… It is better to eat the bread of affliction, and drink the water of tears, than to have fulness of bread to fulfill the lusts of the flesh and the measure of iniquity. And it is better to go to the house of mourning, than to the house of joy. And to this purpose our Saviour Christ says, Woe be unto them who are full, for they shall hunger ; woe be unto you that now laugh, for ye shall weep and howl. For they who have lived here in pleasure and laughter, shall go the black way with sighs and tears, from God and his Angels, from saints, from joy and felicity, to the fiends of hell, to sup in the palace of darkness, with the Princes of horror, at the table of vengeance, in the Chair of calamity, with the Crown of death upon their head ; and the devil shall punish them until they cry out with Cain, My punishment is greater, than I am able to bear.
… Some will never hear the Word, as our Papists ; some hear but cannot understand, as the uneducated ; some understand the word but do not love it, as the hypocrites ; and some do hear, understand, and love it, but are not doers of the word, as our vain puritan Gospellers.
… Our young divines, being children in understanding, speak against the fathers of the Church, not only with permission, but with approbation and applause.
… Everyone is a leader, a teacher, a reformer ; no one will be a member, a student, or a Disciple.
To the right honorable the Lord Mayor of the famous City of London, and the right Worshipful the Aldermen of London, and the right Worshipful Commons of the same, Adam Hill Professor of Divinity, wishes grace, peace, and life everlasting.
There are four creatures in the earth, which are small and yet very wise ( writes the wise Solomon ) : the Ants, who are not very resilient and therefore prepare their food while it’s still summer ; the Rock Badgers, who are not very mighty and therefore make their home in the cliffs ; the Grasshoppers who have no leaders and yet all of them march together in ranks ; and the Spiders, small enough to fit in the hand and yet found in the Palaces of kings. So we too must provide, now in the summer time while the Gospel shines out of the face of Christ Jesus, against the coming winter : death, judgement, and hell.Proverbs 30. 25, &c.
As the Ant escapes the hardships of the winter months, so may we escape the terrour of death, the rigor of God’s judgement, and the torments of hell. The Rock Badgers make their home in the cliffs, and we too cannot give trust to our riches which are fleeting, to our bow which will break, to our spear which shall snap, to our horse which is vanity, to our armies which are but flesh, to our Captains which are but locusts, to men which are mortal, or to Princes who will die ; but to the Lord, who can keep our eyes from tears, our feet from falling, and our life from death. The Grasshoppers, although without a single leader, yet still go forth in massed ranks : while we do have a father to rule in our homes, a preacher to teach in our Churches, a gracious Prince, with many honorable Senators to rule our Realm, & yet there is strife in every house, sedition in every City, and sects in every Church ; and therefore our house will fall, our kingdom shall be desolate, and our church will be the synagogue of satan. The Spider is small and can fit in any King’s palace : but we dwell some of us in the lusts of the flesh, some in the treasures of the world, and some are as envious as the devil ; few there are that say with David, My soul longs, yea and faints for the Courts of the Lord, for my heart and my flesh rejoice in the living God.Psal. 84. 2.
Therefore to move my countrymen to a general, speedy, and hearty repentance, I have laid down in this treatise, the cry not of Sodom, but of England ; which if it be diligently weighed, I doubt not but we shall take heed to ourselves, lest our hearts be oppressed with gluttony and drunkenness, and cares of this life. We shall be watchful, we shall do justly and love mercy, we shall be instant in prayer, we shall be fervent in the spirit, we shall not persevere in sin but continue in prayer without ceasing, saying : Turn thy face away from our sins, O Lord, & blot out all our offences : remember not against us the former iniquities but make haste & let your tender mercy prevent us : help us O God of our salvation for the glory of your name, and deliver us, and be merciful to our sins for your name’s sake : so we your people and sheep of your pasture shall praise you for ever, and from generation to generation will set forth your praise : which God give us grace to do for his son’s sake Christ Jesus : to whom with the holy Ghost be all honor and glory for ever and ever, Amen.Luke. 21. 34. Matt. 24. 24. Mich. 6. 8. Rom. 12. 12. Rom. 12. 11. Psal. 51. 9. Psa. 19. 8, &c.
The Cry Of
Genes. 18. ver. 21, 22.
Because the cry of Sodom & Gomorrah is great, and because their sinne is exceeding grievous, I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to that cry which is come unto me, and if not, that I may know.
OF all the holy Scriptures, no example is more frequently used by the Prophets & Apostles to fear the people from sin, than this general, severe, and fearful destruction of the people of Sodom. The Prophet Jeremiah says, As God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah with the places thereabout says the Lord, so shall no man dwell there, neither shall the son of man remain there. So says the Prophet Amos, I have overthrown them as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and ye were as a firebrand plucked out of the fire, yet have ye not repented. And the Prophet Zephaniah says, Surely Moab shall be as Sodom, and Ammon as Gomorrah, the breeding of nettles and salt pits, and a perpetual desolation. So likewise it is said in the Evangelists : And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house, or that city, shake off the dust of your feet, truly I say unto you, it shall be easier for them of the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgement than for that city. And in the second Epistle of S. Peter it is said, And turned the cities of Sodom & Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them & made them an example unto those who lived ungodly after them. So in Jude, As Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities round about them which in like manner as they did, committed fornication, and followed strange flesh, are set down for an example, and suffer the vengeance of eternal fire.Jer. 49. 18. Amos. 4. 11. Zeph. 2. 9. Mat. 10. 14. Mar. 6. 11. Luke. 9. 5. 2. Pet. 2. 6. Jude 7.
As all the Prophets and Apostles, even Christ himself have set down Sodom and Gomorrah as an example of God’s justice against sin & unrepentant sinners : so I intend ( by God’s grace ) to apply this fearful annihilation and utter destruction to this City of London ; assuring myself, that if this exhortation does not work in you a broken heart, then you shall by the iron rod of God’s wrath, be broken in pieces like a potter’s vessel, you shall be like the breeding of nettles and salt pits, you shall not only have a perpetual desolation in earth which is lamentable, but also suffer the vengeance of eternal fire which is intolerable.
Sodom was in a fruitful valley, so is London : in Sodom there were gorgeous houses and fair works, so there are in London : in Sodom they did eat and drink, and fulfill the lusts of the flesh, so do they in London : Sodom was in captivity under King Chedorlaomer, and freed by Abraham ; London ( & all England ) was in subjection to the Pope, & has been freed by our gracious Queen Elizabeth : Sodom had Lot ( the Preacher of righteousness ) sent unto them whose spirit they vexed ; London has had many godly Fathers sent unto them, whom they revile : Sodom was not moved to repentance, neither with their captivity nor deliverance, therefore they were destroyed ; London is not moved neither with persecution nor peace to repentance, therefore London, except it speedily repent, shall be brought to a perpetual desolation, and to the vengeance of eternal fire.A comparison between Sodom and London. Isa. 3. 9.
And are not the sins of England manifest? do the Papists in our midst hide their sin? do they not call idolatry catholike religion? They are worshippers of images, which are vain, unprofitable & abominable, and images have absolutely no power, both in respect to their creators ( the efficient cause ) , and in respect to their matter, in and respect to their form, and finally in respect to their purpose ( the final cause ) . . First the images are vain in respect to whoever makes them ( their efficient cause ) , because every creator who makes them is vain in thought, in word, in deed, and in his essence. In thought, for the Lord knoweth the thoughts of men, they are but vain ; in word, for they talk of vanity every one to his neighbour ; in deed, for they are vanity, and the work of errors, in the time of their visitation they shall perish, and in essence, for surely every man is vanity. Man therefore being vain in thought, word, deed, & essence, he must needs will make a vain image. . Images are also vain in respect to their matter, for they are made either of gold, silver, brass, clay, stone, or wood : & therefore the Prophet Baruch says, These Gods of wood, silver and of gold, can neither defend themselves from thieves and robbers : for they who are strongest take away their gold, silver, and apparel wherewith they be clothed, and when they have it, they get them away. . Images are likewise vain in respect to their form ; for they have eyes and see not, noses have they and smell not, ears and hear not, mouths and speak not, feet and walk not. . And finally, images are vain in respect to their purpose ( the final cause ) , for they help neither the teacher, nor the hearer, nor the minister, nor the receiver of the sacrament, nor the one making the prayer. Therefore the Sun, Moon, and Stars, are better than images, nay, the door of the house, or a scarecrow in the fields is better, for all these do serve unto some purpose, but images have no purpose whatsoever.Manifest idolatry in England. Psa. 94. 11. Psa. 12. 2. Jer. 101. 5. Psal. 39. 11. Bar. 6. 5, 6, 27 Psal. 115. 5, 6.
Therefore the images of the Papists are as vain as the images of the heathen, and just as unprofitable : For as Paul says, they are nothing. An idol is nothing in the world. For this reason Zachariah calls the unprofitable minister, an idol pastor ; and similarly the Magistrate who does not defend the poor and fatherless, & see that such as be in necessity & need, have right, is an idol magistrate ; the father that does not bring up his children in the fear of the Lord, is an idol father ; likewise the husband that does not love his wife as his own flesh, as his own body, & as Christ loved the congregation, is an idol husband ; the wife that is froward, the child that is disobedient, the servant that is unfaithful, the subject that is disloyal, are all idols, insufficient for any spiritual use and therefore unless they repent, they shall be burst in pieces by the iron scepter of God’s justice, and so destroyed as to never be able to be glued back together.1. Cor. 8. 4. Zach. 11. 17. Psal. 82.
As the idolatry of the Papists is vain & unprofitable : so is it as abominable as the idolatry of the heathen ; for as the heathen in the time of war invoked Mars & Bellona, so the Papists invoke S. George : the heathen in poverty went to Ceres, the Papists to Saint Anne : the heathen in sickness went to Aesculapius, the Papists to Saint Roche : the heathen in captivity went to Liber, the Papists to Saint Leonard : the heathen in hunger went to Bacchus, the Papists to S. Urban : the heathen in sea storms went to Neptune, the papists to Saint Nicholas : the heathen in child-birth went to Juno, the papists went to our Lady. In all this they do offend most grievously for three reasons : first because they attribute to the Saints omnipotency : secondly, because they attribute to them universal knowledge : and thirdly, because they make them more merciful than Christ. Further, as the heathen did consecrate Troy to Neptune, Cyprus to Venus, Athens to Minerva, Carthage to Juno, and Rome to Jupiter : so the papists dedicated Spain to Saint James, Germany to Saint George, France to Saint Denis, Scotland to saint Andrew, Ireland to saint Patrick, and Rome to Peter and Paul. And as the heathen have consecrated their head to Minerva, their heart to Juno, their breast to Mars, their tongue to Mercury, their arms to Hercules, their liver to Cupid, their throat to Bacchus, their belly to Ceres, their secrets to Venus, their palms to Apollo, and their spirit to Jupiter : so the papists have for the headache Anastasius, for their eyes Otilia, for the teeth Apollonia, for the neck S. Blase, and for the belly Erasmus. And as the heathen dedicated the boar to Mars, the goat to Bacchus, the peacock to Jupiter, the swan to Apollo, the dove to Venus, the night-crow to Minerva, the wheat to Ceres, honey to Mercury, and the rose to Cupid : so the Papists consecrated their sheep to Vandolius, their horse to Eulogius, their oxen to Pelagius, and their pigs to Saint Anthony.The idolatry of the Papists as abominable as the idolatry of the heathen.
As therefore it is an abomination to call upon anyone except him on whom we believe : so to commit ourselves, or ours, to the defence or custody of the creatures, which should dwell under the protection of the highest, and which should have the Lord to be our rock, and our fortress, and him that delivereth us, our God, and our strength, in him we should trust, our shield, the horn also of our salvation, and our refuge, is a great abomination : for the honoring of abominable images, is the beginning, the reason for, and the end of all evil.Psal. 91. 1. Psal. 18. 2. Sap. 14. 27.
I end therefore with this notable saying of S. Jerome writing upon Ezekiel :Jerome in Ezekiel.
Cursed is every man who puts his trust in men, though they be Saints, or though they be Prophets.Deu. 13. 6. &c.
Manifest is not only the sin of idolatry, but also the sin of blasphemy. What bargain is made without swearing? what oath is ministered in the judgement seat without forswearing? what sports without blasphemy? what country, what city, what town, what house, or what tongue is not infected with this sin of swearing? the old man swears by custom, the young man & child by imitation, the wealthy man swears from lustiness, the poor swears for necessity, the thief swears to cover his fault, and the harlot to deny her crime. All that, notwithstanding that no one less than the Lord our God commands us, saying : Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain, for the Lord will not hold guiltless him who taketh his name in vain : yet all the desperate people of this declining age, are so given to swearing, as though no man could be saved happily, unless he swore continually. Can a bitter fountain send out sweet water? no more can a right praise of God issue out of a blasphemous mouth.Manifest blasphemy in England. Exod. 20.
