The Life and Deathof Mr. Badman
Presented to the World in a Familiar Dialogue Between Mr. Wiseman and Mr. Attentive.
By John Bunyan
ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR.
The life of Badman is a very interesting description, a true and lively portraiture, of the demoralized classes of the trading community in the reign of King Charles II; a subject which naturally led the author to use expressions familiar among such persons, but which are now either obsolete or considered as vulgar. In fact it is the only work proceeding from the prolific pen and fertile imagination of Bunyan, in which he uses terms that, in this delicate and refined age, may give offence. So, in the venerable translation of the holy oracles, there are some objectionable expressions, which, although formerly used in the politest company, now point to the age in which it was written. The same ideas or facts would now be expressed by terms which could not give offence; and every reader must feel great pleasure in the improvement of our language, as seen in the contrast between the two periods, and especially in the recollection that the facts might be stated with equal precision, and reflections made with equal force, in terms at which the most delicate mind could not be offended.
Those who read the writings of Bunyan must feel continually reminded of his ardent attachment to his Saviour, and his intense love to the souls of sinners. He was as delicate in his expressions as any writer of his age, who addressed the openly vicious and profane - calling things by their most forcible and popular appellations. A wilful untruth is, with him, 'a lie.' To show the wickedness and extreme folly of swearing, he gives the words and imprecations then commonly in use; but which, happily for us, we never hear, except among the most degraded classes of society. Swearing was formerly considered to be a habit of gentility; but now it betrays the blackguard, even when disguised in genteel attire. Those dangerous diseases which are so surely engendered by filth and uncleanness, he calls not by Latin but by their plain English names. In every case, the Editor has not ventured to make the slightest alteration; but has reprinted the whole in the author's plain and powerful language.
The life of Badman forms a third part to the Pilgrim's Progress, not a delightful pilgrimage to heaven, but, on the contrary, a wretched downward journey to the infernal realms. The author's object is to warn poor thoughtless sinners, not with smooth words, to which they would take no heed; but to thunder upon their consciences the peril of their souls, and the increasing wretchedness into which they were madly hurrying. He who is in imminent, but unseen danger, will bless the warning voice if it reach his ears, however rough and startling the sound may be.
The life of Badman was written in an age when profligacy, vice, and debauchery, marched like a desolating army through our land, headed by the king, and officered by his polluted courtiers; led on with all the pomp and splendour which royalty could display. The king and his ministers well knew that the most formidable enemies to tyranny, oppression, and misgovernment, were the piety and stern morality of the Puritans, Nonconformists, and the small classes of virtuous citizens of other denominations; and therefore every effort was made by allurements and intimidation to debauch and demoralize their minds. Well does Bunyan say that 'wickedness like a flood is like to drown our English world. It has almost swallowed up all our youth, our middle age, old age, and all are almost carried away of this flood. It reels to and fro like a drunkard, it is like to fall and rise no more.' 'It is the very haunts and walks of the infernal spirits.' 'England shakes and makes me totter for its transgressions.'
The gradations of a wicked man in that evil age, from his cradle to his grave, are graphically set before the reader; it is all drawn from reality, and not from efforts of imagination. Every example is a picture of some real occurrence, either within the view of the author, or from the narratives of credible witnesses. 'All the things thathere I discourse of, have been acted upon the stage of this world, even many times before mine eyes.' Badman is represented as having had the very great advantage of pious parents, and a godly master, but run riot in wickedness from his childhood. Lying and pilfering mark his early days; followed in after life by swearing, cheating, drunkenness, hypocrisy, infidelity and atheism. His conscience became hardened to that awful extent, that he had no bands in his death. The career of wickedness has often been so pictured, as to encourage and cherish vice and profanity - to excite the unregenerate mind 'to ride post by other men's sins.' Not so the life of Badman. The ugly, wretched, miserable consequences that assuredly follow a vicious career, are here displayed in biting words - alarming the conscience, and awfully warning the sinner of his destiny, unless happily he finds that repentance that needeth not to be repented of. No debauchee ever read the life of Badman to gratify or increase his thirst for sin. The tricks which in those days so generally accompanied trading, are unsparingly exposed; becoming bankrupt to make money, a species of robbery, which ought to be punished as felony; double weights, too heavy for buying, and light to sell by, overcharging those who take credit, and the taking advantage of the necessities of others, with the abuse of evil gains in debauchery, and its ensuing miseries, are all faithfully displayed.
In the course of the narrative, a variety of awful examples of divine vengeance are introduced; some from that singular compilation, Clarke's looking-glass for Saints and Sinners; others from 'Beard's theatre of God's Judgments' and many that happened under the author's own immediate knowledge. The faithfulness of his extracts from books has been fully verified. The awful death of Dorothy Mately, of Ashover, in Derbyshire, mentioned, I had an opportunity of testing, by the aid of my kind friend, Thomas Bateman, Esq., of Yolgrave. He sent me the following extract from the Ashover Register for 1660: - 'Dorothy Mately, supposed wife to John Flint of this parish, forswore herself; whereupon the ground opened, and she sunk over head, March 23, and being found dead, she was buried, March 25.' Thus fully confirming the facts, as stated by Bunyan. Solemn providences, intended, in the inscrutable wisdom of God, for wise purposes, must not be always called 'divine judgments.' A ship is lost, and the good with the bad, sink together; a missionary is murdered; a pious Malay is martyred; still no one can suppose that these are instances of divine vengeance. But when the atrocious bishop Bonner, in his old age, miserably perishes in prison, it reminds us of our Lord's saying, 'with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.'
Bunyan's pictures, of which the life of Badman is a continued series, are admirably painted from life. The extraordinary depths of hypocrisy, used in gaining the affections of a pious wealthy young woman, and entrapping her into a marriage, are admirably drawn, as is its companion or counterpart, when Badman, in his widower-hood, suffers an infamous strumpet to inveigle him into a miserable marriage, as he so richly deserved. The death-bed scene of the pious broken-hearted Mrs. Badman, is a masterpiece. In fact the whole is a series of pictures drawn by a most admirable artist, and calculated to warn and attract the sinner from his downward course.
In comparison with the times of Bunyan, England has now become wonderfully reformed from those grosser pollutions which disgraced her name. Persons of riper age, whose reminiscences go back to the times of the slave trade, slavery, and war, will call to mind scenes of vice, brutality, open debauchery and profligacy, which, in these peaceful and prosperous times, would be instantly repressed and properly punished. Should peace be preserved, domestic, social, and national purity and happiness must increase with still greater and more delightful rapidity. Civilization and Christianity will triumph over despotism, vice, and false religions, and the time be hastened on, in which the divine art of rendering each other happy will engross the attention of all mankind. Much yet remains to be done for the conversion of the still numerous family connections of Mr. Badman; but the leaven of Christianity must, in spite of all opposition, eventually spread over the whole mass.
Homely proverbs abound in this narrative, all of which are worthy of being treasured up in our memories. Is nothing so secret but it will be revealed? we are told that 'Hedges have eyes and pitchers have ears.' They who encourage evil propensities are 'nurses to the devil's brats.' It is said of him who hurries on in a career of folly and sin, 'The devil rides him off his legs.' 'As the devil corrects vice,' refers to those who pretend to correct bad habits by means intended to promote them. 'The devil is a cunning schoolmaster.' Satan taking the wicked into his foul embraces is 'like to like, as the devil said to the collier.'
In two things the times have certainly improved. Bunyan describes all 'pawnbrokers' to have been 'vile wretches,' and, in extortion, the women to be worse than the men. Happily for our days, good and even pious pawnbrokers may be found, who are honourable exceptions to Mr. Bunyan's sweeping rule; nor do our women in any respect appear to be greater extortioners than our men. The instructions, exhortations, and scriptural precepts and examples to enforce honest dealing, interspersed as reflections throughout this narrative, are invaluable, and will, I trust, prove beneficial to every reader.
I have taken the liberty of dividing this long-continued dialogue into chapters, for the greater facility of reference, and as periods in the history, where the reader may conveniently rest in his progress through this deeply interesting narrative.
THE AUTHOR TO THE READER.
As I was considering with myself what I had written concerning the Progress of the Pilgrim from this world to glory, and how it had been acceptable to many in this nation, it came again into my mind to write, as then, of him that was going to heaven, so now, of the life and death of the ungodly, and of their travel from this world to hell. The which in this I have done, and have put it, as thou seest, under the name and title of Mr. Badman, a name very proper for such a subject. I have also put it into the form of a dialogue, that I might with more ease to myself, and pleasure to the reader, perform the work. And although, as I said, I have put it forth in this method, yet have I as little as may be gone out of the road of mine own observation of things. Yea, I think I may truly say that to the best of my remembrance, all the things that here I discourse of, I mean as to matter of fact, have been acted upon the stage of this world, even many times before mine eyes.
Here therefore, courteous reader, I present thee with the life and death of Mr. Badman indeed; yea, I do trace him in his life, from his childhood to his death; that thou mayest, as in a glass, behold with thine own eyes the steps that take hold of hell; and also discern, while thou art reading of Mr. Badman's death, whether thou thyself art treading in his path thereto. And let me entreat thee to forbear quirking and mocking, for that I say Mr. Badman is dead; but rather gravely inquire concerning thyself by the Word, whether thou art one of his lineage or no; for Mr. Badman has left many of his relations behind him; yea, the very world is overspread with his kindred. True, some of his relations, as he, are gone to their place and long home, but thousands of thousands are left behind; as brothers, sisters, cousins, nephews, besides innumerable of his friends and associates. I may say, and yet speak nothing but too much truth in so saying, that there is scarce a fellowship, a community, or fraternity of men in the world, but some of Mr. Badman's relations are there; yea, rarely can we find a family or household in a town, where he has not left behind him either a brother, nephew, or friend.
The butt therefore, that at this time I shoot at, is wide; and it will be as impossible for this book to go into several families, and not to arrest some, as for the king's messenger to rush into a house full of traitors, and find none but honest men there. I cannot but think that this shot will light upon many, since our fields are so full of this game; but how many it will kill to Mr. Badman's course, and make alive to the Pilgrim's Progress, that is not in me to determine; this secret is with the Lord our God only, and he alone knows to whom he will bless it to so good and so blessed an end. However, I have put fire to the pan, and doubt not but the report will quickly be heard.
I told you before that Mr. Badman had left many of his friends and relations behind him, but if I survive them, as that is a great question to me, I may also write of their lives; however, whether my life be longer or shorter, this is my prayer at present, that God will stir up witnesses against them, that may either convert or confound them; for wherever they live, and roll in their wickedness, they are the pest and plague of that country. England shakes and totters already, by reason of the burden that Mr. Badman and his friends have wickedly laid upon it. Yea, our earth reels and staggereth to and fro like a drunkard, the transgression thereof is heavy upon it.
Courteous reader, I will treat thee now, even at the door and threshold of this house, but only with this intelligence, that Mr. Badman lies dead within. Be pleased therefore, if thy leisure will serve thee, to enter in, and behold the state in which he is laid, betwixt his death-bed and the grave. He is not buried as yet, nor doth he stink, as is designed he shall, before he lies down in oblivion. Now as others have had their funerals solemnized, according to their greatness and grandeur in the world, so likewise Mr. Badman, forasmuch as he deserveth not to go down to his grave with silence, has his funeral state according to his deserts.
Four things are usual at great men's funerals, which we will take leave, and I hope without offence, to allude to, in the funeral of Mr. Badman.
First. They are sometimes, when dead, presented to their friends, by their completely wrought images, as lively as by cunning men's hands they can be; that the remembrance of them may be renewed to their survivors, the remembrance ofthem and their deeds; and this I have endeavoured to answer in my discourse of Mr. Badman, and therefore I have drawn him forth in his features and actions from his childhood to his grey hairs. Here therefore, thou hast him lively set forth as in cuts; both as to the minority, flower, and seniority of his age, together with those actions of his life, that he was most capable of doing, in and under those present circumstances of time, place, strength; and the opportunities that did attend him in these.
Second. There is also usual at great men's funerals, those badges and escutcheons of their honour, that they have received from their ancestors, or have been thought worthy of for the deeds and exploits they have done in their life; and here Mr. Badman has his, but such as vary from all men of worth, but so much the more agreeing with the merit of his doings. They all have descended in state, he only as an abominable branch. His deserts are the deserts of sin, and therefore the escutcheons of honour that he has, are only that he died without honour, 'and at his end became a fool.' 'Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial.' 'The seed of evil doers shall never be renowned' (Isa 14:20).
The funeral pomp therefore of Mr. Badman, is to wear upon his hearse the badges of a dishonourable and wicked life; since 'his bones are full of the sin of his youth, which shall lie down,' as Job says, 'with him in the dust.' Nor is it fit that any should be his attendants, now at his death, but such as with him conspired against their own souls in their life; persons whose transgressions have made them infamous to all that have or shall know what they have done.
Some notice therefore I have also here in this little discourse given the reader, of them who were his confederates in his life, and attendants at his death; with a hint, either of some high villainy committed by them, as also of those judgments that have overtaken and fallen upon them from the just and revenging hand of God. All which are things either fully known by me, as being eye and ear-witness thereto, or that I have received from such hands, whose relation, as to this, I am bound to believe. And that the reader may know them from other things and passages herein contained, I have pointed at them in the margin.
Third. The funerals of persons of quality have been solemnized with some suitable sermon at the time and place of their burial; but that I am not come to as yet, having got no further than to Mr. Badman's death; but forasmuch as he must be buried, after he hath stunk out his time before his beholders, I doubt not but some such that we read are appointed to be at the burial of Gog, will do this work in my stead; such as shall leave him neither skin nor bone above ground, but shall set a sign by it till the buriers have buried it in the valley of Hamon-gog (Eze 39).
Fourth. At funerals there does use to be mourning and lamentation, but here also Mr. Badman differs from others; his familiars cannot lament his departure, for they have not sense of his damnable state; they rather ring him, and sing him to hell in the sleep of death, in which he goes thither. Good men count him no loss to the world, his place can well be without him, his loss is only his own, and it is too late for him to recover that damage or loss by a sea of bloody tears, could he shed them. Yea, God has said he will laugh at his destruction; who then shall lament for him, saying, Ah! my brother. He was but a stinking weed in his life; nor was he better at all in his death; such may well be thrown over the wall without sorrow, when once God has plucked them up by the roots in his wrath.
Reader, if thou art of the race, lineage, stock, or fraternity of Mr. Badman, I tell thee, before thou readest this book, thou wilt neither brook the author nor it, because he hath writ of Mr. Badman as he has. For he that condemneth the wicked that die so, passeth also the sentence upon the wicked that live. I therefore expect neither credit of, nor countenance from thee, for this narration of thy kinsman's life. For thy old love to thy friend, his ways, doings, &c., will stir up in thee enmity rather in thy very heart against me. I shall therefore incline to think of thee, that thou wilt rend, burn, or throw it away in contempt; yea, and wish also, that for writing so notorious a truth, some mischief may befal me. I look also to be loaded by thee with disdain, scorn, and contempt; yea, that thou shouldest railingly and vilifyingly say I lie, and am a bespatterer of honest men's lives and deaths. For. Mr. Badman, when himself was alive, could not abide to be counted a knave, though his actions told all that went by, that indeed he was such an one. How then should his brethren that survive him, and that tread in his very steps, approve of the sentence that by this book is pronounced against him? Will they not rather imitate Korah, Dathan, and Abiram's friends, even rail at me for condemning him, as they did at Moses for doing execution?
I know it is ill puddling in the cockatrice's den, and that they run hazards that hunt the wild boar. The man also that writeth Mr. Badman's life had need be fenced with a coat of mail, and with the staff of a spear, for that his surviving friends will know what he doth; but I have adventured to do it, and to play, at this time, at the hole of these asps; if they bite, they bite; if they sting, they sting. Christ sends his lambs in the midst of wolves, not to do like them, but to suffer by them for bearing plain testimony against their bad deeds.But had one not need to walk with a guard, and to have a sentinel stand at one's door for this? Verily, the flesh would be glad of such help; yea, a spiritual man, could he tell how to get it (Acts 23). But I am stript naked of these, and yet am commanded to be faithful in my service for Christ. Well then, I have spoken what I have spoken, and now 'come on me what will' (Job 13:13). True, the text say, Rebuke a scorner and he will hate thee; and that he that reproveth a wicked man getteth himself a blot and shame. But what then? Open rebuke is better than secret love, and he that receives it shall find it so afterwards.
So then, whether Mr. Badman's friends shall rage or laugh at what I have writ, I know that the better end of the staff is mine. My endeavour is to stop a hellish course of life, and to 'save a soul from death' (James 5:20). And if for so doing I meet with envy from them, from whom in reason I should have thanks, I must remember the man in the dream, that cut his way through his armed enemies, and so got into the beauteous palace; I must, I say, remember him, and do myself likewise.
Yet four things I will propound to the consideration of Mr. Badman's friends before I turn my back upon them.
1. Suppose that there be a hell in very deed; not that I do question it any more than I do whether there be a sun to shine, but I suppose it for argument sake with Mr. Badman's friends. I say, suppose there be a hell, and that too such an one as the Scripture speaks of, one at the remotest distance from God and life eternal, one where the worm of a guilty conscience never dies, and where the fire of the wrath of God is not quenched. Suppose, I say, that there is such a hell, prepared of God - as there is indeed - for the body and soul of the ungodly world after this life to be tormented in; I say, do but with thyself suppose it, and then tell me is it not prepared for thee, thou being a wicked man? Let thy conscience speak, I say, is it not prepared for thee, thou being an ungodly man? And dost thou think, wast thou there now, that thou art able to wrestle with the judgment of God? why then do the fallen angels tremble there? Thy hands cannot be strong, nor can thy heart endure, in that day when God shall deal with thee (Eze 22:14).
2. Suppose that some one that is now a soul in hell for sin, was permitted to come hither again to dwell, and that they had a grant also, that, upon amendment of life, next time they die, to change that place for heaven and glory. What sayst thou, O wicked man? Would such an one, thinkest thou, run again into the same course of life as before, and venture the damnation that for sin he had already been in? Would he choose again to lead that cursed life that afresh would kindle the flames of hell upon him, and that would bind him up under the heavy wrath of God? O! he would not, he would not; Luke 16 insinuates it; yea, reason itself awake would abhor it, and tremble at such a thought.
3. Suppose again, that thou that livest and rollest in thy sin, and that as yet hast known nothing but the pleasure thereof, shouldest be by an angel conveyed to some place, where, with convenience, from thence thou mightest have a view of heaven and hell, of the joys of the one and the torments of the other; I say, suppose that from thence thou mightest have such a view thereof as would convince thy reason that both heaven and hell are such realities as by the Word they are declared to be; wouldest thou, thinkest thou, when brought to thy home again, choose to thyself thy former life, to wit, to return to thy folly again? No; if belief of what thou sawest remained with thee thou wouldest eat fire and brimstone first.
4. I will propound again. Suppose that there was amongst us such a law, and such a magistrate to inflict the penalty, that for every open wickedness committed by thee, so much of thy flesh should with burning pincers be plucked from thy bones, wouldest thou then go on in thy open way of lying, swearing, drinking, and whoring, as thou with delight doest now? Surely, surely, no. The fear of the punishment would make thee forbear; yea, would make thee tremble, even then when thy lusts were powerful, to think what a punishment thou wast sure to sustain so soon as the pleasure was over. But O! the folly, the madness, the desperate madness that is in the hearts of Mr. Badman's friends, who, in despite of the threatenings of a holy and sin-revenging God, and of the outcries and warnings of all good men, yea, that will, in despite of the groans and torments of those that are now in hell for sin, go on in a sinful course of life, yea, though every sin is also a step of descent down to that infernal cave (Luke 16:24,28). O how true is that saying of Solomon, 'The heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead' (Eccl 9:3). To the dead! that is, to the dead in hell, to the damned dead, the place to which those that have died bad men are gone, and that those that live bad men are like to go to, when a little more sin, like stolen waters, hath been imbibed by their sinful souls.
That which has made me publish this book is,
1. For that wickedness, like a flood, is like to drown our English world. It begins already to be above the tops of the mountains; it has almost swallowed up all; our youth, middle age, old age, and all, are almost carried away of this flood. O debauchery, debauchery, what hast thou done in England! Thou hast corrupted our young men, and hast made our old men beasts; thou hast deflowered our virgins, and hast made matrons bawds. Thou hast made our earth 'to reel to and fro like a drunkard'; it is in danger to 'be removed like a cottage,' yea, it is, because transgression is so heavy upon it, like to fall and rise no more (Isa 24:20). O! that I could mourn for England, and for the sins that are committed therein, even while I see that, without repentance, the men of God's wrath are about to deal with us, each having his 'slaughtering weapon in his hand' (Eze 9:1,2). Well, I have written, and by God's assistance shall pray that this flood may abate in England; and could I but see the tops of the mountains above it, I should think that these waters were abating.
2. It is the duty of those that can to cry out against this deadly plague, yea, to lift up their voice as with a trumpet against it, that men may be awakened about it, fly from it, as from that which is the greatest of evils. Sin pulled angels out of heaven, pulls men down to hell, and overthroweth kingdoms. Who, that sees a house on fire, will not give the alarm to them that dwell therein? Who, that sees the land invaded, will not set the beacons on a flame. Who, that sees the devils as roaring lions, continually devouring souls, will not make an out-cry? But above all, when we see sin, sinful sin, a swallowing up a nation, sinking of a nation, and bringing its inhabitants to temporal, spiritual, and eternal ruin, shall we not cry out and cry, They are drunk, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink; they are intoxicated with the deadly poison of sin, which will, if its malignity be not by wholesome means allayed, bring soul and body, and estate, and country, and all, to ruin and destruction?
3. In and by this outcry I shall deliver myself from the ruins of them that perish; for a man can do no more in this matter - I mean a man in my capacity - than to detect and condemn the wickedness, warn the evil doer of the judgment, and fly therefrom myself. But O! that I might not only deliver myself! O that many would hear, and turn at this my cry from sin! that they may be secured from the death and judgment that attend it.
Why I have handled the matter in this method is best known to myself. And why I have concealed most of the names of the persons whose sins or punishments I here and there in this book make relation of is, (1.) For that neither the sins nor judgments were all alike open; the sins of some were committed, and the judgments executed for them, only in a corner. Not to say that I could not learn some of their names, for could I, I should not have made them public, for this reason, (2.) Because I would not provoke those of their relations that survive them; I would not justly provoke them; and yet, as I think, I should, should I have entailed their punishment to their sins, and both to their names, and so have turned them into the world. (3.) Nor would I lay them under disgrace and contempt, which would, as I think, unavoidably have happened unto them had I withal inserted their names.
As for those whose names I mention, their crimes or judgments were manifest; public almost as anything of that nature that happeneth to mortal men. Such therefore have published their own shame by their sin, and God his anger, by taking of open vengeance. As Job says, God has struck 'them as wicked men in the open sight of others' (Job 34:26). So that I cannot conceive, since their sin and judgment was so conspicuous, that my admonishing the world thereof should turn to their detriment. For the publishing of these things are, so far as relation is concerned, intended for remembrances, that they may also bethink themselves, repent and turn to God, lest the judgments for their sins should prove hereditary. For the God of heaven hath threatened to visit the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, if they hate him, to the third and fourth generation (Exo 20:5).
Nebuchadnezzar's punishment for his pride being open - for he was for his sin driven from his kingly dignity, and from among men too, to eat grass like an ox, and to company with the beasts - Daniel did not stick to tell Belshazzar his son to his face thereof; nor to publish it that it might be read and remembered by the generations to come. The same may be said of Judas and Ananias, &c., for their sin and punishment were known to all the dwellers at Jerusalem (Acts 1:19). Nor is it a sign but of desperate impenitence and hardness of heart, when the offspring or relations of those who have fallen by open, fearful, and prodigious judgments, for their sin, shall overlook, forget, pass by, or take no notice of such high outgoings of God against them and their house. Thus Daniel aggravates Belshazzar's crime, for that he hardened his heart in pride, though he knew that for that very sin and transgression his father was brought down from his height, and made to be a companion for asses. 'And thou his son, O Belshazzar,' says he, 'hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this' (Dan 5:22). A home reproof, indeed, but home [reproof] is most fit for an open and a continued in transgression.
Let those, then, that are the offspring or relations of such, who by their own sin, and the dreadful judgments of God, are made to become a sign (Deut 16:9-12), having been swept as dung from off the face of the earth, beware, lest when judgment knocks at their door, for their sins, as it did before at the door of their progenitors, it falls also with as heavy a stroke as on them that went before them (Num 16:38-40). Lest, I say, they in that day, instead of finding mercy, find for their high, daring, and judgment-affronting sins, judgment without mercy.
To conclude; let those that would not die Mr. Badman's death, take heed of Mr. Badman's ways; for his ways bring to his end. Wickedness will not deliver him that is given to it; though they should cloak all with a profession of religion. If it was a transgression of old for a man to wear a woman's apparel, surely it is a transgression now for a sinner to wear a Christian profession for a cloak. Wolves in sheep's clothing swarm in England this day; wolves both as to doctrine and as to practice too. Some men make a profession, I doubt, on purpose that they may twist themselves into a trade; and thence into an estate; yea, and if need be, into an estate knavishly, by the ruins of their neighbour. Let such take heed, for those that do such things have the greater damnation. Christian, make thy profession shine by a conversation according to the gospel; or else thou wilt damnify religion, bring scandal to thy brethren, and give offence to the enemies; and it would be better that a millstone was hanged about thy neck, and that thou, as so adorned, was cast into the bottom of the sea, than so to do. Christian, a profession according to the gospel is, in these days, a rare thing; seek then after it, put it on, and keep it without spot, and, as becomes thee, white, and clean, and thou shalt be a rare Christian.
The prophecy of the last times is, that professing men, for so I understand the text, shall be many of them base (2 Tim 3); but continue thou in the things that thou hast learned, not of wanton men, nor of licentious times, but of the Word and doctrine of God, that is, according to godliness; and thou shalt walk with Christ in white. Now, God Almighty gave his people grace, not to hate or malign sinners, nor yet to choose any of their ways, but to keep themselves pure from the blood of all men, by speaking and doing according to that name and those rules that they profess to know and love; for Jesus Christ's sake.
THE LIFE AND DEATH OF MR. BADMAN
[BADMAN'S DEATH AND ITS AWFUL CONSEQUENCES.]
WISEMAN. Good morrow, my good neighbour, Mr. Attentive; whither are you walking so early this morning? Methinks you look as if you were concerned about something more than ordinary. Have you lost any of your cattle, or what is the matter?
ATTENTIVE. Good Sir, good morrow to you, I have not as yet lost aught, but yet you give a right guess of me, for I am, as you say, concerned in my heart, but it is because of the badness of the times. And, Sir, you, as all our neighbours know, are a very observing man, pray, therefore, what do you think of them?
WISE. Why, I think, as you say, to wit, that they are bad times, and bad they will be, until men are better; for they are bad men that make bad times; if men, therefore, would mend, so would the times. It is a folly to look for good days so long as sin is so high, and those that study its nourishment so many. God bring it down, and those that nourish it, to repentance, and then, my good neighbour, you will be concerned, not as you are now; now you are concerned because times are so bad, but then you will be so because times are so good; now you are concerned so as to be perplexed, but then you will be concerned so as to lift up your voice with shouting, for I dare say, could you see such days, they would make you shout.
ATTEN. Ay, so they would; such times I have prayed for, such times I have longed for; but I fear they will be worse before they be better.
WISE. Make no conclusions, man; for he that hath the hearts of men in his hand can change them from worse to better, and so bad times into good. God give long life to them that are good, and especially to those of them that are capable of doing him service in the world. The ornament and beauty of this lower world, next to God and his wonders, are the men that spangle and shine in godliness.
Now as Mr. Wiseman said this, he gave a great sigh.
ATTEN. Amen, amen. But why, good Sir, do you sigh so deeply; is it for ought else than that for the which, as you have perceived, I myself am concerned?
WISE. I am concerned, with you, for the badness of the times; but that was not the cause of that sigh, of the which, as I see, you take notice. I sighed at the remembrance of the death of that man for whom the bell tolled at our town yesterday.
ATTEN. Why, I trow, Mr. Goodman your neighbour is not dead. Indeed I did hear that he had been sick.
WISE. No, no, it is not he. Had it been he, I could not but have been concerned, but yet not as I am concerned now. If he had died, I should only have been concerned for that the world had lost a light; but the man that I am concerned for now was one that never was good, therefore such an one who is not dead only, but damned. He died that he might die, he went from life to death, and then from death to death, from death natural to death eternal. And as he spake this, the water stood in his eyes.
ATTEN. Indeed, to go from a deathbed to hell is a fearful thing to think on. But, good neighbour Wiseman, be pleased to tell me who this man was, and why you conclude him so miserable in his death?
WISE. Well, if you can stay, I will tell you who he was, and why I conclude thus concerning him.
ATTEN. My leisure will admit me to stay, and I am willing to hear you out. And I pray God your discourse may take hold on my heart, that I may be bettered thereby. So they agreed to sit down under a tree. Then Mr. Wiseman proceeded as followeth: -
WISE. The man that I mean is one Mr. Badman; he has lived in our town a great while, and now, as I said, he is dead. But the reason of my being so concerned at his death is, not for that he was at all related to me, or for that any good conditions died with him, for he was far from them, but for that, as I greatly fear, he hath, as was hinted before, died two deaths at once.
ATTEN. I perceive what you mean by two deaths at once; and to speak truth, it is a fearful thing thus to have ground to think of any: for although the death of the ungodly and sinners is laid to heart but of few, yet to die in such a state is more dreadful and fearful than any man can imagine. Indeed if a man had no soul, if his state was not truly immortal, the matter would not be so much; but for a man to be so disposed of by his Maker, as to be appointed a sensible being for ever, and for him too to fall into the hands of revenging justice, that will be always, to the utmost extremity that his sin deserveth, punishing of him in the dismal dungeon of hell, this must needs be unutterably sad, and lamentable.
WISE. There is no man, I think, that is sensible of the worth of one soul, but must, when he hears of the death of unconverted men, be stricken with sorrow and grief: because, as you said well, that man's state is such that he has a sensible being for ever. For it is sense that makes punishment heavy. But yet sense is not all that the damned have, they have sense and reason too; so then, as sense receiveth punishment with sorrow, because it feels, and bleeds under the same, so by reason, and the exercise thereof, in the midst of torment, all present affliction is aggravated, and that three manner of ways: - 1. Reason will consider thus with himself. For what am I thus tormented? and will easily find it is for nothing but that base and filthy thing, sin; and now will vexation be mixed with punishment, and that will greatly heighten the affliction. 2. Reason will consider thus with himself. How long must this be my state? And will soon return to himself this answer: This must be my state for ever and ever. Now this will greatly increase the torment. 3. Reason. will consider thus with himself. What have I lost more than present ease and quiet by my sins that I have committed? And will quickly return himself this answer: I have lost communion with God, Christ, saints, and angels, and a share in heaven and eternal life: and this also must needs greaten the misery of poor damned souls. And this is the case of Mr. Badman.
ATTEN. I feel my heart even shake at the thoughts of coming into such a state. Hell! who knows that is yet alive, what the torments of hell are? This word HELL gives a very dreadful sound.
WISE. Ay, so it does in the ears of him that has a tender conscience. But if, as you say, and that truly, the very name of hell is so dreadful, what is the place itself, and what are the punishments that are there inflicted, and that without the least intermission, upon the souls of damned men, for ever and ever.
ATTEN. Well, but passing this; my leisure will admit me to stay, and therefore pray tell me what it is that makes you think that Mr. Badman is gone to hell.
WISE. I will tell you. But first, do you know which of the Badmans I mean?
ATTEN. Why, was there more of them than one?
WISE. O yes, a great many, both brothers and sisters, and yet all of them the children of a godly parent, the more a great deal is the pity.
ATTEN. Which of them therefore was it that died?
WISE. The eldest, old in years, and old in sin; but the sinner that dies an hundred years old shall be accursed.
ATTEN. Well, but what makes you think he is gone to hell?
WISE. His wicked life, and fearful death, especially since the manner of his death was so corresponding with his life.
ATTEN. Pray let me know the manner of his death, if yourself did perfectly know it.
WISE. I was there when he died; but I desire not to see another such man, while I live, die in such sort as he did.
ATTEN. Pray therefore let me hear it.
WISE. You say you have leisure and can stay, and therefore, if you please, we will discourse even orderly of him. First, we will begin with his life, and then proceed to his death: because a relation of the first may the more affect you, when you shall hear of the second.
ATTEN. Did you then so well know his life?
WISE. I knew him of a child. I was a man, when he was but a boy, and I made special observation of him from first to last.
ATTEN. Pray then let me hear from you an account of his life; but be as brief as you can, for I long to hear of the manner of his death.
[BADMAN'S WICKED BEHAVIOUR IN CHILDHOOD.]
WISE. I will endeavour to answer your desires, and first, I will tell you, that from a child he was very bad; his very beginning was ominous, and presaged that no good end was, in likelihood, to follow thereupon. There were several sins that he was given to, when but a little one, that manifested him to be notoriously infected with original corruption; for I dare say he learned none of them of his father and mother; nor was he admitted to go much abroad among other children that were vile, to learn to sin of them: nay, contrariwise, if at any time he did get abroad amongst others, he would be as the inventor of bad words, and an example in bad actions. To them all he used to be, as we say, the ringleader, and master-sinner from a child.
ATTEN. This was a bad beginning indeed, and did demonstrate that he was, as you say, polluted, very much polluted with original corruption. For to speak my mind freely, I do confess that it is mine opinion that children come polluted with sin into the world, and that ofttimes the sins of their youth, especially while they are very young, are rather by virtue of indwelling sin, than by examples that are set before them by others. Not but that they learn to sin by example too, but example is not the root,but rather the temptation unto wickedness. The root is sin within; 'for from within, out of the heart of men,' proceedeth sin (Mark 7:21).
WISE. I am glad to hear that you are of this opinion, and to confirm what you have said by a few hints from the Word. Man in his birth is compared to an ass, an unclean beast, and to a wretched infant in its blood (Job 11:12; Eze 16). Besides, all the first-born of old that were offered unto the Lord, were to be redeemed at the age of a month, and that was before they were sinners by imitation (Exo 13:13, 34:20). The scripture also affirmeth, that by the sin of one, judgment came upon all; and renders this reason, 'for that all have sinned' (Rom 5:12). Nor is that objection worth a rush, that Christ by his death hath taken away original sin. First. Because it is scriptureless. Secondly. Because it makes them incapable of salvation by Christ; for none but those that in their own persons are sinners are to have salvation by him. Many other things might be added, but between persons so well agreed as you and I are, these may suffice at present. But when an antagonist comes to deal with us about this matter, then we have for him often other strong arguments, if he be an antagonist worth the taking notice of.
ATTEN. But, as was hinted before, he used to be the ring-leading sinner, or the master of mischief among other children; yet these are but generals; pray therefore tell me in particular which were the sins of his childhood.
WISE. I will so. When he was but a child, he was so addicted to lying that his parents scarce knew when to believe he spake true; yea, he would invent, tell, and stand to the lies that he invented and told, and that with such an audacious face, that one might even read in his very countenance the symptoms of a hard and desperate heart this way.
ATTEN. This was an ill beginning indeed, and argueth that he began to harden himself in sin betimes. For a lie cannot be knowingly told and stood in, and I perceive that this was his manner of way in lying, but he must as it were force his own heart unto it. Yea, he must make his heart hard, and bold to do it. Yea, he must be arrived to an exceeding pitch of wickedness thus to do, since all this he did against that good education, that before you seemed to hint he had from his father and mother.
WISE. The want of good education, as you have intimated, is many times a cause why children do so easily, so soon, become bad; especially when there is not only a want of that, but bad examples enough, as, the more is the pity, there is in many families; by virtue of which poor children are trained up in sin, and nursed therein for the devil and hell. But it was otherwise with Mr. Badman, for to my knowledge this his way of lying was a great grief to his parents, for their hearts were much dejected at this beginning of their son; nor did there want counsel and correction from them to him if that would have made him better. He wanted not to be told, in my hearing, and that over and over and over, that 'all liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone'; and that 'whosoever loveth and maketh a lie,' should not have any part in the new and heavenly Jerusalem (Rev 21:8,27, 22:15). But all availed nothing with him; when a fit, or an occasion to lie came upon him, he would invent, tell, and stand to his lie as steadfastly as if it had been the biggest of truths that he told, and that with that hardening of his heart and face, that it would be to those who stood by, a wonder. Nay, and this he would do when under the rod of correction, which is appointed by God for parents to use, that thereby they might keep their children from hell (Prov 22:15, 23:13,14).
ATTEN. Truly it was, as I said, a bad beginning, he served the devil betimes; yea, he became nurse to one of his brats, for a spirit of lying is the devil's brat, 'for he is a liar and the father of it' (John 8:44).
WISE. Right, he is the father of it indeed. A lie is begot by the devil as the father, and is brought forth by the wicked heart as the mother; wherefore another scripture also saith, 'Why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie,' &c. (Acts 5:3,4). Yea, he calleth the heart that is big with a lie, an heart that hath conceived, that is, by the devil. 'Why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.' True, his lie was a lie of the highest nature, but every lie hath the same father and mother as had the lie last spoken of. 'For he is a liar, and the father of it.' A lie then is the brat of hell, and it cannot be in the heart before the person has committed a kind of spiritual adultery with the devil. That soul therefore that telleth a known lie, has lien with, and conceived it by lying with the devil, the only father of lies. For a lie has only one father and mother, the devil and the heart. No marvel therefore if the hearts that hatch and bring forth lies be so much of complexion with the devil. Yea, no marvel though God and Christ have so bent their word against liars. A liar is wedded to the devil himself.
