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Tent a tempest in our calm, when we fear not ! * How safely should our children play, and we feast in our streets ! How memón rable a pattern of mercy should this Island be to posterities ! What famous trophies of victory would he erect over all Antichristianism amongst us! How freely and loud should the Gospel of God ring, every where, in the ear of the generations yet unborn! How sure should we be, long and long to enjoy so gracious and dear a Sovereign, so comfortable a peace, so happy a government! even till this Eve of the Annunciation of the first coming of Christ, overtake the day of the Annunciation of the second coming, for our redemption. Which God for his mercy's sake, for his Christ's sake, vouchsafe to grant us. Amén.
* Dum non timet in sereno patitur tempestatem. Hier. Dial. advers. Pelag.
THE RIGHTEOUS MAMMON:
A HOSPITAL SERMON, PREACHED IN THE SOLEMN ASSEMBLY OF THE
CITY, ON MONDAY IN EASTER WEEK, 1618.
TO MY MUCH HONOURED FRIEND, SIR HENRY BAKER, KNT. AND BART.
SIR: AMONGST many, to whom my poor labours owe much for their acceptation, I know none, that can challenge so deep a debt as yourself. If others have tasted of my well-meant papers, you have fed heartily on them; and so made them your own, that your memory may conpare with others' eyes, and your practice with the speculation of others. Neither have your hand or tongue been niggardly dissemblers of your spiritual gain. Unto you, therefore, to whose name I had long since in my desires devoted my next, do I send this mean present ; a Sermon importunately desired of many. That, which the present Auditors found useful, the Press shall communicate to posterity: the gain of either, or both, is no less mine. I doubt not, but you have already so acted that part of this discourse which concerneth you, that the direction 1 give to others is but a History of what you hàve done. And go on happily, Worthy Sir, in those your holy courses, which shall lead you to immortality; and so use your riches, that they may be made up into a Crown for your head in a better world. My hearty well-wishes shall not be wanting to you and your virtuous Lady, as whom you have obliged to be justly
Yours, Worcester, April 14.
'I TIMOTHY, vi. 17, 18, 19. Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high. minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communi. cate. Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against
the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. Those things, which are excellent and beneficial in their use, are dangerous in their miscarriage. It were lost labour, for me to persuade you how good riches are: your pains and your cares are suf
ficient proofs of your estimation; and how deadly the abuse of thenı is, many a soul feels, that cannot return to complain. There is nothing more necessary therefore for a Christian heart, than to be rectified in the managing of a prosperous estate; and to learn so to be happy here, that it may be more happy hereafter: a task, which this Text of ours undertakes; and, if ye be not wanting to it and yourselves, will be sure to perform. Vi hat should I need to entreat your attention, Right Honourable, Right Worshipful, and Beloved, to a business so near concerning you? The errand is God's; the use of it yours.
I never held it safe, to pull Scripture in pieces: these words fall alone into their parts. Timothy is set upon the spiritual Bench, and must give the Charge. A CHARGE, to whom? Of what? To whom? TO THE RICH. Of what? WHAT THEY MUST AVOID, WHAT THEY MUST ENDEAVOUR. What must they avoid? High-mindedness, and Trust in wcalih : what are the duties they must labour unto? Confidence in God; Beneficence to men. And every one of these is backed with a Reason to enforce it: Why should they not be high-minded? Their wealth is but in this world: Why should they not trust in riches? They are uncertain. Why should they trust in God? He is a living God, and a liberal God: Why should they extend their beneficence to men? By this they lay up to themselves a sure foundation. Here is work enough, you see, for my discourse, and your practice. The God of Heaven bless it in both our hands.
1. The CHARGE hath, Janus like, a double aspect: one, that looks up to St. Paul; the other, that looks down to Timothy, and from him to the Rich.
In the first, there is Apostolical Superiority; for wapáyyelke CHARGE THOU, refers to adpaygénaw 601, v. 13. I charge thee: so Paul charges Timothy, to charge the Rich. He, that gives the Charge, if he be not the chief of the Bench, yet he is greater than the Jury. The first foundation of the Church is laid in an inequality, and hath ever since so continued. There can be no harmony, where all the strings or voices are of one tenor.
In the latter, as it looks on Timothy, it carries in it Episcopal Power, Evangelical Sufficiency.
Episcopal Power: for this Charge is by the Vulgate turned, and the Translation of the Syriac, Pracipe, command; and so do we translate it in the first of this epistle, and the third verse: Timothy was left at Ephesus, ive waperyeiny, to commavid. The rich are commonly great. Nobility, in the account of God, is joined with wealth; Curse not the king in thy thought, nor the rich in thy bed-chamber, saith Solomon * So Dives, at whose gates Lazarus lay, is, by some no mean ones, guessed to be Herod, or some other king; and so are Job's friends termed by the Seventy. Yea, the rich is not only a little king among his neighbours, but Dives, quasi divus; as a petty god to his underlings: and yet even the rich man, that, as Solomon notes, speaks with command unto others, he must be spo
* Mildonat could incline to that; in locum.
