THE MISCHIEF OF SINNE, It brings a Person Low.

Published by Thomas Watson Minister of the Gospel.

Isa. 64.7.

Thou hast consumed us because of our iniquities.

LONDON, Printed for Tho. Parkhurst, and are to be sold at his Shop at the Bible and three Crowns in Cheapside near Mercers Chappel, and at the Bible on London Bridge. 1671.

THE EPISTLE TO THE READER.

Christian Reader,

THE excess of im­piety which hath broken down the Banks of com­mon Civility & Modesty, did at first lead [Page] my thoughts to these subjects ensuing. The Spirits of men are leavened with Atheism, and their lives stained with de­bauchery. Homo ad Dei [...] con­ditus, brutis deterior eva­sit; lustra sectatur, in sor­dibus stercore (que) volutatur; quam turpiter inversa in microcosmo nostro lex illa & politia, quâ corpus ani­mae parêre jubetur. Mor­naeus. I know not what to call them, but Bapti­tized Heathens. Not long since there was a complaint that the Springs grew low: Sure I am the floods of sin are risen, even to a Deluge. There is a Ge­neration among us, of whom I may say as Oecumenius, they militate against Religion; [...]. Aecum. they are so prodigiously prophane, that they esteem the Bible a [Page] Fable, and Non percussit Ismael fratrem gladio, sed scom mate. Calvin. would jeer all Ho­liness out of the world. The Prince of the Air, now work­eth in the children of disobe­dience, Ephes. 2.2. in our Sa­viours time, many mens Bodies were possessed with the Devil, but now their souls are possessed. One is possessed with a blas­phemous Devil, another with a spightful Devil, another with a drunken Devil. This is one great sign of the approach of the last day, iniquity shall abound, Mat. 24.12. Mens lusts grow fierce and insatia­ble, and like Imps lye sucking them. But O how direful and tremendous will the effects of [Page] sin be. My Text saith Pec­catum transit actu, manet reatu., they were brought low for their iniquity: Sin is such a Trade, that whosoever fol­lows, is sure to break. What got Achan by his wedge of Gold? It was a wedge to cleave asunder his soul from God. What got Judas by his Treason? He purchased an Halter. What got King Ahaz by worshipping the Gods of Damascus? they were the Ruine of him and of all Is­rael, 2 Chron. 28.23. Sin is first Comical, and then Tra­gical. I may fitly apply those words of Solomon to sin, Prov. 7.26. She hath cast [Page] down many wounded: O what an Harvest of souls is the Devil like to have! Isaiah 5.14. Hell hath enlarged it self. It is fain to make room for its guests. 'Tis matter of grief to think, that the Dra­gon should have so many fol­lowers, and the Lamb so few. Cyprian brings in the Devil insulting over Christ, thus; As for my followers, I ne­ver dyed for them as Christ hath done for his, I never promised them so great a Reward as Christ hath done to his, yet I have greater num­bers than he, and my follow­ers venture more for me, [Page] than his do for him. Some sin out of ignorance, yet even the blind can find the way to Hell. But most sin out of choice, they know the Dish for­bidden, but they lust after it, though in the day they eat thereof, they shall surely die. My design in this small Tract, is to give check to Sinners, and sound a Religious Retreat in their ears, to make them return from the hot pursuit of their impieties. If notwith­standing all admonitions, they will run counter to the Word, and prostitute themselves to their sordid lusts, they are felo de se, and their blood will be [Page] upon their own head. What remains, but that God should say in anger, as Zach. 11.9. That that dieth, let it dye, and that that is to be cut off, let it be cut off. I have at the request of some friends, made this Discourse (impart­ed formerly to my own family) publick. I acknowledge it is not rhetorico flatu cothurna­tus, embellished with flowers of Eloquence. St. Pauls preach­ing was not with enticing words of mans wisdom, but in the demonstration of the Spirit, and Power, 1 Cor. 2.4. Plainness is ever best in beating down sin. When a [Page] wound festers, it is fitter to launce it, than to embroyder it with Silk, or lay Vermilion up­on it. Reader, that God will bless these few Meditations to thee, and make them operative upon thy Heart, shall be the Prayer of him, who is,

Thy Friend, studious of thy eternal welfare, Thomas Watson.

THE MISCHIEF OF SIN, It brings a Person Low.

PSALM 106.43. And were brought low, for their Iniquity.’

IF the Scripture be a Spiritual Rosary or Garden, (as St. Chry­sostom saith) the Book of Psalms is a Knot in this Garden, set with fragrant [Page 2] Flowers: Luther calls the Psalms, parva Biblia, a little Bible. The Psalms make sweeter Musick, than ever Davids Harp did: they are calculated for every Christians condition, and may serve either for illumination, or consolation.

In this Psalm David sets down the people of Israels sins.

First, In General; Ver. 6. We have sinned with our Fathers. The exam­ples of Fathers, are not alwayes to be urged. Shall we be wiser than our Fathers? Fathers may err; a 2 Chro. 29.6. Son had sometimes better take his Land from his Father, than his Religion.

Secondly, David makes a par­ticular enumeration of their sins.

1. Their forgetfulness of God. Ver. 13. They soon forgat his works; or as it is in the Original, they made haste to forget his works [...]. The Lord wrought a famous Mi­racle [Page 3] for them, Ver. 11. he drown­ed Israels enemies, and Israel drown­ed his mercies. Our sins, and Gods kindnesses are apt quickly to slip out of our memory. We deal with Gods mercies, as with Flowers, when they are fresh, we smell to them, and put them in our bosom, but within a while we throw them away, and never mind them [...] Theodor.. They made haste to forget his works.

2. Their inordinate lusting, V. 14. They lusted exceedingly in the Wilder­ness. They were weary of the Provision which God sent them miraculously from Heaven; they grew dainty, they wept for Quailes; they were not content, that God should supply their Wants, but they would have him satisfie their lusts too; God lets them have their request; Quailes they had, but in anger; Deus saepe dat iratus, quod ne­gat pro­pitius. Aug. He sent leanness in­to [Page 4] their souls, (i. e.) he sent a Plague whereby they pined and consumed away.

3. Their Idolatry. Ver. 19. They made a Calf in Horeb. They framed to themselves a god of Gold and worshipped it. [...] The Scripture calls Idolls, Bosheth, a shame, Hos. 9.10. For this God disclaimed them from being his people, Exod. 32.2. Thy people have corrupted themselves. Formerly God called them His people, but now he doth not say to Moses, My people, but Thy people.

4. Their Infidelity. Ver. 24. They believed not his word, Cum Deus ipsa bonitas sit; ipsae devitiae; quî fit ut nemo Deo inniti possit satis? Mornaeus. but murmured. They did not think that God would subdue their enemies, and bring them into that pleasant Land flowing with Milk and Ho­ny; and this unbelief did break [Page 5] forth into murmuring. Invali­dum om­ne natu­râ queru­lum. Seneca. They wished they had made their Graves in Aegypt; Exod. 16.3. when men begin to distrust the Promise, then they quarrel at Providence. When faith grows low, passions grow high. For these things God did stretch out his hand against them, as it is in the Text, And they were brought low, for their iniquity.

The words branch themselves into two Parts.

1. Israels Misery. They were brought low; Depressi fuerunt. Vatabl. Some Expositors translate it, They waxed lean; Mar­cuerunt. Fabrit. The Hebrew and Septuagint render it, They were humbled. [...]

2. The procuring cause of it; for their iniquity [...].

Doct. The Proposition resulting from the Text is, That sin brings a Person low. Psal. 197.6. The [Page 6] wicked he casteth down to the ground. Sin is a Planet of a bad Aspect; as Ieptha said to his daughter, when she met them with Timbrel and Dances, Judg. 11.35. Alas my daugh­ter, thou hast brought me very low. So a man may say to his sin, alas my sin, thou hast brought me ve­ry low. Sin is the great Leveller; it brings a Family low: it cuts off the Arm, and dissolves the Pillars thereof. 1 Sam. 2.29. Wherefore kick ye at my Sacrifice? Ver. 31. Behold, the dayes come, that I will cut off thy arm; and the arm of thy Fathers house, that there shall not be an old man in thy house. Which threat­ning God made good, when he cut off Elies two Sons, and put by the other Sons from the Priest­hood.

Sin brings a Kingdom low, 1 Sam. 15.19. Wherefore didst not thou [Page 7] obey the voice of the Lord, but didst evil in his sight? Ver. 28. The Lord hath rent the Kingdom of Israel from thee this day. Sin breaks the Axle­tree of Church and State, Hos. 13.1. When Ephraim spake trembling, he exalted himself, but when he offend­ed in Baal he dyed. The Tribe of Ephraim did carry a Majesty with it, and was superiour to the ten Tribes. When Ephraim spake, he struck an awe and terrour into others; But when he offended in Ba­al he dyed. When he once fell from God by Idolatry, he did inter cuneos residere, degrade himself of his honour; his strength and glo­ry came to nothing. Now every puny adversary would insult over him, as the Hare will tread upon a dead Lion Leoni mortuo & lepores insul­tant..

Among the many threatnings against sin, this was one, Deut. 28.43. [Page 8] Thou shalt come down very low; and in the Text this threatning is ex­emplified and made good, They were brought low for their iniquity. That I may amplifie and illustrate the Proposition, I shall shew

  • 1. How many wayes sin brings a man low.
  • 2. Why sin must needs bring a man low.

1. How many wayes sin brings a man low.

1. Sin brings a man low in Gods esteem. The sinner sets an high price upon himself, Prov. 26.16. but God hath low thoughts of him, and looks upon him with a despicable eye, Dan. 11.21. And in his estate, shall stand up a vile per­son. Who was this spoken of? It was Antiochus Epiphanes; he was a [Page 9] King, and his Name signifies Il­lustrious, and by some he was wor­shipped, yet in Gods account, he was a vile person. The Psalmist speaking of the wicked, saith, they are become filthy; in the Hebrew it is, they are become stinking. [...] That you may see how low a sinner is fallen in Gods account, the Lord compares him to dross, Psal. 119.119. to chaffe, Psal. 1.4. to a Pot boiling with scumm, Ezek. 24.6. to a Dog, 2 Pet. 2.22. which under the Law was unclean; to a Serpent, Matth. 23.33. which is a cursed creature;Gen. 3.14. nay, he is worse than a Serpent, for the poyson of a Serpent, is what God hath put into it; but a wicked man hath that which the Devil hath put into him, Acts 5.3. Why hath Satan filled thy heart?

Caelius Rhodiginus reports of an [Page 10] antient Woman, who had alwayes used flattering Glasses, by chance, seeing her face in a true Glass, fell mad; In in­saniam delapsa est. a sinner is well conceited of himself, while he doth dress himself by the flattering Glass of presumption, but if he knew how loathsome and disfigured he were in Gods eye, he would abhor him­self in the dust.Zac. 11.8

2. Sin brings a man low in his intellectuals. It hath eclipsed the [...], the Rational Part; dark­ness is upon the face of this deep. Since the Fall, the Lamp of Rea­son burns dim, 1 Cor. 13.9. We know but in part. [...]: nondum sumus absoluti. Calv. There are ma­ny arcana naturae, knots in Nature, that are not easie to untye. Why Nilus should overflow in Summer, when by the course of nature Wa­ters are lowest? Why the Load­stone should rather draw Iron, [Page 11] than Gold a more Noble Mettal? What way the light is parted? Job 38.24. How the bones grow in the womb? Eccles. 11.5. Many of these are Para­doxes that we understand not. The Key of Knowledge Luke 11.52., is lost in the Tree of Knowledge.

