PErlegi Concionem [...]anc, nec quid in eâ uspiam deprehendi, quod Pietati promovendae plurimum non inserviat; proindeque dignam censui, quae Impri­matur.

Edm. Diggle S. T. P. Reverendissimo in Chri­sto Patri, ac Domino, Domino Richardo Ar­chiepiscopo Eboracensi a sacris domesticis.


OR A SERMON Preached in the Parish-Church of St. John the Evangelist, December 6th. being a day of publick fasting.

By Jos. Hunter M. A. and Minister in YORK.

Et quamvis jam animadvertunt hominum genus in terra magis magisque indies ad tunc modum attenuatum, absumptumque, nullo tamen timore horres­cunt; quin neque cum illorum omnium omnine interitus crescat & latiu [...] quotidie [...]an [...]t [...] fundatur, ulla ex par [...]e reformidant.

Euseb. Hist. Eccles. lib. 7. ca. 16.

YORK, Printed by Stephen B [...]lkley, and are to be sold by Francis Mawbarne, 1666.

To the Right Honourable GEORGE MANKLINS Lord Mayor, And to the Worshipful the Aldermen, with the Common [...]lty of the faithful and famous City of York.

I Have been encouraged to ex­pose this Sermon to publick view, by the perswasion of some, that it might at this time conduce to publick good, which if I can pro­mote (though with the hazard of mine own credit) I regard not. The great judgment wherewith God hath scourged our Nation this year, and the little sense which we express of it, would provoke a man (other­wise [Page] not forward) to adventure on the cen­sure of the world, if he had but the least hope to do any good against the sottishness and stupidity of it; which seems to exceed that of the Old World, even so much as the execution of Divine Wrath doth the meer menacing and threatning of it. We used formerly to startle at the report of the Plague, but now we are become so brutish, [...]ob. 39. 22. that we mock at fear and are not affrighted: My desire is (whatever my hopes are) to remove some from off the Lees of this most presumptuous and ill-presaging senceles­ness.

Now after I was perswaded to publish this Sermon, I concluded (if it had any thing of worth in it) it was due to your Lord­ship and Brethren in the first place, an [...] under you to the whole City, from and amongst whom I have a comfortable subsi­stence [Page] with so much respect and affection, as obligeth me more than I think meet here to express. You may read here what a dreadful punishment the Plague is, and consider, if it do not concern you to use your greatest diligence and circumspection to pre­vent a danger and to secure your City, which the Sword hath brought to poverty, and the Plague would quickly bring to beg­gary. When you read what a sore judgment the Plague is, and remember how God hath visited other places with it, this will be powerful to quicken you unto a thankeful acknowledgment of Gods gracious and mi­raculous preservation of this City, so much beyond (not only our deserts) but even our expectations. Having so frequent occasi­ons to speak to you, I forbear to enlarge my self in an Epistle: Blessed be God, the Fa­ther 2 Cor. 1. 3. 10 of mercys and the God of all com­fort, [Page] who hath delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us: so rests

Your Lordships, &c. most affectionate servant and well-wisher JOSIAH HUNTER.
D [...]emb 6th 1665.Numb. 16. 46.‘There is wrath gone out from the Lord, the Plague is begun.’

IN these Words I have formerly observed three Parts: 1. Irae Dei, the wrath of God. 2. Eruptio irae, the breaking forth of this wrath, wrath is gone out. 3. Indicium & effectus utriusque, the token and effect of both, the Plague is begun. Concerning the two first of these, the Wrath of God, and the breaking forth of that Wrath, I have already spoken upon two of these occasions. I come now to the third, The token and effect of both, The Plague is begun.

If you observe the Scripture, you shall finde, that Plague is used for any notable judgement of God; The bloudy Issue is called a Plague, Mark 5. 29. VVe reade of a Plague of Naile, Rev. 16. 21. the judgements which God sent upon Pharaoh for his stubbornnesse, are called Plagues, Exod. 9. 14. VVhen God doth punish a Person, or a People, (especially if it be in a notable manner) then [...] [...]e said to plague them, Gen. 12. 17. The Lord plagued [Page 2] Pharaoh and his House, Exod. 32. 35. The Lord plagued the People; and so in other places: but Plague in the Text is taken for a certain malignant and infectious disease, distinguished by that name from other diseases: every judgment is a plague, but this in the Text is The Plague: as all sin may be said to be ( [...]) Wickedness, but malice is espe­cially in Scrip [...]ure called ( [...]) because it is one of the greatest Wickednesses: so every disease, every punishment may be called a Plague, but there is a pestilent, burning, contagious distemper, unto which the name of Plague is appropriated, because it is one of the greatest punishments incident unto a People: the very first breaking out of it is terrible, it is wont to be so Pestilent and De­s [...]ructiv [...], for so Moses speaks as startled himself, and to stir up Aaron to make the more hast: Go quickly and make an Attonement for them, for there [...] wrath gone out from the Lord, the Plague is be­gun. The Proposition I will give you from hence, is this;

That the Plague is a dreadful judgment, a sign of Gods great wrath.

