Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.
~ Isaiah 29:14, Isaiah 6:9-10
They have not known nor understood: for he hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see; and their hearts, that they cannot understand. In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
~ Isaiah 44:18, 2 Corinthians 4:4
(Beforetime in Israel, when a man went to enquire of God, thus he spake, Come, and let us go to the seer: for he that is now called a Prophet was beforetime called a Seer.) Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:
~ 1 Samuel 9:9, Isaiah 30:10
So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.
~ Jonah 1:6
Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
~ 1 Corinthians 15:34, Ephesians 5:14, Acts 26:18, Ephesians 5:8
A Sleeping Sickness the Distemper of the Times: As It Was Discovered in Its Curse and Cure, by William Jenkyn, a Minister of God’s Word at Christ-Church in London.
In a Sermon Preached before the Right Honourable the House of Peeres in the Abby-Church at Westminster upon the 27th of January, the day appointed for their Solemne and publicke humiliation.
And that knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleepe: for now is our salvation nearer then when we beleeved.
1 Thes. 5.6.
Therefore let us not sleepe, as doe others: but let us watch and be sober.
Ordered by the Lords in Parliament assembled, That Mr. Jenkyn, is hereby thanked for his great paines taken in his Sermon Preached before the Lords of Parliament this day in the Abby-Curch Westminster, it being the day of the publike Fast: And he is hereby desired to Print and publish his said Sermon. And that none doe presume to Print the said Sermon or any will thereof, without Authority under his owne hand.
Jo. Brown Cler. Parl.
I doe appoint Christopher Meredith to Print my Sermon.
To the Right Honourable the House of Peeres Assembled in Parliament.
How great a Remora the seeking our selves is to the setting up the Temple, your Lordships heard when last you commanded my service in preaching before you; another enemy I here presente to your Lordships no lesse destructive to reformation then that, it is the spirit of slumber. The former was a sinfull working, this latter a sinfull resting; If both these have as deeply seiz’d upon our work-men as they, are directly opposite to our worke; my excuse is at hand for my endeavour in both Sermons more to quicken then to quiet you.
The matter of my Epistle to your Lordships, now I print, shall be the conclusion of my Sermon, when I preach’t I shall preach that first to your eye which came last to your eare, and the rather, for that the conclusion of my Sermon, had so much of an Epistle to my hand as that it concerned onely your Lorships.
My Lords, I beseech you to shake off this spirit of slumber.
1. As it is hurtfull to your owne soules.
2. As it is hurtfull to the kingdome.
For the former, labour for the quickning power of the spirit of Christ to awaken you that sleep, and to wake you stand up from the dead; all rising to the highest pinacle of honour, without this is but falling. The second death will not spare the noblest of you that have not a part in the first resurrection Entomb not your noble spirits in the sepulchre, of sin and rottennesse. Peerage may come by the first, Grace onely by the second birth. Nobles are borne without spirituall life, and grace as well as the meanest, My Lords, I beseech you remember, that hee that is but a meere man, or a meere Nobleman, is a miserable man; and better you had never been either of them, then not to be more then either. The reason why you complaine not so much of your misery by nature, and of your Christ-les condition as others doe is not because you are lesse miserable or lesse without Christ then others are, but because you see it not so much as others do; nobility is no exception from those general rules, without holinesse no man shall see God, and except a man be borne againe he shall not enter into the kingdome of God. My Lords, the sepulchre and the scripture know no difference twixt robes and rags, peers and pesants. If poore men bee holy for themselves and you too, they shall goe to heaven for themselves and you too: what thinke you of your selves, when you heare that men of low condition weep for and complaine of sinne, strive, and thirst, and wrestle for Christ, and you all this while remaine hard and secure, and regardlesse of Christ and your own soules? oh that you would insteed of beleiving that you are too good for these things, feare lest these things are too good for you; not many noble, is a dreadfull passage. And that none of the Princes of this world knew the wisdome of God. The Lords spirituall (so call’d) grew too temporall, but the Lords temporall cannot bee too spirituall; temporall pragmaticallnesse ruind them, spirituall practises must uphold you; the power of Godlinesse is the onely means to save your soules and the best to silence your foes.
Shake off this spirit of slumber as hurtfull to the kingdome, and that in two respects, of
1. Bee sensible that the Church is wounded by the soule-stroying opinions of Antinomians, Arminians, Anabaptists, Seekers Anti-scripturists, Antitrinitairans. &c. All which with many more have been more propagated these foure yeares of Church Anarchie then in fourscore of Church tyranny.
Bee sensible that the ministeriall function is by some denyed, by others inuaded, by corner preachers, a company who divide their houre between blasphemy and nonsense.
Bee sensible that the government which you have set up among us is so imperfect, and discountenanced (I tremble to say by whom) that it is rather a scorne then a curb to men disaffected to holinesse.
Bee sensible that our sacred Covenant is commonly either refused, or abused; and lookt upon by many onely as a Politique Stratagem to bee us’d while our miseries lasted, The Lord who was the witnesse of our taking it, will shortly bee our Judge for our breaking it. If wee will keep our covenant onely in our affliction; wee must looke againe for affliction to make keep our covenant.
Bee sensible of the wants and poverties of learned and faithfull Manisters, let it never be said that they who under Bishops were overcome by batteries should under the Parliament bee overcome by starving.
Be sensible of the Cries of the Fatherlesse, the Widowes, the oppressed, the delayed, the maimed, the wounded, whose services have been your safties, and their bloods your Honours, your Estates, your ornaments, your lives.
Be sensible of the taxes, and pressing burthens of the poore wasted Kingdome; The poore Countryman complaining that he is a long time sweating & smarting to gather that which a little breath shall bestow by thousands upon those that are as farre from want as worke, and some say, as farre from worth at either.
Be sensible of this famous Cities love, care, cost, blood; Let her not suffer by protections or any other needlesse burthens, by her losse (or yours shall I say) of her faithfull Ministers; Your Lord-ships noble resentment of her religious and loyall Petitions, hath several times refreshed her, goe on in answering them as you doe:
2. Cast off the spirit of sleep in respect of unactivenesse. Be active in reforming in the fore-mentioned particulars: sleep not away your summer seasons. The Lord grant too much of it be not spent already. Let not those richly laden opportunities which have beene safely brought through a raging Sea by vigilancy, be cast away in the haven by sloath. Let it never be said that all are active but those that should be so. The activenesse of particular men for themselves is rather noted then liked; God hath beene active for you and us; he hath given us more then ever we lookt for: we him, lesse then, nay contrary to what wee have covenanted. What would become of your Honours if God lay you aside like broken vessels, and say I take no delight in using such for my service, or should Christ say to you concerning his cause, as once he did to his Disciples concerning himselfe. Sleep on now and take your rest, behold the houre is at hand, and my cause is betrayed into the hands of sinners; The prevention of which as it should bee your Lordships care, so it shall bee the prayer, My Lords, of
Your faithfull Servant and soule-remembrancer. William Jenkyn.
A Sermon Preached to the Right Honourable House of Lords, at the late fast January 27th 1646.
The Lord hath powred out upon you the spirit of deepe sleepe.
