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   Chapter 2 [BADMAN'S WICKED BEHAVIOUR IN CHILDHOOD.]

Works of John Bunyan — Complete By John Bunyan Characters: 45507

Updated: 2017-12-04 00:02


WISE. I will endeavour to answer your desires, and first, I will tell you, that from a child he was very bad; his very beginning was ominous, and presaged that no good end was, in likelihood, to follow thereupon. There were several sins that he was given to, when but a little one, that manifested him to be notoriously infected with original corruption; for I dare say he learned none of them of his father and mother; nor was he admitted to go much abroad among other children that were vile, to learn to sin of them: nay, contrariwise, if at any time he did get abroad amongst others, he would be as the inventor of bad words, and an example in bad actions. To them all he used to be, as we say, the ringleader, and master-sinner from a child.

ATTEN. This was a bad beginning indeed, and did demonstrate that he was, as you say, polluted, very much polluted with original corruption. For to speak my mind freely, I do confess that it is mine opinion that children come polluted with sin into the world, and that ofttimes the sins of their youth, especially while they are very young, are rather by virtue of indwelling sin, than by examples that are set before them by others. Not but that they learn to sin by example too, but example is not the root, but rather the temptation unto wickedness. The root is sin within; 'for from within, out of the heart of men,' proceedeth sin (Mark 7:21).

WISE. I am glad to hear that you are of this opinion, and to confirm what you have said by a few hints from the Word. Man in his birth is compared to an ass, an unclean beast, and to a wretched infant in its blood (Job 11:12; Eze 16). Besides, all the first-born of old that were offered unto the Lord, were to be redeemed at the age of a month, and that was before they were sinners by imitation (Exo 13:13, 34:20). The scripture also affirmeth, that by the sin of one, judgment came upon all; and renders this reason, 'for that all have sinned' (Rom 5:12). Nor is that objection worth a rush, that Christ by his death hath taken away original sin. First. Because it is scriptureless. Secondly. Because it makes them incapable of salvation by Christ; for none but those that in their own persons are sinners are to have salvation by him. Many other things might be added, but between persons so well agreed as you and I are, these may suffice at present. But when an antagonist comes to deal with us about this matter, then we have for him often other strong arguments, if he be an antagonist worth the taking notice of.

ATTEN. But, as was hinted before, he used to be the ring-leading sinner, or the master of mischief among other children; yet these are but generals; pray therefore tell me in particular which were the sins of his childhood.

WISE. I will so. When he was but a child, he was so addicted to lying that his parents scarce knew when to believe he spake true; yea, he would invent, tell, and stand to the lies that he invented and told, and that with such an audacious face, that one might even read in his very countenance the symptoms of a hard and desperate heart this way.

ATTEN. This was an ill beginning indeed, and argueth that he began to harden himself in sin betimes. For a lie cannot be knowingly told and stood in, and I perceive that this was his manner of way in lying, but he must as it were force his own heart unto it. Yea, he must make his heart hard, and bold to do it. Yea, he must be arrived to an exceeding pitch of wickedness thus to do, since all this he did against that good education, that before you seemed to hint he had from his father and mother.

WISE. The want of good education, as you have intimated, is many times a cause why children do so easily, so soon, become bad; especially when there is not only a want of that, but bad examples enough, as, the more is the pity, there is in many families; by virtue of which poor children are trained up in sin, and nursed therein for the devil and hell. But it was otherwise with Mr. Badman, for to my knowledge this his way of lying was a great grief to his parents, for their hearts were much dejected at this beginning of their son; nor did there want counsel and correction from them to him if that would have made him better. He wanted not to be told, in my hearing, and that over and over and over, that 'all liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone'; and that 'whosoever loveth and maketh a lie,' should not have any part in the new and heavenly Jerusalem (Rev 21:8,27, 22:15). But all availed nothing with him; when a fit, or an occasion to lie came upon him, he would invent, tell, and stand to his lie as steadfastly as if it had been the biggest of truths that he told, and that with that hardening of his heart and face, that it would be to those who stood by, a wonder. Nay, and this he would do when under the rod of correction, which is appointed by God for parents to use, that thereby they might keep their children from hell (Prov 22:15, 23:13,14).[9]

ATTEN. Truly it was, as I said, a bad beginning, he served the devil betimes; yea, he became nurse to one of his brats, for a spirit of lying is the devil's brat, 'for he is a liar and the father of it' (John 8:44).

