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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 world 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; snuffivg 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, carry ing 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 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 prophets 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 be give in? doth he give out? No, here was still papansia ; 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 flagitious 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 things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience ; verse 6: Tribulation and anguish to every sort that dorh 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 him! his God is his belly, his glory shall be in his shame, and his end damnation ; Phil. iii. 19. While the flesh is yet between his teeth, ere it be cheacd, 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 saluris ; Woe be to the fiell, 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 house 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 flames 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 Spiritus; and let drive at the Beast, of what kind soever. But, if we shail still find that, which blind Homer saw, Tà Xepsícve vinav, “ 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 geance. 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 Vineyard; 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 a song, it is a dump; Isaiah's Lacrymæ; fit for that Sheminith; 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, WRONGS, 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, What 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 IVall broken, the Vineyard trodden down, and eaten up?
Let us follow the steps of God and his Prophet in all these; and,
when we have passed these in Israel, LET US SEEK TO THEM AT HOME. What should I need to crave attention? the business is both God's and our own.
I. God and we begin with FAVOURS: favours, not mean and ordinary; not expressed in a right-down affirmation, but in an expostulatory and self-convincing question, What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done to it?
Every word is a new obligation. That Israel is a Vineyard, is no small favour of God: that it is God's vineyard, is yet more; that it is God's vineyard so exquisitely cultivated, as nothing more could be either added or desired, is most of all.
1. Israel is no vast desert, no wild forest, no, moorish fen, no barren heath, no thorny thicket, but a VINEYARD; a soil of use and fruit.
Look where you will in God's book, ye shall never find any lively member of God's Church compared to any but a fruitful tree: not to a tall cypress, the emblem of unprofitable honour; nor to a smooth ash, the emblem of unprofitable prelacy, that doth nothing but bear keys; nor to a double-coloured poplar, the emblem of dissimulation; nor to a well-shaded plane, that hath nothing but form; nor to a hollow maple, nor to a trembling asp, nor to a prickly thorn; shortly, not to any plant whatsoever, whose fruit is not useful and beneficial.
Hear this then, ye goodly Cedars, strong Elms, fast-growing Willows, sappy Sycamores, and all the rest of the fruitless trees of the earth; I mean all Fashionable and Barren Professors whatsoever: ye may shoot up in height, ye may spread far, shade well, shew fai:; but what are ye good for? ye may be fit for the forest, ditches, hedge-rows of the world: ye are not for the true saving soil of God's Israel. That is a Vineyard: there is place for none but Vines;
and true vines are fruitful. He, that abideth in me, bringeth forth much fruit; saith our Saviour, John xv. 5.
And, of all fruits, what is comparable to that of the Vine? Let the vine itself speak in Jonathan's parable; - Judges ix. 13. Should I leave my wine, which cheercth God and man? How is this? God cheered with wine? It is a high hyperbole; yet seconded by the God of Truth: I will drink no more of the fruit of this vine, till I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom ; Matth. xxvi. 29. It must needs be an excellent liquor, which is used to resemble the joys of heaven. Yea, the Blood of the Son of God, that celestial nectar which to morrow shall cheer our souls, is it otherwise resembled, than by the blood of the grape? He is Vitis vera, The true vine : this is his juice.
Alas, would God we had not too much cause to complain of the pleasure of this fruit! Religion, reason, humanity savour not to the palate of many, in comparison of it. Wine is a mocker; saith Solomon. How many thousands doth it daily cheat of their substance, of their patrimony, of their health, of their wit, of their sense, of their life, of their soul! Oh, that we had the grace to be sensible