(Introduction) This Prophet Isaiah is famous both for promises and threatnings: for promising Comforts; for threatning judgements. 1. When he promiseth mercies hee ordinarily intermixeth spirituall with temporall mercies.
2. When he denounceth judgements he often threatens spirituall as well as temporall. For the latter, viz. Judgements denounced, In this chapter he threatens temporall Judgements to verse the 7. and spirituall to the 15.
1. For temporall judgements; 1. He tells us against whom he denounceth them: against Jerusalem called, 1. Ariel, v. 1. 2. The Citie where David dwelt. Ariel signifieth the Lyon of God; Jerusalem being so called either 1. because of its potencie and strength; as the Lyon is the prince of beasts, so was Jerusalem of , and Judah in which Tribe Jerusalem was, is Gen. 49.9. called a Lyon and a Lyons whelpe, and to set out the greatnesse of this power ’tis also called here a Lyon of God, an usual expression to denote the excellencie and greatnesse of a thing. 2. Jerusalem is by some thought to bee called the Lyon of God in regard of the Temple and Altar therein, which hath the same name, Ezek. 43.15, 16. because they look’t upon their Temple and Altar as their strength, and trusted more in that then in all their other supplies, thinking that so long as they had them, they had God among them; or in regard of the abundance of sacrifices which their Altar devoured even as the Lyon devoureth beasts. 3. Jerusalem is thought by others to be termed here by the Prophet the Lyon of God, in regard of its fiercenesse and cruelty against the servants and messengers of God as the Lyon devoureth the Lamb according to that of Jer. 12.7. I have forsaken my house, &c. My heritage is under the the forrest, it cryeth against mee; 2. the City where David dwelt; where by God would slight the vaine opinion of their and priviledges.
2. In this denouncing of temporall judgements, he opposeth their security, whereby they promised to themselves, in regard of the delay of vengeance and their daily sacrifices, safety and peace, and ye year to year let them kill sacrifices. verse 1.
3. He foretelleth the judgement that should befall them; I will distresse Ariel, I will campe against thee round about, and lay siege against thee, verse 2, 3. And this the Prophet further amplifieth, 1 from the Lownesse of their condition, that extreame contemptiblenesse that hereafter they should lie under. They shall bee brought downe, and speake out of the ground, and out of the dust, as one that hath a familiar spirit: ( 4) though now thy voyce is proud and thundering, though now thou liftest up thy selfe against my threatning Prophets, yet when my judgements shall befall thee, thou shalt rather whisper then speake, thou shalt be so fearefull, and poore; even as the familiar spirits send forth a trembling, sad, soft, whispering voyce out of the earth to those that enquire of them, verse 4.
2. The Prophet amplifieth this judgement that should befall them from the in efficacie of all those helps and helpers that should come to them for their assistance; all the multitude of strangers that should come to help them, against God should be as the chaffe and dust: God would as easily puffe them away, and ruine them, with his storme and tempest and thunder. verse 5, 6.
The spirituall judgement that should lye upon them all this while their Calamity was in its nearest approaches, ( 2) was an insensible regardlesse, secure temper of soule, takeing no heed, giving no regard to all these dismall denuntiacions.
Which wretched distemper under their approaching Calamities is set out under a 3-fold resemblance.
1. Of a sweet and delightfull dreame, whereby deluded Persons please themselves with thoughts of food and fullnesse, though hungry and empty. v. 8.
2. of a drunken staggering Person, that regardes not what the dangers are that hang over his head; A spiritual drunkenesse (worse then that with wine) had invaded their hearts and heads, whereby Reason was so clog’d and dul’d, that nothing was perceived that was preached. v. 9.
3. Of a deepe and dead sleep, even the Spirit of it; whereby their senses were (as it were) so stupified and benummed, that did the Prophets cry and call in their eares never so loud they would yet lye still, and not stirr up themselves to shun, or prevent the dismall judgements that were seizing on them. The Lord hath poured out upon you the Spirit of a deep sleep.
In the prosecution of which words; All that I shall doe, shall be reduced to these two heads.
1. First to explaine the Text in the particular parts thereof.
2. To gather and handle one particular observation from the severall parts thereof so explained.
1. For the first; I shall open this Text in these four following Parts and Branches.
1. The kinde and nature of the judgement that had here befallen them; a deepe sleep.
2. The measure and degree of it, which is set forth by a double expression.
1. The word Spirit.
2. The word powring.
3. The Object, or who they were upon whom this deep sleep was powred. viz. The Iewes, you.
4. The punisher, or the party inflicting this judgement, the Lord.
1. The kinde and sort of the punishment, it was a deep sleepe, In the Hebrew Tardema, a word that signifies such a sleepe as doth so stupify and benum the senses, as that the person on whom it seiseth, can very hardly, by any meanes used, bee awaked. Somnus gravis & profundior, ex quo difficulter quis excitatur. And this may appeare, both by the consideration how the Scripture useth it in other places, and also how it is rendred by Interpreters; Adam is said to be in a deep sleep. Gen. 2 21. In so deep a sleepe, that a rib was taken out of him, and yet he perceiv’d it not. Saul was in a deep sleep from the Lord, and notwithstanding his speare and his cruse was taken from his bolster, nay, notwithstanding his mortall enemy (as he supposed him) was very neare him, yet he awaked not Sisera was so fast a sleepe. Judges. 4.21. that Jael notwithstanding her approaches, her nayle, her hammer, and smiting did not awake him. Jonah was so deep a sleep. Jonah. 1.6. that Ieopardy of life, by reason of the tempestuous raging of the Sea, did not at all affect him, nay, Psal. 76.6. the destruction and the totall overthrow of the Chariots, and Horsmen are set forth by this expression of deep sleep. Now in all these places either the word Tardema here in the Text, or a word, purely of the same signification, and comming from the same root, is used, which roote is Radam Signifying to be overwhelmed with sleep.
The Septuagint render this word severall wayes. Sometimes by) a word that signifies such an astonishment by reason of fear, as that a man is not himselfe, or knoweth not what hee doth, sometimes they render it, by) which signifies a mans going out of himselfe. Somtimes they render it, by) a word that the Apostle makes use of Rom. 11.8. where my text is alledged A word which doth notably set out the nature of thisvdeep sleep; according to what-ever interpretation we consider it Beza, Hesychyus, Tollet, derive this word , used by the Apostle, from , and so it signifieth a deep mid-night sleep, others derive it from , which signifieth to prick or to wound; and so either this word imports such a sleep as out of which all the pinching and wounding, & pricking cannot raise a man, or such a sleepe as whereby a man is so fastened and nailed downe to his sloth that there is no parting them; or such a sleep as whereby a person is as one that is so pained with his wounds that he regardeth nothing which is said to him; transpunctae mentis alienatione demens. Which way soever wee understand (though I prefer that interpretation of) which imports such a sleep as whereby a man is so deeply seiz’d upon with it, as that no wounding or pricking awakens him) which way soever I say wee understand it, we must needs conceive it to bee an extreame deep sleep; not bodily, but spirituall, not a binding of the animall Spirits and senses, but a spirituall torpor and benummednesse of Soule under all the dispensations and dealings of God, whereby the soule is in such a temperstate and posture, as the body in a dead and deep sleepe liable to all enemies vnactive though there bee never such crying to it for help, self-soothing in the midst of all dangers; Insensible of any stirrings, and unwilling to be awaked.
