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and shall eat her flesh,and shall burn her with fire. For God hath
From whence we gather, that that agreement which is a mongst wicked men, against Christ, and against his Church, is ftrengthened by the will and providence of God for a time, till that time, the confederacies of the ungodly do hold, but when he pleafeth to diffolve them, they end in felf-woundings and inteftine combuftions.
This ferveth to fettle our judgments, concerning the com- Use 1. binations of the wicked against the Church, they are of God, and he hath his fecret and juft ends therein, either to chaften the errours and tranfgreffions of his people, or to bring their patience and piety to the teft, to try whether any thing will make them forfake their hold, and relinquish their truft in him.
Or to bring the greater condemnation upon thofe, whom he ufeth as inftruments in this tryall of his chofen fervants. Therefore,now,that we both hear the news, and fee the effects of this new bloudy league to deftroy the Church, and to root out the Proteftant Religion, whereby much Chriftian 'bloud of Innocents is already fhed, more is feared: let it eftablish our hearts, and fettle our judgments upon this reft. The Lord will have it. A Domino factum eft hoc. Tu Domine fecifti: thou, Lord, haft done it.
Surely, there is much droffe in our gold, which muft be purged, we have not fpared one another with fchifmaticall mouthes and pens to break the peace of the Church, and God in his juft judgment fuffereth the wicked to prevail against us."
This comforteth the Church against thefe tempefts of fu- Use 2. ry, that her enemies do raife against her.
For though they weaken us thereby, and exalt their own horn on high, yet when the waves of the fea do rage horribly; God that is on high is more mighty then they, and he will fmite them with their own ftaves that fupported them, and wound them with their own fwords, that defended them.
3 This admonifheth us not to fettle any confidence or Vfe 3. truft in the friendship of man, whofe breath is in his no
ftrils, for wherein is he to be trufted? The Prophet Mical faith;
The good man is perished out of the earth, there is none upright among men, they all lie in wait for blond: they hunt every man his brother with a net. That they may do evill with both hands earnestly. The Prince asketk, the fudge asketh for a reward, and the great man uttereth the mischief of his foul, fo they wrap it up
The beft of them is a bryar, the most upright of them is sharper then a thorn hedge.
And from this confideration of the generall falfhood that is in friendship, his caution is;
Truft ye not in a friend, put no confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bofome.
For the Son dishonoureth the Father, the Daughter riseth up against her Mother, the Daughter in law against her Mother in law, and a mans enemies are the men of his own house. What fhall we do then?
Therefore, I will look upon the Lord, I will wait for the God of my falvation: my God will hear me.
Chrift our Saviour doth apply this text to his own comming Mat 0.34. into the world, he profeffeth it, that he came not to bring peace into the world, but the fword.
In which words he: rather expreffeth the events and effects, then the intention and purpose of his comming: for where the light of the gospel doth fhine, Father, Mother, Brother, Sifter, are but nuda nomina, bare names, where Chrifin Religion is not, for the true Gospeller will fall out with all, and forfake them all for Jefus Chrift.
The reft of the Church is God in Chrift, let us feek peace with men, if it be poflible, as much as in our power, let us have peace with all men, but let us truft no humane or temporall fupportation.
Seeing it is here fet down as a great judgment of God upon Midian, that they were beaten with their own ftaves, and wounded with their own weapons.
Let us take notice of this judgment, and take it for a great figne of Gods indignation against us, when we break the
bonds of peace, and Chriftian charity, byting and beating one another, libelling, and defaming, woorrying one another with fuits of moleftation, fchifmatically foríaking the fellowship one of another, and changing publique Congregations into private Conventicles, and forfaking the fetled Priesthood of the Church,for fuch as do labour moft to break the peace of the Church, for what is this but the angel of Satan, beating of us with our own ftaves. Doth not this home-contention in our Church, open an eafie way to the enemie of both to enter in and spoil all.
And this I have obferved, that two fides have gained by Our Church contentions.
The Anabaptifts have recovered fome from us, who ftanding fo violently against Popery, have queftioned all that they received.
The Papifts have recovered many, who have gone fo far in the defence of the mean, that themfelves have ftaggered into the extream.
God te mercifull to our land, and continue the peace of the State, even the fweet correfpondence of our Sovereign and his fubjects, and we fhall have hope, that our arms fhall be ftrengthened against our enemies, and our own staves shall do us no hurt.