WISE. Right, he is the father of it indeed. A lie is begot by the devil as the father, and is brought forth by the wicked heart as the mother; wherefore another scripture also saith, 'Why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie,' &c. (Acts 5:3,4). Yea, he calleth the heart that is big with a lie, an heart that hath conceived, that is, by the devil. 'Why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.' True, his lie was a lie of the highest nature, but every lie hath the same father and mother as had the lie last spoken of. 'For he is a liar, and the father of it.' A lie then is the brat of hell, and it cannot be in the heart before the person has committed a kind of spiritual adultery with the devil. That soul therefore that telleth a known lie, has lien with, and conceived it by lying with the devil, the only father of lies. For a lie has only one father and mother, the devil and the heart. No marvel therefore if the hearts that hatch and bring forth lies be so much of complexion with the devil. Yea, no marvel though God and Christ have so bent their word against liars.[10] A liar is wedded to the devil himself.

ATTEN. It seems a marvellous thing in mine eyes, that since a lie is in the offspring of the devil, and since a lie brings the soul to the very den of devils, to wit, the dark dungeon of hell, that men should be so desperately wicked as to accustom themselves to so horrible a thing.

WISE. It seems also marvellous to me, especially when I observe for how little a matter some men will study, contrive, make, and tell a lie. You shall have some that will lie it over and over, and that for a penny profit. Yea, lie and stand in it, although they know that they lie. Yea, you shall have some men that will not stick to tell lie after lie, though themselves get nothing thereby. They will tell lies in their ordinary discourse with their neighbours, also their news, their jests, and their tales, must needs be adorned with lies; or else they seem to bear no good sound to the ear, nor show much to the fancy of him to whom they are told. But alas! what will these liars do, when, for their lies they shall be tumbled down into hell, to that devil that did beget those lies in their heart, and so be tormented by fire and brimstone, with him, and that for ever and ever, for their lies?

ATTEN. Can you not give one some example of God's judgments upon liars, that one may tell them to liars when one hears them lie, if perhaps they may by the hearing thereof, be made afraid, and ashamed to lie.

WISE. Examples! why Ananias[11] and his wife are examples enough to put a stop, one would think, to a spirit addicted thereto, for they both were stricken down dead for telling a lie, and that by God himself, in the midst of a company of people (Acts 5). But if God's threatening of liars with hell-fire, and with the loss of the kingdom of heaven, will not prevail with them to leave off to lie and make lies, it cannot be imagined that a relation of temporal judgments that have swept liars out of the world heretofore, should do it. Now, as I said, this lying was one of the first sins that Mr. Badman was addicted to, and he could make them and tell them fearfully.

ATTEN. I am sorry to hear this of him, and so much the more, because, as I fear, this sin did not reign in him alone; for usually one that is accustomed to lying, is also accustomed to other evils besides; and if it were not so also with Mr. Badman, it would be indeed a wonder.

WISE. You say true, the liar is a captive slave of more than the spirit of lying; and therefore this Mr. Badman, as he was a liar from a child, so he was also much given to pilfer and steal, so that what he could, as we say, handsomely lay his hands on,[12] that was counted his own, whether they were the things of his fellow-children, or if he could lay hold of anything at a neighbour's house, he would take it away; you must understand me of trifles; for being yet but a child, he attempted no great matter, especially at first. But yet as he grew up in strength and ripeness of wit, so he attempted to pilfer and steal things still of more value than at first. He took at last great pleasure in robbing of gardens and orchards; and as he grew up, to steal pullen[13] from the neighbourhood. Yea, what was his father's could not escape his fingers, all was fish that came to his net, so hardened, at last, was he in this mischief also.

ATTEN. You make me wonder more and more. What, play the thief too! What, play the thief so soon! He could not but know, though he was but a child, that what he took from others was none of his own. Besides, if his father was a good man, as you say, it could not be but he must also hear from him that to steal was to transgress the law of God, and so to run the hazard of eternal damnation.

WISE. His father was not wanting to use the means to reclaim him, often urging, as I have been told, that saying in the law of Moses, 'Thou shalt not steal' (Exo 20:15). And also that, 'This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth; for every one that stealeth shall be cut off', &c. (Zech 5:3). The light of nature also, though he was little, must needs show him that what he took from others was not his own; and that he would not willingly have been served so himself. But all was to no purpose, let father and conscience say what they would to him, he would go on, he was resolved to go on in his wickedness.

ATTEN. But his father would, as you intimate, sometimes rebuke him for his wickedness; pray how would he carry it then?

WISE. How! why like to a thief that is found. He would stand gloating,[14] and hanging down his head in a sullen, pouching manner; a body might read, as we used to say, the picture of ill-luck in his face; and when his father did demand his answer to such questions concerning his villainy, he would grumble and mutter at him, and that should be all he could get.