2. The degree or measure of this punishment, set downe in the Text in a double expression.
1. The Spirit of sleepe.
2. The Spirit of sleepe pow••dont.
1. For the word Spirit, it very aptly and fully sets out the vehemency and depth of this sleepe, The violent & propens motions or addictednesse of person to a thing being set out in Scripture by this word spirit.
1. Because these eager inclinations are furthered by the spirit, either good, if they be good inclinations, or a bad spirit if they be bad inclinations.
Because these inclinations are seated in the spirit of a man, carrying the whole man according to its owne bent.
3. Because the spirit of a thing doth frequently betoken force, energie, power, efficacie; the spirit of any thing being the strength of it and vigour. So the Scripture expounds the spirit of Elijah by the power of Elijah; and so the spirit of sleepe is the efficacie, and force, and strength of sleepe that had seized on them.
2. To the making of this spirituall judgement more full, ’tis said that this deepe sleepe was powred out, &c. In the Hebrew Nasak, a word that hath two significations according to the different nature of those things (moist or dry) about which it is spoken; both very apt to set forth the degree of this sleepe.
1. Being used concerning the pouring out of liquid and moist things, it signifieth effudit or perfudit; he hath so poured it out upon you, that it is run all over you; it being mostly applyed by the Scripture to the pouring out of the drinke-offering upon the Sacrifice, which drencht it & ran over it. So of the oyle, that was poured out on Jacobs pillar: here therefore when ’tis said (in this sense) that a deep sleepe is poured on them, the meaning is, they are soak’d in it, steept in it, drencht, drown’d in it.
2. Being used concerning dry things, it signifieth to hide all over, to cover, even over head and eares, no part of the thing covered, being to be seene, and so ’tis applyed to the Covering of sin that makes a man blessed, Psalm 32.1. none of his sins being to be seene, here it being used, it imports such a Covering with a deepe sleepe as that no part is free, every part having this spirituall benummednesse seizing upon it; they were all over, all parts and degrees of men in the Kingdome under the power of this deep sleep, head, ears, eyes, arms, legs, Rulers, Prophets, Priests, people, as afterwards God speaks particularly and distributively.
3. ( 3) The object, or the persons on whom this punishment was poured, exprest here in the word, you; A word whereby is intimated both the generality of the judgment; upon the body and bulk of the Kingdome is this judgement inflicted: and their pertinacy and setlednesse under it, that it was poured out upon them that were so often reproved, and stirred, and call’d upon by the Prophets, to awake: nay a people that had judgment even at their doores, and ready to fall upon them; it being neare in point of execution, and farre off in point of their apprehension.
4. The Punisher or the party inflicting: Jehovah the Lord: ( 4) He doth it in wrath and fury. God being here to be considered not as the Author but the Ultor, as the avenger, not the worker, not as effector but inflictor, not as the causer of it, but the punisher with it; God not infecting any with this spirituall benummednesse, or infusing it into any where it was not before: but punishing those further with it who had it of themselves.
For the further explication of this, note 3. things about this spirituall distemper of a deep sleepe.
1. Natural is propensio, or inclinatio, a naturall desire to be at rest; a readiness to wish and tend to our own peace and preservation; and this inclinablenesse to selfe-preservation, is of God.
2. Irregularitas; the distemperature of the soule in soothing it selfe with thoughts and apprehensions of peace, in a course of sin, against the threatnings and commands of God. A blessing ones selfe in heart, saying I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of my heart; this is not of God, but from our own corruption.
3.) A just reward and recompence by way of punishing and avenging the corrupt and obstinate inclination of the soule in sin notwithstanding all the meanes of grace, with more benummedness and spirituall sloth: and this God doth (I say) only as a Judge and an avenger, and that severall wayes.
1. By removing and denying the outward meanes of grace for contempt of them; which meanes were ordained for the awakening of people out of the sleepe of sin; as Sermons, corrections, admonitions.
2. Denying the inward operation of his spirit, where he gives the outward meanes of grace: restraining his efficacious exciting grace; and so God is removens pro hibens, denying that grace which he is not bound to give; which grace would have hindered them from this distemper.
3. By a judiciall tradition of these selfe-soothers up to that power and spirit, which shall more close and claspe up their soules in this spirituall distemper; and so God delivers people up to Satan and to their owne hearts when he sees that people more obey them then him, listning to their allurements, more then to God’s incitements, when God saith judicially, let him that is filthy, be filthy still; I deliver him up into the power both of Satan and his owne heart; thus 1. King, 22.22.23. The Lord sent a lying spirit to perswade Ahab. so Psal. 81.11.12. I gave them up unto their owne hearts, and they walked in their owne counsells.
4. By offering and laying such occasions before men, as God knowes they will abuse to the soothing up themselves against all his awakening administrations, as impunity, long life, Friends, Honour, &c. Which not sanctified, the corrupted stomack turns into poyson against it selfe; In which respect ’tis infinitely better that God should correct us so, as to awaken us though with never so much severity, then by sparing and prospering us to let us sleep in sinne, so that wee awake not till it bee to late.
I now proceed to the second thing I propounded to you; viz. to Collect and handle a practicall observation from the former Parts thus explained and it shall bee this
Obs. For a deep sleep, in the spirit of it, to bee powred out upon a person, or people by God, is a very sore judgement. ‘Twas this that was the greatest part of Ariels punishment. The soule of his judgement; not his being under this temporall calamity of a strait siege and Captivity, but in being a sleep when that it came. And ’tis very observable that this is the judgement that all along in the new Testament is in a manner onely taken notice of; it being mention’d (by way of alledging that of Esaiah. 6. and 9.) by all the foure Evangelists, as also by Luke. in the 28. Act. and Paul. Rom. 11.8.
Now for the prosecution of this observation, I shall shew but two things.
1. Wherein it appears that this is such a sore and dismall judgement.
2. What use to make of it.
For the first; I shall shew you wherein the greatnesse of the judgement appeareth in the foure parts of the Text before explained, and in the Text used by the spirit of God to expresse the dismallnesse of this judgement of a deep sleep.
The first whereof is the kinde of the judgement said to bee a deep sleep, which in the very nature of it denoteth five things, all which are very paenall, & dreadfull.
1. The first thing that a deep sleep holdeth forth, is liablenesse, and obnoxiousnesse to judgements, unarmednesse in the midst of dangers; A man in a deep sleep, is in no condition to hinder an invader, hee lyes naked to the fury of every enemy, hee is not in a posture of makeing any resistance; like a feild, without a fence, a City without a watch; like Samson in the midst of the Philistines without his locks; This spirituall sleeper though judgements approach, approacheth not to his towre, he maketh not the name of the Lord his refuge; hee clozeth not himselfe up in the wounds of Christ by faith, he labours not by repentance to expell those enemies of his soule, his sinnes, which will open the doore to every judgement, but securely harbours them within; he labours not by prayer to seeke helpe from one that is able to keep him, he armes not himselfe with preparednesse to meet his God; hee is ruin’d without resistance; the fire of vengance devoureth him as stubble, he is one fitted for destruction, ‘Tis a greater punishment to be without punishments, and yet to lye naked and liable to them, then to bee in the midst of them, and yet to bee above them; A sleeping sinner spends all his time to fence his estate, his family, his name, his health; but his soule when death and judgement approacheth, lyeth open and exposed; hee takes much care to lock up his rubbish and lumber that are not worth the keeping or takeing away, but regards not to preserve his treasure, his jewell, his soule, but throws it among his enemies.
