Noble Blastus

Noble Blastus:
The COURTIER justified in
Conditions of Peace.
A Sermon preacht the 27. of March, 1631.
before Sir LUCIUS CARY, and the Congrega-
tion at Burford Church in Oxfordshire;
Speciall Relation to the Coronation-day, and the
Plague and Dearth then among the people.
JOHN RANDOL Bachelor in Divinitie, of Brasen-nose Colledge in Oxford.
Printed for Tho: Lambert neare the Hospitall-gate in Smithfield. 1633.

PUBLISHED BY Bernard Alsop
PUBLISHED BY Thomas Fawcett
[Page 3]

1. Of Herod and his passion

When iniquity runnes in a line, transgression downe a whole blood; in some generations you shall scarce finde any good of all the name: Herod the son of Antipater slew all the yonger innocents when Christ was borne; and would have murdered our Saviour too; if providence had not prevented [Page 4] it by a saving dreame. Herod, his sonne, Tetrarch of Galilee, slew John the Baptist Mar. 6. and most despitefully used our Saviour at his death: Luke 23. and this third Herod in the text slew James the Apostle, emprisoned Peter, drew his own Traine-band to execution; and now is in a quartan ague of choler and melancholy mixt with sordid blood, untill he have laid the Tyrians dishonorably at his feet. Among Jeroboams race, one yong man was found, 1 Kings. 14.13. that had pious intentions toward God: and it was but onely one: But among the Herods none.

In mariage then be carefull with what race yee interveine: Fortes creantur fortibus, Gracious men of gracious parents come; and cruell impes from bloody loynes: if otherwise, it is by chance: Lois was good, Eunice good, Timotheus good; S. Paul brings downe the line: Grand-parents, parents, children, all good: 2 Tim. 1.5. Aristotle can sit yee with a contrary tale; wherein the grandfather was evill, the father evill, and the sonne evill: A plea being entred against a man for beating of his own father, he thus answers to defend himselfe; Most honourable Judges, in regard my father beate my Grandfather before he dyed, and mine owne son hath likewise beaten me, let it not seeme so heynous a crime unto your sacred eares, if I have beaten my father also; est enim hoc generi nostro proprium: For it is the property of all our generation to beate their fathers, sometime or other, before they die. A goodly property.

Another drawing his father by the head unto [Page 5] the utmost doore, his Father intreated him there to rest; for so far he drew his Father, and left him there: Arist. lib. 7. Eth. cap. 6. a chapter and examples suting with these Herods best of any next unto the word of God: for they were [...] angry men by nature; and [undefined span nonLatin alphabet] quickly angry by inheritance; and [...] deeply, and bitterly angry unto warre, and blood and death it selfe: Men full of revenge, and of greater mischiefe full: This was the property of all their generation: Heavens blesse women from such husbands, men from such a Prince, as Herod was: [...] a man suddenly inflamed with anger; meditating nothing but war and death upon every light suspition of offence: [...].

Yet was not he the chiefe Commander of the State; but an underling deputie, or Lieutenant only: Regunculus; a vassall-King: Claudius Caesar was the chiefe Emperour of all Judaea, and the world besides: Herod a contemptible man in comparison of him; of an obscure fortune in Caligulaes time, cast into prison but a while agoe; and now his bolts being newly knockt off, and the fury tost into such honour, as you see; he swells & domineeres over all; as if he were the supreme Governour himselfe.

