Gods Three Arrowes: Plague, Famine, Sword


In three Treatises.
I. A Plaister for the Plague.
II. Dearths Death.
III. The Churches Conquest over the Sword.

By WILLIAM GOUGE Doctor in Divinity, and Preacher of GODS Word in Black-Friers, LONDON.


Alas, for all the evill abominations of the house of Israel: for they shall fall by the Sword, by the Famine, and by the Pestilence.

Famem, & pestilentiam, & bestias pessimas, & quicquid aliud malorum sustinemus in seculo, propter nostra venire peccata manifestum est. Hier. Comment.l 2. in Ezek.5.

LONDON, Printed by George Miller for Edward Brewster, and are to be sold at his Shop at the Signe of the Bible, at the great North doore of Pauls. 1631.
PUBLISHED BY George Miller
PUBLISHED FOR Edward Brewster 1631
[Intricate foliage pattern with snails.]

1. TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE, RIGHTWorshipfull, and other my Beloved Parishioners, Inhabitants of Black-Fryers LONDON, all Happinesse. Right Honourable,
Right Worshipfull,

BEhold here a Testimony of my due Respect to you. Behold here an Apology for my seeming Neglect of you. I do acknowledge that all the Respect which by a gratefull Pastor may be due to a loving People, is by me due to you. In that respect, I do here Treatises presented to my parishioners.
1 The whole Armour of God.
2 Domesticall Duties.
3 A Guide to go to God.
4 Gods three Arrowes.
the fourth time give publike testimony thereof by presenting to you in speciall that which is made publike to all. The neglect of you, ⁁ wch may beobjected against me, is, my seldome preaching among you this last yeare. This ancient, undeniable aphorisme, Ultra posse non est esse: ncc vetu quidem. A man can do no more then he can, giveth a just answer thereto. Great hath beene the weakenesse of my body, first occasioned by a very dangerous disease in August last (how low I was brought thereby, [Page] many of you are witnesses) and further increased by two relapses, one in Nov. the other in Febr. following. (Of Gods goodnes in my recoveries I shall have fit occasion to speake on The Saints Sacrifice, shortly to be tendred unto you.) Had I no other excuse, this were sufficient. Saint Chrysostome, where he granteth that by the weakenesse of Ministers bodies the Churches commodities may be intercepted, concludeth that Ministers in such cases are not to be blamed. But howsoever my weakenesse were a just impediment to preaching (whereby the spirits of a feeble man are much exhausted) yet would I not make it a pretext for wasting precious time in idlenesse. It was wittily and gravely said, Cavendum &in ocio ocium est. Bern de Con. sid l.3.c.13. Scipio Africanus dicere solebat Nunquam se minus ociosum quam cum ocio osus esset Cic. Offic, lib.3. Even in leisure lasinesse is to be shunned. Worthy therefore of all to be imitated is he, who made that use of freedome from publique affaires, as he set himselfe more close to his private studies, and thereupon was wont to say that, He was never lesse at leisure then when he was most at leisure: Answerably (according to the abilitie which God gave me) I endeavoured to spend that cessation which I had from publike imployments, in my private studies, so as some fruit thereof might redound to you and others. By this my true and just apology, I hope the fore-mentioned seeming neglect of you, appeares to be but seeming. Concerning the subject matter of my private paines now made publike, though I had by me sundry treatises heretofore preached in your eares, which might with more ease have beene laid againe before your eyes: yet the manifestation of Gods displeasure against us and other parts of the Christian world, [Page] by shooting out his three חצי הרעים malas sagittas. Ezek.5.16 Metonymia effecti. evill arrowes (so called in regard of their evill effects) Plague, Famine, Sword, hath drawne my thoughts to meditate thereon, and to publish what in mine ordinary course of Ministry I have not had occasion to preach. Indeed on speciall occasions I have out of the pulpet delivered some of the points handled in these Treatises: but I never finished any of them. It is without question a point of prudence to eye the divine Providence in all things. For Maiestati divinæ gubernatio pariter & administratio universitatis incumbit. Bern super. Cant.Ser.68. by it without all contradiction are all things thorowout the whole world governed and disposed: especially the affaires of his Church: on which sometimes the light of his favour brightly shineth: other-times haile-stones of indignation are showred downe. By a due observation hereof may our disposition to God be so ordered, as that, which God expecteth, be effected: namely Gratulation for his Favours: Humiliation for his Judgements. Now are the times wherein clouds of Gods anger have obscured the bright skie of the Church. Pertinent therefore to the present times are the Treatises following, and in that respect the more profitable to us of these times. Quo magis quid accommodum, eo magis commodum est. The more pertinent a point is, the more profitable it is. I could wish that there were not so just occasion of treating of the fore-said three arrowes, as there is. We have felt the bitternesse of the plague within these six yeares more then in many hundred yeares before in this land: which arrow is now againe shot against us: and how farre the venime thereof (for it is a venimous arrow) may infect, who knowes? Both the Palatinates, Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia, Hungaria, and almost all Germany: [Page] The generall History of France hath a catalogue of 90 townes and places of Ostage for them of the religion, reduced in these late warres.

Clericorum Donatislarum latrocinia sic vastant Ecclesias, ut Barbarorum fortasse sactz mitiora siat, Aug. Epist.122,
Rochel, Montauban, Monpellier, Nesmes, and other townes, cities, and countries in France: Bredaw in the Low Countries, and many other places in Christendome, have felt the deepe wound of warre, whereby Idolatry hath thrust out Piety, Superstition is set in the roome of Religion, Usurpers have entred upon the rites of the true Lords and Inheritours, the bloud of many millions hath beene shed, more have beene exiled, and all things turn'd upside downe. S. Augustine in his time complained that the outrages of the Clergy of the Donatists so wasted the Churches, that Barbarians dealings might seeme to be more mild. How much more justly may we take up that complaint against the Popish Clergy, Jesuites, Monks, Priests, Friers, and the rest of that rabble? As for Famine, it begins to invade all Christendome: so as one country cannot be helpfull to another, as they have been in former times. Corne hath not been so deare among us, as now it is, in any living mans memory. How far this Famine begun may proceed, and to what extremities it may bring both our, and other countries, no man can tell. Is it not now time for Plaisters to be made for the Plague, Provision to be procured against Dearth, and Protection provided against the Sword? Such are the evils of these Arrowes, as to determine which of them is the least evill, is not easie. I am sure, that the least of them is so evill, as there is just cause to use all the meanes that possibly we can to prevent or remove it. To these purposes tend the Treatises here tendred to you. In them ye shall find (beside sundry other usefull points) the extremities of, and remedies for Plaister for the Plague §.70,75,50,64,etc.Plague, Dearths Death, §.4,5,6,etc. Famine, and [Page] Churches <Con>quest, §.83,8<5,>9,10,etc. Dignity of Chival<r>y, §.15,10,etc. Sword. With such a mind accept them as they are offered to you, by him that thinks no pains too much for your good, who is alwaies mindfull of you, and humbly and heartily desireth the helpe of your prayers: who though feeble in body, yet, so long as he retaineth any competent strength to do you any service, desireth to be Black-Fryers, LONDON, 11.Apr.1631.
Your faithfull Minister,

[Page 41]

2. §.27. Of using warrantable meanes to pacifie Gods wrath.

II. See §.25. SUch means must be used to pacifie Gods wrath as by Gods Word are warranted. Of old before Gods will was so fully revealed and recorded as now it is, Saints were wont to seeke extraordinary direction of God. As Gen.25.22. Rebekah when she felt children strugling together within her: and Jos.7.6. Joshua when Israel fled before the men of Ai: and Judg.20.28. the other Tribes that fought against the Benjamites: and 2 Sam 21.1. David when there was a famine in his land: and others on other like occasions. The ordinary course under the Law was, as this here prescribed by Moses in this particular case (for which there was Lev.16.12. before a more generall Law) so burnt offerings [...]


[Page 50]

Deferring repentance, a cause of much mischiefe. The cause therefore of Gods severity in executing vengeance, rests in mans obstinacy. For Psal.18.26. With the froward God will shew himselfe froward. Man persists obstinately in sinne: and God persists resolutely in punishing sinne. I have heard Tamberlane ut Stephan. in Apolog pro Herodoto. of a Generall, that was wont to carie with him in his Camp three sorts of flaggs, a white, red, and black one. And when he first came against a City, he displayed his white flag, to shew, that if without resistance they would yeeld, they should upon acknowledging fealty to him, enjoy their lives, livings, and liberty. If they refused this offer, he then displayed a red flag, to intimate, that he intended a bloudy [Page 51] battell against them. If notwithstanding this menacing of bloud they obstinately stood out against him, he lastly displayed a blacke flag, giving them to wit thereby that now nothing was to be expected but utter ruine and desolation. That practice was somewhat answerable to a Law that God made for his people, that Deut,20.10,11. when they went to fight against a City, they should first proclaime peace: whereof if they would not accept, they should destroy them all. To apply this; The preaching of the Gospell is Gods white flag. The seasonable and just threatnings of his Ministers, his red flag. Execution of judgement by Plague, famine, sword, or any other like kinds, his blacke flag.

[Ornamental pattern.]

4. TO THE RIGHT WORSHIPFULL, ANDmost worthy of all honour, Mrs. MARY MOORE, Perpetuity of Grace here, and Eternity of Glory hereafter.
Much esteemed,
Much honoured,

GRatefulnesse makes inquisitive. A gratefull mind, both in relation to God, and also in relation to man, is so affected with kindnesses received from the one or the other, as it is ever plotting and enquiring what it may do, what it may render. In relation to God saith a gratefull Prophet, What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits towards me? Psal. 116. 12. In relation to man saith a gratefull King, Is there yet any left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindnesse for Jonathans sake? 2 Sam. 9. 1. Let me say it boldly, for I say it truly. My soule is inquisitive: as in regard of God, what I may render unto him: so in regard of your selfe, Good Mrs. Moore, what I may render unto [Page] you. God knowes my minde and heart. For he is the Searcher of hearts, (Ier. 17. 10.) To you it must be made knowne. For what man knoweth the things of a man save the spirit of man which is in him? 1 Cor. 2. 11. My heart therefore being filled with gratefulnesse towards you, I have cast this way and that way how to manifest the same: and that in the best manner that I could: which I know not better how to do, then by a publique acknowledgement of the gratefull respect I beare, and bounden duty which I owe to you: together with the true and just grounds thereof: which, among many other, are these in particular.

1. Your ancient and constant respect to me and my Ministry, even from the first beginning thereof. For thereby you first tooke notice of me.

2. The many reall demonstrations, and evident testimonies of that entire respect, which from time to time you have given me.

3. Your vouchsafing to take my daughter into your house, under your good government, and to become a mother to the motherlesse. Among many other, this is one thing which gives me occasion to say in regard of my last dangerous sicknesse, It is good for me that I was afflicted. That sicknesse was an occasion of your taking my daughter to your tuition. What is, what ought to be a fathers care, but (next to the salvation of his owne soule) the good education of his children? What can be more acceptable to him, then approved means tending to that end? May I then, can I then be unmindfull of her, or ungratefull to her that hath affoorded such means? Have I not cause to be inquisitive, and to thinke and say, What shall I render? Render a recompence I cannot. All that is or can be [Page] done, is and can be but a testimony of gratitude. Such testimonies as are ordinarily presented for new-yeares-gifts, your bounty (I know) doth not expect, will not accept. Noble spirits do herein resemble the Divine Spirit, which doth good for his owne sake, for goodnes sake. All the recompence which they expect is a gratefull acknowledgement of the kindnesse they shew, of the goodnes they do. This from my heart I do here before all that shall cast their eyes upon this Dedicatory Epistle.

