by William Alexander
That threatned time which must the world appall,
Is (that all may amend) by signes fore-showne,
Warres rumor'd are, the Gospell preach'd o're all,
Some Iewes convert, the Antichrist growes knowne:
Divels rage, vice raignes, zeale cooles, faith failes, stars fall,
All sorts of plagues have the last Trumpet blowne:
And by prodigious signes it may appeare,
That of the Sonne of man the signe drawes neare.
Though thundring down those who transgresse his lawes,
And with disdaine his bounty do abuse:
As Adamants doe iron, repentance drawes
The Lord to love them whom he first did chuse;
A space retir'd from the tempestuous waves,
The Port of mercy must refresh my Muse;
Whose ventrous flight all loftinesse must leave,
And plainly sing what all men should conceive.
The Lord delights not in a sinners death,
But sheepe which stray, toiles to recover still;
To please a Sonne who had deserv'd his wrath,
His Calfe (long fed) the father straight did kill:
Not for the best whose thoughts (sway'd by his breath)
Had squar'd his actions onely to his will;
His Calfe, Gods Lamb, were given the lost to gaine,
His best sonne griev'd, Gods onely Sonne was slaine.
Who can expresse, consider, or conceive,
Our Makers mercy, our Redeemers love,
Or of that sprite the power, which who receive,
By sacred ardour ravish'd are above;
O! to create, to sanctifie, to save,
Ingratitude to gratefulnesse may move:
Who weighs those works (else damned were his state)
Must (if no more) be griev'd to be ingrate.
First, ere by ends beginnings could be prov'd,
Whil'st time nor place, to limit nought attain'd.
All wholy holy, wholy to be lov'd,
God in himselfe, and all in him remain'd:
Whil'st both the Sunne, and spheare in which he mov'd,
That which contain'd, and that which was contain'd;
Truth lightned light, all in perfection stood,
More high then thoughts can reach, all God, all good.
All this alone the Lord would not possesse,
But would have some who taste his goodnesse might,
Which (when bestow'd) in no degree growes lesse;
What darker growes the Sunne by giving light?
Yet, not that grace o'reflow'd, as in excesse:
All was (of purpose) providently right.
His glories witnesses God men did raise,
That they might it admire, him serve, and praise.
When God in us no kinde of good could see,
Save that which his, we not our owne could call,
Great was his favour, making us to be
Even ere we were, much lesse deserv'd at all;
What? since in us affection must be free,
Who dare presume to make our Makers thrall?
He first us freely made, when nought, of nought,
And (when sinnes slaves) with his own bloud us bought.
Though sometime some inspir'd by God, we see,
Do gratefull, yea, not meritorious deeds;
The fruit, not root of mercies saving tree,
Which was Christs crosse whence all our rest proceeds;
As owing most, they should most humble be,
To him whose grace in them such motions breeds.
From whom so good a minde, and means, they had,
Where others were abandon'd to be bad.
The Lord to those whose souls produce his seale,
Doth give good things, as who them justly owes,
Bound by his promise, pleaded with true zeale;
Which all the arguments of wrath o'rethrows,
Whil'st they from it to mercy do appeale,
Which justifies all that repentance shows;
God sinnes confess'd with griefe, with joy forgives,
That which faith humbly seeks, power freely gives.
He who (when pilgrims) all their trouble sees,
The faithfull souls from danger doth secure;
And them from fetters of corruption frees,
As griev'd that mortals should such griefe endure;
But now for them (whom he to save decrees)
He shall true rest perpetually assure.
At that great Court which must determine all,
Even till Christ rise as Iudge, from Adams fall.
Their bloud which Tyrants (by evill Angels led)
Like worthlesse waters lavish'd on the dust,
From out the Altar cries, all that was shed,
From Abel till (and since) Zachary the just,
To see the wicked with confusion cled,
When judg'd by him in whom they would not trust.
"The sorrow of his Saints doth move God much:
"No sweeter incense then the sighs of such.
God is not slack as worldlings do suppose,
But onely patient, willing all to winne;
Times consummation quickly shall disclose,
The period of mortality, and sinne,
And for the same his servants to dispose,
Else charg'd by signes the processe doth begin,
Signes which each day upbraid us with the last,
Few are to come, some present, many past.
What fatall warnings do that time presage,
A due attendance in the world to breed:
(Though oftner now) some us'd in every age,
And some more monstrous, straight the day preceed:
Ah! flie the flames of that encroaching rage,
And arme against these terrors that succeed:
For whom the first not frights, the last confounds,
As whil'st the lightning shines, the Thunder wounds.
Whil'st threatning worldlings with the last deluge,
Old Noah scorne acquir'd, but never trust:
Though building in their sight his owne refuge,
So were the people blinde with pride and lust;
And ere the coming of the generall Iudge,
To damne the bad, and justifie the just,
Even when the tokens come, which Christ advis'd,
As Noahs then, Christs words are now despis'd.
