A commentary or exposition upon all the Epistles

A
COMMENTARY
OR
EXPOSITION
UPON
ALL THE EPISTLES,
AND THE
Revelation of John the Divine.
wherein the text is explained, some controversies are dis
cussed, divers commonplaces are handled, and many remarka
ble matters hinted, that had by former interpreters been pretermitted.
besides, divers other texts of Scripture, which occasionally occur, are
fully opened, and the whole so intermixed with pertinent histories, as will yeeld both pleasure and profit to the judicious reader.
with a decad of commonplaces upon these ten heads,
: abstinence, admonition, alms, ambition, angels, anger, apostasie, arrogancie, arts, atheisme

London.
PUBLISHED BY A.M.
PUBLISHED FOR John Bellamy
1647

1.

[Page 514]

Verse 5. A black horse] Famine discolours and denigrates, Lam. 4.7, 8. It accompanies war for most part, and in sieges is very extreme, as at Samaria, where an asses head was worth four pounds: at Rome, where this proclamation was made in the market, Pone pretium humanae carni: At Scodra, where horses were dainty meat, yea they were glad to eat dogs, cats, rats, &c. At Antioch in Syria, where many Christians (in the holy war, as they called it) were glad to eat the dead bodies of their late slain enemies.

Had a pair of balances] Gr. The beam of scales. To shew that bread should be delivered out by measure, as is threatned, Ezekiel 4.6. Deut. 26. and men should be stinted and pittanced.

[Page 624]

2. Almes

COntented godlinesse is great gain. This is our Apostles proposition, in opposition to those men of corrupt mindes, that even in those purer times, doubted not to defend, That gain was godlinesse, vers. 5, 6. But the love of money is the root of all evil. And they that will be rich, that are resolved to rake together-rem, rem, quocun{que} modo rem: These fall unavoidably into temptation, and a snare, yea (if they stop not the sooner, step not back the faster) into many foolish and noisome lusts, which desperately drown men in perdition and destruction, vers. 9, 10.

This to prevent, the Apostle taskethTimothy; 1. For himself to lay hold on eternall life, as fast as others do on this worlds goods; to follow after godlinesse as greedily as they after gain. 2. For others (after a short digression) he chargeth him to charge the rich in this world so to handle their thorns, that they prick not their fingers, pierce not their souls, gore not their consciences, either by pride (that hate of heaven, and gate to hell) or by carnall [Page 625] confidence, as if they were simply the safer, or better for their abundance: But contrariwise, 1 For God, to trust in him, for that he both lives and gives us all things, &c. 2. For men, to exercise bounty toward them. Whereof we have here, 1. A just description, by the matter, measure, manner, constant continuance, ver. 18 [...]

The rich man is he, that hath any thing over that size of satisfying nature: that hath any overplus, any thing to lay up. Now the rule here is; Every man according to his ability must relieve his poor brother, as they did, Act. 11.29. Yea, though we may not stretch beyond the staple, and so break all; yet in some extraordinary necessity, and exigency, the poor widdow must part with her little All; the Sareptan be no niggard of her oil, though it be in the bottome, the deep poverty of the Macedonians must abound unto the riches of their liberality, who to their power, and beyond it too, were willing thereto, 2 Cor. 8.2, 3. The daylabourer must give somewhat out of his gets, the servant out of his wages, Ephes. 4.28. The Ruler must not exact his right, Nehem. 5.10. nor the landed man spare to sell that be hath, to give alms thereof, Luk. 12.33. as Barnabas (and others) did, Act. 4.37. and was therefore called, A sonne of consolation, because he thereby comforted Gods poor afflicted. Holy Bradford, in a hard time, thought not much to sell his chains, rings, and jewels, for relief of others. Rogers our Protomartyr in Queen Maries daies, made a motion to forbear one meal a day.

