PSAL. 47. 9.
THe Psalme is a Psalme of shouting and tri∣umph at the proclai∣ming of a King. At which solemnitie the use of the people hath beene to clap their hands,* to sound the trumpets,* and with united acclamations to professe both their joy and their sub∣jection. The Gentiles are here called upon unto this dutie and triumph of o∣bedience, vers. 1. 6. and great reason for it, in two respects. 1. So great is the King, who is here proclaimed, as that he is able to make all his subjects, Kings Page 2 too. He chooseth the excellencie of Iacob for their inheritance, vers. 4. And that was the Primogeniture and right of Government, Gen. 49. 3, 4. 10. 2. So Great a King he is besides, as that he is able to subdue all the Princes of the earth to his obedience, and make them gather together, or resort unto him, which is a phrase expressing subjection, Gen. 49. 10. Hos. 1. 11.
But you will say, Is it then so strange a thing for one Prince to conquer ano∣ther? No, the greatnesse of Christs King∣dome is this;* That Princes doe volun∣tarily become his Subjects, not by might compelling them, but by his Spirit per∣swading them; Not by Armes, but by Arguments, not by Conquest, but by Conviction: The princes, the Volunta∣ries of the people are gathered together; that is, are become obedient to the God of Abraham.
But how come Princes to be so flexible to termes of subjection? How come they to be willing, nay, ambitious to stoop to another Scepter? How come the Page 3 Grandies of the world to be caught by fi∣shermen, and young Lions to be led by a little childe,* as the Prophet speakes? The reason of that follows in my Text, The Shields of the Earth belong to God, and when he will be pleased to exalt him∣selfe, he can easily subdue and perswade them.
Few there are of those whom I have looked into, who retaining the original word, Shields, doe not understand it in the same sense with the first word of the verse, Princes. Calvin, I confesse, and from him some others, though appro∣ving this exposition as consonant to the scope of the Text, doe yet understand it in Abstracto. The Protection of the earth is of the Lord. Or, the Lord is the Shields, that is, the manifold Protection of the earth. And so much doe I honour the judgement of that most learned Inter∣preter, that as he acknowledgeth the o∣ther exposition to be consonant to the Text, so I shall not altogether neglect his; but take both the Abstract and Concrete together, the Protection, and Page 4 the Protectors, the Office, and the Persons protecting the Earth belong all to God.
But because I finde, 1. The learned Lexicographers in the Hebrew tongue, Pagnin and Shindler, both noting out this place in speciall, where Princes and Magistrates are called Shields. 2. The learned Expositors, Bucer, Melancthon, Musculus, Illyrious, Tirinus, Muis, with the Hebrew Doctors, Aben Ezra and Kimchi taking the word here to note Princes. 3. Because I finde the harmonie of the Scriptures, making way, and giving full allowance to this exposition, Hos. 4. 8. where Rulers are expresly called by the name of Shields; I shall, I hope, with cleere satisfaction to better judgements choose chiefly to insist on that sense, as being in all confessions very pertinent to the scope of the Text, and most sute∣able to the businesse of the Time.
Here then we have the Rulers of the Earth set forth by a double relation. The one upward, they are Scuta Deo, they be∣long to God: The other downward, they are Scuta Terrae, the Shields of the earth;Page 5 and both these noting two things, their Dignitie, and their Dutie. They belong to God, it is their honour that he hath Sea∣led them; they belong to God, it is their dutie to be subject to him. They are the Shields of the earth, it is their Honour that they are above others; they are the Shields of the Earth, it is their duty to protect o∣thers. And surely great reason they should doe their dutie, when they have honour and dignity of their owne to in∣courage and to support them in it. But there is a further reason than that in the Text, namely the Honour of God: for when the Rulers of the people doe not only by the sacrednesse of their persons, but by the holinesse of their lives belong to God; when they are above the peo∣ple, not in honor only, to overtop them, but in love and righteousnesse to protect them▪ too, then, never more vehementer exaltatur, the God of Israel is highly ex∣alted.
This then is the summe of the words. A twofold Dignitie, a two-fold Dutie, and Gods honour the end and ground of Page 6 all. Of all which by Gods gracious assi∣stance, with due respect to the time and your great businesse. And first of their relation Vpward, They belong to God, their office to God, their persons to God.
1. Their Office, the Protection of the Earth belongs to God. The earth is the Lords, and the fulnesse thereof, and all the Princes in the world are but his De∣putles and Vicegerents, He the Supreme and the maine Protector. It is not in man, he that runneth, nor he that willeth, but mercy comes from God, Rom. 9. 16. It is not in the Church, he that planteth, or he that watereth, but the increase comes from God, 1 Cor. 3. 7. It is not in the battel, the horse or the rider, but safetie comes from God, Prov. 21. 31. It is not in the State, the wise man, nor the rich man, nor the mighty man, but iudgement and kindnesse come from God, Ier. 9. 23. In matters of judicature, Hee the Law-giver to rule the cause, Iam. 4. 12. He the Iudge to heare it, Psal. 50. 6. Hee the pleader to argue it, Psal. 35. 1. Hee the witnesse to confirme it, Mal. 3. 5. Hee the King to determine and over-rule it, and all Page 7 to the purposes of safetie and Protecti∣on. The Lord is our Iudge, the Lord is our Law-giver, the Lord is our King, hee will save us, Isai. 33. 22. O Israel thou hast destroyed thy selfe, but in me is thy helpe, I will be thy King, Hos. 13. 10. It is the divels stile to be 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, an Accuser, it is Christs, to be 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 an Advocate and Comforter. It is the divels worke to be Abaddon, a Destroyer, it is Christs to be Goel, a Re∣deemer. When it comes to punishing and pulling downe, then he calls it Opus a∣lienum, a worke strange unto him, Ier. 28. 21. He is not willing to afflict, it comes not from his heart, Lam. 3. 33. But when he is to build up, to protect, to shew mercy, to be a Shield of the earth, then he delight∣eth in that, Mic. 7. 18.