Especially, in matters Sacred, we are inveloped with ignorance, The Sword is upon our right eye, Zach. 11.16. What a little of the Sea, will a Nut-shell hold? How lit­tle of God will our intellect con­tain? Job. 11.7. Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? Who can fully unriddle the Trinity? or fadom the mysterie of the Hypo­statical Union? And alas, as to salvifical heart-transforming knowledge, how are we to seek, till Gods Spirit light our Lamp! 1 Cor. 2.14.

3. Sin brings a man low in af­fliction; [Page 12] Psalm 107.39. that is the meaning of the Text, They were brought low for their iniquity. Adams sin brought him low; it banished him out of Paradise, 2 Chron. 28.18. In those dayes, God cut Israel short. Sin makes God cut a people short in their Spiritual and Civil liberties. Sin is the Womb of sorrow, and the Grave of comfort. Sin turns the body into an Hospital, it cause­eth Feavers, Ulcers, Catarrhes. ‘—macies & nova febrium terris incu­buit cohors—H [...]rat. Sin buries the Name, melts the Estate, pulls away near Relations as limbs from our body. Sin is the Trojan Horse, out of which a whole Troop of afflictions comes. Sin drowned the old World, burnt Sodom, Sin made Sibon sit in Baby­lon. [Page 13] Lam. 1.8. Ierusalem hath grievously sinned, therefore she is removed. Sin did shut up Gods bowels, Lam. 2.21. Thou hast killed, and not pitied. Israel did sin, and not repent, and God did kill, and not pity. Sin is the great Humbler: Did not Da­vids sin bring him low? Psalm 38.3. There is no rest in my bones, be­cause of my sin. Did not Manassehs sin bring him low? It changed his Crown-Royal into Fetters, 2 Chron. 33.11. God for sin, turned King Nebuchadnezzar to grass, Dan. 4.33. Sin is like the Aegyptian Reed, too feeble to support us, but sharp enough to wound us. Jer. 2.16. The Children of Noph and Tahapa­nes have broke the Crown of thy head. The Aegyptians were not a warlike, but a womanish people Hero­dotus., imbecil and weak, yet these were too hard for Israel, and made a spoil of her. [Page 14] Ver. 17. Hast thou not procured this to thy self? Is it not thy sin hath brought thee low?

Nay, Sin doth not only bring us low in affliction, but it imbitters affliction; Sin puts teeth into the Cross. Guilt makes affliction hea­vy; A little water is heavy in a Leaden Vessel; and a little affli­ction is heavy in a guilty consci­ence.

4. Sin brings one low in Me­lancholy: this is atra bilis, a black humour seated chiefly in the brain. Some have strange and dismal conceits, fancying their bo­dies to be made all of Glass, Nonnulli humore melan­cholico corrupti, se bruta ani­malia esse credunt, quorum [...]oces imitantur; nonnulli vasa fictilia, ideo cuivis ob­viam venienti cedunt, ne at­tactu frangantur. Vitam sibi acerbam faciunt, ejus (que) exitum accelerant. Baldw. lib. 3. c. 4. de Cas. Consc. and that if any one touch them, they shall break. Melancho­ly cloaths the mind in Sable; it [Page 15] puts a Christian out of tune, that he is not fit for prayer, Animae functiones tollun­tur in mania, depravantur in melancholiâ. nor praise. Lute-strings when wet, will not sound: nor can one under the power of Melancholy, Make melody in his heart to the Lord, Ephes. 5.19. when the mind is troubled, it is unfit to go about work. Melancholy doth disturb Reason, and weaken Faith. Satan works much on this temper: it is balneum diaboli; he bathes himself with delight in such a person. Through the black Spectacles of Melancholy, every thing appears black. When a Christian looks upon sin, saith he, this Leviathan will devour me; when he looks upon Ordinances, these will serve to increase my guilt; when he looks upon af­fliction, this gulf will swallow [Page 16] me up. Melancholy creates fears in the mind, it excites jealousies; and misprisions. I may allude to that Psal. 53.5. There were they in great fear, where no fear was. Qui hoc morbo la­borant, valdè meticulosi sunt, nè vel aedes in quibus habitant, vel & ipsum coelum ruat, pertimentes. Baldw.

5. Sin brings a man low in spi­ritual Plagues. It brings many an one, to a seared conscience, to final induration, Isa. 29.10. The Lord hath poured out upon you, the spi­rit of a deep sleep, [...]. and hath closed your eyes. Men are brought low in­deed, when the sound of Aarons Bell will not awaken them, no Sermon will stir them. They are like the Smiths Dog, that can lye and sleep near the Anvil, when all the sparkles fly about. Consci­ence is in a Lethargy. Eo in­sanabile vulnus, cuo in­sensibile. Bern. Flores. When once a mans speech is gone, and his [Page 17] feeling lost, he draws on apace to death: So when the checks of Conscience cease, and a man is sensible neither of sin, nor wrath, you may ring out the Bell, he is past hope of recovery. Thus some are brought low, even to a reprobate sense. This is limen infer­ni, the threshold of damnation.

6. Sin brings a man low in tem­ptation. Paul began to be proud, and he had a messenger of Satan to buffet him, [...], &c. Chrysost. 2 Cor. 12.7. Some think it was a visible apparition of Satan, tempting him to sin; others, that the Devil was now as­saulting Pauls faith, making him believe he was an hypocrite. Sa­tan laid the train of temptation, to blow up the fort of his Grace. And this temptation was so sore, that he called it, a thorn in the flesh [...]., it did put him to much [Page 18] anguish. Such temptations do the godly oft fall into. They are tempted to question the truth of the Promises, or the truth of their own Graces. Sometimes they are tempted to blasphemy, sometimes to self-murder; thus, they are brought low, they are almost gone, and ready to give consent. The Devil nibbles at their heel, but God wards off the blow from their head.

7. Sin brings one low in deser­tion. This is an abysse indeed. Psal. 88.6. Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit Se captivo comparat, qui in tetrum ac profundum la­cum conjectus, miserrimè ja­cet, nec quicquam spei de vita sua reliquum habet. Musculus.. Desertion is a short Hell. Cant. 5.6. My beloved hath withdrawn himself, and was gone. Christ knocked, but the Spouse was loth to rise off her bed of sloath, and open to him [Page 19] presently, Christ was gone. When the Devil finds a person sleeping, he enters; but when Christ finds him sleeping he is gone. And if this Sun of Righteousness with­draws his Golden beams from the soul, darkness follows. Desertion is the arrow of God, shot into the soul. Haeret lateri lethalis arundo. Job 6.4. The arrows of the Almighty are within me, the poison whereof drinketh up my Spirit. The Scythians in their Wars did use to dip their Arrows in the blood and gall of Asps, that the venemous heat of them might the more tor­ture the enemy. So the Lord did shoot his poisoned arrow of de­sertion at Iob, under the wounds whereof, his Spirit lay bleeding. God is called in Scripture, a light, and a fire. The deserted soul feels the fire, but doth not see the light. So dreadful is this, that the most [Page 20] tormenting pains, Stone, Collick, Strangury, are but a pleasure to it. All the delights under the Sun will administer no comfort in this condition. Worldly things can no more relieve a troubled mind, than a silken Stocken can ease a broken Leg. Psal. 88.15. While I suffer thy terrors, I am distracted. Lu­ther in desertion, was like one giving up the ghost, He had no blood seen in his face, nor was heard to speak, but his body seemed dead; Nec ca­lor, nec sanguis, nec vita superesset. as one writes in an Epistle to Me­lancthon.

8. Sin brings many low in de­spair; this is a gulf that none but reprobates fall in­to. Desperare est in infernum descendere. Isidor. Jer. 18.11. Thou saidst, there is no hope. Despair is devoratoria salutis, Tertul. it is a milstone tyed about the soul, that sinks it in perdition. Despair [Page 21] looks on God, not as a Father, but a Iudge. It refuseth the reme­dy. Other sins need Christ, de­spair rejects him: It closeth the Orifice of Christs wounds, that no blood will come out to heal. This is the voice of despair, My sin is greater than the mercy of God can pardon. It makes the wound broader than the plaister. Despair is a God-affronting sin; it is sa­criledge, it robs God of his Crown-jewels, his Power, Goodness, Truth. How doth Satan triumph to see the honour of Gods Attributes laid in the dust by despair. Despair casts away the Anchor of hope, and then the soul must needs sink. What will a Ship do in a storm without an Anchor? Despair locks men up in impenitency. I have read of one Hubertus who dyed de­spairing; he made his Will after [Page 22] this manner, I yield my goods to the King, my body to the grave, my soul to the Devil. Isa. 38.18. They that go down into the pit, cannot hope for thy truth. They who go down into this pit of despair, cannot hope for the truth of Gods promise. And this despair grows at last into horror and raving, Sen. Trag.—Eheu quis intus scorpio?—’

9. Sin brings a man without re­pentance into the bottomless pit, and then he is brought low indeed Fovea omnium infima. Fabrit.. Sin draws Hell at the heels of it. Psal. 9.7. The wicked shall be turned into Hell. Not to speak of the pu­nishment of loss, which Divines think is the worst part of Hell: (i. e.) the being separated from the bea­tifical sight of God, in whose pre­sence is fulness of joy Psalm 16.11.. The poena [Page 23] sensus, the punishment of sense, is bad enough. Then wrath will come upon sinners, [...], to the utter­most, 1 Thes. 2.16.

If when Gods anger is kindled but a little, and a spark of it flyes into a mans conscience in this life, it is so terrible, what will it be, when he stirs up all his wrath? Psal. 78.38. How sad was it with Spira when he did but sip of the Cup of wrath? he was a very Anato­my, his flesh consumed, he became a terror to himself. What is it then to lye steeping in Hell?

Some may ask, where the place of Hell is? but as Chrysostome saith, let us not be inquisitive where it is, but rather let our care be to escape it. [...], &c. But to satisfie curi­osity, Hell is some infernal place, it lies low, Prov. 15.24. Hell be­neath. [Page 24] Inferos credimus certum ac defi­nitum locum esse, quem non fru­strà abyssum vocarit Scriptura, horrendis & aeternis Sata­nae & impiorum suppliciis destinatum. Beza. Hesiod saith, Hell is as far under the Earth, as Heaven is above it. Infernum est locus subterraneus. Tertul. lib. 3. de anim. If sin then brings a man to Hell, it brings him low. Con­sider,

1. The plurality of Hell tor­ments. In bodily sickness, seldom above one Disease at a time trou­bles the Patient; the Stone, or Gout; but in Hell there is a diver­sity of torments. There is, 1. Dark­ness, Jude 13. Hell is a dark Regi­on. Per te­nebras, Scriptu­ra meta­phoricè horren­dum hor­rorem de­signat. Calv. in Mat. 2. There are bonds and chains. 2 Pet. 2.4. God hath Golden cords which are his Precepts, tying men to duty; and Iron chains, which are partly his decree, in ordaining men to destruction, and partly his Power, in bridling and chaining [Page 25] them up under wrath. The bind­ing the wicked in chains, notes that the damned in Hell cannot move from place to place, which might perhaps a little alleviate and abate their misery, but they shall be tyed to the stake never to stir. The wicked could go from one sin to another, but in Hell they shall not move from one place to ano­ther.

