Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

tress of the godly, that maketh magpies to speak, and spaniels to fetch and carry, had made him consider his duty, he was not slack in the exercise thereof; so that, betaking himself to the religious calling of a thief, hc stole the cook’s silver goblet, the grocer's royals, and cousened the cardinal of his barrel of conserves. More. over, my beloved, this duty of self-preservation caused our dear sister Agatha, as you may read in the first book of pious Francion, not only to bethink he self, but to bestir her stumps also: Finding herself therefore to be of a well-shaped body, and of comely fea. tures, and lovely in the eyes of men, she became an harlot, and was unto the brethren a great comfort in the frail distresses of hu, man nature; whereby she was stored with wealth, and increased in worldly enjoyments. This duty it is that obligeth butchers to prcach, and coblers to pray; that teaches them to make profes, sion of religion, and then causeth them to take on them the gainful function of the ministry; whereby they may be the better enabled, after the sweet consolations of boiled beef and bag-pudding, to sing psalms, and rejoice in their families. All these things our de, ceased brother knew full well, which made him persist in the performance of this duty until the end. He soon found the sweet gain of preaching, and made such a dextrous use of it, that he was be, loved of his rulers, and died with the blessing of Job; for I may say of our dear brother, as the text saith of him, that the Lord blessed his latter end more than his beginning. The Lord reward that blessed man who first invented this profitable and advantageous science. Thus much för the first part of our doctrine, that there is a duty lying upon every professor. Now, my beloved, I shall come to tell you what that duty is : 'Tis true the words of my text are so plain, that you may in a manner pick it out of the words, with as much ease as you can pick out the marrow of a leg of mut. ton bone with a skewer, or the wrong end of a spoou; for, say they, Let us, while we live, make use of our time, seeing the life of man is ended in a day. So that here you see what duty that is, that you onght to make use of your time; but, perhaps, you do not know what it is to make use of your time, which is the next thing I shall inform you. Know ye then, my brethren, there are swarms of such men as make profession of religion, who are not all of onc trade or occupation; but some follow one thing, some another, according to their several gifts. For some are stitchers of cloth, some are boddice-makers, some are translators, some are soldiers, and fight the battles of the Lord; some are brokers; some are hewers of wood, that is to say, carpenters; some are drawers of water, that is, victuallers and innkcepers; some are those that gape for state employments; and some, though I deny not that any of these may take the ministry upon them in time, are preachers of the word, as soon as cver they have done playing at trap. Now, that every one of these professions may profit in their several vocaq tions, there are required thesc ninc gifts:

The gift of convenient boldness
The gift of nonsense,

The gift of leasing,
The gift of accusing and informing,
The gist of ignorance,
The gift of cousening,
The gift of thieving,
The gift of covelousness,

And the gift of hypocrisy. I have placed the gift of convenient boldness in the van, and the gift of hypocrisy in the rear, knowing, that a professor cannot well go on upon any enterprise without the one, nor well come off without the other. Now, though a professor ought always to have an inward working of these gifts, yet the perfection of therr is required in some sorts of professors more than in others: For example, the gifts of impudence, lying, and cousening, do more properly belong unto those who have trades and occupations of selling and buying. The gifts of ignorance, lying, impudence, informing, cousening, and hypocrisy belong unto such as seek preferment, whether civil or military; but all of them together are required to makc up a minister of the word. I shall not here stand to tell you in particular how erery one of these callings ought, according to their several gifts, to make use of their time; but in general, as a foot-hoy skippeth over kennels, skip over those instructions which concern the professors that are of my own livery. First, therefore, that a preaching professor may make use of his time, it is required, that he should be stored with impudence, even as a woodmonger's wharf is stored with faggots and sea-coal. The uses of it are these two, first, to encourage you to the most des. perate enterprises; and secondly, to make you scoro the reproaches of those that reprove you: As for example, my beloved, if you see one of your enemies seated in a warm living, and that your heart pant and thirst after the same, you ought then to put on your night-cap of devotion, and your garment of hypocrisy, and go unto your superiors and say, yonder is a man who is not of the congregation of professors, who is planted in a rich living; he is a scandalous and disaffected person, and I am more worthy than he, pray put me into his place. If men therefore rebuke you, and call you accuser and devil, then ought you to make use of impudence, and laugh at them all. Thus did holy Nye throw out unrighteous Juxon out of his parsonage of Fulham: Thus our brother Marshall became possessed of his fat living in the land of Essex. This imboldened our departed brother to hold forth in the pulpit of Whitehall, where so many learned, as the heathen call them, had been before him. What cared they for the reproaches of men, for their hearts were scared with the hot iron of impil. dence, finding themselves at case and filled with joy ? This like. wise imboldened the poor Spaniard, as we find in the book of our dear Gusman, book I. c. 7. first to beg money, and then, with. out bidding, sit down cheek-by-jowl, with the ambassador; for, saith he, in the last verse, he was carried away with bravadoes, and an impudent behaviour.