You see the Protection of the Earth belongs to God. 1. By his Providence, he supporteth it, the same vertue being re∣quired to conserve the world which was to create it. 2. By his Ordinance, hee setteth up and establisheth those Orders of Government which are to administer it. 3. By his Assistance and benediction,Page 8 he encourageth and prospereth the just and honourable endeavours of those that are dispensers of Peace and Iustice. Lastly, By the powerfull restraint of his Law, over the consciences of evill men, by the sweet influence of his Grace on the soules of good men, by planting an awefull reverence, towards Authoritie, in the mindes of all men, by his secret and wonderfull wisdome tempering and reducing the various events and con∣tingencies in the world, to his owne mercifull ends of peace. By these and the like powerfull operations, are Chur∣ches and Common-wealths marvellous∣ly protected, amidst so many machinati∣ons of Satan, so many mutinous and tur∣bulent affections of men, so many jea∣lousies, and antipathies of States, so many principles of commotion and dis∣solution, as a piece of rich and beautiful Arrasse is curiously wrought out of the mixture of various and contrary co∣lours. That every one which looketh on may say, Verily He must needs be a God which judgeth the Earth.
Page 9 O Therefore let us all learne to rest upon this Protection, not to trust in our owne counsels, purses, policies, and ma∣chinations, The Name of the Lord is the only strong Tower, for persons or States to fly unto. Without this, walls of sea, and towers of munition, mines of India, and horses of Aegypt, mountaines of brasse, and men of Iron would doe no service, afford no succour or helpe at all. All the defences of men, without God, are but a shadow. Their Defence, their shadow is departed from them. Numb. 14. 9. Thus their office belongs to God.
Next, their persons, they belong to God too. His owne they are, and so he calls them. Touch not mine Annointed, Psal. 105. 16.
And his they are divers wayes. 1. By a singular and more speciall Proprietie. Other things belong so to God, as that men also under him, and by subordinate interest and indulgence from him, have a right over them too.* The Earth is the Lords,* and the fulnesse thereof, but he hath given it to the children of men. Page 10 The beasts of the forrest,* and cattell on a thousand mountaines all his,* but hee hath subjected them all to man. It is not so here. Princes doe so belong to God, as that he holdeth all the proprie∣tie solely in himselfe, transferreth it not upon any other.*A Deo secundi, post Deum primi, soli Deo subjecti, saith Ter∣tullian. There is not a man betweene them and God, but he only that is man and God: Every soule must bee subject, therefore no soule is above them, Rom. 13. 1.
2 His by Vnction, by the Royall cha∣racter and sacred signature, wherewith he hath marked them for himselfe, by his owne Dixi, the Word of God which came unto them, as our Saviour speaks, Iohn 10. 35. Inde potestas unde & spiritus,* So Tertullian,* and an Ancienter than hee, Cujus jussu homines, eius iussu reges. So Irenaeus,* and an Ancienter than hee, the Powers that are,* are of God. So Saint Paul: and yet further, The God of heaven hath given thee a kingdome, so Daniel. And if you will yet goe to the Ancientest of all, By me Kings reigne. So God himselfe, Page 11Prov. 8. 16. Cyrus an Heathen King,*Saul an evill King, David an holy King, all these were Anointed Shields (to use the phrase of the Prophet, Isai. 21. 5.) so they are all called, the first by the Prophet Esay,* the other by Samuel, and the third by God himselfe.
3 His by immediate Representation; this honour is given them 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 To bee Gods both by name and office: So they are called, The gods of the people, Exod. 22. 28. Their Throne Gods Throne, 1 Chron. 29. 23. Their Scep∣ter Gods Scepter, Exo. 4. 20. Their Iudge∣ment Gods Iudgement, Deut. 1. 17: Not only all from him, but all for him, and in his stead.
4 His by speciall care, and more par∣ticular protection and provision, Touch not mine anointed. Not tactu cordis, with so much as an evill thought, either of jealousie to suspect their actions, or of injury to wish hurt unto their persons. Eccles. 10. 20. Not tactu oris, with so much as a repining or calumniating tongue, to gnaw the names or honours of the Page 12 Rulers of the people, Exod. 22. 28. Much lesse with the fist of violence or the in∣struments of bloud. If one Anointed doe but touch the skirt of another, that touch of a garment will cause a blow upon his owne heart, 1 Sam. 24. 5. 'Tis noted of the Persians,* when they came into the presence of their Prince, they drew their hands into their sleeves, in token both of reverence and loyaltie: they would not have an hand stirring while Majestie was in presence. Cursed therefore for ever be Mariana his Qua∣cunque Arte,* and Bellarmines Omni Ratio∣ne (Termes as wide as Hell, or the grave, to comprehend any contrivance of mis∣chiefe) whereby they touch to the quick, or rather to the death, both the persons, and power, the lives and Crownes of Gods Anointed.
5 His by Domination and Soveraigne influence over their persons, wils, coun∣sels, designes, to order, to alter, to turne them all as rivers of water.* It is not within the power, nor beseeming the distance and dutie of inferiour men to Page 13 bend and draw down the minds of Prin∣ces unto their wils. But the Kings heart is in Gods hand, and hee can turne and fashion it as it pleaseth him, Prov. 21. 1. Iob 12. 24. Therefore when Nehemiah was to petition the King, he first prayed to the God of heaven, who only was a∣ble to incline the heart of the King to fa∣vour him. Nehem. 2. 4. and so Mordecai and Ester, Cap. 4. 16. 5. 2. and Iacob for his sonnes, when they were to returne to Ioseph▪ Gen. 43. 14.