ATTEN. It seems a marvellous thing in mine eyes, that since a lie is in the offspring of the devil, and since a lie brings the soul to the very den of devils, to wit, the dark dungeon of hell, that men should be so desperately wicked as to accustom themselves to so horrible a thing.
WISE. It seems also marvellous to me, especially when I observe for how little a matter some men will study, contrive, make, and tell a lie. You shall have some that will lie it over and over, and that for a penny profit. Yea, lie and stand in it, although they know that they lie. Yea, you shall have some men that will not stick to tell lie after lie, though themselves get nothing thereby. They will tell lies in their ordinary discourse with their neighbours, also their news, their jests, and their tales, must needs be adorned with lies; or else they seem to bear no good sound to the ear, nor show much to the fancy of him to whom they are told. But alas! what will these liars do, when, for their lies they shall be tumbled down into hell, to that devil that did beget those lies in their heart, and so be tormented by fire and brimstone, with him, and that for ever and ever, for their lies?
ATTEN. Can you not give one some example of God's judgments upon liars, that one may tell them to liars when one hears them lie, if perhaps they may by the hearing thereof, be made afraid, and ashamed to lie.
WISE. Examples! why Ananias and his wife are examples enough to put a stop, one would think, to a spirit addicted thereto, for they both were stricken down dead for telling a lie, and that by God himself, in the midst of a company of people (Acts 5). But if God's threatening of liars with hell-fire, and with the loss of the kingdom of heaven, will not prevail with them to leave off to lie and make lies, it cannot be imagined that a relation of temporal judgments that have swept liars out of the world heretofore, should do it. Now, as I said, this lying was one of the first sins that Mr. Badman was addicted to, and he could make them and tell them fearfully.
ATTEN. I am sorry to hear this of him, and so much the more, because, as I fear, this sin did not reign in him alone; for usually one that is accustomed to lying, is also accustomed to other evils besides; and if it were not so also with Mr. Badman, it would be indeed a wonder.
WISE. You say true, the liar is a captive slave of more than the spirit of lying; and therefore this Mr. Badman, as he was a liar from a child, so he was also much given to pilfer and steal, so that what he could, as we say, handsomely lay his hands on, that was counted his own, whether they were the things of his fellow-children, or if he could lay hold of anything at a neighbour's house, he would take it away; you must understand me of trifles; for being yet but a child, he attempted no great matter, especially at first. But yet as he grew up in strength and ripeness of wit, so he attempted to pilfer and steal things still of more value than at first. He took at last great pleasure in robbing of gardens and orchards; and as he grew up, to steal pullen from the neighbourhood. Yea, what was his father's could not escape his fingers, all was fish that came to his net, so hardened, at last, was he in this mischief also.
ATTEN. You make me wonder more and more. What, play the thief too! What, play the thief so soon! He could not but know, though he was but a child, that what he took from others was none of his own. Besides, if his father was a good man, as you say, it could not be but he must also hear from him that to steal was to transgress the law of God, and so to run the hazard of eternal damnation.
WISE. His father was not wanting to use the means to reclaim him, often urging, as I have been told, that saying in the law of Moses, 'Thou shalt not steal' (Exo 20:15). And also that, 'This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth; for every one that stealeth shall be cut off', &c. (Zech 5:3). The light of nature also, though he was little, must needs show him that what he took from others was not his own; and that he would not willingly have been served so himself. But all was to no purpose, let father and conscience say what they would to him, he would go on, he was resolved to go on in his wickedness.
ATTEN. But his father would, as you intimate, sometimes rebuke him for his wickedness; pray how would he carry it then?
WISE. How! why like to a thief that is found. He would stand gloating, and hanging down his head in a sullen, pouching manner; a body might read, as we used to say, the picture of ill-luck in his face; and when his father did demand his answer to such questions concerning his villainy, he would grumble and mutter at him, and that should be all he could get.
ATTEN. But you said that he would also rob his father, methinks that was an unnatural thing.
WISE. Natural or unnatural, all is one to a thief. Besides, you must think that he had likewise companions to whom he was, for the wickedness that he saw in them, more firmly knit, than either of father or mother. Yea, and what had he cared if father and mother had died for grief for him. Their death would have been, as he would have counted, great release and liberty to him; for the truth is, they and their counsel were his bondage; yea, and if I forget not, I have heard some say that when he was, at times, among his companions he would greatly rejoice to think that his parents were old, and could not live long, and then, quoth he, I shall be mine own man, to do what I list, without their control.
ATTEN. Then it seems he counted that robbing of his parents was no crime.
WISE. None at all; and therefore he fell directly under that sentence, 'Whoso robbeth his father or his mother, and saith it is no transgression, the same is the companion of a destroyer' (Prov 28:24). And for that he set so light by them as to their persons and counsels, it was a sign that at present he was of a very abominable spirit, and that some judgment waited to take hold of him in time to come (1 Sam 2:25).
ATTEN. But can you imagine what it was, I mean, in his conceit, for I speak not now of the suggestions of Satan, by which doubtless he was put on to do these things; I say what it should be in his conceit, that should make him think that this his manner of pilfering and stealing was no great matter.
WISE. It was for that the things that he stole were small; to rob orchards, and gardens, and to steal pullen, and the like, these he counted tricks of youth, nor would he be beat out of it by all that his friends could say. They would tell him that he must not covet, or desire, and yet to desire is less than to take, even anything, the least thing that was his neighbour's; and that if he did, it would be a transgression of the law; but all was one to him; what through the wicked talk of his companions, and the delusion of his own corrupt heart, he would go on in his pilfering course, and where he thought himself secure, would talk of, and laugh at it when he had done.
ATTEN. Well I heard a man once, when he was upon the ladder with the rope about his neck, confess, when ready to be turned off by the hangman, that that which had brought him to that end was his accustoming of himself, when young, to pilfer and steal small things. To my best remembrance he told us, that he began the trade of a thief by stealing of pins and points; and therefore did forewarn all the youth that then were gathered together to see him die, to take heed of beginning, though but with little sins; because by tampering at first with little ones, way is made for the commission of bigger.
WISE. Since you are entered upon stories, I also will tell you one; the which, though I heard it not with mine own ears, yet my author I dare believe. It is concerning one old Tod, that was hanged about twenty years ago, or more, at Hertford, for being a thief. The story is this: -
At a summer assizes holden at Hertford, while the judge was sitting upon the bench, comes this old Tod into court, clothed in a green suit, with his leathern girdle in his hand, his bosom open, and all on a dung sweat, as if he had run for his life; and being come in, he spake aloud as follows: - My lord, saith he, here is the veriest rogue that breathes upon the face of the earth. I have been a thief from a child. When I was but a little one, I gave myself to rob orchards, and to do other such like wicked things, and I have continued a thief ever since. My lord, there has not been a robbery committed these many years, within so many miles of this place, but I have either been at it, or privy to it.
The judge thought the fellow was mad, but after some conference with some of the justices, they agreed to indict him; and so they did of several felonious actions; to all which he heartily confessedguilty, and so was hanged, with his wife at the same time.
ATTEN. This is a remarkable story indeed, and you think it is a true one.
WISE. It is not only remarkable, but pat to our purpose. This thief, like Mr. Badman, began his trade betimes; he began too where Mr. Badman began, even at robbing of orchards, and other such things, which brought him, as you may perceive, from sin to sin, till at last it brought him to the public shame of sin, which is the gallows.
As for the truth of this story, the relater told me that he was, at the same time, himself in the court, and stood within less than two yards of old Tod, when he heard him aloud to utter the words.
ATTEN. These two sins, of lying and stealing, were a bad sign of an evil end.
WISE. So they were, and yet Mr. Badman came not to his end like old Tod; though I fear to as bad, nay, worse than was that death of the gallows, though less discerned by spectators; but more of that by and by. But you talk of these two sins as if these were all that Mr. Badman was addicted to in his youth. Alas, alas, he swarmed with sins, even as a beggar does with vermin, and that when he was but a boy.
ATTEN. Why, what other sins was he addicted to, I mean while he was but a child?
WISE. You need not ask to what other sins was he, but to what other sins was he not addicted; that is, of such as suited with his age; for a man may safely say that nothing that was vile came amiss to him, if he was but capable to do it. Indeed, some sins there be that childhood knows not how to be tampering with; but I speak of sins that he was capable of committing, of which I will nominate two or three more. And, First, He could not endure the Lord's day, because of the holiness that did attend it; the beginning of that day was to him as if he was going to prison, except he could get out from his father and mother, and lurk in by-holes among his companions, until holy duties were over. Reading the Scriptures, hearing sermons, godly conference, repeating of sermons and prayers, were things that he could not away with; and, therefore, if his father on such days, as often he did, though sometimes, notwithstanding his diligence, he would be sure to give him the slip, did keep him strictly to the observation of the day, he would plainly show, by all carriages, that he was highly discontent therewith. He would sleep at duties, would talk vainly with his brothers, and, as it were, think every godly opportunity seven times as long as it was, grudging till it was over.
ATTEN. This his abhorring of that day, was not, I think, for the sake of the day itself; for as it is a day, it is nothing else but as other days of the week. But I suppose that the reason of his loathing of it was for that God hath put sanctity and holiness upon it; also, because it is the day above all the days of the week that ought to be spent in holy devotion, in remembrance of our Lord's resurrection from the dead.
WISE. Yes, it was therefore that he was such an enemy to it; even because more restraint was laid upon him on that day, from his own ways, than were possible should be laid upon him on all others.
ATTEN. Doth not God, by instituting of a day unto holy duties, make great proof how the hearts and inclinations of poor people do stand to holiness of heart, and a conversation in holy duties?
WISE. Yes, doubtless; and a man shall show his heart and his life what they are, more by one Lord's day than by all the days of the week besides. And the reason is, because on the Lord's day there is a special restraint laid upon men as to thoughts and life, more than upon other days of the week besides. Also, men are enjoined on that day to a stricter performance of holy duties, and restraint of worldly business, than upon other days they are; wherefore, if their hearts incline not naturally to good, now they will show it, now they will appear what they are. The Lord's day is a kind of an emblem of the heavenly Sabbath above, and it makes manifest how the heart stands to the perpetuity of holiness, more than to be found in a transient duty does.
On other days, a man may be in and out of holy duties, and all in a quarter of an hour; but now, the Lord's day is, as it were, a day that enjoins to one perpetual duty of holiness. 'Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath day'; which, by Christ, is not abrogated, but changed, into the first of the week, not as it was given in particular to the Jews, but as it was sanctified by him from the beginning of the world (Gen 2:2; Exo 31:13-17; Mark 16:1; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor 16:1,2; Mark 2:27,28; Rev 1:10); and therefore is a greater proof of the frame and temper of a man's heart, and does more make manifest to what he is inclined, than doth his other performance of duties. Therefore, God puts great difference between them that truly call, and walk in, this day as holy, and count it honourable, upon the account that now they have an opportunity to show how they delight to honour him; in that they have not only an hour, but a whole day, to show it in (Isa 58:13). I say, he puts great difference between these, and that other sort that say, When will the Sabbath be gone, that we may be at our worldly business? (Amos 8:5). The first he calleth a blessed man, but brandeth the other for an unsanctified worldling. And, indeed, to delight ourselves in God's service upon his holy days, gives a better proof of a sanctified nature than to grudge at the coming, and to be weary of the holy duties of such days, as Mr. Badman did.
ATTEN. There may be something in what you say, for he that cannot abide to keep one day holy to God, to be sure he hath given a sufficient proof that he is an unsanctified man; and, as such, what should he do in heaven? That being the place where a perpetual Sabbath is to be kept to God; I say, to be kept for ever and ever (Heb 4:9). And, for ought I know, one reason why one day in seven hath been by our Lord set apart unto holy duties for men, may be to give them conviction that there is enmity in the hearts of sinners to the God of heaven, for he that hateth holiness, hateth God himself. They pretend to love God, and yet love not a holy day, and yet love not to spend that day in one continued act of holiness to the Lord. They had as good say nothing as to call him Lord, Lord, and yet not do the things that he says. And this Mr. Badman was such a one, he could not abide this day, nor any of the duties of it. Indeed, when he could get from his friends, and so spend it in all manner of idleness and profaneness, then he would be pleased well enough; but what was this but a turning the day into night, or other than taking an opportunity at God's forbidding, to follow our callings, to solace and satisfy our lusts and delights of the flesh? I take the liberty to speak thus of Mr. Badman, upon a confidence of what you, Sir, have said of him is true.
WISE. You needed not to have made that apology for your censoring of Mr. Badman, for all that knew him will confirm what you say of him to be true. He could not abide either that day, or anything else that had the stamp or image of God upon it. Sin, sin, and to do the thing that was naught, was that which he delighted in, and that from a little child.
ATTEN. I must say again I am sorry to hear it, and that for his own sake, and also for the sake of his relations, who must needs be broken to pieces with such doings as these. For, for these things' sake comes the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience (Eph 5:6). And, doubtless, he must be gone to hell, if he died without repentance; and to beget a child for hell is sad for parents to think on.
WISE. Of his dying, as I told you, I will give you a relation anon; but now we are upon his life, and upon the manner of his life in his childhood, even of the sins that attended him then, some of which I have mentioned already; and, indeed, I have mentioned but some, for yet there are more to follow, and those not at all inferior to what you have already heard.
ATTEN. Pray what were they?
WISE. Why he was greatly given, and that while a lad, to grievous swearing and cursing; yea, he then made no more of swearing and cursing than I do of telling my fingers. Yea, he would do it without provocation thereto. He counted it a glory to swear and curse, and it was as natural to him as to eat, and drink, and sleep.
ATTEN. O what a young villain was this! Here is, as the apostle says, a yielding of 'members, as instruments of righteousness unto sin,' indeed! (Rom 6:13). This is proceeding from evil to evil with a witness. This argueth that he was a black-mouthed young wretch indeed.
WISE. He was so; and yet, as I told you, he counted above all this kind of sinning to be a badge of his honour; he reckoned himself a man's fellow when he had learned to swear and curse boldly.
ATTEN. I am persuaded that many do think as you have said, that to swear is a thing that does bravely become them, and that it is the best way for a man, when he would put authority or terror into his words, to stuff them full of the sin of swearing.
WISE. You say right, else, as I am persuaded, men would not so usually belch out their blasphemous oaths as they do; they take a pride in it; they think that to swear is gentleman-like; and, having once accustomed themselves unto it, they hardly leave it all the days of their lives.
ATTEN. Well, but now we are upon it, pray show me the difference between swearing and cursing; for there is a difference, is there not?
WISE. Yes; there is a difference between swearing and cursing. Swearing, vain swearing, such as young Badman accustomed himself unto. Now, vain and sinful swearing is a light and wicked calling of God, &c., to witness to our vain and foolish attesting of things, and those things are of two sorts. 1. Things that we swear, are or shall be done. 2. Things so sworn to, true or false.
1. Things that we swear, are or shall be done. Thou swearest thou hast done such a thing, that such a thing is so, or shall be so; for it is no matter which of these it is that men swear about, if it be done lightly, and wickedly, and groundlessly, it is vain, because it is a sin against the third commandment, which says, 'Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain' (Exo 20:7). For this is a vain using of that holy and sacred name, and so a sin for which, without sound repentance, there is not, nor can be rightly expected, forgiveness.
ATTEN. Then it seems, though as to the matter of fact, a man swears truly, yet if he sweareth lightly and groundlessly, his oath is evil, and he by it under sin.
WISE. Yes, a man may say, 'The Lord liveth,' and that is true, and yet in so saying 'swear falsely'; because he sweareth vainly, needlessly, and without a ground (Jer 5:2). To swear groundedly and necessarily, which then a man does when he swears as being called thereto of God, that is tolerated by the Word. But this was none of Mr. Badman's swearing, and therefore that which now we are not concerned about.
ATTEN. I perceive by the prophet that a man may sin in swearing to a truth. They therefore must needs most horribly sin that swear to confirm their jests and lies; and, as they think, the better to beautify their foolish talking.
WISE. They sin with a high hand; for they presume to imagine that God is as wicked as themselves, to wit, that he is an avoucher of lies to be true. For, as I said before, to swear is to call God to witness; and to swear to a lie is to call God to witness that that lie is true. This, therefore, must needs offend; for it puts the highest affront upon the holiness and righteousness of God, therefore his wrath must sweep them away (Zech 5:3). This kind of swearing is put in with lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery; and therefore must not go unpunished (Jer 7:9; Hosea 4:2,3). For if God 'will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain,' which a man may do when he swears to a truth, as I have showed before, how can it be imagined that he should hold such guiltless, who, by swearing, will appeal to God for lies that be not true, or that swear out of their frantic and bedlam madness. It would grieve and provoke a sober man to wrath, if one should swear to a notorious lie, and avouch that that man would attest it for a truth; and yet thus do men deal with the holy God. They tell their jestings, tales, and lies, and then swear by God that they are true. Now, this kind of swearing was as common with young Badman, as it was to eat when he was an hungered, or to go to bed when it was night.
ATTEN. I have often mused in my mind, what it should be that should make men so common in the use of the sin of swearing, since those that be wise will believe them never the sooner for that.
WISE. It cannot be anything that is good, you may be sure; because the thing itself is abominable. 1. Therefore it must be from the promptings of the spirit of the devil within them. 2. Also it flows sometimes from hellish rage, when the tongue hath set on fire of hell even the whole course of nature (James 3:6-9). 3. But commonly, swearing flows from that daring boldness that biddeth defiance to the law that forbids it. 4. Swearers think, also, that by their belching of their blasphemous oaths out of their black and polluted mouths, they show themselves the more valiant men. 5. And imagine also, that by these outrageous kind of villainies, they shall conquer those that at such a time they have to do with, and make them believe their lies to be true. 6. They also swear frequently to get gain thereby, and when they meet with fools they overcome them this way. But if I might give advice in this matter, no buyer should lay out one farthing with him that is a common swearer in his calling; especially with such an oath-master that endeavoureth to swear away his commodity to another, and that would swear his chapman's money into his own pocket.
ATTEN. All these causes of swearing, so far as I can perceive, flow from the same root as do the oaths themselves, even from a hardened and desperate heart. But, pray, show me now how wicked cursing is to be distinguished from this kind of swearing.
WISE. Swearing, as I said, hath immediately to do with the name of God, and it calls upon him to be witness to the truth of what is said; that is, if they that swear, swear by him. Some, indeed, swear by idols, as by the mass, by our lady, by saints, beasts, birds, and other creatures; but the usual way of our profane ones in England is to swear by God, Christ, faith, and the like. But, however, or by whatever they swear, cursing is distinguished from swearing thus.
To curse, to curse profanely, it is to sentence another or ourself, for or to evil; or to wish that some evil might happen to the person or thing under the curse unjustly.
It is to sentence for or to evil, that is, without a cause. Thus Shimei cursed David; he sentenced him for and to evil unjustly, when he said to him, 'Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial. The Lord hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead thou hast reigned, and the Lord hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son; and, behold, thou art taken in thy mischief, because thou art a bloody man' (2 Sam 16:7,8).
This David calls 'a grievous curse.' 'And behold,' saith he to Solomon his son, 'thou hast with thee Shimei, - a Benjamite, - which cursed me with a grievous curse in the day when I went to Mahanaim' (1 Kings 2:8).
But what was this curse? Why, First, It was a wrong sentence past upon David; Shimei called him bloody man, man of Belial, when he was not. Secondly, He sentenced him to the evil that at present was upon him for being a bloody man, that is, against the house of Saul, when that present evil overtook David for quite another thing. And we may thus apply it to the profane ones of our times, who in their rage and envy have little else in their youths but a sentence against their neighbour for and to evil unjustly. How common is it with many, when they are but a little offended with one, to cry, Hang him, Damn him, Rogue! This is both a sentencing of him for and to evil, and is in itself a grievous curse.
2. The other kind of cursing is to wish that some evil might happen to, and overtake this or that person or thing. And this kind of cursing Job counted a grievous sin. 'Neither have I suffered [says he] my mouth to sin by wishing a curse to his soul'; or consequently to body or estate (Job 31:30). This then is a wicked cursing, to wish that evil might either befall another or ourselves. And this kind of cursing young Badman accustom himself unto. 1. He would wish that evil might befall others; he would wish their necks broken, or that their brains were out, or that the pox or plague was upon them, and the like; all which is a devilish kind of cursing, and is become one of the common sins of our age. 2. He would also as often wish a curse to himself, saying, Would I might be hanged, or burned, or that the devil might fetch me, if it be not so, or the like. We count the Damn-me-blades to be great swearers, but when in their hellish fury they say, God damn me, God perish me, or the like, they rather curse than swear; yea, curse themselves, and that with a wish that damnation might light upon themselves; which wish and curse of theirs in a little time they will see accomplished upon them, even in hell fire, if they repent them not of their sins.
ATTEN. But did this young Badman accustom himself to such filthy kind of language?
WISE. I think I may say that nothing was more frequent in his mouth, and that upon the least provocation. Yea, he was so versed in such kind of language, that neither father, nor mother, nor brother, nor sister, nor servant, no, nor the very cattle that his father had, could escape these curses of his. I say that even the brute beasts, when he drove them or rid upon them, if they pleased not his humour, they must be sure to partake of his curse. He would wish their necks broke, their legs broke, their guts out, or that the devil might fetch them, or the like; and no marvel, for he that is so hardy to wish damnation or other bad curses to himself, or dearest relations, will not stick to wish evil to the silly beast in his madness.
ATTEN. Well, I see still that this Badman was a desperate villain. But pray, Sir, since you have gone thus far, now show me whence this evil of cursing ariseth, and also what dishonour it bringeth to God; for I easily discern that it doth bring damnation to the soul.
WISE. This evil of cursing ariseth in general from the desperate wickedness of the heart, but particularly from, 1. Envy, which is, as I apprehend, the leading sin to witchcraft. 2. It also ariseth from pride, which was the sin of the fallen angels. 3. It ariseth too, from scorn and contempt of others. 4. But for a man to curse himself, must needs arise from desperate madness (Job 15; Eccl 7:22).
The dishonour that it bringeth to God is this. It taketh away from him his authority, in whose power it is only to bless and curse; not to curse wickedly, as Mr. Badman, but justly and righteously, giving by his curse, to those that are wicked, the due reward of their deeds.
Besides, these wicked men, in their wicked cursing of their neighbour, &c., do even curse God himself in his handiwork (James 3:9). Man is God's image, and to curse wickedly the image of God is to curse God himself. Therefore as when men wickedly swear, they rend, and tear God's name, and make him, as much as in them lies, the avoucher and approver of all their wickedness; so he that curseth and condemneth in this sort his neighbour, or that wisheth him evil, curseth, condemneth, and wisheth evil to the image of God, and, consequently judgeth and condemneth God himself. Suppose that a man should say with his mouth, I wish that the king's picture was burned; would not this man's so saying render him as an enemy to the person of the king? Even so it is with them that, by cursing, wish evil to their neighbour, or to themselves, they contemn the image, even the image of God himself.
ATTEN. But do you think that the men that do thus, do think that they do so vilely, so abominably?
WISE. The question is not what men do believe concerning their sin, but what God's Word says of it. If God's Word says that swearing and cursing are sins, though men should count them for virtues, their reward will be a reward for sin, to wit, the damnation of the soul. To curse another, and to swear vainly and falsely, are sins against the light of nature. 1. To curse is so, because whoso curseth another, knows that at the same time he would not be so served himself. 2. To swear also is a sin against he same law; for nature will tell me that I should not lie, and therefore much less swear to confirm it. Yea, the heathens have looked upon swearing to be a solemn ordinance of God, and therefore not to be lightly or vainly used by men, though to confirm a matter of truth (Gen 31:43-55).
ATTEN. But I wonder, since cursing and swearing are such evils in the eyes of God, that he doth not make some examples to others, for their committing such wickedness.
WISE. Alas! so he has, a thousand times twice told, as may be easily gathered by any observing people in every age and country. I could present you with several myself; but waving the abundance that might be mentioned, I will here present you with two. One was that dreadful judgment of God upon one N. P. at Wimbleton in Surrey; who, after a horrible fit of swearing at and cursing of some persons that did not please him, suddenly fell sick, and in little time died raving, cursing, and swearing.
But above all, take that dreadful story of Dorothy Mately, an inhabitant of Ashover, in the county of Derby. This Dorothy Mately, saith the relater, was noted by the people of the town to be a great swearer, and curser, and liar, and thief; just like Mr. Badman. And the labour that she did usually follow was to wash the rubbish that came forth of the lead mines, and there to get sparks of lead ore; and her usual way of asserting of things was with these kind of imprecations: I would I might sink into the earth if it be not so; or, I would God would make the earth open and swallow me up. Now upon the 23d of March, 1660, this Dorothy was washing of ore upon the top of a steep hill, about a quarter of a mile from Ashover, and was there taxed by a lad for taking of two single pence out of his pocket, for he had laid his breeches by, and was at work in his drawers; but she violently denied it; wishing that the ground might swallow her up if she had them: she also used the same wicked words on several other occasions that day.
Now one George Hodgkinson, of Ashover, a man of good report there, came accidentally by where this Dorothy was, and stood still awhile to talk with her, as she was washing her ore; there stood also a little child by her tub-side, and another a distance form her, calling aloud to her to come away; wherefore the said George took the girl by the hand to lead her away to her that called her: but behold, they had not gone above ten yards from Dorothy, but they heard her crying out for help; so looking back, he saw the woman, and her tub, and sieve twirling round, and sinking into the ground. Then said the man, Pray to God to pardon thy sin, for thou are never like to be seen alive any longer. So she and her tub twirled round and round, till they sunk about three yards into the earth, and then for a while staid. Then she called for help again; thinking, as she said, she should stay there. Now the man, though greatly amazed, did begin to think which way to help her; but immediately a great stone which appeared in the earth, fell upon her head, and broke her skull, and then the earth fell in upon her, and covered her. She was afterwards digged up, and found about four yards within ground, with the boy's two single pence in her pocket, but her tub and sieve could not be found.
ATTEN. You bring to my mind a sad story, the while I will relate unto you. The thing is this: - About a bow-shot from where I once dwelt, there was a blind ale-house, and the man that kept it had a son, whose name was Edward. This Edward was, as it were, a half fool, both in his words and manner of behaviour. To this blind ale-house certain jovial companions would once or twice a week come, and this Ned, for so they called him, his father would entertain his guests withal; to wit, by calling for him to make them sport by his foolish words and gestures. So when these boon blades came to this man's house, the father would call for Ned. Ned, therefore, would come forth; and the villain was devilishly addicted to cursing, yea, to cursing his father and mother, and any one else that did cross him. And because, though he was a half fool, he saw that his practice was pleasing, he would do it with the more audaciousness.
Well, when these brave fellows did come at their times to this tippling-house, as they cal lit, to fuddle and make merry, then must Ned be called out; and because his father was best acquainted with Ned, and best knew how to provoke him,therefore he would usually ask him such questions, or command him such business, as would be sure to provoke him indeed. Then would he, after his foolish manner, curse his father most bitterly; at which the old man would laugh, and so would the rest of the guests, as at that which pleased them best, still continuing to ask that Ned still might be provoked to curse, that they might still be provoked to laugh. This was the mirth with which the old man did use to entertain his guests.
The curses wherewith this Ned did use to curse his father, and at which the old man would laugh, were these, and such like; the devil take you - the devil fetch you; he would also wish him plagues and destructions many. Well, so it came to pass, through the righteous judgment of God, that Ned's wishes and curses were in a little time fulfilled upon his father; for not many months passed between them after this manner, but the devil did indeed take him, possess him, and also in a few days carried him out of this world by death; I say Satan did take him and possess him; I mean, so it was judged by those that knew him, and had to do with him in that his lamentable condition. He could feel him like a live thing go up and down in his body; but when tormenting time was come, as he had often tormenting fits, then he would lie like an hard bump in the soft place of his chest, I mean I saw it so, and so would rent and tear him, and make him roar till he died away.
I told you before that I was an ear and eye-witness of what I here say; and so I was. I have heard Ned in his roguery cursing his father, and his father laughing thereat most heartily; still provoking of Ned to curse, that his mirth might be increased. I saw his father also, when he was possessed, I saw him in one of his fits, and saw his flesh, as it was thought, by the devil gathered up on a heap, about the bigness of half an egg, to the unutterable torture and affliction of the old man. There was also one Freeman, who was more than an ordinary doctor, sent for, to cast out this devil; and I was there when he attempted to do it; the manner thereof was this: - They had the possessed into an out-room, and laid him on his belly upon a form, with his head hanging over the form's end. Then they bound him down thereto; which done, they set a pan of coals under his mouth, and put something therein which made a great smoke; by this means, as it was said, to fetch out the devil. There, therefore, they kept the man till he was almost smothered in the smoke, but no devil came out of him; at which Freeman was somewhat abashed, the man greatly afflicted, and I made to go away wondering and fearing. In a little time, therefore, that which possessed the man, carried him out of the world, according to the cursed wishes of his son. And this was the end of this hellish mirth.
WISE. These were all sad judgments.
ATTEN. These were dreadful judgments indeed.
WISE. Ay, and they look like the threatening of that text, though chiefly it concerned Judas, 'As he loved cursing, so let it come unto him; as he delighteth not in blessing, so let it be far from him. As he clothed himself with cursing, like as with a garment, so let it come into his bowels like water, and like oil into his bones' (Psa 109:17,18).
ATTEN. It is a fearful thing for youth to be trained up in a way of cursing and swearing.
WISE. Trained up in them! that I cannot say Mr. Badman was, for his father hath ofttimes in my hearing bewailed the badness of his children, and of this naughty boy in particular. I believe that the wickedness of his children made him, in the thoughts of it, go many a night with heavy heart to bed, and with as heavy a one to rise in the morning. But all was one to his graceless son, neither wholesome counsel, nor fatherly sorrow, would make him mend his manners.
There are some indeed that do train up their children to swear, curse, lie, and steal, and great is the misery of such poor children whose hard hap it is to be ushered into the world by, and to be under the tuition too of such ungodly parents. It had been better for such parents had they not begat them, and better for such children had they not been born. O! methinks for a father or a mother to train up a child in that very way that leadeth to hell and damnation, what things so horrible! But Mr. Badman was not by his parents so brought up.
ATTEN. But methinks, since this young Badman would not be ruled at home, his father should have tried what good could have been done of him abroad, by putting him out to some man of his acquaintance, that he knew to be able to command him, and to keep him pretty hard to some employ; so should he, at least, have been prevented of time to do those wickednesses that could not be done without time to do them in.
[BADMAN'S APPRENTICESHIP TO A PIOUS MASTER.]
WISE. Alas! his father did so; he put him out betimes to one of his own acquaintance, and entreated him of all love that he would take care of his son, and keep him from extravagant ways. His trade also was honest and commodious; he had besides a full employ therein, so that this young Badman had no vacant seasons nor idle hours yielded him by his calling, therein to take opportunities to do badly; but all was one to him, as he had begun to be vile in his father's house, even so he continued to be when he was in the house of his master.
ATTEN. I have known some children, who, though they have been very bad at home, yet have altered much when they have been put out abroad; especially when they have fallen into a family where the governors thereof have made conscience of maintaining of the worship and service of God therein; but perhaps that might be wanting in Mr. Badman's master's house.
WISE. Indeed some children do greatly mend when put under other men's roofs; but, as I said, this naughty boy did not so; nor did his badness continue because he wanted a master that both could and did correct it. For his master was a very good man, a very devout person; one that frequented the best soul means, that set up the worship of God in his family, and also that walked himself thereafter. He was also a man very meek and merciful, one that did never over-drive young Badman in business, nor that kept him at it at unseasonable hours.
ATTEN. Say you so! This is rare. I for my part can see but few that can parallel, in these things, with Mr. Badman's master.
WISE. Nor I neither, yet Mr. Badman had such an one; for, for the most part, masters are now-a-days such as mind nothing but their worldly concerns, and if apprentices do but answer their commands therein, soul and religion may go whither they will. Yea, I much fear that there have been many towardly lads put out by their parents to such masters, that have quite undone them as to the next world.
ATTEN. The more is the pity. But, pray, now you have touched upon this subject, show me how many ways a master may be the ruin of his poor apprentice.
WISE. Nay, I cannot tell you of all the ways, yet some of them I will mention. Suppose, then, that a towardly lad be put to be an apprentice with one that is reputed to be a godly man, yet that lad may be ruined many ways; that is, if his master be not circumspect in all things that respect both God and man, and that before his apprentice.
1. If he be not moderate in the use of his apprentice; if he drives him beyond his strength; if he holds him to work at unseasonable hours; if he will not allow him convenient time to read the Word, to pray, &c. This is the way to destroy him; that is, in those tender beginning of good thoughts, and good beginnings about spiritual things.
2. If he suffers his house to be scattered with profane and wicked books, such as stir up to lust, to wantonness, such as teach idle, wanton, lascivious discourse, and such as have a tendency to provoke to profane drollery and jesting; and lastly, such as tend to corrupt and pervert the doctrine of faith and holiness. All these things will eat as doth a canker, and will quickly spoil, in youth, &c. those good beginnings that may be putting forth themselves in them.
3. If there be a mixture of servants, that is, if some very bad be in the same place, that is a way also to undo such tender lads; for they that are bad and sordid servants will be often, and they have an opportunity too, to be distilling and fomenting of their profane and wicked words and tricks before them, and these will easily stick in the flesh and minds of youth, to the corrupting of them.
4. If the master have one guise for abroad, and another for home; that is, if his religion hangs by in his house as his cloak does, and he be seldom in it, except he be abroad; this young beginners will take notice of, and stumble at. We say, hedges have eyes, and little pitchers have ears; and, indeed, children make a greater inspection into the lives of fathers, masters, &c., than ofttimes they are aware of. And therefore should masters be careful, else they may so destroy good beginnings in their servants.
5. If the master be unconscionable in his dealing, and trades with lying words; or if bad commodities be avouched to be good, or if he seeks after unreasonable gain, or the like; his servant sees it, and it is enough to undo him. Eli's sons being bad before the congregation, made men despise the sacrifices of the Lord (1 Sam 2).
But these things, by the by, only they may serve for a hint to masters to take heed that they take not apprentices to destroy their souls. But young Badman had none of these hindrances; his father took care, and provided well for him, as to this. He had a good master, he wanted not good books, nor good instruction, nor good sermons, nor good examples, no nor good fellow-servants neither; but all would not do.
ATTEN. It is a wonder that in such a family, amidst so many spiritual helps, nothing should take hold of his heart! What! not good books, nor good instructions, nor good sermons, nor good examples, nor good fellow-servants, nor nothing do him good!
WISE. You talk, he minded none of these things; nay, all these were abominable to him. 1. For good books, they might lie in his master's house till they rotted from him, he would not regard to look into them; but contrariwise, would get all the bad and abominable books that he could, as beastly romances, and books full of ribaldry, even such as immediately tended to set all fleshly lusts on fire. True, he durst not be known to have any of these to his master; therefore would he never let them be seen by him, but would keep them in close places, and peruse them at such times as yielded him fit opportunities thereto.
2. For good instruction, he liked that much as he liked good books; his care was to hear but little thereof, and to forget what he heard as soon as it was spoken. Yea, I have heard some that knew him then say, that one might evidently discern by the show of his countenance and gestures that good counsel was to him like little ease, even a continual torment to him; nor did he ever count himself at liberty but when farthest off of wholesome words (Prov 15:12). He would hate them that rebuked him, and count them his deadly enemies (Prov 9:8).
3. For good example, which was frequently set him by his master, both in religious and civil matters, these young Badman would laugh at, and would also make a by-word of them when he came in place where he with safety could.
4. His master indeed would make him go with him to sermons, and that here he thought the best preachers were, but this ungodly young man, what shall I say, was, I think, a master of art in all mischief, he had these wicked ways to hinder himself of hearing, let the preacher thunder never so loud. 1. His way was, when come into the place of hearing, to sit down in some corner and then to fall fast asleep. 2. Or else to fix his adulterous eyes upon some beautiful object that was in the place, and so all sermon-while therewith to be feeding of his fleshly lusts. 3. Or, if he could get near to some that he had observed would fit his humour, he would be whispering, giggling, and playing with them till such time as sermon was done.
ATTEN. Why! he was grown to a prodigious height of wickedness.
WISE. He was so, and that which aggravates all was, this was his practice as soon as he was come to his master - he was as ready at all these things as if he had, before he came to his master, served an apprenticeship to learn them.
ATTEN. There could not but be added, as you relate them, rebellion to his sin. Methinks it is as if he had said, I will not hear, I will not regard, I will not mind good, I will not mend, I will not turn, I will not be converted.
WISE. You say true, and I know not to whom more fitly to compare him than to that man who, when I myself rebuked him or his wickedness, in this great huff replied, What would the devil do for company if it was not for such as I?
ATTEN. Why, did you ever hear any man say so?
WISE. Yes, that I did, and this young Badman was as like him as an egg is like an egg. Alas! the Scripture makes mention of many that by their actions speak the same, 'They say unto God, Depart from us, for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways' (Job 21:14). Again, 'They refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears. Yea, they make their hearts' hard 'as an adamant-stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the Lord of hosts hath sent' (Zech 7:11,12). What are all these but such as Badman, and such as the young man but now mentioned? That young man was my play-fellow when I was solacing myself in my sins; I may make mention of him to my shame, but he has a great many fellows.
ATTEN. Young Badman was like him indeed, and he trod his steps as if his wickedness had been his very copy: I mean as to his desperateness, for had he not been a desperate one he would never have made you such a reply when you was rebuking of him for his sin. But when did you give him such a rebuke?
