THE Necessity and Encouragement, OF UTMOST VENTURING FOR THE CHURCHES HELP: TOGETHER WITH The Sin, Folly, and Mischief of Self-Idolizing. Applyed by a Representation of—

  • 1. Some of the most notorious Nationall sins endangering us.
  • 2. The heavy weight of wrath manifested in our present Calamities. Yet withall, grounds of—
  • 3. Confidence, that our Church shall obtain Deliverance in the Issue.
  • 4. Hopes that the present Parliament shall be still imployed in the working of it.

All set forth in a Sermon, Preached to the Honorable House of Commons, on the day of the Monethly solemn Fast, 28. June, 1643.

By HERBERT PALMER B.D. and Minister of Gods Word at Ashwell in Hertfordshire.

Published by Order of that House.

MARK 8. 35.
Whosoever will save his life, shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for my sake and the Gospels, the same shall save it.
JER. 18. 7, 8.
At what instant I shall speak concerning a Nation, and concerning a Kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it: If that Nation against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evill, I will repent of the evill, that I thought to do unto them.

London, Printed for JOHN BELLAMIE in Cornhill at the three golden Lyons neer the Royall Exchange. 1643.

TO THE HONORABLE the House of Commons, now As­sembled in PARLIAMENT.

THe God of Heaven hath called you to a work of the greatest Honour, and greatest Difficulty, that lies upon any number of men, throughout the whole world at this day: Obad. ver. last. To heal the wounds of Zion, and be her instrumentall Saviours; the Repairers of the breach, Esay 58. 12. and the Restorers of paths to dwell in; and to build up the old wasts, and lay the foundations, even of many generations; To save and rescue two Kingdoms, (as you have hel­ped to do a third already) from most desperately-endangering ruin; and make way,Revel. 11. 15. in them, for that blessed Proclamation of the seventh Trumpet, Now are the Kingdoms of this world, become the Kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ!

To strengthen your hearts, and hands in this sacred imployment, as this Sermon, by your call, first presented it self to your attentive ears, so by a second command of yours, it is now tendred to your fa­vourable eye; and withall exposed to the publike view of all, whe­ther friends, or foes to the Peace and welfare of our Ierusalem, or Neuters. In it I have laboured so to speak to every ones conscience, that did hear it, or shall read it, as to make them 1. Sensible of what they should have done, and what they have done; and then 2 Apprehensive of what God hath done, and means to do with the generall, and with them in particular, according to both his threat­nings, and promises; and 3. by all, Zealous for God and his Church, and confident of his grace to his Church, and all her faithfull helpers.

[Page] In the mean time, since it hath pleased him, who is the onely wise God, and the ruler of all things; All whose paths are mercy and truth, to such as keep his Covenant, and his Testimonies; to ex­ercise your humility, fidelity, faith, and patience, by tidings unexpe­cted from divers parts of the Kingdom; And you have so far appre­hended his purposes in it, as to call us all, in and about the City, with your selves, to a solemn and extraordinary publike Humiliation, before the Monthly day comes about: I trust, there is, and will for ever, be written upon your hearts, that holy care which I was bold to recommend unto you, to enquire where the cause is, why God at any time expresses his displeasure; and that not onely in reference to the Nation generally, or any particular persons in it, but even to your own selves, and that as a Body; that so you may thereby be both directed, and excited to fulfill the will of God, according to whatsoever you do, or shall finde amisse in any.

In all which, give me leave once more, to beseech you, in the Name of God, and his Churches, to make us and your selves at once happy. You are our Healers, and while you subsist, as we shall not be alto­gether miserable, so neither without your speciall faithfulnesse, and zeal, can we attain to any setled prosperity. I shall not now in­stance in any other particulars, having touched upon divers in this dis­course, which you are now pleased to make one of your spirituall Re­membrancers. In it, I have taken the freedom of others, to insert a few things, which either straits of time, or shortnesse of memory, forced an omission of in the delivery. Whereof the chief are some enlargement, of our dangers in the first Uses, and of the Use of ex­amination, a­bout our hel­ping the Church, and the insertion of the Cata­logue of sins against the se­verall Com­mandments in the Use of Humiliation. The God, whose truth it is, sancti­fie You and us all by it, as by all the rest of his Word of truth [...], So shall the Truth make us and you free from all our dangers and fears, of all kindes, temporall, and spirituall, and finally, glorifie us all, in and with him, who is the eternall Truth, and eternall Life, the Lord Jesus Christ; In whom I am ever

Your most humble, and Devoted Servant HERBERT PALMER.

A SERMON PREACHED AT THE last Fast, before the Commons House of PARLIAMENT.

ESTHER 4. VER. 13, 14.Text.Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not with thy self,that thou shalt escape in the Kings house, more then all the Jews. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Iews from another place, but thou and thy fathers house shall be destroyed. And who knows, whether thou be come to the Kingdom for such a time as this?’

Preface. BEhold, I set before you this day, a blessing and a curse, saith the holy Prophet Moses unto all the Congregation of Israel, now upon the borders of the promised Land, Deut. 11. 26. Ever since Moses knew them, they had not been in so good a temper, as they were at this instant when he spake these words; and yet he holds it no discourtesie in him, nor disparagement to them, to set home his Exhortati­ons with these incentive quicknings, which he after pursues with a great deal of variety and emphasis, in the latter end of that Book, Chap. 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, and 32.

We are fallen into times, wherein, if ever, Gods people need all manner of quicknings from Gods word, when as his provi­dence is about to do some terrible thing, for, or against the [Page 2] Church, or both. I would hope, we are upon the borders of that promised blessing, which we at least have made to our selves many a time: And I do hope, we are not now in the worst tem­per that ever we were. Though on the other side, it is altoge­ther apparent, we are still upon the borders of ruine, and of one of the wofullest curses, that ever befell a Nation professing Gods Name. Let it not then sound harsh to any ear, specially on so solemn a day of Humiliation, that a Text is presented, which carries not a blessing onely, but also a curse in the very Forehead of it. It is, that we may take our choise, as Moses afterward amplifies the like speech, chap. 30. 19. And for any thing I know, or any man else, as we that are here before God this day, do chuse, even this day, we may fare our selves, and all our Israel with us, at least, in the Good, the Blessing held forth.

But I Preface no longer.

Sum of the Text.THe words contain summarily,[The necessity, and encou­ragement of utmost venturing for the Churches help, in time of danger.] The Jews, at this time, Gods onely visible Church on earth, were now in one of the greatest dangers that ever threatned a Nation. The story is well known, I cannot spend time to decipher it. It is my great comfort, in that and the whole of my Discourse, that I speak to wise men; else the multitude of matters to be crowded together, within the allotted compasse of time for this holy Exercise, would suffer prejudice among us, by my necessary hast; Therefore also I shall give you no other division of the Text, then into the Points that thence offer themselves to our present instruction. I will name them all together, and shew you the Rise of the severalls as we go along.

The first Doctrine is, [Every one of Gods professed people owe their endeavours, with the utmost hazard of themselves, to help the Church in time of danger.]

The second this, [Private self-respects, prove great hinderances to most necessary duties.]

The third, [Those whom private, and self-respects hinder from the Churches help, can have no assurance, what ever seeming advan­tages they may hope upon, that they shall escape more then others.]

[Page 3] The fourth is, [Though those who are most hopefull to be instru­ments of the Churches help, fail her in time of need, yet deliverance shall not fail her, some way or other, according to Gods promises.]

The fifth is, [Though the Church be delivered another way, yet a destruction is owing to them and theirs, that have neglected their ut­most endeavour for her help.]

The sixth is, [There is great hopes, that those who are extraordi­narily raised up, to a speciall opportunity of serviceablenesse to the Church, are intended by God to procure her help, if they will them­selves, and be faithfull.]

All these Points will appear to be most naturally raised from the scope and words of the Text, and all of singular use for our edification, according to the present condition of things among us; As the sequell will shew.

1. Doctrin.The first Doctrin is this; [Every one of Gods professed people, owe their endeavours, with the utmost hazard of themselves, to help the Church in time of danger.]

Mordecai's former charge to Esther, Grounded on the Example in the Text. and this re-inforcement in the Text, supposes this Doctrin fully. It had been too presum­ptuous, to put so great a Person, too injurious, to presse so dear a Friend, to so desperate a piece of service, if upon this generall ground, it had not been a certain, and indispensable duty.Comparing her and our It was hers, therefore all others respectively, all ours particularly. Nothing could discharge her, nothing can acquit us. Consider, and compare; 1. Her Person and ours: 2. Her perill: 3. Her small likelihood of prevailing: 4. And the certainty of the businesse to be done without her.

1. Person.1. Her Person: Which of us, even the highest, matches her greatnesse? how extreamly below are the most? who hath so much to lose, if we lose all, as she? Those we venture for, are our equalls, or neer it some of them, and many are superiours to the most. She was far above all her Nation, of whom the best were distressed tributaries, and multitudes little better then slaves. She ventured alone, none with her, none for her, wee have many engaged as well, as far as we; and we have cause to be glad of them, as well as they of us. If then it were her duty, to endeavour and venture, it is ours without all perad­venture.

[Page 4] 2. Perill. 2. What was the hazard she must rush upon? or what is the ut­most venture? Death. This was hers. And what death more certain, or usually more reproachfull, then for breaking through the known Law of an Imperious Monarch? This she must ex­pose her self to. While yet this charge and threatning of her tells us, [that it is no sinne but a duty of necessity, to prefer the re­gard of a peoples, of Gods peoples, safety, before any such formality of a humane Law.] Yet contrarily, had she forborn this, her dan­ger in humane appearance had been none at all, because though she were a Jewesse, yet not known to be such. And now can our hazard by endeavor be worse, (at the worst) or more certain, or more reproachfull (though the reproach lesse just) then hers? or to any of us, can there be lesse hazard, if we for­bear altogether any endeavour? If then she must not forbear because of perill, no more may we, without the greatest perill of sinne.

3. Improba­bility of suc­cesse.3. How unlikely was it she should prevail with one who in thirty dayes had not called for her, though his wife? and now pressing upon him against his Law? and appearing in opposition to his so doted on Darling Haman? and of a Decree, already sent forth into all his Dominions? which also by the Law of the Medes and Persians seemed unalterable, and so the Case reme­dilesse altogether this way? Is there any thing we are to Endea­vour (let it be what it will) so unlikely to prosper, as this un­dertaking of hers? yet for this must she pawn her life: And what may we then refuse?

4. Needlesse attempt.4. Was it not pity, to drive her forward against such a Ca­nons-mouth; when though she sate still, the Businesse should be done? (himself tells her so) in which she might be lost, and do nothing at all to it? What greater certainty can we have, or what equall, that what we are called to Endeavour and Ven­ture for, will prosper if we do altogether nothing? How many would then indeed resolve to do nothing, and think themselves excusable too? But so might not she, nor so may not we, without sin can be excused; For it appears, that according to the Doctrin, [Every one of Gods professed people, owes, &c.

Let us confirm it by a few other Examples,Confirmed by Scriptures and Examples. and then by some Reasons. 1 Joh. 3, 16, We ought to lay down our lives for the Bre­thren. [Page 5] Here is the Doctrin and Duty fully asserted. The Bre­thren, the Church, have a right to our utmost endeavour, with what hazard soever; we owe it to them, we ought to venture our lives, and when the pinch comes, actually part with them. And here is an example, beyond example, in the words foregoing, of God himself; Christ God and Man both, laid down His hu­mane life for His Church. Hereby perceive we the love of God to­wards us, in that he layd down his life for us. This ought to be Rea­son sufficient to us, to hold our selves obliged to the same hazard in our measure, in thankefulnesse to Him, and imitation of Him, and to testifie the truth of our love, which we professe to bear to the Church, as the Apostle was now exhorting to love. Love denies nothing of endeavours, ventures all things of ha­zard, for the Object loved. So ought we to do, because we ought to love the Church,Paul. See also, Phil. 2. 17. [...]4 2 Tim. 2. 10. and professe we do love it. So Saint Paul, Col. 1 24. I now rejoyce in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behinde of the sufferings of Christ in my flesh, for his bodies sake, which is the Church. Here is another great Exam­ple, not onely of this Duty acknowledged, but practised, and that with joy; and as a debt to Christ and his Church: A strong Rea­son also insinuated; All Christs Members must suffer after His example, even for the Churches good; not meritoriously, or sa­tisfactorily, (which was onely proper to him the Head) but by way of conformity to Him, and testimony to them, to seal hereby, the truth of the Doctrin of Christianity, of faith and holinesse, and proclaim it worth suffering for, and to propagate it, while any opportunity is afforded, in despight of sufferings. Moses also of old,Moses. See alsO, Heb. 11. ventures and forfeits all his greatnesse in the Court of Aegypt, being the reputed and adopted son of Pha­raohs daughter, for his brethrens sake, the children of Israel under oppression, even for the reseue of one of them tyrannical­ly abused,Aaron. Exod. 2. And so Aaron, Numb. 16. Even though his people but the day before, were in rebellion against him, and would have thrust him out of his Office, and at the present had again renewed their mutiny against him and Moses, cry­ing out, Ye have killed the people of the Lord, when it was Gods own immediate vengeance that struck them, and for this mur­muring he now strikes them so heavily, as 14700. of them died [Page 6] of the plague in a quarter of an houre or lesse. Into the middest of which multitude with extreame danger, Aaron to save them ventures himselfe, and runnes in with his censer and incense, between the living and the dead, to make an atonement for them. Here was an admirable charity indeed, typifying Christs, our great high Priests, both dying and praying for his very enemies and crucifyers. And David, David. when his people were in danger of the destroying Angel, offers himselfe to his sword, his owne life to the Pestilence, that they might be spared, 2 Sam. 24. 17. Finally even Joab, Joab. though a man of bloud, and when his turne came to die, unwilling enough, (1 Kings 2.) yet can encourage himselfe and his brother too, to venture themselves to the ut­most▪ for their people, the cities of their God, even though not certain of the successe, which he therefore wholly referres to God, Let the Lord doe that which seemes him good, 2 Sam. 10. 11, 12. And great reason for all this,By Reasons. whether we consider God or the Church, our selves or the enemies or friends of the Church, or By-standers.

Reason 1. We owe our selves wholly to God.1. All Gods professed People Owe themselves Certainly to Him, to Doe all things, Venture, Lose, Suffer all things at His Bidding, and for His Sake. If then He Appoint to Doe any of this, or all this, for the Churches sake, we Owe it as a Duty Vnquestionably. What say You to this? Brethren, what think you of St. Pauls saying▪ You are not your owne? 1 Cor. 6. 19. What have you, which is not His, by Creation, by Preservation; special Providence and gift? And may He not call for all that is His, at any time, or any way? Are not you His, by Redemption too? You are bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirits which are Gods, 1 Cor. 6. 20. Satan had you once his slaves; and you did his worke, fulfilled his lusts, with body and soule and all that you had; and all that was Dishonour to God exceedingly. Now God hath bought you with a price, such a price as the preci­ous bloud of His own Son; can you chuse but owe your selves wholly to Him, at His pleasure? Once more; are you not His altoge­ther, by covenant? A right He hath in you even that way, as much as it is possibly for you to pretend, or imagine your selves ever to have been your own. What is the covenant of Christi­anity plainly, but for Him to be our God, and we His people? Jer. [Page 7] 31. 33. and every where, and Heb. 8. 10. to deny our selves, take up our crosse daily, and follow Him, Luke 9. 23. to sell all, Mat. 13. 44, 45, 46. forsake all, hate all, Luke 14. 26. 33. or else we are told by the Truth it selfe, we are no Christians; we cannot be his Disciples? Now doth not all this amount to all endeavour, and the Venture of the utmost hazard? What can any one except against this, or except out of this? Thou hast an estate; who gave it thee, but God? (Riches and honour are of thee, &c. [...] Chron. 29. 12.) or rather lent it thee, made thee steward of it? He appoints thee to lay out so much for such an use, gives the Church a Letter of Atturney: Is it not thy due to yeeld it upon demand? Thou hast honour and dignity; who promoted thee? Psal. 75. 7. God is the Judge, He puts down one, and sets up another. If He will have thee lay it down and give over thy office, maist thou say, I am not bound to yeeld to it? Thou hast friends; who made them friends, and able to shew themselves friendly, but God who rules all hearts? If He will thee to sleight their friendship in this or that case canst thou say, thou owest Him no such respect? Thou art a Freeman, in bondage to none; who made thee free spiritually, but Christ? made thee be borne a freeman temporally, (not a slave, as in some countries) but God? if he call thee to venture lying in a dungeon, as a prisoner; a captive; or come into bonds and debts to doe Him necessary service; wilt thou say thou owest Him no such service? In a word, thy lims, sense▪ life, whence hadst thou them, or hast them first and last? may He not then com­mand them all? Owest thou not all of them to Him? and so thy selfe in all respects to Him? and accordingly to His Church, at His wil? Remember this as the first main Reason, upon which all the rest depend. They are divers, but of each of them more briefly.

