Guil. Jane. R. P. D. Hen. Epis. Lond. à Sacris Dom.

A SERMON AT THE FUNERAL OF Sr EDMVND-BVRY GODFREY, One of His Majesties Justices of the Peace, Who was Barbarously Murthered.

Preached on Thursday the last day of October 1678. In the Parish Church of St. MARTIN in the Fields.

By William Lloyd D. D. Dean of Bangor, One of His Majesties Chaplains in Ordinary. Vicar of the said Parish of St. Martin.

LONDON, Printed by Tho. Newcomb, for Henry Brome at the Gun, at the West-end of St. Pauls. MDCLXXVIII.

A Funeral Sermon, ON

2 SAM. iii. 33, 34.

33. And the King lamented over Abner, and said, Died Abner as a fool dieth?

34. Thy hands were not bound, nor thy feet put into fetters: as a man falleth before wicked men, so fellest thou. And all the people wept again over him.

IF I could at any time allow my self to transgress the rules of this place, to Preach without a Text, it should be now, having this subject before me. Here's a subject that makes it's own Sermon and its own Prayer.Heb. xi. 4. The Blood of Abel speaks, saith the A­postle. This Innocent Blood speaks and cries [Page 2] in the Ears of God, (the All-knowing God that hears matter without words;) it speaks and cries aloud to him for Vengeance: How long, O Lord, Rev. vi. 10. holy and true, dost thou not judge and a­venge?

It speaks to you, to your eyes, and to your hearts, many sad and astonishing things. I judge of others by my self; I do not hear, but I feel what this speaks to me: It speaks in such Language as this,

Oh my Friends! I spent my life in serving you. It was my business to do Justice and shew Mercy. See what I had for it, Insnared and Butcher'd by wicked Men against Justice and without Mercy. How many things did I endure e're they brought me to this? How ma­ny Lies were you told the mean while, to hide it from you? How many deaths have I suffer­ed before Death came to relieve me? And if that would have satisfied them, if they would but have Buried me, you should have heard none of all this. But their Malice went far­ther; My poor mangled macerated Body must be thrown out to Birds and Beasts, and my Name to the obloquy of worse men. Then it was time for me to speak for my self, and God brought a number of you to hear me: [Page 3] then I said, see, see, O my Friends, how they have used me! Behold the Spectacle they have given you.

I saw it among the rest: It was a most dismal fight, such as that which we read of. Iudg. xix. 30. It was so, that all that saw it, said, There was no such deed done nor seen from the time that we first came to be a Nation, till this day.

'Tis possible I might find something like it a­mong other Nations; but I shall confine my self to what we find among the people of God. And of all that God delivers to us in Scripture, among them, I think there is no example like that of the Murther of Abner, which occasioned those words which I have chosen for my Text. And because I do not intend to dwell upon that, I shall shew you (but briefly) these three particulars in it,

First, the Person; secondly, his Sufferings; and thirdly, the Consequences of it.

First, the Person; that was Abner, an emi­nent man, both in dignity, and also in useful­ness among his people.

Secondly, His Sufferings; a bloody violent death. And herein I have three things to con­sider.

First, the kind of Fact: He died, he fell by [Page 4] wicked men: He was Murthered by Ioab and Abishai.

Secondly, the manner of it; Perfidiously and cruelly, with shew of the greatest Friend­ship they inhumanly killed him.

Thirdly, the Authors of it; Such as can pre­tend Friendship to destroy; such no doubt are wicked men, the most dangerous sort of wick­ed men. By such a Wise man may be caught, and die like a Fool; a mighty man may be de­prived of the use of his hands; a wary man may be deprived of the use of his feet: There is no fighting with such, nor no running away from such an Enemy.

This David exprest in his Lamentation, which moved the People to theirs, and that was the consequence of it, which comes last to be considered.

I shall repeat you my Text, that you may see how all these parts lie together.

The King Lamented over ABNER, and said, Died Abner as a Fool dieth? Could he make no shift for himself? Why couldst thou not fight? Thy hands were not bound. nor thy feet put in Fetters, why couldst thou not run away? The reason is plain, thou couldst do nothing to help thy self. Thou wert caught in a trap. As a man falleth be­fore [Page 5] wicked men, so fellest thou. This the King having said, all the People, who wept before, now wept again over Abner.

For the Person here spoken of; He was a1 Sam. xiv. 50. Prince of the Blood,Iosepho [...] Cousin German to King Saul, and General of his Armies all his Reign. He was an excellent person (asIos. Ant. Iud. lib. 7. c. 1. Iosephus describes him) for Counsel, & Courage, and Diligence, & Experience in affairs. There is ground to believe this from Scripture, which makes him after Saul's Death, to have been the only support of his Son and Successor Ishbosheth. 'Tis said 2 Sam. 2. 8, 9. That Abner took Ishbo­sheth, and made him King over all Israel. He might, in all probability, considering the o­thers weakness, as easily have made himself King if he pleased. But he was true to his Rela­tion and his Trust. In this Chapter, at the sixth verse, He set himself with all his might for the House of Saul.

Amidst his cares and concerns for the State, he was not forgetful of the Church, as appears by his Dedications, 1 Chron. xxvi. 28.