As lifes last day hath unto none beene showne,
That still (attending death) all might live right:
So that great Iudgements day is kept unknowne,
To make us watch, as Christ were still in sight;
Like Virgins wise with oyle still of our owne,
That when the Bridegroome comes, we want not light.
"Live still as looking death should us surprise,
"And go to beds, and graves, as we would rise.
O what great wonder that so few are found,
Whom those strange signes make griev'd, or glad, appeare!
Though that day haste which should their souls confound,
Or from corruption make them ever cleare.
If holy Ierome thought he heard the sound
Of that great Trumpet thundring in his eare,
What jealous cares should in our brests be lodg'd,
Since greater sinners, nearer to be judg'd?
When will to man, or rather man to will,
Was freely given, straight discord did begin:
Though brethren borne, th'one did the other kill,
Of those who first were made lifes race to runne.
Thus striving (as it seem'd) who did most ill,
The father fell, the sonne did sink in sinne.
Love Adam lost, but Cain did kindle wrath,
The author breeding, th'actor bringing death.
Thus at the first contentious worldlings jarr'd,
Of all the world when onely two were heires;
And when that Nations were, then Nations warr'd,
Oft sowing hopes, and reaping but despaires;
Base avarice, pride, and ambition marr'd
All concord first, and fram'd death divers snares:
"Though as a winde soone vanish doth our breath;
"We furnish feathers for the wings of death.
Lo, as the sacred Register records,
Strife is (still boyling mortall mens desires)
The thing most fertile that the world affords,
Of which each little sparke may breed great fires.
Yet that portentuous warre which Christs owne words
Cites as a signe when judgement th'earth requires,
It is not that which vaine ambition bends,
By partiall passions rais'd for private ends.
Such was the warre which in each age was mov'd,
When by preposterous cares from rest restrain'd:
Bent to be more then men, men monsters prov'd,
Who (Lords of others) slaves themselves remain'd.
For, whilest advancement vaine they fondly lov'd,
The devill their souls, whilest they but bodies gain'd;
So with their owne disturbing every state,
They bought hels horrors at too high a rate.
Christ came below, that souls might be releev'd,
Not to breed peace, but worse then civill warres:
Broyls amongst brethren, scarce to be beleev'd;
Even twixt the sonne and syre engendring jarres.
"God must be pleas'd who ever else be griev'd;
"The Gospels growth no Tyrants malice marres.
As Ægypts burdens Israels strength did crowne,
"The truth most mounts when men would presse it downe.
Those warres that come before that fatall day,
End things begun, and endlesse things begin:
Are not us'd broils which States with steele array,
Whilest worldlings would but worldly treasures winne.
No, even Religion shall make peace decay:
And godlinesse be made the ground of sinne.
Then let the world expect no peace againe,
When sacred causes breed effects prophane.
Such warres have beene, some such are yet to be,
What must not once plague Adams cursed brood?
Ah that the world so oft those flames did see,
Which zeale had kindled to be quench'd with bloud,
Whil'st disagreeing thoughts in deeds agree,
Some bent for Sprituall, some for Temporall good,
"Hels fire-brands rage, whil'st zeale doth weakly smoke,
"When policy puts on religions cloke.
All Nations once the Gospels light shall see,
That ignorance no just excuse may breed,
Truth spreads in spite of persecution free:
The bloud of Martyrs is the Churches seed,
That it receiv'd, or they condemn'd may be,
All on the word their soules may sometime feed,
The Word by which all help, or harme must have,
"Those knowledge damnes, whom conscience cannot save.
When bent to mitigate his Fathers wrath,
Mans mortall veile the God-head did disguise,
The worlds Redeemer was engag'd to death,
And rais'd himself to shew how we should rise;
Those twelve whose doctrine builded on his breath,
To beare his yoke all Nations did advise,
They terrours first, and then did comfort sound,
For, ere the Gospell heale, the Law must wound.
In simple men who servile trades had us'de,
(The wisest of the world are greatest fools)
The holy Ghost one truth, all tongues infus'de,
And made them teach who never knew the Schools;
Yea, with more power the souls of men they brus'd,
Then Rhetorick could do with golden rules,
"The Sprite (when God the souls of men converts)
"Doth move the teachers tongues, the hearers hearts.
The South was first of Soveraigntie the seat,
From whence it springing, spread to neighbouring parts,
And then some States did strive how to be great,
By morall vertues, and by martiall arts,
Till colder climats did controll that heat,
Both shewing stronger hands, and stouter hearts,
And whil'st each Prince was onely prais'd as strong,
The way to greatnesse, went by ruine long.
The light of heaven first in the East did shine,
Then ranne the course kept by the earthly light,
And did (as zeale in Realmes) rise, and decline,
Still giving day to some, to others night,
The faith of man yet toild it to refine,
And left no land till loath'd, not forc'd, no flight,
Christs light did still amongst the Gadarens shine,
Till to his presence they preferr'd their swine.
