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All other blades are but lead to this steel. Councils, Fathers, Histories are good helps; but ad pompam, rather than ad pugnam. These Scriptures are they, whereof St. Augustin justly, Hæc fundamenta, hæc firmamenta. What do we multiply volumes, and endlessly go
about the bush? That of Tertullian is most certain, Aufer ab hæreticis quæcunque Ethnici sapiunt, ut de Scripturis solis quæstiones suas sistant, et stare non poterunt ; “ Take from heretics what they borrow of Pagans, and hold them close to the trial by the Scriptures alone, they cannot stand.” Bring but this fire to the wildest beast, his eye will not endure it: he must run away from it: for these kind of creatures are all, as that Father, Lucifuge Scripturarum. What worlds of volumes had been spared, how infinite distractions of weak and wavering souls had been prevented, if we had confined ourselves to St. Paul's fence!
Our third rule must be, To redouble our strokes uncessantly, unweariably; not giving breath to the beast; not fainting for want of our own. St. Paul laid on, three months together, in the Synagogue of Ephesus; two years more, in the School of Tyrannus ; Acts xix. 8, 9: and, accordingly, gives us our charge, State ergo, Stand close to it; Eph. vi. 14. If, when we have dealt some few unsuccessful blows, we throw up the bucklers, or lean upon our pummels, we lose our life with the day. I could, as the case might stand, easily be of the mind of that soldier, who, when he heard Xenophantus by his music stirring up Alexander to the fight, wished rather to hear a musician that could take him off: but, since we have to do with an enemy, which nec victor nec victus novit quiescere, as Hannibal said of Marcellus, there is no way but to fight it out. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, saith the Apostle. If need be, we must do so. Serpens, sitis, ardor arena, Dulcia virtuti, as he said. Oh, be constant to your own holy resolutions, if ever ye look for a happy victory. Well did the dying prophet chide the king of Israel, that he struck but thrice: Thou shouldest have smitten often ; then thou shouldest have smitten Syria till thou hadst consumed it; 2 Kings xiii. 19. Let neither bugs of fear, nor suppalpations of favour weaken your hands, from laying load upon the Beast of Error. Fight zealously; fight indefatigably ; and prevail. In the battles of Christ, as St. Chrysostom observes, the issue is so assured, that the crown goes before the victory : but, when ye once
have it, hold fast that you have, that no man take your crown ; Rev, iii. 11.
Our last rule is, To know our distance; and, where we find invincible resistance, to come off fairly. So did St. Paul in the theatre of the Ephesian Synagogue; when, after three months' disputation, some were hardened, and, instead of believing, blasphemed the way of God, amosas a Duqise, he departed, and separated, Acts xix. 9. Those beasts we cannot master, we must give up. If Babylon will not be cured, she must be left to herself
. To apply this to the theatre of the times. There is no challenge either more frequent or more heavy, than that we have left that Church, which VOL. V.
they miscall our Mother. Had we gone from her that is gone from herself, we had but followed her in leaving her: had we left her that hath blasphemed her forsaken truth, we had but followed St. Paul : but now, let the worid know, we have not left her; she hath abandoned us : Non fugimus, sed fugamur ; as Casaubon cites from our late learned sovereign. It is her violence, not our choice, that hath excluded us. because we could not but leave her errors, she hath ejected our persons. This schism shall, one day, before that great Tribunal of Heaven, fall heavily upon those perverse spirits, that would rather rend the Church than want their will; and can be content to sacrifice both truth and peace, together with millions of souls, to their own ambition.
(2.) Let this suffice for the Beasts of Opinion, which are Errors. Turn your eyes now, if you please, to St. Paul's fight with the Beasts of Practice, Vices.