ken to with command; Command the rich. That foolish shaveling soared too high a pitch, when, in his imperious Bull, he commands the Angels. Francis of Assise and he were both of a diet. But we may safely say, that all powers, below the angels, are liable to our spiritual Charge: and this command implies obedience; else, to what purpose do we command, and go without? Christ gave us the keys; (for that which the Romanists would plead out of Origen, of claves cæli, the keys of heaven to the rest, and claves cælorum, the keys of heavens to Peter, is a distinction without a difference:) what becomes of them? That I may not say, on some of our hands they are suffered to rust for want of use; on others, as the Pontificians, the wards are altered, so as they can neither open nor shut: sure I am; that, if they be not lost on their behalf, whether in disuse or abuse, the power of them is lost in the hearts of many. They have secret picklocks of their own making, Presumption and Security; whereby they can open heaven-gates, though double-locked by our censures, and shut the gates of hell at pleasure, which their own sins have opened wide to receive them. What use is there of us, but in our chair? and there, but to be heard, and seen? even in this sense spectaculo facti sumus; we are to gaze on, not to employ. Now ye are full, now ye are rich; ye reign as Kings without us: we are weak ; ye are strong : ye are honourable; but we are despised. It was well noted by one, that the good father of the Prodigal, though he might himself have brought forth the prime robe, or have led his son into his wardrobe to take it, yet he commands his servants to bring it forth; Proferte stolam; because he would bring means into , credit; because he would have his son beholden to his servants, for their glory. It is a bold word, but a true one, “ Ye shall never wear his long white robe, unless his servants, your Ministers, bring it, and put it on.” He, that can save you without us, will not save you, but by us. He hath not tied himself to means; man, he hath. He could create you immediately to himself; but he will have you begotten by the immortal seed of your spiritual fathers. Woe be to you therefore, if our word have lost the power of it in you! you have lost your right in heaven. Let us never come there, if you can come thither ordinarily without us. The words of the wise, saith Solomon, are like goads, like nails: but, if these goads light upon the skin of a Leviathan, who esteems iron as straw, and brass as rotter wood; if these nails meet with iron or marble in their driving, that they turn again: what shall we say, but our Gospel is hid to them that perish; and woe unto your souls, for ye have rewarded evil to yourselves!
Hitherto the Power implied in this Charge: the Sufficiency followeth. This Evangelicus must be Parangelicus; like as the forerunner of Christ had a charge for all sorts, so must his followers: so hath Timothy, in this epistle, a charge for Wives, for Bishops, for Deacons, for Widows, for Servants, and here for the Rich. He must charge; and how shall he charge, if he have neither shot nor powder?
It is no brag to say, that no nation under heaven, since the Gos.
pel looked forth into the world, ever had so many, so learned teachers, as this Island hath at this day. Jerome said of old to his Paulinus, De Hierosolymis et de Britannia, æqualiter patet aula cælestis : Heaven is open in Britain as in Jerusalem. It holds well, if you take it for a prophetical comparison betwixt Jerusalem as it had been, and Britain as it should be. Jerusalem, the type of God's Church upon earth, in the glory of all her legal magnificence, was never more blessed than this Church of ours.
For the Northern part of it, beyond the Tweed, we saw not, we heard not of a congregation, whereof indeed there is not so great frequence*, without a preaching minister; and, though their maintenance hath been generally but small, yet their pains have been great, and their success suitable. And now lately, his Sacred Majesty, in his last year's
journey, as if the sun did out of compassion go beyond his tropic line to give heat unto the northern Climate, hath so ordered it, that their means shall be answerable to their labours: so as both pastors and people profess themselves mutually blessed in each other; and bless God and their King for this bles sedness. As for the learning and sufficiency of those teachers, whether Prelates or Presbyters, our ears were for some of them suffi. cient witnesses; and we are not worthy of our ears, if our tongues do not thankfully proclaim it to the world.
As for this Southern part, when I consider the face of our Church in an universality, methinks I see the firmament, in a clear night, bespangled with goodly stars of all magnitudes, that yield a pleasing diversity of light unto the earth. But, withal, through the incomparable multitude of Cures, and the incompetent provision of some, we cannot but see some of our people, especially in the utmost skirts, like to those that live under the southern pole, where the stars are thinner set; and some stars there are in our hemisphere, like those little sparkles in the Galaxy, or Milky Circle, wherein ye can scarce discern any light. The desire of our hearts must be, That every congregation, every soul, might have a Timothy to de liver the charge of God powerfully unto it, even with St. Paul's charge of note: That every one, which hath a charge, were SiderTixos, able to give the charge; and every hearer 9ɛodiduntQ, ready to take it.
Wherein I cannot but thankfully congratulate the happines: of this famous city; which if in other riches it equalize the best, I am sure in this it exceeds all. There is not a city under the cope of heaven so wealthy in the spiritual provision; yea, there are whole countries in Christendom, that have not so many learned preachers, as are within these walls and liberties. Hear this, ye Citizens; and be not proud, but thankful! Others may exceed you in the glory of outward structure, in the largeness of extent, in the uniform proportion of streets, or ornaments of temples; but your pulpits do surpass theirs: and, if preaching can lift up cities unto heaven, ye are not upon earth. Happy is it for you, if ye be well fed
* Somewhat above eight hundrai.