An exposition of the prophesie of Hosea begun in divers lectures vpon the first three chapters, at Michaels Cornhill, London
Burroughs, Jeremiah, 1599-1646.
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AN EXPOSITION Of the Prophesie of HOSEA. Begun IN DIVERS LECTƲRES Vpon the first three Chapters, At MICHAELS Cornhill, LONDON,


The Second Edition Newly corrected.

Inter omnia dona, donum verbi Dei est amplissimum: Si hoc aufe∣ras, soleme mundo sustulisti: Quid erit mundus, sublato verbo, quaminfernus?


LONDON, Printed for R. Dalwman, in the Year, 1652.

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YOu have these Lectures as they were ta∣ken from me in preaching, Iperused the notes, but I could not bring the style to that succinctnesse that I desired, except I should have wrote all over again, which I had no time to doe: my perusall was but cursory, therefore many things have slipt me: You have them as I preached them, without any considerable alte∣ration. I had thought to have been far briefer: that which caused me to goe somewhat beyond an expository way, was the meeting with so ma∣ny things almost in every Lecture so neerly con∣cerning the present times: in the remaining part of the Prophesie, if God give life to goe Page  [unnumbered] through it, I shall keep my selfe more close to an expository way: what here you have, take it as you finde it: what good you meet with, receive it in. This will be the encouragement of

Thy friend in Christ, J. B.

Aug. 10. 1643.


Ioseph Caryll,

Page  1

AN EXPOSITION OF The Prophesie of Hosea.

The First LECTVRE.*

Chap. 1. Vers. 1, 2. &c.

1. The word of the Lord that came unto Hosea the son of Beeri, in the dayes of Vzziah, Iotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, Kings of Iudah, and in the days of Ieroboam son of Ioash King of Israel.

2. The beginning of the word of the Lord by Hosea: and the Lord said to Hosea, &c.

The Preface To The Work.

THis day beginneth a Scripture Exposition Exercise, which hath lost much of the honour of it, by the disuse of it: The best Apology for it is to set presently upon it. It is ancient in the Church of God, old enough to speak for itself. Ne∣hem. 8. 8. we read, that Ezra, Ieshua, Bani, and the rest read in the book of the Law, and gave the sense, and cau∣sed the people to understand the reading. You love brevity; in this Exer∣cise you shall have it, in all that shall be delivered unto you.

I have pitched upon the Books of the small Prophets, to open them un∣to you, of whom Ierome hath this expression:aYou cannot tell which to wonder at most, either the brevty of speech, or the greatness and abun∣dance of sense. And this Prophet Hosea in speciall is excellent this way, of whom the same Author speaking, calls himbexceeding concise, & spea∣king by sentences.

Being the Propheticall books is the work that falls to me, why I chose rather to begin with Hosea then Isaiah, I shall afterward give you an ac∣count. If God continue this Exerciseand life, we may goe through them all, both small and great.

In these Prophets we have most admirable divine Truths revealed to us, and pity it is, that the minde of God contained in them should be so little Page  2 known, even unto his children, that such treasures of heavenly truths that are there should lie hid from so many so long a time as they have done.

We might preface this our work (because this is the first dayes entrance into it) vvith labouring to raise and sweeten your hearts with the considera∣tion of the excellency of the Scriptures in generall. Luther hath an high expression about them; he calls themcthe highest genus that containes in it all good whatsoever. Take away the Scripture, and you even take a∣way the Sun from the world. What is the world without the Scriptures, but hell it self?

We have had indeed the word of God to be as the Sun in the world, but oh hovv many mists have been before this Sun! We have seldome the Sun shine clearly to us. It is pity, seeing there is such a glorious Sun risen, that there should be such a misty day. Now this is the work we are called unto, to dispell the mists and fogs from before this Sun, that it may shine more brightly before your eyes, and into your hearts.

Chrysost. in his 29. Sermon upon Genesisd exhorting his Auditors to get the Scriptures into their houses, and to a diligent exercise of himselfe in them, tells them that by them the soul is raised and elevated, and bright∣ned, as with the beame of the Sun of righteousnesse, and delivered from the snares of unclean thoughts.

The Scripture is that wherin the great God of heaven hath sent his mind to the children of men, wherein he hath made known the counsel of his wil, & opened even his very heart unto Man-kind. It is the Epistle that God hath sent into the world. And did wee but heare of such a Book that were dictated imediatly by God himself, to the end to shew the children of men what the eternall counsels of his will were for the ordering of them to their eternall estate, and to open his thoughts and intentions concerning their everlasting condition what it shall be: Did wee I say but heare that there were such a book in the farthest part of the Indies, would we not rejoyce that the world was blest with such a mercie? what strong and vehement desires should we have to enjoy but one sight of it before we dye! Wee would be willing to venture upon any hazard, to passe through any diffi∣culty, to be at any charges, that we might have but a sight of such a booke as this. My brethren, you need not say, Who shall goe to the farthest part of the Indies to setch this book? Who shall descend into the depth, or goe to the uttermost part of the earth to help us to a sight of this booke of Scripture? For behold, the word is nigh unto you, it is in your houses, and we hope in your hearts,* and in this exercise is to be in our mouths, not only to tell you what it saith, but open unto you the mind of God in it.

The exercising our selves in this book is sweet indeed; Luther professes himselfe out of love with his own books, and wished them burnt, lest men spending time in them, should be hindered from reading the Scriptures; which saies he are the only fountain of all wisdome: and I tremble saies he at the former age, that was so much busied in reading of Aristotle and A∣verroes.

Page  3 Wee read in that 8.* of Nehem. vers. 5, 6. when Ezra opened the book of the Law to expound it to the people, he blessed the Lord the great God, and all the people answered, Amen, Amen. And now blessed be the Lord, the great and gracious God, for stirring your hearts up to such a work as this is,* and blessed be his name for those liberties we have thus freely to ex∣ercise our selves in this service;* O praised be the name of the great God for this dayes entrance into so good a work as this is.

Yea they did not only blesse God, but the Text saith, They lifted up their hands, and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground. Why? because the book of the Law was read to them and expounded. How comes it to passe that their hearts were so taken with it now to hear the book of the Law expounded to them? Sure∣ly it was because they were newly returned out of their Captivity; and now they came into their owne Land, and heard the Law of God opened to them, they blessed his great Name, & bowed their faces to the ground, worshipping him. This day (my brethren) witnesseth to us our great de∣liverance and returne from our bondage. It was not long since that wee could have either Ordinances, or Truths, or Religious exercises, but onely according to the humors of vile men: But now through Gods mercy a great deliverance is granted to us (as this day witnesseth) that wee may come and have free liberty to exercise our selves in the Law of our God: O doe you blesse the Lord, and bow your faces to the ground, worship∣ping of him.

In the 12. vers. of that Chap. we read, that after they had heard the Law read and expounded to them, they went their way to eate and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth: Why? Because (saith the Text) they had understood the words that were declared unto them. I hope if God shall please to give in assistance unto this work, many of you shall goe away hereafter from this Assembly rejoycing, because you will come to know more of Gods mind revealed in his word then formerly: And this will be the comfort of your meat and drink, and of your trading, and the very spirits of all the joyes of your lives.

As the sweetnesse of the fruit comes from the graft, rather then from the stock, so your comforts, and the blessings of grace in you, must come from the word ingrafted in your soules, rather then from any thing you have in your selves.

In the first vers. the Text saith, that all the people gathered themselves

together as one man, into the street that was before the water-gate, to desire Ezra to bring the book of the law, and to read it, and to open it unto them.
Behold it is thus this day in this place; here are a great com∣pany met together, perhaps some to know what the businesse will be, some for novelty, and some for other ends; howsoever, come unto us you are, and we hope many for this end, that you might have the booke of the Law read & opened unto you. Now we expect that from you, which is said of Page  4 them, ver. 3. And the ears of all the people were attentie unto the book of the law, when it was read & opened to them. And truly that attention that you now begin withal, doth promise unto us that we shall have an at∣tentive auditory. But that is not all; let us have further a reverential demea∣nor and carriage in the hearing of the Law, as it becomes those that have to deale with God in it. The Text saith, vers. 5. that when Ezra opened the book of the Law, all the people stood up. We doe not expect the same gesture from you, but by way of Analogie we expect a reverentiall demea nour in the carriage of he whole worke, as knowing we are to sanctifie Gods Name in it. And as those people after the first dayes exercise were so encouraged, that they came again the second day, (for so the Text saith, vers. 13. On the second day were gathered together the cheife of the fa∣thers of all the people, the Priests and the Levies, unto Ezra, to under∣stand the words of the Law) so (I hope) God will so carry on this worke, that you shall find encouragement too, to come again and again, that you may know more of the mind of God; and that this work shall not be only profitable to the younger and weaker sort, but to the Fathers, to the Priests and Levites too.

Let it be with you as it was with them, according as you have any truth made known unto you, submit to it, yeeld to it, obey it presently, and then you shall know more of Gods mind: He that will doe my will, shall know my doctrine to be of God:* Thus did they, for vers. 14. when they found it vvritten in the book of the Law, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh moneth, (This was one passage of the Law that was expounded, how they should keep the feast of Taber∣nacles, and what booths they should make) the people went forth present∣ly unto the mount, and fetched Olive branches, and Palm branches, and branches of thick trees, and made themselves booths, every one upon the roofe of his house. In this Prophesie of Hosea you shall find many sutable truths to the times wherein we live, the Lord grant you obedient hearts to what shall be delivered.

I must not retard the work, nor your expectations any longer with large prefacing to it, only somewhat have been said about the rules for interpre∣tation of Scripture; I will say no more of that but this, to interpretation of Scripture, a Scripture frame of heart is necessary, a heart holy & heavenly, sutable to the holinesse & heavenlinesse that is in the word: as it was said of Tullies eloquence, that nothing but the eloquence of Tully could set out the excellency of it: So it may be said of the Scriptures spiritualness, nothing but a heart filled with Scripture spiritualness can set forth the excellencies of it: and because the authority of Scripture is dreadfull, wee desire the prayers of you all to God for us, that his feare might fall upon our hearts that seeing we are menfull of errour, and full of evill, yet howsoever wee may not bring any Scripture to the maintenance of any erroneous conceit of our own heads, nor any evill of our own hearts: This wee know to be a Page  5 dreadfull evill. It was a fearfull evill for Lucifer to say, I will goe and as∣cend up, & be like the Highest, it is as great an evill for any to seek to make the Highest to become like Lucifer; for so do they that make the Scripture come down to justifie any erroneous opinion, or any way of evill they goe about to make the blessed God and the holy Ghost to be the fathers of lies. It is counted a great evill in a Common-wealth to put the Kings stamp upon false coine; and to put the stamp of the Spirit of God upon an error, upon a conceit of a mans owne, is certainly a great evill before the Lord: and it was for this that God did make the Priests vile and contemptible before the people, because they were patiall in the Law, Mal. 2. 9. And for you (my brethren) our prayer shall be, that the feare of God may fall upon you likewise, that you may come to these Exercises with Scripture-frames of heart.

What frame of heart is a Scripture-frame?

The holy Ghost tells you, Isa. 66. 1. God looks at him that trembleth at his word: come with hearts trembling at the word of God; come not to be Iudges of the Law, but doers of it.

You may judge of your profiting in grace by the delight you finde in Scripture, as Quintilian was wont to say of profiting in eloquence, a man may know that, saies hee, by the delight hee findes in reading Cicero; much more may this be said of the Scriptures, it is a true signe of profiting in Reli∣gion, to whom the Scriptures are sweeter then the honey, and the honey∣combe.

And now I shall onely tell you what the work is we have to doe,* and then we shall fall upon it, and that is to open Scripture unto you, not onely difficulties, but to shew unto you what divine truths are contained in them what may come fresh, and spring up from the fountain it selfe, to present them unto you with adding some quickness. This is our worke not to en∣large any thing with long Explication, Probation, or Application.

There are these five things to be enquired concerning this our Prophet, whose Prophesie I have now pitched upon to open.

  • 1 Who he was.
  • 2 To whom he was sent.
  • 3 What his errant was.
  • 4 His Commission.
  • 5 The time of his prophesie

All these you have either in the first verse, (where most of them are) or you shall find them in the Chapter.

For the first then, who this Prophet was. I will tell you no more of him then what you have in the first verse,*Hosea the son of Beeri. His name sig∣nifieth a Saviour, one that brings salvation. It is the same root that Ioshua had his name from; and many saving and savory truths wee shall finde this Prophet bringing to us.

Page  6 He was the sonne of Beeri. This Beeri we doe not find who hee was in Scripture,* only in that he is here named as the father of the Prophet in the entrance into this Prophesie, Surely it is honor is gratia to the Prophet, and from it we may note thus much.

That so should parents live and walke,* as it may be an honour to their children to be called by their names, that their children may neither be a∣fraid nor ashamed to be named by them.

The Iews have a tradition that is generally received among them, that whensoever a Prophets Father is named, that Father was likewise a Prophet as well as the Son. If that were so, then surely it is no dishonor for any man to be the Son of a Prophet.

Let those that are the children of godly, gracious Ministers, be no disho∣nour to their Parents, their Parents are an honour unto them: But we find it by experience, that many of their children are farr from being honours to their godly parents. How many ancient godly Ministers, who heretofore hated superstitious vanities, whose sonns of late have been the greatest zea∣lots for such things. It puts me in mind of what the Scripture notes concer∣ning Iehoiakim the sonne of Iosiah,* the difference betweene his father and him. Iosiah when he heard the Law read, his heart melted, and he humbled himselfe before the Lord. But now Iehoiakim his sonne, when hee came to heare the Law of God read, he tooke a pen-knife, and cut the roll in which it was written,*in peices, and threw it into the fire that was on the hearth, untill all the roll was consumed. A great deale of difference there was be∣tween the Son and the Father, and thus it is between the sons of many anci∣ent godly Ministers and them: their Fathers indeed might be an honour unto them, but they are dishonour to their Fathers.

The sonne of Beeri. This word Beeri hath its signification from a Wel that hath springing water in it,* freely and cleerly running: So Ministers should be the children of Beeri, That that they have should be springing wa∣ter, and not the mud and dirt, and filth of their own conceits mingled with the word. This only by way of allusion.

To whom was this Prophet Hosea sent.

He was sent especially to the Ten Tribes. I suppose you all know the di∣vision that there was of the people of Israel in Rehoboams time, tenn of the Tribes went from the house of David, only Iudah and Benjamine remai∣ned with it. Now these tenne Tribes renting themselves from the house of David, did rent themselves likewise from the true worship of God, & there grew up horrible wickednesses, and all manner of abominations amongst them. To these ten Tribes God sent this Prophet. He sent Isaiah & Micah to Iudah, Amos and Hosea he sent to Israel, all these were contemporary.

If you would know what state Israel was in, in Hoseas time, read but 2 K. 15. 19. & you shall find what their condition was, Ieroboam did that which was eill but he fight of the Lord, he departed not from all the sins of Ieroboam the sonne of Nebat which made Israel to sinne.

Page  7 But notwithstanding Israel was thus notoriously wicked, and given up to all Idolatry, yet the Lord sendeth his Prophets, Hosea and Amos, to Prophesie to them even at this time. O the goodnesse of the Lord to fol∣low an apostatizing people, an apostatizing soule! It was mercy yet while God was speaking; but woe to that people, to that soul to whom the Lord shall give in charge to his Prophets, prophesie no more to them.

But what was Hosea his errand to Israel?

His errand was to convince them clearly o this their abominable Ido∣latry, and those other abominable wickednesses that they lived in, and se∣verely to denounce threatnings, yea most fearfull destruction. (This was not done before by the other Prophets, as wee shall afterward make it ap∣peare, but it was Hosea his errand to threaten an utter desolation to Israel more than ever was before) and yet withall to promise mercy to a rem∣nant to draw them to repentance, and to Prophesie of the great things that God intended to doe for his Church and children in the latter dayes.

What was his Commission?

The words tells us plainly, The word of the Lord came to Hosea. It was the word of Iehovah. It is a great argument to obedience to know it is the word of the Lord that is spoken. When men set reason against reason, and judgment against judgment, and opinion against opinion, it prevails not: but vvhen they see the authority of God in the Word, then the heart and conscience yeeldeth. Therefore hovvever you may look up∣on the instruments that bring it, or open it to you, as your equalls or infe∣riours, yet knovv there is an authority in the Word that is above you al: It is the word of the Lord.

And this word of the Lord, it came to Hosea. Mark the phrase, Hosea did not goe for the word of the Lord, but the word of the Lord came to him:* he sought it not, but it came to him, factum fuit verbum, so are the words, the word of the Lord came, or was made into him, was put into him. Such a kind of phrase you have in the new Testament, Iohn 10. 35. If hee called them Gods unto whom the word of God came;* that is, to whom the commission came, to put them in the place wherein they were. So the word of the Lord came to Hosea. The knowledg of a call to a work, will help a man through the difficulties of the work. One of the notablest Texts of Scripture to encourage a man to that work to which he sees he is clearly called,* is that which is spoken of Christ himselfe, Isa. 42. 6. I the Lord have called thee in righteousnesse: what follows then? I will hold thy hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant to the people, for a light to the Gentiles. If wee know Gods call to a work (as for the present this of ours is exceeding clear unto us) though the worke will be difficult and liable to much censure, Yet the Lord will hold our hands, and will be with us, and with our minds, and our tongues, and our hearts, and will keep us in this work, and make us instruments to give some light un∣to you.

Page  8 But the principall businesse is to enquire of the time when Hosea pro∣phesied. You have it in the Text, In the dayes of Ʋzziah, Iotham, A∣haz, and Hezekiah Kings, of Iudah, and in the dayes of Ieroboam the son of Ioash King of Israel. It is computed by Chronologers, that Hosea lived about 814. years before Christ: In his time was the City of Rome built. It was the beginning of the Olympiads. Eusebius tells us that there was no Grecian History (and if no Greek learning, then not any that was of any authority) extant before this time of Hosea.

He prophesied in these Kings reigns,*Vzziah, Iotham, &c. You shall find that we shall have much of Gods mind revealed in this, more then at first view we can comprehend. We shall find by this that Hosea prophe∣sied a very long time, it is very probable fourscore years, but it is certaine he was in the work of his Ministry above seventy yeares, and I make that clear thus, He prophesied in the dayes of Ierobam (who though he be here named last, yet he was the first of these Kings, and we shall shew you the reason by and by, why he was named last) that then took up some of his time: But suppose you reckon from the end of Ieroboams reign, yet from that to the beginning of Hezekiah, here were 70. years, and yet the Text saith he prophesied both in Ieroboams time, and in Hezekiahs time too: after the death of Ieroboam, Vzziah lived 38. years (he reigned 52. in all) He began his reign in the 27. of Ieroboam, 2 King. 15. 1. Now Ieroboam lived after that 14. years, for he reigned 41. in all, take 14. out of 52. and there remains 38. and after him Iotham reigned 16. years; and then Ahaz. succeeded him, and reigned sixteene yeares more: so that between these two Kings, Ieroboam and Hezekiah, there was 70. yeers, in which Hosea prophesied, besides the 41. yeers of Ieroboam, and 29. yeers of Hezekiah, in both whose reigns too you see he lived, and there∣fore it is probable it was 80. yeares at least that Hosea continued in the work of his prophesie. See what of Gods minde we have that will spring fresh from this.

