A LEARNED AND VERY U …

A LEARNED AND VERY USEFULL COMMENTARY UPON THE WHOLE PROPHESIE OF MALACHY.

BY That late Reverend, Godly and Learned Divine, Mr. RICHARD STOCK, sometime Rector of Alhallowes Bread­street, London, and now, accord­ing to the Originall Copy left by him, published for the common good.

Whereunto is added, AN EXERCITATION upon the same Prophesie of MALACHY.

By SAMUEL TORSHELL.

LONDON, Printed by T. H. and R. H. for Daniel Frere and William Wells, and are to be sold at their shops in Little Britaine. 1641.

Reader if euer Fame did fill thy care
withe name of Reuerent Stock, behold him heere,
Not in this Shaddow onely, but turne ore,
the Booke, and verroe this Stockes improued store.
There shalt find mixt with Graue Diuinitie
a Prophets depe mysterious Prophecy.
then thanke his care whose goodness doth unlocke,
and publish to ye world me Rich a Stocke.

To The ancient Friends and Hearers of the Au­thor, especially to the Right Worshipfull EDWARD RUDGE Alderman; To the Worshipfull Captaine JOHN VEN, Mr. WILLIAM KENDALL, Mr. RICHARD ELLIS, with the rest of the Inhabitants of the par­rish of Alhallowes Bread­street, LONDON.

MY owne occasions, together with some other difficulties and impediments, have hither­to hindred a purpose that I had, from the very first time that the papers of this worthy man were in­trusted to me, to communicate them to the World and to you. But I have now done it, and I hope it is not too late, either to re­vive his memorie, or your remembrance of those things you have heard from him. I will not beleeve that you have forgotten, or can forget a Pastor whom you did so much [Page] love and reverence: For he was a burning and shining light,John 5.35. and yee rejoiced in his light. I have taken this paines to peruse his notes, that he againe though dead might still speake unto you:Heb. 11.4. and I doe endea­vour that now after his decease you may have these things alwaies in your remembrance.2 Pet. 1.15. God was pleased to send you a rich treasure by his Ministerie;2 Cor. 4.7. but this treasure was brought unto you in an Earthen vessell; and least haplie when that earthen vessell was broke by sicknesse and death, and the shards throwne into the Earth, you saved not the treasure; I have now gathered some of it, and kowing to whom it did belong, have brought it back to Restore it unto you.Ephe. 4.21. Now what remains, but that you enjoy it & use it: let that be your care to be answerable to the Do­ctrine you have received; to walke so as yee have learned Christ. If so bee that yee have heard him, and have been taught by him as the truth is in JESUS. This is the onely thing that I have to say unto you; that your conversation may tell the world you doe re­member him. Let him live in your lives; That so even they who never knew him, nor ever heard him preach a Sermon, may see by your practise what and how hee preached. [Page] And as yee have made a Monument for him in your Church; set up one also in everyone of your lives; you shall thereby doe him a greater honor, then that stone-work (though otherwise a Commendable Testimonie of your love and respect) can doe him. Be yee your selves his Monument, his Statue,Phil. 4.1. his Trophee,1 Thes. 2.19. and as the Philippians and Thessa­lonians were to St Paul, 2 Cor. 3.2. his Crown of glory­ing. Be yee his Epistle known and read of all men: Let all men see what he writ in you: What precepts of Holinesse, of Righteous­nesse, of Temperance,Psal. 45.1. hee wrote downe in your hearts, when his tongue was the pen of a readie writer so long among you. He was a Father I suppose unto manie of you, I have heard some of you professe it,1 Cor. 4.15. (though yee have ten thousand instructers in Christ, yet have yee not many Fathers,) If in Jesus Christ hee hath begotten you through the Gospell, bee followers of him, imitate him so, as that men may say of you, when they see the grave and sober, and godlie carriage of any of you, he hath his fathers Counteinance, he hath his fathers Gate. He set a most faire Copy, doe yee imitate the hand.Iohn 10.3.4. 1 Tim. 4.12. He did as his great Ma­ster, he went before his flocke: And was an example of beleivers, in word, in Conversa­tion, [Page] in Charity, in Spirit, in faith, in purity; In all things he shewed himselfe a patterne, a stampe,Tit. 2.7. that is the Apostles word, such a stampe, [...]. as makes an Image of it in Coine, or such a stamp as Printers use, which leaves an Impression on the Paper: be yee his Impres­sion, be yee his printed worke; be yee the Commentary your selves, and then yee need not buy it at the shops: He was Typus Gre­gis, be yee Antitypon Pastoris: Goe through the world like good and current Coine, with the right stampe.Mat 22.20. Shew whose Superscripti­on and Image you beare; on one side Gods, on the other side Cesars, and both stampt upon you by your Pastor, who was wont to Preach unto you those two points, Holi­nesse and Obedience. Shew that you suffe­red him while you sate under his Pulpit, to enter deep into your hearts: A deep stamp is long before it is worne out; let it appeare that these fifteene yeeres since he dyed, you have not forgotten the word of his exhorta­tion.Luke 11.28. They heare best, that practice best: If any of you be prophane and unholy, if de­ceitfull and dishonest in your dealings, if in­temperate, voluptuous and wanton; yee might happily bee his Hearers, and in the throng, but none of his Disciples, but such [Page] as listned with the other eare to your lusts. But I am perswaded better things of you,Heb. 6.9. and things that accompany salvation, though I thus speake: for I know your husbandman was skilfull, and the seed good.Math. 13.3. 1 Pet. 1.23. Beare not therefore thorns and briars, for such ground is rejected and nigh unto cursing, whose end is to be burned; but rather shew your selves to be the earth that hath drunk in the raine that came oft upon you, and bring forth fruit, that so you may receive a further blessing from God. Unto whose blessing and most gra­cious protection I commend you, and re­maine,

Your servant in the Lord, SAM. TORSHELL.

To the READER.

THE holy Scriptures that had so many prai­ses given unto them by the Antients were by them much read and studied; who used also many waies of interpreting them; wee finde their Commentaries, that is, [...]. writings in which they set downe heads for remembran­ces: Interpretations, that is, Enarrations, [...]. as they called them, or Examinations of the words; Significations, [...]. Scholies, that is, Glosses which they writ at their leisures in their ordinary reading: Metaphrases, [...]. delivering the text in other words: Paraphrases, a larger and the noblest kind of interpreting: and Homilies, sermons to the mul­titude, in which kinde they were wont to undertake whole bookes, as appeares by S. Chrysost. Aug. and others. But afterwards, as the skill in Hebrew began by degrees, after the Apostles time, to be well nigh quite lost; so when the Greeke sun did also set, at length it came to passe that the Bible was scarce at all used. Till about, An. 800. it was read over in greater Churches once every yeer; about which time Paul Warnenfrid (usually called Paul the Deacon) at the Command of Charlemain did inartifi­cially divide out Epistles and Gospels, and writ Po­stils on them, which soone came to be only in use, and all other parts of Scripture in a manner neglected. After his [Page] time some wrote Commentaries, but rarely, as Aponius on the Canticles, Claudius Sesellius on St. Luke, An­gelomus the Monk on the Kings and Canticles, VVa­lafridus Strabus Collector of the Ordinary glosse, and Haimo on S. Pauls Epistles, all of them much about Paul's time. But afterwards much more rarely, Paschasius Ra­bertus Abbot of Corbey wrote upon the Lamentations, and Remigius Monke, and afterwards Bishop of Au­xerre on the Psalmes, Canticles and Mathew, about An. 880. Ambros. Ansbertus, a French Monke, on the Canticles, anno 890. Bruno Archbishop of Colein on the Pentateuch, an. 937. After him we finde none till Paul of Jenoa wrote on the Psalmes and Jeremy, which was, anno 1054. onely Bale mentions one Serlo a Monk of Dover a Commentator, about anno. 956. And till 1100. or thereabouts, wee finde some, as Oecumenius, and the two Anselius of Luca and Canterbury, and Ste­phanus Anglicus, Rupert, Bernard, and Philip, an Ab­bot in Heinalt, a familiar friend of S. Bernards. But when once Schoole Divinity got the Kingdome, all studi­ed that, and laid the Scripture by. Peter Comestor in­deed had the Scripture by heart; but his brother Lom­bard brought Aristotle into more request then St. Paul, as the Sorbonne at Paris complained. Then it was that preaching on the Scripture had gone altogether out of use, had not Dominicke a Spaniard, the founder of the Order of Preaching Friars, about an. 1200. commanded his di­sciples to reade the Scripture, and carry nothing but the Bible with them when they went to Preach. And yet by these pretended friends of the Scripture, was the Scrip­ture likewise trampled upon, who preferred Dominick before St. Paul, according to that Picture of them both in one table,John Wolf. lect. memor. Tom. 1. Cent. 13. ad an. 1205. which John Wolfius tels us, was not much af­ter that time to be seen in Venice; under St. Pauls was writ, By him you may goe to Christ, and under Do­minicks Picture; By him you may goe to Christ [Page] more easily. And so things stood till these latter times, when about the time of the Reformation, the Bible was a booke scarcely so much as known: when Melancthon reports he heard some preach upon texts taken out of Ari­stotles Ethicks; and Andreas Carolostadius was eight yeeres Doctor when he began to read the Scripture, and yet at the taking of his degree had been pronounced Suffici­entissimus. But that which I shall content my selfe with as an instance for all, is that which is reported of Albert Archbishop of Ments; who being at the Dyet at Aus­bourg, an. 1530. and finding a Bible on the table, and reading some leaves where by chance hee opened it, said, Truly I know not what booke this is, but this I see, that it makes all against us. But when the knowledge of the tongues began to flourish, then the study of Scrip­ture revived: for till a little before the Reformation, there were few or none that cared for, or indevoured any skill in the Greek, much lesse in the Hebrew: yea most were then of John Dullards minde, who was Schoole­master to Ludovicus Vives, and was wont to say unto him; The better Grammarian thou provest, Ludov. Viv. de caus. Corrup. l. 2. thou wilt bee the worse Philosopher and Divine; we know what opposition Erasmus met withall in this cause: and Arias Montanus for his paines in the Biblia Regia, was accu­sed of heresie before the Pope, (it seemes by his preface before the Bible, they were Jesuits that so accused him) so that hee was faine to write an Apology for himselfe,Hist Conc. Trid. (which he did in the Spanish tongue) which is in Ox­ford Library: Yet at length the Jesuits themselves, and others of the Church of Rome, were drawne to have a better opinion of this kind of learning, and the learned par­ty grew so strong, that it came at least to a Consultation in the Councell of Trent, about the examining of the vul­gar Latine translation of the Bible by the Originals. Fri­ar Aloisius of Catanea took the confidence to give an high commendation to Cardinall Cajetan, as the prime Divine [Page] of that and many ages, who was wont to say, That to un­derstand the Latin text, was not to understand Gods infallible word, but the translators: and therefore having himselfe no knowledge in the Originals, hee imployed men to render the Scripture word for word unto him, and so spent all his latter dayes, which were eleven yeeres after his going Legate into Germany. Ʋpon this relation Aloisius propounded the examination. But there were too many to oppose so good a proposition. They said it would be ten yeeres in doing; that if they did it they should open a gap to the Lutherans, and overthrow many Do­ctrines of the Roman Church which were grounded on the Latine translation; Amama hath collected those particular er­rors, in his Cens Vulg. Edit. c. 1. pro leg. and that if they should doe it, the Inquisitors would not be able to proceed against the Lu­therans, who would bee alwaies readie to say, It is not so in the Originall. These were honest men, and spoke plainely, by whom we come to know what it was that hin­dred the worke. Others were more fine, and they said, That it was to bee beleeved that the Latine Church was not lesse beloved of God then the Hebrew or Greeke Church, who had an Authenticque Text, and sure the Holy Ghost dictated the Latine Translation, or if the Translator had not a propheticall spirit, yet one very neere it. But Isidorus Clarus a Brescian, a Benedictine Ab­bot went against this unreasonable opinion, and said much against it, which the reader may finde in the judicious Histo­ry of the Councell. However, the streame went to the approbation of the vulgar, only the Cardinall Santa croce, that he might comply fairely with those that voted for a correction, told them that there were no errors of faith in it, and yet yeelded that six might be deputed to frame a corrected Copie to print by. But what correction was meant, appeares by the preface before the Edition of Cle­ment the eighth, that it should be purged from the Errata of the Transcribers. And they were long about this; the pre­face tels us, that Pius the IV. and V. laboured in it, and [Page] selected Cardinals, but the businesse was, through the occa­sions of the Roman Sea, intermitted more then 20 yeeres from the dissolving of the Councell, till Sixtus the V. performed it. Lucas Burgensis in a particular tract hath collected all the Corrections made in that Edition. That of Sixtus was two or three yeeres after purged by Cle­ment the VIII. and yet Brugensis hath found a Catalogue of Errata still, and brings in Bellarmine confessing as much: and yet the worke from the first to the last was not lesse then of 46. yeeres, and boasted of with high and Papall language. Sixtus his Bull is now left out of the Bibles, and so is Clements Breve Apostolicum out of most,Antib. Bibl. p. 162. which yet the reader shall finde carefully preserved and to good use, by Amama in his Antibarbarus Biblicus. Wee for our part count no Translation authenticall, and esteem it a tyrannie both in the Popish and Lutheran Churches, that no man without circumlocutions and insinuations and apologies may shew the very least dissent.

But the strife about the Translation, equals not that which hath been about the Sence. The Acts that have beene used by the Romanists for the settling and establish­ing The Right of Interpretation upon the Bishop of Rome, have been well known, wherby they have laboured to make him the Oracle to the world, as the Turkish Mufti is (by the relation of Busbequius) in those parts;Busbeq. epist. 3. finding it to be the most expedite way to gaine the opinion of the publique and authorised interpreter. But we have little reason to yeeld over the Title to him, knowing how readie he and his servants are to make advantage of every thing that hath any likelihood to advance them, yea how they wrest and abuse Scriptures to the maintenance of eve­rie cause of theirs, especiallie the intolerable pride, and u­surpations of the Pope.Arch B. of Cant. in his 2 & en­larged Edition of his most lear­ned relation of the Confe. sect. 26. nu. 12. p. 209. An instance of this wee have in that notable observation which my Lord of Canterbury his Grace hath made upon the Frontispice of John de Puente his booke of The Agreement of the two Catho­like [Page] Monarchies; where the Text, Genes. 1.16. is ap­plyed, as Innocentius had done long before, and the words Luminare Majus, The greater light, are over the Por­traiture of Rome. An observation out of a Picture, whereby his Grace hath done the same service for the dis­covery of the Romish Arts, which that other noble pro­testant my Lord Duplessis, Myster: Ini­qui in presat. did out of another picture or Frontispice printed before two bookes, one at Bononia, An. 1608. the other at Naples, An. 1609. wherein Pope Paul the V. is lively pictured in a Table with this In­scription. TO PAUL THE FIFTH VICE-GOD, THE MOST INVINCIBLE MONARCH OF THE CHRISTIAN COMMON WEALTH, AND THE MOST STOUT MAINTAINER OF THE PONTIFICIAN OMNIPOTEN­CIE. This Table hangs within a triumphall Arch, on either side hung with Crowns, Diadems and Scepters, after the severall fashions and wearings of the Kings of the whole world. At the foot of the Arch, sit on the one hand Europe and Africa, with these words of the Pro­phet, Kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and Queens thy nursing mothers, on the other hand, Asia and A­merica with the following words, With their face to­wards the earth, they shall licke up the dust of thy feet. Esai. 49.23. Above there are winged Schroles, in one upon the right hand over some ruines of buil­dings, is that text in Jer. 27.8. but somewhat altered; The Nation and Kingdome which will not serve him, that Nation will I punish, saith the Lord, with the Sword, and with Famine, and with pestilence. In the other on the left hand, that place, Dan. 7.14. applyed with more blasphemy, There was given him domini­on and a Kingdome, and all people shall serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not passe away, and his Kingdome that which shall [Page] not be destroyed. Others also of them have beene as bold with the holy Text. The Bishop of Bitonto in his Sermon at the opening of the Councell at Trent, Hist. Conc. Trid. l. 2. adan. 1545. advi­sing men to obey the Councell, said, Else it will be said, the Popes light is come into the world, and men loved darknesse rather then light. So applying the Text, Joh. 3.18. But the judicious writer of the History notes it, That many were offended with that speech. It will al­waies prove an intangled title to the Pope. Who then must be the Judge? Erasinus is faine to leave his But­cher and Fishmonger wrangling in this point,Eaas Colloq. [...]. and when they have said all, yet unresolved. There are many that would cast it upon the Fathers, and that we must stand to what they say: But that were to make them not expoun­ders, but lawgivers. Wee regard them highly, but yeeld them not the Royalty of a Mint, as Mornay speakes:D. F [...]. White Orth. Faith. ch. 4. parag. 1. be­sides, we neither finde all difficulties explicated by them, nor in what they doe explicate, an agreement. In the ve­ry Councell of Trent, another saying of Cardinall Ca­jetans, That a new sence of Scripture is not to be re­jected, though it be against the old Doctors, seeing power is left now also to interpret; was by some much commended, who thought it a tyranny to forbid the faith­full the use of their owne proper ingenie: others indeed op­posed it, accounting License worse then Tyranny, a­mong others, Richard of Mans a Franciscan friar, went so farre as to say, The Doctrine of faith is now so cleared, that we ought to learne it no more out of the Scriptures, which heretofore were read in the Church for instruction, but now only are read to pray by, not to study. There were not many that adhered to him; the better part elivered themselves as Dominicus à Soto did, That it was fit to keepe every wit within limits for matters of faith and manners, but else to leave them to their liberty for the sense. Others of them yet more plainely, That it was not fit to restraine the understanding of the Scriptures [Page] to the fathers only, whose expositions were most part Al­legoricall, seldome ltierall, and those fitted to their owne time. And many men have profitably used their liberty, especially such as have sought out the literall sence. The Allegory, Luth. in Gen. 30. Luther cals it a beauteous whore, that inti­ceth idle men, who thinke themselves in Paradise and Gods bosome, when they fall upon such speculations: Such was their interpretation, who by the cleane beasts in the Arke understood Virgins, and by the uncleane, Married Persons.See Bp. Morton Appl. pn. 2. l. 5. Ch. 15. And theirs upon Psal. 74.13. Thou brakest the heads of the Dragons in the waters, that is, Devils are expelled by holy water sprinkled by the Priests. Luke 5.4. Duc in altum; that is, Peter goe thou to Rome, the head and chiefe Citty, and there spread thy net, 1 King 17.6. Crowes brought flesh to Eliah, that is, Lay­men are to give all necessary things to Monks.Philol. Sacr. l. 2. Tr. 2. pt. sect. 3. art. 4. Solomon Glassius hath collected many examples. I will only adde that of Antonius Archbishop of Florence, upon Zach. 11.7. of Dominick and his Order, Zachariah spake in the person of God, Anton. Hist. pt. 3. Tit. 23. I tooke unto me two staves, the one I called Beauty, and the other (funiculum) Bands: Beauty, is the order of Preachers, funiculus, the Order of Minors, who are girt with a cord. Thus as the Camels they drinke not of the fountaine till they have pudled it with their feet,Hier. in prolog ad Obad. St. Hierome had been much delighted this way, but found his owne error. When I was young (saith he) I interpreted the Prophet O­badiah allegorically, because I was ignorant of the History. I thought then I could read a sealed booke. No man can write so ill, but some will like it. Such a one praised it, but I blush't; I now freely professe, that was the worke of my childish wit, this of my mature age. But I shall not need to enlarge a­gainst this, which even Salmeron and Ribera, and o­ther Jesuits themselves have inveyed against. But the li­terall sence is the most noble and on all hands most allowed: [Page] And that sence our Learned and Reverend Author, Mr. Richard Stock hath every where sought and followed throughout this his plain and most wholsome Com [...]enta­ry on Malachy, every where observing so many of those cir­cumstances as his Text would give him leave to observe, which Glassius hath put together into two verses;

Quis, Scopus, Impellens, Sedes, Tempusque, Locus (que),
Et Modus, Haec Septem Scripturae attendito Lector.
The Author, Scope, Occasion, Theme, Time, Place and next
The Forme. These seven let him attend that reades the text.

I have published him out of his owne Originall notes, and as largly as himselfe writ: Onely whereas on the third Chapter, verse the seventh, he had more largely treated of the Doctrine of Repentance, upon the request of his Au­ditory, who desired him to divert his ordinary course, as appeares by his Dedicatory Epistle, to the Lord William Knowls, that I have omitted, because himselfe did pub­lish it in his life time, Anno 1608.

I have followed his owne manner in the publishing of this, and have set his quotations of Fathers and other Latine Authors in their owne words in the Margin, and the Greeke Fathers, rendred into Latine, because many readers understand not the Greeke, which is his own rea­son given in his Epistle to the Reader, before that Trea­tise. Out of which Epistle of his I will also answer to those that may dislike his frequent use of the Fathers, in his own words, If any (saith hee) dislike my alleaging of Fathers, (as some have my using of reasons to confirm the Doctrine, but with very little reason as I suppose) [Page] I must pray them to give me leave to use them, till I can see that unlawfulnesse which they affirme to be in the practise; and to censure me in charity for the use of them, as I doe them for not using them. I will looke as well to my heart in the use of them, as God shall inable me, and when I shall see the hurt of them, I will as much indeavour to avoid them; in the mean time I will make the best use I can of them, to edifie the Church of God.

But I will detaine thee no longer in a preface, but com­mend the booke to thy reading, and that to Gods blessing.

Thine in the Lord, SAM. TORSHELL.

A Breviat of the Testimony given by Mr. Ga­taker, to Mr. Richard Stock, at his Funerall Sermon.

THAT the Reader, if hee were not acquainted with the Author of this Com­mentary in his life time, may know what he was, I have thought fit to present unto him, a briefer view of that more large Testimony, which Mr. Thomas Gataker, preaching at his fune­rall, did deservedly give him.

After he hath commended him for his un­weariable industry and singular proficiency in his owne, and his abilitie and willingnesse to bee helpefull to others Studies, even while hee was young in the Colledge; Hee descends to the consideration of him in his publique cal­ling, That he proved a painefull, a faithfull Minister of Christ, a skilfull, a powerfull dispen­ser of Gods word.

The proofes of which were, his constant and incessant imployments in Preaching twice every Sabbath for many yeeres; besides his Catechising the younger sort in the week days, (which he did with notable discretion, the males and females apart, the riper and for­warder [Page] in the presence of the ruder and rawer, and then the rawer by themselves, together with other offices of his Pastorall function, privatly performed.

Which Ministery of his was very effectu­all, so that besides many other Christian Souls converted by him (in which successe few Ministers were to bee compared with him) many faithfull Ministers also received their first beginnings of light and spirituall life and grace, from his Ministery; So that he did not only winne many soules, but ma­ny winners of Souls.

Those two things which make a Com­pleat man, had an happy conjunction in him, namely Integrity and Judgement. The proofes of which were, both the desire that many had to use him for the oversight of their last Wils, and for the disposing of their estates; And that so many reverend Ministers from all parts of the Realme did by Letters or other­wise usually seeke to him for the resolution of their doubts.

As these made him a Compleat man, so he had that which made him a Compleat Mini­ster, namely, That he could speake his mind fitly, and That he durst speake it freely. For the for­mer, his ability to expresse himselfe, with cleare Method, sound proofes, choise words, fit [Page] phrase, pregnant similitudes, plentifull illustrati­ons, pithy perswasions, sweet insinuations, power­full inforcements, allegations of antiquitie, and varietie of good literature; he was such an one as many strove to imitate, not many of them matched. For the other, his free­dome of speech in reproving of sinne even to the faces of the greatest, many are able to testi­fy, and some accidents made it more publike­ly knowne, then his desire was it should have been.

Among other particular commendations of him, One was his zealous and earnest pur­suit of reformation of some prophanations of the Sabbath, wherein he prevailed also for the alteration of some things in that kind offen­sive, as well with the maine body of the City, as with some particular Societies. Another was his pious care & diligence in the religious in­struction and education of those that were un­der his private charge, children and others.

In these and the like imployments, hee spent his time, he spent his strength, till God put an end to his incessant labours here, and translated him to the place of his endlesse rest.

February 1. 1639. Imprimatur. THO. WYKES.

The Summe or Argument of the whole Prophesie.

THE Israelites provoked to an­ger and heavy displeasure by their sinnes the Monarch of the whole world: Where­fore he being thus displeased, sent against them Nebuchadnezar, who tooke them, and carried the King, his Princes and the whole people into Babel, after that he had spoyled their stately Temple, destroy'd their strong Walls, and laid waste Jerusalem it selfe; where they endured 70. yeares exile and banish­ment: which yeares expired, they were againe brought to their Countrey, when and where better things were expected from them, both in way of thankefulnesse, and in remembrance of their former Captivity, lest a worse thing should afterwards befall them. But they forgetfull of former things, both beatings & benefits, as chil­dren are, returned to their sinnes, polluted the Di­vine worship, gave themselves to divers vices, began to make marriages with Infidels, againe embraced Polygamy, took up the custome of giving bills of divorce, committed sacriledges, cast out strange contempts against God, and blasphemies: By all which the Lord being againe provoked, [Page] sent the Prophet Malachy to reprove them sharp­ly, and to threaten them severely with certaine new judgments, and to the impenitent certaine & finall destruction; yet in the meane time cheering up the good with comforts, provoking them to Re­pentance, perswading them to faith in Christ, re­freshing them with many sweet promises.

Now it is no hard thing to make the Compari­son, and apply these things to our times, that it may appeare, the handling of this is no unfit thing, but apt to the time.

For the sinnes of the Land God was displeased, and gave over the people to captivity (though in their owne Land somewhat lesse than this, yet it was) both of body and soule to a new Nebuchad­nezar, which makes it the greater, the Church and spirituall Jerusalem much defaced, the Re­liques of it partly put to flight, partly to the fire. But see how good God was, after a time he brought againe our Captivity. After which he looked for better things from us, and haply had them while the benefit was fresh, and the bondage yet felt. But see, these are worne out of minde, and we againe have committed great sins against God, by which we justly have provoked Gods indignation against us, yea and alas, we cease not to provoke it; for how great contempt of the service of God is there in e­very place? what prophanenesse? what corrupti­on of manners? what unfaithfulnesse in covenant breaking? what uncleanenesse in marriage? what [Page] horrible oaths? what fearefull perjuries? what execrable blasphemies against the Highest? not in meane persons, but of the highest rankes; not in Countries only, but in famous Cities; not in meane mens Cottages onely, but in noble mens places and Palaces, in Church and Common-wealth: so that the Lord may say to us, as he said to Israel by Ma­lachy, Chap. 1.6. because neither honour nor feare be performed to him. So that not onely just are those plagues that are come upon us, pestilence to the bo­dy now almost three yeares, and famine to the soule begun, and threatned more, but also particular & generall judgments. Whatsoever is in this Pro­phesie, may justly both be threatned and executed upon us; when it is just with God, where like sins are, to bring upon them like punishments.

This is the reason of my choyse, as also the summe and argument of this Prophesie.

The parts of it are divers. After the Inscrip­tion, or Preface, we have,

  • 1. Expostulations with the people and Priests touching their great and grievous sins.
  • 2. Threatnings of punishments deserved by them.
  • 3. Prophesies of the calling of the Gentiles, and the comming of Christ.
  • 4. Exhortations to Repentance, and exercise of the duties of piety.

All which are to be found promiscuously, and intermixed one with another; the particular reso­lution of which is better in their place, and more [Page] profitable, than now to spend time in pointing out every particular where it is to be found.

The time when this Prophesie was written, is, in generall, after they were returned from their captivity; more speciall, after Hagge and Za­chary, the two Prophets of the Church, and yet more, after the building and finishing the Temple about some 24. yeares:Ezra 6. for it was built in the sixt yeare of Darius King of Persia. Hagge and Zachary the second yeare of Darius, (after some 41. yeares interruption of the worke, all the time of Artashashte or Artaxerxes Longimanus) prophesied, and perswaded the people to build it; who by the favour and exhibition of the King did finish the worke in his sixth yeare, who reigned in all 30, after the finishing of the Temple 24. Af­ter whose dayes, in the time of Artaxerxes, Da­rius his successour, our Prophet began to prophesie, being the last of all such as did prophesie till the fore-runner of Christ John the Baptist.

AN EXPOSITION UPON THE WHOLE Booke of the Prophesie of Malachy, delivered in certaine Sermons.

CHAP. I.

THE burden of the word of the Lord to Israel by the ministery of Ma­lachy.

2 I have loved you, sayth the Lord: yet yee say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacobs brother, saith the Lord? yet I loved Jacob,

3 And I hated Esau, and made his mountaines waste, and his heritage a wildernesse for dragons.

4 Though Edom say, We are impoverished, but we will returne and build the desolate places; yet saith the Lord of Hostes, They shall build, but I will destroy it, and they shall call them, The border of wickednesse, and the people, with whom the Lord is an­gry for ever.

5 And your eyes shall see it, and ye shall say, The Lord will be magnified upon the border of Israel.

6 A sonne honoureth his father, and a servant his master. If then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my feare, saith the Lord of Hostes unto you, O Priests that despise my Name? and ye say, Wherein have we despised thy Name?

7 Ye offer uncleane bread upon mine Altar, and you say, wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The Table of the Lord is not to be regarded.

8 And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, it is not evill: and if ye offer the lame and sick, it is not evill: offer it now unto thy Prince: will he be content with thee, or accept thy person, saith the Lord of Hostes?

9 And now, I pray you, pray before God, that he may have mercy upon us: this hath beene by your meanes: will he reward your persons, saith the Lord of Hostes?

10 Who is there even among you, that would shut the doores, and kindle not fire on mine Altar in vaine? I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord of Hostes, neither will I accept an offering at your hand.

11 For from the rising of the Sunne unto the going downe of the same, my Name is great among the Gentiles, and in every place incense shall be offered unto my Name, and a pure offering: for my Name is great among the Heathen, saith the Lord of Hostes.

12 But ye have polluted it, in that ye say, The Table of the Lord is polluted, and the fruit thereof, even his meate is not to be regarded.

13 Ye said also, Behold, it is a wearinesse, and ye have snuffed at it, saith the Lord of Hostes, and ye offered that which was torne, and the lame, and the sick: thus ye offer­ed an offering: should I accept this at your hand, saith the Lord?

14 But cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and voweth, and sacri­ficeth unto the Lord a corrupt thing: for I am a great King, saith the Lord of Hostes, and my Name is terrible among the Heathen.

The parts of this Chapter are two:

  • 1. A Preface or Inscription.
  • 2. The Oracle or Prophecy.
  • 1. The Preface in the first verse, generall to the whole.
  • 2. The Prophecy in the rest.
  • 1. An expostulation with the people and Priest for their ingratitude and corrupting of his worship, from verse 2. to the 9.
  • 2. A Commination of judgment deserved by it, or a Commination of divers judgments, from vers. 9. to the end.

In the Preface or Inscription we conceive two things: The substance and circumstance of it.

  • 1. The substance, being the subject or matter of the whole, is in that it is-called a Burden.
  • 2. The Circumstance of the person, which is three-fold.
  • 1. From whom, as the Efficient.
  • 2. To whom, as the Object.
  • 3. By whom, as the Instrument.

VERSE I.

The burden of the Word of the Lord to Israel by the ministery of Malachy.

THE Burden] Here is the matter or sub­ject of this Booke, or Prophecy: He cal­leth it a burden, usuall with Prophets in their writings, all almost in some place or other. But Nahum, Habakkuk, and Ma­lachy thus begin their prophecies. It sig­nifies, as Hierome, a woefull and sorrow­full prophecy, full of threats and judg­ments; called therefore a Burden, because it presseth those a­gainst whom it is spoken, the hearts and spirits of them, as a burden the body, and suffers them not to lift up their heads, and themselves, as in former times. Some thinke it signifies not onely this, but also the Commandement of the Lord, by which the Prophet was burdened as from the Lord, that he should de­clare [Page 3] it in so many words unto Israel: which they thinke fol­lows thence, because it is to Israel, not against; but I feare, this is somewhat nice, for it was so to them, as it was against them for their sinnes, and that which is against, is as much as a bur­den to the Prophet: but this must be understood Tropicè, here being a Synecdoche; for the whole Prophecy is not a burden, or threatning of punishment, but part onely of it, and so the whole is denominated of the part.

Doctrine. The punishment of sinne, the affliction God inflicts upon men for their sinnes and transgressions, is a burden, not a light one, not such as are the feathers of a bird, onus sine onere; but as a talent of Lead, spoken of, Zach. 5.7. heavy and grievous; so is it here, and in many places of the Prophets, as Nah. 1.1. Hab. 1.1. Jerem. 23.33. fine, he shewes what is the burden, I will cast you off, and send you into Babel captives, vers. 36. that is, whosoever shall say, The burden, he shall for that word beare his burden, that is, be punished of the Lord; it is pro­ved further by Matth. 7.9. Galat. 6.8. Hence is the complaint of David, Psal. 32.4. Thy hand was heavy upon me.

Reas. 1 Because sinne, the deserving and procuring cause, is a very grievous burden, Psal. 38.4. Matth. 27.38. that is, to living men, and such as have the use of their sences; not to dead and benummed men: then the punishment is grievous.

Reas. 2 Because the wrath and displeasure of God, which is the ef­ficient cause of it, is very heavy and grievous. The displeasure of a Prince is heavy, the Kings wrath is as the roaring of a Lion, Prov. 19.12. Now hence are afflictions heavy and burden­some.

Reas. 3 Because none can give ease in it, or deliver from it, save God onely, Hos. 1.6. 1 Sam. 2.25. 2 King. 6.26, 27. The wound that is had by the biting of a Scorpion is grievous, when no­thing can cure it but the ashes of that Scorpion; much more this.

Ʋse 1 This may teach us what to judge of those men who are in some affliction, under a judgment, and yet finde no burden, but goe as light under them, as a bird doth under her feathers, and sometimes make advantage of them, as beggers doe make gaine of their sores; they are senselesse, they are benummed, they are dead men. In common sence, if any have halfe an hun­dreth weight laid upon his hand, or foot, and pressing him sore, and he feele it not, what judgment is to be given of it, but to be a mortified and a dead member? so alas, how many dead men are in our times and daies? The burden not of the Word onely, but of the rod of the Lord, not threatned, but executed, hath beene upon our Land and Church by the feare­full Plague; now well towards three yeares wee have walked in the land of the dead, we have beene in the house of mourn­ing. [Page 4] Indeed the living hath laid it to his heart, but so few have done it, that the dead are more than the living; not onely our wanton women, and voluptuous men, to whom that 1 Tim. 5.6. They are dead while they live: but our worldly men, our ambi­tious and others all dead, for this they have not felt. We sorrow­ed for fifty & odde thousands that dyed in the former yeare; we have as much need to sorrow for so many thousands yet living, and dead amongst us; they never indeed felt, nor yet doe feele this burden: Their irreligious carriage when it was here a­mongst us, both at home & abroad, in the City and abroad, their small conformity since to the Law of God, little reforming of their corruptions, nay, their monstrous deformity in themselves, wives, and children, perswades my heart, as 'tis Psal. 36.1. The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, there is no feare of God before my eyes: so that they had no feeling of this at all; for they who truely felt it, would grow somewhat bet­ter, if not altogether reformed. If an heathenish people, who knew not God, at the burden of the Word of the Lord did so humble themselves, that the Lord said, Jonah 8.10. He repented of the evill he said he would doe to you, and did it not; what shall be thought of Christian men by profession, living in the Church of God, if at the burden of his Word they repent not, nor depart from their evill wayes? but Isaiah 8.8. Though they be stricken, revolt more and more: it is because they are dead men, and cannot feele it. Oh then weepe not for me, but for your selves, and children, as those not for the departed, but for the living dead: for if it be true, The beginning of the remedy is the sence and acknowledgment of the malady; how farre are they from cure that have not yet the feeling of it? I feared the Plague by a naturall infirmity, though God enabled me to abide upon my calling in the hottest brunt of it, and mercifully pre­served me hitherto to his Church, and to speake this to you this day. But if it should now come by the providence of God upon me, that he beginnes to threaten it to the City, I should willingly embrace it, as thinking God to be marvellous merci­full unto me, and whosoever he should smite by it, to take it thus into his owne hand, and not to leave us to more fearefull judgments, which I cannot say, but I marvellously feare, is e­ven at the doore to the wakening of dead men and women, or the sweeping of them away. I am no Prophet, I pray God my words be no prophecy; but what peace, &c.

This ought to teach men in affliction, if a judgment come, and imposed by the hand of God, to beare it patiently and meekely, as David, 2 Sam. 15.25, 26. for it is a burden. The way to be eased, is not strugling with it, but meekely to beare it; for a prisoner to be free from his fetters, is not in the Jaylors [Page 5] sight to seeke to breake them, or to file them off; that is the way to procure more, or the longer lying in them: So, to be eased of a burden, is not to wrestle with it when one is under it, but to goe softly; there is more ease while it is on his back, and sooner comes he to be released of it. A man may with im­patiency wrestle and use unlawfull meanes to ease himselfe, and God happly will let them prosper for a while; but after he will bring a more heavy and inevitable burden on him, that with his former shifts shall make more heavy to him. There is a fable, but it hath his Morall for this purpose; A certaine Asse laded with Salt, fell into a river, and after he had risen, found his burthen lighter, for the moisture made it melt away; where­upon he would ever after lye him downe in the water as he tra­vailed with his burthen, and so ease himselfe: His owner per­ceiving his craft, after laded him as heavy with Wooll; the Asse purposing to ease himselfe, as before, laid himselfe downe in the next water, and thinking to have ease, rising againe to feele his weight, found it heavier, as it continued with him all the day. The Morall is, that they who impatiently seeke meanes contrary to the will of God, to ease themselves of their burden, shall have it more and more encrease upon them.

Ʋse 3 That men should make a speciall restraint to themselves to keepe from sinning, because an heavy and grievous burden else is ready to be laid upon their shoulders. Sinne it selfe is an heavy burden, but few feele it, and fewer feare it; but to this burden shall the burden of punishment be added; and who is sufficient for these things? if the first burden feare them not, because there is some pleasure in sinne to the flesh, yet let the second, which hath no pleasure at all. When thou art tempted to sinne, by which thou must needs tempt and provoke God, learne to cast thy accompts well, consult if thou bee able to meete him that comes against thee, Luke 14. so, if thou bee'st able to meete him, and beare his burden, goe on, and spare not; delight in all thy wayes, restraine thy selfe from no sinne: but if not, if we may invert and resolve, Doe we provoke the Lord to jealousie? are we stronger than he? 1 Cor. 20.22. then let this restraine us, if nothing else will; let us imitate Porters, who called, and offered money to beare a burden, will poise and weigh the burden in their hands first, which when they see they are not able to beare, no gaine will entice them; so in this case let us doe.

Of the Word of the Lord] The circumstance of the person sending, the efficient, and authour, as of other prophecies, so, of this; he comes not unsent, he spoke not of himselfe, hee came not without the Lord, but from him; so he affirmeth, and truely, to get more reverence, credit, and authority with them: [Page 6] and that it was thus from the Lord, and so Canonicall, the te­stimonies of Christ and his Apostles, alledging him divers times for confirmation of Doctrine, and reformation of manners; pro­veth it: but he addeth, the Word of the Lord] not onely to shew that he had but the word, the rod, and execution would come after, God making his word good: but as some thinke, to shew that he had not a free Embassage, but that he was to de­liver it in certaine and set prescribed words. Sometime when Prophets were more frequent and perpetuall in the Church, and God spoke to them by dreames, or by visions, and apparitions, they had divers kinds of words, and had liberty for divers man­ners of speaking and delivery: But our Prophet was such a mes­senger, that the Commandement hee had received, and was credited with, he must deliver in so many words, and the same he received them in, and so he doth; for in the whole he never useth his owne person, but the Lord onely, as Chap. 1.2. and 2.1. and 3.1. and 4.1.

Here we might observe, that the Writers of the Scriptures are not the Authors, but God himselfe, of which Rev. 2.7. But one particular may we herein observe, this following:

Doctrine. This Prophesie is the very word of the Lord, it is of divine, not humane authority; which is not onely here affirmed, but, lest it should be doubtfull, it hath the testimony of the new Testa­ment: the 3. Chap. ver. 1. hath testimony Mark 1.2. and Chap. 4.2. hath testimony Luke 1.78. and Chap. 1, 2, 3. Rom. 9.23.

Reas. 1 Because this was written by a Prophet: for as all the Old Te­stament was written by the Prophets; so whatsoever was writ­ten by them, was and is Canonicall Scripture: therefore 2 Pet. 1.19. Luke 16.39. Heb. 1.1. Ephes. 2.20. now all men hold Malachy for a Prophet, the last among the Jewes till the com­ming of John Baptist.

Reas. 2 Because the Church of the Jewes, the onely Church of God did receive this, and so acknowledged it as the word of God: That they did so, appeares Matth. 17.10. and the Apostles, and the Evangelists alleadging of it; for it is a farre more impi­ous and heinous thing to take away Scripture, than corruptly to interpret them, or to adde Scripture, if it were not of it.

Ʋse 1 I take instructions from hence, entering the opening and ex­pounding of this prophesie, how I ought to labour with my owne heart, and to seeke from the Lord assistance and grace to handle this as his word, not carelessely, handling the word and worke of God negligently, taking his name in vaine, com­ming to speake out of it without due preparation and constant study, and speaking; so talke as of the word of God, 1 Pet. 4.11. not handling it with vanity, and affectation, not making merchandize, and playing the huckster with it; delivering it [Page 7] with a sincere affection, dealing faithfully with it as a faithfull dispenser, giving to every one his portion, where and to whom the Spirit of God hath set them downe, to Priest and people, to old and to young, to married and unmarried, to the good and prophane, without feare and flattery, or any other sinister affections, remembring that this in the first is in the whole, and to every verse, it is the word of the Lord, fearing to corrupt, as well as to adde, lest that I heare as 'tis Prov. 30.6. Adde not to his words lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a lyer; remembring that of Luke 12.42. that I may be a faithfull and wise Steward, that I may obtaine that, Vers. 43, 44. which how soone it may be generall, or to me in particular, whether before I have gone through the whole, or this Chapter, or this verse, I know not.

Ʋse 2 This teacheth all to whom I am to speake: first they must heare, for it is the word of the Lord, and never withdraw themselves negligently, or carelesly preferring vaine pleasure and profit of no value before it: If any withdraw himselfe, the soule of God shall have no pleasure in him, (to use the words ra­ther than the full sence) as Israel said to Sihon King of the A­morites, Judg. 7.24. so wouldst not thou heare that thy Prince, Father, or Master saith unto thee; nay, will not Idolaters heare that which their gods say unto them, how much more you that the Lord shall speake to? This is the word; that we shall speake is but the delivering of it in moe words, which is here set downe in fewer; pressing it at large, which is here set downe more briefly; this as a clew of thread wound up, by us it is but drawn out at length; yea, and it must be heard as the word of God with all reverence, received with humility, believed by faith, obeyed with care; for the Lord having spoken it, it was not for the time and persons present onely, but for all successive ages and people. As the Lawes of Princes, and Decrees of Par­liaments are not onely for them that live then, but for whoso­ever shall afterwards be borne subjects to the same Soveraignes; therefore not any sinne is here reproved, but it is reproved in whomsoever it is found; nor is there any judgment threatened, but menaced against the men of our time that heare it; not any duty commanded, but it is appertaining to us as to them, be­cause it is the word of the Lord, who is our Lord as well as theirs, of the Gentiles, as of the Jewes. I cannot say as Daniel 4.19. fine, so the Prophecy is for others, and the interpreta­tion of it is for others, and judgments to your enemies; but as Peter, Act. 2.39. It is to you, and to your children: so these things here commanded and reproved are for you and your chil­dren. But why should I speake thus sharpely unto you? Veri­ly because God will neverthelesse bring these, if I should hold my [Page 8] peace, and by speaking I may prevent he should not, if so be my exhortations this day may finde place in your hearts, and hereafter in your lives: But shall I come unto you, not with a rod, but in love, and the spirit of meeknesse? 1 Cor. 4.21. then as Chrysostome ad pop. Antioch. Hom. 27. by our mutuall love, yours and mine, by all the travell I have felt for you, till Christ be formed in you fully, Gal. 4.19. give me that wherein I may glory before men and devils, and in the presence of God. And what is my glory? but your progresse and increase in piety here, and your salvation in the life to come: Believe me, belo­ved, Si fieri potest me pro vobis certamen bene gerere, ves autem bene gestae rei praemia ferre, nunquam profectò vobis tantum tur­bationis ingererem; sed non licet hoc nobis, non licet inquam. Chrysostom. de virtut. & vitiis sermo. If it were possible for me to undergoe the Combate, and you to beare the Trophies of the victory, I would not put you to so much trouble. But this may not be, this may not be, for every one must live by his owne faith, and passe to heaven by his owne piety and obedi­ence: It is neither bought nor borrowed oyle in our Lamps will serve to enter in with the Bridegroome.

To Israel,] The second person to whom, as the Subject, to Israel; that is, to the whole people who were lately delivered out of Captivity, and now enjoyed their Land, and the liberty of Religion: and as men not sufficiently instructed under the rod and crosse, or forgetting their former calamities, retur­ned to their former corruptions and sinnes, whose sinnes were the worse by that they had received, and made the more inex­cusable; when they should have beene bettered by his mercies, they grew worse. By Israel he understands the whole compa­ny, both Priest and people, calling it Israel, which for distincti­on was before called Judah, after the rent happened betwixt the ten and two Tribes, Judah and Benjamin, and some of Levi to the house of David, and the rest to Jeroboam; for the ten tribes by Salmanassor were so led into Captivity, that they never re­turned; he now called these two Tribes by the old and wonted name: To Israel then his owne people, chosen out of the world, yea, reserved to himselfe from those ten Tribes, thus specially beloved, he sends, though with griefe thus threatning.

Doctrine. God will punish his, even his owne for their sinnes and of­fences, how deare soever they be unto him; it is indeed his love unto them that he will passe by many infirmities and weaknesse in them, as Matth. 7.18. but yet sinnes of greater nature, ha­bit, and custome he will not passe by unpunished, 2 Sam. 7.14.18. not onely the threatnings, but the execution of many af­flictions and plagues recorded in the Word, upon the whole Church of Israel, upon particular persons, on Moses, Numb. [Page 9] 20. on Miriam, Numb. 1. David often, and other the good Kings who were punished, proves this manifestly.

Reas. 1 Because hee loves his owne, therefore will hee correct and punish them; for the sparing of the rod is hatred, not love;Nulla ira, magna ira. the fondnesse of affection, not the favour of judgment, Prov. 13.24. It is love because of that 1 Cor. 11.30. when we are judg­ed, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be con­demned with the world.

Reas. 2 Because he would be justified, not as wisdome of her chil­dren onely, but even of wicked and enemies; for if he should spare his owne, then would they say, God were wicked like them; as the wicked when he spares themselves, say Psal. 50.21. hence was the death of Davids child denounced, and perfor­med to prevent or to stay the blasphemy of the wicked, 2 Sam. 12.14. as he insinuates in his Psalme of Repentance, Psalme 51.4.

Reas. 3 Because he may manifest his hatred of sinne, when he punish­eth it not in those that are wicked onely, whose persons he may seeme to hate, but in those that are deare to him.

Ʋse 1 If God will, and must deale thus with his owne, generall and particular, let the whole Church and every member thinke of it, that they be not deceived, as if to them there were no feare of judgments and punishments, though they feare not sinne, because they are his: It is such a corruption and deceit, that may seize upon those who are his, even truely his, though usually they are deceived by the sleight of Sathan, whom he hath before deceived with another, perswading them they are gods when they are not; for commonly none so confident as those, none so bold as these blind byards; but whosoever he is that is tainted with this, let him know, that as the Husbandman pre­serveth the sheepe of his pasture in a moist yeare from rotting in the heart and liver, when they are a little tainted, by the salt waters of the Sea: so may he be recovered and preserved by those waters of the Sanctuary, even by those salt waters; when the streame runnes thus, that he will not, nor he hath not spared those who are as deare to him as the apple of his eye, (untooth­some happily may they be, but without doubt wholesome they are) let no Church then trust in lying words, Jer. 7.4. if they continue in their wickednesse, vers. 9. and make his house a den of theeves, vers. 11. but let them know he sees it, and goe to Shiloh, vers. 12. and other Churches, and see what he hath done to them, and the like will he doe to it, vers. 14. Let no particular man thinke he may sinne, as presuming he is Gods; for if he spared not Moses, Miriam, David, and others, how him? could they not have challenged more than he? or is it not likely that God would have spared them as well as he? Let [Page 10] him thinke of that to Solomon: I will be his Father, and he shall be my sonne; if he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of Iron, but my mercy shall not depart from him, 2 Sam. 7.14, 15. if God make it true in him, it is the best he can looke for. If any aske, what benefit it is to be Gods? I answer, much every way; as that God will passe by many infirmities of thine when thou servest him, many sinnes of passion when they are not continued in: Have you not heard of the patience of Job? Againe, is it no benefit to be his Fathers Heire, unlesse he may be suffered to doe what he list without controlement or corre­ction? Besides, even this is a benefit; for if that be true, Let the righteous smite me, and it shall be a kindnesse, Psalm. 141.8. much more this, when that we are chastned, that we may not be condemned, 1. Cor. 2.32.

Ʋse 2 This may serve for comfort when affliction and punishment is befallen one who is his. In such a condition a man is ready to faint, and his heart to faile him for feare, as if God had utter­ly cast him off; but it riseth from the ignorance of this, that God hath and will afflict his children, and because they have not beene experienced under the hand of God. A child when he is young and tender, not acquainted with his Fathers threats and corrections, no sooner sees his father lay hand upon rods, but feares he hates him, but a little use under this teacheth him there is indeed love where hatred is in show; And so with them, but they must learne this, that their hearts may rest upon it, as the Arke did stay upon the mountaine of Ararat, after it had flo­ted a long time upon the waters, seeing he afflicts his owne, yea more than the wicked in this life, and yet still his people.

Israel having forgotten their late miseries and calamities, the sence and feeling of them being worne cleane out of memory, they returne againe to their former corruptions and sinnes, and are newly threatned with other, and more heavy judgments.

Doctr. If men, many or few, a County or City, one or a compa­ny, after they have beene delivered or freed from some calami­ty and judgment, doe forget it, passing it over without pro­fit, and returning to their sinnes and corruptions againe, they are in danger of new, and more fearefull judgments; for he did this to the greene tree, what will he doe to the dry? if to the naturall Olive-tree, what can the wild Olive looke for? This is manifest by Esay, who reproveth the people because they pro­fited not by former judgments, but remained obstinate, and in their sinnes, Chap. 1. ver. 5. specially vers. 21, 22, 23. How is the faithfull City become an Harlot, it was full of judgment, and justice lodged therein, but now they are murtherers; thy silver is become drosse, thy wine is mixt with water, thy Prin­ces are rebellious, and companions of theeves; every one lo­veth [Page 11] gifts, and followeth after rewards; they judge not the fa­therlesse, neither doth the Widows cause come before them: whereunto he addeth, therefore saith the Lord God of Hostes, the mighty one of Israel, Ah I will ease me of my adversaries, and avenge me of mine enemies, vers. 24. To this I adde Esay 12.9.17.21. inferred upon vers. 13. manifest by Deut. 28.45. Jerem. 5.3. John 5.14. An example of this also the Ninevites may be, comparing together the Prophecies of Jonah and Na­hum.

Reas. 1 Because it cannot be equall and right, that God should goe a­way and give over, as overcome by the obstinacy and stubborn­nesse of men; that were as if a Prince should give over a Rebell, because he were not able to subdue him with a small company, and not gather more forces, it were too much indignity and dishonour: So in this; for God striking for sinne, must not lay downe his Armes, till the Rebells come in, as Joab gave not o­ver the siege of Abel till Shebaes head was given him, 2 Sam. 20.22.

Reas. 2 Because it is dangerous for a people to harden them in their sinnes, for if because sentence against an evill worke is not exe­ted speedily, therefore the heart is fully set to doe evill, Eccles. 8.11. if the deferring be thus dangerous, what is the remo­ving, and not renewing, or doubling the judgment? it har­dens men.

Reas. 3 Because he must doe it whether his owne or not; if his owne that he may cure them, as Physitians or Chirurgians double the dose of their medicines, and use more violent meanes when they finde the body hard to worke upon, the disease more set­led: so the Lord when he findes his owne more obstinate, if not his, that he may consume them, and shew his power upon them, that he is able to abase and destroy every one that is obsti­nate against him.

Ʋse. Learne then to feare before God, and to profit under his hand, to turne unto him that smites us, and to seeke the Lord of Hostes, lest otherwise God be provoked to cut off from us head and tayle, branch and roote in one day, Esay 9.13, 14.

By the ministery of Malachy, or by the hand of Malachy] The third person is the Instrument, and by his hand, that is by his worke and ministery: some thinke it is said rather by the hand than the mouth, to shew how uncorruptly hee delivered this; and not by the mouth, because the mind and mouth are more apt to corrupt a message than the hand which carrieth sealed let­ters. But without opposition, I take it to be the phrase of the Scripture, to note the Ministery of him and others, as 1 Sam. 11.7. and 28.17. The Lord hath done as he hath spoke by my hand; Malachy signifies my Messenger, or my Angell, whence [Page 12] riseth the errour of Origen, as Hieronimus in hunc locum, that an Angell came, and tooke the shape of man, and delivered this. But Hierome shews that the nature of a person is not to be taken notice of from the notation or Etymologie of his name, for then, whereas Hoseah signifies a Saviour, and Joel the Lord God: these should not be men, but Angels, or the Lord, or the Saviour of the world; which if it follows not, then not this: But whether he was Mordecai, as some thinke, or Ezra, as most, it is not certaine: the conjectures of men for the latter are probable, but easily answered: It is safer to content our selves with that which is revealed, than rashly or slenderly to affirme any thing in so weighty matters, especially when it is not so needfull that we should enquire into it; whether hee had his name from his birth, or circumcision, or it is a name of office, it is not knowne. It hath ever beene thought a vaine cu­riosity to make enquiry for the Messengers name and title, when the message is most certaine, Judg. 13.18. as here it is by the testimony of the New Testament. There were in the Church three sorts of Prophets, some that were to be perpetually in it, and to exercise a perpetuall office to answer men when they en­quir'd of them after the custome of time, and manner, as Samu­el, Hosea, Elishar. Some for a time, both for this, and also to stand up in Gods person, for some particular thing to fore-tell it, which being done, they ended their office; as Amos, who pro­phesied for two yeares before the Earthquake. Thirdly, some, who were onely once to prophesie and fore-tell things, which done, their office ceased; as Jonah to the Ninevites, Abdias to the Edomites, and of this sort is our Prophet.

Doctrine. God in revealing his will, and publishing of his heavenly riches, the mysteries of Christ and his Salvation, hath and doth ordinarily use the ministery of Man; ordinarily I say, be­cause at some time he hath used Angels to some particular and upon extraordinary occasions, yet never ordinarily and gene­rally in an ordinary established Church, but alwayes the mini­stery of men, which thing is witnessed by the testimony of all times, and all Churches, as well in the Stories of the Scriptures, as other Prophets, Priests, Apostles, Ministers: How often that in the Old Testament, I rose up earely, and sent my Prophets: In the New, as they were men imployed under Christ, Ephes. 4.8. We have this treasure in earthen vessels, 2 Cor. 4.7. and we are Embassadors for Christ, 2 Cor. 5.20.

Reas. 1 Because Angels presence would have beene fearefull, as Luke 1.12. and so unprofitable their Ministery, for things would have passed away as they heard it; for feare breeds such a lassi­tude in the joynts, that man lets that goe he seemed to hold; so of the mind.

Reas. 2 [Page 13]To honour the nature of man; for if to be mans, much more Gods Embassadour: He could have done all by an Angell,Poterat uti (que) per Angelum omnia fieri; sed abjecta esset humana conditio, se per homines hominibus Verbum suum administrare nolle videretur. Aug. De [...] Christiana, [...] praefat. but the humane condition had beene vilified, if he had seem'd not to administer his Word by men unto men.

Reas. 3 Because the message rather than the messengers should be re­garded, and if any thing be effected, it might be given to the power of God, and not the meanes. If hee had not sent it in earthen vessels, but by some glorious Angell, they would have left the thing, and have worshipped the person, Revel. 22.8. or if any thing had beene wrought, they would have attribu­ted it to the power of the meanes, not to God: but that they should not, he thus disposed, 2 Cor. 4.7.

Ʋse. 1 This ought to be matter of encouragement to the Ministers of God, that their labour in preaching, and performing the worke of their Ministery be not tedious unto them, when it is so thank lesse an office unto men, and the more they labour in it, the lesse they partake of their double honour, 1 Tim. 5.17. nay, full of contempt, and as Jeremy 20.7, 8. yet they serving the Lord in their Ministery, he vouchsafing them that honour, ought to swallow up all these, knowing that we are not to be ashamed of the Gospell of Christ, because it is the power of God to salvation, Rom. 1.1 [...]. and whosoever shall finde it, and receive it by them to beleeve, beautifull shall their feet be unto them, though others charge them as Pharaoh did Moses, that they see their face no more. But if none will, yet he will not suffer them to goe unregarded, because he hath set them on worke, they are his Ministers, as Esay 49.4, 5. I said I have la­boured in vaine, I have spent my strength for nought, yet surely my worke (or my reward) is with my God: And though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord.

Ʋse. 2 To teach men not to be offended, or basely to accompt of the ministery of the Word, and the mysteries of Salvation, be­cause they are brought unto them in such earthen vessels by so weake meanes; for it is the worke and word of the Lord, how­soever by the ministery of man, weake and base. Was it that he wanted glorious Angels that he used not them? he had thou­sand thousands of them, but for mans infirmity: Was it that he had no power over the Kings and Nobles of the Earth, that hee imployed not them? if he had spoken the word, they could not have resisted. He that had David a Prophet, and Solomon a Preacher, though not ordinary, could have made them and o­ther Princes ordinary Preachers and Ministers, but their great­nesse would have obscured his power. Why then hath he cho­sen meane men? That the basenesse and meane condition of the [Page 14] person might give place to his glory, that men might not dote on the person, but delight in the ministery and message; therefore as Princes shut up their treasures not in goodly and sumptuous chests, but in caskets of no price, and of base mat­ter, to deceive the theefe, and to convay it whither they would have it: so God these, to lay a stumbling blocke to the repro­bate; but as many as are called and chosen, to make it the power of God and the wisdome of God to them.Nihil adeò est quod obdu­ret mentes hominum, quàm simplicitas divinorum ope­rum, quae in actu videntur, & magnificentia quae in ef­fectu repromittitur. Tertul. De bapt. lib. cap. 2. Ipsi miramur quia credi­mus; caeterùm incrèdulitas miratur, non credit; miratur simplicia quasi vana, magni­fica quasi impossibilia. Idem. There's nothing that so much hardens mens minds as the simplicity of Gods workes that are seene, and the greatnesse of the efficacy which is promised, when as to the godly it is farre otherwise. They are marvel­lously wrought upon by them, because they look to him who workes by them; here is the difference of faith and infidelity, beleevers and infidels. We wonder because we beleeve; incredulity wonders, but beleeves not; it wonders at simple things as if they were vaine, at great things as if impossible.

Ʋse. 3 Wee are the Ministers of God, and your servants for Jesus sake; that we bring to you, is the message and commandement of God. Looke that ye receive not us, if ye can dis-joyne us and our message; but that we bring, heare it, beleeve it, obey it. That we have delivered, that we doe and shall deliver as his commandement, his will: Looke therefore to it, that you re­ceive it, for it both you and I must give an account; I, for the faithfull delivery of it, you for the fruitfull receiving of it, both of us for the carefull obeying of it. Let no man thinke much I call so much for hearing and obeying, when there is in the most still performance with the least, and scarce with the least. Tell me, when you lend your money, doe you not put your Deb­tor in minde of it when you meet him? so doe we, and so must I doe; for I feare lest in that day I heare that, Matth. 25.26. Thou wicked and slothfull servant, thou oughtest to have put my money to the exchangers, that at my comming I might have received mine owne with usury. I have often put forth Gods stock unto you, you must pay usury. Ʋsura vero est au­ditae monitionis per opera exhibitio: Your usury is to witnesse your profitable hearing by your workes. See then that you o­bey and doe, that as Nathan said to David, 2 Sam. 24.13. so I may to you, Now advise and see what answer I shall returne to him that sent me.

The burden by the ministery of Malachy,] Malachy must carry to this people a burden, not onely things acceptable, but dis­pleasing and grievous.

The Ministers of God must not onely serve him in preaching the Gospell and comforts, but also threatnings and judgments.

VERSE II.

I have loved you, saith the Lord, yet yee say, Where­in hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacobs bro­ther, saith the Lord? yet I loved Jacob.

I Have loved you saith the Lord,] The second part of the Chap­ter is the matter and Prophesies consisting in two parts: on Gods expostulation with the people and Priest for their sinnes, and his judgments against them for those sinnes. The first is hence to the 9. verse. Their sinnes are two: ingratitude, con­tempt of him, and corruption of his worship. The 1. to the 6. verse. Their ingratitude is expressed, that they did not acknow­ledge nor account of his love, nor yet of his benefits, the fruit of his love, which hee had from time to time bestowed upon them; that they might by the greatnesse of the one, or by the weight of the other, be drawne to performe the duties of Piety unto him their God and King, who had deserved so well at their hands and of them. First for his love.

I have loved you,] A speech spoken with affection, specially by valuing his love, and disdaining to have it so neglected of those upon whom he had bestowed it. Some thinke it is a speech imperfect, broken off, and interrupted with griefe, when he would have added more. I have loved you; griefe not suffering him to speake more. The supply may be, I have loved you al­wayes, but you acknowledge it not, neither answered me with love againe, but for this repayed me with sinnes.

Love given to God, signifies not a passion nor affection, for there is no such thing in God. Ira Dei non perturbatio anim e­jus, sed judicium quo irrogatur poena peccato. August. of the an­ger of God. De civitate Dei, lib. 15. cap. 25. So of this, it is no passion, but his free election to bestow, yea, an actuall gi­ving to them the adoption of sonnes and eternall life. For God is said to be angry, when he doth that which commonly men doe when they are angry; and to love, when he doth that which men doe when they love. Now this cannot be understood of his generall love, of which all are partakers, men and Angels, blessing, preserving, sustaining them: for then were it no great matter that he affirmes here to his. But of a speciall love, that is, his choosing of them to be sonnes, and to bestow on them eternall life. I have loved you, that is, I have chosen you to be my people, and I will be your God; to be my chil­dren, and I will be your Father, and to give you the inheri­tance of sonnes, than which what can be greater? Hierome [Page 16] thinkes he denies now to love them, because he useth the pre­ter-tense. But it is no rule, when as the pretertense doth often include the present, Rom. 1.24. Psal. 1.1.

The first sinne reproved is unthankfulnesse, the reproofe be­ing covertly insinuated, rather than openly set downe, under the recording and recalling of Gods love and the fruits of it, where­of they had beene partakers. Hierome observeth here, lest the punishment should seeme unjust, and God should without cause afflict them, and lay the burden upon them, he addeth the re­proofe of their sinnes. Hence we may observe.

Doctr. 1 The punishing and afflictions C [...]ming to men, are caused by their sinnes. Hosea 104.10 Thou hast fallen by thine iniquity.

Doctr. 2 Now to the sinne here reproued in particular, which is un­thankfulnesse. Ingratitude and unthankfulnesse unto God for his love, and the fruits of it, the blessings men receive, either spirituall or temporall, is a very great sinne. So the Lord shews it here by his Prophet, when he puts it in the foremost of all other sinnes in this people, and as the principall which makes him threaten this burden unto them. So Isaiah 1.2. sets it be­fore all other sinnes. It is by the Apostle put among the sinnes of the last dayes, when iniquity shall get the upper hand, and must abound, 2 Tim. 3.2. This sinne is committed five waies, or there are five kinds or degrees of unthankfull men. First, when men doe not acknowledge God as the Authour and giver of their benefits and blessings, but finde out others, as Hosea 2.8, 9. Shee knew not that the Lord gave her Corne. Secondly, when men doe forget him and his benefits, against which Da­vid laboured. Psal. 103.2. Blesse the Lord, oh my soule, forget not all his benefit [...]. And confessed among sinnes, Psal. 106.7. our Fathers remembred not the multitude of thy mercies. Thirdly, when they doe not give him praise in word and affecti­on, doe not utter it before men. Such were the nine Lepers. Fourthly, when not onely these, but recompense him evill for good, as that, Isaiah 1.2. I have brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. Deut. 32.5, 6. Fiftly, not faulty in any of these, but doe not walke worthy of such mercies, when he doth not render according to the benefit done unto him, as it was said of Hezekiah, 2 Chro. 32.25.

Reas. 1 Because the contrary is a duty so often commanded, and so earnestly call'd for in Scripture, even in every thing. 1 Thess. 5.18. In all things give thankes, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus towards you: Then the other must needs be a sinne.

Reas. 2 Because the Saints of God have much laboured against it in themselves and others, which they doe not, but that which is evill and sinne.

Reas. 3 Because the contrary is the honouring of God, the crown­ing [Page 17] of him, and the araying of him with honour and glory. Psal. 50.23. Who so offereth praise, glorifieth me. Then this is a great dishonour, and then 'tis evill. That which is against the Crown and dignity, specially immediately of a Prince, is heinous and grievous.

Ʋse 1 This being such a sinne, thus committed, argues our age guilty before the Almighty; some one way, some after ano­ther; yea, who can say, I am free? Many, and the most receive and devoure daily the blessings of God, and know not, or ac­knowledge not that he gave them, but thinke they come natu­rally or by friends, or by their owne labour, and so as Haba­cuck 1.16. Therefore they sacrifice unto their net, and burne in­cense unto their yarne, because by them their portion is fat, and their meate plenteous; and so commit Idolatry with their friends, with the earth and heavens, with their labours and hands. But say they be so farre instructed that they confesse him the giver, yet how some have forgotten him and his benefits. A second brings the oblivion of the first, a third of that, &c. As one naile drives out another, but an affliction makes all to be forgotten: as with men, one injury they doe us, makes us forget they ever did us good. But say benefits be remembred, and oftentimes spoken of, yet not so much as the afflictions and troubles: or if at one time many words to expresse the passion in suffering, few in receiving; or if of them, yet as Courtiers bragge of the Kings favour, as Haman, Ester 5.11, 12. more to magnifie himselfe than the Kings liberality: for a long story they will tell you of their wealth, and honour, and children, and such like; but a few words, and that very unsavourily will they drop out of praise to God. They make not their Song or Psalmes of thankesgiving as the faithfull have done. But if any can plead not guilty here, and be culpable in none of these, yet his unthankfulnesse appeares that he still remaines in his sinne, and rebells against the Lord; not onely offending him, but by those things he hath received from him: more than any married and modest woman will doe to her husband, by the Rings, Chaines, Bracelets, Apparrell, and ornaments he gave her to adorne her, so she might be ac­ceptable to him; not that shee should give to an adulterer, to entice him to folly. And yet what else doe many, but by their riches and honours, their health and beautie, by their strength and valour, and such like, dishonour him? By their riches they waxe proud against God, by their honours and high places they oppresse others without feare: health makes them study the ad­orning and trimming of the body, by their beautie they entice others, by their valour they contemne others, and like mighty Nimrods they tyrannize in peace and warre: so that God for all his cost hath not Grapes, but sower Grapes, as Isaiah 5. But [Page 18] say that herein they are not to be charged, yet are they ungrate­full, because they have not walked worthy of such benefits, be­cause they have not rendered according to their reward, and every benefit hath not beene answered with obedience, and more care to please God.

Ʋse 2 To teach every man to labour to see and know himselfe guilty of this sinne, to humble himselfe for it, and repent of it, as of one of the greatest sinnes he hath, and the greater, as in the de­grees he finds himselfe guilty of it. Now because there neither is, nor can be true repentance where there is perseverance in it, nor unlesse it be forsaken, and the former good acted; for he is ungratefull, that is not thankfull; as he is wicked, that is not just; the contrary evill is ever where the good is not, where and when it ought to be. Therefore must every one labour for the good, and strive to be thankefull, to acknowledge, to re­member, to praise, to abstaine from evill, to reward with all good offices for such great kindnesse: Hee must stirre up the best instrument that he hath to pr [...]i [...] the Lord,In conferen­dis beneficiis est liberalissi­ma, ita in gratiarum actionibus re­poscendis est avarissima. whose nature (as one saith) is such, that in [...]ferring of benefits hee is most li­berall, and most covetous [...] [...]iring acknowledgment. This is most acceptable to him, lik [...] [...]scent of all sacrifices, Levit. 3.16, 17. Let it repent us that we have deprived him of so much as is due to him, and now strive to it, singing the songs of thankesgiving with cheerefull hearts when hee calls us to it, not loving him otherwise than [...] hath done us, both in word and deed: ceasing to grieve him, seeking to please him, and to recompence as he hath rewarded us. Et si gravia praeterierunt, tamen gravium memoria ne praetereat; non ut doleamus, sed ut gratias agamus. Chrysost. Hom. 12. ad popul. Ant. But Hom. 25. Vera gratiarum relatio haec est, cum haec agamus unde Deus glori­ficari debet, cum ea fugiamus à quibus jam fuimus liberati. Nam, cum Rege contumeliis affecto, cum poenas luere deberemus, hono­rati fuissemus, & mox iterum affecissemus contumelia, tanquam ingratitudinis extremae rei, maximam merito poenam, & priore multo graviorem dare deberemus. Whereas on the contrary, to be truely thankefull, is a great treasure, it is the way to more riches, because a man doth anew draw at the Well of Gods bounty; for to him that hath shall be given; if hee use it for his Maisters glory: and the evill avoided which else would come up­on them.

I have loved thee,] This is understood not of his generall love, but his speciall, and that after a speciall manner: not such as he loves whole mankind by, but such as he loves his Church by. The love of a whole Family, of his Spouse and children is different, one more excellent than other, and so both more speciall and more excellent.

Doctr. [Page 19]God, hee loves his Church with a more speciall and excellent love, than he loves either all creatures, or all mankind. So here, Amos 3.2. Exod. 19.5. Now therefore if yee will heare my voice indeed, and keepe my Covenant, then yee shall be my chiefe treasures above all people, though all the earth be mine: where the learned take the word to signifie, a people of a preci­ous treasure. The Septuag. read [...], a peculiar peo­ple. Tit. 2.14. Now [...], est thesaurus prae aliis electus, and so it is more excellent, and more deare and precious in Gods sight: these were for themselves, and the Type of others. Hence is that, 1 Pet. 2.9. Ye are a chosen generation, a pecu­liar people. Things elected are more specially loved; hence are those comparisons to set forth this love, that he is the Head of his Members, the Father of his Children, the Husband of his Wife. The Members are better affected than excrements, the Children than servants, the Wife without comparison, as him­selfe is one flesh.

Reas. 1 Because love, precious and excellent love is discerned by the things which proceed from love, that are given and bestowed upon the beloved: for he loves,Non tam à veris rebus somnia supe­rantur, quàm haec terrena ab aeternis il­lis absunt. Chrysost. da. virg. who bestowes meate and drinke and apparell; but he more, that provides land, inheritance, and layes up treasure, and gives knowledge and education. The ser­vant is provided for, the Child much more: so the things God gives being more excellent, spirituall, Salvation, things belong­ing to it; but to others earthly things onely, 1 Cor. 9.11. There is a three-fold state of man, as Divines speake of him: Es­se, bene esse, optimum esse. First, naturae, secondly, gratiae, thirdly, gloriae. The first of generall love, the two last of spe­ciall love, which being those God gives his, and his onely; then is it with a more speciall love he loves them.

Reas. 2 Because it is more constant and perpetuall: for the generall love of mankind is terminated not with the Sunne and Moone onely, but with their breaths; they part with their lives and his love together, but theirs is for ever, and then specially is ma­nifested when life is ended. That in life was but a pledge and earnest of the other, a penny to one hundred pound, or an Angell to a thousand pound, a bargaine of it.

Reas. 3 Because in generall love onely, sua dat, his blessings and outward benefits: but in speciall, se dat, he gives himselfe. Ho­sea 2.19. Now as that of Samuel is true, 1 Sam. 15.22. Obedi­ence is better than sacrifice, because in obedience a man gives himselfe to God, but in sacrifice he gives but of his, as Cain of the fruit of the ground. Abel of the first of his sheepe, and of the fattest of them; so in this.

Ʋse 1 This should provoke every one to labour for this love, being so speciall and so excellent: rare things are deare, and desired; [Page 20] the more rare, the more deare, and more desired; but when they are rare and excellent, very precious then most of all; such is this love. But how may we get this? Labour to be his, and his children, and Church, so we all are. But he is not a Jew that is one outward. But how may we know that we are his, and have love? How doe commonly men know they have the generall love, and whence is their generall bragge of it? If they have the fruits of his love, peace, prosperity, riches, &c. So in this, if they have spirituall graces, as true saving knowledge, faith, sanctification, love, meeknesse, zeale, which are the fruits of his speciall love, Eccles. 9.1. No man knows either love or hatred by all that is before us. They are things within us which must manifest that to us; for these then must we labour that we may know we have it.

Ʋse 2 This must teach every one to be more thankfull for this than he or others would be for the generall: the thankfulnesse is to answer his love with obedience, to heare and obey, Exod. 19.5. Now therefore if ye will heare my voice indeed, and keepe my Covenant, then ye shall be my chiefe treasures above all people though all the earth be mine. The fruits of the generall love of God will require this, and the more fruits, the more o­bedience: He that hath received something, though with the least, owes the most he can doe; how much more he that hath more honour, credit, riches, &c. Ought to performe more o­bedience, be more zealous, religious, holy; as August. Sur­gunt indocti & coelum rapiunt, &c. If for these common bles­sings and love, how much more for the fruits of speciall love and it? If to whom much, of them much in the former; how much more in this? and of such as have his speciall love, he looks for obedience and honour, wherein is their thankfulnesse. The Courtier that is advanced above others, ought to be more re­spective of the Prince and his will, and with more care and cheerefulnesse performe all obedience, and the duty of his place than others. He that hath his life, liberty, and living given unto him when all was lost, if he shall not, if he should not re­spect him, every tongue would be ready to condemne him: But if he should be made heire to the Crowne, if his issue faile, or hee have no child, then more. So in this; and this not being, nothing wil more prove that they are not that they would seeme to be, and that they have not that they bragge on.

Ʋse 3 This is matter of comfort to as many as are indeed his, belo­ved of him, they may be sure they shall lack nothing that is need­full and good for them: for if he love them thus specially as his owne, God is faithfull to provide for his owne; for, as Rom. 8.32. who spared not his owne sonne, but gave him for us all to death, how shall he not with him give us all things also? how [Page 21] much more readily will he give us other things, when he hath gi­ven us himselfe, and hath married us to himselfe? Will a father see his child to want? will a husband let his wife want when he is rich and able? if they should, yet will not God. Isaiah. 49.15. Can a woman forget her child, and not have compassion on the sonne of her wombe? though they should forget, yet will I not forget thee: therefore they may best have their con­versation without care or covetousnesse; they need not weare or deceive for gaine, oppresse, or offer injury to provide for themselves; they need not prophane the Lords day, nor use unlawfull meanes to lay up for another time to come: for hee that doth so specially love them, and hath laid up so great things for them, and given them the pledges of them already, and the earnest of such infinite things, how will not he take care of them to provide necessaries for them. He that in his generall love feeds the Ravens, the Lions, and Leopards; makes his raine to fall, and his Sunne to shine upon the wicked, and fills their bellies with his hid treasures; what will his speciall love make him to his owne? but many of his are often-times scanted. So the Physitian keeps his patient at a strait diet, when full dishes are hurtfull unto him. And God often-times gives not riches, because when they be humanae miseriae remedia, the reme­dies of humane misery, they will make them instrumenta volup­tatis aut superbiae, the instruments of pleasure or pride, and he knows their hearts better than themselves. But they often want much, and have scarce to satisfie nature, when the wicked have abundance; but their water and browne bread makes them looke as well as all the full dishes of the wicked; as it was with Daniel and his fellows. And the prodigall sonne had little to re­fresh him, when his fathers servants had bread enough, be­cause he abused his former portion, and runne from under the protection, and out of his fathers house. So with them: At his returne he had the fat Calfe killed for him, and apparrell and ornaments given him fit for a sonne.

Ʋse 4 To admonish every one that is his, to looke for more corre­ction than others if they provoke him; for more love, more of the rod; more affection, more affliction; the more speciall love, more speciall and more speedy correction. This use made Amos of it, Chap. 3.2. You onely have I knowne of all the families of the earth, therefore I will visite you for all your iniquities. Heads of families correct all, and most where they love; children be­fore servants, and of them, those they love, if their love be with judgment, and not blinded with affection.

Wherein hast thou loved us?] Some take this to be a kind of prevention: the Prophet knowing what this people would say, thus accused, for themselves, he prevents; Yee will aske me [Page 22] wherein I have manifest any love unto you? my answer is ready, and the proofe manifest. Was not Jacob brother to Esau? but these are more likely to be the words of the people, for so their ingratitude rather appeares, that they would not acknowledge the love of God, but some of infirmity, some of malice and contempt spake thus, Wherein hast thou loved us? In what speciall benefit hast thou shewed thy love unto us? Cyrill suppo­seth that it is likely they remembred the late captivity and cala­mity God had brought upon them, which did so sticke in their mindes, that all the good God did unto them before and since, specially spirituall, could not make them acknowledge he loved them.

Doctrine. The corrupt nature of man is hardly drawne to confesse and acknowledge sinne, and himselfe guilty of sinne; but will doe any thing, accuse God or man, or any other thing to cover their sin. This people is a manifest proofe of it here; and ver. 6, 7. and Cap. 2.14. and 3.7, 8. Job 31.33. If I have hid my sinne as Adam, concealing mine iniquity in my bosome. Trem. more homi­num, noting the corruption of man to hide and cover it. It is manifest by Adams accusing Eve and God, and Eve the Serpent, to cover their sinne, Gen. 3.12, 13. Achan, Joshua 7. who co­vered it till God had found him out. Saul, he covered his by ac­cusing of the people, 1 Sam. 15.13, 14, 15, 20, 21. David, 2 Sam. 11.6. &c. yea, even when Nathan came to him, Cap. 12. who might, if he did not, take the Parable to himselfe, before it was applyed by Nathan. The Priests, Matth. 27.4. Gregory; They are like the Cuttle-fish, that when he perceiveth men goe about to take him, doth so dye and colour the water about her with a kind of blacke moisture, that a man cannot tell where to have her: so these, and so others, either by denying, as Matth. 25.44. by defence, as Jonah, Jonah 4. by cautelous answer, as Gen. 4.9. by a good purpose, as Gen. 20.6. by putting it off to o­thers, Adam to Eve.

Reas. 1 Because selfe love beares rule and sway, which will make him so cover his sinnes, Job 31.33. If I have hid my sinne as Adam, concealing mine iniquity in my bosome. The latter part Tre­mel. reads, Abdendo ex dilectione mei iniquitatem meam. And this is to avoid both punishment from God, and shame from men; naturally they know God is just, and out of his justice will visite the iniquities of men: and they thinke him as man, and that the Proverb is true,Hosea 12.8. Confesse and be hang'd; supposing he cannot know, unlesse they disclose. Therefore to avoid his knowledge, and so his punishment, they willingly smother them. Againe, to avoid shame from men, because they will e­ven upbraid them with their sinnes they have confessed,2 Sam. 13.13. though happily themselves more wicked, but more covert. Therefore [Page 23] they would willingly, and by what meanes they can cover them. Oblectat sanè flagitium, & tamen ipsius rei nomen aures offendit. Chrysost. Ser. de virtut. & vit.

Reas. 2 Because he loves his sinne, and is very loath to part with it. Now if he should come to know and acknowledge his sinne, he must forsake it, or else men will cry more shame, and God will more sharply punish him: whereas all the while he dissembles his knowledge, he thinkes he is the rather to be borne withall, both of God and man.

Object. How should this be accounted a corruption, when as, Isaiah 3.9. they are reproved for declaring their sinne, and not hiding it?

Solut. It is one thing to commit sinne openly, and as it were with­out shame to professe it;Non confiteri, sed profiteri. another to confesse sinne with shame to himselfe, and glory to God. It is one thing for Zimri, Numb. 25.6. to manifest sinne, and another for David, when he is re­proved by Nathan, to confesse sinne. It is not the same: that Ab­solon commit sinne upon the house-top shamelesly in the sight of the Sunne, to the dishonour of God and his Father; and A­chan confesse that was committed with shame to himselfe, and giving glory to God. To declare sinne as they did, is the height of impiety; but to confesse sinne as these, is the first step to piety; and to cover them, gives small hope of recovering them: The ones declaring, and the others cloaking, argue both their cor­ruptions.

Ʋse 1 Then is the wisedome of the wise but foolishnesse, who think that the best guide is Nature, and that a man shall never erre if he follow it. Questionlesse it is a marvellous blind guide in all things, and whithersoever it calls, we are to be jealous and suspicious of it: It will never lead us to any good, but to false pleasures, deceitfull profits, vaine honours. It will either teach us that sinne is no sinne, Rom. 7. or lessen sinne, or teach us to cover sin. In the body, and for it, he would be accounted but a slender friend and bad counsellour, who should perswade a man wounded, that it were nothing, or teach him to cover it till it so fester, that the part must be cut off, before he discover it to a Chirurgian: what a guide is nature then?

Ʋse 2 To teach every one to see and acknowledge the corruption of his nature, when he finds in himselfe all willingnesse, and endeavour to cover his sinne, whether by acousing God or man, or any other creature, specially when he is reproved by the Word of God in the mouth of the Minister, then to seeke excuses and pretences, argues a marvellous obstinacy and reso­lution to continue in their sinnes, besides the hurt they doe unto themselves. The hurt is, first that sinne is the greater; he increases his sinne, who judging God to be like a man, be­leeves [Page 24] he may escape the punishment of his fault,Plus imò de­linquit, quise­cundùm De­um cogitans, evadere se pae­nam criminis credit, si pa­lam non cri­men admisit. Cypr. de laps. if he commit­ted it not openly, and so if he cover it. Secondly, he brings more and greater sinnes upon himselfe:Ʋt in corpo­ribus qui vul­nera neglexe­runt, febres gignunt & putrifactio­nes, & mor­tem denique, itidem & in animis, qui pusilla dissi­mulant, ma­jora invitant. Chrysost. ad Gal. cap. 1. As in our bodies the neglect of wounds may cause Fevers and putrifactions, and at length death: so in our soules, the hiding of small, is to invite greater; for both Satan is emboldened to suggest more, and, their conscience hardened, they easily receive more. Thirdly, they bring more shame and punishment upon themselves. If the smothering of it here, were the burning of it for ever, their po­licy were not amisse: But when for all this it must come to judg­ment, their cunning is but cruelty to themselves. What profit is it to a malefactor obstinately to deny his fact to the Judge in his private Chamber, or before some few, when he hath fa­vour promised him, and be made to confesse it at the Barre be­fore the whole Countrey, when his owne hand and his fellows in the fact, shall be brought against him, without all hope of re­ceiving any thing but severity of judgment, where every ex­cuse and cover he hath had shall increase both his shame and punishment?

Ʋse 3. If this be the corruption of nature, and the sinne of this people, let us learne to cast from us the cloakes of shame, and, reproved for our sinnes, and threatned, let us with the people at Johns preaching, Matth. 3. confesse our sinnes, that we may e­scape the wrath to come. What else is required of us, than that the Church of God hath usually done? as Ezra 10. and 1 Sam. 7.6. what but that wherein we may glorifie God, Joshua 7.19. for in confessing our sinnes we give him the glory of his justice, as punishing where he was provoked. What? but that we may disburden our selves, and get a wholesome and soveraigne me­dicine to our wounds. Our wounds have beene grievous, as Isaiah 1.6. Our sinnes as the infection have beene declared un­to us, our pride, covetousnesse, &c. let us not cover them ei­ther by impudency, or infirmity: let not our proud women say, their husbands would have it so, nor the covetous men, our wives and children must be maintained so: let not the swearer say, he cannot be believed, or utter his wares, or any such cover of state and condition, accusing sometime God, sometime men; for he that threatneth thus the greene tree, what will he doe to the dry? the naturall Olive, what will he doe to the wild Olive? Certainely it shall not be so easie to us as to them: but if all will not, let me speak to as many as feare the Word of the Lord: Thou and thy house, thou and thy wife and children, doe not hide them, but confesse: Remember that, Prov. 28.13. He that hideth his sinnes, shall not prosper: but he that confesseth and forsaketh them, shall have mercy; so com­mon in experience, that it is a Proverb.

Wherein hast thou loved us?] This they speake, because of their late captivity, as if for that one crosse they were not bound to be thankfull unto him for the other mercies: or shew­ing their blindnesse and corruption of nature, that for one crosse or affliction they acknowledged not, nor account of other mercies.

Doctr. It is the blindnesse of mans nature and his corruption, in an affliction and trouble not to account and esteeme all other the former blessings of God: so in this people. It is manifest not onely in the wicked, where corruption is in the strength, but in the good, where it is abated, and yet creeps where it cannot goe. In Haman, Est. 5.11, 12, 13. In Rebeckah, Gen. 27.46. Jonah 4.3, 9. in David, Psal. 77.7, 8, 9. in a multitude of both kinds. Psal. 78.19, 20.

Reas. 1 Because men usually live by sight and sence, not by faith, and so they onely see and conceive of things present and before them, as beasts doe, and doe not looke to things past.

Reas. 2 Because the children of God, howsoever they have true faith, yet in most, weake, and in best often full of doubts; that when troubles and afflictions come, though they forget not their for­mer blessings, yet make question whether the former were of love or no.

Ʋse 1 This teacheth us whence are so many strange practices of the wicked, and passions of Gods owne in some troubles and dis­quietnesse: the wicked offering violent hands to themselves, hanging, stabbing, drowning themselves, though they be in the middest of many blessings, that a man would thinke they wanted nothing that heart could thinke or desire. It is not one­ly from the things themselves, which give no comfort, when there is none within, like cloaths that warme none but them who have naturall heat: but from the blindnesse of the minde and their corruption, which cannot account nor rejoyce in them; but doth often so transport them and carry them out of themselves, that they know not they have any such comfort to delight in, and for ease of one trouble deprive themselves of all. The godly upon some losse or other trouble fall into such passions, as Rebeckah and others, their lives irkesome and te­dious unto them, and find no comforts in all for one discom­fort; like children, who if they have one of their trifles they play withall taken from them, cast away all the rest in great discon­tent, and can find no pleasure in it; like to men, who having an hundred Acres of ground, if one be gained from them by Sea, or wreaked from them by title of Law, take no pleasure nor joy in all the rest. So they in the losse of a Child, take no pleasure, at least in their passion, nor account not of many other of Gods blessings, which many of Gods, as deare to him as they, [Page 26] have not, or not in that abundance: All this is from the corrup­tion of their nature.