ATTEN. But you said that he would also rob his father, methinks that was an unnatural thing.

WISE. Natural or unnatural, all is one to a thief. Besides, you must think that he had likewise companions to whom he was, for the wickedness that he saw in them, more firmly knit, than either of father or mother. Yea, and what had he cared if father and mother had died for grief for him. Their death would have been, as he would have counted, great release and liberty to him; for the truth is, they and their counsel were his bondage; yea, and if I forget not, I have heard some say that when he was, at times, among his companions he would greatly rejoice to think that his parents were old, and could not live long, and then, quoth he, I shall be mine own man, to do what I list, without their control.

ATTEN. Then it seems he counted that robbing of his parents was no crime.

WISE. None at all; and therefore he fell directly under that sentence, 'Whoso robbeth his father or his mother, and saith it is no transgression, the same is the companion of a destroyer' (Prov 28:24). And for that he set so light by them as to their persons and counsels, it was a sign that at present he was of a very abominable spirit, and that some judgment waited to take hold of him in time to come (1 Sam 2:25).

ATTEN. But can you imagine what it was, I mean, in his conceit, for I speak not now of the suggestions of Satan, by which doubtless he was put on to do these things; I say what it should be in his conceit, that should make him think that this his manner of pilfering and stealing was no great matter.

WISE. It was for that the things that he stole were small; to rob orchards, and gardens, and to steal pullen, and the like, these he counted tricks of youth, nor would he be beat out of it by all that his friends could say. They would tell him that he must not covet, or desire, and yet to desire is less than to take, even anything, the least thing that was his neighbour's; and that if he did, it would be a transgression of the law; but all was one to him; what through the wicked talk of his companions, and the delusion of his own corrupt heart, he would go on in his pilfering course, and where he thought himself secure, would talk of, and laugh at it when he had done.

ATTEN. Well I heard a man once, when he was upon the ladder with the rope about his neck, confess, when ready to be turned off by the hangman, that that which had brought him to that end was his accustoming of himself, when young, to pilfer and steal small things. To my best remembrance he told us, that he began the trade of a thief by stealing of pins and points;[15] and therefore did forewarn all the youth that then were gathered together to see him die, to take heed of beginning, though but with little sins; because by tampering at first with little ones, way is made for the commission of bigger.[16]

WISE. Since you are entered upon stories, I also will tell you one; the which, though I heard it not with mine own ears, yet my author I dare believe. It is concerning one old Tod, that was hanged about twenty years ago, or more, at Hertford, for being a thief. The story is this:-

At a summer assizes holden at Hertford, while the judge was sitting upon the bench, comes this old Tod into court, clothed in a green suit, with his leathern girdle in his hand, his bosom open, and all on a dung sweat, as if he had run for his life; and being come in, he spake aloud as follows:-My lord, saith he, here is the veriest rogue that breathes upon the face of the earth. I have been a thief from a child. When I was but a little one, I gave myself to rob orchards, and to do other such like wicked things, and I have continued a thief ever since. My lord, there has not been a robbery committed these many years, within so many miles of this place, but I have either been at it, or privy to it.

The judge thought the fellow was mad, but after some conference with some of the justices, they agreed to indict him; and so they did of several felonious actions; to all which he heartily confessed guilty, and so was hanged, with his wife at the same time.

ATTEN. This is a remarkable story indeed, and you think it is a true one.

WISE. It is not only remarkable, but pat to our purpose. This thief, like Mr. Badman, began his trade betimes; he began too where Mr. Badman began, even at robbing of orchards, and other such things, which brought him, as you may perceive, from sin to sin, till at last it brought him to the public shame of sin, which is the gallows.

As for the truth of this story, the relater told me that he was, at the same time, himself in the court, and stood within less than two yards of old Tod, when he heard him aloud to utter the words.

ATTEN. These two sins, of lying and stealing, were a bad sign of an evil end.

WISE. So they were, and yet Mr. Badman came not to his end like old Tod; though I fear to as bad, nay, worse than was that death of the gallows, though less discerned by spectators; but more of that by and by. But you talk of these two sins as if these were all that Mr. Badman was addicted to in his youth. Alas, alas, he swarmed with sins, even as a beggar does with vermin, and that when he was but a boy.

ATTEN. Why, what other sins was he addicted to, I mean while he was but a child?

