But Mr. Badman would not allow, by any means, that this should be called pride, but rather neatness, handsomeness, comeliness, cleanliness, &c., neither would he allow that following of fashions was anything else, but because he would not be proud, singular, and esteemed fantastical by his neighbours.
ATTEN. But I have been told that when some have been rebuked for their pride, they have turned it again upon the brotherhood of those by whom they have been rebuked, saying, Physician, heal thy friends, look at home among your brotherhood, even among the wisest of you, and see if you yourselves be clear, even you professors. For who is prouder than you professors? scarcely the devil himself.
WISE. My heart aches at this answer, because there is too much cause for it. This very answer would Mr. Badman give his wife when she, as she would sometimes, reprove him for his pride. We shall have, says he, great amendments in living now, for the devil is turned a corrector of vice; for no sin reigneth more in the world, quoth he, than pride among professors. And who can contradict him? Let us give the devil his due, the thing is too apparent for any man to deny. And I doubt not but the same answer is ready in the mouths of Mr. Badman's friends; for they may and do see pride display itself in the apparel and carriages of professors, one may say, almost as much, as among any people in the land, the more is the pity. Ay, and I fear that even their extravagancies in this hath hardened the heart of many a one, as I perceive it did somewhat the heart of Mr. Badman himself. For my own part, I have seen many myself, and those church members too, so decked and bedaubed with their fangles and toys, and that when they have been at the solemn appointments of God in the way of his worship, that I have wondered with what face such painted persons could sit in the place where they were without swooning. But certainly the holiness of God, and also the pollution of themselves by sin, must need be very far out of the minds of such people, what profession soever they make.
I have read of a whore's forehead, and I have read of Christian shamefacedness (Jer 3:3; 1 Tim 2:9). I have read of costly array, and of that which becometh women professing godliness, with good works (1 Peter 3:1-3). But if I might speak, I know what I know, and could say, and yet do no wrong, that which would make some professors stink in their places; but now I forbear (Jer 23:15).
ATTEN. Sir, you seem greatly concerned at this, but what if I shall say more? It is whispered that some good ministers have countenanced their people in their light and wanton apparel, yea, have pleaded for their gold and pearls, and costly array, &c.
WISE. I know not what they have pleaded for, but it is easily seen that they tolerate, or at leastwise, wink and connive at such things, both in their wives and children. And so 'from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all the land' (Jer 23:15). And when the hand of the rulers are chief in a trespass, who can keep their people from being drowned in that trespass? (Ezra 9:2).
ATTEN. This is a lamentation, and must stand for a lamentation.
WISE. So it is, and so it must. And I will add, it is a shame, it is a reproach, it is a stumbling block to the blind; for though men be as blind as Mr. Badman himself, yet they can see the foolish lightness that must needs be the bottom of all these apish and wanton extravagancies. But many have their excuses ready; to wit, their parents, their husbands, and their breeding calls for it, and the like; yea, the examples of good people prompt them to it; but all these will be but the spider's web, when the thunder of the word of the great God shall rattle from heaven against them, as it will at death or judgment; but I wish it might do it before. But alas! these excuses are but bare pretences, these proud ones love to have it so. I once talked with a maid by way of reproof for her fond and gaudy garment. But she told me, The tailor would make it so; when alas! poor proud girl, she gave order to the tailor so to make it. Many make parents, and husbands, and tailors, &c., the blind to others; but their naughty hearts, and their giving of way thereto, that is the original cause of all these evils.
ATTEN. Now you are speaking of the cause of pride, pray show me yet further why pride is now so much in request.
WISE. I will show you what I think are the reasons of it.
1. The first is, because, such persons are led by their own hearts, rather than by the Word of God (Mark 7:21-23). I told you before that the original fountain of pride is the heart. For out of the heart comes pride; it is, therefore, because they are led by their hearts, which naturally tend to lift them up in pride. This pride of heart tempts them, and by its deceits overcometh them; yea, it doth put a bewitching virtue into their peacock's feathers, and then they are swallowed up with the vanity of them (Oba 3).
2. Another reason why professors are so proud for those we are talking of now, is because they are more apt to take example by those that are of the world, than they are to take example of those that are saints indeed. Pride is of the world. 'For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father but of the world' (1 John 2:16). Of the world, therefore, professors learn to be proud. But they should not take them for example. It will be objected, No, nor your saints neither, for you are as proud as others; well, let them take shame that are guilty. But when I say professors should take example for their life by those that are saints indeed, I mean as Peter says; they should take example of those that were in old time the saints; for sin at of old time were the best, therefore to these he directed us for our pattern. Let the wives' conversation be chaste and also coupled with fear. 'Whose adorning,' saith Peter, 'let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner, in the old time, the holy women also who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection to their own husbands' (1 Peter 3:1-5).
3. Another reason is, because they have forgotten the pollution of their nature. For the remembrance of that must needs keep us humble, and being kept humble, we shall be at a distance from pride. The proud and the humble are set in opposition; 'God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.' And can it be imagined that a sensible Christian should be a proud one; sense of baseness tends to lay us low, not to lift us up with pride; not with pride of heart, nor pride of life. But when a man begins to forget what he is, then he, if ever, begins to be proud. Methinks it is one of the most senseless and ridiculous things in he world that a man should be proud of that which is given him on purpose to cover the shame of his nakedness with.
4. Persons that are proud have gotten God and his holiness out of their sight. If God was before them, as he is behind their back. And if they saw him in his holiness, as he sees them in their sins and shame, they would take but little pleasure in their apish knacks. The holiness of God makes the angels cover their faces, crumbles Christians, when they behold it, into dust and ashes. And as his majesty is, such is his Word (Isa 6). Therefore they abuse it that bring it to countenance pride.
Lastly. But what can be the end of those that are proud in the decking of themselves after their antic manner? Why are they for going with their bull's foretops, with their naked shoulders, and paps hanging out like a cow's bag? Why are they for painting their faces, for stretching out their neck, and for putting of themselves unto all the formalities which proud fancy leads them to? Is it because they would honour God? because they would adorn the gospel? because they would beautify religion, and make sinners to fall in love with their own salvation? No, no, it is rather to please their lusts, to satisfy their wild and extravagant fancies; and I wish none doth it to stir up lust in others, to the end they may commit uncleanness with them. I believe, whatever is their end, this is one of the great designs of the devil and I believe also that Satan has drawn more into the sin of uncleanness by the spangling show of fine cloths, than he could possibly have drawn unto it without them. I wonder what it was that of old was called the attire of a harlot; certainly it could not be more bewitching and tempting than are the garments of many professors this day.
ATTEN. I like what you say very well, and I wish that all the proud dames in England that profess were within the reach and sound of your words.
WISE. What I have said I believe is true; but as for the proud dames in England that profess, they have Moses and the prophets, and if they will not hear them, how then can we hope that they should receive good by such a dull-sounding ram's-horn as I am? However, I have said my mind, and now, if you will, we will proceed to some other of Mr. Badman's doings.
ATTEN. No; pray, before you show me anything else of Mr. Badman, show me yet more particularly the evil effects of this sin of pride.
WISE. With all my heart I will answer your request.
1. Then: It is pride that makes poor man so like the devil in hell, that he cannot in it be known to be the image and similitude of God. The angels, when they became devils, it was through their being lifted or puffed up with pride (1 Tim 3:6). It is pride also that lifteth or puffeth up the heart of the sinner, and so makes him to bear the very image of the devil.
2. Pride makes a man so odious in the sight of God, that he shall not, must not, come nigh his majesty. 'Though the Lord be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly; but the proud he knoweth afar off' (Psa 138:6). Pride sets God and the soul at a distance; pride will not let a man come nigh God, nor God will not let a proud man come nigh unto him. Now this is a dreadful thing.
3. As pride seest, so it keeps God and the soul at a distance. 'God resisteth the proud' (James 4:6). Resists, that is, he opposes him, he trusts him from him, he contemneth his person and all his performances. Come unto God's ordinances the proud man may; but come into his presence, have communion with him, or blessing from him, he shall not. For the high God doth resist him.
4. The Word saith that 'The Lord will destroy the house of the proud' (Prov 15:25). He will destroy his house; it may be understood he will destroy him and his. So he destroyed proud Pharaoh, so he destroyed proud Korah, and many others.