Reason 2. The Church is Gods Recei­ver, as much as she needs.For 2ly. God hath made the Church his receiver of all his rents, and dues, so far as her need requires. Plainly God every where expresses, that He counts that done or not done to Him, which is done or not done to His Church. Christ, we know, expresses this as the stile of His sentences at the great day of Judgement, (even referring to particular members, helped, or neglected) You did it to me, You did it not to me, Mat. 25. Where note also, the very Reprobates, and now doomed to damnation, dare not deny but they owed [Page 8] all respect to Christ; and speak as though they would not have neglected it, if they had lookt at it as reaching to Him, so that He would have taken it to heart. But they might have known (we may) from so many expressions in His word; that in refe­rence to the Churches necessities, Christ and the Church are one; and have but one name, Jer. 23. 6. with 33. 16. and 1 Cor. 12. 12. If we could see no Reason for this, yet since he so often saith it, we must not choppe logicke with Him, and offer to deny it, but if we would, all logick and reason would confute us; for,

Reason 3. The Church is Gods glory on earth.3. God is specially glorified upon earth, or dishonoured according as His Church fares. Israel is His glory, Esa. 46. ult. (The Church Christs spouse and His kingdome) He is glorified in their wel­fare, when their number encreases, their sins are purged, they freed from judgements and enemies, and their prosperity ad­vanced. Therefore to endeavour this with our whole strength, and utmost hazard, is our duty, as well as to love Him with our whole hearts, and soules, and minds, and strength, and to doe all things to His glory. And we cannot faile in any thing, but we faile so much in our love to Him; and dishonour Him so much; therefore,

Reason 4. We pray for it in the Lords prayer.4. We pray for this, for the Churches good, when we understan­dingly pray as Christ hath taught us. Hallowed be thy Name, Thy kingdome come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in Heaven. And we mock God if we so pray, and endeavour it not, with all cheer­full readinesse, universall Fractice, and constant continuance, like the Angels in Heaven, though we cannot reach their perfection; nor are they put upon hazards, because they have no sin, and so no suffering to undergoe, but

Reason 5. Angels give us example.5. The very example of the Angels endeavours affords a distinct argument of our obligation. They are sent forth to minister for their sakes that shall be the heirs of salvation, Heb. 1. 14. It is not too mean an office then for the greatest on earth, to endeavour the Churches helpe. For,

Reason 6. All things and persons are for the Churches sake.6. All things, and persons are ordained for the Churches sake. The very world continues, that every one that in Gods Decree belongs to the Church, should be converted, and be brought to repentance, 2 Pet. 3. 9. All gifts are bestowed for the Churches sake, The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man, to profit [Page 9] Doct.1. withall, 1 Cor. 12. 7. all for the Churches profit, and so 1 Cor. 3. 21, 22. All things are yours, whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life or death, or things present or things to come, all are yours. All, not only things, but persons, Apostles, and Ministers, Kings, and Parliaments, and all, are every one of them intended for the Church; God called this Parliament for his Churches sake; and for his Churches sake it is that he hath so establisht and conti­nued it. Even Kings, And the Prophet tells how that it was for Jacob his servants sake and Israel his elect, that God raised up Cyrus and gave him victories, holding his right hand, and subduing Nations before him, and loosing the loynes of Kings, opening the two leaved gates, &c. Esay. 45. ver. 1. 4. And elsewhere that Kings should be nursing Fathers to his Church, Esay 49. 21, 22. & 60. 16. and Queenes nurses, and that they should carry the Churches children in their armes, and upon their shoulders, and give them suck, do even the meanest offices of help to them, with all diligence and paines-taking and breaking their sleep (as Nurses use for their nurslings) for their good. And all this Cyrus hath taught us, to be not onely prophesies of what shall be, but precepts of what ought to be: For understanding of the prediction, Esay 44. 28. that he should build the Temple, he takes it to be a command given to him; as he proclaimes to all the world,And even the very Authori­ty of Christ in Heaven. 2 Chron. 36. Ezra 1. Thus all humane authority on earth is for the Churches good. And which is farre higher and a most exceedingly admirable expression, the very Authority of Christ in Heaven, (though ultimately for his own glory, the glory of God, yet) is also intended for the Churches good. So remarkeably and fully speakes the Apostle, Ephes. 1. 22. God gave him to be the Head over all things to the Church. How much more are earthly men so meant? It is injurious therefore with­out question not to God onely, but to the Church in point of right, for any man on earth to withhold any thing from her, whereby she may be helped or benefited. For also—

Reason 7. Our comforts are from the Church.7. The comforts (as well as Talents) that we have received, we may instrumentally thank the Church for them, as our Mother that bare us; and her children as our brethren and sisters, that hel­ped to bring us up, both naturally and spiritually; and doe still (while we live) more for us then we can possibly requite, with our utmost endeavour and venturing our selves for them. [Page 10] Doct.1. Thankfulnesse then ties us, besides all former Obligations. The rather because—

Reason. 8. Our sins have endangered her.8. Every one by their sins have sundry wayes endangered the Church, and do almost continually; provoking God, and some­times men against her; dishearting the Friends, and strength­ning the Enemies, by evill Words, and Examples. We owe then by way of satisfaction to her, and repentance toward God, to do henceforward our utmost to help, and rescue, and streng­then her every way. This was Davids reason, in the foremen­tioned 2 Sam. 24. and Pauls provocation to his duty, doubtlesse, many a time. This is the more strong, because still—

Reason. 9. Enemies do their utmost.9. The Church hath many Enemies, who do, and will do their worst against her, and are specially encouraged, and advantaged by our neglect. They get ground as much as we withdraw, and give back; And our valour makes them at least at a stand, and is some discouragement to them. Also—

Reason. 10. Friends fail, or are streng­thened by what we do.10. When any of Gods people shrinks, he endangers to break the Ranks, and disorder others, and make them run away from their Colours, as well as himself; or at least sads their hearts, weakens their hands, and makes bare their sides, and contra­rily, each ones vigour and valour adds strength to his compa­nions every way. We owe it to them then, and to the professi­on we have made to stand to them, and live and die with them. And there are great examples both wayes of this.

Reason. 11. So By stand­ers in their degree.11. Finally, By-standers, and Neuters, are much led like sheep by the eye, and though fearfull, yet are sometimes engaged by our courage. But to be sure, they learn fearfulnesse of us; And if those see us backward any way, whose interests seem to be more in the Cause then theirs, they will easily think themselves excu­sed; And then their sins will prove ours. This I speak, to those that in a more peculiar manner professe themselves Gods peo­ple; though others also are professed Christians at large; there should be no such difference, if all would come up to their du­ties: But since all will not, at least not readily, we that are outwardly forwardest any way, must be so every way, else I say, we discharge not our debt, and duty, and give ill example to those that are too too backward of themselves. So I have done with the proof of the first Point, which is the main founda­tion [Page 11] Doct.1.of all, and therefore not to be lightly passed over, but put beyond all gain-saying. I come now to the Use of it.

Vse. Consideration 1. Of Church­es dangers needing help.The Use that I shall make of this first Doctrin by it self, is onely to provoke us all, to a serious consideration, of our Church and Nations dangers, calling for our utmost help; as also what help is possible and necessary for us to afford; (taking in Ireland also into our thoughts, though I cannot at every turn name it, but it must never be forgotten, specially on these solemn dayes of seeking God; their unhappinesse affording us the first advan­tage of enjoying this publike happinesse of these dayes of humi­liation, towards our own good as well as theirs.) Where we [...]we help, we must needs consider the need of help, and the means of it.

The Churches dangers needing help, are reducible to two heads, Judgments, and Sins. Both together put us into the condition of Isreal, Nehem. 9. 37. whose sad expression is, We are in great distresse. Indeed far greater then theirs was then, as a compari­son would fully clear, but that I have no leasure for it; neither shall I now say all that I intend on either Head, because the fol­lowing Points require a reservation of somewhat of each kind, to re-inforce them: But yet even to make further way for them, and in the mean time for a brief discourse of the means of help, somewhat also must here be premised of the Churches dangers, both in regard of judgements, and sins.

For our dangers,1. Judg­ments. in regard of Judgements, I may thus recapi­tulate them. First, An attempt, upon a deep-rooted, long-projected designe,1. Attempt a­gainst all this. to ruin Religion, Gods true Religion, our Laws, and Liberties; and in, and for all this, this present Par­liament.

2 Army raised against.2. An Army raised for this, by Papists-counsels, enemies to the true Religion, and consequently to our State, and Laws, by which it is established; Made up for the most part of men of desperate spirits, enemies to Parliaments, and Laws, because themselves are Delinquents, and resolve to be Libertines; and men of de­sperate fortunes, and therefore enemies to the propriety and true liberty of the Subject, without the violation of which they cannot subsist in their broken condition.

3 Enemies possesse our King.3. These enemies possessing the Person of our King, abusing his [Page 12] Doct. 1. Use.Consider the Churches dan­ger. minde, by their wicked suggestions, and counsels; his Name, to countenance all their lawlesse outrages, and to cast all manner of reproaches upon the Parliament, And particularly, upon prime Members of both Houses.

4. They have prevailed far.4. These enemies having prevailed in many places, to rob and spoil houses, villages, towns, countreys; to carry away Priso­ners, and use them with more then barbarous cruelty; to kill and destroy, many in the field in open war, some in cold blood, (if their boyling rage and malice can ever be said to be cold blood) and not a few, by worse then brutish usage in their Prisons; to violence, and violate mens consciences, by forcing upon them the Protestation against the Parliament.

5. Their strength e­nough to en­danger all.5. These enemies being in themselves, many in number, and of great strength; in divers places apparently stronger then we, in all kinde of strength, (except spirituall) and in the whole, po­werfull enough to put all into exceeding hazard, by force and fraud, arms and conspiracies, (witnesse Bristoll, and the late damnable Plot against the Parliament and City) specially con­sidering the multitude of secret enemies, seeming but Neuters, intermingled every where with us, specially in all considerable places; (the City is not, the Parliament it self hath not been free) and not a few, even almost professed enemies, let alone and suffered, in the very City, and much more in the Countreys; and too many false and treacherous friends in the Armies, and every where. Besides multitudes of professed Neuters, ready to fall to the enemies, where ever they shall appear stronger, and in the mean time, affording as little help, as possible they can, the rather because the worst of the Parliaments exclaimed a­gainst severity, is courtesie to the ordinary usage of their adver­saries against any that have in the least opposed them.

6. Churches friends weak and few6. Our friends impoverisht daily, without means of restaura­ration, disheartened by mutuall jealousies divided by differences in opinion, diminished by deaths, and captivities, without hopes of ransom, and few grow up in their rooms.

7 Forrain States help not, but hurt thence.7. Forrain States and Countreyes, at the best no friends, while in the mean time, Papists in severall parts, afford great assist­ance to our enemies, by contributions of Moneys, and Arms: And so have some of our pretended Friends done too, whose con­sciences [Page 13] Doct. 1. Use.Consider the Churches dan­ger by sins Nationall.will one day pay them to the full for it, on earth, or a worse place, (or both) as fighters against God and his true Reli­gion; and self-condemned in their own hearts, for worse rebells (if we be thought by them to be so at all) then any rhetorick can make us.

8. Ireland wasts, and endangers.8. Ireland, not onely affords us no help, but helps to wast our Estates, our Provisions, Arms, Ammunition, while the Re­bels there are in part furnisht from sorrain States, and now at last, threatning us also with an actuall Invasion; and at least some of those Rebels being actually in Arms against us.

Lay now all these together, and we must needs acknowledge, that our danger is exceeding great, and we all In great distresse, in regard of the Judgments that lie upon, and threaten our Church and Nation, and Ireland with us.

And now it is time,2. Churches danger by sins of Nation that we come to consider our Nations sins a little, as the provoking Cause of all these Judgments: For so the Prophet resolves the Question, why the sword was sent against Judah, Jer. 4. 18. Thy wayes, and thy doings have procured these things to thee: This is thy wickednesse, because it is bitter, and because it reaches unto thy heart. To shew this, we will scan first,A Nation sinfull 5. ways. how many wayes a Nation may be called sinfull, ac­cording to the phrase, Esay 1. 4. and a people laden with iniquity: And then see, whether in all those respects, our Land be not un­deniably sinfull, and laden with transgressions.

Five wayes a Nation may deserve the name of sinfull.1. All ranks tainted much. First, when all sorts and ranks, that is, many in each of them, are apparently tainted with sinne.

2. The most tainted with any one kinde of sin.2. When particular sins, as ignorance, drunkennesse, swearing, prophanenesse, (any one such notorious sin, and much more, if divers) doe visibly taint the greatest number in a Nation, every where; according to the expression, Ezek. 22. Thou hast done thus and thus.

3. A few no­torious sins altogether un­punisht, though laws against them.3. When any visible iniquity, though practised but by some few, is not at all punisht, though there be law against it. This comes under another phrase in the forementioned chapter, Ezek. 22. In thee; in thee have they set light by Father and Mother; in the middest of thee, have they done thus and thus: We know the very not enquiring after Achan, (there having been a particular war­ning, [Page 14] Doct.1. Use. Consider the Churches danger by sins Nationall. that one such man would make all Israel accursed) made God charge his single fact upon all the Nation, Israel have sinned, and they have trangressed, &c. Ios 7. And accordingly he threatens not to be with the Nation any more, except they found him out, and punisht him accordingly.

4. Laws silent, or too weak to restrain sin.4. When the Lawes are too weak and slack, or altogether silent in the restraint of wickednesse. This could not indeed be in the Jew­ish common-wealth, because they had lawes of Gods own ma­king, to punish all manner of transgressions, that God would have to be punisht: But since other Common-wealths have ta­ken to themselves (I am afraid farther then God allowes) a Li­berty to count themselves free from his penal laws, it is manifestly possible, that they may be wanting in necessary laws, to suppresse ungodlinesse; & then they make the Nation guilty of such sins, as for want of good laws are practised; In that the Authority that God hath given in a Nation to make laws for the observation of His divine Lawes, is not put in execution sufficiently. Authority, I say, sins in not making such necessary lawes, and inferiours sin in not following them with petitions and importunities for the ma­king of them. And so all are sinfull, the Nation is sinfull.

5. Sin counte­nanced, or al­lowed by law.5. Much more when any sin hath any kinde of countenance, and allowance from Authority, and specially from lawes: and that offen­ders against Gods commandements, can pleadmans approbation, if not command in some sort, of their practises. This is the highest and worst degree of all, not onely because it doth immediately taint the generality in point of practice; but layes a cursed foun­dation of vilifying all Gods lawes in any thing when it appears to inferiours, that superiours (though men like themselves) dare take upon them so to crosse Gods Authority with theirs.

And now if in all these respects,Our Nation shewed sinfull by acknowledg­ments of all. our Nation is greatly guilty of transgression and sinne against our God and Heavenly King, we are beyond all peradventure a sinfull Nation, and a people laden with iniquity; and for this, for the present I onely appeale to every ones conscience, that seemes to have any sense of con­science, and to the generall complaint that there is every where, of something or other in all these kindes. Even they oft times, that notoriously help to fill up the measure of a Nations wick­ednesse, doe yet themselves complain aloud of the universality of [Page 15]Doct.1. Use. II. Consider what help may, should be af­forded the Church.corruption, and sin of all sorts, and in all sorts. Let me then take them, and all others, at their own words in this, and judge them out of their own mouths (God will be sure to doe so one day,) that they have acknowledged our Land and Church to be not only a greatly endangered, but a deeply guilty people; and so in both re­spects needing abundance of help, even the utmost that can possibly be afforded, by any, by all of us. And that is the other consideration, belonging to this Use, what help is propor and pos­sible to be afforded to the Church in this her need?

1.1. Outward. Against the outward danger, outward help is needed for our Nation, and Church, and Ireland also; Counsels, purses, per­sons, whatsoever is ours, or can be justly procured by us, is owing, (as the doctrine hath shewed us) because it may be helpfull, and may be needed one time or other, for the Churches help.

2.2. Spirituall. Against the whole of the danger, Prayer may be helpfull, and is altogether needfull, 1 Prayer. constant, humble, penitent, faithfull, fer­vent prayer. I need not insist on this, you have heard it al­ready this day abundantly, and powerfully.2. Humiliatiō. But of Humiliation not only as a companion of Prayer, but also as a Parent or Nurse of it, and so as a distinct means of help for the Church, I must a little particularly speak; specially this being a solemne day of Humiliation, wherein both God and man require of us, to urge this, which I shall doe by shewing; first, what is the nature of it; and then secondly, the object of it, to what it extends, both as a duty, What it is, and as a meanes. For the nature of it; Humiliation is a lying low, and being abased at Gods feet for mercy, making first, a hearty confession and acknowledgement to God of 4. things. 1. Of naturall extreame sinfulnesse and corruption, and particular sins, as many as are knowne, or by enquiry can be found out, with their aggra­vations. 2. Of extremity of punishment thereby deserved. 3. Of impossibility of escaping such punishment without Gods favour. 4. Of impossibility of obtaining Gods favour, without repentance and faith in Christ our surety. 2. From all this making also an entire submis­sion and yeelding to any temporall correction, which God layes or conti­nues, without murmuring, or offering to free our selves by sinning a­gaine in any kinde. All this is included within the nature of true humiliation.Why required. Which as it is often called for in Scripture1 as a duty, giving glory to God, in all his providence, and particularly in his [Page 16] Doct.1. Ʋse. Consider how to help the Church by hu­miliation.Judgements mixed with mercies, according to his Word, and all his soveraigne dignities and titles of Creatour, Preserver, Ruler, and King of all men and Creatures; and all his glorious attributes of Just, Holy, Wise, Gracious, Powerfull, True, So2 is it also fre­quently both in generall and in the particular parts of it, made and appointed a necessary meanes of helping a Nation; one place shall now suffice for many, Lev. 26. 40, 41. If they shall con­fesse their iniquities,, and the iniquity of their Fathers, with their trespasse whereby they have trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me, and that I also have walked contrary to them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity; Then will I remember, &c. And all this the rather, because3 such a Humiliation is both most necessary and most effectuall, to make us endeavour what ever else is con­ducible toward the Churches help, as specially a holy Example, and activity for Reformation; of which afterwards.

Now for the object of Humiliation,2. How far it extends, name­ly to It concernes (and would though we our selves were both altogether innocent, and free from all personall danger;)1. Sins of Nation. 1. The sins of the Nation, (we live amongst) endangered also by his judgements felt, or feared. But much more, when our own being sensibly in danger, as well as others, calls us to remember our own sins, and be humbled for them, specially being some way guilty also even of the Na­tions sins, as we shall see anon.

2. Sins of Forefathers for 5. Reasons.2. This Humiliation for the sins of our Nation, must extend to the sins of our Forefathers; this we finde commanded, (by way of condition to a promise) Lev. 26. 49. and every where practised in solemn Humiliations, referring to a Nations good, as Ezr. 9. Nehemiah 1. & 9. Daniel 9. Ierem. 3. And the reasons of this are cleare.

1. Tenants children lyable to pay Parents debts and for­feitures.1. In that we as their heires, are justly lyable to punishments (temporall) for their sins in former times. Mens Justice re­quires debts of Heires, namely the Landlords rents; and for wastes committed against their leases; God may much more. This broke good Iosiahs heart, melted it into teares, when by the reading of the book of the Law, he found what arrerages he and his land were in, for the forfeitures of their Forefathers; [Page 17] Doct. 1. Application. Consider how to help the Church by hu­miliations for sins of forefa­thers.Though he had begun to put himself and them, into a better po­sture of service, and duty, toward God their great Landlord: So should we also be affected, even with the sins of our Ance­stours.

2. Enjoying fruit by their sinne.2. Specially if in any thing we finde, that any worldly com­modity we enjoy, is the fruit of their sin: Whereas Humane Politicks excuse, or justifie, or commend those sins, that redound in appearance to worldly security, or advantage; as the letting evill men, or evill practises alone, which might have been re­drest, and supprest, if not at one time, yet at another, had there been a true, and through zeal for God, and faith in God. Di­vine wisdome commands humiliation for (and reformation of, if yet to be done) as endangering evils: Therefore holy Hezekiah, 2 Kings 18. who trusted in the Lord with all his heart, after his humble ac­knowledgments of manifold transgressions, ventures to pul down all the high-places, even superstitious, as well as idolatrous, which all former Reformers, even Asa, and Jehoshaphat in their times medled not with. And holy David, though perhaps he had not power enough, to punish the treacherous murthers of the great Generall Joab, yet cannot die in peace, till he hath left a charge upon his son Solomon, to pay that debt for him, 1 Kings 2. which therefore he carefully fulfilled without delay.