WISE. You need not ask to what other sins was he, but to what other sins was he not addicted; that is, of such as suited with his age; for a man may safely say that nothing that was vile came amiss to him, if he was but capable to do it. Indeed, some sins there be that childhood knows not how to be tampering with; but I speak of sins that he was capable of committing, of which I will nominate two or three more. And, First, He could not endure the Lord's day, because of the holiness that did attend it; the beginning of that day was to him as if he was going to prison, except he could get out from his father and mother, and lurk in by-holes among his companions, until holy duties were over. Reading the Scriptures, hearing sermons, godly conference, repeating of sermons and prayers, were things that he could not away with; and, therefore, if his father on such days, as often he did, though sometimes, notwithstanding his diligence, he would be sure to give him the slip, did keep him strictly to the observation of the day, he would plainly show, by all carriages, that he was highly discontent therewith. He would sleep at duties, would talk vainly with his brothers, and, as it were, think every godly opportunity seven times as long as it was, grudging till it was over.

ATTEN. This his abhorring of that day, was not, I think, for the sake of the day itself; for as it is a day, it is nothing else but as other days of the week. But I suppose that the reason of his loathing of it was for that God hath put sanctity and holiness upon it; also, because it is the day above all the days of the week that ought to be spent in holy devotion, in remembrance of our Lord's resurrection from the dead.

WISE. Yes, it was therefore that he was such an enemy to it; even because more restraint was laid upon him on that day, from his own ways, than were possible should be laid upon him on all others.

ATTEN. Doth not God, by instituting of a day unto holy duties, make great proof how the hearts and inclinations of poor people do stand to holiness of heart, and a conversation in holy duties?

WISE. Yes, doubtless; and a man shall show his heart and his life what they are, more by one Lord's day than by all the days of the week besides. And the reason is, because on the Lord's day there is a special restraint laid upon men as to thoughts and life, more than upon other days of the week besides. Also, men are enjoined on that day to a stricter performance of holy duties, and restraint of worldly business, than upon other days they are; wherefore, if their hearts incline not naturally to good, now they will show it, now they will appear what they are. The Lord's day is a kind of an emblem of the heavenly Sabbath above, and it makes manifest how the heart stands to the perpetuity of holiness, more than to be found in a transient duty does.

On other days, a man may be in and out of holy duties, and all in a quarter of an hour; but now, the Lord's day is, as it were, a day that enjoins to one perpetual duty of holiness. 'Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath day'; which, by Christ, is not abrogated, but changed, into the first of the week, not as it was given in particular to the Jews, but as it was sanctified by him from the beginning of the world (Gen 2:2; Exo 31:13-17; Mark 16:1; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor 16:1,2; Mark 2:27,28; Rev 1:10); and therefore is a greater proof of the frame and temper of a man's heart, and does more make manifest to what he is inclined, than doth his other performance of duties. Therefore, God puts great difference between them that truly call, and walk in, this day as holy, and count it honourable, upon the account that now they have an opportunity to show how they delight to honour him; in that they have not only an hour, but a whole day, to show it in (Isa 58:13). I say, he puts great difference between these, and that other sort that say, When will the Sabbath be gone, that we may be at our worldly business? (Amos 8:5). The first he calleth a blessed man, but brandeth the other for an unsanctified worldling. And, indeed, to delight ourselves in God's service upon his holy days, gives a better proof of a sanctified nature than to grudge at the coming, and to be weary of the holy duties of such days, as Mr. Badman did.[17]

ATTEN. There may be something in what you say, for he that cannot abide to keep one day holy to God, to be sure he hath given a sufficient proof that he is an unsanctified man; and, as such, what should he do in heaven? That being the place where a perpetual Sabbath is to be kept to God; I say, to be kept for ever and ever (Heb 4:9). And, for ought I know, one reason why one day in seven hath been by our Lord set apart unto holy duties for men, may be to give them conviction that there is enmity in the hearts of sinners to the God of heaven, for he that hateth holiness, hateth God himself. They pretend to love God, and yet love not a holy day, and yet love not to spend that day in one continued act of holiness to the Lord. They had as good say nothing as to call him Lord, Lord, and yet not do the things that he says. And this Mr. Badman was such a one, he could not abide this day, nor any of the duties of it. Indeed, when he could get from his friends, and so spend it in all manner of idleness and profaneness, then he would be pleased well enough; but what was this but a turning the day into night, or other than taking an opportunity at God's forbidding, to follow our callings, to solace and satisfy our lusts and delights of the flesh? I take the liberty to speak thus of Mr. Badman, upon a confidence of what you, Sir, have said of him is true.

WISE. You needed not to have made that apology for your censoring of Mr. Badman, for all that knew him will confirm what you say of him to be true. He could not abide either that day, or anything else that had the stamp or image of God upon it. Sin, sin, and to do the thing that was naught, was that which he delighted in, and that from a little child.

