PREACHED AT WHITEHALL.
Second Sermon upon Ecclesiastes V. 12, 13.
There is an evil sickness that I have seen under the sun: riches reserved to the owners thereof, for their evil. And these riches perish hy evil travail: and he begetteth a son, and in his hand is nothing.
That then which was intended in the former verse, that riches were hurtful even to the owners, St. Augustine hath well and fully expressed, Eris prwda hominum, qui jam esdiabolV; The devil hath preyed upon thee already, by knowing what thou wouldst have, and great men will prey upon thee hereafter, by knowing what thou hast. But because the rich man thinks himself hard enough for both, for the devil, and for great men, if he may keep his riches; therefore here is that, which seems to him a greater calamity inflicted; first, his riches shall perish; and secondly those riches, those which he hath laboured and travailed for; and thirdly, they shall perish in travail, and labour, and affliction. And then not only all his present comfort shall
38 Horn. ii. 5. 33 Col. ii. 3. 1 Aug. in Psalm cxxxi.
perish, but that which was his future hope: the son which he hath begot, shall have nothing in his hand.
He that increaseth his riches by usury and interest, gathereth them for him that will be merciful to the poor, says Solomon2. Is there a discomfort in this? There is. It is presented there for an affliction, and vexation to a rich man, to be told, that his money shall be employed in any other way, not only than he gathered it for, but than he gathered it by. It would grieve him to know, that his heir would purchase land, or buy an office with his money; for all other means of profit than himself hath tried, he esteems unthriftiness, casual, and hazardous; difference of seasons may change the value of his land, affections of men may change the value of an office; but whether the year be good or bad, a year it must be, and nothing can lengthen, or shorten his two harvests in the year, from six months to six. All ways, but his own, displease him in his heir; but if his heir will be giving to the poor (as Solomon says) then here are two mischiefs met together, that he could never abide the poor, and giving; and therefore such a contemplation is a double vexation to him; but much more must it be so, to hear that his riches shall perish; that they shall come to nothing, for though, if we consider it aright, it is truly all one, whether a covetous man's wealth do perish or no, for so much, as he hoards up, and hides, and puts to no use; it is all one whether that thousand pounds be in his chest or no, if he never see it, yet since he hath made his gold his god, he hath so much devilish religion in him as to be loth that his god should perish. And this, that is threatened here is an absolute perishing, an absolute annihilation; it is the same word, by which David expresses the abolition, and perishing of the wicked. The way of the wicked shall perish8; and which Moses repeats with vehemency twice together, pereundo peribitis; I pronounce unto you this day you shall surely perish4. So Judas, and his money perished. The money that Judas had taken; he was weary of keeping it, and they who had given it, would none of it neither. Se primum mulctamt pecunia, deinde vita*. First he fined himself, and then he hanged himself;
* Prov. xxviii. 8.
4 Deut. xxx. 18,
3 Psalm i. 6. 'Augustine.
first he cast back the money, and then he cast himself headlong and burst: oftentimes the money perishes, and the man too: yea it is not here only that they shall perish, in the future; that were a reprieve; it were a stalling of a debt; but (as both our translations have it) they do perish, they are always melting; yea as the original hath it, vadit et periit, they are already perished, they were born dead; ill gotten riches, bring with them from the beginning a contagion that works upon themselves, and their masters.
The riches shall perish, though they be his, though his title to them be good, if he put his trust in them; and those riches, those which he hath got by his travail, those which he hath reserved by his parsimony, and frugality. There is sometimes a greater reverence in us, towards our ancient inheritance towards those goods, which are devolved upon us, by succession; there is another affection expressed towards those things, which dying friends have left us, for they preserve their memories; another towards jewels, or other testimonies of an acceptation of our services from the prince: but still we love those things most, which we have got with our own labour, and industry. When a man comes to say with Jacob, With my staff came I over Jordan, and now have I gotten two bands6, with this staff came I to London, with this staff came I to court, and now am thus and thus increased, a man loves those additions, which his own industry hath made to his fortune. There are some ungrateful natures that love other men the worse, for having bound them by benefits, and good turns to them: but that were a new ingratitude, not to be thankful to ourselves, not to love those things, which we ourselves have compassed. We have our reason to do so, in our great example, Christ Jesus, who loves us most, as we are his purchase, as he hath bought us with his blood; and therefore, though he hath expressed a love too, to the angels, in their confirmation, yet he cannot be said to love the angels, as he doth us, because his death hath wrought nothing upon them, which were fallen before; and for us, so he came principally to save sinners: the whole body and band of angels, are not his purchase, as all mankind is. This affection is in worldly men
