THE ENGLISH HERMITE, OR, Wonder of this AGE.

Being a relation of the life of ROGER CRAB, living neer Ʋxbridg, taken from his own mouth, shewing his strange reserved and unparallel'd kind of life, who counteth it a sin against his body and soule to eate any sort of Flesh, Fish, or living Creature, or to drinke any Wine, Ale, or Beere. He can live with three farthings a week.

His constant food is Roots and Hearbs, as Cabbage, Turneps, Carrets, Dock-leaves, and Grasse; also Bread and Bran, without Butter or Cheese: His Cloathing is Sack-cloath.

He left the Army, and kept a Shop at CHESHAM, and hath now left off that, and sold a considerable Estate to give to the Poore, shewing his reasons from the Scripture, Mark. 10.21. Jer. 35.

Wherefore if meate make my brother to offend, I will never eate flesh while the world stands, 1 Cor. 8.13.

LONDON, Printed, and are to be sold in Popes-head Alley, and at the Exchange, 1655.

The Publisher to the Reader.

Honest Reader,

BEfore you come to the Authors own Epistle, and Narration, I shall mention some remarkable passages, which I had from his own mouth, and finde them not mentioned in his writing; and I can assure thee this Relation is no feigned story, or fa­ble, but thou hast it presented to thy view, as I received it from the Au­thor himselfe, with all the Verses of his own composing.

This Roger Crab is well known to many in this City and the Coun­try; and while this Booke was printing, he stayed purposely here in the City till it was published, and I think is in Towne still; he lodged at the Golden Anchor in white Crosse Street, at one Mr. Carters house a Glo­ver, where divers people resorted to see him, where such at doubt of it may be satisfied. I am informed by himselfe and others, how that three years since: Hee was a Haberdasher of Hats; and kept a Shop at Chesham, in Buckingamshire; and hath since given ever his Trade, and sold his Estate, and given it to the poore, reserving a small matter to himselfe, being a single man, and now liveth at Icknam, neare Uxbridge, one a small Roode of ground, for which he payeth fifty shil­lings a year and hath a mean Cottage of hiis own building to it; but that which is most strange and most to be admired, is his strange reserved, and Hermeticall kinde of life, in refusing to eat any sort of flesh, and saith it is a sinne against his body and soul to eat flesh, or to drinke any Beer, Ale, or Wine; his dyet is onely such poore homely foode as his own Rood of ground beareth, as Corne, Bread, and bran, Hearbs, Roots, Dock-leaves, Mallowes, and grasse, his drink is water, his aparrell is as meane also, he weares a sackcloth frock, and no band on his neck: and this he saith is out of conscience, and in obedience to that command of Christ, to the young man in the Gospell, and in imitation of the Prophets, and the Re­cabi [...]es in Jer. 35. who neither planted vinyards, nor builded houses, nor drank wine, and were highly commended by the Lord for it: I reaso­ned the case with him. & told him that I conceived Christs meaning when he had the young man sell all he had and give to the poore, was, that he should part with all his dearest Sinnes, that were as dear to him as his possessions, or else to try him for his coveteousnesse; he answered, how can a man give that money to the poor which he selleth his sinnes for: I [Page] perceive he is well read in the Scriptures, he hath argued strongly wiih severall Ministers in the Country, about this and other straing opinions which he holds; but I will not be so tedious to the reader as to mention them all; he approves of civill Migistracy, and is neither for the Leve­lers, nor Quakers, nor Shakers, nor Ranters, but above Ordinances. He was seven years in the Warres for the Parliament; he is the more to be admired that he is alone in this opinion of eating, which though it be an error, it is an harmelesse error. I have heard since this was in the Presse that Cap. Norwood was acquainted with Roger Crab, and be­ing enclining to his opinion, began to follow the same poore diet till it cost him his life; Felix quam facit alienem pericula cautem. In the Primitive times we read of such persons that were weake, who did eate hearbs, and made a great scruple of eating flesh; but the Apostle saith, That every creature of God is good, if it be received with thankefulnesse, 1 Tim. 4.4. And in 1 Cor. 8.13. saith he, If meat make my bro­ther to offend, I will eate none while the world stands. And in Rom. 4.2, 3, 4. One believeth that he may eate all things, ano­ther who is weake eateth hearbs, let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not, &c. The reason why this man betooke himselfe to this Hermites reserved life, he saith was, that he might be more free from siane, as lust, pride; and because of the many lyes, swearing, and deceiving that is too too frequently used by most Shop-keepers & Trades­men, as the Prophet complains, in Hos. 4.1, 2, 3. For the Lord hath a controversie with the inhabitants of the Land, because there is, no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God, but by swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and whoring, they breake out, and blood toucheth blood; therefore shall the land mourn, &c. But however, we may see how apt men are to erre, both on the right hand and on the left, and to run into extreams, yet of the two extreams this is the better, and more tolerable which this English Hermite hath chosen, rather then that of our English Anticks, and Prodigalls, who give themselves over to run into all excesse of ryot and uncleannesse, com­mitting all sorts of wickednesse with greedinesse; Some given up to drun­kennesse, others to whoredome, and a third sort to gluttony, as of late dayes it was reported of one Wood, called the great Eater of Kent, who could eate a whole sheep at a meale, besides other victualls; Also Mr. Marriot, the great Eater of Grays Inne, was such another glutton. Eu­sebius reports of one Domitius, who receiving more meate at supper then his stomacke could disgest, or his belly containe, dyed suddenly sitting [Page] at the Table: and Doctor Taylor, that famous Preacher of Alderman­bury, in his Booke of the Theatre of Gods judgments, makes mention of Maximinus the Emperour, who was given to such excesse and gluttony, that every day for his allowance he had forty pound of flesh and bread an­swerable, and five gallons of wine for his drinke, which he constantly de­voured, besides sallets and made dishess.

