Die Jovis 5o. Februarii 1673.

ORdered by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That the Thanks of this House be, and are hereby, given to the Lord Bishop of Hereford, for his pains in Preaching before the Lords in the Abby-Church at Westminster, on Wednesday the Fourth day of this instant February, being a Fast-day; and that he be desired to Print and Publish his Sermon.

John Browne Cler. Parliam.

A SERMON Preached before the RIGHT HONOURABLE THE LORDS Assembled in PARLIAMENT, Upon the Fast-day Appointed, February 4. 1673/4.

BY HERBERT Lord Bishop of Hereford.

LONDON: Printed by Andrew Clark, for Charles Harper at the Flower-de-luce over against St. Dunstan's Church in Fleetstreet, 1674.

A Fast-Sermon.

ISA. 27. last Verse.

There is no Peace, saith my God, to the wicked.

THAT the Gospel is the Rule by which all Christians ought to frame their Lives and Con­versations, there can be no doubt; and this being so, there is as little doubt, but that all Christians ought most earnestly to labour for Peace, it being the prin­cipal part of the Gospel, and that which gives the denomination to it; for 'tis called the Gospel of Peace, Rom. 10.10. And with great reason, for at the first entrance of our Saviour into the world, who came to preach the Gospel to us, he being then an Infant, and according to common course of nature not of ability to speak himself, [Page 2]the Angels declared for him the thing he came to preach, singing to the happy Shepherds, Glo­ry to God in the highest, and on earth Peace. This was the blessed beginning of the Gospel at our Saviour's coming into the world, Peace on earth; and when our Saviour was going out of the world, Peace was the blessed Legacy he be­queathed to his beloved Disciples; Peace I give unto you, my Peace I leave with you, John 14.27. Well then may it be called the Gospel of Peace, this being the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and end of it. And well doth it become all Chri­stians to do their utmost endeavour for the pre­fervation of Peace, it being so earnestly re­commended to us by our dying Lord. Our Peace was purchased by his Death, and there­fore ought to be dearer to us than our own life. But how doth all this agree with that saying of our Saviours, Matth. 10.34. That he c [...]me not to bring Peace, &c. This was caused by the cor­ruptness of our perverse sinful nature, which like a stomack filled with the overflowing of the gall, turns the sweetest things it receives, into the same bitter humour; and so the Gos­pel of Peace was turned into a cause of con­tention. When all mankind was banded toge­ther to work wickedness, when all had sworn obedience to the Prince of darkness, the Light [Page 3]came into the world, To give light to all that sate in darkness, and in the shadow of death, and to guide their feet into the way of Peace. But men loved darkness rather then light, because their deeds were evil: for the light discovering the evil of their deeds, they hated the light, and perse­cuted the children of light though their nearest relations, and before dear unto them. Our Evan­gelical Prophet foreseeing this, though he set forth the peace and glory of the Gospel in most ample manner, yet he plainly declares the wick­ed were not to partake of it. For in the last Chapter, ver. 10. speaking of Jerusalem where the Gospel was to begin, he saith, Rejoyce ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her,—Ver. 12. For thus saith the Lord, Be­hold, I will extend Peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream.— I beseech you mark what follows. Ver. 14. And the hand of the Lord shall be known towards his servants, and his indignation towards his enemies— So then they were the servants of God, that were to enjoy this great blessing of Peace by the Gos­pel; but the wicked the enemies of God, should have no share of it; their portion was, Ver. 15.16. Fire and sword, war and slaughter. Our Sa­viour came not to bring peace unto them, but a sword. There is no peace, &c.

That you may the better understand this matter, I shall divide Peace into three parts; Peace with God, Peace with our own hearts, and Peace with others; and shew that the wick­ed can have no share in any of them.

