THE COBLERS SERMON Cryed downe, as a Cruell Cup-shot Counterfeit: OR, THE SUMME OF Mr. Humfrey Vincents Sermon, as it was Preached and Penned by his owne mouth and hand. Confuting the Matter and confounding the Authour of that base-blasphemous Pamphlet called The Coblers Sermon. Mr. Vincent who hath been a Preacher these five and twenty yeares, preached these two Sermons at Saint Georges Church in South­warke in the yeere 1641. The one on Friday the 10. the other on the Lords day, the 12. of December in the mor­ning.

LONDON, Printed for George Higgins at Crowne gate in Saint Toolles Street in Southwark. 1641.

To the HONOURABLE House of COMMONS, now assembled in PARLIAMENT. And namely, To the right Worthy, and Wor­shipfull Gentlemen, Mr. Humfrey Salloway, and Mr. Robert Goodwin; His Majesties Ju­stices of the Peace: Two Mem­bers of the said House.

Right Grave and Gracious Senators,

I Am become so farre presumptuous (let any man say sawcy, if I may not say submissive) as first to pre­sent before you all these two ensu­ing Sermons: because (the case and cause considered) I am not in the present passages particular, personall, private; but the Church of Christ amongst us; hath herein also concernments, for the setting and setling whereof I see you both studdy and struggle. For (marking both the man and the matter, I meane both my self and my Sermon, my trade and that which I taught) an information herein lies before you, what lyes are brought oftentimes to you, when you are infor­med that (now) such persons preach, and such are the [Page] points they preach on. For you Two, Right Worthy and Worshipfull friends and favourers; I am thus bold to know you by name, now mine owne case is come unto the Stake, as well as Christs cause is come upon the Stage; because the one of you, as you have above twenty yeares since heard mee preach divers Sermons, so I doubt not but divers times since that time you have heard, that I have constantly continued in the very same course of publike preaching. The other of you can be best of all instructed, that I did not preach these Sermons untill I was importuned. Yea, I doubt not, but it hath beene told you, that it was told me by an house like the house of Cloe, how wicked and willfull were the most of those people, to whom I delivered this Text which hath such terrour and thunder in it (ha­ving no thought concerning my Soveraigne, but of loyall and thankfull subjection) and that on the same day in the morning, in which I preached the first of these Sermons, I preached to another kind of people, other kinde of matter, that is more pleasing, and so more proper. Now the God of Heaven (yee God on the Earth) guide you and guard you, give you counsell and give you comfort; do great things and good things for you, doe great things and good things by you, for his owne praise, which he gives to no man; and his peoples peace which he hath left as a legacie to them: So prayes he who prayes your pardon, if not your Pa­tronage.

To the honest, holy, humble, hearty one,
To them, to each of them, to them alone.

BEloved Friends: Mr. Calvin telleth us that Saint Luke rendreth such a reason for the writing of his Gospel, as a man would have thought would have taken him off from writing any Gospell it all. Calvine on Luke 1. at the beginning. And I must render such a reason of my staying yet in London, as a man would imagine would make me fly and forsake London, that is to say, because my person and my preaching was so [...], the 12. of December. After two Sermons preached there, the one on Friday, the 10. and the other on the Lords day, the 12. of the same Moneth; a pack of wicked, wilfull worldlings inhabiting within that place, or Parish, gave out in Print, that I was a Cobler (I am glad they did not call me Dawber, let no man say I meane or meddle with, or mention a Mason) and broached sundry Blasphemies (I beleeve in the Taverne the same houre in which I preached in the Tabernacle) calling them the Coblers Sermon preached in Southwarke in Saint George his Church, on December 12. And that it was preach­ed by a Cobler of Holborne. Now as I who then preached a Sermon there, am no Cobler, nor ever was so, nor of any other Trade mechanicall; so I did not preach in that Sermon any thing at all for matter or manner, that hath any correspondence or coherence with that more then pestilent Pamphlet; which thing as they that heard it have desiredly put their hands to, so (to make it more plain and perspicuous) I am compelled to put pen to paper, and then to put in print the same Sermon (I meane the summe and substance of it) as it came through mine owne mind from mine owne mouth. That so this being com­pared with that lying libell, the contrariety that is betwixt [Page] them may appear to all that run and reade them. And as I pro­test that I am no Cobler, nor of any other trade whatsoever (I think few in the world have spent fewer houres in things of the world, or have so little skill in managing outward mat­ters, I speake this to my very shame) So I professe that here you have it directly as I handled it, I mean the summe and substance of it, the particulars or passages in it. Pray for mee and my Brethren of the Ministery, that the Word of God may have free passage, and that we may be delivered from unrea­sonable, and unruly men; for I see by most evident experi­ence that all men have not Faith. And thus praying the God of Glory to make us able to bear reproaches, and carefull to reape some good from them, I commend all the Israel of God to the onely God of Israel; and abide an unworthy Preach­er, and your faithfull Friend.

BE Packing Lyars, look not hereupon;
This work shews VINCENT is not such an one
As you give out; this proves that he is not
Cobler, or Mason: No such dawbing sot
Speaks so divinely, so distinctly, so
Directly. But why said I Pack? youle goe
As farre as Dover: (yea youle fly away
As fast as you ran out, and durst not stay
When you had heard his former Sermon: and
Saw him (to preach the latter Sermon) stand
Vpright ith Pulpit, when by this you see
Your pack of Knavery: yet be rul'd by mee.
Stay, and aske him forgivenesse; least hereafter
Such curelesse anguish doe succeed your laughter;
As none but he can helpe you under God,
When he shall whip you with that three string'd rod
And then you cry: Thou Galileans Friend,
Thou hast orecome us we are damn'd ith end.
Vicisti Galilaei, was his song,
Julian the Apostate.
And such an one will be your tune ere long.
And he that lives to see it, then will say,
Vincent hath got the conquest and the day;
Vnlesse you cry in middest of your woe,
Forgive us Lord, for wronging Vincent so;
Which thing I know he chiefly doth desire,
And then Gods greatnesse, goodnesse will admire.
R. S.

To all my Friends in St. GEORGE his Parish in Southwarke.

Mr Friends (for I suppose I've some such there)
Profit (I pray you) by these Sermons here,
And I will pray that God who must doe all,
Would make his Spirit on your spirits fall;
That so in truth, and spirit you may doe
What Presse as well as Pulpet moves you to.
For I must tell you by these presents here,
If you practice not what I preached there,
That not alone the words which then I spake,
Will you without excuses wholly make.
Not onely all the lines which now I print
Will cry against you, and will never stint;
But more and chiefly all the wrongs which then
I did sustaine from those unruly men
For preaching these unto you, will complaine
That they (ith gracious sence) were felt in vaine,
And surely then (ith grievous sence) youle see
That not a word, a line, a blow can bee
Receiv'd in vaine indeed, but record beare
Against all such as smite, and see and heare.
And I would have you be assur'd as well,
If all shall help one precious soul from hell,
I will esteeme my suffrings there as sweet
As any thanks wherewith I elsewhere meet.
Read (Friends) remember, ruminate and doe,
So youle be safe from hell, and crowned too.
Yours: H. Vincent.
Nomine sum Vincens, animas ego vincere quaero; O vincam, vincam, gloria magna Deo.

The Summe of Mr. HUMFRY VINCENTS Sermons, as they were preached and penned by his owne mouth and hand.

ISAIAH 30. last verse: last branch.‘—The breath of the Lord as a streame of brim­stone kindleth it.’

THe whole verse containeth a short and sharpe description of Tophet, that is to say, (by way of allusion or application) of the torments of hell. It is here two wayes setforth; or here are two things set downe concerning it.

  • 1 The certainty of it.
  • 2 The Severity of it.

The Certainty of it is set downe by

1 The Antiquity of it, in these words, Tophet is prepared of old.

2 By the Generality of it, in these words, it is even prepared for the King, if he be wicked and willfull (let us blesse the Lord that we have a good King, not such an one as that was)

The Severity is shewed two wayes also: by the

  • 1. Extremity of it in these words, he hath made it deepe and large, the burning of it is fire and much wood.
  • 2. Eternity of it in these words, the words of the text; the breath of the Lord as a river of brimstone kindleth it.

Now the point of Doctrine taught from hence is this:

Doctrine As long as God breaths, and as strong as God breaths, so long and so strong shall the torments of hell endure.

Now because the Text is terrible, and the doctrine dread­full delivered thence, I will first give these Cautions to take off the tartnesse of it (so farre as is lawfull and possible) from broken, bruised, bleeding consciences.

First, I confesse I am an Adamite, and have within mee an Adamant, a rocky, flinty, steely heart, or else I should (like Origen with his text and teares) at least speake so pittifully, so pathetically, so passionately, so compassionately, that this my teaching should have some coherence, some correspondence with those torments I speak of. O to see how merry or mad rather, many millions of creatures are, (who as Doctor Hall hath taught us) dance a galliard over the mouth of hell fire, the lake of brimstone, Where the breath, &c.

Secondly, No man can find a fault with me, who finds not first a fault in himselfe; sith (as our Saviour seems to expound it) their worme never dyeth, and the fire goeth not out: speaking in the third person as well as the plurall number, those tor­ments Marke 9. being so proper to the Reprobate, that Gods Elect shall never be toucht with them. And therefore as our Saviour said to the women, fear not yee, for yee seek Iesus, when he Matt. 28. had made the Souldiers quake. So I professing that my scope and aime is to make them quake who wage warre against the Heavens, would not have Christs women to fear, we men and women who seek the Lord in the very truth and uprightnesse of soule, must not feare any whit at all at the mention of hells eternall torments, sith they shall not be overwhelmed with them, nor once feel them, though it may be may fear them.

Thirdly, as it was said by Christ to his Father, thou wilt not leave my Soule in hell. So I will not (by Gods great blessing) leave your souls in the lake of brimstone. But I will shew you not onely your case, but also the course you must take to get out of it: I will first discover your miserie, and after that deli­ver the remedy. And therefore I cry concerning this discovery

Hands off, or heart on;
Heare all or heare none.

Fourthly, if ever I preach unto you againe, after I have finished the point in hand, I will tell you (God willing) of life everlasting. So that this Text (like a Iohn Baptist) as it comes roaring in the wildernesse of wickednesse, so shall it be afore­runner of Jesus, a way maker for life everlasting, to make us the more to prize it, and to praise the God of heaven for it, and to doe every thing, that we may attain it; according to that of the wisest Solomon, Prov. 15. 24. The way of life is above to the wise, that he may escape hell below; that is, when a wise man considers, that he must goe to hell below, unlesse he goe the way of life, that thought will be above objections, and all out­ward and inward oppositions to the contrary, to make him esteeme that way of life, and all his life long to be walking in it.

Fifthly, so long as we are hearing of hell, so long we are yet out of hell. If any man therefore should say, I will stay no longer to heare of hell, of the lake of fire, and that breath of the Lord which as a river of brimstone kindleth it. And the Lord should meet him at the Church doore, and smite him dead, and tumble him downe to hell (he departing in discon­tent at the truth and text we treat on) he will wish within this minute that he were here again hearing of hell, and not there howling in hell. O no doubt, but there are there many millions who would give millions of worlds that they were not in hell, not howling in hell.

Sixthly and lastly; Let no man say that he will goe to dis­prove what I have said, for (as the Prophet said to the King, If thou come againe, God hath not spoken by mee. 1 Kings 22.) So say I to those that goe thither, if ever you return from hell, my doctrine is utterly false, which saith that the Torments of hell shall endure forever and ever, even as long as Jehovah breatheth. In (almost) all othermatters, it is best to speake from self experience, but for the torments of hell and the Pesti­lence, the Lord grant that we never know further, then what wee learn from Gods book and mans reports.

And so much for the Cautions, save onely that I make pro­fession, that what I speake of the torments of hell is to preserve and keep you out of hell, that you knowing the danger may strive to escape the damnation.

  • 1. Now I come to answer a question.
  • 2. And then to remove an objection.
  • 3. And then to render a reason.
  • 4. And then to make application.

Quest. For the first of these, the question is, whether there be not degrees of torments?

Answ. To which I answer, that of the least degree of all, that is true which is taught in my text, that as long and as strong as God breaths, so long and so strong hels torments abide. But yet on these grounds, or for these reasons there are degrees in that lake of fire and brimstone.

First, Some commit more sinnes then others, and so shall be sure to have more torments then others, according to those texts, Revel. 18. Rom. 2. 4, 5, 6. And therefore I would not have you sinne at all, yet as oft as I thinke on this, I cry with Solomon, Be not over wicked, Ecclesiastes.

2. Some have more meanes to restraine them then others have, and so shall have a deeper damnation then others have, according to that of our blessed Saviour, Matth. 11. when he speaking of Bethsaida, Chorazin, and Capernaum, who had abounded with means and mercies, It shall bee easier for the land of Sodome in the day of Iudgement then for thee. And herein as our Saviour informs us, that if the blind lead the blind both shall fall into the ditch; we may say applyingly, and that most properly: the people if they be blind shall fall up to the knees in it; the Minister if he be blind, shall fall up to the mid­dle in it; the Bishop if he be blind, shall fall over head and eares in it.

3. There are some who not onely have more means, but also more formall knowledge, according to that of our blessed Saviour, Luke 12. That servant who knoweth his Masters will, and doth things contrary thereto, shall be beaten with many [Page 5] stripes. Many internall stripes in their spirits, whiles they abide here on earth, many infernall stripes in hell in the lake of fire and brimstone.

