Memior of Thomas Adams


LITERATURE has on its roll many eminent authors, from Homer downwards, whose personal history is not known. The shadow of a great name rests upon their title-pages; the men themselves, try as we may, we cannot see.

To this class Thomas Adams belongs. That he was, in 1612, a ‘preacher of the gospel at Willington,’ in Bedfordshire; that, in 1614, he was at Wingrave, in Buckinghamshire, probably as vicar; that, in 1618, he held the preachership at St Gregory’s, under St Paul’s Cathedral, and was ‘observant chaplain’ to Sir Henrie Montague, the Lord Chief-Justice of England; that, in 1630, he published a folio volume of his collected works, dedicating them ‘to bis parishioners of St Bennet’s, Paul’s Wharf,’ to ‘Wm. Earle of Pernbroke,’ and ‘Henrie Earle of Manchester,’ the first a nobleman of Puritan tendencies, and the second the Montague just named, and the representative of a family known to favour liberty; that, in 1633, he published a Commentary on the Second Epistle of the apostle Peter, dedicating it to ‘Sir Henrie Marten, Kt., Judge of the Admiralty, and Deane of the Arches Court of Canterbury,’ and promising in his Dedication ‘some maturer thoughts,’ never destined apparently to see the light; that, in 1653, he was passing ‘a necessitous and decrepit old age’ in London, having been sequestered, if ‘Newcourt is to be trusted,’ from his living; and that he died before the ‘Restoration,’ we know; gathering our information chiefly from his own writings.’ That he was in request for visitation sermons; that he was a frequent preacher at St Paul’s Cross, in services soon to be abolished, and occasional preacher at Whitehall; that he was friend and ‘homager’ of John Donne, prebendary of St Paul’s, and an admirer of Jewell, and Latimer, and Fox, and [[x]] Joseph Hall; that he loved and preached the great truths of the gospel; that he was a man of extensive learning; that he was a laborious pastor; that his writings were quoted in the commonplace books of the day, and were apt to ‘creep out’ before they were published; that there is much in them to justify the opinion of Southey, who deemed Adams scarcely, inferior to Thomas Fuller in wit, and to Jeremy Taylor in fancy, we also know; but again are we indebted for our information chiefly to his own works. His too is as yet the shadow of a name. The man we cannot see, nor have we found a witness that has seen him.

The singular silence of all the authorities who might have been expected to speak of Adams, compels us to gather up the fragments of information we have on the districts in which he laboured, and on the great men with whose names his own is associated. They give side-glimpses, at least, of his character and life.

Willington, where Adams is first heard of, is a rural parish, in the neighbourhood of Bedford. It lies on the road between Bedford and St Neots. Here Adams laboured from 1612 to 1614, at least; and to the new lord of the manor, recently created a baronet—Sir Will Gostwicke—and to Lady Jane Gostwicke, one of Adams’ sermons is dedicated. Sir William came to the baronetcy in 1612, and died in 1615.

Adams is next found at Wingrave, whence he dates two of his sermons. In Lipscomb’s History of Buckinghamshire, he is spoken of as vicar of Wingrave, from Dec. 2. 1614, when he was instituted, till he became incumbent of St Bennet Fink§ (Lipscomb says), when he resigned Wingrave in favour of the Rev. R Hitchcock, S T B. Hitchcock was inducted May 4. 1636. The vicarage seems to have been in the gift of the Egerton family; and to Sir Thos. Egerton, Lord Ellesmere, some of Adams’ sermons are dedicated. ‘St Bennet Fink, is no doubt a mistake for St Bennet’s, Paul’s Wharf The [[x]] former was only a curacy, and was filled at this time, and till 1642, aa Newcomb tells us, by a Mr Warefield.

In each of these fields of labour, Adams must have had much leisure. Nor is it surprising to find him a frequent visitor in London; first at St Paul’s Cross, and then regularly, from 1618 to 1623, at least, as preacher at St Gregory's, an office he probably shared with some of the canons of St Paul’s.

The church of St Gregory, where he was preacher, was one of the oldest in London. It dates from the seventh century; and after an eventful history (in Adams’ own age) hereafter to be noticed, was destroyed by the great fire. The parish was then united with that of St Mary Magdalene, Old Fish Street; and so it still remains. The building adjoined the Lollards Tower of the old Cathedral of St Paulk It stood at the south-west comer, near the top of St Paul’s Chain; as St Bennet’s stood at the bottom of the Chain, near the Thames. Its site is now occupied by the Clock Tower of the modem Cathedral. The parish contained in Adams’ time a population of three thousand, many of whom were ‘woollen drapers,’ and most ‘of good quality.’

The living was originally a rectory in the gift of the crown; but in the eighteenth year of Richard II., A.D. 1446, the minor canons having obtained letters patent making them a body politic, the king appropriated this church to them for their better support§ It was a poor living, as Adams found it, and was generally held with some other preferment.

In 1631-2, the church was repaired and beautified at ‘the sole cost and proper charges’ of the parishioners. The historians say that a sum of 2000 was spent on this work. Of the man whose labours in the parish make these facts interesting, they say nothing!

This beautifying of the church soon raised serious questions. The dean and chapter deemed it more fitting that the communion table should be removed to the upper end of the chancel, and ordered accordingly. The parishioners protested; and the case was carried, on the special recommendation of Archbishop Laud, to the king in council Laud had just succeeded the Puritan Archbishop Abbot, and thought that the principle of this case was likely to decide many other cases; ultimately the order of the dean and chapter was confirmed.

Pending this controversy, Sir Henry Martin, Adams’ friend, and Dean of the Arches Court, spoke somewhat irreverently, as Laud thought; treating the whole question as one of ‘cupboards’ only. The speech cost Sir Henry his place; and years after, when Laud was tried for his life, the history of the communion table at St Gregory’s formed one of the charges against him. He pleaded that the order of the dean and chapter, not he, had placed the table there; and that though in the council he had spoken in favour of the order, he had therein only used his undoubted liberty; and, moreover, was but carrying out the injunction of Queen Elizabeth, who had directed that all communion tables should be placed where the altars formerly stood. When charged with calling Sir Henry a ‘stigmatical or schismatical Puritan,’ he suggested that ‘schismatical Puritan’ was the likelier term. The description he seems to have deemed sufficiently just not to need defence.

But the troubles of the church were not yet to end. Early in 1637, the Star Chamber directed, at Laud’s instigation, that the church, so recently beautified, should be pulled down and rebuilt, at the expense of the parishioners, elsewhere. This change was intended for the improvement of the cathedral The parish protested that they could not meet the expense. A further order was issued; and the congregation were instructed to find seats, ‘moveable seats,’ not pews, at Christ Church. This second order remaining unexecuted, the Archbishop, or the Lord Treasurer himself, seems to have given directions in the matter, and a large portion of the church was removed.

This also was remembered; for, in 1641, there is the following entry in the Journal of the House of Commons:—‘ Same day reported to the committee, that the church of St Gregory’s was an ancient church.’ … ‘Four years since,’—rather seven, as it seems,—' £1500 was spent in beautifying the church. Shortly after the Lord Treasurer and Lord Collington caused a great part of it to be pulled down, by command from the king and the council, as they pretend—no pretence, however; for the order may be still seen in Bushworth ‘They (‘the parishioners,’ ‘five of them,’ Laud says) petitioned the Lords of the Council, but could have no redress. Voted by the Committee to be a great grievance, and to be added to the others which they meant to be addressed to the Loftis. They were ordered by the House to send for Inigo Jones, … and to find means of redress for the parishioners.’

Nor have the disasters of the parish yet ceased. In 1658, Dr John Hewit is preacher. He conspires prematurely for the Restoration of Charles II., and pays the penalty with his life. In 1666, the church was burnt and buried under the ruins of St Paul’s.

During the later years of this period, 1630-1640, it is probable that Adams had little connection with St Gregory’s. His friend Dr Donne died in 1630. In 1633, the Puritan Archbishop Abbott followed him to his rest, and was succeeded 1by Laud, who had been Bishop of London from 1628. To the new archbishop, the doctrines and strong anti-popish feelings of Adams must have been highly distasteful Lectureships the Archbishop disliked. They only gratified, he thought, ‘itching ears,’ and tempted men to discuss affairs of State. On these questions the dean and chapter seem to have sided on the whole with the archbishop. Nor was the building at St Gregory’s in a favourable condition for preaching. Mr Inigo Jones had sawn through the pillars of the gallery, and had removed a large part of the roof. All through there is reason to believe that Adams’ sympathies were with the parish.

At all events, he is from 1630 to 1636 rector of St Bennet’s, and here he remains, it seems, till his death. When, or under what, circumstances, this took place we are not told.

It is stated, indeed, by Newcourt, and repeated by Walker, that Adams of St Bennet’s was sequestered in the days of the Commonwealth. But this statement is not in itself probable, nor does it rest on any satisfactory evidence. Let the following, as matters of fact, be noted. Adams’ name appears in po official return of silenced ministers, while both Newcourt and Walker have unduly enlarged their lists. Out of the eight thousand whom Walker mentions as sequestered, Calamy states, that not more than seventeen hundred are undoubted. Further, it is well known, that many eminent and useful preachers in the city were left untouched by the Government, though they were unfriendly to the new constitution in Church and State. Dr Hall, Dr Wilde, Dr Harding, and many more, continued to preach in their churdies without hindrance. To the Presbyterian Triers, Adams’ doctrines must have commended him; while those whom Cromwell appointed in 1653, ‘the acknowledged flower of English Puritanism,’ were instructed to act upqn the principle of rejecting no good and competent minister, ‘whether Presbyterian, Independent, Prelatist, or Baptist,’ unless his avowed opinions were dangerous to the ruling powers. It deserves also to be noted, that among Adams’ patrons were Manchester and Pembroke. To both he has dedicated sermons, and of both he speaks in terms of affectionate intimacy. Both were leading members of the Government, and both were more or less concerned in the very sequestrations of which Adams is said to have been the victim. Once more, the parish of St Bennet’s, which was exceedingly small, was united, after the great fire, with that of St Peter's; and as early as 1636, there is a return of the united income of the two parishes, a return that seems to imply that they were even then under one minister. At all events, the fact is recorded, that in that parish church ‘many noblemen and gentlemen worshipped’ during the Commonwealth, ‘the rector and churchwarden continuing to have the liturgy constantly used, and the sacraments properly administered.’ That Adams should have been sequestered, the popular preacher, the earnest devoted pastor, the sound Calvinist, the strenuous opponent of the Papacy, the personal friend of the family of Pembroke, who lived in the parish, and had his children baptized at the parish church is highly improbable. It is true, he did not believe in Presbytery and Synod; but neither did many others who were never molested. It is likely he wished for the Restoration, but not more earnestly than Manchester and Pembroke, his patrons, nor sooner than moderate men of all parties. In short, if Adams were sequestered, it must have been for some fault of which his works give no trace, through strange forgetfulness on the part of his friends, or through gross injustice on the part of the Government.

And yet, in 1653, he was passing, as he tells us, a ‘necessitous and decrepit old age.’ Nor is this surprising. His preachership at Sr Gregory’s was in the gift of the minor canons, and was very scantily paid. In 1639, all cathedral property was declared forfeit, and was ordered to be appropriated to the increase of small livings, or to other purposes. In 1642 at latest, this order was carried in the case of St Paul’s. The rectories of St Bennet’s and Peter’s were in the gift of the dean and chapter, and were largely dependent on cathedral funds. The two yielded at most £128 a year • and at the Restoration, it was reckoned that a hundred of this sum had disappeared. From 1636, therefore, till the time of his death, Adams must have been supported, in part at least, by the bochety of his friends.

The distinction is perhaps practically of small moment. Whether Adams were himself sequestered, or the income of his living transferred, on general grounds, to other purposes, or withheld by those who availed themselves of the troubles of the times ‘to cheat the parson,’ he was in any case equally deprived of his support But it is some comfort to believe that he suffered through no personal hostility, and on no personal grounds, but through the working of a system which affected multitudes besides, and which is to be defended, not by proving the immorality or the deficiencies of the sufferers, but on general policy. The distinction is as just to Adams’s opponents as to Adams himself.

A word or two on the friends to whom Adams has dedicated his sermons. The tendencies of Sir Henry Martin, Laud has indicated, and Clarendon notes incidentally, that he was counsel against the canons adopted by convocation, and not likely ‘to oversee any advantages’ that could be urged on the side of his clients.* The very year in which Sir H. Martin was ‘speaking irreverently’ of the communion table, Adams was dedicating to him, with many expressions of esteem, his Commentary on St Peter. Sir Henry Montague, who was Adams’ ‘first patron,’ had been Recorder of London, and was Lord Chief-Justice of England in 1618. His character has been sketched by Lord Chancellor Clarendon, and at greater length, though less favourably, by Lord Campbell. He was held in esteem by all parties, as a man of high principle, and of fair ability. He presided at the final trial of Sir Walter Raleigh, and is said to have conducted that painful business with more propriety and good feeling than were usual in those times. He died before ‘the conflict of great principles,’ the Rebellion; but his tendencies may be learned from the character of his son.

Edward Montague, as Lord Kimbolton, was the only member of the House of Peers whom Charles L included in his indictment of the ‘five members’ of the House of Commons. In the civil wars he took an active part, as Earl of Manchester, on the side of the Parliament, and was commander at Marston Moor; but after the battle of Newbury he was suspected of favouring the king’s interest. He was a decided friend of the Restoration, and immediately after it was appointed chamberlain. During the Commonwealth he was at the head of the Commission of Sequestrators for the University of Cambridge, and appointed one of his chaplains, Ashe, a friend of Fuller’s, one of the sequestrators. He was throughout the protector of the Nonconformists, and is said to have been a special friend of Richard Baxter’s.

William, Earl of Pembroke, Clarendon tells us, 'was most universally beloved and esteemed of any man of his age; and having a great office in the court, he made the court itself better esteemed, and more reverenced in the country.’} He was ‘the Pembroke’ of Ben. Jonson’s well known epitaph, and was nephew of Sir Philip Sydney; being himself also a poet. In 1616, he was elected Chancellor of the University of Oxford. He greatly offended the king by voting for the execution of the Earl of Strafford, and was afterwards intimately connected with the Duke of Northumberland, and other members of the liberal party. He died suddenly in 1630. His brother Philip, who succeeded to the title, was one of the lay members of the Westminster Assembly, and afterwards a friend of the Restoration. Both brothers resided in Baynard’s Castle, and both were attendants at St Bennet’s. There are entries longed to the same party, and their names appear again and again, with those of Pembroke and Essex, in the records of the civil war. If men are known by their friends, it is not difficult to gather from these facts the leanings and temper of our author. No supporter could he be of the tyranny or of the Popish tendencies of the court; but neither was he prepared for the Presbyterianism or the Independency, for the autocratic Protectorate, or the Republicanism that seemed to threaten on either hand. Like Baxter, he was sure of the gospel; while as for parties, he found that in the end, as they grew and developed, he could side wholly with none.

Judging from the general tenor of Adams’s writings, it is not easy at first to explain his retaining the living at Wingrave while he was lecturer at St Gregory’s, and afterwards while he was rector at St Bennet’s. Still less can we account for the apparent fact that he was at once vicar of Wingrave, rector of St Bennet’s in 1630, and, if we may trust the title-page of his Commentary on St Peter, rector of St Gregory’s in 1633. Perhaps the true explanation is to be found, in part, in the fact that St Bennet’s Church was really in St Gregory’s Parish, and that when St Gregory’s Church was given to the minor canons of St Paul’s, St Gregory’s Parish was often served by one pastor, who was called indiscriminately by the name of either of the churches. This supposition will appear the more probable when it is remembered that the sermon on the ‘Happiness of the Church’ is dedicated, in the original edition, to his parishioners of St Gregory’s, and his collected works, to his parishioners of St Bennet’s, in both cases in nearly the same words. This second dedication could have been no compliment, except in the supposition that the parishioners were the same. Still he was vicar of Wingrave and rector of St Gregory’s, i. e., of St Bennet’s. Is this consistent with his recorded sentiments? ‘We have, every one,’ says he, ‘our own cures; let us attend them. Let us not take and keep livings of a hundred or two hundred a year, and allow a poor curate (to supply the voluntary negligence of our non residence) eight or (perhaps somewhat bountifully) ten pounds yearly, scarce enough to maintain his body, not a do it for his study. He spoke sharply (not untruly) that called this usury, and terrible usury. Others take but ten in the hundred; these take a hundred far ten. What say you to those that undertake two, three, or four great cures, and physic them all by attorneys? These physicians love not their patients, nor Christ himself.’ So he writes; and yet he seems in the same context to meet what was probably his own case,—'Not but that preaching to our own charge, may yield to a more weighty dispensation. When the vaunts of some heretical Goliah shall draw us forth to encounter him with weapons, against whom we cannot draw the sword of our tongues, when the greater business of God’s church shall warrant our non-residence to an inferior, then, and upon these grounds, we may be tolerated by another Physician to serve our cures (for so I find our charges, not without allusions to this metaphor, called); a physician, I say, that is a skilful divine, not an illiterate apothecary, an insufficient reader.’

The lawfulness of such an arrangement was certainly not lessened by its always ending in plethoric wealth Adams’ writings shew very clearly that the holder of two pieces of preferment might still be poor. 'The minister of the parish,’ says he, ‘shall hardly get from his patron the milk of the vicarage; but if he looks for the fleece of the parsonage, he shall have (after the proverb) Zanam Caprinam, a goat’s fleece,—contempt and scorn.’ ‘Christ sends us,’ he says again, ‘as lambs among wolves. If they cannot devour our flesh, they will pluck our fleeces; leave us nothing but the tag-locks, poor vicarage-tithes: while themselves and their children are kept warm in our wool, the parsonage. Nay, and they would clip off the tag-locks too, raven up the vicarages, if the law would but allow them a pair of shears. Every gentleman thinks the priest mean; but the priest’s means have made many a gentleman.’ And again, ‘To cozen the ministers of their tithes in private, or to devour them in public, and to justify it when they have done’— this is general—‘to laugh at the poor vicar that is glad to feed on crusts, and to spin out twenty marks a year into a thread as long as his life; while the wolf inns a crop worth three hundred pounds per annum,’—this is very definite, what if it be personal!—‘this is a prey somewhat answerable to the voracity of their throats. Let every man, of what profession soever, necessary or superfluous, be he a member or a scab of the commonwealth, live; and the priest be poor, they care not.’

In those days there were upwards of 4000 non-resident livings out of 12,000, and upwards of 3000 held practically by lay impropriators. | The first fact justifies Adams’ denunciation of non-residence; the second justifies the holding of two or more livings by one man. At Wingrave, it may be added, the chief revenues belonged to the lay rector—not Egerton; so that, with both vicarage and preachership, it is probable Adams had but a scanty support.

This much, though but little, on Adams’ personal history.

It is hardly needful to add that the writer of these volumes is not Thomas Adam, the rector of Wintringham, in Lincolnshire, the author of ‘Private Thoughts,’ and of various expositions and sermons published posthumously. He died in 1784.

Nor is he the Thomas Adams of Calamy’s Nonconformist Memorial. This Adams was the younger brother of Richard Adams, one of the editors of Chamock’s works on ‘Providence and on the Attributes,’ and son of the rector of Worrall, in Cheshire. He was admitted Bachelor of Arts at Cambridge in 1644. Afterwards he went to Oxford and became a Fellow of Brazennose. In 1655, he left his fellowship, and was appointed to the rectory of St Mildred’s, Bread Street, London. In 1662, he was removed for nonconformity and afterwards resided in the families of Sir S. Jones and the Countess Dowager of Clare. He died in 1670.

The Thomas Adams just named belonged to a family of clergymen; their names and history are given in Wood, but our author is not amongst them.

Lipscomb has dignified the writer of these volumes with the degree of M.A, and elsewhere he is styled B.D. and D.D., but there is no evidence that he really attained these dignities. His learning and ability are undoubted; and he speaks as one who had been at a university, and who greatly valued a university education. But his name occurs in no college list, nor is he known to any of the historians of either Oxford or Cambridge.

These last results are of small positive value, but they are worth stating. They narrow the field of future inquiry, they correct some popular impressions, and they tell us in some degree who and what Adams was not.

The precise position of Adams in relation to the civil history, the ecclesiastical discussions, and the literature of his age, it is important to settle. That position illustrates both his character and his writings.

In France, Henry the Fourth having recently displeased Elizabeth, and belied his whole life by professing the Catholic faith though still a friend to Protestants, had gone, towards the close of the earlier half of James’s reign, to his account, cut off prematurely by the dagger of an assassin. Holland had declared her independence, and was now deciding against Arminius. In England, the Hampton Court Conference had disappointed the Puritan party, and had strengthened the High Church tendencies of King James; the nobility and king had been providentially saved from the gunpowder-treason; the new translation of the Bible had just been completed, and was now winning its way into general acceptance. Raleigh, the prince of merchant adventurers, was prosecuting his romantic career, and was soon to expiate his misfortunes by an unjust death on the scaffold. The Court of High Commission was strengthening its power, and preparing for the disastrous usurpations of Strafford and Laud. A considerable portion of the clergy and laity of England were beginning to be weaned from the Established Church Scotland had recently resisted the attempt to impose upon her Episcopal forms. Scandals, both ecclesiastical and civil, were extending on all sides; good men were alienated from their old friends by ecclesiastical tyranny, and by childish petulance. A civil war seemed even now at hand. What Adams thought of several of these events, we know. Of others, he has spoken never a word.

Ecclesiastically, matters stood thus. James had come to the throne at the beginning of the seventeenth century, with a strong preference for Calvinism, and with strong aversion to Popery. These feelings were gradually toned down, till, after the Synod of Oort, he became a friend of the Arminian party; and the Papacy itself he began to treat with indulgence. In 1622, he published directions to his clergy, to the effect that ‘no preacher under a bishop or a dean should presume to preach on the deep points of predestination or election,’ ‘that no preacher should use railing speeches against Papists or Puritans,’ and ‘that no parson, vicar, curate, or lecturer, should preach any sermon in the afternoon, but expound the Catechism, Creed, or Ten Commandments.’ In this last direction, Adams and all probably agreed; the two former must have been very distasteful to him and to many. They were specially aimed at that party in the Church who had hitherto dwelt, in their preaching, on the doctrines of grace, as they were called. This party included many eminent men; and they were sustained by several, who themselves dwelt seldom on these doctrines, but still questioned the propriety of the king’s directions. Archbishop Abbot and Dr Davenant, Bishop of Salisbury, were among their leaders. The very year in which Adams published his collected works, Bishop Davenant lost favour at Court, by preaching on pre• destination, and for the same offence, several clergymen were severely punished. The whole party were called Doctrinal Puritans, and Adams was undoubtedly among them.

Sometimes these Doctrinal Puritans were defined in other ways. Bancroft and Laud were both admirers of a ceremonial religion. They held opinions on rites and forms hardly consistent with the simplicity and spirituality of Protestantism. Sometimes it was the question of kneeling at the Lord’s supper, and bowing at the emblems; sometimes of signing with the cross in baptism; oftenest it was the question of whether the communion table was to be regarded as an altar. But whatever the exact question, it had always the same issue. ‘These forms,’ it was said on the one side, ‘are spiritual symbols, and they are essential. They represent great truths.’ ‘Leave them indifferent,’ it was said on the other, ‘and we may observe them; make them obligatory, because important, and they become at once substantially Popery, and we cannot adopt them.’ ‘Doctrinal Papists,’ the advocates of them were called, and under that name they are the opposite of ‘Doctrinal Puritans.’ Dr Williams, the Bishop of Lincoln, had recently created a great ferment, by publishing in favour of the Puritan views. Several clergymen were compelled by Laud to resign their livings, and some few were (to use King James’s phrase), ‘harried out of the land.’ Thirty years later, they would have joined the Nonconformists of 1662. They shared by anticipation in their nonconformity, and they agreed in their doctrinal views.

Perhaps Adams’ sympathies were less decidedly with Williams than with Davenant. Judging from his works, he would probably never have left the Church on a question of forms; though ready to leave it if necessary, on a question of doctrine. Doctrinal Puritanism he loved; the connection between certain rites and Dootrinal Popery he did not clearly see. And if he feared it, he so prized unity, and dreaded division, that he preferred quietly to preach the truth and use his liberty, leaving to others the discussion and the settlement of such questions. There are passages in his writings, which imply that he deemed the Puritans (as they were called), right in everything, except in their ‘schismatic spirit’ ‘They,’ he tells us, ‘are the unicorns that wound the Church. Their horn, the secret of their strength, is precious enough, if only it were out of the unicorn’s head!’

Some were schismatical beyond question. But does not a large portion of the guilt of schism lie at the door of those who were bent on making obligatory and essential what are at any rate non-essentials, whether of practice or of faith? Such is Coleridge’s decision—a decision he defends with loving sympathy for the men, and by undoubted facts.

Adams’s relation to the general literature of his age must also be settled.

In his youth he was the contemporary of the race that adorned the reign of Elizabeth,—Spenser, and Shakespeare, and Jonson, Bacon and Raleigh. Among the men of his own age were Bishops Hall, and Andrewes, Sibbes, the author of the ‘Bruised Reed’ and ‘The Soul’s Conflict,’ Fuller the historian, and now in the church and now out of it, Hildersham, and Byfield, and Cartwright. Earle was busy writing and publishing his Microcosmography, and Overbury had already issued his ‘Characters.’ A little before him flourished Arminius and Whitgift, Hooker and Reynolds; and a little after him, Hammond and Baxter, Taylor and Barrow, Leighton and Howe. There is evidence that Adams had read the works of several of his contemporaries and predecessors; and he has been compared with nearly all the writers we have named. His scholarship reminds the reader of that ‘great gulf of learning,’ Bishop Andrewes. In sketching a character, he is not inferior to Overbury or Earle [[xxii]] In fearless denunciations of sin, in pungency and pathos, he is sometimes equal to Latimer or to Baxter. For fancy, we may, after Southey, compare him with Taylor; for wit, with Fuller; while in one sermon, at least—that on ‘The Temple’—there is an occasional grandeur, that brings to memory the kindred treatise of Howe. Joseph Hall is probably the writer he most resembles. In richness of scriptural illustration, jn fervour of feeling, in soundness of doctrine, he is certainly equal; in learning, and power, and thought, he is superior.

In this last paragraph a high place is assigned to Adams for the literary qualities of his writings. Apart from the excellence of his thoughts, the language and the imagery in which he clothes them are very attractive. Herein he differs from many of the Puritan Divines, and on the scholar and student he has peculiar claims. Indeed, far ‘curious felicity' of expression he is almost alone among the evangelical authors of his age.

A few specimens may be selected. like all extracts, however, they do scanty justice to the beauty of the passages whence they are taken. They are gems, but their brilliance depends in part on the setting.

Turn, for a good specimen of his general style, to his description of the Suitors of the Soul, England's Sickness, vol i. 401.

He gathers illustrations from all sources. From grammar learning:—

‘There is a season to benefit, and a season to hurt, by our speech; therefore it is preposterous in men to be consonants when they should be mutes, and mutes when they should be consonants. But a good life is never out of season.’—Heaven and Earth Reconciled.

‘With God, adverbs shall have better thanks than nouns,’—i. 6., Not what we do, but how we do it, is the grand question.

From the facts of common life, turned to ingenious uses:—

‘We use the ocean of God’s bounty as we do the Thames. It yields ns all manner of provision: clothes to cover us, fuel to warm us, food to nourish us, wine to cheer us, gold to enrich us; and we, in recompense, soil it with our rubbish and filth. Such toward God is the impious ingratitude of this famous city. She may not unfitly be compared to certain pictures that represent to divers beholders, at divers stations, divers forms. Looking one way, you see a beautiful virgin; another way, some deformed monster. View her peace: she is fairer than the daughters of men. View her pride: the children of the Amorites are beauteous to her. When we think of her prosperity, we wonder at her impiety; when we think of her impiety, we wonder at her prosperity. O that her citizens would learn to [[xxiii]] manage their liberal fortunes with humility and sobriety l that when death shall disfranchise them here, they may be made free above, in the triumph ant city, where glory hath neither measure nor end?—The City of Peace.

