A Remedy for the Warres
Certaine Deplorable Expres-
sions, of the great Miseries and wofull
Effects, which the Horrid, Bloody,
Cruell, Domestick, and Intestine
Warres, have lately produced
(amongst us) in this our
kingdome of England.
Together, with Spiritual Salves
for the Cure thereof.
By JOHN TARLTON, Preacher of
GODS Word, and Minister of Ileminster,
in the county of Somerset.
TO exhort us all in Gods feare to doe our best endeavours to procure this blessing of Peace.
And here I shall speake Per [...],id est cùm per contraria amplificamus, A prevalent Motive hereunto may be taken from the contrary, viz. the great calamity, the miserable misery, and the devouring destruction of woefull War.
The worth of a Jewel is best knowne by its want; witnesse the long absence of our Gracious and Dread Soveraigne.
For good things are knowne Carendo, magis quàm fruendo, as the Philosopher speakes; better by their lack then their enjoyment.
And we are likely to judge more exactly of a beautifull picture, by casting our eyes upon some deformed misshapen draught [Page 73] that stands neere unto it.
Answerable hereunto, turne but your eyes now a little from the beautifull face of Peace, to behold the deformed and ugly, morphewed vizor of War.
And here I shall not need to ship your meditations for a waftage beyond the Seas; that so I might land you on the desolate shore of Germany, or the no lesse woefull and blood drunke Country of Ireland:
Although it might be well worth your labour, sometimes to be imbarked for such a meditation.
I shall not need to travell far abroad to shew you the dismall face of War, Woe and alas, our owne Country and Clime hath saved me that labour.
For looke either East, West, North, or South, this way or that way, and you may see the blood of your brethren that lately hath been spilt like water on every side of Jerusalem.
And not onely seene with your eyes, but also heard with your eares, the daily dolorous and Tragicall tidings, of the sacking of Cities, the burning of Towns, the Plundering of Houses, the filling of Prisons, the emptying of Purses, yea and of veines too, for there hath beene Bloodshed, Ruine, Destruction, and Heapes upon Heaps, so that many thousands [Page 74] of our Christian Brethren have lately lost their lives in this unchristian Quarrell.
And yet notwithstanding (alas) what is all this? for unlesse the blessing of Peace commeth in to succour us, all these are like to be with us but the beginning of sorrowse.
Our dissention hath been a Civill, Domesticall, and intestine War, in the very bowels of the Kingdome, and may fitly be parallel'd to that Burthen of Aegypt which God laid upon their shoulders by his Prophet. I will set the Aegyptians against the Aegyptians: and they shall fight every one against his Brother, and every one against his neighbour, City against City, and Kingdome against Kingdome.
Which cals to minde those destructive dayes that our Saviour predicted should lead on this wicked world to its utmost period.
There shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.
Beloved, I need not tell you that this day this Scripture is fulfilled in your eares, you know it right well (unlesse you be onely strangers in Jerusalem, and know not the things that are come to passe there in these dayes) That this unnaturall War hath engaged the Father against the Sonne, and the Sonne against the Father; and the Brother against the Brother. [Page 75] Who like the Serpentine Brood of Cadmus, sheath their swords in each others bowels.
Pereunt per mutua vulnera fratres.
And now in this unnaturall Condition, (not much digressing) I shall in a few words give some Religious directions unto the Souldiers, being the Instruments of War, concerning their deportment in their Warfare.
The Lords servant Joshua, being Israels most Noble and valiant Generall, who had the leading of six hundred thousand men, and Conquered one and thirty severall Kings in a short time; having received his Commission from the Lord of Hosts, who is the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, had this exhortation from the Lord, annexed unto it, with a gratious promise unto his proceedings: Let not this booke of the Law depart out of thy mouth, but meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe and doe according to all that is written therein: for then shalt thou make thy way prosperous, and then shalt thou have good successe. The which is recorded and still remaineth in force for succeeding Ages.
Hence then, All Souldiers should learne, that in all their Military Actions, they ought to make the word of God to be their guide; [Page 76] for the Omniscient and Omnipotent God is the great and universall Warriour of the whole world, He it is who directeth every Bullet, Sword, Speare, and Dart to the Person appointed. And wherefore it commeth to passe, that in the Battell some are wounded, some out-right killed, and some escape untouched, is a secret lockt up in the bosome of God, and therefore not to be pried into by the sons of men.