After I have p oved this, I will answer three Questions, subjoine a Cau [...]ion, and so come to Ap­plication.

That the Plague is a featful judgment, and token of Gods wrath, is easie to demonstrate: when things are more than ordinarily dreadful, it renders the very name dreadful too: the dreadfulness of Damnation makes the very sound of the word terrible: and m [...]thinks the word Plague hath some­thing [Page 3] of horrour in it, and is apt to bege [...] a start­ling and shrinking, in such especially as are natu­rally more inclined to fear: the Scripture never speaks of it, but always one Epithete or other is given to it, as the no [...]e of a dreadful judgment: when Moses sets himself to threaten Israel with curses for their disobedience, he places this in the front, Deut. 28. 21. The Lord shall make the Pesti­lence cleave unto thee, until he [...]ath consumed thee from off the Land: here are two things attributed to the P [...]stilence which render it hugely dreadful, cleaving and consuming: in the Psal. 91. 3. it is called the noisome Pe [...]tilence, it is called one of Gods sore Judgments: Ezek. 14. 21. and ver. 19. it is made a token of Gods bloudy fury, if [...] send a pesti­lence into the Land, and pour out my f [...]ry upon i [...] in Bloud. VVhen our Saviour speaks of those per­plexed and calamitous time [...], that should befall the Jews a little before the destruction of Jerusa­lem, and the world no [...] long before its desolution, he puts in this for one aggravation, Mat. 24. 7. there shall be Famines, and Pestilences, these are the beginnings of sorrows: the description which the Psalmist gives of the Plague, hath much of ter­rour in it, Psal. 78. 49, 50. He cast upon them the fierceness of hi [...] anger, wrath, indignation and trouble, by sending evil Angels among [...]t them: he made a way to his anger, he spared not their Soul from death, but gave their life over to the Pe [...]ilence. I read even of Hypoera [...]es, that he was wont to call the Plague ( [...]) a special Divine judgment, a stroke of Gods own bare hand, as it were: these [Page 4] and such like instances joyned with the experience of all Ages, are enough to prove the Proposition: For the farther explication of it, I will answer these three Questions,

1. Why the Plague [...] so dreadful?

2. What is it that provokes God to inflict it upon [...] people?

3. If it be such a token of Gods wrath, whether it doth befall good men, I mean Believers, and those that are in the state of justification?

1. Why the Plague [...] so dreadful a t [...]ken of Gods wrath?

I answer, 1. Because it is so destructive, you shall seldome (if at all) read of the Pestilence in Scripture, but Consume is joyned with it: we may say of every man infected with it, as David said1 [...]am. 2 [...] ▪ 3. once to Jonathan concerning himself, there is but a step between death and him: in that Family or City where the Plagve is ve [...]ement and raging, we may say of them, as God threatned it should be with the Jews, Deut. 28. 66, 67. Their lives hang in doubt before them, and they fear day and night, and have no assurance of their life: in the morning they say, would to God it was Even, and at even, would God it was morning▪ for the fear of their hearts wherewith they fear, and for the sight of their eyes which they do see. What havocks hath this made in the earth! we may m [...]re truly say of the Plague, than Samson of the jaw bone (wherewith he killed so m [...]ny Phi­listims) 1 Sam. 18. 8▪ Heaps upon Heaps: Judg. 15. 16. after David had sl [...]in Goli [...]h, they sa [...]g in Dances; Saul [...]ath [...]lain h [...] thousands, but David his ten thousands: [Page 5] so it may be said here, other diseases have slain their thousands, but the Plague hath slain its ten thou­sands: it is so destructive, that it is called in the ab­stract, Destruction, Psal. 91. 6. Nor for the Pestilen [...]e that walkesh in darkness, nor for the Destruction that [...]a [...]leth at noon day. What the Apostle affirms of wicked men, may be likewise said of this Pestilen­tial disease, misery and destruction is in its way, Rom. 3. 16. All Histories both Sacred, Ecclesiasti­cal and Prophane tell of the great Desolations that the Plague hath made: we read how it swept away 14000. one time, Numb. 16. 49. another time 24000. Num. 25. 8. another time 70000. 2 Sam. 24. 15. and yet these summs (though questionless thought very great in those times) fall far short of what hath been since. Those that have dyed in London of this present Plague (I fear) amount to more [...], &c. lib. 7, ca. 17. than the three fore▪mentioned summs put together. Eusebius speaking of a great plague in Alexandria, hath words to this effect out of Dionysius▪ Now all things are full of lamentation, all men mo [...]rn, sadness and complaining fills the whole City, partly for those that are dead, and partly for those that are dying daeyly: for it is with us now [...]s it was with the Egyp­tians,Exo [...]. 12. 30. when God slew their first-born, there w [...]s a great [...]ry among them, because not an house, where there w [...]s not one dead. So Evagri [...]s speaks of a plague thatNeque quisque mortalium, q [...] ejus [...]ffugerit contagion [...]m, &c. lib. 3. ca▪ 28 continued two and fifty years; it spread (he saith) over the whole world, nor any mortal man then that did escape the Con [...]agion; and some Cities (he re­ports) it invaded so vehemently, that it left not in Inhabitant i [...] them. The Prophet bemoaning the [Page 6] deplorable estate of Jerusalem (amongst other) hath these words, Lam. 1. 4. The wayes of Zion do mourn, because none come to the solemn Feasts, all her Gates are desolate: her Priests sigh, her Virgins are af­flicted, and she is in bitterness: and it hath been known (not only in other Countries) but also in our own Nation, when there hath been such a mor­rality by the Plague, that the Churches, the Schools, the Markets, the Streets, the High-ways have all mourned, and some of them laid so desolate, that beasts might have grazed where men were wont to trade.