Hosea continued so long,* and yet you see there is not much of his pro∣phesie extant, only 14 short Chapters. It pleaseth God sometimes that some mens labours shall abide more full to posterity than others, though the labours of those others more large, and as excellent as theirs: this is ac∣cording to the diversity of Gods administrations. Let the Ministers of God learn to be faithfull in their worke, and let God alone for to make them e∣minent by having their labours extant.

2. It appears from hence that Hosea must needs begin to prophesie ve∣ry young.* If hee were a Prophet 80. years, certainly hee was but young when he began first to prophesie, and yet he was set upon as great an em∣ployment as any of the Prophets were (as we shall see hereafter.) It plea∣seth God sometimes to stir up the hearts of young ones to doe him great service, he sends such sometimes about great works and employments, so he did Samuel, and Ieremiah, and Timothy, therefore let no man despise their youth.

Page  9 3. Hosea prophesying thus long,* it appeares hee lived to be old in his work. When God hath any work for men to doe, he doth lengthen out their days. So he did the days of John the Disciple, he lived near upon an hundred years, if not more, for the time of the writing of his Gospel (as it is noted) was in the 99. yeare of Christ, 66. after the Ascension. Let not us be too solicitously carefull about our lives, to maintain our healths and strengths, let us be carefull to doe our worke; for according as the Lord hath work for us to doe, so he will continue to us our health and strength, and life: when you come to dye, you may dye comfortably, having this thought in you; well, the work that the Lord sent me to doe, is done, and why should I seeke to live longer in the world? God hath others e∣nough to do his work. It was a sweet expression of Iacob, Gen. 48. 21. Behold I dye (saith he) but God shall be with you, and bring you againe unto the land of your fathers. So may the Prophets of God say that have been faithfull in their work: Behold I dye, but the Lord shall be with you, my work is finished, but God hath others that are young, to goe on in his work, that is the third Observation.

4. You may soe by Hoseas continuance in so many Kings reigns,* that hee went through variety of conditions; sometimes he lived under wicked Kings, sometimes under moderate Kings, sometimes hee had encourage∣ment from godly and gracious Kings, although they were of Iudah. Not only the people of God, but specially Gods Ministers must expect variety of conditions in the world, they must not promise to themselves always the same state.

Yet further. Hosea prophesied in all these Kings reigns. Here appears the constancy of his spirit, notwithstanding the many difficulties hee met withall in his work: for he prophesying in Jeroboams, Iotham, and A∣haz his time who were wicked Princes, surely he must meet with many discouragements; And though he continued 80. years, yet he saw but lit∣tle successe of his labour, for the truth is, the people were never converted to God by his Ministry.

Nay it is apparent that they grew worse and worse, for it is said of that Ieroboams time in which Hosea began his Prophesie, only that hee did e∣vill in the sight of the Lord, and continued in the wayes of Ieroboam the son of Nebat, 2 King. 15. 15. But after wee read most horrible things that Israel was guilty of, 2 King. 17. 17. It is said, they caused their sonnes and their daughters to passe through the fire, and used divinations, and in∣chantments, and sold themselves to doe evill in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger, besides many dreadfull things, you may read in that Chapter, Israel was grown guilty of. This vvas in King Hoshea his time, which was many years after Hosea began to prophesie, towards the end of his Prophesie.

God may continue a Prophet a long time amongst a people,* and yet they may never bee converted. It is a distemper in Ministers hearts Page  10 to think to give over their work because they see not desired successe. I re∣member Latimer in one of his Sermons, speaking of a Minister, who gave this answer, why he left off Preaching, because he saw he did no good, this says Latimer is a naughty, a very naughty answer. That we have here may be a great stay to these who have lived many years in the work of the Ministry, and yet have done little or no good. Hosea was fourscore yeers a Prophet to Israel, and yet did not convert them. Yet notwithstanding all these discouragements, he continued constant, and that with abundance of freshnesse and livelinesse when he comes to the end of his prophecying.

It is an honour to the Ministers of God,* that meet with many difficulties in their way, and with many discouragements, yet to continue fresh and lively to the very end; not to be fresh and lively only at first, as many yong Ministers are when they begin first. O how fresh are they, how full of zeal and activity are they then? but after they have been a while in their work, or when they have gained what they aimed at, then they grow cold, and that former vigour, freshnesse, and zeale, which appeared to be in them, comes to be a great deale flatter. Like souldiers, that at the first were forward, and active in service, but afterward come to live upon their pay, and can doe no service at all; or rather as vessels of wine, that when they are first tapped are very smart, and quick, and nimble, but at last grow exceeding flat: as we commend that vessel of wine that draws quick to the very last of all: so it is an excellent thing indeed for a Minister of God to continue fresh, and quick, and lively, to the last end. It is true, nature and naturall abilities may decay, but a spirituall freshnesse may appear, when naturall abilities are decayed. To see an old Prophet of God, that hath gone through many difficulties, and sufferings, and yet to continue fresh & lively in the work of the Ministry, and to have spirituall excellencies spar∣kle in him then, this is a most honourable sight, and calls for abundance of reverence.

Lastly, Hosea prophecyed so long that he came to see the fulfilling of his Prophesie, for he continued prophesying till Hezekiahs time, and in the sixth year of Hezekiahs reign came the destruction of Israel. Hosea had threatned an utter taking of them away, but all this while it was not done till then, and then it is most likely he saw the fulfilling of his Pro∣phesie.

It pleaseth God many times to let his Prophets see the fulfilling of their threatnings upon the people against whom they have denounced them.* Perhaps they goe away, and scorn, and contemn the Prophets, and their words are but winde with them, but God many times lets his Ministers live to see their words fulfilled upon them. For particular persons, when they are cast upon their beds of sicknesse or death, it is then ordinary for them to say, Oh the word of the Lord is true that I heard at such a time, it is now come upon me. So God dealt with the people in Jeremies time, they laughed and contemned him, but Jeremy lives to see the fulfilling of Page  11 those threatnings at last. And if they live not to see the fulfilling of their words, yet presently after their death they are fulfilled, as it was at Hippo, where Austin threatned judgements against them, they were not execu∣ted in his time, but presently after he was taken away, they came.

Yea but he did not only prophesie in these Kings dayes, but in the dayes of Jeroboam King of Israel. Here are three Questions:

1. What is the reason that Jeroboam, who in truth was the first of these Kings, that he is named last?

2. Why only one King of Israel is named, and three Kings of Judah? for besides him in the time of Hosea's prophesie there were 6. other Kings of Israel, Zechariah, Shallum, Menahem, Pekahiah, Peka, Hoshea.

3. Why Jeroboam is named at all?

One answer will be sufficient for the two first Questions, why Jerobo∣am is named last, and why there is but one King of Israel named. The an∣swer is this, God took no great delight in the Kings of Israel, for they had forsaken the true worship of God. Though there was much corruption in Judah, yet because they kept to the true worship of God, God took more delight in Judah then in srael. Therefore hee nameth Jeroboam in the last place, though he was first, and only him.

But why was Jeroboam named at all?

This is of great use. You shall finde that it was for this end, that you might understand what estate the people of Israel were in at this time of Hosea's Prophesie. Much you shall see is to be learned from hence. The state of the people of Israel in the time of Jeroboams reign was very prospe∣rous, though their wickednesse was very great. For if you look into 2 K. 14. you shall find there, that a little before this they had been in very great distresse, and under sore afflictions: Now in Jeroboams time they were in the greatest prosperity that ever they had been in: for this Jeroboam was not the first Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that caused Israel to sin, and was a means of the rent of these Ten Tribes from the house of David, that was 140. years and more before this; but this Jeroboam, in whose time God sent Hosea to prophesie this greatwrath against the house of Israel, was the sonne of Joash. Now in all this time this Kingdome was never in a more prosperous condition then in the dayes of this Jeroboam.

Two things are to be observed concerning the condition of this people at this time.

First, That they were a little before this in great adversity, and then af∣ter they grew upto great prosperity. For if you read that 14. Chap. of 2 Kings, you shall find that they were under sore affliction, for the Text saith, vers. 26. There was not any shut up, nor any left, nor any helper for Israel. It is a comparison taken from Shepheards, that use to shut up their flocks when they would keep them safe from danger; but now here was such a generall desolation and wofull affliction upon Israel, that there was none shut up, nor no helper left. But then comes this Jeroboam, and it is Page  12 said, ver. 25. That he restored the coast of Israel from the entring of Ha∣math unto the Sea of the plain. And ver. 28. He recovered Damascus and Hamath, which belonged to Judah, for Israel. This Hamath that he speaks of was of great use, it was the in-let of the Assyrians, and for Je∣roboam to conquer that place, land to recover Damascus, and to add that to the Crown of Israel, which belonged to Judah, it shews that after their bitter affliction, God granted a great mercy by Jeroboams means, and that now Israel flourished greatly, and grew exceeding prosperous. There is much of Gods mind held out to us in this: As, in that the people of Isra∣el had been under sore affliction, and delivered, yet God sent Hosea to them, to shew them their horrible wickednesse, and to threaten destru∣ction.

Hence see the perversenesse of the children of men,* that after great deli∣verances granted them from bitter and sore afflictions, yet they will con∣tinue still in their wickednesse and rebellion. The Lord grant this may not be true concerning us. God hath delivered us in great measure from those sore and bitter afflictions, and heavy oppressions, under which wee lately vvere, and many gracious liberties are restored to us; Now have we not need of an Hosea to be sent unto us to rebuke us, and to threaten judg∣ment for the evill of our wayes? This is a sad thing.

Further,* God may let a sinner continue a long time in the way of his sin, and when he hath flourished many years, and thinks surely the bitter∣nesse of death is past, then God may come and threaten judgment. Jero∣boam reigned 4. years, and it cannot be but that Hosea prophesying so long after Jeroboams death, came in the latter end of Jeroboams time. Je∣roboam might think, what doth he come to contest with me, and to tell me of my sin and wickednesse, and to threaten judgment? have not I con∣tinued these 40, years King, and have prospered? and surely God hath been with me. Well, a sinner may hold out long, and yet afterward judg∣ment may come.

Thirdly,* A people in a flourishing condition, when they prosper most, and overcome their Enemies, and have all according to their hearts desire, even that may be the time for God to come out in his wrath against them. So it was here, therefore we must not judg our Enemies to be happy, nor feare them because of their flourishing estate for the present, neither let us be secure our selves because of the mercies wee enjoy. God doth not alwayes so, but sometimes he is pleased thus to deale with sinners, to stay till they be at the height of their prosperity, and then to come upon them, as here he did.

Sometimes God is more sudden, it is like Zechariah the son of this Je∣roboam thought he might venture as well as his Father, his Father prospe∣red in such wayes 41 years, and why may not I? No, God came upon him in six moneths, 2 King. 15. 8.

Fifthly, Hosea when he came to prophesie against Israel, he saw them Page  13 in their prosperity, and yet continueth to threaten judgment against them. It was a further argument of the Spirit of God that taught him, and of a speciall insight he had into the mind of God, that he should thus prophesie destruction to them when they were in the height of their prosperity. It is true, if Hosea had come afterward in Zachariah his dayes, when the Kingdome was declining; or if Hosea had pophesied in Shallums time, and others after him, then he might have seene by the working of second causes, that the kingdome was going downe indeed. No, but he comes in Jeroboams time, when there was no appearance of second causes at all of their destruction, and then prophesieth destruction unto them.

It is a sign of speciall insight the soule hath in the wayes of God,* that can see misery under the greatest prosperity. The Prophet did not think Israel in a better condition, because of their outward prosperity. A signe his prophesie was from God.

Yet further, this being in the reign of Jeroboam, when they were in great prosperity, surely their hearts were exceedingly hardned against the Prophet; and it cannot be imagined, but that they entertayned his prophe∣sie with scorn and contempt: for it is an usuall thing, when men are in the height of their pride, and in their ruffe, then like the wild asses colt, to scorn and contemn all that comes against them.

It is nothing for a Minister of God to deale plainly with people in the time of adversity, when they are down the wind, but when men are in the ruffe of their pride, and in all their jollity, to deale faithfully with them then, this is something, and thus the Prophet Hosea did.

That their great prosperity did raise up & harden their hearts with pride against the Prophet,* it appears plainly, if you will but read Amos 7. 10. (for we must finde Gods minde by comparing one place with another) there you shall find what the fruit of Jeroboams prosperity was, for Amos and Hosea were contemporary. When Amos was prophesying, Ama∣ziah the Priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam King of Israel, saying, Amos hath conspired against thee, the land is not able to beare his words. This was said of Amos, it is like that Hosea did not meet with better measure then this. Amaziah the Priest of Bethel did this. If there be any enemies against the faithfull Ministers in a place, they are the Priests of Bethel, i∣dolatrous and superstitious Ministers. And what course doe they take? They send to the King, to the Governours, O they have conspired against the King, they are seditious persons, factious men, that keep a stirre in the kingdome, and break the peace of the Church, the Land cannot bear their words. Such a message as this you see did Amaziah send concerning A∣mos; he turns off all from himself to the King, and all the punishment that must be inflicted upon Amos, must be in the name of the King. And mark the 12. ver. of that Chap. Also Amaziah said unto Amos, O thou seer, goe, flee away into the land of Judea, and prophesie there. We are not holy enough for you forsooth, we are Idolaters, we doe not worship God Page  14 aright, we are no true Church, get you to Judah among your brethren, and prophesie not any more here at Bethel, why? Because it is the Kings Chap∣pell, & it is the Kings Court. It seems then in those times, that the Kings Chappell, the Kings Court could not beare with a faithfull Prophet. And what was the ground of it, but because at this time Jeroboam prospered in his way, and the kingdome was in such a flourishing condition as it never was before? Here then was the tryall of the faithfulnesse of Hosea's spirit, yet to goe on in the work of his Prophesie.

Yet further.* In that Hosea did prophesie in the time of Jeroboam, by that it will apppear that he was the first Prophet that ever brought these hard tidings to them, of the utter destruction of Israel, It will appeare by that which is said, 2 King. 14. 27. that before this time God had not so threatned Israel; for the Text saith: The Lord said not before this time that he would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven, but hee sa∣ved them by the hand of Jeroboam the sonne of Joash. Mark, there is gi∣ven the reason why the Lord saved them by the hand of Jeroboam, because he had not yet said he would blot out the name of Israel from under hea∣ven, that is, the Lord never before sent any of his Prophets thus plainly and fully to declare his intention to them for the utter blotting out th name of Israel, upon their going on in their sins. So that it is clear, that Hosea was the first that was sent about this message. And certainly it was so much the harder, he being the first of all. For they might have said, why do you come with these new things, and in so great severity, who did ever so be∣fore you? It was a hard task: For we know if a Minister come with any thing that seems to be new, if he presents any truth to you that hath but a shew of Novelty, that you heard not before, though it be never so good aud comfortable, he shall find little encouragement. Nay if hee doe but come in a new way, as this very exercise, because it is like to goe on in a way that yet hath been disused, it will meet with many discouragements. What then will the threatnings of hard things, of judgments, and destru∣ction do when they come with novelty? Surely Hosea had a hard taske of this, and yet he went on faithfully with it.

Thus much for the time wherein Hosea prophesied.

Now to make a little entrance into the prophesie.

The beginning of the word of the Lord by Hosea.

Some from these words doe gather that Hosea was the first Prophet that ever was, Though it is true, we cannot gather it directly from hence, yet it is apparent, that notwithstanding Isaiah be set first, yet Hosea was before him; for if you look into the 1 Isa. you shall find that his beginning was in the dayes of Ʋzziah. Now Hosea was in the dayes of Jeroboam, and Jeroboam was before Vzziah. And this may be one reason why though I intend the whole propheticall books, yet I rather pitch upon Ho∣sea first, because indeed he was the first Prophet: it is cleare you see from the Scripture, though we cannot gather it from these words in this second verse.

Page  15 But yet thus much we may gather from these words, The beginning of the word of the Lord by Hosea, that this was the beginning of his prophe∣sie. And what was this beginning? what did God set him about first? Mark presently the next words, he must take him a wife of whoredomes, and children of whoredomos, and so declare to the people of Israel that they had committed great whoredome departing from the Lord. The most grievous charge, and most severe and terrible expression of Gods wrath against that people that you meet with in all the book of God. This is the work Hosea must doe, and Hosea was very young when first he went a∣bout it. Now as I told you before, God sometimes calls young ones to great services; but to call a young man to this service, to goe to this peo∣ple with such a message, now in the midst of all their pride and flourish to contest with them thus, & to tel them that they are children of whore∣domes, and no longer the people of God, for what? for a young man to do this? Why, they might have said, if this came from the mouth of some old ancient Prophet, reverent for his years, and experience, it had been somewhat; but to come from a green head, for an upstart to up∣baid us with such vile things. Thus men grown old, and sodden in their sins,* are ready to reason. But let us know (my brethren) if God send any message unto us, though by young ones, he expects your entertainment of it. When God would destroy Elies house, he sends the message by young Samuel; but Eli did not reason thus, what this young boy come to speak thus malapartly to me! No, he stoops to it, Good is the word of the Lord, saith he.

Againe,*Hosea must tell them that they are children of whoredomes, and not the people of God. What for a Minister when he comes first among a people, to begin so harshly, and severely, and ruggedly, is it not bet∣ter to comply with the people, to come with gentle and aire means, to seek to win them with love? if you begin with harsh truths, surely you will make them fly off presently. Thus many do reason. Now I beseech you take heed to your own hearts in reasoning thus, Many have done so, and have sought to comply with people so long till they have complyed away all their faithfulnesse, and conscience, and vigour that before they had: When they come to great men, rich men, men in place and emmen∣cy, they will comply with such; but let them have any of Gods people in their Parish that are of a mean rank, and poor, they comply little e∣nough with them, but are harsh and bitter to them, and regard not the tendernesse of their consciences at all.

It is true. If Ministers have the testimony of their own consciences that they would take no other way but what shall be for the greatest pro∣fit of their people, maintaining such a disposition as to be willing to un∣dergoe any sufferings that God shall call them unto: they may say first when they come to a house, Peace be to this house, especially when they come to a place that hath not had the means before. But if it be to a peo∣ple Page  16 that goe directly against the light of their consciences, a super∣stitious people that cannot but be convinced, and have had many evi∣dences that it is against the mind of God, and yet only for their owne base ends will goe on and not amend; in such a case as this wee may come with harshnesse at the very first. So Paul gives a charge to Titus in dealing with the Cretians who were evill beasts and slow bellies, that he should re∣buke them sharpely,* (so wee translate it) the word in the Originall is, cuttingly.

