BY THE Late Reverend Father in GOD, Dr EDWARD REYNOLDS, Late Lord Bishop of Norwich.

LONDON, Printed by I. M. for Iohn Martyn, at the Bell in St Paul's Church-yard. 1678.


Courteous Reader,

I Here present thee with a Sermon many years since Preached in St. Paul's be­fore the Lord Mayor and his Brethren, by the late Right Reverend Father in God Dr Edward Reynolds late Lord Bishop of Norwich.

This Copy I received from the hands of a Gentleman, who being an Auditor himself of the Sermon, and of good acquaintance with the said Lord Bishop, obtained it of him fairly written in his own hand with liberty to tran­scribe it.

Which being carefully done, and revised by the original, is here presented to thy view.

[Page] This Gentleman bad me farther assure thee, that notwithstanding he knows his copy to be exact, he would not have taken that bold­ness to have printed it, had he not first obtained from the Author a willingness that it might be printed, which himself would have done, but could not readily find his papers.

This encouragement made him willing to let the world be partaker of this excellent and elaborate discourse, by which he being dead: yet speaks to thee in the words of the Prophet, to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk hum­bly with thy God.

Thine in all service, I. M.

A SERMON Preached in St. Pauls, before the Right Honourable the Lord Mayor.

Micah Chap. 6. Ver. 6, 7, 8.

6. Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow my self before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt-offerings, with calves of a year old?

7. Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

8. He hath shewed thee O man what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee▪ but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.

IN the beginning of this Chapter we find mention of a con­troversy between God the Plaintiff, and his People the Delinquent. The action, an action of unkindness and in­gratitude after two great deliverances; from the tyranny of Pharaoh in Egypt, from the subtilty of Balaam in Moab. And this is an high aggravation of injury when it is done by a friend, the Philosopher tells us, Rhet. lib. 1. [...], you know was the deepest wound that Caesar felt; and Moses is at the self same figure, Do ye thus requite the Lord, O foolish people, and [Page 2] unwise? Is not he thy Father? Deut. 32. 6. Iob complains of it as of one of his greatest afflictions, They whom I loved, are turned against me, Iob 19. 19. yea he that was greater than Iob at Iobs greatest excellency of patience, cannot but complain of this, that his wounds like Amnons were given him in the House of a friend, Zach. 13. 6. The kiss of a Di­sciple did no less pierce him, than the Nails of a Souldier. His Enemies that wounded him found mercy, when his friends that betrayed him found none.

The people being cited to appear to this action, and being condemned by their own witness, begin to betake themselves to counsel: Not how they may come and stand before God, which is the gesture of men that can abide a trial; Isai. 50. 8. but how they may come and bow before him to deprecate the judgment which they are forced to acknowledge.

And when they have advised upon a course of their own, and made tender of performances of their own to make an ex­piation, they all come short, and are rejected. God himself is pleased to be of their counsel, and he who in the beginning of the suit was the Plaintiff to accuse them, in the issue be­comes their Advocate to instruct them; and when he had a judgment entred against them upon their own confession, doth himself notwithstanding direct the way how that judgment may be reversed, and avoided.

He hath shewed thee O man, &c.

But what then are the counsels that he gave? Surely one would judge but such as were very obvious, and which any man might have given to himself; To be just, merciful, hum­ble, religious. Who could not have said as much as this?

Certainly how mean instructions soever we may judg them, there is not a man can learn them but of God. Let Israel alone here to counsel himself; we find him at his Sacrifices, and Holocausts, with rams, and oyls, with thousands, and ten thousands, with a child, a first-born, with as many costly and hyperbolical evasions, and circuitions of his own carnal wor­ship, [Page 3] will-worship as Rhetorick can express; Sacrifices more, sumptuous than justice could provide, Sacrifices more bloody than mercy would allow; but all this while not a word of Ju­stice, or Mercy themselves.

But what? did not God shew those as well as these? did not Moses as well receive the pattern of the Sanctuary, as the Tables of the Law? did not the law give an express indicavit for these too? Surely we may not deny it. But it is still with respect to judgment, and mercy. Commanded they were, but not as principal, either in point of obedience, for they must yield to the great duties of the law; or in point of expiation, for they must lead to the great Sacrifice of the gospel: Leave these things out, and then ask of God whether he required those or no, and he will answer you with a Quis requisivit, Isai. 1. 12. Ask whether he will own them or no, and he will tell you, they are yours, and not his, Amos 5. 21. Nay ask him whether they be good or no, and he will tell you plainly, Dedi eis praecepta non bona, I gave them Statutes which were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live.

Well then, my people, if you will needs be saved by offer­ing of thousands, and ten thousands, go not to the Mountains for them, but go to thy Conscience; there thou shalt find thousands of beastly, and ten thousand of inordinate desires fit to be slaughtered, and sacrificed unto him.

If ye will be saved by Sacrifices, and oblations, and rams; No Sacrifice to that which is reasonable, Rom. 12. 1. No ob­lation to that of thy self, Rom. 15. 16. No Rams to the rams of Nebaioth, the confluence of the Gentiles to the Gos­pel, Isai. 60. 1.

If you will needs swim through rivers to Heaven, Rivers of oyl are nothing worth to rivers of judgment. Let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream, Amos 5. 24.

If thou wilt needs go to God with meat-offerings of oyl, no oyl to the Samaritans oyl of mercy and compassion, Luc. 10. 34.

[Page 4] If you dare not come to God without a first-born, go not to thy self for one. Thine is like thy self, sinful and unclean; but take him in thy arms who is the first-born of every crea­ture. There is none but [...], one child-bearing which can save thee, 1 Tim. 2. 15.

You see which way the words look and what they intend, and that you may see it yet more clearly, let us take them in sunder, and consider in them these two general parts.

  • An anxious and solicitous inquiry of counsel. Hypocrites seek how to be at peace with an offended God.
  • A full and solid answer of the Prophet to that enquiry.

In the peoples enquiry after God are observable two things.


