The Thirteenth Lecture.
HOSEA 2. 15.
And the valley of Achor for a doore of hope, &c.
THe words are an excellent expression of mercy to Israel; For the opening of which these three things are to be enquired into.
- 1. What this valley of Achor was.
- 2. The reason of the name.
- 3. Why this is said to be a doore of hope.
For the first, Achor was a very pleasant, delightfull, fruitfull rich valley, and lay neer Jericho; The first place that Israel came into, in the entrance upon, and taking possession of the land of Canaan, Esay, 65. 10. And Sha∣ron shall be a fold of flocks, and the valley of Achor a place for the herds to lye down in, for my people that have sought me. First it is joyned with Sha∣ron, Can. 2. 1. I am the rose of Sharon, that was a sweet pleasant place.
Secondly, It is said to be a place for the herds to lye downe in; a fat pa∣sture that they shall even tumble in. And thirdly, It is promised as a bles∣•••〈…〉the Lord.
Page 363 The reason of the name Achor.* That hystory we have Iosh. 7. sheweth Achan, who 1 Chron. 3. 7. is called Achar, having taken the accursed thing,* God left the Campe, and Israel fell before the men of Ai, which was the first battell that ever they fought for the possession of Canaan, upon that their hearts were exceedingly troubled, as if the whole worke had been at an end; so fraile is mans nature, so soone discouraged when it meets with op∣position, notwithstanding all the experiences of Gods mighty power going along with them, so lately bringing them over Jordan so wonderfully, and given them Jericho so miraculously,* yet now at the losse of 36. men, their hearts begin even to faile, Ioshua falls with his face upon the earth; and Jo∣sephus in his hystory of the Jewish Antiquities, sets down Ioshuahs prayer at large, these are some expressions, Beyond all expectation, having receiv∣ed an overthrow, being terrified by this accident, and suspitious of thy pro∣mises to Moses, we both abstaine from war, and after so many enterprises, we cannot hope for any successfull proceedings, by thy mercy relieve our pre∣sent sorrow,*and take from us the thought of despaire, wherein we are too farre plunged.*
Now God comes to him and askes him, Why he lay upon his face, and bad him get him up, for Israel had sinned in the accursed thing; upon search made, Achan was found out, whereupon Joshua tells him, that he had troubled the Hoast of Israel, and God would trouble him; upon which they stoned him, and from thence it was called the valley of Achor, vers. 26. that is, Va••is tribulation is, the valley of trouble.
The third thing is the principall, why this valley is called a doore of hope. Herein two things, First, how it was a doore of hope to Israel then, when they first came into Canaan. Secondly, how it is promised to be a doore of hope to repenting Israel in after-times.
For the first, It was a doore of hope to them in two respects.
First,* because it was the first place wherein they tooke the possession of Canaan, when they began to have outward means of substance, to eate of the corne of the land, all the while they were in the wilderness although God provided wonderfully for them, by sending them Manna from Heaven, yet because they had no way of substance by ordinary means, they always fea∣red lest they should want upon any strait they were brought into, their hearts began to sinke. Now in this valley God gives them outward means, & this raises hope in them, that their danger was over, and that they should do well enough.
This is our nature when ordinary means fayle, our hearts fayle, yea though in regard of Gods extraordinary workings, we have never so many gracious encouragements, and when God grants means againe, then we hope. Secondly, God made their great trouble there a means of much good unto them, for by that they were brought to purge their Campe, they learned to feare the Lord, and were prepared more then before, for so great a mercy as the further possession of that good land. The Septuagint instead Page 364 of those words a doore of hope, have these, to open their understanding for there indeed they learned the dreadfulnesse of God,* who for one mans sin was so sorely displeased; there they understood to purpose, that the God that was amongst them, was a holy God, and that he would have them to be a holy people.
But how should this valley of Achor be a doone of hope to Israel in after times?*
First,* the Jews think that Israel shall return into their own country againe, yea and the same way, they shall come again into Canaan by that valley which shall be a door of hope to them.