4 Some have more hypocrisie then others, and accordingly shall have more torments, as our Saviour hath also told us, Matth. 23. Woe to you Hypocrites, who under colour of long prayers devoure Widows houses, you shall receive greater dam­nation. A Covetous fellow would faine cover and cloake his Covetousnesse, and how I pray thee wilt thou doe it? why Ile become a professour of Religion, and so cover and cloake it entirely; And see how fairly thou hast covered it, before thou wast a professour, thou hadst a great C written in thy fore­head, but now thou hast two Capitall letters written there, even a great C, and a great H: a Covetous Hypocrite; And when death and doome appears, thou shalt have one degree of Torments for being a covetous person, another for being an Hypocrite, according to that of Ambrose, Dissembled Pietie is double iniquitie.

5 Some have more censoriousnesse then others, and accor­dingly shall have deeper damnation; as it is said by that son of Thunder, Iames 3. 1. My Brethren be not many masters, knowing that ye shall receive the greater damnation. There are some such medling masters, that they will tattle of, and taske every one, one is precise in their opinion, because he loves not, but loaths a Ceremonie; another is prophane in their esteeme, be­cause he can endure a controverted circumstance. Nay, there are some so divilized that when they cannot impeach mens practises, they will implead and improve their purposes, as the Devil though he saw his good works, and heard his good words, would yet affirme that he did it for his hedge, Iob. 1. But let us know that whosoever when his neighbour hath done good actions will yet suspect evil affections, whereas in the same Chapter wherein Christ saith, Iudge not, he saith afterwards, Ye shall know them by their fruits. Matth. 7. 1. 15, 16 shall as censurers, as condemners have a deeper degree of torments.

Sixthly, Some have more authority then others, more pow­er, more high places, and of these especially my Text speaketh as we may see by these words in the context, It is even prepa­red for the King (as I said at first, so I say still, let us praise God that we have a good King, and not such an one as this was)

Now for the Objection, it is of two sorts: for

First, Some object their Persons.

Secondly, Some object their Professions for the escaping of hell torments, though they live, lye, and dye in their sinnes.

Concerning Persons. First, Some object their Prosperity.

Secondly, Some object their Poverty.

The Divel perswadeth rich men that howsoever they live as they list, yet they never shall be damned, because they have place or power; But they must know that for these causes they must needs be damned if they dye in their sinnes (Remember still that I therefore shew you the danger, that you may so es­cape the damnation)

  • First, Because their consolation is received.
  • Secondly, Because their conversation is perceived.
  • Thirdly, Because Gods expectation is deceived.
  • Fourthly, Because the Divel their master is damned already.

I say, first (hearken ye rich men) you who are rich must needs be damned, if you be not blest with a second birth, be­cause your portion is paid you already, according to the speech of Abraham to Dives, Remember sonne thou hast had thy good things; and that of our blessed Saviour, Woe to you who are Luke 16. rich, for you have received your consolation. And this I thinke makes many Gentlemen turne Papists, that so proving a pur­gatory, Luke 6. if it were possible, they might escape the lake of fire, sith living in their sinnes they cannot to heaven.

I say, secondly (give eare still you rich men) you of power and place must needs be cast to that lake of fire, unlesse you be cast in a new mould, because the Divel through your sides draweth after him millions of souls; if Dives give the poore man nothing, the text will tell us, that no man gave him. And so if rich men give no bread of life to their poore souls, will not [Page 7] hear, repeat, and read the Scriptures, none of their family, friends or familiars will feed their poore souls, but make them fast, and quite famish them. Let Saul kill himselfe, and his armour bearer will kill himselfe; let rich men kill their souls, and all their neighbours will kill theirs also, if it be but for cur­sed company. And this doth make the Divel so desirous to get Landlords, and great ones on his side: And this made Dives in hell so cager to have one sent to warn his five Brethren that they come not to the place of torments, because he being the heire drew them to doe the Divel so much service. There­fore as we Ministers shall shine as starres, if we winne many to the paths of righteousnesse, Dan. 12. so shall they be tor­mented as Devils, who by their patterns as well as their pre­cepts draw others with them to the lake of fire and brimstone, Where the breath, &c.

3. I say thirdly, (hearken still ye rich ones) you who are rich must needs be damned, if ye doe not walk in the paths of piety, because you frustrate the Lord of his expectation. For to what end doe ye imagine hath the Lord filled your bags and barnes, fed you with dainties and all kinde of delicates, was it for this, that you might offend him with his owne blessings, with his owne benefits? as it were wound him with his owne weapons? which of you would not be provoked, exceedingly incensed, yea and enraged, if the man whom you have beene kind to, should fly in your faces with the fruits of your kindnesse? And I assure you, that the God of heaven who hath been so beneficiall and bountifull to you, that you cannot alledge (as many poore creatures doe) that they can­not come to the preaching of the word, for fear their children should fall in the fire at home, they having no servants, nor money to hire them, I assure you that the God of heaven will not be mocked, though he seeme to be frustrated, but will crosse your expectation as you crosse him in that which he looks for; that is to say, (as he saith of the vineyard) I looked for grapes and behold wild grapes, cut it down. Isai. 5. When you expect to be carried to heaven, he will hurry you to the [Page 8] lake of fire and brimstone, and there in mockage will cry Sonne to you, when you cry O Father Abraham.

I say fourthly (hearken once againe ye rich men) you who have place and power must needs be damned, if you have not power to bewaile your sinnes, and take care for your soules, because the Divel who is your master is damned already, and appointed to torments. The devil, you know very well, is, as he is called, the Prince of the world: every one is his slave, his very vassal, who lives in, and loves his sinfull courses, and will not be recovered, will not be reclaimed from them. Now (as the same saving mouth hath taught us) the servant is not above his master, you must not think much to be dealt with as he is done to; and thence is it, that Christ our Saviour, when he had said, Depart ye cursed to everlasting fire, to men who were great and glorious, rich in the world, full of pompe and pride (for he endites them for not feeding him, for not cloathing him, which poore men cannot doe) he adjoynes with the Divel and his Angels, in the close of that his dreadfull dismall reje­ction, Matth. 25. 41. As if he had said, you must not mutter, murmure or marvaile, for you are but dealt with as your master the Divel is dealt with. And these are the four reasons why rich men must needs be damned, if they abide in their loosenesse, lusts and lewdnesse. And I say againe as I said be­fore, that I speake it to this very end, that seeing the danger, you might take warning and not goe to the place of torments, which the breath, &c.

Now you poore men you have heard this greedily, hearken I pray you now to some reasons, wherefore you, if you be not poor in spirit must needs be thrown to the lake of fire, which the breath, &c.

But first because you thinke that your Poverty is your Pur­gatory, I pray you looke on the Epistle of Iude, verse 7. where you shall see that Sodome and Gomorrah, though it were bumt with materiall fire, and so the Inhabitants were made examples by being so burned in it, yet this did not keep them from hell, they suffer the vengeance of eternall fire: And you, [Page 9] though you be poore, may yet goe to hell after that extremity, yea you must, if you die in your sinnes, and that for these three reasons or causes, and I say to you as I said to rich men, I tell you to this end, that in the end you may escape it by true and timely and tractable turning.

  • The first is drawn from the Initiation.
  • The second drawn from the Invitation.
  • The third drawn from the Irritation.

For the first of these, God hath even begun the torments of hell in you, if you doe not forsake your lusts, ere you loose your lives. Your poverty will not be a preservation from, but a preparation to that lake of brimstone: your want of drinke is a very forerunning of your wanting Water when you come to hell. To others it is a crosse to you a curse, a very earnest of, and entrance into the unspeakable unquenchable flames, the plague is begun, you are in the porch of this ever-tormenting Tophet, as sure as the land of Canaan was a type of heaven and endlesse happinesse.

For the second: you are Gods especially invited guests, the Mat. 11. 5. poore (saith Christ) receive the Gospel: And he hath sent me to preach glad tidings to the poore, hath exalted them of low Luke 1. 52. degree. Now if a great Earle or Duke should come to lodge within your parish, and should make choice of some of the riffe raffe refuse among you to keep him company, and come to sup with him, and they should disdainfully refuse the mes­sage, how would it provoke him and perswade him to be re­venged. Hearken therefore O ye of the poorer sort, hath not God chosen the poore to make them rich in grace and glory, doth he not offer you by the preaching of his word to become Heires of the Kingdome which he hath prepared, James 2. 5. Doth he not say to this effect to you, you who are the cast­offs, the very castawayes of all the Countryes, have neither honours nor holes for your heads, I will make you royall Monarchs, give you eternall Crowns, and Kingdomes perpetu­all, Thrones which will ever abide with you. And will hee not (think you) if ye refuse and resist his offer be as excee­dingly [Page 10] incensed as he was when he said, None of them who were bidden shall tast of my Supper. Luke 14. 24. yea assuredly he will throw you to Tophet, tumble you down to eternall tor­ments with deep disdaine and unspeakable derision.

For the third: if you poore come not in at his glorious call to you, he hath now (to speake after the manner of man) no way to redresse, no means to relieve you. It is Gods course when he cannot bring us to him by other means, his word, the motions of his Spirit, his mercies to affect and allure us, to doe to us as Absalom dealt with Ioab, when he would not come at his sending for: Goe burne his Corne (saith he to his servant) and then he comes and expostulates the case with him: And surely as it is the burden of the Psalmists song, when he slew them then they sought him, Psal. 107. So many Manasses, the Prodigall, and many others have come to God in their po­verty and misery, who when they were wealthy waxed wan­ton, and kickt up the heel against him. And (commonly, or­dinarily, usually) when poverty cannot part mens soules and their sinnes, it parts them and his Spirit, and he sayes, I will smite you no more, till I tumble you downe to the place of tor­ments. O that therefore (for I say againe, I say it for this that you might be warned) O that ye poore would come in your povertie, least after your earthly poverty, you meet with that hellish misery, where the breath of the Lord as a river of brim­stone kindleth the fire.

So much to answer the objection in regard of mens Per­sons. Now I come to that objection which respects Professi­ons.

Object. O (say many) this were true if it were preached among Pa­gans, but we are Protestants, and by being Protestants wee shall escape the lake of brimstone.

Answ. To which I answer that as of all men Protestants indeed, reall Protestants are most free, most farre from Tophet (such as stand for the Lord Jesus alone against the Devil, the world, and themselves) so the wicked, the wilfull Protestants, such as call themselves so, and thinke thereby to escape damnation, [Page 11] and yet contrary to Gods commandment will sell their drinke to drunkards on the Sabbath, whilst their poore families fast and famish in their owne houses; I say, such as say they are Protestants, and are not, shall above all the people in the world be sure to be damned, severely tormented; and that for these two reasons.

  • First, from Gods Protestations.
  • Secondly, From Gods Preparations.

For the first of these: God hath protested solemnly, sworne the damnation of such as have his voice sounding in their eares, and will not hearken, will not obey it. It is every day read in our Church, and wisely appointed by way of preparation to other parts of Gods word and holy worship: To day if yee will hear his voice, harden not your hearts; and then to such as refuse and resist he saith, I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest, not into Canaan a type of the kingdome of heaven, not into the kingdome of heaven, and therefore necessarily must to hell. I never read, at least re­member not, that ever the Lord hath sworne the death and damnation of Pagans. The mouth of the Lord hath spoken it, and it will lie heavy and hard on their souls to doome and damne them to everlasting woe, unlesse at length they get the knowledge and faith of the Lord Jesus. But as there is a main and manifest difference in those words of our blessed Saviour, Whosoever shall fall on that stone shall be broken, but on whom­soever it shall fall it shall grind him to powder, Matth. 21. So God himself turns Protestant for the cursing and confounding of such false Protestants, as are and abide in their damned wayes untill they die, as sure as he is truth who saith, Verily, Verily (to such as professed the paths of pietie) except a man be borne againe he cannot see the Kingdome of God.

For the second, that is, Gods preparations, wee are to know that willfull Protestants are

  • 1. Fitted for, and then
  • 2. Fatted for endlesse torments. They are
    • 1. Fitted with Sermons.
    • [Page 12]2. Fatted with Sacraments.

First I say, fitted with Sermons. Gods Ministers words will make you without words; their speeches will make you not cloke you, but uncloke you; their vocall trumpets will fit you to hear with horrour the reall trumpet at the last day, if you wallow in the lusts of your souls, and walke in your sinnes without repentance, 2 Cor. 2. In a word, the Word of life will be a savour of death to death to you, as many of you as plead you are Protestants, and live the lives of Pagans and Pa­pists, prophaning the sanctified Sabbaths of Christ by selling beer to such beastly base Belly-gods, as make their wives for want of maintenance not feast but fast; and ready to famish with their children and servants at home in their houses.

Secondly, I say they are fatted with Sacraments. Foolish false and feigned Protestants doe dayly drink down their own damnation in that most sacred Supper of the Lord, so saith S. Paul, 1 Cor. 11. 29. But because he foresaw that it would touch and so trouble many mens minds, he saith before, as I of this, and of all my whole discourse concerning this dreadfull damnation: What I delivered to you, I received of the Lord, verse 23. as if he had said, if ye will needs quarrell, quarrell with my Master, not with me his messenger. But you will say that in so saying, I doom and damne without all remedie, for past helpe, past hope also, if there be no cure there needs no care. To which I answer, that as I and that Apostle say no more then your Common Prayer book saith, which hath these very words and syllables: then we are guilty of the body and bloud of the Lord, we eate and drink our own damnation, &c. So I my selfe did three or foure times eate and drink mine own damna­tion also, even in the 17. 18. 19. 20 yeare of my life. Now the way to prevent our going into this Tophet, this place of tor­ments, is to take a deep vomit of sorrow, to purge out this poy­son, and prevent everlasting perdition; and (as Solomon saith to his sonne, above all thy gettings get understanding) so say I to my selfe and every one, above all our sorrow, let our chiefest sorrow be this, that we were guilty, and guilty of Bloud, yea [Page 13] and guilty of the bloud of the Lord, as it is in the 27 verse. And still I beseech you remember that I speak all by way of pre­vention.

