The slug or snaile, puts out the tender horne to feele for lets in the way, and puls them in where there is no cause; so doe the fearfull that shall be without: but zeale either findes no dangers, or makes them none; it neither feares to doe well, or to reproove ill doers, let who so will be displeased.

Some indeed care not whome they offend, they are so harsh and fiery, they can beare with nothing.

[Sidenote: 9 Object.]

Will true Christianity allow us to beare with any sinne?

[Sidenote: Answer.]

Can tinne, or hot iron choose but hisse againe, if cold water be cast on it? can a righteous soul choose but vexe it selfe at open evill? Such Ostriches as can digest oathes, prophane and filthie speeches, shew what mettle they have for the Lord of hosts; who yet will be ready enough to offer the challenge, or stab, for the least disgrace to themselves, or their mistresse: _Phineas_ had rather, if it were lawfull, fight in G.o.ds quarrels then his owne.

[Sidenote: 10 Object.]

All are not by nature of so hot dispositions, or so fiery-spirited, as others.

[Sidenote: Answer.]

If there bee such a dull flegmaticke creature as hath no life nor spirite in any thing hee goes about, or whome nothing will moove; hee may plead complexion, and yet grace is above nature: but the best way is; See every man compare his devotion in matters of G.o.d, with his spirits and mettle in other affayres, wherein his element or delight lies; if the one equall not the other, the fault is not in nature: the oldest man hath memory enough for his gold, and the coldest const.i.tution heate enough where it likes.

[Sidenote: 11 Object.]

Well, our harts may bee as good as the best though we cannot shew it.

[Sidenote: Answer.]

Fire cannot be long smothered, it will either finde a vent, or goe out; zeale will either finde word, or deede, to expresse it selfe withall.

[Sidenote: 12 Object.]

All have not the gift of utterance.

[Sidenote: Answer.]

Violent affections have made the dumbe to finde a tongue; If it be lowe water the mille may stand; but aboundance of heart will set the wheeles on going What earnest discourses will unlearned Mariners make of their voiages? Huntsmen of their game, &c.

[Sidenote: 13 Object.]

All have not ability and meanes: many have great charges.

[Sidenote: Answer.]

Love and zeale are munificent, make money their servant, not their master: wheresoever the heart is enlarged, the hand cannot bee straightned; where the bowells are open, the purse is not shut. _Herod_ for his pleasure, cares not for halfe his kingdome; what will not some Gentle-men give for hawks and hounds? not onely the poore woman that spent the rich oyntment on Christ, the widow that gave all her substance, the converts that solde all, and threw all at the feet of the Apostles, but even the bounty of the superst.i.tious Papists shall rise in judgement against such as professe a religion, wil give it good words & countenance; but bee at no cost with it, and know a cheaper way to save charge withall.

[Sidenote: 14 Object.]

All have not so much leisure to spend, so much time and study, about matters of religion, they have somewhat else to doe.

[Sidenote: Answer.]

There are indeede many vanities, which distract and divide the minde of worldlings; but zeale counts one thing needefull, to which it makes all other veile and stand by. Is there any so good an husband of his time, that will not steale some houre for his pleasure; that cannot spare his G.o.d and his soule halfe an houre, morning and evening; that bestowes not idly, as much time as a Sermon or two would take upp in the weeke? The soule I confesse hath his satiety, as well as the body; but why should we sit on thornes, more at a Sermon then at a Play; thinke the Saboths longer then holi-daies; but for want of zeale? If thou beest not a vaine and willing deceiver of thy selfe, and others; deale honestly & plainly with thy soule, try thy selfe by these few rules; and if thou judgest thy selfe to come short of them, amend and _be Zealous_.