Secondly,* but rather by way of Analogy, as God turned this valley of trouble to much good unto them, so he would turn all the sore afflictions of Israel in after dayes to their great advantage, grievous afflictions should make way for glorious mercies.
Thirdly,* But especially thus, in this expression, God followes the Allegory of marriage; now it was the custome of the Jewes in their marriages, that the Husband gave his Spouse according to his quality, as a dowry, some peece of ground, rich as he was able, and this he gave as a pledge of his love to her, to assure her that whatsoever was his, she should have the benefit of it; so saith the Lord, although you have gone a whoring from me, and may justly expect that I should for ever reject you, yet I will marry you to my selfe, and I will fully perform all marriage rights for the expression of my love towards you to the uttermost, you shall know that you are marryed to a Husband who is rich, I will give you a rich and plentifull dovvry, and this but as a token and pledg of further love, mercy, riches, that you shall en∣joy by me, it shall be that valley of Achor, that rich, delightfull, fruitfull valley. By this he means he would bestow some speciall choise mercy up∣on them, at his first taking them into his favour again, and that should be a pledg of, and making way to much more mercy, that he intended for them a doore of hope to let in greater things, as the first fruits of all those glorious things that he had treasured up for them.*
From this valley of Achor,* as it concerned Israel before.
First, Sometimes when God gives men their hearts desires, when they think themselves happy, as if all trouble were past, then he comes in upon them with great and sore afflictions.
Secondly,* although God hath been humbling mens hearts with sore and long afflictions, yet just before he bestows great mercies, he afflicts againe, to humble and break their hearts yet more.
Thirdly,* sin will make the pleasantest place in the world, a place of trouble.
Fourthly,* the afflictions of the Saints do not only go before mercies, but are doors of hope to let in to mercies, means to further the way for mercies. God commands light to shine not only after darknesse, but out of darkness. Josephs prison, Davids persecution, Daniels den, made way for glorious mercy God had in store for them; that which once The mistocles said to his Page 365 children and friends, the Saints may much more say to theirs, I had beene undone,*if I had not been undone; had it not been for such a grieyous affli∣ction, I had never come to the enjoyment of such a mercy. Hence we must learn not only to be patient in tribulation, but joyfull.
But the especiall thing intended in this expression is this:* When God is reconciled to his people, then present mercies are doors of hope to let in fu∣ture mercies; the Saints may look upon all mercies received as in-lets to fur∣ther mercies to be received. Every mercy a door to another mercy, and all mercies here put together, are a door to eternall mercy. When Rachel had a sonne she called his name Joseph, Gen. 30. 24. saying, The Lord shall add to me another sonn. Every mercy the Saints have may well be called Ioseph, it brings assurance of mercy to be added, this is the high priviledge of the Saints: every mercy that a wicked man hath, he may look upon as his ut∣most, as his all, he may write a ne plus ultra upon it; one misery, one judg∣ment upon a wicked man makes way toanother, but not one mercy: how∣soever God in his bounty may lengthen out mercies to him, yet it is more then he can expect, he rather hath cause to wonder he hath so much, then ex∣pect more, but God ever draws out his loving kindnesse to his Saints. Psal. 36. 10. Draw out thy loving kindnesse unto them that know thee, and thy righteousnesse to the upright in heart. First, the good that others have from God is bounty, patience, but that which the Saints have is loving kindnesse. Secondly, that which others have is no ways tied to them by promise, but that which the Saints have they have by promise. it is righteousness, Ps. 23. Thou makest me lye down in green pasture, thou anointest my head with fresh oyle, my cup runneth over. Here is a great deal, but is here all? no, ver. 6. surely mercy & goodnesse shall follow me all the dayes of my life. That we read of David, 2 Sam. 5. 12. is very observable, from Gods prospering him in his present way, he draws an argment to confirm him in the assurance for the future, that his Kingdome was established to him, why? did not Saul prosper at the beginning of his raign as well as David? & yet it was no evi∣dence of his establishment; but David could see Gods mercy coming to him after another manner then Saul could, all mercies the Saints have come from the covenant in which there is a rich treasure of mercies, a blessed connexion of the mercies. The covenant between David & Ionathan was, 1 Sam. 20. 15. That loving kindnes must not be cut off from the house of Ionathan. The covenant between God and the Saints is, that loving kindnesse shall never be cut off from them, but the links of mercies shall be fastned one to another, so as they shall reach eternity.