Also the Emperour Bonesus would drinke healths, and eate excessive­ly; both these came to miserable ends, this Emperour was hanged, and the former cut in pieces by his Souldiers, see more at large in the second part of that booke, page 102. I will adde but one more Relation hee mentions, which had I not so good an Author for, I should not give credit to it: A rich Citizens sonne having left him by his Father thirty thousand pounds in ready money, besides Jewels, Plate, and Houses richly furnished, was so prodigall as to consume all his whole estate in three yeares, and hee had a great longing to please all his five Sences at once, and did accomplish it, allowing to each Sence a severall hundred pound, it would be too tedious to mention all the story; hee grew at last to all debauchednesse that could be named, and was forced shamefully to beg of his acquaintance, and was after prest for a common Souldier, see pa­the last of that Booke above mentioned. I shall no longer detaine the Rea­der from the Hermits relation; these things I thought would be most per­tinent to impart to thee, hoping thou wilt make this good use of it, by avoyding these two Extreams, and walking in the golden meane of true godlinesse, which hath the promise of this life, and of that which is to come. Vale.

One more remarkable thing hee told me: That when hee was in Clarken-well Prison, the 17. of this January, 1654. His Keeper having a prejudice against him, and orde­red the Prisoners not to let him have bread with his water, and shut him downe in the hole all night. The next morning, being something hungry, walking in the Prison yard, there came a Spannell and walked after him three or foure turnes, with a peece of bread in his mouth: He looked upon him, and wondered why the Dog walked (as he thought) with a Chip in his mouth: He looked at the Dogge, and he layd it downe: and percei­ving it was bread, he walked away againe, and the Dog walked after him with it a­gaine: then he stooped, and the Dog layd it downe to his hand, then he tooke and wi­ped it, and eate it.

Epist. 1.18, leave out 50.s. a year.

TO Mr. Godbold, Preacher at Ʋxbridge in Middlesex, I Dedicate this my Discourse, Because he was my friend to help conquer my old man, by informing my friends of Chesham, That I was a Witch, and was run away, and would never come againe. You being a publick Preacher, may doe me greater service in helping me to dishonour him; for I have been almost 3. years conquering my old man by dishonour. Therefore if you can stirre up any more to forward this work, pray do, if it be not hurtfull to your self, and they that do so. I rest,

Your reserved friend, Roger Crab.

To the Impartial Reader.

IN whom malicious envy delights, to be for birds of a feather, draw to­gether: But such a Constitution is not to be condemned, lest we should condemn the worke of God in the flesh, but rather to be instructed with the light of the Scriptures, that thereby he may know himselfe, and judg himselfe to be undone and empty, that love and zeale may take possession, and then he will be more valiant, and bold for God and the Scripture, then he that is moderately constituted: Then let us labour for a single eye which maketh the whole body light; I meane a single heart in single de­signes, which cannot stand with lindsey woolsey garments, nor with dou­ble tongues, nor varieties of fancies after meates and drinks; for Christ himselfe was to eate butter and honey till he came to knowledge to choose the good, and refuse the evill, Isa. 7.15. And if naturall Adam had kept to his single naturall fruits of Gods appointment, namely fruits and hearbs, we had not been corrupted. Thus we see that by eating and drinking we are swallowed up in corruption; for ever since Noah came out of the Arke, the world being drowned, and no fruits nor hearbs on the earth, man was ordered to eate the flesh of the Creature which came out of the Arke, so that by that meanes our desires were made strong after flesh; That when the hearbs & innocent food was come forth, we slight­ed it, calling it trash in comparison of a Beast, or beastly flesh; so that by that meanes the flesh-destroying Spirits and Angels draweth neer us, and frequently attendeth man kind. This you may see by the Angels that came to Abraham to destroy the flesh of the Sodomites: Abraham knowing their designe, killed them a Calfe, and made them a fleshly feast, so that we may see God hath all sorts of creatures for all sorts of designes, and for all sorts of food both in heaven and in earth; Innocent creatures for innocent food, and beastly creatures for beastly and fleshly food.