1. There are several things in God which every blasphemer should remember : that he is present in all places, and therefore David says, Thou compassest my paths, and my lying down, and art accustomed to all my ways. That he knows all things, for there is not a word ( says David ) in my mouth, but thou knowest it all, O Lord. That there is truth in the Lord, God loveth no wickedness, neither shall any evil dwell with him, the foolish shall not stand in his sight, for he hateth those who work iniquity, he will destroy those who speak lies. And that God is righteous, and therefore the Psalmist says, Righteous art thou ( O Lord ) and righteous are thy judgements, thou hast commanded justice by thy testimonies, and truth especially.1st argument against swearing, from the person of God. Psal. 139. 3. Psal. 89. 4. Psal. 5. 6. Psal. 119. 137.
God is righteous, because : he judges in equity, With righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity. Because he judges without respect of persons, Tribulation and anguish shall be upon the soul of every man that doth evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, but to every man that doth good shall be honor and glory, and peace, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek : for there is no respect of persons with God. Thirdly, God is just because he leaves no sin unpunished, Bind not two sins together, for there shall not one be unpunished. For as no virtue is unrewarded by God, so there shall be no sin unpunished. And finally, because in God is all power ; Our God is in heaven, he doth whatsoever pleaseth him. From heaven he cast down the Angels, from Paradise Adam, he made the earth to swallow up Corah, the floods to cover Pharaoh and his host, the sons of Aaron to be slain in the temple, Jezabel to be cast out of her chamber window, Holofernes to be murdered in his bed, and Eli to break his neck sitting on the threshold.Rom. 2. 9. &c. Syr. 12. 14. Psal. 118. 3.
Wherefore excellent is that saying of Bernard : God is in himself as Alpha and Omega, the first and the last : in the world, as the author and governor of it ; in the angels, as the favor and beauty of them : in the church, as a father of a family in his house ; in the soul, as a bridegroom in his chamber : in the just, as a helper and protector ; in the reprobate, as a dread and horror. Where can I go from thy spirit? no man goes from him, but to him : from his severity, to his goodness ; from an angry God, to an appeased : For what place may receive the man who flees from God, except that even there he would find God’s presence?Bernard in Psal. 139.
God is present, therefore the blasphemer should fear him ; God knows all things, therefore the blasphemer should praise him : in God is truth, therefore the blasphemer should hate lies : in God is justice, therefore he rewards the good and punishes the evil : in God is power, therefore he can do what pleases him : fire, hail, storms and tempests fulfill his commandments : yea, there are spirits created for vengeance, and in their furiousness they hasten their torments, they will not overpass the commandment of the Lord.
2. The Prophet Jeremiah says, thou shalt swear the Lord liveth, in truth, judgement, & righteousness : in truth, in respect of the thing ; in judgement, in respect of the swearer ; in justice, in respect of the cause. Truth excludes a false oath, judgement a rash oath, justice an unlawful oath but our blasphemers swear not in truth, but in falsehood ; not in judgement, but rashly ; not in justice ( that is first for the glory of God, secondly, for the safety of their neighbour, thirdly, for their own necessity, and fourthly when they are required of the Magistrate for just causes ) but in common speech unlawfully, in buying and selling deceitfully, and in sporting and playing most damnably.2nd argument against swearing, from the substance. Jer. 4. 2.
3. Further, speech being given by God to speak the truth, to confess our sins, to teach, to comfort the afflicted, & lastly, to praise the Lord the blasphemer sets forth leasing, increases his sins, is an example of corrupt manners, brings no comfort but the plague of God to his house, and dishonours the Lord, whom he should praise with soul, heart, heart, tongue, flesh, and with all his powers & members for ever. A thief steals but for necessity, but a blasphemer swears in a bravery ; the harlots do sin but in darkness, the blasphemer offends openly ; the covetous man offends rarely, the blasphemer frequently, even at every word ; the slanderer only offends against his brother, whereas the blasphemer dishonors God his father.Eph. 4. 25. Psal. 32. 5. Esa. 50. 4. 1. Thes. 5. 14. Psal. 51. 14. 3rd argument against swearing, from the purposes of speech.
4. There are only three types of languages in the world : the best is the heavenly language, of which David writes, Blessed are those who dwell in thy house, O Lord, they shall always be praising & magnifying thy name. There is another language that is earthly, of which Saint John writes, He that is of the earth, is of the earth, and speaketh of the earth. There is also an infernal language, which is nothing but cursing : therefore as it was said to Peter, Surely thou art one of them, for thou art from Galilee, and thy speech is similar. In this manner, because the tongue speaks from the abundance of the heart, you may thereby know who is of heaven, who of earth, & who of hell. Those who praise the Lord are heavenly indeed, & their conversation is in heaven ; those who speak of the earth, are earthly ; but those who curse and swear, are already damned, and their speech resembles it.4th argument against swearing, from the customs of speech. Psal. 84. 4. John 3.31. Isa. 8. 21. Mark. 14. 40.
As he is a Spaniard who naturally and properly speaks Spanish, & he a Frenchman who speaks French, and he a Welshman who speaks Welsh : so he that speaks of the praises of God is a saint, he that speaks of the earth is an earthly man, and he that is a swearer, is of the devil. The bitter stream proves its source to be bitter, the leaves show what tree they came from : so the blasphemous words of wicked men do show that they come from the bitter root of infidelity. No one who receives gold doesn’t immediately weigh & verify it ; no man who comes to own some land, does not go forth to fence it. Why then do not our swearers weigh their words, and fence in their tongue, because as S. James says, It is set on fire of hell : when therefore hellfire ceases, the blasphemers of God’s name will cease. The saying from Jesus the son of Sirach agrees to it : Use not thy mouth to ignorant rashness, for therein is the occasion of sin : the man that is accustomed to opprobrious words, will never be reformed all the days of his life ; and such a one was Shimei.James 3. 6. Syr. 23. 13. 15. 2. Sam. 16. 7. Why swearing is so frequent in England.
Profanation of the Sabaoth.
Profanation of the Sabaoth is another of the evident sins of England. We are willed to hallow our Sabaoth, Gen. 2.23. Exo. 20 11. Exod. 31.17. Deut. 5.14. Heb. 4.4. Jer. 17.21, 22, 23, 24. Ezek. 20.12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19. and yet in all places, and in the greater part of the people of this land, the sabaoth is profaned with dancing, stage-playing, bear-baiting, bowling, & with all manner of abominations. Not just the holy word of God, but the ancient Fathers and the civil Law do speak of the sanctification of the sabaoth. Augustine on the 32. psal. says, It is better to dig than to dance on the sabaoth. Chrysostom in his 48. homily says, Where wanton dancing is, there no doubt the devil is present : for God hath given us these members not to dance, but that we should walk modestly, and not to dance impudently after the manner of Camels ( for not only women but Camels dance undecently ) but that we should stand in the company of the Angels : and if the body be deformed by dancing, how much more is the soul? in these dances the devil dances : with these dances they are deceived of the ministers of the devil. Ambrose in his third Book of Virgins thus writes : What say you, O holy women? Do you see what you must teach and unteach in your daughters? They dance as the daughters of harlots, because if their mother were chaste & shamefast, she would teach her children religion, and not dancing.Aug. in Psal. 32. Chrysost. in homil. 48. Ambrose lib. 3. de virg.
And as these inveigh against dancing, so does Lactantius against stage-playing. I know not ( says he ) wherein there can be a more vicious corruption than in the theaters : for the Interludes speak of the deflowering of virgins, & of the loves of harlots. And the more eloquently do the actors make pretend those abominations, the more does the elegance of their words persuade and they stick more easily in the memory of the hearers, the verses which are numerous and eloquent. The tragical histories also do set before our eyes, the patricides and incests of evil kings, & do show their wickedness on the stage : the unchaste gestures of the players also, what do they teach or stir up in us but lusts? their bodies being made weak and wanton in imitating the going and apparel of women, do counterfeit unchaste women with dishonest gestures. What shall I speak of ballads, which teach the doctrine of corruptions, which teach adulteries whiles they pretend, and by pretended adulteries lead people into real ones? what may young men and maids do, when they see these things to be done, and to be seen by all men gladly and without shame? they are warned therefore what they may do, and they are inflamed with lust, which is most provoked with seeing, and everyone according to his sex prefigures himself in those images, and do allow them, while they laugh at them ; and vices cleaving unto them they return to their houses most corrupt : neither only children, which should not be endued with vices in their first age, but also old men, whom it becomes not to sin, do fall into the same path of iniquities.Lactant. lib. 6. cap. 20.
It is clear by what has been alleged, that as the Prophets and Apostles have taught the sanctification of the Sabaoth : so the Fathers have walked in the same steps ; yea, godly Princes have made laws for sanctifying the Sabaoth. Leo and Anthemius ( being religious Princes ) writing to Armasius, commanded him in these words : That the festival days being dedicated to the excellent Majesty of God, should neither be occupied in pastime and pleasure, neither be profaned in exacting of tributes : likewise we decree ( say they ) that the Sunday shall be reverently honoured, that it shall be exempted from all business ; in this day let no lawsuit be taken, let no man be summoned to appear : let no man be heard in court, and let no causes or matters of controversies be heard. And a little after it follows : … neither do we allow, that this day being exempted from all travel, should be spent in wantonness and filthy delights, that there be any interlude or pageant played on the dominical day, or any game or pastime in the place of exercise called Circus, or the lamentable spectacle of beasts : yea although the solemnity of our birth happen upon this day, let it be deferred : if any man on this day shall have any access to spectacles, or under the pretense of private or public affairs, shall be an Apparitor or Sergeant to any Judge, violating or breaking these Statutes, let him loose the commodity of warfare, and run into the prescription of attainder.
The holy Prophets and Apostles commend unto us the hallowing of the Sabaoth, the Fathers exhort us to the same, the laws of godly Princes command it, yet we continue in England as willful condemners of this precept. The sanctification of the Sabaoth consists in four things. First of all, holy men ought to enter into the Church, where the Gospel must be expounded and declared ; by the which the Audience may learn what to think of God, what is the true service of God, and how the name of God may be glorified. Secondly, there must be prayers & petitions made unto God for the necessity of all men. Thirdly, we must extol the goodness of God, giving thanks for his daily and inestimable benefits ; which thanksgiving excludes a contempt of God, a forgetfulness of God, malice, or the abuse of God’s creatures. And the sacraments must religiously be celebrated, if the time, occasion, and custom of the Church do so require : for it is chiefly required in the last precept, that we should diligently observe and devoutly exercise the holy sacraments and holy rites of the Church being lawful, profitable, and necessary. Fourthly, humanity and beneficency must take place in the Church, all men must learn daily to be beneficial in giving of alms privately, but to be most liberal publicly whensoever necessity of the time and opportunity shall so require.The sanctification of the Sabaoth consists in four things.
Murder also is a sin that cries for vengeance : The voice of thy brother’s blood ( says God ) crieth unto me from the earth. To lose our wealth is grievous, but to lose our good name is more grievous, and to lose our life is most grievous of all. First it is an heinous offence that one man should kill another : secondly it is more heinous, when a superior kills an inferior : thirdly, it is a most heinous offence, when one brother kills another, as Cain killed Abel : fourthly it is more detestable, when a wicked man kills a righteous : fifthly, & that for the sincere worship of God : sixthly, if he do it of a pretended hatred : and seventhly if he do it after admonition. In England man kills man, the lord the tenant, the brother his brother, the wicked kills the good ; often for the true worship of God, or out of hatred, and after godly admonition. Therefore as the blood of Abel cried from the earth unto the Lord, so does the blood of the Saints shed in the late days of Queen Mary, cry for vengeance against the wicked.Gen. 4. 10. Murder a manifest sin that cries for vengeance.
Who so sheddeth mans blood, by man let his blood be shed : for after his own image God made man. First here we learn that man was made to praise God : whosoever then kills man, hinders the glory of God. Secondly, how was man created? in righteousness, holiness, mercy, truth : these virtues being essential in God and accidental in us, whosoever therefore murders a man, destroys those virtues in which man participates with the nature of God. Thirdly, since God made man after his own likeness : here we learn that God loves man above all the creatures of the world, & we ought not to hate him whom God loves. Fourthly, since man is the image of God and excels all creatures, whosoever murders him, destroys the most excellent workmanship of God.Gen. 9. 6. Psal. 94. 1. Psal. 10. 16. Zach. 2. 8.