I find nothing that can any way blemish his Memory, unless it was something contained in this Chapter; where it is said, that he was charged by Ishbosheth, with dishonouring the [Page 6] Bed of his late Master, ver. 7. He asketh him, Wherefore hast thou gone in unto my Fathers Concu­bines? Ioseph. Ib. Iosephus believeth the information was not true; and it seems not so likely of one of his age, being then above sixty years old when the King charged him with it.

The more cause he had to lay this to heart. it made that great man think his Service misplaced, and that God was not pleased with what he did for Sauls Family, in opposition to David, 2 Sam. iii. 9, 10. who had a better title to the Crown. He knew that the Government was not yet made Hereditary, but that it was conferred immediately by God, who had decreed that he would take away Saul and set up David in his stead. And reflecting upon this, Abner swore he would now make amends for his Er­ror, he would bring over the Kingdom to David.

This Ishbosheth heard;2 Sam. iil. 11. and durst not gain-say, nay, it seems he consented to it, by what fol­loweth: For when Abner sent to David for Terms, and he required this preliminary point, that his Wife Michal should be sent home to him;Verse 13, 14, 15. we read that Ishbosheth used his Authority in the matter: He sent for his Sister Michal, and delivered her to Abner, to take her with [Page 7] him when he went to perfect his agreement with David.

This being supposed, that he had Ishbosheths consent, I do not see what can be blamed in the conduct of Abner; I see much to be com­mended in him, especially considering the greatness of his Birth, and how near he was to the Crown, and in what probability he stood for it; that notwithstanding all these temptati­ons, he still adhered to just and right, he kept his Loyalty to his Prince, he did all possible Service to his Country.

He was about the greatest work, to secure both the peace and the Religion of God's people, in uniting them under the govern­ment of David; when unexpectedly he was taken off by Death, which is the second thing I am to consider.

His Death was Untimely, and Bloody, and Treacherous.

First, Untimely; for he was then in the midst of his Business. He had been at Hebron with David. 2 Sam. iii. 20, 21. He had made his terms with him; such as would have united all Israel without a stroke; such as would have saved Ishbosheth's life, as appears by what follows, 2 Sam. iv. 1. (which confirms me in what I [Page 8] said, that he had his consent along with him; For there it is said) When Saul's Son heard that Abner was dead, his hands were feeble, and all the Israelites were troubled. Then, and not before, the reins of Government fell out of his hands. He could hold them no longer, when his friend Abner was dead, both his and all Israel's hopes, depended upon Abner's safe return.

And he was so far towards it. He was then upon the way, when he was fetched back to Hebron by a Messenger in David's name. So Iosephus understands those words in the 26th verse,Ioseph. Ib. But David knew not of it; It was in David's name, but he knew it not.

And when Abner was come back,2 Sam. 3. 27. even at the Gate of the Royal City, he was met and received by some friends whom he did not suspect. They had him apart from his com­pany, they brought him into a lone place, [...] saith Iosephus, Ioseph. Ib. to tell him some­thing which the King had forgot. And there he soon had his Message; it was a Stab, that put an end to his life.

The Authors of this fact were as soon known as the fact it self. They were Ioab and A­bishai, the Sons of Zerviah; men that had a [Page 9] pretence to do this,2 Sam. iii. 27, 30. in revenge of their Bro­ther whom Abner had slain some years since in defence of his own life. Revenge was an ill reason; but the Scripture mentions that, as the only one they had to give. The true reason was (saith the Jewish Historian, who is herein followed by most Christians,Ioseph. Ib.) be­cause they feared that among Abner's Terms, this was one, to keep his place, to be Gene­ral of the Armies of Israel. That interfered with the Ambition of these men, who were resolved to have all the power to themselves, to admit of no sharer. They would scarce take in the King himself; Even He complain­ed, they were too hard for him, in the last verse of this Chapter. I am weak this day, though anointed King, and these men the Sons of Zerviah are too hard for me. It appeared they were so, by this, that he durst not call them to account for it.

But he did all that he could. He disclaim­ed,2 Sam. iii. 28▪ &c. he detested the wicked fact; He curst the Authors of it most bitterly. He exposed them to the people; requiring them all to mourn for Abner, and to shew all possible signs of it, by renting their clothes; and putting on Sackcloth, which the people did most wil­lingly, [Page 10] and Ioab durst not but do it among the rest. In this mournful array they attend­ed him to his grave. The King followed him weeping, and all the people wept with him, saith the Text.

When they had buried him, the King pro­nounced the [...], the funeral Song, for so the word [...] signifies, which being in Ioab's and Abishai's presence, it was a fresh mortification to them, as well as a just honour to Abner. The King lamented over ABNER, saying, &c.

I intended all this but to shew you in Scripture a Record which God hath gi­ven us of his peoples behaviour in such a case as we have before us. Such as that in divers respects, though very different in many other. And yet whereinsoever they differ, if their case exceed our's in some respects, it is exceeded by our's in so many more, as may sufficiently justifie us, and oblige us to the like Lamentation.

Only bating this one Circumstance, Ab­ner's high birth and quality, being a Prince of the blood, and so nearly allied to King David; (which, together with some other public considerations, might well oblige Da­vid [Page 11] himself to be present at his Funeral. This we have no reason to expect of our King, who hath done in other respects more than David could or durst do for Abner. But wa­ving this,) we have all other Considerati­ons, some greater than what God's people had in my Text, to weep and weep again, in our private and in our public Lamenta­tions.

First, the Person, and his Personal Accom­plishments, were such, as, though I would not compare them with Abners; yet I would not lessen him by declining the Comparison. They were very considerable in his rank. He was a great blessing to this place, and will be so understood, as all God's Blessings are, by the loss of them.

