Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

22

3. In the effect of their cruelty, which also brake forth into blood, the blood of men, a thing that God holdech at such a price, that be not only made severe laws for prelervation of life; but he makcth a curious inquisition for blood, when contrary to his law it is unjustly spilc : unto which Cod hath givea a voyce.

For there is vox fanguinis, a voyce of blood, as we say in A. bels story, and to which voice he lendeth an eare, for that blood cryeth unto him.

4. In the general infection of this cruelty which hath corrupted the whole land of the Chaldæans: the City, the great City of Babylon, and all the people that dwell therein.

The Prophet in the former chapter did complain to God of the pride, and cruelty, and covetousnesse of the Chaldæaos, in which as they exceeded, so the poor Church of God smarted, and the pacience of God forbearing to punish them, made them think that God gave no regard to them, and it made many even within the Church stagger, fearing lcast God had taken no notice of their sufferings, and their enemies injuries,

Do you pot now receive it from the month of God himselfe, that he hath all those things wriccen in his book, that he kecep eth an exact account both of the oftences done, and of the of fenders?

s. To shew that they have abused his patience and long-suffe. ring, by continuing in the evils above-mentioned, he faith, Horn long ?to shew that he hath contended with them in patience al this while, and that no forbearance will recover them from their evil ways; no spoilc or cruely will satisfe them in their evil ways; therefore he proceedech to judgement against them.

The argument of this text is the punishment of the pride of the Chaldæans, punished

1. With just reprehension of all.
3. Yich derision, they shall be caunted.

Wich spoile and destruction. 1. Note.

Here we must first cake nocice of the justice of Gods processe against them; for he giveth account of his provocation, and renåreth a reason of his judgments. Our lesson is, Whensoever God punitheth, there is a fault de

serving

serving that punishment, for God is just, he doth not punish the innocent.

Thus he began with the first sinners that we read of in the holy story. With tảe Serpenr,quia tua hoc fecisti, because thou hast done

Gen 3.14 this : So to Adam, because thou hast bearkned to the voyce of the wife,&c.

And to Cain, if thou do evill, linne, that is the punishment of Gione, standeth at the doore.

And for the proceffe against the old world; first,God saw the fault chereof, before either he repented the making of it, or refolved che punishing of it;and so forth all the Scripture through, and through the experience of all times.

1. Because God 'is just, and justice is a vertue that giveth suam Reaf. I. cuique,every one his own, now rods are for the back of fools,and all Ginners are fools, and all men are linners, and therefore none past the rod in the justice of God,

2. Because punishment in the nature of it, is evill; though in the use of ic it be good ; for the good it doth, and (in brought it Reaf. 2. into the world, it is contemporary with fin, it cleaveth to it, it cannot be parted from it; as the mortality of man is joyned with the nature of man.

Therefore we may conclude, whenfoever we feel any punishment in our felves, or see any inflicted on others, subest culpa, There is a power that deferveih this punishment.

Against this it may be objected, thac 1.

God doth chalten some of his own beloved children with punishments, for their tryal, that they may come forch as gold fined.

2.God doch sometime correct his own for example of others.

3. The wicked and ungodly vex and torment the righteous, even for the serving the true God, many have lost their goods, their liberties, their lives for the testimony of the truth; Thus did all those holy Confessours and all those glorious Martyrs suffer the cruelty of the enemies of God.

4. The corruption of justice, and the abuse of power, doth lometimes turn into tyranny, and so evill men are cherished and good men punished, as the Prophet Isaiah faith, He that ab

Kk

stainech

[ocr errors]

Atrineth from evil, maketh himself a prey.

5. Sometimes good Princes are abused by their flatterers and lying'informiers, who possess them of an evil opinion against better men then themselves, as in the example of Mephibofoeth; for

Zibahis Rayly accused him falsely of treason to David, and Da2 Sam.16.

vid though a King of Gods choosing was not at leasure to search into the matter, but presently not bearing the just defense of Mephibofheth, gave away to Ziba all that pertained to Mephibojheth.

6. Sometimes just persons in execution of justice, are nimium justi, over wise; and such justice is injury, as Solomon faith, Be not just over-much, and the light of nature,taught the heathen to say, Summum jus eft fumma injuria,

7. Sometimes Judges are swayed by the affection they bear to others, to regard rather the satisfying of their envy whom they dove, then the execution of Justice, and so wrong may be done where it is not deferved; as Herod cut off lohns head, for no dislike of him in himself, but to please his minion,

In answer to all these objections, put the case how you will, I am sure God is just, and will neither himself punish, nor cause, noriuffer any co punish, but where so much punishment is weli deserved.