2. That which renders the Plague yet more dreadful, is the suddenness of that Destruction which it makes; the dispatch of the destruction, as I may call it: the suddenness of an evil helps to add much to the terrour of it: this is not hard to prove from Scripture, I will give you but a touch, and then ap­ply them, Prov. 6. 15. His calamity shall come sud­denly, suddenly shall he be broken without remedy: Eccles. 9. 11. The Sons of men are snared in an evil [...]me, when it falleth suddenly upon them: Isa. 29. 18. this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in an high wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant. This is that which God threatens to Babylon, Isa. 47. 11. Evil shall come upon thee, thou shalt not know from whence it riseth; and mischief shall fall upon thee, thou shalt not be able to put it off, and desolation shall come upon thee sud­denly, which thou shalt not know: well, this is of the nature of the plague to slay suddenly, it surprizeth men whilst they are eating and drinking, walking [Page 7] and trafficking, and sends them speedily from a state of health and soundness, to take their portion among them who have laid long silent in the dust. If you observe the Text with what follows, you shall find how quickly the Plague swept away 14000. it is very likely in less than an hour; in the 2 Sam. 24. we read of 70000. that dyed of it in three days: where the plagus comes it doth not only make great, but sudden breaches: how quickly it makes a sad change, not only in a Family, and lesser societies, but even in Cities and greater Cor­porations, insomuch that sometimes places of the greatest concourse, have had cause to bewail them­selves in the language of the Prophet, Lam. 1. 1. How doth the City sit solitarily that was full of peo­ple, how is she become as a widow? to day (it may be you have children rejoycing under the wing of their Parents, taking care for nothing, but even to drive away care; and before to morrow (perhaps) vou shall hear them crying out lamentably (as Elisha when the Prophet Elijah was taken from him) My Father, my Father: to day (perhaps) Parents are2 King. 2. 12. rejoycing in their Children, delighting to behold them stand like Olive-plants round about their table, Psal. 128. 3. promising unto themselves (I know not what) feli­city in their well-doing; and before to morrow (it may be) you shall have them (like Rachel) weeping for their children, and resusing to be comforted, be­cause Jer. 31. 15. they are not. I read of Xerxes, that (having gathered an huge Army) he went upon the top of an hill to view them, and while he was doing this, he fell a weeping, to think that within an Age not [Page 8] one of those men would be left alive: did he weep to think that an [...] men (perhaps not so ma­ny) would be all [...] Age, what cause of mourning have we [...] we consider that the Plague, hath even i [...] our [...] Country, taken away so huge a number, in less than the Revolution of one year? so quick is the dispatch that it makes.

3. That which makes the plague yet more dread­ful, is, because it is so spreading, it is called the pe­stilence that walketh in darkness, Psal. 91. 6. first, it is said to walk, it stands not still, but makes pro­gress, spreads it self▪ And then secondly, it is said to walk in darkness, it diffuseth it self invisibly, it spreads one knows not how. It hath been questioned by some whether the Plague be infectious; yea, by some it bath been strongly denyed: The main ar­guments which they produce, are these three; First, that God hath appointed unto every man, not only to dye, but also at what time, and of what kind of death, and therefore there is no great heed to be gi­ven to the contagiousness of any disease. Their se­cond argument is this, if the Plague be Contagious, how comes it that some men take infection, and o­thers escape it, being both in the same place, and so to outward appearance in the same danger. They urge in the third place, that the Plague comes by the immission of evil Angels, and therefore how can it be infectious? these are the chief Arguments that ever I met with against the Plagues infection, and yet they are so inconsiderabie, that I think it but wast time to answor them. One calls the opi­nion (that the Plague is not infectious) worse than [Page 4] the Plague it self: another calls it a bloudy error, and none maintain it but such as cannot abide to be Gods Prisoners; it is a death [...]o them to be out of company, and they had rather endanger a thousand lives, than want any part of their pleasure or profit.

