two commendable practises of the Iewes commend themseIves to our meditation.

1 First, they were well skilled, well versed in the severall actions which were done in their country before their time, and used to match & compare one deed with another, to see which was better, which worse, which more which lesse vitious; and amongst the ar­my of sinnes behold this in my text stands like a Saul, stands higher then his fellows by the shoulders upwards.

Herein let us follow the exam­ple of the Israelites, let us read hi­stories that we be not made an hi­story; let us compare the passages of the time past with those of the present age; for as it is a great ble­mish [Page 11] in a Gentleman though ne­ver so proper and personable, if he hath but such a crick in his neck, that he cannot turn his face back­ward to see what is behind him: so it is a great shame in such a one as pretends to learning and wise­dome, if by the benefit of wise­dome he cannot reflect the eyes of his mind backward, and see those things which were done in the dayes of his fathers, and in the old time before them. You therefore that have the chronicle of our kings in your houses, the Acts and monuments in your halls, con­demn them not to a desk, as the Jews did their harps to the wil­lows, rather for sight then service, till moths have fretted out the bookes as worms have eaten the [Page 12] bodies of those worthy men who compiled them; but at your best leisure read and peruse them. But when you have read all humane Authors over, they will be but so many muddy and brackish chan­nells to the pure and fresh foun­tain of Gods holy word: medi­tate therefore in the same both day and night, wherein alone you shall find stories more true, more various, more pleasant, more pro­fitable, then all other writers anci­ent or modern are able to afford.

2. The second praise-worthy practise in the Israelites is this, they kept the solemn and constant me­morial of their coming out of the land of Egypt; from which as from a memorable aera, and remarka­ble Epoche they used to date, and [Page 13] compute their severall actions; not since the day that the children of Is­rael came out of the land of Egypt. And good reason they had to remem­ber it; God then bestowing on their fathers a great deliverance, who whilest they lived in Egypt, lived in continuall slavery. Indeed they had meat enough; which may serve to condemn the cruelty of some masters to their servants now adayes, who though they give them their bellyfull of work, will not give them their bellyfull of victualls.

The Egyptians dealt better with the Jewes in this kind; of onions, cucumbers, and the flesh-pots of Egypt, they had their full by their own confession. Yet their life being a bondage must needs [Page 14] be miserable; liberty being the ve­ry life of our life without which our life is a continuall dying. Yea the coming of the children of Is­rael out of Egypt may in some sort seem to them to have been the cre­ation of the world; Adam was made of the dust of the earth, they then fetcht from the clay of the earth, whereof they had made many hard bricks, though not half so hard as the hearts of those Taskmasters, which were set over them; the world was made of no­thing, the Jewes when they came out of Egypt, being made for­merly for outward respects no better then nothing. And as their remaining there was miserable, so their removing thence was mira­culous; wonderfully therefore [Page 15] should they have forgot them­selves, if they had forgot Gods wonders towards them in this de­liverance.

And have not wee English men as many and remarkable delive­rances as ever the Jewes had? some common with us to all Christans, as the second birth day of the world at the birth of our Saviour. You therefore that are clarks and notaries, who in dating of acts and instruments, with your posting pens make such frequent men­tion of the year of the Lord, la­bour that those words which have been so often written with your hands, may once be written in your hearts, with the benefits ac­crued to all mankind by the birth of our Saviour. Some proper [Page 16] to this our nation alone, as the de­liverance from the Spanish invasi­on in 88. Naomi said to the men of Bethlehem, Ruth 1. call me not Naomi fair; but call me mara bitter, for the Lord hath afflicted me, I went out full but return em­pty, &c. so might that great fleet say, call me not the invincible Ar­mado, but call me the conquered Ar­mado; for the Lord hath punished my pride, I went out full, the ter­rour of the world, but return empty to the scorn of all nations. Go then you Spaniards, bragge of Lisbon, Bil­boa, and Toledo blades; sure I am that then an English sword ma­naged by the arm of the God of heaven was proved to be the best mettall. Nor lesse miraculously from home-bred conspiracy in the [Page 17] gunpowder treason, where the rea­son onely was intention, but no­thing (thanks be to God) brought to execution, but the traytors. Well, its said that things written in mar­ble are most durable in difference of time; I would not wish to us a marble, hard or stony heart, but such a one as is soft, tender and pliable, and surely this will soo­ner receive and longest retain the print of Gods favours unto us, and principally of these deliverances wherein the people of England may be said to have come out of the land of Egypt.