Lastly, The Princes in the Text be∣long to God in a more sweet propriety then all the former, namely by Religion and subiection to the yoke of Christ. Because they gather themselves to the people of the God of Abraham, not only to be Ru∣lers, so Cyrus was, but, which is a more heavenly priviledge than that, to bee Members of the Church of God;* to be nursing fathers to the houshold of Christ, to kisse the Sonne,* and to bow to his Scepter. Wee call not those Kings hap∣pie, saith Saint Austen, who have raigned long and conquered enemies, Sed qui po∣testatem Page 14 suam divinae Maiestati famulam faciunt,* Who make their power service∣able to the Majestie of God. And hee telleth us of Theodosius,* that godly Em∣perour, That it was more joy to him to be a member of the Church, than a Monarch of the world. On which place wee finde noted the like example of Lewis the devout amongst the French Kings, who professed himselfe more ho∣nour'd at the Font, where he had been baptized for a Christian, than in the Throne where hee was Anointed for a King.
Thus now wee have brought their first Dignity and their Dutie together.* For it is not the Honour only, but the Of∣fice of the Shields to belong to God. You cannot well be The Shields of the Earth, except you learne of him who is the great Master of Protection. And sure∣ly Religion is an excellent Schoole-ma∣ster, to teach us our duties in our parti∣cular callings. The Prophet telleth us, that the very Husbandman is taught of God how to sow and thresh, Isai. 28. 26. Page 15 David, a great warriour, where learned he his skill? Thou teachest mine hands to fight, Psal. 18. 34. Bezaleel, an excellent work-man, whose apprentice was hee? God hath filled him with wisedome and un∣derstanding, Exod. 35. 21. Salomon an ad∣mirable shield for Government, who framed him? I, saith God; have given thee an understanding heart, 1 Reg. 3. 12. Religion makes a man redeeme the Time, and Time, you know, is Mater artium, the Mother of skill. And Reli∣gion makes a man goe to God; and God, you know, is Pater luminum, the Father of every good gift. Therefore the Scholer when hee prayeth studieth hard: The Tradesman when he pray∣eth thrives apace; the Judge when he prayeth executeth judgement, as the mower when he whetteth cutteth down the grasse.* The learned have made the Observation to my hand. Phineas stood up, Vaiephallel, and he prayed, saith one Translation, and hee executed judge∣ment, saith another. The Originall word beares both, to note that Religion Page 16 doth marvellously fit a man for workes of justice. If you aske me who was the best souldier in the armies of Israel a∣gainst Amalek, certainly not he that lif∣ted up his sword against the enemies of Israel, but Moses who lifted up his hands to the God of Israel. Bee pleased ever to remember this, it is Scuta Deo, that makes Scuta Terrae, 'Tis Religion ever that holds up Justice, 'tis from the Temple that the two pillars of a Com∣mon-wealth, strength and stabilitie doe proceed, 1 Kings 7. 21. Therefore Plato would have the Palaces of Princes joyned unto Temples:* to note that Government and Religion, Prayer and Justice, the Word and the Sword should never be severed. And marke it ever in the whole course of storie,*Vbi non est sanctitas, pietas, fides, instabile regnum est. With Religion,* the Arches of strength and steddinesse have beene ever en∣dangered, and the people have beene shaken like a reed in the waters. 1 Reg. 14. 15.* Therefore, ever let the Anoin∣ted ones, Zerubbabel and Ioshua, the Page 17 Prince and the Priest, the Magistrate and the Minister stand alwayes be∣fore the Lord, no where else can they receive instruction for the Government of State or Church, Zach. 4. 14.
And here againe the doctrine of the Iesuites deserves a brand.*Vt ni∣hil scilicet Princeps de Religione statuat. That matters of the Church and the worship of God should bee left onely to Saint Peters Apostolicall Successors, and that Princes should in no case have power, government, or jurisdiction Ec∣clesiasticall.*Bellarmine undertakes it, Quòd non sit Ecclesiasticum Regimen pe∣nes Principes seculares.* Certainely the High Priests arrogated not so much in Davids time, who did himselfe order the courses and attendance of the Le∣vites, 1 Chron. 9. nor yet in Ezekiahs time, who himselfe appointed the ser∣vices of the Priests and Levites, and gave speciall order by Royall Edict for the celebration of the great Passe∣over, and that too at an unusuall time, 2 Chron. 30. and 3• So Iehoshaphat and Page 18Iosiah did not onely make speciall pro∣vision for the service of God, but gave the Priests and Levites their charge, as well as the judges and people, 2 Chron. 19. and 34. 35. Yea, long since Saint Peters time, it was a prerogative which Constantine reserved unto himselfe (who yet honoured his Bishops as much as ever Prince did) to purge the Church of Idolatrie,* and establish the worship of God by his owne Imperiall Edicts: yea, himselfe to appoint judges in the cause of Cecilian Bishop of Africa,* and to convent a whole Councell of Bi∣shops to render an account of their proceeding against Athanasius unto him,* as Socrates notes.* So Iovinian and Theodosius by their Royall Edicts resto∣red the Orthodox and pure Religion which Iulian (and Valens had disgra∣ced.* Neither did Theophilus,* Bishop of Alexandria, demolish the monuments of Idolatrie in his owne Church, till first hee had procured from the Empe∣rour a special command so to doe. And this use of their power the godly Page 19 Bishops of the Church did highly ho∣nour and commend them for. The Rule of Saint Augustine is generall, In hoc Reges Deo serviunt• in quantum Reges.* In this they shew themselves Kings▪ Quatenus ipsum, in comman∣ding good things, and forbidding evill things, Non solum quae pertinent ad hu∣manam soetetutem, verum etiam quae ad divinam religionem. Wee know there is Ecclesiasticall Power fixed to the cal∣ling and character of Ecclesiasticall per∣sons. So the Church hath spirituall power to dispence holy things, and spi∣rituall jurisdiction by vertue of the Keyes, to Censure, to binde, to keepe backe holy things from swine. But jurisdiction coercitive, or the power of the sword, which under externall, secu∣lar, and corporall penalties maketh pro∣vision for the defence of truth, worship of God, and purity of Religion: This belongeth only unto Princes (and that independently, and unsubordinately to any higher power or person, save God) and to those to whom from Princes it Page 20 is communicated, and indulged.
