THE PLAIN-MANS PATH-VVAY TO HEAVEN.

Wherin every man may clearly see whether he shall be saved or damned.

Set forth Dialogue-wise, for the bet­ter understanding of the simple, By Arthur Dent, Preacher of the Word of God at South-Shoobery in Essex.

The six and twentieth Edition: Corrected and amended; With a Table of all the principall matters, and three pray­ers, necessary to be used in private fami­lies, hereunto added.

Zephaniah 3.5.

Every morning the Lord bringeth his judg­ment to light, he faileth not: but the wic­ked will not learn to be ashamed.

LONDON, Printed by Ja. Young, for G. Lathum, in Pauls Church-yard, at the signe of the Bishops-head. 1643.

To the Right Worshipful Sir Julius Caesar, Knight, one of the Masters of the Request to the Kings Majesty, Judge of the high Court of Admiralty, and Master of St. Ka­therins: A.D. wisheth all good things in Christ Jesus.

HAving finished (Right Wor­shipfull) and made ready for the Presse this little Dialogue, I bethought me (sith the common manner of all that write any books in this age is to dedicate the same to one or other of great place) to whom I might dedicate th [...]se my poor labours. At last, I did resolve with my self, none to be more fit then your Worship: bo [...]h in regard of some affinity in the flesh, as also be­cause of those manifold good parts wherewith the Almighty hath endued you. Having therefore none other thing to present your Worship withall (in token of a thankefull heart for your courtesies shewed towards mee) [Page] behold, I doe here send unto you this third fruit of my labours published; most humbly beseeching you to take it in good worth: not weighing the va­lue of the thing (which is of no value) but the simple and good minde and meaning of the giver. This work doth sharply reprove and evict the world of sin, and therefore is like to find ma­ny deadly enemies, which with cruell hatred will most eagerly pursue it un­to death. Zoilus also and his fellows, I know, will bitterly carp at it: there­fore it slieth unto your Worship for protection, and humbly desireth to take sanctuary under your wings. Wherefore I humble intreat you to take upon you the patronage and de­fence of it, that by your means it may be delivered both from the calumni­ous obloquies of evill disposed persons, and also from the worlds malignity, so as it may take no injury. And con­cerning this little volume, the sum of the matter of it you shall find it in the Epistle to the Reader. As con­cerning the maner, here is no great matter of learning, wit, art, eloquence, [Page] or ingenious invention, (for I have herein specially respected the ignorant and vulgar sort, whose edification I doe chiefly aime at:) yet somewhat there is which may concern the lear­ned, and give them some contentment. Whatsoever it be, I leave it with your Worship, beseeching you to give it en­tertainment. And so I doe most humbly take my leave, commending both your selfe, your good wife, and your whole family to the mercifull pro­tection of the everliving God.

Your Wps to command in the Lord, ARTHUR DENT.
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The Epistle to the Reader.

GEntle Reader, seeing my little Sermon of Repen­tance, some few yeeres since published, hath been so well accepted of I have for thy further good published this Dialogue, being the third fruit of my la­bour: wishing it the like successe, that God thereby may have the glory, & thou, who are the Rea­der, comfort I have in one part of this Dialogue produced some of the ancient Writers, and some of the wise Heathen also, to testifie upon their oath in their own lan­guage, and to bear witnesse of the ouglinesse of some vices, which we in this age make light of: which I wish may not be offen­sive to any. In other parts of this work I do in a manner relinquish them. But in this case I have in my weake judgement thought them to be of some good use, to [Page] shew forth thus much, That if we doe not in time repent, forsake our sinnes, and seek after God, both the ancient Christian Fa­thers (whose eys saw not that we see, nor their ears heard what we hear) yea, the very Heathen also shall rise up in judgment against us. Let none therefore stumble at it. But if any man do, let him remember, I am in a Dialogue, not in a Sermon. I write to all of all sorts; I speak not of some few of one sort. But that which is done herein is not much more then that of the Apostle, (As some of your owne Poets have said, Acts 17.) which is warrantable. One thing, dear Christian, I pray thee, let me beg of thee; to wit, that thou wouldest not read two or three leaves of this book, and so cast it from thee; but that thou wouldest read it throughout, even to the end. For I doe as­sure thee, if there be any thing in it worth the reading, it is bestow­ed in the latter part thereof, and [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page] most of all towards the conclu­sion. Be not discouraged therfore at the harshnesse of the begin­ning: but look for smoother mat­ter in the midst, and most smooth in the perclose & wind up of all. For this Dialogue hath in it, not the nature of a Tragedy, which is begun with joy, and ended with sorrow: but a Comedy, which is begun with sorrow, & ended with joy. This book meddleth not at all with any controversies in the Church, or any thing in the state Ecclesiasticall, but onely entreth into a controversie with Sathan and sin. It is contrived into six principall heads: First, it shew­eth mans misery in nature, with the means of recovery. Secondly, it sharply inveigheth against the iniquity of the time, & common corruptions of the world. Third­ly, it sheweth the marks of the children of God, and of the repro­bates; together with the appa­rent signs of Salvation and Dam­nation. Fourthly, it declareth [Page] how hard a thing it is to enter in­to life, and how few shall enter. Fifthly, it layeth open the igno­rance of the world, with the ob­jections of the same. Last of all, it publisheth and proclaimeth the sweet promises of the Go­spel, with the abundant mercies of God to all that repent beleeve, and truely turn unto him. The Author of all blessing give a bles­sing unto it. The God of peace, which brought againe from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, through the bloud of the everlasting Co­venant, make us perfect in all good works, sanctifie us thorow­out, amend all our imperfections, and keepe us blamelesse untill the day of his most glorious ap­pearing. Amen.

Thine in the Lord, A. D.

The Contents of this Dialogue.

  • FIrst, it sheweth mans misery by nature, with the means of recovery.
  • Secondly, it sharply inveigheth against the iniquity of the time, and common corruptions of the world.
  • Thirdly, it sh weth the marks of the chil­dren of God, and of the reprobates, with the apparent signs of Salvation and Damna­tion.
  • Fourthly, it declareth how hard a thing it is to enter into life, and how few shall enter.
  • Fifthly, it layeth open the ignorance of the world, with the objections of the same.
  • Last of all, it publisheth and proclaimeth the sweet promises of the Gospel, with the abundant mercies of God to all that repent, beleeve, and truly turn unto him.

THE PLAIN-MANS PATH-WAY TO HEAVEN.

Interlo­cutors.

Theologus, a Divine. , • Philagathus, an Honest man. , • Asunetus, an Ignorant man. , and • Antilegon, a Caviller. 

Philagathus.

WEll met good master Theolo­gus.

Theol.

What? mine old friend Philagathus! I am glad to see you in good health.

Phil.

Are you walking, Sir, here all alone in this pleasant meadow?

Theol

Yea, for I take some plea­sure at this time of the yeer to walk abroad in the fields for my recreation, both to take the fresh air, and to hear the sweet singing of birds.

Phil.

Indeed, Sir, it is very comfo [...] ble, especially now in this plea [...] [Page] [...] [Page 1] [...] [Page 2] moneth of May; and thanks be to God, hitherto wee have had a very forward spring, and as kindly a season as came this seven yeer.

Theol.

God doth abound towards us in mercies; Oh that wee could abound towards him in thanks-gi­ving!

Phil.

I pray you, Sir, what a clock hold you it?

Theol.

I take it to bee a little past one, for I came but even now from dinner.

Phil.

But behold, yonder come two men towards us, what be they, I pray you?

Theol.

They be a couple of neigh­bours of the next Parish; the one of them is called Asunetus, who in very deed is a very ignorant man in Gods matters: and the other is called An­tilegon, a notable Atheist, and caviller against all goodnesse.

Phil.

If they be such, it were good for us to take some occasion to speak of mat­ters of religion: it may be wee shall doe them some good.

Theol.

You have made a good moti­on: I like it well. If therefore you will minister some matter, and move some questions, I will be ready to an­swer in the best sort I can.

Phil.

But stay, Si, lo here they come [...]on us.

Theol.

Welcome good neighbours, welcome. How do you, Asunetus? and you, Antilegon?

Asun.

Well, God be thanked: and we are glad to see your Mastership in good health.

Theol.

What make both of you here at this time of the day? There is some occasion, I am sure, draweth you this way.

Asun.

Indeed, Sir, we have some little businesse; for we came to talk with one of your Parish about a Cow wee should buy of him.

Theol.

Hath my neighbour a Cow to sell?

Antil.

Wee are told hee hath a very good one to sell; but I am affraid at this time of the yeer wee shall find dear ware of her.

Theol.

How dear? What doe you thinke a very good Cow may bee worth?

Antil.

A good Cow indeed at th [...] time of the yeer is worth very neer four pound, which is a great price.

Theol.

It is a very great price indeed.

Phil.

I pray you, M. Theologus, leave off this talking of kin [...], and worldly matters, and let us enter into some speech of matters of religion, whereby we may doe good, and take good one of another.

Theol.

You say well. But it may be these mens businesse requireth haste, so as they cannot stay.

Asun.

No, Sit, wee are in no great haste; wee can stay two or three houres, for the dayes are long: if we dispatch our businesse by night, it will serve our turn well enough.

Theol.

Then if it will please you to walk to yonder Oak tree, there is a goodly arbour, and handsome seats, where wee may all sit in the shadow, and confer of heavenly matters.

Asun.

With a good will, Sir.

Phil.

Come then, let us go.

Asun.

This is a goodly arbour indeed, and here be handsome seats.

Theol.

Sit you all downe, I pray you. Now, friend Philagathus, if you have any questions to move of mat­ters of Religion, wee are all ready to hear you.

Phil.

It may be these men are some­what ignorant of the very principles of Religion; and therefore I think it not amisse to begin there, and so to make way for further matters.

Theol.

I pray you do so then.

Phil.

First then, I demand of you in what state all men are born by nature.

Theol.

In the state of condemnati­on; as appeareth, Ephes. 2.3. Wee are by nature the children of wrath as well as others. And againe, it is written: [Page 5] Behold, I was borne in iniquity, and in sin hath my mother conceived mee, Psal. 51.5.

Phil.

Is it every mans case? Are not Dukes and Nobles, Lords and Ladies, and the great Potentates of the earth ex­empted from it?

Theol.

No surely: it is the com­mon case of all, both high and low, rich and poor; as it is written: What is man, that he should be clean; and hee that is born of a woman, that he should be just?

Phil.

From whence cometh it that all men are born in so wofull a case?

Theol.

From the fall of Adam, who thereby hath not onely wrapt himselfe, but all his posterity in extreme and unspeakable misery, as the Apostle saith: By one mans disobedience many were made sinners. And, By the offence of one, the fault came on all men to con­demnation, Rom. 5.1.

Phil.

What reason is there that we all should thus be punished for another mans offence?

Theol.

Because wee were then all in him, and are now all of him: that is, wee are so descended out of his loins, that of him wee have not only received our naturall and corrupt bodies, but also by propagation have inherited his foul corruptions, as it were by heredi­tary right.

Phil.

But for as much as some have dreamed that Adam by his fall hurt himselfe onely, and not his posterity; and that wee have his corruption deri­ved unto us by imitation, and not by propagation: therefore I pray you shew this more plainly.

Theol.

Even as great personages by committing of treason, doe not on­ly hurt themselves, but also staine their bloud, and disgrace their poste­rity (for the children of such Nobles are dis-inherited, whose bloud is at­tainted, till they be restored again by Act of Parliament:) Even so our bloud being attainted by Adams transgression, we can inherit nothing of right till we be restored by Christ.

Phil.

Doth this hereditary infection and contagion over-spread our whole nature?

Theol.

Yes truly, it is universall, extending it selfe throughout the whole man, both soule and body, both reason, understanding, will, and af­fections:Ephes. 2.1. Col. 1.2. & 3.2. for the Scriptures avouch, that wee are dead in sinnes and tres­passes.

Phil.

How understand you that?

Theol.

Not of the deadnesse of the body, or the naturall faculties of the soule, but of the spirituall faculties.

Phil.

Did Adam then lose his nature, and destroy it by his fall? or is our [Page 7] nature taken away by his fall?

Theol.

Not so: our nature was corrupted thereby, but not destroied: for still there remaineth in our na­ture, reason, understanding, will, and affections, and we are not as a blocke or a stocke; but by Adams disobedi­ence we are blemished, maimed, and spoiled of all ability to understand a­right, or to will and doe aright: as it is written;2 Col. 5.3. Wee are not sufficient of our selves to think any thing as of our selves: but our sufficiency is of God. And again: [...]. 2.3. It is God which worketh in you both the will and the deed, e­ven of his good pleasure. And as con­cerning the other point,Jam. 3.9. St. James saith, That all men are made after the similitude of God: meaning thereby, that there remain some reliques and parts of Gods image even in the most wicked men: as reason, under­standing, &c. so that our nature was not wholly destroyed.

Phil.

Then you thinke there be some sparkes and remnants left in us still of that excellent image of God, which was in our first creation.

Theol.

I thinke so indeed: and it may plainly appeare unto us in the wise speeches and writings of heathen Poets and Philosophers: in all which we may, as by certaine ruines, perceive what was the excel­lent [Page 8] frame and building of mans crea­tion.

Phil.

Can a man please God in any thing which he doth, so long as he conti­nueth in the state of nature?

Theol.

No, not in any thing: for till wee be in the state of grace, even our best actions are sinfull, as preach­ing, prayer, almes-deeds, &c. as it is written: Who can bring a clean thing out of that which is unclean? Job 14.4. The Apostle also saith: They that are in the flesh cannot please God, Rom. 8.8. that is, such as are still in their natu­rall corruption. And our Lord Iesus himself saith, Doe men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Matth. 7.16. meaning thereby, that meer naturall men can bring forth no fruits accepta­ble to God.

Phil.

This is a very harsh and hard saying: I pray you, for my further in­struction make it more plaine.

Theol.

Men in the state of nature may doe those things which of them­selves are good, but they do utterly fail in the manner of doing them; they doe them not as they should be done: that is, in faith, love, zeal, conscience of o­bedience, &c neither yet with any cheer­fulnesse, delight, or feeling; but then as it were forcing themselves to doe the outward actions. Thus did Cain sacrifice, the P [...]risces pray, Ananias [Page 9] and Sapphira give alms, and the Iewes offer up their oblations and burnt-offerings.

Phil.

Have men any true sight, or lively and sound feeling of this misery and wofull estate, so long as they bee meerly naturall?

Theol.

No surely, but are altoge­ther blinded and hardened in it, being nothing desirous to come out of it, but doe greatly please themselves in it, and can hardly be perswaded that they are in any such wofull case: as ap­peareth plainly in the example of that Ruler, who being commanded, or ra­ther required of our Saviour Christ to keep the commandements, answe­red, All these have I kept from my youth, Luke 18.21. And againe, al­though the Church of Laodicca was wretched, miserable, poor, blinde, and naked; yet she thought her selfe rich, increased with goods, and wanting nothing. It followeth then, that so long as men are in the state of nat [...]e, they have no true sight and feeling of their miseries.

Phil.

Doe you not think that all men, being meerly naturall, are under the c [...]rse of the Law?

Theol.

Yes certainly: and not on­ly so, but also under the ver [...] [...]onny and dominion of Sathan, though they know it not, feel it not, see it [Page 10] not, or perceive it not: for all that are not in Christ are under the curse of the Law, and the power of dark­nesse, and the Divell: as appeareth, Ephes. 2.2. where the Divell is called the Prince that ruleth in the aire, e­ven the Spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience. In an­other place hee is called the god of this world,2 Cor. 4 4. who blindeth the eyes of all unbeleevers. And againe, it is said,2 Tim. 2.26. that all men naturally are in his snare, being taken captive of him at his will.

Phil.

Few will be perswaded of that; they will say, They defie the divell, and thank God they were never troubled with him.

Theol.

Their hot words doe no­thing amend the matter: for the divell is no more driven away with words, then with holy water: but he sitteth in the tongues and mouthes, nay, possesseth the very hearts and intrals of thousands, which say, They defie him, and are not troubled with him: as appeareth manifestly by their par­ticular actions, and the whole course of their life.

Phil.

Me thinks, if the divell do so in­wardly possesse the hearts and conscien­ces of men, they should have some sight and feeling of it.

Theol.

The working of the divell [Page 11] in mens soules (being an invisible spirit) is with such unconceivable sleight and crafty conveyance, that men in the state of nature cannot possibly feele it, or perceive it: for how can a blind man see, or a dead man feel?

Phil.

Shew this more plainly.

Theol.

Even as a crafty Iuggler doth so prestigiate and blind mens outward senses by the delusions of Sathan, that they think they see that which they see not, and feele that which they feel not: even so the divell doth so delude and bewitch our inward senses, and the naturall fa­culties of our souls, that wee, ha­ving a mist cast before our eyes, think wee are that which wee are not, see that which wee see not, and feel that which wee feele not. For the deep cunning of Sathan lieth in this, that hee can give us our deaths wound, and wee shall never know who hurt us.

Phil.

Few will beleeve this to bee true.

Theol.

True indeed: for few will beleeve the Scriptures: few will be­leeve this, because few feel it. Where it is not felt, it can hardly be belee­ved. Onely the elect doe feel it, and therefore onely the elect doe beleeve it. As for all others, they are the very [Page 12] prentises and bond-slaves of the divell. which is a thousand times worse then to be a galley-slave.

Phil.

How long doe men continue in this wofull state of nature, being under the curse of the Law, and the very slavery of Satan and sin?

Theol.

Till they bee regenerate and born againe, and so brought into the state of grace; as our Lord Iesus saith:John 3 3. Except a man be born againe, hee cannot see the kingdome of God.

Phil.

Do not many die, and depart this life, before they be born again, and conse­quently, before they be brought into the state of grace?

Theol.

Yes, no doubt, thousands: for many live forty or threescore yeers in this world, and in the end die, and goe out of this life, before they know wherefore they came into it, as it is written:Ho [...]. 4.6. My people perish for want of knowledge.

Phil.

What may we think of such?

Theol.

I quake to speak what I think: for surely I doe not see how such can be saved. I speak not now of infants and children, whereof some, no doubt, are saved by vertue of the promise and covenant, through the ele­ction of grace.

Phil.

It seemeth then that you think none can be saved, but those onely which are born again.

Theol.

I think so indeed.

Phil.

I pray you tell mee what the same regeneration and new birth is, whereof you speak.

Theol.

It is a renewing and repai­ring of the corrupted and decaied estate of our souls: as it is written, Be yee changed by the renewing of your mind, Rom. 12. And againe: Be renewed in the spirit of your mind, Eph. 4.23.

Phil.

Explain this more fully.

Theol.

Even as the wild olive re­taineth his old nature, till it be graffed into the sweet olive, but afterward is partaker of a new nature; so wee, till wee be graffed into Christ, retain our old nature, but afterward are turned into a new creature: as it is written, If any man be in Christ, he is a new crea­ture, 2 Cor. 5.17.

Phil.

I understand not what you say.

Theol.

You must know this, that as there is a naturall birth of the whole man; so there is also a spirituall birth of the whole man.

Phil.

How is that?

Theol.

When as the naturall facul­ties of the soule, as reason, understan­ding, will, and affections, and the mem­bers of the body also are so sanctified, purged, and rectified by grace, that we understand, will, and desire that which is good.

Phil.

Cannot a man will and desire [Page 14] that which is good before hee be born again?

Theol.

No more then a dead man can desire the good things of this life. For mans will is not tree to consent unto good, till it be enlarged by grace: and an unregenerate man doth sin ne­cessarily, though not by constraint. For mans will is free from constraint (for it sinneth of it self) but not from thral­dome unto sin.

Phil.

You speak, as if a man could do no other thing but sin till the new work be wrought in him.

Theol.

That is mine opinion indeed. For a man and his flesh are all one, till hee be regenerate: they agree toge­ther like man and wife, they join toge­ther in all evill, they live and die toge­ther: for when the flesh perisheth, the man perisheth.

Phil.

Is not this regeneration a chan­ging, or rather destroying of humane nature?

Theol.

Nothing lesse: it is neither an abolishing, nor changing of the sub­stance of body or soul, or any of the fa­culties thereof, but only a rectifying and repairing of them by removing the corruption.

Phil.

Is then our naturall corrupti­on so purged and quite removed by the power of grace, as that it re­maineth not at all in us, but that [Page 15] wee are wholly freed of it?

Theol.

Not so: For the reliques and remnants of our old nature, which the Scripture calleth the old man, do hang about us, and dwell in us even untill our dying day; as it is plainly proved in the ten last verses of the seventh to the Romans.

Phil.

Then you affirme, that this new man, or new work of grace and regene­ration is unperfect in this life.

Theol.

Yea: for the new creature, or new work of grace can never be fully fashioned in this life, but is alwayes in fashioning. And as our faith & know­ledge in this life are unperfect; so is our regeneration and sanctification.

Phil.

You said before, that the regene­ration or new birth is of the whole man: which speech seemeth to imply, that the new wo k of grace is entire and perfect.

Theol.

You mistake the matter. For although the new birth is universall, and of the whole man, yet it is not en­tire, perfect, pure, and without mixture or corruption: for it is written, The flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spi­rit against the flesh. The Apostle also prayeth that the Thessalonians may be sanctified throughout, in spirit, soule, and body.

Phil.

This seemeth very obscure, I pray you make it more plain.

Theol.

You must note this, that the [Page 16] new work and the old, flesh and spi­rit, grace and corruption are so inter­mingledly joyned together in all the faculties of the soul and body, as that the one doth ever fight against the o­ther.

Phil.

But tell me, I pray you, how you understand this intermingling of grace and corruption in the soul. Do you mean, that grace is placed in one part of the soul, and corruption in another, so as they be sundred in place?

Theol.

No, that is not my meaning: but this, that they be joyned & mingled together (as I said) in and throughout the whole man. For the mind or under­standing part is not one part flesh, and another part spirit; but the whole mind is flesh, and the whole mind is spirit, partly one, and partly another. The same is to be said of wil and affections.

Ph.

I pray you, express it more plainly.

Theol.

Even as the air in the dawn­ing of the day is not wholly light, or wholly dark, as at mid-night, or at noon-day; neither is it in one part light, and in another part dark: but the whole aire is partly light, and partly dark thorowout: and as in a vessell of luke-warm water, the water it self is not only hot, nor only cold but heat and cold are mixed together in every part of the water; so is the flesh and the spirit mingled together in the soule of man. [Page 17] And this is the cause why these two contrary qualities fight together.

Phil.

Out of doubt this doctrine of re­generation is a very great mystery.

Theol.

Yes certainly, it is a secret of secrets, which the wise of this world cannot comprehend.

Phil.

Some think that courtesie, kind­nesse, good nurture, good nature, and good education are regeneration; and that courteous and good natured men must needs be saved.

Theol.

They are generally deceived: for these things doe not necessarily ac­company salvation, but are to be found in such as are altogether profane and irreligious: yet wee are to love such good outward qualities, and the men in whom we find them.

Phil.

What say you then to learning, wit, and policie? are not these things of the essence of religion, and prove a rege­neration?

Theol.

No, no: for they be externall gifts, which may be in the most wicked men; as in Papists, heathen Poets, and Philosophers: yet we are greatly to reverence learned and wise men, al­though the new and inward work be not as yet wrought: for that is onely of God, that is from above.

Phil.

The common people doe attri­bute much to learning and policie: for they will say, Such a man is learned and [Page 18] wise, and knoweth the Scripture as well as any of them, and yet hee doth not thus and thus.

Theol.

It is one thing to know the history and letter of the Scriptures, and another thing to beleeve and feel the power therof in the heart, which is only from the sanctifying spirit, which none of the wise of this world can have.

Phil.

It is a common opinion, that if a man hold the truth in judgment, be no Papist or Heretick, but leadeth an ho­nest civill life, then hee must of necessity be saved.

Theol.

That followeth not: for ma­ny come so far, which yet notwithstan­ding have not the inward touch.

Phil.

That seemeth strange. For many will say, As long as they be neither whore nor thiefe, nor spotted with such like grosse sinnes, they trust in God they shall be saved.

Theol.

They erre, not knowing the Scriptures. For many thousands are in great danger of losing their souls for ever, which are free from such notori­ous and horrible vices: nay, many which in the world are counted good honest men, good true dealers, good neighbours, and good towns-men.

Asun.

I pray you, Sir, give mee leave a little. I have heard all your speech hi­therto, and I like reasonable well of it; but now I can forbear no longer, my [Page 19] conscience urgeth mee to speak: For mee thinks you goe too far, you goo beyond your learning in this, that you condemn good neighbours, and good towns-men. You say, many such men are in danger of losing their souls; but I will never be­leeve it while I live: For if such men be not saved, I cannot tell who shall.

Theol.

But you must learn to know out of the Scriptures, that all out­ward honesty and righteousnesse, with­out the true knowledge and inward feeling of God, availeth not to eternall life: As our Saviour Christ saith,Matth. 12. Except your righteousnesse exceed the righteousnesse of the Scribes and Phari­sees, ye cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. It is also written, that when Paul preached at [...],Acts 17.18. many honest men and women did beleeve: that i [...], such no were outwardly honest, or ho­nest to the word only: for they could not be truly and inwardly honest before they did beleeve. Therefore you see that this outward honesty & c [...]vility, with­out the inward regeneration of the spi­rit, ava [...]seth not to eternall life: and then consequently, all your honest worldly men are in great danger of lo­sing their souls for ever.

Asun.

What sound reason can you yeeld, why such honest men should be condemned?

Theol.

Because many such are ut­terly [Page 16] [...] [Page 17] [...] [Page 18] [...] [Page 19] [...] [Page 20] void of all true knowledge of God and his word. Nay, which is more, ma­ny of them despise the word of God, and hate all the zealous professors of it. They esteem Preachers but as prat­lers, and Sermons as good tales: they esteem a Preacher no more then a shoe­maker: they regard the Scriptures no more then their old shooes. What hope is there then, I pray you, that such men should be saved? Doth not the holy Ghost say,Ho [...]. 2.5. How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?

Asun.

You go too far; you judge too hardly of them.

Theol.

Not a whit. For all experi­ence sheweth, that they mind, dream, & dote of nothing else day and night, but this world, this world, lands & leases, grounds and livings, kine & sheep, and how to wax rich. All their thoughts, words, and works are of these & such like things. And their actions do most manifestly declare, that they are of the earth, and speak of the earth, and there is nothing in them but earth, earth. As for Sermons, they care not how few they hear: And for the scriptures, they regard them not, they read them not, they esteem them not worth the while, there is nothing more irksome unto them: they had rather pill strawes, or doe any thing, then hear, read, or con­ferre of the Scriptures. And as the [Page 21] Prophet saith: [...] 8.1. [...]. The word of the Lord is as a reproach unto them, they have no delight in it.

Phil.

I marvell much that such men should live so honestly to the world­ward.

Theol.

No marvell at all: for many bad men, whose hearts are worm-ea­ten within, yet for some outward and carnall respects doe abstaine from the grosse act of sin: as some for credit, some for shame, some for fear of law, some for fear of punishment; but none for love of God, for zeal of conscience, or of obe­dience. For it is a sure thing, that the wicked may have that spirit which doth represse, but not that which doth renew.

Phil.

It seemeth then by your speeches, that some which are not regenerate do in some things excell the children of God.

Theol.

Most certain it is, that some of them in outward gifts, and the out­ward carriage of themselves doe goe beyond some of the elect.

Phil.

Shew me, I pray you, in what gifts?

Theol.

In learning, discretion, ju­stice, temperance, prudence, patience, li­berality, assability, kindnesse, courtesie, good nature, &c.

Phil.

Me thinks it should not be pos­sible.

Theol.

Yes truly: for some of Gods dear children, in whom no doubt the [Page 22] inward work is truely and soundly wrought, yet are so troubled and in­cumbred with a crabbed & crooked na­ture, and so clogged with some master sin, as some with anger, some with pride, some with covetousnesse, some with lusts, some one way, and some an­other; all which breaking out in them, do so blemish them and their profession, that they cannot so shine forth unto men, as otherwise no doubt they would; and this is their wound, their griefe, and their heart-smart, and that which costeth them many a tear, and many a prayer: and yet can they not get the fu l victory over them, but still they are less in them as a prick in the flesh to humble them.

Ph.

Yet love should cover a multitude of such infirmities in Gods children.

Theol.

It should do so indeed: but there is great want of love, even in the best: and the worst sort espying these infirmities in the godly, runne upon them with open mouth, and take upon them to condemne them utterly, and to judge their hearts, saying, They be hy­pocrites, dissemblers, and there is none worse then they.

Phil.

But do you not think, that there be some counterfeits even amongst the greatest professors?

Theol.

Yes, no doubt there be, & al­wayes have been some very hypocrites [Page 23] in the Church; but we most take heed of judging & condemning all for some. For it were very much to condemne Christ and his eleven disciples, because of one Judas; or the whole Primitive Church for one Ananias and Sapphira.

Phil.

But I hope you are of this mind, that some regenerate men, even in out­ward gifts, and their outward carriage, are comparable with many others.

Theol.

Questionlesse very many. For they being guided by Gods spirit, and upheld by his grace, doe walk very up­rightly and unblamably towards men.

Phil.

Yet there resteth one scruple: for it seemeth very strange unto me, that men of so discreet carriage as you speak of, and of so many good parts, should not be sa­ved. It is great pity such men should be damned.

Theol.

It seemeth so unto us indeed, but God is only wise. And you must note, that as there be some infirmities in Gods children, which hee correcteth with temporall chastisements, and yet rewardeth their faith, love, and inward service and obedience with eternal life; so there be some good things in the wicked, and them that are without Christ, which God rewardeth with temporall blessings, and yet punisheth them eternally for their unbeliefe and hardnesse of heart.

Phil.

Now you have reasonably well [Page 24] satisfied mee touching the doctrine of regeneration, and the manifold errours and deceits that are in it, and of it. I pray you let us now proceed: and first of all tell mee by what means the new birth is wrought.

Theol

By the preaching of the word, as the outward meanes:1 Pet. 1 2.3. John 1 [...].3. Acts 10.44. Ephes. 4.3. and the se­cret worke of the spirit, as the inward means.

Phil.

Many hear the word preached, and are nothing the better, but rather the worse: what, I pray you, is the cause of that?

Theol.

Mens own incredulity and hardnesse of heart: because God in his wrath leaveth them to themselves, and depriveth them of his spirit, without the which all preaching is in vain. For except the spirit doe follow the word into our hearts,Act. 16.14. wee can finde no joy, taste, nor comfort therein.

Phil.

Cannot a man attain unto rege­neration and the new birth without the word and the spirit?

Theol.

No verily. For they are the instruments and means whereby God doth work it.

Antil.

Why may not a man have as good a faith to God-ward that heareth no Sermons, as hee that heareth all the Sermons in the world?

Theol.

Why may not he which eateth no meat, be as fat and as well liking [Page 25] as hee that eateth all the meat in the world? For is not the preaching of the word the food of our souls?

Antil.

I like not so much hearing of Sermons, and reading of the Scriptures, except men could keep them better.

Theol.

Faithfull and honest hearers do therefore hear, that they may be more able to observe and do. For a man can­not do the will of God before he know it, and hee cannot know it without hearing and reading.

Antil.

I marvell what good men doe get by gadding to Sermons, and poring so much in the Scripture; or what are they better then others? There are none more full of envie and malice then they: They will doe their neighbour a shrewd turn as soon as any body; and therefore in mine opinion, they be but a company of hypo­crites, and precise fools.

Theol.

You judge uncharitably. Full little doe you know what they feel, or what good Gods people get by hearing of the word. For the work of the spi­rit in the hearts of the elect is very se­cret and altogether hid from the world,John [...].8. as it is written: The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whither it goeth, or whence it cometh; so is eve­ry man that is born of the spirit. And a­gaine, The things of God knoweth no man, but the spirit of God.

Amil.

Tush, tush, what needs all this ado [...]? If a man say his Lords prayer, his ten Commandements, and his Beleefe, & keep them, and say no body harme, not doe no body harm, and doe as hee would be done to, have a good faith to God­ward, and be a man of Gods beliefe, no doubt hee shall be saved without all this running to Sermons, and pratling of the Scripture.

Theol.

Now you powr it out indeed: you thinke you have spoken wise y. But, alas! you have bewrayed your great ignorance. For you imagine a man may bee saved without the word, which is a grosse errour.

Antil.

It is no matter; say you what you will, and all the Preachers in the world besides, as long as I serve God, and say my prayers duly and truely, mor­ning and evening, and have a good faith in God, and put my whole trust in him, and doe my true intent, and have a good mind to God-ward, and a good mean­ing, although I am not learned, yet I hope it will serve the turn for my soules health. For that God which made mee must save me. It is not you that can save me, for all your learning, and all your Scriptures.

Theol.

You may very fitly be com­pared to a sick man, who having his brain distempered with heat, raveth, and speaketh idly, he cannot tell what. [Page 27] For the holy Ghost saith,P [...]o. 18.9. Hee that tur­neth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abominable. And again,Prov. 13.15. He that destroyeth the word shall be destroyed. So long therefore as you despise Gods word, and turn away your ear from hearing his Gospel prea­ched, all your prayers, your fantasticall serving of God, your good meanings, and your good intents are to no pur­pose; but most odious and loathsome in the sight of God: as it is written, My soule hateth your new moons, Esa. 1.14. and your appointed feasts, they are a burthen unto mee, I am weary to beare them: When you stretch out your hands I will hide mine eye from you; and though you make many prayers, I will not hear: For your hands are full of bloud. And again, the Lord saith by the same Prophet; He that killeth a bullock, Esa. 66.3. is as if he sl [...]w a man: hee that sacrificeth a sheep, as if hee cut off a dogs neck: he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swines bloud: hee that remembreth incense, as if hee blessed an idol. Where you see the Lord telleth you his mind touching th [...]se matters; to wit, that all your prayers, services, good meanings, &c. are abomi­nable unto him, so long as you walk in ignorance, profanenesse, disobedience, and contempt of the Gospel. For hee saith in the words immediately going before: To him will I look, even to him [Page 28] that is poor, and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my words.

Asun.

I grant indeed, for them that are idle, and have little to do, it is not amisse now and then to hear a Sermon, and read the Scriptures: but wee have no leasure, we must follow our businesse, we cannot live by the Scriptures; they are not for plain folk, they are too high for us, wee will not meddle with them. They belong to Preachers and Ministers.

Theol

J [...] 10.Christ saith, My sheep heare my voice, and I give unto them eternall life. If therefore you refuse to heare the voice of Christ, you are none of his sheep, neither can you have eternall life. And in another place our Lord Iesus saith,John 8.47. He that is of God, heareth Gods word. Ye therefore hear it not, be­cause ye are not of God. Saint Paul writing to all sorts of men, both rich and poore, high and low, men and wo­men,Colos. 3.1 young and old, exhorteth, that the word of Christ may dwell plenteously in them all, in all wisdom. You see there­fore that the Apostle would have all sorts of people that have souls to save, to bee well acquainted with the Scri­ptures. Therefore you may as well say you will not meddle with God, with Christ, nor with everlasting life, as to say, you will not meddle with the Scriptures.

Asun.

Well, I cannot read, and there­fore [Page 29] I cannot tell what Christ, or what Saint Paul may say; but this I am sure of, that God is a good man (worshipped might he be) hee is mercifull, and that we must be saved by our good prayers, and good serving of God.

Theol.

You speak foolishly and ig­norantly in all that you say, having no ground for any thing you speake, but your own fancy, and your own conceit: and yet you will beleeve your own fan­cy against all preachers, and against all that can be spoken out of the word: But I pray you give me leave a little: If a man dream that he shal be a King, and in the morning when he is awake, perswadeth himselfe it shall be so, may he not be justly laughed at, as having no ground for it? Even so may all they which beleeve their own dreames and fantasies touching salvation. But it is true which Solomon saith,Prov. 14.15. A fool belee­veth every thing: That copper is gold, and a counter an angel. And assured­ly great reason there is that he which will not beleeve God, should be given over to beleeve the Divell, his dream, and his fancy.

Asun.

I pray you instruct mee better then.

Theol.

You had need indeed to bee better instructed: for the Divell hath slily deluded your soul, and cast a mist before your eyes, making you beleeve [Page 30] the crow is white, and that your estate is good before God, whereas indeed it is most wofull and miserable.

Asun.

Nay, I defie the Divell with all my heart. But, I pray you, tell me how it comes to passe that I am thus deceived.

Theol.

This it is that deceiveth you and many others: that you measure your selves by your selves and by o­thers, which is a false met-wand. For you seem to lie straight so long as you are measured by your selves and by o­thers; but lay the rule of Gods word unto you, and then you lie altogether crooked.

Asun.

What other thing is there that deceiveth me?

Theol.

Another thing that deceiveth you is your own heart: for you know not your owne heart, but are alto­gether deceived therein:Jer. 17.9. For the heart is deceivable above all things. Hee is a wise man, and greatly inlightened, that knoweth his own heart. But you are blind, and know not what is within you; but dimly imagine you shall be sa­ved, and hope you know not what of eternall life. And because blindnesse maketh you bold, you will seem to bee resolute in words, and say, It is pity hee should live which doth any whit doubt of his salvation. And assuredly you speak as you think, and as you know. For, for ought that you know [Page 31] to the contrary, it seemeth so: though indeed and in truth it is not so: for you are deluded with a false light. And sometimes no doubt you have pricks, gripes, terrours, and inward accusati­ons of conscience, for all your bold and resolute speeches.

As.

Truly I never heard so much before.

Theol.

That is because you shut your eyes, and stop your ears against God and all goodnesse.Psal. 58.47. You are like the deaf Adder, which heareth not the voice of the charmer, though hee be most expert in charming.

Asun.

Well then, if it be so, I would be glad now to learn, if you would teach me. And as you have shewed mee the meanes whereby the true birth is wrought, so now shew mee the certain signes and to­kens thereof, whereby all men may cer­tainly know that they are sanctified, rege­nerate, and shall be saved.

Theol.

There be eight infallible notes & tokens of a regenerate mind, which may well be termed the eight signes of salvation; and they are these:

  • A love to the children of God.
    Right infal­ [...]ble signes of salvation
  • A delight in his word.
  • Often and fervent prayer.
  • Zeal of Gods glory.
  • Deniall of our selves.
  • Patient bearing of the Crosse with profit and comfort.
  • Faithfulnesse in our calling.
  • [Page 32]Honest, just, and conscionable dealing in all our actions amongst men.
Phil.

Now that you have shewed us the evident signes of mans salvation, shew us also the signes of condemnation.

Theol.

The contraries unto these are manifest signes of damnation.

R [...]gh [...] s [...]gn [...] of [...]nd [...]m­na [...]on.No love to the children of God.

No delight in his word.

Seldome and cold prayers.

Coldnesse in Gods matters.

Trusting to our selves.

Impatience under the crosse.

Vnfaithfulnesse in our calling.

Vnhonest and unconscionable dealing.

Phil.

No doubt, if a man be infected with these, they be shrewd signes that a man is extremely soul-sick, and in a very dangerous case. But are there none yet more evident and apparent signs of con­demnation then these?

Theol.

Yes verily. There be nine very cle [...]r and manifest signs of a mans condemnation.

Phil.

I pray you, let me heare what they be.

Theol.
  • Pride.
  • Nine mani­fest signes of damnati­on.
    Whoredome.
  • Covetousnesse.
  • Contempt of the Gospel.
  • Swearing.
  • Lying.
  • Drunkennesse.
  • Idlenesse.
  • Oppression.
Phil.

These be grosse things indeed.

Theol.

They may not unfitly be ter­med the nine Beclzebubs of the world; and he that hath these signes upon him is in a most wofull case.

Phil.

What if a man be infected with some two or three of these?

Theol.

Whosoever is infected with three of them, is in great danger of lo­sing his soule. For all these be deadly venome, and rank poyson to the soul: and either the three first, or the three last, or the middle three are enough to poyson the soule, and sting it to death. Nay, to say the truth, a man were as good gripe a toad, and handle a snake, as meddle with any one of these.

Phil.

Is every one of them so dange­rous?

Theol.

Questionlesse: For they be the very plague-sores of the soule. It any man have a plague-sore upon his body, wee use to say, Gods tokens are upon him, Lord have mercy on him: So we may [...]ri [...]ly say, If any man, be throughly and totally infected at the heart with any one of these, Gods to­kens are upon his soule, Lord have mercy upon him.

Phil.

Many doe not think these to be such dangerous matters as you make them, and many there be which make light of them.

Theol.

True indeed, for the most [Page 34] part of men are altogether shut up in blindnesse and hardnesse of heart, ha­ving neither sight nor feeling of their sins, and therefore make light of them, thinking there is no such danger.

Phil.

It is most certain, that men are given to lessen and extenuate their sins: or else to hide them, and dawb them over with many cunning shifts and vain ex­cuses. For men are ever ready to take co­vert, and will writhe and wreath (like snakes) to hide their sins: yea, if it were possible, to make sin no sin, to make ver­tue vice, and vice vertue. Therefore I pray you lay open unto mee out of the Scrip­tures the grievousnesse and uglinesse of their sins.

Theol.

The stinking filthinesse of these sins is so great and horrible, that no tongue or [...] of [...] is sufficient­fully to [...] and lay open the same, according to the proper nature and be­ing thereof: yet notwithstanding, I will doe my indeavour to lay them o­pen in some measure, that all men may the more loath them.

Phil.

I pray you then first of all begin with pride.

Theol.

You say well: for that indeed may well stand in the fore-front, sith it is a master-divell, and the master-pock of the soule.

Phil.

Shew mee out of the Scriptures that pride is so grievous and lothsome.

Theol.

Solomon saith,Prov. 16.5. Every one that is proud in heart is abomination to the Lord: which plainly sheweth, that God doth detest and abhorre proud men. And is it not a fearfull thing, think you, to be abhorred of God? And in the same Chap. Ver. 18. he saith, Pride goeth before destruction, and an high mind before the fall. Wherein he shew­eth, that pride is the for-runner of some deadly downfall, either by dis­gracing or displacing. For it is an old and true Proverb, Pride wil have a fall. And oftentimes, when men are most lifted up, then are they neerest, unto it: as the examples of Haman, Nebuchad­nezzar, and Herod doe plainly declare. When the milt swelleth, the rest of the body pineth away; even so when the heart is puft up with pride, the whole man is in danger of destruction. More­over, the holy Ghost saith,Prov. 15.24. The Lord will destroy the house of the proud. Job 11.5.25. Job 28.26. Job saith of such kind of men, The spark of his fire shall not shine: fear shall dwell in his house, and brimstone shall be scat­tered upon his habitation. And in ano­ther place hee saith,Job 23.13. The fire which is not blowne shall devoure him. Mee thinkes therefore, if there were any spark of grace in us, these terrible speeches of the holy Ghost might serve to humble us, and pull down our pride: especially, sith the Scriptures doe af­firme, [Page 36] that God resisteth the proud, and setteth himself ex professe against them, and therefore wo unto them; for if God take against a man, who can reclaime him? for he doth whatsoever he will.

Phil.

But tell me, I pray you, when you speak against pride, what pride is it that you mean?

Theol.

I mean all pride, both that which is inward in the heart, and that also which breaketh out in mens fore­heads: I mean, that which apparent­ly sheweth it selfe in mens words and works.

Phil.

Do you mean pride also of mens gifts?

Theol.

Yes surely: for there is no pride worse or more dangerous then that. Beware, saith one, of spirituall pride: as to be proud of our learning, wit, knowledge, reading, writings, ser­mons, praiers, godliness, policy, valour, strength, riches, honour, birth, beauty, authority. For God hath not given such gifts unto men, to the end they should make sale-ware of them, and set them a sun-shining to behold; seeking only themselves with their gifts, the vain praise of the multitude, and ap­plause of the people: so robbing God of his honour, and proudly arrogating to themselves that which is due unto God, which is the praise of his gifts: but he hath given his gifts to another [Page 37] end, namely, that wee should use them to his glory and the good of others (ei­ther in Church or Common-wealth) especially of those which doe most con­cern us.

Phil.

Yet wee see commonly men of greatest gifts are most proud.

Theol.

True indeed: for the finest cloth is soonest stained. And as worms ingender sooner in soft & tender wood, then in that which is more hard and knotty; and as moths do breed sooner in fine wooll then in course flocks: even so pride and vain glory do sooner assault an excellent and rare man in all kind of knowledge and vertue, then another of meaner gifts: and therefore pride is said to spring out of the ashes of all vertues. For men will be proud, be­cause they are wise, learned, godly, pa­tient, humble, &c. Pride therefore may very fitly bee compared to the crab­stock spines, which grow out of the root of the very best Apple-tree. There­fore to say the truth, this is one of the last engines and weapons which the Divell useth for the overthrowing of Gods own children, even to blow them up with pride, as it were with gun-powder. For, as we see it come to passe in the siege of strong holds, when no battery or force of shot will prevaile, the last remedy and policy is to under­mine it, and blow it up with traines [Page 38] of gun-powder; so when Sathan can no way prevail against some excellent servants of God, his last device is to blow them up with pride, as it were with gun-powder.

Phil.

I see it is a speciall grace of God, for men of great gifts to bee humble minded: and hee is an odd man of a thousand, which excelling in gifts, ex­celleth in humility; and the more gifts he hath, the more humbly he walks: not contemning others, but esteeming them better than himselfe. For commonly wee are the worse for Gods gifts, because we have not the right use of them; and a­gaine, because they engender so much proud flesh in us, that we had need daily to be co [...]zied. Therefore God sheweth great favour and mercy to that man, whom he humbleth and taketh downe by any afflictions or infirmities what­soever. For otherwise, it is sure, proud flesh would altogether over-grow us.

Theol.

2 Cor. 12.You have spoken the truth: for the Apostle himselfe confesseth, that hee was tempted & troubled this way, & had like to have been puffed up out of measure with the abundance of his re­velations, but that God in great mercy sent him a cooler and a rebater; to wit, a prick in the flesh (which hee calleth the messenger of Satan) whereby the Lord cured him of his pride. And even so doth hee cure many of us of our [Page 39] pride, by throwing us to Sathan, lea­ving us to our selves, and giving us over to commit some grosse evill, even to fall downe and break our neckes: and all, to the end hee may humble us, tame us, and pull downe our pride, which hee seeth wee are heart-sick of. It is good for us therefore to be hum­ble in the abundance of grace, that wee bee not proud of that which wee have, or that which we have done. For humility in sin is better then pride in well-doing.

Phil.

Herein surely appeareth the great wisdome and mercy of God: that hee so graciously bringeth go d out of evil, and turneth our afflictions, infirmi­ties, falls and down-falls; to his glory and our good.

Theol.

It is most true. For even as of the flesh of a Viper is made a soveraigne medicine to cure those which are stung of a Viper; and as Physicians expell poyson with poy­son: so God, according to his mar­vellous wisedome, doth, of the infir­mities which remaine in us after regeneration, cure other more dange­rous diseases; as pride, vain-glory, and presumption. O blessed therefore be his name for ever, which thus mer­cifully causeth all things to work to­gether for the good of his owne peo­ple; of whom these things are [Page 40] specially to be understood.

Phil.

Is there no cause why men of great gifts should glory in their gifts?

Theol.

No surely none at all. For the Apostle saith,1 Cor. 4. Who separateth thee? And, what hast thou that thou hast not received? If thou hast received it, why boastest thou, as though thou haddest not received it? Where the Apostle plainly sheweth, that no man is to be proud of his gifts; because they are none of his own: he hath but received them to use. We count him worthy to be laughed at as a fool, who having borrowed brave apparell of others (as a silk gown, a s [...]tten doublet, a chain of gold, velvet breaches, &c.) should proudly jet it in the streets in them, as if they were his own: even so are they worthy to be chronicled for fools, which are proud of good gifts, which are none of their own. Therefore the Prophet Jeremy saith,Jer. 25.3. Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, not the strong man in his strength, neither the rich man in his riches: but let him that glo­rieth glory in this, that he understand­eth and knoweth me. To this point also well saith the heathen Poet:T [...]eo [...]ti [...]us. No man can escape the punishment of pride; therefore in greatest prosperity be not puffed up.

Phil.

Yet it is a world to see how proud, [Page 41] surly, haughty, stately, insolent, and thra­sonicall some be, because of their gifts: they think they touch the clouds with their heads, and that the earth doth not beare them: they take themselves to be petty angels, or some wonderfull wights: they contemne and disdaine all others which have not the like gifts: they doe contemptuously over-look them, as a li­on should over-look a mouse, a King a begger; or, as we say in a proverb, as the Divell looked over Lincoln.

Theol.

Oh proud dust! Oh haughty wormes meat! If they would bring their hearts before God, and their con­sciences thoughts, and affections to be judged by his law, it would soon cool them, and take them down well enough; they should see their wants and imperfections to be so great, that they indeed should have no more cause to boast of their gifts, then the Black­moor, hath of his whitenesse, because his teeth are white. The holy Ghost ours all our combs, and plucketh down all pride of flesh, when he saith, Job 26.14. How [...]mall a thing doth man understand of God?

Phil

I pray you let us proceed to speak of the outward and grosse pride of the world: and first of all, tell me what you think of pride in apparell.

Theol

I think it to be a vanity of all vanities, and a folly of all follies. [Page 42] For to be proud of apparell, is as if a thiefe should be proud of his halter, a beggar of his clouts, a child of his gay, or a fool of his bable.

Phil.

Yet wee see how proud many (specially women) be of such bables. For when they have spent a great part of the day in tricking and trimming, pricking and pinning, pranking and pouncing, gir­ding and lacing, and braving up them­selves in most exquisite manner, then out they come into the streets with their pedlers shop upon their back, and carry their crests very high, taking them­selves to be little angels, or at least some­what more then other women. Where­upon they doe so exceedingly swell with pride, that it is to bee feared they will burst with it as they walk in the streets. And truly we may think, the very stones in the street, and the beams in the houses doe quake and wonder at their mon­strous, intolerable and excessive pride. For it seemeth that they are altogether a lump of pride, a masse of pride, even al­together made of pride, and nothing else but pride, pride.

Theol.

You seeme to be very hot in the matter.

Asun.

Marry, Sir, I like him the better: for the world was never so full of pride as it is now adayes.

Theol.

Alas, alas: indeed who can hold his peace at the pride of this age! [Page 43] What a thing is it that flesh and bloud, worms meat, dust and ashes, dirt and dung, should so brave it out with their [...] clouts, and that in the sight of [...]od, Angels, and men? For the time will come, when both they and all their gay clouts shall be buried in a grave: Yea, as Job saith,Iob 12.13,14 The grave shall be their house, and they shall m [...]ke [...]heir bed in the dark. And [...]h [...]n t [...]ey shall say to corruption, Thou art my Father: and to the worm, Thou are my Mother and my sister. What then shall it availe them thus to [...]a [...]e r [...] ­fled it out in all their bravery, w [...]o as suddenly they shall [...] struction? What did it prove t [...]e ri [...]h man to bee sumptuously clothed, and fare deliciously every day, when his bo­dy was buried in the dust, and his soul in hell fire?

Asun.

I pray you, Sir, what say you to these great ruffes, which are born up with supporters and rebatoes, as it were with post and rail?

Theol.

What should I say? but God be mercifull unto us. For such things doe draw down the wrath and vengeance of God upon us all: and, as the Apostle saith,Gal. 5.6. For such things sake the wrath of God cometh upon the chil­dren of disobedience. And truly, truly, we may wel fear, that God wil plague us for our abominable pride.

Asun.

What say you then to these doubled and r doubled ruffes, (which are now in common use) strouting fardin­gales, long locks, fore-tufts, shag hair, [...]nd all these new fashions which are de­vised and taken up every day?

Theol

I say they are far from that plainnesse, simplicity, and modesty, which hath been in former ages: our fore-fathers knew no such things. It is recorded of William Rufus, Graftous [...] [...]4. some­time King of this land, that when his Chamberlain on a time brought him a new pair of hose, he demanded of him what they cost: who answe­red, three shillings: Whereat the King, being somewhat moved, com­manded him to prepare him a pair of a mark. If Kings were then thought to exceed, that bestowed a mark upon a pair of hose, what is it to be thought of many mean men in these our dayes (yea such as have no living, and are scarce of any good calling) which bestow as much up­on a pair as the King did upon two, when he was thought most of all to exceed? But alas, alas, we have passed all bounds of modesty and mea­sure; there is no hee with us. Our Land is too heavie of this sinne. For the pride of all Nations, and the fol­lies of all countries are upon us; how shall we bear them? And as [Page 45] for these new fashions, the more new they be, the more foolish, and as foolish they that use them. For with our new fashions we are grown clean out of fa­shion. If we had as many fashions of our bodies as we have of our attire, we should have as many fashions as fingers and toes. But vain men and women do apparently shew their vain minds, by following so greedily such vain toyes and fashions.

Asun.

It was never a good world since starching and steeling, busks and whale-bones, supporters and rebatoes, full moons and hobby-horses, paint­ing and dying, with selling of favour and complexion, came to be in use. For since these came in, covetousnesse, op­pression, and deceit have increased. For how else should pride bee maintained? and sure it is, within these thirty yeers these things were not known, nor heard of. And what say you then to painting of faces, laying open of naked brests, dying of hair, wearing of peri­wigs, and other hair coronets, and top-gallants? And what say you to our artificiall women, which will be better than God hath made them? They like not his handy-work, they will mend it, and have other complexions, other faces, other hair, other bones, other brests, and other bellies then God made them.

Theol.

This I say, that you and I and all the Lords people have great and just cause of mourning, weeping, and lamentation, because such abomi­nation is committed in Israel. Da­vids eyes gushed out with rivers of teares, [...] 9 because men kept not Gods lawes, and an horrible feare came up­on him, because men forsook the law of God. [...] 5 1. J remie did sigh in secret, wishing that his head were full of water, and his eyes a fountain of teares, because of the sinnes of the people. Nehemiah mourned for the transgression of Gods people.N [...]hem. 1 [...]. Lots just soul was vexed with the unclean conversation of the Sodomites: and s [...]ll wee mo [...]rne nothing at all for t [...]se things? shall wee be no whit grieved for the pride of our land? shall wee shed no teares for such hor­rible and intolerable abominations? They are odious in the s [...]ght of God and men: the aire stinketh of them. It is Gods marvellous patience that the Dwell doth not carry them away quick, and rid the earth of them: or that fire and brimstone doth not come downe from heaven and consume them.

Antil.

You are too hot in these mat­ters of attire: you make more of them then there is cause.

Asun.

I con him thank: Gods bles­sing [Page 47] on his heart, I shall love him the better while I know him, because he is so earnest against such shamefull and de­testable pride. Is it not a shame that wo­men professing true religion, should make themselves such pictures, puppets, and peacocks as they doe? And yet I hear few Preachers in the pulpit speak against it.

Antil.

I marvell you should be so ear­nest in matters of apparell. You know well enough that apparell is an indiffe­rent thing: and that religion and the kingdome of God doth not consist in these things.

Theol.

I know right well that ap­parell in its own nature is a thing indifferent: but lewd, wanton, im­modest, and offensive apparell is not indifferent. For all such abuse taketh away the indifferency of them, and maketh them sinfull and evill, by c [...]r­cumstance. For otherwise why should the Lord threaten by his Prophet, that he would visit the Princes, and the Kings children, and all such as were cloathed with strange apparell, that is, the fashions of other coun­tries? Zephan. 1.8. Againe, why should the Lord so plague the proud dames, and mincing minions of Jeru­salem, for their pride and vanity in at­tire, if there were no evill i [...] such kind of abuse? The Lord saith thus [Page 48] in the third of Esay, against those brave and gallant dames, Because the daughters of Sion are haughty, and walk with stretched-out necks, and with wandring eyes, walking and mincing as they goe, and make a tinkling with their feet: therefore shall the Lord make the heads of the daughters of Sion bald, and the Lord shall discover their secret parts. In that day shall the Lord take away the ornament of the slippers, and the calls, and the round tires, the sweet balls, and the bracelets, and the bon­nets, the tires of the head, and the slops, the head-bands, and the tablets, the ea­rings, the rings, and the mufflers, the costly apparell, and the veiles, and the wimples, and the crisping pinnes, and the glasses, and the fine linnen, and the hoods, and the lawns. And in stead of sweet savour there shall be stink: and in stead of a girdle, a rent: and in stead of dressing of the haire, baldnesse: and in stead of a stomacher, a girding of sack­cloth: and burning in stead of beauty. Then shall her gates mourn and lament: and she being desolate shall sit upon the ground.

Thus we see how terribly the Lord threatneth the gallant dames of Jerusa­lem, for their excessive and abomina­ble pride. And this may well be a mir­rour for the proud minious of our age: which assuredly may well fear [Page 49] the Lord will bring some such judge­ment upon them, as he did upon the daughters of Jerusalem. For their sin is as great in this kind, as was the daughters of Sion, and God is the same God now that he was then to pu­nish it.

Antil.

Tush, never speak so much of these matters of apparell; for we must do as others do, and follow the fashion, or else we shall not be esteemed.

Theol.

If you follow them not, you shall be more esteemed of God, of his Angels, Saints, and all good men. As for all others, if you esteem them more then these, you shew what you are.

Antil.

Well, for all that, say you what you will, pride is in the heart, and not in the apparell: For one may be proud of plain apparell, as well as of costly. And some are as proud of their falling bands and little sets, as others are of their great ruffes.

Theol.

You speak foolishly, for how know you that? Can you judge mens hearts and inward affections? Can you say, when mens and wo­mens apparell is sober, modest, and Christian like, that they have proud hearts, and are proud of that attire? You goe very farr indeed, to judge the heart. You ought to judge chari­tably of such as goe soverly and mo­destly [Page 50] attired, even that their heart is according to their attire. And for you, wee may rather think your heart is vain, light, and foolish, because your attire doth strongly argue it: And, as the Prophet saith, The triall of your countenance testifieth against you: you declare your sinnes as Sodom, and hide them not, Esay 3.9.

Phil.

I pray you then set downe some rules for apparell out of the Scriptures.

Theol.

I may well set down what I will: but surely most men and wo­men will doe what they list. For veri­ly it may be thought, that many of this age have forsworne God and his word, and all goodnesse. For they are come to this point, let God say what he will, they will doe what they list. For as the Prophet saith, They have made a covenant with hell, and with death, and are grown to an agreement, Esay 28.15. And I doe verily think, if God himselfe should come downe from heaven in his own person, and disswade men and women from this vanity of apparell, yet would they still use it, as it were in despight of God, and as it were to anger him the more. For they are so extraordinarily enamoured, and so immoderately de­lighted with it, and doe so continu­ally, and altogether dote on it, and are so wood-mad of it, that they will have [Page 51] it, though men and Angels, and all the world say nay: nay, which is more, though they should goe to the Divell quicke with it. And therefore it is but lost labour to speake against it, preach against it, or write against it. It is but even to plough the sea, or knock at a deafe mans door; for there is no hope of any reformation. Onely this we gaine, that the world is reproved and convicted of sin. And these things shall stand in a record a­gainst them, in the last day: so that they may say, they had a fair warning, and that there was a Prophet among them.

Phil.

Yet for all this, I pray you set us down some directions and rules, out of Gods holy Book, concerning attire. For albeit some be very bad, and outra­gious in these things, yet there be some others which are well disposed, and will (no doubt) make some conscience to frame themselves according to the rules of Gods word.

Theol.

Well then, for their sakes which are well disposed, I will set downe some few directions. Saint Paul in 1 Tim. 2.9. willeth, that wo­men should array themselves in come­ly apparell, with shamefastnesse and modesty, as becometh women that professe the feare of God: and not with broydered haire, or gold, or [Page 52] pearls, or castly apparell. The Apostle Saint Peter giveth like rules also:1 Pet. 3.3. for he saith, speaking of Christian ma­trons, and professours of holy religion, That their apparell must not bee out­ward, that is, not consist so much in outward bravery; as broidered hair, gold put about, &c. as it must be inward, that the hid man of the heart may be clo­thed with a meek and quiet spirit, which is a thing before God much set by. For after this manner, saith hee, in times past the holy women which trusted in God did attire themselves; as Sarah, Rebeica, Rachel, and such like ancient and grave matrons.

Phil.

Wherein doth this inward clo­thing specially consist?

Theol.

In four things, which are set down in the fore-named places, to wit, shamefacednesse, modesty, a quiet spirit, and a meek spirit.

Phil.