Mercies to the Saints come from love, & amor nescit nimium, love knows no such thing as excesse. The Saints understanding this mistery in the way of Gods grace towards them hence they follow God in seeking his face then, especially when he is most in the way of mercy; whereas the men of the world who know not this, seldome seek after mercy, but in times of affli∣ction, when God is in a way of justice and wrath, this is their folly.
Page 366 Infinite reason there is; O ye Saints of the Lord, that one duty should for ever make way for another, seeing on mercy makes way for another: here lyes a great difference between doing duties from the strength of common grace, and from sanctifying grace: in the one the spirit by doing some things is wearied and thinkes now it may rest, but in the other, the very doing still encreaseth strength, and puts the heart upon doing more.
But may not security promise continuance of mercy?*
Yes,* but if so, then when affliction comes, the heart will sinke for feares of continuance in misery, as well as before it hoped for continuance of mer∣cy.
When then may we assure our selves that our mercies are doores of hope to further mercies.*
First,* When they are created mercies wrought by a more imediate hand of God, generation may be imperfect, but creation never; omne creatum est perfectum, Esay, 26. 12. Lord thou wilt ordaine peace for us, What is the argument? for thou hast wrought all our workes in us.
Secondly,* When they are spirituall mercies, Ezek. 39. 29. Neither will I hide my face any more from them, VVhat is the argument? For I have powred forth my spirit upon the house of Israel; but is not this your private opinion that this argument will hold? No, the words following are, Thus saith the Lord God.
Thirdly,* When mercies carry us to the God of mercy, and are turned duties, as if we can turne our duties into mercies, that is, account every duty a mercy, that is a good argument that we shall hold out in duty, when wee can turne mercies into duties, that is, make every mercy an engagement to duty, that is a good argument that mercy will hold out.
But are there not interruptions many times in the wayes of Gods mercy to his own people?* VVe sometimes think there is an interruption, when if we knew all we should see a blessed concatenation, but it must be granted that there may sometimes be some kinde of enterruption in such a parti∣cular. After Israels returne from captivity and beginning to build the tem∣ple, there were such enterruptions as it was seventy years before it was fini∣shed: but though there may be enterruptions for a time, yet not a quite breaking off, there is yet a strength in the grace of the covenant that carries the work on and perfects it at last; by ceasing in one way of mercy, God prepares for another; the very ceasing in such a way may be a mercy; we our selves at this day are a sad spectacle of the interruption of the wayes of Gods mercies towards a nation.
Mercy that ere while shined in her beauty upon us, hath now seemed in a great measure to have withdrawn the beames of her glory; our doore of hope that we thought to be so wide open, seems almost shut against us. I dare not say that it is shut, lest I should wrong the present grace of God yet continuing to us. But
First, Sinne, yea our many and fearfull sins, lyes at this our door, Gen. 4. 7.
Thirdly, As the Prophet Ezek. 11. 1. 2. saw at the door of the gate five and twenty men, amongst whom there were some chiefe ones, who devised mischiefe and gave wicked councell in the city, so may we at this day, see many even of the chiefe ones, devising mischiefe, and giving wicked coun∣sel, by which they labour to shut, yea to lock, and bolt up this our doore of hope.
Fourthly,* VVe hoped that this our door of hope would have been like the doors that entred into the oracle, of which we read 1 Kings 6. 31. made of the olive tree, yea the side-posts and lintels were of olive tree, & carvings of palm trees & cherubims, all overlaid with gold, but now our door seems to be of Iron, the way to our help and mercy must be through the Iron gate, we must get to it by suftering hard things.