8 Gen. xxzii. 10.
too; they love their own gettings; and those shall perish. They have given their pleasant things for meat, to refresh their souls7: whatsoever they placed their heart upon, whatsoever they delighted in most, whatsoever they were loth to part withal, it shall perish; and the measure of their love to it and the desire of it shall be the measure of God's judgment upon it; that which they love most, shall perish first.
Those riches then, those best beloved riches shall perish, and that, saith the text, by evil travail; which is a word, that in the original signifies both occupationem, negotiationem, labour and travail, and afflictionem, vexationem; affliction, and vexation: they shall perish in occupatione, then when thou art labouring, and travailing in thy calling, then when thou art hearkening after a purchase, and a bargain, then when thy neighbours can impute no negligence, thou wast not negligent in gathering, nay no vice to thee, thou wast not dissolute in scattering, then when thou risest early, liest down late, and eatest the bread of sorrow, then shalt thou find, not only that that prospers not, which thou goest about, and pretendest to, but that which thou hadst before, decays, and moulders away. If we consider well in what abundance God satisfied the children of Israel with quails, and how that ended, we shall see example enough of this: You shall eat, saith God, not one or two days, nor five, nor ten, nor twenty, but a whole month, until it come out at your nostrils, and be loathsome unto you8; here was the promise, and it was performed for the plenty, that quails fell a day's journey round about the camp, and they were two cubits thick upon the earth; the people fell to their labour, and they arose, and gathered all that day, and all that night, and all the next day, saith the text; and he that gathered least, gathered ten gomers full; but as the promise was performed in the plenty, so it was in the course too; Whilst the flesh was yet between their teeth before it was chewed, even the wrath o f the Lord was kindled against the people, and he smote them with an exceeding great plague. Even whilst your money is under your fingers, whilst it is in your purposes determined, and digested for such, and such a purpose, whilst you have put it in a ship in merchandise, to win more to it; whilst you have sowed it in the
land of borrowers, to multiply, and grow upon mortgages, and usury, even when you are in the midst of your travail, storms at sea, thieves at land, enviers at court, informations at Westminster, whilst the meat is in your mouths, shall cast the wrath of God upon your riches, and they shall perish, in occupatione, then, when you travail to increase them. The children of Israel are said in that place, only to have wept to Moses, out of a lust, and a grief, for want of flesh. God punished not that weeping; it is a tenderness, a disposition, that God loves; but a weeping for worldly things, and things not necessary to them, (for manna might have served them) a weeping for not having, or for losing Ruch things of this world, is always accompanied with a murmuring; God shall cause thy riches to perish in thy travail, not because he denies thee riches, nor because he would not have thee travail, but because an inordinate love, an over-studious, and an intemperate, and over-laborious pursuit of riches, is always accompanied with a diffidence, in God's providence, and a confidence in our own riches.
