PREACHED AT LINCOLN'S INN.
Matthew xviii. 7.
Wo unto the world, because of offences.
The man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth1. The man Moses was so; but the child Jesus was meeker than he. Compare Moses with men, and Moses will scarce be paralleled; compare him with him, who being so much more than man, as that he was God too, was made so much less than man, as that he was a worm and no man, and Moses will not be admitted. If you consider Moses' highest expression, what he would have parted with for his brethren, in his Dele me, pardon them, or blot my name out of thy book, yet St. Paul's zeal will enter into the balance, and come into comparison with Moses, in his Anathema pro fratribus, in that he wished himself to be separated from Christ, rather than his brethren should be. But what comparison hath a sudden, a passionate, and indigested vehemence of love, expressed in a phrase that tastes of zeal, but is not done, (Moses was not blotted out of the book of life, nor St. Paul was not separated from Christ for his brethren) what comparison hath such a love, that was but said, and perchance should not have been said (for we can scarce excuse Moses, or St. Paul, of all excess and inordinateness, in that that they said) with a deliberate and an eternal purpose in Christ Jesus conceived as soon as we can conceive God to have known that Adam would fall, to come into this world, and die for man, and then actually and really, in the fulness of time, to do so; he did come, and he did die. The man Moses was very meek, the child Jesus meeker than he. Moses' meekness had a determination, (at least an interruption, a discontinuance) when he revenged the wrong of another upon that Egyptian whom he slew*. But a bruised reed might have stood unbroken, and smoking flax3 might have lain unquenched for ever, for all
1 Numb. xii. 3. * Exod. ii. 11. 3 Isaiah Xlu. 3.
Christ. And therefore though Christ send his disciples to school, to the Scribes and Pharisees, because they sat in Moses's seat4, for other lessons, yet for this, he was their schoolmaster himself, Discite a me, learn of me, for I am meek'. In this chapter he gives them three lessons in this doctrine of meekness; he gives them foundations, and upper buildings, the text, and a comment, all the elements of true instruction, rule and example. First, he finds them contending for place, quis maximus, who should be greatest in the kingdom of heaven. The disease which they were sick of, was truly an ignorance what this kingdom was; for, though they were never ignorant that there should be an eternal kingdom in heaven, yet they thought not that the kingdom of Christ here should only be a spiritual kingdom, but they looked for a temporal inchoation of that kingdom here. That was their disease, and a dangerous one. But as physicians are forced to do sometimes, to turn upon the present cure of some vehement symptom, and accident, and leave the consideration of the main disease for a time, so Christ leaves the doctrine of the kingdom for the present, and does not rectify them in that yet, but for this pestilent symptom, this malignant accident of precedency, and ambition of place, he corrects that first, and to that purpose gives them the example of a little child, and tells them, that except they become as humble, as gentle, as supple, as simple, as seely, as tractable, as ductile, as careless of place, as negligent of precedency, as that little child, they could not only not be great, but they could not at all enter into the kingdom of heaven. He gives them a second lesson in this doctrine of meekness against scandals, and offences, against an easiness in giving or an easiness in taking offences. For, how well soever we may seem to be in ourselves, we are not well, if we forbear not that company, and abstain not from that conversation, which by ill example may make us worse, or if we forbear not such things, as, though they be indifferent in themselves, and can do us no harm, yet our example may make weaker persons than we are, worse, because they may come to do as we do, and not proceed upon so good ground as we do; they may sin in doing those things by our example, in which we did not sin, because we
knew them to be indifferent things, and therefore did them, and they did them though they thought them to be sins. And for this doctrine, Christ takes an example very near to them, If thy hand, or foot, or eye offend thee, cut it off, pull it out. And his third lesson in this doctrine of meekness is against hardness of heart, against a loathness, a weariness in forgiving the offences of other men, against us, occasioned by Peter's question, Quoties remittam, How oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? and the example in this rule Christ hath wrapped up in a parable, The master forgave his servant ten thousand talents, (more money than perchance any private man is worth) and that servant took his fellow by the throat, and cast him into prison, because he did not presently pay an hundred pence, perchance fifty shillings, not three pounds of our money: in such a proportion was Christ pleased to express the master's inexhaustible largeness and bounty, (which is himself,) and the servant's inexcusable cruelty, and penuriousness, (whichis every one of us). The root of all Christian duties is humility, meekness, that is violated in an ambitious precedency, for that implies an over estimation of ourselves, and an under value of others; and it is violated in scandals, and offences, for that implies an unsettledness and irresolution in ourselves, that we can be so easily shaked, or a neglecting of weaker persons, of whom Christ neglected none; and it is violated in an unmercifulness, and inexorableness, for that implies an indocileness, that we will not learn by Christ's doctrine; and an ungratefulness, that we will not apply his example, and do to his servants, as, he, our Master, hath done to us: and s have you some paraphrase of the whole chapter, as it consists of rules and examples in this doctrine of meekness, endangered by pride, by scandal, by uncharitableness. But of those two, pride and uncharitableness (though they deserve to be often spoken of), I shall have no occasion from these words of my text, to speak, for into the second of these three parts, the doctrine of scandals, our text falls, and it is a doctrine very necessary and seldom touched upon.