I rest your friend as you please, Roger Crab.

THE ENGLlSH HER MITE AT ICKNAM NEER ƲXBRIDGE.

SEeing I am become a gazing stock to the Nation, & a wonderment to many friends in this my reserved life, I shall therefore indite a few lines as the most high shall di­rect me, wherein I shall give an account of this my undoing, owning Christ and the Prophets to be exemplary both in prophe­cying and practising, as farre as God shall give power to any man; I having truly examined it, and often disputed it with all Sexes and Ministers in most Counties in England, and most of them grants me that the practice of Christ and the Prophets is written for our Learning: and if this be granted, that wee ought to be imitators of their righteousnesse, hereby the judgment of God may be seen to a Sodomite generation, living now upon English ground; but first I shall begin with my self, who have transgressed the commands of God, and so found guilty of the whole Law, living in pride, drunkennesse, and gluttony, which I upheld by dissembling and lying, cheating and cozening my Neighbors: But now that light which enlight­neth every man that cometh into the world, according to Johns writing, bath discovered the love of God to my understanding, which [Page 2] causeth me to with-draw from what I have done; and instead of strong drinks and wines, I give the old man a cup of wa­ter; and instead of rost Mutton, and Rabbets, and other dain­ty dishes, I gave him broth thickned with bran, and pudding made with bran, & Turnep leaves chop't together, and grass; at which the Old man (meaning my body) being moved, would know what he had done, that I used him so hardly; then I shewed him his transgression as aforesaid: so the warrs began, The law of the old man in my fleshly members rebelled against the law of my mind, and had a shrewd skirmish; but the mind being well enlightned, held it, so that the old man grew sick and weak with the fluxe, like to fall to the dust; but the won­derful love of God well pleased with the Battle, raised him up againe, and filled him full of love, peace, and content in mind, and is now become more humble; for now he will eate Dock-leaves, Mallows, or Grasse, and yeelds that he ought to give God more thanks for it, then formerly for roast flesh and wines; and certainly concludes that this must be of God, if it be done out of love, and not out of selfe-ends; for before the old man fought with his steel sword, with his fleshly pow­er against old men, and that envy in him begat envy in them, and both of the Devill, in pretence of liberty and peace, it is easily judged of by the events; for our sighting to regulate go­vernment in the Old men, we see it still as bad, if not worse then it was before: Therefore let us put off the old man with his fleshly Laws, which reached no farther then the govern­ment of earthly bodies, so that every one for their obedience to God in this fleshly Law, receiveth a reward to uphold his fleshly body here upon Earth, and would go no further then reason could reach in the organs of flesh: Therefore this Law could never give life in the spirituall Christ, but the practifi­cers thereof were the greatest enemies to Christ, as you shall see fully in their calling of Christ Devill, and putting of him to death, Mat. 10. Luke 23. Far worse then bloody Butchers, for they destroy their fellow creatures for gaine, and to feed their bodies; but these destroyed that innocent Lamb of God, meerly out of devillish zeale and envy against innocency; this moves the Butcher to the question to know why I would for­beare eating of flesh: To which I answer,

[Page 3]First, I do it exemplary from the Prophet Daniel, Chap. 1. which saith, The Kings meate defileth his body, and beseecheth that he might eate pulse, and drinke water. This first we ought to believe, because the Scripture saith so. 2. I believe it from experience. 3. From reason.

1. I have experience that God hath enlightned my under­standing in a great measure more then before I tooke this course: So that all the Tithe-mongers and selfe-ended people professing Religion, are afraid to meet me in any publique dispute; hut lest I should judg my selfe wiser in my own con­ceit then my understanding will beare me out, I am here rea­dy to be tryed by any person or persons whatsoever, and so much for Experience: Now I shall shew some reasons.