Where are these Churches seven, those lanterns seven,
Once Asias glory, grac'd by sacred scroules?
With monsters now, as then with Martyrs even,
The Turke their bodies, Sathan rules their soules,
Lands then obscure are lifted up to heaven,
Whose souls like Linxes look, whilst theirs like Owles,
Those whom the word renown'd, are knowne no more,
Those know God best, who scarce knew men before.
The worlds chiefe state old Rome with glory gain'd,
Of which the losse her Nephews shame did seale,
The Gospels truth at Rome long taught remain'd;
But now she would the same too much conceale,
Thus Temp'rall power, and Sprituall both Rome stain'd,
Growne cold in courage first, and last in zeale,
The Church first stood by toils, whil'st poore, still pure,
And straight whil'st rich then rent, fell when secure.
From offring grace no storme the Word can stay,
Ere judgement come to those who will receive,
In this last age Time doth new worlds display;
That Christ a Church over all the earth may have,
His righteousnesse shall barbarous Realmes array,
If their first love more civill Lands will leave,
America to Europe may succeed,
God may of stones raise up to Abram seed.
The Gospell clearly preach'd in every place,
To Lands of which our Fathers could not tell,
And when the Gentiles all are drawne to grace,
Which in the new Ierusalem should dwell,
Then shall the stubborne Iews that truth imbrace,
From which with such disdaine they did rebell;
Who first the Law, shall last the Gospell have,
Christ whom he first did call, shall last receive.
When God would but be serv'd by Iacobs brood
(By his owne mercy, not their merits mov'd)
The Gentiles did what to their eyes seem'd good,
And, Sathans slaves, the works of darknesse lov'd:
They unto Idols offred up their bloud,
Yea (bow'd to Beasts) then beasts more beastly prov'd,
Those whom God did not chuse, a god did chuse,
And what they made, did for their maker use.
But when that onely soile too narrow seem'd,
To bound Gods glory, or to bound his grace;
The Gentiles soules from Sathan he redeem'd,
And unto Shems did joyne of Iaphets race:
The bastard bands as lawfull were esteem'd;
The strangers entred in the childrens place.
Who had been Infidels imbrac'd the faith,
Whil'st mercies Minions vessels were of wrath.
That chosen flock whom to himself he drew,
Who saw not Iacobs fault, nor Israels sinne:
When we regener'd, they degener'd grew;
To lend us light their darknesse did begin.
Yea, worse then we when worst, Gods Saints they slew.
And when that his wine-yard they entred in,
They first his servants kil'd, and then his Sonne,
"Nought grows more fast then mischiefe when begun.
Sonnes of the second match whom Christ should crowne,
Ah brag not you as heritours of grace:
The naturall branches they were broken downe,
And we (wilde Olives) planted in their place.
Feare, feare, lest seas of sinnes our soules do drowne,
Shall he spare us who spar'd not Abrams race?
As they for lack of faith, so may we fall;
"What springs in some, is rooted in us all.
Till ours be full though Israels light lyes spent,
Our light shall once them to salvation leade;
Is God like man that he should now repent,
That promise which to Abrams seed was made?
For his great harvest ere that Christ be bent,
The Iews shall have a Church, and him their head,
Both Iews and Gentiles once, one Church shall prove.
We feare their Law, they shall our Gospell love.
This signe it seemes might soone accomplish'd be,
Were not where now remaines that race of Shems,
The Gentiles dregges, and Idols which they see,
Makes them loath all, for what their law condemnes;
To be baptisde yet some of them agree,
Whil'st them their mates, their mates the world contemnes;
And why should we not seek to have them sav'd,
Since first from them salvation we receiv'd?
When the Evangell most toil'd souls to winne,
Even then there was a falling from the faith:
The Antichrist his kingdome did begin
To poyson souls, yet ere the day of wrath
Once shall perditions Childe, that man of sinne
Be to the world reveal'd, a prey to death.
God may by Tyrants scourge his Church when griev'd,
Yet shall the scourge be scourg'd, the Church reliev'd.
The Antichrist should come with power and might,
By signes and wonders to delude the eyes:
Thus Sathan seemes an Angell oft of light,
That who the truth contemn'd, may trust in lyes:
And this with justice stands, even in Gods sight,
That he in darknesse fall, the light who flyes:
"And, oh! this is the uttermost of ill,
"When God abandons worldlings to their will.
This adversary of Christs heavenly word,
Should straight himselfe extoll by Sathans wit,
Over all that is call'd God, or is ador'd;
And of iniquity no meanes omit,
Though worthy of the world to be abhorr'd;
He in the Church of God, as God, shall sit:
This hypocrite huge mischiefes borne to breed,
Should look like God, yet prove a devill indeed.