There are, beside these particular, other more generall motives, which induce me to prefixe your worthy name before this treatise: As, 1. the eminency of your endowments, which make this stile Mrs. Mary Moore (at least in their judgement who well know you) more eminent, then such titles of honour as are conferred upon many of your sex. 2. The excellency of your parts, which enable you with judgement to read such treatises as are published to the view of all. 3. The correspondency of your disposition to the most principall points of this treatise. This treatise is of famine, and of means to remove it, or restraine it, and keep it from excesse. Piety towards him that causeth plenty and scarcity: Prudence in well ordering present abundance: Providence for the future: Compassion in times of want: Liberality to such as need: Contentment in that whereunto God calleth: Patience in all judgements: Diligence in searching after the causes thereof: Conscience in using the meanes warranted and sanctified for averting judgements: Confidence in greatest necessities are principall points handled in this treatise{.} The naming of the particulars is enough to give evidence of the sutablenesse of your disposition thereunto.


The present necessity of the times, wherein bread the staffe of mans life is so scarce, have drawne my thoughts to meditate on the subject matter handled in this treatise (which is in one word, FAMINE) that I might stirre up my selfe and others to take notice of the beginning of Gods judgement: that wisely we may seek the Lord betimes, and use all good means for moderating and removing this instant dearth, and for preventing the like, or any other heavier judgment for the future. So as I cannot think such a subject at such a time to be unseasonable: if at least the Composer of the Treatise were able answerably to handle it. But as it is, I have made bold to dedicate it to your patronage; whom, for the reasons before rendred, and many other like to them, I judge to be as fit thereto, as the treatise it selfe is fit for the present time. In all gratefulnes it is presented unto you. With all kindnes let it be accepted of you. As for recompence, To him that is ready graciously to accept, and able plenteously to reward all goodnesse done for his sake to any of his, knees are humbly bowed at the Throne of his Grace, by Black Friers, London. 1. Jan. 1630.
Your Worships Remembrancer

[Page 129]
[Ornamental pattern.]

A Removall of Famine, gathered out of II SAM. XXI. I.

5.1. §. I. Of the meaning of this text.
2. SAM.21.1. Then there was a famine in the dayes of David, three yeares, yeare after yeare, and David enquired of the Lord.

A Remedy for a famine is here set before us. Such a remedy as removed the famine where it was used. For it is said, Verse 14. After that, God was entreated for the land: that is, such satisfaction being made for the sin which provoked Gods wrath, and brought the famine upon the land, Gods wrath was appeased, and thereupon the famine removed. ויעתר exoratus. The word translated, entreated, signifieth, by entreaty to [Page 130] be moved to do what is desired. Now David besought the Lord, to remove that famine, and God granted his desire.

cו The first particle is a copulative particle, and properly signifieth, and; yet is it oft used as a conjunction of time; especially when it coupleth histories together. Therefore not unfitly is it here translated, then.

In what yeare of David the famine began. But great question is moved about the time, when this famine should be. Whether after all the forementioned histories of Absaloms rebellion, and Shebaes defection, or before them.

That which hath given occasion to this question, is a computation of time set downe for the beginning of Absaloms rebellion, thus, 2 Sam.15.7. And it came to passe after forty yeares that Absalom said, etc. Those forty yeares are supposed to be the forty yeares of Davids raigne. Which if it be granted, this famine can neither follow after Absaloms rebellion, nor be about that time. For David raigned but forty yeares: and this famine continued three yeares.

To take away all question, some say that this and other histories following to the end of this booke, are not set downe in just order of time: but, as memorable matters, are Per Pet. Mart. Comment. in hunc loc. Tremel, & Junius annotat. in 2 Sam 24 1. utra hæc historia (sempe de Fame & Peste) per temporum ultimo loco penitur. added after the former histories that depended one upon another.

It cannot be denied but that the Scripture sometimes so transposeth histories. Neither will I much contend about the transposing of these histories. No great inconvenience will follow thereupon. Yet the ground of all seemeth not to be very sound. For by many arguments it may be evinced that those forty yeares before mentioned, are not to be accounted the forty yeares of Davids raigne.

For first, beside that there is no mention of Davids raigne in that place, the phrase is thus expressed in the originall, מקץ ארבעים שנה a fine 40 annorii. From the end of forty yeares. Now its more probable that David ended his raigne rather within the forty yeares, then beyond them. Because both in sacred Scripture, and other writings, the yeare wherein a King dieth is computed in [Page 131] in the yeares of his raigne: so as, if David had raigned full forty yeares, and entred into another yeare, he would in a round reckoning have beene said to have raigned one and forty yeares. Now if Absalom began his rebellion at the end of forty yeares, and David raigned no longer then forty yeares at the most, how could so many things as are noted of Absaloms rebellion, and the consequences following thereon, be done in so short a time?

2. In the time of Absaloms rebellion it is said of David, 2 Sam. 17.8. [2 Sam.] ―18.2. He is a man of warre, and will not <l>odge with the people. Yea, David himselfe offered to go out in battell against Absalom. Yet, 1 King.1.1. before David died, such f<r>igidity fell upon him, as with cloathes they could not kee<p>e him warme, but were faine to bring a yong virgin to lie in his bosome. How can such an alteration be thought to be in so short a time?

3. All the histories recorded of David in the eight last chapters of the first of Chronicles, were without all question after Absaloms rebellion. How then can that rebellion be imagined to be in the end of Davids fortieth yeare?

The forty yeares therefore from the end wherof Absaloms rebellion began, must needs have relation to some other thing then the raigne of David. As to the beginning of the Diem pro tempore accise Hier. Comment.l.5. in Isay 19.
Dies pro annis numeratur. Ibid lib 7. in Esa.16
regall government: or to Samuels first annointing of David: or to some other memorable matter. And so this, and the histories following, may well follow as they are set in order of time.

The time at large is said to be בימי דוד in the dayes of David: that is, in the time of his raigne. For the time of a Kings raigne is said to be 1 Sam.14.52.
1 King.4.25.
[1 King.] ―14.30.
his daies.

This word, daies, is used 1. To put them in mind of Daies what they imply. their short continuance on earth. For our continuance is but of daies, soone gone. When Jaakob would set out the brevity Gen.47{.}9. of his life, he thus expresseth it, The daies of the yeares of my pilgrimage. And Job, thus, Are not mans daies as the daies Job 7.1.of an hireling? And David, thus, Thou hast made my daies Psal 39.5.as an hand breadth.

David here mentioned, was a King: and the best King [Page 132] דוד à David דודamicus, & dilectus. that ever swayed Scepter. His name according to the notation of it, importeth a lovely or friendly one. He was amiable and lovely before God and man: and friendly to all Gods 1 Sam.13.14.
Acts 13{.}22.
1 Sam.18.16.
people. He was a man after Gods owne heart. And all Israel and Judah loved him. In the Saints was all his delight.


Famine importeth want of food for nourishment of the body. It comes from a word that signifieth to hunger.

The famine here mentioned continued three whole yeares together: and therefore after he had mentioned three yeares, he addeth, Tribus annis continuis. Trem. & Jun. yeare after yeare: that is, as the former English Translaters turne it, three yeares together.

The course which David tooke for removing the famine, was to enquire what course the Lord would prescribe: which is thus expressed, David enquired of the Lord: word for word in the originall thus, ויבקש דוד את־פני יהוה Sought the face of the Lord.

By the face of God is meant the manifestation of his presence: and in that respect its oft translated the presence of God, as where its said, Gen.3.8.
מפני יהוה
Adam hid himselfe from the presence of God (Hebr. from the face of God ) And where God saith, Exo.33.14.
My presence shall go (Hebr. my face.)

Quest. What may be here meant by seeking the face, or presence, of the Lord?

Answ. Enquiring of the Lord what might be the cause of that famine, and wherewith he might be pacified. They that thus translate it, Asked counsell of the Lord, rightly aime at the meaning of the phrase.

Quest. How did David here enquire of the Lord?

Answ. The particular manner is not expressed. Diverse manners are in other places set downe. For, David

1. Sometimes by the High-Priest enquired of the Lord, 1 Sam. 22. 15. This was the most ordinary way, appointed by the Lord, Exo. 28{.} 30. Numb. 27. 21.

2. Other times by an extraordinary Prophet, 1 Sam. 22. 5. & 2 Sam. 7. 2. Josephus the Jew saith, that the Prophets made answer to David about this famine. 3. Yea,

[Page 133]
Davidi Prophetæ dixerunt velle Deum, etc. Item, David audiens ex Prophetis Deum velle, etc.Joseph. Antiq. Jud.l7.c.12.

3. Yea, many times also by himselfe, humbly presenting his supplication to God for direction, 1 Sam. 23. 2. & 2 Sam. 5. 19.

It is most probable that David here enquired of the Lord by the most solemne and approved way, which was by the Priest. And that, for that end, he went to the Arke of God; and in that respect may fitly be said, to seeke the face of the Lord.

5.2. §. 2. Of the resolution and observations of this text.

THe Summe of this text is, A meanes for removing a Famine.
The Parts are two.

  1. A Description of the Famine.
  2. A Declaration of the Meanes.

In the Description we have

  1. The thing described, expresly set downe. There was a famine.
  2. The aggravation thereof: and that by two circumstances.
    1. The time wherein it fell out. Set out by the King that then raigned. In the daies of David.
    2. The continuance thereof: which is
      1. Generally expressed, Three yeares.
      2. Particularly exemplified, Yeare after yeare.

In the declaration of the meanes there is observable

  1. The person that used the meanes, David.
  2. The action that he did, sought, or enquired.
  3. The object, or party of whom he enquired, Of the Lord.

This text thus opened, affoords sixe considerable observations.

  1. A famine is a judgement. So is this famine here mentioned: which moved David to enquire about it. The cause of this famine rendred by the Lord, in the latter end of this [Page 134] verse, and the course which David tooke for removing it, do evidently prove that this famine was a judgement.
  2. A famine may be under a pious Governour. If ever there was a pious Governour, David was he. Many worthy commendations are given of him: yea, he is made a patterne of a good Governour. Therefore
    1 King.3.14.
    God himselfe setteth his example as a patterne before his successours. And
    2 King. 18.3.
    good kings are thus commended, He did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord as did David. And evill kings are thus discommended,
    2 Chro. 28.1.
    1 King 14.8.
    He did not that which was right in the sight of the Lord, like David. Yea, of such as halted, in some things doing that which was good, in other things that which was evill, it is said,
    1 King. 11.4.
    His heart was not perfect as the heart of David. Yet there was a famine in the daies of David.
  3. A famine may long continue without intermission. The famine here mentioned continued three whole yeares together. A long time.
  4. Causes of judgements are to be sought out. The enquirie here mentioned importeth as much.
  5. Chiefe Governours ought to be most solicitous in publique judgements. David the King is herein set out as a patterne.
  6. God is to be sought unto for removing judgements. So David here enquires of the Lord.

5.3. §. 3. Of famine a judgement.

I.See § 2. A Famine is a judgement. As a judgement it is Lev. 26{.}26, etc.
Deut. 28.23,38{,}53.
threatned in the law, and put into the catalogue of the curses, that were fearefull judgements: and Isa 51.19.
Jer. 42.16.
Ezek. 6.12.
by the Prophets, who were raised up to denounce Gods judgments afore-hand to his people. Ezek. 5.16.
2 Chro. 20{.}9.
Jer. 24.10.
Where the Scripture mentioneth three sharp mortall arrowes of the Lord which he useth to shoot as judgements against children of men, famine is one: one of the sharpest. 2 Sam. 24.13. These three arrows, as three sore judgments, were brought to David for him to choose one of them [Page 135] them to be shot against him, but he would not choose famine. Where the Lord saith, Deut. 32.23,24. I will spend mine arrowes upon them, in amplification thereof he addeth, They shalbe burnt with hunger,Joel. 1.2,etc.
Famine is the judgement which the Prophet Joel doth most pathetically bewaile: and for removing whereof he calleth the whole land to prayer and fasting. 1 King. 8.35,37. Famine is one of the judgements which Salomon in his effectuall prayer at the dedication of the temple earnestly deprecateth and prayeth against.