These be sine suits of apparell indeed: I would all women would put them on, and never put them off, but wear them continually: for they are the better for wearing, though all other ap­parell be the worse.

Theol.

If women would deck them­selves inwardly with these aforesaid vertues, they would be unto them as ornaments of gold, and jewels of pearl. For the woman that feareth the Lord shall be praised. Prov. 30.1.

Phil.

But now, I pray you, Sir, set downe your judgement for outward attire.

Theol.

This is all that I can say touching that point, That it must be as the Apostle saith, comely, decent, handsome, neat and seemly: not light, not wanton, not lascivious, not immo­dest, not offensive.

Phil.

But who shall judge what is comely, sober, handsome, modest? &c. For every man and woman will say, their apparell is decent and cleanly, how gallant, brave, and flanting soever they be.

Theol.

Herein the examples of the most godly, wise, grave, and modest men and women are to be followed: for who can better judge what is comely, so­ber and modest, then they?

Phil.

But wee see some, even of the better sort, in this matter are a little infected, run out, and goe beyond their bounds.

Theol.

The more is the pity. But alas, wee see the sway of the time, and rage of the stream is so violent, that it carrieth before it whatsoever is not setled, and very deep rooted. And some godly and well disposed persons, whose hearts are not with these things, but with God, are notwith­standing perforce carried away with the violence of the winde and tide; [Page 54] whose case, though it cannot well bee defended or excused, yet it is much to be pitied and lamented.

Phil.

Have you any further directions touching this point?

Theol.

There is one thing yet more to be added: to wit, that attire be ac­cording to mens places, callings and degrees. For that is not seemly for one, that is seemly for another; that becomes not one mans place, that be­cometh anothers: For that is not meet for poor men, which is meet for rich men: nor that meet for mean men, which is meet for men of note and great place.

Phil.

Then you think it is lawfull for Kings, Princes, and great Persona­ges, to wear pearl, gold, silver, and velvet, &c.

Theol.

Questionlesse it is lawfull for such, in sober manner and measure, to weare the most costly and precious things which the earth can afford: and that to set out the magnificence, pomp, and glory of their places: and there­fore such things are in them most come­ly and decent.

Phil.

But now-adayes few will keep within compasse, few will know their places: But the most part run beyond their bounds, and leap quite out of their sockets.

Theol.

True indeed: For now­adayes [Page 55] mean Gentlewemen, yea some Gentlewomen of their owne making, will ruifle it, and brave it out in their attire like Countesses and Ladies of honour. Plain folk also in the coun­trey will flaunt it like Courtiers, and like good Gentlemen and Gentlewo­men: and they seem to say in their hearts, Fie of this plainnesse, we will no more of it: we will not take it as we have done. So that now the old proverb is verified: Every Jack will be a Gentleman, and Joan is as good as my Lady. For now we cannot, by their ap­parell, discerne the maid from the mi­stresse, nor the waiting Gentle-wo­man from her Lady. And thus we see in this matter of apparell how all is out of joint.

Phil.

Is there any more to be said in this case? 14.

Theol.

There is yet another thing to bee respected in this matter of at­tire.

Phil.

What is that?

Theol.

That it bee according to mens abilities. For it is lamentable to consider how poore men and wo­men, poore hired servants, milke-maides, and such like, goe quite be­yond their ability. And more lamen­table to see what wretched and ill-fa­voured shifts they make to com­passe these things: so sharpe and [Page 56] so eagerly are they set upon them.

Phil.

Well Sir, now you have suffici­ently rolled the stone, and at large satis­fied us touching the matter of pride; which is the first signe of condemnation. Now proceed to the second, which is whoredome; and unfold unto us out of the Scriptures the danger thereof.

Theol.

Solomon, in his Proverbs, saith:Pro. 32.14. That the mouth of a strange wo­man [or an harlot] is as a deep pit: hee that is a detestation to the Lord, shall fall therein. Wherein he plainly shew­eth, that these whom God detesteth and is exceeding angry with, are gi­ven over to this vice. And in another place hee saith,13.17. A whore is as a deep ditch, and as a narrow pit. Noting thereby, that if a man be once fallen in with an harlot, hee shall as hardly get out again, as a man that is plun­ged into a very deep and narrow pit, where hee can scant stirre himselfe. The same Solomon, in the book of Ec­clesiastes, yeelds us the reason hereof: namely, because shee is as nets, snares and bands, wherein, if a man be once taken, hee is fast enough for getting out.Eccl. [...].28. I finde, saith hee, more bitter then death the woman whose heart is as nets, and snares, and her hands as bands. Hee that is good before God shall bee deli­vered from her: but the sinner shall be taken by her. Wee doe therefore plainly [Page 57] see in what a labyrinth and dangerous case they be that are left of God, and given over to whoredome and har­lots: and therefore it is said,Prov. 6.5. Desire not her beauty in thine heart, neither let her eye-lids catch thee: for by a who­rish woman a man is brought to a mor­sell of bread; and the adulteresse hunt­eth for life, which is precious. Pro. 5.3, 4. Againe hee saith, Albeit the lips of an harlot drop as an honey-comb, and the roofe of her mouth is softer then oyle: yet her latter end is bitter as wormwood, and as sharp as a two-edged sword. All these prudent speeches of the holy Ghost doe most evidently shew unto us what a fearfull thing it is to com­mit whoredome, and so to fall into the hands of whores and harlots. There­fore Job saith of the wicked,Job 36.14. Their soul dieth in youth, and their life among the whoremongers.

Phil.

You have very well shewed out of Gods book, the great danger of whore­dome and adultery. And it is greatly to bee lamented, that men in this age make so light of it as they do, and that it is so common a vice: nay, that some (a­las, with griefe I speak it) do professe it, live by it, and prostitute themselves wholly unto it.

Theol.

Such men and women may justly fear the plaguing hand of God: for the Lord saith by his Prophet; [Page 58] Though I fed them to the full, Ier. 5.7. yet they committed adultery, and assembled themselves by companies in harlots houses. They rose up in the morning like fed horses: for every man neighed after his neighbours wife. Shall I not visit for these things, saith the Lord? Shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation?

Phil.

Me thinks, if men were not al­together hardened in this sinne, and even past feeling, and past grace, this threat­ning and thundering of God himselfe from heaven should terrifie them.

Theol.

A man would think so in­deed: but now we may take up the old complaint of the Proph [...]t,Ie [...]. 8.6. I hearkened and heard, and loe, no man spake aright: no man repented him of his evill; say­ing, What have I done? Every one tur­neth to their race, as the horse rusheth in­to the battell.

Antil.

Tush, whoredom is but a trick of youth; and we see all men have their in perfections.

Theol.

You speake profanely and wickedly: For shall wee count that but a tricke of youth,1 Cor. 1 [...].8. for the which the Lord smote three and twenty thou­sand of his owne people in one day? Shall wee count that but a tricke of youth, for the which the Lord threat­ned David his owne servant,2 Sam. 12.10 that the sword should never depart from his [Page 59] house? Shall wee count that but a tricke of youth, for the which Hamor and Sechem, the father and the sonne,Gen. 34.25. and many other, both men, women, and children, were cruelly murdered by Simeon and Levi the sonnes of Ja­cob? Shall wee count that but a trick of youth, for the which the Lord slew Hophni and Phineas, 1 Sam. 4.11. the two sonnes of Eli the Priest, in the battell of the Philistines? Shall we thus set all at six and seven, and make light of such horrible villanies? Doth not the seve­rity of the punishment shew the great­nesse of the sinne? Doth not the Apo­stle say,1 Cor. 10.11 These things came unto them for our examples, upon whom the ends of the world are come? And yet you passe it over with a tush, and a trick of youth, as if God were to be dalli­ed with. No, no, be not deceived; God is not mocked. They which will not bee moved now in hearing, shall one day bee crushed in pieces in feeling. And they which now call whoredome a tricke of youth, shall one day howle and cry, yell and yelp for such tricks, with woe and alas that ever they were born.

Antil.

Oh Sir, you must beare with youth: youth you know is fraile; and youth will bee youthfull, when you have said all that you can.

Theol.

Yea, but God doth allow no [Page 60] more liberty unto youth then unto age: but bindeth all upon paine of death, to the obedience of his comman­dements.Titus 2.6. The Apostle saith: Let yong men be sober minded. David saith, Wherewith shall a young man cl anse his way? Psal. 119.9. In taking heed thereto accor­ding to thy word. The wise man saith, Remember thy Creatour in the dayes of thy youth: Eccles. 12.1. And further addeth; that if they will needs follow their lusts, their pleasures, and their own swinge, yet in the end hee will bring them to judgement, arraigne them, condemn them, and tame them in hell fire well enough.

Phil.

Yet wee see men are so violent­ly carryed after their lusts, and so despe­rately bent, that they will have the pre­sent sweet and pleasure of sin, come of it what will. Come sicknesse, come death, come hell, come damnation, they are at a point; they will pay the highest price for their lust. They will purchase their pl [...]asures with the losse of their soules. O wofull purchase! O damna­ble pleasures!

Th [...]ol.

Sweete meate will have sowre sauce, and a dram of pleasure a pound of sorrow. Such cursed c [...]i­tifes shall at last pay a deare shot for their pleasures. Such desperate wret­ches shall one day know (to their everlasting woe) what it is to pro­voke [Page 61] God, and to sin with so high an hand against him. They shall well know, in spight of their hearts, that vengeance is prepared for the wicked, and that there is a God that judgeth the earth.Heb. 1 [...].4. Let all men therefore take heed in time; for whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. And the A­postle saith flatly, That whor [...]mong [...]rs and adulterers shall not inherit the king­dome of God, 1 Cor. 6.9. Heb. 12. Let therefore no fornicator, or unclean person be found among us, as was Esau: but let us ab­staine from fleshly lusts, which fight a­gainst the soul. 1 Pet. 1.2. And let every one know how to possesse his vessell in holinesse and honour, and not in the lust of con­cupiscence, as the Gentiles which know not God, 1 Thes. 4.5

Herein let us consider the wise speech of an ancient Father: Sinne, Chrysost. in Matth. while it is in doing, ministreth some plea­sure, but when it is committed, the short ple [...]sure thereof vanisheth away, and long sorrow cometh in stead of it. Nei­ther let us here reject the saying of a wise Heathen:Isocrat. ad Demon. Shun pleasure for fear of smart. Sowr things follow sweet, and joy heavinesse.

Antil.

Yet for all this you shall not make mee beleeve, that whoredome is so hainous a matter. You make more of it then it is.

Theol.

True indeed: for you, and [Page 62] such as you are will beleeve nothing against your lusts and fleshly delights: and that is the cause why you are deafe on this care. I will therefore adde a word or two more (out of the Oracles of God) to that which hath beene spoken.Pro. 6.31. [...] The wise King saith, Hee that committeth adultery with wo­men, destroyeth his owne soule: and so is access [...]ry to his owne death; which is no small matter. For we use to say, if a man hang himselfe, drowne him­selfe, or any manner of way make away himselfe, that he was cursed of God, that Gods hand was heavie a­gainst him, that the Divell ought him a shame, and now he hath paid it him. And all the countrey rings of such a strange accident, when, and where it falleth out: and the Crowner of the countrey doth sit upon it. How much more may all the world wonder at this; that a man should destroy his owne soule, and wittingly and willingly cast away himselfe for ever? Now the holy Ghost saith, The a­dulterer doth such an act, giveth such a venture, and willingly murthereth himselfe. Oh therefore woe unto him that ever hee was borne! for sure it is, that the great Crowner of heaven, that crowns whom hee will crowne, shall one day sit upon it, and give judgement. Moreover, as the adul­terer [Page 63] sinneth against his soule, so also hee sinneth against his bodie, after a speciall manner,1 Cor 6.13. as witnesseth the A­postle. Also hee sinneth against his goods and outward estate, as the holy man Job testifieth, saying,Job 5 [...].12. Adulterie is a fire that devoureth to destruction, and it will root out all our increase. Furthermore, hee sinneth against his name,Prov. 6.33. For the Adulterer shall finde a wound, and dishonour: and his re­proach shall never be put away.

Item, hee sinneth against his wife, who is his companion, M [...] 14, & 15. and the wife of his covenant: And God saith in the same place: Let none trespasse against the wife of his youth: keep your selves in your spirit, and transgresse not. Last of all, hee sinneth against his children and posterity, as the Lord said to Da­vid, Because thou hast despised mee, 2 S [...]. 12 1 [...] and done this, therefore the sword shall ne­ver depart from thy house. Behold, I will raise up evill against thee out of thine owne house. Now therefore, to conclude this point, wee may see how many deadly wounds men make themselves by committing of adulterie. They wound themselves in their soules: they wound themselves in their bodies: they wound themselves in their goods: they wound them­selves in their names: they wound themselves in their wives, and in [Page 64] their children. What man, except hee were stark mad, would thrust in him­selfe in so many places at once? The Adulterer, with his one sinne of adul­tery, maketh all these deadly wounds in himselfe: and it is an hundred to one hee will never get them cured, but will die, and bleed to death of them. Lo, thus you see the dangerous qua­lity and condition of this sin. Shall wee now therefore make light of it? Shall wee say, It is but a trick of youth? Shall wee smooth over the matter with sweet words, when the holy Ghost maketh it so hainous and capitall? Shall wee make nothing of that which draweth downe Gods wrath upon the soule, body, goods, name, wife and children? That were an intolerable blindnesse, and most extreme hardnesse of heart. An anci­ent Writer hath long agoe passed sen­tence upon us,Basil in E­pist. who make so light of this sinne: for (saith hee) Adultery is the very hook of the Divell, whereby hee draweth us to destruction. And another godly Father saith,Gregor. that adul­tery is like a furnace, whose mouth is gluttony, the flame pride, the sparkles filthy words, the smoak an ill name, the ashes poverty, and the end shame. And so wee plainly see, that howsoever wee regard not this sinne, but flatter our selves in it, yet those whose eyes [Page 65] the Lord hath opened, have in all ages condemned it as most flagitious and horrible: yea, the very Heathen wil rise up in judgment against us, who have spoken and written many things a­gainst this filthy and beastly vice.

Phil.

Now indeed you have suffici­ently branded the vice of adultery, and laid out the uglinesse thereof, that all men may behold it stark naked, and abhorre it. If any man (notwithstan­ding all this) will venture upon it, hee may be said to be a most desperate mon­ster. For what doth hee else, but (as it were) put his finger into the Lions mouth, and (as it were) take the Beare by the tooth? and they may well know what will follow, and what they may look for. Let all men therefore in time take heed to themselves, and to their own soules, as they will answer it at their uttermost perill at the dreadfull day of judgement, when the secrets of all hearts shall bee disclosed. But now one thing resteth; to wit, that you should shew us the speciall roots and causes of adul­tery.

Theol.

There be five speciall cau­ses of it: The first is our naturall cor­ruption: for the very spawne and seed of all sinne is our corrupt nature: and this, of all other, is a most inherent sinne, as witnesseth the Apostle James, saying,James 1.15. When lust hath con­c [...]ived, [Page 64] [...] [Page 65] [...] [Page 66] it bringeth forth sinne: and sin when it is perfected bringeth forth death.

The second is gluttony, and ful­nesse of bread: for when men have filled their bellies, and crammed their paunches as full of good cheere, wine, and strong drinke, as their skinnes can hold; what are they meete for, or what minde they else, but adultery and uncleannesse? And therefore well saith one, Great nourishment and grosse food is the shop of lust. The Heathen Poet could skill to say, Sine Cerere & Baccho s [...]ige [...] Venus, without meat and drinke lust waxeth cold. And to this effect the wise King saith,Prov 23 [...]. & 35 that their eyes shall behold strange women, whose hearts are set upon wine and belly cheere. And therefore he adviseth all men, not to looke upon the wine when it appear­eth red, when it sheweth his colour in the cup, or stirreth very kindly: and that for feare of this after-clap. An ancient writer saith to the same pur­pose:Gregori [...]s N [...]an [...]. Hee that delicately pampereth his belly, and yet would overcome the spirit of fornication, is like to him that will quench a flame of fire with oyle.

Therefore to close up this point, sure it is, though men pray, heare, and read much, and be otherwise well dis­posed: yet except they be abstemious in diet, they will bee much troubled with lust.

[Page 67]

The third cause of adultery is Idle­nesse: for when men are lazie, luskish, and idle, having nothing to doe, they lye wide open to adultery; and lust creepeth into them. Some Historio­graphers write, the Crab-fish is very desirous to eate Oysters: but because shee cannot perforce open them, shee watcheth her time when they open themselves unto the sun after the tide, and then shee putreth in her claw, and pulleth out the Oyster: Even so Sa­tan watcheth his opportunity against us, that hee may infect and breathe into us all filthy lusts, and adulterous de­sires, when wee lye open unto him by idlenesse. Wisely therefore to this point saith the Greeke Poet:Hesiodus. Much rest nourisheth lust. And another Poet saith:

Quaeritur Aegystus quare sit factus adulter:
In promptu causa est; d [...]sidiosus erat.

Slothfull lazinesse is the cause of a­dultery: And therefore another saith, Eschew idlenesse, Our [...]. and cut the very si­news of lust.

The fourth cause of Adultery, is wanton apparell: which is a minstrel­lesse, that pipes up a dance unto whoredome. But of this enough be­fore.

The fift and last cause of adulterie, [Page 66] [...] [Page 67] [...] [Page 68] is the hope of impunity, or escaping of punishment. For many being blin­ded and hardened by Sathan, think they shall never bee called to any ac­count for it: and because they can blear the eyes of men, and carry this sinne so closely under a cloud, that it shall never come to light, they thinke all is safe, and that God seeth them not. And therefore Job saith,Job 24.15. The eye of the adulterer waiteth for the twi-light, and saith, No eye shall see mee. And in another place,Job 23.13. How shall God know? Can hee judge thorow the dark cloud? But verily, versly, though the adul­terer do never so closely and cunning­ly convey his sinne under a canopy, yet the time will come, when it shall be disclosed to his eternall shame. For God will bring every work to judge­ment, Eccl. 12.24. with every secret thought, whe­ther it be good or evill. Psal. 9 [...]. For hee hath set our most secret sinnes in the sight of his countenance. 1 Cor. 4. And hee will lighten the things that are hid in darknesse, and make the counsels of the heart manifest. For this cause Job saith,Job 10. When I sinne thou watchest mee, and wilt not purge me from my sin.

Phil.

Now you have shewed us the causes of adultery, I pray you shew us the remedies.

Theol.

There be six remedies for adultery, which no doubt will great­ly [Page 69] prevail, if they b [...] well practised.

Phil.

Which be they? Six reme­dies of a­dultery.

Theol.
  • Labour.
  • Abstinence.
  • Temperance.
  • Prayer.
  • Restraint of our senses.
  • Shunning of womens com­pany, and all occasions whatsoever.
Phil.

Well Sir, now you have waded deepe enough in the second signe of damnation: I pray you let us proceed to the third, which is Covetousnesse. And as you have laid naked the two former, so I pray you, strip this stark naked al­so, that all men may see what an ugly monster it is, and therefore hate it and abhor it.

Theol.

I would willingly satisfie your minde: but in this point I shall never doe it sufficiently. For no heart can conceive, nor tongue sufficiently ut­ter the loathsomenesse of this vice. For covetousnesse is the foulest fiend, and blackest Divell of all the rest. It is even great Beelzebub himselfe. Therefore I shall never be able fully to describe it unto you: but I will doe what I can to sttip and whip it stark naked. And howsoever the men of this earth and blind worldlings take it to bee most sweet, beautifull, and a­miable, and therefore doe embrace it, [Page 70] entertaine it, and welcome it, as though there were some happinesse in it: yet, I hope, when I have shewed them the face thereof in a glasse (even the true glasse of Gods Word) they will be noe more in such love, but quite o [...]t of conceit with it. I will therefore hold out this glasse unto them.

St. Paul to Timothy brandeth this st [...]ne in the forehead, and boareth it in the eares, that all men may know it, and avoyd it,1 T [...]. [...].1 [...] when he saith, Cove­tousnesse is the root of all evill. Our Lord Iesus also giveth us a watch­word to take heed of it, saying, Take heed and beware of covetousnesse. [...] 12.15. As if hee should say, Touth it not, come not neare it, it is the very breath of the Divell, it is present death, and the very rats [...]bane of the soule. The Apo­stle layeth out the great danger of this sinne, and doth exceedingly grinde the face of it, [...]il. 5 19. when he saith, That the end of all such as mind earthly things is damna­tion. Let all carnall worldlings, and muckish minded men lay this to heart, and consider well of it, lest they say one day, Had I wist.

Phil.

Good Sir, lay open unto us the true nature of covetousnesse, and what it is, that wee may more perfectly dis­cerne it.

Theol.

Covetousnesse is an immo­derate desire of having.

Phil.

I hope you do not think frugali­ty thriftinesse, and good husbandry to be covetousnesse.

Theol.

Nothing lesse: For they be things commanded; being done in the feare of God, and with a good con­science.

Phil.

Doe you not thinke it lawfull also for men to doe their worldly busi­nesse, and to use faithfullnesse and dili­gence in their callings, that they may p [...]ovide for themselves and their fami­lies?

Theol.

Yes, no doubt. And the ra­ther, if they doe these things with cal­ling upon God for a blessing upon the workes of their hands, and use prey­er and thanksgiving before and after their labour, taking heed all the day long of the common corruptions of the world: as swearing, cursing, ly­ing, dissembling, deceiving, greedy get­ting, &c.

Phil.

Wherein I pray you, doth co­vetousnesse especially consist?

Theol.

In the greedy desire of the mind. For we may lawfully doe the workes of our calling, and play the good husbands and good huswives: but wee must take heed that distrust­fullnesse, and inward greedinesse of the world doe not catch our hearts. For then wee are set on fire, and ut­terly undone.

Phil.

Sith covetousnesse is especially of the heart, how may we know certainly when the heart is infected?

Theol.

There be four speciall signes of the hearts infection.

Phil.

Which be they?

Theol.

The first is an eager and sharp set desire of getting. Therefore the holy Ghost saith,P [...]o [...]. [...]8. Hee that hasteth to be rich shall not be unpunished. P [...]o. 20.2. And againe, An heritage is hastily gotten at the beginning: but the end thereof shall not be blessed. De [...]st [...] ­nes in O­linth. 2. The heathen man also saith, No man can be both justly and ha­stily rich.

The second is a pinching and nig­gardly keeping of our owne: that is, when men (being able to give) will hardly part with any thing, though it be to never so holy and good use. And when at last, with much adoe, for shame they give something, it com­eth heavily from them (God wot) and scantly.

The third is the neglect of holy du­ties: that is, when mens mindes are so taken up with the love of earthly things, that they begin to slack and cool in matters of Gods worship.

The fourth and last is a trusting in riches, and staying upon them, as though our lives were maintained by them, or did consist only in them: which thing our Lord Iesus flatly denyeth, [Page 73] saying, Though a man have abundance, Luk. 12.15. yet his life consisteth not in the things that he hath.

These then are four evident signes and tokens whereby wee may cer­tainly discerne, that mens hearts and entralls are infected with covetous­nesse.

Phil.

You have very well satisfied us in this point. Now let us understand the originall causes of covetousnesse.

Theol.

There be two speciall causes of covetousnesse:Two caus [...]s of cove [...]ous­ness [...]. The one is the ig­norance and distrust of Gods provi­dence.

The other is the want of tasting, and feeling of heavenly things. For till men taste better things, they will make much of these: till they feel hea­ven, they will love earth: till they be religious they will be covetous. There­fore the cause is soon espied, why men are so sharp set upon these outward things, and do so admire riches, world­ly pomp pleasures and treasures: Be­cause they know no better, they never had taste nor feeling of those things which are eternall.

Phil.

Now as you have shewed us the causes of covetousnesse, so let us also hear of the effects.

Theol.

If I once enter into this, I shall be entangled, and wound up in a maze, where I know not how to [Page 74] get out againe. For the evill effects of this vice are so many, and so great, that I know not almost where to be­ginne, or where to end. Notwith­standing, I will enter into it get out how I can.

Phil.

If you do but give us some taste of them, it shall suffice.

Theol.

Then will I briefly dispatch things in order. And first of all, I reason from the words of the Apostle before alledged, That if covetousnesse, and the love of money be the root of all evil, then it is the root of idolatrie, the root of murther, the roote of theft, the root of lying, the root of swearing, the roote of symony, the roote of bribery, the roote of usurie, the roote of law­ing, the roote of all contentions in the Church, and the roote of all brabbling and brawling in the Common-wealth. Moreover, it spreadeth farre and neare, it dwelleth in every house, in e­very towne, in every [...]ttie: it pryeth in­to every corner, it creepeth into every heart: it annoyeth our Physicians, it infecteth our Divines, it choaketh our Lawyers, it woundeth our Farmers, it baneth our Gentlemen, it murthereth our Tradesmen, it be­witcheth our Merchants, it stingeth our Mariners. O covetousnes, cove­tousnesse! It is the poyson of all things, the wound of Christianity, the [Page 75] bane of all goodnesse. For covetous­nesse marres all: it marreth all every where, in all places, in all degrees, among all persons. It marreth mar­riages: for it coupleth young to old, and old to young. It marreth hospi­tality, it marreth all good house-keep­ing, it marreth almes-deeds, it mar­reth Religion, it marreth Professors, it marreth Ministers, it marreth Ma­gistrates, it marreth all things. And therefore, what sin so grievous, what evill so odious, what vice so enormous as this? For this cause it was pret­tily said of one, That all other vices are but factors to covetousnesse, & serve for Porters to fetch and bring in her living. Shee maketh symony her drudge, bribery her drudge, usurie her drudge, deceite her drudge, swearing her drudge, lying her drudge. O what a Divell incarnate is this, that setteth so many vices a work, & hath so many factors and underlings to serve her turne! Are they not in a pretty case, thinke you, that are infected with this sinne? Oh they are in a most mise­rable case. It had beene good they had never beene borne. For being alive, they are dead: dead, I meane, in their soules. For covetousnes is soules poy­son and soules bane. Covetousnesse is the strongest poyson to the soul that is. It is a confection of all the Spiders, [Page 76] Toads, Snakes, Adders, Scorpions, Basilisks, and all other the most ve­nemous vermine of the whole world. If the divell can get us to take downe but one peny weight of it, it is e­nough, hee desires no more, for pre­sently we fall down stark dead. There­fore the Apostle saith,1 Tim. [...]. They that will be rich (hee meaneth in all haste, by hook or by crook) fall into temptations and snares, and into many foolish and noysome lusts, which drown men in de­struction and perdition. For as cove­tousnesse is rank poyson to the soul: so the Apostle compareth it to a deep gulfe, wherein thousands are drowned. And therefore hee addeth in the same place, But thou, O man of God, flie these things. In which words he doth most gravely advise all the Ministers of the word of God to take heed of it. For as it is dangerous in all men: so is it most dangerous and offensive in Preachers of the Gospel.

Phil.

Indeed it must needs bee gran­ted, that covetousnesse is a very grie­vous sinne: yea, even a Monster with seven heads. Yet for all that, wee see in this our iron age, how many of all sorts are infected with it, and how few will give any thing to any holy use. Most men now adayes have nothing to spare for Christ, nothing for his Gos­pel, nothing for his Church, nothing [Page 77] for the poor children of God, and nee­dy members of Christ. Christ is little beholden unto them: for they will doe nothing for him, no not so much as speake a good word in his cause, or the cause of his poore saints. Every little thing with them is too much for God and good men. For when they come to giving unto holy and necessary uses, then they will stick at a peny, and grudge at a groat, and every thing is too much: But to bestow upon themselves, nothing is too much. Nothing is too much for lust, for pleasure, for back, belly, and building, for cards and dice, for whores and harlots, for rioting and revelling, for tavernes and brothel-houses. Hun­dreds and thousands are little enough, and too little for their expences this way. It is lamentable to consider, what masses of money are spent and bestowed upon these things. But alas, alas, how heavie an account are they to make in the day of the Lord, which so spend their lands, livings, and revenues! I quake to think what shall become of them at last. It were well for them, if they might be in no worse case then a Crocodile, or a Cur-dog.

Theol.

It is most certain that you say: and wee all have great cause to lament it, and to take up the old com­plaint of the Prophet Jeremy, saying, From the least of them even unto the [Page 78] greatest of them, every one is given unto Covetousnesse: and from the Prophet e­ven unto the Priests, they all deale falsly. And another Prophet saith,Mich. 3.22. They build up Sion with bloud, and Jerusalem with iniquity. The heads thereof judge for re­wards, and the Priests thereof teach for hire, and the Prophets thereof prophesie for money: yet will they lean upon the Lord, and say, Is not tho Lord amongst us? No evil can come unto us But these holy Prophets, & men of God do fully describe unto us the state of our time: wherein, though all be corrupted, yet wee bear our selves stoutly upon God, we presume of his favour, because of our outward profession, and say in our hearts, No evill can come unto us.

Asun.

You say very true, Sir. The world was never so set upon covetousnesse, and men were never so greedily given to the world, as now adaies. And yet (in truth) there is no cause why men should bee so sharp-set upon this world. For this world is but vanity: and all is but pels & trash. F [...]e on this muck.

Phil.

Many such men as you are can skil to give good words, and say, Fie on this world, all is but vanity: & yet for all that in your daily practice you are never the lesse set upon the world, nor never the more seek after God. You hear the word of God no whit the more, you reade no whit the more, you pray never the mo [...]e, [Page 79] which evidently sheweth, that all your faire speeches, and protestations are nought else but hypocrisie and leasing. Your heart is not with God, for all this. All is but words, there is no such feeling in the heart. And therefore I may justly say to you, as God himselfe said to his people, This people have said well all that they have said. Oh, D ut 5.28. that there were an heart in them to feare me, and keepe my commandements!

Theol.

His words indeed are good, if his heart were according. For all things considered, there is no cause why men should bee so given to this world: for they must leave it when they have done all that they can. As wee say, To day a man, to morrow none. And, as the Apostle saith,1 Tim. [...]. Wee brought nothing into this world: and it is cer­taine, wee shall carry nothing out. Wee must all dye, wee know not how soon: why therefore should men set their hearts upon such uncertainties, and deceiveable things? for all things in this world are more light then a fea­ther, more brittle than glasse, more fleeting than a shadow, more vanishing than smoake, more unconstant than the winde: Doubtlesse, saith the Prophet David, man walketh in a shadow, Psal. 3 [...] 6. and disquieteth himselfe in vaine: hee heapeth up riches, and cannot tell who shall gather them. I wonder [Page 78] [...] [Page 79] [...] [Page 80] [...] [Page 81] [...] [Page 80] therefore, that these moles and muck­worms of this earth should so minde these shadowish things, and so dote on them as they do. If they were not al­together hardened and blinded by the Divel [...], they would not be so neerly knit to thee [...]od and the penny as they are; thinking, and alwayes imagining, that there is no happinesse but in these things, which are but dung and drosse: and at last they will give us the slip, when wee think our selves most sure of them.

The wise King, who had the grea­test experience of these things that ever man had (for hee enjoyed whatsoever this world could afford, upward and downeward, backward and forward) yet could he finde nothing in them but vanity and vexation of spirit. More­over, hee fl [...]t [...]y avoucheth, That all these things, riches, wealth, honour, pleasures and treasures, will most notably deceive us in the end, give us the sl [...]p, and be gone. For he compareth riches and all the glory of the world to an Eagle or Hawke, which a man holdeth upon his fist, stroketh her, maketh much of her, taketh great de­light and pleasure in her, and saith, hee will not take ten pounds for her, yet all on the sudden shee taketh her flight, and flyeth up into the aire, and hee ne­ver seeth her more, nor shee him. The [Page 81] words of the holy Ghost are these,P [...]o [...]. 25.5. Wilt thou cause thine eyes to flie after them (meaning riches)? Thou maiest: but they will not be found. For they wil make themselves wings like to the Eagle, which slieth up to heaven. From thence wee may learne, that though wee set our hearts neversomuch on any thing here below, yet at the last it shall bee taken from us, or we from it.

Therefore all worldly men doe but weave the spiders web, and may fit­ly bee compared to the silly spider, who toyleth her selfe, and laboureth all the weeke long to fluish up her web, that shee may lodge her selfe in it as in her owne house and free-hold. But, alas, at the weeks end, a maid, in a moment, with one brush of a broom, dispossesseth her of her inheritance, which shee had purchased with great labour and much adoe. Even so, when the men of this world have with much care and travell purchased great lands and revenues, and gathered all that they can: yet on the sudden death (with one stroke of his [...]refull dart) will make them give up the ghost: and then where are they? It was prettily therefore said of a man in the light of nature,Seneca. No man hath ever lived so hap­pily in this life, but in his life time ma­ny things have befallen him, for the which hee hath wished rather to die [Page 82] than to live. And assuredly, I thinke there was never any man lived any one day upon the face of the earth, but some griefe or other either did, or justly might invade his minde ere night: either in the temptations of the World, the Flesh, or the Divell; or in regard of soule, body, goods, or name: in regard of wife, children, friends, or neighbours: in regard of dangers to Prince, Staie, Church, or Common­wealth: in regard of casualties, and losse by water, by fire, by sea, or by land. What a life therefore is this, that hath not our good day in it? Who would desire to dwell long in it? For it lieth open every day to manifold mi­series, dangers, losses, casualties, re­proaches, shame, infamy, poverty, sick­nesse, diseases, cholicks, ague [...], tooth­ache, head-ache, back-ache, bone-ache, and a thousand calamities.

Phil.

You have very well described unto us the vanity of this life, and that no day is free from one sorrow or o­ther, one griefe or other: the which thing our Lord Jesus ratifieth in the reason which hee bringeth why men should not distrustfully care for to mor­row. For, saith hee, sufficient to the day is the evill thereof: Or, as some read it, The day hath enough with his owne griefe. Wherein hee doth plainly shew that every day hath his sor­row, [Page 83] his evill, his griefe, and his thwart. But I pray you proceed further in this point.

Theol.

This I say further: That when men have swinked & sweat, car­ked and cared, mosled and turmosled, drudged and droiled, by night & by day, by sea and by land, with much care and sorrow, much labour and griefe, to rake together the things of this life; yet at last all will away againe, and wee must end where wee began. For as Job said,Iob. 1. Naked wee came into the world, and naked wee must go out. For even as a winde-mill beateth it selfe, maketh a great noise, whistleth and whisketh about from day to day all the yeare long, yet at the yeares end standeth still where it begunne, being not moved one foote backward or for­ward: soe when men have blustered and blowne all that they can, and have even runne themselves out of breath, to scrape up the commodities of the earth, yet at last they must (spite of their beards) end where they began; end with nothing as they began with nothing: end with a winding sheet, as they began with swadling clouts. For what is become of the greatest Mo­narthes, Kings, Princes, Poten­tates, and Magnificoes, that ever the World had? Where is Cyrus, Darius, Xerxes, Alexander, Caesar, Pompey, [Page 84] Scipio and Hannibal? Where are the valiant Henries, and noble Edwards of England? Are they not all gone downe to the house of oblivion? Are they not all returned to their dust, and their thoughts perish? Though they were as gods, yet have they dyed as men, and are fallen like others.

Who now careth for them? who talketh of them? who feareth them? who regardeth them? do not beggers tread upon them? Yet while they li­ved, they were the lords of the world; they were as terrible as lions, feare­full to all men, full of pomp and glory, dignity, and majesty. They ploughed up all things, they bare all before them, and who but they? But now they have given up the ghost,Job 30.23. and are (as Job saith) gone down to the house appointed for all the living. Their pomp is de­scended with them, and all their glory is buried in the ashes. They are now covered under a clod, cast out into a vault, made companions to toads, and the worms do eat them: and what is become of their souls, is most of all to be feared.

Thus wee see, how all flesh doth but make a vaine shew for a while upon this Theatre of misery, fetcheth a compasse about, and is presently gone. For, as the Poet saith, Seriùs aut ci­tiùs sedem properamus ad unam: First [Page 85] or last wee must all to the grave.

As.

You have made a very good speech, it doth me good to hear it. I wonder, all these things considered, that men should be so wholly given to this world as they are. I think the Divell hath bewitched them: for they shall carry nothing with them when they die, but their good deeds and their ill.

Theol.

The drudges and snudges of this world may very fitly be compa­red to a Kings Sumpter-horse, which goeth loaden all the day long with as much gold and treasure as he can bear, but at night his treasure is taken from him; hee is turned into a sorty dirty stable, and hath nothing left him but his galled backe: Even so the rich Cormorants and Caterpillers of the earth, which here have treasured and hoorded up great heaps of gold and silver (with the which they travell loaden thorow this world) shall in the end be stript out of all, let downe into their grave, and have nothing left them but their galled consciences, with the which they shall be tumbled down into the dungeon of eternall dark­nesse.

Phil.

Wherein doth the sting and strength of this world especially consist?

Theol.

Even as the great strength of Samson lay in his haire, so the great strength of the world lyeth in her two [Page 86] breastes; the one of pleasure, the o­ther of profit. For shee, like a notable strumpet, by laying out of these her breasts, doth bewitch the sons of men, and allureth thousands to her lust. For if shee cannot win them with the one breast, yet shee gaineth them with the other: if not with pleasure, then with profit; if not with profit, then with pleasure: Hee is an odde man of a thousand, that sucketh not of the one breast or the other. But sure it is, which soever hee sucketh hee shall bee poysoned. For shee giveth none other milke but ranke poyson. The world therefore is like to an alluring Jael, Judg. 4. [...]1. which sitteth at her doore to en­tice us to come in, and eat of the milke of her pleasures: but when shee hath once got us in, shee is ready (even while wee are eating) with her ham­mer and her naile, to pierce thorow our braines.

Phil.

I see plainely, this world is a very strumpet, a strong baite, and a snaring net, wherein thousands are ta­ken. It is very bird-lime, which doth so belime our affections, that they cannot ascend upward. It is like the weights of a clocke, hanged upon our soules, which draw them downe to the earth; it nail­eth us fast downe to the ground: it mor­tereth us into clay: it maketh us abo­minable unto God. For I remember [Page 87] God made a law, That whosoever goeth with his breast upon the ground, Levit. 11. should be abominable unto us. How much more these carnall worldlings, which are fast sodred to the earth!

Theol.

The Apostle Saint James, seeing into the deep wickednesse of this world, and knowing right well how o­dious it maketh us in the sight of God, cryeth out against it, terming it adul­tery, and all worldings adulterers, because they forsake Christ their true husband, and whorishly give their hearts to this world.James 4. O yee adulterers and adulteresses, saith hee, know ye not that the amity of this world is the enmi­ty of God? whosoever therefore will be made a friend to this world, makes him­selfe the enemy of God. And who dare stand forth and say, I will bee the e­nemy of God? who therefore dares be a worldling? for every worldling is the enemy of God: what then will become of you, O yee wicked world­lings?

Phil.

It appeareth then plainely by the Scriptures, that the excessive love of this world, and unsatiable desire of ha­ving, is a most dangerous thing: and men doe they know not what in seeking so greedily after it.

Theol.

The Heathen man will [...]ise up in judgement against us; for hee saith,Sophocles. Unsatiablenesse is the foulest e­vill [Page 88] among mortall men. But many of our sea-gulfes and whirl-pools make no conscience of it. They think it is no sinne, they devour and swallow up all, and yet are never satisfied. They will have all, and more then a l, and the Divell and all. The whole world cannot satisfie their mind, but God must create new worlds to content them. These men are sick of the golden dropsie: the more they have, the more they desire. The love of money in­creaseth as money it selfe increaseth. But the Scripture saith, Hee that loveth silver shall not bee satisfied with silver. Eccles. 5.9. Oh therefore that wee would strive earnestly to get out of this gulfe of hell,Apoc. 12.2. and tread the Moon (that is, all worldly things) under our feet, as it is spoken of the Church: and that wee would set our affections on the things that are above, and not on the things that are beneath: that wee would flie an high pitch, and soare a­l [...]ft as the Eagles, looking downe at this world, and all things in it, as at our feet, contemning it, and treading the very glory of it under our feet, that it may never have more power o­ver us!

Phil.

O happy, and twice happy are they that can do so! and I beseech the Almighty God to give us his holy Spi­rit, whereby wee may be carried above [Page 89] this world, into the mountaines of spi­ces. For, how happy a thing is it to have our conversation in heaven! that is, to have an inward conversation with God, by much prayer, reading, medita­tion, and heavenly affections. This in­deed is to climbe up above the world, and to converse in the chambers of peace. O therefore that wee would se­riously and throughly conceive and con­sider of this world as it is! that wee would well weigh the vanity of it, and the excellency of that which is to com [...]; that so wee might loath the one, and love the other; despise the one, and im­brace the other; love God more then ever wee did, and this world lesse! For what is this world but vanity of vani­ties?

Antil.

You do exceedingly abase that which some make their god. You speak contemptuously of that which most men have in greatest price and admiration. You disgrace that which multitudes would grace. You make light of that which numbers make greatest account of. Let us therefore heare your reasons. Shew us more fully what it is; describe it unto us.

Theol.

The world is a sea of glasse, a pageant of fond delights, a theatre of vanity, a labyrinth of errour, a gulfe of griefe, a stye of filthinesse, a vale of misery, a spectacle of woe, a river of [Page 90] teares, a stage of deceit, a cage full of Owles, a den of Scorpions, a wil­dernesse of Wolves, a cabbin of Bears, a whirle-winde of passions, a fained Comedy, a delectable phrensie, where is false delight, assured griefe, certain sorrow, uncertaine pleasure, lasting woe, fickle wealth, long heavinesse, short joy.

Phil.

Now you have indeed descri­bed it to the full, and layed it out (as it were) in orient colours. And a man would think he were bewitched, or stark mad, which hereafter should set his minde on it. But yet I am desirous to heare a little more of that which I asked you before: wherein the strength and poyson of the world doth especially consist.

Theol.

In this lyeth a great strength of the world, that it draweth down the stars of heaven, and maketh them fall to the earth, as it is said of the Dragons taile,Rev. 12. which is ambiti­on, covetousnesse, and the love of this world. For wee may wonder and la­ment, to see how the love of these things hath wounded and over-borne many excellent servants of God, both Preachers and Professours of the Gospel: which thing doth plainely argue the strength of it. For it is the strongest, and the very last engine that Sathan useth to impugne us withall, [Page 91] when none other will prevaile. For when no temptation could fasten up­on Christ, hee bringeth forth this last weapon, which never faileth,Matth. 4. All these things will I give thee; shewing him the glory of the whole world. So then, hee (having experience of this, that it never faileth) thought to have over­come Christ himselfe with it. Here therefore lyeth the very sting and strength of the world and the Divell. For whom hath hee not taken with, All these things will I give thee? whom hath hee not wounded? whom hath hee not deceived? whom hath hee not overthrowne? With this hee enticed Balaam: with this he beguiled Achan: with this hee overthrew Judas: with this hee bewitched Demas: with this in these our dayes hee deceiveth many of excellent gifts. For assuredly hee is a Phoenix amongst men, which is not overcome with this. He is a won­derment of the world that is not mo­ved with money.

Phil.

I am now fully satisfied for this matter. But one thing cometh often into my mind; to wit, that these miserable worldlings can have no sound comfort in their pleasures and profits, because they have no comfort in God, nor peace in their own consciences.

Theol.

You say very true. It is impossible that men, loving this [Page 92] world, should have any sound com­fort in God. For no man can serve two masters, both God and riches. Their case therefore is very dange­rous and fearfull, though they never see it, nor feele it: as I will shew you by a plaine example. Put case one of these great rich worldlings should bee cloathed in velvet and cloth of gold in most stately manner, and also should bee set at his table, furnished with all the dainties of the world, should bee attended and waited upon by many in most lordly and po [...]pous manner, should sit in his goodly dining cham­ber, all glittering like gold, should have his first, second, and third service served in with minstrels and instru­ments of musick in most royall sort, hee sitting in his chaire like a King in his throne: yet for all this, if a dag­ger should bee held to his heart all this while, ready to stab him; what plea­sure, what joy, what comfort could he have in all the rest? Even so, what­soever pomp and pleasures wicked worldlings have here below, yet their guilty and hellish conscience is as it were a dagger held alwayes hard to their heart, so as they can have no found comfort in any thing. Or let mee give it you thus: Put case a man hath committed high treason, and were therefore apprehended, ar­raigned, [Page 93] and condemned to be hanged, drawne, and quartered; what then can comfort a man in this case? can mirth, can musick, can gold, can silver, can lands, can livings? No, no, none of all these can help him, or give him any comfort: For the continuall thoughts of death doe so gripe him at the heart, that none of all these can doe him any good, or any whit mitigate his griefe. What then is the thing that can com­fort him in this case? Only a pardon sealed with the Kings broad seale, and subscribed with his owne hand. For assoone as hee hath got this, his hea­vie heart reviveth, and lea [...]eth for joy. This then assuredly is the very case of all profane Atheists and world­lings, who are not assured of the King of heaven his pardon for their sinne: and then, what joy can they have ei­ther in their meat, drink, goods, cat­tell, wives, children, lands, revenues, or any thing whatsoever? For the dreadfull thoughts of hell doe est­soones crosse them inwardly, and quite damp and dash all their mirth. Their owne consciences will not bee stilled; but in most terrible manner rise up and give evidence against them, tel­ling them flatly, they shall bee damned, how merry and jocond soever they seeme to bee in this world, setting a good face on the matter. For sure it [Page 94] is, that inwardly they have many a cold pull, and many heart-gripes. And all their mirth and jollity is but a giggling from the teeth outward: they can have no sound comfor [...] with­in. And therefore the wi [...]e King saith, Even in laughter the heart is sorrow­full: Prov. 14.12. and the end of that mirth is hea­vinesse. Job 27.20. Likewise saith the holy man Job, Terrours of conscience come up­on the wicked man like waters: in the night a whirle-wind carrieth him away secretly. Eliphas the Temanite avou­ched the same point,Job 15.20. saying, The wick­ed man is continually as one that travel­leth of childe, a sound of fear is in his ears, &c. Thus then we see, that how­soever many carnall Atheists, and un­godly persons seem outwardly to float aloft in all mirth and jollity, bearing it out (as wee say) at the breast: yet inwardly are they pinched with ter­rours, and most horrible convulsions of conscience.

Antil.

You have spoken many things very sharply against covetousnesse: but in my mind, so long as a man covets no­thing but his own, hee cannot be said to be covetous.

Theol.

Yes that he may. For not onely is hee covetous, which greedily desireth other mens goods; but even hee also which over-niggardly and pinchingly holdeth fast his owne, and [Page 95] is such a miser, that hee will part with nothing. Wee see the world is full of such pinch-pennies, that will let nothing goe, except it be wrung from them perforce, as a key out of Hercules hand.

The gripple muck-rabers had as leeve part with their bloud as their goods. They will pinch their owne backs and bellies, to get their god into their chests. And when they have once got him there, will they easily part with him, trow yee? No, no: a man will part with his god for no mans pleasure. Hee will eat pease­bread, and drinke small drink, rather then he will diminish his god. There­fore the Scripture saith,Prov. 31. [...]. Eat not the meat of him that hath an evill eye: and desire not his dainty dishes. For as hee grudgeth his owne soule, so will hee say unto thee; Eat and drink, when his heart is not with thee. Thou shalt vo­mit thy morsels which thou hast eaten, and lose thy pleasant speeches. The old saying is, The covetous man want­eth as well that which he hath, as that which he hath not; because he hath no use of that which hee hath. So then you see, there is a great strength of co­vetousnesse in the niggardly keeping of our own.

Antil.

Yet for all this, men must fol­low their worldy businesse, and lay up to [Page 96] live. For it is an hard world, and goods are not easie to come by. Therefore men must ply their businesse, or else they may go beg and starve.

Theol.

I deny not, but that you may follow the works of your calling dili­gently, so it be in the fear of God, and with a good conscience, as I told you before: but this greedinesse and grip­plenesse God doth condemne, and also this excessive love of money.

Antil.

Beleeve mee, I know no body that hates it: I cannot see but that all men love gold and silver.

Theol.

It is one thing to use these things: and another thing to love them, and set our hearts upon thens. For the Scripture saith,1 John 2. If riches in­crease, set not your hearts upon them. Saint John also saith, Love not this world, nor the things that are in this world. Hee saith not, Use not this world; but, Love not this world: For use it wee may: love it wee may not.1 Cor. 7. Therefore the Apostle saith, that, They which use this world should bee as though they used it not. Where hee alloweth a sober and moderate use of the things of this life in the fear of God. Wee must use this world for ne­cessities sake, as wee use meat and drink, taking no more of this world then needs must, for fear of surfeiting. The holy Ghost saith,Heb. 13.5. Let your conver­sation [Page 97] be without covetousnesse, and be content with things present. Happy is that man therefore that is well con­tent with his present estate what­soever, and carrieth himselfe mode­rately and comfortably therein. For the Spirit saith,Eccl. 2.24. There is no profit to a man under the Sun, but that he eat and drink, and delight his soul with the pro­fit of his labours. I saw also this, that this is the hand of God. In which words the prudent King saith thus much in effect: That this is all the good wee can attain unto in this world, even to take a sober and comfortable [...]s [...] of the things of this life, which God bestoweth upon us. And further hee avoucheth;Eccl. 18.19. That thus to use them a­right, and with sound comfort is a very rare gift of God. For, as one saith,Greg. N 1. He is a wise man that is not grieved for the things which hee hath not; but doth re­joyce in the things that hee hath, using them to Gods glory and his owne com­fort. So then I conclude this point, and return to you an answer, thus: That wee may, in sober and godly manner, use gold, silver, and the things of this life: but at no hand to over­love them, or give our hearts unto them.

Antil.

Well: Yet for all this I cannot see, but that these Preachers and Pro­fessors, these learned men and precise [Page 98] fellowes, are even as eager of the world, and as covetous as any other.

Theol.

Now you shew your vene­mous spirit against better men then your selfe. And I have a foure-fold answer for you. First, I answer, that although godly men may be some­what overtaken this way, and over-spirt a little, yet they break not out so grossely as others. Secondly, if God leave them sometimes to be overcome of the world, yet hee, in his great wisedome and mercy, turneth it to their good. For thereby hee first hum­bleth them, and afterwards raiseth them up againe.Rom. 8. And so all things work together for good to them that love God. Thirdly, I answer, wee must live by rules, and not by ex­amples. For even the best of Gods people have had their wants and weaknesses. Therefore wee may not frame rules to live by out of the in­firmi ies of the most excellent ser­vants of God. Wicked therefore and impious is their allegation, who al­ledge Davids adultery, Lots drunken­nesse, Peters fall, Abrahams slips, So­lomons weaknesse, &c. for a shelter and defence of themselves in the like sins. Lastly, I answer, that you greatly wound your self in your own speech: so far off are you from mending your market any whit thereby. For if [Page 99] Preachers and other godly men (af­ter many prayers, teares, and much meanes used, cannot escape scot-free, but sometimes are wounded, and al­most overthrowne by the world and the Divell; what then shall become of you, which use no meanes at all, nor any gain-striving, but willingly give place to the Divell? If the Divell did over-master David, Lot, Samson, Solomon, and other such excellent worthies; alas, what shall become of meer worldlings and Atheists? If the most valiant men, and chiefe Cap­taines in a battell goe downe, what shall become of the faint-hearted soul­diers? And as S. Peter saith,1 Pet. 4.18. If the righteous scarce be saved, where shall the wicked and ungodly appeare? So then I take you at the rebound, and returne your owne weapon upon your selfe; That sith godly men cannot e­scape through this world without blowes, what shall become of them that know not what godlinesse mea­neth?

Antil.

Yet I say once again, that men must live, men must lay up for this world: we cannot live by the Scriptures. And as for that which you call covetous­nesse, it is but good husbandry.

Theol.

I thought wee should have it at last. Now you have paid it home: you are come to the old byas, and as [Page 100] a Hare to her old fourm, and hee old covert. For this is the very covert and thicket of the world, wherein they would hide covetousnesse: but I will doe what I can to hunt you out of it by the Scriptures.

Prov. 11.14.First, Solomon saith, Hee that spa­reth more then is right, shall surely come to poverty. So then you see, that covetousnesse bringeth poverty. Thus therefore I reason: That which brin­geth poverty is no good husbandry: but covetousnesse and too much spa­ring bringeth poverty; therefore it is no good husbandry. The same So­lomon saith, Hee that is given to gaine, troubleth his owne house. That is, the covetous man is an occasion of many evils in his estate and family. From Scripture I doe thus reason: That which troubleth a mans house is no good husbandry: but covetousnesse troubleth a mans house; therefore it is no good husbandry. Last of all, the old Proverb saith. Covetousnesse brin­geth nothing home: And therefore it is no good husbandry. For often­times wee see, that men for covetous­nesse of more, lose that which other­wise they might have had. One of the wise Heathen saith,Hesiodus. Evill gaine is as bad as losse. But the covetous man doth seek after wicked gaine, and therefore seeketh losse; and conse­quently [Page 101] is no good husband. Another saith,Phocilides. Unjust gain bringeth forth losse and misery. And therefore it is far e­nough off from vertue and all good hus­bandry. Thus then, I hope, you are so hunted both by God and men, that this covert cannot hide you. And ther­fore you must out of it, and seek some other shelter: for this will not serve your turn.

Phil.

Now I must needs say, you have fully stopt his mouth, and throughly ferreted him out of his deepe burrow. And it is most certain that you say, that the wise Heathen hath condemned cove­tousnesse and all unjust gains; which we both practice and defend: and therefore shall they rise up in judgement against us. But now let us leave this caviller, and proceed in our matters. There is one thing yet remaining, wherein I desire to be satisfied.

Theol.

What is that?

Phil.

I would gladly know which be the speciall remedies against covetous­nesse.

Theol.

There be two speciall reme­dies against covetousnesse: to wit, con­tentation, and the meditation of Gods providence.

Phil.

Let us hear somewhat of conten­tation out of the Scriptures.

Theol.

The Apostle saith,1 Tim. 7.9. Having food and raiment, wee must be therewith [Page 102] content. 1 Tim. 7.9. For wee brought nothing into this world: and it is certaine wee shall carry nothing out. The Spirit also saith,Heb. 12.5. Let your conversation bee with­out covetousnesse, and bee content with your present estate. Againe, the A­postle saith,Phil. 4. Hee had learned in what e­state soever hee was, therewith to bee content. Note that hee saith, He had learned: for hee had it not of himselfe. For contentation is the singular gift of God:Prov. 13 25. as it is written, The righ­teous eateth to the contentation of his soule, Cyril. in Jo­an. 12. but the belly of the wicked shall want. An ancient Father saith, Wee ought to accustome our selves to live of a little, and to be content; that wee may doe no wicked or filthy thing for lucres sake. Chrysost. hom. 51. Another saith, Hee is not poor that hath nothing, but hee that desires much. Neither is hee rich that hath much, but hee that wanteth no­thing: for contentation never wanteth. There is no griefe in lacking, but where there is immoderate desire of having. If woe will live after nature, we shall ne­ver bee poor: if after our owne appe­tite, we shall never be rich. Well there­fore said the Poet,Euripides. Wax not rich un­justly, but justly: Be content with thine own things: abstaine from other m [...]ns. Thus then wee see, that both God himselfe (the fountaine of all wise­dome) and men also, both in the state [Page 103] of nature and grace, doe all joyntly ad­vise us to strive for contentation: and then we shall have a soveraign remedy against Covetousnesse.

Phil.

Let us hear somewhat of the se­cond remedy against Covetousnesse.

Theol.

An earnest thinking upon the providence of God is a present remedy against the most foolish and pining carefulnesse of men for this life. For if we would seriously weigh, and deeply consider the provident care that God hath had for his children in all ages, touching food and raiment, and how strangely hee hath provided for them; it might suffice to correct this evill in us, and minister unto us a notable preservative against Cove­tousnesse.

We read how wonderfully the Lord did provide for his Prophet Elijah, in the time of the great dearth and drought that was in Israel.1 King. 17. Did not the Lord command the Ravens to feed him by the River Cherith? Did not the Ravens bring him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening, and he drank of the River?

What should I speak how mira­culously God provided for Hagar and her infant,Gen. 12.25. when they were both cast out of Abrahams house, and brought to great extremity; even both of them [Page 104] ready to give up the Ghost for want of food.

Did not God help at a pinch, as his manner hath alwayes been?Exod. 15.5. Did he not send his Angel unto them, and both comfort them, and provide for them? What should I speake how strangely God provided for his Church in the wildernesse? Did hee not feede them with Manna from hea­ven,Exod. 17.6. Psal. 78. and gave them water to drinke out of the rock? Hath not our hea­venly Father made many royall and large promises, that hee will provide necessaries for his children? Shall wee not think that hee will be as good as his word?Psal. 34.1. Doth hee not say, The lions lack and suffer hunger: but they that seek him shall want nothing that is good? Psal. 84.11. Doth hee not say, Fear him all yee his Saints, for nothing is wan­ting to them that feare him? Doth hee not say, No good thing shall be with­held from them that walke uprightly? Doth hee not say,Matth. 6.33. Our heavenly Father knoweth that wee have need of these things, and that all these things shall bee cast upon us, if wee earnestly seeke his kingdome? 1 Pet. 5.7. Did hee not bid us, Cast all our care upon him, for hee careth for us? Luke 1 [...]. Doth hee not bid us, Take no thought what wee shall eat, or what wee shall drink, or wherewith wee shall be cloathed? Meaning thereby, no [Page 105] distracting or distrustfull thoughts. Doth hee not say,Heb. 13.5. Hee will not leave us, nor forsake us? Doth hee not say, The Lord is at hand, Phil. 4.5. in nothing be care­full? Are not these large promises suffi [...]ient [...]o stay up our faith in Gods providence? shall wee thinke God jesteth with us? shall wee think hee meaneth no such matter? shall wee i­magine hee will not keep touch? Oh, it were blasphemie once to thinke it. For God is true, and all men lyars. Hee is faithfull that hath promised. His word is more then the faith of a Prince; more then ten thousand ob­ligations. Why then doe wee not rest upon it? why goe wee any further? why doe we not take his word? why doe wee not depend wholly upon him? why are wee still covetous? why are we still distrustfull? why doe we dis­semble and deceive? Oh wee of little faith! Our Lord Iesus knowing right well the distrustfulnesse of our nature, and the deep root it hath in us, is not only content to make these great and royall promises unto us, which were enough, but also strengthen­eth and backeth us with many strong reasons, to support our weaknesse in this behalfe. He therefore bringeth us back to a due consideration of things. Consider (saith hee) the Ravens: Luke 12. con­sider the fowles of the heavens: for they [Page 104] [...] [Page 105] [...] [Page 106] neither sow not reap, nor carry into barnes, and yet God feedeth them; they want nothing. Consider the lillies, how they grow; they neither labour, nor spinne; yet Solomon in all his roy­alty was not clothed like one of these. Oh therefore that wee would consider these Considers! Oh that wee would consider, that our life is more worth then meat, and our bodies then rai­ment! Oh that wee would consider, that with all our carking and caring wee can doe no good at all, no not so much as add one cubite to our stature! Truely, truely, if wee would deeply ponder these reasons of our Savi­our, and apply them to our selves, they might serve for a bulwark and sure defence against covetousnesse. If men would consider, how that great King of heaven (who hath his way in the whirle-wind,Nahum 1.3. and the clouds are the dust of his feet) careth for the lit­tle Wren and silly Sparrow, how hee looketh to them, how he tendreth them, how hee provideth for them every day both break-fast, dinner, and supper: it might serve to correct our distrust­fulnesse. For who ever saw these, or any other fowle starve for hunger? so good a Father, and so good a Nurse have they. And are not wee much bet­ter then they? Hath not God more care of us, then of them? Yes verily, [Page 107] a thousand times. For he loveth them but for our sakes: how much more then doth he love our selves? There­fore I say again, and againe, If wee would consider these things, and lay them to heart, they would nip cove­tousnesse on the head, and drive it quite out of our hearts. Let us consi­der therefore, that God provided for man before man was: then how much more will hee provide for man now that hee is? Is hee our Father, and will hee not provide for us? Is he our King, and will he not regard us? Is hee our shepherd, and will hee not look to us? Hath hee provided heaven for us, and will hee not give us earth? Hath hee given us his Sonne Christ, and shall hee not with him give us all things? Doth hee provide for his e­nemies, and will hee not provide for his friends? Doth hee provide for whoremongers, and will hee neglect his chosen? Doth hee send his rain, and cause the sunne to shine upon the unjust, and shall hee not upon the just? Doth he provide for them which are not of the family, and will hee not provide for his owne family? Will a man feed his hogges, and not care for his servants? Or will hee care for his servants, and not regard his own children? Oh, then let us consider these reasons: let us remember, that [Page 108] our heavenly Father hath as great care for the preservation of his crea­tures, as once hee had for their creati­on. Let us therefore remember, that he which giveth the day, will provide for us the things of the day. Let us re­member, that God alwayes giveth for sustentation, though not for satiety. Let us remember,P [...]v. 10.28. that God will not fa­mish the souls of the righteous. Let us remember how God never faileth his. For who ever trusted in the Lord, and was confounded?

