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sottish is it to neglect the eternal welfare both of soul and borly, for nothing else but to give the body a little swing now after childish and transitory follies! And how reasonable is it, how manly, how Christian, to keep it under a fit discipline; to feed, but not to pamper it; not to destroy it, but to hinder it from destroying itself, and us, that is, our soul with it ! Whoredom, and wine, and new wine take away the heart,' Hos. iv. 11. they incapacitate it from serious consideration, or any business that requires thought, though even of this world; how much more then of spiritual things! These are so opposite, that they cannot come into the same mind together.
And if a man would be justly laughed at, and despised, who could not leave his whore, or his bottle, to save his estate, or any worldly matter of great moment ; or to serve his friend, in a point of honour: if the pleasures of the body must be sacrificed to such considerations as these ; is it then so monstrously unreasonable that they should give place, but a little, to matters of eternal moment? If we venture the health of our bodies, to sit up whole nights upon business; or it may be goodfellowship cards, or dice; reading plays, or a romance; with what face can we pretend our health, as an excuse against watching one night, or but part of one, in divine exercises, to trim our lamps, and fit us for the coming of the Lord! No, then we cannot keep our eyes from closing; and we grow sick, that is, weary of that employment. And the reason is, sensuality takes away the relish for divine things ; which cannot be apprehended but by a strong and settled thought: and, of all things, sensuality does most weaken the mind, enervates, and takes all strength from it. How weak is thine heart, saith the Lord God, seeing thou dost all these things, the work of an imperious whorish woman?' Ezek. xvi. 30. See a further description of this, Prov. vii. And then read an account of that which is opposite to it, the true wisdom, in the vijith chapter. St. Paul said, i Cor. ix, 27. I run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air; but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection ; lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a cast away: You see, he esteems it but an uncertain fighting, and beating of the air, to use all other exercises of religion, if we add not that of mortifying the body; and that, without this, he himself, notwithstanding of his great labours in preaching, his travels and persecutions, would be in danger of being a cast away. And if he needed it, who can excuse himself? He, who was, (one would think) in a continued state of mortification : Por, “even unto this present hour (says he, 1 Cor. iv, 11.) we both hunger and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling-place; and labour, working with our own hands', &c. And yet to hear men excuse themselves, from fasting one day in a week, who live in plenty and ease ; if that was all; but who plead the vigour of their body, and strength of their constitution, as an excuse for gratifying their lusts; which, by these means, grow too strong for them ! and therefore there is no hopes of pere. suading any man by reason, to forsake his lusts, unless he will first consent to mortify his body. The least measure can be ad. vised are all the fasts of the church; and let each man's zeal add to these, as he sees cause. Without this, your lusts will never give you leave to be heard ; but keep you in perpetual hurry, and want of thought. This is the deaf adder that stoppeth your ears, and her own, against the voice of the charmer. It is not words will do it; this is a more stubborn devil. We must set too our whole strength, and all our application, and fast, and pray, and beg God's assistance ; we fight for our souls! we must not do it indifferently; and we must not be discouraged, if we do not presently prevail. God
may think fit to try us, and to shew us the danger, we were in, and the bitterness of sin, by the difficulty of returning from it, and overcoming long habits; and to let us see our own weakness, that we have no power of ourselves, to help ourselves; and thence to teach us to put our whole trust in him; and apply diligently unto him, by earnest prayer, and a careful attendance upon all his boly ordinances: And then he will not fail us; we shall presently perceiva that we have gained ground of our enemy, and we shall overcome in the end. We have gone a great length, when we are brought seriously to reckon our lust as our enemy: for then we shall begin to stand upon our guard against it; and never till then can we deny it any thing, but follow its impetuosity, as a horse rusheth tQ the battle; and violently pursue our own destruction; and nothing can stop us, but a stronger than this strong man; an higher relish of divine than of sensual things: till when, sensual things must pre vail: and this true knowledge of heavenly pleasure is obtained in fasting and retirement. Then it is that God works with us, when we are at leisure to hear him; and shall we deny bim such an opportunity
All this may seem an excursion, and leaving of the argument ; but it is not. Their arguments for this sin are easily answered ; and I have, in few words, answered them, for more needed not; but that which they most want is to be stirred up, and shaken out of their lethargy. If once they come to consider, their conversion is balf effected; towards which, I can only add my prayers to what I have said in the small compass to which I confine myself. And I will now go on to consider the other point, which you beard discoursed of, that is, polygamy.
