The Rich Fool: Set forth in an EXPOSITION ON THAT PARABLE

Luke 12.16,22. And he spake a Parable unto them, saying, The Ground of a certain Rich man brought forth plentifully, &c.

By Nehemiah Rogers, Minister of the Gospel.

And being dead, He yet speaketh.

Optimi Consiliarii, Mortui.
Nihil cuiquam nisi Mors certum; tamen de eo queruntur omnes, de quo uno nemo dec pitur. Senec.
Vive pius, moriere tamen; cole Sacra colentem
Mors tamen e Templis ad sua busta trahet.

LONDON, Printed for George Sawbridge, at the Bible on Ludgate-Hill. MDCLXII.

THE Epistle Dedicatory. TO The Right Worshipful and tru­ly Religious Gentleman, Anthony Luther, Esq of Dodding-hurst in Essex.
A Happy Life in this VVorld, and Glorious in the VVorld to come.

Worthy Sir,

I Imagine it altogether frivolous to make any Apology either for publishing this ensuing Treatise to the VVorld or Dedicating of it to your self, since (to my knowledge) had my Father lived some few Months longer, he would have done (though more accurately) both the one and the other. And truly Sir, I should have been very injurious both to the Manes of the Author (though Spirits are impossible) and to Your self also, should I have deteined from you that Legacy which was bequeathed to You by my deceased Father. The Storks gratitude is expressed at their coming into the VVorld: let His Victime be accepted at his going out.

In short, Sir; I cannot, without a deep resentment of my Infelicity accruing by my Fathers Death, sufficiently acknow­ledge [Page]and delineate your super-abundant favours conferred on him in his life, the least, of which might justly challenge a Publick Dedication; for all which (besides private Obligati­ons to us all) I commend these Sermons to your serious consi­deration, knowing that the memory of the Author (which is still precious to you), and your own natural propensity to good­ness and clemency (in giving candid Interpretations of dubi­ous actions), will be inducements sufficiently prevalent to cause you to excuse Errors not wilfully committed, and to cast a fa­vourable Aspect upon this somewhat uncompleated plece.

Acccept therefore (I beseech you) these [...], which (though but dead Sacrifices, yet) I hope will be so far from pu­trefaction, that they will be pleasing to the Nostrils both of God, and all good men. I conclude with that of Ruth, 1. v. 8. The Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me, which is the hearty Vote and unfai­ned Desire of him, who is and ever shall be

Yours in my best Services. H. Rogers.

To the Reader: And more particularly to the Con­gregation of Doddinghurst the constant Auditors of these following Sermons; Peace be multiplied.

Courteous Reader,

AFter some more than ordinary, business, and fluctuating thoughts (occasioned by my Father's Death), I have found so much leisure as to present to your View this following Treatise, which hath been so long expected and desired: And the rather,

First, Because that those who have the World coming in upon them, and are in danger of being Rich, may learn to be Rich in good Works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate.

Secondly, That those who are of a mean Estate, being above the Foot of Scorn, and below the Eye of Envy, may contentedly submit themselves to be dyeted by the Almighty, who sees what a Proneness there is in us to surfet upon Superfluities.

Thirdly, That the Poor may not emulate the Rich, nor murmur at God's Transactions, knowing that Wealth is no discriminating Sign, or infallible Token, of God's Favour or our Goodness. All which are amply demonstrated and eagerly pressed in this Parabo­lical Discourse of The Rich Fool.

It is very certain, that all the Faculties of the Soul are much de­teriorated, weakned, and decayed, since the Apostacy of the old Protoplast Adam; and that, amongst them all, the Memorative doth first Senescere: Therefore I cannot imagine it altogether im­pertinent to stir you up by way of Remembrance, 2 Pet. 1.13. most of our Auditors being like unto Sievs, which in the Water are full, but out of it, empty; so in the Church our Ears are full of Doctrine, but it is suddenly scatttered in the Church-Yard: Ne apicem tenemus, we carry little or nothing home.

It is a Philosophical Question, Whether of the Senses, the Ear or the Eye, be the better in it self, because that Grace is conveyed into [...]he Soul by Hearing; yet certainly, according to Nature, the Eye is most excellent, both for celerity and perspicacity.

First, It is Sensus efficacissimus, the quickest of Apprehension, exercising it self intromittendo, by bringing the Object home (ac­cording to Aristotle), and so carryes it to the heart with a more for­cible Impression. No Sense doth so firmly imprint forms in the Imagination; and what it sees one day intentively, it sees many dayes after.

Secondly, It is Sensus certissimus, the most certain of all the Sen­ses. Vidi, I saw it, is an evident Testimony; and, Seeing usually is Believing: Homines semper amplius oculis quàm auribus credunt, Men alwayes will give more Credence to what they see than to what they hear.

In a word, No Sense hath such variety of Objects, and continuall Business, as the Eye: none so often put in Action; none so quick of Motion; none so serviceable to Reason, and commodious, if it be well guided.

All which considered, I could do no less than set this Glass be­fore you (which hath formerly been promised to you) which is free from all manner of Flattery and Adulation; and which (being di­ligently and seriously perused) will make you Vobis notos, known unto your selvs.

I confess, it is not for me (being so nearly related) to extoll the Author's worth; and indeed were I ascertained of a [...] or Pythagorical Transmigration, that his Divine Soul did strenu­ously operate in me, and actuate my duller Body; were I blessed with the same Invention, Memory, and Elocution I would never undertake it.

Nor shall I boast of this ensuing Treatise, Nemo gloriari nisi sua deb [...]t: The whole World, and your selvs, are competent Judges of his indefatigable pains in Preaching, Expounding, Catechizing, and also Printing of several other Books; among which, this (if it doth not excell, yet it) may run in an equall and parallel'd Line. The Style is plain [...]nd familiar without affectation, the matter pro­fitable without exception; and I am sure, Non quaerit ager Medicum cloquentem, sed sanantem.

Did you hunger after the Bread, or thirst after the Water of Life, you would not say the Bread was too coorse, or the Well too deep, but be thankful to the Sender and Bringer, the Donor and Dispen­ser of them both.

My desire is, what was intended for your good may be so accepted and acknowleged, that I may not repent of the pains I took in transcribing the Major part of it, and preparing it for the Press. Faults there are many, I wish thou hadst none: Besides, if we may judg Ex pede Herculem, it wants about a Sheet of it's Com­pletion; yet let us in no wise call it altogether imperfect, because God himself made a full Point or Period by the sudden Death of the Author, and with his own hand inscribed

FINIS.
Thine, For thy Soul's advantage. H: Rogers.
The Text. Luke 12.16, —22.
Ver. 16 AND he spake a Parable unto them, saying, The Ground of a certain Rich man brought forth plentifully.
Ver. 17. And he thought within himself, saying What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?
Ver. 18. And he said, This will I do, I will pull down my Barns and build greater, and there will I bestow all my Fruits and my Goods.
Ver. 19. And I will say to my Soul▪ Soul, Thou hast much Goods laid up for many years, take thine ease, Eat, drink, and be merry.
Ver. 20. But God said unto him, Thou Fool, this Night shall thy Soul be required of thee: then, Whose shall those things be that thou hast provided?
Ver. 21. So is he that layeth up Treasure for himself, and is not Rich towards God.

A Summary of all the principal Do­ctrines (both Literal and My­stical) Collected and Illustrated this Commentary, upon the Parable of The Rich Fool. With the several Uses and Ap­plications thereof made.

Vers. 16. And He spake a Parable unto them, saying, The Ground of a certain Rich man brought forth plen­tifully.
  • Doct. 1. GOd hath spoken to us by his own Son. Pag. 6.
    • Use 1. To admire the wonderful Love of God to us under the Gospel, above those who lived under the Law. ibid.
    • Use 2. Not to despise him that speaks from Heaven. 9
    • Use 3. To honour him above those that lived in those days. ibid.
  • Doct. 2. A Sermon against Covetousness is of general Concern. 10
    • Reas. Naturally every man i [...] earthly minded. ibid.
    • Use 1. To reprove those that think it concerns them not. 13
    • Use 2. To require the Attention of every one. 15
    • [Page]Use 3. None to be offended with God's Ministers, for Pressing of it. 16
  • Doct. 3. Doctrines delivered may be illustrated by Similitudes and Parables. 18
    • Reas. No Teaching conveys the Truth unto us with more delight. 19
    • Use 1. Not to censure Ministers for using helps of Art. ibid.
    • Use 2. To bless God that we are taught in so delightfull and familiar a manner. 21
  • Doct. 4. Ministers ought so to speak as that they may be understood. ibid.
    • Reas. The End of Preaching is the People's profit. 22
    • Use 1. To reprove those Ministers who have mouths but speak not, and who speak but say not. 23
    • Use 2. To condemn the Itching ear: 25
    • And the Rustical ear of Hearers. 26
  • Doct. 5. A Worldly man is a worthless man. 30
    • Ʋse 1. To discover the Folly of those who think to gain Reputation by Riches. 31
    • Ʋse 2. To tax those who bless the Covetous in their hearts. 33
    • Ʋse 3. To teach us to look up, and leave groveling here, like Swine upon the Earth. 34
  • Doct. 6. All men are not alike for outward Estate. 36
    • Reas. 1. God's Wisdom appears in this inequality. 37
    • Reas. 3. Confusion would follow upon equality. 38
    • Ʋse 1. To praise God for this provident hand of his. ibid.
    • Ʋse 2. To beware of murmuring against God's Providence. ibid.
  • Doct. 7. A man may be very Wealthy, and yet very Wicked. 40
    • Reas. 1. God is a bountiful and liberal Donor. 42
    • Reas. 2. Riches are not absolutely and immutably good. 44
    • Reas. 3. They become hinderances of much good, and occasions of much evill. 45
    • Ʋse 1. Of information, That Man's Happiness lyes not in earthly enjoy­ments. 46
    • Ʋse 2. To reprove those who take Riches for infallible tokens of God's Love. 47
    • Ʋse 3. To restrain us from an over-eager pursuit of them. 50
  • Doct. 8. The Wicked have a Right to Earthly things, as well as the Godly. 51 [Page]
    • Reas. 1. The Earth is the Lord's, and he gives it to the Children of Men. 52
    • Ʋse 1. To overthrow the Anabaptistioal Community, and that of the Fa­mily of Love. 53
    • Ʋse 2. To convince that dangerous Tenet, of holding no Tenure but of Grace. 54
    • Ʋse 3. Of Admonition, To take heed how we incroach on other mens Proprieties. 55
  • Doct. 9. The Earth is a fruitful Mother, 59
    • Reas. God ordained it to be fruitful at the beginning. 60
    • Ʋse 1. Of Information, Where to lay the Blame of the Earth's Sterili­ty. 61
    • Ʋse 2. To acknowledge God's Goodnesse to us, in the Earth's Encrease. 62
    • Ʋse 3. To instruct us that we are Earth, and stand in need of the Rain of Heaven. 65
  • Doct. 10. Earthly Blessings are given to the Wicked out of a generall way of Pro­vidence. 65
    • Ʋse 1. To learn to distinguish between Blessing and Blessing. 66
    • Ʋse 2. To look to the Tenure of our Estates. 67
  • Doct. 11. Goods ill-gotten may prove pernicious to the Soul in their Enjoyment. 68
    • Reas. The best things abused become evil to him that useth them, much more things of an indifferent nature. 69
    • Ʋse 1. To reprove the folly of those who think there is no danger in Riches well-gotten. ibid.
    • Ʋse 2. Not only to take care of what we have, but how we hold what we do enjoy. 70
Vers. 17. And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?
  • Doct. 1. A Worldly man is a great Accomptant. 72
    • Ʋse 1. To perswade the Godly to cast up their Accounts, as well as the Wicked do theirs. ibid.
    • Ʋse 2. To perswade Worldlings to cast up their Accounts in good ear­nest. 73
  • [Page]Doct. 2. Sin of Thoughts are displeasing unto God as well as Sins of Act. 74
    • Reas. 1. God's Laws and Precepts are violated by them. ibid.
    • Reas. 2. They were the first Evils that were committed against God both by Angel and Man. 75
    • Reas. 3. From the Thoughts of the Heart proceeds the mischief of the Hand. ibid.
    • Use 1. To blame the Doctrine of the Church of Rome, who hold that Thoughts are veniall. 76
    • Use 2. To convince the Opinion of free Thoughts. ibid.
    • Use 3. To cause us to repent of them, and be humbled before God for them. 79
    • Use 4. To reform our Thoughts, otherwise our Lives cannot be reform­ed. 82
    • Motives, to stir up our Care about our Thoughts. 83, 84, &c.
    • Means, whereby our Thoughts may be subdued. 91, 92. &c.
    • Use 5. Comfort for those that sincerely make Conscience of their thoughts. 101
  • Doct. 3. Wicked men proceed with good Advice and mature Deliberation about their Actions. 115
    • Reas. They are Reasonable Creatures, and have a Discoursive Faculty. ibid.
    • Ʋse 1. To reprove, not onely the Worldling, but the Children of the Light, who come short (in this business) of the Children of the World. 116
    • Ʋse 2. To learn Wisdom of the Worldling. 117
  • Doct. 4. Self is a Worldly man's chiefest Counsellour. 122
    • Reas. The way of a Fool is right in his own Eyes. ibid.
    • Use 1. To reprove the Folly of the Self-conceited Person. 123
    • Use 2. To beware of hearkning to that evill Counsellor, Self. 125
    • Motives, to take Advice. 117, 128
  • Doct. 5. What the Heart thinks, that it sayes. 128
    • Use 1. To make us careful in thinking as well as in wording. 129
    • Use 2. To comfort us in our greatest streights. ibid.
  • Doct. 6. Wealth hath its Distractions as well as Want. 130
    • Reas. A Worldly man is wedded to the World. 132
    • Use 1. To inform our Judgments concerning the Estate of Worldly wicked men. 136
    • [Page]Use 2. To reprove those who distract themselvs with carking Cares about things of this life. 137
    • Use 3. To moderate our Care about things of this World. 139
    • Motives to it; some respecting God, some in reference to others, and some in relation to our selvs. 140, 141, &c.
    • Rule three-fold to be observed for the Cure of carking-Care. 144, 145, &c.
  • Doct. 7. The Rich man's Store proves many times his Sore. 151
    • Reas. 1. It may happen through Man's Corruption. 153
    • Reas. 2. Through the Wickedness and Malice of other men. ibid.
    • Reas. 3. God in Judgment follows many a Rich man's abundance with a Curse. 154
    • Use 1. Not to fret because of the prosperity of the Wicked. 155
    • Use 2. To be contented with a mean Estate. ibid.
    • Use 3. For Rich men to learn how to abound (as well as the Poorer sort have been taught how to want). 157
  • Doct. 8. Worldly Wealth cannot keep from Want. 159
    • Reas. 1. In regard of the Nature of all Worldly things. 160
    • Reas. 2. In regard of the Nature of the Disease (that [...]) which Worldly men are troubled withal. 162
    • Use 1. To rectify our Judgments concerning Rich men and Riches. 163
    • Use 2. It should tend to the reforming of our Practice. 167
  • Doct. 9. Want of room is a great Want to a Covetous Worldling. 170
    • Use. To rebuke the covetous and ambitious Brood. 173
    • Doct. 10. A Worldly man may have so much that he knows not where to bestow it. 176
    • Reas. There is a price put into the hand of a Fool, to get Wisdom, but he hath no Heart. ibid.
    • Use. To blame merciless men, who suffer so many to perish, when they have so much as that they know not where to bestow it. 177
Vers. 17. And he said, This will I do; I will pull down my Brans, and build greater, and there will I bestow all my Fruits and my Goods.
  • Doct. 1. The Wicked are presumptuously wilful. 180
    • Reas. 1. Pride naturally abounds in the Heart of a Wicked man, so that good Counsel is rejected as contemptible. 181
    • Reas. 2. They are wholly led by sensuality. ibid.
    • [Page]Ʋse 1. To inform us whence it is, that Ministers do no more prevail with us in their Callings; they having the Will of Man to deal with. ibid.
    • Ʋse 2. This wilfulness in unregenerated Persons ought to be lamented. 182
    • Ʋse 3. To teach us to subdue our Wills, and bring them into Subjection. 188
    • Directions that we may not be made miserable by our Wills. 191, &c.
  • Doct. 2. The Covetous pull down their own Barns with their own hands. 193
    • Ʋse 1. To inform us what Vermin do most mischief our Barns. ibid.
    • Ʋse 2. It deservs the serious thoughts of the wickedly-wealthy, who by indirect means encrease their Riches, fill their Barns, and en­large their Buildings. 194
  • Doct. 3. Worldlings lavish out their Wealth to satisfy their Lusts. 194
    • Ʋse 1. To reprove the lavishing out of Wealth in these our dayes. 196
    • Ʋse 2. To detect the end they have in their wasteful Expences, viz. Self. 198
  • Doct. 4. Worldlings are much delighted with variety and Change. ibid.
    • Reas. 1. The Appetite of the Will is common unto all. ibid.
    • Reas. 2. In regard of a loathing satiety of all Sublunary Contentments, which occasions this desire of Change. 199
    • Use 1. The misery of Worldly men doth hence appear, who find no con­tent in what they do enjoy. 200
    • Use 2. Not to be too confident in those who are given to Change. 201
  • Doct. 5. Worldlings, though lavish in some things are sparing in others. ibid.
    • Use. To discover the misery of Worldlings in serving two Masters. 203
  • Doct. 6. The Barn is the Worldlings Bulwark. 204
    • Use 1. To shew their folly who venture all in one Bottom. 205
    • Use 2. To follow our Saviour's Advice, and lay up Treasure in Heaven. 207
  • Doct. 7. Great means breed great minds. 209
    • Reas. Some from without our selves, others from Satan, but most from within out selves; as,
    • Reas. 1. Man's mind is leight through the Fall, and soon blown up with the Reed of Riches. 211
    • Reas. 2. They perceive that Riches ruleth all. ibid.
    • Reas. 3. In regard of carnall Self, which teacheth men to turn the Glass, [Page]and so to see themselves bigger, and others less, than indeed they are. ibid.
    • Use 1. To charge those are Rich, that they be not high-minded. 212
    • Antidotes against Pride. 213, 2 [...]4, 215
    • Use 2. To bless God for his restraining Grace, if thou art Rich and hum­ble. 215
  • Doct. 8. Worldlings prescribe what they have unto themselvs. 216
    • Use. To advise the wretched and ungrateful. 217
Vers. 19. And I will say to my Soul; Soul, Thou hast much Goods laid up for many years, Take thine ease; Eat, drink, and be merry.
  • Doct. 1. To hold a Conference with our Hearts is good. 218
    • Use 1. To reprove those who come short of this Fool. 219
    • Use 2. To perswade us frequently to confer with our Hearts and Souls. 220
  • Doct. 2. Much Love is pretended to the Soul but little or none is shewed. ibid.
    • Reas. In regard of the lights of Conscience whereby we are convinced of it's Immortality. 221
    • Use 1. To convince Worldlings how little their Souls are beholding to them for their Love. 222
    • Use 2. To perswade us to Love, not in Word and Tongue only, but in truth and in deed. 223
    • Arguments, to bestow the Major part of our Love upon our Souls 223, 2 [...]4
  • Doct. 3. Wealth is the Worldling's chiefest good. 225
    • Use 1. To admonish us to free our selves from the false Opinion which Worldlings have of Riches. 227
    • Use 2. To advise us not to make them hurtful to us through our own de­fault. 231
  • Doct. 4. Worldly men think they possess Riches, when they are possessed by them. ibid.
    • Reas. The Worldling is overcome of his Riches. 232
    • Use 1. To rectify the Judgment of the Worldling. ibid.
    • Use 2. To keep our Goods in Subjection. 233
  • [Page]Doct. 5. Worldly men, thinke that riches consist in having much laid up and not in the use thereof. 234
    • Reas. It is the right Use of any thing that makes it good unto us. ibid.
    • Use 1. Not to think our selves Rich, unless we have the fruition of our Riches. ibid.
    • Use 2. To teach us wisely to disperse our Riches abroad, which other­wise will yield a loathsom Savour. 236
  • Doct. 6. Worldly men promise to themselvs long Life, when they have not many dayes to live. 237
    • Reas. 1. They foolishly imagine Time to be in their hand. 238
    • Reas. 2. They have a false Opinion of their Wealth. ibid.
    • Ʋse 1. To reprove this great Evil under the Sun, in dreaming of a kind of Eternity. ibid.
    • Ʋse 2. To perswade us to amend this Folly, and reckon, not upon many dayes but upon few. 240
  • Doct. 7. Worldly prosperity breeds Sloath and carnal Security. 244
    • Reas. It happens through the Abuse of man. ibid.
    • Use. Of Caution, that Rich men would beware of being rocked a-sleep in this Cradle of Security. ibid.
  • Doct. 8. A carnal Man delights in a voluptuous Life. 248
    • Reas. 1. The Soul is made a Slave to Sense. 252
    • Reas. 2. They have no hope of a better Life. ibid.
    • Use 1. To condemn the Ryot and Luxury of this Age. 254
    • Marks to know a voluptuous person by. 257
    • Use 2. Not so suffer the delights and pleasures of the World to prevail over us. 259
    • Motives to stir up this Care in us. 260
    • Rules to direct us in the Use of God's Blessings. 275
Vers. 20. But God said unto him, Thou Fool, this Night thy Soul shall be required of thee; then, Whose shall those things be which thou hast provided?
  • Doct. 1. Purposes of Sinners are oftentimes disappointed by God. 283
    • Reas. The way of Man is not in himself. 285
    • Ʋse 1. To shew the Presumption of those, who open their Mouths against Heaven. 287
    • [Page]Ʋse 2. To convince the Practical Atheist. 287
    • Ʋse 3. To take God with us in all our purposes. ibid.
    • Ʋse 4. To encourage the Godly against the rage of men. 289
  • Doct. 2. They that place their Happiness in Riches are egregious Fools. 291
    • Use 1. To convince the Worldling of his Folly. 297
    • Use 2. To take heed of befooling our selves. 298
  • Doct. 3. God will have a saying to Sinners. 299
  • Doct. 4. God's Rods are speaking Rods. 300
    • Reas. God's Works are a manifestation of his Will as well as his Word. 301
    • Use 1. To discover unto us our stupidity. ibid.
    • Use 2. To perswade us to hear God speaking in his Judgments. 302
  • Doct. 5. A Night of Sorrow succeeds the Day of Pleasure to a Sinner. 305
    • Reas. 1. In respect of the Cause of Night. 306
    • Reas. 2. In regard of the effects that are produced by Night, viz. Error and Terror. ibid.
    • Use 1. Of consideration for voluptuous Livers. 309
    • Use 2. To pray God that our flight be not in the Night. 310
    • Use 3. To comfort the Godly. 311
  • Doct. 6. Night comes suddenly upon a Sinner. 312
    • Reas. 1. God hath called, and Man hath refused. 314
    • Reas. 2. He gives Evidence thereby of his implacable Wrath against im­penitent Sinners. ibid.
    • Reas. 3. God hath respect herein to the good of others. ibid.
    • Use 1. To inform our Judgments how far sudden Death may lawfully be deprecated. 317
    • Use 2. To reprove those who run into ill Courses in their Health, and al­low unto themselvs a time of lingring Sickness. 318
    • Use 3. Instruction to the Good. 320
  • Doct. 7, The Loss of the Soul is the greatest Loss. 322
    • Reas. 1. In regard of the Worth of it, which is unmatchable. 323
    • Reas. 2. The losing of it, is an universal Loss. 324
    • Reas. 3. It is irrecoverable. 325
    • Use 1. To reprove those who do little regard it. ibid.
    • Use 2. To endeavour the safety and preservation of it. 336
  • Doct. 8. The Soul of a Sinner is a due Debt, and must be paid. 340
    • Use 1. To discover unto us the Carelessnesse of impenitent Sinners. 341
    • [Page]Use 2. To advise us to make our Peace before we are arrested by Death. 341
  • Doct. 9. Sinners part with their Souls unwillingly. 342
    • Reas. When a Wicked man dyeth, his Expectations perish. 344
    • Use 1. Information, how the Godly and Wicked differ in Point of Dy­ing. 345
    • Use 2. As God hath made us unlike in the Issues of Death, let us be care­ful that we be unlike them in the way to it. 351
    • Means to be used. 352, &c.
  • Doct. 10. The Soul of Man remaineth still in Being, after its departure out of the Body. 358
    • Reas. 1. Because God is just. 360
    • Reas. 2. If the Soul dyed, Religion were of no Effect. ibid.
    • Use 1. The Knowledg of this Point, and Belief of it, is a means to make a man a good Christian. 361
    • Use 2. The Assurance of this will comfort us at the hour of Death. 364
    • Use 3. Be we exhorted hence, to be most careful of our Souls. ibid.
  • Doct. 11. Worldly things are Moveables. 365
    • Reas. The World it self is no other than a flitting Island. 370
    • Use 1. Not to be deluded by Names and Titles. ibid.
    • Use 2. To set our hearts upon things truly immovable. 371
  • Doct. 12. The things of this life are ours but during life. 372
    • Reas. Poverty is the Porter of a man's Life. ibid.
    • Use 1. To discover their blindness, who deprive themselves of the com­fortable Use of the things of this Life. 373
    • Use 2. To advise us rightly to use those things which are truely Ours. 374
  • Doct. 13. None knowes who shall enjoy what the Worldling provides. 376
    • Reas. It is not ours to dispose of. ibid.
    • Use. To reprove the Worldly Miser. ibid.
Vers. 21. So is he that layeth up Treasure for himself, and is not Rich towards God.
  • [Page]Doct. 1. Doctrine and Use is the best Method of Preaching. 378
    • Use 1. Why then should any be offended at this Method. 379
    • Use 2. Ministers should be faithful in this part of their Ministeriall Fun­ction. ibid.
    • Use 3. To bless God for this plain and profitable Method. 380
  • Doct. 2. We must not be Personall in applying of our Doctrines to our Auditory. 382
    • Ʋse 1. To blame are those who turn their Sermons into Philippicks, and so rather act the part of a Betrayer than of a Rebuker. 384
    • Ʋse 2. To blame are those Auditors who do not apply or mis-apply, be­cause they are not named. ibid.
  • Doct. 3. Ministers are to reprove Sin impartially. 385
    • Use. To blame them who can see Sin in one, and over-look it in ano­ther. ibid.
  • Doct. 4. The Worlding is a Treasurer, and the World is his Treasure. 387
  • Doct. 5. The Covetous are for themselvs altogether. 390
    • Reas. They are full of Self-Love. ibid.
    • Ʋse 1. To take heed how we trust a Worldling too far. ibid.
    • Ʋse 2. To admonish all to mind the Well-fare and good of others as well as they do their own. 391
  • Doct. 6. A good man is a Rich man. 392
    • Use 1. It makes against them who are of Opinion, that Christianity is the way to Beggary. 393
    • Use 2. Of Tryal, whether we are truly Rich or no. 394
    • Use 3. To learn to know where are true Riches. 396
    • Means to obtain true Riches. 400
    • Use 4. Comfort to the Godly, though they have not a Ragg to their back. 401
  • Doct. 7. Folly may be argued by Worldliness. 402
    • Reas. Such have rejected the Word of God, and cast off his fear. 403
    • [Page]Use 1. Not to be offended if the whole World may be drawn within the Compass of a Fool's Cap. 403
    • Use 2. Take heed how we hearken to their Counsel, or regard their Cen­sure. 406
    • Use 3. To receive Instruction rather than Silver, and to get Knowledge rather than Gold. 407
  • Doct. 8. Worldly Riches, immoderately loved, expose a Man to God's heavy Wrath. 408
    • Reas. It is a Breach of God's Law, and cannot escape his Curse. 409
    • Use 1. To inform our Judgment concerning the World, and Worldly things. 414
    • Use 2. To perswade Worldlings to spend some serious Thoughts upon their present condition. 415
Charitable Reader,

EXpect nothing absolutely compleat and perfect under the Sun; if thou doest, thou art not acquainted with thine own Erraticall Actions. Books have their ble­mishes as well as men; and in this thou mayest find these following (being the most materiall) Errors.

Page.Line.Error.Correction.
508overe agerover-eager
521put you mindput you in mind
5728No [...] [...] neither hurt us; hast take ought &c.Neither hast hurt us; neither hast taken ought &c.
6518Herbs meet, for the Dresser the Comma being mis-placed.Herbs meet for the Dresser, the Comma being mis-placed.
6819Is DangerIs no danger.
7132every one of them;every one of them are thoughts;
70 Marg. Ille amarus est.Ille avarus est.
7227Country HouseCounting House
768of PinOf Sin
1218take hetake heed
i [...]d.28denyed only; the Colon being mis-placed.denyed; only &c. the Colon being mis-placed.
14112Murtherings caresMurthering cares
15919Outward wantInward want
1614deliated,dilated,
19513a rich Churle on, the Comma mis-placed.a rich Churle, one the Comma mis-placed.
19910not obtain itbut obtain it
20537Righteousnessrighteous
20910be spokenbeing spoken
22317within Devotionwith thin Devotion
2437ProsopaiaProsopopaia
25826VogueVote
25924EnamplesExamples
26213touch the Palatetouch of the Palate
26432loaden witslaeaden wits
3218and let us,and let us flee,
3443or a Sinnerof a Sinner
3661as the Soul isas the Sail is
392 Marg. in perpetumin perpetuum
39712are necessaryare not neccessary

Vale.

THE PARABLE OF THE Rich Fool.

LUKE 12.16,22.

And he spake a Parable unto them, saying, The Ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully, &c.

THis Parable was propounded to a very great Audi­ence, as appears, ver. 1. When there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of People, he began to say unto his Disciples. And the occasion of pro­pounding it unto that multitude, was this;

Two Brethren were at Variance about their Fa­thers Lands:The Occa­sion. Ver. 13. one (as it seems) who had the Possession would have all, and part with nothing, or very little, to the other. He, who thought himself wronged, (but whether he were or no, is very questi­onable) applies himself unto our Saviour, whom he conceived to be a wise and understanding man, intreating him to compose and take up that difference which was betwixt them, that an equal divi­sion being made, Law-Suits might be stayed, and expence of mony [Page 2]spared, which otherwayes in all likelihood could not be avoi­ded.

An honest motion in it self, and commendable, had it been as seasonable.1 Cor. 6▪4 5. St. Paul was of the Opinion, That it is better to re­fer differences concerning the things of this Life to the Judgment of wise and understanding men than to the Lawyer; for if the Tide of Contention be up, those stirring Winds do oftentimes make the Waves more rough and raging.

But his mind at this time should have been taken up with bet­ter matters. Christ was discoursing on matters of a higher nature; and was it fit that he who came to hear the Word preached, should have his heart run after worldly things? and possessed with carnall thoughts? Much more unfitting was it, and unbeseeming him, to take the Liberty to interrupt our Saviour, whilest he was Preaching to the People, with so bold and sawcy a Request as this, Master, Speak to my Brother that he divide the Inheritance with me.

Ver. 14 Our Saviour refuseth to gratify him in this his unseasonable and unsavoury Suit, telling him plainly, that he was no Judg in such Ca­ses: His Calling and Function was to divide the Word, and not In­heritances; that belonged to the Judges of the Earth, and not to him; nor was it sit to leave the Work of the Ministry to serve Tables: And yet there are those who are of the Opinion, that a Minister may do God better Service in composing differences betwixt Neighbour and Neighbour at the Tap-house or Tavern, than by all the pains they take in preaching out of a Pulpit.

The Scope. Ver. 15 And whereas the Quick-eye of our blessed Saviour well perceiv­ed, that Covetousness was the Cause both of that Contention which was betwixt these two Brethren, and of the present Interruption; like a wise Physitian he strikes at the very Root of the Disease, com­mending (upon this occasion) a very serious and seasonable Admo­nition to all the Company, that they would take heed and beware of Covetousness; improving the fault reproved in that one, to the good of all his Auditory, making a Treacle of his Poyson to prevent the like Infection, backing his Admonition with this Reason; For that a Man's Life consisteth not in the Abundance of the things which he possesseth; albeit Wealth abounds, and Riches encrease, yet all that will not make a Man happy, nor bring true Content; he can live neither the longer nor the merrier Life, for that abun­dance. [Page 3]And this he illustrates by this (Parabolical Narration▪ There was a very Rich man, the richest in the Country; for the whole Country was his, and that Country did bear and bring forth unto him a very great Crop of Corn, insomuch that this Rich man did take great care where to bestow it; he enters into a Consulta­tion with himself, what to do in that Case, and thus determines, To pull down his old Barns, and build others far more large and spaci­ous, and in them he will bestow his Goods for their security; which being done, he sits down and sings a Lullaby to his own Soul, (as if he were) sufficiently provided for many years after. But the Is­sue was, that the same very Night wherein he did thus solace him­self, his Soul was taken from him, and he suddenly snatcht away from the Fruition of all those worldly things, and they bestowed on those that would give him small thanks for them. Lo, even such a Fool as this Rich man was, and so sure of the revenging hand of God, is that man, whosoever he be, that sets his heart upon earthly Riches, having no care of procuring true Grace, which only is able to en­rich his Soul, and make him happy. Now, that we may not lose our selvs for want of Method, let us come to the Parts.