The beginning of the word of the Lord by Hosea. The particle which is translated [by] signifyeth [in] as well as by, it is not El, but Beth, and so it is read by some, The word of the Lord came in Hosea. This expressi∣on notes the inward and intimate converse that the Lord had with the spirit of Hosea in the work of the Ministry. The Lord spake first in Hosea, and then he speaks out unto the people. Some such expression we have concer∣ning Paul, Gal. 1. 16. That Christ may be revealed in me, not onely to me, but in me. The more inwardly God speaks, and converseth with the hearts of his Ministers, the more inwardly and efficaciously they are able to speak to the people. This is the deep preaching, when it is from the heart. And so Augustine sayes of Hosea,* because that which he spake was so deep it wrought more strongly. Hoseas Prophesie must needs be deep, for God spake in him before he spake out to the people. We say, that which com∣meth from the heart will go to the heart: Surely that which commeth from the voyce of God in the heart, will goe beyond the ears to the hearts of peo∣ple. And blessed are the people that have such Ministers that shal speak nothing to them,* but what hath first been spoken by God in them.

Againe in this second verse he comes twice with the same expression, The beginning of the word of the Lord by Hosea, and againe, The Lord said to Hosea; and yet in the beginning of the first verse, The word of the Lord came to Hosea. Why all this, three times? All this upon good rea∣son; for Hosea was to come with a terrible message to the people, and to reprehend them with much sharpnesse, to tell them that they were the children of whoredomes, and that they had departed from the Lord, and he would have no more mercy upon them, but would utterly take them a∣way. He had need therefore have an expresse command for what he did, and to have much evidence of the Spirit, that what he said was from God, and not any thing of his owne spirit. When a Minister of God shall come and reprehend a people severely for their sins, and threaten Gods judge∣ment, let him then if ever look to it, that he hath a good ground for what he saith, that what he shall deliver may be nothing but the word of God in him, the sheer word of God, without any mixture of his owne. It is an ordinary thing in Ministers in reprehending of sinne, and denouncing of threatnings, to mingle much of their own spirit and wrath: But if at any time Ministers should take heed of mixing their own wrath, then especial∣ly when they are to denounce Gods wrath, then they should bring no∣thing Page  17 but the word of the Lord; for it being a hard message, the spirits of men will rise up against it, if they once see the spirit of the Minister in it, they will be ready to say as the devill in the possessed man, Iesus I know, & Paul I know, but who are you? So they, the word of the Lord I know, but what are you? here is your own passion, your own humour, &c. O let not any think to oppose sin with sin,*the wrath of man doth not accom∣plish the righteousnesse of God. You that are Ministers, would you have a sentence? I wil give you one; and I have done: When you are called to re∣veale Gods wrath, conceals your owne.

The Second Lecture.*

Hosea 1. the middle of the second verse, and so on.

Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredomes and children of whoredomes: for the land hath committed great whoredome, departing from the Lord.

3. So he went and tooke Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, which conceived and bare him a son.

4. And the Lord said unto him, Call his name Iezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Iezreel upon the house of Iehu, & will cease the Kingdome of the house of Israel.

5. And it shall come to passe in that day that I will break the bow of Isra∣el in the valley of Iesreel.

THE Preface to the work, and to the whole prophesie you heard the last time.* The scope of the prophesie is the very same that the scope of this Chapter is, to declare, first, The evill condition that Israel, the ten Tribes were in, in regard of their sins, and punishment that was to be execu∣ted for their sins. Secondly, Gracious promises of mer∣cy, to a remnant, to Iudah in the 7. ver. and to Judah & Israel both, from the 10. ver. to the end of the Chapter.

First,* God beginneth with conviction, to shew them their sin, and the dreadfulnesse of it.

Conviction should goe before correction. You must not presently fly in the faces of those that are under you when they crosse you: first instruct them, and then correct them, do as God did here, God would first con∣vince them of the greatnesse of their sinnes, not by verball, but by reall ex∣pressions.

Those things that come but to the eare, they doe more slowly stirre and work upon the heart, but things that are presented before the eye are more operative; and therefore Hosea must not tell them onely that they had committed whoredome, but must tell them in this way, he must goe and Page  18 take a wife of whoredomes,* and beget children of whoredomes.

In the very threshold, in the entrance of the prophesie you see we meete with a difficulty, a great difficulty. First, a command from God, from the holy God, unto a Prophet, a holy Prophet, to goe and take a wife of whoredomes; not an ordinary whore, but a most prostitute whore, for so the word signifieth,*of whoredomes, as in the Scripture phrase, a man of bloods, is a man that hath shed much blood; and a man of sorrowes, is a man that hath been exercised with many sorrows; and so a wife of whore∣domes is one that hath committed notorious whoredomes, vile whore∣domes. Yet such a wife must the Prophet take to himselfe, and his chil∣dren must be children of whoredomes too. How can this be?

S. Austin,* who had been a Manichee, having to deale much with Ma∣cichees, met with this object on, from one Faustas a Manichee, against the Old Testament,* for they denyed it: saith Faustas, that Old Testament of yours, Moses and the Prophets, is that of God? doe you not finde there a command to take a wife of whoredomes, and can this be from God?

Austin answereth it thus. Though shee had been a prostitute whore be∣fore, yet she might be reclaymed, and so shee might be called a wife of whoredomes, from that whoredome that heretofore she was guilty of, and now reclaymed. And so he thinketh that it was a reality indeed, that Hosea did take to himselfe a wife of whoredomes, and think to salve it up thus.

Theodoret is somewhat angry with those that thinke it was not really done, but done only in away of vision. I find many of our later men that are of the same minde,* that thinke there was a reality in it, that God did command Hosea to take to himselfe a wife of whoredoms, and that he did take such a wise, one that was a notorious harlot, so Arius Montanus, Pis∣cator, Pareus, Tarnovius, and others, they go that way, and they thinke to salve it only thus, that it is a command of God, and therefore though it had not been lawfull for Hosea to have done it, yet God commanding it, he might do it: As they instance in other cases that seeme to be somewhat of the like nature, as the children of Israels robbing the Egyptians, Abra∣hams killing his sonne, and the like.

If this should be so, (as many Interpreters going that way might make one to thinke it not a thing impossible) wee might learne thus much from it.

First,* that Gods command takes away all matter of offence. It would be a notorious offensive thing for a Prophet, a Minister of God to marry one that is wicked, a wicked whore; yet so farre as the offence is, Gods command is enough to take it away.* For the subject of offence is not du∣ty, but indifferency: any thing that is a duty to be done, we must goe on in it, though it be never so offensive to others, that is no rule at all to hinder us if it be a duty: but if it be a thing of indifferency, then wee must stop. Gods command takes away all plea of offence; I say not that mans com∣mand doth so, for men, even Magistrates themselves are bound not to of∣fend their brethren, as well as others.

Page  19 But then it may be said they should command nothing at all, for some or other would be offended, and shall not they command, because some weak ones may be offended?

It is true,* that which they may take upon their consciences to be their duty, that they are bound to command, and they should sin against God if they did not command it, and require obedience to it; they must doe it though never so many be offended. But in matters that they themselves acknowledge to be neither here nor there, either for Gods service or for the good of a Common-wealth, herein the rule bindeth them as well as others in regard of offences, to forbear.

2. Supposing this to be a reall thing,* we see that the Prophet must suf∣fer much in his credit before men, only to be serviceable to God for a fur∣ther expression of his mind.

All our credits,* all our names, and all we are, or have, must lie down at Gods feet to be serviceable to him in the least thing; if but in a way of ex∣pression of his mind, much more then in bearing witness to his truth.

3. This being so, wee see the way of God in putting the Prophet in the very first service upon a very difficult work:* It could not but be a thing ex∣ceeding tedious and irksome to his spirit to marry such a one, yet God put him upon it.

It is the usuall way of God, when he calleth any to great services, at the beginning, to put them to such difficult works, to try them thereby, that if they goe through them, then they may be confided in, that they will goe through more afterward.

But we shall rather take this in a way of vision, as others do; not that in∣deed Hosea did really marry such a wife, but this did appeare to him in a vision, as if such a thing were really done, onely to declare what the con∣dition of the people of Israel was at this time in respect of God: As if God should say, Hosea, this people of Israel is to mee no other then as if thou shouldest have a wife that were the most notorious whore in the world, and all their children are to me as if thy children were the children of whore∣dome and fornication. And this I conceive to be more directly the minde of God, and I will not give you my meere conception of it neither, but reasons for it why it must be so.

First,* because we find in Scripture that which is historically related, yet was done by way of vision. And it is an usuall way of Scripture to express that which is done in a way of vision, as if it were a history, as if it were re∣ally done. I will shew you two examples for this, one of Ieremy when he was at Jerusalem, yet the Scripture speaks as if he had been at Babylon: and the other of Ezekiel, when he was at Babylon, it speakes as if hee had been at Jerusalem. It is as fully related as this is here, and both must there∣fore needs be understood as in a way of vision. First for Ieremy, you have it Chap. 30. ver. 4. God requireth there that he should goe to Euphrates and hide his girdle there in the hole of a rocke. But this river was a river Page  20 in Babylon, and Ieremy was not in Babylon at this time, nor in all the time of the siege, nor in the time of the captivity, neither could he goe to Baby∣lon, for the City was now besieged, and when he did but assay but to go a little way to Anathoth his own Towne, he was presently taken hold up∣on as if he had been a Traytor to his Country. Therefore this which is here declared as a history, as if he had really done it, was but only done in a visi∣on. And so Ezekiel the other way, hee was at Babylon (for he was that Prophet that prophesied to the people that were carryed captive to Babylon, God sent a Prophet to them to help them there in their captivity) yet in the 8. Chapter of his Prophecie, Ezekiel seemeth to be brought to Ieremi∣ah, and he is bidden there to dig a hole in the wall to see the wicked abomi∣nations that the ancients of Israel did there. Now Ezekiel was not there, he was at Babylon all this while, but it is declared as if the thing had beene done really. So we are to understand Isaiah his going naked 20. dayes, and Ezekiels lying three hundred and ninety dayes on the one side, and 43. on the other, Ezek. 4.

2. That it was a vision and not really done,* the reason is, it was Gods command, Lev. 21. 7. That the Priest must not marry with a whore; & of all mens wives God is most careful of the wives of those that are in the work of the Ministry, that are Church Officers, therefore 1 Tim. 3. 11. when but a Deacon is described what he should be, there is his wife described too, that she should be grave, no slanderer, sober and faithful in all things. You never read that when God appointed what a Magistrate should be, what his office should be in a Common-wealth, that hee takes such care to set downe what his wife should be: But when he appointeth the lowest officer in a Church, a Deacon, he appointeth what his wife should be too. There∣fore the wives of Ministers should goe away with a lesson from hence, and know that God hath a more speciall eye to them, then to the wives of all the men in the world besides. God is tender of the credite of the offi∣cers of his Church, and so should man be; for their discredit is a hinderance to their work.

Yea further, we read Amos 7. 16. that it was threatned as a curse to A∣maziah the Priest of Bethel, that his wife should be a harlot, for resisting the Prophet: shall then the wife of Hosea be a whore? For Amos & Hosea prophesied both at the same time.

And the Scripture saith (you know the place,* 1 Cor. 11.) that the wo∣man is to be the glory of the man. What a glory should Hosea have had in such a match as this? The woman is the glory of the man, How? (for so I desire not only to open the Scripture that I read here, but as I go along and quote Scripture, so far as may be for your edification, and suteable to our argument to open there too.) In two respects she is so. 1. because it is a glory to a man that he hath such an image, for shee is from the man, and as the man being the image of God, sheweth the glory of God, because he is the image of God, and from him; so the woman being from the man, Page  21 and as it were his image, shee is the glory of the man. 2. Because man hath such an excellent creature brought under subjection to him: so the woman is the glory of the man. Man is not only made glorious by God, in that God hath put all other creatures under him, but especially in this, that God hath put such an excellent creature under him as the woman is, so the woman is the glory of the man. This could not be here in such a match as this.

3. It could not be that it was a reall thing,* but a vision from the prophesie it selfe, for then Hosea must have stayed almost a whole yeare before hee could have gone on in his prophesie: For first he must take to him a wife of whoredomes, and beget a child of whoredomes, then he must have stayed till the child had been born, before he could have come to the people and say, My child is borne, and his name is Iezreel, and it is upon this ground that I have named him thus, and then hee must have stayed almost a yeare more before he could have Locuhamah, and then after that he must stay al∣most another yeare longer before Loammi could be born.

And lastly,* that which is noted by Polanus, the expression that wee have here is, that God spake in Hosea, speaking and appearing to him by an in∣ward vision as it were in an extasie, saith Polanus; therefore we must take it so that this wife of whoredomes that Hosea was to marry, was in a way of vision, it was to signifie that Israel was to God as a wife of whoredoms, and as children of whoredomes should have been to the Prophet if he had been marryed to her.

From all these there is this result, that the people of Israel were gone a whoring from God.*

Idolatry it is as the sin of whoredome,* and I cannot open this Scripture except I shew you wherein idolatry is like the sin of whoredome: The i∣dolatry of the Church, not the idolatry of Heathens is whoredome. One that committeth adultery doth give her selfe to another: The Heathens be∣cause they were never marryed to God, their idolatry is not adultery; but the people of GDO being marryed to the Lord, their idolatry is a∣dultery.

Adultery first,* because it breaks the marriage bond, there is nothing breaks the marriage bond between God and his people but the sin of idola∣try, as not between man and wife. Though a wife may be guilty of many faylings, and be a grievous trouble and burthen to her Husband, yet these doe not breake the marriage knot except she defile the marriage bed:* So though a people may be guilty of notorious and vile sins, yet if they keep the worshp of God pure, they are not guilty of whoredome, but still God is marryed to them.

2. Whoredome is a loath some thing,* though delightsome to men, yet loathsome to God: Idolatry is so, therefore the Scripture calleth the Idols that men set up by a name that signifieth the very excrement that comes from creatures,*Ezek. 22. 3. Idolaters think their way of idol-worship Page  22 to be very delightsome. but that which they call delectable, God calleth detestable, so you shall find it if you compare these two Scriptures, Isa. 44. 9. they call their Idols delectable things; but in Ezek. 5. 11. God calleth them detestable things. Idolatry is a detestable loathsome thing.

3. There is nothing wherein a man is so irreconcileable as in the point of the marriage bed,* the defiling of that by adultery causes an irreconcilea∣ble breach. Jealousie is the rage of a man, and he will take no ransome. There is nothing wherein God is so reconcileable to a people, as in the point of false worship.

4. Adultery is a besotting sinne.*Whoredome and new wine take away the heart,* saith the Prophet: and in that 44. Isa. 19. there, saith God, he hath no understanding to consider and say, What, have I not taken one part and roasted flesh with it, and with another part have baked bread up∣on the coales, and warmed my selfe with another part, and shall I make the residue thereof an abomination, and fall downe to the stock of a tree? Hee hath no understanding to consider this. Idolatry is a besotting sin as well as adultery. And therefore we need not marvail though-men of great parts and abilities continue in their superstitious way of worship, for no∣thing besotteth mens hearts so much as that doth.

Againe 5.* Whoredome is a most dangerous sinne. Wee have a most dreadfull place for that, Prov. 22. 14. The mouth of a strange woman is as a deep pit; heth at is abhorred of the Lord shall fall therein. Oh most dreadfull place to an Adulterer! if there be any Adulterer in this place this day, when thou goest home turn to that Scripture, and let it be as a dart to to thy heart, the mouth of a strange woman is as a deep pit; he that is ab∣horred of the Lord shall fall therein; A signe of a man abhorred of God, and so is Idolatry, for in 2 Thes. 2. 11, 12. God gave them over to believe a lye that they might be damned. Those that follow the Idolatries of An∣tichrist are given over by God to beleive a lye, That lye of Popery is alto∣gether one lye. Hence it is that the Popish party invent so many such strange lyes, all to uphold that great lye. What is this? that they might be damned. It is a dreadfull dangerous sin the sinne of Idolatry, though they think they please God in and by such wayes of worship, yet they are given over by God that they may be damned. If this prove to be a place that concerns those that follow Antichrist, & if Rome proves to be so as by that place is described, it is a dreadfull place to all Papists.

Again,* Whores use to deck themselves up in pompous attyre, in dainty, glorious rayment. So idolaters use to deck up their Idols in bravery, and lavish gold (as the Scripture speaks) upon their Idols; whereas the Kings daughter is all glorious within, and the simplicity of the Gospel will not permit such things.

And lastly,* as whores, though they goe a whoring from their Husbands, yet still they retain (before the divorce) the name of wives, and their chil∣dren (though bastards) retaine the name of children, and beare the fathers Page  23 name: So Idolaters, they will retain the name of the Church, the Church, and those that they beget, must still be called the only sons of the Church.

But how are his children said to be children of whoredomes?* for suppose his wife were a wife of whoredomes,* yet being marryed to her, wherefore should the children be called children of whoredomes?

To that is answered first,* some think upon this ground, because the chil∣dren when they are grown up would ollow the way of the Mother, as it is an usuall thing for children to doe. Therefore you need to take heed how you enter into the state of marriage for your childrens sake, for they will follow the way of the Mother.

Or rather this, because though they were begotten after marriage, yet they will ye under suspition as those that are illegitimate; the children of one that hath been a whore are always suspected, and so in repute they are the children of whoredome and fornication: so saith God, these people are to me as if their children were accounted the children of fornication.

For the whole land hath gone a whoring from the Lord.

In going a whoring they goe a whoring:* Or as Arius Montanus reads it, In going a whoring they will goe a whoring. They not only Have, but Will, they are set upon it, they are stout-hearted in the way of Idolatry, and it is the land that hath done it, the people of the land.

But why the land?

It is a secret check to them, and upbraiding them for their unthankful∣nesse, that when God gave them so good a land, the land of Canaan, that flowed with milk and honey, the land of promise, that was given to them for that end to nourish up the true worship of God, yet they made this land of God, this land of promise to be a land to nourish up most vile Idolaters.

Gone a whoring from the Lord.

From Jehovah.

The more worthy the Husband is,* the more vile and odious the adultery of the Wife. What, to goe a whoring from God, the blessed God, in whom is all beauty and excellency, and turn to blind Idols? What, change the glory of the invisible God, into the similitude of an Oxe that eateth grasse? with what indignation doth God speak it? Oh you that go a who∣ring after your sinfull lusts, this one day will lye most dreadfully upon your consciences, that it was from the Lord that you departed, from that infi∣nite glorious eternall Deity, the fountain of all good, to cleaye to whoring after base, sinfull, and unclean lusts.

Who is this whore? and what are the children that are begotten to Ho∣sea by her?

So he went, saith the Text, He obeyeth,

We must obey God in things that seem to be never so much against our reason and sense.*

He tooke Gomer the daughter of Diblaim.

The word Gomer, here, commeth from a word that signifieth perficere,Page  24 and defiere, perfection & defection: and so it may be applyed both ways. Some apply it to perfection, that is, a harlot that was perfect and compleat both in her beauty, and in her fornication and wickednesse. The word likewise signifieth rottennesse, corruption, and consumption: so indeed are all things in the world; as soon as they grow to any perfection, they be∣gin to decline quickly to corruption. All things but spirituall do so, they in∣deed grow still higher and higher.

This Gomer we will take rather in the second acceptation of it, as it signi∣fieth rottennesse and consumption.

Who was this Gomer?

She was the daughter of Diblaim.

The signification of that is (according to so me) one that dwelleth in the desart, in reference to that famous desart Diblath, of which we read Ezek. 6. 14. noting the way of Idolaters, that they were wont to goe into woods and desarts, and there to sacrifice to their Idols.