First, it is apparent the wicked can have no Peace with God, who is all holiness, righte­ousness, goodness. Surely then unholiness, un­righteousness, wickedness, can have no union with these, no more then light and darkness can consist together; the one must needs destroy the other. Wherefore in Scripture the wicked are called Enemies unto God, Fighters against God, Haters of God. But no man ever so wicked will confess this of himself; that he is an enemy, and an hater of God, and you will hardly find a man that believes this of himself; so inconsiderate are men and ignorant of their own hearts, Jer. 17.9. The heart of man is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it? Men are as blind and stupid as stocks in disco­vering their own hearts, and their own wicked­ness, and will not believe they are so desperate­ly wicked as to be enemies and haters of God: but 'tis most evident by their deeds, daily and hourly doing things as hateful unto God, as possible can be. If they say, they do not the things out of any hatred to God, but only to [Page 5]please themselves, so may any one say that murthers another; he may say he hath great pleasure in revenge, and that he murthered the man only to please himself, not out of any ha­tred to him. But this is a clear case, should any one daily do unto us things so spiteful and hateful as we do unto God; we should with­out all doubt conclude he hated us, and we should not admit of any excuse for his doing them. How then can the wicked who are haters of God, be at peace with God? No, There is no peace, &c.

But it is the less to be wondered, that men are so great enemies unto God, seeing they are as great enemies unto themselves: I mean not one man an enemy unto another, (whereof I shall treat by and by) but each man an enemy unto himself, the greatest and most dangerous enemy unto himself of all other; for no man can do him half the mischief he doth himself; and to say truth, no other can do him any mischief at all without his own concurrence in it; as Seneca proves by phi­losophical and rational principles in a Tract which he wrote to this purpose. And this is much more true and evident by Christian Prin­ciples, which teach us, That all things work together for good to them that love God. [Page 6]And therefore when other men contend with us, revile us, persecute us, take away our estates, any thing; we should greatly rejoyce, as our Saviour bids us, and gives a very good reason for it, For great is our reward. We shall be great gainers by all such losses, if we bear them patiently. It is then the con­tention and fighting we have within our selves which doth us all the mischief; they are our own passions which fight against our reason, and these are the enemies that wound our souls, which no other enemy can peach. Nor do our passions war against our reason only, but con­tend and fight one against another. As our body is composed of several elements very op­posite, as fire and water, earth and air; so the affections and passions which spring from the body, are as disagreeing and cross to each other as these elements, and are at perpetual discord: As for example, The passion of co­vetousness, how doth this force a man to pinch both back and belly, to rise early and trot about, and though he lie down wearied at night with many turmoiling affairs; yet then solicitous care for the morrow forbids him sleep, or to take any rest: and all this to satisfie his greedy appetite of wealth, which he hath no sooner scraped together, and hoorded [Page 7]up in his Closet, but a clean contrary pas­sion of vain-glory forces open the Closet doors, tumbles out the bags, for his Neighbour hath built him a fair House, richly furnished, and he is resolved to out-do him whatever it cost: thus Covetousness and Vain-glory war in his own breast. Again, an amorous lustful pas­sion makes a man flatter and adore some beau­tiful imperious Dame, observing all her frea­kish humours, till at length she growing in­solent, and desiring to shew her domineering power, puts some scornful affront upon him, which cuts him to the heart, and raises in him a fierce indignation requiring him even to kick out of doors this insulting Creature; yet she in spight of all his wrath and fury, holds him fast with her amorous hook by the nose, like a Bear, making him still dance after her pipe. Just so the ambition of gain­ing some honourable and powerful place at Court, will make the most haughty aspiring man crouch to, and fawn upon all those whom he thinks may be instrumental for the gaining of it; be they ever so unworthy in his own estimation, yet his eager Ambition will force him, to stoop and humble himself to these pitiful Creatures, which his proud heart abhors. Many more such contradictory [Page 8]passions are perpetually clashing and fighting in the breasts of worldly and wicked men, never suffering them to enjoy any peaceful tranquility. All this is briefly set forth by our Prophet in the Verse forgoing my Text; The wicked are like the troubled Sea when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. Gregory the great Moralist descants upon this place in a pious meditation; adding to this passage of Isaiah, that of David, Psal. 104.26. where he speaks of that great Leviathan taking his pastime in the Sea; which Sea he inter­prets, Corda mortalium tumidis cogitationibus fluctuosa; and by Leviathan he understands, Antiquum hostem qui in eorum lubrica cogitati­one natat. The various passions which the hearts of carnal men are subject to, like furi­ous winds blow where they list without any controul of Grace, tossing them up and down like boisterous Waves of the Sea, wherein the great Leviathan Satan takes his pastime, endeavouring to raise the Tempest and Confu­sion to the heighth. When he first tempts men to sin, he turns the lessening end of his Prospe­ctive-glass unto their eye, representing the great­est horrid Crimes as small harmless Peccadi­lioes; but when he hath raised the mass of their sins to a vast deformed bulk fit to terri­fie [Page 9]them, then he turns the multiplying end to their affrighted consciences, he raises up the mire and dirt thereof, as our Prophet saith, representing all in as foul and fearful a man­ner as possible he can, never ceasing till he hath overwhelmed them in the depth of de­spair: and this is his masterpiece, his chief pastime, to see men thus distracted and con­founded. Miserable wretches made by sin at last such mortal enemies unto themselves, as in raging despair to cast themselves body and soul into eternal flames! There can be no peace to the wicked who are not at peace with God, who have not the assistance of his Di­vine Grace to repel the furious blasts of Sa­tan. God only and his Christ are able to say effectually to the Winds, Peace; and to the Sea, Be still; and his Disciples only can ob­tain this favour at his hands. So saith David, Psal. 85.8. He will speak peace unto his people and to his Saints. Be the Storm ever so great, and the Vessel ready to sink, a word from his Divine powerful mouth composes all. There­fore David saith again, Psal. 119.165. Great peace have they which love thy Law, and nothing shall off end them. But the wicked have no share in this, and therefore can have no setled peace, neither within their own hearts, nor [Page 10]one with another, which is my third and last division of Peace. Peace with others.