As the words of our text, our parts must be three. First, that heavy word woe; secondly, that general word, mundo, woe be unto the world; and lastly, that mischievous word, a scandalis, woe be unto the world because of scandals, of offences. Each of these three words will receive a twofold consideration; for the first, vw, is first vox dolentis, a voice of condoling and lamenting, Christ laments the miseries imminent upon the world, because of scandals, and then it is vox minantis, a voice of threatening, and intermination, Christ threatens, he interminates heavy judgments upon them, who occasion and induce these miseries by these scandals; this one vw denotes both these; sorrow, and yet infallibility; they always go together in God; God is loath to do it, and yet God will certainly inflict these judgments. The second word, mundo, woe be unto the world, looks two ways too; vw malis, woe unto evil men that raise scandals, vw bonis, woe unto them who are otherwise good in themselves, if they be so various, as to be easily shaked and seduced by scandals. And then upon the last word a scandalis, woe be unto the world, because of scandals, of offences, we must look two ways also; first, as it denotes scandatum activium, a scandal given by another, and then, as it denotes scandalum passivum, a scandal taken by another.
First then, our first word, in the first acceptation thereof, is vw dolentis, the voice of condoling and lamentation; God laments the necessity that he is reduced to, and those judgments which the sins of men have made inevitable. In the person of the prophets which denounced the judgments of God, it is expressed so, Onus Babylonis, Onus Egypti, Onus Damasci; O the burthen of Damascus, the burthen of Egypt, the burthen of Babylon; and not only so, but onus visionis, not only that that judgment would be a heavy burthen, when it fell upon that nation, but that the very pre-contemplation, and pre-denunciation of that judgment upon that people, was a burthen and a distasteful bitterness, to the prophet himself, that was sent upon that message. In reading of an Act of Parliament, or of any law that inflicts the heaviest punishment that can be imagined upon a delinquent, and transgressor of that law, a man is not often much affected, because he needs not, when he does but read that law, consider that any particular man is fallen under the penalty, and bitterness thereof. But if upon evidence and verdict he be put to give judgment upon a particular man that stands before him, at the bar, according to that law, that that man that stands there that day, must that day be no man; that that breath breathed in by God, to glorify him, must be suffocated and strangled with a halter, or evaporated with an axe, he must be hanged or beheaded, that those limbs which make up a cabinet for that precious jewel, the image of God, to be kept in, must be cut into quarters, or torn with horses; that that body which is a consecrated temple of the Holy Ghost, must be chained to a stake, and burnt to ashes, he that is not affected in giving such a judgment, upon such a man, hath no part in the bowels of Christ Jesus, that melt in compassion, when our sins draw and extort his judgments upon us in the mouth of those prophets, those men whom God sends, it is so, and it is so in the mouth of God himself that sends them. Heu vindicabor, (says God) Alas, I will revenge me of mine enemies*; alas, I will, is alas, I must, his glory compels him to do it, the good of his church, and the sustentation of his saints compel him to it, and yet becomes to it with a condolency, with a compassion, Heu vindicabor, Alas, I will revenge me of mine enemies: so also in another prophet, Heu abominationes, Alas for all the evil abominations of the house of Israel1; for (as it is added there) they shall fall, (that is, they will fall) by the sword, by famine, by pestilence, and, (as it follows,) I will accomplish my fury upon them; though it were come to that height, fury, and accomplishment, consummation of fury, yet it comes with a condolency, and compassion, Heu abominationes, Alas for all the evil abominations of the house of Israel, I would they were not so ill, that 1 might be better to them. Men sent by God do so, so does God that sends those men, and he that is both God and man, Christ Jesus does so too: we have but two clear records in the Scriptures of Christ's weeping, and both in compassion for others; when Mary wept for her dead brother Lazarus, and the Jews that were with her wept too, Jesus also wept, and he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled*. This was but for the discomfort of one family, it was not a mortality over the whole country; it was but for one person in that family, it was not a contagion that had swept, or did threaten the whole house, it was but for such a person in that family, as he meant forthwith to restore to life again and yet Jesus wept and