Sodomy & whoredom.
Sodomy is also an unnatural lust which cries to God for vengeance & punishment. King Henry the eighth of famous memory visited the Abbeys of England together with Thomas Lee, Richard Layton, and Thomas Bedel Archdeacon of Cornwall, being Doctors of Law, & with Thomas Barthlet public Notary, in the year of our Lord God 1538. In the Abbey of Battell were found 16 Sodomites, in Christ-church at Canterbury 9. and in every Abbey were found some to be Sodomites, others to be adulterers, some having four, some five, some ten, some twenty harlots. In the book called A Breviary of those things that were found in Abbeys, Convents, &c. it is all described at large. And because Sodomy and fornication had made them very infamous, one of their friends composed a little poem :Sodomy & whoredom cry for vengeance.
Non male sunt monachis grata indita nomina patrum
Cum numerent natos hic & vbique suos.
The monks were kindly nicknamed with names of a father,
To distinguish their children from those of the others.
Saint Paul writes as follows : Meats are ordained for the belly, & the belly for the meats, but God shall destroy both it and them ; now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body : and God hath also raised up the Lord, & shall raise us up by his power. Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of a harlot? God forbid. Do ye not know, that he which coupleth himself with a harlot, is one body? for two ( says he ) shall be one flesh : but he that is joined to the Lord, is one spirit. Flee fornication : most sins that a man doth are not in the body : but he that committeth fornication, sinneth against his own body. Know you not, that your body is the temple of the holy ghost, which is in you, Whom ye have of God? and ye are not your own, for ye are bought for a price : therefore glorify God in your own body, and in your spirit, for they are God’s.1. Cor. 6. 13.
In this passage, we are given seven arguments against whoredom. 1. An argument from punishment, that meats are for the belly, & the belly for meats, but God will destroy both it and them ; for gluttony and drunkenness are maintainers of hunting. 2. From the condition of our bodies, that the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord ; for as God is worshipped in heaven by angels which are spirits, so will he be worshipped in earth by men which have bodies ; and therefore our bodies shall be raised up to glory. 3. From an absurdity ; It is against reason ( says the apostle, ) that our bodies, being the members of Christ, should be made the members of a harlot, and bring them from high dignity to most vile indignity. 4. From the comparison of God and a harlot ; for he who joins himself with a harlot, is one with her in affection, and will be one with her in affliction ; but he that couples himself to the chaste God, will be one with God in glory for ever. 5. From the effects of fornication, for the fornicator defiles his body with the pocks, leprosy, and many other loathsome diseases ; and therefore unnaturally sins against his own body, shortening his life by wasting the vigor of his body. 6. From the purposes for which the body is destined ; your body is the temple of the holy Ghost, and you are not your own, therefore in it God must be worshipped & not the devil. 7. From the law, in the last verse : you are bought with a price, that is not with gold or silver but with the most precious blood of Christ ; therefore not only must our soul magnify the Lord and our spirit rejoice in God our Saviour, but also our flesh must rejoice in our God. In the life and death of our bodies God must be glorified, bowing our knees to God the father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which leads us to life, and not to whores and harlots, whose ways go down to hell.7. arguments against whoredom. Pro. 7. 27.
Jeremiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in such men ( and will be fulfilled in the rest of us ) : Though I fed them to the full, yet they committed adultery, & assembled themselves by companies in the harlots houses : they rose up in the morning like fed horses, for every man neighed after his neighbour’s wife. Shall I not visit these things saith the Lord? shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this? climb upon their walls and destroy them, take away their battlements, for they are not the Lord’s. The harlot calls her pleasure solace, and our delicate dames of England also do the same : but Jeremiah says, this sweet sin will have sour sauce. For it will cause the walls of our Cities to be razed, & the battlements of our house to be beaten down. God be merciful unto this pleasant Island & bless it : for if every house of our land shall be destroyed, where this loathsome sin of lechery hath been shamefully committed ( as the monks houses were ) , our fairest Cities will doubtless end up as ruinous heaps.Jer. 5. 7.
Oppression of the poor is another sin that provokes God to plague us : I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, & have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. And, Do not the rich oppress you by tyranny, and draw you before judgement seats? who does this oppression? Pharaoh the tyrant, Nimrod the mighty, and Nabal the rich. Those that should give do take away ; those that should feed, do fleece ; those that should be merciful, are merciless. Whom do they oppress? their brother, their own flesh, the Lord’s brother, and the Lord’s apple of his eye. And what brother? his poor, needy, destitute, and afflicted brother ; and to whom he should give, from him he doth take by violence ; & whom he should comfort, him he doth spoil. How doth he oppress? by his money & his might. God hath given them riches and authority, to defend the poor & fatherless, to see such as be in need and necessity to have right ; and with their wealth and might they oppress & deceive, they grind the face of the poor, and bray them as it were in a mortar : their houses are full of riches gotten by deceit.Oppression of the poor cries for vengeance. Exo. 3. 7. Jam. 16. Jer. 5.
When do they oppress? in the time of the Gospel. Elisha said unto his man when he had taken gold and garments of Naaman : is this a time to take money & to receive garments, and olives, and vineyards, and sheep, and Oxen, and men servants, and maid servants? So say I to the Nimrodical oppressors of England, is this a day of peace and joy? is this a time to smite down the people of the Lord, & to murder his heritage? and to devour widows houses, & to eat up the people like bread? While we have time, we should do good to all, especially to the household of faith ; & in this time we do ill. This is the day of salvation ; & we make it the day of our destruction. This is the time accepted ; and we by our oppression of the poor will turn it into the day of vengeance. Because of unrighteous dealing, wrong, blasphemies, and other deceits, a realm shall be translated from one people to an other.2. King. 5. 26. Gal. 6. 10. 2. Cor. 6. 2. 2. Cor. 6. 2. Syr. 10. 8.
Where is this oppression? in the judgement seat. How is the faithful City become a harlot? it was full of judgement, justice lodged therein, but now they are murderers : thy silver is become dross ; thy wine is mixed with water, thy Princes ore rebellious and companions of thieves : everyone loveth gifts and followeth after rewards ; they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the widow’s cause come before them. And, They turn judgement into wormwood, & leave off righteousness in the earth. What abominable sin is this, that those who should defend the poor, and see that such as be in need and necessity have right, instead add affliction to the afflicted? that those who should be eyes to the blind, poke out their eyes instead? and those that should be a leg to the cripple, break his bones into smaller pieces? and those that should pull the spoil out of the jaws of the oppressors, commit violence, robbery & murder themselves? and those that should give the pure silver of righteousness, give the heavy burden of oppression? and those who should give the wine of comfort, give the water of tears? and those who should minister judgement, give the wormwood of affliction? and those who should be the staff of the poor men’s estate, are an iron rod to bruise them in pieces : being turned from fathers to tyrants, from magistrates to thieves, from Judges to murderers, from Princes to Lions, from Gods to devils. For the covetous oppressor when he should give, he says it is too much ; when he should receive, says it is too little ; when he should forgive, he says it is too great ; when he should repent, he says it is too soon ; when he should come to hear the word of God, he says it is too far : and thus as he holds his needy brother under his yoke, so the devil holds him fast in his snare, that he shall never escape, but shall have judgement without mercy, because he himself showed no mercy.Isa. 1. 21. &c. Amos 5. 2. Psal. 82. 3. Job. 24. 15. Job. 29. 15. Isaiah. 10. 1. Psal. 32. 1. Psal. 50.
I will now go to the sin of all sins, which no doubt will procure to this land a general, fearful, and severe destruction : this sin is Atheism. An idolator is a breaker of the second commandment, a blasphemer of the third, a profaner of the sabaoth is a transgressor of the fourth, a rebel of the fifth, an oppressor of the sixth, a Sodomite of the seventh ; but the Atheist is a willful condemner of all the commandments put together. For he denies God the father, he tramples under his foot the blood of our Saviour, he dishonours the spirit of grace ; in his heart he is an infidel, in his tongue a blasphemer, to his Prince a traitor, to his country a rebel, to his house a poison, to his friends a plague : wheresoever he goes, the earth is accursed ; wheresoever he speaks, the air is infected ; and wheresoever he dwells, there dwells the wrath of God for ever.Atheism a manifest sin that cries for speedy vengeance.
The star confessed the son of God, for it led the wise men to Christ : the sea and the winds did obey him ; the ass did bear him to Jerusalem ; the fishes obeyed him when they came into the Apostles nets ; so did the fish that brought money in his mouth to pay their tribute ; the Sun at his death was abashed, the earth did tremble, the stones did cleave asunder, and the graves did open : but our Atheists, more insensible than the rocks and stars, more hard hearted than flint, more stinking than a carcass, do not acknowledge Christ to be the son of God. Nay, even the very devils confess Christ to be the Son of God : what have I to do with thee Jesus the most high God? and, Jesus I know, and Paul I know, says the devil. But our Atheists worse than the devil in this respect, have so hardened their heart, that they deny Jesus to be the son of God : and therefore since they will not acknowledge him to be a Saviour, they shall discover him to be a judge, whose power they cannot resist, whose wisdom they cannot deceive, whose justice they cannot corrupt, and therefore will punish them without respect of persons.Mat. 3. 10. Mat. 8. 27. Mat. 21. 5. Joh. 21. 6. Mat. 17. 27. Mat. 27. 51. Mar. 5. 7. Act. 19. 15.
Manasses was an idolater, but he repented : Paul was a blasphemer, but yet he was made a Preacher : Levi was a Publican, but yet he became an Evangelist : Peter did forswear his master, but yet he continued an apostle : David was an adulterer, and yet a Prophet : Zacchaeus was an oppressor, but yet he was converted and said : Behold Lord the one half of my goods I give to the poor, and if I have taken from any man by forged cavillation, I restore him four-fold. Zacchaeus did give the half of his goods, we will not give the hundred part : Zacchaeus gave of his own, we will not give of that we have wrongfully gotten : Zacchaeus gave his goods, we give of the worst things we have : Zacchaeus gave presently, while we defer until we become sick or dead. Thus we see that Idolaters, blasphemers, extortioners & adulterers, have turned themselves unto the Lord, but not the Atheist : for they go from worse to worse, they go from sin to sin, they never come into the righteousness of God, they are vessels of dishonor, they are clouds without water carried about of winds, corrupt trees, and without fruit, twice dead and plucked up by the roots, they are the raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame, they are wandering Stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.Luke. 19. 8. Jude. 12. 13.
Against those therefore we must pray, as David did against them in his time, When he shall be judged let him be condemned, and let his prayer be turned into sin : let his days be few, and let another take his charge, let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow, let his children be vagabonds, & beg and seek bread, coming out of their places destroyed : let the extortioner catch all that he hath, & let the stranger spoil his labour : let there be none to extend mercy unto him, neither let there be any to show mercy upon his fatherless children, let his posterity be destroyed, & in the generation following let their name be put out, let the iniquity of his fathers be had in remembrance with the Lord, and let not the sin of his mother be done away, but let them always be before the Lord, that he may cut off their memorial from the earth.A prayer against Atheists. Psa. 109. 7. Mat. 14. 4. 1. King. 18. 18. Isaiah 6. 5.
The sins of Sodom are as clear as they are numerous : Behold this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom : pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of Idleness, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. Pride is of two sorts : carnal and spiritual ; carnal pride is that which consists in the decking & trimming of the flesh, against which Paul thus writes : Take no thought of the flesh to fulfill the lusts of it. And women are forbidden to wear embroidered hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly apparel. And the like is also inhibited by Saint Peter. This pride was in the harlot, who said that she had decked her bed with coverings and clothes of Egypt, and made her head to smell of myrrh, aloes, & cinnamon. And this pride Saint Paul reproves, when he wills us not to fashion ourselves according to this world. But notwithstanding, pride is first in all ages, as in children, young and old. Secondly, in every sex, as in men and women. Thirdly, in all estates, as in magistrates & private men. Fourthly, in all times, as in popery, and in the Gospel. Fifthly, in all places, as in the market and in the temple.In Sodom were many sins and so there are in England. Exo. 19, 4, 9. Rom. 13. 4. 1. Tim. 2. 9. 1. Pet. 3. 3. Prov. 7, 16, 17. Rom. 12. 2.