But secondly, for the Kind of our loss, for the things that he indured, for the manner in which he was brought to it, for the Treachery and Barbarity of it; These things are so far above all that were in Abner's case, that we cannot admit them into the comparison.

Thirdly, For the Authors of Abner's Mur­ther, they were known, by this, and one more, that of Amasai whom they killed in [Page 12] like manner. But for our's, they are un­known. We are yet to inquire for them, and we have reason to fear we may find them too late, and yet too soon.

Lastly, For the Consequences, I shall shew you how the King hath lamented it; and how, besides all that we have done, we are yet to do it so as to make the best of our loss; To sow in Tears that we may reap in Joy. That is the End and Benefit of our Lamentation.

First of the Person, I must crave leave to say so much as may justifie the public sorrow upon the account of an Extraordinary loss. And being my self particularly concerned in it, I may be allowed to speak with the more free­dom. 'Tis all the way I have to shew my Gra­titude for the many good offices that I among many others received from him, while he was living. And what I am to say, I have so well considered, that I do not fear to be suspected of Flattery by any that knew him so well as most of you did in this place.

As to those things which belong to a private Christian, I ought to know him better than most others; and I did know that by him which gives me abundant comfort in his Death. I knew him to be a Just and Charitable man, a Devout, a [Page 13] Zealous and Conscientious Christian. His Re­ligion was more for use than for shew. And yet he was constant in all the acts of Gods Worship. He loved the Communion of the Church, as well out of Judgment as Affection. And though the compassion that he had for all men that did amiss, extended it self to allmanner of Dissen­ters; and among them he had a kindness for the Persons of many Roman-Catholicks: Yet he al­ways declared a particular Hatred and Detesta­tion of Popery. I say this on purpose to be re­membred, (because some would have him a Papist, or inclined that way,) I never pleased him with any duty I performed, at least he never thanked me for any, so much, as he did for those Sermons which I preacht here against Popery.

But these things are less considerable in our loss, we are more concerned for what he was in his Publick capacity. And for that he seem'd made and fitted up with more than ordinary care: God seemed to have singled him forth, and designed him to be the Useful man that he was in this place.

He was composed for it, both by Nature, and Education, & Choice, & Study, & Practice: I know not what could be added to make him fitter than he was.

[Page 14] He was (as it were) Born to be a Justice of Peace; his Grand-father, his Father, his elder Brother were so before him. The two last were also Members of Parliament. His great Grand-father was a Captain, which was con­siderable in those days.

His Education was sutable to his Birth; be­ing brought up at Westminster School, from whence he was sent to the University, thence to Travel in forein parts; then he came to live in the Inns of Court, where wanting health, he retired for a time into the Countrey: And now all our hopes of him might seem to have been defeated at once. But that God, who by his Providence, designed him for this place, brought him back with an intimate Friend and Relation; who having suffered much for the late King, whose Servant he was, turned what he had left into Money, and to make the most of that, employed it in a Wood-yard in this Parish.

Our Friend could have no great Estate, be­ing the tenth Son of his Father, who had four Sons younger than he was: and his Father was a younger Son of his Grand-father: So that though his Father had a plentiful Estate, and his Grand-father one of the fairest in his Coun­try, [Page 15] yet but a small portion of these could fall to his share.

But what he had, he laid it out as Partner with his Friend, and so improved it, till he had wherewith to live like himself. And then, he that was never bred to a Trade, needed not be perswaded to ease himself of it. He found o­ther business more equal to his Soul: Which having practised at first, with his other em­ploiment, afterwards he withdrew from all other business to this. He dedicated himself wholly to it; made his Country his Family, this Parish his Wife and Children; attended wholly to their good; to keep up Law, and Justice, and Safety, and Liberty; to save others from violence and wrong, to reduce them from disorder and idleness.

He was perhaps the Man of our Age, that did the most good in that Station: I should not doubt of it, having so great an Author. He that ought to know best, hath often said, Sir Edmund Godfrey he took to be the best Iustice of Peace in this Kingdom.

He knew what he had reason to expect would come of this, the emulation even of good Men, for they are but men. And he shew­ed his own infirmity in this, that sometimes he [Page 16] was troubled at it. But for others, he despised whatsoever they thought or said. He knew be­fore hand the price of doing his duty, how ma­ny ill men he must displease, what Scoffs and Censures he must indure, what hazards he must run. And this was all he expected for his la­bour.

He thought it worth the while, to suffer this for God's Glory and the Public Good. 'Tis vul­gar Virtue that puts men only upon safe good things. 'Tis Virtue in its Perfection, when one dares do well, and suffer for it. And of this degree, he shewed some as great proofs, as perhaps have been given in our days.

In the Plague-time, who would have done as he did? not only to stay here, but to expose himself upon every Occasion. It was much to indure the very Air; that, besides its own Putrefaction, was filled with the steams of so many thousands of dying-breaths. It was fearful to see and hear the mournful Objects and Cries that went hourly every-where about the street. It was a desperate thing to Flesh and Blood, to converse with them, and to be in the midst of them. God knows, when I am cal­led to this, how I shall perform it; But he did, what I have even trembled to hear; He fed so [Page 24] many poor with his own hands, distributed as well Physic as food, exposing himself to be pul­led and haled by them sometimes. And that which exceeds all the rest, where the Officers durst not, he went himself into the Pesthouse to seize on a Malefactor.