Phil.

What then is the cause that many do want these outward things?

Theol.

The cause is in themselves, because they want faith. For if wee had faith, wee could want nothing; For faith feareth no famine, as saith an ancient Father.Hieron ad Heliodo­rum. Cypr. in o­ratione Do­minica. Another saith, Forasmuch as all things are Gods, hee that hath God can want nothing, if himselfe bee not wanting unto God. Therefore to have God, is to have all things: for if we have him our friend, wee have enough, we need goe no fur­ther. For hee will make men our friends: yea, hee will make Angels and all creatures to bee serviceable unto us, hee will give them speciall charge to looke to us, to guard us, and to doe continuall homage unto us. Therefore let us make God our friend, and then have we done all at [Page 109] once, that may concerne our good both for this life and a better. But if hee stand not our friend, if wee have not him on our side, if hee back us not, then all other things whatsoever can doe us no good: All is not worth a button: For,August. Quid prodest si omnia habes, cum tamen qui omnia dedit non habeas? What is a man the better, though hee have all things, and bee without him which is the author of all things.

Phil.

Herein you speak very truly, no doubt. For we see many have great plenty of outward things: but because they have not God, they can have no true comfort in them, or blessing with them.

Theol.

True indeed: For,Matth. 4. Man li­veth not by bread only, (saith our Lord Iesus) but by every word that pro­ceedeth out of the mouth of God. And again he [...] saith,L [...]ke 12. Though a man have a­bundance, yet his life consisteth not in the things that hee hath. For without Gods blessing there can bee no sound comfort in any thing. Wee see by dai­ly expe [...]ience, how the Lord curseth the wicked though they have abun­dance. For some having abundance, yet are visited with continuall sick­nesses. Some having abundance, pine away with consumptions. O­thers having abundance, dye of sur­feiting. Others are snatched away [Page 110] by untimely death, in the midst of all their jollity. Others are visited with great losse both by sea and by land. O­thers are vexed with curst wives, and disobedient children. Some a­gaine commit murthers and treasons, and so lose all at once. Others are wasted and consumed by the secret curse of God, no man knoweth how. Some having great riches, are given over to the murtherer, some to the thiefe, some to the poysoner. There­fore the wise King saith, There is an evill sicknesse under the sun: riches re­served to the owners thereof for their e­vill, Eccl. 5.12.

Zophar also the Naamathite saith, When the wicked shall have sufficient and enough, Job 20.23. hee shall be brought into straits: The hand of every troublesome man shall be upon him. When hee shall fill his belly, God will send upon him his fierce wrath; which hee shall rain upon him in stead of his meat.

Thus then it is cleere, that mans life and good estate dependeth not up­on the abundance of outward things, but onely upon the blessing and provi­dence of God.Prov. 10.12. For, his blessing onely maketh rich, and it doth bring no sor­row with it. Psal. 37.16. For, better is a little to the just, then great abundance to ma­ny of the wicked. Prov. 25.26. Better is a little with the fear of the Lord, then great trea­sure, [Page 121] and trouble therewith. Better is a little with righteousnesse, Prov. 16.8. then great re­venues without equity.

Thus then I conclude this point: Man liveth not by bread, but by a bles­sing on bread: not by outward means, but by a blessing upon meanes. For how can bread, being a dead thing, and having no life in it selfe, give life to o­thers?

Phil.

I do not well understand the meaning of these words, By every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Theol.

Thereby is meant the decree, ordinance, and providence of God, which upholdeth all things, even the whole order of nature.

For the Scripture saith, Hee spake, Psal. 33.9. and it was done: hee commanded, and they were created. In which words wee plainly see, that God doth but speake, and it is done; hee doth com­mand, and all creatures are preserved. For God doth all things [...] a word. Hee created all with his word: hee preserveth all with his word: hee speaketh, and it is done. His words are words of power and authority. Whatsoever he saith, what­soever hee calleth for, it must be done presently, without any delay: there is no withstanding of him. Hee calleth for famine, and behold famine. Hee cal­leth [Page 122] for plenty, and behold plenty. Hee calleth for pestilence, and behold pesti­lence. He calleth for the sword, and be­hold the sword. All Angels, all men, all beasts, all fishes, all fowls, all creatures whatsoever must obey him, and be at his beck. He is the greatest comman­der his word commandeth heaven and earth, and the sea. All creatures must bee obedient to his will, and subject to his ordinance.

This is the cause why all things, both in heaven, earth, and the sea, doe keep their immutable and unvariable courses, times and seasons, even be­cause hee hath charged them so to doe. And they must of necessity alwayes, at all times, and for ever obey; for the creatures must obey the Creator. This [...]ct of Parliament was made the first week of the world, and never since was or can be repealed.

Phil.

But to call you back againe to the point wee had in hand: Resolve mee, I pray you, of this; whether many of the deare children of God doe not, in this life, sometimes want outward things, and are brought into great di­stresse.

Theol.

1 Ki [...]g. 17.Yes certainely. For Elijah did want,2 C [...]r. [...].8. 2 Cor. 11.25 and was in distresse. Paul did want, and was in many distresses. The holy Christians mentioned in the Hebrewes did want,Heb. 1 [...].3 [...]. and were [Page 123] in marvellous distresses. Many of Gods dear ones have in all ages wan­ted, and at this day also doe want, and are greatly distressed. But this is a most infallible truth, that howsoever Gods children may want, and be low brought, yet they are never utterly for­saken, but are holpen even in greatest extre [...]i [...]ie: yea, when all things are desperate, and brought even to the last cast.

To this point most notably speaketh the Apostle, saying,1 Cor 4.8. We are affl cted on every side, but yet wee despaire not: wee are persecuted, but not forsaken; cast downe, but wee perish not. The Pro­phet Jeremie also saith,L [...]. 3. The Lord will not forsake for ever: but though hee send affliction, yet will hee have compas­sion, according to the multitude of his mercies: For hee doth not punish wil­lingly, or from his heart, nor afflict the children of men. The kingly Prophet saith,Psal. 94.4. Surely the Lord will not fail his people, neither will hee forsake his inhe­ritance. The Lord himself saith, For a moment in mine anger I hid my face from thee: I [...]a. [...]5.8. but with everlasting mercy have I had compassion on thee. So then wee may fully assure our selves, and even write of it (as a most undoubted and sealed truth) that Gods children shall never be utterly forsaken in their troubles.

[...]
[...]
Phil.

Sith the care and providence of God is so great for his children, as you have largely declared: what then, I pray you, is the cause why God suffereth his to bee brought into so many troubles and necessities?

Theol.

Their profit and benefit is the cause, and not their hurt. For he loveth them, when hee smiteth them. Hee favoureth them, when he seemeth to be most against them. Hee aimeth at their good, when hee seemeth to bee most angry with them. He woundeth them, that hee may heale them. Hee presseth them, that hee may ease them. Hee maketh them cry, that afterward they may laugh. Hee alwaies meaneth well unto them, hee never meaneth hurt. Hee is most constant in his love towards them. If he bring them into necessities, it is but for the triall of their faith, love, patience, and diligence in prayer.

If he cast them into the fire, it is not to consume them; but to purge and re­fine them. If he bring them into great dangers, it is but to make them call upon him more earnestly for help and deliverance.

He presseth us, that wee might cry: wee cry, that wee may be heard: wee are heard, that we might be delivered. So that here is no hurt done: we are worse scared than hurt.

[Page 125]

Even as a mother, when her childe is way-ward, threateneth to throw it to the Wolfe, or scareth it with some poker, or bul-begger, to make it cling more unto her, and be quiet: So the Lord oftentimes sheweth us the ter­rible faces of troubles and dangers, to make us cleave and cling faster un­to him, and also to teach us to esteeme better of his gifts when wee enjoy them, and to bee more thankfull for them; as health, wealth, peace, li­berty, safety, &c. So then still we see, here is nothing meant on Gods part but good: as it is written,Rom. 5. All things worke together for good to them that love God. For,Heb. 12 10. Heb. 12.14. even the afflictions of Gods children are so sanctified unto them by the Spirit,1 Thes. 1.6. that thereby they are made partakers of the holinesse of God.Gal. 6.14. Phil 3.10. Thereby they enjoy the quiet fruit of righteousnesse. Thereby they attaine unto a greater measure of joy in the holy Ghost.2 Cor. 11.32 Thereby the world is crucified to them, and they to the world.Rom. 5.3, 4. Thereby they are made con­formable to the death of Christ. There­by they are kept from the condemnati­on of the world. Thereby they learne experience, patience, hope, &c. So that all things considered, Gods chil­dren are no losers by their afflictions, but gainers. It is better for them to have them, than to be without them: [Page 126] they are very good for them. For when Gods children are chastised, it is as it should be. For to them the crosse is mercy, and losse is gain. Afflictions are their schooling, and their adversitie their best Vniversity.

It is good for mee (saith the holy man of God) that I have been afflicted, Psal. 118. that I might learn thy statutes. By his af­flictions therefore hee learned much, and became a good schollar in Gods booke, and well seen in his statutes and lawes. Hee grew to great wise­dome and judgement by his chastise­ments. All things turned about in Gods mercifull providence, to his e­verlasting comfort. For I say againe and againe, That all things tend to the good of Gods chosen people. And therefore that estate which God will have his children to be in, is alwayes best for them: because he who can best discern what is best, seeth it to bee best for them: whether it bee sicknesse or health, poverty or plenty, prison or liberty, prosperity or adversity. For sometimes sicknesse is better for us then health, and poverty then plen­ty. Are therefore the children of God sick? It is best for them. Are they poore? It is best for them. Are they in any trouble? It is best for them: because their good Father will turne it to the best. Hee will oftentimes cut [Page 127] us short of our lusts and desires, be­cause hee seeth we will bane our selves with them. Hee in fatherly care will take the knife from us, because hee seeth wee will hurt our selves with it. Hee will keep us short of health and wealth, because hee knoweth wee will bee the worse for them. Hee will not give us too much ease and prosperity in this world: for hee knoweth it will poyson us. Hee will not allow us con­tinuall rest, like standing ponds: for then hee knoweth wee will gather scum and filth. Hee dealeth fatherly and mercifully with us in all things; even then seeking our greatest good, when wee thinke hee doth us most harme.

And to speak all in a word: he bring­eth us into troubles and straits to this end especially, that hee may hear of us. For he right wel knoweth our nature, he is well acquainted with our dispo­sition; hee knoweth we will not come at him, but when wee stand in need of him: we care not for him, so long as all goeth well with us. But if wee come into distresse, or want any thing that we faine would have, then hee is sure to heare of us: as he saith by the Prophet;Hos. 3.15. In their affliction they will seek me early.

And another Prophet saith, Lord, Isa. 26.26. in trouble have they visited thee: They [Page 128] poured out a prayer when thy chastise­ment was upon them. So then now, I hope, you do plainly see the cause, why the Lord bringeth his children into so many troubles and necessities.

Phil.

I do see it indeed, and am very well satisfied in it. But yet let mee aske you one thing further: Are Gods chil­dren alwaies sure to be delivered out of their troubles?

Theol.

Yes verily: and (out of doubt) so farre forth as God seeth good for them. For it is written, Great are the troubles of the righteous, Psal. 34.19. but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. Saint Peter saith, [...] P [...] 1 9. The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of tempta­tion. As if hee should say, Hee is well beaten to it, and well seen and experi­enced in it, so as hee can doe it easily, and without any trouble at all. It is said of Joseph, being in prison, That when his appointed time was come, Phil. 105.1 [...]. [...]. and the counsell of the Lord had tryed him, the King sent and loosed him, the Ruler of the people delivered him. And againe the Scripture saith,Psal. 34. The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth them, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The Angell of the Lord tarrieth round about them that feare him, and delive­reth them. And in another place, the Lord himselfe saith, concerning the righteous man,Psal. 91.17. Because he hath loved [Page 129] me, therefore I will deliver him. I will exalt him, because hee hath knowne my name. He shall call upon me in trouble, and I will heare him. I will be with him in trouble: I will deliver him, and glo­rifie him. Job 5. So also saith Eliphas the Temanite, Hee shall deliver thee in six troubles, and in the seventh the evill shall not touch thee. Come, my people, saith the Lord,Isa. 25.22. enter thou into my Chambers, and shut the doores after thee: hide thy selfe for a very little while, untill the indignation passe over. And the Prophet saith,Obad. 27. [...] Upon Mount Sion shall be deliverance, and it shall be holy: and the house of Jacob shall possesse their hereditarie possessions. Almost innumerable places of the Scriptures might be alledged to this purpose; but these may suffice. There­fore let us know for a certainty, that so sure as trouble and affliction are to the children of God; so sure also is deliverance out of the same. As we may write of the one, and make recko­ning of it, as sure as the coat on our backe; so may wee also in Gods good time, write of the other, and make full account of it, as sure as the Lord is true. Abraham was in trouble, but delivered. Job in trouble, but deli­vered. David in great trouble, but de­livered. The three children in the fur­nace, but delivered. Daniel in the [Page 130] Lions den, but delivered. Jonas in the Whales belly, but delivered. Paul in in­numerable troubles, but yet delivered out of all.

Phil.

All this being true that you say, it followeth, that Gods children are cha­stised only for their good, and evermore sure of deliverance in his appointed time. Which thing being so, mee thinks there is no cause at all why they should bee o­ver-heavie, or too much cast down in their afflictions.

Theol.

Assuredly there is no cause at all, but rather cause why they should rejoyce, clap their hands, and sing, Care away. For can a father forsake his children? a King his subjects? a master his servant? or a shepherd his sheep? Doth not Jehovah say, I will not leave thee nor forsake thee? Heb. 13. Doth not our heavenly Father know wee have need of these things? Hath not God given us his word, that we shall not want outward things? Hath hee not said, they shall bee cast up­on us? Why then should wee bee dis­mayed? Why should wee hang down our heads? Why doe wee not plucke up good hearts, and be of good cheere? God is our dear Father: hee is our best friend: hee is our daily Bene­factor: or: hee keepeth us at his own cost and charges: he grudgeth us nothing: he thinketh nothing too much for us: [Page 131] hee loveth us most deadly: hee is most charie and tender over us: hee can­not endure the winde should blow upon us. hee will have us want no­thing that is good for us. If we will out gold, wee shall have it. He hath gi­ven us his faithfull promise, that as long as wee live, we shall never want Let us therefore rejoyce and be merry. For heaven is ours, earth is ours, God is ours, Christ is ours, All is ours: As the Apostle saith,1 Cor. 3.21. All is yours, and you are Christs, and Christ is Gods. The world clap their hands, and crow long before it be day, say­ing. All is theirs: but the children of God may say, and say truly, All is ours. For they have a true title, and proper interest, through Christ, in all the creatures. Many are their privi­ledges, great are their prerogatives. They are free of heaven, and free of earth. They are the onely free Deni­zens of the world: Christ hath pur­chased them their freedome: Christ hath made them free, and therefore they are free indeed. They are free from sinne, free from hell, free from damnation. They are at peace with God, Men, and Angels. They are at peace with themselves. They are at peace with all creatures. They are young Princes, Angels fellowes, de­scended of the highest house, of the [Page 132] bloud royall of Heaven, States of Paradise, and heires apparent to the immortall Crowne. Therefore God hath commanded his Angels to guard them, being such young Princes as they are: yea, hee hath given a very strait charge to all his creatures to looke to them, to see to them, that they want nothing, that they take no hurt: so jealous, so chary, so tender is he of them.Gen. 3.2. Jonah 2. 1 King. 17. Jos. 10. The Angels must comfort Ja­cob. The Whale must rescue Jonas. The Raven must feed Elias. The Sun and Moone must stay for Joshua. Exod. 14. The Sea must divide it selfe, that Moses and his people may passe thorow. The fire must not burne the three Chil­dren. The Lions may not devoure Daniel. Dan. 3. & 6. All the creatures must change their nature, rather then Gods chil­dren should not be holpen and delive­red. Oh therefore how great is the happinesse of Gods chosen! Who can expresse it? who can utter it? They know not their owne happinesse: it is hid from them. Afflictions doe cloud it: troubles doe over-shadow it: cros­ses doe dim it: and there is an inter­position of the earth betwixt their sight and it. But this is most certaine and sure, that the best is behind with the children of God: all the sweet is to come. Their happinesse doth not appeare in this world.1 John [...].2 [...] Their life is [Page 133] hid with Christ in God. When Christ shall appeare, then shall they also ap­peare with him in glory. It doth not yet appeare what they shall be, but when he cometh, they shall be made like unto him. Col. 3.3, 4. Their names are already taken, and entred into the booke of life: and one day they shall be crowned. One day it shall be said unto them, Come yee blessed, &c. One day they shall enjoy his presence, where is fulnesse of joy, Psal. 16. and at whose right hand there is pleasure for evermore. Therefore let all Gods secret ones rejoyce, sing, and be mer­ry. For howsoever in this world they be contemned, troden under the foot, made no-bodies, & walk as shadowes; being counted as the very rags of the earth, and the objects of the world: yet the time will come, when their happinesse and felicity shall be such as never entred into the heart of man: it is endlesse, unspeakable, and uncon­ceivable.

Phil.

I doe now plainly see, that there is no cause why Gods people should be too heavie and dumpish in their afflicti­ons. I see, that though they be not free from all afflictions, yet are they free from all hurtfull afflictions. For no rod, no crosse, no chastisement is hurtfull un­to them, but all, in the conclusion, cometh to a blessed issue.

Theol.

You have uttered a great [Page 134] and a most certain truth. For there is no affection or triall, which God im­poseth upon his children, but if they endure it quietly, trust in his mercy firmly, and tarry his good pleasure obediently, it hath a blessed and a com­fortable end. Therefore the people of God may well be merry in the midst of their sorrowes. They may with pa­tience and comfort submit themselves to their Fathers corrections, taking them patiently, and even kissing his holy rod, and saying in themselves, Sith my Father will have it so, I am content; seeing it is his mind, I am willing withall. As old Eli said, It is the Lord, 1 Sam. 3.18. let him do what he will. And as David, in like submission, said in a certaine case, Behold, here am I: let him doe to mee as it seemeth good in his owne eyes. 2 Sam. 15.16 And againe hee saith, I was dumb, Psal. 29. and opened not my mouth: because thou Lord hast done it. Be­hold here then the patience of Gods Saints, and their humble submission unto his most holy will. They know all shall end well, and that maketh them glad to thinke of it. I conclude then, that the children of God are hap­pie, in what state soever they are: hap­pie in trouble,Deut. 28. happie out of trouble; happie in poverty, happie in plenty; blessed in sicknesse, blessed in health; blessed at home likewise, and abroad; [Page 135] and every way blessed. But on the contrary, the wicked are cursed, in what state soever they are: cursed in sicknesse, cursed in health; cursed in plenty, cursed in poverty; cursed in prosperity, cursed in adversity; cursed in honour, cursed in dishonour. For all things work together for their de­struction. Nothing doth them any good. They are not any thing the bet­ter, either for Gods mercies or judge­ments. All weathers are alike unto them. They are alwayes the same, in prosperity and adversity: they are no changelings. And, as we say, A good yeer doth not mend them, nor an ill yeer pair them.

Phil.

You have long insisted upon this point. Now proceed to the fourth sign of a mans damnation, which is the con­tempt of the Gospel: and lay open both the greatnesse of the sin, and the danger of it.

Theol.

This sinne is of another na­ture then the former. It is a sinne a­gainst the first Table. It toucheth the person of God himselfe. For to con­temne the Gospel, it is to contemne God himselfe, whose Gospel it is. If to contemne the Ministers of the Gos­pel, hee to condemne God and Christ (as our Lord Iesus avoucheth) how much more then,Luke 10.10 to contemne the Gospel it selfe? Therefore it is dan­gerous [Page 136] meddling with this sinne. It is to meddle with edged tooles, to med­dle with Princes matters, to touch the Ark, to come neer the holy Moun­taine, which all were things full of great perill and danger. Yea, it is to spill the Sacrament. It is Noli me tangere. It is to raile at a King. It is to spet God in the face. It is high treason against the King of glory. Therefore this sinne, of all other, can never be endured, and may at no hand be borne withall. For can a mortall King endure the contempt of his lawes? Can he put up the contempt of his own person? Can hee abide any to spet at his Scepter, or to throw a stone at it? No surely, hee will not. Therefore the holy Ghost saith, Hee that despiseth Moses lawes, dieth with­out mercy, under two or three witnes­ses. Of how much sorer punishment suppose ye shall hee be worthy, Heb. 20.28. which treadeth under foot the Sonne of God, and counteth the bloud of the Testa­ment as an unholy thing (wherewith hee was sanctified,Heb. 2.5.) and doth despite the Spirit of Grace? And againe, If they were punished which obeyed not the word spoken by Angels; how shall wee escape, if wee neglect so great salva­tion? Heb. 1 [...]. If they escaped not, which refused him that spake on earth, how shall wee escape, if wee turne away from him that [Page 137] speaketh from heaven? Therefore our Saviour Christ saith, That it shall be easier for Sodom in the day of judgment, Luke 10.12 than for the contemners of the Gospel.

Moreover hee saith, The Queene of the South shall rise up in judgement [...] ­gainst all froward despisers of his word. Mat. 12. For shee came from the uttermost parts of the earth, to heare the wisedom of So­lomon: and behold a greater than Solo­mon is here. For Christ is greater than Solomon; his doctrine and wisedome far more excellent. And therefore their sinne is the greater which contemne it. They shall never be able to answer it. For the Spirit saith,Prov. 13.13. Hee that de­spiseth the word shall bee destroyed. S. Peter also telleth us,1 Pet. 3.9. that the old world, and men of the first age, are now in hell-fire, because they both de­spised, and were disobedient to the doctrine of Christ;1 Pet. 5.10. which (though not personally, yet in his divine Spirit) he spake by Noah. So then wee see cleer­ly, God will never take it at our hands, that his glorious Gospel should be so universally and openly contemn­ed as it is.

Phil.

You have spoken most truly, and also shewed it out of the Scriptures, that the contempt of the Gospel is a most hainous sinne: yet for all that, it is most lamentable to consider, how little men esteeme it, and how light they make of [Page 138] it. Many regard it no more then an egge-shell, they thinke it not worth a galley halfe-penny: they will not goe to the doore to heare it; they take it to bee a breath from us, and a sound to them, and so the matter is ended. They esteeme it but as a noise, or empty sound in the aire; or as a voice a farre off, which a man understandeth not: they never felt the power of it in their hearts. Therefore they preferre their sheep, their farmes, their oxen, their profits, their pleasures, yea every thing before it; they know it not to bee any such precious jewell, as it is. Al­though our Lord Jesus himselfe com­pare it to a hid treasure, and a most precious pearle, yet these filthy swine of the world tread it under feet: for they know not the price of it. Though Solomon the wise, Prov. 3. saith, All the mer­chandise of gold and silver, pearle and precious stones, are not to bee compared to it: yet these beasts, these dogs and hogs of the world, contemne it: They esteeme a cow more then Christs most glorious Gospel. They are like Esops cocke, which made more account of a barley corne, then all the precious stones in the world: they are like little children, that esteeme their rattle more then a bagge of gold; they are like the Gadarens, which esteemed their hogs more then Christ and his Gospel: they [Page 139] make nothing of it: they thinke it not worth the while. Many of them sit idle in the streets, even upon the Sabbaths: while the Gospel is preached in their Churches, many are at cards and tables in the Ale-houses. Many on the Sabbath sleep upon their beds all the Sermon while in the afternoon. Many will heare a Sermon in the forenoon, and they take that to be as much as God can re­quire at their hands, and that hee is somewhat beholden to them for it; but as for the afternoon, they will heare none: then they will to bowls or ta­bles. These men serve God in the fore­noon, and the devill in the afternoon. Some runne after whores and harlots on the Sabbath, some runne to dancing and bear-baitings, some sit upon their stalls, some sit in their shops, some by the fire side, some sit idle in the streets, some goe to the stole-ball, and others look on. O miserable wretches! O cursed cai­tiffes! O monstrous hell-hounds, which so grosly and openly contemne the Gos­pel of Christ! What will become of them in the end? Assuredly their dam­nation sleepeth not. A thousand deaths wait for them: they lie open on all sides to the wrath of God. And we may won­der at his marvellous patience, that hee doth not throw downe balls of wilde­fire from heaven, to consume and burne up both them, their shops and houses, [Page 140] and even make them spectacles of his vengeance, for so notorious contempt of such sacred, holy, and high things.

Theol.

You have spoken very truly, zealously, and religiously; and I doe greatly commend you for it. And I must needs affirme the same things, for they cannot bee denied. And for mine owne part, I thinke the Gospel was never so openly contemned in any age (of a people living under the pro­fession of it, and under a godly and Christian Prince) as it is in this age. For howsoever some make a shew of religion, yet they have denied the pow­er thereof. They turne the grace of God into wantonnesse,Jude 4. as St. Jude saith. They make the Gospel a cloak for their sinnes. They receive it, and embrace it, as it will best stand with their profits and pleasures, their lusts and likings, their credits and policies, and not a jot further. They will pra­ctise it at their leasure.Tit. 1.16. These men pro­fesse they know God: but by their works they deny him, and are abomina­ble, disobedient, and to every good worke reprobate. This age is full of such carnall Protestants.

Phil.

This age indeed aboundeth with many hollow-hearted hypocrites, dis­semblers, and time-servers; which how­soever they make a face and beare a coun­tenance as though they loved the Gos­pel, [Page 141] yet their heart is not with it. Their heart is with Atheisme, their heart is with Popery; they have a Pope in their belly: they bee Church-papists. How­soever now and then they come to the Church, and heare a Sermon, and shew a good countenance to the Preacher; yet their heart goeth after covetousnesse. The Lord complaineth of this by the Prophet, saying; Ezek. 33.32. This people will sit before thee, and heare thy words: but they will not do them. For with their mouthes they make jests: and their heart goes after covetousnesse. God com­plaineth of this also by the Prophet Jeremie, saying; Will you steal, murder, Jer. 7.9. and commit adultery, and sweare falsly, and stand before me in this house where­upon my name is called, and say, Wee are delivered, though wee have done all these abominations? Is this house be­come a denne of theeves, whereupon my name is called? Where wee see how the Lord doth chide his people, and sharply reprove them for abusing of his temple, worship and sacrifices, making them a cloake for their sinnes: and making his house a denne of theeves, which should be an assembly of Saints. Now all this is a lively description of our time, where­in many use the exercises of the word, prayer, and sacraments, not to kill and mortifie sinne, but to nourish and shelter their sins. For they blindly imagine, that [Page 142] if they come to the Church and pray, and hear the Sermon, they are dischar­ged of their sins, though they leave them not. They imagine they have given God his full due; and that therefore they may be the more bold to sin after­ward. These kind of hypocrites are like rogues, which use medicines not to cure sores, but to make sores. These are like the Papists, which thinke if they heare Masse in the morning, they may doe what the list all the day after.

Theol.

I see now you have very well profited in the knowledge of God and true Religion. You have spoken soundly, and like a man of knowledge in Gods matters. For the common sort of people thinke in­deed, that all Religion consisteth in the outward service of God, though their hearts be farre from him. To whom God may justly say,Mat. 15.8. This people draw­eth neere mee with their lips, but their hearts are farre from mee. Of whom also God may justly take up all his just complaints of his people Israel and Judah, which are so frequent in all the Prophets: to wit, That hee did abhorre their sacrifices, loath their oblations,Isa. 66.3. detest their incense, despise their new moones, disdaine their rains, lambs, and goats; accounting them all but as mans bloud, dogs bloud, swines bloud; and all because [Page 143] their hands were full of bloud; be­cause they executed not justice and judgement in the gate; because they were not obedient to his will; be­cause their hearts were not with him; because they used, or rather abused, all these things as shelters for their sins.

Phil.

The great contempt of the Mi­nisters of the Gospel in this age doth strongly argue the contempt of the Gos­pel it selfe. For a man cannot love the Gospel, and hate the faithfull Ministers thereof. But wee see by lamentable ex­perience, that the most grave, godly, and learned Ministers are had in derision of very base and vile persons. And, as Job saith, They whose fathers I have refused to set with the dogs of my flocks, they were the children of fooles, and the children of villaines, which were more vile then the earth. For now every ras­call dares scoffe and scorne at the most grave and ancient Fathers and Pastours of the Church, dares flout them as they walk in the streets, and as they ride by the high-wayes. And though the holy Ghost giveth them glorious and lofty titles (as the Stewards of Gods owne house, disposers of his secrets, Tit. 1.7. 1 Cor. 4.1. Mat. 16.19. 2 Cor. 5.20. Rev. 3.7.24. 2. Cor. 8.2. disbur­sers of his treasure, keepers of the broad seal, keepers of the keyes of heaven, Gods Secretaries, Gods Ambassadors, Angels; yea, the very glory of Christ: and all [Page 144] this, to expresse the excellency of their calling) yet these vile varlets, and vene­mous vermine of the earth, dare call them proud Prelats, pild Parsons, pel­ting Priests. O monstrous and intoler­able impietie! Now it is come to passe that this most sacred function (which is glorious in the sight of God and his Angels, and in it selfe most honourable) is had in greatest contempt of all cal­lings. For now the earth is full of rank Atheists, and mock-Gods, which scoffe at the Gospel, and bleat out their tongues at all religion. These kinde of fellowes never dissemble for the matter, they make no shew at all, they are no hypocrites, they hide not their sins, but declare them openly like Sodom. They care not if they never come to the Church; they are too full of it They live like brute beasts. They think the Scriptures are but fables. They rail at the Ministers and Preachers; they make flat opposition against them, and are notorious mockers and past-graces.

Theol.

Of such the Apostle Saint Peter foretold, that in the last daies should come mockers, and such as would live after their owne lusts, &c. Of such a godly Writer saith, Verbum Dei securè contemnitur, promissiones inanes esse creduntur, minae pro fabulis haben­tur. That is, The word of God is care­lesly contemned; his promises are coun­ted [Page 145] vaine, and his threatnings fables. Of such the Poet saith,

Heu! vivunt homines tanquam mors nulla sequatur,
Aut velut infernus fabula vana foret.
Alas! men live as they should never die,
Or as though speech of hell were a stark lie.

Now is also the time, wherein the world swarmeth with Papists and Atheists: and most men live as if there were no God. For now Religi­on is hated, true godlinesse despised, zeale abhorred, sincerity scoffed at, up­rightnesse loathed, Preachers con­temned, Professors disdained, and al­most all good men had in derision. For now we may justly complaine with the Prophet,Isa. 39.1 [...]. Judgement is turned backward, and justice standeth a farre off. Truth is falen in the streets, and e­quity cannot enter. Yea, truth faileth, and he that refraineth from evill, ma­keth himselfe a prey. The Prophet Mi­cah bewaileth the times, saying,Mic. 7 2. The good man is perished out of the earth, and there is none righteous among men. They all lye in waite for bloud: every man hunteth his neighbour with a net. The Prophet Jeremy complain­eth of the same evill in his time; name­ly, that the people were come to be [Page 146] past shame in s [...]nning; [...]. [...]8.12. Were they a­shamed (saith he) when they had com­mitted abomination? Nay, they were not ashamed, neither could they have any shame. This is a lively picture, and a very counterpane of our time: for now we have put on a brow of brasse: wee are become i [...]pudent in sinne. We cannot blush, wee cannot be ashamed. We are almost past shame and past grace. O Lord, what will this geer grow to in the end!

Phil.

Wee may justly fear some great judgement of God to bee neere unto us: yea, even to hang over our heads. For the Lord will never leave the contempt of his Gospel and his Ministry unpu­nished.

Theol.

You have spoken a truth, And wee have heard before how the old world was plagued for it. And wee read how grievously the Iewes were afflicted by the Romans for this sinne: as our Lord Iesus did plainly foretell. We read also, that after the Lord had preached the Gos­pel himselfe, and spread it abroad by his Apostles, conquering the world thereby (which things was signified by the white horse,Re [...]. 6. [...]. his rider, his bow, and his crowne) end yet shortly after, saw that the same began to be contem­ned in the world, and made light of; then hee did in most fearfull manner [Page 147] plague the earth with warres, bloud­sheddings, tumults, dearth, famine, and pestilence: which are all signified by the red horse, the black horse, and the pale horse, which did appeare at the opening of the second, third, and fourth seale. So likewise undoubted­ly, God will severely punish all in­juries, wrongs, and contempts done to his faithfull Embassadors; as ap­peareth Revel. 11.5. where it is set downe, That, If any would hurt the two witnesses with their two olives, and two candlesticks, (whereby is signified the faithfull Preachers of the Gospel, with all their spirituall treasures and heavenly light) fire should proceed out of their mouthes, and devoure their adversaries; that is, The fire of Gods wrath should consume all that had op­pressed them, either by mocks, flouts, railing, slanders, imprisonment, or any other kinde of indignity. Of this wee have a plaine example or two in the Scripture. First, we read how fire came downe from heaven, and consu­med the contemptuous Captaine and his fifty,2 Kin. 1.10. at the threatning and calling for of Eliah. Secondly, how two Beares came out of the Forrest,2 Kin. 2.23. and tare in pieces two and forty yonkers which mocked Elisha, the Prophet of God, calling him bald-head, bald-head. So then by these examples it is [Page 148] manifest, that howsoever the Lord may winke at these things for a time, and make as though hee saw them not, yet the time will come, when hee will raine fire and brimstone upon all the scoffers of his faithfull ministers, and contemners of his Gospel. All this is plainly declared in the first chapter of the Proverbs of Solomon: where is shewed how the wisedome of God, e­ven Iesus Christ the highest wise­dome, doth cry aloud all abroad in the world, and manifest himselfe in the open streets; but yet is contemned of wicked worldlings, and scoffing fools. Therefore saith Christ,Prov. 1.24. Because I have called, and yee refused, I have stretched out my hand, but none would regard: yee have hated knowledge, and despised all my counsell; therefore I will laugh at your destruction, and mock when your feare cometh upon you, like a sudden desolation; and your destruction like a whirl-winde. Then shall they call upon mee, but I will not answer; they shall seeke mee early, but they shall not find me Here then wee see his terrible wrath and vengeance, threatned from heaven, against all profane contem­ners of Christ and his everlasting Gospel, or any of the faithful [...] shers and proclaimers therto [...] ­hold therefore, yee despisers, and won­der: consider well what will become [Page 149] of you in the end. Do not think that the most just God will alwayes put it up at your hands, that yee should so manifestly contemne both his word and the most zealous Preachers and Professors thereof. No, no: assure your selves, hee will bee even with you at last. Hee will smite you both fideling and overthwart: hee will dogge you, and pursue you with his judgements: and never leave following the chase with you, till hee hath destroyed you, and consumed you from off the face of the earth. For remember, I pray you, what hee saith in Deuteronomie; Deut. 32.41, 42. If I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold of judgement, I will exe­cute vengeance on mine enemies, and I will reward them that hate mee: I will make mine arrowes drunke with bloud, and my sword shall eat the flesh of mine adversaries.

Phil.

Truely, Sir, we may justly feare, that for our great contempt of the Gos­pel, and generall coldnesse, both in the profession and practice thereof, God will take it from us, and give it to a peo­ple that will bring forth the fruit there­of.

Theol.

Wee may well feare indeed, lest for our sinnes, especially our loa­thing of the heavenly Manna, the Lord remove our candlesticke, take a­way our silver trumpets, let us no [Page 150] more heare the sweet bels of Aaron, cause all vision to faile, and our Sab­baths to cease, and bring upon us that most grievous and sore famine of not hearing the word of the Lord,Amos 8. spoken of by Amos the Prophet. Then shall our Halcion dayes and golden yeares, be turned into weeping, mourning, and lamentation. God for his infinite mercy sake turne it away from us.

Phil.

Amen, Amen: and let us all pray earnestly night and day, that those fearfull judgments may, according to Gods infinite mercy, bee held backe, which our sinnes doe continually cry for: and that his most glorious Gos­pel may bee continued to us and our po­sterity, even yet with greater successe.

Asun.

No doubt it is a very great sin to despise the word of God: and I think there is none so bad that will doe it. For wee ought to love Gods word: God for­bid else. He that loveth not Gods word, it is pity he liveth.

Theol.

These are but words of course: It is an easie matter to speak good words: and very many will say as you say. But both you and they in your practice, doe plainly shew that you make no reckoning of it: you e­steeme it no more than a dish-clout. I thinke, if the matter were well tryed, you have scant a Bible in your house. But though you have one, it [Page 151] is manifest that you seldome reade therein, with any care or conscien [...]e, and as seldome heare the word preach­ed. How else could you be so ignorant as you are?

Asun.

I grant that I and some others are somewhat negligent in the hearing and reading of the word of God; but you cannot say therefore wee do con­temne it.

Theol.

Yes verily, your continuall negligence and carelesnesse doth argue a plaine contempt. Sure it is, you have no appetite nor stomack to the holy word of God. You had rather do any thing, than either reade or me­ditate in it: it is irksome unto you: you read not two chapters in a weeke. All holy exercises of religion are most bitter and tedious unto you: they are as vinegar to your teeth, and smoake to your eyes. The immoderate love of this world, and of vanity, hath took away your appetite from all heavenly things. And whereas you shift it off with negligence, as though that would excuse you; the Apostle hits you home, when he saith, How shall we e­scape if wee neglect so great salvation? Reb. [...].3. Marke, that he saith, If we neglect.

Antil.

Belike you think men have no­thing else to do; but to reade the Scrip­tures, and hear Sermons.

Theol.

I do not say so: I do not [Page 152] say you should doe nothing else. For God doth allow you, with a good con­science, and in his feare, to follow the workes of your calling, as hath beene said before. But this I condemn in you and many others, that you will give no time to private prayers, rea­ding and meditation in Gods word, neither morning nor evening; neither before your busines, nor after. And al­though you have often vacant time e­nough, yet you will rather bestow it in vanity: and idle pratling, and gos­sipping, than in any good exercise of Religion. Which doth plainely shew, that you neither delight in holy things, neither is there any true feare of God before your eyes.

Antil.

I tell you plainly, we must tend our businesse, we may goe beg else; we cannot live by the Scriptures. If wee follow Sermons, we shall never thrive. What? do you thinke every man is bound to reade the Scriptures? Have we not our five wits? Doe wee not know what we have to doe? you would make fooles of us belike. But we are neither drunke nor mad.

Theol.

That every man (of what condition soever) is bound in consci­ence to heare and read the word of God, hath been shewed, and proved in the beginning of our conference: but as for your five wits, they will not [Page 153] serve your turne in these matters, though you had fifteene wits. For all the wit, reason, and understanding of naturall men, in Gods matters is but blindnesse and meere foolishnesse. The Apostle saith,1 Cor. 3.15. Rom. 8.7. That the wise­dome of the most wise in this world is not onely foolishnesse with God, but indeed very enmity against God. And againe he saith,1 Cor. 2 14. That the naturall man (with all his five wits) understandeth not the things of the Spirit of God, because they are spiritually discerned. Most prudently to this point speak­eth Elihu, saying,Job 32.2. There is a spirit in man, but the inspiration of the Almighty giveth understanding.

Antil.

I understand not these Scriptures which you do alledge: they do not sinke into my head.

Theol.

I thinke so indeed: for the holy Ghost saith,Prov. 24.7. Wisedome is too high for a foole.

Antil.

What? do you call me foole? I am no more foole then your selfe.

Theol.

I call you not fool: but I tell you what the Scripture saith; which calleth all men (though otherwise ne­ver so wise, politick and learned) very fooles, till they be truly enlightened and inwardly sanctified by the Spirit of God: as appeareth, Tit. 3.3. where the Apostle affirmeth that both Titus and himselfe, before they received the [Page 154] illuminating Spirit of Gods grace, were very fooles, without wit, and without all sense in Gods matters.

Phil.

I pray you good Mr. Theologus, let him alone; for hee will never have done cavilling. I see hee is a notable ca­viller. Let us therefore proceed to speake of the fift signe of condemnation, which is swearing.

Theol.

It may well indeed be called a signe of condemnation. For I think it more than a signe; it is indeed an evi­dent demonstration of a Reprobate. For I never knew any man truely fearing God in his heart, that was an usuall and a common swearer.

Phil.

I am flat of your mind for that. For it cannot bee, that the true feare of God and ordinary swearing should dwell together in one man; sith swearing is a thing forbidden by flat statute: And God addeth a sore threat to his Law, That hee will not hold him guiltlesse that takes his name in vaine; but will most sharply and severely punish that man.

Theol.

You say true. And God saith moreover, that if wee do not feare and dread his glorious and fearfull Name JEHOVAH, Deut. 18.53 he will make our plagues wonderfull. He saith also by his Pro­phet M [...]lachy, M [...] 35. that hee will bee as a swift witnesse against swearers. The Prophet Zachary saith,Zach. 5.24. that the fly­ing [Page 155] booke of Gods curse and venge­ance shall enter into the house of th [...] swearer, and he shall be cut off.

Therefore let all swearers take heed and look to themselves in time: for we see there is a rod in pisse laid up in stor for them.

Phil.

These threatnings being s [...] great and grievous, and that from th [...] God of heaven himselfe, a man woul [...] think should cause mens hearts to quake and tremble, and make them affraid to nap out such oathes as they do, if they were not altogether hardned, past feeling, and past grace.

Theol.

True indeed. But yet wee see by lamentable experience, how men are given over both to sweare and for­sweare. For at this day there is: no sinne more common amongst us than swearing: for many there bee which cannot speak ten words, but one shall bee an oath. And numbers have got such a wicked custome of swearing, that they can by no meanes leave it, no more than a Black-moore can change his skinne, or a Leopard his spots: For it is, made naturall unto them through custome, and they have got the habit of it. I do verily think, if it were high treason to sweare, yet some could not leave swearing. And sure I am (as light as we make of it) that it is high treason against the [Page 156] Crowne of heaven: yea, it is a sinne immediatly against God, even against his owne person: and therefore he hath forbidden it in the first Table of his law.

Phil.

Questionlesse this vice of swea­ring is, of all other sinnes, most rife in this Land. For you shall have little boyes and children in the streetes rappe out oathes in most fearfull manner. It would make a mans heart quake to heare them. Wee may think, they have sucked them out of there mothers breasts: but sure wee are, they have learned them from the evill example of their parents. And now adayes wee cannot almost talk with a man, but (in ordinary speech) he will belch out one oath or another.

Theol.

I will tell you a strange thing, and with great grief I speak it; I do verily thinke there are sworn in this Land an hundred thousand oathes every day in the yeere.

Phil.

No doubt, Sir, you are within compasse. For now almost so many men so many oathes; excepting some few in comparison, Nay, I know divers, of mine owne experience, which if they may be kept in talke, will sweare every day in the yeare an hundred oathes for their parts.

Theol.

O what a lamentable thing is it; wee may well take up the old complaint of the Prophet Jeremy, who [Page 157] saith,Jer. 23.20. that in his time The land did mourne, because of oathes. And wee may well wonder, that the Land sink­eth not because of oaths. For if God were not a God of infinite patience, how could he endure his most sacred and glorious Name to bee so many thousand times blasphemed in one day, & that by such miserable wretches as we be!

Phil.

Wee may indeed admire and wonder at the patience and long-suffer­ing of God, that he spareth us so long, & giveth us so large a time of repentance. But sure it is, that the Prophet saith, That howsoever the Lord is slow to an­ger, yet hee is great in power, Nah. 1.3. and will not surely cleare the wicked. Though he may winke at their monstrous oathes for a time; yet hee forgetteth them never a whit, but scoreth them up, and re­gistreth them in his book of accounts: so as they stand in record against them. And when the great day of reckoning shall come, hee will fet them all in order before them, and lay them to their charge.

Let not the wicked swearers and blas­phemers therefore thinke that they shall alwaies scape scot-free, because God letteth them alone a while, and defer­reth their punishment. For the longer God deferreth, the more terrible will his strokes bee when they come. The [Page 158] longer an arrow is held in the bow, the stronger will be the shot when it com­eth forth. Though God have leaden feet, and cometh slowly to execute wrath, yet hath hee an iron hand, and will strike deadly when hee cometh. Though God giveth the wicked secu­rity for a time (saith Job) yet his eyes are fixed upon all their waies. Job 24.23. And in another place hee saith, Job 21.30. The wicked are reserved unto the day of destruction, and they shall bee brought forth unto the day of wrath. So then, the holy man Job plainely affirmeth, that the state and condition of all the rich and wealthy worldlings, is as the condition of an Oxe, that is fatted up against the day of slaughter. Job 21.13. For hee saith, They spend their dayes in wealth, and suddenly goe downe to hell. But now I pray you no­minate the oathes which are so rife and common amongst us.

Theol.

There bee six oathes which are (of all other) most rife and com­mon in every mans month; and they be these:

  • By my faith.
  • Six com­mon oaths.
    By my troth.
  • By our Lady.
  • By S. Mary.
  • By God.
  • As God shall judge me:

For you cannot lightly talke with a man, but he will flash out some one [Page 159] of these in his ordinary speech.

Asun.

Do you count it so great a mat­ter for a man to swear by his faith, or his troth.

Theol.

Yes indeed do I. For our faith and our troth are the most preci­ous Iewels wee have. Shall wee then lay them to gage for every word we speake? it sheweth we are of small credit; nay, very bankrupts. For who but a bankrupt will lay the best Iew­ell in his house to pledge for every smal trifle?

Asun.

I know a man that will never swear but by Cock, or Py, or Mouse-foot. I hope you will not say these be oathes. For he is as honest a man as ever brake bread. You shall not hear an oath come out of his mouth.

Theol.

I do not thinke hee is so honest a man as you make him. For it is no small sinne to sweare by crea­tures. The Lord saith by the Pro­phet Jeremy, They have forsaken mee, Jer. 5.7. and sworne by them that are no gods. So then to sweare by creatures, is to forsake God: and I trow you will not say, he is an honest man which for­saketh God.

Asun.

I do not beleeve, that to swear by small things is a forsaking of God.

Theol.

You, and such as you are, will beleeve no more of the Word of God, than will stand with your fan­tasie. [Page 160] But, whatsoever you beleeve, or beleeve not, the Word of God stan­deth sure: and no jot of it shall ever bee proved false. But this I wi [...]l say unto you, because you think it so small a matter to sweare by Crea­tures; That the more vile and base the thing is which you sweare by, the greater is the oath: bicause you a­scribe that unto a base creature, which is onely proper to God: namely, to know our hearts, and bee a discerner of secret things. For whatsoever a man sweareth by, hee calleth it as a witnesse unto his conscience, that he speaketh the truth, and lyeth not: which thing onely belongeth unto God. And therefore in swearing by creatures, we do robbe God of his honour. Therefore to sweare by the crosse of the money, or by bread, or by mouse foote, or the fire, which they call Gods Angel, or any such like, is a robbing of God of his honour, and an ascribing of that to the creature, which is proper only to the Creator.

Asun.

What say you then to them that sweare by the Masse, and by the Rood?

Theol.

Their sinne is as great as the other: For it is an hainous thing to sweare by Idols; as St. Mary our Lady, by the Masse, by the Rood, &c. The Prophet Amos saith,Amos [...]8.4. They that [Page 161] sweare by the sinne of Samaria; and that say, Thy God, O Dan, liveth: even they shall fall, and never rise up againe. To sweare by the sinne of Samaria, is to sweare by Idols: for Samaria was full of Idols.

Moreover the Lord threatneth by the Prophet Zephanie, Zeph. 1.5. That he will cut off them that sweare by the Lord, and by Malcham, or by their King. For the Idolaters called their Idoll Molech their King.

Asun.

Seeing you condemne both swearing by creatures, and swearing by Idols; what then must we sweare by? You would have us sweare by nothing belike.

Theol.

In our ordinary communi­cation wee must not sweare at all, ei­ther by one thing or another: but (as our Lord teacheth us) our communi­cation must be Yea, yea; Nay, nay: For whatsoever is more than these, Mat. 5.37. com­meth of evill. And S. James saith,James 5.22. Be­fore all things, my brethren, sweare not: neither by heaven, nor by earth, nor by any other oath: but let your Yea be Yea, and your Nay Nay, lest you fall into condemnation.

Antil.

It seemeth you are an Anabap­tist. You condemne all swearing, you will have no swearing at all.

Theol.

Not so: for though I con­demne swearing by creatures, swea­ring [Page 162] by Idols and vaine swearing: yet I do allow of swearing before a Ma­gistrate, and privately also, in matters of weight and importance, for the fur­ther bolting out of the truth.

This is warranted from Gods own mouth, where he saith, Thou shalt swear, The Lord liveth in truth, Jer. 2. in judgement, and in righteousnesse. And in these cases onely the name of God is to bee sworn by, as it is written, Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, Deu [...] [...].20 and thou shalt serve him, and shalt cleave unto him, and shalt swear by his Name.

Asun.

May wee not sweare by God in our common talke?

Theol.

At no hand. For that is to take the name of God in vaine, which you know is forbidden.

And one of the wise heathen could say thus, When an oath is laid upon thee, Isocr. ad Dem. undertake it for two causes: either to deliver thy selfe from some grievous crime and accusation, or else to preserve thy friends from danger. So then that Heathen man in common talke will not allow any oath, much lesse to sweare by God.Phocilid. Another saith, Avoid an oath, though thou sweare truly. So then we see vain swearing condemned, even by Heathens.

Asun.

Yea, but for all that, wee must swear; men will not beleeve us else.

Theol.

Neither yet will they be­leeve [Page 163] you any whit the more for your swearing. For it doth manifestly ap­peare, that thousands make no con­science at all of it. They make no more conscience of it than of cracking of nuts: and therefore what wise man will beleeve them, though they sweare never so much? But if you would make conscience alwayes to speak the truth from your heart, with­out any oathes at all, you shall be bet­ter beleeved of all honest and wise men, than otherwise with a thousand oathes.

Antil.

It is the custome to sweare.

Theol.

But a wicked and divellish custome.

Antil.

I hope, Sir, wee may sweare, as long as we swear truly, and swear by no­thing but that which is good.

Theol.

It hath beene answered be­fore, that in vain matters you may not swear at all.

Antil.

As long as wee do no worse than that, I hope God will hold us ex­cused.

Theol.

God will not hold you ex­cused, when you break his commande­ments, and continue so doing.

Antil.

What say you then to them that sweare wounds and bloud, and such like, in a bravery, thinking that it setteth out their speech very well?

Theol.

Hell gapeth for them: and [Page 164] they shall know one day what it is to blaspheme God.

Antil.

What may wee thinke of such as sweare by Gods life, Gods soule, Gods body, Gods heart?

Theol.

That their case is most wo­full and dangerous; and I quake at the naming of them. They are most horrible, monstrous, and outragious blasphemies: enough to make the stones in the street to cracke, and the clouds to fall upon our heads. And wee may thinke that all the Divels in hell are in a readinesse, to carry such blasphemous villaines headlong into that lake, which burneth with fire and brimstone for ever.

Antil.

Do you find in Scripture, that God will so severely punish swearers?

Theol.

Yes verily. For besides that which hath beene spoken before, wee have diverse other examples: First of Senacherib, the King of Ashur, who for his outragious blasphemies a­gainst the God of Heaven, was in most fearfull and tragicall manner slaine by his owne sons, Adramalech and Sharezor, and that in the temple, when hee was worshipping his Idol-god Nisroch. And yet behold a more fearfull example of Gods wrath a­gainst blasphemers.2 Kin. 19.37.

Wee read, that an hundred thousand of the Aramites were slaine by the [Page 165] Israelites in one day for blasphe­ming God, 1 King. 20.29. and seven and twenty thousand being left, and flying into the city of Aphek for re­fuge, were all slaine by the fall of an huge great wall. What shall I here speake how the seven sonnes of Saul the King of Israel were hanged up before the Lord in mount Gibeah, for the breach of the oath made to the Gi­beonites long before?1 S [...]. [...]1. In these exam­ples we may plainly see, that the just God, even in this life, somtimes will be revenged of blasphemers and oath­breakers. And therefore the very hea­then in all ages have beene very care­full for the performing of oathes: as Pharaoh King of Egypt willed Joseph to go up into the land of Canaan to bu­ry his father according to his oath made to his father.

Phil.

Mee thinketh these so terrible and fearfull examples of Gods vengeance against swearers and blasphemers, should strike some terrour into the hearts of our blasphemers.

Theol.

One should think so indeed, if any thing could do it. But, alas, they are so hardened in it, and in all other sinne, that nothing can move them: except peradventure there were a law made, that every swearer and blasphemer should hold his hand a quarter of an houre in boyling lead. [Page 166] This or some such like severe law might peradventure curb them a little, and make them bite in their oathes. But otherwise they will never feare any thing, till they are in hell fire, when it will be too late to repent.

Phil.

What may be the cause of this so often and great swearing? for surely it is no inherent and inbred sin in our nature, as some of the other sinnes be.

Theol.

No verily. But these three I judge to be the causes of it:

  • Custome.
  • Want of admonition.
  • Want of punishment.
Phil.

What then are the remedies of it?

Theol.

The remedies are these:

  • Disuse.
  • Prayer.
  • Friendly admonition.
  • Some sharpe Law.
Phil.

Well Sir, now wee have heard enough of swearing: I pray you proceed to the next sign of condemnation, which is lying.

Theol.

Swearing and lying bee of very neere kindred. For hee that is a common swearer, is for the most part a common lyer also: For hee that maketh no conscience of swearing, will make no conscience of lying. And as the Lord hateth the one, so also he hateth the other: And as he punisheth the one, so will hee punish the other. [Page 167] Therefore Solomon saith,Prov. 12.23. Lying lips are an abomination unto the Lord. Rev. 21.25. St. John saith, Without shall be dogges, enchanters, whore-mongers, murther­ers, and whosoever loveth or maketh lyes. Rev. [...]1.8. Againe the same holy man of God saith, The lyers shall have their part and portion in the lake which burn­eth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.

Phil.

These Scriptures which you al­ledge doe manifestly declare that God abhorreth lyers, and hath reserved great torments for them. Therefore the Prince­ly Prophet David saith, that hee would banish all lyers from his house. Psal. 101.7. He that telleth lyes (saith hee) shall not remain in my sight. Prov. 6.16, 17. A lying tongue is one of the six things which God doth hate, and his soule abhorre. Yet for all this, we see by lamentable experience, how ma­ny have even taught their tongues to lye (as the Prophet saith) and there is no truth in their lips. Jer. 9. This vice is al­most as common as swearing. For it is hard to finde a man that will speake the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth from his heart, in simplicitie and plainnesse, at all times, in all places, and amongst all persons, without all glozing or dissembling, either for feare gaine, flatterie, men-pleasing, hiding of faults, or any sinister respect what­soever. Where, I say, is th [...]s man to bee [Page 168] found? I would faine see him, I would faine looke upon such a man: it would doe my heart good to behold him: I would rejoyce to set mine eyes upon such a man.

Theol.

Such a man as you speake of, is hardly to bee found among the sons of men. They bee b [...]ack Swans in the earth, they bee white Crowes, they be rare birds. For there bee very few that will speake the truth from their heart: yet some such I hope there be. But for the most part, and amongst the greater sort, lying, dis­sembling, and fraud, doe beare all the sway. There is no truth, no honesty, no conscience, no simplicity, no plaine dealing amongst men in these most corrupt times. Faith and truth are parted cleane away. And as the King­ly Prophet saith,Psal. 1 [...]. The faithfull are failed from among the children of men. They speake deceitfully every one with his neighbour; flattering with their lips, and speaking with a double heart. Men now adayes study the art of lying, flattering, fawning, glo­zing and dissembling: they have a heart and a heart. They have honey in their mouth, and gall in their heart. Their tongues are as soft as butter and oyle: but their hearts are full of bitternesse, poyson and worme-wood. They are full of outward courtesie [Page 169] and civility, full of Court-holy-wa­ter, when there is no truth nor plain­nesse in their inward affection. They will speak you faire, when they would cut your throat. They will shew you a good countenance, when they would eat your heart with Garlick. In out­ward shew they will carry themselves plausibly, when their hearts are full of venome and malice. This viperous brood doe but watch their times and opportunities, till they can get a man upon the hip; and then they will sting him, and worke their malice up­on him. These fawning curs will not bark till they bite; they will lurk and lye close, till they spye their van­tage, and then they will shew them­selves in their kinde: then they will hoist a man, and turne him over the perk, if they can. These men are like the waters, which are most deep when they are most calme: like a dangerous rocke hid under a calme sea; or as the Heathens say, like the Syrens song, which is the Sailers wrack: like the Fowlers whistle, which is the birds death: like the [...] bait, which is the fishes bane: [...] the Harpies, which have Virgins faces, and Vul­tures talons: or like Hyena, which speaketh like a friend, and devoureth like a foe: or, as the Scripture saith, like Joab, the Captaine of the hoast,2 Sam. [...]0.10 [Page 170] which spake kindly to Amasa another Captaine, and kissed him, when pre­sently hee stab [...]d him; or like unto the Herodians and Pharisees servants, which came to our Lord Iesus with many fawning insinuations, calling him good Master, and telling him that hee was the plaine truth, that hee taught the way of God truly, he re­garded no mans person, and many good morrowes, and all this geere, when as in very deed their purpose was to entangle him in his words, and to entrap him, that they might catch advantage against him, and so cut his throat, and give him pap with a hatchet. This is it which the wise m [...]n saith,Pro. 29.5. A man that stattereth his neighbour spreadeth a net for his feet. And againe,Pro. 26.23. As silver, drosse over-laid upon an earthen pot; so are fawning lips, and an evill heart. And in another place hee saith,Pro 26.25. Hee that beareth hatred will counterfeit with his lips: but hee layeth up deceit in his heart: When hee shall sh [...]w his voice favourably, trust him not. For there are seven abomina­tions in his ho [...] ▪ He will cover hatred by deceit: [...] malice shall be dis­covered in the congregation. In ano­ther place hee pronounceth a curse up­on all these hallow-hearted hypo­crites, and meal-mouthed flatterers. For,Pro 27.4. saith hee, Unto him that blesseth [Page 171] his friend with a loud voice, betimes in the morning, rising up early, a curse shall be imputed.

Phil.

You have very w [...]ll described the conditions of the men of this age, which have faces, countenances, and tongues, but no hearts; which prof [...]sse lying and dissembling; which say, Hee cannot live that cannot dissemble; which have faire faces, and false hearts; which have forgotten, that pl [...]ine honesty is deep policie.

Theol.

The holy Ghost often in the Proverbs of Solomon calleth all un­regenerate men fooles: or, as it is in the Hebrew, men without hearts: Be­cause they have no heart to God, no heart to his word, no heart to his chil­dren, no heart to godlinesse, no heart to any thing that good is. They are without an honest heart, an upright heart, a plaine heart. They are all in words, nothing in deeds. They pro­mise mounraines, and performe mole­hils. They wil speak well of Religion, and practise nothing. They will give faire words to their friends, and doe just nothing for them.

Phil.

The world is full of these mask­ed counterfeits: and lying and dissem­bling did never more abound.

Theol.

It is too true, that lying and dissembling are most rise, and over­common vices amongst all sorts of [Page 170] [...] [Page 171] [...] [Page 172] men: but especially it doth overflow and superabound in shop-keepers and servants. For both these make a trade and occupation of it: they can doe no other but lye, It cleaveth unto them as the naile to the doore.

Phil.

I do certainly know some shop-keepers, which (to utter their bad wares, and to blinde the eies of the sim­ple) do trade in lying all the day long: from Sun to Sun, from the opening of the shop and windowes, to the shutting of the same. And what is their life (if customers come in apace) but swearing, lying, dissembling, and deceiving? They will lye as fast as a dog will trot, as wee say. It is wonder that their shops and all their wares do not fire over their heads, for their so common, so lewd, and so abo­minable lying: and that against their owne knowledge, against their consci­ence, against God, against their neigh­bour, against heaven and earth, men and Angels.