Wee see The Rulers of the earth be∣long unto God. We the people should from thence learne our dutie of ho∣nour, reverence and loyaltie towards The Shields of the Earth. To honour them in our hearts, as those that are worth ten thousand of us, 2 Sam. 18. 3. They were sonnes of Belial that despised Saul, 1 Sam. 10. 27. To honour them in our aPrayers, for their persons, their lives, their crownes, their government, their victories, their posteritie, their salva∣tion, 1 Tim. 2. 1, 2. To honour them in our services, and with our substance, with cheerefull obedience, and with wil∣ling Tribute, Rom. 13. 7. 1 Pet, 2. 13, 14, 15. Since without them one man would but be bread for another, wee should be as the fishes of the sea, the great would de∣voure the small, Hab. 1. 13, 14.b It was the dignity and practice of the ancient Chri∣stians thus to doe, as they who write their Apologies against the calumnia∣tions of Heathen adversaries doe still observe: whereby they did not onely Page 21 discharge the conscience of loyall and dutifull subjects to their soveraigne, but also of wise and wary Christians to∣wards their profession, thereby putting to silence the ignorance of foolish men, who, either unable, or unwilling, to distinguish between the errors of Chri∣stians and their Religion, would have undoubtedly laid the envie of such diso∣bedience, not upon the weaknesse of the men, but upon the doctrine which they obeyed: as the Apostles, Saint Peter and Paul, doe both observe, 1 Tim. 6. 1. 2 Cor. 6. 3. 1 Pet. 2. 15. From which pre∣judice, Christ hath beene so carefull to fence and mound the doctrine of Chri∣stian Religion, as that in the case of per∣sonall libertie, and most naturall and just exemption (where the offence upon his not paying thec Tribute of the halfe Page 22 shekel unto the Sanctuary would have beene scandalum acceptum, and not da∣tum,) hee yet chose rather to doe that whereunto hee was not bound, than by standing upon the dignitie and libertie of his person (being the Sonne of God) to draw any envie and calumnie upon the doctrine hee taught: notwithstan∣ding such envie and imputation would have risen from a scandall unduly taken, without any just reason or occasion gi∣ven by him, Matth. 17. 24. 27.
And you the Reverend judges and Magistrates, who are the Shields which our Salomon hath made, and the Lions about his Throne, since you all belong to God, above all judge for God. Your Commission is from him, your power for him, your support by him, your ac∣count unto him. The bench you sit on is his Tribunall, the sentence you pro∣nounce is his Iudgement, the Master you serve, is His Anointed, the Land you protect is Immanuels Land. He is with you to observe your proceeding, to se∣cure your persons, to back his Ordi∣nance Page 23 with his owne power, to be Sou∣torum scutum, a shield of Protection to the Shields of the earth. Since then you have so high a Commission, so imparti∣all a Master, so strict a charge, so great a trust, so strong a fence, so severe a rec∣koning, so sure a Reward: Above all things let the Causes of God, to whom you belong, bee dearest in your eyes. Those that most neerely concerne the honour, safetie, and service of his An∣nointed, the succour and dignitie of his Church, the puritie and support of his worship, the frequenting of his Tem∣ple, the punishing of his enemies, the in∣couraging of his Ministers. As God shall have the glory, and his Church the benefit, so your consciences shall have the comfort, your soules the re∣ward, and your names the honour of thus Belonging unto God. And so much of their first Relation, their Rela∣tion Vpward, they are Scuta Deo, they belong to God.
Next, they are Scuta Terrae too, The Shields and protectours of the Earth. I Page 24 shall not need tell you that it notes their Dignitie above others; No Militarie instrument more honourable than a shield. When Salomon would setforth the glory and magnificence of his King∣dome, this the way, two hundred Tar∣gets, and three hundred Shields of bea∣ten gold, 1 Kings 10. 16, 17. Power in∣deed it is to be able to Hurt, but above all, Protection and mercy are the works of Honour. And therefore Princes com∣mit their power of punishing, and workes of Iustice to their Instruments, and Ministers, but workes of clemen∣cie and power of pardoning, as a more sacred impresse, and more immediate character of royaltie, they reserve to themselves. God himselfe, who is glo∣rious in all his Attributes, yet singleth out his Goodnesse and Protection to shew himselfe glorious by: for Iustice and Power make Majestie terrible; but Goodnesse and mercie make it Amiable too. I beseech thee (saith Moses) shew me thy Glory: the answer, I will make all my Goodnesse to passe before thee. Who is a Page 25 God like unto thee? Who so glorious, that pardoneth iniquitie, and passeth by trans∣gression, Mic. 7. 18. Great Dignitie then it is to bee Shields of the Earth. It is so to God, and therefore so to Man too.
But it is safer for mortall men to heare of their Dutie, than of their Ho∣nour. Let us chiefely therefore con∣sider it in that sense. Not your Honour onely, but your Office too it is to bee the Shields of the Earth.* Non tantùm potestas Iudici concessa, sed fides, saith the Orator. Iudges have not onely Ho∣nour and Power, but a Trust reposed in them for dispensation of a Dutie, and that so great a Dutie, as that even of∣fices of Religion doe but stinke with∣out it. I will not smell in your solemne Assemblies, except Iudgement runne downe as waters, Amos 5. 21. 24. To doe Iu∣stice and Iudgement, is more accepta∣ble to God than Sacrifice, Prov. 21. 3. When you make many prayers, I will not heare: Goe, seeke Iudgement, relieve the oppressed, be Shields of the Earth, and then Page 26 come and reason with mee, or pray unto mee, Isai. 1. 15. What makest thou on thy face Io∣shua before the Arke, get thee up, and take away the accursed thing, or I will bee with you no more, Iosh 7. 10. A great dutie then sure it is to be Shields of the Earth, for the which God himselfe is conten∣ted, in some cases, to have his sacrifices intermitted.
