The Day of Hearing
DAY OF HEARING:
Or, SIX LECTURES UPON THE
latter part of the thirde Chapter of the Epi-
stle to the Hebrewes: of the time and
meanes that God hath appointed for
men to come to the knowledge of his
truth, that they may be sa-
ved from his wrath.
The summary pointes of every one of which Lectures are set
downe immediatly after the Epistle dedicatory.
Hereunto is adjoyned a Sermon against
fleshly lusts, & against certaine mischie-
vous May-games which are the
By H. R. Master of Artes, and now
Minister of the word.
‘Joh. 3 19.
This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world,
and men loved darkenesse rather then light, because their
deedes were evill.’
Printed at Oxford by Joseph Barnes, and
are to be sold in Paules church-yard, at
the signe of the Bible. 1600.
PUBLISHED BY Joseph Barnes
DUTY binding me (Right Honourable) to shew some testimonie of a thankfull mind towards you, I have presumed so farre as to offer to your good Lordship this small exercise of mine, such as it is, which I have taught and written according to the ability that God hath give[n] me, & as the charge committed to me required.
The Apostle Paule instructeth his scholer Timotheus, and in him all ministers that have the charge of teaching, to shew themselves approved unto God, as workemen that neede not to be ashamed, [Page] dividing the word of truth aright. For in so dividing of the word consisteth the life & force of the ministery, that all me[n], what age or conditio[n] soever they be of, which wilbe fed to live everlastingly, may have their portio[n] of meate give[n] the[m] out of that word, & that in season, or co[n]ueniently, that it may be savoury & pleasant as the venison of Jacob was unto his father Isaac, and not unsavoury as the sonnes of Elie made the offering of the Lord to be abhorred.
But such is the untowardnes of this age, which, in respect of the time, should have abounded with all knowledge necessary to salvation, that not only countrey people (specially where the worde hath seldome beene divided aright) but also the inhabitants of townes & cities, in too many places of this lande, have neede to be taught the first principles of the word of God. For now in the latter daies, on the one side, the pride of life, Atheisme, & the custom of sin hath so bewitched the world, that the heartes of most men are become fat, & their eares [Page a3] are dul of hearing, that the word which they hear doth not profit the[m]: neither do the manifolde tokens of Gods anger revealed against the impiety & unrighteousnes of this age, (as the pestilence, the late dearth, sundry new & strang sicknesses) nor the present troubles of wars, beside other innumurable exa[m]ples of Gods displeasure daily seene among us, any thing move secure worldlings, and such as are hardened in ungodlines, to turne fro[m] their own waies, & to obey the gospell of God while it is yet called To day. And on the other side, the poison of the whorish church of Rome hath so spred it selfe over the worlde, that as certaine wilde beastes, of which Cicero writeth, whe[n] they be hu[n]ted, are wont with an intollerable filthy sent to drive fro[m] the[m] the hu[n]ters; so the leave~ of Antichrist, though he be now hunted to his place, hath infected all that way where hee hath gon, that the unholesome savor thereof cannot yet be purged with the bright fire of Gods word: no not in those places where the word hath of a long season beene divided [Page] aright, not withsta[n]ding the co[n]tinual diligence of faithful Pastours in their ministery, the unreproveablenes of their conversation, and the godly writings of many learned and zealous men.
For mine owne part (being one of the least & last among my brethre[n] in this so weighty a calling) as afflictions are the assigned portion of a Christian, I have beene weakned with Gods visitation of sicknesse, & chastened with the adversities of this life, that little was the good that could be done by such as I am. I rejoice of mine infirmities, knowing (as one, that was sufficiently tried with afflictions, hath writte[n] for the co[m]fort of others) that experience & practise in bearing the crosse is that which maketh a right divine, & a true Christio[n] indeede. Howbeit, having, now above a yeare since, at several times, according to that measure of grace that I received, exercised upon the latter part of the 3. Chap. of the Epist to the Hebrewes, & supposing that scripture to bee most fit to bee handled in these daies, and among those [Page a4] people who[m] I was to instruct, I thought it my duty, and the rather being requested, to publish the same to the benefite of others, specially of such as hunger after good things, & accept of that portio[n] of meat which curious & ful stomackes have no lust to. I have added thereto a sermon, the matter whereof & the cause of annexing it to these Lectures is briefly specified in the preface to the reader. if profane writings, as histories of profane mens lives, bookes of lustful love, invented fables, & tricks of vaine mens wits, which helpe to builde the Babel of pride, & to fortifie the Egypt of sin, be so favourably received & studied on in the world, much more is Christian doctrine to bee regarded of Christian men. And whereas greate clerkes and grave divines do out of the treasure of their many yeares studies bring their gold and blew silke to the building of the Lordes sanctuary, let goates haire be accepted at the handes of younger and Poorer men, so it bee fit for the building, and be offered of a willing [Page] heart, as the Lord requireth. It skilleth not what prowde and envious men judge of our enterprise, so long as we have the testimony of a pure conscience. The world is alwaies like it selfe, ful of scorpion like scoffers. And it is no new thing to see the commo[n] evil of envie so to reigne in most men, that they have other mens doings in obloquje, & seeke to deprave them. And this they do, as the Poet saith: (ducunt; Vel quia nil rectum, nisi quod placuit sibi, Vel quia turpe putant parere minoribus. either because they count nothing well done, but that which pleaseth their humor: or else because they thinke it a foule disgrace that their inferiours should; go before them.
