THREE SERMONS preached before the Justices of Assize, at Bury-St.-Edmunds in the Countie of Suffolk: With sacred Hymns upon the Gospels for the Hyemal quarter.


CAMBRIDGE: Printed by Iohn Field, printer to the Universitie.

Anno Dom. 1661.

Academiae Cantabrigiensis Liber

¶ To the right Honourable FREDERICK Lord Cornwallis, Baron of Eye, Treasurer of his Majesties Houshold, and one of the most Honourable Privy Council.

My Noble Lord;

THe presumption of prefixing your Name to this piece, were unpar­donable, were it not unlawfull for me to appear abroad without your liverie, since I have had the honour to serve you in the Service of God, and to wait upon you to the Throne of Grace. The importu­nate desires of my obliging friends, hath made it thus publick. 'Tis weak and ten­der-eyed, and cannot well endure the sun: But your acceptance will create a worth. [Page] We have seen and known an evil time, wherein the prudent kept silence, Amos 5. 13. An evil time indeed, wherein there was never more preaching, and ne­ver fewer sermons: For I cannot call il­literate seditious discourses by so honourable a name. It adds a lustre now, to your Lordships loyaltie and vertue, that you were then content to be under a cloud, when the sun it self could not break out. And blessed be God, that we had then a cloud for a covering. Blessed be God who gave such a shelter to our Moses and Aarons, at the Tabernacle of the Congrega­tion, when the factious multitude were destroyed. Surely, the Glory of the Lord never more appeared, then in such an over­shadowing. That cloud is now re­moved, and divides us from our enemies. It gives light to us, but to them a thick darkness. It is an earnest of the reesta­blishment of our decayed Church, that he gave us still a nail in the Temple, and [Page] suffered a remnant to escape. If the Lord would kill us, he would not have received a sacrifice.

My Lord, The Levitical law com­manded that the snuffers of the Sanctuary should be made of pure gold. There was never more need of snuffers: So many Thieves are gotten into the wike of the Churches Tapers, that they are well-near wasted; and the snuffers which should cleanse them, are so foul and bedrozzled, that they have rather extinguished their light, then cleared them. Some were made of gold indeed, but they were laid aside, and through disuse grown rusty. The temple-gates at Jerusalem were shut up, and it was inconsistent with the religion of many, to go up to worship at Dan and Bethel. If a desuetude of eighteen years have made this piece rough and unpolisht (although I could never pretend to the smoothness of Art;) I hope it will finde an easie pardon from your Lordship; who [Page] know experimentally, that sighs and tears had in them the most perswasive Rhetorick, even then when our mouthes were stopped. God preserve you to enjoy that honour, for which you were reser­ved. So prays, my Lord,

Your Honours most humble servant, and devoted Chaplain, Tho. Stephens.


Preached at the Assizes at St. Edmunds Bury, September 10. 1660.

At the request of Iohn Wyard Esq. then High-Sheriff of the County of Suffolk.


CAMBRIDGE: Printed by Iohn Field, Printer to the Universitie. 1661.

ISAIAH. 33. 1.‘Wo to thee that spoilest, and thou wast not spoiled; and dealest treacherously, and they dealt not treacherously with thee: When thou shalt cease to spoil thou shalt be spoiled; andwhen thou shalt make an end to deal treacherously, they shall deal treacherously with thee.’

A Wo in the first word makes us willing to shift off the sin which brings that venge­ance. What! Theives a­mongst our selves? God forbid. Out of the Camp of the Philistines, from the uncircumcised may come up spoilers perhaps, 1 Sam. 13. 17. and let them tremble, (as ver. 15. of the next chap.) tremble with a great trem­bling, on God's name, they deserve it. But far be it from us to deal treacherously: We are true Israelites, in whom there is no guile: if we bor­row from the Egyptians golden earings or brace­lets (although with a purpose never to repay them) it is at the worst but fraus pia, a warant­ed cheat, approved of by God: For that's the Devil's doctrine in opposition to St. Paul: to do evil to those which are enemies to the Holy Cause, [Page 2] and to rob and spoil them forget not, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased: Thus after prosti­tuting our conscience to injustice and rapine, we are ready with Solomons adulterous woman, to wipe our mouth, and say we have done no wicked­ness, Prov. 13. 20.

It is needless, I presume, to tell you why Isaiah was called the Evangelical Prophet; who through all his prophesies hath like another St. Iohn prepared the way of the Lord, and made a straight path to advance his Kingdome: So that although first, and more immediately his writings were directed to the Iews, yet mediately they were to be diffused so far as God diffused his Church, and all were concerned in them, who hoped to have a Nail within the Temple. Dagon must be smitten down, wheresoever the Ark of God was to come: and these hucksters which deal treacherously, and mony-changers which spoil and oppress, must be whipt out, that the King of Glory may enter in. So that although the Iews (which did too much delight in injury and oppression) were the first sharers in this wo; yet all nations, that must expect the Lord, their judge, the Lord their Lawgiver, and the Lord their King (as in the 22, v. of this Chap.) must look for this distributive part of his justice and righteous­ness:] And it is not onely at this day literally ve­rified, in your Man-eating Cannibals, where he that breakfasts upon his brother in the morning, is [Page 3] made afeast at supper for another: and your [...] amongst men, your irrational heathen, (as I may call them) whose capacity of Morall principles can onely from hence be prov'd, because they are born with natural concupiscence to circumvent and plunder one another: But amongst your more civilized Mahumetans too, whose law pre­tends much to the golden rule of Equity of do­ing to another as they would be done unto them­selves; and finde it indeed verified in a sence which they least desire, whilst the Officers of the State are made the spunges of the Grandseignior, who suck up the moisture of the people, till they be full and swoln, and fitto be sqeezed themselves. As for us Christians, we have a law by which we must be judged; Nay, we have a double law: as well the tenth Commandment, which restrains us from thinking perversly, or coveteousness in the heart, as the eight which forbids us to do pervers­ly, or to spoil with the hand. Yet, God knows, we have liv'd to see iniquity established by ano­ther law, or at least that which hath pretended to it, if the Oratours rule be true, that [...] is [...], that the sin of the ruler is a rule for the sinner; we have then a patent, a protection, for it; Iús (que) datum sceleri; a law of the members (we may call it) rebelling against the law of the minde: By which law, religion hath been valued by the gain that hath been gotten by it, and the greatest honour hath been [Page 4] adjusted to that Saint, that hathboundthe Kings of the earth in the strongest chains; and the Nobles in the heaviest fetters of iron, Psal, 129. ver. 8. and they in the Devils Calendar have been printed with the reddest letters, who were deepest dyed in blood. Since then we have con­tracted part of the guilt, we must expect a share in the vengeance: Non diligenti tela vibrentur manu: God's thunderbolts cannot fall amiss: the Thee in the text, though it seems personal, yet it is indefinite: Every one concerned may expect Nathans particular application, Thou art the man; Wo to thee that spoilest and thou wast not spoiled, &c.

The words present us with mans sin, and God's judgement; Mans unjust persecution, and God's just retribution: They spoil others, there's the sin; They are spoiled of others: there's the vengeance. They deal perversly; there's the fault. They are dealt perversly with, there's their pu­nishment. And all this time the judgement runs parallel to the offence: But now they differ; gra­tis deliquerunt, ingratiis delicta luent: they sin'd causlesly, they spoiled others when they were not spoiled: but there is too great cause for the punishment, They shall be spoiled them­selves because they spoiled others. Nay, they differ in the end, in the event too. God will have the last blow: God can put a hook in their nose, and a bridle in their lips, and turn them back by the [Page 5] way by which they came, Isa. 35. 29. Desinent male­dicere maledicta ut noscant: They shall cease to spoil, and make an end of dealing treacherouslly: But when they can no longer [...] do mis­chief, they shall begin [...], God will reckon with them for the mischief they have done. They shall then be spoiled: they shall then be dealt treacherously withall. The sin will be the better conceived if you consider, first, the names that it is clothed withall; it is called spoiling, and deal­ing treacherously. Secondly, the malitiousness that accompanies it, in that it was acted without any provocation, it was against them that spoil­ed not, that dealt not treacherously. The judgement likewise hath two circumstances to agravate it. First, the unexpectedness of it, vengeance wakes when they sleep secure, they shall cease when God arises to judgement. Secondly, the certainty of it they shall be spoiled, they shall be dealt per­versly withall. Vengeance is mine, I will repay it saith the Lord, Rom. 12. 19. These are the parts of which I desire you to take a summary view; and first of the first: Wo to thee that spoilest.

The first term that clothes their sin is that of spoiling; which is all one with plundering: a word (God help us) of which we know the meaning too well. A thing that our English laws never dream'd of: for who could imagine that the sword of oppression and the sword of authority should ever be fitted to one scabbard? [Page 6] that the Magistrate that beareth not the sword in vain, hath either vainly worn the sword, which he durst not draw; or drawn it to be a terror to good works and not to evil? whilst loyalty onely made up a traitor; and the sincere practise of the establish'd religion, hath been onely branded for superstition, and prophaneness: Which watch-word once given, there's work enough for the spoiler then. The report of an Idol in Micah's house, (though raised on purpose by a poor hireling Levite,) is cause enough for the Danites to fall upon him, and to rifle his house and to plunder him of his whole estate. This makes our Prophet. Chap. 21. 2. call it a grievous vision, when the treacherous dealer dealeth treacher­ously, and the spoiler spoileth: And how grievous this is, may best be discovered from the three companions of it, Violence, Injury, and Rapine.

First Violence seems to be a Sister twin, 'tis so often coupled with spoil in the holy Scripture: as God cries out to the Tyrannical usurpers over Israel, Ezech, 45. 9. remove violence and spoil, and take away your exactions from my people. For violence indeed is nothing else, but armed force that dares to act whatsoe­ver it lists to fancy; and so properly belongs to those men in buff which are rib'd with iron. For we can too well remember, when the name of a Souldier was grown so terrible, that the news of a redcoat at the door, was enough to fright a man [Page 7] out of his house and estate too. The Satyrist wit­tily admires how one eye durst weep for the loss of another if a Souldier beat it out. A Souldier I say, who must onely be call'd to account before his Bardiacus judex, before a Court Mar­shall for all his insolencies. Hereupon our Savi­our gives this counsel, Luk. 3. 14. to the Souldi­ers that ask'd of him what their duty was, Do no violence says he, and accuse no man falsely, but be content with your wages. An unusual piece of re­ligion this, for Souldiers to go to Christ for a word of Command, and as great boldness in him to bid them do no violence. Who dares call pro­sperous treason by any other name but vertue? who dares call Marshal violence by any thing but valour and courage? But these were Souldiers in Christ's School; they must do no violence. Annonâ suâ contenti sint, non de lachrymis provincialium vivant, says Vopiscus: Let them not oppress their quarters, and drink up the tears of the fatherless and the widow whom they plunder: should a poor woman of Zarephath meet such an one, as she did Elijah 1 King. and 17. it is not a morsel of bread would serve his turn; no, let her bake him a cake of her handfull of meal and cruse of oyl, though she and her son have nothing to eat, but die. And this makes Ieremy threaten the people with Spoilers that come from the North, Ier. 51. 43. we all have felt those North-winds which have swept away all before them. But as [Page 8] after a storm, many times a gentler blast from the same climate, breaks the clouds and fans the air. God hath now brought good out of the North: he hath shewen a serene skie, and Charle's-wain most radiant there; the drums beat a Loyal march, and the noise of the trumpets, do no longer drown the law, but sound a triumph (as upon mount Sinai) this day at the promulga­tion of it. So that violence alone is not spoiling: there may be a good violence: heaven must be taken by violence; but violence mixt with injury; and that's the Second.

And thus the vulgar reads it, vae tibi qui prae­daris, wo to thee who makest a prey of others: a proper Metaphor, fetch'd from those Beasts of prey, which leave nothing unworried which they can master: Not a fearfull Hare, nor an innocent Lamb, which can escape their ravenous appe­tites. That fore-quoted place (Luk. 3. 14. ac­cuse no man falsely) hath more in it, in the Ori­ginal: [...], come not with your blan­dishments or flattering insinuations, to prepos­sess the Iudges ears; The Scholiast says, the word came from the practise of presenting a bas­ket of figs to the [...] the gift-devour­ing Iudges, as Hesiod calls them: and a Magi­strate thus prejudging a person to be criminal, leaves him fit to be spoiled: Hence St. Barnard says, the false unjust accuser carries the Devil in his tongue, the receiver in his car: No such [Page 9] sure way to rob Naboth of his Vineyard, as for false witnesses to accuse him, that he hath blas­phemed God and the King. Blasphemed God! O impious wretch! away with him; such a man is not fit to live upon the earth: Cursed be he that doth the work of the Lord negligently. And the King! that's treason; if thou let this man go thou art not Cesars friend: Hereupon Luther makes the slanderer the greatest offen­der against the second Table; for whereas the thief sends one soul to the Devil, and the adul­terer two, he is ter homicida, at one thrust he stabs three; himself, the party to whom, the party of whom he tells the tale: But this inju­ry of the tongue is nothing comparable to that of the hand, if it did not make way for it. For thus have we found by too sad experience, that once voyce a man to be a Malignant, the Courts of justice have been obstructed against him, and the benefit of the law denied him, he is ex­posed to Kites and Vultures he is fleec'd to the very bones: and thus the second brings in the third; Injury makes way for Rapine:

And now I do heartily wish, that the Harpy's were onely a Poetical brood which built their nests in the Poets fictions. Tristius haud illis mon­strum—should I give you the description of them from the Poets, you would believe you had seen their walking pictures: They are fancied to be Virgins in that they are barren, because [Page 10] goods so gotten descend seldome to posterity, when they cease to spoil they shall be spoiled says the text: they have wings to fly, and that swift in extorting, witness those prodigious sums raised in one Harpie's time, more then in all the reigns of the Kings from the Conquest to his days: they are covered with plumes for cloaking of their prey: they have the talons of Vultures from gri­ping and fast holding of their ill got riches. And hath not our age seen some of these think you? what think ye of Solomons sinners? Prov. I. II. which say, come, let us lay wait for blood: let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause, Let us swallow them up alive as the grave, and whole (root and branch) as those that go down into the pit; we shall finde all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil. Have you seen none of these? What think you of Elijah's spoilers? 1 Kin. 21. who have killed, and also taken possessi­on, have you seen none of these? What think you of Iacob's sons? Gen. 34. which spoil the whole city of the Shechemites upon a pretence of introducing religion there: have you seen none of these? What think you of Ieremie's spoilers? Jer. 12. 1 [...]. which are come upon all the high places; they have defiled the Sanctuary of God, and broken down the carved work thereof with axes and hammers: nay (pardon great God the irreverence) they have used the Temple as Iehu did the house of Baal, and made a draught [Page 11] house of it unto this day. Have ye seen none of these? in a word, what think ye of our Savi­ours spoilers? Mat. 23. 14. Scribes and Phari­sces hypocrites, who under a pretence of long prayers devour whole widows houses: who from Pharisees turn Publicans, and instead of tithing Mint or Rue, decimate or sequester whole estates: which makes that of Zeno most true [...]. All Publicans are rapacious. And if the Law Books say true, that the word Fellon comes from fell or cruel, we may conclude them the greatest Fellons of all, for they have been the fiercest spoilers of all others: And now you would think here were matter enough for an Endictment against them, but this is but the first branch of it, that they are spoilers; there is another yet behind, they are treacherous dealers.

We have seen them hitherto as raging Lions, behold them now as subtle Dragons watching for their prey: And this likewise in a threefold respect. First, in their pretending false fears, and punishing others for them: Secondly, in their fomenting real dangers, and imputing them to others. Thirdly, in their assigning others for causes of that which they know arises from another hand. For the first of these, I know it is a judgement upon Tyranny, that it is never se­cure from jealousies and suspicions. the wicked feareth where no fear is, Psal 14. 5. . Nero su­spects [Page 12] his own shadow for harbouring his mothers Ghost: yet oftentimes it happens, that great dangers are pretended, that the blame may fall on them who are mark'd out for sacrifice: Thus Richard (our third shall I say? or) our first u­surper imputes his natural mishapen withered arm, to the sorcery of such as he had devoted to execution. Iehu knew himself to be established King over Israel, he was proclaimed by the Soul­diers, acknowledged by the people: he had slain Ioram, his lawfull Soveraign: he had by a cun­ning hypocrisie cheated the people into a great opinion of his zeal: yet by a fine reach of policy a letter must be sent to Samaria to perswade the Elders of Israel to set up the best of their Masters Sons upon his Throne, and fight for him, 2 King▪ 10. 3. he knew he had the City already at his devotion by the terror he had cast upon them▪ But by this means he obtained a noble present▪ the heads of Ahabs seventy sons were sent in bas­kets to him. Thus the Lapwing flutters most, and cries the lowdest to cheat the traveller when she is farthest from indangering her nest. Potiphars wife had too great trial of Iosephs honesty, yet he must be accused as an Hebrew brought in to mock her: And thus Daniel, faithfull, religious loyal Daniel, upon a pretence of disobeying the Kings decree, must be thrown into the Lion den. But secondly, they sometimes contrive▪ and foment real plots and dangers to punish o­thers [Page 13] for them: Thus that monster of man­kinde Nero sets the City of Rome on fire, whilst he sits in his Tower, and makes musick to the dancing flames, singing there his [...], whilst many thousand Christians are condemned to tortures for being the Incendiaries: And this was a good mans, even Iosephs policy too, who secretly conveys the price of the corn and his own divining cup withall, into his brethrens sacks mouths, that he might have the juster pretence to secure their persons for spies of the land: And this made David so often, and so fervently pray for the clearing up of his inte­grity; not that he suspected the integrity of his own heart, for he was a man after Gods heart, and so could not deal treacherously: but Saul had suggested false insinuations of him. He had laid to his charge things that he knew not; they devised deceitfull matters against him that was quiet in the Land. I am loath to preach Matchiavil in the pulpit: It is truly said of the old Satyrists, that they whipp'd the vices of the times so naked, that they made sport to lascivious eyes to be­hold them. I should be loth in the unmasking the designs of Tyrants, to set a copy to any, al­though of an inferior rank, to write by: Yet it is too well known that nothing so much advances the purposes of usurpers, as plots ingeniously contrived by themselves, and as fortunately dis­covered when their counsels are ripened for [Page 14] them. For by this means they raise the reputa­tion of their own sagacity and waking diligence, and evermore weaken the power of the adverse party, some of which must fall victims to their wit and industry. But how prosperous soever such counsels are for a time, Christianity war­rants us not for such dark-lanthorn Strata­gems.