Now that this sinne in my text may appear in its proper co­lours, consider with me; first the party to whome the wrong was offered was a stranger; the word [Page 18] stranger in the very mention of it ought to carry with it a protection from all wrongs; the heathen Romans were so Christian in this kind, that if their enemy chanced to enter into their house in nature of a stranger, there was a cessation from enmity, during his abode under their roof, and re­venge gave place to hospitality, Secondly she was a woman, & that sex may seem in some sort to be fenced from injury, because it is not fenced from injuries. For such is the known weakness of women, that wee count it weaknesse in men to offer them any wrong, and our modesty is the best safeguard and defence for theirs. Thirdly, she was a Levites wife, and me­thinks some shadow of sacred­nesse [Page 19] should be reflected from him on her. Fourthly she was a­bused to death; indeed she died not presently, but before she came into the house, her soul got out of her body, and even in our law it is murther, that comes within the compasse of a year and a day; now murther you know is a crying sinne, yea, like Stentor the Graeci­an, it shouteth louder then 50. o­ther ordinary offences. The mon­ster mother may smother her child, but when she hath done, she cannot smother the murther of her child. Fifthly, abused to death by a whole city: those are decei­ved who conceive the multitude of offendors diminish the offence. Rather the more the sinners, the more heinous the sinne; the worst [Page 20] sinne that ever was, was the most generall sinne that ever was, when all mankind together sinned at once in Adam: yea in our law that which being done by one or two, is but a trespasse, committed by more assumes the name of a ryot. Lastly by a whole city of Israelites: but if they had been Hi­vites, or Hittites that had done me this dishonour, then perchance I should have born it; had they been Canaanites or Jebusites had of­fered me this disgrace, then more patiently could I have digested it, but they pretended to serve the same God, and observe the same religion. They were descen­ded from the loyns of Jacob, and issued from the womb of Rachel: what good doth the ark of God [Page 21] in Shiloh, with Levites a tending before it, Aarons rod, pot of manna, mercy seat with­in it, if there be a Sodome in Sion, a Bethaven in Bethel, folly in Israel? verily I say unto you I have not found so great an offence no not amongst the Gentiles. Happy those poor Armenians which live in those remote parts, where the shrill sound of the gospel was ne­ver trumpetted forth, their invin­cible ignorance will be an Orator in the ears of the mercifull judge, not wholly to excuse but much to diminish their fault, not to prevaile for a full pardon, yet to procure a lighter punishment, whilst in the same day they shall rise up, and condemn the Jewes in my text, see­ing better by the light of a candle, [Page 22] then the Iewes by the beams of the sun.