3. The Worm that never dyes. Mar. 9.44. This is a self-accusing mind, which is so torturing, as if a Worm full of poison, were gnawing at a mans heart. Such as would not hear the voice of conscience, shall be made to feel the worm of conscience.

2. The severity of Hell torment. It is expressed by a lake of Fire, Rev. 20.15. Fire is the most tor­turing Element. Nebuchadnezzars [Page 26] fiery Fornace, was but painted fire to this. It is called Fire pre­pared, Matth. 25.41. as if God had been sitting down to devise some exquisite torment. Dives cryes out, O I am tormented in this flame, Luke 16.24.

3. The torments of Hell shall be in every part both of body and soul. 1. The body shall be tor­mented. That body which was so tender and delicate, that it could not bear heat or cold, shall suffer in every part. The eyes shall be tormented with sights of Devils, Oculi crucia­buntur aspectu daemo­num. the ears with the hideous shrieks of the damned; the tongue that was fired with passion, shall now have fire enough, Luke 16.24. Send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue.

2. All the powers of the soul shall be tormented. The mind to ap­prehend [Page 27] Divine displeasure; the memory to remember what mercies have been abused, what means of Grace have been slighted, and what an Heaven is forfeited; the consci­ence shall be tormented with self-accusations; the sinner shall ar­raign himself for stifling, and re­sisting the motions of the blessed Spirit.

4. The wicked shall not only be forced to behold the Devil, but shall be shut up in the Den with this roaring Lion, and he shall spit fire in their faces.

5. The wicked shall hear the language of Hell, Revel. 16.9. Men were scorched with heat, and blas­phemed the Name of God. To hear reprobates cursing God, and have ones ears chained to their Oaths and Blasphemies, what an Hell will this be?

[Page 28]6. The torments of Hell have no period put to them. Origen fancied a fiery stream, in which the souls of sinful men, yea, Devils and all, were to be purged, and then pass into Heaven: but the Scri­pture asserts, that whosoever are not purged from sin by Christs blood, 1 Iohn 1.7. are to lye under the Torrid Zone of Gods wrath to all eternity, Revel. 14.11. The smoak of their torment, ascendeth up for ever and ever. This word ever burns hotter than the Fire. At death all our worldly sorrows dye; but the torments of Hell are as long-liv'd as Eternity, Rev. 9.6. They shall seek death, and shall not find it. Al­wayes dying, but never dead. Sic moriantur damnati ut semper vivant, & sic vivent, ut semper moriantur; ubi nec qui torquet fatigatur, nec qui torquetur Moritur. Bern. Flor. Here the wicked thought a Prayer long, a Sabbath long, [Page 29] Amos 8.5. But how long will it be to lye in Hell for ever.

—Vestigia nulla retrorsum—

7. The pains of Hell are with­out intermission. If a man be in pain, yet while he is asleep, he doth not feel it. There is no sleep in Hell. What would the damn­ed give for one hours sleep, Rev. 4.8. They rest not day nor night. In outward pain there is some abate­ment; the burning fit is sometimes off, and the sick Patient is more at ease than he was. But the damn­ed soul never saith, I have more ease; those infernal pains are al­wayes acute and sharp; no cooling fits in those inflammations.

8. In Hell the wicked shall see the godly advanced to a Kingdom, and themselves devoted to misery, [Page 30] Luke 13.28. Then shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the Prophets in the Kingdom of God, and you your selves thrust out. When sinners shall see those whom they hated and scorned, to be set at Christs right hand, and crown­ed with glory, and themselves cast out to the Devils; nay, when the ungodly shall see those whom they censured and persecuted sit as their Judges, and join with Christ in condemning them,Deus tanto honore dignatus est sanctos, ut eos constitue­rit totius mundi judices, (i. e.) cum Christo assesso­res. Calvin. 1 Cor. 6.2. Know ye not, that the Saints shall judge the world? How will this ag­gravate the misery of those hellish Caitiffs, and make them gnash their teeth for envy.

9. In Hell the wicked shall have none to sympathize with them. [Page 31] It is some comfort to have friends condole with us in our sufferings, but the damned have none to compassionate them. Mercy will not pity them, mercy abused turns to fury. God the Father will not pity them, he will laugh at them Prov. 1.26. I will laugh at your cala­mity. Is not this sad, for a damned soul to lye roaring in flames, and have God sit and laugh at him? Jesus Christ will not pity the wicked, they slighted his blood, and now his blood cryes against them. The Angels will not pity them; it is a desirable sight to them, to see Gods Justice glori­fied. Nec Deus, nec Angeli, ullâ affi­cientur sympa­thiâ. The Saints in Heaven will not pity them; they were conti­nually persecuted by them, and they shall rejoyce when they see the ven­geance, Psalm 58.10. Nay, such as were their nearest Relations on [Page 32] Earth will not pity them; the Father will not pity his Child in Hell, nor the Wife her Husband; the reason is, because the Saints glorified have their wills made perfectly subject to Gods will, and when they see his will is done, they rejoyce, though it be in the damning of their near relations.

Doth not sin then bring men low, when it brings them to Hell? Ezek. 32.27. They are gone down to Hell, they have laid their swords un­der their heads, but their iniquity shall be upon their bones. Thus I have shown you how many wayes sin brings one low.

2. Why sin must needs bring a man low.

1. Because sin is a Disease, and that brings low. Take the healthi­est Constitution, the most sanguine Complexion, yet if sickness get [Page 33] into it, it brings the body low, the beauty withers, Lan­guebant corpora morbo— Virgil. the Silver Cord begins to be loosed. So it is in spirituals, the soul which was once of an Orient brightness, the mind angelified, the will crown­ed with liberty, the affections as so many Seraphims burning in love to God, yet by sin is become diseased, Isa. 1.6. and this disease brings it low. The soul is fallen from its pristine dignity, it hath lost its noble and sublimated operations, and lyes exposed (without Grace) to the second death.

2. Sin must needs bring a man low, because the sinner enters a contest with God. ‘—invadunt Martem clypeis, pugnam (que) lacessunt—’ He tramples upon Gods Law, [Page 34] crosseth his will; if God be of one mind, the sinner will be of ano­ther; [...]. Menand. he doth all he can to spight God, Jer. 44.16. As for the word which thou hast spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we will not hearken to thee, but we will do whatsoever thing proceedeth out of our own mouth, to burn incense to the Queen of Heaven Stat pro rati­one vo­luntas.. The same Hebrew word for sin, signifies rebellion [...]. Now can the Lord endure to be thus sawcily confronted by proud dust? God will never let his own creature rise up in arms against him, he will pull down the sinners plumes, and bring him low. God is called El Elim, the Mighty of Mighties. Psal. 18.26. With the froward, thou wilt shew thy self froward; In the He­brew it is, [...] thou wilt wrestle; and if God once wrestle with the sinner, he will throw him to the ground. [Page 35] When the Angel wrestled with Iacob, he touched only the hollow of his thigh, Gen. 32.25. But when God wrestles with a sinner, he will rent the caul of his heart, [...] Pericar­dio, quo scisso mors ob­repit. Hos. 13.8. The Apostle saith, It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God, Heb. 10.31. 'Tis good to fall into Gods hands when he is a friend, but it is ill falling into his hands when he is an enemy.

3. Sin must needs bring a man low, because the sinner labours what he can to bring God low. 'Tis true, God cannot lose any of his essential glory, he is so high that no strength of Mortals can reach him, but a wicked man doth what in him lies to bring God low. He hath low thoughts of God; he slights his soveraignty, questions his truth, looks upon all Gods Promises as a forged deed. The [Page 36] sinner therefore is said to despise God, Numb. 11.20.

Again, the sinner lessens God, and brings him low in the thoughts of others. Ezek. 8.12. They say, the Lord seeth us not, the Lord hath for­saken the earth. Do but secure your selves from mans eye, and as for Gods taking notice of sin, you need not trouble your selves, the Lord seeth you not, Irridendum vero curam agere rerum humanarum illud quicquid est summum. Pliny. he hath forsaken the earth. Zeph. 1.12. They say the Lord will not do good, neither will he do evil. If you serve him you must not look for reward, and if you do not serve him, you need not fear punish­ment. Mal. 2.17. Ye say, every one that doth evil, is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delighteth in them: or where is the God of judgement? Here they blemish Gods Sanctity; [Page 37] God is not so holy, but he bears as much favour to the wicked, as to the good; and, Where is the God of judgement? Here they tax his justice; as if they had said, God doth not order things right, he doth not weigh matters impartial­ly in an equal ballance; Where is the God of judgement? Thus a sinner eclipseth the glory of the God­head, and labours to bring God low in the thoughts of others.

And besides, he doth what in him lies to extirpate a Deity; he wisheth there were no God; he saith,Quem quisque odit, pe­riisse cu­pit. Cause the holy One of Israel to cease, Isa. 30.11. A wicked man would not only unthrone God, but unbee God; if he could help it, God should be no longer God. Now if a sinner be thus impious, as to endeavour to bring God low, no wonder if God brings [Page 38] him low. Nahum. 1.19. I will make thy grave, for thou art vile. I will bring thee (O Sennacherib) from the throne to the tomb. I will kick thee into thy grave, Obad. ver. 4. Though thou set thy nest among the Stars, thence will I bring thee down saith the Lord.

4. Sin must needs bring a per­son low, because sin is the only thing God hath an antipathy against. The Lord doth not hate a man, because he is poor, or de­spised; you do not hate your friend, because he is sick; but that which draws forth the keen­ness of Gods hatred, is sin, Jer. 44.4. Do not this abominable thing that I hate. Now for any one to espouse that which Gods soul hates, it must needs undo him at last. Is that subject like to thrive, whom his Prince hates? The cherishing [Page 39] countenancing of sin, makes the fury come up in Gods face, Ezek. 38.16. And if his wrath be once kindled, it burns to the lowest Hell. The Psalmist saith, Who can stand before his cold? Psal. 147.17. But rather, who can stand before his heat? Isa. 33.14.

5. Sin must needs bring the sin­ner low, because it exposeth him to Gods curse, and Gods curse blasts where ever it comes, Deut. 28.15, 16. If thou wilt not harken to the voice of the Lord, all these curses shall come upon thee. Cursed shalt thou be in the City, and cursed shalt thou be in the field, cursed shall be thy basket and thy store. The curse of God haunts the sinner where ever he goes; if he be in the City, it spoils his Trade, if he be in the Countrey, it destroyes his Crop; Gods curse drops poison into eve­ry [Page 40] thing. It is a Moth in the Ward­robe, Murrain among the Cattel, Rot among the Sheep. If the flying Roul of curses enters into a mans house, it consumes the timber and walls of it, Zach. 5.4. Maledictio egrediens, est [...] supplicium, quod antè in coelo & arca Dei quasi absconditum latuerat. Lap. When Christ cursed the fig­tree, it presently wi­thered, Mat. 21.19. Mens curses are insignificant, they shoot without bullets, but Numb. 22.6. He whom thou cursest, is cursed. Gods curse kills, Psal. 37.22. They that are cursed of him, shall be cut off. If all Gods curses are levelled against the sin­ner, then he must needs be brought low.