But the third and last fallacy of these treache­rous dealers is their non causa pro causâ, the as­signing the cause of their mischiefs to them who are most unconcern'd and innocent. If a Lamb be drinking at a stream though much below the Wolf, it is occasion enough to worry him, and to pretend that he hath roil'd the waters. When Ahab's cruelty, and Iezabels sorcery had begot a famine in the fruitfull Land of Canaan, and that Countrey felt an ebb, which before had flow­ed with milk and honey, the blood of the Lords prophets which were slain is quite forgotten, and the abominations of the Zidonians, Baals Idola­try, not reflected on; but the blame of all must rest upon Elijah, that its he that troubles Israel. Herodotus tells us of a foolish people of Mauri­tania which yearly go out to curse the Sun, with a great solemnity, because he tanns their naked bodies: Thus when jealousies and fears have laid us naked to all the mischiefs of base suspicion: when ingratitude and rebellion have stain'd our souls as black as the sins, the furies [Page 15] that harbour in them; we have gone out to curse the Sun, and make the blessed influence of his heat and light the cause of all our grievances. But there is no Nation (except our own) hath given more pregnant instances of this then the Israelites, whose ingratitude this way made the very quails their meat, stink between their teeth, and named the waters they drank of, bitterness, from their murmuring. Sometimes Corah and his seditious Elders shall quarrel at Aarons the High Priest's preheminence, upon a pretence of holiness; they are as good as he, why lifts he up himself above the people of the Lord? And if Moses the civil Magistrate steps in to his rescue, there is Tyranny straight clapt in his teeth; He goes about to make himself a Lord over them. Straight after this, two hundred and fifty assembly­men, shall dare challenge a share in holy admini­strations, and offer incense on their unhallowed censers: And when God shall make a miracu­lous discrimination between h [...]s anointed and those that rebel against them; by not suffering them to dy, who did not deserve to live; but opening the mouth of the earth, he shall let some of them down quick to hell, whilst he rains down Hell from Heaven, consuming fire upon the rest, the very next day Moses and Aaron shall be challenged for it that they have mur­thered the people of the Lord: even that very people, that perished in their rebellion: This be­gets [Page 16] a new plague; when these whom they ac­cuse for their murtherers must be their deliver­ers again, for there is wrath gone out against them from the Lord; whilst a cloud covers Moses and Aaron at the Tabernacle of the Congregation. Yet in the very next story, they are no sooner pinch'd with a little drought, but they fall a chi­ding their governours again as the cause of all, 'tis they have brought them up to perish in the wilder­ness: But what says Moses? Hearken, O ye Re­bels! why murmure ye against the Lord? ye are gathered together against the Lord, and what are we that you murmure against us? And have not our eyes, beloved, seen all this acted? Hath not the preheminency of our Aarons been questioned by a pretended godly party? Hath not our Moses been accused of Tyranny, because he stood up to vindicate them? Nay hath not our Moses been arraigned for murthering of them that perished in their rebellion? Hath not every unsuccessfull adventure, every dear year, every deluge or drought, been imputed to him and his party? Hath there been any thunder or rain in wheat-harvest, which hath not been charged upon that great wickedness of asking a King? But hearken Oh ye rebels! 'tis Gods Ordinances you despise, in trampling upon Aaron: Hearken Oh ye rebels! 'tis Gods Soveraignity you refuse, in resisting Moses: Hearken Oh ye rebels! 'tis God himself whom you arraign, in challenging [Page 17] his Magistrate with the blood of them that pe­rished in their rebellion: Thus have they com­mitted falshood, the thief cometh in, and the troop of robbers spoileth without, Hos. 7. 1. and they have dealt treacherously against the Lord: And this is the second aggravation of their sin; they deal treacherously.

The last and chiefest remains: this sin was acted without any just provocation: They spoiled when they were not spoiled, they dealt treacherously when they were not dealt treacherously withall, without any just provocation, I say: For against unreasonable fears and jealousies, there can be no security. Historians tell us of the time when the Romanes might not whisper together in the streets, least their breath should be accused to be rebellious: I am sure we have known when our very prayers have been suspected of sin. When Hannahs prayers were muttered in the Temple, Eli supposed she had been drunken: But alas the Temple hath been shut up against us and our worship, as it was in Ieroboam's days; and if we met in private, to whisper our devotions, some Sanballats and Geshams would be ready to inform, that we met together to rebell. Thus have they devised deceitful matters against them that were quiet in the land: And quiet they are upon a double account, First they cannot. Secondly they will not retaliate injuries.

First, I say they cannot: For what teeth and [Page 18] claws hath a Lamb to encounter with a Wolf? What beak or talons hath a Dove to grapple with a Vulture? God does many times disarm his people of all outward help, and leave them onely the spiritual weapons of prayers and tears to encounter with their enemies: and this is to make trial what these dare do, and what those can suffer? Sad was it with Israel in the days of Saul, they had neither sword nor spear amongst them, nor yet a Smith to make them any 1 Sam. 13. they were forced to set their weapons on the grindlestones of the Philistines: And this was their case before, in the days of Deborah; not a shield nor a spear seen among forty thousand: I finde Peter indeed at one time drawing his sword in his Masters quarrel, Mat. 26. 52. but instead of a Souldiers pay, he meets with a sharp re­proof: Put up thy sword into its sheath, for they that draw the sword shall perish with the sword: not that it is unlawful to defend our selves; or to take up arms, under the command of a just authority: For our Saviours command, Mat. 5. 39. (Resist not evil) bids us not open our doors to plunderers, or expose our lives or estates to treacherous dealers: the word [...] (as our learned Paraphraser observes) is all one with [...] which signifies to wage war and fly to arms: so that to secure our selves we must not make a violent resistance: Patience at present, and depending on Gods providence for the future [Page 19] does much better become a Christian: which St. Iames his just man makes good in pra­ctise, Iam. 5. 6. they did [...] condemn him, there's treacherous dealing: and [...] kill him, there's spoiling: But he [...] he sets not himself in battle aray against them, non laesi vicem refert, says Tertullian he spoils not a­gain. I finde indeed a young Levite of Bethlem Iuda among the children of Dan appointed with their weapons of war, and plundering his master Micah, Iudg. 18. But withall you will finde he was but an hireling, and a Priest of Micha's own consecrating. As for those hot headed Clergy­men who formerly have beaten their pulpit drums, and marched before their Saints militant into the field, they look more like Iudas amongst the Priests and Elders with swords and staves to be­tray Iesus, then his Disciples which took up the cross and followed him: 'Twas Baals Priests that rent and cut themselves, Elijah was of a calmer temper, and imitated the Lord God whose pro­phet he was; who came in a still small voyce: not in fire, not in an earthquake, not in thun­der:

But secondly, Christians if they had a power, have no will to retaliate injuries; to spoil others, or deal perversly. Their office is [...] Rom. 12. 14. to speak well of their persecutors; and if they be plundered of their cloak, to give their coat too, rather then to [Page 20] avenge themselves and [...], to repay evil for evil: It is carnal policy to give our enemies the first blow, and to strike home too, to make him sure from giving of a second. But it is Christian piety, to turn the left cheek to him that strikes us upon the right, to cloath our plunderers, and to feed our persecutors: Cour­tesie is the most generous and noble revenge: For this heaps coals of fire upon their heads. St. Austin interprets the place Metaphorically from the Chymical practise of melting metals: which cannot be done by fire put under the crusible but by laying live coals upon it, and that dissolves the hardest metal: So these courteous returns of kindness are the most prudent method of over­coming our en [...]mies, and melting them into compassionate tears, be they nev [...]r so hard­hearted: This was Daniels language in the Lions den, O King, live for ever! This was Stephens before he fell a sleep, Lord lay not this sin to their charge: Nay this was the language of the Lord of life when he was put to death by wicked hands: Father forgive them they know not what they do: Would you have a large comment up­on this? Oh! think upon those holy medita­tions of that blessed Martyr, and now triumphant St. King Charles the first in the 28. ch. of his [...] and if thou beest not all marble, it will thaw thee into tears: My comfort is (saith he) that God gives me the honour, not onely to imi­tate [Page 21] his example in suffering for righteousness (though obscured by the foulest charges of tyranny and injustice) but also that charity which is the no­blest revenge upon, and victory over my destroyers, by which I thank God I can both forgive and pray for them, that God would not impute my blood to them, further then to convince them, what need they have of Christs blood to wash their souls from the guilt of shedding mine? And would you hear how he prayed for them? indeed can you hear it, without being drown'd in passion? Thou O Lord (saith he) madest thy son a Saviour to ma­ny that crucified him, while at once he suffered vio­lently by them, and yet willingly for them. Oh let the voice of his blood be heard for my murtherers lowder then the cry of mine against them. Oh deal not with them as blood-thirsty-men, but over­come their cruelty with thy compassion and my cha­rity: And when thou makest inquisition for my blood, O sprinkle their polluted, yet penitent souls with the blood of thy son, that thy destroying Angel may pass over them. Though they think my king­doms on earth too little to entertain at once both them and me, yet let the capacious Kingdom of thy infinite mercy at last receive both me and mine ene­mies. I can speak, and you can hear no more: If it be truly thought that St. Stephens prayer at his Martyrdome conduced to the Conversion of Paul, then one of his persecutors, how can we doubt but these devout effusions of the soul of [Page 22] our dying Soveraign hath been an happy means to reduce his most Malignant enemies to a sense of their duty and allegiance, and hath had a bles­sed influence upon our gacious Lord and Master the Kings most excellent Majesty in those merci­full condescentions of his, by which he hath shewed himself more carefull of his subjects secu­rity then of his own establishment: And this is the last aggravation of the sin of the spoilers, they exercised their unjust oppression when they were not spoiled, when they were not dealt treacherously withall.

But rarò antecedentem scelestum deseruit pede poena claudo, if sin goes before, vengeance sel­dome halts behinde, Which is the second part: Their punishment. In which I shall be very brief here, reserving plunderers to their most just re­tribution hereafter: And here first I observed the unexpectedness of the judgement, it comes when they are most secure, when they cease, then God begins. Secondly, the certainty; they shall be spoiled. First, they shall cease to spoil, they shall make an end to deal treacherously, for either they will be satiated with their extortions, or when they are run out to the end of the line, God will put a hook in their nostrils, and pull them back: First, I say they will be satiated with their plunder. For although rapine be one of the Horseleeches daughters, that is always crying out Give, Give, or taking rather where we do not [Page 23] give: Yet the Horseleech will fall off, when it is plena cruoris when it hath suck'd his fill, and is full of blood: They will be tired with David's grinning Dogs in running to and fro, and going about the city, and desirous at last to sit still and make merry with their mammon of iniquity, sing­ing the gluttons requiem to themselves, Soul take thine ease, thou hast goods laid up for many years: As when a Lion breaks into a flock of sheep, after he hath pampet'd himself with their blood, and is now glutted, mediis in caedibus astat aeger hians victus (que) cibis—he stands panting, tired, yawning, lashing the air with his tail, and licking their worried fleeces. Thus Holofernes (which executes his Commission to the full, of sparing and giving quarter to none, but putting all to the slaughter, and spoiling them where­soever he comes; and thinking it too little to rage against the people, unless he blaspheme their God too. Shall their God defend them, says he? for who is God but Nebuchodonosor? whilst Be­thulia is ready to faint for want of water, and the governours are resolved within five days to sur­render it: He satiated with the glory of his for­mer atchievements, and delighted in the sweet­ness of Iudiths company, gives up himself to caressing and excess, and strives to kindle his lust with wine, in which he quench'd his valour; sleeping securely on his bed of pleasure, where he acted a Prologue to his own tragedy, the eternal [Page 24] sleep of death that presently seized upon him. Iudith takes away his head, and with it the hearts of all his army. Thus Tydeus having o­vercome the fifty Thebanes, and now trium­phing in their spoil sends Meon home untouch­ed, not out of pity but necessity; for now lassus ferit praecordia sanguis, he was tyred with con­quering. For indeed this ceasing of Tyrants from the spoil, is as much removed from mercy as a gluttons fast is from religion, who being lately surfeited can eat no more. Our Saviour tells us of Wolves which should come in sheeps clothing, the nota Vellera, the habits of old prophets; per­haps this clothing is put on that they might ravin with the more security: they are Wolves still, and therefore he bids us to beware of them: And yet its possible that they may be so weari­ed out with worrying, that with the cloathing they may for a time put on mildness, and the gentleness of the sheep too. Those very Prophets that have preached up blood and murther, and encouraged every man to be up and doing and to sanctifie himself that very day on his brother, where if any shewed pity he did the work of the Lord negligently; seeing the shepherd coming with his guard of dogs that can hunt and worry them, will presently put off the Wolf and put on the sheep, and cry up tenderness and moderation with the foremost.

But Secondly, God can put an hook in their no­strils [Page 25] as he did to Sennacherib, 2 King. 19. 28. and turn them back the way they came: He that set­teth bounds to the Sea that it shall not pass, can still the raging of the waters & the madness of the people. Iezabel had thought shee had made clear work in destroying the Prophets of the Lord, and believed Elijah was left alone, whose life shee sought to take away; yet he found many thousands, partners enough to seize upon Baals prophets, and bring them down to the Brook Ki­shon, and slay them there. For thus it fares with the Church, as sometimes it did in old Ely's days that the lamp of God is ready to go out in the temple of the Lord. Yet even then, when our fears are highest, and our enemies hopes most preg­nant, that because the seere are grown dimsighted and there is not one prophet more (as David com­plains) succession must needs fail, and holy orders with it, even then I say, God will raise up some Samuel to succeed in the ministration. The Church of God shall somtimes rest in the desolate valleys and in the holes of the rocks and upon thorns, and upon bushes as it was prophesied, Isa. 7. 19. Yet even in those valleys of Achor God will open a door of hope: the holes shee creeps into, are the places of her defence, the munition of rocks, even the rock of her salvation; and those thorns shall bear grapes, and thistles, figs. When was the light of Israel nearer quenching then in blinde Samsons days? His Dalilah (which had long [Page 26] been a pearl in his eyes) had now put them out: and with his sight he had lost his strength too, his strength of annoying the Philistins; although they thought he had an horses strength still; for they brought him down to Gaza to grinde in the prison house. It was now Dagons holiday, for it was he which had delivered their enemie into their hands: and to make the Iubilee more so­lemn, Samson must be brought out to make sport before them. But God on a suddain renews his strength as the strength of an Eagle, he bows himself upon the pillars of the house, and left none alive to be spectators of their Tragedy. And this is according to Ezra's prayer, Ezr. 9. 8. That God would leave us a remnant to escape and give us a nail in his holy place and lighten our eyes and give us a little reviving in our bondage. Thus shall the spoil cease.

But secondly, they shall be spoiled, there's the certainty of the judgement [...] the day of retribution comes, when these rods worn out to the stumps shall be thrown into the fire: For if judgement begins at the house of God what shall the end of those be which obey not the Gospel? When Herod after many other acts of Tyranni­cal persecution, had slain Iames, and imprisoned Peter, his wickedness seemed very prosperous: the Iews were pleased: his enemies of Tyre and Sidon affrighted into terms, the people applaud and deifie him. But mark the event: Gods pay [Page 27] is still behind: The vilest creatures shall be his executioners, and lice shall anticipate the grave and devour him whilst he is alive: Insomuch that he that lived like a beast, may not die like a man, to teach the multitude what a rotten, stinking, mortal God they had adored. Thus plenteously God rewardeth the proud doer, Psal. 31. 23. Memorable is that story of Cepio the Roman Consul at the siege of Tolouse, ubi nec fanis parcitum est nec profanis, the gold of the temple could not take Sanctuary to secure it from their sacrilegious fingers; all things sacred and com­mon were lawfull plunder: But although they had taken earnest out of the Churches wealth, Gods pay is still behind. Of that numerous and well appointed army, Historians say not one esca­ped but perished by some miserable and eminent calamity. Go ask rich Crassus how plenteously he was rewarded, after he had pillaged and spoil­ed the Parthians, he had his belly full of molten gold poured down his throat. Some foolish vo­luptuaries we know there are which love to re­vell and riot with their Mammon of iniquity, & Diis fruuntur iratis, but think not of the reckon­ing that is behind, but God will one day give them in a bill with their severall Items. Item for so many Orphans tears, that were robb'd by thee. Item for so many widows houses, that were de­voured by thee. Item for so many Naboth's vine­yards, that were falsly accused by thee. Item for [Page 28] so many loyall traitors estates that were seque­stred by thee. Item for so many Church-revenues that were swallowed by thee. Item for so many [...] dead mens monuments that have been defaced by thee: the brass of which may serve like the brasen censers of Corah's confede­rates to make broad plates for a covering to the Altar, to be a memorial to after ages to do so wic­kedly no more: This plentifull reward of God, was that hand-writing on the wall wch changed Belshazzars countenance, and loosned the joints of his loins, and made his knees smite one against another, when he was carowsing in the plunder­ed vessels of the Temple. This, this is that which will one day make spoilers hide them­selves. Sylvás (que) & sicubi concava furtim saxa petent, desire the rocks to fall upon them, and the hills to cover them from the presence of the judge, with his plenteous reward in his hand: If a go you cursed was the reward of them that cloathed not the naked, fed not the hungry, lodg­ed not the exile, visited not the prisoner, surely he will rain snares, fire and brimstone and a hor­rible tempest shall be the portion of their cup that make naked the cloathed, and eat the bread out of the mouthes of the hungry, that cast in prison those that the law makes freer then themselves that eject out of their possessions such as comply not with their fanaticall designes. Did he stand speechless, that came in without a wedding gar­ment? [Page 29] What wilt thou answer, that ap­pearest in a plundered garment? Did he lose his eternall inheritance that would not sell all that he had and give to the poor? where shall the lot of thy eternall inheritance fall, who by thy un­just extortion hast forc'd all that he hath from the poor? Princes we see have gone on foot when servants have ridden on horse back: But in the day of Gods retribution they shall need no horses, when they are hurried quick to hell. Then thou spoiler shalt be drest up in flames, and thou deceit­full dealer shalt have none to cheat withall. Thy false weights will betray thee; thy secret confe­deracies will betray thee; thy midnight mur­thers will betray thee; thy unrighteous Mammon will betray thee; thy own conscience will betray thee. Thy hidden works of darkness will then be manifested. Thy [...] thy methods of deceit will then be analyzed. Thy bloody characters will then be uncyphered: thou shalt be unplumed of all thy spoils and stripp'd of all thy feathers, whilst thy riches take wings and fly away. For when thou ceasest to spoil thou shalt be spoiled, and when thou shalt make an end to deal treacherously they shall deal treacher­ously by thee.

