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following affecting appeal, which what cure or remedy may be pro. the reader will not fail to contrast vided, to remove, stay, or mitigate with the cold formality of modern the spreading and the increase there. civil or ecclesiastical documents. of. The philosopher and physician “ There is here set down, agreeable do allege such natural causes as to the time, a godly Exhortation or these : the infection of the air, the Epistle, (as it may well be termed,) corruption of the blood, and humours written unto you all here present in the body of man; the contagion by such as are in authority, and do which the sound party may receive love you with an unfeigned love in from persons or places already in. Christ Jesus, who entreat you by the fected; and all these are true in their mercies of God, that you will be kind. But over and above these content and willing to hear what causes alleged, the grave and for your good, upon mature delibe- weighty authority of the word of ration, they do write unto you: not God must inform us of another as of themselves, but in the blessed cause, a cause not natural, but suname of the most glorious Trinity; pernatural ; namely, the wrath of to whom they cease not to commend God, provoked and incensed by the you all in their daily prayers.” sins of any nation or people, hath
Then follows the Homily. It is often brought in the pestilence, as the long; it may be somewhat tedious; sworil and scourge of God to desand portions of it might be well troy them, or chasten them for their spared; yet notwithstanding all these sins. The people of Israel mur. defects, it contains so much that is mured against God in the wildertruly valuable and Scriptural, so ness, and not regarding his loving much that is highly important at care and providence over them (who the present moment, and even in its fed them miraculously with water minor topics so much that is curious out of the rock, and with manna or interesting as connected with the from heaven), waxed wanton in state of the times, and the opinions their desires, and required flesh also entertained respecting the pestilence for their lust; which, though they then raging, and the proposed reme- obtained, yet notwithstanding, while dies for it, that we have determined the meat was in their mouths, the to reprint the whole document. It plague of God fell upon them, and will be new to our readers both lay slew the wealthiest of them, and and clerical; and we shall not think smote down the chosen men that a few pages mispent, in rescuing it were in Israel, as you may read. from oblivion. Being issued by Again, the multitude of the people royal and ecclesiastical authority, it of Israel, taking part with those facmay be appealed to in proof of the tious and seditious conspirators, Coopinions of the governors of our rah, Dathan, and Abiram, murmured church at that period; and portions against Moses and Aaron, and of its appeals and arguments might grudged against their authority of be usefully introduced into some magistracy and priesthood wherein of the discourses which are being God himself had established them : preached at the present tine in va- wherefore a plague came upon them, rious parts of the kingdom, in rela- and there died 14,700. Again, the tion to the expected pestilence.
same people of Israel committed
whoredom with the daughters of An Exhortation fit for the Time. Moab, which called them also to
In the due consideration of the the sacrifice of their gods; wherefore mortality and plague wherewith God the wrath of the Lord was kindled at this time hath grievously visited against Israel, and there died in that us, two principal things are to be plague 24,000. Again, in the days looked into: first, what may be the of King David the wrath of the Lord cause of this infectious disease; then, was kindled against Israel, and Sa
tan moved David to number Israel and therefore, with as much offence and Judah; and the Lord sent a pes- assuredly in the sight of God, as was tilence, and there died of the people the contradiction of Corah and his from Dan to Beersheba 70,000. The accomplices. The people of Israel Apostle Saint Paul also signifieth, in committed whoredom with the daughhis Epistle to the Corinthians, that ters of Moab; and there are many of for their profanation and abusing the daughters of England like those the holy sacrament of the Lord's daughters of Moab, and too many Supper, many of them were sick like unto that Zimri, a prince in and weak, and many died. Lastly, Israel, whose fornications are notoof all sin, the same Apostle saith, rious in the sight of the world, and that for such things cometh the who, with a strumpet's forehead and wrath of God upon the children of a face of brass, care not to conceal disobedience. So that from these their abominations, and there wantexamples we see, that sin moveth eth greatly the zeal of Phinehas to the Lord to wrath, and the wrath of the punish them, and therefore no marvel Lord sendeth the plague, mortality, if God himself stand forth to plague diseases, and wrath amongst men the land for them. Add unto these,
Which being so evident a truth, that haply, with David, we have confirmed by so many examples out lifted up our hearts in the multitude of the Holy Scriptures, it must be ofour people, and magnified ourselves, confessed and acknowledged that the that we are a mighty and populous nasame cause hath procured the same tion, ascribing unto ourselves and our punishment with us : and that in own strength, the honour and victory these days, these evil days of ours, over our enemies which God with our transgressions in number more, his own right arm hath gotten unto and in degree more heinous, than himself for his glory. Add, morethose of Israel, have filled full the over, thatswearing, outrageous oaths, measure of iniquity and caused God and curse-speakings are to be heard to fill full the cup of his wrath, and out of the mouths of all estates, yea, given us this deadly wine to drink. even of very children in our streets, The people of Israel required meat whereby the name of God is very for their lust, and the people of grievously profaned. Add, also, that England nourish their lust for their our trades and traffic is become the meat, giving over themselves to sur- practice of deceit and theft, while feiting and drunkenness, and, as those we make our gain by lying, forthat make their belly their God and swearing, false measure, false weights, their glory