FIVE SEASONABLE Sermons. As they were preached before Eminent AUDITORIES, Upon several ARGUMENTS.

BY PAUL KNELL Master in Arts, OF Clare-Hall in Cambridge.

Sometimes Chaplain to a Regiment of CURIASIERS in His late MAJESTIES Army.

LONDON, Printed in the year, 1660.

TO THE SACRED MAJESTY, OF THE Most High and Mighty MONARCH, CHARLES the Second, BY THE Especial Grace of God King of Great Britain, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, &c,

Most Gracious Soveraign,

WEre not your Regal Clemency and Can­dour very eminent, the Tenuity of that which here I offer to your Maje­sty, [Page]might indict me for famili­arity. But as the Israelites were not to appear before the Lord their God, so neither durst I before my Lord the King, empty-handed. Silver and gold indeed I have none, scarce so much as that which Solomon saith, is like Apples of Gold in pictures of silver; but such as I have, I most humbly offer to your Majesty, knowing, that as Artaxerxes did not disdain two handfuls of ordinary water of­fered to him by Synaetas; so your Royal hand will graciously ac­cept one handfull of Sanctuary-water from him, who as in duty bound, hath both actively and [Page]passively approved himselfe a faithfull Subject to the King, and a dutifull Son of the Church of England, that hath no better Present. One of these slender Sermons hath already been ho­noured with your Royal ear at the Hague, they all now humbly crave a glance from your graci­ous eye at White-hall.

The Inscription indeed and subscription of this Dedicati­on are so vastly distant, that some large Apology ought to inter­vene. But your Majesties many important affairs dispense with no further avocation. I hum­bly add therefore only a short Ha­lelujah and Hosanna, Blessing [Page]the Lord by whom Kings reign for so signally visiting your sa­cred Majesty, and so seasonably redeeming your distressed Peo­ple; Beseeching also the same Lord of Lords to save and de­fend your Royal Person, as with a shield, to make your Throne here as the dayes of Heaven, and hereafter to trans­late You to an Heavenly Throne, which is the due and daily sacrifice offered up with a true heart fervently by

Your Sacred Majesties Most Humble AND Most Loyal SUBJECT PAUL KNELL.
THE CONVOY OF A Chri …

THE CONVOY OF A Christian. A Sermon PREACHED Before His MAJESTY, KING CHARLES the First OF Ever blessed Memory, at Matson near Glocester, in time of the Siege there on Tuesday, August 22. 1643.

LONDON, Printed in the year, 1660.

THE CONVOY OF A Christian.

ISAI. 43.2.

When thou passest thorow the waters, I will be with thee, and thorow the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest thorow the fire, thou shalt not be burnt, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

QUem miserum video, hominem scio, Trouble is the very badge and cognizance of humanity; we are born to it, holy Job saith, as the sparks flie upward, to this end were we born, and for this cause [Page 2]came we into the world. Or if this be not Finis intentionis, yet it is Finis executionis, I am sure; if we came not hither on pur­pose to be troubled, yet without great trouble we cannot get from hence, from the Cradle to the Coffin, being like Ezeki­el's roul, full of Lamentation, and Mourn­ing, and Woe. There are some indeed (I mean the traiterous Reformers of our Age) that live wholly at ease in their usurped possessions, they come in no mis­fortune like other folk, neither are they plagued like other men. But these look like the Devils Darlings, or rather like the worlds Bastards; though we may be men therefore without Trouble, yet with­out it we cannot be loyal Subjects, we cannot be good Christians; in the world ye shall have tribulation, were the words of our departing Saviour to his Church. But he told them just before, that in him they should have Peace, and he telleth them in effect the self same in our Text, That he will deliver them in six troubles, yea, that in seven there shall no evil touch them, that in Famine he will redeem them from death, and in War from the power of the sword; let their troubles be external, corporal corrections; let their [Page 3]Troubles be internal, spiritual desertions, yet their Jehovah, and their Joshua will deliver them out of all, When thou, &c. In which words we may observe four parts, The Passenger, the Passage, the Concomitant, and the Consequent. The Passenger is the Church, Cum transieris, when thou passest. The Passage is two-fold, Per aquas, & per ignes, thorow waters, and thorow fire, When thou passest thorow the waters, when thou walkest thorow the fire. The Conco­mitant or Convoy is Almighty God, Tibi adsum, I am, or will be with thee. The Consequent is the Churches safety, Flamina non operient, flamma non incendet, the rivers shall not over-flow thee, the flame shall not kin­dle on thee. And of these parts in order. I begin with the Passenger, which is the Church, cum transieris, when thou passest.

Had we retained our first integrity, we might easily have stept to heaven, with as great facility, as from one room to another, from the Parlour of an earthly, to the Pre­sence-Chamber of an heavenly Paradise. But sin hath placed a [...], a great gulf between us and heaven; we that were sometime; near, are now afar off; whosoever will hereafter enter into Canaan, he must un­dergo a tedious passage thorow the wil­derness.

There are four Titles that pertain to the very best of Adam's sons, Advenae, Inquilini, Hospites, Peregrini, we are Stran­gers, we are Sojourners, we are Guests, we are Pilgrims. But of all four, the last, methinks, fitteth our condition best: Pe­regrini, we are Pilgrims; Viatores, we are Travellers; Transeuntes, we are Pas­sengers; here we have no continuing City, but we seek for one to come. Look upon the Patriarch Abraham, the great Grand­father of the Church, and ye shall find him, like St. Paul, in journeying often, from Caldea to Charran, from Charran to Canaan, where he sojourned; the Apostle telleth us, as in a strange Countrey, dwelling in Ta­bernacles with Isaac and Jacob, he had there none inheritance, [...], saith St. Stephen, no not so much as to set his foot on: to teach him, and us all, that we must not set up our staff here, Plus ultra, we must go farther, we being but Pil­grims on the Earth. This we know like­wise to have been the condition of the Is­raelites, who wandered in the Wilder­ness in a solitary way, and found no City to dwell in. Their own houses were Tents, Gods house was but a Tabernacle, all por­table, to be carryed up and down from [Page 5]one place to another; They had neither Tenement nor Temple, till they were setled in the land of Canaan, nor have we any certain dwelling place, till we come thi­ther, where the Lamb is the Temple. For while we are at home in the body, we are not properly at home, we are but in via, in the way that leadeth us to it: we are born from above: and therefore there is our Native countrey; all the while we are on earth, we are, as it were, going a pil­grimage to heaven. And the application of this now may be two-fold.

First, Seeing we are but Passengers here and Pilgrims, this may serve to set spurs to us, and hasten us towards our Coun­trey. For no Passenger would willingly tarry long upon the way, but maketh all the haste he can to get him home. So let us think it our greatest punishment (next to this rebellious reformation) that we are constrained to dwell with Mesech, to have our habitation among the Tents of Kedar, and therefore let us wish with holy David, to have the wings of a Dove, that so we might flie home to Heaven, and be at rest.

Secondly, Though here we are but Pas­sengers, yet seeing heaven is our home, [Page 6]this may comfort us amidst all our plun­derings and persecutions; all our necessi­ties and distresses. For let a passenger meet with never so bad entertainment by the way, yet he will not greatly murmure at it; I have better at home, he will say, and it will not be long, I hope, e're I get thi­ther. So, as long, Brethren, as there are Quarters taken up for us in Heaven, if we have any Christian Courage, let us not faint by the way, be our usage never so course, be our passage never so perilous, which leadeth me from the first part of the Text, the Passenger, the Church, to the second, which is her Passage, and this I find to be two-fold, per aquas, & per ignes, thorow waters, and thorow fire, When thou passest thorow the waters, when thou walkest thorow the fire. Her first passage is per aquas, when thou passest thorow the waters. Which waters have sundry acceptions in holy Scripture; the literal is first in nature, and must be so in order. And Hugo Cardinalis will have an Alleotheta here, one tense put for ano­ther, Transieris for Transibas, when thou passest, or shalt pass, instead of when thou passedst, or didst pass, alluding to the pas­sage of Noah in the Deluge, or rather to that of Israel thorow the red-sea. But [Page 7]whether these or no be the meaning, these examples suit well with the Text; and of the same nature we have some other in ho­ly Writ, the example of Moses, of Elijah and Elisha, of the Disciples, and of St. Paul; I shall anon touch upon these in their pro­per place, I shall here only shew you the several acceptions of these Waters: The literal I have briefly pointed at alrea­dy.

Secondly, By Waters we may understand the Enemies of the Church, so they are ex­pressed by holy David, Psalm 88.17. They came round about me daily like water, and com­passed me together on every side. And Psalm 144.7. He prayeth after this manner, Send down thine hand from above, deliver me, and take me out of the great Waters, from the hand of strange children. And Rev. 17.15. The Angel expounding the vision of the great Whore, which sat upon many wa­ters, telleth St. John in express words, The waters which thou sawest, where the Whore sitteth, they are people, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.

Thirdly, by waters we may understand Heresies, and doctrines of Devils. So A­retius, and others expound that, Rev. 12.15. Where we read, that the Serpent cast out of [Page 8]his mouth water as a flood after the wo­man, that he might cause her to be car­ried away of the flood.

Fourthly, and lastly, by waters, we may understand the Abyss of desperation. So we may construe that of the Psalmist, Psalm 69. The waters are come in even unto my soul, verse 1. I am come into deep waters, ver. 2. Let not the water-flood drown me, verse 16.

The Churches second passage is, per ignes, when thou walkest thorow the fire: which fire is first literally to be taken, and we have examples of some in Scripture that found a safe passage thorow this fire, as Lot, and Isaac, and the Israelites, and the three Children.

Secondly, by Fire, we are to un­derstand persecution and affliction, accord­ing to that of the Psalmist, Psalm 66. Thou laydst trouble upon our loynes, Ingressi sumus per ignem, we went thorow the fire. And St. Peter useth the same Metaphor, Think it not strange concerning the fiery tryal which is to trie you, 1 Pet. 4.12.

The result then of all is briefly this, That it is the portion of the Church to pass thorow fire and water; it is her destiny to suffer persecution and affliction.

Noah's Ark was a notable representation of the Church, that was tossed upon the waves in the general inundation, so is this in the worlds troubled sea which cannot rest. The Disciples Ship, in the Gospel, was another figure of the Church, that was covered with waves, almost over­whelmed with a raging Tempest; so this is filled with the scornfull reproof of the wealthy, the deep waters of the proud are ready to run even over her soul. The Church is a Ship, the world is the Sea, a Sea of glass mingled with fire, Rev. 15.2. Of glass, there is the brittle and incon­stant condition of the world; mingled with fire, here are the troubles of the Church, St. Peter's fiery Tryal. Troubled alas! she is, and so hath ever been. Look upon Jacob, look upon Joseph, look upon David, look upon the Son of David, the time would fail me to tell you of the Pro­phets and Apostles, of the Martyrs, Con­fessours, and other holy men of God, how they passed thorow the waters, how they walked thorow the fire, how they had Trial of cruel Mockings and Scourgings, yea, moreover also of bonds and impri­sonment, how they were stoned, as Saint Stephen, how they were sawn asunder, as the [Page 10]Prophet Isaiah, how they were slain with the sword, as the Apostle St. Paul, how they were beneaded, as St. John Baptist, how they were hanged, as Tomkins and Chalo­ner, Yeomans and Bourchier, how they wan­dred about in deserts, and mountains, and in dens, and caves of the earth, in sheep­skins, and Goat-skins, being destitute, af­flicted, tormented. Thus we see that all which will be loyal to God and the King, all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suf­fer persecution. Till our Saviour came into the ship, the Sea was calm and quiet; but when he was once aboard, there straight­way arose a mighty Tempest. So long then as thou art without Christ, or without God in this world, the Devil will make fair weather round about thee; but when once Christ Jesus is, as it were, come aboard thy soul, then will Satan raise a storm to try if he can make shipwrack of thy faith; when thou hast listed thy self a souldier to fight under thy Saviours and thy Sove­raigns banner, then look for a whole shewer of fiery arrows from the wicked one, for the Messenger of Satan to buffet thee, with St. Paul, both by inward tem­ptations, and outward tribulations, by private suggestions, and publick persecu­tions, [Page 11]the Devil will strive to split thee a­gainst the rock of desperation. But take this for thy comfort, that although thou art dangerously tossed, yet thou shalt not be cast away, for even He that upholdeth the Heavens is thine upholder. Which leadeth me from the second part of the Text, the Churches Passage, thorow fire and water, to the third, which is the Con­comitant or Convoy, Almighty God, I am, or I will be with thee.

I that am the great Creator of Heaven and Earth, I that fill all places, and am contained in none; I that am about thy path, and about thy bed, and spie out all thy wayes, I will be with thee.

But what need then is there of this pro­mise? For we may say it without Blasphe­my, that God must still be with us, it being as impossible for him to deny his Omnipre­sence, as to deny himself, he can sooner separate heat from fire; he did that in Nebuchadnezzar's furnace he can sooner se­parate light from the Sun: He did this at our Saviours expiration: The Creator can better do any thing, than divorce or divide his presence from his Creatures, for here­in not only our well-being, but our very being doth consist, should he substract his [Page 12]presence from us, we must return into our first nothing. He is not far therefore from every one of us, as St. Paul told the Athe­nians, nay, he is neerer to us, than we are unto our selves, I will be with thee. But, ye know, there is a twofold presence of Al­mighty God. First, His general presence, which is his universall power and provi­dence, whereby he governeth and dispo­seth all things, both in Heaven and Earth, and under the Earth, according to that of the Psalmist, Psalm 139. If I climb up into heaven, thou art there; if I go down to hell, thou art there also: If I take the wings of the morning, and remain in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there also shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. Secondly, There is Gods special presence, whereby he is present with his Elect only; either to prevent their Troubles, or else to comfort and support them. And chiefly is he with his servants in his Temple, at his publick Worship, which may easily be explained by an example. The King is, or ought to be by his Power in all parts of his Domini­on; yet he is said to be there especially, where his Courtiers, where his Retinue is: In like manner the King of Kings by his unbounded Power and Providence is at all [Page 13]times, in all places, yet we may know him to be with us after an especial manner in the Temple, from the Retinue of heaven­ly Courtiers that are there attending on him. For it was not for Ornament only that the Walls of Solomon's Temple were carved round about with Cherubims, but also to signifie that the holy Angels are ever about us at our publick services. And if Angels be there, much more is the King of Saints, Tibi adsum, I am, or I will be with thee.

There are three things especially that will continually be with us; The Air, our Conscience, and Almighty God. We may as well be without our being, as without our breath; take but away this from us, and take away us too. The Air leaveth us not till death: Our Conscience, this goeth further with us, it remaineth with us after death to all Eternity. Do not therefore the least sin, though none be with thee but thine own conscience, for this will ac­company thee to thy death-bed; nay, this worm will live for ever. And thy consci­ence is not more inseparable from thee then thy Creatour; whisper never so softly he will hear thee; hide thy self never so closely, he will see thee; run away never [Page 14]so swiftly, he will still be at thine el­bow, Tibi adsum, I am, or I will be with thee.

But I should not speak so much of Gods general presence, his special presence is that which I must here insist upon. That presence which he promised his Patri­archs and Prophets, that presence which our Saviour promised his Apostles, Lo; I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world, Mat. 28. ult. Alway, there is no Intermission. To the end of the world, that is, world without end, here is no Ter­mination. We may have men for our com­panions that will forsake us in distress; or if they stick to us all our life, they must leave us in our death. But if God be our Companion, if God be present with us, it is not distress, it is not death shall ever part us; nay, death shall unite us more neerly than ever we were before; we shall alway be with him, he will alway be with us, Tibi adsum, I am, or I will be with thee.

But if God be thus alway present with his Church, we may then expostulate here, as Gideon once did with the Angel, Judg. 6.13. Oh my Lord, if the Lord be with us, why then is all this befallen us? Why is the blood of his dear servants shed like water on every side? Why suffereth he the Turk [Page 15]Turk and Pope to drink themselves drunk with the blood of Saints, and with the blood of the Martyrs of Jesus? I answer, though seemingly God absent himself from his Church for a season, yet never will he finally forsake her. Seemingly, I say, for indeed he absenteth not himself at all, it is but in our apprehension that he is ever from us; if we can but believe it, he is present with us alway, Tibi adsum, I am, or I will be with thee.

And the Application of this now may be twofold. First, Here is comfort for all that mourn in Sion, and with good Hezekiah, turn their face to the Wall. Let them be cast into prison as Joseph was; Let them be cast into a dungeon as Jeremy was; let them be cast into a den, as Daniel was; let them be cast into the water, as Moses was; let them be cast into the fire, as the three Children were; let them go thorow fire and water, famine and sword, never so many dangers, never so great disasters, yet so long as they have God with them, this will sweeten all their pills, in the multi­tude of the sorrows, which they have in their hearts; his comfortable presence will refresh their souls. Secondly; Seeing God is still with us; this should teach us [Page 16]likewise to be still with him, seeing he vouchsafeth to keep company with us on earth, therefore our conversation should be with him in Heaven. When we are lying down to sleep, to him we should commit our spirits; when we wake up likewise, we should be present with him. It was Jacob's vow, Gen. 28. That if God would be with him, then the Lord should be his God. We need not speak so doubt­fully, for God is certainly with those that fear him, not only by his general, but al­so by his special presence, to direct and protect them, to deliver and to defend them, which leadeth me from the third part of the Text, the Concomitant, Al­mighty God, to the fourth and last, which is the Consequent, the Churches safety, Flu­mina non operient, flamma non incendet, the rivers shall not overflow thee, the flame shall not kindle on the.

I propounded four acceptions of these Waters, ye shall see that the Church pas­seth safely thorow them all.

First, Thorow waters, taken in the lite­ral sense, as we may see by sundry exam­ples. The first may be that of Noah.

Sin had once so soiled the earth, that God was fain to lay it a soak; it was so [Page 17]foul, that nothing would cleanse it but a flood. There were Gyants in sin, as well as in Stature, the wickedness of man was great in the earth. And Abyssus abyssum, this depth of sin called for as deep a deluge, the flood-gates therefore were pluckt up, the windowes from on high were opened. And what distress of Nations was there then with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring, and mens hearts failing them for fear? Methinks I see how abruptly their Marriage-feasts are dissolved, what haste they make out adoors, that they may get up into trees; how some climb the tops of mountains, Tamen ultra pergere tendunt. But the waters continually following them at heels, when all hope that they should e­scape drowning was taken away; methinks, I hear them curse the day that ever they were born, and wish, if it were possible, that they might be metamorphosed into fishes. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord, when the flood was brought in upon the world of the ungodly. For though it rained, as if heaven and earth would have come together, though the waters were so grown, as to over-top the highest moun­tains, yet heavens great Palinurus pre­served Noah in this Ocean, Elumina non operi­ent, [Page 18]the rivers shall not overflow thee.

The Children of Israel may be a second example, whose preservation was indeed far stranger than Noah's; for Noah had a ship, the Isrealites had none, which made them think that there was no way in the world with them but drowning, Mars in the rear, and Neptune facing of them; they thought that one of these must needs devour Israel with open mouth. But He that brought light out of darkness, brought safety out of their greatest dan­ger: what they feared would be their de­struction, this God made their preserva­tion, for rather than Israel should mis­carry, Jordan shall forget his fluid nature, the floods shall stand upright as an heap, and the depths shall be congealed in the heart of the Sea. Gods people need not fear the waters; the waters saw them, and were afraid, and therefore ran away with might and main, to make way for them. The waters indeed faced, as if they had known the Israelites from the Aegyptians, drowning the hoste of Pharaoh, but inmmuring the hoste of Israel, Flumina non operient, the rivers shall not overflow thee.

Moses may be a third example to this [Page 19]purpose. There were never two crueller Tyrants than Pharaoh and Herod, one drown­ed the male Children, the other cut their throats. But as Christ escaped from He­rod, so from Pharoah Moses, whose Pa­rents durst not long entertain him in their house, when he was but a quarter old, they shipt him in an Ark of rushes. But how properly may that of the Psalmist be applyed to him. Psalm 27.10. When my father and my mother forsook we, then the Lord taketh me up. Or rather indeed the Lady did this, even Thermutis, the King of Ae­gypt's daughter, Flumina non opertent, the rivers shall not overflow thee.

And to these examples, I may add Elijah's and Elisha's passage over Jordan, the Disciples with our Saviour in the ship, and St. Paul's most dangerous voyage to­ward Rome; all corroborating and confir­ming this Assertion in our Text, Flumina non operient, the Rivers shall not overflow thee.

The Lord sitteth above the water-flood, Psal. 29.9. I remember a story of one that wondered why any man would go to sea, seeing so many die at sea, to whom one re­plyed, he might wonder as well, why any man will go to bed, seeing so many di [...] in [Page 20]their beds. Dii maris & terrae, may be put into Gods royal Title, His way is in the sea, and his paths in the great waters; he that was able without a ship to walk safely on the sea, must needs be able to save those that go down to the sea in ships: while they are following their honest vocation, they may be assured of his protection, he shall give his Angels charge over them to keep them in all their wayes, the Angel of the water mentioned, Rev. 16.5. This Angel shall be their Pilot, and conduct them to their wished haven. Flumina non operient, the Rivers shall not overflow thee.

Secondly, By Waters we understand the Enemies of the Church; neither shall these waters be able to overflow her. The seed of the Serpent will still be warring with the womans seed; the Dragon and his, a­gainst Michael and his Angels. The Church of Christ will ever be maligned by the Sy­nagogue of Satan; but though these waters swell, yet they shall not prevail against her. David's enemies were daily in hand to swallow him up; but these wa­ters of the proud had bounds, which they could never pass. Hezekiah was both In­vaded and besieged by the Assyrians; but [Page 21]how strangely was he preserved from him that had drunk strange waters, and who with the sole of his feet had dried up all the ri­vers of besieged places. I have not time to shew you all the particular preservations of Gods people, how he hath saved them still from the reproof of those that would have eaten them up.