I had now done with the text, if the occasion of this days solemnity did not lead me farther: And yet I will not imitate some, in spending so much time, to teach others their duty as to [Page 30] forget mine own. Yet reverend Sages, give me leave to put you in minde that you sit here in a double capacity: you are men before God, but you are Gods before men. And these two capa­cities answer the two parts of the text, in which you will be concerned: As you are men beware the sin: as you are Gods inflict the punishment. As you are men first, take heed of spoiling: My Lords, let not the height of your places put you in hopes of the indemnity of your persons in any actionsof violence and injustice, Tanto conspectius: The fairest mark is easiest seen and most shot at. A judge is [...] a living law, and hath his denomination from justice, Iudex qui jus dicit: Let him never keep his name if he leave the Etymology. It was a bitter Sarcasme in Democrates who seeeing a felon led to the tribunal laugh'd at the poor Caitiff, for being a petty thief and stealing trifles: hadst thou stooped at noble quarries, says he, and appeared glorious in thy spoils, thou mightest have fill'd a place on the bench now, when thou standest trembling at the bar. We have lived I confess, to see the day, when Iustice had broke her Scoles and melted the mettle of them to make her sword the longer: With which she stood arm'd so like her sister Valour, both clad in buff that they were too often mistaken one for the other. Or if she she put on scarlet; it was but scarlet dyed in blood: Voracious scarlet, which [Page 31] begets a proverb in Athenaeus [...], scarlet which partakes of the na­ture of that animal of which the dye is made, quod quicquid nactum fuit retinet ac devorat, which devours and spoils all that comes within its clutches: which puts another sence upon that old sentence, Summum jus summa est inju­ria, the high Courts of justice are Courts of high injustice. But such Iudges have been overthrown in stony places. Ps. 141. 6. Places which havebeen rugged to ride in, and hard to fall in. Nay, some of them have feared to be overthrown by sto­ning as Susannas Elders were. That God who by his Almighty power hath called light out of dark­ness, and raised this beautifull and orderly form of government, out of our Chaos of confusion, hath restored our Iudges as at the first and our counsellours as at the beginning: And such you are my Lords, as besides the judgement of charity (which bids us hope the best of all) I have reason to believe, may boldly make Samuel's challenge, Samuel's, the first itinerant Iudge that ever went a cir­cuit. Whose Ox have I taken, or whose Ass have I taken? or whom have I defrauded? whom have I oppressed? or of whose hands have I received any bribe to blinde mine eyes therewith? 1 Sam. 12. ver. 3. And yet, I beseech you, let me put you in minde of Iethro's qualifications, for Moses Iudges, Exod. 18. 21. who besides their ability to know the law, and their fear of the Lord to [Page 32] practise what they do know, must be men of truth too. And my text denounces a wo not onely against open spoilers but against treacherous dea­lers too. Take heed of varying the hands (as old Iacob did once at Gods command) and laying the right hand of blessing upon the wrong person: Justice 'tis true is painted blinde as Isaac was, but it is not therefore that it should judge by the touch as he did: What skill is it to hood-wink the eyes where there are oculatae manus (in the Comicks language) quick-sighted hands, quae credunt quod vident: believe no more then they see or feel: A gift (says the wise man) blindeth the eyes: But if justice be thus blinded, it will have its reward in the land of darkness. And yet although justice be blinde, not to distinguish between party and party; it must not be deaf too, to neglect the cry of the poor: Either cease to be a King or do me right, says the bold Petitioner to the Persian Monarch. Oh my Lords, Let not the cries of the oppressed reach heaven before you, least it bar your en­trance there. When Philip sate sleeping on the bench whilst a false judgement passed in the Court he was wakened with the bold appeal of Machaetas: The King disdaining a higher Iudi­catory to which an appeal could be made, replies with indignation, whither dost thou appeal thou Varlet? To thy self. To K. Philip (says he) Te in te appello, to Philip waking from Philip [Page 33] sleeping. Such sleepy Iudges love darkness, and the deeds of darkness, more then light. But as their ears must be open yet they must open but one at once: Wth the Graecian Monarch they must stop up one, while the Plaintiff is objecting; and leave it free not prepossest when the Defendant makes his Plea: For this cause too as a Magistrate hath two ears to hear both sides speak, so he hath but one tongue to pronounce single judgement: To wch he must come impartiall and unpraejudi­cate. Remember that Gods law was wrote in Tables of Stone, not of Leather or Parch­ment which would stretch wider, or contract narrower? His Command Thou shalt not steal, takes in as well Alexanders royall pillaging Na­vy as a poor fly-boat of a single pick-aroon. Such corruption of the laws Severus complained of, [...] (says he) he that steals much to inable him to give a little, makes a bridge of gold for his own escape. I press this the more, because all the guilt of a malefactor is contracted by that Iudge who takes cognisance of it, and lets it go unpunished. Qui non vetat peccare, cum potest, jubet: That Magistrate that consents to a thief, is himself a robber, and he that winks at an adulterer lets in that foul Devil at his closed eye. Bitter was that reply of the malefactor who being asked of his judge, who was accessary to his felony? Thou thy self (says he) for hadst thou trusst me [Page 34] up for my former, I had not lived to commit a­nother: which leads me my Lords to your se­cond capacity as you are Gods you must execute wrath on evildoers, you must spoil the spoilers. And here you have need of Hercules his strength to cleanse another Augaean stable. This age hath furnished us with [...] (as the Comaedian calls them) gulfs and whirlpools of rapine and oppression: But since his royall Majesty hath thrown a mantle over them, not such an one as Ahasuerus the Persian did over Haman a token of con­demnation but of pardon and absolution, I will not uncover their nakedness: but leave our spoilers to Gods plentifull reward at the last account, if they do not before that time make satisfaction for their extortion and violence: Let it suffice your Lordships with a Calendar of such crimi­nals as have in other places, or may come be­fore you here: or rather the prophet Hosea shall do it for me, Hos. 4. 2. They brake forth into swearing, and lying, and killing and stealing, and committing adultery, and blood touching blood: And well may I call those criminals which are guilty of these, because for such sins as these the Land hath mourned; and if they be not remo­ved or cut off by the hand of justice, the Land shall mourn again, and the inhabitants thereof shall languish. Yet, all this while, God hath but a controversie with these sinners, he [Page 35] will implead them, and proceed judicially against them; But in the fourth verse there follows a sin, that stops Gods plea, that he will no more take pains to convince them, but give them up to an obdurate sense: Let no man strive nor re­prove another says he, for the people are as they that strive with the Priest. So near relation betwixt God and his Vicars, those which are labourers in his stead, that they that rob them of their Tithes and Offerings, rob God, Mal. 3. 8. They that strive against Aaron, are gathered together against the Lord, Numb. 16. 11. Tremble then thou Theomachus, that darest fight against God in his holy Ministers, darest fight against God in his ho­ly Ordinances: God will take no pains to re­prove thee: he will give thee up to a reprobate minde: Thou art one that strivest with the Priest: thou art one of those that castest him out of the Synagogues: Nay (to make up our Saviours prophesie) thou thinkest thou dost God good service if thou killest him. And truly my Lords, this is onerosa prophetia this is the burden of the Land that by a pretended kind of Saintship, men intitle God to the Devills cause, they think they do the Lord service, by killing his servants, and as if his kingdome were divided against it self, they fancy that they set up the Scepter of Christ by pulling down his anointed: Thus was it in St. Peters days if any man suffered, as a [...] a bloody cut-throat, or a [...] a thievish felon, [Page 36] or a [...] a spoiling plunderer, or an [...] a Bishop in another mans Diocess, a Sequestrator in anothers living, it was voyced abroad to be suffering for the name of Christ. And if your sword of justice should cut off any such ulcerated gangrain'd member the congrega­tion of these Saints would be ready to murmure a­gainst you as they did against Moses and Aaron, Numb. 16. and say, ye have killed the people of the Lord. But remember, I beseech you Jehoshaphats instruction to his Judges, 2 Chr. 19. 6. Take heed what ye do, for ye judge not for man but for the Lord who will be with you in judgement: Wherefore now let the fear of the Lord be upon you, take heed and do it for there is no iniquity with the Lord, nor respect of persons nor taking of gifts. Arise therefore up and be doing and the Lord be with you.

Hypocrisie unmask'd, THE SECOND SERMON.

Preached at the Assizes at St. Edmunds Bury, March 4. 1660. At the request of Sr. Iohn Castleton Baronet, High-Sheriff of the County of Suffolk.


CAMBRIDGE: Printed by Iohn Field, Printer to the Universitie. 1661.

2 TIM. 3. 5.‘Having a form of Godliness, but denying the power thereof.’

THe Context will tell you that these words are part of the description of those men who should cause pe­rillous times in the last days: Which days although a learned Paraphraser con­tends to be all one with St. Iohns [...] 1 John 2. 18. the last hour before Christ's com­ing in vengeance to destroy his enemies the Jews: an hour which of all the Disciples St. John only lived to see; and so they have a more imme­diate aspect upon the Gnosticks those early de­bauchers of Christianity, and persecutors of true believers; upon which account this faithfull steward of Gods House St. Paul arms his son Ti­mothy with a double premonition, both here in this Epistle, and Chap. 4. ver. 1. of the former: Especially seeing Phygellus and Hermogenes, and other Asian Bishops were poysoned with this Heresie, 2 Tim. 1. 15. and the false Do­ctrine [Page 40] of Hymenaeus and Philetus had like a gan­grene infected the body of the Church, 2 Tim. 2. 17. Yet all this seems to be but a partial truth. For sixteen hundred years since that time past, may well intitle us to latter days; and the difficul­ties which the professors of pure religion incoun­ter with, may well inform us of perillous times: and the names by which the Churches enemies are described here, may well assure us that they are [...], coaetaneous, contemporaries with our selves. That we may therefore the better know them and so avoid their companie (as St. Paul advises here From such turn away) let us take a short view of their persons and so [...]: (as in a glass) behold the Characters of them which bring upon us these perillous times.

First, you have [...] lovers of themselves, men of self interests to preserve which they will sacrifice the peace of the Church and State not remembring that they themselves must perish in the community.

Next come your [...] your coveteous per­sons, such as make a gain of Godliness: the Demetrius's of this age which cry up Diana of Ephesus, any heathenish religion whatsoever, if they may be the silver smiths to make her shrines.

Then follow your [...] boasters, circulatores (if you please) Mountebanks, for so the Etymo­loger says the word signifies quasi [...], following their master Satans trade, and [Page 41] going to and fro the earth, as your itinerant Prea­chers do, who glory of their Proselytes and can tell you the instant and occasion of the conversi­on of their auditors.

Next are your [...] proud men; such as look over other mens shoulders, as Corah did over Aarons, that they may appear the heads of the faction: poor inferiour brambles which will burn down the Cedars and all the lofty trees, and the Olives and all the fruitfull ones that they may be Kings over the wood.

Then are [...], blasphemers: the word signifies to hurt by speaking, and the Scripture tells us but of two persons that can be blasphe­med, that is God and the King. Now although God be above the reach of malice, and the ar­rows which they shoot upwards will fall upon their own heads, yet cease they not to bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words, Psal. 64. 3. they will murmure against the Lord and Moses, and blaspheme God and slander the footsteps of his anointed.

Next are [...] disobedient to parents, and if we speak of naturall Parents hath not our Saviours prophesie been literally verified a­mongst us? Mat. 10. 21. That the Children shall rise up against their Parents and cause them to be put to death? If of Political, have not they spoke evil of dignities and cursed, made an Anathema of, devoted to execution the Ruler [Page 42] of the people? if of Ecclesiastical, how many cursed Cams hath our Church bred who have made a sport at their fathers nakedness, such as have been [...] indeed, unperswaded by them for should they dare to reprove them, they have but seem'd like men that mock'd, and they have more then seem'd to mock them back again.

Then have we [...], unthankfull men which have not prised the great blessing of peace and plenty, with which the nation hath been in­riched; but grown weary of a calme, have ho­ped to fish more successfully in troubled waters.

Next follow the [...] unholy; which in the ge­neral latitude of the word hath so far overspread the nation that we cannot pitch amiss: But by a peculiar gloss the Scholiast interprets it coram quibus non fiunt [...] such as will not be present in the holy assemblies, nor joyn with Gods people in their publick services.

In the next verse are your [...], without nā ­tural affection; breaking that bond which unites even beasts and birds to one another: whilst a mans enemies have been those of his own house­hold.

And then your [...], truce breakers; for in­deed nothing is sacred or inviolable with usur­pers, which consists not with their own profit. But yet the word hath more in it, & comes from [...] privativum, & [...], not to admit of a sacri­fice, [Page 43] nullamlibationem facere, not to pour out wine; and how many places have we known which in this sense have been [...], no breaking of bread, or pouring out of wine in the blessed Sacra­ment for many years

Then follow [...], false accusers; which suggest false insinuations against their brethren, as Satan does who is the accuser of mankind: for which cause they are branded with the De­vils own name in my text.

Then come [...] the incontinent (so we read it) from [...] & [...] to have no power of subduing a lust; so difficult is the work of mortification that every child of God findes it as hard, by his own strength, to kill, as it is to raise to life, to conquer a lust as it is to quicken a grace. But the word may as well signifie intempe­rate, from [...] & [...] not to mingle water wth their wine as the practise in those hot Countries was; but to drink merum non dilutum, strong wine to intoxicate; and if this do not concern us what mean those [...] noon-day Devils which stare the Sun in the face with countenan­ces as red as he?

Next follow [...], fierce men; such (as the word imports) as are always clouded, who bury their faces with their eyebrows, and never suffer the day to break in a smile there but by their sowre looks discover that they are plotting of the hidden works of darkness.

[Page 44] What should I speak of the [...] which follow, the despisers of good men? It hath been Satans policy in all ages of the Church to dis­courage professours, by throwingupon them con­tempt, and disgrace to make them weary of Gods service. But what need we dive into Church History for that which these last days have too abundantly verified? wherein the purity and legal establishment of Gods publick worship hath been branded with the odious names of supersti­tion and prophaneness.

The fourth verse begins with those who are proprii quarto modo to this present age, [...] Traitours; the word properly bears it of such as give a largess before hand to corrupt or betray a trust; which in Iudahs's case was called the price of innocent blood. And in such a case the receiver is as bad as the thief. Thus the Jews bought our Saviour, and thus we know who did their Soveraign.

It follows, [...] heady, or headstrong men; which fall rashly upon any enterprise without counsel or deliberation; impetuous men whose rash fury is the rule of all their actions

The next are [...] high-minded (we read it) but it is a word of more acute sig­nification, and comes from the theme [...] smoke and so by a fit Metaphor decyphers such as ha­ving kindled a fire of ambition in their breasts which is blown up with the bellows of pride, it [Page 45] sends up fames and vapours out of their mouths, which like smoke smutch and blacken all that stand about them, till at last they vanish into the air and signifie nothing. Such a fire as this the two hundred and fifty assembly-men kindled, upon their unhallowed censers, which smutched Aaron and the Leviticall order, and puffed them up into a conceit, that they had as much right to the service of the sanctuary as any that had a lawfull call, I need not apply it.

The last that shut up this Paraphrase are [...] lovers of pleasures more then lovers of God; such are all carnall sensu­all voluptuous livers, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is their shame. And all this while you will believe that you have met with your countrey-men, such as are bone of your bone, and flesh of your flesh, If any think that we have taken too long acquaintance of them, it is because they are so near of kin to those that follow in my text, who are best made known by their com­panions, they have a form of Godliness, but deny the power thereof.

The text is an Enantiôsis a setting of contra­ries in opposition; and here is a double contrarie­ty; First, of the Object there is [...] a form of Godliness opposed to the [...] to the power thereof. Secondly, of the Subjects, of the one they are [...] they have the form, of the other they are [...] they deny [Page 46] the power. In my Method I shall endeavour to comply with the weakest capacity here present, that so I may not fall under the reproof of the text in seeming to have a form of Godliness in the inticing words of mans wisdome, but denying the power thereof in the evidence and demonstra­tion of the spirit. I shall firstendeavour to clear up the words by explaining to you what is meant by having a form of Godliness, and what by the denying the power thereof. Secondly, I shall make it manifest that in the School of Christ there be many Nominals which are not Reals. Ma­ny pretend in shew which fall short in substance. Thirdly, I shall bring all home to our selves by application.

1. Then, this [...] this form of godliness signifies nothing else but a shew and a pretence and is opposed to [...] the power thereof, not otherwise then species and res, among Hi­storians, the semblance and the substance; as a face in a glass hath all the lines and figures and fea­tures, but handle it, 'tis but a shadow and hath no body. 'Twas but the reflection of the Moon in the water which the fool thought his ass drunk up, when a cloud interposed between the body of it and the earth: Such pretenders to religion Ig­natius calls [...] dissembling actours of devotion, not real Christi­ans: such are the decoys in religion which the Devil sends abroad to bring others into his net. [Page 47] As Iehu boasts to Iehonadab of the uprightness of his heart. Is thy heart right, says he, as my heart is with thy heart: And then birds of a feather must fly together: up into his chariot he takes him to see his zeal for the Lord of hosts: But alas! 'twas his own secure establishment he sought, by cutting off all Ahabs posterity: for notwithstanding his specious industry in killing all Baals prophets, he forsakes not the golden calfs in Dan and Bethel, and takes not heed to walk in the way of the Lord God of Israel: Criticks in­terpret [...] by [...], which properly signifies the fashioning of the mouth to speak or pronounce a word or dialect. Thus there are those which can get (as they account it) the tone of Saints and speak demurely, they will avoid the language of Ashdod, and counterfeit Iacobs voice, but look to their actions and they have the hands of Esau. Such as these our Saviour men­tions, Mat. 7. 21. They have got his name ve­ry perfect, Lord, Lord, say they! they double it with much seeming zeal and devotion: nay they plead they are gifted brethren too, they have preach'd or prophesied in his name and have done many wonderfull works [...] ma­ny works of power; besides their [...] they have [...] too, such works as made all their proselytes stand and admire them; yet Christ will profess he never knew them because they work iniquity, they do not the will of his Father which is in heaven.

[Page 48] And this leads me to the second word [...], what is meant by the power of God­liness: which is nothing else but the energetical force and vertue of it exercised in our lives. 'Twas said of Zeuxes that he drew so lively a picture of a boy, with a bunch of grapes in his hand that the birds came and pecked at them: but he in discontent threw it into the fire, saying if the boy had been as lively drawn as the grapes those fowls of prey durst not approach so near it. Thus we may abound with fruit very lively painted, but the birds of prey the prince of the air will peck it, if we have not life in us, the life of righteousness to defend it. For indeed it is this [...] this principle of power which does distinguish between a dead carcase and a living man. Our Saviour compares Hypocrites to painted sepulchres beautified without, but within full of rottenness. We may seem all fair and polish'd Marble, to have Angels and Cherubs in our faces; but without this lively faith, we are but the Skeletons of religion, full of dead works: We are but like Eze­kiels valley full of dry bones, untill we have this [...] this principle of life within us, this power enabling us to present our bodies a living sacrifice unto th [...] Lord, Rom. 12. 1. By their fruits ye shall know them, says our Saviour, speaking of Hypocrites, Mat. 7. 15. which are Wolves in sheeps clothing: There's [Page 49] enough of [...], the shew, they have drest up themselves like actours. There's [...], they are in sheeps clothing. But there wants the [...] they bear no fruit. The bar­ren fig-tree had life and sap in it, and flourished with leaves luxuriantly, or else Christ would not have expected figs upon it; yet because it was barren, it was cursed: cut it down why cum­breth it the ground? It is not the pleasing ver­dure of leaves, nor the promising candour of blossoms will serve the turn: If there be no fruit, nay if there be no good fruit, no fruit of righteousness, there wants the [...], we are barren; and if barren we are no better then dead in Gods esteem. Cut it up why cumbreth it the ground? As Pythagoras, when any of his Scholars had forsaken his School, the School of vertue, had a [...], an empty hearse carri­ed about the streets, and in a solemn pageantry they mourned for him. Dost thou see vice tri­umphant marching top and top gallant, set out with all its trickments and gayetyes and inti­cing any of the sons of wisdome? O! think thou seest an hearse carried before thee; such an one is dead, he is departed; [...], weep for him as for the dead: whatever [...] whatever shew he makes he wants the [...] there is no principle of life within him. And thus am I fallen upon my second part before I am well aware of it, that in the School of Christ [Page 50] there are many followers which are no Disci­ples, many pretenders to, which are no pra­ctisers of Christianity: Many which have a form of Godliness which deny the power thereof.

For indeed, holiness is so beautifull, that whosoever looks upon it must fall in love with it, and the Commandments are so just and good that we should fall from the reason of men if we did not approve of them; which makes the worst of men put on [...], a shew of goodness if not to please themselves, yet thereby to make themselves the more welcome and gracious to others; For this rea­son Satan transforms himself into an Angel of light, that he may the more successfully pra­ctise his deeds of darkness; And the first­born of Satan, Simon Magus, stiled himself [...] Act. 8. 10. the great power of God, when he spake of that power by which he practi­sed sorcery and inchantments. And I doubt not but Iannes and Iambres (which follow here in this chap.) pretended to as divine a vertue, although they withstood Moses and resisted the truth, or else they could never so effectually have hardned Pharaohs heart. As for those that dare sin with a witness, and stare heaven in the face whilst they boast of their impieties, they do more then the works of their father the Devil: for that Prince of the air casts a cloud before [Page 51] his black actions: his very thunder hath some lightning: but these hasten upon them­selves the day of judgement, and they them­selves bring to light their own hidden things of darkness.