2 Their fin, it was a trespasse against the Church of God, devouring of the poor: and that by open violence, comming like a whirlwind in fudden fury against them, and by fecret practises to hurt and annoy them: teaching us that,
It is a grievous and provoking fin, openly or fecretly to di- Doct. ftreffe the poor.
There be two words of ftrong fignification here ufed. I Scattering, which fignifieth their expulfion out of their places, where they dwelt, to go as the Levite did, to get them a place where they can finde one, which fuiteth well with the humour of the covetous rich man, who defires to dwell alone upon the earth:
2 Devouring, which fignifieth, taking away from them all that they have, to put it to their own heap, whereby they become vaffals to those that strip them.
This is a grievous fin, and well deferves the punishment above mentioned.
1 Becaufe God bath declared himself the patron and protector of the poor, and therefore the Pfalmift faith. The poor committeth himself unto him, for he is the father of the fatherleffe: fo that to diftreffe thofe, is to clip the wings of the hen, that gathereth-in her chickens, it is :
2 Because the poor are our own flesh, fo they are called by the Prophet, and it is ufed as an argument to perfwade compaflion.
To deal thy bread to the hungry, to bring the Foor that are caft out to thy houfe, when thou feeft the naked to cover him, and that thou hide not thy felf from thine own flesh.
The poor and rich both digged out of the fame pit, both caft in the fame mould.
3 Becaufe, Natura paucis contenta: nature is content with a little, and we have enough amongst us to minifter that. For if we have food, he meaneth not Manna and Quails, but neceffary food and raiment, he meaneth not coftly, but neceffary raiment, we must be therewith content.
To ftrip the poor naked, to multiply our changes of raiment, or to take away a whole garment from them, to put one lace more upon ours, this is inhumane irreligious.
To fcatter them,that we may have elbow-room enough, and more then needs for our felves, that we may have fo much the more to look upon, and lie by us, this is Midianitifh and heathenish.
Vos autem non fic: donot you fo.
Because God hath committed together with riches, the care and cuftody of the poor to the rich, and as they hold their wealth not as rightfull owners, but as mercifull ftewards and difpenfers thereof, fo in the difpenfation,they are accomptants to God for the overplus, and he wil call for the inventory, and judg their adminiftration of thofe things.Underftand therfore, that God doth not at any time relinquifh his intereft that he hath in the gifts which he beftoweth on men; but still he faith, Hag.1.9. The filver is mine, and the gold is mine, faith the Lord of boafts.
When David gave up all the provifions that he had made for the building of Gods temple, to Solomon his Son, he bleffed the Lord, and he confeft, faying.
O Lord, our God, all this ftere that we have prepared to build thee Ceron. an houfe, for thy holy name commeth of thine hand, and is all thine 29 16. own: fo before, all things come of thee, and of thine own hand have we given thee.
The ufe then that we must make of this point is.
I For the rich, let them know their duty to the poor, love is a debt that they owe to them, not an arbitrary courtefie: they may not,
And in that overture of the laft grand feffions in the gofpel, it is only charged upon them that are adjudged to hell fire, Efurivi, & non pavift is me, &c. I was hungry and fed me not. Suppreflion is oppreflion.
That cold charity which St James fpeaketh of, will be
warmed in hell.
1 Either encroach upon them by robbing or spoiling them of that which they have, as here thofe Midianites did, to fpoil their corn, to take away any thing of theirs.
2 Neither may they come upon them as a whirlwind to encompafs and gird them in by their devices of power, or wit, or authority, to make prizes of their labours, whilft they eat the bread of adverfity, and drink the waters of Marah.
3 Neither may they withhold their hands in their bofomes in their wants, but ftretch them forth to relieve their neceffities.
The wife fon of fakeh faith; There is a generation, whofe teeth Pro.30.14 are as fwords, and there jaw teeth as knives to devour the poor from
off the earth, and the needy from among men.
And Solomon faith: The fout of the wicked defireth evill, his Pro 21.10 neighbour findeth no favour in his eyes.
Let them remember, that the rich man in the gospel is not charged with any oppreffion of the poor, but with fuppreflion of the relief, which he fhould have given to Lazarus.
If a brother or a fifter be naked, and deftitute of daily food.
And one of you fay unto them, depart in
peace, be you warmed, Verle 16.