groaned in the spirit, and was troubled; he would not lose that opportunity of showing his tenderness, and compassion in the behalf of others. How vehement, how passionate then, must we believe his other weeping to have been, when he had his glorious and beloved city Jerusalem in his sight, and wept over that city *, and with that stream of tears poured out that sea, that tempestuous sea, those heavy judgments, which, (though he wept in doing it) he denounced upon that city, that glorious, that beloved city, which city though Christ charge, to have stoned them that were sent to her10, and to be guilty of all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, the Holy Ghost calls the holy city for all that, not only at the beginning of Christ's appearance, (The devil took him up into the holy city11) (for at that time she was not the unholier for any thing that she had done upon the person of Christ,) but when they had exercised all their cruelty, even to death, the death of the cross upon Christ himself, the Holy Ghost calls still the holy city; many bodies of saints, which slept, arose, and went into the holy city1*. When the fathers take into their contemplation and discourse, that passionate exclamation of our Saviour upon the cross, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? those blessed fathers, that never thought of any such sense of that place, that Christ was, at that time, actually in the real torments of hell, assign no fitter sense of those words, than that the foresight of those insupportable, and inevitable, and imminent judgments upon his city, and his people, occasioned that passionate exclamation, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? that as, after he was ascended into heaven, he said to Saul, Cur me persequeris13? he called Saul's persecuting of his church, a persecuting of him, so when he considered that God had forsaken his people, his city, his J erusalem, he cried out that God had forsaken him. God that sent the prophets; the prophets that were sent; Christ who was both, the person sent, and the sender, came to the inflicting and denouncing of judgments, with this vw dolentis, a heart, and voice of condoling and lamentation.
Grieve not then the Holy Spirit of God, says the apostle14;
extort not from him those judgments, which he cannot in justice forbear, and yet is grieved to inflict. How often do we use that motive, to divert young men from some ill actions, and ill courses, how will this trouble your friends, how will this grieve your mother, this will kill your father? The angels of heaven who are of a friendship and family with us, as they rejoice at our conversion, so are they sorry and troubled at our aversion from God. Our sins have grieved our mother; that is, made the church ashamed, and blush that he hath washed us, and clothed us, in the whiteness and innocency of Christ Jesus in our baptism, and given us his blood to drink in the other sacrament. Our sins have made our mother the church ashamed in herself, (we have scandalized and offended the congregation) and our sins have defamed and dishonoured our mother abroad, that is, imprinted an opinion in others, that that cannot be a good church, in which we live so dissolutely, so falsely to our first faith, and contract, and stipulation with God in baptism. We have grieved our brethren, the angels, our mother, the church, and we have killed our Father: God is the Father of us allis; and we have killed him; for, God hath purchased a church with his blood", says St. Paul. And, oh, how much more is God grieved now, that we will make no benefit of that blood which is shed for us, than he was for the very shedding of that blood! We take it not so ill, (pardon so low a comparison in so high a mystery; for, since our blessed Saviour was pleased to assume that metaphor, and to call his passion a cup, and his death a drinking1'1, we may be admitted to that comparison of drinking too) we take it not so ill, that a man go down into our cellar, and draw, and drink his fill, as that he go in, and pierce the vessels, and let them run out, in a wasteful wantonness. To satisfy the thirst of our souls, there was a necessity that the blood of Christ Jesus, should be shed; to satisfy Christ's own sitio, that thirst which was upon him, when he was upon the cross, there was a necessity too, that Christ should bleed to death. On our part there was an absolute and a primary necessity; God in his justice requiring a satisfaction, nothing could redeem us, by way of satisfaction, but the blood of his Son. And though there were never act more voluntary, more sponta