Yet though vertue be so admirable and at­tractive, she is seated on so craggy a rock that it is hard to climb to it: 'Tis a very narrow gate opens to her palace, and we must strip our selves of all our incumbrances how gay or brave soever they are, if we would croud in there: The Camel must take away the bunch of his back if he would enter the needles eye. The young man in the Gospel with many possessions must sell all that he hath and give to the poor, if he would follow Lazarus into Abrahams bosome.

Nay further yet, the most indeared affection, the most darling lusts must be rooted out, the right eye must be pluck'd out and the right hand must be cut off, or we shall finde no enter­tainment there; And this makes us unwilling to be at the charges to purchase real good­ness, if we can but wear her cloth, or be of her livery 'tis sufficient. Let poor distressed and de­spised creatures the filth and of scouring of all things [...] and [...], such as have lived to be weary of all things, and all things weary of them, let such begin the work of mortification, and crucifie the world unto them­selves [Page 52] with the flesh and the affections and lusts: Let us injoy the earth, and the fulness thereof, which God hath given to the sons of men; and shall we neglect these gifts of God? shall we en­danger our selves by a perrillous wading over Iordan in hopes of an inheritance in Canaan, when the fruitfull plains of Gilead are before us? poteris tutiùs esse Domi. 'Tis better to injoy the creature, and keep a good house, which may be­get the repute of hospitality, and set the poor on work although thou pay him small wages be­sides the bread of affliction, and keep a Chaplain (like Bias's fatted mule) whose looks have reli­gion enough for all the family; and build Ho­spitals that men may see thy good works, and so perhaps be incited to glorifie thy father which is in heaven. This is much a cheaper way to keep our gain, and yet make a fair shew too, without contending so eagerly and desperately for the power of Godliness.

Add to all this, that this [...] cannot be obtained, without encountring with [...] pow­ers that will over power us without the Almigh­ty power of God to support and back us. Even Principalities and powers and rulers of darkness in this world, and spiritual wickednesses in high places. And this potent enemy hath scaled our battlements, this strong man armed hath got pos­session of the house, he hath seized upon the cinque-ports of our sences and there gives the [Page 53] word of command, and orders all our actions: Nay he executes and performs them himself, he does [...], the spirit works in the children of disobedience, Ephes. 2. 2. He sees in our wan­ton eyes, he hears with our itching years, he tastes with our curious palates. And turpiùs ejicitur, he knows its more disgrace to be dispossest and thrown out then never to have gotten possessi­on; Therefore when a stronger then he comes, even the power of God to set up this power of Godliness, he fortifies himself with all his might and loses by inches what he hath gotten▪ Some­times perhaps he sets up Gods colours on the wall, a from of Godliness, but it is but to betray others and to make them believe the city is not taken, when indeed it hath no [...] no power at all.

Besides all this; consider how agreeable sin is to our corrupt nature, there is [...] says the Apostle, Heb. 12. and the 1. sins which do easily beset us; which finde many plausible pretences to ingratiate themselves with us: Nay some which are drest up so like unto vertue that we our selves cannot distinguish between them, some that get into the train and the reti­nue of Godliness, as hatred to our brother attends upon zeal to Gods honour, vain glory waits upon hospitable charity. So that when we open to entertain the one, the other too often creeps in with it, which make a Christians life checquer'd, [Page 54] Sables and Argent are quartered together. Seeing then, that malum est ex quolibet defectu, bonum non nisi ex causis integris, whatsoever is good must be intirely so, when any evil circum­stance is enough to deprave an action and weak­en the power of Godliness, no marvail if through­out the world we see so much sh [...]w and so little substance.

And truly most men make it their work to live up to opinion, not to reality. They come un­to thee as my people cometh (says the Prophet, Ezek. 33. 31.) and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them. They come, and sit, and hear, here's formality enough; and thus far, we are for them: And yet they are not Gods people: And would to God all would follow them thus far? There are too many amongst us that will not sit, as Gods people sit, with reverence and ado­ration and fear before the Lord their King. Mar­lorat interprets the Formalists in my text by a Metaphor fetch'd from images and idols, which have the [...] the resemblance, but want the [...] the life of what they represent: which have eyes and see not, which have ears and hear not: But these do sit and hear, that is the voyce of man, with the ears of their body, not the voyce of God with the ears of their soul. Indeed we live in age when [...], the whole body of devotion and religion is hearing; like Pli­ny's [Page 55] monsters whose ears cover all their bodies. It is worth observing here that the Prophets complaint is not, they kneel and pray, but they sit and hear: although I know there is too much formality even in our devotions too: yet because Gods house is emphatically called an house of prayer, a devout deportment of our body there carries much of good example with it: were it they sit and pray, they would finde too many followers amongst us; who dare present them­selves before God in our most sacred and myste­rious parts of publick worship, in that unman­nerly posture.

Our Saviour forwarning us of the practise of Hypocrites (which are chiefly designed here) in reference to the duty of prayer, Mat. 6. 5. describes them by two notable circumstances; The first is peculiar to them, they pray standing in the Synagogues or publick assemblies; The se­cond they borrow from the heathen, in using vain repetitions and many words: And hath not this age justified their practise? where kneeling in the Church of God hath been changed to standing [...] in comitiis, in assemblies and committees; where tautologies of Lord, Lord, have been repeated as long as Baals worshippers cried out, O Baal hear us! 1 King. 18. 27. from morning unto noon. Mistake me not; I know a devout repetition in publick prayers does inflame our devotion: but to lay hold of the sacred name [Page 56] of God till they can take surer footing and know what to speak next, if this be not [...], I confess I know notthemeaning of the phrase. The next duty wch our Saviour pitches upon, is that of fasting ver. 16. and although the adjunct to Hypocrites there [...] of a sad countenance be fully made up in our [...] our fierce men (as I lately interpreted the word) yet Isaiah leavs these religious duties more dire­ctly at our doors, Chap. 58. ver. 4. ye (fast says he) for strife and debate and to strike with the fist of wickedness: We may all remember what horrid murthers and prodigious rapines, have been ushered in by this religious pageantry: so that if once they came, to an in nomine Domini a seeking of the Lord: the people were taught to expect an inundation of mischief overwhelm­ing them.

It were no difficulty to run a parallel between Hypocrites practises and our own, in all those circumstances mentioned by our Saviour: But in one we do apparently fall short of this [...] of this shew of Godliness, even of the Pharisees themselves; For they▪ hold it as a tradition of the Elders, not to eat, nor drink, nor sacrifice, with unwash'd hands; which was so general a practise among the heathen that I finde [...] washing the hands in Lycophron, put for [...] for sacrificing: But God knows, we do too often approach Gods altars without [Page 57] washing our hands in innocency: nay [...] (in the Poets language) be­smear'd with gore and blood: as if we were go­ing to lay a bloody sacrifice upon Gods altar. And indeed so great enemies to innocency are we grown of late that we cannot indure any thing that is a badge of it: A Surplice affrights us more then garments rolled in blood: And if any Minister now should [...] (a custome (says the learned Grotius) among all nations, for those that officiate in holy offices to be clo­thed in white) I say, if any should appear like the angel at our Saviours sepulchre, Mat. 28. 3. with raiment white as snow; we are ready to cast durt upon it, and make it as black by our reviling as the Prince of darkness; as if the power of Godliness consisted in opposing all shews and appearance of it.

The ambition of Satan at first was to be like God: Now although he hath lost his happiness, yet he retains his vice still, he is as ambitious as ever to appear to be like God. The sons of God cannot present themselves before the Lord, but Satan will crowd in amongst them, Iob 2. 1. And this Prince of darkness will work as wonderously in his new lights, as Manoahs angel, did in the flame, Iudg. 13. 19. Eusebius tells us, that Si­mon Magus the first Antichrist, appear'd in all power and signes, and lying wonders [...] do­ing [Page 58] strange miraculous works by the power of the Devil; So that he was reputed a God, and had a statue erected to him by Claudius in Rome with this inscription, Simoni magno deo, to the great god Simon. And no wonder that superstiti­ous Rome should do this, when even in Samaria where a Church was now planted, he was called the great power of God, Act. 8. 11. Nay [...] (says Eusebius) the principal God, as his strum­pet Helena was [...] the first co­gitation, the first Minerva of this Iupiter: This great Impostor to make his inchantments gain credit without control, makes a shew of Christiani­ty, was baptized by Philip, & desires to buy from the Apostles the power of the Holy Ghost: Nay boasted (says Irenaeus) quod in gētibus quasi spiritus sanctus adventaverit, that he had appeared as the Son amongst the Iews, that in Samaria he ap­peared as the Father, and in other nations came as the Holy Ghost. And truly although the works of the spirit differ from the works of the flesh, as much as heaven and hell, as much as light and darkness, yet many times they are drest up in such proper­ties that they aremistaken one for another: How often doth sensual lust mask it self under a pre­text of love? voluptuousness be reputed joy? carnal security be accounted peace? a waiting for a more sure and severe revenge be called long­suffering? [...] Tiberii a politick declining, nay weeping to accept that which we do most [Page 59] ambitiously affect (as the late Usurper did his Protectorship) be esteemed meekness and mode­ration? But however we may be deceived, God is not mocked. Whatever outward adornments there be, there is an [...] a man within, a hidden man of the heart; which God sees, [...] 'tis the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is precious in Gods sight, 1 Pet. 3. 4. For however the leaven of the Pharisees which is Hypocrisie may puff up some & make them swell; a Christians vertues must be like his charity, good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over. In a word to the form of Godliness he must add the power thereof.

Hitherto we have shot at rovers; let us now take aim in the application, and see whom this Doctrine hits. And here give me leave to free my text from the injuries of those who make it a Mount from whence they b [...]tter all Christian Liturgies and established services of the Church; and very zealously (without knowledge) from hence rail at all forms of Godliness, as if they were inconsistent with the power thereof: sure if the study of the Oriental tongues had not made these Rabby's forget Greek and all politer learn­ing they would have known that there is a vast difference between [...] a form or an ap­pearance, and [...] a form or established order: But indeed, by mistaking this [...], they have brought in a strange Metamorphosis, a [Page 60] confusion and disorderly transformation in the Church of God, crying out of Babylon, they have builded another Babel where hearts and mindes as well as tongues have been divided in Gods service: whilst one is for a powerfull Paul, another for an eloquent Apollos, another for a confessing Cephas, who is for Christ? For Christ is not divided, 1 Cor. 1. 13. Nor must his service be. For Christians must endeavour to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. Eph. 4. 3. I should write Iliads after Homer, should I go about to plead for that excellent and devout form of wor­ship established in the Church of England, which hath found such eminent and learned assertors, both in the last age and this, that should I pre­sume to add any thing, I must needs make it go less, and derogate from it by falling short of what hath been published by others. Onely I beseech those men which are oppugners of all set forms, seriously to consider, that since the first Chaos of confusion when darkness covered all, nothing hath been or can be absolutely with­out a form; not an unlick'd bears whelp, not their own conceiv'd ex tempore prayers, not their very directory but hath a kind of form such as it is: And I dare appeal even to the interested parties themselves whether such forms as are shuffled together by chance, or such as are most refined and polish'd, do best become the beauty of holiness. Add to this: who prays most believing­ly [Page 61] and with a fullest assurance of obtaining what he prays for? whether he that hath deliberated upon, and ponder'd with his heart, the petiti­ons which he offers with his mouth, or he who must either by an implicite devotion give assent to all that comes from the mouth of a gifted brother; or suspend his Amen, when he hears any thing that is inconsistent with reason or the rule of faith? Whilst still the gaping hearers are as much, nay more stinted by such conceived prayers then they are by any printed forms before them. So that 'tis not a form, that can be cavil'd at; but because it is commanded; when that very command lays the highest obligation upon us to that form. Obedience (says Samuel) is bet­ter then sacrifice, 1 Sam. 15. 22. The Levitical law commanded that the firstling of an ass should be redeemed with a Lamb: shall we in the contempt of this command, break the lamb's neck and think that an ass is a more proper offering for the Temple.

When the Temple of Ierusalem had been shut up, and the establish'd worship forbidden there, whilst the high-way religion of Dan and Bethel was onely countenanced, God by the prophet Ieremy in the days of good Iosiah indea­vours to reduce these wandring sheep, Ier. 6. 16. Ask for the old paths (says he) where is the good old way, and walk therein; also he set watchmen over them, saying hearken to the sound of the [Page 62] trumpet, (that trumpet which was of Gods appointment Numb. 10.) but they said we will not hearken. And what was the event, but in the next generation they were swept away in the Babylonish captivity, much of this storie is ours: We have heard the calfs of Dan and Bethel bleat lowder then the milch kine which drew the ark could low; and the trumpets of war have drown­ed the silver trumpets of the Sanctuary. But now by the infinite goodness of God, we hear in the days of our Iosiah those trumpets sound again, and this is the tune they sound, Ask for the good old way, and walk therein. If we like Israelites obstinately refuse to obey this call and voyce of God, take heed of a final captivity, For believe it, Brethren, none run faster to Rome, then those that seem to make most hast from it: And gross Idolatry may, and (I fear) is then com­mitted when we cry out most zealously against it. There may be worshipping of imaginations as well as images, and as they break the second commandment who do worship false Gods, so do they likewise who worship the true God in a false manner. The one setting up idols, give them part of Gods worship; the other keeping back a part of that which the Church requires make idols of themselves.

As for that pitifull objection, that our En­glish service is a collection out of the Popish ritual or Mass-book; I beseech you know, that there [Page 63] were Liturgies in the Church of God before ever the Mass had a name or being; and there was Rome Christian, the Church of Christ, before there was Rome Papal (as ye count it) the seat of Antichrist. Now when the mystery of iniquity did begin to work, the old Liturgy was not abo­lish'd but interlined and blotted with new cor­ruptions: which stains being wiped off the frame and body of it was as beautifull as ever. This then was the work of our most religious reformers, to melt it down to its first purity, and refining it from its dross, to retain nothing but either what is Scripture or deduced from it by the opinion and practise of the Holy Catholick and Apostolick Church of Christ; which thus reformed hath been signed by the attestation of religious con­fessours, and sealed by the blood of glorious Martyrs, those triumphant and undaunted Van­couriers of our religion who have felt the over­flowing joys and power of Godliness in using the form thereof.

But secondly, in the fear of God, Brethren, suf­fer a word of exhortation. And here I beg leave of my reverend brethren of the Clergy, to press this home upon them. Bullinger is of an opini­on, that you are principally intended in this text, you which are instructers of the foolish and teach­ers of babes, Rom. 2. 20. and have [...] a form of knowledge (the word of my text) Oh labour for the power of it. Let your lives confute [Page 64] gain-sayers. [...], let your lives write a comment upon your Doctrine; and be an example to believers (as St. Paul exhorts Ti­mothy, 1 Tim. 4. 12.) in word, in conversati­on, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Epicte­tus laughs at some who were Philosophers [...] [...] drest up in their beards and gowns, but uncase them, under that vizard you should finde licentious Poets, debauchers of youth and corrupters of sober principles. But what need I trace the lives of Heathens? when St. Paul (in the next words to my text) ob­serves those in the bosome of the Church, who under this pretence and form of Godliness creep into houses and lead captive silly women. What use hath been made of Pulpit holiness, we all know, where an opinion of zeal and sanctity once gain'd hath been gloss enough to set off the foulest and the blackest actions; and they which have seemed most devout on the Sunday in the work of the Lord, least they should seem to do it negligently the week after, have dipp'd their black coats in blood. My dear Brethren, those men now call you formalists, formalists for your habits as well as your way of worship. O, shame not your cassocks; be like Simon the son of Onias, Ecclus. 50. make garments of holiness honourable: some of your coats too have had a tincture of blood, the blood of suffering, as Iosephs had; Oh stain them not, that at the first sight [Page 65] your father may say, this is my son Iosephs coat: Remember upon Aarons robe there was imbroy­dered round about the hem a bell and a pomgra­nate, a bell and a pomgranate; the sound of one is good, but the fruit of the other feeds more. Gods herald ought [...] [...] he must do as well as speak, or else he's but the shadow of a preacher: for words are but the shadow of deeds, says Democritus: We know whose motto it is, and from whom he borrowed it, non magna loquimnr sed vivimus: We do not speak well, but we live well. Let others tri­umph in their volubility of tongue and smoothness of language, let them enjoy the reputation of gifted brethren, and let their mouthes overflow with the inticing words of mans wisdome, As for us, Brethren, Vivamus let us live Christians, let Gods Commandments be the text, and our lives the Sermons on it.

The Priest, says our English laws, is daily bound to say divine service, unless he be other­wise lawfully let and hindred: I confess of late we have had too great and invincible hindrances: The paths to Gods Temple have been so over­grown with briers and thorns, that we can hardly hit the way thither now. The mercies of God under the government of our most religious and gracious Soveraign, have begun to pave the way again, and opened the prison doors out of the house of bondage to his service which is perfect [Page 66] freedom, and we hope ere long the sons of Aa­ron will learn to attend upon the morning and evening sacrifice. And wilt thou so often dare to call upon God by the name of, Our father which art in heaven, when thy actions speak thee to be the child of wrath and son of the Devil? wilt thou say, O Lord open thou our lips, when thy mouth is used to do the Devils drudgery in blaspheming the holy name of God? Wilt thou cry Gloria patri, &c. when thou art plotting and contriving those things which may most disho­nour him? 'Tis St. Paul's command, 2 Tim. 2. ver. 19. Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. Sirs religion hath taught us more then barely to name the name, it obliges us to pay adoration to the holy Name: and shall we imitate the accursed Iews, that bowed their knee to Iesus, and spit him in the face? shall we tread the steps of the Tyrant He­rod, who pretended that he came to worship the holy Infant when he intended to kill him. For every scandalous sin which sticks a disgrace up­on our profession, is another stab or wound given to our blessed Saviour.

'Tis the duty of all men to avoyd sin; but the Priest which compasseth Gods altar must avoyd the very appearance of evil. When Ari­stippus was perswaded once in a frolick to dance at a Bacchanal he did [...], he put off his Philosophers robe, and put on an effaemi­nate [Page 67] habit, least his profession might suffer by his laciviousness. O, Brethren ye have found that there are many whose daily work is to throw durt upon you, and make spots in your black coats, and then (as if those spots were le­prous) they have pretence enough to cast you out of the Synagogues: And that they may kill your names if not your persons they will write volumes and Centuries upon you. If there be a­ny here that have outlived such disgraces, make I beseech you, your indeavour to be so eminent in the exercise of vertue which is truly the power of Godliness, that your enemies in the gate may see and confess, that whom they called the scan­dalous, are the scandalized Clergy.

And yet the Clergy are not concern'd alone; the Laity have a share in this exhortation▪ Many among you I know there are who are least for form, and cry up most the power of Godliness. Take heed, I beseech you least what you think to be the power, be not onely [...] a form and bare pretence: We have lived to see a ge­neration of rebellious people (as Isaiah calls them Isaiah 30. 10.) which have said to the seers see not, and to the prophets prophesie not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesie de­ceits: And hence have we had so many blinde watchmen (as it follows chap. 56. ver. 10.) seers which have beams in their eyes and yet will be casting out motes out of their brothers, as our Sa­viour [Page 68] describes Hypocrites: Neglecting the Ordi­nances, and superstitious will-worship (as they call it) and a cursed neutrality or lukewarmness, and such motes as these, are knock'd down in every Sermon with much zeal and devotion; but the beams of sacriledge, and rebellion, and mur­ther, have layn untouch'd for many years; these have been prosperous and thriving sins and al­most adopted into the number of vertues: Thus do the prophets prophesie falsely, and the people love to have it so.