These are instances of so high a Courage, so un­daunted a Zeal to Public Good, that if we should have the like occasion again, (which God forbid) we could scarce hope to find the like Instances. He could not shew the like himself at other times.

And therefore I shall the more easily pass over those things which in themselves were very con­siderable; those Watchings, and Hazards, and Toils, which would have been great matters to others; But they were less to him, because he had inured himself to them. They were by long and constant practice become so natural to him, that he seemed to have left himself, no sense of any Labour, no Weariness of watching, no Apprehen­sion of Danger, in any thing by which he might do service to God, the King, and his Countrey. There are but few such men living, the greater is our loss by his Death.

A great loss, if he had died a Natural Death. Then we should have submitted to the will of God. And so we must now. But we could easier have done it, if he had lived out his time, and done all the good we could have hoped from him. If he [Page 18] had lived the Age of a man, as his Grandfather did; or as his Father,Psal. xc. 10. to that which Moses calls Labour and Sorrow; or as his Mother, who is eighty six years old, and yet living. How much good might one do so qualified as he was, so disposed, so re­solved, so verst in Business? How much more good might he have done, if he had lived to those Years? But to be taken off at six and fifty, as he was, when he might have lived much longer, to go on doing still as he did; the thought of this hath much uneasiness in it.

But then farther, to think how he was taken a­way; by a violent Death; He was Murthered; The very mention of this strikes horror into one that considers it. Human Nature abhors it. Much more, Grace in Christians; whom God hath strictly for­bidden it, by all the Laws that are given to Chri­stians.

But then, to murther a Magistrate, that should be the Keeper of those Laws; This is so much beyond Common Horror, I know not how to ex­press it. If it were an Assault, if it were a false Im­prisonment, much more if the Murther, of any o­ther person, the Magistrate is he that should punish it. But that he should be murthered himself! To murther Him, it cannot be without the highest Af­front, to Authority, and Laws, to the King, to the whole Nation, to God himself. Alas! that such wickedness should be done in our Nation, in this [...] in this Place.

[Page 19] But especially upon such a Magistrate, that was the blessing of this place. They could not hurt him, but they must hurt us all, for whom he lived, and cared, more than for himself; for whom he also died, as we have too much reason to believe. Considering this, it concerns us all to know how he died.

There are ways, that a Wise man may die like a Fool; that he can neither fight nor run a­way (as my Text shews us). Thus died Abner, and thus died our Friend; and this heightens our horror above measure. Had he died by sudden chance, or by open Malicious design, it had hap­pened to him as it hath done to many others: But perhaps never any was Murthered as he was, so treacherously and basely, and with such bloody and barbarous Cruelty.

For the Treacherousness of it, if Abner were catcht so, it is no wonder. 'Tis no hard thing for any one that hath made himself base enongh; that will violate his Faith, and break the bonds of human society; to call another aside, and secret­ly to cut his Throat. The pretence of common Friendship is enough to enable any one that is wicked enough, to do this.

But in our case, there was no need of so much as that pretence or colour of Friendship. Any Stranger might do it to a person of so easie ac­cess; one that never denied himself to any one [Page 20] that had need of him; one that neither feared force, nor affected shew; and therefore never took so much as a Servant along with him. He was at every ones call, to do that which was his daily business; to make Peace, to do Justice, to do any good to any Person. Was it not a worthy Prize to get such a one into their hands? Oh Cowards! that could go such a low mean way to take him. Oh Monsters! that having taken him, could find in their hearts to do him hurt.

Well, he is now in their hands, as he thinks, to do them Service in his place. What business have they for him? What they said, we are not able to guess: But what they did, appeared by woful tokens in this poor body.

God knows where they kept him. We know only it was under restraint; and 'twas not alto­gether in darkness, by the Wax-candle-drops up­on his Cloaths; and therefore it was not altoge­ther Hell upon Earth; though it was like it in his usage, that Hellish usage that he indured.

Ah poor Soul! How many comfortless hours did he reckon in that merciless Trap where they kept him? How many insulting words, how many reproaches did he hear? What Racks, what Bodily tortures might he probably suffer? And what Cordial, what Refection to support him under all this? We know nothing but what ap­peared in his Body; his sunk Belly, his empty [Page 21] Stomach, his blancht Tongue, were all witnesses of his Chear. My Tears are my Meat day and night, while I call upon my God.

Yet we cannot say they starved him. God knows what they would have done, had they had time; but in all likelihood, it was the fear of Search that hastned his Death.

And the same death it was, that they deserved ten thousand times over. They can suffer no worse (if they are taken) than this, to be Strangled, and then the Law hath done with them. But when they had Strangled him, they had not done with him so, he must be cast forth to the Birds & Beasts: and that with the formality of a Sword thrust through his body, that if men came to find him, they might judge that he had killed himself; Whe­ther it were to save themselves from Suspicion, or whether out of malice to him, or whether both these together, God knows.

Sure enough, it was the worst they could do to him; It was that which being believed, would ruin all that they had left. All that they could not reach, the Law would, if he had Murthered him­self. It must have ruined his Name, it had for­feited his Estate, it had brought a blot upon his Family. Nothing could be done more to shew their Malice, if that were their meaning.