The Parts. In this Parable we have considerable; The Introduction or Pre­face to it: and the Narration or Body of it.

The Introduction in these words, He spake a Parable unto them, saying, Ver. 16. Where we have, 1. The Persons. 2. The Doctrine to take notice of.

The Persons are, speaking, and spoken unto; speaking [He], spo­ken unto [them]; He spake unto them.

The kind of Doctrine: He spake a Parable, saying: Where 1. The Matter. 2. The Manner, is observable. The Matter, A Pa­rable: The Manner of Delivery, He spake, saying.

The Narration follows, Ver. 16, —22. The Ground of a certain Rich man, &c. Where we have the [...] or Part propound­ing, to Ver. 21. and the [...] or Part applying, Ver. 21.

In the propounding Parts we have the Person spoken of, and the Relation that is made of him.

The Person is set forth, 1. By his Titles, Common, A cer­tain man; proper, A Rich man. 2. By his Possessions, or out­ward Estate, he had Ground which brought forth plentifully. And there we have, First the Interest or Propriety that he had, The Land [Page 4]was His. 2. The Fertility of the Soil, It brought forth Fruit plentifully. He was a landed Man, and had a great Crop, a whole Region of Corn, Ver. 16.

That which is related of him, follows Ver. 17, &c. and it respects his Life, Ver. 17,—20. and Death, Ver. 20. In the former we have his Comick, in the latter his Tragick parr.

In his Life-time we find him, First, casting up of his Estate, Ver. 17, 18. And he thought within himself, saying, &c. Secondly, dis­posing of Himself and Goods, And I will say unto my Soul, &c. Ver. 19.

In the former we have him; First, Consulting, He thought with­in himself, saying, &c. In which Consultation is made known unto us, his Thoughts and Cogitations which were very secret; for, He thought within himself, and was much perplexed, What shall I do? And then the Ground or Reason of that Anxiety of Spirit, Because I have no room where to bestow my fruits; intimating unto us both his Indigence, in that he wanted Room; and his Abundance, for his Crop was so great that he knew not where to lay it.

Secondly, We have him resolving and determining of the Course which he would take, Ver. 18. And he said, This will I do, &c. This his Determination is generally notified, This I will do. And more particularly specified, I will pull down my Barns, &c. expressing his Method, which was first to undo and then to do, he would pull down and then build bigger. And then his Meaning, There will I bestow all my Fruits and my Goods, discovering thereby much Confidence in the Creature, he promiseth all to the Barns; and Pride in himself, which appears by the manner of his speaking, All my Fruits and my Goods.

Thus having cast up his Estate, he proceeds to dispose of his Goods by Will-Paroll; And I will say to my Soul; Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years, &c. Ver. 19. I will say, there is the Preface; Soul, there is the Solace; so that this Will is Prefaced with a Soli­loquium▪ and Perfected with a Stulti-loquium; and there we may take notice,

1. Of the Legated▪ Soul. 2. Of the Legacy, I will say, Soul, thou hast▪ &c. Where,

First, The Matter bequeathed, which was both Stock and Store.

His Stock: for Quality, [Goods]; for Security, [laid up].

His Store: much Goods, for many years; there, the Quantity, much; the Continuance, many years.

The Manner of drawing up his Will, I will say, Soul take thine ease. There,

A Gratification of his Soul; and

A Ratification of his Will, I will say to my Soul, Soul take thine ease, Eat, drink, and be merry; manifesting therein his Security and Sensuality, as in the Enlargement of these things we shall hereafter more largely shew you.

His Death and Tragick part, But God said unto him, Thou Fool, this Night thy Soul shall be required of thee, &c. Ver. 20. And here we find, 1. His Wit questioned; 2. His Will disapproved and disanulled.

His Wit, that is questioned; But God said unto him, Thou Fool: Where we see, 1. Who questions him, God, who best might. 2. How he questions him, He said unto him, Thou Fool: Plainly and Posi­tively.

His Will is disapproved; This Night thy Soul shall be required of thee. Where we have,

First, A Revocation of his Gift given to his Soul. This Night, thy Soul; there the Time is fixed, it shall be this Night, before the Morning, required of thee; noting both the Sadness and the Sud­denness of the Judgment. Repetunt, they shall fetch it away; who, we are not told, but we may imagine, and that is the means whereby it shall be effected; Where, 1. The Judgment inflicted. 2. The Manner of it.

Secondly, An Administration granted to others of his Goods. Then whose shall those things be which thou hast provided? Where we have the Goods specified which shall be administred upon, Those things which thou hast provided for the satisfying of thy Soul. And the Parties to whom the Administration is granted; Whose shall those things be? As if he should say, They shall enjoy them whom thou little thinkest of.

The Apodosis, or Applying Part of the Parable, follows, Ver. 21. So is he that layeth up Treasure for himself, and is not rich towards God. Where consider we, First, The Persons whom this Parablc doth espe­cially concern: Secondly, Their Condition.

The Persons are Indefinitely propounded, [He] be he what he will be. And then more Particularly described, and that Affirmatively, shewing what they are, they are rich in themselvs: And then Nega­tively, shewing what they are not, they are not rich towards God.

The Condition and State of such men is set forth; First, As it is for the present, which is expressed: So it is, that is, as it was with that Fool before spoken of. Secondly, As it shall be for the future, even so as that Man went out of the World with a lost Name, and a lost Soul; so shall he: And these are the Parts and Branches of this Parable; of which we shall, God assisting, speak in Order: We begin with the Preface or Introduction, wherein we shall be brief.

Text. And he spake a Parable unto them, saying]

The Person propounding this Parable was Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as is evident from the words precedent in the beginning of the Chapter: So that which the Authour to the Hebrews tells us is a Truth,

Doct. God hath spoken unto us in these last times by his own Son. Heb. 1.2. And so fulfilled that Promise long since made of raising up a Prophet amongst our selvs, whom we are to hear, Deut. 18.15, 18. Act. 3.22. Mat. 17.5. confirmed Act. 4.18, 19. and by that Parable, Mat. 21.33, — 39. And no better Reason can be rendred of this than that of our Saviour, Mat. 11.25, 26.

Ʋse 1 Behold then, and admire the wonderful Love of God shewed towards us who live under the Gospel, above those of old times who lived under the Law. He spake indeed to them as well as unto us; and the same God is the Author of the Old Testament, and likewise of the New; but there is great difference in his Teaching of the one and of the other, as the Apostle shews, Heb. 1.1, 2. God, who at sundry times, and in divers manners, spake in times past unto the Fathers, hath in these last dayes spoken unto us by his Son. In the old time God revealed his mind to our Fore-Fathers, [...], u [...] si dicas, mul­ [...]ipartuè. Estins. D [...]. Jones Comment. in loc. multis vicibus, as Beza renders the words, at many or sundry times, as our Translation hath it's It was divided into many parts, and given them by piece-meal, how a part and then a part; it was parcelled out unto them, as the Capa­city of People in sundry times did require. One part they had in Adam's time, another in Noah's; one in Abraham's time, another [Page 7]in Moses time; one part in David's time, another in the Prophets: Isay had one part of it revealed concerning Christ's Conception and Birth: Jonah another, concerning his Resurrection: Daniel another, of his coming to Judgment. But we have the Doctrine of Salvation at one Lump, propounded to us in one whole and en­tire Sum: St. Jude speaking of the Christian Faith, saith, that it was once given to the Saints; once for all, so perfectly, that we need not another Gospel. The whole Magazine of God Almighty is now opened unto us which was not unto them; the Lord was in the way only of revealing his whole mind to them before Christ came, letting forth Light by little and little, before the Sun of Righteousness, Jesus Christ, arose with Healing under his Wings.

And as he spake to them at sundry times, so in divers manners or forms; either by Angels, as he spake to Abraham; [...], Mul­tiformiter. or by Visi­on, as he made known his mind to Ezekiel; or by Dreams, as to Samuel; or by Urim and Thummim, as to the Priest; or by Signs from Heaven, by Types and shadowing Ceremonies, and such like. But the Doctrine of Salvation is taught after one sort, even by the Preaching of the Gospel, which is the Power of Salvation to every one that believeth; which one manner of speaking far surpasseth all those manners of speaking, whereby God spake to them, and work­eth more powerfully, and pierceth into the heart of Man more deep­ly than any other manner of Perswasion, yea though one should rise from the dead and speak to us.

Then he spake only to the Fathers, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their Posterity; to some few, and but one Nation. He shewed his word unto Jacob, his Statutes and his Judgments unto Israel; He hath not dealt so with any Nation, saith the Psalmist, Psal. 147.19, 20. and as for his Judgments, they have not known them. But now in these last dayes, God by his Son hath spoken to all inde­finitely, to Jew and Gentile, to Male and Female, to bond and free, all being one in Christ, Gal. 3.28. and through Faith hath one en­trance unto the Throne of Grace. So that, as one speaketh upon that Text, We need not say, Now O Lord, remember David and the Covenant made with Abraham; but, O Lord, remember me, and the Covenant which thou hast made with my Father's House: For, unto all, both those that are nigh, and those that are far off, there [Page 8]is but one Covenant in Christ Jesus, Ephes. 2.13, 17.

Lastly, Then God spake to the Fathers by the Patriarchs and Pro­phets; that is, the continual Succession of the Prophets in all Ages, not by one alone but by all; from the beginning God used the Mi­nistry of the Patriarchs to instruct their Families, but that did not sa­tisfy him. By the Ministry of Moses he instructed his People un­der the Law; yet that did not content him▪ He used the Ministry of Priests and Prophets, yea, of one greater than a Prophet, John the Baptist, to teach and instruct his Church; yet he rested not therewith satisfied: But last of all, he sent his Son, that eternall Word which is God, whom he hath made Heir of all things, by whom also he made the World. Rare and singular men were those by whom God instructed and taught his Church in elder times; yet not worthy so be named with Christ, by whom he speaketh unto us: They were men, Christ is God and Man; they had excellent Gifts of Wisdom and Knowledge, yet all their Wisdom and Knowledge was but borrowed; Christ was wise of himself, the Fountain of all Wisdom and Knowledg, and of his fulness we receive Grace for Grace: They were mortal, and saw Corruption; nor was any Pro­phet, when he was taken away by Death, able to give Grace to others that should come after, or of his fulness to make other learn­ed in the Mysteries of Salvation; but Christ abideth for ever, he still liveth to appoint us Teachers, and of his fulness he giveth all others their continual encrease of Grace: By all which you see how wonderfully God hath honoured us above those who lived in the time of the Law: Many Prophets and Kings have desired to see those things which we see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which we hear, and have not heard them, Luke 10.24. The Gospel is a Mystery, and a great Mystery too, which was hid­den in the secret Closet of God's own Breast; not possible to enter into the heart of Man, till Christ brought it out of the Bosom of his Father and discovered it unto Man-kind. Nor could Men or An­gels do that: he only had Power to open the Book, who was both God and Man in Union; by vertue of which Union those divine Truths and heavenly Mysteries which were,Joh. 1 18. Mat. 1 [...].27. and could live no where but in the Divine Nature, were drawn out of the depth of it into the Humane, and in that Nature discovered unto us. No spiritual Dis­covery of those high Mysteries could be, or can be, but in Christ and [Page 9]by Christ, because in him alone is the Divine and Humane Nature united.

Now the greater Love that God hath shewed us,Mat. 21.33, 41. the soarer Ven­geance in case of Contempt and Disobedience. See then that you despise not him that speaks from Heaven, saith the Apostle Heb. 12.25. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on Earth, much more shall not we escape if we turn from him that speaks from Heaven to us. He that despised Moses Law dyed without Mercy, under two or three Witnesses (that is, being Legally convicted), Heb. 10.28. now of how much soarer Punishment shall he be wor­thy, who despiseth the Gospel whereof the Son of God is the Mini­ster? Christ is far greater than Moses; in despising him, they did but despise the Servant; in despising Christ, you despise the Son: [...], Look to it therefore, saith the Apostle, that you do it not; for it is as much as your Souls are worth.

And yet how little is God's Speaking to us by this his Son regar­ded? Many of the Pharisees knew him to be the Son of God; This is the Heir (say they), come let us kill him Mat. 21.38. They were not altogether ignorant that he was the Lord of Life whom they slew. Were Christ now living upon the Earth, Do you not think that there are some so maliciously bent against the Gospel and the sincere Preaching of it, as that they could find in their hearts to kill Christ himself? You (it may be) will say, as they did who heard Christ propounding that Parable unto them, and fore-telling them of that Cruelty which they would shew in putting him to Death, God forbid Luke 20.16. We cannot perswade men that their hearts are half so bad, or their wayes so dangerous, as Preachers would make them; but when men will persecute the Ministers of the Gospel for their Fidelity in dispensing of the Word, and mur­der the Servants, they will never stick to murder the Master; he that heareth you heareth me, saith Christ,Mat. 10.40 and he that despiseth you despi­seth me, &c. So they who persecute them, imprison them, put them to death, as Herod did John Baptist, Jol. 13.20. will not spare Christ himself if they had Power.

Lastly, If God have so honoured us that live in the time of the Gospel, above them in the time of the Law; Should it not be our care to honour him, love him, fear him, and obey him, above those who lived in those dayes? He spake to them in old time, in the [Page 10]eldest Age of the World, he speaks to us in a new time, when all things are made new by Christ. It was said to them old, but I say unto you, saith our Saviour Math. 5.21, 27. Oh, how happy were it for us if we did not come far behind them in Faith, Obedience, &c. They believe, and had less means than we; they obeyed, yet had less Encouragements than we. The Lord pardon our failings, and quicken us to holy Duties! But thus much of the Person speak­ing: now of the Persons spoken unto, [...]

Text. Unto them.]

Not to the Disciples alone, as Ver. 1. but to the whole Multi­tude: One of the Company occasioned the Text, Take heed and beware of Covetousness; but all the rest heard the Sermon, He said to them, amplifying, enlarging, and applying his Do­ctrine to all and every one. You may learn from hence,

Doct. A Sermon against Covetousness and Earthly-mindedness is of ge­neral Concernment: It concerns the whole Auditory; All as well as any, that are within the hearing.

We need not spend time in the further Proof of this. It was a very great Audience that Christ now spake unto, as appears Ver. 1. and a mixt Company; it was of all sorts and conditions, rich and poor, old and young, men and women; and he speaks to them all, one as well as another; and applies his Doctrine, to every one as well as any one, as we find in the Close of the Parable, as hereafter you shall hear more fully. Those Dehortations given in Scripture against Worldliness and Earthly-mindedness are of general Concern­ment, they concern all professed Christians, and are not to be re­strained to any one Rank or Calling, Eph. 5.3. Col. 3.5. Heb. 13.5. Jam. 4.4. 1 Joh. 2.15.

Reason. Naturally every one is addicted in a special manner to be world­ly and earthly-minded: As we are prone to all Sins in general, so more especially unto this; we are of the Earth, earthy, Joh. 3.31. 1 Cor. 15.47. Not only dusty and slimy, but like Ducklings we have alwayes our Bills in the Mud; and so soon as ever we can un­derstand, we begin to grovel in the Earth (as we see it experimen­tally in little Children: And in so doing, we seem wilfully to draw on our selvs that Curse which God never laid upon us. It was the Serpent's Doom to crawl on her Belly and eat Dust; yet, that we may have Earth for our Food, we crawl on all four, if [Page 11]not in Body yet in Desire,Amb. Hex­am. l. 6. c. 3 as Ambrose speaks on this Sub­ject.

Nor are we only addicted to it, but generally infected with it: Covetousness (saith one) is an Epidemical Disease, an universal Plague, from which no sort is free: And, Saith not the Scripture the same also? From the least of them even unto the greatest of them, every one is given to Covetousness. Jer. 6.13. Some Sins are peculiar to some Vocations and Callings; as, for the Judg to pervert Judgment for Fear, Favour, or Reward: The Minister to sooth up men in their Sins, and to forbear Reproof for fear of Man's Face, &c. O­ther, to some Estates and Condition; as, for the Rich to oppress the Poor, and the Poor to envy the Rich, and to be discontented with their Estates: And other-some, to mens Complexions and natural Constitutions, as to the Melancholy, Cholerick, &c. But this Poyson hath infected all Callings and Conditions, Sorts and Rancks of Persons; Magistrates, Ministers, Gentlemen, Yeomen, Citi­zens, and Countrymen; Rich and Poor, Old and Young, Male and Female. Therefore we may conclude, It is a Doctrine of great concernment to dehort you from this Sin of Worldliness and Cove­tousness.

Object. But good men have been free from it; Mat. 19.27 Act. 20.33. We have forsaken all and fol­lowed thee, said Peter: I have coveted no man's Silver, nor Gold, nor Apparell, saith Paul. Luther sometimes said, that he never found himself tempted to Covetousness; and his very Adversaries,Germana illa Bestia non curat Aurum. who would have tempted him with Gold, testified for him, that he cared not for it. Besides, many Philosophers and Heathens Natural and Civil Persons, have contemned Riches; How then can it be said that all are infected with that Vice?

Answ. Common Grace hath done much in repressing and restraining Man's greedy Appetite, even for the common Good of Man-kind, and the up-holding of humane Society; Saving Grace hath done more in stubbing at the Root of this bitter Fruit; this doth not only cover that sore as common Grace doth, but it kills the Disease: And yet neither common Grace, nor sanctifying Grace, doth so subdue and mortify it, but that still some Relique and Remainder abides in the best; and will, some way or other, discover it self in them.

And yet though it be in all, yet it is not in the like manner, nor in the like degree in all. In the wicked Worldling it rules and reigns, he is a Servant and Slave to it; In some of the wicked it is the chief Lord and Soveraign, bearing Rule and commanding for it self; many other Vices are in them, but that is the Capital Vice, other Vices are subservient to it; his Pride and his unjust Practi­ces, all are but Servants to this his Covetousness. Thus this Rich Fool the Parable speaks of, prided himself in his great Estate, and made it his Glory; His Pride issued from the great Crop that he had, and this doth apparantly denominate a man to be a Worldling.

Sometimes it is subservient, being under the Command and Ser­vice of some other Lust, like an under-Officer; and is (as one terms it) the Purveyor or Taker for Ambition, Prodigality, Idle­ness, without the Service of which their Lusts could not be maintai­ned. But whether it be in a wicked man whole Master or Quarter-Master, it rules in him and brings him into Bondage: Nor is there a wicked man under Heaven, but either in Predominancy or Sub­serviency he is a Slave to the World; and albeit there may be restrai­ning Grace in him to keep him from exorbitancy, yet Covetousness retains it's own Nature still, as a Lyon doth the Nature of a Lyon although he be chained.

In a godly Christian, albeit there be a natural propensity remain­ing in him towards worldly and earthly things, yet the Love of the World is not such as that it doth bear sway in his heart, (albeit it may discover it self in some Acts more or less towards predominan­cy.) It is a bad Tenant,Mr. Wheat­ly's Ser­mon on Co­vetousness. often warned to be gone (saith a Reverend Divine) but will not out; yet it is resisted, opposed, complained of, and hath many a Suit commenced against it in the Court of Heaven for Usurpation. In a word, some give this Vice Physick, but no Sustenance; thus doth the Godly: Others give it Sustenance but no Physick, thus do the Wicked. One would destroy it, these it mo­lests but kills not; The other maintain it, these it kills but molests not. Thus it is in all, but yet in a different State and Degree: As for that Saying of Luther before-mentioned, it is probable that his meaning was, That of all Sins he found himself least addicted to that of Covetousness, (if otherwise, it may be questioned, whether it were advisedly spoken;) if so, it were to be wished (saith a learned [Page 13]Doctor of our own) that there were more Lutherans in that Point than there are.Dr. Bois in his Re­mains on Hab. 2.9.

Ʋse. 1 This being a Doctrine that concerns all both good and bad, one as well as another; then such are to blame and justly may be repro­ved, who so hear it as nothing at all concerning them. The poor man that hath no Barn, nor Corn to put into a Barn, thinks himself nothing at all concerned in it; when yet notwithstanding, his de­sires may be as large as the great Barns this rich man builded, nay enlarged as Hell it self. The Soul of the Sluggard lusteth (saith So­lomon) and hath nothing. Prov. 13.4. They have strong Affections to Wealth and Riches, and all things else which are in Request, and Estimation with men; but yet they are poor enough, they are kept fasting from Wealth albeit they covet it, and that evermore greedi­lp, as the wise man hath it Prov. 21.26. Such men are most despe­rately covetous; for, in that their Sloth will not suffer them to take the pains so get it, therefore their Lusts drive them to hunt and seek for it in the wayes of Couzenage and Villany. The best Bee in the Hive is not more desirous of Hony than the idle Drone. Con­fine not thou this Sin to rich mens Houses; it may find Harbour under the Roof of thy thatcht and smoaky Cottage: A barren Turf may yield as much smoother as the Oaken Logg; and a rot­ten piece of Timber as much Saw-dust, yea more than a sounder piece: Thou mayest be earthly-minded, albeit thou hast none of it in thy Possession.

The Prodigal and Unthrift, that spends wastfully upon his Lusts, he thinks himself shot-free and unconcerned in this Story; for all the World (saith he) knows that I am far enough from Covetousness and Earthly-mindedness; he hath cast away many of those Chips which the Covetous adore, in one Night, at one Cast with Bones, and indeed spent himself into Poverty; but how? by Pride and Luxury. And will this prove you to be a Freeman? Sometimes indeed Covetousness preys upon Unthriftiness, God giving one Sin leave to lash another to Death; but how often do they meet toge­ther in the same Person, and beget the one the other? Some scrape to keep and look upon; others, so scatter and mispend: Some de­sire Riches that they may have them; others are covetous that they may maintain prodigal Expences with them. So St. James telleth us, You covet and lust, that you may consume upon your pleasures, Jam. [Page 14]4.2, 3. Men as well as Women being with Child of Riot and Excess in Diet and Apparel, and other worldly Vanities, long for Riches to nourish the Child they go withall; without which (saith one) they are in danger to cast their Calf.Robins. E­ssay of Li­berality Obs. 31. It was said of Catiline, that he was prodigal of his own and covetous of other mens; so the greatest Mispenders for the most part are constrained to be as great Mis-getters, to feed one Vice by another; and their end is this commonly, A young Spend-thrift, an old Cheater: Little Cause then have such to laugh in their Sleeve upon the hearing of this Do­ctrine; for if thou hadst the Grace to examine thine own heart, thou wouldst find this wicked Vice of Covetousness to be as great a Doer in thy Soul inwardly, and as busy in thy Carriage outwardly, as in theirs whom with greatest Scorn thou termest, Miserable Mi­sers.

Rich men, they are apt to think that they are no such manner of Persons as this Rich Fool was; their Crops are not so great, nor their Barns so small, but they know well enough what to do with that they have, and how to dispose of it had they more: And yet you may be worldly and Covetous, and have your hearts upon the Earth, and so this Doctrine concerns you. Avarice breeds with Wealth, as they say of Toads that have been found in the midst of great Stones; The having of much encreaseth commonly a desire of having more, as I shall hereafter shew you: In short, let not any present think that what is delivered, or that shall be delivered, concerning this Vice of Worldliness and Earthly-mindedness, concerns not them; Christ spake to all that heard him, and in his Name I speak to all you that hear me this day; for it much concerns you.

You that are young, hear it; for, albeit it may be thought that this Vice is not so proper to Youth; yet Prodigality is, and Worldliness must be, subservient to it, as you have heard. Kites and other rave­nous Birds are ever watching for a Prey, and yet remain still Carti­on-like; the Reason is, for that they convert the greatest of their Nourishment into long Feathers. So is it with Youth, their Earn­ings and their Wages turn (if they be Servants) into Points and La­ces; and then they covet still for greater Wages, a better place for profit: If not Servants, yet there is not enough (they think) to maintain the Lusts of Youth;Preston on Covetous­ness. p. 47. It is therefore a seasonable Doctrine for you to attend unto,

Old men attend you hereunto; for this is especially the Sin of Old Age; Worldliness loves to dwell in an old ruinous Cottage, and when all other Vices are old, than Couetousness waxeth young.Hall. Med. Cent. 3. [...] Med. 7 4. Lop off all the Branches from a Tree but one, and that one will shoot up the faster; for the Nourishment that should seed the rest, runs into that. Many other Vices are cut off by Age, but the Strength of Corruption augments this: And Old Age seeing it is likely to lose the World, spits on the hand and takes better hold. Therefore this Doctrine calls on you for Attention.

But what have Women to do to attend? As much as Men for, as they are more Impotent, so usually their Affections are more inor­dinate to earthly things: Therefore I speak to all.

Ʋse 2 Wherefore I require Attention of you all,Psa. 49.12. and call upon you with the words of the Psalmist, Hear this all ye People, and give Ear all ye Inhabitants of the World; both low and high, rich and poor together, hear what our Saviour saith of this Rich man, what he did, and what he said to his own Soul, out of a Conceit of his great Abundance, and what was the Issue of it, and how our Saviour applies it. Hear, so as to hear for thy self; not to accuse another nor judg another, but to accuse thy self and judg thy self for it, and to be humbled under a sight and sense of thy own Guilt; and what thou dost in this way, do it conscienciously as in the presence of God, and not as you stand with the Judgment of men by outward appearance. Worldlinesse and Covetousness is a sly and subtile Sin, hardly discerned by eve­ry man, neither in himself nor others: All Vices can dress them­selvs in the habit of Vertue; Pride shall be Handsomness; Drun­kenness, Good-Fellowship; Riotousness, Liberality; and Cove­tousness comes not behind any of them all, in her Disguises: That shall be Frugality and Good-Husbandry in providing for Posterity; it hath more Pleas than any other Sin in the World hath, more Co­lours put upon it, more Cloaks to cover it. The discovery where­of I shall (I hope) make unto you in our opening of the Parable. There is indeed a sordid base Covetousness in many men of this World, which is written as it were in great Characters in their fore­head, so that he who runs may read it in every Act they do; in their whole course and carriage they discover it, and yet they cannot en­dure to be accounted worldly and covetous; and therefore that Vice is aptly resembled to the Plague, which, if a man's House be [Page 16]infected with, yet he desires to keep it close and have it accounted any other Disease than that; but we should deal more ingenuously with God and our own Souls, and finding the Marks and Tokens to be upon us (which, what they are, you may hereafter hear) begg heartily, that he would have Mercy on us, and incline our hearts unto his Testimonies and not to Covetousness:Psal. 119.36. Questionless Christ would not have spoken thus to all, both to Disciples and others, if all were not subject unto it; and if we be subject to it, what can we do less then than take notice of the sinful Corruption of our Nature and be humbled for it.

Ʋse 3 And being a Doctrine of general Concernment, let none take Offence at any of God's Ministers at any time for pressing of it: This I conceive to be a necessary Caution considering the divers tempers and humours of our People, no Minister can please all; they will be finding fault either with the choice of his Text, or manner of handling it. St. Austine seemed to be at a Non-plus once, about the choice of his Text, not knowing what Text to choose or what subject to preach upon; For when I did behold (saith he) the Lo­vers of the World, I knew not how to preach to them; for the Rich disdained what I said, and the Poor had rather have Bread than Manna that I brought. Such is the humour of People in this our Age:Neh. 8.10. Mat. 25.27. The Epicure likes that Text well, Go eat of the Fat and drink of the Sweet: The Usurer likes that better, Thou oughtest to have put my Mony out to the Exchangers, &c. The Lawyer would willing­ly hear that Text pressed,1 Tim. 1.8. 1 Cor. 6.7. The Law is good, if a man use it lawfully: The Poor Client, that, There is utterly a fault amongst you, that you go to Law one with another: The Rich Creditor makes choice of that Text, Owe no man any thing but Love. Rom. 13.8 Luke. 6.35 And the Poor Debtor, that, Lend, looking for nothing again. Some would have long Texts: Some would have short: In the very choice of our Text we can hardly please; but die Sermon made upon that Text is usually more offensive; great fault shall be found with Matter or Form: Some­times the Matter is too high, and at other times too low; Some would have us climb up the Mountains, or launch out into the deeps of Election, Reprobation, Free-Will, &c. Others advise to keep below in the Valley, and beat constantly upon those High-way Points (as they please to term them) of Faith, Repentance, and O­bedience, which indeed are most necessary. Some would that the [Page 17]common places of Scripture should be decided: Others would have the Sins of the Times rebuked; and yet they are not agreed how that should be done: Some like it best when it is done gene­rally and coldly; others, particularly and zealously: Some would have the Vices of Magistrates, Ministers, and other Superiours, dis­covered; others, only the faults and failings of common People and Inferiours, lest Superiours should be contemned and despised: All men, other mens Vices; but few or none, their own. These dis­agree in Matter very ill, but in form much worse: Some like well that a Text should be Logically handled; Others cry out upon it, as being Man's Wisdom: Some would have the Sermon adorned with Rhetorical strains; Others call that Perswasibleness of words: Some would have all confirmed by the Testimony of Councils, Fa­thers, and Doctors of the Church; Others esteem that but Man's Doctrine, and would not that they should be once named in a Pul­pit: Some would have all said without Book; Others think that Minister tempts God that trusts to his Memory and useth no Notes: Some love Gesture and Action; Others like none: Some are for short Sermons; Others for long, and it will be long enough ere we please all. But it is not for us so feed every ones humour: It is Christ's Example that a Minister must follow; He spake so all, and so must we as near as we can. Sometimes indeed what he spake was not intended to all, but so some particular Persons, as Matth. 23. Luke 11.45, &c. But usually what he said unto one was spo­ken to all, as Mark 13.37. What I say unto one, I say unto all, Watch. Thus, upon some Occasion, a Text may be so chosen, and the Sermon preached thereon so intended by him that preacheth it, as that the main Passages thereof concern not every one: But this Text which we have now in hand concerns the whole Auditory, and therefore there is no Cause for any one to take offence thereat. And so we pass from he Persons teaching and taught, to the kind of Doctrine delivered,

A Parable.]

How the word is taken and used I have else-where shewed; now, in short: It is sometimes taken in a more large sense for any Si­militude or Comparison, fetched from things earthly and in common Use, to help our Understanding in things spiritual and divine, so Math. 13.31, 33, 34. Sometimes a dark Speech and obscure Say­ing [Page 18]is termed a Parable, as Psal. 49.4. yea, every grave, pithy, and short Sentence hath that Name given to it: The Proverbs of Solomon are called Parables, Prov. 1.1.

More strictly: It is a Figurative Uttering of the Intention of the mind, whose proper Nature is to make shew of one thing and aim at another; and usually the Comparison is taken from men actions and manners, as Luke 8.5, &c.

St. Luke calls this a Parable; otherwise we might take it for a bare Narration of something done; However, it is so feigned, as that daily and experimentally in the World we have it verified. Nor is it of the Nature of some other Parables, whose Shell was so hard as that Christ himself was enforced to break it before the Kernell could be tasted; and shew the meaning, before his Hearers could understand it. It seems to have no Shell at all, being one of those that Gregory speaks of, which requires rather a good Practitioner than Expositor: Yet being a Parable, and brought by Christ for the Illu­stration of his Doctrine, we may thence learn: That

Doctr. Doctrine delivered may lawfully be illustrated by Similitudes, Parables, Allegories, and other Helps of Art and Humane Learn­ing.

How abundant Christ was in this Parabolical and Similitudinary way of Teaching,See my Exposition on the Pa­rable of the Figgless Figg-Tree. Luke 13.6. I have shewed you in my Exposition on the Para­ble of the Figg-Tree. Had it not been profitable, Christ (without Question) would not have used them so frequently: Nor would the Prophets and Apostles have illustrated their Sermons therewith. But this they were directed by the Spirit of God to do, Ezek. 17.2. & 24.3. And it is reckoned as a great Favour from God to teach us by his Prophets and Ministers, after such a way and in such a manner, Hos. 12.10.

Object. But do we not find in Scripture that it was in Judgment that Christ spake by Parables unto the People, Mat. 13.13. How then can this be said to be a profitable way of Teaching?

Answ. To the Wicked it was so; and the Reason why it was so, our Sa­viour shews:

First, to punish them for their wilfull Blindness; They see­ing saw not, and hearing heard not, that is, They would not see, they would not hear; and so they wilfully brought this Judgment on themselvs, insomuch that plain Doctrines were to them as Parables.

Secondly, That the Scriptures might be fulfilled which had so fore-told, Isa. 6.9. Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not: And in them, the saying of the Prophet Isai­ah was fulfilled.

But to the Godly, and such as are desirous to learn, it is other­wise: To you it is given (saith Christ) to know the Mysteries of the Kingdom, but to others it is not given, Matth. 13.11. As if He should have said, Albeit I speak in Parables unto you, yet the Illumination of the Spirit is given to you, whereby those things shall be sufficiently cleared, and the Veil taken away; which being done,

Reason. No kind of Teaching conveighs the Truth with more delight to the Understanding, works more upon the Affections, sooner strikes the Will, better helps the Memory: And, if it be personal, the Is­sue of it is to touch the Quick; and in a sort to extort that from us which otherwise would not be granted, 2 Sam. 12.7. 1 King. 20.39. Mat. 21.26, & 33.