  • Question it self, & there are likewise
    • Their festination, in quo praeveniam, oc­curram, antevertam. So much the word imports, Job 4. 2. Deuter. 23. 4. Nehem. 13. 2. Psal. 68. 28. Hab. 6. 2.
    • Their prostration and humility. Incu [...] ­vabo me coram Deo excelso.
  • Anticipation of the Prophets answer by proffers and ad­dresses of their own in many costly and difficult acts of
    • external services instituted by God himself
    • Excogitated supererogations invented by themselves.

In the Prophet's answer are likewise considerable two ge­neral parts.


  • Implicite reprehension and rejection of those.
  • Positive and express direction unto other duties.

First, A reprehension of

  • Carnal confidence in external du­ties severed from the great du­ties of the law.
  • Arbitrary ways and projects of human devotion, beside and without the rule of Gods word.

Secondly, A positive and express direction how to come [Page 5] and appear before God in his worship with acceptation, in his judgment with confidence, in his Kingdom with glory; to wit in the great duties of the Law and Gospel. And here are considerable four particulars.

  • 1. The substance of the duties required.
    • 1. Iudgment, and that to be done.
    • 2. Mercy and that to be beloved.
    • 3. Walking with God, and for that to be humbled.
  • 2. The principles whence they must rise.
    • 1. The light of Gods law, Ille in­dicavit, he hath shewed.
    • 2. The authority of Gods will, Quid requisivit, what he hath re­quired.
  • 3. The manner how couched in these words, to walk hum­bly with thy God; which I take not only for the specification of a distinct duty, but a qualification also of both the other which are, To be done
    • 1. In constancy, it must be ambulation, a tenor, progress, proficiency; jumping or leaping will not serve the turn.
    • 2. In sincerity, with an eye to God, so as to agree with him and to please him.
    • 3. In humility, denying our selves both persons and duties.
    • 4 In faith, the foundation of all the rest, we must walk with him as our God.
  • And 4. the inducement unto those duties, which we find likewise couched in the text. And they are in regard of
    • our selves, human frailty, O man.
    • Gods
      • Divine Majesty, he is a most high God, we cannot otherwise approach to him.
      • Divine mercy, he is a gra­cious God, ready to teach us how we may.

[Page 6]Duties they are good by con­formity to the rule.

  • Gods will, as expressions of it.
  • End, Mans felicity as means unto it.

I begin with the anxious and solicitous question of the guilty people: Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, &c.

I wonder to hear guilt talk of appearing before God. Look on it when it came first into the world, and you will find it running away from God. Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God, amongst the trees of the garden, Gen. 3. 8. And surely if the Sun and Moon be asha­med, Isa. 24. 23. if the Heavens be not clear, Iob 15. 15. if the Seraphims cover their face and feet, Isai. 6. 2. if Mo­ses may not draw too nigh, Exod. 3. 5. but did exceedingly quake and tremble, Heb. 12. 21. if Elias cover his face, 1 Kings 19. 13. if Isaiah cry out, I am undone, Chap. 6. 5. if Iob abhor himself in dust and ashes, cap. 42. 6. if the 24. Elders cast down their Crowns, Revel. 4. 10. I wonder with what confidence Hypocrites dare think of meeting God. Is he not a consuming fire, Heb. 12. 29. and how dare thorns and briars stand before him, Isai. 27. 4? Doth he not dwell in light which no man can approach unto, 1 Tim. 6. 16? and what hath darkness with light, for every one that doth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to it, Ioh. 3. 20.

Something surely there is in it that guilty men bethink themselves of meeting God. By nature they do not so much as seek after him; God is not in all their thoughts, Psal. 10. 4. They love not to retain him in their knowledge, Rom. 1. 28. They are alienated, and estranged from his life, Eph. 4. 18. They would fain be without God in the World, Eph. 2. 12. They would have the holy one of Israel cease from among them, Isai. 39. 11.

If you look to the two first Verses of this Chapter, you will find the reason of all this. God hath a controversy, plead he will; and as he called for Adam when he hid himself, Adam where art thou? Gen. 3. 9. so here he calleth forth the peo­ple [Page 7] to this controversy, O my people, what have I done unto thee? v. 3 and they who contended with one another were to come near, and to stand together, Isai. 50. 8. Act. 25. 16.

Now then Cum rex justus saderit in solio, When once God citeth the Conscience to his tribunal, Prepare to meet thy God O Israel, Amos 4. 12. When the Soul is once awakened, and startled with this question, how wilt thou do to dwell with devouring fire, and with everlasting burning? then the sinners in Sion are afraid, fearfulness doth surprise the hy­pocrite, Isai. 33. 14. When there is a noise of the Bride­grooms coming, then the foolish Virgins think of their Lamps, and ask after Oyl as well as the wise. Wicked men themselves may be so convinced of their sins, and of Gods greatness, of the guilt that is in them, and of the terror that is in God that out of the force and principles of a startled and awaked Con­science, they shall be affected with notable fear of the wrath to come, and be constrained to bethink themselves of a treaty of peace, and of preventing that wrath ere it overtake them. Even the Pharisees and Sadducees, a Generation of Vipers, had some warning to flee from the wrath to come, Mat. 3. 7. Ay Felix an unjust and sinful Judge, cannot but tremble at the Sermon of this at the bar, Act. 24. 25. Thunder will make Pharaoh repent, Exod. 9. 27. and terror will make Iudas re­pent, Mat. 27. 3.

The Prophet Eliah will drive Ahab into Sackcloth, and Iohn Baptist the second Eliah constrains Herod to do many things. The Scullion that cares not for the foulness of the coat, will be afraid to handle it when he sees it on fire. The most covetous man that is, will not dare to dive to the bottom of the Sea to gather Pearls, or put his hand into a burning Furnace to hug his gold whilst it is melting. The robber that threatens on the high way, bring him to the bar and he will speak supplications. Next to mercy, there is no such Orator to perswade guilty men, as terror. We having, saith the Apo­stle, [Page 8] the terror of the Lord do perswade men. He speaks of ap­pearing before the judgment seat, 2 Cor. 5. 11. When Saul hears of restitution, then he cryed out, I have sinned, 1 Sam. 15. 24. When Esau perceived he had lost the blessing indeed, then he cryed out with a great and exceeding bitter cry, and with many tears would have perswaded Isaac to repent, and change his resolution, Heb. 12. 17. Even the worst of Sin­ners, wilful Apostates that have thrown away mercy, are yet amazed with judgment, and with a fearful looking for it, and fiery indignation, Heb. 10. 27.