WISE. A while after God had parted him and I, by calling of me, as I hope, by his grace, still leaving him in his sins; and so far as I could ever gather, as he lived, so he died, even as Mr. Badman did; but we will leave him and return again to our discourse.
ATTEN. Ha! poor obstinate sinners! Do they think that God cannot be even with them?
WISE. I do not know what they think, but I know that God hath said, 'That as he cried, and they would not hear; so they cried and I would not hear, saith the Lord' (Zech 7:13). Doubtless there is a time coming when Mr. Badman will cry for this.
ATTEN. But I wonder that he should be so expert in wickedness so soon! Alas, he was but a stripling, I suppose he was as yet not twenty.
WISE. No, nor eighteen either; but, as with Ishmael, and with the children that mocked the prophet, the seeds of sin did put forth themselves betimes in him (Gen 21:9,10; 2 Kings 2:23,24).
ATTEN. Well, he was as wicked a young man as commonly one shall hear of.
WISE. You will say so when you know all.
ATTEN. All, I think, here is a great all; but if there is more behind, pray let us hear it.
WISE. Why then, I will tell you, that he had not been with his master much above a year and a half, but he came acquainted with three young villains, who here shall be nameless, that taught him to add to his sin much of like kind, and he as aptly received their instructions. One of them was chiefly given to uncleanness, another to drunkenness, and the third to purloining, or stealing from his master.
ATTEN. Alas! poor wretch, he was bad enough before, but these, I suppose, made him much worse.
WISE. That they made him worse you may be sure of, for they taught him to be an arch, a chief one in all their ways.
ATTEN. It was an ill hap that he ever came acquainted with them.
WISE. You must rather word it thus - it was the judgment of God that he did, that is, he came acquainted with them through the anger of God. He had a good master, and before him a good father; by these he had good counsel given him for months and years together, but his heart was set upon mischief, he loved wickedness more than to do good, even until his iniquity came to be hateful, therefore, from the anger of God it was that these companions of his and he did at last so acquaint together. Says Paul, 'They did not like to retain God in their knowledge'; and what follows? wherefore 'God gave them over,' or up to their own hearts' lusts (Rom 1:28). And again, 'As for such as turn aside unto their crooked ways, the Lord shall lead them forth with the workers of iniquity' (Psa 125:5). This therefore was God's hand upon him, that he might be destroyed, be damned, 'because he received not the love of the truth that he might be saved' (2 Thess 2:10). He chose his delusions and deluders for him, even the company of base men, of fools, that he might be destroyed (Prov 12:20).
ATTEN. I cannot but think indeed that it is a great judgment of God for a man to be given up to the company of vile men; for what are such but the devil's decoys, even those by whom he draws the simple into his net? A whoremaster, a drunkard, a thief, what are they but the devil's baits by which he catcheth others?
WISE. You say right; but this young Badman was no simple one, if by simple you mean one uninstructed; for he had often good counsel given him; but, if by simple you mean him that is a fool as to the true knowledge of, and faith in Christ, then he was a simple one indeed; for he chose death rather than life, and to live in continual opposition to God, rather than to be reconciled unto him; according to that saying of the wise man, 'The fools hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord' (Prov 1:29). And what judgment more dreadful can a fool be given up to, than to be delivered into the hands of such men, that have skill to do nothing but to ripen sin, and hasten its finishing unto damnation? And, therefore, men should be afraid of offending God, because he can in this manner punish them for their sins. I knew a man that once was, as I though, hopefully awakened about his condition; yea, I knew two that were so awakened, but in time they began to draw back, and to incline again to their lusts; wherefore, God gave them up to the company of three or four men, that in less than three years' time, brought them roundly to the gallows, where they were hanged like dogs, because they refused to live like honest men.
ATTEN. But such men do not believe that thus to be given up of God is in judgment and anger; they rather take it to be their liberty, and do count it their happiness; they are glad that their cord is loosed, and that the reins are on their neck; they are glad that they may sin without control, and that they may choose such company as can make them more expert in an evil way.
WISE. Their judgment is, therefore, so much the greater, because thereto is added blindness of mind, and hardness of heart in a wicked way. They are turned up to the way of death, but must not see to what place they are going. They must go as the ox to the slaughter, 'and as a fool to the correction of the stocks, till a dart strike through his liver,' not knowing 'that it is for his life' (Prov 7:22,23). This, I say, makes their judgment double; they are given up of God for a while, to sport themselves with that which will assuredly make them 'mourn at the last, when their flesh and their body are consumed' (Prov 5:11). These are those that Peter speaks, that shall utterly perish in their own corruptions; these, I say, who 'count it pleasure to riot in the day-time,' and that sport 'themselves with their own deceivings,' are 'as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed' (2 Peter 2:12,13).
ATTEN. Well, but I pray now concerning these three villains that were young Badman's companions; tell me more particularly how he carried it then.
WISE. How he carried it? why, he did as they. I intimated so much before, when I said they made him an arch, a chief one in their ways.
First, he became a frequenter of taverns and tippling-houses, and would stay there until he was even as drunk as a beast. And if it was so that he could not get out by day, he would, be sure, get out by night. Yea, he became so common a drunkard at last, that he was taken notice of to be a drunkard even by all.
ATTEN. This was swinish, for drunkenness is so beastly a sin, a sin so much against nature, that I wonder that any that have but the appearance of men can give up themselves to so beastly, yea, worse than beastly, a thing.
WISE. It is a swinish vanity indeed. I will tell you another story. There was a gentleman that had a drunkard to be his groom, and coming home one night very much abused with beer, his master saw it. Well, quoth his master within himself, I will let thee alone to night, but to-morrow morning I will convince thee that thou art worse than a beast by the behaviour of my horse. So, when morning was come, he bids his man go and water his horse, and so he did; but, coming up to his master, he commands him to water him again; so the fellow rode into the water the second time, but his master's horse would now drink no more, so the fellow came up and told his master. Then, said his master, thou drunken sot, thou art far worse than my horse; he will drink but to satisfy nature, but thou wilt drink to the abuse of nature; he will drink but to refresh himself, but thou to thy hurt and damage; he will drink that he may be more serviceable to his master, but thou till thou art incapable of serving either God or man. O thou beast, how much art thou worse than the horse that thou ridest on!
ATTEN. Truly, I think that his master served him right; for, in doing as he did, he showed him plainly, as he said, that he had not so much government of himself as his horse had of himself; and, consequently, that his beast did live more according to the law of his nature by far than did his man. But, pray, go on with what you have further to say.
WISE. Why, I say, that there are four things, which, if they were well considered, would make drunkenness to be abhorred in the thoughts of the children of men. 1. It greatly tendeth to impoverish and beggar a man. 'The drunkard,' says Solomon, 'shall come to poverty' (Prov 23:21). Many that have begun the world with plenty, have gone out of it in rags, through drunkenness. Yea, many children that have been born to good estates, have yet been brought to a flail and a rake, through this beastly sin of their parents. 2. This sin of drunkenness it bringeth upon the body many, great, and incurable diseases, by which men do, in little time, come to their end, and none can help them. So, because they are overmuch wicked, therefore they die before their time (Eccl 7:17). 3. Drunkenness is a sin that is oftentimes attended with abundance of other evils. 'Who hath woe? Who hath sorrow? Who hath contentions? Who hath babbling? Who hath wounds without cause? Who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine, they that go to seek mixed wine'; that is, the drunkard (Prov 23:29,30). 4. By drunkenness, men do oftentimes shorten their days; go out of the ale-house drunk, and break their necks before they come home. Instances, not a few, might be given of this, but this is so manifest a man need say nothing.
ATTEN. But that which is worse than all is, it also prepares men for everlasting burnings (1 Cor 6:10).
WISE. Yea, and it so stupefies and besots the soul, that a man that is far gone in drunkenness is hardly ever recovered to God. Tell me, when did you see an old drunkard converted? No, no, such an one will sleep till he dies, though he sleeps on the top of a mast; let his dangers be never so great, and death and damnation never so near, he will not be awaked out of his sleep (Prov 23:34,35). So that if a man have any respect either to credit, health, life, or salvation, he will not be a drunken man. But the truth is, where this sin gets the upper hand, men are, as I said before, so intoxicated and bewitched with the seeming pleasures and sweetness thereof, that they have neither heart nor mind to think of that which is better in itself; and would, if embraced, do them good.
ATTEN. You said that drunkenness tends to poverty, yet some make themselves rich by drunken bargains.
WISE. I said so, because the Word says so. And as to some men's getting thereby, that is indeed but rare and base; yea, and base will be the end of such gettings. The Word of God is against such ways, and the curse of God will be the end of such doings. An inheritance may sometimes thus be hastily gotten at the beginning, but the end thereof shall not be blessed. Hark what the prophet saith, 'Woe to him that coveteth an evil covetousness, that he may set his nest on high' (Hab 2:5,9-12,15). Whether he makes drunkenness, or ought else, the engine and decoy to get it; for that man doth but consultthe shame of his own house, the spoiling of his family, and the damnation of his soul; for that which he getteth by working of iniquity is but a getting by the devices of hell; therefore he can be no gainer neither for himself or family, that gains by an evil course. But this was one of the sins that Mr. Badman was addicted to after he came acquainted with these three fellows, nor could all that his master could do break him off this beastly sin.
ATTEN. But where, since he was but an apprentice, could he get money to follow this practice; for drunkenness, as you have intimated, is a very costly sin.
WISE. His master paid for all. For, as I told you before, as he learned of these three villains to be a beastly drunkard, so he learned of them to pilfer and steal from his master. Sometimes he would sell off his master's goods, but keep the money, that is, when he could; also, sometimes he would beguile his master by taking out of his cash box; and when he could do neither of these, he would convey away of his master's wares, what he thought would be least missed, and send or carry them to such and such houses, where he knew they would be laid up to his use; and then appoint set times there, to meet and make merry with these fellows.
ATTEN. This was as bad, nay, I think, worse than the former; for by thus doing he did not only run himself under the wrath of God, but has endangered the undoing of his master and his family.
WISE. Sins go not alone, but follow one the other as do the links of a chain; he that will be a drunkard, must have money, either of his own or of some other man's; either of his father's, mother's, master's, or at the highway, or some way.
ATTEN. I fear that many an honest man is undone by such kind of servants.
WISE. I am of the same mind with you, but this should make the dealer the more wary what kind of servants he keeps, and what kind of apprentices he takes. It should also teach him to look well to his shop himself; also to take strict account of all things that are bought and sold by his servants. The master's neglect herein may embolden his servant to be bad, and may bring him too in short time to rags and a morsel of bread.
ATTEN. I am afraid that there is much of this kind of pilfering among servants in these bad days of ours.
WISE. Now while it is in my mind, I will tell you a story. When I was in prison, there came a woman to me that was under a great deal of trouble. So I asked her, she being a stranger to me, what she had to say to me. She said she was afraid she should be damned. I asked her the cause of those fears. She told me that she had, some time since, lived with a shopkeeper at Wellingborough, and had robbed his box in the shop several times of money, to the value of more than now I will say; and pray, says she, tell me what I shall do. I told her I would have her go to her master, and make him satisfaction. She said she was afraid; I asked her, why? She said, she doubted he would hang her. I told her that I would intercede for her life, and would make use of other friends too to do the like; but she told me she durst not venture that. Well, said I, shall I send to your master, while you abide out of sight, and make your peace with him, before he sees you; and with that I asked her her master's name. But all that she said, in answer to this, was, Pray let it alone till I come to you again. So away she went, and neither told me her master's name nor her own. This is about ten or twelve years since, and I never saw her again. I tell you this story for this cause; to confirm your fears that such kind of servants too many there be; and that God makes them sometimes like old Tod, of whom mention was made before, through the terrors that he lays upon them, to betray themselves.
I could tell you of another, that came to me with a like relation concerning herself, and the robbing of her mistress; but at this time let this suffice.
ATTEN. But what was that other villain addicted to; I mean young Badman's third companion.
WISE. Uncleanness; I told you before, but it seems you forgot.
ATTEN. Right, it was uncleanness. Uncleanness is also a filthy sin.
WISE. It is so; and yet it is one of the most reigning sins in our day.
ATTEN. So they say, and that too among those that one would think had more wit, even among the great ones.
WISE. The more is the pity; for usually examples that are set by them that are great and chief, spread sooner, and more universally, than do the sins of other men; yea, and when such men are at the head in transgressing, sin walks with a bold face through the land. As Jeremiah saith of the prophets, so may it be said of such, 'From them is profaneness gone forth into all the land': that is, with bold and audacious face (Jer 23:15).
ATTEN. But pray let us return again to Mr. Badman and his companions. You say one of them was very vile in the commission of uncleanness.
WISE. Yes, so I say; not but that he was a drunkard and also thievish, but he was most arch in this sin of uncleanness: this roguery was his masterpiece, for he was a ringleader to them all in the beastly sin of whoredom. He was also best acquainted with such houses where they were, and so could readily lead the rest of his gang unto them. The strumpets also, because they knew this young villain, would at first discover themselves in all their whorish pranks to those that he brought with him.
ATTEN. That is a deadly thing: I mean, it is a deadly thing to young men, when such beastly queens shall, with words and carriages that are openly tempting, discover themselves unto them; it is hard for such to escape their snare.
WISE. That is true, therefore the wise man's counsel is the best: 'Come not nigh the door of her house' (Prov 5:8). For they are, as you say, very tempting, as is seen by her in the Proverbs. 'I looked,' says the wise man, 'through my casement, and behold among the simple ones I discerned a young man void of understanding, passing through the street near her corner, and he went the way to her house, in the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night. And, behold, there met him a women with the attire of an harlot, and subtle of heart; she is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house; now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner. So she caught him, and kissed him, and, with an impudent face, said unto him, I have peace-offerings with me; this day have I paid my vows. Therefore came I forth to meet thee diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee. I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning; let us solace ourselves with loves' (Prov 7:6-18). Here was a bold beast. And, indeed, the very eyes, hands, words, and ways of such, are all snares and bands to youthful, lustful fellows. And with these was young Badman greatly snared.
ATTEN. This sin of uncleanness is mightily cried out against both by Moses, the prophets, Christ, and his apostles; and yet, as we see, for all that, how men run headlong to it!
WISE. You have said the truth, and I will add, that God, to hold men back from so filthy a sin, has set such a stamp of his indignation upon it, and commanded such evil effects to follow it, that, were not they that use it bereft of all fear of God, and love to their own health, they could not but stop and be afraid to commit it. For besides the eternal damnation that doth attend such in the next world, for these have no 'inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God' (Eph 5:5), the evil effects thereof in this world are dreadful.
ATTEN. Pray show me some of them, that as occasion offereth itself, I may show them to others for their good.
WISE. So I will. 1. It bringeth a man, as was said of the sin before, to want and poverty; 'For by means of a whorish woman, a man is brought to a piece of bread' (Prov 6:26). The reason is, for that a whore will not yield without hire; and men, when the devil and lust is in them, and God and his fear far away from them, will not stick, so they may accomplish their desire, to lay their signet, their bracelets, and their staff to pledge, rather than miss of the fulfilling of their lusts (Gen 38:18). 2. Again, by this sin men diminish their strength, and bring upon themselves, even upon the body a multitude of diseases. This King Lemuels' mother warned him of. 'What, my son?' said she, 'and what the son of my womb? And what the son of my vows? Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings' (Prov 31:2,3). This sin is destructive to the body. Give me leave to tell you another story. I have heard of a great man that was a very unclean person, and he had lived so long in that sin that he had almost lost his sight. So his physicians were sent for, to whom he told his disease; but they told him that they could do him no good, unless he would forbear his women. Nay then, said he, farewell sweet sight. Whence observe, that this sin, as I said, is destructive to the body; and also, that some men be so in love therewith, that they will have it, though it destroy their body.
ATTEN. Paul says also, that he that sins this sin, sins against his own body. But what of that? He that will run the hazard of eternal damnation of his soul, but he will commit this sin, will for it run the hazard of destroying his body. If young Badman feared not the damnation of his soul, do you think that the consideration of impairing of his body would have deterred him therefrom?
WISE. You say true. But yet, methinks, thereare still such bad effects follow, often upon the commission of it, that if men would consider them, it would put, at least, a stop to their career therein.
ATTEN. What other evil effects attend this sin?
WISE. Outward shame and disgrace, and that in these particulars: -
First, There often follows this foul sin the foul disease, now called by us the pox. A disease so nauseous and stinking, so infectious to the whole body, and so entailed to this sin, that hardly are any common with unclean women, but they have more or less a touch of it to their shame.
ATTEN. That is a foul disease indeed! I knew a man once that rotted away with it; and another that had his nose eaten off, and his mouth almost quite sewed up thereby.
WISE. It is a disease, that where it is it commonly declares that the cause thereof is uncleanness. It declares to all that behold such a man, that he is an odious, a beastly, unclean person. This is that strange punishment that Job speaks of, that is appointed to seize on these workers of iniquity (Job 31:1-3).
ATTEN. Then it seems you think, that the strange punishment that Job there speaks of should be the foul disease.
WISE. I have thought so indeed, and that for this reason. We see that this disease is entailed, as I may say, to this most beastly sin, nor is there any disease so entailed to any other sin as this to this. That this is the sin to which the strange punishment is entailed, you will easily perceive when you read the text. 'I made a covenant with mine eyes,' said Job, 'why then should I think upon a maid? For what portion of God is there,' for that sin, 'from above, and what inheritance of the Almighty from on high?' And then he answers himself: 'Is not destruction to the wicked, and a strange punishment to the workers of iniquity?' This strange punishment is the pox. Also, I think that this foul disease is that which Solomon intends when he saith, speaking of this unclean and beastly creature, 'A wound and dishonour shall he get, and his reproach shall not be wiped away' (Prov 6:33). A punishment Job calls it; a wound and dishonour Solomon calls it; and they both do set it as a remark upon this sin; Job calling it a 'strange punishment,' and Solomon a 'reproach that shall not be wiped away,' from them that are common in it.
ATTEN. What other things follow upon the commission of this beastly sin?
WISE. Why, oftentimes it is attended with murder, with the murder of the babe begotten on the defiled bed. How common it is for the bastard-getter and bastard-bearer to consent together to murder their children, will be better known at the day of judgment, yet something is manifest now.
I will tell you another story. An ancient man, one of mine acquaintance, a man of good credit in our country, had a mother that was a midwife, who was mostly employed in laying great persons. To this woman's house, upon a time, comes a brave young gallant on horseback, to fetch her to lay a young lady. So she addresses herself to go with him, wherefore he takes her up behind him, and away they ride in the night. Now they had not rid far, but the gentleman lit of his horse, and, taking the old midwife in his arms from the horse, turned round with her several times, and then set her up again, then he got up and away they went till they came at a stately house, into which he had her, and so into a chamber where the young lady was in her pains. He then bid the midwife do her office, and she demanded help, but he drew out his sword, and told her if she did not make speed to do her office without, she must look for nothing but death. Well, to be short, this old midwife laid the young lady, and a fine sweet babe she had. Now there was made in a room hard by a very great fire; so the gentleman took up the babe, went and drew the coals from the stock, cast the child in and covered it up, and there was an end of that. So when the midwife had done her work he paid her well for her pains, but shut her up in a dark room all day, and when night came took her up behind him again, and carried her away till she came almost at home, then he turned her round and round as he did before, and had her to her house, set her down, bid her farewell, and away he went, and she could never tell who it was. This story the midwife's son, who was a minister, told me, and also protested that his mother told it him for a truth.
ATTEN. Murder doth often follow indeed, as that which is the fruit of this sin. But sometimes God brings even these adulterers and adulteresses to shameful ends. I heard of one, I think a doctor of physic, and his whore, who had three or four bastards betwixt them and had murdered them all, but at last themselves were hanged for it, in or near to Colchester. It came out after this manner, - the whore was so afflicted in her conscience about it that she could not be quiet until she had made it known. Thus God many times makes the actors of wickedness their own accusers, and brings them, by their own tongues, to condign punishment for their own sins.
WISE. There has been many such instances, but we will let that pass. I was once in the presence of a woman, a married woman, that lay sick of the sickness whereof she died, and being smitten in her conscience for the sin of uncleanness, which she had often committed with other men, I heard her, as she lay upon her bed, cry out thus, I am a whore, and all my children are bastards, and I must go to hell for my sin, and look, there stands the devil at my bed's feet to receive my soul when I die.
ATTEN. These are sad stories, tell no more of them now, but if you please show me yet some other of the evil effects of this beastly sin.
WISE. This sin is such a snare to the soul, that, unless a miracle of grace prevents, it unavoidably perishes in the enchanting and bewitching pleasures of it. This is manifest by these and such like texts - 'The adulteress will hunt for the precious life' (Prov 6:26). 'Whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding. He that doeth it destroyeth his own soul' (Prov 6:32). 'A whore is a deep ditch, and a strange woman is a narrow pit' (Prov 23:27). 'Her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead. None that go under her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life' (Prov 2:18,19). 'She hath cast down many wounded; yea, many strong men have been slain by her. Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death' (Prov 7:26,27).
ATTEN. These are dreadful sayings, and do show the dreadful state of those that are guilty of this sin.
WISE. Verily so they do. But yet that which makes the whole more dreadful is, that men are given up to this sin because they are abhorred of God, and because abhorred, therefore they shall fall into the commission of it, and shall live there. 'The mouth,' that is, the flattering lips, 'of strange women is a deep pit, he that is abhorred of the Lord shall fall therein' (Prov 22:14). Therefore it saith again of such, that they have none 'inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God' (Eph 5:5).
ATTEN. Put all together, and it is a dreadful thing to live and die in this transgression.
WISE. True, but suppose that instead of all these judgments this sin had attending of it all the felicities of this life, and no bitterness, shame, or disgrace mixed with it, yet one hour in hell will spoil all. O! This hell, hell-fire, damnation in hell, it is such an inconceivable punishment that, were it but thoroughly believed, it would nip this sin, with others, in the head. But here is the mischief, those that give up themselves to these things do so harden themselves in unbelief and atheism about the things, the punishments that God hath threatened to inflict upon the committers of them, that at last they arrive to almost an absolute and firm belief that there is no judgment to come hereafter; else they would not, they could not, no not attempt to commit this sin by such abominable language as some do.
I heard of one that should say to his miss when he tempted her to the committing of this sin, If thou wilt venture thy body I will venture my soul. And I myself heard another say, when he was tempting of a maid to commit uncleanness with him - it was in Oliver's days - that if she did prove with child he would tell her how she might escape punishment - and that was then somewhat severe - Say, saith he, when you come before the judge, that you are with child by the Holy Ghost. I heard him say thus, and it greatly afflicted me; I had a mind to have accused him for it before some magistrate, but he was a great man, and I was poor and young, so I let it alone, but it troubled me very much.
ATTEN. It was the most horrible thing that ever I heard in my life. But how far off are these men from that spirit and grace that dwelt in Joseph (Gen 39:10).
WISE. Right; when Joseph's mistress tempted him, yea, tempted him daily, yea, she laid hold on him and said, with her whore's forehead, Come, 'lie with me,' but he refused; he hearkened not to lie with her or to be with her. Mr. Badman would have taken the opportunity.
And a little to comment upon this of Joseph. 1. Here is a miss, a great miss, the wife of the captain of the guard, some beautiful dame I'll warrant you. 2. Here is a miss won, and in her whorish affections come over to Joseph without his speaking of a word. 3. Here is her unclean desire made known, Come, 'lie with me,' said she. 4. Here was a fit opportunity, there was none of the men of the house there within. 5. Joseph was a young man, full of strength, and therefore the more in danger to be taken. 6. This was to him a temptation from her that lasted days. 7. And yet Joseph refused, (1.) Her daily temptation; (2.) Her daily solicitation; (3.) Her daily provocation, heartily, violently, and constantly. For when she got him by the garment, saying, 'Lie with me,' he left his garment in her hand and gat him out. Ay, and although contempt, treachery, slander, accusation, imprisonment, and danger of death followed - for a whore careth not what mischief she does when she cannot have her end - yet Joseph will not defile himself, sin against God, and hazard his own eternal salvation.
ATTEN. Blessed Joseph! I would thou hadst more fellows!
WISE. Mr. Badman has more fellows than Joseph, else there would not be so many whores as there are; for though I doubt not but that that sex is bad enough this way, yet I verily believe that many of them are made whores at first by the flatteries of Badman's fellows. Alas! there is many a woman plunged into this sin at first even by promises of marriage. I say by these promises they are flattered, yea, forced into a consenting to these villainies, and so being in, and growing hardened in their hearts, they at last give themselves up, even as wicked men do, to act this kind of wickedness with greediness. But Joseph you see, was of another mind, for the fear of God was in him.
I will, before I leave this, tell you here two notable stories; and I wish Mr. Badman's companions may hear of them. They are found in Clark's Looking-glass for Sinners; and are these: - Mr. Cleaver, says Mr. Clark, reports of one whom he knew that had committed the act of uncleanness, whereupon he fell into such horror of conscience that he hanged himself, leaving it thus written in a paper: - 'Indeed,' saith he, 'I do acknowledge it to be utterly unlawful for a man to kill himself, but I am bound to act the magistrate's part, because the punishment of this sin is death.'
Clark doth also, in the same page, make mention of two more, who, as they were committing adultery in London, were immediately struck dead with fire from heaven, in the very act. Their bodies were so found, half burned up, and sending out a most loathsome savour.
ATTEN. These are notable stories indeed.
WISE. So they are, and I suppose they are as true as notable.
ATTEN. Well, but I wonder if young Badman's master knew him to be such a wretch, that he would suffer him in his house.
WISE. They liked one another even as fire and water do. Young Badman's ways were odious to his master, and his master's ways were such as young Badman could not endure. Thus, in these two, were fulfilled that saying of the Holy Ghost: 'An unjust man is an abomination to the just; and he that is upright in the way is an abomination to the wicked' (Prov 29:27). The good man's ways, Mr. Badman could not abide, nor could the good man abide the bad ways of his base apprentice. Yet would his master, if he could, have kept him, and also have learned him his trade.
ATTEN. If he could! Why, he might, if he would, might he not?
WISE. Alas, Badman ran away from him once and twice, and would not at all be ruled. So the next time he did run away from him, he did let him go indeed. For he gave him no occasion to run away, except it was by holding of him as much as he could, and that he could do but little, to good and honest rules of life. And had it been one's own case, one should have let him go. For what should a man do that had either regard to his own peace, his children's good, or the preservation of the rest of his servant's from evil, but let him go? Had he staid, the house of correction had been most fit for him, but thither his master was loth to send him, because of the love that he bore to his father. A house of correction, I say, had been the fittest place for him, but his master let him go.
ATTEN. He ran away, you say, but whither did he run?
[HE GETS A NEW MASTER BAD AS HIMSELF.]
WISE. Why, to one of his own trade, and also like himself. Thus the wicked joined hand in hand, and there he served out his time.
ATTEN. Then, sure, he had his heart's desire when he was with one so like himself.
WISE. Yes, so he had, but God gave it him in his anger.
ATTEN. How do you mean?
WISE. I mean as before, that for a wicked man to be by the providence of God turned out of a good man's doors, into a wicked man's house to dwell, is a sign of the anger of God. For God by this, and such judgments, says thus to such an one. Thou wicked one, thou lovest not me, my ways, nor my people; thou castest my law and good counsel behind thy back. Come, I will dispose of thee in my wrath; thou shalt be turned over to the ungodly, thou shalt be put to school to the devil, I will leave thee to sink and swim in sin, till I shall visit thee with death and judgment. This was, therefore, another judgment that did come upon this young Badman.
ATTEN. You have said the truth, for God by such a judgment as this, in effect says so indeed; for he take them out of the hand of the just, and binds them up in the hand of the wicked, and whither they then shall be carried a man may easily imagine.
WISE. It is one of the saddest tokens of God's anger that happens to such kind of persons: and that for several reasons. 1. Such a one, by this judgment, is put out of the way, and from under the means which ordinarily are made use of to do good to the soul. For a family, where godliness is professed, and practised, is God's ordinance, the place which he has appointed to teach young ones the way and fear of God (Gen 18:18,19). Now, to be put out of such a family, into a bad, a wicked one, as Mr. Badman was, must needs be in judgment, and a sign of the anger of God. For in ungodly families men learn to forget God, to hate goodness, and to estrange themselves from the ways of those that are good. 2. In bad families they have continually fresh examples, and also incitements to evil, and fresh encouragements to it too. Yea, moreover, in such places evil is commended, praised, well-spoken of, and they that do it are applauded; and this, to be sure, is a drowning judgment. 3. Such places are the very haunts and walks of the infernal spirits, who are continually poisoning the cogitations and minds of one or other in such families, that they may be able to poison others. Therefore observe it, usually in wicked families, some one or two are more arch for wickedness than are any other that are there. Now such are Satan's conduit pipes, for by them he conveys of the spawn of hell, through their being crafty in wickedness, into the ears and souls of their companions. Yea, and when they have once conceived wickedness, they travail with it, as doth a woman with child, till they have brought it forth; 'Behold, he travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood' (Psa 7:14). Some men, as here is intimated in the text, and as was hinted also before, have a kind of mystical but hellish copulation with the devil, who is the father, and their soul the mother of sin and wickedness; and they, so soon as they have conceived by him, finish, by bringing forth sin, both it and their own damnation (James 1:15).
ATTEN. How much then doth it concern those parents that love their children, to see, that if they go from them, they be put into such families as be good, that they may learn there betimes to eschew evil, and to follow that which is good!
WISE. It doth concern them indeed; and it doth also concern them that take children into their families, to take heed what children they receive. For a man may soon, by a bad boy, be damaged both in his name, estate, and family, and also hindered in his peace and peaceable pursuit after God and godliness; I say, by one such vermin as a wicked and filthy apprentice.
ATTEN. True, for one sinner destroyeth much good, and a poor man is better than a liar. But many times a man cannot help it; for such as at the beginning promise very fair are by a little time proved to be very rogues, like young Badman.
WISE. That is true also; but when a man has done the best he can to help it, he may with the more confidence expect the blessing of God to follow, or he shall have the more peace if things go contrary to his desire.
ATTEN. Well, but did Mr. Badman and his master agree so well? I mean his last master, since they were birds of a feather, I mean since they were so well met for wickedness.
WISE. This second master was, as before I told you, bad enough; but yet he would often fall out with young Badman, his servant, and chide, yea and sometimes beat him too, for his naughty doings.
ATTEN. What! for all he was so bad himself! This is like the proverb, The devil corrects vice.
WISE. I will assure you it is as I say. For you must know that Badman's ways suited not with his master's gains. Could he have done as the damsel that we read of, Acts 16:16, did, to wit, fill his master's purse with his badness, he had certainly been his white-boy, but it was not so with young Badman; and, therefore, though his master and he did suit well enough in the main, yet in this and that point they differed. Young Badman was for neglecting of his master's business, for going to the whore-house, for beguiling of his master, for attempting to debauch his daughters, and the like. No marvel then if they disagreed in these points. Not so much for that his master had an antipathy against the fact itself, for he could do so when he was an apprentice; but for that his servant by his sin made spoil of his commodities, &c., and so damnified his master.
Had, as I said before, young Badman's wickedness had only a tendency to his master's advantage, as could he have sworn, lied, cozened, cheated, and defrauded customers for his master - and indeed sometimes he did so - but had that been all that he had done, he had not had, no, not a wry word from his master; but this was not always Mr. Badman's way.
ATTEN. That was well brought in, even the maid that we read of in the Acts, and the distinction was as clear betwixt the wickedness and wickedness of servants.
WISE. Alas! men that are wicked themselves, yet greatly hate it in others, not simply because it is wickedness, but because it opposeth their interest. Do you think that that maid's master would have been troubled at the loss of her, if he had not lost, with her, his gain? No, I'll warrant you; she might have gone to the devil for him; but 'when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone,' then, then he fell to persecuting Paul (Acts 16:17-20). But Mr. Badman's master did sometimes lose by Mr. Badman's sins, and then Badman and his master were at odds.
ATTEN. Alas, poor Badman! Then it seems thou couldest not at all times please thy like.
WISE. No, he could not, and the reason I have told you.
ATTEN. But do not bad masters condemn themselves in condemning the badness of their servants?
WISE. Yes; in that they condemn that in another which they either have, or do allow in themselves (Rom 14:22). And the time will come when that very sentence that hath gone out of their own mouths against the sins of others, themselves living and taking pleasure in the same, shall return with violence upon their own pates. The Lord pronounced judgment against Baasha, as for all his evils in general, so for this in special, because he was 'like the house of Jeroboam and' yet 'killed him' (1 Kings 16:7). This is Mr. Badman's master's case; he is like his man, and yet he beats him. He is like his man, and yet he rails at him for being bad.
ATTEN. But why did not young Badman run away from this master, as he ran away from the other?
WISE. He did not. And if I be not mistaken, the reason why was this. There was godliness in the house of the first, and that young Badman could not endure. For fare, for lodging, for work, and time, he had better, and more by this master's allowance, than ever he had by his last; but all this would not content, because godliness was promoted there. He could not abide this praying, this reading of Scriptures, and hearing, and repeating of sermons; he could not abide to be told of his transgressions in a sober and godly manner.
ATTEN. There is a great deal in the manner of reproof; wicked men both can and cannot abide to hear their transgressions spoken against.
WISE. There is a great deal of difference indeed. This last master of Mr. Badman's would tell Mr. Badman of his sins in Mr. Badman's own dialect; he would swear, and curse, and damn, when he told him of his sins, and this he could bear better, than to be told of them after a godly sort. Besides, that last master would, when his passions and rage were over, laugh at and make merry with the sins of his servant Badman; and that would please young Badman well. Nothing offended Badman but blows, and those he had but few of now, because he was pretty well grown up. For the most part when his master did rage and swear, he would give him oath for oath, and curse for curse, at least secretly, let him go on as long as he would.
ATTEN. This was hellish living.
WISE. It was hellish living indeed; and a man might say, that with this master, young Badman completed himself yet more and more in wickedness, as well as in his trade: for by that he came out of his time, what with his own inclination to sin, what with his acquaintance with his three companions, and what with this last master, and the wickedness he saw in him; he became a sinner in grain. I think he had a bastard laid to his charge before he came out of his time.
ATTEN. Well, but it seems he did live to come out of his time, but what did he then?
WISE. Why, he went home to his father, and he, like a loving and tender-hearted father, received him into his house.
ATTEN. And how did he carry it there?
WISE. Why, the reason why he went home, was, for money to set up for himself; he stayed but a little at home, but that little while that he did stay, he refrained himself as well as he could, and did not so much discover himself to be base, for fear his father should take distaste, and so should refuse, or for a while forbear to give him money. Yet even then he would have his times, and companions, and the fill of his lusts with them, but he used to blind all with this, he was glad to see his old acquaintance, and they as glad to see him, and he could not in civility but accommodate them with a bottle or two of wine, or a dozen or two of drink.
[BADMAN IN BUSINESS, THE TRICKS OF A WICKED TRADESMAN.]
ATTEN. And did the old man give him money to set up with?
WISE. Yes, above two hundred pounds.
ATTEN. Therein, I think, the old man was out. Had I been his father, I would have held him a little at staves-end, till I had had far better proof of his manners to be good; for I perceive that his father did know what a naughty boy he had been, both by what he used to do at home, and because he changed a good master for a bad, &c. He should not therefore have given him money so soon. What if he had pinched a little, and gone to journey-work for a time, that he might have known what a penny was, by his earning of it? Then, in all probability, he had known better how to have spent it: yea, and by that time perhaps, have better considered with himself, how to have lived in the world. Ay, and who knows but he might have come to himself with the prodigal, and have asked God and his father forgiveness for the villainies that he had committed against them.
WISE. If his father could also have blessed this manner of dealing to him, and have made it effectual for the ends that you have propounded, then I should have thought as you. But alas, alas, you talk as if you never knew, or had at this present forgot what the bowels and compassions of a father are. Why, did you not serve your own son so? But it is evident enough that we are better at giving good counsel to others, than we are at taking good counsel ourselves. But mine honest neighbour, suppose that Mr. Badman's father had done as you say, and by so doing had driven his son to ill courses, what had he bettered either himself or his son in so doing?
ATTEN. That is true, but it doth not follow that if the father had done as I said, the son would have done as you suppose. But if he had done as you have supposed, what had he done worse than what he hath done already?
WISE. He had done bad enough, that is true. But suppose his father had given him no money, and suppose that young Badman had taken a pet thereat, and in an anger had gone beyond sea, and his father had neither seen him, nor heard of him more. Or suppose that of a mad and headstrong stomach, he had gone to the highway for money, and so had brought himself to the gallows, and his father and family to great contempt, or if by so doing he had not brought himself to that end, yet he had added to all his wickedness such and such evils besides; and what comfort could his father have had in this? Besides, when his father had done for him what he could, with desire to make him an honest man, he would then, whether his son had proved honest or no, have laid down his head with far more peace than if he had taken your counsel.
ATTEN. Nay I think I should not have been forward to have given advice in the cause; but truly you have given me such an account of his villainies, that the hearing thereof has made me angry with him.
WISE. In an angry mood we may soon outshoot ourselves, but poor wretch as he is, he is gone to his place. But, as I said, when a good father hath done what he can for a bad child, and that child shall prove never the better, he will lie down with far more peace, than if through severity, he had driven him to inconveniences.