This is bottomed upon the same loose principles as the other; to give the range to our lusts, and let them endure no limits. But it. has more pretence than the other ; because God did dispense with it, as with arbitrary divorees, in many ages of the world. But our blessed Saviour reduces both back again to the original institutions. Matth. xix. from verse 3, to the 10th. From the beginning (saya he) it was not so.' How was it then? God at the beginning made only one male, and one female. And, for this cause, a man shall leave father and mather, and shall cleave to bis wife; and they iwain shall be one flesh' They twain, here, were but two; this was the original institutions and this is applied to the mystical
marriage betwixt Christ and his church ; even as to the number two, and no more. Eph. v. 31, 32. • They two shall be
flesh. This is a great mystery; but I speak concerning Christ and the church. This parallel is made up by two, being joined in one ; but not in one being joined to many; it can hardly be said to be one with many. There is a rivalship of the many to that one, and there is a dispersion of the love of the one among many; and they cannot all partake of the one alike. This is no perfect union; like the union of one and one, which is.a full perfect union; and a true emblem of the union betwixt Christ and the Church : ! My love, my undefiled is but one,'. Cant. vi. 9.
The first who broke in upon the original constitution was La. mech, of the posterity of Cain, who took two wives, Gen. iv. 19. But we find not that it prevailed in the posterity of Seth ; for, at the flood, Noah, and his three sons, had but each of them one wife, who made up the eight persons in the ark.
And even when polygamy was most in use, it was thought, though (in strictness) lawful, because then dispensed with, yet an imperfect, a miserable, and inconvenient state. Therefore Laban adjures Jacob thus, Gen. xxxi. 50. •If thou shalt afflict my daughters, or if thou shalt take other wives beside my daughters,
God is witness,' &c. And Lev. xviii. 18. It is written, • Thou shalt not take a wife to her sister, or, as our margent reads it, One wife to another.' This was a more perfect state, though the other, 'for the hardness of their hearts,' was dispensed with, till Christ came to restore all things, who gives a plain rule, Mark Xa 11. against polygamy, when he made it adultery to put away one wife, and marry another. For, if polygamy be lawful, how comes it to be adultery to marry another wife, whether he put away the first or not? To put away a wife unjustly, is a crime; but it is not adultery; the adultery is the marrying of another, while the first wife is alive. • Let
every man have his own wise, and every woman her own husband,' i Cor. vii. 2. and the reason given for it, ver. 2, 3, and
5, is only applicable to monogamy. If it be said, that that was for the time to come; but did it dissolve the polygamies before con tracted ? I suppose not; so that, if a man, who had several wives, were converted to the Christian religion, it did not divorce from them all, or from all of them but one; but that he might keep those wives which he married before his conversion; yet such a man should not be preferred to any office in the ministerial function, and this I take to be no improbable construction of those com. mands, 1 Tim. iji. 2. and 12, that. bishops and deacons must be the husbands of one wife, that is, though polygamy did not incapaçitate a man to become a Christian, yet it did to be a clergyman; at least it was so thought expedient by the apostle.
And from the apostles times,, to this day, there is no one doctrine of Christianily, which has descended by a more universal consent, and uninterrupted tradition, than this of monogamy, polygamy having never been allowed in any Christian church or nation : and yet against the doctrine of Christ, as understood and practised by the aposiles, and the church of that age, and all the ages since, our th n beaux would oppose their little criticisms; and cover themselves with cobwebs; who one day, if they repent not, will call to the hills and mountains to fall upon them, and hide them from their jullge, and their guilt. "Who now, being past feeling, have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But ye have not so learned of Christ, Eph. iv. 19. For, chap. v. 5, this ye know, that no whoremonger (máqu@ it is, not only koszos adulterer) nor unclean person hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ, and of God." Let no man deceive you with vain words; for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.'