The Conscience thus awakened by Gods controversy, and summoned to his Tribunal, will then from the pang and pinch of terror be marvellous inquisitive after the ways of escape. As soon as ever Iohn Baptist lays his Axe to the root of the tree, the people, the Publicans and Souldiers are every one ask­ing questions, Luke 5. 9. 14. When the Plague of Locusts was upon Pharaoh, and his House, then he sent to Moses and Aaron in haste to ask pardon, and intreat the Lord, Exod. 10. 16. When God slew Israel, then they sought and enquired early, even when their heart was not right, and when they were not stedfast in his Covenant, Psal. 78. 37. Fear is mar­vellous inquisitive. Watchman! what of the night, what of the night, watchman! it doubles question upon question, Isa. 21. 11, 12. as sorrow doth complaint upon complaint. And indeed this is an excellent inquiry how we may do to stand before God; if men were not in this case like Pilate, who ask'd a question but would not stay for an answer, Ioh. 18. 28. if they would not anticipate the Indicavit in the Text, but stay for Gods own resolution. But as nothing is more con­trary to faith than fear, Mat. 8. 26. so nothing hath a more con­trary operation. He that believeth doth not make hast, Isa. 28. 16. whereas he that feareth cannot stand still, insomuch that in mens fears they are said to fly seven ways at once, Deuteron. 28. 7. There is no passion either more solicitous in asking counsel, or less constant in following that which is gi­ven. [Page 9] Yea many times so desperate is the hypocrisy of mens hearts, that fear or formality force them to ask the question; yet lust over-rules them to make their own answer. Iohanan, and the people came down to ask counsel what they should do, whether go into Egypt, or stay in the land, Ier. 42. 23? but receiving an answer contrary to their expectation, they tell the Prophet plainly, that he speaks falsly, cap. 43. 2. And another time the people came and sat before that Pro­phet, and enquired of God, but God tells him, they kept idols in their hearts, and resolved they should be counsellors that should regulate their behaviour, and God would not be enquired of, Ezec. 14. 17. 20. 30. chap.

The truth is, men would fain, if possible, reconcile Gods service and their lust together; and therefore they take coun­sel of themselves, [...], making God such a God to themselves, as Pasquilius speaks, as they had made themselves to be unto him, they would fain be unto themselves Arbitri religionis & praeceptorum, even d [...] ­ [...]ores, as Hilarius Pictaviensis elegantly speaketh, and the Phi­losopher gives the reason of it in another case, [...], That every man loves his own way best, as Parents do their own children; and therefore betakes him­self to many inventions of his own. So long as sin is loved, and lust retained, men will not go downright to the will of God, but to carnal reason. When God called to St. Paul by his grace, and revealed Christ unto him, then only it was that he resolved not to confer with flesh and blood, Gal. 1. 16. If Ahaz be commanded to believe, and for confirmation of his faith have a sign offered him, he will not take Gods way to trust in him, but his own way, an arm of flesh. I will not ask, neither will I tempt the Lord, Isai. 7. 12. Spiritual things are above the reach of carnal thoughts, Principles, and not only above them but against them. The wisdom of the flesh is enmity to God, Rom. 8. 7. and the natural man nei­ther knoweth nor receiveth the things of God, 1 Cor. 2. 14. [Page 10] It is the voice of flesh and blood, Nolumus hunc, We will not have him to rule over us; and therefore as water can move no higher than the fountain of it, so carnal principles can carry men no farther than carnal performances. And the truth is, Carnal men have bu [...]gross and carnal notions of God and his Kingdom. To be glorifyed, is to be like unto Christ, Ph. 3. As the eye by seeing the Sun is made like unto the Sun, so he who rejects his image here hath no true desire of his glory there. Ioh. 3. 3. Having therefore none but carnal notions of God, they have none but carnal notions of his service too.

And surely, to say truth, every man is so afraid of the wrath of God when he begins to understand it, that though he con­sult with nothing but flesh and blood, yet he will go far to escape it.

1. All outward duties he will perform with all punctual observation, be they never so full of strictness, costliness, diffi­culty; never so numerous, never so sumptuous, he will wil­lingly undertake them all; so rivers are used to express abun­dance, Iob 20. 17. But here is his misery in that point, that then when he doth multiply them beyond number, yet he doth dimidiate them by leaving out the sole duties of faith and re­pentance, and reasonable service, which through the Sacri­fice should have lead his soul to the substance, and therefore God objects it to them, They sacrifice flesh, Hos. 8. 13. whereas the sacrifice of God is a broken Spirit, Psa. 51. 19. and therefore he calleth multiplying of sacrifices multiplying of transgressions, Amos 4. 4.

2. He will add unto this, outward rigorous operations, scru­pulositates negotiosas, as Tertullian expresseth them. Many venturous austerities, and supererogations of his own. One Temple will not serve his turn, but he will build Temples, Hos. 8. 14. One Altar at Ierusalem shall not serve his turn, but he will have Altars, Hos. 10. 11. One holy City will not serve his turn, he will run to Bethel, and at Gilgal multiply transgressions, Amos 4. 4. Nay ordinary Sacrifices shall not [Page 11] serve his turn, he will not go to the Herd, and to the Stall only, for the first-fruit of his Cattel, but to his own bowels for the first-born of his body; Ahaz who would not be per­swaded to take Gods way, would take his own, 2 Sam. 28. 3. though God commanded it not, Isa. 4. 32.

A wicked man will part with any thing for salvation but his sin, and he will sooner sacrifice his Child than sacrifice his lust, and if it be possible, with the blood of his Son, will purchase to himself an annuity of sinning. If Herods child stand in the way of his timerous ambition, he had better have been his hog than his son; as Augustus spake.

And without question did the salvation of men hang upon this issue, the sacrificing a first-born, as it doth indeed upon faith, repentance, and new obedience, it would not be they, who cast it away now by the contempt of these, would be so merciful to the temporal life of their child as to shipwrack upon the eternal life of their own.