And from this experience of Gods for­mer, together with the promises of Gods future favour, we may draw this applica­tion, we may here put on the resolution of holy David, not to fear, though the earth be moved, and though the hills be carri­ed into the midst of the sea, though the waters thereof rage and swell, and though the mountains shake at the tempest of the same. Let the Heathen never so furiously rage together, and let the people imagine a vain thing; let the Rulers stand up, and take Counsel together against the Lord, and against his Anointed, and against his Church; Let Gebal, and Ammon, and A­meleck, the Philistines, with them that dwell at Tyre; let Gog and Magog, Antichrist and Mahomet, the Pope and the Turk, nay, let all the devils in hell be confederate against the Church, yet still she shall be safe, the son of wickedness shall not hurt her, the [Page 22]gates of hell shall not prevail against her, Flumina non operient, the rivers shall not over­flow her.

Let me apply this more particularly to my Soveraign Lord the King. The floods have risen, as David speaketh, the floods lift up their voice, the floods lift up their waves. But these floods of ungodly men I trust shall not overflow him, though the waves of the sea are mighty, and rage horribly, yet the Lord (that's one good turn) which dwelleth on high, is mightier, and he will send down from the high to fetch him, he will take him out of many waters; he will make these Traitors, ac­cording to our common phrase, as weak as water, as water spilt upon the ground, which cannot be gathered up; he stills the raging of the sea, & the noise of his waves, and the madness of the people; from the waters of strife, he will bring the King to the still waters, he will deliver him from the strivings of the people, and he will make him the head of the heathen, the fierceness of these wicked men shall turn to his praise, and the fierceness of them he will certainly refrain, Flumina non operient, the rivers shall not overflow thee.

I have seen, said Solomon, and so have [Page 23]we, Servants upon horses, and Princes walk­ing as servants upon the earth; but I hope we shall not much longer see this sight. Wa­ter is a good servant, but a bad Master; God therefore, I trust, will shortly de­liver us from the Tyranny of an arbitrary Anarchy, from the Soveraignty of our fel­low-subjects, Flumina non operient, the rivers shall not overflow us.

Thirdly, By Waters, we understood He­resies and doctrines of devils; neither shall these waters overflow the Church. The Devil is ever changing Gods Truth into a lie; if God have said, ye shall, Satan will say, ye shall not die. And God sendeth some such strong delusions, that, as Eve did, they believe a lie; the Dragons flood of errours quite drowneth them in perdition. But the Church shall not miscarry for all this Dragon-water, the earth (as it is Rev. 12.) shall swallow up the floods; The Earth, that is, the earthly minded, the un­godly of the world, shall swallow up the flood, that is, shall approve of, and en­tertain these wicked errours. Not a little of this water hath been emptied into the river Tyber, the Church of Rome hath swal­lowed down a great part of this Dragons flood. The residue hath been swallowed [Page 24]by Pelagians and Antinomians, Donatists and Novatians; Marcionites and Manichees, Socinians and Arminians, Presbyterians and Independents, Brownists and Burtonists, Scismaticks and Separatists, Familists and A­nabaptists, while we that are right Prote­stants take in none but living water, draw­ing the water of Truth out of the well of salvation; the flood of errour shall never surround or overwhelm us, Flumina non ope­rient, the rivers shall not overflow us.

Fourthly, and lastly, by Waters we un­derstand the Abyss of desperation, neither shall these waters overflow the Church. One while the devil telleth men that God is made up of all mercy; another while, that his Mercy is not so great as their sins; first, he would flatter them into Presump­tion, then he would fright them into des­peration. And when he hath brought them to this latter state, then they are apt to drown themselves, like that Lunatick, which oft-times fell into the water, Mat. 17.15. But the Lord, saith St. Peter, know­eth how to deliver the godly out of temp­tation. He will not suffer them to be tem­pred above that they are able, saith St. Paul, but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that they may be able to bear it.

Art thou come therefore into deep wa­ters, so that the floods are running over thee? Hath Satan brought thee to the ve­ry brink of desperation? why, yet he shall never be able to bring thee any further, if thou belong to Christ; he could not drown the silly swine without Christs leave; (and thy Saviour will never licence him to do thee such a mischief) he is but like a dog in a string, like a Dragon in a chain, so that thou maist assure thy self, he can do thee no hurt without Gods special warrant and commission. Though thou walkest therefore thorow the valley of despair, yet fear no evil, for there is a way to heaven just by the gates of Hell. It is the nature of clay to dam up the eyes, yet our Sa­viour put clay upon the blind to make him see. It is the nature of water to put out fire; yet Elijah poured water upon his sa­crifice to make it burn. God many times bringeth about his ends by means, which to our thinking, are quite contrary. As he letteth some therefore soar with Icarus up­on the wings of presumption (I mean the Rebels of our age) ut lapsu graviore ruant, that their down-fall may be the grea­ter, the heat of Gods wrath melting them, as wax melteth at the fire, and they pre­cipitating [Page 26]head-long into the sea of despera­tion: So God suffereth others sometimes to fall into despair, that the depth of mi­sery may invoke the depth of mercy, he throweth them as it were balls against the ground, to make them bound the higher. When thou thinkest therefore he hath quite left thee, then he is nearest to thee; when thou walkest thorow the brook of despair, then he will lift up thy head, his rod and his staffe shall conduct thee thorow these Sti­gian waters, Flumina non operient, the rivers shall not overflow thee.

1. And so ye have the safety of the Church in her first passage, which was, per aquas, thorow the waters. Ye shall see her safety likewise in her second passage, which is, per ignes, thorow the fire, when thou walkest thorow the fire, thou shalt not be burnt, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

Non combureris, thou shalt not be burnt, Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. It hath therefore been the practice of persecutors in al ages to burn up al the Bibles that they could lay hands on, knowing this to be the ready way for them to destroy the faith of Christ. But how strangely hath the Bible scaped even in the most fiery persecutions! though some part [Page 27]of it may be lost, as the prophecy of Enoch and the book of Jasher, yet there is so much left still, as containeth in it all things ne­cessary to salvation, God would never suffer all of it to be made fewel for the fire, Non combureris, thou shalt not be burnt. Neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. The damned in hell are ever burn­ing, never burnt, but who can dwell with those everlasting burnings? They could with a good will put up that petition, Hic ure, hic seca, that God would cut them all in pieces, and then burn them up to very nothing. But should they make many such prayers, there would none of them be heard, they shall not be burnt, The flame shall not kindle on them.

But to come nearer to the Text we pro­pouded some examples out of the Scripture, of men that passed safly thorow fire literal­ly taken the First may be Lot.

2. God usually proportioneth the punish­ment to the sin.

Sodome burned in lust, and was therefore burnt with Fire, but though brimstome and fire were rained upon the Sodomites, yet God delivered Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, Non combureris, thou shalt be burnt.

The second example may be Isaac, who came very neer the fire, behold the fire and wood, nay, behold he is laid on the Altar upon the wood. Yet for all this, God suffered not Abraham to do him any hurt, he made an of­fer to offer up Isaac, and the will went for the deed, Non combureris, thou shalt not be burnt.

The third example may be the Israelites in whose company the fire was kindled, there went out a fire from the Lord, and consu­med the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense, Num. 16.35. But though the flame burnt up the ungodly mutiniers, yet every obedient Israelite escaped, Non combureris, thou shalt not be burnt.

The fourth example may be the three Salamanders, in the furnace Dan 3. who though they walked thorow the fire, yet their coats were not changed, nor so much as the smell of fire had passed on them. And this last example is without example; I ne­ver heard of any fire-proof before, for Fire is of a most devouring and consuming na­ture, turning all combustible things into ashes that come neer it, yet the children of the fire, the sparks hurt not these three chil­dren, with the shields of their faith they quench'd the violence of fire, when they wal­ked [Page 29]thorow the fire, they were not burnt, neither did the flame kindle upon them.

And to these I might adde, though some­what out of order, the example of Abra­ham, whom God brought out of Ur of the Caldees, Gen. 15.7. Now Ur, as Huge observeth, signifyeth fire, the Greek word, from which our English word seemeth to come, hath but one Letter more; and therefore the Hebrews had a tradition, that because Abraham would not worship the Fire, as the Caldeans did, he should have been cast into the fire, had not God given him notice of it, and so preserved him.

But though Ʋr signifie fire, yet the ordi­nary Glosse taketh it not for a common, but a proper Name, for the Name of the town or village where Abraham dwelt. This example therefore cannot claim kindred of the Text: I might more properly bring in our preservation from the Powder-treason, but I will rather answer a question that may rise from our Text: for is this promise al­wayes performed? Thou shalt not be burnt, the flame shall not kindle on thee. What shall we say then to that fiery persecution in Queen Maries dayes, when there were so many Bethels in this Kingdome, so many Cities wherein mens bones were burnt?

I Answer, it is true that the Church of Christ, this Church in particular hath en­dured the fiery triall. But as Rex non mo­ritur, so Ecclesia non comburitur, as the King is never buried, so the Church is never burnt, James may die, and so may Charles, (yet God maintaine his life) but the King (let rebels do what they can) never dieth: So Latimer may be burnt, and Cranmer may be burnt, but the Church is never burnt. If Pagans should prevail so farre (which God forbid) as to burne up all the Christians; or if Puritans should prevaile so far (which God forbid too) as to burne up all the Pro­testants, yet I verily believe that out of their very ashes, God would raise up a new Phoenix, Cinis Mariyrum should be Semen Ecclesiae, the ashes of an old should be the seed of a new Church, she shall not be so burnt, as to be quite extinct, neither shall the flame so kindle upon her.

And the Application hereof now may be briefly thus. Seeing God will not suffer his Church to be finally burnt up by others, this may teach us (as it were) to set on fire our selves, not with the fire of lust, it is bet­ter to marry than so to burn; nor with the fire of wrath, rather heap coals of fire upon the head of the enemies; but let it be [Page 31]with the vestal fire of devotion and affection, let our hearts burn within us with love to God and men. So shall neither the sun burn us by day, nor the moon by night, the Lord shall preserve us form all evil, it is even he that will keep both our bodies and our souls, when the Elements shall melt with fervent heat, when the earth, and the Works therein shall be burnt up, he will preserve and keep us from everlasting fire, and exalt us to his Coelum empyreum, his fiery heaven, there for ever to behold him, whose eyes are as a flame of fire, and his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace: And so ye have the safety of the Church in her passage thorow fire li­terally taken. Ye shall see her safety like­wise as she passeth thorow the fire of affli­ction and persecution; When thou walkest thorow this fire, thou shalt not be burnt, nei­ther shall the flame kindle upon thee.

It is the nature of fire Congregare homo­genea, and Segregare heterogenea, to bring together things of the same kind, and to separate things of divers kinds; A Re­finer therefore is wont to bring his Myne to the fire, and by this means he severeth the silver from the dross, which is like­wise [Page 32]wise the very practice of Almighty God, it is the Prophet Malachie's similitude word for word, Mal. 3.3. He shall sit as a Refi­ner and Purifier of silver, and he shall purifie the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver. And the sweet Singer of Israel harpeth upon the same string, Psa. 66.9. Thou, O God, hast proved us, thou also hast tried us, like as silver is tried. Non sicut foenum, sed sicut argentum, non in cineres convertisti, sed sordes abluisti, saith St. Au­stin, God trieth us not with a consuming, but with a cleansing fire, turneth us not into ashes, only taketh away our sullage and our ashes from us, purely purgeth a­way our dross, and taketh away all our tinne. God purgeth men by affliction, as the Israelites were to purge the spoil of the Midianites. Numb. 31.23. Every thing that may abide the fire, ye shall make it go thorow the fire, and it shall be clean. God trieth men by affliction what metal they are made of, they that endure this fiery tryal, they are good gold, they are Gods Children; they that endure it not, they are but dross, they are but Cast-awayes. Good men are like Shadrach, Meshack and Abednego, though they walk thorow the fi­ery [Page 33]furnace of Affliction, yet they are not burnt up, no not so much as singed; but wicked men are like the souldiers that bound and cast them in, when they are yet but at the mouth of the fiery furnace, when the fire of Affliction but beginneth to seize upon them, it prevaileth against them, and consumeth them in a moment.

Good men are, in this, like clay, the fire of Affliction strengthneth and confirmeth them; but wicked men are like wax, as wax melteth at the fire, so do the ungodly perish in the fiery tryal; Affliction to them is like the fire that burneth up the wood, and like the flame that consumeth the mountains; God maketh them like a fiery oven in time of his wrath, the Lord de­stroyeth them in his displeasure, and the fire consumeth them. Affliction maketh wicked men a great deal worse, as water becometh much colder after heating, than ever it would have been, if it had never been heated. As for the Righteous; it is not so with them. God burneth them in­deed throughly, as the bricks of Babel were, but this is only as a Potter frameth his vessels in the fire, that so they may be vessels unto honour, and for the Masters [Page 34]use, though they walk thorow the fire, yet they are not burnt, neither doth the flame kindle upon them. When Job's wife heard of all the evil that God had brought upon her hus­band, she grew so mad, so out-ragious and impatient, that she would fain have perswaded him to make away with him­self, what, saith she, all that ever thou hadst taken away from thee? Is this the reward thou hast for thine integrity? Well, serve God, who will, I would serve him no longer, make good the devils words, if thou wilt be ruled by me, do, as he said thou wouldest in such a case, even curse God and die, Job 2.9. But ye have heard of the patience of Job, saith St. James, let his wife therefore say what she will, he will have none of her counsel, thou talkest like an Asse, saith he, thou speakest like one of the foolish women. And indeed (as he goeth on) shall we receive good at the hand of God, and not receive evil al­so? Shall we receive health and not sick­ness, wealth and not poverty, peace and not War, honour and not dishonour, liberty and not restraint? yea, my brethren, if we be Christians, we must resolve to endure all. And if we do this, then we may assure our [Page 35]selves, that although we sow in tears, yet we shall reap in joy, though God have long suffered wicked men to ride over our heads, though we have gone thorow fire and wa­ter, yet God in his good time will bring us and our Soveraign out into a wealthy place, he will cast these rods of his anger into the fire, and then mercy shall embrace us on every side, our light affliction, which is but for a moment, shall work for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glo­ry; which God of his infinite mercy grant, &c.

FINIS.
THE ASSUMPTION OF TH …

THE ASSUMPTION OF THE Messiah.

A Sermon PREACHED Before His MAJESTY, KING CHARLES the IId. AT THE HAGUE in HOLLAND, on Sunday May 29. old stile 1649.

LONDON, Printed in the year, 1660.

THE ASSUMPTION OF THE Messiah.

ACTS 1.9.

And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up, and a cloud received him out of their sight.

THat which is spoken of the Sun in the firmament, Psal. 19.6. St. Austin upon that place applieth unto the Son of Righteousness, His going forth is from the end of heaven, there, saith he, is Christs descension from the bosome of his [Page 40] Father; and his circuit unto the ends of it, here, saith he, is his ascension to the place from whence he came. And our Saviour him­self hath much such another passage, John 16.28. Which place may not unfitly be compared unto a Circle; I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world, there is the semicircle: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father, here is the com­pleat Circle.

And by this we may see what agreement there is between the material Sun and the Mystical. The Sun in the firmament is ap­pointed to light the day: so as long as I am in the world, saith our Saviour, I am the light of the world, John 9.5. The Sun, though in the firmament, stoopeth to lighten us below: So, though our Saviours dwelling were in heaven, yet he humbleth himself to behold us here on earth. The Sun ariseth, and the Sun goeth down, and hasteth to the place where he arose, Ecles. 1.5. So the Sun of Righteousness came from one hemisphere, from light inaccessible, from the place of blessed Saints and An­gels, that he might shine unto the other hemisphere, to us their forlorn Antipodes, to us mortals that sat in darkness, and sha­dow of death.

But as the Sun maketh hast to the place where he arose, dwelleth not alway with us, but returneth again according to his circuits. In like manner the Sun of Righte­ousnesse having lightned his Apostles un­derstanding by his Doctrine, and having warmed and cheared their hearts by his promise of sending them the Holy Ghost, having given them the word of resolution, of instruction, and of benediction, he took his leave of the earth, and returned into heaven, And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up, and a cloud received him out of their sight.

This Text then is a description of our Saviour's Ascension, wherein there are six particulars to be consider'd, four plainly ex­pressed, two necessarily implied. The first is Quis, the Person that ascended, which was Christ, he that descended was the same also that ascended, He was taken up. The second is Quando, the Time of the ascension, which may be considered two wayes, in re­ference to his Resurrection, forty dayes af­ter that, or in reference to his last exercise, the resolving his Apostles doubts, the in­structing, and the blessing of them, imme­diately after this, [...], when he had [Page 42]spoken these things. The third is Ʋnde, the Place from whence he ascended, which by comparing Acts 1.12. with Luke 24.50. we shall finde to be that part of mount Olivet next to Bethany, he was taken up from thence. The fourth is Quo, the Place whither he ascended, which was heaven, he was taken up thither. The fifth is Quo­modo, the manner of his ascension, set down here two wayes, First Positively, he was taken up. Secondly Expositively, a cloud received him out of their sight. The sixt and last are Testes the Spectatours, or the witnesses of his ascension, which were the Eleven Apostles, while they beheld he was taken up, &c. And of these in order.

I begin with the first particular, Quis, the Person that ascended, Christ, He was taken up.

He that was from the begining, nay, he that is the beginning, Alpha, and Omega, the beginning and the ending; He that is [...], Imamnuel, God with us, he that is one in Trinity and Duality, he that made on Person of two Natures, And which of these natures then was ascended? It was his Humane nature, as may easily be gathered from those words of the Angels to the Apostles, Acts. 1.11. The same Je­sus [Page 43]which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. Now we know that our Saviour shall come to judgement, as he is man, according to that of St. Paul, Acts. 71.31. where he saith that God hath appointed a day wherein he will judge the world in righteousnesse, by that man whom he hath ordained, whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. Our Saviour therefore ascended according to his hu­manity. The Royal Psalmist seemeth to say indeed that his Divinity ascended, Ascen­dit Deus in Iubilo, Dominus in voce tubae, God is gone up with a shout, and the Lord with the sound of the trumpet, Psal. 47.5. As for his Humamity, our Saviour seem­eth to say that this was in heaven before, Ioh. 3.13. No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came downe from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. But to these and all other such objections I answer with Theo­doret, the Divine and Humane nature of our Saviour being Hypostatically united in­to one Person, [...], those things, which are proper to either of his Natures, are attributed [Page 44]and communicated to his whole Person, Thus St. Paul saith, that God was mani­fested in the flesh, and that God was recei­ved up into glory, 1 Tim. 3.16. Not­withstanding therefore these objections, the Person that ascended was Christ Iesus ac­cording to his Humanity, He was taken up.

He, it is not said She was taken up; The Papists have Ascension, or rather Assumpti­on-day for the blessed Virgin Mary, which they annually celebrate upon the fifteenth of August, whereon they say, She was taken up corporally into heaven. But this is as true as that the Disciples stole our Sa­viour out of his grave: I am very sure there is not the least mention of any such thing in Scripture, and where the Holy Ghost hath no tongue to speak, nor pen to write, there must we have no eare to hear, nor any heart to believe. Not the Woman there­fore Christ's mother, but the man Christ Jesus himself He was taken up.

And so I passe from the first part of the Text, the Person ascending, which was Christ, to the second part, Quando, the Time of his ascension, which we are to con­sider first, in reference to his Resurrection, forty dayes after that, then he was taken [Page 45]up. But here two questions may be moved, First, Why Christ did ascend so soon? Se­condly, seeing so soon, why no sooner?

The first question may be, why he ascen­ded so soon after his resurrection, why he deferred not his ascension till the last day, that we might have been taken up toge­ther with him? To which I answer two wayes. First, that Christ should ascend so soon, was not convenient in respect of him. Secondly, That he should ascend so soon, was not expedient in respect of us. First, That he should ascend so soon, was not convenient in respect of himself. And that first in respect of his glorified body. Hea­ven was the most convenient place for his incorruptible and immortall body.

Earth is a very Golgotha, a region of cor­ruption, a place of dead mens skuls. Though Christ's body therefore could not have seen corruption, had it continued still on earth, yet the fittest place for such a body were the incorruptible heavens. A­gain, it was convenient that Christ should ascend so soon after his resurrection, that he might manifest and declare the truth of his Divinity. Earth is a region of death,

Quocunque aspicias nihil est nisi mortis imago, [Page 46]All that ever came hither, have, or must die once; and I assure my self that Laza­rus, and all the rest that were raised, ei­ther by the Prophets, or by our Saviour, or by his Apostles, died twice; should Christ there­fore after his resurrection have continued here longer than he did, men would scarce have taken him to be God, but have mi­staken him for a meer Man; and they would have thought that Christ, like Laza­rus, had been to die the second time. Thus ye see, it was convenient in respect of Christ, that he should ascend so soon after his resurrection as he did. Ye shall now see, that this was expedient in respect of us. And the expediency of it we have from Christ's own mouth. John 16.7. It is ex­pedient for you, saith he, (and what he saith to them, we may apply to us) that I go away; and he giveth his reason in the very next words, If I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you, but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And John 7.39. we read, That the Holy Ghost was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified. Had there been no Holy Thursday, had not our Saviour ascended from his Apostles on the fortieth day, there had likewise been no Whitsunday, the Holy Ghost had not [Page 47]descended upon the Apostles on the fiftieth day.

Again, Had Christ remained still upon earth, he had not been so proper an object of our faith, which is [...] The evidence of things not seen, Heb. 11.1. Thy Fides will not well stand with thy Vi­des; we do not properly walk by faith, when we walk by sight, Apparentia non habent fidem, sed agnitionem, saith St. Gregory, fruition putteth a period unto faith, and therefore Credimus ut cognoscamus, non cog­noscimus ut credamus, saith St. Austin, we come to knowledge by faith, and not to faith by knowledge; the nature of faith is to be exercised about things absent, wherefore though we have known Christ after the flesh, saith St. Paul, yet now henceforth know we him no more, 2 Cor. 5.16.