3. Lest we ap­prove, or ex­cuse sins, be­cause theirs.3. Yet more, It is required that we be humbled for our fore­fathers sins, lest, as we are too apt, we either approve of the evill of them, (which else we could not but in our consciences condemn) even because it was their practise to do thus, and they went no further in reforming; and this we usually think excuse enough.

4. Or think it, because they were not pu­nisht for it.Or 4. Lest we should make it an argument also, that God is well pleased with such, and such things, because our forefathers did so, and were not severely plagued, but rather flourished in those wayes: Which also is a common pretence, for the continuance of evill practises.

5. Or return to them again, after a leaving them.Or 5. Last of all, Lest even after we had forsaken their sins, we should again by temptation, be drawn to return to them: Against all which, there is no better antidote (under the grace of Christ) then a sad, and serious, and oft repeated, and renewed humili­ation, even for our forefathers sins, as well as those of the pre­sent [Page 18]Doct. 1. Application. Vse 1. Consider how to help the Church.generation, in our nation and people.

3 Our own.3. But to all this, we must be sure to adde, (or rather to pre­mise it first in our hearts, though my method leads me to name it last) the humiliation for our own personall sins; As many as we do, or can by strict enquiry know, by our selves. And this ge­nerally, for the reasons noted at the first; Gods honour, our own reformation, and our escaping wrath, through Gods mercy in Christ.

And this we must do, even after we have resolved,Though re­forming, or reformed. N. B. or begun to reform, and also after we have reformed, how perfectly so­ever, and even have our pardon sealed never so sure. That thou mayest remember, and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more, when I am pacified towards thee, for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord God, Ezek. 16. 63. And to the like purpose, Ezek. 36. 31, 32. Because also, while we are but resolving, or begin­ning to reform our selves, we may suddenly revolt, even to worse then before, if a through Humiliation, shame, sorrow, and fear, keep us not. And after we have reformed most com­pleatly, still some taints remain in our own hearts, (and much more many times, in others tainted by us) which need this mortifi­cation. Pharaohs often revolts, and even Israels too, all Moses time, are sad confirmations of this. We read them often relenting, but never solemnly making it their businesse, to humble them­selves for their transgressions.

3. A holy example.3. Moreover, against the spirituall danger of sin, a holy ex­ample, an exact unblameable conversation may be greatly help­full, and is infallibly needfull, St. Peter supposes, even ungod­ly men may thereby be constrained to glorifie God, 1 Pet. 2. and prophane Paganish husbands converted, even without the Word, by the conversation of the wives, 1 Pet. 3. 1, 2. It shews ungodly men, that godlinesse is a possible thing to be practised as well as worded. And where it is wanting, no word can do so much good, as that want doth harm; as I shall again touch anon.

4. An active endeavour of reformation.4. Finally, against sin and judgment both, an active endea­vour of reformation is specially helpfull, and beyond contro­versie needfull. 1. Against judgment, as appears by the pro­mise of pardoning that is, sparing for the present, Jerem. 5. 1. [Page 19] If but a man were found, that did execute judgment, and seek the truth. Application. Use. 1. Consider how Reformation helps the Church. And by the assigning this the cause of Gods indignation powred out upon them, Ezek. 22. 30, 31. because God sought for a man that should stand in the gap, and make up the hedge before him for the land, but found none: that is, never a man of note, active for reformation: For else there were godly men, that mourned and prayed, Ezek. 9. but none stood up strongly for God; that would have helped much. 2. Against sin, by using all the au­thority any hath; As a Governout of a family, Parent, Master, Minister, or Magistrate to bring sinners to repentance, and keep others from sinning. This no man will, no man can in generall deny to be a helpfull, and necessary duty: therefore I add no more of it for the present, but shall meet with it again in some following Uses of other Points.

Doct. 2.I now come to the second Doctrin, which is this: [Private self-respects, Grounded on Text. prove great hinderances to most necessary duties.] It had like to have done so here with Esther; it did so at the first bout, till Mordecai's divine arguments, of faith, and despair, dreadfull frights, and glorious hopes, quickned her to the he­roick resolution, expressed in the following verse. I will go in to the King, which is not according to the Law, and if I perish, I perish. Thus she overcame at last, and was no longer hindered from her duty: But too many are every where, as sad experi­ence proclaims to all ears.

This turned Peter for a fit,Exemplified by Peter. from a Champion of Christ in the garden, to a Renegado in the Palace. It was not indeed a neces­sary duty indeed to follow Christ thither, at that time: Nor per­haps, to make answer at all to the questions then put to him, if silence would have satisfied. But it was absolutely necessary for a Disciple of Christ, not to deny his Master any where, much more, not to forswear him, with cursing and banning, that he knew no such man, but contrarily to professe himself his, if he could not without such horrid lying conceale it; yet this private self-respect put him upon, not onely to neglect his duty, but to do quite contrary. He conceited that the owning of his Ma­ster, would at this time endanger his own personall safety, and if he denied him, he might escape unknown, and untoucht out of the high Priests Palace, what ever became of his Master. And [Page 20] Doct. 2. Self-respects hinder most necessary du­ties. now, though every one curses not, or swears like him, yet have not too many of us our fits, when we come into malignant com­panies, too like this?

This also was the very thing that delayed the building of the temple so long, The Jews ne­glecting the Temples buil­ding. till God by punishments and severe chidings, for­ced them out of it, Hag. 1. compared with Ezra 4. Indeed at the first, the adversaries, under colour of the Kings Commission, made them to cease by force and power; but afterward it was meerly the Iews base self-respects that bindred it: For the truth was, neither the adversaries complaint to the King was against the Temples building, but against the Cities, and accordingly his De­cree mentions not the Temple, but the City. They (the ene­mies) spited the Temple chiefly, as looking at that (as it was in­deed) as the pledge of the Iews welfare: But that would have born no colour for a complaint, the Iews having had Cyrus his com­mand for it; therefore they abuse the King with the noise of danger of rebellion, &c. so surreptitiously get a Command from him, which they abuse, to make the Temple-work to cease. Thus far Ezr. 4. Now Haggai tels us, that after this, the Jews be­ing able better to brook the want of the temple, then of houses for themselves to dwell in, do for all the Decree, try their adversaries courtesies, and fall to building of houses for themselves, which was indeed properly to build the City, (which the other was not) and then finding their enemies take no alarme at that, they proceed to make them gorgeous and gay, fall to sieling them, while they let Gods house lie waste, and say, The time is not yet come for the building of it; nor never would have come in their conceit, if God would have held his peace, and his Prophets been silent, as long as there had been a shadow of an adversary, that had a quarrell against the Temple, and so against them, when they should offer again to go in hand with it.Confirmed by Reasons.

What now are the Reasons of this briefly?

Reason 1. Selfe-love prevails in most;1. The generall corruption that is in all naturally, namely self-love, which makes men self-idols, and self-idolaters. This is the great cause of the perillous times foretold, 2 Tim. 3. 1. Men shall be lovers of their own selves, even professed Christians would be so, more notoriously then formerly. Yet before that, St. Paul sadly com­plains of the generality of Christians, (even Teachers) All [Page 21]Doct. 2.seek their own, not the things of Jesus Christ, Philip. 2. 21. This wholly possesses the most (sc. all that are not truely regenerate) and taints the best too much, and too often. Hence all Christs Disciples forsake him and flie, when he was apprehended, Matt. 26. 56. and all Pauls friends,Taints all. every one of them forsook him at his first answer, and no man stood by him, 2 Tim. 4. 16. For—

Reas. 2. Experience of backward­ness profitable2. Worldly experience teaches, that men oft escape by not being too forward, and sometimes even advantage themselves besides. He that forbears, is sometimes hid; and enemies sometimes, will hire even to Neutrality. At this bait, a self-lover cannot but bite; and upon this condition, he will never stir hand nor tongue, for the Church, or Christ, or God, or any thing. Contrarily—

Reas. 3. Of forward­nesse hurtfull.3. There are also many experiences that the most forward in any Cause of danger, are oft lost, and hardliest escape. They run more upon the mouth of danger; provoke the enemies rage more, in hot blood, and their malice in cold blood, and their fear too, which makes them endeavour their destruction above other mens. This no self-idolater can abide to think on, and much lesse to adventure, how necessary soever it be he should, and though he do appear somewhat on the Churches side.

Reas. 4. Lazinesse and sensuality makes towards and negligent.4. Sometimes meer lazinesse and sensuality, renders men cowards at well as fear, and keeps them from publike services of any kinde, that must cost them any pains and sweat, and interrupt them in their ease and pleasures, which they love more then they do God, (and therefore much more then they do the Church) even those, they have a form of godlinesse, but they deny the power of it, as the Apostle speaks also in the forementioned, 2 Tim. 3. 5. The power of godlinesse would carry them on to all Endeavours for God, and his Church; But the form, will no further then may stand with their pleasures, and that is very-very-little in any time, specially in the times of the Churches dangers.

Reas. 5. So doth cove­tousnesse.5. Covetousnesse makes many neglectfull, and cowardly, as well as any thing. All activity usually is costly, and their Money is their life, at least their vitall spirits, their life-blood; therefore if they must part with much of that, they grow faint, like men that have lost much blood, and even the very fear of it, strikes them into a kinde of swoun. They may then wish better to the [Page 22] Doct. 2. Self-respects hinder most necessary du­ties. Church then to the adversaries, for the right of the cause, or in the generall. But if they can but fancy a hope that they shall keep their goods, if the adversaries should prevail; the Churches party shall sink and starve, before they will part with much to save them, if they can tell how to keep it.

Reason. 6. Covetousness. &c. makes do work to halves6. Yet again, some can serve their covetousnesse, and ambition, and other lusts much, by seeming to do something, but not their ut­most, that they may still be imployed. So unfaithfull Lawyers, oft prolong Sutes, to get more Fees; and hard-hearted Chirugions torment their Patients with delayes, that they may get more for their Cures: And so the complaint is, that Commanders and Captains do in their Profession, with dead payes, and false m [...] ­sters, and slow proceedings, losing opportunity. It is charged upon States-men too, in their Profession to have this Art. Un­doubtedly, the spirit of this, is mightily in the world, where op­portunity is to advance it; though with the disadvantage of the Church alwayes, and sometimes the hazard of her utter ruine.

Reason. 7. Envie scorns to labour when others shall be than­ked.7. Envie also sometimes is deeply guilty of neglect of duty. Others (they think) being Chief in the Imployment, are like to be Chief in the thanks, honour, and reward: This those that date on themselves, their own wisdome, and worth, scorn, and hate; and so refuse to do any thing, or at least, do as little as they dare. So was it probably with the Elders of Succoth, and Peniel, each of them thought himself as good a man as Gideon, and therefore would not afford him and his weary men, the least relief in their victorious Progresse. Certainly, this made the Ephraimites quarrell with Jephtha, even after they had neglected to help him, Judg. 8. 2. And this made Israel so ready to revolt again from David, upon Sheba's traitero [...]s blowing the Trumpet, 2. Sam. 20. because they thought the men of Judah would have the greatest thanks for bringing the King baske, cap. 19. Onely once to shew that no payson is so venemous, but God can extract good out of it; This viper of envy, while it meant to sting the Apostle to death, joyned with him in preaching the Gospel, for which in despite of its devillish intention, he rejoyces a­loud. But ordinarily, No dosposition is so barren of all good, or fruitfull of all evill, as this cursed root of envy.

[Page 23] Doct. 2. Self-respects hinder most necessary du­ties. Reason. 8. Libertines spirits fear the Churches pro­sperity.8. Unto all these must be added, that the lusts, and fancies of many, make them fear the Churches prosperity, as well as the enemies triumph, and therefore they will in no wise put to their utmost strength in her behalf, lest she growing strong, should too much curb their wilde fancies, and unbridled lusts, Like unruly children, that desire not to see their Mother recover any weaknesse, that they may the more freely run up and down without controll. This pro­vokes not a few even to be enemies to Christ and his Church, Psal. 2. 1, 2, 3. The fear of his bands and cords, tying them too straitly. Much more then doth it cause neglect in too many of those that still professe themselves friends.

Reason. 9. Earthly-min­dednesse re­gards onely present and sensible thing [...]9. Finally, All this flowes from that earthly-mindednesse that is in all men naturally, (and too much of it in all still upon earth) that they onely, or chiefly, regard things present and sensible, and pre­fer them before things spirituall and eternall, though never so earnestly, and plainly promised, and threatned. Faith is not ever active, and when it is not (or where it is not at all) many wordly conside­rations, as present and sensible, must now over-rule to hinder spi­rituall activity, and hazarding ones self to the utmost. Onely faith in its vigour, makes a man of a true publike spirit; Like Moses, Numb. 11. and Exod. 32. and Numb. 14. who not on­ly was not content to be happy alone in Pharaohs Court, but not in Gods favour. A piece of self-deniall, next to miraculous: But there never arose such another Moses, the world is general­ly quite of another temper.

Doct. 3.Therefore the third Point comes seasonably in, to correct, at least in part, the infection of this pestilentiall self-love. The Point is this: [Those whom private, and self-respects hinder from the Churches help, can have no assurance, that they shall escape more then others.]

Grounded on the Text.If Mordecai spake sense, this is a certain truth. Esther was in no humane danger, at least not certainly, or like others, be­cause not known to be a Jewesse, and so within the Decree of destruction. And who that had known it, durst discover her, when he could not be assured, but that the King, not intending to include her, would for his Honour and Loves sake exempt her, what ever became of all the rest? But for all that, Mordecai warns her not to presume upon that, so as to neglect her duty, [Page 24] Doct. 3. Self respecters not assured to escape. even with the hazarding of her self suddenly for the Church: Which must needs suppose this generall truth, and binde it upon all who break loose from the duty to which they were bound, Few or none can plead such probability of escaping as she; and who ever would plead any,Confirmed by Reason. doth but paint with false and water­colours, easily washt off. See the Reasons of it.

Reason 1. None can e­scape but by Gods leave.1. God orders all things, and they must have his favour to escape, or else nothing will serve their turn; Prov. 29. 26. Many seek the Rulers favour, but every mans judgement comes of the Lord. If he give sentence against any man, (or woman) in vaine shall men absolve them. Saul spared Agag, and Agag concluded that surely the bitternesse of death was past; but God had said no such thing, & Samuel taught him another lesson. Let men go, or climb, or flee, or hide themselves any where, in Heaven, Earth, or sea, there is no escaping from Gods revenging hand, Amos 9. 1, 2, 3, 4. Though men say with those scornfull men that ruled in Jerusa­lem, Esay 28. 14, 15. We have made a Covenant with Death, and with Hell we are at agreement, when the overflowing scourge shall passe through, it shall not come unto us, for we have made lyes our re­fuge, and under falshood we have hid our selves. Yet if God be not willing to have them escape, heare this sentence and prediction what shall befall them: The haile shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place, and your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall passe through, then ye shal be trodden down by it, &c. to v. 23. All their hopes shall be disappointed, their supposed friends provelyers and enemies, and the evills they promised themselves should not touch them, shall utterly over­throw them. He denies God to be Almighty, that confesses him not able to effect this. Few deny it in words; but few think of it in earnest in their hearts: specially such self-Idolizers as we are now speaking of.

Reason 2. Such provoke God more then ordinary sinners.2. But to this must be added a second consideration; That their neglects of duty for the Churches help in time of danger make them more lyable to Gods displeasure then ordinary men, ordinary sinners, Amos 6. 1, 2, 6, 7. A woe is to those that were at ease, and put the evill day farre from them, and drinke wine in bowles, and were not grieved for the affliction of Joseph; (so farre from helping them [Page 25] Doct. 3. Self respecters not sure to scape. that they were not troubled at their miseries) Therefore shall they go Captive with the first that go Captive, &c. So Prov. 24. 13, 14. If thou forbear to deliver those that are drawn to death, and those that are ready to be slain, (If a man afford not his help, to re­seue innocent persons from the cruelty of those that would but­cher them, or starve them, or the like) If thou sayest, Behold we knew it not, Observe this well. (we knew not that they would be, or were, so bar­barously used, when yet they did sufficiently know it, or might have done, if they had been willing to have informed them­selves) Doth not he that ponders the heart, consider it? and he that keeps thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works? Every one hath sins enough at all times, to enwrap them in common calamities. But by the for­mer Points it appears, that they are specially guilty of great sins, for their very neglect of help of their brethren in danger. Therefore Moses upon this supposition, first chides, and then earnestly threatens the Reubenites, Gadites, and Manassites on the other side Jordan, if they did not help their brethren in their wars against the Canaanites, you have (then saith he) sinned against the Lord; and be sure your sinne will finde you out, Numb. 32. 23. A man had better have his most deadly sworn enemy, in the height of his greatest rage, finde him out, then his sin to finde him out. God can, and oft doth, preserve from the one, but from the other nothing shall, or can: For then Gods vengeance hunts, and pursues such men, to their inevita­ble destruction. For—

Reason 3. Their base lusts deserve punishment at all times.3. The causes of their neglects are all base lusts, such as at any time, if there were no service of danger to be undergone for the Church, would provoke God against them to their de­struction: Revel. 21. 8. The fearfull, are in the forefront of those that shall be cast into hell. And Mark. 8. 35. Whosoever will save his life, shall lose it. And Phil. 3. 19. Their end is de­struction, who minde earthly things. And 1 Tim. 6. 9. Cove­tousnesse drowns men in destruction, and perdition. So ambition, sensuality, envie, and self-love, have all their severall brands, and threatnings sufficiently. The refusall to have Christ to reign over them (which is in the advancement of his Church) himself calls enmity, and dooms to damnation, Luk. 19. 27. [Page 26] Doct.3. Self-respecters not sure to scape. And plainly, The Nation and Kingdom, that will not serve the Church (in prosperity) shall perish; Yea, that Nation shall be ut­terly wasted, Isa. 60. 12. How much more then any particular per­son? and specially, that will not venture themselves for her help in danger? For also—

Reason 4. Their fairest excuses are but sprouts of cur­sed unbelief.4. Their fairest excuses, The improbability of doing any good to the Church by their endeavaurs, and probability of prejudicing them­selves, if stood upon, are nothing but the sprouts of cursed unbe­lief, dishonourable to God, and to his Promises made to his Church, and her helpers, as the following Points will help to illustrate. Mean time—

Reason 5. None go un­der so strong a guard as in the Churches service. 5.This will particularly adde a confirmation, That no man goeth at any time under so strong a guard, as when he ventures him­self to the utmost of duty for the Church. They are then question­lesse in their way; and He shall give his Angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy wayes, & in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone, Ps. 91. 11, 12. And Ps. 34. 7. The Angel of the Lord encamps round about those that fear the Lord, and delivers them. To end this, consider, I pray, what occasi­on was it, that brought Elisha in danger, for which he had an host of Angels to guard him, 2 King. 6. 17. The mountain full of horses and chariots of fire round about, him: But when he had done the peo­ple of Israel speciall service, & thereby had provoked the King of Syria, namely by warning of his secret plots & ambushes against Gods people, for which he sent an Army to apprehend him. Not but that after all, a man may lose his life in the Churches Cause, (else also it were no such vertue, or valour) but as he is not hurt by that, (a Christian is not) so may he as soon die in his bed, and sooner; which makes his sinne, in refusing to venture his life, so much the greater, and his danger, in time of danger, so much the more deadly. Besides a further danger afterward, though both he and the Church escape for the present, as our fist Point gives us to understand, and to which I shall now proceed, leaving the fourth till afterward, because I will make the appli­cation of the second, and third, already dispatcht, and of the fist all together, and reserve the two other Points, as the comfor­tablest parts (with their Applications) to the close of all.

