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profitable book, and often read it; and let your meditations be holy, and your discourses edifying. For these you have opportunities, if you have hearts. Direct. x 11. ‘Take heed that command or successes do not puff you up, and make you overvalue yourselves, and incline you to rebel against your governors.” What lamentable effects hath England lately seen of this A silly, halfwitted soldier, if he be but made a captain, doth carry it as if he were wiser than the preachers, or the judge . As if his dignity had added to his wit! When victories have laid the power at men's feet, and they think now that none is able to control them, how few are they that abuse not such success to their own undoing, and are not conquered by the pride of their own hearts, when they have conquered others! How ordinarily do they mis-expound the providence of God, and think he hath put the government into their hands, because they have the strength; and from the histories of former successful rebels, and the fairness of their opportunity, encourage themselves to rebel, and think they do but what is their duty! How easily do they justify themselves in those unlawful deeds, which impartial bye-standers see the evil of And how easily do they quiet their consciences, when they have but power enough to raise up flatterers, and to stop the mouth of wholesome reprehension How lamentably doth prosperity make them drunk, and sudden advancement overturn their brains! And their greatmess, together with their pride and fury, preserveth them from the accesses of wisdom, and of sober men, that so their malady may have no remedy: and there like a drunken man, they rave awhile, and speak big words, and lay about them, and glory in the honour of a pestilence, that they can kill men; and we must not speak to them, till their heads are settled, and they come to themselves, and that is not usually till the hand of God have laid them lower than it found them, and then perhaps they will again hear reason; unless pride hath left their souls as desperate, as at last it doth their bodies or estates. The experience of this age may stand on record, as a teacher to future generations, what power there is in great successes, to conquer both reason, religion, righteousness, professions, vows, and all obligations
to God and man, by puffing up the heart with pride, and thereby making the understanding drunken.
Though murder be a sin which human nature and interest do so powerfully rise up against, that one would think besides the laws of nature, and the fear of temporal punishment, there should need no other argument against: and though it be a sin which is not frequently committed, except by soldiers, yet because man's corrupted heart is liable to it, and because one sin of such a heinous nature may be more mischievous than many small infirmities, I shall not wholly pass by this sin, which falls in order here before me. I shall give men no other advice against it, than only to open to them, 1. The Causes; 2. The Greatness; and 3. The Consequents of the sin. I. The causes of murder, are either the nearest, or the more radical and remote. The opening of the nearest sort of causes, will be but to tell you, how many ways of murdering the world is used to And when you know the cause the contrary to it is the prevention. Avoid those causes, and you avoid the sin. 1. The greatest cause of the cruellest murders is unlawful wars. All that a man killeth in an unlawful war, he murdereth; and all that the army killeth, he that setteth them at work by command or counsel, is guilty of himself. And therefore, how dreadful a thing is an unrighteous war? And how much have men need to look about them, and try every other lawful way, and suffer long, before they venture upon war! It is the skill and glory of a soldier, when he can kill more than other men. He studieth it; he maketh it the matter of his greatest care, and valour, and endeavour; he goeth through very great difficulties to accomplish it; this is not like a sudden and involuntary act. Thieves and robbers kill single persons; but soldiers murder thousands at a time: and because there is none at present to judge them vo L. V. i. - K
for it, they wash their hands, as if they were innocent, and sleep as quietly, as if the avenger of blood would never come. O what devils are those counsellors and incendiaries to princes and states, who stir them up to unlawful wars! 2. Another cause and way of murder, is by the pride and tyranny of men in power. When they do it easily, because they can do it; when their will and interest is their rule, and their passion seemeth a sufficient warrant for their injustice. It is not only Neros, Tiberiuses, Domitians, &c. that are guilty of this crying crime; but O ! what man that careth for his soul, had not rather be tormented a thousand years, than have the blood-guiltiness of a famous, applauded Alexander, or Caesar, or Tamerlane, to answer for So dangerous a thing is it to have power to do mischief, that Uriah may fall by David's guilt, and Crispus may be killed by his father Constantine. O what abundance of horrid murders do the histories of almost all empires and kingdoms of the world afford us! The maps of the affairs of Greeks and Romans, of Tartarians, Turks, Russians, Germans, of heathens and infidels, of Papists and too many Protestants, are drawn out with too many purple lines, and their histories written in letters of blood. What write the Christians of the infidels, the orthodox of the Arians, (Romans, or