5. Pride, where it comes, and is entertained, is a certain forerunner of some judgment that is not far behind. When pride goes before, shame and destruction will follow after. 'When pride cometh, then cometh shame' (Prov 11:2). 'Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall' (Prov 16:18).
6. Persisting in pride makes the condition of a poor man as remediless as is that of the devils themselves (1 Tim 3:6). And this, I fear, was Mr. Badman's condition, and that was the reason that he died so as he did; as I shall show you anon.
But what need I thus talk of the particular actions, or rather the prodigious sins of Mr. Badman, when his whole life, and all his actions, went, as it were, to the making up one massy body of sin? Instead of believing that there was a God, his mouth, his life and actions, declared that he believed no such thing. His 'transgression saith within my heart, that there was no fear of God before his eyes' (Psa 36:1). Instead of honouring of God, and of giving glory to him for any of his mercies, or under any of his good providences toward him, for God is good to all, and lets his sun shine, and his rain fall upon the unthankful and unholy, he would ascribe the glory to other causes. If they were mercies, he would ascribe them, if the open face of the providence did not give him the lie, to his own wit, labour, care, industry, cunning, or the like. If they were crosses, he would ascribe them, or count them the offspring of fortune, ill luck, chance, the ill management of matters, the ill will of neighbours, or to his wife's being religious, and spending, as he called it, too much time in reading, praying, or the like. It was not in his way to acknowledge God, that is, graciously, or his hand in things. But, as the prophet saith, 'Let favour be showed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness' (Isa 26:10). And again, They returned not to him that smote them, nor did they seek the Lord of hosts (Isa 9:13). This was Mr. Badman's temper, neither mercies nor judgment would make him seek the Lord. Nay, as another scripture says, 'He would not see the works of God, nor regard the operations of his hands either in mercies or in judgments' (Isa 26:11; Psa 29:5). But farther, when by providence he has been cast under the best means for his soul—for, as was showed before, he having had a good master, and before him a good father, and after all a good wife, and being sometimes upon a journey, and cast under the hearing of a good sermon, as he would sometimes for novelty's sake go to hear a good preacher—he was always without heart to make use thereof (Prov 17:6). In this land of righteousness he would deal unjustly, and would not behold the majesty of the Lord (Isa 26:10).
Instead of referencing the Word, when he heard it preached, read, or discoursed of, he would sleep, talk of others business, or else object against the authority, harmony, and wisdom of the scriptures; saying, How do you know them to be the Word of God? How do you know that these sayings are true? The scriptures, he would say, were as a nose of wax, and a man may turn them whithersoever he lists. One scripture says one thing, and another says the quite contrary; besides, they make mention of a thousand impossibilities; they are the cause of all dissensions and discords that are in the land. Therefore you may, would he say, still think what you will, but in my mind they are best at ease that have least to do with them.
Instead of loving and honouring of them that did bear in their foreheads the name, and in their lives the image of Christ, they should be his song, the matter of his jests, and the objects of his slanders. He would either make a mock at their sober deportment, their gracious language, quiet behavior, or else desperately swear that they did all in deceit and hypocrisy. He would endeavour to render godly men as odious and contemptible as he could; any lies that were made by any, to their disgrace, those he would avouch for truth, and would not endure to be controlled. He was much like those that the prophet speaks of, that would sit and slander his mother's son (Psa 50:19,20). Yea, he would speak reproachfully of his wife, though his conscience told him, and many would testify, that she was a very virtuous woman. He would also raise slanders of his wife's friends himself, affirming that their doctrine tended to lasciviousness, and that in their assemblies they acted and did unbeseeming men and women, that they committed uncleanness, &c. He was much like those that affirmed the apostle should say, 'Let us do evil that good may come' (Rom 3:7,8). Or, like those of whom it is thus written; 'Report, say they, and we will report it' (Jer 20:10). And if he could get any thing by the end that had scandal in it, if it did but touch professors, how falsely soever reported, O! then he would glory, laugh, and be glad, and lay it upon the whole party; saying, Hang them rogues, there is not a barrel better herring of all the holy brotherhood of them. Like to like, quoth the devil to the collier, this is your precise crew. And then he would send all home with a curse.
ATTEN. If those that make profession of religion be wise, Mr. Badman's watchings and words will make them the more wary, and careful in all things.
WISE. You say true. For when we see men do watch for our halting, and rejoice to see us stumble and fall, it should make us so much abundantly the more careful.
I do think it was as delightful to Mr. Badman to hear, raise, and tell lies, and lying stories of them that fear the Lord, as it was for him to go to bed when a weary. But we will at this time let these things pass. For as he was in these things bad enough, so he added to these many more the like.
He was an angry, wrathful, envious man, a man that knew not what meekness or gentleness meant, nor did he desire to learn. His natural temper was to be surly, huffy, and rugged, and worse; and he so gave way to his temper, as to this, that it brought him to be furious and outrageous in all things, especially against goodness itself, and against other things too, when he was displeased.
ATTEN. Solomon saith, He is a fool that rageth (Prov 14:16).
WISE. He doth so; and says moreover, that 'Anger resteth in the bosom of fools' (Eccl 7:9). And, truly, if it be a sign of a fool to have anger rest in his bosom, then was Mr. Badman, notwithstanding the conceit that he had of his own abilities, a fool of no small size.
ATTEN. Fools are mostly most wise in their own eyes.
WISE. True; but I was a saying, that if it be a sign that a man is a fool, when anger rests in his bosom; then what is it a sign of, think you, when malice and envy rests there? For, to my knowledge Mr. Badman was as malicious and as envious a man as commonly you can hear of.
ATTEN. Certainly, malice and envy flow from pride and arrogancy, and they again from ignorance, and ignorance from the devil. And I thought, that since you spake of the pride of Mr. Badman before, we should have something of these before we had done.
WISE. Envy flows from ignorance indeed. And this Mr. Badman was so envious an one, where he set against, that he would swell with it as a toad, as we say, swells with poison. He whom he maligned, might at any time even read envy in his face wherever he met with him, or in whatever he had to do with him. His envy was so rank and strong, that if it at any time turned its head against a man, it would hardly ever be pulled in again; he would watch over that man to do him mischief, as the cat watches over the mouse to destroy it; yea, he would wait seven years, but he would have an opportunity to hurt him, and when he had it, he would make him feel the weight of his envy.
Envy is a devilish thing, the scripture intimates that none can stand before it: 'A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty; but a fool's wrath is heavier than them both. Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?' (Prov 27:3,4).
This envy, for the foulness of it, is reckoned among the foulest villainies that are, as adultery, murder, drunkenness, revellings, witchcrafts, heresies, seditions, &c. (Gal 5:19,20). Yea, it is so malignant a corruption, that it rots the very bones of him in whom it dwells. 'A sound heart is the life of the flesh; but envy the rottenness of the bones' (Prov 14:30).
ATTEN. This envy is the very father and mother of a great many hideous and prodigious wickednesses. I say, it is the very father and mother of them; it both begets them, and also nourishes them up, till they come to their cursed maturity in the bosom of him that entertains them.
WISE. You have given it a very right description, in calling of it the father and mother of a great many other prodigious wickednesses; for it is so venomous and vile a thing that it puts the whole course of nature out of order, and makes it fit for nothing but confusion, and a hold for every evil thing: 'For where envying and strife is, there is confusion, and every evil work' (James 3:16). Wherefore, I say, you have rightly called it the very father and mother of a great many other sins. And now for our further edification, I will reckon up of some of the births of envy. 1. Envy, as I told you before, it rotteth the very bones of him that entertains it. And, 2. As you have also hinted, it is heavier than a stone, than sand; yea, and I will add, it falls like a millstone upon the head. Therefore, 3. It kills him that throws it, and him at whom it is thrown. 'Envy slayeth the silly one' (Job 5:2). That is, him in whom it resides, and him who is its object. 4. It was that also that slew Jesus Christ himself; for his adversaries persecuted him through their envy (Matt 27:18; Mark 15:10). 5. Envy was that, by virtue of which Joseph was sold by his brethren into Egypt (Acts 7:9).
6. It is envy that hath the hand in making of variance among God's saints (Isa 11:13). 7. It is envy in the hearts of sinners, that stirs them up to trust God's ministers out of their coasts (Acts 13:50, 14:6). 8. What shall I say? It is envy that is the very nursery of whisperings, debates, backbitings, slanders, reproaches, murders, &c.