But consider it, I beseech you, seriously, that religion ties you up to an equal observation of all Gods Commandments: And if you finde a convenience in the sixth, seventh, and eighth Commandment, for the preservation of your persons and your proprieties, all the reason in the world obliges you to obedience to the fifth, to honour the King, under whom you have that pro­tection: Consider withall that holiness and righteousness never are disjoyned. And this [...] this Godliness in the text cannot consist without [...] a sacred adoration and reve­rence before him, in a religious observation of his holy days, and awfull respect to his holy places, and a reverential esteem of holy things: What­soever is once made an [...], an oblation to the Lord, such as Church-lands, Church-stock, Church-utensils, leaves the person that shall so sacrilegiously prophane it, an [...] indeed, [Page 69] an accursed person. And they that thus make much of Godliness, that is, much gain by it, make but little of themselves: For though they rob God, they cannot rob the Devil, he will claim his due: he is that merciless servant that will one day take them by the throat, and claim the utmost farthing. Neither will one single act of [...], this Godliness, serve the turn: there must be [...] the power of it, a power of doing it and of continuing so doing too. The lamps of the foolish Virgins made as great a blaze, and burnt as clear, as the wise ones did. But they would soon go out, they wanted oyl in their vessels. Oh, Sirs, labour to get oyl, the oyl of Gods Holy Spirit; labour to fill your vessels, your hearts the seat of life, your heads the seat of reason, fill up your wills and your affections with it, so will your light shine before men: This oyl will blaze in your eyes, 'twill be dropp'd into your ears, 'twill flow out of your mouthes: 'twill supple your tongues, that asking you may receive; 'twill supply your lamps, that seeking by that light ye may finde; and it will make glib hea­ven gates, that knocking they will be opened unto you. In a word if you thus put your power of Godliness into a form, and actuate your forms of Godliness with the power you will proceed from one degree and measure of Godliness to another, till you be made perfect in that state where there is all form and comliness, all power and vertue of it in the highest heavens.

[Page 70] The last use should be St. Pauls words which follow in my text, From such turn away: Touch not such pitch lest thou be d [...]filed. But for as much as onely our High Priest hath been separate from sinners, Heb. 7. 26. that is from the corru­ption of their manners not the conversation with their persons. For as much as the wheat and tares must grow together in the field of the world till the day of harvest, (whatever was dream'd by the Catharists of old, or the Ana­baptists of late,) I shall therefore forbear that, and close all with a word of concernment to this days solemnity.

And here, ye reverend and learned fathers of the law, I shall be as brief as the knowledge of mine own weakness, and your worth does oblige me. It may be expected that out of my text, I should prepare you a Calendar of prisoners; of such as are proud, blasphemers, disobedient, truce­breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, traitors, high-minded, heady, and he like. But this were to tell you what others are, not what you ought to be your selves. And there is something in the words which doth more immediately concern you, which at first ingaged my meditations upon this text. It was said of old, [...] was [...] all vertues are complectively in ju­stice; and the hinges upon which the two tables of the Covenant hang, are so jointed and riveted into one another, there is such a connaturality [Page 71] between holiness to God, and righteousness to man, that they are inseparable. If so; that exhorta­tion follows as a naturall corollary to my text; Take heed of using a form of justice, but deny­ing the power thereof. It was the prophetical complaint, of the greatest sufferer by the malice of Devils and wicked men that ever was mur­thered since our Saviours passion, that blessed Martyr our late dread Soveraign L. the King, that his enemies (to appear more solemnly cruel) would in those greatest Formalities seek to add (as those did that crucified Christ) the mockery of justice to the cruelty of malice: For that he might be destroy­ed as with greater pomp and artifice, so with less pi­ty, he foresaw that it would be but a necessary policy, to make his death appear as an act of justice done by subjects upon their Soveraign, who being sworn and bound by all that was sacred before God and Man, to endeavour his preservation, must pretend justice to cover their perjury. And some of us may remember that in those prodigious tribunals erected in despight of all Law, both Sacred, Common, and Civil, called the High Courts of Iustice, after the nigrum [...], the Clancular Chamber-vote, of who should be offered up and who acquitted, there followed the solemn page­antry of bringing the accused person upon the Stage, as if the merits of his cause should impar­tially be heard, and he be judicially proceeded a­gainst. Ahabs coveteousness and Iezabels cruel­ty [Page 72] had appeared too open, and unmask'd, had there not been a solemn fast proclaimed, in which Naboth must be set on high, and false witnesses sought out to accuse him. And this proved so thriving a wickedness, that it hath been too much practised ever since. But my Lords, as you tender your immortal souls take heed of making justice do the drudgery of private revenge: However ye are called Gods, remem­ber ye shall die like men: And whilst you live take not Gods work out of his hands; venge­ance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord. 'Tis Seneca's rule, non ex formula sed ex aequo & justo judica: the scoles which hang upon the beam of justice are equity and right: A judge must be swayed by no by-respect: He must be like Mel­chizedeck, not onely in name the King of righte­ousness; but in nature too: he must be [...] without father, without mo­ther, without descent: with Saturn the first Law­giver of Crete, he must eat up all his children, not out of cruelty, but impartiality, he must know no relations.

Plutarch tells us of a Statue of Iupiter with­out ears: which denoted justice (says he) which must not be held by the ears by any formal ac­cusation. And indeed if it were enough to accuse, no man could be innocent. Not an upright Da­vid can avoid false witnesses, wch lay to his charge things that he knew not. But my Lords I am so far [Page 73] from wishing a mutilation of justice, that I pray it may never want two ears, of an equal size; that the Defendants plea may finde as much room as the Plaintiffs accusation. Let it be quick-sighted too, to discern what it sees with the eyes, not what it feels with the hands. Let it be [...] a touch-stone to distin­guish between gold and dross, not pardon ravening vultures which bring plundered meat in their mouthes and punish innocent doves which have onely sighs and groanes to relieve them.

My Lords you sit here now by a full Com­mission, and can answer to captious questi­ons of Scribes and Elders, if they shall dare to ask you as they did our Saviour, Mar. 11. ver. 28. By what authority do you these things? and who gave you this authority? You come not here to publish any Manliana im­peria, any Tyrants decrees, or Usurpers instru­ments, any Draco's laws written in blood: You are sent by a Prince whose mercifull condescentions have made him less a King, less absolute, that they may make us more subjects, more obedient. And as our confi­dence is that our good Iehoshaphat hath sent us judges which have the fear of the Lord be­fore their eyes, with whom there is no respect of persons nor taking of bribes; so if you should fail of that trust, you would prove the great­est [Page 74] traytors of all others, you would pull down that throne which is established in righ­teousness.

My Lords the law (of which you are the mouthes) is the line and rule of our actions: Oh, I beseech you [...], remove not the line, do not set it in nearer to some and remove it farther back from others. 'Twas a severe reproof that Anacharsis gave to Solon when he told him that his laws were [...] like to spiders webs which intangled little flies, and sufferd great ones to break through them. It is an old tra­dition, that our English Forum, Westmin­ster Hall is roof'd with Irish wood, which will harbour no spiders. Oh, let not the floor, the Courts of Iustice there be full of Cob­webs, to intangle poor innocent ignorant wretches with niceties and formalities, which those with strong backs easily break through. God does so often and so passionately recom­mend the poor mans case to your Patronages that methinks in one place he seems solli­citous, least pity should make you partial, thou shalt not countenance (says he) a poor man in his cause, Exod. 23. verse 3. that is; if he be querulous and vexatious, and he that dares not steal because of the law, shall under the cloak of poverty steal by the law, and live by rapine and get what he can from o­thers, [Page 75] because he hath nothing to lose him­self: Suidas tells us of a King of Tenedus who ordain'd that an Officer should stand be­hinde the Iudges back, holding up an hatchet pointed forward, as well to terrifie vexatious informers and false witnesses, as to let the Iudge know that he was mortal, if he should under the pretence and form of Iustice wrong the innocent.

But here, I humbly desire not to be mis­conceived. I am far from closing with the Fanatical whimzes of some amongst us who cry out of all forms and legal proceedings, because grounded perhaps upon Norman customs, or couch'd in a language not understood by every high-shoon delver, or whistling carter. That sad and deplorable inter-regnum (if I may so call it) which we had, when there was no King visibly reigning in our Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes, gave us a taste of those innumerable contentions which would arise by translating the body of the law into the English tongue: when eve­ry man would be Plaintiff, Attorney; Counsel­lour, and he hopes Iudge too in his own case. [...]. I reve­rence those of the long robe, and do know that they are the best Protectours of our proper­ties, and estates; their abilities smell of the lamp in those knotty and irksome studies [Page 76] of the laws. But Gentlemen I wish there were not so many left-handed Caelius's among you; whose excellency lies in palliating a foul cause or blackning a fair one. 'Tis a common saying and too much made use of that a bad cause had need of the best Oratour, for a good one will defend it self. And if a­ny thing can stick a disgrace upon the law 'tis this; that after equity, and right, and reason have adjudged a cause, it may be retrived by picking out some punctilio wherein there hath been a miscarriage in the prosecution and for­mality of it. But remember, that God stand­eth in the Congregation of the mighty; he stands in it, and over it too (for so the word im­ports) he does praesidere, he is president, he is Lord chief justice: he is judge among the Gods: judges them here, by a secret sentence, their con­sciences either accusing or excusing every one: And will judge them hereafter, when he hath arre­sted them by his Bayliff death: when the Devils will be Plaintiffs and the Angels Defendants: At that great Assize I mean, when at the sound of the trumpet we shall all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, and every one shall receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whe­ther it be good or evil. God fit us all for that ac­count, &c.

Samuel's Circuit, THE THIRD SERMON.

Preached at the Assizes at St. Edmunds Bury, Iuly 29. 1661. At the request of Sr. Iohn Castleton Baronet, High-Sheriff of the County of Suffolk.


CAMBRIDGE: Printed by Iohn Field, Printer to the Universitie. 1661.

1 Sam. 7. 15, 16.‘And Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. And he went from year to year in circuit to Bethel, and Gilgal, and Mizpeh, and he judged Israel in all those places.’

THE Government of Gods own people, was at this time committed under him to Iudges; neither so loose, that every man durst do what was right in his own eyes; nor so strict, that any man did what was right in Gods eyes. A Mo­narchick Government it was, where one ruled alone: but whether it was all one with the Re­gal, which succeeds in the next chapter, and was differenced from it but in name; or onely a Prae­cursor, an Usher to it, I will not here determine. God had run through many changes; from Ca­ptains, he had given them Iudges, then Priests; then Judges again: as if he did contrive by ex­perimenting [Page 80] several forms, how he might best protect them. And now the best of Magistrates, Samuel, ruled the worst of Subjects, Israel: whether we consider their seditious mutability and desire of change, in the next chapter; or their idolatrous worshipping of Baalim and Ash­taroth, in the former: which caused the anger of the Lord to break out upon them, insomuch that he for sook the Tabernacle in Shilo, Ps. 78. 60. and suffered the Ark to be captivated by the Philistines: the husbands are slain, and the wives miscarry, and the children are named Ichabod: for glory is departed from Israel. 1 Sam. 4. 21.

Yet the Ark (even during the captivity of it) had power enough to triumph over Dagon, and made those of Ashdod, Gath, and Ekron smart for their sacrilegious usurpation.

But at Samuels appointment, the people as­sembled at Mizpeh, and drew water, the tears of Repentance, from the royll'd fountains of their hearts, and poured them out before the Lord, and fasted, and confessed their sins: And then the Lord looked down in mercy upon them, and discomfitted their enemies, who are [...] thunder-strook, astonished; God thunders upon them with a great thunder: He sent—humanas motur a tonitrua mentes: He discharged the Can­non bullets of heaven against them, which smote them until they were all destroyed. And that their late Ataxy and confusion might be redres­sed [Page 81] by the happy establishment of a settled go­vernment, he sets up Samuel over them, who judged Israel all his days; and went from year to year in circuit to Bethel, and Gilgal, and Mizpeh, and judged Israel in all those places.

'Twere too disingenuous to mistrust your ap­plication: Mutato nomine de Te—. This is Eng­lands story; Israel is but our Looking-glass. We have served Baalim and Ashtaroth, even worshipped our own inventions: we have kicked at Gods sacri­fices and offerings, which he commanded in his habi­tation. 1 Sam. 2. 29. We have prophaned the service of his sanctuary, and polluted Gods holy Ordinances. Therefore hath our Ark been ta­ken, and our Eli's have fallen backward and broke their necks: Our maidens have not been given in marriage, and our women have miscar­ried, and their children named Ichabod, because our glory is departed from us. And, notwith­standing that the Philistines have gotten but lit­tle advantage by seizing upon our Ark, for even during the captivity of it, the Dagon of the times fell down before it: and the sacrilegious Ashdo­dites, and Gathites, and Ekronites, who thought to have made it their own possession, found the hand of God heavy upon them, Haemorroide, they have voided blood enough; & propensione intestinorum, and well might they want bowels, who before shewed no compassion; And the prophane Bethshemites, who being common per­sons [Page 82] durst pry into those sacred Mysteries have been smitten with blindness, a spiritual blind­ness, for all the pretence of New Lights within them: yet hath it been more then seven months, more then twice so many years before our Ark could be brought home to Kiriath-jearim, the house of God. But upon the assembling of the people at Mizpeh, and drawing of waters; wa­ters either an embleme of their faith, for the for­giveness of their sins, (as some of the Rabbies say the people cryed out here, evanescant pec [...]a­ta mea ut haec aqua, dele peccata mea; let my sins glide away as this water, wash away mine of­fences:) or waters, a sign of humility (as another, Certè nos sumus coram Te, sicut aqua effusa, Lord we are but like water poured out before thee:) or waters, è puteo cordis (as the Ghaldee Paraphrase) waters drawn from the wells of their hearts, in sorrow and repentance before the Lord: I say when the people fell down and wept before the Lord, God heard the voice of their tears, and exhaled them into clouds from whence he thundred upon our enemies: Even by a miracu­lous power from heaven he confounded them, that we may call the name of the place Ebenezer, and say, Hitherto hath the Lord helped us: He is lapis adjutorii, the rock of our salvation. And least the thunder that hath destroyed our enemies, might still present black clouds of horrour to us, lest the late confusions of war, should still ob­struct [Page 83] our quiet, behold,—limina bellicosa Jani Justis legibus, & foro coronat—: He hath resto­red us Judges as at the first, and Counsellers as at the beginning. Isa. 1. 26. Even Samuels, which may go in circuit from county to county and judge the land in all those places.

The words present you with the first pattern of an itinerant Judge; and in them consider these three parts:

1. The Judge himself, which was Samuel, whose commission was for life: He judged Israel all the days of his life.

2. His Circuit: He went from year to year to Bethel, and Gilgal, and Mizpeh.

3. The Assizes which he kept there; He judged Israel in all those places. These are the stages through which we shall drive in this hours discourse, which will not allow us time, to lodge in them, but onely to bait at them.

1. The Iudge was Samuel: qualified for that dignity after an extraordinary manner: His ex­traction was from Elkanah, a Levite of Ramah-Sophim, so named (says Vatablus) because it was the habitation of Prophets and Seers, and such as were Doctors of the law. His mother was Han­nah, a woman of a religious and a melting soul who notwithstanding the provocations of her rival Peninnah, (For, [...] (says the Poet) make [...] a divided bed makes a divided house:) yet ceas'd she not, de­voutly [Page 84] and constantly, to attend her husband to the solemn feasts at Shilo, there to beg of God a son, whom she might devote and dedicate to his Service. A Nazarite she will make him that no rasor come upon his head: I wonder whence the order of our bald-pate Friers came. The Chaldee Paraphrase, by adding one Aleph interprets it, no terrour shall come upon him; that is, he shall be free from the commands of men, to wait upon God, whose service is perfect freedom. And as she was free in promising, she was not slack in performing, but as God lent her a son, she lent him back unto the Lord, 1 Sam. 1. 28. She resto­red the petition which God had given her, (says the Targum:) and whereas other Levites were not admitted to their ministrations before twenty years of age; She offers him, so soon as he was wean'd, to appear before the Lord, and to abide there for ever, 1 Sam. 2. 18. And he whilst he was yet a childe began to Minister; that is, (says Munster) to study the law, and the knowledge of God, and to sing divine service, and to play upon musical instruments; (For such were made use of, in the service of the Sanctuary) being girt with a linnen Ephod [...], with a surplice if you please; besides a little coat, [...], an embroidered cope, which his mother yearly made him, to wear upon the solemn Festi­vals, And I hope these garments were not Popish in those early days: For thus habited our little [Page 85] Chorister, daily attends upon the holy Ministra­tions in Shiloh.

And this was Samuel's imployment, all the days of Eli: But when the sins of the people had devoured their Iudges, Hos. 7. 7. when the Ark of God was taken, and old Eli (like the state of Israel) was faln backward, and had broke his neck; Almighty God to prevent the mischief of Anarchy and confusion, calls Samuel (now grown a man) to a new imployment; even to the exercise of publick judicature, which he con­tinued till Sauls investiture in the Kingdome, during the space of thirty years. Indeed St. Paul in his sermon at Antioch, Act. 13. 21. drawing up a Breviary of the Jewish story, seems to blend both these Governments together, and assignes 40 years between them: That whereas Samuel exercising his Prophetical office, had at first govern'd Israel alone, and afterward [...], declining under the great burthen of years, he joined his sons in commission with him; after that, by Gods direction, condescending to the importunate desire of the people, whom he could not disswade from their obstinate resolu­tion, he anoints Samuel to be King over them: yet still, as a faithfull counsellour, he ceased not to be assisting to him, till his death; which hap­ned (say the Hebrews) four moneths before the death of Saul; So that he judged Israel all the days of his life.

[Page 86] And now the linen Ephod and little Coat is turned to a purple Robe; and the Stall in Shilo is changed to a Seat in the gates of Ramah, when he judged Israel; where if we look upon him under two considerations farther, I conceive the first part of the Text can point at no more: consider him then in his Individuality, and his Personality: His Individual; he was but one: His Person; this one was Samuel.

1. He was but one: For God is too much a God of Order, to prepare a government for his people with a face looking to confusion. The Pythagoreans thought One to be the Deity, but Two to be the Devil, because it first separates from Unity. And truly, what ever wild notions some fantastick Commonwealths-men have found out, to adorn the Babel of their Oceana's, or Utopian fancies; both reason and experience as well as religion teach us that those frames of Government stand surest which have but one Basis; those reel most which stand upon many legs. An unconstant cowardly Christian is cal­led by St. Iames [...], Iam. 1. 8. one of two souls, two hearts; As if the more hearts, the less courage. I am sure the most tottering states, may be called [...]; the more heads the less counsel. Therefore, says the wisest of men, to whom you may add the wisdome of the Holy Ghost, Prov. 28. 2. For the transgressions of a land many are the Princes thereof. Princes shall I [Page 87] call them, or servants set on horse-back? such as have spurgalld thispoor jaded Nation, where Am­bition, Rapine, Faction, and the study of parts, hath rid us out of breath, whilst the multiplying the number of our masters, hath but increased the baseness of our bondage. Hereupon the Philo­sopher, after he had pondred the strength of arguments on all sides, draws up this conclusion, Ethic. l. 8. [...] Kingdoms and Monarchies are the best of Governments. But what talk I of Philosophy? when St. Austin con­vinces it to be the most natural: For whereas God (says he) created at first many individuals of all other kinde of creatures, as, many horses, many dogs, many birds, and the like, he made but one man, on whom by theright of priority all the descendents of that stock must depend. And He­rodian gives this reason, [...], as God alone is King in heaven, so he allots each par­ticular kingdome upon earth to one par­ticular person. Hand bellè quaedam faciunt duo: Two are too many for some imployments; Ob­serve I pray, in the several changes of the names of the Iewish Government; how God still a­voyded Polyarchy and Aristocracy, when Cap­tains, but one Moses in temporals, one Aaron in Spirituals; When Iudges, but one Othniel; When Priests, but one Eli; When Prophets, but one Samuel: And when for their own ease, [Page 88] they joyn'd others in commission with them, they presently verged to corruption, and decli­ned in their reputation. Thus fared it with Hophni and Phineas in the days of Eli: And good old Samuel found no better success in his two sons Ioel and Abia: For besides the grievance which they brought upon the people, to travel to one corner of the land, to Beersheba, for judge­ment; the Elders of Israel had too just a com­plaint against them, that they turned aside after lucre, took bribes, and perverted judgement.