I come now to the prescribing of the wholesome order for the future consult, consider, and give sen­tence: but first wee must remove an objection which here may rise; for may some say, why is it not particularly exprest in the law of Moses, what punishment ought to be inflicted upon an whole city, when by lust they abuse a woman to death? had this been a book­case and the penalty precisesly spe­cified, it would have spared the Israelites all their pains to consult and consider; yea this may seem to argue the law of God of some defects and imperfections, that it is not adaequate to all occasions, and of extent large enough for all [Page 23] necessities, and needs to be patcht and peeced with the accession of humane deliberation. For two reasons the particular punishment is expressed, first because the spi­rit of God being charity it self, charitablely presumed that no Is­raelites would be so wicked; the heathen appointed no punishment for parricides, supposing that sinne could not be committed. Men must first murther all nature in themselves, before they can be so unnaturall as to murther their pa­rents. Secondly, the mentioning of the punishment might by sa­tans suggestion, and mans cor­ruption be abused to make them commit the sin: some sinnes are left out in the law, not because they are too little, but because they [Page 24] are too great; should the punish­ment of every villany be put into the law, the committing of many villanies would be put into our minds, which otherwise might be forgotten; and sinnes punisher would be made sins remembran­cer. Yet though this case for cir­cumstance is not set down in the Bible, for substance it is in severall places; who sheddeth mans bloud, by man shall his bloud be shed, Gen. 6.9. now the scripture is not written for those that will be idle, but for such as comparing one place with another, by faithfull consequence will proportionably extract and deduce, what ought to be done in each severall action whose substance in the bible is recorded, though each circum­stance [Page 25] particularly set down. And now I come to the order for the time to come: but behold in the order it self much confusion ari­sing from the variety of translati­ons; you shall scarce find three bi­bles wherein two of these words are rendred alike: what therefore must wee do? the best way to ex­pound the text is to practise it; and before wee give sentence what should be the meaning of these severall words, let us first consult with interpreters, and consider the originall. The first word in the great Bible, consult, importeth in the originall a meeting of many together, rendred by learned Tre­melius, adhibete vos ad istud, settle your selves together to this matter. The observation is this; in mat­ters [Page 26] of moment we are not seve­rally to follow our private advice, but jointly to unite your selves to­gether in consultation; eyes see more then an eye (saith the pro­verb.) I must confesse Paphnutius with his one eye (for his persecu­tors had bored out the other) saw more in the matter of ministers marriage then the 300 two-eyed bishops assembled in the councel o [...] Nice. But he was an exception from a generall rule; ordinarily tow are better then one: yea Solomon the wisest of earthly kings had his councel of aged men, which stood before him, 1 Kings 12.6. nay a greater then Solomon may be brought for the proof of this point: God himself, Genes. 1.26. being about to contract the first [Page 27] volume of the world into the a­brigement of man, called as it were a councel in the persons of the Trinity; let us make man. Had God any need of councel? is not the same eternall act which is done by one person, done by all? or are not these things rather written for our instruction? surely for our instru­ction they are written, that when we enterprise things of conse­quence, we may call for and make use of the councels and di­rections of others; to blame then are they, who rashly runne on their own heads. I cannot but commend the swiftnesse of Ahi­maaz his feet, 2 Sam. 18.28. who being sent out of Cushi came to David before him, yet can I not but dispraise the shallownesse of Ahi­maaz [Page 28] his judgement, who running before he had received perfect in­structions from Joab, came to the end of his journey scarce with the middle of his message.