And, in the first place, see how the Ephesian beasts fought with St. Paul, Acts xix. 28, 29. Ye find them, as so many enraged bulls, scraping the earth with their feet, and digging it with their horns; snuffing up the air with their raised nostrils; rushing furiously into the theatre; tossing up Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul's companions, into the air; and, with an impetuous violence, carrying all before them. This hath been ever the manner of wickedness, to be headstrong in the pursuit of its own courses; impatient of opposition; cruel, in revenge of the
of the opposers. Doth Elijah cry out against the murders and idolatries of Ahab ? The beast hath him in chace for his life, and earths him in his cave. Doth Micaiah cross the designs of the false propbets in the expedition of Ramoth? The beast with the iron-horns pusheth him in the face, and beats him down into the dungeon. Doth John Baptist bend his non licet against Herodias's incest? The beast flies in his throat; and, with one grasp, tears his head from his shoulders, So it ever was; so it ever will be. Am I become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? saith St. Paul. Stetisse lego judicandos A postolos, saith Bernard. If still therefore heart-burnings and malicious censures attend the faithful delivery of God's sacred errand, the beast is like itself. Sagittant in obscura lund rectos corde, as St. Chrysostom reads that in the Psalm.
In the mean time, what doth St. Paul ? Doth he give in? doth he give out? No, here was still Frappucía; Eph. vi. 20. He traverses his ground indeed for his advantage, from Ephesus to Macedonia ; but still he galls the beast wherever he is : as idolaters, so all sorts of Hagitious sinners, felt the weight of his hand, the dint of his-stroke; all which, wheresoever he finds them, he impartially pierces through with the darts of denounced judgment, that is, the verbum asperum, and sagitta volans in Psalm xci. 5: the curse of the Law; Gal. iii. 13. See how he wounds those other beasts of Ephesus : No whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man which is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of God; Eph. v. 5: and, For these ihings cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience ; verse 6 : Tribulation and anguish to every soul that doth evil: In flaming fire rendering vengeance to those that know not God, and obey him not. And, why do not we, in imitation of this noble champion of God, strike through the loins of wickedness wherever we find it; that, if it be possible, it may rise up no more? Why do not we spend the whole quiver of God's threatened vengeance upon wilful sinners? And thus must we bait the beast.
Is it a Drunken Beast we are committed with? Woe to them, that rise up early to follow strong drink; Isaiah v. 11: Woe to him, that giveth his neighbour drink to make him drunk; Hab. ii. 15: The cup of the Lord's right hand shall be turned to that man, and vomitus ignominiosus ad gloriam ; verse 16. Oh, it is a bitter cup, this of the Lord's right hand; whereof he shall wring out the dregs unto that soul: so as, instead of quaffing the excessive healths of others, he shall drink up his own death and eternal confusion.
Is it a Gluttonous beast? Woe to bim! his God is his belly, his glory shall be in his shame, and his end damnation ; Phil. i. 19. While the flesh is yet between his teeth, ere it be chewed, the wrath of the Lord is kindled against him; Num. xi. 33. Yea, but it goes down sweetly. O fool! the meat in thy belly shall be turned into the gall of asps within thee; Job xx. 14. Vå saturis; Woe be to . the full, for they shall hunger ! They shall famish to death; and die famishing; and live dying; and have enough of nothing, but fire and brimstone.
Is it a Ravenous beast, a Covetous oppressor? His tooth, like a mad dog's, envenoms and emphrensies : so saith Solomon, that knew the nature of all beasts; Oppression makes a wise man mad ; Eccl. vii. 7. Tabifici sunt; Psalm lxxix. 7. Woe be to you, that join hou se to house'; Isaiah v. 8. Woe be to the mighty sins of them, whose treadings are upon the poor ; that afflict the just; that take bribes, and turn away the poor in the gates; Amos v. 11, 12. Therefore the Lord, the God of Hosts, saith thus, Wailing shall be in all their streets, and they shall say in all highways, Alas, alas ! verse 16. They have robbed their poor tenants, and oppressed the afflicted in the gate; therefore the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them.
Is it an Unclean beast? Whoso committeth adultery with a woman destroyeth his own soul ; Prov. vi. 32. A fornicator in the body of his flesh will never cease till he have kindled a fire; Ecclus. xxiii. 16. His fire of lust Hames up into a fire of disease, and burns down into the fire of hell.