I remember that I have heard of a good woman, that had, as this old man, a bad and ungodly son, and she prayed for him, counselled him, and carried it motherly to him for several years together; but still he remained bad. At last, upon a time, after she had been at prayer, as she was wont, for his conversion, she comes to him, and thus, or to this effect, begins again to admonish him. Son, said she, thou hast been and art a wicked child, thou hast cost me many a prayer and tear, and yet thou remainest wicked. Well, I have done my duty, I have done what I can to save thee; now I am satisfied, that if I shall see thee damned at the day of judgment, I shall be so far off from being grieved for thee, that I shall rejoice to hear the sentence of thy damnation at that day; and it converted him.
I tell you that if parents carry it lovingly towards their children, mixing their mercies with loving rebukes, and their loving rebukes with fatherly and motherly compassions, they are more likely to save their children, than by being churlish and severe towards them: but if they do not save them, if their mercy do them no good, yet it will greatly ease them at the day of death, to consider; I have done by love as much as I could, to save and deliver my child from hell.
ATTEN. Well I yield. But pray let us return again to Mr. Badman. You say, that his father gave him a piece of money that he might set up for himself.
WISE. Yes, his father did give him a piece of money, and he did set up, and almost as soon set down again; for he was not long set up, but by his ill managing of his matters at home, together with his extravagant expenses abroad, he was got so far into debt, and had so little in his shop to pay, that he was hard put to it to keep himself out of prison. But when his creditors understood that he was about to marry, and in a fair way to get a rich wife, they said among themselves, We will not be hasty with him; if he gets a rich wife he will pay us all.
ATTEN. But how could he so quickly run out, for I perceive it was in little time, by what you say?
WISE. It was in little time indeed, I think he was not above two years and a half in doing of it; but the reason is apparent, for he being a wild young man, and now having the bridle loose before him, and being wholly subjected to his lusts and vices, he gave himself up to the way of his heart, and to the sight of his eye, forgetting that for all these things God would bring him to judgment (Eccl 11:9). And he that doth thus, you may be sure, shall not be able long to stand on his legs. Besides he had now an addition of new companions; companions you must think most like himself in manners, and so such that cared not who sunk, if they themselves might swim. These would often be haunting of him, and of his shop too when he was absent. They would commonly egg him to the alehouse, but yet make him jack-pay-for-all; they would also be borrowing money of him, but take no care to pay again, except it was with more of their company, which also he liked very well; and so his poverty came like 'one that travelleth, and his want as an armed man' (Prov 6:11). But all the while they studied his temper; he loved to be flattered, praised, and commended for wit, manhood, and personage; and this was like stroking him over the face. Thus they colleagued with him, and got yet more and more into him, and so, like horse leeches, they drew away that little that his father had given him, and brought him quickly down, almost to dwell next door to the beggar.
ATTEN. Then was the saying of the wise man fulfilled, 'He that keepeth company with harlots,' and 'a companion of fools, shall be destroyed' (Prov 29:3, 13:20).
WISE. Ay, and that too, 'A companion of riotous persons shameth his father' (Prov 28:7). For he, poor man, had both grief and shame, to see how his son, now at his own hand, behave himself in the enjoyment of those good things, in and under the lawful use of which he might have lived to God's glory, his own comfort, and credit among his neighbours. 'But he that followeth after vain persons, shall have poverty enough' (Prov 28:19). The way that he took, led him directly into this condition; for who can expect other things of one that follows such courses? Besides, when he was in his shop, he could not abide to be doing; he was naturally given to idleness. He loved to live high, but his hands refused to labour; and what else can the end of such an one be but that which the wise man saith? 'The drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty, and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags' (Prov 23:21).
ATTEN. But now, methinks, when he was brought thus low, he should have considered the hand of God that was gone out against him, and should have smote upon the breast, and have returned.
WISE. Consideration, good consideration, was far from him, he was as stout and proud now as ever in all his life, and was as high too in the pursuit of his sin, as when he was in the midst of his fulness; only he went now like a tired jade, the devil had rid him almost off of his legs.
ATTEN. Well, but what did he do when all was almost gone?
WISE. Two things were now his play. 1. He bore all in hand by swearing, and cracking, and lying, that he was as well to pass as he was the first day he set up for himself, yea that he had rather got than lost; and he had at his beck some of his companions that would swear to confirm it as fast as he.
ATTEN. This was double wickedness, it was a sin to say it, and another to swear it.
WISE. That is true, but what evil is that that he will not do, that is left of God, as I believe Mr. Badman was?
[HIS HYPOCRITICAL COURTSHIP AND MARRIAGE TO A PIOUS RICH YOUNG LADY.]
ATTEN. And what was the other thing?
WISE. Why that which I hinted before, he was for looking out for a rich wife: and now I am come to some more of his invented, devised, designed, and abominable roguery, such that will yet declare him to be a most desperate sinner.
The thing was this: a wife he wanted, or rather money; for as for a woman, he could have whores enow at his whistle. But, as I said, he wanted money, and that must be got by a wife or no way; nor could he so easily get a wife neither, except he became an artist at the way of dissembling; nor would dissembling do among that people that could dissemble as well as he. But there dwelt a maid not far from him, that was both godly, and one that had a good portion, but how to get her, there lay all the craft. Well, he calls a council of some of his most trusty and cunning companions, and breaks his mind to them; to wit, that he had a mind to marry: and he also told them to whom; but, said he, how shall I accomplish my end; she is religious, and I am not? Then one of them made reply, saying, Since she is religious, you must pretend to be so likewise, and that for some time before you go to her. Mark therefore whither she goes daily to hear, and do you go thither also; but there you must be sure to behave yourself soberly, and make as if you liked the Word wonderful well; stand also where she may see you, and when you come home, be sure that you walk the street very soberly,and go within sight of her. This done for a while, then go to her, and first talk of how sorry you are for your sins, and show great love to the religion that she is of, still speaking well of her preachers and of her godly acquaintance, bewailing your hard hap that it was not your lot to be acquainted with her and her fellow-professors sooner; and this is the way to get her. Also you must write down sermons, talk of scriptures, and protest that you came a-wooing to her, only because she is godly, and because you should count it your greatest happiness if you might but have such a one. As for her money, slight it, it will be never the further off, that is the way to come soonest at it, for she will be jealous at first that you come for her money; you know what she has, but make not a word about it. Do this, and you shall see if you do not entangle the lass. Thus was the snare laid for this poor honest maid, and she was quickly catched in his pit.
ATTEN. Why, did he take this counsel?
WISE. Did he! yes, and after a while, went as boldly to her, and that under a vizard of religion, as if he had been for honesty and godliness one of the most sincere and upright-hearted in England. He observed all his points, and followed the advice of his counsellors, and quickly obtained her too; for natural parts he had; he was tall, and fair, and had plain, but very good clothes on his back; and his religion was the more easily attained; for he had seen something in the house of his father, and first master, and so could the more readily put himself into the form and show thereof.
So he appointed his day, and went to her, as that he might easily do, for she had neither father nor mother to oppose. Well, when he was come, and had given her a civil compliment, to let her understand why he was come, then he began and told her that he had found in his heart a great deal of love to her person; and that of all the damsels in the world he had pitched upon her, if she thought fit, to make her his beloved wife. The reasons, as he told her, why he had pitched upon her were her religious and personal excellencies; and therefore entreated her to take his condition into her tender and loving consideration. As for the world, quoth he, I have a very good trade, and can maintain myself and family well, while my wife sits still on her seat; I have got thus and thus much already, and feel money come in every day, but that is not the thing that I aim at; it is an honest and godly wife. Then he would present her with a good book or two, pretending how much good he had got by them himself. He would also be often speaking well of godly ministers, especially of those that he perceived she liked, and loved most. Besides he would be often telling of her what a godly father he had, and what a new man he was also become himself; and thus did this treacherous dealer deal with this honest and good girl, to her great grief and sorrow, as afterward you shall hear.
ATTEN. But had the maid no friend to look after her?
WISE. Her father and mother were dead, and that he knew well enough, and so she was the more easily overcome by his naughty lying tongue. But if she had never so many friends, she might have been beguiled by him. It is too much the custom of young people now, to think themselves wise enough to make their own choice; and that they need not ask counsel of those that are older, and also wiser than they; but this is a great fault in them, and many of them have paid dear for it. Well, to be short, in little time Mr. Badman obtains his desire, gets this honest girl, and her money, is married to her, brings her home, makes a feast, entertains her royally, but her portion must pay for all.
ATTEN. This was wonderful deceitful doings, a man shall seldom hear of the like.
WISE. By this his doing, he showed how little he feared God, and what little dread he had of his judgments. For all this carriage, and all these words were by him premeditated evil; he knew he lied, he knew he dissembled; yea, he knew that he made use of the name of God, of religion, good men, and good books, but as a stalking-horse, thereby the better to catch his game. In all this his glorious pretence of religion, he was but a glorious painted hypocrite, and hypocrisy is the highest sin that a poor carnal wretch can attain unto; it is also a sin that most dareth God, and that also bringeth the greater damnation. Now was he a whited wall, now was he a painted sepulchre (Matt 23:27). Now was he a grave that appeared not (Luke 11:44). For this poor, honest, godly damsel, little thought that both her peace and comfort, and estate, and liberty, and person, and all, were going to her burial, when she was going to be married to Mr. Badman; and yet so it was, she enjoyed herself but little afterwards; she was as if she was dead and buried to what she enjoyed before.
ATTEN. Certainly some wonderful judgment of God must attend and overtake such wicked men as these.
WISE. You may be sure that they shall have judgment to the full, for all these things, when the day of judgment is come. But as for judgment upon them in this life, it doth not always come, no not upon those that are worthy thereof.'They that tempt God are delivered, and they that work wickedness are set up' (Mal 3:15). But they are reserved to the day of wrath; and then, for their wickedness, God will repay them to their faces. 'The wicked is reserved to the day of destruction; they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath. Who shall declare his way to his face? and who shall repay him what he hath done? Yet shall he be brought to the grave, and shall remain in the tomb' (Job 21:30-32). That is, ordinarily they escape God's hand in this life, save only a few examples are made, that others may be cautioned, and take warning thereby. But at the day of judgment they must be rebuked for their evil with the lashes of devouring fire.
ATTEN. Can you give me no examples of God's wrath upon men that have acted this tragical wicked deed of Mr. Badman.
WISE. Yes; Hamor and Shechem, and all the men of their city, for attempting to make God and religion the stalking-horse to get Jacob's daughters to wife, were together slain with the edge of the sword. A judgment of God upon them, no doubt, for their dissembling in that matter (Gen 34:1). All manner of lying and dissembling is dreadful, but to make God and religion a disguise, therewith to blind thy dissimulation from others' eyes, is highly provoking to the Divine majesty. I knew one that dwelt not far off from our town, that got him a wife as Mr. Badman got his; but he did not enjoy her long; for one night as he was riding home from his companions, where he had been at a neighbouring town, his horse threw him to the ground, where he was found dead at break of day; frightfully and lamentably mangled with his fall, and besmeared with his own blood.
ATTEN. Well, but pray return again to Mr. Badman; how did he carry it to his wife, after he was married to her?
WISE. Nay, let us take things along as we go. He had not been married but a little while, but his creditors came upon him for their money. He deferred them a little while, but at last things were come to that point that pay he must, or must do worse; so he appointed them a time, and they came for their money, and he payed them down with her money, before her eyes, for those goods that he had profusely spent among his whores long before, besides the portion that his father gave him, to the value of two hundred pounds.
ATTEN. This beginning was bad, but what shall I say? It was like Mr. Badman himself. Poor woman! this was but a bad beginning for her; I fear it filled her with trouble enough, as I think such a beginning would have done one perhaps much stronger than she.
WISE. Trouble, aye, you may be sure of it, but now it was too late to repent; she should have looked better to herself when being wary would have done her good; her harms may be an advantage to others that will learn to take heed thereby, but for herself, she must take what follows, even such a life now as Mr. Badman her husband will lead her, and that will be bad enough.
ATTEN. This beginning was bad, and yet I fear it was but the beginning of bad.
WISE. You may be sure that it was but the beginning of badness, for other evils came on apace; as, for instance, it was but a little while after he was married, but he hangs his religion upon the hedge, or rather dealt with it as men deal with their old clothes, who cast them off, or leave them to others to wear; for his part he would be religious no longer.
Now therefore he had pulled off his vizard, and began to show himself in his old shape, a base, wicked, debauched fellow; and now the poor woman saw that she was betrayed indeed, now also his old companions begin to flock about him, and to haunt his house and shop as formerly. And who with them but Mr. Badman? And who with him again but they?
Now those good people that used to company with his wife began to be amazed and discouraged, also he would frown and glout upon them as if he abhorred, the appearance of them, so that in little time he drove all good company from her, and made her sit solitary by herself. He also began now to go out a-nights to those drabs who were his familiars before, with whom he would stay sometimes till midnight, and sometimes till almost morning, and then would come home as drunk as a swine: and this was the course of Mr. Badman.
[HE THROWS OFF THE MASK AND CRUELLY TREATS HIS WIFE.]
Now when he came home in this case, if his wife did but speak a work to him about where he had been and why he had so abused himself, though her words were spoken in never so much meekness and love, then she was whore, and bitch, and jade! and it was well if she missed his fingers and heels. Sometimes also he would bring his punks home to his house, and woe be to his wife when they were gone if she did not entertain them with all varieties possible, and also carry it lovingly to them. Thus this good woman was made by Badman, her husband, to possess nothing but disappointments as to all that he had promised her, or that she hoped to have at his hands.
But that that added pressing weight to all her sorrow was that, as he had cast away all religion himself, so he attempted, if possible, to make her do so too. He would not suffer her to go out to the preaching of the word of Christ, nor to the rest of his appointments, for the health and salvation of her soul. He would now taunt at and reflectingly speak of her preachers, and would receive, yea, raise scandals of them, to her very great grief and affliction.
Now she scarce durst go to an honest neighbour's house, or have a good book in her hand, especially when he had his companions in his house, or had got a little drink in his head. He would also, when he perceived that she was dejected, speak tauntingly and mockingly to her in the presence of his companions, calling of her his religious wife, his demure dame, and the like, also he would make a sport of her among his wanton ones abroad.
If she did ask him, as sometimes she would, to let her go out to a sermon, he would in a churlish manner reply, Keep at home, keep at home and look to your business, we cannot live by hearing of sermons. If she still urged that he would let her go, then he would say to her, Go if you dare. He would also charged her with giving of what he had to her ministers, when, vile wretch, he had spent it on his vain companions before. This was the life that Mr. Badman's good wife lived, within few months after he had married her.
ATTEN. This was a disappointment indeed.
WISE. A disappointment indeed, as ever I think poor woman had. One would think that the knave might a little let her have had her will since it was nothing but to be honest, and since she brought him so sweet, so lumping a portion - for she brought hundreds into his house - I say, one would think he should have let her had her own will a little, since she desired it only in the service and worship of God; but could she win him to grant her that? No, not a bit, if it would have saved her life. True, sometimes she would steal out when he was from home, or on a journey, or among his drunken companions, but with all privacy imaginable; and, poor woman, this advantage she had she carried it so to all her neighbours that, though many of them were but carnal, yet they would not betray her, or tell of her going out to the Word if they saw it, but would rather endeavor to hide it from Mr. Badman himself.
ATTEN. This carriage of his to her was enough to break her heart.
WISE. It was enough to do it indeed, yea, it did effectually do it. It killed her in time, yea, it was all the time a killing of her. She would oftentimes, when she sat by herself, thus mournfully bewail her condition: - 'Woe is me that I sojourn in Meshech,' and 'that I dwell in the tents of Kedar! My soul hath long dwelt with him that hateth peace.' O 'what shall be given unto thee,' thou 'deceitful tongue?' 'or what shall be done unto thee, thou false tongue?' (Psa 120). I am a woman grieved in spirit, my husband has bought me and sold me for his lusts. It was not me, but my money that he wanted; O that he had had it, so I had had my liberty! This she said, not of contempt of his person, but of his conditions, and because she saw that, by his hypocritical tongue, he had brought her not only almost to beggary, but robbed her of the Word of God.
ATTEN. It is a deadly thing, I see, to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. If this woman had had a good husband, how happily might they have lived together! Such an one would have prayed for her, taught her, and also would have encouraged her in the faith and ways of God; but now, poor creature, instead of this there is nothing but the quite contrary.
WISE. It is a deadly thing indeed, and therefore, by the Word of God, his people are forbid to be joined in marriage with them. 'Be ye not,' saith it, 'unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?' (2 Cor 6:14-16). There can be no agreement where such matches are made; even God himself hath declared the contrary from the beginning of the world. 'I,' says he, 'will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed' (Gen 3:15). Therefore he saith in another place they can mix no better than iron and clay (Dan 2:43). I say they cannot agree, they cannot be one, and therefore they should be aware at first, and not lightly receive such into their affections. God has often made such matches bitter, especially to his own. Such matches are, as God said of Eli's sons that were spared, to consume the eyes and to grieve the heart. O! the wailing and lamentation that they have made that have been thus yoked, especially if they were such as would be so yoked against their light and good counsel to the contrary.
ATTEN. Alas! he deluded her with his tongue, and feigned reformation.
WISE. Well, well, she should have gone more warily to work. What if she had acquainted some of her best, most knowing, and godly friends therewith? What if she had engaged a godly minister or two to have talked with Mr. Badman? Also, what if she had laid wait round about him, to espy if he was not otherwise behind her back than he was before her face? And besides I verily think - since in the multitude of counsellors there is safety - that if she had acquainted the congregation with it, and desired them to spend some time in prayer to God about it, and if she must have had him, to have received him as to his godliness upon the judgment of others, rather than her own - she knowing them to be godly and judicious and unbiased men - she had had more peace all her life after, than to trust to her own poor, raw, womanish judgment as she did. Love is blind, and will see nothing amiss where others may see a hundred faults. Therefore I say she should not have trusted to her own thoughts in the matter of his goodness.
As to his person, there she was fittest to judge, because she was to be the person pleased, but as to his godliness, there the Word was the fittest judge, and they that could best understand it, because God was therein to be pleased. I wish that all young maidens will take heed of being beguiled with flattering words, with feigning and lying speeches, and take the best way to preserve themselves from being bought and sold by wicked men as she was, lest they repent with her, when, as to this, repentance will do them no good, but for their unadvisedness go sorrowing to their graves.
ATTEN. Well things are past with this poor woman and cannot be called back, let others beware by her misfortunes, lest they also fall into her distress.
WISE. That is the thing that I say, let them take heed, lest for their unadvisedness they smart, as this poor woman has done. And ah! methinks, that they that yet are single persons, and that are tempted to marry to such as Mr. Badman, would, to inform and warn themselves in this matter before they entangle themselves, but go to some that already are in the snare, and ask them how it is with them, as to the suitable or unsuitableness of their marriage, and desire their advice. Surely they would ring such a peal in their ears about the unequality, unsuitableness, disadvantages, and disquietments, and sins that attend such marriages, that would make them beware as long as they live. But the bird in the air knows not the notes of the bird in the snare until she comes thither herself. Besides, to make up such marriages, Satan and carnal reason, and lust, or at least inconsiderateness, has the chiefest hand; and where these things bear sway, designs, though never so destructive, will go headlong on; and therefore I fear that but little warning will be taken by young girls at Mr. Badman's wife's affliction.
ATTEN. But are there no dissuasive arguments to lay before such, to prevent their future misery?
WISE. Yes: there is the law of God, that forbiddeth marriage with unbelievers. These kind of marriages also are condemned even by irrational creatures. 1. It is forbidden by the law of God, both in the Old Testament and in the New. 1. In the Old. Thou shalt not 'make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son' (Deut 7:3). 2. In the New Testament it is forbidden. 'Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers,' let them marry to whom they will, 'only in the Lord' (2 Cor 6:14-16; 1 Cor 7:39).
Here now is a prohibition, plainly forbidding the believer to marry with the unbeliever, therefore they should not do it. Again, these unwarrantable marriages are, as I may so say, condemned by irrational creatures, who will not couple but with their own sort. Will the sheep couple with a dog, the partridge with a crow, or the pheasant with an owl? No, they will strictly tie up themselves to those of their own sort only. Yea, it sets all the world a wondering, when they see or hear the contrary. Man only is most subject to wink at, and allow of these unlawful mixtures of men and women; because man only is a sinful beast, a sinful bird, therefore he, above all, will take upon him, by rebellious actions, to answer, or rather to oppose and violate the law of his God and Creator; nor shall these or other interrogatories, What fellowship? what concord? what agreement? what communion can there be in such marriages? be counted of weight or thought worth the answering by him,
But further, the dangers that such do commonly run themselves into, should be to others a dissuasive argument to stop them from doing the like: for besides the distresses of Mr. Badman's wife, many that have had very hopeful beginnings for heaven, have, by virtue of the mischiefs that have attended these unlawful marriages, miserably and fearfully miscarried. Soon after such marriages, conviction, the first step towardsheaven, hath ceased; prayer, the next step towards heaven, hath ceased; hungerings and thirstings after salvation, another step towards the kingdom of heaven, hath ceased. In a word, such marriages have estranged them from the Word, from their godly and faithful friends, and have brought them again into carnal company, among carnal friends, and also into carnal delights, where, and with whom, they have in conclusion both sinfully abode, and miserably perished.
And this is one reason why God hath forbidden this kind of unequal marriages. 'For they,' saith he, meaning the ungodly, 'will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods; so will the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly' (Deut 7:4). Now mark, there were some in Israel, that would notwithstanding this prohibition, venture to marry to the heathens and unbelievers. But what followed? 'They served their idols, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils. Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went a whoring with their own inventions; therefore was the wrath of the Lord kindled against his people, insomuch that he abhorred his own inheritance' (Psa 106:36-40).
ATTEN. But let us return again to Mr. Badman; had he any children by his wife?
WISE. Yes, seven.
ATTEN. I doubt they were but badly brought up.
WISE. One of them loved its mother dearly, and would constantly hearken to her voice. Now that child she had the opportunity to instruct in the principles of Christian religion, and it became a very gracious child. But that child Mr. Badman could not abide, he would seldom afford it a pleasant word, but would scowl and frown upon it, speak churlishly and doggedly to it, and though, as to nature, it was the most feeble of the seven, yet it oftenest felt the weight of its father's fingers. Three of his children did directly follow his steps, and began to be as vile as, in his youth, he was himself. The other that remained became a kind of mongrel professors, not so bad as their father, nor so good as their mother, but were betwixt them both. They had their mother's notions, and their father's actions, and were much like those that you read of in the book of Nehemiah; these children were half of Ashdod, 'and could not speak in the Jews' language, but according to the language of each people' (Neh 13:24).
ATTEN. What you say in this matter is observable, and if I take not my mark amiss, it often happeneth after this manner where such unlawful marriages are contracted.
WISE. It sometimes doth so, and the reason, with respect to their parents, is this. Where the one of the parents is godly, and the other ungodly and vile, though they can agree in begetting of children, yet they strive for their children when they are born. The godly parent strives for the child, and by prayers, counsel, and good examples, labours to make it holy in body and soul, and so fit for the kingdom of heaven; but the ungodly would have it like himself, wicked, and base, and sinful; and so they both give instructions accordingly. Instructions did I say? yea, and examples too according to their minds. Thus the godly, as Hannah, is presenting her Samuel unto the Lord: but the ungodly, like them that went before them, are for offering their children to Moloch, to an idol, to sin, to the devil, and to hell. Thus one hearkeneth to the law of their mother and is preserved from destruction, but as for the other, as their fathers did, so do they. Thus did Mr. Badman and his wife part some of their children betwixt them; but as for the other three that were, as it were, mongrels, betwixt both, they were like unto those that you read of in Kings, they feared the Lord, but served their own idols (2 Kings 17). They had, as I said, their mother's notions, and I will add, profession too; but their father's lusts, and something of his life. Now their father did not like them, because they had their mother's tongue; and the mother did not like them because they had still their father's heart and life; nor were they indeed fit company for good or bad. The good would not trust them because they were bad, the bad would not trust them because they were good; namely, the good would not trust them because they were bad in their lives, and the bad would not trust them because they were good in their words. So they were forced with Esau to join in affinity with Ishmael; to wit, to look out a people that were hypocrites like themselves, and with them they matched, and lived, and died.
ATTEN. Poor woman, she could not but have much perplexity.
WISE. Yea, and poor children, that ever they were sent into the world as the fruit of the loins, and under the government of such a father as Mr. Badman.
ATTEN. You say right, for such children lie almost under all manner of disadvantages: but we must say nothing, because this also is the sovereign will of God.
WISE. We may not by any means object against God; yet we may talk of the advantages and disadvantages that children have by having for their parents such as are either godly or the contrary.
ATTEN. You say right, we may so, and pray now, since we are about it, speak something in brief unto it, that is, unto this: what advantage those children have above others, that have for their parents such as indeed are godly?
WISE. So I will, only I must first premise these two or three things. 1. They have not the advantage of election for their fathers' sakes. 2. They are born as others, the children of wrath, though they come of godly parents. 3. Grace comes not unto them as an inheritance, because they have godly parents. These things premised I shall now proceed.
1. The children of godly parents are the children of many prayers. They are prayed for before, and prayed for after they are born; and the prayer of a godly father and godly mother doth much. 2. They have the advantage of what restraint is possible, from what evils their parents see them inclinable to, and that is a second mercy. 3. They have the advantage of godly instruction, and of being told which be and which be not the right ways of the Lord. 4. They have also those ways commended unto them, and spoken well of in their hearing, that are good. 5. Such are also, what may be kept out of evil company, from evil books, and from being taught the way of swearing, lying, and the like, as sabbath-breaking, and mocking at good men and good things, and this is a very great mercy. 6. They ave also the benefit of a godly life set before them doctrinally by their parents, and that doctrine backed with a godly and holy example. And all these are very great advantages.
Now all these advantages the children of ungodly parents want; and so are more in danger of being carried away with the error of the wicked. For ungodly parents neither pray for their children, nor do nor can they heartily instruct them; they do not after a godly manner restrain them from evil, nor do they keep them from evil company. They are not grieved at, nor yet do they forewarn their children to beware of such evil actions that are abomination to God and to all good men. They let their children break the sabbath, swear, lie, be wicked and vain. They commend not to their children a holy life, nor set a good example before their eyes. No, they do in all things contrary: estranging of their children what they can, from the love of God and all good men, so soon as they are born. Therefore it is a very great judgment of God upon children, to be the offspring of base and ungodly men (Job 30:8).
ATTEN. Well, but before we leave Mr. Badman's wife and children, I have a mind, if you please, to inquire a little more after one thing, the which I am sure you can satisfy me in.
WISE. What is that?
ATTEN. You said a while ago that this Mr. Badman would not suffer his wife to go out to hear such godly ministers as she liked, but said, if she did, she had as good never come home any more. Did he often carry it thus to her?
WISE. He did say so, he did often say so. This I told you then, and had also then told you more, but that other things put me out.
ATTEN. Well said; pray, therefore, now go on.
WISE. So I will. Upon a time, she was, on a Lord's day, for going to hear a sermon, and Mr. Badman was unwilling she should; but she at that time, as it seems, did put on more courage than she was wont; and, therefore, after she had spent upon him a great many fair words and entreaties, if perhaps she might have prevailed by them, but all to no purpose at all, at last she said she would go, and rendered this reason for it: I have a husband, but also a God; my God has commanded me, and that upon pain of damnation, to be a continual worshipper of him, and that in the way of his own appointments. I have a husband, but also a soul, and my soul ought to be more unto me than all the world besides. This soul of mine I will look after, care for, and, if I can, provide it a heaven for its habitation. You are commanded to love me, as you love your own body, and so do I love you; but I tell you true, I prefer my soul before all the world, and its salvation I will seek (Eph 5:28).
At this, first he gave her an ugly wish, and then fell into a fearful rage, and sware moreover that if she did go, he would make both her and all her damnable brotherhood, for so he was pleased to call them, to repent their coming thither.
ATTEN. But what should he mean by that?
WISE. You may easily guess what he meant. He meant he would turn informer, and so either weary out those that she loved from meeting together to worship God, or make them pay dearly for their so doing, the which, if he did, he knew it would vex every vein of her tender heart.
ATTEN. But do you think Mr. Badman would have been so base?
WISE. Truly he had malice and enmity enough in his heart to do it, only he was a tradesman; also he knew that he must live by his neighbours, and so he had that little wit in his anger, that he refrainedhimself and did it not. But, as I said, he had malice and envy enough in his heart to have made him to do it, only he thought it would worst him in his trade; yet these three things he would be doing: 1. He would be putting of others on to molest and abuse her friends. 2. He would be glad when he heard that any mischief befel them. 3. And would laugh at her when he saw her troubled for them. And now I have told you Mr. Badman's way as to this.
ATTEN. But was he not afraid of the judgments of God that did fly about at that time?
WISE. He regarded not the judgment nor mercy of God, for had he at all done that he could not have done as he did. But what judgments do you mean?
ATTEN. Such judgments, that if Mr. Badman himself had taken but sober notice of, they might have made him a hung down his ears.
WISE. Why, have you heard of any such persons that the judgments of God have overtaken.
ATTEN. Yes, and so, I believe, have you too, though you make so strange about it.
WISE. I have so indeed, to my astonishment and wonder.
ATTEN. Pray, therefore, if you please, tell me what it is, as to this, that you know; and then, perhaps, I may also say something to you of the same.
WISE. In our town there was one W. S., a man of a very wicked life; and he, when there seemed to be countenance given to it, would needs turn informer. Well, so he did, and was as diligent in his business as most of them could be; he would watch of nights, climb trees, and range the woods of days, if possible, to find out the meeters, for then they were forced to meet in the fields; yea, he would curse them bitterly, and swear most fearfully what he would do to them when he found them. Well, after he had gone on like a bedlam in his course awhile, and had done some mischiefs to the people, he was stricken by the hand of God, and that in this manner: 1. Although he had his tongue naturally at will, now he was taken with a flattering in his speech, and could not for weeks together speak otherwise than just like a man that was drunk. 2. Then he was taken with a drauling, or slabbering at his mouth, which slabber sometimes would hang at his mouth well nigh half-way down to the ground. 3. Then he had such a weakness in the back sinews of his neck, that ofttimes he could not look up before him, unless he clapped his hand hard upon his forehead, and held up his head that way, by strength of hand. 4. After this his speech went quite away, and he could speak no more than a swine or a bear. Therefore, like one of them, he would gruntle and make an ugly noise, according as he was offended, or pleased, or would have anything done, &c.
In this posture he continued for the space of half a year or thereabouts, all the while otherwise well, and could go about his business, save once that he had a fall from the bell as it hangs in our steeple, which it was a wonder it did not kill him. But after that he also walked about, until God had made a sufficient spectacle of his judgment of his sin, and then on a sudden he was stricken, and died miserably; and so there was an end of him and his doings.
I will tell you of another. About four miles from St. Neots, there was a gentleman had a man, and he would needs be an informer, and a lusty young man he was. Well, an informer he was, and did much distress some people, and had perfected his informations so effectually against some, that there was nothing further to do but for the constables to make distress on the people, that he might have the money or goods; and, as I heard, he hastened them much to do it. Now, while he was in the heat of his work, as he stood one day by the fire-side, he had, it should seem, a mind to a sop in the pan, for the spit was then at the fire, so he went to make him one; but behold, a dog, some say his own dog, took distaste at something, and bit his master by the leg; the which bite, notwithstanding all the means that was used to cure him, turned, as was said, to a gangrene; however, that wound was his death, and that a dreadful one too. For my relator said that he lay in such a condition by this bite, as the beginning, until his flesh rotted from off him before he went out of the world. But what need I instance in particular persons; when the judgment of God against this kind of people was made manifest, I think I may say, if not in all, yet in most of the counties in England where such poor creatures were. But I would, if it had been the will of God, that neither I nor anybody else, could tell you more of these stories; true stories, that are neither lie nor romance.
ATTEN. Well, I also heard of both these myself, and of more too, as remarkable in their kind as these, if I had any list to tell them; but let us leave those that are behind to others, or to the coming of Christ, who then will justify or condemn them, as the merit of their work shall require; or if they repented, and found mercy, I shall be glad when I know it, for I wish not a curse to the soul of mine enemy.
WISE. There can be no pleasure in the telling of such stories, though to hear of them may do us a pleasure. They may put us in mind that there is a God that judgeth in the earth, and that doth not always forget nor defer to hear the cry of the destitute; they also carry along with them both caution and counsel to those that are the survivors of such. Let us tremble at the judgments of God, and be afraid of sinning against him, and it shall be our protection. It shall go well with them that fear God, that fear before him.
ATTEN. Well, Sir, as you have intimated, so I think we have, in this place, spoken enough about these kind of men; if you please, let us return again to Mr. Badman himself, if you have any more to say of him.
WISE. More! we have yet scarce thoroughly begun with anything that we have said. All the particulars are in themselves so full of badness, that we have rather only looked in them, than indeed said anything to them; but we will pass them and proceed. You have heard of the sins of his youth, of his apprenticeship, and how he set up, and married, and what a life he hath led his wife; and now I will tell you some more of his pranks. He had the very knack for knavery; had he, as I said before, been bound to serve an apprenticeship to all these things, he could not have been more cunning, he could not have been more artificial at it.
ATTEN. Nor perhaps so artificially neither. For as none can teach goodness like to God himself, so, concerning sin and knavery, none can teach a man it like the devil, to whom, as I perceive, Mr. Badman went to school from his childhood to the end of his life. But, pray, Sir, make a beginning.
WISE. Well, so I will. You may remember that I told you what a condition he was in for money before he did marry, and how he got a rich wife, with whose money he paid his debts. How, when he had paid his debts, he having some money left, he sets up again as briskly as ever, keeps a great shop, drives a great trade, and runs again a great way into debt; but now not into the debt of one or two, but into the debt of many, so that at last he came to owe some thousands, and thus he went on a good while. And, to pursue his ends the better, he begun now to study to please all men, and to suit himself to any company; he could now be as they, say as they, that is, if he listed; and then he would list, when he perceived that by so doing he might either make them his customers or creditors for his commodities. If he dealt with honest men, as with some honest men he did, then he would be as they, talk as they, seem to be sober as they, talk of justice and religion as they, and against debauchery as they; yea, and would too seem to show a dislike of them that said, did, or were otherwise than honest.
Again, when he did light among those that were bad, then he would be as they, but yet more close and cautiously, except they were sure of his company. Then he would carry it openly, be as they, say, damn them and sink them as they. If they railed on good men, so could he; if they railed on religion, so could he; if they talked beastly, vainly, idly, so would he; if they were for drinking, swearing, whoring, or any the like villainies, so was he. This was now the path he trod in, and could do all artificially as any man alive. And now he thought himself a perfect man, he thought he was always a boy till now. What think you now of Mr. Badman?
ATTEN. Think! why I think he was an atheist; for no man but an atheist can do this. I say it cannot be but that the man that is such as this Mr. Badman must be a rank and stinking atheist, for he that believes that there is either God or devil, heaven or hell, or death and judgment after, cannot do as Mr. Badman did; I mean if he could do these things without reluctancy and check of conscience, yea, if he had not sorrow and remorse for such abominable sins as these.
WISE. Nay, he was so far off from reluctances and remorse of conscience for these things, that he counted them the excellency of his attainments, the quintessence of his wit, his rare and singular virtues, such as but few besides himself could be the masters of. Therefore, as for those that made boggle and stop at things, and that could not in conscience, and for fear of death and judgment, do such things as he, he would call them fools and noddies, and charge them for being frighted with the talk of unseen bugbears, and would encourage them, if they would be men indeed, to labour after the attainment of this his excellent art. He would oftentimes please himself with the thoughts of what he could do in this matter, saying within himself, I can be religious and irreligious, I can be anything or nothing; I can swear, and speak against swearing; I can lie, and speak against lying; I can drink, wench, be unclean, and defraud, and not be troubled for it. Now I enjoy myself, and am master of mine own ways, and not they of me. This I have attained with much study, great care, and more pains. But this his talk should be only with himself, to his wife, who he knew durst not divulge it, or among his intimates, to whom he knew he might say any thing.
ATTEN. Did I call him before an atheist? I may call him now a devil, or a man possessed with one, if not with many. I think that there cannot be found in every corner such a one as this. True, it is said of king Ahaz that he sinned more and more (2 Chron 28:22). And of Ahab, that he sold 'himself to work wickedness' (1 Kings 21:25). And of the men of Sodom, that they 'were sinners before the Lord exceedingly' (Gen 13:13).
WISE. An atheist he was no doubt, if there be such a thing as an atheist in the world; but for all his brags of perfection and security in his wickedness, I believe that at times God did let down fire from heaven into his conscience (Job 21:17). True, I believe he would quickly put it out again, and grow more wicked and desperate afterward, but this also turned to his destruction, as afterward you may hear.
But I am not of your mind to think that there are but few such in the world, except you mean as to the degree of wickedness unto which he had attained. For otherwise, no doubt, there is abundance of such as he; men of the same mind, of the same principles, and of the same conscience too, to put them into practice. Yea, I believe that there are many that are endeavouring to attain to the same pitch of wickedness, and all them are such as he in the judgment of the law, nor will their want of hellish wit to attain thereto excuse them at the day of judgment. You know that in all science some are more arch than some, and so it is in the art as well as in the practice of wickedness, some are two-fold and some seven-fold more the children of hell than others - and yet all the children of hell - else they would all be masters, and none scholars in the school of wickedness. But there must be masters, and there must be learners; Mr. Badman was a master in this art, and therefore it follows that he must be an arch and chief one in that mystery.
ATTEN. You are in the right, for I perceive that some men, though they desire it, are not so arch in the practice thereof as others, but are, as I suppose they call them, fools and dunces to the rest, their heads and capacities will not serve them to act and do so wickedly. But Mr. Badman wanted not a wicked head to contrive, as well as a wicked heart to do his wickedness.