_The sixt part._

Which little round fire-ball comming to hand, as _Davids_ small stone, by ordinary lot, knowing the insufficiency of mine owne; I pray that G.o.d with his arme would scatter it farre and wide into those wilde parts of the world without the pale of Christendome, which lie so frozen and benummed in their Paganisme, that they feele not the coldnesse of their religions; as also in those regions that being within the Tropickes of the Church, have just so much, and so little heat, as to thinke they have enough, and neede no more: Cheefly mine affections burne within mee for the good of mine owne Nation, for which I would I had but so much zeale as truely to wish my selfe _Anathema_, upon condition it had heat sutable to the light. For I must beare it record, it hath knowledge, I would I could say, according to zeale. But the spirit, knowing that which is spoken to all to bee in effect as spoken to none, directs mee what I should speake to Churches, to speake to particular Angels. Now the princ.i.p.all in our Church, under that Archangell of the covenant, I most willingly acknowledge to bee my Lord the King, as an Angell of light. And why not that very Angell, who by his writing hath begunne to powre out the fift viall upon the throne of the beast, darkned his Kingdome, caused them to gnaw their tongues for greefe, and blaspheme for the smart of their wounds; though as yet they will not repent of their errours? The Lord annoynt him more and more with this oyle above all the Princes of the earth, that from his head, it may runne downe upon our skirts; make him shine in zeale above all other starres, to the warming & enlightning of this whole Horizon; set him up as a standard for his people; cloath him with zeale, as with a cloake, to recompence the fury of the adversaries, that he may strike the Aramites, not three but five times till they be consumed; that he may put the Ammonites under the yron sawes, harrowes, axes, which have provoked him as much, as ever they did _David_, 2. Sam. 12. But yet as in the time of the old Testament the custody of the fire and light was the charge of the Priest; so here I observe Christ to lay it upon his Ministers, interpreting his rule by his practise, _Tell the church, Tell the Angell of the Church_; honouring that despised office, with that stately stile; intimating the union betwene People and Minister, that they should bee as one: what is spoken to the one, is spoken to the other; not as some, that ever make Clergy and Layty two members, in division and opposition; neither yet as some spirites that lay all level, but implying a property, especially in grace and zeale in the Ministers, whom the Preacher calls the master of the a.s.semblies; that they should exceede as farre the people, as Angels doe men, and that he will reckon with them for the religion of the people, because colde Priests make bolde sinners; zealous _Jehoiada_ may mak _Jehoash_ the King zealous, so long as hee lives with him. Wee therefore men and brethren, or rather men and Angels, upon whom it lies to keepe life and heat in the devotion of the world, to consume the drosse of vices and heresies, that have fallen into the sinke of our times; wee that are to make ready our people for the second comming of Christ, is the spirit of _Ely_ thinke wee sufficient for us? What manner of persons ought we to bee, burning in spirit, fervent in prayer, thundring in preaching, shining in life and conversation? Why is it then my brethren (oh let my plainest rebukes bee the fruits and signes of my best love to mine owne Tribe; let them not bee as breakings of the head, but as precious balme to those whose honour with the people, I preferre to my life) why is it that some of us pray so rarely and so coldly in private (the evills of our times will not out but by frequent fasting and fervent prayer) in publique so briefly, so perfunctorily, and feebly, that wee scarce have any witnesses of what wee say? Why are there yet remaining any Mutes amongst us? Why are ther any tounges that dare speake against often or zealous preaching? Doth not _Paul_ adjure us before him that shall judge the elect Angels, that we preach instantly, in season, and out of season? Reade wee the commentaries of that text, or let the practise of Ancients expound it; and tell mee if ever old or new interpreted that charge, of bare reading, of quarterly, or monethly, yea, or of once on the Sabbath preaching onely, as if that were fully sufficient, without endeavoring or desiring any more. If alwaies often preaching bee prating, what meant the practise I say, not onely of _Calvin_, and _Beza_ but of _Chrysostome_, _Basil_, _Ambrose_ with other of the Fathers, preaching every day in the weeke, some of them twise in the weeke, none of them so seldome, as such would bear the world in hand.

What meant sundry ancient Councells, (the eleventh of _Tolet_ in Spaine) yea even of Trent it selfe, to excite the torpor of the Bishoppes of their times, as their Canons speake, enjoyning frequent preaching, calling for more then almost any man is able to performe?