In the Ecclesiasticall histories of the Primitive Churches, Euseb. Ecclesiast. Hist. lib. 9 cap. 7. & 8.
Niceph. Calist. Ecclesiast. Hist. l.7. c.27. & 28.
it is recorded that a very sore famine fell out in the dominions of Maximinus the Emperour, upon his publishing of cruell and bloudy edicts against Christians. This Maximinus was the authour of the seventh fierce and fiery persecution. In his Edicts he laid the blame of all publique judgements on Christians. But the foresaid famine, together with a fearefull plague accompanying the same, besides sundry rebellions and insurrections, gave evident demonstration of Gods indignation against that Emperours cruelty.

5.4. §. 4. Of the effects of famine.

IF the effects of famine be duly considered, it will appeare that it is a most sore and fearefull judgement. Lege Joseph. de bello Jud. l. 6. cap. 11, 14, 16. & 1. 7. c. 7, 8

  1. It bringeth such as have had abundance, enough for themselves and all that belong unto them, yea and much over-plus for the reliefe of others, to extreme penury and beggery. It exhausteth all the mony that the rich have, and forceth them to sell away all their goods, cattell, and lands, (Instance the Egyptians who sold all to Joseph, Gen. 47. 18, 19.) and to let go any thing: as Jaakob, who let his darling
    Famis extremitas patris amorem vicit. Chrys. Hom. 64. in Gen. 43.
    Benjamin go into Egypt (Gen. 42. 11.) Extremity of famine overcame the fathers love.
  2. It depriveth poore men of means to worke and labour for their living. The Prophet, (Zac. 8. 10.) speaking of times of famine, saith, There was no hire for man, nor any hire for beast. Thus meanes of livelihood were taken away.
  3. [Page 136]It
    Qui ex opulentioribus esse videbantur, multitudine petentium absterriti, postquam innumera præstitissent, immitem & rigidum animum induebant, verentes ne eandem & ipsi cum petentibus brevi parenture egestatë. Euseb. Eccl. Hist. l.9. c.8.
    maketh men hard-hearted against the cries of such as starve. For men that have for the present, feare that the famine may bring them to want, and thereupon refuse to give to others. Yea deare and tender mothers are forced to stop their eares against the cries of their young children, having nothing to feed them withall, Lam. 2. 12. and 4. 3, 4.
  4. It forceth such, as otherwise would deale justly, to use fraudulent and violent meanes to get their living. So much doth he intimate, who praying against extreme poverty, rendreth this reason, Least I steale (Prov. 30. 8, 9.) and he who said; Men do not despise a thiefe, if he steale to satisfie his soule, when he is hungry, Prov. 6. 30.
  5. It puts men upon dangerous attempts, and makes them
    Fames tanta est in Phrygia orta, ut necessariò incolæ patriam relinquerent. Niceph. Eccl. Hist. l.11. c.16.
    desperate: according to the proverb, Hunger makes men breake thorow stone walls. The desperate resolution of the hunger-starv'd lepers giveth instance hereof, (2 King. 7. 4.) It was this,Let us fall unto the hoste of the Syrians. If they save us alive, we shall live: and if they kill us, we shall but die. We got our bread, say the Jewes, with the perill of our lives, Lam. 5. 9.
  6. It
    Abraham habuit dies malos, quando a fame mutabat regionem, & quarebat cibum. Aug. Enar. in Psal. 33.
    maketh many, if at least they can get passage, to fly their country; and so voluntarily to banish themselves. Abraham and Isaak, by reason of famine, went to countries where they supposed themselves to be in great danger for their wives (Gen. 12. 10, 12. and 26. 1, 7.) A famine caused Jaakob with all that belonged to him, to go downe into Egypt. (Gen. 46. 6.) and Elimelech with his family to go to Moab (Ruth. 1. 1.) and the Shunemite with her houshold to go to the Philistines, (2 King. 8. 2.)
  7. When
    Fames admodum excrevit adeo ut homines ad irrationalium animantium alimenta sint conversi. Niceph. Eccl Hist. l.10. c.35.
    people know not whither to go, or can not go from the place where they are (as in a city besieged) it bringeth men to feed on the coursest things that they can get. As on horse bread, on all manner of rootes, on acorns, on horses and asses, on mice, rats, and all kind of vermine, on doves dung, on leather, and any other thing that can be chewed, and swallowed. Yea it bringeth such grosse things to high prices, 2 King. 6. 25. 8.
  8. [Page 137]It
    Rebus necessarijs deficientibus prohibitis, insolitis, & exitiosis alimentis utebantur. Ibid. l.15. c.10.
    causeth men to be inhumane, and to eate one anothers
    Ut matres filios suos commederent obsidionis necessitas coercuit. Aug de Mirab. S. S. l{.}2 c.26. Lege Chrys. advers vituper vitæ Monast., lI
    flesh, (Zac. 11. 9.) and not to spare the nearest and dearest they have. For it causeth husbands to eate the flesh of their wives: wives of their husbands: parents of their children: tender mothers of their children new borne, (Deut. 28. 54, 55, 56, 57.) There is an expresse instance of this kinde of inhumanity in the siege of Samaria. (2 King. 6. 29. Read also Lam. 2. 20.)
  9. It
    de Maria quadam commedente filium suum. ex Joseph Hist. de bello Jud. l.7. c.8.
    moveth men to eate their owne flesh, (Isa. 9. 20. Eccl. 4. 5.) This hath beene oft observed of such as have beene hanged alive in chaines.
  10. It
    Fame{s} tantopere invalescente, homines victus ratioňe mutata in ægritudines inciderunt. Niceph. Eccl. Hist l.15. c.10.
    procureth sundry diseases. Among other sicknesses, the infectious, and mortall, and most uncomfortable sicknesse, the pestilence followeth most commonly on famine. Experience of all ages hath given evidence to the truth hereof.
  11. Pestilentia semper famem & penuriam sequitur. Hier. Com. in Ezek. 16. l.4.It causeth the most miserable death that can be. It first taketh away all the glory and beauty of a creature: it maketh the flesh to pine all away, and the skin to cleave to the bones. Then commeth on a lingring death, more intolerable then any speedy torture.
    Majorem habet pæm am languor diuturnus, quam citissimuus exitus Aug. Epist. 122 ad Victorian.
    The Prophet thus with much passion and compassion sets it out. The Nazarites were purer then snow: they were whiter then milke: they were more ruddy in body then rubies: their polishing was of saphire: Their visage is blacker then a cole: they are not knowne in the streets: their skin cleaveth to their bones: it is withered: it is become like a stick. (Lam. 4. 7, 8.) And againe, Our skin was black like an oven because of the terrible famine (Lam. 5. 10.) Hence he maketh this inference, They that are slaine with the sword are better then they that are slaine with hunger: for these pine away, etc. Lam. 4. 9. Our
    Quidam pallidi, & summe macilenti, perinde atq simulachra quedam, rerum omnium egeni, hine & inde oberrantes, proni in trivijs ipsis concidebant. Niceph. Ecclesiast. Hist. l7. c.78.
    Ecclesiasticall histories also relate that in time of famine men being pale and extremely leane, even as very images, destitute of all things, wandred up and downe, fell groveling in the streets, etc. {6}. Of
[Page 138]

5.5. §. 5. Of preventing famine by procuring plenty.

FAmine being a judgement, and (as by the fore-named effects thereof is evident) a fearefull judgement, it will be our wisdome to do what in us lieth to prevent it, or to See § 7. moderate it, or to See §. 8.remove it.

For preventing Famine, we must

  1. Observe
    Plenty how procured.
    such duties as procure plenty.
  2. Avoid such sinnes as cause famine.

For procuring and continuing plenty, Col 1.10. Walke worthy of the Lord, unto all well pleasing: being fruitfull in every good worke. Thus the Lord finding thee to be a fertile soile, he will sow all manner of needfull seed plentifully in thee.

To this worthy walking is in particular required,

  1. An acknowledgement that the plenty which thou hast commeth from God. Hereof we have a worthy patterne in him who said to the Lord,
    Psal. 145.15,16.
    The eyes of all waite upon thee, and thou givest them their meate in due season: thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.
  2. Thanksgiving to God for what thou hast: and for the refreshing and benefit thou reapest thereby.
    Deut. 8.10.
    This is expresly commanded to this end.
  3. An using of what thou hast to the glory of God, accorcording to this Apostolicall direction,
    1 Cor. 10.31/
    Whether you eate or drinke, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God. Gods creatures are used to his glory, when (besides the fore-mentioned acknowledgement of Gods providence in giving them, and blessing him for them) we endeavour in the use and strength of them to be the better enabled to do that worke which God appointeth us to do: And when we bestow some of that which God bestoweth on us, upon pious uses, which after a peculiar manner tend to the honour of his name. To this tendeth Salomons advice,
    Prov. 3.9.
    Honour the Lord with thy substance.
    Mal. 3.10.
    Plenty is expressely promised hereunto.
  4. [Page 139]Charity to the poore. Thus thou sowest such seed, as will bring forth a plentifull crop. To this kind of seed the Apostle applieth this proverbe,
    2 Cor. 9.6.
    He that soweth bountifully shall reape bountifully. Somewhat more directly saith the Wiseman,
    Prov. 11.25.
    The liberall soule shalbe made fat: and he that watereth shalbe also watered himselfe.
  5. Providence in laying up against a deare yeare.
    Vir justus providet multo antea. quo futuræ penuriæ succurri possit. Chrys Hom 64 in Gen. 41.
    Thus may the abundance of one yeare make supply of scarcity in another yeare, and future want be prevented. By such a provident care in summer, Bees, Ants, and other like unreasonable creatures have abundance in winter.
    Pro 6.6.
    To such creatures we are sent for instruction. Joseph
    Gen. 41.48,54.
    by such a provident care brought it to passe, that when a dearth was in all lands, there was bread in all the land of Egypt. And if the famine had not continued so long as it did, the store which Joseph laid up, might have made plenty, notwithstanding a yeares famine or more.

5.6. §. 6. Of the sinnes which cause famine.

2. THe sinnes which cause famine are in generall Lev. 26. 26.
Deu. 28. 23, 38
Peccata gravia nec nitra nec herba bovis dolui possunt: sed gravioribus tormentis indigent. Hier. Com. lib. 1. in Hier. 2.
all such notorious, publique, crying sinnes as so farre incense the wrath of God, as thereby he is provoked to execute some publique and heavy judgement, whereof famine is one, and not one of the least, as hath beene § 3. 4. before shewed. These sinnes are See A Plaister for the Plague, on Num. 16. 46 § 45. elsewhere reckoned up.

The particular sinnes which the Holy Ghost noteth in speciall manner to be fore-runners and causes of famine, are these that follow and such like. Dei beneficia ad illos referunt, qui cultorum suorum animas perdiderunt. Hier. Comment. lib I. in Os. 2.