From ripe scholarship, that knows how to glean in all fields, and how to defend the consecration of all to the service of the sanctuary:—

‘Learning, as well as office, is requisite for a minister. An unlearned scribe, without his treasure of old and new, is unfit to interpret God’s oracles. The priest’s lips shall preserve knowledge, is no less a precept to the minister, than a promise to the people: we are unfit to be seers, if we cannot distinguish between Hagar and Sarah. A minister without learning is a mere cypher which fills up a place, and increaseth the number, but signifies nothing. There have been some niggardly affected to learning! calling it man’s wisdom. If the moral says of a poet, or a philosopher, or, perhaps, some golden sentence of a father drop from us, it is straight called poisoned eloquence, as if all these were not the spoils of the gentiles, and mere handmaids unto divinity. They wrong us: we make not the pulpit a philosophy, logic, poetry-school; but all these are so many stairs to the pulpit. Will you have it? the fox dispraiseth the grapes he cannot reach. If they could beat down learning, they might escape censure, for their own ignorance. For shame I Let none that have borne a book dispraise learning. She hath enemies enough abroad. She should be justified of her own children. Let Barbary disgrace arts, not Athens.’

With all this richness of fancy, there is a plainness and a directness of speech, that often reminds the reader of honest Latimer:—

‘Give, then, your physician leave to fit and apply his medicines, and do not you teach him to teach you. Leave your old adjurations to your too obsequious chaplains, if there be any such yet remaining. Speak unto us smooth things, prophecy deceits. Threaten your priests no longer with such expulsions from these poor vineyards which you have erst robbed, because they bring you sour grapes, sharp wine of reproofs. Bar not the freedom of these tongues, by tying them to conditions: this you shall say, and this not say, on pain of my displeasure. You may preach against sins, but not meddle with the pope; or you may inveigh against Rome and idolatry, so you touch not my Herodias; or you may tax lust, so you let me alone with Naboth’s vineyard. As if the gospel might be preached with your limitations; and, forsaking the Holy Ghost, we must come to fetch directions from your lips.'

Or, again:—

‘If we equal Israel in God’s blessings, we transcend them in our sins. The blood-red sea of war and slaughter, wherein other nations are drowned, is become dry to our feet of peace. The bread of heaven, that true manna satisfies our hunger, and our thirst is quenched with the waters of life. The better law of the gospel is given to us, and our saving health is not like [[xxiv]] a curious piece of array folded up, but is spread before our believing eyes without any shadow cast over the beauty of it. We have a better High Priest to make intercession for us in heaven, for whom he hath once sacrificed and satisfied upon earth, actu semel, virtute semper, with one act, but with virtue everlasting. We want nothing that heaven can help us to, but that which we voluntarily will want, and without which we had better have wanted all the rest, thankfulness and obedience. We give God the worst of all things, that hath given us the best. We call out the bad sheep for his tithe, the sleepiest hours for his prayers, the chippmgs of our wealth for his poor, a corner of the heart for his ark, when Dagon sits uppermost in his temple. We give God measure for measure, but after an ill sort. For his blessings heapen, and shaken, and thrust together, iniquities pressed down and yet running over. He hath bowels of brass and a heart of iron, that cannot mourn at this our requital.’

Yet withal he is full of tenderness:—

‘The sins of our times I would arraign, testify against, condemn, have executed: the persons, I would have saved in the day of the Lord.’—The White Devil.

The sins he most earnestly rebukes are drunkenness, litigiousness, and the quirks of the law, ״ engrossing/ swearing, and rapacity, while he never fails to note that unbelief and unthankfulness,— the sins of the heart,—are at once the source and the chief of them alt

Mark the force and the beauty of the following, culled at random from his pages:—

‘He that preaches well in his pulpit but lives disorderly out of it, is like a young scribbler; what he writes fair with his hand, his sleeve comes after and blots.’

‘As Christ once, so his word often, is crucified between two thieves, the papist on the left hand and the schismatic on the right.’

‘Everyone can lesson us, that will not be lessoned by us. Not that we refuse knowledge from any lips, since nothing can be spoken well but by God's Spirit, who sometimes reproves a Jonah by a mariner, Peter by a damsel, and Balaam by an ass.’

‘The devil may be within, though he stand not at the door.’

‘He swears away that little share of his own soul, which he had left.’

‘Every good heart is in some measure scrupulous, and finds more safely in fear than in presumption. I had rather have a servant that will ask his direction twice, than one that runs of his own head without his errand.’

‘Yet these men (Garnet, Faux, &c.) must be saints, and stand named [[xxv]] with red letters on the pope’s calendar: red indeed l So dyed with the martyred blood of God’s servants!’

‘Only death restrains the wicked man from doing any further mischief Perhaps, he may give away some payments in his testament, but he parts with it, in his will against his will: and it is but a part, whereas Judas returned all, yet went to hell!’

‘Let good fellows sit in a tavern from sun to sun, and they think the day very short, confessing (though insensible of their loss) that time is a light-heeled runner. Bind them to the church for two hours, and you put an ache into their bones, the seats be too hard. Now time is a creeple, and many a weary look is cast up to the glass. It is a man’s mind that renders any work troublesome or pleasant.’

‘Fire and fagot is not God’s law, but the pope’s cannon shot.’

‘They plead antiquity, as a homicide may derive his murder from Cain. They plead unity: so Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians, combined against Christ. They plead universality: yet of the ten lepers but one was thankful Where many join in the truth, there is the church; not for the many’s sake, but for the truth’s. The vulgar stream will bring no vessel to the land of peace.’

[[xxvi]] As a preacher and a divine, he has many excellencies, though they are not unmixed with grave faults, which belong, however, as much to his age as to himself.

In the subjects of his sermons, and generally in his choice of texts, he is remarkably felicitous. ‘The Way Home,’ ‘The City of Peace,’ ‘The Saints Meeting,’ ‘Majesty in Misery,’ ‘Semper Idem,’ ‘Heaven and Earth Reconciled,’ ‘The Mystical Bedlam,’ ‘The Sinner’s Passing Bell,’ ‘The Fatal Banquet,’ ‘The Shot or Reckoning,’ ‘Presumption running into Despair:’ each suggests a beautiful or striking thought, while the text is in every case itself a sermon. Have we rightly appreciated in the modern pulpit the importance of a good text? Great thoughts ought to underlie our discourses. If the reader will study those of our Lord, as recorded in St John, or note his touching address at Nazareth, he will feel the force of this suggestion. It is one secret of Adams’s power.

Nor is it to be overlooked that he deals largely in expositions of Scripture. He does not, indeed, busy himself to shew the connection or to trace the undercurrent of thought that often runs through chapters and books of the Bible, but in verbal expositions he is rich and happy. Many texts will be found set in new lights, while they often reflect something of their own lustre and beauty on the thoughts amid which they stand. The beginning of his sermon on the ‘City of Peace,’ and his sermons on ‘England’s Sickness,’ are good illustrations.

[[xxvii]] Sometimes his comments are based on mistakes, and sometimes he pushes the interpretation of the letter of Scripture to an extreme; but his expositions are often both accurate and striking; and they well illustrate the principle, that it is the ministry of the word to which the preacher is called. That he did this under the conviction that ‘men were not safe while they were ignorant of the Scripture,’ is clear from his own teaching.

Herein we agree entirely in the estimate of a previous editor of some of his works. 4 The author leads the reader at once to the Bible. He keeps him there. He analyses the words of the passage under consideration. He largely illustrates the historical circumstances. He draws, by easy and natural inference, suitable lessons of a practical character. Analogies start up; these are instantly dealt with. Fables, anecdotes, classical poetry, gems from the fathers and other old writers, are scattered over nearly every page. But the starting-point is evermore the language of holy Scripture. We confess that, apart from all other attractions, we have a growing conviction of the incomparable superiority of this mode of teaching religion over every other. It has prevailed in every age of the Church in which Christianity has flourished.’

His theology may be defined most briefly, though somewhat unhappily, as anti-popish, Calvinistic, and evangelical

Hear, for example, how he speaks, in spite of the king’s injunctions and Laud’s tendencies:—

‘Judas was a great statesman in the devil’s commonwealth, for he bore four main offices. Either he begged them shamefully, or he bought them bribingly, or else Beelzebub saw desert in him, and gave him them gratis for his good parts. He was hypocrite, thief, traitor, and murderer. Yet the pope will vie offices with him, and win the game, too, for plurality. … But let him go. I hope he is known well enough; and every true man will bless himself out of his way?—The White Devil.


‘The favour of God overshadows us, as the cherubim did the mercy-seat. I know that Rome frets at this; and let the harlot rage her heart out. She thunders out curses; but (blessed be God) we were never more prosperous than when the pope most cursed us. Yea, O Lord, though they curse, do thou bless. Convert or confound them that have ill-will to Sion; and still let us inherit thy peace, that thou mayest inherit our praise.’—Physic from Heaven.

How keen is the following:—[[xxvii]] our money), and tells us that he only hath the balm, and shews us his mass-book. If we suspect it there, he warrants the virtue from a general council. If it doth not yet smell well, he affirms (not without menacing damnation to our mistrust) that it is even in the closet of his own heart who cannot err. ‘Tut,’ says he, ‘as it grows in God’s garden simply, it may poison you.’ As if it were dangerous to be meddled withal till he had played the apothecary, and adulterated it with his own sophistications? —Physic from Heaven.

And yet his religion is not hatred of popery simply;—

‘Do we justly blame them that worship the Beast of Rome, and yet find out a new idolatry at home? Shall we refuse to worship saints and angels, and yet give divine worship to ourselves ? This is a rivalry that God will not stand.’—The Temple.

Nor is it at all hatred of popish forms:—

‘One man,’ says he, ‘is crop-sick of ceremonies. He hath a toy in his head that the church’s garment should not be embroidered, nor have more lace or fringe than his own coat … Rather than his children shall be crossed in baptism, he will out of the ark into some fantastical wherry. Let him tarry, and hear what the law speaks in its law of peace: In Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature; i. e., neither ceremony nor no ceremony, but the substantial: a new creature.’—The City of Peace.

His Calvinism may be judged from the following:—

‘The first-born, which are written in heaven.—This is a description of the persons of whom the church consists. The church itself is a number of men whom God hath set apart by an eternal decree, and in time sanctified to become real members of it. They are written in heaven; there is their eternal election: and they are the first-born, i. e., new-born; there is their sanctification. For the two parts of the description—their primogeniture and registering in God’s books—-are but borrowed speeches, thereby God would ratify the everlasting predestination and salvation of his church. A man may have his name written in the chronicles, yet lost; written in durable marble, yet perish; written on a monument equal to a colossus, yet be ignominious; written on the hospital gates, yet go to hell; written on his own house, and yet another come to possess it. All these are but writings in the dust and upon the waters, where the characters perish as soon as they are made. They no more prove a man happy than the fool could prove Pontius Pilate a saint because his name was written in the creed. But they that are written in heaven are sure to inherit it.’—The Happiness of the Church.


‘The church may be sick, yet not die. Die it cannot; for the blood of an Eternal King bought it, the power of an Eternal Spirit preserves it, and the mercy of an Eternal God shall crown it.’—England's Sickness.

[[xxviii]] And yet this view is so guarded by explanations and so blended with distinct announcements on the sufficiency of Christ’s work and grace, that Adams is as fair a representative of Calvinistic doctrine as Calvin himself.

‘It was not one for one that Christ died, not one for many, but one for all, … and this one must needs be of infinite price.’

His commentary on the second of Peter abounds with felicitous expositions of difficult questions in relation to these doctrines.

For illustrations of the evangelical spirit of Adams, the reader must turn to his writings. When he treats of evangelical doctrine, he writes carefully and clearly. His remarks on the Fatherhood of God, on Christ’s sacrifice for sin, on imputed righteousness, on faith and how it saves, on the inseparable union of pardon and holiness, though not suggested by any modern controversies, shew, by their sweep and far-reaching application, that they are great truths he is describing, and that he perceives the breadth and bearing of the truths he describes.

It is not, however, in distinct statements of doctrine that his love of the gospel appears, so much as in the general tone of his writings. Herein he resembles Baxter rather than Owen. His gospel is all pervading; and his treatises are not lectures but sermons,—popular appeals to those whom he is seeking to reclaim and to save.

Generally he is rather clear and vigorous than emotional Yet there are passages in which evangelical truth is steeped in feeling. His description of the state of the impenitent, and of the tears that ought to be wept over them, and elsewhere of ‘the fulness that is in Jesus,’ it is impossible to read without deepest sympathy. They shew, like the account he has given in one of his dedications of the exhausting anxieties of a London pastorate, that the writer’s heart was as warm as his head was clear. His gospel was an affection as much as a creed. While he shunned not to ‘declare the whole counsel of God,’ ‘night and day he warned every man with tears,’ ‘that he might be pure from their blood.’ And this is surely his highest praise. Herein he followed an apostle, and herein, with reverence be it spoken, he followed his Lord.

[[xxix]] It has already been intimated that most of the facts of Adams’s life are gathered from his own writings, and especially from the prefaces and dedicatory epistles prefixed to his sermons, as they were first published. These prefaces we now proceed to give. With two exceptions, they are not inserted in the folio edition of his works, published by himself in 1629. That edition is the basis of the text adopted in these volumes; and as it contains the last touches of the author’s own hand, it is entitled to that honour. But the prefaces are well worth preserving. They throw light upon the character of the writer. They are also rich in noble truths. All that can be obtained are here given, and the preface to the Commentary on 2d Peter is added, to complete the series.

His works may be best arranged in the order in which he wrote them, or where this is not known, in the order in which he published them. The ‘Epistles Dedicatorie’ and the ‘Addresses to the Reader’ are taken from the 4to editions. The words in brackets give the alterations he made in the titles for the folio edition.

THE GALLANT’S BURDEN: A Sermon, preached at Paul’s Cross, the 29th of March, being the fifth Sunday in Lent, 1612. By THOMAS ADAMS.

Published by authority.

London: Printed by W. W., for Clement Knight, and are to be sold at his shop in Paul’s Churchyard, at the sign of the Holy Lamb. 1614.