But heere I may turne reprooving into rejoycing, that preaching is growne in any better fashion and grace with our times, by royall and reverend, both examples and countenance: only I wish that every _Archippus_ may fulfill his Ministery, be instant and constant in preaching. _Salomon_ the older, and wiser hee grew, the more hee taught the people, sharpened his goads, and fastned his nails; whereas many amongst us are so wise in their youth, as to affect the foolishnes of preaching; but in their dotage, Ease slayes the foole; when the doore is oyled, it leaves creaking; they must then fall to make much of themselves, till contrary with the Prophet they cry out, My fatnesse, my fatnesse, my belly, my belly; so favouring their lungs, that they will bee sure never to die of _Davids_ consumption of zeale; let such preach, say they, that want livings: and if for shame they preach at all, it must bee rarely and easily, for breaking of their winde (my meaning is not to tax such, whom G.o.d disinables by weaknesse of body; or such as recompence their rarity with industry, as _Perkins_, &c.) and yet forsooth these thinke they may justly challenge, and weare the double honor of countenance and maintenance; I marvell with what right, or with what face, so long as there remaineth expresse Canon of Scripture, bequeathing it to those, that toyle in word and doctrine. Neither will zeale set us on worke onely to preach, or to preach often to avoyd the infamy of bare readers; but it will teach us to preach painefully, and that in the evidence and demonstration, not so much of art, or nature, as of the spirit and grace; regarding onely, that the people know Christ and him crucified; not caring whether they know what wee have read, how many quotations our memory will carry levell, how roundly wee can utter our minde in new minted words, in like sounding, idle, vaine, and offensive _Paranomasies_; I blush to fall into the least touch of that kinde: yet at once to shew and reproove that childish folly, It is a vaine of vaine preaching, turning sound preaching into a sound of preaching, tickling mens eares, like a tinckling cymball, feeding them, [Greek: hedusmati kai ouk edesmasi], spoyling the plaine song, with descant and division: what is this but to shew our owne levitie and want of true Art; indeede affecting such a dancing, piperly and effeminate eloquence (as _Tully, Demosthenes_, or any Masculine Oratour would scorne) in steade of that divine powerfull deliverie, which becommeth him, that speakes the Oracles of G.o.d. If ever wee meane to doe any good, wee must exhort and reproove, with all vehemency and authority; lifting upp our voyce as a trumpet, as the sonnes of thunder; pearcing their eares, witnessing, striving and contending, according to our gift whatsoever it bee, to manifest our affections, that wee may worke upon the people; which all the Art in the world will not teach us to doe: onely zeale at the heart will naturally produce it, without straining or affecting. If G.o.d require the heart as well as the head; why should wee not labour to moove the affections, as well as enforme the judgement; There is a doctrinall, and as some tearme it, a Doctorly kinde of preaching, which is admired of some that understand it not; of others that could be content with the againe, because it was gentle, and had no teeth in it. And such Sermons I have sometimes heard, for matter voyd of exception, but so delivered, as if one were acting a part, or saying a lesson by heart. It hath called to minde a song which sometimes I have met withall, excellently composed, full of sweet ayre, surely and truely sung; but with flat and dead voyces without spirit, which hath marred the musique: Of such a Sermon and Preacher, the Countreymans verdict did well, that said, this man may bee a great scholler, but hee wants beetle and wedges to heaw our knotted timber withall, our greene wood will not burn unlesse it be better blown; you shall sometimes see an excellent horse of shape and colour, having many of those markes _Du Bartes_ describes in _Caines_ supposed horse; which yet wanting mettle hath beene of little worth, and lesse use. If there were no other Preachers then these, which hold themselves the onely profound and learned Preachers, I muse what should become of conversion of soules, which they that covet; must come with the spirit of _Elias_, to turne the hearts of the fathers to their children, I may in truth, and I hope with modesty speake with the Preacher, that in observing I have observed, and have found, that divers great Clarkes have had but little fruit of their ministery; but hardly any truely zealous man of G.o.d (though of lesser gifts) but have had much comfort of their labours, in their owne and bordering parishes, being in this likened by _Gregorie_, to the yron on the Smiths anvile sparkling round about. And if for this any bordering neighbours, whose cold labours worke not the like successe, shall accuse them of some kinde (I know not what) of policie in bewitching the people; they may well reply, Behold our zealous affections are our charmes, and zeale all our witchcraft, as _Latimer_ well answered one that accused the people of partiality, for not affecting him that preached one of his printed Sermons, that hee had indeede his Sticke, but wanted his Rosen; meaning his zealous manner of preaching and living, without which last, all the former will doe but little good, if a good ensample of life accompany not their doctrine, as lightning doth thunder. For there are some (I speake with sorrow of heart) that seeme to have fire in their preaching, but carry water in their life; being notoriously proud, covetous, or debauched, stained with odious vices. Let us heare the summ of all. Doe wee love Christ more then ordinary? would wee give proofe of our trebble love to him?