God is as it were the Center of all things, from whom innumerable Lines issue forth to­wards the Circumference of the whole Uni­verse; and these Lines the nearer they are to the Center, the nearer they draw to each o­ther, and in the Center are all conjoyned; the farther they draw from the Center, the more they are disunited one from another. And from hence is that Maxime approved of, as well in natural Philosophy, as Divinity; Omne quod fit unum participatione unius fit unum; There can be no unity but by partici­pation of the prime Unity and Entity which is God. Ens unum verum bonum. Now the wicked man partakes only of Gods Entity, but hath no participation of his goodness or unity, and therefore cannot be at any unity with himself or with others. The same disor­dered passions which disturb his own peace and quiet, disturb the peace of others also; and his receding from God the prime Unity, is the cause of all division and distraction. And on the other side, the nearer the godly draw unto God, the more they are compo­sed in their own breasts, the more at peace and unity with others; and in God are all as [Page 11]one. This we see verified in that blessed mul­titude mention'd, Acts 4. The whole multitude were of one heart and of one soul. Thus it was with the Primitive Christians, who drew near unto God: but we Christians of this Age, as we are more remote in distance of time from Christ, so are our hearts far more remote from him, and far divided one from another, strangely different from those blessed Primitive Christians who were of one heart and one soul. Where can you now find a whole Mul­titude, a whole Congregation, a whole Fa­mily, of one heart, of one soul? alas! of as many hearts almost as men. Are we then Christians? By this shall all men know, saith Christ, that ye are my Disciples, if ye love one another. Then by this do all men know, that we are not Christs Disciples, because we love not one another, but instead of love, have malice, instead of peaceful agreement, either violent oppression, or cunning supplan­ting one another; yea, fighting and murther­ing one another: insomuch that 'tis become a Proverb among the Turks: What, fight and kill one another, as the Christians do? Good God, that the peaceful name of Christ should be thus horribly blasphemed! Christians who should be the blessed example of peace to [Page 12]the whole world, are become the scandalous reproach of Murtherers to the whole world! So it is, a most lamentable truth which will be laid home to our charge when we shall ap­pear before the terrible Tribunal of Christ our King, the Prince of Peace. And what's the cause of all our Discord? our wicked lusts and passions. From whence come Wars and Fightings among you? saith St. James 4 1. Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? And these very lusts which war in our members, cause us to war one with another. And what are these lusts? St. John tells us, 2.16. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.