My first Reason is, That God never accepted of any Crea­ture for a Sacrifice of flesh, that would destroy a body of flesh to feed on; and also forbid his people the Jewes to feed on them; for it is a practice of Dogs and Wolves, Bears and Ly­ons, Hogs and Ravens, Kites and Hawks, and many such like devourers of flesh; and all or any of these have no need to fear their lives, but from, or of some of that same kind; no in­nocent creature need never feare his life from an innocent creature: If all birds would take the Dove for an example, [...] all beasts take the Lamb for their example, and all men [...] Christ for their example, then Mars and Saturn, the two [...] Devills would be trampled under feet. Such a time is [...], but nor yet; but God waiteth with long patience upon the vessels of wrath, whilst they prepare themselves by thirsting after flesh and blood, which are thereby made fit to destroy each other: Therefore hearken to the Doctrine of Christ, in Matth. Chap. 5. 6. Deny your selves, humble your selves, undo your selves of all righteousness of the flesh. Become as little chil­dren, like Lambs, like Doves, then Christ is ours, and we are his: Few words to the wise is sufficient. I shall return to the reasona­ble part of the Law in this Nation, which excludes Butchers from being Jury-men of life and death: Surely if they are judged uncapable of being of a Jury, because they kill the crea­tures, they that buy it with their money to devour it, cannot be clear, for we alwayes count the Receiver more subtil and worse then the Thiefe; so that the buyer is worse then the [Page 4] Butcher; but Mars being the god of War, is the governour of these destroyers: and while he can get flesh to feed on, he will encrease his desires to destroy flesh: so that Mars being servant to the most high God, breeds them up with flesh, untill they are full of corruption. Then he raiseth up Trangressor against Transgressor to destroy each other, as you have it in Isa. 21.2. where it saith, A grievous vision was shewed unto me, the trans­gressor against the transgressor, and the destroyer against the destroyer. Goe up Elam, besiege Media, &c. Had my parents been so inno­cent as to have taught me this Doctrine in the time of my youth, I had saved my skull from being cloven to the braine in the late War for the Parliament against the King, and also saved my selfe from the Parliaments two years imprisonment which they gave me for my paines, and from my sentence to death in the Field by my Lord Protector; but all those things wrought together for the best to me, and in my estimation are of more value then an office of five hundred pounds a year, for I in some measure know my selfe, and before I neither knew God nor Devill, nor my selfe: but now having found out that my body was governed by the inclination of my Constitution from the starry heavens, having tryed it with many sorts of food, and with much fasting and praying ac­cording to the Scripure, which gave me light to the consti­tutions of others, and enabled me to administer physick to o­thers; so that I have had a hundred or sixe score Patients at once, this gave me a great light of the evil that came by eating of flesh: If my Patients were any of them wounded or feaverish, I sayd, eating flesh, or drinking strong beere would inflame their blood, venom their wounds, and encrease their disease, so there is no proof like experience: So that eating of flesh is an absolute enemy to pure nature; pure nature being the workmanship of a pure God, and corrupt nature under the custody of the Devill: Now for the objection in 1 Tim. 4. v. 3. where it saith thus; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meates which God hath created, to be received with gi­ving thanks of them which believe and know the truth: And vers. 4. it saith; For every creature of God is good, and nothing ought to be refused if it be received with thankesgiving. This Scripture being very usefull for the purpose, and will give much light to the [Page 5] adhearers to this opinion, and conform them of sound prin­ciples within themselves; for whosoever shall forbeare mar­rying, or abstain from meate, from the commandement of men which pretends his commands to be of God, all that are obedient hereunto will serve the Devill, and must needs be without the spirit of sanctification; neither are they belie­vers, neither obey the Truth; so that if they should eate of e­very creature, there would a hundred be poysoned at a meale for want of the spirit of power and sanctification which Paul and others had by the promise, which promised them, if they drank any deadly poyson, it should not hurt them, and could take away Serpents: and if they layd their hands on the sicke, they should recover, as you may see in Mar. 16. vers. 18. Another Objection is alledged from that Scripture in Matth. 15.11. where he saith these words: That which goeth into the mouth defi­leth not the man, but that which cometh out of the mouth, that de­fileth the man, which is murthers, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false testimonies, slanders, &c. If this be meant that any thing put into the mouth cannot defile the body, then no man can can be poysoned: but there hath been many a man poysoned by taking things into the mouth: If so, then nothing ought to be taken but that which is nourishable to pure nature, ex­cept they have faith and power of sanctification to exclude the venom: so in short, my judgment is of every place of Scripture which speaks any thing of this nature, that to him that believeth all things are lawfull, as in relation to Christ in the Spirit, but some things not expedient. Now to those that will not unlink themselves from the world, as to deny father and mother, wife, children, lands and livings, and all for Christs sake in the Spirituall essence, but will rather serve him according to the flesh in the ten Commandements. Now this is the wonderfull and admirable love of God, that hee will give them a reward also according to that dispensation they are under; for he hath promised them a blessing in basket, and in store, their children long life in the Land for their obedi­ence to their Parents in the flesh: but no more then fleshly re­wards can be given for fleshly obedience; for hee that dyeth with fleshly desires, fleshly inclinations, and fleshly satisfacti­ons; this being a composure of the spirits of darknesse in this [Page 6] body, must rise agaiin in the same nature, and must be taken into the centre of Mars, the god of flesh, blood, and fire, so that every man shall receive the things which are done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or evill, 2 Cor. 5.10.