5.* Our door that was wide, whereat mercy began to come flowing in a∣pace freely, now it seemes to be straitened, it is now the strait gate, we must be content to strip our selves of a great part of our estates, of many of our outward comforts, yea we must venture them all, and well if possibly at length we may crowd in.
6.* Yea, our door-posts are like the Israelites in Egypt, besprinkled with blood, the keeping up of our meanes of mercy hath cost much blood, and may cost more.
7.* Now when we knock, when we would step in the dogs bark at us, and are ready to flye upon us, yea it may be the servants, yea some of our bre∣thren are discontented at us, frowne upon us, speake against us.
8.* Alas we have rejected the right key that should have opened this our door,* no marvaile then though we stand blundring at it, and it opens not un∣to us.* VVhat is that right key that would have opened it before this time, had we made use of it? That key of David that we reade of, Apoc. 3. 7. That openeth and no man shutteth. This key the Church of Philadelphia had, therefore it followes, ver. 8. I have set before thee an open doore, that no man can shut.* But what is this key of David? It is the ruling power of Jesus Christ in his Church; David in his government was a speciall type of Christ, the first godly King over his people that ever was: Government is emblematically set forth by a key, Esay, 22. 22, God promised Eliakim to commit the government to him by that expression, The key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder, Esay, 9. 6, 7. The government is said to be upon Christs shoulder, and he sits upon the throne of David; that is observable that to Eliakim there was promised, but the key of the house of David; but to Christ the key of David himselfe; the one was to governe but as a steward, the government of the other was to be Princely. If we had been the Church of Philadelphia, united in brotherly love, and had had this key of David amongst us, we might before this time had had a door set o∣pen Page 368 amongst us, that no man could have shut against us; but woe unto us, how many amongst us say of Christ, We will not have this man to rule o∣ver us? Mr. Brightman more then thirty years since paralelld this Church of Philadelphia with the Church of Scotland, he made it in a typical way to set forth the wayes of God towards that Church in after times; and indeed they have been very like one another divers wayes, and God ways towards the one hath been the same with his ways towards the other in many things.
1. They are both Philadelphians, united so in a brotherly covenant, as no Churches in any kingdome more. 2. It was said of Philadelphia, it had but a little strength, and yet it kept Gods word. VVhat Churches in any Nation have beene more contemptible, then those in Scotland? They have beene accounted a poore beggerly people, despised of all, and yet God hath enabled them to doe great things. 3. God hath caused their enemies to come and bow before them, and to know that he hath loved them, even those who said they were lews and were not, that they were the onely Church, when in∣deed they were the Synagogue of Satan; & they have rejected false govern∣ment, and have received much of the government of Christ, the key of Da∣vid is more received among them then in any kingdome in the world; no marvaile then though their doore be so opened that none could shut it, tho∣row Gods mercy; our Houses of Parliament have cast away the false key, (The Lord deliver them and us) for ever medling with it any more whatsoe∣ver come of us. They have further professed their desires to enquire after the true key. This door of hope we hope will open to us in due time, so as none shall shut it. 9. We have lost many opportunities for the opening this door, never had a people fairer opportunities for mercy then we have had, we can∣not looke back upon them without trembling hearts, we may see cause to lament the losse of them with teares of blood, even this hath cost much, and is yet like to cost more blood.
10. Yea woe unto us, out father comes forth and seemes to be angry with us, and bids shut the doore against us, yea hee shuts us out himselfe; is not that complaint of the Churches, Psal. 80, 4. truly ours, O Lord of Hoasts how long wilt thou be angry with the prayer of thy people? If God be angry with out knocking, what shall we doe?