Apparel was given for three ends : for honesty’s sake to cover our unseemly parts ; for necessity’s sake, to defend us from the injury of the weather ; and for dignity’s sake to distinguish men from beasts, & men of higher degree from the lower. God clothed the noble subject of the soul with a vile body, to teach us that we should not deck our vile body with gorgeous apparel, not agreeing either with comeliness, necessity, or our calling. I think it good ( says Cyprian ) that not only maids and widows, but also married women be warned, that they should by no means adulterate the work of God, and his making. Jerome likewise says : These things are the nourishments of lust, and the tokens of an unchaste mind. How can a woman weep for her sins, or lift up her eyes and countenance to heaven, if God does not acknowledge her? Thomas deceived Judas by trimming of apparel, Jezabel painted her face to deceive Jehu, Cleopatra painted her face to deceive Antonius, who after being defeated by Octavian killed her himself and buried her alive with a poisonous snake, in the sepulcher of Antonius.Apparel was given for three reasons. Phil. 3. 21. Cyprian. Jerome.
Ambrose in his Hexameron says : do not put off the image of God, and put on the image of a harlot, for that image does not suit you, but is faulty, not of simplicity but of deceit, it beguiles and deceives : so that you can not please him whom you desire to please, which understands that it is not his but another man’s that pleases, and you despise thy maker, whose workmanship is defaced. And likewise, Jerome notes : If a woman deck herself that she may provoke the looks of men towards her, although there follow no harm, yet she shall suffer eternal condemnation, for she hath offered poison, if any will drink of it.Ambr. in Hexamer. Jerom.
Alas, alas, that great city that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, & scarlet, & gilt with gold, and precious stones, and pearls : for in one hour so great riches are come to desolation. Here you see that pride goes before, and destruction comes after. So the Prophet Isaiah shows how this pride is punished with a general & severe desolation : Because ( says he ) the daughters of Sion are haughty and walk with stretched out necks and wanton eyes, walking and swaying as they go, & making a tinkling with their feet, therefore shall the Lord make the heads of the daughters of Sion bald, & the Lord shall discover their secret parts. In that day the Lord will take away the finery of the anklets, the headbands, and the crescents ; the pendants, the bracelets, and the scarves ; the headdresses, the armlets, the sashes, the perfume boxes, and the amulets ; the signet rings and nose rings ; the festal robes, the mantles, the cloaks, and the handbags ; the mirrors, the linen garments, the turbans, and the veils. Instead of sweet savors there shall be stink ; instead of a belt, a rope ; instead of dressing the hair, a baldness ; instead of a rich robe, a skirt of sackcloth ; & burning instead of beauty. Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy strength in the battle. Then shall her gates mourn and lament, and she being desolate shall sit on the ground. Carnal pride is reckoned but a small fault, but yet as you do well see, and learn out of the holy Scriptures, it brings the sword, mourning, and utter desolation.Apoc. 18. 16. Isai. 3. 19. 17.
But consider I pray you the course of this world : Christ says, we should take no thought for apparel, & all our delight is to go brave : the Israelites did wear their garments forty years, & we must change our apparel every season : Christ commanded his Disciples they should have but one coat, & we must have one for every day in the week. John Baptist was clothed in a Camel’s skin, but we must be clothed ( with the Dives of Lazarus ) in purple & fine white, & with Herod we must be attired in gorgeous apparel, & therefore with Dives & Herod we shall suffer a sudden confusion.
Queen Esther said : Thou knowest O Lord that I hate the token of my preeminence & worship, which I bear upon my head, what time I must show myself and be seen, and that I abhor it as unclean cloth, and that I wear it not when I am quiet and alone by myself. As this good Queen did abhor pride in apparel, so the daughters of vanity nowadays do highly esteem it : But as in a coffin when it is most sumptuously decked there is ( no doubt ) a dead carcass there lying : so where you see the daughters of men to have their broidered hair, their gold and pearls, contrary to the rule of the Apostle : there ( no doubt ) is a dead stinking soul. Democritus said : There are two ornaments of a woman : few words, and few garments. The woman of Sparta refused precious garments sent them by Dionysius. The Roman matrons sent back again golden robes given them freely by Pyrrhus. I will end therefore with an history of the Bactrians, whose wives fell from the pride of apparel to whoredom, not only with their servants, but with strangers : and they gat such a mastery, and rule over their husbands, that albeit their husbands did see them committing adultery, yet they dared not comment on it.Esth. 14. 16. Stob. Florileg. lxxiv.
But as I would have the dames of England to leave wanton and superfluous apparel, so I will with Tertullian commend to them a good suit of apparel. Come forth ( says he ) ye women beautified with the ornaments of the Apostles, having the whiteness of simplicity, the redness of chastity, having your eyes painted with shamefastness, and your spirits with silence, having in your ears the word of God, and tying to your necks the yoke of Christ, subject your head to your husbands and you shall be brave enough, occupy your hands with wool, fasten your feet at home, and you shall please more, than if you were clad in gold : deck yourself with the silk of sincerity, with the Satin of sanctity, and with the purple of probity, & you shall have God to be your paramour . Thus far of carnal pride.Dan. 4. 27. Blasphemy the sin of Sodom and England. Jam. 1. 19. Luke 12. Exod. 14. Num. 16. 1. Sam. 15. 1. King. 12. Isaiah 37. Jud. 6. 15. Est. 4. Act. 12. John 9.
Arrogance is another sin of Sodom fallen, and of England falling : and that is, when we confess we have received all good gifts from God : but we say we have merited them. Which sin Saint Paul reproves soon after : By grace are ye saved, and that from faith, and that not from your selves. It is the gift of God, not from works, least any man should boast himself. If we are not saved from our selves, nor from works, how is it true that we are saved by merits? Aquinas brings many reasons to prove that we are not saved by works, which neither the Roman seminarists arriving from Rheims, nor the Jesuits which come from Rome are able to deny. The first is, the indignity of our merits : For I count ( says Saint Paul ) that the afflictions of this present time are not worthy of the glory which shall be showed us. Secondly, we cannot merit, by reason of the contrariety between the body and the soul : For the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh : and these are contrary one to another, so that you cannot do these things as you would. The third reason why we cannot merit, is because of the corruption of the flesh. For the corruptible body is a burden unto the soul, and the earthly habitation presseth down the mind full of cares.Arrogance the sin of Sodom and England. Ephe. 2. 8, 9. Seven arguments against merits, out of Aquinas. Rom. 8. 18. Ephe. 5. 15. Sap. 9. 15.
The fourth reason why we cannot merit, is the difficulty of the way. Enter in at the strait gate, for it is the broad gate and wide way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go into it, because the gate is strait, and the way narrow that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.Mat. 7. 13.
The fifth reason why we cannot merit, is because of the difficulty of good works, for virtue is occupied about that which is difficult. For it is a hard thing to believe, but it is easy to presume or despair : it is hard to be liberal, but it is easy to be covetous, or prodigal : it is hard to be valiant, but it is easy to be rash or timorous.
The sixth reason why we cannot merit, is the uncertainty of our own righteousness : We have all been ( says Isaiah ) as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness is as filthy rags : for our righteousness is neither pure, perfect, nor perpetual.Isaiah. 64. 6.
The seventh and the last reason is, the strictness of the Judge : Enter not into judgement with thy servant ( says David ) for in thy sight shall no man living be justified. If David cannot be justified in the sight of God, neither can the proud Pharisee, saucy Sadducee, or popish Pelagian.Psal. 143. 2.
Such arrogant Papists are well-termed to be full of wind : For as the wind obscures the light, extinguishes the dew, and blows up the dust : so this vaunting of merits darkens the pure light of God’s glory, it dries up the dew of his grace and puffs them up with a swelling conceit of their holiness. Thus they attribute to nature that which is due to grace, that to merit which is due to promise, that to the flesh which is due to the spirit, that to works which is due to faith, that to the Law which is due to the Gospel : and finally that to man which is due to God.
Vainglory is another kind of pride : this was in the Church of Laodicia : Thou sayest- I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing, and know not how thou art wretched and miserable, and poor, and blind and naked. This vainglory was in Alexander, whom parasites had persuaded that he was a God : but in the end when he perceived he must die, he uttered these words : Now I realize that I am but a mortal man. Let us not be desirous of vainglory says the Apostle. We cannot glory in the things past, for in times past we have committed more offences than good deeds : we cannot glory in the things present, because we are in exile : we cannot glory in the things to come, because there is coming death and judgement.Vainglory the sin of Sodom and of England. Apoc. 3. 16. Gala. 6. 26.
Vainglory is seldom avoided; it arises from well-doing, just as the moth is bred in the garment which it consumes, and the worm in the wood which it rots. All other vices are overcome of some virtue, such as adultery by chastity, covetousness by mercifulness, and hatred by love : but vainglory arises from well doing. And the more vainglory is kept down, by so much the more does it grow. Every other evil arises from an evil, but vainglory comes out of a good of well doing.
Praise may be desired properly or improperly : properly, for the glory of God : But let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven. And secondly, for the profit of our Neighbour, procure things honest in the sight of all men. I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they might be saved.Mat. 5. 16. Rom. 12. 17. 1. Cor. 10. 33.
But it is also sought improperly : first, when they desire to be praised for those things that be not worthy of praise, such as for riches and temporal things which are but vain. Secondly, if they glory in their sins : why do you boast O tyrant, that you able to do mischief? Thirdly, when it is done in contempt of our neighbour, or of God. For they loved the praise of men, more than the praise of God. Now unto that King everlasting, immortal, invisible, unto God only wise, be honour and glory for ever and ever, Amen. Fourthly, when a man sins to get praise : Beware that ye give not your alms before men to be seen of them, or else you shall have no reward from your Father which is in Heaven. How many vainglorious persons are in England, who boast from the multitude of their riches, rejoice in iniquity, and love the praise of men more than the glory of God : you may know by Cato’s rule for he says, Neither shall you praise nor dispraise thyself, for this is done by fools who are vexed with vainglory. If all those who praise themselves be fools, then the world is full of fools, and these say there is no God : But he that sitteth in heaven will laugh them to scorn, yea, the Lord will have them in derision.Psal. 52. 1. John 12. 43. 1. Tim. 1. 17. Mat. 6. 1. Psal. 2. 4.
Another kind of pride is self-love, of which Malachi writes : Have we not all one Father? hath not one God made us? why do we transgress every one against his Brother? This vice was in the Pharisee : I am not ( says he ) as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, nor as this Publican. When Saul was little in his own sight, he was the head of the tribes of Israel. But when he despised David, a better man than himself, God brought him low again. John Baptist humbled himself, and said : He was not worthy to untie the laces of our Saviour’s shoe : But Christ said : He was a Prophet, and more than a Prophet. The Jews said, that they were the children of Abraham, and never served any man. But Christ said, Ye are of your Father the Devil. We may not therefore with the Pharisees judge others and prefer our selves before them.Self-love the sin of Sodom and of England. Mal. 2. 10. Luke 18. 11. 1. Sam. 15. 19. Mat. 3. 11. Mat. 11. 11. John 8. 33. John 8. 44.
For first humanity does require that we should not rashly censure the faults of other men. Secondly, our own infirmity should move us to the same, for in many things we offend all. Now do we see our own faults, which are in the piece of the wallet that hangs behind us. Thirdly, we are fellow-servants, and being therefore in the same condition, we should live in charity which covers the multitude of sins. Fourthly, Christ is the only judge of the quick and the dead, and therefore we may not impudently ascend into his tribunal seat. Fifthly, our judgements are to be suspected, because we see only the outward and not the inward parts. Basil says : The wicked man does most easily condemn the good, but the good does not easily condemn the wicked. Most justly therefore says the Apostle, Who art thou that misdeemest another man’s servant? he standeth or falleth before his Lord. Saul breathing out mischief against the church of God, was suddenly called, and from Saul became Paul, from a proud Pharisee a humble penitent, from a malicious persecutor a zealous Apostle, and laboured more in his vocation than all his fellows.Five reasons why we may not judge our brethren. Jam. 3. 2. Basil. Rom. 14. 4.
Augustine says, we must despair of none as long as the patience of God does lead him to repentance, neither he, that will not have the death of a sinner, but that he should turn and live, does take him out of this life. He is a Pagan today, how knows you but he may become a Christian tomorrow? he is an unbelieving Jew today, what if tomorrow he attain to the Catholique religion? he is a Schismatique today, what if tomorrow he embrace the unity of the Church? what if those in whom you find all kind of error and condemn as most desperate, shall repent before they end their life? Therefore brethren, this doth the Apostle warn you, judge not any man, before the time come.Aug. de verb. dom. ser. 12.
This rule of the Apostle (as noted by Augustine) condemns the Pharisees that were in Christ’s time, the Catharoi that were in Cyprian’s time, as well as the Donatists of Augustine’s own time. And it also condemns the puritan Martinists that exist in our times ; these latter have written a book called , which they should next write a sequel to, and call it Martin Marpharisee.