Ʋse 2 If this be the corruption of nature, and the sinne of this peo­ple, let us see our selves in them, and examine our selves, we shall easily find this in our selves, being all of one metall. Let us learne to mourne for it, and hereafter to strive against it, estee­ming and accounting of the blessings we have, or tasted in for­mer times, though God have given us worme-wood and gall. If any blessing be taken from us, or trouble come upon us, let us be thankfull unto God, and comfortable in the middest of other of his blessings: and if we be discontented, let it be with our selves; if we grieve, let it be at our sinnes, for abusing such blessings, or walking unworthy of them; and therefore hath God taken them from us. In them let us stay our selves, as Job stopped his wifes mouth, Job 2.10. when she moved him to dis­content and discomfort. And in the meane time let us labour for good consciences and sound spirits, the feeling of Gods fa­vour, and assurance of his love; so shall we beare all our infir­mities, Prov. 18.14. And griefe or losses to him shall be but as so many sparkes falling into the the Ocean. Chrysost. de vita recta, Hom. 25. ad popul. Ant. 12.1. d. 2.

Was not Esau Jacobs brother?] Here is Gods answer to their murmuring question, and as it were a plaine deniall of his love, proving evidently to them that he loved them. Now he rea­soneth not from common benefits, as that he had created them, that he preserveth them, that he gave them health and peace, prosperity and comforts; having brought them from their capti­vity, and seated them in their owne land, &c. but demonstrated his love unto them from the beginning of their nation, from their Head and Author. You, as ungratefull creatures, will not acknowledge my love, this is your impudency: but see, I will make you confesse it. And first of all to fetch things from the very beginning, Was not Esau Jacobs brother?] And so as if all things be considered, no cause why I should love one more than other, they were both begotten of one father, both borne in one wombe, both successors of the Covenant, both boughes of one roote, both digged out of one rocke; yea, if any privi­ledge and cause of love, it was in Esau, because he was the first begotten; yet I loved and freely chose Jacob, yea, before he was borne, and hated Esau. But some will say, What is this to this people? much every way; because these were two nations, that is, the heads of them: so that what God did to them, he did to their posterity. Then it follows to be reckoned as a benefit to them, and so proves his love, when he had chosen them, and rejected their brethren, without any desert of theirs. Then was their ingratitude so much the greater, and worthy the reproving.

Was not Esau Jacobs brother? yet I loved Jacob.] They were in many things equall, and in none Jacob before, but Esau; yet here is a close preferring of Jacob as chiefe man in the familie, and notable as by somewhat in himselfe to overmatch his birth­right, and make him more acceptable, and more allowed of God, which is his piety. The like is Gen. 5.32. Shem is put first, though not the eldest of the three: for this, because he was greatest in Gods bookes for his piety. In our common speech we so speake, when we shew our account of one, such an one, such an Earles or Lords brother; here though we speake of the brother, we imply a greater dignity in the Earle: so was not Esau Jacobs brother? here Jacob is preferred.

Doctr. They who are in priviledges of the flesh and worldly respects inferiour by much to others, are in the account of God not lesse, but greater, and more honourable, if they have pietie with other vertues and spirituall graces, which others are con­temners of.

In the prophesie of Isaiah, the Lord comforts his holy Church, and tells her she is precious in his sight, and honorable, and that he loves her, Esa. 43.4. This people, the posterity of Jacob, were but a neglected people in respect of other nations; the Lord found them in a desert land, in a wast houling wilder­nesse, not allured to become their Tutelar God by their great­nesse, or the richnesse of their Countrey; yet he led them a­bout, he instructed them, he kept them as the apple of his eye, Deut. 32.10. The godly are many times as stones disallowed of men, but chosen of God, and precious; as Christ also him­selfe the Corner-stone was, 1 Pet. 2.4, 5.

Reas. Because God sees not as man sees, he loves most that in men whereby they are likest to himselfe, that is, their holinesse & pie­ty, and other vertues, which are above other priviledges of the flesh. Men judge by the outward condition, as the Barbarians did, Acts 28. and as Zophar did, Job 11. But so doth not God, he sees what is in the heart, and what doth truely deserve.

Ʋse 1 Then let not men carry themselves high upon the priviledges of the flesh; as Esau is no whit better for being the elder brother. Ismael was elder, yet Isaack was accepted. One Nation may be more noble and honourable than another, yet God respects not that: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousnesse, is accepted [...] him, Acts 10.35. Nabal may be richer, Achitophel wise [...] [...] Absalom fairer, Tertullus or Herod more eloquent than many of Gods people, yet lesse in Gods e­steeme. It is a greater honour to be the sonnes of God, than the heires of Monarchs, and so Moses counted it. He refused to be called the sonne of Pharaohs daughter, chusing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, Heb. 11.24, 25. And hence [Page 28] it is, that when the very Disciples of Christ began to grow proud, that they could subdue devils, &c. he corrects them, and tells them there was another thing wherein they were ra­ther to rejoyce. Luc. 10.18, 19.

Ʋse 2 Let us learne to imitate God, to preferre such as are godly in our esteeme. This is made one note of a man that shall come at last to Gods holy Mountaine, that in his eyes a vile (that is, a wicked) person is contemned, but he honoureth them that feare the Lord, Psal. 15.4. This is to be like unto God, who re­spected Mary though she were poore and meane, Thou hast re­garded the low estate of thy handmaid, Luc. 1.48. And this Saint James teacheth us, that it is not agreeable to the Christian pro­fession, to have the faith of Christ in respect with persons, to preferre a man because he hath a gold ring and goodly apparrell: but saith he, Hearken, my beloved brethren, hath not God chosen the poore of this world, rich in faith? Jam. 2.2, 5.

VERSE III.

And I hated Esau, and made his mountaines waste, and his heritage a wildernesse for Dragons.

ANd I hated Esau, and made his mountaines waste.] Some think that this is only added to prove his hatred to Esau; viz. You may easily see my hatred: when as that famous mountaine Seir, where there were so many Dukes, as Gen. 36.15. ad finem, is now without any dweller, and all the Cities and habitations of them are destroyed. Which thing as it is true, and wee doubt not in part the meaning of this place, yet not the whole, because the Lord aimes not so much to set out his hatred to Esau and his posterity, as his love to Jacob and his: therefore there must needs be somewhat more in it, that is, the dissimilitude or dislike effect, to shew his love to them, which riseth thus: Those whom I love, I keepe them in their countrey, and suffer them not to be led captive; yet if for correction I suffer the enemy so farre to prevaile, I doe againe reduce them into their owne countrey, and give them their owne land, and the comforts of it. On the contrary, those whom I hate, those for their sinnes I cast into banishment, and never bring home againe: but let their land to be a dwelling for beasts, Dragons, and such like. Now the former I have done to you who are Jacobs posterity, and the latter to Esaus; now contrary effects have contrary cau­ses. So then as they may see in them my hatred, so in your selves ye may apprehend my love, who are now at home in your [Page 29] owne Land and Countrey, and enjoy your comforts in your Countrey. This then apparently shews his hatred to Esaus po­sterity, as in spirituall things, the Apostle being interpreter, Rom. 9. so here in temporall things, and closely and by com­parison his love to Jacobs seed, and to this people. The first onely to the children of promise, but this to all, even the whole seed, and not they onely which were blessed in Isaac.

Doctrine. Exile and banishment when it falls to a man, or multitude; to a family, or a whole nation; it is a signe and a proofe of the wrath and displeasure, of the anger and hatred of God. So is it here made and proved, because God threatneth by his Prophet usu­ally, that which men threaten and menace when they are an­gry, that proves their anger when it is effected. Deut. 28.41, 64, 68. Thou shalt beget sonnes and daughters, but thou shalt not enjoy them, for they shall goe into captivity. And the Lord shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even to the other, and there thou shalt serve other gods which neither thou nor thy fathers have knowne, even wood and stone. And the Lord shall bring thee into Aegypt againe with ships, by the way whereof I spake unto thee; thou shalt see it no more againe, and there ye shall be sold unto your enemies for bond-men and bond-women, and no man shal buy you. Going into captivity, scattering and serving the ene­my, are threatned as tokens of wrath. Mic. 1.15. and 2.4. 2 Chro. 36.16, 17.

Reas. 1 Because it is a judgment of God upon whomsoever; now the judgment of God shews his wrath and displeasure.

Reas. 2 Because it is a blessing, and so a token of the favour of God, to have houses or lands, and so to enjoy them.

Object. Many are banished and cast into exile for Christ and the pro­fession of his truth. Ergo.

Sol. It is true, that as among the Grecians they had an O­stracismus, a Law to banish every one that excelled other in riches, or in honour, or favour, or eloquence, and wise­dome, yea, in their outward justice: As Aristides was bani­shed Athens by the voyces of all, even a rustick who knew him not by face, but because they called him just; so falls it out in the world, and in the kingdomes of it, that they doe expell those who professe Christ and piety, but that is nothing against this: First, for that which Justine Martyr saith, Epist. ad Diogne­tum, de Christianis; Omnis peregrina regio, patria est eorum, & omnis patria est peregrina: Every forreigne Countrey is their home, and at home they are strangers, and so they not bani­shed wheresoever. Againe, because this comes onely from the malice and displeasure of men, and is a favour of God, that they are enabled to part with all for his sake, as Act. 5.41. so wee may rejoyce if we be counted worthy to be exiles for his name; [Page 30] but this here spoken of comes both from the wrath and displea­sure of God and man. Further, as Causa, non poena, the cause, not the punishment makes a Martyr;Salvian. Ex duobus letha­libus malis levius, ut reor, est captivita­tem corporis Christiani, quàm capti­vitatem ani­mae sustinere. So Salvian speaketh of a dou­ble captivity, or of two sorts of captives; one who are extrin­secus carne, captives outwardly in the body, others, intus men­te captivi, inwardly in their mindes, and affirmeth, Of two great evills, I suppose 'tis more easie for a Christian to sustaine the captivity of his body, than the bondage of the soule. Now they which are captives in body for this, are freed in their minds; and è contr. they who hold them captive, are most captive; for they are in their minds so, as 2 Pet. 2.19.

Ʋse. 1 This may teach all such as may fall into captivity and exile, that when it betides them,If any should not, we may then use the words of Sal­vian. An cre­dimus forte quod capti­vus animo populus ille non fuerit, qui laetus tunc in suorum captivitati­bus fuit? cap­tivus corde & sensu non erat, qui inter suorum sup­plicia ride­bat? qui ju­gulari se in suorum jug [...] ­lis non intelli­gebat? qui mori se in su­orum morti­bus non puta­bat? Quo an­te. they should learne to groane under it, as under the manifest signe, yea, and the thing that is the wrath of God: for if they may and ought to apprehend Gods displeasure, when their land brings not forth abundance to them and their use, what, when it beares not them any longer? But this lesson you may teach those that are in captivity, we neither are, neither are we in feare of it. I answer, that men carefull of themselves will learne and regard medicines or prescriptions be­fore they have need of them, especially if there be any likely­hood they may fall into a disease, lest the remedy not ready, the danger may be, and prove the greater; and the knowledge of any thing is no burden. So in this. But have we no feare of this, that we have no need to learne it? What then meant this late and most horrible treason or practice, that every Nation, Christian or barbarous, whether Turkes, Tariars, or whoso­ever, heard of? If our Papists, the greatest enemies of Christ this day the world hath; if our Pseudo-catholicks, the most despightfull enemies to the King and his posterity, to the State and the prosperity of it, to the Church and the peace of it, had prevailed in their designes, what would have beene our con­dition but this? Questionlesse either must it have come to cut­ting of throats, and the spilling of our blood, after which the Scarlet-whore and her whorish brood hath a long time thir­sted, or else this captivity and exile, if not carryed out of our owne Land, yet made slaves in our owne Land; for they that had remained, should have served a stranger in their owne land, Deut. 28.49, 51, 52. and vers. 66, 67. for whereto else tended this, but to bring in a forraigne power, to the slaughter of most, and slavery of the rest?

Ʋse. 2 Then is it a speciall favour to be acknowledged, and God to be with all thankfull minds glorified of all those, who finde that they are kept in their owne Land, not unthankfully as this peo­ple said, Wherein hast thou loved us? when they had this benefit. But herein hast thou loved us, that we are not carryed or taken [Page 31] captive, that our Cities and Townes are not laid waste: it is for us in respect of many other deliverances, and preservations from dangerous attempts; so of this last not the least but that which is every waies the greatest; for if it was the horriblest and most fearefull treason that ever was plotted, if the danger of overturning the Church and State the greatest, if the confusion to us and ours the most fearefull, if the greatest signe of Gods wrath and displeasure, if they had prevailed not onely to lay the Parliament-house wast, when they cryed, Raze it, raze it even to the ground; but to overthrow both Church and Com­mon-wealth, when their condition that had beene blowne up with the House, and then perished, had beene better than ours who were out of it: when our men were appointed for the swords and slaughter, our Wives and Daughters for rapes and adulteries, and after to the Sword; our children to have beene dashed in pieces against the stones of our streets, our Cities to have beene set on fire over our heads, and all our wealth to have beene a prey for desperate and forlorne wretches: Then, that God hath delivered us from all this, it must needs be a to­ken, yea, the greatest of his favour and love. He that seeth it not, is blind; he that seeth it, and doth not acknowledge it, is un­thankfull; he that sees and acknowledgeth it, and doth not praise and magnifie God for it, is very wicked and impious. If it had beene the preserving of goods alone from the spoile, if our Cities alone from burning, if our children onely from pe­rishing, if our wives onely from rapes and uncleannesse, if our lives alone from death, and our soules from the grave, the least of these, and any one of them had beene a speciall favour and signe of his love, what, when not one of these, but all? The preservation of them continually, and every day, when there is none that hunts so after them, and seekes extraordinarily by malice to take them away, is a favour and a signe of his love. More, when they had laid their counsells thus deepe, and sought it so dangerously, if he had revealed it halfe a yeare since in the beginning of the plot, it had beene a token of his good will: but when it was come to such ripenesse, and as there was but a step betwixt David and death, so not a night betwixt us and confusion; it was much more. Therefore to set forth his love, he brought us within the sight and smelling of the danger, ‘that we might the more account of it: Our Cities not wasted as E­doms mountaines, is a token of his favour.’

His mountaines wast.] Mountaines are for strength, for the defence and preservation of any thing, and by them is signified the greatnesse of Edom, and all his power and strength; and Metaphoricè, the great and mighty men, as Mich. 1.4.

Doctr. No outward thing can priviledge a man from Gods judge­ments, [Page 32] or be a sanctuary to save any from his wrath and dis­pleasure, when he will punish and execute his wrath.

And his heritage a wildernesse for Dragons.] Mount Seir it was Esaus inheritage and his posterity, not onely left then of his fa­ther, but given him of the Lord: Joshua 24.4. Notwithstan­ding when they had defiled this with their sinnes, as followeth in the next verse, the Lord cast them out, and made it cast them out, that it was no longer inhabited by them, but possessed by Dragons.

Doctr. They who defile their land and inheritage by sinne and wic­kednesse, shall be cast out of it, and it shall spue them out. Vide Mich. 2.10.

VERSE IIII.

Though Edom say, We are impoverished, but wee will returne and build the desolate places; yet saith the Lord of Hostes, They shall build, but I will destroy it, and they shall call them, The border of wickednesse, and the people, with whom the Lord is angry for ever.

Quicquid in scriptura di­citur dehomi­nibus malis, ad hoc dici­tur, ut civi­tas Dei ex comparatione contrariâ vel proficiat vel emineat. Aug. De civitat. Dei. l. 16. c. 2. THough Edom say,] To evict this people more manifestly of ingratitude, he proceeds to other benefits he had be­stowed on them, as fruits of his love, and so proving that he loved them. And this was but by comparison set downe, insinu­ated under the contrary, and in the amplification of the signes of his hatred to Esau and Edom: for this here spoken was not for them, but for his owne people. So here; for when the contra­ry was to them, if this were hatred, that must be love; for them then and their use are these things written. And the force of it stands thus: See, it is my hatred to Esau and his posterity, that they are not established in their owne land, nor defended there in their coasts, but destroyed and cast out, and justly for their sinnes, of which you are eye-witnesses, that in them and their ruine I have magnified my selfe and my Name. Then must it needs be love unto you, that having brought you from your captivity, I have confirmed you in your Land, and defended it and you.

Though Edom say,] The first part is the anticipation or pre­venting of them, setting downe under their person the swel­ling and proud words and speeches they would speak and utt [...]r: [Page 33] That is, I have said, I will lay her mountaines and Cities waste; but they in the pride of their owne hearts, and confidence of themselves and their owne strength, as if they were able to re­sist me, and to strive and stand against my power, utter such vaine hopes and bragging thoughts of their owne, yet shall all be but in vaine. Thus they say, We are impoverished. The Idu­means being expelled their Countrey, carryed into captivity for their sinnes, and wandring in another and strange Coun­trey, are not for all that humbled for their sinnes, nor seeke not unto me; but in their impoverishment and banishment they thus say, For all this we will returne, and be built: we by our owne strength and power, in spight of who saith nay, will come home home againe to our Countrey, shake off the yoke of our enemies, and will build and establish Idumea againe, and all our Cities.

Doctrine. The Lord he takes notice of, seeth, and beholdeth all mens carriage in the way of his judgments, how they profit by them, or grow perverse; how they hold out against him, or humble themselves in them, manifested as here, so Isa. 1.5. and 30.1, 2. and 38.5. Jer. 5.3. and 31.18. Jonah 3.10.

Reas. 1 Because he might know to lessen or encrease them; how to re­move them, or renew them. As the gold-finers, when they have put their metall into the furnace, looke ever and anon how it purifies, or how the drosse cleaves to it, they may put out, or put further in; adde more coales, or blow more vehemently. So in this, affliction is the furnace.

Reas. 2 Because he hath tyed himselfe unto this by his word and pro­mise to heare and regard their prayers and repentance, when his judgments or chastisements drive them, to see and acknowledge their sinnes: 2 Chron. 7.14, 15. If my people which are called by my Name, humble themselves, and pray, and turne from their wic­ked wayes, and seeke my face, then will I heare from Heaven, and will forgive their sinne, and will heale their [...]an [...]. Now mine eyes shall be open, and my eares attent to the prayer that is made in this place.

Ʋse 1 For the time past, the time of our late judgment of the Plague, if it may be counted late, which is yet upon us; the Lord hath taken notice of every mans profiting, or not profit­ing by it; either how he was humbled, or how he still held out; whether as Ephraim, whether he lamented his sinnes, and turned to God, or as Edom he held out, and promised to himselfe the repairing of any losse whatsoever, of his wealth, by following his Trade more closely; of his wife, that he may have another, and money with her; of his children, he is young, he may ei­ther have more, or he is eased of the care and charges of them: [Page 34] howsoever every mans carriage and fruit hath beene, the Lord hath seene it; which is matter of comfort to as many as have beene truely humbled, the Lord hath seene their hearts, heard their prayers, accepted their repentance, the fruit whereof they now enjoy, that they live to praise God, Isa. 38.19. But it is matter of terrour to as many as either contemned this duty in others, making the publick humiliation a meanes or cause of encreasing the Plague, or neglected it in themselves, or per­formed it onely in subtilty, making a shew of that they had not; seeming to be truely humbled, and willing to forsake their sinnes, when it was but in cunning to get his hand removed, which seemeth to have beene the state of most: which howsoe­ver it was not so well discerned then, yet it hath appeared since even to every man: For the benefit of the Winter is chiefly seene when Winter is gone;Hyemis lucrum tunc maxi­mè demonstratur cum illa praeteriret; namque vern [...]n­tes segetes & foliis ac fructu affluentes arbores per ipsam aspectum clamant, utilita­tem sibi ex hyeme factam, Chrysost. ad P. A. Ho. 18. Itemè contra. for the springing plants, and the trees cloathed with leaves and fruit, tell us by their pleasant shew how they gained by winter: And if men, then God much more; be not then deceived, God is not mocked. And as his ta­king knowledge of the humiliation of the good be to reward them, what of your deceits but to recom­pence? Though Pharaoh deceived often, and his owne person escaped, yet the Lord paid him home at last in the Red Sea.

Ʋse 2 For the present time, or that is to come in every judgment and affliction, whether poverty, banishment, reproach, dis­grace, disease, or any other thing, the Lord he takes notice how thou art affected in them: whether thou art patient, or murmuring; whether thou art comfortable, or heartlesse; whe­ther using lawfull meanes, or unlawfull; whether trusting in them, or relying upon him. Then see thou be the same in se­cret; or when thou art turned to the wall, as when the Minister or thy well affected friends are with thee; not as many who have good words, shew great patience before some men, either that the Minister might praise them at their burialls, or others might commend them after they were gone from them. But thinke when they are gone, the Lord stands by thy beds side, or is in thy secret closet, yea, in the secrets of thy heart, and takes no­tice of all things at all times.

Doctrine. Wicked men, the posterity of Esau, when they are downe and decayed, impoverished, or any way afflicted, thinke to repaire themselves, to overcome the judgment, and recover themselves of themselves, and by meanes they like of, and pleaseth their humour, without seeking the Lord; manifested by these Edomites, also by the Ephraimites, the most of them, [Page 35] and the worst, Isa. 9.9. who said in their pride & stoutnesse of heart, the bricks are fallen downe, but we will build with he [...]en stones.

Reas. 1 Because they see these meanes to prosper oftentimes, by the indulgence, or rather the angel of God,Quando nihil est infaelicius faelicitate pec­ [...]lium, qu [...]e poenalis nutritur impuritas, & mala v [...] [...] [...] interior robore­tur. Aug. Epist. St. Martell. which if they be crosse at any times, they impute but to want of craft and power.

Reas. 2 Because they are ignorant of God, the Authour of their trou­ble, and impute it to fortune or other second causes, which they doubt not, but of themselves, and by such meanes to forti­fie themselves against, and to repaire and recover that they have lost.

Reas. 3 Because they are no wayes will perswaded of God, neither his power, nor his will; but as they are privy unto themselves, they have contemned him, so in the height of reason, they see it is just he should contemne them.

Ʋse 1 This being so, consider if we have not many wicked men, many Edomites who are desirous and doe practise to raise up themselves without the Lord by unlawfull meanes, and never humble themselves to him; and If formally they doe this, yet trust more to these. Amongst these the chiefe are our Papists, who having their mountaines and Monasteries laid waste, their habitations made a wildernesse for Dragons, and being impo­verished by the just judgment of God upon them for their Ido­latry and mysticall enmity against Christ, by the hand of King Henry 8. in policy, and of Qu. Elizabeth of blessed memory, in piety and policy, they resisting of God, as if they were stronger than he; have assayed as heretofore, so of late to renew and reedifie their desolations. But by what meanes? not pre [...]ibus & lachrymis, the weapons of the Church; but by fire and sword, by fraud and cruelty, seeking to build againe their desolate places, and to lay the foundation of them in the blood of the King and his seed, the Peeres and Prelacy, the Gentry and Commons of the Land, all which is without God; for he will build his Church sanguine Martyrum, by the blood of Martyrs shed by others, not by the blood shed by these who account themselves Martyrs. And though some deny that they are not all such, and that it is against charity to thinke so of them, be­cause they seeme now to condemne this more than barbarous en­terprise; I thinke (as every man abounds in his owne sense) I should doe them no wrong; nay, every learned Papist, if he were in place where he durst speake it, would not think I should doe him wrong, if I should judge him, disliking this which is so meritorious and commendable by their doctrine and practice: for if for one, and the King, to lay their hands upon the Lords [Page 36] anointed, why not for the rest? And for others of them; though a little humane pitty makes them a while to abhorre them, yet the schooling of a Jesuite or Priest will easily and in short time harden; and I doubt not, but he that seems now most pittifull, would have been an Edomite, as Obadiah shews them what they were, by telling them what they should not have been, vers. 11, 12, 13, 14. But to leave these, we have o­thers, who imitate the Edomites, would raise up themselves by themselves and evill meanes, not seeking to the Lord: hee that is in disgrace seeks to rise by undermining of others, and by flattery and fraude to make himselfe great againe. In sicke­nesse to expect his health by unlawfull meanes, or unlawfully using them, seldome, or not at all seeking the Lord: In pover­ty and decay, by lying, and swearing, and deceiving, and breaking, which once done, is better then many yeeres tra­ding.

Yet saith the Lord of hosts.] Here is the second part. Gods threatning against their swelling bragges; vowing as it were to disappoint all their Counsell and indeavour: And to the end that they may be assured, it shall be so, the Lord sets himselfe downe, with such an adjoynt, as may assure them, hee is able to doe what he saith hee will, for he that speakes this, is the Lord of Hosts, such, and so great, and mighty, that he commands all creatures to helpe and hurt, whom, and when he pleaseth, to save and to destroy, to further and hinder; as the generall Commands all the army, and all the Bands, so hee all crea­tures.

Doctrine. The Lord our God is the Lord of Hosts, hee that is able to command all creatures for the saving of his, or the destroying of others the wicked, to helpe where hee will, or to punish whom hee will, and when hee will. Hee is here called the Lord of Hosts, applyed to this: Hence it is, that this title is given unto him in infinite places, sometimes for good, and sometimes for evill. 2 King. 19.35. 1 Chronic. 2.9. Isa. 1.24, and 2.12. This is manifest by his manifold comman­ding of Creatures, both for good and evill, both to save and to destroy. Angels are his Ministers, Psalm. 104.4. They are sent by him. Psalm. 78.49. Isa. 37.36. Hee commands the Sunne. Josh. 10.12, 13. the Sea, Exod. 14.21. the Windes, Matth. 8.26. the Fire, Dan. 3. the Lyons. Dan. 6.

Reas. 1 Because, hee is the Creator of all creatures, and such a one as still sustaines, and upholds them in being, not as a Shippe-wright, he makes, another maintaynes; no marvell if he can command what he will?

Reas. 2 [Page 37]Because of his omnipotent power, his wise providence, to guide and govern them, to twine and turne them whither so e­ver he will, if he have given it to weak man in his skill, and with his weaknes to guide a ship, and turn other creatures; how much more himself?

Ʋse 1 This may teach every man, when he findes any of the host of God against him, any creature to worke for his hurt, to affront him in body, and goods, and name, or howsoever to say as 2 Sam. 26.10. Let him curse, because the Lord hath said unto him, curse David: who shall then say, wherefore hast thou done so? So bid him curse not as sinne, but as a punishment or judgment, or chastise­ment; for he cannot be author, but ordinator peccati, one who doth dispose of their sinne and evill, to the end not they, but himselfe aimes at. The malice is Shimeis, the Lord he disposeth it, to afflict David to humble him; so in every particular thing, thy meat and drinke, the ayre, fire, water, beasts, any creature, man, great or small; if they hurt, say it is the Lord who bid them; complaine to him of it, seeke to him for redresse of it, humble thy selfe, and by the mediator seeke reconcilement: they who are annoyed by a band of men, or the wing of a battle, will seek redresse from their Captaine, or Generall: So here, as Act. 12.20. Herod was highly displeased with them of Tyre and Sidon, but they came unto him with one accord, and having made Blastus, the kings Chamberlain their freind, they desired peace, because their Country was nourished by the Kings Country: So seeke to God on whom you depend. Otherwise, if Absolom will stand out, when Joab, and the rest of the Host is sent against him, he must looke to be pierced with darts.

Ʋse 2 To teach every man who would have the Host of God to bee for him, and with him, to pray unto God, the Lord of Hosts, who can dispose of them, who hath them all at command, who can take from them their malice and malignity; or as a wise Physitian, make a wholesome medicine of that which is poyson; for he hath farre more absolute command of them, then any Ge­nerall over his souldiers, as the Centurion insinuates, Luk. 7.7, 8. Hence did Jacob, when he feared Esau, and his band, pray, Gen. 32.9. and found the fruit of it; cap. 33.4. Hence in the Gospell, they sought from him the ejection and dispossession of Devils, of what number and quality soever, the curing of disea­ses, the rebuking of windes and sea, the conversion, or restrai­ning of enemyes; for he was the Lord of Hosts: so must we still, for he is the Lord of Hosts. Meanes we must use; as for de­fence, weapons; for health, Physick; as the Jewes used the di­sciples, but he must be looked unto on both sides; because he is the Lord of Hosts: for that any can helpe, that is not from themselves, but from him.

Ʋse 3 [Page 38] If any would be free from their hurt, and have their help, let him seek to be at peace with God, and to have him his friend: for to whomsoever he is a friend, they will all be friendly: When there was peace betwixt the two Kings of Israel and Judah, Je­horam & Jehosaphat, each people with horses served other, when it was, I am as thou art, then it followed, my people as thy people, and mine horses and thine horses, 2 King. 3.7. So here. Prov. 16.7. When a mans wayes please God, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him. Many men would have all the hosts of God, for him and his friends; but seekes not the favour of his love, as if these being more then naturally his, could love where he hated, or where he is hated. But he that would have all things serviceable, must seek his favor, & to be at one with him: then Rom. 8.28. We know that all things worke together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. But who have more enemies then these? they make themselves as a prey, all hate them: Answ. When their love and favor shalbe better to them then their hatred, they favor them, and shall doe so; but when their hatred is good for them, they profit by it, are exercised and purged, and made fitter for heaven: The Lord is the Lord of hosts, who thus can make it work.

They shall build, but I will destroy.] He threatens to overthrow them, and all the meanes they have to establish themselves, that though they prosper a little by his connivence, and suffer them, yet they should faile of their hope, for he would destroy all they had done.

Doctr. All the hopes and endevours of the wicked shall be frustrated and vaine, so that that which they hoped to establish themselves by, shall be their ruine, God will destroy it, & after them by it; so here, & Ps. 112.10. The wicked shall melt away, his desire shal perish: all their studies, counsels, desires, endeavours; this hath usu­ally fallen out, as Hosea 10.6. Ephraim shall receive shame, and Israel shall be ashamed of his owne Counsell.

Ʋse 1 No marvell then if we see every day wicked men disappointed of their hopes, when they thinke by any unlawfull meanes, to build up, or edify themselves, their names, houses, or posterity, they may happily build a while and prevaile, as Babel; but it wilbe their ruine; nay it hath been to many of them, by usury and oppression, they have got lands and livings, they have left them to their babes; they have builded houses, and called them by their names: but in a few successions how they are destroy­ed and come to others, how they hold not herein to the third heire, how they have been their destruction, who sees not? so for ambition, many seeking to rise like Haman, accusing, despi­sing and maligning the people of God, have had like ends and [Page 39] destruction: above all we may remember, as others, so this last enterprise of the Papists, with joyfull remembrance, I pray God with as thankfull hearts and lives, how God hath disappointed the hope of our wicked, perjured, and perfidious Catholiques and Papists; who had thought to have built up themselves, and to have reestablished all their Idolatrous estates, by their bloudy and cruell, barbarous and savage attempt; yet that they built, God hath, and none else destroyed, and we doubt not, but it wilbe to their greater ruine among us: for howsoever the State hath used too much mildnesse towards them, yet they will, no doubt, upon this, lay to their hand, and draw forth the sword.

Ʋse 2 To admonish a State, as ours, that it will be in vaine for them, to imagin to establish themselves without the Lord, by using un­lawfull meanes, and policy; for God will destroy them. The danger hath been lively before our eyes, upon that connivence of ours, and little strength they had gotten: what if they should be suffered to grow with us? is not that which Pharaoh feared of Israel, (Exod. 1.10. Come on, let us deale wisely with them, lest they multiply, and it come to passe, that when there falleth out any war, they joyne also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the Land.) more justly to be feared of these; for they never held it lawfull to take away lives of Princes, to take up armes against them, to depose them, because they were I­dolatrous, and rejected of God; But these doe as Simanca in his institutions, Tit. 23. sect. ij. and 13. and Dominicus Bannes in 22. Sum. Tho. quaest. 12. Art. 2. that subjects are bound to deny obedience to such Soveraignes, and to take up armes against them, if they have power to doe it; for by Heresie he is deprived of all dominion, and he expresseth himselfe what is meant if they have power, because, saith he, with great detriment, with the danger of life, and losse of goods, they are not bound to take armes against them, or to exempt themselves from obe­dience, if they be not in danger of a mortall sin, that is, of fal­ling from the catholique faith: and therefore it follows, that the faithfull of England and Saxony are to be excused, who do not exempt themselves from the power of their Princes, neither take up armes against them, because they have not power to make their wars against their Princes, and they are incident to great perils if they stirre. By which it is apparent that they waite but till they have strength, if their secret plots bee thus frustra­ted. So that he which will speake for favour to be shewed to­wards them, he is either ignorant of this, or else he is a secret e­nemy to the State in plaine reason, besides the judgments of God, who will overthrow, when men thinke thus to build.

But I will destroy it.] The Lord takes this to himselfe, to o­verturne [Page 40] all their buildings, and destroy their strength, and their kingdome.

Doctr. It is the Lord, that as he plants, so puls up Kingdomes, Nati­ons, and men, that casts out and brings in, that sets up and puls downe, that make and destroyes states publique or private at his pleasure; they are all in his hand, and done by him, and fall not out by any fortune, or by an ordinary revolution and vicissitude of things; or yet from men, though they be the meanes, but this evill is of the Lord; as here: so, Micha. 2.4. Jer. 18.6, 7. O house of Israel, cannot I doe with you as this Potter, sayth the Lord? behold as the clay in the Potters hand, so are yee in my hand, O house of Israel. Dan. 2.21. He changeth the times and seasons, he removeth Kings, and setteth up Kings; he giveth wisedome to the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding. Luk. 1.52. He hath put down the Mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.

Reas. 1 Because he is absolute Lord over all, all the kingdomes of the Earth are not Satans, as he falsely affirmed, Math. 4. but the Lords, Psal. 24.1. The earth is the Lords; yea. 1 Sam. 2.8. The pillars of the earth are the Lords, and he hath set the world upon them.

Reas. 2 Because the smallest things are not without, but by his power and providence;In omnibus quaedam dis­positio divina ordinat, quaedam potentia divina sustinet, quaedam senten­tia divina judicat. the falling of a sparrow, the putting downe of one mans estate, and from his estate, Psal. 75.6, 7. in all these a certaine divine disposition orders, divine power susteines, divine sentence judges.

Reas. 3 Because it happens unto them, then onely when they have defiled the land, and defied the Lord, and as it were set up sin and Satan against his will and word.

Ʋse 1 This may teach us when we see kingdomes overturned, and wars raised, whereto to impute it, what to make the cause of it, vid. Mich. 1.15. I will bring an heire unto thee, O inhabitant of Mareshah.

Ʋse 2 If our bloudy Romanists had prevailed in their barbarous, and cruell plot, to the supplanting and overthrow of our Kingdome, Church, the burning of our Cities, the raizing of our Townes, the sacking of our houses, and our utter ruine; we ought to have looked unto the Lord, who destroyes and puls up, and they but onely the instruments of his wrath.

Object. Then you justifie their act and intent, if it were the will of God, and they but his instruments for it:

Answ. I justify them as much as Luke did Judas, and Herod and Pilate the Rulers and the Jewes; because in the Crucifying of Christ they did the secret Counsell of God. Act. 4.28. who were con­demned to Hell for resisting his revealed will, and committing murther, and so must these without speedy repentance: Be­sides, [Page 41] Gods and their ends were indifferent, God had done it to purge the Land of us, and of our sinnes: and that in just justice, they of malice, and for our principall good, the pro­fession of Piety, and the Gospell, and the hatred of their more then heathenish Idolatry.

Ʋse 3 To teach us if we would not bee destroyed and rooted out, if we would be established and confirmed, in despight of all Pa­pists and Atheists to seek to have the Lord on our side, If he be on our side, who can bee against us; or if they side against us, they shall not prevaile to destroy us, for if hee onely destroy, then no other can. Then, though they provide their great ar­mies, though they have their secret plots, though they straw our wayes with Gunpowder, yet iniquity shall be upon the wicked, and we shall escape, and as we have, so shall we still have occasion to praise God, singing, Psal. 12 4, and 12.9. For he onely destroyes and saves; when he will save, nothing can destroy, & è contrà, Men and Munition, wise counsellors, grave Senators, valorous Captaines, resolute Souldiers are some helpes and meanes; It may be good, to have peace with other Nations and Kingdoms, about them: But to establish a State, to keepe it from falling, nothing can be sure, but to have peace, and be at one with God, that we may have him our protector, then shall we not onely not fall and perish,Quis ei de sae­culo metus est, cui in sae­culo Deus tu­torest, Cypr. de Orat. Do. but bee without feare. What need he feare the world, who hath God to be his guar­dian?

And they shall call them,] the second thing that God theatens is shame to their destruction, reproach, and disgrace from other nations and people, scorn, and contempt, expressing how great their misery should be, when as for it, they should become a by word to other people and nations: They shall call them, that is, other nations that live about them, or passe by them, or heare of them, shall take as it were this parable against them; And say, this mountaine of Seir is a border of wickednesse, a regi­on whom God hath cursed for their sinnes, and layd wast for their iniquity, this destruction is not come unto them by chance, or naturall and humane revolutions, and courses of things, but for their wickednesse, and impious manners hath God cursed, and destroyed them for ever.

Doct. God makes men odious and contemptible among men, a pa­rable and by word for their sinnes and iniquities.

The border of Wickednesse the people.] from their judgement and utter destruction, they gather their sinne, and Gods wrath, as the cause of their ruine and desolation.

Doctr. From the generall judgments of God upon a Country, or Na­tion, men may gather their sinnes, and Gods wrath, their de­serts, and Gods displeasure: So here, and threatned beforehand, [Page 42] Deut. 29.21, 22. and 1 King. 9.8, 9. and Jer. 2 [...].8, 9. And many Nations shall passe by this Citty, and they shall say every man to his neighbour, wherefore hath the Lord done thus unto this great Ci­ty: Then they shall answer, because they have forsaken the cove­nant of the Lord their God, and worshipped other gods and served them.

Reas. Because though it is read that he afflicteth particular men, for some other respects, as for the tryall of their faith, the manifesta­tion of their graces, the glorifying of himselfe, sometimes for preventing of sin, and shewing they are but men, though great things be done by them, as he did Job, the blind man, and the A­postles, yet was it never read that he afflicted a generall Land, but for sinne and iniquity, or a State generally: And the reason of this and the whole is, because generall judgments come upon the multitude who are ever wicked, who have been a long time spared for the good, who now being either taken away, or in­tangled with their sinnes, that is removed which hindered, and so the wrath comes upon them: then by these judgments may the sinnes be noted.

Ʋse 1 Then have the ministers of God done us no wrong, when for the generall judgment that hath been upon our City and Land, the spreading and devouring Plague, they gather and affirme that we are marvellously defiled and polluted, even the border of wickednesse: Some wrong might haply have beene done to particular men, so to judge of them, when men either have not committed these sins which deserve it; but for some other cause it is befallen them, or they have humbled and re­conciled themselves unto God, which another cannot so discern; But to the generall there can be none, seeing God useth not to bring generall Plagues, but where the sinnes of men are generall and full; whereas then the whole head hath been sicke, and the whole heart heavy &c. Isa. 1.5, 6. It must needs follow that such hath been the state and time, covered with iniquity; for wise Physiti­ans doe not administer Physick, for the whole, when one part only is ill affected; nor just magistrates doe not shake or smite all with the sword, when a few have offended; much lesse will God, onely wise, and the most righteous judge, destroy the righ­teous with the wicked, send a generall judgment, when but a few have deserved it: one mans sinnes may bee an occasion of it, but the merit is generall, as in David and his people. 2 Sam. 24.1.

Ʋse 2 If others, passingers, lookers on may thus gather, what may those who suffer themselves, how may they gather their sins and his wrath: That their sinnes are many, and their fallings away generall, because their judgments are thus; The one the cause, the other the proofe, as did Daniel. 9. a 5. ad 15. So may wee [Page 43] from our generall judgements, argue our generall Apostacy and Impiety.

They shall call them the borders of wickednesse.] The first of Gods witnesses of such as give testimony to his judgments, and the uprightnesse, and justice of them, is the heathen, and other nations, who know him not aright.

Doctr. God will have witnesse and testimony of his judgments, from wicked and prophane nations and men, the wicked shalbe wit­nesses of his judgments, upon others; so here, so Deut. 29.22. Dan. 5.22. Revel. 18.8, 9. Psal. 58.7, 10. Dan. 3.22, and 6.24.

Reas. 1 Because God will not only, as is said of wisedome, be justified of his children, but of the wicked and prophane; for that may have some exception against it, lest it should be partiall, this none in that kinde, but God wresting this from them, making them as Balaams asse, to speake against nature, so they against their mindes.

Reas. 2 Because they might be without excuse, when the judgments of God come upon them; they have not humbled themselves, when they were made eye witnesses, or such as had certaine no­tice of Gods judgments, so Daniel inferres, Dan. 5.22. and without doubt, that is it which doth amplifie the sinnes of men, to make them riper for judgment, as of Cain and Lots daughters.

Ʋse 1 This may teach us, when wee heare of wicked and prophane men, speaking of the judgements of God upon others, not up­on Gods people onely, which they may doe in hatred of them, because they like Israel sacrifice that to God, which they as Aegy­ptians worship as God, their lusts and affections and such like: Nor upon such, whose persons for some private respects they hate; but others, whose persons and sinnes they liked well enough before the judgement, yet now they speake of them, and give testimony to the judgment of God as just: For, say they, he was an adulterer, an usurer, an oppresser, or a grievous blasphemer; when they live, not in the same judgments, nor in the same sinnes, but in as great sinnes of another kinde, living voyd of the feare of God, being wicked and prophane; there­in observe the wisdome and providence of God, which makes even the wicked to witnesse for him, who by his powerfull pro­vidence makes the wicked (whether in truth or hypocrisie it skils not) give testimony unto him, if the good will be silent; as these hold their peace, the stones shall speake: one instance we have worth the noting, agreeable to the times; our Papists, for their late more then hellish plot, are taken, and nye to their deserved ruine and confusion: they who are out of the snare cry, It is just with them; whether they speake out of ignorance and [Page 44] humane piety, or out of cunning and dissembling policy, (very tolerable in their superstition for the Churches good) it skils not much; as Philip. 1.15, 16. If such comparisons be nor o­dious; howsoever God is justified, and hee hath testimony of his justice from the wicked, while they say; These are the bor­der of wickednesse, these are but a few desperate Papists, and this is just upon them.

Ʋse 2 To teach men, though wicked; yet by the company, encourag­ment, example, or applause of other wicked, not to commit that which may bring the judgment of God upon them: for come when it will, they shall be as ready as other to justifie God, and condemne them, (whether in hypocrisy and sinister respect, it is not to the purpose, or in truth) when the other did not so strengthen their hands to sinne, as that will presse them, and make their hearts to sink in them. But let them learne to look to those judgements, of which God hath made them eye wit­nesses, and given them as certaine intelligence of them, and humble themselves to God, and avoyd such and the like, lest as they give now testimony to the justice of God in seeing his punishments upon others, so others may give of them, yea and by such things their sinnes be made the greater, and their judge­ments be the heavier.

The border of wickednesse.] That is, a Nation or Country, where the people are marvellous wicked, who have this recom­pence for their wickednesse; insinuating in them the cause of their destruction, the mooving and deserving cause their sinnes.

Doctr. Mens sins are the causers & procurers of their own destructi­on, what ever it be. Isa. 3.11. woe unto the wicked, it shall be ill with him, for the reward of his hands shall be given him.

And a people of whom the Lord is angry for ever.] Here two things are intimated unto us, the one the cause in God, which moves him to punish the wicked, his anger and displeasure, as sinne the cause in themselves. Another the perpetuity of their punish­ment, their destruction is for ever: first for the cause, then the continuance.

Doct. When the Lord bringeth vengeance and punishment upon the wicked, it is in indignation and wrath, whether temporall or eternall upon few or many. Isa. 27.4. God sayth in his care of his Vineyard, fury is not in mee, by the opposition and com­parison, we see his fury against the wicked: hee corrects his owne in love, not in anger; but he is as fire, which hath no pit­ty against wicked men, Rom. 2.6, 8. who will render to every man according to is workes: but unto them that are contentious, and doe not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousnesse, indignation and wrath, and Rom. 9.22. Jer. 10.25.

Reas. 1 [Page 44]Because when he commeth to judge them, he comes as a Judge, who intends not the mending of malefactors, arraigned before him, but the ending of them, and the cutting of them off, so he with these minds only their destruction.

Reas. 2 Because the Lord accompts them as enemies and adversaries, such as he hates and abhorres. Psal. 5.6. now when men come a­gainst their enemies, it is in indignation and wrath, as Isa. 1.24. Therefore saith the Lord, the Lord of hosts, the mighty one of Israel: Ah I will ease me of mine adversaries, and avenge mee of mine ene­myes, mourning that to them hee must come in wrath as to e­nemies.

Ʋse 1 This proves, that there is a manifest difference betwixt the afflictions and corrections of the godly, & the punishments of the wicked, those from love, these from hatred, those from a friend, these from an enemy, those from a Physitian who seeks to cure and mend them, these from a judge to end them one, in wrath, the other in love.

Ʋse 2 To admonish wicked men, to carry themselves very warily, and to take heed, how they procure punishment by their sinnes, not onely for the thing it selfe, but for the affection wherewith God will lay it upon them. The thing of it selfe is heavy enough, intolerable to be borne, which the children of God with all the helpes and stayes they have, have enough to undergoe, and not to faint under, how is it to them, who are voyd of such things? But how when they onely want not it; but this is added, his in­dignation and wrath: grievous to a patient, is the lancing, cut­ting, searing and corcives of the Chirurgeon, though he do it with all the love and care he can possibly, and expresse his fervent desire to cure them: how grievous would it be; if he should come raging, and seek to fill himselfe with wrath and indignati­on, when he comes to it: so in this. As the prayers, and sa­crifices of the wicked, are abominable; how much more, when they are offered, with a wicked minde; so in this, if they be heavy in themselves, what? when they are brought upon them with indignation and wrath: the wrath it self is heavy, the messen­ger of death; what? when such a thunder shall bring such hor­rible haile. Be admonished, then, you wicked ones, great and small, he respects not persons and do not make sport of your sins: thinke not, when God shall come to judgement, your riches, or honours will beare it out; for not as he is a Judge, much lesse, as he is an irefull one, and full of wrath, and comes with indigna­tion, will he be abused.

For ever.] The continuance and perpetutity of Gods wrath upon the wicked, it is not for a while, but for ever.

Doctrine. The punishments and judgments of the wicked, though often long in comming, they are alwayes long in continuance, [Page 46] they are utter and perpetuall destructions: So here, for ever. Isa. 27.7, 8. Psal. 37.18, 19, 20. Jer. 30.11. Mich. 7.10. And as in this life, much more in that to come. Jude, vers. 13. Math. 25.

Reason. 1 Because they have hearts, that cannot repent, nor remove the cause of these judgments, their sinnes. These then cleaving fast to them,Rom. 2.5. no marvell though the other be fastened upon them.

Reason. 2 Because justice requires to punish proportionably, their sinnes are infinit, not in time, not in quantity; yet in relation of per­son, sins increase by the person committing, and against whom; as in our State, the same offence against the King, is great then against another man.

Ʋse 1 This, as the former, teacheth a manifest and smoother diffe­rence betwixt the correction of the good, and the punishments of the wicked; when one is temporary, the other perpetuall and eternall, here and after: with his, he deales onely in the bran­ches, with the wicked in the roots; his are as vines, the other as bryers and thornes: The husbandmen, though they set the fire often to the thornes, and use the axe to the rooting and stocking of them up, yet to the vines doe they never; sometimes they unbare the root, and use a pruning knife, to prune and purge them, that they may abide still in the Vineyard, and bring forth fruit.

Ʋse 2 To teach us to see the folly of the wicked, and not to imi­tate their practise in sin, for their pleasure, seeing their judgments are thus,Job. 21.6. Rev. 2.27.

Ʋse 3 Not to envy their prosperity, or be offended with their flou­rishing estate, vide Mich. 7.10. ult.

VERSE V.

And your eyes shall see it, and yee shall say, The Lord will be magnified upon the border of Israel.

ANd your eyes shall see it,] The second witnes of Gods judg­ments upon Edom: the Church, her eyes should see it: these God cals to give testimony of it; and that they should bee witnesses, without exception, he sayth, they should see: for one eye witnes is more then ten others, for it is a sence nothing so soone deceived as the hearing; by it wee judge more cer­tainely: that is, I have said it, it shall be most certainely, my threatnings shall not bee in vaine, for your eyes shall see it; which, unlesse I make my word good, cannot bee, and thou [Page 47] shalt be a witnesse? that thou mayst see, when no such thing is befallen thee, that then I love thee: Seeing, after the Hebrew, is put for seeing with pleasure and delight, when, or because that comes to passe, we wished: So here, and Mich. 7.10. Psal. 54.7, & 35.21.

To this, not to the second sentence some adde, The bor­der of Israel, and read, from the border, not upon; and so it is they being safe in their own coast and borders, should thence behold the judgment of God, so manifest and perspicuous they should be, in the ruine and overthow of the wicked.

Doctr. The judgments God threatens against the wicked, hee cer­tainly performs; his decrees for justice and punishment, are as certaine, as for mercy and blessings. So here, and Numb. 23.19. God is not a man, that he should lye; neither the sonne of man, that hee should repent; hath he said, and shall he not doe it; or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? 1 Sam. 15.29. And also the strength of Israel will not lye, nor repent; for he is not a man, that he should repent. Hosea 13.14. Matth. 24.35. Isa. 14.24.

Reas. 1 Because he is without all change himself, therefore his decrees. Mal. 3.6. Gen. 1.17. For he and his word are all one.

Reas. 2 Because he cannot be resisted. Isa. 46.10. Rom. 9.19. For then he should not be omnipotent; but another as strong and mighty as he; but he is and none like him.

Doctrine. The Church and Children of God, may rejoyce at the de­struction and fall of their enemies Mich. 7.10.

Doctrine. As God will have testimony from the wicked, of his judge­ments; so especially will he have his Church and Children wit­nesses of them: So here. Therefore did he in the sight of Is­rael, lay so many plagues and judgments upon Aegypt, Pharaoh, and his people, and his small destruction in their fight, they standing upon the shoare, he and his Host drowning in the Sea. Exod. 14. Hence is it, Psal. 58.10. The righteous shall rejoyce, when he seeth the vengeance; he shall wash his feet in the bloud of the wicked, and Psal. 97.8. Sion heard, and was glad, and the daugh­ters of Judah rejoyced, because of thy judgments O Lord. Mich. 7.10.

Reas. 1 Because they might feare, and be affected with them, to grow better; and to restraine and reforme their wayes by them. If the judgments of men must effect such a thing in them, Deut. 13.11. much more the judgments of God. And if the hearing of them, more the sight, for this affecteth more, as to pitty and compassion, to joy and gladnesse, to anger and wrath, so to sor­row and dislike.

Reas. 2 Because they might magnifie and praise him, his wisedome, power, justice; as here: for though he wring it from the wicked, [Page 48] where it seemes to be without partiality, as not this; yet is this farre more acceptable to him, their praises as their prayers, for they are done willingly, cheerefully, sincerely, all which he loves. Besides, they are from those he loves, and so the things better affected.

Ʋse. To teach every one that is Gods, what is his duty, what he ought to doe; namely, not to shut his eyes at the judgments of God, but to open them wide, and to behold all his judgments. It is the part of children to observe all the workes of their fa­thers, that they may imitate some, and admire others; love them for some, and feare them for others; yea, their workes, whether they touch themselves, or their fellow-brethren, or the hired servants: so is it the part of Gods children to observe all his workes, his meeknesse, mercifulnesse, goodnesse, pati­ence, and long suffering, to admire them, to imitate his bounty, care, providence, and riches in benefits towards them, to love him, his judgments, to feare him. If upon their brethren, to know they must looke for the same, as they hope for the goods and blessings, so expect the evill and correction. If upon hire­lings, as they think God will deale farre better with them than the other. If he care for servants, more for sonnes; so to think he will no lesse spare them than servants, because they thinke he loves them; his judgments then must they especially look upon, and consider. As children are specially affected with their fa­thers anger, when it is but against servants or others; then they feare and tremble, seeke to please him, and to avoid such things by which he is provoked, especially when there is any good nature in them at all: so ought they, that as it is written of the Lion, that he trembles to see a Dog beaten before him; so if they have any alliance to the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, they must see and feare, feare and flee when the wicked are smitten, more, when it is upon his owne who are in the Church, and of the Church, as David, Psal. 119.120. My flesh trembleth for feare of thee, and I am affraid of thy judgments. And 2 Sam. 6.9. And David was affraid of the Lord that day, and said, How shall the Arke of the Lord come to me? And Act. 5.5, 11. And Anani­as hearing these words fell downe, and gave up the Ghost, and great feare came on all them that heard these things. And great feare came upon all the Church, and upon as many as heard those things; not on as many as take no notice of the judgments of God at all, as not of other of his workes; but as they thinke all things fall out by naturall course or common skill, and providing and fore-cast of men for good, so they thinke for evill; and as they are not affected with Gods blessings to love him, because they are common; so not with his judgments, but onely when they feele them.

Your eyes shall see it.] Edom hated Israel, enemy unto her, whose destruction as they sought, and had rejoyced at, so Israel would have beene glad to have seene Edom's, and for feare was ready to faint, as if they should never see it. The Lord descends to her infirmity, and assures her, she shall see it.

Doctr. The Lord he often descends to the infirmities of his, to let them see their desires upon their enemies, and to see their de­struction as here, so Psal. 37.8, 9.10. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; fret not thy selfe in any wise to doe evill, for evill-doers shall be cut off; but those that waite upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth: for yet a litle while and the wicked shall not be; yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. Psal. 59.10. The God of my mercy shall prevent me, God shall let me see my desire upon mine enemies. And Psal. 54.7. For he hath delive­red me out of all trouble, and mine eye hath seene his desire upon mine enemies. Israel saw Egypts ruine, the Jewes Hamans and their enemies; Daniel his accusers, Dan. 6. Peter, Herods, Act. 12.

Reas. 1 Because he might strengthen and confirme the weake faith of his children, which would often stagger in this kind without these stayes, as the best have done upon the sight of the pro­sperity of the wicked, as Davids, Psal. 37. and their suffering at their hands: Therefore God deales with them as Parents with their children, when they are not able to goe alone and of them­selves, they have tressels and formes to goe along by; so God affords these helps.

Reas. 2 Because he would asswage and appease their impatient minds that can hardly be perswarded God is appeased towards them, and at one with them, after he had scourged and afflicted them by the hand of the wicked, till they see his hand turned upon the wicked; the rather, because God saith, Psal. 81.13.14. O that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my waies, I should soone have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries. As then a father, to shew his child he is friends with him againe, is content to throw the rod into the fire, and to burne it before his eyes and face: so God, to shew him pacified againe towards his people, is content in their fight to plague those he hath punished them by before.

But this must be understood not as a thing that God alwayes doth, but as it is said of signes, that he gave some, though not many and usuall, lest men should depend on them; and be out of heart when they want them; yet some, for the confirming of the feeble, and converting of the unbeleevers: so he doth not alwayes shew them the confusion of the wicked, their ene­mies in this life, because he would not have them to looke for it, and to inure them to goe without a stay, and to swim as it were without helpe, without blathers; and yet sometimes, lest [Page 50] they should faint when they see the rod of the wicked rest upon the lot of the righteous, and never turne againe upon their op­pressors: but if ever he deny it, he gives them another prop, to assure them they shall see it, though not now, when they shalt judge with him the world and Angels.

Ʋse 1 To admonish the wicked enemies of Gods people, (if they would take notice of it) that oppose themselves, and persecute the people of God, to give over in time, and not to doe it with such despight and malice, as usually they doe, lest God comfort his servants in their confusion, and recompence unto them that they have done unto the Church, and measure to them as they have meted; and having beene fire to them, that is, to purge them, he extinguish them: for though they have them never so sure, as they suppose, in their clutches, yet God can free them as a bird out of the snare of the Fowler, and take them in their net, they thought to have taken others his people in: who would have believed it? at least, Haman himselfe would never have given credit to it, that Mordecai should ever have seene him hang upon the tree that he had prepared in his owne house for Mordecai; or that the Jewes that he had enclosed by vertue of the Kings Letters, as Deere in a toyle, should ever have had their will upon his house, and see that end of his sonnes that af­ter they came unto; yet so it was, a thing so unlikely God brought to passe, even he, 2 Pet. 2.9. He knows how to deliver his out of trouble, yea, and how to lay trouble upon those that trouble them, to the refreshing and comfort of his; who would have believed, at least not our Nobles, Knights, and Esquires, with their dependants, who are now forth comming, with hun­dreths more of the said associates? If the day before it had beene told them, that the Church and people of God should have seene them in hold, and see them come to their just reward, to the ruine of themselves and their houses, when they intended all their destructions, and to have subverted Church and Com­mon-wealth: Or if it had beene told the Pope at Rome, whence this came, who would have beene ready to have done as Sixtus Quintus in his Consistory, when Clement the Monk and bloody Parricide had slaine Henry 3. King of France, 1589. a Catho­lick King, his eldest sonne; did not punish it, but excuse it; not that onely, but defend it; not that alone, but praised it, and that with that choise and excellent comparison from the birth of Christ, Heb. 1.5. commanding Heavens to open, and re­ceive therein the Parricide, and shut out the other, yea, and denyed him the prayers of their Synagogue, yea, Princely Fu­nerall, yea, honest buriall; preparing the way to Heaven, not by the blood of Christ, but by the blood of Kings; not by the Crosse, but by a murdering knife. See the Martyrs of the [Page 51] Romish Church, with what ashes it is increased. I have stept a­side; but to come home, if it had beene told him, I say, and all his slaves, and our fugitives, and all his in other Countries, who were not without the knowledge at least of these things, they would not have believed; but see it is even so. 2 Pet. 2. The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and to re­serve the unjust unto the day of Judgment to be punished. It were well for their owne good they would be warned at length, when they see God fights for us every where, and watcheth over us in every place, and brings all their purposes to nought. It were better if they, as the people enemies of the Church, Ester 8.17. became Jewes, the feare of the Jewes falling upon them; so they could become Protestants, and renounce their Antichrists; our feare falling upon them, when they see they are not onely so bloody as Haman, but so bootlesse, before such a thing befall them.

Ʋse 2 This may serve to cheere up and comfort those who are the Lords in the middest of dangers and troubles, they are never so farre from God, but God may yet ere they dye or be over­throwne, relieve them by temporall deliverance, and send those packing before them, who thinke to make a spoile of them, and let them see the miserable and wretched ends of those who make full reckoning to seeke their blood, and ruinate their state. How many distressed soules in the dayes of Queene Mary, thinke we, in this Land lay looking dayly for death, when God by the death of one made an end of that bloody time, that had cut off the lives of so many of Gods servants, and let them see even the ruine of such as made full account of theirs. What hope had the Israelites, but to be even eaten up by the Egypti­ans, and to be cut off, as one man; when God in the turning of a hand overturned them that even opend their mouths, and swallowed them up quick, and overwhelmed them before their eyes in the Red Sea. Little thought Daniel, when he was cast in­to the Lions den, that he should see his accusers devoured there before him. And very unlikely it was that Peter should have lived to have seene Herod consumed with wormes, and eaten up with lice, when Herod had him forth comming, and had killed James before him, Act. 12. And small probability, as we may now discerne, was there that we or Kings, &c. should have esca­ped the cruell designes of our bloody Edomites the Papists, when their barbarous plot was come to the ripenesse, and had beene concealed so many Moneths: small presumption was there that our eyes should see the times as they are now, and the ru­ine of them who were set on murder and blood: yet may we use that Psalme 48.8. As we have heard, so we have seene in the Ci­ty of the Lord of Hosts, in the City of our God, God will establish it [Page 52] for ever. And with David, Psal. 54.7. For hee hath delivered me out of all trouble, and mine eye hath seene his desire upon mine ene­mies; that we may learne to cleave to the Lord who hath thus fought for us, and let us see his salvation, and say as the three resolved servants of God, Dan. 3.17, 18. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery Furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand O King: But if not, be it knowne unto thee O King, that we will not serve thy gods, nor wor­ship thy golden Image which thou hast set up. So not to shrink from him, but say, we know our God is able to destroy our enemies before our face; but whether he doe or no, we will depend ever upon him.

Your eyes shall see it.] The Edomites, when the Jewes were surprised by the Caldeans, stood looking on, and laughing at their destruction, Obad. 12.13. Now God telleth them they should be served with the same sawce themselves, the Jewes should see their calamities that should befall them, and be com­forted in their fall, who rejoyced before over them in theirs.

Doctr. It is a just and usuall thing with God in the generall, as to re­compense a man as he hath done with others, as he said Jud. 1.7. and to measure as is meted, Matth. 7.2. so in this particu­lar, when they rejoyce at the fall of other men, to make other glad at their fall. So was it told Edom, Obad. verse 15. For the day of the Lord is neare upon all the Heathen; as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee, thy reward shall returne upon thine owne head. And Prov. 24.17, 18. Rejoyce not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth, lest the Lord see it, and it displease him, and he turne away his wrath from him.

Reas. 1 Because he hath made a law for the Magistrate, executing his justice and judgments to doe so, as Levit. 24.19, 20. and that not for the deed onely, but for the endeavours, when the end of them are made manifest, and he must not pitty him. Deut. 19.19.21. Now if he make a law for others, he will not break it himselfe, when it is fitting and comely for him; for some things befit him not, no more (saith one) than a Countrey-mans coate becomes a King; but this being not of that nature, he will doe it.

Reas. 2 Because of his owne reason to the Judge, Deut. 19.19, 20. no way so excellent to prevent much evill and oppression, and hurting of others; for men would abstaine, not in love to others, not for love of righteousnesse, but for feare of this law of retri­bution. Besides, it is a speciall meanes to break off sinne, at least that for feare of more in the party so offending.

Object. Then you taught us false doctrine before, when you taught we may rejoyce at the destruction of the wicked; for if this be just with God, then is not that lawfull with men.

Solut. This is not contrary to that, because there was spoken of [Page 53] publick enemies, here either of no enemies, or private ene­mies, such as dislike us, and we them, for some sinister respect. As it is lawfull to kill a publick enemy of a State, but not a mans private enemies; so of rejoycing against the enemies of God and his truth, not their owne: Therefore saith Solomon, Prov. 24.17. Rejoyce not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth.

Ʋse 1 Then may men expect for this, retribution from the Lord, up­on many whom they see oppressing, undermining, disgracing, and triumphing over others, when they have wrought their fall often by indirect and vile meanes. Histories of all times are full of examples, besides the Scripture; one we may observe of Con­stantine, sonne of the Empresse Irene, who put out the eyes of Nicephorus, and by retribution from God, had his owne eyes put out by the cruelty of his Mother, the very same day sixe yeares, or there abouts. The like of the destruction of Jerusa­lem, that it was as in the same day that they crucified Christ; Lege Euseb. l. 3. c. 5. fine, so it was by the same men that put him to death, the Romans, as Basil observes. They are living who can remember in former Princes times, Henry 8, Edward 6, Qu. Mary, how justly God did repay our Nobility, when they cut off one anothers heads. The like may be expected in future time, as they have done, shall be done unto them; nay, the like we have a comfortable aspect, or may have, to see how God just­ly doth make that true, 1 King. 21.19. And thou shalt speake unto him saying, Thus saith the Lord thy God, Hast thou killed, and also taken possession? and thou shalt speak unto him, thus saith the Lord, In the place where dogs lickt the blood of Naboth, shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine. When our Papists had thought our blood should have beene licked up, theirs shall be, God holding his owne law, doing to them, as they would have done to us; or seeing that is not done in the strict justice that God requireth, we may fearefully expect, for this sinne of ours, this retribution from the Lord, as in 1 King. 20.42. And he said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Because thou hast let goe out of thine hand a man whom I appointed for utter destruction, therefore thy life shall goe for his life, and thy people for his people.

Ʋse 2 To teach every man to take heed how he carries himselfe to o­thers, how he injures and oppresseth them, and to doe but that to others, the like he would have others to doe and receive from them. The rule of nature is, Quod tibi non vis, alteri ne feceris; and that of Christ, Matth. 7.12. All things, whatsoever ye would that men should doe to you, doe ye even so to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets: Of which Tertul. God hath mea­sured out my actions by my will, that I should not doe that un­to others, which I would not have done unto my selfe; and [Page 54] should doe to others, as I would have others to doe to me. And if that of James, will and shall be true, Jam. 2.13. He shall have judgement without mercy, that sheweth no mercy, and mercy re­joyceth against judgment; how much more extream cruelty shall be inflicted upon them, who carry themselves cruelly to others? men should take heed then how they abuse their power and au­thority, to the oppressing and wronging of the weak; their skill and cunning to circumvent and beguile the simple; their countenance and credit to use men at their pleasure, lest God meet with them, as he did the Edomites.

Ʋse 3 In the particular, to take heed how that he insult not over the fall of his enemy, lesse of another) lest God give them the like occasion by so casting us downe; It is that which Solomon advised, Prov. 24.17, 18. It is a crime which Job laboureth to cleare himselfe of, Job. 31.29, 30. If I rejoyced at the de­struction of him that hated mee; or lift up my self when evill found him, neither have I suffered my mouth to sin, by wishing a curse to his soule. Teaching that a man should be free, not onely from outward shew, but from inward touch of joy: the first is easie, partly by nature, and partly by cunning, and hypocrisie, to co­ver it at least from a multitude or many; but the other is hard, and the harder more commendable, more to be laboured for; the outward odious to man, so the inward to God, which look not in facie, but in corde, as Cyprian: And a speciall meanes to make him turne his hands upon us. Avoyd it, labor against it, if it steale upon us, check it, repell and cast it out.

And yee shall say, the Lord will be magnified,] The second thing in this verse, the magnifying of God, the thing is a speci­all effect, which Gods judgments work in his people & Church, differing from the wicked and Gentiles; for they see it, and but jibe and jest onely at the Edomites, as they had at Israel; but Israel sees it, and magnifies God for it: the words are originally somewhat otherwise, the Lord doth magnifie himselfe, true, for so he doth, in destroying these; magnifies and honors him­selfe, and they religiously so confesse it, and celebrate his mag­nificence and greatnesse for delivering themselves, his Church and people, and destroying their enemies: hence we may ob­serve two things and lessons.

Doct. It is the glory of God to deliver his people, and destroy their enemyes, it is that which doth honor and magnifie him much, and spreadeth his fame farre and nigh. So it is here, and Isay 30.18. And therefore will the Lord wait that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you; for the Lord is a God of judgment, blessed are all they that waite for him. Dan. 9.15, 19. And now O Lord our God, that hast brought the people forth, out of the Land of Aegypt, with a might­ty [Page 55] hand, and hast gotten thee renowne, as at this day, we have sin­ned, we have done wickedly. O Lord heare, O Lord forgive, O Lord hearken, and doe, deferre not for thine own sake, O my God, for thy City and thy people, are called by thy name, Psalm. 74.10, 11. O God, how long shall the adversary reproach, shall the enemy blas­pheme thy name for ever? Why withdrawest thou thy hand, even thy right hand? pluck it out of thy bosome.

Reas. 1 Because he is their God and King, these his people and sub­jects. Psal. 74.12. For God is my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth. It were a shame and dishonour for a Prince to suffer his subjects, to lye in misery & distresse, specially if he be able to releeve them; è contra, it spreads his fame farre and neare, when he succoreth and saveth them.

Reas. 2 Because they are rebels, 'tis the princes honor to overthrow them.

They shall say, the Lord doth magnifie himselfe.] That is, they shall give the honor of their deliverance, and the glory of their preservation to God, when the enemy is destroyed, and they safe.

Doctr. The people of God in all deliverance and preservation from what danger soever, by what meanes or howsoever, ought to give the praise and glory of it to God; so here taught what to doe. Psal. 50.15. Call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorifie me. Hosea 14.3. Ashur shall not save us, we will not ride upon horses, neither will we say any more to the worke of our hands, ye are our Gods; for in thee the fa­therlesse findeth mercy. Examples of Moses and Miriam, with the people. Exod. 15. Of Barak and Deborah, Judg. 5. Of Ester and the Jewes, Ester 8. of Hezekiah. Isa. 38.

Reas. 1 Because it is he alone, who is the deliverer and Saviour of his people: meanes he often affords them, and meanes they use and must, lest they tempt God; but that meanes are not effectuall, it is ever from him; else, why one and the same meanes bring to some deliverance, to others none? Hence Psal. 144.10. It is he that giveth salvation to Kings, who delivereth David his servant from the hurtfull sword.

Reas. 2 Because in this as in all other benefits, it is the high way to obtaine moe and new deliverances; when we pay the old we run on a new score: as men are incouraged to helpe when they receive their just glory, for that is past; so God is drawne on, as it were, to bestow new.

Ʋse 1 This serves to reprove the common practise of men, who are ready to give, and doe give the glory of all their deliverances to others then God, and not to him; If victory in war, they a­scribe it to the wisdome and power of such and such, and oft-times ready to make war among themselves for the honour of the day, when God is never thought on. In other preserva­tion [Page 56] or establishment, to the wisdome of their gravest and ex­perienced Senate; from sicknesse to Physitians and such other meanes: not at all to the Lord, never magnifie nor praise him; God seldome made mention of, or only cursorily, and because of those who are present, for which cause he oft taketh from them their meanes, that either they may perish in new dan­gers, or else more sensibly discerne that it is he that gives deli­verance.

Ʋse 2 To instruct all and every one, to give the glory and praise of all their deliverances, whatsoever, unto God; and to magnifie his name for them. Particular deliverances from danger, and sicknesse, and such like; every man must magnifie God and his Name for it: our first seeking in danger should be to him, and he should be the first, we should praise for the deliverance; not as many, that doe both send, first for the Physitian, before they send up to God, agree with him, before with God; and praise him oftner to men, then ever they did God: But it should not be so, he should be magnified principally and chiefely. Yea e­very one for our generall deliverances, of which we are all part­ners, should magnifie him of which we may say, as Jer. 23.7, 8. Behold, the dayes come saith the Lord, that they shall no more say, the Lord liveth, which brought up the Children of Israel out of the Land of Aegypt; But the Lord liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the North Country, and from all Countreyes, whither I had driven them, & they shall dwel in their own Land. Many are the deliverances, we have had, and this nation, from the tyranny of Romes Church at the death of Queen Mary, from the invincible Navy 88. from the Insurrection of the Earles of Northumberland and Westmerland, from the treason of the Duke of Norfolke and Queene of Scots, from that of Babington, and his fellowes, from Arden, Somervile, Parry, Cullen, Lopes, Squire, and such like: yet now to this that it may be said, the Lord lives, that hath delivered his Church, from any one or all the former, but from the cruell, bloody and desperate unmatch­able plot of our wicked papists; which is the Lords only, be­cause the cariage of the thing was his, that he would have it wholly ascribed to him. Therefore we may say, the Lord hath magnified himselfe many wayes, but now he hath surmounted them all: we ought then to magnifie him, and give the glory of it to him, not in word only, but for ever in deed; The Parliament, King and Commons, to make lawes more for his glory, against Sabboth breaking, Oathes, Drunkennesse, Usury, Oppression, to further his Church, and to remove stumbling blockes: The Judges to execute them,Deus exone­rans onerat. Bern. without sparing and partiallity: All to obey God more constantly, and man for God: For disbur­thening us of the danger and feare, he burthens us with more [Page 57] obedience and thankfulnesse: This all should doe, yet if it be not in generall, let every one for himself and his family, as Joshua, and mourn for the sinnes of the time, God will marke him when he brings a generall Plague, Ezechiel 9. In times of danger, many are petentes, few promittentes, most few persolven­tes. But we must not onely aske deliverance, but promise new obedience, and perform our vows, else let us looke for that, Mat. 23.37, 38.

VERSE VI.

A Sonne honoureth his Father, and a Servant his Ma­ster. If then I be a Father, where is mine honour? and if I be a Master, where is my feare, sayth the Lord of Hostes unto you, O Priests, that despise my Name? and yee say, Wherein have we despi­sed thy Name?

WEE have seen the first sinne reproved in this people, to­gether with the arguing of it, and the evincing of them of it. The second followeth from this to the ninth verse; It is contempt and prophanation of Gods service and worship; and in it, as in the former, we have first, Gods accusation; secondly, the debating of it. And in this, first, their answer and excuse, secondly, Gods reply manifestly evicting them of it. In Gods accusation, we consider the vice he accuseth them of, secondly, the persons. In the first; the thing and the reason of it, which is first set down, then applyed. The ground is a plaine Axiome, in nature, or a rule of nature.

A Sonne honoureth his Father,] Though the handling of these duties seeme not so essentiall to this place, ayming at his own ho­nor, rather then theirs; yet it being so necessary, and the con­tempt so great, it shall not be amisse to stand upon it. The cohe­rence and meaning is plaine: we must speake, first of the duty, then of party, to them: The duty is first, inward reverence, a reverent affection to them.

Doctr. Children, sonnes and daughters, must inwardly reverence their parents, carry reverent affections and opinions towards them. This is a speciall part of honour, to be performed to them: Solomon makes it the part of a wicked childe to de­spise his mother. Prov 15.20. he commands, not to despise the mother, no not when she is old. Prov. 23.22. he threatens a fear­full [Page 58] curse from God, to such. Pro. 30.17. The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the val­ly shall picke it out, and the young Eagles shall eate it. And if the King must be well thought of, Eccle. 10.20. how the pa­rent to whom our affection naturally is more? Chams curse came in part for his unreverent thought towards his Father. Gen. 19.

Reas. 1 Because God hath made them reverent, in that he hath com­municated unto them part of his excellency and dignity: now then as a man cannot endure to see so much as his picture or i­mage lightly regarded, and not set by, but cast at the heels of those, who ought to reverence it; so God who regardeth the heart and inward affection, as much or much more then the outward action, cannot abide to see any sparke of his own image despised, or any unreverent thought conceived of those, whom he hath graced with extraordinarie dignitie of excel­lency or authoritie.

Reas. 2 Because they ought to love them, and if they doe love them, they cannot disdaine them, nor despise them. For 1 Cor 13.5. Love disdaineth not.

Reas. 3 Because else outward reverence is unsound, fained & counter­feite, when the inward is wanting, as the inward is lame, may­med and unperfect without the outward.

Ʋse 1 To teach every child to see his sinne, even every one of us, for who can say that his heart is cleane, that hath had naturall parents living, when he had use of reason, to whom though he have given outward respect & reverence, for some sinister re­spect, for feare, or shame, or gaine, of the rod, the world, or hope of some better portion, yet he hath had many disdainefull and despising thoughts of his parents: which if they were disliked and resisted were the lesse sinne; but not checked in them, they have proved the seed and spawn of many outward corruptions & unreverences toward them, yea of much disobedience, and dis­honouring of them; for as the mouth speaketh of the abundance of the heart, so the eye looketh scornefully, or the tongue spea­keth disdainfully, or the whole outward cariage is disloyall, when the heart is so corrupted: for Chams dishonouring his fa­ther to his bretheren, rose from the disdaining of him in his heart in secret. But if it hath not broken out to this, but either grace hath subdued it, or worldly respect hath made us smother it, yet must it be put upon the account among our sinnes, when we humble our selves before the Lord for them; to get a discharge of these as well as others.

Ʋse 2 To teach every childe, to whom God hath given that com­fort, that he hath parents, both or one, to labour for all good, and reverent affection towards them, to honor them in his heart, [Page 59] and inwardly to have all honourable estimation of them: for the Lord he lookes into the heart, and this he requires, as the other, and by all meanes labours against the contrary, and that which is condemned of God, which will make them contemne the counsells and advice of their Parents, whose persons they dis­daine in their hearts, and take every thing from them in the worse part, and so make their whole government unprofitable unto them. Besides, the feare of Gods curse threatned, Prov. 30. as he well said, he was a sinner with a witnesse, whom the Holy Ghost gave witnesse against; so he is accursed with a wit­nesse, whom the Holy Ghost so accurseth; for it (saith Tre­mel.) God will condemne and bring that person to some evill end or other, who shall scorne and disdaine his Parents; for his curses are not threatnings alone, but inflictions; not denoun­cings, but performance. This were a good caveat to be writ­ten upon the doores of young mens and womens hearts, to ba­nish and keepe out unreverent and scornefull thoughts of their Parents; and a fitter Posie to be written upon the walls of Pa­rents, than the vaine inventions of Poets and Painters.

The second is outward reverence, both in word and carriage towards them.

Doctr. Children, sonnes and daughters must outwardly reverence their Parents, that is, in behaviour and speech, give them all reverent respect in gesture, and such titles as are due unto them. For if inward, more outward, seeing the contrary is more of­fence to them who take notice of it, more griefe to their Pa­rents that see and heare them. Here to belongs that, Prov. 30.11. There is a generation that curseth their father, and hath not blessed their mother; and that he speaketh of the eye, verse 17. shewes that in the whole outward man is required reverence. Hence was the blessing of Shem and Japhet, Gen. 9.23, 26, 27. Hence was the excuse of Rachel, Gen. 31.35. and the practice of Solomon, 1 King. 2.19, 20.

Reason. Besides those in the former point, this may confirme it, be­cause they have their bodies, whole, and parts from them, made of their seed, framed in her wombe, nursed and nourished up by them, then ought they by the whole and parts to doe them all the reverence they possibly can.

Ʋse 1 To teach every one to see his sins past or present, when they have beene in this marvellous defective, nay, doing the con­trary, little reverence in gesture and speech to their Parents, short of that it should have beene; nay, often carrying disdain­full eyes, disloyall and despightfull tongues, the sinnes of our youth in this respect to be repented of. The cause with many why they are despised, and want this outward reverence of theirs, God using this retribution, because they have done so; [Page 60] yea, and when they have children of yeares to discerne such things, who see them unreverently use their Parents both in gesture and speech, both with looks and words, who teach them how to use theirs, while they let them see how they use theirs. Yea, divers Parents, (my selfe have beene an eye-witnes of some) who teach their children when they are young, not onely to disdaine others, but themselves; the father teaching the child to scoffe or miscall his mother, and delight in it; which falls out justly, that they keepe the sent of this liquor, and when they are elder, so despise and contemne them. But if now when they finde such things from theirs, it is good to call to mind their owne sinnes, and to think that they thus use me, for I have used mine the like, and yet never repented of it.

Ʋse 2 To perswade every child, (as before) to labour to give them all reverence both in his word and carriage, to thinke it little enough to reverence them with the whole and every part which they received from him. Let none thinke this is needlesse, or too much curiosity to stand upon such things; they acknow­ledge them their Parents, (and respect them somewhat) what need all this? for this must be done, and not greater things neglected;Nonnunquā in parvâ de­terius quàm in majori culpâ pecca­tur; major e­nim culpa quo citiùs ag­noscitur, eò etiam celeri­ùs emenda­tur: minor verò dum quasi nulla creditur, eò pejor est, quo & securiùs in usu retinetur. Greg. and the sinnes of children in this kind are in some sort greater than those in the other of greater note: For as a man sometimes sinnes worse in a small than in a greater fault; for the greater by how much the sooner 'tis acknowledged, 'tis quick­lier mended,; but the lesser, while 'tis counted almost none at all, is therefore worse, because we more securely lived in it. So of this particular, though disobedience and want of reverence differ in themselves, yet is unreverence thus the greater, be­cause it is accounted as none, and men lye very secure in it. Therefore ought men to avoid it, and strive against it, both because they are forbidden, and because as a little wound neg­lected, will fester to a great one; so this unreverence accusto­med, will breake out to a greater contempt and disobedience; and if Christ make him culpable of sinne, that saith but Raka to his equall, and him of hell-fire, which calleth him Foole, Matth. 5.20. what shall he be worthy of that calleth his Parents so, and useth them most unreverently? And if 2 Kings 2.23, 24. Children, that mockt the Prophet, were torne with Beares, how shall such things escape a judgment? They shall not; for that of Solomon shall be true. Prov. 30.17. The outward reve­rence must not stand in signes and words onely, but as 1 John 3.18. speaks of love: My little children, let us not love in words, neither in tongue, but in deed and in truth; So say we of this; this reverence must appeare in our actions, and this will part it selfe into obedience and subjection: for the first so much.

Doctrine. Children, sonnes and daughters must not onely give inward [Page 61] and outward reverence in thoughts and words, but they must obey them, as Christ sheweth by his condemning of the sonne who obeyed not, Matth. 21.30. Hence are the Commande­ments, Coll. 3.20. Children obey your Parents in all things, for this is well pleasing unto the Lord; in all lawfull things: as the like, 1 Cor. 9.22. To the weake became I as weake, that I might gaine the weake: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all meanes save some; as farre as I may lawfully, not seeking my owne profit; 1 Cor. 10.33. even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine owne profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved; in all lawfull things not seeking his owne profit, pre­ferring the pleasing of them before it; the opposition being be­twixt his and their pleasure and profit, not betwixt their pro­fit and pleasing of God: So in this, not betweene Parents and God, but their will and their Parents; shewing that the sonne is not to obey his Father in what he will and liketh, but he is simply bound in all things, though never so dislike to him, so they be not displeasing to God. Hence is the Commandement, but with some limitation, Ephes. 6.1. Children obey your Parents in the Lord, for this is right. The Lord, when he commends the Rechabites, Jer. 35. doth shew this thing as a duty.

Reas. 1 Because it is a thing well pleasing the Lord, Coloss. 3.20. so pleasing, as that his owne obedience is more acceptable with it; and without it he will not like of his owne at all, as appeareth, Matth. 15.5, 6. But ye say, whosoever shall say to his father or mother, it is a gift by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me, and honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free: thus have ye made the Commandement of God of none effect by your tradition. And undoubtedly he that preferred pitty and mercy to men before sacrifice, doth much account of pie­ty towards Parents.

Reas. 2 Because if not in all things, but where they please, and accor­ding to their owne will, then they preferre themselves before their Parents, & indeed obey not their father, but themselves. As they who love others from whom they looke for good, doe not love them, but themselves: so in this; therefore is it that they must endeavour to obey in all things unpleasing.

Ʋse 1 To reprove all disobedience that is found in Children of all sorts to their Parents, young and elder, and all ages. If the Law, Deuter. 21.18, 19, 20, 21. were now in force, alas, how many Parents should long before this be bereaved of all, some of divers of their children: because not onely negligence is to be found, and omission, but in many, apparent contempts, up­on whom the Law was to take hold. See your sinnes, and for­sake them, O children; else know, that if the former shall not goe unpunished, lesse this; and if such punishments for that, [Page 62] more for this: And know you, that if you have, or may have children, and live to that, God shall make them revenge your Parents quarrell, and contempt, to bring you to repentance, or to punish you for it; and the more securely you now contemne the admonitions of the Ministers, the more sharply shall God then punish you, and the more piercing shall it then be unto your Soules.

Ʋse 2 Let this then admonish every childe to give obedience to his fathers commandements, whatsoever they are; not only when they are pleasing to him, but even how crosse soever they be to his liking, doing his fathers will, not his own, being affected in regard of his earthly father, as Christ was of his heavenly, John 6.38. For I came downe from heaven, not to doe my owne will, but the will of him that sent mee; and therefore was contented to breake himselfe of his owne will, rather then to crosse his fa­thers will. Math. 26.39. so must they. To obey them in things that are pleasing and profitable unto them, liking them well e­nough, is not so commendable, because they may be led with these respects, rather then duty or love; but in things difficult and hard, crossing their will and affections, is a double obedi­ence, and shall receive a greater reward: Therefore endevour thus to obey them, and God in them; it is not his will of per­mission, but of command, wherein Gods law is broken, if they be disobedient: And not so onely, but he will reject all ser­vice done to them, when they neglect that they owe to theirs: so that he will be deafe to their prayers, contemn their service, his eyes shall be shut to their miseries; they may pray, he will not heare; stretch out long hands, he will not regard; yea cry to him, yet will he not accept: if the sighes of thy father, and teares of thy mother, [...]me up before God, for thy rebellions towards them, thinke that thy prayers shall little be accepted of God.Num. 16. If Moses his words to God for the rebellion of Corah be­fore God, made not onely their sacrifice unacceptable, but brought a curse upon them; think of it, and take heed of the like.

But some in this matter may doubt, and for it object and que­stion thus.Pomand. 17. First, what if God commanded one thing, and mens parent another? It is answered, thou must then answer with the Apostles. Act. 5.29. We ought to obey God rather then Man; or heare from God. Mat. 15.3. why doe you also trans­gresse the commandements of God by your tradition? for ever his command is above them and theirs: else this were to make them gods, and God, man; and were a deed of Idolatry performed unto them. Martin Luther sayd well, that in keeping of the first precept, was shewed obedience of all the rest; for hereby we acknowledge God to be our God in preferring his will, before the will of any other. And [Page 63] so whose will we preferre before Gods, we take them to be our god. The Apostle makes the Devill to be the Prince of this World; because men obey his will before Gods, so in this: Therefore if the question be of these two, God must first be o­beyed.Honora patrem tuum, sed si te à vero patre non separat, tamdiu scito sangui­nis copulam; quamdiu ille suum no­verit creatorem: alioquin, Psal. 45.10. Hieron. Ep. 8. ad Furiam. Honour thy father; but so, as he draw thee not from thy true father, so long acknowledge the bond of blood, as he acknowledgeth his Creator; otherwise as it is, Psal. 45. hearken, O daughter, forget thine owne people, and thy fathers house, saith St. Hierome to Furia. And his reason is,Non es ejus cui nata es, sed cui re­nata, & qui te grandi pretio redemit, sanguine suo. thou art not his of whom thou wert borne, but new borne, who hath re­deemed thee with a great price, even his blood. And Clemens Rom. Epistola. 4. to the sayd purpose,Authores non sunt vitae nostrae pa­rentes, sed ministri; non enim vitam praebent, sed ingrediendi in vitam ex­hibent ministerium; solus deus vitae au­thor & fons est. S. Clem. Rom. Ep. 4. Our parents are not the au­thors, but the instruments of our life, they give not life, but are the meanes of entring it, only God is the author and fountaine of life; he is then to be preferred, and his commandement; and not as many who have excuse for things they doe, our fathers did so, or they commanded us: In things, wherein God hath neither commanded nor forbidden, it is sufficient; but where ei­ther, there must they take notice of it, and obey him. But yet he must doe it with due respect and reverence, manifesting no contempt of their authority.

Some will demand: The magistrate commands me one thing, and my parents a contrary, what must I doe, whom must I obey? It is answered, that the magistrate must be obeyed; [...] God hath given him a larger Commission then to them, for they themselves are subject, as their children; who neither may doe, nor command contrary to their authority, but doing so he sin­neth, and the sonne sinneth in obeying. Againe Princes com­mands commonly respect common good, and the good that is more common, is more excellent; a common good must not be neglected for a private; nor this preferred before it. A mans countrey is to be prefer [...] before his parents, and the goods of it: And to obey them, were not a good thing, forBonum non suo loco non est bonum. a good thing out of its place, is not good; blood out of the veines in o­ther vessels is hurtfull, though in his place the life consist in it. A good thing not done in his place, were better undone, yea it cannot be well done. Moreover, we must distinguish betwixt the affection and action. A man may love his parents better then the magistrate, but he must obey him rather; as he may love a good man, better then a great man, yet in many cases he is not bound to doe so much for him. The first, because God hath shewed his speciall love more to him, then them. The second, [Page 64] because God hath given him a great authority of command. So 'tis in this inward affection, and outward obedience, because the bond of nature is stronger in the one, and the force of authori­ty is greater in the other. Finally, if the things prejudice the State, they must not be obeyed; but if it doe not prejudice the publique good, and be much benefit to a private parent, so the ends of the two be regarded, & no contempt of authority shew­ed, & a man be content to abide the penalty; A man may disobey, and prefer Parents before Magistrates without sinne to God. As in the case of Hester and Mordecah: and the Jewes and the Kings commandement.