But experience is enough to contradict this opini­on; unto which we may add that concerning the Le­per, who was to be shut up and none to accompany with him, which shews that there was some Contagion in the Leprosie: and yet the Leprosie is nothing so dead­ly as the Plague, for some have lived having the Le­prosie many years, but such an instance cannot be given of the Plague. Evagrius (speaking of the great Plague at Antioch, and the manner of its spreading) s [...]ith▪ that some got it by living and conversing together: others got it by only touching them that were infected, or entring into the house: some received it in the Streets, and many that fled out of Cities which were infected (though they remained sound themselves) yet they im­parted the disease to those, that before were free & helth­ful. But I leave the proving of the Plagues infection to the Physitian; he will tell you that living birds laid to the feet of one infected will quickly dye; he will tell you, how it may be diffused by Garments, by bre [...]thing, and many such like: this cannot be denied, but that it is spreading, and so spreading, that where it once breaks forth, a man cannot be too careful, because he can never be too secure, if secure enough. For to say that the Plague b [...]falls none but such as want faith to rely upon and trust in the Providence of God▪ is a [...] error more bloudy than to say, that it is not infe­ [...]ious.

4. And lastly, that which renders the Plague yet [Page 10] more dreadful is the uncomfortableness of it: is it not a sad thing, when a mans house becomes his prison? next to our lives we value our liberty, and yet this the Plague deprives a man of: I might be large here, but I will confine my self within these three heads: First, the liberty of Gods house, how precious is that! How amiable are thy Tabernaeles, O Lord (saith David)Psal. 84. [...]. he envied even the birds that might fi [...] and sing neer the Sanctuary, when he was banished from it: and in Psal. 42. As the Hart panteth after the water­brooks, so panteth my Soul after thee, O God: my Soul thirste [...]h for God, for the living God, when shall I come and appear before God? and he professeth ver. 4. how he poured out his Soul in him, when he remembred, how he had gone with the multitude to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise; but this liberty is a man debar­ed from by the plague; though the doors of the San­ctuary are open, yet his own doors are shut up: he cannot be admitted to hear the voice of those that bring glad tydings of peace: he cannot be admitted any longer to come and participate of those comfortable representations of Christ's Body and Blood: he can­not be allowed any longer to come and joyn with the Congregation in lifting up a Prayer to Heaven. I read that the Protestants in France had a Church (though [...]l [...]d. now demolished) which they called Paradise; it is very likely, they thought the Church the only Paradise on earth: in this Paradise I would compare the preach­ing of the Word, to the Tree of knowledge of Good and Evil; and the Sacrament of the Lords S [...]pper to the Tree of Life; but where the Plague is, a man is exclu­ded from this Paradise, he hath not the liberty to tast of the fruit of it, this is one great discomfort.

[Page 11] 2. The liberty of Friends, that is comfortable▪ next to communion with God, communion with friends is deemed the greatest happiness on earth. Py­thag [...]ra [...] hath a dark Riddle (cor [...]e edit [...]) eat not thy heart: my Lord Bacon sets this gloss upon it, he that lacks friends to converse with, and lay open his grief to, must needs be a Cannibal and eat his own hea [...]t: well, this liberty likewise doth the Plague deprive a man of; it was Davids Complaint, Psal. 38. 11. My Lovers and my Friends stand aloof from my sore, and my Kinsmen stand afar off: Thus it is with a man whom God hath visited, his Lovers and Friends stand afar of, they dare not come neer him in point of security to themselves, they dare not in point of conscience, lest they might disperse the Contagion among others; those are sad expressi­ons in Psal. 88. 18. Lover and Friend hast thou put far from me: and in Psal. 102. 6, 7. I am like a pelicon in the Wilderness, I am like an Owle of the De­sart, I watch and am as a Sparrow alone: yet these are the true complaints of such as are shut up under the Plague.

3. The liberty of Commerce is very necessary: here­by it is that men get a subsistence and livelihood forR [...]m. 82. 17. their Families, without this they cannot provide things honest in the sight of all men: but this Liber­ty likewise the Plague debars a man from, none dare Traffick with him, and this helps to add yet more to his discomfort: for the Merchant will tell you, that upon the ceasing of Trade, there is not only (l [...]rum cesfans) gain ceasing, but there is likewise (damn [...] emergens) loss arising, because now a man is forced to take from his stock for necessary uses, so that grant [Page 12] a man do escape with his life that is visited with the Plague; I say, suppose he hath his life for a prey, what can he do without a livelihood? and towards the procuring of this he is much disabled by the Plague.