To give the wicked a better sense of this, God proceeds often the same way, with the righteous too; but with the wicked, because they do, with the righteous, lest they should trust in their own riches. We see in Job's case, it was not only his sons, and daughters, who were banquetting, nor only his asses, and sheep, and camels that were feeding, that were destroyed; but upon his oxen, that were ploughing, upon his servants, which were doing their particular duties, the Sabaeans came, and destruction in their sword; his oxen, and his servants perished, in occupatione, in their labour, in their travail, when they were doing that, which they should do. And if God do thus to his children, to humble them beforehand, that they do not sacrifice to their own nets, not trust in their own industry, nor in their own riches, how much more vehemently shall his judgments burn upon them, whose purpose in gathering riches, was principally, that they might stand of themselves, and not need God. There are beasts that labour not, but yet furnish us, with their wool alive, and with their flesh, when they are dead; as sheep; there are men that desire riches, and though they do no other good, they are content to keep good houses, and that their heir should do so, when they are dead; there are beasts that labour, and are meat at their death, but yield no other help in their life, and these are oxen; there are men that labour to be rich, and do no good with it, till their death; there are beasts that only labour, and yield nothing else in life, nor death, as horses: and there are some, that do neither, but only prey upon others, as lions, and others such; we need not apply particularly; there are all bestial natures in rich men; and God knows how to meet with them all; and much more will he punish them, which do no good, in life, nor death, nay that labour not for their riches but surfeit upon the sweat of other men, since even the riches of those, that trust in riches, shall perish in occupatione, in the very labour, and in the very travail, which (if it were not done with a confidence in the riches, when they are got,) were allowable, and acceptable to God.
You may have a good emblem of such a rich man, whose riches perish in his travail, if you take into your memory, and thoughts, a sponge that is overfilled; if you press it down, with your little finger, the water comes out of it; nay, if you lift it up, there comes water out of it; if you remove it out of its place, though to the right hand as well as to the left, it pours out water; nay if it lie still quiet in its place, yet it wets the place, and drops out its moisture. Such is an over-full, and spongy covetous person: he must pour out, as well as he hath sucked in; if the least weight of disgrace, or danger lie upon him, he bleeds out his money; nay, if he be raised up, if he be preferred, he hath no way to it, but by money, and he shall be raised, whether he will or no, for it. If he be stirred from one place to another, if he be suffered to settle where he is, and would be, still these two incommodities lie upon him; that he is lothest to part with his money, of anything, and yet he can do nothing without it. He labours for riches, and still he is but a bag, for other men : pereunt in occupatione, as fast as he gather by labour, God raises some occasion of drawing them from him again. It is not then with riches in a family, as it is with a nail in a wall, that the hard beating of it in, makes it the faster. It is not the hard and laborious getting of money, the fixing of that in a strong wall, the laying it upon lands, and such things as are vulgarly distinguished from moveables, (as though the world, and we were not moveables) nor the beating that nail hard, the binding it with entails, of iron, and adamant, and perpetuities of eternity, that makes riches permanent, and sure; but it is the good purpose in the getting, and the good use in the having. And this good use is not, when thou makest good use of thy money, but when the commonwealth, where God hath given thee thy station, makes use of it: the commonwealth must suck upon it by trade, not it upon the commonwealth, by usury. Nurses that give suck to children, maintain themselves by it too; but both must be done; thou must be enriched so, by thy money, as that the state be not impoverished. This is the good use in having it; and the good purpose in getting it, is, that God may be glorified in it; some errors in using of riches, are not so dangerous; for some employing of them in excesses, and superfluities, this is a rust, without, it will be filed off with good counsel, or it will be worn off in time; in time we come to see the vanity of it: and when we leave looking at other men's clothes, or thinking them the better men for their clothes, why should we think, that others like us the better for our clothes; those desires will decay in us. But an ill purpose in getting of them, that we might stand of ourselves, and rely upon our riches, this is a rust, a cancer at the heart, and is incurable. And therefore, if as the course, and progress of money hath been in the world from the beginning, (the observation is St. Augustine's, but it is obvious to every man acquainted with history) that first the world used iron money, and then silver money, and last of all, gold; if thy first purpose in getting, have been for iron, (that thou have intended thy money to be thy strength, and defence in all calamities) and then for silver (to provide thee abundance, and ornaments, and excesses) and then for gold, to hoard, and treasure up in a little room; Thesaurisasti iram; Thou hast treasured up tbe anger of God, against the day of anger9.