ATTEN. I must say again I am sorry to hear it, and that for his own sake, and also for the sake of his relations, who must needs be bro

ken to pieces with such doings as these. For, for these things' sake comes the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience (Eph 5:6). And, doubtless, he must be gone to hell, if he died without repentance; and to beget a child for hell is sad for parents to think on.

WISE. Of his dying, as I told you, I will give you a relation anon; but now we are upon his life, and upon the manner of his life in his childhood, even of the sins that attended him then, some of which I have mentioned already; and, indeed, I have mentioned but some, for yet there are more to follow, and those not at all inferior to what you have already heard.

ATTEN. Pray what were they?

WISE. Why he was greatly given, and that while a lad, to grievous swearing and cursing; yea, he then made no more of swearing and cursing than I do of telling my fingers. Yea, he would do it without provocation thereto. He counted it a glory to swear and curse, and it was as natural to him as to eat, and drink, and sleep.

ATTEN. O what a young villain was this! Here is, as the apostle says, a yielding of 'members, as instruments of righteousness unto sin,' indeed! (Rom 6:13). This is proceeding from evil to evil with a witness. This argueth that he was a black-mouthed young wretch indeed.

WISE. He was so; and yet, as I told you, he counted above all this kind of sinning to be a badge of his honour; he reckoned himself a man's fellow when he had learned to swear and curse boldly.

ATTEN. I am persuaded that many do think as you have said, that to swear is a thing that does bravely become them, and that it is the best way for a man, when he would put authority or terror into his words, to stuff them full of the sin of swearing.

WISE. You say right, else, as I am persuaded, men would not so usually belch out their blasphemous oaths as they do; they take a pride in it; they think that to swear is gentleman-like; and, having once accustomed themselves unto it, they hardly leave it all the days of their lives.[18]

ATTEN. Well, but now we are upon it, pray show me the difference between swearing and cursing; for there is a difference, is there not?

WISE. Yes; there is a difference between swearing and cursing. Swearing, vain swearing, such as young Badman accustomed himself unto. Now, vain and sinful swearing is a light and wicked calling of God, &c., to witness to our vain and foolish attesting of things, and those things are of two sorts. 1. Things that we swear, are or shall be done. 2. Things so sworn to, true or false.

1. Things that we swear, are or shall be done. Thou swearest thou hast done such a thing, that such a thing is so, or shall be so; for it is no matter which of these it is that men swear about, if it be done lightly, and wickedly, and groundlessly, it is vain, because it is a sin against the third commandment, which says, 'Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain' (Exo 20:7). For this is a vain using of that holy and sacred name, and so a sin for which, without sound repentance, there is not, nor can be rightly expected, forgiveness.

ATTEN. Then it seems, though as to the matter of fact, a man swears truly, yet if he sweareth lightly and groundlessly, his oath is evil, and he by it under sin.

WISE. Yes, a man may say, 'The Lord liveth,' and that is true, and yet in so saying 'swear falsely'; because he sweareth vainly, needlessly, and without a ground (Jer 5:2). To swear groundedly and necessarily, which then a man does when he swears as being called thereto of God, that is tolerated by the Word.[19] But this was none of Mr. Badman's swearing, and therefore that which now we are not concerned about.

ATTEN. I perceive by the prophet that a man may sin in swearing to a truth. They therefore must needs most horribly sin that swear to confirm their jests and lies; and, as they think, the better to beautify their foolish talking.

WISE. They sin with a high hand; for they presume to imagine that God is as wicked as themselves, to wit, that he is an avoucher of lies to be true. For, as I said before, to swear is to call God to witness; and to swear to a lie is to call God to witness that that lie is true. This, therefore, must needs offend; for it puts the highest affront upon the holiness and righteousness of God, therefore his wrath must sweep them away (Zech 5:3). This kind of swearing is put in with lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery; and therefore must not go unpunished (Jer 7:9; Hosea 4:2,3). For if God 'will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain,' which a man may do when he swears to a truth, as I have showed before, how can it be imagined that he should hold such guiltless, who, by swearing, will appeal to God for lies that be not true, or that swear out of their frantic and bedlam madness. It would grieve and provoke a sober man to wrath, if one should swear to a notorious lie, and avouch that that man would attest it for a truth; and yet thus do men deal with the holy God. They tell their jestings, tales, and lies, and then swear by God that they are true. Now, this kind of swearing was as common with young Badman, as it was to eat when he was an hungered, or to go to bed when it was night.

ATTEN. I have often mused in my mind, what it should be that should make men so common in the use of the sin of swearing, since those that be wise will believe them never the sooner for that.

