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The prior three entries summarizing and outlining this sermon by Thomas Adams may be found here:




PART TWO: Madness

Prologue:  Having left his heart full of evil, we come to his madness. No marvel if, when the stomach is full of strong wines, the head grows drunken. The heart being so filled with that pernicious liquor, evil, becomes drunk with it. 269


A tenant, madness

            What madness is

            Types of madmen

A tenement, the heart

A tenure, while they live

I) Madness

A) Adams begins with an extensive explanation of the difference between madness of a physical nature with a physical cause and a “spiritual madness”. To do this he works through the current anthropology. He discusses the differences between imagination, reason and memory; between frenzy and madness.  This discussion is interesting in its own right, but is not necessary to understand the discussion of the spiritual condition.

B)  The madness which I would minister to is thus caused: a defective knowledge; a faith not well formed, affections not well reformed. Ignorance, knowledge and refractory desires make a man mad.

1) “Ignorance:  Anoia {Greek: no mind} and anomia {Greek, no law} are inseparable companions. Wickedness is folly; and ignorance of celestial things is either madness, or the efficient cause, or rather deficient, hereupon madness ensueth. Psalms 14:1, All workers of iniquity have no knowledge.” 271

a) “Beyond exception, without question, the authority, patronage, and original fatherhood of spiritual madness is nescience of God.” 272

b) “The true object of divine knowledge is God; and the book wherein we learn him is his word. How shall they scape the rocks that sail without this compass?” 272

2) “Unfaithfulness is a sufficient cause of madness. Faith in the Christian man’s reason.” 272

a) “Now the privation of reason must needs follow the position of madness.” 272

b) If God speaks , how can that not be good enough for you? “Surely you are mad, haplessly made, hopelessly mad, unmeasurably out of your spiritual wits.” (273)

c) Shall the Lord threaten judgments? Woe to him that trembles not! Hell was not made for nothing. 273.

d) But we see those that are as ripe in lewdness draw long and peaceable breaths; neither is it the disposition of a singular power, but the contingency of natural causes that thus worketh. Take heed; it not the levity but the lenity of God, not the weakness of his arm, but the mercy of his patience that forbeareth thee. 273

e) Infidelity in God’s judgments is madness; unbelief of his mercies hath never been counted less. 273

f) Thou dost not lack faith because God doth not offer it, but because thou wilt not accept it.

g) If, then, distrust of God’s mercy be not madness; what is? …Is he not made that will give credit to the father of lies rather than to the God of truth. 274

3) Refractory and perverse affections made a man frantic. This is a speeding cause and fails not to distemper the soul whereof it hath gotten mastery. 275

a) How many run made of this cause, inordinate and furious lusts!~ If men could send their understandings, like spies, down into the well of their hearts, to see what obstructions of sin have stopped their veins, those springs that erst derived health and comfort to them, they should find that their mad affect have bad effects; and the evil disposedness of their souls arisesth from the want of composedness in their affections. 275

b) This is that which Solomon  calls the wickedness of folly, foolishness, and madness, Ecclesiastes 7:25, a continual deviation from the way of righteousness, a practical frenzy; a roving, wandering, vagrant, extravagant course, which knows not which way to fly, nor where to light except like a dormouse in a dunghill; an opinion without ground, a going without a path, a purpose to do it knows not what ….So madly do these frantics spend their time and strengths, by doing and undoing, tying hard knots and untying them ….275

c) Every willful sin is madness. 276

4) Types of madmen

a) The Epicure 276: what is the flesh which thou pamperest with such indulgence? As thou feedest beasts to feed on them, dost thou not fat thy flesh to fat the worms?  …Thou imaginest felicity consists in liberty, and liberty to be nothing else but a power to live as thou list. Alas, how mad thou art! Thou wilt not live as shouldst, thou canst not live as thou wouldst, thy life and death is a slavery to sin and hell. 277

b) The Proud: ….Admiration is a poison that swells them till they burst ….277….There is mortality in that flesh thou so deckest, and that skin which is so bepainted with artificial complexion shall lose the beauty and itself….278

c) The Lustful:  ….A father contemplating in his meditations how it came to pass that our forefathers in the infancy of the world had so many wives at once, answers himself, Whiles it was a custom, it was scarce a fault. We may so no less in our days. Lasciviousness is so wonted a companion for our gallants that in their sense it hath lost the name of being a sin. 278-9…Thou art made whiles incontinent. 279 I would mention the loss of his soul too; but that he cares not for; the other he would seem to love, then how mad is he to endanger them? …279

d) The Hypocrite plays the madman under covert and concealment. 279 ….He mourns for his sins as a hasty heir at the death of his father. 280.