Mr George Wiseheart a Scotch Martyr forbare one meal in three, one day in four, for the [Page 626] most part, except something to comfort nature. He lay hard upon a pouffe of straw, with course new canvasse sheets, which whenever he changed, he gave away. Giles of Brussels Martyr, gave to the poor all that he had, that necessity could spare: and only lived by his science, which was of a Cutler. Some he refreshed with his meat, some with clothing: to some he gave his shoes, some he helped with houshold-stuff: to other-some he ministred wholsome exhortation of good doctrine. One poor woman there was brought to bed, and had no bed to lie in: to whom he brought his own bed, himself content to lie in the straw. Being taken, and put in prison, he ministred to all his fellow-prisoners at table, being contented himself with a few scraps that they left, &c. Dr Tailour Martyr, made it his custome, once in a fornight at least to call upon Sr Henry Doyle, and other of the rich Cloth-makers in his Parish to go with him to the Almeshouse, and there to see how the poor lived, what they lacked in meat, drink, clothing, bedding, or any other necessaries.

The like did he also to other poor men that had many children, or were sick. Then would he exhort, and comfort them: and, where he found cause, rebuke the unruly (this was spirituall alms) and what they lacked, that gave he after his power; and what he was not able, he caused the rich to minister unto them. Mr Fox (that reports all the former) never denied any one that asked him ought for Jesus sake: And being once asked, Whether he knew a certain poor man, that had received succour from him in time of trouble, he answered, I remember him well: I tell you, I forget Lords and Ladies to remember such [...]

[Page 627]

A like course was taken by Charles the great, and by I [...]go King of Draves and V [...]neds, as Aeneas Sylvius reporteth. Of a certain Bishop of Lincolne it is said, That he never thought he had that thing, that he did not give. The same is reported of our Generall Norrice: and before them both of Cyrus the King, and of Antonius the Emperour. Queen Anne Bullen carried ever about her a little purse for the poor; thinking no day well spent, wherein some man had not fared the better by some benefit at her hand. She kept her maids, and such as were about her, so imploied in sowing and working garments for the poor, that neither was there seen any idlenesse then among them, nor any leisure to follow foolish pastimes. So did Dorcas before her, and so before them both Bathsheba, or the good houswife that she commends to her son Solomon, She laieth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaffe, Prov. 31 19, But why this? And what need she be so workbrittle, being a Queen? It followeth in the next words, vers. [...]0. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor, yea she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.

She was of his minde, belike, that said (and suffered for so saying in King Henry the 8. daies) That alms should not be given untill it sweat in a mans hand. Mr Bradford Martyr, counted that hour lost, wherein he did not some good with his tongue, pen or purse. The young Lord Harrington gave the tenth of his allowance (which was a thousand pounds a year, during his minority) to the poor and other good uses (as appeared by his accounts after his death) besides what he gave in the way as he walked and travelled, which he did often and much, &c. M. Whately also that late painfull and powerfull Preacher of Gods Word at Banbury, as he was much in pressing this duty of liberality, so himself abounded in works of mercy. He set apart and expended for the space of many years for good uses, the tenth part of his yearly comings in, both out of his temporall and Ecclesiasticall means of maintenance.

Neither may I here forget that late reverend man of God M. John Ballam Pastour of the Church at Evesham (my spirituall father, and bountifull benefactour) nor yet M.Simon Trappe, late Minister of Gods Word at Stratford upon Avon, my dear and near kinsman, [Page 628] both in the flesh, and in the faith.

Both which, out of that little they had (for God saw fit to hold them here to strait allowance, [Rea&s; 1] who deserved a larger proportion: but a rich stone is of no lesse worth when locked up in a wicker casket, then when set in a Bishops mitre) they laid up by them weekly in store somewhat for the poor, of that their little: and they were no losers by it. The poor mans box is Christs treasury (saith a Father.) And he sits by, as an Arch-deacon, to see what every man casts into this treasury, and with what affection [...]

[Page 629]

2. Carnall confidence in the wedge of gold, in their heaps and hoards of the wealth of this world; making their gold their God, and trusting to their idol, which the belly-god doth not, who yet hat damnation for his end. Every niggard draws arguments from his riches to prop up his hopes, to confirm his expectation of a longer and more comfortable life, because of his much good laid up in store for many years. Now this is so ordinary a thing for those that are rich in this world, to trust in uncertain riches, that when the Disciples were astonished at that saying of our Saviour, How hardly shall the rich enter into heaven? and he, for their satisfaction had thus explained himself, Children, How hard is it [Page 630]for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdome of God? It is easier for a Camel, &c. They were so farre from being satisfied, that they were astonished out of measure, saying, among themselves,Who then can be saved? as knowing that there were scarce any rich, but trusted in their riches. For prevention whereof, and that the rich dash not against either of these two dangers, Charge them, as they love their lives, and would save their souls, to be rich in good works [...]