Theol.

True it is, we may marvel at the long-suffering of God in this behalfe. But this is to be noted, that God doth not immediatly punish all notorious sinners in this life, but re­serveth thousands to the judgment of the great day. In this life he only cul­leth out some few, whom he smiteth for the example of others, that they might feare and tremble, and learne by o­ther [Page 173] mens harmes to beware.

Therefore, even in this life, wee see before our eyes, some lyers, some drunkards, some whore-mongers, some swearers, some misers of the world, some ruffians and cut-throats, stricken downe by the revenging hand of God: But whereas God smiteth one of these in this life, hee letteth an hundred escape. For if hee should punish all offenders in this life, to what purpose should the judgement to come serve? If hee should punish none, then we should think there were no God, or that hee were shut up idle in heaven, and would do neither good nor evill, nor once meddle in the mat­ters of the earth; as some Epicures have dreamed. Therefore to avoid both these extremities, God in his heavenly wisedome hath thought good to meete with some, even in this world.

Phil.

I am of this mind, that the goods which men get by swearing, lying, and deceit, will never prosper.

Theol.

You are not therein decei­ved. For God will blow upon all such kinde of evill gotten goods, and they shall be put in a bottomelesse purse, as the Prophet saith. The holy Ghost in the book of the Proverbs hath many excellent sayings to this effect, as chap. 13.11. Hag. 1.6. The riches of vanity shall be diminished; but hee which laboureth [Page 174] with the hand, shall increase them. And againe,Prov. 10. Hee that dealeth deceitfully, shall become poore: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich. In another place he saith,Pro. 14. [...]7. The deceitfull man rosteth not that which hee hath caught in hunting. That is, hee shall not long enjoy or taste the prey, which he hath gotten by fraud. For either one trouble or other will come upon him, that he shall not be able to possesse, or take delight in the spoyle. Therefore it is said, The bread of deceit is sweete to a man: but after, his mouth shall be filled with gra­vell. That is, in the end the crafty person shall meete with many troubles. For either his conscience will upbraid him and check him, or vengeance will plague him for his deceit. The feares, cares, and sorrowes which hee shall have, shall be as it were so many sharp stones, to set his teeth on edge, and to vex him. Wherefore in stead of meat, hee shall feed on gravell: and in stead of wheat, on pebble stones. Small pleasure is takes in the end in goods ill gotten, or livings unlawfully come by. For the holy Ghost hath passed sentence upon them, that they shall ne­ver prosper.

Phil.

It sometimes falleth out, that they prosper for a time: but, as wee say, The third heire shall never enjoy them. For God will curse them in our poste­rity: [Page 175] and our childrens children shall feele the smart of our sinnes. Therefore the holy man Job saith; Job 27.14. The off-spring of the wicked shall not be satisfied wi [...] bread: for out of doubt God will bl [...]sse that onely which is got with a good con­science, in the works of our calling, and it shall remaine blessed unto us, and our posterity. Therefore the Spirit saith, Pro. 2.7. The just man that walketh in his uprigh [...]n [...]sse is blessed, and bl [...]ssed shall h s children be after him. But God will [...]ot blesse, but curse that which is, or with an evill conscience: as swearing, lying, dissembling, deceiving, &c.

Theol.

Some ancient Writers have spoken very prudently to this point. For one saith,J [...]r [...]. Injusta lu [...]ra breves ha­bent voluptates, long [...]s autem dolores. That is,August. Unjust gaine hath long sor­row, and short joy. Another saith, Eli­gas damnum potiùs quàm turpe lucrum: illud enim semel tantum te dolore afficet, hoc verò semper. That is, Chuse losse rather than filthy lucre: for the one will grieve thee but once, the other for [...]ver. A third saith,Bernard. Melius est honestè pauperem esse, quàm turpiter divitem Hoc enim commiserationem, illud vero reprehensionem adsert. It is better to be honestly poore, than wickedly rich. For the one moveth pitty, the other re­proofe. E [...]rip. P [...]enis. One of the wise Heathen also saith, Wee may not wax rich unjustly, [Page 176] but live of just things, which he calleth holy things.

Phil.

Have wee not examples in the Scriptures of such as have been punished for lying?

Theol.

Yes: for wee read how the Gibeonites for their lying and dissem­bling were made drudges and slaves to the Israelites; Josh. 9.23. 2 King. 5. Gehezi also, the ser­vant of Elisha the Prophet, for his lying and covetousnesse together, was smitten with a most grievous le­prosie.Acts 5.5. Annanias and Sapphira his wife, for their lying and dissembling, were stricken downe stark dead by the immediate hand of God at the rebuke of Peter.

Zophar, one of Jobs friends, speak­ing of these kind of men,Job [...]0.16, 24. saith, They shall suck the gall of Aspes, and the V [...] ­pers tongue shall slay them. They shall slie from the iron weapons, and a bow of steele shall strike them thorow.

Now then by all these examples we may plainly see, how greatly God ab­horreth lying and dissembling.

Phil.

O therefore that we could follow the counsell of the Apostle, who saith, Lye not one to another: Col. 3.9. sith you have put off the old man, with his workes. And againe, Ephes. 4.25. Cast away lying, and speak very one the truth to his neighbour. The manner of speech which the Apo­stle useth is very forcible, implying [Page 177] thus much: That wee should in a kinde of disdaine or detestation cast it away, and throw it from us, as a filthy stink­ing and berayed clout, hanging about a mans necke, which hee doth suddenly snatch away, and hurle into the fire; as being ashamed that ever it should be seene or knowne. Would to God there­fore that we were come to such a de­testation and loathing of lying, that we would even spattle at it, and cry, Fie upon it, and all that use it! O that wee could hate it as the Divell, which is the father of it; and as hell fire, which is the reward of it! O that we were come but so farre as the Heathen man, who saith, Homer. Iliad. [...]. I hate him as the gates of hell who hath one thing in his tongue, and another in his heart.

Antil.

Yet for all this, wee finde in the Scriptures, that even some of the godly have been taken tardy in lying, and yet have not sinned in so doing, as Abraham, Jacob, Rahab, the Midwives of Egypt: and therefore why may not we do so too?

Theol.

I told you before, that you may not make the infirmities of Gods people, rules for you to live by. And further I answer, that all these did offend in their lying. Some of them indeed, I grant, are commended for their love to the Church and chari­table affections to Gods people, but [Page 178] none of them simply for lying: which is a thing condemned even of the Heathen. For saith one of them, Ly­ing doth corrupt the life of man: [...]. and every wise and godly man doth hate lying.

Antil.

But may wee not lye now and then for advantage?

Theol.

No verily, neither is there any good vantage to be got that way. For when you have made up your ac­counts, all charges deducted, and all expences defrayed, your cleare gaines will be very small. For by your wil­full and customary lying you gaine in­ward griefe, and lose true joy: you gain short pleasure, and lose perpetuall glo­ry, you gain hell, and lose heaven, you make the Divell your friend, and God your enemy. Now then reckon your gaine.

Phil.

I pray you let us grow towards a conclusion of this point: and shew us briefly the chief causes of lying.

Theol.

The chief causes of lying are these:

  • Custome.
  • Feare.
  • Covetousnesse.
  • The Divell.
Phil.

What be the remedies?

Theol.

The remedies be these:

  • Disuse.
  • Godly boldnesse.
  • [Page 179]Contentation.
  • Earnest prayer.
Phil.

You have spoken enough of this vice to cause all such to abhorre it, and forsake it, as have any drop of grace, or spark of Gods feare in them: but as for them that are filthy, let them be more fil­thy. Now I pray you speake your judge­ment of the seventh signe of condemna­tion: which is drunkennesse.

Theol.

It is so brutish and beastly a sinne, that a man would thinke it should not neede to be spoken against: but that all reasonable men should even abhorre it, and quake to thinke of it. For it is a most swinish thing: it ma­keth of a man a beast: it taketh away the heart of man from all goodnesse, as witnesseth the Prophet Hosea, chapt. 4.11. saying, Whoredome, wine and new wine take away the heart. For what heart, what stomach, what appetite can whoremongers and drunkards have to any thing that is good? either to heare, or read the word of God, or to pray, or to meditate in the same? Alas, they are farre from it, far from God, and farre from all grace and goodnesse.Joel. 1. [...]. Therefore the Prophet Joel saith, Awake ye drunkards: weepe and howle ye drinkers of wine. Yea, the mighty God of heaven doth pro­nounce a woe against them, saying, [...] 5.11. Woe unto them that rise up ea [...]ly to [Page 180] follow drunkennesse: and to them that continue untill night, till the wine doe enflame them. Our Lord Iesus giveth us a cabeat to take heed of it:Luke 21.24. Take heed, saith hee, that your hearts be not overcome with surfeiting and drunken­nesse, and the eares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. Thus you hear how both Christ him­selfe, and sundry of the Prophets doe thunder downe from heaven against this grosse beastlinesse, which now a­boundeth and reigneth amongst the sons of men.

Phil.

True indeed. But yet almost nothing will make men leave it, for it is a most rise and over-common vice. Wee see many that thinke themselves some bodies (and, as wee say, no small fooles) which yet will be overtaken with it, and thereby lose their credit and reputa­tion with all wise men: yea, doe prove themselves to be but swine, and brute beasts, as the holy Ghost avoucheth, say­ing, Wine is a mocker, and strong drinke is raging. Prov. [...]0.1. Whosoever is deceived therein, is not wise.

Theol.

The wise King in the same booke doth most notably and fully de­scribe unto us the inconveniences and mischiefes which doe accompany drun­kennesse, and follow drunkards at the heeles.Prov. 25.29. To whom (he saith) is wo? to whom is alas? to whom is strife? to [Page 181] whom is babbling? to whom are wounds without cause? to whom is the rednesse of the eies? Even to them that tarry long at the wine: to them that goe and seeke out mixt wine. Prov. 23.21. In the same chapter he saith, Bee not of the number of them which are bibbers of wine, or of them which glut themselves with flesh: for the drinker and the feast­er shall become poore: and the flee­per shall be cloathed with rags. More­over, he saith,Prov. 23.33. Their eyes shall behold strange women; and that they shall bee like him that lyeth in the midst of the Sea, and sleepeth in the top of the mast. In all these speeches the holy Ghost doth, in most lively manner, describe unto us the properties of drunkards; even their staggering, their reeling, their snorting, their senslesse sensuali­ty. Behold then what be the cursed fruits & events of drunkennes: Even these which follow; woe, alas, griefe, misery, beggary, poverty, shame, lusts, strife, babbling, brawling, fightings, quarrelling, surfeiting, sicknesse, dis­eases, swinish sleeping, security, and sensuality. So then I conclude, that drunkennesse is a vice more beseeming an hog, than any reasonable man. And as one saith, It is the Metropolitan City of all the province of vices.

Well therefore saith the Heathen Writer, When the wine is in, D [...]most. Olinth. a man is [Page 182] as a running coach without a coachman.

Phil.

Let us hear what executions have beene done upon drunkards in former ages, that now men may learne to take heed by their examples.

Theol.

1 Sam. 13.29 Ammon, one of Davids un­gracious children, being drunk, was slaine by his brother Absolom. 1 K [...]n. 20.20 Benha­dad, King of Syria, being drunk, was discomfited by Ahab King of Israel. Elah, 1 Kin. 16.10 King of Israel, being drunke, was slaine by Zimri his servant, and captaine of his Chariots: who also succeeded him in the Kingdome. Lot, being drunke,Gen. 19.37. committed incest with his owne daughters; and therefore was punisht in his posterity. Thus wee see what executions have beene done, even upon Kings, for this kind of sin. Therefore let men learne once at last to shun v [...]ce, and embrace ver­tue, and, as the Apostle saith, to make an end of their salvation i [...] feare and trembling. For all our shifts and star­ting-holes will serve [...] to no purpose in the end: but when we have asked hither and thither never so mu [...]h, yet at the last we must be fain to be shut up in Gods wrath.

Antil.

What, I pray you, do you make it so great a matter if a man be a little o [...]ertaken with drinke now and then? There is no man but he hath his faults: and the best of [...]s all may be amended. [Page 183] If neighbours meete together now and then at the Ale-house, and play a game at Maw for a pot of Ale, meaning no hurt: I take it to be good fellowship, and a good meanes to increase love a­mongst neighbours; and not so hainous a thing as you make it.

Theol.

I see you would faine make faire weather of it, and smooth over the matter with sweete words; as though there were no such great evill in it. But howsoever you mince it, and blanch it over, yet the Apostle saith statly,1 Cor. 6. That Drunkards shall not inherit the Kingdome of God. I think this one sentence is enough to amaze and strike through the hearts of all drunkards in the world: for it is as much in effect, as if the Apostle had said, All drunkards are notorious re­probates and hell-hounds; branded of Satan, and devoted to perpetuall de­struction and damnation.

But you say you meane no hurt. I answer, whatsoever you meane, your actions are naught, and your fellow­ship as bad. For what good meaning can you have, or what good fellowship call you it, for poore labouring men, artificers, and such like to sit idle all the day long in Tavernes, and Ale-houses, mis-spending their time, and their money in gaming, rioting, swea­ring, staring, swilling, bezzelling, bib­bing, [Page 184] brawling and brabling? There is no true fellowship in it: it is meere impiety, if wee may call it impiety; for poore men do live idlely, dissolutely, neglecting their callings, while their poore wives and children fit crying at home for bread, being ready to starve, to beg, or to steal. I pray you speake your conscience, what good fellowship is there in this?

Antil.

Yet for all that, there be some which abstaine from Ale-houses, and yet are as bad as any other. For they will back-bite and slander their neigh­bours: they will doe them a shrewd turne, as soone as any other: they are envious, they censure us, and disdaine our company: yet wee thinke our selves as good as they, for all their shewes of ho­linesse.

Theol.

You speake more than you know, or can justifie, against some bet­ter than your selfe. But if it were so, you should not justifie one sin by ano­ther, a lesser by a greater: which is to no purpose.

Antil.

Will you then condemn all good fellowship?

Theol.

No, no: I do greatly allow godly and Christian fellowship; and acknowledge it to be one of the chief­est comforts wee have in the world. I know wee are commanded to love brotherly fellowship. 1 Pet. 2.11. But as for your [Page 185] pot-companionship, I hate it, and ab­horre it. For it is written,Prov. 28.19 Hee that followeth the idle, shall bee filled with poverty. And againe,Prov. 2 [...].7. He that keepeth company with banqueters, shameth his father. And in another place,Prov. 28.17. Hee that loveth pastime, shall bee a poore man: and hee that loveth wine and oyle, shall not be rich.

Phil.

Good Mr. Theologus, talke no more with him: but let us draw neer to the winding up of this matter; and tell us, in a word, which be the chiefe causes of drunkennesse.

Theol.

The causes are these:Causes of Drunken­nesse.

  • Ill company.
  • Ale-houses.
  • Idlenesse.
  • A wicked humour.
Phil.

Which be the true remedies?

Theol.

The remedies are these:Remedies for Drun­kennesse.

  • Avoiding of evill company.
  • Shunning of Ale-houses.
  • Labouring in your callings.
  • A good course of life.
Phil.

Well Sir, you have waded farre enough in this point: Let us now come to the eighth signe of condemnation, which is idlenesse.

Theol.

Concerning idlenesse, this I say briefly: that it is the mother of all vice, and the stepdame of all ver­tue: yea, it is the very bel-dame of all enormities. It is the mother of [Page 186] whoredome, the mother of pride, the mother of theft, the mother of drun­kennesse, the mother of ignorance, the mother of error, the mother of pover­ty, the mother of flandering and back­biting, pratling and gossiping, braw­ling, scolding, quarrelling: and what not? Ydlenesse was one of the princi­pall sinnes of Sodome, as the Pro­phet Ezekiel testifieth, saying, Pride, fulnesse of bread, Ezek. 16 19 and abundance of idlenesse was in her, and in her daugh­ters. Solomon is very plentifull in this matter:Pro. 13.4. For, saith hee, The sluggard lusteth, and hath nought. And againe, The sluggard is wiser in his own con­ceit, Pro. 26.1 [...]. then seven men that can give a sensible reason: That is, he taketh him­selfe the wisest of many, because hee spareth his body, when others take paines:Pro. 24.3 [...]. hee saith, Yet a little sleep, yet a little slumber, yet a little foulding the hands: and his povetty commeth like a traveller; that is, unawares: and his necessity, like an armed man; that is,Eccles. 4.5. strongly. Then hee fouldeth his hands together, and eateth his owne flesh. Pro. 26.15. For, Hee hideth his hand in his bosome, and it grieveth him to put it to his mouth againe.

In another place the holy Ghost saith, The sloathfull man will not plough because of Winter: therefore hee shall beg in Summer, and have nothing. [Page 187] Againe,Pro. 9.18. The sloathfull man is brother to him that is a great waster.

Moreover, it is said,Pro. 26.14. that the slug­gard turnes himselfe upon his bed, as the doore doth upon the hinges. That is, he keepeth his bed, as if he were fast­ned to it.

And because the Spirit will abound in this point, it is further written of the sloathfull man, that he saith, An huge Lyon is in the way: Pro. 26.13. I shall be slaine in the streets: That is, when any good matter is in hand (as prea­ching, praying, reading, giving to the poore, &c. (then hee draweth back, hee shrinketh into the shell, he findeth one let or other, one excuse or other. Then profit and pleasure, businesse and idle­nesse, matters at home, and matters abroad, company, and a thousand oc­casions will lye in his way, as so ma­ny Lions, to let and hinder him. So then wee see how lively and plentifully the holy Scriptures do paint out the lazie lubbers of this world, and sonnes of idlenesse: which are as hardly drawne to any good thing as a Beare to the stake. As for the duties of Re­ligion, they go as lively and as cheer­fully about them, as a theefe goeth up the ladder to be executed for his theft.

Phil.

I do plainly see, that this sinne of idlenesse is a very grosse evill, and the root of many vices: yet for all that, [Page 188] there be a great number which thinke they were borne to live idlely; as many young Gentlemen, and such like: which imagine they came into the world for no other purpose, but to hunt and hawke, card and dice, riot and revell; and so spend their daies in pleasure and vanity. Againe, there be many lazy lo­zels, and luskish youths, both in townes and villages, which doe nothing all the day long but walke in the streetes, sit upon the stalles, and frequent Taverns and Ale-houses. Many rich citizens, especially women, do ordinarily lye in bed till nine of the clock, and then for­sooth rise, and make themselves ready to goe to dinner. And after they have well dined, they spend the rest of the day, and a good part of the night al­so, in playing, prattling, babling, cack­ling, prating and gossiping; fie on this idle life. Many profane serving-men also doe falsly suppose, that they were borne onely to game, riot, swear, whore, ruflle it and roist it out, and to spend their time in meer idlenesse. But, of all these well said the Heathen Philosopher, Illos pariter indignantur & dii & homines,Aristot.quisquis otiosus: Both God and men do hate the idle person.

Theol.

It is a lamentable thing to see so many men and women live so idlely, and so unprofitably as they do. For alas, there be too many which [Page 189] follow no honest calling, live to no use; no body is the better for them. They doe no good, neither to the Church or common-wealth. They are like Drone-Bees: they are improfi­table burthens of the earth. God hath no use of them; the Church no good, the Common-wealth no benefit; their neighbours no profit; the poore no reliefe. They imagine they came into the world to do nothing but eat, drinke, and sleep, and rise up to play. They thinke they would spend their time in diceing and dancing, in whor­dome and bravery, in gluttony and belly-cheere, in masting themselves like Hoggs of Epicurus Heard, in pampering their panches, and cram­ming their bellies: in fatting them­selves like Boares in a Franke, till they bee well brawned;Job 15.27. & 21.12. and (as Job saith) till their bones run full of mar­row, their faces strout with fatnesse, and they have collops in their flanke. Oh, what a beastly life is this! Fie upon it, fle upon it. It is more meet for Epi­cures than Christians; for swine than for men; for Sardanapalus and Helioga­balus, and such like belly-gods, than for the professors of the Gospel. But of all such Job saith enough,Job 11. They spend their dayes in pleasure, and sud­denly go downe to bell.

Phil

But may it not be allowed unto [Page 190] Lords and Ladies, Gentlemen and Gentlewomen, and other great ones, to live idlely, sith they have wherewith to maintaine it?

Theol.

God doth allow none to live idlely: but all, great and small, are to be employed one way or other: either for the benefit of the Church, or Com­mon-wealth; or for the good govern­ment of their owne housholds; or for the good of townes and parishes, and those amongst whom they doe con­verse; or for the succour and reliefe of the poore; or for the furtherance of the Gospel, and the maintenance of the ministery; or for one good use or other. To these ends, our wits, our learning, our reading, our skill, our policie, our wealth, our health, our wisedome, and authority, are to be referred: knowing this, that one day wee shall come to give an account of our Bailywick, and to be reckoned withall for the employments of our Talents.Job 5.7. For this cause Job saith, that Man is borne to travell, as the sparkes flie upward. And God hath laid this upon Adam and all his posterity,Gen. 3. In the sweat of thy browes thou shalt eat thy bread. Some do set downe foure cau­ses why every man should labour dili­gently in his calling.

First, to beare the yoke laid upon all mankind by the Lord.

[Page 191]

Secondly, to get the necessaries of this life.

Thirdly, to live to the profit of hu­mane society.

Lastly, to avoid evill thoughts and actions.

St. Paul findeth great fault with some in the Church of Thessalonica, because they walked inordinately, that is, idlely, and out of a lawfull calling; and therefore concluded, That such as would not labour, should not eat. So then, wee do plainly see, that God alloweth idlenesse in none. For, when we are idle (as hath been shewed before) wee lie open to the Divell and his temptations, and he gets within us, and prevaileth against us. While David tarried idlely at home in the beginning of the yeare, when Kings used to go forth to the battell, hee was soone overtaken with those two soule sinnes of adultery and man­slaughter. So long as Samson war­red with the Philistines, hee could never be taken or overcome: but af­ter hee gave himselfe to idlenesse and pleasure, he not onely committed for­nication with the Strumpet Dalilah, but also was taken of his enemies, and his eyes miserably pulled out. These examples doe shew what a dangerous sinne wickesse is. Therefore the holy Ghost sends us to schools to the little [Page 192] Creature, the Ant, to learne of her both to avoid idlenesse, and also to use wisedome and providence in our acti­ons.Prov. 6.6. Go to the Pismire, O sluggard, behold her waies, and be wise: For shee, having no guide, task-master, nor ruler, prepareth her meat in the sum­mer, and gathereth her food in the har­vest. And in good sooth it is wonder­full to observe, what infinite paines, and unwearied labour, this silly crea­ture taketh in Summer, that she may be well provided for against Winter. Let us therefore learne wisedome from her example: and let us set before our eyes the looking-glasse of all Crea­tures. Let us consider how the birds flye, the fishes swimme, the wormes creep, the heavens turne, the elements move, the sea ebbeth and floweth un­cessantly: yea the earth it selfe, which is the most heavie and unweildy crea­ture of all other, yet never ceaseth his working, bringeth forth his burden in Summer, and labouring inwardly all the Winter, in concocting, and di­gesting his nourishment for the next spring. Thus wee see how all crea­tures are diligently and painfully ex­ercised in their kinds. And therefore it is a great shame for us to live idle­ly carelesly, and dissolutely. Let us therefore learne once (at last) to flie sloath, and every one to live faithfully, [Page 193] diligently, and industriously in our severall callings. So shall we both keep Satan at the staves end, and also much sinne out of our soules, which otherwise idlenesse will force in upon us.

Phil.

I must needs confesse that idle­nesse is a grosse vice, in whomsoever it is found. But specially, in my judgement, it is most odious in Magistrates and Mi­nisters.

Theol.

That is so in truth. For they ought to be the guides, governours, shepherds, and watch-men over the people of God. And therefore for them to neglect their duties and charges, is a most horrible thing, sith it concern­eth the hurt of many. Therefore well said the Heathen Poet,Hom. l. [...]. A Magistrate or Minister may not be lazie or sloth­full, to whom the nursing of the people is given in charge, and of whom many things are to be cared for.

What a lamentable thing therefore is it, when Magistrates are profane, irreligious, popish, vicious, and negli­gent in the duties of their calling? And how much more lamentable is it, when Ministers neglect their studies, slacke preaching and prayer, and give up themselves, some to covetousnesse, some to pride, some to husbandry, some to other worldly affaires, and some to spend their time idlely in Ta­vernes, [Page 194] Ale-houses, gaming, rioting, and lewd company? Would to God therefore that both these kinds of publike persons would cast off idle­nesse and sloath, and with diligence, faithfulnesse, care and conscience, per­forme the duties of their places. For it is an excellent thing for any to be a good man in his place: As a good Magistrate that ruleth well, that go­verneth wisely, which favoureth good men, and good causes, and defendeth them: which also setteth himselfe a­gainst bad men and bad causes, and punisheth them sharply and severely: which moreover maintaineth vertue, even of a very love hee beareth unto it in his heart: and punisheth vice, of a very zeale and hatred against it: and not for his credit onely, or to please some, or because he must needs doe it, and can doe no lesse, or for any such sinister respect: but even of a love to God, a care of his glory, a conscience of duty, and a fervent zeale against sin. So likewise, it is a notable thing for a Minister to be a good man in his place: to be studious in the Law of God, diligent and painfull in preach­ing; and that out of a love of God, a zeale of his glory, deep pity and com­passion toward the soules of the peo­ple, seeking by all meanes possible to win them unto God; carrying him­selfe [Page 195] in all his actions amongst them wisely, religiously, unblameably, and inoffensively. So againe, it is a wor­thy thing to be a good rich man, which doth much good with his riches, which keepeth a good house, relieveth the poore, ministreth to the necessities of the Saints, and giveth cheerfully and with discretion, where need is. So al­so, it is a commendable thing to be a good neighbour, a good Townsman, by whom a man may live quietly, peace­ably, joyfully, and comfortably.

And lastly, to be a good poore man: that is, humble, lowly, dutifull, pain­full, ready to help, and ready to please. Oh, I say, this is a most excellent and glorious thing, when every man keepeth his standing, his range, and his ranke; when all men, with care and conscience, performe the duties of their places: when the husband doth the duty of an husband; and the wife of a wife: when the father doth the duty of a father; and the childe of a childe: when the master doth the duty of a master; and the servant of a servant: when every man setteth God before his eyes, in doing those things which especially belong unto him. For herein consisteth the honour of God, the glory of the Prince, the crowne of the Church, the fortresse of the Common-wealth, the safety of [Page 196] Cities the strength of Kingdoms, and the very preservation of all things.

Asun.

You have said well in some things: but yet I do not see, but that rich men and women may live idlely, sith they have enough wherewithall to main­taine it. For may not a man do with his owne what he list?

Theol.

No verily. For you may not take your owne knife, and cut your owne throat with it: neither may you take your owne axe, and kill your owne childe with it. Therefore that reason is naught. Albeit therefore wealthy men and women have great plenty of all things, so as they need not labour, yet let them be profitably employed some way or other: let them exercise themselves in one good thing or other. If they can find nothing to doe, let them give themselves much to private prayers, and reading of the Scriptures, that they may be able to instruct and exhort others. Or else let Ladies and Gentlewomen doe as that good woman Dorcas did, that is, buy cloth, cut it out, worke it, sew it, make shirts, smocks, coats and garments, and give them to the poore, when they haue so done. For it is said of Dorcas, that shee was a woman full of good workes, Act. 9.36.39. and almes-deeds which she did. She was a mercifull and tender-hearted woman, she was the [Page 197] poore mans friend, she clothed the poore and naked, she knew it was a sacrifice acceptable to God. Oh that the wealthy women of our Land would follow the example of Dorcas! But (alas) these dayes bring forth few Dorcases.

Phil.

As you have shewed us the causes of the former evils: so now, I pray you, shew the causes of this also.

Theol.

The causes of idlenesse are,

  • Evill examples.
    Causes of idlenesse.
  • Bad education.
  • Living out of calling.
Phil.

Shew us also the remedies.

Theol.

The remedies are,

  • Good education.
    Remedies against idlenesse.
  • Labour in youth.
  • Good examples.
  • Diligence in a lawfull calling.
Phil.

Now then let us come to the last signe of damnation, which is oppression. And I beseech you, good Sir, speak your mind of it out of the Scriptures.

Theol.

It is so infinite a matter, that I know not where to begin, or where to make an end of it. It is a bottomelesse sinke of most grievous enormities. I shall enter into a La­byrinth, where I shall not know how to get out againe. But sith you are desirous to heare something of it, this I say; That it is a most cruell mon­ster, a bloudy vice, a most ugly and [Page 198] hideous fiend of hell. The Scriptures in very many places doe [...]ry our upon it, arraigning it, adjudging it, and condemning it downe to hell. They doe also thunder and lighten upon all those which are stained and corrupted with this vice, calling them by such names, and giving them such titles, as are taken from the effects of this sinne, and most fit for oppressors: as namely,Isa. 3.15. Amos 8.6. Micah 3.2. that They g [...]ind the faces of the poore; that They plucke off their skins from them, and their flesh from their bones: that, They eat them up as they eat bread. These are they which strive to devoure all (like sa­vage beasts) and to get the whole earth into their hands,Psal. 14.4. either by hook or by crook, by right or by wrong; by oppression, fraud and violence. These Caterpillers and Cormorants of the earth, are like unto the Whale fish, that swalloweth up quicke other little fishes. They are like a Lion that de­voureth other beasts. They are like the Falcon, which seizeth, plumeth, and preyeth upon other fowles. These greedy Wolves devoure all, and swal­low up the poore of the Land. There­fore the Prophets of God doe thun­der out many great woes against them.

First, the Prophet Esay saith, chapt. 5.8. Woe unto them that joyne ho [...]se to [Page 199] house, and field to field, till there be no place for the poore to dwell in, that they may be placed by themselves in the midst of the earth.

Secondly, the Prophet Jeremy saith,Jer. 12.13. Woe unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers with­out equity.

Thirdly, the Prophet Micah saith,Mich. 2.2. Wo unto them that covet fields, and take them by violence; and so oppresse a man and his house, even a man and his he­ritage.

Fourthly,Hab. 2.12. the Prophet Habakkuk crieth out, saying, Woe unto him [...]hat buildeth a Towne with bloud, and erect­eth a Citie by iniquity. Sa nt James also most terribly threatneth these kind of men, saying, Goe to now, yee rich men, James 5.1, 2 weep and howle for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your gold and sil­ver is cankered: and the rust of them shall be a witnesse against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire.

Lastly, S. Paul saith flatly,1 Cor. 8.10. that Extor­tioners shall not inherit the Kingdome of God. Thus we s [...]e, how many fear­full woes and threats are denounced from heaven against the pestilent cut­throats of the earth.

Phil.

And all little enough. For they are steeped in their sinne, and the staine of it is soked into them, as it will hardly ever be washed out. True [Page 200] it is that you said, that these cruell op­pressing bloud-suckers are the most pernicious and pestilent vermine that creep upon the face of the earth; and yet I thinke there were never moe of them then in these dayes. For now the wicked world is full of such as doe sun­dry waies bite, pinch, and nip the poore, as we see by every dayes lamentable ex­perience. But you can speake more of it then I: therefore, I pray you, lay open the sundry kinds of oppression used in these daies.

Theo.
  • The sundry kinds of oppressions
    There is oppression by usury.
  • Oppression by bribery.
  • Oppression by racking of Rents.
  • Oppression by taking excessive fines.
  • Oppression in bargaining.
  • Oppression in letting of le [...]ses.
  • Oppression in letting of houses.
  • Oppression in letting of grounds.
  • Oppression in binding poore men to unreasonable covenants.
  • Oppression in thrusting poore men out of their houses.
  • Oppression in hiring poore mens houses over their heads.
  • Oppression in taking of fees.
  • Oppression by Lawyers.
  • Oppression by Church-officers.
  • Oppression by engrossers.
  • Oppression by fore-stallers.
  • Oppression of the Church.
  • [Page 201]Oppression of the Ministery.
  • Oppression of the poore.
  • Oppression of widowes.
  • Oppression of Orphans.

And thus we see how all swarmes with Oppressions; and nothing but Oppressions, Oppressions.

Phil.

In truth, this is a most cruell and oppressing age wherein wee live; yea, a very Iron age. It seemes that the great ones mind nothing else; they are altogether set upon oppression: they dote and dreame of it: they find sweet in it, and therefore they are mad of it: As Solomon saith, Oppression maketh a wise man mad. It seemes therefore, that this vice is of such marvellous force, that it can bereave men of their wits, and make them starke mad of get­ting goods by hooke or by crooke, they care not how, not from whom, so they have it. Yet no doubt the most wise God hath enacted many good lawes for the suppressing of this evill, and threatneth the execution of them in his owne per­son: and especially his Law doth provide for the safety of the poore, the father­lesse, the widow and the stranger. But you, Master Theologus, can repeat the Sta­tutes better then I, because you are a pro­fessed Divine: therefore, I pray you, let us heare them from you.

Theol.

In the 22. chapter of Exodus, God made this Law following, You [Page 202] shalt not trouble any widow or father­lesse child: If thou vex or trouble such, and so hee call and cry unto mee, I will surely heare his c [...]ie. Then shall my wrath be kindled, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall be widow [...]s, Deut. 12. and your children father­lesse. Againe he saith, Thou shalt not oppresse an hired servant that is needy and poore: but thou shalt give him his hire for his day; neither shall the Sunne goe downe upon it (for hee is poore, and therewith sustaineth his life) l [...]st hee cry against thee unto the Lord, and it be sinne unto thee. Exod. 22. Moreover, the Lord saith, Thou shalt doe no injury to a stranger: for yee were strangers in the and of Egypt. Mal. 3. And God himselfe threatneth, that hee will be a swift wi nesse against those which keep backe the hirelings wages, and vex the widow and the fathe lesse.1 Thes. 4.6. The Apostle saith, Let no man opp [...]esse or defraud his brother in any matter. For the Lord is an avenger of all such things. Eccl. 5.6. Solomon also saith, It in a coun­trie thou seest the oppression of the poo [...]e, and the defrauding of justice and judgement; be not astonied at the matter: for hee that is higher then the highest, regardeth, and there be higher then they. All these holy Statutes and Lawes, enacted and provided a­gainst oppressors, doe plainly shew [Page 203] what care the Lord hath for his poore, distressed, no desolate people.

Phil.

But these oppressing hell-hounds are such as care for nothing. No law of the Almighty can bridle them: nothing can feare them: nothing can restraine them: they have made a covenant with hell and death. They are frozen in their dregs, they are past feel­ing. And, as Job saith, Job 24.14. These are they that abhorre the light: they know not the waies thereof, neither continue in the paths thereof. Their hearts are as hard as the Adamant. Nothing can move th [...]m, nothing can worke upon them. There is great crying out every where of the stone in the reines, which ind [...]ed is a great torment to the bodie: bu [...] th re is no complaining of the stone in the heart, I meane, a stony heart, which is the sorest disease that possibly can fall into the soule of a man: and yet in th [...]se times it groweth very rife. For mens hearts are as hard as brasse, and as the neather Mill-stone, as the Scri­pture speaketh. For many, especially of these unmercifull and oppressing ty­rants, s y in their hearts, God will doe neither good nor ev [...]ll. Zeph. 1.23. Therefore they put the evill day far from them, and ap­proach to the seat of iniquity. They are at [...]ase in Sion: they lye upon beds of I vorie, and stretch themselves on their beds, and eat the Lambs of the flocke, [Page 204] and the calves out of the stall. They sing to the sound of the Viol: Amo [...] 6.3, 9. they invent instruments of musick, like David: they drink wine in bowles, and no man is sor­ry for the affliction of Joseph, that is, the troubles of Gods people. The Prophet Esay also complaines of these kinde of men, Isa. 5.12. saying, They regard not the work of the Lord, neither consider the worke of his hands. And another Prophet saith, Psal. 10.11. They say in their hearts, God hath forgot, he hides away his face and will never see. They are so proud, that they seek not for God. They thinke alwayes there is no God: his Judgements are farre out of their sight, their wayes al­way prosper, and therefore they say in their hearts, Tush, wee shall never bee moved, nor come in danger.

Theol.

You have spoken very well touching the steelinesse and hardnesse of these mens hearts, who are so un­mercifull to their poore neighbours that almost none can live by them They doe so disturbe and disquiet all things, that poore men can dwell in no rest by them. Therefore truly saith the wise King, A mighty man molest­eth all, & both hireth the foole & hires those that passe by: but the poore man speaketh with prayers, That is, by the way of entreaty and supplications. For the poore are affraid [...]im: they quake when they see them, as the [Page 205] beasts quake at the roaring of a Lion. Many poore Farmers, poore Hus­bandmen, poore Herds, poore Labou­rers, poore Widowes and Hirelings, doe [...] quake and tremble when these greedy Wolves come abroad. And (as Job saith) The poore of the earth hide themselves together. For (alas! Job. 24.4. in their hearts they cannot abide the sight of them) they had as leeve meet the Divell as meet them, for feare of one displeasure or another. For either they feare that they will warne them out of their houses, or parley about more Rent, and straiter covenants, or beg away their best kine, or borrow their horses, or command their carts, or require a weeks work of them, and never pay them for it, or a twelve-months pasture for a couple of Gel­dings, or that they'le make one quar­rell or another unto them, one mis­chiefe or another. So that these poore soules cannot tell what to doe, or which way to turne them, for feare of these cruell Termagants. They are even weary of their lives. For they have no remedy for these things, but even to beare it off with head and shoulders. Therefore they often wish they were out of the world, and that they were buried quicke. They say, it any will knock them on the head, they will forgive him. O most piteous case! [Page 206] O lamentable hearing! These poore silly creatures are faine to drudge and moile all the yeare long, in Winter and Summer, in frost and snow, in heat and cold, to provide their Rents, that they may be able to pay their cruell Land-lord at h s day. For else how shall they be able to loo [...]e him in the face? Yet their Rent is so rack't, that all they can doe is little enough to pay it: and when that is paid (alas) the poore man, and his wife and children have little left to take to, or to main­taine themselves withall: they are faine to gnaw of a crust, to fare hard­ly, and goe t [...]inly clad. Sometimes they have victuals, and sometimes none. The poore children cry for bread. Poore widowes also, and poore father­lesse children are found weeping and mourning in their hous [...]s, and in their streets. So that now we may, with Solomon, Eccl. 4.1. Turne and consider all the oppressions that are wrought under the Sunne. We may behold the teares of the oppressed, and none comforteth them. For the mighty ones doe wrong the weaker, even as the stronger beasts doe push and harme the feebler. These giuing oppressors doe pinch the poore even to the quicke. They pluck away from the fatherlesse & wi­dowes that little which they have. If there be but a cow, or a few sheep left, [Page 207] they will have them. If there be a little commodity of house or land; oh what devices they have to win i [...] in, and to wring it away! Those tyrants will goe as nigh as the bed they lye upon. They know well enough, the poore men are not able to wage law with them: and therefore they may doe what wrong they will, and sh [...]w what cruelty they list. Hence come the teares of the oppressed: hen [...]e c [...]m­meth the weeping and wailing of the poore. But alas, poore soules! they may well weep to ease their hearts a little; but there is none to comfort them: remedy they can have none. But yet, assuredly, the everlasting God doth looke upon them, and will be revenged. For the cries of the poore, the fatherlesse, and the widowes, have entred into the cares of the Lord of Hosts, who is an avenger of all such things; yea, a strong re­venger, as Solomon saith,Pro 23.14. Enter not into the field of the fatherlesse: for their revenger is strong: hee himself [...] will plead their cause against thee. And a­gaine he saith, Rob not the poore, Pro. 22.6. be­cause hee is poore: neither tread downe the affl [...]cted in the gate: for the Lord pleadeth their cause, and will spoile their soule that spoile them. We see then, that the most just God will [...]e revenged of these unmerciful tyrants. [Page 208] He will not alwayes put up these wrongs and injuries done to the poore.

In the eighth Chapter of the Pro­phet Amos, he sweares by the excellencie of Jacob, that he will never forget any of their works. And againe he saith by his Prophet Jeremy, Shall I not be avenged on such a nation as this?

Surely he will set his face against them to root them out of the earth. For indeed they are not, worthy to crawle upon the face of the earth, or to draw breath among the sons of men. It is written in the booke of Psalmes, that God will set these fel­lowes opposite against him, as a But to shoot at:Psal. 21.12. that hee will put them a­part, and the strings of his bow shall hee make ready against their faces. Be astonished at this, O ye heavens, and tremble, O thou earth. Heare this, O ye cruell Land-lords, unmercifull op­pressors, and bloud-suckers of the earth. You may well be called bloud-suckers: for you sucke the bloud of many poore men, women, and chil­dren: you eat it, you drink it, you have it served in at your sumptuous tables every day,Job. 24.5. you swallow it up, and live by it. And, as Job saith, The wilder­nesse gives you and your children food: that is, you live by robbing and mur­dering. But woe, woe unto you that ever you were borne. For the bloud [Page 209] of the oppressed, which ye have eaten and drunken, shall one day cry for speedy vengeance against you; as the bloud of Abel cryed against Cain. Their bloud shall witnesse against you in the day of judgement: and the teares of many poore starved children, or­phans and widowes, shall cry out a­gainst you.1 Kin. 21. Was the Lord revenged of Ahab for his cruell and unjust deal­ing with poore Naboth, and shall hee not be revenged of you? Did the Dogs lap the bloud of Ahab, and shall you escape? No, no: you shall not escape. The Lord will be a swift witnesse against you, as he saith in Malachie. Mal. 3. Was the Lord angry with the rich of the people for oppressing the poore (so as the cry of the people, and of their wives,Neh. 5. against their op­pressours, was heard of the Almigh­ty) and do you thinke you shall escape scot-free? Doth not the like cause bring forth the like effect? the like sin, the like punishment? Know there­fore for certainty, that the Lord hath costers full of vengeance against you, and one day he will unlocke them, and bring them forth into the sight of all men.

Know also that the timber of your houses, and the stones of your walls, which you have built by oppression and bloud, shall cry against you in the [Page 210] day of the Lords wrath, as the Pro­phet Habakkuk telleth you.Hab. 2. The stone (saith hee) shall cry out of the wall: and the b [...]ame out of the timber shall answer it. Where the Prophet telleth you, that the walls of your houses built in bloud, shall cry out loud and shrill, and play the Choristers in that behalfe, so as they shall answer one another on either side. The one side singeth, Behold bloud; the other, Be­ho [...]d murder. The one side Behold deceit; the other, Behold cruelty. The one, Behold pilling and polling; the other, Behold covetousnesse. The one, Behold robbery; the other, Be­hold perjury. And thus you see how the stones and timber of your houses shall descant upon you. And howso­ever you put on your br [...]zen browes, and harden your hearts against these threatnings of the most terrible God and Lord of Hosts; yet one day you shall (spice of your hearts, will ye, nill yee) be brought forth [...]nes judge­ment: you shall once come to your reckoning: you shall at last be appre­hended, convented, and arraigned at the barre of Gods Tribunall seat, be­fore the great Iudge of all the world. Then sentence shall passe against you, even that most dreadfull sentence, Goe yee cursed into hell fire, Mat. 25. there to be tormented with the Divell and his An­gels [Page 211] for ever. O then, woe, woe unto you:Mat. 16. For what shall it profit a man to winne the whole world, and lose his owne soule? saith our Lord Iesus. Surely, even as much, as it one should winne a farthing, and lose an hundred thousand pound. For if he shall be cast into hell fire, which hath not given of his owne goods righte­ously gotten, as our Saviour avouch­eth; where then shall he be cast, that hath stollen other mens goods? And if hee shall be damned that hath not clothed the naked: what shall become of him that hath made naked them that were clothed? Oh, therefore repent in time, O yee cruell oppressors: seeke the Lord while hee may be found: call upon him while hee is neere: lay aside your savage cruelty: visit the father­lesse and widow in their distresse: dea [...]e your bread to the hungry: help them to their right which suffer wrong: deale mercifully with your Tenants: Rack not your rents any more: pinch not the poore soules for whom Christ di d: pity them, I say, but pinch them not: deale kindly and friendly with them: remember your great ac [...]o [...]n [...]s: consider the shortnesse of your dayes, and the vanity of your life: rent your hearts, and not your clothes. Turne unto the Lord with all your heart, with weeping, fasting, and mourning: [Page 212] prevent Gods wrath with a sacrifice of teares: pacifie his anger with the calves of your lips, and with a con­trite spirit: be grieved for that which is past, and amend that which is to come: stand it out no more at the swords point against God: for it will not boot you to strive; he is too strong for you. Your onely wisedome is to come-in. Come-in therefore, come-in, yee rebellious generation: submit your selves to the great King: humble your selves under his mighty hand: cast downe your swords and targets: yeeld unto our God. So shall you escape the vengeance to come: so shall God accept you, have mercy up­on you, receive you to favour, grant you a generall pardon for all your rebellions, and admit you into the number of his faithfull and loyall subjects.

Phil.

I conceive by divers speeches which you have alledged, that goods got by oppression and cruelty, will never prosper long. For oppressors coine their money upon their neighbours skins. How then can it be blessed?

Theol.

You have spoken a truth, For, as it hath been shewed before, that those goods which are got by swearing and lying, are cursed; so all these that are got by oppression and violence, are more cursed. Therefore [Page 213] the Lord saith by his Prophet Jeremy, As the Partridge gathers the young which she hath not brought forth; Jer. 17.11. so hee that gathers riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his daies; and at his end shall be a foole, and his name shall be written in the earth.

Phil.

Would to God our Magistrates and Governours would take speedy or­der for the remedying of these things, and for the redressing of such grievous enormities as are among us; or that they themselves would step in, and deli­ver the oppressed from the hand of the oppressour.

Theol.

Job was an excellent man for such matters. For, it is said of him,Job 29.27. that He brake the jawes of the un­righteous man, and pluck't the prey out of his teeth. Where we see how Job was a meanes to deliver the innocent, and to pull the Lambe out of the Lions clawes. Moreover,Job 29.25. it is written of him in the same Chapter, that the blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon him, and that hee caused the widowes heart to rejoyce; that he was the eye to the blind, the feet to the lame, and the father to the poore: and when he knew not the cause, he sought it out diligently. O what a notable man was this! O that we had many Jobs in these daies! [Page 214] Wise Solomon doth most gravely ad­vise us all to follow Jobs example in this behalfe.Pro. [...]4.12. Deliver (saith he) them that are oppressed and drawne to death: for shouldest thou withdraw thy selfe from them which goe downe to the slaughter? Would to God this counsell were well weighed and practised a­mongst us.

Phil.

I marvell much with what face these cruell oppressors can come before God in his holy Temple to pray, and offer up their sacrifices unto him. For we see, many of them, though they have such fowle hands, and fowle hearts, as wee have heard; yet for all that, will most impudently presume to come to the Church and pray: or at least, when they are laid in their beds at nights, and halfe: sleep, then will they mumble over their praiers, or be pattering some Pater­nosters.

Theol.

Alas, alas, poore soules! all that they do in matters of Gods wor­ship, is but hypocrisie and dissimulati­on. For in truth they are not for God, they love him but from the teeth outward: their mouths are with him, but their heart goes after covetous­nesse, and their hands are full of bloud. And therefore God doth both abhorre them and their prayers. For, saith he,Isa. 1.15. Though they stretch out their hands, yet will I hide mine eyes from them: and [Page 215] though they make many praiers, yet will I not heare them. For their hands are full of bloud.

Moreover the holy Ghost saith,Pro. 28.9. He that turnes away his eare from hearing the Law, even his praier is abominable. Psal. 66.18. David saith, If I regard wickednesse in my heart, God will not heare my praier. Our Lord Iesus also affirmeth,Joh. 9.31. that God heares not sinners, that is, stub­borne and carelesse sinners. So then we may cleerly s [...]e (by all these testi­monies of holy Writ) what [...]ccount God makes of the praiers of oppres­sors, and all other profane and ungodly men: namely, that he doth hate them, and abhorre them as loathsome and o­dious in his sight.

Phil.

Now in conclusion, shew us the causes of oppression.

Theol.

The causes are these:Causes of oppres [...]ion.

  • Cruelty.
  • Covetousnesse.
  • Hard heartednesse.
  • An evill conscience.
  • The Divell.
Phil.

Let us heare also the remedies.

Theol.

The remedies be these:Remedies of oppression.

  • Pity.
  • Contentation.
  • Tender affections.
  • A good conscience.
  • Much prayer.
Phil.

Now, Sir, you have at large ut­tered [Page 216] your mind concerning these grosse corruptions of the world, and have plain­ly and evidently proved them to be the deadly poyson of the soule: so also, I pray you, satisfie us in this, whether they be not hurtfull also to the body, goods, and name.

Theol.

I have dwelt the longer in these common vices of the world, be­cause almost all sorts of men are stain­ed with one or other of them: and therefore they can never be enough spoken against. For the whole world lyeth in them,1 John 5. as Saint John testifi­eth. If men therefore could be reco­vered of these diseases, no doubt there would be a ready passage made for the abundance of grace; and wee should have a most flourishing Church and Common-wealth: but as long as these doe lye in the way, there is small hope of greater mercies and blessings to be poured upon us; or that ever we shall come to have an inward conversation with God. For these vices blind our eyes, burthen our hearts,Jer. 5. [...]5. and (as the Prophet Jere­my saith) hinder good things from us. But touching your petition; I must needs grant, that as these vices are the very bane of the soule, and most certaine signes of condemnation; so are they very dangerous to the body, goods and name: yea and to the [Page 217] whole land, both Church and Com­mon-wealth.

Phil.

Shew us out of the Scriptures what danger they bring to the body.

Theol.

The Lord our God saith, that if wee will not obey him, nor keep his commandements (but break his covenant) hee will appoint over us hastie plagues, consumptions,Levi. 26.16. and the burning ague, to consume the eyes and to make the heart heavie. So also hee saith, that if wee will not obey his voice, to observe all his commandements and ordinances, that then hee will make the pestilence cleave unto us,Levit. 28.21. untill hee have consu­med us: that hee will smite us with the Feaver, with the botch of Egypt, with the Emrods, with the Scab, and with the Itch; that also hee will smite us with madnesse, and with blindnesse, and with astonishment of heart. So then you see what great evills the Lord threatens to inflict upon our bodies in this life, for these and such like sinnes. But on the con­trary, the holy Ghost saith,Pro. 5 7. Feare God, and depart from evill: so health shall be to thy navell, and moisture to thy bones.

Phil.

What evill do these forenamed sins bring upon us in our goods and out­ward estate?

Theol.

They cause God to curse us [Page 218] in all that wee set hand unto, as plen­tifully appeareth in the forenamed chapter: where the Lord saith thus, If thou wilt not obey the commande­ments of the Lord thy God, Deu [...]. 38. cursed shalt thou be in the towne, cursed also in the field: cursed shall be thy basket and thy store: cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, and the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed also when thou goest out. The Lord shall send upon thee cursing, trouble and shame, in all that thou settest thy hand unto. Deut. 27. And further he saith, That he will breake the staffe of their bread; that ten women shall bake their bread in one oven, and they shall deliver their bread againe by weight, and they shall eat and not be satisfied. You do therefore apparently see, that these sins will draw down Gods wrath upon us, and all that we have.

Phil.

What hurt do these sinnes to our good name?

Theol.

They bring reproach, shame, and infamy upon us, and cause us to be abhorred and contemned of all good men. They do utterly blot out our good name. For as vertue makes men honourable and reverend: so vice makes men vile and contempti­ble. This is set downe, where the [Page 219] Lord threatens Israel, 2 Kin. 197. that for their sinnes and disobedience hee will make them a proverb and common talke, yea, a reproach and astonishment among all people.Ezek. 5.5. In sundry other places of the Prophets hee threatens, for their sins, to make them a reproach, a shame, an hissing, and nodding of the head to all Nations.

Phil.

I do verily thus think, that as sinne generally doth staine every mans good name, which all are chary and tender of: so especially it doth blot those which are in high places, and of speciall note for learning, wisedome and godlinesse.

Theol.

You have spoken most tru­ly, and agreeable to the Scriptures. For the Scripture saith,E cles. 10.1. As a dead Flie causeth the Apothecaries oynt­ment to stinke: so doth a little folly, him that is in estimation for wisdome and for honour. Where Solomon sheweth, that if a Flie get into the Apothecaries box of oyntment, and die, and putrifie in it, shee marreth it though it be never so precious: even so, if a little sin ge [...] into the heart, and breake out in the forehead of a man of great sinne for some singular gifts, it will blurre him, though hee be never so excellent.

Phil.

Shew me this, I pray you, more plainly.

Theol.

Wee observe this, in oll ex­perience, that if a Noble-man be a good man, and have many excellent parts in him of curtesie, patience, hu­mility, and love of Religion; yet if he be covetous, the common people will have their eye altogether upon that: and they will say, Such a Noble-man is a very good man but for one thing: hee is exceeding covetous, op­presseth poore men, and dealeth hardly with his Tenants, keepeth no house, doth little good in the Countrie where he dwelleth. And this is it that marreth all.

Moreover, let a Iudge, a Iustice, or a Magistrate, be endued with ex­cellent gifts of prudence, policy, tem­perance, liberality, and knowledge in the low: yet if they be given to anger, or taking of bribes, oh how it will disgrace them amongst the people! for they will say, He is a worthy man indeed, but there is one thing in him that marreth all: hee is an exceeding angry and furious man, hee is as an­gry as a waspe, he will be in a pelting chase for every trifle: he will fret and fume, if you do but blow upon him. And besides this, hee is a very corrupt man: he is a great taker of bribes: hee loveth well to be bribed: hee will do a­ny thing for bribes.

Furthermore, if any Preacher be a [Page 221] man of great gifts, the common peo­ple will say of him: Oh, he is a wor­thy man indeed, an excellent Scho­lar, a profound Divine, a singular man in a Pulpit: but yet for all that, he hath a shrewd touch which marreth all; he is an exceeding proud man: he is as proud as Lucifer. He hath very great gifts indeed, but I war­rant you he knoweth it well enough: For hee carrieth his crest very high, and looketh very sternly and dis­dainfully upon all other men. He is unmeasurably puft up with over­weening, and thinketh that he touch­eth the clouds with his head. Thus therefore w [...] [...]re, how the dead Flies marre all, and how some one sinne doth disgrace a man that otherwise doth excell.

Phil.

What is the cause why some one sin doth so blot and smut the most excel­lent men?

Theol.

The reason hereof is, be­cause such men are as a candle set up­on a candles [...]icke, or rather upon a scaffold or mountaine, for all men to behold and looke upon. And sure it is, they have a thousand eyes upon them every day; and that not onely gazing upon them, but also prying ve­ry narrowly unto them, to spy out the least mote, that they may make a mountaine of it. For, as in a cleane [Page 222] white paper, one little spot is soone e­spied; but in a piece of browne paper, twenty great blurs scant discerned: even so in Noble-men, Iudges, Ma­gistrates, Iustices, Preachers and Professors, the least spot or speck is soone seene into; but among the baser sort, and most grosse livers, almost no­thing is espied or regarded.

Phil.

Sith the eyes of all men are bent and fixed upon such men as are of some note, therefore they had need very heed­fully to look to their steps, that they may take away all advantage from them that seek it.

Theol.

Yes verily. And further­more, they had need to pray with Da­vid alwaies,Psal. 119.13. Direct my steps, O Lord, in thy word; and let no iniquity have dominion over mee. Psal. 41.12. And againe, Or­der my goings, that my foot-steps slip not: uphold mee in my integrity. For if such men be never so little given to swearing, to lying, to drinke, or to women, it is espied by and by: and therewithall their credit is cracked, their fame over-cast, their glory ecclip­sed, and the date of their good name presently expired.

Phil.

Now as you have shewed what great hurt these sins doe bring upon our soules, bodies, goods and name: so also, I pray you, shew what danger they bring upon the whole Land.

Theol.

Questionlesse, they pull downe the wrath of God upon us all, and give him just cause to break all in pieces, and utterly to subvert and o­verthrow the good estate both of Church and Common-wealth; yea, to make a finall consumption and deso­lation of all. For they be the very fire-brands of Gods wrath, and, as it were, touch-wood to kindle his an­ger and indignation upon us. For the Apostle saith,Col. [...] 6. For such things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.

Phil.

Declare unto us out of the Scrip­tures, how the Lord in former times hath punished whole nations and King­domes for these and such like sins.

Theol.

In the fourth of Hosea, Hos. 4.1. the Lord telleth his people, that hee hath a controversie with the Inhabitants of the Land: (and the reason is added) because there was no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the Land. By swearing, lying, killing, stealing, and whoring, they breake out, and bloud toucheth bloud. Therefore shall the Land mourn: and every one that dwel­leth therein shall be cut off.

Here then wee see what it is that will incense God against us, and cause us all to mourne. So likewise the Lord threatneth by his Prophet A­mos, that for the cruelty and oppres­sion [Page 224] of the poore, he would plague the whole Land.Amos 3.8. Shall not the Land trem­ble for this (saith the Lord) and every one mourne that dwells therein?

Againe, the Lord saith by the Pro­phet Jeremy, Jer. 7.19, 1. Doe they provoke mee to anger, and not themselves, to the con­fusion of their owne faces? Therefore thus saith the Lord, Behold, mine an­ [...]r and my wrath shall be poured upon this place, upon man and beast, upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground: and it shall burne, and not be quenched.

Jer. 2 [...].5.Againe, the Lord saith; If yee will not heare these words, I sweare by my selfe (saith the Lord) that this house shall be waste, and I will prepare de­stroyers against thee, every one with his weapons, and they shall cut downe thy chiefe Cedar-trees, and cast them into the fire.

Likewise the Lord threatneth by his Prophet Ezekiel, Ezek. 5.7. saying: Be­cause you have not walked in my Sta­tutes, nor kept my Judgements: there­fore behold, I, even I, come against thee, and will execute judgement in the midst of thee, even in the sight of the Nations: and I will doe in thee that I never did before, neither will I doe any more the like, because of all thine abominations. For in the midst of thee, the fathers shall eat their sons, [Page 225] and the sons shall eat their fathers. A­gaine, by the same Prophet the Lord saith,Ezek. 7.23, 27. The Land is full of the Judge­ment of bloud, and the Citie full of cru­eltie. Wherefore I will bring the most wicked of the Heathen, and they shall possesse their houses. I will also make the pompe of the mighty to cease, and the holy places shall be defiled. When destruction cometh, they shall seeke peace, and not have it. Calamity shall come upon calamity, and rumour upon rumour. Then shall they seek a vision of the Prophet: but the Law shall pe­rish from the Priest, and counsell from the Ancient. The King shall mourne, and the Prince shall be clothed with desolation, and the hands of the peo­ple in the Land shall be troubled. I will do unto them according unto their waies, and according unto their judge­ment I will judge them: and they shall know, that I am the Lord. Last of all, the Lord saith by his Prophet Jeremy, Heare, O earth: Behold, Jer. 4.19. I will cause a plague to come upon this people, even the fruit of their owne imaginations, because they have not taken heed to my words and to my Law, but cast it off.

Almost innumerable places to this purpose are to be found in the wri­tings of the Prophets: but the [...] may suffice to prove the maine point; [Page 226] to wit, that the just God doth punish whole nations and kingdomes for the sins and rebellions thereof.

Phil.

Sith all these sins (for the which the Lord did execute such universall punishments upon his owne people) doe abound and over-flow in the Land, may wee not justly feare some great plague to fall upon us? And the rather, because our transgressions doe increase daily, and grow to a full height and ripe­nesse; so as it seems, the harvest of Gods vengeance draweth neere, and approach­eth?

Theol.

We may indeed justly feare and tremble. For if God spared not the Angels that sinned, how shall hee spare us? If he spared not his owne people, what can we looke for? If he spared not the naturall branches, how shall hee spare us that are wilde by nature? Are we better then they? Can we looke to be spared, when they are punished? Are not our sinnes as many, and as great as theirs? Doth not the same cause bring forth the same effect? Is the Arme of the Lord shortned? Or is not God the same just God to punish sin now, that hee was then? Yes, yes assuredly. And therefore we have great cause to mourne and lament, to quake and tremble, because there is a naked sword of vengeance hanging over our [Page 227] heads. Thus did Jeremy, Jer. 4.19. Amos 5.6. Hab. 3.16. thus did Amos, thus did Habakkuk, when they plainly saw the imminent wrath of God approaching upon the people of Israel and Judah.