The Point then to be now handled is this,

[Page 27] Doct. 5. yet a destruction is owing to them and theirs,[Though the Church be delivered another way,Destruction owing to not helping the Church. that have neglected their utmost endea­vour for her help.]

This is a second blast of judgment, against ungodly neglect of so necessary duty. Before we heard, That if the Church,Grounded on Text. or any of her members fall, such are in danger (more then others, rather then lesse) to perish too. But this is worse. The Church may escape, and shall infallibly, to the utmost extent of Gods promises; but however they and theirs shall perish,Exemplified by the curse of Meroz. that have been wanting to her. This is most plain in the Text: Plainly ratified, by the curse denounced against Meroz, Judg. 5. 22, even after the victory gotten, And judgment on Succoth & Penuel. and the enemies destroyed: And by the vengeance executed on the Elders of Succeth, and the Inhabi­tants of Penuel, And Jabesh Gilead. Judg. 8. also after the victory and deliverance: And once more upon the Inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead, for not helping in the execution of justice against the wicked delinquents of Gibeah, and their abettors of Benjamin, Judg. 21. and this al­so after the work done. In this latter, I deny not, but there was too much cruelty used to the women and male children of Jabesh Gilead. But all was just with God; as besides, that he never punishes any too much (and yet he rules,Explicated. and over rules all) the reasons of the Point will presently clear. But first, I must interpose a few words of Explication. The 1.1. is, that by say­ing. Destruction is owing to them; Nothing hinders but God may take his own time for payment. He may justly do it pre­sently, and is ever able when he hath a will to it; and so in any time of their lives: Or he may stay till their death, and rec­kon with them once for ever, (which is worst of all for them) according to 2 Pet. 3. 9. The Lord knows how to reserve the unjust to the day of judgment, to be punished. 2.2. This (as all other sins) is pardonable; and actually pardoned, upon true repentance, and faith in Christ our Surety; and so the destruction may be altogether avoyded. 3.3. But if God do afford pardon, he usually makes such, who have been in any punishable degree guilty, feel some smart of their untowardnesse, whereby also he makes way for their repentance, and warns others; as he did for their neglect of building the Temple, Hag. 1. & 2. 4.4. The destruction that the Familie, and Friends of the offenders are enwrapped [Page 28] Doct. 5. Confirmed by Reasons.in, is onely temporall; unlesse they be guilty of the same sinne, or the vengeance of God reckon with them also for their un­godlinesse, in other respects. And now the Reasons of the Point, will set it out fully.

Reason 1. Their sins not lestened by Gods grace, or others faith­fulnesse.1. The sins of those that have neglected to help the Church, are no way lessened, by Gods over-ruling grace delivering his Church another way, nor by others faithfulnesse, whom he hath made use of to deliver it. Indeed upon repentance, either and both are mat­ters of comfort, (as Ioseph speaks of Gods over-ruling his bre­threns wicked malice against him, which was worse then neg­lect can be, Gen. 45. 50.) but both set out the more the shame of such neglect in it self, because God meant to deliver his Church, and others ventured themselves for it, but they would not; And so their destruction is a due debt to them, who would not pay the debt of their endeavours.

Reason 2. They are un­profitable servants.2. The Parable of the Vnprofitable servant, dooms such most dreadfully, Matth. 25. The Master lost nothing, and the fellow-servants were diligent, and gained with their talents; yet his neglect cast him into utter-darknesse; notwithstanding the imputation upon his Master, of being an austere man, which is retorted upon him, and made an aggravation of his fault. We shewed in the first Point, that all gifts, and abilities, and autho­rity, and all, are all Gods, and are disposed by him, and intended for his Churches good, and so for his own glory. They then that have not so imployed them, have been sacrilegious by pervert­ing them to their own private use. Such have been dead mem­bers, having been altogether uselesse, and so fit to be cut off; or worse then dead, disappointing, and putting to pain, both at once, like a broken tooth, Prov. 25. 19. and so it is fit to be rid of them. They have been barren trees, fit to be cut down, even for cumbring the ground, Luk. 13. 7. And Mar. 11. 13. we read of the fig-tree cursed, even because it was a late-ward tree, and came behinde the usuall time of other trees. So every way is it most just with God, to deal with such persons as have not been fruit­full for the Churches help. And particularly, if any pretend, and professe extraordinary zeal, and forwardnesse, and yet have secret reservations, and give not God, and his Church all, even though they pretend so, and would have the credit of so doing; [Page 29] Doct. 5. Destruction owing to not helping the Church.Let them remember the direfull vengeance on Ananias and Sapphira his wife, for such hypocrisy, Acts 5.

Reason 3. They that for­sook the Church in ex­tremity, are unworthy to rejoyce with her in prospe­rity.3. Destruction is owing to those that help not the Church in danger; because they that forsook her in extremity, are altogether unworthy to rejoyce with her in prosperity. This is reserved by pro­mise only for her mourners, and helpers, Esay 57. 18. 66. 10. and Psal. 122. 6. They shall prosper that love thee; No love in such as forsook her when she had most need of their help. Therefore they may be justly deprived of the comforts of her Mercies which she finds at last. He shall have judgement without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy, Jam. 2. 13. Spoken of not relieving the necessity of particular Christians in poverty and want, as the con­text before and after shewes. How much more then will this fall heavy upon the forsakers of a Nation of Christians?

Reason 4. Vnlesse con­verted, they will betray a­gain.4. Unlesse God convert such effectually, by an inward work, bringing them to speciall repentance for their sinfull neglects; Though they may after shew great affection and zeale for the Church in her prosperity yet they still bear false and treacherous hearts, & would betray the second time in like extremity. Therefore the Iews did wise­ly, that they would not suffer the Samaritans to build with them. Ezr. 4. For that their fashion was to claim kindred of them, when they saw the Jewes in favour and prosperous, and contrarily to re­nounce them when they saw them in a low condition. Such Hypo­crisy God abhorres, and owes them a vengeance for it.

Reason 5. They will doe no faithfull service the while.5. Even during the Churches prosperity, they will never doe▪ God and the Church any faithfull service: But onely still breake for their own lusts. This God discovers from the first, (men sometimes see it a while after:) And therefore sometimes in gracious­nesse to his people whom he hath delivered, and is about to reform further, he takes away such drosse, and purges away such tinne, (such reprobate silver) as they are cald, Jer. 6. last) which may well be understood of persons as well as things, as the next words also help to confirme, Esa. 1. ver. 25, 26.

Reason 6. God jealousy will not bea [...]e with them.6. Gods jealousie for his Church, both in reference to the evills that they have been accessary to, in not helping her; and to prevent others from following such ill example here af­ter, will not suffer such to escape altogether scot-free. God saw more evill in their wayes and heart, then man could, he saw [Page 30]Doct. 5. Destruction owing to not helping the Church.upon the same principles urged by stronger temptations, they would have proved enemies, though now they were only Neuters, or false and hollow hearted, left handed friends: It is I say, but the same prin­ciple of wicked selfe-love, wrought upon by Satan, and men, with other opportunities that makes some men Neuters,Observe this well. and others desperate enemies, which God seeing (though men doe not, or will not, or cannot,) counts all such a generation of vi­pers and a brood of Serpents, and devotes them to destruction. Yet even the omission of duty is directly threatned with damna­tion, Mat. 25. And if some did not smart sometimes even for o­missions in this world, the Church would have a great many fewer helpers then now she hath.

Reason 7. They sin for their children, &c. And cor­rupt them, and are punisht in them.7. Finally, the extending of this destruction (by God) to the families and friends of such as help not his Church, is most just, whensoever he pleases so to deale; (and that according to the proportion of humane justice in many cases) 1. Because Men oft forbear their duties for their children and posterities sake, as well as their own, and so they stick not to say oft-times. Therefore their children shall pay for their neglects together with themselves. 2. They oft engage them according to their capacity in the sinne, as well as themselves, and train them up (even from children) in Neutrality and Lukewarmnesse, and a spirit of selfe-love and selfe-seeking; therefore God cuts off sometimes the children too, as a corrupted generation. 3. At least because men take themselves to be punished in their families and friends ruine: There­fore that the feare of that may help to antidote them against the sinne of neglect, and provoke them to the utmost of duty; God both threatens ever, and punishes sometimes the families, and friends, as well as themselves. And so I have dispatched the doctrinall part of this point also. I come now to a joynt Appli­cation of all the three points together, which will afford a three­fold Use. 1. Of Examination. 2. Of speciall and re-inforced Humiliation. 3. Of Exhortation. All which have relation al­so to the first doctrine of all, as will easily appear to any obser­vant minde. To begin with the first,

Vse 1. Examinations how far we have helped the Church in her distresses, or neglected it, and why.We have here a just ground of Examination of our selves every one of us, how farre we have helped the Church in her distresse and danger; and whether any selfe-respects have hindred us [Page 31] Application Vse 1. Examination about helping the Church.more or lesse: And this will dispose us to Humiliation, and af­terwards to Reformation and amendment, specially the more faults and the more aggravations we finde in our selves. Of whom we ought in this case to be most jealoufly inquisitive even more then we need be of others; and yet those that are publike persons (whether Ministers or Magistrates) seeing wrath upon a Nation, and so setting upon a Reformation, of necessity, ought to make as much enquiry after others also, within their spheares, as they can. But let me speak chiefly to every ones conscience for themselves in particular.

Herein according to the help we might and should have af­forded, shewed in the former use, let us examine, 1.1. What out­ward help we have afforded, Or doe yet re­solve if need be or think much to think of. What out­ward help we have neglected, particularly since the late greatest dan­gers of our Church and Nation, and the calamities of Ireland: And let our consciences withall tell us what we intend & resolve to do, in case more should be needed. Which as it may cleare many very much, though they have not yet altogether ventured so much as others: so it may condemne those greatly, that may seem to have done a great deal. If any thinks what he hath done or ventured for the Church, a great deale; so as he grudges and shrinkes at any more offered to be cald for, what need soever there may be: If any man think ought lesse then all, enough, he hath yet done as good as nothing in Gods account; Whether it be fear, or covetousnesse, or sensuality, or any other lust that cau­ses him so to stick, of which the Doctrines and Reasons fore­mentioned may convince him, if he will throughly lay them to heart as he should.

2. How we have prayed2. Let us next examine, how we have prayed; what speciall helps, sutable to the Churches speciall dangers, we have that way afforded. And if we find neglects here, (as I much doubt all or most may) either in omissions, or in sleight performances: Of these specially relating to secret prayers, and when others have prayed in our hearing publikely or privately there can no possible cause be given, but our wretched corruption, prophanenesse, un­charitable want of compassion, stupidity, and unbelief, and such like, too too-far prevailing lusts; which make our neglects ve­ry culpable in Gods fight, and so should they be in ours.

3. What exam­ple we shewed.3. Let us next examine, what example we have shewed; whe­ther [Page 32] Application Examinat. Three sorts guilty.we have helped the Church any way effectually in this, or contrary. Here let me speak a word to three sorts among us. Professed Libertines.1. Some there are, I am afraid too many, that are as far from helping the Church against sin by their examples in the least, as the professed enemies are from helping her against their own compa­nions. There are men who in stead of professing godlinesse, (which yet in spight of their hearts, their very baptisme and name of Christians, and comming to Church cannot but continually pro­fesse) do little lesse then openly professe Libertinisme, & who make it their boast, that they are not of the preciser-sort, as they scornful­ly term them. Such though without any solemn examination they may and doe know their own practises, yet I wish that they would but even this day, and this houre, by light of the former Doctrines and Reasons examine the guilt of those practi­ses, and the displeasure that hangs over their heads, even for the mischiefe done to the Church and Nation hereby, in stead of the help they owed. And with them—

Scandalous Professors of Religion.2. A second sort no lesse guilty, if not rather more (and in­deed more in some respects) are those, who though they desire to make a speciall shew even of Piety and conscience, and goe un­der the name of Professours, (as the phrase hath been much, and is yet still partly among us) doe yet notoriously and scandalously live in one ill course or other; being known by such as live neer them, and branded, ascovetous, false in their dealings, filthy, riotous in some companies, devilish in their families, and the like; to the great reproach of Religion among all those that know or hear of their ungodly and loose behaviours. These also need not so much examine themselves about their practises, which they cannot be Ignorant or almost forgetfull of, as about the wic­kednesse of them, even in reference to the Churches prejudice, and danger thereby, they being her great shame and disease, and most undeniable causers of her judgements; and therefore lyable to the most exemplary severity of God in his judgements, present­ly or at what other time he shall please to reckon with them for it. But besides both these there is yet—

The best in some degree give some [...]l example.3. A third sort, whom I must also call to examination, and herein I shall exempt none, though I shall now accuse none par­ticularly, whom their conscience accuses not, yet let me ask even [Page 33] Application. Ʋ [...]. Examination what example we have shewed.the best of this Assembly, even those that have the greatest re­putation of Honest, Conscionable, and godly, but one or two questions. 1. You are (and that deservedly) well esteemed of in the generall, yet for all that doth there not lye upon you some unhappy note of reproach a [But] of some ignominy? A good man, But, too eager of his pleasures. A zealous man, But, too self wil­led. A religious woman, But, too much given to the fashion, and world­ly pompe, and bravery. If I durst tarry upon this point, I could make many more unhappy instances in this kind. But let me in one word, put it home to every ones conscience, by the second questi­on. Are not the best, at least sometimes, guilty to themselves, of such outward miscaraige, as were it not for the Doctrine of the Saints infirmities, it would shame and dishearten them utterly? But though by that doctrine and the grace of Christ, they may indeed wel think themselves discharged of those miseariages in regard of guilt, redounding to damnation; yet let me charge them back up­on them thus farre, as to call them to examine the offence of such infirmities this day,Mischiefs of it to the Church as things that besides the personall evill of them, have done mischief in the example, and bardned some sinners, and multiplied many sinnes; whileIt multi­plies sins. Some thereby take liberty to themselves, to practise the same evils often, which they saw in them but once, and to practise others up­on this pretence, Such have their sins for their turn, and this is for mine. Reproaches religion. Others to reproach all religion as hypocrisie, even for such a single infirmity. AndHardens self flatterers. others again, call their enor­mous customary sins, infirmities, and will count themselves children of God for all that, as supposing those in others in whom they saw even once such an infirmity, to offend so often, or in other kindes: And so by one root of bitternesse springing up (as it is Heb. 12. 15.) many are defiled, and many more may be. And all is mischievous to the Church, in stead of helping it in its time of need.

I have one piece of Examination more, to put to every conscience;3. What endea­vour of refor­mation for the Churches help. which is, what help we have afforded the Church, groaning under the burden of sin, by endeavouring an effectuall reformation, according to our utmost strength and authority, whether Domesticall, or Friendly, Ministeriall, or Magisteriall.

Domesticall1. Domesticall: We should (all that have families to govern) [Page 34] Application. Examinationhave done like Abraham, Command our children, and houshold to keep the way of the Lord; Like Ioshua, to resolve, that not we one­ly, but our bonse shall serve the Lord; Gen.18. 18. Like David, to endure no de­ceitfull persons, Josh. 24. 15. tellers of lies, any wicked ones, to abide in our houses, in our fight: Psal. 101. But to make our Families Churches, as it is phrased of sundry Saints in the New Testament.Rom. 16. But will our consci­ences now say,Col. 4. We have done so? How many are there, whose servants are ignorant, while themselves abound in knowledge, In reference to servants. and even while they keep Ministers in their houses too? How ma­ny who while they go to Church, their servants either stay at home, or go to the Tavern, or perhaps worse places? Their Cooks specially seem priviledged to keep no sabbath, take no other care of their own souls, then by providing meat for their Ma­sters, and the Families bellies: And their Coach-men, and Foot­men, serve God sufficiently, if they looke to their horses at the Church door? How many are there, whose servants notoriously scorn that holinesse their Governours seem to professe; or at least make not so much as a shew of regarding it? Who have some Family-duties, when they are at leisure, and half their family ab­sent, and at such unseasonable times at night, as more then half that half, are asleep most of the time? How many, that never think of being so much angry that their servants offend God in any thing, as when they offend them, or putting so much weight upon Gods commands, in any thing, as they do upon their own? How many,To children. whose children are very, very little different in out­ward behaviour, from those, whose parents make no such shew of piety as they do in any sort? The Daughters, in idlenesse, bold­nesse, pride, and pomp. The Sons in licentiousnesse, according as their fancy leads them? How exceeding few are otherwise? I tremble to think, and dare not (because of the time) enlarge my self to expresse, what wofull deformities there are in Christians families, and therefore how little help such afford the Church, and specially, what will become of the next generation, if things hold on as they do. But yet, though but a little any where, yet some there is doubtlesse, of care to reforme families, and keep sin under there.

ButBy authori­rity of friend­ship. May we hope the like of any endeavours towards friends? We should have shewed the truest friendship to the soul, [Page 35] Application. Vse 1. Examination What help to the Church, by endeavou­ring to reform Levit. 19. 17.not to suffer sin upon them; at least have shewed our selves grieved to see them sin. But will our consciences say, we have done this? Can we name those, that have in this kinde been the better for us? Or if some are, had we power with no more? Have we so much as tried in any whether they would endure a reproof? Have we ever ventured to lose them, rather then they should lose Gods favour, or their souls, or the comforts of a good conscience? Have we ventured to have them say, We hate them, because we would not, (could not) forbear to crosse them in their wayes of evill? Alas, alas! where is this to be found? And how little help hath the Church had from us in this regard? Israel in their good temper, would even fight with their brethren, (that had a great while fought for them) rather then their sin should endan­ger the Church generally,Josh 22. and offer also to give them a fifth part of their lands, to hire them not to sin.