Then how happy are they that takes Christ and the Pro­phets for their example: Christ being an innocent pattern to the whole world, exposed himself to all danger and difficul­ty, not for his owne ends in the flesh, but for others sakes, e­ven them that persecuted him and violated him with terms of ignomie, calling him a Glutton, and a wine-bibber, blas­phemer, and a Devill, and at length killed him out-right, and hanged him shamefully upon the Crosse; the persons that did it were the Priests, Councellors, Lawyers, and the rude multitude instructed by them, filled all with envy against in­nocency, but all this worketh together for the best to them that fear God, in humblenesse and meeknesse, together with love and charity, where envy cannot be; but some glimps of the spi­rituall light which discerneth all things, even the deep things of God, according to the Scriptures, 1 Cor. 2.10. But reason it selfe will discover a glimps of Gods proceedings in these our dayes; he hath tryed almost every sort of men, and every sort of sects according to their Pedgree in our Land.

1. The King and Bishops were exalted next to Christ.

2. The Parliament who found fault with them, not pul­ling the beame of Covetousnesse out of their owne eyes, and their Sects depending, were all exalted in stead of the other.

3. The Army with their Trades and Sects depending upon the same account, became exalted; So the Gentlemen and Farmers have had their turn in Offices and dearth of Corn, and now they will try inferiour Trades, as Journey-men and Day-labourers, and their associates depending, even to the Orphan and Alms-man, and now giveth them the fulnesse of bread, and cloathing, and silver, and all according to their respective place and capability they are in: So that now we look over all their proceedings, and judg by their fruits, and it will be a hard matter for a low capacity to judge which of all these parties hath been most just: but I being of the lowest sort, and unlearned, being amongst day-labourers and jour­ney, [Page 7] have judged my selfe with them the worst of all these parties, in pride, gluttony, drunkenesse, lying, desem­bling, swearing, cursing, covetousnesse, disobedient to Pa­rents, breeding up children to disobedience, and all other ab­hominations: Were not the most High wonderfull and mer­cifull to us, one of these sinnes are enough to bring judge­ment and terrors upon the whole Land, namely the sinne of drunkennesse, being explained, will prove it; when the all­seing eye looks into every Ale-house of this Nation, and seeth of which sort are most there, and they will appear to be labouring poor men, which in times of scarcity pine and murmure for want of bread, cursing the rich behinde his back; and before his face, cap and knee, and a whining coun­tenance; and some are cholerick, and discontented, and will not speak at all, neither of them considering what they did in the time of plenty, when they drank in one day as much as a bushell of barly will make, which will keep two ordina­ry families a whole week in bread; this two men will doe twice or three times a week; and when Sunday cometh, they will hear two sermons, and have their child christened by the vertue of his faith, and receive the Sacrament at Easter, and then all is well; his conscience being seared up, he returns to his companions, and falls on as before, to drunkenesse, and gluttony, spoiling, backbiting his neighbours, swearing and cursing, and reviling against the Higher powers for op­pressing him; making a good construction of his fellow­drunkard which is drunk three or four dayes in the week; they will say he is an honest fellow, and no bodies foe but his own, although both he and they that so do are the greatest oppressors under the Sunne, and the greatest enemies to the poor fatherlesse orphans, widdows, and strangers, which are below them; for by their drunkennesse and gluttony Corn is made dear; and Corne being dear, Land is made dear, so that the Farmer must give a great rent for his Farme, and is con­strained to hire many more Acres. By this means cattle and Corne hath been at a high rate, the Farmer being coveteous minded to uphold his wife and children in pompe and pride, feasting and gluttony at Christnings and Banquettings, by which means surfets and diseases drives them to the Physiti­ans, [Page 8] who wait for their prey, to get their money to purchase Lands and houses, that they may let it out to them againe; Thus you see that the body of England is become a Monster: God hath created eyes in us that are the feet, to discover her nakednesse as far as the middle; we have a little light of her armes, and her head, which keeps her pomp by sword and vi­olence; but our fight being weake, and most work to do at home, and most convenient for every man to pull the beame out of his own eye, according to the Scriptures, Mat. 7.3. that we may see clearer, and justly judge the tree by his fruits, we shall try the inferiour and lower sort of feasting among wo­men, called by the name of Christnings, which are these. First, to exchange upon some body that is silly, or foolish, slut­tish, or covetous, or an ill Husband, or a Drunkard: Others be condemned for often feasting, and wearing fine cloaths, swearing and lying, so that all sorts are laughed at, and judged; but our selves, whilst wee our selves are doing the very same things, and this is the fruit that grows upon the Tree called Christning, or baptizing the Child into the Fa­thers faith; which is an admirable Tree, if it be true, that the child can be in Christ by the Fathers faith, and no falling from Grace; then let us consider whether Adam did believe in Christ: and if it be found he did, then this baptisme would have saved all the people from Adam to this day, and will do from this day forward; for the Child being baptized into the Fathers faith, groweth up, and begetteth children, and can­not fall away, baptizing children into their faith, and so for­ward: So that if God had been as wise as we in our own con­ceit, he might have saved the lives of all his Peophets, and A­postles, and people too, but the most High is now once more beginning to break through the clouds of darknesse in poor innocent forms of earth, raysing them up from carpenting fishing, and Tent-making, to confound the high and mighty, for the wisdome of man is foolishnesse, 1 Cor. chap. 1. Now let us compare this inferiour feast called Christning with the feast of Christ among the multitude, and see which was best exempla­ry to the people, and which produced most good to soul and body; and consider the example of Christs birth in a Manger, with the pomp and pride of childrens births in our dayes: [Page 9] Again, consider what feast there was when Christ was baptized of John, & I think we shall find none at all. Then let us see what Christ had at his feast with the people, he being able to command stones to be bread, or water to be wine, was also able to command rost Beef or pig: but he was to be exemplary to all people on earth, in all his actions and doctrine, made an innocent feast for the people with barly loaves and fishes, Mat. 14. But some will object and say, he was able to work miracles, and we are not; To which I answer; If we as he, were able to command all things, and yet would have nothing at our feast but barly loaves and fishes, what advantage would our power be to this Feast? the Feast being innocent, without hurting any creature that breath­ed on earth; but on the contrary, he endeavoured to preserve; and to reconcile the people to God with sound words of instru­ctions uttered with love, peace, and meeknesse, with motions of healing all people that were brought to him: So that you may see a great difference betwixt his feast and the other. Again, he often went to the Feast of the Jews, and to a wedding to shew forth the power of his father, in turning water into wine; but we never finde that ever he was drunke, or eate bit of flesh at any of their Feasts, or Wedding: The Passeover was his owne Feast, and did belong to the fulfilling of the law of the Father in his flesh, even for a disobedient people, which the Lord by Moses brought out of AEgypt from their flesh pots, into the wilderness, to purifie their bodies with Angels food called Manna, which they ground in mills, or beat in morters, to make in Cakes: But they loosing their grosness, grew leane and hungry, and murmu­red, and rebelled against the Lord, lusting after the flesh pots of AEgypt: Their desires being much and strong, the Lord granted them flesh, even as he granted them a King, and his wrath and plegue came with it, as you may see in Numb. 11.33. & Psal. 78.31. While the flesh was yet between their teeth, before it was chewed, even then the wrath of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord smote the people with an exceeding great plague. Thus you see what miserable creatures we are, being bred up with flesh and blood, o­nyons and garlick, all under Mars, who God hath made governor over that humor that lusteth after flesh and blood, which is made strong in us by feeding of it, as I my selfe may speak by experi­ence; for if God had commanded mee to forbeare flesh before I [Page 10] had knowledg of this my discourse, although he had sent an An­gel or a man working miracles, I doubt I should have judged all to be of the Devill, for the lust I had after the sweetnesse of flesh; even as the rich men in these our dayes will deny the Scripture, wherein Christ commanded the rich man in the Gospel, to sell his goods and give to the poor: But they will say, it reached no farther, then that one rich man should; for say they, if we should believe this Scripture to extend to us, we should make the poor richer then our selves: So it seems by this, that they had rather deny this Scripture, and many more that speak to this purpose, even Christ and all, rather then to part from their riches; this would have been my condition in ignorance:

Therefore let not the rich men mistake me, and think that I would have them sell their goods, before God hath enlightned their understandings, & let them see the danger of keeping it, for then they would play the Hypocrites, and doe as bad to them­selves, as if they had kept it, although good to others; this would be the condition of every one that shall forbear flesh, or beere, as in relation to God, because it is a sinne against the body, or bodies and soules of men; Except any man thinks he sinnes a­gainst God in eating, to him it is sinne, because he is weake, and doub­teth: So he ought to forbear, because of his scruple; as you shall see in Rom. 14.8. 1 Cor. 8.10. For if any man see thee which hath knowledge fit at table in the Idols Temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be boldned to eat those things which are sacrificed to Idolls? you may observe from this, that he that walketh by another mans light before he is ful­ly convinced in himselfe, if he buildeth on sand, he will fall in the Tempest, because he hath lost his tender light of his scruple, which Paul endevored to strengthen in every one of his brethren, let them be of what opinion they would in matter of conscience: Its very plaine in Rom. 14. and very few in these dayes beleeveth it; for we all cry out against many opinions, yet every one would have his owne opinion justified; we may as well cry out and condemn every one his Neighbour, because they differ in physiognomy, and so condemn the work of God without us, as well as within us, but this is rebellion against our Maker; for the Scripture commandeth us not to judge one another in matter of conscience towards God, but for the sinne against our brethren [Page 11] and neighbours; we ought to know the Tree by his fruits. So that any man or men in Countreys, Towns, or Cities, that shall defraud his brethren, and shall advance themselves in pride by oppression and tyranny, imitating Sodome and Gomorrah in all manner of abhominations; if any see this imitated in England, it's high time for we, or they that so see, to become imitators of Christ and the Prophets; first in order of the Prophets that came before Christ, who were ordered by their practice to shew Israel their transgressions, in drinking water by measure, and in making bread; for Ezekiel took of wheat, barly, and beans, and lentiles, and millet, and fitches, and put them in a vessel, and made bread thereof; and insteed of butter and spice, he was to take cows dung, insteed of mens dung, to prepare his bread with, and he was to have his portion by weight, Ezek. 4.9. Thus the Prophet was to shew them their error in matter of food; and for clothing, you may see in Isa. 20. Who was a Prophet of God, ordered not onely to weare sack-cloth, but to go naked, and without shoes three years: If these Scriptures are written for our learning, imitation, and practice, then we are to judge which are the Prophets of God, by this practice in Scripture; and if so, where shall we finde Prophets of God: But some will say, we are to follow Christ and the Apostles in the New Testa­ment; and if you will have it so, then we must exactly see what orders they had in their Commission, that we may know them from hirelings: We finde in the Commission, that they were to go and preach without mony, or scrips, or shoes on their feet, but to bee shod with sandalls. Marke 6.8. So we may doubt whether we shall finde any Apostles too, if we shall judge by Christs Commission; but if you will not own these Scriptures, neither let us try them that mark out the false Apostles and Tea­chers, namely John 10. where he saith, the hireling is not his Shep­herd: and Mat. 7. where he saith, ye shall know them by their fruits, inwardly they are ravening wolves. Many more Scriptures to this purpose there are; but if you have a minde to your hirelings still, you will belive no Scripture that is against him, neither is there any for him; so that all the true practicall part of Scriptures must bee layd aside, onely talk of it and dispute of it a little, and pick out of it a few places to preach out off, and to write, to get some mony to uphold their pride and honour in this world, to [Page 12] please the old man in the flesh: Surely if John the Baptist should come forth againe, and call himself Leveller, and take such food as the wildernesse yeelded, and such cloathing, and Preach up his former Doctrine, He that had two coats should give away one of them, and he that hath food should doe likewise; How scornfully would our proud Gentlemen and Gallants look of him, that hath gotten three or four Coats with great gold and silver but­tons, and halfe a score dainty dishes at his Table, besides his gallant house, and his furniture therein; therefore this Scripture must be interpreted some other way, or else denied: and this is our condition, if the Scripture will not serve for our own ends to fulfill: selfeish desires, to uphold the old man in his fleshly honour, which belongeth to the Magistrate onely, who God hath made a Minister for thy wealths sake, and doth not at all belong to innocency nor Christ in the Spirit; for there is small signe of the olde mans dying or putting off, whilst he smites his fellows for the liberty of his fleshly desires; and this is our con­dition that loveth the world, in whom the love of God cannot be, 1 John 2.15, 16. Love not the world, neither the things of the world: If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him; for all that is in the world, as the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world: These Scrip­tures have I endeavored formerly to interpret some other way, by absurdities and consequences; how that if we should not weare superfluous things, thousands of people would starve for want of Trading, and so by consequence bring greater evill upon us: So I being not willing to loose my pride and world­ly pomp, I questioned the truth of the Scriptures, and even God himselfe, and all for want of some glimps of spirituall light, which my naturall eyes in reason could not discerne. Therefore the most high was pleased to convince me with natu­rall formes, namely birds of the Aire, which every day brought me intelligence according to my worldly occasions; for almost three years space I have observed them, for they would foretell me of any danger or crosse, or any joy from friends; I mean any danger or dishonour to my person, or losse of cattell, or corne, or any other disadvantage to my advancement in the world; and this cleerly convinced me, that there was a power above man. Then I considered the wise mans saying, Eccles. 10.10. [Page 13] Curse not the King, no not in thy thought, neither curse the rich in thy bed chamber, for the fouls of the heaven shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings, shall declare the matter: Also I considered that God made use of a bird to feed Elias the Prophet: by this I saw that he made use of naturall causes to fulfill naturall desires, so I came to know God in nature. Moreover I considered the Scrp­tures where the Lord speaks against the Sooth-sayers, and against Astrologers, Sorcerers, and wizzards; all these I found to be the spirits of darknesse, and will reach no further then the old man in the flesh, yet very necessary to be known, that we may a­void the evill thereof: Christ and the Prophets knew all these things, or else they would never have spoken against them, but we in the old man have often spoken against things that we knew not, out of blinde zeale, but not according to knowledge:

Therefore let the Scripture rule us, that wee judge no mans heart which belongeth to God only in the Spirit, but our judge­ment must be externall of every tree according to their fruits; For by their fruits we ought to know them: So to reprove every man his Neighbour to his face, leave off backbiting and slandering one another, and making up our laughter in deriding the actions of others, which we cannot do, unlesse we think our selves wiser then they; This sad thing have I observed in many Families, when they have hapned in any discourse, it seldom or never en­ded without backbiting, or deriding one another behind their backs with their tongues, which causeth envy, and sets on fire e­very man that useth it against his Neighbor, according to the Scripture, Jam. 3. and this cometh for want of mortifying the old man in the flesh, Rom. 8.13. These and many other helps there are in the Scriptures, if we will believe it, to overcome the flesh; for Christ saith, Mat. 7.8. Whosoever asketh receiveth, and he that seeketh findeth, and to him that knocketh it shall it shall be opened: This Sccripure seems to reach further then the Disciples in some cz­ses; for some that did not believe, made use of his name to cast out Devils, and it seems the power of God assisted them therein; for they could not doe it by the power of the Devill, for then they would not have made use of Christs name. Again, Christ himself saith, If Satan cast out Satan, his Kingdome cannot stand, Mat. 12.26. And it's contrary to any reason, that God should cast out God, or the Devill cast out the Devill: So we find according [Page 14] to the whole tenour of Scripture, that God answereth all sorts of people according to that dispensation they are under, if their desires are servent, whether it be for their good, or their hurt, as have proved sufficiently in my discourse concerning the flesh gi­ven to the children of Israel, 1 Sam. 8.7. where God saith to Samuel, Hear the voyce of the people in all that they shall say unto thee. So God condiscended to the desires of the people for the hurt of their bodies in granting them a King; but if any out of zeale to­wards God in the Spirit will pray unto him, and yet would up­hold the righteousnesse of God in the flesh; God answering them with such spirits as may dishonour them in this world, by lying or false prophecying, to destroy the honour of the old man in them, that they may be brought forth as tryed in the fire, more pure in the spirit of Light: but if any shall enquire after God at the mouth of his Prophets, only to uphold the honour and am­bition of the old man in this world, God will send them false spirits to preach lyes, of purpose to destroy them; and this will come upon those that are for their own ambitious ends, as you may see in 1 King. 22. where the false spirits wait on God for their messuage, and God sends them forth, and bids them pros­per, to please Ahab in his request; Thus wee see for the love of this world people are destroyed. Then let us conclude, that it is high time to cast off the old man with his rudiments, with his malice and envy, and entertain light, love, and peace, and joy in the holy Ghost; That this may be our treasure, leading us up to that throne of grace, full of unspeakable joyes, where Christ sit­teth in the Councell of his Father, with all his Angels, entertai­ning all with fulness of joy, that entereth in at this narrow gate, wiping away all teares, and all desires shall cease, and sorrow shall never more come neare them; and instead thereof such joy, that neither tongue of men or Angels can expresse.