Go the same way still; account riches iron, (naturally apt to receive those rusts which we spoke of, in getting, and using) account them silver, (naturally intended to provide thee of things
9 Rom. ii. 5.
necessary) but at last come to account them gold, naturally disposed to make thee a treasure in heaven, in the right use of them.
This is the true value of them; and except thou value them thus, Nisi Dominua edificaverit, nisi Dominim custodierit", Except the Lord build, except the Lord watch, the house, and city perish; so except the Lord and his glory, be in thy travail, it is not said thou shalt not get by thy travail. Sedpereunt in occupatione. Even in the midst of thy travail, that which thou gettest, shall perish.
And then that which makes this loss the more insupportable is, (as we noted the words to signify too) pereunt in afflictione, they shall perish then, when thou art in affliction, and shouldst have most use of them, most benefit by them, most content in them. If the disfavour of great persons lie heavy upon me abroad, mihi plaudo domi, I may have health, and wealth, and I can enjoy those at home, and make myself happy in them; if I have not all that, but that sickness lie heavy upon me, yet gold is cordial: that can provide all helps, that may be had, for my recovery, and it gives me that comfort to my mind, that I shall lack no attendance, no means of reparation. But if I suffer under the judgment of the law, under the anger of the prince, under the vehemency of sickness, and then hear, that I am begged for some offence, hear of fines, and confiscations, and extents, hear of tempests and shipwrecks, hear of men's breaking, in whose hands my estate was, this is the wrath of God's anger, in this signification of the word, pereunt in afflictione. Those riches perish then, when nothing, but they, could be of use to thee.
And all this hath one step lower yet, They perish in evil travail, and in evil affliction. Now travail, did not begin in that curse, In eudore vultus; for Adam was appointed to dress paradise, and to keep paradise before; and that implied a travail. But then became his travail to be evil travail, when seeing that he could not get bread without travail, still that refreshed to him the guiltiness of that sin, which had dejected him, to that misery. Then doth the rich man see, that his riches perish by evil travail, when he calls himself to account, and finds that he trusted wholly to his own travail, and not to the blessings of God. So also every
10 Psalm cxxvii. 1.
affliction is not evil: it is rather evil to have none; if ye be without correction, you are bastards, and not sons. God's own and only essential Son, Christ Jesus, suffered most; and his adopted sons, must fulfil his sufferings in their flesh, we are born God's sons, and heirs, in his purpose at first; and we are declared to be so, in our second birth of baptism, but we are not come to years, not come to a trial, how we can govern ourselves, till we suffer afflictions, but then doth this affliction become evil, when that which God intended for physic, we turn into poison: when God hearkens after this affliction, to hear what voice it produces, and when he looks for repentance, he hears a murmuring, and repining, when he bends down his ear, for a Tibipeccavi, he hears a Quare non mortuus? Why died I not in my birth"? When he hearkens after, a Domine ne statuas, Lord lay not this sin to their charge18, a prayer for our persecutors, he hears a Redde eis vicem18, Give them a recompense O Lord, according to their work, give them a sorrow of heart, thy curse to them; as it is there, (though there, not by way of murmuring, but by way of foresight, and prophecy, that God would do so.) But to end this part, then when the rich man can make no good use of his affliction, when he finds, nullam ansam, no handle in it, to take hold of God by, when he can find no comfort in the next world, he shall lose all here too. And his riches, those riches, which his labour hath made dear unto him, shall not only be taken from him, and he put to his recovery, but they shall perish, and they shall perish in the midst of those labours, which are evil, and eat him up, and macerate him. And they shall [perish in these afflictions which are evil too, which shall not work, nor conduce to his good.
