A SERMON PREACHED AT St. MARGARETTS in VVestminster,

On Sunday the sixt of February, last, before many of the worthy mem­bers of the Honorable House of Com­mons in this present PARLIAMENT.

By Iohn Marston Master of Arts, and Rector of the Parish Church of Saint Mary Magdalen in Canterbury.

Printed upon the importunity of many Auditors.

LONDON, Printed by F. L. for Io. Burroughes, and Io. Franke, and are to bee sold at the signe of the Golden Drag [...]n neere the Inner Temple Gate in Fleetstreet. 1642.

To the Reader.

READER,

IF thou bee'st Courteous, thou hast heere a fit obiect of [...]hy mercy; If Criticall? heer's worke enough to make thee thine owne plague as well as mine: you must adven­ture to your owne perrill if you denie me pittie. Accept then a leane discourse, shuf­fled over hastily into the pulpit, and thence spurr'd on (in a full speede) unto the presse: The importunity of no meane hearers, hath extorted this, and they can testifie, I was almost a Rebell to perswasion; But, conquered at last with the kind­nesse, not the Cause, I now stand upon the stall to haile the passengers; And if thou beest ihtrap't to a small expence, thinke not that deere, which will invite thee to repent (I hope of all thy sinnes) at least of this, that thou layd'st out this mo­ney no better: 'Tis a scribling age, and the unhappie comfort is, imperfections could never flye abroad with lesse inconve­nience to their authour: Vse me Charitably and I am.

Thy Servant, Iohn Marston.

A SERMON PREACHED at St. Margrets in Westminster on Sunday the Sixt of February. 1642.

IOELL 2. 12. and part of the 13. VERSE.‘Therefore also now saith the Lord, Turne unto me with all your heart, with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning; And rent your harts, and not your garments, and turne to the Lord your God.’

THE Gospells glad tydings are not now in season; Something to make us sad suits these times best: I finde a woe pro­nounc't against those that laugh: Now then, hang we up our Harpes, and sit wee downe by the waters of Babylon, where we shall not choose but weepe, if we but remember this our Syon.

And to compleate our woe, let's measure greifes, lay our calamities of England against those calamities which God heere threatens against I [...]dea: Calamities able to fright the reader, and make him (considering them) for­get his owne. Such Calamities as must live, when they (for whom they were provided) are dead, for the old men must leave the storie of them, as a sad legacie to their chil­dren, so we reade chap. 1. ver. 2.

But the newes of this Iudgement must come first, which invades them with such horror, as makes the judg­ments come before they come, in the apprehension of [Page 2] them: And so the newes was to them like the presence of our Saviour to the Devills, to torment them before the time. For God under an Alegorie of the Locust and Can­ker worme, threatens a future destruction by the Inva­sion of the Caldeans: A lyon like Nation shall destroy their vines, and the drunkards must weepe for the losse of them, ver. 5. So that now their cupps must be empty, or they must fill them with their teares.

The trees must bee undrest, and stand naked without their barke, that so they may wither and dye, and for their death the whole land mourn'd at the 10. verse. Nay such scarcity did succeed, that the meate and drinke offerings were cut off from the house of the Lord▪ and therefore do the Priests mourne, and lye all night in sackcloth, ver. 13. And now in the second chapter, all their Iudgements are proclaimed by the sound of a Trumpet, nay the day is so neere at hand, that the very allarum sounds, and the dis­m [...]ll day may beseene (at the Second verse) though it be onely seene in this, that it cannot bee seene; for a day of darkenesse shall it be, and gloominesse, saith the Prophet. And just it is, that they in their distresse should want the light, who in their prosperity (whilst they had the light) were the children of dark n [...]sse.

Now horror invades the people, who through feare and affrightment are so transformed, that their faces ga­ther blacknesse, the blacknesse of a Po [...]s-out-side (for so the Hebrew word the [...]e signifies) and so were mask [...] in the livery of their owne terror, and distructions▪ all things as blacke as their owne thoughts.

[...]reade of one who [...] at onceboth with ene­mies and darknesse, d [...]sired. God onely so much light as might serve to see himselfe dye valiantly; He loved light well, that was so loath to dye without it.

But heere Sion hath it not; Heaven winkes at their ea­lamitie, [Page 3] and drawes a curtaine of darkenesse before all her eyes: the Sunne, and Moone shall be darke, and the Starres shall withdraw their shinning ver. 10.

Nay the Lord himselfe shall bee Generall of the forces that come against them, and shall vtter his voyce before his armie to encourage it, the day of his ven [...]ance is terrible, and who can abide it? And in this horror and distresse whether shall they got? whether shall they [...]ye? their darknesse cannot cover them, for the darknesse is no darkenesse with him; all their power summon'd together cannot withstand his wrath, for who can stand wh [...]n he is angry? There is no way to turne from these dismall and approching evills, but by turning unto him that brings them, and that by repentance.

But Quid ad nos? what's all this to us? would God it were not: doe not dangers threaten us also? and such dangers that if we paralell them with these, we shall soone see they doe exceed.

God threatned to destroy them by their enemies, but we have beene in danger to be destroyed by our friends, for what could it be lesse then the judgement of God up­on us, that thus one Nation should rise against another, both professing the same true religion, both the dutifull Subjects of the same King, both having the same ground of quarrell to maintaine Religion? will not this make rid­dals in the Chronicles.

And truly was not the day of the Lord, the day of [...] judgement neere at hand, when these loving enemies were ready to send the messages of death to one another, in the dreadfull language of the Cannon? and their di­stresse, picture out the horror of the last day, in blood, and Fire, and vapour of smoke? And what a day of black confu­sion had followed, had the warre proceeded? when two valiant Nations, united hitherto both in love, and religion [Page 4] should have beene united onely in the mixture of their blood; but in this respect I confesse the hand of the Lord is not still stretched out, for he hath removed far from us the Notherne armie, and our friendship (I hope) like a fracture of a bone in our bodies, is the stronger knit, for being broken.

But though that danger's vanisht, a worse now succeeds it, and under the feare of that we groane more then did Iudea heere, for feare of the Chaldeans: if a forraigne foe did threaten us, I hope we should be all united in resi­stance.

But it is not an open enemie that now doth us this dis­honour, but the serpents lye in the bosome of the King­dome, and so much are we our owne enemies, that there is great cause to feare we may destroy our selves (we read not of Sion so) and doubtlesse it is desperate with that state, that is ready to stabbe it selfe.

For now this fortunate Island, which heretofore was like the paradice of God, where God walk't not but in the Coole of the day, gently dropping down our peacefull happinesse (which found the neighbouring Nations work enough to admire us) sees God now in the fire, punishing us with the schorching flames of hombred divisions, our foes being chiefely those of our owne househould. And doe not our harts beginne to faile us for feare? and doe we not (as Sion heere) gather blacknesse? everie man be­traying sensibly the feare of his owne confusion? Nay more, may we not feare that the Sun and moone may be darkened, and the starrs may which draw their shining? that is, that the glorious light of the Gospell of truth may be totally ecclip'st, when as the papist on one side, and the (I cannot tell what to call them) on the other, both strive to blowe out our Candle? (But Lord let death strike me blind before I see that day) So that we may now say as [Page 5] the voyce did to the Emperor of Constantinople, when he was raising fortifications against the foe with out, [...], The euill is within, and why is it within? but because it is within, within us in our sinnes, and therefore within us by diuisions amongst our selues, which is the Emphasis of Iudgement and shewes the world our sinnes in our sufferings.

True it is the state hath long laine sick of a feavour, and we haue had more then a Colledge of Physitians in this blest Parliament; And to asswage the heat of this distem­per, they haue let it bloud, but discreetly in one vaine onely, least it bleed to death. But oh! we are still sick at hart, and our feauour increaseth whilst we are under cure, and now we finde that the Pollicie of state cannot reach our Malady, and that tis ou [...] verie Physitian, our heavenly Physitian that makes us sick. Our sinnes, our sinnes haue so farr kindled his wrath, that unlesse now in his wrath he remember mercie, we may well feare our feavour may end in a Consumption, (for our God is a consuming fire) and we be cons [...]med and brought to nothing. How long have we wisht (for what we have) a Parliament? as thinking that then wee should be disburthened of all our pressures: But I feare we have put to much confidence in man, and so neglected God. For, all their great care and studdie for the good of Sion, hath as yet brought us no perfect ease (so much hath opposition multiplied) for in what are we better (for the present) then that we Cannot well be worse; and this doubtlesse is the hand of heauen, to shew that a decree of Iudgment is gone out against us; and that where God resolues to punish, in vaine is the help of man.