Let us then feede his flocke with a trebble zeale, expressed in our prayer, preaching and living: Let us make it appeare to the consciences of all, that the top of our ambition is G.o.ds glory: and that wee preferr the winning of soules, to the winning of the world.

This t.i.tle of Angels why may it not also be extended to Magistrates, as well as that higher stile, of G.o.ds; Sure I am, that the scarlet robe of zeale would exceeding well become them. _Jethro_ maketh it their prime and essentiall character; G.o.d and _Moses_, their onely and sole, in the charge and commission to _Jehoshuah_ so oft repeated; _Onely be of good courage_. And if _David_ were now to re-pen his Psalme; I thinke hee might alter the forme of his counsell, and say, _Bee zealous yee Rulers and Judges of the world_, and not wise and politique: or rather under the tearmes of wisdome, hee comprehends indeede the zeale wee call for, the most now adayes being _Gallio's_, wise onely for the matters of the Commonwealth; not having a sparke of that spirit which was in _Phineas, Daniel_, and _Nehemias_, &c. for the Lord of hosts, or to his Lawes and Commandements; as if G.o.d had made Magistrates keepers onely of the second Table, governours of men, and not of Christians; guardians onely of civill societies, and not of his Church, and shepheards also of his flocke. Are Idolatries, blasphemies, prophaning of Saboths, no sinns?

Why then either have not the lawes force and strength enough in them (as sometime wee are answered when wee complaine) or why are they not executed for the suppressing of these raging sins? are not all they punished with death in the Scriptures, as well as breaches of the second table? Blood I leave to the malignant Church, and admire clemency in Rulers, as much as any; but yet I know the prophane dissolutenesse of the times, requires a three stringed whipp of severity to purge our _Augean_ stable of the soule abuses, whipt often with penns and tongues, but spared by them that beare the sword (a man may say of many Governours) altogether in vaine for matters of religion. Are not kings of the earth charg'd to render double to the b.l.o.o.d.y strumpet of Rome?

Why then doth the hurtfull pitty of our times imbolden and increase their numbers? _Laodicea_ it selfe, I doubt not, for matters of mine and thine, had (as their name imports) good civill justice and justicers; but what was G.o.d the neerer for it? doth hee not threaten for all that to spue them out of his mouth? shall hee not curse those that doe his worke negligently, fearfully & partially? Our times complaine of two speciall canker wormes of justice, which eat up zeale in Magistrates.

The first is _Covetousnesse_, which makes men of place to transgresse for a morsell of bread; the zeale of their owne houses consumes the zeale of G.o.ds house: The building of great houses, keeping of great houses, and matching with great houses, raising and leaving of great houses behinde them, makes them so ravenous, that they devoure so much, as choakes all their zeale; which would teach them to shake their laps of bribes, and scorne to accept gifts, though men would augment them for the perverting of judgement. The other is _Cowardice_ and _Fearfulnes_: which how unfit, and base a quality did _Nehemiah_ thinke it for a man of his place? no better then shynesse in a fore-horse, whose eyes men fence on both sides, that they may lead the way, and goe without starting; unto which, zeale is answerable in Magistrates, causing them onely to see him that is invisible, without casting a squint eye at men; to sing to G.o.d onely of judgement and mercy, without tuning their songs to mans eare; to walke in the perfect way, without turning, either to the right or left hand for feare of favour. Oh that there were such an heart in our leaders; how easily would our people follow! what a spring tide of zeale should wee have, if the Sunne and Moone would cast out a benigne aspect upon them! Doth it not flourish in all those shires and townes, where the Word and Sword doe joyntly cherish it? In others which are the greatest number, how doth it languish and wane away, and hang downe the head? where is it in diverse places of the land to bee seene?