Ʋse. Therefore such Ministers ought not to be censured, who, not con­tenting themselvs with a bare and naked propounding of Divine Truths, do, by the Help of Invention and Art, illustrate their Do­ctrines by Comparisons and Similitudes, Proverbs, Parables, and the like, seeing they are able to produce a good President for this their Practice.

Object. But what makes this (say some) to the building up of the spiritu­all Man in Knowledg and in Holiness? Is it not the Scripture that is only profitable for that end and purpose? 2 Tim. 3.16, 17.

Answ. To derogate from the Perfection of Scripture is no better than Sacriledg and Blasphemy: And on the other side, to detract from the Worth and Credit of Arts and Sciences, is an Anabaptisticall Phrenzy. This we lay down for a divine Aphorism (saith one), that Scripture is of it self abundantly sufficient for us; but we are not sufficient for it, without the help of Arts and humane Learning: We are not able to interpret the Text without Grammar, nor to divide without Logick, nor profitably press and apply it without the help of Rhetorick: Sundry Passages in Scripture depend upon pro­priety of Words and Idioms, which without the help of humane Learning cannot be opened: and for want of Learning much Scrip­ture [Page 20]is perverted, to mens Destruction, 2 Pet. 5.16.

Again, although Divinity be Lady and Mistress, yet Humane Arts and Sciences are as Hand-maids that attend upon her; and by the Help of these Maids the Mistress is many times the better court­ed and sooner wooed. It was Ambrose his Eloquence that caused Austin to be so much affected with his Preaching, and under that Bait was hid the Hook that caught him.See the life of Gall. Ca­rac. writ­ten in En­glish by Mr. Will. Cra­shaw, p. 5. c. 3. So Galleacius Caracciolus was taken by a Similitude which he heard Peter Martyr use; by which if his Conversion were not wrought, yet his Sanctification was furthered thereby: And who sees not, that plain People are better taught by Similitudes than by Syllogisms?

Such sacred Parables and Similitudes as we find in Scripture are not only Ornaments, but special Arguments of a Discourse, if right­ly used; for they may not be pressed beyond the Scope of the Ho­ly Ghost in using and applying them; nor may any Point of Faith be gathered from them, it not being backed with some plainer Proof from other Scripture; yet may a Point of Doctrine be as substantially confirmed, and Errour as strongly reproved and con­vinced by those Scriptures which are set down in Similitudes and borrowed Speeches, as by any other Scripture; so far forth as the Scope reacheth.

As for those that are humane, being woven out of Man's Brain and Bowels (as the Spider doth her Web) by the help of Art, care must be therein had that they be not used for Ostentation of Wit, but for Edification and Profit; these Hand-maids to Divinity may not flaunt it out in their Dress, but keep their distance: Should we make our Scripture-Texts (saith one) verve to vent our secular Learning, we do not apply our Art to Divinity, but our Divinity to Art,Basil Epist. 62. and so compell the Mistress to attend upon the Maid; and in so doing we deservedly incurr that sharp Censure which Basil past upon some Preachers in his dayes, that they preached Art, and Wit, and not Christ crucified. But moderately and mo­destly to make use of Secular Learning, for the explicating and illustrating of Divine Doctrine by Allegoricall Allusions, Com­parisons, and Similitudes, &c. is not onely lawfull, but very expedient, and profitable, for the benefit of them that hear us.

Ʋse 2 And for this we ought to bless God, in that by the mouth of his Ministers he stoopeth so low unto us as to teach us by Parables and Similitudes, and in so delightful and familiar a manner to reveal un­to us the Mysteries of his Kingdom; that Speech of our Saviour to Nicodemus would be remembred, Joh. 3.12. If have told you Earthly, and ye believe not; how shall you believe if I tell you of Hea­venly? that is, If having discoursed unto thee of these spiritual Mat­ters, and illustrated and explained them by earthly Similitudes of Wind and Water, thou yet findest such difficulty both in Appre­hension and Assent; What likelyhood is there that thou wouldest be­lieve me, if I should tell thee of the greatest Mysteries of Salvation and the deep things of God, of those high and incomprehensible Matters of another World? This was a high Aggravation of E­phraim's blockishness and stupidity, that God used Similitudes unto them by the Ministry of his Prophets, and yet they would not be instru­cted, Hos. 12.10. And thus much of the Doctrine taught; now of the Manner of Teaching,

Text. He spake, O [...]otoris est dicere, Vul­gi loqui. saying]

There is a difference to be made betwixt Speaking and Saying: Speaking comes by Nature and Custom; Saying, by Art and Study: Children speak, but the Learned say. Our blessed Saviour did so speak as that he said, which implies a distinct, audible, and teachable kind of Speaking unto his Auditory: So that all that heard him might understand both Words and Meaning. And herein may God's Ministers be taught after the Example of their Lord and Master,

Doct. So to speak unto their People, as that they may be understood of them.

God commanded Habakkuc to write the Vision, that is, what God was about now to declare unto him, and to make it plain upon Tables, so that he who might read, Hab. 2.2. It is storied of that Ty­rant Caligula, that upon Suit of the People to have the Law written and set up, that it might be known, and so none ensnared through the Ignorance thereof (which was a thing very ordinary under his Tyrannical Government); he condiscended to their Request, but withall he caused it to be written in so small a hand, that none could read it. But this is not God's way; It was his Command to his Prophet so to declare his mind unto the People, and after such a [Page 22]manner, that every one might receive Information thereof; he must not only write it, but so write it, and in so fair and legible a hand, that although a man were upon the speed, and did run by, yet he might read as he runned; intimating thereby after what manner he would that his Servants, the Ministers of his Word and Gospel, should deliver their Message to whom they are sent. And thus the Levites in the dayes of Nehemiah did so read the Law unto the Peo­ple, as that they caused the People to understand it, Neh. 8.7. So it was prophesied of John the Baptist, that he should go before the face of the Lord to prepare his way, Luke 1.76. and how he should do that, is further declared, by giving Knowledg of Salvation unto the People, Ver. 77. which was done, not by Infusion, (as those four Children had their Knowledg and Skill in all Learning and Wisdom, Dan. 1.17. for that is proper to God alone); but by Instruction, pub­lishing the Doctrine of Salvation in so plain and familiar a manner, that all that heard him might understand the meaning. And thus Philip preached Christ unto the Eunuch, he caused him to under­stand the meaning of that which he was reading out of the Prophet Isay, Acts 8.28. So all faithful Pastors which are after God's own heart, and of his giving and sending, they feed their People with Knowledg and Understanding,Cavea for Archippus by Jer. Dike. Jer. 3.15. How with Knowledg (saith a noted Divine) unless with Understanding? and how with Understanding unless they could be understood?

The End of our Preaching is our People's Profit, as the Apostle speaketh 1 Cor. 7.35. This I speak for your own Profit: Yea, and thus too, For if I come unto you speaking with Tongues, such as you un­derstand not, What shall I profit you? 1 Cor. 14.6, It is no other than to speak in the Aire, in respect of any Fruit or Profit that can follow thereupon to the Hearer, as the Apostle there shews at large by many excellent Similitudes. For the Will follows the Act of Understanding: Without Understanding there can be no Assenting; without Assenting, no Believing. To believe a thing further than we know it, is impossible; to love it, is Leightness; to hate it, is Injustice (forasmuch as it may deserve the contrary, for ought that we know); therefore, as the Apostle concludes in that Chapter, 1 Cor. 14.19. Five words spoken to the Understanding, do more good in the Church of God than ten thousand spoken in a strange Tongue, such as you understand not without an Interpreter; or in that Language [Page 23]which you well enough understand, but yet it is spoken in such a manner, and the Phrase so sublime, that plain English-men cannot understand it.

Ʋse 1 From hence it follows, that not only those Ministers are failing in their Duties, and come under Check, who have mouths and speak not; although they have a Treasury of Learning and other excel­ent Abilities, yet they will (saith Synesius) as soon part with their Hearts as with their Meditations: But they also deserve Reproof who speak but say not, no way applying themselves to their People's Capacities; seeking rather to shew themselves Schollars unto their People, then to make their People the Schollars of Christ.

This we never learned of our Lord and Master; He hath set us a better Copy by his own Example, He spake the Word unto his Hearers, as they were able to hear, saith St. Mark, Chap. 4.33. not as He was able to have spoken unto them. And so Christ tells his Disciples, I have many things to sa, ??y but you cannot bear them now, Joh. 16.12. He had respect to the Capacity of his Audi­tory.

Nor did we ever learn this of his faithful Servants who have been before us. Who can say that be is better gifted than St. Paul? He was not inferiour to the very chief of the Apostles for Tongues,1 Cor. 15.18. 2 Cor. 11. 5▪ 6. Learning, and Eloquence. Indeed he speaketh of himself, as rude in Speech though not in Knowledg, 2 Cor. 11.6. not that he was so indeed: But admit I be such a one as some false Apostles in the Church of Corinth say of me, an Idiot, a plain, down-right, homely-spoken Person; or say, that I be not so eloquent in my Speech as some of them, my words not so pickt, my Phrase so choise, my Compositions so smooth, my Cadences so sweet, my Style so flou­rishing as theirs, for want whereof they condemn me; yet, saith he, my Knowledg is not short of theirs, who are rude in Knowledge though not in Speech, the Truth is, St. Paul was able to play the Oratour when need required as excellently as any of those that did oppose him; as appears by sundry passages in the Acts, as Chap. 24.10. & 26.2. He was a Master of Speech, insomuch that the Lycaonians called him Mercury, Acts 14.12. And undoubted­ly they deal very injuriously with the Apostle, who censure him for rude Elocution, and Unskilfulness in Grammar-Learning. He was [Page 24]indeed a down-right Minister;Heir. Epist. ad Ages. Perer. Dis­put. 2. in E­pist. ad Roman. Orig. ad­ver. Cellius. lib. 3. he preached plainly as well as powerfully; his Matter was lofty; his Language low and ordina­ry. He that reads the Apostle well (saith Origen) will wonder that such excellent matter is found in such plainness; or, if he wonder not he will shew himself ridiculous. The Reason why he used such plainness in Preaching, he himself gives, 1 Cor. 1.17. Christ sent me to peach the Gospel, not with Wisdom of words; that is, not in the Pomp and vain Ostentation of eloquent Speech, which false Teach­ers so much affect, lest the Cross of Christ should be of none effect; that is, lest thereby he should obscure the Doctrine of the Gospel, and seem rather to gain that way than by the plain Simplicity of the laying forth of the Sufferings of Christ: And this was St. Paul's manner of Preaching; which Austin wished, that he had lived to have heared.

And now that we have mentioned that ancient Father, let us hear what his Judgment was in reference to the Point in hand, of a Minister's applying himself to the Capacity of the Hearer; for he affirmeth, That for the avoiding of Ambiguities, and the better Understanding of the People; vulgar Speech is more profitable than an eloquent Style:Aug. de Gen. ad Manich. For that the usual and common Phrase of Speech learned men understand; but the other, unlearned men many times understand not. In regard whereof it was, that he himself used sometimes barbarous Latine,Aug. de Doct. Chr. lib. 2. c. 11. Aug. in Psal. 138. M [...]lius est ut nos re­prehendant Grammati­ci, &c. Aug. de Doct. Chr. l. 4. c. 14. Vives l. 2. & [...]. de tra. Discip. and sometimes words not La­tine, to the end that those to whom he spake or wrote, might under­stand him; as where the Text is, Non est absconditum a te Os me­um, he had rather say Ossum meum than Os, desiring his People's Profit more than his own Credit: And it repented him much, for that when he was young he had preached more, ut placeret quam ut doceret, to please than profit; and adviseth that it might be the work of an eloquent man, so to preach that he may be heard with Understanding, Willingness, and Obedience.

Hierom is much commended, quod ubi (que) non sit aeque Latinus, that he is not alwayes alike choise of his words. Bernard saith, that it is better apta than alta sapere: And Luther was wont to say, that he is the best Preacher that preacheth vulgariter, trivialiter, maxi­me (que) ad populi captum, vulgarly, plainly, and descends chiefly to the Capacity of his Auditory; otherwise, if the Hearer believe not, the fault is to be laid more on the Preacher's Tongue, than on the Hearer's Ear.

Yet his may not so be understood, as if Ministers were to be careless how they deliver their Master's message; for as they may not dote on Curiosities, so Barbarism is to be detested: Eloquente well becomes a Preacher, so it be maternal, and such as becomes the Gravity of the Word: Who was more eloquent than Job. So­lomon, Isay? as appears by their Writings: And what Writings are more sublimely elegant than the Sacred Scriptures?Acts and Monum. fol. 1782. Mr. Fox speaking of Rogers and Bradford (those blessed Martyrs) saith, that it was hard to say whether there were more force of Eloquence and Utterance in their Preaching, or more Holiness in their Life and Conversation. And yet we may not put too high an Estimate on humane Eloquence, or make any shew thereof, to the obscuring of the Gospel. It is a good Art to hide Art (as one speaketh), and so to deliver deep Points in a holy plainness;Artis est ce­lare Artem. and plain Points in a holy Delightfulness; that the weakest Under­standing may comprehend the highest Points, and gain some Know­ledg; and the highest Understanding may not be weary to hear or­dinary Doctrines, nor think their time ill-bestowed that is so spent. Thus the Tongue of the Wise shall use Knowledg aright, as Solomon speaketh, Prov. 15.2. and the whole Audience shall be served, as were Joseph's Brethren in Pharoah's House, the Eldest according to his Age, and the Youngest according to his Youth, Gen. 43.33. And thus you have heard something of what concerns us: Now hear a little of what concerns you.

Ʋse 2 There is utterly a Fault amongst you, 1 Cor. 6.7. Herod in Melpon. as the Apostle saith in an­other Case, so say I in this; for some of you, when you come to the hearing of the Word, bring with you so curious and delicate an Ear, that if the Preacher fill not the Pulpit with fine words, garish and gawdy Paintings, if he enter-lace not every Sentence in his Sermon, with other Tongues than plain English-men can under­stand, and stuff them not with extraordinary conceipts and tricks of Wit, then is that man it their esteem an unlearned Man, a homely Teacher, an English Doctor: No Sermons are esteemed Sermons with them, but those that are indeed no Sermons; for, of such Ser­mons that are so stuffed with soaring Phrases, and numerous Poets, and Fathers Greek and Latine, we may say, as Herodotus doth of the head of Onesilus, that it is empty of Brains, and sound solid mat­ter which makes to the Edification of the People, and instead there­of, [Page 26]of, it is filled with Hony-combs to please a wanton Palate. These think themselvs no small Babes; yet like Children, they take more delight in the gilded out-side of a Book, and to look upon the Gayes and Pictures that are therein, than to learn the good Lessons and wholsome Instructions thereof: They are childish, like Chil­dren, who respect more the Lace on the Goat than the Cloth which must hide their Nakedness, and keep them warm. But, as to the one, the Coat is no Coat without Lace upon it; so to the other a Sermon is no Sermon without Inventions of delectati­on, being more desirous to have their Ears tickled than their Souls edified.

We read, that when Jacob's Sons returned with their Sacks full of Corn from Aegypt, as they emptied their Sacks, every man's Mony wa found in the mouth of their Sacks, and when both they and their Father saw the Bundles of Mony, they were afraid, Gen. 42.35. Questionless, they would have been better pleased and less asto­nished, if they had not found these Bundles amongst their Corn; not would Jacob disliked that Corn which his Sons brought any whit the more, had not Silver been in the Mouth of the Sacks: Why then should any Hearer dislike wholesome Doctrine that is brought to feed hungry Souls, albeit there be not Gold in the Mi­nister's mouth, to feed the humour of a wanton Auditor? I could wish that you would be more in Love with plain Song, and less with Crotchets.

There are others amongst us in the other Extream, who bring to the hearing of the Word a rude Rustical Ear; no Preaching shall be liked by them, wherein there is any thing smelling of the Lamp; no Preacher approved that makes any Shew of Wit and Art in any of his Labours, thinking it impossible for the Mistress and the Hand-maid to agree together: All must come without Study or Meditation. A Sermon premeditated, is, in their Judgments, to tye the Holy Ghost unto an Ink-horn, and to confine it within the bounds of a sandy Hour-glass; Let them hear a Sermon of God's own making, and not of Man's composing; Turn the Cock and let it run: Such as so preach (they say) preach in the Evidence of the Spirit and Demonstration of Power. But will you call those, Ser­mons, that come forth like untimely Births, from rude and uncir­cumcised Lips? Every Sound is not Musick; nor all Speaking [Page 27]Preaching, (as those seem to hold, who will ask of their Nigh­bour, Who spake to day?) Christ spake, and said: It is one thing to speak (as was shewed you), and another thing to say. As there is a difference betwixt saying a Prayer and praying a Prayer; a wicked man may do the one, but not the other: So there is a difference betwixt Speaking a Sermon and saying of it; he that preacheth rudely and rawly, speaks; but he that delivers his Mes­sage plainly and gravely, and explicates his Doctrine profitably and perspicuously and applies all wisely and solidly to the Capacity & Understanding of his Auditory, as our Saviour did here, he both speaks and sayes.

Solomon, who was the wisest and learnedest Preacher of all Mor­tals, confesseth (and that without disgrace unto himself), that he studied for his Sermons, and sought out acceptable words, or words delight (as the Hebrew hath it); and that because the Preacher was wise, Eccles. 12.9, 10. He saith not, The wise Preacher sought out acceptable and pleasing words; but, in his Wisdom he sought them out, because he was wise: As who would say, he had been, and others would shew themselvs to be, no other than foolish Preach­ers, if they imagined that any other would be words of Salvation, besides those which were words of delight; that is, such words as may procure an Understanding, and beget a willing and obedient Attention; otherwise no delight can be taken in them: And such words must be sought out by Study, Meditation, and Prayer. Da­niel was a great Prophet, and one of the Worthies of the World; yet he desired some time for the Interpretation of Nebuchadnez­zar's Dream, Dan. 2.16. Is the Scripture leighter than a Dream, that it should be interpreted without Meditation and Study? John Baptist went before Christ, to prepare His wayes: so must our Heart go before our Tongue, to prepare our words: And yet with these men, every sudden, confused, and undigested Discourse, is the down-right and simple Preaching of the Gospel, when it may be rather termed, down-right Profaness. To preach sim­ply, in St. Paul's sense, is not to preach rashly, and unlearnd­ly, but plainly and perspicuously, which cannot be without Stu­dy.

Object. But did not the ancient Fathers (say some), and those in the Primitive times, preach frequently, divers dayes together without Inter­mission? [Page 28]as appears by their Homilies and Sermons extant: Ye­sterday you heard this or that; so Chrysostom begins many of his Homilies upon Genesis: And Bernard ends many of his Sermons with Cras, To morrow we shall proceed, &c. Austin preached thrice in one day,Aug. Tom. 10. Part. 2. ad fratres in Eremo. Ser. 33. Basil Hom. 2. de Bap­tismo. and one of those Sermons which he then preached was preached upon a sudden Occasion, an heavy Accident, which that day had hapned. Basil preached his two Sermons upon the six dayes Work, and had but that Morning for Meditation; and some­time he preached extemporally: What time then had these men for Meditation?

Reason. That these ancient Fathers were very frequent in preaching we deny not, by which frequency they attained such a happy readiness (saith a very Godly and Reverend Divine),Bolton his Saints sure and perpe­tual Guide p. 210. and so enriched them­selvs with a heavenly Store, that they were able to bring out of their Treasury things both new and old, upon very short warning, upon any Occasion. Yet there is somewhat more to be taken notice of; for as the Persons were very able that then preached the Word, and could say much; so the People in those times were very ignorant, and were capable but of little:Dr. Donn, 1 Vol. Ser. 33. oun Whi [...]ond. But in these dayes the Capacity of the Hearer requires matter of more Labour and Study. Then the Ser­mon that were preached were ordinarily very short and the Texts which they made choice of, were many times very long: Sometimes the Epistle for the day, somtimes the Gospel, and somtimes the Psalm before the Sermon, was made choice of for the Text; so that a Pa­raphrase upon the Text would make a Sermon, and that required not much Study. No man (said a learned Doctor of our own) will think that we have abler Preachers than they had in those times; yet no man will doubt but that we have learneder and more capable Auditories and Congregations than theirs were: Nor will our Au­ditories and Congregations rest satisfied with such Preaching, as Hearers in those times were well-contented with; so that their practice is no president nor pattern, for our times to do the like: And so we pass from the Introduction to the Parable it self.

Text. The Ground of a certain Rich Man brought forth fruit plenti­fully, &c.]

In this Parabolical Narration (for so we may conceive it to be), we have, the part Propounding, and the pare Applying, considerable.

In the Propounding part we have, the Person spoken of, and the Relation that is made of him.

The Person is set forth, 1. By his Style or Titles. 2. By his Lands and Possessions.

His Title are, 1. Common, A certain Man. 2. More pro­per, and belonging to him; He was a Rich Man, as all other were not: Of these first.

A certain Man,]

Man, is an Appellative common to all, both of better sort and inferiour Rank. In put English Tongue, we have but that one Name for both sorts; but in other Languages, as in Hebrew, Greek, and Latine, we have two. The Hebrews style Man, some­times Adam, and sometimes Ishi, and Ish is more than Adam; A­dam signifieth a Man of Earth, but Ish importeth such a one as hath in him Fire, Life, and Spirit. The Greeks style Man, sometimes Anthropos, and sometimes Anir, and they differ much; for Anthro­pos signifieth, an ordinary man, and one of no Account; but Anir notes one of more than ordinary Place and Worth. The Latines likewise have two words, whereby they distinguish between one and another, Vir and Homo; and Vir is more than Homo, it notes one of Vertue und Prowess; but Homo, a man of mean discent and Parentage one of low Condition. Now the word here used in the Greek is not [...], but [...], as if he were a man of the Vul­gar sort, and one of no esteem or account: A Style, [...]. however it may be thought too far beneath him, being so very Rich, yet it is better than he deserved; for his words and carriage discovered more of the Beast than Man in him (as hereafter you may hear). What other particular Name this man had is not discovered unto us, nor yet his habitation and place of Dwelling. A Worldling he was; and the World is resembled to the Moon, Revel. 12.1. and, Why may we not imagine him then to be the Man in the Moon? Sure it is, that he was over Head and Eats in Love with it.

Quest. But, Why is he not named, and his Dwelling particularly men­tioned?

Answ. It is a Parable saith our Evangelist, and in that sense it is a Story feigned by our Saviour: As if he should say unto his Hearers, Ima­gine that a man were very Rich, and had great Crops; so that he had not Room enough where to bellow that he had, and he should do [Page 30]thus and thus, &c. And thus understanding it, it would make little or nothing to our Saviour's drift and purpose, to tell his Name of place of Dwelling.

If we take it as a Real, Historical Parable, as we safely may, that such a one there was indeed, a notable Worldling, who did bless himself in the Multitude of his Riches; and, in the midst of his abun­dance, whilest he cryed, Peace, Peace, unto his Soul, had that Soul taken from him by sudden Death: then we may conceive, he is not named; for that, being a wretched Worldling, Christ holds him not worth the naming. Putting all together that hath been said, this will be the Result.

Doctr. A Worldling is a Man worthless, and of no esteem with God.

There is an observable Passage to this purpose, Ruth. 4 2. Ruth had a very near Kinsman, who was moved by Boaz concerning the Re­demption of Elimelech's Land (who was Naomi's deceased Husband), and he, according to the Law, in redeeming of the Land was to take Ruth to Wife, who was the Widdow of one of Naomi's Sons. The Land indeed did belong to Naomi, and whom the Kinsman by the Law of God should have married,Deut. 25.6, 7. to preserve the Name of the dead; but Naomi being too old to marry, and to bear Children, Ruth her Daughter in Law, being young, was to supply the defect of Naomi; and she, when the Land was to be redeemed, must also be married to the Kinsman; The business is propounded by Boaz (who was another of Naomi's Kinsman, but farther off) unto him; but observe how the Holy Ghost expresseth it, The Kinsman of Boaz came by, as he was sitting at the Gate, unto whom he said, Hoc, Such a one, turn aside, sit down here. It cannot be thought but that Boaz gave him his Name and Title, when he called him; but, what­ever Boaz, did, the Spirit of God will not mention his Name; for that he was a covetous Worldling, and loved his own Inheri­tance better than God's Command; refusing to redeem the Land which he was able enough to do (yea, and willing too, so that he might not marry the young Woman, lest his Charge should be encreased): Therefore the Scripture onely makes this mention of him, Hoe, Such a one. God would not that his Sacred Leavs should be blotted with the Name of such a Covetous Wretch.

And our Saviour in that Parable which he propounded of the rich Glutton and poor Beggar, (which was not a Parable only, but a Narration or Story of a thing real, albeit something therein is Para­bolical); in speaking of the Epicure, he name him not; home qui­dam is his style, albeit he was cloathed in purple and fine linnen, and fared sumptuously every day? When the Beggar mentioned, albeit he was full of Soares and Botches, hath his Name recorded in words at length; he is named Lazarus, Luke 16.19, 20. intima­ting thereby, the high respect that God hath of a godly Beggar, above a rich Worldling, be he never so great.

Dedignation and Indignation, Scorn and Anger, we know will not give a man his Name: The Son of Jemini, saith David of She­mei, in contempt and scorn. The Son of Jesse, said Saul of David, 2 Sam. 16.11. 1 Sam. 20.27. Gen. 37.19 Matth. 12.24, & 26, 61. Joh. 7.11. Luke 6.22. Acts and Mon▪ fol. 82 [...]. in anger and indignation. See this Dreamer cometh, said Joeph's Brethren of him; such was their spite and spleen towards him, that they could not call him by his name. The Pharisees termed Christ, This Fellow: And the Jews seeking Christ at the Feast, ask, Where is He? they could not find in their hearts to say, Where is Jesus: So Christ tells his Disciples, That men shall, in hatred of them, cast out their Names for evil for his sake. Thus the Persecutors of Stephen Brune, Martyr, after his Death made Proclamation, that none should make any mention of him under pain of Heresy: And so do the Papists at this day deal with the Name of Calvin. Now God doth abhorr and hate the Covetous, Psal. 10.3. And is angry with him, every day he smites his hands at him, Ezek 22.13.ubicun (que) invenitur nomen. Calvini, deleatur. Index Ex­purg. alluding to mens practice, who use to smite their hands together when they are much incensed and provoked; nay, he smites him with his hands, Esay 57.17. For the iniquity of his Covetousness, I was wroth and smote him. Thus God being angry with them, and scorning of them, it is no marvail if he vouchsafe not once to name them.

Ʋse 1 It is a great folly (then) in any, to imagine that in being rich and wealthy, they shall attain to repute and credit amongst men: This is that which puts on many so eagerly and greedily to seek after the World, (for I am perswaded, that few worldlings can propound to themselves any well grounded expectation of good to their Souls, or help to their Bodies, by their heaping up of earthly Treasures; on­ly in this, Nomen potius quàm omen quaeritur (saith one), by their wealth and riches they think to advance their Names, and heighthen [Page 32]their Reputation, which is the greatest comfort and content that they can take in their superfluous abundance, or hope to have. And hence it is, That many will seem to the World to have them that have them not: They will be sure to make a fair outside, and appear to be rich, albeit they be nothing lesse; according to that of Solomon, Prov. 13.7. there is that maketh himself rich, yet hath no­thing.

Hence it is, that they will be fishing in all Waters with a gol­den hook, and try all Baits: And with the expert Fisher (that fish­eth with the fly) have flyes of all sorts, that may suit with every sea­son; Nabal's flye shall be the great Feast he makes at his Sheep-Shearing, that he may be reputed bountiful and liberal; Absolom's sly shall be the flattering of his Fathers Subjects, that all might ex­tol the young Prince, and wish him in his Fathers Throne. Jesabel fisheth with a painted fly,Acts 12.21, 22. to allure her Lovers: Herod with a gay golden flye, royal Apparrel Cloth, of Silver, saith Josephus; which being beaten upon by the Sun beams, so dazled the Beholders eyes, that it drew from them that blasphemous Acclamation; It is the Voice of a God, and not of a Man. And when they have taken with these Baits, and have best sport; may we not truly say, They have fished and caught a fool? for, wise men cannot be taken with such flyes as these.

There are indeed a company of Sycophants and Flatterers in the World, who will fawn upon the wealthy, and follow after with cap and knee, and crouch and crindge before such, as the Spaniel doth unto his Master for a bone, &c. But will you count this Credit, to be licked with a Sycophants rankling Tongue, saith One? and to be followed by a company of Hangbyes, that run after you with cap in hand crying out, Good your Worship, &c? If you call this Cre­dit, and if this be the repute you speak of and seek after, it may in­deed be obtained by wealth. But yet know, that the Flame that is derived from Fools, is in Fancy; Nor is that Pageant of crindges and faces which is acted by them, intended to thee; but to thy gay Coat, and stuffed or well-lined Pouch: which is a Credit and Ho­nour, much like to that which the Egyptians shewed to the Ass, that carried their gods upon his Back, which when the silly Ass grew proud of, he was told, That it was to Us, not to Thee, that this Honour was given;Non ti [...]i sed Isidi. when these trinkets are taken off, thou must [Page 33]look to be turned into a dirty Stable with a kick in scorn;Jer. 22.18, 19. when death comes, all thy wealth must be left behind, and thou buried with the burial of an Ass, without any lamentation made for thee; thy Name shall rot, and be no more had in rememberance; o [...] if it be mentioned, it shall be with loathing and detestation: yea, and of those thou thinkest thy self now to be had in Honour, thou wilt in the end be esteemed vile; none will be more ready to blaze thy faults to thy disgrace, and to deride and scorn thee, than those who now slatter thee. And this is all that thy wealth can procure to thy Name; Neither God, nor good Men, will esteem ever the better of thee, simply for thy riches.

Ʋse 2 And as the folly of those is to be reproved, who hope, by heaping up wealth, to gain themselves Credit, being otherwise graceless: So they are no less to be taxed, who bless the covetous in their hearts; whom the Lord abhorreth. It is strange to see how apt men are,Psal. 10.3. Exod. 32. with the Idolatrous, to fall down and worship a golden Calf; Let a man be as very a Churl, as Nabal of mount Carmel; As foolish as Re­hoboam, who was the foolishness of the People; As vain-glorious as Haman; As basely covetous as Vespasian, who laid an Impost upon the Excrements of the People of Rome: Let him be as full of ill qualities, as Naaman was of the Leprous spots; yet if he be rich and wealthy, him we Idolize as a god, him we bless, him we mag­nify and extol; nay, are ready to say, with those to Christ, Blessed is the Womb that bare thee, and the Papes that gave thee suck. Albeit the Eye of Heaven scorns them, and esteems them vile, preferring the poorest Beggar full of Boyls and Botches, having Grace in his heart, before such worldlings with their Golden Fleeces.

Say no more of a wicked worldling, He is a man of great worth and worship, his Rents, Revenews, and Commings-in, are so much by the year; He is a great monied man, a landed man, one of the best of his Rank and Quality in the whole Country; A Gentleman's, or an Alderman's Fellow, a Knight's Companion, &c. All this may be, yet if he be graceless, he is worthless in God's esteem, and in the esteem of all good men: And the Scriptures which put a just Valuation upon things, esteem of all these things but as dross, and puteth such men in lowest form, and amongst the meanest rank of men, and tell us whose Fellows they are, 1 Cor. 6.9, 10. There you have them placed, that are worldly and covetous, in the midst [Page 34]of a damned Crew, and crowded upon both sides with Fornicators, Idolators, Adulterers, Abusers of themselves with Mankind, Theeves, Drunkards, Revilers, Extortioners, and such Companions as the World cryes shame upon, and with whom we are charged to keep no Company, 1 Cor. 5.11. Covetousnesness is such a Vice, that it should not be once named amongst us, saith the Apostle, without de­testation, Eph. 5.3. When we speak of filthy and uncomly things (saith a judicious and grave Divine of our Time);Dr. Jones Com. in Heb. p. 616. we use to do it with a Preface, saving your Reverence, &c. So in speaking of these earthly muck-worms, and worldly-minded persons, be they never so great in the World's Eye; it will not be amiss to use the like Pre­face, such a one is a very rich man: yet, saving your reverence, he is a very Earth-worm, and a covetous Miser. Being graceless, they are worthless in God's esteem, so let them be in thine.