Is it so then, that we must con­sult with others? then most lawfull, laudable, & necessary is the vocati­on of them who are of learned councel: for should your silly cli­ents be entrusted wth the managing of their own suits, they would cut the throat of their most rightfull causes, even with the same sword with which you are able to defend them. But may you be pleased pa­tiently to heare the best spirituall advice which I freely bestow upon you, who would be glad to pay your fees, and give you deserved thanks for your councell, if mine [Page 29] occasions so required it. When such a cause shall be brought to your hands, as your own consciences shall proclaim to be bad, let Baal plead for himself, let iniquity be her own advocate; offer you not once to defend them: and when the case shall be good, loose it not in the labyrinths of delayes, and Meanders of demurrs, but bring it the narrowest cut, the nearest course from the first motion to the finall verdict. I must confesse there may be much corruption in a festred sore, but I dare boldly say, there is more corruption in the dishonest Chirurgion, that may quickly cure it, but will not for his private ends: indeed they that hold leases by lives, could be content that each life in their lease [Page 30] should be a Methuselah sith then your gain dependeth on the long depending of suits, some perchance may think it more beneficiall for you needlesly to protract them. But know by the speedy ending of them, your gain shall be the more by being the lesse; what is wanting in bulk shall be supplied in blessing, no diseased tympany shall swell your estate, but all your substance shall be solid whole­some flesh: all the shekels in your coffers shall be shekels of the san­ctuary, such as you may enjoy with content, whilest you live, and leave to your wife, and thrifty heirs, when you die. To you there­fore it belongeth to consult: this differs from the former, consult is with others, consider is in our [Page 31] selves; for after wee have heard what others can say, we must not so pinne our practise on their opi­nions, but we must also use our own best consideration, especially if it be in a case of conscience wherein our own good is particu­larly interested. And this conside­ration is to go before our finall sentence. Before we passe our ut­most verdict, we are first seriously to premise a due deliberation in our selves, as formerly we have had 1 consultation with others. Let us go down and see, Gen. 1.18.21. whether the sinnes of Sodom be ac­cording to the cry which is come up unto mee. Our adversaries of the Romish Church are too too faulty herein, in giving sentence before they have well weighed [Page 32] the cause. In the dayes of Queen Mary when our land was dark with ignorance, and light onely with those bonfires which burnt the martyrs, a woman in Jersey at the stake being delivered of a male child, the standers by took the in­fant, and threw it into the fire: matchlesse cruelty! children when newly born are to be baptized with water, not to be cast into the fire, or did they take it to be like the viper, Acts 28. which no soo­ner crawled out of the heat of the flame, but S. Paul presently cast it in again? alas as yet it was no viper, no poison in the teeth, no venome in the tongue, whereby it may do hurt. Or did they think that it would take it by kind, because his mother (as they termed it) was [Page 33] an heretick? no sinne is so through­ly entailed from parent to child, but grace and good breeding may break it off. Had they well ponde­red those things before hand, per­chance they might have prevailed for a reprive, if not for a pardon for this child. The Hebrews contra­ry to all other nations, read their letters backward, so the papists in their practise read backward, and invert the order of my text, and instead of consult, give sentence and consider; they first give sen­tence, and then consult and per­chance consider: and I would to God all that hated popery hated al­so this popish practise; for in some sort hereof guilty are they who seeing one wallowing in sinnes, rashly reason from the present to the [Page 34] future, and condemn such a one for a reprobate or castaway. Let us not flatter black and say its white, nor defame white and say it is black; let us tell Judah of their sinnes, and Israel of their trans­gressions; for our callings warn us: let us tell a drunkard that he is a drunkard, an adulterer that he is an adulterer, and that his estate is desperate and damnable, if he live and dye impenitent in that condi­tion. But as for their finall estate, it belongeth not to us to give sen­tence of them; it is not for us to know these things which the fa­ther hath put in his own power: but if our censuring faculty be so sharp (on Gods blessing) let us turn the edge thereof inward: let us first read a criticall lecture on all [Page 35] our own bad thoughts, words, and actions, and then shall we have lesse leasure and delight to rome and range abroad.

Now the word consider in my text, warrants mee to addresse my speech to you who are of the ju­ry: for after consult is past, after you have heard a case debated and argued by learned councel, then is your duty to consider: your way, is so hedged on either side you cannot go out of it, except you will wilfully; for you are onely conscionably to find things, accor­ding as you hear them alledged and proved, and this done your office is discharged; but beware of one thing, the being overswaied by one appearing and potent man amongst you. Barach said to Debo­rah, [Page 36] Judge. 4.8. if thou wilt go up with me, I will go up, but if thou wilt not go up with me, then will I not go up. So too often the the rest of the jury to one princi­pall man amongst them, please you Sr to be for the plaintiff, wee are for the plaintiff, if you be for the defendant, wee are for the de­fendant; cast the prisoner, & wee cast him, accquit you him, and wee accquit him: in a word, wee'l be the wax, print you upon us what impression you please. Be­loved, these things ought not to be so; that the prisoner should be cast at the verdict of twelve men, and eleven of these twelve have their judgements cast by the ver­dict of one. Look therefore to your selves, except others will an­swer [Page 37] to God for your perjury; for to you it belongeth to consider.