It is not possible to repeat all the particular fruits of this sinful root. Therefore, it is no marvel that Mr. Badman was such an ill-natured man, for the great roots of all manner of wickedness were in him unmortified, unmaimed, untouched.
ATTEN. But it is a rare case, even this of Mr. Badman, that he should never in all his life be touched with remorse for his ill-spent life.
[HE GETS DRUNK AND BREAKS HIS LEG—GOD'S JUDGMENTS UPON DRUNKARDS.]
WISE. Remorse, I cannot say he ever had, if by remorse you mean repentance for his evils. Yet twice I remember he was under some trouble of mind about his condition. Once when he broke his leg as he came home drunk from the ale-house; and another time when he fell sick, and thought he should die. Besides these two times, I do not remember any more.
ATTEN. Did he break his leg then?
WISE. Yes; once as he came home drunk from the ale-house.
ATTEN. Pray how did he break it?
WISE. Why upon a time he was at an ale-house, that wicked house about two or three miles from home, and having there drank hard the greatest part of the day, when night was come, he would stay no longer, but calls for his horse, gets up and like a madman, as drunken persons usually ride, away he goes, as hard as horse could lay legs to the ground. Thus he rid, till coming to a dirty place, where his horse flouncing in, fell, threw his master, and with his fall broke his leg. So there he lay. But you would not think how he swore at first. But after a while, he coming to himself, and feeling by his pain, and the uselessness of his leg, what case he was in, and also fearing that this bout might be his death; he began to cry out after the manner of such, Lord help me, Lord have mercy upon me, good God deliver me, and the like. So there he lay, till some came by, who took him up, carried him home, where he lay for some time, before he could go abroad again.
ATTEN. And then you say he called upon God.
WISE. He cried out in his pain, and would say, O God, and, O Lord, help me. But whether it was that his sin might be pardoned, and his soul saved, or whether to be rid of his pain, I will not positively determine; though I fear it was but for the last; because when his pain was gone, and he had got hopes of mending, even before he could go abroad, he cast off prayer, and began his old game; to wit, to be as bad as he was before. He then would send for his old companions; his sluts also would come to his house to see him, and with them he would be, as well as he could for his lame leg, as vicious as they could be for their hearts.
ATTEN. It was a wonder he did not break his neck.
WISE. His neck had gone instead of his leg, but that God was long-suffering towards him; he had deserved it ten thousand times over. There have been many, as I have heard, and as I have hinted to you before, that have taken their horses when drunk as he; but they have gone from the pot to the grave; for they have broken their necks betwixt the ale-house and home. One hard by us also drunk himself dead; he drank, and died in his drink.
ATTEN. It is a sad thing to die drunk.
WISE. So it is; but yet I wonder that no more do so. For considering the heinousness of that sin, and with how many others sins it is accompanied, as with oaths, blasphemies, lies, revellings, whorings, brawlings, &c., it is a wonder to me that any that live in that sin should escape such a blow from Heaven, that should tumble them into their graves. Besides, when I consider also how, when they are as drunk as beasts, they, without all fear of danger, will ride like bedlams and madmen, even as if they did dare God to meddle with them if he durst, for their being drunk. I say, I wonder that he doth not withdraw his protecting providences from them, and leave them to those dangers and destructions that by their sin they have deserved, and that by their bedlam madness they would rush themselves into. Only I consider again, that he has appointed a day wherein he will reckon with them, and doth also commonly make examples of some, to show that he takes notice of their sin, abhors their way, and will count with them for it at the set time (Acts 17:30,31).
ATTEN. It is worthy of our remark, to take notice how God, to show his dislike of the sins of men, strikes some of them down with a blow; as the breaking of Mr. Badman's leg, for doubtless that was a stroke from heaven.
WISE. It is worth our remark, indeed. It was an open stroke, it fell upon him while he was in the height of his sin; and it looks much like to that in Job—'Therefore he knoweth their works, and overturneth them in the night, so that they are destroyed. He striketh them as wicked men in the open sight of others.' Or, as the margin reads it, 'in the place of beholders' (Job 34:25,26). He lays them, with his stroke, in the place of beholders. There was Mr. Badman laid; his stroke was taken notice of by every one, his broken leg was at this time the town talk. Mr. Badman has broken his leg, says one. How did he break it? says another. As he came home drunk from such an ale-house, said a third. A judgment of God upon him, said a fourth. This his sin, his shame, and punishment, are all made conspicuous to all that are about him. I will here tell you another story or two.
I have read, in Mr. Clark's Looking-glass for Sinners, that upon a time a certain drunken fellow boasted in his cups that there was neither heaven nor hell; also he said he believed that man had no soul, and that, for his own part, he would sell his soul to any that would buy it. Then did one of his companions buy it of him for a cup of wine, and presently the devil, in man's shape, bought it of that man again at the same price; and so, in the presence of them all, laid hold on the soul-seller, and carried him away through the air, so that he was never more heard of.
He tells us also, that there was one at Salisbury, in the midst of his health, drinking and carousing in a tavern; and he drank a health to the devil, saying that if the devil would not come and pledge him, he would not believe that there was either God or devil. Whereupon his companions, stricken with fear, hastened out of the room; and presently after, hearing a hideous noise, and smelling a stinking savour, the vintner ran up into the chamber; and coming in he missed his guest, and found the window broken, the iron bar in it bowed, and all bloody. But the man was never heard of afterwards.
Again, he tells us of a bailiff of Hedley, who, upon a Lord's day, being drunk at Melford, got upon his horse, to ride through the streets, saying that his horse would carry him to the devil. And presently his horse threw him, and broke his neck. These things are worse than the breaking of Mr. Badman's leg; and should be a caution to all of his friends that are living, lest they also fall by their sin into these sad judgments of God.
But, as I said, Mr. Badman quickly forgot all; his conscience was choked before his leg was healed. And, therefore, before he was well of the fruit of one sin, he tempts God to send another judgment to seize upon him. And so he did quickly after. For not many months after his leg was well, he had a very dangerous fit of sickness, insomuch that now he began to think he must die in very deed.
[HIS PRETENDED REPENTINGS AND PROMISES OF REFORM WHEN DEATH GRIMLY STARES AT HIM.]
ATTEN. Well, and what did he think and do then?
WISE. He thought he must go to hell; that I know, for he could not forbear but say so. To my best remembrance, he lay crying out all one night for fear; and at times he would so tremble that he would make the very bed shake under him. But O! how the thoughts of death, of hell-fire, and of eternal judgment, did then wrack his conscience. Fear might be seen in his face, and in his tossings to and fro; it might also be heard in his words, and be understood by his heavy groans. He would often cry, I am undone, I am undone; my vile life has undone me!
ATTEN. Then his former atheistical thoughts and principles were too weak now to support him from the fears of eternal damnation.
WISE. Ay! they were too weak indeed. They may serve to stifle conscience, when a man is in the midst of his prosperity; and to harden the heart against all good counsel, when a man is left of God, and given up to his reprobate mind. But, alas, atheistical thoughts, notions, and opinions must shrink and melt away, when God sends, yea, comes with sickness to visit the soul of such a sinner for his sin. There was a man dwelt about twelve miles off from us, that had so trained up himself in his atheistical notions, that at last he attempted to write a book against Jesus Christ, and against the Divine authority of the scriptures. But I think it was not printed. Well, after many days, God struck him with sickness, whereof he died. So, being sick, and musing upon his former doings, the book that he had written came into his mind, and with it such a sense of his evil in writing of it, that it tore his conscience as a lion would tear a kid. He lay, therefore, upon his deathbed in sad case, and much affliction of conscience; some of my friends also went to see him; and as they were in his chamber one day, he hastily called for pen, ink, and paper; which when it was given him, he took it and writ to this purpose:—I, such a one, in such a town, must go to hell-fire, for writing a book against Jesus Christ, and against the Holy Scriptures. And would also have leaped out of the window of his house, to have killed himself, but was by them prevented of that; so he died in his bed, such a death as it was. It will be well if others take warning by him.
ATTEN. This is a remarkable story.
WISE. It is as true as remarkable. I had it from them that I dare believe, who also themselves were eye and ear witnesses; and also that catched him in their arms, and saved him, when he would have leaped out of his chamber window, to have destroyed himself!