11. And well may God bid shut the doore against us, for we have shut it upon our selves: This our doore of hope hath a spring lock, it is easily shut too, but it cannot so easily be opened againe: we have stood wrangling and strugling one with another, and have clapt to the doore upon our selves before we were aware. That Scripture Hos. 7. 1, is as truly ours, as ever it was Israels, When I would have healed Israel, then the iniquity of Ephra∣im was discovered, and the wickednesse of Samariah. VVhen the Lord would have healed England, then the iniquity thereof hath been discovered more then ever. There is the vilest spirit of malignity, against godlinesse, against the Saints, against the way of Christ in his Ordinances, that ever was upon the face of the earth. Now men care not though they ruin them∣selves, Page 369 though they bring themselves and posterity to be bondslaves, so they may but have their wills upon those that are godly to suppresse them. The controversie now is almost grown to that height, that the kingdome divides it selfe into those who have some shew of Religion, and the haters of it. Those times complained of in Micah are even ours, Chap. 7. 5. Trust ye not in a friend, put no confidence in a guide, keepe the doores of thy mouth from her that lyeth in thy bosome; Yea, it is almost come to that in the fourth verse, The best of them is a bryar, the most upright is sharper then a thorny hedg. There is much frowardnesse, much perversnesse even in the best, many con∣tentions and grievous breaches even amongst them; they cannot endure you should be jealous of them, and they give cause of jealousie daily. This generation for a great part of it, shew themselves to have such sullied, such puttid spirits, so defiled with superstitious vanities, so imbittered with a spi∣rit of malignity, that we may feare God hath no pleasure in the generality of it: yea Moses and Aaron have sinned, the best have so sullied themselves with Antichristian pollutions, that just it were with God that this whole ge∣neration should be first taken away, and that the young generation that is comming on, who have not so defiled themselves, should have this doore that lets into Canaan opened to them, that they onely should goe into, and possesse that good land, but our carcasses should fall in the wildernesse.
You who are godly young ones, whose hearts began betimes to yerne af∣ter Jesus Christ, know the heart of Jesus Christ yernes after you: and al∣though some of you may fall in fighting for your brethren, & so be received to heaven, yet you are of that generation God will open this door of mercy unto, you shal go in & possesse Canaan, all this valley of Achor is but a door of hope to you; continue you on in your sincerity, God will reveale him∣selfe more fully to you then he hath done to us, if we be cut off before those treasures of mercy that God has ready for his people be opened, we must accept of the punishment of our iniquity, and even beare this indignation of the Lord because wee have sinned against him. 12. Yea the Lord hath strucke us with blindnesse at the doore, we grope up and down and we can∣not finde it, as Gen, 19. 11. Never were a people at a greater losse, in a grea∣ter confusion then now we are; every man runs his owne way, wee know not what to doe, nay the truth is, we know not what we doe.
13. Yea many because they have found some difficulties at the right door, they have gone away from it, and have sought back doors to help themselves by, even base, false, shifting, treacherous ways, seeking to comply for their own private ends, as if their skins must needs be saved, whatsoever becomes of the publique.
14. This is yet a further misery, that we are groping up and downe at the doore, and night is come upon us, stormes, tempests are rising, dangers are approaching, and yet God opens not to us.
15. Above all our misery this is yet the greatest, that even our hearts are shut up too, there lyes a stone rowled at the doore of our hearts, and such Page 360 a stone, as is beyond the power of an Angel to rowle away, were it that af∣ter all our hearts were but open, our condition yet had comfort in it.
Oh now what shall we do•▪
1. Let us resolve to waite at this doore, ••aite upon God in those wayes of helpe that yet in mercy he affords unto us; Certainly we are at the right doore, let us say with Shecaniah, Ezra. 10. 2. We have sinned against the Lord, yet there is hope in Israel concerning this thing.
Let us resolve whatsoever becomes of us not to goe from our fathers door, if we perish, we will perish at his gates.
2. Let us worship the Lord at this our doore, though we be not entred in; yet let our hearts bow before the Lord in the acknowledgement of his great∣nesse, power, dominion that he hath over us; to doe with us what he plea∣seth: as Ezek. 46. 2. it is said, The Prince shall worship at the threshold of the gate, and the people of the land shall wo•ship at the doore,
3. Let us look in at the key-hole, or at any crevise that wee can, to see something of the riches of mercy that this door opens into. Within on the other side o• the door we may see what liberty of conscience, what enjoy∣ment of Ordinances, the blessing of Gods worship in his own way, we may see the wayes of God and his Saints would be made honorable in this king∣dome, yea in a higher degree then any where upon the face of the earth; yea we may see many sweet outward liberties, the free enjoyment of our e∣states, peace, plenty, prosperity in abundance, all these, and more then we can think of, if this door were but once opened to us; howsoever it is good 〈◊〉 looke in, to quicken our hearts, and set on our desires and endeavours the more strongly in the meane time. Oh how happy were we if we had these mercies!
