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Pilate, Herod, Elders; miserable Abel, Joseph, Moses, David, Elijah, Micaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, John, Christ, the Disciples? Yet we know Cain's victory was as woeful, as Abel's martyrdom glorious; Joseph's irons were more precious, than the golden tires of his Mistress; Moses' reeds were more sure, than Pharaoh's cedars; David's cave in the desert more safe, than the towers of Saul; Elijah's raven a more comfortable purveyor, than all the officers of Jezebel; Micaiah's prison was the guard-chamber of angels, when Ahab's presence was the counsel-chamber of evil spirits; Jeremiah's dungeon had more true light of comfort, than the shining state of Zedekiah; Daniel was better guarded with the lions, than Darius and the Median Princes with their Janisaries; John's head was more rich with the crown of his martyrdom, than Herod's with the diadem of his Tetrarchate; Christ at the bar gave life and being to Pilate on the bench, gave motion to those hands that struck him, to that tongue that condemned him, and, in the mean while, gave sentence on his Judge; the Disciples were better pleased with their stripes and weals, than the Jewish Elders with their proud phylacteries. After this, who, that had seen the primitive Christians; some broiled on gridirons, others boiled in lead; some roasted, others frozen to death; some flayed, others torn with horses; some crashed in pieces by the teeth of lions, others cast down from the rocks to the stakes; some smiling on the wheel, others in the flame; all wearying their tormentors, and shaming their tyrants, with their patience; would not have said; "Of all things, I would not be a Christian?" Yet, even this while, were these poor torturing-stocks higher, as Marcus Arethusius bragged, than their persecutors: dying victors; yea, victors of death: never so glorious, as when they began not to be: in gasping, crowned; in yielding the ghost, more than conquerors: Judge not, therefore, according to appearance.
When thou lookest about, and seest, on the one hand, a poor conscionable Christian, drooping under the remorse of his sin; austerely checking his wanton appetite, and curbing his rebellious desires; wearing out his days in a rough penitential severity; cooling his unfrequent pleasures with sighs, and saucing them with tears: on the other hand, ruffling Gallants, made all of pleasure and jovial delights, bathing themselves in a sea of all sensual satieties; denying their pampered nature nothing under heaven, not wine in bowls, not strange flesh and beastly dalliance, not unnatural titillations nor violent filthiness; that feast without fear, and drink without measure, and swear without feeling, and live without God; their bodies are vigorous, their coffers full, their state prosperous, their hearts cheerful: Oh, how thou blessest such men! "Lo, these," thou sayest," these are the darlings of heaven and earth: Sic ó sic juvat vivere: while those other sullen mopish creatures are the naságpala, off-scouring and recrements of the world." Thou fool; give me thy hand: let me lead thee with David into the Sanctuary of God. Now, what seest thou? The end, the end of these men is not peace: Surely, O God, thou hast set them in slippery places,
and castest them down into desolation: how suddenly are they perished, and horribly consumed! Woe is me! they do but dance a galliard over the mouth of hell, that seems now covered over with the green sods of pleasure: the higher they leap, the more desperate is their lighting. O woeful, woeful condition of those godless men; yea, those Epicurean Porkets, whose belly is their God, whose heaven is their pleasure, whose cursed jollity is but a feeding up to an eternal slaughter! The day is coming, wherein every minute of their sinful unsatisfying joys, shall be answered with a thousand thousand millions of years' frying in that unquenchable fire: and, when those damned Ghosts shall, forth of their incessant flames, see the glorious remuneration of the penitent and pensive souls which they have despised, they shall then gnash and yell out that late recantation; We fools thought their life madness, and their end without honour; now they are counted among the children of God, and their portion is among the saints, ours amongst devils: Judge not, therefore, according to appearance.