ATTEN. Well, you have told me what were Mr. Badman's thoughts now, being sick, of his condition; pray tell me also what he then did when he was sick?
WISE. Did! he did many things which, I am sure, he never thought to have done; and which, to be sure, was not looked for of his wife and children. In this fit of sickness, his thoughts were quite altered about his wife; I say his thoughts, so far as could be judged by his words and carriages to her. For now she was his good wife, his godly wife, his honest wife, his duck and dear, and all. Now he told her that she had the best of it; she having a good life to stand by her, while his debaucheries and ungodly life did always stare him in the face. Now he told her the counsel that she often gave him was good; though he was so bad as not to take it.
Now he would hear her talk to him, and he would lie sighing by her while she so did. Now he would bid her pray for him, that he might be delivered from hell. He would also now consent that some of her good ministers might come to him to comfort him; and he would seem to show them kindness when they came, for he would treat them kindly with words, and hearken diligently to what they said; only he did not care that they should talk much of his ill-spent life, because his conscience was clogged with that already. He cared not now to see his old companions, the thoughts of them were a torment to him; and now he would speak kindly to that child of his that took after its mother's steps, though he could not at all abide it before.
He also desired the prayers of good people, that God of his mercy would spare him a little longer; promising that if God would but let him recover this once, what anew, what a penitent man he would be toward God, and what a loving husband he would be to his wife; what liberty he would give her, yea, how he would go with her himself, to hear her ministers, and how they should go hand in hand in the way to heaven together.
ATTEN. Here was a fine show of things; I'll warrant you, his wife was glad for this.
WISE. His wife! ay, and a many good people besides. It was noised all over the town what a great change there was wrought upon Mr. Badman; how sorry he was for his sins, how he began to love his wife, how he desired good men should pray to God to spare him; and what promises he now made to God, in his sickness, that if ever he should raise him from his sick bed to health again, what a new penitent man he would be towards God, and what a loving husband to his good wife. Well, ministers prayed, and good people rejoiced, thinking verily that they now had gotten a man from the devil; nay, some of the weaker sort did not stick to say that God had begun a work of grace in his heart; and his wife, poor woman, you cannot think how apt she was to believe it so; she rejoiced, and she hoped as she would have it. But, alas! alas! in little time things all proved otherwise.
After he had kept his bed a while, his distemper began to abate, and he to feel himself better; so he in a little time was so finely mended, that he could walk about the house, and also obtained a very fine stomach to his food; and now did his wife and her good friends stand gaping to see Mr. Badman fulfil his promise of becoming new towards God, and loving to his wife; but the contrary only showed itself. For, so soon as ever he had hopes of mending, and found that his strength began to renew, his trouble began to go off his heart, and he grew as great a stranger to his frights and fears, as if he never had them.
[DEATH LEAVES HIM FOR A SEASON, AND HE RETURNS TO HIS SIN LIKE A SOW THAT HAS BEEN WASHED TO HER WALLOWING IN THE MIRE.]
But verily, I am apt to think that one reason of his no more regarding or remembering of his sick-bed fears, and of being no better for them was some words that the doctor that supplied him with physic said to him when he was mending. For as soon as Mr. Badman began to mend, the doctor comes and sits him down by him in his house, and there fell into discourse with him about the nature of his disease; and among other things they talked of Badman's trouble, and how he would cry out, tremble, and express his fears of going to hell when his sickness lay pretty hard upon him. To which the doctor replied, that those fears and outcries did arise from the height of his distemper; for that disease was often attended with lightness of the head, by reason the sick party could not sleep, and for that the vapours disturbed the brain: but you see, Sir, quoth he, that so soon as you got sleep and betook yourself to rest, you quickly mended, and your head settled, and so those frenzies left you. And it was so indeed, thought Mr. Badman; was my troubles only the effects of my distemper, and because ill vapours got up into my brain? Then surely, since my physician was my saviour, my lust again shall be my god. So he never minded religion more, but betook him again to the world, his lusts and wicked companions: and there was an end of Mr. Badman's conversion.
ATTEN. I thought, as you told me of him, that this would be the result of the whole; for I discerned, by your relating of things, that the true symptoms of conversion were wanting in him, and that those that appeared to be anything like them, were only such as reprobates may have.
WISE. You say right, for there wanted in him, when he was most sensible, a sense of the pollution of his nature; he only had guilt for his sinful actions, the which Cain, and Pharaoh, and Saul, and Judas, those reprobates, have had before him (Gen 4:13,14; Exo 9:27; 1 Sam 15:24; Matt 27:3-5).
Besides, the great things that he desired, were to be delivered from going to hell, and who would, willingly? and that his life might be lengthened in this world. We find not, by all that he said or did, that Jesus Christ the Saviour was desired by him, from a sense of his need of his righteousness to clothe him, and of his Spirit to sanctify him. His own strength was whole in him, he saw nothing of the treachery of his own heart: for had he, he would never have been so free to make promises to God of amendment. He would rather have been afraid, that if he had mended, he should have turned with the dog to his vomit, and have begged prayers of the saints, and assistance from heaven upon that account, that he might have been kept from doing so. It is true he did beg prayers of good people, and so did Pharaoh of Moses and Aaron, and Simon Magus of Simon Peter (Exo 9:28; Acts 8:24). His mind also seemed to be turned to his wife and child; but, alas! it was rather from conviction that God had given him concerning their happy estate over his, than for that he had any true love to the work of God that was in them. True, some shows of kindness he seemed to have for them, and so had rich Dives when in hell, to his five brethren that were yet in the world: yea, he had such love as to wish them in heaven, that they might not come thither to be tormented (Luke 16:27,28).
ATTEN. Sick-bed repentance is seldom good for anything.
WISE. You say true, it is very rarely good for anything indeed. Death is unwelcome to nature, and usually when sickness and death visit the sinner; the first taking of him by the shoulder, and the second standing at the bed-chamber door to receive him; then the sinner begins to look about him, and to bethink with himself, these will have me away before God; and I know that my life has not been as it should, how shall I do to appear before God! Or if it be more the sense of the punishment, and the place of the punishment of sinners, that also is starting to a defiled conscience, now roused by death's lumbering at the door. And hence usually is sick-bed repentance, and the matter of it; to wit, to be saved from hell, and from death, and that God will restore again to health till they mend, concluding that it is in their power to mend, as is evident by their large and lavishing promises to do it. I have known many that, when they have been sick, have had large measures of this kind of repentance, and while it has lasted, the noise and sound thereof has made the town to ring again. But, alas! how long has it lasted? ofttimes scarce so long as until the party now sick has been well. It has passed away like a mist or a vapour, it has been a thing of no continuance. But this kind of repentance is by God compared to the howling of a dog. 'And they have not cried unto me with their heart, when they howled upon their beds' (Hosea 7:14).
ATTEN. Yet one may see by this the desperateness of man's heart; for what is it but desperate wickedness to make promise to God of amendment, if he will but spare them; and yet, so soon as they are recovered, or quickly after, fall to sin as they did before, and never to regard their promise more.
WISE. It is a sign of desperateness indeed; yea, of desperate madness (Deut 1:34,35). For, surely, they must needs think that God took notice of their promise, that he heard the words that they spake, and that he hath laid them up against the time to come; and will then bring out, and testify to their faces, that they flattered him with their mouth, and lied unto him with their tongue, when they lay sick, to their thinking, upon their death-bed, and promised him that if he would recover them they would repent and amend their ways (Psa 78:34-37). But thus, as I have told you, Mr. Badman did. He made great promises that he would be a new man, that he would leave his sins and become a convert, that he would love, &c. his godly wife, &c. Yea, many fine words had Mr. Badman in his sickness, but no good actions when he was well.
[HIS PIOUS WIFE DIES BROKEN-HEARTED.—HER DEATH-BED CHARGE TO HER FAMILY.]
ATTEN. And how did his good wife take it, when she saw that he had no amendment, but that he returned with the dog to his vomit, to his old courses again?