This mysterie of sinne which God doth hate,
Even in Pauls time began, and since endur'd:
Yet could not then be knowne, till from the gate,
That which then stop'd, was razde, and it assur'd;
The Romane power was at that time so great,
That of lesse States the luster it obscur'd;
The let which then remain'd, while as remov'd,
This Antichrist, the next aspirer prov'd.
That sprituall plague which poysons many Lands,
Is not the Turke, nor Mahomet his Saint;
Nor none who Christ to crosse directly stands:
He whom the Sprite takes such great pains to paint,
It must be one who in the Church commands,
No foe confess'd, but a professor faint.
For if all did him know, none would him know,
A foe (thought friend) gives the most dangerous blow.
Ere that day come which should the just adorne,
And shall discover every secret thought,
The Antichrist whose badge whole Lands have borne;
The Prophet false which lying wonders wrought:
The Beast with the blasphemous mouth and horne,
Shall be reveal'd, and to confusion brought.
"For causes hid though God a space spare some,
"Their judgements are more heavy when they come.
Th'effronted whore prophetically showne
By holy Iohn in his mysterious scrouls,
Whom Kings and Nations to their shame should owne,
The devils chiefe Bawd adulterating souls;
Though scandaliz'd, and to the world made knowne,
By mingling poyson with her pleasant Bouls,
Yet shall her cousening beauties courted be,
Till all at last her fall with horror see.
The part where that great whore her Court should hold,
Vile Babylon, abhominable Towne,
Where every thing, even souls of men are sold,
Low in the dust to lye, shall be brought downe:
Her nakednesse all Nations shall behold,
And hold that odious which had once renowne;
But her discovery, and her ruines way,
Are hid till that due time the same display.
Flie faithfull Christians from that sea of sinne,
Who hate the Whore, and from the horned Beast,
Flie, flie in time, before their griefe begin,
Lest as their pleasures, so their plagues you taste;
When as the Lambe the victory doth winne,
He of fat things will make his flock a feast.
This cloud dispers'd, the Sunne shall shine more bright,
Whil'st darknesse past endeeres the present light.
Now in the dangerous dayes of this last age,
When as he knowes Christ doth to come prepare,
The divell shall like a roaring Lyon rage,
Still catching soules with many a subtile snare,
Whil'st his fierce wrath, no mischiefe can asswage,
Some by presumption fall, some by despaire,
And if this time not shortened were, deceiv'd,
Gods chosen children hardly could be sav'd.
Some for a glorious use who once did serve,
As starres to th'eyes, cleare lights of soules esteem'd,
Loe (stumbling blockes) from their first course did swerve,
Not what they were, else were not what they seem'd,
And justly damn'd (lights foes) as they deserve,
From darknesse more shall never be redeem'd:
"Church-Angels all, all for examples use,
"So that their fall doth many thousands bruise.
Men so the world shall love, religion hate,
That all true zeale shall in contempt be brought,
The sprituall lights eclipse shall grow so great,
That lies the truth, truth shall a lye be thought:
Yet some shall weigh their workes at such a rate,
As they themselves, not Christ their soules had bought:
All just to seeme, not be, their wits shall wrest,
Not bent to edifie, but to contest.
Some signes are gone, which registred were found,
To rouze the world before that dreadfull blast;
But, ah! what all now see, and I must sound,
I wish they were to come, or else were past;
Those signes, those sinnes I sing, doe warne, shall wound
This Age, too ag'd, and worthy to be last.
It signes that shadow'd were, doth so designe,
I must historifie, and not divine.
That his should warie be, Christ gave advice,
Since thousands were to be seduc'd by lyes;
The divell (whil'st all adore their owne device)
Doth taint mens hearts, or else upbraid their eyes,
The froth of vertue, and the dregs of vice,
Which onely last, the worlds last time implyes.
Not griev'd, no, not asham'd, of sinne some vaunt;
Impiety doth so vaine mindes supplant.
Men with themselves so much in love remaine,
The poore within, without themselves adorne,
And (if not gorgeous) garments doe disdaine,
Though the first badge of bondage that was borne,
Yet pampred bodies, famish'd soules retaine,
Which seeke the shadow, and the substance scorne.
"Ere high advanc'd, all once must humble prove,
"Those first themselves must loath, whom God will love.
The greatest number now prophanely sweares,
And dare to brawle, or jest, name God in vaine,
Yet that heaven thunder, or th'earth burst, not feares,
Lest so they crush'd, or swallowed should remaine:
Some vomit forth (polluting purer eares)
Words which them first, and others after staine.
"A filthy tongue, and a blasphemous mouth,
"Of Sathans seed doe shew a mighty growth.
That avarice which the Apostle told,
When as the world declines, mens mindes should sway,
Doth rage so now, that even their God for gold,
Not onely men, men in our time betray;
To Sathan some for gaine their soules have sold,
Whil'st what their hearts hold truth, their words gainesay.
"By ethnickes once those must condemn'd remaine,
"Who change religion, worldly things to gaine.