Shields then you must bee. And in∣deed most of the Titles of Magistrates in the Scripture runne into this. They are called TheaArmes of the people, to beare them up, and tobLeade them, Iob 22. 8.c Binders, Healers, Chirurgi∣ans to cure their wounds and breaches, Isai. 3. 7.d Foundations of the Earth, Psalm. 82. 6. to support it from Ruine and sinking, (Hence the Hebrewes derive their word for Lord, and the Greekes their word for King, from rootes which signifie a foundation.) eCoverings, Ezek. 28. 16. The word (as the learned have observed) signifies f that Engine under which Souldiers were wont to be protected in, in assaul∣ting Page 27 the walles of an Enemie, against the stones and dartes which were cast downe upon them. So Hezekiah, as a Type of CHRIST, is called Latibu∣lum, an Hiding place, Isai. 32. 2. They are calledgVectes, the Barres of an house, to preserve it from breaking o∣pen, as the learned have observed on Hosea 11. 6. ThehCoignes or Corners of a State, which is the strength and stay of a building, Isai. 19. 13. Nailes on which vessels were hanged for safetie, Isai. 22. 24. In one word, They are callediPastours, to feede the people, kAngels of GOD, which you know are all forl Protection,mFathers, which is an name of Pietie, as well as of Power. So all your Titles bend to this, That you should bee Scuta Ter∣rae, The Shields and Protectours of the Earth.
A Shield is a kinde of partition wall betweene a man and something which would hurt him. And in two cases chiefely it concernes you. 1. To be Shields Inter Reum & Terram, be∣tweene Page 28 Injury and the Land. 2. To bee Shields inter Deum & Terram, be∣tweene Iudgements and the Land.
And here since The Earth is the LORDS, leave not him out in your Protection: See that the LORD of the Soile suffer no injury from his Tenants or Cottiers. Surely GOD hath many Things amongst us which must not be violated. His Temple, Orato∣ries, and Oracles, his Word, Worship and Sacraments. How many are there which rob him of their attendance, how many Goliahs, which defie the armies and congregations of this our Israel? His Name, a dreadfull and glorious Name. How many are there which rob him of their Reverence, How ma∣ny Rabshakees, which shoote out blas∣phemies against heaven, and teare in pieces this holy Name with oathes and execrations? His Day, consecrated for his more solemne and peculiar Ser∣vice; How many are there which rob him of their due offices in his Church upon it. How many presumptuous Page 29 Repiners are there; who say of GODS worship (whose service is perfect free∣dome) behold what a wearinesse it is? Malach. 1. 13. who forsake the assem∣blies of the Saints to gather stickes? Numb. 15. 32. and had rather be selling of corne, than serving of God? Amos 8. 5. His Portion, to incourage the Le∣vites in the Law of the LORD, 2 Chro. 31. 4. How many are there which rob him of his Dues, Malach. 3. 8. How ma∣ny Zebahs and Zalmunnahs are there, who say, let us take to our selves the Houses of GOD in possession, Psalm. 83: 12. Facta imitantur, nec exitum per∣horrescunt. HisaAmbassadoursb whose feet are beautifull with the tidings of peace, who are sent in CHRISTS stead, asc Angels,d nay, as Saviours to the Church, ase friends of the Bride∣groome, f and the Glory of CHRIST. How many are there, who in them robbe GOD of his Honour? How many Hanuns are there that shave and Curtall them even unto shame? Who make more use of a wicked Proverbe, Page 30 than of all their Ten Commandements, to be sure to Pinch GOD on the Chur∣ches side? How many, who will not be taught by GOD Himselfe not to forsake the Levite all their dayes? Deut. 12. 19. Nor by Hezekiah, a godly King, to speake comfortably unto them? 2 Chron. 30. 22. His Church, the beau∣tie of Holinesse, and praise of the whole Earth. How many are there who therein robbe him of their communion and obedience, of his truth and worship? How many Tobiahs and Sanballats, who maligne the peace and prosperitie of Sion? In one word, His servants, and Iewels, as hee calls them, Malach. 3. 17. How many are there, who in them rob him of their Love? How many swine and drunkards that trample on these pearles, and make songs upon them? Psalm. 69. 12. Iob 30. 8, 9. In these cases you that are the Shieldes of the Earth, must rise up to helpe the LORD: Either as Phineas, by lifting up the sword to punish, or as Moses, by lif∣ting up the hand to pray. There is a Page 31 double curse, and a bitter one too, against those which did not. Curse yee Meroz, and againe Curse, and doe it bitterly, for hee went not forth to helpe the LORD, Iudges 5: 23. Thus then in the first place you are Scuta in∣ter sacrilegos & Dominum Terrae, be∣tweene Sacriledge and the LORD of the Earth.
Secondly, you are Scuta inter Re∣um & Terram, betweene Injury and Innocence, to protect the oppressed, and to punish the offender. Such a Shield Iob was, An eye to the blinde, a foot to the lame, a father to the poore, whose cause hee diligently sear∣ched out, when haply the poore man had more sense to feele the wrong he suffered, than skill to open it, Iob. 29. 15. Such a Shield was Constantine the Great:* Witnesse that golden Edict of his,* worthy to be inscribed upon all the Shieldes of the Earth. If any of my friends, Courtiers, or servants have wronged any man, let him without feare come unto me my selfe, let him Page 32 make his plaint, and produce his proofes, I will not onely right him, but reward him too. It was one of the miseries which Salomon observed un∣der the Sunne, that such as were op∣pressed had none to comfort them, Ec∣clesiastes 4. 1. Here then you shall have much use of your Shield.