WISE. True, but yet I say such men shall at the day of judgment be judged, not only for what they are, but also for what they would be. For if 'the thought of foolishness is sin,' doubtless the desire of foolishness is more sin; and if the desire be more, the endeavour after it must needs be more and more (Psa 24:9). He then that is not an artificial atheist and transgressor, yet if he desires to be so, if he endeavoureth to be so, he shall be judged and condemned to hell for such a one. For the law judgeth men, as I said, according to what they would be. He that 'looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart' (Matt 5:28). By the same rule, he that would steal doth steal he that would cheat, doth cheat; he that would swear, doth swear; and he that would commit adultery, doth do so. For God judgeth men according to the working of their minds, and saith, 'As he thinketh, so is he' (Prov 23:7). That is, so is he in his heart, in his intentions, in his desires, in his endeavours; and God's law, I say, lays hold of the desires, intentions, and endeavours, even as it lays hold of the act of wickedness itself (Matt 5; Rom 7:7). A man then that desires to be as bad as Mr. Badman, and desires to be so wicked have many in their hearts, though he never attains to that proficiency in wickedness as he, shall be judged for as bad a man as he, because it was in his desires to be such a wicked one.
ATTEN. But this height of wickedness in Mr. Badman will not yet out of my mind. This hard, desperate, or, what shall I call it, diabolical frame of heart, was in him a foundation, a ground-work to all acts and deeds that were evil.
WISE. The heart, and the desperate wickedness of it, is the foundation and ground-work of all. Atheism, professed and practical, spring both out of the heart, yea, and all manner of evil besides. For they be not bad deeds that make a bad man, but he is already a bad man that doth bad deeds. A man must be wicked before he can do wickedness. 'Wickedness proceedeth form the wicked' (1 Sam 24:13). It is an evil tree that bars evil fruit. Men gather no grapes of thorns; the heart therefore must be evil before the man can do evil, and good before the man doth good (Matt 7:16-18).
ATTEN. Now I see the reason why Mr. Badman was so base as to get a wife by dissimulation, and to abuse her so like a villain when he had got her, it was because he was before, by a wicked heart, prepared to act wickedness.
WISE. You may be sure of it, 'For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: all these things come from within and defile the man' (Mark 7:20-23). And a man, as his naughty mind inclines him, makes use of these, or any of these, to gratify his lust, to promote his designs, to revenge his malice, to enrich, or to wallow himself in the foolish pleasures and pastimes of this life. And all these did Mr. Badman do, even to the utmost, if either opportunity, or purse, or perfidiousness, would help him to the obtaining of his purpose.
ATTEN. Purse! why he could not but have purse to do almost what he would, having married a wife with so much money.
WISE. Hold you there; some of Mr. Badman's sins were costly, as his drinking, and whoring, and keeping other bad company; though he was a man that had ways too many to get money, as well as ways too many to spend it.
ATTEN. Had he then such a good trade, for all he was such a bad man? Or was his calling so gainful to him as always to keep his purse's belly full, though he was himself a great spender?
WISE. No, it was not his trade that did it, though he had a pretty trade too. He had another way to get money, and that by hatfuls and pocketfuls at a time.
ATTEN. Why I trow he was no highwayman, was he?
WISE. I will be sparing in my speech as to that, though some have muttered as if he could ride out now and then, about nobody but himself knew what, over night, and come home all dirty and weary next morning. But that is not the thing I aim at.
ATTEN. Pray let me know it, if you think it convenient that I should.
[BADMAN IS A BANKRUPT, AND GETS BY IT 'HATFULS OF MONEY.']
WISE. I will tell you; it was this, he had an art to break, and get hatfuls of money by breaking.
ATTEN. But what do you mean by Mr. Badman's breaking? You speak mystically, do you not?
WISE. No, no, I speak plainly. Or, if you will have it in plainer language, it is this; - when Mr. Badman had swaggered and whored away most of his wife's portion, he began to feel that he could not much longer stand upon his legs in this course of life and keep up his trade and repute - such as he had - in the world, but by the new engine of breaking. Wherefore upon a time he gives a great and sudden rush into several men's debts, to the value of about four or five thousand pounds, driving at the same time a very great trade, by selling many things for less than they cost him, to get him custom, therewith to blind his creditors' eyes. His creditors therefore seeing that he had a great employ, and dreaming that it must needs at length turn to a very good account to them, trusted him freely without mistrust, and so did others too, to the value of what was mentioned before. Well, when Mr. Badman had well feathered his nest with other men's goods and money, after a little time he breaks. And by and by it was noised abroad that Mr. Badman had shut up shop, was gone, and could trade no longer. Now by that time his breaking was come to his creditors' ears, he had by craft and knavery made so sure of what he had, that his creditors could not touch a penny. Well, when he had done, he sends his mournful sugared letters to his creditors, to let them understand what had happened unto him, and desired them not to be severe with him, for he bore towards all men an honest mind, and would pay so far as he was able. Now he sends his letters by a man confederate with him, who could make both the worst and best of Mr. Badman's case; the best for Mr. Badman and the worst for his creditors. So when he comes to them he both bemoans them and condoles Mr. Badman's condition, telling of them that, without a speedy bringing of things to a conclusion, Mr. Badman would be able to make them no satisfaction, but at present he both could and would, and that to the utmost of his power, and to that end he desired that they would come over to him. Well, his creditors appoint him a time and come over, and he, meanwhile, authorizes another to treat with them, but will not be seen himself, unless it was on a Sunday, lest they should snap him with a writ. So his deputed friend treats with them about their concern with Mr. Badman, first telling them of the great care that Mr. Badman took to satisfy them and all men for whatsoever he owed, as far as in him lay, and how little he thought a while since to be in this low condition. He pleaded also the greatness of his charge, the greatness of taxes, the badness of the times, and the great losses that he had by many of his customers; some of which died in his debt, others were run away, and for many that were alive he never expected a farthing from them. Yet nevertheless he would show himself an honest man, and would pay as far as he was able; and if they were willing to come to terms, he would make a composition with them, for he was not able to pay them all. The creditors asked what he would give? It was replied, Half-a-crown in the pound. At this they began to huff, and he to renew his complaint and entreaty, but the creditors would not hear, and so for that time their meeting without success broke up. But after his creditors were in cool blood, and admitting of second thoughts, and fearing lest delays should make them lose all, they admit of a second debate, come together again, and, by many worlds and great ado, they obtained five shillings in the pound. So the money was produced, releases and discharges drawn, signed, and sealed, books crossed, and all things confirmed; and then Mr. Badman can put his head out a doors again, and be a better man than when he shut up shop, by several thousands of pounds.
ATTEN. And did he do thus indeed?
WISE. Yes, once and again. I think he brake twice or thrice.
ATTEN. And did he do it before he had need to do it?
WISE. Need! What do you mean by need? There is no need at any time for a man to play the knave. He did it of a wicked mind, to defraud and beguile his creditors. He had wherewithal of his father, and also by his wife, to have lived upon, with lawful labour, like an honest man. He had also, when he made this wicked break, though he had been a profuse and prodigal spender, to have paid his creditors their own to a farthing. But had he done so, he had not done like himself, like Mr. Badman; had he, I say, dealt like an honest man, he had then gone out of Mr. Badman's road. He did it therefore of a dishonest mind, and to a wicked end; to wit, that he might have wherewithal, howsoever unlawfully gotten, to follow his cups and queans, and to live in the full swing of his lusts, even as he did before.
ATTEN. Why this was a mere cheat.
WISE. It was a cheat indeed. This way of breaking, it is nothing else but a more neat way of thieving, of picking of pockets, of breaking open of shops, and of taking from men what one has nothing to do with. But though it seem easy, it is hard to learn; no man that has conscience to God or man, can ever be his crafts-master in this hellish art.
ATTEN. O! Sir! What a wicked man was this!
WISE. A wicked man indeed. By this art he could tell how to make men send their goods to his shop, and then be glad to take a penny for that which he had promised, before it came thither, to give them a groat: I say, he could make them glad to take a crown for a pound's worth, and a thousand for that for which he had promised before to give them four thousand pounds.
ATTEN. This argueth that Mr. Badman had but little conscience.
WISE. This argued that Mr. Badman had no conscience at all; for conscience, the least spark of a good conscience, cannot endure this.
ATTEN. Before we go any further in Mr. Badman's matters, let me desire you, if you please, to give me an answer to these two questions. 1. What do you find in the Word of God against such a practice as this of Mr. Badman's is? 2. What would you have a man do that is in his creditor's debt, and can neither pay him what he owes him, nor go on in a trade any longer?
WISE. I will answer you as well as I can. And first, to the first of your questions; to wit, What I find in the Word of God against such a practice as this of Mr. Badman's is.
The Word of God doth forbid this wickedness; and to make it the more odious in our eyes, it joins it with theft and robbery. 'Thou shalt not,' says God, 'defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him' (Lev 19:13). Thou shalt not defraud, that is, deceive or beguile. Now thus to break, is to defraud, deceive and beguile; which is, as you see, forbidden by the God of heaven: 'Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him.' It is a kind of theft and robbery, thus to defraud, and beguile. It is a vilely robbing of his shop, and picking of his pocket; a thing odious to reason and conscience, and contrary to the law of nature. It is a designed piece of wickedness, and therefore a double sin. A man cannot do this great wickedness on a sudden, and through a violent assault of Satan. He that will commit this sin, must have time to deliberate, that by invention he may make it formidable, and that with lies and high dissimulations. He that commits this wickedness, must first hatch it upon his bed, beat his head about it, and lay his plot strong. So that to the completing of such a wickedness, there must be adjoined many sins, and they too must go hand in hand until it be completed. But what saith the scripture? 'Let no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such' (1 Thess 4:6). But this kind of breaking is a going beyond my brother; this is a compassing of him about, that I may catch him in my net; and as I said, an art to rob my brother, and to pick his pocket, and that with his consent. Which doth not therefore mitigate, but so much the more greaten, and make odious the offence. For men that are thus wilily abused, cannot help themselves; they are taken in a deceitful net. But God will here concern himself, he will be the avenger, he will be the avenger of all such either here, or in another world.
And this, the apostle testifies again, where he saith, 'But he that doeth wrong, shall receive for the wrong which he hath done; and there is no respect of persons' (Col 3:25). That is, there is no man, be he what he will, if he will be guilty of this sin, of going beyond, of beguiling of, and doing wrong to his brother, but God will call him to an account for it, and will pay him with vengeance for it too; for 'there is no respect of persons.'
I might add, that this sin of wronging, of going beyond, and defrauding of my neighbour, it is like that first prank that the devil played with our first parents, as the altar that Uriah built of Ahaz, was taken from the fashion of that that stood at Damascus, to be the very pattern of it. The serpent beguiled me, says Eve; Mr. Badman beguiles his creditors. The serpent beguiled Eve with lying promises of gain; and so did Mr. Badman beguile his creditors. The serpent said one thing and meant another, when he beguiled Eve; and so did Mr. Badman when he beguiled his creditors.
That man therefore that doth thus deceive and beguile his neighbour, imitateth the devil; he taketh his examples from him, and not from God, the Word, or good men; and this did Mr. Badman.
And now to your second question; to wit, what I would have a man do that is in his creditor's debt, and that can neither pay him, nor go on in a trade any longer?
Answ. First of all. If this be his case, and he knows it, let him not run one penny further in his creditors' debt, for that cannot be done with good conscience. He that knows he cannot pay, and yet will run into debt; does knowingly wrong and defraud his neighbour, and falls under that sentence of the Word of God, 'The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again' (Psa 37:21). Yea, worse, he borrows, though at the very same time he knows that he cannot pay again. He doth also craftily take away what is his neighbour's. That is therefore the first thing that I would propound to such; let him not run any farther into his creditors' debt.
Secondly, After this, let him consider, how, and by what means he was brought into such a condition that he could not pay his just debts. To wit, whether it was by his own remissness in his calling, by living too high in diet or apparel, by lending too lavishingly that which was none of his own, to his loss; or whether by the immediate hand and judgment of God.
If by searching he finds that this is come upon him through remissness in his calling, extravagancies in his family, or the like; let him labour for a sense of his sin and wickedness, for he has sinned against the Lord. First, in his being slothful in business, and in not providing, to wit, of his own, by the sweat of his brow, or other honest ways, for those of his own house (Rom 12:11; 1 Tim 5:8). And, secondly, in being lavishing in diet and apparel in the family, or in lending to others that which was none of his own. This cannot be done with good conscience. It is both against reason and nature, and therefore must be a sin against God. I say therefore, if thus this debtor hath done, if ever he would live quietly in conscience, and comfortably in his condition for the future, let him humble himself before God, and repent of this his wickedness. For 'he that is slothful in his work, is brother to him that is a great waster' (Prov 18:9). To be slothful and a waster too, is to be as it were a double sinner.
But again, as this man should inquire into these things, so he should also into this, How came I into this way of dealing in which I have now miscarried? Is it a way that my parents brought me up in, put me apprentice to, or that by providence I was first thrust into? Or is it a way into which I have twisted myself, as not being contented with my first lot, that by God and my parents I was cast into? This ought duly to be considered, and if upon search a man shall find that he is out of the place and calling into which he was put by his parents, or the providence of God, and has miscarried in a new way, that through pride and dislike of his first state he has chose rather to embrace; his miscarriage is his sin, the fruit of his pride, and a token of the judgment of God upon him for his leaving of his first state. And for this he ought, as for the former, to be humble and penitent before the Lord,
But if by search, he finds that his poverty came by none of these; if by honest search, he finds it so, and can say with good conscience, I went not out of my place and state in which God by his providence had put me; but have abode with God in the calling wherein I was called, and have wrought hard, and fared meanly, been civilly apparelled, and have not directly nor indirectly made away with my creditors' goods; then has his fall come upon him by the immediate hand of God, whether by visible or invisible ways. For sometimes it comes by visible ways, to wit, by fire, by thieves, by loss of cattle, or the wickedness of sinful dealers, &c. And sometimes by means invisible, and then no man knows how; we only see things are going, but cannot see by what way they go. Well, now suppose that a man, by an immediate hand of God, is brought to a morsel of bread, what must he do now?
I answer: His surest way is still to think, that this is the fruit of some sin, though possibly not sin in the management of his calling, yet of some other sin. 'God casteth away the substance of the wicked' (Prov 10:3). Therefore let him still humble himself before his God, because his hand is upon him, and say, What sin is this, for which this hand of God is upon me? (1 Peter 5:6). And let him be diligent to find it out, for some sin is the cause of this judgment; for God 'doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men' (Lam 3:33). Either the heart is too much set upon the world, or religion is too much neglected in thy family, or something. There is a snake in the grass, a worm in the gourd; some sin in thy bosom, for the sake of which God doth thus deal with thee.
Thirdly, This thus done, let that man again consider thus with himself: perhaps God is now changing of my condition and state in the world; he has let me live in fashion, in fulness, and abundance of worldly glory; and I did not to his glory improve, as I should, that his good dispensation to me. But when I lived in full and fat pasture, I did there lift up the heel (Deut 32:15). Therefore he will now turn me into hard commons, that with leanness, and hunger, and meanness, and want, I may spend the rest of my days. But let him do this without murmuring and repining; let him do it in a godly manner, submitting himself to the judgment of God. 'Let the rich rejoice in that he is made low' (James 1:9,10).
This is duty, and it may be privilege to those that are under this hand of God. And for thy encouragement to this hard work, for this is a hard work, consider of these four things. 1. This is right lying down under God's hand, and the way to be exalted in God's time. When God would have Job embrace the dunghill, he embraces it, and says, 'The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord' (Job 1:21). 2. Consider, that there are blessings also that attend a low condition, more than all the world are aware of. A poor condition has preventing mercy attending of it. The poor, because they are poor, are not capable of sinning against God as the rich man does (Psa 49:6). 3. The poor can more clearly see himself preserved by the providence of God than the rich, for he trusteth in the abundance of his riches. 4. It may be God has made thee poor, because he would make thee rich. 'Hearken, my beloved brethren, hath not God chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which God hath promised to them that love him?' (James 2:5).
I am persuaded if men upon whom this hand of God is, would thus quietly lie down and humble themselves under it, they would find more peace, yea more blessing of God attending them in it, than the most of men are aware of. But this is a hard chapter, and therefore I do not expect that many should either read it with pleasure, or desire to take my counsel.
Having thus spoken to the broken man, with reference to his own self, I will now speak to him as he stands related to his creditors. In the next place therefore, let him fall upon the most honest way of dealing with his creditors, and that I think must be this:
First, Let him timely make them acquainted with his condition, and also do to them these three things. 1. Let him heartily and unfeignedly ask them forgiveness for the wrong that he has done them. 2. Let him proffer them ALL, and the whole ALL that ever he has in the world; let him hide nothing, let him strip himself to his raiment for them; let him not keep a ring, a spoon, or anything from them. 3. If none of these two will satisfy them, let him proffer them his body, to be at their dispose, to wit, either to abide imprisonment at their pleasure, or to be at their service, till by labour and travel he hath made them such amends as they in reason think fit, only reserving something for the succour of his poor and distressed family out of his labour, which in reason, and conscience, and nature, he is bound also to take care of. Thus shall he make them what amends he is able, for the wrong that he hath done them in wasting and spending of their estates.
By thus doing, he submits himself to God's rod, commits himself to the dispose of his providence; yea, by thus doing, he casteth the lot of his present and future condition into the lap of his creditors, and leaves the whole dispose thereof to the Lord, even as he shall order and incline their hearts to do with him (Prov 16:33). And let that be either to forgive him, or to take that which he hath for satisfaction, or to lay his body under affliction, this way or that, according to law; can he, I say, thus leave the whole dispose to God, let the issue be what it will, that man shall have peace in his mind afterward. And the comforts of that state, which will be comforts that attend equity, justice, and duty, will be more unto him, because more according to godliness, than can be the comforts that are the fruits of injustice, fraudulency, and deceit. Besides, this is the way to engage God to favour him by the sentence of his creditors; for HE can entreat them to use him kindly, and he will do it when his ways are pleasing in his sight (Jer 15:10,11). When a man's ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him (Prov 16:7). And surely, for a man to seek to make restitution for wrongs done to the utmost of his power, by what he is, has, and enjoys in this world, is the best way, in that capacity, and with reference to that thing, that a man can at this time be found active in.
But he that doth otherwise, abides in his sin, refuses to be disposed of by the providence of God, chooseth an high estate, though not attained in God's way; when God's will is that he should descend into a low one. Yea, he desperately saithin his heart and actions, I will be mine own chooser, and that in mine own way, whatever happens or follows thereupon.
ATTEN. You have said well, in my mind. But suppose now that Mr. Badman was here, could he not object as to what you have said, saying, Go and teach your brethren, that are professors, this lesson, for they as I am are guilty of breaking; yea, I am apt to think, of that which you call my knavish way of breaking, to wit, of breaking before they have need to break. But if not so, yet they are guilty of neglect in their calling, of living higher, both in fare and apparel, than their trade or income will maintain. Besides that they do break all the world very well knows, and that they have the art to plead for a composition, is very well known to men; and that is usual with them to hide their linen, their plate, their jewels, and it is to be thought, sometimes money and goods besides, is as common as four eggs a penny. And thus they beguile men, debauch their consciences, sin against their profession, and make, it is to be feared, their lusts in all this, and the fulfilling of them their end. I say, if Mr. Badman was here to object thus unto you, what would be your reply?
WISE. What? Why I would say, I hope no good man, no man of good conscience, no man that either feareth God, regardeth the credit of religion, the peace of God's people, or the salvation of his own soul, will do thus. Professors such, perhaps, there may be, and who upon earth can help it? Jades there be of all colours. If men will profess, and make their profession a stalking-horse to beguile their neighbours of their estates, as Mr. Badman himself did, when he beguiled her that now is with sorrow his wife, who can help it? The churches of old were pestered with such, and therefore no marvel if these perilous difficult times be so. But mark how the apostle words it: 'Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren. Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolators, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God' (1 Cor 6:8-10; 2 Tim 3:1-5).
None of these shall be saved in this state, nor shall profession deliver them from the censure of the godly, when they shall be manifest such to be. But their profession we cannot help. How can we help it, if men should ascribe to themselves the title of holy ones, godly ones, zealous ones, self-denying ones, or any other such glorious title? and while they thus call themselves, they should be the veriest rogues for all evil, sin, and villainy imaginable, who could help it? True, they are a scandal to religion, a grief to the honest-hearted, an offence to the world, and a stumbling-stone to the weak, and these offences have come, do come, and will come, do what all the world can; but woe be to them through whom they come (Matt 18:6-8). Let such professors therefore be disowned by all true Christians, and let them be reckoned among those base men of the world, which, by such actions, they most resemble. They are Mr. Badman's kindred. For they are a shame to religion, I say, these slithy, rob-shop, pick-pocket men, they are a shame to religion, and religious men should be ashamed of them. God puts such an one among the fools of the world, therefore let not Christians put them among those that are wise for heaven. 'As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not, so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool' (Jer 17:11). And the man under consideration is one of these, and therefore must look to fall by this judgment.
A professor! and practice such villainies as these! such a one is not worthy to bear that name any longer. We may say to such as the prophet spake to their like, to wit, to the rebellious that were in the house of Israel: 'Go ye, serve ye every one his idols' (Eze 20:39). If ye will not hearken to the law and testament of God, to lead your lives hereafter: 'but pollute God's holy name no more with your gifts, and with your idols.'
Go, professors, go; leave off profession, unless you will lead your lives according to your profession. Better never profess, than to make profession a stalking-horse to sin, deceit, to the devil, and hell. The ground and rules of religion allow not any such thing: 'receive us,' says the apostle, 'we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man' (2 Cor 7:2). Intimating that those that are guilty of wronging, corrupting, or defrauding of any, should not be admitted to the fellowship of saints, no, nor into the common catalogue of brethren with them. Nor can men with all their rhetoric, and eloquent speaking, prove themselves fit for the kingdom of heaven, or men of good conscience on earth. O that godly plea of Samuel: 'Behold here I am,' says he, 'witness against me, before the Lord, and before his anointed, whose ox have I taken? or whose ass have I taken? or whom have I defrauded? whom have I oppressed?' &c. (1 Sam 12:3). This was to do like a man of good conscience indeed (Matt 10:19). And in this his appeal, he was so justified in the consciences of the whole congregation, that they could not but with one voice, as with one mouth, break out jointly, and say, 'Thou hast not defrauded us, nor oppressed us' (Matt 10:4).
A professor, and defraud, away with him! A professor should not owe any man anything but love. A professor should provide things, not of other men's but of his own, of his own honest getting, and that not only in the sight of God, but of all men; that he may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.
ATTEN. But suppose God should blow upon a professor in his estate and calling, and he should be run out before he is aware, must he be accounted to be like Mr. Badman, and lie under the same reproach as he?
WISE. No: if he hath dutifully done what he could to avoid it. It is possible for a ship to sink at sea, notwithstanding the most faithful endeavour of the most skilful pilot under heaven. And thus, as I suppose, it was with the prophet, that left his wife in debt, to the hazarding the slavery of her children by the creditors (2 Kings 4:1,2). He was no profuse man, nor one that was given to defraud, for the text says he feared God; yet, as I said, he was run out more than she could pay.
If God would blow upon a man, who can help it? (Hagg 1:9). And he will do so sometimes, because he will change dispensations with me, and because he will try their graces. Yea, also, because he will overthrow the wicked with his judgments; and all these things are seen in Job. But then the consideration of this should bid men have a care that they be honest, lest this comes upon them for their sin. It should also bid them beware of launching further into the world, than in an honest way, by ordinary means, they can godlily make their retreat; for the further in the greater fall. It should also teach them to beg of God his blessing upon their endeavours, their honest and lawful endeavours. And it should put them upon a diligent looking to their steps, that if in their going they should hear the ice crack, they may timely go back again. These things considered, and duly put in practice, if God will blow upon a man, then let him be content, and with Job embrace the dunghill. Let him give unto all their dues, and not fight against the providence of God, but humble himself rather under his mighty hand, which comes to strip him naked and bare: for he that doth otherwise fights against God; and declares that he is a stranger to that of Paul; 'I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound; everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need' (Phil 4:12).
ATTEN. But Mr. Badman would not, I believe, have put this difference betwixt things feigned and those that fall of necessity.
WISE. If he will not, God will, conscience will: and that not thine own only, but the consciences of all those that have seen the way, and that have known the truth of the condition of such a one.
ATTEN. Well: let us at this time leave this matter, and return again to Mr. Badman.
WISE. With all my heart will I proceed to give you a relation of what is yet behind of his life, in order to our discourse of his death.
[BADMAN'S FRAUDULENT DEALINGS TO GET MONEY.]
ATTEN. But pray, do it with as much brevity as you can.
WISE. Why, are you weary of my relating of things?
ATTEN. No: but it pleases me to hear a great deal in few words.
WISE. I profess myself not an artist that way, but yet, as briefly as I can, I will pass through what of his life is behind; and again I shall begin with his fraudulent dealing, as before I have showed with his creditors, so now with his customers, and those that he had otherwise to deal withal.
He dealt by deceitful weights and measures. He kept weights to buy by, and weights to sell by; measures to buy by, and measures to sell by: those he bought by were too big, those he sold by were too little.
Besides, he could use a thing called slight of hand, if he had to do with other men's weights and measures, and by that means make them whether he did buy or sell, yea though his customer or chapman looked on, turn to his own advantage.
Moreover, he had the art to misreckon men in their accounts, whether by weight, or measure, or money, and would often do it to his worldly advantage, and their loss. What say you to Mr. Badman now? And if a question was made of his faithful dealing, he had his servants ready, that to his purpose he had brought up, that would avouch and swear to his book or word. This was Mr. Badman's practice. What think you of Mr. Badman now?
ATTEN. Think! Why I can think no other but that he was a man left to himself, a naughty man; for these, as his other, were naughty things; if the tree, as indeed it may, ought to be judged, what it is, by its fruits, then Mr. Badman must needs be a bad tree. But pray, for my further satisfaction, show me now, by the Word of God, the evil of this his practice; and first of his using false weights and measures.
WISE. The evil of that! Why the evil of that appears to every eye. The heathens, that live like beasts and brutes in many things, do abominate and abhor such wickedness as this. Let a man but look upon these things as he goes by, and he shall see enough in them from the light of nature to make him loathe so base a practice, although Mr. Badman loved it.
ATTEN. But show me something out of the Word against it, will you?
WISE. I will willingly do it. And first, look into the Old Testament: 'Ye shall,' saith God there, 'do no unrighteousness in judgment, in mete-yard, in weight, or in measure; just balances, just weights, a just ephah and a just hin shall you have' (Lev 19:35,36). This is the law of God, and that which all men, according to the law of the land, ought to obey. So again: 'Ye shall have just balances, and a just ephah,' &c. (Eze 45:10).
Now having showed you the law, I will also show you how God takes swerving therefrom. 'A false balance is not good' (Prov 20:23). 'A false balance is abomination to the Lord' (Prov 11:1). Some have just weights, but false balances; and by virtue of these false balances, by their just weights, they deceive the country. Wherefore God first of all commands that the balance be made just. A just balance shalt thou have; else they may be, yea are, deceivers, notwithstanding their just weights.
Now, having commanded that men have a just balance, and testifying that a false one is an abomination to the Lord, he proceedeth also unto weight and measure. Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small; that is, one to buy by, and another to sell by, as Mr. Badman had. 'Thou shalt not have in thine house divers measures, a great and a small. (And these had Mr. Badman also.) But thou shalt have a perfect and just weight; a perfect and just measure shalt thou have, that thy days may be lengthened in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. For all that do such things [that is, that use false weights and measures], and all that do unrighteously, are an abomination unto the Lord' (Deut 25:13-16). See now both how plentiful, and how punctual the Scripture is in this matter. But perhaps it may be objected, that all this is old law, and therefore hath nothing to do with us under the New Testament. Not that I think you, neighbour, will object thus. Well, to this foolish objection, let us make an answer. First, he that makes this objection, if he doth it to overthrow the authority of those texts, discovereth that himself is first cousin to Mr. Badman. For a just man is willing to speak reverently of those commands. That man therefore hath, I doubt, but little conscience, if any at all that is good, that thus objecteth against the text. But let us look into the New Testament, and there we shall see how Christ confirmeth the same; where he commandeth that men make to others good measure, including also that they make good weight; telling such that do thus, or those that do it not, that they may be encouraged to do it: 'Good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal, it shall be measured to you again' (Luke 6:38). To wit, both from God and man. For as God will show his indignation against the false man, by taking away even that he hath, so he will deliver up the false man to the oppressor, and the extortioner shall catch from him, as well as he hath catched from his neighbour; therefore, another scripture saith, 'When thou shalt make an end to deal treacherously, they shall deal treacherously with thee' (Isa 33:1). That the New Testament also hath an inspection into men's trading, yea, even with their weights and measures, is evident from these general exhortations, 'Defraud not'; 'lie not one to another.' 'Let no man go beyond his brother in any matter, for the Lord is the avenger of all such.' 'Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord,' 'doing all in his name,' 'to his glory'; and the like. All these injunctions and commandments do respect our life and conversation among men, with reference to our dealing, trading, and so, consequently, they forbid false, deceitful, yea, all doings that are corrupt.
Having thus in a word or two showed you that these things are bad, I will next, for the conviction of those that use them, show you where God saith they are to be found.
1. They are notto be found in the house of the good and godly man, for he, as his God, abhors them; but they are to be found in the house of evil doers, such as Mr. Badman's is. 'Are there,' saith the prophet, 'yet the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure that is abominable!' (Micah 6:10). Are they there yet, notwithstanding God's forbidding, notwithstanding God's tokens of anger against those that do such things! O how loth is a wicked man to let go a sweet, a gainful sin, when he hath hold of it! They hold fast deceit, they refuse to let it go.
2. These deceitful weights and measures are not to be found in the house of the merciful, but in the house of the cruel; in the house of them that love to oppress. 'The balances of deceit are in his hand; he loveth to oppress' (Hosea 12:7). He is given to oppression and cruelty, therefore he useth such wicked things in his calling. Yea, he is a very cheat, and, as was hinted before concerning Mr. Badman's breaking, so I say now, concerning his using these deceitful weights and measures, it is as bad, as base, as to take a purse, or pick a pocket; for it is a plain robbery; it takes away from a man that which is his own, even the price of his money.
3. The deceitful weights and measures are not to be found in the house of such as relieve the belly, and that cover the loins of the poor, but of such as indeed would swallow them up. 'Hear this, O ye that swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail, saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the Sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great [making the measure small, and the price great], and falsifying the balances by deceit? That ye may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes, and sell the refuse of the wheat. The Lord hath sworn by the excellency of Jacob, Surely I will never forget any of their works' (Amos 8:4-8). So detestable and vile a things is this in the sight of God.
4. God abominates the thoughts of calling of those that use false weights and measures, by any other term than that they be impure ones, or the like: 'Shall I count them pure,' saith he, 'with the bag of deceitful weights?' (Micah 6:11). No, by no means, they are impure ones; their hands are defiled, deceitful gain is in their houses, they have gotten what they have by coveting an evil covetousness, and therefore must and shall be counted among the impure, among the wicked of the world.
Thus you see how full and plain the Word of God is against this sin, and them that use it. And therefore Mr. Badman, for that he used by these things thus to rook and cheat his neighbours, is rightly rejected from having his name in and among the catalogue of the godly.
ATTEN. But I am persuaded that the using of these things, and the doing by them thus deceitfully, is not counted so great an evil by some.
WISE. Whether it be counted an evil or a virtue by men, it mattereth not; you see by the Scriptures the judgment of God upon it. It was not counted an evil by Mr. Badman, nor is it by any that still are treading in his steps. But, I say, it is no matter how men esteem of things, let us adhere to the judgment of God. And the rather, because when we ourselves have done weighing and measuring to others, then God will weigh and measure both us and our actions. And when he doth so, as he will do shortly, then woe be to him to whom, and of whose actions it shall be thus said by him, 'TEKEL, thou art weighed in the balances, and are found wanting' (Dan 5:27). God will then recompense their evil of deceiving upon their own head, when he shall shut them out of his presence, favour, and kingdom, for ever and ever.
ATTEN. But it is a wonder, that since Mr. Badman's common practice was to do thus, that some one or more did not find him out, and blame him for this his wickedness.
WISE. For the generality of people he went away clever with his knavery. For what with his balance, his false balance, and good weight, and what with his slight of hand to boot, he beguiled sometimes a little, and sometimes more, most that he had to deal with; besides, those that use this naughty trade are either such as blind men with a show of religion, or by hectoring the buyer out by words. I must confess Mr. Badman was not so arch at the first; that is, to do it by show of religion; for now he began to grow threadbare, though some of his brethren are arch enough this way, yea, and of his sisters too, for I told you at first that there were a great many of them, and never a one of them good; but for hectoring, for swearing, for lying, if these things would make weight and measure, they should not be wanting to Mr. Badman's customers.
ATTEN. Then it seems he kept good weights and a bad balance; well that was better than that both should be bad.
WISE. Not at all. There lay the depth of his deceit; for if any at any time found fault that he used them hardly, and that they wanted their weight of things, he would reply, Why, did you not see them weighted? will you not believe your own eyes? if you question my weights, pray carry them whither you will, I will maintain them to be good and just. The same he would say of his scales, so he blinded all by his balance.
ATTEN. This is cunning indeed; but as you say, there must be also something done or said to blind therewith, and this I perceive Mr. Badman had.
WISE. Yes, he had many ways to blind, but he was never clear at it by making a show of religion, though he cheated his wife therewith; for he was, especially by those that dwelt near him, too well known to do that, though he would bungle at it as well as he could. But there are some that are arch villains this way; they shall to view live a wholelife religiously, and yet shall be guilty of these most horrible sins. And yet religion in itself is never the worse, nor yet the true professors of it. But, as Luther says, in the name of God begins all mischief. For hypocrites have no other way to bring their evils to maturity but by using and mixing the name of God and religion therewith. Thus they become whited walls; for by this white, the white of religion, the dirt of their actions is hid. Thus also they become graves that appear not, and they that go over them, that have to do with them, are not aware of them, but suffer themselves to be deluded by them. Yea, if there shall, as there will sometimes, rise a doubt in the heart of the buyer about the weight and measure he should have, why, he suffereth his very senses to be also deluded, by recalling of his chapman's religion to mind, and thinks verily that not his good chapman but himself is out; for he dreams not that his chapman can deceive. But if the buyer shall find it out, and shall make it apparent, that he is beguiled, then shall he be healed by having amends made, and perhaps fault shall be laid upon servants, &c. And so Mr. Cheat shall stand for a right honest man in the eye of his customer, though the next time he shall pick his pocket again.
Some plead custom for their cheat, as if that could acquit them before the tribunal of God. And others say it came to them for so much, and, therefore, another must take it for so much, though there is wanting both as to weight and measure; but in all these things there are juggles; or if not, such must know that 'that which is altogether just,' they must do (Deut 16:20). Suppose that I be cheated myself with a brass half-crown, must I therefore cheat another therewith? if this be bad in the whole, it is also bad in the parts. Therefore, however thou art dealt withal in thy buying, yet thou must deal justly in selling, or thou sinnest against thy soul, and art become as Mr. Badman. And know, that a pretence to custom is nothing worth. It is not custom, but good conscience that will help at God's tribunal.
ATTEN. But I am persuaded that that which is gotten by men this way doth them but little good.
WISE. I am of your mind for that, but this is not considered by those thus minded. For if they can get it, though they get, as we say, the devil and all, by their getting, yet they are content, and count that their getting is much.
Little good! why do you think they consider that? No; no more than they consider what they shall do in the judgment, at the day of God Almighty, for their wrong getting of what they get, and that is just nothing at all.
But to give you a more direct answer. This kind of getting is so far off from doing them little good, that it doth them no good at all; because thereby they lose their own souls; 'What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?' (Mark 8:36). He loseth then, he loseth greatly that getteth after this fashion. This is the man that is penny-wise and pound-foolish; this is he that loseth his good sheep for a half-penny-worth of tar; that loseth a soul for a little of the world. And then what doth he get thereby but loss and damage? Thus he getteth or rather loseth about the world to come. But what doth he get in this world, more than travail and sorrow, vexation of spirit, and disappointment? Men aim at blessedness in getting, I mean, at temporal blessedness; but the man that thus getteth, shall not have that. For though an inheritance after this manner may be hastily gotten at the beginning, yet the end thereof shall not be blessed. They gather it indeed, and think to keep it too, but what says Solomon? God casteth it away. 'The Lord will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish; but he casteth away the substance of the wicked' (Prov 10:3; Jer 15:13, 17:3).
The time, as I said, that they do enjoy it, it shall do them no good at all; but long, to be sure, they must not have it. For God will either take it away in their lifetime, or else in the generation following, according to that of Job: 'He,' the wicked, 'may prepare it, but the just shall put it on, and the innocent shall divide the silver' (Job 27:17).
Consider that also that it is written in the Proverbs; 'A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children, and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just' (Prov 13:22). What then doth he get thereby, that getteth by dishonest means? Why he getteth sin and wrath, hell and damnation, and now tell me how much he doth get.
This, I say, is his getting; so that as David says, we may be bold to say too; I beheld the wicked in great prosperity, and presently I cursed his habitation; for it cannot prosper with him (Psa 73). Fluster and huff, and make ado for a while he may, but God hath determined that both he and it shall melt like grease, and any observing man may see it so. Behold the unrighteous man, in a way of injustice, getteth much, and loadeth himself with thick clay, but anon it withereth, it decayeth and even he, or the generation following decline, and return to beggary. And this Mr. Badman, notwithstanding his cunning and crafty tricks to get money, did die, nobody can tell whether worth a farthing or no.