Now I come to render the reasons of the doctrine delive­red to you, to shew you why the torments of hell are so ex­treame, or as strong as the breath of the Lord is: and then why they are everlasting, or abide as long as the breath of the Lord abides.

For the first, Those torments are so extreame, because of the

  • 1. Nature. And then the
  • 2. Number of those that must inhabite in that Tophet, that place of torments.

And both these are set downe together in one and the same Psalme and verse, Psal. 9. 17. The wicked shall be turned to hell, and all the Nations that forget God.

The wicked shall be turned into hell. There is the Nature of the Inhabitants, namely, that they are foes not friends, who must goe thither.

And all the Nations that forget God. There is the Number of the Inhabitants.

For the first of these, wee are to know that they are not Gods friends but his foes who must there be tormented in fire and brimstone.

Indeed here on earth God hath scourges for his very friends, his owne servants; and wicked men are jocund and joviall, glad at heart when they see them so done to, so dealt with. But had they but eyes in their heads, that sight would move and make that their laughter be turned to mourning, They would consider what Solomon saith, Prov. 11. last verse, Behold the Righteous shall be recompenced on the earth, how much more the wicked and ungodly in the horrible lake of brimstone. They would lay to heart that speech of a greater then Solomon (which seems a commentary on that passage of Solomon) who when he had said, that the workers of wickednesse should cry to the mountains to cover them, and to the rockes to fall upon them, addeth this, if this be done to a greene tree, what shall be [Page 14] done to the dry? They would conclude as Peter doth, when Luke 23. 30. 31. he had told us that Iudgement begins at the house of God, 1 Pet. 4. 17. 18. 19. If the Righteous scarce be saved, where shall the wicked and sinner appeare? And if it begin with us, what shall be the end of those who obey not the Gospel of Christ? And truly as our Saviour said to cleare the eyes, and chear the heart of his dropping and drooping Apostles, Consider the Lillies how they neither sow nor spin, and yet your father feeds them, are not ye better than they? So would I speake to fire and fright wilfull men from their wicked maners: Consider the Lillies a­mong throns, for they neither swear nor be drunke, and yet the Father of heaven feedeth them with the bread of trials and tribulations; and are not yee worse then they? and are not worse things prepared for you in that terrible place of tor­ments? yes assuredly such unspeakeable woes and miseries as Solomon and Peter could not expresse, Christ himself as he was the mediatour man in the flesh would not reveale to us, and therefore they speak interrogatively, How much more? what and where?

For the second: We are to believe that in hell all the wick­ed and ungodly, all that prophane the Lords Sabbaths by sel­ling their wares without necessity, all that live in any sinne whatsoever without true and timely repentance. All in this Citie Parish, in this Citie, in this kingdome, in this world, all that ever were, that now are, that hereafter shall be, even all that forget God, have no care to keep his commandments, they shall all meet together, all they, and none but they, not one of the Saints of the Lord, no, not one of his faithfull sonnes and servants shall there meet, and be tormented in all extremi­tie to all eternitie. And as this cryeth to such men as long as they are on earth, O consider this you that forget God, lest he teare you in pieces, when there shall be none to deliver you, Psalm. 50. 22. So the Lord when he would expresse the horror of hell, its extreme and most terrible torments, names a catalogue of such cursed ones, as must to the lake of fire and brimstone. For instance, Revel. 21. 8. the fearfull, and the unbeleeving, [Page 15] and the abominable, and Murtherers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers. and Idolaters, and all Lyars shall have part in the lake that burnes with fire and brimstone &c. As if he should say, when the Lord hath his foes, as Nero of Rome desired to have his all together, to cut off their heads all at a blow, when (as Iehu once made enquiry) there is not one of the Lords Pro­phets there, not one of his owne people for whose sake, or at whose entreaty he used to stop or stay his sury here on earth, when wicked mens sinnes made him send pestilences and plagues, then he will put them to all extremity, breath upon them with the utmost of his fury, use no moderation in, or mi­tigation of his heavy anger and hot displeasure.

But you will say, it is true indeed that these reasons do make it manifest why hell torments shall be so terrible; But why should they be perpetuall? why should we who sinne but for a season, suffer so long as Jehovah breaths, that is to say, for ever and ever?

To which I answer, that temporary sins deserve eternall or infinite torments for divers just and weighty causes, but I will onely insist on two.

  • First, the Offendeds person.
  • Secondly, the Offenders purpose.

For the first of these, we are to know that sinne, the least sinne, the first sinne that ever we act, is done against God, the God of heaven, against an Eternall, an infinite God; as David acknowledgeth even then, when he had broken onely the se­cond Table: Against thee, thee onely have I sinned, Psal. 51. And surely most pat to our purpose doth our book of Psalmes translate and turne into verse; both that and that which follows

For thee alone I have offended, commiting evil in thy sight:

And if I were therefore condemned, you were thy judgements just and right, And to come and close with some of your consciences, [...] any here shall here after prophane the Sabbath by selling [...] base fellows, who let their families fast at home; who of doe you thinke you anger in this brother wick­ed wilfulnesse, you will say a few Priests well it is true, you [Page 16] anger me an unworthy preacher of the glorious Gospel (for I tell you still I aime at your salvation in setting before you this death and damnation) But doe you anger no man else? yes one, he who is God and man, He who saith, He that heareth you, heareth me, and he that despiseth you, despiseth mee, will be certainly angry with you; and is there none else angry, yes it followeth in that very place, and he that despiseth mee, despi­seth him that sent mee; So that God the everlasting God is offended with you, when you breake the Sabbath, by that or any other prophanation, by that or any other sinne or iniquity. And how just it is with the Lord to make you know whose Law you breake by it, by damning your souls eternally in hell for it, you may see by that which is done by Kings and Princes when they are prouoked. Doe not Kings, when men commit treason (which God Almighty preserve and keepe us from) doe they not hang up the Traitors carcases, and then hang up by and by Proclamation, commanding in paine of the like punish­ment, that none touch or take downe those Traitors carcases? And why (I pray you) doe Kings doe thus? not for further revenge on the lucklesse creature, the livelesse carcasse: No, but to make it a lasting monument, that the thought of it might not rade in an houre, in a moment; yea if he could, he would have it hang there for ever and a day, for ever and ever: And why all this, but as for our warning, so to tell us that he is no peasant, petty puny, but a Prince, a Potentate, a Majesty, a Monarch. And in like manner the God of heaven, as he is known by his executing judgement; so he is known to be as he is, an Everlasting, an Infinite Majesty, by appointing for such as offend him an everlasting, an infinite punishment.

For the second, the offenders purpose, we know that the Lord doth not looke so much at our actions, as he doth at our affections; doth not so much marke what we practise, as what we purpose, according to that of the Prophet Ieremy, Chap. 17. 10. I the Lord search the heart, that I may give ac­cording to workes. And that which he hath often in the booke of the Revelation, I am be who try the heart, and search the [Page 17] reines, that I may give every one of you according to the works of your hands. As if he had said thus, I more mind what you desire to doe, then what you doe indeed, both in your evil doing, and in your well doing, in your disobedience as well as obedience. Now how doth a wicked wilfull sinner intend to live and lye in his sinnes (for if he hath a serious set­tled purpose of true Repentance, God will second that first grace, and so he shall not to hell at all) doth he not intend to live in them still? doth he not purpose to live in them as long as he lives? yea as the Scripture telleth us, that they grow worse and worse. So they have never so much as a though in­deed and truth of turning to God. Yea, should they live ten thousand yeares, yea millions of ages, yea even for ever and ever, they would be swearers, whores, drunkards, prophaners of the Sabbaths for ever and ever, yea for this very cause they would live, and live ever on the earth, if it were possible, that they may live in their sinnes and iniquities, enjoy their lusts, wherewith they provoke the Lord. And is it not just with God then, who saies of the widow, she hath given more then they all, because she gave all she had, to bring men to endlesse destruction, who sinne here on the earth but a season, sith they give the devil all, all they are, and all they have, all the time they live on the earth, and wish and desire they had more to bestow on him? yea assuredly for this very cause also, because their purposes are everlasting, the Everlasting God doth most rightly, most righteously bring wicked men to everlasting woe and miserie, to that Tophet, that hell fire, of which it is said in the Text, The breath of the Lord, &c.

And thus much of the Explication of the point, the Appli­cation (God willing) shall follow on the Lords day in the morning, at which time I promised to preach here againe, at your Parsons request (as I am enformed) and the importunity of speciall friends; and what I have spoken is to prevent these endlesse flames.

THis was the Sermon which did so perplexe
The Drunkards and their harbourers, so vexe
Their very minds, made them so discontent
(As those two Prophets wordlings did torment)
Rev. 11. 10
That they endeavourd with all might and maine
That Vincent might by no means preach againe
In that same Church: but whatsoere they muse
Vincent came thither, and did preach the Vse
Of that same Doctrine: when they saw him there,
They fled (I verily beleeve) for feare.
Herod feard John, and Felix trembled too
When Paul did preach as Vincent there did doe;
That is, when he did preach against that sinne,
Which he then knew the Governour liv'd in.
But blest be God when they were runne away,
The Church was fill'd again to Vincents joy.
And surely God in wisdome did dispose,
That then his hearers should be those, not those.
I meane, that they should heare the meanes to be
From those eternall fiery flames set free
Who loath'd their sinnes; not they who plotted ill,
And were resolved to continue still
In cursed courses. But yee foolish men,
Why did you fly from your owne mercie then:
There's sure none other way t'escape that flame,
Then that which he did in that Sermon name,
Which he then preacht, and which here follows now,
No way but this doth Jesus Christ allow.
Be are witnesse then, that you your selves condemn'd,
When you the means of your escape contemn'd.


IS AIAH 30. last verse: last branch.‘—The breath of the Lord as a River of brimstone kindleth it.’

THe Point of Doctrine is this. So strong as Gods breath is, and so long as the Lord breatheth, so strong are the torments of hell, and so long they will abide.

The Explication of the Point some of you heard on Friday night, I now come to the Application of it, wherein you shall see that which I then said unto you, that I delivered it to this very purpose, that you doe that which Di­ves desired to be done to his five Brethren, that is, may not come to that place of torments.

And first this Text speaks terrour or thunder to two sorts:

  • First, the Furious.
  • Secondly, the Curious.

The Furious are of two sorts also:

  • First the Dissolute.
  • Secondly, the Resolute.

For the first of these, there are some amongst us who are so dissolute in their courses, that they feare nothing (if any thing at all) but the Lawes of men, their penalties and punishments. And when those things are passed over, they think verily the worst is past: but alas it shewes that they either read not, or remember not, or at last and least respect not this Text and truth before us. The Whoremonger thinks when he hath paid the Paritor, that now the worst is past, he may now to his harlot againe, it is but paying so much money againe, but he [Page 20] forgets old Latimers new-years gift, Whoremongers and Adul­terers God will judge, he thinks not on this old Tophet, where he must be for ever tormented for it, if he doth not get a par­don from, and make his peace with the great Jehovah, deeply grieving for grieving his Spirit, by which men mortifie the deeds of the flesh, Heb. 13. 4. Rom. 8. 13. The swearer swears he fears not an oath, the worst is past, when his twelve-pence is paid (and ô that our prayers sped not the worse for want of making men pay their twelve-pences) But a sonne of Thun­der will thunder against him crying, above all things my Bre­thren Jam. 5. 12. sweare not, not onely chiefly, equally for fear of paying your shillings, but lest ye fall into condemnation, lest you goe to that place of torments, be burned for ever and ever in those all furious flames of fire, which the breath of the Lord, &c.

Thus of the dissolute, now for the resolute: there are some so set on their sinnes, that when they he are what is said in the Scripture every where, that is, no such and such can possibly come to the Kingdome of God, 1 Cor. 6. 9. 10. Ephes. 5. 5. Gal. 5. 19. 20. 21. they bid a flat farewell to heaven, resol­ving never to part with their sinnes, till they of necessity must part with their soules; we will have harlots to be our heavens, we will have Punks to be our Paradises, (saies the sensualist to himselfe, if not to his neighbours, having gotten whoresfore, heads with neighing) whatsoever come of us in time to come, though we loose or leave that heaven, which without these our lusts would even be loathsome. But as from the doctrine now delivered, I would tell them, if I heard them say to their souls, we will rather resolve to live unmarried, though we walke in our uncleannesse, then marry wives, and so having children be, and be accounted beggarly and base; as I would then (I say) say to them, as Paul saith in another case, It is better to marry then burne, 1 Cor. 7. So I say to them from this doctrine, that if they be not carried to heaven they must of necessity be hurried to hell, where are inutterable, unceaseable torments: which when they consider (O would they did consider it) they will cease to wonder why our sweet Saviour Jesus, who [Page 21] in one place calleth the way to heaven, a strait gate, Luke 13. 24. In another place calleth it easie, saying, my yoke is easie, my burden light, Matth. 11. 29. For as it is straight foure wayes: or in foure respects. In respect of

  • 1. Corruption.
  • 2. Custome.
  • 3. Company.
  • 4. Combats.

So it is easie also four wayes, or in four respects to Christians.

1. In regard of the love which they have to the Lord Jesus Christ; which love makes all things delightfull, desireable.

2. In regard of the hope of heaven which they expect to enjoy, when they have finished their worke in faith.

3. In regard of the oyntment which they have received, and which enables them to runne with willingnesse the way of Gods most good commandements.