Use 1. Informat. 1. Branch: See then from hence, that Gods punishing either a person or a Nation is not without a cause. A Father may chastise his Son out of an humour, [Page 41] when there is no cause, but God doth never punish without a just cause. He doth it not purely to shew his Soveraignty, or because he takes pleasure to bring his crea­ture low, Lam. 3.33. He doth not willingly afflict; or as it is in the Hebrew, from the heart, [...] but there is some impellent cause, They were brought low for their iniquity. Cyprian writes thus, concerning the Perse­cution of the Church under the Emperour Valerian, We must confess that this sad calamity, which hath in a great part wasted our Churches, hath risen from our own intestine wickedness, whilst we are full of avarice, ambiti­on, emulation, &c. Ergo sivit hoc flagellum Deus, &c. Jer. 4.17. As keep­ers of a field, are they against her round about. Like as Horses or Deer in a field, are so enclosed with hedges, and so narrowly watched, that they cannot get out. So Ierusa­lem [Page 42] was so besieged with enemies, and watched, that there was no escape for her, without danger of life. Verse 18. Thy way and thy do­ings have procured these things unto thee, this is thy wickedness. As we use to say to Children when they are sick, this is your green fruit ye have eat, or your going in the Snow: So saith God, This is thy wickedness. Jer. 30.15. Why cryest thou for thy affliction, because thy sins were encreased, I have done these things unto thee. The Sword that wounds thee, is of thy own whetting; the cords that pinch thee are of thy own twisting; thank thy sin for all. 1 Cor. 11.30. For this cause many are sick, and weak, and many fall asleep. The Church of Co­rinth was punished with corporal death, because of coming unwor­thily to the Lords Table, and [Page 43] prophaning the body and blood of the Lord. Ne (que) divinat Paulus ide [...] ipsos plecti, sed asserit rem sibi compertam, dicit igitur multos decumbere aegrotos, &c. ob illum coenae abusum. Calvin. The abuse of holy things incenseth God. Na­dab and Abihu found the flames of wrath hot about the Altar. Levit. 10.1, 2. So that still there is a propter hoc, a cause why God brings any person low. There is no reason why God should love us, but there is a great deal of reason why God should punish us. They were brought low for their iniquity.

2. See from hence,2. Branch what a mischievous thing sin is, it brings a person, and a Nation low. Ascen­sus pecca­ti, descen­sus poenae. Hos. 14.1. Thou hast fallen by thy iniquity. Sin laies men low in the Grave, and in Hell too with­out repentance▪ Sin is the Achan that troubles. Flagi­tium & flagellum sunt tan­quam acus & filum. It is the Gall in our Cup, and the Gravell in our [Page 44] Bread. Prov. 20.17. Sin and punishment are linked together with Adamantine Chains. Sin is the Phaeton that sets the world on fire. It is a Coal that not only blacks but burns. Sin runs men into the briars, Job 30.7. Among the bushes they brayed. Sin conjures up all the winds; [...]. Chrysost. all the crosses which befall us, all the storms in conscience, sin raiseth them. Never let any one think to rise by sin, for the Text saith, it brings him low. Sin first tempts and then damns. 'Tis first a Fox, and then a Lyon. Sin doth to a man, as Iael to Sisera, she gave him Milk, but then she brought him low, Judg. 5.26, 27. She put her hand to the Nail, and with the Ham­mer she smote Sisera, she smote off his head, when she had pierced and stricken through his Temples, at her feet he bowed, &c. Sin first brings its [Page 45] pleasures with delight, and charms the senses, and then comes with its Nail and Hammer. Sin doth to the sinner, as Absalom to Amnon, when his heart was merry with wine, then he killed him, 2 Sam. 13.28. Sins last act is alwayes Tragical.

How evil a thing is sin, that not only brings a people low, but it makes God delight in bring­ing them low, Ezek. 5.13. I will cause my fury to rest upon them, and I will be comforted. God doth not use to take delight in punishing, Judg. 10.16. His soul was grieved for the misery of Israel. Like a Father that with tears chastiseth his Child; but God was so provoked with the Iews, that it seemed a delight to him to afflict; I will cause my fury to rest upon them, and I will be comforted. Mi­nuit vin­dicta do­lorem. O what a venemous accursed thing is sin, that makes a [Page 46] merciful God take comfort in the destruction of his own crea­ture.

3. Branch3. See then what little cause any have to wonder that they are brought low. As the Apostle saith, 1 Pet. 4.12. Think it not strange [...]. concerning the fiery tryal. So, think it not strange, if you be as full of Eclipses and Changes as the Moon. Mutat luna vi­ces. Wonder not, if you are under the black rod. A sick man may as well wonder that he is in pain, as a sinful man won­der that he is afflicted; do not Vapours cause Thunder? Is it a wonder after the hellish vapours of our sins have been sent up, to hear Gods thundring voice? Sin is a debt, it is set out in Scripture by a debt of ten thousand talents, Mat. 18.24. Is it a wonder for a man that is in debt, to be arrested? [Page 47] Never wonder God doth arrest thee with his judgements, when thou art so deeply in arrears. Sin is a walking Antipodes to God, and if men walk contrary to God, is it a wonder God walks contrary to them? Levit. 26.17. If ye will walk contrary to me, then I will also walk contrary to you, and I even I will cha­stise you seven times more for your sins. O sinner, do not wonder it is so bad with thee, but rather wonder it is no worse. Art thou in the deep of affliction, it is a wonder thou art not in the deep of Hell. If Jesus Christ was brought low, is it a wonder that thou art brought low? Christ was brought low Nullificamen populi; Ter­tul. de resur. Phil. 2.7. [...]; se ipsum exi­nanivit, gloriam non Minu­endo sed supprimendo. Calvin. in poverty. The Man­ger was his Cradle, the Cobwebs were his Curtains. He was brought low in [Page 48] temptation, Mat. 4.1. He was led in­to the Wilderness to be tempted of the Devil. No sooner was Christ out of the water of Baptism, but he was in the fire of temptation. Only his Godhead was too strong a bulwark for Satans fiery darts to enter. He was brought low in his agonies; he swet blood in the Garden, he shed blood on the Cross. If Christ was brought low who knew no sin, dost thou wonder thou art brought low, who art so full of sin? Lam. 3.39. Why doth a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sin? What a sin­ner, and wonder or murmur that thou art afflicted? Sin doth as naturally draw punishment to it, as the Loadstone draws the Iron.

4. Branch.4. See the Text fulfilled this day in our eyes; sin hath brought our Nation low. We are Cadent, [Page 49] if not Morient; we do not want for sin; there is a Spirit of wicked­ness in the Land. Ours are mighty sins, Amos 5.12. bloody sins, Hos. 4.2. The sins of Denmark, Spain, France, Italy, are translated into English; we have many Sodoms among us, and may fear to have the line of confusion stretched over us. By our impieties and blasphemies, we have sounded a Trumpet of Rebel­lion against Heaven. Were our sins engraven upon our fore-heads, we should be ashamed to look up. Men invent new sins, Rom. 1.30. Inventers of evil things. [...]. Some in­vent new errors, others invent new snares: this Age exceeds former Ages in sinning. As it is with Trades, there may be old Trades, but there are some Tradesmen now, who are grown more dex­terous and cunning in their Trade, [Page 50] than they were in former times: So it is with sin, sin is an old Trade, but there are persons now alive, who are more skil'd in the Trade, and are grown more ex­pert in sin, than those who are dead and gone. Sinners in former times, were but bunglers at sin, to what they are now. They are cunning at self-damnation, Jer. 4.22. Wise to do evil. The Devils Mint is going every day, and sin is minted faster than money. Peo­ple sin [...]with greediness, Ephes. 4.19. They drink iniquity like water, Job 15.16. They are grown Rampant in wickedness, having laid aside the vail of modesty, Zeph. 3.5. The unjust knows no shame. We read Nebuchadnezzar had the heart of a beast given him, Dan. 4.16. If all who have the hearts of beasts, should have the faces of beasts, men [Page 51] would grow very scarce.

And if sin be so high, well may it bring us low. While the body is in an Hectick Feavor, it cannot thrive. The Body Politick being in this Paroxysme or burning Feavor of sin, must needs waste. Hath not sin brought us low? What Wars, Pestilences, Fires have broken forth among us? The Splendour and Magnificence of the City was brought low, and laid in the ashes.

Sin hath brought us low in our Repute, Prov. 14.34. Sin is a reproach to any people. Time was when God made the sheaves of other Nations do obeysance to our sheaf. Gen. 37.7. But our pristine fame and renown is eclip­sed, Mal. 2.2. I have made you base and contemptible. Trading is brought low; many mens estates are boiled to nothing; their gourd is withe­red, their cruse of Oyle fails, Ruth [Page 52] 1.21. I went out full, but the Lord hath brought me home empty. Sin hath brought other Nations low, and do we think to scape better than they? Salvian observes, that in Af­frica, when the Church of God had degenerated from its purity, the Land abounded in Vice, and was sick of a Pleurisie of sin, then the Vandals entered Affrica, and the ene­mies Sword let them blood. Num. 32.23. Be sure your sin will find you out: as a Blood-hound it will pursue you.

It may be enquired, what are those sins,Quest. that have brought this City, and Nation so low?

Resp. 1.1. The first sin that hath brought us low, is Pride, Prov. 29.23. A mans pride shall bring him low. Pride is ex Traduce, it runs in a blood. Our first Parents aspired after a Deity; they did not content themselves to know God, but they would be [Page 53] knowing as God. St. Austin calls pride, the mother of all sin. The Persian Kings would have their Image worshipped of all that came into Babylon. Brisso­nius. Sapor, writes himself Brother to the Sun and Moon, and Partner with the Stars. Caligula the Emperour commanded himself to be adored as a God; he caused a Temple to be erected for him, he used to have the most costly Fowls sacrificed to him: Sometimes he would sit with a gol­den Beard, and a Thunderbolt in his hand like Iupiter; and some­times with a Trident like Neptune. Some persons would be more de­serving, if (as Solon saith) we could pluck the Worm of Pride out of their head. Pride discolours our Vertues, envenomes our mer­cies. The higher we lift up our selves in pride, the lower God [Page 54] casts us down. Prov. 15.25. The Lord will destroy the house of the proud. There is,

1. A Spiritual Pride; which is threefold.

1. Some take a pride in their parts. The Lord enricheth them with Wit and Parts suitable to the places he calls them too, and Pride fumes from their heart into their head, and makes them giddy. He­rod was proud of the Oration he made, and assumed that glory to himself, which he should have given to God, Laudatas ostendit avis Iu­nonia pennas and his pride brought him low; he was eaten of worms, Acts 12.23.

2. Some take a pride in their du­ties. This Worm breeds in sweet fruit. Etiam in bonis cavenda est superbia. Aug. They have said so many prayers, heard so many Ser­mons; [Page 55] Luke 18.12. I fast twice a week, Gratias Deo agit, sed sibi gratula­tur. Bru­gensis. and now they think they have made God amends, he is be­holding to them, and they shall be accepted for their Religious per­formances. What is this but pride? Is not this to make a Christ of our duties? The Devil destroys some by making them neglect du­ty, and others by making them idolize duty. Better is that infir­mity which humbles me, than that duty which makes me proud.

3. Some take a pride in their Graces. This seems strange, that seeing Grace is given to humble, any should be proud of his Grace. But Pride is not from the Grace in us, but the corruption; not from the strength of holiness, but the weak­ness. Christians may be said to be proud of their Grace,

1. When they lay too much stress [Page 56] upon their Grace; Thus Peter, Mat. 26.33. Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will not I. Here was a double pride. First, That he thought he had more Grace, than the rest of the Apo­stles. Secondly, In that he did lay such weight upon his Grace, making it like the Tower of David, on which did hang the shield of his hope. Cant. 4.4. He leaned more upon his Grace, than upon Christ.