First, the lust of the flesh. What Wars and bloodshed hath this wicked lust of the flesh caused all the world over, from the begin­ning to the end? How early in Scripture do we find the destruction of the Shechemites for the rape of Dinah, Jacob's Daughter? the fleshly lust of one man brought this calamity upon the whole City and Country to their ut­ter ruine. And in Prophane Story, the most ancient famous ten years War of the Greeks with Troy, was it not for the like, Paris ra­pture of Helen, which set all that part of the world in a flame? This might have been a [Page 13]fair warning unto Greece not to offend in that kind. Yet Sparta, a City there, once so fa­mous for Justice, and so successful for it; but refusing to do Justice to Scedasus of Leu­ctra for the ravishment of his Daughters, suffered that lamentable Defeat in the Plains of Leuctra soon after, where their King Cleom­brotus and all their Nobility were totally routed and killed by the Thebans. And if you please to pass from Greece into Italy, there you will presently find that hopeful Monarchy planted by Romulus in Rome, sup­planted and totally eradicated by the Rape of Lucretia. And again, when the Roman Empire was re-established with greater pow­er and glory then the world ever saw before or since, when it had conquer'd so many Nations, as there scarce remained a people worth the conquering; and Rome became as it were the Empress of the World. I be­seech you, what subdued this mighty pow­er? doth not a chief Poet of their own tell us, 'twas, Luxuria, victumque ulciscitur orbem? Luxury so enervated the Sinews of this, be­fore invincible people, that they were quite over-run by several barbarous Nations, who slaughtered them as Sheep, defaced and broke [Page 14]down their Triumphant Arches, and tram­pled all their Glory under foot. And was it not just so afterwards in the Grecian Em­pire? As the Goths and Vandals over-ran the Romans, so the Saracens and Turks sub­dued the Grecians, made by Luxury the most effeminate and most feeble Nation in the World, and thereby exposed to Invasi­on and Rapine. Their splendidness and vo­luptuousness of living, was an alluring bait to their greedy Neighbours; who seeing them fatted for the slaughter, and stretched forth on their beds of Ivory in supine negligence, took wing like hungry Ravens for the prey. And so you may go on, and in all Histo­ries, find Luxury the constant fore-runner of Destruction, and many dismal examples of great devastations caused by this fleshly lust.

And as for the lust of the Eyes, by which is understood the lusting after those things which we see others enjoy; this begets in as unsatiable desires; and then for the satis­fying of these, what animosities and feuds daily arise among us. For as Boetius saith well, the poor narrow riches of this world, which he calls, Augustas inopesque divitias, [Page 15]can't satisfie the boundless covetousness of men; and besides, all being already possest by some or other, Quae ad quemque perveni­unt non fit sine caeterorum injuria; What one man acquires another must lose. Now all men being desirous at least to keep what they have, and most men labouring to encrease what they have, which cannot be without the decay of others: this must needs cause quarrels in the world. And thus our bick­erings at Law are numberless, our military contentions endless; Nation against Nation, Kingdom against Kingdom, and in all Na­tions, Family against Family; yea the same Family divided, Brother against Brother, Children against Parents; nay, Man and Wife, one Flesh, often divided into two deadly Enemies. And that which makes our wickedness far more notorious, is, that not one of a thousand, or of ten thousand, breaks this Christian peace for necessary Food and Rayment, whereof they have no want, but rather abundance; for a very small pittance sufficeth nature: so that 'tis not want, but wantonness which sets them a lawing and fight­ing; for they who most abound, are commonly most at Law, most in War, striving for more, [Page 16]even to excess, and to what end? to consume it upon their lusts, as Saint James saith. Thus wicked Covetousness seeks it, wicked Con­tentions acquire it, and wicked Lusts con­sume it; all wickedness, therefore no Peace, but Discord and Confusion.

And the very same unchristian Discord is caused by the pride of life; for every one loves to be at the top, and all men hate to be under; how then is it possible but Con­tention must needs accompany Ambition, see­ing that which one man affects, another de­tests, and will be sure to oppose to the ut­most of his power. Other Vices allow of some association; men of like corrupt affections commonly consort together, and help each other in their designs, but, Solus superbus odit elatum; pride divides and sets them at variance, endeavouring to suppress one an­other: Both would be uppermost which can't be; therefore one must needs fall, that the other may get up. This hath often produc'd great quarrels betwixt private persons, and bloody Wars betwixt Princes; in which large Field I could expatiate far, but want of time forbids, and makes me hast to some useful Application of what I have already [Page 17]said, for which I crave your patience.