Tis reported of the Athenians that they never demand­ed peace but in their mourning garments, when warr lay heauie uppon them, and they able to hould out no [Page 6] longer; And I wish we we [...]e not to much interessed in their unhappie propertie. We haue stood it out with our God to the last, and haue not sued for peace by repen­tance; lets now all put on mourning garments, and [...]loath our [...]erie soules in black. Let's all ioyne in a sadd Consort of lamentation, to suppresse the loud clamor of our sinnes: And fitt it is, we should not be devided in our repentance, that haue bene ioynd, and soe (ill, well) agreeing in a fatall Confederacie of sinning, being noe way de­vided (in respect of sinne) but in the sinne of our division: Tis my sinne, and tis your sinne, the sinnes of this Citty, and the sinnes of all this Kingdome, the sinnes of the Preists, and the sinnes of all the people, for the sinnes of everie man are these things come upon us. And therefore as everie man hath bin to readily officious in the Curssed proiects of impietie, soe let every man contribute the best of his devotion to the worke of these times; summon all the force of his soule into his prayers, and so conquer danger by repenta [...]ce. And because my soule must euer take up Saint Paules quorum ego primus, euer confessing that of sinners I am cheife, giue me leaue o [...]t of an humble and penitent ambition, to smite my owne breast first and say, God bee mercifull to mee a Sinner. And then as a Preist and Minister of the Lord, to weepe heere betwene the Porch and the Alrar and say Spare thy people o Lord and giue not thine heritage to reproach that the heathen should rule ouer us, for wherefore should they say among the people, where is now their God. Oh what a ioyefull sight twill be to all the Angells of heauen, nay to God him selfe, to se us now re­p [...]nting all together; to heare a whole Congregation knock at heauen gates with their teares; how will the Angels reioyce to heare us mourne [...] nay how forcible is the Nature of true repentance that will make God him selfe repent to? For if we now turne unto him, hee will [Page 7] turne unto us and repent, and chase away all our distracti­ons, makeing faire weather in the state (Now threatened with so many stormes) that so we may serve him againe without feare, and Cronicle the hartinesse of our humi­liation, in that prosperity with which he will reward it. But with out this Conuersion, we must expect nothing but woe, and horror, and confusion, and that for want of religious fasting now, we may ere while starue for hunger: And for want of teares now, we may ere while crie to our oppressors, and not be regarded: When happily we may see o [...]r Children made a sacrifice to the fury of the Sword and we our selues unhappier then they, that we dyed not before we saw it. The hills cannot hide us, nor can the mountaines shew us so much mercie as to fall upon us; or if they did, the power of him that gaue so much power unto faith, as to remoue mountaines, shall turne up our massie Coverlids, and lay us naked to our Iudgment: No, no, we haue no way to flie from him, but by turning to him, no way to quench his wrath, but with our teares, no way to be united among our selues, but by renting ou [...] harts assunder. The Prophet bespeakes it in the text, a [...]d God him selfe expects it, and both bespeake it Now, Now therefore faith the Lord Turne unto me with all your hart. &c In the Text are two Generall parts.

  • 1 Preface: Therefore also now saith the Lord.
  • 2 Precept: Turne unto me with all your hart &c

In the Preface 2 things,

  • 1 Author, The Lord saith,
  • 2 Opportunitie, Now saith th the Lord.

In the Precept 2. things,

  • 1. Duty, Activè, Turne, Objectivè adme to me.
  • 2. Direction, with all your heart with fasting &c.

The Direction is double.

  • 1. Extrinsecall.
  • 2. Intrinsecall.

[Page 8]The Extrinsecall part is considered.

  • 1. Positively, with fasting and with weeping.
  • 2. Privatively, not with rending your garments.

Secondly Intrinsecall with the heart, with all the heart, with mourning, and a rent heart.

Then for conclusion followes an Anacephalaiosis or sum­marie recapitulation of the whole Text, by a patheticall ingemmination, which makes the Text a turning Text, for it goes round in a Circle and ends where it began, And turne to the Lord your God.

Where we note the earnestnesse of the Prophet in that Itteration, and have, two arguments to perswade us to turne.

  • 1. Of Iustice and powre the Lord
  • 2. Of mercy and love our God.

These are the parts, and I shall prosecute them plainly, speaking to the soule no lesse then to the eare; And I be­seech thee O God of power so to assist me with thy Spirit, that thy words in my mouth may forcibly enter the stoni­est heart heere, and make it yeild and turne to thee: And so I begin with the first part &c.

The Proclamations we receive from the King, are usu­ally prefaced, thus, a Proclamation by the King, &c. And why so? but onely to beget in all a more awfull attention for the present, and a strickt performance after.

But a greater then the king is heere. Tis nunc dici [...] Domi­nus, now saith the Lord, and give me leave to say what the Lord himselfe said elsewhere, He that hath eares to heare, let him heare what the Lord saith.

Heare with his heart as well as with his eares, for the word in the Hebrew Haazjnu, and the word in the Greek [...] both signifie percipite from per & Capio to take [Page 9] it in thoroughly, to our very hearts, for with the heart we properly perceive.

And if wee but remember the Author, and that 'tis a message from the King of Kings, I hope we will call up our hearts into our eares, and heare just as we must turne, with a [...]l our heart. Ipse dixit among the Pythagoreans be­got a Catholike observance, to tell them that Pythagoras had said this or that, made it no lesse then Oracle: And certainely from such an au [...]hor as the Lord, nothing can proceede, but matter of extraordinary concernment. The phrase promiseth no lesse, now saith the Lord, not now the Lord spake: For the Critticks put a difference betweene loqui and dicere: Speaking is generall, and be­longs to the whole community of men, that have the Or­gans of speech rightly disposed, but saying is more spe­ciall and foretells some weightie matter to ensue.

Tully in his Rhetorickes gives the difference, Solius est oratoris dicere, loqui autem communis vulgi: Nor hath this scap't the Graetians, [...].

And truly should we forget the Author of this message, the very gravity of the phrase will draw our thoughts to the subject of it.

'Tis a Proclamation of peace and pardon to all that will performe it, so that this Prophet prophesies good to us, and not evill: For now God having must'red up his judge­ments against Iudea to take veniance for their sinnes, and the day of wrath neere at hand, yet hee will not take them in their disadvantage, but blowes his Tr [...]mpet in Sion, excitare dormientes, to rouse up them that sleepe in their sinnes (as saith the praef [...]ce to this Prophesie in Saint Ieroms Bible) that so they sleepe not in death.

God indeed prepar'd the Instruments of Death, but as yet he withheld the execution; he had one thing more to doe when everie thing was ready, and that was to send [...] [...] [Page 2] to them to sue to him, that so he might do nothing.

Strange mercy in an offended God to threaten a people with destruction, that so he may not distroy them? Tis reported of Tamberlayne that in all his enterprises of warr before the furie of the sword began, that he hung out first a white flagg, to intimate that if now they would sue for mercie with submission, they might be secure from cruel­tie & all the sad effects of Conquest: but if upon this they yeilded not, then he hung out a red flagg in token of dis­pleasure, and that he would now write the storie of their disobedience in their blood; And if they yeeld not at that, then he hung out a blacke flagg of defiance, to show that now nothing was to be expected but utter ruine & deva­station; which truely was a mercifull discretion, well worth so brave a spirit. But Iuda heere had the white flagg last, and that displayd the greater mercy; for first God dis­played his blacke flagge, by threatning a darke and gloomy day of desolation, yet onely in terrorem, to awe them to convertion: Then a red flagge, to shew the meanes of this destruction, by fatall and bloody warre: and when all things were thus ready to their confusion, when hope languished, and dispaire grew bold; then he hung out a white flagg in the offer of his grace and mercy, that if yet they would turne unto him and repent, he would cease to be angry, and that very wrath it selfe should consume, that was kindled to consume them.

Thus God dealt with, Hezekiah, he sent him word that hee should die, onely that he might live; for Hezekiah re­penting wept, and prayd; and then the message of his death, was the very death of that message; for Hezekia had not lived so long, if he had not beene told he should die so soone.

Thus God dealt with Ninivie; Ionah must prophesie that within fortie dayes Ninive shall be destroyed, but up­on [Page 3] their repentance the Prophesie was destroyed, and not the City: and 'tis singularly observable, that t'was the con­sideration and forecast of Gods mercy, that begot Ionah's disobedience in flying to Tarshish, as you may see Ionah 4. verse 2. For he knew that God being mercifull and slow to anger, would soone repent him of the evill, and then the message of truth from the God of truth should seeme a lye, and put Ionah in hazard to the losse his of reputation, if not his life: And therefore wee reade, that upon Gods sparing the City, Ionah was very angry, Gods mercy to them, stir'd up his wrath, to see how kindely God had deceived them: and in that mercy he thought the credit of a Prophet lost.

Nor is God by this alteration inconstant to himselfe, for his resolutions of punishment, are ever ushered with condition; if not exp [...]est, yet understood. The rule of sinners is, that they shall perish, but this rule (as generall as it is) hath an exception, for 'tis except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish; but if they repent, they are as farre from perishing, as God is from Injustice.