2. Men are proud of their Grace, when they slight others which they think are inferiour to them in Grace. Instead of the strong bearing the infirmities of the weak, Rom. 15.1. They are ready to de­spise the weak. Our Saviour saw this pride breeding in his own Disciples, therefore cautions them against it, Mat. 18.10. Take heed, that ye despise not one of these little ones.

[Page 57]2. There is a carnal pride. I call it carnal, because it is conversant about carnal objects. As,

1. Some are proud of their bo­dies. Pride is seen in long and te­dious dressings: people spend that time between the Comb and the Glass, which should be spent in prayer and holy meditation.

Pride is seen in painting of their faces, overlaying Gods work, with the Devils colours Qui formam quam Plasma­tor finxit, fuco & stibio in aliam transfigurare contendit, nonne Deo dicere videtur, cur me fecisti sic? Aug. Serm. 247. Opus Dei est omne quod nascitur, Diaboli omne quod mutatur. Cyprian..

—Gratior est pulchro veniens è cor­pore virtus—

Pride is seen in spotting them­selves. Pimples in the face, shew that the blood is corrupt; spots [Page 58] in the face, shew that the heart is corrupt. Cyprian saith, they who paint and spot their faces may justly fear that at the resurrection their Creator will not know them.Non metuis ne cum re­surrectio­nis Dies venerit, artifex tuus te non recogn [...]scat? Non metuis ne judex di­cat, imago haec non est nostra, cum te flavo medicamine, & pigmento polluisti, formam quam dederam tibi, mendacio deformasti? Deum videre non poteris, quoniam oculi tibi non sunt quos Deus fecit, sed quos Diabolus infecit. Cyprian. And how terrible is that word, I know you not.

Pride is seen in the strange an­tick fashions wherewith some peo­ple do dress, or ra­ther disguise them­selves. Quanto ornatius corpus fo­ris excolitur, tanto interius anima foedatur. Bern. in Apolog. ad Guliel. Abb. They cloath their flesh like the Rain-bow with di­vers colours. Adam was ashamed of his nakedness, these may be ashamed of their cloathing. They are so plumed and gawdily attired [Page 59] that they tempt the Devil to fall in love with them.

2. Some are proud of their estates. Riches are fuel for pride Diviti­arum comes est superbia. Ezek. 28.5. Thy heart is lifted up be­cause of thy riches. Mens hearts rise with their estates, as the Boats on the Thames rise higher with the Tyde. Now all this pride will bring a person low. For this sin God strikes many with Phren­sie, and so levels the Mountain of pride. God hath stained the pride of Englands glory, Isa. 23.9. He hath stript us of our Jewels, Prov. 16.8. Pride goes before destruction. Where pride leads the Van, destruction brings up the Rear.

—Tolluntur in altum, ut lapsu graviore ruant—

2. Another sin which hath [Page 60] brought us low, is Sabbath-pro­phanation. The Sabbath is given as a distinctive Sign between the people of God, and the prophane. Exod. 31.17. And among the Pri­mitive Saints, when the question was asked, Hast thou kept the Lords Day? Ser­vasti do­mini­cum? the answer was, I am a Christian, and dare not omit the celebra­tion of this day. The Lord hath commanded the observation of the Sabbath under a sub poenâ. He hath enclosed this day for him­self: He hath set an hedge about it. Remember to keep holy the Sabbath Day. But how is this enclosure made common? This blessed day which is made purposely for com­munion with God, is become a day of perambulation. People frequent the Fields or Taverns, more than the holy assemblies. O that our head were waters, and our [Page 61] eyes a fountain of tears! That we might weep, Ier. 9.1. To see men pollute what God himself hath consecra­ted. If they are to take Physick, it must be on the Lords Day; if they are to make Feasts or Visits, it must be on this day. And so in a prophane sense, they call the Sabbath a delight. Isa. 58.13. Sabbath-breaking is Sacriledge; 'tis a robbing God of his due. Iusti­tia suum cuique tribuit. People take that time which should be dedicated whol­ly to the Lord, and spend it in the service of the Devil and their lusts: and hath not this sin brought us low? God threatens Jer. 17.27. If ye will not hearken to me, to hallow the Sab­bath Day, then will I kindle a fire. I observe, the devouring Fire which brake out in London, began on the Sabbath Day; as if God would tell us from Heaven, he was now pu­nishing us, for our prophaning his day.

[Page 62]3. The third sin which hath brought us low, is neglect of Fami­ly-worship. [...]. Theodor. Religion in mens families, is brought low. No read­ing of Scripture; they look oftner upon a pair of Cards, than a Bi­ble. No praying; Ier. 10.25. 'tis made the note of a reprobate, He calls not up­on God, Psalm 14.4. The Atheist will be sure his prayer shall not be turned into sin, for he never prayes at all. Homini natura insevit, ut sacrificet. Averr. Arist. The Graecians asked counsel of their feigned Gods by their Oracles, Proclus ex Platonis, Por­phyrii, Plotini caeterorumque ejus notae scriptis, hoc elo­quium profert, [...], & Dei invocationem, homini convenire, ut proprium apud Aristotelem quarto modo, & qui ea careat hominem esse aut dici non posse. the Persians by their Magi, the Galls by their Druides, the Ro­mans by their Augures: Shall Ethnicks pray, and not Chri­stians? Creatures by the instinct of nature cry to God, Psal. 147.9. [Page 63] The young Ravens which cry. Prayer hath no enemies, unless infernal spirits, and such as are near of Kin to them.

Keyes that are often used are bright, but if they be laid aside and never used, they grow rusty: so it is with mens hearts, if they are not used to family-prayer, they will be rusted over with sin.

For this God hath brought us low. Why did he pull down ma­ny houses in this City, but because they were unhallowed houses, there was no prayer in them.

How do we think to have a blessing from God, if we never ask it? Then God should do more for us, than he did for his own Son. Heb. 5.7. In the dayes of his flesh, he offered up prayers, with strong cryes and tears.

4. Another sin which hath brought [Page 64] us low, is Covenant-violation. Psal. 78.10. They kept not the Cove­nant of God. Ver. 50. He made a way to his anger, he spared not their souls from death. The Carthaginians were noted for Covenant-breaking. Plaut. O that this sin had dyed with them. Doth not this poisonful Weed grow in our soil? Did not we make a vow in Baptism, to fight under Christs banner, against world, flesh and Devil? Did not we solemnly covenant to be the Lords people, to shine in sanctity, going each one before another in an exemplary Refor­mation? Deut. 5.28, 29. They have well said, in all that they have spoken, O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me and keep my commandments! We have much con­forming, but where is reforming? Is not Jesus Christ opposed in his Kingly Office? This is the great [Page 65] Controversie, who shall reign, Sin or Christ? for this God hath been as a Moth to us, and we may fear lest he make good that commina­tion, Levit. 26.25. I will bring a Sword that shall avenge the quarrel of my Covenant.

5. Another sin which hath brought us low, is the abuse of the Gospel. We are sick of Israels di­sease: they despised Manna, Num. 21.5. Our soul loatheth this light bread. We did nauseate the bread of life. The Gospel is the visible token of Gods presence, it is the sacred Conduit-pipe, that empties the golden Oyle of mercy into us, it is the Glass in which we see the face of Christ, it is the Celestial banquet wherewith God doth chear and refocillate the souls of his people. Isa. 25.6. But was there not a Gospel surfeit in England? People [Page 66] had itching ears, and knew not who to hear, and hath not our curiosity brought us to scarcity? God had no better way to raise the price of the Gospel, than by abating the plenty.Acriora orexim excitant embammata. God surely did bring us low, when darkness did over­spread our Horison, and the Lord suffered so many hundred Lights to be at one time put under a bushel. The Aegyptian Priests of old, told the people when any Eclipse hap­pened, that the Gods were angry, and great miseries would follow.Quint. Curt. l. 4. What sad catastrophies have ensu­ed this spiritual Eclipse, is not un­known.

6. Another sin which hath brought us low, is Covetousness.Pruritus avaritiae est scabies animae. When mens Spirits are low, and with the Serpent they lick the dust, then God layes them in the dust, [Page 67] Isa. 57.17. For the iniquity of his Co­vetousness, I was wroth and smote him. Covetousness is the Dropsie of the soul; men are set upon the world, when God is plucking it from them. Covetousness is a Key that opens the door to further wickedness. ‘—opes irritamenta malorum—’ 1 Tim. 6.10. The love of money, is the root of all evil. [...] omnium viti­orum Metropolin, prisci vo­carunt. A covetous man wil stick at no sin. This made Absolom attempt to de­throne his Father; this made Ahab stone Naboth. Cui ni­hil satis, eidem ni­hil turpe. Tacitus.

And what is one the better for all his wealth at death? 1 Tim. 6.10. We brought nothing into the world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. When the rich Miser dies, what scrambling is there? his [Page 68] friends are scrambling for his goods, the worms are scrambling for his body, and the Devils are scrambling for his soul.

This sin is most uncomely in those that profess better. They pretend to live by faith, and yet are as worldly and griping as others. These are spots in the face of Reli­gion, Jer. 45.5. Seekest thou great things for thy self? For this sin God hath brought us low, he hath made our Fig-tree to wither, and suffered the Palmer-worm to eat our Vine.

7. Another sin which hath brought us low, is Barrenness un­der the Means of Grace, Hos. 10.1. Israel is an empty Vine; his juice runs out only into leaves. [...] Evacuans; quia scil. succum in frondes effun­dit, ut nil supersit, quod in Vvas transferat. Corn. lap. We have had much pruning and dressing, the sil­ver drops of Heaven have fallen [Page 69] upon us, but we have not brought forth the fruits of humility and repentance; we can discourse of Religion, but this is only to bring forth leaves, not fruit: non-profi­ciency hath laid us low, and we may fear will lay us waste; God may pull up the hedge, and let in a for­raign Wild-Boar.

Ursin tells us, that those who fled out of England in Queen Maries dayes, acknowledged that that ca­lamity befell them for their great unprofitableness under the Means of Grace in King Edwards dayes. What man will sow seed in barren ground? If the Lord layes out his cost, and sees no good return, the next word will be, Cut down the tree, why cumbreth it the ground?

8. Another sin that hath brought us low, is the sin of swearing. Christ saith, Swear not at all, [Page 70] Mat. 5.34. And a godly man is said to fear an Oath, Eccles. 9.2. Truly it is a matter of tears, we can hard­ly go in the Streets, but our ears are crucified with hearing of Oaths and Cursings. [...]. Philo. Chrysostom spent most of his Sermons at Antioch against swearers; we need many Chryso­stoms now adayes, to preach against this sin. This may well be cal­led the unfruitful work of darkness, Ephes. 5.11. for it is a sin hath neither pleasure nor profit in it. How do men shoot their Oaths, as chain-bullets against Heaven? I knew a great swearer (saith Reverend Mr. Bolton) whose heart Satan so filled, that on his death-bed, he swore as fast as he could, and desired the standers by to help him with Oaths, and to swear for him. Will the Lord reckon with men for idle Words, what will he do for sinful Oaths? [Page 71] for every Oath a man swears, God puts a drop of wrath in his Viall. Nay, usually Gods judgements overtake the swearer in this life. I have read of a German Boy who was given to swearing, Germ. Hist. and did use to invent new Oaths, the Lord sent a Canker into his mouth which did eat out his tongue. In quo quis peccat, in eo­dem plectitur.