So much in answer to the first Question, Why the Plague [...] so dreadful a judgment? 1. Because it is so destructive. 2. Because the destruction, which it make [...], is so quick and sudden. 3. Because it is so spreading. And lastly, because it is so uncomfortable, for hereby a man i [...] deprived of the liberty of Gods house, the liber­ty of Friends, the liberty of Commerce.

The second question is, what is it that provokes God to inflict this dreadful judgment of the Plague upon a people?

This is somewhat harder to determine; what I purpose to say concerning it, take in these three Con­clusions,

1. For certain, God hath just cause given him, be­fore he do thus manifest his displeasure, many of his wayes are unsearchable, but none are unrighteous; he can as soon cease to be, as to be just: if therefore at any time we cannot discerne what should be the cause, let us charge our selves with ignorance, but take heed of charging God with injustice: after God had threat­ned the Jews with the Sword, the Famine, the noisome­beast, and the Pestilence in Ezek. 14. he adds ver. 23. Ye shal know, that I have not done without cause all that I have done in it saith the Lord: and he expresseth himself yet more offended with them for standing upon their justi­fication, Jer. 2. 35. Thou sayest, because I am innocent, surely his anger shall turne from me; behold, I will plead with thee▪ because thou sayest, I have not sinned.

[Page 13] 2. This we may likewise safely affirm in the gene­ral, that sin is the meritorious cause (as of all other judgments) so likewise this of the Plague: The wrath of God i [...] revealed from Heaven (saith the Apostle) against what? all [...]nrighteousness and ungodliness of man, Rom, 1. 18. and it is the observation of a good man, that as vapours ascend invisibly, but come down again in storms and showers, which we both see and feel; so sometimes secret sins are the procuring cause of open and notorio [...] punishments: this of the Plague is threatned unto Disobedience, Deut. 18.

3. What sins in particular may be the provoking cause of the Plague now, or any other time, is not so easy to conclude. I think the safest way is one of these three,

1. Either to attribute judgments that are general, unto sins that are most general: and what sin hath been of late years and is still most reigning in this Nation, would require one better acquainted with the manners of it than I am: whether Atheisme, or Dissention, or a mutinous inclination against all Authority, or viola­tion of Oaths, or what else I will not say, but whether these or others are the National sins at present, they are hugely aggravated, because God hath not honou­red any Nation with more mercy and means of Grace than ours; and therefore we could expect no other, than that he should deal with us, as he threatned he would do with his peculiar People, Amos 2. 2. You on­ly have I known of all the Families of the earth, there­fore I will punish you for your iniquities. Or,

2. If we know of any notorious National sin (though committed several years since) not yet so [Page 14] universally acknowledged and repented of, we may think that is a great provocation [...]nto God to scourge us with the Plagu [...]: for this we have that famous instance of Saul's breaking Covenant with, and s [...]aying the Gibeo­nites, for which God punished the Land in the time of King David) with three years Fami [...]e, and would not be appeased, till several of Saul's Sons were pu [...] to death, 2. Sam. 23.

3. This is likewise a safe course, to observe out of the Records of Sacred Writ, for what sins God hath heretofore sent the Plague; and look how far we are guilty of them, so far may we attribute our visitati [...]n to them: now in searching the Scripture, I find that for six, yea for seven transgressions God hath either threat­ned or sent the Plague. I will but name them, and leave them to your consideration.

1. Despising of plenty, and immoderate lusting after dainties, so we read how the Israelites despised Manna (whereof they had abundance) and called it light bread, but they lusted exceedingly after Quails, for which God smote them with a very great Plague, Numb. 11. 33, 34.

2. We read how they that brought up an evil report upon the Land of promise, to the discouragement of the people, and the dishono [...]r of God, dyed of the Plague, Numb. 14. 37.

3. Seditious insurrections against Authority, have drawn down the Plague: this was the cause of that Plague in the Text.

4. Creature▪ confidence, boasting of or trusting in an Arm of flesh; this is generally thought to be the cause of that Plague in the 2 Sam. 24.

[Page 15] 5. Idolatry, for this God wa [...] so incensed, that he [...]lew of the people at once 24000. with the Plague, Numb, 25.

6. Detaining and withholding from God his due, un­to this he threatens the Plague Exod. 30. 12. When thou takest the summ of the Children of Israel, they shall give every man a Ransome for his Soul unto the Lord, that there be no plague among them.