If they rather sought to hide their own Guilt, it was surely an Infatuation from God: He took [Page 22] away their understandings, that they could not consider those things which every Child could not but observe. What, would none miss his Band, or take notice of his clean Shoes? Would none look for the effusion of Blood, or take notice of that which hindred it, that so manifest Coagulation? Twenty things more that have been considered elsewhere, and are not to be repeated in this place.

It was surely an Infatuation from God. Who ha­ving suffered them to run on in their sin to the ut­most to make that scarlet sin of Murther, even blush at it self (if it were possible); having suffered the Devil to teach them every thing else that he could think of, to consummate the Ruin of this good man; yet was pleased so to take away their understandings, that they could not see so many evident proofs as would be made to all the world; of his Innocence, and of their horrible wickedness.

But now I speak of Discovery, me-thinks I see you all stirred up, as it were, expecting that I should name you the Persons that did this bloody Fact. I would I could, for sundry reasons. But I cannot pretend to that. I can only say with Da­vid, they were Wicked men. He was the common Enemy of all such, and it pleased God to let him fall into their hands. He fell by the hands of Wick­ed men, that is certain.

But if you would know more, I will endeavour to shew you how possibly You may discover them. [Page 23] Perhaps some that are wiser, would be afraid to go so far. But why so? I speak for him that feared no­thing, but to lose an Opportunity of doing good. And in hopes to do good by it, I will be so far like him; I will not fear to go on with what I offered, as to the discovery.

There are three things to be chiefly considered in this matter. First, Mens Actions: Secondly, Their Interests: and Thirdly, their Principles. We shall consider each of these,

First, their Actions and Practices. Since we know not who they are that were the Authors of this Wick­edness, at least can we find who they are that are not willing we should know it? They that have practised, and intrigued to this purpose, to endea­vour to hinder the Search, or the Discovery; if they knew what they did, we have reason to judge they were concerned, for themselves, or for their Friends.

You cannot but remember the dust that was raised in the week when the Search should have been made; those Calumnies, & those various reports that went about, as it were, on purpose to hinder the discovery. One while he had withdrawn himself for Debt; Ano­ther while he was Married, & that not very decently; Another while he was run away with a Harlot; even what the Father of Lies put into their heads.

At last, when they knew what they intended to do with him; they prepared you to expect it, by giving out that he had kild himself. You know how impati­ent [Page 17] they were to have this believ'd. I was told it some hours before the discovery, that he was found with his own Sword through his Body. Others could tell that he had two wounds about him. These things were found to be True some hours after.

But then they devised sundry Untruths to colour it.

It was suggested that it might be done▪ in Distracti­on, which (they said) was an Hereditary Disease in his Family, that his Father and his Grand-father had it before him; that this Disease being stirred up by some mis-apprehensions, wrought that direful effect upon him, to make him kill himself.

These things (from whatsoever Author they came) being confidently said, were as easily believed by them that knew nothing to the contrary. I confess I knew not what to think my self, till I saw the con­trary with my eyes. When I saw he was strangled as well as thrust through, I soon considered, that no man could kill himself both those ways.

And then for the Scandal that was raised of his Fa­mily, I found upon inquiry; that all the colour they had to say it, was only this: that his Father was some­time afflicted with Melancholy, almost to Distracti­on; but it was before he was fifty years old; he soon recovered of it, and lived till the eightieth year of his Age. Besides, I am informed, that there never was any appearance of the like Distemper in any one Person of all that numerous Family: Nor did any of his Relations ever come to an untimely end, as has been falsly reported.

[Page 25] For the Melancholy that was observed in our Friend, I think none, that knew him, ever thought it Distraction, or any thing tending that way; but a thoughtfulness sometimes, that proceeded from the Intricacy and Multiplicity of Business. I believe the weightiest business that ever he had, was that which made him say some Days before his Death, I am told I shall be knock'd in the Head. He said this in my hear­ing, without any great visible Concern. He continued the same he ever was, in his daily Conversation; Serious in Business, but Chear­ful and Pleasant at other times. Thus he used to be alway. He was so the last day of his living life; that is, till the hour that we lost him. And how he was afterwards, I suppose they best know, that were the Authors of these Rumors. That's one way to try men, I think, by their Actions and Practises.

A Second way to find out the Authors of any Fact, is to consider who they were that were concerned to have it done. It was Cassius's word, Cui bono? For whose Interest was it? Now consider for whose Interest it was to kill this Person.

They must be some that were not safe while he lived; or some that might be the better for [Page 26] his Death; And that in some considerable mea­sure, such as would requite all the danger they were to incur by it.

If you know of any that could not think themselves safe while he lived, you have great reason to believe you know the Authors of his Death. I have not so far been Privy to his do­ings, as that I could be able to enter into this Secret.

Much less to know of any Personal Malice a­gainst him. He that was so tender hearted, even to those whom he punished, could not provoke any one to this height of Revenge.

Much less were they Robbers, or any such Poor Rogues, that kill men for what they have. These did their work Gratis. They left him all his Money. They took nothing but his Band, except Papers.

'Tis therefore very credible, that the Authors had some other Interest that moved them to it. And that seems rather to have been, against the Government and the Laws. They knew how firm he was in his Duty to both; and perhaps they had tried it in something else than we know of. If so, they could not but think it worth their while to send him out of the World. One that durst do his duty, when he knew, [Page 27] whom, and what, he should provoke by it; One that would give so ill an Example to other Ma­gistrates, which if followed, might be the Ruin of their Cause; What could they think of such a man? We cannot scare him, We cannot bribe him, but we can kill him. They could not have thought of a more Compendious way than this.