There is nothing more terrible then a Humblebee; if it could but get a sting. Set servants on horseback once, they will quickly make their maisters go on foot. A sporting feast in was among the Thessalians and the Romans themselves at their Saturnalian feastes, for the Masters once a yeare [Page 6] to serve their men; and the Roman Matrons to wayte upon their maides; obeying each command as they did theirs the day before: Macrob. lib. 1. cap. 7.10.12. Seneca epist. 4.7. Whether a wanton, or a wiser order; to acknowledge fortunes chance, the charity of nature, or the change of times, I do not know: But sure I am, King Solomon speakes it in a serious crime, amongst the many vanities of this World, that he had seene this absurdity for one, Servants riding on horseback and Princes walking beneath on foot: Eccles. 7.10. A vanity for slaves to be seen above their betters; those on horseback, these on foote: but an absurdity of vanities to see them higher in their owne imaginations, then they were upon the saddle: For he saw them not on Asses, or on mules as Princes of that Country rode; But on horses; the proudest, fiercest, swiftest executioner of state: to signifie their superstately pride. And such this Herod was. For out of prison did he come to reigne: and therefore should have considered, saith Solomon, Eccles. 4.14. that from his reigne he might returne to prison againe: God can emprison Kings, as easily as they can other men: and therefore Herod needed not have been so too too outragiously forward for a war.

Meanenesse of beginning, or breach of greater Fortune, if once it come unto the prison, or neere the pit; it should teach more gentlenesse to men and more obedience unto God: as it did Manasseh in 2 Chron. 33. v. 12: then God takes off their fetters, forgives their sinnes, and will prolong their lives: But if they despise the punishment of [Page 7] God, remaine as obdurate as they were, sudden destruction shall seize upon the~, saith Job most prophetically in his 36. chap. v, 8: 9. &c. as here on Herod most unexpectedly it did; because hee was [...] a man of a bloudy and an hostile minde: upon every light occasion meditating a warre: a man so meanely descended, and yet so highly ascended againe in his owne conceit. And such are usually more fierce then antient blood: Asperius nihil est humili, quum surgit in altum: their ignorance makes them more savage then the rest: Or else their not partaking with the native blood: cuncta ferit, dum cuncta timet; desaevit in omnes, ut se posse putent: as Claudianus goes on: he strikes at all, where ever he feares; and rages against all, that all may thinke him alone to be the mighty man: whereas, love is the best preserver of a State; feare is but a doubtfull band: ac multos metuat oportet, quem metuunt multi: Plut: and he must needs feare many, whom so many feare: meekenesse becomes the start of honour best, so shall he be the sooner pittied and befriended if he fall: but unskilfull tyrants thinke pride and fiercenesse the onely two, can make them seeme to be egregious men: Besides these privitive there are ma[...]y positive causes, why such as these may incline to vehement affections; especially arising from a meane estate; and yet made forgetfull from whence they did arise; For as coursest corne affords the hardest crust; so coursest blood the most malignant choler: their unusuall dyet makes them insolently mad; their company much more: inraged with fuming [Page 8] wines, and swolne venemously big with the flatteries of many men, having prospered in a cruelty or two. What dares not he now enterprise? [...] he was highly displeased to the very point of death it selfe.

Foolish men succeeding well twice or thrice in the shedding of blood are presently drunke with everlasting hope, that they shall ever prosper in it to their dying day. James he beheaded, Peter emprisoned, executed his trayne-band; and faring well in that [...] he was bloodily and hostilely intended for any occasion that should next accrew: But wise men know Gods patience doth invite them to repentance or their greater fall: it was Herods imperfection to gather flesh, and take degrees in blood; yet never feare a fall; untill it was too late.

Some deputies are fiercer then supreme governors themselves, onely to demonstrate their officiousnesse of place: others to satisfie the vengeance of their spleene: King David would have Abner saved 2 Sam. 3. But Joab the Captaine of the Army would have him slaine: Herod did destroy the innocent young children which Caesar the chiefe Emperor would not have done: and therefore thus reproacht him for it, whe~ he heard the newes: Herod thou art kinder to thy swine, then to thy sonne: Thou killst not them, because thou art a Jew; but children all; thou dost not spare thine owne; for feare of usurpation, whilst thou art alive.