Augustine notes in his treatise, On the Conflict of Virtues and Vices, that self-love gives us this counsel : thou art better than all others in eloquence, riches, and honours, and in all gifts both spiritual and corporal; despise therefore all and make thy self better than all : and this is what says our puritan Martin, that he is better than the Bishops and Ministers of this land.
So said the false Prophets in Isaiah’s time. Stand apart, come not near, for I am holier than thou. But although has many followers who hope to enrich themselves by sacrilege, yet let them hear what God speaks by the mouth of his Prophet : Behold, I will enter into judgement with thee, because thou sayest you have not sinned.Isaiah 65. 5. Jer. 2. 35.
Absolom when he persuaded the people to rebellion, said, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any matter in controversy might come to me, that I might do him justice, and when any man came near to him and did him obeisance, he put forth his hand and took him and kissed him : and that he stole the harts of the people.1. Sam. 15. 4. Zach. 2. 8.
Fullness of bread.
Fullness of bread is another sin that comes before our overthrow, for fullness of bread causes curiosity. For then we make us great works, build us houses, plant vineyards, make us gardens, and plant in them all manner of trees ; then we make cisterns of water, to water therewith the woods that grow ; then we get us servants and maids, possession of beeves and sheep ; then we gather up silver and gold, and the chief treasures of Kings ; then we provide us men singers and maid singers, and the delights of the sons of men. As fullness of bread causes curiosity, so curiosity causes pleasure : so that the wicked Put far away the evil day, and approach to the seat of iniquity, they lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their beds, and eat the Lambs of the flock, and the Calves out of the stall, they sing to the sound of the viole, they invent to themselves instruments of music like David ; they drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with sweet ointments, and no man is sorry for the affliction of Joseph. And as Paul says, They are lovers of pleasure, more than lovers of God. As fullness of bread causes curiosity : and curiosity pleasure : so pleasure is the cause of security. The wicked is so proud he careth not for God, neither is God in all his thoughts, his ways are always prosperous, therefore he defyeth all his enemies, for he saith in his heart, I shall never be moved, there shall no harm happen unto me : and again a little after, God hath forgotten, he hideth away his face, and will never see it.Fulness of bread, the sin of Sodom and of England. Eccl. 2, 4, &c. Amos 6. 3. &c. 2. Tim. 3. 4. Psal. 10. 4. &c. Psal. 10, 11.
This was the estate of the people of Sodom, to put far from them the evil day, to give themselves ( as Christ says ) to eating, drinking, building, planting, and to voluptuousness, to say they should never be moved nor be in danger : to trust to their riches which were uncertain, to their Castles which were ruinous : to their bow which was broken : to their spear which was snapped asunder : to their horse which was but vain : to their hosts of men, which were but Grass, to their Captains which were but Locusts : to their Princes, which are but mortal : to their counsels which are of no effect.1. Tim. 6. 17. Psal. 46. 19. Isaiah 40. Psal. 46. Psal. 33.
What is the reason that the tyrants of the earth forget the fall of Pharaoh? the fullness of bread. What is the reason the idolatrous papists of England do not remember the violent death of the idolaters? the fullness of bread. What is the reason that murmurers of our time, forget the fearful destruction of the murmuring Jews? the fullness of bread. What is the reason that fornicators do not remember the slaughter of the twenty-four thousand? the fullness of bread has hid this condemnation from their sight. Why do we cast out of our memory the drowning of the whole World? which was so complete, that a dove could not pitch her foot on any ground? the fullness of bread hath set this judgement of God out of our sight. Why do we forget Sodom and Gomorrah ( written about not only by Moses, but also Isaiah, Jeremiah, Amos, Zephaniah, all the Evangelists, and Peter and Jude ) which was destroyed with fire & brimstone, to such an extent, that to this day no grass can grow in it, no bird can fly in it, no fish can live in the waters of it, no cattle on the ground, nor no man in the Country? the fullness of bread hath set this fearful judgement, declared by Moses, repeated by the Prophets, preached by the Evangelists, and inculcated by the Apostles, far out of our sight.Exo. 32. 28. Num. 26. 63. Num. 24. 9. Gen. 8. 9.
Why do we bury in oblivion the desolation of the Jews? It was most lamentable ; first, because it was in the feast of the Passover, when they were all assembled together. Secondly, because of the domestic sedition, for there were three Ruffians that strived in the City for the government, John, Simon, and Eleazer, and these so skirmished one with the other, that in one day eight thousand, and in an other day ten thousand or more were slain within the walls. Thirdly, by reason of the plague which was so dreadful, that from the fourteenth day of April, unto the Calends of July, there died in the pestilence a hundredth fifteen thousand and eighty.
Fourthly, by reason of the famine which was so extreme, that the husbands pulled the meat out of their wives mouths, the parents from the children, the children from the parents, the Brethren from the sisters, sisters from the brethren ; they did eat hay, old leather plucked off their targets, ox dung, and pigeons dung, and a noble woman dwelling in a street called Batezor killed her own infant to eat it, but before she killed him, she uttered these words with tears, and kissed him saying ; O wretched child for whom shall I keep thee in war, famine, and sedition? if thou goest to the Romans there is bondage, and before bondage goeth famine, and the seditious will afflict us worse them both : woe be unto me most wretched mother ; I did hope that thou shouldst bury me, but now alas pinching famine ( which pierces my bowels and marrow ) forces me that I must bury thee again in my belly, whom before I have carried in my womb ; and when she had wept and kissed him often, she put her child behind her and killed it with a dagger, & said be thou to me meat : to the seditious Erinnis, and to the world a fable. Fifthly, it was grievous, because two thousand killed themselves. Sixthly, because the Senators were put to most vile works. Seventhly, because this was all done of the enemies of religion. Eighthly, because it was in the time of harvest. And lastly, because of the great number slain, which were 110000. and of the captains which were 97000. What ( I ask ) makes us forget this heavy downfall of the Jews, who perished under famine, pestilence, the sword, and captivity, if not the fulness of bread?
David though he repented for his fornication and murder, yet his punishment was so great, that he said, There is nothing sound in my flesh because of thy anger, neither is there rest in my bones because of my sin. I cause my bed every night to swim, and water my couch with tears. My strength faileth, and the light of my eyes ever is not my own. Yea his own Son Absalom first drove him out of his house, secondly, deflowered his own wives, thirdly, Absalom was hanged, fourthly, for one Urias were slain three of David’s sons, Ammon, Absalom, and Adonias. Therefore well says David, My flesh trembleth for fear of thee, and I am afraid of thy judgements.Psal. 38. 3. Psal. 6. 6. Psal. 38. 10. Psal. 119. 120.
David was afraid of God’s judgements, because the sword never departed from his house ; but we that live in fulness of bread ; we fear not the judgements of God in the slaughter of the idolaters, the destruction of the murmurers, the murder of the fornicators, the pitiful desolation of Jerusalem, the drowning of all the world, the burning of Sodom and Gomorrah in the vengeance of eternal fire.Eccl. 7. 4. Luke 6. 25. Gen. 4. 13.
Idleness is another sin which cries for vengeance, against which Paul thus writes : We command you in the name of Christ Jesus, that ye withdraw yourselves from every Brother which walketh inordinately, and not after the institution he hath received of us : for ye yourselves know, how ye ought to follow us, for we behaved not ourselves inordinately amongst you ; neither took we bread of any man for nought, for we wrought with labour and hardship, night and day, because we would not be changeable to any of you : not because we had authority, but that we might make ourselves an example unto you to follow us. For even when we were with you, this we warned you of, that if there were any that would not work, he should not eat. For we heard that there were some amongst you which walk inordinately and work not at all, but are busybodies : therefore those who are such, we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that they work with quietness, and eat their own bread.Idleness the sin of Sodom and of England. 2. Thes. 6. &c.
First Paul commands them not in his own name, but by the authority of Christ, that they should labour. Secondly, he says that idleness is
ατάξια which is a perturbation of the order of God, who has appointed every man his personal vocation, wherein he must stand and labour. Thirdly, idleness is contrary to the institution and doctrine of the Apostle. Fourthly, he teaches them to labour by his own example, for albeit he had authority to reap their temporal things, because he taught them spiritual ; yet he would not be burdensome unto them, but got his living with his own hands. Fifthly, he says ; That he that will not labour, must not eat. For every man must eat the labour of his own hands. Sixthly, idle persons are busybodies, being most pestilent people to the Church of God. For a great part of their life they spend in doing ill, a greater part in doing nothing, but the greatest part of all in meddling with that, they have nothing to do withal.
Of the idleness of Ministers, ( how they seek their own, and not these things which are Jesus Christ’s ; and whose end is damnation, whose God is their belly, whose glory is their shame, which mind earthly things ) as Saint Paul complains with tears. Of the idleness of Magistrates, how they lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves forth on their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the Calves out of the stall, and drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with sweet ointments : and take their pastimes with the fowls of the air, and gather up silver as the dust : and care not for the affliction of Joseph : The prophets cry out in every place.Phil. 2. 21. Phil. 3. 19. Amos 6. 4. &c. Bar. 3. 17. Amo. 6. 6.
Three great and horrible sins come from idleness : The first is murder, for it was when Cain was idle, that he killed his brother. And idleness is the cause of so many street fights and bloodsheds, that are in & about London. For as the scripture says ; they lie in wait, which cannot be performed without idleness. I would wish that young Gentlemen and serving men were kept from idleness, and then no doubt they would keep themselves from homicide. The second sin that cometh from idleness, is whoredom ; for David being idle, and having slept on his bed, lusted after Barsheba. And it being demanded why Aegistus was an adulterer, it is answered he was an idle person. Take away idleness, and love’s arts will be at an end. No marvel therefore if there be such whoring in England, since there is abundance of idleness. All our vain Ballads and wanton books, whence come they but from idleness?Three great sins come from idleness : murder, whoredom, and theft.
Learned men have noted seven causes of whoredom. First, original sin ; secondly, the outward attractions ; thirdly, the temperature of the body ; fourthly, the devil ; fifthly, conversation with women ; sixthly, idleness ; seventhly, the memory of women. The devil then causes idleness, idleness causes us to remember women, remembrance causes concupiscence, & concupiscence causes adultery. The third sin that comes from idleness is theft. Enter not ( says Solomon ) into the way of the wicked, and walk not in the way of wicked men, for they cannot sleep unless they have done evil, and their sleep departeth except they cause some to fall ; for they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of robbery. Idleness causes poverty, poverty famine, & famine causes robbery : & therefore Solomon prays, Give me not poverty, nor riches, feed me with food convenient for me, lest I be full & deny thee, & say who is the Lord? or lest I be poor and steal, and take the name of my God in vain. Wherefore as you have made many laws against murder, whoredom, and theft : so I pray you make severe laws against idleness, for all idle persons are either busybodies, murderers, adulterers, or thieves.7 causes of whoredom. Pro. 4. 19. &c. Pro. 3. 8. 9.
Christ reproving those that stood idle in the market place said ; Why stand ye here all day idle? Rhabbanus commenting upon this verse, as follows. First he chastises them for the want of reason : O you bum, you deformed monster, I speak to you, who has the belly of an ostrich, the throat of a dragon, the thighs of an elephant, the feet of a camel, the legs of an Ass, and the head of a Cow : heaven and earth do move, and every creature, the Planets are turned about with their maker, the stars do shine, the winds do arise, the rivers do run, the fire does enflame, the earth does fructify, the trees do bud, the birds do sing, the beasts do seek their pray, the fishes do search the bottom of the Sea ; all things do as they be made, only you remain immovable, you in whose hand was put the care of all things. Your creator has commanded that while you has time, you must work. The Angels your watchful guardians invite you, the devils do mock you : arise therefore O sluggard and go to the Ant and learn wisdom of him ; for while there is still Harvest, he gathers the best grain and lays them up in his house, he repairs the decayed places, that he may exclude the Winter storms. This summer our Harvest is our life : the Winter shall last for three months, in death, judgement, and hell, in all which shall happen fearful tempests. Arise therefore O sluggard, and gather the grains of grace.Mat. 21. 6. Rhabbanus in Mat.
Secondly, he chastises them in regard of the necessity of the place agreeing ; for as in heaven all men shall rest, and in hell all suffer, so in earth all must labour. Christ says, My father worketh hitherto, and I work : and Saint Paul says ; The spirit itself maketh requests for us with sighs that cannot be expressed. Thus Noah planted a vineyard, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were shepherds, the judges sat in the gates and administered justice, the kings and valiant captains fought the Lord’s battles, all the people of God in this life have either laboured in manual arts, or in teaching, or in governing, or in counseling. For the Church is a vineyard, wherein are diggers and delvers ; a Harvest wherein are labourers ; a ship wherein are either painful Sailors, or fighting soldiers ; a house, wherein every one has his ministry ; a body, wherein every member haa his office ; here therefore to stand idle, is a great shame.John 5. 15. Rom. 8. 26.