Phil.

I thinke wee may the rather doubt and feare, because the punish­ment of these fore-named vices is neg­lected by the Magistrate. For com­monly when they that beare the sword of Justice, doe not draw it out to punish notorious offendors and malefactors, the Lord himselfe will take the matter into his owne hands, and be revenged in his owne person: which is most dreadfull and dangerous. For, H [...]b. 10.3 [...]. it is a fearfull thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Theol.

You have spoken a truth: For if those which are Gods Depu­ties and Vicegerents in the earth, doe their duties faithfully in punishing vice, and maintaining vertue; in smi­ting the wicked, and favouring the godly: then assuredly evill shall be taken out of Israel, Gods wrath pre­vented, and his judgements inter­cepted: as it is written,Psal. 109.32. Phineas stood up and executed judgement, and the plague was stayed. But if they (for feare, favour, affection, gaine, flatte­rie, bribery, or any other sinister re­spect) will be too sparing and remisse in punishing of grosse offenders, and [Page 228] be rather ready to smite the righteous; then doe they exceedingly provoke Gods wrath against the Land, and a­gainst themselves.

Phil.

One thing I do greatly lament: that there be either none at all, or very slender censures, either by the Civill, or Ecclesiasticall authority, for divers of these fore-named vices: as pride, cove­tousnesse, oppression, lying, idlenesse, swearing, &c.

Theol.

It is a thing to be lamented indeed. For where doe we see a proud man punished, a covetous man pu­nished, an oppressor punished, a swearer punished, a lyer punished, an idle person punished? Now, because they know they cannot, or shall not be punished, therefore they are altogether hardened, and imboldened in their sins, as the Wise man saith: Because sentence against an evill worke is not executed speedily, therefore the hearts of the children of men are fully set in them to do evill.

Phil.

One thing I doe much muse at, wherein also I desire to be further satis­fied, viz. what is the cause, that under so godly a Prince, so many good lawes, and so much good preaching and teach­ing, there should notwithstanding be such an excesse and over-flowing of sin in all estates?

Theol.

The causes hereof are di­vers [Page 229] and manifold. But I will no­minate foure especiall ones in my judgement: The first is, mans natu­rall corruption; which is so strong, as almost nothing can bridle it. The se­cond is, ill presidents, and externall provocations to evill. The third is, the want of teaching in many congre­gations in the Land: by reason whereof, many know not sin to be sin. The last reason is, the corruption and negligence of some such as are in au­thority.

Phil.

Doth nor this inundation and over-flowing of sin, with the impunity of the same, prognosticate great wrath against us?

Theol.

Yes undoubtedly, as it hath in part been shewed before. And there be divers other presages of wrath, though not of the same kind: which are these;

  • Vnthankfulnesse for the Gospel.
    Nine pre­dictions, or sore-signes of wrath.
  • The abuse of our long peace.
  • Our secret Idolatries.
  • Our generall security.
  • Our ripenesse in all sin.
  • Our abuse of Gods mercy.
  • Our abuse of his long patience.
  • The coldnesse of Professors.
  • Our not profiting by former judgements: as pestilence, fa­mine, death, and the shaking of the sword.
Phil.

This last I take to be a speciall token of approaching vengeance: that wee have not profited by former warn­ings.

Theol.

True indeed. For it is an ordinary thing with GOD, when men will not profit by milde correcti­ons, and common punishments, then to lay greater upon them. And when a former trouble doth us no good, we are to feare a finall consuming trou­ble. For so we reade in the Prophecy of Hosea, Hos. 3.12. that at the first God was to Ephraim as a moth, and to Judah as rottennesse: but afterward, when as they profited not by it, he was to E­phraim as a Lion, and to Judah as a Lions whelp. So the Lord saith in another place, that if they will not come in, and yeeld obedience at the first call of his wrath, then he will pu­nish them seven times more: Lev. 26.18. but if they continue in their stubbornnesse, then hee threatneth to bring seven times more plagues upon them, Ver. 21. accor­ding to their sins. If by all these they would not be reformed, but walke stubbornly against him, then hee threatneth,Ver. 24. yet seven times more for their sinnes: Ver. 28. and the fourth time, yet seven times more. The proofe hereof we have in the booke of the Iudges: where wee reade how the people of Israel for their sins were in subjection [Page 231] to the King of Aram Naharaim eight yeares: afterward,Judg. 3.8. because they pro­fited nothing by it, but returned to their old sinnes; therefore they served Eglon King of Moab eighteen yeares.Judg. 3. After that againe, for their new sinnes and provocations, the Lord gave them up into the hands of Midian seven yeares. After all this,Judg. 6.1. for the renew­ing of their sins, the Lord sold them into the hands of the Philistims and the Ammonites, Judg. 10.7. which did grievously vexe and oppresse them for the space of eighteen yeares. Last of all wee reade, that when neither famine,Psal. 103.3. nor pestilence could cause them to returne unto him, then he delivered them up to the sword of their enemies, and held them in bondage and captivity three­score and ten yeares. After all this, when they were delivered out of cap­tivity, and returned home safely to their owne Nation, and enjoyed some good time of peace and rest, yet at last they fell to the renewing of their sins: and therefore the Lord plagued them most grievously, by the divided Greeke Empire, even Magog and Egypt, Ezek. 3 [...]. Se­leuciae and Lagidae, and that by the space almost of three hundred yeares. And this is it that the Prophet Ho­sea did fore-tell,Hos. 3.4. that the children of Israel should remaine many dayes with­out a King, and without a Prince, with­out [Page 232] an Offering, and without an Image, without an Ephod, and without a Tera­phim.

Phil.

You have very largely laid open this last token of vengeance: to wit, that God at the first doth but beat us upon the coat, but if wee continue in sinne, he will whip us on the bare skin: and if men will not yeeld at the first gentle strokes, then hee will strike har­der and harder, till hee have broken our stout stomackes, and made out great hearts come downe. Therefore it is good yeelding at the first: for wee shall get nothing by our sturdinesse a­gainst him. Wee doe but cause him to double his strokes, and strike us both side-long and over-thwart: for hee can­not endure that wee should gruntle a­gainst him with stubborne sullennesse. But now to the point. Sith there are so many presages and fore-signes of Gods wrath, I pray you shew what it is that stayeth the execution and very down­fall of the same.

Theol.

The prayers and teares of the faithfull are the speciall meanes that stay the hand of God from strik­ing of us. For the prayers of the righteous are of great force with him: even able to doe all things. S. James saith,James 5.11. that the prayer of a righteous man availeth much, if it be fervent: and bringeth the example of Elias to prove [Page 233] it. For, saith he, Though Elias was a man subject to the like passions that wee be, yet was hee able by his prayers both to open and shut the heavens. Gen. 18. Abra­ham likewise prevailed so farre with God by his prayers for Sodome, that if there had been but ten just men found in it, it had been spared. The Al­mighty God saith by his Prophet, Though Moses and Samuel stood before mee, Jer. 15.1. yet mine affection could not be toward this people. Which doth plain­ly shew, that Moses and Samu [...]l might have done much with him, had he not been so fully bent against his people for their sins as he was. So likewise hee saith in the Prophecie of Ezekiel, Ezek. 14.14. Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were amongst them, they should deliver but their owne soules by their righteousnesse. Which also sheweth, that if there had been any possible en­treating of him for the Land, these three men might have done it: but now hee was resolutely determined to the contrary. In respect therefore that the zealous Preachers, and true Professors of the Gospel doe so much prevaile with God by their prayers, they are said to be the defence and strength of Kingdoms and Countries, of Churches and Common-wealths: as it is said of Eliah, 2 Kin. 2.12. that hee was the Chariot of Israel, and the Horse­men [Page 234] thereof,1 Kin. 6.17. Elisha also was enviro­ned with a mountaine full of horses, and chariots of fire. And sure it is, that Eliah and Elisha are not onely the Chariots and Horsemen of Israel, but also by their prayers they doe cause God himselfe to be a wall of fire round about it: as the Lord saith by his Prophet; [...] 22 30. I sought for a man a­mong them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before mee for the Land; that I might not destroy it: but I found none. Which sheweth, that if there had been but some few to have stood in the breach, hee would have spared the whole Land. This al­so appeareth more plainly in the Pro­phecie of Jeremy, Jer. 5. where the Lord saith thus: Run to and fro by the streets of Jerusalem; behold and enquire in the open places thereof, if yee can find a man, or if there be any that executeth Judgement, and seeketh the truth: and I will spare it. Oh then marke and consider, what a man may doe: yea, what one man may doe: what an Abraham may doe: what a Moses may doe: what an Eliah may doe: what a Daniel, what a Samuel, what a Job, what a Noah may do! Some one man (by reason of his high favour with the Eternall) is able sometimes to doe more for a Land by his prayers and teares, then many prudent men [Page 235] by their counsell, or valiant men by their swords. Yea, it doth evidently appeare (in the sacred Volumne of the holy Ghost) that some one poore Preacher, being full of the Spirit and Power of Eliah, doth more in his Study (either for offence, or de­fence: either for the turning away of wrath, or the procuring of mercy) then a camp royall, even forty thou­sand strong: yea (as the Spirit speak­eth) Though they all have their swords girded to their thighs, Cant. 3.7. and bee of the most valiant men in Israel. And this is cleerly proved in one verse of the booke of Psalmes, where the Pro­phet, having reckoned up the sinnes of the people, addeth,Psal. 106.23. Therefore the Lord minded to destroy them, had not Moses (his chosen) stood in the breach, to turne away his wrath, lest hee should destroy them. See therefore what one man may doe with God. Some one man doth so bind the hands of God, that when he would strike, he hath no power to doe it: as it is said of Lot, Gen. 29.30. I can doe nothing till thou be come out. See how the Lord saith, hee can doe nothing, because hee will doe nothing: Hee doth wittingly and willingly suffer his hands to be ma­nacled and bound behind him, for some fewes sake, which he doth make more account of then all the world [Page 236] besides; so precious and deare are they in his sight. Likewise it is writ­ten, that the Lord was exceedingly incensed against the Israelites for their Idolatrous Calfe which they made in Horch: yet hee could doe no­thing, because Moses would not let him. And therefore he falleth to en­treating of Moses, that Moses would let him alone, and entreat no more for them. Oh (saith the Lord to Moses) let mee alone, Exod. 32.1 [...]. that my wrath may wax hot against this people, and that I may consume them. Thus we see, that except Lo [...] goe out of the City, and Moses let him alone, he can doe no­thing. O the profoundnesse and alti­tude of Gods mercy toward man­kind! O the height and depth, length and breadth of his love toward some! O that the most glorious and invi­sible God should so greatly respect the sons of men! For what is man, that he should be mindfull of him; or the son of man, that he should regard him? Let us therefore that are the Lords Remembrancers, give him no rest, nor let him alone, untill we have some security and good assurance from him, that he will turne away from us the wrath which we most justly have deserved; that he will spare us, and be mercifull unto us. Yea, as the Prophet saith,Isa. 62.7. Let us never leave him, [Page 237] nor give him over, till hee repaire and s [...]t up Jerusalem the praise of the world: lest for default hereof, that be charged upon us, which was charged upon the head of some of the Prophets in Israel, that they were like the foxes in the waste places, that they had not risen up in the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel. Ez [...]k. 13.4, 5 For now adaies (alas) wee have many hedge-breakers, few hedge-makers; many openers of gaps, few stoppers; many makers of breaches, to let in the flouds of Gods wrath upon us, but very few, that by true repentance go about to make up the breach, and to let downe the sluces, that the gush­ing streames of Gods vengeance may be slopt and stayed.

Phil.

I do now plainly see, that there be some in high favour with God, and, as wee say, greatly in his books: [...]th his love is so great unto them, that for their sake he spareth thousands.

Theol.

It is written in the Pro­verbs of Solomon, that the righteous in a land are the establishment of the Kings throne; and the wicked the overthrowing of the same. The words are these:Pro. 25.4. Take away the drosse from the silver, and there will proceed a vessell for the finer. Take away the wicked from the King, and his Throne shall be established in righteousnesse. [Page 238] Likewise in another place the wise­man affirmeth that the righteous are the strength and bulwarks of Cittes, Townes, and Corporations: but the wicked are the weakening and undo­ing of all.Pro. 27.8. Scornfull men (saith he) set a City on fire, but the wise turne a­way wrath. To this purpose most ex­cellent is that saying of Eliphas in Job, Job 21.30. The innocent shall deliver the I­land, and it shall be preserved by the purenesse of their hands. 2 Chro. 11.14, 16, 17. Wee read in the booke of the Chronicles, that when the Levites and the Priests were cast out by Jeroboam, they came to Jerusalem, and all such as set their hearts to seeke the Lord God of Is­rael came with them. And then after­ward it is said, they strengthened the Kingdome of Juda, and made Rehobo­am the sonne of Solomon mighty. By all these testimonies it is evident, that Princes, Kingdomes, Cities, Towns, and Villages, are fortified by the righteous therein: and for their sakes also great plagues are kept back. Which thing one of the Heathen did well see into; as appeareth by his words, which are these; When God meaneth well to a City, and will doe it good, then hee raiseth up good men: but when hee meaneth to punish a City or a Country, and do ill unto it, then he taketh away the good men from it.

Phil.

It is very manifest, by all that you have alledged, that the wicked fare the better, every day in the yeare, for the righteous that dwell amongst them.

Theol.

All experience doth teach it, and the Scriptures do plentifully a­vouch it.Ge [...]. 30.2 [...] For did not churlish Laban fare the better for Jacob his kinsman? Doth hee not acknowledge that the Lord had blessed him for his sake? Did not Potiphar fare the better for godly Joseph? Gen. 39.5. Doth not the Scrip­ture say, that the Lord blessed the E­gyptians house for Joseph his sake? and thee the Lord made all that hee did to prosper in his hand?2 Sam. 6.1. Did not Obed-Edom fare the better for the Arke?Act. 27.24. Did not the seventy and sixe soules that were in the ship with Paul speed all the better for his sake? Did not the Angell of God tell him in the night, that God had given unto him all that sailed with him? for o­therwise a thousand to one they had beene all drowned. Therefore the children of God may very fitly bee compared to a great piece of corke, which though it be cast into the sea having many nailes fastned in it, yet it beareth them all up from sinking, which otherwise would sink of them­selves. What shall we say then, or what shall wee conclude, but that the [Page 240] ungodly are more beholden to the righ­teous than they are aware of.

Phil.

I do thinke if it were not for Gods children, it would goe hard with the wicked. For if they were sorted and shoaled out from amongst them, and placed by themselves, what could they looke for but wrath upon wrath, and plague upon plague, till the Lord had made a finall consumption, and swept them like dung from the face of the ca [...]?

Theol.

Sure it is, all creatures would frowne upon them. The Sun would unwillingly shine upon them, or the Moone give them any light. The starres would not be seene of them, and the Planets would hide themselves. The beasts would de­voure them. The fowles would pick out their eyes. The fishes would make warre against them, and all creatures in heaven and earth would rise up in armes against them. Yea, the Lord himselfe from heaven would raine downe fire and brimstone upon them.

Phil.

Yet for all this, it is a wonder to consider how deadly the wicked hate the righteous, and almost in every thing oppose themselves against them and that in most vivulent and spitefull manner. They ruile and slander, seoffe and scorne, mock and mow at them, as [Page 241] though they were not worthy to live upon the earth. They esteeme every pelting rascall, and preferre every vile varlet before them. And though they have their lives and liberty, their breath and safety, and all that they have else by them, yet for all that they could be content to eat their heart with gar­lick: so great, so fiery, so burning and hissing hot is their fury and malice a­gainst them.

Theol.

They may very fitly be com­pared to a Moth that fretteth in pie­ces the same cloth wherein she is bred: or to a certaine worme or canker, that corrodeth and eateth thorow the heart of the tree that nourisheth her: or unto a man that standeth upon a bough in the top of a tree where there is no more, and yet with an axe choppeth to off, and therewithall falleth down with it, and breaketh his neck. Even so the fooles of this world doe what they can to chop asunder the bough that up­holds them, but they may know easily what will follow.

Phil.

I see plainly they be much their owne foes, and stand in their owne light, and indeed know not what they doe. For the benefit which they receive by such is exceeding great; and therefore by their maligning of them, they doe but hold the stirrup to their owne de­struction.

Theol.

Now to apply these things to our (selves, and to returne to the first question of this argument: may we not marvell that our Nation is so long spared, considering that the sins thereof are so horrible and outrageous as they be?

Phil.

We may justly marvell at the wonderfull patience of God: and wee may well thinke that there be some in the land which stand in the breach, be­ing in no small favour with his High­nesse, sith they doe much prevaile.

Theol.

The mercifull preservation of our most gratious King, who is the breath of our nostrils, the long continuance of our peace, and of the Gospell, the keeping back of the sword out of the land, which our sins pull upon us, the frustrating of many plots and subtill devices which have beene often invented against our State, yea, and the life of his Maje­sties most royall person, make me to thinke that there be some strong plea­ders with God for the publike good of us all.

Phil.

You may well thinke so indeed: for by our sins wee have forfeited (and daily doe forfeit into Gods hands both our King, our Country, our Peace, our Gospell, our lives, our goods, our lands, our livings, our wives, our children, and all that we have: but only the righ­teous [Page 243] (which are so neere about the King, and in so high favour) doe step in, and earnestly intreat for us, that the forfeitures may be released, and that we may have lease (in parley) of them all againe, or at least a grant of further time. But, I pray you Sir, are not wee to attribute something concerning our good estate to the policie of the Land, the Lawes established, and the wisdome and counsell of our prudent Gover­nours?

Theol.

Yes assuredly, very much, as the ordinary and outward meanes which God useth for our safety. For though the Apostle Paul had a grant from God for the safety of his owne life, and all that were with him in the ship, yet he said,Acts 28.31. Except the Mari­ners abide in the ship, wee cannot be safe. Shewing thereby, that unto faith and prayers the best and wisest meanes must be joyned. We are there­fore upon our knees every day to give thankes unto God for such good meanes of our safety as hee hath gi­ven us.

Phil.

Well then, as the prayers of the righteous have been hitherto great meanes both for the hindering and turning away of wrath, and the conti­nuance of favour; so shew, I pray you, what is the best course to be taken, and what in sound wisdome is to be done, [Page 244] both to prevent future dangers, and to continue Gods favours and mercies still upon us.

Theol.

The best and surest course that I can consider or conceive of, is, to repent heartily for sins past, and to reforme our lives in time to come, to seek the Lord while he may be found, and to call upon him while he is neer, to forsake our owne wayes, and our owne imaginations, and to turn unto him with all our hearts, with weep­ing, with fasting, and with mourn­ing, as the Prophet Joel, chap. [...]. advi­seth. For our God is gracious and mercifull, slow to anger, and of great kindnesse, and repenteth him of the e­vill. All the Prophets doe counsell us to follow this course, and doe plainly teach, that if we all (from the highest to the lowest) doe meet the Lord with unfeigned repentance, and offer him the sacrifice of a contrite spi­rit, undoubtedly hee will be pacified towards us, and be mercifull to our transgressions. This is most plainly set downe in the seventh Chapter of Jeremy, where the Lord saith thus to his people, [...]er. 7. If you amend and redresse your wayes, and your workes: If you ex­ecute judgement betwixt a man and his neighbour, and oppresse not the stran­ger, the fatherlesse, and the widow, and shed no innocent bloud in this place, [Page 245] neither walke after other gods, to your destruction; then will I let you dwell in this place, even in the Land which I gave unto your fathers for ever and ever. So likewise he saith by the same Prophet,Jer. 22.5. Execute yee judgement and righteousnesse, and deliver the oppres­sed from the hand of the oppressor, and vexe not the fatherlesse, the widow, or the strangers: doe no violence, nor shed innocent bloud in this place. For if you doe this thing, then shall the King, sitting upon the Throne of Da­vid, enter in by the gates of this house, and ride upon chariots, and upon hor­ses, both hee and his seruants, and his people. And againe,Jer. 3.22. O ye disobedient children, returne, and I will heale your rebellion. The Lord also saith by his Prophet Esay, If yee consent and obey, Esay 1.19. yee shall eat the good things of the Land: but if yee refuse, and be rebel­lious, yee shall be devoured with the sword. For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. Hos. [...].1. The Prophet Hosea saith, Come, let us returne to the Lord for he hath spoiled, and, he will heale us: hee hath wounded us, and hee will bind us up. And againe, O Israel, Hos. 13. [...]. returne unto the Lord (for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity) and I will heale thy rebellion and will love thee freely: for [...] i [...] [...]ed away from thee. I will be as the dew unto [Page 246] Israel: hee shall grow as the Lilly, and fasten his root as the trees of Lebanon. His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the Olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon.

The Prophet Micah telleth us what is good for us, and what is our best course, and what the Lord requi­reth at our hands; namely, these foure things,Micah 6.8. To doe justly, to love mercy, to humble our selves, and to walke with our God. The Prophet Amos giveth the same counsell, saying, Seeke the Lord, Amo [...] 5.38. and ye shall live. Seeke good, and not evill. Hate the evill, and love the good, and establish judgement in the gate. It may be that the Lord of Hosts will be mercifull unto the rem­nant of Joseph. And the Lord him­selfe saith,Jer. 16.8. If this Nation, against whom I have pronounced, turne from their wickednesse, I will repent of the plague I thought to bring upon them. Thus we doe plainly see what advice and counsell the Prophets and holy men of God doe give unto us. The summe of all is this, that if wee doe truly repent, and turne unto him with all our hearts (studying to obey him, and walke in his wayes) then he will grant us any favour that wee will require at his hands. For even as a wooll-pack, or other soft matter, beateth backe, and dampeth the force [Page 247] of all shot; so penitent, melting, and soft hearts doe beat backe the shot of Gods wrath, and turne away his vengeance from us. Moreover, wee may observe, in all experience, that when Potentates are offended, or any great man hath conceived a displea­sure against some poore man, then he must runne and ride, send presents, use his friends, breake his sleep, and never be quiet untill hee have pacified him: Even so must wee deale with our God, seeing hee hath taken a displea­sure against us. O therefore that wee would speedily use all possible meanes to pacifie his wrath! Oh that wee would with one heart and voice, eve­ry one of us (from the highest to the lowest) humble our selves before our God, forsake our former evill wayes, be grieved for that wee have done, and purpose never to doe the like againe! Oh that it might goe to the hearts of us, that wee have so often and so grie­vously offended so loving a God, and so mercifull a Father! Oh that wee would awake once at last, and rowse up our drowsie hearts, and ransacke our sleepie consciences, crying out a­gainst our sinnes, that our sins might never cry out against us! Oh that wee would judge our selves, accuse our selves, indite our selves, and condemne our selves! so should wee [Page 248] [...] [Page 249] [...] [Page 248] never be adjudged, accused, endited, or condemned of the Lord. Oh that all hearts might sob, all soules might sigh, all loines might be smitten with sor­row, all faces gather blacknesse, and every man smite himselfe on the thigh, saying, What have I done? Oh that both Magistracy, Ministry, and Com­monalty, would purpose and vow, and even take a bond of themselves, that from henceforth, and from this day forward, they would set their hearts to seeke the Lord, and wholly give up themselves to his obedience! Oh that all men, women, and children would feare God, and keep his Commande­ments; would eschew evill, and doe good; would study to please God in all things, and to be fruitfull in all good workes, making conscience to perform the duties of their generall callings, and duties of their speciall callings; duties of the first Table, and duties of the second Table: that so God might be sincerely worshipped, his Name truly reverenced, his Sabbaths re­ligiously observed: and that every man would deale kindly, mercifully, justly, and uprightly with his neighbour, that there might be no complaining, no crying in our streets! Oh, I say againe and againe, that if all of us, of what estate, degree, or condition soever, would walke in the paths of [Page 249] our God, then doubtlesse wee should live and see good dayes, all future dan­gers should be prevented, our peace prolonged, our state established, our King preserved, and the Gospel con­tinued. Then should wee still enjoy our lives, our goods, our lands, our livings, our wives, our children, our houses and tenements, our orchard [...] and gardens: yea, as the Prophet saith, wee shall eat the good things of the Land, spend our daies in much comfort, peace, and tranquility, and leave great blessings unto our chil­dren and posterity, from age to age, from generation to generation.

Phil.

You have fully answered my question, and well satisfied mee therein out of the Scriptures: yet, I pray you, give mee leave to adde one thing to that which you have at large set downe. The Lord saith by the Prophet Amos, Amos 4.6, 7 that for their sinnes and rebellions hee had given them cleannesse of teeth, that is, dearth and scarcitie: and yet they did not turne unto him. Also hee with-held the raine from them, and punished them with drought, and yet they did not turne unto him. More­over, hee smote their Corne, their great Gardens, their Orchards, Vineyards, Fig-trees and Olive-trees, with blast­ing and mildew, and the Palmer-worme did devoure them: and yet they did [Page 250] not returne unto him. Last of all hee smote them with pestilence, and with the sword, and overthrow them, as hee overthrew Sodome and Gomorrah, and they were as a fire-brand pluckt out of the burning: yet for all this they did not turne unto him. Yee have not turned unto mee, saith the Lord. But now to come to the point. Out of this I gather, that if wee multiply our transgressions, God will multiply his plagues upon us: but on the contrary, if wee would unfainedly turne unto the Lord our God with all our hearts, all plauges should bee stayed, all dangers prevented, and no evill should fall upon us. For because they would not turne, therefore he smote them. If therefore they had turned, hee would not have smote them. But now, I pray you, briefly conclude this point, and declare in few words what it is that doth most ma­terially concerne our peace and publike good.

Theol.

These few then briefly I take to be the things which belong to our peace.

Ten things concerning our peace.Let Solomon execute. Joab and Shi­mei.

Let Achab and Eliah stay the Priests and Prophets of Baal.

Let Aaron and Eleazer minister before the Lord faithfully.

Let Jonas be cast out of the ship.

[Page 251]

Let Moses stood fast in the gap, and not let downe his hand.

Let Josuah succeed him.

Let Cornelius feare God with all his houshold.

Let Tabitha be full of good works and almesdeeds.

Let Deborah judge long in Israel, prosper, and be victorious.

Let us pray that the light of Israel may not be quenched.

And this I take to be the summe of all that belongs to our peace.

Phil.

The summe of all our confe­rence hitherto, as I remember, may be reduced unto these few heads: First, mans naturall corruption hath beene laid open. Secondly, the horrible fruits thereof. Thirdly, their evill ef­fects and workings both against our soules and bodies, goods, name, and the whole Land. Lastly, the remedies of all. Now therefore I would grow to some conclusion of that which you touched by the way, and made some mention of; namely, the signes of salvation and damnation: and declare unto us plainely whether the state of a mans soule before God may not by cer­taine signes and tokens be certainly dis­cerned in this life.

Theol.

Besides those which befor [...] have beene mentioned, wee may odde these nine following.

  • [Page 252]
    Nine signes of a sound soule.
    Reverence of Gods Name.
  • Keeping of his Sabbaths.
  • Truth.
  • Sobriety.
  • Industry.
  • Compassion.
  • Humility.
  • Chastity.
  • Contentation.
Phil.

These indeed, I grant, are very good signes, but yet all of them are not certaine: for some of them may be in the reprobates.

Theol.

What say you then to Saint Peters signes, set downe in the first chapter of his second Epistle? which are these eight:

  • Saint Peters eight signes of salvation 2 Pet. 1.8.
    Faith.
  • Vertue.
  • Knowledge.
  • Temperance.
  • Patience.
  • Godlinesse.
  • Brotherly kindnesse.
  • Love.

Saint Peter saith, If these be in us and abound, they will make us neither idle nor unfruitfull in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus. Which is as much as if hee had said, They will make us sound and sincore Professors of the Gospel.

Phil.

All these, I grant, are exceeding good signes and evidences of a mans sal­vation: but yet some of them may de­ceive, and a hole may be picked in some of these Evidences, I would therefore heare of some such demonstrative and infallible Evidences as no Lawyer can finde fault with. For I hold that good Divines can as perfectly judge of the assurances and evidences of mans sal­vation, as the best Lawyer can judge of the assurances and evidences, whereby men hold their lands and livings.

Theol.

You have spoken truly in that. And would to God all the Lords people would bring forth the Eviden­ces of their salvation, that wee might discerne of them.

Phil.

Set down then which be the most certaine and infallible Evidences of a mans salvation: against which no excep­tion can be taken.

Theol.

I judge these to be most sound and infallible.

Assured faith in the promises.Seven infal­lible signes of salvation Act. 16.31. Pro. 1.20. Job. 1.41. Rom. 8.14. Job. 4. [...]. 1 Thes. 4.5. Rom. 5.1. Col. 1. [...]3. Mat. 24.13.

Sincerity of heart.

The Spirit of adoption.

Sound Regeneration and San­ctification.

Inward peace.

Groundednesse in the truth.

Continuance to the end.

Phil.

Now you come neere the quick indeed. For in my judgement, none of [Page 254] these can be found truly in any reprobate. Therefore I thinke no Divine can take exception against any of these.

Theol.

No, I assure you: no more then a Lawyer can finde fault with the Tenure of mens lands and fee-simples, when as both the title is good, and strong by law; and the e­vidences thereof are sealed, subscri­bed, delivered, conveyed, and suffici­ent witnesse upon the same, and all o­ther signes and ceremonies (in the delivering, and taking possession thereof) according to strict law obser­ved. For if a man have these forenamed evidences of his salvation, sure it is, his title and interest to heaven is good, by the Law of Moses and the Pro­phets, I meane the word of God. God himselfe subscribeth to them: Ie­sus Christ delivereth them as his owne deed: the holy Ghost sealeth unto them: yea, the three great witnesses, which beare record in the earth (that is, water, bloud, and the spirit) do all witnesse the same.

Phil.

Now you have very fully satis­fied mee touching this point. And one thing more I doe gather out of all your speech, to wit, that you doe thinke a man may be assured of his salvation even in this life.

Theol.

I doe thinke so indeed. For hee that knoweth not in this life that [Page 255] he shall be saved, shall never be saved after this life. For St. John saith,1 John 3.2. Now we are made the sons of God.

Phil.

But because many doubt of this, and the Papists do altogether deny it, therefore, I pray you, confirm it unto us out of the Scriptures.

Theol.

The Apostle saith;1 Cor. 5.2. Wee know, that if our earthly house of this Tabernacle be destroyed, wee have a building given us of God; that is, an house not made with hands, but eter­nall in the heavens. Marke, that hee saith, both hee, and the rest of Gods people, did certainly know that Hea­ven was provided for them.Rom. 8.15, 16. For the spirit of adoption beareth witnesse with our spirits, that we are the chil­dren of God. And againe, the same Apostle saith, from henceforth is laid up for mee the crown of righteousnesse: [...] Tim. 4.8. which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me onely, but to all them that love his ap­pearing. Here wee see, that he knew there was a crowne prepared for him, and for the Elect. And the same Spi­rit which did assure it unto Paul, doth assure it also to all the children of God. For they have all the same Spirit, though not in the same mea­sure. Saint John saith also, Herein wee are sure wee know him, 1 John 2.3. if we keep his commandements. In which words [Page 256] St. Iohn telleth us th [...] much, th [...] if wee do unfainedly endeavour to obey God, there is in us the true knowledge and feare of God: and consequently we are sure we shall be saved. Saint Peter saith,1 Pet. 1.10. Give all diligence to make your calling and election sure. Where­fore should the Apostle exhort us to make our election sure, if none could be sure of it? In the second of the Ephesians, the Apostle saith flatly, that in Christ Jesus wee doe already sit to­gether in heavenly places. His mean­ing is not, that wee are there alrea­dy in possession; but wee are as sure of it, as if wee were there already. The reasons hereof are these: Christ our head is in possession: Therefore he will draw all his members unto him, as he himselfe saith.

John 12.22. John 24.13.Secondly, wee are as sure of the thing which wee hope for, as of that which wee have: but wee are sure of that which wee have, which is the [...] of grace: therefore wee are sure [...] wee looke for, which is the crowne of glory. Many other places of the holy Scriptures might be al­ledged to this purpose: but, I sup­pose, these may suffice.

Phil.

As you have shewed this by the Scriptures: so also shew it more planly by evident reason out of the same.

Theol.

How can a man in truth call [Page 257] God his Father (when hee saith, Our Father which art in heaven) and yet doubt whether hee is his Father, or no? For if GOD indeed be our Fa­ther, and we his children, how can we perish? how can we be damned? Will a Father condemne his owne children? shall the children of GOD be con­demned? No, no:Rom. 8.1. There is no condem­nation to them that are in Christ Jesus. Againe,Rom. 8.33, [...]4 Who can lay any thing to the charge of Gods elect? it is God that ju­stifieth, who can condemne? It is therefore most certaine and sure, that all such as doe in truth call God their Father, and have God for their Fa­ther, shall be saved. Againe, how can a man say, in truth and feeling, that he beleeves the forgivenesse of sinnes, and yet doubt whether he shall be sa­ved? For if he be fully perswaded that his sinnes be forgiven, what letteth why he should not be saved? Moreo­ver, as certainly as we know we are called, justified and sanctified; so cer­tainly we know we shall be glorified. But we know the one certainly, and therefore the other.

Asun.

I will never beleeve, that any man can certainly know, in this world, whether hee shall be saved or damned; but all men must hope well, and be of a good beliefe.

Theol.

Nay, we must goe further [Page 258] then hope-well: We may not venture our salvation upon uncertaine hopes. As if a man should hope it would be a faire day to morrow; but hee can­not certainly tell. No, no: wee must in this case, being of such in­finite importance as it is, grow to some certainty and full resolution. Wee see worldly men will be loth to hold their lands and leases uncer­tainely, having nothing to shew for them. They will not stand to the curtesie of their land-lords, nor rest upon their good wils. They will not stay upon uncertaine hopes. No, they are wiser then so. For the chil­dren of this world are wiser in their generation then the children of light.Luke 16. They will be sure to have something to shew They will have it under seale. They will not slay upon the words and promises of the most ho­nest men, and best land-lords. They cannot be quiet till they have it in white and black, with sound coun­sell upon their Title, and every way made as sure unto them, as any Law of the land can make it.

Are then the children of this world so wise in these inferiour things, and shall not wee be as wise in matters of ten thousand times more importance? Are they so wise for earth, and shall not wee be as wise for heaven? Are [Page 259] they so wise for their bodies, and shall not wee be as wise for our soules? Shall we hold the state of our im­mortall inheritance by hope-well, and have no writings, or evidences, no seale, no witnesses, nor any thing to shew for it? Alas! this is a weake Tenure, a broken Title, a simple hold indeed.

Asun.

Yet for all that a man cannot be certaine.

Theol.

Yes: Saint John telleth us we may be certaine. For hee saith, Hereby we know we dwell in him, 1 Joh. 4.13. and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. He saith not, we hope, but we know certainly. For he that hath the Spirit of God, knoweth certainly he hath it; and he that hath faith, know­eth that he hath faith; and he that shall be saved, knoweth he shall be saved. For God doth not worke so darkly in mens hearts by his Spirit, but that they may easily know whether it be of him or no, if they would make a due tryall. Againe, the same Apo­stle saith,1 Joh. 5. [...]6. He that beleeveth in the Son of God, hath the witnesse in himselfe: That is, he hath certaine testimonies in his owne conscience, that he shall be saved. For we must fetch the war­rant of our salvation from within our selves; even from the worke of GOD within us. For looke how [Page 260] much a man feeleth in himselfe the in­crease of knowledge, obedience, and godlinesse, so much the more sure he is that he shall be saved. A mans owne conscience is of great force this way, and will not lye, or deceive. For so saith the wise man,Pro. 27.19. As water sheweth face to face; so doth the heart, man unto man: That is, the mind and consci­ence of every man telleth him justly, (though not perfectly) what he is. For the conscience will not lye; but accuse or excuse a man, being in stead of a thousand witnesses.

1 Cor 2.11.The Apostle saith, No man knowes the things of man, but the spirit of man that is in him. And againe the Scri­pture saith,Pro. 2 [...].29. Mans soule is as it were the candle of the Lord, whereby he search­eth all the bowels of the belly. So then, it is a cleere case, that a man must have recourse to the worke of Gods grace within him, even in his owne soule: and thereby he shall be certainly resolved one way or other. For even as Rebecca knew certainly, by the striving and stirring of the twins in her wombe, that she was conceived and quick of childe; so Gods children know certainly, by the mo­tions and stirring of the holy Ghost within them, that they have con­ceived Christ, and shall undoubtedly be saved.

Phil.

I pray you let us come to the ground-worke of this certainty of salva­tion, and speak somewhat of that.

Theol.

The ground-worke of our salvation is laid in Gods eternall e­lection; and, in respect thereof, it standeth fast and unmoveable; as it is written,2 Tim. 2.16. 1 Thes. 5.24. The foundation of God stand­eth fast. And againe, Hee is faithfull that hath promised: 2 Tim. 2.13. Though wee can­not beleeve, yet hee abides faithfull. So then, as we know it certainly in our selves, by the consequence of e­lection: so it standeth most firme in re­spect of God, and his eternall and immutable decree. And a thousand in­firmities (nay, all the sinnes of the world, nor all the Divels in hell) can­not overthrow Gods election. For our Lord Iesus saith,John 6.34. All that the Father hath given mee, shall come unto mee. And againe,John 6.39. This is the Fathers will that hath sent mee, that of all which hee hath given me, I should lose nothing; but should raise it up againe at the last day. And in another place our Saviour Christ saith,John 10.17. My sheep heare my voice, and I know them, and they follow mee, and I give unto them eternall life: and they shall never pe­rish, neither shall any plucke them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them mee, is greater then all: and none is able to take them out of my Fathers [Page 262] hand. We ought therefore to be as sure of our salvation, as of any other thing which God hath promised, or which we are bound to beleeve. For to doubt thereof, in respect of Gods truth, is blasphemous against the immutabi­lity of his truth.

Phil.

But are there not some doubts, at some times, even in the very elect, and in those which are growne to the greatest perswasion?

Theol.

Yes verily. For he that ne­ver doubted, never beleeved. For whosoever beleeveth in truth, feeleth sometimes doubtings and waverings. Even as the sound body feeleth many grudgings of diseases, which if hee had not health hee could not feele; so the sound soule feeleth some doubt­ings, which if it were not sound it could not so easily feele. For we feele not corruption by corruption, but we foole corruption by grace. And the more grace we have, the more quicke we are in the feeling of corruption. Some men of tender skins and quick feeling will easily feele the lightest feather, in softest maner, laid upon the ball of their heads; which others, of more slow feeling and hard flesh can­not so easily discerne. So then it is certaine, that although the children of God feele some doubtings at some times, yet the same doe no whit im­peach [Page 263] the certainty of their salvation; but rather argue a perfect soundnesse and health of their soules. For when such little grudgings are felt in the soule, the children of God oppose a­gainst them the certainty of Gods truth and promises, and so do easily overcome them. For the Lords peo­ple need no more to feare them then he that rides through the streets upon a lusty Gelding, with his sword by his side, needs to feare the barking and bawling of a few little curs and whap­pets.

Phil.

Shew yet more plainly how or in what respect the child of God may both have doubtings, and yet be fully assured.

Theol.

Even as a man set on the top of the highest steeple in the world, and so fast bound unto it that hee can­not fall though hee would, yet when he looketh downward he feareth, be­cause mans nature is not acquainted nor accustomed to mount so high in the aire, and to behold the earth so far beneath: but when hee looketh upward, and perceiveth himselfe fast bound, and out of all danger, then he casteth away all care: Even so, when we looke downward to our selves, we have doubts and feares; but when we look upward to Christ, and the truth of his promises, we feele our [Page 264] selves cock-sure, and cease to doubt any more.

Phil.

Declare unto us what is the ori­ginall of these doubts and feares, and from whence they spring in the children of God.

Theol.

They spring from the im­perfection of our regeneration, and from that strife which is in the very mind of the elect, between faith and infidelity. For these two doe mightily fight together in the most regenerate, and strive to over-master and over-shadow one another. By reason whereof sometimes it cometh to passe, through the prevailing of unbe­liefe, that the most excellent servants of God may fall into fits and pangs of despaire, as Job and David in their temptations did. And even in these dayes also some of Gods children at some times are shrewdly hindled this way, and brought very low, even unto deaths doore: but yet the Lord in great mercy doth recover them both from totall and finall despaire. Onely they are humbled and tried by these sharp fits for a time, and that for their great good. For as we use to say, that an ague in a young man is a signe of health; so these burning fits of temptations in the elect, for the most part, are signes of Gods grace and favour. For if they were not of [Page 265] God, the Divell would never be so busie with them.

Phil.

Is it not meere presumption, and an over-much trusting to our selves, to be perswaded of our salva­tion?

Theol.

Nothing lesse. For the ground of this perswasion is not laid in our selves, or any thing within us, or without us; but onely in the righ­teousnesse of Christ, and the merci­full promises of God. For is it any presumption for us to beleeve that which God hath promised, Christ hath purchased, and the holy Ghost hath sealed? No verily, it is not any presumption, but a thing which wee all stand bound unto, as we will an­swer it at the dreadfull day of judge­ment. As for our selves, wee doe freely confesse, that in Gods sight we are but lumps of sinne, and masses of misery, and cannot of our selves move hand or foot to the furtherance of our salvation. But being justified by faith, we are at peace with God, and fully perswaded of his love and favour to­wards us in Christ.

Phil.

Cannot the reprobates and un­godly be assured of their salvation?

Theol.

No. For the Prophet saith, There is no peace to the wicked. Esay 57.22. Then I reason thus: They which have not the inward peace cannot be assu­red: [Page 266] But the wicked have not the inward peace; Therefore they can­not be assured. Stedfast faith in the promises doth assure: But the wic­ked have not stedfast faith in the pro­mises: Therefore they cannot be as­sured. The Spirit of adoption doth assure: But the wicked have not the Spirit of adoption; Therefore they cannot be assured.

To conclude: When a man feeleth in himselfe an evill conscience, blind­nesse, profanenesse, and disobedience, he shall, in despight of his heart, sing this dolefull song; I know not whether I shall be saved or damned.

Phil.

Is not the doctrine of the assu­rance of salvation a most comfortable doctrine?

Theol.

Yes doubtlesse. For except a man be perswaded of the favour of God, and the forgivenesse of sins, and consequently of his salvation, what comfort can hee have in any thing? Besides this, the perswasion of Gods love towards us is the root of all our love and cheerfull obedience towards him: For therefore wee love him and obey him, because we know hee hath loved us first, and written our names in the Booke of life. But on the contrary, that generall doctrine of the Papists, which would have men alwayes doubt and feare in a servile [Page 267] sort, is most hellish and uncomforta­ble. For so long as a man ho [...]ds that, what encouragement can he have to serve God? what love to his Majesty? what hope in the promises? what com­fort in trouble? what patience in ad­versity?

Antil.

Touching this point I am flat of your mind. For I thinke verily a man ought to be perswaded of his saluation: and for mine owne part I make no que­stion of it. I hope to be saved as well as the best of them all. I am out of feare for that. For I have such a stedfast faith in God, that if there should be but two in the world saved, I hope I should be one of them.

Theol.

You are very confident in­deed. You are perswaded before you know. I would your ground were as good as your vaine confidence. But who is so bold as blind Bay­ard? your hope is but fancy, and as a sicke mens dreame. You hope you cannot tell what. You have no ground for what you say. For what hope can you have to be saved, when you walke in no path of salvation? What hope can a man have to come to London speedily, that travelleth no­thing that way, but quite contrary? What hope can a man have to reap a good crop of corne, that useth no meanes, neither ploweth, soweth, nor [Page 268] harroweth? What hope can a man have to be fat and well liking of his body, that seldome or never eateth a­ny meat? What hope can a man have to escape drowning, which leapeth in­to the Sea? Even so what hope can you have to be saved, when you walke nothing that way, when you use no meanes, when you doe all things that are contrary to the some? For (alas) there is nothing in you of thou things which the Scriptures doe af­firme must be in all those that shall be saved. There be none of the fore­named signes and tokens in you. You are ignorant, profane, and carelesse. God is not worshipped under your roofe. There is no true feare of God in your selfe, nor in your houshold. You seldome heare the Word preached. You content your selfe with an igno­rant Minister. You have no prayers in your family, no reading, no singing of Psalmes, no infirmitions, exhorta­tions, admonitions, or any other Christian exercises. You make no conscience of the observation of the Sabbath. You use not the name of God with any reverence. You breake out sometimes into horrible oathes and cursings. You make an ordinary matter of swearing by your faith and your troth. Your wife is irreligious, your children dissolute and ungrati­ous, [Page 269] your servants profane and care­lesse. You are an example in your owne house of all Atheisme and conscience­lesse behaviour. You are a great game­ster, a riotour, a spend thrift, a drin­ker, a common ale-house-hunter, a whore-hunter; and, to conclude, given to all vice and naughtinesse. Now then, I pray you, tell me, or rather let your conscience tell me, what hope can you have to be saved, so long as you walk and continue in this course. Doth not St. John say,1 John 2.6. If wee say we have fellowship with him, and walke in darknesse, we are liers? 1 John 3.4. Doth not the same Apostle avouch, that such as say they know God, and keepe not his commandements, are lyers?

Againe, doth hee not say, Hee that committeth sin, is of the Divell? And,1 John [...].18. Whosoever doth not righteousnesse, is not of God? Doth not our Lord Ie­sus flatly tell the Iewes (which brag­ged that Abraham was their father) that they were of their father the Di­vell, because they did his workes? Doth not the Apostle Paul say,Rom. 6. [...] His servants wee are to whom we obey, whe­ther it be of sinne unto death, or of obe­dience unto righteousnesse? Doth not the Scripture say,John [...].7. Hee that doth righ­teousnesse is righteous? Doth not our Lord Iesus affirm [...], that Not every one that saith, Lord, Lord, shall enter [Page 270] into the Kingdome of Heaven, Mat. 7.21. but hee that doth the will of my Father which is in Heaven. Therefore I conclude, that forasmuch as your whole course is carnall, carelesse, and dissolute, you can have no warrantable hope to be saved.

Phil.

I doe verily think that this mans case (which now you have laid open) is the case of thousands.

Theol.

Yea doubtlesse, of thousand thousands, the more is the pitie.

Asun.

Soft and faire, Sir, you are ve­ry round indeed. Soft fire maketh sweet malt. I hope you know wee must be saved by mercy, and not by merit. If I could doe all my selfe, wherefore ser­veth Christ? I hope that which I cannot doe he will doe for mee. And I hope to be saved by Jesus Christ as well as the best of you all.

Theol.

Oh, now I see which way the game goeth. You would faine make Christ a cloak for your sinnes. You will sin that grace may abound. You will sin frankly, and set all upon Christs score. Truly there be many thousands of your mind, which hear­ing of Gods aboundant mercy in Christ, are thereby made more bold to sin. But they shall know one day, to their cost, what it is to abuse the mer­cie of God.Rom. 2.4. The Apostle saith, The mercy and loving kindnesse of God [Page 271] should lead us to repentance. But we see it leads many to further hardnesse of heart. The Prophet saith,Psal. 13.4. With him is mercy, that hee may be feared. But many thereby are made more se­cure and carelesse. But to come nea­rer to the marke: You say, you hope to be saved by Iesus Christ. I an­swer, If those things be found in you which the Scripture avoucheth to be in all that shall be saved by him, then you may have good confidence, and assured hope, otherwise not. Now the Scriptures do thus determine it, and set it down, that if a man be in Christ, and look to be saved by him, he must be endued with these qualities follow­ing:

  • First, he must be a new creature.
    1 Cor. 5.27. Nine things required of all that shall be saved by Christ.
  • Secondly, hee must live, not after the lusts of men, but after the will of God, 1 Pet. 4.2.
  • Thirdly, hee must be zealous of good workes, Tit. 2.14.
  • Fourthly, hee must die to sin, and live to righteousnesse, Rom. 6.14.
  • Fifthly, he must be holy and unblame­able, Col. 1.23.
  • Sixthly, hee must so walke as Christ hath walked, 1 John 2.6.
  • Seventhly, he must crucifie the flesh, with the affections & lusts, Gal. 5.24.
  • Eighthly, he must walk, not after the flesh, but after the spirit, Rom. 8.1.
  • [Page 272]Last of all, he must serve God in righ­teousnesse and true holinesse all the dayes of his life, Luk. 1.75.

Loe then what things are requi­red of all that shall be saved by Christ. Now therefore if these things be in you in some measure of truth, then your hope is currant, sound, and good; otherwise it is nothing worth. For in vaine doe men say, they hope to be saved by Christ, when as they walke dissolutely. The reason here­of is, because the members must be sutable to the head; but Christ our head is holy, therefore wee his mem­bers must be holy also: as it is writ­ten,1 Pet. 2.15. Be ye holy, for I am holy. Other­wise, if wee will joyne profane and ungodly members to our holy head Christ, then we make Christ a mon­ster. As if a man should ioyne unto the head of a Lion, the necke of a Beare, the body of a Wolfe, and the legs of a For, were it not a monstrous thing? would it not make a monstrous crea­ture? Even such a thing they goe a­bout, which would have swearers, drunkards, whoremongers, and such like, to be the members of Christ, and to have life and salvation by him. But sith you doe so much presume on Christ, I pray you let me aske you a question.

Antil.

What is that?

Theol.

How doe you know that Christ vsed for you particularly, and by name?

Antil.

Christ dyed for all men, and therefore for me.

Theol.

But all men shall not be saved by Christ. How therefore do you know that you are one of them that have spe­ciall interest in Christ, and shall be sa­ved by his death?

Antil.

This I know, we are all sinners, and cannot be saved by any other than by Christ.

Theol.

Answer directly to my que­stion. How do you know in your selfe, and for your selfe, that you are one of the elect, and one of those for whom Christ died?

Antil.

I know it by my good faith in God, because I put my whole trust in him, and in none other.

Theol.

But how know you that you have faith? or how shall a man know his faith?

Antil.

I know it by this, that I have alwayes had as good a meaning, and as good a faith to God-ward, as any man of my calling, and that is not book-learned. I have alwayes feared God with all my heart, and served him with my prayers.

Theol.

Tush, now you go about the bush, and hover in the aire: an­swer mee to the point. How doe you [Page 274] know certainely and [...] that Christ dyed for you particularly and by name?

Antil.

You would make a man mad. You put mee out of my faith: you drive mee from Christ. But if you goe about to drive me from Christ, I will never be­leeve you. For I know we must be saved onely by him.

Theol.

I goe not about to drive you from Christ, but to drive you to Christ. For how can I drive you from Christ, seeing you never came neere him? How can I drive you out of Christ, seeing you were never in him? But this is it that deceiveth you and many others, that you thinke you beleeve in Christ, because you say you beleeve in Christ: as though faith consisted in words; or as though a man had saith, because hee saith so. If every one that faith he hath faith, therefore hath faith; and every one that saith hee beleeveth in Christ, doth therefore beleeve; then who will not have faith? who will not beleeve? But in very deed, your faith, and the faith of many others, is nothing else but meere imagination. But all this while you have not answered my que­stion touching your particular know­ledge of Christ.

Antil.

I can answer you no otherwise then I have answered you. And I thinke [Page 275] I have answered you sufficiently.

Theol.

No, no: you faulter in your speech: your answer is not worth a button: you speak you wot not what: you are altogether befogged and be­nighted in this question. But if there were in your heart the true know­ledge and lively feeling of God, then I am sure you would have yeelded another and a better answer: then you would have spoken something from the sense and feeling of your own heart, and from the worke of Gods grace within you. But because you can yeeld no found reason that Christ died for you particularly and by name, therefore I suspect you are none of them which have proper interest in him, and in whom his death takes ef­fect indeed.

Phil.

I think this question would gra­vell a great number: and few there be that can answer it aright.

Theol.

It is most certaine, I know it by lamentable experience, that not one of a hundred can soundly and sufficiently answer this question; none indeed, but onely those in whom the new worke is wrought, and do ty the inward worke of the Spirit feele Christ to be theirs. I have talked with some, which are both witty, sensible, and learned, who notwith­standing, when they have beene [Page 276] brought to this very point and issue, have stuck sore at it, and staggered very much. And howsoever they might by wit and learning shuffle it over, and in a blundering sort speak reason, yet had they no feeling of that which they said, and therefore no as­surance: and consequently as good never a whit, as never the better. It is the sanctifying Spirit, that giveth feeling in this point: and therefore without the feeling of the operation of the same spirit, it can never be soundly answered. Thus then, I doe close up this whole matter: As the Vine-branch cannot live and bring forth fruit, except it abide in the Vine: no more can wee, except wee abide in Christ, and be truly graffed in him by a lively faith: None can have any be­nefit by him, but they onely which dwell in him: None can live by Christ, but they which are changed into Christ: None are partakers of his body, but they which are in his bo­dy: None can be saved by Christ cru­cified, but they which are crucified with Christ: None can live with him being dead, but those which die with him being alive. Therefore let us root downward in mortification, that wee may shoot upward in sanctification: let us die to sinne, that we may live to righteousnesse: let us die while wee [Page 277] are alive, that wee may live when wee are dead.

Asun.

If none can be saved by Christ, but onely these which are so qualified as you speake of, then Lord have mercy upon us: then the way to heaven is ve­ry strait indeed, and few at all shall be saved. For there be few such in the world.

Theol.

You are no whit therein deceived. For when all comes to all, it is most certaine, that few shall be saved: which thing I will shew unto you both by Scripture, reasons, and examples.

Asun

First then let us heare it proved by the Scriptures.

Theol.

Our Lord Iesus saith,Mat. 7.10. En­ter in at the strait gate. For it is the wide gate, and broad way that leads to destruction; and many there be which goe in thereat: because the gate is strait, and the way narrow, that leadeth unto life, and few there be that finde it. Againe hee saith, Many are called, Mat. 20.16. but few chosen. In another place we reade of a certaine man which came to our Saviour Christ, & asked him of pur­pose, whether few should be saved: To whom our Saviour answered thus:Luke 13.14. Strive to enter in at the strait gate. For many (I say unto you) will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. In which answer, albeit our Saviour [Page 278] doth not answer directly to his questi­on, either negatively or affirmatively; yet doth hee plainly insinuate by his speeches, that few shall be saved. For first hee bids us strive earnestly: no­ting thereby, that it is a matter of great griefe against the World, the Flesh, and the Divell. Secondly, hee affirmeth that the gate is very strait; noting, that none can enter in with­out vehement crowding, and almost breaking their shoulder-bones. Last­ly, hee saith, that many which seeke to enter in, shall not be able; noting thereby, that even of them that seek, many shall step short, because they seeke him not aright. Esaias also saith, Except the Lord of hosts had left us a seed, Esay 1.9. wee had beene as Sodome; and had beene like to Gomorrah. The Apostle also alledgeth out of the Pro­phet,Rom. 9 28. Esay 10.22 that the Lord will make a short account in the earth, and gather it in­to a short summe with righteousn [...]sse. These Scriptures, I thinke, are sufficient to prove that few shall be saved.

Asun.

Now let us hear your reasons.

Theol.

If wee come to reason, wee may rather wonder that any should be saved, than that few shall be saved. For wee have all the lets and hinde­rances that may be, both within us, and without us. Wee have (as they [Page 279] say, the Sun, Moone, & seven Stars against us. Wee have all the Divels in hell against us, with all the [...] hornes, heads, marvelous strength, infinite wiles, cunning devices, deepe sleights, and methodicall temptations. Here runs a [...]ort streame against us. Then have wee this present evill world against us, with her innu­merable baits, snares, nets, gins, and grins, to catch us, fetter us, and en­tangle us. Here we have profits and pleasures, riches and honour, wealth and preferment, ambition and cove­tousnesse. Here comes in a Campe-royall of spirituall and invisible ene­mies. Lastly, we have out flesh, that is, our corrupted nature against us: wee have our selves against our selves. For wee our selves are as great enemies to our salvation, as either the World, or the Divell. For our understanding, reason, will and affections are altogether against us. Our naturall wisedome is an enemy unto us. Our concupiscences and lusts do minister strength to Sa­tans temptations. They are all in league with Satan against us. They take part with him in every thing a­gainst us and our salvation. They fight all under his standard, and re­ceive their pay of him. This then goeth hard on our side, that the Di­vell [Page 280] hath an inward part against, [...] and wee c [...]t [...] alwaies within [...] greatest en [...]y, which is ever rea­dy, day and night, to betray us into the hands of Satan; yea, to unbolte the doore, and let him in to cut our throats. Here then wee see on huge army of dreadfull enemies, and a ve­ry legion of Divels, lying in ambush against our soules. Are not wee therefore poore wretches in a most pitifull case, which are thus betray­ed and besieged on every side! All things then considered, may wee not justly marvell that any shall bee sav [...]d? For who seeth not, who knoweth not, that thousand thousands are carried headlong to destruction, either with the temptations of the World, the Flesh, or the Divell? But yet further, I will shew by another very manifest and apparent reason, that the num­ber of Gods Elect upon the face of the earth, are very few in comparison; which may thus be considered: First, let there be taken from amongst us all treacherous papists, atheists, and here­tickes. Secondly, let there be sho [...] ­led out all vicious and notorious evill-livers; as, Swearers. Drun­kards, Whore mongers, Worldlings, Deceivers, Coseners, Proud men, Rioters, Gamesters, & all the profane multitude. Thirdly, let there be re­fused [Page 281] and sorted out all Hypocrites, carnall Protestants, vain Professors, Back-sliders, Deceivers, and cold Christians. Let all these, I say, be se­parated, and then tell mee how many sound, sincere, faithfull, and zealous Worshippers of God will be found a­mongst us. I suppose we should not need the Art of Arithmetick to num­ber them. For I think there would be very few in every Village, Town, and City: I doubt they would walk very thinly in the streets, so as a man might easily tell them as they go. Our Lord Iesus askes a question in the Gospel of S. Luke, saying,Luke 18. [...]. Do you think when the Son of man cometh that he shall find faith on the earth? To which wee may answer, Surely very little.

Phil.

Now, according to your promise, shew this thing also by examples.

Theol.

In the first age of the world all flesh had so corrupted their wayes, that God could no longer beare them, but even vowed their destruction by the over-flowing of waters. When the Floud came, how few were found faithfull? Eight persons onely were saved by the Arke. How few righte­ous were found in Sodome, and the Cities adjoyning? But one poore Lot and his family. How few belee­vers were found in Jericho? But one Rahab. How few of the old Isra­elites [Page 282] entred into the Land of Pro­mise?Heb. 3.19. But two, Caleb and Joshua: the rest could not enter in, because of their unbeliefe. The true and visible Church was small during the go­vernment of the Iudges, as appear­eth plentifully in that Booke. In Eliahs time the Church was so small, that it did not appeare.1 Kin. 17. In the reigne of the Kings of Israel and Judah, the sincere worshippers were very few, as appeareth by all the Prophets. Du­ring the Captivity, the Church was as the Moon under a cloud, she was driven into the wildernesse, where she hid her selfe. During the persecutions of the Greek Empire by Gog, Ma­gog, and Egypt, they were fewest of all. In Christs time what a silly company did he begin withall? How were all things corrupted by the Priests, Scribes, and Pharisees? In the beginning of the Apostles preaching there were but few belee­vers. After the first six hundred yeers, what an Eclipse was in the Church, during the height of Antichrists reigne? How few true worshippers of God were in the world for the space almost of seven hundred yeares? Since the Gospel was broached and spread abroad, how few doe beleeve? And, as the Prophet saith, Lord, who hath beleeved our report? Esay 53.1. Thus then [Page 283] you see it is apparent (both by Scri­pture, reason, and examples of all ages) that the number of the Elect is very small, and when all comes to all few shall be saved.

Phil.

I pray you tell us how few, and to what scantling they may be reduced; whether one of an hundred, or one of a thousand shall be saved.

Theol.

No man knowes that; nei­ther can I give you any direct and certaine answer unto it. But I say, that in comparison of the Reprobate, there shall but a few be saved. For all that professe the Gospel are not the true Church before God. There be many in the Church, which are not of the Church.

Phil.

How do you prove that?

Theol.

Out of the ninth to the Ro­mans, where the Apostle saith,Rom. 9.6. All are not Israel that are of Israel. And again, Esay crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel were as the sand of the sea, yet but a remnant shall be saved, Rom. 9.27.

Phil.