The second thing that this judgement of a deep sleep holdes forth, ( 2) is selfe-soothing and flattery, security, selfe pleasing, and this is the ground of the former, hee is dreaming of a Kingdome when Iaels naile is nearer his Temples then a Crowne; hoe (as Ariel in the context) fancies himselfe at a richly furnished table, where are all manner of delicacies, but when he awakes ther’s a starved empty stomack; This spirituall sleeper, in the hearing the words of the curse, blesseth himselfe in his heart, and saith hee, shall have peace, hee goeth on in sinne as if hell were a notion, judgment a fable, and as if the threats of the scripture were but some gainefull inventions to uphold the Ministers maintenance; If God give him abundance in this life, hee secretly smiles at the severest denunciations; and inwardly applauds his own safety and integrity, as Ephraim. Hos. 12.8. Notwithstanding all the Prophets could denounce, said, yet I am become rich, I have found mee out substance All flattered ones are in danger, but the selfe flattered are in the greatest; when they shall cry peace, peace. 1. Thes. 5.3. Then suddaine destruction shall come upon them; peace with ones selfe accompanied with warr against ones God is the worst of warrs; soule-soothing is soule slaying, he that would be caer safe must be never secure; judgements that befall the selfe-flatterer come not more inovitably, then greviously. The same judgement that befalls them with others, makes them more miserable the others, in regard they expect to be happie•, judgment unthought of is judgment intollerable. They spend their days in wealth, & in a moment they goe down to the grave; a doleful mirth! better is that hel that makes way for heaven, then that heaven that makes a way for hel, the selfe deluders happinesse is a fooles Paradise: never was it known that they were quiet to eternity, that were not disquieted in their sinnes here. The hell upon earth is to be in the way to hell, and yet to think that the course is steer’d toward heaven.
3. This judgment of a deep sleepe comprehends the punishment of unactivenesse, unserviceablenesse, and unprofitablenesse in the midst of all opportunities and exigencies whatsoever, whether they be the particular exigencies of our owne soules, or of the Church of Christ. The worke is great, but there is no labourer; This spirituall sleeper is a summer-sluggard, a harvestsleeper; he stirs not up himselfe to lay hold upon God & life: he seekes not the Kingdome of God and its righteousnesse: he strives not to enter in to the straight gate: he offers no violence to the Kingdome of heaven: he workes not out his salvation: he wrestles not in prayer: he lives as if he had nothing to do in the world; heaven is not his businesse: he is, but he lives not, as far from doing any worke in the very evening of his life, as hee was in the dawning of it; Lived he hath like a drone all his dayes, as if he had been borne to looke on: glorious opportunities are before him; every Sabbath, Sermon, Ordinance are full seasons of grace, a rich prize: but he hath no heart, no hand; And for the Church of Christ be the straits thereof never so great, the work never so abundant, its exigencies never so urgent, this spirituall sleeper takes his rest, but takes no paines, he helpes not the Lord; may but he be warm in his own feathers, he regards not the dangers of the house, he is a meere mute and Cipher, a nullity in the world, a superfluity upon the earth, Jeremiah’s rotten girdle good for nothing, or like the branches of a Vine, which are but weake and unusefull, good to make no beams or rafters oft he prayeth not, he councelleth not, he contributeth not, he is in a deep sleep, and hath lost his hands; such a kinde of sleep as this, to a Saint, would be the greatest unquietnesse; serviceablenesse is his heaven; this life would bee nothing worth if he might not get Christ and (instrumentally) give him.
4. This judgment of a deep sleepe comprehendes the punishment of unwillingnesse and lothnesse to have any disturbance & stirring by any that come to awake. This sluggard is in his warm down, or in his midnight repose, and hee loves not to be molested. Yet a little more folding of the arms likes him; This spiritual sleeper loves not any that stir him, he accounts them his greatest enemies and tormenters; he that useth means may die: but he that refuseth all helps of recovery must dye; what will become of those that say to the Prophets prophesie not, that are mad against the medicine, that cannot endure sound doctrine, that shut their eyes against the Sun, and stop their eare against the sound of the word; thus it is with this spirituall sleeper; he is angry with every one that makes a noise, that will not suffer him and his lusts to live together in quiet. Hee that counts the word a burthen here, shall feele another burthen hereafter.
5. Lastly, this judgement of a deep sleep denoteth insensiblenesse, regardlesnesse under the threamings, noyses, wounds, and all other administrations used by God to awaken him: what-ever God saith or doth the spirituall sleeper layeth it not to heart, so as to get any good by it take it in these five particulars.
1. He is insensible of danger, like a drunken man that sleepes on the top of a mast, neare dangers in regard of execution, farre from them in regard of apprehension; he puts far from him the evill day, An awaked Christian foresees the danger, and provides accordingly • a sleeping sinner feares nothing, feeling only troubles him; and that too when ’tis too late.
2. He is insensible of the loudest noyses, severest denunciations; ( 2) line may be upon line, precept upon precept, Minister after Minister, and all doe but fatten his heart and deafen his eare; the most effectual warnings, the lifting up the voice like a Trumpet, the shrillest denunciations work not upon him; the Lyon roares, but be trembleth not.
3. He is insensible of being uncovered and stript of any comforts and supplies; though God pull off his cloaths, take away friends, children, estates, health, plenty: though the water-pot and the speare be taken from the bolster be stirs not, like the hen which loseth her chickens one by one by the devouring Kite; when one or 2 or 3. are snatcht away, she still continueth to pick up what lyeth before her.
4. He is insensible of the stirrings and joggings that are given him in his sleepe, the faithfull admonitions of friends. Rebuke a scorner, and he hates both rebukes and rebuker. Though often reproved hee hardens his necks: he and his distemper are so nail’d together, that reprehensions sever them not.
5. He is insensible of woundings, maimings, the very fetching out his blood. They regard not the workes of the Lord: they refuse to receive correction when the hand of the Lord is lifted up, they will not see. Gray hairs are here & there upon them and they know it not: though smitten, they revolt more and more. Adams rib was taken out of him and he felt it not. The storms & waves fight against Jonah, and he observes it not.
The spirituall sleeper is insensible of judgements in three respects.
1. Hee is insensible who wounds; he thinks not of the hand of God in the miseries that befall him; hee onely lookes at man, and thinks not that ’tis God who gives him to robbers and spoylers; he lookes not upward as David when Shemei revil’d him, did; hee considers not that he hath negotium cum Deo, to doe with God when men hurt him: but all his study is how to avenge himselfe upon, or reconcile himselfe unto the instrument, who indeed was used by the hand of providence to do what was done against him; his endeavours in this respect beginning at the wrong end, for God hath a negative voyce to all overtures of peace and friend-ship between man and man; the hand that cuts can onely cure; the God that wounds can only heale; any structure of amity betweene man and man will soone fall that is not set upon the foundation of a peace with God.