I had almost sayd in my haste and heat, there is none that hath zeale, no not one, there is no courage for the truth; but that I remember that _Eliah_ was checked for over-shooting himselfe in his too short and quicke computation. I hope the Lord hath his fifties amongst us, though but thinn sowne in comparison of the swarmes of professed Recusants, and Church-Papists, of prophane Atheists, key-cold worldlings, and lukewarme professors. The bodies of our many severall Congregations, yea even of the better sort, whereunto have they beene likened by our separated adversaries; but unto the Prophet _Hosea_ his cake, halfe baked upon the hearth, having one side, that is, the one side to the world-ward, in publique service, scorched a little and browned over; but the inside to G.o.d-ward, in private, and family-duties, no better then dough; many of them making indeede some shew, as the out-landish fruits that are plashed upon our walls, but wanting heat never come to maturity. If wee should make good their resemblances, how then should wee please the stomacke of G.o.d? who hath indeede brooked and borne us a long time, I doubt but wamblingly. How neare were wee going in 88. and in the powder treason? Doe we thinke he will ever digest us, in the temper wee are in?

which (to confesse the truth of the fashionable Christian) what is it but a state of neutrality, indifferency, or such a mediocrity, as will just serve the time, satisfie Law, or stand with reputation of neighbours? beyond which, if any step a little forward, do not the rest hunt upon the stop? If there hap to breake out a sparkle of zeale in any one house in a parish; is not the whole towne in an uprore, as when the bells ring awke every man brings his bucket, to the quenching of this fire? If h.e.l.l bee in an Ale-house, who cryes out of it? & as for our Sundayes Church-service, which is all that G.o.d gets at our hands; how perfunctorily, and fashionably is it slubbered over; how are his Saboths made the voyder and dung-hill for all refuse businesse, divided betweene the Church and the Ale-house, the May-pole commonly beguiling the Pulpit? What man would not spue to see G.o.d thus worshipped? This want of devotion makes the foule mouthed Papists to spet at us: this want of reformation, makes the queasie-stomacked Brownists cast themselves out of the Church; and shall G.o.d alwayes suffer the land to beare us? But behold, he stands at the door & knocks, by treasons, by plagues, by the hammer of dearths, discontents, fires, inundations, especially by the word; his locks are wet with waiting. Oh before hee shake off the dust of his feet against us, and turne to some other nation more worthy, let us open the doore, that hee may come in and sup with us; if hee love us, hee will purge us, and scoure us, by one chastizement or other: if hee have no pleasure in us, hee cannot but unburthen his stomacke of us; If all the land besides should turne the deafe eare, yet let mee entreat and charge you of my flock to heare his voyce, & be zealous. Since my comming amongst you, I have handled some bookes of the olde Testament, the Epistles to the Romanes, to the Hebrewes, of Saint _James_, _Peter_ and _John_, out of them taught the doctrine of the Law, of Faith, Love and good Workes: now in the choyce of this Epistle of Christ to _Laodicea_, my desire was to boyle up the former to their just temper: in which worke I can willingly bee content to spend my strength, and dayes, if G.o.d see it fit. I cannot be a better sacrifice then to G.o.d, and for you, if I waste my selfe, so you may have light & heat; what else is the end of my life? G.o.d hath given you a name, your zeale is gone abroad, & I hope you have many names among you; the Lord encrease their number and zeale. If but one of us this day, shall open this doore of his heart with _Jehoshuah_, let others chuse, I and my house will serve the Lord more zealously then heeretofore; neither I nor hee shall have lost our labours. A lively picture casts the eye upon every one that comes neere it: such is the word with whom, and with which we have to do; Let him that is now colde, grow colder & colder; but let him that hath an eare, heare what hath beene sayd to the Churches; and be zealous and amend.

The Lord give us not onely understanding, but zeale in all things: he baptize us with fire: hee breath on us, and inspire into us the spirit of life & power, &c. So shall wee runn the wayes of his commandements.


There are no comments yet.
Authentication required

You must log in to post a comment.

Log in