Lastly, to all these, I may add the contempt and abuse of the Lords Supper: for when Saint Paul faith, that many of the Corinthians were [...]ck and weak, and ma­ny dy [...]d, 1 Cor. 11. 30. it is not improbable, that God sent amongst them some pestilential and contagious dis­ease. I have done with the second question, What it is that provokes God to inflict this dreadful punishment of the Plague upon a people? I hasten to the third.

The plague being such a token of Gods wrath, whether doth it befall good men, believers, such as are in the state of justification? for our satisfaction in this, we may have recourse to that of Solomon, Eccles. 9. 1. 2. No man knoweth either love or hatred by all that [...] before them, all things come alike to all, there is one event to the righteous and to the wicked, to the clean, and to the un­clean, to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth1. Kings▪ 22. 2. Chro▪ 35. not, as is the good so is the sinner, and be that sweareth as he that feareth an Oath. Ahab and Josiah's death concurred in the very circumstances: and Saul and 2. Sam. 1▪ 23. Jonathan (though different in their deportments) yet in their deaths they were not divided. Here we shall do well to consider three things,

1. That good men are subject to, and guilty of ma­ny sins and enormities, and their sins admit of those [Page 16] aggravations which the sins of other men do not; and therefore why should we think that they should be priviledged from those temporal punishments, which God is went to inflict for such sins.

2. Consider, that good men, even by their sins do help to draw down a judgment and common calamityJer. 5. 4. upon a Nation; indeed God takes most notice of their sins: concerning the common sort of prophans persons he saith, These are foolish, they have not known the way of the Lord, nor the judgment of their God; but when his own People in Covenant with him, when these shall break the bands, then he bursts out, How shall I pardon thee for this ▪ now if good men by their sins be instrumental in drawing down a Pest upon a Na­tion, why should they expect any other but to be in­volved in it?

3. Consider this, as you cannot tell me any sin (be it never so gross) into which a Believer may not fall, except it be the sin against the Holy-Ghost▪ so you cannot assigne any judgment (be it never so great) whereunto a Believer is not obnoxious, unless it be Everlasting damnation. There is no condemnation in­deedRom. [...].▪ 1 to those that are in Christ Jesus, but for temporal Math. 16. 24. calamities they are so incident to good men, that theActs 14. 21. Scripture seems to make them their Portion, and it may be truly said of Gods Servants (as Augustus said once, when he sat between Virgil and Horace, whereof the one was bleer-eyed, and the other much given to sighing) they sit (inter suspiria & lachrymas) between sighing and weeping: I am plagued all the day long and chastened every morning, saith David, Psal. 73. 14. That is a pretty saying of Clemens Alexandrinus [Page 17] [...] He that is neer to God is al­ways under the [...]sb.

It is a ▪Pestilent Doctrine therefore to a [...]irm, that none who believe in God, and love him sincerely, can dye of the Plague: it is very t [...]u [...], the dying of the pl gu [...] shall be no more prejudicial to them, in respect of their salvation, than the dying of any other d [...]th; All things (and therefore the Plague) work together for Rom. 8. 28. good to them that love God: but the sentence of j [...]s [...]i­fication, Gods acceptation of them into favour, gives not Believers an immunity from any disease, but their persons are still subj [...]ct unto those diseases which the nature is: and it is very soundly observed by one Mr. [...]mford (who writ a little T [...]e [...]ise the la [...] great Plague, but this, at London) that God by suffering good men to dye of the Plague, glorifies both his justice and his wisd [...]me; his justice among the wicked, in giving them cause to say, If God spare not the green tree, what shall be done to the dry? his wisdome among the godly, lest they should say, for our own Righteousness [...]e are Luk. 23. 31▪ Dan. 9. 4. delivered. Thus I have answered the three Questions, Why the Plague is so dreadful a judgment? what it is that provokes God to send it? Whether it be incident to good me [...]? I have now only a Cau [...]ion to subjoyn, and then I shall come to Application.

The Cauti [...] is this, though the plague be a dreadful judgment, yet the Scripture speaks of another plague, which is far wor [...]e: and yet whilest we do what we can to [...]lie the le [...]er plague, we do what we can to pur­sue the greater: but what Plague i that? Solomon will tell you, 1 King. 8. 38. The plague of the heart: sin in general is the pl [...]gue of the heart; every mans own Rss▪ [Page 18] iniquity, his peccatum in delici [...], his darling lust, that is, the particular plague of h [...] own heart: now this plague of the heart is worse than the other plague in several respects. I will name them, t [...]ough I cannot insist on them.

1. As in good things the cause is be [...]t [...]r, so in evil things the cause is worse than the effect; bu the plague of the heart is the cause of the other plague: sin brought in misery at first, and m [...]sery hath ever since pursued sin.