WISE. It cannot be anything that is good, you may be sure; because the thing itself is abominable. 1. Therefore it must be from the promptings of the spirit of the devil within them. 2. Also it flows sometimes from hellish rage, when the tongue hath set on fire of hell even the whole course of nature (James 3:6-9). 3. But commonly, swearing flows from that daring boldness that biddeth defiance to the law that forbids it. 4. Swearers think, also, that by their belching of their blasphemous oaths out of their black and polluted mouths, they show themselves the more valiant men. 5. And imagine also, that by these outrageous kind of villainies, they shall conquer those that at such a time they have to do with, and make them believe their lies to be true. 6. They also swear frequently to get gain thereby, and when they meet with fools they overcome them this way. But if I might give advice in this matter, no buyer should lay out one farthing with him that is a common swearer in his calling; especially with such an oath-master that endeavoureth to swear away his commodity to another, and that would swear his chapman's money into his own pocket.

ATTEN. All these causes of swearing, so far as I can perceive, flow from the same root as do the oaths themselves, even from a hardened and desperate heart. But, pray, show me now how wicked cursing is to be distinguished from this kind of swearing.

WISE. Swearing, as I said, hath immediately to do with the name of God, and it calls upon him to be witness to the truth of what is said; that is, if they that swear, swear by him. Some, indeed, swear by idols, as by the mass, by our lady, by saints, beasts, birds, and other creatures;[20] but the usual way of our profane ones in England is to swear by God, Christ, faith, and the like. But, however, or by whatever they swear, cursing is distinguished from swearing thus.

To curse, to curse profanely, it is to sentence another or ourself, for or to evil; or to wish that some evil might happen to the person or thing under the curse unjustly.

It is to sentence for or to evil, that is, without a cause. Thus Shimei cursed David; he sentenced him for and to evil unjustly, when he said to him, 'Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial. The Lord hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead thou hast reigned, and the Lord hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son; and, behold, thou art taken in thy mischief, because thou art a bloody man' (2 Sam 16:7,8).

This David calls 'a grievous curse.' 'And behold,' saith he to Solomon his son, 'thou hast with thee Shimei,-a Benjamite,-which cursed me with a grievous curse in the day when I went to Mahanaim' (1 Kings 2:8).

But what was this curse? Why, First, It was a wrong sentence past upon David; Shimei called him bloody man, man of Belial, when he was not. Secondly, He sentenced him to the evil that at present was upon him for being a bloody man, that is, against the house of Saul, when that present evil overtook David for quite another thing. And we may thus apply it to the profane ones of our times, who in their rage and envy have little else in their youths but a sentence against their neighbour for and to evil unjustly. How common is it with many, when they are but a little offended with one, to cry, Hang him, Damn him, Rogue! This is both a sentencing of him for and to evil, and is in itself a grievous curse.

2. The other kind of cursing is to wish that some evil might happen to, and overtake this or that person or thing. And this kind of cursing Job counted a grievous sin. 'Neither have I suffered [says he] my mouth to sin by wishing a curse to his soul'; or consequently to body or estate (Job 31:30). This then is a wicked cursing, to wish that evil might either befall another or ourselves. And this kind of cursing young Badman accustom himself unto. 1. He would wish that evil might befall others; he would wish their necks broken, or that their brains were out, or that the pox or plague was upon them, and the like; all which is a devilish kind of cursing, and is become one of the common sins of our age. 2. He would also as often wish a curse to himself, saying, Would I might be hanged, or burned, or that the devil might fetch me, if it be not so, or the like. We count the Damn-me-blades to be great swearers, but when in their hellish fury they say, God damn me, God perish me, or the like, they rather curse than swear; yea, curse themselves, and that with a wish that damnation might light upon themselves; which wish and curse of theirs in a little time they will see accomplished upon them, even in hell fire, if they repent them not of their sins.

ATTEN. But did this young Badman accustom himself to such filthy kind of language?

WISE. I think I may say that nothing was more frequent in his mouth, and that upon the least provocation. Yea, he was so versed in such kind of language, that neither father, nor mother, nor brother, nor sister, nor servant, no, nor the very cattle that his father had, could escape these curses of his. I say that even the brute beasts, when he drove them or rid upon them, if they pleased not his humour, they must be sure to partake of his curse. He would wish their necks broke, their legs broke, their guts out, or that the devil might fetch them, or the like; and no marvel, for he that is so hardy to wish damnation or other bad curses to himself, or dearest relations, will not stick to wish evil to the silly beast in his madness.

ATTEN. Well, I see still that this Badman was a desperate villain. But pray, Sir, since you have gone thus far, now show me whence this evil of cursing ariseth, and also what dishonour it bringeth to God; for I easily discern that it doth bring damnation to the soul.