2. Hee is insensible why he is wounded: of the deserving cause, sinne: as he lookes not upward, so neither lookes he inward: he is not driven by what he feels, to observe what he doth, no man saith what have I done; he searcheth not his heart to finde out the Jonah when the storm is risen about him. He traceth not the sin, the beast, by the vestigium, the print of punishment that it hath left upon him: nor laboureth by the streame to goe to the head from whence it issueth. Every thing shall be blamed sooner then sin; his carelesse servants, his disobedient childe, his cheating Chapman, his treacherous Commander: but here is not a word of sinne all this while. Nay rather then that shall be blamed, the fault shall be laid upon those that are his greatest friends, and haply most of all desire his good. As ‘its evident in the dismall example of Saul who in all his affrightments flew upon innocent David, and never lookt into himselfe, Nay, rather then sinne shall bee blam’d, cryes out upon that which is not, as his hard hap, his fortune. &c.
3. Hee is insensible of the way to cure his wounds and the true way of winding himselfe out of his miseries. The people. Hos. 7.10. In the time of their calamitie and declining, and when their gray haires were here and there upon them, returne not to the Lord their God, nor seeke him, for all this, and v. the 13. woe unto them for they have fled from me; they flye to Egypt and Assyria but they fly from God. who only can help & v. 16. They return but not to the most High, they are like a deceitfull Bow; and the like complaint is that of Isay, that the people are like a wild Bull in a nett, that can hamper and entangle it selfe more and more, but takes no course to winde it selfe out; very elegant also is that comparison of Hosea. chap. 13.13. where ’tis said that Ephraim is an unwise Son, for hee should not stay long in the place of breaking forth of Children, the scope is this. The Prophet compares the kingdome of Israell to a woman in travaile, in regard of ‘its paines and distresses, and the inhabitants to the child in the womb of the Mother, and to such a foolish Child, which though the Mother bee in never such torture, by reason of ‘its continuance in the womb, yet the child takes no care to get forth; but remaines there still though to the killing of Mother and it selfe both; so the Israelites had rather stifle themselves in the womb of sinne and punishment, & undoe the state, then leave their sin, & save themselves and the Kingdom their Mother; In the 5. ch. &v. the 13. he compares them to a sick wounded person that goeth to a wrong medicine for healing, where he saith that when Judah saw his sicknesse, and Ephraim his wound, they went to the Assyrian, and sent to Jareb yet could he not cure them; & so to a silly dove without heart, that flyeth to Egypt and Assyria for help. And yet ver. 13. They flye from God, (Though indeed there be no way to flye from God, but by flying to him,) they sent to Jareb but not to God; they open their mouths to be fill’d with the winde but stop them when God offereth that which will satisfy them; A spirituall sleeper useth every way but the right. If there bee a wrong hee will bee sure to take it; hee is sooner ready to destroy himselfe then his sin, and more enclin’d with an obstinate heart to goe on to ruin, then by reviewing the greatness of his provocations, and the goodnesse of him that is provoked; to melt into teares, to aske pardon, to loath himselfe and his lusts, and to turne heartily to the most high; This is the complaint of Isaiah that the people returne not to him that smites them; dismall is that denuntiation of God, that after all their Famine and Warrs, and losses, and Captivities; they should not withstanding all these wounds, (they that are left) pine away in their iniquity. Notwithstanding the deaths of thousands before their eyes, their abode in their Enemies land the visiblest tokens of the displeasure of an angry God, yet to pine away and swelter in sin as if nothing could awake them, how dreadfull is it?
Ther’s the first thing in the Text wherein a spirituall deep sleep, appears to be so dreadfull a judgement, in respect of the nature and kinde of it, opened in five particulars.
The second particular in the Text, ( 2) whereby the greatnesse of this judgement is set forth, is the measure of it, held out in a double expression.
1. Of the powring out of it.
2. Of the powring the Spirit of it.
1. Of powring it; and this notes that when this deep sleep seizeth upon people as it did upon these in the Text, that it overwhelms them, it runs all over them, it is such a dead palsey as stupifieth the whole body; that leaves no part free; like a City that is so begirt with an Enemy, and about which there is so strait a seige that there is no going either in or out; So here the Ministers of the Gospell know not where to set upon, or how to endeavour entrance into these spiritually sleeping sinners; how difficult a thing is it to cure that patient who in every part of his body, outward and inward is distempered; when the whole body is totum pro vulnere; All over one wound and malady as it were.
2. The second expression that sets out the measure of this deep sleep, is the spirit of it; A word that properly notes the power and the vehemency of this distemper; As the spirit of a thing is the force and vigor and strength of it, so here is denoted the efficacie and powerfullnesse of this deep sleep in these people and over them; now what a judgement is it for a man to bee under the power of sinne, to bee in arctâ custodiâ, close prisoner to the soules greatest enemy, to bee in the bond of iniquitie, to bee held in the Cords of his sinne, to have the soule garrison’d with thousands of such strong men armed as the weakest of them is stronger then an armie of men; surely to bee under the power of the greatest Tyrants breathing, is not a punishment comparable to this; ’tis a power that none in the world can match, but onely the power of him that is also an Enemy to him that is a spirituall sleeper. If it bee the power of God that keepes to salvation; the power of sinne and Satan (if not overpowred) must needs keep to damnation; It is such a power as resisteth all the means that come to rescue the soule from it, and that so deeply seizeth upon the sinner, that it makes him purely subdued, bowed down under it; and yet which is worst of all, the nature of this power stands in making a man unwilling as well as unable to get from under it; hee being a very slave in every thing but onely in that which is common to all others that are in bondage, namely to sigh and groan under it.
3. ( 3) The third particular in the Text whereby the dismalness of this judgment of a deep sleep is set out in the Object, the persons upon whom ’tis powred, You, where wee may take notice of two things.
1. The Partyes.
2. The part of these Partyes that the Prophet here intends to be under a deep sleep.
1. The partyes you, you a people that are under all my awakning administrations; of words, and threatnings, of judgements, and examples, You have I known of all the Nations of the Earth, with you have I taken pains more the with all the people in the world beside, and for you to be in a deepe sleep is a greater, both sin, and shame, and punishment, then for others. None are such approved try’d friends to lust as they that continew in it under means of recovery, none so inexcusable for continuing in their spirituall slumber as they that have had helps to awaken them. ‘Tis a shame for any to bee a sleep but more for them that are in the light, the sun, and sound of the word.
‘Tis not so great a marvaile for others to be asleep whom God never brought under those helpes that might stir them up; but for those that live in the daytime of the Gospell, and are under the stirring Ministry of the Prophets to continue slumbring in sin, there can be no Apology; The Apostle makes this an argument that Christians should beware of this distemper of spiriruall sloth. Let not us sleep as doe others; q. d. ’tis enough for those that are in the night of sin and nature to sleep, let not us. ‘Twas the argument that the Angell used to Jacob, let me goe, for the day breaketh: whosoever is not awaked by the light of the day, the Gospell, shall be awaked by the heat of eternall flames.
2. The second thing is the part of these parties upon which this spirituall sleepe seizeth; and that is intended by the Prophet to be the soule; The soule of a judgment is its seizing upon the soule: spirituall blessings are the greatest, and spirituall judgements the dismallest. There are three things whereby it appeares that the judgement of a deep sleep is greatned by befalling the soule.