15 Mal. ii. 10. "Acts xx. 28. "Matt. xx. 22.
neous, than Christ's dying for man, nor freer from all coaction, and necessity of that kind, yet after Christ had submitted himself to that decree and contract that passed between him, and his Father, that he, by shedding his blood, should redeem mankind, there lay a necessity upon Christ himself to shed his blood, as himself says first to his disciples that went with him to Emaus, nonne oportuit, ought not Christ to suffer all these things18? do ye not find by the prophets that he was bound to do it? and then to his apostles at Jerusalem, Sic oportuit, Thus it behoved Christ to suffer". There was then an absolute necessity upon us, an obedient necessity upon Christ, that his blood must be shed; but to let him die in a wantonness, to let out all that precious liquor, and taste no drop of it, to draw out all that immaculate and invaluable blood, and make no balsamum, no antidote, no plaster, no fomentation in the application of that blood, to labour still under a burning fever of lust, and ambition, and presumption, and find no cooYmg juleps there, in the application of that blood, to labour under a cold damp of indevotion, and under heartless desperation, and find no warming cordials there, to be still as far under judgments and executions for sin, as if there had been no Messias sent, no ransom given, no satisfaction made, not to apply this blood thus shed for us, by those means which God in his church presents to us, this puts Christ to his woful interjection, to cast out this woe upon us, (which he had rather have left out) woe be unto the world, which, though it begin in a vw dolentis, a voice of condoling and lamenting, yet it is also vw minantis, a voice of threatening and intermination, denoting the infallibility of judgements, and that's our next consideration.
I think we find no words in Christ's mouth so often, as vw, and amen. Each of them hath two significations; as almost all Christ's words, and actions have; consolation, and commination. For, as this vw signifies (as before) a sorrow, (woe, that is, woe is me, for this will fall upon you) and signifies also a judgment inevitable and infallible, (woe, that is, woe be unto you, for this judgment shall fall upon you) so amen is sometimes vox asserentis, and signifies vere, verily, Verily I say unto you, when Christ would confirm, and establish a belief in some doctrine, or pro
"Luke xxiv. 26. Luke xxiv. 26.
mise of his, (as when he says Amen, amen, verily verily I say unto you, he that believeth on me, the work; that J do, shall he do also, and greater works than these shall he doio) so it is vox asserentis, a word of assertion, and it is also vox deserents, a word of desertion, when God denounces an infallability, an unavoidableness, an inevitableness in his judgments, Amen dico, verily I say unto thee, thou shalt by no means come out thence till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing"; so this amen signifies fiat, this shall certainly be thus done. And this seal, this amen, as amen is fiat, is always set to his vw, as his vw is vox minantis; whensoever God threatens any judgment, he means to execute that judgment as far as he threatens it; God threatens nothing in terrorem only, only to frighten us; every vw hath his amen, every judgment denounced, a purpose of execution. This then is our woeful case; every man may find upon record, in the Scriptures, a vw denounced upon that sin, which he knows to be his sin; and if there be a vw, there is an amen too, if God have said it shall, it shall be executed, so that this is not an execution of a few condemned persons, but a massacre of all; it is not a decimation, as in a rebellion, to spare nine, and hang the tenth, but it is a washing, a sweeping away of all; every man may find a judgment upon record against him. It doth not acquit him that he hath not committed an adultery; and yet, is he sure of that? He may have done that in a look, in a letter, in a word, in a wish: it doth not acquit him, that he hath not done a murder; and yet, is he sure of that? He may have killed a man, in not defending him from the oppression of another, if he have power in his hand, and he may have killed in not relieving, if he have a plentiful fortune. He may have killed in not reprehending him who was under his charge, when he saw him kill himself in the sinful ways of death. As they that write of poisonsand of those creatures that naturally malign and would destroy man, do name the flea, as well as the viper, because the flea sucks as much blood as he can, so that man is a murderer that stabs as deep as he can, though it be but with his tongue, with his pen, with his frown; for a man may kill with a frown, in withdrawing his countenance from that man, that lives upon so low a pasture as