4. Chiefly by way of comparison; In regard of the terrible torments of hell, which will seize with all severity upon all that will not wet their feet or fingers in walking the narrow way, which leads to life everlasting. O what, what would not be musick, mellodious to the eare, mellifluous to the mouth to those who are now in that place of torments, if it were ten­dred to them as a condition of their coming out of it againe to the earth? How sweetly would the motion sound, the mat­ter seeme (as indeed it would be) if it should be said to the souls in hell, you shall come out of your places of torments, so that you will be due and diligent hearers, carefull doers of the word of the Lord, and will submit your selves to suffer scoffes and scornes, slanders and scourges, fires and fagots, and all ex­quisite tortures that the wits and malice of men and Devils could invent against them, impose upon them. And thus much for terrifying of the Furious; now for the Curious, whom this Text also thunders against, they are such as cannot be Sober-wise but Over-wise, who are alwayes prying into the Arke, asking (and that often with scorne and contempt) what God was doing in all that time before he made the world in the [Page 22] first creation of it. Now these men must be answered thus, and that from the words in this very verse, the beginning of it, that is to say, that this Tophet, this place of torments was pre­pared and that of old for such false foolish fellows as they are; This old Tophet was God preparing all that time before the Creation for them, even for them, unlesse they leave their dis­daine and derision, and leave their carnall love to unedifying quirks and quiddities, and love sound and solid discourses, to speake of things that belong to their Peace. As our Saviour saith to his servants, Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the Kingdome of God: have no part or portion at all in it; when they (as we see in the words foregoing) were asking him a curious question, Who should be chiefe in the Kingdome of God? And surely as he intimates that men would rather seeke to get to heaven, then enquire who shall be greatest in heauen: So doe I advise and admonish you (remembring that I doe not aime at dooming or damning you, but at doing what I can, that you may escape that dreadfull damnation) that you busie your minds and mouths in enqui­ring of God and men, what course must be taken that old Tophet may not torment you, then in asking what he did ere the world was made, at which time he was ordaining it. And thus much for the use of terrour.

Now I come to a Use of reproofe: and herein I reprove two sorts of persons.

  • 1. The Impenitent.
  • 2. The Impatient.

For the first, I call them Impenitent who would willingly doe good duties, whereof they are convinced, though they will by no means be converted, nor fall about them, for feare of the threatnings and terrours of men. O that these men would but think of this Tophet, that they would but hearken to the words of our Saviour, who when he had said, Beware of Hypocrisie, addeth immediately after another like instruction. And I say unto you my Friends, feare not them that kill the Bo­dy and then can do no more, but I will shew you whom yee shall [Page 23] feare, feare him that can cast both body and soule to hell, yea, I say unto you feare him, Luke 12. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. And surely as our sweet Saviour saith to his hearers, if you cannot conceive Matth. 13. this Parable, how will you understand all Parables? So say I to those that dare not doe their duties for feare of humane pu­nishments; if ye cannot endure the breath of a man who carri­eth his breath in his very nostrils, how will ye be able to endure the breath of the living God, who spans the heavens. And sure (as the Prophet saith, If thou canst not run with footmen, how will ye over-run horsemen?) when a man feels himselfe unable to encounter the fury and frown of a mortall, and ther­fore startles and stands at a stay, not daring to doe what his conscience cryes out for; it should make him set about it, and see that he be not by any means drawn from it, considering that otherwise he must for ever be tormented in that Tophet, where no prayer can be heard, no pity be had. And you verily are sharply to be reproved as forgetters of this Text, as negle­cters of this truth which speaks of hels extremitie and eternitie, which will seize upon all those souls, who live and lye and dye in their sinnes, as many as are drawne from the doing of what you are convinced, that it is the great Gods commandment, or driven to any thing which you are perswaded God hath pro­hibited for fear of any thing that any man, all men can doe to you for the doing of the one and refusing the other.

Secondly, this doctrine of hels extreme everlasting tor­ments reproveth such as are so Impatient, that they say none are so troubled as they are; whereas alas there are millions of millions, who are already in the place of torments, and would give a world of worlds (as they have not a drop of water for themselves) that they might change estates with you, that they were on earth with all their misery, with all their trouble and terrour of spirit; yea, there are some so discontent with their present condition, that they think to ease themselves with their owne destruction, by making away themselves as they say, and as it is called: But out alas as they cannot doe it, as they cannot make away themselves at all (their eyes may be [Page 24] plucked out, their hands and feet may be cut off, but the souls within them cannot be torn, or cannot possibly dye, cannot at all be destroyed) so could they doe it, could they teare it out of their bodies and bowels, what would they gain or get by it? to what purpose or profit were it? for then alas the same mi­nute, the same moment, they drop downe to this Tophet, to these torments where they must forever be in woe and misery unspeakable, uncessable, unconceiveable, uncomparable. And therefore to these impatient ones I may say, as the Prophet Amos saith to others in some thing like them, Amos 5. 18. 19. 20. Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord: to what end is it for you? the day of the Lord is darknesse and not light. As if a man did fly from a Lion and a Beare met him, or went into the house and leaned his hand on the wall, and a Serpent bit him. Shall not the day of the Lord be darkenesse and not light? even very dark and no brightnesse in it? O how much better were it for them (I am sure the other is much more terrible) to keep out of hell as long as they can (like him that did eate and drinke though he not much mind to his meat, that he might keep as much as might be from the company of damned dead ones) and not to run and rush in affection, and to desire to doe it in action into the lake of fire and brimstone, into the horrible place of torments, where the breath of the Lord like a river of brimstone kindles it.

Now I come to the Use of Information, which flows from the doctrine now delivered, that the torments of hell are as long and as strong as the force of great Jehovahs breathings. And these Informations have relations,

  • 1. To the High Priest.
  • 2. To the Preacher.
  • 3. To the People.

Concerning the first, that is, the high Priest, the Lord Jesus the onely Priest, if we speak strictly (and every true Christian it a Priest as well as King, if we take the words largely, and not in such a retired meaning) this doctrine informes us of these two things.

  • [Page 25]1. How needfull it was for Christ to be God.
  • 2. How thankfull we should be for Christ to God.

For the first of these, as the sufferings of Christ had not been proper to us, so had they not been profitable for us, if Christ had not been God. For sith the torments of hell are so extreme and so everlasting, what could the death of all the Apostles, yea of all the Angels (if it had been possible for them to be passi­ble) have done to the freeing of us from those extreme ever­lasting torments; yea when we lye in the day of our deaths, gasping and going towards heaven and hell for ever, then will Sathan say unto us, now you must be damnd for ever and ever: No (will we say) we are redeemed and freed from it, and that by the precious blood of Christ. But he will reply unto us (as deriding our helpe and hopes) It is unpossible that Christ his bloud should free you from hell, sith it is to last forever, where­as the sufferings of Christ were

  • In the Extremity, but three dayes.
  • In his Ministry, but three years.
  • In his whole Nativity, but three and thirty years.

And what coherence or correspondence have the torments of hell with such kind of sufferings, what now will an Arrian an­swere? or any one else who is not akilled as well as schooled in the doctrine, the excellent doctrine of Christs eternall Divinity or Deity? surely then there will be no way to escape the eter­nall flames, and Sathans furious fiery dart, but by comforting his precious soul as the Lord commands us to comfort his peo­ple, that is to say, by telling and teaching them by that do­ctrine of Christ his Deity, that the Lord hath received double for all our iniquities and abominations; that is to say, that by his sufferings who was an eternall person, and by his suffering the wrath of his Father an eternall person, the Lord hath freed us from an eternall lake of brimstone, and brought and bought us an eternall weight of glory. And therefore our Saviour when he had promised to his people to give them eternall life, concludeth that promise with this confirmation, I and my Fa­ther are one: as if he should say, as you by breaking my Fa­thers [Page 26] law, who was an eternall God, have deserved eternall torments by your temporary sinning here for a season, so I be­ing an eternall person, have by my temporary sufferings in re­gard of time, freed you from those eternall torments, and pro­vided for you an everlasting crown of glory: sith I am as he is coeternall and coequall. See therefore how meet it was that he should be God as well as man; All the Apostles, all the Angels not being able to free one soul from one sinne, and that the least one: and see how needfull also it is for us to say in the end of our lives, In the beginning was the Word, and that Word was with God, and was God.

Secondly, this truth teacheth us how thankfull we should be to God for Christ, sith quanto gravior, tanto suavior, the deeper the misery, the sweeter the mercy, when we are freed from the feare of it as well as the danger. And surely the thought of these unspeakable, unquenchable flames sets an high price on that more then precious bloud which was shed for this very end, that we may not be throwne to those end­lesse torments. And therefore as Paul when he sets himselfe to cry, I thank God through Iesus Christ, cryes first, O wretch­ed Rom. 7. 24. man that I am: and O death, where is thy sting? O hell, where 1 Cor. 15. 55. is thy victory? So should we take a deep draught of the woe­fulnesse of hells horrour in our retiredst meditation, that it may move us to praise the Lord for, and prize the cratch and the crosse of our Saviour. We should say as the Church in an­other case, If the Lord himself had not been on our side, if he had not endured extremities for us, the waters had drowned us, the Psal. 124. deep waters had gone over our soules; yea the fire, the fire of hell had for ever burned our souls, & burned our bodies in the lake of brimstone, the place of torments, where the breath of the Lord is most hot and heavy, and will burne to the very bot­tome, without either brink or bottome: But praised be God, who hath not given us over as a prey unto their teeth. Yea, prai­sed be God who by the precious blood of his Sonne hath freed us from those flames, and purchased for us a Crowne which cannot be taken or shaken. And certainly for those that make [Page 27] Christs bloud a bawd for their sinnes, and think of his shedding of it without adoring and admiring the mercie of the highest holiest, heavenly, glorious Majesty, it is plaine by the point now in hand, that they were never soundly affright with the thought of hels endlesse easlesse misery; they never cryed out of the extremitie of hels torments, never considered of its eternitie, never read, never remembred with any serious settled sollid contemplation this present Text, that tells and teaches us that the breath of the Lord like a river of brimstone kindles its fiery flaming torments.

And thus much of those two informations which concerne the High Priest, the Lord Jesus, the sonne of God. Now I come to those informations which concern the Preachers of the Gospel; and they are two also, respecting

  • First, their Duty.
  • Secondly, their Dignity.

For the former, this holy doctrine, that the torments of hell abide as long, and are as strong as the breath of the Lord is, calls and cries to the Ministers of the word to dig and doung, to doe their duties to the very uttermost in preaching and pres­sing the words of truth and sobernesse to, and on the conscien­ces of men committed to their charge and charity. And thus Saint Paul pleads for his owne and others utmost endeavours. 2 Cor. 5. 10. and 11. verses, when he had said, We must all appeare before the Iudgement seat of Christ, verse 10. he addes immediately as pondering on the weight and the proper effect of that meditation: Knowing therefore the terrour of the Lord we perswade men, verse 11. as if he had said, when we duely consider how terrible the torments are to which the Lord shall throw the most part, it should make us willing to spend and be spent, to doe all we can, and more then we can, more then we can doe as meer men, and without that meditation, to save (if it were possible) the soules of all our hearers from it. O (we think) what more then pitty were it, that any one should dye and be damned, should be cast to those fiery flames, which are so terrible, so everlasting, through any default of ours, [Page 28] through want of spending our lights and our lives. And indeed the very cause why many Ministers are so sloathfull, so very slack in doing their duties, is their seldome or never thinking of these more then terrible torments. O did they contemplate, consider deeply, duly, diligently, what is in Tophet, the place of torments, they would (like Chrysostorne with his Heri, who saith the onely way to keepe out of hell, is often to thinke and speak of hell; And like Calvin with his Cras, who said to him who would have had him have spared himself, would you have Christ when he comes to finde me idle) they would preach (I say) the word which is appointed to save mens souls upon all occasions in all opportunities. O that therefore (for I will not meddle with that speech of old father Latimer, who saith that if we could looke down into hell, we should see as many dumb dogs there, as would reach from Westchester to Dover, neither will I mention that other passage which I lately had in another place, concerning the crying out of the Dawbing preacher a­gainst the people, and of the people against the Preacher; the people crying out in the lake of brimstone, woe unto thee thou Dawber, for thou art the cause of our damnation, be­cause thou didst not warn us: and the Preacher answering, woe unto you, you prophane ones, for you are the cause of my dam­nation, because I durst not warne you) I say, O that therefore all Ministers would with Ierome think they hear the trumpet sound, crying, Awake ye dead, and come to Iudgement. O that (to make them take heed to their flocks and families) they would thinke of this present text which saith concerning hell, and its fire, that the breath of the Lord like a river of brimstone kindles it.

And thus of the duty which this truth puts Ministers on. And I say thus much further of it, that the thought of it maketh Ministers goe home, and beg pardon for their remissenesse, when corrupt and carnall men cry out of them for their over earnestnesse. O we should never cease speaking of that which will never have end. Now I come to speak of their Dignitie, as it flowes from the doctrine here delivered, and therein I con­sider two things also.

  • [Page 29]1. The Excellencie of it.
  • 2. The Efficacie of it.