To the Honourable Sir WILLIAM GOSTWICKE Baronet, and his worthy Lady,


HONOURABLE SIR,—I acknowledge freely, that the world is oppressed with the press, and the confluence of books hath bred a confusion of errors, of vices, 80 hard it is to distinguish betwixt profitable and vain writings; and having called out the best, so easy it is with so much good meat to surfeit; yet it is not, therefore, meat unnecessary. It is no sober inference, because both text and readers have been corrupted with false glosses, to reject all expositions, all applications; both are fit, this latter most necessary, for our understanding is better than our conscience; there is some light in our minds, little warmth in our affections. So against nature is it true in this, that the essential qualities of fire, light, and heat, are divided; and to say, whether our light of knowledge be more, or our heat of devotion less, is beyond meed. Let this (considered) plead for me, that I (do but) rub this sorrowing knowledge in us, to bring it back to some life of obedience. If any feel their thick eyes hence to receive any dearness, or their numbed affections to gather (the least) spirit, let them at once give God the glory, and take to themselves the comfort. Sin hath got strength with age, and, against all natural order, is more powerful, subtle, and fuller of active dexterity now in the dotage of it, than it was in the nonage. Both pulpit and press are weak enough to resist it. If, therefore, this small arrow of reproof can wound (but even) one of his limbs, it shall a little enervate his tyranny. Whatsoever this sermon is, it is wholly yours, and he that made it, whose patronage I could not be ambitious of, if I should only fix my [[xxx]] eyes on my own deservings; but in the affiance of your good natures, mature judgments, and kind constructions of my weak endeavours, I have presumed to make you the patron of my labours, who was freely the patron of myself. I know that God’s word can countenance itself, and needs not the shelter of an human arm, not though it had as many Edomites to deride it, as it hath patrons to defend it; but I find not only the best writings of the best men, but even some of those holy books, inspired from heaven, bearing in their foreheads (as from the penmen) a dedication. I confess, it is not all for your protection, somewhat for your use; and you are blessed in favouring that which shall be best able to favour you. May I, therefore, entreat your honours to give it happy entertainment to your own hearts, favourable protection to the world’s eyes? so shall that and myself be (yet more) yours. The God of all power and mercy be as faithful a shadow of refreshing to your souls, as your kindness hath been free to my wants, who must ever remain,

Your honours’s, in all faithful observance,


Sir William Gostwicke, to whom this volume is dedicated, was Lord of the Manor at Willington, the parish in which Adams was then labouring.



A Sermon preached at St Paul’s Church, in Bedford, October 3. 1612, at the visitation of the Right Wor. M. Elaner, Archdeacon of Bedford. By THOMAS ADAMS, Minister of the Gospel at Willington.

2 Cor. v. 19.

London: Printed by W. W., for Clement Knight, and are to be sold at his shop in Paul’s Churchyard, at the sign of the Holy Lamb. 1613.

To the Bight Honourable Lord HENRY, Earl of Kent, Lord of Hastings, Weirford, and Ruthyn.

RIGHT HONOURABLE,—I know not under whose wings I might better shelter an apology for the ministry, than under your honour’s, who have ever lived a ready patron to defend us from the oppositions and wrongs of our adversaries; making them no friends to yourself that are enemies to the gospel; wherein you have procured some (blessed) trouble to yourself, by frequent complaints; deserved great love of your country, and secured your soul of an eternal recompence. Let it be your praise, happiness, comfort, that you have not only not lived in opposition to the truth, as our refractory papists; nor in the lukewarm neutrality of this age, that conceives a mixed religion, compounded of Zion’s and Babylon’s; nor thought it enough to countenance preachers, as some that would make God beholden to them for their looks; but you have stood to, seconded, succoured, and (which is yet a higher testimony) relieved many a distressed servant of the Lord, not with Micha’s wages, or pittances of charity, but with ample rewards, worthy your honour’s bounty to give, and their necessity to receive. Let all these true and happy reasons plead for and (somewhat) justify my ambition, that have dared to look so high for patronage as your honour. Worthier pens have contented themselves with meaner protections. It is not the excellency of the work, but the nobleness [[xxxi]] of your disposition, that encourageth me, who am thence prompted not to fear your acceptation. You that have been so general a shadow of refreshing to ministers, take from me all cause to distrust your favour; specially in the countenancing of that written, which you have ever actually and really furthered. Proceed (most honoured lord) to affect the truth (yet) more zealously, by your help to support it, by your favour to protect it; so shall you make Messed use of that honour God hath here invested you withal, and interest yourself to the honour of heaven; and whiles nobility without religion dies in infamy, and is buried in the grave of oblivion, your noble zeal, or zealous nobleness, shall live here to your Maker’s glory and the church’s comfort, and hereafter leave behind it a never-decaying monument of honour, which, if the ingratitude of men should forget, shall never pass the hand of God unrewarded with glory. This book salutes your honour with the new year; may they both give you happy content t The God of mercies multiply his favours and graces on you, and make your cup to run over with his blessings l

Your honour’s humbly devoted,


The Earl of Kent was a member of the liberal party, and a man of very moderate ability, Clarendon says. Judging from Adams's epistle, he must have been a lover of the gospel, and of all good men.

THE DEVIL’S BANQUET, Described in Six Sermons:—1. The Banquet Propounded, Begun; 2. The Second Service; 8. The Breaking up of the Feast; 4. The Shot or Reckoning; 6. The Sinner’s Passing Bell; 6. Physic from Heaven. Published by THOMAS ADAMS, Preacher of God’s Word at Willington, in Bedfordshire. [THE FATAL BANQUET.]

Amos vi. 7.

Ambros de Poenit.—Pascitur libido conviviis, nutritur deliciis, vino accenditur, ebrietate flammatur. Lust is fed with feasts, fatted with pleasures, fired with wine, made flaming with drunkenness.

London: Printed by Thomas Snodham, for Ralph Mab, and are to be sold in Paul’s Churchyard, at the sign of the Greyhound. 1614.

To the very Worthy and Virtuous Gentleman, Sir GEORGE FITZ-JEOFTERY, Knight, one of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace and Quorum in the County of Bedford; saving health.

RIGHT WORSHIPFUL,—This sermon, though it be born last, was not so conceived. But as it came to pass in Tamar’s travail of her twins, though Zarah put forth his hand first, and had a scarlet thread tied to it, the distinguishing mark of primogeniture, yet his brother Pharez was born before him, I intended this subject to a worthy audience, fastening my meditations on it; but soon finding that I had grasped more sands than I could force through the glass in two hours, and loath to injure my proposed method, I let it sleep till fitter opportunity might awaken it. Now, behold, without the common plea of this writing age, the importunate request of friends, I willingly adventure it to the light; and since your favour to my weak (or rather no) deserts hath been ever full of real encouragements; since your affection to literature (and the best of learning, the gospel) hath ever [[xxxii]] vouchsafed a friendly countenance to your neighbour-ministers, I could not make myself so liable to the censure of ingratitude as not to entreat your name for patronage, which, though it deserves better acknowledgment, and finds it from more worthy voices, yet I, that yield to all in learning, would yield to none in love and service to you. The cause in question requires a worthy defender, not for its own weakness, but for the multitude and strength of oppositions. Men brook worse to have their sins ransacked than their inveterate wounds and ulcers searched. Qui ninum ventnum vocant, they that call drunkenness poisoning speak harsh to their ears that (quasi deum colunt) embrace and worship it as a god. You are one of that surrogation into whose hands God hath trusted his sword of justice. Draw it in his defence against the enemies of his grace and gospel. You sit at the common stern, and therefore are not so much your own as your country’s. Our derided, rejected preaching appeals to your aids; help us with your hands, we will help you with our prayers. With wisdom and courage rule the wild days you live in. Proceed (worthy sir), as you have conformed yourself, to reform others. Reach forth your hand to your confined limits; overturn the table, spoil the banquet, chastise the guests at this riotous feast. You see how justly this poor, weak, coarse-woven labour desires the gloss of your patronage to be set on it I cannot either distrust your ao ceptance, knowing the generousness of your disposition, nor need I so much to entreat your private use (who are stored with better instructions) as your commending it to the world. If any good may hereby be encouraged, any evil weakened, my reward is fall. The discourse is sexduple, whereof the first fruits are yours, whose myself am, that desire still to continue

Your worship’s in my best services,



Religious reader (for I think few of the profane rabble read any sermons), let me entreat thee for this, that (cum lectoris nomen ferns, ne lictoris officium geras) thou wouldst accept it, not except against it, and, being but a reader, not usurp the office of a censurer. The main intents of all preachers and the contents of all sermons aim to beat down sin and to convert sinners, which the most absolute and unerring Scriptures have shadowed under divers metaphors, comparing them to beasts, to blots, to sicknesses, to sterilities, to pollutions, to leavenings, to whoredoms, to devils; in all which (and many other such figurative speeches) I think it lawful, nay, necessary fer us, God’s ministers, to explain the metaphor, and (still within bounds of the similitude) to shew the fit accordance and respondency of the thing meant to the thing mentioned. Indeed, to stretch the text against its own will is to martyr it, and to make every metaphor ran upon four feet is often violabile sacris. But so long as we keep the analogy of faith and the sense of the present theme, it is a fault to find with us. Indeed, rhetorical flourishes without solid matter is like an Egyptian bondwoman in a queen’s robes; or the courtier’s chamber, which is often a rotten room, curiously hanged. God’s word is full of dark speeches, dark, not in themselves, but to our thick-sighted understandings; therefore, his propositions require expositions. Not that we should turn plain morals into allegories, but allegories into plain morals. The former was Origen’s fault, of whom it is said (I speak not to uncover that father’s nakedness, but to shew that all men may err, and therefore truth of love must not [[xxxiii]] prejudice love of truth) that wherein he should not allegorise, he did; and wherein he should have allegorized, to his woe he did not. I have presumed, not without warrant of the best expositors, to manifest the manifold temptations of Satan under the harlot’s inveigling her customers. 1. As wisdom, ver. 8, sends forth her maidens, her ministers, to invite guests to her feast of grace, so vice sends forth her temptations; nay, she sits at the defer herself, ver. 14, and courts the passengers. 2. If wisdom call the ignorant, ver. 4, Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither; as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith, Ac. Vice, which is the true folly, is her zany, and takes the words out of her mouth, ver. 16, Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither; and as for, Lc. 8. If wisdom promiseth bread and wine, ver. 6, ‘Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled, sin will promise no less to her guests, tar. 17, Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. Here is, then, a plain opposition of grace and sin, wisdom and folly, chastity and uncleanness, Christ and the devil. He is mistaken, then, that judge me miataken in this allegory. I stand not so much on the sound as Hie sense; not so much on the literal as spiritual meaning. In the former I have instanced; insisted on the latter. It should be tedious to give account for every circumstance. The learned and good man will judge favourably. To the rest, si quid tu rectius istis protinus imperti, si non, his utere mecusn. I pass by the trivial objections against sermons in print, as the deadness of the letter, the multitude of books pressing to the press, Lc.; asif the eye could give no help to the soul; as if the queasy stomach could not forbear surfeiting; as if some men’s sullenness and crying pish at sermons should be prejudicial to others’ benefit; as if the prophets had not added line to line as well as precept upon precept. I hear some idle drones humming out their dry derisions that we will be men in print, slighting the matter for the author’s sake; but because their invectives are as impotent as themselves are impudent, I will answer no further than haec culpas, sed tu non Meliora facis. Or, to borrow words of the epigrammatist—

Cum tua non edas, carpis mea carmina Leli:

Carpere vel noli nostra, vel ede tua.

Sloth sits and censures what th’ industrious teach,

Foxes dispraise the grapes they cannot reach.

One caveat, good reader, and then God speed thee. Let me entreat thee not to give my book the chopping censure, A word old enough, yet would have a comment. Do not open it at a venture, and, by reading the broken pieces of two or three lines, judge it. But read it through, and then I beg no pardon if thou dislikest it Farewell.

Thine, THO. ADAMS.


THE SECOND SERVICE OF THE DEVIL’S BANQUET. By THOMAS ADAMS, Preacher of God’s word at Willington, in Bedfordshire.

Zech. v. 4.

Boyard, Homil. i. in 1 Pet. iii.—Reddere bonum pro bono Humanum; reddere malum pro malo, Belluinam; reddere malum pro bono, Diabolicum; reddere vero bonum pro malo, Divinum;

| good for good | man.
To return | evil for evil | beast.
| evil for good | devil.
| good for evil | saint.

London: Printed by Thomas 8nodham, for John Badge, and is sold at the great south door of Paul’s, and at Britain's Burse.

To the Honourable and Virtuous Lady, the Lady JAMB GOSTWICKE Baron saving health.

MADAM,—I am bold to add one book more to your library, though it be but as a mite into your treasury. I that have found you so ever favourable to any work of mine, cannot but confidently hope your acceptance of this; not for the worth of it, but because it bears your name (and my duty to it) in the forehead, and offers itself to the world through your patronage. Somewhat you shall find in it to hearten your love to virtue, much to increase your detestation to vice. For I have to my power endeavoured to unmask the latter, and to spoil it of the borrowed form, that sober eyes may see the true proportion of it, and their loathing be no longer withheld. I cannot doubt, therefore, that your approbation of the book will be frustrated by the title. I am content to furnish out Satan's feast with many special dishes, and to discover the waters of iniquity which he hath broached to the world; not to persuade their pleasure, but lest ignorance should surfeit on them without mistrust, lest the perverted conscience should securely devour them without reprehension. Here you shall see, in a small abridgment, many actual breaches of God's sacred law, not without liableness to condign punishment. You heard it with attention spoken in your private church; you gave it approval. I trust you will as well own it written. It is not less yours, though it be made more public. I need not advise you to make your eye an help to your soul, as well as your ear. They that know you, know your apprehension quick, your judgment sound, and (that which graceth all the rest) your affections religiously devoted. Yet since it is no small part of our goodness to know that we may be better, I presume to present this book and (with it) my own duty to your ladyship, the poor testimony of my present thankfulness, and pledge of my future service. The God of power and mercy continue his favours to you, who have still continued your favours to

Your honour's humbly devoted


— — — — —

THE BREAKING UP OF THE DEVIL’S BANQUET; OR, THE CONCLUSION. By THOMAS ADAMS, Preacher of God’s word at Willington, in Bedfordshire.