ATTEN. He had all the bad tricks, I think, that it was possible for a man to have, to get money; one would think that he should have been rich.
WISE. You reckon too fast, if you count these all his bad tricks to get money; for he had more besides. If his customers were in his books, as it should go hard but he would have them there; at least, if he thought he could make any advantage of them, then, then would he be sure to impose upon them his worst, even very bad commodity, yet set down for it the price that the best was sold at; like those that sold the refuse wheat; or the worst of the wheat; making the shekel great, yet hoisting up the price (Amos 8). This was Mr. Badman's way. He would sell goods that cost him not the best price by far, for as much as he sold his best of all for. He had also a trick to mingle his commodity, that that which was bad might go off with the least mistrust. Besides, if his customers at any time paid him money, let them look to themselves, and to their acquaintances, for he would usually attempt to call for that payment again, especially if he thought that there were hopes of making a prize thereby, and then to be sure if they could not produce good and sufficient ground of the payment, a hundred to one but they paid it again. Sometimes the honest chapman would appeal to his servants for proof of the payment of money, but they were trained up by him to say after his mind, wright or wrong; so that, relief that way, he could get none.
ATTEN. It is a bad, yea, an abominable thing for a man to have such servants. For by such means a poor customer may be undone, and not know how to help himself. Alas! if the master be so unconscionable, as I perceive Mr. Badman was, to call for his money twice, and if his servant will swear that it is a due debt, where is any help for such a man? He must sink, there is no remedy.
WISE. This is very bad, but this has been a practice, and that hundreds of years ago. But what saith the Word of God? 'I will punish all those that leap on the threshold, which till their masters' houses with violence and deceit' (Zeph 1:9).
Mr. Badman also had this art; could he get a man at advantage, that is, if his chapman durst not go from him, or if the commodity he wanted could not for the present be conveniently had elsewhere, then let him look to himself, he would surely make his purse-strings crack; he would exact upon him without any pity or conscience.
ATTEN. That was extortion, was it not? I pray let me hear your judgment of extortion, what it is, and when committed?
WISE. Extortion is a screwing from men more than by the law of God or men is right; and it is committed sometimes by them in office, about fees, rewards, and the like: but it is most commonly committed by men of trade, who without all conscience, when they have the advantage, will make a prey of their neighbour. And thus was Mr. Badman an extortioner; for although he did not exact, and force away, as bailiffs and clerks have used to do, yet he had his opportunities, and such cruelty to make use of them, that he would often, in his way, be extorting and forcing of money out of his neighbour's pocket. For every man that makes a prey of his advantage upon his neighbour's necessities, to force from him more than in reason and conscience, according to the present prices of things such commodity is worth, may very well be called an extortioner, and judged for one that hath no inheritance in the kingdom of God (1 Cor 6:9,10).
ATTEN. Well, this Badman was a sad wretch.
[THE SIMPLE CHRISTIAN'S VIEWS OF EXTORTION.]
WISE. Thus you have often said before. But now we are in discourse of this, give me leave a little to go on. We have a great many people in the country too that live all their days in the practice, and so under the guilt of extortion; people, alas! that think scorn to be so accounted.
As for example: There is a poor body that dwells, we will suppose, so many miles from the market; and this man wants a bushel of grist, a pound of butter, or a cheese for himself, his wife, and poor children; but dwelling so far from the market, if he goes thither, he shall lose his day's work, which will be eightpence or tenpence damage to him, and that is something to a poor man. So he goeth to one of his masters or dames for what he wanteth, and asks them to help him with such a thing; yes, say they, you may have it; but withal they will give him a gripe, perhaps make him pay as much or more for it at home, as they can get when they have carried it five miles to a market, yea, and that too for the refuse of their commodity. But in this the women are especially faulty, in the sale of their butter and cheese, &c. Now this is a kind of extortion, it is a making a prey of the necessity of the poor, it is a grinding of their faces, a buying and selling of them.
But above all, your hucksters, that buy up the poor man's victuals by wholesale, and sell it to him again for unreasonable gains, by retail, and as we call it by piecemeal; they are got into a way, after a stinging rate, to play their game upon such by extortion: I mean such who buy up butter, cheese, eggs, bacon, &c. by wholesale, and sell it again, as they call it, by pennyworths, two pennyworths, a halfpennyworth, or the like, to the poor, all the week after the market is past.
These, though I will not condemn them all, do, many of them, bite and pinch the poor by this kind of evil dealing. These destroy the poor because he is poor, and that is a grievous sin. 'He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want.' Therefore he saith again, 'Rob not the poor because he is poor, neither oppress the afflicted in the gate: for the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of them that spoiled them' (Prov 22:16,22,23).
O that he that gripeth and grindeth the face of the poor, would take notice of these two scriptures! Here is threatened the destruction of the estate, yea and of the soul too, of them that oppress the poor. Their soul we shall better see where, and in what condition that is in, when the day of doom is come; but for the estates of such, they usually quickly moulder; and that sometimes all men, and sometimes no man knows how.
Besides, these are usurers, yea, they take usury for victuals, which thing the Lord has forbidden (Deut 23:19). And because they cannot so well do it on the market-day, therefore they do it, as I said, when the market is over; for then the poor fall into their mouths, and are necessitated to have, as they can, for their need, and they are resolved they shall pay soundly for it. Perhaps some will find fault for my meddling thus with other folks' matters, and for my thus prying into the secrets of their iniquity. But to such I would say, since such actions are evil, it is time they were hissed out of the world. For all that do such things offend against God, wrong their neighbour, and like Mr. Badman do provoke God to judgment.
ATTEN. God knows there is abundance of deceit in the world!
WISE. Deceit! Ay, but I have not told you the thousandth part of it; nor is it my business now to rake to the bottom of that dunghill. What would you say, if I should anatomize some of those vile wretches called pawnbrokers, that lend money and goods to poor people, who are by necessity forced to such an inconvenience; and will make, by one trick or other, the interest of what they so lend amount to thirty, forty, yea sometimes fifty pound by the year; notwithstanding the principal is secured by a sufficient pawn; which they will keep too at last, if they find any shift to cheat the wretched borrower.
ATTEN. Say! Why such miscreants are the pest and vermin of the commonwealth, not fit for the society of men; but methinks by some of those things you discoursed before, you seem to import that it is not lawful for a man to make the best of his own.
WISE. If by making the best, you mean to sell for as much as by hook or crook he can get for his commodity; then I say it is not lawful. And if I should say the contrary, I should justify Mr. Badman and all the rest of that gang; but that I never shall do, for the Word of God condemns them. But that it is not lawful for a man at all times to sell his commodity for as much as he can, I prove by these reasons: -
First, If it be lawful for me alway to sell my commodity as dear, or for as much as I can, then it is lawful for me to lay aside in my dealing with others good conscience to them and to God; but it is not lawful for me, in my dealing with others, to lay aside good conscience, &c. Therefore it is not lawful for me always to sell my commodity as dear, or for as much as I can. That it is not lawful to lay aside good conscience in our dealings has already been proved in the former part of our discourse; but that a man must lay it aside that will sell his commodity always as dear, or for as much as he can, is plainly manifest thus.
1. He that will, as is mentioned afore, sell his commodity as dear as he can, must sometimes make a prey of the ignorance of his chapman. But that he cannot do with a good conscience, for that is to overreach, and to go beyond my chapman, and is forbidden (1 Thess 4:6). Therefore he that will sell his commodity as afore, as dear, or for as much as he can, must of necessity lay aside good conscience.
2. He that will sell his commodity always as dear as he can, must needs sometimes make a prey of his neighbour's necessity; but that he cannot do with a good conscience, for that is to go beyond and defraud his neighbour, contrary to 1 Thessalonians 4:6. Therefore he that will sell his commodity, as afore, as dear, or for as much as he can, must needs cast off and lay aside a good conscience.
3. He that will, as afore, sell his commodity as dear, or for as much as he can, must, if need be, make a prey of his neighbour's fondness; but that a man cannot do with a good conscience, for that is still a going beyond him, contrary to 1 Thessalonians 4:6. Therefore, he that will sell his commodity as dear, or for as much as he can, must needs cast off, and lay aside good conscience.
The same also may be said for buying; no man may always buy as cheap as he can, but must also use good conscience in buying; the which he can by no means use and keep, if he buys always as cheap as he can, and that for the reasons urged before. For such will make a prey of the ignorance, necessity, and fondness of their chapman, the which they cannot do with a good conscience. When Abraham would buy a burying-place of the sons of Heth, thus he said unto them: 'Intreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar, that he may give me the cave of Macphelah, which he hath - in the end of his field; for as much - as it is worth' shall he give it me (Gen 23:8,9). He would not have it under foot, he scorned it, he abhorred it; it stood not with his religion, credit, nor conscience. So also, when David would buy a field of Ornan the Jebusite, thus he said unto him, 'Grant me the place of this thrashing-floor, that I may build an altar therein unto the Lord; thou shalt grant it me for the full price' (1 Chron 21:22). He also, as Abraham, made conscience of this kind of dealing. He would not lie at catch to go beyond, no, not the Jebusite, but will give him his full price for his field. For he knew that there was wickedness, as in selling too dear, so in buying too cheap, therefore he would not do it.
There ought therefore to be good conscience used, as in selling so in buying; for it is also unlawful for a man to go beyond or to defraud his neighbour in buying; yea, it is unlawful to do it in any matter, and God will plentifully avenge that wrong, as I also before have forewarned and testified. See also the text, Leviticus 25:14. But,
Secondly. If it be lawful for me always to sell my commodity as dear, or for as much as I can, then it is lawful for me to deal with my neighbour without the use of charity. But it is not lawful for me to lay aside, or to deal with my neighbour without the use of charity, therefore it is not lawful for me always to sell my commodity to my neighbour for as much as I can. A man in dealing should as really design his neighbour's good, profit, and advantage, as his own, for this is to exercise charity in his dealing.
That I should thus use, or exercise charity towards my neighbour in my buying and selling, &c., with him, is evident from the general command - 'Let all your things be done with charity' (1 Cor 16:14). But that a man cannot live in the exercise of charity that selleth as afore, as dear, or that buyeth as cheap as he can, is evident by these reasons: -
1. He that sells his commodity as dear, or for as much money always as he can, seeks himself, and himself only. But charity seeketh not her own, not her own only (1 Cor 13). So then he that seeks himself, and himself only, as he that sells, as afore, as dear as he can, does, maketh not use of, nor doth he exercise charity in his so dealing.
2. He that selleth his commodity always for as much as he can get, hardeneth his heart against all reasonable entreaties of the buyer. But he that doth so cannot exercise charity in his dealing; therefore it is not lawful for a man to sell his commodity, as afore, as dear as he can.
3. If it be lawful for me to sell my commodity, as afore, as dear as I can, then there can be no sin in my trading, how unreasonably soever I manage my calling, whether by lying, swearing, cursing, cheating, for all this is but to sell my commodity as dear as I can (Eph 4:25). But that there is sin in these is evident, therefore I may not sell my commodity always as dear as I can.
4. He that sells, as afore, as dear as he can, offereth violence to the law of nature, for that saith, Do unto all men even as ye would that they should do unto you (Matt 7:12). Now, was the seller a buyer, he would not that he of whom he buys should sell him always as dear as he can, therefore he should not sell so himself when it is his lot to sell and others to buy of him.
5. He that selleth, as afore, as dear as he can, makes use of that instruction that God hath not given to others, but sealed up in his hand, to abuse his law, and to wrong his neighbour withal, which indeed is contrary to God (Job 37:7). God hath given thee more skill, more knowledge and understanding in thy commodity, than he hath given to him that would buy of thee. But what! canst thou think that God hath given thee this that thou mightest thereby make a prey of thy neighbour? that thou mightest thereby go beyond and beguile thy neighbour? No, verily, but he hath given thee it for his help, that thou mightest in this be eyes to the blind, and save thy neighbour from that damage that his ignorance, or necessity, for fondness would betray him into the hands of (1 Cor 10:13).
6. In all that a man does he should have an eye to the glory of God, but that he cannot have that sells his commodity always for as much as he can, for the reasons urged before.
7. All that a man does he should do 'in the name of the Lord Jesus' Christ, that is, as being commanded and authorized to do it by him (Col 3:17). But he that selleth always as dear as he can, cannot so much as pretend to this without horrid blaspheming of that name, because commanded by him to do otherwise.
8. And lastly, in all that a man does he should have an eye to the day of judgment, and to the consideration of how his actions will be esteemed of in that day (Acts 24:15,16). Therefore there is not any man can, or ought to sell always as dear as he can, unless he will, yea, he must say in so doing, I will run the hazard of the trial of that day. 'If thou sell aught unto thy neighbour, or buyest aught of thy neighbour's hand, ye shall not oppress one another' (Lev 25:14).
ATTEN. But why do you put in these cautionary words, They must not sell always as dear, nor buy always as cheap as they can? Do you not thereby intimate that a man may sometimes do so?
WISE. I do indeed intimate that sometimes the seller may sell as dear, and the buyer buy as cheap as he can; but this is allowable only in these cases: when he that sells is a knave, and lays aside all good conscience in selling, or when the buyer is a knave, and lays aside all good conscience in buying. If the buyer therefore lights of a knave, or if the seller lights of a knave, then let them look to themselves; but yet so as not to lay aside conscience, because he that thou dealest with doth so, but how vile or base soever the chapman is, do thou keep thy commodity at a reasonable price; or, if thou buyest, offer reasonable gain for the thing thou wouldst have, and if this will not do with the buyer or seller, then seek thee a more honest chapman. If thou objectest, But I have not skill to know when a pennyworth is before me, get some that have more skill than thyself in that affair, and let them in that matter dispose of thy money. But if there were no knaves in the world these objections need not be made.
And thus, my very good neighbour, have I given you a few of my reasons why a man that hath it should not always sell too dear nor buy as cheap as he can, but should use good conscience to God and charity to his neighbour in both.
ATTEN. But were some men here to hear you, I believe they would laugh you to scorn.
WISE. I question not that at all, for so Mr. Badman used to do when any man told him of his faults; he used to think himself wiser than any, and would count, as I have hinted before, that he was not arrived to a manly spirit that did stick or boggle at any wickedness. But let Mr. Badman and his fellows laugh, I will bar it, and still give them good counsel (Luke 16:13-15). But I will remember also, for my further relief and comfort, that thus they that were covetous of old served the Son of God himself. It is their time to laugh now, that they may mourn in time to come (Luke 6:25). And I say again, when they have laughed out their laugh, he that useth not good conscience to God and charity to his neighbour in buying and selling, dwells next door to an infidel, and is near of kin to Mr. Badman.
ATTEN. Well, but what will you say to this question? You know that there is no settled price set by God upon any commodity that is bought or sold under the sun, but all things that we buy and sell do ebb and flow, as to price, like the tide; how then shall a man of a tender conscience do, neither to wrong the seller, buyer, nor himself, in buying and selling of commodities?
[INSTRUCTIONS FOR RIGHTEOUS TRADING.]
WISE. This question is thought to be frivolous by all that are of Mr. Badman's way, it is also difficult in itself, yet I will endeavour to shape you an answer, and that first to the matter of the question, to wit, how a tradesman should, in trading, keep a good conscience; a buyer or seller either. Secondly, how he should prepare himself to this work and live in the practice of it. For the first, he must observe what hath been said before, to wit, he must have conscience to God, charity to his neighbour, and, I will add, much moderation in dealing. Let him therefore keep within the bounds of the affirmative of those eight reasons that before were urged to prove that men ought not, in their dealing, but to do justly and mercifully betwixt man and man, and then there will be no great fear of wronging the seller, buyer, or himself. But particularly to prepare or instruct a man to this work: -
1. Let the tradesman or others consider that there is not that in great gettings and in abundance which the most of men do suppose; for all that a man has over and above what serves for his present necessity and supply, serves only to feed the lusts of the eye. For 'what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes?' (Eccl 5:11). Men also, many times, in getting of riches, get therewith a snare to their soul (1 Tim 6:7-9). But few get good by getting of them. But his consideration Mr. Badman could not abide.
2. Consider that the getting of wealth dishonestly - as he does that getteth it without good conscience and charity to his neighbour - is a great offender against God. Hence he says, 'I have smitten mine hand at thy dishonest gain which thou hast made' (Eze 22:13). It is a manner of speech that shows anger in the very making of mention of the crime. Therefore,
3. Consider that a little, honestly gotten, though it may yield thee but a dinner of herbs at a time, will yield more peace therewith than will a stalled ox ill gotten (Prov 15:17). 'Better is a little with righteousness, than great revenues without right' (Prov 16:8; 1 Sam 2:5).
4. Be thou confident that God's eyes are upon all thy ways, and 'that he pondereth all thy goings,' and also that he marks, them, writes them down, and seals them p in a bag against the time to come (Prov 5:21; Job 14:17).
5. Be thou sure that thou rememberest that thou knowest not the day of thy death. Remember also that when death comes God will give thy substance, for the which thou hast laboured, and for the which perhaps thou hast hazarded thy soul, to one thou knowest not who, nor whether he shall be a wise man or a fool. And then, 'what profit hath he that hath laboured for the wind?' (Eccl 5:16).
Besides, thou shalt have nothing that thou mayest so much as carry away in thine hand. Guilt shall go with thee if thou hast got it [thy substance] dishonestly, and they also to whom thou shalt leave it shall receive it to their hurt. These things duly considered and made use of by thee to the preparing of thy heart to thy calling of buying and selling, I come, in the next place, to show thee how thou shouldst live in the practick part of this art. Art thou to buy or sell?
1. If thou sellest, do not commend; if thou buyest, do not dispraise; any otherwise but to give the thing that thou hast to do with its just value and worth; for thou canst not do otherwise, knowingly, but of a covetous and wicked mind. Wherefore else are commodities overvalued by the seller, and also undervalued by the buyer. 'It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer,' but when he hath got his bargain he boasteth thereof (Prov 20:14). What hath this man done now, but lied in the dispraising of his bargain? and why did he dispraise it, but of a covetous mind to wrong and beguile the seller?
2. Art thou a seller, and do things grow dear? Set not thy hand to help or hold them up higher; this cannot be done without wickedness neither, for this is a making of the shekel great (Amos 8:5). Art thou a buyer, and do things grow dear? use no cunning or deceitful language to pull them down, for that cannot be done but wickedly too. What then shall we do, will you say? Why I answer, leave things to the providence of God, and do thou with moderation submit to his hand. But since, when they are growing dear, the hand that upholds the price is, for the time, more strong than that which would pull it down; that being the hand of the seller, who loveth to have it dear, especially if it shall rise in his hand. Therefore I say, do thou take heed and have not a hand in it, the which thou mayest have to thine own and thy neighbour's hurt, these three ways: -
1. By crying out scarcity, scarcity, beyond the truth and state of things; especially take heed of doing of this by way of a prognostic for time to come. It was for this for which he was trodden to death in the gate of Samaria, that you read of in the second book of Kings (2 Kings 7:17). This sin hath a double evil in it. (1.) It belieth the present blessing of God among us; and (2.) It undervalueth the riches of his goodness, which can make all good things to abound towards us.
2. This wicked thing may be done by hoarding up when the hunger and necessity of the poor calls for it. Now, that God may show his dislike against this, he doth, as it were, license the people to curse such a hoarder up - 'He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him, but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it' (Prov 11:26).
3. But if things will rise, do thou be grieved, be also moderate in all thy sellings, and be sure let the poor have a pennyworth, and sell thy corn to those in necessity. Which then thou wilt do when thou showest mercy to the poor in thy selling to him, and when thou, for his sake because he is poor, undersellest the market. This is to buy and sell with good conscience; thy buyer thou wrongest not, thy conscience thou wrongest not, thyself thou wrongest not, for God will surely recompense thee (Isa 57:6-8). I have spoken concerning corn, but thy duty is to 'let your moderation' in all things 'be known unto all men, the Lord is at hand' (Phil 4:5).
[BADMAN'S PRIDE, ATHEISM, INFIDELITY, AND ENVY.]
ATTEN. Well, Sir, now I have heard enough of Mr. Badman's naughtiness, pray now proceed to his death.
WISE. Why, Sir, the sun is not so low, we have yet three hours to night.
ATTEN. Nay, I am not in any great haste, but I thought you had even now done with his life.
WISE. Done! no, I have yet much more to say.
ATTEN. Then he has much more wickedness than I thought he had.
WISE. That may be. But let us proceed. This Mr. Badman added to all his wickedness this, he was a very proud man, a very proud man. He was exceeding proud and haughty in mind; he looked that what he said ought not, must not be contradicted or opposed. He counted himself as wise as the wisest in the country, as good as the best, and as beautiful as he that had most of it. He took great delight in praising of himself, and as much in the praises that others gave him. He could not abide that any should think themselves above him, or that their wit or personage should by others be set before his. He had scarce a fellowly carriage for his equals. But for those that were of an inferior rank, he would look over them in great contempt. And if at any time he had any remote occasion of having to do with them, he would show great height and a very domineering spirit. So that in this it may be said that Solomon gave a characteristical note of him when he said, 'Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who dealeth in proud wrath' (Prov 21:24). He never thought his diet well enough dressed, his clothes fine enough made, or his praise enough refined.
ATTEN. This pride is a sin that sticks as close to nature, I think, as most sins. There is uncleanness and pride, I know not of any two gross sins that stick closer to men than they. They have, as I may call it, an interest in nature; it likes them because they most suit its lust and fancies; and therefore no marvel though Mr. Badman was tainted with pride, since he had so wickedly given up himself to work all iniquity with greediness.
WISE. You say right; pride is a sin that sticks close to nature, and is one of the first follies wherein it shows itself to be polluted. For even in childhood, even in little children, pride will first of all show itself; it is a hasty, an early appearance of the sin of the soul. It, as I may say, is that corruption that strives for predominancy in the heart, and therefore usually comes out first. But though children are so incident to it, yet methinks those of more years should be ashamed thereof. I might at the first have begun with Mr. Badman's pride, only I think it is not the pride in infancy that begins to make a difference betwixt one and another, as did, and do those wherewith I began my relation of his life, therefore I passed it over, but now, since he had no more consideration of himself, and of his vile and sinful state, but to be proud when come to years, I have taken the occasion in this place to make mention of his pride.
ATTEN. But pray, if you can remember them, tell me of some places of scripture that speak against pride. I the rather desire this because that pride is now a reigning sin, and I happen sometimes to fall into the company of them that in my conscience are proud, very much, and I have a mind also to tell them of their sin, now when I tell them of it, unless I bring God's Word too, I doubt they will laugh me to scorn.
WISE. Laugh you to scorn! the proud man will laugh you to scorn bring to him what text you can, except God shall smite him in his conscience by the Word. Mr. Badman did use to serve them so that did use to tell him of his; and besides, when you have said what you can, they will tell you they are not proud, and that you are rather the proud man, else you would not judge, nor so malapertly meddle with other men's matters as you do. Nevertheless, since you desire it, I will mention two or three texts; they are these: - 'Pride and arrogancy - do I hate' (Prov 8:13). 'A man's pride shall bring him low' (Prov 29:23). 'And he shall bring down their pride' (Isa 25:11). 'And all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble, and the day that cometh shall burn them up' (Mal 4:1). This last is a dreadful text, it is enough to make a proud man shake. God, saith he, will make the proud ones as stubble; that is, as fuel for the fire, and the day that cometh shall be like a burning oven, and that day shall burn them up, saith the Lord. But Mr. Badman could never abide to hear pride spoken against, nor that any should say of him, He is a proud man.
ATTEN. What should be the reason of that?
WISE. He did not tell me the reason; but I suppose it to be that which is common to all vile persons. They love this vice, but care not to bear its name. The drunkard loves the sin, but loves not to be called a drunkard. The thief loveth to steal, but cannot abide to be called a thief; the whore loveth to commit uncleanness, but loveth not to be called a whore. And so Mr. Badman loved to be proud, but could not abide to be called a proud man. The sweet of sin is desirable to polluted and corrupted man, but the name thereof is a blot in his escutcheon.
ATTEN. It is true that you have said; but pray how many sorts of pride are there?
WISE. There are two sorts of pride: pride of spirit, and pride of body. The first of these is thus made mention of in the scriptures. 'Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord' (Prov 16:5). 'A high look, and a proud heart, and the ploughing of the wicked, is sin' (Prov 21:4). 'The patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit' (Eccl 7:8). Bodily pride the scriptures mention. 'In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon, the chains and the bracelets, and the mufflers, the bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings, the rings, and nose jewels. the changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins, the glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the vails' (Isa 3:18-23). By these expressions it is evident that there is pride of body, as well as pride of spirit, and that both are sin, and so abominable to the Lord. But these texts Mr. Badman could never abide to read; they were to him as Micaiah was to Ahab, they never spake good of him, but evil.
ATTEN. I suppose that it was not Mr. Badman's case alone even to malign those texts that speak against their vices; for I believe that most ungodly men, where the scriptures are, have a secret antipathy against those words of God that do most plainly and fully rebuke them for their sins.
WISE. That is out of doubt; and by that antipathy they show that sin and Satan are more welcome to them than are wholesome instructions of life and godliness.
ATTEN. Well, but not to go off from our discourse of Mr. Badman. You say he was proud; but will you show me now some symptoms of one that is proud?
WISE. Yes, that I will; and first I will show you some symptoms of pride of heart. Pride of heart is seen by outward things, as pride of body in general is a sign of pride of heart; for all proud gestures of the body flow from pride of heart; therefore Solomon saith, 'There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes, and their eye-lids are lifted up' (Prov 30:13). And again, there is 'that exalteth his gait,' his going (Prov 17:19). Now, these lofty eyes, and this exalting of the gait, is a sign of a proud heart; for both these actions come from the heart. For out of the heart comes pride, in all the visible appearances of it (Mark 7). But more particularly -
1. Heart pride is discovered by a stretched-out neck, and by mincing as they go. For the wicked, the proud, have a proud neck, a proud foot, a proud tongue, by which this their going is exalted. This is that which makes them look scornfully, speak ruggedly, and carry it huffingly among their neighbours. 2. A proud heart is a persecuting one. 'The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor' (Psa 10:2). 3. A prayerless man is a proud man (Psa 10:4). 4. A contentious man is a proud man (Prov 13:10). 5. The disdainful man is a proud man (Psa 119:51). 6. The man that oppresses his neighbour is a proud man (Psa 119:122). 7. He that hearkeneth not to God's word with reverence and fear is a proud man (Jer 13:15,17). 8. And he that calls the proud happy is, be sure, a proud man. All these are proud in heart, and this their pride of heart doth thus discover itself (Jer 43:2; Mal 3:15).
As to bodily pride, it is discovered that is something of it, by all the particulars mentioned before; for though they are said to be symptoms of pride of heart, yet they are symptoms of that pride, by their showing of themselves in the body. You know diseases that are within are seen ofttimes by outward and visible signs, yet by these very signs even the outside is defiled also. So all those visible signs of heart pride are signs of bodily pride also. But to come to more outward signs. The putting on of gold, and pearls, and costly array; the plaiting of the hair, the following of fashions, the seeking by gestures to imitate the proud, either by speech, looks, dresses, goings, or other fools' baubles, of which at this time the world is full, all these, and many more, are signs, as of a proud heart, so of bodily pride also (1 Tim 2:9; 1 Peter 3:3-5).
But Mr. Badman would not allow, by any means, that this should be called pride, but rather neatness, handsomeness, comeliness, cleanliness, &c., neither would he allow that following of fashions was anything else, but because he would not be proud, singular, and esteemed fantastical by his neighbours.
ATTEN. But I have been told that when some have been rebuked for their pride, they have turned it again upon the brotherhood of those by whom they have been rebuked, saying, Physician, heal thy friends, look at home among your brotherhood, even among the wisest of you, and see if you yourselves be clear, even you professors. For who is prouder than you professors? scarcely the devil himself.
WISE. My heart aches at this answer, because there is too much cause for it. This very answer would Mr. Badman give his wife when she, as she would sometimes, reprove him for his pride. We shall have, says he, great amendments in living now, for the devil is turned a corrector of vice; for no sin reigneth more in the world, quoth he, than pride among professors. And who can contradict him? Let us give the devil his due, the thing is too apparent for any man to deny. And I doubt not but the same answer is ready in the mouths of Mr. Badman's friends; for they may and do see pride display itself in the apparel and carriages of professors, one may say, almost as much, as among any people in the land, the more is the pity. Ay, and I fear that even their extravagancies in this hath hardened the heart of many a one, as I perceive it did somewhat the heart of Mr. Badman himself. For my own part, I have seen many myself, and those church members too, so decked and bedaubed with their fangles and toys, and that when they have been at the solemn appointments of God in the way of his worship, that I have wondered with what face such painted persons could sit in the place where they were without swooning. But certainly the holiness of God, and also the pollution of themselves by sin, must need be very far out of the minds of such people, what profession soever they make.
I have read of a whore's forehead, and I have read of Christian shamefacedness (Jer 3:3; 1 Tim 2:9). I have read of costly array, and of that which becometh women professing godliness, with good works (1 Peter 3:1-3). But if I might speak, I know what I know, and could say, and yet do no wrong, that which would make some professors stink in their places; but now I forbear (Jer 23:15).
ATTEN. Sir, you seem greatly concerned at this, but what if I shall say more? It is whispered that some good ministers have countenanced their people in their light and wanton apparel, yea, have pleaded for their gold and pearls, and costly array, &c.
WISE. I know not what they have pleaded for, but it is easily seen that they tolerate, or at leastwise, wink and connive at such things, both in their wives and children. And so 'from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all the land' (Jer 23:15). And when the hand of the rulers are chief in a trespass, who can keep their people from being drowned in that trespass? (Ezra 9:2).
ATTEN.TEN. This is a lamentation, and must stand for a lamentation.
WISE. So it is, and so it must. And I will add, it is a shame, it is a reproach, it is a stumbling block to the blind; for though men be as blind as Mr. Badman himself, yet they can see the foolish lightness that must needs be the bottom of all these apish and wanton extravagancies. But many have their excuses ready; to wit, their parents, their husbands, and their breeding calls for it, and the like; yea, the examples of good people prompt them to it; but all these will be but the spider's web, when the thunder of the word of the great God shall rattle from heaven against them, as it will at death or judgment; but I wish it might do it before. But alas! these excuses are but bare pretences, these proud ones love to have it so. I once talked with a maid by way of reproof for her fond and gaudy garment. But she told me, The tailor would make it so; when alas! poor proud girl, she gave order to the tailor so to make it. Many make parents, and husbands, and tailors, &c., the blind to others; but their naughty hearts, and their giving of way thereto, that is the original cause of all these evils.
ATTEN. Now you are speaking of the cause of pride, pray show me yet further why pride is now so much in request.
WISE. I will show you what I think are the reasons of it.
1. The first is, because, such persons are led by their own hearts, rather than by the Word of God (Mark 7:21-23). I told you before that the original fountain of pride is the heart. For out of the heart comes pride; it is, therefore, because they are led by their hearts, which naturally tend to lift them up in pride. This pride of heart tempts them, and by its deceits overcometh them; yea, it doth put a bewitching virtue into their peacock's feathers, and then they are swallowed up with the vanity of them (Oba 3).
2. Another reason why professors are so proud for those we are talking of now, is because they are more apt to take example by those that are of the world, than they are to take example of those that are saints indeed. Pride is of the world. 'For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father but of the world' (1 John 2:16). Of the world, therefore, professors learn to be proud. But they should not take them for example. It will be objected, No, nor your saints neither, for you are as proud as others; well, let them take shame that are guilty. But when I say professors should take example for their life by those that are saints indeed, I mean as Peter says; they should take example of those that were in old time the saints; for sin at of old time were the best, therefore to these he directed us for our pattern. Let the wives' conversation be chaste and also coupled with fear. 'Whose adorning,' saith Peter, 'let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner, in the old time, the holy women also who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection to their own husbands' (1 Peter 3:1-5).
3. Another reason is, because they have forgotten the pollution of their nature. For the remembrance of that must needs keep us humble, and being kept humble, we shall be at a distance from pride. The proud and the humble are set in opposition; 'God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.' And can it be imagined that a sensible Christian should be a proud one; sense of baseness tends to lay us low, not to lift us up with pride; not with pride of heart, nor pride of life. But when a man begins to forget what he is, then he, if ever, begins to be proud. Methinks it is one of the most senseless and ridiculous things in he world that a man should be proud of that which is given him on purpose to cover the shame of his nakedness with.
4. Persons that are proud have gotten God and his holiness out of their sight. If God was before them, as he is behind their back. And if they saw him in his holiness, as he sees them in their sins and shame, they would take but little pleasure in their apish knacks. The holiness of God makes the angels cover their faces, crumbles Christians, when they behold it, into dust and ashes. And as his majesty is, such is his Word (Isa 6). Therefore they abuse it that bring it to countenance pride.
Lastly. But what can be the end of those that are proud in the decking of themselves after their antic manner? Why are they for going with their bull's foretops, with their naked shoulders, and paps hanging out like a cow's bag? Why are they for painting their faces, for stretching out their neck, and for putting of themselves unto all the formalities which proud fancy leads them to? Is it because they would honour God? because they would adorn the gospel? because they would beautify religion, and make sinners to fall in love with their own salvation? No, no, it is rather to please their lusts, to satisfy their wild and extravagant fancies; and I wish none doth it to stir up lust in others, to the end they may commit uncleanness with them. I believe, whatever is their end, this is one of the great designs of the devil and I believe also that Satan has drawn more into the sin of uncleanness by the spangling show of fine cloths, than he could possibly have drawn unto it without them. I wonder what it was that of old was called the attire of a harlot; certainly it could not be more bewitching and tempting than are the garments of many professors this day.
ATTEN. I like what you say very well, and I wish that all the proud dames in England that profess were within the reach and sound of your words.
WISE. What I have said I believe is true; but as for the proud dames in England that profess, they have Moses and the prophets, and if they will not hear them, how then can we hope that they should receive good by such a dull-sounding ram's-horn as I am? However, I have said my mind, and now, if you will, we will proceed to some other of Mr. Badman's doings.
ATTEN. No; pray, before you show me anything else of Mr. Badman, show me yet more particularly the evil effects of this sin of pride.
WISE. With all my heart I will answer your request.
1. Then: It is pride that makes poor man so like the devil in hell, that he cannot in it be known to be the image and similitude of God. The angels, when they became devils, it was through their being lifted or puffed up with pride (1 Tim 3:6). It is pride also that lifteth or puffeth up the heart of the sinner, and so makes him to bear the very image of the devil.
2. Pride makes a man so odious in the sight of God, that he shall not, must not, come nigh his majesty. 'Though the Lord be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly; but the proud he knoweth afar off' (Psa 138:6). Pride sets God and the soul at a distance; pride will not let a man come nigh God, nor God will not let a proud man come nigh unto him. Now this is a dreadful thing.
3. As pride seest, so it keeps God and the soul at a distance. 'God resisteth the proud' (James 4:6). Resists, that is, he opposes him, he trusts him from him, he contemneth his person and all his performances. Come unto God's ordinances the proud man may; but come into his presence, have communion with him, or blessing from him, he shall not. For the high God doth resist him.
4. The Word saith that 'The Lord will destroy the house of the proud' (Prov 15:25). He will destroy his house; it may be understood he will destroy him and his. So he destroyed proud Pharaoh, so he destroyed proud Korah, and many others.
5. Pride, where it comes, and is entertained, is a certain forerunner of some judgment that is not far behind. When pride goes before, shame and destruction will follow after. 'When pride cometh, then cometh shame' (Prov 11:2). 'Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall' (Prov 16:18).
6. Persisting in pride makes the condition of a poor man as remediless as is that of the devils themselves (1 Tim 3:6). And this, I fear, was Mr. Badman's condition, and that was the reason that he died so as he did; as I shall show you anon.
But what need I thus talk of the particular actions, or rather the prodigious sins of Mr. Badman, when his whole life, and all his actions, went, as it were, to the making up one massy body of sin? Instead of believing that there was a God, his mouth, his life and actions, declared that he believed no such thing. His 'transgression saith within my heart, that there was no fear of God before his eyes' (Psa 36:1). Instead of honouring of God, and of giving glory to him for any of his mercies, or under any of his good providences toward him, for God is good to all, and lets his sun shine, and his rain fall upon the unthankful and unholy, he would ascribe the glory to other causes. If they were mercies, he would ascribe them, if the open face of the providence did not give him the lie, to his own wit, labour, care, industry, cunning, or the like. If they were crosses, he would ascribe them, or count them the offspring of fortune, ill luck, chance, the ill management of matters, the ill will of neighbours, or to his wife's being religious, and spending, as he called it, too much time in reading, praying, or the like. It was not in his way to acknowledge God, that is, graciously, or his hand in things. But, as the prophet saith, 'Let favour be showed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness' (Isa 26:10). And again, They returned not to him that smote them, nor did they seek the Lord of hosts (Isa 9:13). This was Mr. Badman's temper, neither mercies nor judgment would make him seek the Lord. Nay, as another scripture says, 'He would not see the works of God, nor regard the operations of his hands either in mercies or in judgments' (Isa 26:11; Psa 29:5). But farther, when by providence he has been cast under the best means for his soul - for, as was showed before, he having had a good master, and before him a good father, and after all a good wife, and being sometimes upon a journey, and cast under the hearing of a good sermon, as he would sometimes for novelty's sake go to hear a good preacher - he was always without heart to make use thereof (Prov 17:6). In this land of righteousness he would deal unjustly, and would not behold the majesty of the Lord (Isa 26:10).