If men and Angels do prove silent, than
Why should not I, an inferiour man:
Now am I silent, and indite no more,
Pray use no violence then against the poor.
O Mortall forme what dost thou mean!
To make such long delay;
Keeping thy soule so poore and leane,
Against the dreadfull day.
To whom we all must once appeare,
To receive our sentence deep;
The sorrowing hearts, and terrible feares,
Making our soules to weep.
Two [...] [...]ere are to us propos'd,
Whilst we on earth do dwell,
In choosing one, the other's lost,
Let it be heaven or hell.
Then must our choise be circumspect,
Without a worldly mind:
Lest God one day do us reject,
And we no mercy finde.
If heaven we choose, then hell is lost,
we cannot it embrace;
But to the glory of joy we must,
Swallow'd be in endlesse grace.
If hell we choose, the world is gain'd,
Which is that flesh desires:
Then need we nothing to refrain,
That pride and lust requires.
Such is our lusts and covetousnesse,
The belly and backe to please;
With selling and buying, dissembling and lying,
Yet we cannot live at ease.
But still in discontent abide,
Desiring after more:
Our envy would that all had dyed,
That loved not the whore.
Her Merchants they do bowle and weep,
Their traffique none will buy:
They wishing now to sow or reape,
One yeare before they dye.
In Revelation, Chop. nineteen,
In truth there you may read;
Who 'tis shall beare the Scepter,
When the old whore is dead.
Thus to the wise in their conceit,
As I my selfe have been:
They now shall know that once they might,
Have left the greatest sinne.
O England then repent
For the misery thou art in!
Which have all by consent,
Liv'd on each others sinne.
If pride should banish'd be away,
Then Tradesmen out would cry,
Come let us kill, eate, and slay,
Or else for want we dye.
Then would the Gentry mourn,
Without pride they cannot live:
And slaves to get them Corn,
Whilst they themselves deceive.
Thus pride becomes our god,
And deare to us as life;
Whose absence makes us sad,
And cannot please our Wife.
If the poor labouring men,
Live of their onne encrease;
Where are your Gentry then,
But gone among the Beasts.
If any would know who is the Author.
Or aske whose lines are these:
I answer, one that drinketh water,
And now a liver at ease.
In drinking cannot be drunk,
Nor am I moved to sweare:
And from wenching am I sunk,
My bones are kept so bare.
For it is the grossnesse of the flesh
That makes the soule to smart:
And is the cause of his owne lust,
That commits adultery in his heart.
FINIS.

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