The Divell brought our Saviour to the Temples [Page 9] top; yet would not throw him downe: his owne Countrey men brought him to their steepest hill, and there they would have thrust him headlong downe: Luke 4. v. 29. No fire would our Saviour have from heaven to destroy the Samaritans; but his Disciples would. Luke 9. as in the text: No warre would Caesar have with them of Tyre; but his Lieutenant Herod hath a minde unto it: Whether in folly of too much officiousnesse, or in blood and covetisme, as more likely it was: what ever pretenses are, the cause is alwaies fowle; when under-officers are more fierce and bloody, then the supreme governours themselves.

But what ayleth this tempestuous wolfe, that speakes not a syllable lesse then death? thinkes not a thought inferiour to warre? A warre spends both the blood and treasure of a State: and therefore the State should be consulted with, before he enterprize a warre: Ph. Com. lib. 10. especially the chiefe Moderator of the State: Caesar, the imputation will be yours; whatever your underofficers do offend: Herod, you may rule their treasure, but not their hearts; if thus you estrange them by unnecessary warres: your chronicles Herod can informe you well by King Amasiahs and Josiahs reigne, what maine dammages do still accompany such unnecessary warres.

Unluckie progresse then! For what? Herod comming downe to celebrate the Playes of Caesars health, some cunning braines at Caesarea have found meanes to accuse the Tyrians to him: what will you say, if Blastus himselfe subornd the men [Page 10] that did accuse, & now the same become a suitor for their peace? I say that Blastus was too good a man to do so bad an act: but if he should; the cryme was Herods still: For as he is worse that doth infect his minde, then he that doth corrupt his blood: so it is his fault, that doth not looke to both: the greater crime wth greater care avoid: the height of da~ger lyes in war: the height both of sin & of disgrace in blood: the angry waspes and bees are full of stings; the King of Bees, saith Seneca, hath none:solus ipse rex aculeo caret: No more should Herod have.

Or, what will you say, if Herod never meant, yet did pretend a warre: to uncrest the Tyrians pride, and so inrich himself? But the text sayes not, that he was [...] as a man intending warre; but [...] a man really meditating a warre indeed: and I say, both safety and honour it is for Kings to bee contented with their owne: to bee Kings over themselves as well as other men; that is truely to be a King indeed.

Or, if any man say, the warre was intended because tribute was not paid; that defence is false: for such their speedy petitioning of peace with cost; shewes either Tribute was not due from them, or if due, then it never was denyed.

Or what? if the Tyrians did receive S. Peter and his doctrine with triumphant joy, who so lately had displeased Herod, might he not therefore justly threaten them a warre? what if they did? so did the Caesareans receive S. Peter too: why then should he meditate a warre against those, more then these? these under his Empire were, those not [Page 11] so: if therefore against the Caesareans he did not move a war for interteining of S. Peters faith; much lesse against the Tyrians ought it to be done: as learnedly Zanchius and Lorinus against Baronius prove: What Prince did ever move a warre against those that were not under his co~mand meerely & only for religion sake? for other things they may: but meerely and only for religion sake, Lorinus in his conscience thinkes they may not. Lor. de fide & Bello. So thinke our Church; who never do destroy an heretick meerely for religion sake; but for some other additament of cause. No: no: their owne faire Chronicler Josephus, who describes this very progresse of Herod to his death, reports no cause at all: and an unworthy warre it needs must be, that is not worthy of a cause. Nor do the Fathers give him any: but as S. Chrysostome sayes, because he was [...] &c. In .facile irascens & vanae gloriae cupidus: a vaine glorious man; proud and ambitious; of a fierce & overconfident mind; unsatiable both in wealth and honour: and where such natures be; if no other cause be found, it is reason enough to move a warre upon you, meerely because you are next neighbour to them: si ob nullam aliam causam, tamen propter vicinitatem: ô the miserable condition of evill neighbourhood: it is the common infelicity of every age; that neighbours seldome doe agree: and the potenter they be, the greater still the fewd: because mighty men would ever dwell alone, saith Esa. ch. 5.3. and being willing to fall out; though cause be wanting yet prete~se is easie to be found: 'tis il to neighbour [Page 12] next unto a covetous man; but worse to border next unto an ambitious Prince: for as covetous me~ adde house to house; so tyrants realme to realme: no other kingdome is so great, but their appetite is as great, as it: still thirstingly extending their line over others though they have not so much as any just colour of a warre: thats the tyrants case: never contented prudently to rule their owne; though that bee greater charge then well they can performe: be their own dominions never so large, yet the next territory would make a sweet addition to it: If Herod could but adde Tyre and Sidon to his kingdome of Judaea! for which hee is now [...] a man meditating of a war.