Ʋse 3 And let me leave a word or two with you, whose minds are wholly set upon the Earth (and that by way of Exhortation). My Text here styles thee Man, (albeit one of the meanest and lowest ranck); Now there is something in this name Man, that bids thee to look up, and leave groveling here like the Swine upon the Earth: Thou art called [...], Man, from looking up on high, saith Plato: [...] à sur sum aspiciendo. Os homini sublime de­dit caelum (que) tueri. O vid. and there are four Causes as he shews of man's upright Posture. The Efficient is God, The Formal is the power of the Soul, The Material is the straitness of the backbone, The Final is to contem­plate high and holy things. The very aspect of Man being made and fitted to look upwards towards Heaven, doth demonstrate to what end the Soul was given; Every animated Creature bea [...]s, in the Figure of the Body, the mark of the value of its Soul: Amongst Beasts, they that are made of moist matter, and are most earthly, hang their heads most downward; the Soul of a Hogg is earthiest, being extended in the Body, not to fit him for any handsome action, but only serves as brine so keep him from putrefaction: and his look also is most debased and dejected, having his eyes under his belly, as it were, and his Nose is alwayes rooting in the Ground. So that, as Plutarch saith, If he should be turned upon his back, and constrained to see the Sky, he would be amazed at the novelty of the sight: If there be any sparke of ingenuity left in thee, this consideration should move thee to mind Heaven more, and the Earth less: Is it not a shame, that whilst the eyes of thy Body survey and peruse the Sky [Page 35]and glorious Lamps of Heaven, the eyes of thy Soul should see no­thing but dirt and dung: Like the Kite, which whilst she soares aloft, hath her eye still upon Carrion, that is cast out upon the Dung­hill: Or as Bernard speaks, To have a crook-backt Soul in a strait­backt Body? Lo this only have I found saith Solomon, that God made man upright (or strait both in body and mind),Eccles. 7.29. Is qui ficli­tus est homo differt ab eo quem Deus f [...]cit. Philo l. 1. legis Allegor. but he hath sought out many inventions (or fictions of his own). That man which is fained, differeth from him which God made, saith Philo; Man is made of him­self a fained man, it consisting in the fained invention of his own wayes: And amongst all imaginary fictions, there is none that doth discover more Beast in Man, then this base sordid and covetous fiction, Psal. 49.6, 11, 12, 17, 20. 2 Pet. 2, 12, 14. Beasts they are that exercise themselves in covetous practises; and such Beasts as are to be taken and destroyed, whose throats are for the knife, as the Hogg and Swine, which Beast of all other the Worldling doth most resemble, both for his feeding, rooting, and unprofitable living; It is never good, we say, till the knife comes to the throat. But we shall say no more at present of that: Come we now to the more proper title belonging to this Man.

A Rich Man.]

There are two sorts of rich men; some rich in this World, rich in Goods, yet poor in Grace: Others rich in reference to another World, that are poor in this. This the Apostle intimates, 1 Tim. 6.17. Charge them that are rich in this World: which the Apostle would not have said (as Austin sheweth),Aug. Serm. de temp. if there were not some truly Rich that are not Rich in this World. And our Saviour thu [...] distinguisheth of them in the Reddition of this Parable, ver. 21. (of which we shall speak more in due place). This Rich man here spo­ken of, was a worldly Rich man: And of these that are worldly Rich, there are several degrees.

Some are Rich in Superfluity, these are called in Scripture migh­ty men of Wealth, as 2 Kings 15.20. and said to be men of great Estate, Eccles. 1.16. and to possesse multitude of Riches, Psal. 49.6. and to have abundance of them, Psal. 52.7. and great Revenues Prov. 16.8. Of this rank of rich men were those mentioned, Luke 21.1, 4. who out of their abundance cast in Gifts into the Treasu­ry.

Others are Rich in Competency, having enough, not only for [Page 36]necessities of Nature, but likewise to maintain their Place, and State, Quality, and Calling; a sufficiency they have of all Tempo­ral Blessings, albeit not that infinite and overflowing superabundance which the other have. And of this rank, those wealthy men may be thought to be, who in the Gospel are called Rich Neigh­bours, Luke 14.12. who being invited to a Feast, are able to invite again.

And others there are who are rich in Mediocrity, living in a golden mean, between plenty and penury, being neither eminently rich, nor miserably poor (the estate that Augur desired of God, Prov. 30.8, 9.) These have a sufficiency whereby to subsist, and to support themselves in regard of necessity of Life; but sometimes in respect of the necessity and exigence of their state, they may stand in need of their wealthy Neighbour, who hath abundance and superfluity; and borrow assistance and supportation from him at a pinch,1 Joh. 3.17. [...]. whereby they may be upheld in their honest Course and Calling. And to this rank may be referred those who have some small Cottage and Tenement of their own, and a little Stock, and an honest Calling to live by; these enjoy the World's Good, though not in such abun­dance as either of the former sorts, and may be truly said to be rich; for that they have wherewith to maintain themselves and theirs comfor­tably, in that Calling and State of Life in which God hath set them: This saith Seneca, Pauper e [...]im non est cui rerum suppetit usus. is the first degree of Riches, To have what is necessa­ry: The next is, To have what is enough: The last, To have su­perfluity, and more then enough; and of this rank was this rich man here mentioned. Give me leave to stop a little, and commend hence unto you this general Observation.

Doct. All men are not alike for outward estate.

Mens outward estates are so ordered by God's providence, that some are rich and some poor: And amongst the rich, some are wealthier than other, and of greater estate than others.

It is a Point that needs not much confirmation; yet we shall pro­duce a Text or two to back it, 1 Sam. 2.7, 8. The Lord maketh Poor and maketh Rich (saith Hannah); he bringeth low, and raiseth up; he raiseth up the Poor out of the Dust, and lifteth up the Beggar from the Dunghill, to set him amongst Princes, and to make them inherit the Throne of Glory. All this He doth; So Prov. 22.2. The Rich and the Poor meet together, The Lord is the Maker of them alt. A [Page 37]difference in Estate there is betwixt men in this World; yet the disparity is not such, but that in many things they meet and are alike; as, in the Womb they meet, being alike conceived, formed, and brought forth; in Nature they meet, being both reasonable Creatures, consisting of Soul and Body; in Life they meet, both breathing the same Aire, and nourished in the same manner; they meet, sometimes in the Church, sometimes in the Street, sometimes about this business, sometimes about that; and in God they meet, He being the same Lord who giveth them both that Form and Shape, that Nature and Life they have; for he is the Maker of them all: It is He, and not their care and pains, that hath made the Rich: It is he, and not their hard Fortune, that hath made the Poor; and that God, who hath made all men, can make any, though never so distant in Condition, yet to meet in the same Estate.

This Variety of Estates and Conditions David mentions, Psal. 49.1, 2. Hear this all ye People, give ear all ye Inhabitants of the World; both low and high, rich and poor together. And that Parable propounded by our Saviour, Luke 14.8. confirms the Point, When thou art bidden of any man to a Feast, sit not down in the highest place, lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him, &c. that is, one of higher Ranck and Quality; so then, there are degrees amongst men, and amongst Rich men too; some in higher place than others, and had in more honourable esteem than others, in respect of their outward State and Condition.

Reas. 1 In this Inequality much of God's Wisdom appears to the Sons of men, for as he shews himself herein to be a free Donor (giving to whom he lists, and as he lists), so a wise disposer of these earthly things: For, as there is a great variety in the inward abili­ties of mens minds, and outward statures of mens bodies; so ac­cordingly, he thinks it fit that there should be a difference in mens outward Estates, suitable to their abilities;Mat. 25. not dealing herein as the Tyrant Procrustes did, who made but one Bed to fit all Passengers (for if they were too long for his Bed he would cue them shorter; and if they were too short for it, he would lengthen them out with their own Flesh): But He suits each one with a Bed according to his stature, disposing of these outward things after such a manner, and in such a proportion, that men maybe enabled to do good to others, and receive good from others; and that the Rich (as [Page 38] Ambrose saith) might have Praemium Benignitatis, the Recom­pence of their Bounty, in supplying the Wants of the Poor; and that he might crown the Poor Merce de Patientiae, with the Reward of their Patience.

Reas. 2 Again, Were there not an Inequality, What would follow but Disorder and Confusion, both in Church and State? and every man would do what he list: You may find this daily amongst us; when men of Equality meet, and have very leight Occasions offered, How scornfully do they carry themselvs each towards other? I am as good as you; as well bred and born: I care not for you; no more beholding to you than you to me,See my Exposition on that Parable of Luke 7.40. p. 38. &c. Were all the Strings of an Instrument of the same bigness, and wound up to the same height, you can expect but sorry Musick. God is the God of Order, and not of Confusion, saith the Apostle, 1 Cor. 14.33.

Use 1 Let us therefore praise God for this provident hand of His, it ten­ding to the Preservation of Peace amongst us; and let our Prayers be put up to Heaven, for the preserving and upholding of this In­equality both of Persons and Estates: God could, if he would, ei­ther have made mens Estates more equall, as having plenty of Spi­rit, so plenty of Wealth; or else have given every one sufficient of his own, so that he should not stand in need of another: But it is his good Will and Pleasure to have it otherwise, as the Apostle shews at large, 1 Cor. 12. As for those Rhymes, so usuall in the Mouths of many, When Adam digg'd and Eve span, Who was then the Gentleman? They were in all likelihood (saith one) made in Watt Tyler's Camp;Dr. John White, at the Cross on 1 T [...]m. 2.1. and there wants not some of the same Camp at this day amongst us, who like no Tune so well as that. The Lord keep us from coming under their Oak of Reformation, and falling into Leveller's handling; who, when they have done all that they can, yet neither they, nor all men in the World, shall be able to make all equal, unless they can make all men of like Stature in Body; A tall Saul, to be equal with little Paul.

Use 2 And let us be further admonished from hence, That we take heed of murmuring against God's Providence, in disposing thus un­equally of our outward Estates, or of evnying and repining at any that are above us in state or place; a thing that we are very prone unto, and therefore the greater care ought to be had, lest any of us be­come guilty of so foul a fault.

We read in the Gospel of some Labourers, who having received their full pay for their day's Work, yet murmured against the Ma­ster of the House; for that he had given unto some who laboured but one hour in his Vineyard, as he had given unto them, who had born the burthen and heat of the day, Mat. 20.11. And such there are amongst us, who g [...]udg to see their Neighbours thrive and pros­per in Wealth, when they themselvs, who take more pains, rising up early; and going to Bed late, eating the Bread of Sorrow, and drinking the Wine of Care; yet go slowly on, and can hardly sub­sist and maintain themselves and Families by their Labours. But for the quieting of the Spirits of these, and suppressing of all such murmuring and repining thoughts, let these things be pondered on.

First, It is the wise God that doth thus order things: They fall not out by Fortune and Chance, as some imagine, who tell us, that such or such a one was born to a good Fortune, and that a good For­tune hath befell him; but it is by the Will and Providence of God that these things thus fall out. We are all like Counters upon a Ta­ble, which he makes use of in casting up his Accounts, and effect­ing his own Ends. If one man be in the place of Hundreds, yea, Thousands; and another in the place of Pounds, yea, Pence;1 Cor. 4 7. God had the principal hand in laying of us there: And it must be the same hand, that there laid us, that must remove us, or else it will ne­ver be to our Comfort. When the most wise God hath made up his Reckonings, we shall all meet as Counters put into the Bagg af­ter the Account is ended; then shall there be no difference hetwixt Counter and Counter, that which stood high and that which was low. The Sickle of Death will make the Stubble eeven and levell, albeit whilest the Corn grew in the Field, one Ear might be higher and weightier than another; and this may keep us from murmuring and repining.

Secondly, God, who gives to one more, and another less, gives none of thine; he disposeth of his own: And as the Housholder said to the murmuring Servant, Is it not lawfull for me to do with my own what I will? Mat. 20.15. So, Is it not lawful for God to dispose of that which he hath infinitely more Right unto, than thou hast, or canst have to any Penny in thy Purse? And in de­siring a greater Estate than thou hast in this World, thou desirest that [Page 40]which thou hast no right unto: Thy eye may not be evill because His is good.

Thirdly, Whatsoever thou hast is God's free-Gift, and not by thee deserved: Now, Wouldst thou not think him to be a pre­sumptuous Beggar, who craving an Alms, will yet prescribe his Bene­factor, what, and how much, he shall bestow upon him? Such is thy Case, who repinest against God; for that he hath given other men more, and not thee as much as they. What hast thou that thou hast not received, saith the Apostle, 1 Cor, 4.7. and that free­ly.

Fourthly, God give [...] thee that which is comfortable and most fit­ting for thy Condition; thy Meat and Drink, though coorse, yet it satisfies thy Hunger, and quencheth Thirst, as well as the dainti­est; that Rayment which thou wearest, it hides thy Shame, and keeps thee warm, as well, if not better, than finer and gayer: Upon thy hard Bed, thou sleepest as soundly and safely, as if it were upon a Bed of Down. Will nothing satisfy you, unless you have some Great Man's Place or Pallace, thy wealthy Neighbour's Lands and Means? God sees thy little to be best for thee, seeing thy Ability and Opportunity is but to make Use of a little.

Fifthly, Thou hast never a whit the less, for that others have more; had they a far less Portion of worldly Goods than they have, thy Stock and Store would not at all be encreased thereby: For it is not for any want in God that he giveth so unequally, he hath enough for all; but he knows what is best for every one. Where­fore,Psal. 37.4. & 39.6. murmur not at God's providential Administrations in these outward things, neither repine at the prosperous Estate of others, but learn so be thankfully contented with thy present Condition, as St. Paul was, Phil. 4.12. This will make our Lives comfortable, and without it there is nothing but trouble and vexation of Spirit, Prov. 13.15. And so much in General.

More Particularly, This Rich Man, notwithstanding his great Riches, was a very Wicked Man, as appears by the whole Relation that is made of him; and thence we may safely inferr,

Doctr. A man may be very Wealthy, yet very Wicked.

I do not say, that of necessity it must be so; (for a man may be very rich and very good withall, as was Abraham, in whose bosom poor Lazarus lay; so Isaac, Jacob, and other of the Patriarchs; so Job, Solomon, Obadiah: And, in the New Testament, Matthew, Zachaeus, Joseph of Arimathea, and others.) But this is that I deli­ver for a truth unto you, That it is possible for a man to abound with earthly Riches, and vet so be a very wicked man. Many places in the Old Testament and sundry Texts in the New do speak as much. I shall content my self, and I hope to content you, with naming some few of those many.

Job tells us, That the Tabernacles of Robbers prosper, and they that provoke God are secure; into whose hand God bringeth abundantly, Job 12.6. and speaking else-where of their great Prosperity, which he sets forth at large; he confesseth ingenuously, that it was such, that the very consideration thereof, did so vex and disquiet him, as that his very Flesh trembled thereat, Job 21.6,—16. David speaking of the wicked of the World, (such as he puts into his Letany, desiring God to deliver him from) tells us, That they have their Portion in this Life, and that God fills them with his hid Treasures; that is, the Riches of the Earth, Gold and Silver, which are hid in the mines of the Earth; and that they are full of Children, and leave their sub­stance to their Babes; they did abound with the choysest of all tem­poral and outward Blessings, for their future Judgment, Psal. 17.14. And in another place Psal. 73.2. he acknowledgeth that he could hardly keep his feet from slipping, and himself from falling, when he beheld the great prosperity of the Wicked, who were so pampered with the Pleasures and Delicacies of this Life, as that their very eyes stood out with fatness, ver. 7. Their prosperity he sets forth at large, together with their wicked Lives, and then con­cludes, Behold, these are the ungodly who prosper in the World, they in­crease in Riches, ver. 12, To these Proofs, we may add other; as, Psal. 49.6, 14. Mich. 6.12.

Proofs of the Point from the New Testament are not wanting, if the Old dislike. St. James speaks of some that were Rich, yet they were great Oppressors in his Dayes, Jam. 2.6. And he calls upon rich men to weep and howl for the miseries that should befall them, Chap. 5.1. St. Paul tells us, That not many Noble, not many Mighty, &c. are called: 1 Cor. 1.26. He doth not exclude all; [Page 42]but the greatest part of the Rich and Mighty of the World seems to be excluded, by the Saying of our blessed Saviour himself, denoun­cing a Wo against many that were Rich, Luke 6.24. and tells us plainly, That it is a very hard matter for a rich man to be saved, Matth. 19.23, 24.

Now for Examples that might be brought both out of the Old Testament and New, whereby the Truth may be yet farther cleared; they are very many, as of Esau, Nabal, Ahab, Saul Herod, Demas, and that rich Glutton, mentioned Luke 16.19. All Rich, yet Wick­ed.

Humane History, as well as Sacred, doth abound with Examples; as of Nero, Commodus, Heliogabalus, Croesus, and many other Ro­man Emperours. And who at this day doth more abound in world­ly Riches than Turk and Pope? But I shall not husband my time so well in being large in the Proof of what will be readily granted and experience verifies, as in laying down the grounds of the Point, and applying of it; which I now hasten unto.

The Grounds or Reasons of the Point are many: I shall acquaint you with three which are the principal. The first, respects the Do­nor or Bestower of earthly Riches; The second hath respect to the Nature of these things bestowed; The third ariseth from the effect which these earthly things produce: Of each, briefly.

Reas. 1 God is the principal Disposer of all earthly Riches, and He is a bountiful and liberal Donor, 1 Tim. 6.17. He giveth us all things richly to enjoy, to one as well as to another: He gives to the godly as well as to the wicked, and oftentimes to them more abundant­ly.

And this he doth, that his bounty may be made known to all; yea, even to the very worst: and how ready is he to recompence Tem­poral Service with Temporal Blessings? (as he recompensed Jehu): he will not give any occasion to a wicked person to say that, he dies in his debt.

Sometimes indeed they are given in anger, and they are reserved to the hurt of the Owner, as Solomon tells us, Eccles. 5.13. And indeed that which God speaks of some wicked men, may be under­stood as spoken of all Mal. 2.2. I will curse your Blessings. Yet in themselves they are evidences of God's bounty, and God would that we should so apprehend them. Some Jews have a tradition of [Page 43] Joseph, that when he was advanced in Pharoah's Court, and made Governour of the Land of Aegypt, he caused the Chaff, which arose from the Wheat, which he stored up, to be cast down the River, to let the Nations know of the abundance of Grain that was in Aegypt: Certainly, God is pleased to bestow plenty of Riches on the worst of men; Chaff on Sinners, that we may from thence conclude of the glorious Recompence that is prepared for his Saints in Heaven, Psal. 36.6, 7.

But albeit God be the principal Disposer of all, the Devil is of­tentimes instrumentally active in conferring of them: We read of a Challenge that he made so the whole World, and the Glory of it, pretending that the right of Collating and Conferring those things was in him, Luke 4.6, 7. But it was untrue: for when or where did God ever pass over his Right to him? Indeed God is pleased ma­ny times to permit him to dispose of Riches, and of the Glories of the World, for some Reasons best known to himself; as, for the tryal of the Good, punishment of the Bad, and the Glory of his own Name in both: (but this his Connivence is no Conveyance, his Per­mission is no Commission granted to him). Now when Sathan hath this Permission from God, to dispose of Riches, Honors, &c. he disposeth of them to those that do him the best Service, and prefers his own Chaplains; as he did Hildebrand, Sylvester the second, and Eugenius, and many others to St. Peter's Chair: one enters his Seat by murther, another by conjuring, others by Bribery and Simony And as Platina speaking of Silvester's the third coming to the Pope­dome,Vit. Sylvest 3. saith, He which can most prevail in such dishonest Courses, shall be soonest preferred; good men being oppressed and rejected. And as he prefers his to Spiritual Promotions, so to Temporal Dignities; as we read, Dan. 11.21. By Flatteries, a vile person shall come in and obtain the Kingdom; which is understood of Antiochus. Many Crowns, Kingdoms, and Dignities have been obtained by such sin­ful and indirect means. So other worldly Profits must be obtained from him by fraud and falshood; Achan shall have a Babylonish Garment of the fashion, but he must steal it. Ahab a convenient Garden-plat joyned to his Palace, but he must shed Naboth's in­nocent Blood, and then he shall have it. Judas, mony in his purse, but he must earn it by giving his Master a treacherous Kiss. Let a man ye, swear, forswear, and Wealth shall flow in upon him, if the Devil [Page 44]can help it: But if a man will be upright in his wayes, keep a good conscience in all his actions; make scruple of an Oath, of a Lye, of a Cheat; that man shall never be Rich in this World, if the De­vil can hinder it. This the very Heathens observed, and therefore fained, that when Plutus, which they held to be Riches, was sent from Jupiter, [...]. he limped and went, slowly; but when he was sent from Pluto, whom they held to be the god of Hell, he did ever run, and was upon the speed: by which fiction of theirs, they intended as much as is now delivered. That Speech which a Senatour of Rome sometimes used to Sylla, (who vaunted and boasted much of himself in the Senate) maketh much to this purpose. How can you be (said he) a good man, who having little or nothing left you by your Father, in so short a time are become so exceeding rich? This is the first Reason I bring to prove, that a man may be very wealthy, and have a­bundance of Riches, and yet be very wicked.

Reas. 2 Secondly, If we look upon Riches and worldly abundance, in regard of their Nature; that which hath been delivered, will appear to be most true. For we deny not, but these earthly things are the good Gifts of God; and as they proceed from him, who is the Fountain of all Goodness, they are in their own nature Good (as hereafter we shall shew you in a more proper place); yet they are not absolutely and immutably good, but of an indifferent Nature, subject to alter their Nature, according as they are used. So that they become good to those that use them well, and evil to those who abuse them unto Sin: Nor are they able so better a man by adding any essential Goodness unto him, as the riches of Grace do, (so that he who hath them, must needs be bettered and made good by them.) But as a gilt Saddle and Bridle make not the Horse the better, no more do Riches (of themselves) make a man the happier. That which betters a man, must be better than himself; but the things of this World are not so excellent, they are far inferiour unto him; things that God hath placed under his Feet,Psal. 8.6. as the Psalmist speaks: shewing thereby, that there is not any such worth nor excellency in them, as some men conceive. Considering then the nature of Wealth, and earthly Riches, that they are such as do not, cannot, of themselves, better him that hath them; It is not to be wondered at, that, A man may be wealthy, yet wicked withall.

Reas. 3 Thirdly and Lastly, Take notice of the Effects that are produced [Page 45]by them, though not naturally, yet accidentally, through man's cor­ruption; Who sees not daily, that they become hinderances of much good, and occasions of much evil? In which respect our blessed Saviour compares them unto Thorns, Matth. 13.7, 22. and those you know have two special properties. First, they stop up the way, and hinder the growth of Corn: Secondly, they prick and pierce the hands of such as have to deal with them, if they be not the better fenced. Thus Riches they choak the seed of the Word, and of all saving Grace, and barr up the way, as it were, to God's Kingdom: You have an example of this in Ezekiel's Auditors, Ezek. 33.31. And another, in that young man that came to Christ, and enquired of him the way to Heaven, Mark. 10.22. Those Guests that were invited to the great Supper, set leight by it, only out of a respect that they had to their worldly Pleasures and Profits, Luke 14.18. and that kept them from tasting of it, ver. 24. And experience shews, that of all men, rich men and worldlings are most backward to holy Duties. It may well be wondered at, that they having so long a Teddar, so much Liberty, so many fair Oppor­tunities to attend upon the means (which poor men want), yet are so rarely converted: But considering how easily Sathan can, by that teddar of Riches, draw them home again; or if in case they do not break the Rope, yet like some Jades that are seeding in the Corn, they are willing to be taken and tyed unto the Stake, the wonder ceas­eth.

As they are hinderances to Good, so they are great provocations unto Evil: Chrysostom calls Riches, Absurditatis Parentes, the Pa­rents of Absurdities; for that they cause a man to do not only un­godly, but inhumane things; not only irreligions, but things un­comely and absurd, which we our selves could not suspect that we should be ever drawn unto: They cause us to grow proud, secure, in­jurious, and put a man upon the practise of those Evils which would hardly enter into the heart of man, that ever they should be practi­sed by us. They wound the Soul with many noysom Lusts, as the Apostle sheweth; and pierce us thorow with many Sorrows, 1 Tim. 6.9, 10. Who shall separate us from the Love of God, saith the Apo­stle? Shall Tribulation, or Distress, or Persecution, &c? So saith the worldly covetous man (saith Austin); They say in their hearts, albeit they say it not in their mouths, Quis nos separabit cupiditate Auri? [Page 46]Who shall separate us from the love of Gold? shall Tribulation, or Anguish, or Persecution, Rom. 8.35, 36. or Life, or Death? Nay they say likewise to their Gold, which they make their god, Propter te occidimur quotidie, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; for the love of Riches they stick not to endanger daily both Soul and Body. In which respect, it is so far from wonder, that a rich man should be wicked, as that it is to be admired how a rich man should be good. Seeing as Clemens Alexandrinus saith,Clem. Alex. Padag. l. 3. c. 6. It is a matter of as great difficulty to abound with Riches, and not abuse them; as to float upon the Water and not be ducked. Let us now make some useful Application of this Point.

Ʋse 1 From what hath been delivered, our Judgments may be informed, that man's happiness doth not ly in the enjoyment of these, nor any such like earthly things, as the Heathens held, and the World ima­gines. David indeed, in one place, seemeth to place happiness in worldly prosperity; as when our Garners are full, affoarding all manner of store; and our Sheep brings forth thousands and ten thou­sands in our Streets; when our Oxen are strong to labour, and there is no breaking in, nor going out, nor complaining, nor shrieking at the violence of an Enemy; Happy is that People, saith he, that is in such a case, Bellar in loc. Psal. 144.15. But that Speech (say some) the Psal­mist utters in the person of a worldly man, who usually saies so; therefore the Greek turneth it, They count that People blessed which are so; and is much like that of Solomon, Eccles. 2.24. There is nothing better for a man, then to eat and drink, and to make his Soul en­joy good in his Labour? Therefo e he corrects that saying, deliver­ing his own judgment therein, and opposeth true Happiness unto it; yea, happy is that People whose God is the Lord. Others take the words, as spoken by David in his own person, and in reference to the People that live under a peaceable and happy Government, who are in some respect happy in the peace of the Kingdom, and immunity from the misery of Wars by a Forraign or Domestick Enemy. Such a People are happy, but that happiness is but a deficient happiness, a happiness that is defective, albeit in some respect a man may call it happiness, but it comes far short of true happiness; and therefore David adds, yea, happy is that People, which words are spoken by way of Retractation: he seemeth to retract what went before, lest worldly men should wrest it to a mis-interpretation. 'Tis as if he should say, Did I say [Page 47]that those were happy who are in such a case? Mistake me not, for those that are only in such a case, are nor compleatly happy, what­ever the World conceives: for true Happiness, lies not in outward things, but in God; no blessedness, no happiness can be had without God, who is essential Happiness.

That man's happiness doth not consist in any earthly thing, as Riches, Honor, Pleasures, &c. might be confirmed by sundry Argu­ments: The glorious Angels of Heaven have not them, yet they are happy. The end of man is better then man himself, but these are worse then man; for a man for his Life would give the whole World, therefore his happiness does not ly in them. Riches are not able to make a man good; how then are they able to make a man happy? They may denominate a man to be Great and Wor­shipful, but not to be a vertuous or a godly man. They are so far from making a man good, that they often make him evil; and possess the heart with vile affections, and fill it full of carnal and sin­ful desires: But I cannot stay upon these things: only I desire you to rectify your judgments in this Point; think not your selves, nor any other, ever a whit the more happy simply for Riches. Happiness is the end you are to aym at: but if all your ayms are at Wealth, and think to be happy in the enjoying that, you take your aym amiss. Our blessed Saviour in his Sermon upon the Mount, treates of true Happiness,Dr. Harris on the Beat. and he sets the Crown of true blessedness upon many things, as there you read, Matth. 5. he begins with Poverty, Blessed are the poor in spirit, and so proceeds. But you read not there, no, nor any where else, That he saith, Blessed are the Rich, Blessed are the Wealthy, Blessed are the Mighty, Blessed are the Witty, &c. Could you read that in any of his Sermons, or in the whole Book of God, you might have somewhat to confirm yourselvs in your opini­on that you are Happy because Wealthy; but that you do not. If Gold and Silver be your happiness, then your happiness lies in the Earth, and so your happiness is nearer Hell then Heaven; for Hell is placed in the Deep, and Heaven is aloft, as we all know, and so happiness should be nearer to the Devil than to God.

Ʋse 2 From hence likewise the Error of those is to be reproved, who think themselves any whit the more beloved of God for these world­ly things: Contrary to that of Solomon, Eccles. 9.1. No man can know God's love or hatred by these things. Yet such there are who [Page 48]hold themselvs to be only Darlings of Heaven, because they are Rich and increased in worldly Wealth. Such was the folly of Ephraim, as we read, Hos. 12.8. Yet, said Ephraim, I am become rich, I have found me out substance in all my Labours, they shall find none iniquity in me; And they prospered wonderously in the increase of these world­ly things, and carried the matter so closely, (like crafty and deceit­ful Merchants, as they are said to be, ver. 7.) that in all their Con­tracts, no man could accuse them of any unjust dealing; whereupon they blessed themselves in their Estates, as if they were the higher in God's favour for that. But, in so doing, Ephraim fed himself with Wind, as God saith, ver. 1. and pleased themselves with vain and idle imaginations of their own; for they might get substance, and by warrantable means too (which they did not), and yet be never the more in God's love and favour for that.King John. What a King of this Realm sometimes said of a Buck which he opened, See how fat it is, yet it never heard Mass! So it may be said of many that abound in worldly things, See how Rich they are, and yet they contemn all Piety and Godliness! To measure God's love by the Acre, or by the depth of the Purse, by how much Land or Metal, Silver and Gold, he gives this man more than another; to thee above thy Neighbour; is no other than as if thou shouldst weigh God with leaden or iron, or stony weights, and put those into the ballance of that Sanctuary that David speaks of, Psal. 73.

Object. Gen. 24.35, & 26, 12. Job 42.12. Psal. 112.2. Deut. 28.1, 2.But me-thinks I hear some objects, Is it nor said in Scripture, that God blessed such and such, and they became Rich? Are not Riches promised as a part of that Recompence which God giveth his Ser­vants, who fear his Name, and obey his Commandment? And is it not made an argument of God's love to the Stranger, that he giv­eth him Food and Rayment, Deut. 10.18? Why then may not a man conclude, that God loves him, in that he bestoweth Wealth and Riches on him?

Resp. Those Promises that God makes of these earthly things, are made to those that are in Covenant with him, that fear his Name, and walk in the way of his Commandments; and so such, these com­mon things are testimonies of God's special love and favour; for that to all such they are spiritualized, in causing them to love God the more, to fear him, and to walk before him in obedience. Thus David reasoned, Psal. 41.11. By this I know that thou favourest [Page 49]me, because mine Enemies do not triumph over me. A very weak and sorry Argument (one would think) it was, to prove God's love and favour by; For God doth oftentimes as much as that comes to, for his very Enemies: But David relished God's love therein, and was provoked to set forth God's praise thereby, as follows, ver. 13. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting, Amen and Amen. When we have a testimony of God's spiritual Blessings in the temporal, then are these temporal Blessings good evidences of God's special love and favour.

Secondly, These common and earthly Blessings are fruits of God's love and good-will that he beareth unto men, and from them a man may safely conclude, that God loveth him, and beareth some good will unto him. Yet this love that appeareth in any of these out­ward things is such, that a man can take no sound comfort in, if he be a wicked person; for as much as it is but the fruit of a common love extended to the brute Creature, as well as unto man, Psal. 36.6. but no sign of God's special and everlasting love of that love which he be [...]reth to them, whom he means to make eternally happy; They are Blessings of the left hand, not of the right or upper hand▪ Prov. 3.16. and conferred very often on those that shall be set at God's left hand at the last day.

If then thou wouldst have comfort in thy outward estate, and ga­ther from thence some assurance of God's special love and favour to­wards thee; see that these Blessings are reached forth unto thee with God's right hand. With that hand you know we shew all our courtesy. And at that hand, we place those whom we most honour, (which Custom (it may be) we first learned from God himself). The main difference betwixt the Gifts of God's right hand and of his left, is this, The one are given in Christ, Rom. 8.32.Rom. 8 32. In whom the Promises are Yea and Amen, and in whom, only we are accep­ted, Eph. 1.3, 6. The other in a general way of providence, as you shall hear anon. That man that is assured he is in Christ, may take comfort even in these earthly Blessings, and receive them as testimonies of his special love and favour: but if thou art not in him, and hast obtained remission of thy Sin by his precious Blood, thou deceivest thy self in thinking God loves thee with a special love, because of thy abundance; and thou wilt in the end find thy self to be deceived as Haman was, who apprehended the Queens [Page 53]invitation of him to the Banquet,Est. 5.12. as a matter of grace and favour, which was but a preparative to his ruine: Thy state being no other then that of a Traytor, who hath a good Lodging and good Dyet prepared for him in his Prison, till matters be ripe, and he ready for his Arraignment and Execution.