First, Inter Innocentem & Actorem, Betweene Innocence and the Accuser, who many times out of malice, or ob∣sequiousnesse, or a desire to squeeze money out of simple mens purses, or some other purse end, doth not in∣forme, but sycophantize and calum∣niate: Either forging crimes where there is no ground at all, as in the case of Naboth and Mephibosheth, 1 Kings 21. 13. 2 Sam. 16. 3, 4. Or by cunning representing Innocent actions under the shape of crimes, as in the case of Davids messengers to Hanun, 2 Sam. 10. 3. It were well these men, or rather these Wolues, would remember whose stile it is to be the Accuser of the Bre∣thren, Revel. 12. 10. That they may Page 33 speedily make use of Saint Iohn Bap∣tists refuge from the wrath to come. Doe violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely, Luke 3. 14.
Secondly, Inter Innocentem & Te∣stem, Betweene innocence and the wit∣nesse: Who haply may sometimes out of ill will, feare, or some base end, either forge a Testimonie, as Gashmu, Nehem. 6. 6, 7. or at least stretch, and tenter a truth beyond measure, to doe mis∣chiefe with it, as Doeg, Psalm. 52. 3, 4. It were well these men would remem∣ber too, that a witnesse should be Cly∣peus, not Malleus, a Shield, not a Maule or Hammer, Prov. 25. 18.
Thirdly, Inter Innocentem & Advo∣catum. Betweene Innocence and Coun∣sell sometimes, who haply Per ver∣borum aucupia & tendiculas, as Tully speakes, by cunning construction ei∣ther of Lawes or actions, may una∣wares protect Injury, and wrong In∣nocence. I hope they too will take GODS charge, not to speake in a cause to wrest Judgement, Exod. 23. 2. But ra∣ther Page 34 resolve with Saint Paul, I can doe nothing against the truth, 2 Cor. 13. 8. Remembring that Pleading should bee to binde and heale, not to wound or destroy, Ierem. 30. 13. It is a noble Du∣tie to bee a Shield of the Earth, but a very ill office it is to bee 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Scu∣tum praedatorum, as the old Glossarie hath it.
Fourthly, Inter Innocentem & Iu∣dices facti, Betweene Innocence and the jurie: for many times a Tame jurie (as one speakes) by the craft of one cun∣ning fellow in the company, who hap∣ly comes possessed with prejudice to the cause, or ill will to the person, may swallow any thing, and give in a Ver∣dict to the oppression of Innocence. It were well they would learne too, not to goe like sheepe one after another, (quâ itur, non quâ eundum,) but to bee led by the sacrednesse of their oath, and the light of their evidence, not blindly to suffer their consciences to bee over-ruled by another mans pre∣judice.
Page 35 Lastly, Inter Innocentem & ministros. Betweene Innocence and the Officers and servants of the Court. By whose Arts it may sometimes happen, as he said, Vt tu victrix provincia plores, That a mans reliefe shall be as heavie as the Injurie it removes. I have heard of a Great Diana, called Expedition, by which there is brought no small gaine to the Crafts-men. It was a good speech of an evill Emperour, That by bad servants Cautus & optimus vende∣retur Imperator▪* The most wary and best Emperour might bee sold. It were well these too would Remember, un∣der what termes they must receive their salvation.*Well done good and faith∣full servant.* If evill, if slothfull, take heed of what followes. It is no Date a∣ny longer then, it is Auferte, all. Take away his Talent, and that sounds al∣most as terribly to some men, as, Take away his soule. Thus you are Scuta inter Reum & Terram, betweene Guilt and the Land.
Next, you must bee Scuta inter De∣um Page 36 & Terram too; betweene Iudge∣ments and the Land; To stand in the gappe, and to remove those calamities which publike sinnes doe deserve and provoke. Such a Shield David was, In a publike famine for the crueltie of Saul against the Gibeonites, first hee went to GOD, and then hee executed judgement, and so the famine ceased, 2 Sam. 21. Such a Shield was Ioshua, in a common flight of Israel before the Enemie, first hee goes to the Arke, and then to the Sword, and so Israel pre∣vailes againe. Ios. 7. Such a Shield was Moses, when GODS wrath waxed hot against Israel for the golden Calfe, first hee went to GOD to pray for the people, then Levi to the sword to prune them, and by that meanes the breach was stopped, and the judge∣ment prevented, Exod. 32. 14. But when it came once to this, There is Rob∣bery, and oppression, and dishonest gaine; and I sought out a man to stand in the gap, and make up these breaches, and there was not one, Ezek. 22: 30.Page 37 When to this Once, Runne to and fro thorow. Hierusalem, finde mee out a man that executeth judgement, and no answer returned but this: The poore are foolish and cannot, the Great proud and will not; when thus bones out of joynt, and no binders to set them, publike provocations, and none to pre∣vent them, then GODS mercie was, as it were, at a stand, Quomodo propitius esse potero? How shall I pardon thee for this? Ierem. 5. 7. Now therefore, that the flood-gates of GODS judge∣ments have beene so long time open in the world, and the Countries of our neighbours made drunke with the bloud of its inhabitants, you that are Shields of the Earth, by your zeale, pie∣tie, and execution of Iudgement stand up betweene GOD and this people (whose mightie sinnes have clamoured as loud for a scourge as any) that GOD may bee pleased still to delight in us.