But saith one, it is my custom to swear, and I cannot leave it.

Is this a good plea? As if a Thief should plead to a Judge not to condemn him, because it is his custome to rob and steal; there­fore will the Judge say, thou shalt the rather dye. This sin hath brought us low, Jer. 23.10. For because of swearing the Land mourneth.

9. Another sin which hath brought us low, and is like to bring us yet lower, is uncleanness. The [Page 72] adulterers heart is a Mount Aetna burning with lust. Adultery is the shipwrack of chastity, the murder of conscience. It was said of Rome of old, it was become a Stews, ‘—Urbs est jam tota Lupanar—’ I wish it might not be verified of many parts of this Land.

Adultery is a brutish sin, Jer. 5.8. They neighed every one after his neigh­bours Wife. [...]. Isocr. It is a branded sin; it doth not only stigmatize mens names, Prov. 6.33. But God makes them carry the marks of this sin in their Bodies: it is a costly sin; it proves a Purgatory to the Purse, Prov. 6.26. By means of a whorish woman, a man is brought to a piece of bread. There is no coming to an Harlot, but as Iupiter did to Danae in a golden shower. It is a confounding sin.

[Page 73]—laeta venire Venus, tristis abire solet—

The adulterer hastens his own death. In Hispaniola insula arbor est, cujus fructus Pyris mus­catis persimilis, jucundo odore, esui gratissimus, ve­rum pestiferi succi; nam Indi illo sagittas oblinunt veluti veneno. Causs. The Ro­mans were wont to have their Funerals at the Gate of Venus Temple: to signifie that lust ends in death. The adulte­rer takes a short cut to Hell. Prov. 26.23.27. Till a dart strike through his Li­ver. (i. e.) Donec se & ani­ma & corpore perdiderit. Cartwr.

Creatures void of reason, will rise up in judgement against such. The Turtle-Dove is an Hierogly­phick of chastity. The Stork comes into no Nest but his own, and if any Stork leaves his Mate, [Page 74] and joyns with another, all the rest fall upon him, and pluck his fea­thers from him. God will chiefly [...] punish such as walk in the lust of uncleanness. 2 Pet. 2.10. This sin hath brought us low. The fire of lust hath kindled the fire of Gods anger.

10. Another sin which hath brought us low, is our unbrother­ly animosities, Mat. 12.25. A King­dom divided against it self cannot stand. Salva autem esse societas nisi amore & custodia par­tium non potest. Senec. lib. 2. de ira. c. 31. The Turks pray that the Christians may be kept at variance; we have in a great measure fulfilled the Turks prayer. ‘—rara est concordia fratrum—’ What seeds of dissention are sown among us, how are we crumbled into Parties! one is for Paul, and [Page 75] another for Apollo, but I fear few for Christ. Our divisions have given much advantage to the Po­pish adversary. When there is a breach made in the wall of a Castle, there the enemy enters. If the Popish enemy enter, it will be at our breaches. These divisions have cut the lock where our strength lay. Omne divisibile est cor­ruptibile. Cut off the top of the Beech-tree, and the whole bo­dy of the tree withers. Divisions have taken away unity and amity, here is the top of the Beech-tree cut off, and this hath made us to wither apace. Dei maledictio Graeciae to­ti (que) orienti incubuit per ju­gum turcicum: Angliae per discordiam. Corn. lap. These are the sins which have brought us low, and if the Lord prevent not; are like to bring Englands gray hairs with sor­row to the grave.

[Page 76] 5. Branch5. Hence I infer, if sin brings a person low, then what madness is it for any one to be in love with sin? 2 Thess. 2.12. Who take pleasure in iniquity. The Devil can so cook and dress sin, that it pleaseth the sinners pallat. [...]. Basil. But hear what Iob saith, Job 20.12.14. Though wickedness be sweet in his mouth, it is the gall of Asps within him. Nocet empta dolore voluptas. Hero­dotus writeth of the River Hypanis, that near to the fountain, the wa­ter is sweet, but a few leagues off it is exceeding bitter. Sin will bring one low, who would love such an enemy? The forbidden fruit is sawced with bitter hearbs. Sin is a Serpent by the way that biteth. Gen. 49.17. When you are about to commit sin, say to your soul, as Boaz said to his Kinsman, Ruth. 4.4. What day thou buyest the Field, thou must have Ruth with it. So if [Page 77] thou wilt have the sweet of sin, thou must have the curse with it, Non est tantum ab hostibus armatis periculi, quantum â circumfusis undi (que) voluptati­bus. Liv. lib. 10. decad. 3. it will bring thee low. To love sin, is to love a disease. A sinner is perfectly distracted. So­lomon speaks of a generation of men, Madness is in their heart while they live, Eccles. 9.3. 'Tis true of those who love sin, sin puts a worm into conscience, a thorn into death, yet that men should love sin, Madness is in their heart. There is no crea­ture doth willingly destroy it self but man. Sin is a Silken Halter, yet he loves it. O remember that saying of St. Austin, the pleasure of sin is soon gone, but the sting re­mains. Mo­mentane­um est quod de­lectat, aeternum quod cruciat.

6. See what little cause we have to envy sinners, Prov. 3.31.6. Brancb Envy thou not the Oppressor. Men are high [Page 78] in worldly Grandeur, God hath given them large estates, and they sin with their estates, but though they build among the Stars, God will bring them down, Ezek. 28.18. I will bring thee to ashes. Who would envy men▪ their greatness, their sins will bring them low. Deut. 32.35. Their foot shall slide in due time. There is a Story of a Roman, who was by a Court-Marshal condemn­ed to dye, for breaking his rank to steal a bunch of Grapes; and as he was going to execution, some of the Souldiers envied him that he had Grapes, and they had none; saith he, Do ye envy me my Grapes? I must pay dear for them. So the wicked must pay dear for what they have.

The prosperity of the wicked, is a great temptation to the god­ly; David stumbled at it, and had [Page 79] like to have fallen, Psal. 73.2. My steps had well nigh slip'd, for I was en­vious at the foolish, &c. We are rea­dy to murmur when we see our selves low, and en­vy when we see the wicked high. Invidus alterius rebus ma­crescit opimis— Horat. Ep. 1. Sin­ners live in a serene Climate, under a perpetual calm, Psal. 73.5. They are not in trouble as other men, their eyes stand out with fatness. Ferunt in Italiâ quaedam pascua tam esse pinguia, ut nisi pecudes interdum abi­gantur, saturitate suffocen­tur. Reyn. Orat. Segetem nimia sternit uber­tas. Seneca. It is said of Polycrates King of Aegypt, that he never met with any cross in his life. And Alexan­der hearing that Parmenio his Ge­neral had won the Victory, and his young Son Alexander was born the same day, prayed the Gods to spice his joy with some bitterness, lest he should surfeit of too much [Page 80] joy. But this prosperous state of the wicked is matter rather of pity, than envy, their sins will bring them low, Isa. 14.12. How art thou fallen from Heaven O Lucifer, Son of the Morning. Tan­quam à Tarpeiâ rupe pro­lapsus es. 'Tis spoken of the Chaldean Monarch, who though high had a sudden change befell him, Isa. 97.1. Come down and sit in the dust. Babylon was the Lady of Kingdoms, but saith God, Sit in the dust. Go in Pistrinum into the Mill-house, Ver. 2. Take the Mill-stones and grind. So will God say to the wicked, come down from all your pomp and glory, sit in the dust, nay, sit among the damned, and there grind at Mill. The Lord will proportion torment, to all the pleasure the wicked have had, Revel. 18.7. How much she hath liv­ed deliciously, so much torment and sor­row give her.

[Page 81]7. See the great difference be­tween sin and Grace,7. Branch sin brings a man low, but Grace lifts him high. Sin tumbles him in the ditch, but Grace sets him upon the Throne, Psal. 91.14. I will set him on high, be­cause he hath known my name. Grace raiseth a person four wayes.

1. Grace raiseth his Projects, his designs are high. He looks not at things which are seen, 2 Cor. 4.18. His eye is above the Stars, Instar est peregrinae illius avis, quam vocant avem Dei, reperitur in novis insulis, pasci­tur rore coeli, nunquam attingit terram, pedibus prorsus caret. Aldrovand. Ormitholog. lib. 12. cap. 21. he aims at the enjoying of God. A clownish Rustick when he goes to the Court, is much ta­ken with the gay Pictures and Hangings, but a Privy Counsellor passeth by those things as scarce worthy of his notice, his business is with the King. So a carnal mind, is much taken with [Page 82] the things of the world, but a Saint passeth by these gay things with an holy contempt, his bu­siness is with God, 1 John 1.3. Our Communion is with the Father and his Son Iesus. A Christian of the right breed doth [...], aspire af­ter the things within the Veyl, his ambition is the favour of God, he looks no lower than a Crown; he is in the altitudes, and trades among the Angels.

2. Grace raiseth a mans Repute. It embalms his name. 1 Sam. 18.30. Davids name was much set by; or as the Original carries it, it was precious. [...] Heb. 11.2. By faith the Elders obtained a good report. How renowned were the godly Patri­arks for their sanctity! Moses for his self-denyal, Iob for his pati­ence, Phineas for his zeal. What a fresh perfume do their names [Page 83] send forth to this day. A good name is a Saints Heir, it lives when he is dead.

3. Grace raiseth a mans worth, Prov. 12.26. The Apud mortales pietas a tergo rejicitur, nec veluti in lanceam venit; excellentior veruntamen est justus quovis injusta nobilitate generis, ut qui Deum habet patrem; divitiis, ut qui haeres fit coe­li; sapientia, ut qui sacro­sanctam accepit unctionem; victu, ut qui pascitur coe­lesti manna; vestitu, ut qui Christi justitia induitur; cum injustus ne viri quidem no­men meretur. Cartwr. righteous is more ex­cellent than his neigh­bour. As the Flower of the Roses in Spring, as the fat of the Peace-offering, as the precious stones upon Aarons Breast-plate, so is a Saint in Gods eye. Be­sides the shining lustre of the Gold, it hath an in­ternal worth, and is of great price and value: So Grace doth not on­ly make a mans name shine, but it puts a real worth into him, he is more excellent than his neighbour. An Heart full of love to God is pre­cious. [Page 84] It is Gods Hephzibah, or de­light, Isa. 62.4. it is the apple of his eye, it is his jewell, it is his Garden of Spices, it is his lesser Heaven where he dwells, Isa. 57.17. I dwell with him that is of an humble spirit.

4. Grace raiseth a mans privi­ledge; it advanceth him into the heavenly kindred. By it he is born of God, 1 John 3.1. He is a Prince in all Lands, Psal. 45.16. (though in this world like a Prince in disguise). He is higher than the Kings of the earth, Psal. 89.27. Allyed to An­gels. In short, Grace lifts a man up where Christ is, far above all Heavens. Ephes. 4.10.

And Grace raiseth a Nation as well as a Person, Prov. 14.34. Righteousness exalteth a Nation.