The second question may be, seing Christ ascended so soon, why did he ascend no sooner? Why did he not make one ascend­ing for all? As soon as he rose out of the grave, why did he not ascend immediate­ly into heaven? To which I return a three­fold answer. First, This was not conve­nient in respect of Christ. Secondly, it was not convenient in respect of his Disciples. Thirdly it was not convenient in respect of [Page 48] us. First, that Christ should ascend so soon, was not convenient in respect of Himself, for we know what a tradition the Jewes have among them untill this day, name­ly, that his Disciples stole him away, while the souldiers were asleep. Had not Christ therefore shewed himsef alive after his passion, though not to all the people, yet to certaine selected witnesses, the traditi­on of the Jewes might have passed for cur­rant truth, it might have been doubted to this day, whether he had been risen from the dead or no. Secondly, that Christ should ascend immediately after his Resur­rection, was not convenient in respect of his Disciples, whose faith was almost quite shipwrack'd at his death; they little thought he would make his word good to rise again, and therefore the relation of the woman seemed to them as an old wives tale, they believed it not; nay, when our Saviour himself appeared unto them, they would scarce believe that it was he, but were terri­fied and affrighted, supposing that they had seen a spirit. It was fit therefore that Christ should be conversant awhile with these raw Schollers, both to confirm their faith touching that truth of his resurrecti­on, and also to instruct them in those things [Page 49]that were pertaining to Gods Kingdome. Thirdly and lastly, that Christ should ascend immediately after his resurrection, was not convenient in respect of us. For his Disci­ples were not properly Apostles till after his resurrection, a good while; if they were Apostles, their Diocess was very narrow, though they were Apostles to the Iews, they were no Apostles to the Gentiles, Go not in­to the way of the Gentiles, said our Saviour to them, but only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Had not Christ then after his resurrection enlarged their Commission, we had not heard, I doubt, unto this hour, whether there had been a Christ or no. For his Apostles would not have been like the Mechanicks in our dayes, they would not have run about the world, and preached without Commission; with­out an Ite, Praedicate, go, and preach, how should they have preached, except they had been sent? Our Saviour therefore de­layed his ascension into heaven to furnish his Apostles with a Catholick Commission, that so their sound might go out into all Lands, and their Words unto the ends of world.

And so ye have the Time of Christs a­scension in reference to his Resurrection. [Page 50]Be pleased now to consider it in reference to his last exercise, which was the Resolving of his Apostles doubts, the Instructing, and the Blessing of them, by and by after this [...], when had spoken these things.

The Church of Rome keepeth much ado about These things, she would hereby have her unwritten Traditions to be understood.

But though all things are not written, which our blessed Saviour spake, yet all things necessary to salvation, I am sure, are written; the Gospell were imperfect, should Traditions be entertained. So that we are not to heed mens inventions, but only Christ's instructions, He was the way, and he shewed all men the way that they should walk in, as he shewed it his Apostles here, when he had spoken these things.

These things, that is, First when he had resolved their doubts. They asked him whether he would at that time restore the kingdome to Israel, Act. 1.6. To which he returned them a short answer, that it was not for them to know the times, or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his owne power.

And this first may teach the Laity to bring their Queries, their Questions to the Cler­gy, [Page 51]the Priests lips must preserve knowledg, and they must seek the Law at his mouth, Mal. 2.7.

And as the People must bring their que­stions, so the Pastour must resolve them. And to this end St. Paul would have him [...], apt to teach, 1 Tim. 3.2. he must be both able and also ready to teach, and resolve doubts, our Saviour ascended not till he had done this, till he had resolved his Apostles doubts, [...], when he had spoken these things.

These things, That is, Secondly, when he had throughly instructed his A­postles in the way to heaven. Having lo­ved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end, he preached unto them, till he departed from them, till he was taken up into heaven.

And herein he was first a patterne to all that are Preachers of his Gospel, who, ha­ving set their hand to his plow, ought never to look back.

The Levites at fifty years old were freed from the service of the Tabernacle. But no age will exempt or discharge us of our office, we must not cease to exercise it, till we are just putting off this Tabernacle, though we are never so superannuated, though we are such as Paul the Aged, or [Page 52]though so feeble, that like St. Iohn we were fain to be carryed to the pulpit. For as the Echo repeateth only the last part of the voice; so the people are aptest to re­member the last part of the Sermon, and the last Sermon best: And therefore St. Peters resolution was, that he would not cease to be a Preacher, till he ceased to be a man, as we read 2 Pet. 1.12, 13.15. I will not be negligent to put you alwayes in re­membrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this Tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; moreover, I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things alwayes in remem­brance.

And as this affordeth a lesson for Preach­ers, so doth it for Parents and Masters, who ought to give their children and ser­vants good instructions in their health, but then to do this especially, when they lie up­on their bed of sicknesse, when they have the sentence of Death in them, when they are ready to depart out of this world, the best Legacies they can then give them are godly admonitions. For the words of a dying friend, like those of our Martyred [Page 53]Soveraign) live with us till our death, they are as goades, and as nailes fastned by the masters of Assemblies, every sillable seemetha sentence to us, their words make a deep impression in our minds and memo­ries, when therefore ye are going the way of all the earth, do as religious Ioshua then did, call for your families, and charge them to persevere in pious duties, to fear the Lord, and to serve him in sinceri­ty and truth: Charge them also as a dy­ing David charged his Son Solomon, to know the God of their Fathers, & to serve him with a perfect heart, and with a willing mind. And after your benediction, give them St. Paul's valediction, Finally (as he took leave of his Corinthians) Farewell, be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace, and the God of love and peace shall be with you. Or let our blessed Saviour him­self be your patterne and ensample, who ceased not to instruct his Apostles, till he was taken from them [...], when he had spoken these things.

These things, that is, lastly when he had blessed them, so we read Luke 24.50, 51. he lift up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to passe while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into hea­ven. [Page 54]Thus Iacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Ioseph, Ephra­im and Manasseth, Genes. 48.16. and Heb. 11.21. Nor did he blesse them only, but also all the twelve tribes of Israel, eve­ry one, according to his blessing he blessed them, Gen. 49.28. This was also St. Paul's custome to close all his Epistles with a be­nediction. And thus likewise the New Testament is concluded. The Old Testa­ment endeth with a threatned curse, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse Mal. 4. ult. But the New Testament endeth with a blessing, The Grace of our Lord Iesus Christ be with you all. Revel. 22. ult.

And this may serve to teach the Mini­sters not to dismisse the assembly without a blessing, and the assembly to have so much patience as to tarry till it be pro­nounced. It may indeed teach all sorts of people, Soveraign and Subject, Clergy and Laity, not to part company at any time without a Dominus Ʋobiscum on both sides, the Lord be with you, the Lord pros­per you, we wish you good luck, in the name of the Lord.

Herein indeed lies the difference between our blessings and our Saviours, Our be­nedictions are in the Optative mood, we [Page 55]do but wish them, but our Saviour's bene­dictions (as that Royal Martyr hath an expres­sion in his prayer for a blessing upon the Treaty) our Saviours benedictions, I say, are Imperative, he commands them, he ascended not till he had done this, [...], When he had spoken these things.

And so I passe from the second part of the Text, the Time of Christ's ascension, to the third, Ʋnde the Place from whence he ascended, which was that part of Mount Olivet next to Bethany, as will appear by comparing Act. 1.12. with Luke 24.50. So that here we have three steps, First he ascended from a Mountain, Secondly from Mount Olivet, Thirdly from that part of it next Bethany.

First, he ascended from a Mountaine, And why so? He stileth himselfe the Lil­ly of the valleys, Cant. 2.1. Why then did he not ascend from the valley of Iehoshaphat, he shall from heaven come thither at the day of judgment, Ioel 3.12. Why then did he not from thence go into heaven? Was it to shew that he is the God of the mountaines only, and not also of the valleyes: or was it that he might be a little neerer to heaven, and by this meanes [Page 56]shorten his way thither? No such matter, but he ascended from a mountaine, chiefly for two reasons.

First, to teach us, saith L [...]rinus, that we should alway use meanes, where they may possibly be had. He could at all times have, walked upon the water, but he would not, when he came where shipping was, he went aboard. He could have sa­tisfied the multitude without food, he could have taken, [...]way their Hunger with a word, [...], be ye filled; but he would not, he fed them at one time with seven, at another time with five loves, u­sing meanes, though inconsiderable and weak. He could have cured him that was born blind with an Epphatha be opened, but he would not, he bade him go to the pool of Sil [...], and wash. All to teach us that we should not neglect meanes, and look for miracles. When we are sick we must send for the Physician, not look for Gods help without his.

When an house is fired, we must cast water on it, not hope that God will quench it by a shower. When perjured rebels have usurped the Crown, to recover this out of their hands, we must put on, not only the armour of God, but the armour [Page 57]of man too, we must not only have the sword of the Lord, but of Gideon. For to look for help from God, and use no meanes, is not to trust in God, but even to tempt him. And that we might avoid this, our Saviour would not ascend from a Valley, but rather chose the mediation of a Mountaine.

Secondly, he ascended from a moun­taine, to teach us that as mountaines raise and elevate our bodies, so they should like­wise elevate our souls, they should put us in mind of heaven and things above. VVhen­soever therefore we go up an hill, we should be thinking upon God's hill, and we should fix our cogitations upon him, who was transfigured upon a mountaine, mount Tabor, crucified upon a mountain, mount Calvary, and ascended from a moun­tain, even from mount Olivet.

And why from this mountaine of all o­ther? The reasons seem to be chiefly two, First, that as upon this mountain he shewed himself to be a frail man, so he might there shew himself to be the mighty God too, as he manifested the weaknesse of his humani­ty upon this mountaine, by his agony and bloody sweat, and by his groveling on the ground; so he might likewise manifest the [Page 58]power of his Divinity upon the same moun­taine: by his glorious ascension from thence into heaven, Secondly, the Olive-tree is the emblem and hierogliphick of Peace; good reason then that our Saviour should ascend from mount Olivet, seeing he is our Peace, the very Prince of peace, this was the Lega­cy that he bequeathed to his dearest friends, Peace I leave with you, my Peace I give unto you.

And as Christ ascended from a moun­taine, and from mount Olivet, so lastly from that part of it next Bethany.

Now Bethany, by interpetation, is the house of affliction, and fom Bethany our Saviour went unto his Passion, for just be­fore his apprehension, he was in Bethany in the house of Simon the Leper, Math. 26.6. he went from the same place to his Cross, and his Crown. And so must we, we must not think to go a delicjis ad delicias, as St. Jerome speaketh, from the jollity of this world to the joyes of heaven, no, if hereafter we will have good, we must here have evill things. Per angusta ad augusta, through heaviness to happi­ness, Per varios casus, per tot discrimina rerum, through many tribulations we must enter into the Kingdome of God, Acts. 14.22.

Lift up therefore the hands which hang downe, and the feeble knees. For what if thou art imprisoned, and, as it were buried alive in thy bed of languish­ing? What if sicknesse have taken such hold upon thee, that thou are not able to look up? What if thou art feeble and sore smitten, so that all the night thou washest thy bed, and waterest thy couch with thy teares? Why, yet let this consideration be instead of an handkerchief to wipe thine eyes; consider that thy Saviour (and thy Martyred Soveraign) went from Be­thany to Bethel, from the house of affliction to their Fathers house, and if thou hast faith and patience, thou shalt do so too, thy bed of sicknesse, or if it be thy scaffold, or thy gibbet; this shall be the same to thee that Bethany was to thy Saviour; thou shalt from thence be translated and exalted into Abraham's bosom, thy light affliction, which is but for a moment, shall work for thee a far more exceeding and eternall weight of glory.

And so I passe from the third part of the Text, the Place, from whence Christ ascended, to the fourth, Quo, the Place whi­ther he ascended, which was Heaven, he was taken up thither.

In the first chapter of Ezekiel's Prophe­sie, we read of four living Creatures, and every of these creatures had four faces, the face of a man, the face of an Ox, the face of a Lion, & the face of an Eagle. Whereunto Expositors resemble four actions of our Saviour, his Nativity, his Passion, his Resur­rection, his Ascension.

At his Nativity, he was like a man, more than like, he was a man indeed, man of the substance of his mother, born in the world. At his Passion, he was like an Ox, offered up for us in sacrifice upon the Altar of the Crosse. At his Resurrection, he was like a Lion, even a lion of the tribe of Judah, he brake the bonds of death; because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. At his Ascension, he was like an Eagle, he soared up into heaven.

Into heaven? But did he go no higher? St. Paul saith, he ascended farre above all heavens, Eph. 4.10 But for answer to this, we must observe that the Scripture maketh mention of a threefold heaven. First the Air is called Heaven, he commanded the cloud above, and opened the doores of heaven, Psa. 78.23. Secondly, the celestial orbes and spheres, are heaven, the Sun, Moon, and [Page 60]Starrs are called Exercitus coeli; the host of heaven, Dent. 4.19. Thirdly and lastly, the place of bliffe is heaven; the Lord hath prepared his seat in heaven, Psal. 103.19. which distinction of heaven, St. Paul seemes to allude unto, when he saith, that he was caught up into the third heaven, 2 Cor. 12.2. Now where the Apostle saith that Christ ascended far above all heavens, we are to understand it of the Orbes Celestial, he ascended above the Orbes Celesti­al, above all visible and materiall heavens.

But here then perhaps that of the Philo­sopher may be objected, in the first book, De coelo, [...], without, or above heaven there is no place, now it is essential to every body to be in some place or other, quod nusquam est, non omnino est, if Christs body therefore be in no place, it will be so far from being every where (as Lutherans would have it) that it will cease to be at all. To which I answer, that to speak physically and strictly, there is in­deed no place above the visible heavens; But though there be not Locus, yet there is Ubi, though there be no place, yet there is a certaine space, (as I may so speak) and it is sufficient for a body glorified to be in such a space, which our Saviour not­withstanding [Page 62]calleth a place, I go to prepare a place for you. Ioh, 14.2.

And this was indeed the chief reason why he ascended into heaven. Adam's sin shut him out both of the earthly and the heavenly Paradise, there was no place for him in Eden, nor for his posterity in hea­ven. But the doores of heaven were opened upon Holy-Thursday, when Christ had over­come and trampled upon death by his re­surrection, he did open the kingdome of heaven by his ascension. Not as if heaven were so fast shut before, that none could enter in, no not in soul, till Christ ascended thither in body, the Papists might have some kind of ground for their Limbus Pa­trum, if this were so. That cannot there­fore be the meaning of it; there were glo­rious mansions prepared for us from the foundation of the world, as it is Math. 25.34. But though places of glory were from the beginning prepared for us, yet the ple­nary and the perfect preparation was made by Christs ascension.

And seeing our Saviour Christ is ascen­ded corporally into heaven, this earnest may ascertaine us of our ascension, our Head being ascended, we shall also a­scend that are his Members. It may be ob­jected [Page 63]perhaps that flesh and blood cannot inherit incorruption. I answer, it is true that our bodies, as they are now, are not ca­pable of going to heaven; they must there­fore be crumbled to very dust and ashes, and new moulded by him that made them at the first, before ever they can be admit­ed into that holy place. And as our bodies must be refined, so likewise must our souls. Heaven is a City of pure Gold, no unclean thing must come into it. We must there­fore lay aside every weight, and the sinnes that do so easily depresse us; David could not go with Saul's armour, nor can we a­scend to heaven with the weapons of un­righteousnesse. If then we will ascend thither at our death, we must begin our ascension in this life, if we hope to go to heaven, when we take our farewell of the earth, then while we are here on earth, our conversation must be in heaven. For anima magis est ubi amat, quàm ubi a­nimat, saith St. Bernard, the Soul is ra­ther where it loveth, than where it liveth; If therefore we love the Lord Jesus, let our affection be with him, where our hea­venly treasure is, there let our hearts be also, where the Load-stone is, that way let the Iron tend, where the carcase is, [Page 64]thither let the Eagles resort; by religious meditations, and by assiduous supplications let us ascend unto that place whither our blessed Lord and Master is gone be­fore.

St. Austin would rather have been in hell with Christ, than be in heaven with­out him. How then should our hearts be inflamed with love of heaven, now we are sure that our Saviour is ascended thither? How should we contemn, though not ab­dicate the world, use it, I mean as though we used it not? Seing Christ hath left it, we should strive to leave it too, dying dai­ly as St. Paul did, though not in deed, yet in desire, having a desire to be dissolved, and to be with Christ, our soules must be athirst for him, our flesh also must long after him, with an How long Lord Jesu [...], when shall we come unto thee? And so I passe from the fourth part of the Text, the Place whither Christ ascended, to the fifth, Quomodo, the Manner of his ascension, set down here two wayes, I be­gin with the Positive part of it, [...], he was taken up.

Taken up, why so? Did he not go up of himself? Lazarus was taken up, car­ried by Angels into heaven. And these car­ried [Page 65]up Elijah too, the charet and horses of fire were holy Angels, the Charets of God, saith David, are twenty thousand, even thousands of Angels, Psal. 68.17. But though they were carried up, yet Christ went up of him­self, in his ascension; of all circumstances, Quibus auxiliis, came not in, Christ went up of himself, he ascended by his own power. Why then doth our Text say that he was taken up? as if he had been some way assist­ed in his ascnesion up to heaven?

I answer, the Text saith that he was taken up for this reason, to signifie and shew his o­bedience to his Fathers Will, for otherwise he might have ascended upon the very day of his resurrection, every glorified body be­ing of that agility and lightnesse, ut ubicun­que volet esse anima, ibi statim erit corpus, wheresoever the soul would be, there is the body straight. But though Christ might have ascended sooner, yet he would not till his heavenly Father saw good, for which reason the Text saith that he was taken up.

And this may teach us not to lay violent hands upon our selves, thinking to get so much the sooner into heaven. If we be in poverty, or sicknesse, in imprisonment, or banishment, yet we must not make away with our selves, nor must we repine or be [Page 66]impatient that we are let into heaven no sooner, that we have so long sought for death, and cannot find it, but we must tarry the Lords leisure, we must not be our own carvers, all the dayes of our appointed time we must wait, till our change come; following the example of our blessed Lord and Master, who submitted himself in all things to the Will of his heavenly Father, and therefore he ascended not when first he might, but when his Father would have him taken up.

And so ye have the manner of his ascen­sion positively set down. I now proceed to the Expositive part of it, in these words, A cloud received him out of their sight.

He maketh the clouds his charet, Psal. 104.3. Not that this cloud did any way help to lift him up, but he used the Ministery of a cloud chiefly for two reasons. First to de­clare and manifest his Divinity. Angels minister to men, but clouds after this man­ner, minister to God only. And the clouds were servants to our Saviour more than once. At his transfiguration, when he gave his Disciples a glimpse of his Divinity, a bright cloud overshaddowed him. Mat. 17.5. So likewise at the day of Judgement clouds shall minister unto him, He shall come in the [Page 67]clouds of heaven with power and great glory, Mat. 24.30. As therefore in Herauldry it argueth a good familie, when a man hath clouds in his Coat of Arms; so in this place, it is an argument of Christs divi­nity, that he hath a cloud to serve him, his bearing is all Nebuly, a cloud received him out of their sight.

A cloud, I say, received him. His body then is not every where, as Lutherans would per­swade us; that which is contained in any thing, must needs be less than the thing which doth contain it. The body of Christ was once contained in a virgins womb, and here a cloud received him. And it received him out of sight, which maketh good that saying of our Saviour to his Disciples, A little while and ye shall not see me, Joh. 16.16. And that was indeed a second use of this cloud, namely, to take off the Apostles from curiosity. Had it been necessary for them to know any further what became of their departing Saviour, this cloud, that re­ceived him out of sight, had not been thus interposed. But to shew them that they had corporally seen him long enough, and that hereafter they were not to see, but to believe, to exercise their faith, and to abate their curiosity, a cloud received him out of their sight:

God alloweth us not to pry inquisitively into hidden mysteries. When the Lord descended upon Mount Sinai, there was a thick cloud upon the mountain, to keep the people from gazing, lest they perish­ed, Exod. 19. which was also one main use of this Cloud at Christ's ascension, that his Apostles, namely, might not gaze after him as he ascended into hea­ven.

We must walk by faith now, and not by sight. For the Spouse of Christ hath a two-fold eye, the eye of faith, and the eye of glory. As Jacob, therefore marri­ed first of all blear-eyed Leah, before he could obtain beautifull Rachel; so we must fee Christ on earth, with the tender eye of faith, before we can in Heaven have the fruition of his glorious God-head. For he is not so gone up into heaven, but that we may see him still on earth: We may see him in his Word, we do not only hear of him there, but we even see him. When we stedfastly believe what we hear out of Gods Word, we fare not only as if it were related in our ears, but indeed verily acted before our eyes. And as we may see Christ in his Word, so we may also see him in his Sacraments, espe­cially [Page 69]in the blessed Sacrament of his holy Supper, and yet even in that Sacrament he is under a Cloud too. The Papists indeed would fain dispel and dissipate this cloud, telling us, that he is corporally and visibly there present, handle and see, they bid us, that it is even he himself. But this Herefie is confuted so at large; that a bare denial of it might now suffice: yet let me me urge against it one Text of Scripture, which is Mark 7.19. Where our Saviour saith, that Whatsoever entreth into the belly, goeth out into the draught. And what horrid blas­phemy were it to say thus of Christs blessed body? We can eat Christ with no other mouth, but that of our faith; not can we see him here with the eye of our flesh, but of our faith. And faith indeed is the most perfect perspective, when all is done. As Abraham therefore said to the damned rich glutton in another case, If they be­lieve not Moses and the Prophets, neither would they believe, though one should come unto them from the dead. So he that believeth not the New Testament, the History of our Saviour Christ, would not believe that he were the Messiah, though he should see him face to face; he that be­lieveth not St. Luke relating the manner of [Page 70] Christ's ascension, would not have believed his own eyes, though they had been wit­nesses of his Assumption, though he had been present upon Mount Olivet, when Christ was taken up into heaven, When a cloud received him out of the Apostles sight. We must endeavour therefore by faith to see Christ in his Word and Sacraments; the exercising of this faith was one principal reason, Why a cloud received him out of their sight. And as our Saviour, so our martyred Soveraign was taken up in a cloud too. Ne­ver was Royal Majesty so disguised, or under so thick a cloud, but that cloud was a trium­phant Charet, wherein he was carried up in­to heaven: the rebellious fools that murthe­red him, accounted his life madness, and his end to be without honour: But yet honou­rable in the sight of the Lord is the death of his Saints. And in spight of all their villany, He is among the children of God, and his portion is with the Saints.