Let no man object (my Lords) that every Circuit now hath two Iudges, and that you are of the Quorum of a numerous commission. All your authority flows but from one fountain: and al­though the eyes be two, blessed be God, there is but one head: Your commissions come now from Gods vicegerent our Soveraign Lord the King: not from that Chimaera, that many head­ed Fiction: The Keepers (shall I call them? or) the Goalers of Englands liberties. Not long since England might have cryed out as once the Carians did, [...], Too ma­ny Commanders have destroyed me: But now [...]; Blessed be God, that hath set his King upon his holy hill of Sion. And I dare appeal to all sober-minded Christians, in the words of Abimelech, Judg. 9. 2. whether is it better for you, that all the sons of Jerubbaal, which are threescore and ten persons should raign [Page 89] over you, (and so many, they say, that fag end of that reproach of Parliaments consisted of) or that one should raign over you?

But secondly, consider the Person, and this one was Samuel; and this Samuel was a Levite, bred up in Shilo, where he ministred to God, be­fore he was set over the people; and yet no scru­ple was made of the lawfulness of these concur­rent powers: 'Tis strange that Ecclesiastical per­sons should by many in our days be thought so unfit for the exercise of civil power. Eli before him was a Priest, and so was Phinehas too, and yet he executed judgement upon Zimri and Cosbi, the two idolatrous adulterers. A thing never quarrelled at by any nations, Christian or Heathen, before our critical days, when the power of Church-men hath been supprest, that Religion it self might be the more easily prostituted to the spurious fancy of vulgar brains. The Romanes thought Pontifex O. M. was an embellishment of the Imperial titles. Be­fore them, the Aborigines had both powers con­center'd in one person, Rex Anius, Rexidem homi­num, Phoebique Sacerdos. So had the Graecians in their Lycurgus too. Before them the Egyptians united them says Plutarch, [...], witness Josephs father-in-law, Potiphera the Prince or Priest of On, Gen. 41. 45. Before them, Melchizedeck, who was King of Salem, and Priest of the most high God. Thus by Gods own appoint­ment, [Page 90] Deut. 17. 8, 9. the difficultest cases between blood and blood, between plea and plea, being mat­ters of controversie, were brought before the Priests and Levites who must shew them the sentence of judgement. And this was practised in David's days, 1 Chron. 26. 29. when Chenaniah and his sons, of the tribe of Levi, were set over Is­rael, for all outward business, in omni negotio divino & humano (says Vatablus) for officers and Iudges. The same we shall finde in the days of good Iehoshaphat, who set of the Priests, and of the Levites, for the judgement of the Lord, and for controversies between blood and blood, between Laws and Commandments, between Statutes and Ordinances, 2 Chron. 19. 8. And if the Embassey of the Gospel, be more ho­nourable then that of the Law, let not the [...] the Embassadours be more dishonour­ed. Our Samuels are bred up in Ramah-Sophim too, in the Schools of the Prophets, and at the feet'of Doctors: And as their education may intitle them to some talents of knowledge, some [...], so pity it is that they should want the [...] that they should be excluded those offices, in which they may improve them. Sa­muel's first title I know, was to be set apart for the service of the Tabernacle, and he did not seek his temporal power, by any indirect, am­bitious, or preposterous courses, but being called by God, he judged Israel all his life time. [Page 91] And if the favour and grace of the Supream Ma­gistrate (which indeed is Gods call) shall call a­ny Clergy man, to the exercise of any temporal power; let us not quarrel at the preferment of a Priest (as in contempt we use to call them) for in such oblique descants, we glance at the royal prerogative, and either ty up the hands, or questi­on the discretiō of our Soveraigns. And so much for the Person of Samuel, which judged Israel all the days of his life.

2. We have seen the Judge and his commissi­on, proceed we now to his Circuit: He went from year to year in Circuit, to Bethel, and Gilgal, and Mizpeh. Indeed Josephus adds to the story, and says, that [...]: Twice every year passing through the cities, he sate in judgement there. I confess the temper of the Jews was so turbulent, and their nature so seditious, that without two Assizes in the year, their prisons would swarm, and like the Colledge of the sons of the prophets, be too little for them. Witness those unparalleld riots, which we read of in the latter end of the Iudges, where in the short inter-regnum of judiciary power, they fall to Idolatry in families, Burglaries in Coun­ties, and Rapes in cities. And would to God, England were so well tempered, that the justice and righteousness of the inhabitants did not call for judgement as often. But the Original is from year to year, whether once or twice is not deter­mined.

[Page 92] The places whither he went, were Bethel, and Gilgal, & Mizpeh. Bethel signifies the house of God Gilgal Revelation, Mizp. Intention. From whence Rabanus makes this observation, that judgement in the house of God, is to be pronounced not indi­screetly, or with a malevolous soul; but as Scri­pture reveals, and with a good intention, and bro­therly love; and so we must return to our own house at Ramah, to the closets of our breasts, and there give up our selves to Meditation. All this is very true, but too much forced: 'Tis ultra sobrietatem sapere, to be too wise, in fixing such sence upon holy Scripture, as the Spirit of God never pointed at. Lyra's short gloss is much more significant, that he went per loca ad judicandum idonea, to places most fit to hold Assizes in: and such were these, whether we consider the Situa­ation or the capacity of them.

Look upon the site, and you will find Bethel upon mount Ephraim, the navel of the Country: Gilgal and Mizpeh in the middle of the Longitude, So placed that Mizpeh was on the west side of the Latitude, and Gilgal on the East: In the mid­dle, and on both sides of the Country were the Courts of judgement erected.

Again look to the receit of the places, and ye will finde that Bethel after it was honoured by Iacobs pillar, became populous and large: At the return of the Israelites into Canaan it had a King of its own; & was of so great a strength that the [Page 93] children of Joseph were constrained to take it by Stratagem, not by force, Judg. 1. 21. As for Gilgal it was the constant head-quarters, where Joshua pitched his camp: And Mizpeh was the place where all Israel randezvous'd, to expiate the Ido­latry of Baalim and Ashtaroth. They must needs therefore be large and capacious towns, fit for the reception of all that repaired to the Courts of Iustice there. Appointed no doubt for the ease and benefit of the inhabitants, whose charge and pains would have been too great, to have repair­ed to Ramah, the common seat of judgement. Upon which precedent no doubt, our King Henry the second by the counsel of his Son and Bishops, (which was afterward ratified by Parliament au­thority under Ed. the third) appointed Iustices of Eyre, justiciarios itineris, that is, Judges itinerant, to hear and deterwine Pleas of the crown, and pleas between party & party in the several Counties where the facts are committed: That so the notoriety of them may appear, and the chargeable attend­ance upon Law-Suits at Westmin. may not make men think, the remedy worse then the disease.

And now I should have done with the Places, & the Parallel that is run between them and us, if I were not assured that there is something Em­phatical and extraordinary in them; to intitle them to the seats of Justice.

Bethel was at first called Luz, Gen. 28. 19. which signifies an Almond, a rod of which tree [Page 94] God made to flourish miraculously, to shew the preheminence of Aaron in the Priesthood. It was by Jacob dedicated to God, and called the house of the Lord and the gate of heaven, because of Gods gracious appearance to him at that place. After the return of the Israelites from the Egyptian bondage, it was set apart for the worship of God: For there was an Altar, and thither went men up to sacrifice and to pray, even at this very time, as will appear, 1 Sam. 10. 3. by the three men which Saul met there upon that occasion. A place consecrated, by Gods especial presence and manifestation of himself there; according to that of the Prophet, in Bethel invenit eum, He found him in Bethel, then he spake with us, Hos. 12. 4. Yet Bethel the house of God is made choice of by Samuel for the seat of justice. Gilgal was remark­able for the twelve stones, which Ioshua pitched there, in remembrance of the twelve Tribes wch at that place passed over Iordan. It is called the hill of fore-skins, Iosh. 5. 3. from the circumcision which by Gods command was renewed there upon all the children of Israel. There the camp continued till the Passover was celebrated. Nay, so convenient Quarters it was, that for many years after, even to the days of Samuel, from thence they began their expeditions, they ran­dezvous'd there, there they incamped when they renewed the Kingdome to Saul, 1 Sam. 11. 14. Yet in Gilgal in the camp of the men of war is the seat of justice.

[Page 95] Thirdly, Mizpeh is the place whither the people were assembled by Samuel to pray for them, and to expiate their Idolatry. And Ruper­tus is of opinion, that the waters which the peo­ple drew there, had the same vertue which the waters of jealousie had, Numb. 5. 24. which were waters of bitterness to all offenders which drank thereof, and caused the belly to swell, and the thigh to rot; and so discover the worshippers of Baalim and Ashtaroth. Yet even in Mizpeh where an expiation of Idolatry was to be made, was the seat of Iustice.

1. Samuel goes to Bethel, the house of God: The time is come, says St. Peter, that judgement must be­gin at the house of God. 1 Pet. 4. 17. Which words, although they principally reflect upon those per­secutions and afflictions wch shall befall Gods peo­ple; yet have they an eye to those chastisements and punishments wch shall be inflicted upon of­fenders within the pale of the Church. But here I hope neither the Conclave nor the Consistory hear me: should my voice reach either Rome or Geneva, I should stir a Wasps nest. Which pla­ces although far remote from one another, yet in this case are they coupled together by the tails like Samsons foxes, with a fire-brand of sedition between them. Most Scholars know, what Bel­larm. hath wrote De exemptione clericorum à jugo seculari; so he calls the mild & mercifull govern­ment of Kings; 'tis a yoke, an intolerable yoke, wch [Page 96] neither they nor their Proselytes can bear. Where he ties up the hands of the secular power, from executing judgment upon a Clerk, though stain'd with treason or murther, or sins of the deepest die. I meddle not with those priviledges wch Christi­an Emperours and Kings have in their respective dominions given to the holy Church. Let those that have them, plead them. But that by the mo­ral or positive law of God, all Clergy-men should be exempt from all civil sanctions, and the coer­cive power of the Magistrate, is so destructive to Kingdomes, nay, even to Christianity it self, that nothing more. 'Tis that wch Christ never plead­ed: he paid tribute for fear of bringing a scandal upon the Gospel, Mat. 17. Nay, he was obedient to the sentence of death pronounced against him by the secular power, that power wch he acknow­ledged had that authority from him, which was used to his destruction. Ioh. 19. 11. He suffer­ed for us (says the Apostle) leaving us an exam­ple that we should follow his steps: 1 Pet. 2. 21. That is, to suffer and to submit; not [...], to plead an exemption, and then to lord it over others. I, but says Bellarmine the Pope hath ex­empted all Clergy-men, from subjection to secular Princes, that as to them they are not Princes, nor higher Powers. And I pray who exempted the Pope? Why, the Canonists will tell you, that Papa est jure divino directè Dominus totius orbis; the Monarchy, the temporal Monarchy of the world [Page 97] was absolutely and inseparably given to the See of Rome, as a branch of the Charter, which Christ gave to Peter. Why, but what think they then of the Apostles injunction? Let every soul be subject to the higher powers. Rom. 13. 1. That is, say they, Lay-men to their respective Clergy, as sheep to their shepherds, sons to their spiritual parents. Why, but St. Chrysostome makes Eve­ry soul of a larger extent, and fetches in the Cler­gy too, [...], &c. Oh, then by higher Powers (says he) is meant the Pope. Why, but St. Peter interprets it of secu­lar powers, 1 Pet. 2. 13. Submit your selves to eve­ry ordinance of man, for the Lords sake, whether it be to the King as supreme. Oh, says Bellarmine, Eo tempore valde necessarium erat, diligenter mo­nere Christianos, ut Regibus obedirent, ne fidei praedicatio impediretur. (I quote his own words, lest you should suspect that I abuse him.) At that time (says he) obedience to Kings ought dili­gently to be prest upon the people, lest they should stop the free passage of the Gospel. Let heaven and earth hear this, and stand amazed. At that time! What, is the eternal spirit of truth be­come a servant of the Times? Is scripture be­come a Lesbian rule, and bowed to our fancies? But this is the very answer, that a classical Bro­ther gave me, in the days of Englands rebellion, when I pinch'd him with those Apostolical pre­cepts, and asked him whether he thought [Page 98] St. Peter and St Paul wrote true divinity: he an­swered that Paul and Peter wrote seasonable do­ctrine for the times they lived in; were they alive now, when Christians knew their strength better, he thought they would change their copy. Thus the Jesuite and the Covenanter, like men that run in a circle, turn back to back, and run from one another, in a seeming difference, but never cease till they meet face to face and kiss each other.

But some of the brood of Loyola have met with the best confutation, that is, a halter; and have found that a cart at Tiburn is but an ill chair to dispute in; having been justly cut off by those laws from which they pleaded exemption. As for my Consistorial friends, if they repent not, their brother Guthry will tell them, they must expect the same condemnation. For they that travel the same rode, if they keep the same pace must needs come to their journeys end both to­gether.

Indeed so long as the Lemane lake bounded them, they were to be pitied, not to be feared; but, cùm proximus ardet Ucalegon, 'tis time to look about us, when our neighbours house is on fire. If any please to turn over that sober and modest history of Scotland written by the most reverend Archbishop of St. Andrews, he will finde rebellions even to a prodigy hatched under the wings of Religion. There Pont dares tell King James and his Councel, that they do not acknow­ledge [Page 99] them judges in causes Ecclesiastick: which is the cause perhaps, why our brethren now adays leave that clause of His Majesties titles out of their prayers. There will they finde the Mini­sters of Edinborough proclaim a fast, on a day ap­pointed by His Majesty for a solemn feast; and to detain the people at Church, three Preachers make Sermon all day long: And we know who wrote after that copy in England too. In a word (for the raking in this kennel makes it stinke abominably) there Blake audaciously tells the King, that speeches delivered in the pulpit, al­though alledged to be treasonable, cannot be judged by the King, till the Kirk first take cognizance thereof. Did the Priests of Bethel here put in a Declinator (think you) against Samuel? did they appeal to the Sanhedrim, or the Schools of the Prophets? No, though Bethel was the house of God, and so famous that afterward it was made the Kings Chappel, Amos 7. 13. yet Samuel goes in circuit to Bethel.

But secondly, from Bethel he goes to Gilgal, the camp of war. For of old the tents of Israel were no sanctuary for rapine or injustice. When Achan had sacrilegiously stoln the Babylonish garment, and the shekels of silver, and the wedge of gold, Ioshua in the midst of the camp commands execution upon the malefactour, and all of his stock and lineage, and for a perpetual memory of the fact, he raises a pillar and named [Page 100] the place the valley of Achor to all succeeding ages. Josh. 7. 26. That position was not then heard of that inter arma silent leges, the laws must be hush'd where drums and trumpets speak: They knew they fought to establish peace, which could not be, where right and justice was neglected. And where should justice whet her sword with more severity, then where violence and injury may expect most protection? amongst those,—quos arma tegunt, & baltheus ambit; belts and buff coats. The witty Satyrist reckons up all those affronts which a Peasant should meet with in the Romane Camp, in his time; where one eye durst not weep for the loss of another, if a Souldier beat it out. And if any one that had two shins, durst adventure to make a complaint inter tot caligatos, millia clavorum, among so many clubs and clouted shoes, he should onely be heard by a Iudge Advocate, in a Court Martial, where good luck betided him, if his remedy was not worse then the disease. Which makes our Saviour so strict in his advice to Souldiers, Luke 3. 14. That they should do no violence, [...], shake no man. The Metaphor includes much: neither thresh them by beating of them, nor grind them by oppressing of them, nor sift them by extorting money from them. For if once it come to a Quod libet id licet his—God knows where an armed violence would stop. Which begot that admirable edict in Cassiodor; [Page 101] vivant cum provincialibus jure civili, nec inso­lescat animus qui se sentit armatum, quia clypeus ille exercitûs tui quietem debet praestare paganis. An army ought to be a sword and buckler to the Countrey where they quarter. Whether they have obeyed this counsel in after-ages, some have too sadly found. But blessed be God, who hath removed from us Aquilonarem exercitum, Ioel 2. 20. Even the locust and the canker-worm, and the caterpillar and the palmer-worm; the great army which we had sent amongst us, which devoured all the fat things of the land. Blessed be God who hath removed that terrour, that did accompany the name of Souldier, which is now a Protection, not an affrightment. Blessed be God who hath stilled the raging of the sea, the noise of the waves, and the tumults of the people, Psal. 65. 7. Who hath shackled venales manus, such as would dispute no commands: Ibi fas, ubi plurima merces, such as thought good pay, and rich plunder would gild over a bad cause. Those loyal souls which stil are honoured with the title of Souldiers, will no doubt, prove themselves indeed to be the Life guard of their King. For as Iustice supports the Throne, they dare not be so great Rebels, as by any actions of injustice or op­pression to pull it down. They will rather wait upon our Samuels to Gilgal, then obstruct their passage thither.

But thirdly, from Gilgal he goes to Mizpeh, [Page 102] where was the tryal and punishment of Idolaters. I will not here dispute the case, whether the judgement of religious controversies, and punish­ment of offences belongs onely to the civil Ma­gistrate. I am no Erastian: But this I am sure of, That a man of God came in his predecessours days to old Ely, and sadly reproves him for neg­lecting the uniformity and decency in the service of the sanctuary, which he calls kicking against Gods sacrifices and his offerings. And Camius proves it, from the Hebrew Doctors, that this man of God was Elkana the father of Samuel, who no doubt would have been armed with sharper Rhetorick against his son should he have gratified a popular faction in their Schism, or Ido­latry. For a Magistrate is custos utriusque tabulae; he is a Judge both in Laws and Commandments, Statutes and Ordinances, things that concern God as well as man. 2 Chr. 19. 10. And if any defect can be found in our English Laws, 'tis this, that they are more strict to preserve to man his Meū and Tuum, then to God his Suum. That it shall be less hazardous to denyGod (at least consequen­tially) against the first Commandement; then the authority of a petty constable, against the fifth: To worship a horse as the Persians do, against the second; then to steal a horse, against the eighth: To blaspheme God, against the third; then to slander the neighbour, against the ninth: To prophane Gods Sabbaths and Sanctuaries, in abu­sing [Page 103] holy times and places, against the fourth, then to trespass against man, even pedibus am­bulando, by trampling upon his grass, or stepping over his threshold. Mistake me not: It is not my purpose to give a loose to licentiousness, or to think a transgression of the second table is but a petty trespass. I know that without righte­ousness to man, there is no true holiness to God, and a religious Rebel is but a gilded Athiest. But forasmuch as the Poena praesens is that alone, which for the most part strikes a terrour to de­bauched mindes: And practical Atheists, how­ever they have a general notion of eternity, yet seldome apply it, pro hic & nunc in their parti­cular actions, to think of the last Assize, when they shall be arraigned before the judgement seat of Christ, to give an account for what they have have done in the flesh, whether it be good or evil. And forasmuch, as the the putting to death of one malefactour causes deeper horrour, then the story of a thousand Dives's roaring in hell: for in the one, we see the ghastly visage of death be­fore our eyes; whilst the other serves to fill up an empty corner of a stained cloth, where it is so customary, that prophane men esteem it little more then fabulous: Upon these and many other grounds, sober-minded Christians do wish (My Lords) that your commissions were enlarged to inquire more for the Lord against Baalim and Ashtaroth here in Mizpeh. Then should not [Page 104] Atheistical Libertines rant in the streets; super­stitious worshippers of their own inventions should not dare to separate from Gods publick ordinan­ces: prophane stabbers of his holy name, should be indited of murther, for crucifying again the Lord of Life: the thriving sin of Sacrilege would find a snare indeed (as the Vulgar Latine reads it, Laqueus est homini devorare sacra:) to rob God of time or place of worship, deserves a hal­ter: Rebellious miscreants, which spend their lives in sacrificing to the Devil, would finde such severity of judgement here, that perhaps, even Poenae formidine, they might be diverted from the evil of their ways, and not be judged of the Lord hereafter.