For aliud est mutare voluntatem, aliud velle mutationem, 'tis one thing to alter the will, and another thing to will an alteration, that God never doth, but this often; Mu­tat sententiam, non matat consilium, say the Schooles: So that this alteration argues no change in God, since in e­very thing hee doth what he will, and so is constant to his will, and that will is himselfe.

But they that repent not at the gratious messages of mercy, finde a double punishment; one, for offending, a­nother, for dispising favour; and think then (I beseech you) what madnesse 'tis (after we have sinned) to withstand our owne pardon, by Impenitence; and how fearefull a thing it will then to fall into the hands of the living Lord.

For if we repent not, we treasure up wrath against the [Page 12] day of wrath making our selues more miserable in this that our impenitency procures our compleater veniance: For God though he be mercifull and long suffering and waites the leisure of our repentance by many expectati­ons of [...]onuersion yet if a man will not turne he will whet [...] his sword, and wound the hairie scalpe of s [...]ch a one as goeth on still in his wickednesse.

And why thinke you is it there said that God will whet his sword where tis said if men will not turne, but only to shew that those that refuse the offers of Grace, shall haue sharper veniance, deep wounding Iudgments, bee quite cutt off, in utter ruine and confusion.

B [...]loved, God hath dealt everie way graciously with us and he hath not dealt so with every Nation, But now I Confesse our sinnes haue prouoked him to whet his sword, nay more his hand hath bin stretched out, nor is his arme now shortened, but his hand is stretched out stil, Nay more [...], as the Septuagint render that place, not only extenta, but exce [...]sa, not only stretched out, for so it is in the least stroake of correction, (and those haue not reformed us) but his hand is high, lifted up, to strike us with full force and furie.

But as yet we hope there is mercy, and that we may turne away all these evills with our teares, for sprinkled with thes [...], the destroying Angell will passe by us: And let us consider with wonder and thankfullnesse, that as h [...]louingly invited Iudeas Conuersion by his Prophet; so he [...] ours now, for Ioell being dead yet speaketh, and tells you that God would faine haue you turne unto him. T [...]e proclamations of princes, usualy threaten penalty to all that either neglect or contemne them, what then will become or those that slight the messages of heauen? Tis as much as your soules are worth, if now knowing who it is that Cōmands you to turne, you should not obey him [Page 13] And where fore is it that God thus earnestly longs for our repentance? that he mercifully desires not our merrited de­strnction, that he should so thirst to shew us mercie, that h [...]s very bowells should yearne within him; For the word in the Hebrue for mercie is Racham, an signifies and inward Commotion, and yearning of the bowells, God is in pain for want of our repentance.

And why all this? doth our Conuersion aduantage him? cannot he glorifie himselfe as well in our Confusion? truly yes? but heere appeares his loue to us, that all he aimes at is our good, that so his mercy might make us happie, and not his Iustice mise [...]able.

How ready are we to perform the Diuils command, thongh we see damnation at the end of it? wheither it be with Adam to eate forbidden fruite, & mounting the tree fall presently: whether it be with Caine to murther our Brother, and soe liue, for Cains life was his punishment, and a wounded Conscience is worse then death: Though▪ it be to plot mischeife in a State with Achitophell, and proue cunning at last only in our owne confusion; though it be with Iudas to betray our Master and with Pilat to Con­demne him, and then presently (through dispaire) bid the world farwell in a halter, Though it be to denie the Holy one, to mu [...]ther the Lord of life, and desire the life of a murtherer, though by putting out that light, wee bring darknesse upon our soules and contrive a curse through a generall blessing, bringing his bloud upon us and all our Children. We do this & more at the Diuils command, & have we no obedience for the Lord of heauen? what other wages can the Diuil [...], then the multiplication of our torments? But God for our obedience, giues us such p [...]ace of conscience in this life, as no storme can d [...]sturb us: Prepares our soules for Glory by such dayly augmenta­tions of his Grace, as will make us love to serue him being [Page 14] never so well Contented, as when he Commands us; Giues us such a faith, as brings heauen downe into our soules, to giue us earnest, that he will one day call up our soules to heauen, where, to reward our obedience he will haue us liue eternally with him who commands us, and in the meane time such a loue and desire to him, that in Comparison of heauen, we esteeme Paradice but a hell, and life it selfe, but Martyrdom.

The Angels are more excellent then we, yet are they nothing else but obedience in the very nature of their be­ing; messingers, to goe upon the employment he sends them, for are they not all ministring spirits? See then, to be obedient to God, is to live the life of angels, But oh God stooping our contemplations lower, how are we ashamed and confounded, at the obedience of Abraham, who was readie at the command of god, to slay his sonne, his only son, the sonn whom he loued, and so take a way his life, that was the ioy of his owne, to sacrifice Isaac to his God, and so become a religious Murtherer.

But God layes no such harsh Commands upon us: not to sacrifice a sonn, but to Kill a sinn, not to shed bloud, but to abstaine from shedding it; No horror in our ser­uices, no Cruelty in his Commands; Not to doe any thing against the nature of a Compassionate hart, but to turne unto him withall our heart, Not to giue him o [...]r childrens bloud, but our owne teares, and those not to aduantage him, but clense us.

And as a motive to all this, I beseech you consider who 'tis that commands you, 'tis the Lord, the Lord that made you, and can confound you, the Lord that made you of clay, and can breake you in peices like a Potters vessell. The Lord who to plague you can create a Hell in your consciences in this life, and when you dye (if you live but to resist his commands) will cast your soule into Hell where the worme never dyes.

[Page 15]The Angels doe his will both Cito; & Celeriter: without delay when they goe about it, and with the speediest dis­patch when they are in the imployment of it: consider then that now the Lord calls upon you to turne, and he calls upon you to turne to him, Now, and that's the next point.

The second point.

And next to the Authour, the opportunity speakes the importance of the message, he expects it Now, not any time this yeare, for we may dye this Moneth, and bring our yeares to an end now in the beginning of this; not any time this moneth, for we may be, benighted in our graves before the next Moone gives us light; Nay, not any time this Weeke, for this night our Soules may be req [...]ired of us, and so we change our bed for a grave.

But Now, this minute, this very moment, for we can­not promise to our selves the enjoyment of another, and this lost, can never be recalled.

Time is a thing that's lost, before we have it; and if lear­ned men have found such difficulty to discover what time is, for Saint Augustine (a rare wit) strugleth in this questi­on as a bird in a string, Quid est tempus? si nemo ex me quae­rat, Scio, si quaerenti explicare velim, nescio. (11. Book of his con­fession. Chap. 14.) He knowes enough to hold his peace, but not enough to speake.

And if he could not give a certaine definition of it, by reason of the uncertaine and vicissitudinarie Nature of it, how shall we thinke to possesse it?

This Nun [...] of so little lasting, that 'tis lost while we speak it, how then can we be Masters of that, whose very being is not to be? Like a swift river it comes not, but to passe away.

And yet so necessary is this time that measures allour actions, that Pythagoras calls it [...] the very [Page 16] soule of all things, but the neglect of this soule to often ensnares our soule, and so two Soules perish both toge­ther.

How many are over-whelmed for want of the true im­ployment of time) with anguish, with remorsse, and sad­nesse, when as time well imploy'd makes a man (without arrogancy) reio [...]ce in the workes of his owne hands.

This is one of the great confusions, which at this day swayes the lives and actions of great men; who are so o­ver-whelmed with the multiplicity of affaires (from mor­ning untill night) that they have leasure to thinke of e­very thing, but themselves. Others rowle themselves in vaine occupations, & never understand the principall businesse of their time which is to turne, to our angry God.

[...] wee labour in the maine point, as if it were but an accessorie, and take the accesso­ries, as if they were the choicest principalls.

All the petty trifles which concerne the ease, & accom­modation of our bodyes have their regularti [...]e, and sel­dome are forgotten; as to eate when we are hungry; to drinke when we are thirsty; to sleepe when we are weary, to sport when the Iocound fi [...]t comes on us; we give to all th [...]se their time; but for the great affaire of Salvation, we set apart no time; as if that were not worth the wea­ring out a day.

God hath reserved to himselfe the Government of the worlds great Dyall, Time, he alone determines the howers, and will give this commission to no man. If the Sunne were stayed, in the time [...] of Io [...]ua [...], it was done saith Saint Chrisostome in honour to Iesus of whom this great captaine was a figure: And if it reco [...]led ba [...]k [...] 10. Degrees in the time of Hezekiah, it was to [...]ignifie the [...] of the Incar­nation, when the eternal. Word abased [...]imself below the 9. Quires of Angels, and united himselfe with humane [Page 17] Nature, the Tenth and last of reasonable Creatures; Time indeed went backward, when Et [...]rnity came into the world: but the course of Time was never stop't, unlesse for some speciall mistery of our faith. To dreame then that such a change should be produced for us, to repaire our Precious los [...]es, were such a mad folly, that whosoever thinkes it, shall finde his error to soone, that is, when it is to late. If a I [...]well be lost, i [...] may be found; if a house be bu [...]nt downe, it may bee reedified, and perhaps flourish most after ruine; But (O God) why should we loose that which we can never finde? Let's catch the time while the Sunne striketh upon our line, or we are lost for ever.