Bom. vi. 21.

Tertul. lib. ad Martyres.—Pax nostra, helium contra Satanum. ‘To be at war with the devil, is to be at peace with our own conscience.

London: Printed by Thomas Snodham, for John Budge, and are to be sold at the great south door of Paul’s, and at Britain's Burse. 1614.

To the Right Virtuous and Worthy Sisters, the Lady ANNE GOSTWICKE and

Mrs DIANA BOWLES, saving health.

That I have clothed this sermon in the. livery of your patronages, I might give many reasons to satisfy others. But this one to me is, instead of all, that you affect the gospel; not with the sudden flashes of some over-hot dispositions, but with mature discretion and sound obedience. I could not, therefore, suffer any thought of mine own unworthiness to dissuade me from presenting this poor labour to your hands, who have so favourably accepted [[xxxv]] my weaker services. I owe you both a treble debt of love, of service, of thankfulness. The former, the more I pay, the more still I owe. The second, I will be ready to pay to the uttermost of my power, though short both of your deserts and my own desires. Of the last, I will strive to give full payment, and in that (if it be possible) to come out of your debts. Of all these, in this small volume, I have given you the earnest. As you would, therefore, do with an ill debtor, take it till more comes. It shall be the more current, if you will Set thereon the seals of your acceptance. It is the latter end of a feast; yet it may perhaps afford you some Christian delicate, to content your well-affected spirits. It shall let you see the last service of sin's banquet, the harsh and unpleasant closure of vanity, the madness of this doting age, the formal dislike and real love of many to this world, the evil works of some critical, others hypocritical, dispositions, the ending, conclusion, and beginning confusion of the devil’s guests. The more perfectly you shall hate sin, the more constantly you shall hold your erst embraced virtues; and so in happy time work out your own salvations. God give a successful blessing to your Christian endeavours, which shall ever be faithfully prayed for by

Your worships’ affectionately devoted


— — — — —

THE SHOT; on, THE Worm! PRICE WHICH THE WICKED PAT FOR THE FEAST OF VANITY. By THOMAS ADAMS, Preacher of God’s word at Willington, in Bedfordshire.

Luke xvi. 25.

August, de Civitate Dei, lib. xxii., cap. 8.—Prima mors animam dolentem pellit de corpora; secunda mors animam nolentem tenet in corpora. The soul by the first death is unwillingly driven from the body; the soul by the second death is unwillingly held in the body.

London: Printed by Thomas Snodham, for John Budge, and are to be sold at the great south door of Paul’s, and at Britain’s Burse. 1614.

To the very Worthy Gentleman Mr FRANCIS CRAWLEY, saving health.

SIR,—There are four sorts of banquets, which I may thus distinguish: latum, letiferum, bettum, belluinum. The first is a joyful feast; such was the breakfast of the world in the law, or the dinner in the gospel, or (yet the future more fully) the Lamb’s supper of glory. This is a delicate feast, yet not more than the next is deadly, the black banquet, which is prepared for the wicked in hell, which consists of two dishes, saith the school, paena damni and paena seneus; or, as the philosopher distinguisheth all misery into copiam and inopiam; copia tribulationie, inopia consolationis. Or after some, of three: amissio prwatio terra, positio inf emi; the missing of that they might have had, the privation of that they had, the position of that they have, and would not have, torment. Or, according to others, of four: merciless misery, extremity, universality, eternity of anguish. Our Saviour abridgeth all into two, or rather one (for they are homogenea), weeping and gnashing of teeth. This is a bloody banquet, where (cross to the festival proverb, the more the merrier) the multitude of guests shall add to the horror of miseries; so afflicting one another with their echoing ahd reciprocal groans, that it shall be no ease, socios habuisee doloris. This is a lamentable, but the third is a laudable feast. It is that the Christian [[xxxvi]] maketh, either to man (which is a feast of charity) or to God (which is a Last of grace). Whereunto God hath promised to be a guest, and to sup with him. The last is a bestial banquet, wherein either man is the symposiast, and the devil the discumbent; or Satan the feast-maker, and man the guest. Sin is the food in both. The diet is not varied, but the host and Satan feast the wicked, whiles they feed on his temptations to surfeit. The wicked feast Satan, whiles their accustomed sins nourish his power in their hearts. So St Hierome, Damonum cibus ebrietas, luxuria, fomicatio st universa vitia; Our iniquities are the very diet and dainties of the devils. With this last only have I meddled, endeavouring to declare it, to dissuade it, according to the dichotomized carriage of all our sermons by explication, by application. Sin is the white (or rather the black mark) my arrow flies at. I trust he that gave aim to my tongue, will also direct, level, and keep my pen from swerving. But since reproofs are as goads, and beasts will kick when they are touched to the quick, and he that speaks in thunder shall be answered with lightning; by which consequence I may suspect storms, that have menaced storms; therefore behold, it runs to you for shelter; not to instruct your knowledge, who can give so exquisite counsel to others in the law, to yourself in the gospel, being qualified, as that perfect rhetorician should be, vir bonus dicendi peritus; but that through your name I might offer (and add) this poor mite into the treasury of the church, ascribing the patronage to yourself, the use to the world, the success to God. Accept this poor testimony of my gratitude, who have avowed myself, Your worship’s, in all faithful service,


— — — — —

THE SINNER’S PASSING BELL; OR, A COMPIAINT FROM HEAVEN FOR MAN’S SINS. Published by THOMAS ADAMS, Preacher of God’s word at Willington, in Bedfordshire. '

1 Cor. xi. 30.

August. Epist. 188.—Ipse sibi denegat curam, qui medico non publics! causam. He hath no care of his own cure that declareth not to the physician his grief.

London: Printed by Thomas Snodham, for John Budge, and are to be sold at the great south door of Paul’s, and at Britain’s Burse. 1614.

To the truly Noble Knight, Sir ANTHONY SAINT JOHN, saving health.

BIGHT WORSHIPFUL,—The sickness of this world is grown so lethargical, that his recovery is almost despaired; and therefore his physicians, finding,* by infallible symptoms, that his consumption is not curable, leave him to the malignancy of his disease. For the eye of his faith is blind, the ear of his attention deaf, the foot of his obedience lame, the hand of his charity numbed, and shut up with a griping covetousness. All his vital parts, whereby he should live to goodness, are in a swoon; he lies bed-rid in his security, and hath little less than given up the (Holy) Ghost. It cannot be denied, but that he lies at the mercy of God. It is, therefore, too late to toll his passing bell, that hath no breath of obedience left in him. I might rather ring his knell. Yet because there are many in this world, many sick of the general disease of sin, whose recovery is not hopeless, though their present state be hapless, and some that, if they knew but themselves sick, would resort to the pool of Bethesda, the water of life, to be cured, I have, [[xxxvii]] therefore, presumed to take them apart, and tell them impartially their own illness. 0 that to perform the cure were no more difficult than to describe the malady, or prescribe the remedy. I have endeavoured the latter; the other to God, who can both kill and give life, who is yet pleased, by his word to work our recovery, and to make me one (unworthy) instrument to administer his physic. Now, as the most accurate physicians, ancient or modem, though they delivered precepts in their faculty worthy of the world’s acceptance and use, yet they set them forth under some noble patronage; so I have presumed, under the countenance of your protection, to publish this (physical, or rather) metaphysical treatise; for, as the sickness is spiritual, so the cure must be supernatural. Assuring myself, that if you shall use any observation here, and give it your good word of probaturn est, many others will be induced the more readily to embrace. My intent is to do good; and if I had any better receipt, I would not, like some physicians, I know not whether more envious or covetous, with an excellent medicine, let it live and die with myself. God conserve your (either) health, and give you, with a sound body, a sounder faith, whereby you may live in the life of grace here, of glory hereafter.

Your worship’s humbly devoted


— — — — —


The Second Sermon. Published by THOMAS ADAMS, Preacher of God’s word at Willing־ ton, in Bedfordshire.

Hosea xiii. 9.

August. Berm, de Temp., 145.—Quid de te tu ipse tarn male meruisti, ut inter bona tua nolis aliquod esse malum, nisi teipsum? How didst thou, oh wicked man, deserve so ill of thyself, that among all thy goods, thou wouldst have nothing bad but thyself?

London: Printed by Thomas Snodham, for John Budge, and are to be sold at the great south door of Paul’s, and at Britain’s Burse. 1614.

To the very Worthy Gentleman Mr JOHN ALLEYNE, saving health.

SIR,—I have endeavoured, in this short sermon, to prescribe to these sick times some spiritual physic. The ground I have received from the direction of God; the method I submit to the correction of man. In this I might err; in the other I could not. The main and material objects I have levelled at are: 1. To beget in us a sense of the sins we have done, of the miseries whereby we are undone. 2. To rebuke our forgetfulness or God’s long since ordained remedy, the true intrinsic balm of his gospel; in the saving use whereof we are (like some countries, blessed with the medicinal benefits of nature, yet), through nescience or negligence, defective to ourselves in the application. Inward diseases are as frequent as outward; those by disquiet of mind, as these by disdiet of body. It was a rare age that had no spiritual plague ranging and raging in it. Ours hath manifold and manifest, vile and visible; the world growing at once old and decayed ip nature, lusty and active in producing sins. Wickedness is an aged harlot, yet as pregnant and teeming as ever. It cannot be denied, but that our iniquities are so palpable, that it is as easy to prove them, as to reprove them. Were our bodies but half so diseased (and yet this year hath not ftzyoured them) as our souls are, a strange and unheard of mortality would [[xxxviii]] ensue. Man is naturally very indulgent to himself, but misplaceth his bounty. He gives the body so much liberty, that it becomes licentious; but his soul is so prisoned up in the bonds of corrupt affections, that she cries of him, as that troubled princess of her strict keeper, From such a jailer, good Lord, deliver me. The flesh is made a gentleman, the mind a beggar. Sick we are, yet consult not the oracles of heaven for our welfare, nor solicit the help of our great physician Christ. He is our Saviour, and bare our sicknesses, saith the prophet; yea, took on him our infirmities. Infirmitates speciei, non individui: infirmities common to the nature of mankind, not particularly incident to every singular person. Those he took on himself, that he might know the better to succour us in our weakness. As the queen sung of herself in the poet, Non ignara mali miseris succurrere disco. It is most perfectly true of our Jesus, that he learned by his own sorrow to pity ours, though all his sufferance was for our sakes. But how should he help us, if we make not our moan to him? How should we be restored, when God's saving physic is unsought, unbought, unapplied? To convince our neglect, and persuade our better use of the gospel, tends this weak labour. To your protection it willingly flies, and would rest itself under your shadow. The God of peace give you the peace of God, which passeth all human understanding, and afford you many joys in this life to the end, and in the next his joy without end!

Yours in the services of love,


— — — — —


To this Fourth Impression are newly added—1. The Two Sons; or The Dissolute conferred with the Hypocrite: 2. The Leaven: or, A Medicine for them both. By THOMAS ADAMS.

London: Printed by Thomas Dawson, for William Arondell, and are to be sold in Paul's Churchyard, at the sign of the Angel. 1616.

To the Very Worthy and Nobly-Disposed Gentleman


BIGHT WORSHIPFUL,—This sermon bears so strange a title in the forehead, that I durst not (a while) study for a patronage to it, but intended to said it to the broad world, to shift for itself, as fearing it would not be owned; for it taxeth many vices, specially the black evil, secret thieving, and the white devil, the hypocrite, whence it taketh the denomination. Now, what ambitious courtier would grace such a stranger? What vicious greatness world entertain such a page? what corrupted lawyer such a client? what covetous gentleman such a tenant? what usurious citizen such a chapman? indeed, what guilty man such a book, as will tell him to his face, thou art the man? Yet because first, generally, the world would think I had brought forth a strange child, that I could get no godfather to it; and especially, because you (rare in these apostate times) are known free from the aspersions of these speckled stains, the world bestowing on you that worthy (not undeserved) character of virtue; so that with a clear and unclouded brow (the argument of an innocent soul) you may read these lines, I have been bold, at once, to offer this to your patronage, and myself to your service. To this, your affection to divine knowledge, good protection in it, and much time spent towards the perfection of it (a disposition worthy [[xxxix]] your blood) have prompted me with encouragement. It is not the first of this nature that I have published (perhaps the last), but if I had not judged it the best, I would not have been so ambitious as to present it to the view of so approved a judgment. Thus in affiance of your good acceptance, I humbly leave you to him, that never leaveth his.

Your worship’s, in my best of services,


To my most esteemed and singular kind Friend TH. A., good, content, and true happiness.