Use 3 Lastly, Seeing a rich man may be a wicked man notwithstanding his Wealth, me-thinks this might serve as a curb to restrain us from an overe-ager seeking after it. How absurd a thing is it (saith Am­brose),Amb. Ser. 10. Ut quem nudum mater genuit, &c. That whom the Mother brings forth naked, the Church receiveth naked, that is, in Baptism; he should strive to enter Rich, that is, with abundance of earthly Riches into Heaven: Give me leave to say, How absurd a thing is it to labour so earnestly after earthly Riches, which are not able to make us better then we are, neither more virtuous, nor less vicious? Could these things make us more accepted of God as they do of Men, or more beloved of him, it were indeed worth the while to seek so earnestly and eagerly after them; but that they cannot: It is only Faith, Repentance, and the Gifts and Graces of his Spirit; that can do that. Now, Will a precious Diamond buy Faith, or a Gold Ring Repentance? or a Bag of Gold buy a Pardon from God for the least Sin that thou hast committed? or a Sure of Silk ob­tain a Suit from God any whit the sooner? You cannot but be con­vinced in your judgment, that they will not; Will Wealth morti­fy your Lusts, subdue any inordinate Passion in you, &c? You know and find by experience, that it doth not. How insufficient earthly Riches are for these purposes, I doubt not but you are in your judg­ments sufficiently convinced: And yet it is strange to see the royl and labour that men take for these things, and the great flothful neglect in seeking after right-handed Blessings that must make us truly hap­py; witness our labours on the week Dayes, and our laziness on the Sabbath. That Censure which Guevarra passeth upon the Duke of Veiar, who, in his life-time, had heaped a great Mass of Wealth together, and, at his Death, dyed very Rich, may be passed upon some; My judgment is, saith he, That he went about to seek Care for himself, Envy for his Neighbours, Spurrs for his Enemies, a Prey for Theeves, Travell for his Person, Anguish for his Spirit, Scruple for his Conscience, Perill for his Soul, Law for his Children, and Curses for his Heirs. Sure I am, whilst our hearts are set to be Rich, there is [Page 51]many a filthy slough and puddle that we must pass through: nor can we escape the badge of our Travell; with whatsoever delight you hunt after Wealth, you will find but a dirty way of it, as this rich man did; And so enough hath been said concerning his Titles. Now, without any wrong done to him, we will enter ort his Demeans, and take a survey both of his Lands and Crop, whereby he is further de­scribed to us.

The Ground—brought forth ple [...]tifully. Or, Text. as it is in the Ori­ginal [...], the Region or Country belonging to that man brought forth plentifully; he had not some little Field or narrow compass of Ground, but a whole Country that he was Lord of: There seems to be an Emphasis in the word, saith Beza, [...]cz. in loc. noting him to be such a one as the Prophet Esay speaks of▪ Esay. 5.8. Who had laid Field to Field, till he was become the only Land-holder thereabout. But this I shall not press, we will only take notice of his Propriety, and the Ground's Fertility.

The Ground belonged to the Rich man before mentioned, as is evident in the Text. It was his; (we will not question how he came by it), that belongs not to us; That which we are to take notice of from hence, may be this.

Doctr. The wicked have jus proprium, The wicked have a right to earthly things as well as the godly. Gen. 23 16 a right of propriety in earthly things. A just and lawful right Sinners may have to the things of this World, as well as Saints; what they have, may be truly said to be theirs.

We read that Abraham bought a Possession for burial of the Children of Heth, and paid for it currant mony of Merchants, Gen. 23.16. And it is said of Jacob, That he bought a parcel of a Field of the Children of Hamor, Sechems Father, and paid for it a hundred pieces of mony, when he pitched his Tent: Gen. 33.19.Gen. 33.19 Surely neither Abraham nor Jacob would have bought Land of these, had they that sold no right to what they made sale of: And when Moses led the Childen of Israel towards Canaan; being to go by the Country of the Edomites, he sent a solemn Embassage to the King of Edom, desiring leave to pass through his Country, promising to do no wrong, neither in his Fields nor Vineyards, nor to drink the water of his Wells, Numb. 20.17.Numb. 20.17, & 21, 22. The like did he to Sihon King of the Amorites, Numb. 21.22. By which deed of his, he acknowledged a right that they had to what they did possess. To omit many other [Page 52]Instances, I shall only put you mind of that we read; Act. 5.4. where we find the Apostle determining the point in the case of Ana­nias, Act. 5.4. when he sold his Possession; Whilst it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? David calls Riches and worldly Possessions, the Portion of a wicked man, Psal. 17.14. and therefore it is without dispute, that they have a just right unto them.

Reason. How this comes to pass, would be known. The Earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof, saith David, Psal. 24.1. He made it, and so his Right unto it is unquestionable; after he had made it, he gave it to the Children of men, Psal. 115.16. So we read, Gen. 1.28.

Object. But, Man forfeited all by his Disobedience.

Resp. For the fuller Answer to this, you must know, That there is a dou­ble Right to earthly things, A Spiritual and a Civil Right. The Spiritual, is that we have in Christ; for the common Right being lost, God was pleased to restore that Right by his Son, whom he gave to be a Redeemer to Mankind; yet not to all, but to them only is that Right restored that are married to Christ, who is the Heir of all, 1 Cor. 3.21, 22, 23. The Civil Right, is that which the Wicked have as well as the Good; God dealeth with them, as Princes do by Traytors, who so long as they give them Life, they give them Meat and Drink to maintain that Life which they give them. Albeit their Spiritual Right is lost, yet a Civil Right is continued and maintained by God himself: So God gave to Cyrus, an Infidel▪ The Treasures of Darknesse, and the hidden Riches of secret places, Esay 45.3. And to Neluchadnezzar, an Idolatrous King, saith God, I have given all these Lands into his hands, Jer. 27.6. So Ezek. 29.20.I have given him all the Land of Aegypt for his La­bour. And Dan. [...].37. The God of Heaven hath given thee a King­dom, Power, and Strength, saith Daniel. God was pleased so di­vide to the Nations their Inheritances, and to set bounds so the People, Deut. 32.8. So Act. 17.26. He hath made of one Blood all Nations of Men for to dwell on all the face of the Earth, and hath de­termined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their Habitation. And that for the avoiding of Confusion, and to restrain men's greedy appetites; so that Sin hath not deprived wicked men of a Civil Right to the Creatures: for the ground of that Right, is Rea­son, [Page 53]which is in Man, he being able to Command and Rule. A Spiritual Right he hath not, the ground of that being Holiness, which is wanting in him. As Sin taketh not away the Life of Man, no more doth it take away his Civil Possessions from him: Both these Rights (as one observes) are mentioned, 1 Cor. 10.25. Whatsoever is sold in the Shambles, that eat; that is, after you have bought it of him that is the Owner, be he who he will, there is the Civil Right, asking no question for conscience sake, saith the Apostle; there is the Spiritual Right.

Use 1 That community then which the pestilent Anabaptist, and the fanatical Family of Love would maintain, is by this overthrown: they would have all things common; some of them are for such a Com­munity as Plato warranted, Wives not exempted; Distinction of Lands and Goods, say they, was brought in by Tyranny, and not by Law; by Violence, and not by Justice: or if by Law, yet no other Original it had then positive Laws of men.

I have neither list nor leisure to enter the Lists which these men at the present; but thus much in short, It cannot be denyed, but that some Cains and Nimrods, mighty Hunters of the World, have obtained a kind of property in their Goods and Lands, either by ly­ing and falshood, as Mephibosheth's Lands were got from him, and that was Zibae's tennre (tenure in cousenage), 1 Sam. 16.3, 4▪ Or by might and oppression, and that was the Rich man's tenure mentioned in that Parable which Nathan propounded to David, 2 Sam. 12.3. (a Tenure in Tyranny); or by Imposture, and jug­ling with God's Inheritance, when that is kept from it, which had bin consecrated unto it; This was Achan's Tenure, Josh. 7.21. (Te­nure in Sacriledge): many such Tenures there are in the World. And for my own part, were I never so great an enemy to Anabap­tists, as I cannot but be to their Opinions; yet I should as soon ad­mit of their Trojans horse, Community of all things, as to have pro­perties established in such terms and tenures as these be.

But however these woolvish and usurping Owners made that pe­culiar to themselves (which they had been far better to have left alone) by such sinful and indirect courses; yet it is no good Infe­rence to say, that because these properties were gotten and obtained by Cruelty, Oppression, and Fraud; therefore nothing should be several: no more then it was a good reason to prove, that no Vines [Page 54]should stand in Lacedemon, because some did abuse the sweet juyce of the Vine to excess and drunkenness.

Were it so, that propriety of Goods, and enclosures of Lands were the device of Man, and not the Ordinance of God; to what pur­pose doth the Apostle use that dehortation, Ephes. 4.28. Let him that stole, steal no more? There could be no Theft commmitted under the times of the Gospel; for what is Theft, but Usurpatio Rei alienae, invito Domino? And why did St. John give that Counsel to Souldiers, Do no violence to no man, Luke 3.14? What violence could be offered, were all things common? Wherefore did God forbid under the pain of a Curse, to remove the bounds and Land­marks that our Fathers have set, Deut. 27.17. Prov. 22.28. But it is scarce worth the while in spending time in confuting these ab­surdities.

Ʋse 2 There are wiser then these amongst us, who maintain another Tenent, far more plausible then the former; yet of dangerous con­sequence. There is no Tenure, they say, but Grace; no Title, but Charity: And as for the wicked, they have no Right to any thing they do enjoy, no more then the Thief hath to the true man's purse, which he takes from him by the High way side. The Godly, who are in Christ, have all the Right to the things of this Life: The Wicked are no other then Theeves and Usurpers, and must answer at the last day to God as Theeves and Usurpers of all that they now possess.

Dr. Sibbs his Christi­ans portion. p. 35.This Opinion is very unsound and too rigorous (saith in excel­lent Divine of our own.) That spiritual Right and Title indeed, which is the best and most comfortable Right, the wicked have not, through the want of Christ: Their Tenure is not in Capite, (which whatever it be amongst men, I am sure, it is the best Tenure in Re­ligion.) But there is another Tenure besides that, another Title be­sides the Spiritual; as you have heard: there is a Civil or Humane Right, whether by hereditary Descent, or civil Contract, or Gift, or Industry, whereby they have a Title before men to what they have, and may hold and defend their own against all Intruders whatsoever; and not only so, but they have a Right and Title before God as well as before Men,Pember­ton's Godly Merchant. p. 77. who bestows these things upon them, as he is a Pre­server of Nature, a Sustainer of his Creature, a Maintainer of Cal­lings, a Rewarder of Industry; as a God of Mercy, alluring by his [Page 55]Benefits; and a God of Justice, to make men refusing his Mercy excuseless: So that no man can despoil them of those things they have, without great Sin; nor can it be truly said of a Wicked man, not being in Christ, that he no otherwise enjoyes the things he doth possess, than a Thief doth a true man's Purse: For, the Thief holds what he hath neither by a Spiritual nor Civil Right; he hath nei­ther Jus ad Rem, nor Jus in Re; these have the one at least. Nor shall they be called to an Account at the last day, for possessing what they have (as the Thief shall), but for their abusing of what they do possess: And therefore properly they are not Usurpers in regard of Possession, but they shall render an Account for the Abuse of God's bounty towards them.

Ʋse. 3 And from the Doctrine delivered, we may be admonished to take heed lest we any way encroach on others, or get from others, be they never so wicked, by any sinful or indirect course, what is theirs. We have a Proverb, that Fallere fallentem non est fraus, To deceive the Deceiver is not deceit; but it is an ungodly one: For the Rule is, Let no man oppress nor defraud his Brother in any matter, 1 Thes. 4.6. Nor will it be sufficient to say, He is not my Brother; for one God hath made us all, Mal. 2.9. and God is the Avenger of all such things. Had it not been to stint the covetous desires and unsatiable appetites of greedy Cormorants, (it may be, that) God would not have been so exact in limiting and bounding of mens Possessions: But knowing Man far better than himself, he hath thought it fit to do by his unbridled desires, as he hath done by the raging Sea, which he hath shut up with Barrs and Doors, saying,Job 38.10, 11. Hitherto thou shalt come, but no further; and, Here shall thy proud Waves be stayed: Setting up that in every part of the World, which Hercules was said to set up in one pare of it, a Mark or Bound as a Nihilultra, beyond which upon danger of out lives we may not pass a Foot.

Thou shalt not steal, is an antient Fence set up by God himself, to preserve other mens Possessions and Goods; and he that breaketh that Hedg, let him beware of the Serpent, the Curse of God, which is gone out against the House of the Thief, Zechar. 5.

Whoso breaketh a Hedg, a Serpent shall bite him, saith Solomon, Ec­cles. 10.8. The Sting of that Serpent is deadly and mortall; God's Curse doth follow such as encroach upon another's Right, and by un­lawful [Page 56]lawful means seek to enlarge their b [...]rden, Amos 1.13. Wo to them (saith the Prophet Isay) that joyn House to House, and lay Field to Field, till there be no place; for, of a truth, saith God, many Houses shall be desolate, even great and fair, without Inhabitant, Ver. 9. mean­ing the Homes and Families of those greedy Oppressors, as we have it verified in this rich man, this our Text makes mention of; and see it daily verified in many,De malè quaesitis vix gaudet ter­tius Haeres. whose Wealth unjustly gotten proved but like unto a heap of Snow in a hot day, which doth not only melt away, but make the way more mi [...]ey. It will be to the Soul and Conscience, what ever men conceive, as Jonah was to the Whale; the Whale had devoured him, but it had no quiet till it had cast him up again upon the Land: So, when men play the part of that Whale, and devour up all that comes next, they will in the end be as weary of it as the Whale was of Jonah's Bones. Will you hear what Zophar in Job speaks unto the Point, Job 20.12, 13, 14, 15.Job 20.12, — 16. Though Wickedness be sweet in his Mouth, (that is, in the Mouth of the Extortioner, who got Goods into his hands by unjust and wicked means, as before was intimated Ver. 10.) though he hide it under his Tongue, though he spare it, and forsake it not, but keeps it still within his Mouth; yet his Meat in his Bowels is turned, it is the Gall of Asps with­in him: He hath swallowed down Riches, and he shall vomit them up again; God shall cast them out of his Belly.

Mark this well, all you who labour to fill your Houses with the Treasures of Wickedness, or in whose Houses the Treasures of Wickedness yet are, as Micha speaks, Mich. 6.10. Wherein, or how far, any man hath couzened or deceived another, his Consci­ence will tell him, (unless by the long habit of Couzenage he hath also learned to couzen his Conscience;) but let me tell that Consci­ence, that a Patrimony of Riches, gotten by fraudulent Courses, will prove but like that Morsell which the Fox got from the Crow. That crafty Creature hugged himself, to think how he had couzen­ed the poor Bird of her Break-fast; but he had no sooner eaten it, but he found himself poysoned therewith, and then wished the Crow her own again. What is gotten by deceipt and fraud, is like a piece of but ered Spunge (a Trick that the Italians use), it goes down glib, but it swells in the Stomach, and will hardly, if ever, be gotten up again: Yet God will fetch it up, he shall vomit it up again saith Zophar; and such a Vomiting shall be little to his Ease or [Page 59]Credit: But, as it is said of Moab, He shall wallow in his Vomit, and be had in Derision, Jer. 48.26. God will discover to the World thy Extortions, Oppressions, and injurious Actions, in getting other mens Goods and Possessions into thy hands, under any pretence whatsoever. As the Physitian doth by a Vomit in a Bason; he sees and shews what raw Meat, and what hard and indigestable Meat the sick Patient had eaten: So will God (when he brings thee so this Vomit) shew thee and the World what thou hast de­voured; here appears that Neighbour's Land; there, that Wid­dow's House, devoured under pretence of long Prayer; and that is such an Orphan's Legacy; whereof he was cheated: And (as many times it happens), that Vomiting breaks a Vein within, which is commonly-incurable; Such a Vein broke Judas, he vomited by confessing of his wicked restoring of the Silver, for which he sold his Master; but he bled within, a Vein was broke that could not be stenched, he ended his dayes in a desperation of God's Mer­cies.

If then thou beest such a one that hast any way encroached upon another's Right, and made a Gap by treading down that Hedge which God hath made about another, remember the Serpent's Sting. If thou hast eaten the Bread of Deceipt, or drunk of the Wine of Violence, think of the Vomit which will follow, put thy finger in thy own throat, fetch up that buttered Spunge which thou hast swal­lowed, before it swells too much, and restore the Right unto the Owner. It is a sweet thing,1 Sam 12.3, 4. so to live as that a man may make Sa­muel's Challenge at his dying day; Whose Ox, or whose Ass have I taken? To whom have I done wrong? Nor were they his own Lips only that gave Testimony of his righteous dealing, but the People likewise witnessed thereunto; Thou hast done us no Wrong, nor hast neither hurt us; hast taken ought of any man's hand. This Crown set upon Samuel's Silver haires, was more honourable than Pompey's Monuments. But, if in Case Conscience doth smite any of you for unjust and injurious dealing; make your peace betimes, give your selves a Vomit, restore that you have unjustly taken: So did Zacheus, presently and voluntarily, Luke 19.8. and that brought Salvation with it, Ver. 9. This day is Salvation come to this House, said Christ. Some restore Goods ill-gotten, as the Stomach doth Meat, for that they cannot hold it: Such a kind of Restitution is [Page 58]thankless. Bradford (that holy Man and Martyr) hearing a Ser­mon of Father Latimer's, wherein Restitution was urged, was so struck at heart for one dash of a Pen which he had made without the Knowledg of his Master, that he could not be at quiet, till by the Advice of Latimer Restitution was made; for which he did willingly forgo all the private and certain Patrimony which he had on Earth. Where shall we find his Fellow? Yet the very Turks and Barbarians abhor the Neglect of Restitution to any, though they judg them never so wicked. I have read of a great Lady, who, be­ing a Widdow, sent for an English Merchant trafficking in those parts, with whom she knew her Husband had Commerce, and ask­ed him if there were nothing owing to him from her deceased Lord: He, after much Importunity, acknowledged there was, and shewed the particulars. She tendred him satisfaction; he modestly refu­sed it, as having been greatly benefited by the dead Barbarian: But she forced him to take from her hand the utmost Penny; for, said she, I would not have my Husband's Soul go to seek your Soul in Hell, there to pay his Debts. Here (saith one) there was a great Fire in a dark Vault, great Zeal in blind Ignorance; they saw by the Candle-light of Nature, that which Austin delivers for Doctri­nal Truth,Aug. Epist. 54. Non remittitur Peccatum, nisi restituatur Oblatum; where is no Restitution of things unjustly gotten, there Sins shall never be forgiven.Turk. Hist. fol. 567. The like we read of the Turk, Sultan Selymus, who lean­ing his head in the lap of his Counsellor Pyrrhus, being ready to dy; Pyrrhus perswaded him to bestow the great Wealth that he had ta­ken from Persian Merchants upon some Hospital, for the Relief of the Poor; but the dying Turk refused it, and commanded that it should be restored to the right Owners, which was done according­ly: And indeed, to spoil others, and think by some charitable Work to make Recompence, is no other than to play the Thief, & make God the Receiver. Restitution is to be made to the Party wronged, if he, or any of his be alive; if not, then the Poor are God's Receivers: Say a man be dead, yet he is alive to thee if thou hast wronged him; As one said of a Shoo-maker, whom he had couzened of a Pair of Shooes, The Maker dyes, but the Wearer lives to wear that which he never paid for; after some years, the Conscience of this man is troubled, he enquires for this Shoo-maker, that he might make Restitution for what he had deceived him of; he was told that he was [Page 59]dead: Yea, but said the Restorer, He is alive to me, I am sure. So should the wronged Patty be to thee. To conclude it, in a word, Let not thy Palate be pleased with that which thou knowest must either be vomited up again, or thy Death if it be not; for, if you make no Restitution to whom you have wronged, of that which you have un­justly defrauded them of, you shall cough in Hell, said Father Lati­mer. And so much of the Rich man's Property: now we are to take notice of the Fertility of the Soyl.

Text. It brought forth plentifully.] [...]. Uberes fructus attulit.

It brought forth, even as a Mother brings forth out of a fruitfull Womb, plentifully and abundantly. Let us then take this Note with us.

Doct. The Earth is a fruitful Mother; she hath a fruitful Womb, and brings forth abundantly for the good of man.

This is a Point which might profitably be enlarged and applyed, but I shall briefly dispatch it.

Should we examine what is in the Womb or Entrails of this our common Mother Earth, we should find there is Riches and much Treasure, of which we may read, Job 28.1,—12. Rich Minerals are her Veins; she hath a Vein of Silver, another of Gold, another of Brass, and Iron, which is molten out of her; she hath stones of Saphires, and dust of Gold, &c. Ver. 6. These and the like are within the Earth; called a hid Treasure, for that it is within the Earth, and hidden from our Eyes. Adams on Peter. 1172. Our Text leads us to a consideration of such as are upon the Earth, and brought forth by her, and well known and seen; and, more particularly, the Vegetables, that is, the Plants that grow upon the Earth, as Grass, Grain, Herbs, Trees, &c. the Variety whereof who is able to re­count, either for kinds, colours, smell, taste, greatness, vertue, fi­gure, &c? All which come from the same Womb, and grow on the same Clod of Earth, and are brought forth for the Use of Man; some to feed him, as Deut. 20.19. Job. 28.5. some to delight him, Psal. 104.10, 15. and some to heal his Diseases, and cure his Wounds, Isa. 38.21. Jer. 8.22. God hath provided Remedies for all the Diseases of Man, even out of the Earth; there is scarce any Disease incident to Man, but there is some Plant, or Herb, or other, that may either ease him or cure him.

And for Proof of the Point, see Gen. 26.12. Isaac sowed, and the Earth returned him an hundred-fold in that Year. So Psal. 65.12, 13. the Fruitfulness thereof is excellently set forth unto us. So in the New Testament, that Parable propounded by our Saviour, Mark 4.28. confirms it; It brings forth of it self, not as if it nee­ded not Man's help, but it brings forth readily and plentifully; being sowed, it hath a propensity to it. So that of the Apostle, Hebr. 6.8.

Reason. But whence is it (you may ask) that the dead Earth is so fruit­ful? I shall answer you, The Fruitfulness of the Earth is original­ly from God's Ordination, and blessing of it at the beginning, Gen. 1.11, 12. he then infused a Seminal Disposition into it, or Power to bring forth.

Object. But was not the Earth cursed for Man's Sin, Gen. 3.17. And again, Gen. 4.11. How then can it be said to bring forth so plen­tifully?

Answ. In what sense that Curse is to be understood, God himself shews by his explaining of his meaning unto Adam, Gen. 3.18. In sorrow shalt thou eat thereof: As if he should have said, By my only Bles­sing the Earth hath hitherto abounded with all manner of Store, and I have endued it with a Natural Power to bring forth (of its own ac­cord) both Corn, and fruitful Trees, and Herbs in wonderfull abundance, for the use both of Man and Beast: But now, in stead of Wheat, it shall be naturally given to bring forth Weeds, and in stead of Fruit, Thorns and Thistles; which shall so abound, that they shall serve (not to shew the Wisdom of God in the diversity of his Works, but) to choak better Fruits which of themselves were ready to decay;Ezek. 16.59. yet I will not with-draw my Blessing wholly from the Earth, as thy Sin hath deserved I should, but so as that thou shalt eat thy Bread in Sorrow; the Curse inflicted on the Earth is for thy sake, not for its own. So Gen. 3.17. Cursed is the Earth for thy sake: The Punishment inflicted on it was principally upon him (for whose Use the Earth was made), who by his Sin did subdue it unto Vanity:Rom. 8.20. But now, upon the labour and pains which thou shalt bestow upon it, it shall yield that Encrease unto thee which formerly it yielded without it. In the sweat of thy Face (or, of thy Nose, as one rendreth it) shalt thou eat thy Bread, (saith God, Gen. 3.19.) So that the Earth is not utterly deprived of Blessedness; [Page 61]that natural Blessing of bringing forth, plentifully is not utterly lost, but only weakned, so that it cannot do what before it had done?

Object. But who sees not that there is much dead Earth, and barren Soyl, yea, more barren thin fertile: Whence is it that it yields no en­crease.

Answ. Some places of the Earth, even before the Curse, Gen. 2.8. M [...]t. 13.3. were more fruit­ful than the rest, as the Garden of Paradice exceeded all the Earth besides; and no wonder if it be so now. Yet there is no Soyl but is apt to bring forth somewhat for the good of Man; that Earth that hath the most barren Face may have the richest Intrails, as where Mi­nerals are.

And secondly, There may be many Causes of it; as, Neglect of Husbandry, or Misdemeanour of the Owners, as Idleness, or ill Husbandry, in unesteeming, unculturing, neglect of meet helps, &c. And Man's daily sinning is none of the least, Psal. 107.34.Lev. 26.20 God turns a fruitful Land into Barrenness, sometimes by unkindly Sea­sons, sometimes by pernitious Blastings, Inundation of Waters; and all is for the Wickedness of the Inhabitants that dwell therein, which, considering how great it is, we may well wonder that there should be any one Acre of fruitful Soyl within this Realm of En­gland.

Ʋse 1 If the Earth have naturally such a Propension and Inclination to bring forth, you may be informed, in Case of Barrenness thereof, where to lay the blame. You may hear many times the querulous Husbandman to complain of a churlish Soyl, of a barren Land,&c. But we with Balaam many times blame the Ass, when our selvs are in fault: Could the Earth speak to us, as the Ass did to him, it would complain much to the same purpose:Numb. 22.28, 30. What have I done un­to thee, that thou smitest me, and so often complaine of me? Was I not created for thy Use and Service? Have not, ever since thou troddest on my Face (for so the Scripture doth phrase it often), yielded encrease unto thee? Dost thou receive thy Food and Sustenance from me? Is it not out of my Bowels that thou receivest all thy Riches? And if my Womb prove dry and barren, or any way miscarry, it is thy Sin and Unthankfulness that is the Cause thereof. So, that as Jacob said to his Sons, You have robbed me of my Children; may the Earth say, You have robbed me, and spoiled me of [Page 62]my Births.Rom. 8.19, 20. The Earth groaneth (saith St. Paul), it is as a Woman in pain, and longs to be delivered, but there is no strength to bring forth. Nor do those that most complain of bad Crops, and a barren Soyl, alwayes play the part of good Midwives in her Delivery: No place so dry with Sand, or hard with Rocks, but if well cooked with In­dustry it will make man's meat, especially for hungry Stomachs, saith one. Pisgah-sight, lib. 4 p. 59.

Ʋse 2 Bernard on Ruth, 423. Fruitful Countries make full Barns. Let us acknowledg God's Goodness to us, who notwithstanding our Sins great and many which brought the Curse upon the Earth, yet he is graciously pleased so to heal the Womb of it (as he did the Womb of Abimelech's Houshold), that albeit it come far short of what it was before the Fall, yet it is both willing and able by the help of Industry (that good Mid-wife), to bring forth, and that plentifully, for the good of Man. And more than this, God hath taught Man the Skill and Power, by setting, sowing, plowing, wa­tering, Insition, Inoculation, in due season to do the Office of a Mid-wife to the Earth, that it may bring forth, as we have it excellently set forth, Isa. 28.23,—30. God doth instruct the Husbandman to discretion; he hath not this Skill of himself, God gives him Un­derstanding to do it, This also cometh of the Lord of Hosts (saith the Prophet) who is wonderfull in Counsel, and excellent in Working. We are too prone to magnify out own Power and Skill, our own Pains and Husbandry, little considering who gave us that discretion; and so we rob him of that Praise which is due unto him for instructing of us therein.

When Lamech begat a Son, he called his Name Noah (which signifies Rest); and he gives the Reason, For this Son shall comfort us concerning the Work and Toyl of our hands, because of the Ground which the Lord hath cursed, Gen. 5.29. Peter Martyr thinks that Lamech hoped, that this Son of his should have been that promised Seed, who should restore the Earth to its former Estate, so that it should bring forth Fruit without Man's Labour, as it did at the be­ginning; but therein he was deceived. But this may be our Com­fort, that by our Labour and Industry we shall enjoy the Fruits of the Earth, and through Holiness; and Well-doing, the Earth cursed for out Sins shall in some measure recover her strength to bring forth and yield her encrease.

You may think it to be very incongruous to read a Lecture of Husbandry to Husbandmen, as it was for Phormio a Philosopher to entertain Hannibal with a Lecture of Warlick Discipline; which being ended, and every one admiring the old man's Dexterity in so strange a Faculty, Hannibal being asked what he thought of him, answered, That he had seen many doting old men, but more than Phormio never any; & merito sane (saith Cicero), deservedly enough: For, What could be a matter of greater Folly than for a Philoso­pher, who never saw a Camp, nor beheld an Enemy, to discourse of Military matters before so great a Souldier and worthy a Captain as Hannibal was. But in keeping myself to the Rules of Scripture and acquainting you with those Directions which the Word holds forth for the prospering of the Fruits of the Earth, I shall keep with­in the Bounds of my own Calling, in instructing you Husbandmen whom God doth instruct and would have to be instructed how to fur­ther the Earth's Fruitfulness.

God himself hath laid down sundry Rules for your Direction herein which I might by Warrant of my Doctrine press upon you, but I will but point at them.

First, If you would have good Crops, keep God's Command­ments, and obey his Word, Lev. 26.4. Deut. 11.13. & 28. If you deceive God, the Earth will deceive you.

Secondly, Be diligent in your Callings, and not sloathful and careless. In all Labour there is much profit, saith Solomon, Prov. 14.23. This the Sons of that Husbandman found, who being told by him that there was Gold hid in his Vineyard, after he was dead fell to digging for it, but they found not that Gold which they expect­ed; yet the next year they had a rich Crop, which brought them in much Gold, which was that the Father intended. A sloathfull Person causeth the Earth to be sloathfull through his Sluggishness, Prov. 24.30, 31. God stretcheth out his hand as we do; we to labour, he to bless our Labours.

Thirdly, By Prayer seek a Blessing from God upon your La­bours. I shall relate to you what I have heard to his purpose, There was a very great Husbandman, who had a good Farm, yet but mean Crop: Another that dwelt near him had a him had a mean Farm, nor did he take that pains with his Ground that the other did, yet had always a rich Crop: The rich Neighbour meeting with the [Page 64]other, asked him, How he ordered his Ground, that he had such a great Encrease, when he whose Ground was better, and Pains grea­ter, could sometimes scarce see his Seed again: O Neighbour (said the other), you do not well steep your Seed, as I do, before you sow it. Steep it? in what (said the rich Farmer)? In Prayer, said the other: Do but that, and your Crop will be better. And indeed David hath taught us, That it is in vain so rise early, or go to Bed late, to eat the Bread of Carefulness, unless God bless our Labours: It is God only that maketh the Earth fruitful, Psal. 127.2.

But in praying to God for a Blessing, limit not God to what sea­son you please. Bishop Babington relate a Story out of Holcot to this purpose, of a Hermit, who having sowed Pot-herbs in his Gar­den, desired sometimes fair weather and sometimes foul weather, granted, as he desired, but none of his Herbs came up: Whereupon, he thought that there was a general failing of such Herbs in all pla­ces, till one day walking to another Hermit not far off, he saw in his Garden a singular good Crop: Then he told him what he had done concerning the Weather, and what success it had; whereupon the other Hermit answered him, Thou thoughtest thy self wiser than God, and he hath shewed thee thy Folly therein; I, for my part, never desired of God other weather than he should please to send, Babing in Exod. c. 16. p. 313. I would we would learn of that Hermit and submit unto his Providence, &c.

Fourthly, Give God the Praise of all, Psal. 67.5, 6. Let the Peo­ple praise thee, &c. then shall the Earth yield her encrease, and God, even our God shall bless us. And how God will be honoured and praised, is more particularly shewed, Prov. 3.9. Honour the Lord with thy Substance, and with the first-fruits of all thy Encrease. Seeing it is he that giveth Encrease to all things, it is the least Tribute we can pay him to honour him with the first-Fruits of them. This brings the Blessing of God upon all our Substance; For, in so doing (saith So­lomon) Thy Barns shall be filled with Plenty, and thy Presses shall burst with new Wine. And what is there promised, you find performed 2 Chron. 31.10. Since the Priests began to bring their Offerings into the House of the Lord (saith Azariah the Chief-Priest to Hezekiah), we have enough to eat, and have left plenty; for the Lord hath blessed his [Page 65]People, and that which is left, is this great store. To give to God, is not to give away, as the Worldling thinks, but to receive more: The Jews Proverb was, Tythe and be Rich. We cannot believe it: But prove it and try it, saith God, if I will not open the Windows of Hea­ven, and powre you out a Blessing, that there shall not he room enough to re­ceive it. You may read to whom God's speaks this, and upon what occasion, Malach. 3.8, 9, 10.

Fifthly and Lastly, Beware of hard usage of Servants and Labour­ers imployed about the Fruits of the Earth. For this will bring up the Thistles in Head of Wheat, and Cockle in stead of Barley, as we read, Job 31.39, 40.

Ʋse 3 There is yet another Use that might be made of the Point: For Job sends us to the Earth to be instructed and taught, Job 12.8. Speak to the Earth, and it shall teach thee (saith he), So say I, And what will it teach us? It may instruct us what we are, Earth; and stand in need of, the Rain of Heaven; and what we should be. So Paul urgeth from the fruitfulness of the Earth, Heb. 6.7. The Earth that drinketh in the Rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet, for the Dresser receiveth blessing from God. The Apostle reasons from the less to the greater: If the Earth that is painfully tilled, and hath many sweet Showers fallen upon it, brings forth plen­ty of Herbs and other Fruits so answer the pains of the Husbandman, and requite the cost and charges that hath been bestowed on it; then much more ought we who are likewise Earth (though moving) recei­ving so many sweet Showers from Heaven, and having all the helps for Fruitfulness. It's the example of the Earth, to bring forth Fruit unto God, that we may receive a Blessing from him. O Earth, Earth, Earth, hear the word of the Lord.

Text. Brought forth plentifully. Cr [...]g in Ez [...]k. 16. Ver. 45. Ch [...]m. in loc. Beda in Glos. sup. Luc. 12. Doctr.]