Antigonus spake wisely when he said, his was the ware­fare of time as well as of armes, for truly all our Christi­an warfare Consists but in well managing our time; then to haue the brest-plate of righteousnesse when the diuill thrusts at us; then to haue the Sword of the spirit when we need to resist; then to haue the helmet of saluation [...]hen our heads are quite under water, that so we sinke but to Death, not do Despaire, this is to suite the time well, and punctually to employ it.

Gregory Nazianzen tells us [...]agely [...]. &c. that life is an open fayre for all the world to trade in, where we may barter a Vale of te [...]res for a Paradice of ioy, earth for heauen, a moment for Eternitie, but reason re­requires that we should com while the fair [...] lasts, before the shops are shut, before the tents of our bodies be pul [...]d downe, before the Night of Death approacheth, or we lose our market: But O wretched men that we are! sin robb's us of our time to preuent our repentance, & [...] cheates us at last of heauen: One man spends his time in plotting mis [...]heife against another, w [...]n as that time [...] em­ploy'd might haue saued his [...]oule: Another bestow [...] [...]im selfe wholy on his pleasure, as if he would flie at heauen [Page 18] with his Hawke, to which he seldom lookes but in his sport: Do we not see Ladies, who in the morning when they should offer to God the first fruits of the day, will Consult an howre or two with their looking glasse, and scarse a minute with their prayer booke? as if they lou [...]d the shaddow of their owne face (which allwayes is not the best) better then the vision of God himself: These are houses still at reparations; the face (which is the forefront of the house and next the street) must be new painted, this, or that wr [...]nkle in the wall new pla [...]stred over, to which they add so much of the Tyre-woman, till at last, they are quite lost in lime and haire, and the whole fabrick strew'd with sweets, shewes that the powder quite forgets the dust. Is this to spend the time well? Can this trifling (to call it no worse) fit us for eternity? Will not the Saints of the primitive times (who as if the day were to little, desti­n'd the nights to devotion in their Vigills) will not these rise up in judgement against us, who make our whole life a trade of sinne, or doing nothing.

Thinke (I beseech you, and tremble while you thinke) how many damned soules are now broyling in hell fire (which the whole Ocean cannot extinguish) for the con­tempt and misuse of time; who, because they have ill, and vainely spent their time, are now swallowed up of the worst Eternity.

And thinke againe, what time can there be imagined for repentance (the most needfull worke of all) when all our life is swallowed up of impiety: And therefore, 'tis good councell that one gives us! Omnia ista contemnito, quibus corpore solutus, non indigebis: Timely despise those things, in the body, of which thou hast no need out of the body: despise, and deferre all other things, as unworthy the expence of a moment; but thy repentance put not off [Page 19] from day to day; do that Now, least perhaps you do it never.

And sure I am, that the Devill hath no greater pollicy to circumvent us, then by benumming of our zeale, by this hanging weights upon our soules, by the delay of our repentance: and I dare be peremptory to conclude, that more perish this way, then any other. For the Devill can worke on few so farre, as to perswade them that they never neede Turne to God at all, but alas who doth he not endanger, by delaying it?

Saint Augustine found this in himselfe, as he tels us in the Eight Booke of his confessions Chap. 12. For there find­ing the Devill flattering his soule with perswasions to de­lay his repentance (at that time when he was most resolved to performe it) he had much strife in himself, but knowing that now the Divill had no other Engine to batter his soule withall; (so much was his resolution for the maine, strengthned by assisting grace) and knowing the Divill's plot by this procrastination, was onely to bind him faster in the custome of his sinne; Now at last, he violently breakes the snare and complaines, and cryes bitterly to his God: Vsque quo domine, quam diu? quam diu cras, & cras? quare non modo? quare non hac hor a est finis t [...]rpitudi­nis meae?

Oh my God (saith he) how long wilt thou suffer me thus? How long shall I say to morrow, to morrow? why should I not doe it now? and this minute end that filthy­nesse of life, which otherwise will betray me to a life of woe for ever.

But beside the example of this godly Sainct, give me leave to present you with the reasons why we should Now without any delay turne to our God.

First because by delaying our repentance; sin is so forti­fied by custome and continuance, that every day drives the nayle in further, till 'tis hard to be removed, and so our [Page 20] conversion becomes a task of greater difficulty. Againe the longer we continue in our sinnes, the more God calls backe his grace and assistance from us, so that the bancke breaking which did defend us, the full streames of temp­tation breake in, and overflow us. Thirdly, By continu­ance sinne takes deeper rooting, and so the weede which had but little fastning before, requires more strengh and violence to pluck it up: Lastly, all the good motions and inclynations of our wills, by the strength and growth of sin, are more infeebled: That plant pines, where elder & stronger we [...]ds attract all the moisture: Passions grow bold, where reason dares not stirre against a custome: When sinne shall be fast rooted in the habit of it, when the Divill shall be neere to assault, and God farre from as­sisting, O how diffi [...]ult will our conversion be!

He that but stand [...] in the way of sinners, is in a posture of to unhappy constancy; he that goes on, thrives to fast in that trade which will undoe him, and is never no true a proficient as when he goes backward: but if once it come to sitting in the seate of the scornfull (quasi ad hoc vacans) (as Saint Augustine glosseth that place) having nothing else to doe, but to sinne: To sit at ease upon the Stoole of wicked­nesse, and imagine mischeife as a law, this is to give sinne a cushion, which is loath enough to rise, from the uneasiest constancie.

Saint Augustine Commenting on that miracle of Iesus, in raysing Lazirus from the grave when he had beene dead foure dayes, searcheth the reason why Iesus begun that worke with a Prologue of teares, why he groaned and trou­bled himselfe so much, when as he rais'd others with faci­lity, without those sadd [...]r Prefaces; and from the Consi­deration of this, extracts this mortall Divinity; That there are foure degrees of a sinner, corresponding to the foure dayes of Lazarus his interment: The First is a voluntary [Page 21] Delectation, the second is Consent, the third is Accomplishment, the fourth is the Custome and Continuance of sinne; and he that hath layne out these foure dayes in the grave of sin, buried thus, is hardly raised to life againe; saith that Father. No lesse then a miracle can call backe such a man, he must have teares, and sights, and groanes; inward trouble and consternation, and when these are growne to perfection, the dead man is rais'd indeed.

And though I will not conclude (as some have done) that Lazarus thus rais'd dyed no more; yet sure I am, that from this spirituall resurrection, no death of sinne shall re­lap's us; and therefore Lazarus must leave off his grave clothes, and be unbound, forsaking all relations to the grave, to shew that those very sinnes being dead that kil­led him, he lives by their mortality.

Saint Augustine (Lib. 6. de Civit [...]t Dei cap. 10.) makes mention of an old Comedian (a constant actor in those Comedyes which the blinde Idolaters of those times insti­tuted to the honour of their false Gods) that he was so in­namored of the applaus the people gave him, that play­ing for the Gods, he acted all as for men: but being old, and forsaken of his usuall troope of auditors; he would crawle to the Capitoll and feebly act his Comedyes before the Statues of his false Gods, doing all (as he said) then for the Gods, & nothing for men. And do we not act our parts thus, when we dedicate the first fruits of our time to our own sensuallity; & give God (in whom we live) but the gleanings of our lives? Beginning then to serve God, when feeble age hath made [...]s unapt for the service of sin; Never trembling in the sense of Gods wrath, nor shaking in any thing but our palsie? Are we then fit to run the path of Gods Commandements, when we cannot goe without a staffe? And truely we doe not unfitly to take the helpe of more leggs to carry us out of the world, then we had [Page 22] to bring us into it, who by a long life have contracted a greater burthen of sinne upon us. Then only to cease from beholding vanity, when we have not faculty enough left to see, to frequent the house of God with deafe eares; Then onely to come to heare, when with Davids idolls we have Eares only not to Heare? Not to sin because of the in­nab [...]lity of age, is impotency, not innocency; for the taynt & habit of our youthfull sins, remaine though the act be wanting. O miserable condition of sinne! never to grow old? not in Age it sel [...]? Never to dye, whilst we live? when we can do nothing else, to be able to do that?

Strange power of impotency to be able to do nothing but sinne; and stranger life of sinne, that lives in us onely to kill us alive, and lives when we are dead in the guilt, and obligation to eternall punishment, and lives with us in Hell, to keepe us everlastingly living, or dying; (for I cannot tell whether it be life or death, to live in nothing but torment, and dead to nothing else but happinesse.)