What age ere this so many children saw,
Who with their Parents (O unhappy strife)
Doe plead at law, though wronging natures law,
And helpe to haste their death, who gave them life?
Now vertuous words to vitious deeds doe draw:
The love of God is rare, of pleasure rife:
"This darknesse shewes that it drawes neare the night,
"Sinne then must shortly fall, since at the height.
Then even the most of misery to make,
The soules of some which (alwaies ill) grow worse,
(All sense quite lost) in sinne such pleasure take,
That frozen mindes can melt in no remorse;
No threatned terrours can their conscience wake,
Sinne hath so much, the sprite so little force.
"No physicke for the sicke, which live as sound,
"A sore past sense doth shew a deadly wound.
As such a burden it did burst to beare,
(Through horrour of our sinnes) the earth doth shake,
And shall it selfe ofttimes asunder teare,
Ere Christ his Iudgement manifest doth make;
Or else I know not, if it quake for feare
Of that great fyre which should it shortly take;
The living earth to move, dead earth doth move,
Yet earthly men then th'earth more earthly prove.
In forraine parts whose ruines fame renownes,
In indignation of her sinfull seed,
(As men should doe their eyes) the earth God drownes,
Which (that some captiv'd aire may straight be freede)
Doth vomit mountaines, and doth swallow Townes;
The worlds foundation brandish'd, like a Reed,
Whil'st with pale hearts the panting people thinke,
That hell will ryse, or that the heaven will sinke.
One Earth-quake toss'd the Turkes imperiall head,
Dayes sensible, but violent some howers,
Till in that Towne a monstrous breach was made,
(As charg'd at once by all the damned powers)
I know not whether buried first, or dead,
Troupes seem'd to strive in falling with their Towers,
Whilst those who stoode long trembling did attend,
That all the world (at least themselves) should end.
Twixt Rome and Naples once (in envies eye)
What stately Townes did the worlds Conquerours found,
Which now wee not (noe, not their ruines) spie,
Since layde more low then levell with the ground?
They with all theirs en-earth'd by Earth-quakes lye,
Whose stones (drawne down where darkenes doth abound)
Like Sisiphus perchance a number roules,
Else Dis builds dungeons for the damned soules.
Late neare those parts whose ruines men admire,
Where wealth superfluous Idle wonders wrought,
An earth-quake strange amazement did acquire,
A plaine conceav'd, and forth a mountaine brought,
Which divers dayes disgorged flames of fyre,
And stones whose substance was consum'd to nought;
Hells fyre it seem'd which (as Gods wrath) did rise,
Growne great, flam'd forth, upbraiding sinners eyes.
Last in this land our eyes saw one of late,
Whose terrour from some mynds rests not remoov'd,
Then any else as strange, though not soe great,
Not violent, but universall prov'd,
As if of Natures course the threatned date,
All at one houre this kingdome trembling moov'd;
The old State lothing, longing for a new,
Th'earth leapes for joy, as straight to have her due.
But ah who walkes, when rock'd is all this round,
Or stryves to stand though even the earth thus starts?
Though God doth tosse this Ball till it rebound,
Who lest it part, from his corruption parts?
Ah! that the world soe sencelesse should be found,
Both heaven and earth doe shake, but not mens hearts;
Since for his word the world disdaynes to bow,
Dumbe Creatures doe denounce Gods Iudgements now.
I thinke the earth by such strange throwes would tell,
How much she doth her present state despise;
Or else all those who in her bowels dwell,
Doe rouze themselves, as ready now to ryse:
Her belly thus growne big doth seeme to swell,
As one whose travell soone should her surprise;
And yet her broode she viper-like must free,
Whose course must end when theirs beginnes to be.
As God that day of doome strives to make knowne,
By monstrous signes which may amaze the mynde,
That judgement great by judgements is foreshowne,
Whil'st all the weapons of his wrath have shin'd,
That others may (whil'st some rest thus o'rethrowne)
Stand in the furnace of affliction fin'd;
"For still the wretched most religious prove,
"And oft examples more then doctrine move.
The Sword of God shall once be drunke with bloode,
And surfet on the flesh of Thousands slaine
Of those who (following evill) doe flie from good,
And (scorning Christ) professe to be prophane,
From Gods wine-presse of wrath shall flowe a floode,
Which shall with blood their horses bridles staine;
None may abide, nor yet can flie his sight,
When arm'd with vengeance God doth thundring fight.
When father-like God chastising his childe,
Plagu'd all the subjects for their Soveraignes crime,
What thousands then were from the world exil'd?
Even in three dayes (so soon turnes flesh to slime)
The earth made waste, men had no more defil'd,
Had but one Angell warr'd a little time:
Since by Gods word, the world did made remaine,
Lesse then his look may ruine it againe.