e) The Avarious is a principle in this bedlam. ….covetousness …It is the great cannon of the devil, charged with chain-shot that hath killed charity in almost all hearts. A poison of three sad ingredients, whereof who hath not tasted?  Insatiability, rapacity and tenacity. 280

f) The Usurer would laugh to hear himself brought into the number of madmen. 281

g) The ambitious man must be also thrust into this bedlam, though his port be high, he thinks himself indivisible from the court. Whiles he minds the stars, with Thales, he forgets the ditch….282.

h) The drunkard: It is a voluntary madness, and makes a man so like a beast that whereas a beast hath no reason, he hath the use of no reason; and the power or faculty of reason suspended gives way to madness. 283

i) The idle man you will say is not made, for madmen can hardly be kept in, and he can hardly be got out. You need not bind him to a post of patience, the love of ease is strong fetters to him….He that lives by the sweat of other men’s brows and will not disquiet the temples of his head. 283

j) The swearer is ravingly mad; his own lips pronounce him; as if he would be revenged on his Maker for giving him a tongue. 283

k) The liar is in the same predicament as the swearer. ….Ps. v. 6, ‘Thou shalt destroy them that speak lies.’ This  is his madness. He kills at least three at once (himself, the one who hears, and the one of whom he lies). 284

l) The busbody will confess a madman; for he fisks up and down like a nettled horse, and will stand on no ground….He loves not to sleep in his own doors. 284

m) The flatterer is a madman….He displeaseth his conscience to please his concupiscence; and to curry a temporary favor he incurreth everlasting hatred. 284.

n) Ingratitude is madness. …He is not worthy of more favors that is not thankful for those he hath.

o) the angry man none will deny to be a madman. 285

p) The envious man is more closely, but more dangerously mad. 285. …He whets a knife to cut his own throat….Others strike him and like a strangely penitential monk, as if their blows were not sufficient, he strikes himself. Is not this a madman? …If you miss in in a stationer’s shop jeering at books, or at a sermon caviling at doctrines, or amongst his neighbor’s cattle grudging their full udders, or in  the shambles plotting massacres, yet thou shalt find him in bedlam. 285

q) The contentious man is as frantic as any….Look upon his eyes, they sparkle fire; mark his hands, they are ever sowing debate. 285 So he makes work for lawyers, work for cutlers, work for surgeons, workd the devil, work for his own destruction. To bedlam with him. 286

r) The impatient man is a madman. …Bear one affliction from God well and prevent a greater. 286

s) The vain-glorious man is a mere madman, …By seeking fame he loseth it, and rushs made upon it. Put him into bedlam. 286

t) False religion: 286….

5) Consider the nature of your tenant. 289

a) He is a usurper, intruding himself into God’s freehold, which, both by creation and re-creation he may challenge for his own inheritance…What a traitor is man to let into his landlord’s house his landlord’s enemy! 289

b) That he doth not pay rent of God’s house. God, rich in merices, lends, and, as it were, lets to farm divers possessions; as the graces of the Spirit, the virtues of the mind, gifts of the body, goods of the world, and for all these he requires no rent but thanksgiving: that we praise him heart, tongue and conversation. 289

c) That he doth suffer God’s tenement to decay; he doth ruinate where he dwells. For the outhouses of our body, madness doth strive to either to burn with lusts or drown them with drunkenness or starve them with covetousness. 289

d) That he doth employ the house to base uses. 289.


II) The Tenement, the heart: The heart is a mansion made for God, not for madness. God made it and reserved it to himself.

III) The Tenure, while they live.

A) Alas! What gain we by searching further into this evidence? The more we look into it, the worse we like it. While they live. Too long a time for so bad a tenant.

B) Who then can be saved?

1) Will God give the kingdom of heaven to madmen?

a) Fear not; all are not madmen that have madness a tenant in their hearts, but they have it for their landlord….sin may well dwell in your hearts, let it not reign there. It will be a household servant, it must not be a king…It is one thing to have madness, another thing for madness to have thee. 290

b) Though sin, the devil’s mad dog, hath bitten thee, and thou at first beginnest to run frantic, yet apply the plaster of the blood of Christ to thy sores. This shall draw out the venom and grace shall get the mastery of madness. Be of good comfort, thou shalt not die frantic. 290

c) Happy is he that learns to be sober by his own madness, and concludes from I have sinned! I will not sin! Madness may be in his heart, like a tenant; it shall never be like a tyrant…..291

PART THREE: The Period (the conclusion)

After that they go to the dead….If a man looks into what life itself is, he cannot but find, both by experience of the past and proof of the present age that he must die. As soon as we are born, we begin to draw to our end.

….If we must be sinful, we must die; if we be full of evil, and cherish madness in our hearts, we must to the dead. We have enough sins to bring us all to the grave. God grant they be not so violent and full of ominous precipitation that they portend our more sudden ruin! 292.

We live to die; let me a little invert it: Let us live to lie; live the life of grace, that we may live the life of glory. Then, though we go to the dead, we shall rise from the dead, and live with our God, out of th reach of death forever. Amen. 293