Every Souldier that putteth himselfe into Military service, and doth execution upon others, ought to have in his heart zeale for the glory of God, without any by-ends, or sinister-respects of his owne unto himselfe, otherwise, he is a Murtherer in the sight of God: For the Lord saith by his Prophet Hoseah.
I will visit the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu: That is, I will be revenged upon Jehu for the blood that he shed in Jezreel: for although God stirred him up to execute his judgements upon wicked persons, yet he did that Military service for his owne Ambition, thereby to satisfie the lusts of his owne proud heart, and not for the glory of God.
The word there in the Originall is [...]which signifieth bloods, intimating thereby [Page 77] to the world, that the blood of every particular person that hath been so shed by a party not so qualified, shall be reputed as Murther in the sight of God.
Oh then let every Souldier seriously examine his owne heart in what condition he standeth, whether he be justly acquitted for what he hath done in that nature, or standeth guilty as a Murtherer in the sight of God.
But happily some Souldier may here say in defence of himselfe, who hath not chiefely and zealously aimed at the glory of God in the passages of his hostile service; I have beene pressed to this service against my will, and that which I have done in any Battell was but in mine owne defence, and therefore if I have slaine any, the guilt of that blood will lye upon those that compelled me so to doe, my selfe shall be acquitted of it, and they themselves responsible for it: but howsoever (I know assuredly) that the Lawes of the Land can lay no hold upon me for it.
Although thou maiest have security given thee from all Temporall Lawes, and freedome from all corporall punishments; yet notwithstanding, Murther is such a cruell, bloody, hainous, and horrible sinne, as that the guilt thereof will continually wound thy [Page 78] Conscience, and constantly will follow thee at the heeles, as the Jaylor doth his Prisoner, ever stinging, vexing, troubling, and tormenting thee, at the inevitable remembrance of the righteous judgements, and just vengeance of the all-powerfull revenging God, unto which (by the sinne of Murther) thou hast made thy selfe lyable every houre, untill thou doest truly, throughly, and heartily repent thee of it.
And therefore whosoever thou art that takest upon thee the honourable calling of a Souldier, examine thy condition by the word of God, viz. The justice of thy cause; the willingnesse of thy heart; the lawfulnesse of thy calling: the readinesse of thy obedience to Gods commands, as to strike when he biddeth, and to forbeare when he forbiddeth.
Have regard unto this I humbly pray thee; as also not to Rob, nor Plunder, nor Kill, nor fight, but against a lawfull Enemy: ever remembring, and constantly practising that Religious exhortation of Moses, unto Souldiers when they goe to War; When the Hoaste goeth forth against the enemies, then keepe thee from every wicked thing. And so shall thy service bring glory to God, Credit to thy Person, and comfort to thy Conscience.
And as Souldiers in a skirmish, if they keepe not Ranke and File, they will be in danger of their bodies destruction: So in like manner, if Souldiers observe not these Rules, they will be in danger of perishing their Soules.
But alas, all Souldiers observe not these Rules, for many times in the Wars, there is Gaine instead of Godlinesse, Courage instead of Equity, Blood-thirstinesse instead of Valour, Policy instead of Justice; and which is also greatly to be lamented, in many Souldiers no Religion: for seldome doe they pray till they be in danger of Death: And yet how carefull ought they to be to have grace in their hearts, who carry (as it were) their lives continually in their hands? But O how defective are many of them, of what they ought to be; being full of fierce fury, enraged Violence, cruell Hatred, cursed covetousnesse, thievish Plundering, swinish Drunkennesse, beastly Whoredome, abhominable Oathes, horrid Blasphemies, hellish Curses, impure Discourses, terrible Threatnings, false Accusations, filthy Communications, &c. The consideration whereof greatly grieveth the soules of Consciencious men, and frequently maketh their hearts to tremble within them.
Can such irregular Souldiers to the Lawes [Page 80] of God, hopefully expect in mercy a Blessing from God, upon their Military Designes and Actions? Certainely no: but rather in judgement fear a Curse, where by there shall be to themselves nothing but Ruine & Confusion.
And therefore I heartily wish that all Souldiers would henceforth carry themselves (in all their thoughts, words, and Warlike Actions) so Religiously towards God, as that they may be constantly in favour with him, and consequently have him for their Protectour in their greatest danger: and not resolutely to follow the wicked wayes, and leud lusts of their owne corrupted hearts, to the great dishonour of God in this world, and the everlasting and just condemnation of their owne soules in the world to come.