40 John xiv. 12. *1 Matt. v. 20. "Ardoinus.
his countenance, nay he may kill with a smile, with a good look, if he afford that good look with a purpose to delude him. And, beloved, how many die of this disease; how many die laughing, die of a tickling; how many are overjoyed with the good looks, and with the familiarity of greater persons than themselves, and led on by hopes of getting more, waste that they have? An adultery, a murder may be done in a dream, if that dream were an effect of a murderous, or an adulterous thought conceived before. The apostle says, / know, nothing by myself, yet am I not thereby justified", we sin some sins, that all the world sees, and yet we see not, but then, how many more, which none in the world sees but ourselves? Scarce any man scapes all degrees of any sin; scarce any man some great degree of some great sin; no man escapes so, but that he may find upon record in the Scriptures, a vw, and an amen, a judgment denounced, and an execution sealed against him. And, if that be our case, where is there any room for this milder signification of these two words, •ew, and amen, which we spake of before, as they are words of consolation? If because God hath said Stipendium peccati mors est, the wages of sin is death, because I have sinned, I must die, what can I do in a prayer? can I flatter God I what can I do in an alms? can I bribe God? or frustrate his purpose? Can I put an euge upon his voe, a vacat upon his fiat, a non obstante upon his amen. God is not man; not a false man that he can lie, nor a weak man that he can repent. Where then is the restorative, the consolatory nature of these words? In this, beloved, consists our comfort, that all God's vws and aniens, all judgments, and all his executions are conditional; there is a crede et vives, believe and thou shalt live; there is a fac hoc et vives, do this and thou shalt live; if thou have done otherwise, there is a converte et vives, turn unto the Lord and thou shalt live; if thou have done so, and fallen off, there is a revertere et vires, return again unto the Lord, and thou shalt live. How heavy soever any of God's judgments be, yet there is always room for David's question, quis sit, who can tell whether God will be gracious unto me"? What better assurance could one have, than David had i The prophet Nathan had told David immediately from the
E31 Cor. iv. 4.
1.2 Sam. xii. 22.
mouth of God, this child shall surely die, and ratified it by that reason, because thou hast given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, this child shall surely die, yet David fasted, and wept, and said, who can tell whether the Lord will be gracious unto me, that the child may live? There is always room for David's question, Quis scit, who can tell f Nay there is no room for it, as it is a question of diffidence and distrust; every man may and must know, that whatsoever any prophet have denounced against any sin of his, yet there are conditions, upon which the Lord will be gracious and thy soul shall live. But if the first condition, that is innocency, and the second, that is repentance, be rebelliously broken, then every man hath his vw, and every vee hath his amen, the judgments are denounced against him; and upon him they shall be executed; for God threatens not to fright children; but the mountains melt, and powers, and thrones, and principalities tremble at his threatening. And so have you the doubled signification of the first word vw, as it is vox dolentis, and as it is vox minantis, God is loth, but God will infallibly execute his judgment, and we proceed to the extension of this vw, over all, vw mundo, woe unto the world, and the double signification of that word.