  1. Superstitious attributing of plenty to other authors then to the onely God from whom all plenty commeth. So did the Jewes that said,
    Jer 44.17.
    When we burnt incense, and powred out drinke offerings to the Queene of heaven, we had plenty of victuals. Hereupon
    the Lord sware that they should die of famine. So where Israel said,
    Hos. 2. 5.
    My lovers gave me my bread, and my water, my wooll, and my flaxe, mine oile, and my drinke, the Lord answereth,
    I will take away my corne in [Page 140] in the time thereof, and my wine in the season thereof, etc. I will destroy her vines and her figtrees. etc.
  2. Ingratitude. It is Gods usuall dealing to take away from ungratefull persons the blessings which he hath bestowed on them.
    Gen. 41.53,54.
    God gave the Egyptians seven yeares of extraordinary plenty. They were not thankfull. God therfore gave them seven years of such scarcity, as all the former plenty was utterly consumed.
    Omnis auseret Deus, ut qui ex copia datorem non senserant, sentiant ex penuria Aug. loc. citat.
    Lege Chrys. Tom. 2. Hom. 29.
    God will take away all from such, that they who by plenty discerne him not to be the giver of all, may discerne it by want.
  3. Perverting of plenty to gluttony, drunkennesse, and all excesse. Of them that used to rise up early in the morning that they may follow strong drink, that continue untill night, til wine enflame them: and the Harp, and the Viole, the Tæbret, and Pipe, and wine are in their feasts, it is said, their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst, Isa. 5. 11, 12, 13.
  4. Quæ hunc habet titulum, Quòd nemo læditur nisi a seipso. Iui copiose disser it contra mensarum affluentiam. Lege item Sermonem ipsus contra luxum et crapulam. Tom. 5.
    Prodigality: or a lavish spending of that abundance which God giveth. Christ exemplifieth this in him that is commonly called the prodigall child. Thorow his prodigality he brought himselfe to such penury, as He faine would have filled his belly with the huske that the swine did eate, and no man gave unto him, Luk. 15. 13, 16.
  5. Insensiblenesse of their misery who are in want: To them that stretch themselves upon their couches, and eate the lambs out of the flock: that drink wine in bowles, and annoint themselves with the chiefe ointments: but are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph: The Lord said, The banquet of them that stretched themselves shalbe removed, Amo. 6. 4, 6. 7.
  6. Lege Ambr. Offic l.3. c.7. De non arcende peregrinis urbe tempore famis.
    Cruelty to strangers that live among us for succour. Such were the Gibeonites that lived among the Israelites. (Jos. 9. 15.) Upon these Saul executed much cruelty: and for that cause God sent this famine, 2 Sam. 21. 1. If uncharitablenesse to strangers, much more to our owne poore, must needs incense Gods wrath, and move him to withdraw plenty even from the rich, and make them to want.
  7. Rejecting the Word of God, which is the bread of [Page 141] life. To those that said to the Prophet Jeremiah, ProphesieQuomodo quis poterit, etiam cui saxeum cor, lantum contemptum non gravatim ferre. Chrys. Hom. 6. in Gen. I. de contemptu verbi.not in the name of the Lord, thus said the Lord of hoste, Their sonnes and their daughters shall die by famine, Jer. 11. 21, 22. By want of corporall food God doth visibly demonstrate their folly in despising spirituall food.
  8. Ministers soothing of people with conceipt of plenty, when the Lord threatneth famine. Of the Prophets that said, Ye shall not see the sword, neither shall ye have famine, the
    Pseudoprophetæ prospera promittendo supplaniäe populum Dei. Hier. Comment l.3 in Jer. 15.
    Lord said, The prophets prophesied lies in my name; I sent them not; By sword and famine shall those prophets be consumed. And the people to whom they prophesie, shalbe cast out in the streets of Jerusalem, because of the famine and the sword, Jer. 14. 13, 15, 16.
  9. Refusing to subject our selves to that yoke and government under which God will have us to be, Jer. 27. 8, etc. For, such a government is a meanes of enjoying that which is needfull for us. But resisting the same is a meanes of spoiling us of all.
  10. Wilfull standing out against such meanes of provision as God affoordeth because it is not pleasing unto our selves. As when an enemy besiegeth a city, and there is no hope of meanes to raise the siege, nor sufficient in the city long to hold out: and by the enemy conditions for preserving of life are offered: by standing out too stifly in this case, God is provoked by famine to destroy such men in their city. So dealt God with the Jewes, Ier. 21. 9. 2 King. 25. 3.

5.7. §. 7. Of moderating a famine.

FOr moderating a famine when it is begun,

  1. Provision must in time be sent for to such places as have plenty.
    Gen. 42.1,2.
    So did Jaakob.
  2. They who are abroad must stirre up such as have plenty to be mindfull of those that are pressed with famine, and send succour to them.
    2 Cor. 8.1, etc
    Saint Paul was very diligent herein. 3.
  3. [Page 142]More then ordinary diligence in every ones place and calling must be used: that all of all sorts may eate their owne bread. Thus will not some few have the burthen of many lying upon them, which much increaseth a famine.
  4. Moderation in diet must be used, and that by those that have greatest store. That which is spared may be for supply to those who have nothing at all. A little scarcity by immoderate lavishing soone produceth a great famine.
  5. Frequent fasts must be made by those that have plenty: and what is spared at such fasts, given to those that have not sufficiency. Thus many may be sustained by that which a few do ordinarily spend.
  6. Then especially must men observe the counsell of Christ,
    Luk. 14.13.
    to invite to their table the poore, the maimed, the lame, and the blind.
  7. Publique provisions must be wisely distributed: according
    Exo. 16.18.
    to the distribution of Manna, whereof they had every one according to his eating: that is, according to the number of persons in a family, and according to their age, stature and strength.
  8. Magistrates must be more then ordinarily carefull in preserving peace and keeping good order: that neither the rich and mighty oppresse the poore and weak (as he that having
    2 Sam. 12.2,3,etc.
    many flocks and heards of his owne, tooke from a poore man that had but one little ewe lambe, that lambe to entertaine a traveller that came to him:) nor the poore and needy feloniously and violently take from the rich. In time of famine Magistrates must be the more diligent and carefull, because feare of want will make them that for the time have enough, oppresse others: and present sense of want will move them that have nothing, by hooke or crooke to get what they can. And what is violently or fraudulently gotten, wilbe lavishly spent: and so the famine prove to be the greater.
  9. Ministers must be the more carefull to feed their people with the bread of life: that by the plenty and sweetnesse thereof, they may the more patiently and contentedly beare the want of bodily food. This is the means to instruct men, [Page 143] both to be full, and to be hungry: both to abound and to suffer
    Phil.4 12.
    need. Such instruction wil make famine much more tolerable.
  10. All of all sorts must with patience expect the time and means which God shall give for succour, and not prescribe time or means to God. Much lesse murmure against God, or charge him with any evill, or refuse to wait on him, supposing that he can not or will not affoord any succour: as he who said, This evill is of the Lord: what should I wait for the
    2 King.6.33.
    Lord any longer? And as the other that said (when Elisha
    prophesied of much plenty, and that suddenly) Behold if the Lord should make windowes in the heavens might this be? Meditation on Gods promises for succour in famine, is of speciall use to worke patience.

5.8. §. 8. Of removing famine.

MEanes of removing famine are such as these.

  1. Humiliation, and that especially for
    §. 6.
    the sinnes wherby God hath bin provoked to sē{n}d famine.
    2 Chro. 7 13,14.
    This means even in this case is expresly prescribed by God himselfe, and a promise made of successe therto. That it may be the more effectuall, it must arise inwardly from the soule, and be manifested and helped by fasting, weeping and mourning, Joel. 2. 12.
  2. Confession, and that both of our owne guiltinesse, and
    Confessio hostia est Deo. Aug. Enar. in Psal. 95.
    also of Gods justice in depriving us of his creatures. Salomon compriseth as much under this phrase,
    1 King.8.35.
    Confesse Gods name. We have a worthy patterne of this kind of confession in
    Daniels prayer. For this end Examination of our own inward corruptions, and of our former course of life, yea and due observation of the publique and common sinnes of the times and places wherein we live, is very requisite: that thus, if it be possible, we may find out those particular sinnes, which have in speciall incensed Gods wrath, and provoked him to afflict us with famine: and as we find them, so in particular to confesse them: as they, who said,
    1 Sam.12.19.
    We have added unto all our sins this evill, etc.
  3. Conversion.
    Joel 2.12.
    This is also expresly prescribed: and
    2 Chro.7.14.
    to this promise of succour is made. Conversion must be answerable [Page 144] answerable to confession.
    Ex fide pœniteat: credat hanc esse medicinam, etc. Aug. de vera & falsa pœnit. cap.13.
    It must be universall, from all manner of sinne, whereof we shall find our selves guilty, and whereto we shall find our selves addicted: and particular from those especially, for which we have cause to feare that God hath sent famine among us. To confesse such sinnes, and not to turne from them, is to mocke God, and the more to incense his wrath against us.
  4. Satisfaction for wrongs done to man: at least if the wrong be such as God is moved to revenge. This I do the rather here note, because it is a meanes of removing the famine mentioned in my text. For when David had made satisfaction for the wrong done to the Gibeonites, God was entreated for the land, 2 Sam. 21. 14.
  5. Supplication.
    Joel 1.14.
    2 Chro.6.28,29
    This is the most principall meanes of all. All the other are but preparations hereunto. This is likewise prescribed, and a promise of prevailing thereby annexed thereunto.
    It hath beene used and proved to be effectuall.
  6. Faith in Gods promises. This must be added to prayer. Both Christ
    his Apostles require as much. Gods promises have their true and proper effect only in such as believe: and to them they are effectuall, either for sufficient supportance, or for a good deliverance.
  7. Charity to the poore. For God will succour such as are ready with their uttermost ability to succour others. This is especially for such as have corne, or other provision in store: to bring it forth, and give it freely, or at least to sell it at a cheape rate to the poore. Blessing is promised to him that selleth it: namely, to the poore, and at a reasonable rate, Prov. 11. 26.
[Page 145]

5.9. §. 9. Of promises for succour in famine.

Quest. ARe there any particular promises for helpe in famine, and deliverance from it?

Answ. Yes, very many: as many as in any other like case. Some of the particulars are these. 2 Chro.7.13,14. If I shut up heaven (saith the Lord) that there be no raine, or if I command the locusts to devoure the land, if my people shall humble themselves, and pray, and seeke my face, and turne from their wicked wayes: then will I heare from heaven, and will forgive their sinne, and will heale their land.Hos.2.21,22.In that day I will heare, saith the Lord, I will heare the heavens, and they shall heare the earth, and the earth shall heare the corne, and the wine, and the oyle, and they shall heare Iezreel. Joel 2.18,19.Then will the Lord be jealous for his land, and pitie his people, yea the Lord will answer and say unto his people, Behold, I will send you corne, and wine, and oyle, and you shalbe satisfied therewith.Zac.8.11,12.Now will I not be to the residue of this people, as in the former dayes, saith the Lord of hosts. For the seed shalbe prosperous: the vine shall give her fruit, and the ground shall give her increase, and the heavens shall give their dew. Zac.10.1.Aske ye of the Lord raine in the time of the latter raine: so the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of raine, to every one grasse in the field. Mal.3.10.Prove me now saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windowes of heaven, and powre you out a blessing, that there shall not be roome enough to receive it.

Job5.20.In famine he shall redeeme thee from death.

Pro.10.3.The Lord will not suffer the soule of the righteous to famish.

Psal.33.19. Behold the eye of the Lord is upon them that feare him: upon them that hope in his mercy: to keepe them alive in famine.―37.19.
See A Plaister for the Plague. on Numb.16.45. §.12,13,14,15.
In the dayes of famine they shalbe satisfied. §. 10. Of


5.10. §. 10. Of instances of Gods preserving in famine, and removing famine.

How the righteous are exempted from judgement. THat the fore-mentioned promises may with the stronger confidence be rested upon, take instance of Gods performing them.Gen.12,10,17 When in Abrahams time there was a famine in the land where he sojourned, he went downe into Egypt, where the Lord kept him and his wife in safety. ―26.1,2. Whē{n} again there was a famine in Isaaks time, God directed him whither to go. ―45.5.
God sent Joseph purposely before hand into Egypt to preserve Jaakob and all that were with him in famine. 2 King.8.1.By his Prophet God adviseth the Shunemite with her house to sojourne where was plenty, when he intended to bring a famine on Israel. 1 King.17.4.16. Miraculously did the Lord provide for Eliah and the widow of Zarephats in famine. So did he for the Israelites in the wildernesse. Exo.16.13,14 When they wanted bread and meat, extraordinarily he provided Manna and Quailes for them: and ―17.6. when they wanted water, he brought it out of a rocke for them. So Judg.15.18,19. for Sampson, when he was ready to die for thirst, God extraordinarily provided water. 1 King.18.42 At Eliahs prayer, after Gods wrath was pacified, on a sudden, raine, having beene with-held three yeares and an halfe, fell downe abundantly. 2 King.6.28.
―7.6, etc.
Samaria being so long besieged as they began to eate their children, the Lord on a sudden with an extraordinary terrour caused the enemies to flie, and to leave all their provision to the Israelites, so as they had all manner of food in great plenty.