If men then might have the deciding of this controversy in their own power, should we not, think you, hear multi­tudes now speaking like those in our Prophet then, wherein shall I come and bow before the high God; shall I offer up all my time in Sacrifices? all my substance in devotion? shall I change a Palace for a Cloister? and put on Sack-cloth instead of purple? shall I nail mine eyes up to Heaven? and wear out my lungs with sighs? shall I bruise my breast with buffets, and torture my back with scourges? shall I wither and shrink up my body with discipline, and make it a House of correction to the soul that is in it? will the Lord be pleased with thou­sands of sighs, or with rivers of tears? shall I lick up the dust of the Temple, or kiss the stones of the sanctuary hollow? Surely to do all these, and leave out graviora legis, judg­ment, mercy, to abound in voluntary humility, and be puft up with a fleshly mind, to be taken wholly up with bodily service, and to leave godliness quite out; to have a leavened countenance and a Pharisaical Conscience; law in the phy­lacteries, [Page 12] and lust in the soul that is in it; is all but like him in Plutarch, whose lungs were putrifyed, and he went to the Physician for a whitloe on his finger. The best outward per­formances, though not founded in will-worship but in Gods own word, are all of them [...]t [...], Heb. 9. 10. carnal ordinances, and [...], 1 Tim. 4. 8. bodily exercise. And such devotion St. Basil compares to Bel the Idol, that was brass without, but clay within. It is to do with religion as men do with the Ostrich, wear the fur or feathers, but throw away the body.

We do then, saith Clemens Alexandrinus, truly worship God, when we do imitate him: And the sacrifice does not sanctify the man, but the conscience doth sanctify the sacri­fices; as old Irenaeus speaketh.

Take away this and you shall often find God vilifying his own institutions, not as ordained by him, but as depraved by us. Thus he calls their Sacrifices a shame, Ho. 4. 19. their Sermons Songs, Ezech. 26. 13. their Psalms, a confused noise, Amos 5. 23. their prayers and incense, an abomination, Pro. 28. 9. Isai. 1. 13. their temple a den of thieves, Ier. 7. 11. their land a land of Sodom, Isa. 1. 10. their people a people of Aethiopia, Amos 9. 7. their brasen Serpent, Nehustan, a piece of brass, Neh. 18. 4. their circumcision, concision, Phi. 3. 2. their receiving the Lords Supper, not receiving it, 1 Cor. 11. 20. their sacrifices, transgressions, Am. 4. 4.

Well, but it may be they who bid so high for salvation, so many thousands, and their very Children for advantage, had they known a better way, would not failed to have tryed that too. No; ignorance can they pretend none; for, Ille indi­cavit, he hath not been wanting to shew them what it is which he requires of them.

Such is the desperate corruption of the heart of men, even then when they are frighted with the wrath to come, and very anxious and solicitous to fly from it; they do yet wilfully shut their eyes to the right way, choak, suppress, smother in them­selves [Page 13] the light of saving truth; delude and cast a mist over their own conscience, and willingly rather choose their own wayes from wrath, than God's. Haec summa delicti nolle agnoscere quem ignorare non possunt. So long as men like not to part with their lusts▪ they cannot away with the light that discovers them. False wares love not true, but false lights, nothing but repentance will bring men to acknowledge the truth, 2 Tim. 2. 25. when men will lay apart filthiness, then they will receive the ingraffed word, Iam. 1. 19. when they will do his will, then they will know his doctrine, Ioh. 1▪ 17. when they fear him, then they will see his secret, and have their eyes toward the Lord, Psa. 25. 14, 15. when they are in his way, then they will take his guidance, Psa. 32. 8. But until then they are willingly ignorant, 1 Pet. 3. 5. and like not to retain God in their knowledge, Rom. 11. 2. do resolve to contend against it, Rom. 2. 8. In the things which they know in them they corrupt themselves, and though God hate robbery for burnt-offerings, do yet venture to hope, that when they have robbed God of substantial duties, he will rest satisfied with their Sacrifices; and thus they deal with God just as Bankrupts with their Creditors; think they can put him off with parcel payment, and compound for so much in the hundred. So exceeding deceitful is the heart of man, as then when it fears wrath, it doth not so much as fly from it; hoodwinks and hides it self, like Cowards when they see a blow coming do not ward it, but only wink that they may not see it, and the sum of all their care is to perish by stealth.

We have hitherto examined the peoples question and found, First, The Consciences of wicked men, who natu­rally fly from God being shaken, and awakened do bethink themselves of meeting him.

Secondly, Being thus shaken with the fear of wrath, mar­vellous inquisitive how to escape it.

Thirdly, Not only making questions, but as it is said of the Mother of Sisera, making answers unto themselves, and not [Page 14] betaking themselves as good men do to the will of God, I will know what God the Lord will say; but to the dictates and resolutions of carnal reason, and that making plentiful offers.

First, A most exact and scrupulous observation of carnal duties.

Secondly, Of many Arbitrary, and excogitated ways of will-worship, and supernumerary administrations.

Thirdly, All this not for want of means to discover a bet­ter way, but only as subterfuges, and evasions, and thickets for a naked guilty soul which is out of love with the spiritual and great duties of the law to shelter it self, and take sanctuary in from the Majesty of Gods presence, and from that tempest of wrath that did first awaken it.

And now as the Apostle stopped the mouth of cavilling dis­puters with [...], Rom. 9. 20. O man who art thou! and God draws Adam out of the thicket, with [...], Adam, where art thou, Gen. 5. 8. so our Prophet here con­futes all the specious but most empty arguments of Hypocrites against Gods controversy with [...], O man he hath shewed thee. If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him, but if a man sin against God, who shall intreat for him, 1 Sam. 2. 25. He is not a man as thou art, that thou shouldst answer him, or come together in judgment, Iob 9. 32. Are calves, or rams, or children, fit to be Umpires be­twixt a sinner and his God? All thy former resolutions though apparently full of zeal and devotion, and voluntary humility, neglecting thy estate, thy body, thy bowels, adventuring all for mercy, were but the poor dictates of flesh and blood; all of them but the nudum hominem, as the Apostle speaks, 1 Cor. 3. 3. as if a beggar should offer a bag full of farthings, or his Child at his back to a Prince for his Crown. Not thy Sacrifices, nor thy offerings, nor thy rams, nor thy rivers, or thy Children, or thy bowels will serve the turn. But Ille indicavit, He hath shewed thee O man what is good [Page 15] to thy self, and to God in his eyes and account. Not Sacri­fice, and offerings, he desireth them not, he delighteth not in them. Psa. 51. 16. but to do judgment, and love mercy.