Ʋse 3 What if my Father commands me one thing, and my master the contrary, I am a servant or an apprentice, What must I doe? Answ. As before, obey thy master, for thy father hath given o­ver his authority to him, over whom he hath no power, for his power is not subordinate to thy fathers, as a Steward, or Tutor, wherein there is reservation, but absolute: And thou art now of another regiment and corporation. But yet as before, thy affection may be more to thy Father, but thy labour and ser­vice to thy master, thou mayst wish his good more; but thou must work for and procure the others good; for, for that end thou wast placed under his power. But if without neglect of thy masters affaires, thou may be helpfull to thy parents, standing in need of thy helpe; or by leave and consent, thou art no more free to refuse now, then before.

Ʋse 4 I am the Daughter of my Father, he hath bestowed me in marriage, if the commands of husband and father crosse one an­other: whom must I obey? undoubtedly thy husband, for the father hath given over his authority to him: And more then in the former; both thy affection and action must be more to thy husband, love him better, and obey him rather. For Gen. 2.24. is spoken comparatively, when the one must be forsaken, or in cases that so fall out that both be in question. For he cea­seth not to be a father still, but reserveth to him as reverence, so obedience while it is not crosse, yea in some things he may chal­lenge it that are crosse, if it be not to the prejudice of thy hus­bands good, and greatly for his helpe; yea, and thou must o­bey him with some hazard of thy selfe; so there be no contempt of the authority of thy husband: As in the case of Hester, which serves both for a subject and a wife. Hitherto of their o­bedience, now of their subjection and submission; and this may consist in these things. First, for correction.

Doctr. Children, must submit themselves to their Parents, to be re­buked and corrected by them. It is that which we have. Pro. 15.5. A foole despiseth his fathers instruction, but he that regar­deth reproofe is prudent. When the Apostle maketh it a reason [Page 65] for subjection to God. Hebr. 12.9, 10. it must needs hold in this: yea, the Apostles will carry it, not only when they doe it justly, and from sufficient matter, but for a wrong cause, which the tenth verse sheweth, implying thereby that this sub­mission is required when they shall correct, of a spleene, or a humour, for their owne fancy and pleasure only without good ground or manner: may not this be seen by that of Isaac sub­mitting himselfe to his father, to cut him at his pleasure, Gen. 22. yea of Israel to be circumcised; and of Christ to his mo­ther. Luke 2.48, 49?

Reas. 1 Because by this they shew wisdome, Prov. 13.1. A wise sonne heareth his fathers instruction, but a scorner heareth not rebuke; and they get and increase wisdome; Prov. 29.15. The rod and reproofe give wisedome, but a child left to himselfe, bringeth his mother to shame: for they learne to avoid the like sinnes, and to escape greater stroaks from their father. Reas. 2 That which gets wis­dome, must be submitted to; because by it they prevent greater destruction, and bring to salvation. They are called The way of life, Prov. 6.23. wholesome things, though bitter: To pre­vent greater evill, and bring health, we easily submit our selves to the Physitians hand to receive.

Reas. 3 Because they come from love, Prov. 13.24. For those men love not, or they hate in effect, under affection, those they cor­rect not.

Ʋse 1 To reprove the stubborne and stiffe-necked children of our age, who repine at their fathers reproofe, their hearts ready to swell against them, if they check them for their carriage, spe­cially when they are of some few yeares, they will frowne as long as their Parents can doe: They imagine they know how to carry themselves well enough, yea, better than their Parents, and often give them word for word, or mutter and murmure marvellously against them: the cause being not onely want of grace in their owne hearts, but the omission of correction and the rod when they were younger, because they did not correct them betime. Many Parents, like Eli, neglecting the rod when they were young, cockering of them, that they get such heads when they are growne, that they will not beare the rod; and better nothing at all by their reproofes, but they live often to see their perishing, as Eli did his sonnes. Whereas if they be duely and maturely used to the rod and correction, they will be nothing so audacious, and in the end a word shall doe more with them than many stripes.

Ʋse 2 To teach children to give honour unto their Parents, in sub­mitting themselves to their reproofes and correction. Wisdome will make them take them from others who are farre off, when it may be doubtfull with what minde they doe it: how much [Page 66] more from Parents, of whose love they cannot doubt. It is pro­fitable saith Chrysostome, Ho. 27. ad pop. A. to have many admo­nishers and keepers, many reprovers, is profitable; because as a beast that is hunted and set on of all sides, cannot escape: so shall not a sinne or vice, but when such as are so nigh us, who see in secret and open, it is farre better: But we could beare it if there were cause, and we had deserved it; but when they doe it without cause, as we thinke unjustly, that is it which makes us repine. First know, that the Physitian sees often more than the Patient, so doth the Parent: But if yet there be no cause, the Apostle shews yet we should submit. And we should consi­der, as Hierome would have Salvina to judge of his reproofe, that it was ex abundantia amoris, and it is his cujus votum est, te ne­scire, quae metuit. Besides it is more thanke worthy, when a man can, in such cases, suppresse the rising and swelling of his impatient and corrupt nature, onely for conscience of the com­mandement: for here being some conflict betwixt his word and our will, he taketh tryall of our obedience, who hath simply commanded subjection in this kind to children, which is to bee obeyed, as that thou shalt not steale: Therefore should every one endeavour to it, and thinke it is the part of a good childe to kisse the rod that beates, as the hand that gives.

The second thing, wherein their subjection is required, and submission, is for their calling and education.

Doctrine. Children must submit themselves unto their Parents, to what calling they shall thinke fit to bring them up in and to. So did Samuel to his Mother, he yeelded to her, to be set apart for the service of God, and to be brought up to it. 1 Sam. 1.28. For that which she gave he performed. So David submitted himself to his father to be a shepherd, and some of his brethren souldi­ers; So Christ was disposed of by his Parents, when he was fit to teach others; and for another manner of worke, Luke 2.46. yet he went and was subject to them, and in the same trade verse 51. and Marke 6.3. Justin Martyr thinkes so: 'twas likely, the wise­dome of God to blind the wicked, and hide him from their eyes. Then as 1 Joh. 2.6. He that saith, he abideth in him, ought himselfe also to walke, even as hee walked: so for this parti­cular.

Reas. 1 Because they in all reason are far better able to judge of them, and their parts and gifts, what they are fit for, and wherein they are most like to give them most comfort, and glorifie God, and profit themselves, then they can of themselves. That same borrowed speech. Psal. 127.4, 5. As arrowes are in the hand of a mighty man, so are Children of the youth; happie is the man that hath his quiver full of them, they shall not be ashamed; but they shall speake with the enemies in the gate; seemes to insinuate [Page 67] somewhat, they are as arrowes of divers heads, some fit for one marke, some for another, he hath them in his hand, and knows best which is fit for which.

Reas. 2 Because they are not in their owne power, but his, while they live in his house, and government; but part of his substance: therefore the Devill smote not Jobs wife as part of himselfe, but his children, as part of his substance and temporall goods; 'tis equall then, he should have the disposition of his children, not themselves or others.

Reas. 3 It shall appeare that he may dispose of them in Marriages, and not any other, nor themselves, which is then when they are of more yeares, and grown of greater discretion in the world, more when they are younger, and without experience.

Ʋse 1 To reprove the sinnes of many Children, who sometime without asking consent, if denyed, doe dispose of themselves ar their owne pleasure in what calling they like, as if their parents had no power over them; as if they onely knew what was fit for themselves, and their parents wanted the wit and experi­ence they have to dispose of them for the best; the cause of many miscarrying of them, and not prospering in their profes­sion; because they went not to it the right way, only led by their affection without judgement, not knowing what God had fitted them for; nor regarding their parents, whom God had set over them, for that purpose; whence often the curse of God is upon them, that they prosper not in such courses: or if by the indulgence of God they prosper, that their parents see not their ruine, yet when they are dead, their sinne living, not re­pented of, they are requited often in the same kinde againe; as they did to their Parents, so their children doe to them, yea often not without them, but farre worse courses then they tooke.

The third thing wherein their subjection is required, and sub­mission, is for their portion and childes part.

Doctr. Children must submit themselves unto their parents, in recei­ving their provision and portion, and be content with that they have provided and allotted unto them; whether in their life, or at death, not being their owne carvers, nor sharing it out as they list. The Prodigall sonne amongst much evils, is noted to bee free from this, to share himselfe; but was content his fathers portion: whereas his elder brother, though free from many o­ther evils, yet is blotted with this, Luke 15.12, 29. It is com­mended in the sonnes of Abraham, that they in this thing sub­mitted themselves: At least no contrary thing is manifested of them. Gen. 25.5, 6. As Adoniah is reproved for usurping the kingdome, and making his fathers will for him, not content with his portion, so is it the commendations of the rest of Davids chil­dren, [Page 68] that they were content with their portions, and never murmured that Solomon, not the eldest, but the son of Davids age, had the kingdome given him of his father, Kings 1. The rest of the Patriarkes are not recorded to be malecontent, that Joseph had a double portion among them.

Reas. 1 Because they must thinke, they discerne better of their own e­state, and what they are able to afford every one out of the stocke while they live, and they maintaine an honest and come­ly state as before, and at their deaths; how that they have ga­thered will part it selfe to them, so some portion be for God, good uses, and other thing necessary.

Reas. 2 Because the father best knows them, and with lesse partiality then themselves, who hath beene to him the best childe, and who have more grace in them, according to which he may deale and dispose: As did Isaac to Jacob, Jacob to Joseph, a double por­tion; all the other taynted with some grosse sinne; for their goods they may and ought to dispose of according to grace and vertue, which makes the youngest the eldest; and so, è contra.

Reas. 3 Because they are able best to discern, who is like to doe more good to Church & Common wealth; and see in some one more hope then in another: and if he so dispose, they must be content.

Ʋse 1 To reprove al discontented children, not content with the por­tion the father hath set out for them, neither living nor dead, but murmuring at the dealing of his father, as if his were lesse, the other too much; as the Prodigall sonnes elder brother, or as Adoniah, making choise of his own portion; and if they have not the allowance they would have, they think they may come by it as they can, and whatsoever they get from their father; they thinke it well gotten, and but of their own; and no sin. But see what the holy Ghost sayth, Pro. 28.24. who so robbeth his father or his mother, and saith it is no transgression, the same is a com­panion of a destroyer; making such a sonne a companion and co­zen german to a murtherer. At his death, and in his sicknesse, if either they be privy to his will, or guesse by his affection in his health, that that will not fall to their portion; they desire to helpe to shorten his dayes, and hasten his end: he shall heare newes that they have shar'd for themselves, as Adoniah; after his death, many a sonne shewes himselfe gracelesse, telling a­broad every where, how unkindely his father dealt with him, that his portion was so small; not remembring in the course of common society, de absentibus & mortuis nil nisi bonum, much more for parents, whose infirmities must be covered being li­ving, more dead: neither remembring how little they deser­ved at their fathers hands, or how unkindely they used him in respect of others, or how little hope they gave him that they [Page 69] would use that well he should leave them, and by it be profi­table to God or man, Church or Common-wealth.

Ʋse 2 To teach every child to be content with the portion his fa­ther sets out for him, living or dead, whether more or lesse, e­quall or inferiour to others: imputing somewhat and not a little to his fathers wisdome, knowing his owne ability, seeing their present graces, or their future hopes; somewhat looking at home, how dutifull he hath beene in comparison of others, how little deserving, what little grace, and so lesse goods. And if his father seeme not to have dealt so equally, yet it is his duty to suspect his owne wisdome rather than his fathers, to ac­cuse his owne demerits, yea, to cover it in every place, and e­very way shewing himselfe contented. If Jacob see good cause to disinherit Reuben, and to passe by Simeon and Levi, and leave the Lordship to Judahs hand, yea, if he shall skip over Dan and Asher, and the rest, till he come to Joseph, from the eldest of all to the youngest, or state one, and bestow the double por­tion on him and his, the rest must not be discontented with his distribution, but give him leave to doe with his owne as he list; honouring him thus, yea, and using his portion left thee for his honour, for increase and advantage, as the Talents; that the world may judge of the justice and uprightnesse of thy fa­thers getting of his goods.

The fourth thing in this submission is, to be disposed of for their marriages and matching.

Doctr. It is the duty of children to submit themselves to their Pa­rents in their matches and marriages; to be given and taken in marriages, this is a part of their honour, for the Scripture gives this authority to the parents to bestow them, as is proved, Deut. 7.3. 1 Cor. 7.38. yea, to break them, Exod. 22.16, 17. then must they and ought to be subject. Besides the examples of all good children who have thus submitted themselves: And ex­empla sanctorum pro regulis sunt, ubi deest regula, vel contraria non datur; Isaac submitted to Abraham, Gen. 24.3. Jacob to Isaac, Gen. 28.1, 2. Sampson to his parents, Judg. 14.1. Rahel and Leah to their father Laban, Gen. 29.19. yea, even prophane and wicked have in some sort done it: Ismael, Gen. 21.21. She­chem Hamors sonne, Gen. 34.3.6.

Reas. 1 Because this is to honour them, when they thinke them wi­ser and better able to provide for them than themselves; whose advice if they must submit themselves to for their calling and portion, more for this, when they are led commonly by the heate of affection to the liking of the person onely, when there are many other things as necessary to concurre as that; as re­ligion, honesty of kindred, good report, equality, and such like; all which is rarely found in youth to be so duely respected, [Page 70] as parents by their experience respect, and are able to discerne.

Reas. 2 Because he may not dispose of the goods of his father without him, not sell his land, or alienate any thing from him, but as he will dispose; how then himselfe?

Ʋse 1 This reproveth those children that dispose themselves with­out their parents consent, prey upon their right, intangle and contract themselves, yea, and consummate marriages, they not witting, yea unwilling, or by some necessity forced to shew some willingnesse, which is the cause of so many untoward, un­cleane, and polluted families, and prophane succession, as o­ther times can witnesse, so too many presidents in our dayes. For as when children are compelled to match against their wills, and where they have just occasion of exception, for some sinister respect the parents have, there follows much uncleannesse and impiety: so when without the parents consent, and not of their providing, but they are their owne choosers; shewing where parents consent is wanting, there Gods blessing is away; yea, where parents consent is not, there is Gods curse; as in Esau and his posterity, in Judah taking his Hoasts daughter, Gen. 38.2. having Er and Onan, such as God would not endure to live, but slew them himselfe. Yea, that may also be seene, Gen. 6.2. in the sonnes of Seth, the Church which matched with cursed Chams seed of themselves, without parents consent, had such a wretched posterity. This thing then is reproofe-worthy, yea, damnable in children without repentance; parents are often causes of it; and that first, to some it is Gods retribution, be­cause they so served and abused their parents: Secondly, because they give such liberty to their daughters to wander, as Dinah; and so Ezek. 23.3. their brests come to be pressed, and the teats of their virginity bruised: or else their affections by often meeting are so intangled and inflamed, as the fathers threats will not loose it, nor the mothers teares cannot quench it. It was not so, Prov. 30.18, 19. it should not be so. Hierom to Demetr. E­pist. 8.11. would not have Virgins alone, solae sine matre: for in a flocke of Doves the Kite often will prey upon one when they are abroad; and it is a scabbed sheep that loves wandring, and leaves the fold.

Thirdly, because parents doe not take and use their right, and provide for them in due time mates fit for them, which makes them provide for themselves, not without sinne, but greatly sinning; yet the parents partakers of it, and oftentimes of much shame and griefe, as it was with Tamar, Gen. 38.26. But how­soever, one mans sinne cannot excuse another, nor yet the pa­rents the childs sinne, nor will not exempt them from the curse of God, when they thus match to the griefe of their parents, and the shortening of their dayes and life, by whom they recei­ved [Page 71] life, and should have their lives continued and lengthened.

Ʋse 2 To instruct children to be subject to their parents, knowing what power they have over them to guide their choyce, that without them they may not chuse; and if they chuse for them, they cannot without great cause and just exception stray them­selves from liking: smaller things they must endeavour to over­come, they must not suffer themselves to be entangled by some who seeke by kind usage of them to steale away their hearts from their parents, for their daughters, to advance them; as is the man­ner of some wretched and unconscionable men. As Usurers get their fathers inheritance from them by feeding them with mo­ney: so they must not set their affections by fervency of society and company upon others, without parents, and where never like to give allowance. They ought to remember this is the fa­thers right, to choose, to dispose of them, not onely in the generall, but for the particular person: But what if he be farre off, and cannot see? If he give thee liberty, duely asking it of him, he hath given his right from himselfe, as Isaac to Jacob, Gen. 28. But what if he upon some sinister respect, deferre and passe the flower of her age? I answer; then hath God ordained the Magistrate as for their punishment, so for their reliefe, who is not to be sought to but when most urgent necessity requi­reth, when the opposition stands betwixt Marriage and bur­ning, because that reveales the fathers fault, and bewrayes his or her infirmity. But what if he tender a match out of the Church, a Papist, or such like? Then must the Child refuse with reverence, not disposing of himselfe; for as it were sinne to yeeld, so the other is sinne to make choyce of himselfe. But what if another that is not so religious and so fervent a lover of the Truth, as is to be wished? No direct denyall is lawfull, but a wise delaying and a discreet gaining of time to sollicite God with their prayers, who hath the heart of their Parents in his hand, and to intreate them by mediation of best friends; who if they can be diverted, it is well; if not, I know no warrant a Child hath to deny his fathers choyce, (though he thinke, and it may be he might choose better) and he may looke for a bles­sing from God, if in duty he thus submit himselfe to his Pa­rents.

The last part of this honour is thankfulnesse, which Children must performe to their Parents.

Doctrine. Children must performe all thankfulnesse unto their Parents: that is, helpe them when they need, and in age, when their state and bodies are decayed; and to be eyes, and leggs, and limbs unto them, and to administer liberally according to their state and ability to them, as they did to them when they were young, and when yet they had nothing, nor knew not how [Page 72] to get any thing, that this is a part of honour Christ sheweth Math. 15.4, 5, 6. some thinke that of Psal 128.3. when chil­dren are made Olive plants, not Olives onely, and Olive bran­ches, which was a signe of peace; so they to make peace and love betwixt their parents: but plants, such as might stand un­der them, underpro [...] and uphold them in their weaknesse: and thus verily have good Children honoured their parents▪ so did the sons of Jacob Gen. 42.1, 2. so did Joseph Gen. 47.12. so did Ruth, though but a daughter in law. To this purpose Paul for­bids that the Church should be burthened with widowes, but their children & Nephews ought to maintain them. 1 Tim. 5.4.

Reas. 1 Because else he should not onely be unnaturall, but unjust, when the father by his speciall care for him, and the mother by her prayers, bearing and carrying of him, watching with him, lending eyes and legs, and limbes to him, feeding and nourishing of him, deserveth it. All which they the better deserve, if they have children, with whom they have the like labour and endeavour: now justice requires to pay debt due and de­served.

Reas. 2 Because they had forme from them, as body, and members, and limbes, so their education, their trade, their stocke and portion, or both; whereby they are that they are, by the bles­sing of God; reason then, they relieve and maintaine them by it, if their need require.

Ʋse 1 This reproves many gracelesse children, who never perform any such duty unto their parents: specially if they stand in need of them indeed; but if they be base & poor, will hardly acknow­ledge them, as thinking it their reproach and shame, not for­getting, but disdaining the rock whereout they were hewed, the pit whereout they were taken: or if they doe releeve them, or be kind unto them; it is either because they have yet some­what to give and bestow, which till it be gotten, they use them kindly; yea if many children, they strive which should shew most kindnesse; but once gotten, made over to them, they set them light, and turne them out; some making their parents complaine to authority against them, or if they keep them, de­cayed, they make them drudge as servants, they set them with the Hyndes: some so gracelesse, as they complaine they are a burthen unto them, the best of them never tendering them, as they did them, nor maintaining them as they are able; neither answerable to their former condition, nor their owne present; and some driving them away, and not affording any entertain­ment of releefe: to these and such like we apply that of Solomon, Prov. 19.26. He that wasteth his father, and chaseth away his mo­ther, is a sonne that causeth shame, and bringeth reproach, and so esteem of them, as God hath marked them.

Ʋse 1 [Page 73]To teach Children to performe all thankefulnesse to their pa­rents, if they live to be able, and they to stand in need of them; if they be never so base, be not ashamed of them; but remem­ber the time was, when thou wast naked and needy, and not only had nothing, but if thou hadst had all the world, couldst not have had helpe, but by them, or some in steed of them. And yet they covered thy nakednesse, were not ashamed of thy infirmities, carryed thee in their armes, and nourished thee carefully: Sup­pose and consider, where thou hadst been, if they had neglect­ed thee, thinke how many nights without sleepe, and dayes without rest they spent about thee, when thou wast young, or weake or sicke, see how love made all their labour light, and all their charges as it were a gaine unto them: And if thou hast any true naturall affection in thee, thou wilt thinke nothing too much for them: But feed and nourish them at thy table, with thy morsell and cup, carry and sustaine them in their weakenes and infirmitie; yea, though they should live as long, or longer in infirmities and wants, then thou wast of them; there are some birds saith Basill, who feed their dams, as long as they fed them, and carryed them, how much more Christian Children? often­times when thy father is dead, his garment or his ring is deare to thee, this thou carriest upon thy finger, and wouldst not lose it for any thing; think how should his body, when he is living, S. Aug. de Civ. D. lib. 1. or if thou see others so esteeme them; apply it to thy selfe, and give them their whole honour; or else looke for the shortning of thy daies, and for the like recompence from thine.

His Father.] Having seene the duty, we must proceede now to the parties, to whom this duty and honour is to be per­formed; to the father and parents, as their parents, authors of their being, or at least instruments of their being; God being Principall.

Doctrine. Children must performe all these duties, this honour to their parents, all their life long; nothing will free them from them, nor dispence with the neglect and omission; no greatnesse nor excellency themselves may come to, no state nor condition of theirs; neither want, infirmity, and imperfection of theirs: This is manifest by the example of Joseph, the second in the king­dome of Aegypt, yet did not omit the least duty to his father; but performed all in their places, obedience, subjection, main­teinance, reverence in his infirmity and weakenesse, and his own greatnesse, Gen 48.12. (& caeteris capiti) Solomon to his mo­ther, 1 King. 2.19, 20. Christ to his parents, Luke 2.51. Hence came the curse upon Cham, pronounced by his father, and executed by God, notwithstanding what he had to sa [...], and could hold out for his defence: his father was drunke and like [Page 74] a beast, Gen. 9. But Shem and Japheth blessed who did him re­verence: To this purpose is that of Solomon, Prov. 23.22. Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old; howsoever unworthy of it, yet thou must per­forme it, even to thy mother weaker by nature, subject to more infirmityes; by so much more apt to despise them; more then, when the infirmitie of their sex, and the imperfections of the age are combyned together; yet we have no liberty to despise or de­ny duty.

Reas. 1 Because neither the greatnesse of the one, nor the weakenesse and infirmitie of the other can breake that relation which is be­twixt childe and parents, which the Law of God being morall, hath made perpetuall unto everlasting: And the reason of this is, because as Chrisost. in Rom. 13. non principi sed principatui, that honour, obedience and subjection, is required not so much to the Prince, as to the Princedome; not to the person, as to his place: So of this, the honour is due not to the father, but his fa­therhood; not somuch to the person of him as he is a man, and so either a bad or a good man, as to his place & office, as he is a father: now he is a father, she a mother; though of never so bad life or bad parts, and so to be honoured: and the childe is to give it, not as a man; and so great or base, high or low; but as a childe, which he ever is, and so must alwayes performe it.

Reas. 2 Because they are the authors, or principall instruments of their lives; essence and being, which is that which never can be blotted out, but will ever remaine while they are, therefore is this to be performed: 'Tis Solomons ground, Prov. 23.22.

Ʋse 1 This serves to condemne the Church of Rome, and their odi­ous and impious positions, where they allow by doctrine, the childe to disobey his parents; for they allow him not so much, as to acknowledge him to be his father, if he be an Hereticke, if a protestant; yea by the heresie of the father, children are freed from all obedience; and the father deprived of all his na­turall power. (Symancha. Justit. Cathol. Tit. 4. sect. 74.) see yee not these men going against the current of humanity, and against the light of nature, and are oppisite to the light of the word. Cham may not dishonour his father though he be drunke, but he shall have the curse; how shall they escape it? But Heresie is a greater sinne then drunkennes: undoubtedly not as they count Heresie, which is to differ from the Church of Rome in any thing, specially in matter of the seven Sacraments. And what is this in comparison of that which makes a man a beast; which is worse, sayth Saint Chrysostome, then to bee a beast, because istud naturae, illud culpae est: which some small diffe­rence from them cannot make: But say it were greater, yet doth it not therefore dissolve the knot, or relation betwixt them; [Page 75] for it is not in the greatnesse of the sinne, but when such a sinne can be given that doth breake the relation: for instance; Idola­try is a greater sinner then adultery, yet this, not that, breaks and dissolves marriage: Because that, not this meets in cominter-position with the knot of marriage. In that they being and be­comming one flesh with another, 1 Cor. 6.10. and so cutteth himselfe from her, he was knit to before: in this they are onely one spirit with an Idol, and cease to be one spirit with the Lord. So this, It is not heresie for his greatnesse, that can dissolve this naturall bond, which is perpetuall; for it cannot make that he had not his essence and being from his father, and the duty depen­ding upon this, obey thy father that begat thee: hath he begot­ten thee, it is no matter what he is, thou must honour him. Then impious are their positions; but no marvaile if they teach rebellions, and diobedience, and murthering of Princes; if they allow dishonouring of parents.

Ʋse 2 To teach every child to performe this, honour his Parents, whatsoever he is, whatsoever they are. Art thou higher and richer, and wiser than they? yet must thou doe them honour; and by it shalt thou have these the more. Looke upon Joseph, Solomon, and Christ, and no thing can be in thee that can give thee freedome from it, when they did it, the two first ex debito, Christ ex placito, to fulfill all righteousnesse, and give us ex­ample. Though then thou be married or advanced, or howso­ever, yet still they are thy Parents, and thou must not deny, but performe honour unto them; for thou hadst thy being from them, and till that be dissolved, thou owest them still the du­ties, the bonds remaining; yea, whatsoever infirmity is in them, no sinne dissolveth the bond, it makes not an annullity of the duty: for as Gold is Gold, though it be smeared over with durt and filth; so are they thy Parents, whatsoever their lives and manners be. Thinke with thy selfe, how their love made them beare with many naturall infirmities of thy Childhood, and not to neglect thee for the many untoward carriages of thy youth, and not to cast thee off from them: And thinke what duty now should bind thee unto; if they for their perfect love, and upon some hope of comfort many yeares after, did passe o­ver all, how much more thou in duty and in lieu of thankful­nesse for that which thou enjoyest from them? Children must not be like Flies (as Plutarch) which slip along the glasse where it is smooth, but catch hold of it where there are any scratches or flawes: They must turne away their eyes from their infirmi­ties, and forget their hard usage, if it have beene any; and not be undutifull for that, because they have their being and edu­cation from them. Take heed of Chams curse, and seeke Shems blessing, by not seeing their infirmities, but covering and per­forming [Page 76] duty to them; accounting it to be a sin to be repented of, when they cannot find their hearts so cheerefull in their du­ties as they ought, because of their Parents infirmities.

A servant his master.] The second rule of nature, the ground or other pillar of Gods reason against this people: For the mea­ning 'tis plaine; the duties here required are in the generall the same for the most part with the former, though not in every particular. The first is reverence, and this both inward and outward; To joyne them together.

Doctr. Servants must give all reverence unto their Master, all in­ward good affection and estimation of them, and all reverent respect in gesture and speech, Eph. 6.5. 1 Tim. 6.1. Eccles. 10.20. It may be applyed to Masters, for the King is but a great Master, and the Master a little King. The outward in words, as not replying unreverently, Titus 2.9. not speaking their in­firmities to others, as 1 Sam. 25.17. giving them all reverent speech and submissive gesture, as 2 King. 5.13. not despising them as Hagar did Sarah.

Reas. 1 Because God hath made them reverent, in that he hath com­municated unto them part of his excellency and dignity, that is, his Lordship and Dominion, making them his Vicegerents and Lords over their family: therefore they ought to reverence them.

Reas. 2 Because his Commandements are spirituall, and reach to the inward man, and without it were all outward but hypocriticall and counterfeit, which is abhominable: And this without the outward is imperfect, if it may be supposed it may be without it, and so cannot be acceptable.

Ʋse 1 This is to let servants see their sinnes past or present, when they have or doe carry themselves unreverently towards their Masters in heart and outward man, in eye and tongue, to their faces and behind their backs, they are all guilty of the breach of the decree of the most High, and indeed all; for where shall we finde a servant any thing neere performing the carriage he ought to his Master and Mistris? that he hath a base thought, o­pinion, and estimation of him, appeares by his speech and car­riage; his speeches so void of reverence, nay, his answers full of contempt, his eye and carriage so full of scorne and disdaine: Hagar despising Sarah, looking scornfully upon her, which must needs argue unreverence in the heart; for by these things many a man well knows what is in the privy Chamber of the heart, and by this outward pulse thus beating, may we dis­cerne how the inward parts are affected. For he that will speake so frowardly, and looke so scornfully and doggedly, as many will, it must needs shew he hath no reverence, but his heart is full of despight and contempt; and he that will speake so to his [Page 77] face, and in his presence, what will he to others behind his back, and in his absence? Where is the feare and trembling Paul calls for? Where is all the honour Peter exacts, when ye will thus bourd them often, thus disdaine them? when ye will answer them frowardly, or murmuring when their backs are turned; when you tell their weaknesse not to your fellows, but to neighbours servants, whereby their estimation is impaired. Thinke you the Apostles call for these in vaine, or shall such things goe unpunished? Assuredly no: for when the Apostle saith to servants, to encourage them that are good, Eph. 6.7, 8. with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men; know­ing that whatsoever good thing any man doth, the same shall he re­ceive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free; did he not meane the contrary? and would have you to understand, that whatsoever evill thing a man doth, that shall he receive of the Lord, whe­ther he be bond or free? so expect it in this particular; see then that, unreverent and contemptuous servants; expect you to re­ceive from the Lord some fearefull thing, and let it be a restraint in you of such irreverence in the things spoken of, or the like. But of this sin Masters are often the causes of it, and they that bring it upon themselves.

First, because they have beene such servants to their Masters, and so have lived in it ever since without repentance; even then when God recompenceth them home, yet they will not re­member their owne sinne, but are still brawling with their ser­vants, and so it is Gods just retribution: whereas if they would repent of that, they should better reforme this, Eccles. 7.21, 22. Take no heed to all words that are spoken, lest thou heare thy servant curse thee; for oft-times also thy owne heart know­eth, that thou thy selfe hast also cursed others. It may be apply­ed to this, though it carry somewhat more: That a Master, when his servant revileth him, or useth him irreverently, should re­member even this sentence, to make him penitent and mo­derate.

Secondly, because they have remitted of that ancient severity in their government, which we heare men, that can remember times that are past, speake of; not having those strait eyes, nor hard hands over them as they ought, not so sharply correcting them as the offence and nature of a servant requireth; so that they little reverence them, for they feare them not, because they forget that of Prov. 29.19. A servant will not be corrected by words, for though he understand, he will not answer.

Thirdly, because they bring them up too liberally for diet and apparrell, and so when the belly is full, and the back fine, the Master is not so regarded. A servant is like in this thing to a Horse full fed and pampered, he will cast his rider; like to Buce­phalus, [Page 78] Alexanders Horse; while he was bare-backt he would carry any man; but if once he had his trappings and furniture, none, or hardly Alexander himselfe. It is the complaint of ma­ny, that servants are thus insolent to themselves and others; ma­ny, though not all, are the causes of it themselves; (somewhat there is in the nature of a servant and other things) for they bring them up so delicately, as Prov. 29.21. He that delicately bringeth up his servant from a child, shall have him become his sonne at the length. Whatsoever their fare is, their apparrell is farre exceeding; a servant going better than a man of his Masters place and wealth did some few yeares agoe. And though they will not allow it themselves, yet they can be content their friends, or themselves, if their fortune be allotted unto them, should provide it for themselves: And if, when they are thus gay without, they use them as Hagar did her Mistris, when she was bigge with child, is it not just with them? A great cause of this, is taking of Apprentices with great portions, and so as Mulier cum dote, is imperiosa, so they and their friends. The cause you must have such portions with them, more than in for­mer times, is this, because they must thus be maintained, more than in former times. But better it were that you had lesse, and kept them more meanely; better for you, you should have more reverence and respect: better for them, for thus you bring sin upon them for the present, and in future time just contempt, as they have contemned you.

Ʋse 2 To perswade servants to use their Masters with all reverence and good respect that may be, they must feare them, and reve­rence them; Nature it selfe hath taught it, and heathen servants have performed it, as in Naamans servants; how much more should religious Christian servants, and the more Christian or religious, the more they ought to performe this duty; not one­ly not to contemne and despise, but to reverence them with all the reverent carriage and speech that may be? and that not outward onely, but inward, for God requires more than Na­ture; his Law is spirituall, and he will have all inward and out­ward respect, the heart as well as the tongue; and the outward will not be, or not continue; or if so, yet not accepted of God: yea, he that wants this, it can never be expected the o­ther of obedience, &c. and let him who lookes and hopes to be one day a Master, and to have his servants such as he would, be now such a servant as he should, Ephe. 6.8. knowing that what­soever good any man doth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whe­ther he be bond or free.

The second duty of servants is obedience, for whom men feare, them they obey.

Doctrine. Servants must give unto their Masters and governours all [Page 79] obedience: hence it followes, because they must feare; and whom men feare them they obey, when they command: this pro­ved, Ephe. 6.5. Col. 3.26. Titus 2.9. And this obedi­ence if it be such as Christians ought to performe, it must ney­their be clipt, nor counterfeit, not in some things onely, nor in shew to the eye: for the first, Col. 3.21. in all things, that is, in all lawfull things, whether they be liking, and tasting unto him or otherwise, though never so disliking, for he must pleasure his master, Titus 2. q. for the 2 Ephe. 6.5, 6. Col. 3, 22. singlenesse of heart is required, and eye service forbidden.

Reas. 1 Because they are bound either by Indenture, or condition &c. then they must obey.

Reas. 2 Because they are maintained by them, and learne and get that under them, they may live by hereafter.

Reas. 3 Because if in onely things they like, they obey themselves, not masters (as in obedience of children.)

Reas. 4 Because in this obedience they serve God and Christ, Ephe. 6.5, 6, 7. who lookes in the heart and singlenesse of it: And though outward and eye service may be for thy master, and may bleare his eyes, yet not the Lord, who as he cannot endure hy­pocrisie or imperfect serving immediately; so not in that which is mediate to man.

Ʋse 1 To let servants see their sinnes past or present, not obeying and doing the things their masters command, but onely such things as they please, and when they please, and when they doe, they clip their service and performe it by halves, and doe it in hypocrisie and to the eye: and so go no further then nature, who teacheth a man onely to save himselfe, as neere as he can from any harme that may ensue, when his master is displeased, or to seek to get somewhat, if he have hope of ought; by seeking of his favor, and so seeming willing to doe any service unto him; but they must know, that as Barnard, si in hoc obedimus, non au­tem in illo, fractus est nummus. This obedience is like clipt coyne, and will not passe for good payment before God, though thy master let it passe, and be content to put it up; yet God will call thee one day to an account for it, and though thou canst keepe it close from the one, yet thou canst not conceale it from the other: and as we see in mony that is clipped, or a piece of gold that wants a little of its waight, makes it refused in paiment so the want of obedience in any one thing, unlesse thou repent thee in regard of God, and make amends to thy master for it, shall make God to refuse, and not to regard the rest of thy obe­dience, because he requires it to be whole and entire. I, but say thou doest all, yet it is in the eye, & in presence or sight, murmu­ring when he is gone, or regarding not: then sayth Bernard, falsus est nummus ejus, plumbum habet non argentum, dolosè agit [Page 80] sed in Dei conspectu. This obedience is counterfeit, in stead of silver it is lead, he dealeth deceitfully with his master, but he doth it in Gods sight, whose eyes no man can bleare or beguile: such servants let them know, though they may have their ma­sters favour, because he can finde no fault with them, and can see no further then their outward and open behaviour, yet they shall never have but Gods displeasure, that regardeth the heart more then the hand, the affection more then the action, and the manner of doing of it, more then the deed: So that they, when they have received their masters wages or his yeerely allowance, or what other matter, of no great moment for the most part, he shall thinke good to bestow on them; they have, as Christ said of the Pharisees, who did all their workes only to be seene of men, they have received all their reward; they have all they desired, and all they deserved; they can looke for nothing at Gods hands for their labour: And yet they shall have a re­ward from him without true repentance, lege Talionis, such ser­vants, who shall performe them such hollow hypocriticall and eye service, if they ever come to be able to keepe any; or if this feare them not, because they thinke they can hamper their servants well enough, and being privy to their own corruptions they will provide for them; yet let them see what follows, they shall have their portion with Hypocrites, as Christ said of the bad servant, who played revels in his masters absence, Math. 24.51.

Ʋse 2 This may perswade and instruct servants, to obey their ma­sters, and to obey as they ought, in things though disliking, though he do not over see or can come to knowledge of; & per­forme whole and sincere obedience to them, knowing that to obey them, is to obey the Lord, and Nummus istae obedientiae, ut Deo debitus, ita Deo solvendus, saith one: As thy master con­strayneth thee to obey him, so thy God hath commanded thee, and it must be payd and performed, not according to thy masters power, but according to Gods precept, not so farre as thy master can urge thee, but as farre as God requireth of thee, and he is sapiens nummularius, imò ipsa sapientia, cui necesse habe­mus reddere hunc nummum obedientiae. He can easily discerne, if thy payment be any thing faulty or wanting: Learne then to obey in all things: thy masters will and command must be thy rule & square of thy actions, and not thy own fancy, or pleasure: Remember that of Paul: they must labour to please them in all things, Titus 2.9. Interest enim hoc, saith Bernard, Inter con­jugium & servitium, that howsoever the wife is bound to obey the voyce of her husband,Gen. 3.17. yet he is likewise to have regard of her pleasure; therefore is that, Gen. 21.12. And God said unto A­braham, let it not be grievous in thy sight, because of the lad, and [Page 81] because of thy bondwoman: In all that Sarah hath sayd unto thee, hearken unto her voyce; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called; but in this service there is not this vicissitudo voluntatum required, for that were to set master and man almost on equall termes; the master is not bound to regard his servants minde, but he to ob­serve his masters pleasure, and therefore though the master may be somewhat crosse and crooked in his commandement, yet the servants obedience is not straight in Gods sight, when it swar­veth from that which he requireth; he must then serve and obey in all things. And as thus, so not with eye service, but as faithfully behinde his backe, as if he were present: That which Aristotle said should not onely be true, Oculus Domini impin­guat equum, vestigium domini impinguat agrum, the masters eye makes a fat horse, and the masters footsteps a fertile field, as contenting themselves with eye service, sight obedience; but Christians must learne that of Chrysostome, God is [...], an overseer of thir workes, and a rewarder of them, and so performe them as lawfully & exactly, when none is by to take notice of it, as to do them in the sight & presence of others; they that shall thus in conscience of Gods will serve them, as if they served them in their persons, though their masters reward them not, yet will God, and if they deale liberally with them, Gods reward shall be never the lesse; because they serve the Lord Jesus, Ephe. 6.8. the servant shall have his reward as well as any other in their place of obedience, Christ will make him his freeman, 1 Cor. 7.14. God shall blesse him with good servants, and obedient here, and make him partaker with the good servant hereafter, Math. 24.46, 47. that is, partaker of his kingdome. But here may be moved the same doubts and questions, which were in the obedience of Children. First, If God and my master com­mand divers things, whom must I obey? God, for the reasons before, and that of Christ, Math. 23.8. one is your master, that is Christ; that is chiefe and principall, who must first and e­specially be served. But yet thou that art a servant, take heed, thou make not an opposition, when there is none, yet at least not in thy obedience, though there may be in his command, on­ly to shift off his service, and to ease thy self, or for other sinister respect; for this know, that thou mayst doe things at his com­mand, which happily he commands not lawfully, and which thou couldst not doe lawfully without his command. Instances will make the point more evident; for thee to withdraw thy self on the Lords Sabboth, from publique exercises is unlawfull; But thy master commands thee to stay at home, either whole or part of the day; I see not, but thou mayst doe it, and without sinne: The master may command it without sinne, if he dwell farre from neighbours, as in the Country, for the preservation [Page 82] of the things God hath given him; and if nigh unto neighbors, yet for his children, who either must be troublesome to the con­gregation, as too many are, and hinder many from hearing, or must be kept at home, which cannot be without danger, if some one of discretion be not with them: here he may lawfully command, and thou lawfully obey, which thou couldest not doe without: But he may doe it unlawfully, when he hath no such occasion, yet thou must doe it and may, so he imploy thee not about servile workes on that day, and in that time: The reason is, because the Lords day may be sanctified privately, and pub­lique exercises are not of absolute necessity in the sanctifying of it; for then prisoners and sicke persons, and such as lye lame, should not be able to sanctifie it: They onely are of necessity, when they can be had without apparent breach of some other commandements; and yet maist thou make this unlawfull to thee; when if thou be left at home, thy Master and Mistris are gone to Church, but thou art with a child in thy armes, or without gazing at the dore, or gadding abroad, or having thy companions comming to thee, and spendest thy time prophanely, when thou oughtest, so much as may be, to spend it in reading the word, me­ditating on that thou hast heard in the forenoon or former time, or such like. And in this thou must take heed how thou setst God, and thy master, one against another: another instance, thy master commands, that is unlawfull for him to bid, not for the thing, but his affection; thou must obey, having first wise­ly and humbly sought to turne thy master from such a sinne: As betwixt David and Joabs numbring of the people, 2 Sam. 24.2, 3. But the thing he commands is unlawfull, as well as his affecti­on, I meane not simply, but by circumstance or consequent, yet thou mayst obey, as being an Officers Clerke to receive more fees then is due, being extortion; or a Noble mans bailiffe his extreame racke rents; providing that in humility thou shew thy dislike of it, seeke to reforme it, or doe it with sorrow and griefe while thou art bound to it, and get thy self rid of such a service so soone as thou may. But if he command thee any thing simply that is sinne, as to sweare for his gaine, to lye for his commodity, to deceive, to steale, or any such things, thou mayst not obey, and yet not rebell, but suffer.

Quest. 2 If the Magistrate and my Master command divers thing, whe­ther must I obey?

Answ. The Magistrate, ut supra, and for the reasons there; besides, if it carry not any excuse, neither is it any plea in law; my Master bids me doe it; It must needs follow that the Magistrate must be obeyed: It would not excuse Absolons servants, their Master bade them kill Amnon, for which he was glad to flee; for the power of the master is but subordinate to the Magistrate; thy [Page 83] obedience then to thy Master hath this restraint, because it cannot be lawfull. But say the Magistrate commands me that which doth marvellously redound to the hurt of my master, whose good I am bound to procure? If it be very profitable to the Common-wealth, a publique good must be preferred: if not prejudiciall to it, so there be no contempt of the Magistrate and his authority, he being content to beare the penalty, if it be executed and exacted from him, I see not but he may preferre his master before, as in the case of Children, and instance of Ester.

Quest. 3 My Master and my Father are opposites, whether must I o­bey?

Answ. I answer as before in Children; there is somewhat besides in those who are borne servants, Exod. 21.4.

Quest. 4 My Master and my Husband, as the case may fall out in the meaner sort, (who are to be instructed as others) or my state re­quires this of me, wife and children, but my Master another.

Answ. I answer, his Master; the Master is to be obeyed, because he ought, Psal. 15.4. not to change, though he swore to his hurt. The equity of it stands for any covenant, that must be preferred be­fore his profit; and if before his owne, then his wives or hus­bands: for the man, see an example in Jacob, who would not labour for his owne family, but obey his Master, Gen. 30.30. For the woman, if she be a servant borne, and given in marri­age, as the manner was, still she was to obey her Master. Exod. 21.4. If she be a servant by covenant, and consent of her Hus­band, during the time of her covenant, she is to obey and keepe the conditions of the covenant; for he for the time hath remitted his authority.

The third duty of servants is submission, that is, to their re­proofe and corrections; for those men whom they feare, they will suffer both at their hands.

Doctr. Servants must submit themselves unto their Masters to be controuled and corrected by them, whether they doe it justly or unjustly; whether deservedly, or not; they must feare them, and therefore suffer from them. When God allows the Master to reprove and correct his servant as he doth, Prov. 29.19. then it must imply that his servant must suffer it: 1 Pet. 2.19. for this is thank-worthy, if a man for conscience toward God, endure griefe, suffering wrongfully, Tit. 2.9. not giving crosse words one for a­nother. Hence is that, Gen. 16.9. And the Angell of the Lord said unto her, Returne to thy Mistris, and submit thy selfe under her hands. The example of Abrahams servants is commen­dable, Gen. 17.23. his servants submitted to Circumcision, and by proportion the example serves for this purpose.

Reas. 1 Because if it be for well doing in conscience, it is thanke-worthy; [Page 84] and if it be borne with meeknesse, the Lord shall give a man the more reward. 1 Pet. 2.19, 20.

Reas. 2 Because they are called to this; 1 Pet. 2.21. this is the Crosse that Christ hath called them to take up and beare after him; this is the Crosse that God hath annexed to their calling, as every calling hath some crosse or other; and for the wrong that is offe­red them, God, as St. Paul saith, Coloss. 3.25. will right and revenge them, &c.

Ʋse 1 To reprove many and most servants amongst us, who goe not so farre as nature it selfe would teach them, few so farre as Religion doth teach them; for some cannot so farre subdue their crooked natures, to submit themselves to their masters; so farre as they can doe, no otherwise; because it is in vaine to struggle with the yoke when a man cannot slip it, nor shift it off. But if some come to this, yet can they hardly suffer with pati­ence hard measure, though they suffer deservedly; when as na­turall equity condemneth him that doth otherwise.

And be it, that some can thus subdue themselves, yet is it no more than the Heathens and Publicanes will doe: it is but Cani­na patientia, a dog-like enduring, saith Bernard, such as God will not accept, when either he dare not whine, or hath done some foule fact, and deserved it. But if they have not, or thinke they have not deserved it, how ready are their answers? how soone will they turne upon their Masters, and take the rod by the end? and if they be rebuked, they murmure; if they be corrected, they either will resist, or clamorously complaine, or wickedly seeke revenge. Let these know and see their sin, and looke for a recompence from the Lord; for, saith St. Peter, they have lost their thankes, it is not thankes worthy, if they had suffered for evill; what when they will not? undoubted­ly let them looke from God, which rewardeth every man, they shall have their recompence from him, if they repent not; it may be in this life with the like, (if not in the life to come) with wicked and lewd servants. But of this sinne, if we may enquire the causes of it, we shall find in many, to come from the Parents and friends, either in their education, bringing them up cockeringly, never using them to reproofes, to the rod, and to the yoke; but as my young Masters, and such as never should come to serve; so that when they must to it, by no meanes they can apply themselves unto it, but in it endure and suffer no­thing, not so much as sharpe words, but no blowes, deserved, or not. But this is not all their fault, for it is seconded with as bad when they are in service, and find some hardnesse, and as they onely thinke, sharpnesse; they remembring the fondnesse of their affection, complaine to them, who doe not as they should, correct them soundly, and send them home againe; but [Page 85] goe to their Masters, and expostulate the matter for them; exte­nuate the fact, aggravate the Masters hard dealing, upbraid him with what he gave him with his friend or child, and so ani­mate them, that they will be in nothing sufferers after, or ne­ver without grudging and repining. Another cause is in the master, either because he was such, and is such because he hath not repented; and so it is Gods retribution, ut ante; or because he hath beene too remisse to let faults, many and little, escape without reproofe and correction, that when he would for grea­ter, he cannot subdue them; or passed by some greater faults in some other of his servants for some sinister respect, as because he would not be accounted cruell and severe, which in the ju­stice of God, and the cankred nature of another servant is payed him home, because he never feared to be accounted cruell of God, and such an one as hates his servant; for that will hold in servants, Prov. 13.24. He that spareth his rod, hateth his sonne; but he that loveth him, chasteneth him betimes; and so being asha­med in a licentious and corrupt age to be accounted hard and strait, he hath shame laid upon him by a rebellious servant, as we may apply, Prov. 29.15. The rod and reproofe giveth wise­dome, but a Child left to himselfe, bringeth his mother to shame. A third cause is in the Magistrate, to whom the master complains, as he may and must in a desperate cause, who by the servants friends or meanes he makes to him, will either reprove and checke the master, which he ought not to doe, though there be some small cause; nor, if great cause, yet not before the friends or face of the servant, and little or not at all reprove, or not severely correct that servant, by which not onely he is made more bold against his master, but even other servants are ani­mated against theirs, and the masters utterly discouraged to seeke any helpe from them.

To admonish all servants to subject and submit themselves un­to their masters, to be reproved or corrected by them as well unjusty as justly, not answering crosly, or rejecting their stripes. If they suffer justly, it is not thank-worthy for a Chri­stian, when a naturall man will doe the same; for nature teach­eth that it is no hard dealing, when they suffer evill, that have done evill before. Then, as Christ, except your righteousnesse exceed, &c. so except your subjection exceed that which a natu­rall man will performe, you shall have no thanke from God, no reward. How then must you exceed it? if not onely this, but even when you are wrongfully afflicted, reproved, and chasti­sed, in truth or in your apprehension of things, if for consci­ence sake towards God you endure griefe. 1 Pet. 2.19.Insipida & insulsa omnis tum obedien­tia, tum pa­tientia, nisi omnium quae agimus vel patimur ipse sit causa. Bernard. Obe­dience and patience are unsavoury, unlesse God be the cause, and it be for conscience.

But how farre must we suffer? I answer, So long as he kils not, or dismembers not; but if wrongfully he be corrected he may expostulate and defend himselfe, in humility and meeknes, his master giving him leave, as Job. 31.13.

The fourth duty of servants is faithfulnesse, for those whom men feare, to them are they faithfull if they trust them with any thing.

Doctr. Servants must performe all faithfulnesse to their masters; that is, they must not themselves diminish or hinder their estate, nei­ther suffer it, so much as possibly they can withstand, to be hin­dred by other, but by all meanes uphold, maintaine and in­crease it to the utmost of their power. This is manifest, Titus 2.10. not purloyning, but shewing all good fidelity, that they may adorne the Doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. Where, as faithfulnesse is expresly required, so the contrary is forbidden, and manifested wherein that doth consist, by the contrary, in maintaining and not diminishing his masters state and condi­tion: This Christ teacheth by the faithfull and evill servant: Math. 24, 45.48, &c. As also in the parable of the worldly wise, but wicked steward, Luke 16.2. Thus Jacob played a good ser­vant, Gen. 37, 38, 39. In this he was a good servant, though faulty otherwise. 1 Sam. 25.14, 15, 17. Joab also, Chron. 21.3.

Reas. 1 Because the commandement requires it of every man, one to another in common justice. Thou shall not steale, not dimi­nish another mans substance, nay maintaine and increase it, in the affirmative, then much more a servant.

Reas. 2 Because the masters family is as a little common wealth as that is a great family. Now as all subjects are members, and ought to labour for the common good, and be faithfull to the Prince, so every servant is a member, and must bee faithfull unto the whole body.

Reas. 3 Because they are put in trust often with part or his whol state; where there is trust, treachery is intolerable.

Reas. 4 Because by this meanes they shall adorn the doctrine of Christ which they professe. Titus 2.10.

Ʋse 2 To let servants see their sinnes that they have not been faith­full, but unfaithfull to their Masters; unfaithfull, first, by hindring his profit and diminishing his state, either spending his Masters goods riotously, at home with his fellow servants, as he Mat. 24. or abroad as the prodigall sonne, upon harlots and wicked per­sons, playing and dancing, drinking and dycing, and such like. The former, of servants accounted no sinne, the latter but a small sinne; and yet neither of them inferiour to robbery by the high­way, and in divers circumstances greater: And such a sinne, without recompence to his master, and repentance in the sight of God, shall have his just recompence from God, and [Page 87] shall never be forgiven him,Many for the sicknes times have in Gods Rols long Records against them, yea great inditments they must plead guilty to, for which some of their fellows have answered already. for if he that deceives another, or defrauds and oppresseth him, shall not escape, he lesse that deales so with his master. But say he spends it not, but convert it to his owne use, and inrich himself by it? he is more bound to make restitution, or let him suspect that of Augustine shall be true.Non remit­titur peccatū nisi restitui­tur ablatum. August. The sinne is not pardoned unlesse the theft be restored: and as long as he keeps it, he keeps Gods curse with it, prosper he never so well for a while, and if he leave it to his, that it will be a sparke to burne up his house and substance, in his sight; he shall leave the curse of God with it to his wife and children, when he is burning in Hell for it and o­ther sins; yet if many be free from this kind of unfaithfulnes, yet how few can wash their hands from the other, not upholding & encreasing their masters state and condition; the Apostle for­bad not only stealing and pilfering, but commands all good faithfulnesse, that they by all meanes possible should encrease it, by all their diligence, skill and speech; when as they have beene sloathfull and negligent, when they have by their carelesnesse lost their master somewhat, which might honestly have been had, or not prevented some losse by their wisdome and forecast, if they saw it comming; yea when they have murmured to breake their sleeps or mend their pace, to beare the heat in the day, and the frost in the night, for their Masters speciall ad­vantage and honest gaine: they have not performed this faith­fulnesse in all these things: looke upon your reckonings, your guilty consciences; and know you that if God will recompence your wrong to your master, Col. 3.25. he will much more re­compence you for them, if you repent not. Now the cause of this unfaithfulnesse (to say nothing of Gods retribution and ser­vants corrupt hearts) is to be found in some, because they doe not take strait accounts of their servants, but do it negligently or seldome, by which he is imboldened to spend or inabled to shift when his account is to be given.

Secondly in others, because they passe over apparent unfaith­fulnes in some of their servants, without due correction and pu­nishment, and so other of their fellows & themseves are heartned to the like, when they have no feare of God, nor feel nothing from their Masters after their deserts.

Thirdly, from parents that allowed them to spend, and brought them up idly, before ever they bound them, & from ma­ny a master who would be content his eldest servant should keep good fellowship and company, and spend of his owne, to bring them customers, by which the rest have their teeth set on edge, in their corruptions, and Gods hand is against them to punish them by others, when they had no care of the former.

Fourthly, because they had no care to take such servants as are religious and towardly, and such as know how to be faithfull; nor yet to teach them any religion, when they have them, that they might learne to be faithfull of conscience, and not for o­ther sinister respect: and so when they have no care, with Abra­ham, to teach their servants to be faithfull with God, no mar­vell though they be unfaithfull to them, in their states, bodies, children, and in all things.

Ʋse 2 This may instruct, and perswade servants to perform faithful­nesse to their masters for the time to come, and to repent, make them recompence for that is past, if they see their sinne, if in mis-spending their masters goods at home or a­broad, if by negligence losing him commodity, or by hindring of it, or for want of diligence not advancing it, sorrow and mourne for that is past, as it is a sin against God and man, and make thy master amends by a double care and diligence in thy service, else make account that thy sinne stands upon the score a­gainst thee, for a judgement to come. And if thy unfaithfulnes hath been so great, that thou hast appropriated his goods unto thy selfe, looke (whether thou be in his service or out) that thou make him recompence, and give him his owne againe, make him restitution, or else all shall not be accepted of God, while thou hast his goods in thy hand; looke how many pence or pounds, so many witnesses against thee; yea, so many as call for a curse upon the rest of thy substance, thou either hast, or may have: And for other servants, let, if not conscience restrain them, yet this, that thou must make restitution, or never have remission before God; besides the guilt and gall of thy consci­ence, if thou go not asleepe to hell; finally let servants in all things shew all good faithfulnesse, specially such as have any taste of religion, that you may adorn the doctrine of Christ; that you make not the wicked scoffe at your profession, and the good justly tax you of hypocrisie, Chrysost. Hom. 16. in Tim. hath these words; If not otherwise, yet as servants obey and respect their masters, so let us the Lord. They expose their lives for their ease, it is their work and study to care for their masters, the things of their masters they care for all the day, but a little part for their owne; would God we could this exhort upon as good ground & true, sure it is, so it should be; and thus faithfull should every one be, and if you be, look for Gods blessing by like ser­vants, and a reward hereafter with the good servants, if you be such of conscience, and for the Lord.

His Master.] As we have seen the duty and feare, so we must see the parties to whom it is due to be performed: To their Master whatsoever he may be, so he be their Master, it skils not, to him must they performe it.

Doctrine. [Page 89]Servants, must give this feare, and performe all these duties to him that is their Master; be he what he may be, or let them be what they can be, yet while they are servants, and they Masters, they must performe it; say he be in birth, in parts, in graces, in religion, inferiour to them, say he be cruell and churlish, a very Nabal, say he be prophane and irreligious, an Atheist or He­reticke, yet they must feare, and in feare performe these duties to them: this is that the Apostle speaketh, 1 Pet. 2.18. and 1 Tim. 6.1. To what servants speaketh the Apostle, to such as did be­leeve, and were come to the knowledge of the truth; of what masters, such as yet were enemies to God and his truth, loved not, knew not, had not tasted of the truth: Laban was an Idola­ter, yet did Jacob give him faithfull service, and all duty, yea a churlish and deceitfull unconscionable Master: Potiphar was an heathen, yet Joseph feared him, and served him faithfully. The Prophet never forbade Naaman his service to his Master, after he was become a Jew, that is, a servant of God.He speakes to those who are free, not to bind them­selves to such. 2 King. 5.23. hereto may we apply that, 1 Cor. 7.20, 21, 22. not to deny service, but to alter the manner of service, before for feare of Masters displeasure, now for conscience of Gods command, before their Masters onely, now Christ in their Master.

Reas. 1 Because (as was noted in Children out of Chrysost.) it is due to their place, not person; as Non principi, sed principatui; so Non magistro, sed magisterio. The feare is due, not to his person, and so good or bad, high or low, gentle or churlish; but to his place and authority, as a master, which he may be, of what quality or condition soever he be, and from them as servants, whatsoever their persons, and quality, and gifts may be.

Reas. 2 Particularly for such as are religious, that they bring not dis­honour upon Gods Name and Doctrine, 1 Tim. 6.1. but may honour him.

Reas. 3 For both, because it shall be more respected of God, the lesse it is deserved by any thing in thy master; for then it is done of conscience, and for God, as a good worke ought to be.

Ʋse 1 This will condemne the Doctrine of the Church of Rome, howsoever bragging it selfe to be Apostolicall, yet holds it but few of the Apostles doctrines, which it hath not either corrup­ted, or taught something to the contrary: And in this point most directly to Peter and Paul, forbidding feare and faithful­nesse to be performed of servants to their masters, and them who put them in trust. Symacha saith Instit. Cathol. Tit. 46. sect. 74. that all keepers of forts, and all other vassals and slaves are freed from the oath of subjection to their Lord and Master, he being an Heretick; affirming that by it, he is deprived of his ci­vill power he hath over his servants; the ground of the unfaith­fulnesse of Sr. William Stanly in yeelding up Daventer, an act ap­proved [Page 90] and commended by Cardinall Allen; how unlike are these spirits to the spirit of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, who will have faithfulnesse to the good and bad, to the Infidell aswell as the beleever; shall not that be verified of them, Math. 5.19? But they will say, Heresie is a greater sinne then infidelity; first, I answer, not as they make Heresie, ut ante; secondly, be that true of August. Sanata vulnere infidelitatis, sed gravius percussa vulnere Idololatriae, yet all Heresie is not Idolatrie, neither can this, if it be, destroy the knot and bond of this duty, which is not faith, nor the foundation of divine religion; but a po­litique title, having force and strength from the law of nature; which is not to be dissolved by Heresie not contrary to it: And the Apostles reason will be here, aswell as in Infidelity, it will make the name of God, and his doctrine ill spoken of. But the truth is, this is but a shift of theirs, for they teach no faith to be kept with such, and so no faithfulnesse with such as are hea­then or Infidels: If we may gather the lesse from the greater, Ʋladislaus (he was I take it the King of Hungary and Poland) in a battaile against the Turkes,Amurath the second of that name. had the better hand, so that the Turke offered to yeeld to any conditions; whereupon, Ʋla­dislaus and the Turke swore to Articles of Agreement; but pre­sently a Legate came frome the Pope, and urged Ʋladislaus to set upon the Turke againe,Eugenius. 4. neere vanquished already, telling him that the Pope had power to dispence with his Oath; which he attempted, though sore against his will: Then the Turke cry­ed out,O Crucifixe, crucifixe, vide gentem tuam perfidam. Oh thou crucified, thou crucified, take notice of thy trea­cherous people: And so bestirred himself, that he overthrew Ʋ ­ladislaus, which hath ever since turned to the greatest detri­ment of all Christendome: out of this by proportion we may see it is but a colour of their distinction of Heresie and Infide­lity.

Ʋse 2 To reprove all such servants as thinke they owe no feare nor duty, or lesse feare and duty to their Masters, because of some defects in them, or some excellency in themselves; if he be base borne, and they of worshipfull Parents; if he be irreligious, and they have somewhat or more taste of piety; if he be poore, so when they came to him, or impoverished after, &c. But they must know that none of these will dispense with omission of a­ny duty. Is he their Master? If they give him not all respect, they sinne against his place and dominion, and so against God that hath given it him. If God had allowed only rich men, or religious men, or good, and courteous Men to be his Vicegerents in the family, then it were somewhat, but he hath given this to the rich and the poor alike, he hath lightned both their eyes, the good and the bad hath the seale of the Commission alike, therefore they who doe not alike reverence their masters, one [Page 91] as other, are guilty of sinne before God, and shall have no re­ward from God, because he doth it not in conscience to Gods Commandement, but for sinister respect, for which they may receive their reward from men, but a heavy one from God.

Ʋse 3 To perswade servants to feare, and doe all duty to their Ma­sters whatsoever they are, one or other; he that is well borne must forget his father and his fathers house, and looke not up­on his master whence he came, but what he is; he that is religi­ous, remember he must adorne his profession, and looke not upon his master what he is of himselfe, corrupt and prophane, but what God hath made him, his owne Vicegerent, and his master; and thinke what unworthinesse soever be in thy master, yet that thou art most unworthy to doe him any disgrace, or to deny him any duty. Remember, that what is due to him, it is not to his person, but place; indeed, not to him, but God, and to him in Gods stead; and the more unworthy he is of any duty, the more readily thou perform'st it, the more reward thou shalt have from God; yea, for the present it is a speciall proofe of true grace in the heart. For as it is, Rom. 5.7, 8. so every one will obey a great and a good master; but that is true obedience, when the master is neither great nor good, or great, and not good; or good, and not great: for so have good ser­vants and holy men done in times past unto their masters.

If I be a father, where is my honour?] Here is the application of the former ground and rule, to himselfe and them, not spea­king in generall, but applying it particularly, teaching in his example what is the best and most profitable kind of preaching, when application is joyned with doctrine. Vide Heb. 12.1.

If I be a father.] Here is first the father-hood of God to be considered, and so he is in two respects, of his Creation and Election; out of both we have somewhat to learne.

Doctrine. Men in regard of their Creation being so the sonnes of God, ought to honour him, and doe him service and obedience: thus much the Lords reasoning imports and inforceth. It is ma­nifest also by that, Deut. 32.6. Doe ye thus requite the Lord, O foo­lish people and unwise? Is not he thy father that hath bought thee? Hath he not made thee, and established thee? Thus much David prayed, Psal. 119.73. Thy hands have made me, and fashioned me, give me understanding that I may learne thy Commandements; this shews he ought to pay so much to God.

Reas. 1 Because by all Lawes humane and divine, of God, nature, and Nations, a man owes as much as he hath received, and ought to repay it, as it is due, and is called for. Therefore owes a man all he hath unto God, and ought to pay it to the service of his Creator, unlesse he will be accounted a thiefe, and an ungratefull man to him who hath bestowed so great things [Page 92] upon him; for he hath received from him his being, that is, his body, with all his senses, and his soule, with all the powers of it: then is he debtor to pay all these.

Reas. 2 Because as nothing else, so man is not borne with all perfe­ctions, he hath many things perfect, but many things wanting, which must be perfected afterwards. Now it is a rule, that he must give the complement and perfection, who hath begun the worke, or given the beginning. Therefore it is that every ef­fect lookes to the cause, to receive from it his last perfection: The Trees search for the Sunne, and stretch their roots into the earth, which brought them forth. Fishes also will not out of the waters which bred them. The Chicken no sooner out of the shell, but shrowds it selfe under the feathers of the Hen, and follows whithersoever she goes. The little Lambe after it is borne, seeketh to the Dams teate, and if there be a thousand sheepe of the same wooll and colour, it knows the owne damme, and will follow her whithersoever she goes; as if she said, here I received that I have, and here I seeke for that I want. Then ought reasonable man not to doe lesse than unreasonable crea­tures, but being not perfect, seeke to him, and serve him that made him, that he may receive perfections.

Ʋse 1 This will serve to confute the dreame of Libertines and Valen­tinians, (of which not a few in our dayes,) who have the name of Christians but not the thing, who think that the Gospell & Christ being come, men are not bound to obedience as before: whe­ther the Gospell bind or no, that will follow after in the next point, for this that men are still bound, and by the Law, for all the Gospell to obey, appeares plainely, because the Reasons are the same to us now, which were then to them. Receive they not now all their bodies and soules, all the members and parts, all the faculties and powers of them from him? and as they have those beginnings, must they not have the proceedings also and perfections from him? If any have not, let him goe out free, he is bound to no such thing; but if all men have, then is every one bound, even by the Law, now in time of the Gospell, as before. Gods reason stands thus now, if I be a father, if I have made thee, and created thee, honour me; if thou haddest that thou hast else-where, I challenge it not; if thou canst have any thing from others without me to perfect thy defects, and supply thy wants, I challenge no such thing; but if not, then give me my honour. Know thus much, that the Law requires honour to God as a Father in regard of Creation; which if it be a continuall worke of God for all times, and to all men, then it follows, that now as then.

Ʋse 2 To teach men, and every one, if there be no other reason, that this requires of all obedience and honour to God, because they [Page 93] are his, he their father that made them. For if a man build the house, whose turne must it serve but the Lords that built it? if he plant a Vineyard, who shall gather the Grapes but he that planted it? If a father beget a sonne, whom shall he rather serve and honour than his father, which begat him? And if this, then how much more to him that is the Father of Fathers, and of all things in earth and Heaven? It is heard from many men, when they reprove others for some dishonouring of God, and often, but as they thinke; It is not for your profession; doth it be­come a man of that zeale you make shew of, professing so great­ly as you doe. If they speake it that they are more bound, it is true; but if that they themselves are not bound, and more than they can performe, it is false; for wherein have they dishonou­red God by the profession, that thy Creation binds not thee to doe, or from doing? Set faith and repentance aside, things in­visible not commanded in the Law, what is it thou art not bound to, either for piety or honesty, and that by the Creation? for the Law holds fast there, and Creation onely binds to all such duties. For even as the Heathen man saith,Aristotle. A man can never returne so much to his father as he ought, how can he to God, who hath given us more than all the fathers in the world? And if to dishonour a father, be a vile crime in a sonne, what is it to sinne and rebell against God, who is father so many wayes? Let every man then bethink himselfe of this, and see in himselfe how many things he hath to move him to honour God, though he never looke without himselfe; body, soule, all the facul­ties and powers and parts of both, because his hands made them: And if the Axe may not boast it selfe against him that heweth with it, Isa. 10.15. how may it against him that made it? How may man dishonour his Creator? if not the Axe a­gainst the hewer, how the heart against the master? Shall those hands made by him, those eyes enlightened by him, that tongue made, and made speaking by him, dishonour, provoke, and revile with oaths and blasphemies? if they doe, know, that as all things are possible with him, and like easie to him, he can destroy them as easily as he made them, in a word, both. Oh then let those hands worke the workes of God, let those feet walke the paths of God, those eyes delight in the wayes of God, and that tongue speake the praises of God, and that whole man honour him that hath made it; for thus he calls, If I be a Father, where is my honour? if I have made you, where is the service you doe me? Amongst men a Chapman of credit payes as much as hee received, and he would scorne not to be accounted a good pay master, and yet such deale nothing so currantly with God, neither when we looke for so much from God. Man will not give God so much, give him our selves, [Page 94] and that we have received, one will give him his heart, another his body, not his heart; another will part both with him, as if he created not both as one, as if his title be not as great to one as to another, or to the whole, as to part: He is the Father of our spirits, and the Father of our bodies; or if thou wilt give one, and not the other, thou condemnest thy selfe by the one, for with-holding the other; for his right is in this respect to both, and must have both, and be honoured in the whole. But why pay they as much, because they would receive more, and have not yet enough? So in this no man is perfect, though he have received much. And why hath not God made him per­fect? Verily it was, as one said, not because he was covetous and niggard, but because he was loving and bountifull, know­ing that it was good for him to be such an one; not that he should be poore, but humble; not as alwayes needy, but as al­wayes looking up to him, and remembring to honour him with that he hath given him, that he may receive that he wants, and further perfection: pay then thy debt, and pay it to receive more, that thou mayest be perfect, and thinke he speakes to e­very one; If I be thy Father, honour me; remember me thy Creator in the dayes of thy youth and thy age, even as one saith, so often as thou breathest, so often thou oughtest to remember God. And seeing thy being is ever in one, so thy thankfulnesse should be ever both for thy ever being. And as Chrysostome, thou wilt say, Lord keepe me as the Apple of thine Eye, he will an­swer thee againe, Keepe my Commandements as the Apple of thine eye; so thou wilt come to God, and say, Lord keepe me, for thou hast made me; I am thine, and the workes of thy hands. God will answer thee then, Keepe the words of my mouth, and so honour me, for thou art the workes of my hands.

Doctr. The election of God, by which he hath freely chosen men to be his sonnes and to be heires of eternall life, binds them to obe­dience, service and honouring of him: so the Lord reasoneth here, if I be a father, if I have adopted and chosen you for sonnes, where is my honour? He challengeth but that he hath title. To this purpose is that, Ephe. 1.4. 1 Pet. 1.17. Math. 5.16.

Reas. Because his choise and adoption is so free, for it is without a­ny merits or deserts of man; of his owne free will and pleasure, Ephe. 1.5. long before there was any merit of man, for it was before he was, it is ancienter then the world, it is coeternall with God himselfe, for as he is from all eternities, so he hath loved his from all eternity; then free and most franke is this choice of men to be sonnes. Now benefits the more free & undeserved, the more they bind men to performe thankfulnesse for them; So in this: And this is that God would have for it. Honour him.

Reas. 2 [Page 95]Because it is so rare a benefit, not all, not many, but few of many, Math. 20.16. few chosen. Benefits that are rare, are pre­tious, rara, chara, and so deserve and exact more: when as then God amongst so many Nations of barbarous men, and in such a multitude of condemned men, hath called a man to so happy a condition, that he should be in the number of those who are chosen, his sons, and to inherit eternall life; the benefit being so much the greater, as the number is smaller, must needs binde to this duty.

Ʋse 1 This may serve to stop the mouth of desperate wretches, that make the doctrine of Gods decree, an occasion of careles­nesse, and from it take liberty to dishonour God; that reason if they be elected they are sure to be saved, whether they live well or ill, and so è contra, whence they give all liberty to them­selves, and live licentiously, and dishonour God; of these I would demand, whether they thinke the former testimonies, and this particular preface was written by the spirit of Christ? If they say no, they shew themselves in the state of reprobation, whatsoever God hath decreed of them: If they say it is, then let them compare the spirit they speake with, and this spirit by which these are written, and see themselves not to be led with the spirit of Christ, which can not so contradict it selfe: It re­quireth duty and reverence, service and honour, because thou art his, thou wilt give none; because, if perhaps thou beest, thou needest not, if not, it is bootlesse and doubtfull; in this thou determinest not to honour God, but to dishonour him. Tell me this, thou thou art a father and disposest of all thy goods in secret before ever thy sonne knows how, or hath enquired, and used means to know how; if he should set light by thee, and carry himself undutifully towards thee, as if he would give thee an oc­casion to give all away from him, if thou hast not done it already; wouldest thou not thinke it a marvellous preposterous and im­pious course? and yet this is that which thou wilt doe with God, like a desperate miscreant, not knowing whether God hath purposed thee salvation and heaven, which he had disposed and made his will of in secret; yea, not taking so much paines to search and enquire by the booke of God, and the notes in it, whether thou be in the num­ber, but yer ever thou seeke after it, to know whether thou be in his booke, so wilfully behavest thy selfe, as if thou meantst to make him alter his will (if it were possible) if he were purposed to deale well with thee before. But know thou, if he were purposed to disinherit thee, yet thou oughtest to honor him because he is the father. And this without all conside­ration of Heaven and Hell, much more if he have elected thee, and thou be his sonne this way too, oughtst thou to honour him, [Page 96] And know, that if thou beest his, no such thought can possesse thy heart long, lesse allow thy mouth to speake it boastingly in a secure and carelesse course of life; what may come from a man of a troubled minde and in a temptation, that is not to this pur­pose, but the other can never bee: Nay know, that God dis­poseth all things sweetly and orderly to bring a man to this end if he have once chosen him; As a father that aymes at some state of life for his sonne, as to make him a Lawyer, or a Divine, he traines him up so, and brings him up in learning and studies and directions.

Ʋse 2 This should admonish every one who by a divine search fin­deth himselfe the son of God by adoption or election, or thinks himselfe is one, to remember what he is, and what it requires of him, even to honour God as a father. The former bindes, but this bindes more, as a twofold cord, the law because of our creation, the Gospell for our election and redemption, we are no more servants, but sonnes. Galat. 4.5, 6. But must we the lesse serve him, or not? this were a gallant Gospell indeed. Nay we must the rather, because sonnes, Mala. 3.16. we must not change our service, but the manner of our service; for he hath made us to serve him, Luke 1.74, 75. that hee would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hands of our enemies might serve him without feare, in holinesse and righteousnesse before him all the dayes of our life; Not as servants for wages, but as sonnes in a more honourable kinde of service,In primo de­dit me mihi, in secundo dedit & se mi­hi, cui debeo me, propter me debeo plusquam me propter se. Ber. with a free affection, in no mercenarie manner, otherwise this bindes us more then be­fore, and to doe more if it were possible then the law requires. If the other, though free, yet not so rare, doe bind, how much more this so rare a benefit should bind us? In the first, he gave me to my selfe; In the other he gave himselfe to me: To whom I owe my selfe for my being, to him I am more indebted for giving himself to mee; more is then due unto him, and more must we endea­vour; if our being, and being men require it of us, what this being sonnes, without which it had beene better wee had never been; yea, a thousand times? If his bounty in creating us, what his mercy and love in electing us? The world, though peevishly and corruptly it upbraids those that are Gods, and in some sini­ster and corrupt affection, challenges more of them, then of o­thers towards themselves, then towards God; yet those who are indeed Gods, must thinke such speeches are goades to pricke them forwards to more: For God hath done more for them, therefore more is required of them; yea, more then they thinke they ought to performe: Every one must argue as David, see 2 Sam. 6.21. And David said unto Michal, it was before the Lord, which chose me before thy father, and before all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel, therefore [Page 97] will I play before the Lord: It will not serve and goe for currant if Gods children elected be not more diligent to honour him, then others.

Where is my honour?] wee have seene by what right God re­quires this; we must see, now, the thing, it is honour, which is indeed childelike and filiall feare, to obey and serve him for love, rather then feare, as sonnes doe their father; and of this I will thus speak, first that men must give it to God, the sonnes to the father. Secondly, how it differs from the servile feare. Thirdly, the effects of it, that it may be known, whether had or no, and if not, it may be sought, if had, it may be joyed in.

Doctrine. First that Men must give it unto God.

Reas. 1 The Children of God, that is, his sonnes and daughters ought to honour him, that is, to serve and obey him, to doe the good he commands, not for feare of punishment, or hope of reward, but for the love of good, and righteousnesse, and his goodnesse and mercy, willingly and of conscience: hereto may we apply that Psal. 130.4. and Rom. 12.1. and 1 John 2.1. inferred upon the second.

Because else they can not be sonnes and daughters,Servilis est timor quamdiu ab amore non manat, qui de amore non venit honor, non honor sed adulatio. Bern. Cant. 83. whose nature is to obey their parents, and doe them all service of love, feare is servile, if it flow not from love: and the honour which comes not from love is not honour, but flattery, a formall fawning.

Reas. 2 Because if they obey him and honour him for hope of good, and feare of evill, and punishment it is self love that moves them, not God love, nor the love of righteousnesse; now if men require more, nor account not of this, when selfe love hath the sway, and men seeke themselves, how should God, and why should men expect it from him?Est qui confitetur Deo, quia potens est, est quoniam sibi bonus est, est qui­a simpliciter bonus est, Psal. 118.1.19. primus servus est & timet, secundus mercenarius & cupit sibi, tertius fili­us est & diligit patrem. * One bles­ses God because he is powerfull, another be­cause he is good to him, another because he is simply good in himselfe, Psal. 118.1. The first is a servant and feares. The second is an hireling and lookes for gaine. The third is a sonne and loves his father.

Object. There are many promises of good things for obedience, and threats of evill for disobedience, are they made to servants, or written for them alone, or also for sonnes? If Sonnes, why may not they look to them, and for them doe service.

Sol. Without question whatsoever is written is for sonnes not ser­vants, or principally for them, yet is it not acceptable to God, when it is done for these, for nothing proceeding from hirelings or slaves can be acceptable: why then are these written? Name­ly, to helpe them in it, not to be the principall mover of it, vide James 2.8.

Ʋse 1 [Page 98] This proves that many mens workes and obedience are not the honour of God, nor things acceptable, though according to the law, and things commanded; (which in another are his ho­nour, and accepted of him) the end or motive not being good and right as it should.

The second thing to be observed, is how this child-like and filiall feare differs from the other servile feare; and that it doth in divers things.

The first difference is in respect of the object, that is, of that which is feared, that is sinne; the one feares sinne as it is sinne, and because it is sinne: the other onely the punishment of sin, and not sinne at all but in regard of the punishment; the for­mer curbs the action onely,Hosea 3.5. the other the affection; the one li­keth and loveth sinne, but he dare not commit it in regard of the danger that may ensue of it; the other hateth and abhorreth sinne, and would not commit it though he might doe it with­out danger at all, as Prov. 8.13. The feare of the Lord is to hate evill, Psal. 97.10. And because it deales with the affection, it is called a pure feare; Psal. 19.9. The feare of the Lord is cleane or pure, for it purgeth the heart, as faith is said to doe, Acts 15.9. The other is a melting feare, but this is a purging and refining feare.

The second difference is in their grounds, the one is groun­ded onely upon the wrath of God, and for his justice; the other regardeth them, but specially his mercy and goodnesse, Psal. 130.4. Hosea 3.5. The filiall feare, to offend God in regard of benefits past; the servile, for evill to come: See the difference plainely, Jer. 5.22, 23, 24. Feare ye not me, saith the Lord? or will ye not be afraid at my presence, which have placed the sand for the bounds of the Sea by the perpetuall decree that it cannot passe it, and though the waves thereof rage, yet can they not prevaile, though they roare, yet can they not passe over it? But this people hath an unfaithfull and rebellious heart: they are departed and gone. For they say not in their heart, Let us now feare the Lord our God, that giveth raine both early and late in due season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weekes of the harvest. If you will not have this filiall feare, yet at least shake not off this servile dread, if not feare in regard of good I have, yet of evill I may doe them.

By these two (for the present) may every one examine him­selfe, whether he hath a servile or a filiall feare. If thou fearest as a Childe, thou hatest sinne as sinne, because it is sinne, thou art like a man that loaths a meate, and therefore would not eate of it. If only a servile feare, thou loathest sinne for the punishment, not for it selfe indeed, but the sequel; like a man that hath a minde to eate of something that the Phisitian hath forbidden him, and is hurtfull, and abstaines only because he dares not [Page 99] touch it for feare of further inconvenience. If thou hast the childe-like feareIsta sagitta timor, qui configit & in­terficit carnis desideria. Ber. It is not the outward worke that dislikes thee, and externall act of sinne only, but even the desires, motions and affections; for it is pure. That dart is feare which pierces and kills the very desires of the flesh. If the servile onely, then the outward worke onely and practice of sinne is feared; if a filiall feare, then it will grieve thee to offend, nay, to be provoked to offend so good and gracious, so mercifull and loving a fa­ther, who hath beene ever so gracious and good unto thee. But if but the servile feare, then onely when thou feelest his hand, or fearest an imminent danger, or hast the fresh remem­brance of a judgment which is but new taken from him, for which a Child of God must and ought to feare: but then are not these the principall causes of feare in him, for these he feares, and flies sin, but principally for the other. If a filiall feare, thou art afraid to offend in lieu of thankfulnesse, for thy being and preservation, and all thy manifold blessings received already: If a servile, onely for feare of evills, or hope of that which is to come. It is the whip, the scourge, and the rod that causeth the hypocrite as an Asse, a foole, and a slave to forbeare and leave sinne; but it is love, conscience, and obedience that ma­keth Gods Children willingly to abhorre it. Nazianz. if thou bee'st a slave and a servant, stand in feare of the whip or the scourge; if an hireling; worke for thy wages, expect thy re­ward: but if over and above all these, thou beest a sonne, doe good, because it is thy duty to please and observe thy father, from whom thou hast received so much good be­fore.

The third difference of these two feares is this; the one is a loving feare, and the other is a hatefull feare; the first is joyned with love, such as good subjects beare to good Princes, and ordinarily children beare to their fathers. The second is joyned with hatred, such as servants beare to their hard and cruell Ma­sters; the one would, if they could, withdraw themselves out of Gods government, and get out of his sight, as Adam, Gen. 3. as a fugitive servant, as Hagar, Gen. 16. the other would not willingly away from God, but submitteth himselfe unto him, and seeketh as he can, to presse neerer and neerer, as farre as he dare with due reverence of his Majesty, like the Prodigall sonne, who came home to his father, and yeelded himselfe willingly into his hands. And therefore it is a true saying, that after sinne the wicked are troubled, they cannot get themselves farre enongh from God; and the godly are troubled, they cannot come neere enough home to him: the one is afraid of the losing of God, the other is afraid of Gods finding of him: of that, saith Augustine, in 1 John 4. it is called castus timor, a chaste feare. [Page 100] Tis one thing to feare God,Aliud est timere Deum ne te mittat in Gehennam, aliud ne ipse à te recedat ille non est castus qui non venit ab amore Dei, sed ex timore poenae, iste castus est quia venit ex amore Dei quem amplecteris. August. in 1 Joh. 4 lest he send thee to Hell, another lest himselfe depart from thee: that feare is not chast, because it comes not from the love of God, but from the feare of punishment; but this is chast, be­cause it comes from the love of God, whom thou delightest in. So that this filiall feare agreeth with the love of Gods Majesty, yea it riseth out of love, a man is afrayd to offend one that he loveth, but the servile fear is joyned with the deadly hatred of God. And so as it is said, whom they feare they hate, and they desire he may perish whom they hate.Quem metu­unt oderunt, & quem ode­runt periisse cupiunt. So it may be said of this, that by it he is not homi­cida, a manslayer, but Deicida, a Godslayer, wishing there were never a God to punish him.

The fourth difference of these two feares, is in their continu­ance, which is manifest.

First, If we consider them in divers subjects, for the one is but for a bront, like lightning that giveth a flash and is gone, and comes in an instant; never ceizeth upon the soule, nor dwelleth in the heart. For instance we may take Pharoah, Exod. Chap. 27, 28, 29, 30. so Ahab, when Eliah had summoned him, hee feares, 1 King. 21.27. but soone after he goes fearelesse to Ra­moth Gilead, 1 King. 22.26, 27. The filiall feare is permanent, and constant, as the causes of it are, Isa. 11.2. Prov. 28.14. For it is no naturall worke, but a supernaturall habit.

Secondly if we consider them in one subject, the one outla­steth and overlives the other. 1 Joh. 4.18. perfect love casteth out feare; that is, servile feare, but Psal. 19.9. The feare of the Lord is cleane, enduring for ever, that is, filiall feare, when it comes, it casts out that, because it brings with it assurance of God favour. It remaines still, having the lesse paine and trouble with it the longer it lasteth, and the more forward it commeth to perfection: And this feare is so lasting that it remaines after this life; not that the blessed shall fear either lest they should of­fend, for they are then without danger of falling; but in re­gard of Gods power, and his incomparable, and his incompre­hensible graces, there shall be a reverent dread, and yet delight­full, such as the Angels have now in Heaven: As Angels feare, Isaiah 6.2, 3, 4. when they are in the presence of God; for as we reverence a great man in regard of his place, though he beare us no evill will, nor we expect any evill from him; So no doubt, the holy Saints and Angels in Heaven in regard of God, though they neither feare to lose him, because they can not fall from him, nor to offend him, because there is no danger to displease him, yet they reverence him still in regard of his Majesty, which they can neither sufficiently admire nor adore.

Now further by these two differences, as by the former, may every man examine himselfe, whether he hath a childelike or servile feare.

As by the first, whether thou lovest or hatest God for feare:Deum tua peccata vindi­care aut non posse, aut nol­le, aut ea ne­scire, vis ergò Deum non esse Deum, qui vis eum aut injustum esse, aut impoten­tem aut insi­pientem. Bern. de Temp. 58. wouldest thou flee from God, when thou hast offended, couldst thou wish he were not? If thou desirest that either he knew not thy sinnes, or could not or would not punish them; then thou wouldst that God were not, when thou desirest hee were ignorant, or impotent, or unjust: And hence thy wretched heart under this feare even hates God, thou hast but a servile feare; but canst thou yeeld thy selfe to God, and draw neere to him, fearing to be forsaken of God, being willing to yeeld thy self into his hands? this is filiall feare. There is sayth Augustine an unchaste adulterous woman, who feareth her husband, but she feareth him, because she loveth her naughtinesse, and there­fore his company is not delighfull, but burthensome unto her, and loving evill she is afrayd of his comming, lest he finde her so. There is a chaste woman, she loveth and affecteth her husband, and liveth with him in good sort, and would never have him out of sight; now ask them both whether they fear their husbands? they will say they doe; there is the same answer, but not the same minde. Aske them why? and that will put the difference,Ʋna vox, non eadem mens. the one answereth lest he should come home and finde her, and finde out her lewdnesse and lightnesse; the other, lest being pre­sent he should depart, and lest he should love her lesse, and by any offence of hers be estranged. As he much misliketh the former woman, so mislike thy self if thou fear God in that sort, and carry thy self so to God in this sort, as thou wouldst thy wife should be affected unto thee.

By the second, is thy feare momentany, soone come, soone gone, doest thou not feare awayes? then feare thy feare it is not true. If thou hast overcome thy servile feare, and dost not feare still, thou canst not have true feare; for as love expels one feare and casts it out, so it causeth another, and that such a feare as is never afterwards extinguished, though the act & working of it be somtime more fresh then others, yet the habit is never lost.

The third thing touching this filiall feare is the effects of it. And these I reduce to these heads, such as awfull and dutifull children have, and so may well be so resembled.