How doe you ballance it in the visible Church, or in what comparison doe you take it? let us heare some esti­mate of it, Some thinke one of an hun­dred, some, but one of a thousand shall be saved.

Theol.

Indeed I have heard some learned and godly Divines give such [Page 284] conjectures: but for that matter I can say nothing to it.Rom. 9.27. But onely let us ob­serve the comparison of the holy Ghost betwixt a remnant and the sand of the Sea, and it will give some light into the matter.

Phil.

Doth not the knowledge of this doctrine discourage men from seeking af­ter God?

Theol.

Nothing lesse. But rather it ought to awake and stirre up in us a greater care of our salvation,Phil. 2.12. that we may be in the number of Christs little flock, which make an end of their sal­vation in feare and trembling.

Phil.

Some make light of all these matters. Others say, As for the life to come, that is the least matter of an hun­dred to be cared for. As for that matter, they will leave it to God, even as plea­seth him: they will not meddle with it. For they say, God that made them must save them. They hope they shall doe as well as others, and make as good shift as their neighbours.

Theol.

It is lamentable that men should be so carelesse, and make so light of that which (of all other things) is most weighty and important. For what shall it profit a man though hee should win the whole world, if hee lose his soule? as the Author of all wise­dome testifieth, Mar. 16.26.

Asun.

I pray you, Sir, under correcti­on, [Page 285] give mee leave to speake my mind in this point. I am an ignorant man, par­don mee if I speake amisse: for a fooles bolt is soon shot.

Theol.

Say on.

Asun.

I doe verily thinke that God is stronger then the Divell. Therefore I cannot beleeve that he will suffer the Di­vell to have more then himselfe. He will not take it at his hands. He loveth man­kind better then so.

Theol.

You doe carnally imagine that God will wrestle and strive with the Divell about the [...]ter. [...]s for Gods power, it doth never crosse his will: for God can doe nothing against his will and decree, because he will not.

Asun.

Yea, but the Scripture saith, God will have all men saved.

Theol.

That is not meant of every particular man, but of all sorts some; some Iewes, some Gentiles, some rich, some poore, some high, some low, &c.

Asun.

Christ died for all: therefore all shall be saved.

Theol.

Christ died for all in suffici­encie of his death, but not in efficacie unto life. For onely the Elect shall be saved by his drath: as it is written, This is my bloud in the New Testa­ment, which is given for you; Luke 22.26. meaning his Disciples and chosen children. And againe, Christ being consecrated, [Page 282] [...] [Page 283] [...] [Page 284] [...] [Page 285] [...] [Page 286] is made the Author of salvation to all that obey him.

Asun.

God in mercifull, and therefore I hope hee will save the greatest part for his mercy sake.

Theol.

The greatest part shall pe­rish: but all that shall be saved, shall be saved by his mercy: as it is written, Hee will have mercy on whom hee will have mercy, Rom. 9. and whom he will he hard­neth. And againe, It is not in him that willeth, or him that runneth, but in God that sheweth mercy. Therefore though God be infinite in mercy, and Christ infinite in merit, yet none shall have mercy but only the vessels of mercy.

Antil.

Can you tell who shall be sa­ved, and who shall be damned? Doe you know Gods secrets? When were you in heaven? When spake you with God? I am of the mind that all men shall be saved. For Gods mercy is above all his worke. Say you what you will, and what you can, God did not make us to con­demne us.

Theol.

You are very peremptory in­deed: you are more bold then wise: for Christ saith, Few shall be saved: you say, All shall be saved. Whether then shall we beleeve, Christ or you?

Antil.

If there should come two soules, one from heaven, and another from hell, and bring us certain newes how the case stood then I would beleeve it indeed.

Theol.

Put case two soules of the dead should come, the one from heaven, the other from hell, I can tell you afore-hand certainly what they would say, and what newes they would bring.

Antil.

What, I pray?

Theol.

They would say, there be few in heaven, and many in hell: heaven is empty, and hell is full.

Antil.

How know you that? how know you they would say so?

Theol.

I am sure, if they speak the truth, they must needs say so.

Antil.

Must they needs? Why, I pray you, must they needs?

Theol.

Because the Word of God saith so. Because Moses and the Pro­phets say so. If you will not beleeve Moses and the Prophets, neither will you beleeve though one, though two, though an hundred should rise from the dead.

Antil.

Yes but I would.

Theol.

I pray you let me aske you a question: Whether doe you thinke that God and his Word, or the soules of dead men, are more to be credited?

Antil.

If I were sure that God said so, then I would beleeve it.

Theol.

If his Word say so, doth not he say so? Is not he and his Word all one?

Antil.

Yet for all that, if I might [Page 288] heare God himselfe speake it, it would move me much.

Theol.

You shew your selfe to be a notable Infidell. You will not beleeve Gods word without signes, and mira­cles, and wonders from the dead.

Antil.

You speak as though you knew certainly that Hell is full: you doe but speake at randome: you cannot tell: you were never there to see. But for mine owne part, I beleeve there is no Hell at all, but onely the bell of a mans conscience.

Theol.

Now you shew your selfe in kind what you are. You say you be­leeve no Hell at all. And, I thinke, if you were well examined, you beleeve no Heaven at all, neither God nor Di­vell.

Antil.

Yes, I beleeve there is a Heaven, because I see it with mine eyes.

Theol.

You will beleeve no more be­like then you see:Job. 20.28. but, Blessed is he that beleeveth, and seeth not. You are one of the rankest Atheists that ever I talk­ed withall.

Antil.

You ought not to judge: you know not mens hearts.

Theol.

Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh, Mat. 12.34. You have sufficiently bewrayed your heart by your words: For the tongue is the key of the mind. As for judging, I judge you onely by your [Page 289] fruits: which is lawfull. For we may justly say, It is a bad tree which bringeth forth bad fruit: and hee that doth wickedly, is a wicked man. But it is you, and such as you are, that will take upon you to judge mens hearts. For though a mans outward actions be religious and honest, yet you will condemne him. And if a man give himselfe to the Word and Praier, reforme his family, and abstaine from the grosse sins of the world, you will by and by say, Hee is an Hypocrite. And thus you take upon you to judge mens hearts, as though you knew with what affection these things are done.

Antil.

I confesse I am a sinner: and so are all other for ought I know. There is no man but hee may be amended. I pray God send us all of his grace, that we may please him, and get to Heaven at last.

Theol.

Now you would shuffle up all together, as though you were as good as the best, and as though there were no difference of sinners? but you must learne to know that there is a great difference of sinners. For there is the penitent and the impenitent sinner; the carefull and the carelesse sinner; the sinner whose sins are not imputed, and the sinner whose sins are imputed; the sinner that shall be [Page 290] saved, and the sinner that shall be damned. For it is one thing to sin of frailty, another thing to live in it, dwell in it, and trade in it, and (as the holy Ghost speaketh) to suck it in, as the fish sucketh water,Esay 5.18. and to draw it unto us with cart-ropes and cords of va­nity.

To conclude therefore; there is as great difference betwixt a sinner and a sinner, as betwixt light and dark­nesse. For though Gods children be sinners in respect of the remnants of sin within them, yet the Scriptures call them just and righteous, because they are justified by Christ, and sancti­fied by his grace and holy Spirit. And for this cause it is that S. John saith, Hee that is borne of God sinneth not, 1 John 4.6.

Antil.

What, I pray you, did you never sin?

Theol.

Yes, and what then? what are you the better?

Antil.

You Preachers cannot agree amongst your selves: one saith one thing, and another saith another thing, so that you bring the ignorant people in­to a mammering, and they know not on which hand to take.

Theol.

The Preachers, God be thanked, agree very well together in all the main grounds of Religion, and principall points of salvation. But [Page 291] if they dissent in some other matters, you are to trie the spirits, whether they be of God or no. You must trie all things, and keep that which is good.

Antil.

How can plaine and simple men trie the spirits and doctrines of the Preachers?

Theol.

Yes. For the Apostle saith, The spirituall man discerneth all things. 1 Cor. 2.15. And S. John saith to the holy Christi­ans,1 John 2.26. You have received an ointment from that holy One, and know all things; that is, all things necessary to salvati­on. Those therefore which have the Spirit of God, can judge and discerne of doctrines, whether they be of God, or no.

Antil.

I am not book-learned, and therefore I cannot judge of such mat­ters. As for hearing of Sermons, I have no leisure to goe to them, I have some­what else to doe. Let them that are bookish, and heare so many Sermons, judge of such matters. For I will not meddle with them, they belong not un­to me.

Theol.

Yet for all that you ought to reade the Scriptures, and heare the Word of God preached, that you may be able to discerne betwixt truth and falshood in matters of Religion.

Antil.

Belike you thinke none can be saved without preaching, and that all [Page 292] men stand bound to frequent Sermons: but I am not of your mind in that.

Theol.

Our Lord Iesus saith, My sheep heare my voice. John 10.2. And againe hee saith, [...]hn 8.47. Hee that is of God heareth Gods Word. Ye therefore heare it not, because yee are not of God. You see therefore how Christ Iesus maketh it a speciall note of Gods children to heare his Word preached.

Antil.

But I thinke we may serve God well enough without a Preacher. For Preachers are but men, and what can they doe? A Preacher is a good man so long as he is in the Pulpit: but if hee be out of the Pulpit, hee is but as another man.

Theol.

You speak contemptuously of Gods messengers, and of Gods sacred ordinance. But the Apostle doth fully answer your objection, saying, Faith comes by hearing, Rom. 10. and hearing by the Word of God: and how can they heare without a Preacher? In which words the Apostle tels you flatly, that you ca [...] [...]ver have faith, nor serve God a­right without Preaching.

Antil.

When you have preached all that you can, you can make the Word of God no better then it is: and some put in and put out what they list. The Scriptures are but mens inventions, and they made the Scriptures.

Theol.

We preach not to make the [Page 293] Word better, but to make you better. As for putting in and putting out, it is a meere untruth. And whereas you say, The Scriptures were made by men, it is blasphemy once to think it, and you are worthy to receive your answer at Tiburne.

Antil.

Now I see you are hot. I per­ceive for all your godlinesse you will be angry.

Theol.

I take it to be no sin to be angry against sin. For your sin is very great, and who can beare it?

Antil.

All this while you speake much for preaching, but you say nothing for prayer. I think there is as much need of prayer as preaching. For I find in the Scriptures, Pray continually; but I find not, Preach continually.

Theol.

No man denieth but that Prayer is most needfull alwaies to be joyned unto Preaching and all other holy exercises: for it is the hand-maid to all. But yet we preferre Preaching above it, because Preaching is both the director and whet-stone of Prayer; yea, it steereth us aright in all spiritu­all actions and services whatsoever: without the which we can keep no certaine course, but are ever ready to erre on this hand or that. Now whereas you say you find, Pray con­tinually, but not, Preach continually, you might (if you were not wilfully [Page 294] blind) find also, Preach continually. For the Apostle saith to Timothy, 2 Tim. 3.1. Be instant, preach the Word in season and out of season; that is, alwaies, as time and occasion shall serve.

Antil.

You extoll preaching, but you say nothing for reading. I beleeve you condemne reading.

Theol.

Doth hee that highly com­mendeth gold condemne silver? I doe ingenuously confesse, that both publike and private reading of the Scriptures is very necessary and profitable, and would to God it were more used then it is: for it is of singular use both to encrease knowledge and judgement, and also to make us more sir to heare the Word preached. For such men as are altogether ignorant of the History of the Bible, can heare the Word with small comfort.

Phil.

It seemes that this man neither regards the one not the other: because, for ought that I can see, hee cares not greatly if the Scriptures were burnt.

Antil.

Oh sirrah, you speak very ma­lapertly: you may speake when you are bidden. Who made you a Judge? You are one of his Disciples, and that maketh you to speak of his side.

Phil.

No, Sir, I hope I am Christs Disciple, and no mans. But assuredly I cannot hold my peace at your vile cavil­ling, and most blasphemous speeches.

Antil.

I cry you mercy, Sir, you seeme to be one of these Scripture-men: you are of the Spirit: you are so full of it that it runneth out at your nostrils.

Phil.

You do plainly shew your self to be a scoffing Ismaelite.

Antil.

And you doe plainly shew your selfe to be one of the folk of God which know their seats in heaven.

Phil.

I pray God be mercifull unto you, and give you a better heart: For I see you are in the gall of bitternesse, and in the bond of iniquity.

Antil.

You thinke there is none good but such as your selfe, and such as can please your humour. You will forsooth, be all pure. But by God there be a com­pany of pure knaves of you.

Theol.

Now you do manifestly shew of what spirit you are. For you both sweare and raile with one breath.

Antil.

God forgive mee. Why did hee anger mee then? There be a company of such controllers as he in the world, that no body can be quiet for them.

Theol.

I perceive a little thing will anger you, sith you will be angry with him for speaking the truth.

Antil.

What hath he to doe with mee? He is more busie then needs. Why doth hee say I am in a bad case? I will not come to him to learne my duty. If I have faults, he shall not answer for them. I shall answer for mine owne faults, and [Page 296] every Fat shall stand on his owne bot­tome. Let him meddle with that hee hath to do withall.

Theol.

You are too impatient: you take matters at the worst. We ought friendly, and in love, to admonish one another: for we must have a care one of anothers salvation. I dare say for him, that he speakes both out of love and compassion towards you.

Antil.

I care not for such love. Let him keep it to himselfe. What doth he thinke of mee? doth hee suppose that I have not a soule to save as well as hee, or that I have no care of my salvation? I would hee should know that I have as great care of my salvation as hee, though I make not such outward shewes. For all is not gold that glisters. I have as good a meaning as hee, though I cannot ut­ter it.

Theol.

These words might well be spared: I hope you will be pacified, and amend your life, and draw neere to God hereafter.

Antil.

Truly, Sir, you may thinke of mee what you please; but I assure you, I have more care that way then all the world wonders at: I thanke God for it, I say my prayers every night when I am in my bed: And if good prayers will doe us no good, God help us. I have al­waies served God duly and truly, and had him in my mind. I doe as I would [Page 297] be done to. I keepe my Church, and tend my prayers while I am there: and I hope I am not so bad as this fellow would make mee. I am sure, if I be bad, I am not the worst in the world, there be as bad as I. If I goe to hell I shall have fellowes, and make as good shift as others.

Theol.

You think you have spoken wisely, but I like not your answer. For your words smell strongly both of ignorance, pride, and unbeliefe. For first, you justifie your selfe in your faithlesse and ignorant worship of God. And secondly, you justifie your selfe by comparison with others, be­cause others are as had as you, and you are not the worst in the world.

Antil.

Now I know you speake of ill will: for you never had a good opinion of mee.

Theol.

I would I could have as good an opinion of you as I doe de­sire, and that I might see that wrought in you which might draw my love and liking towards you. And as for ill will, the Lord knoweth I beare you none. I desire your conversion and salvation with my whole heart, and I would thinke my selfe happy if I might save your soule with the losse of my right arme.

Antil.

I hope I may repent. For the Scripture saith, At what time s e [...]er a [Page 298] [...] [Page 299] [...] [Page 298] sinner doth repent, God will have mercy on him. Therefore if I may have space and grace, and time to repent before death, and aske God forgivenesse, and say my prayers, and cry God mercy, I hope I shall do well enough.

Theol.

You speake as though re­pentance were in your power, and at your commandement, and that you can put it into your owne heart when you list: and that makes you and many others presume of it three houres before death. But you must know that repentance is the rare gift of God, and it is given but to a few. For God will know him well that hee bestoweth repentance upon, sith it is proper onely to the Elect. It is no worldly matter. It is not attained without many and frequent prayers, and much hearing, reading, and medi­tating in the word of God. It is not so easie a matter to come by as the world judgeth. It is not found but of of them that seeke it diligently, and beg it earnestly. It is no ordinary three houres matter. Cry God mercy a little for fashion will not do it. Cur­sory saying of a few prayers a little before death availeth not. For though true repentance be never too late, yet late repentance is seldome true. Here­ [...]n delayes are dangerous: for the longer wit deferre it, the worse is our [Page 299] case. The farther a naile is driven in with a hammer, the harder it is to get out againe. The longer a disease is let run, the harder it is to cure. The deeper a tree is rooted, the harder it is to plucke up againe. The longer wee deferre the time of our repen­tance, the harder it will be to repent And therefore it is dangerous dri­ving it off to the last cast. For an anci­ent Father saith,Augustine. Wee reade but of one that repented at the last, that no man should presume; and yet of one, that none might despaire.

Well then, to conclude this point: I would have you to know that the present time is alwaies the time of re­pentance. For time past cannot be recovered, and time to come is uncer­taine.

Antil.

Sir, in mine opinion you have [...]ttered some very dangerous things, and such as were enough to drive a man to despaire.

Theol.

What be they I pray you?

Antil.

There be diverse things. But one thing doth most of all sticke in my stomack, and that is the small num­ber that shall be saved, as you say. But I can hardly be perswaded that God made so many thousands to cast them away when hee had done. Doe you thinke that God hath made us to condemne us? Will you make him [Page 300] to be the Author of condemnation?

Theol.

Nothing lesse. For God is not the cause of [...] condemnation, but themselves. For every mans de­struction cometh of himselfe: as it is written,Ho [...] [...]3. [...] O Israel, thy destruction is of thy selfe. As for God, he doth (in great mercy) use all possible meanes to save soules, as hee [...]ith by the Pro­phet, What could I have done more to my Vineyard that I have not done unto it? Esay 5.4. But to come neere to your que­stion: I deny that God hath created the most part of men onely and solely unto pardition, as the proper end which he did [...] in [...] them: but hee hath created all things for the praise of his glory: as it is written, Hee hath created all things for himselfe, Prov. 1 [...].4. and the wicked also for the evill day. Then it followeth, that the cause and end why the wicked were created, nei­ther was, nor is the onely destruction of his creature, but his owne praise and glory, that that onely might ap­peare and shine forth in all his workes. Yet certaine it is that God for just causes (albeit unknowne and hid to us) hath rejected a great part of men. The causes, I say, of reprobation are hid in the eternall counsell of God, and knowne to his godly wisedome onely. They are secret, and hid from us, reserved in his eternall wisedome [Page 301] to be revealed at the glorious appear­ing of our Lord Iesus.Psal. 36. Rom. 11. His judge­ments (saith the Scripture) are as a great deepe, and his wayes past finding out. It is as possible for us to compre­hend the Ocean in a little dish, as to comprehend the reason of Gods coun­sell in this behalf.

Antil.

What reason, justice, or equi­tie is there that sentence of death should be passed upon men before they be borne, and before they have done good or evill?

Theol.

I told you before, that we can never comprehend the reason of Gods proceeding in this behalfe: yet wee must know that his will is the rule of righteousnesse, and must be unto us in stead of a thousand rea­sons. For whatsoever God willeth, in as much as hee willeth it, it is to be holden just. Wee cannot conceive the reason of many naturall things, and things subject to sense, as the motion of the celestiall bodies, their uncon­ceiveable swiftnesse, their matter and substance, their magnitude, altitude, and la [...]itude. Wee cannot throughly finde out the causes of the thunder, lightnesse, winds, earth-quakes, eb­bings and flowings of the sea, and ma­ny other things under the Sun: how then can wee possibly ascend up into the privie Chamber and Councell-house [Page 302] of God, to sift and search [...] the bottome of Gods secrets, which no wit or reach of man can any w [...] attaine unto? Let us therefore learne in Gods feare to reverence that which we cannot in this life comprehend.

This one thing I must say unto you, that whatsoever God dec [...]eth, yet doth he execute no man till he hath ten thousand times deserved it. For betwixt the decree and the execution thereof, cometh sinne in us, and most just causes of condemnation.

Antil.

If God have decreed mens de­struction, what can they do withall? who can resist his will? why then is he angry with us? For all things must needs come to passe according to his de­cree and determination.

Theol.

First, I answer you with the Apostle:Rom. 9.22. O man, who art thou that pleadest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the Potter power of the clay, to make of the same lumpe one vessell to honour, and another to dishonour? Moreover, I answer, that Gods decree doth not enforce the will of man, which wor­keth and moveth of it selfe. It hath in it selfe the beginning of evill m [...]t [...] ­on and sinneth willingly. Therefore, though the decree of God imposeth a necessity upon all secondary causes (so [Page 303] as they must needs be framed and disposed according to the same) yet no co [...]ction or constraint; for they are all carried with their voluntary moti­on. Even as we see the plumbe of a clock, being the first mover, doth cause all the other wheeles to move, but not to move this way or that way: for in that they move, some one way, and some another, it is of themselves; I meane, of their owne frame: so Gods decree doth move all secondary causes, but takes not away their owne proper motion. For God is the Au­thour of every action, but not of any evill in any action. As the soule of man is the originall cause of all moti­on in man, as the Philosophers di­spute, but yet not of lame and impo­tent motion, for that is from another cause, to wit, some defect in the body: so, I say, Gods decree is the root and first cause of motion, but not of defe­ctive motion, that is from our selves. Likewise, that a bell soundeth, the cause is in him that ringeth it: but that it jarreth, the cause is in it selfe. Againe, that an instrument soundeth, is in him that plaieth upon it; but that it jarreth, is in it selfe; that is, in its own want of tuning. So then, to shut up this point: all instruments and middle caus­es are so moved of God being the first Mover, that hee allwayes doth [Page 304] will holily and justly in his moving. But the instruments moved are car­ried in contrary motions, according to their owne nature and frame: If they be good, they are carried to that which is good: but if they be evill, they are carried unto evill. So that according to the double beginning of motion and will, there is a double and divers work and effect.

Antil.

But from whence comes it that man of himselfe, that is, of his own free motion, doth will that which is evill?

Theol.

From the fall of Adam, whereby his will was corrupted.

Antil.

What was the cause of Adams fall?

Theol.

The Divell, and the depra­vation of his own will.

Antil.

How could his will incline unto evill, it being made good, and hee being made good?

Theol.

He and his will were made good, yet mutably good. For to be immutably good is proper onely to God. And Adam did so stand, that he might fall; as the event declared.

Antil.

Was not the decree of God the cause of Adams fall?

Theol.

No: but the voluntary in­clination of his will unto evill. For Adams will was neither forced nor by any violence of Gods purpose com­pelled [Page 305] to consent: but he of a free will and ready mind left God, and joyned with the Divell.

Thus then I doe determine, That Adam sinned necessarily, if you respect the decree or event: but if you respect the first mover and inherent cause, which was his owne will, then he sin­ned voluntarily and contingently. For the decree of God did not take away his will, or the contingency thereof, but only order and dispose it. There­fore (as a learned Writer saith) Volens peccavit, & proprio m [...]tu; B [...] He sinned wil­lingly, and of his owne motion.

And therefore no evill is to be attri­buted unto God, or his decree.

Antil.

How then doe you conceive and consider of the purpose of God in all these things?

Theol.

Thus: That God decreed with himselfe, [...]no actu, at once,

That there should be a world.

That Adam should be treated per­fect.

That he should fall of himselfe.

That all should fall with him.

That he would save some of the lost race.

That hee would doe it of mercie through his Son.

That he would condemn others for sin.

Antil.

How doe you prove the [Page 306] decree of reprobation; to wit, that God hath determined the destruction of thou­sands before the world was?

Theol.

The Scripture calleth the Reprobates,Rom. 9.22. The vessels of wrath, pre­pared to destruction: The Scripture saith,2 Thes. 5. God hath not appointed us unto wrath: Therefore it followeth, that some are appointed unto wrath. The Scripture saith of the Reprobates, that they were even ordained to stum­ble at the Word. 1 Pet. 2.8. The Scripture saith, They were of old ordained to this con­demnation, Jude 4.

Antil.

[...]. 18. But how answer you this? God will [...] not the death of a sinner: therefore he hath predestinated none to destructi­on.

Theol.

God wils not the death of a sinner simply and absolutely, as it is the destruction of his creature; but as it is a meanes to declare his justice, and to set forth his glory.

Antil.

God did fore-see and fore-know, that the wicked would perish through their owne sin: but yet he did not prede­stinate them unto it.

Theol.

Gods prescience and fore-knowledge cannot be separated from his decree. For whatsoever God hath fore-seene and fore-known in his eternall counsell, he hath determined the same shall come to passe. For as it appertaines to his wisdome to fore-know [Page 307] and fore-see all things: so doth it appertain to his power to moderate and rule all things according to his will.

Antil.

What doe you call prescience in God?

Theol.

Prescience in God is that whereby all things abide present be­fore his eyes: so that to his eternall knowledge, nothing is past, nothing to come; but all things are alwaies present: and are they so present, that they are not as conceived imaginati­ons, formes and motions; but all things are alwaies so present befo [...]e God, that he doth behold them [...] their [...] and perfection.

Antil.

How can God justly determine of mens destruction, before they have sinned?

Theol.

This objection hath been answered in part before: For I told you, that God condemneth none but for sin, either originall onely, or else both originall and actuall. For how­soever he doth in himselfe, before all time, determine the reprobation of many, yet he proceeds to no excecuti­on, till there be found in us both just desert [...] and apparent cause. There­fore they deale unsoundly and foolish­ly, which confound the decree of re­probation with damnation, it selfe; sith sinne is the cause of the one, and [Page 308] only the will of God of the other.

Phil.

Well, Sir, sith we are so far pro­ceeded in this question, by the occasion of this mans objections and cavile, I pray you now, as you have spoken much of reprobation, and the causes thereof; so let us heare somewhat of election, and the causes thereof: and shew us out of the Scriptures, that God hath be­fore all worlds chosen some to eternall life.

Theol.

Touching the decree of e­lection, there are almost none that make any doubt thereof: therefore small proofe shall serve for this point. Onely I will construct it by one or two testimonies out of holy Scrip­ture. First, the Apostle saith, Blessed be God, Ephes. 1.3. even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spirituall blessings in heavenly things in Christ, as hee hath chosen us in him, before the foundation of the world, that wee should be holy, and without blame before him in love. You see the words are very plaine and pregnant for this purpose. Another confirmation is taken out of the eight chapter to the Romans, in these words: Those whom hee knew before, did he also predestinate to be like to be like to the image of his owne Sonne, that hee might be the first-borne of many bre­thren.

Phil.

Which be the causes of election?

Theol.

The causes of election are to be found onely in God himselfe. For his eternall election dependeth nei­ther upon man, neither yet upon a­ny thing that is in man, but is pur­posed in himselfe, and established in Christ, in whom we are elected. This is fully proved in these words,Ephes. 1.5, 6. Who hath predestinated us to be adopted through Jesus Christ in himselfe, ac­cording to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glory, where­with he hath made us freely accepted in his beloved. Where we see the A­postle telleth us, that his free grace, and the good pleasure of his will, are the first motives or moving causes of our election.

Phil.

But the Papists fetch the first mo­tive of election out of mans merits, and fore-seen workes. For, say they, God did fore-see who would repent, beleeve, and doe well: and therefore he made choice of them.

Theol.

But they are greatly decei­ved: For I say againe and againe, that there is nothing in us which did ever move God to set his love upon us, and to chuse us unto life: but he ever found the originall cause in him­selfe; as it is written,Rom. 9. Hee will have mercy upon whom hee will have mercy, and whom hee will hee hardneth. And [Page 310] [...] [Page 311] [...] [Page 310] againe: It is neither in him that wil­leth, nor in him that runneth: but in God that sheweth mercy. Deut. 7.7. The Lord him­selfe also testifieth, that hee did chuse his people not for any respect in them, but onely because he loved them, and bare a speciall favour unto them. [...] then it is a certaine truth, that Gods eternall predestination excludeth all merits of man, and all power of his will, thereby to attaine unto eternall life: and that his free mercy, and un­deserved favour, is both the beginning, the midst, and the end of our salvation: that is to say, All is of him, and no­thing of our selves.

Phil.

Whether then doth faith depend upon election, or election upon faith? That is, whether did God chuse us, be­cause we doe beleeve? or whether doe we beleeve, because we are chosen?

Theol.

Out of all doubt, both faith and all fruits of faith do depend upon election. For therefore we beleeve, be­cause we are elected; and not therefore elected, because wee beleeve: As it is written,Act. 13.41. So many as were ordained to e­verlasting life, beleeved.

Antil.

If men be predestinate before they be borne, to what purpose serve all precepts, admonitions, lawes? &c. It sor­ceth not how wee live. For neither our godly or ungodly life can alter the pur­pose of God.

Theol.

This is a very wicked and carnall objection, and sheweth a vile and dissolute mind in them that use it. But I would wish such men to consider the end of election; which is, that we should lead a godly [...]: As it is plainly set down in the first chap­ter to the Ephesians, ver. 3. where the Apostle saith, God hath chosen us be­fore the foundation of the world. But to what end? that wee should live as wee list? No, no, saith hee; But that wee should be holy and, unblameable before him. Againe he saith,Rom. 9.16. Wee are predestinate to be made like the image of his Sonne, that is, to be holy and righteous. For most certaine it is, that wee can judge nothing of pre­destination, but by the consequents: that is, by our calling, justification, and sanctification. For when once we feele the work of grace within us, (that is, that wee are washed by the new birth, and renued by the holy Ghost, finding in our selves an un­feigned hatred of sinne, and love of righteousnesse) then are we sure, and out of all doubt, that we are predesti­nated to life. And it is even as much is if God had personally appeared unto us, and whispered us in the eare, and told us that our names are taken, and written in the Booke of life. For whom hee hath predestinate, [Page 312] them hee hath called: Rom. 8.30. and whom hee hath called, them hee hath justified: and whom he hath justified, them he hath glorified. Now therefore, till wee feele these markes of election wrought in us, we can be at no cer­tainty in this point; neither are wee to take any notice of it, or meddle in it: but we must strive, according to that power and faculty wee have, to live honestly, and civilly, waiting when God will have mercy on us, and give us the true touch. As for them that are carelesse and dissolute, letting all at six and seven, there is small hope that they are elected, or ever shall be called.

Antil.

I thinke the preaching and publishing of this doctrine of predesti­nation hath done much hurt: and it had been good it had never been knowne to the people, but utterly con­cealed. For some it driveth to despaire, and others it maketh more secure and carelesse.

Theol.

You are in a great errour: for this doctrine is part of Gods re­vealed Truth, which hee would have knowne to his people. And in good sooth, it is of very great and comfor­table use to the Children of God, a­gainst all the assaults of the Divell, and temptations of desperation what­soever. For when a man hath once [Page 313] in truth felt, by the effects, that God hath chosen him to life, then though the Divell lye sore at him, and the conscience of sinne and his owne frailties doe vehemently assault him; yet he knoweth certainly, that the eter­nall purpose and counsell of God is immutable, and that because his sal­vation is not grounded upon him­selfe, or his owne strength, but upon the unchangeable decree of GOD, which is a foundation immoveable, and alwayes standing sure and firme: therefore doe the Divell and sin what they can, yet he shall be upheld in righteousnesse and truth, and even (as it were) borne up in the armes of God even to the end. For whom God loveth, to the end he loveth them. Moreover, when once the Lords peo­ple perceive (by their sanctification and new birth) both that the Lord hath re­jected and reprobated so many thou­sand thousands, and made choice of them to be heires of his most glorious Kingdome, being in themselves of the same mould and making that others are, and that he hath done all this of his free grace and undeserved mercy towards them: oh how doth it ravish their hearts with the love of him! Againe, how frankly and cheerfully doe they serve him! how willingly and faithfully doe they obey [Page 314] him! Yea, how are they wholly rapt, and inflamed with the desire of him! For it is the perswasion and feeling of Gods love towards us, that draw­eth up our love to him againe; as St. John saith, 1. John 4. We love him, because he hath love us first.

Moreover, it is said of Mary Magda­len, Luke 7. that she loved much, because much was forgiven. For after shee felt her many & great sins freely pardoned, her affections were kindled with the love and obedience of Christ. So likewise the Church in the Canticles, Cant. [...].5. after shee had beene in the banquetting house of all spirituall grace, and felt the ban­ner of Christs love displayed upon her, forthwith shee was rape there­with, and cryed out (as it were in a swoun) that shee was sicke of love. So againe,Cant. 5.5. when Christ put in his hand by the hole of the doore (that is, touched the very inward parts of her heart by his spirit) then her heart yearned, and her bowels were affecti­oned towards him. This is it which St. Paul prayeth for upon his knees,Eph. 18, 19 that it may be granted to the Ephe­sians, that they may bee able to comprehend with all the Saints, what is the breadth and length, height and depth of Gods love to­wards us, and to know the love of Christ (which passeth knowledge) [Page 315] and to be filled with all fulnesse of God. Thus then you see the great and comfortable use of this doctrine of election, both in that it ministreth strength & comfort against all tempta­tions, as also because it constraineth us to love God, and of very love to feare him, and obey him.

Phil.

Well, Sir, I think now you have spent time enough in answering the objections and cavils of Antilegon. In all which I doe observe one thing; that there is no end of cavilling and ob­jecting against the truth: and that a man may object more in an houre, then a learned man can well answer in a day.

Theol.

You say truth. And the rea­son hereof is, because men have sin in them out of measure, and the Spirit of God but in measure. Therefore they can by the one object and conceive more against the truth, then by the o­ther they shall be able to answer and say for it.

Phil.

It appeareth indeed, that er­rours be infinite, and objections innu­merable, and that there is no end of mens cavilling against Gods sacred truth. It is good for us therefore to be thorowly settled in the truth, that we be not entangled or snared with any cavils or sophistications whatsoe­ver. And I doe verily thinke (notwith­standing [Page 316] all his objections, and excepti­ons) that he doth in his conscience desire, with Balaam, to dye the death of the righ­teous, and to be as one of them whom he seemeth to despise.

Theol.

I am so perswaded too. For this is the triumph that vertue hath over vice, that where she is most ha­ted, there she is often desired and wish­ed for. And this is the great punish­ment that God bringeth upon the wic­ked; Virtutem ut videant, intabescantque relicta, as saith the Poet; That they shall see vertue, and pine away, having no power to follow it.

Phil.

But now let us returne to the point wee were in hand with, before wee fell into these objections and cavils: which was concerning the small num­ber of them which shall be saved: and as you have shewed us many reasons there­of, so proceed to speak yet more unto that point.

Theol.

As I have shewed you of sundry lets, both within us, and with­out us, which doe keep us backe from God, and hold us fast in our sinnes; so now, unto all that hath been said before, I will adde nine great hinde­rances unto eternall life, which may not unfitly be termed nine bars out of Heaven, and nine gates into Hell.

Phil.

Which be they?

Theol.

They be these:

  • [Page 317]Infidelity.
    Nine gates into Hell.
  • Presumption of Gods mercy.
  • Examples of the multitude.
  • Long custome of sin.
  • Long escaping of punishment.
  • Hope of long life.
  • Conceitednesse.
  • Ill company.
  • Evill examples of Ministers.
Phil.

These indeed be strong bars out of heaven, and wide gates into hell. I pray you therefore prove them of the Scri­ptures, and lay them forth somewhat more largely.

Theol.

The first, which is Infide­lity, is proved out of the fourth chap­ter to the Hebrewes, verse 2. where it is written, Unto us was the Go­spel preached, as unto them: but the word which they heard, profited them not, because it was not mixed with faith in those that heard it. And again,Heb. [...].1 [...]. They could not enter in, because of unbeliefe. Here we s [...]e, that unbe­liefe did bar out the old people from entring into the Land of Promise, which was a figure of Gods eternall Kingdome. And sure it is, that the same unbeliefe doth barre out thou­sands of us. For many will beleeve nothing but their owne fantasies. They will not beleeve the Word of God: especially when it is con­trary to their lusts and likings, [Page 318] profits and pleasures. Though things be manifestly proved to their faces, and both the Chapter and the Verse shewed them, yet will they not beleeve; or though they say they beleeve, yet will they never goe about the practice of any thing, but reply against God in all their actions. And, for the most part, when God saith one thing, they will say another: when God saith yee, they will say nay, and so give God the lye. Some againe will say, If all be true that the Preachers say, then God help us. Thus you see how infi­delity doth bar men out of Heaven, and cast them into Hell.

Phil.

Let us heare of the second gate, which is, Presumption of Gods mercy.

Theol.

This is set downe in the 29. Chapter of Deuteronomie, where the Lord saith thus, When a man heareth the words of this curse, and yet flattereth himselfe in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, although I walke according to the stubbornnesse of mine owne heart, thus adding drunkenness to thirst (that is, one sinne to anot [...]er) the Lord will not be mercifull unto him, but the wrath of the Lord and his jealousie shall smoake a­gainst that man, and every curse that is written in this booke shall light upon him, and the Lord shall put out his name from under Heaven.

Here we see how the mighty God [Page 319] doth thunder downe upon such as goe­on in their sins, presuming of his mer­cie, and saying in their hearts, If I may have but a Lord have mercy upon mee three houres before death, I care not. But it is just with God, when these three houres come, to shut them up in blindnesse, and hardnesse of heart, as a just plagne for their pre­sumption. Therefore the Prophet David, seeing the grievousnesse of this sinne, prayeth to be delivered from it:Psal. 19. Keep me, O Lord (saith he) from pre­sumptuous sins, let them not reigne over mee. Let all men therefore take hood of presumptuous sins. For though God be full of mercy, yet will hee shew no mercy to them that presume of his mercy. But they shall once know, to their cost, that justice goeth from him as well as mercy.

Phil.

Let us come to the third gate, which is, the Example of the multitude.

Theol.

This is proved in the 23. of Exodus, verse 22. where the Lord saith flatly, Thou shalt not follow a multi­tude to do evill. In another place the Lord saith,Levit. 18.3. After the doing of the Land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not doe; and after the manner of the Land of Canaan, whither I will bring you, shall ye not doe, neither walke in their ordinances.

Against this Law did the children [Page 320] of Israel offend, when they said in the stubbornnesse of their heart to the Prophet Jeremie, The word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the Lord wee will not heare, but we will do whatsoever goeth out of our mouth, and we will do as we have done, both we and our Fathers, our Kings, and our Princes, in the Cities of Judah, and the streets of Jerusalem, Jer. 44.16.

Note here how they doe altogether refuse the Word of the Lord, and how they follow the example of the multi­tude. Wee see in these our dayes by lamentable experience how thousands are violently carried downe the stream, and for defence of it some will say, Do as the most men do, and the fewest will speak ill of you: Which is a very wic­ked speech. For if we will follow the course of the most, we shall have the reward of the most, which is eternall perdition.

Let us therefore take heed of bend­ing with the sway: for the sway of the world doth weigh down all things that can be spoken out of the Word of God, and openeth a very wide passage into hell.

Phil.

Proceed to the fourth gate in­to hell, which is, the Long custome of sinne.

Theol.

This is noted by the Pro­phet Jeremy to be a very dangerous [Page 321] thing. For hee saith,Jer. 13.23. Can the Black moore change his skin, or the Leopard his spots? Then may yee also doe good, which are accustomed to doe evill. No­ting thereby, that it is as hard a mat­ter to leave an old custome of sinne; as to wash a Black-moore white, or to change the spots of a Leopard; which because they are naturall is most im­possible. So when men through cu­stome have made swearing, lying, a­dultery, and drunkennesse (as it were) naturall unto them, oh how hard it is to leave them! For custome maketh another nature, and taketh a­way all sense and feeling of sin.

Phil.

Let us heare of the fifth gate, which is, the Long escaping of punish­ment.

Theol.

This is avouched by the Wise man in these words,Eccl [...]s. 8.11. Because sentence against an evill worke is not executed speedily, therefore the hearts of the children of men are set in them to doe evill. Where hee sheweth, that one cause why men are so hardened in their sinnes, is, because God wink­eth at them, and letteth them alone, not punishing them immediatly after they have sinned. For if God should forthwith strike downe one, and raine fire and brimstone upon another, and cause the earth to swallow up a third, then men would feare indeed. But [Page 322] it hath beene shewed before, that God taketh not that course, but though he meet with some in this life, yet he lets thousands escape; and that makes them more bold, thinking they shall never come to their answer: even as an old theefe, which hath a long time escaped both prison and gallowes, thinkes he shall alwaies so escape, and therefore goeth boldly on in his thefts. But let men take heed: For, as the Proverb saith, Though the Pitcher goeth long to the Well, yet at last it cometh broken home. So though men escape long, yet they shall not escape alwaies: for there will come a day of reckoning, a day that will pay it home for all. Thus you see how impunity leadeth numbers to destructi­on: that is, when men are let alone, and neither smitten by the hand of God, nor punished by the Law of the Magistrate.

Phil.

Let us come to the sixth gate, which is the Hope of long life.

Theol.

This is affirmed by our Lord Iesus concerning that rich worldling, who, when hee felt the world come in upon him with full streame, said he would pull d [...]wne his barnes, and build greater, and say to his soule, Soule, thou hast much goods laid up for many yeares: Luke 12.19. live at ease, eat, drinke, and take thy pastime. But [Page 323] our Saviour calleth him foole for flattering himselfe in security and pro­mising unto himselfe long life. More­over, hee plainely told him that the same night hee should make a hellish and miserable end. Note, I pray you, how Iesus Christ, the fountaine of all wisedome, c [...]lleth this man a foole, and yeeldeth a reason thereof; to wit, because hee gathered riches to himselfe, and was not rich in God: hee had great care of this life, and none at all for that which is to come. So then it followeth that all such are right fooles indeed, and may be chronicled for fooles (how wise soever they be taken and reputed in the world) which have much care for their bodies, and none for their soules; great care for this life, and little for that which is to come. well, let all such profane worldlings as dreame and dote of long life (and therefore deferre the day of their repentance and conversi­on unto God) take heed by this mans example, that they reckon not with­out their host, and he suddenly snatcht away in the midst of all their plea­sures and jollitie [...]s Job saith,Job 22.13. Some die in their full strength, being in all ease and prosperity: Their breasts run full of milke, and their bones run full of marrow. Wee see therefore how dangerous a thing it is for men to [Page 324] flatter and [...]ooth up themselves with hope of long life.

Phil.

Proceed to the seventh gate, which is, Conceitednesse.

Theol.

This is indeed a very broad gate into hell. For the Scripture saith,Prov. 16.12. Seest thou a man wise in his owne conceit? There is more hope of a foole than of such a one. And againe, The foole is wiser in his owne eyes, Prov. 26. [...]6. then seven men that can give a sen­sible reason. The holy Ghost wee see affirmeth, that such as are puft up with an overwe [...]ning of their owne gifts, are farthest of all other from the Kingdome of Heaven. For they despise the wisedome of God to their owne destruction. They hold scorne to be taught: they will say they know as much as all the Preachers can tell them. For what can all the Preachers say more then this? Wee are all sinners, wee must bee saved by Christ, wee must do as wee would be done to. There is no more, but doe well, and have well, &c. Alas poore soules, they looke [...]loft, they are desperately hoven up with con­ceitednesse, not knowing that they are poore,Rev. 3.17. naked, blind, and mise­rable.

These men trust altogether to their owne wit, learning, policie, riches, and great reputation in the [Page 325] world. And because all men crouch to them, and clap their hands at them, therefore they swell like Tur­ki [...]-Cocks, set up their feathers and draw their wings upon the ground with a kind of snuffe and disdaine of all men, as if they were the one­ly wights of the world. Moreover when men doe praise them for their naturall gifts, soothe them, and ap­plaud them, then it is a wonder to see how they streake themselves, as though they would forthwith take their flight, and mount unto the clouds. But let all insolent and conceived men hearken unto the woe that is pronounced against them by the eternall King of glory, saying, Woe unto them that are wise in their owne eies, Esay 5.21. and prudent in their owne sight. Againe, let them hearken to the counsell of God, which saith, Trust unto the Lord with all thine heart, Pro. 3.5. but leane not unto thine owne wisedome. Be not wise in thine owne eyes, but feare God, and depart from evill. These silly conceited fooles thinke that because they have the cast of this life, and can cunning­ly compasse the things of this world and goe through stitch with them, therefore they can compasse heaven also by their fine wits, and deepe de­vices: but alas, poore wretches, they [Page 326] are greatly and grossely deceived. For the wisedome of the world is foolish­nesse with God, and hee cotcheth the wise in their owne craftinesse.1 Cor. [...].19. And againe the Lord saith,1 Cor. 1.19. I will destroy the wisedome of the wise, and will cast away the understanding of the prudent. Let not these men therefore stand too much in their owne light, let them not trust to their owne policies: for they are all but as an ice of one nights freezing, which will deceive them that trust unto it. Let them therefore become fooles in themselves, that God may make them wi [...]. Let them denie themselves, that God may acknow­ledge them. Let them be humbled in themselves, that God may exalt them. For assuredly, there is no use, after this life, of the most exquisite wise­dome of flesh, it endeth all when wee end.Eccles. 2.16. For how dieth the wise man? [...] ­ven as dieth the foole, saith the holy Ghost. And where all worldly wise­dome endeth, there all heavenly wise­dome beginneth. Thus therefore we see what a wide gate into hell Con­ceitednesse is, and how many enter in thereat:

Phil.

Now let us understand of the eighth gate into hell, which is, Ill Company.

Theol.

The Spirit of God fore­seeing the great danger of this, and [Page 327] knowing how ready wee are to be car­ried away with ill company, doth give us most earnest warning to take heed of it as a most dangerous thing.Prov. 4.14. En­ter not (saith hee) in the way of the wicked, and walke not in the way of evill men. Avoid it, goe not by it, turne from it, and passe by. The reason hereof is yeelded in another place, where it is said,Prov. 13.20. A companion of fools shall be made worse. Let men therefore take heed of ill company, for many thereby have beene brought to the gallowes, and have confessed upon the ladder, that ill company hath brought them unto it, and therefore have admonished all by their example to take heed and beware of lewd com­pany. Moreover the Scripture saith, Hee that followeth vaine companions shall be filled with poverty. Prov. 18.19. And again in the same chapter, Hee that keepeth company with banquetters shameth his father. Let us therefore say with David, Psa. 119.63. I am a companion of all them that feare God, and keepe his com­mandements. And on the contrary let us say with him,Psal. 2.6. I have not haunted with vaine persons, neither kept com­pany with the d [...]ssemblers. I hate the assembly of the evill, and have not ac­companied with the wicked. Let us therefore by Davids example shun the company of the wicked: for as a man [Page 328] is, so is his company. It is the surest note to discerne a man by. For as all unlike things are unsociable, so all like things are sociable. Herein let us beware wee deceive not our selves with vaine words, and an opinion of our owne strength, as if wee were as strong as Christ, and could not be drawne away with any company. No, no, wee are more apt to be drawne than to draw; to be drawne to evill by others, then to draw others to good: therefore God saith by his Prophet,Jer. 15.16. Let them returne unto thee, but returne not thou unto them. Vndoubtedly hee is an odde man that is not made worse with ill company. For can a man touch pitch, and not be defiled therewith? Can a man carrie coales in his bosome, and not be burnt? Daily and lamentable experience sheweth, that many of them which thinke themselves strong, are this way most grievously smut­ted. Let a man thinke therefore hee never abandoneth evill, till hee aban­don ill company. For no good is concluded in this Parliament. For ill company is the suburbs of hell. Furthermore, it is to be observed, that some, upon admonitions and some inward compunctions of their owne conscience, do leave their sinnes untill they have new provocations, and un­till [Page 329] they come amongst their old copes­mates and sin-companions, and then are they carried backe againe to their old byas, and returne to their folly, as a dog returneth to his vomit. For we see some, which otherwise are of good natures and dispositions, most pitiful­ly and violently carried away with ill company.Pro. 26.11. For even as gréen wood of it selfe is unapt to burne, yet being laid on the fire with a great deale of seare wood, it burneth as fast as the rest: So many toward youths, which of themselves are not so prone unto e­vill as others, yet with this violent streame and blustering tempest of ill company are carried away.

Phil.

Let us come to the last gate, which is, the Evill examples of Mini­sters.

Theol.

It grieveth me, and I am almost asham'd to speak of this point: for is it not a wofull and lamentable thing, that any such should be found amongst the sons of Levi? Is it not a curse, that the Ministers of Christ should be of a scandalous conversa­tion? For if the eye be darke, how great is the darknesse? If they be ex­amples of all evill to the flocke, which should be patternes, lights, and exam­ples of all goodnesse, must it not needs strengthen the hands of the wicked, so as they cannot returne from their [Page 330] wickednesse? But this is an old dis­ease and evill sicknesse, which hath al­wayes been in the Church. The Prophet Jeremy doth most grievously complaine of it in his time,Jer. 23.24. and saith, That from the Prophets of Jerusalem is wickednesse gone forth into all the Land. For both the Prophet and the Priest doe wickedly. I have seen (saith he) in the Prophets of Jerusalem fil­thinesse. They commit adultery, and walke in lies: they strengthen also the hands of the wicked, that none can re­turne from his wickednesse: they are all unto mee as Sodome, and the inhabi­tants thereof as Gomorrah. And in the ninth verse of the same Chapter he sheweth, that it was no pleasure or joy unto him so publikely to reprove them, but that he did it with excee­ding griefe, as being forced thereunto, both in regard of Gods glory, and the good of the Church. His words are these, Mine heart breaketh within mee, because of the Prophets, and all my bones shake. Moreover, in the same Chapter is set downe how the Lord would feed them with wormwood, and make them drinke the water of gall, and sundry other wayes plague them for their flatteries, seducements, corrupt doctrine, and evill example of life.

Phil.

Most certaine it is that the evill [Page 331] example of Ministers, and especially of Preachers, is very dangerous and of­fensive: for thereby thousands are har­dened in their sinnes. For men will say, Such a Minister, and such a Preacher doth thus and thus, and therefore why may not we doe so too? They are lear­ned, and know the Word of God, there­fore if it were evill, I hope they would not doe it: for they should be lights unto us, and give us good examples. Therefore sith they doe such things, wee cannot tell what to thinke, or what to say to the matter: they bring such simple folke as wee are into a mamme­ring.

Theol.

Oh that I could with the Prophet Jeremy quake and shake to thinke of these matters! Oh that I could mourn as a Dove in penning of it! Oh that I had in the wildernesse a cottage, and could with Job be a bro­ther to the Dragons, and a compani­on to the Ostriches, whilest I have any thoughts of these things! Oh that I could weep and mourne with­out sin, before I yeeld you an answer! For weep indeed I may, but answer I cannot. Alas (with much griefe I speake it) all is too true that you say, and herein the people have a van­tage against us, if I may call it a vantage. But let this be my answer: If the blind lead the blind, both shall [Page 332] fall into the ditch. Mat. 13.14. Blind guides and blind people shall perish together. If because we are wicked, they will be more wicked, then both they and we shall burne in hell fire together. Then let them reckon their gaines, and see what they have got. They have small cause to triumph over us: for thereby their market is never a whit amen­ded. Let them take this for answer. And let us that are the Ministers of Christ, and Preachers of the Gospel, looke narrowly to our selves, and make straight steps to our feet: for if we tread never so little awry, we may see how many eyes are upon us. Let us therefore with David pray continually, Order my goings, O Lord, that my foot-steps slip not: for when my foot slipped they rejoyced a­gainst mee. And as for the people, let them follow the examples of those which walke unblameably (as God be thanked some such there be) and let them flye the examples of such as are offensive. So shall God have more glory, and they more peace in their owne hearts. Thus have we heard what a wide gate is opened into Hell by the evill example of Mi­nisters, and especially of Preach­ers.

Phil.

Well, sith there be so many bars out of Heaven, and so many gates into [Page 333] Hell, it is a very hard matter to break thorow all these bars, and to enter in­to life; and as hard a matter to misse all these gates, and to escape Hell. He quits him well that can doe it.

Theol.

True indeed. And as hard a thing as that is, so hard a thing is it for flesh and bloud to enter into the Kingdome of Heaven. And yet most men make light of it, and thinke it is the easiest matter of an hundred.

Asun.

As hard as it is, yet I hope by the grace of God I shall be one of them that shall enter in. For so long as I doe as I would be done to, and say no body no harme, nor do no body no harme, God will have mercy on my soule. And I doubt not but my good deeds shal weigh against my evill deeds, and that I shall make even with God at my later end. For, I thank God for it, I have alwaies lived in h [...]s feare, and served him with a true in­tent: Therefore I know that so long as I keep his commandements, & live as my neighbours doe, and as a Christian man ought to do, he will not damn my soule.

Theol.

Can you then keep Gods Commandements?

Asun.

As neere as God will give mee grace.

Theol.

Nay, but I aske you whe­ther you keep them or no?

Asun.

I doe assay to keep them as neere as I can. I doe my true intent. [Page 334] Though I keep them not all, yet I am sure I keep some of them.

Theol.

Because you say you keep some of them, I pray you let me be so bold with you as to examine you in the particulars. You know the first Commandement is this: Thou shalt have none other Gods in my sight. How say you, doe you keep this?

Asun.

I am out of all feare of it. For I never worshipped any God but one. I am fully perswaded there is but one God.

Theol.

What say you to the second Commandement? Thou shalt not make to thy selfe any graven image, &c.

Asun.

I never worshipped any images in my life, I defie them, I know they cannot help me, for they be but stocks and stones.

Theol.

What say you to the third Commandement? which is this, Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vaine, &c.

Asun.

Nay certainly, I was never counted a swearer in my life, but I have served God alwaies of a child, and have had a good faith in him ever since I could remember; I would be sorry else.

Theol.

What say you then to the fourth Commandement? Remem­ber that thou keep holy the Sabbath day, &c.

Asun.

Nay, for that matter I keep my Church as well as any man in the parish where I dwell, and mind my prayers as well when I am there. I thanke God for it (though I say it my selfe) I have beene alway well given, and have loved Gods word with all my heart; and it doth mee good to heare the Epistles and Gospels read every Sunday by our Vicar.

Theol.

Tell me, what say you to the fift Commandement? which is; Ho­nour thy Father and thy Mother, &c. Doe you keepe this?

Asun.

I have alwayes loved and obeyed my father and mother from my heart. I hope there is no body can accuse me for that: and I am sure, if I keepe any commandement, it is this. For when I was a boy, every body said that I was well given, and a toward child. There­fore if I should not keep this Comman­dement, it would be a great griefe to mee, and goe as neere my heart, as any thing that came to mee this seven yeeres.

Theol.

What say you to the sixt Commandement: Thou shalt not kill?

Asun.

It were strange if I should not keep that.

Theol.

What say you to the seventh: Thou shalt not commit adultery?

Asun.

I thank God for it, I was ne­ver given to women. God hath alwaies [Page 336] kept mee from that; and, I hope, will so still.

Theol.

What say you to the eighth: Thou sh [...]t not steale?

Asun.

I am neither whore-master nor thiefe.

Theol.

What say you to the ninth: Thou shalt not beare false witnesse? &c.

Asun.

I defie all false witnesse bearing from my heart.

Theol.

What say you to the last: Thou shalt not covet?

Asun.

I thank God for it, I never co­veted any mans goods but mine owne.

Theol.

Now I perceive, you are a wonderfull man: you can keep all the Commandements. You are like the blind Ruler, which said unto Christ, All these things have I kept from my youth. Mat. 19.20. I perceive now indeed, that it is no marvell though you make so light of Preaching: for you have no need of it. You are whole, you need not the Physician: you feele no misery, and therefore you care not for mercy. For where misery is not felt, there mercy is not regarded: but I see you need no Saviour.

Asun.

You [...]y not well in that, I need a Saviour: and i [...] is my Lord Jesus that must save me; [...] he made me.

Theol.

What need you a Saviour, sith you are no sinner?

Asun.

Yes, beleeve mee, I am a sinner. [Page 337] We are all sinners: there is no man but hee sinneth.

Theol.

How can you be a sinner, sith you keepe all the Commande­ments?

Asun.

Yes, I am a sinner for all that.

Theol.

Can you both be a sinner, and be without sinne too? for hee that keepeth the Commandements, is without sinne: which thing you say you doe. But I see how the case standeth; that a great number of such ignorant and sottish men as you are, will in generall say you are sinners, because your conscience telleth you so; but when it cometh to particu­lars, you know not how you sinne, nor wherein. I pray you therefore, let mee lead you thorow the Comman­dements againe, and deale with you in particulars, that I may bring you to the sight of your sinnes. How say you therefore, doe you upon your knees, every morning and evening, give God thankes for his particular mercies, and manifold favours to­wards you? And doe you call much upon him privately, and much also with your family? Answer me plainly and simply.

Asun.

I cannot say so.

Theol.

Then you have broken the first Commandement, which chargeth us to give God his due worship; [Page 338] whereof prayer and thanksgiving are a part. So then here, at the very en­trance, you are found guilty. Further, I demand of you, whether you never had any by-thoughts in your prayers, and your heart hath not beene upon o­ther matters, even then while you were in prayer?

Asun.

I cannot deny that: For it is a very hard matter to pray without by-thoughts.

Theol.

Then (by your owne con­fession) you have broken the second Commandement, which doth com­mand the right manner of Gods worship: that is, that as wee must worship God, so wee must doe it in faith, love, zeale, and pure affections. So that here you are guilty also; because when you pray, your minde is of other matters, and you doe it not in sincerity and truth. Further, I de­mand of you, whether you did never sweare by your faith, or troth, or by our Lady St. Mary, and such other oathes?

Asun.

Yes by S. Mary have I: I must needs confesse it.

Theol.

Wee need no further wit­nesse, your very answer proveth it; for your answer is an oath: therefore, here also are you guilty, because you sweare by idols. Further, I demand of you, whether you did never travell [Page 339] to Faires on the Sabbath day, or make bargaines on that day, or take journies, or talke of worldly matters, neglecting holy duties.

Asun.

Yes, God forgive me, I have.

Theol.

Then are you guilty of the breach of the fourth Commandement, which chargeth us, on paine of death, to spend the Sabbath day in holy and religious duties, both publikely and privately. Further, I demand whe­ther you instruct your wife, children, and servants in the true knowledge of God, and pray with them or no?

Asun.

I am sure you would have mee speak the truth. I must needs confesse, I do not, neither am I able to do it.

Theol.

Then are you guilty of the breach of the fifth Commandement, which commandeth all duties of su­periours towards their inferiours, and of inferiours towards their supe­riours, whereof prayers and instructi­ons are a part. Moreover, I demand whether you were ever angry or no?

Asun.

Yes, an hundred times in my dayes: and I thinke there is no body but will be angry at one time or other, espe­cially when they have cause.

Theol.

Then you have broken the sixth Commandement, which chargeth us to avoid wrath, anger, malice, desire of revenge, and all such like [Page 340] forerunners unto murder. Further­more, I aske you, whether you did ne­ver look upon a woman with a lust in your heart?

Asun.

Yes, for I thinke there is no man free from thoughts that way. I had thought thoughts had beene free.

Theol.

No: thoughts are not free before God; for God knoweth our thoughts, and will punish us, arraign us, and condemne us for thoughts. Men know not thoughts; and there­fore can make not Lawes against thoughts: but because God is privie to all our most secret thoughts, there­fore hee hath made Lawes against them, and will condemne them. Therefore I conclude, that if you have nourished adulterous thoughts in your heart, you are guilty of the breach of the seventh commandement, which forbiddeth all secret thoughts and provocations whatsoever to adultery. But further, I de­mand, whether you did never pilfer, purloine, and steale some small things from your neighbour: as pasture, poultry, conies, apples, and such like?

Asun.

I cannot cleere my selfe in these things: for I had thought they had been no sinne.

Theol.

Then have you broken the [Page 341] eight Commandement, and stand guil­ty of eternall death. For God in this Commandement chargeth us to have as great care of our neighbours goods, as of our owne: and not to injure him any manner of way, [...] thought, word, or deed. Therefore all deceit, pilfring, oppressing, and all unjust dealing with our neighbours goods, is here condemned. More­over, let me ask you, whether you did never lie or dissemble?

Asun.

Yes assuredly.

Theol.

Then have you broken the ninth Commandement: wherein God chargeth us, both in witnesse bearing, and all other matters, to speake the plaine truth from our heart: without lying, or dissembling.

Last of all, I demand, whether you did never in your heart desire some­thing that was not your owne: as your neighbours house or ground, kine or sheepe, &c. therein bewraying the discontentment of your heart.

Asun.

I am as guilty in this as in any thing: For God forgive me, I have often desired and lusted after this and that, which was none of mine owne, and so have bewrayed my discontentment.

Theol.

Then I perceive (by your owne confession) that you are guilty of the breach of all the Commande­ments.

Asun.

I must needs confesse it: for I see now more into that matter then ever I did. I never heard so much be­fore in my life, nor was ever asked any such questions, as you aske mee. I had thought many of those things, which you asked mee, had been no sinnes at all.