WISE. This evil of cursing ariseth in general from the desperate wickedness of the heart, but particularly from, 1. Envy, which is, as I apprehend, the leading sin to witchcraft. 2. It also ariseth from pride, which was the sin of the fallen angels. 3. It ariseth too, from scorn and contempt of others. 4. But for a man to curse himself, must needs arise from desperate madness (Job 15; Eccl 7:22).

The dishonour that it bringeth to God is this. It taketh away from him his authority, in whose power it is only to bless and curse; not to curse wickedly, as Mr. Badman, but justly and righteously, giving by his curse, to those that are wicked, the due reward of their deeds.

Besides, these wicked men, in their wicked cursing of their neighbour, &c., do even curse God himself in his handiwork (James 3:9). Man is God's image, and to curse wickedly the image of God is to curse God himself. Therefore as when men wickedly swear, they rend, and tear God's name, and make him, as much as in them lies, the avoucher and approver of all their wickedness; so he that curseth and condemneth in this sort his neighbour, or that wisheth him evil, curseth, condemneth, and wisheth evil to the image of God, and, consequently judgeth and condemneth God himself. Suppose that a man should say with his mouth, I wish that the king's picture was burned; would not this man's so saying render him as an enemy to the person of the king? Even so it is with them that, by cursing, wish evil to their neighbour, or to themselves, they contemn the image, even the image of God himself.

ATTEN. But do you think that the men that do thus, do think that they do so vilely, so abominably?

WISE. The question is not what men do believe concerning their sin, but what God's Word says of it. If God's Word says that swearing and cursing are sins, though men should count them for virtues, their reward will be a reward for sin, to wit, the damnation of the soul. To curse another, and to swear vainly and falsely, are sins against the light of nature. 1. To curse is so, because whoso curseth another, knows that at the same time he would not be so served himself. 2. To swear also is a sin against he same law; for nature will tell me that I should not lie, and therefore much less swear to confirm it. Yea, the heathens have looked upon swearing to be a solemn ordinance of God, and therefore not to be lightly or vainly used by men, though to confirm a matter of truth (Gen 31:43-55).

ATTEN. But I wonder, since cursing and swearing are such evils in the eyes of God, that he doth not make some examples to others, for their committing such wickedness.

WISE. Alas! so he has, a thousand times twice told, as may be easily gathered by any observing people in every age and country. I could present you with several myself; but waving the abundance that might be mentioned, I will here present you with two. One was that dreadful judgment of God upon one N. P. at Wimbleton in Surrey; who, after a horrible fit of swearing at and cursing of some persons that did not please him, suddenly fell sick, and in little time died raving, cursing, and swearing.

But above all, take that dreadful story of Dorothy Mately, an inhabitant of Ashover, in the county of Derby. This Dorothy Mately, saith the relater, was noted by the people of the town to be a great swearer, and curser, and liar, and thief; just like Mr. Badman. And the labour that she did usually follow was to wash the rubbish that came forth of the lead mines, and there to get sparks of lead ore; and her usual way of asserting of things was with these kind of imprecations: I would I might sink into the earth if it be not so; or, I would God would make the earth open and swallow me up. Now upon the 23d of March, 1660, this Dorothy was washing of ore upon the top of a steep hill, about a quarter of a mile from Ashover, and was there taxed by a lad for taking of two single pence out of his pocket, for he had laid his breeches by, and was at work in his drawers; but she violently denied it; wishing that the ground might swallow her up if she had them: she also used the same wicked words on several other occasions that day.

Now one George Hodgkinson, of Ashover, a man of good report there, came accidentally by where this Dorothy was, and stood still awhile to talk with her, as she was washing her ore; there stood also a little child by her tub-side, and another a distance form her, calling aloud to her to come away; wherefore the said George took the girl by the hand to lead her away to her that called her: but behold, they had not gone above ten yards from Dorothy, but they heard her crying out for help; so looking back, he saw the woman, and her tub, and sieve twirling round, and sinking into the ground. Then said the man, Pray to God to pardon thy sin, for thou are never like to be seen alive any longer. So she and her tub twirled round and round, till they sunk about three yards into the earth, and then for a while staid. Then she called for help again; thinking, as she said, she should stay there. Now the man, though greatly amazed, did begin to think which way to help her; but immediately a great stone which appeared in the earth, fell upon her head, and broke her skull, and then the earth fell in upon her, and covered her. She was afterwards digged up, and found about four yards within ground, with the boy's two single pence in her pocket, but her tub and sieve could not be found.