The first is a desire to know his will and pleasure, to finde it out, and a delight in doing of it: As a child will be desirous to know his fathers minde, that he may not offend him, and be ready to doe it of himselfe when he hath found it; hence that Psal. 112.1. Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, that deligh­teth greatly in his commandements. See it by the contrary, Job. 21.9, 14 Their houses are safe from feare, neyther is the rod of God up­on [Page 102] them; Therefore they say unto God, depart from us: for we de­sire not the knowledge of thy wayes. Psal. 25.12, 13. What man is he that feareth the Lord? him shall he teach in the way that he shall chuse; his soule shall dwell at ease, and his seed shall inherit the Earth.

The second is, a suspition and jelousy of particular actions, lest they should doe that unawares, which might be offensive to God. A good childe, if he doubt to doe ought that he thinketh his father will not like of, he will first aske the question, whe­ther he will have him doe it or no, and let it alone till he know his minde in the matter: so a childe of God, he will be carefull to try all his workes by his will and his word, and to abstaine till he know what his good will, and his pleasure is. Thus was Job zealous of his children, Job. 1.5. so of his owne wife, Job. 9.28. Therefore the spirit commends him for a man fearing God, and such as none was like, yea as the devill could finde no fault with him, Rom. 14.5. he will be fully perswaded it is Gods will, before he doe it. 1 Thessal. 5.21. not enough to say, I doe not know it unlawfull; better debarrre our selves of some lawfull things, then doe one unlawfull. Eccles. 5.5, 6.

The third is, a wary shunning and avoyding of things he knows will offend, as an awfull child will hardly be drawn, or woed to do ought that his father hath expressely forbidden him, or that will displease him; as Jacob to lye and deceive his fa­ther, Gen. 27. or if he be drawn, yet if his father come sudden­ly upon him, and finde him about it or beginning it, he will stay his hand soone and bee ashamed of himselfe: so the man that feares God, will not be woed and urged to those things that he knoweth cannot but offend God. So Joseph, Gen. 39.9. There is none greater in his house then I: neither hath he kept back any thing from mee but thee, because thou art his wife; how then can I doe this great wickednesse and sinne against God? Nehe­miah 5.15. The former governours that had been before mee, were chargeable unto the people, and had taken of them bread and wine, be­sides forty shekels of silver, yea even their servants bare rule over the people, but so did not I, because of the feare of God. Or if by case of infirmity or strength of temptation he be violently car­ryed away, yet if he shall but once seriously thinke of the pre­sence of God about him, it will make him for shame to stay, or breake off the practice of sinne, as in David, 2 Sam. 24.10. Da­vids heart smote him, and he said, I have done very foolishly.

The fourth is, a griefe and a feare to see ought done by others that may provoke God to wrath, as a good childe will be loath any of his brethren or any of the servants should doe ought that may anger his father, if it be but the disquieting of him: so a true child of God will be vexed to see others take such courses as [Page 103] may be offensive to his heavenly father. So that 2 Pet. 2.7. and David, Psal. 1 19.53.136.139.158. such are commended and marked, Ezechiel 9. as they are condemned, 1 Cor. 5.1. who doe contrary.

The fifth, a trembling at the wrath and anger of God decla­red for sinne either in word or deed.

First, in word at Gods threatnings either against him selfe or others, as a child quaketh and trembleth at his fathers chyding, though it be with some others; so doe the children of God com­monly when they heare the wrath of God, denounced against others, so is it, Isa. 66.2. Psal. 1 19.161. 2 Chro. 34.27. Jer. 26 18. Habacuk. 3.16.

Now secondly, if at his word, how much more at his rod; if when he speaks, more when he beats themselves, or others: as a child if he see his father to take the rod in hand to correct any of the family, he standeth trembling, and quaking, he feareth lest he should have a wipe by the way; so the child of God feareth as before Gods face, when he seeth the hand of God upon others, as when he feeleth it upon himselfe, David, 2 Sam. 6.7.9. the Church, Acts. 5.11. Psal. 119.119, 120. Habacuk. 3.16.

Now these being the effects, and as it were the fruits of this fi­liall feare, it shall be good for a man to examine himself by them, whether he have it, or no; for by the fruits you shall know it: It is to be feared that if men will doe this seriously, but a few of those who call God father every day, wilbe found to have this filiall feare, and so his sonnes indeed. The first fruit, is a desire to know, and finde out Gods will, and then to doe it; but alas how many have wee that refuse to seek after the knowledge of his wayes; like those, Job. 21.14. but say some will search the word, yet it is onely to furnish themselves with matter of dis­course; and not to finde out that which may serve, to order and direct their lives; they are a curious kinde of Men, and as Seneca saith, Scholae non vitae discitur; they study schoole quirks, and not points of practice, others are sorry many times, that they lighted on more then they looked after: As the yong man not answered to his mind, was sorry he had asked; Luke 15.23. Bernard hath observed of his experience, Cant. ser. 74. many (saith he) have I known,Ber. in Cant. serm. 74. made sad upon the knowledge of the truth, because they could not so pretend ignorance as be­fore. Or if not this, but with the sonne in the Gospell stay, and doe not, or deferre as Jonah, or doe as Balaam, blesse, when he would have cursed; so they, their hands go against their hearts; these, and such like, must needs be voyd of this feare.

The second is a jealousie over his particular actions; but how many runne headlong into all actions, never regarding what [Page 104] warrant they have for them; that though never so many make doubt of them, and the lawfulnesse of them, yet all is one to them, as they know nothing for them, so they know nothing against them: and they eyther doe as Peter, Luke 22.49.50. who cut off Malchus eare before he could heare his answer; or as Prov. 20.25. doe things first, and examine them after. These are farre from this feare; for where it is, there if any doubt arise about an action that seemed indifferent before, he will be jea­lous of himselfe, and walke the surest way, when he knoweth he may doe or abstaine without offence, but he is in some sus­picion of the other, he will rather be sure to goe on a good ground, than hazard the incurring of Gods displeasure, though he lose somewhat, yea much, both of his profit and pleasure, knowing the feare of God is opposite to this manner of wal­king, and so 'tis made. Eccles. 5.1, 5, 6.

The third is a carefull avoiding of knowne sinnes, and things that will offend; but how many give liberty to their flesh, runne with a full swinge into the practice of sinne, and never care to returne out of it againe; who vaunt of this feare, and yet often vaunt of their sinnes, and never shame at them. Nay, sooner shame and blush to be a man noted, to have a care to avoid the common sinnes of the age; how have these men any child-like feare? will they account that their children doe lovingly feare them, when they runne into all or many things they know will displease them, and are ashamed to be accounted more than or­dinarily dutifull? Questionlesse no; then let them be their own Judges, and shall; for they tell us, they have no feare, if that be their feare. Prov. 8.13.

The fourth is a griefe to see others offend, but many boast of the feare of God, and yet they delight and take pleasure in the sight and hearing of other mens sinnes, never caring nor re­garding what others doe, so they be not like them. They can dayly see many Laodiceans neither hot, nor cold, amongst us; many Ephesians, that have lost their first love; many Jebusites, Idolaters amongst us, and swarming amongst us; these they see, and yet they sigh not as it; nay, either take pleasure or make profit by it: it is but a boast, they are void of the filiall feare of God, because they have no care whether he be honoured or dishonoured; pleased, or displeased; as if a Child could endure his fathers dishonour, if not be revenged of them, for want of power and such like, yet will he mourne and sorrow. How should I beare my fathers dishonour? and if these, much more those who seeke to draw others to sinne, swearing, whoring, drunkennesse, and such like; they can have no true feare of God as Children.

The fifth, trembling at his judgments threatened or executed [Page 105] upon others. Many say they feare God, and yet they can heare the wrath and judgments of God denounced against sinne, and it may be the sinnes they practise, yet are never a whit moved at all, but goe as they came, as if the Word were but wind: As Jer. 5.13. Their hearts melt not, nor they mourne not; nay, when they see Gods judgments upon others, they censure and condemne them, but feare nothing themselves; nay, often when they are in the same condemnation, if they be not in the same punishment. Sure it is, they have no child-like feare at all, they are worse than the beasts, yea, senselesse things, who tremble at his voice; and they shew themselves Children of wrath: Onely the children of wrath are fearelesse of wrath, Soli filii irae iram non sen­tiunt. Bern. as S. Ber­nard speaketh.

If I be a Master, where is my feare.] The application of the second rule of nature; we must speak of Gods Lordship, then of the feare he requires for it: He is a Lord in respect of his crea­tures, either generally or specially: First, generally, jure Cre­ationis & gubernationis, by right of Creation and government. Secondly, particularly, jure pacti & redemptionis, by right of Covenant and Redemption. First, jure redemptionis, Exod. 20.2. 1 Cor. 6.20. Secondly, jure pacti & conventionis, by right of Covenant and agreement. Those who live in his Church, have made a Covenant with him by sacrifice, Psal. 50. and have bound themselves by Oath to serve him, and have covenanted to be his people, Jer. 40. Here he meanes both, but not of the whole in both, but onely of government and covenant: for the other in the former, and by these he challengeth obedience and service, as by the former; for that which is required under ho­nour, is here under feare; the same thing, but differing in af­fection and some circumstances, as before. But first of his govern­ment and jurisdiction, in respect of his blessings and preserva­tion.

Doctrine. Men, in respect of Gods government over them, ought to serve and obey him, being under him as subjects are under their Lords and Princes, by whose authority and Lawes they enjoy their lives and liberties, increase in state and riches. So under God; he preserving, protecting, increasing them and their states himselfe. If I be a Master and Lord, and you enjoy these things by me, where is my service and obedience? This is pro­ved by, Isaiah 1.2, 3. That of the devill in accusing Job, Chap. 1.9, 10. shews that Gods government requires this; and his answer to his wife, Chap. 2.10. also shews it. That of David, Psal. 71.6. is pertinent, and that of Jer. 5.24.

Reas. Because this is no lesse benefit than the former of Creation; for that was once done, this is alwayes; and as it were every day, after a sort, God creates man anew; ever preserving that he [Page 106] once created, shewing in this no lesse power nor love than in the other; and if for that obedience is debt, for creating in a moment; how much more for a continuall preservation?

Ʋse. This may admonish all men, that as their Creation before, so their continuall preservation under Gods government, his Lordship, and Dominion over them, requires all the service and obedience they can performe, because they are his subjects and servants, he their Master and Lord. All Soveraignes and Lords looke for all feare and obedience from such as they go­verne, protect, and whose good and peace they procure: All Masters from servants they feed, and cloath, and governe; and this they yeeld unto them, how much more all men to God, who is King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, their Soveraigne, and Lord of all, and over all? Therefore all, high and low, Kings and Subjects, Male and Female, bond and free, rich and poore, owe this to him, and are bound unto him for it. For Kings rule, the great ones governe, the rich prosper, the poore live by him, yea, all are under him; he preserveth and go­verneth all. Whatsoever priviledge one man hath above ano­ther, yet there is no priviledge in respect of God. If the King reigned without him, if the Noble ruled without him, if the rich increased without him, it were somewhat; but when none of these, all is by his providence, and from his power, which makes him say to all, If I be a Master or Lord, where is my feare? The King is great but in respect of his subjects, nothing greater in respect of God than another; as the earth is but a small mote or point in respect of the Heavens: the rich are weal­thy in respect of the poore, but, but poore compared with the Kings treasure, more poore compared with God: so that be they all great, and as high and as rich as may be, yet their Crownes and Crownets, their honours and riches, their states and lives are in his hands. And as a Ship in one day upon the Sea would perish without a governour, so would all these in a mo­ment come to nought without him, his government, protecti­on, and providence. See then how every one that acknowledg­eth God his Lord and Master, and feeleth indeed his govern­ment and providence for good, ought to serve and feare him. If thou doest not beleeve that God moves all thy members when thou doest move, thou art not worthy the name of a Christian, saith one; for St. Paul hath taught it, Acts 17.28. But if thou doest beleeve it, that thou receivest such from him, and yet darest provoke and offend him, I know not what name is evill enough for thee: so for this, if thou acknowledge not all is from God, through his providence, and from his care, that thou art as thou art, thou art not worthy the name of a sonne or ser­vant: but if thou acknowledge it, and yet shakest off his feare, [Page 107] and performest not obedience to him, what name is bad enough for thee? nay, what punishment is sufficient for such an offence? what then, if for life and continuance, how much more for a well and wealthy being? when mens portions are made fatter, and their state better, both than in former times, and also than thousand others; Gods providence and care more to them, their obedience and service should be more to him. And yet it is a la­mentable thing, my eyes could cast out teares for it in secret, (as the Prophet) to see many men risen of nothing, when they had little, were diligent and carefull to serve and obey God in themselves, and in their families, and those who belong to them; but after that Gods government was more good to them, and they prospering better by it, I know not how, such is the corruption of our nature, they serve him now farre lesse in them and theirs; and yet it is thought excusable, as if a Subject, who lived under his King, and that onely lived without wealth, or honour, or advancement, or but with a small pittance of these, and then gave him service and all loyall duty, should af­ter, when he had received these in bountifull measure, by his gracious bounty and government, either lesse respect him, or be lesse loyall, or more rebellious, and thinke it were tolerable enough, because he is now more wealthy, worshipfull, and honourable. But whatsoever he thinks, others would condemne him, and every of these who deale thus with God; then shall they be judged by their owne mouth. Oh that they would in­deed judge themselves, that they be not judged of the Lord, 1 Cor. 11.31. else undoubtedly he will judge them, if his; in this life punishing them in those things which have made them by their corruption lesse loyall unto him, as wealth, riches, honour, friends, and such like; that he may so bring them home againe, and let them see how they have wronged him, for great things giving him lesse. If he doe not, the case is more fearefull, he meanes to condemne them with the world. And though they will not now acknowledge they injure God any wise in thus dealing outwardly with him, yet the day shall come, and it is now at hand, when this injury shall be made manifest, and when as these complaints, which are now made by us, shall be heard, though men have now their eares so heavy, and their eyes so shut up, and their hearts so fat, that they cannot see, or heare, or understand to be converted and healed: It shall (saith one) be equall and right with God, that those who will not now open their eyes when there is time, and while the mul­titude of blessings they enjoy by Gods gracious government, doth invite them to serve and feare him; yea, I say it shall be just and right that their eyes shall be opened by the multitude of torments, which must continue for ever. But of you who heare [Page 108] me this day, let mee hope better things; nay, let mee see them.

If I be a Master,] God is a Master secondly, by covenant, specially in this place, for he speakes to such as professe him and his worship, and such as were in his Church, and had made a co­venant with him; as his subjects, he their God and Lord. Psal. 50.5. Jer. 50.5.

Doctr. In the Church all ought to obey God, because of the cove­nant they have made with him; being in that speciall manner his servants, having covenanted with him, that he should bee their God, and they would be his people, Psal. 50.7.14. Jer. 3.4, 5. Isaiah 48.1, 2. Luke 6.46.

Reas. 1 Because if the former, and for the former reason, more for this; when God hath taken them so nigh to himselfe in speciall place: For if all subjects owe duty and obedience; more they, whom the King takes into his owne House and Court, into his Chamber of presence: So if all that are in the world, bee the Lords Kingdome, and ought to serve and obey him, and are bound by his generall government and protection; more those whom he hath taken into his Church, his House, his Court, and his Chamber of presence, and imployed them to some speciall service and office about his person, as it were.

Reas. 2 Because, if they be covenant servants, and that be professed, then must they remember their conditions, for without them no covenant is made, and the condition on their parts is to serve and obey him, and this very common honesty and servility requires of every servant.

Reas. 3 Because God tooke them into covenant, not as men doe com­monly their servants, then when they were able to doe him service, and looke before they agree with them, what service they are able to performe them; but God (saith Chrysostome) farre otherwise, he receives them into covenant when they are able to doe nothing, and maintaines them long before they can doe a­ny thing; therefore reason they should doe him service when they are able.

Ʋse 1 A reproofe of many men, who live more disobedient and re­bellious in the Church, then thousand heathens have done out of it; who onely are Gods servants at large, and yet doe they outgoe them in many things in the outward service, and sub­jection to God according to the law of nature, he hath ingraf­ted into them. Many sinnes, thousands of them would have blushed to have heard tell of, and been marvellous ashamed on­ly to speake of them without detestation, which these in the Church, and for all their covenant shame not to doe, and blush not to brag of them: Questionlesse, as the same sinnes are graater in the Church, then out of it, for ignorance excuseth à [Page 109] tanto, though not à toto; so the same and greater shall have greater punishment, howsoever they may carry it out for a time: Yea, and howsoever some dream, all in the Church must needs be saved, though the multitude without be condemned, yet they shall find as it is, Math. 11.22, 24. so it shall be easier for those heathen, then for them; lesser shall their torments be in Hell.

Ʋse 2 To instruct every man in the Church, who is Gods covenant servant, having made a covenant with him, with the sacra­ments, and by them; that he ought to serve, and obey him with all faithfulnesse and diligence: So doe masters looke for, from their covenant servants, so will servants of any honesty doe with their masters: So God expects, so should they per­forme: It is not the boasting of their baptisme, and com­ming to the Lords Supper, the renewing of their covenant, that will be profitable unto them, when they performe not their con­ditions to renounce the enemies of God, and to serve him; Nay it will be their shame & greater reproach, because while they boast of the covenant, they shew themselves covenant breakers, such as common honesty would blush at, the sin of Gentiles who were given up to a reprobate sence;Ro. 1.30. If any man imagine that these set him at liberty, that is, carnall liberty, he marvellously de­ceives himselfe: Truth it is, that it is true liberty, for the ser­vice of God is most true liberty, but it is not their carnall liberty to doe as they list, but to follow the command of God, as the Centurions servants, for they have their presse money, or soul­diers oath given unto them; yea, and being so nigh brought to him, they owe more service, for their more honour, more obedi­ence: he that imagineth it is an easie life to be a Courtier, to be imployed about the Kings person, in his presence or bed chamber, doth much deceive himselfe, as ignorant of such things; for though they have more honour, more favour, and obtaine many speciall suits for themselves and friends, yet they have more labour, more watching; yea, more diligence and in­dustry is looked for, from them; and they usually performe; so in this, in the Church, Gods Court, there is more honour, more comfort, more suits obtained, but more service required, or at least more bonds of this service, & more reason they should per­forme it. That Chrysost. urgeth touching virginity of a woman, a virgin and married, may be here applyed; that if there be any liberty to mind earthly things, to follow the pleasures of the world and such things, it is to those who are out of the Church, not to those who are in it, further then helps them to this service.

Where is my feare?] Wee have seen the reasons why this is due, and why God doth chalenge it; wee must now see the [Page 110] duty, and this is servile feare; feare in generall, is but the ex­pectation of an imminent evill, this feare rises from the conside­ration of the power and justice of God.

And of this, first, a man ought to performe, and give it to God.

Secondly, the effects of it; Of the differences were spoken before.

Doctr. The servants of God (howsoever they be servants) even in the Church ought to feare him, that is, to serve him and avoyd the evils he hath forbidden them, for fear of his power and justice, Jer. 5.22. and 10.7. Math. 10.28. Psal. 33.8. 2 Cor. 5.10, 11. Rom. 11.20. Revelat. 15.4.

Reas. 1 Because he is able, as he made them with a word, and the whole world at first, so to destroy them, and bring them to nought with a word, when they displease and provoke him. Now in reason, as naturall men (as Tully said) doe more regard what he can doe to them, in whose power they are, then what he will doe with them. For being able he may, when he will, come upon them and destroy them, but being willing and not able, he cannot at his will; so in reason ought all men to deale with God, and towards him.

Reas. 2 Because his justice will not suffer him to passe over the breach of his law unpunished, no more then he will or can be unjust, nay no more then he will not be God; for if unjust, no God; if he let things slip over unpunished, he must be unjust, except in things where men judge themselves first.

Ʋse 1 Then in the Church must there be feare of God, namely of his justice and power, and not of his mercy only; contrary to some who thinke, in the Church, onely men should feare God for his goodnesse? I answer, that it is true this should be the prin­cipall thing for which they should feare; but in the Church, though we be all one mans servants, yet we are not all one mans children; yet if all were so, because of the unregenerate part this ought to be, in that a man is not altogether freed, and made a sonne, but is partly a servant, &c.

Ʋse 2 Then ought every one in the Church to endeavour to know his power and justice, and to acknowledge them; for howso­ever it is true that all are alike in the hand of God, and his do­minion over all, as the Psalmist speakes, yet all doe not regard and take notice of it. A great many doe not beleeve, nor are perswaded of them, and that maketh them, they feare not God as they should. For as Ignoti nulla cupido, there is no de­sire of that which is unknowne so nulla formido, there is no feare; for feare riseth not so much out of the outward evill, as it doth of the inward apprehension of it. And there­fore not the neernesse of the danger, but the conceit of the e­vill, [Page 111] raiseth the affection of feare in the heart; therefore Isaiah saith of some, that they goe downe laughing to Hell, they play merrily upon Hells mouth, as the Child without feare, playeth upon the Cockatrices den, because they are ignorant what danger they are in. So then it is not all who are in his power, and over whom his authority and justice is, but such as know them for present, or how they may feele them after, that feare and stand in awe of him as they should.

Ʋse 3 To teach men, if they have not the spirit of sonnes, the love of God and righteousnesse, that for conscience they will obey, yet at the least, that they endeavour to obey him for feare of his power and justice, as servants, if not as sonnes. The other is that which is acceptable, yet this is that which God calls for, and men ought to doe, even the outward act of Gods service for feare of his power and justice. Though I cannot say it hath any promises of good things, yet hath God shewed good, and given blessings to those which have it onely. As to Ahab and the Nine­vites for their repenting at the feare of his judgments and threat­ning: To shew how he will much more accept the repentance of his, yea, and to draw on such servants to the like, for that is a speciall benefit to his Church, they be orderly in the outward duty.

The second thing concerning this servile feare, is the effects of it, which are these:

The first, that it is tanquam fraenum ad equum, as a bit and a bridle to men, to with-hold them from sinne, from the wilfull practice of wicked things; it is the strongest curbe that can be to keepe mans corrupt nature from running forth into outrage, if it be surely setled once in them. Manifest in Laban, when he pur­sued after Jacob: Gen. 31.29. And that of Paul, when he shew­eth that the want of this maketh the open high-way to the pra­ctice of all sinne, Rom. 3.18. And that this should be such a re­straint, it stands with reason; because there are two maine things which draw men to sin, and the practice of wickednesse. The first is, the desire of some good men may get by the commit­ting of it, but this desire is crossed by feare, which is the strong­est and most violent affection of all others, and so stoppeth the passage of all other desires; so that it is neither profit nor plea­sure that can make a timorous man hardy, or can master and o­vercome feare in any mans minde, but it will overcome all de­sire of them, and no desire of it; nay, not the pleasure it selfe, all the pleasure in the world cannot comfort a condemned person, nor banish feare out of his minde, so long as the halter hangeth over his head, so long as he dayly and hourely looketh to be drawne to execution. But feare is able to expell pleasure, and the desire of those things we love most; as in Sampson in Dali­laes [Page 112] lap, when a noise of Philistims and a false Alarum was up­on him. Gods feare expells all other feares, as is manifest by the Midwives. Exod. 1.17. Jer. 1.17. Isaiah 8.12, 13. As a stronger nayle drives out a lesse, so the feare of God other feares; the greater feare the lesse, the feare of Hell-fire will carry the mastery of all other feare. Luke 12.4, 5.

Ʋse 1 We may make use of this, first, to prove many men amongst us not onely void of a filiall feare, which makes men avoid small sinnes, and to shun the act of any sinne, but of this servile feare, because great sinnes are small or no sinnes with them, and they have the very habite of all sinne, living in the practice of some one, or many grosse and impious sinnes, whoredome, adultery, murther and blood, oppression and cruelty, covetousnesse and usury, swearing and blasphemy, &c. so that whatsoever they say, we may say, Psal. 36.1. The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no feare of God before his eyes: when as then men goe on in their wicked courses, and a small pleasure or desire of it will carry them to the fulfilling of the lusts of the flesh, and to all voluptuousnesse, and practice of all pleasure, a small feare make them commit any sinne, and either coveting some pleasure, or thinking to avoid some displeasure of the world, they onely neglect not the good, but make no bones to commit sin, and to lye in it; they have not certainly come so farre as to have this servile feare, and so they are not sonnes, no not servants of God: nay, though they have the shape of men, as Nabuchadnezzar had, yet they have not so much understand­ing as a beast, lesse than he had. For as Bernard saith, Divers. 12. Let us lade and over-burthen an Asse, and toyle him with labour, he cares not, because he is an Asse: but if we assay to put him into the fire, or thrust him into a Ditch or Quarry, he shunneth all he can, because he loves life, and feareth death. And yet these run headlong to Hell, and breake forth into all kind of impiety, as the Horse into the battaile, when they know these will worke their everlasting confusion.

Ʋse 2 This may teach every man who would keepe himselfe free from the practice and trade of sinne, and that neither the plea­sures nor displeasures of the world, the delights nor the dreads of it, shall draw him to be enticed, and openly sinne: to labour for this feare, by which he shall be able to overcome temptati­ons on all sides. For if he have this feare, a man would never sell himselfe to eternall torments for a draught of pleasure, or for a Million of Gold, when it might be said to him, as Joshua 22.18. Ye also are turned away this day from the Lord: and seeing yee rebell to day against the Lord, even to morrow he will be wroth with all the congregation of Israel. Loe, to day he offendeth, and to morrow God will be wroth, and he shall perish in his wrath, [Page 113] surely no profit or pleasure, tendered unto him, would make him incurre this danger. And for the other temptation, hee would easily overcome it by this, even the feare of mens feare, with the feare of Gods punishments, and say happily as David, though he spoke it more sanctifiedly, Psal. 119.161. Princes have persecuted me without cause, but mine heart stood in awe of thy words. If he have this feare, hardly such temptations will assault him. For as Chrysost. Hom. 15. ad pop. Ant. If it be once knowne and heard that an armed Souldier stands watching in a house for the defence of it, there is neither thiefe nor robber, nor any that practiseth such evill, will come neere it. So, when feare is the keeper of mans heart, there is neither the temptati­on of pleasure, or profit, or worldly feare will set upon a man, but will fly away, or be easily expelled, subdued as it were by the command of feare. God hath set two Schoole-masters o­ver us, Pudor & Timor; shame and feare; that should lead an ingenuous nature; but if not that, yet this should, unlesse we will be worse than beasts.

The second effect of this feare is, that it is tanquam acus ad filum, the needle or the bristle to the threed: that is, that as they goe before, and make way for the threed, but abide not there when it is once come, but goes out againe: So this feare first entereth the heart of man, and makes way for love or the Child-like feare, that loving feare, first when he is converted; and it entereth in for this end, to bring or draw in love after it, and love when it is once entered, casteth feare out of doores, that made entrance before. 1 John 4.18. This is further ma­nifest by the example of Paul, Acts 9.3, 6. and Josiah, 2 Chron. 34.19, 27. so Act. 2.37, 38. and 16.30. Rom. 7.10.

Reas. 1 Because God, respects and accepts men to give them grace when they are troubled, and are smitten with this feare, Isaiah 66.2. and it is spoken exclusivè, none but them; this then must needs goe before.

Reas. 2 Because mans heart is not capable of grace without this; first, without this it is not fit to receive the impression of Gods Spirit. It gives no grace, but it makes capable of grace; as we see fire, though it give the metall no fashion, yet it maketh it liquid, and fit to be cast in any mould; it maketh the waxe fit to receive any impression of the Seale. So this feare, though it worke no grace in the heart, but leaveth it as corrupt as it findeth it, yet it mollifieth it, and maketh it plyable for Gods Spirit to worke upon, which before could not take the stamp of Gods grace.

Ʋse 1 This manifesteth that many men must needs be without grace, because many have not had this feare, which is ever be­fore grace, wheresoever it comes; and grace never comes any where, where this Usher hath not beene before; it is the fore­runner [Page 114] of grace, as John Baptist was of Christ: As God appea­red to Elias, so he approacheth to the soule, 2 Kings 19, 12, 13, 14. he was neither in the winde, nor earthquake, which ren­ded the earth, and clave the rockes, nor in the fire that devou­reth all before it, nor he went not before them; but he was in a soft voyce which came afterwards: So is the spirit and grace of God, it goes not before the servile feare, it is not with it, when it rends the hard hearts of men, and when it melts and mollifies them with the fire of Gods wrath; but it cometh after, and spea­keth peace and rest to the soule, whereas many never tasted of this feare, and shew it by their lives they have no feare of God, nay in words brag, they had never no such rentings, and mel­tings of heart, nay jest at those which have, they shew them­selves, voyd of grace, of true grace; yea, many who are not so outragious, but civill, or rather secure, who indeed never felt a­ny such trouble, and fight in them, any such feare or terror, but all things is, and ever was at peace within, they are men voyd of true grace and saving grace; they may have the shad­dow and similitudes of grace, but no substance and truth of it.

Ʋse 2 This may teach every man that hath this feare in him, to make much of it and nourish it, it being the forerunner of grace, and as it were the harbinger of it, without which it never ap­peares, as God never comes with grace, unlesse this apparitor go before; as men therefore who desire the Prince, and joy in his comming, will rejoyce at the comming of his Harbinger, and make much of him, so ought they of this feare; yea, and the greater this feare is, the more rejoyce at it, aswell as men may rejoyce in feare, for the greater grace follows after, for in the examples of the Scriptures, those who have had most feare and conflicts in their conversion, have been the best men and wo­men, most full of grace. God (saith Bernard) hath two feet, the one of feare, the other of love; and when he would enter a mans Soule, he is wont to send afore, or step first in with his foot of feare, then after, his foot of love; and the greater the feare is, which went before, the greater the love is which follows after.

The third effect of this feare is, to make the party it possesseth credulous, apprehending every surmise against him, making him encline to the worst, and forecast the utmost of the evill. As in that feare which the Goaler was possest with, Acts 16.27. he apprehended the worst and utmost. In Samuel and Josiah, so in the Ninevites, Ion. 3.5. therefore it made them appre­hend the worst, and beleeve it would be so.

Reas. 1 Because feare brings to minde a mans sinnes and deserts, even those which were long before committed, and for them makes [Page 115] him apprehend danger, and deeper then indeed it is. As in the brethren of Joseph, Gen. 42.21. no marvell then, if it make them easily beleeve that such things may fall upon them.

Reas. 2 Because they know by themselves, that those who are inju­red and offended, doe hate the offenders, and where hatred is joyned with power and might, there must needs be danger of some fearefull effect, and so makes them suspect the worse; It is so betwixt man and man, Gen. 50.15. So betwixt man and God.

Ʋse 1 This teacheth us that undoubtedly there is a great want of this feare amongst most, because they doe not apprehend or beleeve the dangers imminent, or as great as they be; but if a little, yet they will not make the worst, but the best of every thing. They read often the judgements of God written; they heare them threatned against particular sinnes, and it may be their owne; they see them executed upon particular men daily, every moment, and every morning he drawes forth his judge­ments, yet they hang in suspence, whether he will doe with them, as they see him doe with others before them: They have the root of gall and bitternesse, Deut 29.18, 19. How many scoffers have we, who will not beleeve that Hell fire is so hot as the preacher tels them; no Hell but in this life, the gall of the conscience, which they can cure with company, and good fellowship. How many have we that thinke the mouth of God is not so hot against sinners as men speake of, not so grievous as we would make them beleeve; and though now and then some be smitten, yet that he must for example sake, to keepe some more orderly; but no great feare there needs be of it, so long as a man is not outragious? how many that think repen­tance is not so difficult, as men would make it, for at their deaths for a little confession and proclaiming of their sorrow, they shall have a fellow pronounce pardon unto them; how many thinke that death is not so suddaine, and so uncertaine as some imagine, few dye so, and that they need not much suspect, and feare to be prepared, but they shall have time enough: And for a little good at their death, they heare many Preachers not tell of the sinnes of men in their lives, for that will not be born, but of their good at their deaths, and include every bodies soule in Heaven. But these men are all voyd of this feare, for if they had it, they would be easily perswaded of these things in their Soules; yea, they would suspect farre more then we could sug­gest, for so suspitious is feare: and as every affection is prone to the apprehension of those things, that feed that affection; as love, joy, hatred, &c. So specially if feare.

Ʋse 2 Particularly, every man may try himselfe, whether hee hath this feare or no. Is he like to the sonnes in law of Lot, when [Page 116] their father told them how that God would destroy Sodome, Gen. 19.14. Hee seemed to them as one that mocked; So when the Ministers threat particular or generall judgements, he is but as one that mockes, and because of Gods patience after their Prea­ching and denouncing, thou thinkst nothing will come; but say, as some have been heard speaking, the Ministers doe well to threaten sharpely, and speake great words, and tell the people of fearefull things, but yet we hope for farre better things, feare thy selfe, because thou canst not feare the things they speak, and believe them, much lesse apprehend more, never casting the worst, but making the best of every thing: this security argu­eth that thou wantest this servile feare.

The fourth effect of this feare is humility; for feare beates downe the pride of the heart, and makes men not stand upon their pantofles, man to man, not to stand upon tearmes, as be­twixt Benhadad and Ahab, 1 Kings 20.31, 32. so in this where the feare of Gods power is, the former examples of Ninevites, Israelites, Saul, Goaler, sheweth it plainly, as that Rom. 11.20. Bee not high minded, but feare: a proud spirit and the feare of God can never agree.

Reas. 1 Because they know there is no wisdome nor power against the Lord, and so he is to be crept to, not held at defiance; for com­mon wisdome teacheth those who are in danger of others, and under their power, when they know their power and justice, not to carry themselves proudly, but humbly towards them. As in Benhadad: so women and friends, who sue to Judges for their friends, doe petition them submissely. Chrysostom.

Reas. 2 Because it will make every man out of love and liking with all things he hath, and to take no joy in them, or at least no pride in them, when he feares his power who can take them from them in a moment.

Ʋse 1 This, as the former, sheweth that many men are destitute of this feare, they are so highly minded, they stand so upon their tearmes, and prerogatives, in most things, not with men but God, not in small things but matters of salvation. They stand upon their reputation and esteem amongst men, when as God cals up­on, and sounds an Alarum, not to the eare by us, but to their heart and consciences with us, calling them out of their course of life, as their ambitious, lying, deceitfull, covetous or carnall, civill course, and submit themselves to the word & to the means of salvation, forsaking such courses, and living humbly, dealing plainly, walking contentedly, having religious and holy conver­sations, they fear men will mock & scorn at them, & think mean­ly of them, say they are become superstitious, or turned precise, or they cary themselves otherwise then becometh men of their place and state, like Zedekiah, Jer. 38.19. Like those rulers, who [Page 117] beleeved on Christ, but of a proud and ambitious humour, they were ashamed to professe him. John 12.42, 43. They thought it too base a matter to yeeld themselves to be governed by so meane a man, as had none almost but a few Fishermen to follow after him; so standing upon the reputation of their estate and places, they refused to submit themselves to the meanes of Sal­vation, and continued in their damned estate. How many have we like to these in all places, Cities, Townes, Villages, houses, all full of them; as many as there are, so many have we, that yet have not this servile feare.

Ʋse 2 Particularly, every man may try himselfe whether he hath this feare or no: where this Timor is, there is not Tumor, saith Ber­nard; there this feare hath pierced that bladder, and let out all the wind in it; thou art growne humble and lowly, and standest not upon the reputation or estimation of men, so thou may'st doe what God commands when he calls to any duty; but if thou doest, there is no feare in thee. For instance, thou hast in the time of thy ignorance or prophanenesse, either when thou wast a servant, defrauded thy Master to get a stock to set up by, as is the custome of divers; or being free and in Trade, thou hast deceived and defrauded many men, and the treasures of wic­kednesse are yet in thy house. Thou comest to the Church, thou hearest the Word, the Lord smites by the sword of his mouth, and calls for this, that thou with speed make restitution; thou wilt not doe it; why? thou standst upon thy credit; for if thou make open restitution, then thou shalt be accounted a fraudu­lent and deceitfull man, and every body will cast it in thy teeth upon any breach; if privately, thy credit will so sinke, for thou art not able to drive a trade as before, and to maintaine thy selfe, wife, and children. Know this, thou art void of this servile feare, while thine heart is so full of pride, that it will not stoope to God and his commandement; for if thou fearedst his power and justice, thou wouldest not stand upon this reputati­on with men: Can he not make thy wickednesse knowne to thy shame? and can he not make thee as poore to thy dishonour? If thou diddest feare this, thou wouldest never stand upon that. The like may be said of men who make profession of conversion and Religion, and yet neglect the duties of it, for feare of the scornes and reproaches of men, and stand upon reputation; they have no feare. But if thou canst be content to hazard thy credit to obey him, that gives credit, and honour, and riches to whom he will, and takes them from he pleaseth; it will prove to thy selfe and to others that thou hast this feare at least, what else may be more; if not, then the contrary; for there can be no place for feare, where the heart is puffed up with pride. To obey God in honourable things, and things to be done without [Page 118] crosse or hazard of credit, is but to serve themselves.

The fifth effect of this feare is diligence and carefulnesse, that is, it will never let a man rest, till he have used all the meanes whereby he may have any hope to escape that which he is afraid of. Instance for the feare of man in Jacob, Gen. 32.6. &c. ma­nifest in Ahab, 1 King. 21.27. Exod. 9.20. Acts 2.37. Acts 9.6. Ninevites.

Reas. 1 Because this feare is credulous, makes a man beleeve that will come which is threatened, and that such things are not scarre-crowes, but if they be not prevented, they will come, and suspects often more than is uttered. Now, that men be­leeve, they use meanes to compasse it, if good; to avoid it, if e­vill: If good, hope for it; if evill, feare it, and so seeke to avoid it.

Reas. 2 Because feare breeds a desire, whether a man feare he shall not enjoy some good he would have, or lest some evill should come upon him he would escape; the desire to have, and the desire to escape is increased by his feare. He that feares neither, may have some desire; but when feare comes, it increaseth his desire: yea, as the feare increaseth, so doth this. Now a desire, and a desire enlarged, gives a man no rest, till he use the meanes to have, or escape; desire is never without endeavour for it, or a­gainst it, to use all the meanes knowne unto the desirer.

Ʋse 1 This, as the other two, argues great want of this feare, be­cause men are so secure, and use no meanes at all to avoid Gods judgments here, or to come; or use them carelesly and coldly, which must needs prove want of feare: when they heare that no adulterer, usurer, blasphemer, or any that loves and lyes in any sinne, shall inherit Heaven, but shall have their portion in the burning Lake, without faith and repentance, which can never be had but by diligent and carefull hearing of the Word, this they contemne, or regard not; if it come not to them well, they will not seeke after it; if these fall into their mouths, well it is, but otherwise they will never trouble themselves further about either of them: For if they be elected, they are sure to be saved, and therefore they will leave all to Gods disposition. Thus some say desperately, but more deale thus, and shew plainely there is no feare of God in their hearts, or before their eyes; for that would keepe another manner of coyle in them, and would not suffer them to sleepe so securely in sinne, ne­ver regarding what became of themselves. If they had this, we should not need to threaten the wrath of God, nor to excite them to flye from the wrath to come, and by well-doing to seeke honour and immortality. And we should need lesse to doe it, or at least we should more prevaile with them; for then workes the hammer when the Iron and metall is mollified and softened [Page 119] by the fire; then the Word, when men are softened and molli­fied by this feare: then the Word is most regarded, when the heart is wakened by the present feeling, or feare of judgment to come. Questionlesse the generall security that hath overgrown the whole body of our people, that they neither seeke to escape the vengeance to come of themselves, nor yet when the Mini­sters of God doe with one consent threaten them: though ma­ny Johns have preached for a long time, that the Axe is laid to the root of the tree, yet they come not to enquire what to doe, as the people did, Luk. 3.9, 10. Our age as Chrysostome obser­ved, is like to the old world, our Cities like Sodom and Go­morrah, still secure. The plague of God that was upon our hou­ses and persons, hath not wakened them, the Sword that was even at our heeles, hath not made them shake off security, and begin to feare: what is this but a fearing of some judgment that will make our hearts to ake, and the eares of posterity to tingle when it shall be told them? according to that of Jer. 2.19. Thine owne wickednesse shall correct thee, and thy turnings back shall re­prove thee: know therefore and behold, that it is an evill thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, and that my feare is not in thee, saith the Lord God of Hosts. Yea finally, (to knit this to our present matter) what proves this else, but that the men of our times are so farre from the truth of Christianity, howsoever they professe themselves to be Christians, that they are not come so farre as yet to be Gods servants, worse than ser­vants, yea than beasts, yea than Sathan, Jam. 2. who beleeves, and trembles.

Ʋse 2 This may teach every man to try whether he have this feare or no; feare breeds carefulnesse to avoid that is feared; or is and ought to be fearefull. Doth any man heare of the judgments of God sounded out many wayes by the words and workes of God, is he carelesse of them for himselfe, for his family, if he have a charge; and possessed with the security of the age, not seeking all meanes to avoid them, not as the masters of the fami­lies, Exod. 9.20. such then as feared the Word of the Lord among the servants of Pharaoh, made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses. But as Gedaliah, when it was told him by many the danger by Ishmael, he beleeved it not, and so would not pre­vent it, Jer. 40.14, 16. and saith, the Lord will doe no such thing, and so will not take the meanes to avoid them: thou hast not so much as this feare. And dost thou thinke thy selfe a good Christian, when thou goest not so farre as carnall, naturall, yea, Heathen men have done? But is any otherwise affected, when the Ministers threaten, when God thunders, and shews some manifest proofe or signe of an approaching evill? Is it to thee like as Dalilaes voyce was to Sampson? The Philistims are upon [Page 120] thee, making thee flee out of the lap of thy pleasures, and all the delights of thy sins, in making thee to seek all means possible to avoyd the evill to come, by hearing, believing, repenting and such like, then hast thou this feare; which though it be not a purging fear, yet is it a restrayning feare, not a saving feare; and grace itself, yet it makes way for that, which never comes before. Endeavour for it, and strive to adjoyn the other, that thou may­est begin a servant, proceed to a sonne, and so at length a­bide in Gods house for ever, John 8.35.

Saith the Lord of Hoasts unto you, O Priests] In Gods accusa­tion we have seene the ground and the reason of it; we are now to proceed to the accusation it self, and here first, the Accuser, God; Secondly the accused, Priests; Thirdly the Crime. It is not the Prophet who accuseth them, who might happly bee suspected to have done it, on some humor, and heat, and some sinister respect; but the Lord himself, which the Prophet affirms to strike more reverence in them to his message, and to affect them to look to their wayes, and he is called the Lord of Hoasts, who can easily punish all their wayes, having all at his com­mand.

For the second, the persons accused are the Priests, yet not excluding the people, as before the people were accused by name, and the Priests included; and the Priests are alone ex­prest, not that they sinne alone, but being chiefe and greatest sinners, because the people might extenuate their fault by ig­norance, and by pleading example of Priests; but the Priests could have no excuse, and the Priests duty was to reprove o­thers for prophaning Gods worship, and give examples; and therefore by negligence, and impiety teaching the people to bee prophane, they are justly here accused.

Doctrine. Ministers as well as others, are lyable to be checked, and re­proved by the word.

Doctr. Such as the Priests are, such commonly the people are, and therefore all are reproved in their name.

Doctrine. The Ministers specially, and in generall all who have the charge of others (to make the Doctrine more generall) ought both to teach and doe, be an example both in word and deed.

Doctr. The sinnes of every man are so much the more grievous, the more they crosse the maine end of his particular calling and pro­fession; as in these Priests, which was to see the honour of God duly regarded: for the common people it is not so much that they make light of Gods honour; but for the priest, as it was not to be expected, so not indured, the contempt of Gods name a great deale the more grievous sin, because it was clean contra­ry to the end of their profession; and so in all other men: As [Page 121] treachery in friends, their profession being fidelity. Micha. 7.5, 6, 7. Eccle. 10.5. the error or the wrong is so much the more grievous, that it commeth from the ruler or Judge, who ought to doe nothing but just, 2 Cor. 11.26. St. Paul recko­ning up his dangers, he reserved the last for the worst, in perils among false brethren, Cant. 1.5. the Church accuseth and com­plaineth onely of her owne Mothers sonnes, as if they onely had offered her the wrong, and yet who knowes not what hard measure was done to her in all ages by tyrants on the one side, as Lions, and by heretiques on the other, as Dragons; but pas­sing by them, complaineth onely of those who seemed to be of the same body; other injuries affected her nothing so much as this, Gen 3.12. Job. 2.9. the serpent the devill doing it, was nothing in respect that the women, their wives, their owne flesh given as helps for them, and comforts to them, should be hin­derers and destroyers.

Reas. 1 Because where a man is bound to the duty by more reasons and bonds, there the breach of it must needs be more hainous, and the greater; when as every one, then is bound as a man, more as a Christian, but more, when he hath a speciall profession for it. This threefold cord binding the harder, makes the breach the more grievous.

Reas. 2 Because those things come commonly unexpected, and that which is unexpected, and unsuspected, it commeth alwayes more suddainely, it lighteth more heavily, and is taken more to heart. This made David complaine so much of the injury of a friend, as a thing that came so unexpected, and did so pierce him; Psal. 55.12. And so may God say and complaine of us.

Reas. 3 Because every thing, the further it is out of his place, the more irkesome and troublesome it is; As it is a rule in nature, that the elements doe not weigh heavy in their owne places. As in water, a man diving under it findes no weight; but a small quantity in a vessell is more then he can goe under: the reason, because before it was in its owne place, now it is out of it, in the place of another element; so in this, vice is nothing so offensive, when in its own sea and subject, as when it is in the place of a contrary vertue.

Ʋse 1 Hence we observe that as all sinnes are not equall, so not the same sinnes are equall, when they are performed by severall par­ties, and men of severall professions. For instance, ignorance is a sinne, but one mans ignorance is greater then another, not of private men only, because their meanes of knowledge by educa­tion, or living in the place of instruction, are or have been di­vers, but the ignorance of the Minster, more then the people; for ignorance is in his proper place in the people, [Page 122] but for the Priests and Prophets to be ignorant, that should be instructers of others, where ignorance is in the seat of knowledge, here it is the more hainous. And though both shall fall into the ditch, yet more shall be his torments. So for injustice, for a man to be robbed by a professed theefe, or to be wronged by a Judge: So for deceit, to be cheated by a man that lives by his wits, is not somuch, as to be deceived by one that he traffiques and trades with, who professeth to deale honestly, and upright­ly; so for unfaithfulnesse in an enemy, 'tis not so much as in his professed friend: so the same sins in the Church are more hai­nous, then out of it, of Protestants, then Papists; for these professe all against them, but they professe unfaithfulnesse, trea­chery, deceit, murthers, treasons against every Hereticke, be­cause he is ipso facto Excommunicated, and needs but the Popes Excommunication, for more declaration of it, and more certain­ty, as Thomas in summa, and Bannes upon it.

Ʋse 2 To teach every man as to avoyd all sins, as hainous and dis­pleasing unto God, so as more hainous those which are against the main end of his calling wherein God hath placed him. As the Minister must labour against ignorance, idlenesse, suffering his gifts to decay, not increasing his talent; and he must endea­vour to search, and beat out the simple and sincere sence of Gods word and will, and impart it unto the people, to bring them to life eternall: for it is a hainous sin, for him to be igno­rant, or to handle the word deceitfully or corruptly, as Saint Paul speaks, or to wrest the sense of it, as Saint Peter speaks to their purposes. And so as it is Isaiah the 3.12. They that lead thee, cause thee to erre. So the lawyer must not use unfaithfulnesse or cun­ning dealing, he must search out the proper grounds of the law, to direct his client to proceed warrantably, to see his wrongs re­dressed, or recover his right; for, for him to spend his time in devising quirks and distinctions, which may serve to obscure the truth, and make contentions and suits rather then end any, or to delay his clients cause, when he may well haste it and bring it to an issue, and as many doe use their cunning to this purpose, it is the greater sinne in them; so a Physitian, and a Surgion must imploy all his skill to cure; for him to deferre, and somtimes to help forwards, and then pull backwards againe, to make gaine of his patient, and empty his purse, and hurt his body, is very hai­nous; both of them worse then theeves by the high-way, ma­king Gods ordinance a cover for their theft, not so punishable by humane laws, but as culpable before God, and shall as severely be punished. So if a sonne omit the honour due to his father, or a servant the feare due to his master, is a greater sinne; for o­thers to doe it to the same men, is not so hainous; so tis the du­ty of a wife to be a helper, that she must indeavour in all things: [Page 123] For, for her to be as Eve, who was given as comfort to make A­dams life more joyous, for her to be a broker to bring death, she that was taken from him as part, to be shot at him as a dart, to the wounding and murthering of his soule, as Basill speaketh; or for her, who was taken out of his side, to guard and hemme in his heart, to be a ladder to the Devill to scale the heart of her husband, as Gregory speaketh of Jobs wife, was more hainous then when the Serpent and Devill did it, who were professed e­nemyes, and so now, being directly against the end of her crea­tion and calling; and so of all, they are thus to thinke of their sinnes, and thus to avoyd them.

That despise my name,] The sinne they are accused of is con­tempt of his worship, not the omitting of it, or the nor doing of it at all; but the doing of it corruptly, carelessely and contemp­tuously. The name of God signifies, First, himselfe; Secondly, his properties. Thirdly, his commands or his authority; Fourth­ly, his workes; Fifthly, his word and worship, which is here meant, and which they not only omitted, which might be through ignorance or some forcible temptation, but contem­ned or despised, for many could not pretend ignorance, and at this time there was no persecution to compell them to disho­nour God: but many did it out of a base conceit they had of Gods majesty, thinking any kinde of service would serve the turne; the word signifies to trample under feet, as we doe vile things, Math. 5.13. 2 Kings 9.33. but did the Preists doe thus? Ribera answereth, things are oft said to be done, which are inten­ded to be done; because nothing is wanting in them why it should not be done, who have a will to have it done.

Doctrine. Contempt of Gods name, that is, when men doe indeed the works of Gods worship and service, but doe them negligently, carelesly and contemptuously, thinking if the deed be done it is enough, but how for the manner it matters not greatly, it is a grievous sinne: Manifest, that it is here made the grand sinne of this people, and these Priests for which the burthen is threat­ned in the beginning, and many particulary judgements after­wards. This people did the work of the Lord, brought their Sacrifices; but they did it carelesly and contemptuously, brought any thing, as thinking it good enough. This was one difference betwixt Abel and Cain, though faith was the main, yet how carefull the one was, that thought the best was bad e­nough, the other, the worst would serve, for he brought a Sacri­fice. Gen. 4.3, 4. Hence are the qualities of the sacrifices described in the Law; God requiring not only Sacrifices, but such as were perfect without blemish, Levit. 22.20, 21, 22, 23. Deuter. 17.1. But why this? but to shew how he requires the manner of doing, aswell as the deed, and that he cannot endure [Page 124] corruption here. Hence Saul laboured to lessen the fault, be­cause they saved the chiefest for the Lord. 1 Sam. 15.15. Hence is that, Malach. 1.14. which we shall see hereafter.

Reas. 1 Because this argues a great contempt of God, and as we may speake, of his person; for when any man is respected either for love or feare, there the offices and duties that are performed a­bout him, are done neither negligently nor carelesly, but with all diligence. The Wife that loves her Husband, the Child that honours his Father, the servant that feares his Master, doe their duties with all diligence and care. Where the duties are done of course, and coldly, there is not the respect of the per­son that should be: so it is in our carriage towards God.

Reas. 2 Because it is grosse hypocrisie, when men doe thus performe the act, and yet their hearts and affections are farre remote, and so are no living sacrifices, but onely dead carkasses, such as must needs stinke in the nosthrils of God; yea, and thus honou­ring him, they doe dishonour him, Isaiah 29.13. St. Salvian speaking of such as worship God corruptly, saith, Non tam ina­nis criminis fuisset ad Templum Domini non venire, quàm sic ve­nire; quia Christianus qui ad Ecclesiam non venit, negligentiae re­us est; qui autem venit, sacrilegii; minoris enim piaculi reus est, si honor Deo non deferatur, quam si irrogetur injuria: ac per hoc qui­cunque ista fecerunt, non dederunt honorem Deo, sed derogaverunt. De gubern. Dei, lib. 8.

Ʋse 2 This being such a sinne, argues the age we live in, guilty of a great deale of sinne before the Almighty; his worship is perfor­med, but yet contemned marvellously amongst us: As they brought the sacrifices, so doe we the workes; but so corruptly and carelesly, that he speaks to us Ministers and people, Ye de­spise my Name. The Word is preached and heard, prayers are made, Sacraments are delivered and received, but alas, so care­lesly, cursarily and customably, that it is but the contempt of them, and the contempt of God in them. How many Ministers preach the Word but for gain, for vain glory, for law, and for cu­stome, and not of conscience; as law and customes bind them, when they have gifts and body able to doe it, oftner to the edi­fying of the Church; some in preaching make it serve their own turne, and serve themselves out of it, and not God. How ma­ny hearers, that heare for law or custome, that being present, sleepe, or suffer their eyes to steale away their hearts, or let their soules and minds be possessed with their severall feares, joyes, pleasures, profits, that they are present in body, and absent in mind, thinking yet that is good enough for the Lord. For prayer, how many Ministers runne it over like jour­ney-workes without affection and zeale, making the people to abhorre the sacrifice of the Lord? How many of the people [Page 125] come late, carry themselves without all reverence, sitting ga­zing, reading, and such like, and there is no fault, all is well enough. The like may be said of Sacraments, any preparations, any affection good enough, (but of the particulars more after­wards.) How many that deferre the service of God till they be old, till the even; the morning and fresh thoughts of them­selves and servants for the world, for their Chapmen, not for God; drowsie prayers, spirits spent, good enough for him. Here I may apply that of Seneca, Qui ut bonus sit in senectu­te, differt, apertè ostendit, se nolle virtuti dare, nisi tem­pus ad omnia alia inidone­um. Seneca. He who deferres to be good till he be old, shews plainly he would not give himselfe to vertue, if he were fit for any thing else. So of both these, and their like, who shew therein the contempt of Gods Name, think­ing any thing good enough for him.

Ʋse 2 To teach every man to labour to see and know himselfe guil­ty of this sinne, to humble himselfe for it, and to repent of it, as of one of his great sinnes. Now there is no repentance where there is perseverance in it, when it is not left, and the former good done: for as he verily is wicked, that is not just; he is un­gratefull, that is not thankfull; so doth he despise, that doth not honour God. The contrary evill is ever where the good is not, where, and when it ought to be; therefore must every one la­bour for the good, that is, to honour God; not to doe the things and workes of his service onely, but to doe them as his service should be done, being more carefull for the heart and affection, which God more respects than the action: thinking not as hypocrites, any thing is good enough, but that nothing is sufficient: As Paul, who is sufficient? so what is sufficient? what care, diligence, endeavour of the heart and whole man? It is not the omitting of the worship of God, nor the neglect to leave some things undone, that is onely displeasing unto the Lord; but when the Act is done, he may be as much offended: As here, the not offering of the sacrifice was not the thing that displeased him, but when the sacrifices were not so qualified as they ought, that he accounted contempt, because it argued contempt: so in this, the quality of the service is that which he accounts contempt, when they thought the deed was enough. The outward worke must be done as the sacrifice ought by them to have beene offered; so God hath commanded, so must ex­ample be given to others; but the intention, the heart is that which must make it acceptable unto God, as Gregory.

And ye say, wherein have we despised thy Name?] Here is their excuse and defence, in which they adde more impiety to their former prophanenesse; they put God to his proofes, and seeme to charge him for accusing them unjustly. They stand upon their defence, Wherein have we, &c. we have highly thought of [Page 126] thy Name, and spoken of thee most religiously, why then are we accused? But observe we Gods reply.

VERSE VII.

Ye offer uncleane bread upon mine Altar, and you say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that yee say, The Table of the Lord is not to be regarded.

YEE offer uncleane bread upon my Altar.] Here is Gods re­ply to their defence. They who offer polluted things to God, despise his Name; but such are you, for ye offer pollu­ted bread upon my Altar: where we must examine the sense of three words: First, Altar. Secondly, Bread. Thirdly, polluted or uncleane.

First, by the Altar, there are some, and not of the meanest, who understand in this place the table of Shew-bread that stood in the Temple and Tabernacle, just over against the Candlestick on the North-side, and the right hand of it. In the Tabernacle there were three distinct places; the Tabernacle, the holy place, and the most holy: The table of Shew-bread was in the second, whither the Priests onely came. By the Altar then is understood the Altar of burnt offerings, which stood in the outward Court, whither both Priest and people came, and had like accesse when the Law was read, and their dayly sacrifices were offered. And thus doth Theodoret and Cyrill understand it upon this place: so that we expound not this by that which is in the end of the Verse, but that by this, because we find in the Scripture the Table put often for the Altar, but not the Altar for the Table.

Secondly, by bread, some understand onely the Shew-bread, as Hierome; some, of bread which was offered with the burnt-offering on the Altar, Levit. 6.20. Numb. 28.6. Some, not of the bread onely, but of the flesh also, or whatsoever thing else was offered there upon the Altar, which is the best accep­tation, for the word here used signifies not bread alone, but al­so other victuall and meat, as it is used in the word, and as Cy­rill expoundeth this place, and some other, for the bread of the sacrifice; and especially the Prophet himselfe, vers. 8. when he shews that he meant the sacrifices and meat that was offered upon the Altar.

Thirdly, by uncleane, what is meant; it is agreed of by most, that it is not any thing that is uncleane by nature, or naturally; that is, such a thing as is abhominable to humane sense, as Ezek. 4.12, 13. nor yet any thing that is uncleane morally: as all [Page 127] things are said to be morally vile and polluted, that God doth disallow and dislike of; Nullum cadaver tam foedum aut faetidum (as Gregory saith) to us, as the sinners soule in the sight of God. But it is mystically unclean, that is, in regard of some mysticall signification, God having pronounced them typically unclean, to instruct some further matter, that thereby he would inure men the rather to abhorre them. And thus are all things said to be unclean which are prohibited in the law ceremoniall; and so it is in this place. But these things were either unclean by o­thers, or of themselves: in the first by touching a dead corps, or any uncleane thing; in the second either in their kinde, as Isaiah 66.17. or in quality only, that is, when it comes by some accident, of which, Deut. 17.1. of this is meant in this place, as the 8. verse sheweth.

And so here seemes to be a double fault taxed by the Spi­rit of God; one in the people, and the other in the Priests; and so a double duty exacted of them; the peoples fault was in bring­ing of polluted offerings, and presenting them unto the Priests; their duty was to have brought such as were sound, entire and perfect; the Priests fault was in receiving them at their hands, and not reproving and prohibiting them; his duty was to have instructed them what sacrifice they were to bring, and to reject that which was uncleane, and not according to the Law. Now these sacrifices were to be cleane, and pure, and perfect, ad ty­pum capitis, to shew the perfect purity of Christs humane nature, 2 Cor. 5.21. 1 Pet. 1.17. Secondly ad typum corporis, to shew what they should be who are members of him, and that offer these sacrifices unto God; that they should be perfect to every good worke, 2 Tim. 5. and Rom. 12.1, 3. So that then, besides that which hath been spoken for the sacrifice, we may gather out of the peoples fault, (comparing outward things with in­ward,) the type with the truth, that seeing God reasons on this sort; if they who bring polluted offerings unto me, contemne me, then such as come polluted in themselves, much more.

Doctrine. They who come to the publique service of God, and come to offer him any sacrifice must not be uncleane and polluted in their hearts and lives, but must come with holinesse and purity; for if their sacrifice, must be such, then themselves; and the sacrifi­ces were commanded to be such, because they themselves ought to be such. When God reproved Israel for it, Isaiah 1. and 66.3. and Jerm. 7.9, 10. he sheweth what he required of them, and of others; to this purpose is, Psal. 4.4, 5. Gen. 35.2. Joshua. 24.16, 19, 23.

Reas. 1 Because God else will not accept their service; for he first looks to their person, and then their service, Gen. 4.4. for the [Page 128] sacrifice doth not sanctifie the person, but the person it: as Haggai. 2.13, 14. Proverb. 15.8.

Reas. 2 Because else that which God offers and gives to them, is made hurtfull unto them; not that God gives any evill, but because they are evill that receive it. As the Sacrament to Judas, Christ gave not that which was evill; nor did he, being the Physitian, give the poyson; but Judas being wicked, it became evill unto him: for as the spyder and the adder turn good meat into poy­son; and as a corrupt stomacke, abounding with choler and such like, turneth the meat they eate into choler, and the finer the meat is, it is the sooner turned to corruption; so is it in this thing, Titus 1.15. Ʋnto the pure are all things pure, but unto them that are defiled, and unbeleeving, is nothing pure, but even their mindes and consciences are defiled.

Ʋse 1 To reprove all such as have no care to purge and purifie them­selves before they come unto the house of God, to his service; that come without repentance, without preparation, full of their drunkennes, whoredomes, usuries, adulteries, and such like sinnes. They are more guilty of contempt against the Lord, then if they withdrew themselves altogether from his obedience and house. A man having committed some offence against his Prince, & being summoned to appeare personally in his presence, if he refuse to come at him, and shun his sight, may well be con­demned of contumacy, but not of contempt, for he may do it out of fear; and contempt and fear cannot stand together in one sub­ject; but if he shall confidently come & appeare before him, as if he had done no such thing, or not offended him, shew no sorrow for his offence, make no promise of amendement, nay shall rather stand in it, & with an impudent face avow it, & professe to persist in it, this must needs be judged a grosse & outragious contempt. Now the place of Gods worship is his presence, and he that commeth thither, commeth to look God full in the face; as Cain was cast out from the face of the Lord. Gen. 4.16. If he come not, he shall suffer as contumax, as rebellious and diso­bedient; but he that commeth polluted, with the filth of his sin unrepented of, with a purpose to persist, he shall be puni­shed as a contemner. They who refused to come were shut out, but he that came in his old cloathes, was bound hand and foot, & cast into utter darknes, Math. 22. he that is willfully absent, excluding himselfe from the society of the Saints, in the time of grace, shalbe barred their company in the time of glory for e­ver; but he that presumeth to appeare there, with the guilt of his sinne on him, shall have a farre greater portion in Hell fire, he shall suffer as in case of contempt, like an insolent rebell, that bourdeth his Prince to his face in his owne Palace; and in the mean time all their prayers are unaccepted, yea they are turned [Page 129] into sinne to them, they obtaine nothing of God more then he would give them, though they never prayed, with which he feeds them but for the slaughter; yea, and hence we profit nor them by preaching, but make them worse; wee are not the sa­vour of life unto them, but of death by the word, they are hard­ned in their sins, by this two edged sword they are daily woun­ded; because their sinnes are not wounded, their persons are, and the more fearefully, because their wounds are not sensible; yea by the Sacraments the Devill, as upon Judas, so upon them, ta­keth more sure possession, and raignes in them.

Ʋse 2 To teach every one to labour to be holy when he commeth to Gods house; holines becomes it; to put away iniquity and sin farre from him; when God cals him, cast of his patched cloak, as did blinde Bartimaeus, Mark. 9. we deal so when we go before Princes, as Joseph did, Gen. 41.14. much more we ought to doe so with God. Moses and Joshua were commanded to put off their shoes when they approached to God, and were to stand up­on holy ground: we are hereby taught, saith Ambrose, Ep. 16. to shake off the dust, and scoure off the soyle that our soules and lives gathered by fleshly occasions, and worldly courses, ere wee come to tread the Courts of Gods house. There was a Laver of brasse, Exod. 30.18, 19. for Aaron and his sonnes to wash in before they offered any thing at the Altar, to shew what we should doe being made the Lords Preists; to this Da­vid alluded, Psal. 26.6. I will wash mine hands in innocency, O Lord, and compasse thine Altar. And this ought we to doe, that our prayers may be heard and be acceptable, that our hearing and receiving of the Sacraments may be fruitfull unto us; else Psal. 66.18. If I regard wickednesse in mine heart, the Lord will not heare me: and we being corrupt, this must needs be hurtfull unto us, unlesse we learne that wisdome from the Serpent, to cast our poyson before we come to drinke.

Out of the peoples fault, (comparing outward things with inward, the type with the truth,) we have gathered, that the people that bring offerings to God, they who perform any ser­vice to him, ought to be holy and pure; for if their sacrifice, much more they. Now out of the Priests fault we may gather, that if they ought to reject unclean and unfit sacrifices, then those also who brought them, being unclean; yea they ought to put a difference, and to distinguish betwixt the clean and un­clean, to receive the one, and refuse the other, as Levit. 10.10. And so from the proportion we may gather some observation for our times.

Doctr. The Ministers of the Gospell and new Testament ought to make difference betwixt the godly and the wicked, as much as lyeth in them; to accept and receive the one, and to reject and [Page 130] exclude the other from the publique prayers of the Church, and from the sacred Table of Christ: Hence is the command to the Church of Corinth, and to the Pastor, as the principall-man, 2. Cor. 5.13. Jer. 15.19. the Liturgie of our Church com­mendeth Ambrose, then Bishop of Millaine, for dealing so with the Emperour himselfe, Theodosius the younger, till he shewed himselfe sorry for his sinnes. So 1 Tim. 1.20.

Reas. 1 Because if they under the Law, Priests and Prophets ought to doe it, much more they in the Gospell. For as many things were then tolerable which now are not, because, saith Augustine, Many things are tolerated in the darknesse and dawning, which are not in the day when the Sunne is up: so must it follow, that that which was not tolerable then, cannot be now.

Reas. 2 Because by their continuance and suffering them, and not censuring them, they may by many meanes be hurtfull, and in­fect the cleane and holy; these being more capable of the others evill, than they are able to communicate their good to them. As health is not so communicable as contagion, 1 Cor. 5.6. then if they desire to keepe them whole from pollutions, they must separate the wicked, as Shepherds, saith Chrysost. separate the infected and scabbed from the whole.

Object. Christ admitted Judas to the Supper, a devill, after he knew he had taken money to betray him.

Answ. First, it is denyed that he was admitted to it; but say he did, as to the Passeover, yet this follows not, that a Minister must not, as much as in him lyeth, exclude the wicked; for, first, this was a hidden sinne, not open, but smothered and kept close: Christ tooke notice of it by his divine power, not humane na­ture. Now the exclusion is for knowne sinnes, not secret, those must be left to Gods judgment; and this crosseth not the exclu­ding for known sinnes. And it is probable, that our Saviour ad­mitted him to the Passeover, because his hypocrisie was not yet unmasked: whereas after, when he had unmasked him by gi­ving the sop to him, (as St. Hilarie well observeth) and so made him knowne, what he was, to the rest, he sent him out of the way while he celebrated the new Passeover.

Ʋse 1 This sheweth what manner of men they ought to be, who must exclude and shut out others; if not without sinne, yet without open scandall and blame, as St. Hierome, Sine crimine, non sine peccato. Hence was it ordained, that whosoever of the Priests or Levites had erred, and beene defiled by Idolatry in the time of the Captivity, or of any of the Idolatrous Princes, and so became a scandall, should not serve any more in the Temple. Ezek. 44.10, 12, 13, 15. Neither yet the Levites that are gone back from me, when Israel went astray, which went astray from me after their Idols; but they shall beare their iniquity. Because [Page 131] they served before thee Idols, and caused the house of Israel to fall into iniquity, therefore have I lift up mine hand against them, saith the Lord God, and they shall beare their iniquity. And they shall not come neere unto me, to doe the office of the Priest unto me, neither shall they come neare unto any of my holy things in the most holy place, but they shall beare their shame, and their abhominati­ons which they have committed. But the Priests of the Levites, the sonnes of Zadok, that kept the charge of my Sanctuary, when the children of Israel went astray from me, they shall come neare me to serve me, and they shall stand before me, to offer me the fat and the blood, saith the Lord God. 2 King. 23.9. And this the Church af­ter Christ did observe; for Cyprian, Epist. 2.1. mentioneth a Canon made by him and other of the Bishops of Africk, that no Bishop or Priest, that had beene ordained in the Church, and after either had fallen into heresie, or beene touched with Ido­latry, should be received againe upon their repentance, other­wise than as lay-men. And Epistola 1.7. he chideth Fortunati­anus, who once was a Bishop, and had in the time of persecuti­on burnt incense to Idols, and after came home againe to the Church, and would have kept his place still.Audet sibi sacerdotium quod prodidit vendicare, quasi pest aras Diaboli ad alta [...]e Dei fas sit accedere, &c? Dares he challenge that Office or Priesthood which he hath be­trayed, as if it were lawfull, after he hath served at the Idoll stoole of the Devill, to draw neere to Gods Al­tar? Novatianus and Novatus made a Schisme from the Church, because one Trophimus a Priest, with some other, were received, after they had fallen for feare in those horrible times. Cyprian answereth, Epist. 4.2.Susceptus est Trophi­mus, sic ta­men admis­sus, ut laicus communicet, non quasi lo­cum sacerdo­tis usurpet. Cyprian. Trophimus is indeed received, but admitted onely into the place where Lay-men commu­nicate, not into the place of a Priest. All reach, that such should not be received; for what if Peter and Paul, (the example of the one, and the calling of the other extraordinary) were received, yet the equity is great, that those who must judge the leprosie of others, should be free from it themselves; or if they be not, should be expelled as Ʋzzah, when the leprosie once sprung out of his forehead. And that the Church should not receive Popish Priests to be Ministers at Gods table, besides that it is like to be hurtfull, because the mystery of iniquity workes thus cunningly, as they, Ezra 4.2. They came to Zerubbabel, and to the chiefe Fathers, and said unto them, we will build with you: for we seeke the Lord your God as you doe, and we have sacrificed unto him since the time of Esar Haddon, King of Ashur, which brought us up hither. To whom answer should be, vers. 3. Then Zerubba­bel and Jeshua, and the rest of the chiefe of the Fathers of Israel said unto them, it is not for you, but for us to build the House unto our God; for we our selves together will build it unto the Lord God of Is­rael, as King Cyrus, the King of Persia hath commanded us. If they [Page 132] have parts of learning, it were fit they should bee imployed otherwayes then in the ministry, to the scandall and hurt of many.

Ʋse 2 To admonish the Ministers of their duty, that they would, as much as they have any power in their hands, reject and exclude the wicked, and not receive them, (as John would not the Pha­rises and Sadduces) till they confesse their sinnes, and so give some testimony of their repentance. But yet this must not be done upon every small infirmity, or hidden sinne, but for hai­nous sinnes, that are contagious in respect of the quality of them, & are scandalous in regard of the opennesse of them; for hidden sinnes must be left to the judgement of God, and infirmities must be otherwise dealt withall, mildly & with lesse censures, Gal. 6.1, 3, 4. secret sins secretly reproved, Math. 18. onely publique sins to be publiquely censured, and the offender to be excluded; and yet not at first, but, as in the matter of the Leper, so, he must not presently expell him the Church, but admonish him the first and second time, Tit. 3.10, 11. and then expell him if he per­sist obstinatly in it; This being the last censure, and the greatest. As Physitians seeke all meanes to cure, before they cut off a member.

Ʋse 3 For the people to learn to submit themselves to the censure of the Ministers of the Church, (as Hebr. 13.17. Obey them that have the oversight of you, and submit your selves, for they watch for your soules, as they that must give accounts, that they may doe it with joy, and not with griefe: for that is unprofitable unto you.) to doe as they say, and be ruled by their censure, and that, first, for their own good, 1 Cor. 5.5. be delivered unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus; Excommuni­tio est medici­na Ecclesiae. For even excommunication is the Churches medi­cine: It casts not off from the whole Church, but from a parti­cular congregation or one visible Church, to keepe him from infecting others, and to recover him from his owne corruption. The not yeelding is the rebelling against Christ, who hath so commanded his; and not carrying his yoake here, is to deprive themselves of the Crowne there; yea, and when they are cut off from a particular Church, to persist and contend, it is to cut themselves of from the whole; whereas to submit and to seek, the effect off it is their good, as it was Onesimus his; and as a bone that is broken, if it be well set, groweth stronger againe, so is it with them.

Doctrine. They who have the charge of others, by God committed unto them, are guilty of the offences that are committed by them,Ezech. 33.8. if they be not carefull to censure them for them; so is it here, and vers. 9. When I shall say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt dye the death: if thou doest not speake and admonish [Page 133] the wicked of his way, that wicked man shal dy for his iniquity, but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yea, the Magistrates doe sin in not punishing. Nehe. 13.17. 2 Sam. 3.38, 39. and for this is it thought, that law was made. Num. 35.31. Yee shall take no recompence for the life of the murtherer, which is worthy to dy, but he shall be put to death. For by that he should give others incou­ragement to kill, and make also the sin his own; yea, and as the peoples sins are the Ministers and Magistrates, so the Childrens sinnes are the Parents, 1 Sam. 2.29. Wherefore hast thou kicked a­gainst my sacrifice, and my offering, which I commanded in my ta­bernacle, and honourest thy children above mee, to make your selves fat with the first fruits of all the offerings of Israel my people, said the Lord to Eli, when yet his sonnes only were guilty.

Reas. 1 Because every man is commanded to reprove his brother, his friend, Levit. 19.17. Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart, but thou shalt plainly rebuke thy neighbour, and suffer him not to sinne: If he may not beare with the faults of his friends, lesse of children, servants, subjects, people; where not only the gene­rall charge is in the command, but a speciall one also, and so the twofold cord binds them.

Reas. 2 Because every man is bound to prevent sinne as much as lyes in him, specially the sins of his charge; but he that reproves not, corrects not, censures not, punisheth not according to his place, prevents not sinne: Because every one that scapes without these, or some of these, is hartned and incouraged to commit other sinnes, and others of the same condition, by him; servants, sub­jects, &c.

Reas. 3 Because they are made keepers of both tables, such as ought to looke that both tables should be kept; therefore the command touching them is made the sinews & strength of the other; that if they be obeyed, the other are better kept; if they doe their duty, the breaches of the other are better withstood: and therefore some think, the law of the ten Commandements was given to Moses the Magistrate, for them all, Exod. 19.

Ʋse 1 It shews the wretched estate of Ministers, Magistrates, Mrs. & Parents, if they neglect reproving, correcting, punishing, cen­suring, as their place requireth, they have their Bill of indict­ment increased against the great day, by the sinnes of other men.

Ʋse 2 This teacheth us, that those who have charge of others, have a farre greater account to make, then those who have not; for it is enough for those, if they keep themselves from their owne wickednesse; the other must be carefull to keep others in a good course, and so from sinne. The governours must care for those who live under them, the householder for such as are under his roofe, the Prince for such as are within his Realm; it is not e­nough [Page 134] they serve God themselves, but they must cause others to doe likewise: as Abraham, Gen. 18.19. and as Joshua, 24.13. the Master must looke his servant keep the Sabbath; to him is the command, Exod. 20.10. he must come with his traine to the house of God, Psal. 42.4. he must prepare himselfe for the Sacrament, and charge his, and sanctifie them, Job. 1.5. yea, he must correct, censure, and punish, unlesse he will have their sinnes fall on; him if he thinke he have not personall sins enough of his owne, let him be herein carelesse; but he that thinks he hath enough and too many of his owne to answer for, let him seek to restrain others committed to his charge, by his censures and power, that he may be free from them: which is done two waies, and two things are required of him, that he keep himself free from others mens sins: The first is, to pry and enquire into the lives of those that are committed unto him, into their carri­age and behaviour, that he may see what is amisse. It is enough for a private man if he reprove an offendor, when he seeth him comitting sinne, he is not bound to enquire and take notice of what they doe, or curiously to watch over them; but not for a Magistrate, Minister, &c. He must, Prov. 27.23. bee diligent to look to the state of his flocke, and look well to his heards. The Mi­nister is Episcopus, a pryer, to signifie it is his charge to pry and look to the lives of those who are committed to him; and so ought every particular master of a family, for his house is his Diocesse, though he may not be [...], to meddle in an other family, 1 Pet. 4.15. It is not enough for them to take notice of things that are offended in the open view, but they must enquire into their secret carriage; many imagine they are bound no further then to take notice of open sinnes, and thinke ignorance of close crimes will excuse them; but such affected ignorance, when they might have knowledge, increa­seth the sinne; for they might either prevent it, or humble themselves for it, as Job, or reprove them, as Elisha did his ser­vant, 2 Kings 5. and free themselves from their sinne. The second thing is, that they have power to punish, when they can­not prevent; It is enough for a private man, when he sees a sin, to reprove, to bewaile it, and pray for him that sinned; but not for him thath hath charge, he must use the power of the sword, being a Magistrate; of the keyes, being a Minister; of the rod, being a Master, or Parent, yea and in obstinacy, dis-inherit: as Abraham cast out scoffing Ismael and his Mother; and expulse his house, as David said he would purge his house, Psal. 101. And without this can they not keep themselves from the sinnes of others.

Ʋse 3 To teach every inferior to submit to his superior, or to him that hath charge over him, to be pryed into, reproved, or cor­rected, [Page 135] as their power is. It is profitable to have an enemy pry­ing, profitable to have a child tell us the cloake hangs awry, as Chrysost. more profitable to have a friend, of whose faithfulnesse we doubt not, and whose duty must make us beare with him, as with Physitians, though they deale with us very homely.

And you say, wherein have we polluted thee.] The second reply of this people, adding denyall to denyall; they would not grant that they did so, that they offered polluted bread.

Doct. One sinne drawes on an other, the first a second, that a third, and both a greater; we may say of sin, as Leah said of her sonne that her Maid Zilpa bore Jacob, Gen. 30.11. a troope commeth: we see it in our first Parents, in David, 2 Sam. 11. in Asa, 2 Chro. 19.10. in Peter.

Reas. Because one sinne must serve to bolster and uphold another, or else to smother and conceale another: This people thought it a shame, having once denyed their fault, not to defend it, and stand out to the utmost. But it is manifest in the example of David, of which Basil thus; the Devill seeing that after the do­ing of it he was ashamed of what he had done, and willing to hide his shamefull wound, he made that shame of his a broker to another sinne, and so drew him to draw one ulcer over another, while seeking to cover his adultery with murther, he made him an author, and so guilty of both.

Ʋse 1 This ought to teach men not to give place to sinne, to any one, great or small, but to resist them all for, as Proverb. 17:14. The beginning of strife is as one that openeth the waters: Therefore ere the contention be medled with, leave off: As when a man maketh a way to a current or streame of a river, which (when he hath once let in to his grounds) he cannot stay again, though he would never so faine; so is the begining of sinne. To give the water passage, is to let the tongue loose; for the carelesse minde slideth away by degrees till it fall; and he that is not carefull of idle and harmlesse words at the first, commeth soone to wicked and hurtfull words at the last. Greg. past. 3. the like may be said of other sins. The way to Heaven is upward, hard and difficult; the way to Hell is downward: Now he that runneth down a Hill, cannot stay when he will; or, if he set downe with himselfe how farre, and where he will stay, he is not like to observe it; so in sinne, he cannot take up himselfe when he would, to say thus farre, and no further I will sinne: for the corruption of his nature is as fierce horses, and the devill as the driver; he shall not command himself when he would. Did not David fall from idlenes to wan­tonnesse: and from adultery to murther; from a filthy sinne to a bloody crime? did not Salomon from excessive buildings, where his sin begun, for he was as long again about his own house, as he was about Gods house, to abundance of wives; and from [Page 136] the love of strange women to the service of strange gods? Did not Asa fall from distrusting God, to the imprisoning of Gods Prophets, and from that to oppressing of his people; yea from distrusting in God to trust wholly in Physitians? and are we bet­ter then these? who was like them in Israel, and what is our strength in comparison of them? It is good then that we with­stand small sinnes, and the first.

Ʋse 2 If any be overtaken with sin unawares, let him shake it off with speed, lest he come to binde sin to sin, and so shall he be sure not to escape unpunished: let him labor to rise out of it, and to stay himselfe, as Job. 40.5. Once have I spoken, but I will not answer; yea twice, but I will proceed no further. So, say thou, once have I sinned, but I will doe no more; yea twise, but I will proceed no further: And to lessen thy fault, excuse not thine of­fence, seek no excuses and pretences to cover or colour it, for that will bring thee to be more intangled;As one saith, beginnings are with more ease and safety declined when we are free, then proceedings when wee have begun: so small begin­ings then continuance. the fur­ther and longer, the harder it will be to rise; and the smaller the sinne is, the harder haply to rise; for hee that fals lightly, he makes no great haste to rise againe; whereas he that fals hard and foul, hee hastens to a­rise; so in this. It is Sathans policy not to draw men to great sinnes at first, but by degrees, lest they should abhorre them, before the conscience be inured and somewhat hardened. As the way to good is by degrees, because of the difficulty of it; so to evill, because of the horriblenesse and shame of it: And by one sinne, if it be lived in without repentance, there is left in in the heart a more provocation to sinne the same sinne againe; yea, and a greater pronesse then before to any other sin whatso­ever, of the same quality, yea and of a step or a degree higher. Hay or stubble or any combustible matter, dryed and heated by the Sunne, soone takes fire, the resisting of humidity is taken away: So in this. For when temptation is offered to some or other sinne, that the conscience shall at first seeme to make nice of, the corruption of the heart will be ready to make answer, and suggest, that he may as well, and as safely, doe this as the former, there is no more danger in the one then in the o­ther; and therefore that it is to no end to make dainty of the one, seeing he is so farre ingaged in the other. Therefore hee that would be free from greater, when the lesse hath seased up­on him, let him haste, and by true repentance, as by an ejecti­one firmae, cast him out of possession: Take the foxes when they are little, and if not at first, yet, as they come in by little and little, cast them out by little and little; and go back againe by degrees, as the sunne went backe in the Diall of Ahaz.

Ʋse 3 This may teach every man to account it a mercy and good­nesse [Page 137] of God to him, when he gives a meanes to prevent his en­trance into a sinne, or his continuance in it, when he hath slip­ped aside to any, though but a little one. St. Aug. saith, that Om­ne peccatum, &c. Every sinne that God prevented in him, and kept him from committing of it, he accounted no lesse mercy, than if he had pardoned him. And doubtlesse in this respect the mercy is more; for while that sinne was prevented, more and, perhaps, greater sinnes were prevented in him. Men are nothing so sensible in this, but it is their corruption; as they are not so sensible of the benefit, being kept from transgressing the Law, as getting a pardon after; nor in preventing a disease, as in re­moving it after. But the mercy is great, whether it be by the voice of a Minister, if he open his heart to it, or the voyce of a judgment, or the voice of his conscience, or the voice of the Spirit, Es. 30.21. It is a benefit when a man is setled or secure in his sinne, by any of these meanes to be admonished, as Da­vid was by Nathan, after he had sinned in numbring the people, and Peter was by Christ after the third deniall; though it had beene greater, if the admonition and prevention had beene at the first or second step. So should men esteeme it when they are turned, or turning to the right hand, or to the left, by pleasure or profit. It is good that God will so admonish them, and pre­vent this, by whom or howsoever, by publick or private meanes, by good or bad. And let them hearken and obey, and be thankfull to the Authour and the meanes;Nec ullus om­nino sermo qui aedificat ad pietatem, ad virtutes, ad mores op­timos, negli­genter est au­diendus, quo­niam & illic iter quo osten­ditur Saluta­re Dei. Bern. in Cant. serm. 57. Si corripuerit me justus in misericordia, id ipsum sen [...]iam, sciens quia aemulatio justi & benevolentia iter fa­ciunt ei qui ascendit super occasum. Bonus occasus, cum ad correptionem justi stat homo, & cor­ruit vitium, & Dominus ascendit super illud, conculcans hoc pedibus, & conterens ne resur­gat. Non ergo contemnenda increpatio justi, quae ruina peccati, cordis sanitas est, nec non & Dei ad animam via. Bern. Ibid. Ʋnusquisque pro modulo suo audiat, & sicut sibi conscius fue­rit, ita vel doleat corrigendus, vel gaudeat approbandus. Si se deviâsse invenerit, redeat, ut in via ambulet: Si se in via invenerit, ambulet ut perveniat. Nemo sit superbus extra viam, nemo piger in via. Aug. in Psal. 31. praefat. As St. Bernard speakes, No word that edifies to godlinesse, to vertue, and good manners, is to be heard negligently, because there is the way in which is shewed the salvation of God. And a little before in the same Sermon, saith he, The admonition of the righteous is not to be contemned, which is sinnes ruine, the hearts health, and Gods way to the Soule. And as S. Aug. to the same purpose, of publick hearing and admonition; Let every one heare as he can, and as he is consci­ous to himselfe, so let him either grieve, being to be corrected; or re­joyce, being to be approved. If he finde that he hath gone astray, let him returne, that he may walke in the way: If he find himselfe in Gods way, let him walke on to the end; let no man be proud out of the way, nor slothfull in it.

In that you say,] That is, thus thinke in your hearts; and this is known to God. 'Tis not likely they were so impious to utter their prophane conceits of Gods service; but as it is, Ps. 14.1. Psal. 30.6.

Doctrine. Not onely workes and words, but even the thoughts are known to God. The very hearts of men have eares to heare God, and mouths to speake to God,Corda, Deo & aures & os gerunt. saith St. Aug. As God said to Mo­ses in another case, Exod. 14.15. so to the wicked, Why cryest thou against me? when haply they speak no word, but onely blaspheme God in their hearts, as it is, Psal. 10.13.

The Table of the Lord is not to be regarded.] They aske wherein they have despised and polluted God: In that they think basely of his service, they pollute him in polluting his Altar. They who thinke basely of Gods board, they contemne and pollute God, whose board it is. By Table is understood, not that of the Shew-bread, but the Altar of burnt-offerings. And so is Ezek. 41.22.

Doctrine. Whatsoever abuse is committed in the worship of God, or against the meanes of his worship, it is held to be done against God himselfe. Thus answereth God this people: In polluting my Altar, you pollute me; the meanes of Gods worship with us are the Word, Sacraments, and Prayer, as the Law, Sacrifi­ces and Sacrament were with them. Now then, as the con­temning of these were the contemning of him, so is it with us. It is that which is a Cor. 11.27. to be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord, that is, of a heinous offence committed against his person: he is absent, so was God from the sacrifices, yet he was polluted in them, because they were offered unto him. So is it in these Sacraments of ours, because he offereth them unto us, as signes of himselfe. Hence it is, Luke 10.16. He that heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me; and he that despiseth me, despiseth him that sent me. And wherefore they more than other men? but for this, because they were the Candle­sticks that held forth the light, they were they who brought the Word to them, and that was it, not for their persons.

Reas. 1 Because he that denies God all worship and honour, must needs contemne and despise him; but he that contemnes the meanes, doth deny it him; for he will have none but by the meanes he hath appointed, all others are things he abhorres: And this we may observe from Micha. 6.6, 7, 8.

Reas. 2 Because he delighteth to magnifie his Word, Isaiah 42.21. and to be magnified above all things by his Word. Psal. 138.2. Then the contempt of it must needs be the contempt of him.

Reas. 3 Because he hath given unto them things that are proper to himselfe; which argues he would exalt them, and takes their disgrace to himselfe. To the word it is given to save, and to [Page 139] destroy, and to judge, when it is he, that doth it by it. Jam. 1.21. Joh. 12.47, 48. the Passeover is called Christ, and Christ it, 1 Cor. 5.7. 1 Cor. 10.16. and 11.24. Baptisme is said to save us, Tit. 3.5. and such like. It must then be the dishono­ring of him to dishonor them.