I never knew bosom wherein I reposed better trust, with better success, I have caused a new edition (with a new addition) of an old sermon. The White Devil hath begot the Two Sons. I hope it shall speed never the worse for the progeny. With you, I am sure, it will pass; and with all those that can understand charitably. I have lighted on some masts, under whose sails I have sent my works to the world. If the traffic hath proved profitable to others, I am rejoiced in my own loss. I have certainty to find now (though not, what I never expected giving, or respected given, yet) at the least good words, kind looks, and a loving acceptance, which I have not often found. My words are few; you know the latitude of my love, which ever was, is, and shall be,

Yours inseparably,



Honest and understanding reader (if neither, hands oft) I never saluted thy general name by a special epistle till now; and now perhaps soon enough; but if honesty be usher to thy understanding, and understanding tutor to thy honesty, as I cannot fear, so I need not doubt, or treat with thee for truce. Truce, of what? of suspense, not of suspension; it belongs to our betters. Suspend thy censure, do not suspend me by thy censure. I do not call thee aside to ask, with what applause this sermon passeth, but (it is all I would have and hear) with what benefit. I had rather convert one soul, than have an hundredth praise me; whereof, if I were (so besotted to be) ambitious, by this I could not hope it; for it pulls many tender and tendered sins out of their downy nests; and who strikes vice, and is not stricken with calumnies? I must rather think it hath passed from one press to another, to a worse, hazarding itself to be pressed to death with censures, which yet (though I lowly hope better) I cannot fear, since it speaks no more, nor other than justifiable truth. What hath been objected already, I must briefly answer. It is excepted that I am too merry in describing some vice. Indeed, such is their ridiculous nature, that their best conviction is derision; yet I abominate any pleasantness here but Christian, and would provoke no smile but of disdain, wherein the gravity of matter shall free my form of words from lightness. Others say, I am otherwhere too satirically bitter. It is partly confessed; I am bitter enough to the sins, and therein (I think) better to the sinners, more charitable to the persons. Some wish I would have spared the church-thieves, because it is not yet generally granted that impropriations of tythes are appropriations of wrongs, but if there be a competent maintenance to the minister, and not to him neither, except of worthy gifts (provided that they judge of his gifts and [[xl]] competency), it is enough; well, if any such be grieved, let him allow Ids minister a sufficiency, under which he cannot live, without want to his family or disgrace to his profession (at least, so taken) and hereof certified, I will take counsel to draw the books, and put his name out of the catalogue of thieves. But it would be strange if any of these Zibas should yield to Mephibosheth a division of his own lands or goods; when they do, I will say, David is come again to his kingdom, or rather the Son of David is come to judgment. Others would have enclosers put out, because (commonly) great men, but therefore the greater their sins, and deserving the greater taxation. Nay, some would persuade usury to step in, to traverse his indictment, and prove himself no thief, by the verdict of the country; because sub judice lis est, it is not yet decided that usury is a sin. It is sub judice indeed, but the Judge hath already interposed his interlocutory, and will one day give his definitive sentence, that usury shall never dwell in his holy mountain. Others blunder in their verdict, that I have too violently baited the bag at the stake of reproach, and all because I want it. I will not return their censure, that they are hence known to have it that speak against me, for speaking against it; who yet, if they would light the candle of their speech at the fire of their understandings, would easily see and say, that it is not fulness of the bag, but the foulness of the bag-bearer, that I reprove. I could allow your purses fuller of wealthiness, so your minds were emptier of wickedness; but the bag’s effects, in our affects, usually load us, either with parsimony or prodigality, the lightest of which burdens, saith Saint Bernard, is able to sink a ship. Others affirm, that I have made the gate of heaven too narrow, and they hope to find it wider; God and the Scriptures are more merciful. True it is, that heaven-gate is in itself wide enough, and the narrowness is in respect of the enterer; and though thy sins cannot make that too little to receive thee, yet they make thee too gross and unfit to get into that: thus the straitness ariseth from the deficiency (not of their glory, but) of our grace. Lastly, some have the title sticking in their stomachs; as if Christ himself had not called Judas a devil, and likened an hypocrite to a whited sepulchre; as if Luther did not give Judas this very attribute, and other fathers of the church, from whom Luther derives it. Good Christian reader, leave cavils against it, and fall to caveats in it. Bead it through; if there be nothing in it to better thee, either the fault is in my hand, or in thy heart. Howsoever, give God the praise, let none of his glory cleave to us earthen instruments. If thou likest it, then (quo animo leg is, observas, quo observas, serva) with the same affection thou readest it, remember it, and with the same thou rememberest, practise it. In hope of this, and prayer for this, I commend this book to thy conscience, and thy conscience to God.—Willington, March 27, 1614.

Thine if thou be Christ’s,

T. A.

Sir Thomas Cheke, to whom the volume is dedicated, was grandson of Sir John Cheke, the well-known Greek professor at Cambridge, and one of the revivers of learning in England. Sir Thomas was knighted by James I. He resided near Romford, in Essex, and died in 1659. The address to the reader is one of the raciest of Adams’s writings, affording a sample of his wit, severity, and tenderness, all combined.

[[xli]] This volume and the corresponding one, ‘The Black Devil,’ have . been quoted from John Vicars, down to our own times.

The Sermons named on the title-page of the White Devil have each of them a separate title-page, but no separate Dedication.


Augustin, in Luc. xviii. 14.—Videte fratres: magis Deo placuit humilitas in malis, quam superbia in bonis factis.

London: Printed by Thomas Dawson, for William Arondell, and are to be sold in Paul's Churchyard, at the sign of the Angel. 1616.

The title-page of the other contains only these words—'The Leaven; or, A Direction to Heaven.’ Neither place, date, printer, nor publisher.

— — — — —


Together with the Wolf Worrying the Lambs, and the Spiritual Navigator bound for the Holy Land: In Three Sermons. By THOMAS ADAMS.

Jer. xiii. 23.

Bern., Sent.—Quid prosunt lecta et intellects, nisi teipsum legas et intelligas?

London: Printed by William Jaggard. 1615.

To the Honourable Gentleman, Sir CHARLES MORRISON, Knight, Baronet.

WORTHY SIR,—I have been bold, upon better acquaintance with your virtues than with yourself, to send a short treatise to your view. I know whose judgment it must pass, yet am fearless, not in any arrogant stupidity of my own weakness, but in a confident presumption of your goodness; a weighty habit, not parallel, but transcendent, to your greatness. Perhaps nature hath taught you that to be generous is to be virtuous; but I am sure wisdom hath perfected natural disposition in you, and given you not only an excellent theorical discourse, but an actual reducing of those things into practice, which are better than you shall find here. Though you have happier contemplations of your own, yet accept these as the slender presents of a poor man given to the rich. Weak I confess it; for how should the child be strong begot in the father's weakness? It hath the more need of your protection, and knows the better to express itself and the author, ever ready, at your honourable command, to do you service.



Reader, this book stands at the mercy of thy capacity for thy censure. Perhaps thou wilt judge it done for opposition's sake; the Black Devil to the white; perhaps for imitation, perhaps for affectation. Thou mayest form causes enough in thy imagination to produce it, yet miss the right. It was to shew thyself and all other perusers the blackness of sin, and, among the [[xlii]] rest, of apostasy. Would you not behold impiety in the true colours? You may forbear. If you would, look here and detest it. If you will take out a good lesson, and hate to do it, neither you nor I shall have cause to repent our labours. Once we must give account what we have heard, and seen, and done, when the pleasures of sin, like old surfeits, shall give a bitter reluctancy in the stomach of the conscience, and we are going to God’s cold earth. Learn we now to prevent the doing of that which we shall one day be sorry to have done. There is no man living but shall repent of his wickedness, either on earth or in hell. Read, and be instructed. If you find just faults here, I submit my weakness to your censure. In omnibus meis scriptis non modo pium lectorem sed liberum correctionem desidero. But to those censurers, qui vd non intelligendo reprehendunt, vel reprehendendo non intelligunt, I wish either a more sound understanding or more sober affection.

Criminor, amplectortibi sunt communia, lector. But as he that commendeth himself is not approved, but whom the Lord commendeth, so if the Lord approve I pass not for man’s judgment. If you snib me for writing so frequently, and not confining myself to the pulpit, I answer (besides that I will not neglect this to do that),

Quo liceat libris, non licet ire mihi.

My books may be admitted where I cannot come. If you say there are books too many, I answer, Restrain them to this quality; and abandons cautela non nocet. Farewell. Be satisfied, be blessed.



— — — — —


TERTULL.—Qtuenam sunt istae pelles ovium, nisi nominis Christian! extrinsecus superficies? Hie dolus est magnus: Lupus est qui creditur agmis.

London: Printed by William Jaggard. 1615.

To the truly worthy Gentleman י M. HENRY FORTESCUE, Esquire, a favourer

of virtue and good learning.

SIR,—I have put up the wolf, though not hunted him, as judging myself too weak for that sport-earnest. It is no desertless office to discover that subtle and insatiate beast; to pull the sheep-skin of hypocrisy over his ears; and to expose his forming malice and sanguinous cruelty to men’s censure and detestation. Let those hands strike him that have darts of authority put into their quivers. Our land is no forest, literally or metaphorically understood; but whether for church or commonwealth, profession or soil, an orchard of God's own planting: fruitful in goods and good works. Wolves we have none, but some mystical ones; whose ferocity is yet hidden under the habits and cases of those lambs they have devoured. These I have set in view, or at least meant my best to do it. I have seldom pretended that commonpoise that (by their own report) sets so many mad pens like wheels a running, importunacy of friends. I have willingly published what I had hope would do good published. Only this I feared to keep from the press, lest it should steal thither another way. Being there, I could not with better confidence fasten upon a known patron [[xliii]] than yourself, who can both understand it and will read it; not only the epistle, but the whole book. Though that fashion with many patrons, of perusing more than their own titles, be now as a suit of the old make, know you spend some hours of all days in such good exercises; abandoning those idle and excessive customs wherein too many will please themselves, and none else.

It is an unthrifty spending of time, and a sorry success will conclude it, when we are curious in plotting a method for our inferior delights, and leave our salvation unwrought up. We strive to settle our lands, to secure our monies, to confirm our estates; but to conform our lives, or to make sure our election, is vilipended. And yet when all is done, brains have plotted, means have seconded, bonds and laws have established, nothing can be made sure, but only our salvation. But go you forward to adorn your eternal mind, and to plant your soul full of those flowers which give already a pleasant odour on earth, and shall one day be stuck like glories in heaven. So shall your memory be sweet in the mouths and hearts of future generations; whiles the vicious, even alive, do not escape the satyr. Thus with true thankful love I behight you in my prayers, a happy progress in grace, till you come to your standing-house in glory.

Your worship’s in very best services,


THE SPIRITUAL NAVIGATOR BOUND FOR THE HOLY LAND. Preached at St Giles Without, Cripplegate, on Trinity Sunday last. 161b. By THOMAS ADAMS.

Rev. xv. 2, 8.

London: Printed by William Jaggard. 1615.

— — — — — —

To the truly Religious M. CRASHAW, M. MILWARD, M. DAVIES, M. HELING, with other worthy Citizens, my very good Friends.

GENTLEMEN,—Because you have just occasion in your callings to deal often with merchandise, I have been bold to call you a little from your temporal to a spiritual traffic, and have sent you a Christian Navigator, bound for the Holy Land, who, without question, will give you some relations of his travels, worthy two hours’ perusing. You shall find a whole sea sailed through in a short time, and that a large sea, not a foot less than the world. You will say, the description lies in a little volume: why, you have seen the whole world narrowed up into a small map. They that have been said, after many years, at last to compass it, have not described all coasts and corners of it. Even their silence hath given succeeding generations hope to find out new lands; and you know they have found them. You cannot expect more of two hours’ discovery, than of seven years’. I leave many things to be descried by others, yet dare promise this, that I have given you some necessary directions for your happiest voyage. Over this glassy sea you must sail, you are now sailing. Truth be your chart, and the Holy Ghost your pilot. Your course being well directed, you cannot possibly make a happier journey. The haven is before your eyes, where your Saviour sits with the hand of mercy wafting you to him. You cannot be sea-sick, but he will comfort and restore you. If the tempest comes, call on him, with Peter, Lord, save us! and he will rebuke the winds and the seas; they shall not hurt you. Storm and tempest, winds and waters[[xliv]] obey his voice. What rocks, gulfs, swallows, and the danger (worse than that is called terror of the exchange, the pirate: one plague which the devil hath added Jo the sea, more than nature gave it) of that great leviathan Satan, and other perils that may endanger you, are marked out! Decline them so well as you may, and consider what providence guides your course; this sea is before God’s throne. Keep you the Cape of Good Hope in your eye; and whatever becomes of this weak vessel your body, make sure to save the passenger, your soul, in the day of the Lord Jesus. What is here directed you shall be faithfully prayed for, by him that unfeignedly desires your salvation, THO. ADAMS.

The last of these sermons was preached in the parish church, Cripplegate. Milton’s father now attended there, and Milton himself may have heard the sermon, then a fair-haired, angel-faced boy of seven. Both father and son lie buried in the church.

— — — — —


Bern.—Possessio bona, mens sana in corpore sano. Non est in medico (semper), relevetur ut aeger.

London: Imprinted by E. G., for John Budge and Ralph Mab. 1615.

To the Right Worshipful Sir JOHN CLAYPOOLE, Knight, saving health.

WORTHY SIR,—I have venturously trafficked with my poor talent in public, whiles I behold richer graces buried in silence: judging it better to husband a little to the common good, than to hoard much wealth in a sullen niggardise. I censure none; if all were writers, who should be readers? if no idle pamphlets would present themselves to the general eye, and be entertained for defect of more sober matter. If the grain be good, it doth better in the market than in the garner. All I can say for myself is, I desire to do good; whereof if I fail, yet my endeavours leave not my conscience without some joyful content. To your patronage this flies, to whom the author is greatly bounden, and shall yet be indebted further for your acceptance. Your love to general learning, singular encouragement to students (opposed to the common disheartenings which poverty, contempt, ignorance assaults us with); your actual beneficence to many, especially to Katharine Hall in Cambridge, worthy of deathless memory; lastly, your real kindness to myself, have prompted me to seal this book with the signet of your name, and send it to the world, which in humble submission I commend to your kind acceptation, and yourself with it, to the blessing of our gracious God.

Your Worship’s in all duty devoted,


— — — — — —


2 Tim. iii. 9.

AUGUSTIN, de Trinit. Lib. 4, cap. 6.—Contra rationem nemo sobrius.

London: Printed by George Purslowe, for Clement Knight, and are to be sold at his shop, in Paul’s Churchyard, at the sign of the Holy Lamb. 1615. 

[[xlv]] To the Hight Honourable Sir THOMAS EGERTON, Knight, Baron of Ellesmere, Lord High Chancellor of England, one of His Majesty’s Right Hon. Privy Council, the true Pattern of virtue and Patron of good learning.