I beseech you thinke Now what will be Then, and let the thought of that Th [...]n, teach you how to prize the Prophets Now; for Ex hoc m [...]mento pendet aeternitas, the eter­nall Condition of your soules depends upon it.

O now for the Tongue of Angells to perswade you, but miserable man that I am, I check that holy ambition, knowing that to be so excellent that I cannot attaine unto it; but such as I have I give unto you; and beseech you, as you vallue the joyes of Heaven, as you dread the paines of Hell, by those Soules of yours to redeeme which cost Christ himselfe his blood, and by that precious blood, the pri [...]e of your soules redemption, by the love of that God who was before all [...] & lasting beyond all time (be­ing the Eternity it self) to make a true use of this time Now.

O let not this day passe with out some reformation; [Page 23] let not this dayes Sun set, and the wrath of God still up­on us; but draw neere unto him now, so neere that you may kisse the sonn, for if his wrath be kindled (yea but a little) Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

Let me expostulate with the prophet, doth not the Su [...]llow and the Crane, know their time, yet poore man (for whom these were made) knowes it not.

Happily sometimes we feele Agrip [...]as ague, some moti­ons, and groouings of repentance, but we are still at a stand for a Conuenient season, and so the fit goes off: (for the soules ague (Contrarie to that of the body) beginns with a hott fitt, and ends in a Cold:) Truely though no time be amisse in respect of God, for at what time soever a sinner doth repe [...]t. that is the acceptable time, that is the day of saluation: yet Esaw's teares when the time was past, the Vir­g [...]ns knocking when the dores were shut, these shew (what So­lomon said) that there is a time for every thing, & if we loose that time, we shall weepe, and knock, as foolishly as they.

Opportunitie is it self a favour, and t'is a second fa­vour to discerne it, but the greatest is to lay hold fit, and from the want of these, spring the causes of our Pro­crastination, which is the common error of repentance, (I beseech you marke it) eyther our Ignorance in not dis­cerning the time, or our Negligence, that when wee doe discerne it, do not yet embrace it.

This Christ laments with bitter teares, and of that, God himself complaines, Ier 8. verse. 7. Even the Storke in the ayre, the Turtle & the Crane, & the S [...]allow, observe the time of their comming, but my people knoweth not the Iudgement of the Lord. God useth not thus to complaine but in [...]reat cases, to slight his so graciously offered opportunity, he accompts no triviall matter: T'is a point of the greatest considerati­on in all Christianitie, else God would not have com­plain'd, nor Christ so passonatly have bemoaned Ierusalem [Page 24] for the losse of it, O saith he If thou hadst knowne that this day had bin the day of thy visitation, and what then? there he breakes off the teares comming so fast, that he was forc't to weepe out the rest of his meaning: O those teares si­lently tell us what the losse of time is, for therefore did he weepe then, because they wept no sooner.

But mee thinkes I heare flesh and blood begin to pleado May I not lay by the consideration of my repentance a little? I am yong and healthy, and gladly would I befriend my youth with the pleasures of the world a little longer, and then I will turne to God with all my hart▪ O be not deceaved; a suddaine death may snatch us hence, and send the soule into the other world with all our sins upon it; and what the condition of that soule is, I dread to tell you.

But suppose the best, that Death send his harbinger, & by some languishing si [...]knesse, kindly gives us warning of our departure, yet lett me tell you, that infinite are the perplexities which disturbe the repentance of the death bed: Our owne paines will disquiet us, and make us roare for uery anguish, and so to cry to God, is rather passion, then repentance: Can we be fitt to turne unto God, when we can scarce turne our selues in our bedds? the thought of the poore widdow we shall leave behind us, will make the soule forget her spowse and swetest bridgrome Christ the feare of death will horribly affright us, and a trembling dread so over whelme us, that fearing to die, we think not how to dye, and so loose the life of the blessed: the ene­mie will then raise Deuils in our consciences, and present our thoughts with a sad Idea of hell, and shew us all the tor­ments we have deserued; torments so intollerable, so im­marcessible, that the damned soule would be glad to be but a Deuill, and thinke it a high preferment to be no­thing: And to shew f [...]ll malice in the conclusion, at our very departure, he will shew us all our sinns in such a shape [Page 25] that (despairing) we may grow mad, and die.

Tell me then is this a fit time for repentance? Is the death bed a conuenient Altar to offer up our bodyes a living sa [...]rifice, and then to when we lie a dying? O God gi [...]e us grace to thinke of this betimes; and lett me add, that the Con­uersion of our last time is seldom free, but inforc't, by the feare of hell; but in that feare there is no loue, and with out loue, there is no hope of heaven: To feare him onely for his iudgements, and not as sonns, is to find him a Iudge, and not a Father.

Besides the actions of vertue performed then, are not of that vallue with God, as those which come to him wing'd with cheerefullnesse in our health and prospe [...]ity: What great mercy is it to pardon an enemy when we have no power to hurt him? or what great charity to di­stribute ou [...] goods, when we cannot keepe them? Alas in this estate, Peccat [...]te dimiserunt, non tu illa, thy sinnes for­sake thee, Thou dost not forsake thy sinnes; And let me argue the unsoundnesse of late repentance by the usuall experience of sick men, who make prot [...]tations of great contrition, but restored to health, returne to sinne, as the dogge t [...] his vomit, and so as they mend, grow worse. But sinne I know is full of flattery; and now I call to mind the Th [...]ife on the Crosse, was not he saved the very last hower of his life, though he scarcely ever thought on God be­fore, was not he prefer'd from the Crosse to Paradice, without the trouble of more r [...]pentance?

Vnhapily argued; but shew me such another example, and sinne on, till you lye a dying; and truely that soules hardly put to it, that hath no better shift then to make that a ground of presumption, which onely is a helpe in despaire: This was a particular act of Christ as Saint Au­gustine notes, and so can make no generall rule; if a Prince pardon one malefactor at the place of execution, a thou­sand [Page 26] others dye without it: This was to display the power of Christ on the Crosse, then, in his greatest infirmity, that when he would not save himselfe from a temporall death, yet he would save him from an eternall death; 'Twas a rare thing, that a Theefe should confesse Christ, when his neerest friends forsooke him; and the reward of this, was as rare as his goodnesse.

Truly the point is of such consequence, I know not how to leave it, and therefor [...] let me inferr further, that this late repentance must needs be very dangerous, when as repentance at the best, withall advantages of life, is a worke of the greatest difficulty; why then should we post off that to the last minute, for which all our life is to little?

Converse with a soule newly loos'd from [...]infull slave­ [...]ie, and it will tell you, that She sayl'd in a calme, while she went the Devills voyage; but when once she begun to thinke of returning home, and leave that Sea so full of Sy [...]ens, then the storme arose, temptations multiplyed like the Waves, every billow striving which should first devoure her.

And truly I have spent many thoughts upon that sto­rie of him (in the 9. of Marke) possest with a dumbe, and deafe spirit; and I thinke it wonderfully remarkable, that the Devill would neither heare, nor speake, whilst he had a quiet possession of that body, but when Christ went about to turne him out of dores (charging him to goe out of him) then the mercy of Christ to the man, wrought an unpleasing miracle on the D [...]vills, for the deafe heard pre­sently, and the dumbe spake, and now forced to depart, he tore and rent him, and tormented him into such a trance, tha [...] [...] spectators thought him dead.

[...] heare the Wise man in this: My sonne, when thou [...] come to the service of God, prepare thy soule for tempta­tions, though perhaps we feele not the Devill in us before, [Page 27] yet when holy resolutions come upon us, then he be­gins to strive and struggle presently.

And would it not make one afraid to pray with David, Creat [...] in m [...]e O Lord a cleane heart, (humanum dico) (I speake now af [...]er the manner of men) when as the [...]ouse i [...] the Gos­pell was no sooner swept, but [...]ight D [...]vills rusht in at once: but the Text there gives the reason, they found it empty; but if God be in thy heart; if the Trinity keepe house there; wee neede feare no Devillish intrusions.

But to prosequte the point in hand, See it figured out in Pharaoh, who when he found in the Children of Israel a dis­position to depart, then his boyling rage ran over in the multiplication of afflictions.

If Saint Paul have a motion of the law of the spirit, pre­sently the Divill urgeth his statute law in the law of his members, to resist the law of the spirit: you see then repentance is not without strife and conflict, it stirr's up warre in the soule, and blessed is he who in this strife can get the Victo­rie, and I hope we shall thinke it a hard worke ere we have done, it will be a signe we are the neerer to it.

Much more might be added to this purpose; The Fathers are full of it, but Ile shutt up the point with some breife collections out of the conversion of Saint Augustine in the eight booke of whose confessions, 1. and 2. Chap: we find his flesh and spirit, in a dreadfull conflict; God drawing on one side, the world, the flesh, and the Divill pulling him backe on the other: In this Agonie of temptation, he repaires to Simplicianus, a learned and a devout man, then to Saint Ambrose, these were his Councell of warre in these assaults of his soule; But after consultation with these, he was more furiously encountered then before, (The Divill it seemes was loath to loose this great witt,) Then he re­tyred him selfe to privacie, and then (Saith he) what did I not say against my selfe, how did I beate and whipe my [Page 28] Soule forward, to make her follow thee (O God) but like a [...]ullen jade she hung backe, loath to leave her old path of sinne.