The pestilence of wrath chiefe weapon thought,
Which of all plagues, the plague is onely call'd,
As if all else (respecting it) were nought,
It hath so much the mindes of men appall'd;
That wound by Gods own hand, seems onely wrought,
Whose mediate meanes scarce rest to reason thrall'd:
That which we not conceive, admire we must,
And in Gods power above our knowledge trust.
That poyson'd dart, whose strength none can gaine-stand,
God us'd but rarely (when enflam'd with wrath,)
And had it once been brandish'd in his hand,
All trembling stood (as 'twixt the jawes of death)
Then now it selfe, the fame more mov'd this land,
Of that great frenzy which infects the breath:
"A thing thought strange, by habite homely proves.
"What first all griefe, at last all sense removes.
Once in one age, few dayes, and in few parts,
The pest some people to repentance urg'd,
And did with terrour strike the strongest hearts,
Whil'st his Vineyard the heavens great husband purg'd,
The quiver of whose wrath did raine downe darts,
By which of late what kingdome was not scourg'd?
So that men now not feare that whip of God,
Like boyes oft beaten, that contemne the rod.
Loe, in this stately Ile, admir'd so much,
What Province, no, what Towne hath not been pyn'd
By that abhorr'd disease, which strikes who touch,
Whil'st byles the body, madnesse swels the minde?
Ah, of some Townes, the anguish hath been such,
That all, all hope of safety had resign'd:
Whil'st friends no comfort gave, no, no reliefe,
The sicknesse onely (not the death) bred griefe.
This raging ague bursts so ugly out,
Till men of those whom they love best, are dread;
Whil'st danger all in everything doe doubt,
Men by the plague (made plagues) as plagues are fled,
And are with horrour compass'd round about,
When that contagion through the ayre is spread;
The ayre which first our breath (abus'd) doth staine,
It poison'd so, but poisons us againe.
What thing more wretched can imagin'd be,
Then is a towne where once the pest abounds?
There not one sense rests from some trouble free;
Three doe infect, and two (though pure) beare wounds;
Oft in one hole heapes throwne at once we see,
As where to bury fear'd for want of bounds:
Yea, whil'st in plaints they spend their plaguy breath,
Of all things that are fear'd, the least is death.
Death (whil'st no drugge this feavers force o'rethrowes)
Oft ere the patient the Physitian clames,
The ayre they draw their heate more high still blowes,
Till even what should refresh, then most enflames;
Of damned soules the state their torment showes,
Who gnash their teeth as cold, whil'st fry'd with flames:
And 'twixt their paines this difference but comes in,
Death ends the one, the other doth beginne.
To plague those parts where Christs owne troups do dwell,
The Angell that destroyes hath most been bent,
That whom words could not move, wounds might compell,
Ere ruine come, in time now to repent,
By paine on earth, made thinke of paine in hell,
As this they flye, that that they may prevent.
"What can discourage those whom Christ doth love,
"To whom evill good, griefe joy, death life doth prove?
Where we should alwaies strive the heaven to gaine,
By prayers, plaints, and charitable deeds,
To raise up earth on earth, our strength we straine,
So base a courage, worldly honour breeds;
This doth provoke the darts of Gods disdaine,
By which of some the wounded conscience bleeds:
"All head-long runne to hell, whose way is even;
"But by a narrow path, are drawn to heaven.
Of vengeance now the store-house opened stands,
O what a weight of wrath the world (ah) beares!
Through terrour straight, why tremble not all lands,
When God in rage a throne of justice reares?
And poures downe plagues whil'st brandishing his brands;
The pest now past, straight famine breeds new feares.
"Still thinke that mischiefe never comes alone,
"Who worse presage the present lesse bemone.
Since that the world doth loath celestiall food,
That spirituall Manna which soules Nectar proves,
By grace drawne forth from the Redeemers bloud,
A gift (and no reward) given where he loves,
Those who terrestriall things thinke onely good,
Them want shall try, whom no abundance moves:
"For, ah, of some so fat the bodies be,
"That of their soules they not the leannesse see.
Gods creatures (oft condemn'd) shall once accuse
Those who in wantonnesse them vainely spent,
And justly, what unjustly they abuse,
Shall unto them more sparingly be lent,
That which they now superfluously use,
Shall (made a curse) not natures need content.
"A barren soule should have a barren earth,
"Oft temporall plenty breeds a sprituall dearth.
Those in the dust who still prophanely roule,
Whose thorny thoughts doe choake that heavenly seed,
Which by the word was sown in every soule,
Shall likewise want what should their bodies feed:
What most they trust, shall once their hopes controule,
By earthly hunger, heavenly thirst to breed.
Thus those (like babes) whose judgement is not deepe,
Who scorn'd a treasure, shall for trifles weepe.
What Sauces strange (a fault which custome cloakes)
To urge the bodies appetite are made,
Which natures selfe sufficiently provokes?
But of the soule, when carnall cares it leade,
The appetite which, (ah) even nature choakes,
What art is us'd to quicken it when dead?