WISE. Why, it broke her heart, it was a worse disappointment to her than the cheat that he gave her in marriage. At least she laid it more to heart, and could not so well grapple with it. You must think that she had put up many a prayer to God for him before, even all the time that he had carried it so badly to her, and now, when he was so affrighted in his sickness, and so desired that he might live and mend; poor woman, she thought that the time was come for God to answer her prayers; nay, she did not let with gladness, to whisper it out amongst her friends, that it was so: but when she saw herself disappointed by her husband turning rebel again, she could not stand up under it, but falls into a languishing distemper, and in a few weeks gave up the ghost.
ATTEN. Pray how did she die?
WISE. Die! she died bravely; full of comfort of the faith of her interest in Christ, and by him, of the world to come. She had many brave expressions in her sickness, and gave to those that came to visit her many signs of her salvation; the thoughts of the grave, but especially of her rising again, were sweet thoughts to her. She would long of death, because she knew it would be her friend. She behaved herself like to some that were making of them ready to go meet their bridegroom. Now, said she, I am going to rest from my sorrows, my sighs, my tears, my mournings, and complaints: I have heretofore longed to be among the saints, but might by no means be suffered to go, but now I am going, and no man can stop me, to the great meeting, 'to the general assembly, and church of the first born which are written in heaven' (Heb 12:22-24). There I shall have my heart's desire; there I shall worship without temptation or other impediment; there I shall see the face of my Jesus, whom I have loved, whom I have served, and who now I know will save my soul. I have prayed often for my husband, that he might be converted, but there has been no answer of God in that matter. Are my prayers lost? are they forgotten? are they thrown over the bar? No: they are hanged upon the horns of the golden altar, and I must have the benefit of them myself, that moment that I shall enter into the gates, in at which the righteous nation that keepeth truth shall enter: I say, I shall have the benefit of them. I can say as holy David; I say, I can say of my husband, as he could of his enemies: 'As for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth; I humbled my soul with fasting, and my prayer returned into mine own bosom' (Psa 35:13). My prayers are not lost, my tears are yet in God's bottle; I would have had a crown, and glory for my husband, and for those of my children that follow his steps; but so far as I can see yet, I must rest in the hope of having all myself.
ATTEN. Did she talk thus openly?
WISE. No: this she spake but to one or two of her most intimate acquaintance, who were permitted to come and see her, when she lay languishing upon her death-bed.
ATTEN. Well, but pray go on in your relation, this is good; I am glad to hear it, this is as a cordial to my heart while we sit thus talking under this tree.
WISE. When she drew near her end, she called for her husband, and when he was come to her she told him that now he and she must part, and, said she, God knows, and thou shalt know, that I have been a loving, faithful wife unto thee; my prayers have been many for thee; and as for all the abuses that I have received at thy hand, those I freely and heartily forgive, and still shall pray for thy conversion, even as long as I breathe in this world. But husband, I am going thither, where no bad man shall come, and if thou dost not convert, thou wilt never see me more with comfort; let not my plain words offend thee; I am thy dying wife, and of my faithfulness to thee, would leave this exhortation with thee; break off thy sins, fly to God for mercy while mercy's gate stands open; remember that the day is coming, when thou, though now lusty and well, must lie at the gates of death as I do; and what wilt thou then do, if thou shalt be found with a naked soul, to meet with the cherubims with their flaming swords? Yea, what wilt thou then do, if death and hell shall come to visit thee, and thou in thy sins, and under the curse of the law?
ATTEN. This was honest and plain; but what said Mr. Badman to her?
WISE. He did what he could to divert her talk, by throwing in other things; he also showed some kind of pity to her now, and would ask her what she would have? and with various kind of words put her out of her talk; for when she saw that she was not regarded, she fetched a deep sigh, and lay still. So he went down, and then she called for her children, and began to talk to them. And first she spake to those that were rude, and told them the danger of dying before they had grace in their hearts. She told them also that death might be nearer them than they were aware of; and bid them look when they went through the churchyard again, if there were not little graves there. And, ah children, said she, will it not be dreadful to you if we only shall meet at the day of judgment, and then part again, and never see each other more? And with that she wept, the children also wept: so she held on her discourse. Children, said she, I am going from you; I am going to Jesus Christ, and with him there is neither sorrow, nor sighing, nor pain, nor tears, nor death (Rev 7:16, 21:3,4). Thither would I have you go also, but I can neither carry you nor fetch you thither; but if you shall turn from your sins to God, and shall beg mercy at his hands by Jesus Christ, you shall follow me, and shall, when you die, come to the place where I am going, that blessed place of rest; and then we shall be for ever together, beholding the face of our Redeemer, to our mutual and eternal joy. So she bid them remember the words of a dying mother when she was cold in her grave, and themselves were hot in their sins, if perhaps her words might put check to their vice, and that they might remember and turn to God.
Then they all went down but her darling, to wit, the child that she had most love for, because it followed her ways. So she addressed herself to that. Come to me, said she, my sweet child, thou art the child of my joy; I have lived to see thee a servant of God; thou shalt have eternal life. I, my sweet heart, shall go before, and thou shalt follow after, if thou shalt 'hold the beginning of thy confidence stedfast unto the end' (Heb 3:14). When I am gone, do thou still remember my words. Love thy Bible, follow my ministers, deny ungodliness still, and if troublesome times shalt come, set a higher price upon Christ, his word, and ways, and the testimony of a good conscience, than upon all the world besides. Carry it kindly and dutifully to thy father, but choose none of his ways. If thou mayest go to service, choose that rather than to stay at home; but then be sure to choose a service where thou mayest be helped forwards in the way to heaven; and that thou mayest have such a service, speak to my minister, he will help thee, if possible, to such a one.
I would have thee also, my dear child, to love thy brothers and sisters, but learn none of their naughty tricks. 'Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them' (Eph 5:11). Thou hast grace, they have none; do thou therefore beautify the way of salvation before their eyes, by a godly life and conformable conversation to the revealed will of God, that thy brothers and sisters may see and be the more pleased with the good ways of the Lord. If thou shalt live to marry, take heed of being served as I was; that is, of being beguiled with fair words and the flatteries of a lying tongue. But first be sure of godliness, yea, as sure as it is possible for one to be in this world. Trust not thine own eyes, nor thine own judgment, I mean as to that person's godliness that thou art invited to marry. Ask counsel of good men, and do nothing therein, if he lives, without my minister's advice. I have also myself desired him to look after thee. Thus she talked to her children, and gave them counsel; and after she had talked to this a little longer, she kissed it, and bid it go down.
Well, in short, her time drew on, and the day that she must die. So she died, with a soul full of grace, a heart full of comfort, and by her death ended a life full of trouble. Her husband made a funeral for her, perhaps because he was glad he was rid of her, but we will leave that to the manifest at judgment.
ATTEN. This woman died well. And now we are talking of the dying of Christians, I will tell you a story of one that died some time since in our town. The man was a godly old Puritan, for so the godly were called in time past. This man, after a long and godly life, fell sick, of the sickness whereof he died. And as he lay drawing on, the woman that looked to him thought she heard music, and that the sweetest that ever she heard in her life, which also continued until he gave up the ghost. Now when his soul departed from him the music seemed to withdraw, and to go further and further off from the house, and so it went until the sound was quite gone out of hearing.
WISE. What do you think that might be?
ATTEN. For ought I know the melodious notes of angels, that were sent of God to fetch him to heaven.
WISE. I cannot say but that God goes out of his ordinary road with us poor mortals sometimes. I cannot say this of this woman, but yet she had better music in her heart than sounded in this woman's ears.
ATTEN. I believe so; but pray tell me, did any of her other children hearken to her words, so as to be bettered in their souls thereby?
WISE. One of them did, and became a very hopeful young man. But for the rest I can say nothing.
ATTEN. And what did Badman do after his wife was dead?
WISE. Why, even as he did before; he scarce mourned a fortnight for her, and his mourning then was, I doubt, more in fashion than in heart.
ATTEN. Would he not sometimes talk of his wife when she was dead?
WISE. Yes, when the fit took him, and could commend her too extremely, saying she was a good, godly, virtuous woman. But this is not a thing to be wondered at. It is common with wicked men to hate God's servants while alive, and to commend them when they are dead. So served the Pharisees the prophets. Those of the prophets that were dead they commended, and those of them that were alive they condemned. (Matt 23).
[HE IS TRICKED INTO A SECOND MARRIAGE BY A WOMAN AS BAD AS HIMSELF.]