These visible and extraordinary evidences give sensible demonstration of Gods power and pity: how able and ready he is to succour people in their extremities. And due notice is the rather to be taken of these, that we may know that when by more ordinary meanes succour is affoorded, it is the Lord that ordereth and disposeth those meanes: and his providence is to be acknowledged therein, as much as if extraordinarily he did what is done.

[Page 147]

5.11. §. 11. Of famine in a pious polity.

II.§. 2. FAmine may be under a pious Governour. Besides the instance of David mentioned in this text, it is Ecce in adventu justi fames, & fames validat & non turbatur justus, neq, aliquid humanum patitur: Chrys. Hom. 32. in Gen. 12. expresly noted of the three great Patriarchs, who in their dayes were the supreme Governours of Gods Church, that Gen.12.10.
there was such famine in each of their times, as they were all of them forced from their owne habitations, and sojourned in strange countries. Ruth 1.1. In the dayes of the Judges there was a famine in the land. Now all the Judges (except Abimelech, a cruell and tyrannicall usurper) were pious Governours, extraordinarily stirred up by God, and extraordinarily gifted and assisted by him. Yet in their dayes there was a famine: and that as the Ruth 4.18, etc. generation of Pharez giveth evidence, in Deborahs time, who (though a woman) was one of the best Judges.

5.12. §. 12. Of the causes of judgements under good Governours.

1. THe best Governours have many times most impious subjects under them: the cry of whose sinnes, they being many and impudent, more incenseth Gods wrath against a nation, then can be pacified by the piety of a righteous Governor, or of a few righteous subjects, though they be men of extraordinary endowments. For thus saith the Lord by one prophet, Jer.15.1. Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my mind could not be towards this people. And by another thus, Ezek.14.14,16.Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job were in the city, they should deliver neither sonne nor daughter. 2 Sam.24.1.In Davids time the anger of the Lord was so kindled against Israel, as he moved David against them. Jer.3.6,10.
Josias vir sanctus non solum peccatorem populum suis virtutibus non salvavit, sed & ipse in peccatis illus motuus est. Hier. Commēt. l4 in Ezec. 14.
In the dayes of good Josiah Judah waxed rebellious: so rebellious, as that pious King was so farre from preserving that sinfull people, as he himselfe died for their sinnes. No marvell then that God send famine, and other sore judgements upon a land in the time [Page 148] time of pious Governours to punish such subjects.

2. The most pious Governors do oft also themselves give too just cause unto God to say, Rev.2.4. I have somewhat against you. It is in the register of truth recorded, what he had against Numb.20.22.Moses and Aaron, against1 Sam.2.29. Elie, against2 Sam.12.9 David,1 King 11.9. Salomon,2 Chro.16.10 Asa,―19.2. Jehosaphat,―26.16.Uzziah, ―32.25.Hezekiah, and ―35.22.Josiah. And without all contradiction these were some of the best Governours that ever the Church had.

3. God doth sometimes treasure up the sinnes of predecessours, and extend his wrath unto succeeding generations. Excellent things are spoken of Josiah and his Government; yet at the end of all this dismall doome is added,2 King.23.26 Notwithstanding the Lord turned not from the fiercenesse of his great wrath, wherewith his anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the provocations that Manasseh had provoked him withall. In our text we see how God treasured up Sauls bloudy sinne till Davids time.

5.13. §. 13. Of punishing predecessours sinnes in their successours time.

Quest. HOw can it stand with Divine equity and justice that succeeding ages should be punished for the sinnes of their predecessours?

Answ. They are not simply and onely judged for their predecessours sinnes. The sinnes of predecessours do onely aggravate judgements inflicted on successours.

True is that of Ezekiel, Ezek.18.14,17.If a wicked father beget a sonne that seeth all his fathers sins which he hath done, and considereth and doth not such like, he shall not die for the iniquity of his father. He shall surely live. Yet withall is that of the Law as true, Exo.34.7.the Lord visiteth the iniquity of the fathers upon the children. We must therefore distinguish betwixt children. There are children which no way make themselves accessary to their fathers sinnes: but rather abhorre them, and pray that they may not be laid to their charge. These shall not beare their fathers iniquity.

[Page 149]

There are other children which tread in their fathers Quomodo Sanctorum merita descendunt ad posteros, sicut David & cælerorum: sic peccatorum flagitia, si liberi, nepotesq, similia gesserint, ad posteros perveniunt. Hier. Comment. l.3. in Hier. 15. steps, and commit like abominations, or at least do not consider their fathers sinnes, to be humbled for them, or to make such satisfaction for them as is meet, and to remove the evill effects of them: but some way or other make themselves accessary thereto: and in that respect are visited for them. As the vertues of predecessors descend to their posterity, as Davids and others: so the wickednesse of sinners shall fall upon their posterity, if their children, and childrens children do the like things.

In Josiahs dayes, 2 King.23.2,etc.though he himselfe did what lay in him to redresse the remainder of his fore-fathers abominations, yet Jer.3.6,10.the people were not thorowly reformed. 2 King.23.26.That therefore which is noted of Gods remembring Manassehs abominations in Josiahs daies, was not in regard of Josiah: for it is said, that 2 King.22.20.he should be gathered into his grave in Deus non exaudiet Moysen, aut Samuelem, quoniam consummata sunt scelera populi delinquentu. Hier. Comment. l.3. in Hier. 15.peace: but it was in regard of the people who continued to cleave to the sinnes of Manasseh, notwithstanding all the care that Josiah tooke for an universall reformation. For God will not accept the intercession of his best Saints, when the wickednesse of a sinfull nation is full, and in that kind perfected.

As for Sauls sinne, 1. David had not redressed it as he might and should have done. The slaying of the Gibeonites was a publique fact, and that against a publique agreement, and oath: so as David could not be ignorant thereof. He might therefore, and ought to have enquired of the remnant of the Gibeonites what satisfaction he should make: as he did being put in mind of Sauls sinne by Divine oracle.

2. It may be thought that the people had their hand as accessaries in slaying the Gibeonites. For it is said that 2 Sam.21.2.Saul sought to slay the Gibeonites in his zeale to the children of Israel and Judah. They therefore are justly punished with this famine.

3. Sauls sonnes were a wicked of-spring of a wicked stocke: and retained their fathers evill disposition. For Sauls house is stiled ――1.a bloudy house. Under his house, his children [Page 150] children are comprised. The Lord therefore purposing to root out all his posterity, taketh this just occasion. And by this meanes Davids fact in rooting them out is more justified before all the people: the envy thereof taken from him: and his kingdome the more secured to him and his posterity.

HereinIn hoc Dei Creatoris clementia demonstratur. Non enim truculenæ est & severitatis, irā tenere usē ad tertiam & quartam generationem: sed signum misericordiæ pænam differre peccati, etc. Hier. Comment. lib. [...] in Ezek. 18. therefore the clemency of the Creatour is manifested: for it is not a part of severity and cruelty to withhold wrath till the third and fourth generation, but a signe of mercy to deferre the punishment of sinne. For when he saith, The Lord God, mercifull, and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodnesse, and addeth, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the childrens children, he sheweth that he is of such compassion, that he doth not presently punish, but defers the execution of punishment.

5.14. §. 14. Of mis-judging a profession by outward judgements.

IT being so evident that famines befall pious polities, it Audiant qui temer è & in circu spectè loquuntur, & divinant, dicentes quoniam quispiam advenit fames facta. Ecce etiam in ad [...]etu justi fames, etc. Chrys. Hom. 32. in Gen. 12. must needs be a perverse ground of censure, to question a Religion and the truth thereof by reason of such an event. Was there any true Church in the world, but the Church of the Jewes, while that politie stood? Yet was there no externall judgement from which that was not exempted. A Religion may be sound and good, though the Professours thereof (thorow their unworthy walking) pull many judgements upon their owne heads: 1 Cor.11.30.The Church of Corinth in the Primitive and purest time thereof, provoked God to judge them in this world. Yet was the Religion which they professed, taught them by an Apostle: the Religion I say, not their abuse therof. There is a better touch-stōe to try the truth of Religion by, then externall events.1 Pet.4.17.Judgement must begin at the house of God. Pro.11.31.The righteous shalbe recompenced in the earth. Shall then that be accounted no Church where judgements are? Or they not righteous, who on earth are recom- [Page 151] penced? Well may we judge, that God inflicteth no judgement without a just cause. But a false Religion is not the onely cause of judgement. Wherefore neither judge other Churches in their Religion because of famine, plague, or other like judgements befall them: nor thinke the worse of thine owne profession, especially when thou hast evidences of the correspondency thereof to Gods Word, for such causes.

5.15. §. 15. Of duties which judgements under pious Princes require.

WOrthy directions are affoorded even to pious Governours and their people, by this publique judgement which God laid on Israel in Davids time.

Governours must therefore

  1. Make the best enquiry they can into former times: and take notice of such publique crying sinnes as have beene committed, and not expiated either by any publique judgement on Gods part, or by any publique humiliation and satisfaction on peoples part. Such sins are treasured up. Vengeance may be executed for them in succeeding times. Successours therefore ought to do what lieth in their power to make an attonement in such cases.
  2. Be carefull over their people to keepe them in good order: That as they themselves professe, affect, and maintaine true Religion, so their subjects may subject themselves thereto, and shew forth the power thereof. Not common
    A Principibus non requiruntur opera tantum trita & vulgaria, sed ut sapiät alijs, ut illis præluceant omni virtutum genere. Martyr. Comment in 2 Sam.21.17.
    and ordinary works onely are required of Governours: but that they be wise for others, live for others, and shine out to them in every kind of vertue. Otherwise, the sinnes of subjects (notwithstanding the piety of their Governours) may pull downe publique vengeance.

As for people under pious Governours,

  1. They may not be secure and carelesse, much lesse dissolute and licentious, because they have such Governours, as if no judgements could fall on a land in the time of good Gover- [Page 152] Governours. God hath many wayes to punish such people even in such times: As by inflicting such judgements, as prove greater plagues to the common people, then to their Governours: as this famine was. (For famine for the most part lieth most heavy on the meaner sort:) Or by giving over their Governours to commit such sinnes as will pull downe
    2 Sam.24.1
    publique judgements: as he gave over David: or by
    2 King.23.26,29.
    taking away their Governours, as he tooke away Josiah, and then powring out the vials of his indignation.
  2. They must live in obedience to the pious lawes that are made by their pious Governours. For continuance of Divine blessing upon a land, there must be like Governours, like Subjects: each worthy of other.

Finally, Governours must pray for their subjects: and subjects for their Governours: that thus one may be heard for another, and one keepe judgements from another. Otherwise, A famine may be in the dayes of David.

5.16. §. 16. Of long continued famine.

III. § 2. A Famine may long continue without intermission. Here was a famine of three yeares, yeare after yeare. 1 King.18.1.
In Eliahs time a famine continued three yeares and six moneths. Gen.41.30.
In Egypt and all the land of Canaan a famine continued seven yeares together. 2 King 8.1,2.The like was in Israel in Elishaes time. In the time of the Judges a famine continued ten yeares, as by probable arguments may be conjectured. For, Ruth 1.2.Elimelech with Naomi his wife went into Moab to sojourn there by reason of a famine in Israel. ――6. When Naomi heard that the Lord had visited his people in giving them bread, she arose to go into her owne country. But from the first comming of her husband into Moab, to this her returning, she had dwelt ――4.about ten yeares in Moab.