2. We are more sensible of the pl [...]gue of the body, than that of the heart, and therefore the plague of the heart is more d [...]ngerou [...]: the first st [...]p to [...]ealth is to have a feeling of our disease, therefore there is less hope of c [...]re, where there is less feeling of the Di­stemper.

3. Nature doth not only feel the Plague of the bo­dy, but is may by Gods blessing upon means, be of force to work out the malignity of it, that it shall not prove mortal▪ for else none that have the plague should escape death, b [...] by a miracle: but corrupt nature (as it is not sensible of the Plague of the heart) so neither hath it power to work it cut: if the great Physitian of Souls cure i [...] not, it is not all t [...]e strength of Nature, the art of man▪ the power of Medicines that can avail any thing, but the soul is inf [...]cted and will be de­stroyed.

4. Though the plague of the body be infectious, yet Prov. 18. 14. the plague of the heart add [...] ven [...]e and malignity to it: The spirit of a man will hear his infirmity, but a wounded spirit who can hear? sin em [...]itters and poysons any affli­ction: the sting of every p [...]nal evil is sin, this is [Page 19] the plague of the plague: an affliction consists not in the bulk of it, but the burthen; what is a Serpent with­out a sting, or a great bulk if it hath no weight? where the plague of the heart is cured, the other plague is more easily born [...]: though the cross continue, yet the curs [...] is taken away.

5. The plague of the heart is worse than the other plague, because it sei [...]eth upon, and infects the better part of man, his Soul; that which is more worth than a world, and could be Redeemed by no less thanMat. 16. 2 [...] ▪ 1 Pet. 1▪ 1 [...]. the precious blood of Christ: look how much better the Soul is than the Body, by so much worse is the plague of the heart, than that of the body.

Lastly, as Christ said concerning men, so may I say concerning the plague, the utmos [...] it can do, is but to kill the body, and that for a time; but the Plague of the Luk. 12. 4▪ hears will destroy both body and Soul everlastingly: that death which consists only in a separation of the Soul from the Body, is nothing so terrible as that which consists in an everlasting separation of the Soul from God. But some men will never be convinced what a plague the Plague of the heart is, till they come to feel the plagues of the damned, then they shall wish for Rev. 9. 6. death, but it shall flee from them. I come now to Ap­plication.

1. If the plague be such a token of Gods wrath, what cause have we of this Nation to think that God i [...] wroth and displeased with us, since he hath visited us with such a Plague, as cannot be parallelled since the Sweating sickness, and that in such a juncture of time, when it could not have been more prejudicial to the affairs of the Nation: it is hard to say, whether we [Page 20] have more cause to tremble at Gods judgment in this plague, or to admire at his goodness in the abat [...]ment of it, when it once threatned the whole Nation, as though the Lord had purposed to make a full end,Nahu. 1. 9. that affliction should not rise up the second time.

Now mark what the Prophet saith, The Lion hath roared, who will not fear▪ Amos 3. 8. when Gods handIs. 26▪ 9▪ 10, 11 is lifted up, he expects that we should see it, and ex­press a sense of it: the People of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a Fast, and put on sackcloath, Jon. 3. 5. and did we verily believe, that God is wroth with us, we should busy and bestir our selves towards the appe [...]sing of it: This day would be observed with more solemnity, our Prayers sent up to Heaven with more devotion, the Word listen'd unto with more at­tention, Alm [...] given with more freeness and abundance.

All tokens and testimonies of Humiliation are little enough, when God shews such tokens of his wrath as the plague is: this is not a time to addict our selves to pride, or d [...]lliance, or luxury. The Romans punished one severely, that in a time of common calamity was seen looking out at a window with a Crown of Roses on his head. God delights to see a People shew themselves affected with his displeasure: m [...]rk what he said once to the Isr [...]elites after they had made the Golden Calf, Exod. [...]3. 5. I will come into the [...]ast of thee in a moment and consume thee (it is not an absolu [...]e determination but a conditional co [...]ina [...]ion) therefore now put off thy Ornaments from thee, that I may know what to do u [...]to the [...]: that is, humble thy self, give some testi­mony of the awe [...]hat thou stande [...] in of my Wrath, of thy sorrow for the sin that hath incensed it, tha [...] [Page 21] though I be highly provoked, yet I may be [...]ved to have pity on, and shew some favour to the [...].