And so I pass from the fifth part of the Text, the manner of Christ's ascension, to the sixth and last, which are Testes, the Spectators or Witnesses of his ascension, which were the eleven Apostles, [...], while they beheld.

The ascension of our Saviour was not [Page 71]seen of all the people, but of certain Wit­nesses chosen before of God, even of those who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.

The adulterous generation of the Jews sought altogether after signes; Shew us a sign from heaven, come down from the Cross, that we may see and believe. But our Saviour would be the object of mens faith, not of their sense: Now saith com­meth by hearing, and hearing by the word of God; if the Jewes therefore will believe Christ's ascension, they have the Apostles, let them hear them, they were eye-wit­nesses of his Majesty, He was taken up while they beheld.

While They, it is not while He beheld, for unus Testis nullus testis, one witness is as good as none: In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established, Mat. 18.16. And yet Pluris est oculatus testis u­nus, quam auriti decem, one eye-witness is more worth than ten of those that go by hear-say. Had the Apostle told the Jews that they heard Christ say, he would a­scend at one time or another, O how ridi­culous had they been! who would have given any heed to this report? That the Apostles therefore might preach no uncer­tain [Page 72]Tradition, they were made spectators of Christ's ascension; he ascended in their presence, He was taken up while they beheld.

Behold him then they did, and indeed how could they chuse but behold him? It was one of St. Austins three wishes, that he might see Christ in the flesh. And this was the wish of many others long before St. Au­stins time, many Prophets and Kings desired to see those things, and could not see them.

The Angels seemed to reprove the Apo­stles for their stedfast looking after their Master, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye ga­zing up into heaven? Acts 1.11. where the Apostles, methinks, might have expo­stulated with the Angels after this manner, Thrice blessed Spirits, why should ye ask us this? Ubi amor, ibi oculus; we could even look out our eyes, yet not be satisfied with seeing; our eyes naturally turn upward, and shall they not do so, especially to see such an object as this is? Think it not strange that we are so loth to lose this sight, it being that which ye your selves so much desire to see. But the Angels reproved not the Apostles love, it was their curiosity which they reproved; they would have them take off their eyes, and pry no further, for as­much as one day they should see that same [Page 73]very sight again; and not only they, but also all of us shall see him, we know that our Redeemer liveth, and that we shall see him not with other, but with these same eyes. Which may teach us to take heed of wanton lustful eyes, to make a Covenant with our eyes, not to look lasciviously on a woman, to turn away our eyes, lest they behold vanity. For how will ever those eyes dare to look on our Chast Saviour, which have been eyes full of adultery? as St. Peter speaketh.

To conclude all therefore in one word, let us circumcise, not only our hearts, but even our eyes too, let these often see themselves here in their own tears, and they shall have the honour hereafter to see Christ, they shall behold his presence in Righteousness, and we shall be satisfied with it, satisfied for pleni­tude, for in his presence is fulness of Joy; and satisfied for perpetuity, For at his right hand are pleasures for evermore. Of which God in his appointed time vouchsafe to make us all partakers, for the intercession sake of his dear Son, who now sitteth at his right hand.

FINIS.
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ISRAEL AND England P …

ISRAEL AND England PARALELLED.

A Sermon PREACHED Before the Honourable Society OF GRAYES-INN, Upon Sunday, Apr. 16. 1649.

LONDON, Printed in the year, 1660.

ISRAEL AND England PARALELLED.

AMOS 3.2.

You only have I known of all the Families of the earth, therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.

THE first verse plainly sheweth us who are meant here in the second, even the Children of Israel, and the whole family that came out of Egypt. Neither are these last words to be counted a Tautologie, for after the re­volting [Page 76]of the ten Tribes from the house of David, Israel was one Kingdom, Judah was another, wee'l go no farther back to clear it, than the title of this Prophecy, which runneth thus, The words of Amos, which he saw concerning Israel, (that is, Israel and Judah) in the dayes of Uzziah, King of Judah, and in the dayes of Jero­boam, the son of Joash, King of Israel: Now though but ten Tribes were revolted from David, yet all twelve Tribes were revolted from God, the children of Israel, and the whole family that came out of E­gypt.

[...], as Cesar once said to Brutus, will Gods children of Israel and Judah be such Rebels? Ingratum si dixeris, &c. so an heathen could conclude, that ingratitude was the abstract and abridgement of all sin, as if it had been [...], the great offence. And even unreasonable creatures will not be guilty of unthankfulness; The Ox knoweth his owner, he will not gore him, and ye remember the gratitude of that Lion in the Roman story, nay, (to go one step lower) Non ingratus ager, that which hath not so much as sense, is not unthankfull, the Earth doth not entomb, or alway keep the seed close Prisoner, but most thankful­ly [Page 79]returneth it to the sower with increase. Yet the land of Israel proved a barren Common, whereon nothing but weeds, no­thing but unthankfullness would grow; where as the Inhabitants should not so much as have rendred evil for evil, they con­tinually rewarded God evil for good: He did not faster multiply his benefits upon them, than they did their transgressions and rebellions against him. And shall I not visit for these things, saith the Lord, shall not my soul be avenged on such a Nation as this? Yes, seing fair means will do no good on them, I will try what foul will do, foras­much as they have forsaken me, and not walked in my judgements; having broken my Statutes, and not kept my Command­ments, I will therefore visit their offences with the rod, and their sins with scourges. You only have I known of all the families of the earth, therefore I will punish you for all your ini­quities.

In which words, any one will say, there are two general Parts. Commemoratio beneficij, the rehearsing or calling to mind of a for­mer benefit, You only have I known of all the families of the earth, and Comminatio supplicij, the threatning of a future judgement, [Page 80] therefore I will punish you for all your iniqui­ties.

But before I come to handle the parts in their order, it will not be amiss to premise some brief explication of the words.

First then, you only have I known. I ever thought that God had been Omniscient; but our Text seemeth to deny it, In Jury is God known, and God knoweth none but those of Jury, you only have I known of all the families of the earth.

But we must observe that this word Know, hath divers acceptions in the Holy Scripture. I shall instance but in three.

First to know, is to behold, to discern and overlook. Thus God knoweth the whole world, and all that therein is, thus he knoweth all the fowls upon the moun­tains, and the wild beasts of the field are in his sight: thus there is not a word in our tongue, nor a thought in our heart, but he knoweth it long before, even long before we spake or thought it.

Secondly to know, is to approve, or to allow of. Thus the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous, that is, he appro­veth [Page 81]of it. Psalm 1. ult. As for the un­godly (such as are the Reformers of our age) it is not so with them, our Saviours word to these will be [...], I never knew you, that is, I never liked your do­ings, Luke 13.27.

Thirdly, and lastly, to know, is to bless, to pity, or shew mercy to. And the phrase seemeth to be borrowed from a custome a­mong men, who seldome shew any kind­ness, but to persons that they know, Ignoti nulla cupido, a stranger can scarce get any thing of them, but ill words; David's servants were strangers to Nabal, and therefore the Churl would give them nothing; Shall I take my bread, saith he, and my water, and my flesh, and give it unto men whom I know not whence they be? 1 Sam. 25.11. No; few or none will relieve any, but only such as are well known to them. And to this custome God seemeth to allude here in our Text, You only have I known, that is, I have blessed you only, on you have I multiplied my favours and loving kindnesses, on you only, or at least chiefly of all the families of the earth.

And in this sense is the word Known used, Psalm 31.7. I will be glad, and rejoyce [Page 82]in thy mercy, for thou hast considered my trouble, & cognovisti, and hast known my soul in adversities. Thou hast known, that is, thou hast pitied, thou hast had com­passion on my soul, cognoscere est miserari, so Agellius expoundeth the place. And Solomon hath a passage that may be referred to this purpose, Prov. 12.10. A righteous man regardeth the life of his beasts, so we read it, Novit justus, &c. so it is in the Latin version; but [...], so it is in the Septuagint, a righteous man hath mercy on the souls of his beasts. If now we put the Latin and Greek together, we shall find that to Know, is to shew mercy to. In which sense the word is likewise used here in our Text, You only have I known of all the families of the earth.

But if the Commemoration must be so con­strued, why followeth there a Commina­tion: because God hath been so good to Israel, is it therefore that he threatneth them? This indeed seemeth somewhat strange. But if we take middle, and both ends, these things will soon be reconciled; You only have I known of all the families of the earth, we must hair here a while, Desunt nonnulla, there seemeth to be somewhat wanting, but it cometh in at the end of the [Page 83]verse, we may paraphrase therefore upon the Text after this manner, the words are, in effect, as if Almighty God should have said, I have nourished, and brought up chil­dren, and (like our pretended Parliament) They have rebelled against me, destruction and unhappiness is in their way, and the way of peace have they not known. I have known them, but they have not known me, The Ox knoweth his owner, and the Asse his Ma­sters crib, but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. I threaten them, not for the good I have done to them, but for the notorious evil they have done to me; You on­ly have I known of all the families of the earth, therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.

Idcirco, therefore. Sin is the Causa im­pulsiva, that which moveth, and as it were, compelleth almighty God to punish. The Prophet Jeremy putteth the Question, Lam. 3.39. wherefore doth a living man com­plain? and he giveth an answer to it before the verse be out, a man for the punish­ment of his sins, that is, a man is punished for his sins; and therefore one old translati­on readeth it thus,, let him murmur at his own sins, these, these are the only cause of all his sufferings, Idcirco, Therefore, Therefore I. Shall there be evil in the City, [Page 84]and the Lord hath not done it? Amos 3.6. Siracides telleth us indeed of Spirits that are created for vengeance, and these evil spirits many times lay on sore strokes, but they have Gods commission, at least permission for what they do; they do this to pacifie the wrath of him that made them, Eecles. 39.28. As all punishment is for sin, so it is from God. But how can this consist with Gods goodness? yes, the very next particle will shew us, for he speaketh not in the present, but in the future tense, I will, he giveth Israel warning of his intention, before he proceedeth to execution, that if they had any grace, they might repent, and so prevent the Judgement threatned; And he threatneth them but after a mild and gentle manner, he threatneth, not to plague and consume them, but only to punish and correct them, You only have I known of all the families of the earth, therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.

And so much for the connexion and ex­plication of the words. It is high time now to come nearer to the parts. I begin therefore with the first, which is Comme­mora [...]io beneficii, the rehearsing of a former benefit, in these words, You only have I known [Page 85]of all the families of the earth. And that we may know how well God dealt with the people of Israel, we may observe that he bestowed upon them two sorts of blessings, Privative and Positive ones. I begin with the first, Gods Privative blessings.

The children of Israel were for a long time bound Apprentices in Egypt, where they were grievously oppressed by Pharaoh and his Task-masters, who compelled them, not only to make brick, but it should seem by the story, they would have them make straw too. From which intolerable ser­vitude, God set them free at last, he eased their shoulders from the burthen, and their hands were delivered from making of pots. He brought forth his people with joy, and his chosen with gladness, and gave them the lands of the heathen, and they took the labours of the people in possession. As for Pharaoh and his Host, they were overwhelm­ed in the red sea, they sunk down to the bottom as a stone. After this God made good his word to Joshua, not suffering a man to stand before him all the dayes of his life. And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barach, and of Sampson, and of Jeph­thah, and of David, what marvellous de­liverances [Page 86]God wrought for his people, discomfiting their enemies both by these Worthies, and by other Champions; the Sun, Psal. 19. is compared to a strong champion; and rather than Israel shall be worsted, in­sensible champions shall fight for them, the Sun shall stand still in the midst of Hea­ven; the Starrs in their courses shall fight against Sisera; so mightily did God deli­ver his people, even the sons of Jacob and Joseph.

And as God bestowed many Privative blessings upon Israel, so many Positive bles­sings too: And these were of two sorts, Temporal and Spiritual. I begin with the first, Gods Temporal blessings, which are recorded, Isa. 5.1, 2. My beloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill. And he fenced it and gathered out the stones thereof, and plant­ed it with the choicest vine, and built a Tow­er in the midst of it, and also made a wine-press therein. It will be no digression to touch briefly upon each of these particulars, the Situation of the vineyard meeteth us First, which was in clivo uberrimo, in a very fruit­ful hill. The hill of Sion was a fair place, and the joy of the whole earth, Israel had a goodly heritage, Canaan flowed with milk and honey. And the fruitfulnesse of it [Page 87]is described at large. Deut. 8, 7, 8, 9.

Next to the fruitfull situation, Gods Fencing of the vineyard followeth. He made a Wall about it, saith the Margin, and Mat. 21. it is said, he hedged it round about: Now an hedge serveth for two uses, for distinction and for conservation; Israel was hedged about both wayes; for distinction they had the Law, by this they were discern­ed from other Nations, what Nation is there so great, saith Moses, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous, as all this Law which I set before you this day? Deut. 4.8. other Nations dwelt as it were in a Champi­an countrey, without a hedge, without a Law; but Israel was enclos'd, & hereby distinguish'd from all other people. God dealt not so well with any other Nation, neither had the Hea­then knowledge of his Lawes. And as Israel had an hedge for distinction, so they had a­nother hedge for conservation, which was the providence of God, and the protection of his Angels, The hills, saith the Psalmist, stand about Jerusalem, even so standeth the Lord round about his people, from this time forth for evermore.

In the next place, God gathered the stones out of his vineyard. VVhereby we are to understand the wicked Nations, ac­cording [Page 88]to that of the Psalmist, Psal. 80.10. Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt, Ex­puleras gentes, thou hast cast out the heathen, God gave away their land for an heritage, even for an heritage unto Israel his people; That is the next thing presented to us, he planted it with the choicest vine, the vine­yard of the Lord of hosts was the house of Israel, and the men of Iudah were his pleasant plant.

The next observable is Gods building of a Tower in his vineyard, and Turris, au­thoritas est sacerdotalis, saith Aretius, the Tower in Gods vineyard, is the office and authority of Gods Ministers; for as watch­men from a tower overlooking all the coast, give notice when any corporal enemies are approaching; so Gods Ministers, who are the watchmen of his Church, these give her warning of her ghostly enemies, so that neither the Boar of the wood can waste her, nor yet the wild beasts of the field devour her.

In the last place, God made a Wine-presse in his vineyard, whereby the juyce of good living was to be, as it were, pressed out of the people. But to explain all this in three words. By the Fence, by the Tower by the Wine-presse, by all this care and cost bestow­ed [Page 89]upon the vineyard, there is signifyed Gods abundant love toward his people Isra­el, so that he could not possibly do any thing else for them, having done more for them already than for all the world besides, You only have I known of all the families of the earth:

And as God bestowed upon Israel, ma­ny Temporal, so also many Spiritual bles­sings, which are mentioned by the Apostle, Rom. 9.4, 5. where speaking of the Israelities, he telleth us, that to them pertained the adop­tion, and the glory, and the Covenants, and the giving of the Law, and the service of God, and the promises theirs were the Fathers and of them, as concerning the flesh, Christ came. It will not be amisse likewise to examine briefly these particulars. And first to the Israelites per­tained the adoption, they were culled out of all nations to be Gods peculiar people, the quotations to this purpose are very ma­ny, I shall cite but only one, which is Isa. 43. 1. Thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Iacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, fear not, for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name, thou art mine. Called thee by thy name? nay, I have called thee by my own name, so it is, 2. Chro. 7.14. My people, which are called by my name. And Dan. 9.19. Thy City, saith [Page 90]the Prophet, and thy people are called by thy name, Whence we may observe that there was a twofold relation between God and Israel, the relation of father and children, and of husband and wife.

First, they were related as father and children; Children bear their fathers name, God therefore calling Israel by his own name, this sheweth that he was their fa­ther; they his children. And the Prophet in their name testifieth as much, Isa. 63.16. Doubtless thou, O Lord, art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Is­rael acknowledge us not. Secondly God was related to Israel as an husband to his wife. The wife beareth her husbands name, it hath been thus ever since Isaiahs time, I am sure, for God threatneth by him to send a sword upon Judah and Ierusalem, which should make so great a slaughter and dearth of men, that seven women should take hold of, or should come a wooing to one man, saying, We will find our selves meat and cloathes, we will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel, onely let us be called by thy name, Isa. 4.1. Called by thy name? what do the women mean by this? why, the very next words will shew us, which are, to take away our reproach.

[...], Barenness was a reproach among the Iewes, let us therefore be called by thy name to take away our reproach, that is, let us be married to thee, be thou our husband; God then calling the people of Israel by his own name, hereby sheweth that he was, as it were, their Husband, they his wife. Almighty God was to the Israelites both a father and an husband, as a father he nurtured them, as an husband he nourished them; never did any one hare his own flesh: God therefore must needs be loving unto Is­rael, they being, as it were, bone of his bone, flesh of his flesh, they were his Spouse, they were his Sons, to them pertained the a­doption.

And the Glory, that is next, which glo­ry some would have to be a consequent of their adoption, and indeed to be Gods own people was no small dignity. But this glo­ry may be taken rather for the glorious pre­sence of God amongst them, which he ma­nifested most especially from off the Mercy­seat that was upon the Ark, and therefore when the Israelites had lost the Ark, Phi­neas his wife concluded that they had lost the glory too, the glory, saith she, is depar­ted from Israel, for the ark of God is taken, 1 Sam. 4. ult.

And to Israel also pertained the Covenants, for the Covenant that God made with A­braham runneth thus, Gen. 17.7. I will esta­blish my Covenant between me and thee, and thy seed after thee in their generations, for an ever­lasting Covenant to be a God unto thee, and unto thy seed after thee.

Israel's next priviledge was the giving of the Law, that is, the Moral Law was given to them, and Almighty God himself was their Law-giver.

The Promises were theirs too, the pro­mise of long life here, and of eternal life hereafter, of the life that now is, and of that which is to come, To Abraham, and his seed were these promises made, Gal. 3.16.

Theirs also were the Fathers, the promises were made as well to their Fathers, as to them, according to that of St. Peter, Acts 3.25. Ye are the children of the Prophets, and of the Covenant, which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. In thy seed that is in Christ, who was the Israelites own Countryman, which is their last Preroga­tive recorded by the Apostle, Of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came.

Thus ye have seen how God loaded the [Page 93] Israelites with blessings, with Privative, and Positive, with Temporall and Spirituall, you only have I known of all the families of the earth.

And now Israel, as Moses once said, Deut. 10.12. What doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his wayes, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul?

But alas, the God of Israel is here forced to complain, that notwithstanding all the cost he had bestowed upon his vineyard, when he expected grapes from it, it brought forth wild grapes, notwithstanding those many benefits he had bestowed upon his people, they continually rewarded him evill for good, they thought not of his hand, nor of the day when he had delivered them from the hand of the enemy, how he wrought his miracles in Egypt, and his won­ders in the field of Zoan, neither destroy­ed they the heathen, but learned their works, for they shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they offered unto the Idols of Canaan, and the land was defiled with blood.

In generall termes, their sins are set down, Deut. 9.7. But they are more parti­cularly [Page 94]described in the third and fist chap­tel of Isaiah. In the third chapter, ye may see their womens sins, the Prophet bringeth you, as it were, into the Exchange, he sheweth you the pride and vanity of their womens dressings, he giveth you such an inventory of their toyes, as is able to make a very Cato change his countenance. In the fist chapter the Prophet sheweth you their Mens sins, after the catalogue of Gods benefits, he giveth you another catalogue of their sins. At the seventh verse he sheweth you their oppression and injustice, I looked for judge­ment, but behold oppression, for righteous­nesse, but behold a cry, At the eight verse their encroaching coverousnesse, in joyning house to house, and field to field until there was no place, that they might be placed alone in the midst of the earth, At the eleventh and twelft verses, their drunkenness, and riot, in ri­sing up early to follow strong drink, and con­tinuing untill night, till Wine enflame them, having the harp and the viol, the tabret and pipe, and wine in their feasts. At the eigh­teenth and nineteeth verses, their con­tempt and slighting of Gods word, in defi­ance of this drawing iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart-rope; as who should say, let him do his worst, let [Page 95]him make speed and hasten his work, that we may see it; and let the counsel of the holy one of Israel draw nigh, and come that we may know it. ver. 20. Their hypocrisy, in calling evil good, and good evil, in patting darkness for light, and light for darkness, in putting bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter. Ver. 21. Their self-con­ceit, Being wise in their own eyes, and pru­dent in their own sight, verse 22. Their Por­valour, in that they were mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink nverse 23. Their bribery and cor­ruptio, in justifying the wicked for reward, and in taking away the righteousness of the righteous from him.

And shall I not visit for these things, saith the Lord, shall not my soul be aven­ged on such a Nation as this? yes, the wrath of God was kindr'd against his people, insomuch that he abhorred his own inheri­tance: for three transgressions of Judah, & for four, he resolveth that he will not turn away the punishment thereof. And so I am fallen upon the second part of the Text, which is, Comminatio supplicii, the threatning of a future punishment, therefore I will pu­nish you for all your iniquities. You only, &c.

Ye have heard that God bestowed upon Israel two sorts of blessings, both which [Page 96]he threatneth to withdraw for their un­thankfulness. First, his Privative bles­sings, they must expect no more deliveran­ces from him. He brought them forth out of the iron-furnace, even out of Egypt, but they had so provoked him, that he threat­neth to bind them Apprentices there the se­cond time. Apprentices? nay worse, he threatneth to make slaves of them, so we read, Deut. 28. ult. The Lord, saith Mo­ses, shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships, by the way whereof I spake unto thee, thou shalt see it no more again, and there ye shall ye besold (offer your selves at least) unto your enemies for bondmen and bondwomen, and no man shall buy you. God threatneth to sell his people for nought, and to take no mo­ney for them. And whereas the Israelites were wont to have the better of their ene­mies, they had so angred the Lord of hosts, that he threatned to give their enemies the victory, so we read, Deut. 28.25. The Lord shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies, thou shalt go out one way against them, and shalt flee seven wayes before them, and shalt be removed into all the Kingdomes of the earth. And I am sure they have been thus disper­sed for many hundred years, they are strangers in all Countries, they have lost both their place and Nation.