Oh, whose heart bleeds not within him, to see such a wicked Monster made more account of, then all other good things in the world; which was hatcht by the Devill, fed by the life of Soules, and yet still raignes, that it might winne Millions of Soules unto Condemnation?
It was the Jewes complaint in their extremity, O Lord, though our Iniquities testifie against us, deal with us according to thy Name: for our Rebellions are many, we have sinned against thee.
It was the Wickeds expression in their Calamity for sinne: We roare all like beares, and mourne like doves; we look for equity, but there is none, for health, but it is farre from us.
For our trespasses are many before thee, and our sinnes testifie against us.
So that, unlesse thou leavest thy Sinnes, expect no Peace, but look for mourning instead of mirth, according to that Curse imposed upon the Jewes for their sinnes, declared by the Prophet.
The Earth lamenteth and fadeth away; the world is feebled and decayed: the proud people of the earth are weakned.
The earth also deceiveth, because of the inhabitants thereof: for they transgressed the lawes: they changed the Ordinances, and brake the everlasting Covenant.
Therefore hath the Curse devoured the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are desolate: wherefore the inhabitants of the land are burned up, and few men are left.
The wine faileth, the vine hath no might: all that were of merry heart doe mourne.
Thus beloved we see, that Sinne is the Cause, and Punishment the Effect; So that, Sublatâ Causâ tollitur Effectus. The Cause being taken away, the Effect ceaseth; And untill then, expect no Peace.
For, so long as our hearts are full of Corruptions, let us look to have our lives full of Afflictions.
Afflictions are divine medicines, sent from God to correct our corruptions: Yea, they are Chastisements for sinnes that are past, and also Preventions of sinnes that are to come; like a Prophylacticke Phlebotomy, or a Preservative Purgation. And hence is that expression of Saint Paul, We are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.
So that we have here Life and Death set before us, performe the Meanes prescribed. and we shall live comfortably; neglect them, and we shall perish miserably.
Loe, this truth, the Author of all truth hath expressed, Levit. 26.17.18. I will set my face against you, and ye shall fall before your enemies, and they that hate you, shall reigne over you, and ye shall flee when none pursueth you.
And if ye will not for these things obey me, then will I punish you seven times more according to your sinnes.
Hence then we may learne, that if the former punishments of Pestilence, Famine, and the Sword, which lately have beene amongst us, and upon us; will not reclaime and reforme us: then the Lord will send more, and heavier judgements upon us, untill we either are converted, or confounded.
And now for a Prevention of Englands Confusion, let me speake unto her, as once the Lord did by his Prophet Jeremiah unto Jerusalem, Jer. 6.8. Be thou instructed, O Jerusalem, lest my soule depart from thee: lest I make thee desolate, as a Land that none Inhabiteth.
So say I, both freely and mournfully, Be thou instructed, O England, learne righteousnesse,
and speedily be reclaimed from all thy wickednesse: lest the righteous Lord in displeasure against thee, suddenly depart from thee, and so thou becommest a Desolation.
The which Desolation that we may all escape, let every one throughout this whole Kingdome, seriously examine his owne heart of all those sinnes wherein (at this day) he stands guilty before the Lord; and search and try his wayes, and speedily turne unto the Lord our God.
And for a prevalent Motive hereunto, Let all Traitors against the King, call to minde Gods just Judgements upon Ahithophell: Rebels, upon Absalom: Corrupt Judges, upon Samuels Sonnes: Idle Ministers, upon Eli: Wicked Magistrates, upon Sheba: Proud persons, upon Haman: Fornicators, upon Zimri and Cozbi: Prophaners of the Lords Sabbath, upon the Stickgatherer: Disol edient persons, upon Jonah: Swearers and Blasphemers, upon the AegyptianIsraelite: False witnesses, upon (those wicked Elders) Susanna's Accusers: Covetous persons, upon Achan: Murtherers, upon Joab: Despisers of the Gospell, Ministery, Word, Sacraments, and all true Religion, upon Simon Magus: And all Thievish, Blood sucking, Cursed, Intruding....
TO terrifie the hearts of all those that have persecuted the Church of Christ. Listen a while I pray you to those heavy (though just) Judgements of God, that have befallen the bloody Persecutors of his Church.
Pharaoh Oppressed the poore People of Israell in the Land of Aegypt and when they had leave to depart the Land, yet he pursued them with a purpose to destroy them: But [Page 142] in the end, his intention was frustrate, and both himselfe, and all his Hoaste perished in the Sea.