Ʋse 1 This proves that our times and age are full of many contem­ners of God, because we have so many contemners of the meanes of his worship, the Word, Prayer and Sacraments. To say no­thing of Athiests that are amongst us, who make a scoffe at all things, and make the word mans invention, and such like; To passe by our Papists, who account the word hard, difficult, insuf­ficient, the cause of error and Heresies; I say, to passe by these, in the number of Protestants, who would goe for good Christi­ans, are many who contemne the Lord, there is such contempt from them in the meanes of his worship; sundry waies and in sundry manners they contemn them; they have too much of this light food, their soules loath it. Some men like the words on­ly in a new teacher, and can never long tye their eare to any, no not their own Pastor: Like those that like any meat better a­broad, then at home, though more wholsome and better dres­sed. It were infinite to descend to all particulars. How many contemn the word and Sacraments, Prayer and Preaching, when they have nothing neere so much care to prepare them­selves to the hearing, or receiving, or performing them, as they have for the comming to their own table.

To take heed how we use and account of the meanes of Gods worship, Luke 8.18.

Doct. The Table of the Lord is not to be regarded,] The reason they thought thus basely of the table of Lord, was, because the blood and fat powred, upon the Altar, were things but base and vile in themselves; so they thought of the worship of God it self, not considering for what end God had appointed these things to be done, and what spirituall use they were to make of them.

The maine cause and originall of the common contempt and neglect of holy things is, because men fix their eyes only on the outward meanes, and regard not the end and use of them, and the grace and blessing of God accompanying those base meanes, that he hath sanctified in that sort, to all those that in holy and reverent manner have to doe with them; as is manifest here. As it was with Naaman the Syrian, 2 Kings 5. who for a time contemned that which God purposed him health by, because he fixed his eyes upon the basenesse and commonnesse of the meanes, the water of Jordan, vers. 10, 11, 12. so doe men these holy and spirituall things, because they looke but unto the outward things. To this purpose is that where Paul shew­eth that neither Jewes nor Gentiles regarded the Preaching of [Page 140] the word, for that they thus looked upon the outward things. 1 Cor. 1.22, 23. The Jewes require a signe, and the Grecians seeke after wisdome: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jewes even a stumbling block, and unto the Grecians, foolishnesse. As if he had said, the Jewes looked for strange, great worldly workes to be wrought by the Messias at his comming, they dreamed all of an earthly Monarchy, and a worldly estate such as Salomons was; which because they saw not in Christs person, they would none of: The Gentiles, and specially the Grecians, noted for learning, and the Philosophers busied in the studies of humane wisdome, they look for deep matters and profound principles of Philosophy, and finding the Scripture written plainly ad vulgi captum, not in words of humane wisdome, 1 Cor. 2. for this cause they contemne it, as too base a subject for them to busie their brains, and take up their time with; and this made him in the 21. vers. to call it foolishnes of Preaching, not ex animo, but ex eorum opinione: 1 Tim. 4.12. thus much he intimateth; Let no man despise thy youth, but be an example in word in conversation &c. intima­ting, that without better carriage of himselfe, his young yeares would be an occasion to hinder the profit of his ministery, men would be apt to contemn the ministery, for some infirmity in the meanes: This is intimated in as if the meanes and instrument were more glorious and admirable,Luke 6.30. good would be effected, and for the basenes of the instrument they contemn holy things. This is that which the Apostles saith, that men eate and drink un­worthily; 1 Cor. 11.29. because they put not a difference be­twixt this spirituall food, 1 Cor. 10. and that corporall food, because they judge not aright of these holy mysteries.

Reas. Because men live by sense and sight, not by faith; They are not able to discerne of things that are hidden, but esteem of things as they see or feele them: They wanting faith, cannot pierce within the vayle, and draw, as it were, the curtaine to see the excellency of spirituall mysteries in earthen and base ves­sels; which makes them grow in contempt and neglect; which the Apostle shews, 1 Cor. 1.24. for if faith makes that men conceive and understand them, and receive profit by them, it is manifest that the other is caused by want of faith.

Ʋse 1 This may teach us, why in and under the simplicity of the Gospell, there is not so much devotion to holy things and the service of God, as among Idolaters; there is a madding, and unreasonable superstition to their Idolatrous service; for there is good reason for it, because under the Gospell all outward things are plaine, without pompe and glorious shewes to the eye, onely plain and simple; whereas, in Idolatrous service, all things are made glittering and glorious for the outward shew, by which the nature of man is marvellously catched and kept, [Page 141] as fishes with baits. It is wondered of many, why Idolaters should brag so truly of a multitude as they doe, and so many follow after them, when the Gospell injoyes nothing so many: the reason is, because here all things are plain and simple, as was said of Christ, There was no beauty in them, for outward things, to make the flesh desire them; therefore they easily & soon contemn them.Isaiah 33. As God dealt wisely with the Church in her infancy, seeing her infirmi­ties; so have they dealt cunningly with his people; he to hold them to himself, they to draw them from the Gospell. Because, saith Chrys. the people of Israel, who were brought up in Aegypt, & had polluted themselves with Idolatry, would have sacrifices & cere­monies, so that if they were not permitted unto them they were ready again to fall to Idolatry, though God desired a people to worship him in spirit & truth; yet he granted them unto them, dealing as a wise Physitian, who having a patient sick of a feaver, by reason of heat desiring earnestly cold water, and unlesse it be given him, he is ready to seek a halter to strangle himself, or some waies to destroy himself; there the Physitian, compelled by necessity, gives him a cup of water prepared by himselfe, and commands him to drinke, but forbids him to drinke of any o­ther but that; so God gave the Jewes goodly ceremonies, but so as it was not lawfull for them to use any other. And then were they grieved, saith he, when he shewed his wrath upon them, for making a calfe of their ear-rings, &c. So in cunning and mischievous policy hath the Church of Rome, when they saw how the nature of man was affected with holy things, be­cause of the outward meanes, when simple and base, because the Gospell is such, they little regarded them; but glorious things were those that affected them, therefore have they fallen from the simplicity of the Gospell, to that whorish & Babylonish pride they are now in; when it was with her, as Boniface the Bishop and Martyr said to one that asked, whether it was lawfull to administer the Sacrament in woodden cups, he answered; In times past they had golden Priests, and woodden Chalices; then would they bragge of nothing such a multitude as now, when they have woodden Priests, and golden Chalices, since Pope Ʋrban hath made all the ministring attire golden and gay: and so because they are led by their sences, therefore they are violent­ly carried after this superstition.

Ʋse 2 This teacheth us, why in the Church the meanes of Gods worship, his word and table are so little esteemed or regarded, because men are so led by their sences; and when the meanes are base and simple, they thinke so of the worship it selfe: as Hie­rome said, putabant altari deesse religionis sanctimoniam, quia de­erat aedificationis ambitio, they thought the Altar was not to be so religiously regarded, because it was not richly bedecked and a­dorned: [Page 142] such are they as give no respect to the word, because the Minister is of no great respect, but a meane plaine man; who have not learned more to esteem the earthen vessels for the trea­sure, but lesse to account of the treasure for the earthen vessels. Hence many set light by the holy Table, because they see no­thing here but bare bread and wine, very base and meane ele­ments, such as they use ordinarily to feed on else where; and so, as a foole or a naturall, if he light on an obligation or a deed, he maketh no more reckoning of it, then of a piece of parchment & a little wax; because he understandeth not the contents and end of it: So in these things, not considering the end and use of them by whom they were appointed. As there are some who overva­lue these mysteries, specially the Sacraments, that tye the grace of God inseparably to them, and make the opus operatum a mat­ter of sufficient vertue, that ascribe some divine power to the very outward elements, and so bring a divine adoration of them; that of holy mysteries make magicall miracles, as the Church of Rome doth; so againe are there many in the Church of Eng­land, that undervalue them, that make no other reckoning of them, then as of ordinary elements, and repaire unto them as to the bodily food, because they are in nature and substance the same; the Doctrine here being the ground of it, they being so dull sighted, they can look no further then that which is ob­ject to the sence of them, they can see no end nor use of them more, no secret grace nor vertue in them, and, that which is worse, will not submit themselves to be taught, or if taught, not believe, when oportet discentem credere.

Ʋse 3 To teach every one in these actions sursum corda habere, and to lift the eyes of his minde upwards; as with his bodily eyes he seeth the outward elements here, so with the eye of faith to apprehend the matter of it, that which these outward things represent to the minde. The word of God for letters and sylla­bles is but the same with other humane writings; but it hath an­other manner of worke with it in regard of the spirit and grace of God accompanying it, unto those that heare it with a sanctifi­ed eare. As we see that ordinary water, and aqua vitae in a vi­all or glasse, look both alike, but they differ much in work and effect, because there is a kind of Spirit in the one, which is not in the other: so the Word, and the Sacrament, though the same in substance with ordinary Bread and Wine, yet they have a farre divers worke, and effect with them unto those who receive them with a holy heart and a faithfull, in regard of Gods covenant (whose seales they are) in regard of the mercy of God of which they more assure us; in regard of Christs Death that they represent unto us, and put us in minde of; and in regard of the grace of Gods Spirit that accompaineth them in [Page 143] those that so receive them for the effecting of these former matters.

VERSE VIII.

And if yee offer the blind for sacrifice, it is not evill: and if yee offer the lame and sicke, it is not evill: offer it now unto thy Prince: will he be content with thee, or accept thy person, saith the Lord of Hostes?

ANd if you offer the blinde for sacrifice,] The Lord proceedeth to prove that they despise him and his table, shewing how they have erred both against his law, and the rule of honesty and comelinesse, Levit. 22.21, 22.

And if you offer the blinde for sacrifice, it is not evill:] These words are read of some by way of interrogation, When yee offer the blinde, is it not evill? Now a negative interrogation ever af­firmeth strongly: q.d. it is very evill, and yet yee doe it. Hierom, Junius: others read these words by way of affirmation, God con­tinuing to tax their thoughts; you think it not evill, you think it is good enough for God, you make it no fault; and this is the com­mon reading, which is more agreable to the context: but the mat­ter is not great how we take it, both tend to one end and one effect, both a disliking & disallowing of such sacrifice.

For the sacrifice here spoken of, some understand it only of the sacrifice the Priests offered for themselves. Levit. 4.3. Heb. 5.3. Others for the sacrifice the people brought; which when they were burnt offerings, which were all consumed upon the Altar, the Priests nothing regarded; but the sinne-offering to be eaten by the Priests, for those they were marvellous carefull they might be of the best; and some expound them of the peo­ples offerings in generall, whether they were burnt offerings, sinne offerings, or peace offerings, or whatsoever; and those words (it is not evill) some take for the Peoples words, it is good enough for the Priests; or it is good enough to be burnt to ashes; others make the Priest heartening the people in that practise, which is very probable, God before directing his speech to the Priests. In summe, it is like to be both, as both are here accused.

The Prophet had told them of their base thought of Gods Table: to this they might happily reply or object; you take too much upon you, to see into our hearts, and to censure our thoughts. To this the Prophet makes by insinuation an answer, though closely, that he need not to dive so deepe, their life and practice taught as much; a man might easily read the pro­phanenesse of their hearts in the uncleanenesse of their gifts, and their contempt of God in their carriage. The thoughts of men are knowne either immediately and directly by God alone, Jer. 17.10. Matth. 9.4. or mediately and indirectly, and so man may know them; either as God revealeth them, Ezek. 14.1, 2, 3. or as men discover them by their actions, looks, or spee­ches; First, Matth. 7.16. Ye shall know them by their fruts: doe men gather grapes of thornes? or figs of thistles? Secondly, Isaiah 3.9. The shew of their countenance doth witnesse against them. Thirdly, Luke 6.45. In this place the first is understood.

Now this people are not reproved for bringing no sacrifice, but faulty sacrifice, faulty for quality, contrary to the Law. Levit. 22.21, 22. Now what is spoken of their sacrifice, may be spiritually applyed to ours, that we may make some benefit out of this. The Sacrifices of the Church in the New Testament are:

First, men themselves, and that first in life, soules and bodies consecrated unto Gods service, both in their generall callings & their particular places. Rom. 12.1. Present your bodies a living sacrifice, not to slaughter them, but the corruption of them. Rom. 6.6, 13. Now the mortifying of the affection killeth not the man, Psal. 51.17. As the Ram, not Isaac was slaine, though hee was offered. Read Gen. 22. Mar. 12.33. 1 Sam. 15.22. Secondly, in death, in offering their soules to Gods hand, Luk. 23.46. Acts 7.59. and their bodies for testimony of the truth, being called to it. Phil. 2.17. 2 Tim. 4.6.

Secondly, the Sacrifices of the New Testament are, some thing from themselves immediately to God, as praises and pray­er, compared to Sacrifice, Psal. 50.14, 15. Drinke offering, Psal. 116.31. Incense. Psal. 141.2. Hosea 14.3. Apocal. 5.8. and 8.3, 4. Secondly, to man for God, as Almes. Heb. 13.16. Psal. 4.18. Matth. 12.7.

Now as their Sacrifices signified ours, so their imperfection noteth out ours: The first is blindnesse, which in the Scripture signifieth ignorance; as Rev. 3.2. 1 Pet. 5.9. shewing that he detested such service as was done of ignorance without know­ledge. By lame, he may meane when things are done without minde and heart, with the outward man, not inward; for fa­shion, feare, praise, &c. By sick, when it is without spirit and affection: the spirit is gone when it is without zeale, fervency, affection.

Offer it now unto thy Prince.] The second reason; they have offended against nature and civility. He that offereth the Lord of Hosts such things, as he would not offer unto a man, which the Prince will not accept, saith that the Table of the Lord is not to be regarded; ye offer such, &c.

Offer now unto thy Prince, Captaine, or Ruler.] there was then no King in Israel; for the Kingly dignity was extinct in Jechoni­ah, Jer. 22. but they onely had Captaines over them, appointed by the Persian King, to whom they were in bondage: As Zerub­babel is called the Captaine of Israel, Haggai 1.1. and so it is made more offensive, that they used God as they would not doe a meane man, not a King, but a Captaine: and it is as if God had said, Now make tryall of the good will of your Captaine towards you, which is more familiar to you, being a man, and inferiour to a King; whom if thou labourest thus to reconcile unto thy selfe, thou shalt more offend, and excite against thee. What an indignity is this then against me, that I should be no more, or not so much accounted of, as a meane Captaine? how should not this, in stead of reconciling me, more displease and provoke me? And what can you looke for from me, so mighty a God, to defend and vindicate my glory and service from such indignities, but wrath and displeasure? Will he be content with thee, or will it please him? as if hee said, undoubtedly it will marvellously displease him.

Or accept thy person, or accept thy face?] That is, will he kind­ly and lovingly looke upon thee, and grant thee the things thou desirest? as Gen. 19.21. Job 42.8, 9. so here, Will he friendly respect you, and grant your request? No, he will be more offen­ded with you.

In the whole he answereth, that they might object, that he tooke too much upon him to pry into their thoughts & hearts; when he did no otherwise than ordinarily he might doe, judge their lives by their practices. The point then is:

Doctrine. The wickednesse of the life proclaimeth and preacheth to men the prophanenesse of the heart, as Psal. 14.1. The foole hath said in his heart, there is no God; they have corrupted and done an abominable worke, there is none that doth good. Was not this enough to convince them of impiety and Atheisme before God which searcheth the heart? So there is another way for man to know, Titus 1.16. They professe that they know God, but by works they deny him, and are abominable and disobedient, and unto every good worke reprobate. And this is enough to condemne them of impiety and prophanenesse, of contempt of God, want of the feare of God, before man that seeth the outward man onely, and must by it judge of the inward. Matth. 7.16, 17, 18. Ye shall know them by their fruits: Doe men gather grapes of thornes, [Page 146] or figs of thistles? So every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and a corrupt tree bringeth forth evill fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evill fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Non ex foliis, non ex flo­ribus, sed ex fructu arbor bona maláve dignoscitur. Bern. Epist. 107. A good or evill tree is knowne, not by the leaves or flowers, but by the fruits. 1 John 3.10. In this are the children of God known, and the children of the devill: whosoever doth not righteousnesse, is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

Reas. 1 Because the tongue will bewray the irreligiousnesse of the heart when it speaketh folly; as Jam. 1.26. If any man among you seeme religious, and refraineth not his tongue, but deceiveth his owne heart, this mans religion is vaine. And Matth. 12.34. O generation of vipers, how can you speake good things, when yee are evill? for of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. Hence is that, Matth. 26.73. So after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said unto Peter, surely thou art also one of them, for even thy speech bewrayeth thee. Though the tongue may now and then prove a false glasse, yet it is then, when it maketh shew not of the worse, but of the better; as false glasses doe com­monly make men seeme fairer than they are, and not fouler.

Reas. 2 Because the nature of man is so hypocriticall, and willing to be accounted good, that if any thing be in the heart that good is, it will shew it selfe; nay, though nothing be in it, yet it will dissemble, at least for time and place; so when there nothing appeares but evill, and the whole course is nought, it must fol­low that the heart must needs be starke naught: Many Apples rotten at the heart, are whole skinned; but if rotten in the out­side, they have the taint of the heart.

Ʋse 1 This controuleth such rash censurers, as will goe further than Gods Prophet, as will judge of men not by their lives and their actions, but by their owne fancies and conceits, contrary to their actions. If the Prophet, a man of that wisdome and reve­lations, did content himselfe with their actions, and joyne is­sue with them upon their outward carriage; shall these men, who have no such thing, nor any extraordinary gifts to discerne spirits, sit upon mens soules, and judge their secrets, and con­demne them for hypocrites, and contemne them for deepe dis­semblers, though they can find nothing in their lives that may argue their hypocrisie and hollownesse?

Object. But doe such wise men of the world these things without ground?

Answ. It cannot be, neither is; but they are deceitfull grounds. The first is, the strict course of life that the parties take they thus judge; a marvellous thing, different spirits. The Prophet con­demnes men for their dissolute lives, these for the straitnesse of their lives. Thus if any man doe make conscience of sinne, he [Page 147] is by them noted as a Pharisee, that is, an hypocrite: That, as he said, Non potest esse salvus, qui non vult esse malus; salvus sal­tem à linguis maledicis; so it is, 1 Pet. 4.4. It seemeth unto them strange, that ye runne not with them unto the same excesse of riot; therefore speake they evill of you. But as S. Bernard said, that Ba­laam, when he thought to have cursed Gods people for hyre, did blesse them againe and againe, though against his will: so these men more commend, than discommend these persons, where they seeke so to disgrace them, while unwillingly they heape praises as, reproaches upon them, and while they goe about to back-bite them, against their wills they acquit them, because they object good things instead of evill against them, as if they could find no matter of evill in them.

Object. But Matth. 23.23. Christ condemnes the Scribes for strict­nesse in paying tythes.

Answ. But the latter part answers the former, and it sheweth they are hypocrites not for doing the lesse, but omitting the greater; as on the other side, that they are hypocrites who doe the grea­ter, and omit the lesse. If they cannot justly challenge them for omitting the greater, they cannot make them hypocrites: nay, happily these that are censured, may justly by Christs rule judge their censurers as hypocrites, because they omit the lesse, and are altogether negligent in them. For undoubtedly the heart can be sound in neither, that is not in both. Luke 16.10. He that is faithfull in the least, he is also faithfull in much; and he that is unjust in the least, is unjust also in much. It is a sure to­ken of an hypocrite, for a man to live apparently in the practice of any one known sinne, though in other things hee seeme ne­ver so strict. For Eccles. 10.12. Any one dead Fly corrupts the oyntment. But to condemne a man for an hypocrite, in being stricter than our selves in some cases, and for being nice in mat­ters of small moment; when the whole tenour of his life is o­therwise righteous also, it is to condemne him for that which Christ will commend him for at the last, when no man shall take his praise or his joy from him, Matth. 25.21. But these men thus condemne themselves; for as the Heathen, Ʋt quisque optimus est, ita quemque optimum esse putat; so, Ʋt quisque pessi­mus, &c. as Heliogabalus thought every man dishonest in heart, because he was so himselfe: so these men thinke that men cannot without hypocrisie either be nice in small things, or very care­full and zealous in greater things, because themselves are not come to that sincerity, to make conscience of them themselves, and therefore if they should seeme to doe it, they should but dissemble; and they measure other mens consciences by their owne. In a word, thus to judge is a most corrupt course; as if a man would needs have it, that the tree is rotten at the roote, [Page 148] because the fruit of it seemed to be good, or at least because the fruit of it shewed better and fairer then the fruit of many o­ther trees that grew neer it. Then, as Math. 7.1. Judge not, that yee be not judged. Else if thou thus judge Gods servants, take heed of a censure from him, and, it may be, from those whom thou thus censurest, because 1 Cor. 6.2. The Saints shall judge the world.

The second ground of these mens judging, is some strange judgment that befals them that seeme thus religious and care­full: for if one that hath made conscience of his wayes be over­taken with any judgement, an unusuall crosse, or dye sudden­ly; then judge they of him, as Jobs friends did of him, that God hath found out his hyprocisie; what would they doe if he had dyed in that misery? and yet might he have done well enough for all that, and did trust in God, Job. 13.15. Loe, though hee slay me, yet will I trust in him, and I will approve my wayes in his sight. Thus the Barbarians judged of St. Paul. Acts 28.4. And so the Disciples, John 9.2. But as men shall not be judged be­fore God for that they have suffered, but done; so men shall not be judged of men: for so Christ shewed, by crossing his Disci­ples judgement, John 9.3. as also theirs, Luke 13.3, 5. as he sheweth not only by this which might come from the malice of Pilate, but from that of the 18. who perished under the Tower of Siloam; for the like may befall to another and them­selves.

Object. But may not a man judge at all by Gods judgements?

Answ. Yes, in these and the like cases: if God have foretold such a thing, Numb. 16.29, 30. when it comes we may judge; or if the judgment befall him that hath been, and so continues, a no­torious wicked man; as in Athens, when a beame of the house fell in a banquet, and knocked a professed Atheist alone on the head; there is then some ground for our censure, for then the word and worke of God meet together, else there can bee no certaine judgement, because, as it is, Eccles. 9.1, 2. I have sure­ly given mine heart to all this, and to declare all this, that the just and the wise, and their workes are in the hand of God: and no man knoweth either love or hatred of all that is before them. All things come alike to all; and the same condition is to thee just, and to the wicked, to the good, and to the pure, and to the polluted, and to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not; as is the good, so is the sinner, he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath: And that which is befallen another may befall thee; for it is no faith, but a fancy, whereby any man thinketh himselfe excepted from any outward calamity, having no promise for freedome. There­fore should no man judge another, that liveth outwardly well, by ought that befalleth him; for it may befall him, and that in Gods justice, as Proverb. 24.17, 18.

Ʋse 2 [Page 149]This tels how it is warrantable to judge and censure of other men, such as are wicked and prophane, and yet cry out that any man should sit on them but themselves; and of those wee meane who boast of as good and sincere a heart to God as the best, though their lives be not so religious as theirs; yea when they are prophane and notoriously wicked, yet men must judge charitably of them, because they can not see into their thoughts, and know what there is there. But we answer them, that their lives tell us what lyes hid: nay that which is within cannot be hid, because their lives are such: For Math. 7.18. a man need not dig into the ground to see what the root is, the fruit will easily discover the tree; so is it with the heart & actions, by good actions we may be deceived, because of the disposition of the partie, Math. 6. Almes and Prayers by vaine glory, or want of sincerity, are not good at all to the doer: but evill can­not be good by good intention; for that which is evill in it self, cannot be made good to any for any end. And so evill actions still argue an evill heart, as bad fruits an evill tree: And so it is a very ridiculous thing for men to brag of a sound and good heart, when their lives be as they bee. For Jam. 3.11. Evill words, saith the Apostle, corrupt good manners, their own and others, much more evill workes good men; yea, they argue the doer corrupt within; for it is not the fruit makes the tree bad, but it is the badnesse of the tree that maketh the bad fruit; the fruit discovereth the naughtinesse of the tree: For as the Adder hath a sting before he stingeth, so are men wicked before they work wickednesse; then is it knowne she hath a sting, and they cor­ruption: for as the mouth speaketh from the abundance of the heart, so the heart worketh from the abundance of the soule; so that lawfull it is for me to judge a common swearer, a known adulterer, a manifest deceiver, an usuall drunkard, &c. to have a corrupt heart: for when the earth is broken up, and a filthy stench commeth out, argues it not that there was some dead corps there? so when men send out cursings, blasphemies, swea­rings, raylings, and such like, that a man should not be able to endure, from whence issue these, but from a dead and a rot­ten soule? these carry about them then the grave and sepulcher of the Soule. Now that which is said of the words, may be ap­plyed to the workes. As a man therefore comming to a tombe, though never so costly and curiously, or so royally deckt, yet if at some vent be apprehend a filthy savour issuing out of it, he knoweth well there is not only a dead, but a rotten carkasse within; so when a man feeleth a filthy and unwholsome sent, either of prophane speech, or of dissolute life issuing from the heart, which is the fountaine of both, he must needs conclude, neither is it against charitie to censure it, that there is a soule [Page 150] not only dead and buried, but even rotten in sinne and corrup­tion. Therefore let no man delude himselfe, whil [...] he would deceive others, to beare men in hand that he is soun [...] at heart, when he is unsound and corrupt in his life; as if a man might be perswaded that it is a vine or figtree which he seeth hanging full of crabs and wildings. Nay it must needs be otherwise; therefore as Christ said, Math. 12.33. Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; Or else make the tree evill, and his fruit evill: for the tree is known by his fruit. If thou hate sinne, shew it in thy life; if thou feare God, shew it by thy carefull walking in his waies, and seeking to please him; If thou lovest the word, fre­quent the assembly with diligence and devotion, and not care­lessely and slippily: If thou thinke reverently of the service of God, be carefull reverently to addresse thy selfe to the perfor­mance of it: Otherwise know, thy practice proclaimes the want of these things; and thinke not much if others judge thee by that, for they have their warrant from Christ their King; By their fruits you shall know them.

If yee offer the blind,] The Lord he requires not all the sub­stance of a man to his service, but a few things, and those not very costly, yet he requires the choise and best in their kind, and they be accounted of better then any others; the best should not be deare to them, nor too deare for him.

Doctr. Men ought to offer their best things to God, and to thinke nothing too deare for him, either to give to him or for him, Gen. 22.2. 2 Sam. 24.24.

Ʋse 1 This serves to reprove all hypocrites, such as the world & the Church is full of, who offer not the best, but the worst unto God, & think those things good enough, having many things too dear for him, when as nothing is too good for their back & bellies, for their pleasures & delights, to serve the flesh & world withall. But generals touch not; for particulars. First, the maintenance of the Ministers is the Lords portion, as not to seek it fare off, Mal. 3.8. for if the spoiling of them, be the spoyling of him, then è contra. But how many have we that thinke every thing is too much that they have, and any thing is good enough for them? I say no­thing of them who bestow all on pleasures, and give nothing to the Lords portion, who, as they think playing better then preaching, bestow much on Players, but nothing on Preachers. But I aime at such as account of Preaching, and injoy the benefit of the ministery, and yet a vaine man will bestow more on a player in a yeere, then they in many on a Preacher. Almes to the poore, is a gift to God, as the Scripture teacheth; but how many have we, I do not say rich churles, like him in the Gospell, that will not give crums to Lazarus, but, that will give some­thing, but it is almes of moldy bread, tainted meat, that scarce [Page 151] doggs will eate, or cannot be spent otherwise; whose rust of their siver, & their moth eaten garments shall be a witnes against them, & eate their flesh. Any thing is too much for these, nothing too good for their bellies, pleasures,Jam. 5.2, 3. or pleasant compaions who de­ligt them.Miseri homi­nes parasitis & assentato­ribus distri­buere ma­lunt, quam Christo qui tot sibi bene­cia contule­rit. Wretched men had rather give to parasites and flaterers then to Christ from whom they have so many benefit. These shall have of the best, those of the worst; these liberally, those spa­ringly. If I should tell you that a Citizen in the end of the sick­nesse being some few miles from the City, when the plague was beginning hotly, going thither but of pleasure, at his meate would have given a Crown for a set of Musitians to delight him­selfe withall: when motion was made in the company to give somewhat to the reliefe of the sick and poore in that towne, as men who could not forget the miseries of the poore, from the experience of their own; he among the rest gave but a penny or two pence at the most: I say if I should tell you of such an one, (I say not I know the party and the thing,) I know you would all condemn him in your thoughts. But this I say, I know many who will not sticke to spend a crowne, 10, 20, 30, 40s. upon one idle journey for their pleasure and delight, (which I doe not simply condemn,) when as it will grieve them, and they cannot smother it, to bestow in a whole yeere upon the Lords Levites and his poore Lazarites, a crowne or 10s. or the like portion farre inferior to their ability; how are these not re­proved here? And if these, then those who give to the Lord nor the flower and youth of their age, but to the flesh and devill, and the dregs of their age to God; their strength and health to the world, their weaknesse and sicknesse to God. The first fruits are too good for God, though he call for them, the glea­nings are good enough. Many have children, some are of good parts, good gifts, and towardlines; it is pitty they should serve the Lord, and be for his ministery, they are fit to stand before Kings and in great places, Dan. 1.3, 4, 5. but if any be of no gifts, hee is fit for no other use, turne him to the ministery, 1 Kings 12.31. 2 Chron. 13.9. and this must be his refuge a­gainst poverty; many betake themselves to the reading of the Word, and come to the Church when they have nothing else to doe, neither their bellies to feed, nor their backs to deck, nor the world to follow, the weather not for them to walk in the fields; as Luke 9.59, 61. Many will offer small and petty sins to God, that they have no pleasure or profit by, but retaine their maine sinns which give delight, 2 Kings 10.28, 29. Mark 6.17, 18, 20. Math. 23.23. yea many can be content to part with their outward goods, not inward corruption, but buy out their sins with almes, Mich. 6.6, 7. Now a number of such hy­pocrites as these are manifestly here reproved, that they thinke [Page 152] things too deare for the Lord, and please themselves, when they offer of the worst unto him.

Ʋse 2 To teach every man to honour God with the best he hath, to thinke nothing too good for him, and to labour that nothing be deare to him in comparison of him, if he call for it. To take So­lomons advice, Prov. 3.9. Honour the Lord with thy riches, and with the first fruits of all thine increase. Defraud not his Levites of their portion, thinking it too much that is bestowed on them; for 1 Cor. 9.11. If we have sowen unto you spirituall things, is it a great thing if we reape your carnall things? And Galat. 6.6. Let him that is taught in the Word, make him that hath taught him par­taker in all his goods. And if men be straitened this wise, it may be just with God to take their Ministers from them.Nisi dederit oleum popu­lus, extingue­tur lucerna in templo Orig. Unlesse the people bring Oyle, the light will goe out in the Temple: so in ordinary course and Gods judgment. Feed the poore with the best, and deale liberally with them: Deut. 14.29. Nehe. 8.10. Make them heires and co-heires with thy children and kindred; as Chrysost. When thou art dying and going, though it is farre better thou shouldst nourish them living, and before thou depart. Hom. 25. ad pop. Ant, remember God in the best of thy dayes, health, youth, strength, Eccles. 12.1. Deut. 6.5. If thou hast children, thinke none too good for God to carry Gods Name, to stand in Gods stead, 1 Cor. 2.16. and 5.20. And if God will have him, if he be as Isaac, freely offer him; the better, the more acceptable to himselfe. Give God the time that is meet, and he requireth, though it be precious to thee, and may be imployed to profit otherwise, Exod. 34.21. Offer to God the greatest and sweetest sinnes, neerest and dearest, Matth. 5.29, 30. as Heb. 11.17. yea, give God the heart, and honour him with outward holinesse. Prov. 23.26. In all things be an Abel, not a Cain. Gen. 4.

The blind.] Sacrifices were Types both of head and body; and for body, of the persons and service. And thus God reject­ing their sacrifices for their blindnesse, shews how hee con­demnes blindnesse in those who serve him: And blindnesse is ig­norance, and want of knowledge. Revelat. 3. 2 Pet. 1.5, 9. And so from hence observe:

Doctr. Nothing that is done in obedience of God can be good, or a good worke, unlesse it be of knowledge, zeale, charity, de­votion; good intention cannot make it good, if knowledge be wanting, for it is a blind offering. The knowledge we speake of is a generall knowledge of the Will and Word of God, and speciall knowledge of the lawfulnesse and goodnesse of that acti­on. 2 Pet. 1.5, 9. Deut. 5.27. Matth. 28.19, 20. Rom. 10.2, 3. Rom. 14.23.

Reas. 1 Because the Lord respects not the outward shew and pompe [Page 153] of works, (as the multitude and greatnesse of them,) but con­siders them inwardly, whether they flow from true obedience, or no. Now true obedience is then, when we beleeve by the Word of God, that both he requires such workes, and they are those which please him. Now this cannot be without some mea­sure of knowledge.

Reas. 2 Because as he condemnes the vaine pompe and outward shew of Hypocrites, so doth he all fained service and will-worship, Col. 2.23. Now then it is will-worship, not onely when things not commanded are done, and men thinke by them to doe God good service; but when things commanded are done, and they know not the command, but for some other respects doe them: for as good no commandement, in respect of them, as they not know it. And if things done, which he had com­manded, be rejected, as will-worship, Isaiah 1.12. because they were not done in that manner he had commanded, though they knew his will; More this: for as they in Isaiah did their works not in conscience to God, but for some other end; so these can not, because they know it not, and so it cannot be acceptable. He that doth a man a good turne, and meant it not, but aimed at himselfe, profit or glory, or whatsoever, cannot look for any great thankes from him, for whom it fell out so well.

Ʋse 1 This confuteth Papists, as touching ignorance, which they much advance and commend; though they be ashamed of the old position, that ignorance is the Mother of devotion, yet they accuse knowledge for want of devotion; they practise to keepe the people in ignorance, and defend it still to be good. For when we urge the necessity of knowledge, for all our acti­ons, and that whether from the Word, Fathers, or reason, they oppose themselves against all. Besides, their manifold reasons, for which they have beaten their braines, to prove the people ought not to have the Scriptures in a knowne tongue, and so not knowledge; when we object unto them, Joh. 5.39. Search the Scriptures, and justly complaine of their spirit contrary to Christs, Dureus denies that this is spoken to all Christians; for how should (saith he) the ignorant and unlearned search them? We answer, that if Christ had then spoken to the learned one­ly, his exception had beene good; but if he preached to the whole people, as then he did; if to all the Jewes, why not to all Christians? Let them shew a difference; but if none, but that both Jewes and Christians must by them have the know­ledge of Christ and eternall life, when these are common to all in the Church, why not to other? when we urge that, Acts 17.11. The Bereans searched the Scriptures whether those things were so. Bellarmine answereth, that was because they doubted whe­ther he was an Apostle or no. The matter is not why they exa­mined, [Page 154] but that they did, and are commended for it by the holy Ghost, that they compared his doctrine with the doctrine of the Prophets. Then ought all Christians thus to doe, to try the Spirits, for now may doubt be made, more then at that time, 1 John 4.1. and no search can be but by the Scriptures, and knowledge of them. When we urge that, Collo. 3.16. then they exempt the ignorant, and say it is not for all, but commend unto us the decree of the Councell of Trent, who have allowed such to read as have licence from their Ordinary, upon testimo­ny from their Curates that they are humble and devout persons, Rhemist, praefat. that is, none but their Pope-holy, devout Ca­tholiques, and yet the Apostle speakes generally; and if the People be rude, and, as they still object, ignorant, we answer, that is no reason, or of no force to prove they must be kept from the Scriptures; this is the way to make them still rude: this ought not to be so, and that which is a fault in them, can be no argument against this, as if a man should be denied the benefit, not of light, but of salve because his eyes are sore. When we ob­ject unto them the fathers, as Chrysost. upon the place of the Col­lossians and divers other places, or that of him, Hom. 2. in Math. & aliis: Heare I pray you, O yee layty, buy you Bibles, the medicines of your soules, if you will buy you nothing else: get the new Testament, the Acts of the Apostles, and the Epistles. To this the Rhemists, praefat. sect. 14. answer, that he speakes this as a Pulpit man, not as giving rules in the Schooles. As if he would speake one thing in the Pulpit, another thing out of it, or made the Pulpit a place to utter lyes. These who thus censure the fathers, no marvell though they often be sawcy with Luther and Calvin. But Bellarmine answereth, de verbo Dei, lib. 2. cap. 16. that he spoke that then, because many men were given to be at theaters and stage playes, and other vanities, and never read the Scriptures, no not such as had understanding; and he exhorteth all, not that he would have all to read them, but that they should doe it, which could doe it with profit: for he knew he had to deale with those who need such amplifications: marke that Chrysost. is made an Orator, no Preacher; one that for advantage would speake more then he thought. When upon Col. the 3.16. hee exhorts not only in generall tearmes, but specially; heare O you worldly men, that have wives and children, he commands you to read the Scripture, and not lightly and slightly, but diligently and painfully: How can they restraine those with any conscience, to some, which is spoken generally to all? And for this reason holds it not now, have we not playes, they and we, theaters ful­ler then Churches, to the corrupting of the minds and manners of our people? finde we not many, of good capacitie, more af­fected with any thing then the scriptures? Then as necessary it is [Page 155] they should be exhorted, and read them; and yet with them may a man read any thing but Scriptures: by all which, as they them­selves make gaine of them, so they make them and their sacri­fices, service and obedience, whatsoever it is, unacceptable un­to God, because they are blind sacrifices, specially that, when they teach them to pray in an unknown tongue, where every word must needs be a blind service.

Ʋse 2 To reprove all such as keep themselves in ignorance and with­out knowledge, being blind, they will be blind still; they need not that any law forbid them the reading of the Scriptures, they can be a law unto themselves; and what soever others can ob­ject, that they have against themselves, of the difficulty, the hardnesse, the obscurity and danger of reading them; Or if not that, yet that they must learne from their ministers, that which Duraeus the Jesuite said impiously, that Christ left Pastors to to the people, not Bibles, they so practise; for they will not once almost look in them, only they will heare from the Ministers, and would to God they would heare constantly and carefully; they might have more knowledge: but while they onely heare, they remaine still ignorant, and hearing so carelesly, by igno­rance they doe the things that God hath commanded now and then, but without all true knowledge; and so make them unac­ceptable to God, when they worke by imitation, and often en­quire of the lawfulnesse after the deed.

Ʋse 3 To perswade every man, that hath any desire that his service may be acceptable to God, whatsoever it be, to labor for know­ledge that it may bee a seeing sacrifice; for that which the A­postle hath, Hebr. 11.6. is here more; if not without faith, then not without knowledge: Now what servant or child is it that obeyes and doth service to his father or master, and knowes it is not acceptable; and yet if he be told what way he may take to have it accepted, will not? so in this if there be any desire to please him, labor not so much to doe, as how to doe, or to know what you doe; and this not onely by siting at Gamaliels feet, and hearing the Ministers, but by reading the Scriptures and word of God your selves diligently and painfully:Col. 3.16. for the Apostle so perswades, Let the word of Christ dwell in you plenteously in all wisdome, teaching and admonishing your selves in Psalmes and Hymnes, and spirituall Songs, singing with a grace in your hearts to the Lord; not, as Chrysost. well saith, that the word should be in you, that is, come as a stranger, and stay for a night, a sea­son, and gone againe; but it must dwell in you, and that not sparingly, but copiously and abundantly. Chrysost. exhortation is not so necessary for these times and this audience, to get them Bibles, for they must have them in their hands and houses; but to use their Bibles, which most neglect. Therefore as he de [Page 156] Lazaro, Semper hortor, & hortari non desinam, ut non hic tantum attendatis iis quae dicun­tur, verum etiam cum domi fueritis, assi­duè divinarū scripturarum lectioni vace­tis. Quod quidem & iis qui privatim me­cum ingressi sunt non desisto inculcare. Chrysost. Hom. 3. I againe and againe ex­hort you, not only here to attend to the things that are spoken, but when you are at home, to read the Scriptures carefully, which I use to presse upon them that are a­bout me. If this may prevaile, a little more may that of Moses, Deuter. 6.6, 7, 8. and that of Christ, John 5.39. and the former of S. Paul. But alas, how may that complaint of Chrysostome be applyed, Homil. 13. in John,Quinostrūquaso repetit domi aliquid, aut Christiana dignum opus aggreditur? Quis Scripturarum sensus perscrutatur? Ne­mo sane: sed alveolos & talos frequen­ter invenimus, libros quam rarissimos. Chrysost. Who is it, that when he comes home doth any thing worthy of a Christi­an? who is it, that seekes the meaning of the Scripture? None at all; we may or­dinarily finde you at Tables or Dice, but very seldome at your Bibles. Doth not he describe many of our Christians, and their familes; and so, that being without knowledge, all they doe is unacceptable. Let us labor then for this knowledge, and be not Idols in the Church, who have eyes and see not; & so much knowledge is required, as there is capablenesse and meanes.

And if yee offer the lame,] Lame sacrifices forbidden signifi­ed the dislike that God had of such service as was done by halfes, in body, and not in minde; è contra, in hypocrisie, for fashion and custome, and such like.

Dorct. Lame service which is done to God, is unacceptable unto him, whether it be done with the body without the heart, or pre­tended to be done with the heart, when the body goes another way, when it is hypocriticall and dissembling, or by parting or sharing with God, it is abominable and not acceptable unto him; therefore rejected he the lame sacrifices: the ceremony leads to this substance, the shaddow to this body, 1 Kings 18.21. And Eliah came unto all the people, and said, how long halt yee between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal be hee, then goe after him. And the people answered him not a word. This God complained of, Isaiah 29.13. Jer. 12.2. Ezek. 33.31. Act. 4.36. with 5.1, 2. Math. 6.2, 5.

Reas. 1 Because all and the whole is his, both body and soule, by his three-fold right of creation, redemption, and preservation or gubernation: therefore he will have all, or nothing can be ac­cepted of him.

Reas. 2 Because this is to make a false God of him; for it is a position full of truth, that a true God, as hee will not be worshipped with fained and counterfeit worship, so not with partiall wor­ship, but he will have all, or none: whereas false gods will be content so they may have but a share. But the true God is like the true Mother, 1 King. 3.26. will not have it divided.

Ʋse 1 [Page 157]This condemneth all presenting of the body before an Idoll, or in Idols service, under pretence of keeping the heart to God; whether it be done by feare, fancy, or for profit and gaine. This is to offer up a lame sacrifice to God, such as he abhorres; it is without any president or precept in the Scriptures: nay the Commandements, precepts, lawes, admonitions, judg­ments of the Law and Prophets of the Old and new Testament are all against it, commanding to fly Idols and Idolatry. The companions of Daniel chose rather to bee cast into the fiery for­nace, then to bow to the Kings Idol. The mother in the Macca­bees, and her children embraced death rather then they would eate swines flesh contrary to the law of God. Infinite are the Martyrs of all times, who have couragiously embraced death, before they would doe any such thing; who had been all very unwise, and fooles, if this would have served, and God would have accepted such lame sacrifice.

Object. But for all this a man may goe to masse, and such superstitions, may he not?

Answ. No more to the one then to the other; for this is the greatest Idol in the world, and for it more abominable Idolaters are the Papists then any other: for never any worshipped the thing it selfe, as they doe the breaden God and the crosse; but they worshipped God at it, and in it, as their old distinction hath been.

Object. But we goe to make us abhorre it, when we see their follie and vanity.

Answ. This were as if a man should goe into a harlots house or stews, under pretence to see and to abhorre: whom shall he make be­leeve that is his end? if it were apparent, yet what madnesse were it for a man to lay himselfe open to bee taken with such a danger? He presumes of his strength, nay he provokes God to take his strength from him, and to let him fall into it, as in Peter: This is not the way to abhorre it. But as he that would abhorre uncleanenesse, or drunkennesse, must not take that course, to go to stewes, or to frequent tavernes, for that is to make him more in love with them; but must labor for a chaste and sober heart, and that will make him abhorre it; so here for a religious and holy heart: for it is not the seeing of evill that makes men abhorre it, but the seeing of good. If men labor for true grace they shall easily abhore sinne; and in this, as in all others, evill must not be done that good may come: Nay, though never so much good would ensue, yet when God hath forbidden it, when he dislikes it, it must be avoyded.

Ʋse 2 This condemneth all prophane men who talke of serving God with their hearts, howsoever they serve him not with their bo­dies, and they doubt not but God will accept them. The Lords [Page 158] day, is a day God hath required men to doe him publique service in; how many spend that day either in journeying for some small affaires, or withdrawing themselves upon some small oc­casion, and yet tell us they doubt not but God will accept their thoughts and their heart, as they ride, or the like: as if he that dishonors God in his body, could honor him in his heart at one & the same time; or, if he could, he would accept it: As if he could serve him within, that rebels against him without: As if a child or servant could think to perswade his father or master, that hee respected and served him in his heart, when he disobeyed and dishonoured him in all his outward carriage, and did not that he bade him: Nay, the contrary is most true; so for alms, that it is enough to looke upon the poore rufully, and speake mournfully to them, and seeme to have affections within, but their goods they bestow upon harlots and vaine persons, their labour and strength upon them; And yet they thinke God will accept their heart. as if a subject should pretend a loyall heart to his Prince, and thinke to be accepted for it, when he gives his goods, and spends his strength in a service against him, serving his E­nemy.

Ʋse 3 Here is condemned all lame service of God, when men will give their bodyes, but reserve their hearts from him; they will come before him, and draw neere to him with the outward man, heare the word, pray, and offer him prayses, and receive the sa­craments; but in the meane time their hearts are absent, they are without their soule; for all things are done without under­standing, praying and hearing, &c. they were as good be done in a strange tongue in respect of them, yea better; for they had the more excuse. Their affections which are as their hands, either to receive that is offered to them, or to hold up that which they bring to God, are so full of their covetousnesse and worldlinesse of their feares, joyes, severall pleasures and delights, that they can receive nothing else; but whatsoever is offered them, is as water powered upon a vessell that hath the mouth full stopped, and so all runneth by; or if they receive a little, yet their pleasures, or covetousnesse, or such like doe soon exclude them, or choak them, as thornes doe the corne or seed.

Ʋse 4 To teach every man to endeavour, and performe services to God both in body and soule, as 1 Cor. 6.20. seeing his right is to one as well as the other; and the giving of him one condemns a man, for not giving of him the other. If God was so angry with Ananias and Sapphira, that he divided them, because they had devided that which they ought to have given whole unto him; how will he accept a man that shall divide himselfe, when he comes to him? Their heart is divided, now shall they be found faulty. Hosea 10.2. we must bring both body and soule [Page 159] to the service of God, to pray with the mouth, and to pray with the understanding, to hear with the eare, and to speake with the heart; for the body hath both os and aures, to speak to God, and to hear him. Men must give God the bodily presence when hee calleth for it; they must come to his service, but they may not leave their hearts behinde them, or suffer them to be carried a­way when they are present, but leave every thing, when they come, behind them, that may hinder them; as Abraham did at the foot of the mount: yea, when they would fall upon his ser­vice, as the fowls would upon Abrahams sacrifice, Gen. 15.11. drive them away, and performe all duties with the whole man, that it may be a whole, and so an acceptable sacrifice, 2 Sam. 5.8.

And sicke.] Sick sacrifices of beasts were condemned, to shew how God dislikes that service that is without spirit and affection, faintly and drowsily performed.

Doctrine. Sick service God dislikes, when things are performed without spirit and affection, when the duties are done without zeal and fervencie, without alacritie and cheerfulnesse. This was the reason why Aaron and his sons would not eat the sin-offering, because they could not doe it cheerfully, Levit. 10.19. Hee would have all things done cheerfully, fervently, zealously, Isai­ah. 58.13. 1 Cor. 9.17. Rom. 12.8, 11. 2 Cor. 9.7. Ec­cles. 11.1.

Reas. Because when things are done dully and coldly by one, it ar­gues little account of Gods Person, and small desire of the things he hath; but the contrary is, when they are done fervently and busily, when a man sets his heart to the work, as that, Dan. 6.14. when as the cold and carelesse performing of these things, argues no account nor love to God and his service; no marvell then though he dislike it; and contrariwise, accept it, being done with fervencie.

Ʋse 1 This condemneth those who condemn zeal, fervencie, and heat in the service of God.

Ʋse 2 To teach every man to labour to doe all things in the service and fear of God, with zeal, alacritie and earnestnesse; not to goe about it as sick men doe about the works of their callings, faintly and feebly, but earnestly, whether they pray, or preach, hear, or give almes, whether for a short time or long. It is not enough that the Lords day be kept, that the Word is heard and preach­ed, that the Prayers be made, almes given, and such like, unlesse they have that affection which God requires, and be done with that sense and feeling, that zeal and fervencie which is fitting. The work is common to hypocrites and profane men, with the Children of God; the affection is proper to his owne; not that the other have not the naturall affection, but that they have not the sanctified affection: Their affections are about worldly [Page 160] things, pleasant or profitable; these about Spirituall things. As the vaine men, or worldly men are tickled, and marvellously af­fected with the things they goe about; so ought men in the ser­vice of God. And though happily it is not to be attayned unto, to have as fervent affections to the things of God, as carnall men have to the things of the world, because they are wholly carnall, these but partly sanctified; they have nothing to hinder them, these have great hinderances and pull-backs, even their own cor­ruptions; yet must they endeavour, what they may, to doe eve­ry thing with all cheerfulnesse, and even grieve to see them goe about their sports and profits, their delight and gaine, with greater spirits, and more cheerfully, then themselves about these holy things; yea let it grieve them that they themselves follow worldly things more eagerly and affectionately then spirituall things, and find greater chearfulnesse in the one then in the o­ther. And so things done drowsily and heavily, without cheer­fulnesse, shall not be accepted.

Quest. But what if this affection be wanting, shall a man therefore not doe it, or doe that which will not be accepted.

Answ. Nay, that follows not; for then should God have no service of the best, who finde themselves ever unfit; but onely of hypo­crites and carnall men, who think any thing good enough: but though wants this way be, yet must not this be left off; for so we read the Children of God have done. Nehemiah unfit to pray, yet prayed, Chapter 1.4. Hanna, 1. Sam. 1. Our Saviour Christ himself, when his heart was full of sorrow (though this was in him an infirmitie without sinne, though not in us, because of the corruption it draws from our vessell, as new wine put into a mu­stie vessell.)

Ʋse 3 To teach men not to deferre the service of God till sicknesse and old age, when they must needs be without heat and af­fection.

Ʋse 4 To teach every one to whet on one another, and to labour to set an edge on one another, and to stir up their affections, when they are with them, to come to the service of God; specially such as have charge of others, for their charge. As they have any de­sire that God may have the sacrifice and service that is pleasant unto him, and to keep themselves free from their sinnes: they should, as Prov. 27.17. sharpen: and Deutr. 6.7. whet, and in generall, Hebr. 10.24. provoke one another.

Offer it now unto thy Prince.] The second reason and proof of their offence, because they had gone against civilitie and com­mon honestie.

Doct. This is the corruption of mans nature, that he preferreth man before God: loving, fearing, serving, seeking his honour before Gods. Gen. 27.12. 2 Kings 5.18. John. 12.42, 43. Neverthe­lesse [Page 161] even among the chief rulers, many beleeved in him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confesse him, lest they should be cast out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men, more then the prayse of God. Joh. 5.44. Yea in all things man is more carefull of all duties, and maketh it much more hainous to faile in duty to the one, then to neglect and set light by the other.

Reas. 1 Because they see and converse with men daily, not so with God: it is the reason why John gave him the lie, that would brag of the love of God, whē he lived in the hatred of men. 1 Joh. 4.20.

Reas. 2 Because love being the ground of all duties to God, or man, and affection to man is naturall, to God spirituall, that we have of our selves, this is the gift of God; therefore meere naturall men have care of duties to men, more then to God, because they have this Love, not the other: And regenerate men too; because after conversion nature helpes us with the spirit to the service of man, but to God the spirit onely workes, yet but weakely; Men being more flesh then spirit a long time after conversion.

Reas. 3 Because men have a carnall understanding, because they are able to see what they receive from men, but not from God: hence no good turn from men goes unrecompenced, at least not with­out thanks, but from God many goe without thanks; we have carnall eyes to see what men give us, not spirituall to see what God bestowes; to see the Instrument, not Author.

Reas. 4 Because men have perverse and partiall judgements; for that which befalleth a man, every one thinkes may befall him; but that which toucheth or dishonoureth God, they think it touch­eth not their freehold at all.

Ʋse 1 To teach every man to see the corruption of his heart, when when he findeth that he is in himself and others more carefull of the duties that belong to men, then to God; where the fayling of the one troubleth him more then the neglect of the other. In himself he is carefull to live civilly and honestly in the world, to give every man his own, &c. But in the mean time he is carelesse in the duties of Gods service. This bewrayes the corruption of his nature, for that he may doe by the light of nature; and so have heathen men both cōmanded & done. And as it is meer hypocri­sie, for a man to be carefull in duties unto God, when he is careles in duties unto men; so the contrary is but meere civilitie: he that is truly religious, is carefull of both: hee that faileth in the one, is short of many Heathen and Infidells; And in the other, hee that goes no further, is still but a naturall and carnall man. They have carnall affections and understandings, and are men of per­verse judgements: we shall finde that true of them which Saint Augustine writ de mendacio, Nulla homi­nes graviora peccata aesti­mant, quam quae huic vi­tae faciunt injuriam. Aug. Men esteem those sinnes worst, that are most injurious to this life. And again, Non odimus eos qui nulli molesti sunt, Wee doe not hate those that live in the practise [Page 162] of sinne, be it never so great against God, as long as they are not injurious and offensive to man, from this corruption is it, that men feare man more then God, are more desirous to please him, to keep and recover his favor then Gods. If a great man be offended with them, as Chrysostome, they will intreat friends and neighbours and others, tend patiently many dayes, entreat humbly once and again, a 100. times, and if he will not bee re­conciled, they can not be in quiet: but when they have offended God, they can lye and sleep securely, and take their ease, and follow their pleasures, shews not this their corruption? From the same corruption is it, that if they receive any benefit from men, or by them, they labor to be thankfull, and to recom­pence; but though they cannot but looke upon some of Gods blessings, they return none to him. As men are liberall in thanks for their feasts and refreshings, to the instruments, not to the author: as Basil. As little children that thinke they have their coats from the taylor that maketh them, and bringeth them home and putteth them on, by reason of their weake conceit: from this corruption is it, that men mislike disobedient sonnes and bad servants of other men; because it may be their owne case to be abused so by their own, and the bad example of others may be a meanes to effect the like in theirs; when they no waies be like affected when they are rebellious to the word of God. Masters will be bitter to servants for unthankfulnesse, negligence and carelesnesse of their commodities, whereas they never take no­tice of their lying and swearing, (that brings in gaine) of propha­ning of Gods day; because the one concerneth them, and may be a meanes of their danger and losse, and the other nothing so neere toucheth them, which maketh God give them over to their corruption, to be more unfaithfull to them. To be briefe, all hate a covetous man more then a prodigall man, and an op­pressour, more then a filthy liver, As S. Augustine saith, because the one is such as he is more like to injure us then the other; though the other dishonour God as much, and doe as much hurt. These and many such things argue directly the corruptions of men, that preferre duties to men, before duties to God.

Ʋse 2 Thus ought we to labor against this corruption, and to strive to feare God, to love him above all, to make more conscience of dutyes to him, then to men; to be more grieved with sins that are against him, then against others or our selves; which will ne­ver be, unlesse we get our carnall affection changed, our car­nall understanding reformed, our partiall and preposterous judgement altered, and get our affection sanctified, our under­standing enlightned, our judgment rectified. Then shall wee love him and the things he loves, more grieve to offend him then the greatest man in the world; to alienate him then the best [Page 163] friend in the world, and more sorrow for it; then shall we see him that is invisible, as the Authour of all our blessings, and praise him more than men; then shall we measure sinnes, not as they are against us, but in themselves, and against God, a­gainst whom they are principally committed, and which makes them sinnes: Not laesio nostri, but offensa Dei makes them sins, therefore we should hate them, those especially that least con­cerne our selves, that our zeale may appeare to be a severity rightly grounded, and judgment well informed, as David, Psal. 69.9. The zeale of thine house hath eaten me, and the rebukes of them that rebuked thee, are fallen upon me: when for his owne he saith, Psal. 39.9. I was dumb, and opened not my mouth, because thou diddest it: but Gods wrongs he could not brooke. As Moses for himselfe was very meeke, Numb. 12.2. but Gods dishonour Exod. 32. made him exceeding hot. Finally, let us not be partiall, and expresse it in exacting those duties of man, that we are carelesse of performing in regard of God; like that people, Phil. 2.21: who sought nothing but their owne profit, and for their person, which overthroweth all both in Church and Common-wealth.

The thing he reproves them for, as contemners of him, is, that they had offered that to him, which they would not doe to man, and an inferiour.

Doctrine. To offer unto God that which man will not accept, or to serve him as man will not be served, and with such service as he would not serve man withall, is a sinne; and the contempt of him, or preferring man and the duties to him, before God, and the duties to him, is a sinne. Matth. 15.6. 2 Col. 2.20, 21, 22, 23.

Reas. 1 Not because of the greatnesse of Gods mind, who looks for so great things; for he will be content even with small matters, after a mans ability, when there is a willing mind; a Cup of cold water, or a Widows Myte, or a paire of Turtle-doves and yong Pidgeons: But because of the basenesse of his conceit, who gives and brings such things, who having more, and being able to bring better things, yet brings them not, as accoun­ting this good enough.

Reas. 2 Because it comes from the corruption of the heart; now such as the root is, such fruit it brings forth: for, as Job 14.4. Who can bring a cleane thing out of filthinesse? there is not one. So of this; and such an egge, such a bird.

Reas. 3 Because it is against the royall law; Thou shalt love the Lord with all thy heart, &c. Now as S. James in another case, James 2.8, 9. But if ye fulfill the royall law, according to the Scrip­ture, which saith, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thy selfe, ye doe well. But if you regard the persons, you commit sinne, [Page 164] and are rebuked of the law, as transgressors; so in this, being a­gainst the royall law, accepting persons, any before God, must needs be evill and sinne.

Ʋse 1 To teach men to examine their lives and their practices, and to search whether this sinne be not in them; that though they be carefull of God, as they perswade themselves, yet they pre­ferre man before him, and use him so as they would not use man, neither doe, and as they know man would not accept. To give some particulars; they are to carry a Present to keepe or recover the favour of some man: will they carry of the worst things they have, such as they cannot well bestow otherwise? they will not, lest they should gaine displeasure rather than fa­vour, and yet for God and the uses he hath commanded, they will offer that which they have no use for otherwise. Are they not then guilty of this? Will any man serve all his youth against his Prince as a Rebell, and after in old age, when he is unfit for service, come and proffer him his endeavour and fidelity? he will not, lest he should be punished by him, rather than accep­ted. Or say he called for his service when he was in health and strength, and he refused to worke with him, will he offer it when he is weake and sick? he will not, lest he should be reject­ed and punished: and yet his youth will he spend against God in the service of sin and Satan, yea, his strength and health, though God called for it and challenged it; and offer himselfe, when he is in age, weaknesse, and sicknesse, to doe him ser­vice: And is he not guilty of this sinne? Will a man, when he is in a good estate, in a flourishing and prosperous condition, re­fuse the friendship and familiarity of another man, and thinke when he is in misery to have it and enjoy it to his good and com­fort? he will not, lest he be then scorned and rejected. As Judges 11.7. Jephtha then answered the Elders of Gilead, Did ye not hate me, and expell me out of my fathers house? How then come you unto me now in the time of your tribulation? And yet many men refuse the friendship and familiarity of God, by spea­king to him in prayer, and hearing him speake to them againe in preaching, when they are in health, wealth, prosperity, and flourishing estates; and thinke he should not be strange to them, when they are in sicknesse and trouble and affliction, never fea­ring what is threatned, Prov. 1.24, 25, 26. Because I have cal­led and ye refused, I have stretched out mine hand, and none would regard; but ye have despised all my counsell, and would none of my correction: I will also laugh at your destruction, and mocke when your feare commeth. Are not these then guilty of this sinne? And so in many other particulars, which men practise, may they see themselves, if they deceive not their owne hearts, that they are guilty even as this people, and that God speaks to them also, as well as to the Jews.

He that shall find himselfe guilty of this, (as who is he that shall bring his heart and life to this Touch-stone, that shall not find himselfe exceedingly guilty this way?) must humble him­selfe, and repent himselfe for it, as for other sinnes; which stands not in the sorrowing for, and disliking of that which is past, but in striving against it for the future time; ever taking this as a rule, for so God intends it; for reproving their corruption by this, he intends it should be their rule to measure out duties to him, by that duty which they owe unto man, and performe unto him; because they are naturally more prone to the one than to the other. As he made the love of a mans selfe the rule of his love to others, because it is more naturall unto him by much; so in this, when any man is then about duties to God, if not otherwise he have a heart to doe them in all simplicity, yet, as Chrysost. Hom. 16. in 1 Tim. if not otherwise, yet, as servants o­bey us, so let us the Lord. So as wee would doe duties to men, doe them to God, if not otherwise; and thinke whether the Prince, or a man of any worth, would accept such things from us. If God send his messengers and Ministers to us, bringing glad tidings of peace, thinke wee if the Prince should send an Ambassadour unto us with good comforts and great promises, how would we heare him, and strive to it; how use him with re­verence and respect, by no meanes deny him any obedience, much lesse abuse him in word or deed? So for the Ministers, if they were sent from men to men, what faithfulnesse, care, and diligence would they use? Thinke when thou art to pray to God, how thou wouldest put up a petition to the Prince, with what submission, reverence, attention, and humility. If thou art to come to his Table, and called to it, thinke how if the Prince called thee to his, thou wouldest remove impediments, set aside excuses, come with all preparation as a guest fitting his Table. God requires service of thee as his servant, thinke if thou wert the Kings servant in ordinary, what wouldest thou doe for the time thy service is required: doe that, and wholly that, and little of thy owne, the most of the day spent in his: So thinke if thou beest Gods servant, what is required of all the dayes of thy life; the chiefest and greatest part of it. God re­quires almes and reliefe of thee, a portion for his servants and houshold, his Levites and Ministers, and the poore. Doe not use them as men doe the Kings takers, hide the best things from them, and thinke every thing too good; thou knowest he will not then accept thy person, but be angry with thee. So in this; Thou wilt say many Ministers are wicked and unworthy, so thou maist say of many takers and purveyours; yet if thou deny to them the Kings due, though they shall be punished, yet shalt thou be checked. So in this, looke to God, and not them.

VERSE IX.

And now, I pray you, pray before God, that he may have mercy upon us: this hath beene by your meanes: will he reward your persons, saith the Lord of Hostes?

AND now, I pray you, pray before God.] After the Prophet had reproved their sinnes, he comes to threaten them for them in the rest of this Chapter: and these judgments or punish­ments threatened, may be reduced to these two heads, they are either privative, that is, a withdrawing of Gods mercies, vers. 9. ad 14. or they are positive, an inflicting of a curse, vers. 14. The first is double, a rejecting of their prayers and sacrifices, vers. 9. and a rejecting of them who did pray or sacrifice, vers. 10. secondly, a removing of his worship from them to the Gentiles, vers. 11, 12, 13.

In this Verse is the rejecting of their prayers.

And now, pray.] This some take to be an exhortation to Re­pentance, and to seeke the Lord; as Zephan. 2.3. but some, and the most, understand this Ironicè, by an Ironia, and thinke it is spoken in derision, like Isaiah 47.12. 1 King. 22.15. So here he commands nothing, but derides them who thought thus to reconcile God by such sacrifices: As if he had said, Long may ye doe thus, but prevaile nothing at all.

Pray before the Lord,] Some read, entreate the face of God, that is, the favor of God; for so is face taken for favor, Psal. 31.16. some read, Pray to turne away the face of God, that is, his anger: as Psal. 34.16. some before the Lord, to the Lord himself, or in the place where he sheweth himself, seeking unto him by prayer, Psal. 27.8. And of these this is the most pro­bable.

That he may have mercy upon us,] He alludeth, as it is thought, to that, Numb. 6.35. (.i.) that he would be gracious and mer­cifull unto us, forgive us our sinnes, and multiply his mercies and blessings upon us, (upon us) Prophet and people: the Prophet putteth himselfe amongst the rest, as partaker of the same miseries and troubles.

This hath been by your means,] Now the Prophet laieth upon the Priests the cause of this curse that is befallen the people: some re­ferre this to the former part, shewing that they should pray, because they had been in fault. It is true that they ought chie­fest to seeke to turne to God, that are authors of his wrath; But [Page 167] then should this be taken by way of exhortation, not upbray­ding. But this is referred of some to the latter, shewing the reason why God will not heare nor accept, because they are au­thors of this evill, and therefore unfit to pray to God for the rest. This hath been by your meanes, by your fault hath this evill happened unto us; for it is not so much the fault of the people, who bring such imperfect sacrifice to the Temple, as yours who receive them for gaine, and neither reprove the im­piety of the people, nor instruct their ignorance, as by your office you ought.

Will he] That is, he will not; the Interrogation denies more strongly.

Regard your persons] will he accept your persons and faces? To accept ones face is to shew himselfe courteous and gracious to any.

He will give to none of you, nor accept your prayers. That which was spoken closely by an Ironie, and carried the face of a permission or command, that is now plainly and without figures spoken, shewing that he rejected both them and their sacri­fices.

Saith the Lord of Hosts] He that made all in Heaven and Earth, and is ruler over all creatures, the mighty Lord. As it were to meete with the base conceit they had of God, preferring every meane man before him.

In the first place, of this covert rejecting of their prayers; and first of the manner, then the matter. The manner is an ironicall speech, or speech of derision.

Doctrine. It is lawfull for the Ministers of God, and for holy men to use Ironies, that is, scoffing speeches, deriding taunts against the wicked: For so is it here by the Prophet. So Elijah. 1 Kings 18.27. And at noone Eliiah mocked them, and said, cry aloud, for he is a God; either he talketh, or pursueth his Enemies, or is in his journey, or it may be that he sleepeth, and must be awaked. Eccles. 11.9. Isaiah 44.12, 13, &c. 1 Kings, 22.15. Now examples are warrants, where precepts be not against them.

Reas. Because this is a speciall meanes, as to shew a mans detesting of such things, so to draw them to the disliking of such things as they are affected with or dote upon: such speeches often more prevaile, then greater matters, men being more impatient of a scoffe, then many serious reproofes.

Ʋse 1 This refelleth their conceit, who deny any use of these things, Object. they deny there are any such things in the Scripture, they say they are lyes: they say that the Apostle forbids them, Ephe. 5.4. neither jesting. Answ. I answer, that there is an use of them and that in the Scripture, as the former examples prove. Neither are they supposed unfitting the Majesty of the Scripture: For though it [Page 168] be true that a man speakes one thing and thinkes another, yet the manner of his words and speech doth bewray his minde, and that indeed there is no contrariety; for the hearer may easily di­scern his minde. As in that of Michaiah, 1 Kings 22.15. for verse 16. Ahab discerned well his meaning that he did but scoffe at him and his false Prophets; so that he speakes as he thinkes, not for the very words, but for the matter of the words. Neither makes the place in the Ephesians against this, because it forbids scurrility, when men scoffe and reproach others rashly, when there can be no edifying of others, or good to the party, but their malice and disdaine shewed, and as well the modest and temperate hearers, as the sufferers are offended; which is that which differeth farre from these things; we can not bring these within compasse of a lye, unlesse we make the Spirit of truth a lying Spirit: And in these a man hath no intent to have his words otherwise taken then he meaneth them.

Ʋse 2 This warranteth the use of them, as sometimes our men have done in deriding and scoffing at the folly of Papists, at their I­dols and Idolatrous service, and foolish superstitions; and ever are lawfull to be used, when a man doth it not for revenge, or to wreck his anger & wrath upon some person that is his particular enemie, but to reprove and condemn impious and idolatrous worship and such like.

Now for the matter, and first for that which is generall here in the whole, God will not accept their prayers, that is the thing threatened.

Doctr. It is a heavy thing, and fearefull judgement, that men should pray and not be heard, that they make long prayers to God, but he will be as though he heard not, but reject their sup­plications, and they be as men beating the ayre. It is threatned here: So Isaiah 1.15. And when you shall stretch out your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you, and though you make many prayers, I will not heare: for your hand are full of blood. Proverb. 1.28. Then shall they call on me, but I will not answer: they shall seeke me earely, but they shall not finde mee. Hosea 8.13. The contrary is promised as a blessing, and performed as a blessing, and ac­knowledged as a blessing. Isaiah 30.19. Surely a people shall dwell in Zion, and in Jerusalem: thou shalt weep no more: he will certainly have mercy upon thee, at the voyce of thy cry; when hee speaketh he will answer thee, 2 Chron 7.14. Psal. 116.1, 2.

Reas. 1 Because it is a manifest signe that the persons are out of favor, and he is dispeased with them: for the accepting of their prayer is a proofe of the acceptation of person, because he first looks to the person,In sacrificiis quae Abel & Cain primi obtulerunt, non munera eorum Deus, sed corda intuebatur, ut ille placeret in munere, qui pla­cebat in corde Cypr. de O­rat. Dom. 11. then the prayer; as first Abel was ac­cepted, then his sacrifice. And what can bee more fearefull, though it is not alwaies felt, then to live [Page 169] out of favor with God? If in the displeasure of a Prince, there be danger, more of Gods, to carry Gods marke about with him, as Cain, that he is out of favor.

Reas. 2 Because this is the meanes by which all blessings are obtained, the key that opens and shuts Heaven,Oratio justi clavis est coeli, ascendit pre­catio, & descendit Dei miseratio, Aug. ut nihil sanctū nisi illo sanctificante, nihil potens nisi illo roborante. Prayer the wall of the City. Ita nihil faelix, nihil auspi­catum, nisi illo prosperante. Cipr. as Elijah: it opens the right hand of God for blessings, shuts the left hand from cur­sings. Now when a man can receive no blessing, neither escape any curse, hath no meanes for it, because as good be with­out the meanes, as when they are not regarded; must it not be a heavy thing? Many things befall many men without pray­er, if that be no prayer which is without understanding and af­fection; yet are they but common blessings, such as are common to them, and other men; yea, creatures unreasonable and sense­lesse.

Reas. 3 Because, as one saith, verè novit rectè vivere, qui rectè novit orare; so he can only live well, who can pray well: For as St. Augustine out of Saint Cyprian, Quae implenda jubentur in lege, in oratione poscenda sunt; but if they can not or shall not be heard in praying, where shall they have strength to performe?

Ʋse 1 This noteth the senselessenes of many men, who though they pray often, and prevaile seldome or never, yet never mourne under it, as under a judgement, sorrow not much for it. It may be they can mourne that they have not that they desire, for want of the thing it self, but not that their prayers are not heard. It is that they grieve for, because they receive not from God, but never that their prayers are not received of God; like him that puts up a Petition to the Prince, and is little or not at all troubled that he reads it not, but gives it over to another that will smother it; but his griefe is, that he relieves him not; and this appeares, because their hearts desire any meanes else, though never so unlawfull, to supply that they want, and to give that which God will not grant; and if the opportunity be offered, they will not stick to use them: as Saul did the witches, things condemned by him before. Secondly, because if those meanes be of force, and by them they prevaile, their hearts are cheared up well enough, little or not at all sorrowing that he heard them not, not much caring though he did not. Thirdly, if they pre­vaile not by those meanes, yet never will they returne again to God, nor seeke from him, if not the things, yet patience and comfort in the want of them.

Ʋse 2 To teach the whole Church, and particulars of it, to groane under this, as under a judgement of God, that their prayers are not heard; they aske and receive not, they seeke and find not, [Page 170] they knock, and it is not opened unto them: And yet they asked things agreeable to Gods word, such as in their best un­derstanding are for Gods glory, and their owne good: yea, and their prayers were made in faith, in feare, and with teares, not doubtingly, rashly and carelesly, for which men had need to pray they bee not imputed as sinnes to them. I say they ought to grieve, not so much for the want of the things, as because they are not heard, because their prayers are not received, as David, 2 Sam. 15.25, 26.

And now pray before the Lord,] It is an Irony deriding these, but yet instructing others; as Michaiah 1 Kings, 22.15. though hee derided Ahab and his false prophets, yet he meant to instruct good Jehosaphat. And so here, though those were unfit to pray, yet hee teacheth others what is a fit time, and when men ought to humble themselves; now when judgements were threatned, and at the doore.

Doct. Then is it high time, and full tide for men to pray and hum­ble themselves, when judgments are denounced and threatned, and are imminent; and not to stay till they befall them, and they feele them. So much our Prophet would teach the good, by his Ironicall deriding and scoffing of the bad, Zepha. 2.1, 2. Gather your selves, even gather you, O Nation, not worthy to bee loved; before the decree come forth, and ye be as chaffe, that passeth in a day, and before the fierce wrath of the Lord come upon you, and before the day of the Lords anger come upon you. So is the command, Joel 2.15, 16, 17. so hath beene the practice of the Church and Ministers. In Ester there they fast when the Decree was out, before the Execution. Cap. 4.16, 17. So the Prophets, Jer. 4.19. Micha. 1.8. yea, this is manifest in Nineveh and Ahab.

Reas. 1 Because the Lord shall have his end and that he seeks for; for he threatens not because he would punish, but because he would be prevented in punishing: Poenitentiam mavult quàm poenam coelestis Pater; Just. Mart. Apol. 2. for if he would punish, hee could doe it without admonishing.

Reas. 2 Because it is wisdome, ever to prevent an evill; if to with­stand the beginnings of an evill, much more to prevent the be­ginnings. Diseases are with more ease prevented, than (when seized upon a part) removed.

Reas. 3 Because if it be not prevented, it will come; for if he speake, he will doe: He is not as man; 1 Sam. 15.29. and they must humble themselves, repent, and change, or else it will not be.

Ʋse 1 To reprove and condemne the security of many, who, for all the threatning and menacing of God, yet doe not pray, nor humble themselves; never take it to be time, till the hand and rod be upon their backs: such as Jeremy complaineth of, Chap. 8. [Page 171] 6, 7. I hearkened and heard, but none spake aright; no man repen­ted him of his wickednesse, saying, What have I done? Every one turned to their race, as the Horse rusheth into the battell. Even the Storke in the aire knoweth her appointed times, and the Turtle, and the Crane, and the Swallow, observe the time of their comming; but my people knoweth not the judgment of the Lord: preferring even unreasonable creatures, and silly birds before them, in their kind more wise than they. Therefore it is, that they are ready to re­proach and deride the Word, specially if the blow come not with it: as Jer. 20.8. and say as they, Jer. 23.33. What is the burthen of the Lord? which is in them either from the roote of hypocrisie within their hearts, being alwayes like to Haman, Ester 6.6. When Haman came in, the King said unto him, what shall be done unto the man whom the King will honour? Then Ha­man thought in his heart, to whom would the King doe honour, more than to me? He thought none to be so much in the Kings favour as himselfe: So they thinke none to be in the favour of God but they; if they see any thing upon others, they judge it is justly for their sinnes: as Luk. 13.1. But as for themselves, they are Gods white sonnes, they shall never miscarry. Or it is from that trust and confidence they have in their riches and estate, as Prov. 18.11. The rich mans riches are his strong City, and as an high wall in his imagination. They are as Rebells in a strong City well victualled, well armed, and well mann'd, that stand out at defiance against all threats, and never will submit themselves; if ever, not till he hath made a breach upon them, thinking he is never able to doe it till it be done: And then, when it is too late, could they be content to doe it; but 'tis their folly and madnesse, losing their opportunity of submitting betime.

Ʋse 2 To teach every one to be wise to know his time, when the tyde is full, to humble himselfe, and betake himselfe to God: not to stay till he smite, but when he speaketh; Amos 3.6. When the Trumpet is blown, it is high time to feare; and feare makes men flye either to God, or from God; from him there is no place to be safe in, for where can he be hid, that his hand can­not finde him out? It is therefore wisdome to bide in their place, but to change their manners and minds, so may they change the sentence and thing denounced.Chrysost. Hom. 5. ad Quomodo non mirabile, quod quando Ju­dex sententiam tulerit, per poenitentiam rei sententiam solverunt; non enim urbem fugerunt sicut nos nunc, sed manentes sententiam repressere. Audierunt quod ae­dificia corruerent, sed peccata fugerunt, non discesserunt quis (que) de domo sua, sicut nunc nos, sed discessit de viâ suâ. Chry­sost. hom. 5. ad pop. Ant. pop. An. speaking of the Ninevites: When the Judge gave sentence, the guilty, rever­sed the sentence by repentance; they run not out of their City, but staying there, altered the sentence; when they heard their houses should fall, they forsooke not their houses, but their sinnes. This ought men to doe, betake themselves to the [Page 172] Lord, by forsaking their manners, this is a wise mans part. Prov. 22.3. A prudent man seeth the Plague, and hideth himselfe; but the foolish goe on still, and are punished. But where can hee be safe, and be indeed hid, but with God himselfe? Prov. 18.10. The Name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous runneth unto it, and is exalted. God must be the sanctuary to them against his owne wrath, Psal. 32.7. Thou art my secret place, thou preservest me from trouble; thou compassest me about with joyfull deliverance. And in conclusion, this may instruct us and our times; God hath spoken, the Trumpet hath beene blowne, let us feare, and thinke it high time we returne to him; not deferring, lest the next thing be the blow and the judgment, when it will be too late. Thinke we of that, Heb. 3.7, 8. To day if you will heare his voice, harden not your hearts. Meeting by this with the voice of Satan,Mihi hodiè, cras Domino: nosce obsecro inimici dolos; ut omnino à Deo averteris, consulere non audet: novit enim hoc grave admodum Christianis, verùm artibus insi­diosis aggreditur, intelligit autem quemad­modum nos praesens tempus libenter recipi­mus, omnis (que) actio humana in praesens con­tendit & spectat: Quamobrem hodiernum tempus nobis furatur astutè, & spem facit crastini, postquam cràstinum venerit, rursus malus divisor sibi hodiernum, crastinum verò Domino dari petit. Basil. Exhortatio ad Bapt. saith Basil, exhort. ad Bapt. who saith, Serve me to day, and God to mor­row. I beseech you, be acquainted with the craft of the Enemy; he dares not ad­vise thee altogether and presently to forsake God, (for he knows Christians would not endure that) but he deales craftily, being a Serpent, and subtle to beguile, hee steales upon us for the pre­sent, and puts off the next day for God, and when that day comes, still he puts it off to the next. Therefore the Lord, to meet with that, comes thus calling upon us, to day: partly, quia, qui non est hodie, cras minùs aptus erit: Because hee that is unfit to day, to morrow will be more unfit; and partly, for that this is the time, lest judgment doe come upon us, and we have no evasion; for wee cannot tell what to morrow may bring forth.

Before God.] Though he deride these, yet he directs others, and teacheth them, that in prayer they are before the Lord.

Doctrine. They who pray, are before Gods face, and in his presence. If they who heare be, as Cornelius said, Hee and his company were, Acts 10.33. before the Lord to heare one speake in his Name, and him speaking mediately to them, more when they speake immediately to himselfe. Therefore was the Arke of Gods presence ever in the Temple, before which they prayed, and from which they received answer. Psal. 84.7.

That he may have mercy upon us.] It is that they were com­manded to pray for before, and to require for the people.

Doctrine. In prayer men must not aske what they list, but that for which they have a commandment to aske, and a promise to receive.

Ʋse 1 To reprove all those praiers, & those who frame their praiers [Page 173] not according to Gods will, but their owne lusts and fancies; whatsoever their vaine hearts desire, that they utter before the Lord, and make their requests unto him for it, never regarding whether good or evill, how agreeable or disagreeable to the word, having their owne affections the rules of their prayers: such prayers they would be ashamed to put up to men, as they preferre to God, making Christ a mediator for them, (if hee will doe it for them) for things they would blush to desire the helpe of man in; some praying, as Saint Augustine, who confes­seth of himselfe, that hee prayed to God to let him live a little longer in his sinnes; so they in their corruptions, desiring still meanes and opportunities to fulfill their lusts and desires: Some aske temporall things simply, as they, Psal. 78.18. who asked meate for their lust; who importune the Lord to prosper their journey & endeavour for honours, as Balaam, be the means what may be, who have their prayers sometimes in mercy denyed, as Jam. 4.3. and sometimes in wrath granted to them, as Psal. 79.29, 30, 31.

Mercy] That is, be gracious and favourable unto us, and lift up his gracious countenance upon us.

Doctr. In prayer men ought especially to pray for Gods favour: the chiefest thing they ought to desire, is his mercy and loving kindnesse, 2 Cor. 7.14. this is called seeking Gods face.

Reas. 1 Because this is the fountain from whence all things else come, all good things we receive, for Rom. 8.32. He who spared not his owne sonne, but gave him for us all to death, how shall he not with him give us all things also? And the cause of that was his favor and love, Joh. 3.16. For God so loved the world, that he hath given his only begotten sonne, that whosoever beleeveth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Reas. 2 Because no temporall blessing, asked never so earnestly, nay, though it be sought with teares, as Esau his blessing, can be obtained, till a man have his sinnes forgiven. Hence, Math. 6.11, 12. the petitions are joyned with a copula as insepa­rable.

Ʋse 1 This reproveth their folly and error, who pray more for the things of this life, then for the favor of God, or remission of their sinnes. 2 Chron. 7.14.

Ʋse 2 To teach us to pray for temporall things, but specially Gods favor, and the remission of our sinnes.

For us,] Both Prophet and People; he would bee prayed for as well as the people, acknowledging, as it seemeth, those things in himselfe which he reproved in them, the better to affect them.

Doctrine. No man is so excellent in the Church of God, so indued or abounding with gifts and graces, that needeth not the prayers [Page 174] of the rest. This the Prophet sheweth, that he exempteth not himselfe, but would be prayed for as others. So Hosea, 14. sure including himselfe. This our Saviour Christ shewed, when teaching his Church in the person of his disciples to pray, hee taught them to pray one for another, and taught them they had need of the prayers one of another. Math. 6. This is shew­ed by Saint Pauls earnest request unto them. Rom. chap. 15.30. repeated to the Corinthians, 2 Cor. 1.7. so Col. 4.3. 2 Thes. 3.1. and for the Saints, Ephes. 6.18.

Reas. 1 Because his excellency excludeth him not from the commu­nion of Saints, as the excellency, beauty, or proportion of any part doth not exclude it from the fellowship of other members. Now one part of this communion is prayer, one for another.

Reas. 2 Because his excellency is imperfect, for here all things are but in part, 1 Cor. 13.9. Therefore he hath need of prayers, as his owne, so others, many prevailing more with God then one.

Reas. 3 Because the excellency and goodnesse a man hath, is (as Basil exhort. ad Bapt. brings in some making the objection) The sau­rus servatu difficilis, a treasure hard to be kept. Therefore, as he said, Opus est vigilia, wee had need to be more watchfull; and he adviseth to take three adjutors, Orationem, Jejunium, Psalmodiam, Prayer, Fasting, and singing Psalmes. Now as for keeping of treasures a man will use other meanes and helpes, and all little enough: so in this should he be carefull.

Ʋse 1 This reproveth those who think they have no need of the pray­ers of others, but can pray well enough for themselves; their owne private prayer is sufficient, they need not the prayers of others, or the publique congregations: as some men thinke they have no need of publique teaching, they can instruct them­selves well enough with reading of good books at home; so for prayer, they can inrich themselves of themselves, and need not the helpes of others. If any thinke I wrong men in judging thus of them, I answer no, because I judge by their fruit and practice. For when their little love to the assembly of the Church appeareth, by their negligent frequenting of them, when prayers are made, and the word Preached, Saint Hie­rome tels me directly, that some thinke they need not the prea­ching of the Church, some not the prayers, but thinke they are able enough to instruct themselves, & of themselves to pre­vaile with God: which riseth commonly, either from igno­rance, or knowledge; the ignorance of their infirmities, or the knowledge of their graces, that makes them not desire the helpes of others; as Moses tooke Aaron and Hur with him when he went to pray, being privy to his own infirmities. This makes them disdain others being puffed up with pride, and self conceit.

Ʋse 2 [Page 175]To instruct every man, be his excellency what it may be, to affect and desire the prayers of others, of the Ministers and pub­lique congregations, and the people of God: for besides that God is in a speciall manner there present (the cause why David, and his men so desired the Temple, Psal. 84.1, 3, 7. So men in desiring them, shew themselves to delight in the presence of God, as gracious children in beholding the face of their father) there is much profit to be had by them.Non parvus est fructus do­mine, ut à multis tibi grati­ae aguntur de nobis, & à multis regeris pro nobis. August. confess. 10.4. The benefit is not small, O Lord, that thou shouldest bee praysed by many of us; and prayed unto by many for us. For a man shall have not only the benefit of the prayers of one or two, but many hundreds; and if one faithfull prayer prevaile much, Jam. 5. how much more many? Thus shall he enjoy the communion of Saints, which is a worthy thing; so shall he better increase in the graces & blessings received, and keep that he hath: for the best here, and the most perfect must not imagine himselfe to bee already a burning and shining light within the house of hea­ven,Sic ardens & lucens nondum in domo se esse confidat, ubi sine omni timore vento­rum accensum lumen deportatur, sed me­minerit se esse sub dio & utraque manu studeat operire quod portat, nec credat aeri, etiamsi videat esse tranquillum; Repen [...]è enim, & hora qua non putaverit, mutabitur, & si vel modicum manus re­miserit, lumen extinguetur. Bern. ser. 3. in vigil. nat. Dom. l. where once kindled there is no danger of any winds to blow it out; but must re­member that he is yet in the open ayre, and must cover and defend the light he carries with both hands; nor be confident, though the ayre seeme to bee calme; for sooner then he is aware, if he take away his hand, his light may be puffed out, saith Saint Bernard.

Quest. If the prayers of living Saints bee so needfull and profitable, & whose prayers we may desire and intreat, why not also of dead Saints? why may not their prayers be profitable to us, and we desire them?

Answ. How profitable soever their prayers may be to us, and how certaine soever it may be that they doe pray for us, as some think with Bernard. ser. 2. in vigi. Nat. Dom. that Apocal. 6.10. doth prove it, because of the answer, vers. 11. yet to desire their prayers, as those who are living, is not lawfull, because it is without precept or president in the Scripture, because it is against reason and the Scripture. For first, that they know not what we doe, nor heare our prayers, is manifest, Isaiah, 63.16. a­gaine, how should they come to the knowledge of them, they in Heaven, we in Earth, and dispersed in many severall places? As for the answer of the Rhemists out of Hierome, against Vigi­lantius, that they are in every place, because they must follow the Lambe whithersoever he goeth, Revel. 14.4. if the place be understood of them, who imitate Christ upon earth, and not of the soules departed, as it may be, at least it must bee un­stood of all the elect, whereof part are in the Church in the [Page 176] earth; then the conclusion must be, they who are upon earth must be every where as well as they who are in heaven, which is most absurd. But admit it of the Saints in heaven, how is it possible they should be every where? Not at one and the same instant, they say, but such is their motion, speed and agility to be where they list, and their power and will is an­swerable, as well as the devill can be every where to worke mis­chiefe. To which I answer, that their comparison is absurd, for the Devils by propriety of nature, and the Lords permission, have such passage in the world; So have not the soules of the Saints, for they are appointed by God to rest. Revel. 6.11. and 14.13. What rest, if they must be tossed up and downe by the breaths of men, sometime in England, sometime in France, &c? But say they did, how were it possible they should heare the prayers of all that call upon them at one and the same in­stant, if they be not in many severall places at one and the same instant? And if it be impossible, the prayers must needs be vaine. Besides, if it were not, yet in that which Papists give their reason for, it is made more abhominable; that is, to make way for themselves to the favour of God, even as by Nobles and great men we procure accesse to the King. Numquid tam de­mens est aliquis, &c. Is there any so mad, saith Ambrose in Epist. ad Rom. cap. 1. or so carelesse of his life, that he will give the ho­nour of the King to a Noble man, to procure him accesse to him, when he shall be guilty of treason, when hee commeth be­fore him. And yet they thinke they are not guilty of treason to God, who under pretence of seeking God by Saints, doe give un­to the Creatures the honour of God the Creator, and (forsa­king the Lord) worship their fellow-servants. And though there be (saith he) some reason, why they should make way to a King by his Nobles and Pensioners, because hee is a man, and knows not who are fit to be trusted with the Common-wealth: yet unto the Lord, who knows all things, and knows the worths and worthinesse of men, there needs no spokes-man, but onely a holy mind: Thus farre he. But to adde to him, that this thing is without precept in Old or New Testament, confes­sed by themselves. Eccius grants, not in the Old, because the Fathers were then in limbo, (a good reason against him) and the Israelites were marvellous prone to Idolatry. Not in the New, lest the Gentiles should returne to their Idolatry, and lest the Apostles should be too vaine-glorious and ambitious, if they had commanded it: and so a great difference, and strong reason why we may pray to Saints living, but not to Saints de­parted.