Instead of referencing the Word, when he heard it preached, read, or discoursed of, he would sleep, talk of others business, or else object against the authority, harmony, and wisdom of the scriptures; saying, How do you know them to be the Word of God? How do you know that these sayings are true? The scriptures, he would say, were as a nose of wax, and a man may turn them whithersoever he lists. One scripture says one thing, and another says the quite contrary; besides, they make mention of a thousand impossibilities; they are the cause of all dissensions and discords that are in the land. Therefore you may, would he say, still think what you will, but in my mind they are best at ease that have least to do with them.
Instead of loving and honouring of them that did bear in their foreheads the name, and in their lives the image of Christ, they should be his song, the matter of his jests, and the objects of his slanders. He would either make a mock at their sober deportment, their gracious language, quiet behavior, or else desperately swear that they did all in deceit and hypocrisy. He would endeavour to render godly men as odious and contemptible as he could; any lies that were made by any, to their disgrace, those he would avouch for truth, and would not endure to be controlled. He was much like those that the prophet speaks of, that would sit and slander his mother's son (Psa 50:19,20). Yea, he would speak reproachfully of his wife, though his conscience told him, and many would testify, that she was a very virtuous woman. He would also raise slanders of his wife's friends himself, affirming that their doctrine tended to lasciviousness, and that in their assemblies they acted and did unbeseeming men and women, that they committed uncleanness, &c. He was much like those that affirmed the apostle should say, 'Let us do evil that good may come' (Rom 3:7,8). Or, like those of whom it is thus written; 'Report, say they, and we will report it' (Jer 20:10). And if he could get any thing by the end that had scandal in it, if it did but touch professors, how falsely soever reported, O! then he would glory, laugh, and be glad, and lay it upon the whole party; saying, Hang them rogues, there is not a barrel better herring of all the holy brotherhood of them. Like to like, quoth the devil to the collier, this is your precise crew. And then he would send all home with a curse.
ATTEN. If those that make profession of religion be wise, Mr. Badman's watchings and words will make them the more wary, and careful in all things.
WISE. You say true. For when we see men do watch for our halting, and rejoice to see us stumble and fall, it should make us so much abundantly the more careful.
I do think it was as delightful to Mr. Badman to hear, raise, and tell lies, and lying stories of them that fear the Lord, as it was for him to go to bed when a weary. But we will at this time let these things pass. For as he was in these things bad enough, so he added to these many more the like.
He was an angry, wrathful, envious man, a man that knew not what meekness or gentleness meant, nor did he desire to learn. His natural temper was to be surly, huffy, and rugged, and worse; and he so gave way to his temper, as to this, that it brought him to be furious and outrageous in all things, especially against goodness itself, and against other things too, when he was displeased.
ATTEN. Solomon saith, He is a fool that rageth (Prov 14:16).
WISE. He doth so; and says moreover, that 'Anger resteth in the bosom of fools' (Eccl 7:9). And, truly, if it be a sign of a fool to have anger rest in his bosom, then was Mr. Badman, notwithstanding the conceit that he had of his own abilities, a fool of no small size.
ATTEN. Fools are mostly most wise in their own eyes.
WISE. True; but I was a saying, that if it be a sign that a man is a fool, when anger rests in his bosom; then what is it a sign of, think you, when malice and envy rests there? For, to my knowledge Mr. Badman was as malicious and as envious a man as commonly you can hear of.
ATTEN. Certainly, malice and envy flow from pride and arrogancy, and they again from ignorance, and ignorance from the devil. And I thought, that since you spake of the pride of Mr. Badman before, we should have something of these before we had done.
WISE. Envy flows from ignorance indeed. And this Mr. Badman was so envious an one, where he set against, that he would swell with it as a toad, as we say, swells with poison. He whom he maligned, might at any time even read envy in his face wherever he met with him, or in whatever he had to do with him. His envy was so rank and strong, that if it at any time turned its head against a man, it would hardly ever be pulled in again; he would watch over that man to do him mischief, as the cat watches over the mouse to destroy it; yea, he would wait seven years, but he would have an opportunity to hurt him, and when he had it, he would make him feel the weight of his envy.
Envy is a devilish thing, the scripture intimates that none can stand before it: 'A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty; but a fool's wrath is heavier than them both. Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?' (Prov 27:3,4).
This envy, for the foulness of it, is reckoned among the foulest villainies that are, as adultery, murder, drunkenness, revellings, witchcrafts, heresies, seditions, &c. (Gal 5:19,20). Yea, it is so malignant a corruption, that it rots the very bones of him in whom it dwells. 'A sound heart is the life of the flesh; but envy the rottenness of the bones' (Prov 14:30).
ATTEN. This envy is the very father and mother of a great many hideous and prodigious wickednesses. I say, it is the very father and mother of them; it both begets them, and also nourishes them up, till they come to their cursed maturity in the bosom of him that entertains them.
WISE. You have given it a very right description, in calling of it the father and mother of a great many other prodigious wickednesses; for it is so venomous and vile a thing that it puts the whole course of nature out of order, and makes it fit for nothing but confusion, and a hold for every evil thing: 'For where envying and strife is, there is confusion, and every evil work' (James 3:16). Wherefore, I say, you have rightly called it the very father and mother of a great many other sins. And now for our further edification, I will reckon up of some of the births of envy. 1. Envy, as I told you before, it rotteth the very bones of him that entertains it. And, 2. As you have also hinted, it is heavier than a stone, than sand; yea, and I will add, it falls like a millstone upon the head. Therefore, 3. It kills him that throws it, and him at whom it is thrown. 'Envy slayeth the silly one' (Job 5:2). That is, him in whom it resides, and him who is its object. 4. It was that also that slew Jesus Christ himself; for his adversaries persecuted him through their envy (Matt 27:18; Mark 15:10). 5. Envy was that, by virtue of which Joseph was sold by his brethren into Egypt (Acts 7:9).
6. It is envy that hath the hand in making of variance among God's saints (Isa 11:13). 7. It is envy in the hearts of sinners, that stirs them up to trust God's ministers out of their coasts (Acts 13:50, 14:6). 8. What shall I say? It is envy that is the very nursery of whisperings, debates, backbitings, slanders, reproaches, murders, &c.
It is not possible to repeat all the particular fruits of this sinful root. Therefore, it is no marvel that Mr. Badman was such an ill-natured man, for the great roots of all manner of wickedness were in him unmortified, unmaimed, untouched.
ATTEN. But it is a rare case, even this of Mr. Badman, that he should never in all his life be touched with remorse for his ill-spent life.
[HE GETS DRUNK AND BREAKS HIS LEG - GOD'S JUDGMENTS UPON DRUNKARDS.]
WISE. Remorse, I cannot say he ever had, if by remorse you mean repentance for his evils. Yet twice I remember he was under some trouble of mind about his condition. Once when he broke his leg as he came home drunk from the ale-house; and another time when he fell sick, and thought he should die. Besides these two times, I do not remember any more.
ATTEN. Did he break his leg then?
WISE. Yes; once as he came home drunk from the ale-house.
ATTEN. Pray how did he break it?
WISE. Why upon a time he was at an ale-house, that wicked house about two or three miles from home, and having there drank hard the greatest part of the day, when night was come, he would stay no longer, but calls for his horse, gets up and like a madman, as drunken persons usually ride, away he goes, as hard as horse could lay legs to the ground. Thus he rid, till coming to a dirty place, where his horse flouncing in, fell, threw his master, and with his fall broke his leg. So there he lay. But you would not think how he swore at first. But after a while, he coming to himself, and feeling by his pain, and the uselessness of his leg, what case he was in, and also fearing that this bout might be his death; he began to cry out after the manner of such, Lord help me, Lord have mercy upon me, good God deliver me, and the like. So there he lay, till some came by, who took him up, carried him home, where he lay for some time, before he could go abroad again.
ATTEN. And then you say he called upon God.
WISE. He cried out in his pain, and would say, O God, and, O Lord, help me. But whether it was that his sin might be pardoned, and his soul saved, or whether to be rid of his pain, I will not positively determine; though I fear it was but for the last; because when his pain was gone, and he had got hopes of mending, even before he could go abroad, he cast off prayer, and began his old game; to wit, to be as bad as he was before. He then would send for his old companions; his sluts also would come to his house to see him, and with them he would be, as well as he could for his lame leg, as vicious as they could be for their hearts.
ATTEN. It was a wonder he did not break his neck.
WISE. His neck had gone instead of his leg, but that God was long-suffering towards him; he had deserved it ten thousand times over. There have been many, as I have heard, and as I have hinted to you before, that have taken their horses when drunk as he; but they have gone from the pot to the grave; for they have broken their necks betwixt the ale-house and home. One hard by us also drunk himself dead; he drank, and died in his drink.
ATTEN. It is a sad thing to die drunk.
WISE. So it is; but yet I wonder that no more do so. For considering the heinousness of that sin, and with how many others sins it is accompanied, as with oaths, blasphemies, lies, revellings, whorings, brawlings, &c., it is a wonder to me that any that live in that sin should escape such a blow from Heaven, that should tumble them into their graves. Besides, when I consider also how, when they are as drunk as beasts, they, without all fear of danger, will ride like bedlams and madmen, even as if they did dare God to meddle with them if he durst, for their being drunk. I say, I wonder that he doth not withdraw his protecting providences from them, and leave them to those dangers and destructions that by their sin they have deserved, and that by their bedlam madness they would rush themselves into. Only I consider again, that he has appointed a day wherein he will reckon with them, and doth also commonly make examples of some, to show that he takes notice of their sin, abhors their way, and will count with them for it at the set time (Acts 17:30,31).
ATTEN. It is worthy of our remark, to take notice how God, to show his dislike of the sins of men, strikes some of them down with a blow; as the breaking of Mr. Badman's leg, for doubtless that was a stroke from heaven.
WISE. It is worth our remark, indeed. It was an open stroke, it fell upon him while he was in the height of his sin; and it looks much like to that in Job - 'Therefore he knoweth their works, and overturneth them in the night, so that they are destroyed. He striketh them as wicked men in the open sight of others.' Or, as the margin reads it, 'in the place of beholders' (Job 34:25,26). He lays them, with his stroke, in the place of beholders. There was Mr. Badman laid; his stroke was taken notice of by every one, his broken leg was at this time the town talk. Mr. Badman has broken his leg, says one. How did he break it? says another. As he came home drunk from such an ale-house, said a third. A judgment of God upon him, said a fourth. This his sin, his shame, and punishment, are all made conspicuous to all that are about him. I will here tell you another story or two.
I have read, in Mr. Clark's Looking-glass for Sinners, that upon a time a certain drunken fellow boasted in his cups that there was neither heaven nor hell; also he said he believed that man had no soul, and that, for his own part, he would sell his soul to any that would buy it. Then did one of his companions buy it of him for a cup of wine, and presently the devil, in man's shape, bought it of that man again at the same price; and so, in the presence of them all, laid hold on the soul-seller, and carried him away through the air, so that he was never more heard of.
He tells us also, that there was one at Salisbury, in the midst of his health, drinking and carousing in a tavern; and he drank a health to the devil, saying that if the devil would not come and pledge him, he would not believe that there was either God or devil. Whereupon his companions, stricken with fear, hastened out of the room; and presently after, hearing a hideous noise, and smelling a stinking savour, the vintner ran up into the chamber; and coming in he missed his guest, and found the window broken, the iron bar in it bowed, and all bloody. But the man was never heard of afterwards.
Again, he tells us of a bailiff of Hedley, who, upon a Lord's day, being drunk at Melford, got upon his horse, to ride through the streets, saying that his horse would carry him to the devil. And presently his horse threw him, and broke his neck. These things are worse than the breaking of Mr. Badman's leg; and should be a caution to all of his friends that are living, lest they also fall by their sin into these sad judgments of God.
But, as I said, Mr. Badman quickly forgot all; his conscience was choked before his leg was healed. And, therefore, before he was well of the fruit of one sin, he tempts God to send another judgment to seize upon him. And so he did quickly after. For not many months after his leg was well, he had a very dangerous fit of sickness, insomuch that now he began to think he must die in very deed.
[HIS PRETENDED REPENTINGS AND PROMISES OF REFORM WHEN DEATH GRIMLY STARES AT HIM.]
ATTEN. Well, and what did he think and do then?
WISE. He thought he must go to hell; that I know, for he could not forbear but say so. To my best remembrance, he lay crying out all one night for fear; and at times he would so tremble that he would make the very bed shake under him. But O! how the thoughts of death, of hell-fire, and of eternal judgment, did then wrack his conscience. Fear might be seen in his face, and in his tossings to and fro; it might also be heard in his words, and be understood by his heavy groans. He would often cry, I am undone, I am undone; my vile life has undone me!
ATTEN. Then his former atheistical thoughts and principles were too weak now to support him from the fears of eternal damnation.
WISE. Ay! they were too weak indeed. They may serve to stifle conscience, when a man is in the midst of his prosperity; and to harden the heart against all good counsel, when a man is left of God, and given up to his reprobate mind. But, alas, atheistical thoughts, notions, and opinions must shrink and melt away, when God sends, yea, comes with sickness to visit the soul of such a sinner for his sin. There was a man dwelt about twelve miles off from us, that had so trained up himself in his atheistical notions, that at last he attempted to write a book against Jesus Christ, and against the Divine authority of the scriptures. But I think it was not printed. Well, after many days, God struck him with sickness, whereof he died. So, being sick, and musing upon his former doings, the book that he had written came into his mind, and with it such a sense of his evil in writing of it, that it tore his conscience as a lion would tear a kid. He lay, therefore, upon his deathbed in sad case, and much affliction of conscience; some of my friends also went to see him; and as they were in his chamber one day, he hastily called for pen, ink, and paper; which when it was given him, he took it and writ to this purpose: - I, such a one, in such a town, must go to hell-fire, for writing a book against Jesus Christ, and against the Holy Scriptures. And would also have leaped out of the window of his house, to have killed himself, but was by them prevented of that; so he died in his bed, such a death as it was. It will be well if others take warning by him.
ATTEN. This is a remarkable story.
WISE. It is as true as remarkable. I had it from them that I dare believe, who also themselves were eye and ear witnesses; and also that catched him in their arms, and saved him, when he would have leaped out of his chamber window, to have destroyed himself!
ATTEN. Well, you have told me what were Mr. Badman's thoughts now, being sick, of his condition; pray tell me also what he then did when he was sick?
WISE. Did! he did many things which, I am sure, he never thought to have done; and which, to be sure, was not looked for of his wife and children. In this fit of sickness, his thoughts were quite altered about his wife; I say his thoughts, so far as could be judged by his words and carriages to her. For now she was his good wife, his godly wife, his honest wife, his duck and dear, and all. Now he told her that she had the best of it; she having a good life to stand by her, while his debaucheries and ungodly life did always stare him in the face. Now he told her the counsel that she often gave him was good; though he was so bad as not to take it.
Now he would hear her talk to him, and he would lie sighing by her while she so did. Now he would bid her pray for him, that he might be delivered from hell. He would also now consent that some of her good ministers might come to him to comfort him; and he would seem to show them kindness when they came, for he would treat them kindly with words, and hearken diligently to what they said; only he did not care that they should talk much of his ill-spent life, because his conscience was clogged with that already. He cared not now to see his old companions, the thoughts of them were a torment to him; and now he would speak kindly to that child of his that took after its mother's steps, though he could not at all abide it before.
He also desired the prayers of good people, that God of his mercy would spare him a little longer; promising that if God would but let him recover this once, what anew, what a penitent man he would be toward God, and what a loving husband he would be to his wife; what liberty he would give her, yea, how he would go with her himself, to hear her ministers, and how they should go hand in hand in the way to heaven together.
ATTEN. Here was a fine show of things; I'll warrant you, his wife was glad for this.
WISE. His wife! ay, and a many good people besides. It was noised all over the town what a great change there was wrought upon Mr. Badman; how sorry he was for his sins, how he began to love his wife, how he desired good men should pray to God to spare him; and what promises he now made to God, in his sickness, that if ever he should raise him from his sick bed to health again, what a new penitent man he would be towards God, and what a loving husband to his good wife. Well, ministers prayed, and good people rejoiced, thinking verily that they now had gotten a man from the devil; nay, some of the weaker sort did not stick to say that God had begun a work of grace in his heart; and his wife, poor woman, you cannot think how apt she was to believe it so; she rejoiced, and she hoped as she would have it. But, alas! alas! in little time things all proved otherwise.
After he had kept his bed a while, his distemper began to abate, and he to feel himself better; so he in a little time was so finely mended, that he could walk about the house, and also obtained a very fine stomach to his food; and now did his wife and her good friends stand gaping to see Mr. Badman fulfil his promise of becoming new towards God, and loving to his wife; but the contrary only showed itself. For, so soon as ever he had hopes of mending, and found that his strength began to renew, his trouble began to go off his heart, and he grew as great a stranger to his frights and fears, as if he never had them.
[DEATH LEAVES HIM FOR A SEASON, AND HE RETURNS TO HIS SIN LIKE A SOW THAT HAS BEEN WASHED TO HER WALLOWING IN THE MIRE.]
But verily, I am apt to think that one reason of his no more regarding or remembering of his sick-bed fears, and of being no better for them was some words that the doctor that supplied him with physic said to him when he was mending. For as soon as Mr. Badman began to mend, the doctor comes and sits him down by him in his house, and there fell into discourse with him about the nature of his disease; and among other things they talked of Badman's trouble, and how he would cry out, tremble, and express his fears of going to hell when his sickness lay pretty hard upon him. To which the doctor replied, that those fears and outcries did arise from the height of his distemper; for that disease was often attended with lightness of the head, by reason the sick party could not sleep, and for that the vapours disturbed the brain: but you see, Sir, quoth he, that so soon as you got sleep and betook yourself to rest, you quickly mended, and your head settled, and so those frenzies left you. And it was so indeed, thought Mr. Badman; was my troubles only the effects of my distemper, and because ill vapours got up into my brain? Then surely, since my physician was my saviour, my lust again shall be my god. So he never minded religion more, but betook him again to the world, his lusts and wicked companions: and there was an end of Mr. Badman's conversion.
ATTEN. I thought, as you told me of him, that this would be the result of the whole; for I discerned, by your relating of things, that the true symptoms of conversion were wanting in him, and that those that appeared to be anything like them, were only such as reprobates may have.
WISE. You say right, for there wanted in him, when he was most sensible, a sense of the pollution of his nature; he only had guilt for his sinful actions, the which Cain, and Pharaoh, and Saul, and Judas, those reprobates, have had before him (Gen 4:13,14; Exo 9:27; 1 Sam 15:24; Matt 27:3-5).
Besides, the great things that he desired, were to be delivered from going to hell, and who would, willingly? and that his life might be lengthened in this world. We find not, by all that he said or did, that Jesus Christ the Saviour was desired by him, from a sense of his need of his righteousness to clothe him, and of his Spirit to sanctify him. His own strength was whole in him, he saw nothing of the treachery of his own heart: for had he, he would never have been so free to make promises to God of amendment. He would rather have been afraid, that if he had mended, he should have turned with the dog to his vomit, and have begged prayers of the saints, and assistance from heaven upon that account, that he might have been kept from doing so. It is true he did beg prayers of good people, and so did Pharaoh of Moses and Aaron, and Simon Magus of Simon Peter (Exo 9:28; Acts 8:24). His mind also seemed to be turned to his wife and child; but, alas! it was rather from conviction that God had given him concerning their happy estate over his, than for that he had any true love to the work of God that was in them. True, some shows of kindness he seemed to have for them, and so had rich Dives when in hell, to his five brethren that were yet in the world: yea, he had such love as to wish them in heaven,that they might not come thither to be tormented (Luke 16:27,28).
ATTEN. Sick-bed repentance is seldom good for anything.
WISE. You say true, it is very rarely good for anything indeed. Death is unwelcome to nature, and usually when sickness and death visit the sinner; the first taking of him by the shoulder, and the second standing at the bed-chamber door to receive him; then the sinner begins to look about him, and to bethink with himself, these will have me away before God; and I know that my life has not been as it should, how shall I do to appear before God! Or if it be more the sense of the punishment, and the place of the punishment of sinners, that also is starting to a defiled conscience, now roused by death's lumbering at the door. And hence usually is sick-bed repentance, and the matter of it; to wit, to be saved from hell, and from death, and that God will restore again to health till they mend, concluding that it is in their power to mend, as is evident by their large and lavishing promises to do it. I have known many that, when they have been sick, have had large measures of this kind of repentance, and while it has lasted, the noise and sound thereof has made the town to ring again. But, alas! how long has it lasted? ofttimes scarce so long as until the party now sick has been well. It has passed away like a mist or a vapour, it has been a thing of no continuance. But this kind of repentance is by God compared to the howling of a dog. 'And they have not cried unto me with their heart, when they howled upon their beds' (Hosea 7:14).
ATTEN. Yet one may see by this the desperateness of man's heart; for what is it but desperate wickedness to make promise to God of amendment, if he will but spare them; and yet, so soon as they are recovered, or quickly after, fall to sin as they did before, and never to regard their promise more.
WISE. It is a sign of desperateness indeed; yea, of desperate madness (Deut 1:34,35). For, surely, they must needs think that God took notice of their promise, that he heard the words that they spake, and that he hath laid them up against the time to come; and will then bring out, and testify to their faces, that they flattered him with their mouth, and lied unto him with their tongue, when they lay sick, to their thinking, upon their death-bed, and promised him that if he would recover them they would repent and amend their ways (Psa 78:34-37). But thus, as I have told you, Mr. Badman did. He made great promises that he would be a new man, that he would leave his sins and become a convert, that he would love, &c. his godly wife, &c. Yea, many fine words had Mr. Badman in his sickness, but no good actions when he was well.
[HIS PIOUS WIFE DIES BROKEN-HEARTED. - HER DEATH-BED CHARGE TO HER FAMILY.]
ATTEN. And how did his good wife take it, when she saw that he had no amendment, but that he returned with the dog to his vomit, to his old courses again?
WISE. Why, it broke her heart, it was a worse disappointment to her than the cheat that he gave her in marriage. At least she laid it more to heart, and could not so well grapple with it. You must think that she had put up many a prayer to God for him before, even all the time that he had carried it so badly to her, and now, when he was so affrighted in his sickness, and so desired that he might live and mend; poor woman, she thought that the time was come for God to answer her prayers; nay, she did not let with gladness, to whisper it out amongst her friends, that it was so: but when she saw herself disappointed by her husband turning rebel again, she could not stand up under it, but falls into a languishing distemper, and in a few weeks gave up the ghost.
ATTEN. Pray how did she die?
WISE. Die! she died bravely; full of comfort of the faith of her interest in Christ, and by him, of the world to come. She had many brave expressions in her sickness, and gave to those that came to visit her many signs of her salvation; the thoughts of the grave, but especially of her rising again, were sweet thoughts to her. She would long of death, because she knew it would be her friend. She behaved herself like to some that were making of them ready to go meet their bridegroom. Now, said she, I am going to rest from my sorrows, my sighs, my tears, my mournings, and complaints: I have heretofore longed to be among the saints, but might by no means be suffered to go, but now I am going, and no man can stop me, to the great meeting, 'to the general assembly, and church of the first born which are written in heaven' (Heb 12:22-24). There I shall have my heart's desire; there I shall worship without temptation or other impediment; there I shall see the face of my Jesus, whom I have loved, whom I have served, and who now I know will save my soul. I have prayed often for my husband, that he might be converted, but there has been no answer of God in that matter. Are my prayers lost? are they forgotten? are they thrown over the bar? No: they are hanged upon the horns of the golden altar, and I must have the benefit of them myself, that moment that I shall enter into the gates, in at which the righteous nation that keepeth truth shall enter: I say, I shall have the benefit of them. I can say as holy David; I say, I can say of my husband, as he could of his enemies: 'As for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth; I humbled my soul with fasting, and my prayer returned into mine own bosom' (Psa 35:13). My prayers are not lost, my tears are yet in God's bottle; I would have had a crown, and glory for my husband, and for those of my children that follow his steps; but so far as I can see yet, I must rest in the hope of having all myself.
ATTEN. Did she talk thus openly?
WISE. No: this she spake but to one or two of her most intimate acquaintance, who were permitted to come and see her, when she lay languishing upon her death-bed.
ATTEN. Well, but pray go on in your relation, this is good; I am glad to hear it, this is as a cordial to my heart while we sit thus talking under this tree.
WISE. When she drew near her end, she called for her husband, and when he was come to her she told him that now he and she must part, and, said she, God knows, and thou shalt know, that I have been a loving, faithful wife unto thee; my prayers have been many for thee; and as for all the abuses that I have received at thy hand, those I freely and heartily forgive, and still shall pray for thy conversion, even as long as I breathe in this world. But husband, I am going thither, where no bad man shall come, and if thou dost not convert, thou wilt never see me more with comfort; let not my plain words offend thee; I am thy dying wife, and of my faithfulness to thee, would leave this exhortation with thee; break off thy sins, fly to God for mercy while mercy's gate stands open; remember that the day is coming, when thou, though now lusty and well, must lie at the gates of death as I do; and what wilt thou then do, if thou shalt be found with a naked soul, to meet with the cherubims with their flaming swords? Yea, what wilt thou then do, if death and hell shall come to visit thee, and thou in thy sins, and under the curse of the law?
ATTEN. This was honest and plain; but what said Mr. Badman to her?
WISE. He did what he could to divert her talk, by throwing in other things; he also showed some kind of pity to her now, and would ask her what she would have? and with various kind of words put her out of her talk; for when she saw that she was not regarded, she fetched a deep sigh, and lay still. So he went down, and then she called for her children, and began to talk to them. And first she spake to those that were rude, and told them the danger of dying before they had grace in their hearts. She told them also that death might be nearer them than they were aware of; and bid them look when they went through the churchyard again, if there were not little graves there. And, ah children, said she, will it not be dreadful to you if we only shall meet at the day of judgment, and then part again, and never see each other more? And with that she wept, the children also wept: so she held on her discourse. Children, said she, I am going from you; I am going to Jesus Christ, and with him there is neither sorrow, nor sighing, nor pain, nor tears, nor death (Rev 7:16, 21:3,4). Thither would I have you go also, but I can neither carry you nor fetch you thither; but if you shall turn from your sins to God, and shall beg mercy at his hands by Jesus Christ, you shall follow me, and shall, when you die, come to the place where I am going, that blessed place of rest; and then we shall be for ever together, beholding the face of our Redeemer, to our mutual and eternal joy. So she bid them remember the words of a dying mother when she was cold in her grave, and themselves were hot in their sins, if perhaps her words might put check to their vice, and that they might remember and turn to God.
Then they all went down but her darling, to wit, the child that she had most love for, because it followed her ways. So she addressed herself to that. Come to me, said she, my sweet child, thou art the child of my joy; I have lived to see thee a servant of God; thou shalt have eternal life. I, my sweet heart,shall go before, and thou shalt follow after, if thou shalt 'hold the beginning of thy confidence stedfast unto the end' (Heb 3:14). When I am gone, do thou still remember my words. Love thy Bible, follow my ministers, deny ungodliness still, and if troublesome times shalt come, set a higher price upon Christ, his word, and ways, and the testimony of a good conscience, than upon all the world besides. Carry it kindly and dutifully to thy father, but choose none of his ways. If thou mayest go to service, choose that rather than to stay at home; but then be sure to choose a service where thou mayest be helped forwards in the way to heaven; and that thou mayest have such a service, speak to my minister, he will help thee, if possible, to such a one.
I would have thee also, my dear child, to love thy brothers and sisters, but learn none of their naughty tricks. 'Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them' (Eph 5:11). Thou hast grace, they have none; do thou therefore beautify the way of salvation before their eyes, by a godly life and conformable conversation to the revealed will of God, that thy brothers and sisters may see and be the more pleased with the good ways of the Lord. If thou shalt live to marry, take heed of being served as I was; that is, of being beguiled with fair words and the flatteries of a lying tongue. But first be sure of godliness, yea, as sure as it is possible for one to be in this world. Trust not thine own eyes, nor thine own judgment, I mean as to that person's godliness that thou art invited to marry. Ask counsel of good men, and do nothing therein, if he lives, without my minister's advice. I have also myself desired him to look after thee. Thus she talked to her children, and gave them counsel; and after she had talked to this a little longer, she kissed it, and bid it go down.
Well, in short, her time drew on, and the day that she must die. So she died, with a soul full of grace, a heart full of comfort, and by her death ended a life full of trouble. Her husband made a funeral for her, perhaps because he was glad he was rid of her, but we will leave that to the manifest at judgment.
ATTEN. This woman died well. And now we are talking of the dying of Christians, I will tell you a story of one that died some time since in our town. The man was a godly old Puritan, for so the godly were called in time past. This man, after a long and godly life, fell sick, of the sickness whereof he died. And as he lay drawing on, the woman that looked to him thought she heard music, and that the sweetest that ever she heard in her life, which also continued until he gave up the ghost. Now when his soul departed from him the music seemed to withdraw, and to go further and further off from the house, and so it went until the sound was quite gone out of hearing.
WISE. What do you think that might be?
ATTEN. For ought I know the melodious notes of angels, that were sent of God to fetch him to heaven.
WISE. I cannot say but that God goes out of his ordinary road with us poor mortals sometimes. I cannot say this of this woman, but yet she had better music in her heart than sounded in this woman's ears.
ATTEN. I believe so; but pray tell me, did any of her other children hearken to her words, so as to be bettered in their souls thereby?
WISE. One of them did, and became a very hopeful young man. But for the rest I can say nothing.
ATTEN. And what did Badman do after his wife was dead?
WISE. Why, even as he did before; he scarce mourned a fortnight for her, and his mourning then was, I doubt, more in fashion than in heart.
ATTEN. Would he not sometimes talk of his wife when she was dead?
WISE. Yes, when the fit took him, and could commend her too extremely, saying she was a good, godly, virtuous woman. But this is not a thing to be wondered at. It is common with wicked men to hate God's servants while alive, and to commend them when they are dead. So served the Pharisees the prophets. Those of the prophets that were dead they commended, and those of them that were alive they condemned. (Matt 23).
[HE IS TRICKED INTO A SECOND MARRIAGE BY A WOMAN AS BAD AS HIMSELF.]
ATTEN. But did not Mr. Badman marry again quickly?
WISE. No, not a good while after; and when he was asked the reason he would make this slighty answer, Who would keep a cow of their own that can have a quart of milk for a penny? Meaning, who would be at the charge to have a wife that can have a whore when he listeth? So villainous, so abominable did he continue after the death of his wife. Yet at last there as one was too hard for him. For getting of him to her upon a time, and making of him sufficiently drunk, she was so cunning as to get a promise of marriage of him, and so held him to it, and forced him to marry her. And she, as the saying is, was as good as he at all his vile and ranting tricks. She had her companions as well as he had his, and she would meet them too at the tavern and ale-house more commonly than he was aware of. To be plain, she was a very whore, and had as great resort came to her, where time and place was appointed, as any of them all. Ay, and he smelt it too, but could not tell how to help it. For if he began to talk, she could lay in his dish the whores that she knew he haunted, and she could fit him also with cursing and swearing, for she would give him oath for oath, and curse for curse.
ATTEN. What kind of oaths would she have?
WISE. Why, damn her, and sink her, and the like.
ATTEN. These are provoking things.
WISE. So they are; but God doth not altogether let such things go unpunished in this life. Something of this I have showed you already, and will here give you one or two instances more.
There lived, saith one, in the year 1551, in a city of Savoy, a man who was a monstrous curser and swearer, and though he was often admonished and blamed for it, yet would he by no means mend his manners. At length a great plague happening in the city, he withdrew himself [with his wife and a kinswoman] into a garden, where being again admonished to give over his wickedness, he hardened his heart more, swearing, blaspheming God, and giving himself to the devil. And immediately the devil snatched him up suddenly, his wife and kinswoman looking on, and carried him quite away. The magistrates, advertised hereof, went to the place and examined the women, who justified the truth of it.
Also at Oster, in the duchy of Magalapole, saith Mr. Clark, a wicked woman used in her cursing to give herself body and soul to the devil, and being reproved for it, still continued the same; till, being at a wedding-feast, the devil came in person, and carried her up into the air, with most horrible outcries and roarings; and in that sort carried her round about the town, that the inhabitants were ready to die for fear. And by and by he tore her in four pieces, leaving her four quarters in four several highways; and then brought her bowels to the marriage-feast, and threw them upon the table before the mayor of the town, saying, Behold these dishes of meat belong to thee, whom the like destruction waiteth for if thou dost not amend thy wicked life.
ATTEN. Though God forbears to deal thus with all men that thus rend and tear his name, and that immediate judgments do not overtake them, yet he makes their lives by other judgments bitter to them, does he not?
WISE. Yes, yes, and for proof, I need go no farther than to this Badman and his wife; for their railing, and cursing, and swearing ended not in words. They would fight and fly at each other, and that like cats and dogs. But it must be looked upon as the hand and judgment of God upon him for his villainy; he had an honest woman before, but she would not serve his turn, and therefore God took her away, and gave him one as bad as himself. Thus that measure that he meted to his first wife, this last did mete to him again. And this is a punishment wherewith sometimes God will punish wicked men. So said Amos to Amaziah, 'Thy wife shall be a harlot in the city' (Amos 7:17). With this last wife Mr. Badman lived a pretty while; but, as I told you before, in a most sad and hellish manner. And now he would bewail his first wife's death; not of love that he had to her godliness, for that he could never abide, but for that she used always to keep home, whereas this would go abroad; his first wife was also honest, and true to that relation, but this last was a whore of her body. The first woman loved to keep things together, but this last would whirl them about as well as he. The first would be silent when he chid, and would take it patiently when he abused her; but this would give him word for word, blow for blow, curse for curse; so that now Mr. Badman had met with his match. God had a mind to make him see the baseness of his own life in the wickedness of his wife's. But all would not do with Mr. Badman, he would be Mr. Badman still. This judgment did not work any reformation upon him, no, not to God nor man.
ATTEN. I warrant you that Mr. Badman thought when his wife was dead, that next time he would match far better.
WISE. What he thought I cannot tell, but he could not hope for it in this match. For here he knew himself to be catched, he knew that he was by this woman entangled, and would therefore have gone back again, but could not. He knew her, I say, to be a whore before, and therefore could not promise himself a happy life with her. For he or she that will not be true to their own soul, and therefore could not expect she should be true to him. But Solomon says, 'A whore is a deep ditch,' and Mr. Badman found it true. For when she had caught him in her pit, she would never leave him till she had got him to promise her marriage; and when she had taken him so far, she forced him to marry indeed. And after that, they lived that life that I have told you.
ATTEN. But did not the neighbours take notice of this alteration that Mr. Badman had made?
WISE. Yes; and many of his neighbours, yea, many of those that were carnal said, It is a righteous judgment of God upon him for his abusive carriage and language to his other wife: for they were all convinced that she was a virtuous woman, and that he, vile wretch, had killed her, I will not say with, but with the want of kindness.
[HE PARTS FROM HIS WIFE - DISEASES ATTACK HIM UNDER CAPTAIN CONSUMPTION, HE ROTS AWAY, AND DIES IN SINFUL SECURITY.]
ATTEN. And how long, I pray, did they live thus together.
WISE. Some fourteen or sixteen years, even until, though she also brought something with her, they had sinned all away, and parted as poor as howlets. And, in reason, how could it be otherwise? he would have his way, and she would have hers; he among his companions, and she among hers; he with his whores, and she with her rogues; and so they brought their noble to ninepence.
ATTEN. Pray of what disease did Mr. Badman die, for now I perceive we are come up to his death?
WISE. I cannot so properly say that he died of one disease, for there were many that had consented, and laid their heads together to bring him to his end. He was dropsical, he was consumptive, he was surfeited, was gouty, and, as some say, he had a tang of the pox in his bowels. Yet the captain of all these men of death that came against him to take him away, was the consumption, for it was that that brought him down to the grave.
ATTEN. Although I will not say but the best men may die of a consumption, a dropsy, or a surfeit; yea, that these may meet upon a man to end him; yet I will say again, that many times these diseases come through man's inordinate use of things. Much drinking brings dropsies, consumptions, surfeits, and many other diseases; and I doubt that Mr. Badman's death did come by his abuse of himself in the use of lawful and unlawful things. I ground this my sentence upon that report of his life that you at large have given me.
WISE. I think verily that you need not call back your sentence; for it is thought by many that by his cups and his queans he brought himself to this his destruction: he was not an old man when he died, nor was he naturally very feeble, but strong and of a healthy complexion. Yet, as I said, he moultered away, and went, when he set agoing, rotten to his grave. And that which made him stink when he was dead, I mean, that made him stink in his name and fame, was, that he died with a spice of the foul disease upon him. A man whose life was full of sin, and whose death was without repentance.
ATTEN. These were blemishes sufficient to make him stink indeed.
WISE. They were so, and they did do it. No man could speak well of him when he was gone. His name rotted above ground, as his carcase rotted under. And this is according to the saying of the wise man, 'The memory of the just is blessed, but the name of the wicked shall rot' (Prov 10:7).
This text, in both the parts of it, was fulfilled upon him and the woman that he married first. For her name still did flourish, though she had been dead almost seventeen years; but his began to stink and rot before he had been buried seventeen days.
ATTEN. That man that dieth with a life full of sin, and with a heart void of repentance, although he should die of the most golden disease, if there were any thing that might be so called, I will warrant him his name shall stink, and that in heaven and earth.
WISE. You say true; and therefore doth the name of Cain, Pharaoh, Saul, Judas, and the Pharisees, though dead thousands of years ago, stink as fresh in the nostrils of the world as if they were but newly dead.