Secondly, God threatneth to withdraw his positive blessings from them. We have a plain Text for this, Isa. 5.5, 6. I will tell you, saith God, What I will do to my vi­neyard, I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up, and I will break down the wall thereof, and it shall be troden down, and I will lay it waste, it shall not be pruned, nor digged, but there shall come up briars and thorns; I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. So true is that of the Psalmist, Psalm 107.34. A fruitfull land maketh he barren, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein. For though the Land of Canaan were as the garden of Eden, yet for the iniquity of the Inhabitants, it shall be turned into a wilderness, and though the Israelites had the blessings of the right hand and of the left, yet for their in­gratitude and disobedience, God threat­neth to withdraw both, You only have I known of all the families of the earth, there­fore I will punish you for all your iniquities: Therefore I will punish you: You that were my darlings, mine own peculiar people, you that were as dear to me as the apple of mine eye, because ye have broken my Commandments, and been unmindfull of my loving kindness; therefore I will pu­nish [Page 98] you for all your iniquities.

And the observation from hence for our instruction is most obvious, Gods hatred against sin is such, that he will not let it go unpunished in his dearest Children. Adam was the Master-piece of all Gods workmanship, and highly in favour with him at the first, and yet as soon as ever he had tasted of the forbidden tree, God banished this very Adam cut of Paradise. Moses is often stiled the servant of God, but indeed he seemeth to have been more, with reverence be it spoken, to have been Gods familiar acquaintance, for Exod. 33.11. The Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. Yet as great, and gracious, and familiar as Moses was with God, for one sin of infidelity God fell out with him, as we read, Num. 20. Where when the people murmured for water, God bid Moses but only speak to the rock, and it should give forth water, but Moses thought, that speaking would not do it, not a word therefore, but a blow, two of them for failing, he smote the Rock twice; and for [...]is he had his doom immediately, that he should not enter into the Land of Promise. He that prophesied against the Altar at Bethel was Gods favourite, a [Page 99]man of God; yet forasmuch as he disobeyed the mouth of the Lord, in going back to eat and drink with the old Prophet, his carcase must not come to the sepulcher of his Fathers. I shall give one signal exam­ple, our Saviour himself, that Lamb with­out spot, the only righteous person that e­ver lived upon the earth; though he were Gods bosome son, and had not the least sin of his own, only took ours by imputation, yet how harshly did his Father handle him? Never was there any sorrow like unto his sorrow, wherewith the Lord afflicted him in the day of his fierce anger. And if these things be done in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry? Luke 23.31. The righteous shall be recompenced in the earth, much more the wicked and the sinner, Prov. 11. ult. If Judgement begin at the house of God, what shall the end be of those men that obey not the Gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sin­ner appear? 1 Pet. 4 17, 18. If an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no guil, if this man shall be recompenced, shall be pu­nished in the earth; with whom shall Hy­pocrites have their portion, that are full of deceit and fraud, and under whose tongue is ungodliness and vanity? If a per­fect [Page 100]and upright man, one that feareth God, and striveth to eschew evil, if this shall be recompenced, shall be punished in the earth, what will become of him that hath no fear of God before his eyes, but liveth as if there were no God, com­mitting all uncleanness, even with greedi­ness? If a man of a strict life and tender conscience must be punished, what will be­come of those rebellious Reformers of our age, whose consciences seem to be seared with an hot iron? If Jerusalem, the holy Ci­ty must be punished, Lord, what will be­come of London and Westminster, places every what as sinfull as Sodome or Gomorrah? If God go so roughly to work with them he knoweth, oh how will he handle stran­gers without mittons? If he execute his Judgements upon Iury where he was known, oh what fiery indignation will he pour up­on the heathen that have not known him, and upon the Kingdomes that have not cal­led upon his N [...]me.

This teacheth us to flee from sin, as from the face of a Serpent, considering how odious and abominable it is in the sight of God. Though Coniah the son of Iehoiakim King of Iudah were the signet upon his right hand; yet for sin God threatneth to [Page 101]pluck him thence, Ier. 22.24. The King of England will not pardon wilfull murder, though his chiefest Favourites should com­mit it. The King of heaven and earth will let no sin go unpunished, no not in his Favourites, in his own people. And he will never connive at sin in us, that threat­neth here to punish it so severely in Israel, You only have I known of all the families of the earth, therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities. And so I have gone thorow the several parts of the Text. A few words now of application, and I have done.

Truly God, saith the Psalmist, is loving unto Israel, and truly he hath been as lo­ving unto us, he hath bestowed many Pri­vative and many Positive blessings on us. First Privative, many deliverances, I will in­stance but in three. The first was from Popish Tyranny and superstition; a Tyran­ny more than Egyptian, an Antichristian Ty­ranny. The damned glutton, Luke 16. de­sired only a little water for his thirst; but water will not quench the thirst of Babylon, the whore must have blood; till she make her self stark drunk with it; no blood of beasts, it must be of men; no blood of sin­ners, it must be the blood of Saints; no blood of Malefactors, it must be the blood [Page 102]of Martyrs; and these Martyrs none of Ma­homets, they must be Martyrs of Jesus, Rev. 17.6. Sad experience of this Ty­ranny we had in Queen Maries dayes: ‘Non missura cutem nisi plena cruoris hirudo,’ the Romish horsleach would not give us o­ver, till she had full gorged her self with our blood. Or indeed, it is a question, whether she would ever have been satisfi'd, had we not been strangely delivered from her Tyranny by the Queen of all Queens, or rather by the King of all Kings, You only have I known of all the families of the earth.

A second deliverance was from the Spa­nish Armado in the year 1588. which Fleet, had it prevailed, our Thames had been turned into Tyber, Romish superstition had invaded us once more, and then by the wa­ters of Babylon we might have set down and wept, as often as we remembred this our Sion. But God brake the ships of the sea through the East wind, You only have known of all the families of the earth.

A third deliverance was from that hor­rid Powder-Treason, November 5. 1605. which was carried on with so great se­crecy, that it made the man of sin insult, [Page 103] Te (que) his, ait, eripe flammis, who is that God that shall deliver them out of my hands? But he that dwelleth in heaven laughed the Bishop of Rome to scorn, and plucked us, as it had been fire-brands out of the burning, You only have I known of all the fa­milies of the earth.

And as God hath befriended us by his Privative, so by his Positive blessings, an­swerable to those which be bestowed up­on his vineyard. And first we may com­pare with Israel for a fruitfull situation, be­ing neither under the torrid, nor the frozen zone, neither burned alway with parch­ing heat, nor benummed alway with pinch­ing cold, but seated in a temperate Climate and fertile soil, our folds are full of sheep, our valleys stand so thick with corn, that we may laugh and sing. God hath also fenced us about, like the Israelites in the red Sea, with a wall of water, the waters are a wall unto us on our right hand, and on our left. But especially God hath fenced us by his providence and protection, salvation hath the Lord ap­pointed for walls and bulwarks. He hath likewise gathered the Stones out from us, he hath cast out the Romish Rabble, and hath planted our Land with the choic­est [Page 104]Religion, that of Orthodox Protestants. And he hath built a Tower among us, he hath set up Episcopal Authority. Some think this Tower too high, and would fain have it quite demolished; down with it, down with it, say they, even to the ground; But these are an Assembly of birds that would fain build in others nests; there are Presbyterian Levellers as well as Independent; but let them both do what they can, I hope I shall never see the day wherein these Towers fall. God hath, as it were a Wine-press among us too; No Nation under heaven hath better Laws than we; many of them of late yeers have been cast in­to a deep sleep, but I hope that within short time they will be wakened. And that in telling you of one blessing, I may tell you of all the rest, God hath set over us a gracious and most religious, a prudent and most pious Prince, a King, for his faith and life unspotted from the world, a Pa­tron and Pattern of good men and all good­ness, a Maintainer of his Countries Laws, and however Rebellion hath traduced him, a zealous Professour and Defender of the Christian faith.

O fortunatos nimium, bona si sua nôrint, An­gligenas! Happy Nation we to be in such a [Page 105]case, happy nation we to have the Lord for our God, to have him as kind and good to us, as ever he was to Israel: You onely have I known of all the families of the earth.

And now, England, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to feare the Lord thy God, to walk in all his wayes, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul?

But here God may as justly complain of us as he did of the Israelites, that when he looked for grapes from us, we have brought forth wild grapes, there is not a sin, Isa. 5. charged upon Israel, but we stand guilty of it: I have not time to arraign all the sins that raign a­mong us, the time would faile me to reckon up the oaths & imprecations. Our sins there­fore being as many, nay, more, I doubt, than those of Israel, of two things one, we must ei­ther plead more priviledge to sin than they had, which I am sure, we cannot, or else with­out great mercy, we must look for greater judgments, at least to have God so threaten us, as here he threatneth the people of Is­rael, You only have I known of all the families of the earth, therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.

I will punish You, You that have seven years set in Counsel, been in covenant for [Page 106]him, but have armed your selves against him and have at last most traiterously im­prisoned mine Anointed, you that have turned judgement into wormwood, you that have turned your still waters into blood, you that have turned your Kings house, nay your Gods house, into a den of thieves, you that imagine wickednesse and practise no­thing else, you that have set your selves in no good way; you that dare do any thing but justice, you that dare rob your Sove­raign, nay, even your God, you that are made up of cousenage and contradictions, you that have no religion but rapine and rebellion, you that are Papists in practice, though ye will not own that name, you that neither fear your God, nor honour your King, You that resolve to beggar all that refuse to be such Rebels as your selves, you that, with Herod are deeply dyed in blood of Innocents, that make no more of cutting a mans, than cutting off a dogs neck, you that have filled the grave with bodies, and hell with soules, therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.

You likewise of the silly Schismaticall As­sembly, that, out of meer opposition, preach in Cloakes; you that are no legal Synod, but rather the Synagogue of Satan, you that for a pious Liturgie, would give the Church a pure piece of Non-scence, you that would [Page 107]banish the Lords Prayer, and the Apostles Creed, and the ten Commandments, you that call evill good, and good evill, you that teach for doctrines the commandments of wicked men, you that preach up rebellion for four shillings a day, you that would be more than Deanes or Bishops, though you dis­like those Titles; you that are greedy dogs, ne­ver thinking ye have enough, you that serve not the Lord Jesus Christ, but your own bel­lies, Therefore I will punish You for all your iniquities And You also of the Court for your flattery & prodigality, & You of the coward­ly City for your disloyalty, You that dare fight gainst none but your King; and you of the Country for your stupidity, and sottishnesse, in sufferring your fellow subjects so long to enslave you: You of the Clergy likewise for temporizing, for fearing the face of men, for not daring to speak truth; You of the Laity for tenebrizing, for your Conventicles, You that are rich, for your covetousness, You that are poor for your idlenes, You that are men for your day-sins, gluttony and drunkenness, you that are Women, for your night-sins, cham­bering & wantonnes; all you that are against the King, for forswearing of your selves, some of you that are for the King, for your custo­mary swearing, you that swear not as Ioseph [Page 108]did, by the life of your King, but by the life of your God, and by the Prince of life, whom ye swear over once a day from top to toe, as if ye would swear Christ in pie­ces, or God out of heaven, Therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities. Ye have been told of this sin [...], and if I now told you of it rightly, I should tell you weep­ing, that they who thus mouth their oaths, and their God damne them, they are no better than the very enemies of the Crosse of Christ. Nor are they enemies to him only, but arrant Traitors also to their King and Country, as arrant Traitors as those that have imprisoned him, let them never tell me they are the Kings friends, for they are the worst of enemies, because of Swearing the Land mourneth, Ier. 23.10. And mourn it will a great deal worse, unless this, and ma­ny other horrid sins be banished. We have seen hitherto, but, as it were, the morning of mourning, the beginning of sorrows: ex­cept we repent, our land, like Rama, will be filled with bitter mourning, as the mourn­ing of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megid­do, Zech. 12.11. For indeed how can we e­ver hope to have God blesse us, when we are daily at him to damne and confound us? how can we hope for peace with men, so long as [Page 109]by oaths and other sins we fight against our God? No, there is no peace to the wicked, their portion is desolation, which, though we hope still to out-run, yet in the end it will overtake us, Quod differtur non aufertur; as God hath leaden heeles, so he hath iron hands, though he hath spared us therefore a long time; yet he will pay us home at last, he will bruise us with a rod of iron, and break us in pieces like a potters vessell. If a man will not turn, he will bend his bow. Now the farther back ye draw the bow-string ere ye shoot, the more forcibly the arrow fly­eth when ye shoot. So the longer God de­layeth to punish us for our sins, the more harshly will he handle us, when once he beginneth with us. He hath long begun with us, I know, but, without our repen­tance, he will not make a full end; if we con­tinue in sin, our sufferings shall be of long continuance; if we keep not the Laws of God, the Laws of the Land shall still be kept from us, if we will not suffer Christ to raign over us, God will not suffer our Lord the King to raign.

To summe up all therefore in one word, let us repent, and be converted, or if we do not this for our own sakes, yet let us do it for our poor Kings sake, who, in [Page 110]my conscience, hath a long time suffered for our sins. Let not us, brethren, for­get God; and he will never forget us, he will speedily remember King Charles, and all his troubles; let us by a new life shew our thankfullnesse for Gods former loving kindnesse, and this will encourage him to confer new benefits upon us, he will be our God, We shall be his People; as he hath been good to us in former, so will he be in after­ages to us and our posterity for evermore. he will turn Ours and our Soveraigns cap­tivity as the rivers in the South; he will turn our heavinesse into joy, he will take off our Sackcloth; and gird us with gladnesse, he will put a new song into our mouth, even a thanksgiving unto our God, though the Pro­logue have been Tragical, yet the Cata­strophe shall be Comical, God will make good to us that promise, Zech. 8.19. The fast of the fourth moneth, and the fast of the sift and the fast of the seventh month, and the fast of the tenth shall be to us joy and gladnesse, and chearfull feasts. Which God of his infinite mercy vouchsafe to grant unto us, for the merits of his eternal Son, our blessed Saviour.

FINIS.
A LOOKING-GLASSE FOR …

A LOOKING-GLASSE FOR LEVELLERS.

A Sermon PREACHED At ST. Peters Pauls-wharf, Upon Sunday, Sep. 24. 1648.

LONDON, Printed in the year, 1660.

A LOOKING-GLASSE FOR LEVELLERS.

LUKE 20.14.

But when the Husbandmen saw Him, they rea­soned among themselves, saying, This is the Heir, Come, let us kill him, that the inhe­ritance may be ours.

THe first particle is discre­tive, and severeth the Text from the foregoing verses, wherein our Saviour hold­eth forth, as it were, a dark Lanthorn to the chief Priests, that seeing they [Page 114]might see, and not perceive; and that hear­ing they might hear, and yet not under­stand. Or rather he sheweth them their faces in a glass, wherein they might plainly see what manner of men they were. The Looking-glass is this present Parable of the Vineyard, wherein he insisteth chiefly on three things. First, He sheweth the De­scent and Pedegree of the Priesthood, A certain man planted a Vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen. Secondly, He upbraideth the ingratitude of these husbandmen in a­busing their Landlords servants, they beat them, they intreated them shamefully, they wounded them, they killed them. Thirdly, he threatneth a punishment for their ingratitude, which is no less than a Re­enter, the Lord shall destroy these Husband­men, and shall give the Vineyard to others.

But more punctually to survey and view this Parable, by this Certain man, the Plan­ter of this Vineyard, we are to understand the worlds Creator, God himself. By the Vineyard, his Church, confined for a long time to Judea, Isa. 5.7. By the Husbandman, to whom the Vinevard was let out, we are to understand the Chief Priests, who by their Doctrine and Example were, as it were, to prune and dress Gods vineyard, [Page 115]that so it might be fruitful in good works. By the Servants sent to demand some of the fruit of this Vineyard, we are to under­stand the inspired Prophets, who were sent by God to call the chief Priests to repentance, to bring forth fruits worthy of amendement of life. Trium autem mentiofit, &c. saith Areti­us, God is said to have sent severally three Servants to the Husbandmen, because three is a perfect number, and is therefore used to shew Gods uncessant desire of their con­versation. Ʋncessant, I say, it was, for though it knew a little Intermission, yet it knew no termination though the word of the Lord were preci [...]us in the dayes of Eli, even then God raised up Samuel to reprove the lewdness of the Priests; there was no time, there was no place, but the Jewish Priests had Prophets sent among them. Before their captivity in Babylon, they had Isaiah, Jere­my, Amos, Micah, Zephany, and others. In time of their captivity, they had Ezekiel and Daniel. After their captivity they had Haggai, Zachary and Malachy. And the last was not the least, for among those that were born of women, there was not a greater Prophet than John the Baptist.

But what entertainment found these Ser­vants amongst their Masters Tenants? just [Page 116]such as we, that will not preach Treason, meet with in these dayes; just such as the Messengers of Truth have ever found, Con­vitia, Verbera, Vulnera, as Stella speaketh, Revilings, Blowes, Wounds; nay, very death it self: Isaiah was sawn asunder, Je­remy and Zechary were stoned, Amos had his brains beaten out with a club, Micah was thrown down head-long from a rock; and all the rest did the Jews either kill; or at lest hunt after them; [...], as St. Stephen asked them, Which of the Prophets did not their Fathers persecute? Acts 7.52.

Yet see the never wearied goodness of Almighty God; though the chief Priests had killed his Prophets, and had stoned them that were sent unto them, yet he did so long to do them good, that Nullum non movebit lapidem, he will leave no stone un­rolled, no not the Corner-stone; he had but one bosome-Son, and he sendeth him to them for his rent, presuming that for shame they would not send him away empty; they will reverence, saith he, their young Land-Iord, when they see him. But when the hus­bandmen saw him, they reasoned among them­selves, saying, This is the Heir, Come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.

The Text then, ye see, is a conspiracy against Christ, where we meet together the four causes of it. First here is the Efficient cause or Conspiratours, the Husbandmen. Se­condly, the Material cause or person con­spired against, the Heir, when they saw him. Thirdly the Formal cause or manner of their conspiracy, they reasoned among themselves, saying, come, let us kill him. Fourthly and lastly, the Final cause or end of their conspiracy, which was, that they might be Lords of the Mannour, that the in­heritance may be ours. These are the parts, of which in order briefly, and very plainly. I begin with the first part, the Conspira­tors, which are Coleni, the Husband­men

If the first Man had been a good hus­band, there had been no Husband-man, the Earth need have had no Mid-wife, she would have brought forth of her self. But Haec maledictio Adae &c. saith St. Bernard, this was a curse entailed on Adam's sin, that for his sake the ground it self was cur­sed, his barrenness in obedience made the very Earth grow barren. Which may therefore serve to mind us sinners of repen­tance, the husbandry of the hand may teach us the husbandry of the heart, even to break [Page 118]up our fallow ground; and sow in tears. But I must not insist upon these Georgicks, I must lead you from corporal to spiritual husbandmen. And these are the painful Preachers of Gods word. For as the Earth must be plowed and harrowed by the Coun­try-man, before she will ever bring forth her increase; So the men of the earth must be di­rected and corrected by the Church-man, be­fore they will bring forth the fruits of righ­teousnesse. The Clergy, like the Prophet Elisha, are a kind of Plow-men. They that do, as it were, drive the plow, are ordinary Ministers. They that hold the Plow, are the reverend Bishops, the Plow would not go so well, should E­piscopacy be abolished. Let these Labourers therefore have their due, they are worthy of their hire. And let them likewise have a respectful estimation set upon them, for the Courtier cannot live without the Country­man, the King himself is served by the field, Ec. 5.9. As then where no Husband men are, the people sterve; So Likewise where no Mi­nisters, where no vision is, the people perish.

Which admonisheth Gods Husbandmen, the Clergy to be industrious. There is no pro­fession more laborious than that of Hus­bandmen, who in the sweat of their face most [Page 119]commonly eat their bread. And herein they are a pattern and ensample unto us, who indeed should labour more abundantly than they all; because they labour but to sustain mens bodies, we to feed their souls. We must therefore abound alwayes in the work of the Lord; we must preach the word as St. Paul charged Timothy, not slothfully, but painfully, we must labour in the Gos­pel, we must be instant, and eager, and earnest in our preaching, in season, out of season, in time of peace, in time of War, we must reprove, we must rebuke, we must exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine, as the Apostle speaketh.

And as we must be fervent, so we must be perseverant in our office, having put our hand to Gods plow, we must resolve not to look back: we must not with Demas for­sake our function, and embrace the world; nor must we cease to exercise it, till we just put off this Tabernacle, though there be never so great danger in the exercising of it: Husbandmen will not give over plow­ing for a shower of rain, nor must we give over preaching, because of persecution, though we are never so superannuated, though we are such as Paul the aged, or though so feeble, that with St. John, we must be carried to the Pulpit.

Neither must we lord it over Gods heri­tage, like these chief Priests in our Text, who, that they might be Lords of the vineyard, conspired to murder the right Lord of it; the conspirators, our Text telleth us, were Coloni, the Husbandmen. And so likewise Pontius Pi­lat told our Saviour, thine own nation, and the chief Priests have delivered thee unto me, Joh. 18.35. What prodigious unthank­ful miscreants were these! there can be no E­pithet bad enough for such Traitors. For they that taught the people, taught they not them­selves? They that were dressers of the vine­yard, durst they conspire against the owners of it? Durst men of the Temple venture on the worst of treasons?

Well, we see by this the truth of that old axiome, Corruptio optimi est pessima, the best wine, maketh the sharpest vineger, if Clergy­men once turn Traitors, they are incarnate dviils. So our Saviour stiled the Traitor Iudas, & thus likewise all Synod-traytors may be sti­led. And so I passe from the first part of the Text, the Efficient cause of this conspiracy, or the Conspirators, the Husbandmen, to the second, the Material cause of it, or the Person conspired against, which was the Heir, when the Husbandmen saw Him.