[Page 631]

Fifthly, This shall be a good argument and approof unto us, that we trust in the living God (which is the character of a true Christian, and is therefore pinde, as a badge, upon the sleeve of every godly person) that we receive his charge, [...]y hold on his Covenant, believe his promises, that we have first given our selves to God, with those mercifull Macedonians, 2 Cor. 8 5. and then our goods to the Saints, that are in the earth, those excellent ones, in whom was all Davids delight, Psal. 16 3. Thus Obadiah, Thy servant feareth God, said he to the Prophet; but how shall that appear, Obadiah? Why? when J [...]zabel persecuted the Lords Prophets, I hid them, and fed them by fifty in a cave, not without the hazard of my head, if ever it should have been noticed. So Isa. 23 18. The City of Tyrus turning to God, leaves heaping and hoarding her wealth, and findes another manner of implo [...]ment for it, viz. to feed and cloath Gods poor people. So Zacheus converted, gives half he had to the poor: and Cornelius shews his devotion, the Corinthians their professed subjection to the Gospel, 2 Cor. 9.13. by giving much alms to many people. The wisdome from aboveis full of mercy and good fruits, saith S. James. And, Pure religion and undefiled before God and the father is this, to visit the fatherl sse and widdows &c. to do all offices of mercy to those that are poor and in misery [...]

[Page 635]

First then for the matter of our bounty, it must be good that we doe. Here, 1. It must be well gotten that we give; for as God hates bribery for a burnt-offering, Isa 61.8. so robbery for a work of mercy, Mat 6.1. whereas our Saviour saith, Take heed that you doe not you ALMES before men, the Syriack Translatour renders it, Take heed that you do not your justice, or righteousnesse before men; to teach that a mes should be of things well gotten. and to this purpose, the Jews called their Almesbox, Kupha sheltsedacbah, the chest of justice: And they expound that saying of Solomon, Prov. 10.2. Treasures of wickednesse prosit nothing: but righteousnesse d [...]livereth from death. Righteou [...]nesse, that is Almes, say they. And thereunto they accommodate and connect the next verse also: The Lord will not suffer the soul of the [Page 636]righteous to famish: no, though he should give all his goods to the poor, but he casteth away the substance of the wicked, wherewith he thinks to make amends for his oppressions, and to set off, by his good deeds, for his bad.

Selymus the great Turk could see this by the dim light of corrupt nature. For, when he was upon his death-bed moved by Pyrrhus (that great Bashaw) to bestow that abundance of wealth that he had wrongfully taken from the Persian Merchants, upon some notable Hospitall, for relief of the poor; he commanded it rather to be restored to the right owners; which was forth with done accordingly. He would not offer ex rapina holocaustum, as too many doe amongst us, to the shame of Christianity. When Henry the third King of England had sent a load of freeze to the Frierminors to cloath them, they returned the same with this message, That he ought not to give almes of that he had rent from the poor, neither would they accept of that abominable gift. How much lesse then will the righteous God?

[Page 641]

Secondly, For their bodies; If thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, then shall thy health spring forth speedily, Isa. 58. But say the mercifull man be sick, as he may and must, God will make his bed in all his sicknes: God will stir up feathers under him: his soul shall be at ease, and his body be sweetly refreshed: mercy shall be his cordial, his pillow of repose, as it was to reverend Mr Whately of Banbury, of whom I have spoken elswhere.

Thirdly, For their names: The liberall shall have all love and respect with men, all good repute and report both alive and dead. And a good name we know, is better then ointments, Eccles. 7.1. riches, Prov. 22.1. life it self. Whereas the vile shall not be called liberall, nor Nabal called Nadib, the churl bountifull in Christs kingdom,Isa. 32.5. Gods people shall not spare to call a spade a spade, a niggard a niggard. And although he applaud himself at the sight of his abundance, not caring though the world hisse and hoot at him: yet he shall passe among all for a hog in a trough, for a boar in a stie, and be no otherwise esteemed or accounted then the great Turk; of whom it is said, That where ever he sets his foot, nothing grows after him. In a word, God will curse him, men will curse him, and wish to be rid of him: the place where he lives, longs for a vomit to spue him out as an unprofitable burden, such as the very ground groans under.