I have wondered sometimes that that great author, and bishop in the Roman church, Abulensis, is so free, as to confess that some expositors amongst them, have taken this word in our text, mundo, adjective, not to signify the world, but a clean person, a free man, that it should be vw immuni, woe unto him that is free from offences, that hath had no offences; perchance they mean from crosses. And so, though it be a most absurd, and illiterate, and ungrammatical construction of the place that they make, yet there is a doctrine to be raised from thence, of good use. As God brought light out of darkness, and raises glory out of sin, so we may raise good divinity out of their ill grammar; for vw mundo, indeed, vw immuni, woe be unto him that hath had no crosses. There cannot be so great a cross as to have none. I lack one loaf of that daily bread that I pray for, if I have no cross; for afflictions are our spiritual nourishment; I lack one limb of that body I must grow into, which is the body of Christ Jesus, if I have no crosses; for, my conformity to Christ, (and that is my being made up into his body) must be accomplished in my fulfilling his sufferings in his flesh. So that, though our adversaries out of their ignorance mislead us in a wrong sense of the place; the Holy Ghost leads us into a true, and right use thereof. But there is another good use of their error too, another good doctrine out of their ill grammar; take the word mundo, adjective, for an adjective, and vw mundo, vw immuni, woe unto him that is so free from all offences, as to take offence at nothing; to be indifferent to anything, to any religion, to any discipline, to any form of God's service; that from a glorious mass to a sordid conventicle, all is one to him; all one to him, whether that religion in which they meet, and light candles at noon; or that, in which they meet, and put out candles at midnight; what innovations, what alterations, what tolerations of false, what extirpations of true religion soever come, it shall never trouble, never offend him; it is true, vw mundo indeed, woe unto him that is so free, so insensible, so unaffected with anything in this kind; for, as to be too inquisitive into the proceedings of the state, and the church, out of a jealousy and suspicion that any such alterations, or tolerations in religion are intended or prepared, is a seditious disaffection to the government, and a disloyal aspersion upon the persons of our superiors, to suspect without cause, so, not to be sensible that the caterpillars of the Roman church, do eat up our tender fruit, that the Jesuits, and other engineers of that church, do seduce our forwardest and best spirits, not to be watchful in our own families, that our wives and children and servants be not corrupted by them, for the pastor to slacken in his duty, (not to be earnest in the pulpit) for the magistrate to slacken in his, (not to be vigilant in the execution of those laws as are left in his power) vw mundo, voe immuni, woe unto him that is insensible of offences. Jealousy, suspiciously to misinterpret the actions of our superiors, is inexcusable, but so is it also not to feel how the adversary gains upon us, and not to wish that it were, and not to pray that it may be otherwise; vw mundo, vw immuni, woe to him that is unoffended, insensible, thus. But as I wondered that that bishop would so easily confess, that some of their expositors were so very unlearned, so barbarously ignorant, so enormously stupid, as to take this vw munch adjective, so do I wonder more, that after such confessions, and acknowledgements of such ignorances and stupidities amongst them, they will not remedy it in the cause, but still continue so rigid, so severe in the maintenance of their own translation, their Vulgate edition, as in places, and cases of doubt, not to admit recourse to the original, as to the supreme judge, nor to other translations: for by either of those ways it would have appeared, that this vw mundo could not be taken adjective, but is a cloud cast upon the whole world, a woe upon all, no place, no person, no calling free from these scandals, and offences, from temptations, and tribulations; when there was a vw Sodom, that God rained fire and brimstone upon Sodom, yet there was a Zoar, where Lot might be safe. When there was a tw dSgypto, woe, and woe upon woe, upon Egypt, there was a Goshen, a sanctuary for the children of God in Egypt. When there is a vw inhabitantibus, a persecution in any place, there is a fuge in aliam, leave to fly into another city. But in such an extension, such an expansion, such an exaltation, such and inundation of woe, as this in our text, vw mundo, woe to the world, to all the world, a tide, a flood without any ebb, a sea without any shore, a dark sky without any horizon; that though I do withdraw myself from the woful uncertainties, and irresolutions, and undeterminations of the court, and from the snares and circumventions of the city; though I would divest, and shake off the woes and offences of Europe in Africa, or of Asia in America, I cannot, since wheresoever, or howsoever I live, these woes, and scandals, and offences, temptations, and tribulations will pursue me, who can express the wretched condition, the miserable station, and prostration of man in this world? vw mundo.
Take the word world in as ill a sense as you will, as ill as when Christ says, I pray not for the world", (and they are very ill, for whom Christ Jesus who prayed for them that crucified him, would not pray:) take the word world in as good a sense as you will, as good as when Christ says, / give my flesh for the life of the world", (and they are very good that are elemented, made up with his flesh, and alimented and nursed with his blood:) take it for the elect, take it for the reprobate, the repro
bate and the elect too are under this «cp, woe to the world, from temptations, and tribulations, scandals, and offences.