1. The soule is the excellency of man; the worthiest part: the body is a body of vilenesse, the soule a precious soule; excellent every way, but as it is depraved with sin. ‘Tis the noblest part of man; noble in respect of its originall, ’tis heaven-borne; in respect of its functions, its endowments; If all be well with the soule, a man is happy, though the body be never so miserable; If it goe ill with the soule, the man is wretched, let the body abound never so much with outwardblessings.
When a mean conremptible man, and one of no account dyeth, it’s never spoken of: but when a Prince or some great man dyeth, all lay it to heart; the soul is the Prince, the body is but the page, and therefore the body is not to be lamented, from which only the soul parteth: but the soule from which God himselfe parteth.
2. The distempers that befall the soule are hardest to remove; There’s no herb in the garden, no receipt from the Physitian, no medicine in the shop, that can cure the soule; men are only parents of the body, and only Physitions of the body, he that made the soule can only mend it. The father of spirits, is the only Physitian of spirits; ‘Tis omnipotent strength that recovers sinsicke souls: man can make them worse, but its only a God that can make them better; Outward helpes cannot cure the inward man; The God of the heart can only restore the hidden man of the heart: He that sits in heaven must touch and teach the heart, otherwise it can never be reacht or taught.
3. The distempers that befall the soule are most deadly, if they be not remedied. A scratch on the finger is a slight wound: but a wound that reacheth to the heart is alway dangerous if not dendly; whatsoever befals the body is but slight, and to be slighted in Comparison of what annoyeth the soule. Soule curses are the onely dreadfull ones. All calamities may be in mercie that befal the body, for they only part between us & health wealth, and friends, &c. but they which befall the soul, part us in some measure from him in whom all blessednesse and true happinesse is laid up.
If the soule liveth, the man dyes not: if the soule be dead in sin the man is dead. The life of our lives, is the health of the soule: the death in death is the miscarriage of the soule. If a man be not heartficke, though otherwise much distempered ’tis not look’t upon as dangerous; he that is not spiritually and soul and sin-sicke, is not sick unto death; the sicknesses and distempers of the body, are but only such in appearance, & in a sort opinionative, the diseases of the soule are onely such in reality. Spirituall comforts and miseries are only such: vera; temporall, whether Comforts or miseries are but fallacia, seeing and deceiving; ’twas an excellent advice of Christ to his Disciples: fear not him that can kill the bady, but feare him that can throw both body and soul into hell; Thus of the third reason, the object of this judgment, you.
4. ( 4) The fourth thing in the Text that makes the spirit of a deepe sleepe so dreadfull a calamity, is the inflicter of it, and the punisher with it, and that is the Lord Jehovah; The Lord, whose punishments are alwayes either the sorest or the sweetest; if they better not those whom they befall they ever hurt them: Now this is a punishment ever of hurt and distruction, not medicina but laniena, not the cutting of a chirurgion or a friend; but of an Enemy and a destroyer, ‘Tis a blessing of God to correct and love us, A great curse for God to punish and leave us; nay so to punish as the very punishment is a leaving of us. The happinesse of correction stands in teaching us, but, this punishment of a deep sleep is the giving us up to unteachablenesse.
There are three things whereby it appeare that ’tis a great addition to this judgement, for God to inflict it.
1. In regard ’tis that God who is the God of all mercy and the Father of all consolation, the God that is the giver of every good and perfect gift; for him to punish must needs be very dismall; who shall pittie if he punnish? if others punish and God pitty, ther’s comfort yet and hope, but who shall bee our friend when the Lord will frown?
If mercy be our Enemy, who or what shall be our friend? the Lord that openeth the eares and eyes of his people, that teacheth them in his wayes, that makes them to profit, that lightens their eyes least they sleep the sleep of death; ’tis this God that punisheth the obstinate sinner with this judgement, ‘Twas a great aggravation of Esaus punishment to mis of the blessing, because his Father had blessed his Brother immediately before, blesse mee, even mee also o my Father, saith hee, for the same breath that blesseth a Saint to blast thee, for the same Sermon that melteth a humble soule into teares for sinne to stupify thee in sinne, for the same sun that dissolveth another, to harden thee, for the same gale that blowes on heaven-ward, to drive thee (occasionally) hell-ward; here’s a judgement indeed; If a man sin against God who shall intreat for him; If God set himselfe against a man who shall recover him?
2. A deep sleep in respect of the inflicter is a great punishment because inflicted by God in the deep’st of his displeasure, as the last and the sorest of his judgements in this life; he never doth it but when he is provok’d to the purpose, he inflicts it as a reckoning for all other faults that went before; when all means and helps of recovery are despised; when God is shewing mercy the last mercyes are the best, and the farther he goeth in mercy the sweeter hee is, and so when he is punishing, the last punishments are the sorest, and the further he goeth the bitterer he is; hee both loveth and leaveth gradually. This judgement of pining away in iniquity is the last that God mentions after all those dismall ones there spoken of to befall the people. Levit. 26.39. ‘Tis the last judgement the lowest stayer of hell upon Earth; ’tis even contiguous to (as I may say) & bordering upon hell it selfe. Hee that is filthy let him be filthy still, is the last judgment we read of (befalling in this life) in all the new Testament. A judgement inflicted upon those that despise the offers of Christ and grace, so he gave them up, so? how and when? my people would not hearken to my voyce, and Israel would none of mee, so I gave them up unto their owne hearts; when God is punishing with this judgement, hee saith, as Abishai when he offered to smite Saul, said, I wil smite him to the Earth at once, and I will not smite him the second time. God punisheth with a deep sleep as with an hell upon earth, as with that after which a man needs not bee smitten the second time.
3. ( 3) ‘Tis a punishment inflicted by God, which the more God inflicts it, the more hee loves to inflict: other punishments may move God to pity, as the sword and oppression, &c. But this being a sinne as wel as punishment: the more it lyes upon a man, the more it must needs offend and provoke a God; and in this respect it is a distinguishing judgement, betweene the friends and foes of God; God loving his people the more hee corrects. Thus much of the first thing propounded for the prosecution of the observation; viz. the shewing wherein it appeareth that the spirit of a sleep is so great a judgment.
The second followeth, viz. the Application of it; And this I shall endeavour in these two practicall Inferences.
If a deep sleep bee so great a judgement, and the greatnesse of it stands in the fore mentioned particulars. (Ʋse.) There is then a heavy judgement, either fallen or falling upon us in England; upon you (my Lords) of the Parliament. From falling into it to the utmost, the lowest degree, the Lord preserve us but that we are fallen into it to a very dismall degree, I am confident may bee too clearely evidenced. The five fore mentioned particulars, comprehended in the very kinde or sort of the judgement of a deep sleep will be found in a deep measure to agree with us.