Many complaints I hear abroad the world, but very little to the purpose; not one of a hundred considers matters aright, much less lays to heart the true cause of that whereof they complain. All the evils men suffer a­rise originally from sin; had man never sin­ned, he had never known misery. Sin then is the root of all, and this we hug and che­rish in our bosoms, yet cry out against the evil fruits thereof. But shall I tell you the true causes of our misery? We have made a League, a most unfortunate evil League; and we have made a War, a most dangerous destructive War: A League with Satan, and a War with God: These are the radical cau­ses of our distraction, and unless rooted up, will be our confusion. Wherefore our La­mentations for this or that temporal Calami­ty, are very childish. In Reason and Reli­gion we should lament the cause, not the effect; remove the cause, the effects presently cease; but the cause remaining, the effects, that is, Calamities will follow. Not long since we lamented a great Plague that destroy­ed many thousands, that ceased; but our sin the cause thereof, that remained: therefore an­other [Page 18]Calamity soon followed. Then we la­mented a great and dreadful Fire, which consumed our Capital City; that also cea­sed, but Sin still remained. Then we lamen­ted a dangerous War, when our Enemies sailed up the River so near us, that it strook a terror into the hearts of all; they likewise are gone, our Sin still remains. So we go on lamenting one Calamity after another, and labouring still with might and main to re­dress the present Grievance, but neglect the Cause. Like men in a Feaver, pain'd here, and pain'd there, we toss from side to side to find rest; we call for this and that drink to quench our thirst, but all in vain; the Feaver of Lust still burns in our bowels, and till this be cured, no ease, no rest to be had. So that were all things now setled just to our own satisfaction: what then? Oh then you were happy. Can you be so simple? Hath God no more Viols of Wrath to pour upon us? Cannot he send a Famine? And truly methinks it is beginning already. A Famine that may make us eat our own Flesh, our own Children, as it was in Jerusalem; and you shall see by and by, that our sin is no way short of theirs. He may rain down [Page 19]fire and brimstone upon us, as he did up­on Sodom and Gomorrah, and I am sure our Sin very much resembles theirs. He may cause the earth to open and swallow us up quick, Men, Women, and Children, as he did Corah, Dathan, and Abiram; and with­out doubt our Rebellion against God is far greater than theirs. And thus I might pro­ceed without end; for the Viols of God's wrath are as numberless as our sins, and whilst these continue, expect them to be poured forth. I beseech you consider with all submissive reverence, who uttered the words of my Text, There is no Peace, saith my God, to the wicked. And is he your God also? do you believe in him? do you trust in him? Then I beseech you believe him when he saith, There is no peace to the wicked. The lusts which war in our members, and war against God, will certainly bring down Vengeance and Calamities from God. And of the three Lusts which I have discoursed of to you, the lust of the flesh especially is that which makes war more desperately against God then any other; it being more directly opposite to the Spirit of God: for as Saint Paul saith, Gal. 5.17. The flesh lusteth against [Page 20]the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary one to the other. As contrary as fire and water, they cannot possibly subsist together. For as water quencheth the fire, so the lust of the flesh quencheth the Spirit of God, and never fails to bring in Pro­phaneness and Atheism, as experience hath fully manifested in other Nations, and now most evidently in this lewd sinful Nation. The same observation was made by Cicero 1700 years ago, who in his Book which he wrote De natura Deorum, tells us, The purer a man is in his life, the more he is incli­ned to a belief of the Godhead; and conse­quently foulness and debauchery of life, is the common road to unbelief. Wherefore I shall now chiefly insist upon this lust of the flesh, not having time to make reflexions upon the other two, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, which are grown to a vast excess; but the lust of the flesh most horribly exorbitant in both the parts of it, Voluptu­ousness of Diet, and Lasciviousness of Body. The business of Diet which formerly was the care and talk of Women to their Cooks and Caterers, is now become the study and dis­course of Men; even Gentry, and Nobles, [Page 21]whose brain is sunk into their guts, and so are become very skilful in the belly Science; for they have invented many rarities never heard of in former Ages, and they are so early ripe in this art, that before they have studied Philosophy or Grammar, they are Masters in the Art of Cookery: A most no­ble and admirable Science! Nor are they less skilful in Drinks than Meats, and 'tis a thing which adds much to their reputation, that there is not a sort of Wine growing in any part of France, Germany, Spain, Italy, but they have the particular names thereof far more ready then their Creed or Pater-noster, and will entertain you with a score at least at one meal; so that even to taste them all, will distemper any man used to a sober Diet, this is a great study in this Age. As for the study of Plato, Aristotle, Plutarch, Seneca, and such tedious non-sense (for they afford no delight to any of the five Senses, but only fill the brain with airy Fancies) these are left to poor dull Servitors in Colledges, who are forc'd to trade with these Authors for a livelihood. But they whom nature hath stock'd with parts compleat, and to whom worthy Ancestors have left a large [Page 22]Estate, acquired by eminent Virtue and great industry, and consequently to be spent in be­stial Luxury, no doubt on't, why should not they enjoy themselves, please their Palate, and fill their paunch, with whatever the air, the water, the earth affords, Come let us eat and drink, for to morrow we shall die. Thus having by the lust of Voluptuousness, by cu­rious and excessive eating and drinking pro­voked the lust of Lasciviousness, They give them­selves up to work all manner of uncleanness with greediness, as Saint Paul saith, both Forni­cation and Adultery are not only frequently acted in private, but publickly owned. St. Paul saith, Ephes. 5.12. That it was a shame even to speak of those things which were done of them in secret. What would he have said, had he heard the Actors brag of those things in publick. Great Iniquities I confess have been acted in all Ages, but certainly never so avowed. Men in the dark formerly skulkt into lewd houses, and there had their revel­lings; but now men, married men, in the light, bring into their own houses most lewd Strumpets, feast and sport with them in the face of the Sun; mean while their neg­lected, scorned, disconsolate Wives are forc'd [Page 23]to retire to their secret Closets, that they be not spectators of these abominations. And whoever doth not approve, yea and practice such detestable wickedness, whoever is not a Devil incarnate, is reproacht by these as a devillish Hypocrite. For they have so total­ly quenched the light of the Spirit in this nasty puddle of uncleanness, they have so seared their Consciences with burning Lust, they have so metamorphosed themselves into lascivious Goats, as they have no more be­lief of God in them, then those natural brute beasts, and so conclude the rest of men have no more conscience or belief of God then themselves; and that all their seeming piety is meer hypocrisie and cunning design for some Advantage. And by such scornfull re­proaches on the one hand, and enticing al­lurements on the other, they gain many as­sociates, who have not the courage to resist the one, nor constancy to withstand the other. By which means Lewdness and Atheism, which never fails to accompany this Vice, as I shew'd you before, are strangely encreased in Court, City, and Country. How far some Grandees of the Nation have been a counte­nance and encouragement to inferiours, is so [Page 24]visible as there needs no discourse to shew it. God of his infinite mercy by his miraculous omnipotent Grace (nothing less can do it) convert and mollifie their hardned hearts.