Whil'st bodies doe too much, soules nought disgest,
But when the others fast, are fit to feast.
Base belly-gods, whose food is Sathans bate,
Whose judgements to your taste rest onely thrall,
The Lord in wrath shall cut away your meate,
And for your honey, furnish you with gall,
Like loathsome beasts since you the Acornes eate,
Yet looke not up to see from whence they fall;
Sonnes prodigall, who from your father swerve,
You keeping worse then swine, shall justly sterve.
To waken some which sleepe in sinne as dead,
The Lord ere Christ doe come all states to try,
Since but abus'd, shall breake the staffe of bread,
And as we him, make th'earth us fruits deny;
The corne shall wither, and the grasse shall fade,
Then men to nurse, since rather bent to dye;
As dutifull to him by whom they breed,
Gods creatures pure, his rebels scorne to feed.
Now in this time which is the last esteem'd,
The sprites impure, doe all in one conspire,
And worke that God by men may be blasphem'd,
To purchase partners of eternall fire,
That who should them condemne, hath us redeem'd,
Makes envy blow the bellowes of their ire,
Till wicked Angels irritated thus,
Not seeke their safety, but to ruine us.
More neare doth draw salvation to the just,
The more the Dragons minde doth envy wound,
That men (the slaves of death, the sonnes of dust)
As heires of heaven, with glory should be crown'd,
And that perpetuall paines they suffer must,
Though (all immortall) to no bodies bound:
"Hearts gall'd with envy, storme at every thing,
"Whom still their harme, or some ones good must sting.
Mans foe who first confusion did devise,
(By long experience growne profound in skill)
Through strength oft try'd our weakenesse doth despise,
And knowes what best may serve each soule to kill:
He unawares our passions doth surprise,
And to betray our wit, corrupts our will.
"Whom God not guards, those Sathan soon may win,
"Whil'st force doth charge without, and fraud within.
That heire of hell, whom justly God rejects,
(Who sought by subtilty all soules to blinde,)
Not onely shafts in secret now directs,
By inspirations poysoning the minde,
But even a Banner boldly he erects,
As this worlds Prince by publike power design'd:
From shape to shape, this Proteus thus removes,
Who first a Foxe, and last a Lyon proves.
He since his kingdome now should end so soone,
Doth many Circes, and Medeas make,
That can obscure the Sunne, and charme the Moone,
Raise up the dead, and make the living quake,
Whil'st they by pictures, persons have undone,
Doe give to some, from others substance take:
Three elements their tyranny doth thrall,
But oft the fourth takes vengeance of them all.
Whil'st in his hand the bolts of death he beares,
Still watching soules the crafty hunter lyes
With inward fancies, and with outward feares,
7Whom he may tempt, continually he tryes;
7Whil'st (rumbling horrour) sounds assault the eares,
And monstrous formes paint terrour in the eyes:
He who with God even in the heaven durst strive,
Thinks soon on earth, mens ruine to contrive.
As many did possess'd by sprits remaine,
When first Christ came, salvation to beginne,
So likewise now before he come againe,
Some bodies daily which they enter in,
By desp'rate meanes would be dispatch'd of paine,
Else (bound in body) loose their soules to sinne,
And if that God not interpos'd his power,
Hels tyrant straight would every soule devoure.
In some whom God permits him to abuse,
The Prince of darknesse doth at divers houres,
His subtile substance fraudfully infuse
Till they his sprite, his sprite their soules devours:
He as his owne doth all their members use,
And they (as babes with knives) worke with his powers.
O monstrous union, miracle of evils,
Which thus with men incorporates the divels!
When erst in Delphos, after ugly cryes,
The Priestresse Pythia seeming to be sage,
Big by the divell, delivered was of lyes,
She to the terrour of that senslesse age,
Still panting, swolne, hell flaming through her eyes,
Roar'd forth responses by propheticke rage;
And to her Lord whil'st prostituted thus,
An image was of whom he fils with us.
Of those who are posses'd in such a sort,
Some to themselves whom Sathan doth accuse,
They mad (or he in them) doe bragge, or sport,
And whil'st they would the lookers on abuse;
Doe secrets (to themselves not known) report,
And of all tongues the eloquence can use:
All what each age devis'd observing still,
"The divell knowes much, but bends it all to ill.
O heavens be hid, and lose thy light O Sunne!
Since in the world (O what a fearefull thing!)
The divell of some so great a power hath wonne,
That what was theirs, he doth in bondage bring,
Then from their body speakes (as from a tunne),
As sounds from bels, or flouds through rockes do ring.
Deare Saviour rise, and in a just disdaine,
This Serpent bruise, this Leviathan reyne.
The Sunne and Moone, now oftentimes look pale,
(As if asham'd the shame of men to see)
Or else grown old, their force beginnes to faile,
That thus so oft eclips'd their beauties be,
And o're their glory, darknesse doth prevaile,
Whil'st faint for griefe, their ruine they fore-see:
For (as superfluous) they must shortly fall,
When as the light of light doth lighten all.