By Ministers3. What shall I say for my own profession? God be merci­full unto us, to the most zealous of us, that we have afforded no more help publikely, Publikely. by crying down all sinne, in our own Con­gregations, or others: Even upon dayes of Publike humiliati­ons, how little do we preach against sin. And then, for private, Privately. Oh the wofull neglect among our own people at home, or friends abroad! We are afraid to provoke them, to lose them, to be losers by their disfavour, to incur danger by their displeasure. We are afraid to discourage men now, if we should denounce Gods judg­ments for their sins, and to arm Malignants with reproaches, if specially we preach against the sins of Professors. But did Gods Prophets for bear ever for either, or both these causes? Or is the Church helped, by the courage of those against whom God is angry, for their unreformed lives? or credited by our silence, when their misbehaviours make a loud noise? I must say,Remember this. (as he) When we all have preached Repentance, as much as we have preacht first, Confidence, and then Faith, we shalbe reformed and saved; and I doubt not till then. And that men receive it so ill from some few, or are displeased with some few words from any, it is because we all use them to so little; and in all help the Church little: whereas we, of all others, should be ever her principall helpers against sin.

By Magistrates.4. Finally, Magistrates should have used their utmost Au­thority [Page 36] Application. Vse. 2. Humiliation for helping the Church so little.to suppresse sin, which oppresses the Church. I need not ask in most places, whether this have been done:

I fall rather upon the second part of the necessary Application of our foregoing Doctrins, concerning the duty of helping the Church, and the sin and danger of neglecting it, which is to call us all to a serious and sad Humiliation, as many as have been remembred by their consciences of any neglects, special­ly willing, and most of all customary. To humiliation; I say, as for our own most secret, and personall sins, so for all our guilt of not helping the Church, as we might, and ought; and for all our Nations sins, (even those of our forefathers) together with the judgments lying upon the Church and Nation, and hanging over us. We are to be humbled this day, even for our want of humiliation hitherto, wherein I much fear, the best of us have been too defective. Specially this being a main duty of the day. This is a day of learning it, God and man have commanded the preaching of it, (specially on these dayes) as well as practising it, and of practising it, as well as learning it. I have a little taught it this day, and would now fain work the practise of it, upon my own heart, and yours. Let us then, I be­seech you, fix our mindes upon our sins, personall, and nationall, and the desert of them,And there be­ing so much cause. that Gods glory may now be advanced, by our thoughts of both, quickned by the apprehension of our calamities, as it hath been dishonoured by our former sinfulnesse. Remembring specially the Apostles argument, 1 Cor. 1. 31, 32. spoken indeed of a particular case, but one more neerly concerning our Nation, then any other Reformed Church, perhaps in all the Christian world, (as I shall touch by and by) as undoubtedly appliable generally to all sins. If we would judge our selves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

Let us then acknowledge for our selves and our Nation, that according to the late Covenant, ordered to passe through the Kingdom; [Our own sins, and the sins of this Nation, have deser­ved the judgments and calamities that lie upon it.] Which that we all may do the more heartily, and humbly, let me now present you with a brief Catalogue of some more capitall Nationall sins among us; and then once more, minde you somewhat further of Gods heavy wrath, greatly declared against us in his judg­ment [Page 37] Application. Vse 2. Humiliation for Nationall sins.for these sins. And then see, whether we can chuse but be exceedingly humbled both for the one, and the other, now and hereafter.

Here I reckon, to begin with, against the first Commandement, Idolatry, Ignorance, and Atheisticall scorning of all Religion, conscience, and civill honesty.

1. For our Nations sins against the 1. Cōmandment. Idolatry.The first of these Idolatry, the sinne that is most formall high treason against God, is aggravated in our Nation and Kingdom, since the Reformation, by the continuall plottings of idolatrous Pa [...]ists, traytors unto our Kingdom, which (together with the great danger we have been in, and are specially now at this day, by their conspiracies) are at once a just reward of our too much tolerating them, from the very first, but much more of late years; and a strange symptome of strange lukewarmnesse in us, to suffer such enemies to God and our selves so much, while yet they so often, and so desperately refused to suffer us to be at quiet in our condition, notwithstanding.

Ignorance.The 2. Ignorance, is very much aggravated, by the innume­rable multitudes tainted with that soul-killing sin, in which of all others it is impossible for any to be saved: And yet scarce a fist, I may say a tenth man, or woman, through the whole Kingdom, in a better condition, as will be found to our incomparable grief and shame, specially (the Lawes and persons have been so extremly wanting to remedy this, all this while) when once an effectuall course comes to be taken, to make this Land a Christian Nation in earnest, by bringing the generality of our people to knowledge.

Atheisticall scorning of religion, and all honesty.The 3. is a wickednesse, unheard of, I think in the world, among any people, of any religion whatsoever, (unlesse in Italy, where yet it is not comparable to what is among us) and most auda­ciously, and uncontrolledly practised in our England every where, even by no beggers neither. And this I rank under the 1. Com­mandement, though immediatly seeming to be against men, because it is against men, meerly for Gods sake, because they shew some respect to his Law and Word, and so most properly against God himself. I know not whether a formall Atheist, known to be so, but keeping himself quiet, would do the one half of that mischief that this Atheisticall scorner doth.

[Page 38] Application. Vse 2. Humiliation for sins against the 2. Com-Against the second, I name superstition, and the heavy weight put upon ceremonies, and circumstances, and humane ordinances, while the holy Ordinances of God have been shame­fully neglected, by an Ignorant-pluralizing-nonresident-care­lesse, and unsufficiently-maintained-Ministery; and a prophane people, that liked all this well enough, and even loved to have it so.

Against the 3. Commandm.Against the third: 1. Vain oaths, cursings, and blasphemies, in infinite multitudes. 2. And either unnecessary oaths, in Uni­versities, and upon Officers, and Inquests, and private persons; Or, 3. at least no regard of their observation, in those that take them, or in those that give them. 4. Extream prophanenesse in the common-sort, (and others) in the very publike Assemblies, and the most solemn services of God, by sleeping, going out and in at their pleasure, talking, and laughing oft-times, and no redresse of it, by Officers care, or Magistrates endeavour. 5. A twisted cord of Simony, and perjury, for Benefices. 6. Also a flood of riot, and drunkennesse, overflowing all places, and bea­ring down all reproof. 7. And finally, the most horrid pro­phanation of the Sacrament of the Lords Supper, by the unworthy receiving of ignorant, and apparently godlesse persons. The in­excusable fault of persons in authority, (and even of Laws too) in suffering such pollution, of so sacredan Ordinance: Polluti­on, I say,As also the monstrous prophanation of that sacred Ordinance of Excommuni­cation, made to lacquy for fees, or perse­cute godliness. to those prophane receivers of it to their own damna­tion, though not to others, who have no authority to keep them back. And yet that heart-grief, that they who are the most zealous for Christs honour, and other mens souls, herein have taken for such Prophanation, and the grievous scandall that this hath continually given, and doth give to this day, to (many thousands perhaps of) weak ones, whom this alone hath driven from our Church, is a fearfull aggravation of this sinne of our Nation.

Against the 4. Commandm.Against the fourth, there hath been most notorious propha­nations, violations of the Sabbath, the Lords day, and not­withstanding the Doctrin of it more clearly among us, even authorized then any where else in the world, as also the practise of it more glorious here, then any where, and an answerable prosperity, ever since Queen Elizabeths time, according to the [Page 39] Application Vse. 2. Humiliation for Nationall sin.prophesie (Esay 58. 13, 14.) yet the prophanation had been more impudent and outragious then any where else: Men having un­dertaken to make void Gods holy Commandment, as it were by a Law, and even by persecuting all that would not consent to such violation; Then which, scarce so great affront was ever put upon God by any Nation professing his Name.

Against the 5. Commandm.Against the fift, Clandestine marriages, without, and against Parents consent, for which the Lawes have no sufficient pre­vention nor redresse.

Against the 6. Commandm.Against the sixt, The fearfull guilt of innocent blood of the Mar­tyrs, shed of old in time of Popery, and the fresh bleeding wounds (though not to the extremity,Note this well because power was wanting) of Gods faithfullest Ministers and people, persecuted to the utmost extremity of colour of law, and oft a great way beyond law: Ma­ny pincht, themselves and families, next to utter undoing, if not altogether, with sore wants by that means. Thousands of late driven out of the Kingdom into America, and threatned even theretoo. And by and with all this, That scarce at all feared, or thought of, but most prodigiously frightfull guilt of the blood of souls. Thousands,Note this spe­cially. and Millions (so far as can be judged by any rules of Scripture) gone to hell, out of this Kingdom, even since the reformation, for want of good lawes, and through wicked Magi­strates, Civill, and Ecclesiasticall, and wicked Ministers, and Neighbours, in stead of good ones. Millions, I say, now howling in hell, in those infernall flames, from whence there is no re­demption, damned through the undeniable defect of sufficient means of salvation in an ordinary way; and through the dam­nable persecution, made against all shew of godlinesse. A wicked­nesse, for which alone, it is next a miracle, that God hath not sunk the whole Kingdom into the bottom of the Sea, long ere this.

Against the 7. Commandm.Against the seventh, The abominable filthinesse of whoredom, and adultery specially, never sufficiently shamed, or frighted, but of late years grown beyond all shame. And the wickednesse of Play-houses suffered, which though generally against all the Commandments, one way or other, yet for the most part, more immediatly against this.

Against the 8. Commandm.Against the eighth, The oppression, usury, racking of Rents, [Page 40] Application. Vse. 2. Humiliation for nationall sins. Inclosures, depopulations, defrauding of Creditors, by lands pay­ing no debts, and of Purchasers by preconveyances. Perver­ting of justice, Ingrossing commodities, enhaunsing of prises, every where cried out upon.

Against the 9. Commandm.Against the ninth, All kinde of lying, and slandering.

And finally, against all the Commandments, The generall lukewarmnesse of all our Lawes against sinne, Against all generally. either belonging to the first, or second Table. I cannot now instance in the particu­lars; But if it be seriously considered,Lukewarmness of Laws. it will be found as I say, That scarce any one Law made since the Reformation,Observe this well. for Reli­gion, or against any particular sin, but hath a deep taint of Lao­dicean lukewarmnesse; something is said, as to restrain wicked­nesse, but so weakly, as there is much to be considered, even about our best Laws: The discipline of the Church in ill hands. But withall, there hath been generally, a great want of a godly Discipline for the Church all this while. The go­vernment being left in the hands of men, who were scarce so much as likely in reason, to use that power they had, according to God. I mean the Chancellours, and Commissaries, &c. who ma­naged all Men that usually bought their Offices, and so most likely to sell the sinnes of the people: And who had more reason (for their gains-sake) to be skilfull in the Popes Canon Law, then in Gods Canonicall Scripture. And who might usually do what they lift securely, because all appeals were, for the most part, made to men of their own profession, and like themselves; and yet they had not so much power to do good, Neglect of children, and youth. as to do evill. Finally, the want of a publike care, to breed up children, the poor specially; and neglect of visiting Schools, and Vniversities, whereby a seed of evill doers hath still sprung up, to fill the Land with corruption. And of all this, there is scarce any thing but to a rationall observant man, hath been, and is, notorious, or may be soon made so, and decla­red to be abominable in the sight of God: For which we may well fear his speaking against us, as against his people of old, Jer. 5. & 9. Shall I not visit for these things, saith the Lord, shall not my soul be avenged on such a Nation as this?

For great wrath manife­sted in Gods judgements, in 10. consi­derations.

Doubtlesse, he hath begun to visit us for these things, (besides many other our wickednesses) and that his soul may not be aven­ged on us, we had need exceedingly to affect, and afflict, and hum­ble our souls, with a holy fear of his displeasure, already manife­sted [Page 41] Application. Use. 2.unto us, and proclaimed against us, and namely by a tenfold Consideration of the dreadfulnesse of the judgment which we all lie under, and are in extream danger of.

The judg­ment it self, a devouring sword.1. The judgement in it self, touched a little before; A sword drawn against us, with so much advantage for our enemies, and disadvantage to our selves, and with such desperate purposes of our utter ruine.Esay 1. 20. You have more then once heard of the calami­ties of warre, therefore I insist no further upon that; onely re­member, that when God is most angry, he threatens that, Esay 1. 20. and often else where.

The kinde, Civill war by drunkennesse.2. The kinde of the judgment, a civill war, or rather an un­naturall intestine war, a war against our own bowells. Scarce a family in the whole Kingdom, that is not engaged against it self. This is according to the heavy curse,Jer. 13.13, 14. of filling Kings, Princes, Pro­phets, inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem with drunkennesse, Poli­tick drunkennesse, and dashing one against another, (the brother against the brother) the fathers and the sons together, Jer. 13.13, 14. and observe what follows in the end of ver. 14. I will not spare, nor have pity; not have mercy, but destroy them. And if we be not all utterly destroyed, yet manifold families will undoub­tedly; and those that remain, will be such enemies to their neighbours, and one to another in the same family, as God alone knows when the direfull effects of that drunkennesse will cease, even though the war be ceased.

Occasion, the Militia, hoped to be our setling.3. The occasion was most dreadfull; That which was meant, and hoped to have been our safety, the setling of the Militia, petitioned by all Countries, acknowledged by the King necessary to be done, seemed to be granted, and then refused; whereby the Parliament saw themselves forced to settle it. This proved the pretence, and occasion of all our unsetling. Answerable to that heavie curse even against the enemies of Christ, Psal. 69. 22. Let that which should have been for their welfare, become atrap.

Sufficient means of pre­vention, vain; wise men con­founded.4. The humane means of prevention, seeming most sufficient, yet rather causing, and encreasing the mischief. A Parliament sitting, Chosen with the greatest care that ever the Countries took in any Age; Never a choyser company of wise and good men, seemed to be gathered together, and all the wisdome of the Land besides, Esay 29. 14 contributing to the counsels of the one side, and the other, in [Page 42] Application. Use 2. Humiliation for Gods hea­vie wrath.Parliament, and ont of Parliament, and engaging themselves to the utmost, and having a long time of debate, by words, and mes­sages, and writing, space to see the wisdome, and faithfull inten­tions of each other, and to manifest their own; and after all, to agree in nothing but disagreement and confusion, (like drunken men as before) what a wofull curse is this? specially being fore­prophesied against Israel, Esay 19, 14. Behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work, and a wonder; for the wisdome of their wise men shall perish, and the under­standing of their prudent men shall be hid. Many confounded that they gave nothing but mischievous counsell, which onely was beleeved; and others so confounded, that their faithfull counsels were discredited, as when God meant to bring a scourge on Re­hobo [...], and vengeance on Absalom.

Example of others (and our selves in others case) blest with more wisdome and successe.5. All this aggravated by example of others, finding that fa­vour with God, that we could not finde, (according to the diffe­rence betweenHos. 1. 6, 7. Exod. 9. & 10. Judah and Israel, or Goshen and AEgypt. Exod. 9. and 10.) that we and they both could then be wise and prospe­rous, and we so unhappy, in and among our selves. Our brethren of Scotland had much the same Cause; God then let us be wise for them and our selves together, and the danger of those warres between them and us, after neer three years hazard, ended with very little blood, and with great peace and amity. But God hath denied us this favour, this wisdome, so that his anger appears to be the more against us; and we seem still the more filled with drunkennesse.

The ground of the quarrel. Both protest for the same things.6. The ground of the quarrell as held forth on both sides, makes still the mischief a greater prodigie. The honour, dignity of the king, the Priviledges of Parliament, the Law of the Land, the property and liberty of the Subject, are fought for on both sides, and which is most admirable, the same Religion, the true Religi­on, Protestant Religion, (except onely that the Popish Army in the North, are so honest, or so impudent, as to disclaim that Cause, and professe to fight for their own Religion.) And all this, is Pro­tested before God and man, heaven and earth; all the world is called to witnesse of their faithfull purposes and intentions. And is not here then a strange drunkennesse, at least on one fide? and a strange curse? scarce the like ever heard of in the world. [Page 43] Application. Use 2. Suppose both side hypocrits.What! are both sides hypocrites? or one onely? or neither? Every way it is most dreadfull, and wofull. 1. If both sides bee generally hypocrites, or the chief of both; Can God but resolve to destroy us all, as a most perfidious Nation, unworthy to live in the world,Esay 10 5, 6. and deal with us, as Esay 10. 5, 6, Even send a for­rein enemy, to take the prey, and take the spoil, and to tread us all down, Or one side. like the mire of the streets? 2. If one side be faithfull, and the other not,2 Sam. 15. 11. yet is it not most dreadfull, that God should let hypo­crites so far prevail, as first to seduce many well meaning people, (as Absalom under pretence of a vow he had made, carried a­way 200. honest Citizens of Ierusalem, who went with him in their simplicity, and knew not any thing, but when he had them there, he soon turned them into conspirators and rebells like himself) and then to prevail so far, to endanger the most faithfull of the Land? Or both sides meaning right. 3. Contrarily, if both sides can be thought to mean faithfully, and onely disagree through mistakes, and misunderstandings; Is not this a prodigie of Gods displeasure against us? Is not this most emphatically a filling us with drunkennesse, (as before) that we kill our friends as foes, and they us, in like sort, (Like the terri­ble vengeance on the enemies of God and his Church,2 Chro. 20 23. 2 Chron. 20. 23. till they had utterly destroyed one the other.) But God never did thus to his faithfull people since the world was. There­fore sure this cannot be the case with us. Yet still, (as before) take it which way you will, it is a most horrible and dreadfull wrath against our Kingdom and Nation, even in this respect.

The time in civill re­spects, when in hopes of setling.7. The time when this evill befell us, is greatly observable, as proclaiming still more wrath; 1. In civill respects. In how fair hopes of setling were we? Specially this Parliament being con­tinued by an Act, and so many good Acts made besides. And now for God to deal so,Jer. 18. 9, 10. as to undo all, threaten this Parliament with the worst kinde of dissolution, by the sword, which may kill all Parliaments for ever; What is it but the heavy wrath threat­ned, Jer. 18. 9, 10. At what instant I shall speak concerning a na­tion, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; If it do evill in my sight, that it obey not my voyce, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them?

The time in spiritual re­spects, when we expected re­formation, and desired it. 8.The time, 2ly. in spirituall respects, pronounces the indig­nation more hot,Ezek. 24. 13, 14 and heavy against us. For God to do this, not [Page 44]Application. Use 2. Humiliation for Gods hea­vie wrath.onely to a Nation, but a Church; not onely to a people, but His peo­ple; To blast, and offer so to dash in pieces all the hopes he had given them of a Reformation, by them laboured for, at least with great seeming earnestnesse; and in stead hereof, to threaten the totall ruine of the Church, and true Religion among us, by the hands of her most cruell Popish enemies. How enraged is God, when he so refuses to reform us, who pretended such desire of Reformation? Like that most terrible threat of vengeance, Ezek. 24. 13, 14. I have purged thee, and thou wast not purged, thou shalt not be purged from thy filthinesse any more, till I have caused my fury to rest upon thee. I the Lord have spoken it, it shall come to passe, and I will do it, I will not go back, neither will I spare, neither will I repent; according to thy wayes, and according to thy doings, shall they judge thee, saith the Lord.