And now my Lords by whose special Com­mand I undertook the work of this day, I make my humble address to you. I have laid before you the Crying Sins of this Nati­on, which fight against Heaven, and war against God, as it were with open defiance; and therefore if my indignation against such beastial and Satanical sins, have for [...]'d from me some severe and sharp expressions, I crave pardon: but really my Lords, our deep fe­stered Soars require a sharp Launce to let out this filthy matter; and I trust your heads and hearts also loath the horrible stench there­of; and therefore I hope you will readily grant my most humble and most earnest re­quest, which is this, That laying aside all other business, you would employ all your Thoughts, and all your Endeavours to re­strain this most exorbitant Vice of Lewdness, with its evil Consequences, Prophaneness and Atheism; for unless this be done in the first place, you can't in reason expect that God should bless your other Endeavours for the [Page 25]Good of King and Kingdom, his Kingdom being neglected and postpon'd. I hope you will be far more concerned for God's Glory, which is mightily Eclipsed by these infernal mists, then with your own Priviledges or Pro­perties, or any other concern of your own, seeing you owe unto God all you have, your selves and all. I shall not press your Lord­ships farther, but will now address my self to the whole Assembly, desiring every one to ex­amine themselves how far they are guilty be­fore God, either by their own sins, or by partaking with the sins of these desperate crea­tures. For had we observed Saint Paul's command, To reprove the works of darkness, and to shew our indignation against them on all occasions, we might have given a great stop to their Cariere. But we are grown so irreli­giously civil in this Age, that it passes for in­civility if any one offer to reprove, or so much as frown; nay, if you do not shew some compleasance and smile at their lewd prophane discourses. And God grant there be none here farther guilty and infected with this Epi­demical, Pestilential, Fleshly, Atheistical disease. Now that we may the better appre­hend our wickedness, I desire you to remem­ber [Page 26]what I shew'd you in the beginning, That the wicked are Enemies and Haters of God; but as I said then, it will be very hard to make any one here, even the worst of this Assembly, either confess or believe this of himself; and yet I fear the best of us all up­on due examination will find this in a great mea­sure true of our selves. Wherefore that we may truly understand and heartily bewail our own wicked condition, I shall for a conclu­sion press this matter home upon our consci­ences.