Theol.

I could have convicted you in a thousand other particulars, wherein you doe daily and hourely breake the Law of God. But my purpose was onely to give you a taste of some parti­cular transgressions, and therewithall some little light by the way into the meaning of the Law: that thereby you might be brought to some better sight of your selfe, and might a little perceive in what case you stand before God; and by that little conceive a great deal more.

Asun.

Well: now I do plainly see, that I have been deceived, and am not in so good estate before God, as I thought I had been. Moreover, I see that thou­sands are out of the way, which thinke they are in a good case before God: whereas indeed they are in blindnesse, and in their sinnes. But Lord have mer­cie upon us. I doe now plainly see, that I am farre from keeping the Commande­ments: and I thinke no man doth keep them.

Theol.

You may sweare it, I war­rant [Page 343] you. For neither Saint Paul, David, or the Virgin Mary could ever keep any one of the Commandements. I am glad you begin to see into the Law of God, and to have some taste that way. For as a mans knowledge and in-sight is into the Law, so is hi [...] knowledge and in-sight into himselfe. Hee that hath a deep in-sight into the Law of GOD, hath also a deep in-sight into himselfe. Hee that hath no in-sight into the Law, can have no in-sight into himselfe. For the Law is that glasse, wherein we doe behold the face of our soules before GOD. The Apostle saith, By the Law com­eth the knowledge of sinne. There­fore those which are altogether igno­rant of the Law, and never behold themselves in this glasse, doe com­mit an hundred sinnes a day, which they know not of; and therefore are not grieved for them. For how can a man be grieved for that which hee knoweth not? But now further, I pray you to give mee leave to aske you some moe questions of the principle [...] of Religion, to the end, that you, knowing and feeling your ignorance, may be humbled therewith, bewaile i [...] in time, and seek after the true know­ledge of God. But yet, by the way, I will aske Antil [...]gon a question or two; because I desire to understand [Page 344] what knowledge hee hath in the grounds of Religion. Tell me there­fore, Antilegon, what was the rea­son why Christ was conceived by the holy Ghost.

Antil.

I could answer you, but I will not. What authority have you to exa­mine me? Shew your commission. When I see your warrant, I will answer you: in the meane time, you have nothing to doe to examine mee. Meddle with that you have to do withall.

Theol.

I perceive you are not onely ignorant, but wilfull and obstinate, and refuse all instructions. Therefore I will leave you to God, and to your gal­led conscience. But I pray you, Asu­netus, answer this question. What thinke you, what was the reason that Christ was conceived by the holy Ghost?

Asun.

Bel [...]eve me, Sir, that is an hard question. You may aske a wise man that question: For I cannot answer it.

Theol.

What say you then to this? Who was Christs mother?

Asun.

Marry, Sir, that was our bles­sed Lady.

Theol.

What was Pontius Pilate?

Asun.

I am somewhat ignorant, I am not book-learned: but if you will have my simple opinion, I thinke it was the Divell. For none but the Divell would put our sweet Saviour to death.

Theol.

What is the holy Catholike Church which you do beleeve?

Asun.

The communion of Saints, the forgivenesse of sins.

Theol.

What do you pray for, when you say, Thy Kingdome come?

Asun.

I do pray that God would send us all of his grace, that wee may serve him, and doe as wee ought to doe, and keep us in a good minde to God-ward, and to have him much in our minde. For some (God blesse us) have nothing but the Divell in their minde: they doe nothing a Gods name.

Theol.

What is the Sacrament?

Asun.

The Lords Supper.

Theol.

How many Sacraments be there?

Asun.

Two.

Theol.

Which [...] they?

Asun.

Bread an [...].

Theol.

What is the principall end of your coming to receive the Sacra­ment?

Asun.

To receive my Maker.

Theol.

What is the principall use of a Sacrament?

Asun.

The body and bloud of Christ.

Theol.

What profit and comfort have you by a Sacrament?

Asun.

In token that Christ died for us.

Theol.

I can but pitty you for your ignorance: for it is exceeding grosse and palpable. Your answers are to [Page 344] [...] [Page 345] [...] [Page 344] [...] [Page 345] [...] [Page 346] no purpose, and bewray a wonderfull blindenesse and senselesnesse in matters of Religion. I am sorry that now I have not time and leisure to let you see your folly and extreme ignorance; as also to lay open unto you the sense and meaning of the Articles of the Faith, the Lords prayer, and the Sa­craments, and all other the grounds of Christian Religion.

Asun.

What course would you wish me to take, that I may come out of igno­rance, and attaine unto the true know­ledge of God?

Theol.

Surely I would wish you to be diligent in hearing of Sermons, and reading the Scriptures, with prayer and humility. Also that you would peruse Catechismes, and other good bookes, and especially Virels grounds of Religion, and the workes, of the two worthy servants of God, Master Giffard, and Master Perkins; and other mens, that have done great service to the Church, and for whom thousands are bound to give God thankes. If you take this course, you shall by Gods grace, within a short time, grow to some good measure of knowledge in all the main grounds of Christian Religion.

Phil.

I had not thought any man had beene so ignorant as I now perceive this man is.

Theol.

Yes verily, there be thou­sands in his case. And I doe know by experience, that many will use the very same answers, or at least very little differing.

Phil.

I warrant you, if you had que­stioned with him of kine or sheepe, pur­chasing of land, taking of leases, or any other matters under the Sun, you should have found him very ripe and ready in his answers.

Theol.

I am so perswaded too: For let a man talke with worldly men of worldly matters, and their answer is never to seeke. They will talke very freshly with you of such matters, if it be all the day long. For they have a deep in-sight into earthly things, & doe wholly delight to talk of them, being ne­ver weary. For it is their joy, their meat, and their drink But come once to talk with them of Gods matters (as of faith, repentance, regeneration, &c.) you shall find them the veriest dullards and dunces in the world. For when speech is had of these things, they are so b [...] ­fogged that they cannot tell where they are, nor what they say.

Phil.

In my judgement, such mens case is very pitifull and dangerous: and so is this mans case also, if God doe not very speedily pull him out of it.

Theol.

Questionlesse. For God saith, [...] My people perish for want of [Page 348] knowledge. Our Lord Iesus saith, that ignorance is the cause of all er­rours.Mat. [...]2 15. Ye erre, saith he, not knowing the Scriptures. The Apostle saith, that ignorance doth alienate us from the life of God:Ep [...] 4 [...]8. For, saith he, the Gentiles were darkened in their cogi­tation, being strangers from the life of God, through the ignorance that is in them. So then it is cleere that igno­rance is not the Mother of devotion, as the Papists doe avouch; but it is the Mother of errour, death, and de­struction, as the Scripture affirmeth. Our Lord foreseeing the great dan­ger of ignorance (how thereby thou­sands are carried headlong into hell) doth admonish all men to search the Scriptures, which doe testifie of him, that so they might get out of the most dangerous gulfe of ignorance, where­in multitudes are implunged. There­fore the Noble men of Berea are com­mended by the holy Ghost, [...] 17.11. because they received the Word with all readi­nesse, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Oh therefore that men would earnestly seeke after the knowledge of God in time, and (as the Prophet saith) seeke the Lord whilest he may be found, call upon him whilest hee is neere. Esay 55.6.

Phil.

I doe see that all ignorance in [Page 349] matters of faith is dangerous, but I thinke wilfull ignorance is of all other most dangerous.

Theol.

Wilfull ignorance (no doubt) is a plaine prognostication and demon­strative argument of eternall death for it is a most horrible and fearfull thing for men to refuse instruction, despise counsell, harden their hearts, stop their eares, and close up their eyes against God. This is the very upshot of our decay.

Phil.

I pray you, what call you hard­nesse of heart?

Theol.

An hard heart is that which is neither moved with Gods mercies, nor scared with his judgements; nei­ther feareth the Law, nor regardeth the Gospel; neither is holpen by threatnings, nor softened by chasten­ings; whis is unthankfull for Gods benefits, and disobedient to his coun­sels; made cruell by his rods, and dis­solute by his favours; unshamefac't to filthinesse, and fearlesse to perils; uncourteous to men, and wretchlesse to God; forgetfull of things past, negli­gent in things present, and improvident in things to come.

Phil.

Lay forth yet more plainely the state of ignorant and hard-hearted men, and shew how lamentable it is.

Theol.

If a man bee outwardly blind, wee do pitty him, and say, There [Page 350] goes a poore blind man; but if hee be both blind and deafe, doe we not more pity him, and say, Oh in how miserable a case is that man! but if hee be both blind, deaf, and dumb, do we not most of all pity him, and say, Oh that man is in a most wofull taking, and in a most pitifull plight!

How much more then are they to be pitied, which, as concerning their souls, are both blind, deafe, and dumb: For the diseases of the soule are farre more dangerous and more to be pitied then those of the body.

Would it not pity a mans heart to see a poore sheepe in a Lions mouth, whilest hee teareth him, rendeth him, and puls out his guts? Even such is the case of ignorant men in the clawes of the Divell. For the Divell hath them under him, rideth them at his pleasure, and teareth their soules in pieces.

Oh that wee had eyes to see these things, hearts to feele them, and af­fections to be throughly moved with them, even unto mourning and teares!

Phil.

Few doe thinke that ignorant men are in so wofull a case as you speake of; for they thinke ignorance will ex­cuse them. And some will say, they are glad they have so little knowledge. For if they should have much know­ledge [Page 351] of their Masters will, and do it not, they should be beaten with many stripes; but now, being ignorant, they thinke all is safe.

Theol.

God willed his people to offer sacrifice for their sinnes of igno­rance, therefore ignorance is a sin, and excuseth no man. And as for the state of their soules before God, it is most miserable, if wee could see into their soules as w:e see their bodies. For assuredly there be multitudes which ruffle it out in velvets and silkes, and most brave and glittering outsides, but inwardly are full of fil­thinesse and sin: they have fine delicate bodies, but most ugly, black, and filthy soules: if a man could see into their soules as hee doth into their bodies, hee would stop his nose at the stink of them. For they smell ranke of sin in the nostrils of God, his Angels, and all good men.

Phil.

Then I p rceive by your speech that the case of all ignorant and profane men is fearfull in the sight of God, and that all good men are to pity them, and to pray for them.

Theol.

If two blind and deafe men should walk in a [...]ten path that leads to a great deep pond, wherein they are like to be drowned if they goe for­wards, and two men farre off should whoope unto them, and will them not [Page 352] to goe forward lest they be drowned, yet they neither seeing any man, nor hearing any man, goe forward, and are drowned: were not this a lamen­table spectacle to behold? Even so is it with all the ignorant, blinde, and deafe soules of the world, for they cast no perils, but walke on boldly to destruction. And though the Prea­chers of the Gospel whoop never so loud unto them, or give them never so many warnings and caveats to take heed, yet they, being inwardly blinde, see nothing, & spiritually deaf, hear no­thing, and therefore goe on forward in their sins and ignorance, till they sud­denly fall into hell pit.

Put case also two great Armies should pitch a field, and fight a main battell upon a plaine, and that some man should stand upon the top of a mountaine hard by, and behold all, and should see with his owne eyes how thousands, and ten thousands went to wrack, and fell downe on every side as thicke as haile, the whole plaine swimming in bloud: and should also heare the groaning of soul­diers wounded, and the dolefull sighs and groanings of many Captaines & Colonels giving up the ghost: were not this a most wofull spectacle? E­ven so, when wee doe cleerely see Satan wound and murder thousand [Page 353] thousand soules, is it not a farre more tragicall and lamentable sight? and ought it not even to kill our hearts to behold it? but (alas) men have no eyes to see into these things. And yet certaine it is, that Sathan doth con­tinually, and in most fearfull manner massacre innumerable soules. Thus have I shewed you the wofull estate of profane and ignorant men.

Phil.

If it be so, you that be Mini­sters and Preachers of the Gospel, and have taken upon you the cure and charge of soules, have need to looke about you, and doe what in you lieth to save soules; and, as good shepherds, in great pitie and compassion, to la­bour to pull them out of the pawes of this roaring Lion, which goes a­bout continually, seeking whom hee may devoure.

Theol.

It standeth us upon indeed very seriously and carefully to looke to it, as we will answer it at the dreadfull day of Iudgement. For it is no small matter that we have taken in hand, which is, to care for the flocke which Christ hath bought with his bloud. Would to God there­fore that wee would leave striving about other matters, and strive to­gether all about this, who can pull most out of the Kingdome of Sa­than, sinne, and ignorance; who can [Page 354] win most soules; and who can per­forme best service to the Church. This were a good strife indeed; and would to God that wee might once at last with joyned forces goe about it, and with one heart and hand joyne together to build up Gods house. If through our owne follies the worke hath been hindered, or any breach made, let us in wisdome and love la­bour to make it up againe: if there have been any declining and cold­nesse, let us now at last revive, let us stirre up our selves, that we may stirre up others: let us be zealous and fervent in spirit, that we may through Gods grace put life into others, and rouze up this dead, declining, and cold age wherein we live. So shall God be glorified, his Church edified, his Saints comforted, his people saved, his throne erected, and the kingdome of the Divell overthrowne.

Phil.

What thinke you were the best course to effect this which you speake of?

Theol.

This is a thing that must be exceedingly laboured in of us which are the Ministers and Prea­chers of the Gospel. And here is required diligence, and (as wee say) double diligence: for the people are every where very ignorant. Some are stones, altogether uncapable of [Page 355] instructions: others are froward and wilfull: some will receive the doctrine, but not the practice: some againe are altogether set upon peevishnesse and cavilling. So that a man were better take upon him the charge of keeping Wolves and Beares, then the charge of soules. For it is the hardest thing in the world to reforme mens disor­ders, and to bring them into order; to pull mens soules out of the King­dome of Satan, and to bring them to God. It is, as wee say, an endlesse piece of worke, and infinite toile, a labour of all labours: I quake to thinke of it. For men are so obstinate and irrefragable, that they will be brought into no order: they will come under no yoke. They will not be ruled by God, nor bridled by his Word. They will follow their owne swinge. They will runne after their owne lusts and pleasures. They will rage and storme if you goe about to curb them, and restraine them of their wills, likings, and liberties. They will have their wills, likings and liberties. They will have their wills, and follow their old fashions, say what you will, and doe what you can.

Is it not, thinke you, a busie piece of worke to smooth and square such Timber-logs, so full of knots and [Page 356] knobs? Is it not a tedious and irksome thing to thinke upon? And would it not kill a mans heart to goe about it? For how hard a thing is it to bring such into frame, as are so far out of frame?

Phil.

Well, Sir, you can but doe your endeavour, and commit the successe to God. You can but plant and water: let God give the increase. You are Mini­sters of the Letter; but not of the Spi­rit. You baptize with water; but not with the holy Ghost. If you therefore preach diligently, exhort, admonish and reprove publikely and privately, study­ing by all good example of life, and seeking with all good zeale, care and conscience, to doe the uttermost that in you lyeth, to reduce them from their evill wayes: I take it, you are dis­charged, though they remaine stub­borne and incorrigible. For you know what the Lord saith by his Prophet, Ezech. 3 [...].9. If you do admonish them, and give them warning, then you shall be discharged, and their bloud shall be required at their owne hands.

Theol.

You have spoken the truth. And therefore, sith some must needs take upon them this so great a charge, it will be our best course, to labour much with them in Ca­techizing, and private instructions, and that in most familiar and plain [Page 357] manner. For much good hath beene done, and is done, this way. The ignorant sort must be much labour­ed upon this way: and so no doubt, much good may be done.Prov. 14.23. For in all labour there is profit. Herein wee (that are the Ministers of Christ) must be content to be abased, and to teach the poore ignorant people in most plaine manner; asking them many easie questions, and often que­stioning with them in most plaine and loving manner, till wee have brought them to some taste and smacke of the principles of Christian Religion. Wee must not be ashamed to use repetitions and tautologies, an to tell them one thing twenty times over and over againe, here a line and there a line, here a little and there a little, precept upon pre­cept: as the Prophet speakes.Esay 18.10. I know right well, nothing goes more a­gainst the stomack of a Scholar, and him that is learned indeed, than to doe thus. It is as irkesome and tedi­ous as to teach A B C. Some can at no hand endure it. But truely, truely, I finde now, after a long ex­perience that if wee will doe any good to these simple and ignorant soules, wee must enter into this course: and wee may not be asha­med of it. For it will be our crown [Page 358] and our glory to win soules, howso­ever wee be abased. Let us therefore be well content to stoop downe, that Christ may be exalted: let us be aba­sed, that God may be honoured: let us doe all things in great love to Christ, who hath said, If thou lovest mee, John 21.15. feed, feed, feed my flocke. Let us therefore testifie our love to him by feeding his flocke. Let us doe all things in great love and deep com­passion towards the poore soules that goe astray: as it is said, that our Lord Iesus was moved to pitie, and his bowels did yerne to see the people as sheep without a shepherd. Let it likewise move us throughly, and make our hearts to bleed, to see so many poore sheep of Christ wandring and stray­ing in the mountains and wildernesse of this world, caught in every bram­ble, and hanged in every bush, ready to be devoured of the Wolfe. Thus have I shewed you what course (in my judgement) is best to be taken for the delivering of poore ignorant soules out of the captivity of Sathan and sinne.

Phil.

Now as you have declared what course is best to be followed on your part which are Ministers and Preachers of the Gospel, so, I pray you, shew what is best to be done of us which are the people of God.

Theol.

The best counsell that I can give you, if it were for my life, is, to be much exercised in the Word of God, both in hearing, reading, and meditation thereof, and also to pur­chase unto your selfe the sincere Mi­nistery of the Gospel, and to make conscience to live under it; esteeming your selfe happy if you have it, though you want other things; and unhap­py if you have it not, though you have all other things. For it is a peer­lesse pearle, an incomparable jewell. For the purchasing whereof wee are advised by our Lord Iesus to sell all that we have,Mat. 13.44. rather then to goe with­out it. Againe, our Saviour Christ gives the same counsell to the Church of Laodicea, in these words,Apoc. 3.18. I counsell thee to buy of mee gold tried by the fire, that thou maist be rich; and white rai [...]ent, that thou maist be clothed, and that thy filthy nakednesse doe not appeare; and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou maist see. Where you see the Word of God is compared to most precious gold, whereby wee are made spiritually rich; and to glit­tering attire, wherewith our naked soules are clothed, and to an eye-salve, wherewith our spirituall blind­nesse is cured. We are advertised also by Iesus Christ, whose counsell is e­ver the best, to buy these things, what­soever [Page 360] they cost us. The same counsel also giveth wise Solomon, saying, Buy the truth, Prov. 2 [...].13. but sell it not. So then you see the counsell which herein I give you is not of mine owne, but the counsell of Iesus himselfe, and Solo­mon the wise: and who can, or who dare except against their counsell?

Asun.

Is your meaning that men must of necessity frequent preaching of the word? will not bare reading serve the turne?

Theol.

I told you before that rea­ding is good, profitable, and necessa­ry: but yet it is not sufficient. Wee must not content our selves with that onely, but wee must goe further, and get unto our selves the sound preach­ing of the Gospel, as the chiefest and most principall meanes which God hath ordained and sanctified for the saving of men. As Saint Paul saith, when as the world (by wisedome) knew not God, 1 Cor 1.21. in the wisedome of God it pleased God, by the foolishnesse of preaching to save them that beleeve. The meaning of it is, that when as men, neither by naturall wisedome nor the contemplation of the crea­tures, could sufficiently attaine to the true knowledge of God; the Lord ac­cording to his heavenly and infinite wisedome thought of another course, which is, to save men by preaching: [Page 361] which the world counteth foolishnesse. And by the way note, that the preach­ing of the Word is not a thing of hu­mane invention, but it is Gods owne device, & came first from him, & is the next & neerest way to save mens souls.

Wise Solomon also in the Booke of the Proverbs telleth us, that the preaching of Gods Word (which hee calleth Vision, using the word of the Prophets, which called their Ser­mons Visions) is not a thing that may be spared, or that wee may be at our choice whether we have it or no: but he maketh it to be of absolute ne­cessity unto eternall life. For he saith, Where Vision faileth, the people are left naked. So indeed it is in the Ori­ginal [...]:Pro. 29.18. but the old Translation giveth us the sense thus, Wh re the Word of God is not preached, there the people p rish. Thus you see that Solomon striketh it dead, telling us, that all they which are without Preaching of the Word, are in exceeding great danger of losing their soules. Oh that men could be perswaded of this! Saint Paul also saith,Rom. 10.14. that faith cometh by hearing the word preached: for hee saith, How can they heare without a Preacher? If faith cometh by hearing the Word preached, then I reason thus: No Preaching, no faith: no faith, no Christ: no Christ, no eter­nall [Page 362] life: for eternall life is only in him. Let us then put them together thus: Take away the Word, take away faith: take away faith, take away Christ: take away Christ, & take away eternall life. So then it followes: Take away the Word, and take away eternall life.

Or wee may reade them backward thus: If wee will have heaven, wee must have Christ: If wee will have Christ, wee must have faith: If wee will have faith, wee must have the Word preached. Then it followeth thus: If wee will have heaven, wee must have the word preached. Then I conclude, that preaching generally, and for the most part, is of absolute necessity unto eternall life, as meet is of absolute necessity for the preserva­tion of our bodies, as grasse and fod­der are of absolute necessity for the up­ [...] of the life of beasts, and wa­t [...] of [...]solute necessity for the life of fishes. Then this being so, men are with great care and conscience to hear the Gospel preached, to frequent Sermons, to resort much to Gods house and habitation,Psal. [...].4. where his ho­nour dwelleth: with David to say, One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I require, even that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the daies of my life, to behold the be [...]utie of the Lord, and to visit his holy Temple. [Page 363] With godly Mary to say,Luk. 14.41. One thing is necessary, and so chuse the better part. With the poore Cripple at Bethesda, John 5.7. to wait for the moving of the waters by the Angel, that his impotency may be cured: I meane, that we should tye our se ves to the first mo­ving of the spirituall waters of life by the Preachers of the Gospel, that our spirituall impotency may be hol­pen and relieved. For the ministry of the Gospel is that golden pipe where­by and where-through all the good­nesse of GOD, all the sweetnesse of Christ, and all heavenly graces what­soever, are derived unto us. Which thing was shadowed in the Law by the Pomegranates in the skirts of Aarons garments,E [...] 33. and the golden Bells between them round [...]bout, that is, a golden Bell and a [...] granate, a golden Bell and [...] granate. The golden Bells [...] g [...] ­nifle the preaching of the Gospel, and the Pomegranates, the sweet sa­vour of Christs death: Noting there­by, that the sweet savour of Christs death, and all the benefit of his passi­on, should be spread abroad by the preaching of the Gospel. Thus you see, that if ever men purpose to be sa­ved, they must make more account of the preaching of the Gospel then they have done, and not thinke (as most [Page 364] men doe) that they may be without it, and yet doe well enough: and some had as léeve be without it as have it; for it doth but disquiet them, and trouble their consciences: but wo be unto such.

Phil.

Yet wee see where the Word is soundly preached, there be many bad peo­ple: and the reasons thereof, in mine o­pinion, are two: The one, that GOD taketh his holy Spirit from many in heat­ing the Word, so that their hearing is made unfruitfull: The other, that the Divell hath an hundred devices to hin­der the effectuall working of the Word, so as it shall doe no good at all, nor take any effect in multitudes of men. But you, Master Theologus, can better lay open this matter then I, I pray you therefore speak something of it.

Theol.

The sleights of Sathan in this behalfe are more, and more slie, then I or any man else can possibly discover. For who is able to des [...]rie, or in sufficient manner to lay open the deep subtilties, and most secret and sinfull suggestions of the Divell in the hearts of man? Hee is so cunning a crafts-master this way, that none can perfectly trace him. His work­ings in the hearts of men are with such close and hidden deceits, and most methodicall and crafty convey­ [...]nces, that none can sufficiently find them out. But yet notwithstanding, I [Page 365] will bewray unto you so much as I know, or can conceive of his dealings with them that heare the Word, that hee may steale it out of their hearts, and make it fruitlesse and unprofita­ble. First of all he bestirreth him, and laboureth hard to keep men fast asleep in their sins, that they may have no care at all of their owne salvation, and therefore disswadeth them from hearing or reading the Word at all, lest they should be awaked. If this will not prevaile, but that they must needs heare, then h [...]s craft is to make their hearing unprofitable, by sleepi­nesse, dulnesse, by-thoughts, conceited­nesse, and a thousand such like. If this will not serve the turne, but that the Word doth g [...]t within them, and worke upon them (so as thereby they grow to some knowledge and under­standing of the truth) then he practi­seth another way, which is, to make them rest themselves upon their bare knowledge, and so become altogether consciencelesse. If this will not suf­fice, but that men fall to doing, and leave some sinnes, especially the grosse sins of the world, and doe some good, then he perswadeth them to trust to those doings without Christ, and to thinke themselves well enough, be­cause they doe some good, and leave some evill. If this be not enough, [Page 366] but that men attaine unto the true justifying faith, which apprehendeth Christ, and resteth upon his merits, then hee deviseth how to blemish the beauty of their faith, and weaken their comfort through many frailties and wants; yea, grosse down-falls and ran [...]e evils; so as they shall be but spotted and leprous Christians. If this weapon will not worke, but that Christians doe joyne all good ver­tues with their faith, and aboun­dantly shine forth in all the fruits of righteousnesse, then hee casteth about another way, which is, to daunt and damp them with discouragements, as poverty, necessity, sicknesse, re­proaches, contempt, persecutions, &c. If none of all these will doe the deed, but that men constantly beleeve in Christ, and patiently and joy­fully endure all afflictions, then his last refuge is, to blow them up with gun-powder; that is, to puffe them up with a pride of their gifts, graces, and strength, and so to give them an utter overthrow, whilest they doe not walke humbly, and give God the praise of his gifts.

Thus have you a little taste of Sa­thans cunning, in making the Word unfruitfull amongst us.

As [...]n.

I pray you, good Sir (seeing I an ignorant and unlearned) give mee [Page 367] some particular directions out of the Word of God, for the good guiding and ordering of my particular actions, in such sort as that I may glorifie God in the earth, and after this life be glorified of him for ever.

Theol.

It were an infinite thing to enter into all particulars: but briefly doe this; First, seeke God ear­nestly in his Word, pray much, in all things give thankes: eschew evill, and doe good: feare God and keep his commandements: reforme your selfe and your houshold: love vertue and vertuous men: keepe company with the godly, and avoide the soci­etie of the wicked. Live soberly, justly, and holily in this present e­vill world. Speake alwaies graci­nication. Recompence no man evill for evill, but recompence evill, with good. Be courteous and pitifull to­wards all men. Take heed of swea­ring, cursing, and banning. Beware of anger, wrath, and bitternesse. Praise your friend openly, reprove him secretly. Speake no evill of them that are absent, nor of the dead. Speake evill of no man: speake al­waies the best, or at least not the worst. Reverence Gods Name, and keepe his Sabbaths. Avoide all the signes of condemnation, and labour [Page 366] [...] [Page 367] [...] [Page 368] after all the signes of salvation. Above all things take heed of sinne, for that is the very out-throat of the soule, and of all goodnesse. Tremble therfore, and sin not: for if you sin, mark what follow­eth:

Six great dangers in sinne.
  • God seeth.
  • His Angels beare witnesse.
  • The Conscience pricketh.
  • Death threatneth.
  • The Divell accuseth.
  • Hell devoureth.

You see then that sinne is no scar­crow or jesting matter. Every sinne that a man committeth is as a thorne thrust deep into the soule, which will not be got out againe, but with many a sigh, and many a sorrowfull Oh, oh. Every sinne is [...] Iron, [...]er. 17.1. and the point of a Diamond, upon the conscience, and shall in the last day (when the Booke shall be o­pened) accuse us, and give in evidence against us.Note this. If a man commit sin with pleasure, the pleasure posseth away, but the conscience and sting of the [...] abideth, and tormenteth deadly: but if a man doe well, though with labour and painfulnesse, the paine passeth a­way, yet the conscience of well-doing remaineth with much comfort. But the best end of sinne is alwaies repen­tance, if not in this life, then with we [Page 369] and was when it is doe late. There­fore take heed in time; take heede, I say, of sin: for

Six most hurtfull effects of sinne.
  • Sinne hardens the heart, Heb. 3.13.
  • Sin gnawes the conscience, 1 Sam. 25.
  • Sin fights against the soule, 1 Pet. 1.11.
  • Sinne brings forth death, James 1.15.
  • Sinne makes ashamed, Rom. 6.21.
  • Sin procures plagues of bo­dy and soule, Deut. 28.

Behold therefore the evill effects of sinne. For this cause Zophar the Na [...] ­mathite speakes very wisely to Job, saying,Job 11. When thou shalt life thy face out of thy sin, thou shalt be strong, and shalt not feare: thou shalt forget all sorrow, thou shalt remember it as the waters that are past. Where Zophar pleinely sheweth, that the avoiding of sinne is our strength, and the commit­ting of it, our wo [...]ing: according to that of Solomon, Pro [...]. 2 [...].1 [...] The way of the Lord is the strength of the upright man. Therefore w [...]e in the way of God, and take heede of the wayes of sinne: for God punisheth every sin his way, some one way, and some ano­ther; and no sin can escape unpuni­shed. For because God is just, there­fore [Page 370] hee must needs punish sin in all men, though in divers manners; as the wicked in their owne persons, the godly in Christ. Beware of it there­fore, and flatter not your selfe in your sins. Remember how every disobedi­ence and every transgression hath had a just recompence of reward.N [...] how God in all ages hath p [...]hed the breakers of his [...]w. [...]od. 32.10. God hath in all ages matched the cause with the effect, that is, sin with the punishment of sin. The Israelites, for breaking the first Commandement, in making other gods, were often smitten by the hand of God. [...]v. 10.2. Nadab and Abibu, the sons of Aaron, for the breach of the second Commandement, in of­fering strange fire upon Gods Altar, were consumed with fire.Numb. 15. Hee that blasphemed, and transgressed the third Commandement, was stoned to death.Num. 15.52. Hee that brake the fourth Com­mandement, in gathering stickes on the Sabbath, was likewise stoned. Absalom transgressing the fift, was hanged in his owne haire.2 Sam. 18. G [...]. 4.15. Cain trans­gressing the sixt, in slaying his brother Abel, was branded with the marke of Gods wrath.Gen. 34.26. Sichem the son of Hamor, transgressing the seventh, in defiling Dinah the daughter of Jacob, was slain by Simeon and Levi the sons of Jacob. Jos. 7.25. Achan sinning against the eighth Commandement, in stealing the wedge of gold, and the Babylo­nish [Page 371] garment, was stoned to death Ananias and Sapphira sinning against the ninth, in lying and dissembling,Act [...]5.6. were suddenly smitten with death Ahab transgressing the tenth Com­mandement,1 [...]. 21.24 in coveting and discon­tentment, was devoured of dogges. Or if you will have originall sinne therein onely forbidden, then in­fants are therefore punished with death, Rom. 5.14.

Thus wee see there is no dally­ing with God; but if wee sin, wee are as sure to be jerkt for it as the coate is on our backe. Therefore let us not deceive our selves, nor make light of sinne: for sin is no scar-bug, and wee shall one day finde it so. And howsoever wee make light of some sins, yet in very deed all sin is o­dious in the sight of God: yea, all sin is hainous and capitall in this re­spect, that it is against a person of infinite being, it is against God himselfe, it is against the highest Majestie. For the greatnesse of the person offended doth inhaunse and increase the greatnesse of the sinne.

As for example: If a man rail at a Justice of Peace, he shall be stocked: if he cast at one of his Majesties privy Councell, he shall be imprisoned: but if hee raile at his owne Majestie, hee [Page 372] shall be hanged. So then you see how a sin is increased by the dignity of the person offended. Now then, sith all mortall Princes are but dust in the sight of God (and hee is a person of infinite and incomparable Majestie) how hainous and how slagitious a thing is it, in any wise, or after any sort, to sin against his most royall and sacred person? Well then, to grow to some conclusion, this I doe advise you, as to shunne all vice, so to em­brace all vertue; as to put off the old man, so to put on the new man. Re­member often and alwaies what shall become of you after this life, where you shall be forty yeers hence in Hell, or Heaven. Looke well to that in time; and therefore to live, that you may live alwaies. Consider often is your serious cogitation,

Nine profita­ [...]le con­siderati­ions.
  • What you have been.
  • What you are.
  • What you shall be.
  • What God hath done for you.
  • What he doth.
  • What he will do.
  • Gods judgements past.
  • Gods judgements present.
  • Gods judgements to come.

Awake at last, and take care for your salvation. S [...]s no longer in sinne, [Page 373] lest yes perish eternally. For verily there is a reward for the righteous doubtlesse there is a God that judges the earth.Psal. 58.1 [...]. And this is the best counsell I can give you.

Asun.

Your counsell is very good. I pray God give me grace to follow it, and so to live, that I may please God, and go to heaven in the end.

Theol.

You must take heede you speake not these words of course, and for fashion sake, having no settled purpose in your heart to follow those directions. For there be numbers that can skill to give good words, but they will doe nothing. They thinke they highly please God with their good words, and that God will take them for payment, as though God regarded words. They would faine goe to heaven, but they will take no paines, they will leave no sinnes, they will not forget their lusts and pleasures. They would have the reward of Gods children,This is most [...] case. but they will not doe the workes of Gods children. They would have the sweete, but they will none of the sowre. They would have the Crowns, but they will sight never a stroke. They would faine come to Canaan, but they are loth to travell that long and dangerous way which leadeth unto it. Therefore those men [Page 374] being the sons of idlenesse will step short (in the end) of that they looke for.Prov. 1 [...].4. For the Spirit saith, The slug­gard lusts, but his soule hath nought. Wee must therefore leave bare words, and come to deeds. For our Lord Iesus saith,Mat. 7. [...]1. Not every one that saith, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the King­dome of heaven: but hee that doth the will of my Father which is in hea­ven: Where wee see Christ (in plaine termes) excludes out of his king­dome all those whose Religion con­sisteth only in good words and smooth speeches; but make no conscience to practise the Commandements of God.

David, having made some good preparation for the building of the Temple, and perceiving his son Solo­mon to have stuffe & provision enough to perfect and finish it, doth most wise­ly encourage him to the wor [...], in these words:1 C [...]. 12.16 Up and be doing, and the Lord shall be with thee. Oh that men would follow this counsell of David, that they would up, and be doing, and not fit still and doe nothing; that they would leave words and countenan­ces, and set upon the practice of Gods Law, and study with all care and conscience to be obedient to his will. Then assuredly God would be with them, and blesse them, and [Page 375] much good would come of it. For the Scripture saith,Prov. 14.32. In all labour there is profit or increase: but the talke of the lips onely bringeth want.

Phil.

Most mens minds are so wholly drowned in the love of this world, that they hav [...] no heart to obey God, nor any delight in his commandements.

Theol.

The greatest part of men are like to the Gadarens, which esteemed their Swine more than Christ. As wee see in these our daies, how many make more account of their kine and sheepe, than of the most glorious Gospel of Christ. They highly esteeme dung, and contemne pearle. They are carefull for trifles, and re­gard not the things of greatest mo­ment; and therefore may very fitly be compared to a man, who having his wife and children very sicke, doth utterly neglect them, and is altoge­ther carefull for the curing of his hogs eares.

Phil.

Wee are somewhat digressed from the matter wee had in hand. I pray you therefore, if you have any more matter of good counsell to give to Asunctus, that you would presently deliver it.

Theol.

I have little more to say, save onely I would advise him often to remember, and much to muse on these things:

  • [Page 376]The evill he hath committed.
  • Nine things much to be thought of.
    The good he hath omitted.
  • The time he hath mispent.
  • The shortnesse of this life.
  • The vanity of this world.
  • The excellencie of the world to come.
  • Death, then the which nothing is more terrible
  • The day of judgement, then the which nothing is more fearfull.
  • Hell fire, then the which nothing is more intolerable.
Phil.

This is short and sweet indeed. You have touched some of these points before, in this our conference. But I am very desirous to heare somewhat more of the two last, which yet have not been spoken of.

Theol.

Sith you are desirous, I will briefly deliver unto you that which I have received from the Lord. First, concerning the day of judgement. I finde in the volume of Gods booke, that it shall be very terrible and breadfull For the Son of man shall come in the clouds of hea­ven, Mat. 24.3 [...] with power and great glory. St. Peter saith,2 Pet. 2.10. The day of the Lord shall come as a theefe in the night, in the which the heavens shall passe away with a noise, the elements shall melt with heat, and the earth, with the workes that are therein, shall be burnt [Page 377] up. The Apostle tells us, that at Christs coming the whole world shall be of a light [...]re; and that all castles, towers, goodly buildings, gold, silver, velvets, silkes, and all the glittering hue, glory, and beauty of this world, shall be consumed to powder and ashes.2 Pet. 3 7. For hee saith plainly, The heavens and the earth, which are now, are reserved to fire against the day of Judgement, and of the destruction of ungodly men. More­over, hee strongly proves, that as the world was once destroyed by water; so the second time, in the end thereof, it shall be destroyed with fire. The Apostle S. Paul witnesseth the same things, for he saith,2 Thes. [...].1. Christ shall come from Heaven, with all his mighty An­g [...]s in naming fire. And in another place he notes the terrour of his com­ing to Iudgement, saying,1 Thes. 4.10. Hee shall come with a shout, with the voice of the Arch-angel, and the Trumpet of God. We see by experience, that the coming of mortall Princes to any place is with great pomp and glory. They have great traines and troups behind them and before them. They are accompanied with many Nobles: goodly Lords, and gallant Ladies doe attend upon them. The Sword­bearer, Trumpetters, and Harben­gers goe before: many slaunting and [Page 378] stately Personages follow after. Now then, if the coming of mortall Princes be so pompous and glorious: how much more glorious shall the coming of the Sonne of man be, in whose sight all mortall Princes are but dust? The Scriptures doe affirme, that his second coming un­to judgement shall be with such re­splendent and unspeakable glory, that even the most excellent creatures shall blush at it. For the Sunne shall [...]e darkned: [...] 24.29 the Moone shall not give her light: and the Stars shall fall from hea­ven. Meaning thereby, that the most glorious and bright-shining Creatures shall be clouded and obscured by the unconceiveable brightnesse of Christs coming.

Moreover, the [...] Christs coming is noted unto us in this, that immediately before it, the very Sea shall quake and tremble, and in his kinde crie out. For it is said, that the Sea shall roare (and make a noise in most dolefull and lugubrious manner) and mens hearts shall faile them for feare, Luk. 21.25. and for looking after those things which shall come on the world: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. O what shall become of swearers, drunkards, whoremon­gers, and such like in that day! They shall seeke to creepe into an anger­hole [Page 379] to hide their heads. They shal then cry, Woe and alas that ever they were borne. They shall wish that they had never been borne, or that their mo­thers had borne them toads. And, as it is in the Apocalyps, They shall say to the mountaines and rockes, Fall on us, and hide us from the presence of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb. For the great day of his wrath is come, and who can stand?

We see therefore, that the coming of Christ shall not be base and con­temptible, as in his first visitation: but it shall be most terrible, princely, and glorious. And, as the Scriptures doe affirme, that his coming shall be with great terrour and dread: so al­so they doe shew, that it shall be very sudden and unlooked for.2 P [...]t. 3.10. For the day of the Lord shall come as a theefe in the night: 1 Thes. 5.1. Luk. 21.35. as the travell that cometh upon a woman. As a s [...]are it shall come on all them that dwell on the face of the earth. That is, it shall suddenly catch and intangle all men, whereso­ever they be in the world. As the earth-quake, which was neere thirty yeares agone, did suddenly take the world tardy, they not thinking of any such matter: So shall the coming of the Son of man to judgement, take the world tardy and unprepared: [Page 380] for few there be that think of any such matter. Sith therefore the second appearing of Christ shall be with such suddennesse, let us feare and trem­ble: for all sudden things are to be feared.

Phil.

Well, Sir, as you have shewed us the terrour and suddennesse of Christs coming, so shew us the purpose and end of his coming.

Theol.

The principall end of his coming shall be to keep a generall audit, to call all men to an account, to have a reckoning of every mans par­ticular actions, and to reward them ac­cording to their de [...]ds: as it is writ­ten,Mat. 26.27. The Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father, with his Angels, and then shall hee give to every man accor­ding to his deeds. Againe, the Apostle saith to the Corinthians, 1 Cor. 5.10. Wee must all appeare before the Judgement-seat of Christ, that every man may receive the things which are done in his body, ac­cording to that which he hath done, whe­ther it be good or evill.

Here wee doe plainly see, that the end of Christs coming shall be to judge every man according to his workes; that is, as his workes shall declare him, and testifie of him, and of his faith.2 Thes. 1.9. In another place the Apostle saith, that the end of his com­ing shall be to render vengeance un­to [Page 381] them which know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall be puni­shed with everlasting perdition from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power. Woe then unto two sorts of men, the ignorant, and the disobedient: for the Apostle saith flatly, they both shall be damned. Me thinkes both the ignorant and dis­obedient, and all other profane men, should tremble to thinke of this, that Christ shall come to render vengeance unto them. If wee did certainly know that a forreign enemy should in­vade our Nation, over-run it, and make a conquest of it, that he should shed our bloud, destroy us, and make a massacre amongst us; yea, that wee should see our wives, our children, our kindred and deare friends slaine before our faces, so as their bloud should streame in the streets, what a wonderfull feare and terrour would it strike into us? wee would quake to thinke of it. Shall wee not then be much more affraid of the damna­tion of our soules? shall wee not quake to thinke that Christ shall come to take vengeance? If the Lion roare, all the beasts of the field trem­ble: and shall not wee be affraid of the roaring of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah? But alas, we are so hard­hearted, [Page 382] and so rockt asleep in the cra­dle of security, that nothing can move us, nothing can awake us.

Phil.

Now as you have shewed us the terrour a [...] end of Christs coming: so also declare the manner of it.

Theol.

The manner of it is this: that the whole world shall be cited to appeare personally at the generall Assises, before the great Iudge. No man shall be admitted to appear by his Atturney: but all must appeare per­sonally. None shall be suffered to p [...] in sureties: but all must come in their owne persons, without baile or main­prise; as it is written, Wee must all appeare, high and low, rich and poore, king and begger, one and another: as it is plainly set downe in the twenty Chapter of the Revelation, where the Spirit saith, I saw the dead both great and small stand before God: and the sea gave up the dead which were in her, and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them. So then it is cleere, that all without excepti­on, shall make their appearance at the great and dreadfull Assises. O what a great day will that be, when as the whole world shall appeare together at once! If a King marry his sonne, and bid other Kings, Emperours, D [...]kes, and Nobles to the mar­riage, with all their pomp and tr [...]ine, [Page 383] wee use to say, O what a marriage, what a meeting, what adoe, what a great day will there be? but when the universall world shall be assem­bled together, not onely all Monarkes, Kings and Princes, but all other, that ever have beene from the beginning of the world, all that are, and shall be, what a day will that be? No mar­vell therefore, though the Scriptures call it the day of God, and the great day of the Lord. Now then when all flesh is come together, to make their personall appearance, then shall the Sonne of God ascend unto his tri­bunall seat, with great majesty and glory. For a fiery streame shall issue and come forth before him: thousand thousand Angels shall accompanie him, and minister unto him: and ten thou­sand thousand shall stand before him: he judgement shall bee set, and the [...]o [...]k s opened. All the Saints also and true worshippers of God shall attend him, and accompany him un­to his judgement seat. And not onely so, but they shall sit upon the Bench and Throne with him: as it is written, 1 Corinth. 6.2. The Saints shall judge the world: they shall judge the Angels: that is, the Divels, the Angels of dark­nesse. Our Lord Iesus himselfe did avouch the same thing, when [Page 384] he said to his Disciples, and in them to all true Christians,Mat. 19 28. Verily I say unto you, that when the Sonne of man shall sit in the Throne of his Majestie, yee which followed mee in the regeneration, shall sit upon twelve Thrones, and judge the twelve Tribes of Israel. That is, the Saints of God shall beare wit­nesse that the judgement of Christ, and sentence of condemnation which hee passeth against all, unbeleevers, is ac­cording to justice and equitie. Thus then wee see how Christ shall be ac­companied to his Throne, and with what glory and majesty he shall ascend unto it. Experience teacheth, that when mortall Iudges hold their Ses­sions and generall Assises, they are brought unto the Bench and Iudge­ment-seat with pomp and terrour. For the Sheriffe of the Shire, and Halberd-men, with many Iustices of Peace, and traines of others, doe ac­company them unto the Bench. Then with how much more glory and ma­jesty shall the Son of God be brought unto his royall Throne? Thus then Christ being set upon his Iudgement seat, all the [...]dly shall be conven­ted before him, and he shall stand over them [...] a naked sword in his hand; The Divell [...] stand by them on the one [...], and [...]ir owne conscie [...] [...] [Page 385] the gaping gulfe of Hell underneath them, ready to devoure them. Then shall the bookes be opened, not any books of paper and parchment, but the books of mens consciences: For every mans sins are written and recorded in his conscience, as it were in a Regi­ster book. Then will God bring every work to judgement, with every secret thought, and set them in order before all the Reprobates.1 Cor. 4 5. Then will God ligh­ten the things that are hid in darknesse: and make the counsels of the heart ma­nifest. Then shall all the ungodly be arraigned, convicted, and hold up their hands at the Barre of Christs Tribunall Seat, and shall cry guilty. Then shall that most dreadfull sentence of death and condemnation be pro­nounced against them by the most righteous Iudge,Ma [...]. [...]5.4 [...]. Goe yee cursed into everlasting fire, which is prepared for the Divell and his Angels. Oh dolefull sen­tence! Oh heavie hearing! Whose heart doth not tremble at these things? Whose haire doth not stand up on their head? For then shall thousands, which in this world have flourished as the Cedars of Libanus, be cast down for e­vermore, and shall drinke (as a just re­compence for their iniquity) of the bit­ter cup of Gods eternall wrath and in­dignation in the kingdome of darknes, and in the fearfull presence of Satan, [Page 386] and all the cursed enemies of Gods grace.

Phil.

Well, now as you have declared unto us the terrour, the suddennesse, the end, and the manner of Christs coming to judgement, so lastly, shew us the right use of all these things.

Theol.

Saint Peter telleth and teach­eth us the right use of all: for saith he, Seeing all these things must he dissol­ved, 1 Pet. 3 11. what manner of persons ought we to be in holy conversation and god­linesse? As if hee should say: Sith the Heavens shall passe away with a noise, the Elements shall melt with heat, and the Earth, with the workes that are therein, shall be burnt up: sith also the coming of Christ shall be with great terrour, to a fearfull end, and in a fearfull manner; O how ought wee to excell in goodnesse? So then Saint Peter telleth us, that the true use of all is this: that hereby we be brought neerer unto God, then to be more obedient to his will, and to walke in all his commandements, making conscience of all our wayes, and studying to please GOD in all things, and to be fruitfull in all good workes, living soberly, justly and ho­lily in this present evill world, and shewing forth the vertues of him which hath called us out of darknesse to this marvellous light: that so wee [Page 387] may be prepared against the day of his appearing, that it may not take us tardy. For our life ought to be a continuall meditation of death: wee should alwayes live as if wee should dye, or that our bed should be our grave: wee must live continually as if Christ should come to judgement presently: as it is reported of a godly man in the Primitive Church, that whether hee ate or dranke, or whatso­ever he did, he thought alwayes he heard the Trumpet of the Lord, with these words: Arise, yee dead, and come unto Judgement. Put case it were certainly knowne, that Christ would come to Iudgement the next Mid-summer day; O wh [...]t an alteration would it make in the world! how would men change their mindes and affections? who would care for this world? who would set his heart upon riches? who would regard brave apparell? who durst deceive or oppresse? who durst be drunke? who durst sweare, lye, and commit a­dultery? Nay, would not all men give up themselves to the obedience of God? would not all serve him di­ligently? would not all men and wo­men flocke to Sermons? would they not give themselves to prayer and reading? would they not repent them of their sins? would they not crie for [Page 388] mercy and forgivenesse? See then what the knowledge of a certaine day approaching would effect. And ought wee not to doe all these things with as great care and zeale, seeing the day is uncertaine? For who know­eth whether Christ will come this moneth or the next, this yeare or the next?Mat. 14 44. Hee himselfe saith, Be ready, watch, for in the houre that yee thinke not of, will the Sonne of man come. Wee thinke hee will not come this yeare, nor next yeare, nor this hundred yeares. It may be there­fore that he will come suddenly upon us, wee know not how soone: For in an houre that wee little thinke of will he come. Therefore our Savi­our saith in the thirteenth Chapter of Marke, Verse 33. Take heed, watch and pray: for you know not when the time is. And in the Gospel of Saint Luke hee saith,Luk [...]. [...]. Take heed that your hearts be not overcome with surfeiting and drunkennesse, and the cares of this life; and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come upon all them that dwell upon the face of the earth. We heare therefore how many watch-words and caveats our Saviour giveth us, when hee saith, Be in a readinesse, awake, take heed, watch and pray, and looke about you, lest that day come suddenly [Page 389] upon you, and take you napping. It standeth us all therefore upon to be at an houres warning, upon paine of death, and as we will answer it at our uttermost perill.

Phil.

Proceed to speak of the torments of Hell.

Theol.

Concerning the torments of Hell I doe note three things, which I will briefly speake of, and they be these: The extremitie, perpetuitie, and remedilesness thereof. First, touch­ing the extremitie thereof: it stand­eth specially in these three things: First, that it is a separation from all joy and comfort of the presence of God. Secondly, that it is an eter­nall fellowship with the Divell and his Angels. Thirdly, it is a feeling of the horrible wrath of God, which shall seize upon body and soule, and shall feed on them (as fire doth upon pitch and brimstone) for ever. The Scriptures doe note the extremity of it, in calling it,Apoc. 11. [...]. A lake that burnes with fire and brimstone for ever: in saying,Iob. [...]. [...]1. There shall be weeping and gnash­ing of teeth: in affirming,Mark 1 44. that their worme dyeth not (meaning the worme that gnaweth their conscience, or the torment of conscience) and the fire never goeth out: in terming it, Tophet, which is deep and large, and the burning thereof is fire and much [Page 390] wood: and that the breath of the Lord, as a river of brimstone, doth kindle it. All these things be terrible to our senses: and yet can they not fully expresse the thing as it is in­deed. For no heart can conceive, or tongue expresse the greatnesse and ex­tremity of the torments of Hell. As the joyes of Heaven never entred in­to the heart of man: no more did the torments of Hell. All the torments and troubles that fall upon men in this life, are but the sparkles of the furnace of Gods totall wrath. All fires are but as it were pictures of fire, in comparison of Hell fire. For, as one writeth, Hell fire is so ex­tremely hot, that it will burne up a man seven mile before hee come at it. Yet the Reprobates, being alwayes in it, shall never be consumed of it. As the Salamander is alwayes in the fire, and never consumeth; so the wic­ked shall be alwayes in the fire of Hell, and never consume. For Hell is a death alwayes living, and an end al­wayes beginning. It is a grievous thing to a man that is very sicke, to lye long upon a feather bed: how much more upon a hot gridi [...]on? but how most of all to burn alwaies in Hell fire, and never be consumed? Another extremity of it consisteth in this, that the torments of Hell are universall: [Page 391] that is, in every member at once; head, eyes, tongue, teeth, throat, stomacke, back, belly, heart, sides, &c. All punish­ments of this life are particular: For some are pained in their head, some in their backe, some in their stomacke, &c. yet some particular paines are such as a man would not suffer to gaine all the world. But for a man to be tor­mented in all parts at once, what sight more lamentable? who could but take pity of a dog in the street in that case? Thus then we see, that the extremi­tie of Hell torments is greater then can be conceived or uttered. For who can utter that which is incomprehen­sible? Wee can goe no further in com­prehending that which is incompre­hensible, then to know it to be incom­prehensible.

Phil.

As you have shewed us the extre­mity of Hell torments, so now proceed to the perpetuity.

Theol.

The Scriptures doe set forth the perpetuity of Hell torments, in saying, they are for ever. The wicked shall be cast into the Lake that burneth with fire and brimstone for ever. The fire never goeth out. When as many hundred thousand yeares are expired as there be stones by the Sea side, yet still there be so many more to come. For that which hath no end, can never come to an [Page 392] end. If all the Arithmeticians in the world were set a worke to doe no­thing but number all the dayes of their life, even the greatest numbers that they could possibly set downe, and should in the end adde all their num­bers together, yet could they never come any thing neere to that length of time wherein the wicked shall be tor­mented. If the whole circumference of the Heavens were written about with figures of Arithmeticke, from the East to the West, and from the West to the East againe; yet could it not containe that infinite time, and innumerable yeeres, wherein all un­beleevers shall suffer eternall torture. For in things infinite, time hath no place. For time is the measure of those things which are subject to mea­sure. Therefore because hell torments are infinite, they cannot be measured by any time: neither can that which is infinite be diminished. For if you substract from that which is in­finite ten thousand thousand millions of millions, yet it is thereby no­thing diminished or made lesse. Put case a man should once in an hun­dred thousand yeeres take a spoon­full of water out of the great O­cean Sea, how long would it be ere he had so emptied it? Yet shall a man sooner empty the Sea, by taking [Page 393] out a spoonfull once in an hundred thousand yeares, then the damned soule shall have any ease. There­fore a certaine Writer saith, If a damned soule might be tormented in Hell but a thousand yeares, and then have ease, there were some comfort in it: (for then there would be hope it would come to an end) but, saith hee, this word Ever killeth the heart. O consider this yee that forget God. O yee carnall worldlings, thinke on this in time. For if you will not now be moved in hearing, you shall then be crushed in pieces in feeling. What availeth it to live in all possible pleasures, and carnall de­lights here for some sixty yeares, and then to suffer this eternall torment? what shall it profit a man to win the whole world, and lose his soule? They be more then mad, which will hazzard their soule for a little profit, and a few stinking pleasures. But this is the manner of men: they will have the present sweet (come of it what will) though they pay never so deare for it: though they goe to the highest price: though they lose their soules for it. Oh the unspeakable blindnesse and madnesse of the men of this world! The Divell hath put out their eyes, and therefore leadeth them whither he lists. For who cannot lead [Page 394] a blind man whither he lists?1 Sam. 11.2. Nahash the Ammonite would make no cove­nant with the Israelites, but upon con­dition that he might put out all their right eyes. So the Divell doth cove­nant with all the wicked, to put out both their eyes, that he may lead them directly into Hell.

Phil.

Now, Sir, a word or two more of the remedilesnesse of Hell fire.

Theol.

The Scriptures do affirm, that as the torments of Hell are ex­treme, so they are without all hope of remedy:Psal. 4 [...].8. as it is written, A man can by no meanes redeem his brother: hee cannot give his ransome unto God: so precious is the redemption of the soule, and the continuance for ever. To this purpose Abraham said to the rich man,Luk. 16.16. being in Hell torments, Betwixt you and us there is a great gulfe set, so that they which would goe from hence to you cannot, neither can they come from thence to us. Our Lord Iesus also saith, [...]. 19. What shall a man give for the recompence of his soule? Where our Saviour doth plainly affirme, that there is no ransome or recom­pence, though never so great, to be gi­ven for a damned soule. For the soule being in Hell, can never be released, it is past remedy, no meanes whatsoe­ver can doe any good: no gold, no sil­ver, no friends, no riches, no power, [Page 395] no policy, no flattery, no bribery, no reach, no fetch or device whatsoever, can prevaile one jot: for a man being once in Hell hath no remedy, hee is in close prison, he is shut up under the hatches for ever, there is no getting out againe, he must suffer perpetuall imprisonment. Hee cannot bring a writ of false imprisonment, because he is laid in by the most righteous and just Iudge, who cannot possibly doe any wrong; but hee must lye by it. For being there once, he is there for ever. If all the Angels of Heaven should intreat for a damned soule; if Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob should make great suit; if all the Prophets, Apo­stles and Martyrs should be conti­nuall solicitors to Christ for release; if the father should make request for his son, or the mother for the daugh­ter, yet can none of these be heard, they must all have the repuise. For the sentence of Christ cannot be reversed, his decree is unrepealeable. The due consideration of these things may make all hearts to quake, and all knees to tremble. In the troubles and afflictions of this life, though a man come in never so great danger, yet hee may wind out againe by one meanes or another, by mony, or friend­ship, or rewards, or such like meanes: but in Hell-fire, this is it that gripes, [Page 396] and maketh the heart despaire, that there is no remedy at all to be used. If wee should aske of a damned soule, or an afflicted conscience, what they would give for the ease and redempti­on of their soules; they would answer, the whole world: howsoever secure worldlings and wicked Atheists (which see nothing, or feele nothing) make nothing of it.

Here, by the way, let us consider the greatnesse of the losse of a mans soule; which we shall the better per­ceive and see into, if we can aright value and prize the soule. If there­fore it be demanded, what is the price of the soule, or what is it worth? Our Lord Iesus answereth, that it is more worth then all the world. For, saith hee,Mat. 1 [...]. What shall it profit a man [...]o win all the world, and lose his soule? Therefore the soule of the poorest beggar is more worth then all the world. Then I reason thus: If the soule be more worth then all the world, then the losse of it is grea­ter then the losse of the whole world. For indeed it is a losse of all losses, an unrecoverable losse. If a man should have his house burnt over his head, and all that hee hath con­sumed in one night, it were a great losse. If a Merchant-venturer should lose twenty thousand pounds [Page 397] in one venture, in one ship, or (as they say) in one bottome, it were a very great losse. If a King should lose his Crowne and Kingdome, it were an exceeding great losse: But the losse of the soule is a thousand times more then all these, it is a mat­ter of infinite importance. If a Te­nant be cast out of the favour of his Land-lord, it is a matter of griefe. If a Noblemans Secretary be cast out of favour with his Lord, so that he taketh a pritch against him, it is a matter of great sorrow. If a Nobleman himselfe be discountenan­ced, and cast out of all favour with his Prince, that was in great fa­vour, it is a corsie, a heart-smart, and a matter of exceeding grievance. But to be eternally separated from God, to be shut out of his favour, and to be cast away from his presence, and the presence of his Angels, is a matter of infinite more dolour and torment. Marke then and behold what a thing it is for a man to lose his soule. Oh therefore that men would be wise in Gods feare, that they would looke out in time, and make provision for their soules. Now then, to close up this whole point: the summe of all that hath been said is this, That the torments of Hell are endlesse, easelesse, and remedilesse.

Asun.

The laying open of these do­ctrines of Hell fire, and the judgement to come, makes me quake and tremble: I am much thereby perplexed, I feele great terrour in my conscience, I am affraid I shall be damned.

Antil.

Damned, man! What speake you of damning? I am ashamed to heare you say so. For it is well knowne that you are an honest man, a quiet liver, a good neighbour, and as good a townes-man as any in the Parish where you dwell, and you have been alwayes so reputed and taken. If you should be damned, I know not who shall be saved?

Asun.

I regard not your flatteries. I beleeve God, I beleeve his Word, I be­leeve those things which Master Theolo­gus hath alledged out of the holy Scrip­tures, pointing mee both to the Chap­ter and the Verse: and whether it be more meet that I should beleeve the Scriptures, or your soothings, judge you. No, no: now I doe cleerly see, by the glasse of Gods Law, that my state is wretched and miserable. For I have lived in sinne and ignorance all the dayes of my life, being utterly void of all Re­ligion and true knowledge of God. I am not the man indeed that you and others take mee for. For though out­wardly I have lived honestly to the world-ward, yet inwardly I have [Page 399] not lived religiously to God-ward.

Antil.

Tush, tush: now I see you are in a melancholy humour. If you will goe home with mee, I can give you a speedy remedy, for I have many plea­sant and merry bookes, which if you should heare them read, would soone remedy you of this melancholy passion. I have the Court of Venus, The Palace of Pleasure, Bevis of South-hampton, Ellen of Rummin, The merry jest of the Friar and the Boy, The pleasant Story of Clem of the Clough, Adam Bell, and William of Cloudesly, The odde tale of William, Richard, and Humfrey, The pretty conceit of John Splinters last Will and Testament, which all are ex­cellent and singular bookes against heart-qualmes, and to remove such dumpishnesse as I see you are now fallen into.

Asun.

Your vaine and frivolous bookes of tales, jests, and lies, would more in­crease my griefe, and strike the print of sorrow deeper into my heart.

Antil.