We come now to the second part: which respects more the future; He begetteth a son; first that may seem to give him some ease; every body desires it. And secondly, it may seem to give him some excuse of his gathering, because having children, he was bound to provide for them. But such is God's indignation for the getting of riches with a confidence in them, that he loses all, all comfort in his son, all excuse in himself, for in the hands of his son shall be nothing. First then, for the having of chil
11 Job iii. 11. . 18 Acts vii. 60.
18 Lam. iii. 64.
dren, and the testimony of God's love in that blessing, this diminishes nothing, the honour due to the first chastity, the chastity of virginity. There is a chastity in marriage: but the chastity of virginity, is the proper, and principal chastity. Barrenness, amongst the Jews, was An ignominious thing; but it was considered only in them which did marry, and were barren: God hath given us marriage for physic; but it is an unwholesome wantonness to take physic before we need it: marriage, in God's institution at first, had but two ends; in prolem, and in adjutorium; after man was fallen sick, then another was added, in remedium. Marriage is properly according to God's institution, when all these concur: where none do it is scarce a marriage. When we have taken the physic, yet we are not come to the state of strength, and health, which is intended in marriage, till we have children to be the staff of our age; Behold children are the inheritance of the Lord, and the fruit of the womb his rewa?-d"; he gives marriage for physic; but children are a real blessing, in itself, and reserved to him. And therefore, when God hath given us that use of marriage, (we are married) he is at an end of his physic; he doth not appoint us to take physic again for children: he does not forbid us to take physic, to preserve our bodies in a good, and healthy constitution; but drugs, and broths, and baths, purposely for children, come not out of his shop ; they are not his ingredients. It is his own work, the gift of children: and therefore when Rachel came to say to Jacob; Give me children, or eke I die15, Jacob's anger was kindled against her, Anne ego pro deo: Am I a god, to do this. And therefore it is not inconveniently noted, that as the first man Cain, was called Acquisitu s a Domino, he was possessed from the Lord; so after, so very many names in the Scriptures, held that way of testifying the gift to come from God, that as Samuel, which is postulatus a Deo, so all the names that have that termination, el, have such a signification in them; and so in the declining of the Jews' state, Matheus, is Domini Dei, and Johannes, is gratia Dei; and in the beginning of the Christian church, everywhere they abounded with, Deo date, Deus dedit, and quod vult Deus, and such names as were acknowledgments, that children were the immediate gift of
14 Psalm cxxvii. 14. 15 Gen. xxx. 1.
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God. And therefore when God said to Abraham; I will be thine exceeding great reward, and Abraham said, O Lord God what wilt thou give me, seeing I am childless"? God comes to particulars with him first in that, that he would give him children: and therefore, as to all men, so to this rich man; in our text, it may be naturally admitted for a comfort, that he had a son.
Now as it was a just comfort, to have children, so it was a just excuse, a just encouragement to provide for them; If there be any that provideth not for his own, he denieth the faith17; (that is, in his actions, and works of faith,) and he is worse than an infidel; for infidels do provide for their own. Christianismi famam negligit1', He betrays the honour, and dignity of the Christian religion; if he neglect his children, and he hath opened a large gate of scandal to the Gentiles. And therefore saith St. Augustine, Quicunque vult: Whosoever will disinherit his sons, though it be upon pretext of doing good service, by building, or endowing a church, or making the church his heir; Quwrat alterum qui suscipiat, non Augustinum: immo, Deo propitio, neminem invernet: Let him find another that will accept his offer; for Augustine will not; nor, by God's grace any other. The tie, the obligation of providing for our children, binds us strictly; for it is, secunda post Deum foederatio"; next to the band of religion, next to our service to God, our first duty is to provide for them.