For the first of these, we are to say, in an holy, honest, humble sort (when we think of the endlesse easelesse torments) Let a man thus thinke of us, 1 Cor. 4. 1. For what is it that dignify­eth Lawyers, but their Clients? or what magnifies many Phy­sicians, but their Patients? O if there were any one of them, who had recovered, restored to life one dead many dayes and weeks, ô what a adoring, what many wayes more then appro­ving, applauding would there then be among the beholders, all that see it would say he is eminent, excellent. And surely every Minister who can say, and say in truth that he hath wonne any one to the truth from the lake of fire, this most terrible place of torments, he is to be prized and praised God for, more then all the Lawyers in the kingdome, more then all the Physicians in the world; Forasmuch as men have longer been dead in sinnes and trespasses: and by how much this dreadfull damna­tion is more terrible then death of the body. Poore people (the more the pitty) think our work to be burying the dead: butah he that thinks on this truth, will see matter of much more moment, even that which one aimed at, when he said to him whom he enjoyned to so low him, Let the dead bury the Mat. 8. dead, but goe thou and preach the Kingdome, to helpe poore souls from the lake of brimstone; nay he that weighs this do­ctrine delivered, shall see cause why the Apostles should say, It is not meet to leave the word of God and serve at tables, sith Act. 6. collecting for the poore doth but keepe them from wanting drinke, but Ministers handling the Word of God will by the breathing and blessing of God help poore souls from wanting Water. And whereas some Ministers thinke themselves more worth then their fellowes, because for sooth they are become high Commissioners, and so neglect preaching themselves, and contemne and condemne it in others, let them know that their being Commissioners is not at all within their commission, they have worke of more weight, of more worth, could they but see it, and it is just with the Judge of heaven to cast contempt [Page 30] on their proud presumptuous carriages, for leaving that honou­rable employment, which the Angels desire to look into, but 1 Pet. 1. 11. 12. may not meddle with, but speake to preachers to undertake as their proper taskes and excellent trades, and fall about that which Paul would have the least in the Church to be employed in, if not that which helpeth souls, pretious souls to the place of torments. But ô how farre was blessed Paul, whose name is glorious, from doing so, who said (considering this matter, the unspeakable unquenchable torments of hell) Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel. So that we see that in 1 Cor. 1. comparison of preaching, the chiefest means for the helping of men from endlesse torments, burying of the dead, providing for the poore, yea Baptisme it selfe (though the Ordinance of God, and a proper, a peculiar, a particular institution) are not at all to be mentioned or medled with, save onely as this last is a means to keep men from hell, as our Saviour hath delivered it with his owne mouth saying thus, He that beleeveth and is baptized shall be saved: but he that beleeveth not shall be dam­ned. Now the more dreadfull damnation is, the more terrible those torments are; the more amiable, the more admirable should their feet be to all that have souls, who are anointed and appointed to preach the Gospel on this very manner, Mark 16. They therefore who think basely on the servants of God, who serve in the Sanctuary in the times of the Kingdome of grace for the keeping poore souls from hell, (the least whereof (as our Saviour informs us) is greater then Iohn, yea Iohn the Baptist, who yet was feared of Herod the King, Matth. 11. 11. Mark 6. 20.) did neuer truely consider how terrible hell torments are, did never meditate truly on the matter that here is taught, when it is said of hell fire, that the breath of the Lord like a streame of brimstone kindleth it.

And thus much of the excellency of Ministers preaching: Now from hence also I gather the efficacie of their preaching. And I note this, because me thinks I heare some of you say, that I make a great puther to little purpose; for (thinke you) no man regards it, nor will reforme any thing for it. To which [Page 31] I answer, that as there was one good ground, though the three other grounds were bad grounds; so I have good hope that some will be warned, at least some one, though not every one. And the torments of hell are so extreme, so everlasting, that if there be one soule saved from them, it is worth all our labour, yea, the expence of the lungs and lights, yea of the lives of all the Preachers, that ever lived to be the men, the means, the instruments to helpe that precious poore soul to escape them. Yea, (for let us suppose the very worst, the very utmost) if there were none, no not one who would be warned, yet this that liberavi animam meam, I have delivered mine owne soule from those unspeakeable unquenchable flames is enough to support me and strengthen me against all oppositions and ob­jections. Surely I being importuned to preach the first Ser­mon, and (besides the importunity of Christian Friends) reque­sted by your Pastor to preach this second Sermon, should have torments more then you, be (as the Lord threatned Ieremie) consumed before you, have your bloud laid to my charge, have my soule guilty of your bloud, if I should not speak unto you what God hath revealed, and I haue received from his Spirit, as proper from the Text, and profitable for you: and am free and farre from guilt, if I doe, and discharge this duty, shall not be damned for not doing it, though not one should believe and be obedient, and that freedome for that very end is worth a world of carnall contentment, with the having of which the soul of the Dawber may have an hell dayly within, as a fore­tast of those endlesse torments, to which he must be throwne for his dawbing and dallying with that Word, at the hearing whereof our eares should tingle, our hearts should tremble, yea the thought, the serious thought of these unspeakeable un­quenchable flames will make us say, that all Gods Ministers are in a sort also Samuels, that is, that all their words are full of force and very fruitfull, not a word falls to the ground, because (like Iohn the Baptist) they prepare the way for the sonne of God, their sounding their vocall trumpets is a forerunning of that last Trumpet, they have warned and made such way that [Page 32] the Lord shall be known to be just when he judgeth, when he dooms and damns to eternall torments such as would by no means use the means of their great salvation. There is a place in Exodus the 10. verse, 1. wherein there is a duty enjoyned to Moses with a strange reason rendred to move him to the do­ing of it. Goe and speake to Pharaoh (saith the Lord unto him) for I have hardened his heart, we would think he should have said, goe and speak to him for I have softned his heart, now speak for this is a fit time to speak to him; for it is like as if the Lord should have said to me this morning in my chamber, goe now and preach at S. Georges, for I have hardened their hearts, alas (should I surely have said if the Lord had said so to me) to what purpose then should I goe? what good am I like to doe, if thou hast hardened their hearts? if thou have softened their hearts, and so made way for my profitable preaching, I will goe and speak unto them, yea will spend my lighte and life for them. But as the Lord there answered Moses, that my Name may be magnified and glorified, Exod. 10. 2. 3. So would the Lord have answered me to such an objection, such an evil-will wanting opposition to his sacred message and mo­tive: I will have thee goe and preach unto them, now their hearts are hardened against, that thou maist make them with­out excuse, and me without shadow or shew of any injustice, when I throw them to Tophet, to the place of torments, when I doome them, when I damne them to that dolefull dreadfull damnation. And hence it is, that as the Lord said to the Pro­phet, They are a stubborne people, yet goe and speak to them, that they may know they had Prophets among them, Ezek. 2. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. So the Apostle gives thanks even for this (and looking on Gods glory triumpheth also in it) that he was to some a savour of death to death, as well as to others a sa­vour of life to life, 2 Cor. 2. 14, 15, 16. Indeed it is true, that in humane apprehension that is a more grievous, not so graci­ous an end; but howsoever in respect of our intent, we cry with the Prophet and Apostle, We have spent our strength in Isai. Gal. vaine. I feare we have laboured in vaine, when we cannot stop [Page 33] souls from hell and from galloping and gadding towards it; and say diggers and ditchers doe some good, but we (like un­savoury salt) are good for nothing, no not for the dunghill, sith we serve for no use, in not keeping them from hels most terrible torments (and alas that is our onely employment) But yet letting alone our intent, and respecting this excellent event, (the clearing Gods Justice and just judgement, the removing all shew of crueltie in the Lords damning, his destroying of his creatures) we say our preaching is very powerfull, excee­dingly effectuall, could we say but as our Saviour said, now they have no cloke for their sinnes, John 15. 22. could we doe but as he did, make the wedding garment wanters Speechlesse, Matth. 22. Did we bring but dew to water the ground which will bring forth briars and thorns, that so it may be near to cur­sing, whose end is to be burned, Heb. 6. 6. 7. 8. did we onely fit them for the fire, which the breath of the Lord at a river of brimstone kindles.

And thus of those Informations which concerne the High Priest and the Preachers. I now come to those which more properly concerne the People; and because I see time begin to slide away, I will turne those informations to Exhortations, saying thus onely by the way, that as I will have done as neer as I can at the end of the houre, so whosoever of age and dis­cretion gets not faith by the preaching of the word, where it may be had, and will not stay one sand when the glasse is runne, (if extremity or occasion urge him, he may depart with Gods leave and my love) the Divel when he dyeth, will not stay one sand for his soule, but immediately it must to the fire, which the breath &c.

Now that which for this Text and truth, I am to enforme the people of, and exhort them to, is of three sorts, or I am to speake to three sorts of people.

  • 1. To all both within and without.
  • 2. To such alone as are without.
  • 3. To such alone as are within.

For the first, that which I would speake to all, is to advertise, [Page 34] advise, and admonish them to make a serious enquiry in their souls, whether they be under this dreadfull damnation, or else be free and farre from it, and so need not to quake and quiver at my medling with it, or mentioning of it. And here had I time, I would give some motives to make you serious and set­tled in it; one or two I cannot but name.

1. The fewest part of Professours at large shall escape this lake of fire, the most part must be thrown into it; so saith our Saviour, Matth. 7. 13. 14. Matth. 22. 14. Now if one (which the Lord keep you from) should tell you that most of your houses are on fire, would you not leave me alone, as Christ and Paul were left; would you not be jealous and suspicious saying with the Apostles, when the Lord told them, one of them twelve should betray him; Is it my house? is it my house? Nay I think you would rather speak peremptorily saying, it is my house, my house is burned, every one of you one by one.

2. As we have but a short or a small time to provide our selves of what will preserve us from those endlesse, easlesse tor­ments (this life being a moment of great moment, upon which depends our eternall abiding) so many are many wayes decei­ved concerning their certificates of escaping everlasting destru­ction, and that through want of serious searching. (O this is the height of our woe, we doe not use to think of hell, till at length we be in hell, and then it is too late to come out of hell) Much Copper-ware is abroad which is wholly counterfeit, nothing currant, but it lyeth us on our lives, yea on the eternall estate of our souls to see that ours be not copper but currant, for he to whom we must pay it, as he will not take a graine of copper, so he knows currant from copper. Out alas wee see Professors, yea and Preachers, yea in the dayes of death and doom saying, We have eaten and drunke in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets, you we have prophesied in thy name, and in thy name cast out Divels; and then Christ profes­sing saying, Then will I professe unto you, I know you not: We had no secret sacred acquaintance, no chamber, no closet con­verse together, you did not search your souls to see how it was [Page 35] you, or what was to be done by you, but for forme and fashi­on onely sometimes met in the Congregation, Depart from me Mat. 7. 22. 23. Luk. 13. 25 26. 27. to everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his Angels, yee workers of iniquity, be you preachers or be you professours.

These and many other motives or matters should perswade us, and prevaile with us, to be serious and solemn in the exami­nation whether we be under these torments yea or no, but alas the extremity it selfe, the easlesnesse and endlesnesse of the woes in the lake of brimstone is enough to make us intent in it, and want of time forbids to prosecute my further intent in it.

But you will say, by what signes or symptomes may we dis­cover whether by Jesus we be delivered from the wrath to come?

To which I answer, that as I beleeve that you have heard that whosoever beleeveth not shall be damned, Mark 16. So if I should prosecute that text which saith, The wicked shall be turned to hell, and all the Nations that forget God, Psal. 9. 17. I should be thought to forget my selfe, by taking too tedious a taske upon me. I will therefore confine my selfe to one most precious portion of Scripture, wherein two sorts of persons are doomed and damned to everlasting and extreme woe and mi­serie, if they abide in that state and condition.

  • 1. The Ignorant.
  • 2. The Disobedient.

God shall come from heaven (saith Paul, 2 Thess. 1. 7, 8, 9.) in flaming fire, to render vengeance to them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospell of Iesus Christ, which must be pu­nished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.

First therefore here is discovered the most dolefull dreadfull condition of such as want the true knowledge of God, they must bee punished with everlasting destruction, and who reading this can chuse to say with Perkin, Poore people I pitty you.

But you will say, as Saint Paul brings us i [...], saying, We have [Page 36] all knowledge, 1 Cor. 8. 1, 2, 3. and therefore cannot be dam­ned among the Idiots, among the ignorant. And I say with the same S. Paul, If any man say he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing as he ought to know.

But if any of you would approve your selves to have such knowledge as will keepe you from hell, from those endlesse easlesse torments, they must see that the knowledge they boast of, have these three properties or qualities; that it be

  • 1. Feeding for the matter of it.
  • 2. Feeling for the manner of it.
  • 3. Feebling for the effect of it.

For the first, he must see that it be feeding, sound, sollid, sub­stantiall knowledge; such knowledge as Solomon speaks of, when he saith, a righteous mans lips feed many. And that which a greater then Solomon means when he saith, This is eternall life, that men know thee, the onely true God, and Iesus Christ whom thou hast sent. It is not the knowledge of quickes and John 17. 3. quiddities, foolish, frivolous, frothy phrases, but such know­ledge as he wished to Jerusalem with weeping eyes, when he said unto her, O if thou hadst knowne in this thy day, the things that belong to thy peace; that is to say, seasonable knowledge, in this thy day, and reasonable knowledge, the things that be­long Luke 9. 41. to thy peace.

For the second, he must see that it be feeling knowledge, such knowledge as is experimentall, and so more excellent knowledge then Satan hath, for Sathan can read that which is written, Rom. 8. 1. There is no damnation to them that be in Christ, in the third person; but he cannot say in the first per­son as it followeth, verse 2. The Law of the Spirit of life hath freed me from the law of sinne and death. No, that is the pro­per priviledge, the peculiar prerogative of him that must not be damned, that can say We speake what we know, as he said, by whom we are saved from the wrath to come, 1 Thess. 1. 10. and of whom it is also said, in respect of his felt experience, for­asmuch as he was tempted, he is able to succour those that are tempted, Heb. 2. 18.

For the third, that knowledge which is breathed by that Spirit by which we are sealed to the day of Redemption from endlesse torments is a feebling knowledge, such a knowledge as makes a man humble, nothing lesse and worse, nothing in his owne eyes and apprehension. It is contrary to the common knowledge, which the Apostle saith, We all have, and where­of he speaks as followeth, Knowledge puffeth up, 1 Cor. 8. It is a knowledge of God and our selves, how glorious and gracious he is, great in himselfe, good to us; how grievous we are to him by our continuall sinnes and iniquities, and what unspeakable, unsufferable torments are prepared for us, if we live and lye in them. It makes a man cry out with Isaiah, Woe to me I am undone, for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts, Isai. 6. For from both these sorts of knowledge, the knowledge of God and the knowledge of ourselves, slows and follows exceeding humility, a faithfull, free and full cast­ing down a man to the dust of the earth; and a lovely; lowly laying on a mans soul the due desert of being cast down to the dungeon of hell. It makes a man say with sobs and sorrow, my breath is exceeding unsavoury, I have righteously, rightly merited to be thrown to that fire of hell, which the breath of the Lord, &c.