Willingness to obey in hel­ping Ireland refused.9. The obedience we would yeeld to him, in yeelding help to our brethren of Ireland, according to the duty of this Text, and ma­ny other places, adds to the manifestation of his wrath against us and Ireland both.Esay 31.3. He here threatens destruction for not helping, and gives hopes to those that will. How angry is he then, that will not afford us leisure, or means, nor them any help by us? But as this shewed his heavy wrath against Israel, when he would not regard them, seeming willing to trust and obey him, after their rebellious distrust, Numb. 14. And as Esay 31. threatens both the helpers, and the helped together, ver. 3. So, God seems to deal with us and Ireland, as if he also meant to fulfill the very word of the Irish rebells, many Moneths ago; That they hoped to finde us so much work at home, as we should have no leisure to send much help thither: And as though God meant to destroy his Church in England, and Ireland both together. Thus all things proclaim his exceeding fierce wrath against us.

Spirituall means to make our peace fruitlesse.10. One thing yet further, adds exceedingly to the notifica­tion of Gods fierce wrath against us; The means we have had and used, to make our peace with God. Never so much fasting and prayer in England; eighteen Moneths solemn fasts by Authority, (be­sides all voluntary ones, by the liberty that there is now of so doing) with so many millions of prayers, daily and continually; and all these as it were rejected,Prayer, Psal. [...] ▪4. or at least in a great degree, ac­cording to the sad complaint, Psal. 80. 4. How long wilt thou he an­gry [Page 45]Application. Use 2. Fasting, Jer. 14. 12.against the prayer of thy people? and the more sad threatning, Jer. 14. 12. When they fast I will not hear their cry, & when they offer burnt offering and an oblation, I will not accept them: but I will cor­sume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence. What will God regard, if he turn away his eye from such solemn servi­ces, from such out-cries of prayers? How greatly must we needs say, he is provoked against us? Specially also, when we have had also some beginnings of Reformation; Some Refor­mation. restoring liberty to many faithfull Ministers, and encouraging Preaching, repressing the prophanation of the the Lords Sabbath, and pulling down Ima­ges, and Crosses: and yet (our miseries still continue, and work higher, rather then otherwise) For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still, as the Prophet,

Jer. 5. 9.

And now (Honourable and Beloved) when you have heard all these tokens of Gods displeasure against us,Reinforcemēt of our Humi­liation. and our Nation, can you chuse but tremble, and humble your souls greatly, be­fore your God this day? Certainly, we cannot beleeve Him to be just, but we must needs acknowledge our sinnes to be very grievous, and hainous, that have provoked such a wrath, as these things discover to be kindled against us. So that if we could spend all the remaining part of this day, in bewayling and bemoa­ning the vilenesse of our transgressions: If we could wear out all our strength, and spirits, in dolefull lamentation: If we could weep out our eyes, and distill all the moisture of our bodies into tears of blood, we yet should not sufficiently mourn for our iniquities, nor make an acknowledgment answerable to our demerits, or to the just indignation manifested against us. God Almighty grant, for Jesus Christs sake, that we may all think of these things more then ever yet we have done, and be more affected, and grieved, and humbled, (for our own, and our Nations sins, and shares in wrath) then formerly we have been, that so we may be disposed the better to embrace the exhortation to amendment of our selves, and reformation of others, to the uttermost of our power ever hereafter.

Meanwhile, in a day of solemn humiliation, and time of such danger, and being specially called to deliver Gods Message, at this time, in this place; and all Ministers being charged by the religious Ordinance, set forth divers Moneths ago, [in their severall Auditories, specially on the fast dayes, most earnestly [Page 46]Application. Use2. Speciall appli­cation to the Parliament.to perswade, and inculcate the constant practise of this publike acknow­ledgement, and deep humiliation] Let me take leave to discharge my conscience in a humble trembling representation to thar high Authority, that hath required my service this day, of the fitnesse of their taking into consideration, What humiliation is, or may be required of them as a Body? Comming hither as the heads of our severall Tribes, and Elders of our Cities? You had at the first, besides your own personall sins, the sins of the Nation, whom you represent, and of former Parliaments, whom you succeed, to be humbled for, namely such, and so many, as you did, or could take notice of. But you had not then any actions of your own, as a joynt body, to consider, whether there were any failings in you; as now after many dayes, and moneths, even some years sitting together you have. And it is, at least pos­sible, that you may finde failings in some things, in so long time, and so many businesses. Your enemies and the Churches charge you with enough, with multitudes. I dare not second them, nor abett any of their virulent reproaches. But doubtlesse it is possible, you may have had failings, of some kinde or other. Consider then, I beseech you, in the Name and presence of the great God, before whom you are come as a Body this day, to hum­ble your selves, and afflict, your souls, whether there be not some­what to be sought out among you, for which you are all joyntly as a Body to be humbled.

You cannot but remember, 1. What great things God hath done for you, Above all Parliaments, ever since any were. I shall have occasion to touch some of them anon. Do your consciences now think, that as a Parliamentary Body, you have fully answered all his favours hitherto?

2. Also you cannot but remember (and we also ever must, as with thankfulnesse to God as the Author, so to you as his in­struments) what great things he hath done already by you: In ta­king off burdens, in making Peace with Scotland, in a great deal of liberty enjoyed of Gods Ordinances by your means. But are you assured, that you have all the way proceeded with that spirit of encouragement, that these things should have put into you?

3. But above all you cannot but be apprehensive how many things God had done against you, even against You as a Body: In [Page 47] Application. Vse 2. Speciall Ap­plication to the Parlia­ment.the Northern Army that should have been brought up against You; in the Armed Troopes at your dores; in withdrawing the Kings presence, and Heart from You; in all the aspersions cast upon you; in the warre raised against you▪ and your disappointment of seeing it ended long agoe, even before it was begun; in all your Propositions of Treaties refused; in the late horrid conspiracy against You. All this, not man only, but God hath done against You. And wherefore? I am far from saying, from thinking, that it is not for my sins, and all the rest of ours, the people of the Land. (Oh that our hearts could weep and bleed for it as we ought!) I know and acknowledge, they are our sins, that are punished, if you have failed or shall faile in any thing. But yet as often as there is failings in you, God would have even you to be humbled for them. It was Israels sin, that provoked God to let Satan tempt David to number the People. Yet it was Davids sin to number them. And he humbled himself greatly for it, when he was warned of it by the Prophet. It is the feets catching cold oft times that causes the Head-ache, and the Rheume in the eyes; yet when it is so, the Head takes somewhat to purge it selfe, and cure the eyes. Con­sider, I beseech you, whether ever God did any such thing to any ser­vants of His in Authority, they continuing steadily faithfull, I know Moses suffered much reproach, and was often endangered by the peoples rebelling against him. But God instantly still pleaded his cause, and ended all. Also, so long as David kept his integrity, he never had any defeat, in any battell; nor did any Enemy prevail so as to distresse him at any time: But after his great fault, and Gods heavy threatning upon it; he had divers sore shakings, speci­ally by Absoloms conspiracy, driving him almost out of his Kingdome. And so Solomon while he kept close to God, had no Adversary at home or abroad: But after his wives turning away his heart, to countenance (at least) their Idols, he had more then one, that lifted up their hands against him. Think now how much your Adversaries and their Successes call you to an enquiry a­mong your selves, why God should let them attempt and prevail so far against you? If you shall find any thing amisse among your selves, it wil; be no wonder, the faithfullest men have had their failings. Jacob forgot his vow at Bethel a long while, till a great scandall in his Family, and a fearfull outrage of his sons upon it, and danger [Page 48] Application. Use. 2. Speciall appli­cation to the Parliament.thereupon to them all, and Gods Admonition after all, brought it to his remembrance; and then upon search, he found Idols too, that he before took no notice of, or at least winkt at. So, David failed in the manner of bringing up the Ark, (and the Priests, Levites, and Elders of the people were in the same errour with him;) and recovered not himself to see where the fault was in three moneths: 1 Chro. 13. 15. And afterward he abidde three yeeres famine, 2 Sam 21. yeere after yeere, before he enquired of the Lord the cause of it, who thereupon told him it was for an Oath-broken, and Innocent bloud-shed; For whch God would now have Justice done upon the posterity of the offender. Also Zerubbabel and all the Elders of the Jews (as was noted before) failed not a little in so long neg­lecting to set about the building of the Temple, even though God the while sent divers judgements upon all the Nation for it. All these instances still make it the more necessary to have this seriously laid to your hearts, that God may have the glory he looks for from you, and that whatsoever you can find amisse, you may the more zealously set your selves to make him (not satis­faction, which Jesus Christ only can; and hath done sufficiently, but) such amends as poor creatures and his faithfull servants are by his grace enabled unto. And now may I presume one step or two farther? To propound according to the subject of my text, that it is specially requisite, that you consider, whether you have done your utmost for the help of the Church in this sad time of her danger and distresse? I shall anon shew, how great hopes there are, that you are the men whom God intends to use as his great in­struments in this happy work; these thoughts will prepare you for it. Therefore let me most humbly offer a double question in two words, concerning the execution of Iustice upon the Churches enemies and the hastning and effectuall advancing of the businesses of Religion. 1. Have not notoricus offenders, I mean Idolatrous, Traiterous Priests, even after reasons urged by you for their execution, and delivery of them up into your hands, been in fine spared? For which their party hath well requited you ever since; and so have others too, for all your gentlenesse to many despe­rate Delinquents, who have been your prisoners. 2. For the other, Was there not a time, when nothing you asked was denyed you? Might not somewhat in that advantage of opportunity, been ob­tained [Page 49]Application. Use 2.for Religion, which hath not been, and which would have kept the wheeles going eversince, that have long stood still for want of it? And since that season, was it not morally possible to have spee­ded some things more then they have been? I know, I am not able to fathome the depths of your Businesses, and Hindrances, which have been apparently very many: Therefore I take not upon me, so much to be a reprover, as a remembrancer. Yet even the former, could I know things as well as your selves do (or may, by reviewing your journalls) my Office would not onely bear me out in, but even require of me, as the Case may be. We have long, and too justly complained of Princes being flattered, by them that least should, and how much we and they have been undone by it. Let it, I beseech you, be your glory (and God will make it so) that you had rather be twice admonisht, even with­out cause, then to want it once, when there is just cause. And so I leave this Advise, with one word of addition.

That if ever after this day, Observe this specially. God should (which if we all seek him as we should, even this day, I hope he never will) send you and us, any affrighting tidings; As we all must, each one for them­selves in particular; so you would, both for all us, and for your selves severally, and joyntly as a Body, make diligent inquiry, what is Gods meaning in it? What sins they are, that have provoked him so against us, and you: and accordingly see and practise, each one, their duties upon it.

Vse. 3. Exhortation▪ to help the Church by all wayes pos­sible.And so I passe to the third Use, which is of Exhortation, to all and every one, to resolve and practise from hence-forward, the utmost possible for the Churches help, endeavouring all, venturing all, to this end, both against sins, and dangers of enemies. Taking in for Mo­tives, and to answer all Objections, the Text, Doctrines, and Reasons, foregoing, and following, together with the Protesta­tion, made two years ago, and the late Covenant, and for Means, (namely against sin in speciall) the Assembly called. There is not any Duty, and way of help, generall, or particular, that any hath been backward to set upon, or can be tempted to neglect, but upon the grounds laid, I durst undertake to convince, of the necessity of doing the utmost, even for our own sakes, as well as the Churches. And without me, if any will deal faithfully with themselves, and apply things home to their own hearts, each [Page 50] Application. Use. 3. Exhort to help the Church all wayes possible. Speciall Ex­hortation to the Parliamēt.will not fail to perswade themselves to all things that come within their compasse. This therefore I earnestly exhort all to do, now and hereafter, whiles I apply my speech particularly at this time unto those, upon whom this work lies principally, because they have the Power and Authority in their hands: Our Senatours, of the honourable Parliament.

Let me beseech you, Honourable and Worthy, to remember all that you have heard of the necessity of helping the Church, that it may provoke you, and prevail with you, to put to all your strength, To help a­gainst sin. and even venture all things, that you may effectually help the Church, particularly against the cause of all her dangers, sinne. And herein, not by way of exclusion of other matters, but of specification of some main things to be looked to; Let me name some particulars to you.

Banish Idola­try.1. The banishment of idolatry wholly, and for ever. Never rec­kon upon the Churches safety, or the Nations, while any such treason against God, is so much as winkt at in this Kingdom. So farre as you do not the utmost possible in this, I must tell you, you are & will be greatly wanting to the Churches help. And never fear the provoking of any persons, or multitudes, at home, or abroad, by your faithfulnesse to God and the Church herein. For beleeve it, you will run a thousand times worse hazard by suffering them, as experience for the present, besides all other things may teach you; shew therefore your indignation against all the reliques and objects, and practisers of it, in all places within your reach, as you have happily already begun to do in some. And manifest your zeal and wisdome, in preparing such Laws, against that cur­sed practise for the time to come, As all the Nation may hear and fear, and do no more so wickedly, Deut. 13. 11. and secure the chil­dren that are growing up.

Dispell igno­rance.2. Dispell ignorance. We are undone by this mist of infecti­on, specially in the Countrey. In the Name therefore of Jesus Christ, who will come in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, 2 Thess. 1. 7, 8. In the name of millions of souls, throughout the Kingdom, (of many even in my Congregation) whom this black Devill possesses, and who cried out, as he, Mat. 8. 29. that we torment them, when we offer but any endeavour for their dispossession; and which no means in the world (ac­cording [Page 51] Application. Use 3. Exhort to help against sins.to Man) can cure, without your effectuall help: And in the name of all the faithfull Ministers of the Kingdome; who preach to stocks and stones in the likenesse of men; I cry out unto you, unto you this day, for help, help, effectuall help. I name nothing parti­cular now because of the Assembly, else I had rather have spent my whole time upon this one argument, then to have past it over so briefly.

Conjure down the Atheistical Devill.3. Conjure down the atheisticall Devil; the impudent scorner of godlinesse and conscience. Make every word of that kind a greater reproach to the Speaker, then he can intend it to the person spoken against. Make it an action of the case, to reproach any with a Nickname for their conscientiousnesse to God; and let such pay good dammages and full costs speedily, or any other way where­by it may be more effectually done. And till then, know for a certainty, that that direfull threatning will hang over the Land which is recorded, Jer. 23. for one kinde of reproach against the Prophets of God, ver. 33. to the end, and it will utterly drown us in destruction when ever it fals. Also without a law of this Na­ture, let me assure you, that make what ever Reformation you will or can, it will prove in the issue (and even within a very little while I doubt) but as a wall dawbed with untempered morter and crumble all to nothing, and the Church can never be helped while her glory is made her shame, and suffered to be so.

Cure Supersti­tion.4. Cure Superstition. There are more tainted with it then you can easily imagine; and it is bred and nourisht, by every thing that is customary, (specially among those that are not thoroughly instructed) and chiefly by any meer humane ordinance, (though usefull being rightly used) when once any speciall weight comes to be put upon the meer using it. And while a root of superstition is nourisht in men, Idolatry will soon be graffed upon it with a little help. Besides that a little of this leaven will greatly sowr Mens Consciences, and in stead of the power of godlinesse leave no­thing but a Form. I may not amplify this; but I hope it will be considered and consulted of.

Make all fear an Oath.5. Make all men feare an Oath: 1 by a more ready and cer­tain penalty for rash swearing; 2 by taking away unnecessary Oaths. My soul blesses you, blesses God for you, for the taking away the Oath of Churchwardens as well as that Ex Officio, and the late [Page 52] Application Use 3. Exhort to help against sins.Canonicall Oath. Oh doe the like to other Officers, and in U­niversities, and Corporations, and Courts, by causing a review to be made what Oathes are unnecessary, and how the use of them may be other wayes supplyed. 3 And what Oathes you see ne­cessary to be continued or added; make them dreadfull. Let them be administred ever in an awfull manner, that they may consider what they doe, when they pawn their souls and all things else; that they speak truth and will doe as they say. 4 And let no ig­norant person be trusted to swear, more then a childe. But of that a word more anon. I will use no other motive then that one. Jer. 23. 10. Because of swearing the Land mourneth: the pleasant places of the wildernesse are dryed up, and their course is evill, and their force is not right. So that you do not help the Church if you remedy not this, what you can; if you did all things else.

6. Make a law for Preaching.6. Make a Law for preaching. There was never any yet, that I could ever hear of in this Kingdome since the Reformation, which is such a prodigy, such a peece of Laodicean Lukewarmnesse, as I beleeve the like was never heard of, in a Reformed Chri­stian Kingdom or Church; unlesse Ireland perhaps too. What the effects have been of the want of it, all the world fees; And to me it sounds among the worst of Omens, that I have heard of some disputing against such a law▪ I will say but this: 1. If God have not had dishonour enough, by some mens preaching against Preach­ing, because our Law commanded it not; and by all the reproach cast upon his faithfullest Ministers for their double diligence, which hath also been prohibited thē by those that ought to have promoted it; And 2 if the people of God have not by this been sufficiently scattered abroad as sheep without a Shepheard; and torn by dogs for seeking their food abroad when they had none provided for them at home; And 3 if enough have not gone to hell, under unpreaching Ministers, in more then eighty yeares: And 4 finally, if God have not put more weight upon this one ordinance under the N.T. then all other Ministeriall works together: to teach all that have Authority under him to doe the like; to make them beshrew themselves that preach not the Gospel; Then let there be still no law to enjoyn it, nor for any thing else belonging to the worship of God, and mans salvation by as good reason. But if all be contrary, then once more let me call to Humiliation, for this [Page 53] Application Use 3. Exhort to help against sins.neglect these eighty yeares and upward; and promise my selfe, that a Reforming Parliament will not, cannot but compose such a law as shall be abundantly sufficient for ever hereafter.

7. Make Simony impossible.7. Make Simony impossible, To swear the Clerk, is to swear the buyer to prevent a dearth: It is to forbid those that fear an Oath, and set open the door to those that dare be wilfully false. And the present penalties of the statute, doe seldome reach cunning chap­men. This I will be bold to say, if every Minister that hath the charge of soules, and discharges that duty conscionably, be not worthy of all that due, which the law any where allowes him; take it away in Gods name, and employ it to a better use, if you can find it out. But if he be worthy of it, by the sentence of God and man both, a high way-robber, or one that breaks into a house at midnight, is not so great an offendor, as a Simoniacall Patron, (whe­ther he presents a man otherwise worthy, or one that is altoge­ther unworthy) and if you make not as sufficient a law against the one as the other, (I say not for the penalty, but which may be as effectuall or rather more, and so it may be, I durst undertake) you will no more answer it to God, then if you made not a suffici­cient law against those outrages, if there were none.