BIGHT HONOURABLE,—It is a labour that hath neither recompence nor thanks, to tell them their madness that fain would think themselves sober. Having therefore presumed (not to trouble the peace, but) to disquiet the security of our Israel, I durst not but aspire to some noble patronage, that might shield both myself and labours from the blows of all malevolent censurers. In which thought I was bold to centre myself in your honour; as the individual point of my refuge, wherein I have been taught the way by more worthy precedents; your honourable name having stood as a communis terminus or sanctuary of protection to the labours and persons of many students. The unerring hand of God hath placed your lordship in the seat of justice and chair of honour (especially if it be true what St Hieronymus says, that summa apud Deum nobilitas, durum esse virtutibus), whereby you have power and opportunity to whet the edge of virtue with encouragements, and to give vice the just retribution of deserved punishments. Happy influences have been derived from you, sitting as a star in the starchamber: conscionable mitigations of the law's rigour in the Court of Chancery. To punish where you see cause, is not more justice than mercy: justice against the offender, mercy to the commonwealth. Those punishments are no other than actual physic ministered to the inheritance, liberty; body to the bettering of the conscience, and saving of the soul in the day of the Lord Jesus (1 Cor. v. 5, marg.). Behold, my pen hath but written after the original copy of your honour's actions: desiring rather to learn by your doings how to say, than to teach you by my saying how to do. I have spoken (God knows with what success) to these mad times, and he that would bind the frantic, though he loves him, angers him. The detector of men's much-loved sins need a protector that is both good and great. I am sure my election is happy, if it shall please your honour to east the eye of acceptance on my weak labours. A young plant may thrive if the sun shall warm it with his beams. That Sun of righteousness, that hath saving health under his wings, shine for ever on your lordship; who hath been so liberal a favourer to his church, and among the rest to his unworthiest servant, and

Your honour's in all duty and thankful observance bounden, THO. ADAMS.

Sir Thomas Egerton, Lord Ellesmere, was the patron of the parish of Wingrave, where Adams seems now to be living.

— — — — — —


A Sermon preached at Paul's Cross, the 8d of December, being the first Adventual Sunday. Anno 1615. By THOMAS ADAMS.

Bern., in Cant., Serm. 85.—Gratiarum cessat decursus, ubi recursus non faerit.

Whereunto are annexed, five other of his Sermons preached in London and elsewhere; never before printed. The Titles whereof follow in the next page.

London: Printed by Thomas Purfoot, for Clement Knight, and are to be sold at his shop in Paul’s Churchyard, at the sign of the Holy Lamb. 1616.

[[xlvi]] On the next page, the Titles of the Five Sermons are—1. Christ, his Stand or, the Wise Man's Oblation, Matt. ii. 11; 2. Politic Hunting, Gen. xxv. 27; 8. Plain Dealing; or a Precedent of Honesty, Gen. xxv. 27; 4. The Three Divine Sisters, 1 Cor. xiii. 18; 6. The Taming of the Tongue, James iii. 8. Three of these have separate titles.

To the Right Worshipful Sir HENRY MONTAGUE, Knight, the King98 Majesty's Servant for the Law, and Recorder of the Honourable City of London.

WORTHY SIR,—Where there is a diversity of helps leading to one intention of good, the variety may well be tolerated. Who finds fault with a garden for the multitude of flowers? You shall perceive here different kinds, whereof (if some to some seem bitter) there is none unwholesome. It takes fire at the altar of God, and begins with the Christian's sacrifice, the flame whereof (by the operation of the blessed Spirit) may both enlighten the understanding and warm the affections of good men, and in others consumingly waste the dross and rust of sin, which must either be purged by the fire of grace here, or sent to the everlasting fire to be burned. The wise man's oblation seconds it: what is formerly commanded in precept is here commended in practice. Politic hunters of the world are discovered, and plain dealing encouraged. One (almost forgotten) virtue, charity, is praised, and a busy vice is taxed. In all is intended lux scientia, pax conscientiae; piscati mind, adificatio sertitia.

Your noble endeavours are observed by all eyes to be distinguished into this method: from your virtues there is a resultance of shining light to information, from your office to reformation of others. Go forward so still to manage your place in that honourable city; and let the fire of correction eat out the rust of corruption. You may punish even whiles you pity. The good magistrate, like a good chirurgion, doth with a shaking hand search ulcers, more earnestly desiring non invenire quod quarit, quam invenire quod puniat. The God of mercy and salvation wrap up your soul in the bundle of life, and (when the lust of the earth shall to the dust of the earth) fix you in the blessed orb of glory.

Your worshipful's in all faithful observance,


Of the Five Discourses published along with the Sacrifice of Thankfulness, ״Christ the Star’ and ‘Politic Hunting’ have no separate title-page, and are transposed in the Museum copy; ‘Politic Hunting’ coming first, though ‘Christ his Star’ is first in the table of contents. The pagination vindicates the binder. The other three Sermons are paged separately, and have separate titles as follows:—


Ps. xxxvii. 87.

August, in Joh. Hom. ii.—Simplex eris, si te mundo non implicaveris, sed explicaveris. Explicando enim te a mundo, simplex; implicando, duplex eris.

London: Printed by Thomas Purfoot, for Clement Knight, and are io be sold at his shop in Paul’s Churchyard, at the sign of the Holy Lamb. 1618.


John xxxiv. 84.

August.—Domus Doi fundatur credendo, sperando erigitur, diligendo perficitur.

London: Printed by Thomas Purfoot, for Clement Knight, and are to be sold at his shop in Paul’s Churchyard, at the sign of the Holy Lamb. 1616.


Matt xii. 87.

Bern.—Lingua, qua facild volat, facild violat.

London: Printed by Thomas Purfoot, for Clement Knight, and are to be sold at his shop in Paul's Churchyard, at the sign of the Holy Lamb. 1616.

— — — — —

DISEASES OF THE SOUL, [THE SOUL’S SICKNESS]: A Discourse Divine, Moral, and Physical. By THOMAS ADAMS.

Sen.—Desinit esse remedio locus, ubi qua fuerunt vitia, mores sunt.

London: Printed by George Purslowe, for John Budge, and are to be sold at the great south door of Paul’s, and at Britain’s Burse. 1616.

To the Holy, Judicious, and worthily Eminent in his Profession, Mr WILLIAM RANDOLPH, Doctor of Physic.

WORTHY SIR,—It will seem strange to those that better know my unworthiness than your merits, that I should administer physic to a physician. But my apology is just, convincing rather than of ignorance than myself of presumption. It is not a potion I send, but a prescript in paper, which the foolish patient did eat up when he read in it written, Take this. Neither do I send it to direct you, but that you should rectify it. So the poor painter sent Apelles a picture, to mend it, not to commend it. That which tastes of philosophy in it is but so much of those axioms and rudiments, as I gathered in the universify in a short time, and have had much opportunity to lose since. Somewhat is chimed out of experience, wherein I may say necessitas was ingenii largitor; as Pliny writes of the raven, who labouring of thirst, and spying a vessel with some little water in it, but so deep as she could not reach, filled the vessel with stones, till the heavier matter sinking downwards, raised up the lighter to her easy apprehension. My own ill health forced me to look into that poor cistern of knowledge, which I had; and finding it almost dry, I essayed by some new contemplations, to raise it up to experience, which now, behold, runs over, and without diminution to itself, is communicatively dispersed to others. Only do you use it, as I desire you should myself: if it be in health, conserve it; if foul, purge it. For my own part, I am content that no happy meditation of mine should be ut Curia Martis Athenis; or, like some precious mystery which a practitioner will get money by while he lives, but suffer none else to use when he is dead; for he resolves it shall die with him. It is more moral than physical, and yet the greater part theological: wherein I have most satisfied my own conscience, in arguing at that punctual centre, and blessed scope, whither all endeavours should look—the straitening our warped affections, and directing the soul to heaven. And in this passage (you must pardon me) I Lar not to say, your memory at least, if not your understanding, may hereby be helped. My medicines are not very bitter, but nothing at all sweet to a sensual palate: learning from Salvian that Qua petulantium auribus placent9 agrotantiwn animis non prosunt. For my soul, I prescribe to others that which I desire ever to take myself, such [[xlviii]] saving recipes as God’s Holy Writ hath directed me. For my body, though I would not have it lamed by my own neglect, that it might lean upon the staff of physic, having not 80 much health to spare as might allow some unthrifty expense of it on surfeits; yet when it is sick, I desire no other physician than yourself. Perhaps a great number of men are of my mind, and frequent are the knocks at your study-door; but I am sure that all those desires are not inflamed with that light of knowledge which I have of your sufficiency, through much private conference. Rudeness or prolixity do ill in an epistle, and worse when both together; and may perhaps please a man’s self, and none else. I have done when I have (yet once again) challenged your promised Judicial of urines; which, if you make public, you shall have the like addition to my singular thanks. Till a good gale of opportunity waft myself over to your Sudbury, I have sent you this messenger of that love and service, shall ever be ready to attend you; desiring that, as it hath found the way to you, you would give it your pass to the world; and (if it grow poor with contempt), your legacy of approbation. Wingrave in Buck., May ult.

Your worship’s in all just references of love,



The title of this book requires some apology. There is a book lately conceived in Scotland, and born in England, which both promiseth in the frontispiece, and demonstrates in the model, the method and matter here proposed. Whereof I cannot speak, having only cursorily perused some page or two of it, but not of the worthiness. Because that hath the priority of the time, and transcendency in quantity of mine, I have reason to fear that this will be thought but the spawn of that, or an epitome, or at best, that it is begot out of imitation. Herein I must seriously propose, and engage my credit to the truth thereof, that this was committed to the stationer’s hands, perused, and allowed by authority; yea, and with full time to have been printed, and, perhaps, an impression sold, before that of Mr John Abernethy’s came out. What dilemmas were in the bookseller’s head, or what reasons for such slackness and reservation, are to me as mystical as his profession. Neither do I plead thus out of any affected singularity, as if I were too good to imitate so worthy a man; but only to have punctually and plainly delivered the truth hereof, leaving it to thy censure, and us all to the grace of God. T. A.

The allusion in the epistle to the reader is to a work just then published by John Abernethy, minister at Jedburgh, and afterwards Bishop of Caithness. It is entitled, ‘A Christian and Heavenly Treatise, containing Physic for the Soul? An enlarged edition was published in 1622, and in the following year it was translated and published in Dutch. The volume is admirable in spirit, and may easily have excited the active mind of our author. The reader will note, however, the care with which Adams guards against the impression that he had taken his thoughts from Abernethy.

In the epistle to Dr Randolph, there is evidence that Adams was no stranger to bodily suffering. A similar allusion will be found in the address prefixed to the Happiness of the Church, (see p. li).

[[xlix]] A DIVINE HERBAL TOGETHER WITH A FOREST OF THORNS. In Five Sermens:—1. The Garden of Graces; 2. The Praise of Fertility; 8. The Contemplation of the Herbs; 4. The Forest of Thoms; 6. The End of Thoms. By THOMAS ADAMS.

Isa. Iv. 11.

August, de benedict. Jaco. et Esau.—Simul pluit Dominus super segetes, et super spinas; sed segeti pluit ad horreum, spinis ad ignem: et tamen una est pluvia.

London: Printed by George Purslowe, for John Budge, and are to be sold at his shop, at the great south door of Paul’s and at Britain’s Burse. 1616.

To the Right Honourable WILLIAM, Earl of Pembroke, Lord Chamberlain of his Majesty's Household, and one of his Majesty's most honourable Privy Council, and Knight of the most noble Order of the Garter, the most noble Embracer and Encourager of goodness.

BIGHT HONOURABLE,—I am bold to present to your honour a short contemplation of those herbs (cut in rough pieces), which grow really and plentifully in your own garden, and give so good nourishment to your virtues, delightful taste to the church, and odoriferous savour to all; that, like the vine in Jotham’s parable, they cheer the heart of both God and man. Your honour, I know, cannot dislike that in sight, which you so preserve in sense, and (for a happy reward) doth and shall preserve you. You are zealously honoured of all those that know goodness, and have daily as many prayers vs the earth saints. Into this number, I have (hopefully presuming) thrust myself, as loth to be hindmost in that acknowledgment, which is so nobly deserved, and so joyfully rendered of all tongues, dedicating to your honour some public devotions, that can never forget you in my private. I will not think of adding one herb to your store: I only desire to remember your honour what hand planted them, what dew waters them, what influence conserves, and enspheres a sweet provident air about them, and when gay weeds, that shoot up like Jonah’s gourd in a night, shall wither in an hour (for moriuntur quomodo oriuntur). Your herb of grace shall flourish and be praised, both ob eminentiam and permanentiam, and at last be transported into that heavenly paradise, whence it receives the original root and being. Your honour will excuse me for coupling to a divine herbal, a forest of thorns, by a true observation in both material and mystical gardens, though a poet records it:

Terra salntiferas herbas, eademque nocentes Nutrit, et urtice proxima sepe rosa est.

Your honour will love the light better, because the dark night follows so near it. That your sun may never set, your noble garden never wither; that your honours may be still multiplied with our most royal and religious king on earth, and with the King of kings in heaven, is faithfully prayed for by

Your honour’s humbly devoted


— — — — —


Wherein, by divers inferences and gradations it is evinced that the profession is just, necessary, and honourable; io be practised of some men, praised of all men. Together with a short [[l]] admonition concerning munition to this honoured city. Preached to the worthy Company of Gentlemen that exercise in the Artillery Garden; and now, on their second request, published to further use. By THOMAS ADAMS.

Exodus xv. 8.

London: Printed by Adam Islip and Edward Blount, and are to be sold ih Paul’s Churchyard, at the sign of the Black Bear. 1617.

This dedication will be found in vol. i., p. 31, as Adams himself printed it in the folio edition.

— — — — —


or, A Description of those Spiritual Prerogatives wherewith Christ hath endowed her: Considered in some Contemplations upon part of the 12th Chapter to the Hebrews. Together with certain other Meditations and Discourses upon other portions of Holy Scripture, the titles whereof immediately precede the book, being the sum of divers Sermons preached in S. Gregory's, London. By THOMAS ADAMS, Preacher there.

2 Cor. xii. 15.

London: Printed by G. P., for John Grismand, and are to be sold at his shop, near unto the little north door of Saint Paul's, at the sign of the Gun. 1618.

To the Right Honourable Sir HENRY MONTAGUE, the Lord Chief •Justice of England, my very good Lord.