My Lords, we have hopes that that religious zeal fills your hearts, which once touched Da­vids, whose eyes gushed out with water, because men kept not Gods law. Psal. 119. 136. And indeed, My Lords, it is time for all to weep, if once God laughs. Because I have called, (says God) and ye refused, I have stretched out mine arm, and no body laid it to heart; I will also laugh at your calamity. Prov. 1. 22. It is time for you, and us, and all the Nation, to draw waters at Mizpeh, and pour them out abundantly, if once God comes to his subsannabo, to have us in deri­sion. His frown is not so terrible as such a Sar­donick laughter. He hath been graciously plea­sed once more to turn that laughter into a smile, [Page 105] and with it, our mourning into joy: He hath thundred upon our enemies with a terrible thunder. But it was not the tears of our repentance, which were sufficient to raise these storms. Not unto us O Lord, not unto us, but to thy Name give we the praise. Our enemies worshipped Ashtaroth: The sins of the Amorites were full: their guile and hypocrisic, their sacriledge and bloud-guilti­ness, their perjuries and treasons made the wrath of God break out like fire against them. And now our storms are scattered, I perswade my self God makes tryal whether the Sunshine of his Mercy cannot court us out of those cloaks, those garments spotted with the flesh, which the blasts of afflictions could not ruffle us out of: whether our hearts of flint will not be broken upon the downy beds of mercy.

For let me seriously put the question: Are we men? [...], born to live under a civil government, such as pretend to honour our gra­cious King? And shall let loose the reins to such facinorous actions, as shall provoke God to number and finish our kingdome? Dan. 5. 26▪ and cast his Anointed once more into exile, out of the land of his Nativity? Consider seriously how Samüel threatens the stiff-necked Israelites, 1 Sam. 12. 25. But if you will still do wickedly, (says he) you shall be destroyed, both ye and your King. Hear this you pretenders to Loyalty, who dare fight against God, as well as for your [Page 106] King: ye are the greatest Traitours to the Crown. Are we Christians? such as took a military oath in our Baptism, to fight Gods bat­tels, against the world, the flesh, and the devil? and shall we prove [...], shall we fight on the devils side, against God? Are we penitent Christians, such as in the day of our ca­ptivity, made many solemn vows and covenants of a better obedience? I do not mean that So­lemn League and Covenant, that covenant with death, Isa. 28. 15. which was not so truly a hold­ing up of our hands to God, as a lifting up of our hands against God. But a promise and profession of devoting our selves and all that God should rescue for us out of the Harpyes talons, to God and to his service. And is this performed by sacrificing all to Baalim and Ashtaroth, to Venus and Bacchus, parta meae veneri sunt munera—to intemperance and uncleanness, to luxury and pro­phaneness? Pardon I beseech you a just indig­nation. Our little cock-boats are tost on the same waves with the greatest gallies, and are in danger of shipwrack sooner; we had need look about us, lest the fluctus decumanus be still be­hinde. Shall after ages say, that they are made Anathema's, cursed in their cradles, cursed be­fore their nativities, because their fore-fathers did not pay their vows? My Lords, you are the Ministers of God, to take vengeanee of them that do evil; Rom. 13. 4. and we hope and believe [Page 107] that you will not bear the sword vain. We could wish your power enlarged; yet still you have a power to be a terrour to evil doers. I beseech you, exerite brachia, make bare your arm, strike at prophane libertinisme as far as your swords can reach. And if your adjudging in Mizpeh will not serve the turn, follow the accursed Agags back to Gilgal, and hew them there in pieces. Thus have we run through the circuit, and yet have not begun the Assizes: The last part, he judged Israel in all those places: of which, a word, and so shall I break up this session.

3. He judged: and how judged he? I answer first negatively: not like his sons, who did [...], (says Iosephus) walk quite contrary to their father, they turned aside after lucre to take bribes, and to pervert judgement. But secondly, affirmatively, from his own challenge, 1 Sam. 12. 3. In general that he had done no injury: whose ox have I taken, or whose ass have I taken? In special that he was not guilty of Fraud, Oppression, or Bribery. Whom have I de­frauded, or whom have I oppressed, or of whose hands have I received any bribes, to blinde mine eyes therewith? The three first of these have piceatas manus: Injury, Oppression, and Fraud have birdlime fingers: now a Iudge should not be an Autolicus. The last, Bribery, hath manus oculatas, hands full of eyes: now a Iudge should not in this sense be like old Isaack dim of sight, [Page 108] but nimble of touch. The time does not per­mit me to enter into a full discourse of these par­ticulars. I shall onely add, that none of these could agree with Samuels temper: Not Injury, as he was a Man; not Fraud, as he was a Pro­phet; not oppression as he was a Magistrate; not Bribery, as he was a Iudge.

First as he was a Man enlightned with the no­ble beams of reason, he would not be injurious. What if beasts and birds and fishes rob one ano­ther? [...], as the wild ass (says the son of Sirach) is the Lyons prey in the wilderness. Wisd. 13. 19. Man must degenerate into beast, he must be homini lupus, if he worry and spoil and plunder another. And St. Iames tells us of a [...], Iam. 2. 8. a royal law that is given us: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thy self. Royal, because dictated by that Magisterial rule of refined nature, right rea­son: And Royal, because inculcated by our King and Law-giver, Christ, Joh. 13. 34. And Royal because a Law given principally to Kings and Magistrates, who should scorn—quocunque modo rem—. To make the Commonwealth their pri­vate gain: and are presumed to have so much already, that they have over-grown that root of evil [...] the covetous desire of having more. Samuel did not desire that he that came to plead at his bar, should bring [...], an ox upon his tongue, as was said of Demosthenes: that is [Page 109] the first: Whose ox have I taken? He did no man injury.

Secondly, as he was a Prophet, he knew what the written law injoyned, Levit. 19. 13. Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour. The simplicity of those holy Seers had never learn'd Lysanders po­licy: [...], to piece out the Lyons skin with the Foxes tail: where strength was wanting to oppress, there wit should supply it with a cheat. He did not set traps or lay snares to catch men, Ier. 5. 27. First contrive plots, and then accuse and condemn others for them. In the next story indeed we finde Saul among the Prophets, and he was frau­dulent enough: But the Chaldee Paraphrase reads it, & insanivit Saul, Saul was mad: And many such mad Prophets we have lived to see, who under the cloak of a sanctimonious life, and a pretence of gifts, have defrauded their poor Proselytes of their estates, wits, liberties, and lives. But know it brethren: Satan is never so purely a Devil, as when he appears an Angel of light. No: Samuel was bred up in Shiloh, and in the causes which he adjudged, he could appeal to the Law and to the Testimonies. He knew the Lord did abhor both the blood-thirsty and deceitfull man. He defrauded none.

Thirdly, as he was a Magistrate, he would op­press none. He knew their dignity set them over others, to protect and defend them, not to tram­ple [Page 110] upon them and oppress them. The fat kine of Basan which dwell in the mountains of Samaria (says the Prophet Amos) oppress the poor and crush the needy, Amos 4. 1. These (says Clarius) are pingues proceres, & delicati principes, qui ad ar an­dum nihil valent, sed tantum ad devorandum, the well-lined Magistrates, which like stall'd oxen are fitter to feed then to work. Grotius interprets the Kine of Basan (in the feminine gender) by the wives of Magistrates who too often give Law to their Husbands, and abuse their authority to sup­port their own pride and haughtiness. If once Ie­zabel be Ahabs instructour, what poor Naboth can keep his vineyard? Samuel no doubt had a wife, else whence sprung Joel and Abia his two sons! But she is not once mentioned, in the holy Page, least she should seem to have a finger in the Go­vernment. Thus Melchizedek is called [...] because his Genealogy is not recorded: So should a Magistrate be [...], he should know no relations, no bosome favourite, which may grinde the faces of the poor first, that he may come af­ter and eat them up like bread.

We may sadly remember the time, when judgement sprung up as Hemlock (as the Pro­phet complains, Hos. 10. 4.) Sicut absynthium vel cicuta, herbs which are green and flourishing, but taste them, and the juice is bitter poyson. What greater flourishes of equity and impartial proceedings, then in those High Courts of Iustice. [Page 111] But those poor souls that tasted of them, found judicium amarae mortis (as the Original signi­fies) the bitterness of death was in them. And let the Prophet Hosea tell you, when that time was: It was when they spoke words swearing falsly, in making a Covenant. And what words do you think they spoke: Even the same that Pharaoh did against the Israelites, Exod. 1. 10. Opprima­mus sapienter, let us deal wisely with them and destroy them: [...] Let us play the Sophisters with them, [...], there's fraud and oppression both united. Of both which the people acquit our Magistrate Samuel here: Thou hast not (say they) defrauded us, nor op­pressed us, 1 Sam. 12. 4.

Lastly, as he was a Iudge, he shook his hands from holding of bribes, as Isaiah expresses it, Chap. 33. verse 15. The word signifies Volam the palm, the hollow of the hand, which others who sell courtesies hold out to receive their gra­tuities; [...] (a speech too proverbial in taking of fees) This he shook, which of old was a Symbol of hatred or disdain.

And Iudges had need shake off such a viper from their hands, which is of such a venemous na­ture, that let it but sting the fingers ends, it pre­sently blinds the eyes. Even the eyes of the wise says Moses, and perverts the words of the righte­ous, Deut. 16. 19. [...], even wisdome it self stoops to advantage, says Pindarus. [Page 112] Oh brethren, how much doth self interest pre­vail in the world! What a perswasive faculty there is in gifts! They do [...]; says the Poet, reconcile heaven, and ingratiate us with all the powers upon earth. What plausible preten­ces the most upright men finde to entertain them! They are but the evidences of a gratefull minde; the testimonies of respect and kindness; the tokens of observance of our loving friends, who either have been benefitted by us, and then that obliges them to to these returns; or hope to gain a good opinion of us, by these arguments of their intire devotion to us. And who can keep his eyes open, when such Sirens charm? Or if any do, it is but one eye, to look upon the person so well deserving; that, that should look upon the cause, the right eye, is quite blinded: But Sa­muel remembred that the people that he judged lived under a Theocracy: God was their King, he but a viceroy. He knew that one day he must come to be judged himself, by that God with whom there is no iniquity nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts: And however justice may be blinded here, the all-seeing eye of Providence is quick-sighted, and will at last bring to light the hidden works of darkness: which made him wash his hands in innocency; and without injury, fraud, oppression, or bribery, judge Israel all his days.

But longum est iter per praecepta, per exempla breve: All preaching cannot convince so much [Page 113] my Lords, as your practise. I may spend the time in teaching facienda, what is to be done: 'Tis you must apply it faciendo, in doing what is taught. You see Samuel after his death still prophe­sies: Eccl. 46. 20. And we hope he prophesies of our days; that God would raise up Iudges like him, men of integrity, fearing God, and hating coveteous­ness: which shall go in Circuit to Bethel and Gil­gal, and Mizpeh, from County to County, from City to City, and judge our Israel in all those places. Wherefore now my Lords, let the fear of the Lord be upon you, for you judge not for man, but for the Lord.



CAMBRIDGE: Printed by Iohn Field, Printer to the Universitie. 1661.



THou art here presented with the Essays of some broken hours: the happiest means in those unhappy times (when they were meditated) to break our griefs, and refresh us in our languishments. For they were composed by the waters of Babylon, where we sate down and wept, to remember Si­ons captivity: Our harps were hang­ed upon the willows in the midst thereof: For when the Sanctuary was shut up against the establish'd service of God, it is not to be imagined that we could sing one of the Lords songs there. That were say (our enemies) to prophane Gods worship, with the Imagery of musick, [Page] and to introduce Heathenish usages into our Christian Temples. I have always thought holy David as great a hater of Superstitious vanities as themselves: and yet I have learned, that it was his daily practise to worship God this way: And if any think that the burden of the Jewish rites was so heavy, that they had need of musick, to cheat the wearisomeness of their service, (as we use to hang bells in the ears of our loaden horses:) let them know, that the simplicity of our Evangelical worship admits of singing too, if two Apostles be not mistaken; And if any should pretend to the Spirit of Revelati­on, to say that this was meant of Hopkins and Sternholds Psalms, I would not cre­dit him.

I have often admired at the Prophe­tick soul of our learned Hooker, who many years since fore-told, that if Puri­tanism should prevail, it would bring in Anabaptism with it. We have seen his [Page] words made good, with the advantage of some score of sects besides, which like young adders (fearing some danger) are crept back into the mouth of the old one and hid themselves. And may they there finde an everlasting tomb, and never come out a­gain, to bite venemously or so much as to hiss at those which are farther off from Images, then they are from worshipping of Imaginations.

These odes were prepared for Cham­ber-musick, which was admirably com­posed by that rare son of Art, and Master in his faculty Mr. Jo. Jenkins that when we might not meet to chaunt holy An­thems in the Quire, devout Christians, might make their houses and their hearts too, Temples of the Holy Ghost. If any wonder at their Pindarick num­bers, he is desired to know that they were designed for vocal Musick, and best fitted for it by often and uneven [Page] cadencies, which would loose its Grace in equinumeral lines. The Glory of God, and Service of the Church, is the onely aim of

The unworthiest of those that wait at Gods Altars, Tho. Stephens.

1. Sunday in Advent. Mat. 21.

HOly procession! from Mount Olivet,
The King of glory rides in state:
Upon an Asses back he's set,
Passing from Bethpage to the Cities gate.
Ye winde-begotten gennets fly,
And turkish mules stand by.
He that bestrides the Cherubims will grace
The silly Foal of an oppressed Ass:
The glad Disciples spread their robes upon her,
And all the way is straw'd wth clothes of honour.
They cast thick branches on the ground,
With which her Temples shall be crown'd.
And all the train
Cry out amain,
And make one song;
Hosanna: Hosanna:
Hosanna from the van we hear,
Hosanna's ecchoed in the rear
Hosanna to King Davids son.
Lord we are silly heavy-laden asses:
But let thy holy Spirit rest upon us;
And cloath us with thy robes of heavenly graces,
Then nothing but Hosanna, Hosanna,
Hosanna shall be heard among us.

2. Sunday in Advent. Luk. 21.

PRodigious day! a day of night!
Darkness surrounds the Orb of light.
The Sun his wonted beams forgets,
And muffled up, at noonday sets.
[Page 122] The trembling Moon though wan and faint,
Her paler cheeks with blood does paint.
And all the Stars do sympathise
I'th falling sickness of the skies:
Well may the nations roar and shriek,
When sea and waters do the like.
Mens hearts do fail for fear: and why?
Na'ure her self begins to die.
But stay! where thickest darkness crouds,
What glorie's that breaks through the clouds!
Heav'ns eye did well to wink: 'twas fit:
For such a beam would dazle it.
'Tis he, 'Tis he: The son of Man
Ten thousand Angels bear his train!
His Trumpets sound so shrill and clear,
That quick and dead the noyse do hear.
When Iudah's Lion roars, he'l make
The beasts of all the earth to quake!
Blest Saviour! mayst thou be thus
Lion to them, but Lamb to us.
Lift up our heads, now draweth on
The time of our redemption.
Adopt us thine: Make us thine own,
Joint heirs of promise with thy son!
Lions we know, if we be such,
Will none of the blood royal touch.

3. Sunday in Advent. Mat. II.

VVHat riddle's this? Does Iohn begin to doubt?
Do prisons shut him in & shut faith out?
Or does Christs Herauld wth his finger point & say,
Behold the Lamb of God and look another way?
[Page 123] Triumph Herodias! He that did reprove
Thy softer measures (trod to please thy Love)
Now cannot keep his ground,
But he himself turns round.
The people troop to th' wilderness, and finde
Nought but a reed there, shaken with the winde.
Pardon great Prophet, this false theme
Thy Sacred ashes does blaspheme.
Such temporizing in Kings houses dwells
Not clo [...]h'd with Camels hair in Hermets cells.
Thou, more then Prophet, didst fore-see
How thy Disciples faith would die with thee:
Unless the King of life and glory
Would quicken it with a living story:
The blinde do see, the lame do walk;
Lepers are cleans'd, the dumb do talk;
Deaf hear, the dead to life are brought;
The poor receive the Gospel taught.
Sense may instruct their faith, and make it clear,
When Nature's at a loss, God does appear.
Lord! we are leprous, blind, dumb, deaf and lame:
But thy Almighty power is still the same,
Come Lord, and work another miracle,
Raise our dead souls to life, to heav'n from hell.

4. Sunday in Advent. John 1.

IT dawns; the day-star's up, and hasts to greet
The rising of the sun.
The Cryer calls; the Court will straight be set
The Iudge is coming on.
[Page 124] Strange Cryer this
That chose a wilderness
Before a populous town:
Was it because
His Lord and master chose
A manger for his Throne?
Oh no! The Ox and Ass have known,
Their masters crib to be their own:
But man alone
Alas! knows none.
Well suits a wilderness with beasts of prey
When man has made himself more beast then they.
The foolish Iews blind with credulity,
Mistook this harbinger their King to be:
A burning and a shining light was John;
They straightway thought this light to be the sun;
Thus children bow
To th' Heraulds gilded coat
And do not know
The Prince behinde does ow't
John was not the Messias
Nor was he that Elias,
Nor Moses's Prophet which they long expected:
In power and word, though he
Elias well might be,
And more a Prophet then e're Jew rejected.
Those prophesied upon the earth
He prophesied before his birth.
They things to come did teach,
He present truths did preach:
[Page 125] By faith they saw Messias to adore him:
But none beheld him cloath'd with flesh before him
Lord! may his shining make us burn;
His burning make us shine in turn:
Let us prepare thy ways by him made known,
And smooth thy paths by making straight our own.

Christmass day. John 1.

THe shortest day has found the longest morn,
Which dawn'd in Abrahams days but now is born
A day so glorious that the backward sun
Seeing such lustre thought his work was done;
And rose so late,
As out of date.
The feather'd Quire of heaven, did clap their wing
And tun'd this Carol then;
All glory be to God on high, they sing,
Peace and good will to men.
Yet these high-soarers stoop to pry
Into this days great mystery:
When the eternal God in time begun,
The Virgins Maker was the Virgins son.
The King of heav'n at's birth
Becomes a Pilgrim on the earth.
The word grows flesh; A Virgin proves a Mother
God-man is one, united both together.
This news first to the Shepherds came
Well might the Shepherds seek a lamb
The Lamb of God; white innocence; yet so
As he's a lamb, he is a shepherd too.
Mysterious truths, time in these changes keep:
The lamb turns Shepherd, shepherds are his sheep.
Great Shepherd of our souls; Enlarge thy folds
Let Heathens hear thy Lure:
Keep Wolves and Foxes thence; Be thou our fence,
That we may feed secure.