8. Make Clande­stine marria­ges impossible.8. Make Clandestine Marriages impossible. They are so in the Reformed Churches in France; they may be so here, when the King and you please. It is meer humane law, the common law a­mong us, (not Gods law) that calls it a marriage, if two be joy­ned by a Minister, (a Popish Priest hath served the turne) in any house or room, or place, and at midnight or any time, if with such and such words. Why is such a wilde Authority given, to robbe Parents of their children, and Masters of their Apprentices, and children of themselves, against Gods expresse word? and no Pe­nalty that I know of in our law, upon such a Minister, or such Parties. How many Noble Families, besides others, have been by this Licence (and that which hath been next door to it in use, the Licences of Ecclesiasticall Courts, which last to this day where such disobedient children will goe seek them) shamed and grieved and mischiefed? This may be remedied instantly, if the law ratify no marriage, but Publike, after Banes, with Parents or guar­dians consent, or some higher Power, if they should be Tyrannicall and altogether unreasonable. I am amazed, that the Gentry ha­ving [Page 54] Application. Use 3. Exhort to help against sin.so smarted by this licence to their children to be disobedient, have not long since in Parliament, taken an order for it. But I hope, God hath raised up you at last, to do him this piece of service, among a great many others.

Sundry parti­culars briefly mentioned.I may not enlarge my self upon any more particulars. I will sum up all the residue that I have thought of, in almost as few words as there be matters.

9.9. Keep all the holy Ordinances of God from prophanation,; the Word read and preacht, prayer, singing, Sacraments, punishing sleepers, and all other rude persons.

10.10. Secure the Lords day fully, from working, and playing, and buying, or selling, and as much as may be, from apparent idlenesse.

11.11. Encourage a faithfull Ministery, particularly with suffici­ent maintenance for wives and children.

12.12. Secure youth in the Universities, and Schools, with the ut­most of care; and even in Parents houses, what you can, specially the poorer sort. The young ones are the hopes or the bane of the Church and State in the next 20, or 10. or 7. years.

13.13. Represse drunkennesse, by a better composed Law then any yet is extant, and the haunting of the shops of that wickednesse.

14.14. Suppresse altogether, (and not onely for this time of our calamity) that trade of nothing but infection, Players.

15.15. Cast more shame and wrath upon whoredome, and adultery specially.

16.16. Prevent all oppression, injustice, fraud, to the utmost of your powers.

17.17. Finally, Set your selves, generally, to frame such Laws, as may make sinners soonest weary of sin, and Governours able to yoke them with the most ease that can be conceived.

And for all this, let me again remember you, of your late so­lemn, and sacred Vow and Covenant, both in reference to your selves, and to the Kingdom. First, as it relates to your selves; You declare, [That in humility and reverence of the Divine Ma­jesty,—Your true intent is, to endeavour by Gods grace, the a­mendment of your own wayes.] Let these words, I beseech you, be ever before your eyes, and upon your heart; and let all that hear or see you, read them in your language, and in your lives; [Page 55] Application. Use 3. Exhort to help the Church according to the late Cove­nant.So shall you greatly help the Church by your holy Example, while withall, you cannot then finde in your hearts, but to afford all other possible help, with your joynt Authority. Besides all for­mer ties of Duty, your own voluntary obligation in this Cove­nant, is ever to be thought on, as a most mighty engagement. And therefore, as you look that any benefit shall come to you, by others keeping their Covenant (which you call them to) particu­larly, for your help and protection, Relating spe­cially to the Parliament. without which you know, ac­cording to man, you must be lost: But specially, as you look God should help you, unto whom you have, before all the world, made so solemn an Appeal, and without whose help▪ you know, you must infallibly perish; so be true to this your Covenant every way, as men, as Christian men, as Parliament men, So you are, and so in point of honour and respect you would have men look upon you, and God in point of protection. You must then, (God and men do, and will look for it) carry your selves so, for all good. If any shall offer to say, they meant nothing in this clause of the Co­venant, but in reference onely to their personall cariage, and not any way concerning matters of publike reformation; I would onely put this dilemma to him. Either he hath done well or ill as a Par­liament-man, and toward reformation hitherto. If he have done well, doubtlesse he that promises to amend in other things, (be­cause his and the Nations sins deserve the judgments that lie upon us, as the Covenant speaks) cannot but even thereby be enga­ged to persevere in all good for reformation, and to Proceed fur­ther in it, as farre as is necessary, as the greatest matter of im­portance of all other, and most for the Churches help. If he have done ill, then certainly, as that is part of his sins, for which the judgments are deserved and inflicted, so can it not but be a part of that which he hath directly covenanted to endeavour the amendment of, as being among the worst of his wayes, needing amendment. Thus, Beloved, God hath hold on you every way. And happy is that man, that is willing to be held by God, and to God, that willingly engages himself to him.

Now as your Covenant calls in the Kingdom, to a like vow; as I must needs blesse God for it, in regard of the good it will do, I hope, in divers, who will be carefull to keep it in a faithfull endeavour, to amend their own wayes as they promise: So in re­gard [Page 56] Application. Ʋse. 3. Exhort to help the Church according to the late Cove­nant.of the wofull ignorance, forespoken of, which is specially among our Countrey people, I must needs confesse, my heart trembles to think, in what a fashion they will take it. Not at all re­garding the matter of it, but meerly like brutes, follow the Herd, do as their neighbours do; take it, or refuse it, do something, or nothing for your protection, howsoever, as they see them do. But specially for this part,Relating to the Kingdom. of amendment of their wayes, what possibility is there, that they can or will be one jot the better for their Vow and Covenant, when they know nothing of God, and so regard nothing of God, no more then those that never heard of him?

Oh then that you would be pleased to consult with the Assem­bly, Speedily to consult with the Assembly, for some re­medy of Ig­norance. and that without delay, among your first Propositions, what course is possible to be taken, speedily to put some knowledge into those, who else, while you are consulting of other matters first, will by hundreds, and perhaps by thousands, die in one part or other of the Kingdom, and so go to hell irrecoverably. I beseech you in the bowels of Jesus Christ, and for loves-sake to poor souls, consider and do it.

Last of all in this Use,Improve the Assembly. Let me recommend to you, a full im­provement of the Assembly, now at last happily called, and I hope, intended by God for a speciall blessing to us all, and you too. To which end, let me in few words make an humble Motion or two unto you.1. By pro­pounding all things to them that are the Churches grie­vances. One is, That you will be pleased to make the plaister as wide as the sore. The Church hath many wounds and grievan­ces. You have received many Petitions in writing, requests in Sermons. Satisfie them all, I beseech you, so farre, as to consult of them, and of what ever else may be necessary to a perfect healing. You need not fear us, who can conclude nothing; nei­ther do we affect it. You have the Law in your own hands, to consent, and ordain, as you shall see cause.

By engaging the Ministers to keep to Gods word.2. That you may be the more assured, we do mean nothing, and shall speak nothing but faithfully, I humbly wish, a professi­on, or promise, or vow, (or call it what you will) to be made by all us Ministers, in the presence of God, to this effect; That we shall propound nothing, nor consent, nor oppose, but what we are perswaded is most agreeable to the word of God; and will renounce any preconcei­ved Opinion, if we shall be convinced that the Word of God is other­wise. [Page 57] Application. Exhort to help the Church by forwarding the Assembly.So shall we all seek Christ, and not our selves, nor sidings, and Gods truth, and not victory or glory, to our selves.

By a liberty of Petition to discusse any thing omitted.3. Finally, that at least before the dissolution of the Assembly, there may be liberty given to Petition the discussing of any thing that may possibly have been omitted all the while, and not at all propounded, by either of the Houses, and yet be fit to be consi­dered of. That so all the work may be accomplished in Gods due time, by the grace of Jesus Christ, and assistance of his Holy Spirit to his glory, and his Churches most effectuall help.

And so I have done also with this Use of Exhortation, and with my Application of all those Points which have been already hand­led. There are yet behinde two other Points, which are the com­fortablest part of the Text, and therefore I hope they will be of all the rest, the least wearisome; and yet I trust withall happily profitable, and helping to make all the rest so.

The 1. of them, (which was the fourth in the first nomination, but now comes to be the fift in order of handling) is this;

Doct. 5.[Though those who are most hopefull to be instruments of the Churches help, fail her in time of need, yet deliverance shall not fail her, some way or other, according to Gods promises.]

This is peremptorily affirmed of the Church of God at that time,Who ever fails the Church, Gods promi­sed help fails not. by Mordecai. And the Reason was, There was an unde­niable Promise yet remaining to be fulfilled to the people of the Jews, which was plainly, the Messiah, Christ, the Lord and King of the Church, was to be born of that stock, of the Tribe of Judah, Grounded on Text. and Family of David. The Church was then great of that blessed Birth. And as the severest Justice among men, uses to spare the mother for the fruits sake, if shee be known to be with childe, when condemned, till her delivery: So much more was it infallibly certain, that no condemnation should destroy this blessed promised Fruit, by destroying the Mother before his birth. In like sort, though the promise be of an inferiour degree, yet what­ever promise there is to be fulfilled unto the Church, or any part or member of it, shall be a sufficient supersedeas, or re­prieve from any destruction, though all the World should swear the contrary,Confirmed by Reason. and therefore, much more though the most hope­full Instruments should fail her in time of need. The Reasons briefly are;

[Page 58] Doct. 5. Reason 1. Al Gods words are pure words. 1. All Gods words are pure words, Psal. 12. 6. As silver tryed in a Furnace of Earth purifyed seven times. They are altogether pure, and no drosse at all in them, first nor last. God meant them Faith­fully to the utmost extent of them, for Things, Persons, substance, Circumstance, Time, Place and all; and will accordingly always hold to them unchangeably. And this sentence is the more strong­ly applyed to the Doctrin, because Psal 12. begins with the com­plaint of mens failing; and yet after inserting a promise of Gods taking part with his servants, this is added for assurance, The words of the Lord are pure words, &c. And it must needs be so, For also—▪

Reason 2. He can create Deliverance by an Almighty power.2. His Power is Almighty. He can create meanes, create De­liverance without means, make the least unlikeliest, most contrary things, means to effect it. The Scripture abounds with expressi­ons and instances to this purpose in the Prophets and holy sto­ries. I cannot stand now to particularize them.

Reason 3. His love is not weakned, by others failings.3. It was his love, not his weaknesse, that made him command others to h [...]l [...] his Church; and therefore their neglect shall not can­not weaken his love, but rather glorify it. He saw that there was no man, and wondred that there was no intercessour. Therefore his own arme brought salvation to him, and his righteonsuesse it sustained him, &c. Esay 59 16. and then by and by, v. 20. And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and [...] them that turn from transgression, saith the Lord. The thing then is sure, where ever there is a promise.

Now for the improvement of this point to our benefit. The main use and work must be to make enquiry,Ʋse. whether there be any such promise of deliverance made to our Church and Nation, Enquiry after a promise for our Church in this Nation. as may give us any assurance that what ever this or that man doth, or who ever failes the Church, in her time of danger and distresse, yet Deliverance shall not faile her, but God will raise it up some way or other.

To resolve this most important question, let me first clearly state it, and then propound such grounds as may give some light what to build upon concerning it.

First then the question is not, whether the enemies of the Church may not yet prevail upon us further then they have hi­therto.The question stated. 1 Negatively. Positively. Nor yet whether they may not so farre prevaile, as for a time, to suppose themselves absolute Conquerours; and many on [Page 59] Doct.5. Application. Enquiry after a promise for our Church in this Nation.Gods people to think themselves wholly overcome, and think the Church in this Nation to be altogether past recovery againe. 3. Nor yet, whether in the next generation, when we have enjoy­ed and abused a Reformation, and Peace for some yeeres, there may not be such a revolt from the truth and prevailing of ene­mies, as that Popery should again get the upper hand among us, and establish it selfe fully for as long a time, for divers years. 4. But in brief the question is, Whether the present dangers of the Church, shall end in such a Conquest of the enemies over our Re­ligion in this Nation, by killing many, and driving away the rest, as to reduce us to the condition of Italy or Spain; so as for many yeers together there shall be no shew or sign of any number of the true Religion? or whether they shall and at last, in a peacefull and happy Reformation?

Now to this I give a twofold answer. 1. That I grant we have no such promise to our Church of England, Answered part­ly Negatively. as the people of the Jewes were in possession of at this time that the text speaks of, and ever before Christ was born;No such pro­mise as the Jews had. which yet was to them not as inhabitants of that land, of Canaan, but as to the stock of Abraham, Isaac and Iacab. No Nation or Inhabitants of any land▪ or stock of the Gentiles, having any such promises, that the Church of God should not be destroyed and cease among them.

2. Yet for all that I am perswaded and doe beleeve, and there­fore have I spoken and doe speak,Positively, yet a sufficient promise at this time. that there is a sufficient promise for us English men at this time, that the Church of God in England shall not be so destroyed or roated out, as that the true Religion and all the faithful Professours should be dead and buried, as the effects of this present warre. But contrarily, that such a Deliverance shal come, as that this Church in the issue of these present troubles, shall get the upper hand, and enjoy a blessed Reformation.

My grounds are these. 1. Though we have not a Formall promise of Deliverance,Grounds. yet we may have (and have as I con­ceive) a Virtualt; and though not a plain verball one, yet a reall.

2. When we have an example of Deliverance vouchrsased to others, very like to us in condition; I take it to be a Virtuall Pro­mise of like favour to our selves,By example particular. So much faith Naamans little maid had, that because Elisha had done many miracles, he could and would cure her Master of his Leprosie, 2 Kings 5. 3. (even [Page 60] Doct. 5. Application. Enquiry after a promise for our Church.though he never had cured any of that particular disease of the Leprosie, which is most remarkably insinuated, Luke 4. 20.) And doubtlesse Christs curing the woman of the bloody issue, was by him meant as a virtuall promise, that he would revive Jairus daughter, Mark 5. Indeed, because diversity in the persons may very much vary the case, therefore examples are in the lowest de­gree of virtuall promises, and yet they are not nothing, According­ly, it is not nothing, that God in a very like case (liker then either of those now noted) hath granted deliverance to Scotland. It is, at least probable, that he meant that, as a virtuall promise to England.

No Church more severely dealt with then the word ex­presses.3. But I take it for a much stronger ground, and more un­doubted; That the word of God, in the Story, and in the threatnings together, hath an epitome of all that God will do to his Church, plan­ted in my Nation. And that God will never deal more severely with any Nationall Church, then his Word (which is every way most perfect) relates or threatens. Therefore if it cannot be found in the Scripture, that God did ever bring destruction upon his Church planted in a Nation, or transplant his Church wholly out of such a Land, while they were in such a condition as ours is, then will he not do it now. But contrarily, if he hath alwayes, in such a case as ours is now, afforded his Church deliverance, this I beleeve to be a very strong promise, that he will afford us the like now. Logicians say, that even one example of a thing, and no instance to the contrary, is a sufficient argument. And if it hold not in Scripture examples, (when none of a divers kinde can be produced) I know not what use can be made of the greatest ex­amples of mercy, as meer examples, which yet were all written for our learning, (as all Scriptures are) that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope, Rom. 15. 4.

A reform­ing Church never wholly transplanted.4. In speciall, If God did never destroy a Reforming Nation, never wholly transplant a Reforming Church; then will he not do so to us, because we are such. And for this there is speciall Reason, whether we consider the Reformation to be the speciall work of God, and little of the Nation in it; as in Josiahs time, God wrought it by a speciall work upon the King, who saw all done himself, and the people shewed little, concurrence in it; yet God would, and did carry it through. Because he that loved the people so wel, [Page 61] Doct. 5. Application. Enquiry after a promise for our Church.being yet corrupted, as to begin to reform them in a manner himself, when he had begun it once, would make somewhat of it, and not let it altogether come to nothing. OF whether God (though he ever be the Author and finisher of all good, yet) act the reformation much by the peoples hands, as it was in Hezekiahs Reformation, 2 Chron. 30. 1. Here again the same reason holds. He who loved the Nation so well, as to put such a beginning of grace into them, would not let that fail suddenly. But he made the work prosper in their hands,The grounds applied, and no enemie hindred them.

And now to apply this to our selves:We are a reforming Church in all parts of refor­mation. If ever a Nation, or Church in affliction and danger, were a reforming Church and Nation, we are such; and that in all the parts of Reformation. 1. For purity and clearnesse of truth of Doctrine. 2. Purity of Worship, freed from all superstitions and mans devices, and compleat in all the Ordinances of God 3. Purity of Church government, and discipline, according to the word and rule of Christ. 4. Purity of life and conversation. 5. Particularly, the Sabbaths sanctification, the greatest pledge of mercy to a Nation, and to ours experimentally in speciall, according to Esay 58. 13, 14. All this Reformation, we apparently labour for in our Church, and so are doubtlesse a reforming Church and Nation, and shall not be destroyed at this time.

This labou­red for, for all the Nation.2. All this is striven for, not simply for the liberty of private persons, that they may be free from persecution; but for the glo­ry of God, and the saving of others souls throughout the Nation. Which disposition of his servants, being much above all self-respects, God doth highly esteem, and so will blesse it, with prospe­rous successe in the issue.

Striven for above 80. years.3. This Reformation, Gods servants have striven for, and panted after, Ministers and people, eighty years together, more or lesse; and have appeared for it, in a considerable party, though not joyned and associated as now, by the happy advantage of this Parliament; and have been much persecuted, even for it. And therefore now when God hath given them to attempt fur­ther, and with more hopes, and greater beginnings then ever be­fore, He will not now, at this time, give them wholly over to enemies, to ruin all utterly.

Enemies enmity against reformation specially.4. The rather, because the enmity of the enemies is specially pro­voked, [Page 62]Doct. 5. Application. Enquiry for a promise for our Church.even by the desire and attempt of Reformation, some in one point, some in another. They pretend (as was noted before) to fight for the true reformed Protestant Religion. But (except some ease about Ceremonies and the like to tender consciences) they evidently oppose any further reformation then was in Queen Elizabeths time, and reproach the Parliament as intending to alter Religion, because they professe to purpose an endeavour of a through reformation. Therefore God will not take his enemies part against his people, but his peoples against his enemies, in the issue at least, in giving them the Reformation contended for.

We have been his dar­ling Church.5. He hath shewed a greater spirtuall love to this Nation for eighty years and more together, thou to any in the Christian world, in raising up so many excellant Lights, for powerfull preaching, and for holinesse of life, above all other Churches, and given us above all others also, the Doctrine and practise of his holy Sab­bath. And all this, notwithstanding our Nationall grievous pro­vocations fore-mentioned. Therefore when now the Nation is working into the best way of being generally better, he will not suffer them to become now irrecoverably for continuance worse; But at least, this time, try the whole Nation with a generall Re­formation.