Heere insued a grievous conflict, and then, (some truce made for a time) he goes into an Orchard, ('Ile not dis­pute the conveniencie of that place, but if Saint Augustine come off heere, he will doe more then Adam did.) But heere all his Carnall pleasure [...] past, begun to Court him Dimittesne nos? & a moment [...] issto non erimus tecum ultra in aeternum? wilt thou forsake us; and must we part with thee now for ever? And then (as the same Father tells us) the Devill bayted his hooke with all his sinfull pleasures past, (and truely t'was doubtfull but he might then have swallowed some of them) but contrary, at the thought of these, a suddaine tempest of teares shrow'rd from his eyes, and whilst he was thus weeping and talking to God in deepe contrition of spirit, he heard a voyce from heaven, Tolle lege; Tolle lege; Take up and reade.

Then opening his booke, the first Scripture that pre­sented it selfe was that of Saint Paul Not in chambering and wantonnesse &c. Which hit Saint Augustines disease right, and then denying all worldly lusts, he accomplish't his fi­nall Conversion; and in exultancie of Spirit, sends forth his soule in thanksgiving: O Lord I am thy Servant, thou hast broken my bonds in sunder, let my heart and my tongue praise thee O Lord, and let my bones crie unto thee and say who is like unto thee O Lord, and say thou to me I am thy salvation.

And now to summe up this: Repentance is a worke of warre, many assaults, st [...]ong resistance, It wants first coun­cell, then grace to follow it, it requires private an often conferrence with God by prayer, an over-ma [...]ering force of zeale to spurre the sluggish soule forward, a con­tempt of former pleasures, which will now againe flatter us for entertainement.

[Page 29]It requires [...]ouds of teares, and the voyce of God to call us, (though not thus miraculously) yet by the still voyce of his spirit; (and all this considered,) now tell me, whether it be so easie a thing to repent, that it should be left to the last? Whether we can retreate backe to God in an hower, that have strayed fro [...] him all our lives? whe­ther a few dropps at the end of our dayes are sufficient to cleanse that soule, to whom, sin hath contributed the staines of many yeares?

No, no; And therefore for this, shall every man that is god­ly make his prayer unto thee in a time when thou mayst be found, but in the great water flouds they shall not come nigh t [...]ee.

Now then (doubtlesse) is our time to seeke (and I pray God we be not neere our time, not to find): The waters of affl [...]ction are risen indeed, & the fl [...]ds have lift up their voyce, in the sad menacings and report of warre; but as yet we are not in the great water flouds, the waters are not gone over us, the bloud runs not downe the streets, so that if yet, we cry è profundis as Ionas did, and learne of the Waves to lift up our voyce in hearty devotion; the waters, (though they rise high,) shall be to us, but as the waters, of the floud to N [...]ahs Arke, onely to lift our soules neerer unto Heaven.

And thus you see, I have discourst out the First part of the Text, and have considered the Authour of this great matter in charge, Dicit Dominus, the Lord sayes it: we have observed his loving kindnesse, in that he invites our Con­version, and so turnes to us fi [...]st, and that for God to spare us, upon our repentance, after a resolution of destruction, shewes his mercy to us, and betrayes no inconstancy in himselfe: and therefore we to be very ready to obey him, in a matter that so neerely concernes our Soules.

The second point was the opportunity of time: Now, where we considered time int he flitting, and Vicissitudi­narie Nature of it, and that we must expect no stoppe of [Page 30] time to attend the leisure of our conversion; since God ne­ver stopt the sonne, but to declare some great misterie▪ And therefore time being so transient, we not prodigally [...] to mispend, but penitently to imploy it: where we noted that the greatest pollicy the Devill hath to circumvent us, is to perswade us to delay our repentance, and in that dis­course we saw how Saint Augustine discovered this Stra­tageme in his owne particuler, and with what resolutions he avoyded it.

We have had reasons to against this delay, and seene how unsutable it is to the Majesty of God, to offer him a lame, and a blinde, and a decrepit sacrifice, in a late conver­sion; and heere I shew'd, that to observe our time, was the cheifest point in all Christianity, and that the neglect of this made God compl [...]ine, and Iesus weepe.

Then we saw the disturbances that disaduantage late repentance, and answered the obiection concerning the thei [...]e on the Crosse; and lastly, we saw the danger of late re­pentance in this, that repentance at the best, with all the aduantages of life, is a worke of greatest difficulty: thus much I haue done, and yet we are but at the dore of the text, Giue me leaue to enter it; I'le not dwell i [...] it; only [...] suruey of every roome, and briefely paraphrase on the particulars of my second p [...]rt, which wil proue litle more then an application of my first part, and then I haue done.

The second Generall Part.

Saint Origen held an opinion (upon what grounds I dis­pute not) that as all thinges flow'd from God in the begin­ing, so all things should one day slide backe againe into the bosome of God, (the Deuills themselues not excepted) that as at first, there was no other being but God, so at last, all thinges should be God againe:

Of this error of his I might say enough in saying nothing [Page 31] yet this I will; T'were not so great a happinesse for us to turne unto God, if the Deuils could returne from damnation; neither neede God, nor we, take so much care for our turn­ing: True it is that repentance is nothing else but redire ad principia; a Circ'ling about to the point we begun at, to come as neere to God as we can, to returne to him by re­pentance, from whom we turned away by impietie.

Now this terme of turning, properly belongs to one that hath lost his way; Pilgrims we are all, and a fals light of sinn hath mislead us, t'were madnesse to persist now [...] we know our error; it is high time to returne, or we are lost for ever: The Prophet that went the way he should not met a Lyon in the way which soone devoured him: there is a Lion in the way indeed, and to walke that way, is but to dare our owne confusion: Balaam was madd upon this way, when he beate his Asse for being to slow in his Masters Destruction: an Angell must come from heauen to beate him backe, (so resolute we are in a wronge way) when as the very Asse (as if it had more Grace then the Rider) chose rather to falle downe an obiect of his mast­ers furie, then trayterously to Convey him to his danger:

The Asse preacht to Balaam, and may to us; and teach us an unwillingnesse to paths of danger; and if by chance our fraylties lead us thither, let us rather fall down in an humble acknowledgment, then post on to meete our miserie.

Our life then in the Metaphor is a way, and the end of our way is to bring us to our end; that summum bonum, which we call happinesse; Adam went out of the way so sonne as he was in it, and we are all to like our Father, as soone as ever we are borne, we goe astray saith the Prophet: The best way then will be, to have the end of our Iourney still in consideration, with Enoch to walke with God in the Contemplation of the place we tend to, And truely if we could doe so, the Prophet might be stow his Counsell [Page 32] where he pleased, we were well enough with out it.

But wretched men that we are are! this is not our case we are in a way that leades to destruction, yet cofidently we travayle on, till some twitch of conscience begin to startle us, some close and thundring passage of a Sermon pull in the reynes, and we stand to consider whether we are go­ing; some threatned woe in a Prophet shewes us the pit, and we, upon the brinke of it; and then, what have wee to doe, but that, which Lott's wife might not doe? Looke backe first, and then returne.

And indeed the very nature of Conversion will have it so; for it implyes both a turning from, and a turning to; a turning from sinne, and a turning unto God.

And truly if we would but seriously consider the ugly shape of sinne, how horrid it is in the apparition of it; (with devout Saint Anselme,) wee should rather choose to runn [...] headlong into hell, then make use of sinne to car­rie us thither: Nay that Devout soule goes further, Ma­lim enim a peccato purus, infernum intr [...]re, &c. I had rather (saith he,) make hell my habitation if there no sin might approach, then enjoy Heav [...]n it selfe, if sinne were there.

And now fancie (with me) a soule drencht in woe, wal­lowing in the blood of his owne murthers, with vollyes of oathes, and blasphemies, hanging at his lipps; with un­ [...]avorie discourses, (liek jewells) at his eares, with atradu­cing tongue set on fire of hell; With eyes full of vanity, (or worse) with rapine at his hands, with gluttony and dis­gorgings about his belly, and his feete mired with all sen­suality [...] (to shew the path he treades in;) and then to make him looke worse, all this veyl'd over with dissimulation: Would not this bee a strange spectacle, would it not af­fright us? would we not turne away from such a sight, if there were but any way to turne? And if so, (God knowes) wee must runne away from our selves: and [Page 33] unlesse we runne away from our selves, wee shall run from all that is God's, except his judgements, and those we cannot scape: unlesse we turne from our selves by re­pentance, we shall turne from God by dispaire, and that's the worst turning.