And is this thy meditation Herod? thou knowst the law; if a meane man remove the marke of his Neighbours Land; he shall bee accursed for it; much more a Prince if he, Hosea 5.10. the World it selfe is transitory: why then do you not enlarge your vertues rather then your lands? in coveting others goods, why will yee lose your owne? your owne good conscience, which ten thousand times more pretious is, then all the gold of Tyre: know then to be contented whensoever yee have enough: know then yee have enough whensoever yee are contented with it: though ye shed no blood, nor any combat wage; yet if you meditate or pretend a strife to procure conditions of advantage to your selves by ruine of other men, that neither did offend God nor you the Caelestiall spirit will brand you for it, as he doth this Herod in the text; that he was [...] a [Page 13] man intending war or blood or any thing to procure unlawfull conditions of advantage to himselfe.

And is this thy meditation still O Herod? and dost thou prosper in it, after such abundance of sanctified blood as thou hast shed? one would have thought, some thunderbolt might have dasht out thy braines, the earth have opened, and so the bloody wretch dropt downe at once, as Satan did, from heaven to hell, or that some potent enemy might have invaded well his land, and put him to the inglorious halter, or to the revengefull sword. But loe prosperity in conditions of gain and peace! The wicked in their seasons may have good successe, be free from troubles others doe receive Psal. 73. Jer. 12. Conjecture not the worse of holinesse, because unholy men doe prosper in the world: they have their heaven here: till suddenly the oracles of God take place; and then in a moment they tumble to the ground, ingloriously, as Herod did, consumed of wormes: proud wormes-meat that we are, threatning a finall destruction unto others when we our selves are the very next to be destroied: Meteors, that blaze by night, and perish the next faire morning with the rising sunne; vaine glorious fury, boile on, boile on, your blood is not yet hot enough, is it? set your heart on fire then, the very wilde fire of revenge. But is this a royall passion fitting for a King? to be [...] upon every light occasion the fomente of a warre? the dismall issue shewes how vile it is with God: The wormes within a moneth encounter him to death: [Page 14] Though just warres be necessary to represse bold sinnes, yet unjust are odious both to God and men: Dij talem terris avertite pestens: God in his good time take all such Herods away from troubling of quiet men.

So much of Herod and his passionate intention of a warre: now come to the people against whom: the Tyrians and Sidonians: of them and their actions: Then Herod was hostilely intended against the Tyrians and Sidonians.

Tyre and Sidon two ancient townes upon the Sirian sea, lay sixe Germane miles apart, not far from Herods jurisdiction, Tyras the sonne of Japhet built the one: and Sidon, Hams grandchi d, did found the other, if Divines may be beleeved: So that Tyre in likelihood might be the antienter: both mentioned Gen. 10. ver. 2. and ver. 15. But if heathens credit have, the Phaenicians built Sidon, then Tyre, and both before the Trojan warre: Justin. lib. 18. Curtius sayes, Agenor built them both: No matter which were the antienter both famous townes of merchandise they were; the Sidonians Homer celebrates for many-arted, many-crafted, and cunning-crafted men: [...], and Virgill for the verses or the kindreds sake, Sidonia Dido: though Justin say shee was born at Tyre: Famous Queene Dido, discontented at her hushands death, fled into Africk; there built Carthage, and so renowned her sexe, aswell as name, that once a woman gat the third part of the world, Justin. lib. 18. & lib. 2. at Tyre was Cadmus [Page 15] borne, that did build Thebes: and, for ought we know, our selves might come from Tyre; at Tyre the art of navigation, and of making glasse; the siderall science, and martiall discipline, with many other learned arts, their first invention had. The freedome and incomparable commodity of the sea gave them variety of fame and fortune too: their youth they did diffuse throughout all the world, and who but Tyre and Sidon, in all the Colonies of Africk and Europe did beare the name? as Justin, Curtius, Plinij, Mela, and others report at large.

