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maintain the old mounds: would these men be content to be quietly racked and spoiled, there would be peace.
In the City: not the impure sodomitish brothels that sell themselves to work wickedness; nor the abominable panders; not the juggling cheater; not the counterfeit vagrant: but the marshal, that draws these to correction: not the deceitful merchant, that sophisticates his commodities, enhanceth prices, sells every inch of (what he cannot warrant) time; not the unconscionable and fraudulent artisan: but the promoter and the bench.
In the Commonwealth: not the cruel robber by sea or land, that lies in the way, like a spider in a window, for a booty, for blood; not the bold night-walker, that keeps, savage hours, fit for the guilty intentions of his burglaries; but the watch, that takes him: not the rank adulterer, that neighs after his neighbour's wife, and thirsts after only stolen waters; but the sworn men, that present him: not the traitorous coiner, that in every stamp reads his own conviction, while he still renews that face against which he offends; but the sheriff that attaches him: not the unreformed drunkard, that makes a god of his liquor, a beast of himself, and raves and swaggers in his cups; but the constable, that punishes him: would these officers connive at all these villainies, there would be peace.
In the Church: not the chaffering patron, or perjured chaplain; not the seducing heretic, or seditious schismatic; not the scandalous levite; not the careless questman; not the corrupt official: but the clamorous preacher, or the rigorous high-commission.
In the World: lastly, not the ambitious encroachers upon others' dominions; not violaters of leagues; not usurpers of mis-gotten titles and dignities; not suborners, or abettors of conspiracies, and traitors: but the unkind patients, that will not recipere ferrum. I wis the great potentates of the world might see a ready way to peace.
Thus in Family, Country, City, Commonwealth, Church, World, the greatest part seek a licentious peace in a disordered lawlessness: condemning true justice of cruelty ; stripping her of the honour of peace; branding her with the censure of troublesome.
Foolish men speak foolish things. O noble and incomparable blessing of Peace, how injuriously art thou ascribed to unjust neglect! O divine viitue of Justice, how deservedly have the Ancients given thee wings, and sent thee up to heaven in a detestation of these earthly indignities; whence thou comest not down at all, unless it please that Essential and Infinite Justice to communicate thee to some choice favourites!
It is but a just word, that this Island hath been long approved the darling of heaven. We have enjoyed peace, to the admiration, to the envy, of neighbourhood. Would we continue it? would we traduce it to ours? Justice must do it for us.
Both justice and peace are from the throne. Peace is the King's peace; and justly descends from sovereignty by commission. Let me have leave to say, with the princely Prophet, (a word that was
too good for the frequent text of a Pope,) Diligite justitiam qui ju-
have heard of the Civil: may it please you, to mix both of them together. My text alone doeth it; if you do but, with our most accurate Translation, read Righteousness for Justice. So shall you see the spiritual disposition of Righteousness produce the civil effect of Peace. What is righteousness, but the sincere uprightness of the heart to God in all our ways? He is perfect with God, that would
What need I tell you, that this is the way to true inward peace, nil conscire; " Not to be guilty of ill.” A clear heart will be a quiet one. There is no feast to a good conscience: this is meat, music, welcome.
It seems harder, that true spiritual honesty should procure even outward peace. Hear wise Solomon: By the blessing of the upright, the city is exalted ; Prov. xi. 11: When a man's ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him ; Prov. xvi. 7: Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people ;-Prov. xiv. 24. It follows then, as a just corollary, That the honestest and conscionablest man is the best subject. He may perhaps be plain, perhaps poor, perhaps weak; but the state is more beholden to his integrity, than to the ablest purse, than to the strongest arm: whereas the graceless and vicious person, let him be never so plausible a talker, never so careful an officer, never so valiant a leader, never so officious a courtier, never so deep in subsidies, never so forward in actions, is no other than an enemy to the state, which he professes to adore.
Let no philosopher tell me of, Malus vir bonus civis; “An ill man a good subject.” I say, from better authority, that a lewd man can no more be a good subject, than an ill subject can be a good man. Hear this, then, wheresoever ye are, ye secret Oppressors, ye profane Scoffers, ye foul mouthed Swearers, ye close Adulterers, ye kind Drunkards, and whoever come within this black list of wickedness: how can ye be loyal, while you lodge traitors in your bosoms? protest what ye will; your sins break the peace, and conspire against the sacred crown and dignity of your Sorereign.
What care we, that you draw your sword, and vow your blood, and drink your healths to your Governors, when, in
the mean while, you provoke God to anger, and set quarrels betwist your Country and Heaven. That I may wind up this clew; it were folly to commend to you,
, the worth of peace. We know that the excellency of Princes is expressed by “ Serenity.” What good hath the earth, which God doth not couch under the name of peace? Blessed be God, and his Anointed, we have long and comfortably tasted the sweetness of this blessing. The Lilies and Lions of our Solomon have been justly wordled with Beati pacifici.
Would we have this happiness perpetuated to us; to posterity? Oh, let prince and people meet in the ambition to be Gens justa, A righteous nation: righteous every way.
First, let God have his own; his own days, his own services, his fear, his love, his all. Let religion lead all our projects, not follow them. Let our lives be led in a conscionable obedience to all the laws of our Maker. Far be all blasphemies, curses, and obscenities from our tongues; all outrages and violences from our hands; all presumptuous and rebellious thoughts from our hearts. Let our hearts, and hands, tongues, lives, bodies and souls, be sincerely devoted to him.