Especially, if the killing of him would dis­hearten others, and so be a means to weaken Authority and Laws. Such men cannot but know, that Publick-Spirited men are not so ma­ny; and they that are, are but Men, They may be daunted, they may be discouraged. And what can do that, more, than the Terror of such an Example?

I doubt not, they that did this, would ra­ther have done it Publickly for that reason. As we hang up Thieves, for Example to others; so to hang up Justices for doing their Duty; Oh that would be a pleasant thing indeed!

No, Gentlemen, we are not come to that yet. God knows, what we may come to for our Sins, and by your Means. But it will be the longer first, if the Laws can find You out. And towards that, we have some guess at you by this Token; They that are against the Established [Page 28] Laws, it was their Interest to do this, That is the Second thing.

The Third Token is, by their Principles. And so, whosoever did this, they should be either such as hold nothing Unlawful, or at least such as hold it Lawful to do such things.

For the First, that is, Men of Atheistical Principles; they follow only their Lust, or their Interest; Which will scarce unite any number of men to carry on such a formed de­sign as this was. Or if it had, they would scarce have held together so long, they would have impeached one another, and so saved us the La­bour of Discovering them by this Token. I do not therefore charge it upon them that hold nothing Unlawful.

But how shall we excuse them, that hold it Lawful to do such things? If there are such Men in the World, and if the other Tokens a­gree to them, they surely are the likeliest that can be thought of for this Matter.

But such a sort of men there is, even here in England, we have them among us. I could not but think of them when I named the other Tokens, and so must any one that hath been conversant in their Books.

We need not put them upon the Rack, to [Page 29] make them Confess. They offer themselves, they tell us such things which we scarce dare tell you again. 'Tis scarce credible, how open­ly, and how grosly, they teach men these things They are the Iesuits I speak of. And whosoe­ver reads their Books cannot but know I do not wrong them in what I say.

I say, First, They teach men to raise such Reports as we heard of this Person.

And Secondly, 'Tis their Interest to discou­rage the Execution of the Law.

And Thirdly, They hold it Lawful to kill Men that would prejudice them or their Reli­gion.

If I prove these Three things, we have all the Tokens together, which I think are not to be found so in any other Persons or Society. Let them clear themselves as they can of the Fact. I will prove the Tokens. And First for their teaching of Calumny.

In plain Terms,Temburin. lib. 9. cap. 2. Sect. 2. n. 4. doubts whe­ther it be a­ny Sin. Lo­van. Theses, Anno▪ 1645. make it but a Venial Sin. to slander another man in Defence of ones own Right or Honor, and es­pecially one of the Fathers to do it in Defence of the Society; some hold it plainly Lawful. Some say, it is a Venial Sin. For the Proofs you may find them together in the Fifteenth of the Pro­vincial Letters. If so, what should hinder these [Page 30] men from r [...]ising all those Reports of this Per­son? Since it was in Defence of themselves, and of their Sect, if they killed him.

Secondly, That it was their Interest to kill him, 'tis manifest; if they have any design against the Government; And if either his Life would have hindred or discovered them in it, or if his Death would discourage others from being Ac­tive in their Place. But that it is the Interest of their Sect, and of their Church, to subvert the Government; and that they for their Parts de­sign it now at this Present; I think this is so pal­pable, that I should but lose time in proving it.

Thirdly, That they hold it Lawful to kill in such cases. For this, 'tis as plainly delivered in their Writings, as any Article of Faith is in the Creed.

They say First in General, To kill another, is Murther indeed, if you do it for Revenge, or any such Sinister End. And therefore you must be careful to direct your Intention aright. And so by directing the Intention, though you do the same Act, it is not Murther.

For Example (saith Amicus, Franc. Amicus, in Curs. Theol. Tom. 5. disp. 36. Sect. 7. n. 118. one of their Pro­fessors) if one threatens to publish grievous crimes of my Self or of my Order; When I have no o­ther way to escape this, I may lawfully kill him. [Page 31] And (saith he) 'tis plain that I have no other way, if he be ready to charge me or my Order Publickly, Coram gravissimis viris, before men in Authority.

Saith Tannerus in like manner,Adam. Tan­ner. Theol. Schol. tom. 3. disp. 4. q. 8. n. 83. One may kill him, if it be in Defence of his own Goods, or of the Goods of his Society.

Saith Lessius, Lessius de Jure & Just. lib. 2. c. 9. dub. 8. Sect. 47. Si nomi­ni meo, &c. If one endeavours to take away my life, by revealing a secret crime, I may kill him. Nay, if he endeavours to take away but my good name, by revealing a secret crime, I may kill him,Moralium Quaest. tom. 2. Tract. 29. c. 3. Sect. 52. Si quis de­trahat falsis criminatio­nibus apud viros hono­ratos—possit occidi, quando ali­ter famae damnum a­verti non potest. saith Lessius, and the same saith Filliucius. Filliuc. Now who that knows what Informations our Friend had against them, can doubt but they might lawfully kill him by these Doctrines?

I name but one for each. Whosoever would see more, may find them collected in the seventh and the thirteenth of the Provincial Letters. Though if we had but one Author for each of these Doctrines, that's enough to make a proba­ble Doctrine, as they tell us. And then, if it is probable,Lessius de Jure & Just. lib. 2. c. 9. dub. 12. Sect 1 81. we may practise it safely without sin.