THE PARABLE OF THE THREE JACKDAWS, &c.
Printed in the Year 1696. Quarto, containing four Pages.
great disorder, about chusing a successor to the eagle, u hose advanced years portended the fall of his scepter; and the disputes, which happened amongst the several pretenders, did mightily perplex the kingdom of birds, wbo were in doubt, whether the cagle had any genuine offspring. The magpies, who had an inveterate malice against the black-birds, and nightingales, because they were better liked than themselves, on the account of their harmonious notes, and innocent nature, improved the opportunity,to make interest with 'he jackdaws and cuckows, to settle the succession on a noted bird, which was reckoned brother to the eagle, because hatcbed in the same nest ; but a mortal enemy to the nightingales, and blackbirds, and accused of a confederacy with the storks and kites, to betray the winged nation to the birds of prey. The magpies were frequently told of this, and remonstrances were entered against their proceedings, as destructive to the whole volatile empire; but they turned the deaf ear to every thing, that was said to them; for being used to feed upon carrion, they delighted in slaughter. In process of time, the eagle died, and his brother, the friend to the magpies, succeed d. As soon as he mounted the throne, the
magpies chatter d for joy, the jackdaws cawed, and the cut kows made protestations of loyalty in their usual note; but he was scarcely seated on the throne, when the region of the air was filled with birds of prey ; the screrch-owls began to quarrel with the jackdaws, and the cormorants pretended a right to the nests of the mag
pies,' In the mean time, though they could not agree amongst themselves, yet all of them united against the nightingales and black-birds, who, by this means, were forced to retire to the solitary groves, where they cbirped and waibled out their own misfortunes. The affairs of the winged empire being in this posture, a generous falcon, as he was called by some, or the true offspring of the eagle, as reckoned by others, being moved with compassion, towards the injured birds, attempted their relief; but the magpies and jack daws, with their adh-rents, the cuckows, where so much incensed against the generous falcon, because of his favourable inclinations to the nightingales and black-birds, that they summoned together their friends, the rooks, and joining with the storks and kites, ops pressed the poor falcon, with his small retinue ; and baving barbarously destroyed them, the eagle's brother looked upon bis throne, as surer than ever; and the magpies, jackdaws, and cuckows, concluding that they had insured his favour, by this new merit, pressed on to destroy the black-birds, and nightingales. But all of a sudden, when they thought themselves secure, the night-owls and cormorants, with the storks and kites, their adherents, having been a long time disposse ed of their nests, by the magpies and jackdaws, and their followers. the rooks and cuckows, resolved to come to a trial of skill wish them, upon which the magpies came to have some remorse for their barbarous treatment of the innocent black-birds; and, abating something of the usual barshness of their note, began to call,' mag, inag, poor mag a cup of sack for poor fainting mag;' and the jackdaws cawed to the black-birds, in a milder note than Lefore, hewailed their former severity, and invited the nightingales and black birds, to join with them, against the kites, cormorants, and screech-owls. The eagle's brother, being afraid of the consequences of such an union, came also to a parley with ihe black-birds and nightingales, and offered them fair quarter, provided they would concur towards the procuring of an authentick act, at the general dyet of the winged empire, to secure his followers in the possession of their nests, for all time coming; the amazed black-birds, being surprised with this mighty change, and having been wretchelly torn by the talons of bath parties, knew not whom to trust : but the eagle's brother being possessed of the throne, decency obliged them to make civil replies ; but some of the bats, which frequented the company of the black-birds, engaged too far with the cormorant interest, and by this time both parties owned the possessor of the throne, for a true eagle. Having gained his point so far, he resolved to push on his fortune, and being provoked with the behaviour of the magpies, he designed to put their pretensions of loyalty to the touch-stove, and commanded them to publish his imperial edict, giving liberty to all the subjects of the airy regions, to warble out the praises of their great creator, in such notes as nature had furnished them with ; it being highly unrea. sonable to say, that the canary-bird was no bird, because she could not croak like the raven, or that the nightingale was no subject of the winged empire, because she could not chatter like the magpy.