4. Should we judge according to appearance, ALL WOULD BE GOLD, THAT GLISTERETH; ALL DROSS, THAT GLISTERETH NOT. Hypocrites have never shewed more fair, than some Saints foul. Saul weeps;
Ahab walks softly; Tobias and Sanballat will be building God's walls; Herod hears John gladly; Baalam prophesies Christ, Judas preaches him, Satan confesses him: When even an Abraham dissembles; a David cloaks adultery with murder; a Solomon gives, at least a toleration to idolatry; a Peter forswears his Master; briefly, the prime disciple is a Satan, Satan an angel of light. For you: how gladly are we deceived, in thinking you all such as you seem: none but the Court of Heaven hath a fairer face. Prayers, sermons, sacraments, geniculation, silence, attention, reverence, applause, knees, eyes, ears, mouths full of God: oh, that ye were thus always! oh, that this were your worst side! but, if we follow you from the Church, and find cursing and bitterness under your tongues, licentious disorder in your lives, bribery and oppression in your hands; if God look into the windows of your hearts, and find there be, intùs rapine, we cannot judge you by the appearance; or, if we could, what comfort were it to have deceived our charity with the appearance of Saints, when the Righteous Judge shall give you your portion with Hypocrites? Whatever We do, He will be sure not to judge according to ap
5. If appearance should be the rule, FALSE RELIGION SHOULD BE TRUE; TRUE, false. Quædam falsa probabiliora quibusdam veris, is the old word; "Some falsehoods are more likely than some truths." Native beauty scorns art. Truth is as a matron; error, a courtesan: the matron cares only to conciliate love, by a grave and graceful modesty; the courtesan, with philtres and farding. We have no hierarchy mounted above kings; no pompous ostentation of magnificence; no garish processions; no gaudy altars; no fine images clad with taffeties in summer, with velvets in
winter; no flourishes of universality; no rumours of miracles; no sumptuous canonizations: we have nothing but yáλa adoλov; the sincerity of Scriptures, simplicity of sacraments, decency of rare ceremonies, Christ crucified. We are gone, if you go by appearance: gone? alas, who can but blush and weep and bleed, to see that Christian souls should, after such beams of knowledge, suffer themselves to be thus palpably cozened with the gilded slips of error! that, after so many years' pious government of such an incomparable succession of religious princes, Authority should have cause to complain of our defection!
Dear Christians, I must be sharp, are we children or fools, that we should be better pleased with the glittering tinsel of a painted baby from a pedlar's shop, than with the secretly-rich and invaluable jewel of Divine Truth? Have we thus learned Christ? Is this the fruit of so clear a Gospel? of so blessed sceptres? For God's sake, be wise and honest, and ye cannot be Apostates.
6. Shortly; for it were easy to be endless; if appearance might be the rule, GOOD SHOULD BE EVIL; EVIL, GOOD. There is no virtue, that cannot be counterfeited; no vice, that cannot be blanched: we should have no such friend, as our enemy, a flatterer; no such enemy, as our friend, that reproves us. It were a wonder, if ye Great Ones should not have some such burs hanging upon your sleeves: as soon shall corn grow without chaff, as greatness shall be free from adulation. These servile spirits shall sooth up all your purposes, and magnify all your actions, and applaud your words, and adore your persons: sin what you will; they will not check you: project what you will; they will not thwart you: say what ye will; they will not fail to second you: be what ye will; they will not fail to admire you. Oh, how these men are all for you, all yours, all you. They love you, as the ravens do your eyes. How dear was Sisera to Jael, when she smoothed him up, and gave him milk in a lordly dish! Samson to Dalilah, when she lulled him in her lap! Christ to Judas, when he kissed him!" See how he loved him!" would some fool have said, that had judged by appearance.
In the mean time, an honest plain-dealing friend is like those sauces, which a man praises with tears in his eyes; like a chesnut, which pricks the fingers, but pleases our taste; or, like some wholesome medicinal potion, that distastes and purges us, perhaps makes us sick, that it may heal us. Oh, let the righteous smite me, for that is a benefit; let him reprove me, and it shall be a precious oil that shall not break my head: break it? no; it shall heal it, when it is mortally wounded by mine own sin, by others assentation. Oh, how happy were it, if we could love them, that love our souls; and hate them, that love our sins! They are these rough hands, that must bring us savory dishes, and carry away a blessing. Truth is for them now, thanks shall be for them hereafter; but, in the mean time, they may not be judged by the appearance.
Lastly, if we shall judge friendship, by compliment; salubrity,
by sweetness; service, by the eye; fidelity, by oaths; valour, by brags; a saint, by his face; a devil, by his feet; we shall be sure to be deceived: Judge not, therefore, according to appearance.