And there is a Great emphasis in the word Terrae, Shieldes of the Earth.Page 38 Your protection must be generall, your care and benignitie universall, every member of the Land, must finde shel∣ter under your shade. You must bee like the Sunne, whose beames shine with as sweet a benignitie on a garden of Cucumbers, as on the Forrest of Libanon. Your justice must extend it selfe like Salomons wisedome, from the Cedar to the Hyssop. You shall heare the small as well as the great, and not bee afraid of the face of man, Deut. 1. 17.〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 is the Apostles rule in Ecclesiasticall, and it reacheth to all Iurisdictions: observe these things without prejudice, or preferring one before another, 1 Tim. 5. 21. Lawes should not bee either like nets, to let out little fishes, and to catch great ones: nor yet like Cobwebs, to bee broken by greater offenders, and to catch flies. Therefore, as Magistrates are here called Scuta Terrae, so the Law is with us called Lex Terrae, to note the universall benignitie thereof, and the equall interest which each person is to Page 39 have therein. To weigh one mans cause by the Rule of Law, anothers by the Rule of favour, prejudice or partiall affection,* is like divers weights and measures, which the LORD ab∣horres. This is not to bee Scutum, but Galea, a Helmet, onely to protect the heads of the people. I speake not as an accuser, GOD forbid, wee heartily blesse GOD for the integritie of you our Reverend Judges. But as Saint Peter speakes, Though you know these things, yet I put you in remem∣brance; so, though you doe these things, yet I put you in remembrance too, Vt quod facitis, faciatis; or rather as Saint Paul, to the Thessalonians, That you would abound more and more.
And indeed give mee leave to bee your Remembrancer.* Very great Prin∣ces have had theirs. Philip of Mace∣don, a Page with a memento for him. The Kings of Persia,* a standing Offi∣cer with a memento for them. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. And 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. Nay, GOD himselfe bids us put him in Re∣membrance, Page 40 Isai. 43. 26. There are, that are called The Lords Remembrancers, Isai. 62. 6.
You are Shieldes. Remember: First, A Shield is a mercifull weapon, none more: Weapons are distinguished in∣to Arma ad Tegendum,* and Arma ad no∣cendum. You are of the first sort, and that not Galea, onely for the Head, nor Lorica, onely for the breast. But a Shield, which being a moveable wea∣pon, carries protection up and downe to the whole bodie. Your Power is like that of the Church for Edifica∣tion, not for destruction, 2 Cor. 10. 8. It is noted by Tacitus amongst the ver∣tues of Agricola,*Non poenâ semper, sae∣pè poenitentiâ contentus fuit. And sure∣ly, if with Abraham you can drive a∣way the birds from the Sacrifice, though it bee more troublesome, yet it is more mercifull than to shoot them. I con∣fesse some evils must be scattered with the wheele, but where the eye can doe it,* it is farre the better, Prov. 20. 8. 26. Basil the Great noteth it in his times Page 41 as a custome in secular judicature, not to give sentence on a malefactour, Nisi prius obductis velis. The judges withdrew themselves under a Curten, considered weightily the merits of the fact, heard what could bee alleaged in favour of the delinquent,* used all mer∣cifull consultation, to let it appeare that when they punished sinne, yet they pitied humanitie. When you must needs passe sentence, yet remem∣ber you doe it on a man, whose na∣ture is the same with yours, whose soule as immortall and precious as yours: and therefore though the sin∣ner must die, doe all you can that the soule may live.
Secondly,* Remember a Shield is a venturous weapon, a kinde of sure∣tie, which beares the blowes, and re∣ceives the injuries which were intended to another,* ventures the cutting and tearing to doe good, as a candle which wastes it selfe to illighten others.* Such a Shield was David, Not against the sheepe,* rather against mee let thine hand Page 42 bee, 2 Sam. 24. 17. Such was Moses, Blot mee out of thy Booke rather than not forgive thy people, Exod. 32. 32. And such should all the Annointed ones, The Magistrates and the Ministers bee, like Ioshua and Zerubbabel, who emptied themselves of the golden oyle, and were content to bee dimi∣nished for the good of others, Zach. 4. 12.
Thirdly, Remember a Shield is a strong weapon, to repell the darts of wickednesse, and to breake them in pieces. Your Tribunals should bee Reorum scopulus, as hee said of Cassius, or as Salomon speakes, You should scatter the wicked, Prov. 20. 26. If a man bee Impius ad mortem, Guiltie of high crimes, capitall both by munici∣pall and divine Law too; there the rule is peremptorie, Non parcat oculus, non accipias pretium. No pitie, no price must ransome there, Deut. 13. 8. Numb. 35. 21.
Fourthly, Remember a Shield is an honourable weapon, none more. Ta∣king Page 43 away of Shields was a signe of victorie,*2 Sam. 8. 7. Preserving them a signe of glory, Ezek. 27. 10. They used to inscribe their Armes and En∣signes of Honour upon their Shieldes:* To raise their Princes,* and to shew them to the people upon their Shields. Doe you so too. The mercie, righte∣ousnesse, and pietie of our dread Sove∣raigne, can no better way shine forth with sweete influence and gracious be∣nignitie upon his people, than by your Iustice. As CHRIST was crucified before the eyes of the Galatians in Saint Pauls ministery, so, I may say, A Prince is honoured before the eyes of all his subjects in a Iudges inte∣gritie.