ATTEN. But did not Mr. Badman marry again quickly?
WISE. No, not a good while after; and when he was asked the reason he would make this slighty answer, Who would keep a cow of their own that can have a quart of milk for a penny? Meaning, who would be at the charge to have a wife that can have a whore when he listeth? So villainous, so abominable did he continue after the death of his wife. Yet at last there as one was too hard for him. For getting of him to her upon a time, and making of him sufficiently drunk, she was so cunning as to get a promise of marriage of him, and so held him to it, and forced him to marry her. And she, as the saying is, was as good as he at all his vile and ranting tricks. She had her companions as well as he had his, and she would meet them too at the tavern and ale-house more commonly than he was aware of. To be plain, she was a very whore, and had as great resort came to her, where time and place was appointed, as any of them all. Ay, and he smelt it too, but could not tell how to help it. For if he began to talk, she could lay in his dish the whores that she knew he haunted, and she could fit him also with cursing and swearing, for she would give him oath for oath, and curse for curse.
ATTEN. What kind of oaths would she have?
WISE. Why, damn her, and sink her, and the like.
ATTEN. These are provoking things.
WISE. So they are; but God doth not altogether let such things go unpunished in this life. Something of this I have showed you already, and will here give you one or two instances more.
There lived, saith one, in the year 1551, in a city of Savoy, a man who was a monstrous curser and swearer, and though he was often admonished and blamed for it, yet would he by no means mend his manners. At length a great plague happening in the city, he withdrew himself [with his wife and a kinswoman] into a garden, where being again admonished to give over his wickedness, he hardened his heart more, swearing, blaspheming God, and giving himself to the devil. And immediately the devil snatched him up suddenly, his wife and kinswoman looking on, and carried him quite away. The magistrates, advertised hereof, went to the place and examined the women, who justified the truth of it.
Also at Oster, in the duchy of Magalapole, saith Mr. Clark, a wicked woman used in her cursing to give herself body and soul to the devil, and being reproved for it, still continued the same; till, being at a wedding-feast, the devil came in person, and carried her up into the air, with most horrible outcries and roarings; and in that sort carried her round about the town, that the inhabitants were ready to die for fear. And by and by he tore her in four pieces, leaving her four quarters in four several highways; and then brought her bowels to the marriage-feast, and threw them upon the table before the mayor of the town, saying, Behold these dishes of meat belong to thee, whom the like destruction waiteth for if thou dost not amend thy wicked life.
ATTEN. Though God forbears to deal thus with all men that thus rend and tear his name, and that immediate judgments do not overtake them, yet he makes their lives by other judgments bitter to them, does he not?
WISE. Yes, yes, and for proof, I need go no farther than to this Badman and his wife; for their railing, and cursing, and swearing ended not in words. They would fight and fly at each other, and that like cats and dogs. But it must be looked upon as the hand and judgment of God upon him for his villainy; he had an honest woman before, but she would not serve his turn, and therefore God took her away, and gave him one as bad as himself. Thus that measure that he meted to his first wife, this last did mete to him again. And this is a punishment wherewith sometimes God will punish wicked men. So said Amos to Amaziah, 'Thy wife shall be a harlot in the city' (Amos 7:17). With this last wife Mr. Badman lived a pretty while; but, as I told you before, in a most sad and hellish manner. And now he would bewail his first wife's death; not of love that he had to her godliness, for that he could never abide, but for that she used always to keep home, whereas this would go abroad; his first wife was also honest, and true to that relation, but this last was a whore of her body. The first woman loved to keep things together, but this last would whirl them about as well as he. The first would be silent when he chid, and would take it patiently when he abused her; but this would give him word for word, blow for blow, curse for curse; so that now Mr. Badman had met with his match. God had a mind to make him see the baseness of his own life in the wickedness of his wife's. But all would not do with Mr. Badman, he would be Mr. Badman still. This judgment did not work any reformation upon him, no, not to God nor man.
ATTEN. I warrant you that Mr. Badman thought when his wife was dead, that next time he would match far better.
WISE. What he thought I cannot tell, but he could not hope for it in this match. For here he knew himself to be catched, he knew that he was by this woman entangled, and would therefore have gone back again, but could not. He knew her, I say, to be a whore before, and therefore could not promise himself a happy life with her. For he or she that will not be true to their own soul, and therefore could not expect she should be true to him. But Solomon says, 'A whore is a deep ditch,' and Mr. Badman found it true. For when she had caught him in her pit, she would never leave him till she had got him to promise her marriage; and when she had taken him so far, she forced him to marry indeed. And after that, they lived that life that I have told you.
ATTEN. But did not the neighbours take notice of this alteration that Mr. Badman had made?
WISE. Yes; and many of his neighbours, yea, many of those that were carnal said, It is a righteous judgment of God upon him for his abusive carriage and language to his other wife: for they were all convinced that she was a virtuous woman, and that he, vile wretch, had killed her, I will not say with, but with the want of kindness.
[HE PARTS FROM HIS WIFE—DISEASES ATTACK HIM UNDER CAPTAIN CONSUMPTION, HE ROTS AWAY, AND DIES IN SINFUL SECURITY.]
ATTEN. And how long, I pray, did they live thus together.
WISE. Some fourteen or sixteen years, even until, though she also brought something with her, they had sinned all away, and parted as poor as howlets. And, in reason, how could it be otherwise? he would have his way, and she would have hers; he among his companions, and she among hers; he with his whores, and she with her rogues; and so they brought their noble to ninepence.
ATTEN. Pray of what disease did Mr. Badman die, for now I perceive we are come up to his death?
WISE. I cannot so properly say that he died of one disease, for there were many that had consented, and laid their heads together to bring him to his end. He was dropsical, he was consumptive, he was surfeited, was gouty, and, as some say, he had a tang of the pox in his bowels. Yet the captain of all these men of death that came against him to take him away, was the consumption, for it was that that brought him down to the grave.
ATTEN. Although I will not say but the best men may die of a consumption, a dropsy, or a surfeit; yea, that these may meet upon a man to end him; yet I will say again, that many times these diseases come through man's inordinate use of things. Much drinking brings dropsies, consumptions, surfeits, and many other diseases; and I doubt that Mr. Badman's death did come by his abuse of himself in the use of lawful and unlawful things. I ground this my sentence upon that report of his life that you at large have given me.
WISE. I think verily that you need not call back your sentence; for it is thought by many that by his cups and his queans he brought himself to this his destruction: he was not an old man when he died, nor was he naturally very feeble, but strong and of a healthy complexion. Yet, as I said, he moultered away, and went, when he set agoing, rotten to his grave. And that which made him stink when he was dead, I mean, that made him stink in his name and fame, was, that he died with a spice of the foul disease upon him. A man whose life was full of sin, and whose death was without repentance.
ATTEN. These were blemishes sufficient to make him stink indeed.
WISE. They were so, and they did do it. No man could speak well of him when he was gone. His name rotted above ground, as his carcase rotted under. And this is according to the saying of the wise man, 'The memory of the just is blessed, but the name of the wicked shall rot' (Prov 10:7).
This text, in both the parts of it, was fulfilled upon him and the woman that he married first. For her name still did flourish, though she had been dead almost seventeen years; but his began to stink and rot before he had been buried seventeen days.
ATTEN. That man that dieth with a life full of sin, and with a heart void of repentance, although he should die of the most golden disease, if there were any thing that might be so called, I will warrant him his name shall stink, and that in heaven and earth.
WISE. You say true; and therefore doth the name of Cain, Pharaoh, Saul, Judas, and the Pharisees, though dead thousands of years ago, stink as fresh in the nostrils of the world as if they were but newly dead.
ATTEN. I do fully acquiesce with you in this. But, Sir, since you have charged him with dying impenitent, pray let me see how you will prove it; not that I altogether doubt it, because you have affirmed it, but yet I love to have proof for what men say in such weighty matters.
WISE. When I said he died without repentance, I meant so far as those that knew him could judge, when they compared his life, the Word, and his death together.
ATTEN. Well said, they went the right way to find out whether he had, that is, did manifest that he had repentance or no. Now then show me how they did prove he had none.
WISE. So I will. And first, this was urged to prove it. He had not in all the time of his sickness a sight and sense of his sins, but was as secure, and as much at quiet, as if he had never sinned in all his life.