4. Let us yet knock lowder, and cry lowder at our Fathers doore.
But did not you tell us our Father seemed to be angry at our knocking?
Mark what we have in that very Scripture, where the Church complains that God is angry with her prayer, Psal. 80. 4. How long wilt thou be an∣gry against the prayer of thy people? Yet ver. 7. Turne us againe, O God of Hosts, and cause thy face to shine▪ And ver. 14, Returne we beseech thee, O God of H•sts, look down from heaven, behold & visit this vine: ver. 19. Turne us againe O Lord God of Hosts, cause thy face to shine, and we shall be saved.
5. Let every one take away his sinnes that lye at this door, let every one sweep his owne door, Zech. 8. 15. 16. Again have I thought in these •••yes to doe well unto Jerusalem, and to the house of Iudah, feare not. But yet mark what followes, These are the things that ye shall doe, Speake ye every man the truth to his neighbour: execute the judgement of truth and peace in your gates. Let none of you imagine evill in his heart against his neigh∣bor. Both private men, and men in publick place must reforme, How far are we from this? Never more plottings, more heart-burnings one against another, & those in publike place neglect the execution of judgement; they Page 371 would have their policies beyond Gods wisdome. God puts these two to∣gether, and commends one as a meanes to the other, the execution of judge∣ment and peace; but they have a further reach they will not exe cur•••dge∣ment for feare of a breach of peace. It is just with God that we should never have peace, till we can trust God for it in his own way.
6. Let us seek to God againe, and call to him for the right key. Lord re∣veale the way of thy worship, and thy government to us, and we will yeeld our selves unto it.
7. Stir we up our selves against all difficulties. Things are not yet so bad, but we may help our selves, if we have hearts. Our Father heares us, he can command many Angels to come to help to rowle away the stone; yea he hath opened divers doores to us already. We are indeed come to the •ron gate, the Lord can make that at length flye open of its own accord, as Acts 20. 10. The Church was praying, and after the pr••on doo•es were opened to Peter, and he had passed the first and second gate, he came unto the iron gate that led into the City, and there he found as easie passage as any where else. In the mount will the Lord be scene.
8. Let us exercise Faith in the blood of Christ, let us as it were besprinkle this our door with the blood of the Lambe; yea looke we up to Christ as the true doore to let into all mercy; let Faith act as well as Prayer.
9. Let us now especially watch all opportunities of mercy, and take heed we neglect no more as we have done many very foulely, lest hereafter wee knock, and cry, Lord open to us, and it proves too late.
10. Let us open to God who knocks at our doores; it wee would have him open to us,* God knocks at the doore of every one of our hearts, open we to him fully, set all wide open for him, Openye gates, stand open ye ever∣lasting doores, let the King of glory come in. These who doe thus are the true generation of those that seek the Lord; let England open, for God yet stands at the doore and knockes, and if we will yet open to him, he will yet come in and suppe withus, and we shall suppe with him. It is true God re∣bukes and chastens severely, so he did Laodicea at that time when he stood at her doore and knocked, Apoc. 3. 19. 20. if any Church be or ever was like to that of Laodicea, we have been; luke-warm as that was; a mix∣ture of Gods worship hath beene amongst us, more then in any reformed Church; we have beene a proud people, we have thought our selves rich, & wanting nothing, whereas we knew not that we were indeed wretched, mi∣serable, poore, blinde, and naked: and those who would be Angels of this Church, how hath God spu•d them out of his mouth! they are cast out as filthy, they have laine upon the stomack of God and his Saints a long time; they with all that belonged to their Courts, have made themselves a most •oathsome generation of men; and now God is at our doore & knocks, cals to us to let him in, that he may come and rule us, that he may bring peace & salvation unto us; But howsoever whether Christ be admitted by the State yea or no, yet let the Saints who are willing that Christ should rule over Page 372 them, hold on to the end, the promise is even to those in Laodicea, to him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my Throne even as I also o∣vercame, and am set down with my Father in his Throne.