God hath himself given the hopes.6. Himself hath mainly and manifestly given the first hopes of this, and raised up not the desires onely, but the expectation of his servants, by wayes farre beyond their contrivances, and won­derfully beyond their very thoughts, ordered by himself. And namely,Particularly, by turning enemies plots against them­selves 7. wayes. marvellous much by his very enemies plots and coun­sels, turned upon themselves. As 1. Their attempt against Re­ligion and Liberties both together; whereas if they had underta­ken either alone, they never in likelihood had had any considera­ble party appearing against them, as now is by uniting the patri­ots and zealots both in one, and shewing to either, the necessity of such union. 2. In their attempt against the two Nations at once, England and Scotland; so grasping at both, they could hold neither. 3. Yet beginning first with Scotland, to impose Popish practises upon them the more manifestly, who were more impatient of Popery then our Nation was: and so provoking them to stand up­on their guard, & link themselves suddenly in a Nationall Cove­nant against them, which also much weakned their attempts upon us. [Page 63] Doct. 5. Applications. Enquiry of a promise for our Church.4. Breaking the first Pacification with Scotland, which forced them to prevent their being invaded, with comming with a po­werfull Army into this Kingdom, and to refuse to be satisfi­ed, without an English Parliament (our onely remedy too, un­der God) did ratifie the peace with them. 5. Their frequence breakings of Parliaments, rendring them justly suspected, that they meant so by this, as soon as the Peace was made; counselled to urge the continuance of this Parliament by a Law, (the onely possible means for leisure to reforme, as also for legall power of defence against them, if they should any more plots as now they have) and the two Armies in the Kingdom no way else to be payed, forced the yeelding to it. 6. Before this, They raised Souldiers to go against Scotland, who did no other service, in divers Countreys, but to begin to pull down their innovations, and play the reformers, with a strangely sober wildnesse. A Preludium, not to be neglected (though then it may be, no man imagined any such thing) that a warro must make further way, for a fur­ther reformation. 7. Their plottings, and conspiracies, and at­tempts against the Parliament; and rapi [...]es, and spoilings of Countreys, making the resolution for reformation appear the more necessary, and so become the more strong.

From all which, my Conclusions are three. First, This is in­deed a time of Jacobs trouble, but he shall be delivered out of it.

2. The longer deliverance is delayed, and the lower we are brought, before we obtain Reformation, the greater and more glorious, will the one and the other be, when the full time comes.

3. Who ever abuses this to carelesse neglect, is like never to see it, or enjoy the good of it, but they and theirs to be destroyed, according to the Text.

But I must answer an Objection or two. First,Object. 1.1. In stead of a Reformation (say some) we see nothing but Deformation. All in Confusion, our Reformers, unreformed in life and opinion, un­bridled in their fancies, and wayes. Heresies, Schismes; and Li­bertinisme abound.

This is the worst can be said;Answer. Yet may be satisfied divers wayes.1. 1.It was ever so, where Reformation was working: So in Luthers time, so in the very Primitive Church, yet God car­ried on the work, and so he will how.2.2. Perhaps the cry is [Page 64]Doct. 5. Application. Enquiry after a promise for our Church.greater then the cause. The distractions of the time, leaving all at liberty, all appear in their worst Posture, (yet there are many sober still and pious undeniably) and most of them will be soon quelled by a good discipline. These things are not long-lived, but when they are let alone.3. 3.Their shewing themselves, will make the Reformation more compleat. Ill manners causing good Lawes. 4.4. God seemes on purpose to prolong the warre, to cut off many, that would abuse a peace.

The most earnest for Reformation (say others) are so divided in opinions,Object. 2. as they will never agree, and so all will come to nothing.

This is also a great grief and danger.Answ. 1.But 1.For this the Assembly through Gods blessing, may be, and will be, a happy remedy. And whereas men object again, that also as unlikely; I bid them, Pray, pray, and not prophesie. 2.2. Since they all (and all that pretend to Reformation) professe to hold to the Word; when things come to be debated by the Word, there will, I doubt not, be found more agreement in the issue, then any one thought of be­fore; or at least, a modest resolution not to disturb the Churches Peace.

But what say you to the killing of the two Witnesses? May not that be to come,Object. 3. and even now comming, and where is then your confidence, and the promises you talk of?

Answ. 1.1. Whether the two Witnesses be slain or not, I will not at the present, so much as offer my Opinion, for divers reasons. The rather, because I can fully answer that objection without it, Namely, by saying—2. 2.If this be the time of their killing, ere this warre end; then is my confidence most certain, and we have a most full verball promise, (which is more then I said before) That England shall not quite lose the Gospel, nor the Church, at this time. Their death is limited clearly, to three dayes and a half, (that is so many years) and then they certainly rise again, and ascend into heaven, which cannot signifie lesse, then a most glori­ous and blessed Reformation, at the close of all the foregoing evils; which fully answers both my Doctrin, and Application.

I have now onely the sixt and last Point to handle, namely,

Doct. 6.[There is great hopes, that those who are extraordinarily raised up to a speciall opportunity of serviceablenesse of the Church, are in­tended [Page 65]Doct. 6. Hopes that extraordinary Instruments shall be used to help the Church.by God to procure her help, if they will themselves, and be faithfull.]

The phrase in the Text, Who knows? is usuall in Scripture, to signifie great hope, if not altogether certainty, Jonah 3. 9. Joel 2. 14. And with this, Mordecai intends to put courage and com­fort into Esther, to whom he spake before in a threatning strain, not willingly, but as apprehending a necessity. And the bitternesse of that Pill,Grounded on the Text in Scripture phrase. he tempers and allays with this Cordiall; That in all likelihood, if she would venture her self for the people of God, ac­cording to their necessity, and her duty, she should be the person, used in the deliverance; and that her extraordinary strange advance­ment to be Queen, Confirmed by Reasons. was intended by God, for this very end. And the Reasons are very fair for it.

Reason 1. From Gods wisdome.1. God is most wise, and doth nothing in vain. Now it would at least seem to be in vain, that when a work is to be done, He should extraordinarily fit an instrument for it, and then not im­ploy that instrument, unlesse there prove some to be some speciall failing in that instrument, in the mean time. Indeed, if such an instrument warp, Though he cast aside warping Instruments sometimes. or grow crooked, He may with apparent wise­dom, lay it by altogether, or for a time. 1. That all such may be humble, and ascribe nothing to themselves of their fitnesse, strength, or successe, but all to God. 2. And that those that look at the most hopefull instruments, should not idolize them, and forget God, by trusting too much in them, or applying our selves to them too much, (neglecting God) as we are greatly apt to do. But if they persevere in faithfulnesse, no reason can (by us at least) be conceived, why God should refuse to use them, in that work which is to be done certainly; namely, the help of his Church in desperate dangers.

Reas. 2. From Gods unchangeable▪nesse.2. God is pleased to do thus, to shew that He hath no fickle­nesse in him. He is not weary of an instrument, which he hath long used, much lesse when the great time of using them comes. Onely (as before) he will not have any think him tied to any that shall carry themselves untowardly, specially in any visible manner. Greatly mani­fested in over­looking sun­dry failings. And yet he also vouchsafes sometimes to overlook a great many failings, in those that are his own. Of which their humiliation, repentance, and amendment, may be a happy pledge, both to thomselves, and others too, as far as it is as visible as their [Page 66] Doct. 6. Hopes that ex­traordinary Instruments shall be used to help the Church.failings have been visible. So, though God saw fit to lay aside Moses, for a particular visible failing, (yet specially for the types sake, to shew that the Law brings us not to Canaan, but Joshuah, Jesus) yet raising up Joshuah in his stead, he carries him through the work, though he also had his failing, in not searching in time for Achan. So after God had cast off Saul, he so assists Da­vid, (notwithstanding his failings also) as when he died, Israel was delivered from all enemies round about, and no adversary left unsubdued, 1 King. 5.3,4. And so after he had the second time set on Zerubbabell, and Jeshua, upon the work of his Tem­ple, (after their long lingring) he carries it on by their hands, and so promised them, Hag. 2.4. Zach. 4.7.9. And specially, having raised up faithfull Nehemiah extraordinarily, (who yet acknowledges he had need of sparing, according to the greatnesse of Gods mercy, Neh. 13. 22.) he was continually with him, and mightily prospered him, for his Churches good every way.

Reason 3. To encourage such, and o­thers by them.3. God doth this usually, to encourage, both such instru­ments to engage themselves to the utmost for him; and others, to associate themselves to such persons, as to standards by him set up, to revive, unite, and strengthen his people. The faith of the best is not so strong, but it needs experimentall encouragements, as well as generall promises. For which end specially, the Scri­pture examples of deliverances are recorded, which yet would stand in very little stead, if extraordinarily raised, and fitted instru­ments should be usually cast by and not used. Nature hath seen this, and so made a Proverb, That an Army of Harts, if led by a Lion, may be victorious. The discovery of somewhat extraordi­nary in any Leader, seems a promise of successe; which mightily raises the spirits of those that follow, who else were ready to droop and fall away.

Reas. 4. The promi­ses to the Churches hel­pers, belong first to such.4. The manifold Promises of blessing to the Church, and successe to those that engage themselves for it, in time of danger, do fall most strongly to the share of such Eminent, and extraordi­narily raised persons. To him that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance. He that had five talents being faithfull, is blest with the gain of five more, and hath the unprofitable servants talent cast in besides, Matt. 25. 28, 29, Luke 19. 24, 26. Inso­much that—

[Page 67] Doct. 6. Reas. 5. No disappoint­ment recor­ded, but some cause assigned. Finally, scarce any (if any) example can be given, of any such hopes disappointed, but the cause, to wit, their failing in some main point of duty, hath been as manifest as their disappointment. We finde it in Saul, 1 Sam. 13.—15. and even in Moses (and Aaron) their unbelief, Numb. 20. Nay, not so much but the very delayes have their causes assigned, or at least they may be gathered. God expressely chides the Jews for their neglect, Hag. 1. And he that shall diligently observe the time that the Temple was in hand, before Artaxerxes Decree, (specially if it were Artaxerxes Longimanus, as many think) or even let it be Cambyses, or Smerdis the Mage) will see cause to think, they made but slow hast with it, when they had liberty enough. So that delay in Joshua's time, was plainly for want of enquiry after Achan, and doing justice on him; and the stop of the Ark from Jerusalem, was a wrong order taken in the carriage of it, which occasioned Vzzahs medling beyond his calling, 1 Chro. 13. 15 and Gods breach upon him for it. But where we finde none of these mis­carriages, the instruments prosper in their undertaken work for the Churches help and good.

The Use of this Point is at once to Encourage, Ʋse. Encourage­ment to the Parliament to be faithfull to the Church. and warn the Parliament, (and all Prime Instruments) to continue in faithful­nesse for the Churches utmost help. You have heard in the former Point, that Deliverance and enlargement shall arise some way or other. This tells you, There is great hopes, You are the men God intends to use in it. To this purpose consider:1. From what God hath al­ready done for you.1. What great things God hath already done for you: 2. What by you. I will onely name some heads (for your meditations) though they de­serve the descant of Volumes.

In your au­thority given. Your comming to the authority you are invested with, and so power to help the Church, was more strange (all things consi­dered) then Esthers comming to be Queen. 1. That any Par­liament should be called. 2. That such a Parliament should be chosen. 3. That before the Act of continuance, it should ap­pear a ruin to dissolve you as formerly. 4. But specially, that any ruin was not hazarded, rather then the passing that Act of continuance (an Act of such wonder, as we can scarce beleeve our senses, our experience, our understandings, that it is credible, or possible.) All this makes up your authority and power to help [Page 68] Doct. 6. Applicationthe Church, incomparable beyond all your Predecessors.

Preserved.2. The preserving your authority in the hearts of men, after so many invective aspersions, and in the midst of so many difficul­ties, even in the hearts of many loose men. Whom also your enemies carriages have as much alienated from them.

Your per­sons preserved.3. Your famous preservations from the Northern Army, the armed Cavaliers, the late Conspiracy, and all other attempts of fraud, or force.

Speciall victories.4. The graduall victories, and deliverances obtained by those imployed by you, and for you, some of them of singular re­mark, and importance; particularly Manchester, preserved from force, and Bristoll from treachery; besides sundry other Towns, that should have been betrayed.

Helps at a dead lift.5. Your being helped often at a dead lift. Your adversaries have scoffed at it. But you have found it, that as oft as you have been at a stand, God hath afforded some discovery, or some victory, to set the wheeles agoing again.

Spirituall helps.6. Your spirituall helps beyond all other Parliaments. Such po­werfull preaching so neer you, (and all the City over) specially your monethly Fasts, never the like in any Age.

Armies of prayers.7. An Army, many armies of prayers all the Kingdom over, more for you, (both from hope, and fear) then ever for any of your Predecessors.

Growth in zeal by all.8. That which makes all the rest most hopefull, that all these things together, Mercies, and Dangers, and Deliverances, and means of grace, have made you grow in zeal, for God and his Church. Witnesse your Protestation, Declarations, your begin­nings of reformation of Idolatry, Superstition, Sabbath-break­ing, scandalous Ministers, your late Covenant, and calling the Assembly. What now means God by all this? But that you should think He loves you, and means to use you further, for his glory, if you will your selves, and be faithfull. And that as oft as you are a­fraid, lest after all you should be destroyed; you should encourage your selves as Manoahs wife did her husband; If the Lord were pleased to kill us, he would not have done so, and so to us, Iudg. 13. 23.

From what God hath done by you, always profpe­ring effectuall meanes. For consider also what he hath done by you, in one word. Doe but except that you are not yet delivered, and that you were to be brought into dangers & troubles; What one main thing have you [Page 69]Doct. 6. Application. Encourage­ment & war­ning to the Parliament.attempted effectually for the war, or for the Church, wherin you have not been greatly and effectually assisted, to a remarkeable degree? I cannot have time to name particulars. But your Journalls and Records will tell you. And I beseech you, think often and much of them; that they may strengthen your hearts, and hands against all Fu­ture Feares of danger. Esther had nothing but her strange ad­vancement to hearten her. You have all her experience and suc­cesse, besides your own, to encourage you. You may possibly be in greater danger then ever yet. But I think, hardly in such, as the Jewes were now when she undertook their help. And I dare say, it is lesse (though all is alike, in propriety of speech, with the Al­mighty) to deliver you, and us by you, then the Iewes by Esther, Be not then afraid of your enemies and the Churches, Fear not to provoke them in your just defence.Therefore fear not enemies so as to comply with them, You can no way more expose your selves to them, then by fearing them, and so complying with them. The Church is to be helped against them, which cannot be, if you fear or favour them. Once more therefore let me remem­ber you of your engagements most solemnly made in your former Protestation and late Covenant about this; and to assure you, that God will certainly require both the one and the other, But keep to the Protestati­on and Cove­nant. of you. You have heard that founding word, (even out of this place) I will bring a sword upon you, which shall avenge the quarrels of my Cove­nant. Lev. 26. 25. Take heed of that, You have had great help by the Peoples cleaving to you, according to their Protestation, and look for more by this Covenant. I beseech you, doe not forfeit all, by failing of your part. As you deal, you must expect to be dealt with herein. Which however it would be sinfull in them that should break their obligation, though you should break yours; yet would it be most just with God. Let me then pray you in his name (who may command you,) that when ever we shall be so happy, as that it is seasonable to treat again,Specially con­sult with them in any Treaty. that you admit not, much lesse interpose, any article, to doe otherwise or lesse then your Protestation and Covenant. Upon the debate, let them be read over, and scanned carefully, how they and any motion agree, and keep to your rules. Having such clauses, as they have, you will find them to afford just Liberty enough: But in the residue to be more unalterable to you, or by you, then the Lawes of the Medes and Persians. I am no Iudge, nor ever shall be, nor ever desire to be, what is the [Page 70] Doct. 6. Application. Encourage­ment and war­ning to the Parliament.meaning of condign punishment, in the Protestation, further then belongs to a Minister of the Gospell, and Word of God. But I again beseech you, remember that you are tied to do according to that in the presence of Almighty God. Interpret it, with as much favour, and with as much charity as you can to­ward any. But there is a sad sentence, 1 Kings 20, 42. which he was angry to hear, to whom it was pronounced, verse 43. But he found it true to his cost three years after, when it seems he had altogether forgotten it, Asking Gods consent about pardoning Delinquents. 1 Kings 22. Therefore, I hum­bly entreat you, to ask Gods consent first, whether he will spare such, or such, or pardon them; and if He will not, You must not. And next, consult not onely with your own safeties, but all theirs you are entrusted with. The Land, the Church, Religion, Laws, thousands that have helped you: Consult with their good, (though not with all their persons) and then you will see, what you must do with Delinquents. You see, I meddle with no par­ticulars, because I am no States-man. Onely St. Paul bids me, Remember those that are in bonds, Heb. 13.3. And helping those that are in prison, for helping you & the Church. as bound with them. So do I you, and beseech you, to take as effectuall a course as may be, that Gods prisoners, your prisoners, at Oxford, and else where, may be better used, or if it be possible, delivered.

And now if you will be resolute, and faithfull to God, and for God, and his people, I am so far assured of your safety and successe, in the issue, that I desire no other shelter on earth, for security, then you shall have generally, as a Body, as a Parlia­ment. I may miscarry alone, though you escape: and multitudes of us, must miscarry, if you should be ruined. But I am confi­dent, You shall not, nor Gods Cause in your hands, if you hold out in integrity.The victories under the old Testamēt may make us confi­dent of the like, if we will be faithfull. I confesse, I am once grieved and ashamed, to read the victories Gods people obtained in the Old Testament, who yet were not without some failings, but the best of them, men subject to like passions as we are; and so it was the Covenant of Grace, not Works, whereby they obtained such Deliverances: And then to think how often Gods people, under the New Testa­ment, and now, are defeated, and put to the worse. The truth is, we are worse in our hearts and lives then they, or else we should have as many, and as great victories, (except miracles, but not excepting wonders) as they ever had. And if we can yet at last, [Page 71] learn to be as faithfull as they, (Governours and People) when they prospered, I will be bold to promise, We shall never have any de­feat more.

And now I close up all, with that encouraging charge of holy Jehoshaphat, to his great Councell of Judges, 2 Chron. 19. 11. Deal couragiously, and the Lord shall be with the good.

FINIS.

Die Mercurii, 28. Junii, 1643.

IT is this Day Ordered by the House of Commons, that Sir Oliver Luke, do from this House return thanks to M. Palmer, and M. Hill to M. Carter for the great pains they took in the Sermons they this day preached, at the intreaty of the House of Commons, at S. Marga­rets in the City of Westminster, being a day of Publike Humiliation, and that they desire them to Print their Ser­mons. And it is Ordered that no man presume to Print the said Sermons, or either of them, but whom the said M. Palmer, and M. Carter shall authorize under their hands in writing. Hen. Elsing. Cler. Parl. D. Com.

I appoint John Bellamie and Ralph Smith to Print my Sermon.

HERBERT PALMER.

Errata. Pag. 16. line 28. for 49. read 40. p. 37. l. 23. for have r. having. p. 39. l. 1. for had r. hath. p. 45. l. 13. after Prophet, r. complain. & in the mar­gent, for Ier. 5. 9. r. Esay 5. 25. p. 50. l. 36, for cried r. crie.

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