The heavenly bodies (as growne now lesse strong)
Doe seeme more slacke (as weary of their race)
So that Time rests reform'd (as quite runne wrong)
All clymats still new temperatures embrace,
What strange effects must follow then ere long?
Some starres seem new, and others change their place;
So altred is the starry Courts estate,
Astrologues want intelligence of late.
Each element by divers signes hath showne,
That shortly evill must be discern'd from good;
The Earth (ag'd Mother) loe, is barren growne,
Whose wombe oft worne, now torne, doth faile in brood,
And may (since staggering else) be soone o'rethrowne:
What wonder? weake through age, and drunk with bloud,
With bloud, which still to God for vengeance cryes,
And (as o're-burden'd) groning, groveling lyes.
The liquid legions by tumultuous bands,
(Whose bellowing billowes to transcend contend,)
Do oft usurpe, and sometime leave the lands,
Still stor'd with monsters, which a storme portend,
Whil'st crown'd with clouds, each murmuring mountaine stands,
Which acted first, but suffer must in end:
A mighty change, heavens Monarch now concludes,
Flouds first quench'd flames, flames straight shall kindle flouds.
The ayre whose power impetuous nought can bound,
Doth cite all soules to Gods great Parliament,
Whil'st thundring tempests roare a rumbling sound,
And the last Trumpets terrour represent;
Those blasts denounce the ruine of this round,
Which heaven in showres seemes weeping to lament:
Thus waters wash, winds wipe, and both conspire,
That th'earth (so purg'd) may be prepar'd for fire.
The water th'earth, the ayre would it o'rethrow,
Whose rage by ruine onely is represt,
The high things still insulting o're the low,
Till once the highest have consum'd the rest;
The fourth must end what the first three fore-show,
Whose proofe is last reserv'd, as thought the best:
A fyery tryall, strictly tryes each thing,
And all at last, doth to perfection bring.
Then natures selfe, not strong as of before,
Yeelds fruits deform'd, as from a bastard seed,
That monstrous mindes may be admir'd no more,
Whil'st monstrous bodies more amazement breed:
All the portentuous brood of beasts abhorre,
And (since prodigious) ominously dread.
Since all things change from what they first have been,
All (in another forme) shall soone be seen.
Few signes, or none remaine mens mindes to move,
Till of the Sonne of man, the signe crave sight;
That glory which unspeakeable doth prove,
Christs substance, no, his shadow, yet our light,
Whose Majesty, and beauty, from above,
Shall ere he shine, make all about be bright:
The coming of the Lord, that signe bewrayes,
As lightning thunder, as the Sunne his rayes.
Yet this vile age (what rage?) some mockers breeds,
That big with scorne, disdainfully dare say,
What change mad mindes with such fond fancies feeds,
From formes first known, since nought below doth stray?
The summer harvest, winter spring succeeds,
The Moon doth shine by night, the Sunne by day;
Males procreate, and females doe conceive,
Some daily life doe lose, some it receive.
O Atheists vile, else Christians void of care,
From Gods Tribunall who in vaine appeale,
That Christ to judge the world doth straight prepare,
You thus (contemning signes) a signe reveale,
Whose hearts obdur'd, the nearenesse doth declare,
Of your damnations, our salvations seale:
And whil'st your heart both heaven and hell derides,
Your judgement heaven, your torment hell provides.
Yet foolish soules their pleasures still affect,
(And marrying wives) what mirth may move devise,
But whil'st asleep their safety they neglect,
Christ (as a thiefe) against them shall arise,
And (in a rage) when they him least expect,
Shall slothfull servants suddenly surprise,
Who then shall wish (whil'st frighted on each side)
That from his face them hils, them hels, might hide.
O multitude, O multitude as sand!
A day of horrour strange shall straight appeare,
Come down, and in the threshing valley stand,
And else doth take (take heed) his fanne in hand;
Light soules, as chaffe with winde doe vanish here:
The harvest ripe, and the wine-presse is full,
Yea, wickednesse o're-flowes, all hearts are dull.
Seale, viall, Trumpet, seaventh, opens, powres, sounds,
What doth not intimate Gods great decree,
Which Natures course, Mans faith, Gods mercy bounds,
Even in a Time, when Time noe more shall be;
The fyre is kindling else which all confounds;
Gods hand (loe) writes, his ballance rais'd wee see:
When soules are weigh'd (Gods wondrous workes to crowne)
The weighty must mount up, the light fall downe.
But ere the deepes of wrath I enter in,
When as repentance shall no more have place,
As God a time deferres some Soules to winne,
I will suspend my furie for a space,
That ere the height of horrour doe beginne,
My thoughts may bath amid'st the springs of grace;
To cleare some soules which Sathan seekes to blinde,
Lord purge my sp'rit, Illuminate my minde.
Last updated January 14, 2019