Fifthly, Remember a Shield must ever have an eye to Guide it. You the Shieldes, and the Law the Eye. GOD himselfe, when hee judgeth, maketh speciall use of his Eye, Being I have seene, in the case of Israel, Exod. 3. 7. I will goe downe and see, in the case of Sodome, Gen. 18. 20. Hee did it not to Page 44 informe himselfe, Hee did it to instruct you. There are many intricacies and perplexities in businesse, wicked men are like harmefull beasts, they love con∣fusa vestigia. There are nimble and cunning Fencers, men that weigh vio∣lence, Psalm. 58. 2. that they may doe it within compasse, men that plow lyes, as Syracides speakes,*Ecclesiasticus. 7. 13. that are Artificers at it, and teach it their tongues, Ierem. 9. 5. That lay nets and contrive injurie with cunning. Ier. 5. 26. That use all the art that may bee,* as Tully boasted of himselfe, to cast a mist before the eyes of the Iudges. In this case Innocence may quickely suffer in∣jurie, except the Shields bee guided by a curious and perspicacious eye. There∣fore States-men and Ministers of Iu∣stice amongst the Persians, were called The eyes of the King,* by whom hee did dispence the affaires of his Kingdome with wisedome and righteousnesse: In this point, GOD is very strict in his charge to the Iudges of Israel, not to huddle or slubber businesses over with Page 45 an halfe hearing, but to inquire, and make search, and aske diligently, and finde out the truth and certaintie of a thing,* before they proceed to sen∣tence.
It were good to Remember you of one thing more before wee leave this point, it will preserve you humble, up∣right, and mercifull, and that is this: As you are Scuta Terrae, so you are Scu∣ta Terrea too: Shieldes of the Earth, but yet Shields of Earth. Nothing better in the warre to dead the Cannon, than a mound of Earth, but yet it will moul∣der and decay of it selfe. The gods of the Earth must die like men, Psal. 82. 6. The Kings of the Earth must vanish like foame upon the waters, Hos. 10. 7. And when they are gone from their owne Tribunals, they must ap∣peare before a Greater.
I will now begge but one inch of your time and patience more, to Re∣member you of our third particular, Exaltatus est, never better can the Trum∣pet sound, or the people say Amen to Page 46 any thing, then to that. When the Ru∣lers of the Earth doe belong to God, doe submit their Crownes and consciences to his Kingdome, doe countenance, re∣store, and advance his Truth and wor∣ship; when they are Shields, to admi∣nister justice, and protect the Land, then never more, Vehementer Exaltatus est. Is the GOD of Israel highly Exal∣ted. When the Rulers and Princes that rid on white Asses, and sate in Iudgement, offered willingly to the Lord, Then praise yee the Lord, Blesse yee the Lord, Awake, awake Debora, rise Ba∣rak, and lead thy captivitie captive, Iudg. 5. 2. 8. When David and his Nobles offered willingly to the House of the Lord, Then, Vehementer Exaltatus, Thine O Lord, is Glory, and victory, and Ma∣jestie, and thou art exalted as Head above all, 1 Chron. 29. 6. 11. When Kings stand up, and Princes worship, because of the Lord. Then sing O Heaven, and re∣ioyce O Earth, and breake forth into singing O yee mountaines, Isai. 49. 7. 13. When the Kings of Tarshish and the Isles of∣fer Page 47 gifts, and fall downe before him, Then let all the world be filled with his glo∣rie, Amen, and Amen, Psal. 72. 10. 19. As on the other side, when it came to this, Aedificantes reprobarunt, And doe any of the Rulers beleeve on him? Iohn 7. 48. When it came to Herods Illusit, to Cai∣phas his Expedit, to Pilats Tradidit, that they gathered together not unto him, but against him, Act. 4. 26. Then I con∣fesse there was an Exaltatus still, but like that of the Brazen Serpent, Ioh. 3. 14. On a Pole, not on a Throne; and wee know what a few yeares after produced even wrath to the uttermost. Consult the Prophecies of it, Matt. 24. Or the storie of it in Iosephus,* and Egesippus, you shall finde that there was never sor∣row like the sorrow of that Nation, who made their Messiah a man of sor∣row.
If I should bee asked the reason of that long, uninterrupted and most bles∣sed Tranquillity which these our King∣domes have, to the envie and astonish∣ment of other Nations so long enioyed, Page 48 when our neighbours (doubtlesse, as good as we, for we are a repining and unthankefull people) have had their Land fatted with the bloud, and dunged with the carkasses of its owne inhabi∣tants; next to the most free, and most wonderful favour of our good God, o∣ther reason I would not alleage but this, Principes popa•i congregati sunt ad Dium Abraam. Our Gracious Princes, our whol∣some Lawes, our Iosiah, our Debora, our David, our Salomon, have supported and maintained the Throne of Christ, and the faith of the Gospell: Our No∣bles, and Worthies of Church and State, have in their Assemblies offered willing∣ly, and made mounds about the wor∣ship and House of GOD, to establish it in the Beautie of Holinesse and of Peace, and therefore the 〈◊〉 hath beene the Shields of our Nation, because the Shields of our Nation have belonged to the Lord.
And now what remaines, but that we the people praise the LORD for these mercies past: And make prayers Page 49 and supplications for the Shields of the Earth, that under them still wee may lead an holy and peaceable life, and the GOD of Abraham may be still exalted. And that you the Reverend Ministers of Iustice (who goe about ad inquirendum fermentum, to search and purge out the leaven, and to make up the breaches of the Land) may be so zealous for GOD, so faithfull to our Soveraigne, so valiant for the Truth, so wise, righteous, and mercifull in Iudgement, That the Eye which seeth you, may blesse you, and the Eare which heareth you may give wit∣nesse to you, that all the people may see that the wisedome of GOD is in you to doe Iudgement, and may re∣turne from your Tribunals with songs and shouting▪ The Shields of our Coun∣trey have shewed themselves to belong to GOD, and therefore, Vehementen Exaltetur, Let him in the mouthes and hearts of all good people bee highly magnified and exalted still.
The GOD of all Grace and Con∣solation Page 50 grant these Mercies to you and us, be a Shield to protect you, a Sunne to guide you, an exceeding great re∣ward to comfort and honour you in all your Counsels, Iudgements, Iourneyes, and Returnes.
To this one GOD in Three Per∣sons, The Father, the Sonne, and the Holy Ghost, be all Glory, Praise, Maiestie and Dominion, now and for ever∣more. Amen.