ATTEN. I do fully acquiesce with you in this. But, Sir, since you have charged him with dying impenitent, pray let me see how you will prove it; not that I altogether doubt it, because you have affirmed it, but yet I love to have proof for what men say in such weighty matters.
WISE. When I said he died without repentance, I meant so far as those that knew him could judge, when they compared his life, the Word, and his death together.
ATTEN. Well said, they went the right way to find out whether he had, that is, did manifest that he had repentance or no. Now then show me how they did prove he had none.
WISE. So I will. And first, this was urged to prove it. He had not in all the time of his sickness a sight and sense of his sins, but was as secure, and as much at quiet, as if he had never sinned in all his life.
ATTEN. I must needs confess that this is a sign he had none. For how can a man repent of that of which he hath neither sight nor sense? But it is strange that he had neither sight nor sense of sin now, when he had such a sight and sense of his evil before; I mean when he was sick before.
WISE. He was, as I said, as secure now as if he had been as sinless as an angel; though all men knew what a sinner he was, for he carried his sins in his forehead. His debauched life was read and known of all men; but his repentance was read and known of no man; for, as I said, he had none. And for ought I know, the reason why he had no sense of his sins now was, because he profited not by that sense that he had of them before. He liked not to retain that knowledge of God then, that caused his sins to come to remembrance. Therefore God gave him up now to a reprobate mind, to hardness and stupidity of spirit; and so was that scripture fulfilled upon him, 'He hath blinded their eyes' (Isa 6:10). And that, 'Let their eyes be darkened that they may not see' (Rom 11:10). O, for a man to live in sin, and to go out of the world without repentance for it, is the saddest judgment that can overtake a man.
ATTEN. But, Sir, although both you and I have consented that without a sight and sense of sin there can be no repentance, yet that is but our bare say so; let us therefore now see if by the scripture we can make it good.
WISE. That is easily done. The three thousand that were converted (Acts 2), repented not till they had sight and sense of their sins. Paul repented not till he had sight and sense of his sins (Act 9). The jailer repented not till the had sight and sense of his sins; nor could they (Act 16). For of what should a man repent? The answer is, Of sin. What is it to repent of sin? The answer is, To be sorry for it, to turn from it. But how can a man be sorry for it, that has neither sight nor sense of it? (Psa 38:18). David did not only commit sins, but abode impenitent for them, until Nathan the prophet was sent from God to give him a sight and sense of them; and then, but not till then, he indeed repented of them (2 Sam 12). Job, in order to his repentance, cries unto God, 'Show me wherefore thou contendest with me?' (Job 10:2). And again, 'That which I see not teach thou me, I have borne chastisement, I will not offend any more' (Job 34:32). That is, not in what I know, for I will repent of it; nor yet in what I know not, when thou shalt show me it. Also Ephraim's repentance was after he was turned to the sight and sense of his sins, and after he was instructed about the evil of them (Jer 31:18-20).
ATTEN. These are good testimonies of this truth, and do, if matter of fact, with which Mr. Badman is charged, be true, prove indeed that he did not repent, but as he lived so he died in his sin (Job 20:11). For without repentance a man is sure to die in his sin; for they will lie down in the dust with him, rise at the judgment with him, hang about his neck like cords and chains when he standeth at the bar of God's tribunal (Prov 5:22). And go with him, too, when he goes away from the judgment-seat, with a 'Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels' (Matt 25:41). And there shall fret and gnaw his conscience, because they will be to him a never-dying worm (Mark 9:44; Isa 66:24).
WISE. You say well, and I will add a word or two more to what I have said. Repentance, as it is not produced without a sight and sense of sin, so every sight and sense of sin cannot produce it; I mean every sight and sense of sin cannot produce that repentance, that is repentance unto salvation; repentance never to be repented of. For it is yet fresh before us, that Mr. Badman had a sight and sense of sin, in that fit of sickness that he had before, but it died without procuring any such godly fruit; as was manifest by his so soon returning with the dog to his vomit. Many people think also that repentance stands in confession of sin only, but they are very much mistaken; for repentance, as was said before, is a being sorry for, and returning from transgression to God by Jesus Christ. Now, if this be true, that every sight and sense of sin will not produce repentance, then repentance cannot be produced there where there is no sight and sense of sin. That every sight and sense of sin will not produce repentance, to wit, the godly repentance that we are speaking of, is manifest in Cain, Pharaoh, Saul, and Judas, who all of them had sense, great sense of sin, but none of them repentance unto life.
Now I conclude that Mr. Badman did die impenitent, and so a death most miserable.
ATTEN. But pray now, before we conclude our discourse of Mr. Badman, give me another proof of his dying in his sins.
WISE. Another proof is this, he did not desire a sight and sense of sins, that he might have repentance for them. Did I say he did not desire it, I will add, he greatly desired to remain in his security, and that I shall prove by that which follows. First, he could not endure that any man now should talk to him of his sinful life, and yet that was the way to beget a sight and sense of sin, and so of repentance from it, in his soul. But I say he could not endure such discourse. Those men that did offer to talk unto him of his ill-spent life, they were as little welcome to him, in the time of his last sickness, as was Elijah when he went to meet with Ahab as he went down to take possession of Naboth's vineyard. 'Hast thou found me,' said Ahab, 'O mine enemy?' (1 Kings 21:17-21). So would Mr. Badman say in his heart to and of those that thus did come to him, though indeed they came even of love to convince him of his evil life, that he might have repented thereof and have obtained mercy.
ATTEN. Did good men then go to see him in his last sickness?
WISE. Yes. Those that were his first wife's acquaintance, they went to see him, and to talk with him, and to him, if perhaps he might now, at last, bethink himself and cry to God for mercy.
ATTEN. They did well to try now at last if they could save his soul from hell. But pray how can you tell that he did not care for the company of such?
WISE. Because of the differing carriage that he had for them from what he had when his old carnal companions came to see him. When his old companions came to see him he would stir up himself as much as he could, both by words, and looks, to signify they were welcome to him; he would also talk with them freely and look pleasantly upon them, though the talk of such could be none other but such as David said carnal men would offer to him when they came to visit him in his sickness. 'If he come to see me,' says he, 'he speaketh vanity, his heart gathereth iniquity to itself' (Psa 41:6). But these kind of talks, I say, Mr. Badman better brooked than he did the company of better men.
But I will more particularly give you a character of his carriage to good men, and good talk, when they came to see him. 1. When they were come he would seem to fail in his spirits at the sight of them. 2. He would not care to answer them to any of those questions that they would at times put to him, to feel what sense he had of sin, death, hell, and judgment. But would either say nothing or answer them by way of evasion, or else by telling of them he was so weak and spent that he could not speak much. 3. He would never show forwardness to speak to or talk with them, but was glad when they held their tongues. He would ask them no question about his state and another world, or how he should escape that damnation that he had deserved. 4. He had got a haunt at last to bid his wife and keeper, when these good people attempted to come to see him, to tell them that he was asleep, or inclining to sleep, or so weak for want thereof that he could not abide any noise. And so they would serve them time after time, till at last they were discouraged from coming to see him any more. 5. He was so hardened now in this time of his sickness, that he would talk, when his companions came unto him, to the disparagement of those good men, and of their good doctrine too, that of love did come to see him, and that did labour to convert him. 6. When these good men went away from him he would never say, Pray, when will you be pleased to come again, for I have a desire to more of your company and to hear more of your good instruction? No, not a word of that, but when they were going would scarce bid them drink, or say, Thank you for your good company and good instruction. 7. His talk in his sickness with his companions would be of the world, as trades, houses, lands, great men, great titles, great places, outward prosperity or outward adversity, or some such carnal thing. By all which I conclude that he did not desire a sense and sight of his sin, that he might repent and be saved.
ATTEN. It must needs be so as you say, if these things be true that you have asserted of him. And I do the rather believe them, because I think you dare not tell a lie of the dead.
WISE. I was one of them that went to him and that beheld his carriage and manner of way, and this is a true relation of it that I have given you.
ATTEN. I am satisfied. But pray, if you can, show me now, by the Word, what sentence of God doth pass upon such men.
WISE. Why, the man that is thus averse to repentance, that desires not to hear of his sins that he might repent and be saved, is said to be a man that saith unto God, 'Depart from me, for I desire not the knowledge of thy ways' (Job 21:14). He is a man that says in his heart and with his actions, 'I have loved strangers [sins] and after them will I go' (Jer 2:25). He is a man that shuts his eyes, stops his ears, and that turneth his spirit against God (Zech 7:11,12; Acts 28:26,27). Yea, he is the man that is at enmity with God, and that abhors him with his soul.
ATTEN. What other sign can you give me that Mr. Badman died without repentance?
WISE. Why, he did never heartily cry to God for mercy all the time of his affliction. True, when sinking fits, stitches, or pains took hold upon him, then he would say, as other carnal men used to do, Lord, help me; Lord, strengthen me; Lord, deliver me, and the like. But to cry to God for mercy, that he did not, but lay, as I hinted before, as if he never had sinned.
ATTEN. That is another bad sign indeed, for crying to God for mercy is one of the first signs of repentance. When Paul lay repenting of his sin upon his bed, the Holy Ghost said of him, 'Behold he prayeth' (Acts 9:11). But he that hath not the first signs of repentance, it is a sign he hath none of the other, and so indeed none at all. I do not say but there may be crying where there may be no sign of repentance. 'They cried,' says David, 'unto the Lord, but he answered them not'; but that he would have done if their cry had been the fruit of repentance (Psa 18:41). But, I say, if men may cry and yet have no repentance, be sure they have none that cry not at all. It is said in Job, 'they cry not when he bindeth them' (Job 36:13); that is, because they have no repentance; no repentance, no cries; false repentance, false cries; true repentance, true cries.
WISE. I know that it is as possible for a man to forbear crying that hath repentance, as it is for a man to forbear groaning that feeleth deadly pain. He that looketh into the book of Psalms, where repentance is most lively set forth even in its true and proper effects, shall their find that crying, strong crying, hearty crying, great crying, and incessant crying, hath been the fruits of repentance; but none of this had this Mr. Badman, therefore he died in his sins.
That crying is an inseparable effect of repentance, is seen in these scriptures - 'Have mercy upon me, O God; according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies, blot out my transgressions' (Psa 51:1). 'O Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am weak: O Lord, heal me, for my bones are vexed. My soul is also sore vexed, but thou, O Lord, how long? Return, O Lord, deliver my soul: O save me for thy mercies' sake' (Psa 6:1-4). 'O Lord, rebuke me not in thy wrath, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure; for thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore. There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger, neither is there any rest in my bones, because of my sin. For mine iniquities are gone over mine head; as a heavy burden they are too heavy for me. My wounds stink and are corrupt, because of my foolishness. I am troubled, I am bowed down greatly, I go mourning all the day long. My loins are filled with a loathsome disease, and there is no soundness in my flesh. I am feeble and sore broken; I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart' (Psa 38:1-8).
I might give you a great number more of the holy sayings of good men whereby they express how they were, what they felt, and whether they cried or no when repentance was wrought in them. Alas, alas, it is as possible for a man, when the pangs of guilt are upon him, to forbear praying, as it is for a woman, when pangs of travail are upon her, to forbear crying. If all the world should tell me that such a man hath repentance, yet if he is not a praying man I should not be persuaded to believe it.
ATTEN. I know no reason why you should, for there is nothing can demonstrate that such a man hath it. But pray, Sir, what other sign have you by which you can prove that Mr. Badman died in his sins, and so in a state of damnation?
WISE. I have this to prove it. Those who were his old and sinful companions in the time of his health, were those whose company and carnal talk he most delighted in in the time of his sickness. I did occasionally hint this before, but now I make it an argument of his want of grace, for where there is indeed a work of grace in the heart, that work doth not only change the heart, thoughts, and desires, but the conversation also; yea, conversation and company too. When Paul had a work of grace in his soul he essayed to join himself to the disciples. He was for his old companions in their abominations no longer. He was now a disciple, and was for the company of disciples. 'And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem' (Acts 9:27,28).
ATTEN. I thought something when I heard you make mention of it before. Thought I, this is a shrewd sign that he had not grace in his heart. Birds of a feather, thought I, will flock together. If this man was one of God's children he would herd with God's children, his delight would be with and in the company of God's children. As David said, 'I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts' (Psa 119:63).
WISE. You say well, for what fellowship hath he that believeth with an infidel? And although it be true that all that join to the godly are not godly, yet they that shall inwardly choose the company of the ungodly and open profane, rather than the company of the godly, as Mr. Badman did, surely are not godly men, but profane. He was, as I told you, out of his element when good men did come to visit him; but then he was where he would be, when he had his vain companions about him. Alas! grace, as I said, altereth all, heart, life, company, and all; for by it the heart and man is made new. And a new heart and a new man must have objects of delight that are new, and like himself; 'Old things are passed away'; why? For 'all things are become new' (2 Cor 5:27). Now, if all things are become new, to wit, heart, mind, thoughts, desires, and delights, it followeth by consequence that the company must be answerable; hence it is said, that they 'that believed were together'; that 'they went to their own company'; that they were 'added to the church'; that they 'were of one heart and of one soul'; and the like (Acts 2:44-47, 4:23,32). Now if it be objected that Mr. Badman was sick, and so could not go to the godly, yet he had a tongue in his head, and could, had he had a heart, have spoken to some to call or send for the godly to come to him. Yea, he would have done so; yea, the company of all others, especially his fellow-sinners, would, even in every appearance of them before him, have been a burden and a grief unto him. His heart and affection standing bent to good, good companions would have suited him best. But his companions were his old associates, his delight was in them, therefore his heart and soul were yet ungodly.
ATTEN. Pray, how was he when he drew near his end; for, I perceive, that what you say of him now hath reference to him and to his actions at the beginning of his sickness? Then he could endure company and much talk; besides, perhaps then he thought he should recover and not die, as afterwards he had cause to think, when he was quite wasted with pining sickness, when he was at the grave's mouth. But how was he, I say, when he was, as we say, at the grave's mouth, within a step of death, when he saw and knew, and could not but know, that shortly he must die, and appear before the judgment of God?
WISE. Why, there was not any other alteration in him than what was made by his disease upon his body. Sickness, you know, will alter the body, also pains and stitches will make men groan; but for his mind he had no alteration there. His mind was the same, his heart was the same. He was the self-same Mr. Badman still. Not only in name but conditions, and that to the very day of his death; yea, so far as could be gathered to the very moment in which he died.
ATTEN. Pray, how was he in his death? Was death strong upon him? or did he die with ease, quietly?
WISE. As quietly as a lamb. There seemed not to be in it, to standers by, so as a strong struggle of nature. And as for his mind, it seemed to be wholly at quiet. But, pray, why do you ask me this question?
ATTEN. Not for mine own sake, but for others. For there is such an opinion as this among the ignorant, that if a man dies, as they call it, like a lamb, that is, quietly, and without that consternation of mind that others show in their death, they conclude, and that beyond all doubt, that such a one is gone to heaven, and is certainly escaped the wrath to come.
[FUTURE HAPPINESS NOT TO BE HOPED FROM A QUIET HARDENED DEATH.]
WISE. There is no judgment to be made by a quiet death, of the eternal state of him that so dieth. Suppose that one man should die quietly, another should die suddenly, and a third should die under great consternation of spirit, no man can judge of their eternal condition by the manner of any of these kinds of deaths. He that dies quietly, suddenly, or under consternation of spirit, may go to heaven, or may go to hell; no man can tell whether a man goes, by any such manner of death. The judgment, therefore, that we make of the eternal condition of a man must be gathered from another consideration, to wit, Did the man die in his sins? did he die in unbelief? did he die before he was born again? then he has gone to the devil and hell, though he died never so quietly. Again, Was the man a good man? had he faith and holiness? was he a lover and a worshipper of God by Christ according to his word? Then he is gone to God and heaven, how suddenly, or in what consternation of mind soever he died. But Mr. Badman was naught, his life was evil, his ways were evil, evil to his end. He therefore went to hell and to the devil, how quietly soever he died.
Indeed there is, in some cases, a judgment to be made of a man's eternal condition by the manner of the death he dieth. As, suppose now a man should murder himself, or live a wicked life, and after that die in utter despair; these men, without doubt, do both of them go to hell. And here I will take an occasion to speak of two of Mr. Badman's brethren, for you know I told you before that he had brethren, and of the manner of their death. One of them killed himself, and the other, after a wicked life, died in utter despair. Now, I should not be afraid to conclude of both these, that they went by and through their death to hell.
ATTEN. Pray tell me concerning the first, how he made away with himself?
WISE. Why, he took a knife and cut his own throat, and immediately gave up the ghost and died. Now, what can we judge of such a man's condition, since the scripture saith, 'No murderer hath eternal life,' &c., but that it must be concluded that such a one is gone to hell. He was a murderer, self-murderer; and he is the worst murderer, one that slays his own body and soul. Nor do we find mention made of any but cursed ones that do such kind of deeds. I say, no mention made in Holy Writ of any others, but such that murder themselves.
And this is a sore judgment of God upon men, when God shall, for the sins of such, give them up to be their own executioners, or rather to execute his judgment and anger upon themselves. And let me earnestly give this caution to sinners. Take heed, Sirs, break off your sins, lest God serves you as he served Mr. Badman's brother; that is, lest he gives you up to be your own murderers.
ATTEN. Now you talk of this; I did once know a man, a barber, that took his own razor and cut his own throat, and then put his head out of his chamber window, to show the neighbours what he had done, and after a little while died.
WISE. I can tell you a more dreadful thing than this; I mean as to the manner of doing the fact. There was, about twelve years since, a man that lived at Brafield, by Northampton, named John Cox, that murdered himself; the manner of his doing of it was thus. He was a poor man, and had for some time been sick, and the time of his sickness was about the beginning of hay-time, and taking too many thoughts how he should live afterwards, if he lost his present season of work, he fell into deep despair about the world, and cried out to his wife the morning before he killed himself, saying, We are undone. But quickly after, he desired his wife to depart the room, because, said he, I will see if I can get any rest; so she went out; but he, instead of sleeping, quickly took his razor, and therewith cut up a great hole in his side, out of which he pulled and cut off some of his guts, and threw them, with the blood, up and down the chamber. But this not speeding of him so soon as he desired, he took the same razor and therewith cut his own throat. His wife, the hearing of him sigh and fetch his wind short, came again into the room to him, and seeing what he had done, she ran out and called in some neighbours, who came to him where he lay in a bloody manner, frightful to behold. Then said one of them to him, Ah! John, what have you done? Are you not sorry for what you have done? He answered roughly, It is too late to be sorry. Then, said the same person to him again, Ah! John, pray to God to forgive thee this bloody act of thine. At the hearing of which exhortation he seemed much offended, and in an angry manner said, Pray! and with that flung himself away to the wall, and so, after a few gasps, died desperately. When he had turned him of his back to the wall, the blood ran out of his belly as out of a bowl, and soaked quite through the bed to the boards, and through the chinks of the boards it ran pouring down to the ground. Some said that when the neighbours came to see him, he lay groping with his hand in his bowels, reaching upward, as was thought, that he might have pulled or cut out his heart. It was said, also, that some of his liver had been by him torn out and cast upon the boards, and that many of his guts hung out of the bed on the side thereof; but I cannot confirm all particulars; but the general of the story, with these circumstances above mentioned, is true. I had it from a sober and credible person, who himself was one that saw him in this bloody state, and that talked with him, as was hinted before.
Many other such dreadful things might be told you, but these are enough, and too many too, if God, in his wisdom, had thought necessary to prevent them.
ATTEN. This is a dreadful story. And I would to God that it might be a warning to others, to instruct them to fear before God, and pray, lest he give them up to do as John Cox hath done. For surely self-murderers cannot go to heaven; and, therefore, as you have said, he that dieth by his own hands, is certainly gone to hell. But speak a word or two of the other man you mentioned.
WISE. What? of a wicked man dying in despair?
ATTEN. Yes, of a wicked man dying in despair.
WISE. Well then. This Mr. Badman's other brother was a very wicked man, both in heart and life; I say in heart, because he was so in life, nor could anything reclaim him; neither good men, good books, good examples, nor God's judgments. Well, after he had lived a great while in his sins, God smote him with a sickness, of which he died. Now in his sickness his conscience began to be awakened, and he began to roar out of his ill-spent life, insomuch that the town began to ring of him. Now, when it was noised about, many of the neighbours came to see him, and to read by him, as is the common way with some; but all that they could do, could not abate his terror, but he would lie in his bed gnashing of his teeth, and wringing of his wrists, concluding upon the damnation of his soul, and in that horror and despair he died; not calling upon God, but distrusting in his mercy, and blaspheming of his name.
ATTEN. This brings to my mind a man that a friend of mine told me of. He had been a wicked liver; so when he came to die, he fell into despair; and having concluded that God had no mercy for him, he addressed himself to the devil for favour, saying, Good devil, be good unto me.
WISE. This is almost like Saul, who being forsaken of God, went to the witch of Endor, and so to the devil for help (1 Sam 28). But, alas, should I set myself to collect these dreadful stories, it would be easy in little time to present you with hundreds of them. But I will conclude as I began; they that are their own murderers, or that die in despair, after they have lived a life of wickedness, do surely go to hell. And here I would put in a caution. Every one that dieth under consternation of spirit; that is, under amazement and great fear, do not therefore die in despair. For a good man may have this for his bands in his death, and yet go to heaven and glory (Psa 73:4). For, as I said before, he that is a good man, a man that hath faith and holiness, a lover and worshipper of God by Christ, according to his Word, may die in consternation of spirit; for Satan will not be wanting to assault good men upon their death-bed, but they are secured by the Word and power of God; yea, and are also helped, though with much agony of spirit, to exercise themselves in faith and prayer, the which he that dieth in despair can by no means do. But let us return to Mr. Badman, and enter further discourse of the manner of his death.
ATTEN. I think you and I are both of a mind; for just now I was thinking to call you back to him also. And pray now, since it is your own motion to return again to him, let us discourse a little more of his quiet and still death.
WISE. With all my heart. You know we were speaking before of the manner of Mr. Badman's death; how that he died still and quietly; upon which you made observation that the common people conclude, that if a man dies quietly, and as they call it, like a lamb, he is certainly gone to heaven; when, alas, if a wicked man died quietly, if a man that has all his days lived in notorious sin, dieth quietly; his quiet dying is so far off from being a sign of his being saved, that it is an uncontrollable proof of his damnation. This was Mr. Badman's case, he lived wickedly even to the last, and then went quietly out of the world; therefore Mr. Badman is gone to hell.
ATTEN. Well, but since you are upon it, and also so confident in it, to wit, that a man that lives a wicked life till he dies, and then dies quietly, is gone to hell; let me see what show of proof you have for this your opinion.
WISE. My first argument is drawn from the necessity of repentance. No man can be saved except he repents, nor can he repent that sees not, that knows not that he is a sinner; and he that knows himself to be a sinner will, I will warrant him, be molested for the time by that knowledge. this, as it is testified by all the scriptures, so it is testified by Christian experience. He that knows himself to be a sinner is molested, especially if that knowledge comes not to him until he is cast upon his death-bed; molested, I say, before he can die quietly. Yea, he is molested, dejected, and cast down, he is also made to cry out, to hunger and thirst after mercy by Christ, and if at all he shall indeed come to die quietly, I mean with that quietness that is begotten by faith and hope in God's mercy, to the which Mr. Badman and his brethren were utter strangers, his quietness is distinguished by all judicious observers by what went before it, by what it flows from, and also by what is the fruit thereof.
I must confess I am no admirer of sick-bed repentance, for I think verily it is seldom good of any thing. But I say, he that hath lived in sin and profaneness all his days, as Mr. Badman did, and yet shall die quietly, that is, without repentance steps in betwixt his life and death, he is assuredly gone to hell, and is damned.
ATTEN. This does look like an argument indeed; for repentance must come, or else we must go to hell-fire; and if a lewd liver shall, I mean that so continues till the day of his death, yet go out of the world quietly, it is a sign that he died without repentance, and so a sign that he is damned.
WISE. I am satisfied in it, for my part, and that from the necessity and nature of repentance. It is necessary, because God calls for it, and will not pardon sin without it. 'Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish?' (Luke 13:1-7). This is that which God hath said, and he will prove but a foolhardy man that shall yet think to go to heaven and glory without it. Repent, for 'the axe is laid unto the root of the trees, therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit,' but no good fruit can be where there is not sound repentance, shall be 'hewn down, and cast into the fire' (Matt 3:10). This was Mr. Badman's case, he had attending of him a sinful life, and that to the very last, and yet died quietly, that is, without repentance; he is gone to hell and is damned. For the nature of repentance, I have touched upon that already, and showed that it never was where a quiet death is the immediate companion of a sinful life; and therefore Mr. Badman is gone to hell.
Secondly. My second argument is drawn from that blessed word of Christ. While the strong man armed keeps the house, 'his goods are in peace,' till a stronger than he comes (Luke 11:21). But the strong man armed kept Mr. Badman's house, that is, his heart, and soul, and body, for he went from a sinful life quietly out of this world. The stronger did not disturb by intercepting with sound repentance betwixt his sinful life and his quiet death. Therefore Mr. Badman is gone to hell.
The strong man armed is the devil, and quietness is his security. The devil never fears losing of the sinner, if he can but keep him quiet. Can he but keep him quiet in a sinful life, and quiet in his death, he is his own. Therefore he saith, 'his goods are in peace'; that is, out of danger. There is no fear of the devil's losing such a soul, I say, because Christ, who is the best judge in this matter, saith, 'his goods are in peace,' in quiet, and out of danger.
ATTEN. This is a good one too; for, doubtless, peace and quiet with sin is one of the greatest signs of a damnable state.
WISE. So it is. Therefore, when God would show the greatness of his anger against sin and sinners in one word, he saith, They are 'joined to idols; let them alone' (Hosea 4:17). Let them alone, that is, disturb them not; let them go on without control; let the devil enjoy them peaceably, let him carry them out of the world unconverted quietly. This is one of the sorest of judgments, and bespeaketh the burning anger of God against sinful men. See also when you come home, the fourteenth verse of the fourth chapter of Hosea, 'I will not punish your daughters when they commit whoredom.' I will let them alone, they shall live and die in their sins. But,
Thirdly. My third argument is drawn from that saying of Christ, 'He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them' (John 12:40). There are three things that I will take notice of from these words.
1. The first is, that there can be no conversion to God where the eye is darkened, and the heart hardened. The eye must first be made to see, and the heart to break and relent under and for sin, or else there can be no conversion. 'He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart, lest they should see, and understand and' so 'be converted.' And this was clearly Mr. Badman's case; he lived a wicked life, and also died with his eyes shut, and heart hardened, as is manifest, in that a sinful life was joined with a quiet death; and all for that he should not be converted, but partake of the fruit of his sinful life in hell-fire.
2. The second thing that I take notice of from these words is, that this is a dispensation and manifestation of God's anger against a man for his sin. When God is angry with men, I mean, when he is so angry with them, this among many is one of the judgments that he giveth them up unto, to wit, to blindness of mind, and hardness of heart, which he also suffereth to accompany them till they enter in at the gates of death. And then, and there, and not short of then and there, their eyes come to be opened. Hence it is said of the rich man mentioned in Luke, 'He died, and in hell he lifted up his eyes' (Luke 16:22). Implying that he did not lift them up before; he neither saw what he had done, nor whither he was going, till he came to the place of execution, even into hell. He died asleep in his soul; he died besotted, stupefied, and so consequently for quietness like a child or lamb, even as Mr. Badman did. This was a sign of God's anger; he had a mind to damn him for his sins, and therefore would not let him see nor have a heart to repent for them, lest he should convert; and his damnation, which God had appointed, should be frustrate. 'Lest they should be converted, and I should heal them.'
3. The third thing I take notice of from hence is, that a sinful life and a quiet death annexed to it is the ready, the open, the beaten, the common highway to hell: there is no surer sign of damnation than for a man to die quietly after a sinful life. I do not say that all wicked men that are molested at their death with a sense of sin and fears of hell do therefore go to heaven, for some are also made to see, and are left to despair, not converted by seeing, that they might go roaring out of this world to their place. But I say there is no surer sign of a man's damnation than to die quietly after a sinful life; than to sin and die with his eyes shut; than to sin and die with an heart that cannot repent. 'He hath blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart' (John 12:40). No not so long as they are in this world, 'Lest they should see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them' (Acts 28:26,27; Rom 2:1-5).
God has a judgment for wicked men; God will be even with wicked men. God knows how to reserve the ungodly to the day of judgment to be punished (2 Peter 2). And this is one of his ways by which he doth it. Thus it was with Mr. Badman.
4. Fourthly, it is said in the book of Psalms, concerning the wicked, 'There are no bands in their death, but their strength is firm' (Psa 73:4-6). By no bands he means no troubles, no gracious chastisements, no such corrections for sin as fall to be the lot of God's people for theirs; yea, that many times falls to be theirs at the time of their death. Therefore he adds concerning the wicked, 'They are not in trouble [then] as other men, neither are they plagued like other men'; but go as securely out of the world as if they had never sinned against God, and put their own souls into danger of damnation. 'There is no bands in their death.' They seem to go unbound, and set at liberty out of this world, though they have lived notoriously wicked all their days in it. The prisoner that is to die at the gallows for his wickedness, must first have his irons knocked off his legs; so he seems to go most at liberty, when indeed he is going to be executed for his transgressions. Wicked men also have no bands in their death, they seem to be more at liberty when they are even at the wind-up of their sinful life, than at any time besides.
Hence you shall have them boast of their faith and hope in God's mercy when they lie upon their death-bed; yea, you shall have them speak as confidently of their salvation as if they had served God all their days; when the truth is, the bottom of this their boasting is because they have no bands in their death. Their sin and base life comes not into their mind to correct them, and bring them to repentance; but presumptuous thoughts, and a hope and faith of the spider's, the devil's, making, possesseth their soul, to their own eternal undoing (Job 8:13,14).
[WITHOUT GODLY REPENTANCE, THE WICKED MAN'S HOPEAND LIFE DIE TOGETHER.]
Hence wicked men's hope is said to die, not before, but with them; they give up the ghost together. And thus did Mr. Badman. His sins and his hope went with him to the gate, but there his hope left him, because he died there; but his sins went in with him, to be a worm to gnaw him in conscience for ever and ever.
The opinion, therefore of the common people concerning this kind of dying is frivolous and vain; for Mr. Badman died like a lamb, or, as they call it, like a chrisom-child, quietly and without fear. I speak not this with reference to the struggling of nature with death, but as to the struggling of the conscience with the judgment of God. I know that nature will struggle with death. I have seen a dog and sheep die hardly. And thus may a wicked man do, because there is an antipathy betwixt nature and death. But even while, even then, when death and nature are struggling for mastery, the soul, the conscience, may be as besotted, as benumbed, as senseless and ignorant of its miserable state, as the block or bed on which the sick lies. And thus they may die like a chrisom-child in show, but indeed like one who by the judgment of God is bound over to eternal damnation; and that also by the same judgment is kept from seeing what they are, and whither they are going, till they plunge down among the flames.
And as it is a very great judgment of God on wicked men that so die, for it cuts them off from all possibility of repentance, and so of salvation, so it is as great a judgment upon those that are their companions that survive them, for by the manner of their death, they dying so quietly, so like unto chrisom-children, as they call it, they are hardened, and take courage to go on in their course.
For comparing their life with their death, their sinful, cursed lives, with their childlike, lamblike death, they think that all is well, that no damnation is happened to them; though they lived like devils incarnate, yet they died like harmless ones. there was no whirlwind, no tempest, no band or plague in their death. They died as quietly as the most godly of them all, and had as great faith and hope of salvation, and would talk as boldly of salvation as if they had assurance of it. But as was their hope in life, so was their death; their hope was without trial, because it was none of God's working, and their death was without molestation, because so was the judgment of God concerning them.
But I say, at this their survivors take heart to tread their steps, and to continue to live in the breach of the law of God; yea, they carry it stately in their villainies; for so it follows in the Psalm; 'There are no bands in their death, but their strength is firm,' &c. 'therefore pride compasseth them,' the survivors, 'about as a chain, violence covereth them as a garment' (Psa 73:6). Therefore they take courage to do evil, therefore they pride themselves in their iniquity. Therefore, wherefore? Why, because their fellows died, after they had lived long in a most profane and wicked life, as quietly and as like to lambs as if they had been innocent.
Yea, they are bold, by seeing this, to conclude that God either does not, or will not, take notice of their sins. They 'speak wickedly, and speak loftily' (Psa 73:8). They speak wickedly of sin, for that they make it better than by the Word it is pronounced to be. They speak wickedly concerning oppression that they commend, and count it a prudent act. They also speak loftily. 'They set their mouth against the heavens,' &c. 'And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the Most High?' (Psa 73:11). And all this, so far as I can see, ariseth in their hearts from the beholding of the quiet and lamblike death of their companions. 'Behold these are the ungodly who prosper in the world,' that is, by wicked ways; 'they increase in riches' (Psa 73:12).
This therefore is a great judgment of God, both upon that man that dieth in his sins, and also upon his companion that beholdeth him so to die. He sinneth, he dieth in his sins, and yet dieth quietly. What shall his companion say to this? What judgment shall he make how God will deal with him, by beholding the lamblike death of his companion? Be sure he cannot, as from such a sight, say, Woe be to me, for judgment is before him. He cannot gather that sin is a dreadful and a bitter thing, by the childlike death of Mr. Badman. But must rather, if he judgeth according to what he sees, or according to his corrupted reason, conclude with the wicked ones of old, that 'every one that doth evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?' (Mal 2:17).
Yea, this is enough to puzzle the wisest man. David himself was put to a stand by beholding the quiet death of ungodly men. 'Verily,' says he, 'I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency' (Psa 73:13). They, to appearance, fare better by far than I: 'Their eyes stand out with fatness,' they have more than heart could wish. But all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning. This, I say, made David wonder, yea, and Job and Jeremiah too. But he goeth into the sanctuary, and then he understands their end, nor could he understand it before. 'I went into the sanctuary of God.' What place was that? Why there where he might inquire of God, and by him he resolved of this matter; 'Then,' says he, 'understood I their end.' Then I saw that thou hast 'set them in slippery places,' and that 'thou castedst them down to destruction.' Castedst them down, that is, suddenly, or, as the next words say, 'As in a moment they are utterly consumed with terrors'; which terrors did not seize them on their sick-bed, for they had 'no bands' in their death. The terrors, therefore, seized them there, where also they are holden in them for ever. This he found out, I say, but not without great painfulness, grief, and pricking in his reins; so deep, so hard, and so difficult did he find it rightly to come to a determination in this matter.
And, indeed, this is a deep judgment of God towards ungodly sinners; it is enough to stagger a whole world, only the godly that are in the world have a sanctuary to go to, where the oracle and Word of God is, by which his judgments, and a reason of many of them are made known to, and understood by them.
ATTEN. Indeed this is a staggering dispensation. It is full of the wisdom and anger of God. And I believe, as you have said, that it is full of judgment to the world. Who would have imagined, that had not known Mr. Badman, and yet had seen him die, but that he had been a man of an holy life and conversation, since he died so stilly, so quietly, so like a lamb or a chrisom-child? Would they not, I say, have concluded that he was a righteous man? or that if they had known him and his life, yet to see him die so quietly, would they not have concluded that he had made his peace with God? Nay farther, if some had known that he had died in his sins, and yet that he had died so like a lamb, would they not have concluded that either God doth not know our sins, or that he likes them; or that he wants power, or will, or heart, or skill, to punish them; since Mr. Badman himself went from a sinful life so quietly, so peaceable, and so like a lamb as he did?
WISE. Without controversy, this is a heavy judgment of God upon wicked men; one goes to hell in peace, another goes to hell in trouble; one goes to hell, being sent thither by his own hands; another goes to hell, being sent thither by the hand of his companion; one goes thither with his eyes shut, and another goes thither with his eyes open; one goes thither roaring, and another goes thither boasting of heaven and happiness all the way he goes (Job 21:23). One goes thither like Mr. Badman himself, and others go thither as did his brethren. But above all, Mr. Badman's death, as to the manner of dying, is the fullest of snares and traps to wicked men; therefore, they that die as he are the greatest stumble to the world. They go, and go, they go on peaceably from youth to old age, and thence to the grave, and so to hell, without noise. 'They go as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks'; that is, both senselessly and securely. O! but being come at the gates of hell. O! but when they see those gates set open for them. O! but when they see that that is their home, and that they must go in thither, then their peace and quietness flies away for ever. Then they roar like lions, yell like dragons, howl like dogs, and tremble at their judgment, as do the devils themselves. O! when they see they must shoot the gulf and throat of hell! when they shall see that hell hath shut her ghastly jaws upon them, when they shall open their eyes and find themselves within the belly and bowels of hell! Then they will mourn, and weep, and hack, and gnash their teeth for pain. But his must not be, or if it must, yet very rarely, till they are gone out of the sight and hearing of those mortals whom they do leave behind them alive in the world.
ATTEN. Well, my good neighbour Wiseman, I perceive that the sun grows low, and that you have come to a conclusion with Mr. Badman's life and death; and, therefore, I will take my leave of you. Only first, let me tell you, I am glad that I have met with you to-day, and that our hap was to fall in with Mr. Badman's state. I also thank you for your freedom with me, in granting of me your reply to all my questions. I would only beg your prayers that God will give me much grace, that I may neither live nor die as did Mr. Badman.
WISE. My good neighbour Attentive, I wish your welfare in soul and body; and if aught that I have said of Mr. Badman's life and death may be of benefit unto you, I shall be heartily glad; only I desire you to thank God for it, and to pray heartily for me, that I with you may be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
ATTEN. Amen. Farewell.
WISE. I wish you heartily farewell.