Goths, or Vandals,) or the most impartial historians of the mock-catholics of Rome, but “blood, blood, blood.” How proudly and loftily doth a tyrant look, when he telleth the oppressed innocent that displeaseth him, “Sirrah, I will make you know my power! Take him, imprison him, rack him, hang him!” Or as Pilate to Christ, “Knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee"?” “I will make you know that your life is in my hand: heat the furnace seven times hotter".” Alas, poor worm Hast thou power to kill? So hath a toad or adder, or mad dog, or pestilence, when God permitteth it. Hast thou power to kill? But hast thou power also to keep thyself alive? And to keep thy corpse from rottenness and dust? And to keep thy soul from paying for it in hell? Or to keep thy conscience from worrying thee for it to all eternity? With how trembling a heart, and ghastly look wilt thou at last hear of this, which now thou gloriest in. The , bones and dust of the oppressed innocents, will be as great and honourable as thine; and their souls perhaps in rest and joy, when thine is tormented by infernal furies. When thou art in Nebuchadnezzar's glory, what a mercy were it to thee, if thou mightest be turned out among the beasts, to prevent thy being turned out among the devils. If killing and destroying be the glory of thy greatness, the devils are more honourable than thou; and as thou agreest with them in thy work and glory, so shalt thou in the reward. 3. Another most heinous cause of murder is, a maligmant enmity against the godly, and a persecuting, destructive zeal. What a multitude of innocents hath this consumed ! And what innumerable companies of holy souls are still crying for vengeance on these persecutors . The enmity began immediately upon the fall, between the woman's and the serpent's seed. It shewed itself presently in the two first men that were born into the world. A malignant envy against the accepted sacrifice of Abel, was able to make his brother to be his murderer. And it is usual with the devil, to cast some bone of carnal interest also between them, to heighten the malignant enmity. Wicked men are all covetous, voluptuous and proud; and the doctrine and practice of the godly, doth contradict them and condemn them : and they usually espouse some wicked interest, or engage themselves in some service of the devil, which the servants of Christ are bound in their several places and callings to resist. And then not only this resistance, though it be but by the most humble words or actions, yea, the very conceit that they are not for their interest and way, doth instigate the befooled world to persecution. And thus an Ishmael and an Isaac, an Esau and a Jacob, a Saul and a David, cannot live together in peace; “But as then he that was born after the flesh, persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now *.” Saul's interest maketh him think it just to persecute David; and religiously he blesseth those that furthered him; “Blessed be ye of the Lord, for ye have compassion on me".” He justifieth himself in murdering the priests, because he thought that they helped David against him; and Doeg seemeth but a dutiful subject, in executing his bloody command". And
* John xix. 10. b Dan. iii.
Shimei thought he might boldly curse him". And he could scarce have charged him with more odious sin, than to be “A bloody man, and a man of Belial.” If the prophet speak against Jeroboam's political religion, he will say, “Lay hold on him *.” Even Asa will be raging wrathful, and imprison the prophet that reprehendeth his sin". Ahab will feed Micaiah in a prison with the bread and water of affliction, if he contradict him ". And even Jerusalem killed the prophets, and stoned them which were sent to gather them under the gracious wing of Christ". “Which of the prophets did they not persecute'?” And if you consider but what streams of blood since the death of Christ and his apostles, have been shed for the sake of Christ and righteousness, it will make you wonder, that so much cruelty can consist with humanity, and men and devils should be so like. The same man, as Paul, as soon as he ceaseth to shed the blood of others, must look in the same way to lose his own. How many thousands were murdered by heathen Rome in the ten persecutions! And how many by the Arian emperors and kings And how many by more orthodox princes in their particular distastes' And yet how far hath the pretended vicar of Christ outdone them all ! How many hundred thousands of the Albigenses, Waldenses and Bohemians, hath the Papal rage consumed ! Two hundred thousand the Irish murdered in a little space, to outgo the thirty or forty thousand which the French massacre made an end of The sacrifices offered by their fury in the flames, in the Marian persecution here in England, were nothing to what one day hath done in other parts. What volumes can contain the particular histories of them 2 What a shambles was their inquisition in the Low countries 2 And what is the employment of it still? So that a doubting man would be inclined to think, that Papal Rome is the murderous Babylon, that doth but consider, “How drunken she is with the blood of the saints, and the martyrs of Jesus; and that the blood of saints will be found in her, in her day of trial".” If we should look over all the rest of the world, and reckon up the torments and murders of the innocent, (in Japan, and
2 Sam. xvi. 7, 8. * 1 Kings Xiii. 4. * 2 Chron. xvi. 10. 1 1 Kings xxii. 27. * Matt. xxiii. 37. | Acts vii. 52. m Rev. xvii. 6. xviii. 24.