Haman, upon the promise of Ten thousand talents of Silver, procured a Decree from King Ahashuerosh, to kill and destroy all the Jewes, both old and young, men, women and children that were in all the Kings Provinces in one day: But his Designe was blasted, and in the end himselfe hanged upon the gallowes he had prepared for Mordecai.
Senacherib, the King of Ashur, sent Rabshakey to raile upon the living God, and to discourage his Army; but the Birth of his Project proved abortive, insomuch that the Angell of the Lord in one night slew in the Campe of Ashur, an hundred fourscore and five thousand, and in the morning, behold they were all dead corpses.
Yea, and after that, Senacherib himselfe was slaine by two of his owne Sonnes, Adramelech and Sharezer as he was worshiping his Idoll God Nisroch in the Temple.
Antiochus the sonne of Demetrius, after he had chased Tryphon from the Kingdome of Asia, and broken the league which he had made with the Jewes, gave himselfe wholly to worke mischiefe against them.
Then violently he set upon Jerusalem, and [Page 143] tooke it by force, Commanding his Souldiers to destroy those that were therein, insomuch that within the space of three whole dayes there was such a bloody massacre both of old and young, men, women, and children, that there were destroyed fourescore thousand of the Jewes, 2 Mac. 5.
After this was done, this bloody Tyrant was put to flight by the Inhabitants of Persepolis a City of Persia, going about to rob their Temple of their Treasures.
Then furiously he threatned the people of the Jewes, saying, I will make Jerusalem a common burying place of the Jewes when I come thither.
But the Lord Almighty the God of Israel, smote him with an incurable and invisible plague: for assoone as he had spoken these words, a paine of the bowels, that was remedilesse came upon him, and sore torments of the inner parts.
So that the wormes came out of his body in abundance: and whiles he was alive, his flesh fell off for paine and torment, and all his Army was grieved at his smell.
Loe thus, the Murtherer and Blasphemer suffered most grievously, and as he had entreated other men, so he dyed a most miserable death in a strange Country, among the Mountains, 2 Mac. 9.
Nero, that bloody Tyrant, being the first Emperour that persecuted the Church of Christ, exposed the poore Christians to the fury of rude, barbarous, and mercilesse men.
Hereupon the poore Innocents were apprehended, and some of them clad with skins of wilde beasts, were torne in pieces by dogs.
And others cast one upon another, untill they became great heaps, after the manner of Bonefires, and then fire put to them, and their bones burning served for light in the night, in the stead of Torches.
But at the last this wicked wretch, the causer of all that cruelty exercised upon the poore Christians, seeing himselfe in danger to be murthered, by one appointed for that purpose, (as a just reward for his horrible, unjust, and inhumane dealing) hastned his owne death by killing himselfe, as Cornelius Tacitus reporteth, Lib. 5.
We reade in History of one Cyrillus a Deacon of Heliopolis, scituate neare to Lybanus, who lived under the Empire of Julian the Apostate, and came to a miserable end.
For after Constantine was deceased, by whose authority the holy Martyr had broken downe many of their Images and Idols, the abominable Idolaters did not onely [Page 145] murther him, but also devoured his liver with bread, as if it had beene the sweetest morsell of meat in the world.
But the all-seeing eye of Almighty God beholding their villany, his revengfull rod bruised them to pieces.
For their teeth wherewith they chewed that unnaturall food fell out of all their heads; and their tongues wherewith they tasted it, rotted and consumed to nothing; and lastly, their eyes which beheld it, failed them, and they became all blinde.
Loe thus were they all served, bearing justly the markes of Gods indignation, for so horrible, inhumane and unnaturall Cruelty, as Theodoret reporteth, lib. 3. chap. 7.
Valerian the Emperour, was a deadly Enemy to the professors of Religion, and very terribly persecuted them in his Dominions.
But shortly after, himselfe was taken prisoner in the Persian Warres, being Threescore and ten yeares of age, and was made a slave to his Conquerour all the rest of his life.
And whose condition was so miserable, that Sapor, the King of Persia, used his back as a block or stirrop to mount upon his Horse, and at the last, to make up the full number of his miseries, he caused his Skinne to be taken from his Flesh, [Page 146] whilst he was alive, and then poudred him with salt, as Josephus reporteth, in his Ecclesiasticall History. Booke 7. Chap. 30.
The cruell, mercilesse, and hard-hearted Jewes, did persecute even unto the death, the innocent Lambe of God, who is the Lord of life, our Blessed Saviour Christ Jesus.