What think you, were the Jews enemies and haters of Christ, who reviled him, buf­fetted him, spate in his face, crowned him with thorns, scourged and crucified him? Sure you do not doubt but these were ene­mies and haters of Christ, how then can you doubt, but they who do things more hateful unto Christ then these, are greater enemies and haters of Christ then these? Now that sin is more hateful unto Christ then any sufferings, is evident, because he endured all these to take away sin. Christ could endure the greatest torment in the world, but cannot endure the least sin; for sin is not only hateful, but a flat contradiction un­to [Page 27]to God; For God is holiness. Is it not then most evident what I said, that sin is more hateful unto Christ then spitting upon him, buffeting him scourging him, crucifying him? and conse­quently, they who do things more hateful un­to Christ, must needs be greater enemies and haters of Christ. And that you may farther see our sin exceeds that of the Jews; what they did unto Christ was through ignorance; as Saint Peter witnesseth for them; but we after knowledge, after we have been enlightned, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, the Good Word of God, as it is Heb. 6.5. Surely then our ingratitude, our iniquity far surpasses that of the Jews. Come now you that would pass for noble and good natur'd men; come you sweet natur'd and tender hearted women, consider well I pray you with me; what shall we think of our foul, sinful, and hateful be­haviour towards this our blessed Saviour Christ, who poured forth his precious blood and sacrific'd his Life on the Cross for us? Can we be such ungrateful Beasts, such savage Wolves, such cruel Tygers, such bloody Mon­sters, as yet to crucifie him afresh, and put him again to open shame? God forbid! But let us rather scourge and crucifie the old man, [Page 28]that hater of this our Blessed Saviour; let us humble him to the dust by laying aside all our gorgeous apparel, all our splendid pomp and vanity, all feasting and carousing jollity; for you will find in Scripture, all such things to be not only very unseasonable, but very sin­ful also, when God so lowdly calls for humili­ation, for sackcloth, for fasting, weeping and mourning; at such a time feasting and bra­very, is an unpardonable iniquity, as plain­ly appears, Isa. 22.14. Wherefore now we must totally humble our selves, both out-side and in-side, all gallantry must be put off, sackcloath put on; we must mortifie our car­nal bestial lust, we must pinch our luxurious belly by continued fasting, whose frequent feasting hath caused such excessive lusts of un­cleanness; therefore I said, continued fasting, this day should be but the beginning of our humiliation for such long continued sins; for which let our eyes break forth into fountains of tears, to wash away the loathsome filth thereof: Then let us take some sharp thorn from the Crown of our heavenly King, or a Nail from his sacred feet to pierce our hard­ned hearts, that some drops of blood at least may fall from thence, seeing what streams of [Page 29]blood ran down from his; then let deep sighs and groans pierce the ve­ry heavens, that God from his mercy seat may hear and look down with compassion up­on us, and pardon all our crying sins: for as Micah to our great comfort saith, We have a God that pardoneth iniquity, and delighteth in mercy; he will turn again, he will have compassion upon us, he will subdue our iniquities, and will cast all our sins into the depths of the Sea, Micah 7.19. Oh then let it be our delight to praise and serve this gracious God, who then will bless us, and pour down his benefits upon us; he will give us our own hearts desire, as David as­sures us, Psal. 37.4. Delight thou in the Lord and he will give thee thy hearts desire. He will give us peace, plenty and prosperity. All this is again confirmed to us by Saint Paul, with a clear convincing evidence, Rom. 8.32. I beseech you mark it well, and write it in your hearts, to your endless comfort. He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? He that spared not his own Son, his only Son, his infinitely beloved Son, but delivered him up for us all, yea, deli­vered him up to that most reproachful and most [Page 30]cruel death of the Cross, How shall he not with him also freely give us all things? He shall give us, and freely give us, Peace, Plenty, Prosperity, all things. Now to this so infi­nitely gracious God be ascribed, as is most due, all Honour, Praise, and Glory for ever and ever. AMEN.


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