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 for 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 consult the 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, there are 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 towards heaven, 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).