ATTEN. You bring to my mind a sad story, the while I will relate unto you. The thing is this:-About a bow-shot from where I once dwelt, there was a blind ale-house,[21] and the man that kept it had a son, whose name was Edward. This Edward was, as it were, a half fool, both in his words and manner of behaviour. To this blind ale-house certain jovial companions would once or twice a week come, and this Ned, for so they called him, his father would entertain his guests withal; to wit, by calling for him to make them sport by his foolish words and gestures. So when these boon blades came to this man's house, the father would call for Ned. Ned, therefore, would come forth; and the villain was devilishly addicted to cursing, yea, to cursing his father and mother, and any one else that did cross him. And because, though he was a half fool, he saw that his practice was pleasing, he would do it with the more audaciousness.

Well, when these brave fellows did come at their times to this tippling-house, as they cal lit, to fuddle and make merry, then must Ned be called out; and because his father was best acquainted with Ned, and best knew how to provoke him, therefore he would usually ask him such questions, or command him such business, as would be sure to provoke him indeed. Then would he, after his foolish manner, curse his father most bitterly; at which the old man would laugh, and so would the rest of the guests, as at that which pleased them best, still continuing to ask that Ned still might be provoked to curse, that they might still be provoked to laugh. This was the mirth with which the old man did use to entertain his guests.

The curses wherewith this Ned did use to curse his father, and at which the old man would laugh, were these, and such like; the devil take you-the devil fetch you; he would also wish him plagues and destructions many. Well, so it came to pass, through the righteous judgment of God, that Ned's wishes and curses were in a little time fulfilled upon his father; for not many months passed between them after this manner, but the devil did indeed take him, possess him, and also in a few days carried him out of this world by death; I say Satan did take him and possess him; I mean, so it was judged by those that knew him, and had to do with him in that his lamentable condition. He could feel him like a live thing go up and down in his body; but when tormenting time was come, as he had often tormenting fits, then he would lie like an hard bump in the soft place of his chest, I mean I saw it so, and so would rent and tear him, and make him roar till he died away.

I told you before that I was an ear and eye-witness of what I here say; and so I was. I have heard Ned in his roguery cursing his father, and his father laughing thereat most heartily; still provoking of Ned to curse, that his mirth might be increased. I saw his father also, when he was possessed, I saw him in one of his fits, and saw his flesh, as it was thought, by the devil gathered up on a heap, about the bigness of half an egg, to the unutterable torture and affliction of the old man. There was also one Freeman, who was more than an ordinary doctor, sent for, to cast out this devil; and I was there when he attempted to do it; the manner thereof was this:-They had the possessed into an out-room, and laid him on his belly upon a form, with his head hanging over the form's end. Then they bound him down thereto; which done, they set a pan of coals under his mouth, and put something therein which made a great smoke; by this means, as it was said, to fetch out the devil. There, therefore, they kept the man till he was almost smothered in the smoke, but no devil came out of him; at which Freeman was somewhat abashed, the man greatly afflicted, and I made to go away wondering and fearing.[22] In a little time, therefore, that which possessed the man, carried him out of the world, according to the cursed wishes of his son. And this was the end of this hellish mirth.

WISE. These were all sad judgments.

ATTEN. These were dreadful judgments indeed.

WISE. Ay, and they look like the threatening of that text, though chiefly it concerned Judas, 'As he loved cursing, so let it come unto him; as he delighteth not in blessing, so let it be far from him. As he clothed himself with cursing, like as with a garment, so let it come into his bowels like water, and like oil into his bones' (Psa 109:17,18).

ATTEN. It is a fearful thing for youth to be trained up in a way of cursing and swearing.

WISE. Trained up in them! that I cannot say Mr. Badman was, for his father hath ofttimes in my hearing bewailed the badness of his children, and of this naughty boy in particular. I believe that the wickedness of his children made him, in the thoughts of it, go many a night with heavy heart to bed, and with as heavy a one to rise in the morning. But all was one to his graceless son, neither wholesome counsel, nor fatherly sorrow, would make him mend his manners.

There are some indeed that do train up their children to swear, curse, lie, and steal, and great is the misery of such poor children whose hard hap it is to be ushered into the world by, and to be under the tuition too of such ungodly parents. It had been better for such parents had they not begat them, and better for such children had they not been born. O! methinks for a father or a mother to train up a child in that very way that leadeth to hell and damnation, what things so horrible! But Mr. Badman was not by his parents so brought up.

ATTEN. But methinks, since this young Badman would not be ruled at home, his father should have tried what good could have been done of him abroad, by putting him out to some man of his acquaintance, that he knew to be able to command him, and to keep him pretty hard to some employ; so should he, at least, have been prevented of time to do those wickednesses that could not be done without time to do them in.

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