The Heir. The wise God of peace and order, will not have every man his own [Page 121]carver, for the best weapon would then be the best evidence, the strongest arm would be the surest title. But as he hath ordained a succession of Men, so of Esates, their chil­dren must be their Heirs, they must leave their substance to their Babes. Dominio non fundatur in gratiâ, they that call themselves babes of grace, all things are not theirs; had not Iacob supplanted Esau, this grace­lesse one had been Isaac's Heir. For the inheritance was ever chalenged by the El­dest son; and therefore this title of Heir must needs be due to Christ, who was the first-begotten of his heavenly Father, the first-born of his earthly Mother, the first-born of every creature, the first-born a­mong many brethren, by right of primo­geniture he was the Heir, [...], faith the Apostle, Heir of all things, Heb. 1.2. The earth is the Lords, and all that therein is, the compasse of the world, and they that dwell therein, Psal. 24.1. And he that is owner of all things, maketh his Eldest Son a promise of them, he promiseth to give him the Heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession, Psal. 2.8. The Devil, I know, made his brags once, that he was the Heir of the World, when he shewed our Saviour all the Kingdomes of [Page 122]it, and told him, they were His: But as he was a Murderer, so he was a Lyar from the beginning. It is true, Abraham had a promise that he should be heir of the world, as the Apostle testifyeth, Rom. 4.13. But though to Abraham and his seed there were such a promise made, yet Christ for all this was still to be the Heir, it is the same Apostles observation, Gal. 3.16. He saith not, to seeds, as of many, but to thy seed, as of one, which is Christ.

But here we must not be mistaken, for though our Saviour be stiled the Heir; yet we must know that his inheritance is no temporal but a spiritual inheritance, his Kingdome, his Church, his heritage is not of this world. And as we Christians are not of it, so our inheritance properly is not in it, we are heires to a better country, that is, an heavenly, though not by nature yet by grace, though not by birth, yet by faith we are made partakers of the inhe­ritance of the Saints in light, we are heirs of God, coheires with Christ, we have an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, & that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for us, where we shall see the Son of man sit­ing on the right hand of God, where we shall see our pierced Saviour, not to our [Page 123]terrour, but our triumph, where we shall see him with no other, but with these same eyes; the same numerical, though not the same mortal eyes, where we shall see that which St. Austin so much wished to see, Christum in carne, Christ in the flesh, and that which many Prophets and Kings desired to see, and could not see it. They saw this sight indeed afar off, which did not a little chear their hearts, Abraham rejoyced, saith our Saviour, to see my day, and he saw it, and was glad, John 8.56. But when Simeon saw him in the Temple, his eyes were satisfied with seeing; close them now, Lord, said he, let me die in peace, For mine eyes have seen thy salvation. And we may observe here by the way, that if ever we will see Christ in Hea­ven, we must first see him upon earth, for though we cannot see him as Simeon, and these chief Priests did, with the eyes of our body, yet we may see him as A­braham did, with the perspective of our faith; we may, and we must see him thorow this glass darkly, before ever we can see him face to face. A Christian must not be like a Cyclop, with one eye, the Spouse of Christ, as Peraldus observeth, must have two, Oculum fidei, and Oculum glo­riae, [Page 124]the eye of Faith, and the eye of Frui­tion. We must walk by Faith, before we can walk by sight. We must, like Jacob, be first married to blear-eyed Leah, before we can obtain beautifull Rachel; we must first see our Saviour with the tender eye of faith, before ever we can behold him with the brighter eye of glory.

Now though our Saviour pronounce them blessed that have not seen, and yet have believed; and though Faith be de­fined by the Apostle the evidence of things not seen, yet Segnius irritant animos, &c. as the Poet speaketh, a man will give more credit to his eyes, than to his ears; Saint Thomas would not go by hear-say, except he might see, he resolved not to believe. But the chief Priests were so perverse, th [...]t they would not believe their own eyes, for they conspired against our Saviour, though they saw him, though they knew him, though they knew him to be the Messiah, and could say [...], This is the Heir.

From whence we may observe, that as there is a zeal without knowledge, so there is a knowledge without faith. The very Devils knew our Saviour, they knew him to be the Son of God, Mat. 8.29. Jesus I know, said the evil spirit to those [Page 125] Exorcists, Act 19.15. But their knowledge was meerly hystorical, like their faith. And just after this manner did the chief Priests know Christ.

There are indeed some places of Scrip­ture that seem to contradict our Text, and to say, that the chief Priests knew not Jesus to be Christ, knew not that he was the Heir. For St. John saith plainly, That the world knew him not, John 1.10. And St. Peter up­braiding the Jewes for killing the Prince of life, useth these very words, I wote that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your Ru­lers, Act. 317. And St. Paul speaking of the Wisdome of God, which I take to be his Son, telleth us in express words, That none of the Princes of this world knew it, for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory, 1 Cor. 2.8.

But I answer, First, To that of St. John, the world knew not Christ, that is, the greatest part of it. To that of St. Paul, None of the Princes of this world knew him, that is, few of them. To that of St. Peter, the Jewes and their Rulers slew him ignorantly, that is, some of them did so, thus the or­dinary gloss would have those places con­strued.

Secondly, I answer, That the Igno­rance [Page 126]of the Chief Priests was not Purae negationis, but Pravae dispositionis, if they were ignorant of Christ, it was because they would be ignorant, as the people used to say to their Seers, See not, so these Seers themselves seem to have stopped their ears, and shut their eyes, for other­wise they could not chuse but acknow­ledge Jesus to be the Messiah; because all the prophesies of his coming were fulfilled. First, That prophecy, Gen. 49.10. point­ing at the time of his birth, The Scepter was then departed from Judah, the Jewes paid contribution, they were Tributaries to the Romans. Secondly, that prophecy, Mic. 5.2. pointing out the place of his Nativity, he was born in Bethleem of Judea, which was the place assigned for Christ's birth, as these chief Priests or their predecessours told King Herod.

But if neither the time, nor place of his birth, yet his miracles might perfectly as­sure them that he was the Messiah. And therefore when St. John Baptist sent two of his Disciples to ask him if he were Christ, all the answer he would return by them was this; Go, and shew John again those things ye do hear and see; the blind receive their sight, the deaf hear, the lame walk, [Page 127]the Lepers are cleansed, the dead are raised up &c. Mat. 11.4, 5. And when Christ cometh, some asked the question, shall he do more miracles than these which this man doth? John 7.31. Though the chief Priests then would not believe his words, yet they might have believed him for his works sake. But neither of these would prevail with them; they had ears, yet would not hear; they had eyes, yet would not see, which was a most notori­ous aggravation of their Treason, for had they been stark blind, their sin haply might have been remitted; but because seeing they would not see, therefore their sin remaineth. And this sin of theirs seem­eth to be no better than the very sin against the Holy Ghost; for against conscience, out of meer malice they conspired to put this Heir to death. And I pray God the Ring­leaders of our rebellious Reformation be not guilty of the self-same sin, for it seem­eth to be out of a despetate, inveterate ma­lice that they persist in their conspiracy a­gainst the best of Kings. But these Trai­tours shall bring up the rear of my Dis­course. I pass therefore from the second part of the Text, the person that the chief Priests conspired against, which was the [Page 128] Heir, to the third, which is the Formal cause, or Manner of their conspiracy, They reasoned among themselves, saying, Come, let us kill him. [...], they reasoned. Treason is a sin of deliberation, a studied sin. These chief Priests reasoned, they argued the case. All sins are not Cognita, known sins, there are sins of ignorance, as well as sins of knowledge. But there is neither Igno­rartia facti, nor Ignorantia juris in Treason, it is wilfully contrived and complotted, it is a premeditated sin. To sin out of infir­mity or ignorance, to be overtaken in a fault, this is but (as it were) Chance-medly, pardonable by the Law of God and man. But to sin with a full career, of set purpose to consult about it, this is no lesse than wil­ful murder, a sin that never must goe un­pardoned; and yet this was the sin of these chief Priests in our Text, They reasoned among themselves, saying, Come, let us kill him.

[...], Come, wicked men use to call and invite one another to commit sin, they are a sociable sort of people, they are un­willing to go to hell alone, they entise and engage as many as they can to be partakers with them, they are in league and cove­nant; there is a combination among them, [Page 129]especially among Traitors, such as these chief Priests were, who conspired against Christ, just as Iosephs brethren against him, [...], Come let us kill him. Ioseph indeed scaped with life, thankes to his El­dest brother; but Jesus had not one Reuben to speak for him, none but a woman, & she could not prevaile, the of Kings the earth stand­ing up, and the Rulers taking counsel together against the Lord, and against his Christ, for against the holy child Iesus both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of the Iewes were gathered together; they gathered them together a­gainst the soul of the righteous, that they might condemn the innocent blood, They reasoned among themselves, saying, Come, let us kill him.

Kill him. As the Devil is a murderer, so all those that are of his party thirst after blood. Shimei did a great deal of wrong to David in calling him so, but otherwise Bloody-man, and man of Belial may well go together, for there is no man desperately wicked, but he is a blood-thirsty man. It hath been thus from the beginning of the world, and will be so to the end. Cain was of that wicked one, what is next [...], and slew his brother, 1. Ioh. 3.12. This was [Page 130]also the resolution of wicked Esau, The dayes of mourning for my father are at hand, then, saith he, will I slay my brother Jacob, Gen. 27.41. Thus Pharaoh commanded the Egypti­an Mid-wives to murder every male-child of the Hebrewes, if it be a Son, then ye shall kill him, Exod. 1.6. And thus Herod slew all the children in Bethleem, from two years old and under. Math. 2.16. Thus we read of Herodias, that nothing would satiate her malice but St. I hn Baptist's blood. Math. 14.8. Thus the Iewes cryed out against St. Paul, away with such a fellow from the earth, for it is not fit that he should live, Act. 22.22. and Act. 23.12. we find some that bound themselves under a curse (they took the Covenant [...] saying, that they would neither eat nor drink, till they had killed Paul. And the whore of Babylon is said to be drunk with the blood of Saints, and with the blood of the Martyrs of Iesus, Revel. 17.6. I might be almost infinite in examples, but this in our Text shall be instar omnium, we may see the bloody-mindednes of wicked men by these chief Priests, who conspired not to banish or imprison, but each to murder Gods own Son, they reasoned among themselvs, saying, come let us kill him. And the voi­ces of the multitude, and of the chief Priests [Page 131]prevailed, this treason stood not alway in consultation, but went on to action; what the common counsell determined wicked­ly, the common people executed greedily, they cast the Heir out of the vineyard; and slew him with this dreadfull impreca­tion, His blood be on us, and on our chil­dren: And seeing our Master was thus used, we must expect no better meature, but even to be killed all the day long, as the Psalmist speaketh, and to be counted as sheep appoint­ed to be slaine, the Alpha, and the Omega of the Church is writ in blood,

Sanguine fundata est Ecclesia, sanguine crevit, Sanguine firmatur, sanguine finis erit.

And we need not wonder at this, if we believe our Saviour, for it is but that which he told us long agoe, that we should be ha­ted and hunted after for his sake, yea, the time will come, saith he, that whosoever killeth you will think he doth God service. A prophecy that seemeth to point directly at our very dayes, when the bloudiest of Souldiers think themselves the best of Saints, when murdering of loyal Christians goeth for pure religion. But though our blood be shed like water on every side, yet our God [Page 132]that is true and holy, will, in his good time, judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth, there will on day be a strict inquisition made for blood, for the blood of Strafford & Canterbury, for the blood of Lucas and Lisle, for the blood of Tom­kins and Chaloner, for the blood of Yeomans, Bourchier, and Burleigh, for the blood of Dunkin, and others in Kent; there will be a time, I say, if not in this, yet in the next world, when all the righteous innocent blood that hath of late years been shed in this Kingdome, shall be required at the hands of this Tyrannical I will not call it, but a Satanical generation.

And so I passe from the third part of the Text, which was the Manner of the chief Priests conspiracy, in these words, They rea­soned among themselves, saying, Come let us kill him, to the fourth and last, the End of their conspiracy, which was, that they might be Lords of the Mannour, that the inheri­tance may be ours. But now the Husbandmen, &c.

In every action, there is both Opus, and Intentio oper antis, the doing of the work, and the end for which we do it, and by an Hysteron Proteron, the last of these is first, what is last in execution, the same is first in our in­tention, the End being alway the beginning of the action.

Now it is an Axiome in Philosophy, Fi­nis & bonum convertuntur, let the action be what it will, good is alway propounded for the End, either Honestum or Iucundum, or Utile, either an honest, or a pleasant, or a profitable end, they that do evill, will say they do this that good may come of it, good to themselves at least, though hurt to others, or if it be not good indeed, yet it shall seemingly be good, and the last of those three ends, the chief Priests here pro­pound unto themselves, Bonum utile, they set up profit for their end, Come, say they, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours. They propound the same end with those sinners that Solomon cautioneth us to take heed of, Prov. 1.11, 13. Where hope of gain is used as a motive to invite others to joyn with them, Come, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent with­out cause, we shall find all pretious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil. And at the 19. ver. there is just such another passage, So are the wayes of every one that is greedy of gain, which taketh away the life of the owners thereof.

— Quid non mortalia pectora cogis
Auri sacra fames? —

[Page 134]There is not any villany but will go down with a man, if it have a golden bait. The love of money is the root of all evil. 1. Tim. 6.10. Balaam will endea­vour to curse Israel, if he may gain but the rewards of divination. Achan will take of the accursed thing, if he may gain a Bay­lonish garment, two hundred shekels of fil­ver, and a wedge of gold. Saul will spare the spoile of Amalek, if he may gain good store of rich plunder. Gehazi will tell an arrant lie to Naaman, if he may gain two ta­lents, and new clothes. Iudas will betray his Lord and Master, if he may gain thirty pieces of silver, The Souldiers will say that Christ was stollen out of the grave, if the chief Priests will give them large mony. Ie­zebel will plot Naboths death, if she may gain his vineyard; she proclaimed a fast, yet knew no other godlinesse but gain; and this likewise set the chief Priests awork to conspire the death of Christ, Come, say they let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours. That we may be no longer dressers, but possessors of the vineyard, that there may be no Superiour, no Lord, over us, but that the Church may be ruled and governed as we list, that the doctrine and discipline of it may be what we see good; nay, that we [Page 135]may have dominion as well over mens free-hold, as their faith, that their consci­ences and coffers may both be at our com­mand. This was the end that the cheif Priests aimed at, when they conspired against the Heir, come, let us kill him, that the inheri­tance may be ours.

And herein the Bishop of Rome looketh very like them, who stileth himself Christs Vicar, St. Peters successour, he saith that he is the right Heir, the Head of Christs whole Church, he arrogateth the title of Ʋniversal Bishop, he chalengeth (as it were) the Wardship, nay the Lordship of the Church, whatsoever he saith must go for Gospel, meerly because he saith it, he taketh upon him more than Apostolical authority, even that which is Gods peculiar, To forgive sins, for which cause fall the silly people unto him, and thereout he sucketh no small advantage, it is a masse of money that his Pardons annually bring in to him. And other stratagems he hath, but all to enrich himself, he will release men out of his pretended Purgatory, if they will give him money enough, he will warrant they shall be heirs of Heaven, though herein he contradict himself, for sometimes he telleth them, that they can never be sure of hea­ven til they come thither; yet thus he befool­eth [Page 136]the people, he will warrant them an in­heritance in heaven, if they will make him their Heir on Earth. His whole Religion indeed is nothing else but a politick project to get money, he feedeth not the flock of Christ, but feedeth upon it, he keepeth the people in ignorance, seeking not them, but theirs, He and all his Cardinals, Monks, and Abbots, they seek their own profit and preferment, their own gain and greatness, like these cheif Priest in our Text, whose aim was to get the inheritance, Come, say they, Let us kill him that the inheritance may be ours. And so I have gone thorow the se­veral parts of the Text, a few words of ap­plication, and I have done.

Our Text is a plain conspiracy against our Saviour. And the conspiracy of Level­lers against our Soveraign will match it right. Our Saviour let out his vineyard to Husband­men, so our Soveraign did (as it were) let out his Kingdome to States-men, he gave them power to prune and dresse it, to take off superfluities, to rectifie enormities, he gave them their hearts desire, and denied them not the request of their lips, he grant­ed that which none but a most indulgent Landlord would ere have granted; they ask­ed a lease of him, and he gave them a long [Page 137]lease, longer than any of their Predecessours ever had, he made them no Tenants for yeares, much lesse at will, but reserving his fee-simple, I mean his Negative voice, he gave it under his hand that he would not re-enter, till they themselves consented to it.

O fortunatos nimium, bona si sua n [...]rint, A­gricolas! What men were ever so happy, as these might have been? How might the glory of their God, of their King, of their Country, and even of themselves have been advanced by them? But neglecting the three first, they aimed chiefly at the last, at their own glory. For assoon as their un­lucky lease was sealed, they straight way thought themselves free-holders, taking Regal power upon them, as if the Militia, the Kings Inheritance, had been theirs, they devested their Soveraign of it, and invested themselves with it, making the Heir of three Kingdomes (though no child in any thing, but malice) to differ nothing from a ser­vant, when he was Lord of all. For, with­out him, they took upon them to un-make, and to make Lawes, saying, we have the Legislative power, who is Lord over us? And that they might the better enjoy the Crown, they entred into Covenant against [Page 138]the Miter, resolved to abolish the excel­lent government of Bishops, root and branch. And because the King against his oath and conscience would not yeeld to this, Come, said they, let us compell him to it by force of arms; they set the people awork first to mutiny, then to fight against him, as who should say, we have no part in Charles, neither have we inheritance in the son of James, every man to his tents, O England, they proclaimed open war a­gainst Him and his Adherents, giving out Commissions to kill and slay all persons that should oppose them, their Soveraign Lord the King was not excepted, for bul­lets cannot distinguish between a Scepter and a Shovel, the sword (as David said) de­voureth one as well as another. But seeing they could not kill him in the field, they have since attempted it in prison; it is too apparent that the Ring-leaders of this re­bellion had an hand in that late conspira­cy against him. Nor is it only Carolus, but even Rex that they strike at going about not only to kill the Person, but the very of­fice of the King.

Come, say they, Let us break his bands asun­der, and cast away his cords from us; Come, let us make no more addresses to him, but [Page 139]let us make our selves a Free-State, that the name of Monarchy may be no more in re­membrance. And to effect this, they have made the Kingdom not only a field, but even a sea of blood, breathing out no­thing but slaughter against all loyal Sub­jects, killing and slaying, butchering and murthering their brethren, whose blood they have shed like water on every side, like that woman in the Revelation, drink­ing themselves drunk with the blood of Saints, and with the blood of the Martyrs of Jesus.

It is no marvel if these blood-hounds will not have God's Commandments read in Churches, for one of these telleth them ex­preslly, they must do no murther, and as almost all the rest, so most especially that sixth Commandment they count Apocryphal, for murdering of men is their profession, and a great part of their Religion, as if Mars were their god, and Mahomet their Messiah. Let them usurp the name of Christians while they will, I am sure their bloody practises proclaim them arrant Turks, Christianity is for the saving of mens lives, Turcism for the destroying of them, and such is the Religion of these Rebels, Destruction is in their way, they are still [Page 140]opposing of Treaties; the way of peace have they not known, like horsleaches they never think they have blood enough, they would have it even to the horse bridles, as if they had a mind to swim in blood.

And all this under pretence of Religion and Reformation a pretence so pitiful and so thread-bare, that I wonder men are not a­shamed to be seduced by it, for Religion was ever made the stalking horse to Rebel­lion; and indeed this must be the pretence, or else the design will soon be dasht, for should they proclaim themselves open A­thiests, and profess the subverting of Reli­gion, I think the world is not so bad, but that it would be ready to tear them all in pieces. They are bound therefore to pre­tend piety, like Absolom and Jezebel, but their actions tell the world that they aim at other ends, even at Libertinism, that they may be lawless, that they may do what they list, that they may roar and whore, yet never be questioned or con­trouled, for there are no men living more given to the flesh, than they that pretend so extreamly to the spirit; but chiefly the Inheritance, the Kingdoms wealth is that they aim at, they seek not the Kingdom [Page 141]of God, but the riches of this Kingdom, that the Revenue of the Crown, and the Patrimony of the Miter, and the estate of every loyal Subject may be theirs. Most truly may that of the Prophet be applyed to them, Jer. 22.17. Their eyes, and their hearts are not but for their covetousness, and for to shed innocent blood, and for oppression, and for violence to do it, witness their Sequestrations, their Decimations, their Confiscations, their Contributions, their Excize, their Fift, and Twentieth part, besides their greediness in getting all the gainful offices in the King­dome. Their love of money hath been the root of all evils, we may see this by their dividing of the spoil, their sharing of the Kingdomes wealth among them­selves, especially by their sacrilegious selling and usurping of Church-lands, they had long-ago ended the Wars, or rather they had never begun it, but to get these Lands; they kill, as St. James speaketh, because they desire to have, to have o­ther mens possessions, the whole world, and even their own conscience bear witness to this Truth. And their Chaplains of the Assembly are just like them, those Iourney­men Rebels that love the wages of unrighte­ousness, that have four shillings a day to [Page 142]make Rebellion good by Scripture; an heart they have exercised about covetous practi­ces, through covetousness with fained words, making merchandise of men, Their aim is to get the greatest Livings, even Plu­ralities, which once they so much railed at; and under the name, forsooth, of Le­cturers, they creep into Deans and Preben­daries houses, some get Master-ships of Colledges, some of Hospitals; all their aim is that the Inheritance, the profitable pre­ferments may be theirs.