For us.] He separates not himselfe from this Church for all the corruption of it in Priest and people; hee forsakes not their as­semblies, [Page 177] but cōmunicates with them in their service & sacrifices.

Doctrine. Men ought not to separate themselves from a visible congre­gation or assembly, a visible Church, for the abuse of it, and the corruption of it, it being not in fundamentalls. As here the Prophet did not, neither read we of any Prophet who left the Church, but in most corrupt ages remained there, repro­ving and threatening them, praying and mourning for them, but not forsaking them. It is that, Ezek. 9.4. they are noted, as St. Augustine observeth, that mourne for the corruptions of the time, not who separate themselves from the Church. In the New Testament we find not Christ, nor his Apostles to forsake the Church, but remaine in it, though marvellous corrupt; teaching, reproving, correcting, mourning for it. So of the Pastors of the six Churches of Asia; their corruptions noted, and their Angels biding with them. To this purpose is that, Hebr. 10.24, 25, 38, 39.

Reas. 1 Because no man ought to separate himselfe from the true Church of Christ: Now such is an assembly professing the true faith, notwithstanding other corruption; for as holinesse, if it might be supposed without true faith, cānot make a true Church, but false doctrine and errour in the foundation overthrows it for being a Church: So è contrà, corruptions in manners cannot make it no Church, when true faith is taught and maintained.

Reas. 2 Because separation and excommunication from a particular Church, is the most heavy and greatest censure of the Church; which as no man should incurre by his evill behaviour, so no man ought to inflict upon himselfe for the corruptions of others, who happily deserve to be separated themselves.

Ʋse 1 To condemne all those who withdraw themselves from our assemblies, because of corruptions amongst us, crying out of those who will remaine among them, to the benefit of the good that is there to be had. But to such an one I say, as Augustine an­swered Petilian, Non habes quod objicias, fru­mentis Dominicis paleam usque ad ventilationem ultimam susti­nentibus, à quibus tu nunquam recessisses, nisi levior palea ven­to tentationis, & ante adventum ventilatoris avolasses. Aug. contr. Petilian. Cap. 1.18. That he did not well to leave Christs heape of Corne, because the chaffe was in it, till the great winnowing day; and that he shewed himselfe to be lighter chaffe, driven out by the wind of temptation, that flew out before the comming of Christ the winnower. What fol­ly is it for a man to leave the Jewells and Plate in the Gold-finers shop, because of the Iron tongs and black coals? What warrant have they, when as Noah left not the Arke for all the uncleane beasts?

Ʋse 2 To teach every man not to be so offended for the corruption of the times, as to separate himselfe from the Church for them.Si amarent pacem, non discinderet unitatem. Aug. contr. lit. Petiliani, lib. 24. If they had loved peace, they had not broken unity, saith August. And in another place, [Page 178] A vessell of honour ought to tolerate those things that are vile,Vas in honore sanctificatum, debuit to­lerare ea quae sunt in contumelia, nec propter hoc relinquere domum claritatis Dei, ne vel vas in contumeliam, vel ster­cus projectum de domo sit. Aug. contr. epist. Parm. lib. 3.5. and not therefore to forsake the house of God, lest himselfe be cast out as a vessell of dishonour, or as dung. That certainly which is, 1 Cor. 5.13. Put away from your selves the wicked person, is to be understood of those who have authority, which if they exercise not, is their sinne, not mine, or thine: Shall I forsake the good, and the Church where I may be safe, for their evill? Nec quisquam sine consensu cordis sui ex ore vulneratur ali­eno. Let no man then separate himselfe; for why should a good, pure, and sound member separate it selfe from those that are corrupt, and cut it selfe off, both to make the whole worse, and to lose to it selfe the good it might have by abiding?

For us.] The Prophet who had the least hand in the sinnes, and was the least cause of the burden, he feares, and as it were mournes, and seeketh how to avoid it, when the Priests, who were the cause of it, are secure and carelesse.

Doctr. It often falls out, that the faithfull mourne, and feare the plagues they foresee, when they who have deserved them, sleep securely, and rather provoke God still; Mich. 1.8. There­fore will I mourne.

This hath beene by your meanes.] Here is the reason why God will not accept their prayers, because they are authors and principall causes of the evill and sinnes amongst them.

Doctrine. The prayers of hypocrites and wicked men, whether Mini­sters or Magistrates, or private men, whether superiours, or inferiours, cannot be profitable to the Church, nor others for whom they pray, nor accepted of God. This is manifest here, as also by that, where the prayers of the wicked are rejected, with divers such places. This the Lord taught, when in his Law he commanded that the Priest should first offer for him­selfe, Levit. 4.3. and Heb. 5.3.

Reas. 1 Because they are not profitable for themselves, neither shall be accepted; much lesse for others. Not for themselves, Isaiah 1. and 66.

Reas. 2 Because they are in Gods sight abhominable; Prov. 15.8. such cannot prevaile with him.

Object. Balaam prayed for the people of God, and was heard for them, and yet he was a wicked man. Numb. 23.19, 20.

Answ. A truth it is, St. August. so answereth Parmen. contr. Epist. Parm. lib. 2. cap. 8. proving they ought not to separate them­selves, as they taught, because men are polluted. But for the example, I think we may say, Balaam was not heard, saving his judgment, because he certainly never prayed; hee did pro­phesie indeed in a certaine forme of prayer; therefore that speech [Page 179] of his is accounted a blessing, because he did ominate and fore­tell happy things which would befall to the people of God. But he never prayed indeed, for his heart went against it, it was utterly against his will; who for the wages of Balac, would ra­ther have desired to curse; onely hee was compelled to it by the Spirit of God. Therefore he was not heard, which prayed not; but the Spirit of God, which in the good worketh the affecti­ons, and suggesteth words, did onely put such words into his mouth, for any good that should come by them to the people of God, as for the terrour and destruction of Balac, who had set himselfe against the people of God, to shew him, that not they before him, but he should fall before them.

Ʋse 1 This sheweth the folly and the vanity of the reason of some Popish and Popishly affected, who plead for lenity, conni­vence, and impunity, because the King and his Children, the Realms and Dominions may enjoy so many prayers from them unto the Lord; their Jesuites, and Priests, and all would pray for the State. The Argument is of force, to urge a State to use kindnesse, and to intreate lovingly, and to speake comfor­tably unto those, both Ministers and people that are truely reli­gious; as Darius did well conceive it. Ezra 6.9, 10. And that which they shall have need of, let it be given unto them, day by day; whether it be young Bullocks, or Rams, or Lambs for the burnt of­ferings of the God of Heaven; Wheate, Salt, Wine, and Oyle, accor­ding to the appointment of the Priests that are in Jerusalem, that there be no fault; that they may have to offer sweet odours unto the God of Heaven, and pray for the Kings life, and for his sonnes; for they often stand in the gap, and keepe away much evill, yea, they prevaile for much good. One of these is better than a multitude of others, (as Chrysost. of wicked and godly, Hom. 26. ad pop. Ant. as one precious stone is better than a thousand pibbles) And that breeds but confusion and subversion of all, when we desire multitudes, as they doe in Theaters, and not an honest and good multitude. It is, I say, of force for the good, but not for these wicked hypocrites and treasonable Priests and Jesuites, and all such, specially understanding Papists, who have given up their name to Antichrist, whose prayers cannot profit the King and State; who if they pray, pray but as Balaam blessed Gods people, against their hearts; who if they could pray with their hearts, yet should never prevaile, nor be ac­cepted, being as they are. And to them wee may use that of Tertul. Apolog. cap. 34.Esto religiosus in Deum, qui vis eum imperatori pro­pitium. Tertul. Apolog. cap. 34. Be thou religious towards God, who wouldest have him to be favour­able to the Emperour.

Ʋse 2 This teacheth the fearefull case and condition of that Church and State, where they who should stand in the gap & breach be­fore [Page 180] him to turne away his wrath, lest he destroy them, are men themselves who provoke Gods wrath; of whom it may be said, as Ezek. 13.4, 5. O Israel, thy Prophets are like the foxes in the waste places; yee have not risen up in the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel, to stand in the battell in the day of the Lord: undoubtedly that State must expect a judgment from God, besides that it is one it selfe, when God takes away good men, such as were the Charets and horsemen of Israel, their defence and preservation, who prevailed more by their prayers, as Moses, Exod. 17. then all the Hoast did by their speares; specially when their successours are wicked and prophane men, that provoke God to wrath by their wicked lives. It goes hard with the Church when her good Prophets are by God forbidden to pray for it, as Jer. 14.11. But yet if they remaine with them, though they cannot prevaile at one time, yet they may at ano­ther; but more hard when he takes them away, when they are without hope of having them to stand up for them againe; but worst of all when they are such as are of lewd life, who thereby provoke God against them. Therefore these both should bee mourned for, the losse of the one, and the succession of the o­ther: for the former are, as the King said, the Charets and the horsemen of Israel, the latter are the Charets and horsemen a­gainst Israel; for not being with it, they are against it: of good Ministers we may say, as Psal. 127.4, 5. as are the arrowes in the hand of the strong man, so are they who are her good Mini­sters: blessed is the Church that hath a quiverfull of them, here is her prosperity and peace; hence is the ruine and overthrow of her Enemies. And on the contrary may we say of wicked Ministers, whose prayers shall never be heard for the Church, but rather against it.

Object. This granted, then have we a warrant to separate our selves from the Church or congregation, where a wicked Minister is, for why should we joyne with a Minister that God will not heare?

Solut. The Donatists made the same objection to August. loco praedicto, to which the summe of his answer is, that when they pray with the congregation, they are heard, though for their own wicked­nesse they deserve to bee rejected, because of the piety and de­votion of the people who joyne with them; whence I collect, that though the Minister speake the words, yet they are not his prayers only, but the prayers of the Church: As in an other case, though the Minister deliver the signes, yet it is not his sacra­ment, but Christs, and so may be profitable, notwithstanding the corruption & insufficiency of the Minister; so in this. For this must be understood, that in the congregation some one must con­ceive a prayer for all the rest, lest in a multitude there should be [Page 181] confusion and tumult, if every one should in his own words ut­ter his prayer in the Church; therefore the Minister he is the mouth of the Church. If he be a faithfull one, he shall bee heard together with the Church; if otherwise, not he, but the faithfull people, who speake to God by his words. But you will say then, what losse have we if the Minister be wicked? I answer, many wayes, because the corruption of men is such, that as they like the Word and Sacrament worse, because they dislike him that brings them, and finde not such joy and comfort in them, as by his hands they like; so they cannot bee, nor are not so affected to joyne in prayer with a man they like not, or thinke not well and reverently of, to whose persons they have just exceptions, so their prayers are not as they should be, nei­ther he with that spirit and affection utters their petitions to God; which might affect their hearts to more zeale in prayer. Besides, they want the benefit of his prayers in private, who should mourne for them, and pray for them, when they are fol­lowing their necessary affaires, or their convenient pleasures, or are living in their sins; be a Moses, to hold up his hands for them, a Job, to sacrifice for them, as Jer. 13.17. or as Paul, Act. 20.31. All which a good and faithfull Minister will doe, but hee that is not, will be as carelesse and secure as he can be, and ne­ver doe it, or if he should, yet not be accepted.

This hath been by your meanes,] the sinnes of the people are imputed to the Priests, because they taught them not better, nor reproved them of this, ante, verse 7.

Will hee regard your person,] Hee will not; your office and place and dignity in the Church, shall not make him receive your prayers.

Doctrine. As God to elect and call men, and to give them the promises and possession of Heavenly things is moved by no outward pri­viledge or dignity of the flesh; so to heare their prayers, and to accept their service, is he not moved by any dignity of person, any vertue of place or office, nor by outward priviledge, if faith and holinesse of life be wanting: here it is apparent in these Priests, not accepted for all the dignity of their office. Cain was the first borne, and had that priviledge, yet for all that God received not his offering, but Abels, Gen. 4. so betwixt the Pharise and publicane, Luke 18.10, &c. as betwixt the rich men and the widdow. Marke 12.41, 42, 43.

Reas. 1 Because he is no accepter of persons, Acts, 10. that is, for any outward thing; for he accepts for inward. It is borrowed from Judges, who being corrupt are swayed not with the up­rightnesse of the cause, but with the person, his place, his honor, his riches and such like, which being denyed in God, shewes why he accepts not the wicked.

Reas. 2 [Page 182] Because he looks not as man looks, upon outward things.

Ʋse 1 This will serve to check a corruption in our times, and not in ours onely, but that which hath ever beene in all ages; great men, nobles, and Princes, wealthy and worshipfull personages perswade themselves, & so are soothed up by their flatterers, that a little thing from them is greatly accepted of God; a few cold prayers, a little devotion, a carlesse hearing, shall be accepted from them, though they never trouble themselves for the true feare of God, and to worke righteousnesse: whereas first, in reason, there is more due to God, where he hath given more. But why should he accept lesse from them? because they are great; as if he were an accepter of persons, or as if they were or could be great in respect of him.

Ʋse 2 Let no estate hinder a man from this service, for the best ex­cuseth not, the meanest makes us no lesse acceptable.

VERSE X.

Who is there even among you, that would shut the doores, and kindle not fire on mine Altar in vaine? I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord of Hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand.

WHo is there among you,] Here is the rejecting of them and their sacrifices threatened, which is the maine point in the verse; but in the former part, as divers of the learned doe so take it, he returnes unto his former expostulation, repro­ving the priests for their ingratitude and corruption of his wor­ship. And then it will be read, who is there among you that will shut the doores: or doe you kindle fire on my Altar for nothing? And some expound it, that the Priests would not so much as shut the doores till they had their wages payed; others, that they did nothing in Gods service, but they were rewarded for; God arguing their unthankfulnesse to him, by his bounty to them. But others take the words as they are here read, both more agreeable to the originall, as also more squa­ring to the present matter, to shew how he rejected them and their sacrifice, when he wisheth that some body would shut the doores of the Temple, or that they would offer none at all, and so keepe out the Priests that they could not come to sacrifice any thing upon his Altar, which he did so distaste and dislike: and so it is; I would rather you should not offer at all, then as you doe.

For the particular words. And kindle not fire upon mine Altar. q.d. that yee might not come to offer upon mine altar, kindle not my altar, so in the originall, a Metonymia. In vaine] id est, to no end, the word signifieth, freely, Job. 1.9. for nothing, so unjustly without cause; Psal. 69.5. so scotfree, without punishment, Prov. 1.11. to no end or purpose. Job. 2.3. Pro. 1.17. so here.

I have no pleasure in you] The former is a wish, this is the rea­son of the wish. All is in vaine, and to no end, because I like not you, and will none your sacrifices, he shews that he estee­med not these offerings, not from the nature, but from the minde of him who did offer them. If he were indued with piety and holinesse, God would accept his offerings and service; If otherwise, God would take no delight in them for all their of­ferings.

Neither will I accept an offering at your hands,] These offerings he simply refuseth not, being things he had commanded, but because they were offered by them, qd. I am so farre from accep­ting at your hands these corrupt and imperfect sacrifices, that if they were never so perfect and agreeing to the lawes of men prescribed, yet I would not accept; you please me not, your gifts and offerings cannot be accepted of me: here is first a wish, and the reason of it; he wished that they would offer no sacrifices to him at all, rather doe him no service, then doe it as they did.

Doctrine. The Lord had rather have no service done unto him of the sonnes of Men, then to have it done carelessely and negligent­ly, corruptly, and not as he hath commanded it. So is it manifest from this place, as from that, Isaiah, 1.11, 12, 13, and 58.1, 2, and 66.3. Math. 7.22. and 6.1, 5, 16.

Reas. 1 Because this argues contempt of God, and, as we may speak, of his person, yea often times more contempt, then not to doe the works of his service at all; for where any man is duly respect­ed, either for love or feare, there the duties and offices to bee performed unto him are done, neither negligently nor carelesly; as the child that honours his father, the servant that feares his master, doe with all diligence and care their dutyes: Where they are done coldly or cursarily, there is not the respect of the person that should be. Againe, dutyes may be omitted with­out contempt, as of ignorance, not knowing what a man ought to doe, of infirmity or an erronious conscience, because hee thinks he may not doe that, which he can not doe in all perfecti­on; But to doe them carelesly, and that wittingly with corrup­tion, can have no such excuse, and so more contempt.

Reas. 2 Because the Lord hath no need of the sacrifice and service of men; a man cannot be profitable to him, as hee may be to his [Page 184] neighbour. It is nothing to him that thou art righteous, that thou prayest, or performest any other service unto him; Job 22.2. May a man be profitable unto God, as he that is wise, may be pro­fitable to himselfe? therefore he, as a rich King, values not the gift, but the mind of the giver; he looks more to the manner of doing, than the deed; he respects more the heart, than the hand; the inward affection, than the outward action. No mar­vell then if he had rather have nothing, than carelesly and cor­ruptly done. And this made him esteeme more of the Widows two farthings and mytes, than of the rich mens treasure.Deus puram magis conscientiam exaudit, quàm preces. August. contr. lit. Petil. Donat. lib. 2. cap. 53. God rather heares a pure con­science, than prayers.

Object. Phil. 1.15, 16, 18. better Christ be preached any wayes than not at all.

Sol. It is better in regard of others, who have the benefit of it, and to whom by such leaden and stony conduits God conveyeth the water of life, as a Gardener doth water to his plants: but it is not better in regard of them who doe it, for it maketh their condemnation more grievous. Judas preached condemnation to himselfe, and yet no doubt converted some, as the rest did. Noah was glad he could get some to build his Arke, himselfe and his sonnes being no workmen fit for it, but it profited them not a whit that built it; as good never have done it.

Ʋse 1 This may teach us what to judge of our Church-Papists, who for feare of law, avoiding of losse, for escaping of imprison­ment, doe resort to our congregations, without conscience and care, they are worse than those who doe refuse to come, than open recusants: for if to come to Church for a shew, to prophane Gods worship, and to doe it rashly for sinister re­spects, and in hypocrisie, be worse than not doing, then they are greater offenders in comming, than others in abstaining. The Shechemites were greater sinners with Hamor and Shechem his sonne, in taking the Sacrament of Circumcision for profit, and satisfying their pleasure, and to make a prey as they thought of Israel, Gen. 34. than the other Gentiles who refused it. So in this; they come to Church for advantage or profit, or saving of that they have; then is it better they should not come at all. Nay not so, but it is lesse evill, not more good. The good­nesse is, that they labour to be instructed in that they ought, and to know how they ought, and to endeavour to come with care and conscience, as is required. In the meane time hee that abstaines, and comes not, is lesse evill than he that doth come carelesly, &c.

Object. Why then should Magistrates compell men to the service of God, when he shall make them sinne, and sinne more than if they abstaine?

Answ. [Page 185]The Magistrate may not compell any man to doe evill, that is a thing simply forbidden of God; but hee may compell a man to doe that which he may sinne in doing of it. Things that men doe are of three sorts: good, and commanded; evill, and for­bidden; indifferent, and neither commanded, nor forbidden of God. In this last the Magistrate ought to have a speciall and tender respect to the conscience of his subject, though it be erro­nious, specially when they are things of no moment, the do­ing of them little profits the Church, or Common-wealth; and the omitting of them doth prejudice it nothing at all. For the other,Ad fidem nullus est cogendus invitus, sed per severitatem, inio & per misericordi­am Dei, tribulationum flagellis perfidia castigari. August. contr. lit. Peril. lib. 2. cap. 38. And againe, Si quae igitur adversus vos leges constitutae sunt, non bene facere cogimini, sed malè facere pro­hibemini. Ibid. he is not to respect the erronious consciences of men, as not to suffer them unpunished for evill doing, though they should pretend conscience in it; so is hee not to abstaine from compelling them to that which is good: for, that evill is adjoy­ned to it, it is not his fact that comman­deth, but comes from their infidelity and corruption who are commanded, of which he cannot be accu­sed, when he hath carefully endeavoured, that they be duely and rightly instructed and informed: for when he may say, the things I require are commanded in the Scriptures, I have done my best endeavour, that you may know the truth, and not pe­rish; and I will not cease for hereafter to perswade, and exhort, and command you; doe you need the Scriptures? conferre with the Ministers, pray God to open your eyes; he hath then done his part.

Ʋse 2 This teacheth the fearefull condition of such as onely doe and performe the service of God, but marvellous carelesly and corruptly; they heare the Word, they make prayers, they receive the Sacrament, but they are no more acceptable unto God, than if they did them not at all. God saith unto them, as a Father to his Child, and a Master to his servant, seeing them scam­bling over their duties and businesse without care and respect, I had as leefe you did them not at all. Now what would we think of him that should never pray, never heare the Word, never re­ceive the Sacrament; would not every one thinke hee is an odi­ous man to God? verily such, and more odious, if it may be, is every one that doth these, but without care of course, with­out conscience; they heare the Word, but without profit: God had rather have them away, than come to Church to de­ride his Word, to sleepe or talke, there to prophane his wor­ship. So they pray, but not with their hearts, but with their lips; their hearts are taken away with their pleasures, profits, and delights. As Hosea 4.11. he esteemes of them as well when they pray not; they receive the Sacrament, but without pre­paration, [Page 186] without understanding what they doe, most un­worthily they intrude themselves to the Table of the Lord; God had as liefe have them away, their roome were as acceptable to him as their thronging, as his without the wedding-garment at the feast of the King. Matth. 22.

This is their fearefull condition; he that heares, is as though he heard not; he that prayes, as though he prayed not; he that receiveth the Sacrament, as though he did not; and so of all the service of God, he is as acceptable to God in not doing them, as he is in doing, and è contra, as odious.

Object. Then a man had as good not doe at all? and so while you re­prove one thing, you open the gap to another, from carelesse­nesse to prophanenesse?

Answ. If any man doe gather so, it is his collection, not my asser­tion; he, like a Spider or Toad, gathered venome and poyson from sweet flowers and wholesome herbs. If a Master should tell his servant doing his businesse negligently, that he had as lieve he did it not, will he reply then, he will not; if he doe, shall he not for such contempt be beaten with more stripes? Nay, a ser­vant that would avoid that, and receive any wages and reward, will seeke to correct his errour, and reforme his corruption: so in this.

Ʋse 3 This ought to instruct us that have any desire to be accepted in our service of God, and not to be rejected, as if we did neg­lect it altogether; to doe it with all care and diligence, and in the best manner that may be: doe we must. And then not to lose our labour, and have no respect nor reward, we must endeavour to doe them as they ought to be done: heare with an honest heart, to profit; pray with a fervent spirit, to prevaile; use the Sacraments in knowledge and due preparation for them; these and all other parts of his service as he requireth; else we are in a strait, as the Lepers were. 2 King. 7.3, 4. without the walls of Samaria, if they enter the City there is death, if they sit still, there is death also: So we, if we doe not, we displease; if we doe, and not as we ought, we displease also. They had a third way to goe out to the enemies, wherein their difficulty was the grea­test; but we have a third, wherein our comfort is the most, to doe them as he requireth of us.

Object. But some will object, who is sufficient for these things? And this is but a cold comfort in a thing, that no body can doe, and therefore we were as good to doe nothing at all; for who can doe things as he requireth?

Answ. I answer, we have a mercifull God to deale with, who in Jesus Christ accepteth our affections for actions, our begin­nings for perfections. 2 Cor. 8.12. And upon this ground we must doe our endeavours, to doe it in the perfectest manner [Page 187] that we may, that we may be accepted, and not abstaine. It is a rule indeed in matters indifferent which are left to our choise, to refraine from them, because our weaknesse will bring forth some sinne in the doing of them; As in exercises and recreations, when they cause us to sweare, curse, fret, and lose our time: But in other things for which there is a commandement, and our own experience teacheth that we cannot doe them, without defects and infirmities, (As we cannot heare the word with that faith we ought, but wandring thoughts, and sometime envious, covetous, ambitious desires creep into our hearts,) yet must we doe, and not abstaine, our imperfections hinder them from be­ing perfectly good, but not from being accepted, while we con­demne our imperfections, and desire to doe better. And as the high Priest, Exod. 28.38. did beare the iniquity of the holy things; so though our holiest offerings and works of righteous­nesse have defects & wants, blemishes and stains of our corrupti­ons, our high Priest Christ Jesus will acquit us of them, and pro­cure us favour and acceptation in the sight of God.

I have no pleasure in you,] The reason of his wish why he could desire they rather should not doe him service, then doe it: and this carrieth the contrary, I dislike you, I am angry and dis­pleased with you, remaining in your sinnes and corruptions.

Doctr. The Lord hath no pleasure in ungodly men, such as commit and continue in sinne, and transgression of his law, but he is an­gry and displeased with them; so is it here, Psal. 5.4. for thou art a God that lovest not wickednesse, neither shall evill dwell with thee, and Hebr. 10.38. 2 Sam. 15.26. hence it is that he is compared to a consuming fire, even to his owne. Deut. 4.24. Therefore to shew his anger, towards those who should transgresse, how great it is, when he gave the law he descended with fire, and the whole mountaine burned about him.

Reas. 1 Because the Lord hates iniquity, Psal. 45.7. now then as Men who hate any liquor, doe dislike the vessell that it is in, for it; yea sometimes grow to hates and abhorre it: so the Lord hating sinne, dislikes the sinner, ye [...] sometimes growes to hate him, Psal. 5.5. not the nature he m [...]de, not the man, but the wicked man: because sinne cleaves so fast to him, as they cannot be parted: As when the sent will not out of the vessell, he hates both,Deus odit iniquitatem, itaque in aliis eam perimit per du [...]inationem, ut in reprobis; in aliis adimit per justi­ficationem, ut in electis. August. ad Simplicianum lib. 7. quaest. 2. Col. 630. Tum. 4. as Saint Augu­stine saith, God hates iniquity therefore in some he destroyes it by damnation, as in repro­bates; in others he takes it away by justification, as in the e­lect.

Reas. 2 Because as every one delights, and takes pleasure in his like, which makes the Angels rejoyce at the conversion of a sinner; [Page 188] And men rejoyce, and account it a glorious thing to have chil­dren like themselves, and take the more pleasure in them, when the succession is like to prove like: so God in those that are most like him, because, saith Cyprian, then the divine gentry by their actions and practices may become more famous. Then must he be displeased with these, because they grow more unlike him, and like to Satan his Enemy.

Ʋse 1 Anger then simply in it selfe is not a sinne, but as it is mixed with other perturbations and vices, seeing God is angry. As Christ was often and very vehemently, John, 2.13, 14, 17. and whensoever he corrected and reproved sinne, he shewed himself in his words very angry, Mat. 23.13. so hath Moses, the Prophets, Apostles, and all the Saints: Therefore Lactan. saith, sine irâ peccata corrigi non posse, sinne cannot be corrected without an­ger; for the sight of sinne is so horrible in it selfe, that he that is a good man cannot but be offended, moved and angry with the sight of it. And he that is not moved at it, either allowes it, or doth not much detest it, or is willing to avoid trouble in cor­recting of it; hence the repressing of anger is a sinne, being a great sinne not to represse, and that irefully, the sinnes which are under our charge;Quasi gladio aciem, sic men­ti nostrae irae acumen impo­suit, ut eo cū oportet utamur. Chry. ho. 6. de laudab. Paul. as old Ely: for God hath given anger to the spirit of man, as an edge to a weapon, that when 'tis needfull we may use it, saith Saint Chry­sostome. This then we ought to doe, imitate these examples, and be angry with sinnes, and correct them to our power: but Ephe. 4.26. this place doth not simply forbid an­ger, but corrupt anger, by which we offend God: Now anger is vicious and corrupt; First, if a man be angry rashly, for no cause, or for small cause, Math. 5.22. Secondly, if a man be angry for private injuries, not for them as they are sins offensive to God, but injuries to himselfe: Thirdly, when the anger that should be against the sinne, is against the person, and turned to his brother; and this is that there forbidden: and it is thus un­derstood; be angry, but not without just cause; be angry, not for private injuries, but vices, as they are against the law of God: Finally be angry, not with your brethren, but with their corrup­tions, and this is hence warrantable.

Ʋse 2 Seeing God will be angry with all, both elect and reprobate for their sinnes, and most dispeased with them; This should per­swade us not to be secure, but to passe our lives in the feare of the anger of God: To this one thing bend wee all our endea­vours and powers, that we sinne not, and so provoke the anger and displeasure of God; for of this wee may be sure that Gods word shall be fulfilled. Psal. 89.31, 32. If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandements, then will I visit their transgres­sion with a rod, and their iniquity with stroakes: wrath and displea­sure [Page 189] followes the sinner, as the shaddow the body. But if God spare, and be not angry, that is, shew it not, Magna est ira non irasci; 'tis a signe of greater displeasure: The master that respects his servant corrects him for a small fault; if he let him alone,Chrysost. in Mat. ho. 17. it may be thought he doth it till great faults bee joyned to it, and he may either punish more, or cast him out of his house: so in this.

Neither will I accept an offering at your hand.] Because he is dis­pleased with them, therefore he will not accept their offerings, nor their service and prayers.

Doctrine. The person of a man must first please God, before his prayers, his offerings, or any worke that he doth can be pleasing or accep­table to him. That is, before reconciliation & justification they are unaccepted. It is hence manifest, because he rejecteth their of­ferings, being displeased with their persons hereto belongs that, Ge. 4.4. & that Prov. 15.8. The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination to the Lord: but the prayer of the righteous is acceptable unto him. Hence Isaiah, 1.13, 19. 1 Pet. 2.5. And yee as lively stones hee made a spirituall house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spirituall sacri­fices acceptable to God by Christ Jesus. Hebr. 13.16.

Reas. 1 Because all workes are made acceptable to God by faith, as all things are made pleasing to men by the light; so Chrysost. and without it nothing is; Hebr. 11.16. Now faith is that which makes the person accepted; for by it we are justified, Rom. 5.1. and made the sonnes of God. Rom. 3.26.

Reas. 2 Because before they are strangers, Ephe. 2.19. yea and ene­myes, Rom. 5.10. now things done by strangers are not great­ly gratefull, but by enemies they altogether distaste us.

Ʋse 1 This confuteth the Papists, who make good workes the cause of our justification and reconciliation to God; when, as they can not be good, so they can not be acceptable before we be re­conciled and acceptable in his sight. How doe they then justi­fie us and reconcile us? for that which must justifie and recon­cile another, must needs it selfe be in favor; for as that is true of S. Augustine, Opera non praecedunt justificandum, sed sequuntur justificatum, So that is as true, whensoever they come they are not acceptable in themselves, because they are imperfect, our evill works are perfectly evill, and so deserve to be cast out of fa­vour; but our good works are not perfectly good, and so cannot procure favor of themselves. Object. If any object, as some of our Pa­pists sticke not to doe, that we are justified by works, because by faith, for faith is a worke; Answ. I answer, faith is not our worke, but Gods in us. John 6.29. Againe, though having received faith we doe beleeve; yet it is not faith, or the worke of it, that doth justifie us, but the righteousnes of Jesus Christ apprehended by faith: for as a hand that hath taken a treasure doth not inrich [Page 190] us, but the treasure; and it is not the mouth receiving the mean, but the meat that doth nourish us; so in this. And being thus justified then we work, and our works are acceptable, because we are first accepted in Christ.

Ʋse 2 To stirre up every man to the tryall of his estate and himselfe, whether he be indeed reconciled to God or no, whether justi­fied or no, that if he be not he may labor and endevor to be; be­cause while he is in that condition, whatsoever things he doe, as they are but splendida peccata, August. so they are altogether unacceptable to God, whether he heare, or give, or receive, or pay; a heavy condition of a servant, that doe what he can, yet he can not please.

Quest. But happily thou art desirous to know whether thou art re­conciled or no; and if not, how to come by it.

Answ. I answer thee, if thou hast true faith, then shall this be like the salt, 2 Kings 2.21. which healed the spring of waters; and of it may be said as there.

Ʋse 3 This comforts God children, who are justified in Jesus Christ, and so accepted in his sight, their works, their sacrifice and wor­ship liketh him, howsoever they are done in imperfections, and in many great weaknesses and are not so fully with their whole soule, minde and heart, as they should be; but carry the touch of mans corruption, and are not able to abide the strict and streight judgment of God; yet because they proceed from them who are accepted in Christ, they please him, and the imper­fections are pardoned in Christ, and they taken for pure and holy. Prov. 15.8. 1 Pet. 2.5. As a little thing done of a child is more acceptable, then much done by a servant.

VERSE XI.

For from the rising of the sunne unto the going downe of the same, my Name is great among the Gentiles, and in every place incense shallbee offered unto my Name, and a pure offering: for my Name is great among the heathen, saith the Lord of Hosts.

FRom the rising of the sunne] Here is the second part of with­drawing Gods mercy from these Jewes. And this is the re­moving of his worship & word from Jewes to Gentiles, set down by a comparison of dissimilitude betwixt Jewes and Gentiles. [Page 191] The proposition of the Gentiles, and their great care and re­spect of his worship, verse 11. the reddition of the Jewes, and their corruption and carelesnesse of his worship, renewing the former expostulation, verse 12, 13. In this we are to consider the worship of God, & the circumstances of it. In it we consider, 1. the ground of it, my name is great, repeated in the beginning and ending of the verse for more certainty of the thing; 2. the matter, incense and oblation; 3. the manner, and quality of it, pure, opposit to the Jewes prophane and polluted service of God. The circumstances, 1. persons, Gentiles; 2. place, everywhere.

Now for the meaning: The Papists have wrested this place, to establish the doctrine of their Masse; but how absurdly shall appeare, before we have ended with the Verse; in the meane time we will search the true meaning of them, as they ly in order.

For from the rising of the Sunne.] These words expresse the place; some expound them in the time present, and these ei­ther take them absolutely thus; The Gentiles, though they have no knowledge of God but by nature, as much as they may learne out of the great bookes, the Heavens and the Earth, and the revolutions and changes of them, by the rising of the Sunne, and the going downe of the same; yet they offer unto God oblati­ons in their kind: Thus Montanus. But this cannot be, because of the quality of the sacrifice following; for it is said to be pure, which could not come from them in that dimme light they had: Or conditionally, that the Gentiles would offer a pure sacrifice, if God did reveale himselfe to them as he hath to the Jewes. But the words are so absolutely spoken, they cannot thus be taken.

Others, with more generall consent on all sides, take them in the future tense, or time to come: that the time should come when the Lord should translate his worship from the Jewes to the Gentiles, and then should they bring holy offerings: And this is after the comming of Christ, who should take away the Ceremonies, and abrogate the forme of the Jewish worship, and bring in pure and spirituall sacrifices.

Now by this is noted the place, that is, through all the whole world. Psal. 113.3. The Lords Name is praised from the rising of the Sunne, unto the going downe of the same. Not that it should be at one time in all places of the world, for that never was, norshall be; but, as among the Jewes, so in the whole world, before Christs comming, the greater part of them were wicked Idolaters, and prophane men. Isaiah 17.6. and 6.13. but successively, now in one place, now in another, it shall be spoken and preached in all the parts of the world before Christs second comming. Matth. 26.13. Psal. 2.8. Aske of me, and I shall give thee the Heathen for thine inheritance, and the ends of the earth for thy possession.

My name shall be great.] Here is the ground of Gods worship; The Name of God, signifying diverse things, in this place may be taken either for himselfe, as a mans name is put for his person, Acts 2.21. or for his excellency, majesty and glory; as Name for fame. Exod. 34.5, 6. Phil. 2.9. Gen. 11.4.

Is great] Not that God is great or lesse, Magnum & par­vum sunt ex iis quae sunt ad aliquid. Aristot. but shewed, or de­clared, or acknowledged to be great; as the word sanctified is u­sed, Math. 6.9. and the word justified, Math. 11.19. Jam. 2.21.

Among the Gentiles] The persons, by condition Gentiles, or Nations, taken sometime generally for a company of People consisting of many families gathered together, Isaiah, 1.4. Ioh. 11.52. Secondly more particularly for all people besides the Iewes, all Infidels, Gods people being taken from among them only, Isaiah, 49.6. And so it is amongst those who were not Gods people before, amongst them whom the Iewes accounted fooles, and did extreamely hate; spoken as it were to provoke them to make more care of the worship of God, according to the denouncing, Deuter. 32.21.

And in every place incense shalbe offered unto me] The matter of this offering or worship is first said to be incense, by which is understood prayer, invocation and thanksgiving as, Psal. 141.2. Let my Prayer be directed in thy sight, as incense: and the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice. Revel. 5.8.

Secondly, It is said to be an oblation or offering, by which is not understood the Leviticall offering abrogated by Christ, neither the sacrifice of Christ upon the crosse, which none can offer but he; and which only was to be performed and offered upon the crosse before the gate of Jerusalem; nor the sacrifice of the Masse, as shall after appeare, but by this is understood a mans selfe, every faithfull man with all that he hath; for every one of Gods ought both to consecrate himselfe to the spirituall worship of God, and as it were sacrifice himselfe, and also offer up the sacrifice of prayer and praise, and of repenting, justice, almes and other things pleasing to God. Rom. 13.1. 1 Pet. 2.5. Heb. 13.15, 16. Psal. 4.6. and 5.19. And of this Irenaeus, Ter­tullian and diverse other understand this place.

Pure] not simply without spot, Isaiah, 64.6. but as the Church is called holy and without spot, Cant. 6.9. first, in re­gard the person offering it is in Christ, and as his person hath his obedience and righteousnesse applyed and imputed to it, so his obedience hath Christ to cover the wants of it. Heb. 13.15. 1 Pet. 2.5.

Secondly, In regard of inward sanctification, the ground of it, the party being regenarate by the worke of his spirit, and so e­very [Page 193] action in him, part holy and good, and well pleasing to God, as comming and proceeding from his Spirit, though having a taste and sent of our infirmities, as water passing by a Pipe or Chanell. Rom. 8.26. and 15.16. Acts. 15.9.

This, though a threatning, yet is according to that, Deuter. 32.21. and so a kind of provocation to the Israelites, provoking them from the example of the Gentiles with a holy emulation in piety and the worship of God. The Iewes embraced not sincere­ly the worship of God, but putting it as it were from them, the Gentiles received it.

Doctrine. When one Church maketh not account of the truth and wor­ship of God, or doth reject it, another shall embrace it.

From the rising of the Sunne unto the going down of the same,] The Lord, though he had shewed much mercy and goodnesse upon the Jewes, he is not emptyed by it, but hath the like in store for others, the Gentiles.

Doctr. The Lord is marvelous rich in mercy, and liberall in giving his goodnesse to the sonnes of men, neither weary in giving, nor ever wasted with giving; manifest from this example, and Iam. 1.5. If any of you lack wisdome, let him aske of God, which giveth to all men liberally, and reproacheth no man, and it shall be given him. Rom. 10.12. for there is no difference betweene the Jew and the Grecian; for he that is Lord over all, is rich unto all that call upon him: he gives, at all times, Luke 22.12. his ability is great, Ephe. 3.20. the effects prove it, giving more then they aske, to to Abraham, for one sonne desired, he gave a seed as the starres in the heavens; To Isaac, Gen. 25.21, 22. to Jaacob, Gen. 48.11. To Solomon, Kings, 3.11. Ʋberior est gloria, quam precatio, Ambrose in loc.

Reas. 1 Because he is creator, and Lord of all, and by creation they are his sonnes, he their father. Therefore as a father he will provide for all his their portions; as Abraham did, Gen. 25.6. yea and such is his care, that he cannot endure their want. Now they are in themselves continually wanting; though he give one thing, they have need of another; as a ship and a net that must still bee mending.

Reas. 2 Because it is agreeable to his magnificency and greatnesse to deale thus liberally; as it is agreeable and becommeth a Prince to deale according to his magnificence and greatnesse.

Reas. 3 Because it might be manifest the things they receive come to them not for their deserts, or the merit of their prayers, or any things else, but of his love and mercy, when he dealeth so boun­tifully.

Ʋse 1 Prayers are not meritorious, Iam. 1.5.

Ʋse 2 If any want, he himself is cause of it. Ibidem, to all men.

Ʋse 3 An encouragement to aske.

Ʋse 4 [Page 194] To learne to be liberall and not weary of well doing. Gallat. 6.9.10.

From sunne rising to the sun setting in all places and nations is the worship and word of God propagated.

Doctrine. The Church under the times of the Gospell, and since Christ, is not, as it hath been, limited to one Nation, as to the Jewes, Psal. 147.19, 20. Iohn, 4.22. but those limits are plucked up, and it is inlarged to all the Gentiles, not one or two Nations of them, but to all the world.

Ʋse. This overthroweth the Church of Rome, who limit the Church which is enlarged by God, affirming that to be only the Catholique Church which is at Rome, or which is subject to the Romish tyrant; how then is it to all Nations, are all subject to it?Catholique saith August. Epist. 48. ex communione totius orbis. Object. how Catholique, when it is but a particular Church? what is Catholique but universall? Now to speake thus, the Romane Catholique Church, is to say, the particular universall Church; which in any reasonable mans eare is most absurd.

But some times particular Churches were called Catholi­ques.

Answ. So they were; but then as August. Cont. Epist. Fundani. cap. 4. Every Church did it, and no one Church assumed this prerogative unto it selfe more then another; neither was Catholique oppo­sed to particular, but to hereticall. The Catholique faith was accounted the true faith, and the Catholique faith opposed to Heresie, and the Catholique Church to hereticall Churches: And in this kinde the Church of Rome can lest challenge it to it self, for it is least Catholique, being in many things hereticall.

The Jewes corrupting and contemning the worship of God, the Gentiles are called: through their fall salvation is come to the Gentiles.

Doctr. God by the sinnes of man takes occasion to worke good to o­thers, and to magnifie his mercy and goodnesse: so here, by the sinnes of the Jewes he bringeth good to the Gentiles, and glory to his owne Name.

Reas. 1 Because he may take from the wicked any just occasion of accusing his providence and government, because he suffers sinne to be, that could prevent it, which indeed is a sinne in him that doth it not, who is bound to it; but it is not so with God. The Physitian is not to be accused when he maketh his patient sick, to bring him to health; lesse here God, not making him sinne, but leting him alone to his own corruptions.

Reas. 2 Because he is most wise, good and powerfull, and would so manifest himselfe, by bringing light out of darknesse, good out out of evill; for to make good, or to work good by good, would nothing so manifest this: To make some excellent work of pure gold is no great thing, a slender Artizant and a small skill will [Page 195] doe it; but of base lead to make pure gold is admirable Alchy­mie: so to bring good out of good is Humanum, but good out of evill Divinum.

Object. Why then should any be punished for sinne, or why should not men sinne, that the goodnesse of God may be more magni­fied?

Solut. Such two objections were made to St. Paul, Rom. 3.5, 6, 7, 8. where also his answer is to the first, verse 5. this is most absurd; for then should God judge unjustly, which no man may suppose that he which is the judge of all the world should be unjust; and addeth, absit, which he useth often when he speaketh of things, which should not once be thought, and which the minde of a holy man ought to abhorre once to thinke of: To the second he answereth verse 8. whose damnation is just; Shewing that such an error is so farre differing from his doctrine, that he con­demns both it, and the teachers and suggesters of it. For good is not an effect of the evill, that it of it selfe brings forth any such thing, but that comes by the wisdome power, and goodnes of God: He hath given man a law that he must follow, and not doe other things upon expectation of effects; for a man may be condemned for the evill, whatsoever effect it brings forth by the goodnesse of God, as Judas. And if any man thus reason, it is as if he that had been sicke of some desperate disease, which when he is cured, and the skill of a Physitian grown famous by it, he will againe surfet to fall into the like disease, that the Phy­sitian might be more famous; or as if poore men and beggers should resolve still to bee in need and to begge; because that might magnifie the bounty and magnificence of the rich.

Ʋse 1 When we see the hatred and malice of men to profit others, by their persecutions in word or deed, so that they are made more zealous and carefull, more upright and entire, there is no excuse for men, nor thanks to them to be given, but the glory is to be gi­ven to the Lord, who thus turns things, & makes good out of evil, Persecuters unto the Martyrs, saith Saint Augustine, are as the ham­mer is to gold, as the Mill to wheat, as the oven to bread, as the furnace to mettall, profit them, worke them, and purge them, but no thanke to them: it is not out of the nature of them, but from the skill of the Gold-smith, the baker, &c. for they would consume the gold with the drosse, the wheat with the chaffe, and bruise them in peeces, if he did not temper, and moderate, and use them for the good of them, so it is in this. Rom. 8.28.

Ʋse 2 We are in the latter dayes, wherein iniquity hath got the up­per hand, and sinne doth abound: it is matter of griefe and trouble, if we consider what they are, and what of themselves they bring; the wrath of God, his rod and plagues: yet are they or will be lesse troublesome, when we consider that God can and [Page 196] will turne them to his owne glory, and the good of his Church. To converse among venomous creatures, to have to doe with ranke poyson, is fearefull and troublesome, as they are simples and in themselves; but when they are once skilfully tempered by the Art of the Apothecarie, when the Physitians skill hath made a just and good composition of them, then, though it be not altogether toothsome, yet it is not so troublesome nor hurt­full unto men: So in this.

Ʋse 3 For imitation, to teach us to endeavour to make good out of evill, and by the sinnes of men, our owne, or others, take occasion to glorifie God the more, or to helpe and profit our selves or others: by our owne sins, or others under our charge, to be humbled both to repentance, as also to true humility and lowlinesse of mind, as Paul, 2 Cor. 12.7, 21. In the sinnes of others, not to triumph over them, but to blesse the mercy of God, and magnifie his goodnesse, that he keeps us from the like, who have no lesse in us the seed of them, than they have; accounting our selves as much beholden to God for keeping us from those sinnes, as if we had committed them, and he had remitted or pardoned them to us. As Augustine.

My Name is great.] Here is the ground of all the worship of God which follows; being smitten with a reverence & perswa­sion of his greatnesse and Majesty, they worship and serve him.

Doctr. The ground and foundation of all true and sincere worship of God, is the perswasion and acknowledgment of his greatnesse, and the want of it cause of contempt of God, and of his worship. What maketh mens persons admired and sought to but this? when they are accounted great, and men conceive so of them. This is manifest by that, Psal. 104.1, 2, 3, &c. Jer. 5.22. Rom. 12.1. conferred with Cap. 11.33, 34, 35, 36. when Pharaoh would give no leave to the people of Israel to worship God, nor feare his Word himselfe, he said, Who is the Lord? Exod. 5.2. Matth. 6.

Reas. Because greatnesse drawes honour and reverence of it selfe. The Heathen alledge why they worship the Hoast: of Heaven, because God hath given them such majesty and beauty. Chrysost. tells them it was their corruption, that they went not higher to see Gods greatnesse.

Ʋse 1 This discovers unto us a notable and devillish policy of Sa­tan; when he would breed contempt of God and his worship, then brought he in images and image-making into the Church, that under the shapes and formes of base creatures, hee might wipe out of the minds of men the greatnesse and infinitenesse of God,Facillimum est, contemne­re Deum in i­magine. and impresse in them some base conceit of him, that their hearts might thinke but basely of his worship and service. 'Tis a most easie thing to contemne God in an image, saith one. They [Page 197] perswade men that it is to helpe devotion, as Jeroboam would make the worship of God easie unto the people, by setting up two Calves in Dan and Be [...]hel: 1 Kings 22. but as hee made it to be abhorred, so these make Gods worship not to be regarded, and men more cold in it.

Ʋse 2 This may reach us the reason of so much corruption in the worship and service of God, want of knowledge and perswasi­on of the greatnesse and infinitenesse of God: Hence are additi­ons and detractions from it; for if they were perswaded he were infinitely wise, and onely wise, who needed no counsellour nor adviser what is fit for his service and worship, then would they never have so many inventions and traditions of their owne, on which they dote more, than they love that he hath commanded; as men dote more on their owne children, than they affect o­thers. From this it is, that they either omit or contemne his worship, and the parts of it, or they performe them onely of course, for fashion, and proforma tantùm: hence they preferre man before him, seeking rather to please man, fearing rather to offend man, as if he had more rewards or punishments than God to conferre or inflict.

Ʋse 3 To teach us, to the end we may worship him aright, to la­bour to be instructed, and to know his greatnesse, and be per­swaded of his infinitenesse in wisedome, and knowledge, and power, justice, mercy, bounty, and such like. And this is to be had by looking into his workes, by studying his Word, and by obtaining his Spirit.

Among the Gentiles.] They who were not his people, nor be­loved, neither had any thing that could deserve love, but ra­ther hatred, are chosen and called of God.

Doctrine. The election and calling of God, whether of a few or ma­ny, whether a Nation, or particular men, it is free, and with­out desert, of mercy without merit.

And in every place.] Here is the place where the service of God is to be performed, and spirituall sacrifice to be offered unto him; not upon the Altar, or in the Temple, but every where, all places being indifferent, circumstances regarded.

Doctr. The Gentiles and Church after Christ, under the Gospell, are not tyed for the worship of God, for prayer and invocation, and such like, to the Temple and Synagogues; or in private worship to looke towards the Temple, where there were visible signes of Gods speciall presence: Now they may pray every where, and worship God in every place; John 4.21, 23. 1 Tim. 2.8. onely this generality hath this restraint, prayers and worship may be performed in all places, but not all kind in all places; publique prayers in publique places, and private in private. For the first it is manifest, 1 Cor. 11.18. Church is [Page 198] there taken for a publique place, because of the opposition, vers. 22. which thing is apparent through all established Churches that have beene, or are, as the Histories of all times shew they had open places and meetings for their assemblies and service of God, except in time of persecution. For the second, see Matth. 6.5, 6. prayer in the closet. So Gen. 24.63. prayer in the field, Matth. 14.23. prayer in a Mountaine apart.

Reas. 1 Because then the Arke of Gods presence and his mercy-seat was in the Temple, but now all such ceremonies are removed; the substance being come, the shadows are gone. And now is he every where with his presence, where hee is sought for, as hee then was, but had limited them to that place to seeke him.

Reas. 2 Because every one hath a Temple about with him wheresoe­ver he is, 1 Cor. 6.19. Quest. Had not they so? Ans. Yes: but God had limited them.

Reas. 3 Because the publique place is most fit for publique, both for order and comelinesse; and private for private, because a man may more freely confesse and mourne for his sinnes, and he may be more fit, being freed from the accurrences of eye and eare, by which the fraile heart of man and his mind is drawne a­way.

Ʋse 1 To shew the errour of those who thinke a publique place bet­ter for their prayers than private, when indeed the Church is as private as any other, when a man is alone; and then a publique place is more excellent for the worship of God, when the con­gregation is assembled for that purpose. When they are toge­ther, a man hath more helps, more incitations and provocati­ons, being more affected, one kindling an another, as two burning coales or billets; their prayers more forcible and effe­ctuall; otherwise when they are severed, one place is as holy as another, a mans closet and chamber fitter by much than any o­ther, for the reasons before. And a superstitious opinion of the place will make a mans prayer more unacceptable, both because that affection crosseth the flat assertion of God here and else­where, and againe establisheth the ceremony, and denyes the comming of Christ.

Ʋse 2 A direction to every man to performe the worship of God e­very where: to lift up pure hands unto God in all places, per­forming publique worship in publique places, and accustomed times, serving God as is said of Anna, Luke 2.37. Shee was a Widow about fourescore and foure yeares, and went not out of the Temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day; which was sine omissione, non sine intermissione, saith Beda; and private service in their private places: as God bestows private blessings privately upon men, as remission of sinnes, and re­quires [Page 199] no witnesse: Is't not absurd,Quomodo non absurdum, ut in quibus nos ipse beneficio afficit, solo testimonio nostri contentus sit; nos autem in qui­bus ipsum colimus, alios testes quaera­mus, & ad ostentationem quicquam fa­ciamus. Chrysost. hom. 21. ad populum Antioch. where­as God conferres benefits on us, he is con­tent to doe it privately, yet wee will ne­ver worship God but before witnesses, and for ostentation sake? saith Saint Chryso­stome. Hezekiah turned himselfe to the wall, and prayed.

Ʋse 3 A comfort for all those who by any occasion may be exclu­ded from the publique assemblies and places of Gods worship, whether unjustly excommunicated or cast out of the Church, as he was that was cast out, Joh. 9. or otherwise hindered by the violence of man, or the hand of God, yet wheresoever he be, in every place may he worship God, and God will respect and accept that worship from him. He that found out the once blind, now seeing man, though cast out, will be found when he is sought, though out of the Temple and Church; he that was found of Hezekiah in his bed, of Paul and Silas in the pri­son, of Jonas in the Whales belly, of Paul upon the Sea, and in every place where they held up pure hands unto him; he is the same still, and will be found of them that seeke him aright, every where. Princes have their times and places, out of which if they be taken, and petitions put up, they that doe so, offend; and for favour carry displeasure. Sometime they are like to Ahashuerosh, Ester 4.11. sometime as Darius, Dan. 6.7, 8. but God is ever ready to heare.

Incense shall be offered, and a pure offering.] The matter of this worship.

The Papists affirme, that by this can be understood nothing else but the most holy sacrifice of the body and blood of Christ, offered in every place in the sacrifice of the Masse; we under­stand it of spirituall sacrifices, not reall; whether is most pro­bable we must enquire.

Object. 1 They, to overthrow ours, and to establish their owne, say; The word used for offering, Mincha, Bellarm. signifies an externall sacrifice, which was made of Oyle and Incense, and so no spi­rituall sacrifice.

Answ. 1 To this I answer, that then it cannot be the sacrifice of the Masse, which consisteth not of any such things, but of the formes of Bread and Wine.

Answ. 2 Againe, it is false which they say; for it is used for spirituall sacrifice. Psal. 141.2.

Object. 2 But secondly, spirituall sacrifices were amongst the Jews, and he speaketh of a sacrifice which was not amongst them; therefore it must be understood of the Masse, for he speaketh of a new sacrifice.

Answ. It is answered, here is never a word of a new Sacrifice, but of [...] [Page 200] [...] [Page 201] [...] [Page 202] he ranne after him to serve him: they must then remember Gods end, and not defeat him of it. They must remember what they were, and see his mercy, what they are, and acknow­ledge his bounty, who hath of bondslaves made them free, of servants sonnes. If he had but delivered them, all a man could doe were little enough; more, that he hath thus advanced them. Therefore must they doe him the more honor, and be more zealous of his service and worship, and if they be upbraided for it, they must answer as David did, 2 Sam. 6.21, 22. Then David said unto Michal, it was before the Lord, which chose mee rather then thy father and all his house, and commanded me to be ruler o­ver the People of the Lord, even over Israel: And therefore will I play before the Lord, and will yet be more vile then thus, and will be low in mine owne sight, and of the very same maid servants, which thou hast spoken of, shall I be had in honor.

Incense and an offering] By the reall and outward sacrifice of the Jewes, he understandeth the spirituall sacrifice of the Gentiles, and Church under Christ.

Doctr. Under the Gospell Christians are freed from all outward, and reall sacrifices to be offered immediately to God; and of them are only required spirituall sacrifices, as their soules and bodies, their prayers and praises, their repentance and almes, Rom. 12.1. Hebr. 13.15, 16. 1 Pet. 2.5. Phil. 4.18. Iohn 4.23.

Reas. 1 Because their priesthood is only spirituall, therefore is his sa­crifice only spirituall; such as the priest, such his sacrifice, 1 Pet. 2.5. And yee, as lively stones, he made a spirituall house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spirituall sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

Reas. 2 Because all those outward ceremonies were shadows & types; now the body and truth being come, they are abolished.

Reas. 3 Because ceremonies and sacrifices were given the Church for her infirmities, and onely as a help to keep her from the corrup­tions of Idolaters, til she had received the spirit of God in a larger sort and measure.Si quis uxorem habet propensam ad impudicitiam, [...]m certis locis concludit, cubiculis & conclavibus, ut ei non liceat vagari, pro arbitrio; addit praetereà Eu­nuchos, pedissequas & ancillas qui eam diligentis­simè custodiant, ut fides ejus non amplius esset sus­pecta: ita Deùs cum Judeis, Hos. 2.19. verum ille populus admodum fuit infirmus ac debilis & ad adul­teria idolatriae ultra modum proclivis; Quare De­us eam separavit à caeteris nationibus, & in terra Ca­naan seorsim habitare voluit, à ceremoniis & ritibus undique ceu à paedagogis custodiri; ut fides ejus non esset amplius suspecta: ita ut maritus, sic Deus cum jam spiritum sanctum pen Christum ecclesiae donavit, custodiam ceremoniarum ab ea removit. Chrysost. St. Chrys. com­pares the Church to a wife, and God to a husband, and thus ex­presseth his purpose: If a man have a wife wantonly disposed, he confines her to some certaine places, to her chambers and pri­vate roomes, that shee may not gad abroad at her pleasure, and appoints her Eunuches & cham­bermaids diligently to attend her, that her honesty may not be suspected: so God dealt with [Page 203] the Jewes, Hosea, 2.19. that people was much inclined to adul­tery of false worship, therefore God shut them up from other Nations, and made them dwell alone in Canaan, and kept guard upon them with rites and ceremonies, as so many peda­gogues, that their faith to him might not be suspect. But now when God had given his holy Spirit by Christ unto his Church, he removed from her the custody of ceremonies.

Object. Our bodies are reall sacrifices, so are our almes.

Solut. The first is not outward; the second is not immediately offe­red to God. And the sacrifice is not the thing given, but the affection, as appeares by the difference which Christ put be­twixt the widow and the rich rulers, in their offering to the treasury.

Ʋse 1 Then are there now no externall reall Priests, such as were under the Law, because no externall reall sacrifice: he who tooke away the sacrifice, tooke away the sacrificer. And as he was the end of the Law, that is, of the morall Law; because he was the consummation & perfection of it, working and perfect­ing that the Law could not; so was he the end of the ceremoni­all law, as death is the end of all living creatures, because by it they cease to be so; so Christ their period; for by him they are abolished. And if they, then the Priesthood, he being the last externall and reall Priest: for otherwise the word [...] is never used in the new Testament; but either to Christ in respect of his propitiatory sacrifice, or to all true Christians in respect of their spirituall sacrifices, and never applyed to any Ecclesiasti­call order or function of men, as we commonly take the word, for a sacrificer; but as by the etymology of it, it signifies an el­der, a Presbyter or Priest.

Ʋse 2 To meet with a generation that lives upon the earth who be­ing carelesse of God, his worship and service, as he hath prescri­bed and commanded the same, doe pretend that if he would re­quire such sacrifices as were in use under the law, they would be at any cost with the Lord; like those hypocrites, Mich. 6.6, 7. Where with shall I come before the Lord, and bow my selfe before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, and with calves of a yeare old? will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousand rivers of oyle? shall I give my first borne for my transgression, even the fruit of my body for the sinne of my soule? when they could not endure what is told them. Verse, 8. hee hath shewed thee, O man, what is good, and what doth the Lord re­quire of thee? surely to doe justly, and to love mercy, and to hum­ble thy self to walke with thy God. Any thing but that they should doe they pretend to be willing to doe, like children, who like any manner of education, but that their parents would bring them up in; If in a trade, oh if they might follow their book, [Page 204] any thing but that they should, and their Parents would have. So with these; they know not, or will not know their owne heart, which is naturally irreligious, and never will like that is commanded, but would goe a whoring with their owne imagi­nations; and ever will like that they may not have, or will not be accepted, when they contemne that they have; and not re­specting these, they cannot but contemne that is otherwise en­joyned, as Luke 16.30, 31. he said, Nay father Abraham, but if one come unto them from the dead, they will amend their lives. Then he said unto him, if they heare not Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be perswaded, though one rise from the dead againe. They are like to a woman, to whom one ma­king love, and desiring her person, she disliking his, answers him she will give him any thing but her selfe, her riches, jew­els, bracelets, and such like; onely to put him off, because she sees he desires her person onely; and the other if he would de­sire, she would soone deny him.

Ʋse 3 To teach us how wee ought now with all diligence and fre­quency performe these, and offer these sacrifices more than they; these were common to us and them, they were burden­ed with others, of which we are eased, which were charge­able and toylesome, Acts 15.10. As, 2 Kings 5.13. it was with Namaan; his servants came and spake unto him, and said, Fa­ther, if the Prophet had commanded thee a great thing, woul­dest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when hee saith to thee, Wash, and be cleane? So say I, if he had laid that burden also upon us, ought we not to have done both? how much more when he hath eased our shoulders? And if we should not, how should we be justly condemned of unthank­fulnesse? The Wife that newly married had a wise and strait Husband, knowing her frailty and infirmities, and therefore set a watch over her, and appointed servants to observe her, till her affection and faith were setled, when she ought and did ho­nour, and obey, and love him: If he free her from them, and set her at liberty from that grievous bondage and tedious thing, will she then honour him the lesse? Questionlesse she ought not, but if she doe, as the corruption of all is to waxe worse by li­berty, then is she condemned of unthankfulnesse the more. So 'tis with us.

Incense.] The worship, prayers, and service of the Gentiles is resembled by this, not onely familiarly to shew to them of that age, but to teach, that their service, works, and worship is acceptable unto God, as such things are acceptable to the smell and sences of men; for in them God tooke no delight at all, nei­ther could doe, his nature being spirituall.

Doctrine. The works of Gods children, their worship, service, and [Page 205] spirituall sacrifice is delightfull and acceptable to him, as sweet perfumes are to the smell of men.

And a pure offering.] It is opposed to the Jewes sinnes, who offered unto God polluted and unperfect sacrifices, not such as they ought, and such as were according to the Law. But now their offering shall be pure.

Doctrine. The works, actions, and worship of such as are truely called and converted, are holy and pure: Thus prophesieth Malachy, that the Gentiles converted unto God, their workes and wor­ship of him shall be a pure offering. Thus St. Paul speakes of the offering of the Romans, Chap. 12.1. that it is holy. Jude calls their faith most holy, vers. 20. There were a few in Sardi true­ly religious, and converted, their garments were undefiled, Revel. 3.4.

Reas. 1 Because they are done according to his Word, now they walke by that rule; things before they did at randome, now they know his Will, and after that they doe. And it is a rule, that worship performed according to the Word, in themselves are good and pure; as the sacrifices which were according to the Law, were pure and cleane for the matter of them.

Reas. 2 Because the parties are holy, they are a holy Priesthood; 1 Pet. 2.5. now a good thing done in matter by holy men, must needs be holy.

Object. But how can they be holy, when there is eadem ratio totius & partis. And the Church for spots is compared to the Moon, Cant. 6.9.

Answ. This is answered, that he is so, because he is in Christ, and hath his righteousnesse imputed to him, both to his person, and his obedience, 1 Cor. 1.30. & non radiis solaribus, sed ipso sole amictus; Revel. 12.1. as the Church is said to be cloathed with the Sunne. Hebr. 13.15. 1 Pet. 2.5.

Reas. 3 Thirdly, because of his inward sanctification, the ground of it, the party being regenerated by the works of the Spirit, and so every action is in him part holy, and good, and well pleasing to God, as comming and proceeding from his Spirit, though having a tang and tast of his infirmities, as water passing through a pipe or channell. Rom. 8.26. and 15.16.

Ʋse 2 This teacheth what to judge of the works and worship of all that are uncalled and unconverted, not onely of Heathen and Infidels, but of unbeleevers in the Church, they must needs be impure and unholy, else were it nothing that is here affirmed of these after their calling. And indeed needs must it be; for, Tit. 1.15. Ʋnto them that are defiled and unbeleeving is nothing pure, but even their mind and conscience is defiled. So farre is it that they should be merita praeparatoria; as some Papists speake of them; for unholy things cannot please him, lesse procure or de­serve [Page 206] good things from him: though they doe the things for matter good, yet a good thing is oftentimes marred in the hand­ling, and more when they are done by some men, and such men.

Ʋse 2 Secondly, this proves that mens callings are free, without deserts, when the things that they doe before, even their best are impure and unholy, such, as God shewed his great patience in that he did not confound them for them; and more the riches of his mercy, that for all them, yet he called them.

Ʋse 3 This comforteth every one that is truely converted unto God; his works and worship is pure and holy, and so accepted of God, even then, when he carryeth the body of sinne about with him, Rom. 7.21. when in himselfe he finds many infirmi­ties, yea, and when his heart tells him that his best work is not without the taint of his corruption, yea, and when his heart may misdeeme him; as Jacobs did, lest his Father should dis­cerne him: so his corruptions; yet then is he pure and holy, and so pleasing to God, because he is in Christ, and he and his obe­dience hath put on the faire Robe of Christs righteousnesse, which is not a scant garment, as Bernard saith, but one that reacheth to the heeles, and covereth all the parts of the soule, as Jacob had Esaus garment: And as if he looked upon us in our selves, he should see nothing pure; so in him all things appeare as he is; yea, and because he is sanctified by the Spirit, those corruptions that often hinder and ever taint the best actions, God accounteth not theirs; nay, he saith they are not theirs, as long as there is a worke of the Spirit in them striving against them, and grieving at the sight and sence of them. That which Bernard speaketh of envy, Thou feelest it, but agreest not to it; it is a passion in thee that God one day will heale, not such a sinne as he will condemne thee for: so may we say of others, for they are not theirs; for, 1 John 3.9. his regenerate part sinneth not, nay, it abhorreth that the body of sinne hath done, and worketh in him. Marke the words, saith Bern. he doth not, but suffereth them unwillingly to be done in him; as that, Rom. 7.17. Now then it is no more I that doe it, but the sinne that dwelleth in me. It is done indeed in me, but not of me, while I consent not to it.

Ʋse 4 To teach every one that would have his offering pure, and his service holy before God, to labour for true faith in Christ, and the sanctification of his Spirit: By the first he shall put on Christ, by whom all his deformities shall be covered, all his sinnes and infirmities, as the deformities of the body are by a garment. By the second he shall resist and fight against the flesh, and be grieved at the sence of the evill in him, and so the rege­nerate part not consenting, but hating and striving against it, that bad dye and tincture which the best actions receive from [Page 207] the corruption of the flesh, God will not account his, nor impute to him, nor reject his service and worke for it. But 2 Chro. 30.18, 19. The good Lord will pardon every one that prepareth his heart to seeke God, though he be not cleansed according to the purifi­cation of the sanctuary.

VERSE XII.

But yee have polluted it, in that yee say, The table of the Lord is polluted, and the fruit thereof, even his meate is not to be regarded.

BƲT yee have polluted it,] This verse and the next is the second part of the comparison, touching the Jewes, and their great prophaning and corrupting of his worship; which is set downe first generally, then in particular: and this, first, in thought, in this verse; secondly, in word: thirdly, in deede, verse 13.

For the generall, but yee have polluted it,] Wherein first, the person; secondly the sinne, you, with an Emphasis; you whom I have chosen of all nations of the earth, whom I have beautified with so many benefits, and so strangely preserved, Deuter. 4.32. ad 39. and many places of that nature. Againe, you who professe your selves in speciall manner to be my people, that you should thus use me, who ought rather otherwise to have hono­red mee, it is in you the more hainous, to me the more grievous and offensive.

Polluted it, or my name] Their sinfull Act: not that Gods name is, or can be polluted by mans sinnes, more than the sun can be by a dunghill; but this is spoken, first, because they polluted those things which he had appointed to be highly reverenced, and set his marke or his name upon them, 1 Cor. 10.28. and 11.27. secondly, because God did so esteeme of it in his accepta­tion, Acts, 9.5. Math. 25.40. thirdly, because they did as much as lay in them, in their endeavor, nothing was wanting on their parts, Hebr. 6.6. and 10.29.

In that yee say,] The first particular, their inward thought; yee thus say in your hearts, in your minds, you despise my name, my worship, and service: A base conceit of the worship of God; Gods table, that is, his altar is polluted, is not greatly to be re­garded, [Page 208] as the words following shew: Now they contemned Gods Altar, saith Saint Hierome, because it was plaine and rude, not decked with gold and riches, and the offering, because it was burnt to ashes; Montanus, because it was served with fat and bread, things base and vile in themselves; Palutius, because the heathen had polluted it, but the former is more probable.

And the fruit thereof.] By it understanding the offering that was laid upon the Altar; which made Saint Hierome translate it, quod super ponitur; And of this offering, one part was for the Priest, the Lords Minister, Levit. 6.17. and this they thought was not to be regarded having come not to regard the worship and service of God, they esteem not of his Ministers.

In the person, the Emphasis is double, first, that they upon whom he had bestowed so great things; secondly, they who made such shew of his service, should contemne it.

Doctr. It is nothing so great and grievous sinne for men who have received small things and blessings from God, to contemne his name, and be carelesse of his service and worship, as for those who have received great things from him, and upon whom he hath bestowed more excellent favors. And God takes it nothing so hainously from the one as from the other: Manifest here, and Isaiah 1.2. Heare, O heavens, and hearken, O earth, for the Lord hath said, I have nourished and brought up children, but they have re­belled against mee, and 5.4. What could I have done any more to my Vineyard, that I have not done unto it? why have I looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it bringeth forth wilde grapes? 2 Sam. 12.7.8. Math. 11.23, 24

Reas. Because the one hath lesse, the other moe causes why they should honour him, and be carefull of his worship: every benefit and favour deserves it, the least meriteth it, much more many and great ones; where then the most and the greatest are, there the contempt is the most hainous.

As the husband man, the more labor and cost he bestowes up­on his ground, the greater harvest he expecteth; when for e­quall paines and cost he lookes for equall fruite, as Luke, 13.7, 8, 9. Then said he to the dresser of his Vineyard, behold, this three yearer have I come and sought fruit of this fig tree, and finde none: cut it down, why keepeth it also the ground barren? And hee answered, and said unto him, Lord, let it alone this yeere also, till I dig round about it, and dung it. And if it beare fruit, well; if not, then shalt thou cut it downe.

Ʋse 1 Then the contempt of Gods worship and service that is in this City, is farre more hainous and grievous then of any other place in the Land besides: because God hath bestowed upon it more favor, and greater things then upon any other, more wealth, greater strength, more honor; for it is the wealth and [Page 209] the strength, and the honor of the Land, he hath crowned it with much honor, and loving kindnesse, hee hath given it the Gospell, the watring and planting of Paul and Apollo, more abun­dantly then any part of the Land besides: he hath freed it from the plague, he hath delivered it from the sword, which should have been first in the confusion, if the enemy had had his wished-for day; howsoever it flatter it self in the strength of it, the wealth of it would in that day have made it a prey. He hath done this, and many more that I cannot speake of, and yet the contempt of Gods worship, name and service, is in all from the highest to the lowest: Like Magistrates, like subjects; like Mini­ster, like People; like Masters, like servants; parents and children, rich and poore, bond and free, all contem­ners of the worship and service of God; which is the more fear­full and hainous sinne, because of the riches of Gods goodnesse, his bounty and blessings, and he takes it more hainously, that when he will visite the land with another judgment, the sword or any other, as it was the first in the plague, it shall be in the other, unles it repent, and grow more zealous for his service & worship.

Ʋse 2 More particularly, there are many particular men in this Ci­ty, and elsewhere, who are carelesse of the worship of God, and doe indeed pollute his name, and thinke it no fault in them, be­cause they are above others in wealth, above them in worship or honour, exceed them in wit and learning. These are the men, if a survey be taken, who are lesse frequent in Prayer and in hea­ring, most carelesse both privately and publiquely of the worship and service of God, either not doing, or so doing, as if they doe any thing, God is more beholden to them, then they bound to him. As if Gods favor, and the fruits of his love were faculties and dispensations to beare them out in dishonouring of him, and polluting his name: Nay let them know it, if they doe not; or, if they will not now, they one day shall to their cost, that their carelessenes, and contempt is more hainous then of others, and he so takes it. They shall find these contrary, the eyes of God and men; in mens eyes a little thing in them that is good, is great; a great evill, but a little; not so with God. And when every man shall give his account, (as he shall one day,) it shalbe be farre easier for the unlearned then for the learned, for the base then honorable, for the poore then rich. The benefits of God, specially these generall ones, are not alwayes proofes of his love; but they are ever provocations of obedience and ho­nor from men: That, if they answer it not, as they have recei­ved more here, so they shall have more hereafter. Why doe they deceive themselves, or suffer themselves by flatterers to be deceived? we will make but them judges, and they will give sentence of themselves: What is that Courtier worthy of, that [Page 210] receives abundance of favor from the King, and requites him with contempt or treason? so of a father and his sonne, of a ser­vant and his master, &c. will they not take it more hainously, and shall not all their benefits and favors increase their faults? And are not Gods wayes just, more equall, and farre above the wayes of men. Then let me speak to you rich men, &c. I be­seech you be deceived no longer, you ought to be more religi­ous, and more carefull then others; I pray you correct your er­ror, and begin to be more carefull, lest you be forced to con­demne your selves when it will be too late.

You, who professe your selves in speciall manner mine, and specially professe my worship.

Doctr. It is a farre more grievous and hainous sinne, for such as speci­ally professe the worship and feare of God, to contemn his name, and not regard his worship, then for those who make none or very little shew of it; and God takes it more hainously from them, so here, and Mich. 2.6, 7. Marke 14.37. 2 Pet. 2.21.

Reas. 1 Because he doth it of knowledge, and goes against his know­ledge, whereas the other, as is probable, doth not so; for his profession argues he knows what is to be done, and what ought to be done. Now sinnes against knowledge are more hainous, the other more excusable:Religio scientia Dei est, ac per hoc omnis religiosus, hoc ipso quod religionem sequi­tur, Dei se voluntatem nos­sce testatur. Sal. ad eccle. Ca. lib. 2 as a man professing an Art, a fault in this work of his Art is more foul, then in an­other mans work. Religion is the profession of God, and every religious man, in this that he takes up Religion, professes that he knowes the will of God, saith Salvian.

Reas. 2 Because it is here as it were out of his place, where the thing is lighter, and not so offensive; an element in his place not so heavy: a spot upon a foule garment not so uncomely; an ele­ment out of his place, a spot upon the purest garment, is the sinne of professors.

Reas. 3 Because these things come commonly unexpected, and that which is unexpected, and unsuspected, it commeth more sud­denly, it lighteth more heavily, and is taken more to heart. This made David complaine so much of the injury of a friend, as a thing that came so unexpected, and did so pierce him.

Ʋse 1 To instruct the Minister whose sinnes and contempt of Gods worship he ought specially to dislike, to reprove, and lay load on: It is his part to dislke and reprove all, to checke every mans sinne, and every mans carelesnesse of Gods worship and service; but no mens sinnes, no mens negligence and corruption in the service of God ought to dislike him so much and be so earnest a­gainst, as the sinnes and carelesnes of those who by some speci­all profession come neere to God. The Minister should be like [Page 211] effected to his Master, the servant to his Lord. What God most mislikes that ought they. It may be he may find these more kind, liberall, and respective unto him, he must neverthelesse re­prove, and, if need be, use sharpnes: The Physitian that finds men kind to him, and to honor him, when they are in health, will neverthelesse, when they are fallen into a disease, use sharp medicines, and it may be sharper to them then others, that he may the sooner and sounder restore them. It is the signe of a false prophet, when his mouth is not filled, to prepare and pro­claime warre, and when it is, to cry all peace. Mich. 3.5. Thus saith the Lord, concerning the Prophets that deceive my people, and bite them with their teeth, and cry peace, but if a man put not into ther mouthes, they prepare warre against him.

Ʋse 2 To admonish all such as come nigh unto God by speciall pro­fession, that they endure the words of reproofe from the mouth of the Minister, if he deale more sharply with their sinnes, cove­tousnesse, usury, envy, quarrellings, pride and vanities; and particularly for the sinne in hand; for their cold prayers, care­lesse hearing, sleepy attending, negligent or late comming, the omission and remission of their care publiquely, but specially pri­vately in the worship and service of God: they must not grudge and goe away discontented, saying, He knowes me well, he might well have forborne this, I have been an old professor and an old disciple: hast thou? then is thy sinne the greater, and God is more displeased with it, and so ought his Ministers lesse to spare thee, and thou the rather to take it from them. As Moses said, See, Israel will not heare, then how will Pharaoh? I wonder not many times to see common Christians and carnall men to distaste reproofes, when I find professors so disliking them: but as their sinnes are the greater, sinne compared with sinne, their reproofes should be the sharper, as in diseases.

Ʋse 3 To teach every man to consider of his profession which he makes of Gods service and feare; and thereby to know he is more bound to procure Gods name to be honored, and in himselfe and his to be most carefull for his service and worship. His profession requireth he be more devout in prayer, more watchfull and di­ligent in hearing, and in every duty whereby God is immediate­ly worshipped and glorified, more carefull. This his profession requires of him; which if he performe not, he must know, that as every sinne he committeth is more hainous, so his carelessenes and corruption in the service of God is much more intolerable and hainous in the sight of God, then his who makes no profes­sion. Thou seest a man who is but a state-Christian and profes­sor, withdraw himselfe, and be negligent to come to the place of Gods worship, thou dislikest; and yet occasion of friends, plea­sure or profit will sometime draw thee aside from it; thy sinne is [Page 212] farre more intolerable then his: So of sleeping, thy nod is worse then his halfe houres nap; for to thee Christ saith, as to Peter, Marke 14.Ideo Ethnicis deteriores sumus, quia meliores esse debemus, quia pugnamus professionem nostram moribus nostris, nec sumus id quod profitemur: Salv.37. sleepest thou? and so in every duty of Gods worship. We are then farre worse then Ethnicks, because we ought to be better; because our profession and manners are repugnant, and we are not what we professe our selves to be.

Object. Then better not professe at all?

Answ. Admit thy conceit: but what is gained by it? Paul saith, Rom. 2.12. For as many as have sinned without the law, shall pe­rish also without the law: and as many as have sinned in the law, shall be judged by the law: and Christ, Luke 12.47, 48. That servant that knew his Masters will, and prepared not himselfe, neither did ac­cording to his will, shalbe beaten with many stripes: but he that knew it not, and yet did commit things worthy of stripes, shalbe beaten with few stipes: for unto whomsoever much is given, of him shalbe much required, and to whom men commit much, the more of him will they aske. There was one had two sonnes, Math. 21.28. he that said he would not, and did, was commendable: doe thou like, and it shalbe well with thee, but otherwise thy not profession shall also condemn thee, and if it be lesse, yet if thou perish, thou hast gained little. The best is to professe and also perform with all care the service of God, then thou shalt be bles­sed in thy deed.

Have polluted it.] The act of these persons, the Israelites, the polluting and corrupting of the worship of God. And here is the cause why God will take his worship and word from them, they polluted and corrupted it, and made no account of it.

Doctrine. The prophaning of Gods name, that is, the corrupting and contemning of Gods word and worship, is that which procures God to take it away, and remove it from a people and land; as here, and Isaiah 29.10. ad 14. Jer. 7.13, 14. Thirefore now, because ye have done all these workes, saith the Lord, and I rose up ear­ly, and spake unto you: but when I spake, yee would not heare mee; neither when I called would yee answer. Therefore will I doe unto this house, whereupon my name is called, wherein also yee trust, e­ven unto the place that I gave unto you and your fathers, as I have done unto Shilo.

Ʋse 1 This teacheth us to behold Gods just judgment upon the Church of Rome, which once was a famous light, and a flou­rishing Church, but it grew both to contemn the word of God, and to corrupt his worship. It preferred the Church above it, yea the Pope, holding he might dispence with the word of God; so Gratian, speciall the new Testament, so Panormitan; the Church can make morall precepts mutable, so Gratian; with infinite such [Page 213] like. The worship it hath corrupted by unwritten and lying tra­ditions, by such a burden of ceremonies, as never any superstition had by the precepts of men and such like. That God hath dealt justly, he hath taken from them his word, and left them in palpa­ble darknes more then Aegypt, 2 Thessal. 2.11. And now are they as a man out of his way, and yet thinks he is right, the fur­ther he goes the more he is out of his way, and no hope of re­turning; because he perswadeth himselfe he is in the right way.

Ʋse 2 This may make us feare that the day of the mourning for the Gospell is not farre, at least in Gods justice and his dealing with others; because though corruption hath not seased upon his worship, yet contempt of the word is every where.

Ʋse 3 The Church and the chiefe in it, the Magistrates are here ad­monished, if they desire that the Gospell and his worship should abide amongst us, that they take heed it be not corrupted, nor contemned; which is the very life and breath of the Church, the vitall spirits, which being corrupted bring death to the whole: they ought to make lawes against error and heresie, superstition & other corruptions, and severely to execute them against who­soever dare privately or publiquely, secretly or openly, sowe any cockle with the pure wheat of Gods word and labor to keep it in as much sincerity and simplicity as may bee; labouring to keep the fire upon the Lords Altar, the Lampes burning in the Temple, and the Levites unforsaken, labouring for the maintey­nance of the faith which was given unto the Saints, Jude, verse 3. correcting and punishing all contemners of it, who or how­soever, lest God doe remove it from us.

Ʋse 4 To teach every man as he desireth there should be peace and truth in his dayes, so to repent of his corrupting, polluting or contemning of this, whether before or since his calling; and now to labor for his part to keep it in integrity and purity, to have it in all honor and high esteeme, that if God for the generall doe remove it, yet his sinne be not a provocation to it. The removing of it will be griefe enough, more when he shalbe guil­ty himselfe as a procurer of it. As sicknesse and trouble is hea­vy, so more when a man is guilty by his own intemperancy, or miscarrying of himselfe, by surfetting and such like; he hath brought it upon himself, and pulled it with his own hands up­on him▪ so in this.

In that you say, the table of the Lord is polluted.] This is the first particular; their thoughts, according to the phrase often used in this Chapter; whence it is not only manifest that the Lord knowes the thoughts of Men, and the things they doe in secret, but he reveales them to others, his liefetenants upon earth, his Ministers and Magistrates to reprove, or correct and punish.

Table polluted,] They contemned the Table, because it was but rudely built; and the offering, because it was burnt to ash­es. Hierom.

Doctr. The thing that makes men contemne holy duties, and the worship of God, is because they looke too much upon the base­nesse of the meanes. Vide vers. 7. ut ante.

And the fruit thereof, even his meate not to be regarded.] The Priests part, they thought any thing would serve them; con­temning Gods worship, they contemned the meanes of his worship.

Doctrine. The contempt of Gods worship, and the contempt of his Mi­nisters, goe together; they are in one people, one age, one place, the fruit of the Altar and the meate of it despised toge­ther. So it is here, so 1 Sam. 2.17. It is all one, whether the cause be just, and they justly despised or no. 2 Chron. 36.14, 15, 16. Nehem. 13.10, 11.

Reas. 1 Because all the honour and account that the Ministers can have or looke for, is for their worke, for the worship and ser­vice of God they performe amongst them. 1 Thes. 5.12, 13. Now if their worke once grow into contempt and disgrace, they needs must; which was the reason why Demetrius pleaded so hard for the honour of Diana, for their owne gaine and honour, knowing that they were honoured for her, who, if once disho­noured, would make them to be dishonoured, Acts 19.24, &c. so in this, of the true worship.

Reas. 2 Because the corruption of man is such, that when he should re­spect the Minister for his worke, the chest for the treasure, he respects the worke for the Minister, the treasure for the chest. Therefore if he once grow to dislike him, he will dislike it.

Ʋse 1 This noteth the cause why the worship of God and his ser­vice is in these dayes in that contempt that we find it to be in all places: it is amongst us still, God hath not taken away the Arke of his presence; but it is in small account, little esteeme and reverence. It is no marvell, seeing the Lords Ministers are in such contempt as they are; what difference or distinction soever men make of them, yet herein they differ not, but are all in contempt. No sort nor condition of men, no men of any pro­fession in the Land, are any thing like neere in the like generall contempt and disgrace that they are; by Courtiers and Coun­treymen, by Citizens and men abroad, by rich and poore, by old and young; they are as, 2 Chron. 36.16. marked, despi­sed, misused. Is it then any marvell if the worship of God be contemned? when the Embassadour is contemned, the embas­sage will and must be worse liked of; when the Physitian, the physick he brings: Nothing that Micha can say or doe can be li­ked, Ahab dislikes his person. And againe, è converso, this layes [Page 215] out unto us why the Ministers are in such contempt, the wor­ship it selfe is in contempt. They are deprived of their double honour, in the most part, because the most honour not the Word and worship of God. When as the message of David sent by his servants, is misconstrued by the Ammonites, then are his messengers abused. 2 Sam. 10. so when the worship of God, then the Ministers. These are two twinnes, as it were, the con­tempt of the one, and the contempt of the other; it is hard to tell which first comes forth, happily some may thinke the one, some the other; as with the twinnes. Gen. 38.28, &c.

Ʋse 2 This must instruct the Ministers of God, if they have any de­sire that the worship of God should be had in account and reve­rence, and not in contempt, that they carry themselves wise­ly and discreetly, sincerely and soberly, both in the worke of their Ministery, and in other carriage of their life; that they give no just cause of contempt of the Word, but that they may rather adorne it. So Saint Paul perswades both Timothy and Titus, and in them other Ministers; for his charges were not personall, nor temporary; 1 Tim. 4.12. 2 Tim. 4.5. Titus 2.7, 8. for if all must so live and carry themselves, that the Go­spell of God may be well spoken of, and his worship regarded; if servants, Titus 2.10. if women, even young women, verses 4, 5. if all professors, Titus 3.8. much more ought Preachers, they ought so to handle those mysteries and worship of God, that they may strike reverence and esteeme into the people; so to carry themselves, that they may get account and estimation to themselves, and so to the worship of God; for when the Mi­nisters of God handle the Word simply and profitably, and o­ther parts of Gods worship with great reverence, and when they practise it carefully, then will it be better affected and re­verenced of others; but when they handle them corruptly and carelesly, when they are not the same men in their lives, they seeme to be in the Pulpit, they make the ordinances of God to be out of request, and to be loathed, as Elies wicked sonnes made men abhorre the offering of the Lord, 1 Sam. 2.17. both by their using of it, and carriage of their lives; for even whole­some meate-men loath an unwholesome and sluttish huswives, or Cookes dressing.

Ʋse 3 This may admonish all those who contemne the Ministers of God, who doe scoffe, deride, and disgrace them most, who seeke most that the worship of God should be had in honour, whatsoever profession they make outwardly, it is yet manifest they have no inward love to religion; nay, that they contemne and despise the worship of God. They may use the works of his service, and performe worship for the outward act, but it is without any love and reverence to it; but as the Heathen man [Page 216] would have his Tyrant to seeme religious, that his people might feare him, because they might think the Gods would helpe him, if they should rebell or rise against him; so these, for one sini­sterrespect or other.