I come now to the third step of the throne of justice, give sentence; where wee may ob­serve, after due consultation and consideration are past, wee ought not still to be neuters & Scepticks, but absolutely to expresse and de­clare our selves on one side, as wee shall see most occasion. And yet how many be there which have learning too much to be papists, & yet religion too little to be good protestants? They are loth to say that Luther is in the right, and they are loth to say that Bellarmine is in the wrong. And as God saith of himself, I am what I am; so may it be said of these men, they are e­ven what you would have them [Page 38] to be: nor need wee go out into the wildernesse to see these reeds shaken with the wind; I am a­fraid in our towns best traded, pla­ces most populous, there be too many of them who spending all their life in tedious consulting, and considering of points, continue more unresolved then when they begun, & will never give sentence. Which word putteth me in mind, to apply my self unto your Lord­ships to whom his Highnesse authority hath committed the power of passing the sentence of life and death; but I remember what Iohn Baptist said to our Savi­our, Matth. 3. I have need to come to thee, and comest thou to mee? Is your Honours courtesie and hu­militie such as to repair to my [Page 39] weak pains? when I, whose lear­ning in law matters is no better then ignorance, have need to come to you, who are the captains of the first forme in the school of justice, and therefore need not now to learn the alphabet of your office: well do you know how to weild the sword in the hand; when to give a slanting blow, and where to make a down right stroke; whose actions are a conti­nuall web, whereof justice & mer­cy are the woof, and the warp. Leaving therefore your Lord­ships, I come to them who come to these assizes, neither to do nor to suffer, but onely to heare and behold: when I compare this meeting in my text with ours at this time, I find a threefold cause [Page 40] for which wee ought to be hearti­ly thankfull to the God of heaven▪ first, that though there be many sinnes in our land, yet most of them are personall, not like this in my text, wherein a whole city to­gether was jointly engaged. Should we have a murther gene­rally committed by a whole city, I am afraid, that the cable of that offence twisted with so many les­ser cords of severall offendors, would be so tough and strong, it would almost make the sword of justice turn edge before it could cut through it. God daily diminish the sinnes of our land, that they may be fewer for number, lesser for measure, lighter for nature, and may our eyes live to see our churches more full, our prisons [Page 41] more emptie. Not to flatter our selves, we are a sinfull nation; fel­lonies amongst us are frequent, & murther sometimes, (and were they never so seldome, they were too often (yet be it spoken to Gods glory, these be private sinnes, not city villainies as this of the Gibeo­nites: not but that we English men are as wild, and as untamed hor­ses as ever the Iews were, but that God is pleased to hold us with a stronger bridle, & curb of his re­straining grace then he did them. Let him therefore have all the honour of the action.

Secondly, we see the poor Le­vite was fain to send for justice abroad and about, from Dan to Beersheba with much care and cost: had the allowance of this Le­vite [Page 42] been no larger then the poor pittance of some curates and vi­cars amongst us, this one charge would have exhausted his two yeares revenues: but let us thank God that justice is brought home to our doors. When I have seen with what tedious paces & wea­ry thighs poor people have pain­fully climed and clambred up the steep ascent to the town of Shaftsbury in this county, to bring water to the town; then have I com­mended the conveniency of those cities, which seated in champion places have water at will; then have I praised the commoditie of those houses where turn the cock, and plenty flowes at pleasure: so when I consider the great trouble of the Levite in my text, to send [Page 43] about for justice, then have I just cause to praise God for the benefit of our itinerarie judges wch with­out our cost, or procuring, bring justice home unto us. If any in this sence doth [...], behold the cup is at his mouth, let him drink his fill.

Thirdly, the cause of all this mischeif is set down in the first verse, because there was no king in Israel; a tyrannie is to be pre­ferred before an anarchy: for a commonwealth to want a chief, it is the chief of all wants, every man will do what he lists, none what he should. Too much liberty would make men slaves to their own lusts; Westminster hall would be turned unto the Gluttons kitch­in▪ in a word, compared to this [Page 44] confusion, that of Bable may just­ly seem an exact modell of me­thod. But (thanks be to God) our happinesse will appear the greater, if we consider the state of forreign countries, divided from us no less in condition, then by the sea; look upon high Germany which ever Prometheus like hath a cruell ea­gle feeding upon her entrailes: Is this the civil law, wherein nothing stands good but violenta passes­sio, and firma ejectio? where souldiers keep Term all the year long, and scarce make a short vacation in the dead depth of winter? whilest thus the con­tinent is drowned with woes, our happy island is dry; the waves rage round about us, but thanks be to God none [Page 45] runne over us; wee are more safe under our vines, then our neighbours in their castles.

Oh let us take heed that wee take not a surfet of our own happinesse, but be heartily thank­full to God, and expresse our thankfullnesse in the reformati­on of our lives. But what go I about to do? this is none of Joshuas day wherein the sun stands still, time will wait at­tendance on none; and I am pri­vy to the undispenceablenesse of your occasions, wherefore the halfe of my text shall be the whole I will add at this time, consult, con­sider, and give sentence.


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