I shall not need to rake this Dunghil, nor stir this Camerina any further. It is most evident how bloody and covetous all these rebellious vine-dressers are. What therefore shall the Lord of the vineyard do unto them? Sure in Justice he might destroy them (though he deligheth more in Mercy, and might let out his vineyard to others, he might discard these unjust Judges, he might displace these unfaith­full Stewards, these Zimries deserve no peace, no pardon, that would have slain their Master, these Sheba's deserve to have their heads thrown over the wall, these Hamans to be executed upon their owne gal­lows, those mine enemies (might the King say) which would not that I should raigne [Page 143]over them, bring them hither, and slay them before me,

— ne (que) est lex justior ulla,
Quam necis artifices arte periresua.

They might justly be served, as the Scythian Queen served Cyrus, have their heads thrown into a blood-bowl, with this expro­bration of their Tyranny, Satiate vos sangui­ne, Sanguisugae, quem sitistis. Their heads should go down to the grave with blood, theirs especially that have shed the blood of war in Peace, that for meer envy, have murdered their Captives in cold blood. And methinks indeed these men of blood should have such an Hell within them­selves, that, like Cain, they should be afraid that every one that meeteth them, will slay them. For blood thirsty men, as David speaketh, shall not live out half their dayes, if they do, they seldome die peaceably in their beds,

Ad generum Cereris sine caede & vulnere pauci
Descendunt — & sicca morte tyranni.

But to speak no more of those that are absent, let me now apply my self to you here present, and let me now intreat you to be no [Page 144]longer-partakers in their sins, walk not ye in the way with them, refrain your feet from then path, for their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood; and blood-shed, rethren, how light soever now esteemed, is a most crying sin, the cries of it enter into the ears of the Lord of Sabbath. Wash therefore not your hands only, but your hearts too from this sin, let no bloody thoughts any longer lodge in you. As the death of men is dear in the sight of God, so let it be in your sight. Remember what Almighty God saith, Gen. 9.5, 6. Surely the blood of your lives will I require, at the hand of every mans brother will I require the life of man. Who so sheddeth mans blood, by man shall his blood be shed. Take heed then of shaking hands with those men that delight in blood.

This sin will not suffer God to be quiet, till he avenge it. To the slain his ears are open, but fast shut to those that slay them, all your dayes of Fasting and Hu­miliation will be ineffectual, if ye be still for War, though ye make never so many prayers. God will not hear you, so long a [...] your hands are full of blood. Wash your selves therefore, I beseech you, make [Page 145]you clean from the blood of all men, be no longer accessory to murder, by raising money to maintain War; ye know that no Murderer (no not a second-hand Murderer) hath eternal life abiding in him. Let then your prayer be, that God would deliver you from this kind of blood-guiltiness, and hereafter make better use of your mo­ney, make it not the price of blood. Curs­ed be he, saith God by Jeremy, that keepeth back his sword from blood, Jer. 48.10. A place of Scripture that Assembly-men have strangely wrested of late years, pressing it upon mens conscience as a warrant for them to cut throats, urging it as a Commission and command for them to kill and slay; and many thousands have followed their pernicious Doctrine, even London, the sometime faith­full City is become an Harlot, Righte­ousness did once lodge in it, but now Mur­derers. But let not these bloody wolvish Prophets seduce you any more. Wo to the bloody City, this is the voice of the Lords Prophets, And if any man teach you other­wise, let him be accursed.

O that ye would know therefore in this your day the things that belong unto your peace, lest otherwise they be hid for ever from your eyes. Consider what Almighty [Page 146]God faith to the Jewes, Isa. 1.19, 20. For the very same he saith now to you, If ye be willing and obedient, willing to have your King restored, and will henceforth be obedient to him, Ye shall eat the good of the Land, but if ye refuse his gracious pardon, and resolve still to rebel against him, Ye shall be devoured with the suord, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. If ye still keep up the sword, ye will in the end perish by it; your sword will certainly pe­netrate your own heart. Obey not them therefore that think they can kill the body, and that would have you make a trade of killing, but obey him that can kill body and soul, whose express Command is, that ye shall not kill. If ye will not follow peace, ye shall never see the Lord, if here ye banish that from you, he will hereafter banish you from him, he will renounce you with those words of David, Psalm 139.19. Depart from me, ye bloody, ye blood-thirsty men. And as God abhorreth the blood-thirsty, so doth he the covetous man, Psalm 10. He that said, Do not kill, said also, Do not covet, as therefore ye must abstain from blood, so must ye from cove­tousness; let not this be once named amongst you, as becometh Saints, but learn of the [Page 147]Apostle in whatsoeuer state ye are, there­with to be content; see that ye covet no mans silver, or gold, or apparel, but ha­ving food and rayment, be therewith con­tent. Ye know whose Law it is, Thou shalt not covet thy neighbours house, take heed then, brethren, of coveting Bishops houses, or any thing else that is anothers, and not yours. All covet, all lose, ye have good Scripture for it. Jer. 8.10. I will give their wives unto others, and their fields to them that shall inherit them, for every one from the least even unto the greatest is given to covetous­ness; from the Prophet even unto the Priest; They that greedily get away other mens, beget a gangrene in their own Estates▪ ‘De malè quaesitis vix gaudet tertius Haeres.’ Take heed therefore, as our Saviour exhort­eth, and beware of covetousness; the cau­tion is ingeminated, and therefore the more emphatical, Luke 12.15. Consider also what St. Paul saith. Eph. 5.5. No covetous man, who is an Idolater, hath any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ, and of God. And consider what the same Apostle saith, 1 Tim. 6 9. They that will be rich (as it were whether God will or no) fall in­to [Page 148]temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtfull lusts, which drown men in destru­ction and perdition. Covetousness tempteth men to murder; this i [...] that which maketh Rebels so bloody as they are; From whence come. Wars and fightings among you? Surely Covetousness hath been the Original of them all; the lower sort of people strive to be in an higher room; the poor would fain turn Tables with the Rich, they would thus have every valley to be filled, and every mountain and hill to be laid low, as if in this sense, every man were bound to seek anothers wealth; they that were born to nothing, strive to get others birth-rights, calling themselves, forsooth, the Saints, who, say they, must inherit the earth; they would make themselves rich, that have nothing, and others poor, that have great riches.

But to conclude, this brethren, is not the office of Saints, but of the King of Saints, it is the Lord that maketh poor, and maketh rich, 1 Sam. 2.7. Presume not then to take God's office out of his hand, strive not per fas & nefas to make your selves rich, if God have made you poor, but be content with that portion of outward things that he hath given you. The silver is mine, and [Page 149]the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts, Hag. 2.8. Deny him not therefore that priviledge, which your own selves chalenge, give him leave to do what he pleaseth with his own. Let not the least root of covetousness re­main in you, remember that godli­ness with contentment is great gain; if the riches of others increase, set not your hearts upon them, seek not these things below, but those above, strive not for an inheritance on earth, but to have one in heaven; that ye may banish cruelty; let co­vetousness be banished first, that ye may not thirst after other mens blood; covet not their goods. Hast thou killed, said God to Ahab, and also taken possession? Well, ye know what became of him and Jezebel for this. Stifle therefore not only your mur­therous, but also your covetous thoughts. If you must needs be killing, mortifie your earthly members; if ye must needs be co­veting, covet earnestly the best gifts, God hath chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, to be heirs of his Kingdom; labour therefore to get the gold of faith, whereby ye may be rich towards God; and then, though here ye have no temporal Inheri­tance, yet hereafter ye shall have one far better, ye shall be Heirs apparent unto [Page 150]Heaven, ye shall inherit glory, God will give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified: Though now you are in your nonnage, yet at the last day ye shall be perfect men; ye shall attain to the mea­sure of the stature of the fulness of Christ, who shall then invite you to enter upon your Inheritance, in these words, Come ye blessed of my father, inherit the kingdome prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

FINIS.

A SEVERE Sentence AGAINST SECƲRE CITIZENS.

A Sermon PREACHED At ST. Maries in Oxford, Upon Sunday, March 17. 1644.

LONDON, Printed in the year, 1660.

A SEVERE SENTENCE AGAINST SECƲRE CITIZENS.

JONAH 3.4.

And he cryed, and said, yet fourty dayes, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.

HEre are two of the divine Attributes, which are Gods Mercy, and his Justice, so that I may say with the Apostle St. Paul, Rom. 11.22. Be­hold here the goodness and the severity of God, [Page 154]for the words of our Text are both a Pre­monition, and a Commination; as they give warning, so there is Mercy in them, Ad­huc quadraginta dies, yet fourty dayes; as they threaten, so there is judgement in them, Subvertetur Nineveh, Nineveh shall be over­thrown. This might be the general divi­sion of these words. But if we examine them more particularly, they will afford us these five parts. Here is first the Preacher, He, the Prophet Jonah. Second­ly, The Manner of his preaching, He cryed. Thirdly; The Matter of his preach­ing, he threatned an overthrow. Fourthly, The place of his preaching, the City Nineveh. Fifthly, The Time, when his Preaching or Prophecy was to be accom­plished and fulfilled, and that was within fourty dayes, And he cryed, and said, yet fourty dayes, and Nineveh shall be over­thrown.

And of these in order: I begin with the first part, the Preacher, He, the Prophet Jonah. And in him we may observe four things; His Name, His Countrey, His Paren­tage, His Commission. The first thing ob­servable in the Preacher or Prophet, is his Name, which I shall little more than name, Jonah, which is Hebrew for a Dove. And [Page 155]in some sense every Prophet or Preacher should be a Jonah, should be a Dove, not only innocent and harmless, but also pa­tient and revengeless, without gall or bit­terness, putting up any wrong or injury, without desire of revenge, like a Dove. The second thing observable in the Prophet or Preacher here, is his Countrey, he was a Jew, I am an Hebrew, so he told the Mar­riners, cap. 1. vers. 9. An Hebrew, and sent to the Ninevites, who were Assyrians, why should they give any credit to such a fellow? Suppose a Weather-beaten wan­dring Jew (Jonah look'd now like such a one) should come into our chief City, and pro­claim that within fourty dayes it should be overthrown, O how ridiculous would men think such words as these, they would cer­tainly take them but for some Jewish fables. But these Ninevites were nothing so incre­dulous as men are now adayes, they con­ferred not with flesh and blood, but repent­ed at the preaching of Ionah, though a Iew, though a meer stranger to them. But the men of our age are so far from giving heed to strangers, that those of their own Na­tion cannot bring them to repentance. The third thing observable in the Prophet or Preacher here, is his Parentage, he was the [Page 156]son of Amittai, chap. 1. ver. 1. Now A­mittai, being interpreted, is as much as True or Truth. And this Amittai is there­fore thought by some to have been that son of the widdow of Zerephath raised up by Elijah. The probability whereof is taken from those words of the widdow­woman. 1 King 17. ult. By this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in thy mouth is Truth. From whence some would observe, that because the woman found Elijah a true Prophet in re­storing of her son to life, therefore she called her sons name Amittai, True, or Truth. But this cannot be so for two rea­sons, as Luther hath well observed. For first, Elijah lived, we know, in the days of Ahab. But Ionah and Amittai lived in the dayes of Jeroboaem the second. Secondly, The widdow of Zarephath was a Zidonian, and so a Gentile. But Jonah and Amittai were of Gath-Hepher in the Tribe of Ze­bulon, and therefore Jewes, 2 King 14.25. But to pass by this Genealogie, we will observe only in general, that our Prophet here was the son of Amittai, that is, the son of Truth. And so indeed should all Pro­phets, all Preachers of the Word be, sons of Amittai, like this our Prophet here, not [Page 157]speaking lyes in hypocrisie, but rightly di­viding the Word of Truth.

But how few such sons of Amittai: are there at this day? Our Saviours prediction is long since come to pass; false Prophets are risen up amongst us, and have deceived many, such as have changed the truth of God into a lye, privily bringing in most damnable Heresies. And too too many fol­low their pernicious wayes; by reason of whom, the way of the Church of England, the good old way of Truth is evil spoken of. Thus a wonderfull and horrible thing is committed in our land. The Prophets pro­phecy falsely, and the people love to have it so; and what will they do, unless it please God to restrain them in the end thereof?

But here perhaps ye may ask, as Pilate once did, what is truth, how shall we know the sons of Amitai, these sons of truth, how shall we try the spirits whether they be of God? For answer to which I must lead you to the third thing observable in our Prophet here, and that in his warrant or Commission, he was sent from God. And he was sent twice to Nineveh before he went thither once, he had one commission in the first Capter, and another in this third. And so had the Apostles of our blessed Saviour, one in the tenth of St. Mathow, and another in [Page 158]the eight and twentieth. No man taketh this honour to himself., saith the Apostle, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron, Heb. 5.4. If any man shall intrude himself, we are to brand him for a false prophet, for he that entereth not by the dore into the sheep­fold, by the dore of Episcopal ordination, as well as that which some call their preten­ded inspiration, the same is a thief and a rob­ber. And how many such thieves and rob­bers are there at this day? Such are they which presume to preach when they were never sent [...] great is the company of such pitifull preachers, as some call them, but the Lord gave them not the word; though now therefore they stretch forth their mouth unto the heaven, and though their tongue goeth thorow the world, yet our Saviour at the last day will put such a question to them, as they shall never answer, wherefore did ye preach my law, how durst such as you take my covenant in your mouth?

And so I passe from the first part of the Text, which was the Preacher, He, to the second, which is the Manner of his preaching, he Cryed. And this is the tenour of many other prophets commissions as well as his. For thus Isaiahs commission runneth, c. 58. v. 1. Cry aloud, spare not, &c. And thus Jere­mies, Cry in the ears of Jerusalem, c. 2. v. 2. [Page 159]Thus likewise Hosea's commission runneth, cry aloud at Beth-aven. c. 5. v. 8. And we read of S. Iohn Baptist that he was a Cryer in the wildernesse. Isa. 40.3. And so should in­deed all prophets, all preachers of the word be.

For Praedico some will have derived from Praeco, the Preacher therefore should be a publick Cryer, to cry the lost sheep of the house of Israel, or he should be a Cryer to rouse men from carnal security, or, as it were, a Bell man, like St, Paul, telling them it is high time for them to awake out of sleep. For if men be not dead in sin, yet sure they are asleep, if not fast asleep, yet their eares are dull of hearing. Preachers therefore must not whisper, they must cry aloud. Not as if they should be like Plinies nightingale neither, vox, et praeterea nihil, their Doctrine to consist meerly in their voice, for what St. James saith of the wrath of man, the same may I say of his voice, the voice of man worketh not the righteousness of God. And yet how is vociferation and lung-labour cryed up in these dayes! if he do but thunder and thump, Oh! non vox hominem sonat, who teacheth like him, will the women say, a great prophet they cry out is risen up among them. But a Preach­ers whole duty consisteth not in making of [Page 160]a great noise, there must not only be words to sound, but there must be sound words, there is a Dixit in the Text, as well as a Clamavit, the Prophet did not only cry, but cryed, and said, which leadeth me briefly from the second part of the Text, the manner of Ionah's preaching, he cryed, to the third, which is the Matter of his preach­ing, he said there should be an overthrow,

There are three names especially given to Prophecy in holy Scripture. First, it is called the word of the Lord, from the Lords reveal­ing of it. Secondly, it is called a vision, from the Prophets attending to it. Third­ly, it is called a burden, from the peoples groaning under it.

The name given to this prophecy of Jo­nah is verbum Domini, the word of the Lord, ch. 1. ver. 1. But by the argument of it, this seemeth to challenge rather the title of Nahum's prophecy, which is Onus Nineve, the burden of Nineveh, Nah. 1.1. For it threatneth the city of Nineveh with utter ruine and desolation, Subvertetur Nineve, Nineveh shall be overthrown. As if he should have said, though Nineveh, like Je­rusalem, be full of goodly buildings, yet there shall not be left in it one Stone upon another, which shall not be thrown down; it [Page 161]shall be made empty, it shall be made waste, it shall be turned upside down. And if Nineveh had been served so, (as indeed afterward it was) yet Almighty God might have asked as David once did in another case, what have I now done? Is there not a cause; For though our Text make no mention of it, yet if we look back to the second verse of the first Chapter; we shall find it there, Arise, go to Nineveh that great City; but why? the reason followeth be­fore the verse be out, For their wickedness is come up before me. The iniquity of these Ninevites was as great as their City, and this was the reason why God told them that they should be overthrown. Sin is that which provoketh Almighty God, both to execute and to threaten Judgement. Which teach­eth us all to fear the cause for fear of the effect; to eschew evil, left we provoke God to threaten us with Judgement. It is a fearfull thing, saith the Apostle, to fall into the hands of the living God. He shal rain, saith the Psalmist, snares upon the sinners, fire and brimstone, storm and tempest, this shall be their portion to drink. When the Scrip­ture speaketh of God in Judgement, it re­presenteth him terrible and dreadfull, it de­scribeth him in the most affrighting man­ner [Page 162]that can be imagined. I will give you but one expression or instance for all the rest, Our God is a consuming fire, saith the Apostle. Heb. 12. ult. The Nations are but as a drop of a bucket, saith the Prophet, Isa. 40.15. Now if that fire at Elijas sacrifice made nothing, as it were, of twelve barrels, but licked up the whole trench-full of water; what would become of us, think we then, if God should enter in­to judgement with us, when we, and the Na­tions, even all the Nations of the earth are but as one drop of a bucket, and God is a consuming fire: we must needs cry out as those Israelites did at the promulgation of the Law: surely this great fire will con­sume us. Let us then, brethren, give no entertainment to the evil of sin, lest the evil of punishment dog and ghost it at the heels, lest we provoke God to threaten us as his Prophet here threatens Nineveh, Subvertetur Nineve, Nineveh shall be over­thrown; Overthrown, saith he, oh but Durus est hic sermo, this is a hard saying, who can hear it? for most men are like Ahab, they hate a Michaiah, a plain-dealing Pro­phet or Preacher, because he prophecyeth no good concerning them, but evil. Or they are like those who are complained [Page 163]of, Isa. 30.10. Which say to the Seers, see not, and to the Prophets, prophecy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, pro­phecy deceits. And this being the humour of most men, how then durst Jonah threaten the Ninevites with an Overthrow? yes, as St. John Baptist resolved to tell Herod of his incest, though he lost his head for it; so let the Ninevites here take it how they will, Jonah is resolved to do his message; Subvertetur Nineve, Nineveh shall be overthrown. Here is an instruction then for all those that are the Ministers of Christ, not to play the Gnathoes, not to be Placentia-Preachers, not to fashion their Sermons according to the humour and temper of their Disciples, though indeed, Is quaestus nunc est multo uberrimus, this is the way to thrive, I know, for this cause fall the people unto them, and thereout suck these Temporizers no small advantage. But this must not be our practise, we have not so learned Christ: We must not be the devils Fidlers, to play what tune the people bid us, nor must we be the Devils upholders to sew pillows under mens elbowes; nor must we be the devils Plaisterers to daub men up with untempered mortar; we must not make fair weather, preaching peace, peace to sinners, [Page 164]when there is no peace to the wicked, but we must plainly denounce wrath & vengeance against impenitent sinners, unless speedi­ly converted, threatning them that they shall be confounded: we must deal with them as Jonah dealeth here with the City Nineveh, who threatneth it with a Subverte­tur, it shall be overthrown. And so I pass from the third part of the Text, the matter of Jonah's preaching, an overthrow, to the fourth, which is the place of his preach­ing, the City Nineveh, Subvertetur Nineve, Nineveh shall be overthrown. And this Ni­neveh, Strabo telleth us, was the Metropo­lis of Assyria, the chief City of that Coun­trey, situate by the river Lycus. A City we know it was, and [...] Civitas, from [...], Multus, from the multitude of people that use to be in Cities. In the Original it is called a City of God, which at first sight seemeth somewhat strange, seing there was neither Worship, nor Temple, nor Prophet of God in it. Luther thinketh it was so called from the care of God to preserve it. But I am rather of Oecolampadius his opini­on in this, who will have it called a City of God, by an Heb a [...]sm, for so indeed the Hebrews, when they speak of an high moun­tain, a tall Cedar, or a great City, because [Page 165]Gods dwelling is on high, and because he is of such immensity, therefore they think they cannot express these things so to the life, as by calling it a Mountain, or a Cedar, or a City of god. And there­fore that which should be Civitas. Dei, ac­cording to the Original, is rendred Civitas magna, by St. Jerome, whom our English Translators follow, calling it a great City. But if Nineveh were so great a City, even of three dayes journey, as we read, how then durst Jonah be so bold as threaten it after this manner? Yes, he had good reason for it, for Prophets must not be afraid of the face of men, though briars and thorns were with them, and though they dwelt a­mong Scorpions: we that are Preachers must of all other, be full of godly courage and resolution, not fearing to denounce wrath and vengeance against sinners, though for number they be many, though for Power mighty, Jonah here threatneth Nineveh, though an exceeding great City. Nineveh, I say, a great City. Little Zoar, we know was spared; Great Nineveh must be overthrown. God regardeth not so much the goodliness, as the goodness of a City. Nay, the greater it is, if wicked, the greater punishment he still layeth upon it. For it is with sinfull [Page 166]places, as with sinfull persons, the mor [...] famous the one, the more infaemous the other; Nineveh-sins, London-sins, City-sins, these are exemplary, leading sins, they may do a great deal of mischief in the Countrey; the Ninevites sins were ag­gravated from the greatness of their City.

Again, Nineveh is intepreted Speciosa, fair or beautifull. An Epithite given also to Jerusalem, which was indeed called beauty in the abstract, the perfection of beauty, the joy of the whole earth, as may be easily gathered from Lam. 2.15. And yet as beautifull as these Cities were, there was neither of them spared. What be­came of Ierusalem, ye have heard. And though Nineveh scaped awhile, yet she went not still unpunished, but returning to her old sins, Nahum's prophecy fully came to pass, and this likewise of our Prophet Jonah here, Nineveh was overthrown. God regardeth no beauty, but the beauty of ho­liness, beauty in the Abstract, without this, it is no Beauty, but deformity, Nine­veh, though never so beautifull, yet God threatneth this very Nineveh to overthrow it. And so I pass from the fourth part of the Text, the place of Jonah's preaching, [Page 167]the City Nineveh, to the fift and last, which is the Time when his prophecy or preaching was to be accomplished and fulfilled, and that was within fourty dayes. And he cryed and said, yet fourty dayes, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.