But what need heathen authors? the sacred text is full: and gives praecedency perpetually to Tyre: From Tyre did David and Solomon fetch their Caedar for sumptuous building of a Temple to the omnipotent God. 2 Chron. 2.3. Tyre was the Mart and fare for all the world: Fine wheat and spices; Unicornes hornes and Elephants teeth; lead iron and tynne, they were no traffick with them: But silk and purple; silver gold and pearle; the sardius, topaze, and the diamond; the Chrysolite and the onix; the jasper sapphire and the emeraude, with every other pretions stone: their shops and garments were as rich below, as if they would compare with the pavement of the new Hierusalem above the starres: Read the 27. and 28 Chap. of Ezekiel, and wonder, whether ever there were a statelyer City in the world; then was this purple Tyre; this golden Tyre, nay, that is not enough, but this crowning Tyre: Queene of the seas, nay goddesse of the seas, whose merchants were princes [Page 16] and their chapmen the Nobles of the world. Thou great creator of new Princes, where, and when thou pleasest! Thou, whose very servants can susteine such losse of ponderous summes, without any sensible decay: as would make a Noble man of other Countryes shrink into his prime originall againe! As the Prophet Esay doth describe thine honour in termes as rich, as thou art proud, Esay 23. Thou that fearest Neptune more then God, or Alexander the great; hast thou not yet beene often enough destroyed? Once did Nebuchadnezar ruine all thy state: another time Alexander the great: Those Monarchs honoured thee in attempting such a prize: And had the Romane Monarch Caesar been thy foe; thou hadst againe beene honoured here. But now tis Herod a vassall King. What is the cause between yee? or if not so; the pretense, what is it?

Monarchs and free Cities seldome doe agree, these to preserve and magnifie their owne, invite the neighbour subjects to like freedome with themselves: those to maintaine their ambition and their lust, strive to enslave the others like unto their owne: Embassadors, Agents and Merchants whosoever you be, that traffique into other common wealths, whose forme peradventure may differ from your owne; your licence is from God to preserve each other, in exchanging friendshipps, wealth, and wares: but no authority have you to destroy each others forme. The stately melancholy comes aswell from God, as doth the sanguine mirth: Monarchs as lawfull as free cities are, free [Page 17] cities as legitimate as they: I speake for servants faith, that they be not [...] medlers in other Princely governments, where they have nothing to doe: Preserve your owne then; let others look to theirs, preserving is good, but overmagnifying ruines all, as Tyre and Sidon here were like to do: For which Herod was hostilely intended against the Tyrians and Sidonians.

The greater riches are the greater prey: by armes that cannot, by submission must defend themselves: Your riches, Tyre, and want of armes are your destruction now; unlesse you doe submit: it is better to want wealth then government of wealth: For which Herod was hostilely intended against the Tyrian and Sidonian Townes.

There is a truer God of Tyre then they themselves: their pride and covetousnesse, their falsehood in their wares; the true God of Tyre doth justly punish now, in suffering Herod to be [...] a denouncer of warre against the Tyrian and Sidonian pride.

Remember Tyre, you long agoe were given of God for your Idolatry to Asers tribe, Josh. 19. v. 29. your Idolatry doth still remaine, for which God suffers Herod now to threaten warre upon you.