11. •et us encourage what we are able; all our faithfull doore-keepers, those who are the publicke instruments of God for our good, upon whom so much of the great affayres of the kingdom, under God depends.
And for the quickning of our hearts that we may doe all we can, that this our doore of hope be not shut against us, Consider further,
First, This doore was opened to us when we began to think, yea almost to conclude that all doores of hope had beene shut against England, when we were ready to give up all for lost.
Secondly, It was opened to us after much knocking by prayer. If ever there were a Parliament of prayer since the world began, this was, and is, How dreadfull then would it be to have this doore shut against us!
Thirdly, It was opened by a mighty hand of God. Josephus tells us of a doore of the Temple that used to have thirty men to open it, and yet as a prognostication of some great thing to fallout, it opened of its own accord: This our door was more hard to be opened, thousands of men could not have opened this, it was the mighty work of God to doe it.
Fourthly, It is a door that opens to the greatest mercies that ever England had: how happy would England be in the happy success of this Parlia∣ment!
5. It is a door that our adversaries have laboured all they can to shut by policy, and by force, and thorow Gods mercy, yet they cannot.
6. How sweet have the manifestations of God been to us, in the begin∣nings of his goodnesse, and our endeavours! Can•. 5 4. 5. My beloved put his hand at the door, & my bowels were moved, my hands dropped myrrhe, and my fingers sweet smelling myrrhe upon the handles of the locke, the be∣ginning of reformation: but the hand upon the door is sweet, what would the work compleated be?
7. If this doore should be wholly shut against us, what a miserable peo∣ple should we be? if these men have their wills, then never expect Parli∣aments more, or never good from Parliaments, They will be the most contemptible and servile things that can be, if any, they will be doores to let in all misery, to frame mischiefe by a law; then what are we and our poste∣rity but slaves? the Popish party must, yea will be gratified, their designe will be effected; what contempt of the Saints, of Religion? what hatred? what persecution will then follow? what horrid blasphemies? how will they be hardned in all manner of wickednesse? our estates, our liberties, our Religion are then gone, yea it is like our lives, and if not so, so miserable would our lives be, as we had better have the grave open her mouth upon us, and we be shut in it, then to live to see, hear and feele such things as we and our friends, are like to heare, see, and feele.
It would be the most horrid judgment that ever was against a nation, it Page 373 may be told to all the nations of the world, God gave England a fair oppor∣tunity to help it self, to be a most happy nation, but they had no hearts, they were blinded, their hearts were taken from them, those worthies they chose, who ventured themselves for them, they basely deserted, and betrayed, they have also vilely betrayed themselves, their liberties, their Religion, their po∣sterity, and now are become the most miserable nation, the most fearful spe∣ctacle of Gods wrath upon the face of the earth. Wherefore beloved in the Lord, let us make sure of Christ, who is our hope, and who says of him∣selfe that he is the door, as indeed hee is to let in all mercies of God into us, that whatever disappointment we have of our hopes here, yet we may not be disappointed of our last hopes, though it should prove that here looking for light, behold darknes, yet we looking for the light of Gods face eternally, we may not be driven out to everlasting darknes. But shall I end thus? nay the close of all shal rather be the close of the 31 Psal. Be of good courage and he shal strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord hope yet that God will make the valley of Achor adoor of hope unto us. The next words in this Scripture are words of joy, She shall sing as in the dayes of her youth. Was there ever a time wherein shee had cause to sing praise to God? there are times coming that shall be as joyfull as ever yet times have been, God hath mercy for his people, he hath singing times for them.