ATTEN. I must needs confess that this is a sign he had none. For how can a man repent of that of which he hath neither sight nor sense? But it is strange that he had neither sight nor sense of sin now, when he had such a sight and sense of his evil before; I mean when he was sick before.
WISE. He was, as I said, as secure now as if he had been as sinless as an angel; though all men knew what a sinner he was, for he carried his sins in his forehead. His debauched life was read and known of all men; but his repentance was read and known of no man; for, as I said, he had none. And for ought I know, the reason why he had no sense of his sins now was, because he profited not by that sense that he had of them before. He liked not to retain that knowledge of God then, that caused his sins to come to remembrance. Therefore God gave him up now to a reprobate mind, to hardness and stupidity of spirit; and so was that scripture fulfilled upon him, 'He hath blinded their eyes' (Isa 6:10). And that, 'Let their eyes be darkened that they may not see' (Rom 11:10). O, for a man to live in sin, and to go out of the world without repentance for it, is the saddest judgment that can overtake a man.
ATTEN. But, Sir, although both you and I have consented that without a sight and sense of sin there can be no repentance, yet that is but our bare say so; let us therefore now see if by the scripture we can make it good.
WISE. That is easily done. The three thousand that were converted (Acts 2), repented not till they had sight and sense of their sins. Paul repented not till he had sight and sense of his sins (Act 9). The jailer repented not till the had sight and sense of his sins; nor could they (Act 16). For of what should a man repent? The answer is, Of sin. What is it to repent of sin? The answer is, To be sorry for it, to turn from it. But how can a man be sorry for it, that has neither sight nor sense of it? (Psa 38:18). David did not only commit sins, but abode impenitent for them, until Nathan the prophet was sent from God to give him a sight and sense of them; and then, but not till then, he indeed repented of them (2 Sam 12). Job, in order to his repentance, cries unto God, 'Show me wherefore thou contendest with me?' (Job 10:2). And again, 'That which I see not teach thou me, I have borne chastisement, I will not offend any more' (Job 34:32). That is, not in what I know, for I will repent of it; nor yet in what I know not, when thou shalt show me it. Also Ephraim's repentance was after he was turned to the sight and sense of his sins, and after he was instructed about the evil of them (Jer 31:18-20).
ATTEN. These are good testimonies of this truth, and do, if matter of fact, with which Mr. Badman is charged, be true, prove indeed that he did not repent, but as he lived so he died in his sin (Job 20:11). For without repentance a man is sure to die in his sin; for they will lie down in the dust with him, rise at the judgment with him, hang about his neck like cords and chains when he standeth at the bar of God's tribunal (Prov 5:22). And go with him, too, when he goes away from the judgment-seat, with a 'Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels' (Matt 25:41). And there shall fret and gnaw his conscience, because they will be to him a never-dying worm (Mark 9:44; Isa 66:24).
WISE. You say well, and I will add a word or two more to what I have said. Repentance, as it is not produced without a sight and sense of sin, so every sight and sense of sin cannot produce it; I mean every sight and sense of sin cannot produce that repentance, that is repentance unto salvation; repentance never to be repented of. For it is yet fresh before us, that Mr. Badman had a sight and sense of sin, in that fit of sickness that he had before, but it died without procuring any such godly fruit; as was manifest by his so soon returning with the dog to his vomit. Many people think also that repentance stands in confession of sin only, but they are very much mistaken; for repentance, as was said before, is a being sorry for, and returning from transgression to God by Jesus Christ. Now, if this be true, that every sight and sense of sin will not produce repentance, then repentance cannot be produced there where there is no sight and sense of sin. That every sight and sense of sin will not produce repentance, to wit, the godly repentance that we are speaking of, is manifest in Cain, Pharaoh, Saul, and Judas, who all of them had sense, great sense of sin, but none of them repentance unto life.
Now I conclude that Mr. Badman did die impenitent, and so a death most miserable.
ATTEN. But pray now, before we conclude our discourse of Mr. Badman, give me another proof of his dying in his sins.
WISE. Another proof is this, he did not desire a sight and sense of sins, that he might have repentance for them. Did I say he did not desire it, I will add, he greatly desired to remain in his security, and that I shall prove by that which follows. First, he could not endure that any man now should talk to him of his sinful life, and yet that was the way to beget a sight and sense of sin, and so of repentance from it, in his soul. But I say he could not endure such discourse. Those men that did offer to talk unto him of his ill-spent life, they were as little welcome to him, in the time of his last sickness, as was Elijah when he went to meet with Ahab as he went down to take possession of Naboth's vineyard. 'Hast thou found me,' said Ahab, 'O mine enemy?' (1 Kings 21:17-21). So would Mr. Badman say in his heart to and of those that thus did come to him, though indeed they came even of love to convince him of his evil life, that he might have repented thereof and have obtained mercy.
ATTEN. Did good men then go to see him in his last sickness?
WISE. Yes. Those that were his first wife's acquaintance, they went to see him, and to talk with him, and to him, if perhaps he might now, at last, bethink himself and cry to God for mercy.
ATTEN. They did well to try now at last if they could save his soul from hell. But pray how can you tell that he did not care for the company of such?
WISE. Because of the differing carriage that he had for them from what he had when his old carnal companions came to see him. When his old companions came to see him he would stir up himself as much as he could, both by words, and looks, to signify they were welcome to him; he would also talk with them freely and look pleasantly upon them, though the talk of such could be none other but such as David said carnal men would offer to him when they came to visit him in his sickness. 'If he come to see me,' says he, 'he speaketh vanity, his heart gathereth iniquity to itself' (Psa 41:6). But these kind of talks, I say, Mr. Badman better brooked than he did the company of better men.
But I will more particularly give you a character of his carriage to good men, and good talk, when they came to see him. 1. When they were come he would seem to fail in his spirits at the sight of them. 2. He would not care to answer them to any of those questions that they would at times put to him, to feel what sense he had of sin, death, hell, and judgment. But would either say nothing or answer them by way of evasion, or else by telling of them he was so weak and spent that he could not speak much. 3. He would never show forwardness to speak to or talk with them, but was glad when they held their tongues. He would ask them no question about his state and another world, or how he should escape that damnation that he had deserved. 4. He had got a haunt at last to bid his wife and keeper, when these good people attempted to come to see him, to tell them that he was asleep, or inclining to sleep, or so weak for want thereof that he could not abide any noise. And so they would serve them time after time, till at last they were discouraged from coming to see him any more. 5. He was so hardened now in this time of his sickness, that he would talk, when his companions came unto him, to the disparagement of those good men, and of their good doctrine too, that of love did come to see him, and that did labour to convert him. 6. When these good men went away from him he would never say, Pray, when will you be pleased to come again, for I have a desire to more of your company and to hear more of your good instruction? No, not a word of that, but when they were going would scarce bid them drink, or say, Thank you for your good company and good instruction. 7. His talk in his sickness with his companions would be of the world, as trades, houses, lands, great men, great titles, great places, outward prosperity or outward adversity, or some such carnal thing. By all which I conclude that he did not desire a sense and sight of his sin, that he might repent and be saved.
ATTEN. It must needs be so as you say, if these things be true that you have asserted of him. And I do the rather believe them, because I think you dare not tell a lie of the dead.
WISE. I was one of them that went to him and that beheld his carriage and manner of way, and this is a true relation of it that I have given you.
ATTEN. I am satisfied. But pray, if you can, show me now, by the Word, what sentence of God doth pass upon such men.
WISE. Why, the man that is thus averse to repentance, that desires not to hear of his sins that he might repent and be saved, is said to be a man that saith unto God, 'Depart from me, for I desire not the knowledge of thy ways' (Job 21:14). He is a man that says in his heart and with his actions, 'I have loved strangers [sins] and after them will I go' (Jer 2:25). He is a man that shuts his eyes, stops his ears, and that turneth his spirit against God (Zech 7:11,12; Acts 28:26,27). Yea, he is the man that is at enmity with God, and that abhors him with his soul.
ATTEN. What other sign can you give me that Mr. Badman died without repentance?
WISE. Why, he did never heartily cry to God for mercy all the time of his affliction. True, when sinking fits, stitches, or pains took hold upon him, then he would say, as other carnal men used to do, Lord, help me; Lord, strengthen me; Lord, deliver me, and the like. But to cry to God for mercy, that he did not, but lay, as I hinted before, as if he never had sinned.