Now then let us search our souls (if we hope to escape hell, because we thinke we have knowledge) whether it be the knowledge of fundamentall truths, or foundation tenents, and whether we feel the power of it in working faith in the Lord, the giver of it, and love to him, and to that word by which (as by an instrument) he conveigheth it; and whether we can say from the force of the same feeling, that the Lord is our God, who will keep us from the lake of fire, whatsoever becomes of those who doe not put their trust in him, because they doe not know his name, as the Prophet David delivers it. And finally whether our faith which is thus ushered in by knowledge, be attended by that humility, which bends and birds us to praise the Lord and please him in all things with selfe deniall, for freeing us from this Tophet, this place of terrible torments. [Page 38] If it be such knowledge (alas I know the most are without it, though alas and alas, they doe not know it) you must know this also that you must not quake when you heare of hell, and how terribly tormenting it is. But if you have no knowledge of God at all, or have onely such as all have who professe the paths of piety: if it be such as is superficiall onely, and puffe you up with pride and presumption, then know that you have no knowledge, none worth the having, none worth the heed­ing, for of such there can be no hearting. If the Breath, that blessed wind which bloweth where it listeth, doth not breath on you, doe not blesse you before you die this naturall death, you must then dye eternally, goe to hell, be thrown to the fire, which the breath of the Lord like a river of brimstone kin­dleth it.

But that you may either be comforted or convinced con­cerning your ignorance, it is fit to follow you further in the matter of disobedience. And because our time is short, and you would take it ill at his hands who should take you of diso­bedience, I will confine my speech herein to three Characters of true Obedience. Know therefore that that obedience which will help from hell (as being indeed obedience, and not a shadow, not a shew of it) is

  • 1. Glewing.
  • 2. Groning.
  • 3. Growing.

For the first, true obedience is glewing, it gleweth or tyeth together, as all the ends why we must work; Glory of God, thankfulnesse to Christ, evidence for heaven, escaping of hell, credit, profit, each in his order: So it glueth the commande­ments themselves, aimeth at one as well as another, though most at those which the Lord most earnestly enjoyneth, and which it finds and feels it self most backward to goe about. He that said thou shalt not commit Adultery, saith the sonne of thunder, said also thou shalt not kill. James 2. 11. Now then whosoever shall kill (doth, and delights in any soul-killing sinne) though he doth not commit Adulterie, (or doth any [Page 39] other evil act or action) as fire as he is a transgressour of the Law whiles he lives, so sure shall he when he dieth (if he doe not repent before he dyeth) be thrown to those fiery flames which the broath of the Lord, &c.

2. That obedience which secureth from death and damna­tion is a groning obedience, that is to say, they that have it, doe not onely doe their duties hereafter, but also take a purge or potion of bitter sighings, sobs and sorrows, for omitting former duties, neglected or contemned, and doing things con­trary to the commandement of the living Creatour, loving Re­deemer. O this, this is the fount, the very foundation of all Apostasie, and so at last of all tortures and torments. Men and women say to their sinnes, as those men said to our Saviour, when they besought him to depart their coasts, because by his coming they lost their swine (as they supposed). But they doe not receive a potion for their formerly drunk in poyson: some for carnall love to their Landlords leave some sinnes, though they doe not loath them; some for feare of their friends and famillars doe such duties as they doe not delight in; many for many ends doe many things which may not be blamed, but are commanded, yea and commanded unto their practise, by patterns and promises as well as precepts, who were never bro­ken in heart, for breaking those sacred saving precepts, and breaking over those patterns and those promises. These want­ing that depth of earth can never got to heaven, but must to hell, if they doe not hereafter lament their not lamenting, be­fore they began to be knowne to be of that number▪ which must escape the fiery flames, which the breath of the Lord like a river of brimstone kindles.

For the third; That obedience which goes for currant in the court of heaven, and saith to such as professe it, that they cannot be cast to tormenting Tophet is growing, it daily en­creaseth, groweth duly bigger and better, more and more savory, sollid and setting downe all objections which strive to stop it in its holy paths of purity, in the way in which he walk­eth, in whom it is in life and power, in truth and spirit. But [Page 40] alas mens growings blinder, baser, back warder in all the things which helps towards heaven and would heave us higher had we hearts to them, proves plainly to such as see it, that most men are made of another kind of mould then they were com­posed of, in respect of Christianity, then they were in those pri­mative purest holy dayes, when Christians were so glewed to­gether, were so full of growing and groning.

Now search (I beseech you) your soules, yee men and women, who would not be damnd, see whether your seeming obedience glew you to Christians as well as commandments, have opened your hearts with such dew-distilling sorrow for sin ihat (as plants refreshed with raine) your soules grow more enamored with those paths which are pleasant as well as pure leading from hel to life everlasting. Of a truth (that I may grow nearer towards conclusion) as they who are so qualified may not onely qualifie their feares concieved at the hearing of hell crying weepe and wail without end, at the thoughts of To­phet whose torments haue no end, but also make them truly merry at the very heart, because they are free and far from the place and case, in which Gods fury for ever kindles the fiery flames. So they who cull and chuse, in their doing duties take on them a profession without taking on or making con­fession of their false, foolish, filthy wayes or rather wandrings they that stand at a stay continually never growing or groning heavenwards, but grow weary of precise and punctuall per­formances, religious rules, doctrines, disciplines, are traviling towards Tophet, and will run (unlesse they return) into that fire which my text treats of, and which the breath of the Lord like a river of brimstone kindles.

And this be spoken to all in generall: search your selues, yee search your selves, O ye who would not be damned for ever, before the decree come forth, before ye be as chaffe; before the fiercenesse of the Lord come upon you, before the day of the Lords wrath come upon you. Zeph. 2. 2. I am to speak to those (be­ing commonly the greatest number) who are ignorant or dis­obedient, in such sort as is here discovered and so (should they [Page 41] dye in that case) would be shortly in a dolefull dreadfull case, howling in hell, crying out that ever they were borne, frying in the fire, which The breath of the Lord like a river of brimstone kindles.

Now to these our blessed Saviour cryes again and againe, And if thy hand offend thee, out it off: it is better for thee to en­ter into life maimed, then having two hands, to goe into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched; Where their worme dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, then having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched. Where their worme dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

And if thy eye offend thee, plucke it out: is it better for thee to enter into the Kingdome of God with one eye, then having two eyes to be cast into hell fire. Where their worme dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

Mark that he would have the hand and foot off, and the eye out, but heres not a word of the eare off, men and women must have their ears on still, as a speciall meanes to keepe them from the fire, there is no cropping ears in heavens court, but they who will not part with their hair, how should wee think they will part with their hands, yea it is to be greatly feared, that sith these will come to our Churches, and carry Bibles, who will by no meanes leave their lusts, as near as their hands, as deare as their feet, I say it is to be feared, that they will be bound hand and feet, and be throwne to utter darkenesse, where is weeping and gnashing of teeth, and then they will become speechlesse, having nothing to say for themselves, when their feet are bound which brought them to the temple, when their hands are bound which handled the Bible; when their hands are bound and then no fighting, when their feet are bound, and then no flying. Mat. 22. 11. 12. 13.

And I call upon you as loud as I can, to doe that which my master means, that is to say, to avoid and abhor any thing, every thing, never so deare to you, never so neare to you, [Page 42] (unlawfull profits, pomps or pleasures) which any wayes hurt or hinder from seeking the way of saluation, that so you may escape those everlasting flames of fire: yea I beg of you, and beseech you, to doe any thing, every thing, all things, which will doe any thing in that matter of greatest moment towards the escaping of that Tophet, that place of torments. O put to all you are, and all you haue, all the powers of your souls and parts of your bodies, imploy, improve all your minutes as well as your mites, in saving your selves from this froward generation, and so from those unspeakeable, unconceiveable, unmatchable torments. Doe as Solomon sheweth, that you should doe, as wee shewed at the begining. The way of life is above to the wise, that he may escape hel below, Prov. 15. 24. As if the spirit had said, if any man or thing shall arise in your hearts to hold from heaven, shew to your souls the burning flames which are below in the lake of fire and brimstone, and you will quickly shew your selves wise men, you will esteeme the word and the preaching (a speciall means to make us able to say in truth we shall not be damnd) above objections, above oppositions, above all that stops or staies us from seeking, stri­ving, struggling for life.

You will happily say, what must wee doe, that we may escape that place of torments.

To the which I answer, that though time passeth swiftly, I will shew you,

  • 1. What the word.
  • 2. What the world would would have you doe in the pre­sent case.

For the first. The word (in a few words) bids us doe these three things, as wee have them in three examples. Or these three Bs.

  • 1. Beleeve.
  • 2. Beware.
  • 3. Bewaile.

First carry the honey of this instruction and exhortation. First, the word bids us Beleeve, thus S. Paul said to the Jay­lor, [Page 43] who put him and his fellow in the inner prison, when he Acts 16. had a commission to put them in prison; that Jaylor after his putting them in the inward prison, was himselfe put in the in­most prison, his very soul was set in the stocks, he was afraid of the flames of hell, and cryed out in the anguish thereof, even to those whom he had misused: Sirs, what must I doe to bee saved? O how, how shall I doe? I fear the terrible torments of hell, what course must I take to escape them? To this Paul answers, as I doe to those of you (if there are any here among you in the like case) Beleeve in the Lord Iesus, and then shall be saved from that lake of fire and brimstone, which otherwise will destroy and devoure thee, sinke thee, swallow thee in for ever. And I from this very ground call upon you to cleave the clouds, to work wonders, to reach the right hand of that Ma­jesty on high (passing by all the Apostles and Angels) and there to single out him, who is all in all with God, to become all in all to us; to apprehend him for your owne Saviour, to apply him to your owne souls, to take downe his person, his passion, his promises, to make him your owne by the lively saith of Gods Elect. And I beseech you, O ye who have soules, and have a Saviour, who shed his blood to redeeme those precious souls, doe not despair for any of your sinnes, be they never so many millions, be they never such mighty mountains. I can­not stand to shew you the order which God useth in working faith in you. How first he tells you, that it is possible, and then probable that God will pardon you after fears falling in in the middest; and after a while will say to you sweedy, your faith hath saved you, your sins are forgiven you. But this I say to you, that there is such infinite mercy in God, and such infinite merits in Christ, that if you can but beleeve in him (and the Lord looke upon you, to make you able to say hold on him) you shall surely be saved from hell, you shall not be over whelmed with those extreme everlasting torments, shall not be cast to the fie­ry flames, which the breath of the Lord like a river of brim­stone kindles.

Secondly, (for there is no time to tell you, how you must [Page 44] attaine to that Beleeving, namely by hearing the word of God, which is able to save your souls) I say secondly, if you would Rom. 10. James 1. escape the everlasting terrible torments, you must Beware that you walk in the way which the Saints and the Saviour trod in. So saith Iohn when he saw the Pharisees seek to avoid the wrath to come. Bring forth fruits (saith he unto them, when their Consciences cryed against them, and set the torments of hell Matth 3. before them) Bring forth fruits fit for amendment, saith he, and begin not to say in your selves, we have Abraham to our fa­ther. And doe not you I beseech you, dream that you can stop the cry of hell in your Consciences, by any foolish frivolous fig­leaves, or if you could so curb and crush them, that yet you are able to avoid that brimstone by pleading Pedegrees, pretend­ing prerogatives. No, there is no way but one with you, if ye walk not the way of fruitfulnesse, be not carefull, conscionable, circumspect in all Conversation, in all acts of Christianity; Though it be Christ, even Christ alone, who hath freed us from hell, and fitted us for heaven, and for his sake shall all that be chosen, be kept from those ever-burning flames; yet it is they, they alone, none but they, who are fruitfull as well as faithfull shall escape the lake of brimstone, all the rest, all that walk not warily, worthily must be extremely and eternally hell-tormen­ted. That is the way, and the means to escape, those are the persons, who must be preserved from that most terrible place of torments; In that, and after that men must fly from the wrath to come. And therefore you must be such, must be so fruitfull, must bring forth fruits fit for a Christian calling, if you would not be thrown to Tophet, to that extremely tormenting fire of hell, which the breath of the Lord like a river of brim­stone kindles.

Thirdly, whosoever of you would not be damned for ever and ever must look back with godly sorrow (like those foure beasts in that fourth Chapter of Iohns Revelation, who had Eyes behind as well as before) on his former foolish, false beha­viour; So saith Peter to those three thousand, who when they had been pricked in their hearts (frighted with feare of those [Page 45] fiery flames of hell, feeling a kind of foretast of it in their very inwards) cryed out, what shall we doe, with sighing soule and Acts 2. 37. 38. sorrowfull spirits. Repent, saith he, be ye truely touched; sin­cerely, sweetly terrified, troubled, that ye were so proud and presumptuous, that you duest provoke the mighty Jehovah, who is able to tumble you down to hell to the place of tor­ments. Make your hearts bleed that your sinnes made him bleed; who shed it to keep you from hells eternall flames. And surely forgivenesse of sinnes and faith in Christ to conceive it, and receive it, without which to escaping of hell nothing at all, but being extreamly, eternally damned, [...] must be attained with any fruitfull force and feeling, till a Converts soul become such an one as will suck it in, and that it cannot be capable of, till it be soked in brinish tears, or bitterer terrours, till is bee afraid of Tophet, that so fearing it, it might not feele that un­quenchable fire of hell which the breath of the Lord as a river of brimstone kindles.