Fourthly, For their estates: The liberall man deviseth liberall things, and by liberall things he shall stand. A man would think he shouldfall rather, by being so bountifull: but he takes a right course to thrive: for getting is not the way to abundance, but giving, as we see in the Samaritan,The gainfullest art is almsgiving, saith Chrysostom. Whatsoever we scatter to the poor, we gather for our selves, saith another. Riches laid out this way are laid up, Non percunt sed parturiunt, saith a third. The poor mans hand is Christs treasury, Christs bank, saith an Ancient: By our liberality he accounts himself both gratified and engaged, Prov. 19.17.

And his bare word is better then any mans bond. Heaven and earth must be empty, ere he fail to repay. God will blesse the mercifull mans stock and store, Deut. 15.10. his righteousnesse [Page 642] and his riches together shall endure for ever:He that giveth to the poor shall not lack, Prov. 28, 27. that's a bargain of Gods own making. A certain poor Minister being asked an alms, called to his wife to know what money was in the house: And understanding that there was no more then one threepence only; give him that, said he, for we must sowe, or else we shall never reap.

A certain good Bishop of Millain, journeying with his servant, was met by poor people that begged somewhat of him. He commanded his servant to give them all that little money that he had, which was three crowns, The servant (thinking with himself, that it were best keep somewhat for their own use) gave only two of the three to the poor, reserving the third to bear their own charges at night. Soon after, certain Nobles meeting the Bishop, and knowing him to be a good man, and bountifull to the poor, commanded two hundred crowns to be delivered to the Bishops servant for his masters use. The servant having received the money ran with great joy, and told his master. Ah, said the Bishop,what wrong hast thou done both me and thy self? Si enim tres dedisses trecentos accepisses. Surely if thou hadst given those three crowns, as I appointed thee, thou hadst received for them three hundred. So, thou hast lost me a hundred crowns to day. God's a liberal paimaster, and all his retributions are more then bountifull [...]

This is a selection from the original text

Keywords

cloth, clothing, drink, meat, necessaries, poor, sick

Source text

Title: A COMMENTARY OR EXPOSITION UPON ALL THE EPISTLES, AND THE Revelation of John the Divine. wherein the text is explained, some controversies are dis cussed, divers commonplaces are handled, and many remarkable matters hinted, that had by former interpreters been pretermitted. besides, divers other texts of Scripture, which occasionally occur, are fully opened, and the whole so intermixed with pertinent histo ries, as will yeeld both pleasure and profit to the judicious reader. with a decad of commonplaces upon these ten heads, : abstinence, admonition, alms, ambition, angels, anger, apostasie, arrogancie, arts, atheisme

Author: John Trapp

Publisher: A.M.

Publication date: 1647

Place of publication: London

Provenance/location: This text was transcribed from images available at Early English Books Online: http://eebo.chadwyck.com/home Bibliographic name / number: Wing / T2040 Physical description: [8], 735 p. Copy from: Union Theological Seminary (New York, N. Y.) Library Reel position: Wing / 677:05

Digital edition

Original author(s): John Trapp

Language: English

Selection used:

  • 1 ) title page
  • 2 ) page 514 (verse 5)
  • 3 ) Selections from- Almes

Responsibility:

Texts collected by: Ayesha Mukherjee, Amlan Das Gupta, Azarmi Dukht Safavi

Texts transcribed by: Muhammad Irshad Alam, Bonisha Bhattacharya, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Muhammad Ehteshamuddin, Kahkashan Khalil, Sarbajit Mitra

Texts encoded by: Bonisha Bhattacharya, Shreya Bose, Lucy Corley, Kinshuk Das, Bedbyas Datta, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Sarbajit Mitra, Josh Monk, Reesoom Pal

Encoding checking by: Hannah Petrie, Gary Stringer, Charlotte Tupman

Genre: Britain > non-fiction prose > religion: biblical commentary

For more information about the project, contact Dr Ayesha Mukherjee at the University of Exeter.

Acknowledgements