Nay, if you be of that mind, I have done with you.

Phil.

I pray you, if a man may be so bold with you, how came you by all these good books? I should have said, so much trash and rubbish.

Antil.

What mattereth it to you? What have you to doe to enquire? But I pray you, Sir, what doe you meane [Page 400] to call them trash and rubbish?

Phil.

Because they be no better. They be goodly geere, trim stuffe; They are good to kindle a fire, or to scoure a hot oven withall. And shall I tell you my opinion of them? I doe thus thinke, That they were devised by the Divell, seene and allowed by the Pope, printed in Hell, bound up by Hobgoblin, and first published and dispersed in Rome, Italy, and Spaine, and all to this end, that thereby men might be kept from the reading of the Scriptures. For even as a Lapwing with her busie crie draweth men away from her nest, so the Popish generation, by these fabulous devices, draw men from the Scriptures.

Antil.

Ah Sir, I see now a fooles bolt is soon shot. You are more precise then wise. The Vicar of Saint Fooles shall be your ghostly father. What tell you mee of your opinion? I would you should wel know, I neither regard you nor your opi­nion. There be wiser men then you, who both reade, allow, and take pleasure in these bookes.

Theol.

Let him alone, good Philaga­thus, for you see what he is; there is no end of his crossing and cavilling. But he that is ignorant, let him be ig­norant; and he that is filthy, let him be more filthy. Let us now turne our speech to Asunetus, for I see he [Page 401] is heavie-hearted, and troubled in his mind. How doe you, Asunetus? how doe you feele your selfe? Me thinkes you are very sad.

Asun.

I am the better for you, Sir, I thanke God: I never knew what sinne meant till this day. It hath pleased God now to give mee some sight and feeling thereof. I am greatly distres­sed in my conscience to thinke what I have been. The remembrance of my former sinnes doe strike an horrour in­to mee. When I consider how igno­rantly and profanely, and how farre off from GOD I have lived all my life, it stings and gripes mee to the heart. I doe now see that which I never saw, and feele that which I never felt. I doe plainly see, that if I had died in that state wherein I have lived all my life, I should certainly have been condemned, and should have perished for ever in my sinne and ignorance.

Theol.

I am very glad that God hath opened your eyes, and given you the sight and feeling of your mi­sery: which indeed is the very first step to eternall life. It is a great favour and speciall mercy of God towards you, that hee hath so touched your heart: you can never be thank­full enough for it. It is more then if you had a million of gold given you. It is the onely rare priviledge [Page 403] of Gods elect to have the eyes of their soules opened, that they may see into heavenly and spirituall things. As for the world, it is just with God to leave them in their blindnesse.

Asun.

I doe feele the burthen of my sinnes: I am greatly grieved for them. I am weary of them. I am sorry that ever I sinned against God, or that I should be such a wretch, as to incurre his displeasure, and provoke his Ma­jestie against mee. But I pray you, good Master Theologus, such you are a spirituall Physician, and I am sick of sinne, that you would minister unto me, out of Gods Word, some spirituall physicke and com­fort.

Theol.

Truly, I must needs thinke, that the promises of mercy, and for­givenesse of sinne made in the Gospel, doe belong unto you, and that Iesus Christ is yours: that you are truly interessed in him, and have a proper right unto him. For hee came not to call the righteous, but sinners to re­pentance. You doe now feele your selfe to be a sinner: you are grieved for your sins: you are weary of them: therefore Iesus Christ is for you: all the benefits of his passion belong to you.Mat. 9.12. Againe he saith, The whole need not the Physician, but they that are sicke. But you doe acknowledge your selfe to be sick of sinne: therefore [Page 402] Iesus Christ will be your Physician: he will swaddle you: he will lap you: hee will bind up all your sores: hee will heale all your wounds: hee will anoint them with the oyle of his mercy: hee will smile upon you, and shew you a joyfull countenance: hee will say unto you, Your sins are for­given.

In him you shall have rest and peace to your soule. Through him you shall have ease and comfort. For hee takes pitie of all such as mourne for their sinnes, as you doe. Hee biddeth you, and all that are in your case, to come unto him,Mat. 11.28. and hee will helpe you. Come unto me (saith hee) all yee that are weary and heavie laden, and I will ease you. You are one of them that are bidden to come: for you are weary of your sinnes: you feele the burthen of them: Christ is altogether for such as you are. Hee regardeth not the world, that is, the profane and unregenerate men. Hee bids not them come: hee prayeth not for them.Joh. 18. [...]. I pray not for the world (saith hee.) They have no part nor interest in him. They have no­thing to doe with him, or with his merits and righteousnesse. Hee is onely for the penitent sinner, and such as mourne for their sinnes. He is a Pillow of Down to all aking heads, [Page 404] and aking consciences. Be of good comfort therefore, feare nothing: for assuredly Christ and all his righ­teousnesse is yours. He will clothe you with it. Hee will never impute your sins unto you, or lay any of them to your charge: though they be never so many, or so great, hee will forget them, and forgive them; as hee saith by the Prophet Esay, [...]ay 1.1 [...]. Though your sins were as cr [...]mson, they shall be made as white as snow: though they were red like scarlet, they shall be as wooll. And againe he saith by the same Pro­phet, [...]ay 4.2 [...] I have put away thy transgressi­ons as thicke as clouds, and thy sinnes as a mist. By another Prophet he saith,Micah 7.19. Hee will lay aside our iniquities, and cast all our sinnes into the bottome of the sea. Againe he saith by the Pro­phet Esay, Esay 43.25. I, even I, am he that put away thine iniquities, for my owne sake, and will not remember thy sinnes. And yet more sweetly hee speakes to us by the Prophet Jeremy, Jer. 3 12. saying, Turne a­gaine unto mee, and I will not let my wrath fall upon you. For I am merci­full, and will not alway keep mine an­ger. And againe by the Prophet Ho­sea hee saith,Hos. 11.6. I will not execute the fiercenesse of my wrath, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am GOD, and not man. Be of good cheere there­fore, comfort your selfe with these pro­mises: [Page 405] you have cause to rejoyce, seeing GOD hath wrought in you a dislike and a griefe for your sins, which is a certaine token that your sins shall ne­ver hurt you: for sinnes past cannot hurt us, if sinnes present doe not like us. You are growne to an hatred and dislike of your sins, you mourne under the burthen of them, therefore you are blessed. For blessed are they that mourne. Why therefore should you be so heavie and sad? Remember what Saint John saith, If any man sinne, 1 Joh 1. we have an Advocate, Jesus Christ the righ­teous, and he is the reconciliation for our sinnes. Saint Paul saith,Rom. 3.13. that Jesus Christ is set forth to be a reconciliation through faith in his bloud. Againe the holy Ghost saith,Heb. [...].1 [...]. Hee is perfectly able to save all those that come unto God by him, seeing hee ever liveth to make intercession for us. The Apostle saith, Hee is made of GOD for us, 1 Cor 1.3 [...]. wise­dome, righteousnesse, sanctification, and redemption. Marke that hee saith, All is for us, all his for his Church, for every member of his Church, and therefore for you. Christ is made of God righteousnesse, sanctification, and redemption for you: Christ is your Mediator, and your high Priest, and hath offered up the everlasting sa­crifice, even for you, that he might pay your ransome, and redeem you from [Page 406] all iniquity.Heb. 9.1 [...]. By his owne bloud hath hee entred once into the holy place, and obtained eternall redemption for you. Christ is not entred into the holy places which are made with hands, which are similitudes of the true Sanctuary, but is entred into the very Heaven,Heb. 9. to appeare now in the sight of God for you. The Apostle saith,2 Cor. 5.21. He hath made him to be sinne for you, that knew no sinne, that you might be made the righteousnesse of GOD in him. Gal 3.13. Christ was made a curse for you, that he might redeeme you from the curse of the Law. Oh therefore how happy art thou that hast such a Medi­atour and high Priest! Rest therefore wholly upon him, and upon that per­fect, eternall, and propitiatory Sacri­fice which he hath once offered. Apply Christ, apply his merits, apply the promises to your selfe, and to your owne conscience, so shall they doe you good, and bring great comfort to your soule. For put case you had a most ex­cellent and soveraigne salve, which would cure any wound, if it were laid to; yet if you should locke it up in your chest, and never apply it to your wound, what good could it doe you? Even so the righteousnesse and merits of Christ are a spirituall salve, which will cure any wound of the soule: but if wee doe not apply them [Page 407] to our soules by faith, they can doe us no good. You must therefore apply Christ, and all the promises of the Gospel, to your selfe by faith, and stand fully perswaded, that whatso­ever hee hath done upon the Crosse, hee hath done for you particularly. For what is justifying faith, but a full perswasion of Gods particular love to us in Christ? The generall and confused knowledge of Christ and his Gospel availes not to eternall life. Labour therefore to have the true use of all these great and precious promises, and sticke fast to Christ: for through him onely wee have remission of sins, and eternall life.Acts 10.45. To him all the Prophets give witnesse (saith Saint Peter) that through his Name all that beleeve shall receive remission of their sins. Where the Apostle tells us, that if a great Iury of Prophets were pannelled to testifie of the way and meanes to eternall life, they would all, with one consent, bring in a ver­dict, that remission of sins and eternall life are onely in Christ. Let us heare the Fore-man speake, and one or two of the rest: for in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word stand. The Prophet Esay saith,Esay 54.5. He was wounded for our transgressions, he was broken for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon [Page 408] him, and with his stripes wee are healed. This great Prophet we see plainly affirmes, that Christ suffered for our sins, and by his suffering we are sa­ved. The Prophet Jeremy testifies the same thing,Jer. 23 5. saying, Behold, the day is come (saith the Lord) that I will raise to David a righteous branch, and a King shall reigne and prosper, and shall execute judgement and justice in the earth. In his dayes Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is the name whereby they shall call him, The Lord our righteousnesse. This Prophet jumps with the other. For he saith, that Christ is the righ­teous branch, and that he is our righ­teousnesse: which is all one, as if hee had said, our sinnes are pardoned onely through him, and through him we are made righteous. Moreover hee af­firmes, that Juda and Israel, that is, the Church, shall be saved by him. The Prophet Zachary, that I may speake it with reverence, telleth the same tale word for word. He avoucheth the same thing with the other two Prophets: for hee saith, In that day a fountaine shall be opened to the house of David, Zach. 13.1. and to the inhabitants of Je­rusalem, for sinne, and for uncleannesse. The meaning of the Prophet is, that in the dayes of Christs Kingdome, the fountaine of Gods mercy in [Page 409] Christ, should be opened and let-out to wash away the sinnes and unclean­nesse of the Church. So then we see, that these three great witnesses doe all agree in this, that through Christ onely we are washed from our sinnes, and through him onely wee are made righteous. Seeing then that eter­nall life is onely in the Sonne, there­fore he that hath the Sonne, hath life. Be of good courage therefore, O A­sunetus: for no doubt you have the Sonne, and therefore eternall life. Feare not your sinnes, for they cannot hurt you: for as all the righteous­nesse of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the most righteous men that ever lived on the face of the earth, if it were yours, could doe you no good without Christ: so all the sinne in the world can doe you no hurt, being in Christ;Rom. 8.1. For there is no condemnati­on to them that are in Christ Jesus. Plucke up a good heart therefore: be no more heavie and sad: for if you be found in Christ, clothed with his per­fect righteousnesse (being made yours through faith) what can the Divell say to you? what can the Law doe? They may well hisse at you, but they cannot sting you: they may grin at you, but they cannot hurt you. For who shal lay any thing to the charge of Gods Elect? It is God that justifies,Rom. [...].33. [Page 410] who shall condemne? It is Christ which is dead, or rather which is risen againe; who also sitteth at the right hand of God, and makes re­quest for us.Phil. 4.4. Rejoyce in the Lord therefore; againe, I say, Rejoice: for greater is hee that is in you, then hee that is in the world: Our Lord Iesus is stronger then all. None can pluck you out of his hands: hee is a strong Mediator: hee hath conquered all our spirituall enemies: hee hath over­come hell, death, and damnation: hee hath led captivity captive:Col. 1.15. hee hath spoyled principalities and powers, and hath made an open shew of them, and triumphed over them on his crosse. Hee hath most triumphantly said, O death, Hos. 13.14. I will be thy death: O grave, I will be thy destruction. O death, where is thy sting? 1 Cor. 15.55 O hell, where is thy victo­ry? Seeing then you have such a Me­diator and high Priest, as hath con­quered the hellish army, and subdued all infernall power, what need you to doubt? what need you to feare any more? Moreover, you are to under­stand, and to be perswaded, that Gods mercy is exceeding great towards pe­nitent sinners, and all such as mourne for their transgressions: according as hee saith, At what time soever a sinner doth repent him of his sinnes from the bottome of his heart, hee will put them [Page 411] all out of his remembrance. The Pro­phet David doth most lively and fully describe unto us, the mercifull na­ture of God, in the 103. Psalme, where hee saith, The Lord is full of compassion, and mercy, slow to anger, and of great kindnesse: hee will not alwaies chide, neither keepeth his anger for ever: hee hath not dealt with us after our sinnes, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heaven is above the earth, so great is his mercy towards those that feare him. As farre as is the East from the West, so farre hath hee removed our sinnes from us. As a Father hath compassion on his children, so hath the Lord compassion on them that feare him. For he knowes whereof wee be made, he remembreth that wee are but dust. The History of the lost sonne doth most notably set forth the wonderfull mercy of God towards penitent sinners. There is shewed how the Lord doth embrace, tender,Luke 1 [...].20. and made much of such poore sin­ners, as have broken and contrite hearts for their sinnes: for it is said, that when the Father saw his repen­ting Sonne a great way off, hee had compassion on him, and ranne, and fell on his neck, and kissed him, and cloath­ed him with the best robe, put it on him, put a ring on his hand, and shooes [Page 412] on his feet, and caused the fat calfe to be killed for him. Even so the ever­lasting Father doth rejoyce at the conversion of any of his lost sonnes. Yea, there is joy in the presence of the Angels of God for one sinner that converteth. Moreover, the Lord most lively expresseth his mercifull nature and disposition in this, That he is very loth we should perish, and willingly cast away our selves. There­fore often in the holy Scriptures he mournes for us, bewailes our wretchednesse, and takes up many pi­tifull complaints and lamentations for us,Psal. [...]1.13. saying, O that my people had hearkened unto mee, and Israel had walked in my waies. Psa. 48.18. And againe, O that thou hadst hearkened unto my commandements: then had thy pro­sperity been as the floud, and thy righ­teousnesse as the waters of the sea. A­gaine, hee mourningly complaines by his Prophet Hosea, saying, O Ephra­im, what shall I doe to thee? O Judah, how shall I intreat thee? And in ano­ther place,Isa. 5. What could I doe more to my Vineyard that I have not done? Marke here how compassionately the Almighty God doth yerne over us, and even as it were blood upon our wounds. The Apostle also notes the rich mercy and marvellous love of GOD to mankind, in this, that [Page 413] hee doth beseech us, and pray us by the Ministers of the Gospel, that wee would be reconciled unto him. The words are these, Now then are wee Embassadours for Christ; as though God did beseech you through us, wee pray you in Christs stead, that you be reconciled unto God. Is it not a strange thing, that the omnipotent God should fall to entreating of us poore wretches? It is all one, as if a King should intreat a begger, whom hee may will and command. But the abundant mercy of God towards mankind doth most of all consist in this, That hee hath given his onely Sonne for us, when wee were his enemies: as it is written, God so loved the world, that hee hath given his onely begotten Sonne, John [...]. that whosoever beleeves in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life. A­gaine, Gods sets out his love towards us, seeing that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us: much more then be­ing now justified by his bloud, wee shall be saved from wrath through him. Rom. 5.1. For if when wee were enemies, wee were re­conciled to God by the death of his Sonne: much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. In all this then wee may cleerely behold the infi­nite mercy of God towards us poore sinners. For is it not a great matter, [Page 414] that the Son of God should take our nature upon him, should be so abased as he was, and should humble him­selfe to death,Phil. 2. [...]. even to the death of the crosse? For as the shadow of the Di­all went backe ten degrees, that Eze­chias might receive length of dayes and much happinesse; so Christ, the Sonne of righteousnesse, hath gone backe many degrees, that we might have eternall life. His humiliation therefore is our exaltation, his suffe­rings our joy, his death our life. For wee have no other remedy or refuge but only his merits and righteousnes. He is our City of refuge, whither we must flie, and where wee must take sanctuary.Jer. 9. He is the balme of Gilead, whereby our soules are cured. He is that poole of Bethesda, John [...].2. where every man may be cured of what disease so­ever he hath.2 Kin. 5. He is the river of Jordan, where Naaman may wash away all his leprosie. He is that Pelican, who by pecking a hole in his owne breast, doth restore his young to life againe by his bloud. Yet one thing wee must note by the way, which hath been partly touched before, That all the mercies of God, and merits of Christ, are to be restrained only to the Elect, only to the true members of the Church; as plainly appeareth in Psal. 103. where the mercies of God, which are there [Page 415] largely described, are restrained onely to them that feare him, keep his Co­venant, and thinke upon his Com­mandements to doe them. And touch­ing Christ it is said, that hee is a Prince and a Saviour unto Israel, and that he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities. Againe it is written,Psal. 130. that Christ being consecrate, was made the Authour of eternall salvation to them that obey him. Heb. 5.6. None doe or can obey him but only the Elect, therefore hee is the Authour of salvation onely to the Elect. And consequently, the profane world, whatsoever they say, whatso­ever they brag and boast, have no true title, or interest in him. This thing was figured in the Law, in this, that the Mercy-seat, which was a type of Gods mercy in Christ; and the Arke, which was a figure of the Church, were, by the expresse commandement of GOD, fitted each to other,Exod. 25.10. both in length and breadth. For as the Arke was two cubits and a halfe long, and a cubit and a halfe broad; just so was the Mercy-seat. No­ting thereby, that the mercy of God in Christ should onely be fitted to his Church, and belong onely to the Church; so as not one without the Church should be saved. For hee that hath not the Church for his Mother, cannot have God for his [Page 416] Father. Lastly, we are to observe, that as God is infinite in mercy, and of great compassion toward penitent sinners: so also is hee most constant in the course of his mercies towards his children. And therefore one of the Psalmes carries this foot,Psal. 156. His mercie endureth for ever, his mercie endureth for ever, his mercie endu­reth for ever. Noting thereby both the constancie and eternitie of Gods mercy. To the same purpose it is thus written,Lam. 3.2 [...]. It is the Lords mer­cie that wee are not consumed, it is because his compassions faile not. Let us know therefore that God, as touching his mercy to his children, is of a most constant and unchange­able nature. As hee saith, I am the Lord, I change not. For if GOD were of a changeable nature, as we are, and subject to passions, then were wee in a most miserable case, then must hee needs smite us downe, and take vengeance of us every day, and every houre in the day, because wee provoke him every day, and e­very houre in the day. But the God of Heaven is not as a man, that hee should be subject to passions and af­fections: hee is of a most constant and immutable nature. For though we provoke him every day with new sins, yet is he so farre off from take­ing [Page 417] revenge, that the next day hee rewardeth us with new mercies, and breaketh through all our unkindnesse to shew kindnesse unto us; and through all our naughtinesse to doe us good. All our infirmities cannot make him breaks off with us, or cease to love us. Hee is content to take us with all faults, and to love us dearly, though wee have great faults. Hee regardeth not our infir­mities: though wee be oftentimes wayward and elvish, yet for all that hee loveth us neverthelesse. Even as a loving Mother, though her young suckling cry all the night, and be exceeding trease and wayward, so as shee cannot rest on houre in the night; yea, though shee endure much lothsomenesse and trouble with it, yet in the morning when shee riseth shee loveth it never the lesse, but dand­leth it, playeth with it, smileth and laugheth upon it: so the God of all mercies, whose love towards us farre passeth the love of mothers, though we grieve him with our infirmities conti­nually, yet loveth us neverthelesse, and is content to put up all, to forget and forgive all; for hee is a most constant lover. Where he once sets and settles his love, hee loveth most constantly, no­thing can alter him, nothing can remove him. Even as a Father, when his [Page 418] little childe catcheth a fall, breaketh his shinnes, and hurteth his face, is so farre from beeing offended or dis­pleased with him therefore, that hee doth pity him and bemoane him, seek­ing remedies for his hurt: so our mercifull Father is so farre off from being angry and displeased with us for some slips and falls, that hee doth the more pitie us, and lament our case. Even as a loving, and wise husband, although his wife have many infirmities, yet being assured shee loves him dearly, and that her heart is with him, hee is well con­tent to winke at all her faults, to hide them, to beare with them; yea, and to make nothing of them; loving her no whit the lesse for them: so our deare husband and Spouse, Christ Iesus, because hee knoweth wee love him, and that hee hath our hearts, is content to beare with all our infir­mities, and to make light of them. For this cause it is that hee saith to his Spouse in the Canticles, though shee was black and full of infirmities, Behold thou art all faire, C [...]nt. 4 1, 7. my Love: Behold, thou art faire: thou art all faire, my Love: there is no spot in thee. Mark, that hee calleth his Church faire, all faire, and without spot; not because shee was so in her selfe, but because shee was made so in [Page 419] him: and assuredly the eternall God, beholding her in his Sonne, doth so esteeme and account of her. For, as hee that beholdeth any thing through a red glasse, doth take it to be red, as is the colour of the glasse: so God the Father, beholding us in his Sonne, doth take us to be of the same nature and quality that hee is; that is, per­fectly righteous. For this cause it is that hee loveth us, and setteth his heart upon us, and will not be remove­ed from us. For his love to his chil­dren is alwaies one and the same, al­though we have alwaies the like sight and feeling of it; as the Moone is al­waies the same in substance and quan­tity, though sometimes it seemeth unto us to be wasted into a very small scant­ling. Let us know then, to our great comfort, that the love of God towards us, in his deare Sonne, is constant, and alwaies alike: and that he will not discountenance us, or shake us off for some infirmities, no nor yet for many infirmities: for the mercifull God doth accept of his children, be­cause their generall care is good, and the universall tenour of their life tend­eth unto righteousnesse howsoever they may greatly faile in many particular actions. Two or three fits of an ague doe not prove a diseased body; nor two or three good daies a found [Page 420] body: then so some few infirmities do not argue a wicked man; nor two or three good actions, a good man: but we must have an eye to the certain [...] settled course of a mans life. Even a [...] men are truely said to walke in a way, when they go in it, although sometimes they trip and stumble: so Gods chil­dren do walk in the way of righteous­nesse, although sometimes they stum­ble and step out of it, or sometimes be violently haled out of it by theeves. For Satan and the violence of our lusts do often hale us out of the way: but wee must get into it againe as soon as wee are escaped. Now then, to con­clude and draw to an end: Sith God is so infinitely mercifull, and con­stant in his mercy: sith such great and precious promises are made to us in Christ: sith the Lord doth not re­gard our infirmities when our hearts are with him: therefore, O Asune­tus, be of good cheere, let nothing trouble you; feare not the assaults of the Divel, regard not his tempta­tions: for assuredly your sinnes are forgiven. Christ is yours: heaven is yours: and all the promises of life and salvation belong unto you. So as you need not doubt; you cannot miscarry: your name is written in the Book of life.

Asun.

I am greatly comforted and [Page 421] cheered up with your words. Your preaching of the Gospel, and laying open of Gods abundant mercy in Christ, and of the promises, doe exceedingly revive me, and even as it were put new life in­to me: they are as Sacke and Sugar un­to my soule, and sweeter then the honey and the honey-combe: they are as Phy­sicke to my sicke soule, and as ointment to my spirituall wounds. I do now begin to see what misery is in man, and what mercy is in God. And I know by wo­full experience, that where misery is not felt, there mercy is not regarded: but now it hath pleased God to give mee some feeling of mine owne wretchednesse and misery, and yet with good comfort in his mercy. For I thanke God for it, I begin now to grow to some perswasion, that the promises do belong unto me, my sins are forgiven, and that I am one of them that shall be saved.

Theol.

I doe greatly rejoice, that God hath, according to his rich mercy, wrought this good worke in you. I do, from the bottome of my heart, give him the praise and glory of it. Happie are you that ever you were borne, in whom the Lord hath wrought so graci­ous a work. It is his high favour and speciall mercy towards you: for it is the onely priviledge and prerogative royall of Gods owne children, truely to repent and de [...]eve. I beseech God [Page 422] therefore to encrease your faith, and to fill you full of joy and peace in beleeve­ing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of the holy Ghost.

Antil.

The Sunne drawes low: Asu­netus, it is time for you and mee to be going.

Phil.

Indeed the night will approach by and by, and therefore we must of ne­cessity break off.

Theol.

Sith it is so, wee will here surcease, and go no further.

Asun.

Sir, I will now take my leave of you: I can never be thankfull enough for all the good instructions and com­forts which I have heard from you this day: I hope I shall remember some of them whilest I live. I do therefore praise God for you, and for your counsell, and for this day, which I hope shall be the first day of my repentance and true con­version unto God.

Theol.

The Lord for his infinite mercies sake grant it. And I most humbly beseech the Almighty God to establish you with his free spirit, that you may proceed and go forward in a Christian course unto the end.

Phil.

I pray you, good M. Theologus, pardon my boldnesse, for you see I have been very bold to propound many que­stions unto you, wherein you have fully satisfied me, to the great joy and comfort of my soule. I do therefore praise God [Page 423] for you, and I hope I shall never forget some things you have uttered. But I will now commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build us further.

Theol.

Farewell good Philagathus. The Lord blesse you and keepe you in all your wayes: and the God of heaven preserve us all, and continue us in his feare unto the end.

All glory be given to God.

A Table containing all the principall matters handled in this Booke, and directing to the Page where they are set down.

  • MAns naturall corruption. pag. 5
  • Mans misery in nature. pag. 6
  • Mans nature corrupted, but not destroy­ed, by Adams fall. ibid.
  • Some sparks of Gods image still remain after the fall. pag. 7
  • Man in the state of nature cannot do any thing that pleaseth God. pag. 8
  • Man naturally neither sees nor feeles his misery. ibid.
  • Man in nature is under the tyrannie of Satan, and curse of the Law. pag. 10
  • Man growne to yeeres, living and dying in the state of nature, perisheth for ever. pag. 12
  • Man continueth cursed till he be borne againe. ibid.
  • None can be saved but onely the Rege­nerate. ibid.
  • Regeneration, what. pag. 13
  • The quality of Regeneration. pag. 14
  • Remnants of sin after Regeneration. ibid.
  • Regeneration unperfect in this life. pag. 15
  • Meanes of Regeneration. pag. 24
  • Eight infallible signes of salvation. pag. 30
  • Eight signes of damnation. pag. 31
  • Nine manifest tokens of damnation. ib.
  • Pride described. pag. 33
  • [Page]Pride of gifts condemned. pag. 35
  • Pride in apparell condemned. pag. 42
  • Rules of the Word for apparel. pag. 52, 53, 54
  • Whoredome, and the dangers thereof. pag. 58
  • Excuses of whoredome. pag. 59
  • The fearfull effects of whoredome. pag. 60
  • The punishment of whoredome. pag. 61, 62
  • The causes of whoredome. pag. 65, 66
  • Remedies against whoredome. pag. 69
  • Covetousnesse, what. pag. 70
  • Covetousnesse, wherein it doth consist. ibid.
  • Foure notes to discerne the inward cove­tousnesse of the heart by. pag. 72
  • The evill effects of covetousnesse. pag. 74
  • The vanity of this world, and all world­ly things. pag. 77
  • Excuses of covetousnesse. pag. 94
  • Remedies against covetousness. pag. 101, 102
  • Gods providence for his children in the things of this life. pag. 103
  • For the things of this life, Gods blessing is all in all. pag. 119
  • Outward meanes alone doe not uphold us. pag. 120
  • Gods children sometimes are brought to great distresse. pag. 123
  • Gods children alwaies sure to be delive­red out of trouble. pag. 128
  • The great priviledges of Gods children. pag. 129
  • Contempt of the Gospel a grievous sin. pag. 135, 136
  • Contempt of the Gospel punished. pag. 137
  • [Page]Contempt of the Gospel the sin of this Age. pag. 138
  • Contempt of the Gospel a sure signe of wrath to the Land. pag. 147
  • Swearing, and the punishment thereof. pag. 154
  • Excuses for swearing. pag. 163
  • Causes of swearing. pag. 166
  • Remedies against swearing. pag. 167
  • Lying, flattering and dissembling. ibid.
  • Punishments for lying. pag. 175, 176
  • Excuses for lying. pag. 177
  • Causes of lying. pag. 178, 179
  • Remedies against lying. ibid.
  • Drunkennesse, and the evil effects there­of. pag. 110, 181
  • Excuses of drunkennesse. pag. 184
  • Causes of drunkennesse. pag. 185
  • Remedies of drunkennesse. ibid.
  • Idlenesse, and the wofull effects thereof. pag. 190
  • Causes of idlenesse. pag. 197
  • Remedies against idlenesse. ibid.
  • Oppression, a most horrible sin. pag. 198
  • Many woes denounced against oppres­sours. pag. 199
  • Sundry kinds of oppression. pag. 200, 201
  • Causes of oppression. pag. 215
  • Remedies of oppression. ibid.
  • Sinne hurts men in their bodies, goods, and name. pag. 216
  • Sinne brings great danger to the whole Land. pag. 224
  • Nine predictions of wrath to the [Page] Land. pag. 229
  • The prayers and teares of the faithfull keep back the wrath of God from the Land. pag. 322, 323
  • Prayers of the Elect of great force. ibid.
  • The wicked fare the better for Gods children. pag. 242
  • The best course to prevent Gods judge­ments, and to keep backe his wrath from our Land. pag. 244
  • Ten speciall things concerning the con­tinuance of our peace. pag. 250, 251
  • Nine signes of a sound soule. pag. 252
  • Saint Peters eight markes of salvation. ibid.
  • Seven infallible tokens of salvation. pag. 253
  • Assurance of salvation in this life pro­ved. pag. 254, 255
  • Objections against the assurance of sal­vation, answered. pag. 259
  • The ground-worke of our salvation. pag. 261
  • Some doubts may stand with the assu­rance of faith. pag. 262
  • It is no presumption to be perswaded of our salvation. pag. 265
  • The wicked cannot be assured of their salvation. pag. 266
  • The security of salvation which the wicked brag of, is vaine. pag. 267, 268
  • Nine things required of all that shall be saved by Christ. pag. 271, 272
  • Many say they hope to be saved [Page] by Christ, but few can give a reason why Christ died for them particularly, and by name. pag. 273
  • Few shall be saved, proved by Scriptures, reasons, and examples. pag. 277, 278
  • But few, even in the visible Church, shall be saved. pag. 284
  • Objections against the small number of the Elect answered. pag. 285
  • Objections of Atheists and unbeleevers answered. pag. 286
  • Reading of the Scriptures much com­mended. pag. 294
  • Deferring of repenting dangerous. pag. 299
  • God no Authour of mans condemnati­on, but himselfe. pag. 300
  • Objections against Predestination an­swered. pag. 301, 302
  • Gods decree no cause of Adams fall. pag. 305
  • The decree of reprobation proved. pag. 306
  • Prescience in God, what. pag. 307
  • The decree of election proved. pag. 308
  • The first motive of election is in God himselfe. pag. 309
  • Fore-seen faith and fore-seen workes no motives of salvation. ibid.
  • Faith dependeth upon election, not ele­ction upon faith. pag. 311
  • A reason yeelded why there is no end of cavilling and objecting against the truth. pag. 315
  • Nine bars out of heaven. pag. 316
  • Nine gates into hell. ibid.
  • The ignorance of the world. pag. 32 [...]
  • [Page]The answers of ignorant men to the grounds of religion. pag. 334
  • The meanes to get out of ignorance. pag. 346, 347
  • Ignorance a most dangerous thing. pag. 348
  • The charge of Ministers exceeding weighty, and most carefully to be looked unto. pag. 353
  • What is the best course for Ministers to take to bring the people out of igno­rance. pag. 357
  • What is the best course for the people to take, that they may be brought out of the bondage of sinne, and captivity of Sathan. pag. 358, 359
  • Preaching a matter of absolute necessity unto eternall life. pag. 363
  • Without preaching the people are in great danger of losing their souls. pag. 364
  • Satans cunning in frustrating the hearing of the Word, and making all preach­ing utterly unprofitable. pag. 365
  • The Preachers counsell to the ignorant man. pag. 367
  • Six great dangers of sin. pag. 368
  • Six most fearfull events of sin. pag. 369
  • God in all ages hath severely punished the transgressors of his Law. pag. 370, 371
  • Every sin, though never so little in our eyes, is hainous and capitall, because it is against a person of infinite Ma­jesty. pag. 371
  • Nine profitable considerations. pag. 372
  • If men would leave words, and fall to [Page] doing, great good would come of it. pag. 374
  • Nine things much to be thought upon. pag. 376
  • The description of Christs comming to judgment. pag. 376, 377
  • The terror, the suddennesse, the end, the manner, and the use of Christs second coming described. pag. 378, 379
  • The torments of hell, with the extremity, perpetuity, and remedilesnesse thereof, described. pag. 389
  • The ignorant man upon the hearing of the day of judgement and hell fire laid open, is pricked in his conscience, be­wailes his former life, repents earnest­ly for his sin and ignorance, and de­sires spirituall physicke and comfort of the Preacher. pag. 398
  • The Preacher ministers unto him much spirituall comfort, and doth in ample manner lay open unto him all the sweet promises of the Gospel, and the infinite mercy of God, in Christ, to all true penitent and broken-hearted sinners. pag. 402, 403
  • The ignorant man being afflicted in his conscience, is exceedingly comforted with the hearing of Gods abundant mercy preached unto him, and there­upon gathers great inward peace, converts unto God with all his heart, and exceedingly blesseth God for the Preachers counsell. pag. 422
FINIS.

A Morning Prayer to be used in pri­vate Families.

O Lord our God, and heaven­ly Father, we thy unwor­thy children do here come into thy most holy and heavenly presence, to give thee praise and glory for all thy great mercies and manifold blessings toward us, especially for that thou hast preserved us this night past from all the dangers and fears thereof, hast given us quiet rest to our bodies, and brought us now safely to the beginning of this day, and dost now afresh renew all thy mercies upon us, as the Eagle reneweth her bill; gi­ving us all things abundantly to enjoy, as food, raiment, health, peace, liberty, and freedome from many miseries, dis­eases, casualties, and calamities which we are subject to in this life every minute of an houre: and not onely so, but also for vouchsafing unto us many good things, not onely for necessity, but even for de­light also. But above all (dear Father) wee praise thy name for the blessings of a better life, especially for thy most holy Word and Sacraments, and all the good wee enjoy thereby; for the continuance of the Gospel amongst us, for the death of thy Sonne, and all that happinesse [Page] which wee have thereby; also because thou hast chosen us to life before wee were, and that of thy meere goodnesse and undeserved favour toward us; and hast called us in thine appointed time, justified us by thy grace, and sanctified us by thy Spirit, and adopted us to be thine owne children, and heires apparent to the great Crowne. O Lord, open our eyes every day more and more, to see and consider of thy great and marvel­lous love to us in all these things; that by the due consideration thereof, our hearts may be drawne yet neerer unto thee, even more to love thee, feare thee, and obey thee: that as thou art enlar­ged towards us in mercy, so we may be enlarged towards thee in thanksgiving: and as thou dost abound towards us in goodnesse, so we may abound towards thee in obedience and love. And sith (deare Father) thou art never weary of doing us good, notwithstanding all our unworthinesse and naughtinesse, there­fore let the consideration of thy great mercy and fatherly kindnesse towards us, even as it were force our hearts, and compell us to come into thy most glori­ous presence, with new songs of thanks­giving in our mouthes. Wee pray thee (O most mercifull God) to forgive all our unthankfulnesse, unkindnesse, pro­fanenesse, and great abusing of all thy mercies, and especially our abuse and [Page] contempt of thy Gospel, together with all other the sinnes of our life, which we confesse are innumerable, and more then can be reckoned up, both in omission of good things, and commission of evill. We most humbly entreat thee to set them all over to the reckoning which thy Son Christ hath made up for them upon his Crosse, and never to lay any of them to our charge, but freely forget all, and for­give all. Naile down all our sinnes and iniquities to the Crosse of Christ, bury them in his death, bathe them in his bloud, hide them in his wounds, let them never rise up in judgement against us. Set us free of the miseries that are upon us for sin, and keep back the judgements to come, both of soule, body, goods, and good name. Be reconciled unto us in thy deare Sonne concerning all matters past, not once remembring or repeating unto us our old and abominable iniqui­ties, but accept us as righteous in him, imputing his righteousnesse to us, and our sins to him. Let his righteousnesse satisfie thy justice for all our unrighte­ousnesse, his obedience for our disobedi­ence, his perfection for our imperfecti­on. Moreover, wee humbly beseech thy good Majesty to give us the true sight and feeling of our manifold sins, that we may not be blinded in them through de­light, or hardened in them through cu­stome, as the reprobates are: but that we [Page] may be even weary of them, and much grieved for them, labouring and striving by all possible meanes to get out of them. Good Father, touch our hearts with true repentance for all sinne. Let not us take any delight or pleasure in a­ny sinne, but howsoever we fall through frailty (as wee fall often) let us never fall finally, let us never lye downe in sin, nor continue in sin: but let us get up on our feet againe, and turne to thee with all our hearts, and seek thee whilest thou maist be found, and whilest thou dost offer grace and mercy unto us. O Lord, increase in us that true and lively faith, whereby wee may lay sure hold on thy Sonne Christ, and rest upon his merits altogether. Give us faith assuredly to beleeve all thy great and precious pro­mises made in the Gospel, and streng­then us from above to walk and abound in all the true and sound fruits of faith. Let us walke, not after the flesh, but after the spirit. Let us feele the power of thy Sonnes death killing sin in our mortall bodies, and the power of his re­surrection raising us up to newnesse of life. Let us grow daily in the sanctifica­tion of the Spirit, and the mortification of the flesh. Let us live holily, justly, and soberly in this present evill world, shewing forth the vertues of thee in all our particular actions, that wee may a­dorne our most holy profession, and [Page] shine as lights in the midst of a crooked and froward generation amongst whom wee live, being gainfull to all by our lives and conversation, and offensive to none. To this end wee pray thee fill us with thy Spirit, and all spirituall graces, as love, wisdome, patience, contentment, meeknesse, humility, temperance, chasti­tie, kindnesse, and affability, and stirre us up to use prayer and watchfulnesse, reading and meditation in thy Law, and all other good meanes whereby wee may grow and abound in all heavenly ver­tues. Blesse us in the use of the meanes from day to day, make us such as thou wouldest have us to be, and such as wee desire to be: worke in us both will and deed, purpose and power: For thou, O Lord, art all in all, thou wilt have mer­cie upon whom thou wilt have mercie, and whom thou wilt thou hardenest. Have mercy upon us therefore (deare Fa­ther) and never leave us to our selves, nor to our owne wills, lusts, and desires, but assist us with thy good Spirit, that we may continue to the end in a righteous course; that so at length wee may be re­ceived into glory, and be partakers of that immortall Crowne which thou hast laid up for all that love thee, and truly call upon thee.

Further, wee intreat thee, O heaven­ly Father, to give us all things necessa­ry for this life: as food, raiment, health, [Page] peace, liberty, and such freedome from those manifold miseries which we lie open unto every day, as thou seest meet. Blesse unto us all the meanes which thou hast put into our hands for the sustenance of this fraile life. Blesse our flocke and store, corne and cattell, trades and occupations, and all workes of our hands: for thy blessing onely makes rich, and it bringeth no sorrowes with it. Give us therefore such a com­petencie and sufficiencie of these out­ward blessings, as thou in thy heavenly wisdome seest most needfull for us. Moreover, wee humbly beseech thee (most loving Father) in great mercie looke downe from Heaven upon thy whole Church, and every member of it. Be favourable unto Sion, and build up the walls of Jerusalem. Behold with the eye of pitie, the great ruines and desolation of thy Church. Heale up the wounds, and make up the breaches thereof in all Nations. Regard it as thine own flocke, tender it as thine own family, dresse it as thine owne Vineyard, love it as thine owne Spouse. Thinke thoughts of peace to it, and alwayes looke upon it in deep compassion. Blesse it with thy grace, guide it with thy Spirit, and defend it still with thy mighty power: scatter the devices, con­sound the counsels, and overthrow the forces of all that fight against it. Spe­cially [Page] wee intreat thee, deare Father, to set thy selfe against that Antichrist of Rome, that man of perdition, which setteth himselfe against thee, and against all thy people. In thine appointed time wee pray thee give him a deadly down­fall: Beat downe all his power and au­thority daily more and more; give free passage to thy Gospel in all Kingdomes, that Babylon may fall, and never rise up againe. The more the favourites and adherents of Rome labour to uphold their Idolatrous Kingdome, the more let it fall downe, even as Dagon before the presence of thine Arke. Poure downe the Vials of the fulnesse of thy wrath upon the Kingdomes of the Beast; and let their riches, wealth, credit and au­thority dry up every day more and more, as the river Euphrates. Let it pitie thee, O Father, to see thine owne Spouse sit as a deformed and forlorne woman here below, weeping and mourning with her haire about her necke, having lost all her beauty and comelinesse: Cheere her up (deare Father) glad her with the joy of thy countenance, and so decke her, and trim her up, that thou maist delight in her as a Bridegroome in his Bride. Specially wee intreat thee have mercie upon thy Church in this Land: intend good unto us, and not evill: Give us not over into the hands of our cruell enemies, as our sinnes have deserved. [Page] Scatter we pray thee, O Lord, the devi­ces, and breake the plots of all such as have plotted the overthrow and utter subversion of this Church and Com­mon-wealth. Blesse this Church more and more with the continuance of true Religion amongst us: for thy great Names sake, and infinite mercies sake, deale graciously and favourably with us and our posterity. Turne from us that vengeance which is due unto us for our sinnes. For thou seest how iniquity prevaileth, and the wicked goe away with the goale. Atheisme over-spreadeth every where, and Popery seemeth to get a head againe. Now therefore (deare Father) we most humbly beseech thee to take order speedily for the remedying and repressing of these manifold disor­ders and grievous enormities that are amongst us. Be intreated of thy poore children to be good to this English Nation. Heare the cries of thine E­lect: heare the mourning of them that mourne in Sion. Let the cries of thy children cry downe all the cries of the sins of the Land, and be reconciled unto us in the multitude of thy com­passions; that so thou maist still con­tinue a most mercifull protectour of this thine English Vineyard. Wee pray thee (good Father) shew speciall mercy to our most Noble and gracious King Charles, thine anointed Servant, blesse [Page] him and keep him in all his wayes, blesse his government unto us. Let thine Angels encamp about him, and let thy holy hand be alwayes over him keep him from treasons, and deliver him from the treacheries of his ene­mies: give him to see what belongs to his peace, and give [...] a heart earnest­ly bent to set upon the practice of the same: give him all graces necessary for his place, and necessary for his salvation: continue his government peaceable and prosperous amongst us: and as thou hast made him the breath of our nostrils, and a gracious instru­ment for the saving of many thousand soules, so let his owne soule be saved in the day of thy Sonne Christ. Blesse his Majesties most honourable privie Counsellours, and give such good suc­cesse unto all their counsels and po­licies in matters of State, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godlinesse and honesty. Blesse all the Nobility, worke in them a care to glorifie thy Name in their places; make them faithfull to thee, and faithfull to the Land. Direct with thy good Spirit all such as beare the sword of Justice, that they may draw it out to punish the wicked, and to defend the godly, and that they may with all good care and conscience discharge the duties of their places. Increase the number of faithfull [Page] and zealous Ministers in this Church. Send thy Gospel to those places where it is not, and blesse it where it is. Remem­ber them in thy mercy, O Lord, that are under any crosse or affliction whatsoe­ver: be comfortable unto them, heale up their wounds, bind up their sores, put all their teares into [...] bottle, and make their bed in all their sorrowes, and put such a good end to all their troubles, that they may redound to thy glory, and the furtherance of their owne salvation. In the meane time give them patience and constancie to beare whatsoever it shall please thy mercifull hand to lay upon them. Last of all, in a word, wee pray the [...] blesse the Magistracie, Ministry, and Commonalty. Blesse all the people, doe good to all that are true and upright in their hearts. And so (deare Father) we do commit and command our selves, our soules and bodies into thy hands, for this day and the rest of our life, praying thee to take care and charge of us. Keep us from all evill, watch over us for our good, let thine Angels encamp about us, let thy holy hand be over us, and keep us in all our waies, that we may live to thy praise and glory here on earth, keeping faith and a good conscience in all our actions; that after this life wee may be crowned of thee for ever in thy King­dome. Grant these things (good Fa­ther) to us here present, and to all thine [Page] absent, praying thee in speciall favour to remember an our friends and kins­folkes in the flesh, all our good neigh­bours and well-willers, and all those for whom wee are bound to pray, by na­ture, by deserts, or any duty whatsoever, for Jesus Christs sake our onely Media­tour: to whom, with thee, and the holy Ghost, be given all praise and glory, both now and for evermore, Amen.

An Evening Prayer to be used in pri­vate Families.

O Eternall God, and our most loving and deare Fa­ther, wee thy unworthy children do here fall down at the foot of thy great Majesty, acknowledging from our hearts that we are altogether unworthy to come neere thee, or to look towards thee, be­cause thou art a God of infinite glory, and wee are most vile & abominable sin­ners, such as were conceived and borne in sin and corruption, and such as have inherited our Fathers corruptions, and al­so have actually transgressed all thy holy Statutes and Lawes, both in thoughts, words, and deeds, before wee knew thee and since, secretly and openly, with our selves and with others, our particular sins are moe then can be numbred; for who knoweth how often hee offendeth? but this wee must needs confesse against our selves, that our hearts are full of pride, covetousnesse, and the love of this world, full of wrath, anger, and impatience, full of lying, dissembling, and deceiving, full of vanity, hardnesse, and profanenesse, full of infidelity, distrust, and selfe-love, full of lust, uncleannesse, and all abomi­nable [Page] desires: yea, our hearts are the very sinkes of sinne, and dunghils of all filthi­nesse. And besides all this, we doe omit the good things we should doe: for there are in us great wants of faith, of love, of zeale, of patience, of contentment, and of every good grace; so as thou hast just cause to proceed to sentence of judgment against us, as most damnable transgres­sours of all thy holy commandements, yea, such as are sunk in our rebellions, and have many times and often committed high treason against thy Majestie; and therefore thou maist justly cast us all downe into Hell fire, there to be tormen­ted with Sathan and his Angels for ever. And wee have nothing to except against thy Majesty for so doing, sith therin thou shouldest deale with us but according to equity, and our just deserts. Wherefore, deare Father, wee doe appeale from thy justice to thy mercy, most humbly in­treating thee to have mercy upon us, and freely to forgive us all our sinnes past whatsoever, both new and old, secret and open, knowne and unknowne, and that for Jesus Christs sake our onely Mediatour. And wee pray thee touch our hearts with true griefe, and un­feigned repentance for them▪ that they may be a matter of continuall sor­row and heart-smart unto us, so as nothing may grieve us more then this, that wee have offended thee, be [...]ng [Page] our speciall friend and Father: Give us therefore (deare Father) every day more and more sight and feeling of our sinnes, with true humiliation under the same. Give us also that true and lively faith, whereby we may lay sure hold on thy Son Christ, and all his merits, applying the same to our owne soules; so as we may stand fully perswaded, that whatsoever hee hath done upon the Crosse, hee hath done for us particularly as well as for others. Give us faith (good Father) con­stantly to beleeve all the sweet promises of the Gospel, touching remission of sin, and eternall life, made in thy Sonne Christ. O Lord increase our faith, that wee may altogether rest upon thy promi­ses, which are all Yea and Amen. Yea, that wee may settle our selves, and all that wee have wholly upon them; both our soules, bodies, goods, names, wives, children, and our whole estate: know­ing that all things depend upon thy pro­mises, power, and providence, and that thy Word doth support and beare up the whole order of nature. Moreover, we en­treat thee, O Lord, to strengthen us from above, to walke in every good way, and to bring forth the fruits of true faith in all our particular actions, studying to please thee in all things, and to be fruit­full in good workes, that wee may shew forth unto all men by our good conver­sation whose children we are: and that [Page] we may adorne and beautifie our most holy profession, by walking in a Christi­an course, and in all the sound fruits and practice of godlinesse and true reli­gion. To this end we pray thee sanctifie our hearts by thy Spirit yet more and more: sanctifie our soules and bodies, and all our corrupt naturall faculties, as reason, understanding, will, and affecti­ons, so as they may be fitted for thy wor­ship and service, taking a delight and pleasure therein. Stirre us up to use pray­er, watchfulnesse, reading, meditation in thy Law, and all other good meanes, whereby wee may profit in grace and goodnesse from day to day. Blesse us in the use of the meanes, that we may daily dye to sinne, and live to righteousnesse: draw us yet neerer unto thee, helpe us against our manifold wants. Amend our great imperfections, renew us inwardly more and more, repaire the ruines of our hearts, aide us against the remnants of sin. Enlarge our hearts to run the way of thy Commandements, direct all our steps in thy Word, let none iniquity have dominion over us. Assist us against our speciall infirmities and master-sins, that we may get the victory over them all, to thy glory, and the great peace and com­fort of our owne consciences. Strengthen us, good Father, by thy grace and holy Spirit, against the common corruptions of the world, as pride, whoredome, co­vetousnesse, [Page] contempt of thy Gospel, swearing, lying, dissembling, and decei­ving. O deare Father, let us not be over­come of these filthy vices, nor any other sinfull pleasures & fond delights, where­with thousands are carried head-long to destruction. Arme our soules against all the temptations of this world, the flesh, and the Divell, that wee may overcome them all through thy help, and keep on the right way to life; that wee may live in thy feare, and dye in thy favour; that our last dayes may be our best dayes, and that wee may end in great peace of con­science. Furthermore, deare Father, we intreat thee not onely for our selves, but for all our good brethren, thy deare children, scattered over the face of the whole earth, most humbly beseeching thee to blesse all them, to cheere them up, and glad them with the joy of thy countenance, both now and alwayes. Guide them all in thy feare, and keep them from evill, that they may praise thy Name. In these dangerous dayes, and declining times, wee pray thee, O Lord, raise up nursing Fathers and nur­sing Mothers unto thy Church. Raise up also faithfull Pastours, that thy cause may be carried forward, Truth may pre­vaile, Religion may prosper, thy Name onely may be set up in the earth, thy Sons Kingdome advanced, and thy will accomplished. Set thy selfe against all [Page] adversary power, especially that of Rome, Antichrist, Idolatry, and A­theisme; curse and crosse all their coun­sels, frustrate their devices, scatter their forces, overthrow their armies. When they are most wise, let them be most foolish: when they are most strong, let them be most weake. Let them know that there is no wisdome nor coun­sell, power nor policie, against thee the Lord of hosts. Let them know that Israel hath a God, and that thou which art called Jehovah art the onely Ruler over all the world. Arise there­fore, O most mighty God, and maintain thine owne cause against all thine ene­mies, smite thorow all their loines, and bow downe their backes: yea, let them all be confounded and turned back­ward that beare ill will unto Sion. Let the patient abiding of the righteous be joy, and let the wicked be disappointed of their hope. But of all favour wee in­treat thee, O Lord, to shew speciall mer­cie to thy Church in this Land wherein wee live. Continue thy Gospel a­mongst us yet with greater successe, purge thy House daily more and more, take away all things that offend. Let this Nation still be a place where thy Name may be called upon, and an har­bour for thy Saints. Shew mercy to our posterity, deare Father, and have care of them, that thy Gospel may be left unto [Page] them as a most holy inheritance. De­fend us against forraigne invasion, keep out Idolatry and Popery from amongst us. Turne from us those plagues which our sins cry for. For the sins of this Land are exceeding great, horrible, and out­rageous, and give thee just cause to make us spectacles of thy vengeance to all Na­tions, that by how much the more thou hast lifted us up in great mercy and long peace, by so much the more thou shouldest presse us downe in great wrath and long warre. Therefore, deare Father, woe most humbly intreat thee, for thy great Names sake, and for thy infinite mercies sake, that thou wouldest be re­conciled to this Land, and discharge it of all the horrible sins thereof. Drown them, O Lord, in thy infinite mercy through Christ, as it were in a bottomlesse gulfe, that they may never rise up in judgement against us. For although our sins be ex­ceeding many and fearfull, yet thy mer­cie is farre greater. For thou art infinite in mercy, but wee cannot be infinite in sinning. Give us not over into the hands of the Idolaters, lest they should blaspheme thy Name, and say, Where is their God in whom they trusted? But rather, deare Father, take us into thine owne hands, and correct us according to thy wisdome: for with thee is mercie and deep compassion. Moreover, wee most heartily beseech thy good Majestie [Page] to blesse our most gracious Soveraigne King Charles, Queene Mary, Prince Charles, and the rest of the Royall Proge­nie. We beseech thee also to blesse his Majesties most honourable privie Coun­sellors, counsell them from above, let them take advice of thee in all things, that they may both consult and resolve of such courses as may be most for thy glory, the good of the Church, and peace of this our Common-wealth. Blesse the Nobility, and all the Magistrates of the Land, giving them all grace to execute judgement and justice, and to maintaine truth and equitie. Blesse all the faithfull Ministers of the Gospel, increase the number of them, increase thy gifts in them, and so blesse all their labours in their severall places and congregations, that they all may be instruments of thy hand to enlarge thy Sons Kingdome, and to win many unto thee. Comfort the comfortlesse with all needfull comforts. Forget none of thine that are in trou­ble, but as their afflictions are, so let the joyes and comforts of thy Spirit be unto them, and so sanctifie unto all thine their afflictions and troubles, that they may tend to thy glory, and their owne good. Give us thankfull hearts for all thy mercies both spirituall and corporall, for thou art very mercifull unto us in the things of this life, and infinitely more mercifull in the things of a better [Page] life. Let us deeply ponder and weigh all thy particular favours toward us, that by the due consideration thereof our hearts may be gained yet neerer unto thee, and that therefore we may both love and obey thee, because thou art so kind and loving unto us: that even thy love towards us may draw our love towards thee, and that because mercy is with thee thou maist be feared. Grant these things, good Father, and all other needfull gra­ces for our soules or bodies, or any of thine throughout the whole world, for Jesus Christs sake: in whose Name wee further call upon thee as he hath taught us in his Gospel, saying, Our Father which art in Heaven, &c.

A Prayer to be used at any time, by one alone privately.

O Lord my God and heavenly Fa­ther, I thy most unworthy childe do here in thy sight freely confesse that I am a most sinfull creature, and dam­nable transgressour of all thy holy Lawes and Commandements: that as I was born and bred in sin, and stain­ed in the womb, so have I continually brought forth the corrupt and ugly fruits of that infection and contagion, wherein I was first conceived, both in thoughts, words, and workes: If I should goe about to reckon up my par­ticular offences, I knew not where to begin, or where to make an end. For they are more then the haires of my head; yea, far more then I can possi­bly feele or know. For who knoweth the height and depth of his corrupti­on? Who knoweth how oft he offend­eth? Thou only, O Lord, knowest my sins, who knowest my heart; nothing is hid from thee: thou knowest what I have been, and what I am: yea, my conscience doth accuse mee of many and grievous evils, and I doe daily feele by wofull experience how fraile I am, how prone to evill, and how untoward unto all goodnesse. [Page] My mind is full of vanity, my heart full of profanenesse, mine affections full of deadnesse, dulnesse, drowsinesse in matters of thy worship and service: Yea, my whole soule is full of spiritu­all blindnesse, hardnesse, unprofitable­nesse, coldnesse, and security. And in very deed, I am altogether a lump of sin, and a masse of all misery, and there­fore I have forfeited thy favour, in­curred thy high displeasure, and have given thee just cause to frowne upon me, to give me over, and leave me to mine own corrupt will and affections. But (O my deare Father) I have learned from thy mouth that thou art a God full of mercy, slow to wrath, of great compassion and kindnesse to­wards all such as groane under the burthen of their sins. Therefore ex­tend thy great mercy towards me poor sinner, and give me a generall pardon for all mine offences whatsoever: seale it in the bloud of thy Son, and seale it to my conscience by thy Spirit, assu­ring me more and more of thy love and favour towards me, and that thou art a reconciled Father unto me. Grant that I may all time to come love thee much, because much is given, and of very love feare thee, and obey thee. O Lord, increase my faith, that I may stedfastly beleeve all the promises of the Gospel made in thy Son Christ, and [Page] rest upon them altogether. Enable me to bring forth the sound fruits of faith and repentance in all my particular actions. Fill my soule full of joy and peace in beleeving. Fill me full of in­ward comfort and spirituall strength against all temptations: give me yet a greater feeling of thy love and mani­fold mercies towards me; work in my soule a love of thy Majesty, a zeale of thy glory, and hatred of evill, and a desire of all good things. Give mee victory over those sinnes which thou knowest are strongest in me. Act me once at last make a conquest of the world and the flesh. Mortifie in mee whatsoever is carnall: sanctifie mee throughout by thy Spirit: knit my heart to thee for ever, that I may feare thy Name: renue in mee the Image of thy Son Christ daily more and more. Give mee a delight in the reading and meditation of thy Word. Let me rejoyce in the publike Mini­stery thereof. Let me love and reve­rence all the faithfull Ministers of thy Gospel. Sanctifie their doctrines to my conscience, seale them in my soule, write them in my heart; give me a soft and melting heart, that I may tremble at thy words, and be al­wayes much affected with godly Ser­mons. Let not my sins hold back thy mercies from me, nor mine unworthi­nesse [Page] stop the passage of thy grace. O­pen mine eyes to see the great won­ders of thy Law. Reveale thy secrets unto me: be open-hearted toward mee thy unworthy servant. Hide nothing from me that may make for thy glory, and the good of my soule. Blesse all meanes unto me which thou usest for my good. Blesse all holy instructions unto my soule. Blesse me at all times, both in hearing and reading thy Word. Give me the right use of all thy mer­ci [...] and corrections, that I may be the better for them. Let me abound in love to thy children. Let my heart be very neerly knit unto them, that where thou lovest most, there I may love most also. Let me watch and pray, that I enter not into temptation: give mee patience and contentment in all things. Let me love thee more and more, and the worldlesse and lesse. So draw my mind upward, that I may despise all transitory things. Let mee be so rapt and ravished with the sight and feeling of Heavenly things, that I may make a base reckoning of all earthly things. Let me use this world as though I used it not. Let me use it but for necessity, as meat and drinke. Let me not be carried away with the vaine pleasures and fond delights thereof. Good Father, worke the good worke in me, and never leave [Page] mee nor forsake mee till thou hast brought mee to true happinesse. Oh deare Father, make mee faithfull in my calling, that I may serve thee in it, and be alwayes carefull to doe what good I may in any thing. Blesse me in my outward estate. Blesse my soule, body, goods, and name. Blesse all that belong unto mee. Blesse my goings out and comings in. Let thy countenance be lifted up upon mee now and alwayes, cheere me up with the joyes and comforts of thy Spirit: make me thankfull for all thy mercies. For I must needs confesse that thou art very kind to mee in all things. For in thee I live, move, and have my being; of thee I have my welfare and good being; thou art a daily friend and speciall good benefa­ctour unto mee. I live at thy cost and charges, I hold all of thee in chiefe, and I find that thou art never weary of doing me good: thy goodnesse towards me is unchangeable. Oh, I can never be thankfull enough unto thee for all thy mercies both spirituall and corpo­rall. But in such measure as I am able I praise thy Name for all, beseech­ing thee to accept of my thanksgi­ving in thy Son Christ; and to give me a profitable use of all thy favours, that thereby my heart may be fully drawne unto thee: give me, O Father, [Page] to be of such a good nature and disposi­tion, that I may be won by gentlenes [...] and faire meanes, as much as if thou gavest me many lashes. Pardon all mine unthankfulnesse, unkindnesse, and great abusing of thy mercies, and give me grace to use them more to thy glory in all time to come. Strengthen me, deare Father, thus to continue praising and glorifying thy Name here upon earth, that after this life I may be crowned of thee for ever in thy Kingdome. Grant these petitions, most mercifull God, not onely to mee, but to all thy deare children through­out the whole world, for Iesus Christs sake: in whose name I doe further call upon thee, saying as he hath taught mee; O our Father, which art in Heaven, &c.

FINIS.

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