St. Stephens. Mat. 23.

HOw soon the Heav'ns orecast! the sun is fled
And hides his glorious head.
The King of Martyrs yesterday did rise;
Now the first Martyr dies.
This is the chequer'd state of Christians, where
As many blacks as whites appear.
Rare beauty this! in whose sweet face
Blood mix'd with white does add a grace.
The stony hearted Jews
Do as they use,
Treating Gods Prophets without love or pity;
Some they do kill,
Others they serve as ill,
With scourges, taunts, and casting out oth' City:
These men of God are things contemn'd, abhor'd:
They truly bear the burthen of the Lord.
Ingratefull Jews! requiting ill for good!
From Abel unto Zacharias
Th' uhappy son of Barachias
This crimson sin
Is still of kin,
And all the Prophets are allied in blood.
Yet blessed Stephen! their forward zeal
To wound thee, teaches them to heal.
They in a ring about thee tread:
[Page 127] This ring's thy Crown of glory:
And all the stones thrown at thy head,
Are pearls to deck thy story.
Thou saw'st heav'n open: their rude blows begin
To pelt thee hence, and make thee enter in.
Lord! Let the mischiefs plotted by our foes
Prove our advantage in the close.
Thus shall we bless our persecutours, and
When we are wounded kiss the wounding hand.

St. Iohns. John 21.

Make room:
And let the friend o'th' bridegroome come.
Prepare your chaplets, strew the ground
With roses, let the doors be crown'd:
But till the bride be deck'd and drest,
Let his beloved lie in's breast.
Thou lofty Eagle! who do'st soar on high
And view the sun with an undazled eye!
Great Prophet! great Evangelist!
Apostle! Doctour! how does Christ
Heap all these offices upon
His fav'rite Iohn?
And justly: for none of his minde could say
So much as he, that in his bosome lay:
Great Martyr too! for sure he died
Under the Cross, when's Love was crucified.
No; He of all the twelve escap'd the Cup
Which they drunk up.
Their faith when Iesus dyed, was at a loss:
Yet they found death by flying of the Cross.
[Page 128] He staid and gave to death a foyl
By taking shelter, where
The Devils arrows did recoyl
And could not wound him there.
Thus he outlives them all; nor could he die
That did partake so much Divinity.
Patmos can't starve his soul: He feeds upon
High revelation.
Nor can he in a tub of oyl expire,
Oyl will not quench but feed his fire.
Yet having long maintain'd the Churches cause
He yields at last to Natures laws.
Blest Saviour! inflame our souls with love
To thee above:
So shall we in thy bosome rest
At thy eternal feast.

Innocents day. Mat. 2.

HArk! what a groan
Ecchoes from Ramah town?
Babes and Mothers shriek together,
Cries confounding one another;
Peace Rachel, peace; thy childe will sleep anon;
Sing Lullaby! Alas all comfort's gone!
He soon will sleep eternally, I fear:
The Spear-men have advanc'd him
And on their pikes have danc'd him
Poor infant! how he springs
And flings
And clings
About the spear.
[Page 129] Brave Herod! nobly done!
Thy valiant men of war are gone,
To bring home gallant spoils.
A troop of horse will try,
One charge against this infantry,
And their weak mothers wiles.
He will spare none,
Who will not spare his own
'Tis better being Herods swine then son.
Sure he's about
To offer some infernal sacrifice:
Where nothing will suffice,
But blood and milk pour'd out.
Go pretty babes! go take your flight
Ith' milky way, that's like you, white:
And to the Angels lisp this story,
Herod mistook you for the King of Glory:
Nor was he much mistaken since
He dwels in pretty innocence.
Your fellow-babe now into Egypt flies
You've found a nearer passage to the skies.
These babes and sucklings Lord, declare thy praise.
Their wounds are mouths to celebrate thy name.
Make their blood milk to us, to feed and raise
Our faith, and strengthen us to do the same.

1 Sunday after Christmass day. Matth. 1.

VVhat! grown suspicious, Ioseph, & afraid
Of false play in the holy Maid!
She is all ice, of such a frozen carriage
'Tis wondred she could thaw to thoughts of mar­riage.
[Page 130] Mark her retirements, view her company:
'Tis onely God and She
God in her womb, God in her heart,
God overshadowing every part.
Angels, 'tis true, have been her guests
But knows no other Gossips feasts.
She and Elizabeth the Baptist's mother,
Met to congratulate each other,
And by the way
Stept in to pray
And pay
Religious duties which she ow'd
To th' temple, when her childhood was bestow'd.
Oh fully not her innocence
With giving scope to jealous sense:
Where clouds ingender 'tis the impure air;
But heav'n is clear.
Think not of putting her to death
From whom the Lord of Life takes breath.
Make haste to Bethlehem; 'tis the year,
Augustus tax
Commands each sex
In their own city to appear
There shalt thou finde a Saviour, that comes
To discharge all sums.
Call his name Iesus, it is he
Will pay the price for lost humanity.
Sweet Iesu, name of Goodness, name of Power!
A name to which Angels and Men shall bow!
[Page 131] Make good thy Name, and be our Saviour:
Sweet Iesu, Holy Iesu, Blessed Jesu; save us now,
And evermore.

Circumcision. Luke 2.

Open the Temple door:
The King of glory eight days old
Shall enter in;
And cast his shine
More rich then Oriental gold
Upon the sacred floor.
The holy pavement turns all ruby, where
The precious drops of his rich blood appear:
Go call the Priest,
And him that doth assist
Bid them be cloath'd in all their richest vests
To entertain unusual guests.
Sharpen their knives; for what they do
To th' foreskin, shall cut off their office too:
Let them set up, the Circumcising stone,
A bound to Legal rites, which now are done:
The holy infant bleeds: This blood, of Christ!
Drowns Levi, but anointeth thee a Priest
Henceforth thy Name is Jesus; 'tis decreed
Thou art no Saviour untill thou bleed.
Lord, be thou still a Priest and circumcise
The foreskin of our hearts, mouths, ears, and eyes,
Cut off our base affections, carnal sin:
And let new lives with the new year begin.

Epiphany. Mat. 2.

A Star points out the Sun, and does display
A much more glorious day,
Then ever yet did rise ith' East:
So bright a day that wise Astrologers
Which gaze at other stars,
Fall down and worship at this feast.
Kings of Arabia and Saba bring
Gold, frankincense, and myrrhe, to a greater King:
And Persia as it did before,
The rising sun does still adore.
Great Babe what need hast thou of Gold?
Thy sacred bosome doth infold
Rich Mines of Treasure: From thy garments comes
The smell of Aloes, Cassia, Eastern gumms
Yet though thou needest none, thou'rt pleas'd to take
Those poor oblations which our duties make:
The Sea doth want no water, yet receives
That tribute which the little River gives.
These are the Gentiles first fruits, who
Were ne're so much Wise-men as now.
This light enlightens them, who could divine
That God took up that Inn where a Star's the Sign.
Lord! let thy beams attract and guide our minde;
Then soul and body shall be offer'd thine;
And we vile clay which can no value hold,
Stamp'd with thy Image shall be currant Gold.

1 Sunday after Epiphany.

Haste, Joseph, to the solemn feast
Hierusalem wants such a guest:
[Page 133] Take Mary and the Holy Boy;
Teach him betimes to know the way
To th' Temple where hereafter he
Both Priest and Sacrifice must be.
As ye return tell him that he
The shadows of himself did see.
But stay: where is he? 'tis a day
Since first we mist him on the way.
We have search'd all the Caravan,
Amongst his kinsfolks man by man.
Is he fall'n weary, faint, or lame?
Has Herods cup devour'd the Lamb?
Back to the Temple, walk the round;
There Christ most likely will be found.
Among the Doctours him behold,
Advanc'd to th' chair at twelve years old.
The Temple-porch where's wit doth flow
Was never Beautifull till now.
This little Disputant confounds
The Scribes with all their learned grounds.
Their scarlet robes begin to blush
To see the Doctours non-plust thus.
So little David hath orethrown
The great Goliah with a stone
Doctours to School again are brought
Where by a childe they must be taught.
The gaping multitudes amaz'd
To hear his wisdome flow so fast:
Nay his own Parents could not gather
His meaning of another Father.
Lord thou the weakest things hast crown'd,
That they the mighty should confound:
Make bare thy arm, and shew us how
To foil the wise, or make us so.

2 Sunday after Epiphany. John 2.

HAng up your rosie garlands ore the doors,
Crown all the pots with flowers:
Let choicest wines invite
The duller appetite
Let the sweet timbrels sound,
And dances fill the round:
Soft Airs and choicest measures well become
This wedding feast
Where such a guest
Is come,
Iesus and his Disciples with his Mother!
Sure heav'n and earth have married one another:
Welcome: drink freely: drink all up:
'Tis best behinde still: Fill the cup:
And fear no want: That table shall have more,
That entertains the author of our store.
He that at first made water, can as well
Change it to wine too, by a miracle.
This is the hour
To shew his power
The Elements obey,
When he a charge does lay.
He that once turn'd the Seas to blood
Can turn't to wine, if he see good.
[Page 135] Nay by a greater miracle he can
Turn wine to his own blood, to nourish man.
Lord! thou'rt a spring of goodness, thou hast made
Our cups to overflow, hearts to be glad:
But whilst that others of new wine do boast,
Let us be filled with the Holy Ghost

3 Sunday after Epiphany.

THis day strange miracles do crowd together
Leprous and palsick justle one another
Diseases try
Which first can die,
And strive to bury their own name
So to advance the Doctours fame.
The Leper first, who could not stand,
Falls down and riseth perfect man.
He whose infection once made others such
Is cur'd himself by the Physitians touch.
Thus he is cleans'd; and now
Our Leper is as white as snow.
What needs the blood of lambs to dip
The tip
Of's ear or thumb, or toe?
Here is a lamb whose blood
Is good
To wash him clean all over too.
Yet though diseas'd, he could to th' Doctour come:
The palsick man was kept benum'd at home.
Onely he found a spokesman for his cure:
Although he shook, his Masters faith stood sure.
Happy Centurion who by a new-found Art
[Page 136] Denying God
To make abode
Under his roof, did lodge him in his heart.
Lord! all these maladies in us are summ'd
Our souls are leprous, and our hearts benumm'd.
Stretch forth thy hand, thy touch will make us well
Or speak the word, and 'twill thy servants heal.

4 Sunday after Epiphany. Matth. 8.

SLeep in a storm! Sure 'tis a calm within:
Sleep will not fan that soul that's tost in sin.
Winde stole a play-day, and the revel's kept,
Whilst their Lord and Master slept:
The waves do daunce and skip upon the boat,
Which now without a Pilot cou d not float.
But he awake
And when he spoke
The waves attentive sate to hear
And the windes durst not breath for fear.
The glad Disciples now were past the shelves,
Whose faith had been nigh shipwrackt like them­selves.
But being landed there they finde
A worser tempest was behinde.
As winds, imprisoned in the Earth, break out
With violence, and tear the rocks about.
The Prince of Air shut up among the tombs
With raging force and horrour comes.
Yet seeing's Judge, he fears lest without bail
He be remaunded to a worser goal:
Which to avoid, he chose to enter in
A herd of Swine.
[Page 137] No reason, why the superstitious Jews
The flesh of swine should now refuse.
For these were drown'd; But still he does as much
And entring in their hearts, he makes them such.
Lord! we are swine, which wallow in our sin,
And need a sea to wash and bath us in:
Yet 'tis no sea can cleanse us, 'tis no flood
Can wash us white, but thine own precious blood.

5. Sunday after Epiphany. Mat. 13.

PLow up your fallow grounds; prepare your hearts
And all your nobler parts.
This is the season, when the husbandman
Good seed will sow
To grow
And flourish spritely in the heart of man.
But sleep not: for the enemy prepares
To scatter tares
Which will choak up the seed.
Nothing grows sooner then an evil weed.
He knows Gods field,
If well manur'd, a fruitfull crop will yield:
Therfore some envious man he does suborn
To scatter cockles, and root up the corn.
Thus Heresies spring up,
And many times pure doctrine do ore-top.
Adam in Paradise could not be free,
But found a serpent lurking in the Tree.
Nay heav'n is not secure, ev'n there he try'd
With a successfull hand to scatter pride.
[Page 138] Thus wheresoever God a Church does plant
The Devil there his Chappel will not want.
Lord! whilst we sleep, Satan his tares doth sow
Within our hearts, where better corn should grow.
But do not weed us up: Oh spare the field,
Which but a sprinkling of good wheat does yield.

Septuagesima. Mat. 20.

Why stand you idle, now 'tis day?
The morning blushes to behold your stay.
The vines want pruning, the young shoots are grown
Luxuriant, and the hedge is broken down
The day grows hot, so don't the work:
Some loyt'rers still ith' street do lurk.
'Tis noon
And all yet are not gone:
'Tis better doing little work then none
The sun declines
Yet still he findes
Some lazy in the market: He has done
Most of his work, when they have not begun.
'Tis but an hour to night
You that come last, work hardest: is it righ [...]
Others should bear the heat oth' day
And you expect an equal pay?
'Tis so: the morn, third, sixth, ninth hours all one
Gods pay is sure, when as his work is done.
The Baptist had an early call
In's mothers womb before 'twas light:
Samuel a childe, Peter a man;
Gamaliel when 'twas growing night:
[Page 139] All have their wages, no abatement made:
The earnest penny till the whole be paid.
Lord! we have loyt'red, the eleventh hour is run
And many have not yet thy work begun.
But when thou call'st us thou accept'st the worst,
And pay'stalike the last as well as first.

Sexagesima, Luke 8.

VVHat price fond men on empty Nothing set,
Whilst the true riches they forget!
The naked Indian following his rich mine,
Digs down to hell his heav'n to finde.
The parched Negro dives ith' deep to own
The seeds of pearl which there are sown.
Whilst we more naked and more black then they,
More precious seeds, do cast away.
Some falls ith' high-way, which the birds do eat:
The Devil steals this heavenly meat.
Some falls on stones wch without moysture dies:
Hard hearts have seldome bubbling eyes.
Some falls among the thorns which choak it up.
Cares our religious duties stop.
Some falls on lusty ground which laughs and sings
And fruit an hundred-fold it brings.
Lord we have high-way hearts: chase thou away
As Abraham did, the birds of prey:
We're rocks; like Moses broach us, we're all thorn
Stub us and make us lusty corn.

Quinquagesima. Luk. 18.

HArk! whata shrieking the blind begger keeps?
The high-ways and the streets do ring,
The walls of Iericho ecchoing
With his shrill cryes;
As if his eyes
Which could not see, were onely made to weep.
Take pity on me David's son!
Oh son of David hear my moan:
Open my eyes, 'tis thou art he
That mad'st the eye canst make it see.
Blinde though I am, my faith discovers clear
The son of Iesse passeth here.
Oh! Iesu pity me, make it appear
Although I want mine eyes, thou hast an ear.
Have mercy on me Davids son!
Thou hast the eye-salve, or there's none.
Such shrieks and cries
Will pierce the skies,
And where the eyes be out will stick a star.
They are not blind, whose faith can see so far.
Blest fountain of all goodness! thou do'st see
We are as poor, we are as blinde as he.
Yet can we but cry after Thee, Oh then
Our faith will help us to our eyes agen.

St. Andrew. Mat. 4.

COrd your nets faster, stronger tackling get,
And bigger mashes set:
The draught which next you'l make,
Will be a better,
And a greater,
[Page 141] Then any which you formerly did take.
The Sea in which these nets are to be hurl'd,
Must be the boystrous, foaming, raging world,
Where envious billows dance and skip
Sometimes o'reset the fishers ship,
Who is himself
Lost on a shelf.
'Tis not the scaly legions of the Seas
That must be taken in such nets as these
'Tis men are they
Must be his prey:
Though all the cords were fetters, every bait
W [...]re bitter pills, though every hook that's laid
Were two-fork'd crosses, yet at such a draught
The onely danger is not to be caught.
Thrice happy fisher-man
If, by fine art he can
Fishing for others this advantage get
To catch himself in his own net.
Our cares are nets, O Lord, which daily rend
With dragging riches: These we daily mend
For second draughts. But could we follow thee
And leave our nets, though caught we should be free

St. Thomas. John 20.

CAn sense instruct our faith? shall purblind eys,
Or the dull touch reach heav'ns great myste­ries?
Bold fingers! can you hope
To feel the way
Where faith doth stray
And in the dark doth grope?
[Page 142] Happy for man that God a body took
Had he all spirit been
Where nothing could be seen,
Where should poor Thomas for a Saviour look?
Creatures at first without an ear,
And yet unmade, his voyce did hear;
And at his call
Attended all
Both touch, and taste, and nose, and ears, and eyes
May all be scouts for faiths discoveries.
What mercy doth in God abound!
Whose blessed-side pierc'd with a spear
Opens a door in every wound
For faith to enter there.
That finger, which hath prob'd thy Saviour may
Now spread it all abroad;
And with the Baptist point and say
Behold the Lamb of God.
Thus if quick sense improv'd aright had been,
Faith might be of things felt, although not seen.
Our sense is dull, O Lord! else what the touch
Did unto him, our taste would do as much
Imprint thy wounds upon us; make thy blood
Rellish t'our souls and that will be as good.

Conversion of St. Paul. Acts 9.

RIding o'th' Devils errand, in the road
To Damasco and to Hell.
Our new Convert meets with God.
Whilst his pockets stufft with Letters
Speak nothing else but bonds and fetters
[Page 143] To proselytes, which dare
The ways of truth, or like it well.
Glorious rayes about him dart,
Which the noon-day's sun out-vies;
Rayes more bright▪
Then ten days light:
Yet these throw night
Upon his eyes.
Whilst a new day-star's risen in his heart.
Miraculous mercy! such a clap is given
As strikes to earth, but makes rebound to heav'n.
'Tis heavenly lightning onely can
Destroy the persecutour, save the man.
Such beams above, point out that soul a place
That's ravisht thus by th' violence of Grace.
Now may the pretty lambs
Frisk and play about their dams
The flocks may feed securely without fear,
When Wólfs turn shepherds, dogs can't worry there.
Shine on us, Lord, with an enlightning ray,
Make chosen vessels of our lumps of clay.
We're riding post to Hell, use violence
Sweet Iesu to our souls, and drag us thence.

Purification of Mary. Luke 2.

Open the Temple gates
The King of glory shall come in:
Whose Virgin-mother dedicates
Her first-born spotless without sin.
[Page 144] Holy to God he's offer'd up, who is
God too himself, Temple and Sacrifice.
For till his sacred person did appear
The Holiest of Holies was not there.
He's the first-born of every creature,
Of's Fathers brightness an eternal ray
Drest up at length in humane feature,
That what man forfeited, a Man might pay.
The holy Virgin little thought
She brought
A God to God, a Temple to the same.
Her turtle-doves she might have spar'd
Who had
Richer oblations, an unblemisht lamb.
This Agnus Dei is in old Simeons arms
An Amulet against the worst of harms.
Good man! his course was well nigh run
By the first-rising of the Sun.
He wipes his eyes, which ne're saw light before,
Wishing to see it still, or ne're see more.
Thou wast presented pure, O Lord! whilst we
Impure and stain'd present our selves to Thee.
Oh hear our hearts, our turtles groan; or please
To take a lamb thy self in stead of these.

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