Doctr. It hath beene a continuall portion of the Ministers of God, to be contemned, and not regarded; to be basely thought of and spoken of, though in this place it may seeme to be a just judge­ment upon these, yet the best and the most sincere Ministers have beene no better esteemed or regarded. 2 Kings 9.11. Jer. 29.26. Acts 2.13. and 26.24. Matth. 11.18. 1 Cor. 4.9. ad 14.

Reas. 1 Because it befell to Christ, who was many wayes evill spoken of, John 10.20. Matth. 11.19. then no marvell if his Ministers and members be in the same condition; for Matth. 10.24, 25. The Disciple is not above his Master, nor the servant above his Lord. It is enough for the Disciple to be as his Master is, and the servant as his Lord. If they have called the Master of the house Beel­zebub, how much more them of his houshold?

Reas. 2 Because the Ministers of God must deale with and reprove the sinnes of men, and not spare them, but threaten them for them. Now when they are, as Basil speaketh, like Physitians, who make warre, not with their patient, but with his disease and passion; so not with them, but their sinnes; they thinke hee is their enemy, and maketh warre against them, therefore they speake evill of him.

Ʋse 1 To teach us not to be offended, if we finde now many moc­kers and scorners of the Ministers and Ministery, many who re­gard them not, but contemne them, and raise up all manner of evill speeches against them; it is no new thing, for there is none under Heaven. It was prophesied it should be, 2 Pet. 3.3. mockers. 2 Tim. 3.3. despisers of them who are good; and therefore still will be, while the accuser of the brethren doth rule in the Ayre, and is Prince of this world, and doth rule in the children of disobedience, he will make them mock and de­spise, contemne and slander, and oftentimes such as would make reasonable men affraid, lest their slanders should be found false, yet that troubles them not, because they still hope it will make for their advantage; he instructing them, who taught Ma­chiavill, Detrabe au­dacter, & ali­quid adhaere­bit. Machia­vil. Slander one confidently, and somewhat will sticke to him. If that be true which Tertullian writeth Adversus Gent. Apol. cap. 1.Nihil iniquius, quàm ut oderint homines, quos igno­rant, etiamsi res meretur o­dium. Tertul. Nothing is worse than to hate men whom they know not, though they deserve to be hated. What is it then that they should slander men whom they know not, when the thing deserveth great honour?

Ʋse 2 This must teach the Ministers patiently to abide the base [Page 217] conceits and opinions of men. It is no new thing: if they did it to the greene tree, what will they doe to the dry? if to those who have lived before, more to these. It is that whereunto they were appointed, 1 Thes. 3.3. that of Christ will be true, Matth. 5.11, 12. Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you, and say all manner of evill against you for my Name falsely. Rejoyce and be glad, for great is your reward in Heaven: for so per­secuted they the Prophets which were before you: which if any in­curre not lesse or more in his portion, he may feare and suspect himselfe whether he be Christs or no, seeing Christ so speaketh, Luke 6.26. Woe unto you, when all men shall speake well of you; for so did their fathers to the false Prophets: he may sus­pect himselfe rather false than true. That of Plinius Cecilius, which he was wont to set upon his Schooles, may be applyed; Sciamus eum pessimè dixisse, cui maximè si [...] applausum: Wee know, he that hath most applause, hath made the worst Ora­tion.

VERSE XIII.

Ye said also, Behold, it is a wearinesse, and ye have snuffed at it, saith the Lord of Hostes, and ye of­fered that which was torne, and the lame, and the sick: thus ye offered an offering: should I accept this of your hand, saith the Lord?

YE say also, behold, it is a wearinesse.] The second corrup­tion here reproved is outward pollution, which is double, in speech and gesture: The speech some expound as spoken by the Priests, taking up the breast or shoulder of a carrion sheepe which was his due, Levit 7.31, 32. see what I have for my la­bour; but the Priests themselves had a hand in this sinne. This speech is expounded as if it were spoken by a crafty dissimulati­on and arrogant bragging. See how I am wearied with carry­ing this weighty sheepe, when a man might have blowne it o­ver; or they say, they are marvellously weary with carrying so weighty and tidie a beast upon their shoulders, and that they might faine it by their gesture, they shew it by panting, and fetching their breath deepe, and drawing of it short, Monta­nus. Some expound, what a toile is this that we spend all in the [Page 218] service of God; the complaint of the people, that they were at great toile and paines, and excessive cost and charge in Gods service, as over-wearied with labour, and eaten out and un­done with expences, especially comming so raw and bare home; and therefore God was to content himselfe with it, though worse.

You have snuffed at it.] Either you blow and pant, as tyred with bringing a tidie beast; still their arrogant dissembling con­tinued: or by a disdainfull and contemptuous gesture you shew your unwillingnesse to serve God, and how vile and tedious it is to you: it is the gesture of one refusing a thing with disdaine and contempt, as Psal. 10.5.

Saith the Lord of Hoasts.] Who is most good and pure, and a powerfull and just revenger of all such wickednesse.

And ye offered that which was torne.] Their practice and dea­ling; their Sacrifice faulty two wayes: they brought blind and lame, or, if any good, not their owne. First, in manner of getting of it, it was such as was stolne; some expound raptum, spoiled and wearied with beasts; raptus ex ore lupi, which was dainty among the Heathen, as finer meate and the tenderer, so Calvine. If by chance a sheepe or other beast were wearied, or so, they would be content to bestow it on God. But this is not like, for Sacrifices were brought quick, not dead. But raptum, rather furto & rapina quaesitum, as Lyra; they brought such to God as was gotten by evill meanes, thinking to stop his mouth, as mans, with part of the booty. Psal. 50.21.

Behold, it is a wearinesse.] The complaint of the people, thinking too much of that they did in the service of God.

Doctr. Hypocrites, naturall, and wicked men doe thinke all time too much, all paines too great, all cost too chargeable spent up­on the service of God and his worship, Amos 8.5. Isaiah 58.3. for it carrieth a kind of repentance in them, for that they had done all that in the service of God, when they aimed not at his service, but their owne profit. This is that which was in Judas, John 12.5, 6. Why is this waste? murmuring at it, and made a good colour for it, that he might also infect others, pretending it for the members of Christ, against the Head, by which hee brought the Disciples into the same sinne with him. Matth. 26.

Reas. 1 Because love is the ground of all duties, specially of the cheere­full, ready, diligent performing of them, and the cost which men think nothing too much of where they love: Parents to their Children, the Wife to the Husband. Now no naturall and wicked men have the love of God, or can have it; for it is a su­pernaturall gift, therefore no marvell if they deale thus.

Reas. 2 Because the motives of these duties, and the manner of doing them, are the benefits received, and the blessings and rewards [Page 219] to come upon them that doe them so. Now naturall and wicked men want spirituall eyes to see God the giver of all that they have, and the reward for things to come, and what profit the service of God brings to them; then no marvell though they think all too much.

Object. Micha. 6.6, 7. here are hypocrites that thought not great things too much for Gods.

Sol. This they offered, but they never did it. It may be a question, if God would have taken them at their word, whether they would have performed or no; for many promise largely, that are short enough in performing. But admit they would, yet that they would not have done it, for any service to God at all, but only for a safeguard to themselves and their sinnes. The Pro­phet threatned them with the judgments of God if they did not returne from their sinnes: they thinking to save themselves, and keepe their sinnes, which were so deare unto them, offer thus li­berally, and it may be would have given so: but it was not for God, but themselves. As the Mariner in a storme or danger, and the traveller when he is beset with theeves, will cast away li­berally.

Ʋse 1 This teacheth that there are a great company of men in the Church who are but meere naturall men at the best, but hypo­crites in the Church, seeing so many find and professe themselves to find such tediousnesse and wearines in the service of God, thinking the time too much, the paines too great, the cost very burdensome, weary of Sabboths, and the times and places of ex­ercises, can be content to serve with ease, but not with any strict­nes, or as they account, it inconvenience, a little labor happily, but no cost without grudging. To whom the Sabboth, when it commeth, is like to a bad guest, whose departure is farre more welcome to them then his comming; so is the end more acceptable then the beginning, and every houre is a day till it be over; others thinke it was ordained for their ease and refresh­ing from their labors, and not for Gods service, and therefore thinke it too much to give the whole day to God, too much to heare twice, but intolerable they should be bound to make care of it in the whole, in private besides the publique service:Quae diabolus imperavit, quam labori­osa? quam gravia? nec difficultas fitit ejus man datis impedi­mentū. Chry. ho. 19. ad P. ma­ny masters are there, who thinke much to give to God a whole Sabboth, who will not remit their servants a piece of one of the six dayes: Many a servant who can be content to toile himselfe more that day with the workes of pleasure and the workes of Sa­than, then in the week with the works of his Master, but thinks every thing too much for God, as Chrysostome. What com­mands doth the Devill lay on man? how laborious? how grie­vous? yet the difficulty is no impediment to his commands. But here a little thing hinders, and they thinke all too much:Ant. how [Page 220] much more shew they themselves wicked men, who, like Judas, finde fault with others care or cost in the service of God, and draw others with them into the same opinion, to thinke it is too much, when it is short of that that is expressely required.

Ʋse 2 To teach every man, when he finds any such wearinesse in the service of God, his heart thinking too much of his cost and pains, to censure it in himselfe as a relique of the naturall man, whether it come of himselfe, or he be drawn unto it by others, (as the Disciples were by Judas; and to humble himself for it, for it, can­not be good, comming from this; and men cannot gather figs of thornes, nor grapes of thistles,) to judge it to come from this, that his love is unperfect, as his knowledge is, but in part; or from this, that he hath not the feeling of Gods love, his boun­ty and mercy towards him as he ought, neither knows the fruit of this service.

Ʋse 3 To teach every one to labor against this corruption, and to withstand it, that it sease not upon him, seeing God taxeth these for it; for wherefore else, but that we should avoid it, and never think either paines or time or cost too much in his service and worship? for which purpose two things must we labor for; one, the love of God; for nothing will we think enough then for him, as Jacob and Shechem; another, delight in the duties, Isaiah 58.13. Psal. 122.1. John 6.34. give me a man that delights in a­ny thing, and all is not enough for it.

And ye have snuffed at it.] Their gesture, which as it noteth their unwillingnesse, so taken as some doe take it, for panting, then it signifies their arrogant dissembling, by which they made shew as if they had brought most excellent sacrifices, when they were nothing, and brought nothing but wilde and base sacrifices to God.

Doctr. It is a grievous sinne for men to make shew of great care and diligence in the service and worship of God, and indeed doe no­thing lesse. Men cannot abide it, specially an upright and plain dealing man, Prov. 29.27. much lesse God that is righteousnes it selfe. Ezek. 14.7.8. Isaiah 58.2, 3. Psal. 5.6 Acts 5.

Reas. 1 Because it is grosse hypocrisie, and so abominable unto the Lord, who as he is a most simple essence, most holy and pure, can­not endure such doubling.

Reas. 2 Because offences which are done openly, and committed ap­parently, doe nor so much offend a generous and valiant minde and man, as when they are done by craft and dissembling: the reasons, because the former argues the audaciousnesse and impudence of the actor, the latter the great contempt and irrisi­on of him which is so provoked.

Ʋse 1 This will convince many of grosse sinne before God, who make such shew of great service of God, and yet doe nothing [Page 221] lesse. To say little of Papists, as of Monks who commend their manner of worship or services, who brag that they are conti­nually in prayer, that they rise in the night season with the hazard of their health, to keep watch for the salvation of others, and waste their bodies with watchings, fastings, and other exercises; yet they think it skils not much what manner of prayers, how without affection, being but, as Basil speaketh, like the lowing of so many oxen, though they be never so barbarous, yet God will accept. As the Pope provided for his idle and unlearned Priests by his Canon; Quod verba Dei non debeut esse subject a re­gulis Donati. To say nothing, I say, of their shew of service, nor of the lay Papists who make great shew of great service by the account of their prayers upon their beads, when few of them undestand what they say; To say nothing of these who are with­out, and so what have I to doe to judge them; how many have we within, who are here convinced of sinne, because they make great shew, and yet doe nothing lesse? Many make great shew of serving God in prayer, others in hearing of the word, and therefore come panting, and blowing, and sweating about such things, but doe nothing lesse, because it cannot be they can make account of Preaching who regard not Prayer, nor they of Prayer who reverence not Preaching, because he can not delight to hear God speak, that delights not to speak to God, and so è contrà. And as Bernard said betwixt prayer and fasting, so say I of this; prayer obtaineth the power of fasting,Oratio virtutem impetrat jejunandi, jejunium gra­tiam orandi: hoc illam cor­roborat, illa hoc sanctificat. Bernardus. and fasting the grace of prayer, this strengthens that, and that sancti­fieth this. Finally, they who come to the service of God, as Ezek. speaketh, shall be answered as he saith, for they make shew and doe not.

Ʋse 2 To teach every man to take heed of hypocrisie, and ma­king shew of diligence and devotion in the service of God, when there is no such thing in the heart, for that will not go currant with God, but wilbe severely both censured, and sentenced by him; as amongst other things it was in this people, one princi­pall cause of removing the worship of from them; so of the Go­spell from us: for in shews, and colours, and pretences may hee deceive men, but he cannot God. That which St. Hierome saith ad Rusticanum, Epist. 4. Honor nominis Christiani frau­dem facit magis, quam patitur, quodque pudet dicere, sed necesse est: ut saltem sic ad nostrum erubescamus dedecus: So is it true in in respect of men: but it cannot be so of God, who sees the in­ward parts, Hebr. 14.13. but such deceit shall verily suffer from him, who cannot endure hypocrisie; for such sonnes and ser­vants he cannot endure, who will say and make great shew, but doe nothing. Therefore ought every one, if not to be as the windows of the Temple were, wider within then without, yet [Page 222] to be no more in shew then they are in truth, and to labour to doe every thing they make shew of.

And yee offered that which was torne,] Their practice, and here the first fault of their sacrifice, that they brought none of their own, but such as was gotten by unlawfull meanes.

Doctr. Things taken from others by deceit, violence, oppression and wrong, are not fit matter for sacrifice to God, to be given to the poore, to good, religious, or charitable uses, this is repro­ved in these: hereto tends the commandement, Deuter. 23.17, 18. there shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, neither shall there be a whore-keeper of the sonnes of Israel. Thou shalt neither bring the hyre of a whore, nor the price of a dog in­to the house of the Lord thy God for any vow: for even both these are an abomination unto the Lord thy God, Isaiah 61.8. I hate robbery for burnt offering, Luke 11.41. Ephe. 4.28.

Reas. 1 Because every man ought to offer unto the Lord of his owne, not others; now only all that is a mans own, which is gotten and had by lawfull means; that which is gotten by unlawfull means, is anothers, not his.

Reas. 2 Because this were to make God partaker of the sinne, as much as in them lyes, and whereunto he should be accessary, if he should accept any such thing; as receivers of stoln wares.

Object. Luke 16.9. And I say unto you, make you friends with the riches of iniquity, that when yee shall want they may receive you into everla­sting habitations. Then is it lawfull thus to dispose of a mans goods, though gotten by iniquity.

Answ. Christ indeed cals them riches of iniquity, which he shews not only of riches unjustly gotten, but of those which are lawfully gotten, seeing the Doctine we have taught is true. They are cal­led thus, as some thinke, because they are inaequalitatis, une­qually divided; or because they were gotten by the sins of the grandfathers, or great great fathers; or because they are matter of sinne and iniquity; not that they are either such of themselves, nor by Gods ordinance, who hath made them, remedia humanae miseriae, non instrumenta voluptatis & superbiae; but they are such by the corruption and infirmity of man; as wine, good and neat, put into a musty caske, will in time smell mustily like the vessell; so that as often as a man drinks of it, he saith it is musty: So riches good of themselves, yet possessed by a corrupt heart, grow evill, that thou mayest call them wicked riches, because they are cau­ses of wickednesse, as the Apostle speaketh of evill times, and so Christ calleth them here, not perswading them of the riches they have gotten by iniquity, to offer sacrifices unto God on the Al­tar of the poore, or any otherwise to procure favour from God: but perswades them that those riches which men commonly so use to pride, or voluptuousnesse, and other sinnes, that they [Page 223] would use well to procure favor, and good will unto themselves both of God and man.

Ʋse 1 This serveth to shew that many mens sacrifices and liberality is unlawfull, and no waies acceptable to God, because it is of such things as are evill, gotten by unlawfull meanes. Such is the liberality and hospitality of many men in the Country, maintained by oppression, racking of rents, dispeopling of towns, and such like. Such is the liberality of many Citizens, who in ma­ny yeares get together a great deale of wealth by fraud, oppressi­on, the cursed trade of usury, and at their deaths leave a little to religious or charitable uses, franke at their deaths, of that they cared not how they came by it in their lives, things which are not their owne, but other mens, of which they ought to have made restitution, as Zacheus did, Luke 19.8. and out of the remnant have given to good uses, when a mite had been better, and would have beene better accepted, then a Million without it; and for which now, though the loins of many blesse God for that they left, yet are they burning in Hell for it, if that be true of August. Ep. 54. Macedo: as true it is according to the A­nalogie of the Scripture.Sires aliena proptèr quam peccatum est, cum reddi possit non redditur, non agi­tur poenitentia, sed fingitur; si autemvera­citer agitur, non remittitur peccatum nisi restituatur ablatum, sed, ut dixi, cum restitui potest. August. Epist. 54. Maced. If the thing for which the sinne was committed, may bee restored, and is not, the man doth not re­pent, but dissemble; but if he deale truely, the sin shall not be remitted, unlesse resti­tution (if it may be) be made; and one thing there is, which is yet more unacceptable to God, and justly reproved, that they leave behind them for such uses monies to be imployed by usury, by their companyes, and o­ther, wherein they are like to lewd voluptuous men, who having lived in wantonnesse all their lives, leave their goods, and make their bastards their heires, that their shame might never be put out, but they might be like Absolons pillar to all posterity: so these, that their infamie might remaine, and their reproach bee never put out. If that conceit of some were true, that Pauls glo­ry increaseth, as the number of them increaseth who are wonne by that he writ, I should then thinke that both their glory in­creaseth who get their goods well, and have left it to good uses by lawfull meanes; and their woe and torment, who got it by un­lawfull meanes, and left it by unlawfull meanes to encrease for the benefit of others. But I have no such warrant; only I say, if restitution made passage for salvation to come to Zacheus house; Non-restitution makes passage for condemnation to come to these men, or they to it: Let no man thinke I speak this to dis­courage men from doing good, but to direct them to doe good after a good manner, and to free my selfe from participating in future sins of such men; remembring how confidently Augustine [Page 224] speakes it: Illud fidentissimè dixerim, qui ad se confugientem quan­tum honestè potest ad restituendum non compellit, socium esse frau­dis & criminis.

Ʋse 2 To informe men for time to come to doe that they doe, and offer to God, to doe it of their owne, not others, such as they lawfully come by, not by unlawfull meanes. David, that ho­ly man of God, would not offer to God of anothers, not taken by violence from him, but though he would give it him freely; happily fearing lest it would not be so acceptable when it was not of his owne, though not gotten unlawfully, 2 Sam. 24.24. So should every man doe that would have his offering acceptable to God; they ought not to take from one to give to another, but of their owne to give to God, either mediately or immedi­ately; for men may not doe evill, that good may come of it. Rom. 3.8. Thou art lying upon thy sick-bed, it may be thy death-bed, which is the time when men distribute things of moment and perpetuity. Think with thy selfe, that after death comes judgment, Hebr. 9. and know that thou must give an ac­count of thy goods, how thou hast got them, and how thou hast left them. Therefore if thou hast oppressed, or wronged, or defrauded any by any meanes, make him restitution to the full; and if thy ability be such, more than full, and of the rest give to the poore, and to good uses: for if thou thinkest the giving of these will excuse thee to the Judge for the other, thou de­ceivest thy selfe; it were as if a Theefe, being arraigned for a robbery, should thinke to answer the Judge, and escape sen­tence of death, because he gave much of it to the next poore he met: so in this; for the Lord hates robbery for a burnt offering, and if thou wouldest have a blessing, Eccles. 11.1. Cast thy bread upon the waters, and leave it to be imployed lawfully, though lesse benefit come to the poore, and a shorter time, not by that which is odious to God and man; for an Usurer is a reproach a­mongst men, God casting that shame upon him; for how canst thou answer Christ at that judgment, how thou hast left thy goods?

Now these Jews bringing such sacrifices of such things as were thus corruptly come by, did it to appease Gods displeasure a­gainst them for the sinne, and thought so, as it were, to stop his mouth; whence some gather this point, not unnaturally.

Doctr. It is the custome and false conceit of a naturall man, to think he may make God a friend, or pacifie him with part of that he hath wickedly gotten, or by some outward thing, as his riches and substance and other ceremonies; as here, and Amos 2.8. They lye downe upon clothes laid to pledge by every Altar, and they drinke the Wine of the condemned in the house of their God. It is spo­ken of Idolaters, in respect of their Idols, yet it serveth to shew [Page 225] the nature of men, who in their corruption thinke no better of the true God than a false god. Micha. 6.6, 7. To this pur­pose may we apply that, Deut. 23.17, 18. for Gods forbidding insinuates the pronenesse of mans nature to it, as in all the Commandements.

Reas. 1 Because God appointed sacrifices, and propitiatory sacrifices in the Law of the outward things, and they neither learning more, nor looking forward, not seeing that it was not these which did appease God, but that which they signified, still re­lyed upon them, and so thought that outward things would doe it; and in proportion naturall men from them.

Reas. 2 Because they think corruptly and wickedly of God, that he is as themselves, or as a corrupt Judge, who will be reconciled by gifts, not caring how it is come by, so his hand be filled.

Reas. 3 Because it must be needs a vaine and false conceit to imagine that should appease him, when it is a meanes to bring the sinne to remembrance, seeing God knows what it is, and how it was come by, as well as himselfe.

Ʋse 1 This may let us see the notable policy of the Church of Rome, who seeing the nature of man to be such, as that they both think to appease the wrath of God, and would thus reconcile his fa­vour, rather than with true repentance and turning to God, to the end they may keepe a multitude still with them, and not a little enrich themselves, have taught them that with such bodily exercises and temporall things, they may appease God, and buy out their sinnes; as the building of Chappells, Monasteries, religious houses, appointing of Masses, buying of pardons, and bestowing upon the Church, whether living or dying, nay, if they be not able, or carelesse of themselves, o­thers may for money purchase such things for them. Hence it is that the Church, (as they call it) is so glorious and rich, that is, those Church-men; that,Nummum addunt nummo, & in marsupium suffocantes matronarum opes venantur obsequiis: Sunt ditiores Monachi, quàm fuerunt seculares, possideant opes sub Christo paupere, quas sub locu­plete diabolo non habuerant, & suspiret eos Eccle­sia divites, quos mundus tenuit ante mendicos. And Epist. 4. to Rustic. Contra omnem opinio­nem plenis sacculis moriuntur divites, qui quasi pauperes vixerunt. Hieron. ad Heliod. Epist. 3. as St. Hierome said to Heliod. Epist. 3. They adde money to money, and stuffe their purses, and purchase womens goods by flattery; they are richer Monks than they were Seculars, and possesse wealth under poore Christ, which they had not under wealthy Satan; they are rich in the Church, who were beggers in the world. And in another Epistle, Contrary to all mens opinions, they dye very rich, who lived under a profession of poverty.

Ʋse 2 To overthrow the carnall conceit of naturall men, who live in their sinnes, in their impenitency, and thinke by almes and some such things, or outward works to satisfie God for other [Page 226] sinnes, and often for those sinnes by which they got them. Ma­ny men, when they spend the whole weeke in sinne, thinke to make amends for all, by acting some outward worke of his ser­vice on the Lords day, and thinke that their outward and cu­stomable serving of God in the morning and evening pro forma tantùm, should satisfie for the sinnes of the rest of the day. And many when they have spent all their life in sinne, thinke by some doale or some gift to satisfie for all the rest, that the Mini­sters can speak more of their gifts than of their sorrow and re­pentance; As one saith, sperans aut placaturum pro peccatis, aut placiturum non obstante peccato: But to such I say, as Prov. 31.27. The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination: how much more when he bringeth it with a wicked mind? They shall finde they have trusted to a broken reed.

Ʋse 3 To teach every man not to let naturall reason deceive him, to make him to trust to any such naturall or worldly meanes, there­by to reconcile God to him, or to appease him; these things can no more doe it, than oyle will quench the fire; such a consu­ming fire is God, that these will rather kindle his wrath. And if he be deceived that would thinke to quench fire by that, then must he needs be, that shall think by this which is matter for the wrath of God: he should learne to know that those outward things are not the most acceptable sacrifice to God. That which is acceptable, is, Psal. 51.17. The sacrifices of God are a contrite spirit: a contrite and a broken heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. He that receiveth this from God, may have comfort that God will accept him; as a Physitian that directs a man to the onely re­storative.

Object. Daniel 4.24. Redeeme thy sinnes by Almesdeeds.

Sol. It is answered by some, that by sinnes is here understood the punishments of sinne, and they think that works proceeding from faith, prevaile not a little with God, to lessen and mitigate temporall punishments. But it is not like, seeing he spoke to such a King who could not worke any thing by faith at all. But the word is not here, redeeme, but, breake off: If it were properly so taken, then might men not onely redeeme the punishment of their sinne, but the sinne it selfe, which opinion is not held. Againe, if it be a redemption, it is not to be made before God, but in recompence to those whom he hath hindered; and the Prophet speaks not here of the forgivenesse of sinnes, as the old Latine, Forsan ignoscet Deus; but of the prolonging of his peace and prosperity, as Tremellius hath it. Finally, the words are, breake off, turning from wicked wayes, and seeking Gods will; and whereas thou hast beene an oppressour of the poore, and an afflicter of men in misery, shew thy repentance by dealing mer­cifully with the oppressed, and having compassion on them, as Za­cheus. Luk. 19.8.

VERSE XIIII.

But cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a Male, and voweth, and sacrificeth unto the Lord a corrupt thing: for I am a great King, saith the Lord of Hostes, and my Name is terrible among the Hea­then.

BƲt cursed be the deceiver.] In this is contained the last judg­ment against this people, and it is positive; as before hee had threatned the taking away of their goods, so here to inflict some punishment upon them. And in this we observe, first the judgment, secondly the sinne, thirdly reasons whereby they may be perswaded the judgment shall come, if they repent not themselves of their sinnes, and performe their vowes.

But cursed.] As woes in the Scripture, Matth. 24. and Isaiah 5. and other where, are two-fold, so are curses: First, tempo­rall, sending of outward evills, Deut. 28.15, 16, 17, 20, 21, 22. or turning of good things to hurt, Psal. 109.7. and 69.22. Secondly, spirituall, most fearefull, Rom. 1.28. Matth. 27.5. 2 Thes. 2.10, 11.

The deceiver.] The sinne is generall, thus expressing the na­ture of an Hypocrite, that he is a deceiver, one that carryeth himselfe craftily, who casts and fetcheth about in his mind, how he may deceive both God and man, and who deals craftily with the Lord.

Who voweth a Male.] The particular sinne, vowing and not paying, when he is able to performe; having a Male, that is, one without blemish, such as the Law required: Here is thought to be Epitheti Eclipsis, as in Isaiah 1.18. wooll for white wooll. But some understand by Male a perfect and absolute offering, the use of the word being such in divers Authors. Now the vow here spoken of, is either the generall vow of their Circumcision, or else their particular, when willingly they vowed a thing, be­ing not tyed unto it by any Law, and dealt deceitfully in that, which should make it the greater sinne.

And sacrifice a corrupt thing.] a weake and feeble, so a corrupt thing: as it were repenting of their vow, they bring unto him a corrupt, vitious, and unlawfull sacrifice.

Doctrine. The Lord is able, and will not onely withdraw good things from men that dishonour him, and live profanely and wicked­ly, but will inflict much evill upon them, and punish them with all kind and variety of curses. As here, so 2 Chron. 7.13. Deut. 28.16, 60, 61. This he shewed in Ely, 1 Sam. 2.8. &c. and 2. [Page 228] 12, 13. In David, 2 Sam. 7. In Nebuchadnezzar, Dan. 4.30. The tryalls of Job shew what he can doe when he will punish.

Reas. 1 Because in blessing he can deale thus, not onely take away the evill, but showre downe many blessings upon them: so in cursing; for these are the two armes of God, his mercy and ju­stice, neither is shorter nor longer than the other, unlesse he be unperfect; these are his treasures, or he hath treasures of both, neither fuller, nor emptier than the other.

Reas. 2 Because he is a true God, and so infinite in all things; he is not as the false gods of the Heathen, who had little, even their great god Jupiter, who they thought would be soone drawne dry, if he should punish much and many, if send abroad apace his revenging arrows, his quiver would be empty; not so with God, whose mercy is a treasure inexhaustible, so his justice, not as the Sea; but as the fire, the Sunne; Chrysost.

Reas. 3 Because it more manifests his displeasure, and men are more sensible of it, to be humbled by it either in truth or hypocrisie.

Ʋse 1 To stand in awe, and feare God; to feare to displease or pro­voke him, who cannot onely take from us that we have, but bring the contrary upon us, many, and strange, and grievous plagues. Men we feare, and avoid to provoke them when they are of power, and yet often we hold them at defiance, because we know their worst is but to take our place, livings, credit, or liberty from us, at the worst but our lives, and can then not hurt us; but God can goe further, not onely deprive us of that we have, and all that is deare to us, and take away life, but lay crosses infinite upon us in this life and the life to come. If men, much more he is to be feared; Matth. 10.28. if Jacob was af­fraid of Isaacs curse, Gen. 22.12. much more of Gods, being reall things, and not verball; for so is mans onely, he is but the mouth of God, and sure they are, they will light where he will lay them.

Ʋse 2 To instruct every man who finds Gods judgments, that he is deprived of any good thing he hath, to humble himselfe, and seeke to God, and search his owne wayes; that he may turne un­to him, lest he bring curses upon him: for as it is both just and u­suall with God, when men profit not by the lesse judgment, to bring greater; as a father, when his sonne bowes not with a twigge, to beate him with a greater rod: so it is when men turne not to him by his private judgments, to bring positive curses upon them; as Princes, who first withdraw their favours from Traytors, confiscate their goods, restraine their liberty, and after lay upon them some fearefull punishment: Hath God then taken any thing from thee that thou hast, or that was beloved of thee, as thy goods, children, or any such thing? thinke seriously of it, and impute it not to secondary causes, [Page 229] though they may be greatly faulty, but looke unto the Lord, and turne unto him; thinke not to make it good againe, or re­cover thy selfe, but thinke of the other curses God hath threa­tened, and know these must come, if the other doe not reforme thee, yea, though, he love thee. Physitians that desire the health of their patient, if they can, will happily recover it by injoyn­ing them abstinence, and fasting, and a strict dyet; if not, they will to purging, bleeding, and such like: so with God, much more if he hate thee.

Ʋse 3 If thou be freed from any curse, be not secure, he hath variety of curses.

The contempt of his worship he hath threatened with the de­privation of it, the taking of it way; now it may be thought, this would not much trouble them who thought it a wearinesse, and could happily be content with it, and in their corruption ac­count it a blessing; he therefore threateneth the punishng of it with positive curses and plagues.

Doctr. The contempt and corruption of Gods worship & the means of it, as of the Word and Sacraments, and such like, sacrifice and Prayer, the Lord will sometime punish with the taking of it a­way, and sometime with it and other fearfull curses and plagues, both spirituall & temporall, which as it is here threatened, so was it performed to this people, who are now not only without the meanes of his worship, but are under many fearefull judgments, as any Nation in the world. It is that was threatened, Deuter. 28.47, 48. 2 Chro. 36.16, 17. Math. 21.41. 1 Cor. 11.30. 2 Thessal. 2.11, 12. 1 Sam. 2. Elies sonnes, Acts 20.9. Euty­chus.

Reas. 1 Because most men finde no judgment in it at all, to be depri­ved of that they love not, as they account that no blessing to have that they delight not in; and so as in this they will never be drawn to see the mercy and favor of God, so not in that his justice and displeasure, that they might come to the sight of their sins: when as then those judgements open the eyes of their minde the better, and cleare their spirituall sight, the Lord doth it more to torment them and affect them.

Reas. 2 Because these being most sensible, men are by them usually made more carefull of his service, either in hypocrisie, as Ahab and Saul, and others, or in truth, as Manasses.

Ʋse 1 This may teach us a point which few men have thought of, but many have felt it, the cause why God hath so afflicted us with with the plague and pestilence, his curses have been upon us; many have happily thought of many sinnes of their owne and o­thers, but few have thought of this sinne, that therefore it was, because the word was contemned amongst us, and his worship corrupted by us, such wearinesse in his service, such great shews, [Page 230] and nothing indeed, such offering of sick, lame and blind unto the Lord, such offering of corrupt things unto him. If this bee true, that such are accursed of God, then the other must needs be certaine. The Philistims had the Arke of Gods presence, 1 Sam. 5. But because they used not it as they ought, therefore verse 6. they were smitten: so had the men of Bethshemesh, 1 Sam. 6. but because they used not it as they ought, therefore the Lord slew among them fiftie thousand threescore and ten men, verse 19. The Gospell, the meanes of his worship, as the Arke of his presence, hath been amongst us, but we have not used it well, therefore hath the hand of God been heavy upon us, as upon the Philistims; the number the Lord hath slaine, hath sur­mounted the number of them of Bethshemesh. If it were just upon them, it is so upon us: And though this be removed, yet we can­not but feare that the curses of God hang over our heads still, see­ing this sinne is not repented of nor amended amongst us.

Ʋse 2 This serveth to meet with the corruption of those, who could not nor cannot be wakened with the former judgment, and think it a blessing rather then a curse, whether they delight in Po­pery, or prophanenesse, they affected a superstitious worship, or a loose life, they would be without controulement, and so take themselves not to be hurt, because that is but as they desire, that the word and worship of God should be gone; yet let this feare such a one, that the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it, he is an accursed man, and all the curses of God hang over his head; he is so in the decree of God, and he shall be so in the execution; what a fearefull condition is he in that is in ease and prosperity, a sit­ting at a rich banquet, lying in a bed of doune and Ivory, having what his heart could desire, and yet having over his head a sharp sword with the point down-ward, hanging by the smallest haire, ready with every blast and every touch to fall upon him? How if he had thousands more? he that hath these curses over his head; (as Isaac said, I have blessed him, and he shall be blessed) God hath accursed him, and he shall be accursed.

Cursed be the deceiver.] The parties upon whom this curse must fall, they are accounted deceivers, they deale deceitfully in the service of God, not serving of him as they are able. There are two parts of this deceit described, or it is made to consist in two things: The one, they serve him not as they are able; the o­ther, for a time they make a great shew, and promise piety, and great duties of holinesse; but eftsoone repent themselves, and had rather omit it altogether, or performe it negligently, because it will be with some cost and expence of their goods, that he feares he should be a pooreman, if he should be faithfull and constant in the service of God: for the first it is said, he hath a male; for the second, he voweth and sacrificeth a corrupt thing.

For the first;

Doctr. He that dealeth deceitfully in the Lords service and worship, that is, that serveth him not as he is able, either for his outward goods and parts, or for his inward gifts, or any such thing, when he looks for a blessing from God for his service, he shalbe accur­sed; cursed is he that hath a male, and offereth a corrupt thing, Jer. 4.22. It is made a sinne that procured destruction upon the land, that they served God, not with their best wisdome; hence was the curse upon Cain, Gen. 4.3.5. Hagga. 1.2, 3, 4, 5, 6. And Salomon is taxed that he bestowed twise as much time in buil­ding his own house, as Gods house: and Acts 5.

Reas. 1 Because he contemneth and despiseth the Lord, either think­ing he cannot know what he doth, and how he dealeth with him; or that he is unjust, and will not punish it, or thinking base­ly of him that this is good enough: And therefore no marvell if he contemn him and accurse him, as 1 Sam. 2.30.

Reas. 2 Because he goeth flat against the maine scope, and the end of the Law; now whereas any breach of the Law deserveth the curse, Gal. 3.10. how much more he that goeth against the full scope, which is to love the Lord with all his heart, minde and strength?

Ʋse 1 This teacheth many a man what he may expect from God for his service he doth to him not a blessing, as he hopes and flatters himselfe, but a curse; because what he doth, in what part of it soever, he knowes well, and God knows better, that it is not as he is able, neither for the faculties of his mind, for the powers of his body, nor for the portion of his estate; for the body, ma­ny a man and many a woman pretend they are not able to sit so long as the publique prayers and service of God are in hand, or they cannot stand and endure thrusts and heate, their bodies are weak & sickly when they know, & God knows better then them­selves, that they can sit longer about a matter of pleasure or pride, when they can indure more thrusting, & heat for a matter of pro­fit. They have a male in their flock, & offer to the Lord a corrupt thing, they are deceivers saith the Prophet, and from the mouth of the Lord accursed; for their mindes, they pretend they are not able to sit attentively without sleeping in Prayer or hearing, they are not able to conceive of the things delivered, they are not bookish to understand what they pray, but meane well, they have no memories to keepe that is good when they have heard; when as they know, and God knows better, that they, as Bernard speaketh tractatu de gradibus humilitatis, can vigilare in lecto, when they doe Dormire in choro, they can as, Mich. 2.1. Devise iniquity upon their beds, or as they, Prov. 4.16. Who sleep not unles they have done wickednes, or as the shepheards, Luke 2. who watched in the night for their owne flocke, that [Page 232] they have wit and skill at will for the world, which if they would cause their eare to heare, as Salomon speaketh, and set themselves to it, might conceive, and their memories are able to keep evill things, when as one chest will hold gold as well as Iron, if it were put in, and one wax the impression of a golden seale, as well as of lead. These have a male, &c. for their state, they pretend they are not able to give more then they doe, which is little God wot, to the poore, or to the Church and maintenance of Gods worship; when as they know, and God knows they can bestow much more on their pleasures, on harlots, and wicked persons, oftner feasting sycophants, flatterers and lewd persons, then the members of Christ; some that have borne place, being known to have had moe players the corrupters of youth, and ofner, at their table, then they had the poore and preachers, the conver­ters of Soules; and their ability would beare that well enough. These have a male, &c. And that shall be true, Isaiah 29.15, 16. Woe unto them that seeke deep to hide their counsell from the Lord, for their workes are in darknesse, and they say, who seeth us? and who knoweth us? your turning of devises shall it not be esteemed as the potters clay? for shall the worke say of him that made it, hee made me not? or the thing formed say of him that fashioned it, he had no understanding? the world sees it, and mockes, and jests at it; God sees it, and will judge it; these are deceivers and dissemblers of the world, and one day shall be uncased, when to their sorrow they shall heare the curse.

Ʋse 2 To teach every man to labour against this deceitfull dealing with God, whereby he shall but deceive himselfe, and cannot de­ceive God; himselfe, because he shall lose that he looks for; not God, who seeth and knoweth every thing; and Galat. 6.7. Be not deceived, God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reape. If Jacob was afraid when hee went about to seek a blessing, lest his blind father Isaac should discerne him and his deceit in dealing with him, and so he might get a curse where he thought to have had a blessing, Gen. 27.12. how ought men to take heed and feare to dissemble or deale deceitful­ly with God, even the alseeing God, but to serve him with the best things we have, for faculties of mind, &c. Let us be Abels, and not Cains; Gen. 4. If we would be blessed with the one, and not accursed with the other, serve him with our best affections, best spirits, best time, best instruments. David was at a great quae­re with himselfe, Psalm. 116.12. What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits towards me? as thinking he had nothing good enough; so should we thinke and so performe, that we may be blessed and escape the curse.

Now it is said, he is accursed that hath a male and offereth a corrupt thing; if he have it not, the curse is not [Page 233] belonging to him, but God will accept that hee hath.

Doctrine. They who are Gods, when they serve him, though they ought to bring males unto him, that is, that which is perfect; yet if they have it not, and are able to bring nothing but that which is im­perfect, God will accept it notwithstanding; as it is here, so Mich. 7.18. and Mal. 3.17. Numb. 23.21. 1 Kings 15.5. Jam. 5.11. and yet Job. 3.

Reas. 1 Because of that, 2 Cor. 8.12. For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that a man hath not: God respects the mind more then the gift, as in the widowes mite, and the cup of water; so doth he the mind rather then the service, for it profits not him, nor he stands in no need of it. And the willing minde is, that a man with all his heart would doe more if he were able, which God seeing he ac­cepts that they have.

Reas. 2 Because they condemne and dislike their imperfections them­selves, and judge themselves for them, then 1 Cor. 11.31. If we should judge our selves we should not be judged, yea as Rom. 7.17. while they thus condemne it, is not accounted theirs; as Bernard of envy: Thou feelest it, but agreest not to it, it is such a passion as God one day will heal in thee, but not condemn thee for.

Ʋse It affords comfort against the temptations of Sathan, who sets forward our discouragement from the little good wee doe.

And voweth and offereth a sacrificeth or corrupt thing.] The se­cond part of their deceit: they made great shew and promise of great things they would doe, but they repented themselves, and they omit them altogether, or performe them very corrupt­ly.

Doctr. He that dealeth deceitfully in the Lords service and worship, that is, maketh great shewes and promises of great duties of pie­ty, but after when he finds it more costly or painefull, or crossing to his affections then he thought of, repents and doth it not, or doth it carelessely and corruptly, when hee looks for a blessing, shall finde a curse; so here, and Deuter. 23.21. Numb. 30.3.6. Eccles. 5.3, 4, 5. Math. 21.28. ad 32. Acts 5.

Reas. 1 Because he robs and spoiles God, as it were taking or keeping from him that which is his; for vowing it to God, he hath put it from himself, made an alienation of it, put it out of his own right into Gods, whereas it was his owne before. Acts 5.4.

Reas. 2 Because they serve not God, but themselves, as children who can bee content to please their parents in things liking unto themselves, but not in other; please themselves, not their parents; so in this: and shew that they preferre all those things before God, which to keep, they will break promise with him.

This may teach many men, that they may justly looke for the curses of God upon them and theirs, if they be not upon them already, because they have so often vowed and promised great care and diligence in the service and feare of God, and perfor­med very little or none at all to him; sometime in health, some­time in sicknesse; sometime in danger, sometime in deliverance; they promised great things unto the Lord, but they have play­ed the couzeners with him: It was but to serve their owne turne for the present, nothing they have performed, or nothing as they ought and promised. To say nothing of necessary vowes, how carelesly they are found every way performed; as the vow of Baptisme, when men live more like Infidels than Christians, at the best but as Jews, resting in the outward ceremony; or but outwardly civill and honest, never labour for any inward sanctification, any sincere holinesse, any conscience of Gods Will; offer fleeces for the flesh, and skin for the beast: The vow of Parents promising to bring up their children in the feare of the Lord, as was commanded, Eph. 6.4. but they take onely care for the body, not for the soule, and to ingraft Gods feare in them:Qualis cres­cerem tibi, aut quàm ca­stus, dummo­do essem diser­tus ut disce­rem sermonem facere quàm optimum & persuadere di­ctione. Aug. Such as Augustine confessed to God his father was, who troubled not himselfe, saith he, how I prospered in thy service, or how chast I were, onely his care was that I might be elo­quent, and learne to speak well; so they for worldly things. Thirdly, the vow of married parties, who made a covenant be­fore God, and to him, Prov. 2.17. which is broken by many meanes, amongst many who think the Covenant unviolated, if they commit it not outwardly and actually; when as wanton words, and looks, and lusts break it.

To say nothing of these, for which many have either the cur­ses of God, or have them hanging over their heads; But volun­tary vowes, men in some trouble or sicknesse renew their vow of obedience, as Israel, Hosea 6.1, 2. but when that is once past, either they doe not care for keeping it, or thinke they are dis­charged well enough, if they doe a few dayes heare the Word, or performe some one or two good duties, and after give over a­gaine, unlike David, Psal. 119.106, 112. The Prophet tells them they are accursed, better it had beene for them never to have vowed it at all; for though without it it is a sinne, yet now it is the greater sin.

Ʋse 2 To teach every man to take heed how he vows anything un­to God; for often in the vow he may deserve Gods curse, and often in the breaking it. In the vow, when it is of unlawfull things, Acts 23.12. then it is the bond of iniquity. Secondly, when the party vowing is not able to performe it, either simply, or not without sinne, as Popish single life. Matth. 19.11. Thirdly, when a party vowing is an inferiour, and doth it with­out [Page 235] out the consent, or contrary to the mind of the superior; Numb. 30.6, 9. So Papish children, contrary to Parents minds, enter their rules. Fourthly, when it hindreth a man from the duties of his calling; as those who leave their calling and goods to professe wilfull poverty, or become Friars Mendicant. 1 Cor. 7.22. Fiftly, when there is put holinesse in it, and it is made meritorious: If it be faulty in these or any the like, then is sin committed in the making of it, and so a curse followeth it; but if not, then the curse followeth the breaking of it. When then it is so hard a thing to vow, and not to have sinne cleave to it, if there be any feare of sinne, there will be rashnesse avoided in it; and if there be any feare of the curse, they will not be so rash, lest they provoke God. Eccles. 5.1.

Ʋse 3 To teach every man, when he hath vowed, to be very care­full for the performance of it, and let neither cost nor labour, profit nor pleasure hinder him, for he shall lose more by the breaking of it, than he can gaine. The sinne of breaking a mans vow or promise, ought to make men affraid to doe it. Men feare perjury, and abhorre it; this is no lesse, if Christ may be belee­ved. Matth. 5.33. But if not the sinne, yet the curse, and to avoid it, make good that thou hast spoken to God. I suppose many men in the time and heate of the sicknesse vowed great things to God, if they were preserved, and if God would re­turne in mercy to the City, that they might in safety follow their callings againe; for I cannot thinke but that most men, spe­cially when God came any thing nigh them, were affected and touched for the present, which usually brings forth such thoughts and such motions. If any were not, I think their case is marvellous fearefull, to be in the fire, and no relenting. Then you that did, remember your vowes, and see where is the per­formance of them; it may be sought for, but not easily seene, or seen in a very few: And what is to be expected but these curses, and more heavy than we have had? If your children or servants, all the time you are correcting of them, and holding the rod o­ver them, promise to learne their books better, and doe their worke more diligently, whereupon you spare them; if they after deale deceitfully with you, will not your displeasure be doubled, and your anger be increased, and you thinke law­fully too? thinke Gods waies are more equall and just. If thou wouldest avoid this, then doe as David said, and did; Psal. 66.13, 14. I will goe into thine house with burnt offerings, and I will pay my vowes which my lips have promised, and my mouth hath spo­ken in my affliction. If a man vow when he is in custody or re­straint, that when he getteth liberty, he will goe and dwell in a place where the Word is; if the Word goe from thence, he is not bound, Ruth 1.16, 17. Againe, in cases of necessity, as a [Page 236] man bound to abstaine from Wine, yet if Physitians counsell it for his health, he may use it; as Jer. 35.11. yet so, as hee have a speciall eye to the maine end for which his vow was made: as suppose Timothy, 1 Tim. 5.23. to abstaine, yet for his often infirmities he may drinke.

For I am a great King, saith the Lord of Hostes.] There is Gods first reason, why they ought not to corrupt his worship, and deale thus deceitfully with him, his greatnesse and power, who is able to punish them for evill doing.

Doctr. Men ought to obey God, and to avoid evill and corruption, as generally and in all things, so in his worship, for feare of his power and justice. Vide vers. 6. where is my feare?

And a great King.] It is the Kingdome of power, not grace; he by his power is absolute King, great, and the greatest.

Doctr. The Lord he is the absolute King of all men and Angells, and all creatures in the world, they are all his subjects; so is he here called a King, and that, 2 Chron. 20.6. Dan. 2.21. This his commanding of all creatures sheweth, and their obeying. Psal. 104.4. Isaiah 37. Joshua 10.12, 13. Exod. 14.21. Matth. 8.26. Dan. 3.6.

Reas. 1 Because he hath created and doth sustaine all, it is reason he should be their King, and they his subjects.

Reas. 2 Because else there would be no order, but all confusion; Lactantius de falsa religione, lib. 1. cap. 3. hee gives this as a reason for the order of things, because there is but one God that governes all: For as in an Army, if there were as many Ge­neralls as there are Bands, Companies, and Wings of the Bat­tell, it could neither be instructed nor governed, because eve­ry one would stand upon his owne wisedome and counsell, and such dissention would rather hurt than profit. So in this world, if there were multitudes of Governours, if God were not the sole King and Governour, there would be nothing but confu­sion and disorder.

Ʋse Uses of this we have before, vers. 4. The Lord of Hosts.

FINIS.

THE SECOND CHAPTER OF THE PROPHET MALACHY.

AND now, O ye Priests, this commandement is for you.

2 If ye will not heare it, not consider it in your heart, to give glory unto my Name, sayth the Lord of hostes, I will even send a curse upon you, and will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye doe not consider it in your heart.

3 Behold, I will corrupt your seede, and cast dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemne feasts, and you shall be like unto it.

4 And ye shall know that I have sent this commandement unto you, that my cove­nant which I made with Levi, might stand, saith the Lord of hostes.

5 My covenant was with him of life and peace, and I gave him feare, and he feared me, and was afrayde before my Name.

6 The law of truth was in his mouth, and there was no iniquity found in his lippes: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turne many away from ini­quity.

7 For the Priests lips should preserve knowledge, and they should seeke the Law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.

8 But ye are gone out of the way: ye have caused many to fall by the Law: ye have broken the covenant of Levi, sayth the Lord of hosts.

9 Therefore have I also made you to be despised, and vile before all the people, be­cause ye kept not my wayes, but have beene partiall in the Law.

10 Have we not all one father? hath not one God made us? why do we transgresse every one against his brother, and breake the covenant of our fathers?

11 Judah hath transgressed, and an abomination is commited in Israel and in Jerusalem: for Judah hath defiled the holinesse of the Lord, which he loved, and hath married the daughter of a strange god.

12 The Lord will cut off the man that doth this: both the master and the servant out of the Tabernacle of Jaacob, and him that offereth an offering unto the Lord of hostes.

13 And this have ye done againe, and covered the altar of the Lord with teares, with weeping, and with mourning: because the offering is no more regarded, neither received acceptably at your hands.

14 Yet yee say, Wherein? Because the Lord hath beene witnesse betweene thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast transgressed, yet she is thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.

15 And did not he make one? yet had he abundance of spirit: and wherefore one? because he sought a godly seede: therefore keepe your selves in your spirit, and let none trespasse against the wife of his youth.

16 If thou hatest her, put her away, sayth the Lord God of Israel, yet he covereth the injury under his garment, sayth the Lord of hosts: therefore keep your selves in your spirit, and transgresse not.

17 Ye have wearied the Lord with your words: yet ye say wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, every one that doth evill is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delighteth in them. Or where is the God of judgement?

VERS. I.

And now, O yee Priests, this commandment is for you.

THE parts of this Chapter are Curses and Judgements, threatned against 1. the Priests. 2. the People. In the first verse is noted the preface to the Priests.

He applieth his doctrine to the Priests.

Doctrine. It is the dutie of the Minister, not onely to teach generall doctrine, but to deliver that which may concerne every man, and every state and condition of men; specially being his auditory & charge, to apply things to severall estates of men. So is it here, as Rom. 13.7. So, reproofe to whom reproofe, judgement, mercie, en­couragement, or terrour to whom it is due and belongs, Ezech. 3.17.18.19.20.

Reason 1 Because he is the Lords Steward of his houshold, to dispose to all his servants their due portion. 1 Cor. 4.1.2. Let a man so ac­count of us, as of the Ministers of Christ and Stewards of the Myste­ries of God. Moreover, it is required in Stewards, that a man be found faithfull.

Reason 2 Because if they deale thus faithfully, their reward shall be great at the comming of their Lord and Master. If otherwise, their re­compence shall be fearfull, Luk. 12.42. to 47.

Vse 1 To condemne those who teach onely generall things, generall duties of Christianity, or generall points; and speake, as it were, in the clouds, never applying the Doctrine to any particular, to no men, no conditions, no state; who deale so, as civill honest men would be ashamed to do, defraud men of their portion. In the ages whersoever they lived, they would be accounted the best Ministers, and the onely men; but being unfaithfull servants, Luke 12.46. The Lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an houre when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.

Ʋse 2 To stop their mouths who say, The Minister is beside his text, if he speake and apply any thing in particular to mens particular states and callings. It is a strange thing men can endure that for [Page 3] the body, they cannot for the soule; nay that, which for the body is complained of, as dishonest and unfaithfull when it is not done, they cry out of it, if it be done to the soule. In the body, for the health of it, men can endure not only prescription, but application of Physicke; yea, of sharpe, bitter, and biting things. If they send for a Physitian who feeles their pulse, discerneth their urine, and conceiveth of their disease, and yet fall onely to discourse of the excellentnesse of Physicke, and other diseases, and never come any thing to theirs at all, they would happily judge him a great Scholar, but no wise man, nor fit for a Physitian; and hap­pily call in question his fidelity. But for the soule, if the spirituall Physitian apply any thing, if it have any sharpnesse in it, if be­ing with them, and living among them, and seeing their estate, he touch them, and apply it to them, he is accounted no wise man, hapily a busie and indiscreet fellow. The Physitian takes not the way to save, their bodies, and he is cried out on: the Minister takes the way to save their soules, and he is cried out of. The Physitian that will prescribe, and see his patient take it, and come to see how it workes with him, is much commended for his ho­nesty, care and fidelity: But if the Minister do the like, he is busie and medling; but he that will please men, is not the servant of Christ: and these must know, when he deales with their parti­cular sinnes, out of a generall text, he hath his warrant enough, such as shall acquit him.

Ʋse 3 To teach the hearer to endevour to apply that he heareth de­livered to himselfe, and to learne what is for him, and that to ap­ply to himselfe: for if the Minister, 2. Tim. 2.15. must study to approve himselfe a workman, that needeth not to be ashamed, di­viding the Word aright, then shall the hearer approve himselfe a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, receiving the Word a­right. They must therefore apply it to themselves. The Mini­sters application may discharge himselfe, but not profit them, un­lesse they will apply and keep it. The Patient, if he take not, and endevour to keep the potion prescribed and brought, by smelling of vinegar, or the like, labouring against the bad humours of the stomacke, shall have little profit by the Physick, but rather hurt: So it is in this, they must heare all, and labour to retain all; but learne that especially which concernes themselves, places and conditions. One man should not so greedily receive that which toucheth another man, and let passe that which is to him; or ap­ply that to others which is to himselfe, but every man that which is for himselfe. He never proves a good Scholar, which is busie to learne other of his fellowes lessons, and neglecteth his owne: nor he a good Christian that can take out other mens duties, and not his owne, not know what is for him.

O yee Priests.] It may seeme he goeth too farre in dealing with [Page 4] the Priests, who were the greatest men the time had, except their Ruler, who then was no King, and Malachy but a mean man, as o­ther the Prophets were; and yet he dealeth with the Priests, not excepting the high Priest himselfe. Besides, this corruption was the personall fault of the people, and the Priests might excuse themselves, as not to be reproved for other mens faults: yet he deals with them.

This commandment is for you.] The reason why they are re­proved, because the charge hereof was by God laid on them: God had commanded them to look to this; he is thought by this, to cut off every excuse which might be made against his reproof, either why they have not done it, or why hereafter they should not do it. As for the people, they might say, they were bare with their long journey and cost of building, and they were growne old, and if they were not tolerated thus to do, they would bring nothing at all, and his worship would fall to the ground. The Prophet answereth, That God hath commanded, and therefore they are to doe it, whatsoever come of it.

Doctrine. Whatsoever God commandeth men, or calleth them to, that they must obey and do; whatsoever inconvenience may follow of it, they must shut their eyes against them all, and put their hand into Gods hand, to be led by him whither soever he will. So with these: Abraham obeyed God to go out of his owne coun­trey when God called him, not objecting the inconveniences, Gen. 12.4. And when to offer up Isaac, not objecting, as he might if he had consulted with flesh and blood, infinite things against it. Gen. 22. Hereto is that, Exod. 34.23.24. Levit. 25.20. Ga­lat. 1.16.

Reason 1 Because all inconveniences in the world, will not excuse the fact, mans disobedience; it may sometime lessen it in mans reason, but not defend it in Gods judgement.

Reason 2 Because God is able either to take away those inconveniences, or to make them turne to his owne glory, and the advantage of man, who in a sincere conscience doth obey him. And he will do so as in Daniel, and the three Children.

Vse 1 To reprove all those who refuse to obey those things they are taught and shewed, that God hath commanded, because of some inconveniences they foresee will follow: They shall happily be debarred of their pleasure, or deprived of their profit, or be dis­countenanced of great ones, or derided of inferiours: therefore they will not be religious, nor professors, nor reforme their man­ners, nor be carefull of their lives, and seek to make conscience of their wayes, as if God cannot bring these upon them for evill, as well and more then man for good: Or as if these had not befallen men in their disobedience, as well as those who have obeyed him. As if these can excuse a man when he shal come before the Judge, [Page 5] or he shall not be stript naked of them all, and be left alone to an­swer for his disobedience. Men are taught they ought to deale plainly and truly with others in weight and measure, to speake truth, and not to lie, and such like: They see then they shall not grow rich as others, and be esteemed of as others, as they think; and therefore they chuse rather by such meanes to grow rich, then to obey God: as if their comming into the world was onely to get riches, and not to honour and obey God. Teach them to be liberall unto the poore for good causes, and to make them friends with the riches of iniquity, Luk. 10.9. and that God will give them use for it: They will answer or thinke as the widow of Sa­repta did, 1 Kings 17. they have little enough for themselves and theirs, and they feare to want before they die, or not to leave enough for theirs. As if that they left behinde them were theirs, and not rather that they sent before. As Princes have more use of that they send by their Harbingers, then of that they leave in their standing houses: so should they have more profit by that they give before, then that they leave behinde. Perswade them to make restitution of that they have wrongfully taken from men, or else God will not justifie them but condemne them, Micha 6.10.11. They see they shall call their names in question, they pretend slandering of the Gospel. To these I say, Saul disobeyed God, as he pretended to sacrifice to God, or to have that he might, and not for private use; but it excused him not, he lost his kingdome for it: let them take heed they lose not the kingdome they say they hope and look for.

Vse 2 To teach every man when he hath a commandment of God, to obey, and not to cast at the inconveniences, to hinder himselfe from obeying: for he that will looke at such things, shall be like him, Eccles. 11.4. He that observeth the winde, shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds, shall not reap: he shall neither sow any obedience, nor reap any reward. If he see no inconve­nience imminent, and obey, it is not much worth: for he pleaseth himselfe rather then God; but if there be, it is the more accepta­ble. As disobedience in small things is more offensive, because the obedience was easie: so obedience in great things, and when there are great inconveniences, is more acceptable, because it is harder. Therefore if God command, we must shew our selves the children of Abraham, and of the faithfull. What though in­conveniences will follow? what though the world shall con­demne us, and the wicked flout us, and the Divell and our owne flesh set themselves against us? Deny thy selfe as Abraham did, and thine owne reason; dispute not of the commandment of God, but obey, and commit the event to God. Worthy is that saying ofQui habet certum Dei verbum in quacunque vocatione, credat tantū & audeat, & dabit Deus haud dubia, secundos ex­itus. Luth. Luther to be written in the tables of our hearts: He that hath Gods word for what he doth in any calling, let him beleeve, and go [Page 6] boldly on, and no doubt God will give a good issue. If God com­mand them, and they see great inconvenience, passe and mount over them all by thy faith, as Abraham did, and beleeve, Gen. 22.8. God will give an evasion, and thou shalt have occasion to say, vers. 14. In the mount the Lord will provide. And as Philo, when he pleaded the cause of his Nation, being brought to a great exi­gent before Caligula, said; It cannot be but that Gods aid is neer, when all mens help faileth us.

This commandment is for you.] The care of Gods service, to see it be done as it ought, to direct the people, to reprove their cor­ruption, to refine their corrupt offerings, belongeth to the Mini­ster; of which I have spoken in the former Chapter.

VERS. II.

If ye will not heare it, nor consider it in your heart, to give glory unto my Name, saith the Lord of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not consider it in your heart.

IF ye will not heare it.] In the matter of this curse we consider, first, the exception, which is treble, to heare, and apply, and give glory to God. The summe is, repentance; unlesse they will con­sider things well, and enter into their hearts, and returne to do things worthy their place, and fitting their calling, these things must come upon them: so that without this, these must come, no­thing can hinder it.

Doctrine 1 There is no means to keep away or turn away Gods judge­ments, but repentance. Revel. 2.5. Except thou repent.

In the particulars, the first is, to hear; they were the Ministers of the Assemblies, such as were able to teach others, why should they heare? or what need of hearing? Yet they must heare.

Doctrine 2 They who have knowledge and understanding of the word of God, and the mysteries of salvation, ought still to heare it from others; hence it is required of these. And hereto belongs the often rehearsing of that sentence: He that hath ears to hear, let him hear, as often in the Gospel, and Matth. 13.9.43. 1 Pet. 2.2. Heb. 6.1. Acts 13.42.43. & 17.32.

Reason 1 Because, by this meanes; there may be added to their know­ledge, faith and the perswasion of their heart of those things they know and conceive in the braine; and so they may have a sancti­fied knowledge, and a conscience of the practice of things they know, Rom. 10.17.

Reason 2 [Page 7]To bring to minde those things which they know and be­leeve: for they often forget, or think not of them, even then when they have most occasion either to practise, or to receive benefit and comfort by them, 2 Pet. 1.12. either naturall forgetfulnesse, or passion hinders. As in a great disease, a Physitian himself may have oblivion of his Art, and the things good for him.

Reason, 3 To stir up their affections, and to work upon them to the grea­ter love of good things, and hatred of evill, even of particular sins, 2 Pet. 1.13. 2 Tim. 1.6.

Vse. To teach men to examine themselves hereby after hearing, and as often as they heare, whether they are good hearers or no, which is not onely if they have got more knowledge then they had, and gone away more wise, as a Scholar from his Master; but if they have their hearts more fully perswaded of the promises of the Gospel, & say with the Samaritans, Joh. 4.44. We now more be­leeve, having heard Christ himself. As they who having a pro­mise of a Prince of some great matters, or the relation of some great good done for them, at the second or third hearing of it, are made more joyfull, and more stedfast to beleeve it: so with them, if they find themselves put in mind of many duties they knew be­fore, but affection blinded them, and passion overcame them; and now make more conscience of the practice of them. As they who knew some dangerous meat to their health, yet affection would not let them abstaine, after they have heard a Physitian speak, go away with resolution to be more carefull of their diet: yea, their hearts are inflamed with a greater love of good things, with more zeale for the glory of God, with more hatred of sin, who go a­way as Naaman the Syrian did from the Prophet, with a resolution to serve no God but the God of heaven; not his old Gods, his belly, or his purse, or his lust, the world, sin, or any other.

Nor consider it in your heart.] The second thing in the excepti­on, the considering of that they have heard. The word is, put, or lay it upon your heart, an Hebraisme signifying to attend diligent­ly, and to set a mans heart upon that which is spoken, or to lay it surely up.

Doctrine. It is required that men do not onely heare the word, but that they ponder and consider it, lay it up in their hearts, and set their hearts upon it, by marking, applying, and diligently meditating, or recalling. To this purpose is Deut. 6.6. & 11.18. Psal. 119.11. Col. 3.16.

Reason 1 Because it is a right treasure, and gold, Psal. 19.10. Rev. 2. And therefore not onely to be sought for, as treasure, but to be laid up in the best, and chiefest chest and treasurie.

Reason 2 Because it is a Sword, whereby a man may defend himselfe, and offend Satan, Ephes. 6.17. No man having his enemy alwayes, and in every corner lying in ambush for him, seeking to spoile [Page 8] him, will be without his sword, but carry it ever about with him.

Reason 3 Because it else will never be profitable unto them for salvation, nor fruitfull in them to glorification: for if it be not ingrafted in them, it will not save them, Jam. 1.27. And if it take not root, it cannot do it, no more then the seed that lieth upon the bad, stony, or thorny ground.

Vse 1 This is to reprove all carelesse hearers, who heare and retaine nothing, never lay it up, their memories are as sives, whereout the water runs as fast as it comes in. Luk. 2.18.19. And all that heard it, wondred at the things that were told them of the Shepheards; but Mary kept all those sayings, and pondred them in her heart.

Ʋse 2 To shew the reason why so little profit comes by the Word; because it is heard, but not kept, not laid up, often not received; either because it is a strange thing, Hosea 8.12. or else because they are so full, that it is water powred upon a full vessell, and pas­seth all by: they are so full of their worldly pleasures and delights, profits and desires; or it staieth not with them, as Physicke doth no good that is not kept. And to use Christs comparison, Matth. 13.33. leaven put in, not hid, not remaining, makes no change.

Ʋse 3 To perswade to heare with all diligence, and lay it up with all carefulnesse, and seek it, may, as it were, take root in us, Heb. 2.1. wherefore we ought diligently to give heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip, Jam. 1.21. Wherefore lay apart all filthinesse and superfluity of malicious­nesse, and receive with meeknesse the word that is grafted in you, which is able to save your soules: the word that is grafted in you.

To give glory unto my Name.] Here is the third thing in this ex­ception, to do things worthy or fitting their ministery or calling, they may thereby glorifie his Name; that is (this being made op­posite to that which was in the former Chapter of polluting his Name) they may make his worship to be regarded and honoured. These Priests must not onely heare and lay up the Word and Commandment, but also obey and do it, if they will escape the curse, and enjoy the blessing. And if they be carefull in their place, to reprove, teach, direct, to reject their corrupt sacrifices, then should his worship be uncorrupted, and kept pure.

Doctrine 1 Men must not onely heare and beleeve, and lay up the word of God, but they must draw it forth into obedience and practice, if they would escape the curse, or enjoy the blessings, either in this life, or the life to come. So much here, and Jam. 1.25. Rev. 2.26. And keep my workes.

Doctrine 2 The Ministers of God, if they be carefull in their places, to in­struct what men ought to do, to reprove when they offend, to di­rect them, and reject them and their sacrifices, when they are not [Page 9] as they should be; Gods worship will not be corrupt, but keep ve­ry holy and pure: So here. This is manifest by the dedication of the seaven Epistles to the Churches, to the Angels of them; because they being faithfull, there would be no such carelesnesse and coldnesse. Hence are the charges given to Timothy and Titus by Saint Paul, 1 Tim. 5.21. & 2.4.1. and that 2 Tim. 2.2. All the time Eli was young, and able to looke to the worship of God, be­ing faithful, it was pure, and the offerings of God regarded, 1 Sam. 1.2. So of Iehoradu, 2 Chron. 24.2. Hence that, Acts 20.28. Take heed therefore unto your selves, and to all the flock whereof the holy Ghost hath made you everseers, to feed the Church of God, which he hath purchased with his own bloud. Hence is that of Hegesippus in Eusebius, while the Apostles lived, and they who heard Christ teaching, the Church remained a pure and incorrupt virgine; but when that age was past, errour and corruption was spread a­broad.

Reason 1 Because while they are faithfull and watchfull, the envious man will not sow his tares: They who have desire to corrupt the pu­ritie of doctrine and worship of God, will not shew themselves or obscurely or fearfully; and if they do, yet they will be soone pulled up, and the growth of them prevented.

Reason 2 Because the people shall by their diligence be armed by instru­ction to discern and withstand corruption from without, and be excited against their owne coldnesse and carelesnesse, which natu­rally would come upon them; as naturally men thinke any thing too much, and every thing good enough for Gods service, un­lesse they have remembrances to the contrary.

Vse 1 Then most commonly, if not alwayes, by the corruption and contempt of Gods service and worship, we may gather the negli­gence, carelesnesse and unfaithfulnesse of the Ministery in every Church; and, è contra, for such people, such Priests, such follow­ers, such guides. Travellers will hardly go before their guide, but follow after him. It may sometime fall out otherwise; but that happeneth, as many a careful master hath corrupt servants, though he have never such care over them, because his neighbours do not carefully and straitly bring up theirs: so from the neighbour pa­rishes: But where the Ministers are joyntly faithfull, they have not that corruption which otherwise would be.

Ʋse 2 To teach as many as desire and love the pure worship of God, that it may continue and not be corrupted, to do what is in them for their places and condition, that there may be continued a faithfull and painfull Ministery. Private men use private meanes to pray that the Lord of the harvest will thrust out still more and more labourers. Others in their place to speake and advance Lawes and Ordinances for that purpose: for if old and faithfull Eli be any way disenabled, and his successors be Hophni and Phi­neas, [Page 10] given to their bellies, to idlenesse, to prophanenesse, and yet they may carry it out, as they, with little or no check, and not be compelled to other carriage; how shall not the offerings of God and his worship be contemned? If Wolves be among the Flocks, & the Shepheards be asleep, and watch them not by night, in season and out of season, how should they not be spoyled? The nature of man of it selfe will be carelesse enough of the service of God, how much more if they have corruptions; nay, if it want encouragers, but finde bad and corrupt examples.

Vse 3 To admonish the Ministers, seeing that upon them depends the purity or corruption, the honour or contempt of the service of God, as they have a desire that he whose they are, whom they serve, and who hath taken them so nigh unto himselfe, may be honoured of his people, and have pure and holy worship perfor­med unto him: so to be faithfull & diligent in their places, to teach and instruct, to exhort and perswade men unto them: As they ought to give the Lord no rest for his people, being his remem­brancers; so not them for him, being messenger: for if they be carelesse and negligent, as the people will grow corrupt, so they will like themselves in their corruption. For men who carry their sinnes away unrepented, will take themselves not to sin, and so no glory should be given to his Name. How unfaithfull should that servant be, who for sparing himselfe a little, will let his masters honour fall to the ground: so that Minister. Be they as watchfull as they can, they shall finde that this corruption will sease upon men, and settle upon them, if they wake them not; how much more if they sleep, will the enemy sow tares?

I will even send a curse upon you.] The curse in generall, which is not for their sinne so much, as for their impenitencie: for so the coherence sheweth, and this his long patience towards them.

I will even send a curse.] For the contempt of his worship comes many plagues and curses upon men. vide cap. 1.14.

Vpon you] Though his Priests, and deare to him, yet that would not save them.

Doctrine. No person can be free from the judgements of God, if they sinne, be they never so neere unto him, either in place, or particu­lar profession, or in generall profession of his Word, as it is mani­fest here. So Numb. 20.12. Levit. 10.1.2. Eli and his sons, 1 Sam. 4.2 Sam. 6. Vzzah. Luke 1.18.20. Acts 5.

Reason 1 Because when he cannot be sanctified in them, he will be glo­rified, Levit. 10.3. that is, he will justifie himselfe and his justice, when he spares not such as are nigh to him. For as it was the grea­ter manifestation of Salomons justice, that he put a murtherer to death, and a great on, Ioab: so the more that he put him to death at the hornes of the Altar, 1 Kings 2.31.

Reason 2 [Page 11]Because he might either purge their present condition, or pre­vent their future sinnes, and keep both them and others from pre­suming: What better meanes then sharp medicines, and severity in punishing? Deut. 13.11.

Vse 1 Then from the judgements of God upon men, of a speciall or generall profession, may not a man condemne the profession, because this proves the professors not to be such as they should be: as many are ready to condemne the Ministery, and the profession of pietie, from some judgments that happen unto them that are in the profession. Admit that the judgement argue the corruption, yet must it not condemne the profession, or the place.Si videris sacerdotem indignum, non ob id calumniari sacerdotium debes, ne (que) enim calumnianda res est, sed ille solum meretur onerari convitiis, quitanto bono abutatur. Non enim si Judas proditor fuit, hoc Apostolicae professionis crimen, sed unius tantum viri mens improba fuit: & medici quidem multi carnifices sunt, qui pro medelis venenum propinant, nec tamen artē vitupero, sed qui arte sua ini­quus abutitur: & nautae quamplures na­vigia amiserunt, nec ars navigandi ta­men corum perversa voluntas jure dam­nanda. Chrysostom. If you see an unworthy Priest, you may not presently slander the Priest­hood; but him who abuses it. If Iudas were a traytor it was his owne fault, and not to be laid to the Apostolicall pro­fession. Many Physitians are murthe­rers, who poyson in stead of curing; yet I condemne not the Art, but such as a­buse it. Many Mariners make ship­wracke; yet we condemne not the Art of Navigation, but their badnesse. And mens mindes, who in such things must needs be occupied, should rather exercise themselves to meditate of the justice of God, and to justifie him that spares not sinne, no not in those who are most nigh unto him, giving a purgation, as it were, to his owne house, as David said he would do to his, Psal. 101. And laying the fault where it is, not upon the profession, but the person. In this Iobs friends were better then many, who of the two, when they could not found the depth of Gods dealing, they accused him rather then his profession, that he had been but an hypocrite in it. And as not anothers profession, so never his own, where he findes Gods judgements in it. As many men draw neere to God, and take some holy profession upon them, and thinke then all should be safe with them, and then feare nothing; which when it befalleth unto them, begin to contemne their pro­fession, as the Jewes, Jer. 44.15.16.17.18. so they. But as the Jewes never considered their present corrupt service of God, nor their by-past corruption and Idolatry unrepented of, vers. 21. whereby they might have seen that it came upon them for that, not for their profession. So with these.

Vse 2 To teach all, who draw neere to the Lord, either by some spe­ciall office in the Church, or profession of his Word, not for that to presume to live in any sin, as if that should be his sanctuary: for if others have been smiten, as it were, at the hornes of the Altar, [Page 12] why should he thinke to escape? nay, he shall the lesse escape then an other further from God, because he hath these examples, and hath not feared;1 Pet. 4.17. And for professi­on, as Salvian, of a particular sin; yea, of all: Licet gravè in omnibus praecipuè in iis ta­men quae in consimili crimine etiam prof [...]ssio sanctitatis ac­cusat. nay, he ought the rather to labour for more holinesse, the neerer he comes to God, and to avoyd even the lesse, corrup­tions; for the Lord will lesse bear it in them: for he will be sanctified in them that draw neer unto him; if not by their holinesse, yet by his own justice in punishing them more sharply; to the end that as the wax, the more neerer it approcheth to the fire, so much more the heat of the fire approacheth in melting of it: so the holinesse of God may better be known in uncasing of such hypocrites, or hypocrisie approaching to him; and so he may be the more glorified of the people in such judgements.

And will curse your blessings.] The first particular curses in cursing their blessings already bestowed on them; which is either by taking from them the power they have to nourish, and he hath by his ordinance given unto them; or else so that they shall not be comfortable unto them; or else in making them turn to their hurt.

Doctrine 1 Then doth God curse men when they have abundance of out­ward things, and have not the comfort by them; which happens either by his taking away the staffe from the creature, or the strength from the eater, Micha 6.14. Thou shalt eate and not be satisfied.

Doctrine 2 All creatures have the power to help, nourish and comfort man, and to preserve his life, not of themselves, but from God and his blessing. Meat without him are fitter to choke then feed, as clay to put out eyes, Joh. 9. rather then to give sight.

Vse 1 This teacheth why the rich as well as the poore must pray, Give us the day, &c. and those who have abundance, as well as those who want.

Vse 2 Not to trust and rely upon them, when we have them, and use them: for Luke 12.15. A mans life consists not in the abundance of things which he possesseth.

Vse 3 Not to feare or distrust when our means are never so small, nay, wanting; because he that can by the means, can also help without them, where he hath himselfe denied them, and man not by his fault deprived himselfe of them: so much is that of Matth. 4.4.7. There is another remedy in the hand of God, who though he give not food, can prolong the life of man with his beck and will, and word onely; he that could make the garments of the Israelites last longer then by reason or in their nature they could, can make the life of man, which is more excellent, to last.

Yea, I have cursed them already] An amplification, or confir­mation [Page 13] by way of correction; shewing how they had not profi­ted by his judgements, though they were upon them, and had been long.

Doctrine. The judgements of God profit not the wicked, but rather of themselves make them worse: They benefit not by them, but grow worse and worse. They diminish not their sins, but adde to them. The experience of all times in the Church sheweth it, Isaiah 1.6. Jer. 5.3. Pharaoh and his servants, Saul and his court.

Reason 1 Because they are ignorant and blinde, not knowing who smit them, nor why, neither the authour, nor the end, nor the cause. Like the pur-blinde Philistims, 1 Sam. 6.9. who would rather impute it to chance then the hand of God, and so think some o­ther cause then their sin, and some other end then their forsaking their sin.

Reason 2 Because they are like to the servant in the Law, Exod. 21.5.6. that when he should have gone out free, yet so loved his wife and children, that he would remaine a servant for ever, and with a publicke disgrace: So these love their sins, that they had rather be servants still, and under affliction and judgements, then part with their sins, which makes them impute that they suffer to any thing rather then their sins, finde out some other causes, and so blinde themselves. Like men when they have surfeited of some meat, when the Physitian comes to them, had rather hazard their health, then tel him what is the cause, left he should forbid it them.

Vse 1 To put a difference betwixt the good and bad, Gods children and the wicked, who often happen into the same judgement and affliction together, as chaffe and wheat into the same sive, gold and drosse into the same fornace; yet are they diversly affected in it and by it. Gods children are made the better, more neere heaven, more holy. As trees when they are pruned and lopped from their water boughes, do grow higher, and bring forth fruit more plen­tifully: So he increaseth the more, and is more excellent. As the Arke of Noah, the more the waters of the flood increased, the higher it was carried, and came neerer to heaven: So they. But the wicked are more hardened, as the Smiths Anvill, or Stithie.

Vse 2 This may teach us, that nothing but the Word is able to win men unto God, and to bring them out of their sins and corrupti­on; the benefites and the blessings God bestoweth upon men, and the judgements and curses he layeth upon them, may prevaile with a man already converted, as he that knows the use and end of all, but not before, Deut. 32.15. 2 Chron. 28.22. They may pre­pare men for the Word, they may open the eare that a man shall attend to the Word, Job. 33.16. They may, as fire, make a man pliable for the hammer of the Word, that it may work upon them, 2 Chron. 33.12.13.18.

Vse 3 [Page 14] To teach men not by their affliction, but by the fruit of their af­fliction to discern themselves, whether Gods people or no. Isaiah 27.9. And this is all the fruit, the taking away of his sin.

Doctrine 1 Gods judgements not regarded, men not profiting by them, they are fore-runners of greater warning-pieces of more fearfull plagues, Hosea 5.12.13.14. Amos 4.2.11. Isaiah 9.12.13.14. Levit. 26.18.21.

Because ye do not consider it in your heart.] The reason of this curse, because they had not applied themselves to the Word, and it to them, but had rejected it, and made light by it.

Doctrine 2 When the Word, and admonitions by the Word, are rejected, then followeth the rod of God upon their backes, Micha 6.9. Heare the rod.

VERS. III.

Behold I will corrupt your seed, and cast dung upon your fa­ces, even the dung of your solemne Feasts, and you shall be like unto it.

BEhold, I will corrupt your seed.] The future judgements pro­phecied of, two in this verse, Famine and Reproach. Thus hath God decreed to punish those; but before he will execute, he makes it knowne to the Prophet, and tells him what he will doe.

Doctrine 1 When the Lord purposeth to bring a judgement upon his peo­ple, he communicates his counsels with his Prophets and Mi­nisters.

I will corrupt your seed.] The first judgement in this verse is, Famine: for the seed corrupted that it can bring forth no fruit, must make that, must cause famine.

Doctrine 2 For the iniquities of a land and people, the Lord will lay dearth and famine upon them, even for their sin, and for this in speciall, for contempt of his Worship and Word. So here, and 2 Chron. 7.13.14. Levit. 26.19, 20. Psal. 107.34. Ezech. 5.16.17. Amos 4.4.5.6. & 8.8.13.

Reason 1 Because this, when many other things prevails not, is a meanes to make men retire, and returne to God by repentance. As the instance in the prodigall son, Luke 15.16.17.

Reason 2 Because as S. Chrysostome speaks, they who blaspheme God, de­serve not the use of those creatures which glorifie him;Indigni sunt uti creaturis Deum glori­ficantibus ipsum blasphemantes, quoniam filius contumelia patrem afficiens, servorum ministerio fun­gi non est dignus. Chrysost. Hom. 25. ad pop. Antioch. because the son which reproaches his father, is unworthy of the ministery of servants.

Reason 3 [Page 15]Because it is just with God to starve their bodies, who by the contempt of the word starve their owne souls; as Haggai 1.4. God called for a famine upon the people, because they contem­ned his house, and decked their owne: So in this, the soule being his perpetuall house, where he would dwell for ever, and their bodies their owne clay houses, and momentarie.

Ʋse 2 To informe mens judgements, who when such judgements are upon them, to ascribe them to second causes: as to the winde and weather, to the disposition of heavens and earth, or to the cruel­tie of men in hoording up and making a dearth, as the sick often imputeth his disease to his meat, or bad diet, or taking the cold; & such like, and never to their sins, as the cause of it: these may be the means, and so thought of; and as in health and prosperity there is somewhat to be given to them as means; so in this. But the principall is their sins, thus provoking God, thus shutting heaven, and opening it against them; either by drouth making a dearth, as in Judea; or by moisture making a famine, as in England; or howsoever else it comes, yet the cause of it is mans sins, & the ini­quities of the people; out of the Church, sins against honesty, and the second Table: and in the Church, both those, and sins a­gainst the first Table, contempt of Gods Worship and Word.

Ʋse 2 To teach us in our land, and time, what we may expect, as by the course of Gods dealing, adding famine to pestilence, before he bring the sword, and other destructions: As Princes do with rebels in a walled towne, or intrenched in a fence, cut off their provision and victuals to make them yeeld: so the sins of the time abounding, as it was prophesied of the latter times, and the contempt of the word being marvellous great amongst us; even among all sorts, of all degrees. If it was just with God, for sen­ding a famine upon Israel three yeares, yeare after yeare, for brea­king their faith with the Gibeonites, and not regarding their word they had passed to them, 2 Sam. 21.1. what will it be with God to send it so upon us, who have so often broken faith with him, and contemned his Word and his Promise? Are not they unworthy of the creatures of God, which glorifie him not in their places, who do daily blaspheme his Name and Word, and make it to be evill spoken of? Are such sons as contemne their father, and re­gard not his word and command, unworthy of the help of any of his servants? Let us sit as Judges in the generall, and we will give sentence against others, that it is so. To us Nathan the Pro­phet speaketh, We are the men. Therefore what expect we else? nay, what can we expect better? And if we have not been bettered by Gods hand, as Dauid called the pestilence, It is better we fall into the mercie of insensible creatures, then into the crueltie of un­reasonable men.

Vse 3 [Page 16] To direct men when they are under such a judgement, & God sends cleannesse of teeth, and scarcenesse of bread, not to quarrell with the meanes, and complaine of this and that, but for a man to quarrell with his owne sinnes, and consult not with flesh and bloud, which will make him accuse the meanes; but with the Oracle of God, which will make him accuse himselfe, and let him see where the sinne is, that it may be reproved, and he humbled, and the land cured. David tooke this course, though it was long before he did it, to enquire of the Lord the cause of their famine in the end of the third yeare, and understanding why it was, and that the satisfying of the Gibeonites.

I will corrupt.] The word signifies, to rebuke: i. I will with a word of my mouth destroy it.

Doctrine. God is able with his bare Word to bring judgement and de­struction upon a whole land and people, if he but speake the word, they shall soon come to naught, and perish: he that is power­full in the voyce of the people, by the sound of Rams hornes, to the overthrowing of the walls of Jericho, Joshua 6. can be po­werfull by his owne word, to overthrow whom be will: Or thus, it is as easie for the Lord to punish and destroy men, as it is for man to speak a word, Jer. 18.6.7. Psa. 104.29.

Reason 1 Because he made all things with ease, and with his own word, Gen. 1. Now it is a farre lesser thing to destroy thousands, then to make one. A man can more easily overthrow whole Cities in shorter time then build one house; sooner sinke a Navie then make one ship.

Reason 2 Because he is Lord over all, and hath all creatures at his com­mand, being Lord of hoasts. Now how easie it is for Princes to destroy their enemies, or those they hate, and are displeased with­all, when they are of a great command.

Vse 1 To teach men not to rely, or put confidence in man, or any creature. There is in it selfe that which might keep men from it, being well thought of and considered; because they are in them­selves mortall and mutable, very uncertaine and deceitfull: but more when this comes to be considered, that God can so easily destroy them, with a word, or blowing upon them; which to trust and put confidence in them, will certainly procure him to do: and, which done, will make a man marvellously ashamed, that he hath put any confidence in them.

Ʋse 2 To let us see the fearfull condition, and the danger wherein they stand, who live, by reason of their corruptions and iniqui­ties, out of the favour of God, who can easily destroy them, and the things they have, or is beloved of them, with a word, with a blast. If it be so in respect of men to live out of the favours of Kings and Princes, who have their limited powers, who are but men, and have their breath in their nostrils, as they have; what [Page 17] is it to be out of Gods favour, by whose breath they stand and live, and who with-drawing his breath, they come to nothing? If he be so able, why doth he so suffer them? It is from the abun­dance of his patience, not want of power; which abused by them, increaseth his wrath and their sinnes, and will make that he will come the more suddenly and heavily upon them. The heavier the weight is that is hung at the clock, the wheels run swifter, and the hammers strike sooner and smarter.

Ʋse 3 To teach every man to take heed how they offend or displease God, as they love themselves, or any thing they have, seeing hee can so easily destroy both one and other. Men are apt to make the power of great men either a bridle to restrain them from of­fending, or a spurre to make them do the things they command, even when they are unlawfull: For who are we, say they, to with­stand so great men? Were their faith as good as their sense, they might see there were cause to say so of God, and would know, it is a farre more fearefull thing to fall into the hands of God, then into the hands of men.

And cast dung upon your faces] The second particular in this verse, for laying shame and ignominie upon them.

Doctrine 1 God makes men, Ministers and others, to be had in reproach because of their sinnes.

Even the dung.] These Priests had thought to have gotten love, estimation and credit, by bearing with the corruption of the people, not reproving them for their sacrifices they brought, and their carelesnesse in Gods service; but this God will turn to their shame.

Doctrine 2 When men think by unlawfull meanes to get credit, honour and estimation among men, the Lord he will turn it to their shame and reproach. So here, and so with them who built Babel, Gen. 11.4. but it was their confusion. To this we may apply that ge­nerall, Psal. 112.10. Hereto belong the examples of Haman, Ester 6. and 7. And of Herod, Acts 12.21. of Pilat. Joh. 10.12. From henceforth Pilate sought to loose him; but the Jewes cried, say­ing, if thou deliver him, thou art not Cesars friend: for whosoe­ver maketh himselfe a King, speaketh against Cesar. But see what Eusebius reports,Neque il­lud à nobis ignorari de­bet, cum ip­sum Pila­tum qui ser­vatoris neci interfuit, in tantas calamitates incurrisse, ut necessitate adductus, sibi pro­pria manu mortem consciscaret, suorum (que) scelerum ipse vindex extiterit. Eus. hist. l. 2. c. 7 We are not to be ignorant, that the same Pilat who was interressed in our Saviours death, fell into so great cala­mities shortly after in the raigne of Caius, that being driven by ne­cessitie, he slew himselfe with his own hand, and became himselfe the revenger of his own wickednesse.

Reason 1 Because this wil manifest his power, that he can beat them with their own weapons, overthrow them by their own inventions.

Reason. 2 [Page 18] Because he is zealous of his glory, and to suffer this, would obscure it. It is against the honor of a Prince to let a subject grow by rebellion: it argues either injustice or impotencie.