  1. God
    Why famine is long cōtinued.
    suffers famine to lie the longer on men, that the smart of his stroake might be the more sensibly felt: and his judgement not lightly regarded. For they who at first thinke nothing of famine, supposing that they have store [Page 153] enough laid up till the famine be gone, by the long continuance of it are brought to exhaust all their store: and when they know not whither to turne their eyes, to lift them to God in heaven.
  2. Mens continuance in sinne many times provoketh the Lord to continue his judgements on them.
    1 King 18.18
    While the Israelites continued in Eliahs time to worship Baal, the famine continued. But
    so soone as they acknowledged the Lord to be God, raine fell downe from heaven abundantly, whereby the famine was removed.
  3. It is long, in famine, as in other judgements, before men use to seeke after the true cause thereof But they are ready to lay it on this wrong cause, or that wrong cause. As
    1 King 18.17
    Ahab laid the cause of the famine in his dayes on Eliah: and
    2 King.6.31
    Jehoram his sonne on Elisha. And
    Jer. 44 18.
    the Jewes in Jeremiahs time, on the reformation of their idolatry: and
    Tertus. in Apolog advers. Gent c.40 Cypr. Tract.1. contr Demetr. Euseb. Eccles. Hist. lib.9. cap.7.
    the Heathen in the time of the Primitive Churches, on Christians. Men are more prone to pick out false causes, then to search out the true cause. It appeares to be long ere David tooke a right course to find out the true cause. Three yeares had first passed over{.} But when men have long wearied themselves in searching after false causes, and observe by continuance of famine that they misse of the right cause: they are forced to take another course, and to fly to God for help. On this ground saith the Lord, I will go and returne to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seeke my face: in their affliction they will seeke me early.

5.17. §. 17. Of duties by reason of long famine.

MVch wisdome may be learned from this kind of Gods dealing with men, in long continuing famine; as the directions following demonstrate.

  1. When there is any cause to feare a famine,
    See §. 5. 6.
    do what lieth in thee to prevent it, and that so much the rather, because it may long continue if once it begin. Evils that long continue are the more to be feared, and (if it be possible) prevented.
  2. [Page 154]When a famine is begun,
    See A Plaister for the Plague. on Numb.16.46. §. 50, 51.
    in the beginning thereof humble thy selfe before God: seeke to pacifie his wrath betimes. Thus maist thou at least prevent the extremity of famine: and move God the sooner to remove it.
  3. Provide before hand, for a long time.
    Gen.41.48. Joseph sanctus quem admodum fames in posterum vinceretur provida ordinatione disposuit. Amb. Offic. l.3. c.6.
    We have herein a worthy patterne in Joseph. Many cities besieged by enemies have been forced to surrender themselves to the enemy for want of laying up sufficient store for a long siege: which if they had done, the enemie might have been forced to rase his siege, before the city were taken.
  4. In famine possesse thy soule with patience, (Luke 21. 19.) Such
    Quamdiu est tempus famis, tolerandum est durandum est, perseverandum est usq, in finem. Aug. Enar. in Psal. 32.
    judgements as use long to continue, require the more patience. He that by reason of the extremity of a famine said, This evill is of the Lord: what should I wait for the Lord any longer? (2 King. 6. 33.) wanted patience. Had he waited a little longer, he should have had good experience to say,
    Lam 3.26.
    It is good that a man should both hope, and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.

5.18. §. 18. Of searching out causes of judgements.

IIII. See § 2. CAuses of judgements are to be sought out. Jos.7.13, etc.The advice which God himselfe gave to Joshua, when the Israelites fled before the men of Ai, tends hereunto. So doth this exhortation of the Prophet, Lam.3.40.Let us search and try our wayes. It was a usuall course with the people of God so to do. Gen.25.22.When Rebekah felt children strugling together in her, she said, Why am I thus? Judg.20.23,27.When the Israelites were twice overthrowne by the Benjamites, they both times asked counsell; namely, about that matter. Though Saul were a notorious hypocrite, yet herein he imitated the custome of Gods people,1 Sam.14.38, etc.in searching out the cause of Gods displeasure. The frequent expostulations of Gods people in time of judgements, adde further proofe hereto: such as these, Exo.5.22.Wherefore hast thou so evill entreated this people?―32.11. Why doth thy wrath waxe hot against thy people? Judg.21.3.Why is this come to passe in Israel?Jer.2.14. Why is Israel spoiled? The [Page 155] Psalmes and Prophets are full of such.

The finding out of the true cause of a judgement, is a ready Auferamus malorum sontem, & omnia morborum sistent fluenta. Chrys. ad. Pop. Hom. 46.way to remove a judgement: we find this true in bodily diseases. Such physitians as are most skilfull in searching and finding out the cause of a disease, are most successefull in curing the disease. For it is a principle verified by all sciences, Take away the cause, the effect followes. They that well find out the cause of a judgement, wilbe carefull (if they feele the smart of a judgement) to pull away that cause. Which if it be rightly done, the end why God inflicted the judgement is accomplished. God having his end, he will soone cease to strike.

That which was §. 16.before noted of the reason of the long continuance of judgements on children of men, is here further confirmed: namely, mens negligence in searching after the true causes of them: The power, jealousie, and justice of that God (whose mercy moveth him upon removall of the cause to remove the judgement) will not suffer him to take away a judgement till the cause thereof be taken away. And how shall it be taken away if it be not knowne? How shall it be knowne if it be not searched after? Wherefore let all diligence be hereunto given, whensoever we see any evidences of Gods wrath: or have any just cause to suspect that it is incensed against us.

5.19. §. 19. Of Governours care in publique judgements.

V.See §. 2. CHiefe Governours ought to be most solicitous in publique judgements. So have been such as have been guided by the Spirit of God: as Numb.16.46Moses, Jos.7.6.Joshuah, Judg.4.6.Deborah, 1 Sam.7.5.Samuel, 2 Chro.14.11Asa, ―20.3.Jehosaphat, ―32.2, etc.Hezekiah, and others.

  1. To the charge of chiefe Governours belong all that are under their government. So as the care not only of their owne soules, but also of all their subjects soules lieth on them. They are as shepheards to their flocke. Therefore [Page 156]
    1 Pet 5.4. Isay 44.28. A Homer Iliad. Xenophontis dictum,
    Christ the King of Kings and most supreme Governour over all is stiled the chief Shepheard: and other Governors are called Shepheards, both by the Holy Ghost, and also by other authors. For the charge and care of a good shepheard and a good King are much alike. If any thorow their neglect of any warrantable meanes perish, their bloud shalbe required at their hands.
  2. Chiefe Gover{n}ours have not onely liberty themselves to use such meanes as are prescribed for removing publique judgements; but also power to enjoyne and command all under their authority to do what in such cases the Lord requireth.
    2 Chro 34.32
    Josiah caused all that were found in Jerusalem, and Benjamin to stand to the covenant which he had made with God.
  3. They being publique persons, their example is a great inducement to others to imitate them. So as their care provoketh many to be carefull in using all good meanes to remove the judgement.
  4. They beare Gods image, and stand in Gods roome: in which respect their solicitous care is both more acceptable unto God, and more availeable for effecting that which they aime at. For on the contrary side, their sinnes are more hainous
    Regum ac Principum, & præpositorum scelere, populi plerumq delentur. Hier. Comment. in Jer, 15, lib. 3.
    and more pernicious then the sinnes of private persons. Insomuch as a whole people is oft destroyed by the wickednesse of Governours.

Oh that such as are in high and eminent places, that are set over others, and are as Gods on earth, were of the same mind that David was! That they were thorowly affected with the publique judgements that are from time to time inflicted on their land! That they were carefull and conscionable in using the meanes which in Gods Word are sanctified for removing judgements! Then assuredly would publique judgements be neither so fierce, nor so long.

Let our prayer be to God daily for our governours, that the Lord would make them especially sensible of publique judgements, and conscionable in doing their parts for removing them. So shall God have the honour, they the comfort, [Page 157] we the profit and benefit. Otherwise, if Governours sinne, Quicquid delirant Reges plectuntur Ach [...]vi. Hor. Epist. l.1. Epist. 2. ad Lol.their people are like to feele the smart of it, as in Davids time, 2 Sam. 24. 1, etc.

5.20. §. 20. Of seeking to God for removing judgements.

Note: Eliz. Li[?]nthank's Book

VI. See § 2.GOD is to be sought unto for removing judgements. Observe all the instances § 18.before given of seeking out the causes of judgement, and you shall find them all to prove the point propounded of seeking to God. Unto all which 1 King.8 35, etc.the worthy patterne of Salomons prayer made at the dedication of the temple may well be added, Psal.10 15.
Amos 5.4.
God himselfe directs us to seeke succour of him. Isa.8.19.
His Prophets do much presse as much. Jer.50 4.
Zac.8 21.
This is made a property of such as are effectually called of God, and Hos.5.15.on whom judgements do kindly worke. 2 King.1.3.
The contrary, that men should seeke of others, rather then of God, is justly and sharply upbraided to them.

Isa 45.7.
Amos 3.6.
It is God that inflicteth judgements on children of men: Who then but he should be sought unto for removing them but the Lord? No creature can take away that which the Creatour sends, but the Creatour himselfe. As this is most true of all manner of judgements: so in particular of that which we have in hand, which is famine: whereupon I will a little more insist in the Sessions following.

5.21. §. 21 Of Gods causing famine.

THat God sendeth famine upon a land, is most evident by these and other like proofes.

  1. Gods owne testimony. For expresly he saith of himselfe,
    Amos 4 6, 7.
    I have given you cleannesse of teeth in all your cities, and want of bread in all your places, etc.
  2. Deut.28.23,38.
    Gods threatnings of this judgement. The things which God threatneth come from God.
  3. [Page 154]
    Gen.41.16, etc.
    1 King.17.1.
    2 King 8.1.
    Act 11.28.
    Predictions of famine, by such as were indued with the spirit of God. For God reveales to such what he intends to do. And upon such revelations men of God have foretold famines.
  4. Deu.11.14,15
    The plenty which commeth from God. For if God be the giver of plenty: surely the want of plenty, yea and famine too, must needs be from him. For what is famine, but a want of such things which the Lord giveth to sustaine us? And whence commeth that want, but from Gods with-holding and not giving such things?
  5. The causes of famine;
    See § 6.
    1 King.8.36.
    which are sins against God. Sinnes against God provoke Gods wrath. Gods wrath incensed inflicteth judgements.
    See § 3.
    Among other judgements which are effects of Gods wrath, famine is one of the principall. Famine therefore must needs come from God.
  6. The meanes and secondary causes of famine, which are all ordered by God. For secondary causes do all depend on the high primary cause, which is Gods will.
    All are his servants. That this may more evidently appeare, I will instance it in such particular meanes as are registred in Scripture, and there noted to be ordered by God.

5.22. §. 22 Of the meanes of famine ordered by God.

MEanes of famine are such as these.