Remember Tyre and Sidon, how that our Saviour Christ vouchsafed to come to you: Mat. 15. when never a Tyrian nor Sidonian would vouchsafe to come to him: but only a Syro-phenician, dwelling neere; whose daughter was so piteously perplexed with a devill. Now therefore hee hath delivered you into Herods hands, Deus impios per [Page 18] impios punit, God punisheth sinners by sinners greater then themselves; the Idolatrous Israelites by more Idolatrous Nebuchadnezer: the proud mercilesse Tyrians by Herod, that was more mercilesse then they.

They that are prime in Gods favour, shall bee prime in punishment too, if they prove unthankfull unto God: the Tyrians have praeheminence in both, and therefore in the method of Gods revenge, the warre is principally against the Tyrian towne; against the Tyrians and Sidonians and principally against the Tyrians Herod caries a most bloody minde.

Nay Tyre, you shall have judgement to a scruple now, you boasted that your chapmen were as rich as Noble men in other countryes were: By what men sinne, they shall be punisht by the same: by chapmen did you sinne, by chapmen shall you be punisht; here is a chapman for you, but in a Nobler kinde; if ye will joyne all together to make a good reward, Blastus shall mediate your peace unto the King. So much of the Tyrians and Sidonians. Now of their action.

But they came all with one accord unto him.

But who acquaints them with the displeasure of the King? Likely some messenger did advertise them of the Kings designe, some summons or some pretensive claime there was. A Kings wrath is like the roaring of a lyon, saith Solomon. Prov. 19.12. Now a lyons roaring is but a proem to the devouring [Page 19] of the next good prey he meets: and the wider he roares, the greater is the preparation of his stomack to devoure: So is the fury of a King. Inferiours therefore must not looke for much discussion of the cause, but presently appease the displeasure that's begunne: and therefore they came all with one accord unto him: They came, and they came all; and they came all with one accord unto him.

Unanimity is the Kingdomes wall and weale. Not like a heard of furious bulles that turne their heads one against another; but like the musick of the Lute, where all the strings harmoniously agree: so come they now with one accord.

It seemes it was a popular estate; and that the Citizens had all their voices in matters of so great a consequence, as was the consultation of peace and warre, such was the custome of Aristotles time, Lib. 4. politic. cap. 14. and here, some hundreds of yeares after that. They came with one accord.

And yet the cities came not all abroad, but men selected for the embassie of peace; The whole Kingdome may be said to doe, whatsoever is done by eligible men.

Embassadors and agents are of antient right: and must be able to perswade or to discusse a cause, and they by their embassadors came with one accord and perswaded Blastus. They are come then, but not yet admitted into the presence of the King.

Kings live in greater state then Free Cities doe: there is no treating with them, unlesse some great Internuncio be made your friend: therefore they [Page 20] perswade Blastus. Arch-Prophet Nathan himselfe of old did not enter into Davids presence, untill some great attendant had preinformed the King: 1 Kings 1.23. Nor here the Embassadors of Tyre (to preserve the ancient honor of the Jewes Court:) dare once presume without the mediation of Blastus to enter the presence of the King: But they came with one accord, and having perswaded Blastus, the Kings Chamberlaine, one of, or one over the Kings Bebchamber.

This is a selection from the original text


blood, crime, death, evil, feast, king, religion, war, wealth

Source text

Title: Noble Blastus

Author: John Randal

Publisher: Bernard Alsop, Thomas Fawcett

Publication date: 1633

Edition: 2nd Edition

Place of publication: London

Provenance/location: This text was transcribed from images available at Early English Books Online: Bibliographic name / number: STC (2nd ed.) / 20684 Physical description: [2], 38 p. Copy from: British Library Reel position: STC / 1002:11

Digital edition

Original author(s): John Randal

Language: English

Selection used:

  • 1 ) Tp, pages 3-20


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

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Genre: Britain > non-fiction prose > religion: sermons

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