Vse 1 This may shew the folly of those men, whether they be pri­vate men, or men in place, Magistracie or Ministerie, who thinke by unlawfull m [...] [...]s to reconcile favour unto them, to get a good name, estimation or credit. These men we may compare to him whom Hier. against Heloid. speaks of out of the fable, that when he could do no good to be famous for, or so [...]mous as he would, he set Diana's Temple on fire; and when none accused him for the sacriledge, he went raving up & down the streets himself, crying, that he kindled the fire. And being demanded by the Ephesi­ans,Vt quia benè non poterā, malè omni­bus innote­scerem. why he did so, he answered; Because I could not get same by doing well, I would get it by mischief. But it was his shame & ruine; and so may these look for, though they may prosper in it for a while: as they in building of Babell, yet shall they fall by it. And that they would stop their mouthes withall, will be the means to open them the wider, specially if ever there fall a breach betwixt them, they will shew them directly, that they gained not by their courses, and the contrary to that will follow, which we read of David, 2 Sam. 6.22.

Vse 2 To teach every man to take heed how he seekes reputation and name by bad courses, or by any the least unfaithfulnesse and sin. Every man is desirous of a good name; and it is more to be desired then silver and pretious things, Prov. 22.1. If any man would have it, let him labour for it by lawful means, and by wel­doing. If he seek it by forsaking his uprightnesse, and sincerity of his place and profession, I may say as 2 Kings 9.31. Had Zimri peace, that slew his master? So, had such a one credit, that left his honesty? And God shall do to him as here is threatned. A man may happily build up his house by oppression, and usury, and cru­elty; but in a few successions, in a few years it comes to nothing: holds not in the third heire. A man may seek to rise like Haman, and be aloft a while, but he shall be cast downe. A man may get a name a while, but it will not last long; partly because it is vana, quia vani sunt filii hominum; because it is not in himselfe but o­thers,Merces congregatas in sac­cum pertusum ad thesaurum in ali [...]no ore constitutum quae arcu non clauditur, nec seras habet: Bern. de adventu Do­mini, Serm. 4. as wares put up in a broken bagge, as a treasure laid up in anothers mouth, nor lockt in a chest, nor made fast with barres, as Bernard hath it. And partly, because God will cast dung into his face. The best glory is for well doing: that is in a mans selfe, not in ano­thers power, 2 Cor. 1.12. That is laid upon a good ground, that is certaine and unmoveable. It is from God, and those who have his Spirit, Vera gloria est à Spiritu veritatis: True glory is from the Spirit of truth.

Dung in your faces.] The Lord had honoured these Priests ve­ry high, they had dishonoured him; he threatens marvellously, and the more to disgrace and dishonour them.

Doctrine. The more God hath honoured and advanced men, either in Church or Common-wealth, if they dishonour him, he will dis­honour them, and lay the greater disgrace upon them. So with these Priests, none more honoured with God then they; no grea­ter disgrace then here is mentioned. Now this is proved in the example of Iezabel. 2 Kings 9.37. of Ieroboam, 1 Kings 14.7.8.9.10. of Eli, 1 Sam. 2.27. ed finem. Of Capernaum, Matth. 11.22.23. Manifest in the Jewes, who were the mirrour, now the won­der of the world: it was once spoken of with admiration, now the by word.

Reason 1 Because, according to their priviledges abused, so are their sins of those who have the greater, or moe in number: then God gi­ving or rewarding according to their sinnes, and workes, must needs receive more disgrace and dishonour.

Reason 2 Because his judgements in them will be more perspicuous, and strike a more awe and feare in others, and moe shall take notice of it, because they are more in the eye, as a Beacon upon a hill, as a Captaine or Lievetenant in a Band. And so the more shall glori­fie his justice, and feare his power.

Vse 1 If thou seest men lifted up to honour & high place, do not envie them: for if they be good, there is cause to rejoyce. Prov. 29.2. If they be wicked, and abuse their priviledges & high places, there is cause to sigh, but not to envie, Pro. 29.2. because they are not farre from a disgrace, a publique one, a great one, answerable to their honor. The clouds that obscure the Sun, are lifted up, but powred down again. Who would envie men upon an high pinacle, ready to be cast down? Who a man walking upon the Ice, where it is ten to one, every houre his feet will slide, or it break, and he be utterly cast downe to the bottome of a pit? specially if some secret fire be kindled on it, or the beames of the Sunne shine hotly upon it.

Ʋse 2 To teach those whom God hath advanced and honoured more then others with any priviledge of knowledge, wisedome, autho­rity, or credit, not to thinke that those priviledges were given them that they might be the Nimrods of the earth, and fight a­gainst God, and his cause, and his Church, and dishonour him, and thinke to carry it away without dishonour from him; nay, they shalbe more dishonored, and more vile then any others.Quanto major gratia, tanto amplier peccantibus poena. Chrysost. And. Potentes potenter termenta patien­tur. Hierom. ad Heliod. For the greater grace sinners have received, if they sin, their pu­nishment shall be so much larger. Chrysost. Mighty sinners shall be mightily tormen­ted, Hierom. ad Heliod. It were good all that are above others, would write it in their houses, and every [Page 20] place where they come, and keep it in their hearts. And such as are above others in their places in the Church, would remember that, Matth. 5.13. Ye are the salt of the earth; but if the salt have lost his favour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thence­forth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be troden under foot of men.

And you shall be like unto it.] Or, it shall carry you away; meaning, that he would adde confusion and destruction unto their shame.

Doctrine. Shame and disgrace brought upon Ministers, Magistrates, or any other by their just desert and default, by their carelesse carri­age, and dissolute life, is but a fore-runner of confusion and de­struction, which usually followeth, unlesse it be prevented by re­pentance. So is it here. Matth. 5.13. 1 Sam. 2.30.31.32. with chap. 4. 1 Sam. 15.30. Jer. 24.9.10.

Reason 1 Because this argueth a great height of wickednesse, and that men are setled much in it, when shame will not shake them from it, and rouse them up. For whereas to a man of any honesty, or that hath any sparke of goodnesse, his name is of more account then his goods; and that touched, more affects him then the other taken away. Now touched in this, and not affected, argues his desperatenesse and dishonesty.

Reason 2 Because when God hath smitten men in things that are so neare unto him, and ought to be so deare, and they returne not, it is just with him to proceed unto their persons, and themselves.

Vse 1 To teach us, when we see men in contempt, Ministers, Magi­strates, and others, to judge of it as a fore-runner of some fearfull confusion and destruction. If they be unjustly, without their de­fault, then is it of a general judgement upon the Church and land, it being also a judgement it selfe; if justly for their dissolute and corrupt lives, then is it a fore-runner of a judgement to them, of their confusion and destruction. As it was in the time of Popery, when the Clergie was come to the height of wealth, yet they were in the wane and eb of worship and respect; nay, in shame and reproach: because as in the morning, the neerer it is to the rising of the Sun, the more light is in the aire, and the more are deformi­ties and things out of order espied: So as the Gospell drew nea­rer, that they were like Baals Priests, for deceiving the people, in contempt, with not affecting them to make them returne from their Idols to the living God. Therefore shame and confusion came upon them, as we have seen. So of others, if they be in contempt, &c. And as of them, so of Magistrates, and other par­ticular men. For as a sicknesse caused by mans misdieting of him­selfe, or otherwise by his default, and not speedily cured, is a fore­runner and procurer of a greater disease: so is it in this case.

Ʋse 2 To teach every one that is in any reproach or contempt, what­soever [Page 21] he is, to thinke of it as the harbinger of confusion and de­struction, if he be not affected with it to repentance. Therefore should he labour to lay it to his heart, and be humbled for it, and reformed by it: he should be occasioned by it to search his wayes and his conversation. If it befall him for righteousnesse sake, he hath wherein to rejoyce; if for his infirmities, and unjustly from those who reproach him, yet he should see whether it is not justly from God, or no: for that may be justly from him, which is un­justly from them. But if indeed justly for his dissolute and loose life; then is not to be expected any thing but the confusion and destruction of his person, unlesse that make him to humble and re­forme himselfe: for when hard and bitter words prevail not, then masters goe to beating and punishing with blowes. So doth God.

VERS. IV.

And ye shall know, that I have sent this commandement un­to you, that my covenant which I made with Levi, might stand, saith the Lord of Hostes.

ANd yee shall know.] The Prophet proceedeth to the causes of this condemnation. These are three: the first is, because they had neglected their care of Gods worship, not of any ignorance, but against their knowledge: for they knew that the dutie be­longed to them, and the commandment was to them. For thus it is to be read: For you know.

Doctrine. 1 Their sinne is the greater, and deserveth the more punishment, who have the knowledge what they ought to do, and yet follow their corrupt affections, then theirs which know not.

Now the knowledge here spoken of, is of two things: of their dutie, and what they ought to do; and of their dignity, and what God had bestowed upon them. And both makes their sinne the greater, because they have gone against their owne knowledge, and Gods kindnesse. That though God had bestowed great bles­sings upon them, they had forgot it, though they knew it, and were unthankfull unto him.

Doctrine 2 Unthankfulnesse is a sinne, when men do not answer Gods love as he hath had care and dealt liberally with them. vide Chap. 1. verse 2.

I send this commandment unto you, that my covenant might stand.] They must performe, that is their parts; or else he would performe no covenant with them.

Doctrine 3 God will not, neither is bound to performe covenant with man to give him any thing he hath promised, whether spirituall or temporall, of this life, or that is to come, unlesse he performe his [Page 22] covenant and conditions. The covenant of God is either gene­rall or speciall. The generall, either legall or Evangelicall. All which requires the conditions to be performed on mans part, if he would have God performe; or else, &c. Levit. 18.5. Gal. 3.11. Mark. 16.16. 1 Sam. 2.30. 2 Chron. 15.2.

Reason 1 Because their not performing, frees him from his promise, and bindes him not to performe it, to give such good things to such unworthy fedifragies, covenant breakers; not to give, as it were, the childrens bread to dogs.

Reason 2 When they performe, he will because he is most faithfull that hath promised, and can neither lye nor deceive, he being true, and Truth it selfe.

Object. Rom. 3.3.4. For what though some did not beleeve? shall their unbeliefe make the faith of God without effect? God for­bid: yea, let God be true, and every man a lyer, as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy words, and overcome when thou art judged. Then will he performe when man doth not.

Answer. That will not follow from this, which is manifest thus: The Apostle asketh the question: Whereas many of the Jewes were unfaithfull, and covenant breakers, whether their infidelity should abrogate and make void the covenant of God, that he should shew no fruit of it among them: and, as man, should break his promise, and performe to none that which was promised to all. He answe­reth, that cannot be; but howsoever the greater part of them had broken covenant, with whom he might justly breake, and would, yet his covenant should have his full force and efficacie; though not in all, yet in the Nation: because there was ever some good men among that people; who believed the promises, and lived uncorruptly and holily; therefore in them, and to them should that be performed which was promised. Shewing, that the wic­kednesse of a multitude shall not make the promise of God void, and of none effect; but he will perform them to the beleevers, and they who performe conditions, though they be but a very few. And so the place makes for the point, not against it.

Object. Many enjoy Gods blessings, and never perform the condition, but live wickedly and prophanely.

Answer. They enjoy not the blessing of eternity, neither ever shall: and as for temporall things, they may enjoy them, but not any bles­sing by them: it were better for them to be without them; for they increase their sinne, and are but fed and sustained by them for the slaughter, as the damned are by Gods power to endure his wrath and punishment.

Vse 1 If in our observation we finde, that many promises God hath made, are not performed to our selves, or others. As there are many other things which may be answered for clearing and ac­quitting [Page 23] the truth and fidelity of God, in this kinde; especially in temporall things; he gives spirituall, an ounce of which is better then many a pound of the other. And if he breaks not, that pro­miseth silver, and gives the greater summe in gold: so not God. If he promise deliverance, and gives patience under the crosse, which is better for the sufferer, he still performes, because such things had those exceptions: And so in many other things, but this especially, when the good things promised are not performed, the cause is in our selves and other men, why they are not per­formed, and not in God; because we performe not conditions. And this being, makes us, not him, covenant-breakers, who have made our selves uncapable, and unworthy of his blessings, and so have freed him from his promise, by our breaking with him. Now he that is freed, cannot breake covenant, though he do not the thing before covenanted.

Ʋse 2 To let us see the folly of those men who thinke to have Gods promises performed unto them, and him to keep covenant with them; and in many things make no doubt but he hath done, and in future times assure themselves he will, when they neither have done, nor yet endevour to keep any covenant with him. If the former be true, do they not deceive themselves? and are they not (though how wise soever in other things, yet in this) stark fools? For if he be a foole, that because he hath the word, or the bond of a good man, one able, and that never broke for the payment of a thousand pounds at such a time, and such a place, but upon con­dition he performe such a service, or effect such a worke, to lay his whole state and his whole condition upon that, that it will be performed in the same time and place; and yet he never go about to perform the conditions at all, or as it should be performed; were he not a foole? Sure in all your judgements he were very unwise. And yet, alas! how many fools and unwise men have we, who deale thus, lay all upon Gods fidelitie, and performe nothing themselves at all? As if God must needs performe, because he had promised, and could not be faithfull, unlesse he did perform, when they keep no condition. Many a man deluded by Satan, and his owne secure heart, perswades himselfe God hath been mercifull unto him, and forgiven him his sins, though he never came truly to see sinne, nor to sorrow for sinne, nor forsake and re­forme his corruptions, wherein true repentance consisteth, and which is the condition on mans part, if ever he would have God take away his sinne, and put them out of his remembrance. Many one thinkes God had performed his covenant of temporall things, because he is in the middest of abundance, and hath his barnes full, and his bagges full, and every where findes he increa­seth, though he never made any conscience of his wayes, and the workes of God; but at best lived but civilly, and kept his credit [Page 24] with men: and sees not that he is deceived, & sees that these are but things that are common things, wherewith he is but fatted for the shambles, and such as are reserved for his evill. And for time to come many doubt not but they shall obtaine great things in this life, and that God will give them honour, and favour, and riches and abundance, though, they never keepe condition with him. Fools and blinde, who know they cannot live, except they eate; not reap, except they sow; not recover health, except they use physicke, and the means appointed: And yet thinke, without per­forming the grand meanes and condition with God, they shall have what he hath promised; and so happily they may: But as Is­rael had a King in Gods wrath, and quails in his displeasure: And as the Physitian gives his patient liberty to eate what he list, when he is out of all hope, and despaires of ever recovering him. Many a man perswades himselfe that God will save him, though he ne­ver was able to performe the condition of the Law, neither ever endevoured to performe the condition of the Gospell. Truly this is not to beleeve, but deceive himselfe with an opinion of faith, he neither having the knowledge of the promises, the ground of it, nor workes the answerable fruits of it. And so hath but a vaine, foolish, and dead faith. But he shall know his folly, when God shall manifest unto him, that he is not bound to per­form promise, because he never kept condition.

Ʋse 3 To teach every man that hath any desire that God should per­forme covenant with him, to endevour to performe conditions with God.Cum do­minus pro­mittit ne dubites sed illa fac, per quae tales at­trahere pote­ris promissi­ones. Chry. hom. 25. ad popul. Anti. He must first seek to know what they are God requires of him, and then do them: for without that he cannot do. And his searching for knowledge must not onely be for the generall, but for the particulars of his place, what command is sent to him; and then faithfully do it, that Gods covenant may stand: We must repent, beleeve and obey the Gospell and Commandments of God: For it is godlinesse that hath the promises, and shall have the performance. Let such a one remember, 1 Tim. 4.8. and Prov. 21.21. Yea, he may assure himselfe, that if he apply himself to that which God requireth of him, and he hath covenanted for, he shall be sure to finde him that hath been a willing promiser, a most faithfull performer. For parum erat promissio, etiam scripto se teneri voluit, Aug. in Psal. 119. And so no good thing that he hath promised shall faile, but shall all be made good, Joshua 22.15.

My covenant with Levi,] Here is the honour and dignity he had bestowed upon them, having made a speciall agreement and covenant with them.

Doctrine. The Lord hath specially honoured his messengers and servants the Priests in the old, and the Ministers in the new Testament: for he hath not onely made the generall covenant with them. I will be [Page 25] their God, they my people; but hath made a particular and speciall agreement and covenant with them: So here, and Numb. 8.13.14. Thou shalt set the Levites before Aaron, and before his sons, and offer them as a shake offering to the Lord. Thus thou shalt separate the Levites from among the children of Israel, and the Levites shall be mine. 1 Sam. 2.28. And I chose him out of all the tribes of Isra­el to be my Priest, to offer upon mine Altar, and to burn Incense and to weare an Ephod before me; and I gave unto the house of thy father, all the offerings made by fire of the children of Israel. Joh. 15.15. 2 Cor. 3.6.

Reason 1 Because they are of his privy counsell, and know his secret. Amos 3.7. Surely the Lord God will doe nothing, but he revealeth his secrets unto his servants the Prophets. Privy counsellours are specially honoured and have a particular covenant made with them.

Reason, 2 Because they are his messengers, his embassadours, 2 Cor. 5.20. they are specially honoured, and new sworne, a new covenant.

Ʋse 1 No reason why the great and rich men of the world should contemne the ministry for their children, as too base a thing, and not fit for their sonnes, when as God hath thus honoured it, and taken them so neere unto himselfe. In respect of which, Amos, who was beleeved to be the brother of Azariah, the King of Judah, thought it no base thing his sonne should be a Prophet; neither Christ himselfe to be a preacher.

Vse 2 This may be a caveat for men to take heede how they abuse or injure the ministers who are so neere unto him, and whom he hath thus honoured: certainly they ought to honour him, though it goe against the haire, and stomacke with them, as with Haman, because he would have them honoured; but if not, but they a­buse and disgrace them, and use them as the Ammonites did Davids servants: Let them take heede they stinke not in his no­strils; for if Princes be tender hearted and stone affected, with the injuries of their common subjects, and will revenge them; what will they doe for their counsellours, their embassadours? And yet meane men will now abuse them in words, and con­temne as farre as they can for the law of man; if they sing not pla­centia, if they teach crosse to their humours; but their portion is with the Lord, and so is theirs who so abuse them. And one day they shall both know whether is better to reprove and lift up his voyce and spare not, or to spare and reforme nothing.

Ʋse 3 It may comfort the minister against contempt when he is faith­full, yet to be still so, and bold, remembring his honour God hath given him, which is better then all the honour man can affoord. And though men may thinke their faithfulnesse may hinder them from honour, as Balaak said to Balaam, Numb. 24.11. Therefore now flee unto thy place, I thought surely to promote thee to honour, but [Page 26] loe, the Lord hath kept thee back from honour yet it is not so: for that is the true honour which God gives, and will give, and no man can take, and they ought as it is 2 Cor. 3.12. seeing they have such hope, to use boldnesse of speech.

Vse 4 This may teach what manner of men Ministers ought to be, how sanctified, of what puritie and integritie, seeing God hath taken them to be so [...] unto himselfe: therefore ought they to be carefull that offer them to God, and they that receive them when they offer; and when they receive, not for favour, or money, or kindred, or any such thing. A man will be marvellous carefull whom he commendeth but for a common servant to a mean man his friend, more, to a Prince; most, to be so nigh to him. If the Steward of a house be permitted and trusted to admit such as are fit, how carefull will he be? If the President of a Princes Coun­cell to take in such as are able men, how vigilant and inquisitive will he be, that they be such as be competent for the place: So should it be in this, the like care should be had, and wo unto him that hath not. And men that are in the place, ought to looke mar­vellous carefully to their conversation, & to keep themselves holy. It was taught, Lev. 22.2. ad 10. how unblemished the Priest should be: for if the whole people must be holy, more they. And if they must be darefull of their offering and sacrifices, more of them­selves. And if they be not, then ought authoritie, like Ashpenaz; Dan. 1.3.4.5. to chuse out the most unblemished, and looke to them, and suffer not them to be good fellows, gamesters, and such like.

Covenant with Levi.] They took not this calling to themselves, but were chosen to it of God, and he made the agreement and co­venant with them.

Doctrine. None may take this calling upon them, to be Gods Ministers, Gods Messengers, and to meddle in these spirituall things, which are proper to the Ministers, but he that is called of God, and with whom God hath made this covenant. The affirmative inferres the negative. Hereto belongs that, Numb. 1.51. and 16.10. and 4.15.20. Ezra 2.62.63. Heb. 5.4. This made the Apostles ever a­vouch their calling, Gal. 1.1. Jam. 1.1. Pet. 1.1. Hereto is that Rom. 10.15. There are three kindes of callings, when men are called by men, and not by God, as first, all reachers: Secondly of God by Ministery of the Word, all ordinary Ministerie: Thirdly, by Christ immediately, as Apostles, Gal. 1.1. The first to be abhorred, the third to be admired, the second to be expected of all in an ordinary planted Church, Rom. 10.15. The calling is double, or hath two parts; the first inward ability for gifts, and aptnesse for minde, willingnesse and abilitie. The second is out­ward, the calling by man, and the Church. Hereto belongs the descriptions of a Bishops and Ministers, set out by Saint Paul [Page 27] 1. Tim. 3.2. whereto else may it tend? if every one may intrude himselfe into the Church and the calling, without the call of it, and that, 1 Tim. 5.22.

Reason 1 Because it is a sin unto them who shall, and a curse belongs to them for medling with things that are holy, when they are not separated and appointed for them. They are thereby liable to Gods judgements, as was Vzzah, 1 Chron. 13.10. and Vzziah, 2 Chron. 26.18.19.

Reason. 2 Because else the Church should be too much burdened: for when as, 1 Tim. 5.17. The Elders that rule well are worthy of double honour; Therefore many for ambition and ease would chalenge the Ministery, and take it upon them for the honours sake.

Reason 3 Because, 1 Cor. 14.40. Let all things be done decently and in order. Therefore must there be a calling and chusing of them by the Church: for the other is to make all confusion and dis­order.

Vse 1 This serves to confute all Anabaptisticall dreames, who con­temne all ordinary callings, vocations, and thinke that every man may at his pleasure, and when he list, take this calling, and those Ecclesiasticall functions upon them. For if this be found and true, that must needs be false and corrupt, that any should take a­ny part of this calling, without warrant from God, and besides the order that God hath appointed. Yet I deny not but there is a difference where a Church is not yet planted, where every one that knowes Christ may preach him, and labour to gaine others that are ignorant of Christian religion, and are not to look for an ordinary ordination. For then is he chosen by the silent suffrages and voices of those who heare, and that is his calling; yet is he not to refuse the ordinary calling, if after it be to be had. But when a Church is already planted; and established; because all things must bee done in order, then is required an apparant or­dination by voyces or imposition of hands; that trouble and con­fusion might be avoided. Neither do I deny, but sometime there is an extraordinary function, as were the Prophets, not of the Le­viticall stocke, not ordained of the Priests, which God stirred up, when ordinary Ministers could not reforme the corruptions of the time; but what he did extraordinarily, is to be admired rather then imitated: For we must follow the prescript rule that is given us, which is, that every man have his ordinary calling which is from God by men.

Object. 1 Cor. 16.15. Now brethren, I beseech you, know ye the house of Stephanus, that it is the first fruits of Achaia, and that they have given themselves to minister unto the Saints.

Answer. The meaning is not, that they called themselves, but that they set themselves apart to the Ministerie of the Saints, in the purpose & [Page 28] resolution of their owne hearts, and not contemning or neglecting the calling of God by the Church.

Ʋse 2 To let private men and women see their danger in medling with those things which are proper to the Minister, when they have not a calling to it. If Vzzah if Vzziah were smitten, how shall they escape? whether they can pretend the authority of the Church, as in the Romish Church they can, for women to baptize, yet shall they not escape for excuse of necessitie; it will not serve, because that it is not from God, but it is from mans folly, or ignorance. If it be objected, that it is not then a Sacrament which is given by them, when they have no authoritie to deliver a Sacrament; I answer: yes, for the Seale is the Princes, though some other then the Lord Keeper set it to by some indirect dealing. And though such a Minister sinne in dealing with the Word and Sacra­ments, yet are they such to the hearer and receiver. Againe, that which S. Augustine Vera sacra­menta licet non veri mi­nistri quia dant non sua, sed Dei, Aug. lib. 2. cont. Peril. hath in his second book against Petill. They are true Sacraments though they are not true Ministers; because what they give is not their owne, but Gods.

Vse 3 To teach every man to be sure, that he hath a calling of God to the Ministery before he take it upon him, that he may be able to say, as Jer. 7.16. I have not thrust in my selfe for a Pastor af­ter thee; neither have I desired the day of misery; thou knowest that which came out of my lips was right before thee. His calling is his inward gifts and conscience, abilitie and care to use them; and the outward calling of the Church, 1 Tim. 3.10. For without this may he not do it, though he be never so excellent, as it is dan­gerous for him to meddle with this without the other. And if his gifts be inferiour to many, or as it may be but in his owne sense: yet if it be the judgement of others, he may not by modesty or shamefastnesse refuse, though at first he may professe what he thinketh of himselfe: yet if they will not change, then must he yeeld and submit himselfe.

VERS. V.

My covenant was with him of life and peace, and I gave him feare, and he feared me, and was afraid before my Name.

MY covenant was with him of life and peace.] The dignity bestowed upon these Priests consisting in the speciall Co­venant, is here amplified by the parts of the Covenant. First on Gods part, which is double, a Gratious promise of life and peace, and a faithfull performance.

My Covenant was with him of life and peace] That is, I cove­nanted [Page 29] with him, and tooke him into favour, and made a league and agreement with him; and by my covenant I bound my selfe to give him first life, that is, length of dayes here on earth; Saint Hieroms opinion of the life of grace here, and of glory hereaf­ter, is not greatly probable, hardly any instance of the like inter­pretation, and that peace following after, not so to be understood of spirituall peace, but of an outward prosperity in this life: and so they who incline to Hierom in the former, understand it. And it must needs be, according to that which is Numb. 25.12.13. Wherefore say to him; Behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace, and he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of the Priests office for ever; because he was zealous for his God and hath made an attonement for the children of Israel. For the cove­nant of peace is expounded by the perpetuall Priesthood. And in other places the branches of this covenant are set downe in the a­bundance of outward things, by the offering and other means both to the Priests, Numb. 18.8. ad 20.26.30. and for the Levires, Numb. 18.21.24.31.

And I gave them him.] Gods performance; As I promised him these things, so I did very certainly and assuredly perform to Aaron, and Phineas, and others, who did performe conditions and covenant with me; and will do to as many as shall so deal also with me.

For my feare.] Now he comes to the second, containing the conditions performed by Levi, and these are the fear of God and humilitie. Some read it; I gave him my fear; which is true, and agrees well with the doctrine of faith: for the feare of God is the gift of God, Jer. 32.40. but the words are otherwise: I gave him these for the feare wherewith he feared me. Because he beleeved my word, and honoured me in his place, and lookt to my wor­ship in himselfe and others, I honoured him, and gave him these things.

And was afraid before my Name.] Iunius readeth it: He was de­stroyed for my Name: i. for not honouring my Name, Numb. 20.12.24.28. But the whole speech here is against it: for he intending to set forth the care which Aaron and his sonnes had of the wor­ship of God, and to commend him rather then tax his infirmities. It is rather, he was humbled before me, he walked humbly and low­ly and did all in humility, not lifting up himselfe either for his high calling, or for his faithfull service. The parts of the covenant which is the Priests dignity. And first on Gods part, and first his promise.

Doctrine. Long life and the length of dayes is the blessing and gift of God, that which he promiseth and performeth to all those who feare him and walke in his wayes. Prov. 10.27. The feare of the Lord increaseth the dayes; but the yeares of the wicked shall be dimi­nished, [Page 30] and 16.31. Exod. 20.12. Deuter. 25.45. 1 Kings 3.14. And if thou wilt walke in my wayes to keepe mine ordinances and my com­mandments, as thy father David did walke, I will prolong thy dayes. Psal. 91.16.

Reason 1 Because God will be glorified by his in this life, as the Psal­mist, I will not dye, but live, and declare the workes of the Lord. Now the longer they live, the more they may glorifie God; then it is a blessing.

Reason, 2 Because it is a blessing to helpe many, and to draw many unto God in this life, but that is done by living long; seeing it is so long before a man comes to be able to doe either; many of his yeares and dayes spent before he be fit for it.

Object. But many of the children of God dye untimely, and live not long; how then is this true?

Answer. This is not simply a blessing, as if he were happy that lives long, but as a symbole or signe of Gods good favour, and love. If then, he shewes his love to some rather by taking them out of this life, then by prolonging their daies, he doth the rather performe his promise then breake it. A man promiseth ten acres of ground in one field, and gives him an hundreth in another, he hath not bro­ken his promise. So if God have promised long life, that is, an hundred yeares here, and after not give it him, but gives him e­ternity in the heavens, hath not broken his promise, for it being not promised as a blessed and happy thing in it selfe, but as a signe of his good will, which is greater sometimes to be taken out of this life. As Ieroboams good sonne was, that he might not be infected with the sinnes of his fathers house, and not afflicted with the sight of those horrible judgements that were to fall upon that gracelesse family; which was no ill bargaine to be taken from earth to heaven, from the conflict to the triumph, from the battell to the victory, from men to God, and to the company of his An­gells and Saints.

Vse 1 This is to admonish old men to be thankefull unto God for his mercy in preserving them so long, and lengthening their dayes, specially if they have beene found in the way of righteousnesse. Prov. 16.31. If they have feared God and walked uprightly and humbly before him; it hath beene his blessing upon them, and mercy to them; otherwise it hath beene but a curse unto them, for they have but lived to heape up wrath against the day of wrath, and to make up a greater measure of their sinnes, that God may make a greater measure of vengeance. So that it had beene better for them never to have beene borne, or else to have dyed so soone as they were borne; for the longer they live, the more sinnes they commit, and the greater shall be their torments. But greater shall be his glory that is found in the way of righteousnesse and in wel­doing because he hath more glorified God. And he ought still to [Page 31] use this as a blessing of God, that he may glorifie him more, and fit himselfe more for him and for his service; imagining that as old age is a blessing, so is it a bond, that he should performe; as Psa. 71.17, 18. O God, thou hast taught me from my youth even untill now: therefore will I tell of thy wondrous workes. Yea, even unto mine old age and gray head. O God forsake me not untill I have declared thine arme unto this generations, and thy power to all them that shall come. And if he have borne it in his youth it will be lesse burdensome in his old age, for to others it is heavy.

Ʋse 2 Then is it lawfull for a man to pray for long life, that he may live to glorifie God here; so did David, Psalm. 102.27. so Hezekiah, Isaiah 38.3. True it is that a Christian man should be equally prepared to life or death; for in things wherein a man can­not certainely know, which will make more for the glory of God, and their owne good and salvations; the will of man should be equally prepared for both, left it should resist God; so in this. And because he should lesse torment and vex himselfe with the desire of life or feare of death; yet is it not unlawfull for him to pray for life for the grounds before, so he pray for it as for other things, conditionally. Truth is that of Solomon, Eccles. 7.1. The day of death is better then the day of ones birth, because of mise­ries and fearefull times, when it is like as August: to be Diù vive­re, diù torquere, to live long, to be vexed long: Or as Cyprian, Non solum fidelibus inutilis non est mars, verumetiam utilis repe­ritur; quoniam peccandi periculis hominem substra hit, & in non pec­candi securitatem constituit. Death is not only not unpro­fitable to believers, but profitable; because it sets a man out of danger of sinning, and puts him in a security of not sinning. Yet proves it nor that it is the more to be desired. When as a man may shew his patience, and spirituall fortitude in his owne miseries, and the more he suffers and conquers, the more he shall be glorified. And in other mens miseries he may shew piety, comfort and good will towards other, and mercie to them in their miseries, and finde himselfe the more mercie. And his sinnes he may breake off, not by ending his life, but by amending of it, & by true repen­tance. And so his age may be a crown of righteousnesse. He is a wise Physitian that knowes how to temper his medicine, that it will confirme health: And he is a wise man who learnes so to live, that a good death may follow after.

Doctrine. Peace, plenty, prosperity, a prosperous estate, and plenty of outward things, a liberall portion, God hath promised, and will performe to those who feare him, and will walke in his wayes, 1 Tim. 4.8. Bodily exercise profiteth little: but godlinesse is profitable unto all things, which hath the promise of the life present, and of that that is to come, Deut. 28.1. Psal. 84.11.

Reason 1 Because they may by them be better able both to glorifie God, & benefit men, being helps of their weaknes, and strength to their infirmities.

Reason 2 [Page 32] Because he might encourage them against all the discouragements they shall finde in professing his feare, and by these ballance them that they be not driven backe from him by the tempests Satan will stirre up against them.

Vse 1 They who have the true feare of God, may best be, and live without carping care for the things of this life, they may best take the Apostles exhortation; Let their conversation be without co­vetousnesse, Heb. 13.5, For they have his promise and covenant to be provided for of a liberall and rich portion: he that hath cove­nanted with a rich wealthy man, and one of great power, with a Prince of a countrey, that he shall be in safety and abundance un­der him for such and such service, hath taken all care he will for it, onely his care is to use it well: so it should be with these. And farre better may it be, seeing his power and riches ex­ceedeth all: he hath promised, and will performe; and though the Lions lacke, and suffer hunger, yet shall they lack no­thing at all who feare the Lord. But many wicked men, voyd of Gods feare, have more abundance then most of those who feare him. Be it so; yet is not this crossed: for as the life of man con­sists not in abundance, so not their prosperity when they have competencie. And a little that is sufficient which the righteous hath where there is contentment with it, is better then great riches of the ungodly. And if such have not so great abundance and seeme sometime to be scanted, it is either because they have some secret sin known to God which shuts up his hand towards them, or because they seek them indirectly, which God makes frustrate, or he sees how their hearts would be upon them, and stolne away from him, and that riches would devoure, or for a time obscure their religion; knowing their hearts better then themselves or as Chrysost. ho. 16. ad popul. Antioch. He first makes men fit to use and dispose the riches he meanes to give them, and after gives them riches.Nisi hoc fe­cisset, diviti­arum eroga­tio non do­num, sed ul­tio fuisset & poena. Which unlesse he had done, the bestowing of riches had not beene a gift, but a punishment and revenge. This publicke and generall charter of God hath these exceptions.

Vse 2 To teach every man what is the nighest and readiest way, what is the Kings high-way to prosperity and plenty, to riches and wealth, the feare of God, and the walking in his wayes. Many men who hasten to riches, and have set downe with themselves, and resolved to be rich, take many wayes to it, by false weights and measures, by cozenning or deceit, by flattery or other wic­ked courses. Happily a man may come to riches or abundance sooner then another, that keepes the Kings high-way; as he that hath found a bye and casting way, may come to his journeyes end speedier then he that keepes the ordinary way; but they shall not prosper with him. Prov. 20.21. An heritage is hastily gotten at the beginning, but the end thereof shall not be blessed. But poverty [Page 33] shall come upon him. Prov. 28.22. A man with a wicked eye hasteth to riches, and knoweth not that poverty shall come upon him. And he shall be guilty of much sinne, and bring much sorrow upon himselfe. Prov. 22.20. 1 Tim. 6.9.10. But they who take the right way shall be sure of them, and not finde sorrowes with them. For so Gods blessing makes rich, for they shall have them by vertue of his covenant, and as testimonies of his love, which is farre bet­ter then farre greater riches, if it be but a pittance.

And I gave them him] That he had promised, that he performed.

Doctrine. God in his will and decrees, covenants and promises, is most certaine and sure. So much is here, and James 1.17.

Vse. To comfort those who live in trouble and affliction in this life, the Lord will make good all his promises to them in due time, upon this should they stay themselves as the Anchor hold, fast against all temptations, herewith should they comfort themselves, As Psal. 119.49.50. Remember the promise made to thy servant, wherein thou hast caused me to trust. It is my comfort in my trouble; for thy promise hath quickened me. As Abraham said, Gen. 22.8. God will provide; it may be in this life, but if the leaves fall, the rootes are sure to stand; though earthly things are not alwayes performed, because they are not absolutely promised, yet heaven­ly and eternall shall.

My feare.] Or for the feare wherewith he feared me.] The con­ditions on the Priests part are feare and humility.

Doctrine. Though men be bound to doe and suffer whatsoever God shall lay upon them; and when they have done all, both are, and must confesse they are unprofitable servants. Luke 17.10. yet the Lord in his great mercy and goodnesse propoundeth, promiseth, and performeth a reward unto them here, and Gen. 22.16.17. Mat. 6.4.6.18. Mat. 10.42. Marke 10.29.30. Hebrewes 6.10.

Reason 1 Because of the imperfection and corruption of men; therefore hath he propounded them.

Reason 2 Because he is faithfull, and having promised, must, and will performe.

Vse. This is to encourage and hearten us to obey in all things with chearefulnesse, and to beare all things with patience by the hope and expectation of these things. Heb. 10.32. ad 38. and 11.24.25.26. Mat. 5.11.12. 2 Cor. 7.1. Indeed the most ingenuous, filiall & acceptable service, is to obey for the love of God, and that sim­ply without respect of reward, but be­cause of our infirmity that cannot, and Gods mercie who hath so provided for our weaknesse. For as S. Chrysostome speakes,Oportet in rebus gravibus & molestis, non labores sed praemia considerare; ut Mercatores non maris pericula, sed lu­crum spectant: Ita & nos coelum & Dei praesentiam. Chrysost. in Ioh. Hom. 7. We ought in grievous and irksome things, to consider not the la­bours but the rewards; as Merchants [Page 34] minde the gaine, not the dangers of the sea; so must we looke at heaven and the presence of God.

For the feare.] These blessings of life and peace are promised for Gods feare, and this is the condition he required of them for them.

Doctrine. He that would have the blessings of God performed to him, which he hath promised, must have this condition of his feare and must feare him, for that he commends here in Levi, he com­mends to posterity, and commands the performance for the obtai­ning of the other. Deuter. 5.29. Oh that there were such an heart in them to feare me, and to keepe all my commandements alway: that it might goe well with them, and with their children for ever. Psalm. 115.11.13. Prov. 14.26.27. Luke 1.50. This feare of God is a continuall reverent awe of him, rising partly on consideration of his power, and partly of his mercy. First, it is a reverent awe, serve the Lord in feare, and rejoyce in trembling. Secondly, continued not onely for a brunt or in some judgement, as those in Jonah 1.16. but Prov. 28.14. Blessed is the man that, feareth alway; but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into evill. Thirdly, the grounds, 1. Gods power, though there be no expectation of evill, as we re­verence a man of authority, though he bear no evil will unto us, but good, even for his authorities sake. 1 Kings 19.13. Heb. 12.21.2. his mercy because he hath shewed them mercy and goodnesse, both in soule and body. Psal. 130.4. Hos. 3.5. Job 1.9.

Reason 1 Because onely they must have them to whom they belong; now as Christ of one, health, Mar. 15.26. And he answered and said, it is not good to take the childrens bread & to cast it to whelps. So of all, they are childrens bread, onely their portion, which are Gods. Now they are onely his which feare him. Mal. 1.6. Honour is filiall feare.

Reason 2 Because in covenants no man may expect anothers promise, but he that performes that he undertooke; so in this. And though the mercy of God be great, it is to be expected and found, not when men performe no conditions, but in passing by their infirmi­ties when they performe them

Vse 1 It is matter of comfort to as many as live in the feare and conti­nuall awe of God: to them belong the promises, and they shall have the performance of them; for the performing their conditi­on, he cannot nor will not but performe his. They may happily be in reproach and scorne in the time and age they live in, for the feare of God which they professe, the righteous being an abomi­nation to the wicked, and restraining themselves from evill be made a prey to the wicked, Isaiah 59. [...]5. yet against these must this comfort them, thinking that these things are but as sower sawce to make sweet and delicious meate more tooth some and more wholesome: neither must it trouble them to see others in [Page 33] abundance, greater then they, and happily when they are such as performe no condition with God at all, but are Atheists and pro­phane blasphemers, and wicked miscreants, and such like: for this should rather comfort them: if he do so in his generall provi­dence to those who have no promise, what will he do to those who have the promise? And if he feed the swine, will he starve the children? If the dogges be full, and corn-fed, will he desti­tute the children when the bread is theirs? He will not sure. It may be they shall not have things superfluous to abuse unto wan­tonnesse, and so to grow worse; but they shall have that which is necessary and fitting for them: And that little is better then the o­thers much.

Vse 2 To stirre up every man that hath not this feare, to labour and use all meanes to come by it. It is the condition that makes him capable of the blessings of God, and the lawfull heire of them. He that knew a meanes to make himselfe capable of some rich mans goods, and to be his heir or executor after his death, would desire it, seeke for it, and strive to attaine it by all meanes. Admit it were the reverencing, and honouring, and pleasing of him in all things; would he not be double diligent about it? So in this, eve­ry man should pray earnestly for it, and long after it. Nehem. 1.11. Psal. 86.11.

But because many take the comfort to them, who have no part in it, and perswade themselves they have this feare, when they have no portion of it; we may not unprofitably call to minde the five effects, as five notes to know this childelike feare by, handled Chap. 1.6.

He was humbled before me.] The second thing God commen­deth in these as the thing he delights in and approved, and as the condition on their parts, for which he gave them his blessings, is humility.

Doctrine. He that is humble and lowly in minde shall receive the blessings of God; to him hath God promised them and will performe them. James 4.6. But the Scripture offereth more grace, and therefore saith, God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble, Psal. 138.6. Prov. 3.34. and 29.23.

VERS. VI.

The law of truth was in his mouth, and there was no iniquity found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity.

THe law of truth was in his mouth.] Here begins the second reason given of the Lord, why he would bring these judge­ments [Page 36] upon these Priests; namely, their dissimilitude with the for­mer and first Priests, with whom he made the covenant, and to whom he did performe it, Aaron, Eleazar, Phineas. And in this the order observed is, he setteth downe in the first part of the comparison, their good and worthy parts which were the prede­cessors, vers. 6. and the reason of it, vers. 7. There are foure worthy parts reckoned of theirs. And these were not of private and particular parts, as they were private men; but they were such parts as were in them as publicke persons: As if it had re­ference with the former, he said, he did not onely carry himselfe and approve himselfe a good and godly man; but he shewed him­selfe a wise and compleat Doctor, both in teaching the Law and Truth of God, and giving most wise, grave, and wholesome counsell.

The law of truth was in his mouth.] The first part of the prede­cessors, which was commendable in them, he was ever most stu­dious of the law of God, and most skilfull in it, and taught it most sincerely to his people, ever teaching most sound doctrine to them, that they might observe my precepts.

And there was no iniquity found in his lips.] The second thing commendable; he never propounded or taught any errour, he ne­ver deceived any of my people to draw them from my true wor­ship; but taught ever that which was wholsome and good. Ini­quity is commonly taken for the pervertion and depravation of the knowne right, and is opposite to equity and truth.

He walked with me in peace and equitie.] The third thing com­mendable; the summe of it is, he lived and performed the duty of his place without all negligence & unfaithfulnesse, approving himselfe to God and men. He walkes with me, i. he was most carefull to please me, and to approve himselfe unto me, to worship me as I required, and followed not the wickednesse of the age, nor was corrupted with the depravations of the time, whereby men were depraved in my service and feare, as Gen. 5.22.

In peace.] That is peaceably, not provoking me to anger; but cleaving fast unto me, and obeying my will, so that I had no cause of expostulating or quarrelling with him. Cyril saith, To have peace with God, is nothing else but to desire to know and do that which God requires, and to offend him in nothing.

And did turn many from iniquity.] The fourth thing commen­dable in them, was, that by their exact walking, and faithfull tea­ching, they helped to turne others from their sinfull wayes. Out of the coherence, that from their personall and inherent vertues, he proceeds to the vertues of their place, and their publicke acti­ons and carriages; we may note:

Doctrine. It is not enough for a man to be honest and good in himselfe, in his owne person; but if he have any place, either more or lesse [Page 37] publicke, he must be good & faithfull in that, if hee would be ap­proved of God: As if he be a Magistrate, or Minister, or officer, or master of a family. As this is manifest in the coherence: so by that, Gen. 18.17.18.19. & Exo 18.19.20.21. Hence is both the cōmen­dations & blemish of old Eli, he was a good Priest, a good Magi­strate, but a bad father; in the more publicke, good; in the lesse, defective, 1 Sam. 1.2. Hence we read in Scripture, the commen­dations of good governours, and Kings, both for their private parts, and their publicke vertues: In themselves fearing God, and in publick discharging their duties sufficiently and faithfully. And in the new Testament we finde not onely private and perso­nall duties prescribed to Masters, Fathers, Husbands, to Mini­sters and Magistrates; but specially publicke, Ephes. 5. and 6. Col. 3. and 4. 1 Tim. 3.2. &c. Tit. 1.6. Hence the commen­dation of the Angell of the Church of Ephesus, though he was defective in personall, Rev. 2.2. and the reproofe of the Angell of Pergamus, verses 14.15.

Reason 1 Because he more glorifies God: for though his good workes, as a private man, do glorifie God; yet nothing so much as his faithfulnesse in his place publicke, which makes that God is glo­rified much more, and of more. An annuall Magistrate may pro­cure the glory of God more in that yeare, then in all his life: not onely because Regis ad exemplum, &c. but because they may com­mand and compell moe.

Reason, 2 Because this will blemish the other their private parts, and bring Gods judgements upon them, at least temporall, as in Eli, and the Angel of Pergamus.

Ʋse 1 This may let all those see their errour and corruption, who take places, or seek them only for the honour and dignity of them, without either ability for the duties, or conscience and care to per­forme those publicke duties, onely it sufficeth them that they have some faith and feare of God, as other private men have, and never shew themselves faithfull in their publicke places, never re­gard to doe and execute the places. But of few fathers of fami­lies can God say as of Abraham; nay, he knowes the contrary, that they tooke the place with no minde to do any such dutie, and so execute it still. So of Magistrates and Ministers. They are brought, or thrust themselves, before they be called up­on the stage of the world; and when they are on it, do no more then make a dumb shew, perform no more then lookes on, or but things that must be done of course, and would be though they slept: which is the fault not onely of men profane, or but civilly honest; but of men who professe the feare of God; and may well be thought to have some good measure of it, and go for good and truly honest men. Yet it is their blemish, that they are carelesse of the duties of their place. That as he said, An evill man may be a [Page 38] good Citizen: we may say, Good men are evill Citizens, Ma­sters, &c. which blemisheth much their private graces in the sight of God and good men. And upon many hath, and doth, and will bring particular and temporall judgements, from their families, and servants, &c. For this is a grand cause why good men, fathers of families, have such gracelesse children, and corrupt servants, Ministers such untoward flockes, Magistrates such people.

Vse 2 This may admonish and instruct all that have the faith and feare of God, to joyne with it this care of the duties of their place whatsoever it is; that they must have, because these duties though they be profitable for the common good, yet are they not accep­table from him. As he saith, Cypriansec. de zela & livore, that performeth holy things and is not a consecrated Priest, doth things in respect of himselfe, childish and unprofitable though they may be good to others. So he that doth things without faith and the feare of God, they are unprofitable, yea wicked and damnable sinnes, howsoever they may benefit others; so may I say of these; but yet this had, will not beare out, nor excuse the neg­ligence and not doing the duties of his place. It may make the in­firmities of them passed over, but not defend the omitting of them. Therefore to be accepted of God, men must also be carefull of that: Masters, &c. The excuses that commonly are pretended will not goe for currant; servants will not abide with me, if I in­struct, correct, and restraine them, as duty and reason requireth. First, see whether thou art not the cause why they are so untracta­ble, either not seeking by prayer a blessing upon thy government, or dealing hardly and passionately in thy government, as if thou hated them, rather then loved good things, or thy servants see thee doe contrary to that thou directs them; for if none of these, God will perswade them to be tractable and bend their hearts, or else know that he would have thee purge thy house of them, as David said and did his, of his said lewd servants; lest us God prospers a bad houshold for a good servant, so he curse a good houshold for a bad servant. Ministers excuses of the untractablenesse, and un­willingnesse of their people which may happily come from their former negligence, or indiscretion; or if God doe not blesse his labours to them, his reward shall be never a whit the lesse, nor he lesse acceptable, so he doe his duty. Magistrates and Officers, that they shall be accounted busie, officious, and pragmaticall, and it may be when they are out of their office they shall have actions against them for this and that usage; they may happily be justly so accounted, because they follow and doe things in humour not in conscience. If they doe not, they neede not doubt of Gods pro­tection, and of good successe, and should rather feare an action from God then men, besides the losse of the good they may have by doing it. But to all I say as she said to the Heathen King, doe me [Page 39] justice, or else cease to be my King. So let them either doe the du­ties of their places or else never take them, or speedily give them over and leave to be masters, &c. Or else they must know that if God will not justifie; he will condemne.

The law of truth was in his mouth.] He taught the truth and word of God, and nothing but that, and that wholly.

Doctrine. The Minister of God must deliver to his people, the law of truth, and it onely; onely the word of God and nothing else, Rev. 2.7. heare what the spirit saith.

The law of truth was in his mouth.] He taught the truth and no­thing else but the truth, and the whole truth, all the truth not kee­ping any thing from them.

Doctrine. The Minister must deliver to his people the whole truth of God, all his will and counsell whatsoever he hath commanded and revealed. Levit. 10.11. Deut. 5.27. Mat. 28.20. Acts 10.33. and 20.27.35.

Reason 1 Because else he cannot be free from the blood of his flocke, that is, the perishing or slaughtering of them, sanguinis, i. caedis, saith Chrysostome, upon Acts 20.26. For if Paul be free from their blood and from their murther, because as he said Acts 20.26.27. I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have kept nothing backe, but have shewed you all the counsell of God. Then will this by the contrary follow.

Reason, 2 Because else they should not be faithfull neither to him that sent them, nor to them over whom they are set; for what fidelity can there be when for their owne pleasures or respects, they shall not deliver the whole he commanded, and might be profitable to them. 1 Cor. 4.2. And as for the rest, it is required of the disposers, that every one be found faithfull.

Ʋse 1 This will crosse their opinion who affirme many things in the word, are unfit to be delivered and taught to the people, and are ready to scandall and stumble at it, when at any time they are. But if the Minister must deliver the whole truth, If Rom. 15.4. Whatsoever things are written aforetime are written for our learning, that we through patience, and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. If Deuter. 29.29. The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may doe all the words of this law. Why should they nor be taught? It is certaine that many things ought to be spoken wisely, discreetely, in their fit and due times; but yet all things must be delivered. That which Hierom counselled Laeta for her daughter, that the booke of Canticles she should read last of all the Scriptures, when without danger she might, lest in reading it in the first place, she should be wounded when she was not able to discerne spirituall things and spirituall love under carnall words. It may be a rule for all things of the like kind: for as Hilar. [Page 40] Psa. 134. As an unskilfull man comming into a field abounding with wholsome hearbs, passes by all, as of no more use then the grasse; but a skilfull one otherwise: So of the Scriptures.Vt imperitus in agrum salubri­bus herbis divitem venerit; omnia inutilia & promiscue genita exi­stimans praeteribit, peritus contra; Ita de Scripturis. Hilar, Psal. 134. And as Bernard; Why may I not draw a sweet and wholesome repast of the Spirit, out of the sterile and insipide letter, as grain from out the huskes, as the nut from out the shell, as the marrow from out the bone. And as Basil; Quid ni dulce eruam ac salu­tare epulum spiritus, de sterili & insipidâ literâ, tanquam gra­num de palea, de testa nucleum, de osse medullam. Bernard. in Cant. serm. 73. All bread affoords nourishment for health; but of no use oft-times to the sicke or quea­mish:Omnis panis nutrimentum affert ad salutem agris autem sae­pè inutilis; sic & omnis Scriptura mundis munda. Basil ad Chyl. de solita vita. so is the Scripture pure unto the pure. And if any seeme unclean and uncomely, it is to those that are such in themselves. For o­ther things that men thinke unfit to be taught because of the greatnesse of the mystery, and the depth of them; I say as to the former. If Paul have written of election and reprobation, and hath said, All things that are written are profitable, and are for learning, in the same E­pistle where he specially handles those things, why should they not be taught, but with wise­dome in their place. That which S. Chrysostome speaks in another case, we may apply to this:Magister literarum pueru­lum de gremio matris acceptum & ignarum omnium, primis tan­tummodo imbuit elementis, quem rursus alius magister accipiens perfectioribus instruit disciplinis. Chrys. Hom. 9. in Gen. A petty School-master, that takes a young childe from his mothers lap, ignorant yet of all things, onely teacheth him his first letters, whom another master takes, and instructs after in higher learning: so in the knowledge of the Scriptures. For as all men cannot dive, and fetch pretious stones from the deepe, but he that is cunning, and hath the Art of it: so not all, but the wife, can either teach or conceive the deep mysteries. First children must be taught letters, then sillables, af­ter words, then construction, and after all the matter. So is it here.

Ʋse 2 This teacheth the Minister of God how diligent he ought to be, both in his private state and publicke preaching, both to finde out the whole will and counsell of God, and to deliver it to his people; he must exercise himselfe in diligent reading of the Scrip­tures, and comparing of spirituall things with spirituall, as Daniel did, Chap. 9.2. his time must not be spent in hunting after profits and preferments, not in idlenesse, pleasures and pastimes, more than such recreation as is helpfull to make him fit in body and minde for his Ministery: Ars is longa, and vita is brevis, therefore had he not need to lose no more time then needes must, but spend it so, as that the Scripture may dwell in him, by which he may be made perfect to his workes, 2 Tim. 3.17. Then must be instant [Page 41] to teach it, cap. 4.2. To deliver the whole counsell of God. But no man knowes the whole counsell of God, how can he deliver it to others, and many have not life and time to deliver it? If any man know it not by his owne fault, not searching for it, not study­ing and endevouring, it will not excuse him, but condemne him the more. If God hide something from him, it is, without doubt, such a thing as is not so profitable to be knowne or taught, and not required of him. If God shorten his dayes, and that in the first yeare, or second of his Ministery, there is no more required of him then he can performe, so the default be not his.

Ʋse 3 To teach the hearers, that they must endevour by diligent hea­ring, to know from the Ministers, the whole law of God, the whole counsell of God; for therefore must the one teach, that the other may receive it. For he would not have it delivered one­ly because it should be spoken, but that it should be learned and received. If any say, they are not able to conceive, and are not capable of it: I answere, their children at first are not capable of all the learning the School-master can teach them; yet at length, and by successe and progresse, he learnes as much as he can teach him, and is fit for a higher Schoole: So may it be with them. The wit and capacity of man is compared by one, to the wombe of a woman, which at the first is not able to containe the infant, if it were at first conception as perfect for quantity, as when it is borne: but as parts are added to parts, so is it enlarged, so they, when Christ is formed in them.

And there was no iniquity found in his lips.] The second com­mendable part in them; they never taught errour nor deceived his people with lies.

Doctrine. The Minister of God must not corrupt the doctrine of religi­on, nor teach any errour unto his people, whether touching know­ledge or obedience, in matter of doctrine or manners. If it was Aarons commendations, it is others commandment. Hence are the reproofes, Isa. 3.12. Jer. 23.13.16. Ezek. 13.10.14. Acts 20.29.30. 2 Cor. 2.17. Gal. 1.8. Jude vers. 13.

Reason 1 Because when he exhorteth and perswadeth, he may the better be beleeved, and prevaile. For the case is here as in common af­faires, once taken in a lie, hardly beleeved afterwards: so once in an errour, and uncertaine in his judgement, hardly beleeved again, and things before and after will be doubted of.

Reason. 2 Because he being a guide of others, a leader of the blinde, it is not with him as with another; a private man, whose errour may live and die with himselfe; but it is the hurt of many, even so many as are led by him, who are readier to wander with him, then to walk in the right way after him.

Ʋse 1 This sheweth how farre the Priests of Popery are from being true and commendable Priests before the Lord, who deliver no­thing [Page 42] but lies unto their people. For as they have turned the truth of God into a lie, hardly holding any one point of the truth truly and uncorrupt, but having falsified all the truth of God: so that which they specially preach unto the people, are lying le­gends, the false reports of lying and false Saints, their lying mira­cles of foolish, childish, ridiculous impossible things that were done by them. That Paul said of the Cretians, Tit, 1.12. so I may truly of them. It were infinite and unprofitable to enter par­ticulars: This one thing may sufficiently prove that they have no meaning the people should be taught the truth, seeing it is mani­fest they forbid their Priests to read such things as they may un­derstand the truth by, to teach the people, or to see more of the truth then ordinary men do. For there was an inhibition by his Holinesse, that no Priest should be allowed to read Bellarmine, be­cause he hath more truly set down the truth, as we hold, and more largely then others have done: therfore none may read him with­out speciall licence, lest they should see the truth; and none must be licenced but such as are sufficient grounded Priests, that there is no fear they should receive any tincture of the truth, being such obstinate heretickes already.

He walked with me in peace and equity.] The third thing com­mended in him; his sincere, faithfull and upright walking in his place and calling.

Doctrine. The Minister of God ought to walke with God in peace and equitie; that is, to have his conversation so holy, faithfull, religi­ous and godly, that it might be pleasing and acceptable to God, and give him no cause of quarrelling and contending with him. Commended here. So Mat. 5.15.16. 1 Tim. 4.12. Tit. 2.7. 1 Pet. 5.3. The reproofs of all of corrupt lives and conversation in the old and new Testament prove this.

Reason 1 Because they are ever to be neer unto the Lord his remembran­cers for his people: Now they who must live ever with him, and should intreat him for others, they had need be such as he will like of and approve. They who are ever in Princes Courts nigh them, ought to be clad in white and fine apparrell: they who must commend the suites of others, had need be in favour and liking themselves.

Reason 2 Because they must deliver his will to his people, preach his word and performe his ordinance; which lest they should make to be abhorred for their corruptions, as queasie and full stomackes will do meat, for the sluttishnesse of the Cook; and many the gifts of Princes, if the bringers be leprous, or have the pest; As the peo­ple abhorred the sacrifice because of the wickednesse of Elies sonnes.

Vse 1 To reprove the Priests, of Popery, who impropriate unto themselves to be the onely Priests and Ministers of God. To [Page 43] which we may have enough to say out of Bellarmines defence of Iohn 23. lib. 4. de Pont. Rom. cap. 14. He was accused in the coun­cell of Constance for denying the resurrection of the body, and e­verlasting life. Bellarmines first answer is, that he is not bound to defend him; because he was not certainly and undoubtedly Pope: For at that time there were three Popes, Greg. 12. Benedict. 13. and Iohn 23. and whether was, could not be determined, they all had many and singular portions. (A monstrous body which had three heads or no head.) He answeres secondly, that he had no such [...]rour imputed to him for certaine: for, saith he, there were 53. Articles put up against him; but all touching his life and manners, and were proved by witnesse. And other Articles were objected without witnesse, whereof this was one. Then was he found faultie in his manners in 53. crimes. His third answer is, that this was onely proved against him by the tumour of the com­mon people, who seeing Iohn of so dissolute a life, begun to think and to speak it abroad, that he beleeved neither eternall life, nor the resurrection of the body: for it had been unpossible he should have lived so, if he had been perswaded of either. Now if the head be thus, the whole body is sure no better, they so de­pending upon him as they do. For to use Pintus similitude in I­saiah, one of their owne against themselves. As in a fish, the head being corrupted and putrified, the whole body is corrupted: so saith he for a Common-wealth (I for their Church) when the principall is corrupted, the other must needs be: and he that would know whether the fish be corrupted, must behold the head which is first corrupted. So in this.

Vse. 2 To admonish the Ministers, that if they would be accepted of God, they must walk faithfully before him, and with him have their conversations sincere, without hypocrisie, upright, without turning aside after the corruptions of the times. They must be as starres fixed in the firmament, that though the clouds be carried up and downe with the winde, yet the starres being lift above that region, should remain fixed, seeing God hath taken them into his owne tabernacle of heaven, as it were: therefore is it not enough for them to exceed others in knowledge, but they must also sur­passe them in holinesse and pietie. They have or ought to have more knowledge, after that must be their piety and practise. They come neerer to God, they should be the liker to him: They are the guides of the people, they should go before them, and be not like to our shepheards which drive their flockes before them but like the shepheards of the Jewes, which went before their stocks, not like him that said, itc, but to him who said venite, how should they else prevaile with God for his people: or with the people for their God, when they make themselves unacceptable of God: yea, hatefull by their sinnes, and the offering of God and his ser­vice [Page 44] loathsome, and to be abhorred of the people for their cor­ruptions. The Lord forbad to Aaron and all his for ever, strong drinke, Levit. 10.9. forbidding by it all excesse which might make them any wayes unfit for the service of God. The penalty is death; how shall they escape Gods judgements who are drun­kards, deceivers, swearers, and such like?

This commendation given to the Priest, may teach also a gene­rall instruction to all.

Doctrine. Every one that walketh with God, cleaveth to him in upright­nesse, and his worship is acceptable in him.

Some Papists would hence gather, that a man may be perfect in this life: For out of this will follow, say they, that the high Priest was perfect. I answer, that if either they knew themselves, or knew the Scripture, they would never gather any such thing; for who knowes himselfe, and findes not himselfe at the best e­state full of corruption? as Saint Paul did, Rom. 7. Or who knowes the Scripture; and can be ignorant, that he was never yet found since the fall of Adam, which had not his taint and cor­ruption? Not the dearest Saint of God. And for the particu­lar, Aaron the high Priest had his sin divers times: For he yeelded to the people to make a Calfe, Exod. 32. He are not the offering according to the Law, Levit. 10. And so transgressed, that God threatned and performed it, that he should not set foot in the land of Canaan, Num. 6.2. If this be so, then could he not be perfect.

Object. But how is it true, he had no iniquitie in his mouth? and Jam. 3.2. for in many things we sin all, if any man sin not in word, he is a perfect man, and able to bridle all the body.

Answer. It is true, if he sin not in his tongue at all; but no such thing is here given unto him, he is made found in his Doctrine, not in his whole speech. A man may be perfect in his place, but never in his person. Again I say, as there is a double justice, so there is a dou­ble perfection: one legis, which hath all the points and parts of justice, and all the perfections of all parts which some call, Perfe­ctio graduum obedientiae, which was never in any but Christ, and Adam for a while. Another Evangelii, which hath all the parts of true justice, but it wants the perfection of those parts. As a childe hath all the parts of a true man in the infancie, though it want perfection of stature, and tallnesse, and strength, which is called of some, Perfectio partium, because all are there in truth; which is nothing else but the conversion of a sinner, with a pur­pose, will and endevour, with integritie and sincerity to please God according to all his commandments. And thus was Iob just and perfect, Noah, Zachary and Elizabeth, &c.

He walked with me in peace and equity.] Therefore in peace; be­cause in equity, being upright in his conversation, he had peace with God, and peace with himselfe.

Doctrine. [Page 45]They who walke uprightly, and walke with God in equity and righteousnesse, they, and they onely walk in peace, shall have true inward peace with God and themselves. To this purpose is that of Isaiah 54.13. Psal. 119.165. Joh. 14.27. and 10.33. Phil. 4.5.6.7. è contra Isai. 57.20.21.

Reason 1 Because he is justified, that his uprightnesse and sanctification sheweth: for it proceedeth from justification,Bona opera sequuntur justificatum. as fruit from the life of a tree. Now he that is justified, and he onely, hath true inward peace, Rom. 5.1.

Reason 2 He that walkes not uprightly, can have no assurance of his justi­fication, and so remission of his sinnes, and so no peace and quiet­nesse. A sinner is as a debter sued to judgement.

And did turn many away from iniquity.] The fourth thing com­mended in him, that he laboured so diligently, and so effectually, and walked so carefully, that many who were borne and bred in sinne and iniquity, and continued in it as slaves of Satan, were tur­ned from it to God and godlinesse.

Doctrine. The Minister of God must and ought to turne many from sinne and Satan, to God & godlinesse; that is, he ought so to teach, so to labour, and so to walke, that by the blessing of God upon his en­deavours, many may be gained to God out of the bondage of sin and Satan, be called and converted unto God. This is given unto the Word, Psal. 19.7. in the Ministers preaching of it, Rom. 10.14. Isai. 49.5. Ezek. 3, 17, &c. and 33.7. &c. Matth. 28.19. Acts 18.9.10. 2 Tim. 2.24.25.26.

Reason 1 Because he shall be free from their bloud and perishing, not one­ly if he convert, but if he so labour as they may be converted, though they never be: for it not being in his power to work upon the heart, and to alter it, if he do what he can by all meanes to the outward man, he is free; else he must be culpable and guilty of his perishing. If in Ezekiels parable, Chap. 33. a watchman set up of themselves, shall answer for their bodies, if they perish for want of warning; what shall he do that is set up of God?

Reason 2, Because if God do make his labour effectuall, his honour shall be the more. I cannot say as Chrysost. Non minus praemii, if hee come without them, he shall not lose his labour, but lesse sure, be­cause of that, Dan. 12.3. And they that bee wise shall shine as the brightnesse of the firmament: and they that turne many to righteous­nesse, shall shine as the starres for ever and ever.

Vse 1 This reproveth and condemneth all Preachers and Ministers, who do not labour so in doctrine, and live so in practise, that men may be converted to God from iniquity; but by negligence and corruption, suffer men to remaine still in their sinnes: yea, harden them in their iniquities. They are farre from their dutie, and farre unlike to these Priests, who were thus approved and commended of God.

Ʋse 2 [Page 46] To teach all Ministers so to preach, and so to live, that they may convert men to God, and turne them from iniquity: They must exhort, improve, and rebuke with all meeknesse, long-suffe­ring, constancie and courage, that there may be nothing wanting in them, why they should not be turned. This is his dutie, and he that is a Priest, and rebukes not delinquents, he forsakes the of­fice of a Priest. In the doing of it faithfully, he may well expect a blessing from God; because of that Isaiah 55.10.11. Surely, as the raine commeth downe, and the snow from heaven, and retur­neth not thither, but watereth the earth; and maketh it to bring forth and bud, that it might give seed to the sower, and bread to him that eateth: so shal my word be, that goeth out of my mouth: it shall not returne unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I will, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I send it: And if he doe waste himselfe, hazard his life, and spend his strength, and gain but one, or few, it will be the recompence of his labour. The Captaine that redeems and recovers but one captive, whose free­dome is desired by his Prince, shall not lose his reward, though he shall have greater that recovers more. So in this. Dan. 12.3. And if God do not blesse his labours, yet if he be not wanting in his dutie, care and endeavour, but be found wise and faithfull, he shall be rewarded. Isai. 49.5. And now, saith the Lord that for­med me from the womb to be his servant, that I may bring Iacob again to him, though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my strength.

Ʋse 3 This may teach us why the Ministery of the Word, and the Ministers of it, are so harsh and so unacceptable unto most men, if they be faithfull, and will seeke by all means to convert men to God; because they must turne them from their sin, separate them and their iniquities, which they love so dearly, as Micha 6.7. Sin is either naturall, or by custome, or both; naturall diseases are al­most incurable, and no lesse diseases that grow into a custome, which is another nature: And the Physitian that should go a­bout to cure these against a mans will, should have little thanke for his paines, and be not greatly welcome, when such things cannot be removed without most sharp and bitter medicines, great paine and griefe: So in this. And here is the cause why many a mans ministery at the first comming to a place, is very ac­ceptable for a while, because he speakes things good and whole­some, but somewhat generally, because he knowes not the state of his flocke and people: but after he hath lived some yeares, and sees their sinnes, and begins to speake home unto them; then is he unacceptable, because he would part them and their sins. As that Minister that should perswade a divorce betwixt a man & his wife which he loves most dearly, should never be welcome to his house or company: so in this. It may be it is but the same he hath [Page 47] often spoke of before, but then it was borne; because they pro­bably conjectured, he meant not them, but when he hath been a while with them: that it is like he may know them to be guilty of that sinne, though happily, and ten to one, he did not, then is it tolerable, because they thinke he would separate them and their beloved sinne, their profitable and delightfull sinne. All the while he will preach peace and comfortable things to them, and bring the word of reconciliation, and tell them of Gods love, and Gods mercie, and that he is sent to wooe them to be married to God: all that while he shall be kindly welcome. As he that should sue for a Prince, to win the love of a woman to him, all the while he tells of his honour and riches, and beauty, and such things, he shall be kindly welcome: but if he come to tell her, that she must separate her selfe from some place and company she loves well, and change her manners, and forsake her friends and fathers house; he shall finde his entertainment, both for usage and countenance, changed: So in this. Which makes oftentimes Ministers, if they be not the more faithfull, grow cold and carelesse, and so fall into many grievous sins.

And turne many from iniquity.] In themselves, and of them­selves by nature, they were in iniquity, carnall, and sold under sinne, Rom. 7. till the Minister by the word brings them out of it, and turnes them to God from sinne, and makes them his.

Doctrine 1 No man naturally is Gods, but a slave to sinne and Satan, till he be turned and converted by the preaching of the Word, and work of the Ministerie.

Doctrine 2 Turne from iniquity.] Their conversion to God, and their cal­ling, is thus noted, By turning from iniquitie. To note this un­to us:

Those who are truly called and converted, are turned from their sinne and corruption; that is, washed cleansed and purged from them, 1 Cor. 6.11.

VERS. VII.

For the Priests lips should preserve knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.

FOr the Priests lips.] In this verse is the reason of the precedent duties required in others, and commended in those with whom God made his covenant at first, generally commanding a duty of the Priest, or a double dutie, because by knowledge and law some understand two severall things. It depends upon the former thus: [Page 48] These things he ought to do: for he ought to be a man of know­ledge, &c. Some read them, Doth preserve, in the present tense; but commonly it is read in the future: Not to note out a promise, as if the Priests lips should never erre, but should be so kept, that he might not erre. But it is a commandement, shewing how he ought to be qualified.

Shall keep.] It is not, saith S. Hierom, shall bring forth, or pro­duce: for that was spoken before; but shall keep, that he may speak it and produce it in time, and may give his fellow servants their portion in due time. Some take knowledge here for the un­derstanding of the spirituall and heavenly mysteries, as the Law after, for the rule of the composing of their manners and actions: And these are said to be the Priests, because they must study the bookes of divine wisedome, by which they become more wise and more learned then the rest of the people.

And they should seek the Law at his mouth.] That is, they ought to require from his mouth who ought to teach it them, Levit. 10.9.10.11. 1 Tim. 3. Tit. 1. The Law, saith Bernard lib. 2. de Con­sid. Non nugas profecto, vel fabulas: Not toyes and fables. S. Cy­ril, Ait nomine legis contineri omnium ad bene vivendum necessa­riorum cognitionem.

For he is the Messenger of the Lord] This is a reason for con­firmation of the former; he must be a man of wisedome and knowledge, because he is one God hath made choyce of, to be his messenger to carry and declare his will unto his people: He is called Angelus, not that he was so by nature, but by office.

In the verse we observe two things, two duties, and one reason inforcing both. The first is the Ministers duty, he must be a man of knowledge, learning and understanding.

Doctrine. The Minister of God, he that is to go in and out before Gods people, ought to be a man of learning, knowledge, and understan­ding in the word of God, and of the mysteries there delivered. It is so here commanded. This Elisha knew well, therefore 2 King. 2.9. he asked a double portion of Elijahs spirit. Matth. 13.52. Every Scribe which is taught unto the kingdome of hea­ven, is like unto an housholder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure, things both new and old. Therefore are they compared to starres, Rev. 2.1. Made the light of the world, Matth. 5.14. To prove that starres should have light, that the eye should have sight, were needlesse: for all know and will confesse it, Tit. 1.9. Gods stewards, of whom as they must be faithfull, 1 Cor. 4.2. so also skilfull, seeing he hath the keyes of the kingdome of hea­ven Haggai 1.13. he is the Lords messenger. 2 Cor. 5.20. in Gods stead.

Reason 1 Because he is Gods messenger, as Paul, 1 Cor. 5.20. Gods Em­bassadour; now necessarily it followes, that the Messenger and [Page 49] Embassadour of a Prince should know and understand his Masters will, what he is to speake and to deliver in the name of him that sent, to those to whom he was sent: so in this.

Reason, 2 Because he ought to instruct the ignorant, to strengthen the weake, to exhort and excite the slow and cold, to confirme the truth, to confute errour, and improve them that speake against the truth, being every way both able and apt to teach, as the tenor of the Epistles to Timothy and Titus do run.

But this cannot be done, except he be a man of knowledge and understanding of the word.

Ʋse 1 This admonisheth all those, who are by God and Man, God and his Church, put in trust, and credited with the choyce and e­lection of fit men for this calling and function, that they impose not hands upon any, neither admit any to this place, but such as are able men, such as after triall & examination are found fit and sufficient for it. If they lay their hands suddenly and foolishly upon any, they shall be partakers of their sinnes, and not be pure, as 1 Tim. 5.22. And where sinne cleaves to the hand, the rod and judgement will be upon the backe. The Generall that for his proper gaine, or private respects, shall admit Captaines and Co­lonels, and Marshals, for the leading of severall Bands,Multo fuisse satius manus suas in spi­nas imposu­isse, quam e­arum impo­sitione Sab­batium ad gradium de­signasse Presbiterii. Marcianus. which have no skill in Warre and Marshall affaires, that when the field is to be fought, are not able to lead their bands & to go in and out before them, can never answer it to their Prince if it he known, that this is the cause why the Battel succeeds so badly, why so ma­ny perished and the enemy gathered ground upon him. So in this. I thinke too many may say of those whom they have ordained, as Marcianus said, when he heard how Sabbatius demeaned himselfe whom he had ordained a Presbyter, It had been better he had layd his hands upon thornes, then by the imposition of his hands to have de­signed Sabbatius to the degree of a Presbyter.

Ʋse 2 This reproveth those who thinke any body sufficient for the Ministery: As corrupt Patrons and Parents and such like; ungod­ly Patrons to enrich themselves, and better their state and portion, thinke any body sufficient to discharge, if he can change Peters voyce, Acts 3.6. Silver and gold have I store; or if he want that, if he can part stakes, and divide it, take thirds, or stand to his courtesie, though he have not a whit of Elisha's spirit, nor any knowledge in his lips; such a one, if they may be judges, there is none to him, as David said of Goliahs sword, and more fit then one that hath Elisha's double spirit doubled upon him, and will looke as he may to have that which God hath given him. If we will make them judges, either the Apostle Paul forgot himselfe, or the Printer, by negligence left out a word, 2 Corinth. 2.16. for it should be, Who is not sufficient for these things? But these Iero­boams, which bring in Ministers of the lower sort of the people; [Page 50] because they fill the hand, shall have Ieroboams punishment, 1 Kings 13.33.34.Qui pote­statem facit volenti Ec­clesiam cor­rumpere, is certè author fuerit corū omnium quae perdita illi­us audacia turbaverit, Chrysost. de Sacerd. 3. Like to these are carnall parents, who bring up their children onely so farre as they may be capable by the law of a living; but care not for other sufficiencie: onely perhaps for credit and complement sake, that they be able now and then to make a Sermon in some place of honour and fame: And they will provide and purchase livings and benefices for them, and thrust them into them. To these, and their like, I may apply that, Dan. 1.10. And to these may I adjoyne those Ministers which them­selves having knowledge, yet I know not out of what corruption it commeth, they thinke a few men of learning is enough. If a few Parishes in a Citie or Countrey have learned men and prea­chers, as if all Ministers should not be men of knowledge.

Vse 3 To reprove all Ministers who are ignorant, whose lips have not knowledge; who though they should be good Scribes, yet are as ignorant of the word of God, as Samuel was in his childhood of the voyce of God, 1 Sam. 3.4. So unable are they for that place. Like to Balaam, Num. 22. that though God forbad him, yet for gain he would needs go: So these, for the wages of iniquitie, when as God by denying them gifts, hath said, Go not, yet they will threap kindnesse of him, and will go. As Ahimaaz, 2 Sam. 18.23. that would needs run to carry the King newes from the Campe; but when he came he knew nothing: So these, needs must they be Ministers of the Gospel, Messengers of glad tidings, such as will carry newes from the King to the Campe: but when they come to tell their message, they know nothing, no more, or often not so much as many of their flockes, as Hosea 4.4.

Vse 4 To admonish every man how he takes this calling upon him, that he finde in himselfe some competent sufficiencie for it, not to be perswaded by friends, drawn by others, not thinking it is enough, when he hath the calling of the Church: for he must be a man of knowledge. These things may increase other mens sinnes, but not lessen his owne; for he must be accepted by that is in him: therfore must he be studious, and of some competent parts before, and still continue in reading, and looke to learning, as 1 Tim. 4.13.16. For he shall finde himselfe still bound to study, and to have need of it daily, for so great a worke to finde out knowledge for his people, the Word being so deep as it is, Bernard.

Object. Whether if he have not gifts, not knowledge, is he a Minister or not.

Answer. He is, though not such as he should; as he is a Minister which is corrupt and lewd, though not as he should.

From these words some of our Papists do gather that the Priests could not erre; and so by consequent not now the Bishops, nor a Councel. The reason is, because this is a promise, and God keeps his promises.

The Councell of Chalcedon not denied to be a lawfull Councell, e­qualled the Bishop of Constant. with the Bishop of Rome in authoritie, honour, and other priviledges; save onely in precedence, which they say is an error. The first Councell of Nice de­creed, That those hereticks who fol­lowed Paulus Samosatenus, should a­gaine be baptized, as Cyprian and the Anabaptists. The second of Nice decreed, That Images should be worshipped, and that Angels had bodies, and that the soules of men were corporall: Why else did Augustine appeale from the Councell of Africa, where Cyprian was present, to the Scriptures, affir­ming, we may not doubt of the Scriptures, but of them it is lawfull, lib. 2. de Baptist. cont. Donatist. cap. 3. Concilia plenaria errare posse, di­cens: If the Qu. be of the authoritie of the Pope, whether greater then a Councell: Hierom answeres: Si authoritas quaeritur major orbis est urbe. But aske the Councell of Con­stance, which deposed Iohn 23. and chose Martin 5. Either the Councell erred, or else Martin was no lawfull Pope: Then all his successors were schismatickes, no lawfull Popes. To this I answer: It is no promise, but a commandment, shewing what manner of man a Minister ought to bee: The same which the next sentence is.

Againe, I affirme, that if it be a pro­mise, it is generall: for the reason is gene­rall to all, yea and particular to every one. But the Scripture is manifest, that both particular Priests, and generall Councels of Priests have erred. In general are these, Isaiah 59.10. Jerem. 6.13. and 14.14. which places shew, that the most of the Priests and Prophets were then corrupt. Now if there should have been a Coun­cell gathered of these, what good might be hoped for from them, by going to the Councell; they might have changed their places, but not their mindes; they would have been the same in a Councell they were at home. Besides, is it not mani­fest, that Councels have erred? 1 Kings 22. But Bellarmine happily will answere, they were a Councell of Prophets, not Priests, gathered by the King, not the high Priest. Then see a Councel of Priests ga­thered by the high Priest erring, John 9.22. and 11.53. and Mark 14.64. But Bel­larmine will say, that a Councell of the Jewes lawfully called before Christ, could not erre; but he being come, they might. The ground must be, because they are not Priests, neither the high Priest; but this is false: for the Priestood of Aaron was not abolished till Christ became a Priest, which was not till his sacrifice: for if they had been, then had he sinned in communica­ting with them. And if this were so, it were marvell how the Rhemists, and the generall Popish argument will hold, who by the example of Caiaphas, Joh. 11.49. proves, that the Pope can­not erre, though he be wicked: for if he were not a high Priest, then holds not this argument; but he was a high Priest, and they all Priests, and yet they erred, and so may it erre. More ingeni­ously deale Hosius and Canus, affirming, the Councell did pro­nounce a right sentence, when they condemned Christ of blas­phemy, that they might establish this, a Councell cannot erre.

And they should seek the Law at his mouth.] The commandment touching the people, shewing what they ought to do.

Doctrine. The people of God, and they who be of his Church, must [Page 52] heare and receive the word of God at the mouth of the Ministers. It is not spoken exclusively, as if these must onely heare from the Minister, and not to read themselves: for that is commanded, Joh. 5.39. but principally they must heare it from him, and ordinari­ly when he speaketh the Word, they must not withdraw them­selves, but must heare. This is the order God hath ordained in his Church: This is that is commanded here: so Hag. 2.12. so Jam. 1.16. Isaiah 2.3. To Gods house to heare and be taught, there speake the Ministers, Heb. 13.17. Then must they be heard.

Reason 1 Because they are begotten and borne againe of the seed of the Word; but that not by their owne private reading, but from the preaching of the Ministers, 1 Pet. 1.23.25. They are the sonnes of God by faith, Gal. 3.26. But faith is not to be had ordinarily, but by hearing, Rom. 10.14.15.17.

Reason 2, Because, as Chrysostome, Hom. 11 ad pop. Antioch. Se quisque per scipsum non facile emendare potest. Men are so partiall in judge­ment, so perverse in affection, oftentimes blinded by one meanes or another, they see not what is fit for them, and if any thing dis­like them, not willing to take it to them, then had they need of another.

Vse 1 This will convince of sinne all those who hold either in opinion or practice, no such necessity of resorting to the publicke Congre­gations, where the Law is to be had from the mouth of the Mini­sters: for if it be a duty that they should, then must it be a sinne to thinke they ought not, and to withdraw themselves from it; con­temning the ministery of the Word, being the ordinance of God, by which he would teach them the Law. Their pretences they hold forth in their defence, are vaine: First, they can read at home, and it may be, better Sermons then he they should heare, can preach any. Let me grant them they can; yet followes it not they will: for he that accounts little of Gods publicke ordinance, will hardly performe any such private dutie, mans nature being more apt to publicke then private duties. But say they can, and will, and doe it, yet is it faultie, because it is crosse to Gods commandment, who could as well have commanded private at that time, as pub­licke. And though it be in it selfe good, yet being out of it fit time, it is evill. It is good and lawfull for a man to follow his cal­ling, or to build Churches, or to get in his harvest; or to recreate himselfe in their times; but to do these upon the Lords day, is evill. As in the body the bloud, that is the continent of life, is good, so it be in the proper vessels, the veines: but if out, it is hurt­full, and breeds putrifactions and diseases. And as all the mem­bers are good in their proper place, but one in another is mon­strous, and hurtfull, as the finger upon the hand, and in the eye: so it is of these things. Againe, what is this, but to crosse the ordi­nance of God? What is it else but to chalenge more wisedome [Page 53] to themselves, then God hath, who hath commanded it, who hath given Pastors and Teachers to the Church, who hath bid them preach in season and out of season.

Secondly, they are begotten already, therefore they need not heare. Nay, they are therefore not begotten, because they think it needlesse. For there cannot be life, but ther [...]ill be a desire of food. They cannot be Gods, but they have his Spirit; and where his Spirit is, there cannot be contempt of his or­dinance: but it argues they have not his Spirit, nor are not be­gotten.

Thirdly, you cannot prove we ought to heare so often. Thou must learne and heare from him the whole Law of God, which cannot be heard in a mans life in so seldome hearing, as they can bee content onely to hear, and much lesse learned. If they must heare out of season, then oftner then they would, or do. But shall I tell you the true cause of this refusall? It is either pride of heart, whereby they are puffed up with their owne knowledge, and condition, and thinke they know as much and need no more, and are, as the speech is, as well as meat can make them; which is plain hypocrisie: or it is pride of state, when they are puffed up with their wealth and state, and thinke it enough for the poore to receive the Gospell, and presse upon it. It is not for their state and worship to be over attendant, to strive and thirst after the Word, they come more to honour the Word, or to be well thought of by men, then for any good they look to receive by it; which is a spice of Atheisme: or it is because of the guilt of their conscien­ces, who finde the galling of the Word, who thinke if they should continually heare it, they should have no quietnesse in themselves at all, when they can hardly quiet themselves that heare so sel­dome, which is carnall security; or else he that hath them in a snare at his will, is afraid to lose them: And when he findes that one Sermon makes Agrippa almost a Christian, he is afraid of a constant hearing, lest they should become Christians altogether, and he be cast out, knowing the Preacher is the power of sal­vation.

Ʋse 2 To teach every one to make conscience of this duty, to heare and receive the word of God at the mouth of his Ministers in the publicke assemblies; it is the commandment of God, he that ma­keth not conscience of this duty, maketh not conscience of any: For he that maketh no conscience of all knowne duties, maketh none of any. Therfore should we be glad with David, to go into the house of God, so shall we subscribe to the wisedome of God, who hath so ordained, and given men gifts, not in vaine, not for themselves, when as little would save them, but as tears to the mo­ther, and Art to the Bee to make hony, &c. so shall we be begot­ten of God, to be sonnes, or reformed of God to be holy sonnes, [Page 54] or repaired by God, who decay in minde as well as in body, and had need of continuall instruction as of daily eating. For our work is not like others, saith Saint Chrysostome, who finde it as they left it.

They should seek the Law.] This is the commandment touching the people, that they must receive the Law from the Ministers mouth; and not onely receive it, but seeke or require it, as it were exact it, as men do for their due, or as servants require their portion from the Steward when he was slack in giving.

Doctrine. The people must not onely heare and receive the word of God at the mouth of the Ministers, but they must seek it, and require it; seeke it with earnestnesse, and fervent desire: So here: and to the same purpose is that, when the Spirit speakes of buying the truth, Prov. 23.23. and Isaiah 55.1. And hence are the compari­sons when it made as milke and men as new borne Babes, 1 Pet. 2. when it is compared to gold, Rev. 2.18. to a treasure, and men to purchasers, Matth. 13.44. to pearles, and men to Merchants, vers. 45.46.

Reason 1 Because it is that which will make men rich spiritually with riches of faith and pietie, and such like: which had, will enrich men, will they seek very earnestly.

Reason 2, Because here Christ, and with him eternall life and all happi­nesse, is to be found, and no where else, Joh. 5.39. Search the Scriptures: for in them ye think to have eternall life; and they are they which testifie of me. Rom. 10.6.7.8. Hence Joh. 6.67.68. Jesus said to the twelve, Will ye also go away? Peter answered, Lord, to whom shall we goe? Thou hast the words of eternall life. Hence the Gospell is, The grace of God bringing salvation, Tit. 2.11.

Reason 3 Because without this, whatsoever a man hath else, whatsoever state and condition he is in, better or worse, health or sicknesse, &c. he can use no state well: for the blessings of God, 1 Tim. 4.5. are sanctified by the Word.

Vse. To convince of sinne all such, as though they heare, yet seeke not, nor desire it, have no fervent affection to it.

The Law.] That is, the simple and plaine words of God, not trifles, and fables, and other vanities of wit, but the whole Law, whatsoever he is bound to deliver.

Doctrine. The people ought to heare and receive, to seeke and desire the Law, the pure Law, and the whole Law from the Ministers. As before, the Minister ought to deliver all: so here they must affect and receive all. So is it here; and to the same purpose is that, Isai. 1.3. For the whole Law is his way. This is proved, Deut. 5.27. Matth. 28.20. 1 Thess. 5.20.21. Heb. 6.1.2. This by the con­trary, Matth. 2.11. 2. Tim. 3.4.

Reason 1 Because they are his people, servants, children, spouse, all [Page 55] which requires they should heare and affect his words, his lawes, his will and his precepts, and them all.

Reason, 2 Because the whole is either concerning God or themselves; God, as it setteth forth his wisedome, power, justice, mercie, and so forth: Themselves, as it offers mercy, or threatneth judgement, as it reproveth evill, or promiseth good.

Ʋse 1 This will serve to reprove many, and to convince severall men of severall corruptions, some in one sinne, and some in another, who will heare, and seeme to desir