Thirdly, they are reprehended in respect of the strength of their bodies : Why stand ye? Impotent persons such as Lazarus was, lie at the doors and cannot stand, therefore they are to be refreshed by others : but those that have a sound mind in a sound body, they ought not to stand idle, but to walk in their vocation honestly. Standing water soon starts to stink, so idle persons are an abomination to the Lord : Iron that lies still, will rust, so idle persons give themselves either to murder, whoredom or theft. Therefore as an idol is a vain and abominable thing, which has eyes & yet sees not, ears and hears not, a nose and smells not, feet and walk not : so to see a man whose wit is sharp, and body strong, to be unexercised both in mind and body, is a sin not to be suffered in the commonwealth, or in the Church of God. For as the tree that bears no fruit is to be hewn down and cast into the fire : so the man that is unprofitable to the Church of God, shall by the axe of God’s judgement, be hewn down and cast into hell fire, though he were the highest cedar in Libanus.
Fourthly, he chastises them in respect of the time, for the day is appointed to labour, and the night to rest : The sun ariseth, the Lions retire and couch in their dens, then man goeth forth to his work and to his labour : So this being the day of salvation, and the time accepted : we ought while we have time to do good. Man’s life is but short : First, because we should withdraw our love from the world : secondly, that we might not be weary of well doing : thirdly, that we should not spend our life unprofitably : fourthly, to show the love of God, who for a day’s labour gives us the penny of eternal life : fifthly, hereby we learn that God has chosen man to eternal life, because he would permit him to be here for just a little while : sixthly, that we should make very great haste to enter into our rest. As therefore man will labour earnestly and diligently that he be not prevented with the night, so will the godly also labour earnestly in their vocation in this precious, short, and irrevocable time of their life, because after death there is no day, but night, no time accepted, but the day of vengeance.Psal. 104. 24. 2. Cor. 6. 2. Gala. 6. 10.
Mercilessness to the poor is a sin also that procures the wrath of God upon us. For as only God gives us all that we have, and gives it to us freely & abundantly beyond our merits or desire : so God wills us to feed the hungry, to give drink to the thirsty, to clothe the naked, to redeem the prisoner, and to visit the sick, promising that what we give to those, we give to his brethren : and therefore we are to ponder what a dignity it is to be a brother to Christ ; that all things are ours ; that, we are hereby made conformable to Christ ; that, we who are merciful excel the Angels ; and so that this brotherhood truly excels all carnal cogitation.Mercilessness to the poor, the sin of Sodom and of England. Mat. 25. 40.
If then God being bountiful to us, we are unkind to our brethren, we are justly condemned to eternal fire : first, because of the facility of the petition, for what does he ask? a piece of bread, a cup of drink, an old garment, or a piece of silver : who will deny this to the hungry, thirsty, naked, or captive brother of Christ? secondly, because of the misery of him that asks, for he is poor, thirsty, naked, or a prisoner. Thirdly, because of the compassion of nature that should be in us, for he is a man, and therefore we must consider who it is that asks, what he asks, and from whom. He that asks is a man, as are you : he is frail, as are you : he is miserable, as are you : what does he ask? bread, drink, a garment, or silver, which is none of yours, for you are but a caretaker of it : But you being a sinful man does beg of God, and you beg righteousness. Now if you being a man does deny your equal, when he asks that which is not yours : how dare you being far inferior to God, ask from him righteousness or mercy? you will not give to your neighbour temporary things, how shall God give to you eternal things?
The fourth thing that should move us to mercy, is the desire of the promise : for God promises us a kingdom : Come ( says Christ ) ye blessed of my Father, inherit ye the kingdom prepared for you before the foundations of the world : for I was hungry, and ye gave me meat, I thirsted, and ye gave me drink, I was naked and ye clothed me, I was a stranger, and ye lodged me, I was sick, and ye visited me, I was in prison, and ye redeemed me. The kingdom of God ( which in dignity is highest, in liberty free, in peace secure, in honor glorious, in cleanness pure, in society of angels joyous, and perpetual in the affluence of riches ) the influence of pleasures, and the confluence of all Saints, is promised for a piece of meat, a cup of drink, a night’s lodging, an old garment, or a piece of silver. Is not he a wise merchant, that trades lead for gold, a rent for an inheritance, and for a house a kingdom? so do all those that be merciful to the poor.Mat. 25. 24. &c.
The fifth thing that should move us to mercifulness, is the dignity of the receiver : for whatsoever you give to the poor, you give to Christ. We ought to give to the poor for his own sake, for our sake, and for Christ’s sake : for his own sake, because if he be in the state of grace, he is the child of God, if he be a sinner, he is the workmanship of God : and therefore albeit he is to be punished, because he is an offender ; yet he is to be pitied because he is a man, and he must see in us the work of mercifulness, that he may glorify our Father which is in heaven. For your own sake also you must be merciful : For Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy : and there shall be merciless judgement to him that showeth no mercy : but if you will not do it for his sake, nor for your own sake, at least do it for Christ’s sake, who says : In as much as ye have done it to one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me : for Christ reckons it given to himself, whatsoever is given to the poor. What a dignity then is this for us, which indeed are but dust, earth and ashes, to be accounted givers unto him, which is the giver of all things?Mat. 5. 7. Jam. 2. 13. Mat. 25. 40.
The sixth thing that should move us to mercy, is the superabundance of honor, because Christ doth vouchsafe to receive meat, drink, and lodging at our hands. If the Queen of England should acknowledge herself to have received at our hands, meat, drink, garments, or silver, were we not greatly honoured? how much more when the son of God, King of kings, Lord of lords, and God of gods : doth so magnify us, that he acknowledges himself to be indebted unto us, when we do but our duty?
The seventh thing that should move us to mercy, is the justice of the gift, for he accepts from our hands, what was his to begin with, but as though we had given it : he gives us bread, and yet he says, we give him bread ; he feeds us, and yet he says, we feed him ; he gives us wine, and yet he says, we give him drink ; he gives us houses, and yet he says we lodge him ; he clothes us, and yet he says we clothe him ; he heals us when we are sick, and yet he says, we visit him ; he delivers us when we were prisoners, and yet he says that it is we who had redeemed him. Thus the Lord of all things makes himself a servant, the owner of all the beasts of the forest makes himself hungry, and he that says : Gold and silver is mine, makes himself a beggar to provoke us to mercifulness.Hag. 28.
Now because neither the facility of the petition, nor the misery of the afflicted, nor the compassion of nature, nor the desire of the promise, nor the dignity of the receiver, nor the superabundance of honor which he giveth, nor the justice of the gift can move us to be pitiful to the poor, therefore it is the sin of a Sodom that was annihilated, & the sin of a Jerusalem that was destroyed, and the sin of this iron age, which shall be condemned.
Under the name of the poor, are meant the ministers of God, also the poor students ( which are the seedbed of the Church ) , also poor soldiers, and poor cripples as Lazarus was, and sick men, prisoners, and the exiles : to be merciless to these is the sin of Sodom, and a sin that never ceases crying to God, till it has brought down on the merciless extreme damnation : For we should love them, and we hate them ; we should hear them, and we stop our ears ; we should visit them gladly, and we disdain them : we should speak to them gently, and we speak roughly ; we should have compassion on them, and we are indifferent towards them : we should do them good, and we do them harm : we should defend them from evil, and yet smite them ourselves. Are we merciful to the poor ministers in these days? do we give, or pull away from them? what mercy is showed to poor students in Oxford or Cambridge? what relief have soldiers? who refreshes the bowels of hunger-starved Lazarus? where these are spoiled or despised, there God himself is spoiled and condemned.Rom. 2. 22. Isaiah. 5. 8. Mik. 3. 2. 3. Isaiah. 3. 14. Habak. 2. 12. Jer. 5. 27.
1. by the large variety of sinners.
The sins of Sodom were not only manifest and many, but also exceeding great, and so are the sins of England. Sin is aggravated 1. by the multitude of sinners ; 2. by evil examples in Magistrates, ministers, and fathers ; 3. by impunity ; 4. by encouragement in evil ; 5. by study to do mischief ; 6. by perseverance in sins. In Sodom there was multitude of offenders, for they did offend all ; of every age, as children, young and old men, of every sex, as men and women ; & of every estate ; as the magistrate and subject, the priest and people, the master and servant, the father & son, and the husband and wife.The sins of Sodom are exceeding great, and so are the sins of England.
First, for our children ( I tremble to speak it ) being our seed that should serve the Lord after us : as soon as they are born they are so accustomed to blaspheme, that they fill every street, every house, and every highway with it. If it be true which the wise man says : that the plague of God departs not from the house of the swearer : then no doubt it will fall upon the posterity of our English nation.Children have exceeding great sins. Psal. 22. 31.
Secondly, for young men which should remember the Lord in the days of their youth, their heads are full of drunkenness, their eyes full of adultery, their tongue full of filthy communication, their ears full of ribaldry, their hands full of blood, their feet run to vanity, their understanding is blind, their affection froward, their heart is lewd and unsearcheable. If they learn not this lesson out of the Psalm. O remember not the sins of our youth, but according to thy mercy think upon us : they must learn this lesson to their confusion,destruction and calamity is in our ways, there is no fear of God before our eyes.Eccles. 12. 1. Young men have exceeding great sins. Psal. 25. 7. Psal. 14. 1.
Concerning old men, they should be sober, grave, modest, sound in faith, charity and patience. They should be sober, and they are given to drunkenness ; chaste, and they are given to lewdness ; discreet, and they are most foolish ; sound in faith, and they are as ignorant as horse and mule ; in charity, and they are full of envy ; in patience, and they are most intemperate.Tit. 2. 2. Old men have exceeding great sins.
You have heard about every age, now shall you hear about every sex, that is of men and women. In ancient times, the debate was on which is the more excellent creature, the man or the woman ; but now they strive in how one may excel the other in viciousness. For men are recusant Papists, so are women ; men are murderers, so are women, for they murder their own infants. Men are adulterers, thieves, slanderers, and covetous persons, so are women. In S. Peter’s time wives were so subject to their husbands, that they which obeyed not the word, might without the word be won by the conversation of their wives, whilst they beheld their pure conversation, which was in fear. In Paul’s time Lois and Eunice brought up Timothy in the word of God. In Christ’s time was Mary Magdalene out of whom went seven devils, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, the steward of Herod. Susanna and many others ministered unto Christ of their substance. Though Nabal was a miserable churl, yet Abigail his wife was a virtuous woman. But in our days it is as it was in Sodom ; children young men and old, yea men and women, all do sin, they sin often, and they sin grievously.Men and women have exceeding great sins. 1. Pet. 31. 2. 2. Tim. 1. 5. Luke 8. 23.
Now let us look into all estates ; magistrates should be wise, fear God, love the truth, and abhor covetousness. But our magistrates who are wise to do evil, to do well they have no knowledge. They should fear God, and they fear man ; they should deal uprightly, and they turn justice into oppression ; they should abhor covetousness, and they join house to house, & land to land, & they eat up the poor like bread. The foundation then of our commonwealth being feeble, the walls of our vineyard being tottering, and the hedges of our Church being broken down ; what is to be looked for but a speedy & fearful destruction.Magistrates have exceeding great sins. Exod. 18. 21. Jer. 4. 22.
Magistrates are called Gods, to show that they should be meek, wise, just. They are called Gods for the advancement of their vocation : for as Jacob called Joseph’s son after his own name, so God to honor magistrates calls them after his own name ; because neither the loftiness of their estate, nor the pleasures of this life, nor the tempests nor troubles of this dangerous world, nor the flatteries of the wicked should make them to pervert justice : but God’s law should be their law, God’s honour should be their honour, God’s kingdom should be their kingdom, and God’s enemies should be their enemies. And therefore the wicked may not be spared either for love of friend, hatred of enemy, desire of reward, or fear of superiour. To be called God’s servant is an honorable title, to be called disciple of Christ is more honorable, and to be called the son of God most honorable ; but to be called God, this is a name which there cannot be a greater than. Men may be called noble because of their parents, and scholars on account of their studies : but to be called Gods is a nobility that comes on account of virtue : therefore for a God to be a briber, scoffer, swearer, liar, drunkard, or usurer, is a most absurd thing. Should such a man as I flee? says Nehemiah the Prophet : So, for a magistrate to be a covetous God, an idol God, or a belly God, is a great shame. For as David excelling Saul in virtue, was chosen to be king, and Saul was rejected, so the wicked shall be humbled, and the virtuous exalted. Now because our higher powers have in them base villainies, our Fathers are tyrants, our heads are giddy, our men are beasts, and our Gods devils : it is a fearful token of our future desolation.Num. 12. 3. 1. King. 4. 34. Heb. 1. 2. Neh. 6. 11.