1. Liablenesse, exposednesse to miseries. Aspirituall sleeper lyeth naked to all invaders; is prepared to make no resistance against his enemies, For us of this nation it cannot be denyed but that the terrible alarm’s & invasions of judgements among us, ought long agoe to have roused us out of sinfull sloath, and have driven us to our Towers and strong holds; I meane to have made us labour to make God our friend; to run to the name of the Lord, to close up our selves in the wounds of Christ by faith, to make up our ruinous breaches and gaps by repentance; but have the approaches of judgements wrought upon us after this manner; or rather lye we not still as exposed and naked to judgment, as when it was a thousand times further off? Are wee not like the enthralled Israelites without a sword or speare in our land? which of us labour to overcome God with his owne strength of prayer, and faith and a holy life; or rather is there not a greater decay of these of late then ever? Doe we not live as if wee would invite judgements, and as if every one studied to betray himselfe to ruine? the power of godlinesse decreaseth as the power of judgements prevaile; our religion like our buildings is of a slighter frame then formerly, holinesse is disputed into a meere speculation, and practicall religion evaporated into a notion; where is hee among us that prayes more fervently and frequently then hee was wont, that walks more exactly, that layeth hold upon Christ more strongly then heretofore; never were there warrs that in so short a time, made so many skilfull Souldiers for the body, and so few for the soule.
2. For the second thing I mention’d to bee in a deep sleep; self-soothing, and pleasing ones selfe with fancies of felicity and dreams of happinesse; wee in England are the lively picture of Ariel here in the context. v. 7. Hath not God emptyed us of our men our blood, and treasure, and many renowned worthies, and yet doe we not dreame wee are full? how proud have we been with every successe, how sweetly doth the prophane worldling please himselfe and nestle in his feathers of Gold, his places, and stipends, and offices, and scoff at severest denunciations? was there ever known a people brought so low in their estate, to bee so high in their owne esteeme? a people whose Father did spit in their face with so much indignation, and yet a people that were so litle dismayed or asham’d as we? witnesse that elfish attire, shamefull & yet shamelesse nakednesse of necks and backs, those sin-blacke, hell-black, bewty-spotts (people would not account it a beauty to be borne with them) that swaggering prophanation of sabboth, drinking and riotousnesse among us.
3. For vnactivenesse, and idlenesse; wee are in so deep a sleep, that though every thing hath cryed out for our help and succour and hand (there never being a time of so much employment) yet wee lye still like a company of sworne slaves to sleep. Have we not both Parliament and kingdom, been a company of harvest sleepers, summer sluggards? what a faire summer of opportunityes hath God afforded to you (my Lords) for the working in his harvest, and doing great things for his name, hee hath bestowed opportunities so glorious, as I question whether ever Parliament had the like; and I feare that you shall never see the like againe. The Lord grant your harvest weather bee not almost at an end. Oh that I could not say with Elijah there is (I feare at least) a sound of much raine; what might you not have done for God had you had hearts; you might (not to speake of that comfort you might have afforded to dying Ireland, relief to poore Christians, refreshment to the Ministers, ease to oppressed ones, content to this faithfull City of London) you might by this time have set up the house of God in England, and have perfected reformation even to a beautifullnesse; you might have made Antichrist to have groan’d like a dying man, you might have made all the reformed Churches in Christendome have blessed God for you; but alas for your sloathfullnesse! you are in stead of beautifying & pertfecting reformation, but now a laying something like the foundation of it; and this little that is laid, how doe Hereticks and Sectaries, and Libertines, take the stones away from it daily? how active hath God been for us, how dul have we bin for him? what a poore, weake, imperfect, lame, government have we as yet, and what a while was it ere wee could get that litle wee have? wee have received mercy by ells (as I may say) but we have returned obedience by inches. Wee have been like narrow mouth’d Bottles, wee have given nothing to God without an unkind and churlish muttering and grudging; every thing hath cryed to you, but what helpe hath any received from you? poore oppressed ones cry for help, but they and their causes are neglected, the City cryes with petition after petition and how slowly is it releied Ireland hath sob’d it selfe to death almost and yet you hardly begin to stirr; Ministers cry not with the language of their tongues, (for I think malice it selfe cannot speake them immodest herein) but of their poverty, their oppressions, their almost starv’d families in some places, these cry in your eares, and (in the Lords of hosts too) for maintenance; these who procured and continued you money, arms, men, love, life in your forest straits, that have sav’d the Kingedome, these cry aloud to the Parliament, that Sectaries may not ruine them and theirs, that if you will not give them books you would give them bread, a lively-hood a subsistance; but alas poore Ministers! whose eares, hearts, mouthes have been open’d to you and for you, finde yours stopt against them; there’s no stirring for their reliefe. The Covenant cryes (God grant not against you) for reformation of the Kingedome, the extirpation of heresies schismes, prophanesse. &c. and these impieties abound as if wee had taken a Covenant to maintaine them, and since it was taken these sinnes which wee have covenanted against have more abounded then in the space of ten times so many yeares before, our Covenant stirs us not, wee are unactrve; wee have not done what wee might, the time may come that wee shall not doe what wee would, what if the Lord should say to you, I abhor you and your services; I’le do my worke without you.
4. Unwillingnesse to bee stirr’d and bee awak’d is another punishment in a deep sleep; And if this agree not to us, what doth? we oppose and openly dislike those who faithfully stir us from our sloth; we are commonly observed to love flatterers, and those who may sooth us though into destruction; painfull zealous Ministers that will tell us of our sins, are now look’d upon as busie men; as those that meddle with the State; they are bid to keep to their Text; as if that preaching which is a comming close to your lusts, were a going away from our Texts: In the Bishops times we were suffered to preach any thing, so we came not near their sins, and this Prelacie is still kept up among us. Hence it is that faithfull Ministers are denyed their maintenance, are abused by the nick-names of Anti-christian, are voyced enemies to the Parliament (are you and your lusts so neare that we cannot be enemies to one, but we must be enemies also to the other) that they have changed their principles, that they are turned Malignants whereas ’tis not the shore that moves, but the Boateman: the Ministers are still the same men, and walk by the same rule; still are for you, the Covenant, and a pure reformation. The Lord will one day judg who they are that continue faithfull and firme both to him and you, and who are unfaithfull to him, to us and your selves.
5. Insensiblenesse is the last and greatest part of this punishment by a deepe sleepe; and doth it not agree to us? Insensiblenesse I say of dangers, noyses, stirrings, uncoverings, woundings; dangers we put far from us, we feare nothing; wee live as if wee had made a covenant with death: we blesse our selves in our own hearts, expecting peace, going on in our own wayes. Insensible we are of noyses and stirrings; how loud hath beene the voice of the word in our eares, but how deafe have we been? Rare is the operation of the word in our congregation; the bellowes are burnt, the lead is consumed, and yet the founder melteth in vaine; Ministers are spent both in strength and numbers, and yet our lusts in neither; and for the Parliament ’tis a common observation that it is Sermon-proof; You command us to preach before you, oh that God would command you to practise before us. You enjoyn us to Print: but ’twill bee an unanswerable dilemma another day, either the Sermons you caused to be printed were good or bad: if bad, why were they so much as printed: if good, why not more then printed, why not practised also. Wee are insensible of uncoverings and woundings; though God takes away from us our honours, estates, rents, friends, &c. nay, hath wounded us in health, strength, and even to the death of thousands: yet are we insensible from whom these miseries come. We only treate & deale with man, not with God; insensible why they come, we say not what have we done, our sins trouble us not but they rather that will trouble us in our sins, insensible how to remove them, to be rid of them; wee turne not to him that smites, witnesse the generall inundation of all prophanenesse among us; never were God and wee further asunder then since our miseries and we were near one another.