And yet we may not think that God is careless of his out­ward worship, or of any of that external order and decency which belongs unto it. If they bring the lame, the sick, or any corrupt thing for a Sacrifice, they shall hear of it with a curse, Mal. 1. 8. 14. All things are to be done decently, and in order. Thus when Ezra read in the Book of the law, the people stood up, and when he prayed they bowed down their heads, and lifted up their hands, Nehe. 8. 5, 6. When our Saviour prayed he lifted up his eyes to Heaven, Ioh. 17. 1. When the solemn services were ended, the people bowed the head, and worshipped, 2 Chron. 29. 29. As men use a dead hedge to preserve a quick; even so the due observance of that outward order in the people of God, which he hath appoin­ted, doth serve both to express, and to bear up that awful and reverend affectation which the soul should have of him.

But there is the misery, and the mistake, that evil men be­ing wholly carnal do rest, and stop at that part of Gods ser­vice which stands in carnal ordinances, not being either able or willing to perform spiritual services for want of spiritual and holy affections, and then in this case the Holy Spirit is ex­press, [...], Heb. 10. 5, 6. Thou didst not require them to be performed, and when they were obtruded upon thee, thou didst take no delight in them. And he told his people he would not reprove them for their Sacrifices, they were continually before him, but for their sins he would re­prove them, Psa. 50. 8.

If Cain sacrifice to God, and hate his Brother; if Doeg be detained before the Lord, and have a violent spirit against David; if the Pharisees make long prayers, and then devour Widows Houses; If Israel hear the Prophet and admire the Sermon, and run still after their covetousness; if the people inquire of God, and set up idols in their hearts; if they cry [Page 16] The Temple, the Temple, and in the mean time swear, and murther, and commit adultery; if Iudas kiss, and then be­tray him; if the Souldiers bow the knee, and then crucify him; if the eye look to Heaven, and the Soul cleave to the Earth; if the knee bow to the earth, and the heart lift it self against Heaven; if there be a tender body and a stubborn spirit; if the tongue flatter God, and the Conscience despise him; if a man cherish a Schism within himself, have the out­side for God, and the inside for lust: I will not say as Achil­les in the Poet, [...], but I will say as Christ in the Gospel, Go learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy and not sacrifice.

Go learn, and take heed of whom you learn. If you have not an ille indicavit, a direction from him, you will still be to seek of your duty. As we cannot see the Sun but by its own light, so we cannot know God, or his worship, but by divine revelation. Look how far he is pleased to stoop unto us, so far we are also to mount unto him. Moses was to do all things according to the pattern in the Mount, Act. 7. 44. Heb. 8. 5. And the Apostles Commission in the Gospel is the same; teaching them to observe all things what soever I com­manded you, Mat. 28. 20. It must first seem good to the Holy Ghost, and then to them, Act. 15. 29. They must de­clare nothing to the Church but what they have received. They from us, and we from them, 1 Cor. 11. 20. 2 Tim. 2. 2. We must not serve, ex arbitrio, but ex imperio, as Tertull. speaks, [...], saith St. Basil, The Scripture doth not comply with us, but we must submit to that. The ruler is not to be leaded to the stone, but the stone to be squared by the ruler; our straining and wrying of Gods word to our own humours, is a sin which hath damnation attending it, 2 Pet. 3. 16. and we find God finding great fault with such service obtruded upon him as hath not entred into his heart, Ier. 7. 32. For as at the omission of what he commands we despise his will, so in [Page 17] obtruding what he commands not, we controll his Wisdome; in the one we shew our selves careless to obey him; in the o­ther we shew ourselves presumptuous to counsel him. We are the servants of it, and the servant, as the Philosopher saith, hath no motion but from the guidance of the principal cause. Namque coquus domini debet habere gulam, The cook must dress his meat to his Masters palate, not to his own. That Spartan which added one string more to his instrument in the war than was publickly allowed him, though he mended his musick, yet he marred his obedience, and he was punished for it. And therefore in all our conversation, especially religious, and toward God, it is most wisdome, and safest to keep toward our standard, and publick rule.

I have now done with the implicit reprehension of defective and invented service, and proceed now to the great things of the Law in the text required, judgment, and mercy, that to be done, this to be loved.

The same water with is sour in the juice of a fig-tree, is sweet in the fruit. And as we have found that devotion in the out­side and bark of religion is but sour, and unpleasing: so if you taste it now in the power and fruit of it, you will find it ex­ceeding sweet; for the best sacrifice which any man can offer, is a purelife, as the Father speaks.

Many duties in scripture are of a narrow, and contracted nature, some only spiritual belonging to the soul, others only corporal belonging to the body, as the Apostle distinguisheth of some, filthiness of the flesh and spirit; but these which are very often twins in scripture, have a great latitude, reaching both of them to our bodies, souls, our estates, to all that concerns Gods glorious name which he proclaimed to Moses made up of these two, Exod. 34. 6, 7.

It would be endless to handle them according to the latitude of their common places. I shall be able only to put you in re­membrance of some principal particulars.

To do justly reacheth, as I conceive, in this place unto a three-fold [Page 18] justice, according to the different conditions of men Justice in administration, in negotiation, in conversation.