your gift of

The next virtue, we are to make use of, is the gift of nonsense: For, perhaps, thou mayest not be a scholar, nor one of the number of the learned, and it may concern thee to talk two hours together; thou oughtest therefore to be well furnished with non. sense, that thou mayest be inabled to go through with thy work; to which purpose often repetitions, and telling of tales, do very much conduce; as when our departed brother told the story of his being in heaven and hell, and the tale of puss in her majesty.

The next gift is that of lying, which may be very profitable to thee, and whereof thou mayest make a very great advantage; for, if thou art bid to preach for the benefit of thy rulers, if then thou art furnished with soul-cousening doctrinc; if then thou hast the right art of lying and whecdling the people, by telling them, that the cause thou speakest of is the only true cause, and that God will certainly own them in their obedience to it, then there will arise unto thice a very great exnolument. With these arts our de. ceased brother furnished the parliament with basons, rings, and bodkins. Thus he, by telling them that Ireland was a place that flowed with milk and honey, and where broad-cloath of twelve shillings a yard grew upon the trees, inticed the soldiers over against the publick enemy.

Thus we read in the fore-mentioned chapter of Gusman, how the same Spaniard, by relating the nobleness of his family, though he were but a cobler's son in Cordora, and by boasting of several great actions, which he never did, got of the said ambassador both money and his dinner. We find also Mr. Sterry practising this gift, when to ingratiate himself with liis new master, our late protector, he assured him, that his father was sitting at the right hand of God, when most divines do affirm the contrary.

The next thing, requisite for a man that will make you but use of his time, is the gift of accusing and slandering : Knowest thou jot, O man, that slanders are like the defilement of printers ink, easily laid on, but hard to rub off? If then thou seekest to work any one into disfavour with his superiors, that thou mayest obtain thy desired end, make thy first shot at him with the pot-guns of slander; for the disgrace, thou throwest upon him, throws him out, and tosses thee into the haven of thy wishes. Thus our deceased brother never left accusing unsanctified Land, till his head had satisfied his wrath; and the benevolences, which the profes. sors bestowed on him out of his worldly profits, had appeased the hunger of his almost famished purse: Thus the brethren likewise accused the Lord Craven, being of the race of Ishmael, and got his estate.

Thy next gift is ignorance ; for thou must know that there are few wise men in authority. Thinkest thou then, O foolish Gala. tian, that any man will acvance such a one as is more cuning than himself? No, thou must at least pretend ignorance; and if, after

such advancement, thou dost grow wiser than thy brethren, then, I say, make use of thy time, saith blessed Machiavel in his book of the Right Path to Preferment, “ Let every man couuterieit tbat

humour which he finds most advantageous to his designs.” Therefore neither our deceased brother, nor any of his faithful brethren the triers, would advance those whom the heathen called the grave, learned, and wise, but the meanest of the people, that were of the simplest and weakest capacities. There came a learned man, and one of the weak brethren, and contended for a place; saith our deceased brother to him that was learned, “ What is faith?” Who answered him discreetly, according to the learning of the schools. Then he demanded the same question of the other, who replied, “ That faith was a sweet lullaby in the lap of Jesus Christ:” At which words our deceased brother, lifting up his hands to heaven, cried, “ Blessed be the Lord, who hath revealed these things unto the simple;' friend, thou, according to thy deserts, shalt have the living