And these be the three Bs which have the honey: These be the things which the sacred Scripture: commends to such as have in their hearts wormwood and gall for feare of hells ex­treme eternalls, when it counselleth them by comforting, and comforteth them by counselling.

Now what the World would doe, and that both lawfully and laudably, if a noyse of fire should fright them, we all know by much experience.

Suppose (which the Lord keepe from you) that there should be a noise of fire in your Towne, what course would ye take for the quenching of it. I know generally and nega­tively what you would doe, that is to say, what you would not doe, for you world certainly hear mee no longer, but would leave mee alone (as they did Christ and his chosen ves­sel Paul, and yet you should not, for I would goe along with you remembring what is written: I will have mercie and not sacrifice, Hosea 6. 6. But what would you doe, when you came to it, and sought to quench it, I suppose you would get three things.

For the first you would get Company, you would call upon one the other, crying, Fire, fire, fire, fire, save us from it, help to quench it; And O that you would do so directly, for the sa­ving of your soules, for the preserving of you from those tor­ments which are extreme and endure for ever. O that you would get together, that you would goe one to another; that you aske one the other the question, How doth your soule? and, How doth your soule? O would you say to each other thus; What say you neighbour to that which we heard to day? Is it true, that there is an hell, and that there are such torments in it? that they are so terrible, so everlasting, that they never shall end, but abide for evermore? O what, what shall we doe? what will you doe? what shall I do? I feare I shall even be damned in hell, even in hell, and that in such extremity, and that for all eternity. But me thinkes I heare some of you say to me: I can finde in my heart to goe to his house, but not to this house, he is a Puritan; but I tell you, if there were a fire, such a fire in your towne or houses, there would no word at all of Puritan, but all the noise would bee Neighbour, neighbour, fire, fire, helpe neighbour, help. And O that the thought of this fire which the breath of the Lord for ever kindleth, would take away all hostilitle, all carnall crooked conceit of enmity; and make you joyn hearts, heads, and hands, for the quenching of it so farre as concernes your escaping, for the preserving of you from it (as Saul was forced to depart from David, when he was neare him at the mouth of the Cave, to the end he might save his kingdome which the Philistines then had invaded.) O that you would walke and talk together, like yet living creatures, and now loving neigh­bours, how you might escape hell, the everlasting lake of fire and brimstone; I assure you it would much availe you to­wards your freedome from the fiery flames; which The breath of the Lord like a streame of brimstone doth kindle it.

Secondly, if there were fire in your Towne, and houses (which the Lord evermore keep same from you) you would immediately seeke a Ladder: And, O that (if any among you be stuck to the heart and stung with this Sermon at the hea­ring of these unspeakable, unquenchable flames of hell.) O that you would goe to your Minister, (Ministers are Ladders, Ia­cobs Ladders reaching from earth to the height of heaven) and say to him, when your soules are sinking; Sir, be good to us, helpe us, beale us, heave us up from the sinks of sorrow; we see death ready to seize on us, hell ready to swallow us utterly. Thus did that Jaylor, those Pharisies, those Converts before mentioned, they roated and ranne to their Preachers, crying, Acts 16. Mat. 3. Acts 2. What shall we doe to be saved? But O alas we the Ministers of the Gospel grow greedy of filthy lucre, waxer wanton, in spen­ding our time upon trifling novelties, niceties, because we want worke or purer employment, are not at all enquired after con­cerning the sores of your soules, the bellowings and breathings of them, the blemishes and breathes in them; where is there (almost) a man among millions, who makes the mone for a man of God, one of a thousand, to whom he may cry for coun­sell when his Conscience is almost confounded? But you O people, who have pretious soules in you, and which soules must surely be turned to Tophet, if you be not turned topsie­turvie from blindnesse and badnesse to true Religion and holy Righteousnesse, doe you that which the fewest number doe (they are many and often mighty ones, which walke in the way which drawes to destruction) get you Ladders, and get upon them, make your Ministers minde their studies, when they heare you pouring out your hearts and posing them, and putting them often times to their prayers, for more wisedome to resolve your doubtaind difficulties. But chiefly (ah doe it as you doe not desire to be damned) goe speedily to those Ministers by whose work, men must be saved, when you heare of hels extremitie, and are afraid that you shall fall in it. They will not with the Watchmen smite you, they will reare you, restore you, recover you (they have more leasure and more [Page 48] learning then I have, more time to doe the thing which will stop your soules from sinking, and stirre them from despaire as well as securitie) when Satan sets before you your due desert of eternall damnation. Above all I desire and require you, that if any thing hath been spoken in my two Sermons, which puts any of you to your plunges, and puzzles your soules by saying, you must be damned, that you enquire of some Em­bassadour of Jesus Christ, whether it were true as well as ter­rible, holy Doctrine as well as threatned deepe damnation. And I for my part, if any of my Brethren being a word for it, will be ready to recall and recant it, and shew you a softer way (if there be any such in the blessed Bible) to escape this flaming fire of Tophet, which The breath of the Lord like a streame of brimstone doth kindle it.

The third thing that you would doe, would be to cry, Water, water, should the noise of Fire, fire, be heard among you (which the Lord to his good pleasure keep far from you.) And O that this cry of Fire, Fire, this extremely tormenting fire, this everlastingly tormenting fire, would cause you to cry for a double Water, and double your cry for it, with single hearts and earnest spirits. O that you would cry for the water of pardon for forgivenesse of sinnes, for the washing of your soules, through his bloud, who came by Water and bloud, not by water only, but by water and bloud, out of whose more then precious side came Water and bloud for the soules 1 Joh. 5. 6. even of Publicans & most prophane ones, of vicious, villanous men or miscreants. O that the feare of this quenchlesse fire would make you cry, Lord have mercy upon us, (not as many try it, without any sence of miserie, and so without capability of mercy, tossing and tumbling the Name of the Lord, as I would be loath to have my name tossed, crying, Lord have mercy upon us. Christ have mercy upon us. Lord have mercy upon us, in such haste and show of heat, as if they meant to sell their Lords have mercy upon us for money, and would get as many of them into their hands as they could to sell them here­after; (Whereas, if they thought of hell, of its extreme and [Page 49] eternall torments, it would make them with deliberation, yea with the utmost of their devotion to cry, Lord have mercy upon us, we are else undone for ever.) O, I say, that the feare of this fire would make you cry, Christ have mercy upon us, and to continue so crying, till your hearts he sprinkled from an evill conscience, and your bodies washed with pure water. And I Heb. 10. 22 beseech you, as you would not suffer these unspeakeable, un­quenchable flames, doe as our Saviour bids and binds you, that is to say, Aske, Seeke, and Knock for that holy water, Mat. 7. 7. and the Spirit, without which he telleth and teacheth us, that there is no comming to the glorious Kingdome, and so by consequence, no escaping of hell. Aske earnestly, and if no answer seeme to come, Seeke more earnestly, and if you heare no answer yet, Knock most earnestly, for the water of the Spirit to regenerate, renew, and restore you from the death of sinne and the danger of death, eternall death and dreadfull damnation. Yea I would Knock downe the gates of heaven, (why should not I doe a thing impossible, to escape the lake of fire and brimstone, at well as the Lord bids us doe a thing impossible to be free from eternall damnation, saying, Make Eze. 18. 31. you a new heart, and a new spirit, for why will ye die? though he knoweth that we cannot move an hand towards making new hearts, & therfore promiseth by the same Prophet, yea and that Eze. 11. 19 and 36. 26. once and again, that he will give us new hearts and new spirits) rather then feele the fury of God in the fiercenesse and fulnesse of it in that Tophet, that place of torments, that hell of hels, which hath such fire in it, that The breath of the Lord like a streame of brimstone doth kindle it.

And thus much be spoken to such as have hitherto abode in darkenesse, by not thinking on the place of torments (too much considering the time, not halfe enough in regard of the thing,) you may now depart at your pleasure; I having shewed you the case you are in, and the course you must take to come out of it. I have onely two words to speak now to you▪ who have such knowledge and such obedience wrought with in you either before this day it some good and Christian perfection, [Page 50] or on this day in the beginnings of it, in the seeds or desires of it, or sound preparations to it.

Now to you who are soundly wrought on, and so are freed from those extreme everlasting torments, I am to perswade with you:

  • 1. To praise the Lord for your owne mercy.
  • 2. To pitty others in their misery.

For the first of these as oft as you thinke on the extremitie, and eternitie of the torments of hell, it must make you one by one cry with the sweet Singer of Israel, Psal. 86. 12. 13. I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorifie thy Name for evermore. For great is thy mercy towards me: and thou hast delivered my soule from the lowest hell.

And to provoke you to this duty of praise, which when we come to heaven, and shall see that we cannot to hell, we shall continually be employed in, and which we are so more back­ward to bring our hearts to, whiles we are in earth: let us briefly think on these things:

1. First, if our Graces be well grounded, strongthned and stablished, we shall be sure, without peradventures, that wee shall not be thrown to the lake of brimstone, Revel. 21. 7. 8.

2. If we had been dead only, and revived, recovered to life again, yea if we had been but deadly sick, and had been resto­red to health again, we should say with good Hezekiah, The li­ving, Isai. 38. 19. the living, they shall praise thee: How much more are we bound to doe it, at the freeing our souls from the place of torments.

3. Consider how many millions, nobler, richer, learneder then we are, are left to themselves, and their soules to Satan, to be extremely eternally damned; And God hath made choise of us filly simple wormes, who were first Elected, and then Selected, and after Neglected of all meere morall men, and often in our owne soules Dejected in our owne apprehensions, 1 Cor. 1. 26. 27.

4. Consider how many times, how many thousand times, the God of heaven did call and cry to us, and yet we refused, [Page 51] and often resisted: He sent not only his Son, and after his Son his Word to reveale his Sonne, but also his Spirit from Sab­bath to Sabbath, from Sermon to Sermon, and still we with­stood our owne escape, our owne deliverance, our own free­dome from those flames, which have none end, or ease at all in them.

5. He fetched us from it, called, culled, converted our soules from it, when we were loath to come out of hell, loathest of all to come out of the way to it, loather (it may be some of us) then ever in all our lives before. O the Lord dealt with us, as he did in fetching Lot from Sodome, whiles we lingred, hee laid hands on us, the Lord being exceedingly mercifull to us, saying, Fly for your lives, Escape towards the mountaine, lest ye be consumed in the lake of fire and brimstone. And the cause why we so contemned our owne mercy in that our mi­sery was our ignorance, our not knowing what case we were in, our thinking our selves safe, and in the way to the King­dome of Heaven, when alas we were almost in hell, in the ve­ry path, the very porch of it.

6. And lastly, that as he sent when we never sought pardon, so he hath not only knockt off the bolts and bonds, not onely freed us from hels most fierce and fiery flames, but also fitted us in some measure for the wearing of Royall Crownes of Glory: So that now we can think on hell without horrour, without astonishment because we can say with Paul to his Thessalonians, God hath not appointed us to wrath but to ab­ [...]in [...] Salvation by Iesus Christ, 1 Thess. 5. 9.

The thought of these things should fill us full of joy and comfort, and make us breathe out holy praises, and breake forth into blessing the blessed Majesty, crying with Paul, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Iesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spirituall blessings in heavenly places in Ephes. 1. 3. Christ: According as he hath chosen us, before the foundation of the world; when he rejected millions of millions to be ex­tremely eternally damned: And with Peter, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Iesus Christ, which according to his [Page 52] abundant mercy, in freeing us from those torments, which know neither end nor ease, hath begotten us again to a lively hope of an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fa­deth not away, reserved in heaven for us, 1 Pet. 1. 3. 4. And wherein we shall shine as the Sunne in the Kingdome of our Father, when all the wicked of the world shall be cast into Matth. 13. 42. 43. that furnace of fire, which The breath of the Lord like a streame of brimstone doth kindle it.

And thus much be spoken to you, concerning your owne mercie.

Now a word of Information concerning others misery. The Prophet Ieremie in one verse, Ier. 20. 13. breaketh forth into this holy pang, this heavenly passage, Sing unto the Lord, praise ye the Lord; and in the very next verse unto it, he brea­theth forth this dolefull dismall out-cry, Cursed be the day wherein I was born. The Apostle Paul (peradventure more proper and pat to our purpose) when he had said, I am per­swaded, that neither death, nor life, nor Angels, nor principali­ties, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, Rom. 8. 38. 39. nor depth, nor any other creature, shall separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Iesus our Lord: (as looking on his owne most blessed condition, being engrafted into the blessed body of Christ, and endued with the blessed Spirit of Christ, and so free from condemnation, as it is in the 1. verse,) looking on his former familiars and friends, and seeing them subject to death and damnation, hath these words in the very next verse, Rom. 9. 1. 2. 3. I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witnesse in the holy Ghost, That I have great heavinesse, and continuall sorrow in my heart, For, I could wish that my selfe were accursed from Christ, for my brethren my kinsmen according to the flesh: And surely sith the tor­ments of hell are so unconceiveable, so uncessable, wee should after we have rejoyced and praised God for our owne delive­rance; grone and grieve for our carnall friends case, and more then cursed condition. But as that Paul when he had sighed and sobbed, with remembrance of, and respect to the terrible [Page 53] torments that they must be throwne to, if they abode in their wicked wilfulnesse, addeth in the 1. verse of the next Chapter, his Prayer to that his Pitty, saying, Brethren, my hearts desire Rom. 10. 1. and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. So must we not onely weepe and waile, for feare of our friends damnation, but also doe the best we can, use our true and ut­most endevour, that such sinners may bee converted; and so escape everlasting torments. And though I could shew (did not time take me off) what speciall course fathers and mothers must take to help their children from hell, and set it downe in divers particulars, yet I will onely shew in grosse or generall termes what we are to doe (even you people, as well as wee Preachers,) for all that dwell about us, and to whom we have any accesse, toward their escaping that fire, which The breath of the Lordlike a river of brimstone kindles.