In administration, and that both sacred, and secular. In sacred administration, the Ministers of the word are said to judge, Ezec. 20. 4. to be rulers over the houshold to give them meat, Mat. 24. 45. to have power of binding and loosing, Mat. 16. 19. to have it in their power to avenge disobedience, 2 Cor. 10. 5. to be Stewards, Embassadors, Officers between God and man, 1 Cor. 4. 1. and there is no office but justice be­longs to it, and that is in this case [...] rightly to divide the word, 2 Tim. 3. 15. and to give to every man [...] his own Dimensum, and allowance. Threats to the obstinate, promises to gainsayers, comfort to mourners, counsel to the unsetled. There can be no greater injustice to the souls of men than to say peace where there is no peace, or to make sad where the Lord hath not made sad. Secondly, [...] not to cor­rupt, or adulterate the word of God, 2 Cor. 4. 2. to put chaff with wheat, and dross with silver, and wine with water, and straw and stubble with precious stones, and the language of Ashdod with the language of Canaan, and leaven with sacrifice, Samaritan contemperations of purity and Popery, of piety and profaness. Our Saviour gives us both in a word, Feed my sheep, they must be fed, not poysoned.

In administration of civil. Thus a Magistrate and Judg is, as the Philosopher elegantly, Tanquam argentarius, to distin­guish between that which is base, and pretious, and he is, [...], keeper of the tables of the Law. As the Priestslips must preserve knowledg, so the Magistrate must preserve judgment, and the people seek it at their mouth. So long as there are in common-wealths contentions to be composed, enor­mities to be punished, innocence to be protected, incroachments to be restrained, property to be distinguished, and preserved, and in all these manifold emergent difficulties to be resolved, and antinomies to be reconciled; there will be a necessity of learned, faithfull and religious Ministers, who may be the de­positories of publick justice, Deut. 16. 18.

[Page 19] And when such there are, it is their great work to do judg­ment; it is not enough to have it in the brain, to know it, and in the lips to praise it. Non loquimur magna, sed vivimus. Justice is never in its right place till it come to the hand to do it. It is not enough for the honour, and security of a Kingdome that justice be in the Laws, but it must be in the Judges too, they must be a living and speaking Law. Righteousness in the Law is but like Ezechiels vision of the dead bones in the valley, they never have the strength of Law till the Magistrate puts Life into them by execution. Justice in the Law is like Gold in the mine, which while it is there only, doth no man good; but when in the Magistrate is like gold coyned, or plate on the Cupboard for use and honour. A magistrate is the keeper of publick justice, as the conduit is of common water in a City. It is [...], and they must let it out for the use of others, and so the phrase in scripture is Egrediatur Iudicium, Hab. 1. 4. It must run down like waters, Amos 5. 24. and it is said of it, that he should bring forth judgment unto truth, Isa. 40. Ambitious hopes, shrinking fears, low passions, domestick ends, personal interests, foreign compliance and correspondence may prove miserable weeds and obstructions in the stream of justice.

And therefore the sins of Judges and Magistrates in their publick administrations are called by the Prophet Mighty sins, Amos 5. 12. Diseases in the bones of the common-wealth; for so much the original word importeth sometimes. Moving of Foundations, Psal. 82. 5. Removing of Bounds, Hos. 5. 10. which was one of the solemn curses upon mount Ebal, Deut. 27. 17.

Therefore saith the Lord, I will pour out my wrath upon them like water, as a man that pulleth down the sea-banks letteth in a floud to destroy himself: whereas on the other side upright and just Magistrates like Moses stand in the gap, and are binders, healers, sanctuaries, hiding places unto the people from the storm and tempest.

[Page 20] 2. There is justice in negotiation, which we may in no case leave out; for if you look but a verse beyond the text, you will find our Prophet complaining for want of it, and crying out against scant measure, wicked balances, deceitfull and light weights, 10, 11. scant measures will fill up a full measure of guilt, and light weights bring upon the soul a heavy weight of judgment. The Prophet makes mention of wickedness in an Ophir, Zach. 5. 8. And therefore as Iob was carefull that the Furrows of the field might not complain of him, Iob 31. 38. so be you carefull that your Ephah, and your balance, which are unto you your lands and your furrows, (as the Prophet calls it the harvest of the sea, Isaiah 23. 3.) do not cry out unto God against you: Let not any one (saith the Apostle) defraud, or over-reach his brother in any matter, for God is the avenger of those things, 1 thes▪ 4. 6. Take heed of severing the portion of gain from godliness, to esteem all good profit that comes in by sordid and sinfull acts; a snare, a temptation, a drowning follows upon it, 1 Tim▪ 6. 9. He that overloads his ship though it be with gold, heaps it up for the sea, and not for himself. Learn so to converse with the world as not to be without God in the world. Let not the Ephah and the sheckle wrangle with the New Moon, and the Sabbath, as it is, Amos 8. 5. Let not the world get into your hearts to choke the word. Your coffers are good enough for money, keep your consciences for God. They who go down into mines to dig up gold and silver, carry candles with them, and when the damp comes though it be gold they dare not stay with it: your trades are your mines out of which you dig your treasure; sink not your selves into them without Davids Lanthorn, the word of God; and if your consciences feel the damp of the Earth, covetous lust begin to work, then make hast upward with Davids prayer, Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness, Psal. 119. 26. Though you may not carry the shop into the Temple, & make that a place of money-changers; yet you must not thrust the Temple out of the shop; there is no place but holiness will become it. In [Page 21] the Prophet a merchant is called Chanan, Hos. 12. 7. but in the parable a Christian is called a merchant, Mat. 13. 45. Remember in your professions to be Christians and not Canaanites.

3. There is justice in conversation, which is a sincere, in­tire, square, faithfull conversing with men; when a man is con­stant to his word, fixed to his honest resolutions, yesterday and to day the same, this makes a man like unto God whose name is One, Zach. 14. 9. Like unto him whose name is Amen, Rev. 3. 14. And therefore we being members of him of whom we can learn nothing but what should be true and just one to another, Eph. 4. 5. It is said of Asper a servant of the Emperour Leo, That▪ finding him fail in performance of promise, he laid hold of [...] purple robe, and told him it was too rich a cover for falshood. Certainly it is not fit that such a robe as the name of Christ should be used to shroud and palliate deceit; and indeed such kind of unjust and false men, who are like him possessed of an unclean spirit, Luk. 8. 29. whom no bonds can hold, who care not how many they deceive, if they can have but a cloak to palliate it; who like the Serpent will insinuate, and then sting; like the Cockatrice weep, and then bite; like the Panther allure with the sweet breath, and then destroy with her sharp teeth; who make truth give place to turns, and for advantage say and unsay, do and undo; like those in Greg. Nazianzen, Iohns to day, and Iudases to morrow. Such men as these are not members but ulcers in the common body, and they must be sure that that justice which they hate will find them out at the last; for men of bloud and deceit shall not live out half their days, Psa. 55. 23.