O whether then shall they be turned, that will not turne to the Lord? Truly I am loth to tell you: David will doe it for me, The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the people that forg [...]t God.

But Quo me vertam ut convertar ad te Domine? (is Saint Bernards question) Lord, which way shall turne, that I may turne to thee? for thou art every where; Supra, [...]n in­fra? ad dextram, an ad sinistram? shall I turne upward or downeward? to the right hand, or to the left? All these waies we have gone from God, and therefore all these waies let us returne: First let us returne upward, by raising our soules from earth to heaven, esteeming all things but drosse and [...]ung, to those treasures which are above. Then let's tu [...]e dow [...]ewards, by descending low into our soules, in horror and humili [...]tion for our sinnes; acknowledg­ing it were just with God to cast us into the bottomlesse pit; and in expression of this humility, to [...] with Iobe on the Dunghill; to lye with David on the earth; nay with the Primitive Christians to lye under the earth, by strow­ing ashes on our heads:

God himselfe was humbled, disdaine not then to walke the path that hee hath troden; wee cannot turne to God better, then in his owne way: Humiliare, & apprehendisti (saith Saint Bernard,) bee but humbled, and thou hast him.

Turne next upon the right hand, in the true use of pro­sperity, imploy the blessings of God the right way, and if with the pr [...]digall we have spent our portion, let's returne to our father.

[Page 34]Specially if we have wasted our stocke of Grace, nothing left, but the miserable inheritance of wanting it, and a snatch now and then with the swine (the proper punish­ment of our sensuality.) O then 'tis high time to returne, he hath Shoes, he hath a Robe, he hath a Ring: Shoes to stay at home in, and wander this way no more; a Robe of righte­ousnesse that shall cover all our sinnes; a Ring, which shewes our wandring hath beene circular, and that wee are now come in, where we went out; And by this Ring to testifie that our soules are married to our Saviour for ever, never to part againe.

Lastly, we must turne ad sinistram, to the left hand, by a willing patience to endure afflictions: Christ was rayl'd on, despised, spited on, and beaten, and wounded, and all for our transgressions, and shall we repine at our iust pu­nishment?

Heare but Bonaventur's passion in this point; Nolo viue­re sine Vulnerecumte videam vulneratum: O my god, my wounded God, as long as I see thee wounded, I [...]will ne­ver liue with out a wound; Crist's Crosse is the Christians inheritance; and therefore it is obseruable, that he bare it not all the way himselfe, but part of the way Simon caried it for him: we have, and shall keepe an interest in this, to the world's end.

O disturbe not the joy of the Martyrs by shunning Christian sufferings; Make not the Confessors blush in hea­ven to behold our tergiversations. But let us march bare­foot through the path that leades to Heaven, though the way be strow'd with thornes; go through fire, & water; Goe upon the point of swords, Nay passe through hell it self, if that were the way to heaven, any thing, any thing, for Christ: and if any of us have beene apt to recoyle from our faith, for any feare of danger, let us now turne to him, in a willingnesse to endure the worst, this will be a [Page 35] brave Conversion, and a true testimony that we do not turne only Complementally, but Cordially without heart: And indeed the Prophet makes that the condition of our Con­version, we must turne In c [...]rde, with ou [...] heart: a Corporall Conversion, will not advantage us God regards not much the outside of the platter: I doubt not Herodias charger was faire and cleane without; but there was bloud, & Mur­ther within it: If revenge, and mallice; thirst of ruine more then reformation, lurke within our hearts, for all our cunning complying in the outside of Religion, wee doe but offer to God Iohn Baptists head in a platter.

In the choice of friends we desire hartines, let's then measure our duty to God, by our own desire, If we should unbowell our selves, and pull out our own hearts, and give them to God a sacrifice for our sinnes; it were to little.

But God requires a cheaper sacrifice, that we would turne to him with the affections of our heart, and shall we not doe that?

O yes, I know you'le say you will; and I [...]le put you to your tryall presently: Can you first but take off your heart from the things of this world, and make your treasure in Heaven?

Could you be content now (if God should require it) to sell all you have and give to the poore? would you not begin to shrug, and with the young man in the Gospell g [...]e away sorrowfull? Could you be content now to sit downe and wash all your servants feete? yet Christ did it.

Could you be content to kill your only son, and make a burnt offering of him, yet Abram did it; did it, in his wil­lingnesse to doe it, did it though he did it, not.

Nay more; could you give your only sonne to your enemies, to your enemies to kill him, and yet that death (rightly apply'd) to save the Murtherers? yet God him selfe did it: Once more, could you be Crucified, and re­vil'd, [Page 36] and mockt, and wounded, have your hands and your feete peirc't, so that the Iron should enter into your soule, and in the midst of all this, pray heartily to your Father to forgive your tormentors? Yet Christ did it.

Are you not startled now? O Lord who is sufficient for these things? I see I must descend lower.

Can you pray fervently, and send your heart up to Heaven in desire of mercy? Are you sorrie when you thinke upon your sinnes? and doe you thinke upon them?

Nay more, and that's lesse; when you finde a defect of these, can you heartily wish you could performe them?

If you finde that you do not greive sufficiently for your sinnes, can you grieve (hartily) that you cannot grieve? Well; if but so, this is a hearty turning, and God accepts it.

But heer's one Condition more it must be in toto Cor­de with all the heart, that is with all the foure affections of the hart: First that we love him so, that we love nothing else but for him, Secondly that we feare him and no other, no not those that kill the body; Thirdly that we make him the ioy of our harts, and Lastly to sorrow for nothing so much, as that by sinne we have displeased him.

Agripp [...] said nothing whē he said something; perswad­ed to be a Christian in modico (for so the Latine renders it) but Saint Paul spoke it home, in modico and in toto some what, and all together, to be as he was: To give God apart, and apart to the world, is to rent our hearts the wrong way, and so make that a fault now, which will be a vertue by and by: No no, we must avoid the verie occasions of sinne, like Saint Iohn, who fledd out of the bath, when he saw Corinthus in it, as if he might have bin defiled in that very element that clen [...]'d him, this is in toto corde with all thy hart.

And to testifie this, the Prophet directs us further cum [Page 37] ieiunio to turne to him with fasting; Before, I caled repen­tance a warre, and Saint Ambrose makes this the very skirmish, Certamen nostrum ieiunium est, the hottest of our strife is our fasting: thus our Saviour fought, and was victo­rious: thus Elias went to heaven, nay to fast, is the very life of Angells, for their meate is to doe the will of their Father.

Well doth the scripture call Iohn Baptist more then a▪ Prophet, (and that's more then a man;) and why? but be­cause he lived the life of Angells by abstinence: nay he is flatly caled an Angell, Ecce mitto Angelum, behold I send my Angell, (that is my messenger) to prepare my way before me; and what way did he prepare him? amongst others, A way in the wildernesse, for there he fasted, and there Christ fasted after him:

Eating came in with the creation of beastes, and so sen­suall a thing, it seemes God thought it, that the first law did conduce to fasting; and the first sinne was the breach of that Law; and we suffer for it to this howre.

Adam when he had eaten was cloathed with the skinns of beasts (as the livery of a beastly appetite,) but Iohn Baptist that was a man of abstinence, had only a girdle of skinns about him, to shew no more appetite, then what conduced to the necessity of his being:

But aboue all; we must abstaine from sinne; for what will it profit us to abstaine from wine, and to be drunke with rage? what will it advantage us not to eate flesh, and yet performe the lusts of the fl [...]sh? what will it pro­fit us to forbeare those things, which are somtimes law­full, if we doe those things which are never lawfull? The Fathers conclusion is good counsell, Sic ieiunemus a Cibis, ut multo magis ieiunemus a vit iis, Aug:) let us so fast from foode, that we much more fast from sinne.

Ioels phrase is more then ordinarie, Sanctifie a fast; no [Page 38] true fast then with out some sanctification, and therefore God by his Prophet Esay derides their formality, who drest themselves in dissembled lookes that so they might appeare to fast.

Is this your fast (saith God) to hange downe your head like bulrush? to put on sackcloth and ashes? To hang downe your head like a bulrush and yet still remaine a stiffe necked people? to clothe the body in sackcloth when as the soule is naked, not one ragg of righteousnesse upon it? To sprinkle our selves with ashes, when as our lust burnes in a full fire? so farre are we by such a fast from vanquishing the Devill, that it makes us like him: To abstaine from meat and not from Iniquity, is but to imi­tate the Devill (Saith Isidore) Cui [...]sea non est, sed semper adest nequitia, He eates nothing and yet is full of wickednesse; Better to be stuft with meat then sinne, but the true fast will have neither.

But yet there is bread which we may eate when we fast, & fast the better for eating it: David calls it panem lachrima rum Psal. 80. The bread of teares, and truly we shal turne to God the better, when in the strength of penitence, we shall doe a miracle, which the Devill ne're thought to tempt Christ with, turne our very teares into bread.