But that I bee not tedious unto your honour; as I have founde undeserved favour at your handes, so, being not otherwise able to testifie my love to you, I am bolde to present unto your Lordship this litle fruite of my labour, hoping that of your wonted clemencie & favour, you wil accept of it, as a mite [Page] of a willing minde, and unfained good will. And in that I have therein alleadged other authors beside the holyscriptures, I did it of care to have every truth confirmed in the mouth of approved witnesses.
I neede not heere speake of your Lordships good desertes. I know that a vertuous man loveth not to heare his owne praise: for it is better to be a good man indeede, then in mens opinion to bee so accompted. Wherefore as GOD hath exalted you to honour and dignitie, and (as a learned young man hath lately written to you) hath made you a keeper of many vines, and, as we see, hath wrought in you a notable care under her Majestie to provide for the well-fare of his Church; so I beseech him that is Lord of Lordes long to preserve your honour in al safety, and to increase in you his giftes of grace, to the setting forth of his glory, to the continual good of his church, & finally to your owne eternal comfort, through the merits of his sonne Christ Jesus. And wheras [Page] the world is in danger of eternal perdition, as great part through irreligiousnes and atheisme without either knowledge or true feare of God, and a great part through affected ignorance and obstinate frowardnesse in Popish customes; wee are to pray dayly that it may please God to wake men out of the sleepe of sinne and voluptuous living, and by the power of his holy word still to weaken the kingdome of sinne and of Antichrist, and to call those that are to bee called to the knowledge of his trueth while it is yet called To day.
And of this humilitie which ought to be in all Christians to learne, we have a notable example in Apollos, a ma[n] eloquent, and mightie in the scriptures, and yet humble to be further instructed of Aquila & Priscilla, a poore tent-maker and his wife. here everie one, that wil be the servant of Christ, may learne humilitie, and be prepared, like the men of Berea, with all readinesseto receive the word, which is able to save his soule, and of the servant of sinne to make him the servant of righteousenesse. It is yet called to day. And yet we may heare the voice of the bridegrome Christ Jesus. And is there is one day of seven appointed for men to rest, And to heare his voice: and as there is a time of that day for men to heare, and not to be otherwise occupied then in hearing; let no man abuse that time; let no man the[n] speake his owne words. Art thou dull of [Page 73] hearing, and canst hardly setle thy minde to learne yet be carefull to heare from the beginning to the end, and thou canst not goe away without some good lesson laide up in thine heart. Hast thou a good memory, and art thou apt to learne? the[n] spend all the time of hearing in hearing, & thy knowledge shal be the more increased. Wilt thou be justified by [...]ch, & be made partaker of Christ? thou hast heard that saith co[m]meth by hearing; and now thou must heare; now is the day of hearing, so [...] the Lord calleth. Hereafter wil be the daie of rejecting, for them that would not hear when they were called. In that day men cannot learne though they would: for wisdome warneth the[m] which sleepe out the time of grace, when learning is offered unto them, when affliction and anguish shall come uppon you: then shal they cal upo[n] me but I wil not answer: they shall seeke me early, but they shall not find me. the reason is added, why wisdome wil not be found of me at their pleasure: because they hated knowledg, & did not chuse the fear of the Lord.
If therfore thou wilt not in this day of his grace heare his voice to thy salvation, thou shalt hereafter in the day of his wrath heare it to thy condemnation: & if now in the day of his calling, his voice ca[n]not awake thee out [Page 61] of the sleepe of sin & security, it shal hereafter in the day of his judgment awake thee to thine eternal confusion, though thou sleepe in the earth, & though thou be returned into dust, doubt not of this: for the Lord speaketh it, the houre shall come in the which all that are in the graves shall heare his voice. And they shal come forth, that have done good unto the resurrection of life: but they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of condemnation. In that day shall every scripture, every sermon, & every word of exhortatio[n], which thou hast heard, or read, be a witnesse against thee how thou hast hardened thine heart, & wouldst not obey his voice whe[n] he offered thee his grace. Consider therfore that this is the daie where, in he calleth thee, and speaketh to thee, saying, behold now the accepted time, beholde now the daie of salvation.
This time, & this day, wherein he proclaimeth peace, is but short, and under time: redeeme it therfore with all readines of mind, that thou maist be at peace with God for all eternity.
You that are diligent husband-me[n] are carefull to redeeme the time of faire weather in harvest, because you know not how soone it wil raine, And man, whose life is co[m]pared to [Page 74] a vapour that appeareth for a little time, and after warde vanisheth awaie, if hee live to day, knoweth not whether he shall live to morowe. And if it be permitted him to live, yet knoweth he not how soone the Lord will send a famine of hearing his holy word; and send a darke night of ignorance, in the which no man can worke, no man can heare the glad tidings of the Gospell, nor beleeve it, though he woulde. Let us pray that our hearts may be mollified, & prepared as good ground to receive the seede of the worde, while it is yet called, to day.