But yet, Dic obsecro, cum liberos d Deo petiisti*"; when thou didst pray to God to give thee children, didst thou add this clause to thy prayer, Da liberos, Give me children, that I may thereby have an excuse, of my coVetousness, of my breach of thy commandment, of my prophaning thy Sabbaths, of my usury, of my perjury; was this in thy prayer, saith he. If it were, the child shall surely die, as Nathan said to David: God will punish thee, in taking those children from thee, which were the colours of thy sin: The children of the ungodly, shall not obtain many branches"; not extend to many generations; if they do, if his children be in great number, the sword shall destroy them; his remnant shall be buried in death, and his widows shall not
weep". Howsoever, as the words of the text stand, the Holy Ghost hath left us at our liberty, to observe one degree of misery more in this corrupt man. That he is said, to have begot his son, after those riches are perished. He had a discomfort in evil travail, and in evil affliction before; he hath another now, that when all is gone, then he hath children, the foresight of whose misery must needs be a continual affliction unto him. For St. Augustine reports it, not as a leading case, likely to be followed, but as a singular case, likely to stand alone; that when a rich man, who had no child, nor hope of any, had given his estate to Auretius bishop of Carthage, and after, beyond all expectation, came to have children, that good bishop unconstrained by any law, or intent in the donor, gave him back his estate again. God, when he will punish ill getting, will take to himself that which was robbed from him, and then, if he give children, he will not be bound to restitution.
But if this rich man have his riches, and his son together, the son may have come from God, and the riches from the devil, and God will not join them together. Howsoever, he may in his mercy provide for the son otherwise, yet he will not make him heir of his father's estate. The substance of the ungodly shall be dried up like a river; and they shall make a sonnd like a thunder, in rain*3. It shall perish, and it shall be inparabolam, it shall be the wonder, and the discourse of the time. If they be not wasted in his own time, yet he shall be an ill, but a true prophet upon himself; he shall have impressions, and sensible apprehensions of a future waste, as soon, as he is gone: he shall hear, or he shall whisper to himself that voice: O fool, this night they will fetch away thy soul"; he must go under the imputation of a fool, where the wisdom of this generation, (which was all the wisdom he had,) will do him no good; he must go like a fool. His soul must be fetched away; he hath not his, in manus tuas, his willing surrender of his soul ready; it must be fetched in the night of ignorance, when he knows not his own spiritual state; it must be fetched in the night of darkness, in the night of solitude, no sense of the assistance of the communion of
"Job xxvii. 14. M Ecclus. Xl. 21 Luke xii. 20.
saints in the Triumphant, nor in the Militant church; in the night of disconsolateness; no comfort in that sea, absolution, which by the power committed to them, God's ministers came* to the penitent, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and it must be fetched this night; the night is already upon him, before he thought of it. All this, that the soul of this fool, shall be fetched away this night, is presented for certain, and inevitable; all this admits no question; but the Quw parasti, cujus erunt, there is the doubt: Then, whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? If he say, they shall be his son's, God saith here, In his hand shall be nothing; for, though God may spare him, that his riches be not perished before his death, though God have not discovered his iniquity, by that manner of punishment, yet, Quod in radice celatur, in ramis declaratur; God will show that in the bough which was hid in the root, the iniquity of the father in the penury of the son. And therefore, to conclude all, since riches are naturally conditioned so, as that they are to the owner's harm, either testimonies of his former hard dealing in the world, or temptation to future sins, or provocations to other men's malice, since that though, thou may have repented the ill getting of those riches, yet, thou mayest have omitted restitution, and so there hovers an invisible owner over thy riches, which may carry them away at last, since though, thou mayest have repented, and restored, and possess thy riches, that are left, with a good conscience; yet as we said before, from Nathan's mouth, the child may die, God, that hath many ways of expressing his mercies, may take this one way of expressing his judgment, that yet thy son shall have nothing of all that in his hand, put something else into his hand; put a book, put a sword, put a ship, put a plough, put a trade, put a course of life, a calling, into his hand; and put something into his head, the wisdom, and discretion, and understanding of a serpent, necessary for those courses, and callings. But principally, put something into his heart, a religious fear, and reverence of his Maker; a religious apprehension, and application of his Saviour, a religious sense, and acceptation of the comforts of the Holy Spirit -, that so, if he feel, that for his
* It is thus in the text: I am quite unable to correct it satisfactorily.—Ed.
father's hard dealing, Crod hath removed the possession from him, he doth not doubt therefore of God's mercy to his father, nor dishonour his father's memory, but behave himself so in his course, as that the like judgment may not fall upon his son; but that his riches increasing, by his good travail, they may still remain in the hands of his son, whom he hath begotten.