Is it a Foul-mouthed beast, that bellows out blasphemies and bloody oaths? There is a word, that is clothed about with death : God grant it be not found in the heritage of Jacob; Ecclus. xxiii. 12. A man, that useth much swearing, shall be filled with iniquity; and the plague shall never depart from his house; verse 11.
Thus must we lay about us, spiritu oris ; yea, gladio Spiritús; and let drive at the Beast, of what kind soever. But, if we shall still find that, which blind Homer saw, Tà Xegelove vikõv, “ that the worse hath the better;" and that this spiritual edge shall either
turn again, or, through our weak wieldance, not enter the stubborn and thick hide of obdured hearts ; give me leave, most Gracious Sovereign, and ye Honourable Peers, to whom is committed the sword of either supreme or subordinate justice, to say, that both God and the world expects, that this Beast of Sin should be baited by you in another fashion. It is not for nothing, that God hath set you so conspicuously in this great amphitheatre, where the eyes of angels and men are bent upon you ; and that he hath given into your hands the powerful instruments of death. If this pernicious beast dare contest with our weakness, and ofttimes leave us gasping and bleeding on this pavement; yet we know, that it cannot but fall under the power of your mercy, yea your vengeance. Oh, let it please you, to rouze up your brave and princely spirits ; and to give the fatal blow to presumptuous wickedness. If that monster of impious Sacrilege, of atheous Profaneness, of outragious Inordinateness, dares lift up his hated head in the sight of this sun; let him be straight crushed with the weight of that royal sceptre : let him be hewn in pieces, with the sharp sword of your sacred authority. As we abound with wholesome laws for the repressing of vice, so let it please you, in a holy zeal, to revive their hearty and effectual execution, that the precious Gospel of our Lord Jesus, which we profess, may not be either shamed or braved by insolent wickedness; that Justice and Peace may flourish in our land; and that your Crown may long and happily flourish upon that royal head, until it shall receive a late and blessed exchange for a Crown of Glory and Immortality in the highest Heavens. Amen.
THE BLESSINGS, SINS, AND JUDGMENTS OF
ONE OF THE SERMONS PREACHED AT WESTMINSTER, ON THE DAY OF
THE PUBLIC FAST, APRIL 5, 1628, TO THE LORDS OF THE HIGH COURT OF PARLIAMENT, AND, BY THEIR APPOINTMENT, PUBLISHED, BY THE BISHOP OF EXETER.
ISAIAH v. 4, 5. What could have been done more to my Vineyard, that I have not
done in it? Wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes? And now, go to, i will tell you what I will do to my l'ineyard; I will take away the hedge
thereof. It is a piece of a Song: for so it is called, verse 1. Alas! what should songs do, to a heavy heart; Prov. xxv. 20? or music, in a day of mourning? Howling and lamentation is fitter for this occasion. Surely, as we do sometimes weep for joy; so do we sing also for sorrow. Thus also doth the Prophet here. If it be a song, it is a dump; Isaiah's Lacrymæ; fit for that Sheminih; gravis symphonia, as Tremellius turns it, which some sad psalms were set unto; 1 Chron. xv. 21: Psalm vi. 1. xii. 1. Both the ditty and the tune are doleful.
There are in it three passionate strains: FAVOURS, WRONCS, REVENGE; BLESSING, SINS, JUDGMENTS: Favours and Blessings from God to Israel; Sins, which are the highest Wrongs, from Israel to God; Judgments, by way of Revenge, from God to Israel.
And each of those follow upon other: God begins with Favours to his people; they answer him with their Sins; he replies upon them with Judgments.
And all of these are in their height: the Favours of God, are such, as he asks, Wha' could be more? the Sins are aggravated by those favours; what worse than wild grapes and disappointment? and the Judgments must be aggravated to the proportion of their sins; what worse than the Hedge taken away, the Wall broken, the l'ineyard trodden down, and eaten up?
Let us follow the steps of God and his Prophet in all these; and,