their shame, are become and false lights, which are an abomia by-word unto neighbour nations nation unto the Lord. And therefoi gluttony and belly cheer. The fore no marvel if that flying book people of Israel murmured and re- of the curse of God against the belled against Moses and Aaron, their swearer and the thief have entered leaders : and there have been also into our houses, and taken hold of among us in England not only such the stone and timber thereof. Beas have despised government and sides all these, the Lord's Sabbath spoken evil of those that are in au- is not kept holy, but polluted: the thority, but such also as St. Paul word of God and the ministry thereof prophesied of, that there should come is not reverenced, but despised ; his in the latter days traitors, heady, holy sacraments are either neglected high-minded, murmurers, malcon- or abused; generally the name of tents ; fault-finders, as St. Jude call. God is evil spoken of among the eth them; such as have attempted adversaries of the truth through us reformation and alteration with no and our dissolute and licentious conless disturbance to the church of versation ; and therefore the cause God amongst us, no less danger and is apparent why the plague is broken. peril to the state and commonwealth, in amongst us ; God having threat
ened us in his word as the people will do in heaven and in earth, yet Israel, that because we will not obey he effecteth and bringeth his will to the voice of the Lord our God to do pass by order and by means that all his commandments and his ordi- himself hath determined. The eyes nances which he commands us, he of all things look up unto the Lord, will smite us with a consumption, and trusting in him he giveth them and with a fever, and with a burning their meat in due season ; but yet ague, and shall cause the pestilence the Lord will have all men to labour to cleave unto us until he have and eat the labours of their hands for consumed us from the land.—And the maintenance of their life. It is thus much of the cause of the pesti. the Lord that bringeth back again lence. Now let us examine and see from the gates of death, and restorwhat hope of help, what cure or eth men that were sick to their remedy, remaineth unto us in this former health, and yet hath he orvisitation. The remedy is to be dained the physician, and created sorted out answerable to the cause of many medicinable and comfortable the disease ; so that if God's anger things to procure and preserve the against sin hath caused this mor- health of man, and hath commanded tality among us (as heretofore hath us to use them. Men must plant been shewed amongst other people), and water, though it be God only if we shall remove our sins out of the that giveth the increase. If the sight of God, his wrath shall cease, husbandmen should give over their and with his wrath our punishment. tillage, and pretend that they meant For the applying of this sovereign to depend upon God's providence, balm unto our present sore, there looking either to be fed from heais by public order prescribed that ven, or that the earth should of fasting and prayer, the true signs her own accord bring forth unto and tokens of our unfeigned repent. them grain and corn, and all neance and conversion unto God, should cessary fruits for their relief, were be exercised in all congregations, it not in respect of themselves exespecially in and about London; that treme madness, and towards God a all degrees and estates of people most wicked temptation ? It cannot might thereby be admonished to be denied but that this grievous humble themselves under the mighty sickness which now reigneth amongst hand of God, to acknowledge their us, both is, and shall be, governed sins, and, by their humiliation and by God's providence, do men what detestation of their former wicked they list: but yet such as truly life, to testify unto the world that fear God, and are truly instructed they desire nothing more then to be out of his word, will submit themreconciled again to their good and selves unto his heavenly providence gracious God, that he may cause his in such sort as he hath appointed indignation to cease, and turn away them. When good king Hezekiah was this his fearful chastisement from sick of this disease of the plague, as amongstus. Andas fasting and prayer divines do deliver, he prayed and are means spiritual, appointed in the wept, and used those means meet word of God and always practised to pacify the anger of God. And in the church of God at such times when God had determined that he as he afflicteth his people with any should not die of that sickness, though contagious diseases or plagues for he could no doubt have healed sin; so are there also other natural him without means, by his word and ordinary means not to be neg- only, yet he directeth his prophet to lected, but to be received and used signify unto him the medicinable against the natural causes of this in- means of his help; namely, that fection. For though it be true that he should apply a plaster of figs to all things are guided by God's pro- his sore, to ripen and heal it. So vidence, and that he doth what he that we see, first prayer to God, and then the use of other necessary tent to hear out of the word of God and profitable means must not be their error therein and ignorance. neglected. Now if any man should The disease of the leprosy was inobject, or say, This visitation cometh fectious as is the pestilence ; and of God, and I know not whether to whensoever any were smitten with pray against it, he betrayeth greatly that disease, it was not surely withhis ignorance in the Scriptures of out the will or providence of God; God. For in every visitation of this and yet we may safely learn even or any other plague there mentioned, of God himself, without any preyou shall find that the holy men of judice to his good providence, how God still laboured by prayer and we ought in that and other kind of supplications unto God to remove infectious maladies to demean ourthe same from themselves and their selves for the avoiding of the damage people. Moses is said to have stood thereof. The leper (saith the Lord, in the gap to turn away the wrath of in the xiiith chapter of Leviticus) in God, and Aaron ran with his golden whom the plague is, shall have his censer to stand between the living clothes rent, and his head bare, and and the dead, and Phinehas, the priest, shall put a covering upon his lips, stood up and prayed, and the plague and shall cry, I am unclean, I am ceased. David, seeing the angel unclean. And as long as this disready to destroy Jerusalem, built an ease shall be upon him, he shall altar, offered sacrifice, and brake dwell alone, without the camp shall forth into that his most ardent and his habitation be. The rending of earnest supplication for the people. his clothes here mentioned was a Again, because in this great mor- sign of his mourning and lamentality of ours, we find by experience, tation for that affliction ; he dwelt that not so much any general corrup- alone for fear of infecting others; tion of the air, not any distemperature and if at any time he went abroad in the blood, or humours of men's to take the air, his lips were covered bodies, have been the causes of the that his breath might not infect such spreading and continuing of this in- as came near him ; and besides, he fection, as the contagion that the was to give warning, that all men