ATTEN. That is another bad sign indeed, for crying to God for mercy is one of the first signs of repentance. When Paul lay repenting of his sin upon his bed, the Holy Ghost said of him, 'Behold he prayeth' (Acts 9:11). But he that hath not the first signs of repentance, it is a sign he hath none of the other, and so indeed none at all. I do not say but there may be crying where there may be no sign of repentance. 'They cried,' says David, 'unto the Lord, but he answered them not'; but that he would have done if their cry had been the fruit of repentance (Psa 18:41). But, I say, if men may cry and yet have no repentance, be sure they have none that cry not at all. It is said in Job, 'they cry not when he bindeth them' (Job 36:13); that is, because they have no repentance; no repentance, no cries; false repentance, false cries; true repentance, true cries.
WISE. I know that it is as possible for a man to forbear crying that hath repentance, as it is for a man to forbear groaning that feeleth deadly pain. He that looketh into the book of Psalms, where repentance is most lively set forth even in its true and proper effects, shall their find that crying, strong crying, hearty crying, great crying, and incessant crying, hath been the fruits of repentance; but none of this had this Mr. Badman, therefore he died in his sins.
That crying is an inseparable effect of repentance, is seen in these scriptures—'Have mercy upon me, O God; according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies, blot out my transgressions' (Psa 51:1). 'O Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am weak: O Lord, heal me, for my bones are vexed. My soul is also sore vexed, but thou, O Lord, how long? Return, O Lord, deliver my soul: O save me for thy mercies' sake' (Psa 6:1-4). 'O Lord, rebuke me not in thy wrath, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure; for thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore. There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger, neither is there any rest in my bones, because of my sin. For mine iniquities are gone over mine head; as a heavy burden they are too heavy for me. My wounds stink and are corrupt, because of my foolishness. I am troubled, I am bowed down greatly, I go mourning all the day long. My loins are filled with a loathsome disease, and there is no soundness in my flesh. I am feeble and sore broken; I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart' (Psa 38:1-8).
I might give you a great number more of the holy sayings of good men whereby they express how they were, what they felt, and whether they cried or no when repentance was wrought in them. Alas, alas, it is as possible for a man, when the pangs of guilt are upon him, to forbear praying, as it is for a woman, when pangs of travail are upon her, to forbear crying. If all the world should tell me that such a man hath repentance, yet if he is not a praying man I should not be persuaded to believe it.
ATTEN. I know no reason why you should, for there is nothing can demonstrate that such a man hath it. But pray, Sir, what other sign have you by which you can prove that Mr. Badman died in his sins, and so in a state of damnation?
WISE. I have this to prove it. Those who were his old and sinful companions in the time of his health, were those whose company and carnal talk he most delighted in in the time of his sickness. I did occasionally hint this before, but now I make it an argument of his want of grace, for where there is indeed a work of grace in the heart, that work doth not only change the heart, thoughts, and desires, but the conversation also; yea, conversation and company too. When Paul had a work of grace in his soul he essayed to join himself to the disciples. He was for his old companions in their abominations no longer. He was now a disciple, and was for the company of disciples. 'And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem' (Acts 9:27,28).
ATTEN. I thought something when I heard you make mention of it before. Thought I, this is a shrewd sign that he had not grace in his heart. Birds of a feather, thought I, will flock together. If this man was one of God's children he would herd with God's children, his delight would be with and in the company of God's children. As David said, 'I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts' (Psa 119:63).
WISE. You say well, for what fellowship hath he that believeth with an infidel? And although it be true that all that join to the godly are not godly, yet they that shall inwardly choose the company of the ungodly and open profane, rather than the company of the godly, as Mr. Badman did, surely are not godly men, but profane. He was, as I told you, out of his element when good men did come to visit him; but then he was where he would be, when he had his vain companions about him. Alas! grace, as I said, altereth all, heart, life, company, and all; for by it the heart and man is made new. And a new heart and a new man must have objects of delight that are new, and like himself; 'Old things are passed away'; why? For 'all things are become new' (2 Cor 5:27). Now, if all things are become new, to wit, heart, mind, thoughts, desires, and delights, it followeth by consequence that the company must be answerable; hence it is said, that they 'that believed were together'; that 'they went to their own company'; that they were 'added to the church'; that they 'were of one heart and of one soul'; and the like (Acts 2:44-47, 4:23,32). Now if it be objected that Mr. Badman was sick, and so could not go to the godly, yet he had a tongue in his head, and could, had he had a heart, have spoken to some to call or send for the godly to come to him. Yea, he would have done so; yea, the company of all others, especially his fellow-sinners, would, even in every appearance of them before him, have been a burden and a grief unto him. His heart and affection standing bent to good, good companions would have suited him best. But his companions were his old associates, his delight was in them, therefore his heart and soul were yet ungodly.
ATTEN. Pray, how was he when he drew near his end; for, I perceive, that what you say of him now hath reference to him and to his actions at the beginning of his sickness? Then he could endure company and much talk; besides, perhaps then he thought he should recover and not die, as afterwards he had cause to think, when he was quite wasted with pining sickness, when he was at the grave's mouth. But how was he, I say, when he was, as we say, at the grave's mouth, within a step of death, when he saw and knew, and could not but know, that shortly he must die, and appear before the judgment of God?
WISE. Why, there was not any other alteration in him than what was made by his disease upon his body. Sickness, you know, will alter the body, also pains and stitches will make men groan; but for his mind he had no alteration there. His mind was the same, his heart was the same. He was the self-same Mr. Badman still. Not only in name but conditions, and that to the very day of his death; yea, so far as could be gathered to the very moment in which he died.
ATTEN. Pray, how was he in his death? Was death strong upon him? or did he die with ease, quietly?
WISE. As quietly as a lamb. There seemed not to be in it, to standers by, so as a strong struggle of nature. And as for his mind, it seemed to be wholly at quiet. But, pray, why do you ask me this question?
ATTEN. Not for mine own sake, but for others. For there is such an opinion as this among the ignorant, that if a man dies, as they call it, like a lamb, that is, quietly, and without that consternation of mind that others show in their death, they conclude, and that beyond all doubt, that such a one is gone to heaven, and is certainly escaped the wrath to come.
[FUTURE HAPPINESS NOT TO BE HOPED FROM A QUIET HARDENED DEATH.]
WISE. There is no judgment to be made by a quiet death, of the eternal state of him that so dieth. Suppose that one man should die quietly, another should die suddenly, and a third should die under great consternation of spirit, no man can judge of their eternal condition by the manner of any of these kinds of deaths. He that dies quietly, suddenly, or under consternation of spirit, may go to heaven, or may go to hell; no man can tell whether a man goes, by any such manner of death. The judgment, therefore, that we make of the eternal condition of a man must be gathered from another consideration, to wit, Did the man die in his sins? did he die in unbelief? did he die before he was born again? then he has gone to the devil and hell, though he died never so quietly. Again, Was the man a good man? had he faith and holiness? was he a lover and a worshipper of God by Christ according to his word? Then he is gone to God and heaven, how suddenly, or in what consternation of mind soever he died. But Mr. Badman was naught, his life was evil, his ways were evil, evil to his end. He therefore went to hell and to the devil, how quietly soever he died.
Indeed there is, in some cases, a judgment to be made of a man's eternal condition by the manner of the death he dieth. As, suppose now a man should murder himself, or live a wicked life, and after that die in utter despair; these men, without doubt, do both of them go to hell. And here I will take an occasion to speak of two of Mr. Badman's brethren, for you know I told you before that he had brethren, and of the manner of their death. One of them killed himself, and the other, after a wicked life, died in utter despair. Now, I should not be afraid to conclude of both these, that they went by and through their death to hell.
ATTEN. Pray tell me concerning the first, how he made away with himself?
WISE. Why, he took a knife and cut his own throat, and immediately gave up the ghost and died. Now, what can we judge of such a man's condition, since the scripture saith, 'No murderer hath eternal life,' &c., but that it must be concluded that such a one is gone to hell. He was a murderer, self-murderer; and he is the worst murderer, one that slays his own body and soul. Nor do we find mention made of any but cursed ones that do such kind of deeds. I say, no mention made in Holy Writ of any others, but such that murder themselves.