I know what any Iesuit would answer to this. They would say that these Doctrines, are some of them delivered as being only Speculatively true; that is, they are true in their own Nature: But they are not Practicè sequendae, that is, in re­spect [Page 32] of the Consequences, they are not to be re­duced to Practice. And why so? If they are spe­culatively true,Filliuc. Ib. majora ma­la in Rep. sequeren­tur. why then are they not to be pra­ctised? They themselves tell you why, They would cause disorders in the Commonwealth.

Lessius hath a better Reason,Lessius de Jure & Iust. lib. 2. c. 9. dub. 8. Sect. 47.—talis in Rep. bene constitutâ ut homicida plecteretur. for one of them, He saith, one ought not to practise it, because if one doth, he may be hang'd for it. The mean while, if one can do it so secretly, as not to disturb the Commonwealth, (and then to be sure he shall not hang for it) in that case it is Practicè sequenda, 'Tis to be practised according to their Doctrine. Or if not, while it is speculatively true, that the thing it self is no sin; Who that knows this, and hath a mind to kill another, and sees his Occasion, will make any Scruple of the Practice?

Yes, (they will tell you) the Pope hath for­bidden it, in that Decree of the Year 1665. which is set down in the end of the last Roman Index To their shame be it said, These Do­ctrines are forbidden indeed; But not as being Untrue, not as Contrary to God's word, or ha­ving any Immorality in them: How then? He saith, they are ad minimum scandalosae, At least they are apt to give Offence, (no doubt they are, if we Hereticks come to know them:) And there­fore [Page 33] he charges them upon their Obedience to himself, that they must not Practise these Do­ctrines.

Had he said upon their Obedience to God, that had been a dangerous word. It would have made them afraid to Practise them, even in his own Service. He would take heed of that, not to spoil that which may be a Useful Doctrine. But he forbade it, forsooth, upon Obedience to himself, which is such a Restraint as the Pope may take off when he pleaseth.

And how can we tell, when he doth, or doth not, that which is in his Power secretly to do or not to do? We have only this measure by which to judg: He will do whatsoever he sees best for the Catholick Cause. If he sees it best for the Cause, we shall live. If not, you see it is no sin to kill us; even the Pope being Judge. So that now we hold our Lives at his Courtesie.

But thanks be to God, that gives us better se­curity than that; gives us Government and Laws to protect us: Or else, no man here knows how soon he might be laid as our Friend is before us.

And we thank you, Reverend Fathers of the Society, if you were the men that killed him, as you are the likeliest if we may believe yourselves; We thank you, that you did not begin with the [Page 34] Government first. That you killed him, not the King. There had been a Blow indeed. We thank you for not beginning with That. Though we have the less cause, if your Plot was against the King, and you only took this man away, that you might the better cover it. We thank you at least, though we pay too dear for it, that you have made the People know your Religion; that you have Alarm'd the State with your Practises; We may live the longer for that, to thank you for it.

But then we must remember, we ow this to God, not to you. He it is that hath crossed your Design. It is he that hath taken away your Co­vering, and spread reproach on your faces in the stead. We see what you would be at; if not by this, by some thing else.

And if we saw it by nothing else, we know it sufficiently in your Writings. When your Do­ctrines are so plain, we have no Reason to doubt of your Practises. God still deliver us from your Bloody hands. God keep England from your Bloody Religion.

This being at present as far as we can go in the Discovery; all that remains is, to return, and to consider our loss, and to lament over it. It was the Consequence of Abner's Death. The King [Page 35] Lamented over Abner, and the People wept over him again.

King David mourned for Abner. That was all that he could do. Our King hath done more. He hath not only lamented, but pro­claimed his sense of it, to the whole Nation. He hath done it, once, and again, with all possible Demonstrations of his Care, and of his Concern­edness, for the Discovery, and for the Punishment of this wickedness.

Where the King hath begun to us, we ought to follow him, as Israel did David. We have wept already, we are here to weep over him a­gain. And because I would not keep you long in pain, nor stir you up to fruitless Tears, I will en­deavour to shew you how it may be a useful Lamentation.

There is no fruit to Godward, but is to be brought forth with Patience. And therefore first. I must caution you to that, in this and all other Trials. If this Horrible Fact were committed by those hands, (which of all other we have reason by all Tokens to suspect) yet have Patience, and deal not violently even with them. What by Law may be done, I would not preclude, I pray for it. But otherwise, 'tis Murther in you to kill a Iesuit, that thinks it none in such Cases as this to [Page 36] kill You. God be thanked, you are no Disciples of theirs, but of him whose sacred name they a­buse; that Holy Iesus; He hath taught us other Rules, he hath shewed us other Practises. Love your Enemies, Mat. 5. 44. Bless them that curse you, Pray for them that despightfully use you and persecute you. These Rules, and the like, are the Soul of the Christian Religion. 'Tis that which softens the Heart, and makes it gentle, and tender, and pitiful. And so conforms us to the Image of Christ, 1 Pet. 2. 23. Who being re­viled, reviled not again; When he suffered, he threatned not; but committed himself to him that judgeth Righteously.

Indeed, when I consider the temper that is required of all Christians; I cannot but bless God for what I find in the Protestant Religion. I can­not but reflect on the incredible Patience that was found in you at the Fire of London. Though so many believed, and few very much doubted whence it came; that it was from the same hands which we justly suspect for this Wickedness; yet there was no Tumult rose up­on it; no Violence done that extended to the Life of any Person.