Fourty, but why so? [...], yet three dayes, so it is in the Septuagint, and how come they to fall short of the Original seven and thirty dayes? The ordinary gloss answereth it thus, Sive per quadraginta dies, sive per triduum, idem Christus significatus est, whether it be fourty, or three dayes, the same Christ is hereby signified, who was three dayes in the grave, and afterwards fourty dayes conversant with his Disciples. But this seemeth to me a very affected and far fetcht answer.

Hugo Cardinalis will have a further my­sterie in it. Tres dies, saith he, Fidem Tri­nitatis, quadraginta poenitentiae tempus signi­ficant, the three dayes in the Septuagint, saith he, point at faith in the holy Trinity, the fourty dayes, in the Original, point at time of repentance; and therefore, as he thinketh, was this voluntary mistake and difference between the Greek and Hebrew, to signifie that faith and repentance are the way to avert Gods Judgements. But whe­ther [Page 168]the one of these by three dayes aimed at such a faith, I will not say; that the other by forty dayes aimeth at repentance, this is somewhat probable; For Numerus quadragenarius, poenitentialis est, saith Rupert. the number of forty is a penitential number; it is said therefore to these Ninevites here, Adhuc quadraginta dies, yet fourty dayes, to let them know that there was yet time of grace and repentance for them, and to admonish them that they husband well this time of their visitation. For as other dayes, so even the day of grace and repentance hath an end. Esau found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with Tears, Heb. 12.17. The very time of repentance lasteth but for a time, according to that of the Angel, which sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, that there should be time no longer, Rev. 10.6. Let this acce­lerate our repentance, while there is time for us to repent, while there is Adhuc qua­draginta dies, yet fourty dayes. Ye may re­member how our Saviour bewaileth Jeru­salem for trifling away this precious time, Luke 19.41. He beheld the City, and wept over it, saying, If, or, O that thou hadst known, even thou at lest, in this thy day, the things that belong unto thy peace, but now [Page 169]they are hid from thine eyes. For the dayes shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round; and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee, and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another, because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.

It is most dangerous, brethren, to trifle away the day of grace and mercy, Behold now is the accepted time, behold now is the day of salvation. It will be too late for us to knock when the door of mercy is shut; to day, if we will hear Gods voice, harden we not our hearts. God suffered the manners of the Israelites fourty years in the wilderness, and he would have suffered the manners of these Ninevites fourty days in the City; but I am sure he hath no where promised to bear with us so long, he hath promised no years, nay he hath promised us no dayes, [...], even this very next night our souls may be required of us. Let us not then despise or abuse Gods goodness and long­suffering, let us not drive off our repentance till the nine and thirtieth day: we have a common saying, that we were better leave than lack, the Ninevites here seem to have made good use of it, for they repented as [Page 170]soon as the word was out of Jonab's mouth, though they had Adhuc quadraginta dies, yet fourty dayes.

But here ariseth a question that must needs be answered, namely, Why Gods threatnings come not to pass? for we read, Gen. 20. That God threatned Abimeleck with present death, Thou art but a dead man for the woman that thou hast taken, yet we know, that Abimeleck died not at that time: So likewise God threatneth Hezekiah with death, 2 King 20.1. Set thine house in order, for thou shalt die, and not live; yet we know there were added unto his dayes fif­teen years. In like manner God threatneth Nineveh to overthrow it within fourty dayes, and yet when these fourty dayes were expi­red, Nineveh was not overthrown. And how cometh this to pass, that Gods threat­nings should not take effect? I answer, as Gods promises, so his threatnings like­wise are not absolute, but conditional, for there is a twofold Will in Almighty God, Voluntas signi, and Voluntas beneplaci­ti, the Will of the sign, or the sign of Gods Will, which is the revealed Will of God, and the Will of the good plea­sure, or the good pleasure it self, which is the secret Will of God. Now to in­stance [Page 171]only in the case of Nineveh, (for one answer may serve for all objections of this nature) that Nineveh should be overthrown within fourty dayes, this was voluntas sig­ni, the will of the sign, the revealed Will of God, but that Nineveh should repent, & so not be overthrown, this was voluntas be­neplaciti, the Will of the good pleasure, the secret Will of God. Neither were these two Wills contrary, but the one of them wrought for the effecting and bringing about of the other. The revealed Will of God, his threatning of the Ninevites within fourty dayes to overthrow them, this brought them to repentance, that so his secret Will might be fulfilled in sparing of them. Though Nineveh therefore were not over­thrown, yet God might safely threaten so to serve it, yet fourty dayes and Nineveh shall be overthrown.

And so I have gone thorow the parts of the Text severally. Let us now put them altogether again, and see what general in­struction they will afford us. The proposi­tion for our instruction may be this, That God usually lets off a Warning-piece, before a Murdering-piece, seldome executing any Judgement either personal or national, but he sends some kind of Herald or other to [Page 172]give warning of it. And God hath both an extraordinary and ordinary way of threatning and giving warning of Judgement either of which is twofold. First his extraordinary way is either immediate or mediate, private or publick; Private, by inspirations; Pub­lick, by apparitions. First, God threatneth and giveth warning of Judgement, with an Adhuc qua [...]ragintadies, as it were, Yet fourty days by private inspirations. Thus he gave Noah warning of the flood. Thus he gave Abraham warning of the destruction of Sodome. Thus he gave Samuel warning of the destruction of Elie's house. And thus he warned all his Prophets of his approaching Judgements, according to that of the Pro­phet Amos, Surely the Lord will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret to his servants the Prophets, Amos 3.7. Secondly, God threa­tens and giveth warning of Judgement with an Adhuc quadragintadies, as is were, Yet fourty dayes, by publick apparitions. Thus he gave the Jewes warning of the destructi­on of Jerusabem, and that by two very prodi­gious signes, the one tendered to their eares, the other to their eyes; the former was an hideous voice, heard often in the siege of Jerusalem, Linquamus has sedes, or Migre­mus hi [...] Come, let us be gone, let us leave [Page 173]this cursed place, thought by some to have been the voice of the tutelar and protecting Angels; thought by others to have been an extraordinary voice of Almighty God him­self. The other was a prodigious blazing star, which Josephus telleth us, stood many moneths together right over Jerusalem. And thus likewise shall God give warning of the general and last Judgement, When there shall be signes in the Sun, and in the moon, and in the stars, Luke 21.25.

And as God hath an extraordinary, so he hath an ordinary way of giving warning of Judgement. And this likewise is two-fold, Domestick, by the preaching and ministrati­on of his Word; Forreign, by the execu­ting and administration of his Justice.

First, God threatneth and giveth warning of Judgement, with an Adhuc quadraginta di­es, yet fourty dayes, by the ministration of his word. Thus he warned the primitive disciples by St. Paul, who ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears, Acts 20.31. Though we have no Urim and Thummim, as they had under the Law, though Ministers are not acquainted with Gods purposes by immediate inspiration, yet notwithstand­ing we may in some sort, prognosticate a Judgement, and may speak in a strict sense, [Page 174]as the Oracles of God. For if every man can discern the face of the sky, as our Saviour speakes, why may not Ministers the signes of the times? yes, without Question we may do it, when the heaven is covered with black clouds, we may conclude there will be a storm; so when the earth is clouded with horrid sins, we may conclude there will be a judgement, by comparing of spiri­tual things with spiritual, by looking into Gods ancient wayes, and considering how God hath dealt with sinners heretofore, though we cannot absolutely determine; yet we may give a near guess, when a storm is impending, when Judgement to the uttermost is coming on a Kingdome.

Secondly, God threatneth and giveth warning of Judgement with an Adhuc qua­draginta dies, as it were yet fourty dayes, by the administration of his Justice, by the Judg­ments which he executeth upon others. Their harms are our warnings, Nam tua res agitur paries cum proximus ardet: We have a common saying; that the burnt child dreads the fire. In malice we should be children, but in this we should be men, to dread the fire before ever we are burnt; the destructi­on of others should be instruction for us. I conclude this point briefly with that in the [Page 175]phecy of Zephaniah, c. 3. v. 6, 7. Where God telleth Jerusalem, That he had cut off the Nations, so that their towers were desolate, he had made their streets waste, that none passed by; their Cities were destroyed, so that there was no man, there was no inhabitant. And wherefore was all this done? why did God so miserably overthrow those other Nations? Why, only to give Jerusalem warning, lest she were served so too, I said, Surely thou wilt fear me, thou wilt receive in­struction. And so ye have briefly the seve­ral wayes how God giveth warning of, and threatneth Judgement: With like bre­vity ye shall have the principal reasons why he doth it. And these are of three sorts. The first concerneth all men. The second concerneth the righteous. The third concerneth the wicked. The first reason is extended unto all men, which is this, God letteth off a warning-piece, Adhuc quadra­gintadies, yet fourty dayes, that hereby he may bring sinners to repentance. For Ad poenas tardus Deus est, ad praemia velox, saith the Poet, God is flow to anger, and of great goodness, saith the Psalmist, he desireth not the death of a sinner, but rather he should turn from his wickednese and live, why will ye die, Ohouse of Israel, seeing I have no [Page 176]pleasure in the death of him, that dieth, saith the Lord. It was once the policy of the King of Syria suddenly to surprize the King of Israel. But the King of all Kings goeth not so covertly to work, for being desirous of pre­vention, he usually acquainteth men with his intention, hereby, if it be possible, to bring them to repentance, to see if there be any hope of their conversion, that so he may never bring them to confusion. This was his manner of dealing with the people of the old world. He sent not the flood upon them of a sudden, but threatned them with it an hundred and twenty years, had they repented all that while, the flood had been prevented, had they wept in so many years, the heavens had not wept fourty dayes, all those sixscore years the good­ness of God waited for their amendment, he spake but in the future sense, I will destroy man whom I have created. But when once he perceived that his warning-peece was slighted, then have at them in good earnest, a murdering-peece goeth off, he proceedeth then to a speedy execution of his Justice, and speaketh in the present tense, I, even I do bring a flood of water upon the earth to destroy all flesh. This was also his man­ner of dealing with these Ninevites in our [Page 177]Text, he destroyed them not, as in a mo­ment, but warned and threatned them by his Prophet Jonah here, Yet fourty dayes, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. The se­cond reason hereof concerneth the righte­ous only, which is this, God letteth off a Warning-peece, Adhuc quadraginta dies, yet fourty dayes, that his people may make pro­vision for their own safety and security: God many times lets alone the tares for the wheat-sake; he often spareth the wicked for the righteous-sake, but he seldome or never slayeth the righteous with the wick­ed, Gen. 18.25. And therefore when he in­tendeth to bring a Judgement upon any place or nation, he useth to threaten and give warning of it before he send it, to the intent that such as fear him may provide for their own safety. Thus we read, Exod. 9. that God threatneth the plague of hail be­fore he sent it on the Egyptians, for other­wise that of Solomon, even in this sense, had been most true, there had been but one event to the righteous and to the wicked, they had all been in the field, and they had perished altogether. God therefore gave warning of it a day before hand, that such as feared him might, as they did, make provision for their own safety. So like­wise [Page 178]we read, Exod. 12. that God threatned to slay the first-born in Egypt ere he slew them, and therefore commanded the Is­raelites to keep close that bloody night; none of them to go out at the door of his house untill the morning. Wicked men have a care of one anothers safety, and therefore warn each other of approaching danger, as ap­peareth by that letter which occasioned the discovery of the Powder-Tre [...]son. And shall not the righteous God much more tender the safety of his secret ones? yes, he doth. And therefore when the destroy­ing Angel, when Gods Judgements are abroad, God would have his faithful peo­ple, as it were, keep at home. We have a pregnant Text to this purpose, Isa. 26.20. Come my people, enter thou into thy Chambers, and shut thy doors about thee, hide thy self, as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. The third reason hereof con­cerneth the wicked only, which is this, God lets off a warning-peece, Adhuc qua­dragintadies, yet fourty dayes, that the wick­ed may have no plea against the Justice of his proceedings. If God should punish sinners before he warneth or threatneth them, his way might seem to be unequal, and sinners might begin to plead for them­selves [Page 179]after this manner. It is very true, we have done amiss, for who can say my heart is clean? But we, like all other sinners put far off from us the evil day, not thinking thy judgements had been so nigh unto us.

We never saw it rain, when the sky was all over bright and clear, black clouds are wont to come before a storm, thou threat­nedst the old world before thou sentest the flood, hadst thou dealt but so with us, we would soon have been new men, we would have repented of the evil of sin, and so have prevented the evil of punishment. These and other such like cavils might sinners use, if God should execute his Judgements up­on them without threatning. God there­fore to prevent this, that he may gag, as it were, and muzzle the mouth of iniquity, that the mouth of all wickedness may be stopped, that sinners may have no plea, no­thing to say for themselves, but may be con­strained in spight of their hearts to ac­knowledge the equity of his proceedings, saying, Righteous art thou, O Lord, and true are thy judgements, to this end he threatneth and giveth warning before he proceedeth to ex­ecution, Yet fourty dayes and Nineveh shall be overthrown.

And so ye have briefly the several ways, [Page 180]and the principal reasons, how, and why God threatneth and giveth warning of his Judgements. Let us now, for the close of all, apply this to our selves, examining whether or no, as God here threatned Ni­neveh, so he hath not likewise threatned and given us warning of his Judgements. And first, for Gods extraordinary way of premonition. For the former branch of it, I will not say that God hath warned us by immediate inspirations, No, let Enthusiasts say what they will, that way of warning is long ceased, God revealeth neither him­self, nor his intentions to us in these dayes any other way than he and they are re­vealed in his written Word. But though he have not warned us by inspirations, yet he hath warned us by apparitions, by won­ders in heaven above, and by signes in the earth beneath, as in our English Chronicles we have manifold examples.

Secondly, For Gods ordinary way of pre­monition, For the former branch of it, God hath warned us of judgement by the Ministration of his Word.

We may read, 1 King 19.17. That Elisha had a sword as well as Hazael or Jehu, him that escapeth the sword of Jehu, shall Eli­sha slay. And when Elisha draweth his [Page 181]sword, when Gods Ministers unsheath the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, when they give warning of those Judg­ments which they see comming on a King­dome, it is a manifest argument that the devouring sword, the sword of Hazael and Jehn, the sword of War, and the enemy is at hand. And have not Elisha and Jo­nah long since drawn their swords? Have not Gods Ministers for many years given you warning of his Judgements? There is none, I hope, such a stranger to the Temple as to deny it. And yet here we may com­plaine, as Isaiah doth, in another case, Isaiah 53.1. Quis credidit audi­tui nostro? Who hath believed our report? Prophesy of future judgements while we will, we were as good say nothing, we speak but into the air, men give us the hearing, but as sure as the Lord liveth, they believe us not. Most truly therefore may that be applyed unto us, Hab. 1.5. Behold and regard, and wonder marvelously, for I will work a work in your dayes, which ye will not believe, though it be told you. Though we, I say, be thus threatned, yet for all this, we regard it not. Well, the men of Nineveh therefore shall rise up in judge­ment with the men of this generation, [Page 182]and shall condemn them, for they, we know, repented at the preaching of Jonah, but we are so far from repenting, that we will not believe; we sin by infidelity, we will not believe God, we sin by incredulity, we will not believe Gods Ministers, but flat­ter out selves, as St. Peter would once have flattered our Saviour Christ, with a Nequaquamerit, this shall not be unto us. And yet the Ninevites could see no such probability of danger, as we may see, un­less we wilfully shut our eyes; without are fightings, within are fears, hostility abroad, no great tranquillity at home, for all this we stop our ears, we think the fourty dayes will never be out. God hath warned us of judgement likewise by the administration of his Justice, by the judge­ments he hath inflicted upon other Nati­ons. We have heard what a grievous famine there was in Germany of late years, where men, like so many Nebuchadnezzars, were fain to eat grass like oxen, yea, like so many Cannibals, were ready to cat up one another. We have heard also what grievous Wars have been there and in o­ther Countries; and because we were not bettered by their sufferings; God hath put England into the Swords commission, saying, Sword, go thorow this land, we know that it [Page 183]hath seized on us, as well as upon our sister. Countries. But O thou Sword of the Lord, how long will it be ere thou be quiet? Put up thy self into thy scabbard, rest and be still.

And that the sword may rest and be still, while it is called to day, let us desire con­ditions of peace; and the only condition that I know is contrition, godly sorrow for our sins. For how can we hope for peace with men, so long as we are at defiance with Almighty God? Can we possibly ima­gine, or can we say, we shall have peace, so long as we follow the vain imaginations of our hearts? No, let us not deceive our selves. What peace, said Jehu to Joram, so long as the Whoredomes of thy mo­ther Jezebel, and her Witchcrafts are so many? So what peace, may I say, can we hope for, so long as our abominations and impieties are so many? No, there is no peace to the wicked. We may flatter our selves, and say, we shall never be re­moved, the Lord of his goodness hath made our hill so strong. But if we turn not from our sins, God will turn us up-side down, he will drive us out of our land, as he drove out the Amorites, and he will give it to some Neighbour of ours that is better than we, he will take away the Kingdnme [Page 184]of God, that is, the Gospel of the Kingdome from us, and he will give it to a Nation that shall bring forth the fruits thereof. For we have heard what he hath done to other Nations by destroying them utterly, Jam seges est ubi Troja fuit, and shall we be so besotted as still to think we shall escape? No, If we husband not well this Adhue, we must expect a Subvertetur, if we despise or abuse Gods goodness and mercy, there is nothing to be looked for but judgement & severity, that which is threatned against the Ninevites, shall certainly be executed upon us, though not within fourty dayes, yet within a short time we shall be over­thrown. For what if the voice of joy and health be within many of our dwellings, yet if we repent not with these Ninevites, God will send his pale horse among us, pining sickness, pestilence and death. What if our Garners be full and plenteous with all manner of store, what if our sheep bring forth thousands, and ten thousands in our streets, yet if we repent not with these Ni­nevites, God will send his black horse a­mong us, famine and cleanness of teeth in all our coasts, our fruitful land God will make barren, for the wickedness and un­worthiness of us that dwell therein. What [Page 185]if our eyes swell with fatness, yet if we do but what we list, we shall find that God hath but fatted us up against the day of slaughter. As for Gods red war-horse, we more than hear him dash, I am sure, we find by sad experience, that of Solomon most true, that there is a time of War, as well as a time of peace. Again, what if the Sun-shine of the Gospel light our feet now into the way of peace? What if the Lord give us the word, and great be the company of the orthodox Preach­ers? yet if we repent not with these Ninevites, our Candlestick shall be remo­ved, there shall be a Famine not of bread on­ly, but also of hearing the word of God, the time will come when we shall desire to see one of the dayes of the Son of man, and shall not see it, we shall wander from sea to sea, and from the North even unto the East, we shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it, as the Israelites are threatned, Amos. 8.11, 12. In a word, what if our land for the present, were as the garden of Eden? yet if we repent not with these Ni­nevites, it shall be turned into a wilderness; it shall be an habitation for Ziim and for Jim, the Cormorant and the Bittern shall possess it, Owls shall dwell in it, Satyres [Page 186]shall daunce in it, God shall stretch out upon it the line of confusion, and the stones of emptiness, as the Prophet speaketh; he that hath exalted the Kingdome of England up to heaven, as he threatned Capernaum, will bring her down to hell, she that sitteth as Queen of the Nations, and Princess among the Provinces, that liveth in pleasure, and saith, she shall see no mourning, if she hum­ble not her self in the ashes of humiliation, she shall be humbled by some other into the ashes of destruction, she shall sadly sit down in the dust, and shall no more be called tender and delicate. She that hath the noise of harpers heard in her, and that in some places yet rejoyceth at the sound of the Organ, she that hath in her the voice of the Bridegroom and of the Bride, she that is so thronged, and crowded with multi­tudes of people, that they go in and out at her gates by hundreds and by thousands, as the Prophet speaketh; yet if she repent not, like these Ninevites, she shall utterly be overthrown, the dayes shall come upon her when no more pleasant voice shall be for ever heard in her, but Lacrymae shall be all her lesson; Wo and Alas shall be her note, and every head in her, instead of perfume; shall be covered with ashes, every limb, instead of silk, shall be girded [Page 187]with sackcloth; every hand instead of clap­ping, shall be wrung; every cheek, instead of painting, shall be furrowed with tears; nay her very gates shall mourn for want of passengers, her houses shall drop down for want of Inhabitants, and her Temples shall be ruinated for want of Worshippers. But why speak I all this while in the future tense? for hath not Almighty God begun with us already? Yes, he hath, I am sure, the wrath of God hath been long revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and un­righteousness of men, for he hath moved the land and divided it, so that out enemies are those of our own house; and for these divisions that are among us, there are great thoughts of heart, many mens hearts fail for fear, and for looking after those things that are coming on us. Yet as dangerous as our condition is, let us not despair of Gods goodness toward us; As I would not seem to bring you in fear where no fear is, so neither would I have your fear swallow up your hope, for if we do but repent of the evil of our sins, God will likwise repent of the evil of his judge­ments. We have a most pregnant Text for this, with which I conclude, Jer. 18.7, 8. At what instant I shall speak concerning a [Page 188]Nation, and concerning a Kingdom to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it, if that Nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. To wind up all there­fore in one word of exhortation, let us re­pent, and be converted, that our sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. Let Gods warning-peece reclaim us, and then his murdering-peece shall never go off; let us repent while there are Adhuc quadraginta dies, yet fourty dayes, so shall we escape the fa­tal Subvertetur, the overthrow here threatned. And let us make no long tarrying to turn un­to the Lord, let us not put off our repentance from day to day, but let this very day pre­sent be the birth-day of our new birth, I and ye, and all that hear me this day, let us now turn every one of us from our evil wayes, and from the wickedness that is in our hands. Which if we do, God himself will likewise turn and repent, he will turn our ca­lamity and our captivity as the rivers in the south, he will turn from his fierce anger, that yet we perish not. Which we humbly beg of him, not for any of our own merits, we utterly renounce them all, but for the merits of his eternal Son our blessed Saviour.

FINIS.

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