So it is if the world be persons, and it is so also, if it be times; take the world for tbe times we live in now, and it is novissima hora, this is the last time*7, and the apostle hath told us, that the last times are the worst. Take the world for the old world, originalis mundus, as St. Peter calls it88; the original world, of which, this world, since the flood, is but a copy, and God spared not the old world, says that apostle. Take it for an elder world than that, the world in paradise, when one Adam, the Son of God, and one Eve produced by God, from him, made up the world: or take it for an elder world than that, the world in heaven, when only the angels, and no other creatures made up the world; take it any of these ways, we in this latter world do, Jtfoah in the old world did, so did Adam in the world in paradise, and so did the angels in the oldest world of all, find these woes from offences, and scandals, temptations, and tribulations.
So it is in all persons, in all men, so it is in all times, in all ages, and so it is in all places too; for he that retires into a monastery upon pretence of avoiding temptations, and offences in .this world, he brings, them thither, and he meets them there; he sees them intramittendo, and extramittendo, he is scandalized by others, and others are scandalized by him. That part of the world that sweats in continual labour in several vocations, is scandalized with their laziness, and their riches, to see them anoint themselves with other men's sweat, and lard themselves with other men's fat; and then these retired and cloistral men are scandalized with all the world, that is out of their walls. There is no sort of men more exercised with contentious and scandalous wranglings, than they are: for first, with all eager animosity they prefer their monastical life before all other secular eallings, yea, before those priests, whom they call secular priests, such as have care of souls, in particular parishes, (as though it were a diminution, and an inferior state to have care of souls, and study and labour the salvation of others.) And then as they undervalue all secular callings, (mechanics, and merchants, and magistrates too) in respect of any regular order, (as they call
*7 I John ii. 18. *» 2 Pet. ii. 5.
them) so with the same animosity do they prefer their own order, before any other order. A Carthusian is but a man of fish, for one element, to dwell still in a pond, in his cell alone, but a Jesuit is a useful ubiquitary, and his scene is the court, as well as the cloister. And howsoever they pretend to be gone out of the world, they are never the farther from the exchange for all their cloister; they buy, and sell, and purchase in their cloister. They are never the farther from Westminster in their cloister, they occasion and they maintain suits from their cloister; and there are the courts of justice noted to abound most with suits, where monasteries abound most. Nay, they are never the farther from the field for all their cloister; for they give occasions of armies, they raise armies, they direct armies, they pay armies from their cloister. Men should not retire from the mutual duties of this world, to avoid offences, temptations, tribulations, neither do they at all avoid them, that retire thus, upon that pretence.
Shall we say then, as the disciples said to Christ; If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry*''? If the world be nothing but a bed of adders, a quiver of poisoned arrows, from every person, every time, every place, woes by occasion of offences, and scandals, it had been better God had made no world, better that I had never been born into the world, better, if by any means I could get out of the world quickly, shall we say so? God forbid. As long as Job charged not God foolishly, it is said, in all this Job sinned not30; but when he came to curse his birth, and to loathe his life, then Job charged God foolishly. When one prophet (Elijah) comes to proportion God the measure of his corrections, Satis est, Lord, this is enough31; thou hast done enough, I have Buffered enough, now take away my life. When another prophet comes to wish his own death in anger, and to justify his anger, and dispute it out with God himself, for not proceeding with the Ninevites, as he would have had him do3*; nay for the withering of his gourd that shadowed him, in all these, they did, in all such, we do charge God foolishly; and shall we that are but worms, but silkworms, but glow-worms at best, chide God that he hath made
*9 Matt. xix. 10. 30 Job i. 22.
31 1 Kings xix. 4. 88 Jonah iv.
slow-worms, and other venomous creeping things? Shall we that are nothing but boxes of poison in ourselves, reprove God for making toads and spiders in the world? Shall we that are all discord, quarrel the harmony of his creation, or his providence? Can an apothecary make a sovereign treacle of vipers, and other poisons, and cannot God admit offences, and scandals into his physic? Scandals, and offences, temptations, and tribulations, are our leaven that ferment us, and our lees that preserve us. Use them to God's glory, and to thine own establishing, and then thou shall be a particular exception to that general rule, the Vw munch a scandalis, shall be an Euge tibi a scandalis, thou shalt see that it was well for thee, that there were scandals and offences in the world, for they shall have exercised thy patience, they shall have occasioned thy victory, they shall have assured thy triumph.