RIGHT HONOURABLE,—My allegiance to the Almighty King necessitates my endeavours to glorify his great name; my profession hath imposed on me all ministerial services; my filial duty to our blessed mother the church, hath taught me to help forward her cause, both with tongue and pen; my thankfulness to your lordship ties me to seek your honourable authorising of all these labours. They run to you first, as if they waited your manumission of them to the world. If books be our children, and the masculine issue of our brains, then it is fit that your lordship, who have the patronage of the father, should also vouchsafe a blessing to the children. Nor is this all: there is yet a weightier reason why they should refuge themselves under your lordship’s protection. The world is quickly offended, if it be told of the offences. Men study courses, and practise them; and if the clergy find fault, yea, if we do not justify and make good what they magnify, and make common, they will be angry. It is the most thankless service to tell men of their misdeeds. Now, a business so distasteful requires a worthy patron; and whose patronage should I desire but your lordship's, whose I am, and to whom I owe all duty and service? whose but your lordship’s, who are in place to reform vice, and to encourage goodness? to make that practical and exemplary, which is here only theorical and preceptory. God hath entrusted to your hands his sword of justice; draw it in his defence against the enemies of his grace and gospel. You sit at the common stem, and, therefore, are not so much your own as your country's. Help us with your hands; we will help you with our prayers. The Lord of majesty and mercy sanctify your heart, rectify your hand, justify your soul, and, lastly, crown your head with eternal glory!

Your lordship’s observant chaplain, THO. ADAMS. 

[[li]] The volume is dedicated thus:—‘To the Worthy Citizens of Saint Gregory’s Parish, sincere Lovers of the Gospel, present Happiness and everlasting Peace? Then follows an address the same as is prefixed to the folio edition of his works, see vol i., xvii. The following sentences, however, are inserted before ‘I very well know,’ and the whole is signed, ‘Your unworthy preacher, Thomas Adams’:—

It is not unknown to you, that an infirmity did put me to silence many weeks; whilst my tongue was so suspended from preaching, my hand took opportunity of writing. To vindicate my life from the least suspicion of idleness, or any such aspersions of uncharitable tongues, I have set forth this real witness, which shall give just confutation to such slanders. If it be now condemned, I am sure it is only for doing well.

This volume, ‘The Happiness of the Church,’ is a 4to of the ordinary size of that period. It is divided into two parts. The first, exclusive of title, dedication, epistle, and contents, extends to 443 pages. The second, which is nowhere called part second, and which has no separate title-page nor dedication, extends to 375 pages, The contents prefixed to first part are the contents of both parts. The following are the discourses included in the volume:—

PART I.—The Happiness of the Church, Heb. xii. 22; The Rage of Oppression—The Victory of Patience, Ps. Ixvi. 12; God’s House, Ps. lxvi. 13; Man’s Seed Time and Harvest, Gal. vi. 7; Heaven Gate, Lev. xxii. 14; The Spiritual Eye Salve, Eph. i. 18; The Cosmopolite, Luke xii. 20; The Bad Leaven, Gal. v. 9; Faith’s Encouragement, Luke xvii. 19.

PART II.—The Saint’s Meeting, Eph. iv. 13; Presumption Running into Despair, Lev. vi. 16; Majesty in Misery, Mat. xxvii. 51; The Fool and his Sport, Prov. xiv. 9; The Fire of Contention, Luke xii. 49; The Christian’s Walk—Love’s Copy—A Crucifix, Eph. v. 2; The Good Politician directed, Mat. x. 16; The Way Home, Mat. ii. 12; Semper Idem, Heb. xiii. 8; God’s Bounty, Prov. iii. 16; The Lost One Found, Luke xix. 10; A Generation of Serpents, Ps. lviii. 4; Heaven made Sure, Ps. xxxv. 3; The Soul’s Refuge, 1 Pet. iv. 19.

There is now an unwonted interval between the last-named of Adams’s writings and the following. Whether sickness laid him aside, or whether be now began to prepare those Mediations on the Creed which King James was soon to direct all clergymen to indulge in on Sunday afternoons, is not known. The fad is undoubted.


Dedication, see Vol, ii., p. 810.



A Sermon preached at St Paul's Cross, October L6. 1623. By THOMAS ADAMS.

London: Printed by Aug. Mathewes, for John Grismand, and are to be sold at his shop, in Paul’s Alley, at the sign of the Gun. 1628.

To the Reverend and learned Dr DONNE, Dean of St Paul's, together with the Prebend Residentiaries of the same Church, my very good patrons.

RIGHT WORSHIPFUL,—Not out of any opinion of this sermon's worth, to which I dare not invite your judicious eyes; nor any ambition to merit of my patrons, whom I read styled petty creators; but in humble acknowledgment of your favours, I present this small rent of thankfulness, the poor fruit of that tree which grows on your own ground, and hath not from the world any other sustenance. Vouchsafe, I beseech you, your patronage to the child, who have made the father of it

Your worship's devoted homager,



I neither affect those rheumatic pens that are still dropping upon the press, nor those phlegmatic spirits that will scarce be conjured into the orb of employment. But if modest forwardness be a fault, I cannot excuse myself. It pleased God Almighty to make a fearful comment on this his own text, the very same day it was preached by his unworthiest servant. The argument was but audible in the morning, before night it was visible. His holy pen had long since written it with ink, now his hand of justice expounded in the characters of blood. There, was only a conditional menace: so it shall be. Here a terrible remonstrance: so it is. Sure! he did not mean it for a nine days' wonder. Their sudden departure out of the world, must not so suddenly depart from the memory of the world. Woe to that soul that shall take so slight a notice of so extraordinary a judgment. We do not say, They perished; charity forbid it. But this we say, It is a sign of God's favour, when he gives a man law. We pass no sentence upon them, yet let us take warning by them. The remarkableness would not be neglected, for the time, the place, the persons, the number, the manner. Yet still we conclude not, this was for the transgression of the dead; but this we are sure of, it is meant for the admonition of the living. Such is our blessed Saviour's conclusion upon a parallel instance: Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. There is no place safe enough for offenders; but when the Lord is once up in arms, happy man that can make his own peace l Otherwise, in vain we hope to run from the plague while we carry the sin along with us. Yet will not our wilful and bewitched recusants, from these legible characters, spell God’s plain meaning. No impression can be made in those hearts, that are ordained to perish. For their malicious, causeless, and unchristian censures of us, God forgive them; our requital be only pity and prayers for them. Howsoever they give out (and I will not here examine) that their piety is more than ours: impudence itself cannot deny, but our charity is greater than theirs. Now the holy fear of God keep us in the ways of faith and obedience, that the preparation of death may never prevent our preparation to die. And yet still, after our best endeavour, from sudden death, good Lord, deliver us all. Amen. T. A.

[[lii]] This sermon was preached on October 26. 1623, the morning of what is known as ‘The fatal Vespers at Blackfriars.’ Out of three hundred persons present, ninety-five were killed, and many more seriously injured. Particulars may be seen in many histories of that age (see Fuller’s Church Hist., bk. x., cent, xvii., and Court of James vol ii, pp. 428-433). The charity with which Adams speaks of this awful visitation (see Works, vol il, p. 185) is noteworthy.



A Sermon preached at Paul’s Cross, the 5th of August 1624. By THOMAS ADAMS.

London: Printed by A. Mathewes, for John Grismand, and are to be sold at his shop in Paul's Alley, at the sign of the Gun. 1624.

To the Right Honourable 8m HENRY CAREY, Lord Housdon,

Viscount Rochford.

MY LORD,—Among the many absurdities which give us just cause to abhor the religion of the present Roman Church, this seemeth to me none of the least, that they have filled all the temples under the command of their politic hierarchy with idols, and changed the glory of the invisible God into the worship of visible images. They invocate the saints by them, yea, they dare not serve the Lord without them. As if God had repealed his unchangeable law; and instead of condemning all worship by an image, would now receive no worship without an image. I have observed this one, among the other famous marks of that synagogue, that they strive to condemn that which God hath justified, and to justify what he hath condemned. For the former, he hath precisely directed our justification only by faith in the merits of Christ; this they vehemently dispute against. For the other, he hath (not without mention of his jealousy) forbidden all worship that hath the least tang of idolatry; this they eagerly maintain. What large volumes have they written against the Second Commandment I as if they were not content to expunge it out of their catechisms, unless they did also dogmatise, contradict it to the whole world. They first set the people upon a plain rebellion, and then make show to fetch them off again with a neat distinction. Thus do they pump their wits to legitimate that by a distinction which God hath pronounced a bastard by his definite sentence; as if the papal decrees were that law whereby the world should be judged at the last day. But who will regard a house of magnificent structure, of honourable and ancient memory, when the plague hath infected it, or thieves possess it? and who, in their right senses, will join themselves to that temple, which after pretence of long standing, stately building, and of many such prerogatives and royalties, is found to be besmeared with superstitions, and profaned with innumerable idols? Why should we delight to dwell there, where God hath refused to dwell with us.

I publish this argument as no new thing to your lordship, but wherein your well-experienced knowledge is able to inform me. Only I have been bold, through your thrice honoured name, to transmit this small discourse to the world; emboldened by the long proof I have had of your constant love to the truth, and the gracious piety of your most noble mother, the [[liv]] best encouragement of my poor labours on earth. The best blessings of God be still multiplied upon her, yourself, your religious lady, and your honourable family, which is continually implored by

Your lordship’s humble servant,




A Sermon preached at the Chapel of Guildhall, at the solemnities of the election of the Lord Mayor of London. Acts i. 24. By THOMAS ADAMS. London. 1625.

A SERMON at the Triennial Visitation of the R. R. Father in God, the Lord Bishop of London, in Christ Church. Acts xv. 36. By THOMAS ADAMS. London. 1625.

The Bishop of London, at this time, was Dr Mountaigne. He had succeeded Dr King in 1621, and was translated to Durham in 1627. His successors were Laud in 1628, and Dr Juxon in 1633. It is worth marking under whose episcopate Adams spent the latter years of his life.



Appended to the folio edition of the works, and probably published then for the first time. These ‘Meditations' have all the vigour, and even more than the usual learning, of Adams, and they will well repay perusal.

As the sheets of the ‘Meditations’ and of Ward’s Sermons were passing through the press, the Editor was struck with the sameness of thought, and even of expression, in several instances. The reader may compare for himself, and certainly the coincidence cannot be accidental It is possible that Ward and Adams were personal friends, and compared thoughts, each contributing his share; though their political and ecclesiastical tendencies were widely different. The more probable solution A, that the one must have read or heard the other. Ward’s book was first published in 1622, and bears on the last page the name of Grismand, who was one of Adams’s publishers. So far as is known, the Meditations were not published till seven years later, though probably written some time before their publication. Adams, therefore, seems thy copyist Perhaps he read the small volume of Ward as it was published, and when he was preaching his own Meditations. Without much intentional wrong, he may have adopted illustrations which struck him as suited for the day, and then have put them in print unacknowledged, having meanwhile forgotten their origin. His [[lv]] general richness of thought, and the extensive writing he had now m hand—for his folio Commentary on Peter must have been begun some time before—make this explanation probable. It may be added that he has in a variety of instances, through what must have been a similar oversight, repeated himself, inserting in his Commentary, for example, what had already been published in his Sermons.



London: Printed by Bi. Badger, for Jacob Bloom. 1688.

To the Truly Noble and Worthily Honoured Sir HENRY MARTEN, Knight, Judge of His Majesty's High Court of the Admiralty, and Dean of the Arches' Court of Canterbury.

NOBLE SIR,—The merchant that hath once put to sea and made a prosperous voyage, is hardly withheld from a second adventure. It hath been my forwardness, not without the instinct of our heavenly Pilot, the most blessed Spirit of God, to make one adventure before, for he that publisheth his meditations may be well called an adventurer. God knows what return hath been made to his own glory; if but little (and I can hope no less, though I have ever prayed for more), yet that hath been to me no little comfort. I am now put forth again, upon the same voyage, in hope of better success. For my commission I sue to you, who have no small power both in the deciding of civil differences, and in the disposing of naval affairs, and matters of such commerce, being known well worthy of that authority in both these ecclesiastical and civil courts of judicature, that you would be pleased to bless my spiritual traffic with your auspicious approbation. I dare not commend my own merchandise; yet if I had not conceived somewhat better of it than of my former, I durst not have been so ambitious aS to present it unto you, of whose clear understanding, deep judgment, and sincere integrity, all good men among us have so foil and confessed an experience. Yet besides your own candid disposition, and many real encouragements to me your poor servant, this may a little qualify my boldness, and vindicate me from an over-daring presumption; that my aim is your patronage, not your instruction—not to inform your wisdom, which were to hold a taper to the sun—but to gain your acceptation and fair allowance, that, under your honoured name, it may find the more free entertainment wheresoever it arrives, which (I am humbly persuaded) your goodness will not deny. That noble favour of yours, shining upon these my weak endeavours, will encourage me to publish some mature! thoughts, which otherwise have resolved never to see the light. The sole glory of our most gracious God, the edification and comfort of his church, with the true felicity of yourself and yours, shall be always prayed for by

Your ever honoured virtue’s humble and thankful servant,


[[lvi]] Thus far in these volumes the text is reprinted from the folio volume published by Adams himself. The two following sermons are reprinted from a small volume in the British Museum. They bear the name of Thos. Adams on the title; and are clearly, from internal evidence, the production of the same man. They were published in 1653, the year in which Cromwell became Lord Protec tor. The author was then passing ‘a necessitous and decrepit old age but his spirit is as bold and as unbroken as ever. We should be recreant to our principles as admirers of all conscientious servants of our Lord, if we withheld from Adams amid these distresses the tribute of our sympathy and love.

GOD’S ANGER AND MAN’S COMFORT: Two Sermons Preached and Published by THOMAS ADAMS.

London: Printed by Thomas Maxey for Samuel Main, at the sign of the Swan in St Paul’s Churchyard. 1653.

To the most honourable and charitable benefactors, whom God hath honoured for his almoners and sanctified to be his dispensers of the fruits of charity and mercy to me, in this my necessitous and decrepit old age, I humbly present this testimony of my thankfulness, with my incessant appreciations to the Father of all mercies, to reward them for it in this life, and to crown their souls with everlasting joy and glory in the life to come, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.


The Publisher is indebted to the Rev. A B. Grosart of Kinross for bringing these sermons under his notice; and to the same loving inquirer into all that Adams has done and taught, the writer of this brief memoir begs to express his obligations.

J. A.