It seems by this, That this man's Wealth came in an honest way unto him; he got it not by oppression, or forged cavillation (as may be thought Zacheus got much of his); but even in those things which God by the hand of Nature did reach forth unto him, he became a mighty man of Wealth. Thence we may inferr in the first place, that,

Outward Blessings are given by God unto the Wicked out of a general way of providence, and no otherwise.

God's providence is of a large extent, it reacheth both to Man [Page 66]and Beast, as David shews, Psal. 36.6. And as God preferrs the one, so he doth the other, (even such men, as he had in the former part of the Psalm described wicked and ungodly men) at which he cannot but admire. But all temporal Blessings are given unto them only ex largitate, out of that general Providence which causeth the Sun to shine, and the Rain to fall on the good and bad alike, Matth. 5.45. The happy influences of Heaven are powred down upon the heads of Sinners, as well as on the heads of Saints. He is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his Work, saith David, Psal. 145.9. He giveth to the very Beast his Food, and to the young Ravens when they cry, Psal. 147.9.

All this in a providential way; As he is the Sustainer of Nature, and the Preserver of the Creature, as hath been before shewed you; and it extends to all Natural things, chained together by a regular order of Succession, as we read, Hos. 2.21. I will hear the Hea­vens, they shall hear the Earth; The Earth shall hear the Corn, Wine, Oyl, and they shall hear Iezreel. How should Iexreel live without Corn, Wine, and Oyl? How should Corn, Wine, and Oyl be had without the yieldance of the Earth? How should the Earth yield these, without the Influence of Heaven? How should Heaven yield these Influences, without the Command of their Maker? All this is the Scale of providence, whereof no scale can be missing.

Ʋse. Learn we from hence to distinguish betwixt Blessing and Blessing, Mercy and Mercy: The same thing in temporal and inferior Bles­sings may belong to a wicked man, only out of that general provi­dence whereby all Creatures are upheld and preserved in their Bee­ing. And to a godly man another way, ex promsso, out of God's Promise made unto them in Christ: For Godliness hath the Promi­ses both of this Life, and that which is to come. To the godly they are sent down the ladder which Jacob saw in his sleep, whereon An­gels ascended and descended; And though the Rain-bow, which is said to compass about the Throne of God Rev. 4.3. But to the wicked they come about another way, the way of the Common: Now there is a vast difference betwixt these two, to have a Blessing only ex lar­gitate, out of a general bounty and favour bestowed on us, and reach­ed unto us by the hand of Nature; And to have it bestowed ex pro­misso, by vertue of a Promise. The former is clogged with many in­cumbrances, forfeitures, vexations, perplexities; which the latter is [Page 67]freed from. The Blessing of the Lord, saith Solomon, it maketh Rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it, Prov. 10.22.Psal. 69.22. The drift of which Proverb, is to shew the pre-eminence that God's People have above the men of this World: The wicked usually have more store of Riches then the godly, and God seemeth to be more provident for Sinners then for his Saints; therefore Solomon shews the difference: Troubles and Vexation are intermingled with the goods of the wick­ed, insomuch that they were in a manner as good to be without them, as we find it verified in this Rich Man,Eccl. 2.16. that our Text speaks of: but God's Servants are freed from those incumbrances; God giveth them Wealth without Wo, Store without Sore. If it be ob­jected, that many good men have Troubles in their prosperous Estates, and do find much grief and perturbation in the enjoyment of these earthly things: I must answer you, that these Cares and Troubles grow meerly from their own infirmities; the Cook is in the fault for making sowre sauce to sweet meat. So far as God doth give these things unto them, they are without sorrow. Deut. 30.9. God gives them for their good, and would they should have good of them.

Secondly, If any sorrowr be added to them by God, yet it is to make us relish them the better; He will bless that sorrow to them that are godly; and being a blessing to them, it cannot be well said to be Sorrow. So that we may conclude with David, Psal. 37.16. A little that the Righteous hath, is better then the Riches of many wicked men.

Ʋse 2 By this you see how much it concerns us all to look unto our Te­nure, and observe in what Service we hold our Estates; whether as appurtenances to God's Kingdom (as one speaks), or meerly as the Pastures of a Beast, which do only fatten against the day of Slaugh­ter. Make sure that Christ is thine, and that in him all these things that thou enjoyest are bestowed on thee, Rom. 8. [...]2. Hereby thou shall improve a comfortable right in all God's mercies, and preven [...] all fear of Intrusion and Usurpation of the same; for if Christ be thine, all is thine, 1 Cor. 3.23. As hath been shewed you very late­ly before upon another Doctrine.

Yet there is another Observation, which we commend unto you from the words. This man, you have heard, is not charged to come dishonestly by his Goods, nor is he reprehended for tilling of his [Page 68]Land, husbanding of his Grounds, nor for Inning his Crop into his Barns; but, for the abuse of that which God bestowed on him, he is blamed and branded: Hence we inferr in the second place,

Doctr. Goods well got may yet prove pernicious so the Soul in their en­joyment and usage.

Goods may be said to be well gotten,Psal. 62.10. & 69, 22. when they are lawfully come by; as by Inheritance, just Purchase, Free-gift honest Labour, ordinary and conscionable course of Trading, fertility of the Ground, and the like. Now all these wayes a man may come by Wealth, and yet that Wealth prove pernitious to the Soul of the Owner, as Solomon shews, Eccles. 5.13, 19. There is a sore Evil which I have seen un­der the Sun; namely Riches kept for the Owners thereof to their hurt; he speaks not of the getting of them, but of the keeping of them: that which they look to have happiness by, is the occasion of their misery. And that which Solomon saw, may be daily seen in the World; Riches well and honestly gotten, prove many times an occasion of mischief to the Owners.

And hence it is, that St. Paul wills Timothy to charge rich men with greatest vehemency to beware of the abuses of Riches, in being high­minded, and trusting in them, 1 Tim. 6.17. He neither condemns the getting of them, nor the enjoying of them, nor doth he disalow their use; only he adviseth Timothy to admonish, yea charge them, that they do not endanger their Souls through the abuse thereof; which; were it not a thing possible to be done, that charge had been needless.

St. James holds rich men in a terrible expectation of Vengeance, not for having Riches, but for the abuse of them when they had them [...] in hoarding of them up, so that their Silver and Gold was cankred, the rust whereof should be a witness against them, and eat their Plesh, as it were, with fire, Jam. 5.1, 2, 3. And yet for a more evident proof of the Point (if those produced like not) I shall commend unto you that Parable of the Guests invited to the wedding Feast; one excuseth his not coming, for that he had bought a parcel of Land, as St. Luke hath it, Luke 14.18. or took a Farm as St. Mat­thew hath it, Matth. 22.8. another bought five Yoke of Oxen, Luke 14.19. So that they came honestly by what they had, but their overmuch affection to these kept them from tasting of that Sup­per. So again, that other Parable of the Pounds, Luke 19.12. [Page 69]and Talents, Matth. 25.14. confirms it: both he that received the Pound, and he that received the Tallent, came honestly by what he had; yet the non-improving of that Pound and Talent proved per­nitious unto that Servant, and deprived him of what he might have had, had he used it as he ought.

Reason. The best things abused, becomes evil to him that so useth them, 2 Cor. 2.16. much more these things which are but of an indifferent Nature, as they are used; and in such things, Sathan soonest overcomes us, wherein we think our selves safest. This made Agur to make that strange Prayer, Prov. 30.8. Give me neither Poverty nor Riches. Against poverty every man almost will pray; but, When heard we of a man that put up a prayer against Riches before? But it was in regard of the Temptations that did attend upon the estate, that he made that prayer, as he afterwards expresseth himself; well know­ing the subtilty of Sathan, who lyeth in ambush to ensnare us in the use of things lawful, (as the Serpent lies in the greenest grass) and the proneness of our Nature, to pervert such things to our own destructi­on.

Use. 1 The Point delivered, reproves the blindness and folly of those who think; so long as they come honestly by what they have, there is danger, forgetting that the abuse of things lawful, is damnable, as well as the pursuit of things unlawful in themselves: They put off all Reproofs with this, that they have nothing but what they came ho­nestly by; they have bought and sold, and performed their Bargain, though they have lost by it. All this they may do, and yet the getting may be dishonest; Judas could say as much as this, I got money by buying and selling, and I made good my bargain to my loss: But say it was honestly come by, Is it honestly used? If they can say with that boasting Pharisee, I am no Extortioner, nor unjust Dealer, I came honestly by what I have; they imagine strait that they are in a fair way of Salvation. Do we not read of one that bought five Yoke of Oxen, and so came honestly by them, Luke. 14.19. and of another that bought a piece of Ground with his penny, and yet both these were kept from the Supper of the great King; things law­fully gotten, being unlawfully affected, will deprive a man of Hea­ven and Happiness. Believe it, God may provide the Meat, but the Devil may provide the Cook, and dress a very fair Estate to his own Tooth: Thy Wealth may be well got, thy Riches purchased by thy [Page 70]honest industry, and yet thou miscarry by them for all that, many wayes; but two especially, which I will but name, for that we may have occasion farther to inlarge the Points in the prosecution of the Parable, mentioned Prov. 11.24. By scattering profusely, and hoarding up sordidly.

First, By a sordid tenacity or niggardliness in sparing more then is meet: And with this Sin were those rich men charged by St. James, Jam. 5.1, 2, 3, 4. which would bring misery upon them, both on Body and Soul,Non solum ava [...]us est qui rapit alien [...]; s [...]de [...] ille amarus est, qui cupi­de servat sua. Aug. for which they shall one day weep and howl. It is not enough to clear thee, that thou didst not injuriously get what thou hast penuriously kept. God hath made no man the Jaylor of his Wealth, but a wise Steward; at least, God expects he should be so: As hereafter shall be shewed you more largely.

Secondly, By a lavish profusion and wastfulness, spending that which is honestly come by, to the satisfying of their fleshy Lusts in Riot and Excess;Quicquid dant, dant vel Veneri vel ventri. as did that rich Glutton, mentioned Luke 16.25. And such as these St. James likewise reproves, Jam. 5.5. they pam­pered up their bodies as a Beast that is fatted for the Slaughter; they were given to pleasures, to satisfie them withall sensual delights, they lay melting in them, as some render the words. They are wanton, as was said of the Idolatrous Israelites, They Eat Drank, and rose up to Play; or carnal Uncleanness may thereby be understood, as Rom. 13.13. and they nourished their hearts, as in the day of Slaughter, where, by their continual study to banquet and make merry, is noted. Such a have Riches, and use them either way, albeit they came ho­nestly by what they have; yet for the sinful abuse, they shall have cause one day to weep and howl for their wretchedness and misery, saith St. James; and we may take his word.

Use 2 Wherefore let every one be exhorted and prevailed with, not only to take care of what you have, that you came honestly by it; but likewise to see how you hold that which you enjoy, and imploy it as you ought. The Philosopher could say, That Riches were like to wild Beasts, a man hath much ado to take them; and when he hath them, as much to do he hath to keep them from doing of him harm: They are like a wild and unruly Horse, which, if man doth not sit well, and rule with the rein of Grace, they will be sure to cast the Rider to his ru­ine. And as we say of Fire and Water, so may we say of all worldly Wealth, They are good Servants, but ill Masters; make Wealth [Page 71]thy Slave, and it shall be serviceable to thee; but if it once become thy Matter, thou hast condemned thy self to thy own Gally-Slave: When a Servant Rules, he soon proves a Tyrant. Let us imitate Achsah, who when her Father had given her a Portion,Josh. 15.19. Elton, on Rom. 7. p. 221. desired also a Blessing; so if God hath given thee a Portion of these Outward things, desire a Blessing from Heaven, that thou mayst use them aright; that so it may be with us in their enjoyment, as God promised it should be with Israel, Deut. 30.9. given us for our good and com­fort. And so much of the Person spoken of, and of the description that is made of him. Now we proceed to the particular Relation that is made of him.

Text. And he thought within himself saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my Fruits, &c? Ver. 17

The Relation that is made here of this Rich man, concerns his Life and Death: His Life, from this verse unto the twentieth; His Death, ver. 20. In that which concerns his Life, we have him; First, casting up of his Estate in this verse and that following; and then disposing of his Goods, ver. 19.

In the casting up of his Estate, we find him; First, consulting what to do in this verse. And then resolving and determining what he will do, ver. 18.

In his Consultation, we are made acquainted with his thoughts, they are made known unto us; He thought within himself, &c. Secondly, The Grounder Reason of them, Because I have no room where to be­stow my Fruits.

His thoughts, were first Serious, For he thought within himself. Secondly, Anxious and perplexed, What shall I do? We will take notice of these in order, and begin with his serious thoughts.

And he thought within himself,] [...], what is translated within the mind of Man, is called the Thoughts of Man; as, Ezek 11.5. I know the things that come into your minds, every one of them; and so are opposed so external words and actions. And these are of two sorts, First reasonings and delibera­tions (which is an act of the practical Understandings) about our actions, whereby after long debate to and fro, it concludeth what to do: of which Zophar speaks, Job 20.2, 3. Or secondly, Mu­sings only in the Speculative part of the mind; when the Understan­ding, by the help of Fancy, frames within it self strange conceits and [Page 72]imaginations, or figments, as they are termed, Gen. 5.6. Omne Figmentum, Mirè con­venit ver­bum, [...], qu [...]niam istjusm [...]di homines to­tam vitam in subdu­cendis ra­tionibus consumunt. Bez. An­not. maj. in loc. of the thoughts, &c. And thus the Apostle seems to di­stinguish, 2 Cor. 10.5.

The thoughts of this man were deliberate; thoughts arising from the reasoning power of his Soul; he looked into his estate in an intel­lectual way, and had sad and serious thoughts about it; he did de­bate the matter with himself, Ratiocinabiliter, as Beza renders the word, and observes something from the word here used, and shews how ape it is applyed to men of this mans Make, I mean, men of this World, who spend the most part of their Life in casting up their Accounts; and indeed, A worldly man is a great Accomptant.

Avarus semper in rationibus, A covetous man is very much in his Counting-House, they are busily imployed in casting up their Rec­koning, as this man was, and as the manner of covetous men is. Ephraim was such a one, Hos. 12.8. as you may there read. And such a one was Matthew before his Calling, and Zacheus before his Conversion, and others that we might instance in, but it is a Point that I do but point at by the way, yet I would you would take notice of it.

Use 1 First, You that are the Children of Light; Let not the men of this World be wiser in their Generation than you, do you daily cast up your Accounts and Reckonings as well as Worldlings: Consider well what you have received, how expended your Talents, what is pained by them: Ezekiah was willed by the Prophet Isaiah, to set his House in order, Isa. 38. Now there are three Houses that eve­ry wise Christian (who is resembled so the wise Merchant) must have especial care of, His Ware-house, his Work-house, and his Country-house.

The Ware-house is the Heart, wherein ly all those pretious Com­modities deposited to us from Heaven; our Knowledg, with all our Graces and spiritual Abilities, Above all keepings, keep that, saith Solomon, Prov. 3.23.

Our Work-house, is, as it were, our Shop, wherein, by way of Commerce, we retail those Commodities wherewith we are be-trust­ed by our Master; With our Knowledg we instruct the Ignorant; with our worldly Goods we succour the Poor and Needy; whatsoever Grace we have in the Ware-house of our Heart, we bring it forth into the Work-house of our Lives, Matth. 5.16.

Our Counting-house is our Conscience, there we may find all our Receipts, and all our layings Out; No false Reckonings are in that Book, it will speak truth to a penny; shew us our Receipts and Expences: in respect of our Receipts, we cannot there set down 50 for a 100; and in regard of Expense, we cannot put down 100 for 50. The keeping well of this Book, is of absolute necessity: The cause why many Merchants come behind hand, is attributed to their carelesness, in not keeping of their Books well; Next to God's Book, be daily looking into this Book, study it well: Let not a day pass over your Heads, without casting up your Reckonings. They that cast up their Accounts daily, have the easier work to do at the years end: So it will be with you, you shall find it so at the day of your Death.

Ʋse 2 Secondly, Seeing Worldlings are so frequent in casting up their Reckonings, and making up their Accounts; I could wish, and I would I could perswade, them to do it seriously, and in good ear­nest, as this man in the Text is said to do, nay somewhat better than he; for he seems to take the Visus in gross, Soul, thou hast Goods layd up for many years, Eat, Drink, and be Merry; but we do not read, that he did exactly look over his Bill of Parcels, nor do it or­derly. The things that you must account for, are your Receipts and Expences: which are brought by some to three Heads; Evil com­mitted, Good omitted, Time pretermitted or mis-pent;M [...]li com­missi, [...]oni omissi, Tem­poris amissi. I cannot stand to inlarge upon these: only I desire, that these worldly Accomp­tants would spend a little more time then they do about their Ac­compts, for they might then find strange Items. Item received Riches, and laid out Oppression: received Plenty, and layd out Riot: Received Speech, and layd out Swearing, Lying, &c: Received Sight, and layd out Lusting, &c. Of my Goods, expended so much in fulfilling the Lust of the Flesh, so much in a year for the Lust of my Eyes, so much for the pride of Life. But what for Works of Piety, Charity? Surely, very little; it may be, not one penny. And to what will all this amount to? what is the summa totalis? Surely, the Curse of God on Body, Soul, Name, State; O goodly Gains! But we come nearer to the Text.

Text. He thought within himself.]

And for this thinking thus within himself, as he did, he is reproved by our Saviour, and branded for a Fool; Hence we may inferr,

Doct. Sinful thoughts are as well displeasing unto God, as sinful actions. The Lord is as well displeased with the sinful cogitations of the mind, as with the wicked actions of the Body.

For the clearing and confirming of this Point, take notice; First, In that God straitly warneth us to take heed of suffering an evil Thought to be in us, as Deut. 15.9. Beware, look to it, there is dan­ger in it. Secondly, That Sinners are frequently blamed and repro­ved for their thoughts, as well as for their words and actions. So Psal. 36.4. Esay 29.24. & 59, 7. Ezek 11.2. Hos. 7.15. Matth. 9.4. 1 Cor. 14.24. Thirdly, They are not only blamed and reproved for them, but likewise severely threatned: God calls the Earth to w [...]tness, even all the World to take notice of his Resolu­tion to punish the thoughts of evil men, Jer. 6.19. So he threatned to punish the King of Assyria, for that it was in his heart to kill and destroy, Esay 10.7. God denounceth a Woe against such, Mich. 2. and Esay 65.2, 6. So are Hypocrites threatned for what they think, Psal. 50.21. And upon this ground Solomon disswadeth all treacherous and false-hearted persons to beware of cursing the King, even in thought, Eccles. 10.20. For God will discover it, and re­venge it.

God will judge men for their thoughts both here, Gen. 6.5. 2 King. 19.35, 36, &c.Fourthly, Nor hath God only threatned to punish for sinful thoughts but he hath likewise punished them severely: This is as­signed as the cause of the drowning of the Old World; The ma­ginations of the thoughts of mans heart were only evil continually, Gen. 6.5. And as he threatned the King of Assyria for his stout thoughts, so accordingly he punished him, 2 Kings 19.35, 36, 37.

Fifthly, Lastly, However, thoughts may escape unpunished here; yet at the last day Sinners shall be called to an account for them,and hereaf­ter, Eccles. 3.17, & 12, ult. Rom. 2.16. 1 Cor. 4.5. and punished accordingly, Eccles. 3.17, & 12, ult. Rom. 2.16. 1 Cor. 4.5. The inward thoughts conceived in the heart, as well as outward deeds, closely carried from the knowledg of the World, and drove in dark and remote places, shall be judged and sentenced.

The Reasons why the Lord is offended with thoughts, as well as with words or actions, are many.

Reas. 1 First, His holy Law and Precepts are violated and broken by them, Exod. 20.17. Thou shalt not covet; which must needs be un­derstood of Concupiscence and lusts of the Heart; and so St. Paul understands it, Rom. 7.7. Where, by Lust is to be un­derstood [Page 75]the very first motions that arise from our rebellious Na­ture, whereby we are stirred up to do evil, and do wi [...]h delight think on any thing contrary to the Will of God (albeit Consent of heart do not follow). And our Saviour, in expounding of the Law, sheweth, that the very Thoughts, Purposes, and Affections, are re­trained by it, Mat. 5.22, 28. Now, the least Aberration or Swerving from the Rule of the Law, is a Transgression of it, and so a Sin; for, Sin is a Transgression of the Law, 1 Joh. 3.4. And this is the Conclusion of the Wise Man, Prov. 24.9. The Thoughts of Foolishness is Sin: Sinners are Fools in Solomon's Language, and all their Thoughts are Folly and Foolishness: therefore sinfull, and so displeasing unto God; yea, abominable to Him, a [...] Prov. 15.26.

Reas. 2 Secondly, He is as well displeased with them as with outward Actions; for that they were the first Evils that ever were committed against God, either by Angels or Men. The first Sin of Angel [...] did not consist in any bodily Act, for they are no [...] capable of exter­nal Acts of Corporeal Agents; but in the inward miscarriage and deviation of their Understandings and Wills. And Man's Sin first began in the actual Aversion of his Thoughts from his Creator:Eccl. 7. ult. All Man's Actions that are voluntary (as Man's Fall was) have their first Rise from the heart; and Thought is the first Motion of the Heart thereunto; from which voluntary Act and Choice of his own Will, not before corrupted, but by that Act in consent­ing becoming corrupt, he transgressed his Maker's Command. Therefore, it cannot otherwise be but that Thoughts must be highly displeasing.

Reas. 3 Thirdly, From the Thoughts of the Heart,Prov. 6. and Motions of mens Minds, proceeds all the mischief that men work; there is no evill in the mouth or hand which was not in the heart first, nor can the Flesh be corrupted unless the mind was corrupted before, saith Am­brose. For, albeit at the first, Man's Sin proceeded not from any previous Corruption that was in his Nature, but from the voluntary choice and act of his own Will; yet since his Fall, all the evill of his Thoughts and Actions spring from the Corruption of his Na­ture, whereof Thoughts are the first-born. And from that corrup [...] Fountain they do spring, as our Saviour shews. Mat. 15.19. so St. James, cap. 1.15. So that it is no wonder if God be therewith highly displeased. And so much for the Confirmation of the Point: Now let us apply it.

Ʋse 1 The Doctrine of the Church of Rome is in this Point very un­sound; they have this Conceit of Thoughts, that they are but Ve­nial: Inward Lust and Concupiscence is either no Sin with them, or so small that it needs no Reproof; and yet themselvs confess, it is the Cause of mortal Sin. St. Paul, as Chemnitius, in his Examen, observs in that sixth Chapter to the Romans, calls it five times Sin; in the seventh, six times; in the eighth, thrice. Hierom in 1 Amos thus distinguisheth of Pin; the first degree is in Thought, to think it; the second is, to yield to it; the third, to perform it in Act; the fourth, not to repent of it. And upon the fifth of Matthew, he distinguisheth betwixt [...] and [...]; Pathos, is Passion with Consent; Propatheia is a tickling of Lust without Consent: Yet saith Tollet, Bellarmin, and others, They all speak unproperly; yet Tollet confesseth plainly, that it is not only St. Austin's Word, but his perpetual Doctrine, albeit the Papists now wholly depart from it. Vide Cade Serm. on Roman. 7.24 p. 7. Nor doth St. Paul all it only Sin, but deadly Sin, the Body of Death. All Sin with him was mortal; he knew not these venial, trivial, peccadilia; trivial Sins with Papists, to mince and make sleight of. But I shall spend no more time with these, having none to spare.

Ʋse 2 We have amongst our selves very many who are possessed with this Atheistical Opinion, That Thoughts are free, and that they pay no Tribute, and that we shall never be called to any Account for them; and from hence it is, That so many play the Hypocrites in the Worship and Service of God, thinking it sufficient that their Bo­dies are present, but their Thoughts are suffered to run after Cove­tousness, Ezek. 33.32. And others who forbear to act Sin, and speak lewdly; yet they give Liberty to Imagination to play with the Devil at what Game he will, at Murther, Theft, Adultery, &c. And when the Mark is out of their mouths, I mean, they are out of date in respect of the act of some Sin; yet they have still an unsatiable desire to it, and can please themselvs in contemplative Wickedness, calling to mind their former brutish and lustful practices with great delight, making their own hearts to be their Brothel-house, a House of Bawdery and Uncleanness; and all upon this Delusion that their Thoughts are free; and what is not lawful to act, nor fit to speak, is lawful so think without Controul: Which Atheistical and damna­ble Opinion ariseth from these Grounds;

First, Ignorance of the Law of God, and the Spiritualness there­of, which commands the Soul with the motions of it, as well as the Body with the Actions thereof. Heb. 4.12. It pierceth even to the di­viding asunder of Soul and Spirit, and is a Discerner of the Thoughts and Intents of the heart, saith the Apostle. Now, they being carnall, and the Law spiritual, it is no marvel if they cannot understand it (for it must be spiritually understood). They have a Veil over their eyes, 2 Cor. 3.15. and, which is yet more, the god of this World hath further blinded them, 2 Cor. 4.4. that they shall not discern the Spirituality of if. So were the Pharisees blinded in their time, and St. Paul, all the while he was a Pharisee, Rom 7.7. They rested only in the outward Rinde or Bark of the Law, but discerned not the pith and marrow of it.

Secondly, From the Defectiveness and Imperfection of Man's Law, which although it binds the Hands and stops the Mouth, yet it punisheth not for Thoughts:Cogitatio­nis poenam nemo patia­tur. The Projects of the Heart lye not within the walk of Humane Justice, they are not liable to earthly Courts, they pay no Tribute to Man's Custom-House, where they cannot be searched, but as they bewray themselvs by some outward Sign, either by Word or Deed; forgetting, that God seeth not as Man seeth, He hath an eye into our most secret Thoughts, Psal. 139.12. He sets our Thoughts in the Light of his Countenance, Psal. 90.8. And if men call so account and punish Words and Deeds, be­cause they see and know them; Why then shall not God call to account, and punish too, our Thoughts, which he knows far better than any man can our Actions. That Man's Law punisheth not for our Thoughts, proves rather a Defectiveness in Man's Law, than this Diabolical and Atheistical Opinion, that Thoughts are free.

A third Ground for this graceless Opinion, is, That they do no hurt to any by their thinking, Why then may they not think what they please? But indeed they do the greatest mischief: they fight against the Soul, yea, thy own Soul, as St. Peter shews, 1 Pet. 2.11. they tend to the Destruction of it. And from the Motions of thy mind proceeds all other Mischiefs which are wrought, if the Prophet Michah is worthy to be believed, Mich. 2.1. or the Apostle St. James to be credited, James 4.1. or if Christ himself may be believed of us, Math. 15.16, 17. Indeed alwayes the Lusts of the [Page 78]Heart are not actually prejudicial to our Neighbour; for here a man may be an Adulteret, and the Woman chaste with whom Adul­tery is committed: a man may be a Murtherer, and yet the man alive whom he is the Murtherer of, &c. But many times these Thoughts come into Act: What Wickedness is committed in Act that was not first in the Thought?

A fourth Ground for this Devilish and Hellish conceipt, ariseth from the suddenness and unexpectedness of their coming, and im­possibility to avoid them. No Reason many times can be given of them; Therefore there is no Reason (say some, and more think), why they should be called to any Account for them. But all the Thoughts that are in the hearts of Sinners, are, either Suggestions by Inspiration from Satan; or Vapours that fume out of corrupt Na­ture, and from our sinful hearts. How can it be otherwise then, but that they should be offensive unto God?

Besides, their suddenness and exorbitancy proves them evil. All Good is from knowledg, deliberation, and direction; Did they come in God's Name they would come a slower pace, as they find by sad experience, who set their minds so think of matters serious and spi­ritual.

And what though we cannot avoid those wandring and sinful Thoughts altogether, Must we therefore set open the door and give them free liberty of Ingress, Egress, and Regress? No man can keep the Birds from flying over his head, but I hope he may keep them from making their Nests on that Tuft of haire which he wears.

Lastly, Men imagine Thoughts to be free, because of the com­mon Opinion of the World and general Estimate of Religion, which is not by the Heart and Thoughts, but by our outward Performan­ces, wherein if we approve our selves before men, it is all that is sought after; forgetting what our Saviour saith, You are they which approve your selves to men, Luke 1 [...].11. but they who are approved of by men may be Abomination in the sight of God. Men indeed judge of our Thoughts by our Words and Actions; but God, of our Words and Works by our Thoughts. No outward Works so good and holy, but Hy­pocrites have at some times done them: And few outward Works or none so evil, but some godly men at some times through Temp­tation have fallen into them. But how like soever such Works whe­ther [Page 79]good or bad, have been in the face; yet the difference is great in the heart of the Doer, which is that God distinguisheth the one from the other by: Of which anon we shall speak somewhat more.

These are the Grounds of this Conceipt which mens hearts are possessed with, That Thoughts are free, and they have liberty to think what they list, which opens a doo [...] to all Impiety; For, if Thought be free, all will be free in the end. Such shew what their Actions would be, if they dared to act them: But, Do they not err that imagine evill? saith Solomon, Prov. 14.22. Which Question is not put, by way of Doubt, as if it were uncertain whether such erred or not; but that Interrogation is a confident Asseveration, They do err out of the wayes of Life, that think evil in their hearts. Say not then, That Thoughts are free; you have heard the contrary proved, and that upon good Grounds and undeniable Reasons; and withall, the weak Grounds that are brought so this wicked Con­ceipt, which is in many mens minds; which (I hope) may serve to convince any of their Error that are so minded. The Truth is, so far are Thoughts from being free, as that they may in some Cases prove unpardonable, as St Peter intimates in that Speech of his which he used to Simon Magus, Acts 8.22. Pray God, if perhaps the Thought of thine Heart may be forgiven thee: There was but a Perhaps in it, no Certainty. As the Thoughts of the Heart have been more or less active to plot and contrive Sin, the more or less difficultly is a pardon obtained of it. But to pro­ceed.

Use 3 If God be displeased as well with sinfull Thoughts as outward Actions, then let us repent of them, and be humbled before God for them, even the best of us. From many outward gross Sins I doubt not but many of us can clear our selves, and say with the Pharisee Luke 18.11. God, I thank thee, we are not as other men, Extortioners, Unjust, Adulterers, &c. Yet, although we know nothing by our selvs, wherewith to charge our selves, in regard of outward demea­nour, we are not thereby justified, 1 Cor. 4.4. For, Who can un­derstand his secret faults? saith the Prophet Psal. 19.12. Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my Sin? Prov. 20.9. There is no Man nor Woman so upright and holy, living upon the Earth, that can clear himself from evil Thoughts; Let him live ne­ver [Page 80]so strictly or precisely, so that no man can tax him for any out­ward Crime, yet he shall find a Sea of Corruption and Filth in him­self: And if in Case any one should think himself perfect, that ve­ry Thought would prove him perverse, and that he knew not his own Soul,Pro. 30.32. Job 9.20, 21. If thou hast done foolishly (as without que­stion thou hast often done, in lifting up thy self) or it thou hast thought evil (saith Agur), lay thine hand upon thy mouth; the mean­ing is, If in case thou hast outwardly sinned through Pride, in word or deed; or, if thou hast thought evil and conceived mischief in thy mind, never so closely and secretly; then, Manum ad Os, let thine hand be laid to thy mouth, plead not chine own Innocency, but be humbled before God, and repent thee of thy Wickedness from the bottom of thy heart; for in that sense the Phrase of laying the hand upon the mouth is used, Job 40.4.

In the Performance of this Duty whereto you are now exhorted, See, first, That you take a diligent Survey of your hearts, remem­bring, That Thoughts of all sorts are in every man's mind by Na­ture.

We read, that when God called his Prophet Ezekiel to the Door, and willed him so digg through the Wall, and enter in at the Door; he was no sooner entred, but he saw in the Chambers of the House every Form of creeping things, and all sorts of abominable Beasts, Ezek. 8.7, 8, 9. Look into thy heart, that Chamber of thy Belly, as Solo­mon phraseth it, Prov. 18.8. and there thou shalt espy, not onely creeping things in abundance, such as are all idle, foolish, frothy, earthly, wanton, and vain Thoughts, which like Motes in the Sun fly up and down, or, like Ants in a Mole-hill, run to and fro in thy mind hourly; but many abominable Beasts, such as are Thoughts of Atheism, Blasphemy, Murther, Adultery, Pride, Revenge, and such like, thou mayest there discover; which lodge and lye in thy polluted heart, and there revell it day and night, finding too friend­ly entertainment. Unless these be discovered (which is no hard matter to do), they will never be dislodged and unroosted. This is that which must be done that thou mayest be truly humbled, as is re­quired Lam. 3.40. Let us search and try our wayes (that is, both our hearts and lives) and so turn again to the Lord.