(Use. 2) The second inference shall be to direct us how to keep off and to shake off this unholy, unhappy distemper of a deep sleepe.
1. Embrace that Ministery that God is wont to make use of, for the rousing up of slothfull sinners.
God can a waken people without it, but ordinarily he will not; love that preaching most that loves most to excite thee; The word is both light and noise, both which are wont to disquiet sleepers. Ther’s not a greater judgement to a people, then to have such Preachers who labour to continue people in the sleep of sin. A silent Ministers sins against the very nature of his Function: his work must be to stir you out of your sins, though he knew that he should stir some of you up to rage; he must speake frequently and fervently; frequently, if one cry stir not, another may; hee knows not what season God may awaken you in, hee must continue calling and crying though you should sleepe the faster under his noise: as long as there is life, there may be awaking: fervently they must not be sweet Musitians and pleasant singers to cast you into this sleep; nothing requireth so much fervour & vehemency in emploiment as the spirituall welfare of soules; They must be sons of thunder, not of musick, holily impatient against your lusts. There are some doctrines that are pillows & bolsters to a slumbring people; the doctrine of free-will, universall, whether grace or redemption, &c. Antinomianisme in all its parts is a doctrine of a deep sleep; ‘Tis a dreadfull presage in that these are the doctrines of our times; never was there a time wherein God spake more terribly, and Ministers more mildly; Ther’s now a wretched prejudice against Orthodoxe and faithfull preaching, that it is not a preaching of Christ; ‘Tis most of all other discouraged and discountenanced. But we should bee so farre from blaming the loudnesse of the sound of the word, that wee should blame the depth of our own slumber, we should take the part of the word against our lust; and intreat God to speake with, and louder then the Minister to make the word an awakening voice in the Ministrie, though it be a displeasing voice; beseech the Lord to cry in the eares of thy soule with the voyce of his own spirit; to stirr thee in the Ministrie with his own arme, otherwise Ministers shall rend their sides, in steed of rousing thy soule.
2. Secondly labour for a fruitfull improvement of sufferings; upbraid thy sin-insensible spirit with its deafnesse, and take God’s part against thine owne repining soule; It’s a singular mercy to be awakened though by severest administrations; God is never more angry thou when he is not angry; God never punisheth so severely, as when hee punisheth by sparing, and lets thy soule have its fill in impunity; Intreat God to doe thy soule good, his owne way; and beware lest any afliction blow over without bettering thee, physick, if it works not, hurts and not heales; afflictions are awakning seasons; to continue in sleep under them is the losse of an excellent opportunity; afflictions sanctified are like winds right set to blow to the port. Intreat God to set them right, though they be rough. If thou art so close nayl’d to thy lust that sicknesse, or disgrace, or losses in thy estate &c. cannot part it and thee, It’s both a provocation to God to leave thee, and an incouragement to Satan to keep thee
3. Endeavour for a tender trembling heart, at the very beginning of the solicitations of sin; sin is of a stupefying nature; & that which maketh way for eternall feeling, takes away spirituall; oppose and resist thy drousy heart when it first enclineth to sinfull rest; every sinne neglected is a step downward to a deep sleep; That deluge here in the Text, is made up of many drops of sinne; many knots tyed one upon another, will be hardly loosed, sinnes repeated and not repented of, binde downe the soule in insensiblenesse and sloth; every spot that falls upon a mans cloathes makes him the more regardlesse of them; and every sinne suffered to defile the conscience makes thee more carelesse of it; If inclination to sin were resisted, there could bee no stupe-faction by sin, that man who dares not wade to the ancles, nay that trembles so much as to touch the water, is in no danger of being over-whelm’d with it; The modest beginnings of sin will make way for immodest proceedings; the thickest Rock of jce that will beare a Cart, begins with a thin trembling cover that will not bear a pibble.
4. Labour for faith in threatnings; restraine not thy belief onely to what God hath promised, extend it to what God hath denounced; This will make of a regardlesse sinner, a trembling melting Saint as wee see in the case of Josiah, faith comprehends all truths past, present, & to come in ‘its vast bosom; & overcomes all improbabilities that seem to keepe away judgments as wel as those that seem to keep away mercies; faith seeth that wounded men shall bee able to overcome a sinfull and threatned City, and it dares not permitt the soule to sleep in sin, notwithstanding wealth and friends, and honours, for it sees that the truth of a threatning and the power of a threatner are above all these; why was not Noah drown’d in a deep sleep of sin and in a deluge of water with the old world, who lay securely insensible till the floud awaked them? the spirit of God tells us, that faith kept Noah both from sleep and floud. Faith taught Noah to feare, and fearing is the best way to prevent feeling; A beleever seeth that hee shall bee suddenly snatcht away that is long borne with, faith makes a man solicitous for a time and safe to eternity.
5. Bee vigorous in the exercising thy selfe in godlinesse, ever be employed, never think or say thou hast done worke enough, think not that thy worke is ended if thy life be not, take heed of remissnesse in God’s service. Bee diligent in the businesse of heaven; let the tempter ever finde thee employed; the night comes and no man can worke but as long as the day of life and health, and Gospell lasteth, no man must loyter; ever bee working out thy salvation; as sleep causeth idlenesse, so idlenesse causeth sleep; ever bee speaking of, speaking to, meditating about God and his wayes; bee progressive in the way to heaven; take not up thy rest in point of cessation from employment, lest thy rest take thee and overwhelme thee; strive to attaine the highest pitch of religion, and yet bee ever working for heaven as if thou wert at the lowest.
6. Be moderate in following the employments, & enjoying the Comforts of this life; take heed lest these vapours over-whelm thee; Satan lyeth in ambush behind our lawfull comforts; and in the securest enjoyments seizeth upon the soule. Christ was once lost at a feast, and in abundance ’tis hard not to neglect him still.
Prosperity (never that I could yet heare of) awaked any soule out of sin: many have been cast into the sleep of sinne by it. ‘Tis as hard to be rich and watch full, as ’tis to be poore and contented; when God remembers us most, wee remember him least. Sobriety and vigilancy are enjoyned together. Be sober and vigilant. Let the things of this life be thy solatia not negotia: thy refreshments in thy pilgrimage not thy great employments; love them as ever about to leave them: use them not as the things for wch thou dost live, but as the things without which in this estate thou canst not live. Please not thy selfe in any thing wherein thou dost not see thy God; Let his smile in & his glory by every gift only comfort thee. Delight in nothing upon earth for it’s selfe. Persons that are inclin’d to be grosse in their body must use much exercise: and they who have abundance in the world, should take pains with their hearts, lest while they get the world they loose their God, and please themselves in their sin; please not your selves in the sensuall using of the Creatures, but in the spirituall enjoyment of the Creator; Bee not taken with what thou hast in gift, but what thou hast in love; not with with anything the Lord gives thee, unless he gives himself it. So much for the second practicall inference, viz. of direction, and so for the whole.
That which followed, in the preaching of this Sermon; in regard it onely conceirned their Lordships is set down in the Epistle to them.