2. If the Plague be so dreadful a judgment, what cause have we of this City to bless God for our preser­vation from it? especially considering how many dan­gers we have been exposed to, some through the necessi­ty of State, others through our own improvidence, and some through the corrupt and covert dealings of Passen­gers and Traders: to be preserved from danger is a mer­cy at any time, but especially then, when we see others overtaken, and our selves encompossed with it: What may we attribute this our preservation to? shall we impute it to our own diligence and care? no certainly, for if our watchfulness had been ten times more, yet we read in Psal. 127. 1. Except the Lord keep the City, the Watchm [...]n [...]aketh but in vain: shall we ascribe it to any merit or desert of ours? nay, that would be far worse, as Job saith, Job 9. 20. Our own mouths would condemne us and prove us perverse. I would it might not be said of us, as it was once of Ahaz, that in this 2 Chr. 28. 2 [...] time of distress we have trespassed yet more and more: sure it is, vice and profaneness are grown to that height of impudence, as hath not been known in former years:Eph. 5. 3. those vices, which heretofore were scarce once named amongst us, are become common: what said God once concerning Judah, Jer. [...]. 8. When she saw that God had given back sliding Israel a [...]ill of Divorce, and put her away for her adul [...]eries, yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the Harlot also: it is easie to apply it here, though we saw what God had do [...] to London, [...]et we have not feared, but gone on to corrupt our sel [...]es and do so wickedly, as if we intended [Page 22] to justific them, or as if we thought, that the sins of the Nation could not be soon enough filled up, unless we added more measure to them. Our preservation therefore can be attributed [...]o nothing, but the merciful and gratio [...] protection of Almighty God; And there­fore let us magnify the Lord, and let us exalt his name to­gether:Psal. [...]4. [...], 2▪ 3, 4. let us bless him at all times, and let [...]i [...] praise be continually in our months: for he i [...] [...] that hath held our souls in life, and not suffered our feet to be moved: hePsal. 66. 9. hath hitherto delivered us from all our fears, and put a new song into our month, eve [...] praise unto our God. OnlyPsal. 40. 3. let us fear the Lord and serve him in truth and with all1 [...]a [...]. 12. [...]4. our hearts, for consider how great things he hath done for us, but if we shall still do wickedly, sin lies at the door,Ge [...]. 4. 7. Num. 32. 23. and judgment will find us out.

3. And lastly, if the Plague be so dreadful a judg­ment, then it calls upon us loudly to pity those, whom God hath been pleased to exercise with so heavy a vi­sitation: think that you hear the great City of the Land thus bewailing her misery, and begging your commisera­tion, as the City Jerusalem once; I am the man that hath seen affliction by the rod of his wrath, surely against me is [...] turned, he turneth his hand against me all the day, be hath bent his [...]w and set me as a mark for the ar­row:Lament. 3. I envy not your immunity, only desire you to commi­serate my Calamity: Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends, for the hand of God hath touched me, Job 19. 21. We have no hasty and fearful fleeing out of our City, whole families made desolate, miserere d [...]u [...] upon our doors, we hear not that doleful voice, bring out your dead.

Eusebins faith, that in the Plague at Alexandria [Page 23] the Christians were as careful of one another, visited those that were infected, provided for them, conver­ted with them, buryed them as at other times; but the Heathen regarded not their Neighbours and friends, but fled from them, suffered them to starve, and afterwards to lye unburied. I acknowledge there is much difference between the spirits of Christians now, from what was in those Ages, for then they were willing upon all occasions to hazard, yea to lay [...] Joh. 3. 16. down their lives for the Brethren. I blame not the Christians at Alexandria for what they did, because I know not what Heroick principle they might have to induce them to it: perhaps they did it for to set a pattern and example to the Heathen, among whom they lived; to let them see, that they were not afraid of death, and that their love to each other was so great, that nothing could separate them. But it is not safe to tempt God and run our selves upon hazards,Mat. 4. 7. where we have no warrant▪ we cannot, we may not in a time of infection converse so freely with, and do those offices to the infected, as we would at another time: yet it behoves us however to do all we can safely: there is no danger sure in pitying them, in praying for them, in contributing toward their necessities: these we may safely do, we cannot salvâ conscientiâ omit them.

And now that I have mentioned Contribution, I can­not, but I must tell you, that there is no reality in our commiseration without it. St. James declares against such, as say to one that is in wan [...], Be ye filled, and be ye warmed, but give them not those things that are need­ful for the body▪ J [...] 2. 16. St▪ John is yet sharper, 1 John 3. 17. whoso hath this worlds goods, and seeth his [Page 24] Brother have need, and [...]h [...]tt [...]th up his bowels of com­passion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? Giving of Alms is one of the man ingredients into an acceptable Fast. The Fast that God hath chosen is [...]o deal our bread to the hungry, [...]loath the naked, and not to hide our selves from our own flesh, Isa. 58. [...], 7. we cannot [...]ell, whether it may please God to visit us; but if he should, happy that man then who hath not been defective in his duty to the infected, whose bowels have melted and turned within him for their Calamity, whose Prayers have been dayly poured ou [...] for their re­dre [...], P [...]l. 50. 23. whose hands have been stretched out wide, and without grudging for their Relief, and lastly whose conversation hath been ordered aright, that they and the whole Land might see the salvation of God.


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