disease itself hath bred, and which might the more carefully avoid him pionę man receiveth from another, the by crying out unto them, I am " sound from those that are sick : unclean, I am unclean. Further
wherefore, also, men are to learn more, it was ordered by the Lord, that one chief and ordinary mean that the clothes that were infected of their preservation in this dangers should be burnt, the houses purged, Qus time is, avoiding of the con- and in some cases of more danger of tagion that cometh by mingling infection, pulled down and utterly disorderly the sound and the sick defaced. In which respect, there together; and if there be any that, was a general commandment given being yet sound, do think they to the people, that they should take are not bound in conscience to shun heed of the plague of the leprosy. and avoid the persons and places All these, and divers other rules and that are infected, except it be in case cautions prescribed by God himself, of necessity; or if those that are were chiefly grounded upon this, diseased, or do keep in houses where That the disease of the leprosy was the disease is known to be, shall infectious; whereby we are to learn, think much that they are shut up, that forasmuch as the disease of the and restrained from coming abroad, plague is far more infectious, conor frequenting the common and tagious, and dangerous, than that public assemblies of those that are was of the leprosy; we should be clear, having in the mean time such so much the more careful to avoid things as are necessary for their it, and such as are infected more sustentation ; they must be con- charitably minded and religiously humbled under the hand of God are in the greatest danger, as they than, disobeying all authority, to are who are already infected, or do thrust themselves into the company without urgent cause resort unto of others, whereby the mortality daily them. Now, in preparing ourselves so increaseth. And if any man to leave this world, what one thing should think that the disease of the almost is more necessary than a chaplague were not contagious and in- ritable heart towards all men, which fectious, so gross a conceit is rather they cannot have by any possible to be pitied than confuted, being means, who either, knowing themcontrary to the common and lament- selves to be infected, keep comable experience of these times, and pany with such as are clear; or contrary to the judgment of all that, being whole, do enter without learned and wise men in all ages. any necessity into places infected, If, therefore, we desire that Al- and afterwards resort into compamighty God should withdraw his nies, as if they were sure that neiheavy hand from us, and deliver us ther they themselves nor their clothes from this affliction, it is not suffi- were tainted. When King Azariah cient for us, by fasting and prayer, became a leper, because he knew the to humble ourselves unto his Divine danger of his disease, and found by Majesty, except we join therewith the law of God the restraint of those our best endeavours and diligence, that were so diseased, though king. by using such other means as God yet was he content to dwell in an hath appointed for the staying of it. house apart all the days of his life,
Otherwise, if we despise all good and Jothan, his son, governed in means, if we neither regard to keep his stead. This his obedience ourselves in a good state of our must needs condemn their disorbodily health by the counsel of the dered licentiousness, who, though learned physician, if we make a mock the meanest among the people, of all preservatives of art; if we neg- yet being infected, think scorn lect evil and infectious savours, and to keep their houses, though refuse the benefit of the purer air; but for a short time; and break if we run desperately and disorderly abroad they will, whatsoever come into all places, and amongst all per- of it; no authority, orders, laws, * sons, and pretend our faith and trust or proclamations can restrain them ' in God's providence, saying, If he and others there are as wilful to' will save me, he will save me ; and associate and mingle themselves with if I die, I die; this is not faith in them. Wherein how oruel the one God, but a gross, ignorant, and sort are against themselves in hafool-hardy presidence and presump- zarding their own lives, and theirs tion, little different from that subtle that depend on them; how uncharitemptation of Satan to our Saviour table the other sort are towards their Christ, to throw bimself headlong brethren by deriving their infection from the top of the pinnacle, in hope into them, and how injurious both that God would send his angels to sorts are to the state and commonhold him up, which were a wanton wealth wherein they live, by proand dangerous tempting of God; or longing and spreading the danger, else, with St. Peter, to lead himself which otherwise by their better gointo temptation, and, by desiring to vernment might be sooner supprest, walk on the water, to bring his life all wise men of sound judgment are into a needless and unnecessary very sorry either to see or hear it. hazard and peril, without any warrant Wherefore, considering all that hath of an ordinary calling, or any com- been spoken tendeth to this end, fort of a good conscience therein. To shew that our sins have caused
Moreover, if men at any time will this fearful visitation to break forth prepare themselves for death, then against us; and that the remedy should they especially when they left unto, us for our hope of help
Christ. OBSERV. No. 361.