  1. The heavens with-holding raine. For the earth is drie of its owne nature: being drie it can yeeld no fruit. The ordinary meanes of watering and moistening it, is raine from heaven. Where that is with-held, the earth waxeth drie and barren: and living creatures want that sustenance which should maintaine their life. But it is God that causeth the heavens to with-hold raine.
    I (saith the Lord) I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brasse. Iron can not dissolve into water, nor brasse yeeld out fruit. The meaning then is, that heaven over them should yeeld no raine, nor the earth under them, fruit. More plainely saith the Lord in other places,
    Isay 5.6.
    I will command the clouds that they [Page 155] raine no raine upon it.
    Amos 4.7.
    I have with-holden the raine from you. I caused it to raine upon one city, and caused it not to raine upon another city. As an evidence hereof,
    1 King.17.1.
    Elias prayed earnestly that it might not raine: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three yeares and six moneths.
  2. The heavens showring downe raine in such unusuall abundance, as thereby the fruits which the earth hath brought forth are destroyed: especially in harvest time. We have few instances hereof in Scripture: For Judea was under an hot climate: so as oft they wanted raine, but seldome had too much. Our Northerne, cold Regions of the world are most punished with over-much raine: which oft causeth dearth and famine. Yet that this unseasonable and overflowing abundance of water is ordered by God, is evident by that great instance of the
    generall deluge: and by that extraordinary instance of
    1 Sam,12.17.
    thunder and raine, that at Samuels prayer fell in a day of wheat-harvest. This phrase,
    A sweeping raine which leaveth no food, sheweth that of old there was such immoderate raine as caused famine. And this speech of the Lord himselfe,
    I will raine an over-flowing raine, and great haile-stones, sheweth, that God ordereth immoderate raine.
  3. Barrennesse of the earth. For
    God bringeth forth food out of the earth. And for their sustenance,
    The earth hath he given to the children of men. If therefore the earth where men abide be barren, there must needs be dearth and famine. But it is the Lord that maketh a land barren.
    He turneth a fruitfull land into barrennesse. In this respect it is said,
    1 Cor.3.7.
    Neither he that planteth is any thing, nor he that watereth: but God that giveth the increase.
  4. Very sharpe winters, extraordinary frosts, snow, haile, blasting, mildew, rotting of seed under the clods, and such like meanes as destroy corne and other fruits before they come to maturity for mans use. These are expresly noted to
    1 King 8 37
    Joel 1.17.
    cause famine, and to be
    Amos 4. 9.
    ordered by God.
  5. Psal.105.34.
    Locusts, grashoppers, cater-pillars, canker-wormes, palmer-wormes, and other like hurtfull creatures which oft by [Page 154] their innumerable multitudes eate up all the grasse, corne, herbes, and fruits of the earth whereby men and beasts are nourished: and so
    Joel 1.4.
    cause famine. These God calleth his
    great army. They are therefore at his command, disposed by him.
  6. Enemies. These oft bring great famines: and that by
    destroying the increase of the earth, and all manner of cattell, and leaving no sustenance: For they kill, and burne, and spoile all that they can, when they enter into others lands. Yea and by blocking up people within narrow compasses: girting and besieging their townes and cities, so as they can not go abroad to use any meanes for supply of their wants. The forest famines that ever were, have beene caused this way.
    2 King.6.25.
    Enemies long besieging a place, force the inclosed to eate the flesh of asses, the dung of doves, and any thing that they can chew or swallow. Yea, it forceth them
    Deut 28.53.
    2 King.6.29.
    to eate their owne children. Now enemies which so afflict others, are Gods
    rod, staffe, axe, saw,
    Isa 34 5,6.
  7. The plague.
    Pestis fami implicata sæpiss<ime> grassatur. Niceph. Eccles. Hist l.7. c.<2>8
    Many are thereby taken away: others moved to depart from their callings, and meanes of maintaining themselves, and providing for others. Whence followes penury and famine. We
    1 King.8.27.
    Jer.24 10.
    oft in Scripture reade of plague and famine joyned together. For the one is a cause of the other. Famine breedeth pestilence: and pestilence causeth famine.
    fames pestis utranque a deficeit. Vide supr §. 4. distinct. 10.
    The ancient Græcians do set them out by words very like, which come from the same root.
  8. Perishing of graine, fruit, and other kinds of food in store: or in the places where it is laid up. For it oft falleth out that Monopolists, and ingrossers of corne, and other commodities, do heape up, for their owne private gaine, all the provision they can get: which being so heaped together, by heate, or moisture, or some such other meanes, mustieth, putrifieth, and is made unfit for use: or by mice, rats, and other vermine is consumed: or by fire devoured: or some other way destroyed: whence followeth famine. That such courses of engrossing commodities have [Page 161] of old bene used, is evident by this proverb,
    He that withdraweth corne the people shall curse him. That God hath an hand in the spoile of such treasures is evident by
    Gods threatning to spoile, where there is no end of store.
  9. Deficiency of vertue in such meanes as men have. This is comprised under this phrase of
    breaking the staffe of bread: and
    Taking away the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water. That Metaphor is taken from an old man, who being not able to stand upright of himselfe, hath a staffe to leane upon, and thereby is supported: or from a tent which is held up by the staffe in the midst of it: if ye breake, or take away that staffe or stay, downe will the old man, or the tent fall. This staffe of bread, and stay of water, is that vertue which by the Divine providence is in them of nourishing such as eate the one, and drink the other. It is therefore by some translated, the strength of bread, and the
    Fortitudo panis, & fortitudo aquæ, Item robur panis & robur aquæ. Hier in Esay. 3.
    Vis & vigor panis & aquæ. Calvin in Isay 3.1.
    Fulcimentum. Vatab.
    strength of water. By others the vigour and power of bread and water. Take away this vertue from bread and water, they are as if they were not: of no use, of no benefit. Now it is God onely that gives, or takes away this staffe: and in that respect causeth famine.

As in these, so in all other meanes of famine the Lord hath an over-ruling providence: so as these secondary causes give witnesse to this, that God sendeth famine: and that therefore God is to be sought unto for removing, and taking away famine.

5.23. §. 23 Of enquiring of God in and by his Word.

Quest. HOw may we now seeke of God? aThe meanes of old used, are now no more of use.

Answ. In generall, God requireth no other meanes of seeking him, then what he himselfe hath ordained. In particular, we have as sure and certaine a meanes for enquiring of God, as ever the Church had: which is his written Word. This meaneth he who saith, We have a more sure [Page 162] word, (2 Pet. 1. 19.) Habent ubi quæ rerent Christum. Habent, inquit, Moysen & Eliam, id est, Legem & Prophetas Christum prædicantes secundem quod & alibi apertè, Scrutamini Scripturu, in quibus salutem speratis. Illæ enim de me loquuntur. Hic erit, Quæri e & invenietis. Tertul. de Præscript. Hævet. And he who long before that said, To the law and to the testimony, If any speake not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them, Isay 8. 20. This was it which he, who in this text is said to enquire of the Lord, made his counseller, his lamp and light, Psal. 119. 24, 105.

This oracle of God first declareth the causes of famine: wherof before, § 6. If hereunto we impartially bring the testimony of our owne conscience, we may soone find what causes hereof are in our selves: and how farre we in our persons have provoked the Lord to judge us. If further we bring a wise observation of the times wherein, and of the persons among whom we live, we may also find what are the common and publique causes of the judgements which God inflicteth.

  1. This oracle sheweth what means may be used for well ordering or removing that judgement whereof the causes are found out. The means noted before, §. 8. are all prescribed in Gods Word.
  2. It also revealeth such Divine promises of blessing a right use of such means as are therein prescribed, as we may with much confidence rest on a good issue.

Let this therfore be the generall use and close of all, that in famine and other like judgements we do as David is here noted to do, enquire of the Lord: enquire of him in and by his word: and withall, as David here also did, follow the directions prescribed by the Lord in his Word; then shall we be sure to have such an issue as David had, expressed in 2 Sam 21.14.these words, God was intreated for the land.

[Page 163]

5.24. §. 24. Of the extremity of famine in the last siege of Jerusalem.

BEcause reference is often made to the history of Flavius Josephus of the warres of the Jewes concerning the extremity of famine in the last siege at Jerusalem, by the Romanes in the dayes of Vespasian the Emperour, I think it meet in the end of this Treatise distinctly to relate the said history so farre as it concerneth the famine.

The famine of the City, and the desperation of the Joseph de Bello Jud. lib. 6 cap. 11.
Houses broken up and searched for corne.
theeves both increased alike, every day more and more; so that now there was no more corne found. Wherefore the seditious persons brake into the houses, and searched every corner for to find corne; and if after their search they found any, then they did beat the owners for denying it at the first; and if they found none, they tortured the housholders, as having more cunningly hidden it: And whosoever was yet strong of body and well liking, him they presently killed; for hereby they deemed him to have store of food, or els he should not have been in so good plight of body as he was. And they that were pined with famine, were by these barbarous seditious people slaine, who esteemed it no offence to kill them, who would shortly after die, though they were left alive. Many, both rich, and poore, secretly exchanged all that they had for one bushell of corne, andAll exchanged for bread. presently shutting themselves in the secretest roome of their houses, some of them did eate the corne as it was unground: others made bread thereof, as necessity and feare required. No man in the whole city sate downe to eate his meate on a table, but greedily taking it, not boiled from the fire, they (even raw as it was) did eate it. Most miserable was this manner of living, and a spectacle which none without teares was able to behold; for the strongest still got the most, and the weakest bewaild their misery: for now famine was the greatest calamity they endured. And nothing doth arme Food snatched out of one anothers mouths. men more then shame: for during this famine no reverence was had towards any man: for wives tooke the meat even out of their husbands mouthes, and children from their pa- [Page 164] rents, and mothers even from their infants, which was the most lamentable thing of all. No body had now any compassion, neither did they spare their dearest infants, but suffered them to perish even in their armes, taking from them the very drops of life. Yet could they not eate thus in such secrecy, but presently some came to take away from them that whereon they fed. For if in any place they saw any doore shut, presently hereupon they conjectured that they in the house were eating meat, and forthwith breaking downe the doores, they came in; and taking them by the throat, they tooke the meat out of their mouthes already chewed, Cruelty used to get food. and ready to be swallowed downe. The old men were driven away, and not permitted to keepe and defend their food from being taken from them: the women were drawne up and downe by the haire of the head, for that they hid betweene their hands some part of their meat, and would not forgoe it. No pitie was now remaining, neither to old age, nor infancy, but they tooke young babes eating, their mouth full of meat, and not permitting it to be taken out of their mouthes, and threw them against the ground. Now if any one had prevented these theeves, and eaten their meat before they could come at them, then they were more cruell; and the other so much more tyrannously handled, as having committed some greater offence against them. They also devised most barbarous and cruell torments to extort food from others: for they thrust sticks or such like into the cavity of mens yards, and sharpe thorny rods into their fundaments: and it is abominable to heare what the people endured to make them confesse one loafe of bread, or one handfull of corne which they had hidden.

TheIbid. cap. 14. restraint of liberty to passe in and out of the City tooke from the Jewes all hope of safety, and the famine now increasing, consumed whole housholds and families, and the houses Multitudes die of famine. were full of dead women and infants: and the streets filled with the dead bodies of old men: And the young men swollen like dead mens shadowes, walked in the market place, and fell downe dead where it happened. [Page 165] And now the multitude of dead bodies was so great, that they which were alive could not bury them, neither cared they for burying them, being now uncertaine what should betide themselves. And many endeavouring to bury others, fell downe themselves dead upon them as they were burying them. And many being yet alive, went unto their graves, and there died. Yet for all this calamity was there no weeping nor lamentation, for famine overcame all affections. And they who were yet living, without teares beheld those, who being dead, were now at rest before them. There was no noise heard within the Citie, and the still night found all full of dead bodies: and which was most miserable of all, the theeves at night came and tooke away that which covered the dead bodies nakednesse, and went laughing away, and in their bodies they proved their swords, and upon pleasure onely thrust many through yet breathing. Yet if any have desired them to kill him, or to Death desired by the famished. lend him a sword to kill himselfe, that so he might escape the famine, they denied him.

What need I recount every particular miserie? Mannaeus the sonne of Lazarus flying to Titus out of the gate, Ibid. cap. 6.that was committed unto his custody, and yeelding himself unto him, recounted unto Titus, that from the time that the Romans army was placed neare the City, from the foureteenth Multitude die of famine.day of Aprill, unto the first of July, were carried out of that gate he kept, a hundred, fifteene thousand, and fourescore dead bodies; yet was not he the keeper of the gate, but being appointed to pay for the burying of the dead at the charges of the City, was forced to number the dead bodies. For others were buried by their parents, and this was their buriall, to cast them out of the City, and there let them lie. And certaine noble men flying unto Titus after him, reported that there were dead in all the City six hundred thousand poore folks which were cast out of the gates, and the others that died were innumerable: and that when so many died that they were not able to burie them, that then they gathered their bodies together in the greatest [Page 166] houses adjoyning, and there shut them up. And that a bushell of corne was sold for a talent, which is six hundred crownes: and that after the City was compassed with a wall that now they could not go out to gather any more herbs, many were driven to that necessity, that they raked sinkesDung eaten. and privies to finde old dung of oxen to eate; and so the dung that was loathsome to behold, was their meate.