You then bore patiently that great loss both of your Houses and of your Goods. And now it cometh to your Persons and Lives, still your Pa­tience [Page 37] continues. Is not this a fair proof of your Religion? I bless God for it; and pray for the like in other things; Though this one is a great Testimony to us, even our Adversaries them­selves being Judges, if they would but consider it.

Had either of these things been done or hap­pened in any Popish Countrey; had the Prote­stants been suspected to have had any the least Finger in them; there had not been one of them suffered to live in that Countrey. Alas! with­out that, What have those poor men suffered? What have they not suffered, who have had their Lot in Popish Countries? In France a hundred thousand Massacred in a few daies. How many more thousands in Ireland in our Memory? not to speak of the like Slaughters, in Piedmont, and elsewhere.

Where can they shew the like in Countries of our Religion? They might have found it now here, if we had been like them. But blessed be God, we are not so, and I hope shall never be.

I beseech you to continue the same Patience still; not lose it for any, even the highest Pro­vocation. Commit your wrongs to him that judgeth righteously; and under him to the Ma­gistrate, [Page 38] that bears not the Sword in vain. Rom. 13. 4. The King hath already shewed his care in this Mat­ter. Follow it with yours, in lawful waies. And if neither of these will do, leave the Matter to God.Psal. 9. 12. When he makes Inquisition for Bloud, he will remember them. Psal. 58. 11. We shall see it in his time, which is best; And that by such Tokens, that all men that see it shall say, Verily there is a God that judgeth in the Earth.

Next, Since we ought to Imitate those whom we praise; let us follow our Friend, in those things which were praise worthy in him. I might enlarge this in sundry Particulars, for he had not a few Exemplary Virtues. But I must not en­large beyond those that are of present Conside­ration.

Let us first endeavour to right him in the In­juries that he has suffered, and then not shrink from our Duties for fear of suffering the like our selves.

For the First, He was ready to do all right to others, especially if they had been so handled as he was. If any other, If his Murtherers them­selves, had been used thus, he had been the man to have righted them; by all lawful means to clear the Innocent, to discover and to punish the Guilty. This Duty is now Yours, every one in [Page 39] his Place, to do all that possibly he can, to right his Memory, to discover his Murtherers, and to bring them to due Punishment.

I need not much exhort You to this; and therefore next, for that which may be more need­ful; I beseech you to follow him in this, not to shrink so far from your Duty as to fear them, He feared them not for Your sakes.

'Tis true, he suffered for it, he lost his life. But let the Devil get nothing more by that. He hopes, and it seems to have been his design, to deter You from Your Duties, for fear if you be too forward, he may stir up others to serve You in like manner.

Well, but that will not certainly follow. They will not alwaies find men unprovid­ed, nor alwaies ready to be drawn into Traps. You see they have awakened the Government, I hope this will also awaken You. Oh how happy should we be, (though we paid so dear for it,) if we could gain this by what we have lost; If all would be so vigilant, so resolved, that they might not know which to take next; If for one Sir Edmund Godfrey, whom they have taken away, we might see twenty, yea a hundred such Justices in this City.

[Page 40] And why not? The English Spirit is Ge­nerous and Bold, as well as it is Compas­sionate and Gentle. They may be perswa­ded or misled, but they are not to be frighted, or threatned; not easily into their Duties, I hope, much less out of them. That, I trust, will never be.

Especially, if we remember the good Pro­vidence of God, which is the third thing. If we look up to him, that hath secured us against so great and so many Dangers.1 Sam 17. 37. He that delivered me from the Bear, and the Li­on, (saith David) he will deliver me from the hand of this Philistin.

We may argue likewise; He that saved us in Eighty Eight, he that saved us from the Gun-powder Plot, he will deliver us from this curs­ed Conspiracy. He will give us this fruit of our Loss, and of all their Machinations against us.

Who knows, but, in the end, it may prove a fatal blow to themselves? This, to­gether with other things, which are now un­der Consideration, may occasion a fair rid­dance of all that Faction out of England. It may so happen to them, as the Apostle fore­told it would to the Iews, when they per­secuted [Page 41] the Christians at Thessalonica, That they would but fill up the measure of their Sins, 1 Thes. 2. 16. that Wrath might come upon them to the utter­most.

I pray rather for their Conversion. But whether that will ever be; Whether the one, or the other, we must leave that to God.

And Lastly, Look to our Selves, that all our ways be pleasing in his sight. If so, he is able to secure us against all others: But otherwise there is nothing can secure us against Him. Psal. 127. 1▪ 118. 6. Except he keep the City, the Watchman wakes but in vain. But if he be on our side, we need not fear what man can do unto us.

Therefore cleave we to him, with all our Hearts, and Souls. Hold fast that which he hath committed to our Charge, the Gospel of Christ. When God sees Truth on our Side, nothing can make Him against us, but Sin.

Therefore Watch also against Sin, Shew the Truth of your Faith by your Works, Adorn your Holy Profession with a Holy Life. So living, Death can be no Surprize to us, even such a Death, or worse, if worse [Page 42] can be, Let them kill our Bodies, abuse them, mangle them, as this is, or worse; Let them burn them, and throw our Ashes whither they please; We lose nothing by it. At last, all shall meet again in a happy and blessed Re­surrection.


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