Then, for men: Let us give Cæsar his own: tribute, fear, subjection, loyalty; and, if he need, our lives. Let the Nobility have honour, obeisance, observation. Let the Clergy have their dues, and our reverence. Let the Commons have truth, love, fidelity in all their transactions. Let there be Trutina justa, pondera justa, Just balances, just weights ; Lev. xix. 36. Let there be no grinding of faces, no trampling on the poor (Amos v. 11.), no swallowing of widows' houses, no force, no fraud, no perjury, no perfidiousness.
Finally, for ourselves: Let every man possess his vessel in holiness and honour; framing himself to all Christian and Heavenly temper, in all wisdom, sobriety, chastity, meekness, constancy, moderation, patience, and sweet contentation.
So shall the work of our Righteousness be Peace of Heart, Peace of State; private and public peace; peace with ourselves, peace with the world, peace with God; temporal peace here, eternal peace and glory above: unto the fruition whereof, he, who hath ordained us, mercifully bring us, for the sake of him, who is the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ the Righteous.
WICKEDNESS MAKING A FRUITFUL LAND BARREN.
A SERMON PREACHED TO HIS MAJESTY, AT THE COURT OF WHITE
HALL, AUGUST 8.
PSALM cvii. 34.
[He turneth] a fruitful land into barrenness, for the wickedness of
them that duell therein.
Ye have here in my text, as in much of the world, a woeful change; wrought by a powerful author, and upon a just merit: the change of a fruitful land into barrenness; the author, God, the almighty arbiter of the world, He turneth; the merit, the wickedness of the inhabitants. These three then must be the measure of my tongue and
your ears; the CHANGE, the AUTHOR, the MERIT.
I. In the CHANGE you shall see the act and the SUBJECT.
1. For the Act: All these earthly things have their turris: the whole world is the proper region of mutability.
I know not whether I should exempt heaven itself. Even there, I find a change, of Motion, of Face, of Quality:
Motion: whether by consistence, or retrogradation; Sun, stand thou still in Gibeon; and thou, moon, in the valley of Ajalon ; Jos. x. 12:
there was a change, in not moving: and, for retrogradation, The shadow went back ten degrees in the dial of Ahaz; Isaiah Xxxviii. 8.
A change of Face: The sun was darkened; Luke xxiii. 45; when the Sun of Righteousness was eclipsed, and shall be so again ere he break forth in full glory; Then shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall lose her light; the stars shall full from heaven, and the powers of heaven shall be shaken; Matth. xxiv. 29.
A change of Quality : what need I fear to ascribe that to this glorious frame, when the Spirit of God can tell us, They shall war old as a garment; as a resture thou shalt change them, and they shall be changed?
In the mean time, our eyes can tell us, that the second of these greater lights, the Moon, is the very emblem of mutability; never looking upon us twice with the same face: there is no month passeth over us, wherein she is not both new and old; to the mak
ing up of a just and common riddle, that not exceeding the age of twenty-eight days, she is yet no less old than the world; ever filling and waning, and, like the true image of all mutability, never so blotted as in her greatest brightness.
Yea, what need we doubt to ascribe some change to these material heavens, when, if we look to the inside of them, we shall find, that there hath been the greatest change in the very Angels? and, for their present condition, that though the essence of the glorious spirits there be immutable from within, having nothing in them that may work their dissolution or change, yet that we cannot say they are immutable from without; since, if that power which gave them being should withdraw his hand, they could not be.
It is the perfection of God only, to be absolutely inalterable; and, as to work freely, so to be necessarily: so as our subtle Bradwardine maintains, that ens necessarium is the first attribute of God, that can fall under our notion. And, even of this most Glorious, Infinite, and only Perfect and Absolute Being, we may safely, though in all awful reverence say, with Gregory, Mutat sententiam, non mutat consilium; “ He changeth his threatened doom, but never his decree.” But, how high are we flown, ere we are aware! Methinks I hear the angel speak to me, as to Esdras, Thy heart hath gojie too far in this world; and thinkest thou to comprehend the ways of the Most High?
Cast we our eyes rather down to the lower orbs of elementary misture: here is nothing to be seen, but in a perpetual gyre of mutation. The elements, that are partners in quality, interchange with each other in substance. The mixed bodies can no more stand still, than the heaven, whereby they are governed: for, as the sun never holds one minute in one place, never day walks the same round, no more do these inferior bodies continue one moment in the same estate, but ever altering; either growing up to their anun', the “ vertical point” of their being, or declining towards their corruption : insomuch as physicians observe, that, every seven y cars, this body of ours is quite another from itself; and in a continual renewing of supplies, or degrees of decays.
And, if you look upon the greater bodies, the sea and the earth, ye shall see, that the sea is ever ebbing and flowing, and will want waves, ere it want motion: the earth, which of all visible things hath the style of constancy, terra que numquam morebitur, yet sometimes feels the motion of trepidation in her vast body; The earth shook and trembled, and the foundations of the hills moed, and were shaken; Psalm xviii. 7; and always, in the surface of it, feels the motion of sensible mutation: the domestics whereof, as all vegetative and some sensitive creatures; and the lords thereof, rational creatures; are ever as moving as the earth is still: ever breedling, born, growing, declining, dying. And, if ye match these two together, ye shall see how the sea and the earth win of cach other: 'it is full tide vow, where there was a goodly crop; and where the ox grazed, there the whale swims. How have ne seen stce.