But we no sooner hear of sincerity, but presently mercy like Rachel as the more beautiful calls upon us for our love to her. I will not curiously inquire into the reason, why justice is bid to be done, but mercy to be loved: for of Christ it is said that he loved righteousness, Psal. 45. 1. But surely for the punishing part of justice, Ieremy tells us, that he did not desire the wofull day though he did denounce it, Ier. 17. 16. yea God [Page 22] himself when he oft beateth, doth it not willingly, he hath no pleasure in the death of a sinner; but when he saveth, when he sheweth mercy, in that he delighteth, Mic. 7. 18.

Haply to give unto a man that which he hath a just pro­perty and claim unto, men can be contented to do; 'tis violence and robbery to withold it: but when we must give that which is our own to another, here grudging and unwillingness may creep in upon us. Now in justice I give a man that which is his, but in mercy I give that which is mine own; and therefore to prevent repining, I am called upon not only to do it, but to do it cheerfully, heartily, willingly, to love mercy, to draw out the soul in it, Isa. 58. 1. I shall not need to inquire the nature or kind of it; if it were as well in our hearts and hands as it is in our heads, we should need the less to be bid to love it. In one word there is Misericordia donans, a bountifull mercy, and misericordia condonans, a pardoning mercy.

Mercy to them; the mercy of relief to those who are in any distress; be as Iob was, eyes to the blind, feet to the lame, fa­ther to the poor, Iob 29. 15. To instruct the ignorant, re­claim the wandring, confirm the weak, comfort the distressed, exhort thesluggish, support the feeble, cloth the naked, feed the hungry, heal the sick, harbour the harbourless, wash the feet, and minister to the necessities of the brethren.

Pardon; to shew mercy to those that are overtaken in a fault, forgiving one another, and forbearing one another. It is a grave observation which the Historian makes, when he compares the different dealings of Fabius, and Manlius in crimes which were much alike, Non minus firmatum Imperiu▪ &c. That Government was as much honoured by mercy shewed to the one, as by the ruine of the other.

I shall use but three inducements unto both these duties of mercy.

First, the excellency of it, nothing makesus so like unto God. That which St. Luke calls mercy, Luke 6. 36. St. Matthew calls persection, Mat. 5. 48. When God shewed Moses his [Page 23] glory, it was by his goodness, Gen. 35. 18. His name full of mercy, Exod. 34. 6. His works full of mercy, the Earth full, Psal. 35. 5. the Heaven full, Psal. 36. 5. knowledg, wisdome, power, greatness; Evil men may have some resemblance of, but none can imitate God in mercy but good men: for the mercies of the wicked are cruel, Pro. 12. 10.

Secondly, The Necessity of it unto all. For the truth is, as Solon said to Croesus, [...], Every man is calamity it self, corrupting the life, distressing the conscience; sorrows wounding the heart, and fears weakening it; death making pleasures short, and guilt making life bitter. What difference doth a Fever make between a Lord, and a begger, or what man­ners doth lightning and thunder observe more toward a Cedar than a shrub? All have need of mercy, therefore all must love it.

Thirdly, The benefit of it. No grace hath more abundant promises made unto it than this of mercy, a sowing, a reaping, a thrifty grace, Prov. 11. 22. Solomons excellent houswife stretched out both her hands to the needy, Prov. 3. 20. Every tear that your mercy wipes away, every sigh and groan that it removeth, every back that it clothes, every belly that it fills, every sinking and oppressed man that it relieves, turn all into so many advocates, sollicitors and reall promises to procure greater mercies for you than you have been able to extend to them.

And now that you may always be in a readiness to come before God in these great duties of justice, and mercy; he is always in a readiness to come unto you, and teach you what he requires of you. He hath shewed thee O Man. Man the author of the enmity, but God the director unto peace and reconciliation. And ever where God requires a duty, he doth first reveal a light, and according to the light which he reveal­eth is the account which he requires; where much is given much shall be required.

And surely in all Gods service either sacred or civil, we must [Page 24] have an Indicavit for what we do: we can have no knowledg, wisdome, obedience to serve Cod, but only out of the scripture, [...], as Athanasius speaks, out of the holy Scriptures, not out of the abundance of our own hearts. If we pray it must be according to his will, Ioh. 5. 14. if preach it must be according to his counsel, Ier. 25. 22. if hear it must be what God the Lord will say, Psal. 5. 8.

That which goes unto God must first come from him; as waters return to the sea, [...], as one well spake; we must pay our tribute in the Princes own coyn, we must not out our dead child into his bosom, and think he will own it.

And here if I had time it would be worth the pains to insist a little on the plenitude of Holy Scripture which the Ancients so much adored, and so it behoves all Gods Ministers both sacred and civil never to speak any thing by the authority of God, except we have his Indicavit and requisivit to bear us out. Having always an eye to that dreadfull intermination, He that speaks any thing in my name which I have not com­manded him, even that Prophet shall dye, Deut. 18. 20. It would infinitely conduce to the peace of the Church and State, to the honour of Religion and justice, and to the avoiding of envy or scandal, if every person in his order would regulate all his demeanours and administrations with a Quid requisivit, what is it that God would have me to do.

And lastly since we cannot do our duty, without an In­dicavit from him; they shall all be taught of God; therefore his indicavit should be seconded by our Meditation; his requisivit with our requesting; his precepts and promises with our prayers; for he will be sought unto for what he promiseth, Ezech. 36. 37. That he would make his way plain before our eyes, that so we may not only do the things which he requireth, but in doing them to walk with him.

[Page 25] For the very Philosopher could say, [...], It is not the matter but the manner makes up the work.