Secondly, Lament and bewail the Vileness and Wickedness of thy heart in the sight of God. So did the Church, We have spoken [Page 81]Cruelty and Oppression, conceiving and uttering out of the heart false mat­ters, Isa. 59.13. And this is that which God required of his Peo­ple, Jer. 4.14. Jerusalem, wash thy heart from Wickedness that thou mayest be saved; which is in effect the same that is required by the Prophet, Isa. 1.16. Wash you, make you clean, &c. and by St. James, Cleanse your hands you Sinners, and purify your hearts you dou­ble-minded men, Jam. 4.8. where, by hands, the outward Actions, and by hearts, the inward Cogitations; the one defiled by doing Evil, the other, by thinking Evil, are to be understood. And that we might not mistake his meaning, in the words following he shews what a Washing and Cleansing, both of the one and the other, he intendeth; Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep, Ver. 9. Humble your selvs before God, by godly Sorrow: This Mourning for the Sinfulness of our hearts, is termed Washing; for that as the Filth of the Body is done away by Water, so is the Filth of the Heart, by true Remorse and godly Mourning for it. It is true, that the Blood of Christ, and that only, cleanseth the Soul from Sin, (both in re­gard of Guilt, which is our Justification; and in regard of Filth, which is our Sanctification) Zach. 12.1. 1. John 1.7. But this Washing of Sanctification requires a double Act; the one, of God himself, in the first Conversion and Renovation of a Sinner, Ezek 36.25. and therein Man is meerly a Patient: The other, of Man, cleansing himself yet more and more, through the Power of God's blessed Spirit, by Repentance; and therein Man is instrumentally an Agent, 2 Cor. 7.1. Christ's Blood is the Cause of the one, for without it there is no Remission; and by our mourning and sor­rowing for Sin, the Soul is qualified and brought into such an Estate, that it may be capable of the benefit of his Death.

That we may be cleansed then from our spiritual defilements con­tracted by our sinful Thoughts, let us wash our hearts; often sweep­ing the House is not enough, the Devil with all his unclean Spirits likes well of the House that is swept, Matth. 12.44. but he likes not the House that is throughly washed. Nor is it enough to sprin­kle our hearts with a little Water, to send forth a Sigh, or shed a Tear or two: It must be a making clean with Washing. Isa. 1.16. a thorow-Washing is required. We do as good as nothing in the business, if we exceed not; weeping bitterly with Peter, Mat. 26.75. [Page 82]washing the very feet of Christ with Tears, as did Mary Mag­dalen, Luke 7.38. We use to pour most Water upon that which most defileth us; and our Thoughts are, if not the only yet the principal defilers of the inward man, Mat. 15.18, 19.

Use 3 Thirdly, After this Washing, Reformation must follow: Let the Wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his Thoughts, saith the Prophet, Isa. 55.7. Unless there be a leaving; and forsaking of them, we deceive our selves, in thinking that we have truly mourn­ed and repented for them. Now, in this Work of Reformation, we must begin where our Sin began, and that is in the heart; where­fore we are called upon to begin with that, Jer. 4.14. That man (saith a very judicious Doctor) that takes no notice of his Sin till it come into Act,Dr. Donn. doth post-date his Sin, and begins his Recko­ning too late. It is the first time (say some, when they are taken in the Act) that I did it, when indeed it was not the first by an hun­dred: For, when the first conceived that Sin in the heart, then they did it; and in every Discourse, Wish, or Dream that condu­ceth to that Sin, or that riseth from the Thought of that Sin, they sin it over again before they come to the actual Committing of it, which is the Nativity of it; out you must reckon from the Conception of it. As David did Psal. 51.5. so must you do in this Case, and begin Reformation there: Never think to have reformed Lives, before you have reformed Hearts and Thoughts. It was the Cha­racter of a Pharisee in Christ's time, to make clean the out-side of the Cup and Platter, and leave the in-side foul, Mat. 23.25. Christ reproves them for that, and gives them directions where to begin first, Cleanse that which is within, that the out-side may be clean also, Ver. 26.

Now, That we may carry on this Work comfortably and succes­fully, I shall proceed in my Application of the Point, with an Hor­tatory Direction, commending unto you some Motives to stir up your care about your Thoughts; and then prescribe unto you some Rules to be followed, whereby you may be enabled to bring your Thoughts under subjection to the Government of Christ. And first, of the Motives.

Besides what hath been already said (when I gave you the Grounds and Reasons of the Doctrine propounded), I shall commend unto your most serious thoughts, something in Reference [Page 83]to God, and something in Reference to your selves, and other some with respect to your sinful Thoughts that are to be repented of and reformed.

In Reference to God: Let it be first remembred, [...]. that God is the Searcher of the Heart, and the Knower of your Thoughts, as we read Isa. 66.18. I kn [...]w their Works and their Thoughts, saith God. So Jer. 17.10. I the Lord search the Heart; although no other know it, neither Man nor Angel, directly; yet I know it, and search it, that is my Prerogative. He understands our Thoughts very well without an Interpreter, Luke 6.8. John 2.24. Thou understand­est my Thoughts afar off, saith David, Psal. 139.2. We may know our own Thoughts when they are in the Bud, first conceived by us; & we may know, at least guess at, the Thoughts of others, when they are in the Bloom and Blossom. We read of one that had such an admirable Gift (scarce credible) that by the only Motion of the Lips, without any Utterance, he understood all men. Ordinarily,Dr. Gabriel Nele, Bart [...]l lib. 1. de Ver. Oblig. Aug. Conf. l. 10. c. 27. we know men's Thoughts by the fruit in Words and Actions. Au­stin tells us of a Jester who undertook to tell the People what their Thoughts were, and when they desired to hear, he told them, Vill vultis emere, & care vendere, Your Thoughts are, to sell dear and buy cheap; and this their Practice discovered. But God knows our Thoughts in the Seed or Root, before either Bud, or Blossom, or Fruit appears. The Gardiner, that knows what Seed was sown in the Earth, and what Roots were set in his Beds, can tell what Herbs or Flowers he shall have in the Spring, which another that is ignorant thereof cannot discover: This appears by that Speech of God to Moses, concerning the rebellious Israelites, I know their Thoughts and Imaginations, even now before I have brought them into the Land which I sware, Deut. 31.21. He knew what Principles were within them, and what they would do when occasion served, and so knew their Thoughts afar off, better than they themselves, Intus tu eras, & ego foris (said St. Augustine), Thou wert within,Aug. Trin. lib. 13. c. 3. and I was without: God is within, and knows our secret Thoughts and Hearts, when we are without, and know them not. He made the Heart (saith David), And shall not he understand what is in it? Artificers know the Nature and Property of their Works, he that makes a Watch knows every pin that is in it, and is well acquaint­ed with every Joint of it; and, Can God be ignorant think you of [Page 84]his workmanship? Hell and Destruction (saith Solomon) are before the Lord: how much more then the Hearts of the Children of men, Prov. 15.11. The condition of the dead and damned is, of all other things, most hidden from the Eyes of man; seeing the dead never return, and are in most secret and deep places: we know not where Hell is, nor what is done there; but although these things are hid from us, yet they are before the Eyes of God. Job attributeth this Praise unto God, as being peculiar to him alone, That Hell is na­ked before him, and Destruction uncovered in hit sight, Job 26.6. How much more (saith Solomon) the Heart of the Children of men: Which though it be as deep as Hell it self, by devilish devices, and he made a pit of Destruction, by mischievous imaginations, yet that is manifest to God; If he look upon things, and hath an exact knowledg of them, al­though they be never so abstruse and hidden▪ we may easily be perswaded, that he is not unacquainted with that which is more conspicuous and appa­ [...]a [...]t. Now suppose that there were an open window into thy Heart, so that every one that passeth by, might see all thy Thoughts, as trans­parantly as thy Actions, in an open Market; would it not cause thee to be as careful of them as thou are of thy outward behaviour and carriage? Why, all things are naked and open before him with whom we have to do, Heb. 4.13. This should move you to look to your Thoughts, and have a care of your inward dispositions.

Secondly, Remember that as God knows the thoughts, so he ponders them, Prov. 21.2. The Lord ponders the heart, saith Solo­mon; He weighs them, and discovers what substance is in them: And for this end he doth it, that he may give to every one the Fruit of them, as Solomon shews, Prov. 24 12. Doth not he that pondereth the heart, consider it;and shall not he render to every man, according to his Works? Thy Thoughts he puts into one ballance, and the Re­compence into the other, and gives weight for weight; For good Thoughts, a good Recompence; as David found, who had it in his heart so build a House unto the Lord, 1 King. 8.18. And albeit God in his Wisdom saw it not fit for him so do it; yet for his good Thought, God promised, and performed what he had promised, to build David a House, and establish his Kingdom for ever, 2 Sam. 16. But if our thoughts be vain and wicked, he will recompense us accordingly, and answer us according to the stumbling-block that is set up in our hearts, Ezek 14.3, 4. So Esay 65.2, 6, 7. [Page 85]If thou beest his Child, and yet harbourest vain and sinful Thoughts within thee, he will correct thee for them; if thou beest not his Child, he will then judge thee and condemn thee for them, Jer. 6.19. This should make us careful of our thoughts, as well as of our words and actions.

Thirdly, It would be remembred, that God expects to have his Glory shine in our Thoughts, as well as in our outward Conversa­tion. It is from him that we have our Souls, and all the powers of it (as well as our Bodies, with the members thereof); He hath planted them in us, and he looks to taste of the Fruit of those Trees that he hath planted. It is he that hath redeemed the Soul as well as the Body, and looks to be glorified both in Soul and Body by us: He hath a Soveraignty over the whole man, his Law binds both Soul and Body, and both must be yielded up to be governed by him. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all the heart, with all the Soul, and with all the Mind, is the Law, Luke 10.27. Now in giving way to any evil thought, we turn God out of our hearts at that time; the heart is not then for God, but taken up for the service of the World, Flesh, or Devil: we bring not forth Fruit to God, but to his Ene­mies, and the Enemies of our Salvation: Christ was angry with that Figg-Tree that grew by the way side, when he, being hungry, com­ing to it, found nothing but Leaves upon it, insomuch that he cursed it, Never fruit grow on thee any more, Matth: 21.18, 19. So, com­ing to the garden of thy Soul, and finding little or nothing growing upon the best Tree there, thy Mind and Understanding, but empty and loose imaginations at the best; thou mayst be assured he will be so provoked by thee, as that he will pass some sore and severe Sen­tence against thee. Let this prevail with thee, to look unto thy thoughts that they be not sinful.

Fourthly, God esteems himself highly honoured by us, when care is had that we dishonour him not in Thought; when we so regard his all-seeing Eye, as that we will not offend him in taking liberty so much as to offend him in thinking any thing that may displease him, albeit man can take no notice thereof; this is to sanctify God in our hearts, 1 Pet. 3.15. And such as do thus, God esteems as his Jewels, and hath promised to preserve them safe, as his special Treasure, Mal. 3.16, 17. And thus you have heard, how, in refe­rence to God, we ought to make conscience of our Thoughts and [Page 86]Cogitations: Next, in reference to our selves, the like care should be taken. For,

First, By admitting of sinful Thoughts into our hearts, we become defiled and polluted, and are made as loathsome Lepers in the Eyes of God, Matth. 15.18, 19. Those things which come from the heart, as evil Thoughts, Murders, Adulteries, Fornications, Thefts, &c. they defile the man. Where, our Saviour doth not speak only of actual Murther and Adultery, but of the sinful disposition of the Soul; these are they that defile the Spirit of man in God's sight, who looks upon them with a more hateful Eye, than any mortal Creature can look upon any thing loathsome with the eye of his Body. The Thoughts of the Wicked are an domination unto the Lord, saith Solomon, Prov. 15.26. Not only abominable and loathsome, but abomination it self in the Abstract: Nor are all our actual sins committed by us in the Body, simply considered in themselves, and committed by the Body, so hateful unto God as the pollution of the Spirit is. Hear the Judg­ment of a very judicious and [...]arned Divine in the Point,Dr. Prest. on the At­trib. 2.7. I dare be bold to say, (saith he) that though the Act contracts the Guilt, (because the Lust is then grown up to a height, so that it is come to an abso­lute will and execution); yet the act of Adultery and Murther is not so abominable in God's Eyes, as the filthinesse of the Spirit. Indeed when Thoughts break forth into Words and Actions, and command the outward man, it argues, that Lust hath a more full dominion and soveraignty over a man, than when it rests in the Thoughts and Heart; and in breaking out, it doth more dishonour God, and doth more hurt unto Men, 1 Cor. 15.33. in which regard, it is worse to speak and do evil, than to think evil: But, actual Sins being simply considered in themselves (as was said before), are not so odious nor abominable in the Eyes of Almighty God, as is the filthiness and de­filement of the Spirit; for that God is a Spirit, and it is the Spirit that he mainly looks upon. In which respect, our care should be to keep our Spirit clean from these defilements by wicked Thoughts; if we would not be nasty, loathsome, and abominable Creatures in the Eyes and Nostrils of the Lord God Almighty, who is of purer Eyes than to take any content in the Heart and Spirit of such as are so defiled.

Secondly, In entertaining sinful Thoughts, we make our hearts a Lodge and Harbor for Rebels and Traytors, which conspire against the Crown and Dignity of the King of Heaven. (For, What Sin is [Page 87]committed against the most High God,Rom. 7.23. that is not first plotted in the heart? as anon shall be shewed more largely). It is a Rebel rebelling against the Law of our Minds, so Rom. 8.7. It rebells against God and his blessed Spirit of Grace, Gal. 5.17. Now to act Treason, and to harbour known Traytors, are alike Capital: It was the Com­mand once of the King of France, to one of his Lords, That he would give way for one to inhabite in a House that he had, who had been before found to have a Trayterous heart to his Prince; The lord replyed, That he would at his Command give way; but he should no sooner leave his House, but he would burn it down with fire: For, my Ancestors, said he, never built that House to harbour Traytors: God giveth no com­mand to us to harbour any treacherous Thought within us, but for­bids it, Jer. 4.14. Nor did he make our hearts to harbour Tray­tors in, but to be his own peculiar, his House and Temple; yea, Bed-Chamber. How dare we then entertain such Traytors, as sin­ful Cogitations are, and lay them in God's, own Bed, and set them upon his Throne? Can we think, that Treason against God is a less Crime then Treason against Man? What Sylla said of Caesar whilst he was young, In this one Boy there be many Marii; so may we say of some one sinful Thought, In that one, there are many Treasons against God, therefore entertain it not.

Thirdly, There is nothing that doth more discover the power of Grace, and prove the sincerity of the heart, than to make consci­ence of Thoughts. A wicked man may watch over his words and actions, in respect of man; But the sanctified man only is careful to observe the tenth Commandment, which rectifies the inward mo­tions of the heart. The difference betwixt the Regenerate and Un­regenerate, in respect of Thoughts, Solomon shews, Prov. 12.5. The Thoughts of the Righteous are right, but the Counsels of the Wicked are deceit. The one acknowledgeth God to be the Lord of his Thoughts, as well as of his Words and Actions, and therefore is care­ful that his Thoughts may be right; they shall be ordinarily wor­king for the maintainance and furthering of God's Glory, and good Causes; for the procuring good to their Brethren, and for the fur­thering of their own Happiness and Salvation: but the study of the wicked, and working of their minds, is, how to deceive God of his Glory, their Neighbours of their Right, and themselves of Happi­ness. If we then desire to have the testimony and witness of a good [Page 88]Conscience, then, we are upright, let us be careful to keep our thought and Cogitations within compass: And that,

In the third place, In respect of sinful Thoughts themselves (for in that respect they are not to be leightly set by): which will appear, if we seriously consider their Nature or their Number.

They are of a vile Nature, being the fruits of the Flesh, which being unmortified,Primoge­nita Dia­boli. Jerom. will assuredly bring God's wrath upon us, Col. 3.5, 6. Yea, they are the first-born of the Devil. Sathan dares not tempt any one to Murther, Adultery, &c. or any such grievous sin, before he hath sent forth an evil Thought, to try whether he shall be welcome. So that as Jacob styled Reuben, his Might, and the be­ginning of his Strength, in that he was his first-born, and el­dest Child, Gen. 29.3. So may sinful Thoughts be termed the strength of Sathan, for that his strength to do mischief lies in them, as Samsons strength lay in his hair; for without their help, he could not hurt us. This their Strength is two wayes discovered; First, In their promoting and furthering of all Sathans temptations. Se­condly, In their interrupting and hindering us in every good per­formance.

Sathan suggests his Temptations into the Heart, and Lust con­ceives by those Suggestions of his, giving them admittance in thought; then follows delight, then consent of will; after consent, execution, or practise of the sin; after practise, comes custom in practise; and after that, follows Death and Damnation; This is that which St. James saith, Every man when he it tempted, is entised and drawn away by his own Concupiscence. Aug. in Psal. 91. Astutiam sua dendi, non poten­tiam cogen­di habet. The Devil tempts, but he can­not constrain and make us sin against our wills; he hath a perswa­ding sleight, but no enforcing might; our own concupisence carri­eth the chief stroak therein. Nor will Seed ever grow into a living Creature, without a Womb to foster it; there must be Partus Cordis as well as Seminarium hostis, saith Bernard, the conception of the Heart, as the temptation of Sathan. Lust gives his suggestions ad­mittance into the Mind and Thought, by delighting in them, consen­ting to them, and shaping of them, and so conceives. And having thus conceived by the Devil, It bringeth forth Sin, saith the Apo­stle: The heart grows very big soon after the conception and for­mation in the Womb; and as the Mother, in order of Nature, is full of pain till she be delivered, Job 15.32. so is it here, Psal. 7.14. [Page 89]And then after Conception and Birth, in bringing into Act, follows it's Perfection: For Sin when it is finished, it bringeth forth Death; It goeth on without weariness or murmuring, without re­penting and repining in the wayes of Lust, running on still in sinful Courses, till the measure be filled up; the Thoughts taking great care how to fulfil the lust of the Heart, till they come to their per­fect growth, and are fit for the Slaughter.Rom. 13.13

Nor is the Lust of the Heart only a mother, and a nursing-mother, in bringing forth and bringing up; but it is likewise a very fruitful mother, bringing forth many, and those monstrous Births.

1. No part of man can sin without the Heart, the Heart can sin without the rest. The Hand cannot sin, unless the thought of the Heart hath been consenting; the thoughts of the Heart have many times intended a sin which it never brought into action, yet sinned in that intention.

2. The Body sometimes waxeth weary in committing some sinful act, but the thought of it never waxeth weary: once a day is enough for the Body, it may be tyred out with that; but a hundred times in a day, he mind can commit it without weariness.

3. No place nor company can keep the Thoughts from sinning: An Adulterous heart will commit Adultery in the chastest Compa­ny: A Theevish heart will rob and steal in the most sacred place it comes into. But Place and Company, is a restraint to the Body from acting those sins it hath a desire unto.

4. More sins are committed, and far greater by the Thought than by any other Member. A world of wickedness is committed by the Tongue, saith St. James; yet it comes short of the Heart in sinning. A Thief doth not rob every man in the Town, but a co­vetous heart may wish, that the whole Town were his, and the next Town to that, &c. An Adulterer cannot vitiate every woman, good and bad; yet he may commit Adultery both with chast and unchast in his heart; A man may sin infinitely in his Thoughts, and never have done. And thus you have heard wherein the strength of this first-born of Sathan lies, in promoting of Evil. Now let me shew you the strength of it, in hindring of us in the performance of what is Good.

St. James speaks of a man's being drawn aside by his own Lusts, Jam. 1.14. that is; they move the powers of the Soul out of their [Page 90]right place, they draw them out of the right path of God's Precepts, and entise them out of the way; as Theevs do an honest Traveller, that he may rob him of his money. Thus are our Thoughts drawn away from God, when we are about his Worship and Service; or else so disturbed and distracted by them, as that we have but little profit or comfort in the discharge thereof.

God complains of the Hypocritical Jews, that they were a People that drew near to him with their mouths, but their hearts were far from him, Isa. 29.13. Mat. 15.8. Their false and deceitful hearts were carried away with worldly and carnal thoughts, as we read, Ezek 33.31. Their hearts went after their Covetousness, albeit their Bodies were present. Now you know what God saith of such as should go about to draw our hearts from him, If thy Brother, the Son of thy Mother, or thy Son, or thy Daughter, or the Wife of thy Bosom, or thy Friend, which is as thine own Soul, entise thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods.Thou shalt not consent nor hearken unto him, neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare him, neither shalt thou con­ceal him, but thou shalt surely kill him, &c. Deut. 13.6, 8, 9, 10. The like may be said and applyed to the Point in hand Let our Thoughts and Cogitations be never so profitable and delightful, yet if they go about to draw our hearts from God in his Worship and Service, spare them not, but endeavour the mortification of them, even their utter ruine and destruction.

If, in case the Heart be so over-powred by the Spirit of Grace, as that it will not be wholly called off from the performance and discharge of Religious Duties by wicked Thoughts; then they will endeavour to intermingle themselves with the motions of Grace, dealing herein as the Adversaries of Judah and Benjamin did with Zerubbabel, and the chief of the Fathers, in offering their service to­wards the building of the Temple, saying, Let us build with you, for we seek your God as you do, Ezra 4.2. This they did not with any purpose to promote, but to hinder the Building: So, whilst we are hearing of the Word, some good meditation may come into the mind, or some good thought and purpose of doing this or that good Work; but such thoughts tend but to distract us, and deprive us of the Blessings of a profitable Hearer. At the time of Prayer, they will be ready to fill the head with many holy instruction, that at some other time we have read, heard, and learned: Thoughts and [Page 91]Purposes in themselves Divine, but the Spirit that suggests them at this time, is not Divine but Diabolical; for that it hinders devoti­on, and draws away the mind from being intent upon the business in hand, and so deforms the work, as colour misplaced in the face doth the beauty; for if the blewness that should be in the Veins, be in the Lips, and the redness that should be in the Checks, be in the Nose, we count it a deformity: Or, as Letters misplaced in Prin­ting, and not rightly composed, (be they never so fair) marr and cor­rupt the sense. So is it in this Case, when good Thoughts, but un­seasonable, and out of their due time, interpose in holy actions, be they never so pious seemingly, if they be not proper and pertinent to the work in hand.

And sometimes we shall find our selves much troubled and an­noyed with idle and vagrant Thoughts whilst we are about holy Du­ties, which come about as like Bees, as David speaketh of his Ene­mies, and with their humming noise keep our minds from being in­tent upon the work we are about:Gen. 15.11. Or like the Birds which Abra­ham drove away from lighting on his Sacrifice, that it might not be peck't; these must we by our best endeavour chase away: Indeed, we may sooner drive away the Devil himself, then all wandring thoughts, at such a time as we are Sacrificing; there is no good Du­ties that we go about, no place that we call upon God in, but we shall meet with these impudent Disturbers of us: When I would do good, evil is present with me, saith the Apostle, Rom. 7.21. But this should not dishearten us from using the means that we may be rid of them, but stir up your diligence the more. Now what the means are, that must be used whereby our Thoughts may be brought in subjection to the Government of Christ; I shall in the next place shew.

First, See that you be renewed in the Spirit of your minds, where­in thoughts and imaginations are conceived and framed: This di­rection the Apostle gives the Ephesians; Who after he had with a most serious attestation or admiration dehorted them from walking, as other Gentiles walked, In the vanities of their minds, Eph. 4.17. by which he understood the vain and impious imaginations th [...]t they had of God, and of his Worship, the mind being the subject in which they are be­got and reside; The Seat of Principles, saith the Philosopher,Arist. Ethic. l. 6. the mansion-House, or dwelling-place which Vanities hath chosen to dwell in: [Page 92]He then comes to exhort them to the leading of a new life, which that they may do, he wills them to have a special care of renuing of the best and divinest faculty of the Soul of man; Be ye renewed in the spirit of your Mind, Ephes. 4.23. that is, in that spirit which is your mind: In that, the Apostle directs to begin the work of repairing; that, being the first mover, the root and fountain of all our actions: not by way of exclusion, as if the mind only were to be renewed, for it must be extended to the whole man, but by way of Principality; if that be renewed, the rest will follow; and if that Spring be not first cleansed, in vain do we scoure the Channels.

This Renuing Chrysostom expresseth, by the repairing of an old House: as there is the same House, the same Rooms, only it is new hung, or new whited; so there is the same man, the same mind; only the old Corruption is tak [...]n away, and new Grace bestowed: As in a poysoned River, there is the Water, the running, and the poyson; when it is healed, the water and the running remain, only the poy­son is taken out of if. So it is in the renewing of the mind, the same substance, the same faculties of knowing, remembring, &c. abide; only new qualities are effected and wrought by the power of God's Spirit. Till this be done, we cannot expect that our thoughts will be altered and changed, or the other directions that shall be given, any thing available for the subduing of them: But, this being hoped of you, we proceed;

Secondly, Work thy Heart to a perfect detestation of all wicked and sinfull Cogitations, that thou mayst say with David, I hate all vain Thoughts, Psal. 119.113. It is not enough for thee to dislike them only, but that thou must abhorr them and detest them (for a cold dislike may turn at last to an earnest love); yea, so abhorr them, as that thou do abhorr and loath thy self in regard of them: God promiseth the House of Isreal, That He will save them from all their Uncleanness, Ezek. 36.29. But then saith he, You shall remember your own evil wayes, and your Doings which were not good; and shall loath your selves in your own sight for your iniquities and abominations, ver. 31. intimating, That when a man begins to look upon himself, and comes once to see the pollution of his spirit, he cannot but loath himself, and grow into an indignation against himself for it. Whilst he looks upon his sinful Life, he appears like a rotten and dead Carkase, loathsome; but when he looks upon his inward [Page 93]spirit, from whence comes those evil Thoughts and sinful Cogitati­ons of his, he doth; as it were, anatomize and open that rotten Car­kasse, and then the savour of it is far more loathsome and odious in his Nostrills; this must be done, before we can have any comforta­ble assurance, that God will save us from our Uncleanness, that is, pardon them in and through the merits of Christ. And thus, if thou hatest thy sinful Thoughts with a perfect hatred, so as to loath them, and abhorr thy self in regard of them, thou wilt deal by them as Ammon did by his sister Tamar; who after he had committed folly with her, and satisfied his Lust upon her, hated her exceedingly, So that the hatred wherewith he hated her, was greater then the love wherewith he before loved her, saith the Text, 2 Sam. 13.15. Insomuch that he thrust her out of Doors, and commanded, that the Door should be bolted after her, ver. 17, Thou must do what lies in thee to turn them out of thy heart, and keep them out of thy heart: which thou wilt never do, unless thou hatest them exceedingly, which thou canst not but do▪ if thou remembrest effectually what hath been before said of them in the Motives.

Thirdly, Furnish thy heart with store of good matter, that thy thoughts may find imployment about that which is good: A good man hath a good treasury in his heart, as our Saviour tells us; and an evil man hath an evil treasury there, and out of their treasury Both bring forth accordingly, Math. 12.35. The good man, out of his habit of heavenly-mindedness, will ever be thinking and speaking of what is good: The mouth of the Righteous, speaketh wis­dom (saith David), and his Tongue talketh of Judgment: The Law of God is in his heart, Psal. 37.30, 31. But the wicked man, or man of Belial walketh with a froward mouth; and, as if his mouth were not open enough to express his wickedness; he winketh with his Eyes (as Solomon shews), and in so doing, he speaks deceit; he speaks with his Feet, rage and anger, by stamping; he teacheth his Fingers, and so by his pointings and signs, speaks scoffs and mocks; And the reason of all this, is, lewd things are in his heart, Prov. 6.12, 13, 14. Out of that evil treasury that is in him, he brings forth such evil things; His heart is no other then a Stew of unclean and polluted thoughts; A very Shamble of cruel and bloody thoughts; An Ex­change or Shop of vain thoughts; A very Forge and Mint of false, politique, and undermining thoughts: yea, many times a very Hell [Page 94]of confused and black thoughts (as speaks a judicious and godly Di­vine);Dr. Sibbs Souls Con­flict. p▪ 273.now; Who can expect to have any good come out of such a Treasury. Therefore be sure, that the Treasure in thy heart be a good Treasure: A true Treasure, as you know, is of what is preci­ous, (we do not esteem Stones and Pibbles, Trash and Rubbish, to be a Treasure); and there must be good good Store of it too, else it is no Treasure. How precious are thy Thoughts unto me, O God, and how great is the Sum of them? Psal. 139.17. that is, The Medi­tations that I have of thee and of those excellent and great Works of thine (which before he had mentioned), they are in my esteem very precious; the specialties are innumerable, if I should count them, they are more in number than the Sand: Here was a Treasure indeed, Great and Good. And God is not wanting to furnish our hearts with Store of such Treasure, affording us matter for Medita­tion, both from his Word and Works. It is his Will that his Word should be in our hearts to this end, that it might take up our thoughts, Deut. 6.6, 7, 8. That which we read and hear should furnish our Treasury with godly Meditations; that Chapter is but sorrily and carelesly read, that doth not afford us some Mites for this Treasury; that Sermon is but sorrily preached and carelesly heard on the Lord's-day, that doth not furnish us with some good matter, to meditate and exercise our thoughts upon, all the Week after. Then the Works of God, of Creation and Providence, the Sun, Moon, and Stars, the Winds and Vapours, Storms and Tempests, contribute very much towards our Treasury, Psal. 8. & 19. & 107. & 148. There is not a Fowl in the Heaven, a Fish in the Sea, a Worm crawling on the Earth, but brings a Penny in the Mouth of it, to pay Tribute to our Caesar: Not a Tree in the Field, a Flower in the Garden, but affords us matter of heavenly Meditation, where­in some glorious Attribute of God may be seen: Nor is there any Act of Man's Life, be it never so vitious, nor any Calling wherein we are employed, but affords matter whereby the thoughts of those that do exercise it may be spiritualized.Persius. We read of one who see­ing a foul Toad, bitterly lamented his Ingratitude towards God, who had made him a Man and not a Toad, yet he had not been so serviceable to his God as that Toad had been in it's kind. And we read of another,Pambo. who seeing a leight Woman finely tricked up and curiously adorned to allure and please her Lovers, burst out into [Page 95]tears, and being asked why he wept, he answered, For that he did not take so much pains to please his God, and adorn his Soul, that it might he lovely in the Eyes of his Saviour, as that Strumpet did to please sinful men. And Climacus (a Greek Father) tells us of a Cook-Servant in a Colledg, a very Religious man, who was very devout in serving God, and often moved with Compunction to mourn for Sin: This Father asking him by what means he attained to such a degree of Mortification and Holiness, answered; I, in this work of the Kitchen, did never think that I served men but God, who hath enjoyned me to be faithful in my place; and when I look on this fire in the Chimney, and consider how intolerable the burning of it would be to my Flesh, I am put in mind of the everlasting and much more unsufferable burning of Hell-fire, due to all impenitent Sinners; and the thought of that Torment doth cause me thus to shed tears for my Sins. Thus, as the Bee can suck Hony out of that Flower which the Fly cannot,See B. B. Hall's Oc­cas. Med. Dr. Tayler's Med. from the Crea­ture. so a good Heart (as we use to say of a good Wit) can make use of every thing, and bring forth out of the good Treasury of his Heart things both new and old upon any Occasion. See we then to it, that our Treasury be never empty of good matters that we may have to find our thoughts employment. The mind is aptly resembled unto a Mill which is alwayes grinding; and if it have not wherewith to feed it, it will fire it self: If it hath Wind or Water it will go whe­ther the Miller will or no; yet he may chuse what kind of Grain it shall grind, whether Wheat or Darnel: And as the Corn is, so will the Floure be; If the Floure be bad, the fault is not in the Milstones, but in thee Miller that fed them with no better a Grist: So, if thy Thoughts, Words, and Deeds be bad; the Miller thy Heart is to bear the blame for minding no better matters, when thou hast so ma­ny Sacks of good Corn round about thee to feed thy mind withall, and wherewith thou mayest set thy Mill on work; God's Titles and Attributes; his Word and Works, both of Mercy and Judgment; the Vanity of Life; Certainty of Death; and thy final Account; are necessary thoughts to be minded of thee daily. Set thy Mill a work with these, feed thy mind with such profitable and necessary matter, and then Mercy and Truth will be the Floure that thy Mill will yield, Prov. 14.22.