8. If sin brings one low, see what an imprudent choice they make,8. Branch who commit sin to avoid trouble. [Page 85] Job 36.21. Take heed, regard not ini­quity, for this hast thou chosen rather than affliction. This was a false charge against Iob, but many may be indighted of such folly; they choose iniquity, rather than affliction. To avoid poverty, they will lye and couzen, to avoid a Prison, they will comply against their consci­ence. What imprudence is this, when sin draws such dark shadows after it, and entails misery upon all its heirs and successors. By committing sin, to avoid trouble, we meet with greater trouble. Origen to save himself from suffer­ing, sprinkled Incense before the Idol, and being after to preach, as he opened his Bible, he did acci­dentally light on that Text, Psal. 50.16. But to the wicked God saith, what hast thou to do to declare my Sta­tutes, or that thou shouldst take my Co­venant [Page 86] in thy mouth; at the sight of which Scripture, he fell into a pas­sion of weeping, and was so stricken with grief and consternation, that he was not able to speak a word to the people, but came down the Pulpit. Spira sinned against his conscience to save his life and estate, he chose iniquity rather than af­fliction; but what an Hell did he feel in his conscience, he profes­sed he envyed Cain, and Iudas, as thinking their condition more eli­gible. His sin did bring him low. O what unparallel'd folly is it to choose sin rather than affliction. [...], &c. Origen. Af­fliction is like a rent in the Coat, sin is like a rent in the flesh. He that to save himself from trouble, com­mits sin, is like one, that to save his Mantle, lets his flesh be torn. Affliction hath a promise made to it, 2 Sam. 22.28. but there is no promise made to sin. Prov. 10.29.

[Page 87]Sure then they do ill consult for themselves, who choose rather sin than suffering; who to avoid a lesser evil, choose a greater; to avoid the stinging of a Gnat, run into the Paw of a Lion.

9. If God brings his own people9. Branch low for sin (Israel were brought low) then how low will he bring the wicked? David was in the deep waters, and Ionah went down to the bottom of the Mountains, Cap. 2.6. and Ieremy was in the deep dunge­on, then what a gulf of misery shall swallow up the reprobate part of the world? Gods people do not allow themselves in sin, Rom. 7.15. They tremble at it, they hate it, yet they suffer; if they that blush at their failings are brought low, what will be­come of them that boast of their scandals? If this be done to the green tree, what shall be done to the dry? [Page 88] If the godly lye among the pots, Psal. 68.13. the wicked shall lye among the Devils. If judgement begin at the house of God, what shall the end be of them that obey not the Gospel? 1 Pet. 4.17. If God min­gles his peoples cup with worm­wood, he will mingle the sinners cup with fire and brimstone, Psalm 11.6. If God thresh the Wheat, he will burn the Chaff. If the Lord afflicts them whom he loves, how severe will he be against them whom he hates? They shall feel the second death, Rev. 21.8. Horreo Vermem Morda­cem & mortem vivacem. Bernard.

Use 2. Exhortation, 1. Branch. 1. If sin brings a person low,1. Branch then let us fear to come near sin; it will bring us either into affliction or worse. Its foul face may offend, but its breath kills. Sin is the Apollyon, the Man-devourer. O that we were as wise for our souls, as we are for our bodies! How afraid [Page 89] are we of that meat which we know will bring the Gowt or Stone, or will make our Ague re­turn. Sin is aguish meat which will put conscience into a shaking fit, and shall we not be afraid to touch this forbidden fruit? Gen. 39.9. How can I do this great wick­edness, and sin against God? When the Empress Eudoxia threatned to banish Chrysostom, Tell her (saith he) I fear nothing but sin. It was a say­ing of Anselm, if Hell were on one side, and sin were on the other, I would rather leap into Hell, than willingly commit sin. Incipiat tremor, ubi inci­pit [...]. Love will be apt to grow wanton, if it be not poised with holy fear. No better Curb or Antidote against sin, than fear, Deut. 17.13. They shall fear, and do no more presumptuously. If we could see Hell fire in every sin, it would make us fear to com­mit [Page 90] it. The fiercest creatures dread fire. When Moses his rod was turned into a Serpent, he was afraid and fled from it: Sin will prove a stinging Serpent, O fly from it. Most people are like the Levia­than, made without fear, Job 41.33. They play upon the hole of the Asp. Sinners never fear till they feel. Nothing will convince them, but fire and brimstone.

2. Branch2. If sin brings a person low, then when we are brought low under Gods afflicting hand, let us behave our selves wisely▪ and as becomes Christians. I shall shew,

1. What we must not do when we are brought low.

When our condition is low, let not our passions be high; impa­tience is not the way to get out of trouble, but rather to go lower into trouble. What gets the [Page 91] Child by strugling, but more blows? Vis ferulam igni tradat pater, intumeseit vero tibi cor adhuc. Mornaeus. Oh do not lispe out a mur­muring word against God. Murmuring is the skum which boils off from a discontented heart, Psalm 39.9. I was dumb, and opened not my mouth, because thou Lord didst it. Illorum est hic flagella percipere, quibus datur de aeternitate gaudere. Bern. Ser. 10. de Coen. d. Da­vids ear was open to hear the voice of the Rod, but his mouth was not o­pen in complaining. Christian, who shouldst thou complain of, but thy self? thy own sin hath brought thee low.

2. What we must do when we are brought low.

1. Let us search the sin which is the cause of our trouble, Job 10.2. Shew me wherefore thou contendest with [Page 92] me: Lord, What is that sin which hath provoked thee to bring me low? Lam. 3.40. Let us search and try our wayes. As the people of Is­rael, when they were worsted in bat­tel, searched the cause, and at last found out the Achan that troubled them, and stoned him to death. Josh. 7.18. So let us search out that Achan which hath troubled us. Perhaps our sin was censorious­ness, we have been ready to judge, and slander others; and now we our selves lye under an evil tongue, and have false reports raised on us: perhaps our sin was pride, and God hath sent poverty as a thorn to humble us. Perhaps our sin was remisness in holy duties, we had forgot our first love, and were ready to fall into slumbering fits, Virtus sine ex­ercitio, similis est tacitur­nae lyrae. Claud. and God hath sent a sharp cross to awaken us out of our se­curity. [Page 93] We may oftentimes read our sin in our punishment. O let us search the Achan, and say as Iob, Chap. 34.32. If I have done iniquity, I will do so no more.

2. When we are brought low, let us justifie God. God is just, not only when he punisheth the guilty, but when he afflicts the righteous. Let us take heed of entertaining hard thoughts of God, as if he had dealt too severely with us, and had put too much Worm­wood in our Cup: No, let us vindicate God, and say as the Em­perour Mauritius, when he saw five of his Sons slain before his eyes, by Phocas, Righteous art thou O Lord in all thy wayes. Iustus es Domi­ne, & re­ctum ju­dicium tuum. Let us speak well of God. If we have never so much affliction, yet not one drop of in­justice, Psalm 97.2. Clouds and dark­ness are round about him, righteousness [Page 94] and judgement are the habitation of his Throne.

3. When we are brought low in affliction, let us bring our selves low in humiliation. [...]. Chrysost. 1 Pet. 5.6. Humble your selves under the mighty hand of God. When we are in the Vally of Tears, we must be in the Vally of Humility. Lam. 3.19. Remembring the Wormwood and the Gall, my soul hath them continually in remembrance, and is humbled in me. If our condition be low, then is a time to have our hearts lye low.

4. When we are brought low in affliction, let us be low upon our knees in prayer. Pre­muntur justi, ut pressi cla­ment, &c. Psalm 130.1. Ex Profundis Clamavi—Out of the depths have I cryed unto thee O Lord. Psalm 79.8. Let thy tender mercies speedily prevent us, for we are brought very low. Iacob never prayed so [Page 95] fervently, as when he was in fear of his life; he oyled the Key of pray­er with tears, Hos. 12.4. He wept and made supplication. One reason why God lets us be brought low, is to highten a Spirit of prayer.

But what should we pray for in affliction? Let us pray that all our Hell may be here. As Pilate said concerning Christ, Luke 23.22. I will chastise him, and let him go. So pray that God when he doth cha­stise us, will let us go, that he will free us from Hell and Damnation. Let us pray rather for the sancti­fication of affliction, than the remo­val; pray that the Rod may be a Divine Pencil, to draw Gods Image more lively upon our souls, Heb. 12.10. That affliction may be a Fornace to refine, not consume us. Pray, that if God do correct us, it may not be in anger, Psal. 6.1. That [Page 96] we may taste the honey of his love at the end of the rod. Let it be our prayer, that God will lay no more upon us, than he will en­able us to bear. 1 Cor. 10.13. That if the burden be heavier, our shoulders may be stronger.

5. When we are brought low, let our faith be high. Let us believe that God intends us no hurt. That though he casts us into the deep, he will not drown us. Believe that still he is a Father; he afflicts us in as much mercy, as he gives Christ to us. He doth by his rod of Discipline fit us for the inheritance, Col. 1.12. O let this Star of faith appear in the dark night of affli­ction. Ionahs faith was never more in Heaven, than when he lay in the belly of Hell, Ionah 2.4.

6. When we are brought low in affliction, let us labour to be [Page 97] bettered by being brought low. Rosae suavius olent quibus umbeli­cus est asper. Pick some good out of the cross; get some hony out of this Lion. The wicked are worse for afflicti­on. Weeds stamped in a Mortar are more unsavoury. 2 Chron. 28.22. In the time of his distress did he trespass yet more against the Lord. This is that King Ahaz.

But let us labour to be melio­rated, and made better by afflicti­on. Dolor hic tibi proderit olim. Ovid. Christ learned obedience by what he suffered, Heb. 5.8. If we are brought low in affliction and get no good, then the affliction is lost.

When are we battered by affli­ctions?Quest.

When our eyes are more ope­ned,Answ. 1. Scholae crucis, scholae lucis. and we are not only chast­ned, but taught. Psal. 94.12. Worm­wood is bitter to the taste, but is good to clear the eye-sight; [Page 98] then our spiritual eye-sight is cleared,

1. When we see more of Gods holiness. He is a jealous and sin-hating God; he will not suffer evil in his own children to go un­punished, if they make light of sin, he will make their chain hea­vy, Lam. 3.2.

2. When we have a clearer in­fight into our selves. We see more of our hearts than we did before; we see that earthliness, impatience, Natura vexata prodit se­ipsam. distrust of God, which we did not discover before. We never thought we had such a flux of corruption, or that there had been so much of the old man in the new man. The fire of afflicti­on makes that skum of sin boyl up, which before lay hid. When our eye-sight is thus cleared, and both the rod and the lamp go to­gether, [Page 99] now we are bettered by affliction.

2. When our hearts are softned. Affliction is Gods fornace where he melts his gold, Jer. 9.7. I will melt them and try them. When our eyes are more watery, our thoughts more serious, our consciences more tender, when we can say as Job, Chap. 23.16. God makes my heart soft. This melting of the heart whereby we are fitted to receive the impression of the Holy Ghost, is a blessed sign we are bettered by affliction.

3. When our wills are subdued.Sinite virgam corrigen­tem, ne sentiatis malleum conteren­tem. Bernard. Mic. 7.9. I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him. Why doth God bring us low, but to tame our curst hearts? A wicked man is [...], when he is brought low he quar­rels with God: therefore is com­pared [Page 100] to a wild Bull in a net, Isa. 51.20. If you go to rub a piece of Stuff which is rotten, it frets and tears: So when God rubs a wick­ed man by affliction, he frets and tears himself with vexation, Isa. 8.21. They shall fret themselves, and curse their King and their God.