1. Then, it must be ambulation, a constant tenor; a good man must be always like himself. Do what you can to gold, it will keep its nature in the fire. That is gold in justice and mercy indeed, which in all cases, when persons, passions, prejudices, favour, interests offer to immix themselves, keeps its nature intire still.

2. It must be Cum Deo with an eye to God, his word the rule; his fear the principle; his glory the end: that wha [...] we do may not be for the gratifying of men, that we m [...] walk honourably before them; but for the pleasing of God, that we may walk acceptably before him; for else God will complain of them as he did of those in the Prophet, Did you do it to me even to me, saith the Lord, Zach. 7. 5.

3. It must be done with seeking of God, but yet it must be with denying of our selves; when we have done justice, and loved mercy, and pleased God, we may rejoyce in it, we may not boast of it, we must walk humbly still, like the Moon, the nearer we come to the Sun of righteousness, the less glory we must assume unto our selves. Our justice must stand in fear of Gods justice, lest that consume it; and our mercy must cry to Gods mercy, that that may cover it. If Moses the justest and meekest man in his generation will appear before God he must have a hiding place to cover him, Exod. 34. 21.

When we have done the uttermost we can, we must go to God as Nehemiah did, Remember me O God, spare me according to the multitude of thy mercies, Neh. 13. 22. Non gloriabor quia justus sum, sed gloriabor quia re­demptus sum, as St. Ambrose speaks. Our righteousness here stands not in the perfection of our virtues, but in the re­mission of our sins. Vae etiam laudabili vitae hominum, si remotâ misericordiâ discutias eam. But this is our [Page 26] great comfort and security, that as stubble being covered with Amianthum (as Athanasius speaks) can endure the fire, so we have Christ and his righteousness with which men cannot only stand before God, but walk with him too as with Our God.

4. In faith, and confidence. Take away the Sun, and all the Stars of Heaven would never make day: So if a man have as many moral virtues as there be Stars in the firmament, and were destitute of faith in Christ, the Sun of righteousness, have not God for his God, there would be night and ca­lamity in his soul still. Without faith there is no walking with God; for two will not walk together unless they [...] agreed, Amos 3. 3.

But O what madness is it for man to disagree with God; for Adam to arm himself with fig-leaves against his maker, [...] briars to rise in rebellion against fire, or smoke to withstands a whirlwind? Remember thy nature, that will teach thee thy duty. For he hath shewed thee O man! And what is man? Abraham will tell us in two words, Dust and Ashes. Dust by his original, which came from Earth; Ashes by desert, which carry him to the fire, Revel. 20. 10. The Law, a Law of fire, Deuter. 33. 2. The prison a lake of fire, Revel. 20. 10. the Judge a consuming fire, Heb. 12. 18. with whom he may not contend, Eccl. 6. 10. from whom he cannot escape, Psal. 129. 7. Consider then what thou art O man, submit to a severe judgment, where there is a record kept, an appeal entred, a writ of Error inforced a­gainst every miscarriage of thine. Therefore O man do justly, and being of the same mould with thy Brother, set thy self in his stead, Iob 16. 4. We are all of us like leaves of trees, as Homer elegantly. That wind which blows away my neighbour to day, may blow away me to morrow. That mercy that I deny to him, I may live to see denied to my self.

The rich man who withheld erums was denyed drops, [Page 27] Luc. 16. 24. Consider then what thou art O man, guilty of sins, subject to misery, thou art forced to beg mercy, be perswaded to love it.

Again, consider thou art Adam, Earth, and that is the lowest of all the elements: Dust thou art, said God to man, Dust thou shalt eat, said God to the Serpent. So man is, fitter to be a prey to Satan than a companion to his Maker. Of this dust indeed God made a vessel, and put a treasure of knowledg, and righteousness in it. But what reason hath the cup to be proud of the wine, or the bag of the money which men put into it? Thou hast received, why shouldst thou boast, 1 Cor. 4. 7.

But we are become now broken vessels, that retain no­thing but dregs, our drink is become Merum Resract arium, sour and corrupt, Hag. 4. 18. The pot is become a pot­sherd. Consider then O man, that thou art made of Earth, though made for Heaven; in the one respect walk with God, but in the other respect humble thy self to do it. Te ad sidera tollet. No advancement to such an humility.

Thou hast his Majesty to awe thee, no approaching his presence but by Humility, with that man will I dwell that is of an humble Spirit, Isaiah 57. 15. Zaccheus must come down if he will have. Christ abide in his House, Luke 19. 5.

Thou hast his mercy to aid thee, he will shew thee what is good; The meek he will guide in judgment, Psalm 25. 9. and therefore he hath chosen these two Humble graces as pipes to convey mercy to the soul; by faith, which teacheth us to deny our selves, Phil. 3. 9. and repentance, which teacheth us to abhorr our selves, Ezekiel 6. 9.

Thou hast his example to instruct thee, Who is like to the Lord our God who dwelleth on high and humbleth himself, Psal. 113. 5. Christ a King, one who doth justly and loveth mercy, yet he humbleth himself, Phil. 2. 8. see [Page 28] all three virtues together, Zach. 9. 9. Behold the King cometh to thee just, having salvation, and yet lowly too.

Thou hast his Glory to reward thee. H [...] alloweth thee to look on his Law, not only as holy [...] just▪ [...]self, but as good unto thee, Rom. 2. 12. D [...]th not my word do good to those that walk uprightly, Mic. 2. 7. He alloweth thee to look in, and by the Requisivt his authority, but to Quid bonum thy own felicity. The duties performed are obedience only to him, but they are benefits to thee: not by way of debt, or condignity in thy work; but by way of promise and covenant from his grace: Thy will chooseth, thy prayer de­sireth, thy hope expecteth.

All the comfort thou canst have [...] communion with [...] here, all the glory thou must have by fruition of God hereafter must come by Justice, Mercy and Hlumility.

And now having so great duties to do, so great a teacher to instruct, so great authority to obey, so great a reward to [...]rage; let each man in his place do justly, love mercy, and humble himself to walk with God here, that God may exalt him to live with him hereafter.

Now to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, three persons, and one immortal, invisible, only wise God, be all glory, majestie, and thanksgiving for ever, Amen.


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