And why doth David call his teares his meate? They were more likely to be his drinke; but onely to tell us, that with these, the soule is no lesse nourisht, then the body is with bread, our spirituall life is not better maintained, then by Lamentation.

And this is it our Prophet cales for next, our returne must be in Fletu with weeping: The Ancients were prodigall of their teares, Iobes eyes powred them forth, Davids eyes gushed out with water: And 'tis remarkable, that in the Sa­cred Fountaine tongue, the same word signifies both the eye and a well, to shew that our eyes must be over [...]lowing [Page 39] spring, whose inundation (like that of Nylus,) makes the whole soyle fruitfull a long time after: our earth is bar­ren without these showrs, we live best, when we are drown'd every day.

But the Day was not sufficient for Davids sorrow, the night begets sinnes as well as the day; and therefore Da­vid laid to rest, opens his eyes to weepe, so wakefull in his penitence, that every night he washt his bed; and well he did to wash that: David had a sin of the bed, & therfore now (as with that rare Emplaister, which apply'd to the weapon, cures the wound) he washed his bed, to cleanse himselfe.

And we may well be Prodigall of our teares, when God himselfe is so thrifty to treasure them in his bott [...]e; where (in Heaven) they shall lye desposited, as the earnest of our comming thither; and when we doe arive that place of blisse, every drop shall be as a pearle to adorne our soules.

In David, we reade of the waters above the heavens, and one of the Fathers (I remember) interprets those waters to be the teares of penitents; (how litterall I dispute not) but by application, 'tis very proper to the point: for repen­tance (like that wondred Engine of Archimedes) makes wa­ter rise high, by descending: It makes a miracle (other­wise never done) it makes it rayne upward: Mary Magdalen perfum'd our Saviours feete more then his head: some devoti­on she powred out of her boxe, but more drop't from her eyes, and washing him, in that bath she cleans'd her selfe.

I have read of a Student in Paris, who comming to Con­fession, was so nothing else but sorrow at the consideration of his sinnes; that griefe locking up his tongue, his sor­row found no passage but through his eyes; where every evill was plainly seene in watery perspectives; and this was all the language griefe had left him: His Confessor seeing him stand thus speechl [...]sse, bid him write his Confession, which he did and presented it to his Ghostly Father; who [Page 40] could read in it nothing else but Miracle, for the black Caracters all vanisht, and left the paper unstained, to Emblemise that penitence is a second innocence.

Be this true, or false; sure I am, the melting soule, which hath a floud of teares for every transgression, washeth off all her staynes, and appeares before God (to whom alone she is bound to Confesse) pure and spotlesse.

And truly 'tis a good degree of our turning unto God, that when we rise out of the mire of sin, we begin to see our owne foulenesse, and then wash our selves with our teares, And if Christ (who never laught,) wept thrise, and yet had no sinne of his owne, how many teares need we, who often laugh, and yet do nothing else but sinne?

If one we love die, passion presently leapes out at our eyes, and we weepe much: Alas, our soules by sinne die dayly, and do we not take it so heavily as to weepe? Can we loose a neerer freind? To have sinnes past number, and so few teares, as perhaps, will not make a number? this is a strange disproportion.

Weepe then a Sea of teares, that so the ship of your soule may saile to heaven in her owne sorrow; and for our spee­dier arivall, let's raise our selves a prosperous gale, and with deepe and hart-breaking sighes, fill her [...]ayles: But the ship of our soules is of greate burthen; sinne hath loaded us, we draw much water, and every complection is not fit for teares; if therefore we stick aground for want of water, we must returne by flying: hence David calles for wings, and what wings are they? but the wings of a Dove, be­cause that is the most mournefull creature, and this is a­nother quality of our Conuersion, it must bee in planctu with mourning: strong sobbes, deepe groanes, such inward Compunction as if our hearts were stucke with needles: All cannot weepe, but all must mourne, or one day gnash their [Page 41] teeth: But the morning growes old, and I must hasten: If we returne rightly, the heart must be rent; and not the gar­ments; that's but Iewish madnesse, The sorrow of the out­side, is but the outside of sorrow, the very heart of sorrow, is the sorrow of the heart; without which, we make a stage play of religion, every man seeming something else, not that which hee is; and then God will not behold us; or if he doe, 'twill bee oculo reprobationis, not ocul [...] approbationis; with an eie of dislike, not of love; behold us a farre off, and what is further from heaven, then hell?

No, no, when God look's upon us, we must be misera­ble objects; our hearts are only beautifull in his sight, when they are broken:

Paenitentia est quaedam dolentis vindicta: Repentance is a kind of revenge, and we doe no lesse then stabb the soule in harty sorrow; there must be first [...], indignation, wrath and anger against our selves: then [...], very re­venge: Thinke then what a holy excesse necessarily con­curr's to true repentance, that no one word will expresse the Nature of it, but we are forced to make it up vvith many): Do de me paenas, ut ille parcat, saith Saint Aug: I punish my selfe, that so thou O God mayst spare me: Broken hearts are not sufficient, vvee must have contrite hearts, hearts ground to povvder, for remorse of sinne: And then heere's the happinesse, that turning to God th [...]s broken, thus bruised, he vvill binde us up.

See Saint Orig [...]n lying on the floore, in the Church Porch crying out Calcate me, trample upon me all ye peo­ple, as unsavorie salt, made by sinne fit for nothing but the dunghill: and truely so pittifull was the state of the primi­tive penitents in this kinde, that (transform'd with greife) they became such aruefull spectacle, that men had not the hearts to behold them, but turned away their eyes from those, who were thus turning to the Lord: But heere's the [Page 42] comfort, that God, will never turne away his eyes from those, that thus turne unto him; and that we may doe so, wee are put in minde of it now againe, by the turning of the text, for the beginning of the text, is wheel'd about to the end of it; And turne to the Lord your God.

And that wee may doe so, heer's two enforcing argu­ments, one of terror, the other of love; of terror, hee is the Lord, powerfull in punishing: such a stone as when hee falls upon thee in the execution of his judgements, he will grinde thee to powder: & make thee so miserable, and so neere nothing, that thou shalt be nothing, but in misery.

Then an argument of love (for hee assaies all meanes to [...] us) he is your God: your God who created you, your God, who redeemed you, your's by all promises of favour; to refresh you, when you come laden unto him: not to despise you when you are broken harted, not to Iudge you, if you Iudge your selves, not to laugh at your Ca­lamity if you timely weepe for it, not to send you away emp­ty, when you hunger and thirst after righteousnesse▪ if wee performe our parts, he will doe his:

This, this is the way, to appease his wrath, for though the Prophet's phrase seeme to question it, Quis scit? as it followes the text, who knoweth, if he will returne and leave a blessing behind him? Yet we know that interogations of this Nature, are equiualent to affirmations, and so heer's the sense, wee know that he will returne and have mercy upon us, and for our turning unto him with fasting, [...]he will returne unto us with a meate and drinke offering, as it followes in our Prophet: that if we turne [...]nto him with weeping, hee will f [...]l us with fulnesse of ioy; Not that our soules shall, or can, comprehend the joyes of heaven, that were to narrow our happinesse, but our soules (which is more) shall bee possest of joy; Totum gaudium non intrabit in ga [...]dentes, sed toti gaudentes intrabunt in g [...]udiu [...], saith Peter Lombard out of Saint Aug:

[Page 43]O think then what the joyes of heaven are, into which the soule shall be plung'd as into an Ocean, and so bee de­voured of happinesse: Heer's fayre invitation; he will bee ours, by making us his, and we may give the state of Grace a glimp's of the state of Glory, by turning to him as he is our God, for then he will turne to us as his people, (and his indig­nation ceasing [...] (to begin our heaven) joy (in a degree) shall heere on earth, descend into our soules; and we (not cha­rioted up to heaven (with Elias) nor rap't thithe [...] (with Saint Paul [...] shall by a cheaper and easier state, weare every day a taste of happinesse in our hearts.

Thus, thus shall peace be setled in the Kingdome; our hearts all united in the true Religion; all our feares expel­led; and the voyce of ioy retourne into our dwellings: and that it may be thus; Turn [...] thou us O good Lord, and so shall wee be turned, turned from sinne unto righteousnesse heere, and one day translated from Earth to Heaven: Even so Lord Iesus, Amen, Amen.

FINIS.

Errata.

PAge 4. line 29. reade withdraw. p. 5. l. 21. r. for what we now have. p. 6. l. 4. r. put on our. p. 10. l. 11. for yeild. r. yeilded. p. 11. l. 8. r. of his l. 33. r. will be then. p. 13. l. 5. for an r. And. and for And an. p. 15. l. 18. r. we thinke we have it. p. 20. l. 8. for no r. so. l. 32. for mortall r. morall. p. 27. l. 31. for famously r. furiously.

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