As the Magistrates have sins exceeding great, so have the everyday citizens. Saint Paul wills us to submit ourselves to our magistrates ; which subjection contains 5. things : first, that we acknowledge them to be appointed our governours from God, for he himself says, by me kings do reign : Secondly, that we should accord to them reverence with fear : 3. that we should obey them in the simplicity of heart : 4. that we be thankful unto them in heart & deed : 5. that of all the Prince’s actions we give a gentle interpretation. For as a bitter medicine oftentimes does more good than a sweet : so the actions of Princes, whether they like or dislike us, ought to be gently interpreted. But we do not think our governors to be advanced by God ; for if we did, then should we reverence them ; but we as beasts void of reason, speak evil of those who are in authority : And for reverence we render contempt, for obedience, murmuring ; for thankfulness, ingratitude : and like busybodies, we give a sinister interpretation of all public actions. Even as the people murmured against Moses, so do we against her majesty : and the reason is, every man is wise in his own conceits, every man will be a leader, every one a teacher, every one a reformer ; no man will be a member, a student, or a Disciple. Hereof the Prophet Isaiah prophecied long before : Children shall presume against the ancient, and the wise against the honourable. If this saying were true in the Prophets time, it is more true in our time. This was the wreck of Jerusalem, and this will be the ruin of England. For our young divines being children in understanding ( making themselves to be Doctors of law, and yet understanding not what they speak, or whereof they affirm ) do speak against the fathers of the Church, not only with permission, but with approbation and applause. And if they shall be thus dealt withal that are worthy of double honour ; then others may think also, that their honours will fall to the dust.Subjects have exceeding great sins. Pro. 8. 15. Jude 10. Isaiah 3. 5. 1. Tim. 5. 17.
Concerning the Ministers of our land, which should be the light of the world and the salt of the earth ; how dark, and unsavory are they? for some are idols, some are strangers, some are thieves and robbers, some are mercenaries. The idol shepherd is an abomination, the stranger they know not, the thief and robber does kill and destroy, and the mercenary runs away when he sees the wolf coming. There be many false Prophets, and false Christs, and shall show great signs and wonders to deceive the very elect, if it were possible. Yea as Paul says, All seek their own, and not those things which are Jesus Christ’s.Ministers have exceeding great sins. Mat. 13. 14. Zach. 11. 17. Joh. 10. 5. Joh. 10. 8. Joh. 10. 12. Mat. 24. 22. Phil. 2. 21.
Who among our Bishops or Clergy does exhibit to the maintenance of poor students in Oxford or in Cambridge, which is the seminary of the Church of God? I know many brilliant minds and young men of good hope, who for want of exhibition, must either apply themselves to waiting tables, which is not well ; or travel to the papist seminary at Rheims which is worse ; or else go to Anabaptistical Schismatics, to trouble the peace of the Church, which is worst of all. The noble and wealthy of this land shall be justly condemned, for that they have not been bountiful to the professors of learning ; but most justly we of the clergy ; for having been nourished ourselves by this godly means, yet we neglect the doing of so honorable and necessary an action. Albeit therefore many have great livings, yet as Paul says, they have it but to live. To live ( says Bernard ) , not to be rich, not to be proud, not to be wanton, not that he should build great palaces, not that he should advance his kindred with the wealth of the Church, nor marry his Nephews, his Sons and his Daughters with the Church goods. From this passage of Bernard, I note against the papists that the Bishops of his time had Sons and daughters, and therefore were married ; also that they had great wealth, against the puritan Martinists : to use these things is lawful, to abuse them is unlawful.1 Cor. 9. 14. Bernard.
Finally, some of our Ministers are as covetous as Ahab, some as full of scoffing as Ismael, some as wanton as Solomon, some as traitorous as Judas, some as ignorant as an ass, and some as ambitious as the devil.
Chrysostom said, If you see a tree that bears no fruit, the cause is in the root ; so where the people live wickedly, the cause is in the Ministers. For either they are so ignorant they cannot, or so fearful they dare not, or so slothful they will not do their duty. And therefore he says, many in name, and few in deed ; and in his eighth Homily upon the third of the Acts, he marvels that anyone enters into the kingdom of heaven at all : for just as the parrots repeat the words of men, so we parrot the words of the Apostles ; and not only our words are vain, but our works are abominable.Chrysostom.
Concerning those who hear the word in the congregtion, from some the Devil steals the word out of their hearts, others are choked with the cares and pleasures of this life, others are so hard hearted and impenitent, that one could as well preach to the insensible stones, as to them. We are commanded not only to hear the word, but to understand it ; Hear and understand, says Christ ; and we should not only understand it, but lay it up in our heart ; and therefore Mary is commended, that she kept all Christ’s sayings in her heart. And we should not only love the word, but be doers of the word.Those in the congregation have exceeding great sins. Mat. 15. 10. Luke. 10. 51. Jam. 1. 21.
But some will never hear, as our Papists ; some hear but cannot understand, as the uneducated ; some understand the word but do not love it, as the hypocrites ; and some do hear, understand, and love it, but are not doers of the word, as our vain puritan Gospellers.
Paul says, Preach the word, be instant in season and out of season, improve, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine ; for the time will come, when they will not suffer wholesome doctrine, but having their ears itching, and shall get themselves a heap of teachers after their own lusts.2. Tim. 4. 2.
Learned Divines have noted eight causes of heresies : the first is ignorance, which indeed is the mother of seductions. For ignorance is not only destitute of upright judgement, but also is in danger of the wickedness of deceitful men, and therefore the Apostle commands, Brethren be not children in understanding, but as concerning maliciousness be children. The crafty Papists therefore which got both gain and Lordship over the people, did care by all means to keep the deceived multitude in ignorance. Secondly, a wavering mind follows this ignorance ; whereby it cometh to pass, that they which are children in understanding, are carried about with every blast of vain doctrine. This wavering the Apostle reproves : He gave some to be Apostles and some Prophets, some Evangelists, and some Pastors and teachers, for the gathering together of the Saints, for the work of the ministry, and for the glorification of the body of Christ, till we all meet together in the unity of faith, and knowledge of the same God, unto a perfect man, and unto the measure of the age of the fullness of Christ. That we henceforth be no more children, wavering, and carried away with every wind of doctrine by the deceit of men, and with craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive. This ignorance therefore and wavering of mind, does open the door to all heresies and errors, and makes the unskillful multitude to follow heretics & deceitful men. Thirdly, where the vice of curiosity taketh effect, there every heretical deceit prevails : for as soon as any new or unaccustomed thing is taught, they which are curious, desiring to know what it is, do greedily hear, read, and entertain it.1. Cor. 14. 28. Eph. 4. 11. &c. 2. Tim. 4. 3. 2. Pet. 3. 16.
Fathers also have exceeding great sins. For fathers owe to their sons, 1. love ; 2. diligent education ; 3. wise government ; that they be not corrupted either with too much permissiveness, or overmuch austerity ; 4. to bring up their children in good arts & godliness ; 5. to correct them if they do not their duty. But our parents instead of love use fond affection : and for government we may say as Themistocles said : I rule Athens, my wife rules me, and my child rules my wife : and whereas they should be instructed in good arts and in pity, they are instructed in carding, dicing, dancing, hawking and hunting. Lastly, where they should correct their children for offending, they rejoice in their wickedness. Job and Jeremiah did curse their father that did beget them, and the mother that did bear them, because they were bourn to such trouble and miseries : but the children of our time will curse their parents because they are nourished up in wickedness for the torments of hell, which are ceaseless, endless, & remediless. Fathers will teach their sons to have their barns full of corn with the rich man, their purses full of money with the rich glutton, their houses full of plate with Hezechiah, their backs full of gorgeous apparel with Herod, their table full of dainty dishes with Assuerus, but they are unfurnished of all kind of virtues and heavenly graces : and therefore though they & their parents spend their days in wealthiness, yet in a moment they go down to hell.Fathers have exceeding great sins. Luke 12. Children have exceeding great sins.
2. by the evil example of magistrates, ministers and fathers.
Evil example of Magistrates, Ministers and Fathers, are another means to aggravate sin. For when Israel coupled himself to Baal Peor, the Lord being angry said thus to Moses, Num. 25.4 : Take all the heads of the people and hang them up before the Lord against the sun, that the indignation of the Lord’s wrath may cease from Israel. Magistrates should be men noble in birth, in knowledge and in virtues. As they have a crown of pure gold, so must they shine in purity to their subjects ; as they are decked with precious stones, so must they shine in excellent virtues ; as they wear chains of gold, so they must be endued with wisdom, justice, fortitude and temperance ; as they have a scepter, so they may not he bent from justice to oppression, or from clemency to foolish pity. They are the Sun of the commonwealth, therefore if they be darkened, there must needs follow horror and confusion : they are the heart of the political body, if they be poisoned with the venom of sin, the whole body must needs be infected to death. Jeroboam made all the people to commit idolatry ; Baasha slew Jeroboam and all his house, and left none alive, because of the sins of Jeroboam which he committed, and with which he made Israel to sin by provocation. So is it written of Baasha, that he made all Israel to sin. But Baasha and all his posterity were destroyed for it. Zimri was burnt as well, because he walked in the sins of Jeroboam, and made all Israel to sin. Omri also walked in the sins of Jeroboam, and made all Israel to sin. The same may be spoken of Ahab and of other wicked Kings : for there are many reasons why they fall : 1. the height of their throne, with no one to control them ; 2. the abundance of all things ; 3. the delights which they have in this world ; 4. their liberty because they are above all, and subject to none ; 5. the example of wicked governors ; 6. the troubles of worldly things ; 7. flattery, than the which nothing is more pernicious.1. King. 15. 20. 1. King. 16. 15. 1. King. 16. 18. 1. King. 16. 26.
The evil example of Ministers likewise makes sin heinous, for the Minister must be an example to his flock, and zealous for good works : but if he be either a proud person and lover of preeminence, as Diotrophes was ; or a lover of the world, as Demas was ; or a covetous caitiff as Judas was ; or a false Prophet, as were those that fed at the table of Jezabel ; then they will ( without doubt ) draw the people from religion into superstition, from the spirit to the flesh, from Christ to the world, and from God to the devil. If there be a tree withered ( says Chrysostom ) the fault is in the root : so if you see the people being irreligious, the fault is in the Ministers, and this is a true saying in Augustine, Gregory and Bernard : He that lives ill in the sight of those over whom he rules, kills them as much were in his power ; for he whose life is abominable, his doctrine cannot not be acceptable.Evil examples of ministers makes sin exceeding great. Chrysostom.
There are three things necessary for a Preacher : knowledge which is noted in the book sent to Ezekiel ; eloquence which is noted in the hot coal that purged Isaiah ; holiness of life, which is noted in the hand sent to Jeremiah. If a Preacher lack knowledge, he is an idol ; if he lack utterance, he is an infant ; but if he lack holiness of life, he is a devil. It sorrows me to think of the Ministers of England, for either we never learn to speak, which is slothfulness ; or else we speak before we learn, which is rashness ; or else we learn & never speak, which is idleness ; or else we speak to please itching ears, which is flattery ; or else we speak falsely against the truth, which is impiety.Three things necessary for a Preacher.
The evil example therefore of the Ministers who have gifts given them from above, to gather together the body of Christ, and yet scatter it ; who should build up the house of the Lord, and yet destroy it ; who should sow the pure seed of the word of unity, and yet sow the darnel of dissension, is another heinous crime which provokes to eternal destruction.Bad example of fathers makes sin exceeding great. Psal. 22. 4. Psal. 49. 8.
3. by impunity upon a sin occurring.
Impunity also causes our sins to be exceeding great. I have seen all things ( says the Preacher ) in the days of my vanity, there is a just man that perishes in his justice, & there is a wicked man that continues long in his malice. Job speaking of these says ; They spend all their days in wealthiness, & in a moment they go down to hell. David says thus : And these are the wicked, yet they always prosper, and increase in riches. And just after, he says : Surely thou hast set them in slippery places, O how suddenly do they parish, consume, & come to a fearful end? Augustine in his select sentences writes thus in the forty second sentence : There is nothing more miserable than the felicity of sinners, whereby a penal impunity is nourished, and the evil will as an inward enemy is strengthened. Chrysostom, commenting on the first chapter of the Hebrews & his second Homily, says : But besides all other evils, riches have also this mischief, that rich men sinning wickedly, are defended from punishments : & he that possesses riches though he always sin yet he is not restrained with any punishment, but always he receives the wounds of sins without any remedies, and no man checks him for it. And Augustine in his treatise on the Martyrs says ; The men of this world are unhappily happy, for they are for a time happy, and forever miserable : but the Martyrs are happily miserable, for they are miserable for a season, and happy forever.Impunity makes sins exceeding great. Eccl. 7. 17. Job. 21. 23. Psal. 33. 12. Augustine. Chrysostom.
For that then the manifest and many sins of England are not punished, we have no cause to rejoice in it, but rather to fear that the dilation of our punishment will be more grievous, for though he comes with leaden heels, he strikes with iron hands, recompensing the tardity thereof with the gravity. Being then we see the idolaters to sin manifestly, the blasphemers to swear outrageously, the Saboths of the Lord to be profaned notoriously, murders to be pardoned, adulterers to be winked at, robberies to be counted purchase, slanderings & railings to be accounted zeal, and covetousness to be reckoned theft, & oppression wisdom : since I say, all these sins are not only unpunished which is lamentable : but also maintained, which is damnable : it cannot be, but that God which made all the world of nothing, will bring the wicked to nothing : & he that governs in equity, will destroy them who work iniquity. He is by name almighty, therefore he shall consume away all the wicked like dross. He is the Lord of hosts, therefore men, Angels, and devils are at his commandment ; he is the holy God of heaven, therefore he will destroy all the wicked from the earth : he is a king for ever, therefore all the wicked kingdom of the earth shall be brought to desolation. For as the Preacher says, Because sentence against an evil work is not speedily executed, therefore the heart of the children of men is fully set in them to do evil.Eccl. 8. 11. An example for Londoners wives. Pontius. Pro. 13. 24. Syr. 7. 6.
4. by the encouragement to sin.
Encouragement in sin, is another thing that makes sin exceeding great : do not our murderers and thieves, encourage one another to mischief, saying : Come with us, we will lay wait for blood, and hunt in the shadows upon the innocent without a reason, we will swallow them up alive like a grave even whole, as those that go down into the pit. We shall find all precious riches, and fill our houses with spoil. Cast in thy lot among us, we will all have one purse. Do not our harlots encourage men in wickedness, saying as each of them does, Come let us take our fill with love until the morning, let us take our pleasure in dalliance, for mine husband is not at home, he is gone a journey far off. He hath taken with him a bag of silver, and will come home at the time appointed : and stolen waters are sweet, and the bread that is eaten in secret has a good taste. Do not our extortioners and usurers animate one another in mischief? saying : Let us oppress the poor that is righteous, let us not spare the widow, nor reverence the white hairs of the aged, that have lived many years. Let our strength be the law of unrighteousness : for the thing that is feeble is reproved as unprofitable. Do not our covetous corn-mongers provoke one another to afflict the people of God, as did the wicked in the time of Amos, saying : When will the new month begin, that we may sell corn, and the sabaoth that we may set forth wheat, and make the Epha small and the shekel great, and falsify the weights by deceit : that we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for shoes, and sell the refuse of the wheat.Encouragement in sin, makes sin exceeding great. Prov. 11. &c. Pro. 17. 18. &c. Pro. 9. 17. Sap. 2. 10. Amos. 8. 5.
5. by the study to do mischief.
Study to do mischief is also another thing that makes sin heinous. Woe unto those who imagine iniquity, & work wickedness upon their beds, when the morning is light they practice it, because their head has power. The soul of man being made after the image of God, ought to always have God for his object.Study to do mischief makes sins exceeding great. Mich. 2. 1.
So says Mary : My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit rejoiceth in God my Saviour. For the soul is more excellent, than all the creatures of the world, and all things are vile in respect of the soul. Gold being in dirt is defiled, but the soul is not defiled with the body of clay : Wine mingled with water is corrupted, but the soul joined with the body, is pure.Luke 1. 46.
The Stars and the Sun are darkened with the clouds, but the soul of man sees, though being hid in an obscure body : and therefore David sets it down most plainly, where he says : My soul longeth yea and fainteth for the courts of the Lord : for my heart and my flesh rejoice in the living God. And Augustine most plainly says : You have made us O Lord, for yourself therefore my heart is greatly unquiet, if it does not rest only in you.Psal. 84. 21. Augustine.
O soul ( says Bernard ) made after the image of God, beautified with his likeness, redeemed with Christ’s blood, espoused to him in faith, endued with the holy ghost, deputed among the Angels, capable of blessedness, & an heir of bliss, what do you have to do with the flesh? The habitation of the soul by affection is in heaven, as proves Paul, Our conversation is in heaven. It is a base thing therefore to take a cottage for a city ; the world is a cottage, heaven is the city of Saints. When then the soul of man desires gold, he can never have all the gold of the world : when he desires rule he can never have the rule of all the world ; when he hunts for the praise of men, he cannot have the praise of all the world : but that soul which possesses Christ, possesses all things. As God hath given us Christ Jesu, so has he given us all things. Who will then study for riches, which is vanity ; or for pleasure, which is hurtful ; or for sin, which is damnable : and forsake God which is truth, Christ which is mercy, and the holy Ghost which is consolation.Phil. 3. 20. Rom. 8. 32. Job. 14. 2.
6. by the perseverance in sin.
Perseverance in sin is another thing, that procures the vengeance of God to fall inevitably upon us. The ark was in the making for a hundred years, and in all that time the people repented not ; therefore the flood came upon them and drowned them. Lot preached to Sodom and Gomorrah, they repented not but vexed his spirit ; therefore fire from heaven consumed them. To Jerusalem did God send his Prophets, wise men and Scribes, but the people did kill and crucify them, scourge & persecute them from city to city, therefore their house is made desolate. So to the people of England ( I sorrow to write it ) the Gospel is the smell of death : the long suffering of God is abused to impenitency. Christian liberty is turned into wantonness : the supper of the Lord is received to our judgement. Christ himself is a stone to stumble at, and a rock of offence. The conscience of men is defiled, therefore nothing is clean to them, Wherefore this exceeding great sin of obstinacy is to be punished with an exceeding great plague.2. Cor. 2. 6. Rom. 2. 4. Gal. 5. 13. Cor. 11. 29. 2. Pet. 28. Tit. 1. 15. Augustine.
Forasmuch then as the sinful generation of this realm of England will never repent, but stop their ears when God calls them, flees from the Lord when he seeks them, and shuts up their hearts when he knocks to come into them ; there must be either a general repentance, as there was in Nineveh, or else there will be a general destruction as there was in Sodom, which was in this manner. In Gen. 19.24.25. Then the Lord rained upon Sodom & upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven, and overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that that grew upon the earth. Of this dreadful desolation you shall read in Deutronomy 26.23. Isaiah 13.14. Jere. 50.40. Eze. 18.49. Hos. 11.8. Amos 4.11. Luke 17.29. and Jude 7.Gen. 19. 24.
First, he is noted who destroyed Sodom, the Lord ; secondly how he did rain upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire ; thirdly, from whence, from the Lord from heaven. The Lord which made Sodom & Gomorrah a pleasant and fruitful vale, for the sins of the people brought it unto utter desolation He did rain : the end of rain is the fertility of the earth : the people of Sodom turned the fertility of the earth into pride, fulness of bread, idleness, and mercilessness to the poor : and therefore when this wickedness was to be punished, it was revenged not with famine, pestilence or sword, but as the wicked had perverted themselves, so the Lord perverted the rain, not to the nourishment of the earth, but to the sterility of it ; and gave them for dew, brimstone, and for water, fire. Strabo in his book seems to give some natural causes of this destruction : But Moses shows it came from the Lord, who is able and willing to punish strange sins with strange plagues.Ezek. 16.
Further we are here to learn in that it did rain, that abundance of fire fell from heaven : so great is the treasure in heaven of those things whereby vengeance is to be taken on the reprobate on the earth, Deut. 32. 34. 35. Is not this laid in store with me, and sealed up among my treasures, vengeance and recompence are mine. Moreover where he says, he overthrew the cities and all the plain, and all the green things of the earth ; we are to remember there are two sorts of destructions : the one, whereby cities are so overthrown, that after peace made they may be re-edified again. These kinds of subversions have but a temporal scourge to chastise the wicked. The other, whereby in a perpetual destruction both the inhabitants, and cities, and fields are irrecoverably destroyed. So was Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed with all their inhabitants, and in all the plain, with trees, herbs and plants : & the monuments of this destruction remain to be seen at this day, the shadows of cities, the rock’s exhaust, the earth full of ashes, heaps of salt, a filthy smell, a dreadful sight, and a filthy lake.Two sorts of destructions.
Here let every good man think, that if the people of Sodom provoked so great wrath against those who were guided only by the law of nature, how much more detestably do offend those who have received the light of the Gospel, & yet commit the sins of Sodom? Matth. 10. 14. 15. And whosoever shall not receive you nor bear your words, when you depart out of that house or that city, shake off the dust of your feet. Truly I say unto you, it shall be easier for them of the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgement, than for that city. God does not only say that the condemners of the Gospel shall be grievously punished, but he says, it shall be lighter for the people of Sodom, and more grievous for those who slight his Word.A note for England. Mat. 10. 14.
In the annihilation of Sodom, let the following things to be committed to memory. First, it is an easy thing with God to punish the wicked, as easy as to send down rain from above.Lessons to learn from the subversion of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Secondly, God has many ways to crush the wicked : the old world he drowned with water, the Egyptians had numerous plagues, their waters were turned into blood, the frogs crept into the kings chamber, they were punished with gnats, flies, pestilence, biles, hail, locusts, darkness, and the sudden death of the first borne of Egypt. The murmurers in the book of Numbers, some were swallowed up into the earth, some were consumed with fire from heaven, and the tempters were all destroyed in the wilderness with fiery serpents.
The third thing to remember, is that the judgement of God comes suddenly : for when they were eating & drinking, building and planting, suddenly came fire from heaven and consumed them. So Paul says it shall be in these later days : For when they shall say peace and safety, then shall come upon them sudden destruction, as travel upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape.1. Thes. 5. 3.
Fourthly, the wicked shall not escape when the judgement of God comes on them. Therefore the flight shall perish from the swift, and the strong shall not strengthen his force, neither shall the mighty save his soul. And he that flies from them shall not fly away, and he that escapes from them shall not find refuge.Amos. 2. 14. Amos. 3. 1.
Fifthly, sins do shorten our lives, for the most part of the people of Sodom were no doubt in their youth, when the fire fell on them. And thou O God shalt bring them down into the pit of corruption, the bloody and deceitful men shall not live half their days.Psal. 55. 23.
Sixthly, sins being continued, do always bring new plagues. The old world was drowned with water, but Sodom was destroyed with fire : therefore it ought not to be incredible, that all the world shall be burned with fire. The heaven of heavens is the Lord’s, but the earth he has given to the sons of men ; so he gave a fruitful plain to the people of Sodom, but when they abused it, he rained down fire & brimstone as plentiful as rain. So because in these last times we abuse the creatures in riot and excess, God no doubt will according to his word consume the whole world with fire.
Seventhly, those who live wickedly shall die miserably. The people of Sodom lived in pride, therefore they came to shame ; they were merciless to the poor, and therefore they had judgement without mercy.
Lastly, God will revenge all injuries done, especially those that are committed against his ministers. For he says, He that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of mine eye. And Touch not mine annointed, and do my Prophets no harm. Cham for mocking Noah the minister of God, was cursed himself, in his children, in earth, in heaven, of God and of men : so the viperous brood of Cham, who scorn the reverend fathers of the Church, shall be accursed forever. The unclean people of Sodom were burned to ashes, and condemned because they vexed the righteous soul of Lot : so our murmurers shall taste a similar fearfulZach. 2. 8. Psal. 105. 15.
as will the whole land for soothing them in their Ismaelitical scorn, if they do not speedily and heartily repent, which God give them and also us grace to do, that we being delivered from the dreadful wrath of God, which hangs over our heads for our many manifest and exceeding great sins, may from one generation to another live to praise the Lord all the days of our life. The Lord bless and keep this Realm. The Lord make his face to shine upon us, and be merciful unto us, the Lord lift up his countenance upon us, and give us his peace, for his son’s sake Christ Jesu. To whom with the holy spirit be all honor and glory, for ever and ever, Amen.Num. 6. 24.