Fourthly, Turn away thine Eyes from sinful and carnal Objects, at least suffer them not long to dwell upon them. Cassian relates, that to preserve the cleanness of the Heart, the Aegyptian Fathers taught, that men ought to be surdi, coeci, muti, deaf, blind, and dumb; that so, the Gates being shut, the safety of the Heart might be the surer kept. And Epiphanius, speaking of the Practice of the Israelitesunder the Law, who used when any dead Corps was carri­ed by any of their Houses to shut their Doors and Windows, he gives this to be the Moral Reason of the Law, We are to shut both our Eyes and Ears when any Sin is proposed; for, that Sense is ac­cessary to the Sin; that opens the Door and lets the Temptation come in. It is incredible what a deal of Pollution the Devil conveighs into our minds through our Senses, (which some resemble to the five Cinque-Ports, where all his lading is taken in,) especially by the Ears and Eyes, the Doors and Windows by which the poyso­nous Air of Wickedness is let in, to infect the Heart. By the Ear is received the Poyson of scurrilous Songs, obscene Jests, lascivious Stories, which infect the mind with thoughts of Unchastity; or false Reports and Slanders, which breed thoughts of Revenge and Cruelty, and therefore Christ's warning should in this Case take place, Take heed how you hear, Luke 8.18. A good Christian, as he will not speak filthy Language, so he will not hear it; as he will not slander with his Tongue, so he will not receive in his Ears a false Report, Psal. 15.3. as he will not murther with his hands, so he stops his Ears from hearing of Blood, Isa. 33.15. But a special care is to be had of the Eye; for, as God tells Israel, Their Eyes would cause them to go a Whoring, Numb. 15.39. so it fell out, Lusting was the Issue of their Looking, Numb. 25. Thus David was betrayed by his Eyes, in casting an idle Glance on Bathsheba, 2 Sam. 11.2. and Joseph's Mistress was ensnared by casting her Eyes upon Joseph, Gen. 39.7. Lust is quick-sighted, and many thousand Souls have dyed of the Wound in the Eye; for the Eye is an occasion not only of this Sin of Adultery, but of most others. I saw a fine Babylonish Garment (said Achan), I coveted, and I took it, Josb. 7.21. Ahaz see [...] an Altar at Damascus, and he liked it, and caused another to be made like unto it, 2 King. 16.10, 11. Thine Eyes and th [...]ne Heart are not but for thy Covetousness, and for to shed innocent Blood, and for Oppression, and for Violence to do it, saith God [Page 97]to Shallum the King of Judah, Je [...]. 22.17. The Eye poysoned the Heart with all these Infections, and allured the Heart to all that Wickedness. Job said that he made a Covenant with his Eye, Job 31.1. and comforted himself in this; that his Heart had not walked after his Eyes, Ver. 7. And Nazianzen gloried in this, that he had learned to keep his Eyes from roving to wanton Prospects. We cannot b [...] too wary of this Organ; for, if the Flies of Aegypt get into our Eyes, the Froggs of Aegypt will soon get into the Cham­bers of our Hearts, and then the Caterpillars of Aegypt will soon destroy the Fruit of our Land, the Actions of our Lives (as one speaketh well). And, because all our Care is too little for the keeping of so quick a Member, desire the Lord with David, that he would turn away your Eyes from beholding Vanity, Psal. 119.37. If thine Eye spy not Nets laid for thee in every Corner, it is because it self is become a Net, saith Ambrose.

Fifthly, See that your Affections be rightly ordered and set up­on good Objects, and kept in a good Frame and holy Temper, Colos. 3.2. Set your Affections upon things above, not upon things that are upon the Earth. We must get not minds only, or thoughts only, but sound affections to things heavenly; they must be set upon them, and fixed on them. As our Affections are, such of necessity will our Thoughts be; What we love or take delight in, we cannot keep our minds from thinking on: Can a Maid forget her Ornaments, or the Bride her Attire, Jer. 2.32. No, they cannot, for that they love them and take delight in them, and therefore mind them. We usually say to some that mind not their business, What think you on? sure, you are in Love: As if Love took up all their Thoughts. So Love to God, and Love to his Word, would take off our Thoughts from the Love of the World and worldly Vanities. The Godly and Blessed Man, spoken of Psal. 1. is said to have his Delight in the Law of God, and delighting in it he could not but he must meditate therein Day and Night, Ver. 2. Oh, How love I thy Law (saith David)? It is my Meditation continually, Psal. 119.97. His Heart was filled with the Love of God and his Word, and that so filled his Soul with holy Thoughts and Meditations, as that he had neither room nor leisure for vain and sinful Thoughts to take place. So Malach. 3.16. the Fear of God and Thinking up­on his Name, are joyned together; for what we do indeed fear, we [Page 96]most think upon. Thus the thoughts that proceed from holy, affecti­ons will eat up and devour our carnal thoughts and cares, as the A­postle intimates, Rom. 13.14. Wherefore keep spiritual Affecti­ons hot and lively in thy Soul, suffer them not to cool, and thou shalt soon be rid of many vain and sinful thoughts that now annoy thee. Flies light not upon what is hot, but upon that Vessel that hath cold Liquor in it.

Sixthly, Begin the day with holy Thoughts and Meditations. It was God's Command, that the first that opened the Matrix should be his, Exod. 34.19. So the first-born of thy thoughts daily are God's, not thine but by Sacriledg: When I awake (saith David) I am still with thee, Psal. 139.18. that is, I no sooner open mine eyes but my thoughts are of thee, and I am with thee in meditating of thy wonderful Goodness, in preserving and keeping of me, and of thy great Works and Wisdom. So at the instant of you awaking, let your hearts be lifted up to God in a thankful acknowledgment of his Goodness to you the Night past, in giving you comfortable Rest; for he it is that giveth his beloved Sleep, Psal. 127.2. In preserving of you from the dangers of the Night-past; for it is he that hath kept thee, Prov. 6.22. And he it is that reneweth his Mercies to thee every Morning Lament. 3.22, 23. This is to awake with God, and to speak first with him; till then no other thought nor business is to be admitted. At your first awaking, you shall find multitude of Thoughts attending on you to speak with you,Dr. Tho. Goodwin's. Vanity of Thoughts. like Clients (saith one speaking of this Subject) at a great Lawyers Door in the Term time. Now put Case some great Lord should be there amongst the rest; Would he take it well if every inferiour Person should be ad­mitted into the Lawyer's Closet before him, and he made to waite without doors till every Country Client were dispatched? Judge then in this Case whether God will take it well at thy hands, if eve­ry base and worldly thought shall be admitted into thy mind so soon as thou awakest, and he last and least thought of who ought first to be heard and served. It is good to consecrate a man's first awaking unto God; In the Morning (saith David) I will direct my Prayer unto thee, and will look up, Psal. 5.3. In so doing, he knew his Prayer and Meditations should not be lost; he would look after it (as Sui­ters do after their Petitions which they prefer unto their Prince), not doubting but to have a gracious Answer. Certainly, you shall [Page 97]find, that religious Thoughts let into the heart in the Morning at our first awaking, will keep it in better tune all the day after; when worldly Thoughts are admitted, they will but trouble us and distract us the more the whole day following; or they stand about us but as Chesse-men, to take up the Heart for the Use of the World, Flesh, and Devil, and to draw away the Heart from the Service of our Maker. The Wicked give their first Thoughts to those: let us devote our first Meditations to God's Glory, so if we be ready to praise him (and till that be done we are unready) he will be ready to bless us.

Seventhly, Have a vigilant and watchful eye over thy Thoughts the whole day after; for albeit thou season thy Soul with private and holy Meditations in the Morning, yet a great care must be had the whole day following to keep them from Infection, which in re­gard of our corrupt Nature we are apt so receive. He that gives way to the suggestion of an evil Thought, can hardly stop the Con­sent of a depraved Will, or stay the working of an evill hand. It is Wisdom's Advice, above all keepings so keep the Heart, Prov. 2.24. Set a strong Watch about that; which if thou dost, thou shalt be sure to take in thy Watch many wandring and roving Thoughts; these must be taken up as Vagrants, and corrected and sent away with a Pass to the place where they were born: Others are stub­born and unruly Thoughts, Thoughts of Atheism, Blasphemy, In­fidelity, dishonourable to God; or Thoughts of Malice, Revenge, Pride, Deceipt, prejudicial to thy Neighbour: These are like your sturdy Rogues that come unto your Doors, and give ill Language, use threatning words, &c. These lay hands upon, and carry them to the next Justice, even to the Lord chief Justice of the whole World and complain of them to him, that they may be brought into Subje­ction, 2 Cor. 10.4. Shew not the least favour to any of them; and do it betimes, at the very first appearance of them. These are those Brats which must be dashed against the Scones whilest they are lit­tle ones,Psal. 137. if we would be freed from Babylonish Captivity of Sin: Other Thoughts thou shalt apprehend in thy Watch which are law­ful but unseasonable: and in performance of Family Duties or pri­vate Devotions (of which something was said before), be assured that some Thought or other (it may be of thy particular Calling) will be jogging thee on the Elbow, or pulling thee by the Sleeve, [Page 100]and will thee to make haste, thy Mother and thy Brethren are without to speak with thee; let these stay a while, put them by till another time. Say as Abraham did to his Servants, Abide you here at the bottom of the hill with the Asse, whilst I and the Lad go to wor­ship yonder, and I will come again to you, Gen. 22.5. Other thoughts you shall meet withall, that can give you a good, account whence they come, and what they go about, being good seasonable, and ne­cessary; these relieve and succour according to Statute, as God hath commanded.

And as this Watch much be daily kept, so especially upon the Lord's Day above all other Dayes; for then naughty thoughts (like vagrant Rogues) are prone to do us most mischief. If we can but order our thoughts well this day, we shall order them the better the whole week after; but if in case you let your thoughts loose upon the Sabbath (as some careless Masters do their Servants) to go where they will, and do what they will, you shall not have them at so good command the six dayes following. It is a day that God hath set apart for this end, that we may be better enabled to keep our thoughts in order when we come to follow the works of our particu­lar Calling; and without we do it, we cannot expect a blessing on our Labour, Esay 58.13, 14.

Eighthly, Avoid Solitariness and Idleness, I joyn them, because they are seldom separated, and the Devil makes a like use of both, taking occasion from both to fill the mind with dangerous and de­testable thoughts. When Eve was stragling from her Husband (for so it is generally held) curiously viewing the pleasant Plants of the Garden, then the Devil took an occasion to suggest into her mind base thoughts of God:Gen. 3.1, 2. When Dinah, Jacob's Daughter, was wan­dring alone idly from her Father's Tent, to see the fashions of the Country,Gen. 34.1, 2. Gen. 39.11, 12. then Shechem, the son of Hamor, caught her, and defiled her: When Potiphars Servants were all abroad about their business, and Joseph left alone in the House, then his lascivious Mistriss thought it a fit time to solici [...]e him to commit wickedness with her: When David was idle and solitary alone,2 Sam. 11.2. walking on the top of his House; then was he tempted to lust, and overcome. And who finds not this experimentally true, that they are no sooner idle and alone, but armies of ill thoughts and desires come about them, to offer their Service about one sinful imployment or another? This [Page 101]the Heathen man observed; the like may we. These, or many of these, might be prevented by Christian society,Sc [...]n [...]c. Ep [...]st. 10. and diligence in our Calling.

I know there is a time when to be private and alone; Christianity requires it, and some men's Calling of necessity enforceth it, (as the Student to be in his Study, the Workman in his Shop,Math. 6.6. the Tra­veller by the Way, &c.)B. B. Hall Med. & Vows. lib. 2. med. 60. And it is a great misery (saith one) to be either alwayes or never alone; But in such a case, when we are alone, wandring thoughts would be carefully avoided, and the mind kept and imployed, either about something belonging to Godliness, or at least about the Works of our lawful Callings; and not with Do­mitian the Emperour, to spend the time of our privacy in catching flyes, (for to Suetonius relates of him, that one hour in a day he was wont to sequester himself from Company, and all the while he did nothing but catch flyes, and then kill them with a pen-knife; which caused one, being asked, Who was with the Emperour? to make an­swer scoffingly, There is no body with him, no, not a flye); but Beelzebub, that Master-flye (for so it signifieth, say the Hebrew Wri­ters) will be ever present with such idle and solitary persons, blow­ing upon them with his suggestions and temptations. Let us that professe our selves Christians, be ashamed not to spend our solitary hours better. The Heathen man professed of himself,Cic. Offic. l. 3. That he was never lesse idle, then when he was idle; nor never less alone, then when he was most alone; For when he was at leisure, he thought of his busin [...]s [...]; and when he was alone, he used to talk with himself. So saith that Learned B. B. aforementioned, In greatest Company, I will he alone to my self; in greatest privacy, in company with God. And so the Devil shall take no advantange against us in our Solitariness.

Ninthly and Lastly, Commit thy heart and thoughts to God by earnest prayer; daily beseech him to preserve thee from secret sins (such are thy sinful thoughts), Psal. 19.12. And humbly beseech him, that the meditations of thy heart may be such, as that they may be acceptable in his sight, ver. 13. This doing, rest assured, that thy thoughts shall be established, as is promised, Prov. 16.3. Fol­low these Directions carefully, and conscionably, and doubt not but the success will be blessed and happy.

Use 5 I have yet a word or two more to speak for the comfort of such as truly and sincerely make conscience of the thoughts which they [Page 102]think, as well as of the words which they speak, and actions which they do before men; there is no surer sign of inward sanctity and holiness than it, and thou mayst comfort thy self therewith, though other marks and signs may be wanting: As some, whom I have heard of, have done, who in the hour of temptation that they have been in, when they could not be brought to fasten upon any mark of Salvation that was brought and applyed; This only hath been a stay to their hearts, that they have made conscience of their inward Thoughts and Cogitations, as well as of their outward Conversa­tion: And this (as I have shewed you before) is made the note of an upright heart by Solomon, Prov. 12.5. The Thoughts of the Righteous are right; which is not so to be understood, as if an upright heart were altogether void of Thoughts that are not right and allowable. For sometimes Sathan casteth in matter to turn them out of the right course; sometimes their own Flesh will play its part, and stir up desires of Commodity, and Praise, and Pleasures, and such like in them; but these are as the muddiness that may be for a time in a good Fountain, that is troubled with the tramplings of a Beast, which the Fountain soon works out; these they resist, and judg them­selves for, and God takes no notice of them, forasmuch as the gene­ral bent of their hearts and thoughts is to that which is right and pleasing in his sight. And, I beseech you, mark me in this Point (saith a judicious Divine,Mr. Bolton, His D [...]s­course of true Hap­piness, the 5th. Edit. p. 122. and one that had an excellent dex­terity in comforting afflicting Consciences): for words, actions, and all outwardness of carriage, do not so clearly and impartially distin­guish the power of sanctifiation from the state of formality, as doth the composing and ordering of the thoughts according to the light of God's Word, and holy motions of his sanctifying Spirit.

I know that many of God's dear Children are much troubled in mind, and very much cast down in regard of the Vanity and sinful­ness of their thoughts, which ariseth from that evil concupiscence which remains unmortified in them; so that they cannot be per­swaded their hearts are upright before God, or that they are truly sanctified, their Soul refuseth comfort in that respect, when yet none have more cause to be comforted then they,Psal. 77.2. in regard of the upright­ness of their hearts towards God. But let me use the word of the Evangelical Prophet to you, Esay 51.1. Hearken unto me you that follow after Righteousness, ye that seek the Lord. Stir up your hearts, [Page 103]so many of you as fear the Lord, and are subject to trouble of mind and heaviness of heart, in regard of your distracting thoughts; and admit of a word of comfort.

Object. 1 Thou complainest of thy many worldly and wandring Thoughts, wherewith thy heart is daily pestered, which causeth thee (as thou sayest) to question very much whether thou art in the state of Grace or not; thy Thoughts are not right, How then canst thou conceive that thou art righteous?

Resp. But this I know, That the best man living upon the Earth, shall find cause enough, whilst he is in the state of mortality, to complain in this kind, I believe not (saith one of the Fathers),Non puto illum qui cl [...]us [...]rat coelum o [...]a tio [...], quòd [...]laus [...]r [...] animam à cogitation [...]: & facilius est coe [...]um obs [...]ra [...]e, quàm ani­mam. that He who shut the Heavens by his prayer (meaning Elijah) could shut his heart from all vain and worldly Thoughts, (for he was subject to like passions, saith St. James, as we are, Jam. 5.17.) And hence infers, That it is an easier thing to shut the Heavens, than to keep the heart from wandrings; Our thoughts are generally more evil then good, and more upon worldly then heavenly things, in regard of our corrupt nature, we being more Flesh then Spirit, and the many earthly and wordly Objects presented to o [...]r senses in our ordinary Callings, which do enforce us ordinarily to think of earthly things, more then of heavenly; but it doth not follow from hence, that our hearts are unsanctified, for that the tryal of Sanctification consists not in the multitude of our thoughts, but in the mightiness of our thoughts; not so much in the number of them, as in the entertainment that we give them. The Workman thinks more of his Work and Tools, the Husbandman of his Husbandry, &c. than of their dear Wives and Children; yet, who will say that they affect them better? When they think of Wife or Children, (if they be as they ought to be) they think of them with much more joy and delight then on any thing in this World, their thoughts towards them are very strong and fervent. So though our thoughts, that pass through our hearts of vain and tran­sitory things, be very many, yet our mighty and strong thoughts are upon God and his wayes.

Object. 2 But when I am about holy Duties, then I am troubled most with sinful thoughts; Not a Sermon that I hear, not a Prayer that I make, but I am distracted with the thought of some sin or other.Cogi­tatio­nem matamma­li

Resp. First, Know that all thoughts of sin in praying or hearing, &c. are not sinful: Divines have taught us wisely to distinguish betwixt an evil [Page 104]thought, and the thought of evil; Every thought of evil is not an evil thought. There may be thoughts about evil, which are either in pure speculation, or natural consideration of the thing; or with averseness of affection from the matter thought on. And such thoughts of evil may be inspired in us by the Spirit of God moving us to to consider of Sin, and think of evil forbidden; as alwayes to fear the defilement of it, and to stir us up so abhor and shun it. And such thoughts of evil, are not evil, but good, nor can any be good without it: Beware lest you mistake in this.

Ascenden­tes.Secondly, Such thoughts as are evil would be distinguished of; some arise from that evil concupiscence that is within us; these are Ascending thoughts, such as the corrupt heart of man doth breathe out: Of these, our Saviour speaks, Luke. 24.38. Why do Thoughts arise in your hearts? Nothing that ascendeth out of the corrupt heart can be good, which is as the foaming Sea steeming out, and eva­porating up continually a world of sinful thoughts, [...] and ill-disposed imagination [...]. And others are put into us from without, either from Sathan's immediate suggestions: So Sathan provoked David to number the People,mmissae. 1 Chron. 21.1. and Judas to betray his Ma­ster, Joh. 13.27. Or from Satan's Instruments, as Job 2.9. Matth. 16.22, 23. Now, those thoughts that are from without us, which Sathan doth put into us, or are occasioned from man's solici­tation or provoking of us, or do arise by occasion of some external Object; they may be so resisted, as that they shall not be accoun­ted ours: they do no farther defile us, than we make them ours by assent and consent, as may appear by that Speech of Christ, Matth. 15.18, 19. Nothing defiles a man, but what comes from within; If they be only from without, they defile us not (if by Grace they are repelled by us).

Yet it cannot be denied, that those sinful thoughts which distract us in holy Duties, are (if not altogether yet) for the most part from within our selves, arising from man's corrupt heart, and occasioned by a great neglect in the performance of our Duties: As in want of preparation, before we enter upon the Duty, we bring with in unsanctified and unprepared thoughts to the hearing and reading of the Word, to Prayer, and the like; we set not our selves as in God's presence, not considering how great a God and holy a God we have to deal withall; we receive the Word, as the Word of [Page 105]Man; we pray as to man (it may be, not so reverently, but) car­nally and hypocritically, for vain-glory and by-respects. That is a great wane of attention so what is [...]id, when the Word is preached; few Lydias's are amongst us, whose heart God so opens, that we diligently attend to what is spoken: Great want of Intention and Retention; we give too much liberty to our senses,Act. 16.14. and suffer our Eyes and Ears to wander too much; we are too formal in that we do, regarding formality more then substance: And are very incon­stant in the Duties of God's Worship and Service. Besides a customary and carnal keeping of the Sabbath, may be a great cause that we are molested with sinful thoughts in our Prayers all the week after. These, and such like, may be the reasons why we are so troubled with wandering thoughts in holy performances.

And yet albeit we are so deeply faulty, and must needs charge our selves as guilty: Yet we may not conclude that, because of these, there is no saving Grace in us.

Besides, These evil Thoughts God will sanctify unto us, and cause them to work for our good; God could, if he would, and would, if he had seen fitting, have taken away the swarm of evil thoughts, wandrings, and rovings out of our minds upon out Rege­neration; but he suffers them to fly up and down in our imaginati­ons for our profit. As to humble us under a sight and sense of our sinful and corrupt Nature, which is needfull for us to be often put in mind of, & by nothing better then by the wandring of our Spirits, which shew manifestly of what a Nature we are, and what we would be; For as our Thoughts are, such would we be, were we left alone: So to make us the more watchful over our hearts and to have an eye to the door thereof; Seeing such a multitude of vagrants hanker about the House, which we may conclude upon, come for no good. It causeth us to renue our interest every day in Christ's Righteousness and Obedience. There is nothing that moveth a godly man to do this, more then those sinful stirrings of his Soul which he finds daily in him, intising and drawing away his heart from God (saith a holy man).Dr. Sibbs, His Souls Conflict. p. 273. And it is a means so cause us to long the more after our dissolution, that we may be rid of this Body of Sin; it maketh them to pant and breathe after a full and perfect deliverance from the corruption of Nature, and from those spiritual evils they find in themselves, as did the Apostle, Rom. 7.24. [Page 106]Thus God leaves these vain and wandring motions, these sin­ful Lusts in u [...],Aug. de bayt. Parn. c. 39. as he left the Canaanites in the Land (saith Augustine), to teach and exercise his People withall, which (if they grew care­less) should be as pricks and goads in their sides, and thorns in their Eyes; and that they should not think they were come yet to their final rest, but should still look for a better. If we make this good use of them, we need not doubt, but although they be evil in them­selves, yet they are sanctified unto us: For as good motions rejected, become thereby unsanctified unto us; so evil Thoughts repelled and resisted, may be sanctified, and occasion much good unto us through God's good Grace. Let not any godly Soul then be too much per­plexed, for that they are not wholly rid of them; It is humane to have them, devilish only not to resist them but to be overcome of them, by assent, consent, and liking. It is half the conquest to bear them as a burthen,Gregory. and that through God's assistance; Sathan, and our own concupiscence, are not able to bring sin farther then to the Thought, and not into Act, which is that they principally aim at. Let me demand of thee, and let me have a true answer from thy Conscience.

First, Are not these thy wanderings of thy Spirit grievous unto thee, and burthensome; dost thou not go under them, as under a heavy load, which thou wouldst give a world, were it in thy power, to be rid of?

Secondly, And do they not cause thee to draw near to the Throne of Grace, and put up many a suit to God humbly in the Name of Christ, that thou mayst be rid of them, and they whipped out of the Temple of thy Soul, that it may not become a den of Theeves?

Thirdly, Dost thou not in obedience to God's Will, still main­tain the combate betwixt the Flesh and Spirit, and fightest lawfully; and albeit thou receivest many a foil, yet thou are careful presently to ralley thy scattered forces again and again, and wilt not give over thy attendance upon God's Ordinances, but puttest on firmer Reso­lutions to be more watchful?

Fourthly, Doth not this cause thee to cast away all confidence in thy self, in respect of the work done; confessing ingenuously, that when thou hast done all that thou canst do, thou art but an unprofita­ble Servant, Luke 17.10?

Fifthly, And dost not thou learn from hence, more and more to [Page 107]live the Life of Faith in the Son of God, trusting and relying only on his Obedience for Life and Salvation? Bless God, that thy Conscience can give a comfortable answer in some measure to these Interrogatories, and chear up thy drooping Soul; let not thy im­perfect Obedience dishearten thee: For God will accept of us according to that which we have, and not according to that which we have not.

Object. 3 But, say our Thoughts be of a higher Nature; Alas may some poor and perplexed Spirit say, I am buffetted many times with horrid and blasphemous Thoughts; Such as call, God's Beeing, his Truth, his Power and Providence into question; with Thoughts unnatural and inhumane; and can such Thoughts as these ever creep into the heart of a Child of God?

Resp. And why not? who can keep Sathan from tempting (God per­mitting) to the vilest sins that ever was committed? And in that they are so horrid, the more likely are they to be Sathans, and that he did put them into you, and so not your own. Indeed it is some­what hard and difficult to put an exact difference betwixt Sathans suggestions, and those that arise from our own corrupt Nature, and somewhat curious to enquire. That there is a difference, I know,Bern. Cant. Ser. 32. Capel on Tempt. saith one, but where the indivisible point of that difference doth stand, I know not: Indeed we shall find, that ordinarily they are so mixed, that the same sinful thoughts are ascribed both to Sathan and to Man. It is said (as was noted before), That Sathan moved David to number the People, 1 Chron. 21.1. And yet afterwards David confessed it to be his sin, that he numbred them, ver. 8. So Acts 5.3. Peter tells Ananias, That Sathan had filled his heart to lye to the Holy Ghost; and yet, ver. 4. he saith, Thou hast lyed not to Man, but to God. Sathan begets, but it is the Heart that conceiveth and brings forth: Notwithstanding the suggestions of Satan may at some times be distinguished from those of our own Hearts, by these apparant Differences.

First, For matter; Sathan's suggestions are oftentimes so outra­giously wicked, that even Nature it self (though corrupted) doth abhorr them, when they are first suggested to the mind. No Temp­tation doth arise from the Flesh, but the Devil interposeth himself, and speaks his good word for them. And though commonly the Flesh, to re-gratifie the Devil, sets forward his Temptation; yet it [Page 108]may sometimes so fall out, that the Devil tempts alone, and that so grosly (saith a godly Divine), that the very Flesh is a shamed of them; those that come from the Flesh, are more sutable to Nature, and more delightful and pleasing to it.

Secondly, For the manner of their injection; Sathans suggesti­ons are sudden, like a flash of Lightening, and with such unavoydable violence, as that they cannot by any wit or strength of the party be prevented, But those that come from our sinful and corrupt Nature, are more deliberate; it doth rather lead and entise, than enforce unto sin, Jam. 1.14. His temptations are sometimes so subtil and strange, that, before the instant that they are suggested, we never thought of such a thing; nor was it possible that they should be the thoughts of a simple ignorant man, but the apparant suggestions of the old Serpent. But the Flesh takes occasion of things present, and subject to the senses, to intise us unto evil.

Thirdly, For the Effect: A man's thoughts being natural, work no extraordinary perturbation of mind; But Satan's suggestions be­ing blasphemous, strikes the heart with horror: the Understanding is astonished, the Heart quaketh, &c. unless by long custom, and continual sinning,Dearnad. the heart is become Diabolical. And these are the chief differences that Divines give between those sinful thoughts that are the immediate suggestions of Satan, and those that arise from our own hearts: Otherwise they are so like the one to the other, that they can hardly be discerned. But if in case such hor­rid thoughts arising in your hearts, be such, as that not so much as the Affections do incline unto them; but on the contrary, thou dost wholly abhor them in the very first arising thereof; you may con­clude them to be rather the suggestions of Sathan, then from your own concupiscence. And that they shall be put on his Score, and not on yours; nor shall they ever be imputed unto us, for that they leave no guilt upon us.

And put case, that these horrid and blasphemous Thoughts are ours, either because they arise from our own sinful concupiscence, or for that we give too much way unto them when they do arise: yet there is no cause for thee to infer from thence, that thou art not therefore the Child of God, or that God loves thee not, in that he thus suffers thee to be tempted.

First, For that there are no kind of Temptations more commonly [Page 109]incident to God's Children, especially being afflicted in mind, than these. So ordinarily doth Sathan sight with this Weapon, that he durst assault the Son of God with it, Matth. 4.9. and yet he was the unspotted Lamb of God, in whom was no manner of Sin, no, not so much as the least degree of carnal Concupiscence; Can we wonder then, if any of the members of his Body-mystical be thus assaulted? With this consideration St. Paul stayes the hearts of the godly Corinthtans, lest they should be too much dejected under Sa­than's Temptations; There hath no Temptation taken you, but such as are common to man, 1 Cor. 10.13. that is, to a Christian man whilst he is in the state of mortality: It so appertains to him (saith a learned Doctor) as the Soul it self, Dr. Donne. p. 789. and as Reason appertains to a natu­ral man. He is not a man, that is without a reasonable Soul; he is not a Christian, that is without Temptation. It appertains unto man, so, as that it is convenient; more then so, as that it is expe­dient; more then that, that it is necessary; more then all that, that it is essential to a Christian. Indeed, every Christian is not assaul­ted with such horrid and blasphemous Thoughts, as some others are; but none are wholly freed from all Satanical Temptations; nor can any man assure himself that he shall be exempted from Temptations of that Nature, seeing they appertain to man; to one as well as to another.

Secondly, Albeit God in his wisdom may permit Sathan to buf­fet thee with these hellish Temptations; yet he keeps the hook in his Nostrils, and wills nothing to his Children, but what he over­rules to their good; sometimes Pride is hereby prevented: Thus St. Paul was buffeted, lest he should be exalted above measure, through the abundance of Revelations, 2 Cor. 12.7. And some­times we are awaked thereby out of our deep sleep of Sin, and stir­red up to renue our Repentance for some Sin, that as yet we have not been throughly humbled for. Sometimes God suffers it for the tryal and exercise of our Graces, Jam. 1.3. And sometimes that his Grace may appear in our weakness, supporting and upholding of us, 2 Cor. 12.9. But whatever the Reasons are, God hath pro­mised to turn all to the good of his; And therein we may comfor­tably rest assured, that albeit it be not God's good pleasure wholly to free us from them; yet they shall tend to our profit, and that he will give a good issue out of them in the end, 1 Cor. 10.13.

Thirdly, The Comfort of a Christian lyes in his resisting of Temptation: It is not a Sin simply to be tempted, if we do not yield to the Temptation, but resist it with all our Power, we are safe enough. The chastest Matron in the World may be assaulted, (as Joseph was by a great Lady), yet she is never a whit the worse for that, if she assent not, but the better to be thought of: Ill Counsel is the fault of the Giver, not of the Receiver. We read in the Law of Moses, Deut. 22.26. that if a Virgin were ravished in the field, and that she cryed out for help when she was assailed, and that none came in to her rescue, in such a Case it should not be rec­koned as her Sin; for, as when a man riseth up against his Neigh­bour and slayeth him, even so is this matter. So, if the Devil com­mit a Rape upon thy Soul, and thou cryest out so God, and spread­est thy blasphemous Suggestions before him, as Hezekiah did the Letter of railing Rabshekah, Isa. 37.14. If thou humbly and sin­cerely protestest thine own Innocency in his sight, thou art a hap­py man, and in the Case of God's blessed Children. The greater thy Temptations are, the more noble shall thy resiastnce be account­ed, the more exemplary thy Life and Vertues, the greater in the end shall be thy Crown and Glory.

Object. 4 But before my Conversion and Profession of a holy Life, I never found the Devil so busy with me, I was never troubled with such hellish and horrid Thoughts; this causeth me to fear that my Con­version is unfound, &c.

Answ. And why so? Do you not know, that whilest the strong man keeps the House, all things are in peace and quietness, Luke 10.21. No Prince will make War against his own Subjects: What Birds doth the Fowler shoot at, tame or wild? Whom doth the Dog bark at, the Stranger or Home-Dweller? Ephraim is joyned to Idols (said God in Justice, Hos. 4.17.) let him alone: So saith Satan in ma­lice, they are joyned, united, incorporated to Sin, let them alone; and as the Spouse gave Charge concerning her beloved,Cant 2.7. Waken him not untill he please. Such is Satan's Command to his officious Spi­rits concerning sleepy and secure Sinners, I charge you waken them not by any Temptation, affright them not therewith, but let them sleep on till they sleep their last. Whilest Satan and you were Friends, he was well content that you should go on in your formal Profession without disturbance; meddle not with Repentance, and [Page 111]he will not meddle with you so as to disquiet you: But if you fall out with him, and complain of his Service, and cry out, a new Master a new, then be sure to meet with Temptation upon Temptation. The Lyon foams and roars, and be stirs himself that he may keep his prey, or recover his loss again.

Object. 5 But I am troubled (may some say) with fearfull Thoughts, not onely waking but sleeping; When I think my Bed shall comfort me, then am I scared with fearful Dreams and Visi­ons.

Answ. And was not this Job's Case, who notwithstanding was as just & holy a man as lived upon the Earth, Job 7.13, 14.

We shall do well to distinguish of Dreams: Some are Natural, others Supernatural. The Natural arise from Complexion or from Affection: From Complexion or Constitution, as from Chol­ler, Blood, Flegm, and Melancholy: The Sanguine hath merry Dreams; the Melancholy, sorrowful; the Chollerick, Dreams of sire; the Flegmatick, of Floods and Rain, and such watery, Ob­jects. And as these Elemental Humours do abound in a Man, Dreams have a stronger Force, and more violent Perturbati­on.

From Affection; What a man most thinks of in the day with de­sire and delight, that he soonest dreams of in the Night. A Dream comes through Multitude of business, saith Solomon, Eccles. 5.3.

Somnia ne cures, nam mens hu­mana quod optat, &c. Sanderf. 6. Serm. ad Pop. p. 493.Though Dreams of this Nature are not much to be regarded, yet they are not altogether to be neglected: There is Use to be made of them, both in Physick, as to discern our Temperatures and natu­ral Constitution in time of Health; and in time of Sickness some reasonable Conjecture may be taken thence, concerning the Ranck­ness and Tyranny of that Humour from which the Malady spring­eth: And in Divinity too, good Use may be made of them in fin­ding out our beloved Sin: Our Dreams (for the most part) look the same way, which our freest Thoughts encline. The voluptuous dreameth of his Pleasures; the covetous, of his Profit; the ambi­tious, of high Place and Preferment; and so thereby we may make some kind of Discovery, whether the Lust of the Flesh, or the LustB.B. Hall Med. of the Eyes, or Pride of Life, be the Master-Sin in us. And thus, by thy Thoughts in the Night thou mayest learn to know somewhat of [...]

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. Searching, reading, printing, or downloading EEBO-TCP texts is reserved for the authorized users of these project partner institutions. Permission must be granted for subsequent distribution, in print or electronically, of this EEBO-TCP Phase II text, in whole or in part.