But, that ye mistake not, though we may not judge only by the appearance, yet appearance may not be neglected in our judgment. Some things, according to the philosopher, doxe μèv, ésì de, and are," are as they seem. Semblances are not always severed from truth. Our senses are safe guides to our understandings. We justly laugh at that sceptic in Laertius, who, because his servants robbed his cupboard, doubted whether he left his victuals there. What do we with eyes, if we may not believe their intelligence? That world is past, wherein the gloss Clericus amplectens fœminam presumitur benedicendi causa fecisse; "The wanton embracements of another man's wife, must pass, with a Clerk, for a ghostly benediction." Men are now more wise, less charitable. Words and probable shews are appearances, actions are not; and yet even our words also shall judge us: if they be filthy, if blasphemous, if but idle, we shall account for them, we shall be judged by them; Ex ore tuo. A foul tongue shews ever a rotten heart: By their fruits ye shall know them, is our Saviour's rule. I may safely say, Nobody desires to borrow colours of evil. If you do ill, think not that we will make dainty to think you so; when the God of Love can say by the Disciple of Love, Qui facit peccatum, ex diabolo est. He, that committeth sin, is of the Devil. Even the Righteous Judge of the World judgeth secundum opera, according to our works; we cannot err, while we tread in his steps. If we do evil, sin lies at the door; but it is on the street-side: every passenger sees it, censures it; how much more He, that sees in secret.
Tribulation and anguish upon every soul that doth evil. Every soul: here is no exemption by greatness; no buying off with bribes; no blearing of the eyes with pretences; no shrouding ourselves in the night of secrecy; but, if it be a soul that doth evil, tribulation and anguish is for it: contrarily, if we do well, shall we not be accepted? If we be charitable in our alms, just in our awards, faithful in our performances, sober in our carriages, devout in our religious services, conscionable in our actions; Glory, and honour, and peace to every man that worketh good; we shall have peace with ourselves, honour with men, glory with God and his angels: yea, that peace of God, which passeth all understanding; such honour as have all his Saints, the incomprehensible glory of the God of Peace, the God of Saints and Angels: to the participation whereof, that good God that hath ordained us, as mercifully bring us, for the sake of his dear Son Jesus Christ the Just. To whom, with thee, O Father, and thy Good Spirit, One Infinite God, our God, be given all praise, honour, and glory, now and for ever. Amen.
THE GREAT IMPOSTOR:
LAID OPEN IN A SERMON AT GRAY'S INN, FEBRUARY 2, 1623.
TO THE MOST NOBLE, AND WORTHILY HONOURED
SOCIETY OF GRAY'S INN:
AT WHOSE BAR THIS IMPOSTOR WAS OPENLY ARRAIGNED:
HUMBLY DEDICATES THIS PUBLIC LIFE OF HIS WEAK AND UNWORTHY LABOUR.
JEREMIAH xvii. 9.
The heart is deceitful above all things.
I KNOW where I am: in one of the famous Phrontisteries of Law and Justice. Wherefore serve Law and Justice, but for the prevention or punishment of fraud and wickedness? Give me leave, therefore, to bring before you, Students, Masters, Fathers, Oracles of law and justice, the greatest Cheater and Malefactor in the world; our own Heart.
It is a great word, that I have said, in promising to bring him before you; for this is one of the greatest advantages of his fraud, that he cannot be seen: that, as that old juggler, Apollonius Thyanaus, when he was brought before the Judge, vanished out of sight; so this great Impostor, in his very presenting before you, dispeareth and is gone; yea, so cunningly, that he doth it with our own consent, and we would be loth that he could be seen.
Therefore, as an Epiphonema to this just complaint of deceitfulness, is added, Who can know it? It is easy to know that it is deceitful, and in what it deceives; though the deceits themselves cannot be known, till too late: as we may see the ship, and the sea, and the ship going on the sea; yet, the way of a ship in the sea, as Solomon observes, we know not.
God asks, and God shall answer. What he asks by Jeremiah, he shall answer by St. Paul; Who knows the heart of man? Even the spirit of man that is in him; 1 Cor. ii. 11. If then the heart have but eyes cnow to see itself by the reflection of thoughts, it is