And to passe by our holy walking (with which wee may draw them to like that Word, which is able to save our soule Jam. 1. 21. from that fearefull wrath to come:) And not to presse you to presse hardest by Exhortation, when you receive most kind­nesse from them, Luke 10. Luke 11. Luke 14. (O who would not endure any thing to keepe any one from wanting water, who will not see us here want drinke, but will provide before we petition) nor to call on them to number their dayes (which will make them to become wise, if anything will, and not rush on their owne deep destruction, for dayes, and yeares, and ages past numbring, Psal. 90. 12.) Nor to shew you who must be reproved, and who must not be reproved (which is not to be done in this time, were it never so incident to the) Text, I will onely shew what rules every one must use in spea­king to such as we are to speake to, and that in these three words only, namely you must use,

  • 1. Pietie.
  • 2. Pollicie.
  • 3. Pittie.

Concerning Pietie, Yee must

  • 1. Take the Word of Grace to them.
  • [Page 54]2. Speake to the Throne of Grace for them.

In doing the first of these, ye must do two things carefully:

  • 1. Bring with you the Lords Authoritie.
  • 2. Leave them with a possibilitie of mercy.

1. For the first, ye must be carefull, that ye doe not vent or utter your owne words; but the words of the living God, to shew them their duly deserved damnation, and its extremitie and eternitie. Ye must shew them the words of the Lord in the very Chapter and verse, as well as Booke; And say, How? O how, will ye answer in the dreadfull dayes of death, and of doome, these words which are the words which you must bee judged by? What will you say, when the Bookes shall be Joh. 12. 48. opened? and this text be brought against you? which telleth us that every one who lives and dies in the course you walke in, must be punished with everlasting destruction from the pre­sence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power, when he comes to render vengeance in flaming fire? what must the Lord teare out this leafe for love of you? which saith as ye evidently see, The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that for­get God? must He be so farre enamored of you, as for your sakes to be false of his Word, who are so farre out of love with him, that you hourely not onely transgresse, but trample also under your feet his sacred Precepts & saving Promises? Surely this is the way to win them, to worke upon them, if there be any way; to say with the Prophets and the Apostles, Thus saith the Lord, The mouth of the Lord hath spoken it, and What I delivered to you, I have received from the Lord. And I also (that I may awake and affect you) will follow the footsteps which I set before you, and to my sixe Rules premised, I will adde this as it were a seventh, that is to say, that what I have said, they are not my words, but the words of the Lord he was the Master, I but the poore Messenger; the words I meane which I have had in the present Discourse concerning Tophet, or those torments, or fiery flames of hell, which The breath of the Lord like a river of brimstone kindles.

2. For the second: when ye have told them of the terrible [Page 55] torments due to them, and almost at hand to swallow them up, and sink them down to the bottomlesse pit; ye must at length (least they grow resolute, and wickedly desperate, crying, past help past hope, past cure past care; Let us eate and drink, for to morrow we shall dye. Let us revell and riot, we can but be damned) I say ye must at length let them know, that if they come in, there is yet hope in Israel concerning this very matter; Ezra 10. 2. Prov. 1. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. ye must give them to understand, that Wisdome cryeth even to scorners, yea to those who have long (how long) delighted in scorning; yea let them know, that she cryes not burne ye, as we would imagine, and would doe in the like case also; But turne yee, and after Behold I will poure my Spirit on you. As I will pawne my precious soul that none of you all shall goe to Tophet, if you yet repent and cleave to Christ, following the rules set before you, let your sinnes and lives in time past, be never so many, never so wicked. And be sure to put together, what the Lord hath there conjoyned (to make them readily receive mercy, when the Lord in exceeding tender mercy ten­ders it) Because I have called and ye refused, I have stretched forth my hand, and no man regarded; I will laugh at your de­struction, and mock when your fear commeth; when death be­ginneth to seize on you, and hell begins to swallow you, when you fall to that fearfull Tophet, to that unmatchable, un­quenchable fire, which The breath of the Lord as a river of brimstone kindles.

2. But as you must take the word of grace when you do go to them, so you must goe to the throne of grace before you goe to them. Before you speak to them on Gods behalf, speak to God on their behalf, to blesse your councels and comforts to them. And surely as those Ministers who following their masters footsteps use to pray in private, before they preach in publick, have the secrets of God reveald to them and excee­dingly edifie and profit their people; whereas they doe little good, yea have their gifts and graces wither, who make not their prayers in chambers, before they meddle with Scri­ptures in Churches. (O 'tis, 'tis the powring out the soul to [Page 56] God, which makes a man speak with power to God) So yee, if in self-deniall ye cast down yourselves before the Lord, and before his footstoole, when you see a fit person, a meet man or woman to worke on, saying, Lord thou hast hearts in thy hands, and hast wisdome and words irresistable; O tell mee, shall I speak to him, and if yea, make me able to speak to him, give me an heart, and words of weight worth the speaking; and give him grace to receive my warning from thee in deepest mercie, from mee in dearest love. O blesse them sweet father, breath with them, that they may help that precious soul from the lake of fire and brimstone; thou hast freely given mee an heart to desire and seek their escaping hell. But thou desirest and seekest it infinitely more then I, or any man, or all men, who hast said and that as thou livest, I desire not the death of Ezek. 18. the wicked. O be with us, be all to us, in speaking, hearing, doing, that the poore precious soul to whom I am now going, may not goe to the fire of hell, which the breath of the Lord as a river of brimstone kindles.

And thus of the Pietie which must be used in your helping poor neighbours from hell: Now the Pollicie which must be used consisteth also in two particulars. Ye must

  • 1. Give them their own Commendations.
  • 2. Draw from them their owne Condemnation.

For the first of these, ye must alwayes remember to observe what good thing they have in them, or what they doe that is worthy of praise, though it be but morally or civilly good, to­wards the Church or the Common-wealth. And be carefull to commend the good before ye begin to discover their dan­ger, or tell them what dreadfull damnation awaits them, if they be not bettered before their deaths. Thus not onely did Paul deale with his people of Corinth, crying to them, I com­mend you Brethren, before he cryeth, I commend you not, when he speaks of their abuse of the sacred Supper, wherein they drinke their owne damnation, 1 Cor. 11. 2. But also our Lord sixe times in two Chapters together, cryes, thou hast done Rev. 2. and 3. Chapters. these and these things well, before he cryes, I have somewha [...] [Page 57] against thee. And surely this will [...] all the wormewood: and gall in the words, though they favour never so strongly of extreme and eternall damnation. This will make them clearly conceive, that ye doe not vent any malice in anger, when they see you as willing, as ready to commend what is good, as con­demn the evil. And as ye must reward any good in your chil­dren, as well as correct them when they doe evil (which corre­ction is the way to keep them that they goe not to hell be­low, as the wisest of men hath taught us seven times in his book of his Proverbs) so let every man say to his neighbour in whom he sees any shew or shadow of good, when he go­eth to be a means to five him from hell: Surely Sir, I must commend you, you governe well your wife and children, I doe not see in them any loytering, nor heart from any of them any swearing or lying; you are carefull for them, couvte­ous to us, free of your purse, full of honest hospitality: But I must tell you (that commending the good makes way, opens the care to receive any thing from the commender) that for all this you are not regenerate, you know not what apper­tains to a sanctified heart, which you must needs get before you dye, or be sure to be damned when you dye; had you more common gifts and graces then had Herod or Iehu, or Iudas. Yea sure you must soundly be converted, truly touch­ed and troubled for sinne, or all your formall fairnesse cannot keep you from the unspeakable, unquenchable flames, which The breath of the Lord as a river of brimstone kindles.

2. For the other of the acts of holy pollicie, ye must make them condemne themselves by some pretty proper simile, such as this is. Say to him: I pray you neighbour, if your house were burning (which God keep you from) and you were fast asleep on a bed, or your body like to be burned, if you be not away: and then if one should come by you, and find you asleep in that danger, ought he to a wake you, yea or no, must he awake you or let you be burned? He cannot chuse but answer, you ought, or else you shew your selfe an enemy; and then reply ye as the Prophet Nathan did to David: Thou art [Page 58] the man, to your selfe belongs the simile; alas I see you asleep in your sinnes, your soul and body both are about to be seized on by death and damnation, And surely I should betray you if I should not awake you, and shew you your danger. Or suppose you were asleep, and your body ready to be burned, and two men should come by you and see it; and the one of them should say to his fellow, let him alone, doe not awake him, doe not stirre him, for if you doe, he will swear and storm, raile and revile you with all vile and villanous reproches: the other replies, I fear not his anger, I care not one jot for his ra­ging and railing, all my feare is that he will be burned, all my care is, that he be not burned: Now which of these two was the truely mercifull, truly pittifull man? why as sure as the Lawyer said, He was neighbour who shewed mercy; as sure as Simon said. He to whom he for gave much, will love most: So sure would he say to him that asked him such a question; He was the mercifull man who awaked mee, and he cruell, who would not doe it. Then say ye, Thou art the man, some flat­ter you for feare of loosing your face and favour, but I will not suffer you to sleep in your sinnes. I will affright every veine in your soule and body, before Ile suffer, you through my default, to be cast to the fiery flames of hell, which The breath of the Lord like a river of brimstone kindles.

And thus of the acts of Pollicie. Now pitty must also be used in speaking do others to helpe them from hell. And be­cause the time is past that I cannot come to the comfort which come to the Saints from this holy doctrine (for out of this strong comes sw [...] and Gods children from hells extremity and eternitie, may gather the excellencie and eternity of heaven, may be sure they shall not be thrown into it, may with more patience endure any misery on earth, may be the more joyfull in their escaping such terrible torments, as well as more cer­tain of them escaping them, &c.) I say because I want time to deliver those and such like holy comforts from the serious thought of the doctrine of hells extremitie and eternity. I will end it as I began it, in pressing the using Pitty, when we warne [Page 59] men and women to take heed of it. As I told you at the be­ginning, that I should speake hereof with compassion, so in the end I call upon all to use the like commiseration, as our Lord and his Apostle did, when they told of destruction and dam­nation. Many walke (saith blessed Paul) whose end will be Phil. 3. 18. damnation, and I tell you of it weeping. The enemy shall cast a bank about thee (saith Christ) but he said it with weeping eyes, for when he drew now to Ierusalem, be beheld the Citie and Luk. 19. 41. wept over it. As it is related of Bias the Judge, that he never sentenced any man with dry eyes. Shew to them whom you doe admonish, that you speake to them of hell, and of their going to it, if they turn not, with griefe of heart, with groning in spirit; knowing that the wrath of man doth not accomplish the will of God, (as the sonne of thunder hath taught us) not James. at all that part of his will, wherein he binds us to doe our ut­most in keeping poore souls from the wrath to come, from the place of torments, the fire of hell, of which it is said in the Text, that the breath of the Lord like a river of brimstone kin­dles it.

WHen this last Sermon thus was brought to end,
Our Vincent from the Pulpit did descend
Into the Pew; and blessed be our Lord,
Who so much grac'd this Preacher of his Word,
That though his foes exceedingly desir'd
To interrupt him in it, and conspir'd
To that same purpose: yea besides although,
They had both power and pollicie enough
To doe it; yet they could not for their heart
Touch him, or cause one person to depart
Till he had finisht. But when that was done,
His foes by heaps did at the Church doore run
John 18. 1. Rev. 11. 7.
To doe him mischiefe; And a wonder 'tis,
(But that we certainly may learn by this,
That God had other work for him to doe,
And better souls for him to preach unto)
That knife, or Halberds, or that presse of men
Had not destroy'd his smoaking body then.
But blest be God at length he got away,
And preacht at Mary Magdalens that day
Ith Evening: And since that (by Gods great power)
Full many a Sermon he hath preacht in our
Great London Citie. But no thanks to you
Ye preaching-hating, bloud-desiring crew
Of sottish slauderers; yea sure you should
Be sharply punished, for what you would
But could not compasse; that you so might be
A warning unto others and to mee.
Idem A. F. qui scripsit This was the Sermon, &c.
Qui punit, ponit.

MR. Packington before the Iustices required me to pro­duce the testimonie of some Ministers of my own Coun­trey, I therefore am compelled to produce this, written by them, and subscribed every one with his owne hand.

VVE whose names are underwritten, doe cer­tifie, that Mr. Humfrey Vincent, whom we have known for a good space of time, is of a very honest life and conversation; he hath at our desires at sundry times preached in our severall Cures; The Lord hath endued him with singular gifts which he hath denied to his Brethren, although faithfull in their places. Indeed he is one of a thou­sand, either to break, or to bind up (by Gods help) a broken heart. He is a Iohn Baptist to humble and to lay low a proud exalted spirit. He hath beene sent for to preach in many places about us, where we have heard his Doctrine hath been sound, and his carriage as a Minister of the Gospel; and we hope he hath done much good in our Countrey.

In witnesse whereof, we Ministers of the Gospel have put to our hands.

  • John Needham. Preacher of Stafford.
  • Seth VVood of Armitage
  • Sampson Newton of Canck.
  • Thomas Thomas of Beckbury.
  • William Fletcher of Albrington.
  • Simon King of Codsall.
  • VVilliam Brue ton of Nosehall.
  • George Baxter of VVenlock.
  • VVilliam Peake of Shemton.
  • Robert Ashton of Bednall.
  • Deliverance Fenny house of Shassal.
  • John Chapman of Dunn [...]ngton.
  • VVilliam Madestart of Bridgnorth.
  • Thomas Mocket of Newport.
  • Roger Linsh of Norton juxta Canck.

All these Preachers of the VVord.

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