AnIbid lib.7. cap.7,8. infinite multitude perished within the City thorow famine, so that they could not be numbered: for in every Food violently snatched awayplace where any shew or signe of food was, presently arose a battell, and the dearest friends of all now fought one with another, to take the food from other poore soules, neither did they believe them that were now a dying for famine, but the theeves searched them, whom they saw yeelding up the ghost, thinking that they dying for famine, had hid about them some food, but they were deceived of their hope, being like mad dogs, greedy of meate, and fell against the doores like drunken men, searching the self-same houses twice or thrice together in desperation, and for very penury Things loathed eaten. they eate whatsoever they light upon, gathering such things to eat, as the most filthy living creatures in the world would have loathed. In briefe, they did eate their girdles and shoes, and the skins that covered their shields, so that a little of old hay was sold for foure Attiques. But what need is it to shew the sharpnesse of this famine by things that want life? I will recount an act never heard of, neither amongst the Greekes, nor any other barbarous people, horrible to be rehearsed, and incredible, so that I would willingly omit this calamity, least posterity should thinke I lie, had I not many witnesses hereof, and perhaps should incurre reprehension, not fully recounting all accidents of them that are dead.

AA mother kils and eates her owne child. certaine woman named Mary, dwelling beyond Jordane, the daughter of Eleazar of the towne of Vitezokia, which signifieth the house of Hysope, descended of noble and rich parentage, flying with the rest unto Jerusalem, was [Page 167] there with them besieged. Her other goods the tyrants had taken from her, which she had brought from beyond the river into the City, and whatsoever being hid, escaped their hands, the theeves daily came into her house, and tooke it away, whereat the woman greatly moved, cursed them, and with hard speeches animated them the more against her, yet no man either for anger or compassion would kill her, but suffered her to live to get them meate, but now could she get no more, and famine invaded her with rage and anger more then danger. Wherefore by rage and necessity she was compelled to do that which nature abhorred, and taking her sonne unto whom she then gave sucke, O miserable child (quoth she) in warre, famine, and sedition, for which of these shall I keepe thee? If thou continue amongst the Romans, thou shalt be made a slave, yet famine will prevent bondage; or else sedition worse then them both. Be therefore meate for me, a terrour unto the seditious, a tragicall story to be spoken of by posterity, and that which is onely yet heard of amongst the calamities of the Jewes. Having thus spoken, she slue her sonne, and did seeth the one halfe of him, and did eate it, the rest she reserved covered. Presently came the seditious, smelling the {sent} of that execrable meat, threatning presently to kill her, except she forthwith brought some of that unto them which she had prepared. Then she answered that she had reserved a good portion thereof for them, and presently uncovered that part of her sonne which she had left uneaten; at which sight they trembled, and a horrour fell upon them. But the woman said, this is truly my sonne, and my doing, eat you of it, for I my selfe have eaten thereof. Be not more effeminate then a woman, nor more mercifull then a mother. If Religion make you refuse this my sacrifice, I have already eaten of it, and will eate the rest. Then the seditious departed, hereat onely trembling, and scarcely permitting this meate to the mother. Presently the report of this hainous crime was bruited all about the City, and every man having before his eyes this excerable fact, trembled as though him- [Page 168] selfeChrys. advers. vitup. vitæ monast. l. 1.
Euseb. Hist. Eccles. l. 3. c. 6.
Niceph. Hist. Eccles. l 3 c 7.
had done it. And now all that were vexed with this famine, hastned their owne deaths, and he was accounted happy that died before he felt this famine.

This history of a mothers eating her own child, is related also by Chrysostome, Eusebius, Nicephorus, and other ancients.

5.25. §. 25. Of extremity of famine, where were no invasions of enemies, nor sieges, but immediately from Gods hand.

TO the fore-mentioned extremity of famine caused in Jerusalem, by reason of enemies blocking them up, it will not be unseasonable to adde a relation, out of our Ecclesiasticall histories of extreme famine where were no enemies: that we who perhaps do (by reason of our long continued peace) thinke our selves secure enough from feare of enemies, may notwithstanding feare Gods more immediate revenging hand, even by famine now beginning, after that the plague is mitigated. The history is this.

TheEuseb Eccles. Hist l 9. c. 8.
Niceph, Eccles. Hist. l. 7. c 28. Famine and Plague together.
inhabitants of the cities of Maximinus, sore pined away with famine and pestilence, so that one measure of wheat was sold for two thousand and fifty Attiques. An infinite number died throughout the Cities, but more throughout the countries and villages, so that now the sundry and ancient demaines of husbandmen were in a manner quite done away, for that all suddenly through want of food and grievous malady of the Pestilence were perished. Many thereforeDearest things sold for slender food. sought to sell unto the wealthier sort, for most slender food, the dearest things they enjoyed. Others selling their possessions by peeces, fell at length into the miserable perill of extreme poverty: others gnawing the small shreded tops of greene grasse, and withall confusedly feedingUnwholsome things eaten.on certaine venomous herbes, used them for food, whereby the healthy constitution of the body was perished and turnedNoble women forced to beg. to poison. Diverse noble women throughout the cities, [Page 169] driven to extreme need and necessity, went a begging into the country, shewing forth by their reverend countenance and more gorgeous apparell, an example of that ancient and free manner of feeding: Certaine others whose strength was dried up, tottering to and fro, nodding and sliding much like carved pictures without life, being not able to stand, fell downe flat in the midst of the streets, groveling upon the ground, with their faces upward, and stretched out armes, making humble supplication that some one would reach them a little peece of bread: and thus lying in extremity, ready to yeeld up the ghost, cried out that they were hungry,Cries of the starved.being onely able to utter these words. Others which seemed to be of the wealthier sort, amazed at the multitude of beggers, after they had distributed infinitely, they put on an unmercifullFamine makes unmercifull. and sturdy mind, fearing least they should shortly suffer the like need with them that craved{.} Wherefore inDead lie in streets. the midst of the market place, and throughout narrow lanes, the dead and bare carcasses lay many dayes unburied, and cast along, which yeelded a miserable spectacle to the beholders. Yea many became food unto dogs, for which cause chieflyMen food for dogs. such as lived, turned themselves to kill dogs, fearing least they should become mad, and turne themselves to teare in peeces and devoure men. And no lesse truly did the plaguePlague kils such as are kept from famine.spoile every house and age but specially devouring them whom famine through want of food could not destroy. Therefore the rich, the Princes, the Presidents, and many of the Magistrates, as fit people for a pestilent disease (because they were not pinched with penury) suffered a sharpe and most swift death. All sounded of lamentation, throughout every narrow lane, the market places and streets. There was nothing to be seene but weeping, together with their wonted pipes, and the rest of Minstrels noise. Death after this (waging battell with double armour, to wit, with famine and pestilence) destroyed in short space whole families.

[Page 170]

5.26. §. 26. Of famines in England.

TO other instances of great famines let me adde such as have hapned in England: that therby we may the better discern what we in this our owne country are subject unto.

InStow in his generall Chrō of Engl. In the 5. yeare of W. Conq. 1069.King William the Conquerours daies there was such a dearth thorow all England, especially thorow Northumberland, and the countries next adjoyning, that men were faine to eate horse-flesh, cats, dogs, and mans flesh. For all the land that lay betwixt Durham and Yorke lay waste without Inhabitants, and people to till the ground for the space of nine yeares, except onely the territory of Beverlake.

InIbid. H. 3. 18. 1234. King Henry the thirds raigne was a great dearth and pestilence: so that many poore folks died for want of victuals:Vermine in corne hoorded up in time of dearth.and the rich men were striken with covetousnesse, that they would not relieve them. Amongst these is to be noted Walter Grey, Arch-Bishop of Yorke, whose corne being five yeares old, doubting the same to be destroyed by vermine, he commanded to deliver it to the husbandmen that dwelt in his mannours, upon condition to pay as much new corne after harvest; and would give none to the poore for Gods sake. But when men came to a great stack of corne nigh to the towne of Ripon belonging to the said Arch-bishop, there appeared in the sheaves all over the heads of wormes, serpents, and toads. And the Bailiffes were forced to build an high wall round about the corne, and then to set it on fire, least the venomous wormes should have gone out and poysoned the corne in other places.

InIbid. Edw. 2. 9. 1315.
Dearth thorow abundance of raine in harvest.
King Edward the second his daies a great dearth increased through the abundance of raine that fell in harvest, so that a quarter of wheat was sold before Mid-sommer for 30 shillings, and after, for 40 shillings. An high rate in those daies. The beasts and cattell also, by the corrupt grasse whereof they fed, died: whereby it came to passe, that the eatingHerbes, dogs, children, men eaten.of flesh was suspected of all men. For flesh of beast not corrupted was hard to find. Horse-flesh was counted [Page 171] great delicates. The poore stole fat dogs to eate. Some (as it was said) compelled thorow famine in hid places, did eat the flesh of their owne children: and some stole others which they devoured. Theeves that were in prison did plucke in peeces those that were newly brought amongst them, and greedily devoured them halfe alive.

When Henry 6. raigned, scarcity and dearenesse of corne Ibid. H. 6. 18. 1440.forced men to eate beanes, pease, and barley, more then in an hundred yeares before. Bread-corne was so scarce in England, that poore people made them bread of Fern-roots,

In the time of King Henry the eight there fell such raine Ibid. H. 8. 18. 1527.
Famine caused by much raine.
in November and December, as thereof ensued great flouds, which destroyed corn-fields, pastures, and beasts. Then was it dry till the 12 of Aprill: and from that time it rained every day and night till the third of June, whereby corne failed sore in the yeare following.

Againe in the time of the said King, such scarcity of bread was in London, and in all England, that many died forIbid. H. 8. 19.
A president for Princes.
default thereof, The King of his goodnesse sent to the City of his owne provision 600. quarters, or else for one weeke there had beene little bread. The bread-carts comming from Stratford-Bow towards London, were met at Mile-end by the Citizens: so that the Major and Sheriffs were forced to go and rescue the said carts, and to see them brought to the markets appointed.

Many more instances of exceeding great dearth in other Kings times might be added, but these are sufficient.

5.27. §. 27. Of uses to be made of the terriblenesse of famine.

BY the forementioned instances of famines in this our land, it is manifested what may befall us: how patient the Lord is toward us: what cause we have to feare God, and to take heed how we provoke him to inflict even this judgement, which may prove very fearefull, as hath beene proved: and finally, how it standeth us in hand, when there is cause to feare a famine, or when a famine is begun, to [Page 170] search out the causes thereof, to confesse before God our sinnes, to turne from them, humbly, heartily, earnestly, extraordinarily, with weeping, fasting, and prayers to supplicate mercy of the Divine Majesty. We have a late evidence of the efficacy of such meanes used. For in the yeare 1626 it rained all the spring, and all the summer day after day for the most part, untill the second of August, on which day by publique Proclamation a Fast was solemnly kept thorowout the whole Realme of England, and Principality of Wales, as it had by the same Proclamation beene solemnized in the Cities of London and Westminster and places adjacent, on the fift day of July before. On the said second of August the skie cleared, and raine was restrained, till all the harvest was ended: Which proved a most plentifull Harvest. Thus the famine threatned and much feared was with-held. So as Gods ordinances duly and rightly used are now as effectuall as ever they were.


[Ornate design.]
This is a selection from the original text


calamity, dearth, famine, food, inconvenience, occasion, penury, plenty, posterity, rebellion, religion, remedy, war

Source text

Title: Gods Three Arrowes: Plague, Famine, Sword

Author: William Gouge

Publisher: George Miller

Publication date: 1631

Edition: 2nd Edition

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: STC (2nd ed.) / 12116 Physical description: [16], 128, [8], 129176, [16], 177436, [12] p. Copy from: Yale University Library Reel position: STC / 1173:16

Digital edition

Original author(s): William Gouge

Language: English

Selection used:

  • 1 ) Title Page
  • 2 ) image nos. 4-6 (to the parishoners), 28 ("Of using warrantable means ... burnt offerings"), 32-33 (The cause of God's severity ... his blacke flag), 76 (to Mary Moore, from "The present necessity" to end of letter), 76-101 (whole of Dearth's Death).


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: theological treatises

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