The next thing important is the gift of cousening: for you know, my beloved, the common people are a simple sort of creatures, who must be deluded into their own good: Now their good is the good and safety of their governors : Do we not deceive children whom we would give physick unto, by anointing the brim of the cup with honey? So do we sweeten the bitter purges, which are the people's taxes and impositions, with the delicate allurements of liberty and religion. So our late Reverend Lord Oliver, of bles. sed memory, for whom our dear brother, the Lord reward his soul, hath pimped full often, as you may read in our dear sister Brisco's book of Divine Truth; so I say he, hy cousening every body that he dealt withi, by the right management, or the season. able taking and breaking of his oaths and protestations, became a monarch. Thus did the devout Lazarillo cousen the priest his master of his bread: 1 shall give you his own words, L. I. c. 3. v. 11. I pray, my beloved, turn to the place and mark it, for it is a very precious text: Saith he, “ as I was musing how to get victuals, and feeding upon the sight of the chest wherein my master's bread was lucked, there came a tinker to the door with a bunch of keys, who seemed to me to be an angel in disguise; said I to him, have you a key that will open this chest ?' he assayed, and opened it, by which means I made many a fair loaf invisible, that my master never knew of.”

Another thing, mainly conducing to him that would make use of his time, is the gift uf covetousness. Therefore, saith the text, of that blind hermit who was Lazarillo's master, that, for all his gains, there was never a man so wretched a niggard. The reason thereof is, that there may come changes, and that the professors may be forced to fly; it behoves them therefore, while they may, to make use of their time, that is, to hoard up and save against the day of adversity. You have the examples of most professors for it, whose doors we find continually shut, and never opening to the least expence of a crust, though a poor man should beg his heart out. This makes us not to be content with our livings, but to set up lectures and private congregations, which bringeth in unspeak. able profit: Nut content with this, some of our brethren sittiug in

the triers chair, which is the seat of authority, hare privately taken to themselves the rewards of well-doing, loth to spoil the charity of men, by receiving tankards of silver, rundlets of sack, and sometimes ready money; the Lord of his mercy make them thankful. Our deceased brother was a mighty admirer of canes with silver heads, and, making his admiration kaown, he profited exceedingly.

The last important gift is the gist of hypocrisy. The reason hereof is, that he, who will compass a design, must go the best way he can to do it. Now he, that cannot get his ends by force, must seek to attain them by cunning; but it is found, that, in these days, there is no cunning like that of seeming godly, as Mr. Sedgewick hath well observed, in his book of Spiritual Experiences; therefore is this gist very necessary: For which cause saith Tiber, rius, the best of christian emperors, that be, who knows not to dissemble, knows not to rule; and with him accords our brother Spurstow, in his book of “The Privileges of the Saints. All the world knows how conducing it was, both to our deceased brother, and his dear Master, and what advantages they got thereby; I shall not, therefore, insist any more upon further examples.

Having thus made out, by reason and example, that it is the duty of every professor, while he lives in this world, to make use. of his tiine, and the means and ways how to do it, I shall now, proceed to the application. Is it so then, that every professor ought to make use of his time? Then let this serve for an use of exhortation, to exhort every one of you to make the best use of your time; that is to say, get money, get estates, get friends at court, and labour to enjoy the promises; the fat of the land, my beloved, is your fee-simple, therefore let not Canaan be taken from you. If your rulers would have you worship them, and adore them, do so, beloved, for they are gox's, and ye ought to do so : If they would have you preach false doctrine, and deceive the peo. ple, do so; it is their interest, and, is their's, your’s also: Du not. they feed you, and clothe you, and put you into fat livings? Be therefore obedient to them in all things. If they would have you procure, procure for them, as your deceased brother did before you, and went down unto his giare in peace. Aye but some will, say, these things are unlawful. But hear what saith our dear bro. ther Horace of sacred memory: In vetituin nefus ruimus: We. ought to run into that, from which we are forbidden. To confrm this, I shall only give you two or three motives, and so conclude: First, from the inconveniencies following the neglect of your duty; and, secondly, from the conveniencies that hang upon it, even as: pears hang upon a tree at the latter end of the summer, The in. conveniencies, arising from the neglect of our duty, are poverty and necessity; therefore Gusman, being in great want, and find. ing that brick bats were too hard to feed on, and that the rafters of a house were not to be roasted, thoughi there was no butter way, to thrive, than by beco:ring a churchman; for, saith le, then shall I have something to eat knowing well, that a Dominus vobiscum

« AnteriorContinuar »