Peradventure he that inflicteth the punishment may offend in T it, and there may be a fault done in the manner of ir; or that for which the punishment is inflicted may be no just cause, or the person may be mistaken; but still I say God is just, subeft culpa, there is a fauit ; the band of God, the will of God is in every punishment, and they never do any thing without the justice of God.

7o6 that justified his integrity so stoutly, as we read in his ftory, did never deny himself to be a grievous finner, and todeserve the punishment that he suffered, though he still did stand upon it, that he was not therefore punished.

If the punishment be for tryall, the gold that is tried will be divided from the drosse, and thar drosle deferveth a melting.

If the punishment be for example, know that God will never give to ill example as to punish an innocent.

If men do like menin execution of Gods judgments; know that God knows why he fufterech them so to do for he searcheth the hearts and reins

[ocr errors]

Vse.

Thus many condemned to death by the law according to pro. bable evidence professe their innocency at their death, yet can finde in the book of their conscience evidence enough to condemne them worthy of death for something else.

The use of all is, leeing God is just, and punisheth not but where he findeth fin; stand in awe, finne not, do your best to keep from the infection, left you come under the dominion of linne; abstaine from all appearance of evill, from the occasions and means of offence; resist Satan; quench not th. fpiric that should belp your infirmities, redeem the time in which you should do good, and strive to enter into that reit.

Thas doing, what puni-hment soever we suffer, it is rather the visitation of peace then the rod of fury, and God will turn it to our good.

The punishment here threatned;

1. Just reprehension; shall not all these take up a parable against them, and say, woe to him that encreaseth that which is not bis ? Stop Kyuu. I remember the question of our Saviour to his Disciples, whom say men what Iihe Son of man am ? It is wife dome for any private man, more for a great State, to enquire what fame it hith abroad.

The wisdome of State is such, as one government hath an eye to another; I speak not only 'of confederate Nations, which have linger eyes in each others Common.wealth, but even of encmy-states; and such as stand neither in termes of hoftilicy, nor in termes of confederacy, they have their secret intelligence, and thas they know and judge cach of other.

Nebuchadnezzar was a most potent Prince,yet his neighbours did not approve his wisdome, chey did condemne his violence, and cry out, wo be ro bim.

I understand this to be a great punishment to this mighty King, to be justly condemned for injustice, and to deserve the curse of his neighbouring Nations.

For extremes do ever carry the evill words, and the evill wishes of all that love vertue ; and they cry woe to him that encrealech greedily and covetously that which is not his; and woe to him that wastech prodigally that which is not his.

The

[ocr errors]

Kk 2

The wisdome of policie doth hold violence and oppression baceful in great Princes, and it calleth them pufillanimous and idle that will not stirre in the just defence of their own.

But there is sapientia faculi hujus, the wisdome of this world, which calleth áll his own which he can compaffc directly or indirectly, justly or unjustly; which Saint Paul doth call enmity with God; just Princes are tender in that pursuit , holding that axiome of Cæfur irreligious and unjust Si, jus viotandum, regni caufa: And therefore sapientia quæ eft defuper, the wisdome from above, cryeth hand oit, invade not, usurp not aliena jura, other mens rights; be content with thine own, for woe be to him that increasech non sua, chat which is none of his own.

Princes that manage the sword of justice, which is gladius Dei, the sword of God, must be tender how they draw chac word against God that committed it to them; and every atcempc that their power maketh for that which is not theirs, doth arme it self against God. Mr. Calvine observeth well

Manent aliqua in cordibus hominum fuftitia & equitatis prin cipa; ideo consensus gentium eft quadam vox natura, there abidech in the hearts of men certaine principles of justice, therefore the consent of Nations is a certain voyce of nature.

Those Princes that care not what Nations do think and speak of them, but pursue their own ends against the streame and tyde of fus naturale, natural right, do run themselves upon the just reprehenGion of other Scates, which wile and religious Princes do labour to avoid,

1. Because the private conscience in these publike perions can have no inward peace, where publike equity is violated.

2. Because the old rule of justice is built upon the divine equity of nature, and confirmed by experience of time, thac Male par ta facilè dilabantur, evill gotten goods soon consume.

3. Because allthat love this jus naturale, will soon finde bock will and means to resist encroachments, fearing their own particular; as all hands work co quench a fire.

But what cares Nebuchadnezzar, or Alexander, or Iulius Ceo far, so they may adde Kingdom to Kingdom ? and what cares bis holinesse of Rome, so that he may be Universal Bilhop, whal other Kings and Bishops say of them?

Το

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinua »