Imatges de pàgina
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ferving that punishment, for God is juft, he doth not punish the

innocent.

Thus he began with the first finners that we read of in the holy story. With

the Serpent,quia tua hoc fecifti, because thou haft done Gen 3.14. this: So to Adam, because thou hast hearkned to the voyce of thy wife, &c.

And to Cain, if thou do evill, finne, that is the punishment of finne, ftandeth at the doore.

And for the proceffe against the old world; firft, God faw the fault thereof, before either he repented the making of it, or refolved the punishing of it;and fo forth all the Scripture through, and through the experience of all times.

1. Because God is juft, and justice is a vertue that giveth fuam Real. 1, cuique,every one his own, now rods are for the back of fools,and all finners are fools, and all men are sinners, and therefore none paft the rod in the justice of God,

2. Because punishment in the nature of it, is evill; though in the use of it it be good; for the good it doth, and fin 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 fee any inflicted on others, fubeft culpa, There is a power that deferveth this punishment,

Against this it may be objected, that

1. God doth chaften fome of his own beloved children with punishments, for their tryal, that they may come forth as gold fined.

2.God doth fometime correct his own for example of others. 3. The wicked and ungodly vex and torment the righteous, even for the ferving the true God, many have loft their goods, their liberties, their lives for the teftimony of the truth; Thus did all thofe holy Confeffours and all thofe glorious Martyrs fuffer the cruelty of the enemies of God.

4. The corruption of juftice, and the abufe of power, doth fometimes turn into tyranny, and fo evill men are cherished,and good men punished, as the Prophet Ifaiah faith, He that ab

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faineth from evil, maketh himself a prey.

5. Sometimes good Princes are abused by their flatterers and lying informers, who poffefs them of an evil opinion against better men then themselves, as in the example of Mephibofbeth;for Zibahis Bayly accufed him falfely of treafon to David, and Da vid though a King of Gods chooling was not at leasure to search into the matter, but presently not hearing the just defense of Mephibofbeth, gave away to Ziba all that pertained to Mephibojbeth.

6. Sometimes juft perfons in execution of justice, are nimium jufti, over wife; and fuch justice is injury, as Solomon faith, Be not just over-much, and the light of nature,taught the heathen to say, Summum jus eft famma injuria.

7.Sometimes Judges are fwayed by the affection they bear to others, to regard rather the fatisfying of their envy whom they dove, then the execution of Juftice, and fo wrong may be done. where it is not deferved; as Herod cut off Iohns head, for no diflike of him in himfelf, but to please his minion,

In answer to all thefe objections, put the cafe how you will, I am fure God is juft, and will neither himself punish, nor cause, nor iuffer any to punish, but where fo much punishment is well deferved.

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Peradventure he that inflicteth the punishment may offend in it, and there may be a fault done in the manner of it; or that for which the punishment is inflicted may be no juft caufe, or the fon may be mistaken; but ftill I fay God is juft, fubeft culpa, there is a fault; the band of God, the will of God is in every punishment, and they never do any thing without the juftice of God.

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Fob that juftified his integrity fo ftoutly, as we read in his ftory, did never deny himself to be a grievous finner, and to deferve the punishment that he fuffered, though he still did ftand upon it, that he was not therefore punished.

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

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

If men do like menin execution of Gods judgments; know that God knows why he fuffereth them fo to do,for he fearcheth the hearts and reins

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

The ufe of all is, feeing 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 finne; abstaine from all appearance of evill, from the occafions and means of offence; refift Satan; quench not th. fpirit that should help your infirmities, redeem the time in which you should do good, and strive to enter into that reft.

Thus doing, what punishment foever we fuffer, it is rather the vifitation of peace then the rod of fury, and God will turn it to our good.

The punishment here threatned;

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1. Juft reprehenfion, shall not all these take up a parable against them, and say, woe to him that encreaseth that which is not his? Stop digua. I remember the queftion of our Saviour to his Difciples, whom fay men what I the Son of man am? It is wif dome for any private man, more for a great State, to enquire what fame it hith abroad.

The wildome of State is fuch, as one government hath an eye to another; I speak not only of confederate Nations, which have lidger eyes in each others Common-wealth,but even of enemy-states; and fuch as stand neither in termes of hoftility, nor in termes of confederacy, they have their fecret intelligence, and thas they know and judge each of other.

Nebuchadnezzar was a moft potent Prince,yet his neighbours did not approve his wifdome, they did condemne his violence, and cry out, wo be to him.

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

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

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The wisdome of policie doth hold violence and oppreffion hateful in great Princes, and it calleth them pufillanimous and idle that will not ftirre in the juft defence of their own.

But there is fapientia faculi hujus, the wisdome of this world, which calleth all his own which he can compaffe directly or indirectly, juftly or unjustly; which Saint Paul doth call enmity with God; juft Princes are tender in that pursuit, holding that axiome of Cafar irreligious and unjuft Si, jus violandum, regni caufa: And therefore fapientia quæ eft defuper,the wisdome from above, cryeth hand off, invade not, ufurp not aliena jura, other mens rights; be content with thine own; for woe be to him that increaseth non fua, that which is none of his own.

Princes that manage the fword of juftice, which is gladius Dei, the fword of God, muft be tender how they draw that (word against God that committed it to them; and every attempt that their power maketh for that which is not theirs, doth arme it self against God.

Mr. Calvine obferveth well

Manent aliqua in cordibus hominum fuftitiæ & aquitatis prin cipa; ideo confenfus gentium eft quadam vox natura, there abideth in the hearts of men certaine principles of juftice, therefore the confent of Nations is a certain voyce of nature.

Thofe Princes that care not what Nations do think and fpeak of them, but pursue their own ends against the streame and tyde of fus naturale, natural right, do run themselves upon the juft reprehenfion of other States, which wife and religious Princes do labour to avoid,

1.Because the private confcience 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, that Male par ta facilè dilabantur, evill gotten goods foon consume.

3. Because all that love this jus naturale, will foon finde both will and means to refift encroachments, fearing their own particular; as all hands work to quench a fire.

. But what cares Nebuchadnezzar, or Alexander, or Iulius Cei far, fo they may adde Kingdom to Kingdom? and what cares his holineffe of Rome, fo that he may be Universal Bishop, what other Kings and Bishops say of them? To

To make this point profitable to our felves, for we fpeak to private perfons. The Rule is general.

All that encrease their own private eftate by oppreffion and injuftice, multiplying that which is not theirs, making prize of all that they can extort from their brethren, buying them out of house and home; wearying them with fuits of moleftation, ípending the ftrength of their bodies with immoderate labours, at fo fhort wages as will not fuftaine them with things neceflary:

Such, though their power do bear them out in their unjustice, yet do they undergo the hard opinion and censure of all that love righteousneffe; and they do bear the burthen of many curfes. Let them lay this to heart,and take it for a punishment from. the hand of God.

2. The Derifion: Taunted..

What do these men but lade themselves with thick clay? This alfo may paffe for a fharp punishment, Kings and great perfons are not priviledged from the tooth of a Satyre, from the keene edge of an Epigram, from the bold affront of a libel.

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We live in the age of fresh and quick wits, wherein it is not an eafie thing for eminent perfons to do evill, and to escape tongue fmiting, and wit blasting; pens and pencils; a hand up to blazon great ones and their actions; and inferiour perfons want not eyes upon them to behold them, nor cenfures to judge them, nor rods to whip them.

I must not draw from this place any authority to legitimate contumelies and difgraces, and that which we call breaking of bitter jefts upon another, felling our falt cheap.

1. Therefore understand that bitter Taunts, Satyrs and Libels. may be evill and unlawful, and yet God may make a good ufe of them, to lafh and fcourge thofe that deferve ill; and they that are io girded and jerkt, shall do well to do as David did, to confeffe that God fent Shimei to curfe; and as for Shimei, he shall fee that God will finde a time to pay him too.

That this is a punishment fent from the hand of God, we have full evidence from the witneffe of Holy Scripture, even in this cafe.

The Prophet lay threatneth the Chaldeans with this judge

ment.

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