But when our spirits are calmed, and we are wrought to a sweet submission to Gods will; we ac­cept of the punishment, Levit. 26.41. and do in patience possess our souls, Luke 21.19. When we say as Eli, 1 Sam. 3.18. It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth him good. I know this tryal is in mercy; God will ra­ther afflict me, than lose me, let him hedge me with thorns, if he will plant me with flowers; Adver­sa red­dunt ho­minem mansue­tum. Chem­nitius. Let him do what seemeth him good: now we are bettered by the affli­ction.

[Page 101]4. When sin is purged out. Isa. 27.9. This is all the fruit to take away iniquity. Our hearts are dreggish and sinful, our Gold is mixed with Dross, our Stars with Clouds; now when affliction consumes pride, formality, hypocrisie, when Gods Launce lets out our spiritual Im­posthume, then we are bettered by affliction.

5. When our hearts are more unglued from the world; What are all these under-moon things! the cares of the world, exceed the comforts. The Emblem that King Henry the seventh used, was, a Crown of Gold, hung in a bush of Thorns. Many who have escaped the Rocks of scandalous sins, have been cast away upon the Golden sands. The Arabick Proverb is, The world is a carkass, and they that hunt after it are dogs. Mundus cadaver est, & petentes eum sunt canes. Is not love of the [Page 102] world become almost the epide­mick Disease? If the Lord bestows a plentiful estate upon men, they are apt to make an Idol of it. And therefore God is forced to take that out of their hand, which kept him out of their heart. Now when the Lord comes and afflicts any of us in that which we most love, he hits us in the apple of our eye, and our hearts grow more dead to the world, and sick of love to Christ; when God hath been withering our gourd, and our affections to it begin to wither, when he hath been digging about our root, and we are more loosened from the earth, then we are bettered by af­fliction▪

6. When affliction hath produ­ced more appetite to the Word. Perhaps in health and prosperity, we and the Bible seldom meet, or [Page 103] if we did chance to read, it was in a dull cursory manner, but the Lord by imbittering the breast of the creature, hath made us run to the breast of a Promise; and we can say as David, Psal. 119.103. How sweet are thy words unto my taste; yea, sweeter than honey. Dei Eloquia sic fauci­bus pio­rum in­dulco­rantur, ut quovis mellis favo suavius afficiant. Muscul. Solomon saith truly the light is sweet. Eccles. 11.7. But we can say, truly the Word is sweet, We have tasted Christ in a Promise, the Word hath caused an exuberancy of joy, Psalm 19.8. This is the Manna we love to feed upon; every leaf of Scripture drops Myrrhe, and as a rich Cor­dial cheers our spirit; when it is thus, now we are bettered by our tryals, Psalm 119.50.

7. When our title to Heaven is more confirmed. In prosperity, we are more careless in getting, at least in clearing our spiritual title. [Page 104] People would be loth their evi­dences for their Land, were no better, than their evidences for Hea­ven. Many a mans evidence for glory is either forged or blotted; he is not able to read any discrimina­ting work of Gods Spirit, he is pendulous, and hangs in a doubt­ful suspence, not knowing whether he hath Grace or no; now when we are brought low in affliction▪ and we fall to the work of self-examination, we see how matters stand between God and our souls, Totum diem mecum scru­tor, facta & dicta mea re­metior, nihil mihi ipse ab­scondo, nihil transeo. Sen. lib. 3. de irâ. we turn over every lea [...] of the Book of con­science, we make a critical descant upon our hearts and after a thorough survey o [...] our selves, we can say, We know the grace of God in truth, Col. 1. [...]We have received the holy anointing [Page 105] 1 John 2.27. Our Grace will bear the touchstone, though not the bal­lance, certainly then we have made a good proficiency in the time of affliction, and are bettered by it.

8. When we grow more fruit­ful in Grace. A Christian should be like the Olive-tree, fair and of goodly fruit, Jer. 11.16. There is a tree in the Isle of Pomonia which hath its fruit folded and wrapped up in the leaves of it. An em­blem of a good Christian, who hath the fruits of Grace wrapped up in the leaves of his profession. Now after pruning, what fruits have we brought forth? The fruits of obedience, love, self-de­nial, meekness, heavenliness, long­ing to be with Christ? If the sharp Frost of affliction hath brought on the Spring flowers of Grace, Crescit de vulne­re vir­tus which the Apostle calls, the peace­able [Page 106] fruits of righteousness, Heb. 12.11. then we are bettered by affliction. A fruitful heart is better than a full Crop.

9. When we do really commi­serate and put on bowels to such as are in a suffering condition.

—Haud ignara mali miseris suc­currere disco—

Jesus Christ having suffered is touched with our infirmity, Heb. 4.15. Having felt hunger and cold, he knows how to pity us. Before we have drunk of the bitter Cup, instead of pitying others in misery, we are ready to despise them. Psalm 123.4. Our soul is filled with the scorning of them which are at ease. But when we have been under the Harrow, and can sympathize with our suffering Brethren, and weep [Page 107] with them that weep; this is a sign we are bettered by the affliction. In Musick, when one string is touched, all the rest sound: so our bowels sound as an harp, Isa. 16.11.

10. When we have learned to bless God in affliction. Job. 1.21. The Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord: Many can bless God, when he is giving; Iob blesseth him when he takes away. This is excellent, not only to praise God when we are upon the Moun­tain of Prosperity, but in the Val­ley of adversity, Deut. 8.10. When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the Lord. But it is a great­er matter when we are empty and in want, then to bless him, 1 Thes. 5.18. In every thing give thanks. [...] in ad­versis ae (que) ac Prosperis; quia non minus amoris Sigil [...]um est inopia, quam copia. C. lap.—Hinc laudat Au­gustinus veterum sanctorum morem, qui saepe habebant in ore hoc verbum Deo gratias. Aug. in Psal. 132.

[Page 108]But what should we bless God for in affliction? We are to bless God that it is no worse with us. He might have put more Gall in our Cup, Ezra 9.14. We are to bless God, that he will choose ra­ther to correct us in the world, than to condemn us with the world, 1 Cor. 11.32. That he hath made affliction a means to prevent sin; that he proportions our strength to our tryals; that he gives us any sup­port in our trouble, Psalm 112.4. Though he doth not break our yoke, yet he lines our yoke with inward peace, and makes it soft and pleasant. We are to bless God that he deals with us as Children, setting his seal of affliction on us, and so marking us for his own; Tertul. We are to bless God, that Christ hath taken the sting out of the Cross; that there is an hope of bet­ter [Page 109] things laid up for us in Heaven, Col. 1.5. When we can upon these considerations break forth into an holy gratitude and triumph in af­fliction, this is to be bettered by af­fliction, and it shews a Spirit of God and glory rests upon us, 1 Pet. 4.14.

To bless God in Heaven, when he is crowning us with glory, is no wonder; but to bless God when he is correcting us, to bless him in a Prison, to give thanks on a sick­bed; not only to kiss the Rod, but to bless the hand that holds it; here is the Sun in the Zenith, this speaks an high degree of Grace, indeed, and doth very much adorn our sufferings.

If we can find these sweet fruits of the Cross, we may assure our selves the affliction is sanctified; Vene­num ali­quando pro reme­dio fuit. Seneca. and we may say as David, Psalm 119.71. It is good for me, that I was [Page 110] afflicted: and then, God will throw away the Rod, and make us glad after the dayes of our mourning▪ Luctus in laetiti­am verte­tur, sac­cus in sericum, cineres in corollas. Ezek. 16.42. So will I make my fury towards thee to rest, and my jealousie shall depart from thee, and I will be quiet, and will be no more angry.

3. If sin brings us low, let us la­bour to bring our sins low.3. Branch Let all our spight be at sin; let us pursue it with an holy malice. Sin hath brought us even to the dust, and would bring us lower in­to the abysse of Hell, let us then shed the blood of sin, which would shed our blood, Col. 3.5. Mortifie your members which are upon the earth, Motus carnis in­dies re­pullulant adeoque non uno ictu sed sensim resecan­da. Corn. lap. fornication, uncleanness, &c. We are apt to plead for sin, Is it not a little one? Who would plead for him that seeks his life? We are ready to say to the Minister concerning sin, as David to Joab concerning [Page 111] Absalom, 2 Sam. 18.5. Deal gently with the young man. So, Sir, deal gently with my sins; Oh be not too sharp in your reproofs; Why? Doth not the traytor sin, seek to take away thy Crown of glory, as Absalom did his Fathers Crown? Would it not bring thee low? If therefore thou art wise, spare it not. Do with thy sin, as Joab with Absalom; he took three darts in his hand, and thrust them through the heart of Absalom; 2 Sam. 18.14. So take these three darts, the Word of God, Prayer, Mortification, and strike through the heart of thy lusts that they dye. As Sampson dealt with the Philistins, they brought him low, they put out his eyes, and he never left till he was revenged on them, and brought them low, Judges 16.30. He bowed himself with all his [Page 112] might, and the house fell upon the Lords, &c. Sampson dyed, we live by the death of our enemies. O that every day, some limb of the old man may drop off. Hoc mihi satis est quoti­die ex vitiis meis aliquid demere, & errores meos ob­jurgare. Sen▪ de vit. beat. c. 17. What is the end of all a Christi­ans duties, praying and hearing, but to weaken and mortifie lust? Why is this spiritual Physick taken, but to kill the child of sin he goes with? Sin will insinuate it self, and plead for a reprieve, but shew it no mer­cy. Sauls sparing Agag, lost him the Kingdom, and your sparing sin, will lose you the Kingdom of Heaven.

4. BranchLastly, Let this make us weary of living in the world, for while we live we sin, and sin brings us low. We eat the forbidden fruit, and then are sick after it. How [Page 113] should this make us long to have our pass to be gone, and cry, O that we had the wings of a Dove, to fly away, and be at rest. Then we shall shake off those Vipers which leaped up­on us, 1 Cor. 3.22. Death is yours. At death we shall have an eter­nal Iubilee, and be freed from all incumbrances.

Sin shall be no more; Death smites a Believer, as the Angel smote Peter on his side, and made his Chains fall off, Acts 12.7. So death smites a Believer, and makes the Chains of his sins fall off.

Trouble shall be no more; This lower Region is full of Storms. Troubles and vexations are some of the thorns with which the earth is cursed. But in the Grave, a Believer hath his quietus est; There the wicked cease from troubling, [Page 114] there the weary are at rest, Job 3.17. God will shortly wipe away all tears. Rev. 7.17. How should this make the Saints desire to be dissolv­ed, Phil. 1.23. Quisquis in Christum cre­dit, ita debet esse animatus, ut ad nomen mortis caput attollat, laetus nuntio suae re­demptionis. Calv. Isra­els being so oft stung with Serpents, made them weary of the Wilderness, and a­spire after Canaan. The discur­tesies a Prince meets with in a strange Land, makes him long to be in his own Countrey, when the Crown-royal shall be set up­on his head. When we are with Christ, we shall be brought low no more. We shall never be fix­ed Stars, till we are in Heaven.

O the felicity of glorified Saints; they have a full-eyed vision of God, and those refulgent beams of Glory are darted from his blessed face, as delight, yea, ra­vish [Page 115] their hearts with ineffable joy. Status gloriae, prae aliis [...] foeli­cissimus, quando Deus hu­manos angelicos (que) Spiritus, in suo ipsius sinu complectitur, & creati Spiritus ab increato refocillantur. The Birds of the fortu­nate Islands, are nourished with Perfumes; after death the Saints shall be for ever nourished with the Aromaticks and Perfumes of their Saviours Love.

FINIS.

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Early English Books Online Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.