But rather, according to most, Diblaim signifieth bunches of dryed figs that were the delicacies of those times, so Oecolampadius, from which hee hath this note,

That rottennesse and corruption proceedeth from voluptuous pleasures, from delicacies,* and the like. Though the pleasures of the flesh be very contentfull to you, yet destruction is the fruit of them; destruction is the daughter of sensuall pleasures and delights, of all your delicacies, so saith the Scripture, Rom. 8. 13. If you live after the flesh you shall dye. Phil. 3. ult. whose God is their belly, whose end is destruction.

But to apply it to Israel. Israel was as Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, that is, the people of Israel were now neare to destruction, and were the daughters of sensuall delights, they gave over themselves to sensuall delights and pleasures.

It is the usuall way of Idolaters, those that forsake the true worship of God to give up themselves to the pleasures of the flesh. Sensuality and I∣dolatry doe usually goe together. When the people of Israel sacrificed to the calves, what did they? They eate and dranke, and rose up to play, that was all their worke, and good enough for the worshipping of such a god, a calfe.

You know the more we began to decline in the worship of God, we began to be so much the more sensuall, there must be Proclamation to people to take their sports and delights upon the Lords day; And indeed it is that which doth usually accompany defection in the way of Gods wor∣ship. False worship doth not lay such bonds upon mens consciences for the mortifying the lusts of the flesh, as the worship of God doth. Therefore those men that love most to take liberty to the flesh, they are those that are soonest enticed to ways of superstitious worship.

Jerem. 24. 9. there Jeremy setteth out the state of those naughty Jewes that were in Captivity by that similitude of a basket of rotten figs, sutable Page  25 to this, and the more confirming this interpretation, that Israel was as Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, that is, rottennesse, the daughter of sen∣suality.

Thus for the Mother. But now the son that is begotten of this mother, it is Iezreel.

Call his name Iezreel.

The Prophet must give a name to his son. It is that which belongeth to Parents to give names to their children. Godfathers and Godmothers (as they call them) are of no use for this, or for any thing else that I know; and in such holy things as Sacraments are, we must take heed of bringing in any unusefull, any idle things.

But here we are to enquire, First, the signification of this name, Second∣ly, the reason why the son of Hosea must be callied by this name, Iezreel. You shall find a great deale in this before we have done with it.

For the first,*Iezreel signifies the scattered of the Lord.

For the second, there are five reasons may be given why the sonne of this Prophet must have this name put upon him, Iezreel.

First, that hereby God might shew that he did intend to avenge that blood that was shed in Iezreel.

Secondly, to shew that Israel had lost the honour of his name, and was no more Israel, but Jezreel. There seemeth to be much neernesse be∣tween the name Israel, and Jezreel, but there is a great deale of difference in the signification, for Israel is one that prevaileth with God, the strength of the Lord, Jezreel is one that is scattered by the Lord. Israel hath lost the honour of his name.

Many out-live the honour of their names and reputations.* These tenne Tribes are no more worthy to be called by the name of Israel, their famous Progenitor, but now Jezreel, the scattered of the Lord.

Thirdly,*Jezreel, to shew the way that God intended to bring judge∣ment upon these ten Tribes. And what was it? The way should be by scat∣tering, God would scatter them.

It is a speciall way of Gods bringing judgement upon a Kingdome,* by scattering of them. We read, that when Micaiah saw the destruction of Ahab and his people, he had this vision, I saw (saith he, 1 King. 22. 17.) all Israel scattered one from another as sheep that have no shepheard. There is a two-fold scattering;* A scattering among our selves in wayes of division, and a scattering by the Enemy one from another to flie for our lives. The one part of this judgement (the Lord be mercifull to us) is up∣on us already, and in this sense we may be called Jezreel. Oh how is our Kingdome divided! how is it scatted? The Lord keepe us from the other scattering, that wee be not scattered one from another, by being forced to flye for our lives before the Enemy. It is just with God that if wee scatter our felves sinfully by way of division, that God should scatter us in his wrath to our destruction, by giving us up to our Enemies. If we love scat∣tering, Page  26 if we delight in division, we may soon have scattering enough, there may soon be divisions far enough one from another.

4. Call his name Jezreel,* to note that the Lord would scatter them e∣ven in that very place where they did most glory, as they did in the valley and city of Jezreel, they did much glory in that place (as you shall hear afterward) But God would scatter them even in that place in which they did so much boast.

And lastly,*Jezreel, because the Lord would hereby shew that he would turne these conceits and apprehensions that they might have of themselves, quite the contrary way. As thus, Jezreel, it signifieth indeed scattered of the Lord, but it signifieth also the seed of the Lord, or sowen of the Lord: and so the Jewes were ready to take the name Jezreel, and would be con∣tent to own it, because it signified the seed of God; And hence it commeth to signifie scattered too, because that seed is to be scattered when it is sown: And hence it was that they might glory so much in that name. Oh! they were the seed of the Lord, in an abiding condition, as being sowen by the hand of God himselfe: No, saith God, you are mistaken, I doe not call you Jezreel upon any such tearms, because you are sowen of mee, but quite the other way, because you shall be scattered, and come to be destroy∣ed by me.

It is the usuall way of God to turne those things which men take as argu∣ments for their comfort to their confusion.*Haman who made such an in∣terpretation of the action of Esters inviting him to the banquet alone with the King, the truth is the right interpretation of it had been that it was to his destruction: and so here, whereas they might make such an interpreta∣tion of Iezreel, as that they were the seed, the sowen of the Lord, the true interpretation is, that they are the scattered of the Lord.

All these five reasons you have either in the nearenesse of the name Israel with Iezreel, or otherwise in the words that follow after.

For yet a little while I will avenge the blood of Iezreel upon the house of Iehu, and cause to cease the Kingdome of the house of Israel.

Here now wee come to that which is the maine in this Scripture; And these foure questions are of great use, and will tend much to edification.

1. What is this blood of Iezreel that God will avenge?

2. Why God will avenge the blood of Iezreel upon the house of Iehu?

3. Why is it called the house of Iehu, and Iehu alone without the addi∣tion of the name King, as it is usuall in others, as Hezekiah King of Iu∣dah, and such a one King of Israel, but here only the house of Iehu.

4. What is this little while God speaks of? yet a little while.

The words are read I suppose ordinarily, and past over as if there were little in them, but you shall finde that there is much of the minde of God held out to us in them.

For the first then, What was the blood of Jezreel that here God threat∣neth 〈◊〉?

Page  27 You may read the History of it in 2 King. Chap. 9, 10, 11. (for the way of opening the Prophets is to compare them with the Scriptures that went before) read those Chapters and you shall find what this blood was. It was the bloud of the house of Ahab, the bloud of Iezabel, the bloud of the 70. sons of Ahab, whose heads the Elders of Iesreel sent to Iehu in baskets. This was the bloud that was shed here in this place, which God saith he will aveuge.

God will certainly avenge bloud, and if God will avenge the bloud of Ahab,* he will surely avenge the bloud of Abel; if the bloud of Iesabel then surely the bloud of Sarah; if the bloud of Idolaters, then the bloud of his Saints.* Oh what vengeance then doth hang over that Antichrist, for all the bloud of the Saints that hath been spilt by him! the scarlet whore hath dyed her selfe with this bloud, yea and vengeance will come for that bloud that hath been shed of our brethrens in Ireland upon any whosoever have been instrumentals in it great or small: Certainely the righteous God will not suffer that wicked and horrid work to goe unavenged, even here upon the earth. Let us wait a while, and we may live to see that time whrein 〈◊〉 shall not only be said by the voice of faith, but by the voyce of sense itselfe, Verily there is a God that judgeth the earth.

But why will God avenge the blood of Iesreel upon the house of Iehu?*

Indeed this to an outward view at first is one of the strangest things wee have in all the book of God. If you compare this place here in Hosea with other Scriptures, you shall find that it is a strange thing that ever it should be said that the Lord would avenge the blood of Iesreel upon the house of Iehu. For in 2 King. 9. 7. you shall finde that Iehu was anointed by the Lord on purpose for that action, to shedd that bloud, and he had a com∣mand from God, he was bidden to goe and shed it, and the holy oyle was poured upon him, for that end that he might shed that bloud; yet now this bloud must be avenged, and avenged upon the house of Iehu. Yea Chap. 10. v. 30. you shall find that God saith, because he had done such a thing, & shed the bloud of the house of Ahab in Jesreel, that he would reward him for it, and that his children to the fourth generation should sit upon the throne of Israel, and governe that Kingdome. Now that which Jehu was anointed to doe, that which he was commanded to doe, that for which God afterward rewarded him for doing; now God saith he will avenge it, and avenge it upon his house. What should be the rea∣son of this?

There are three reasons why God would avenge this bloud upon the house of Jehu.*

First, Because though Jehu did it, yet he rather looked at himselfe and his owne ends than at God in it, his ayme was to get the Kingdome to himselfe, but he never aymed at God in the work, therefore God saith hee will avenge it upon his house.

2. Because though he did that which God set him about; yet he did it Page  28 but by halves. Indeed he destroyed Ahabs house, but he should have de∣stroyed Ahabs Idolatry too, but he did not doe that, and therefore now God commeth upon him.

Yea 3.* Though he were made Ahabs executioner for his Idolatry, yet he proved Ahabs Successor in his Idolatry. He was Gods rod in punish∣ing Ahab, but he yet continued in the sinnes that Ahab did commit there∣fore now God saith, hee will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu.

From hence we have most excellent observations, that doe spring natu∣rally as a fountaine bubleth up fresh and springing water. I will but only shew them to you, and so passe them over.

First,* That a man may doe that which God commandeth, and yet not obey God. He may doe that which God would have done, and yet not please God. He may doe what God requireth, and yet serve him∣selfe therein, and not God.

Secondly,* A carnall heart is contented to goe so farre in Gods com∣mands as will serve his owne turne, but there hee stoppeth. So farre as might serve the bringing up of Iehu to the Crowne of Israel,* to the set∣ting of him on the Throne, so farre hee goeth in the way of Gods com∣mand, but no further. Such a heart is like to the hand of a rusty dyall: Suppose a rusty dyall hath the hand stand (as now) at tenne of the clock, come and looke upon it now, and it seemeth to goe right, but it is not from any inward right frame of the clocke it doth so, but by accident; for stay till after tenne, and come againe at eleven or twelve and it stan∣deth still as before at tenne. So let God command any thing that may hit with a mans owne ends, with his owne way, and be sutable to him, and a man seems to be very obedient to God; but let God goe on further, and require something else, something that will not serve his turn, that will not agree with his owne ends, and here God may seek for a servant, as for him he will goe no further.

Thirdly,* God knoweth how to make use of mens parts and abilities, and yet to punish for their wickednesse notwithstanding.

Jehu was a man of an excellent, brave, valiant, and quicke spirit, full of activity and courage, and God would make use of this for the de∣struction of the house of Ahab, yet Jehu must not scape.

Many men that have excellent parts of learning and state policy, which God may make use of for the pulling downe his proud adversaries, yet God may punish them afterward notwithstanding,

Many that have but weake parts, and can doe but little, shall be accep∣ted of God: and others that have strong parts and can doe much, shall be punished by God. Wee read Revel. 12. 16. The earth helped the wo∣man, yet Chap. 16. 1. The vialls of Gods wrath were poured forth upon the earth; men may be usefull for the publique, and yet not freed from the 〈◊〉 of God.

Page  29 Fourthly, The Lord knowes how to make use of the sins of wicked men for his owne ends, to further his owne counsels, yet no excuse to them,* but his curse will come upon them at last for those sinnes,* God knoweth how to make use of the proud heart and ambitious spirit of Jehu for that end to fulfill his purpose against the house of Ahab, and yet afterward when God hath done with him, hee commeth against Jehu with a Judge∣ment.

There are many whose lusts being strong, yet God over-ruleth them for himselfe, and overpowreth them for the furtherance of his own ends. Ma∣ny a Scholler who through the meere pride of his heart will study hard and preach very often and well, God makes use of that for the good of others, and yet the Minister may be damned himselfe,

A fifth Observation, God may sometimes reward a worke here in this world,* yet may curse a man for the worke afterward.* Many there are that doe some outward service for God, and perhaps rejoyce in it, and thinke that God must needs accept of them: what they? they have been excellent men in the Common-wealth, they have stood for Ministers, they have been forward in a good cause. Well, thou hast done these; hath not God rewarded thee? hast thou not health of body, and strength? looke upon thy estate, art not thou blessed there? looke upon thy table, thy wife and children, art not thou blessed there? Thou hast thy peny for what thou hast done. But yet after thou hast had thy pay here in this world for what thou hast done, God may curse thee hereafter even for the sinfulnes of thy heart in that work which for the matter of it was good. God may reward thee for the matter of thy work, but curse thee for the manner of it.

6. It is a most dangerous thing for men to subject the workes of God to their own base ends,* specially the publique works of God, when a man is called to publique services, if he subject that to his owne base ends, God will be sure to be even with him for that. The more excellent any worke is, the more dangerous it is to subject it to a lust. It is an evill thing to make use of meate, and drink, and cloath, to be serviceable to our lusts; but to make use of the great works of God, suppose he calls us to publique servi∣ces, to make these stoop and be serviceable to your base lusts, must needs be grievous indeed. It is a thing accounted burthen enough for the basest ser∣vant that is, to be serviceable to some base lust of his Master; but if the Mr. should make his wife serviceable to his filthy uncleanenesse, oh what a vi∣lany were that! So I say, the greater the thing is any man makes serviceable to his lust, the more vile and the more dangerous is the sinne. Hearken to this you that are professors o Religion. The drunkard he makes beer ser∣viceable to his lust, and hee shall bee damned for that: but you make the worship of God, Prayer, and hearing, and fasting, &c. serviceable to your lust, oh what shall become of you▪ A base wretch that sitteth tipling in an Alehouse you account vile, but it is but a poore creature that hee subjects to his base lust; but a Minister or a Magistrate subjects things of a higher na∣ture to their lusts, oh this is exceeding vile.

Page  30 We had need (my brethren) all pray earnestly for those whom God employeth in publique works, that they may not only have strength to as∣sist them, and successe in them, but that they may have hearts to give God all the glory of them; for though they may doe never so worthily for God in the Church or in the Common-wealth, yet if they be not carefull to give God all the glory, God will curse them at last notwithstanding.

Further,*Jehu doth somewhat which God commanded him, but not all. We learn from hence, that when but halfe the work is done, God cur∣seth the whole for our neglect of the other halfe.* I remember Master Cal∣vin upon this place, likeneth Jehu unto King Henry the 8. Henry the 8. saith he, cast off some degree of Popery so farre as would serve his owne turne, but there were the five Articles in force still, for which many suffe∣red at that time, and so he was like Jehu in that. God will be served with the whole heart, for all our good is in God, & therefore all our hearts must make out after God. God must have perect obedience in the desire and endeavour, or else he will have none. Certainly that which must make a∣ny man acceptable, it is not so much that there is somewhat done, but is there that which God calleth for done? or is it done in regard of the en∣deavour? for that indeed will be acceptable: though we cannot doe all at once, but it we bring somewhat to God as a part, and acknowledge the debt as the whole, and so are working for the other, it will be accepted. As suppose a man owes you an hundred pound, and bringeth you but fifty pound in part of payment, yet if he acknowledg the rest, and promise the payment of it., if you know hee will be faithfull in the payment of the o∣ther he will accept of it: But if a man bring you fourscore pound in liewe of all, you will not accept it. So it is here, Hypocrites they say they cannot be perfect in his world, and so think to put off God with a little; it is true, if thou hadst an upright heart, and didst bring God but part, and labourst after the whole, hee would accept of it: But if thou bringest him ten times more then a sincere heart can bring him, it will not be acceptable, no not ninety nine pounds will be accepted if brought in stead of the whole. God must have a man according to his own heart, such an one as David; you know what was said of David,*I have found a man after mine own heart that shall fulfill all my wills, for so the words are in the Originall, not all my will, but all my wills, in the plurall number.

Again,*Jehu did but half, and the worst half too, and therfore God com∣meth upon him. For the great care of Jehu was only to reform things in the State and Kingdom, and theerfore that indeed he did throughly, he alte∣red the way of government from the house of Ahab, and set up another government. But for the matter of the worship of God, hee cared not what became of that, still the calves continued in Dan and Bethel, hee tooke no care that the people of Israel should goe up to Jerusalem, the place that God had appointed to worship him in a right way. This is that for which God thus cursed him and his house.

Page  31 It is a very evill thing in Reformers who have power in their hands, to be more carefull of the State then of the Church; to be more carefull of af∣fairs in civill policy,* than of affairs in Religion, who are affraid to meddle with Religion, for feare of hinderances in their civill policy, to be so time∣rous in fearing disturbances in civill policy, that they will sacrifice Religion for it, and let that goe which way it will: This is an evill thing, and a bitter. Or if they doe reform in the Church, yet to reforme only that which is no∣toriously evil and vile; so far Jehu went, he destroyed the Priests of Baal, but not the Priests of Dan and Bethel: the Idols of Baal were destroyed, but the Idols of Dan and Bethel were kept still. It is the speech of the Phi∣losopher in his Politiques, when he giveth a rule of policie.*

First, the care of Divine things must be, and that is the best policy. Po∣liticians must trust God in the way of policy, & take care of Divine things first. Yea, and goe to a through Reformation too; for Jehu did some∣thing in Religion, but left other things therefore God cursed him.

Men must take heed of betraying, of sacrificing the cause of God for the maintenance of State Policy; let them be never so excellent in their way, yet if they doe thus, God will blast them.

Yet further,*Jehu saw the danger of that wicked and abominable sin of Idolatry in others, but he could not see it in himselfe. What peace (said hee to Ioram) so long as the whoredomes of thy mother Iezebel continue? What peace? Then what peace Iehu, so long as the whoredomes of Isra∣el continue afterwards? This is ordinary (my brethren) for men to see a great deale of evill and danger in the sins of others, but when they should come to themselves, to be blind there; to inveigh against the sinnes of other men, when they seem to be far off from them, or that they cannot make use of them; but when they can make use of them, then to embrace them. Thus it was with Saul, he was exceeding severe against Witch-craft, all the Witches in Israel must be put to death: but when Saul had use of a Witch for his lust, he himselfe goeth to the Witch of Endor.

In the tenth place, Jehu thought by retaining the calves in Dan and Be∣thel,* to preserve the Kingdome to his posterity, and this proved the ruine of his posterity. Those wayes of sinfull policie by which many think to raise their houses or themselves, are the meanes of the ruine of them. Hee that walks uprightly, walks surely.

Lastly, Iehu doth thus, and God punisheth Iehu because hee continued* in the same sin that Ahab was punished for. This is of excellent use, speci∣ally to Magistiates; and indeed it is a dreadfull place to Magistrates, if con∣sidered of. Let them who are used to punish the sins of others, take heed what they doe,* lest they be found guilty themselves; for if they bee found guilty, God will plague them, as if they did the greatest act of injustice that can be: As for instance, Suppose a Magistrate should take away the life of a man lawfully for that which God would have him take it away: yet if this Magistrate should be guilty of the same sin, or that which amounteth to the Page  32 same sin, God will avenge himselfe upon this Magistrate, as upon a Mur∣therer, as here, God revengeth himselfe upon the house of Iehu as for murther, yet Iehu was a Magistrate, and this was commanded Iehu by God himselfe. So suppose a Magistrate fine a man for any evill, and that justly, yet if he be guilty of the same himselfe, God will deal with this Ma∣gistrate as if he robbed by the high way side, and took away a mans mo∣ney by violence. It is apparent out of the Text. Certainely my brethren, therefore great wrath and vengeance hangeth over the head of wicked Ma∣gistrates. All this you learn from what is here said, that God will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, upon the inquiring into the rea∣son of it.

And he will doe this upon the house of Iehu, (that is the third Question.)

What is the house of Iehu?

That is his Posterity,* his Family that was to succeed. And indeed it was to the fourth generation till God came against him, (as we shall heare by and by) God followeth wicked men to the 3. and 4. generation.

The posterity of the ungodly,* specially Idolaters, shall suffer for their Fathers sin. It is very observable what you have in the second Comman∣dement, that God in no other doth threaten the sinne of the fathers upon the children, but in the second Commandement.

What is thereason of this?

(That Commandement forbiddeth Images) Because your superstitious worshippers of all men are strengthened by the tradition of their Fathers. Oh our Fathers did thus and thus, and shall we be wiser then our Fore-fa∣thers? We have now a company of up-start men, and they will be wiser then their Ancestors. Because superstitious worshippers harden them∣selves so much in that way upon their Fathers, therefore it is, that in that ve∣ry Commandement against making and worshipping of Images, God threatneth to visite the sinne of the fathers upon the children, and in no other.

What, the house of Iehu, after Iehu was dead? how can this be?

Yes,* as a Prince that hath to doe with two Traitors, both of them have deserved death, but the Prince is enclined to shew mercy; and against the one there commeth this Accusation, This mans Father was a Traytor, and his grand-father, and his great grand-father were Traytors: Nay then let him dye, saith the Prince. But now the other that is guilty of as much as this man was, yet it is told the King, Sir, This mans Fathers hath done a great deale of excellent fervice for the Common-wealth, there were never any of his house but were loyal. This man now is spared though hee deser∣veth death, and guilty with the other of the same treason; and the King is just in this. And so the first man may be said to dye for his Fathers sinne, that is, he should not have been executed if his Fore-fathers had not been in the fault. Take heed what you doe in the course of your lives, (if you re∣gard not your selves, yet for your childrens sake) that you may not leave a Page  33 curse behind you upon the off-spring of your loins, and fruit of your wombs; look upon them, pity them. Though you your selves may escape in this world, yet you may leave the inheritance of your sinnes unto your children. Pity your children, that they may not have cause to curse the time that they were borne of such parents, and wish that they had rather been of the off-spring of Dragons, and a generation of Vipers, then to be born of such parents that have left them a curse for an inheritance. It had been better you had left them never a peny, then to leave them to inherite the curse of your wickednesse.

Ʋpon the house of Jehu. The house of Jehu fareth the worse for Jehu.

Those that desire to raise and continue the honour of their houses,* let them take heed of wayes of wickednesse; for wickednesse will bring down any Family whatsoever.

But why is it The house of Jehu,* without any addition of Jehu the King as in others it is usual?

Hereby God would give a check to Jehu, and bid him look back upon the meannesse of his birth,* for Jehu was not of the Kingly race: yet how unthankfull was he who was raised from the dung-hill, thus unworthily to depart from the Lord.

You whom God hath raised up on high to great honours and estates,* look back to the meannesse of your beginning, that God hath raised you from, and labour to give him an answerable return of obedience. Those that will not give God the glory of their honours and estates, it is just their honors and estates should be taken from them.

But what is this,*Yet a little while?

This is to be understood in reference to Jehu,* or in reference to the house of Israel. Yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cease the Kingdome of the house of Israel. It was a long while before God came upon the house ol Jehu, and yet now he saith, yet but a little while, I will stay but a little longer ere I avenge the blood of Iezreel upon the house of Iehu. It was now the third generation since Iehu committed those sins, nay, it will appeare that it was above an hundred years from the sinnes of Iehu to Gods avenging the blood of Iez∣reel upon his house:* for Iehu raigned 28. years, his sonne Iehoahaz 17. years, and Iehoash his sonne 16. years, and Ieroboam his son 41. yeares, and then in the days of Zachariah the son of this Ieroboam, God came to avenge this blood, which was above a hundred years. Oh the patience of the Lord towards sinners! But though he stayed long, yet he saith, yet a little while. Here is an excellent observation from hence.

That God sometimes commeth upon sinners for their old sins, for sins committed a long time agon:* Sins a long time agone committed, are per∣haps forgotten by you, yet they are remaining, filed up, and recorded in heaven, above a hundred years after the commission. It is like these sinns of Iehu were forgotten, yet God commeth now at last to avenge the sins Page  34 of Iehu upon his house. So he did for the sins of Manasses, and for the sins of Iosephs brethren, it was 22. years before they came to have their consciences troubled, and then say they, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, therefore is this distresse come upon us, and now (saith Reu∣ben) behold also his blood is required.*

Looke to your selves you that are young, take heed of youthfull sinnes, Youthful sins may prove to be ages terrors. Perhaps you think it was a grat while agone that you (when you were a young man) were in fuch a Ta∣verne, or in such a journey, and committed such and such sins: Have you repented for them? Have you made your peace with God for them? Though you were then young, and did not fear the wrath of God to come upon you; yet now you are old, the wrath of God may come upon you for sinnes committed in your Apprentiship.*A sinner of a hundred years old shall be accursed.

Yet a little while. In reference to the house of Israel: Yet a little while and I will cease the Kingdome of the house of Israel: This Nation had con∣tinued a pompous successfull Nation (thoughidolatrous) for about 260. years before the wrath of God came upon it that was here threatned.

God may come a long time after the flourishing of a Nation upon it in wayes of judgement.* Which may make us look back to the sins commit∣ted in Henry the 8, his time, and in Queen Maries time. Let us not plead for our fore-fathers for the maintenance of superstitious worship, but let us look to the sins of our fore-fathers, and bewaile them before the Lord, for God may come upon a Nation for former sins after it hath flourish∣ed a long time.

But at length it will prove but a little while.* What, was it but a little while from the beginning of this Prophesie till the ceasing of the Kingdome of the house of Israel.

Yes (my brethren) it was many yeares.* and it is very observable that from the beginning of this Prophesie) which was in the end of the raign of Jeroboam) to the rulfilling of what was here threatned, to the ceasing of the Kingdome of the house of Israel, it was 76. years. For (as I reckoned the last day, to shew the time of Hoseas Prophesie) from the end of Jero∣boam here spoken of, ver. 1. unto the time of Hezekiah was 70. yeares, and in the 6. yeare of Hezekiah Israel was destroyed by the King of As∣syria, and yet God saith here by Hosea (which was in the time of Jerobo∣am, for then was the beginning of Hoseas Prophesie, as ver. 1.) Yet a lit∣tle while.

Seventy six years is but a little while in Gods account.* Sinners thinke either in wayes of judgement or mercy, a little while to be a great while. If God do but defer mercy seven yeares, it is a great while in our account. We think our Parliament hath sate a long time; How long? almost two yeares. A great while! Wee think every day a great while, for that wee would faint have but 76. years, yea a hundred, a thousand years are but as Page  35 one day unto God. So for judgement: a sinner if hee hath committed a sinne seven years agoe, he thinketh it is a great while, and he hath not heard of it, thereforre surely it is forgotten. But what if it be seventy years agoe? you that are sinners of seventy yeares old, all is but a little while in regard of God.

Againe, Yet a little while.

The apprehension of a judgement just at hand is that which will stir the heart, and worke upon it most. Yet a little while, and God will cause the kingdome to cease,* therefore if ever you repent, repent now, for it is but a little while ere God will cause the kingdome to cease. The apprehension of a sinner to be upon the brink of judgment, when a poore soule shall see him selfe ready to lanch into the infinit ocean of eternall destruction, to lie under the scalding drops of the wrath of the Almighty; this works upon the heart indeed.

It is the way of the flesh and the divell to put far from us the evill day, to make us believe the day of death is a great way off. But it is the way of God to present things present and reall; and in this consisteth the efficacy and power of faith to make things that are to come as if present.* Wee say in nature, there must be a contiguity and neernesse between things that must work. So wee must apprehend a neernesse between the evill that is to come upon us and our selves, that so it may work upon our hearts. An excellent place you have to this purpose in 1 King. 14. 14. where the Lord threatneth to stir up a King over Israel who should cut off the house of Ie∣roboam that day;*but what? (saith he, he presently calleth back his word) even now: you may think the day a great way off, but it is even now: and therefore now come in, return, and repent. Oh sinners consider that your danger is now, not only in that day of Christ, but what? even now, it may be at hand.

Lastly, Yet a little while. Jeroboam had continued above forty yeeres in his sin, but now Zachariah his son, upon whom this threatning was ful∣filled, continued but six moneths, perhaps he thought to escape as long as his father. No,

God suffereth some sinners to continue long,* others he cutteth off pre∣sently: though the father continue old in his sins, if the son presume to follow his steps, he may be cut off presently.

And I will cause to cease the Kingdome of Israel.

Kingdomes,* great Kingdomes and Monarchies are subject to change, What is become of all the glorious Monarchies in the world? how hath the Lord tossed them up and downe as a man would tosse a ball? Idolatry is enough to destroy the greatest Monarchy, the greatest Kingdome in the world.

But here is some instruction in the elegancy of the word.* It is in the O∣riginall, I will cause to cease. It is a Metaphor (according to some) ta∣ken from instruments that a man makes use of for a while, and when hee Page  36 hath done with them, either hangs them up against a wall and regards them no more, or else bringeth them to the fire to be burned. So saith God, yet a little while, and I will cause to cease, &c. As if he should say, Indeed there was a time wherein I had some use of this way, of the rent be∣tween Judah and Israel, and of this Kingdome, but I have done with that use, there is an end of it now, the use is over I intended, & now I will cause to cease the Kingdome, I will take them away, they shall be to mee as an instrument not to be used any more, or for the Fire.

When the Lord hath any use of a people,* or of any particular men to do him service, he will preserve them though they be wicked, and when he hath done with them, he either layes them aside, or else brings them to the fire. A Husband-man so long as he hath use of thornes to stop a gap with them, he lets them alone, but when there shall be no further use of them, he then bring them to the fire. so God here, I will cause to cease the King∣dome of the house of Israel.

But how and where will God cause to cease the Kingdome of Israel?

Vers. 5. I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.

By breaking the bow, is here meant the blasting and bringing to nothing all the strength of their warlike power, all their Armes and Ammunition, for the bow was a great warlike instrument in these dayes, therefore in Psal. 46. 9. He makes wars to cease, he breaks the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder, &c.

But here, by breaking the bow, there is something more, it is not onely mentioned because the bow is a warlike instrument, but there is some par∣ticular reason why the bow is instanced here, and that is this, because whereas Jehu did many memorable things in his warlike affairs, yet none more then that he did by his bow. Mark that place, 2 King. 9. 24. And Iehu drew a bow with his full strength, and smote Jeroboam between his arms, and the arrow went out at his heart, &c. So that the victory that Jehu got ever the two Kings of Israel and Iudah, was by the Bow especi∣ally. What observe we from hence?

That wherein wicked men have been most prosperous and succesful,* e∣ven in this God will curse them, and let out his wrath upon them.

Againe, Breake the bow, blast all the power of their Ammunition.

Carnal hearts trust much in their warlike weapons,* but they are nothing when God commeth to break a peoples strength. God hath the power of all Ammunition, the Lord is called The Lord of Hosts, (and he delighteth much in this title) First, because God hath not only the power over Am∣munition and all Warlike weapons, so as they cannot be used but by him: But secondly, because when they are used, they can have no successe at all but by him; and so the Lord is the Lord of Hosts in a peculiar sense: Hee is the great Generall of all Armies, more then all other Generalls, for the successe of all dependeth upon him.

My brethren, why then need the Church of God feare the strength of Page  37 weapons, the Bow, the Cannon, or all the Ammunition of the enemies of the Church,* seeing our Lord is the Lord of Hosts? no weapon can be used or have successe but by this Lord of Hosts. He can break the bow, though of steele, when pleaseth, and can give his people strength to doe so too. For this you have an admirable promise, Esa. 54. 17. Behold (saith God) I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and bringeth forth an instrument for his worke, and I have created the water to de∣stroy. No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper. What need the Church fear then? God breaks the bow when he pleaseth: For as God hath a providence over all the things in the world, so there is a specialty of providence of God to order Battels, to give the victory, not to the strong, or to the multitude, but sometimes to the weak and few, even as hee plea∣seth. And therefore hee is the Lord of Hosts, because though his provi∣dence is generall over all creatures, yet there is a specialty of providence of God in warlike affairs.

But what was this valley of Jezreel?

It is worthy our time to enquire after this valley of Jezreel, wherein God will break the bow of Israel. There were two places called Jezreel, the one belonging to Iudah, Iosh. 15. the other belonging to Israel, Iosh. 17. 16. & Chap. 19. 18. Iezreel was a fruitfull valley, ten miles long, and by it there was a famous City built, which was in Ahabs time the princi∣pall seate, the Metropolis of the Kingdom, and there was a glorious tow∣er in it, & from thence they might see over Galilee and over Iordan. Now there were two great Cities that belonged to the tenn Tribes, Samarea and Iezreel, as we in England have two principall Cities, London and Yorke. But this Iezreel was the most fortified, in which they put a great deale of confidence, yet God saith here, He will break the bow of Israel in the val∣ley of Iezreel. That is, there by that City in that place, that they accoun∣ted the great strength of their Kingdom, there he would break the bow of Israel.

Fortified Cities cannot help when God cometh out against a people.* If we can fortifie our Cities against sin, we may soone fortifie them against an Enemie. If sinne once get in, the enemie will quickly follow. Nah. 3. 12. All thy strong holds shall be like fig-trees with the first ripe figs; if they be shaken, they shall fall into the mouth of the eater. You shall with the least wind like the first ripe figs sall off, all your strong holds shall doe so. Yea, ver. 13. Thy people in the midst of thee are women, the gates of thy land shall be set wide open to thine enemies, the fire shall devourthy bars.

You see what the valley of Iezreel is, & the meaning of it. But why will God breake the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel?

There are these two reasons for it. 1. Because God would deale with this people of Israel, as Judges deale with Malefactors; they will hang them up there where the fact was committed, as wee see some hang∣ed up in Chains neer to the City, at or about the place where their villany Page  38 was done. So in Jezreel was shed the blood of Jezebel, and the blood of the 70. sons of Ahab, and the blood of Jehoram, and there will God break the bow.

Hence it is that guilty consciences are many times afraid to goe neere to the places where they have committed wickedness, because their consci∣ences will fly in their faces, for feare God should come upon them in the place where the fact was done.

But further,* He will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel, that is, in that fortified place in which they did so much glory (this is specially observable.)

Even in that place wherein a kingdom shall most glory,* & seem to trust most in, God many times doth come and break the kingdom in that very place, and makes that the breaking of the kingdome most. Nah. 3. 8. Art thou better then populous No, that was scituate among the rivers, that had the waters round about it, whose rampant was the sea, & her wall was from the sea? Mark, a people just like England in this case: what we o∣vercome by the Enemie? we that have the Seas for our Wall, and such a multitude of people amongst us? These have been & are the two pleas that England hath for her selfe, because our people are many, and we have the seas for a wall: But art thou better then populous No? yet was she carryed away, she went into captivity, &c. vers. 10. Thus the Prophet pleadeth with them.

But further, These trusted in Jezreel, they seemed to scorn the Prophet What, the kingdome of Israel cease, what thinke you of Jezreel, such a strong place as that? just as we should say, what, an Enemy come to us what say you to London, a brave City, a strong City? what say you to the Ammunition, to the Militia, to the strength that is there? Are they not able to resist all that can come against it? Have we cause to feare danger? It is true, the kingdom hath cause to bless God for London, and London hath not yet been the valley of Jezreel, but an Israel, the strength of the Lord, & hath prevailed with God, as an instrument: & therefore we blesse God for that we have had. But yet let us not trust in that we have, for even in London, in the valley of Jezreel the bow may be broken, and God knows how to bring things about so as to make the Ammunition of Lon∣don to be broken in pieces, and turned against themselves: Oh therefore do not trust here. Only let it be your care you of this City of London that you prove not the valley of Jezreel, and then we shall do well enough, our bow shall not be broken. What attempts have there been to have made London by this time the valley of Jezreel, that is a scattered vally, to have brought divisions in this City, that it might be a scattered people; & wo to the kingdom if this had bin effected, better these men had never bin born then that they should have had success in that horrid enterprise. Oh London now the blessing of God is over you! the meanes of grace abund∣antly among you. The eys of the kingdom are upon you; take heed you be Page  39 bee not the valley of Iezreel,* your divisions will cause great thoughts of heart; continue you untyed one to another, and then you are as one Israel of God, the instrument of God for our strength. Pardon me this litle di∣gression, though it be a little from an expository exercise. Thus we have done with the Mother, and with the first sonne.

The Third Lecture.

Hosea. 1. 6. 7.

And she conceived again and bare a daughter, Iune 6. 1641 and God said unto him call her name Loruhamah: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel, but I will utterly take them away.

But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the Lord their God, & will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by ba∣tell, by horses, nor by horsemen.

COncerning Hosea's first son, the last day. Shee conceived a∣gain. This conception sets out also the estate of Israel in re∣gard of her sin and misery: Sin it is fruitful, and what bring∣eth it forth? Parents bring forth a likeness to themselves, and so doth sin; and what is that? Nothing but ruine & misery.

This second child it is a daughter, it noteth the weaknes of the state of the ten Tribes at this time, they were grown to be effeminate in regard of their lust, and the basenes of their spirits, and in regard of their strength also they were like the female sex. There are 3. estates of the people signified by the 3.* children of Hosea; the first was their scattered estate, and that was signified by Jezreel, the first son; of which the last day: And the story of that you had in 2 K. 15. ver. 9. to the 19. where you may read their wo∣full sedition; for Zachriah reigned but 6. months, & then Shallum sle him, & reigned in his stead, and he reigned but one month, for Menah•• came & smote Shallum & slew him, & reigned in his stead: So here was nothing but murthers and seditions amongst them. A scattered people.

The 2. state of the people of Israel was their weake condition that they were brought unto, signified by this daughter; and the history of that you have from v. 16. of that Ch. onwards, where when Pul the K. of Assyria came against Israel, Menahem presently yeelded to him what hee would have, giveth him IOCO. talents of silver to go from him, & so layeth a tax∣ation upon the people for it. Here they were brought to a very low & weak condition. And afterwards this K. of Assyria cometh again, and carryeth part of them into captivity. The 3. child was Loammi, and the history of the state of the people signified by that you have in 2 K. 17. 6. where they were fully caryed away, & wholy rejected for ever: And because they were a little before that time grown up to some strength more then former∣ly, therefore this last was a son. We are now to speak of the second.

She conceived again and bare a daughter.

Page  40 From that interpretation I have given of it, to note the weaknesse and ef∣feminacy of the state of the people at this time, a little before their ruine; The observation from thence is this,

When the manliness,* courage, and vigour of the spirits of people are ta∣ken away, then they are under a fearfull judgment, and neare to rune.

Even when their men shall be as women,* as Nah. 3. 13. when there shall be such basenesse of spirit in people, that for the enjoyments of their present ease and quiet they yeeld to any thing. So it was with these, and in thar their effeminatenesse was shewed.

When the King of Assyria came to them, they yeeelded to any termes he would appoint, to give him any thing he would demand; and when the taxes were laid upon the people, they enquired not whether they were just or no, but meerly for their peace & safety they yeeld. We must take heed of bringing our selves into trouble, we were better pay this then ven∣ture the loss of all, we must not displease those that are above us, we know not what hard things may follow; it is our wisedome, though things are hard, and we complain the taxations are heavy, yet to suffer something, they had rather have a little though with basenesse, then venture any thing for further peace and liberty for themselves and their posterity.

2. The effminaenesse of their sprits were shewne in this, that they were willing to bow downe their necks to submit to the government of most vile murtherers, without any enquiry after them, or taking any course or way at all to finde out their murthers and wickednesse. Zecha∣ria was slain by Shallum, then commeth Menahem and hee killed Shal∣lum, after Menahem, raigned Pekahiah, and against him conspired Pe∣kah the sonne of Remaliah, and smote him in Samaria, and with him killed 50. men, and reigned in his roome, then cometh Hoshea the sonn of Elah, and he made a conspiracy against Pekah, and slew him, and reign∣ed in his stead. Here were murtherers upon murtherers, and yet the peo∣ple all this while bow down their necks, and looke not after these things: They have gotten power in their hands, and we must take heed of looking so high, to enquire after things that are above us, and it is ill displeasing of them, we were better a great deale be quiet and hold our peace, & say no∣thing, than to enquire after such high matters as those are; and so they let all goe, and bowed their necks to the yoke, and by no meanes such horri∣ble guil of murthers must be questioned, because the murtherers had got power in their hands. Their cowardly timerous spirits were much like the temper of Issachar, we read of Gen. 49. 15. Isachar is a strong asse cou∣ching down between two burthens,*he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant, and he bowed his shoulders to bear, & became a ser∣vant unto tribue. And when mens spirits are effeminate in regard of the civill state, they quickly grow so in regard of their consciences and religion too. Purity of religion in the Church cannot stand long with sla∣very admitted in the State. We read Rev. 4. 7. of 4. Ages of the Church Page  41 set out by four living-creatures: the 3. living-creature the Text saith, had the face of a man, and that was to note the state of the Church in the time of reformation, they began then to be of manly spirits, & to cast off that yoke of bondage that was before upon them, to enquire after what liberty God had granted to them. Not then like those we read of, Isa. 51. 23. that would bow down to such as would say to their soules, Bow downe that we may goe over them.

This (my brethren) hath been the condition of many of us; there hath bin that effeminateness of spirit in us, that we have bowed down our necks, yea, our souls to those that would go over us; yea, (as it is there in 51. Isa.) they made themselves the very street to them that went over them, their ve∣ry consciences were trampled upon by the foot of pride, and all for the en∣joyment of a little outward accomodation in their estates, in their shops, and in their trading, Oh they must not venture these, rather yeeld to any thing in the world. And truly we were afraid not long since that God was calling us by the name of this daughter Loruhamah, in regard of our effe∣minateness of spirit, that the Lord was departing from our nation. But blessed be God that now here hath begun to be a rising of spirit among us, especially among our worthies in Parliament, and their warmth, vigour, & life, hath put warmth, vigour, spirit, and life, into the whole Kingdome. Now our Kingdom will never bow downe and submit their Consciences,* nor Estates, nor liberties to that bondage and oppression that heretofore hath been. No, they had rather die honorably then live basely. But why do I make such a disjunction? dy honorably, or live basely? Had we spirits we might free our selves and posterity from living basely, and we need not dye at all; for the malignant party hath neither spirit to act, nor power to pre∣vail, if we keep up our spirits and be strong in the Lord we are safe enough, yet we shall not have our name Loruhamah, but Ruhamah, the Lord will have mercy upon us. 1 King. 14. 15. God threatens to smite Israel, that they shall be as a reed shaken with the wind:* and then mark what fol∣loweth, and then he would root them out of this good land which hee gave to their Fathers. If this judgement be upon England that our spirits be shaken as a reed with the winde, that wee bow and yeeld to any thing in a base way, the next may justly follow that the Lord may root us out of this good Land. As it was with Israel before their destruction, they grew ef∣feminate, so it was with Judah too before theirs, Isa. 3. 3. when God in∣tended judgment against them, you may observe there that He took away the mighty man & the man of war, the prudent and the ancient, the Cap∣tain & the honourable man & the Counseller. men of truly noble spirits were taken away, their Nobles became to be vile and sordid, & to yeeld to any humors and lusts, then they were neer the ruine; and ver. 12. the Text saith women rule over them; for women that have many spirits to rule is no judgment at all; but for women of revengeful spirits to rule over a nation is a most fearful judgment. But so much of the first, that it is a daughter that is here born to Hosea.

Page  42 What is this daughters name? Call her name Loruhamah?

Non dilecta, so some, Non misericordiam consecuta, so others, both come to one, either not beloved, or one that hath not obtained mercy, for Gods mercy proceedeth from his love.

I will no more have mercy.

I will add no more mercy;* Nothing that God had shewed abundance of mercy to Israel before; but now he saith, I will not adde any more, I will shew no further mercy to them.

But I will utterly take them away. Tollendo tollam; so turned by some, In taking them away I will take them away; Levaho levando, so others, I will lift them up, that I may cast them down so much the more dreadfully. The old Latin hath it thus, Obliviscendo obliviscor, forgetting I will forget. And this was upon a mistake of the Hebrew word, because there is little difference in the Hebrew,*between the word that signifieth to to forget, and that which signifieth to take away. The 70. setting my selfe against them, I will set my selfe against them.

Well the name of the child must bear this upon it, that God will have no more mercy upon them. Hence then first.

Sometimes the very children of families, and in a kingdom do bear this impression upon them, that God will have no mercy upon this family, up∣on this kingdome. One may (my brethren) read such an impression up∣on the children of many great families in this Kingdome,* when wee looke upon that horrible wickedness of the young ones that are coming up, how different from their former religious Ancestors; we may see with tremb∣ling hearts) such an impression of wrath, as if God had said, I have done with this family, I intend no further mercy to this family. As sometimes when we see in a family gracious children, gracious young gentlemen, no∣ble men, we may see the impression of Gods mercy to that family, Ruha∣niah, I intend mercy to it.

It was not long since that we might,* and we thought indeed wee did see such an impression upon the young ones of this kingdome, the young ones in the City, the yong ones in the chief families in the Country; that we vvere afraid that Lornhamah to England was written upon them, for oh the rude∣nes and wickednes of the young ones! But blessed be God that we see it o∣therwise now; now in regard of that graciousnesse, that forwardnesse of so many young ones amongst us, we may see written upon them, Ruhamah to England, mercy to England, God hath taken away his Lo, and writeth only Ruhamah, mercy to you, this great change God hath made. For the great ground of the hope we have for mercy to England, is the impres∣sion of God upon the young ones: When God hath tender plants growing up in his Orchard,* certainly he will not break down the hedg or dig it up.

Secondly, Call her name Loruhamah, for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel.*

There is a time when God will not have mercy upon a kingdome or up∣on Page  43 a particular people. Gather your seves together, oh nation not worthy to be beloved, before the decree come forth. There is a time for the de∣cree to come forth against a kingdome, when God will not be intreated; a time when though Noah, Job, and Daniel should stand before him, yet he will not be intreated, though they cry, cry arly, cry aloud, cry with teares, cry with fasting, yet God will not be intreated. Gods mercy is precious, and he will not let it run out to waste, he will not be prodigal of it, a time wherein God will say,* Now I have done, I have done with this people, mercy hath had her turn. It is true, except we had that immediate re∣velation that the Prophets had, we cannot now determine of the particular time; yet by examining Gods way toward his people in former times, the truth is, that those that laboured most to search Gods minde in his word, they were even afraid that this decree had been gone out upon us in Eng∣land. It is true, God hath seemed for the present to tell us that hee hath a prerogative, and he will have mercy upon whom he will have mercy: But yet neither are those altogether to be blamed, that even in their own hearts determined (as it were) that mercy was gone; except they did wholly li∣mit God, and left nothing of prerogative at all to him, but because it was Gods ordinary way; and except God had wrought with us in a way of pre∣rogative otherwise than ever he did with any nation before, they did then conclude that the decree was gone forth; and so it might be true, and what God may do with us yet we do not know. But this we can say, if the de∣cree be not gone forth, if there be mercy for us, God hath shewed his pre∣rogative, that he will now goe on in such a way otherwise than formerly he hath done in the world; and if God will do so, who can say against it?

A time there is likewise for God to say against particular persons, he wil not have mercy upon them,* a time when God will say, those men that were bidden shall not tast of my Supper; he that will be filthy, let him be filthy still, my spirit shall no longer strive with them. God hath no need (my brethren) that we should receive or entertain his mercy, we had need that God should grant it. God many times is quick in the offer of his mercy. Goc and preach the Gospel, he that believeth shall be saved, he that belie∣veth not shall be damned. A quick worke God makes many times in the effects of mercy.

Yet 3.*I will not have mercy: This is pronounced as the most dreadfull judgment. What, not have mercy upon them? then indeed is a State or a Kingdom in a dreadful condition, when God shall say of them that he will not hve mercy. Wo to you (saith the Lord) when I depart from you, wo then to you when my mercy is for ever gon, then all judgments & miseries must needs flow in upon a nation, or a particular soul; when the Sea-bank is bro∣ken up, then the waves will all flow in. Isa. 56. 9. All you beasts of the field come to devour, yea, all you beasts in the forrest, why what is the mat∣ter? His watchmen are blind, &c. I argue thus from thence, if the prudence of the watch-men being taken away which should stop misery, then all e∣vils come flowing in upon a Nation.

Page  44 What then if the mercy of God that should stop misery be taken away? whither should the poore creature goe if mercy be gone? to what creature should it look for help? if it cryes to any creature, the creature saith, I can afford no comfort, because God affordeth no mercy: what shall uphold the heart then when it hath no hope at all? It must needs sink.

I will not add mercy (saith God) shewing, that what good they had re∣ceived before it was from his mercy, though they would take no notice of it; well, saith God, you shall have no more, you have taken no notice that it was my mercy that helped you before, but when my mercy is gone, then you will know it,* but then I will not add more. Men best know what the worth of mercy is, when mercy is taken away from them, when God ad∣deth no more.

Again,*I will not adde mercy. God doth not use to take away his mer∣cy fully from a people or from a soul: but when mercy hath been shewed and abused, after much mercy hath been received, and that being abused, then God saith hee will not adde more. You have a parallel place to this, Iudg. 10. 16. I will deliver you no more, saith God, I have delivered you many times, my mercy hath been abused, I will deliver you no more. It is just with God when mercy is abused, that wee should never know far∣ther what mercy meaneth. Mercy as it is a precious thing, so it is a tender thing, and a dangerous thing to abuse it. There is nothing that more quick∣ly works the ruine of a people or of a soule, then abused mercy.

But further, I will utterly take them away. Before it was only that they should be scattered, the name of the first child before was but Iezreel, that they should be the scattered of the Lord; but the 2. is Loruhamah, that they shall have no more mercy from the Lord.* Gods 2. strokes usually are more dreadfull then the first:* God beginneth first with the house of Cor∣rection before he bringeth to the gallows. There is branding first before hanging: there are warning pieces before murthering peeces. God makes way for his wrath by lesser afflictions, before hee cometh with destroying judgments. I remember Mr. Knox in his History of Scotland hath this story of one Sir Iames Hamilton, that having been murthered by the Ks. means there, he appeared to him in a vision with a naked sword drawn, and strikes off both his arms, with these words, Take this before thou re∣ceive a finall payment for all thy impieties, and within 24. hours 2. of the Ks. sons dyed. God cometh to nations & particular persons with a sword, cutteth off arms before he takes their lives, he commeth by degrees upon them. As the Lord when he cometh in a way of abundance of mercy, lesser mercies make way for greater mercies. When Manna was rained down, the dew ever came before it: So, lesser judgments to the wicked are fore∣runners of, and makers way for greater judgments; first they are parboild before they come to be rosted in the fire.

Further, I will not adde mercy to the house of Israel. He doth not say, I will not adde mercy to this or that particular man of Israel, but to the house of Israel.

Page  45 A Multitude of sinners, with God is no argument for their escape of judgment. It is a rule indeed with man, Multitudo peccantium, tollit pec∣catum, Multitude of offenders take away their offences;* Men know not how to execute the offenders when they are in Multitudes, here and there some of the ring-leaders may be taken for example sake. But it is no rule with God, though it be the whole house of Israel, God hath no mercy for the whole house of all the people of Israel. Let no man presume to sin against the Lord, because there are Multitudes that do offend, & think that he shal escape with the Multitude. No, all the nations of the world with the Lord are but as the drop of a bucket, & as the small dust of the ballance, nothing, even lesse then nothing.

And yet further, No mercy upon the house of Israel: Though it be the house of Israel, yet no mercy upon her. If it were the house of Pharaoh it were not so much,* but what, no mercy to the house of Israel? The neare∣ness of any to God exempts them not from the wrath of God. God hateth sin,* and hateth sin most when it is nearest him: You have I knowne of all the families of the earth, therfore wil I punish you for your iniquities, saith the Lord. As we hate a Toad in our bosoms more then when it is at a fur∣ther distance; so God hateth sin in those that are nearest to him more than in those that are further off; for God will be sanctified in all those that draw neer unto him. But wherefore is all this that God wil have no more mercy upon the house of Israel? what hath the house of Israel done, that God should be so angry with it? It is worth our searching and enquiring after, why the Lord will at this time have no mercy upon the house of Isra∣el. It concerns our selves neerly.

The first and main reason is, because of their continuance in their false way of worship, notwithstanding all the means that God had used to bring them off; not only by his Prophets, sending them again and again to shew them the evill of their false worship in those 2. Calves in Dan and Bethel, but by most remarkable works of his providence against them. As for ex∣ample. The work of God against Jeroboam, when hee was but stretching out his hand against the Prophet that came to denounce judgement against that Altar upon which he was offering Sacrifice,* his hand that he put forth against him dryed up, so that he could not pull it in again to him, and upon the prayer of the Prophet it was restored & became as was before. Again, the remarkable work of God in anointing Iehu to destroy the house of A∣hab and his seed for their Idolatry. Yet notwithstanding these Prophets, and these works of God, with many other, they still persisted in their way of Idolatry. And this caused the Lord now not to have mercy upon the house of Israel.

Let us take heed of this, God hath used, and still doth use means to bring us off fully from all wayes of false worship, not only by sending his Minist∣ers from time to time to declaim against such things, but by wonderful and remarkable works of his providence towards England, especially at this Page  46 day. Never had any Nation, never had England heretofore more remar∣kable works of God to draw them off from all wayes of false worship, to bring them to worship God in the right way according to his will. Now let us tremble at this sentence; I will not add mercy, I will have no more mercy. God hath added mercy to us again and againe from time to time. And now me thinks in this work of Gods mercy, that he is about concern∣ing us,* he speaks to us as he did to the people, Come and put off thy orna∣ments, that I may know what to do with thee. Come now and humble your selves that I may know what to do; As if God should say, Come & give in your last answer.* Certainly in that way that God is now in with us, he calleth England to give its last answer, as if he should say, Now I am sheing mercy once more, take heed of rejecting it, lest you have a Loru∣hamah upon you, I will adde no more mercy, consider not onely what wee have done, but what we do, how we have abused mercy, and how wee doe now abuse present mercy; how opposite the spirits of most are against the work of reformation now in hand, who even say to the Lord Christ depart from us, we desire not the knowledg of thy ways. When the people of Is∣rael were offered Canaan, and God bade them go in and possesse it, they were then neer unto it; but when they then refused Canaan, God sware in in his wrath that they should not enter into his rest. If ever a people were offered Canaan, were offered the Ordinances of God in his owne way, certainly wee are at this time, Let us tremble lest God (if wee reject this mercy) should swear in his wrath, I will have no more mercy upon you, and so we prove to be a Loruhamah indeed.

But a second reason why this people could have no mercy,* might be, be∣cause of their forsaking God even in the civill State. For you are to know that this people of Israel had not only left God in their Church, State, and defiled themselves with false worship, but they had in their civill govern∣ment wickedly departed from that that God had appointed over them: They had departed from the house of David, and rent themselves from it. It is true, this was of Gods permission, but yet it was the wickednes of their hearts, & no excuse at all for them. Hence Chap. 8. 4. God chargeth them that they had set up Kings, but not by him. From whence this may bee observable.

That it is a most dangerous thing for a people to forsake that government to rebell against that civill government that God doth set over them.*

When the people in 1 Sam. 8. 7. had required a King, and would not be ruled by Judges any more, saith the Lord to Samuel, They have not reje∣cted you, but rejected me, that I should not reigne over them: A most dreadfull place, And I confesse freely to you, this one Text of Scripture was the first Scripture that took impression upon my thoughts and heart about fearing to goe on in a way of Church-government that God had not appointed. For thus my thoughts reasoned; What is God so provoked a∣gainst a people that will reject but a Civill government, a government Page  47 that hee hath appointed, that specially concernes but the outward man? Then if it proves that God hath appointed any government in a Church,* that is Divine Institution, that concerns the good of the soule, and is imme∣diately to work upon that, surely God will be much more provoked there for rejecting it.

And going yet further upon search, finding that though we have not a civill government appointed by God as the Jewes had, yet for the Church state, wee have one appointed even by God himself. And reason there must be for it: for whatsoever hath a speciall efficacy upon the heart, must have a spirituall rule for the warrant and direction. Indeed prudence and reason is enough for the ordering of things that concern the outward man, except God will come in with his owne institution. But when it cometh to the ordering of the heart, and there is a spirituall efficacy expected (as in all Church ordinances there must be) and that authority by which they are executed giveth a great influence into them, now nothing can goe beyond its principle, therefore it must have a divine institution to give it its effica∣cy.

It may here be demanded, whether hat not God appointed over us a particular civill government as he did over the Jews?

That our government and all lawfull government of other Nations is appointed by God,* we must conclude is a certain truth. But not so appoin∣ted by God as the government of the Jewes was. And the reason is this, because the Church and Common-wealth of the Jewes was involved in one, and therefore the Apostle speaking of the Church, hee saith they were Aliens, and strangers from the Common-wealth of Israel; It was meant of the Church state. There was such a kind of Paedagogy under the Law, that the Church and State were involved in one, for Christ would be the head of the Church and Common-wealth too, and appoint them lawes; And so their government was imediately from heaven.

Now for us. That we should have a government according to the rules of wisdome and justice; that indeed is appointed by God.

God would have us have a government; But he leaveth the ordering of that government to generall rules of prudence and justice. So that now it is lawfull for any Kingdome or Country to agree together, and according to the rules of wisdom and justice, to appoint what government they wil, as vvhether it shall be a Monarchy, or an Aristocracy, or a Democracy, and to limit this according to Covenant of agreement, as whether that the fundamentall povver shall be vvholly put out, or any part reserved, hovv farre this or that Man,* or society of Men shall have the Managing of it, and the like; then so farre as it is agreed upon, vvee are bound in consci∣ence to obey either actively or passively, but no further are vvee bound to obey any Man though he be in authority, yet vvee are not bound to obey him, either actively or passively, conscience is not tyed.

Page  48 Though those men be in authority, yet it is no resisting of authority at all, not to do what they would have. Yea though the thing be lawfull they would have, yet if it be not according to the law of the kingdom, to the first agreement, I may be bound by the rules of prudence to save my selfe; but it is not authority that binds me to obey out of conscience: For we must of necessity distinguish between men in authority, and the authority of those men. Wherefore so long as wee seeke but to keepe authority in the right channell, that it flows not over the banks, we cannot be charged for resist∣ing the government God hath set over us, though we do not obey the wills of those who are set over us, and therefore there is no cause that we should fear, that God should say to England upon this ground, Loruhamah, hee will have no mercy. To proceed.

But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah.

The people of Israel they might say, Hosea thou art a Preacher indeed, what preach nothing but judgment, nothing but wrath, to be utterly taken away? Is there no mercy at all? Is not God a mercifull God? Yes saith the Prophet, though you be taken away, God knoweth how to glorifie his mercy; he hath others that he can make to be objects of his mercy though you be destroyed.

From whence first you see that though God utterly reject some,* yet in the mean time he hath others to shew mercy unto. Therefore it is no plea for any sinner to say thus, well, I have sinned indeed, but God is mercifull. What if God be mercifull? so he may be, though thou be damned and pe∣rish everlastingly. Yea, whole kingdoms & nations may perish, yet God may be mercifull, God hath stil infinite ways to glorifie his mercy. Many people in desperate moods, lay violent hands upon themselves, & certainly there is a kind of spirit of revenge in it, as if they thought there would be some trouble about it, and so God should lose some honour. But if you will have your will in this, or in any thing else, though you be dead and rot∣ten, and your souls perhaps in chains of darkness, God will have wayes to be glorious in his mercy, whatsoever come of you.

But 2.*I will have mercy upon the house of Judah. God will alwayes have a Church, he will never destroy his Church at once, the Lord loveth publique worship in the world: Though he will utterly take away the house of Israel, yet he will have mercy upon the house of Judah.

Again, Israel might say, what will not God be mercifull to us? why I pray you what doth Judah get by her worshipping of God in that which you say is the only right way? Judah indeed keepeth her selfe to Ierusa∣lem, keepeth her selfe to worship in the Temple, but what doth she get by it? for ought we see Iudah is in as hard an estate, and in as low a condition as we (nay as we shall see afterward, Iudah was in a lower condition than Israel,) and certainly such kind of expressions as these they would be ready to have against the Prophet.

Well, saith God, let Iudah be what she will, I will have mercy upon her.

Page  49 Though carnal hearts, when they look upon the low condition of the true worshippers of God,* think that there is no difference between those that are in a good way, and themselves that are in the ways of sin, yet God will make a difference; I will have mercy upon Iudah, but not upon Israel. Many carnal men please themselves with this; I see others that are strict, that pray in their families, that run to Sermons, and wil not do thus and thus, as others do, yet they are as poor, in as mean a condition as any others, what do they get by their forwardness in religion? Are not we in as good a condi∣tion as they? Well friend, though thy carnal heart think there is no differ∣ence between him that serveth God, & him that serveth him not, God hath a time to manifest a difference; There shall a time come (saith God, Mal. 3. 18.) that you shall returne and discerne between the righteous, and the wicked, between him that feareth God and him that feareth him not. I will not have mercy upon Israel, but I will have mercy upon Iudah.

Fourthly, Judah had at this time many grosse and fearful evils amongst them, yea scarcely delivered from Sodomy; it will aske a great deale of time to shew you the state of Judah in regard of the horrible wickednesse that was in it, yet God saith, I will have mercy upon the house of Iudah. What is the reason of this?

Because though Iudah had many grosse evils, yet Iudah kept to the right way of worshipping God, kept to Ierusalem, to the Temple; so farre they kept the worship of God pure. Hence we see,

God will favour a people exceeding much,* though there be many weaknes∣ses, yea many wickednesses among them, if they keep the worship of God pure. It is true, there are many spirits that are most bitter against those that seek to worship God in the right way, if they can but get them tripping in a∣ny small thing, they follow it against them with all their might, with all the bitternesse that they can possibly. This is not like unto God, God will fa∣vour those that worship him in a right way, though for other respects hee may have many advantages against them.

But this (you will say) seemes to contradict what you said before, for you said, the nearer any are to God, the more he hates their sinnes, and the sins of those that make a shew of worshipping God in a pure manner, are worse than the sins of others.

It is true, But as their relation to God in the nearnesse of his worship, is an aggravation of their sins, so their relation to God is a foundation of their hope of mercy from God.

How is this?

It makes their sin indeed worse,* so as to provoke God to punish them soo∣ner, and perhaps bitterer, yet their relation to God keepeth this ground of faith, that God is their God still, and will have mercy upon them at last. But the wicked though God spare them longer than his own people, yet when he cometh against them he rejecteth them utterly, so he did Israel: Iudah in∣deed was punished, but yet Iudah had mercy at last, but (saith God) I will Page  50 have no more mercy upon the house of Israel, but will utterly take them away.

Fiftly,* Israel had prevailed a little before against Iudah; for if you read in 2 King. 14. 12. you shall finde that Iudah was put to the worst before Isra∣el, the Text saith, They fled every man to their Tents, and Iehoash the King of Israel took amaziah King of Iudah, and came to Ierusalem, and brake down the walls of Ierusalem, from the gates of Ephraim to the corner gate, four hundered cubits: And he took al the gold and silver, and all the vessels that were in the house of the Lord, and in the treasures of the Kings house, and hostages, and returned to Samariah. And this was but a little before this time, Israel had thus prevailed against Iudah, and brought Iudah un∣der, yet now saith God, I will have mercy upon Iudah but not upon Israel. What should we note from hence?*

God sometimes sheweth mercy to poor afflicted ones, and yet rejecteth those that are greater & enjoy more prosperity in the world. Many that are poor people,* poor souls that are in a low afflicted condition, God looks up∣no them and sheweth mercy unto them, when brave ones that carry it out, and thrive and live gallantly in the world, are many times rejected of God. Mark what God saith, Zeph, 3. 12. I will leave in the middest of thee an af∣flicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the Lord. God lookes not at the brave and gallant ones of the world, but at the poor and af∣flicted ones, and they shal trust in the name of the Lord. We must not then judge at the happiness of men according to their successe in the world: For you may now be delivered, and others kept under affliction, yet afterwards you may be rejected, and the others received unto mercy.

Further,*Hosea was the Prophet of Israel, he was sent to the ten Tribes, yet Hosea tells them, whose Prophet especially he was, and God would have no more mercy upon them. And he speaks to Judah (he was not sent to them) and he tells them that God would have mercy upon them.

Here we may learn how impartial the Ministers of God ought to be in their work,* they must not goe according to their particular private engage∣ments, though they are engaged more to such a people in divers regards, yet if they be wicked, they must deale faithfully, and plainly, and denounce the judgements of God: And if others, though strangers to them, be godly, they are to give to them that comfort that belongs unto them. My brethren, par∣tiality in those in publick places, especially of the Ministery, is a great evil.

It was for this that God said he had made the Priest and the Levite con∣temptible and base before all the people: Why? because they were partial in the Law, Malac. 2. 9.

7.* It is a great aggravation of the misery of some, that God sheweth mercy to others. For it is here set down as a part of the threatning against Israel, I wil have no more mercy upon Israel, but I wil shew mercy to Judah. To ag∣gravate the misery of Israel, God manifesteth his mercy to Judah. Mark how God in Esay. 65. 13. makes it a part of his threatning against the wicked, Page  51 that he will shew mercy to his servants: Behold, my servants shall eate, but you shall be hungry;*my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirstie: Behold, my servants shall rejoyce, but ye shall be ashamed; Behold, my ser∣vants shall sing for joy of heart, but yee shal crie for sorrow of heart, & howle for vexation of spirit. These [Buts] are cutting ones to the heart of the wic∣ked. And observe it, here is the word [Behold] three times used, in setting out the difference that God will make between his servants and the wicked, and how God will aggravate the misery of the wicked by shewing mercy to people, because it is a thing much to be considered. A like place you have, Mat. 8. 11. Many shal come from the East & West, and shal sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but the children of the Kingdom shal be cast out into utter darkness there shal be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Mark, they shall gnash their teeth when they shal see how they are rejected and o∣thers received, gnash their teeth for envie and vexation of spirit, for it is a great aggravation of mens misery. And is it not fulfilled this day? How do many bite their nailes and gnash their very teeth to see the mercy that God sheweth to his people in giving them liberty and encouragement in his ser∣vice, while he casteth shame & contempt upon their faces, & bringeth them forth to answer for their wickedness, and to suffer condigne punishment. Wicked mens spirits vex at this, it is that which they cannot possibly beare, it is that which galleth and fretteth the very gaul of their heart to see the mer∣cie of God to his people now in these dayes; to see such an opportunity as this, to meet together with this liberty to exercise our selves in the word, when they are caged up. This they gnash and grind their teeth at.

It is observeable, that which you have in Acts 22. 21. Paul was speaking there a great while to the Jews, & they heard him quietly till he came to that word Depart, for I wil send thee far hence unto the Gentiles; the Text saith, they gave him audience unto this word and then they lift up their voices, & said, Away with such a fellow from the earth, for it is not fit that he should live. What to disgrace us thus, and to think that the Gentiles should come to have more mercie then we! Away with such a fellow from the earth.

We have such an expression likewise in Luke 4. 26. Our Saviour Christ told the Jews of the Widow of Sarepta, that Elias the Prophet was sent onely to her, and that Naaman the Syrian of all the Lepers in Israel was cleansed; They of the Synagogue when they heard these things, the Text saith, They were filled with wrath, and rose up and thrust him out of the Citie, and led him to the edge of the hill whereon their Citie was built, that they might cast him down head-long. They were so vexed at Christs Sermon there, that they could have broke his neck as soon as hee had done preaching. It was at this word, There were many Widows in Israel in the time of Elias, but unto none of them was Elias sent save unto the Widow of Sarepta; & many lepens were in Israel in the daies of Elisha, and none of them were clensed, saving Naaman the Syrian. The meaning is this, Christ intimated thus much, that though there were many of the people of Israel, yet the Lord would have Page  52 mercy but upon a few of them; yea that God would choose rather other people to shew mercy to, then themselves; at this they were inraged. And cer∣tainly this wil be the aggravation of the misery of the damned in hell:* When a damned soul in hell shall there come to know the mercy of God to others: It may be wicked parents shal see their children that came out of their loyns. or out of their wombes, at the right hand of Iesus Christ in glory, and them∣selves cast down into eternal torment;* this will be a stinging aggravation of misery, no mercy unto thee, but mercy unto thy gracious child, the child that thou snibbedst and rebukedst for being forward, he is now at the right hand of Christ & thou cast into everlasting misery. So it may be a poor servant, a poor boy in a family, may stand at the right hand of Iesus Christ hereafter and ascend with him in glory; and his rich Master that was, that murmured at him, & would not suffer him to have the least time for to do God service in, but checked him in every thing, and cast it upon his conscience, oh this is your preciseness: perhaps he sees himself cast down into eternal misery, when that poor servant of his, that poor apprentise shall go up to eternal glory

But yet further, God saith, I will have mercy upon the house of Judah. Here is another note very observable, & much concerning our present con∣dition too. God promiseth to Judah mercy, after Israels rejection; yet if we search the Scriptures we shal find that after this promise both before the rejection of Israel was executed, and after the execution thereof; I say, we shal finde that even Judah was under very sore afflictions, and a sad condi∣tion she was put into after this promise was made. As if you will turn but to that Scripture (for we must look to one Scripture and compare it with ano∣ther.* 2 Chron, 28. 6. you shall see there the Text saith, that Pekah the Son of Remaliah slew in Iudah an hundred and twenty thousand in one day: We never heard of such a battel, such a slaughter, wee wonder when we hear of five or ten thousand slain in the field, here we have 120000. slaine, and this was after this promise that this slaughter was made: yea & further, [ver. 8.] There were besides carried captives 200000. women, sons, and daughters. yea further, [ver. 17] The Edomites came and had smitten some of Iudah, and carried away captives. And [ver. 18.] The Philistims had invaded the Citties of the Low-country, and of the south of Iudah, and they dwelt there: And ver. 19.] it is said, the Lord brought Iudah low, And [ver. 20.] it is said that Tilgath-Pilneser King of Assyria, whom Ahas had sent to help him, he came & distressed them, but strengthened them not. Here was Pekah the son of Remaliah slayes 120000, and carries away captive 200000. then there comes the Philistims and they invaded the countrey, and then the Edomites they carried away Captives, and God bringeth them low, and then comes Tilgath-Pilneser, and he instead of helping, distressed them. What a case were they in now? yet this was after this promise, for this promise was made to Judah in the beginning of Hosea's Prophesie, for it is ver. 2. The begin∣ning of the word of the Lord by Hosea, and it was before the rejection of Is∣rael, for it was in the reigne of Ahas that Judah was brought into this low Page  53 condition, which was about 22. yeers before the execution of the sentence a∣gainst Israel, for that was fulfilled in the sixth yeere of the reigne of Heze∣kiah, which (if you take it from the beginning of the reigne of Ahaz, who reigned 16. yeers) make 22. yeers. Now this promise to Iudah (as I told you in the beginning) was made in the dayes of Vzziah King of Iudah, and of Jeroboham King of Israel, which was at least 76. yeeres before the rejection of Israel; and yet after the making of this promise, Judah you see cometh to be in this so sad a condition.

Yea and wee shall finde besides, that presently after Israels rejection, though God had said he would reject Israel, and be mercifull to Judah, so that a man would think now that Iudah should come into a better condition than ever, yet see how Iudah was dealt with. And for that marke the 2. king. 18. 13. the Text saith that in the thirteenth yeer of Hezekiah, Sena∣cherib king Assyria came up against Judah,* and this was after the casting off of the ten Tribes, for that was in the sixth yeer of Hezekiah, as ver. 10. and seven yeers after came Senacherib against Iudah, thinking to prevaile against them as they had done before against Israel; and then Hezekiah was faine to give him all the silver that was found in the house of the Lord, and in the treasures of the Kings house; Yea the Text saith, ver. 16. that He∣zekiah was faine to cut off all the gold from the doores of the Temple of the Lord, & from the pillars, and to give it to the King of Assyria. Now the Lord keepe our Kingdom, our Parliament from giving the gold of the Tem∣ple doores in any way of compliance with any malignant party; that have any evil eye at the beauty of our Sion.

Yea after Senacherib had gotten this, not content with it, he sendeth Rab∣shekah from Lachish, with a great host against Ierusalem. You may see, the adversaries of the Church are never satisfied, yeeld to them, gratifie them, in what you will, this is the first temptation: what will you be so strict, and rugged, and yeeld to them in nothing? but if they prevaile with you, to begin to yeeld, they will never have done, they will still encroach upon you, Hezekiah yeelded to Senacherib, even to take away the gold of the Temple doores, yea a little while after he cometh againe with a great host, so that Hezekiah said, it was a day of trouble and rebuke, Chap. 19. Nothing will quiet them but the ruine of the Church, they must needs have that, Downe with it, downe with it, even to the ground, nothing else will satisfie them.

To this low estate and sad condition was Iudah brought not long after Israel was taken away, and yet God promiseth mercy to Iudah for all this.

VVhat shall we learne from this?

This profitable lesson for our present condition,* God may intend much mercy, yea God may be in a way of mercy to a people, yet may bring that people into very great straits & difficulties. The promises of Gods mer∣cies are alwayes to be understood with condition of the crosse. If we thinke that upon the promise of mercy we shall be delivered from all trouble & af∣fliction, we lay more upon the promise, then the promise will or can beare.

Page  54 It is a great evil that proceedeth from much weaknes of spirit and distem∣per of heart, for people, though God hath done great things for them, yet if there come any rub in the way, and difficulty, any trouble, Oh now we are gone, now vve are all lost, now God hath left us, we hoped that there would have come mercy, we looked for light, and behold darkness, now the heart sinketh, and all is presently given for gone. Know my brethren this is an evil and an unbeleeving heart, an evil and an unthankful heart. God hath indeed done great things for us, yet how ready are wee though God be in such a way, a glorious way of mercy, if we hear of any difficulty, of any little rub, any combining of the adversaries together? we must expect nothing now but blood, and bid farwel, and adue to all our peace; we thought to have had happy dayes, but now the Lord is coming out against us, and all that is done must be undone againe.* Why, why are you so full of unbeleefe? Surely this is unworthy of Christians, that professe an interest in God, & unworthy of all the good that God hath done for us. Peter though before he had wal∣ked upon the seas through the power of Christ, yet when the waves came, now Master save me, or else I perish. Hath not God made us walk upon the waves of the sea all this while? wrought as great a Miracle for us in England as he did for Peter? Yet when a wave doth but rise a little higher then before, we are so distressed in our spirits that we can scarcely cry, Oh Master save us; but we look one upon another and discourage one another hearts, and in stead of crying unto God, wee cry out one to another in a discouraging way, and so pine away in our iniquities: Certainly God is exceedingly an∣gry at such a demeanour as this, and yet this is ordinary, both in regard of nations, and particular persons. Of nations: It was so high with Judah (for I desire to keep as close as I can to the work I am about) though God had made this promise to Judah here, yet if we look into the 7. Isa. (Isaiah was contemporary with Hosea & it was not much after the making of this promise) wee shall see how they were troubled with fear; saith the Text, When it was told the house of David, saying, Syria is confederate with Ephra∣im, the heart of the King of Judah, and the heart of his people were moved as the trees of the wood were moved with the winde, they were afraid and shook as the very leaves of the tree shake, both the king of Judah and all the people, Well, but God speaks to the Prophet, in the 8. Chap, ver. 11. (and it was at this time when they were so troubled because of the enemies coming against them) God I say in that Chapter speaks to the Prophet, & (saith the text) he speakes with a strong hand, saying, say not ye, a Confederacy, a confe∣deracy: Oh the King of Israel & the king of Syria are confederate together, what shal we do? we are undone, we are lost for ever; say not ye, A confede∣racy, neither fear ye this fear, nor be afraid, but sanctifie the Lord of hosts himself, and let him be your fear. Thus God would have his Saints do, not when you hear of confederate enemies, or any ill tidings abroad; Oh the pa∣pists are linked together, & A confederacy, a confederacy: do not say a con∣federacy, fear not their fear, but sanctifie the Lord of hosts himself, & let him Page  55 be your fear, and let him be your dread, & he shal be for a sanctuary to you: and mark the resolution of the Prophet afterward, ver. 17. I will wait upon the Lord that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will looke for him. Oh that this were the disposition of our hearts! Take that note away wih you, amongst many, though you cannot remember all, when you hear so many rumors of fears and troubles, as if all were gone, and there were now no more hope, Let this be your answer; I will wait upon the Lord that hideth his facè from the house of Jacob, for God is in a way of mercy, and mercy certainly we shall have, let us look for it.

And for particular persons, how ordinary is it though God be in a won∣derful gracious way of mercy towards them, yet if they do but feel their cor∣ruptions stirring never so little, all is gone presently. I was indeed in a good way, but God is gone, Christ is gone, and Mercie is gone, & all is gone, sure∣ly God intendeth no thoughts of good to me. Oh be not unbeleeving, but beleeving; For this is the way of God, though he promiseth great mercie, yet in the meane time he may bring into great afflictions.

I will not have mercy upon Israel, but I will have mercy upon Judah, and will save them.

For a people to be saved when others neare them are destroyed,* this is a great setting out of Gods goodnes to them: as to stand upon the shore safe∣ly, & see others suffer shipwrack before us, is a great augmentation of Gods mercy towards us. When the people of Israel could stand upon the banks, and see the Egyptians tumbling in the Red-sea, and their dead bodies cast upon the shoare, then, saith the Text, sang Moses and the children of Israel unto the Lord.* And this kinde of mercie the Lord hath granted to us in En∣gland, for while our neighbouring nations have been in a combustion, and many of them spoiled, we have sate under our own vines, & under our own fig-trees, and our greatest afflictions have been only the hearing of what our brethren have suffered & yet do suffer: Whereas all about us is as the fiery furnace, and we walk in the middest of it like the three children, & our gar∣ments not touched, nor the smell of the fire passed on them: when as we see all Countreys as Gideons fleece, bewetted with the tempest of Gods wrath, yea with their own blood, behold we are dry, aud the sun-shine of Gods mercie is upon us, the blackness of the misery of our brethren is the bright∣nesse of our mercie.

I will save them.

It is the Lord that will save them. This is an upbraiding of Israel. Oh Isra∣el you think to be saved by your owne policy, you have got a fetch beyond God, you are afraid that the people should go up to Jerusalem to worship, therefore you have set up the two Calves to save your selves.* But Judah shall be saved, and saved after another way; Iudah need not go to such carnall setches and policies to save themselves, for the Lord shall save them.

Though carnal hearts thinke, and endeavour to save themselves onely by their own policie and carnall waies, yet let Gods people know, that they Page  56 have a stronger means to save them then all the policie in the world. So long as the wisdom, the power, the mercy, the faithfulnesse of God is for them, they need no other string to their bow but that.

I will save them by the Lord.

VVhat is the meaning of this?

This by Interpreters is carried concerning Christ: That God the Father promiseth to save by Christ. As Dan. 9. 17. we have such an expression in prayer, Now O Lord hear the prayer of thy servant for the Lords sake; that is, for Christs sake: So here, God wil save by the Lord; that is, by Christ.

A sweet lesson we have from thence:*viz. That the administration of Gods grace to his people is given into the hands of JESUS CHRIST. It is Christ that doth save the people of God, and hath saved them in all former times, in all ages. It is true, in the merits of Christ all are saved; that every one will grant, as Zach. 9. 11. By the blood of thy Covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit. All the prisoners of Gods people ever since the world began, that have been sent out of the pit, it hath been by the blood of the covenant, by the merits of Christ: and not onely so, but Christ in the administration of all hath been the chiefe, he hath been the Angel of Gods presence, that hath stood up for his people in all their necessities, he hath been the great Captain & deliverer, the Saviour of them all. Let Christ then have the honour of a Soveraigne to us in regard of our salvation in outward deli∣verances. Let us look up to him then for salvation in all our straits. And if Christ was the Saviour of his people in all ages, and still will be, then surely those ages and places where Christ is most known and honoured may ex∣pect the greatest salvation. And this is for our comfort, far above all the a∣ges that ever was since the world began, Christ is most known and honou∣red in this age, and of all places in the world, here in England and amongst our countrey men; and if Christ will be a Saviour of those places where he is known and honoured, surely England may expect a salvation: England hath had it, and as England is peculiar in the way of the knowledg of Christ, so England shall be peculiar in a way of Gods grace to her.

I will save them by the Lord their God.

Not your God oh Israel, but their God. Thus he upbraydeth the people of Israel that they had forsaken their God; that Iudah had kept their God, but Israel had not.

It is a great upbrayding of a people when it can be said of them that they have forsaken the Lord.* It is a wofull thing not to have God to be our God at all,* that conscience can charge this upon a man that Daniel did upon Bel∣shazzar, That God in whose hand thy breath his, & whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified; but that conscience can charge this, That God that thou hast chosen, that thou hast entred into covenant withall, Oh thou apo∣statized soule, thou apostatized Nation, thou hast forsaken him, he is not thy God. This is a sore and heavy charge indeed.

Again, The Lord their God.

Page  57 It seemes he is the God of Judah, though Judah had many evils,* but not the God of Israel.

Those then that do not worship God in a right way,* God will not ac∣knowledge himself to be worshipped by them at all.

The people in the wildernesse proclaimed a fast to Jehovah, and yet the Apostle 1 Cor. 10. 7. calleth them Idolaters, and it is said they sacrificed to Idols, because they worshipped God by the Calfe, and not in Gods way. Though we may think we worship God, yet if wee doe not worship him in his own way, he doth not own himself to be worshipped by us at all.

Again, The Lord their God.

This could not but sting Israel, that Judah should be thought to have more interest in God then Israel had.

It is a stinging thing to carnal hearts,* and much bitternesse of spirit it must needes be entertained withall, that any one should but think of chal∣lenging any peculiarity of interest in God.* Thus they scorned at Christ, Oh he trusted in God, he thinketh he hath more interest in God then others, now let his God come and save him. I remember in the book of Martyrs we read that the Papists were much vexed against the protestants, because they used to say, our God and our Lord, they were knowne by this speech, and the Papists were inraged against them for this, because they seemed to claime more interest in God then others. And indeed what is the cause of the quarrel in the World against Gods people, but because they thinke they claime more peculiarity and interest in God than others? and this is the reason that soule-searching preaching cannot be endured, because it makes a difference between the one and the other, and shewes that some have an interest in God more than others. Hence it is that in no places in the world mens spirits so fret against preaching as in England, why? because there is not such soul-examining, such soule-distinguishing preaching in the World as in England. Yea that is the reason of the bitternesse of one professor a∣gainst another, because one is a Protestant at large, and the other manifest∣eth more power of godlinesse, is more strict in his course; and seemes to claime a greater share in God than the former. Profession in England is a more distinguishing profession than in other places.

I will save them by the Lord their God.

God is the God of Judah still,* therefore God will save them.

So long as God is our God we need not fear our adversaries. Yee have heard of that Palladium of the Heathens in Troy, they imagined that so long as that Idol was kept safe, they were unconquerable; all the strength in Greece was not able to prevaile against it, wherefore the Greecians sought by all means they could to get it from them.* I have read of the men of Tyrus that they were afraid their god Apollo should forsake them: they therfore chain∣ed and nailed that Idol to a post that they might be sure of it, because they thought their safety was in it. Let us fasten our selves to God in an everlast∣ing covenant, and certainly God will be fast to us, & then we are safe enough.

Page  58I will save them:* but how? what shall Judah be saved by and not Isra∣el? Judah a poor contemptible people, how saved?

I will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battel, by horses nor by horsemen.

It shall not be by any outward meanes, but by the immediate hand of God. This promise that God would save them not by bow nor by sword, &c. it was performed two several times, and there is a third time for the ful∣filling of it which is yet to come.

It was done first when the Angel of the Lord went out and smote in one night in the Camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore & five thousand:* 1 kings 11. 35. and God tells them, that the King of Assyria should not shoote an arrow there, nor come before the Citie with a shield: so God sa∣ved them without bow, for they had no need to use the bow then, because the Angel of the Lord destroyed them.

The second time was when he saved Judah in their returne from captivi∣ty, then as it is Zach. 4. 6, he saved them not by might nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts. Marke the phrase, as if God should say, I have strength, for I am the Lord of hosts, I can command Armies, if I would, to save you; No, though I be the Lord of hosts, yet I will not save you by might nor by power, but by my spirit. Therefore Isa. 43. 7. their strength is said to be in sitting still, and ver. 15. in quietnesse, and confidence shall be your strength. Thus they were saved not by bow, nor by sword.

Then the third time, which is yet to come, that is, in the wonderful work of God in calling the Jewes, when God shall raise up out of them, a glori∣ous people to himselfe, and save Judah once again, and it shall not be by sword, nor by bow, but by the Lord their God; For as it is said, Dan. 2. 34. the stone that smote the Image was cut out without hands, so there shall be a power that is not visible from whence it comes, but Jesus Christ shal come from heaven to do his great workes, As the lightning from the East to the West, so shal the comming of the sonne of man be.

What learne we from hence?

First,* God ties not himself to the use of outward means in procuring of good to his people. Though all outward means fail, yet there may be wayes of salvation for the Saints. Wicked mens hearts presently sinke, if outward means fail: And indeed so much as our hearts faile when outward meanes faile, it is a signe that we did before rest upon the means, and if we had had the means, we should have robbed God of his honour. We must use means, but not rely upon the means.* I might shew you excellent Texts of Scripture for this, as Psal. 33. 16. There is no King saved by the multitude of an host, a mighty man is not delivered by much strength, &c. And Psal. 44. 5. 6. Through thee will we push downe our enemies, through thy name we will tread them under, that rise up against us; for I will not trust in my bowe, neither shal my sword save me, &c.

But secondly, Not by bow, nor by sword, &c.

Page  59 Deliverance of a people without bow, and without sword is a great mer∣cy: For such are the wofull miseries that a people doe suffer when warre commeth, that usually the victory will scarce pay the charges of the battel: though we be sure to be saved at last, yet if we must be saved by bow, and by sword, I say the misery that we may suffer in our salvation, may be more then the salvation. It was the height of that mercy promised, Isa. 9. 5. that it should be without confused noise and garments rolled in blood. Such a mer∣cy we have had; and had Christ come to have raigned amongst us, though he had come with his garments rolled in blood, we should willingly have entetrayned him; If he had come ryding upon his red horse; But behold he comes ryding upon his white horse, in peace and mercy all this while, and the mercies we have had, have been very cheap, they have not been by bow, nor by sword. And if God should come at length by the sword, and bring perfect salvation to us by blood, which God forbid; but if he should, we have had already more mercy without blood, than our bloods are worth; should we now have our bloods shed, God hath paied us beforehand: who almost in this congregation, but two or three yeers agoe would have lost his blood to procure so much mercy to England, as England hath had already?

Further.* Such is the love of God to his people, that he is pleased to worke for them beyond meanes. The other point was, that he can save his people without means; This, that he will do it beyond means: For the grace, and love of God to his people, is so high, & glorious, that it is beyond that which can be conveyed by means, therefore it must be done more imediatly. Exod. 15. 6. Thy right hand, O Lord is become glorious in power, in the greatnesse of thine excellency thou hast overthrowne them that rose up against thee. First, it is the hand of God, Secondly, it is the right hand of God, Thirdly, it is the right hand of God in power, Fourthly, this is glorious in power. Fiftly, there is excellency; and Sixthly, there is the greatnesse of Excellency. It is an high expression. Magnitudine excellentiae, or magnitudine elationis, in the greatnesse of thy lifting up,* for the same word signifieth pride, that is here translated excellency; and if God he lifted up in any thing, it is when hee shewes himself for his people. Now take all these six expressions, Gods hand, Gods right hand, his right hand in power, a right hand that is be∣come glorious in power, his excellency, the greatnesse of his excellency, and all this for his Saints, surely this is more then can be conveyed by means, God must borne imediately and save them by himselfe.

But lastly,* the more imediate the hand of God appeareth in his mercy to his people, the more sweet and precious ought that mercy to be then (this were an excellent argument to follow to the full, and so neerly concerning us; you see the scriptures were made for other times, then for the times in which they were first revealed) a most excellent place of Scripture you have for this Psal. 21. 13. Be thou exalted O Lord in thine own strength, so will we sing, and praise thy power. When God cometh in his own strength, and not in the strength of the creature, and by meanes, then do the Saints sing Page  60 and praise the power of God. Dulcious ex ipso fonte, wee use to say, that which cometh imediately cometh exceeding sweetly: Then the Saints may boast in God, when God cometh immediately with his salvation, so you have it, Psal. 44. 7. 8. Thou hast saved us from our enemies, and hast put them to shame that hated us: What followeth? in God will we boast all the day long, and praise thy name for ever. So that the Saints of God then praise God, nay they may lawfully give up themselves to boast, when God works imediately. When God works by means, then they must take heed of as∣cribing to the means, but when God cometh imediately, then they may boast.

It is the blessednesse of Heaven, that Gods mercy cometh imediately: created mercies are the most perfect mercies. Suppose God had bin with them by bow, and by sword, when Senacherib came against them, could they have been saved as they were? Gods hooke that he put in his nose, and bridle that he put in his lipps (for so God saith he would doe with him, use him as a beast) were better then their sword or bow.

Surely, if ever any nation knew what it was to have imediate mercies come down from heaven, England doth: If ever Nation saw God exalting himselfe in his own power, England hath: we have lived (and blessed be God we have lived) to see the Lord exalting himselfe in his own power: Oh let us cry out with the Psalmist (and with that I shall end) Be thou exalted O Lord in thy own strength amongst us, so will we still, and still, and still, sing and praise thy power.

The Fourth Lecture*

HOSEA 1. 8. &c.

8. Now when she had weaned Lo-ruhamah, shee coceived and bare a sonne.

9. Then said God, call his name Lyammi, for you are not my people, and I will not be your God.

10. Yet the number of the children of Israel shal be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbred, &c.

THe last day was finished the signification of the name of the second childe of Hosea, Lo-ruhamah.

We now come unto the weaning of it, and the begetting of the third, Lo-ammi.

When shee had weaned Loruhamah.

We doe not reade of the first child Jezreel that it was wea∣ned; but the second childe Loruhamah that was weaned, Page  61 before the third child Loammi was conceived.* What is the meaning of this?

There is much of Gods minde shewed unto us even in this very thing that we ordinarily let slip and passe over.

The reason is, because this second childe Loruhamah was to signifie un∣to the people of Israel their carrying out of their own Countrey into capti∣vity into Assyria: It was to signifie to them that they should be weaned from the comforts and delights that there were in their owne Countrey; they should be taken away from their milke and honey that they had there; and be carryed into Assyria, and be there fed with hard meate, even with the wa∣ter of affliction and the bread of affliction. The first childe did but signifie their scattering, especially in regard of their seditions amongst themselves. But the second childe signified the carrying away all of them wholly into captivity from their own Land,* Therefore the second childe is weaned, Ci∣bis sustent abitur immundis, So. Jerome hath it, They should be carried amongst the Gentiles, and be fed with unclean meat, they should be depri∣ved of prophesie, and of the milke of the word, and of the ordinances that they enjoyed, So Vatablus.

Ordinances are as the breasts of consolation, out of which the people of God suck soul-satisfying comforts. So you have it, Esay, 66. 11. That you may suck and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations, that you may milke out and be delighted with the aboundance of her glory. And Cant. 1. 4. We will remember thy loves more than wine:* The old latine hath it, Wee will remember thy dugs above wine; and so the words will beare. These people should be deprived of those dugs and breasts out of which they had sucked much sweetnesse before, even deprived of all comfort in God. Gods people hang upon God, and suck comfort from him, even as the infant upon the mothers brest, and sucks sweetnesse, and comfort, and nourishment from thence.

This expression then of weaning the childe, implies these two things.

First,* That the enjoyment of the comforts of a sweet native soile, speci∣ally where there are any ordinances together with it, is a very great blessing of God;* and the being deprived of it is a great affliction, yea to some it comes as a curse. The very sucking of the ayr of a sweet native soile (and especially such a comfortable soile as we have here in England) is certainly a great blessing from the Lord. Those that have been deprived of it, and ba∣nished away, have been more sensible of it than any of you who alwayes have enjoyed it. Many have laine sucking at the sweetnesse of this our En∣glish ayr, and at the comforts that there have been in their accommodations, so long, till they have sucked in that which (if Gods mercy had not preven∣ted) would have proved to have been poyson to them to have baned their soules. But I speak not of all, I make no question but there have beene ma∣ny of Gods dear servants that have tarried in their native soile, and kept the uprightnesse of their hearts and consciences as cleare as others that went a∣way. It is true, the comforts of a native soile are sweet, but except we may Page  62 enjoy them with the breasts of these consolations (or Ordinances of the Church) they are notable to satisfie the soul: yea, except we may suck out such milke of these breasts as is sincere milke, and not soiled nor sowred by the inventions of men, better a great deale that we were weaned from all the sweetnesse and accommodation we have in our native soile by the mortify∣ing of our affections to them, then that God should weane us from them, by sending of us into captivity, or by giving the adversary power over us, or by making the Land too hot for us. But that for the first.

Again,* in that this childe was weaned, and by the weaning was to signify their being carried away out of their own into a strange Countrey; this ex∣pression implies thus much. That it is an evil thing for a childe to be taken from the mothers brest too soone, and sent away to be nursed by others. The expression doth fully imply this, for it is to tell us the evill condition of the people, that they should be taken from their own, and sent to another Coun∣trey: This their affliction is set out by a childes being taken from its owne mothers brest; it could not expresse what it intended, except it were to imi∣tate thus much unto us, that it is an evil thing for a childe to be taken from its own mothers bres.

It is unnatural then for mothers out of daintinesse, and curiosity to deny the fruit of their wombes,* the comfort of their breasts. It is true, in time of weaknesse and danger, when it may be dangerous to themselves and the childe, God permits it. But when it is meerly (I say) out of daintinesse, and curiosity, certainly it is an evil that is against nature it self. Hannahs care of her sonne Samuel, is recorded by this, & it is mentioned by the holy Ghost, in her commendation, that she gave him suck. 1 Sam. 1. 23, The woman a∣bode and gave her sonne suck untill she weaned him, saith the Text. It is said of the Ostrich, Iob. 39. 16. That she is hardned against her young ones as though they were not hers; and this Ostrich is reckoned among the fowles that are unclean: And Lam. 4. 3. Even the sea-monsters draw out their breasts, they give suck to their young ones, yet the daughter of my people is become cruel, like the Ostridges in the wildernesse, more cruel then the very sea-monsters themselves, that draw out their breasts and give suck to their young ones.

The instruction of the son belongeth to the father, the nursing of the son belongeth to the Mother.*

The Mothers milke is the most profitable and wholesome for any one, (saith Plinie) except it be in some extraordinary case. We read in 2 Tim. 3. 3. that in the latter day, when evil times should come, some should be without natural affection: that 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, that is here spoken of, is the affection of the parents to the children,* as well as of the children to the parents.

But enough of this; if not too much, to such that are so pleased with their curiosity and daintinesse (the children of their own fancies) that they neg∣lect the fruit of their wombes & natures duty to the children of their bodies.

But further observe here,* That the Lord staies for the weaning of the child, Page  63 he staies till Lo-ruhamah was weaned before Lo-ammi was conceived. And there is much to be known in this.

Why doth God stay?

This is to shew the great patience of God toward his people:* For God was now about to reject his people utterly, from being his people, God was about to come with the height of his wrath, to declare that they were no more his people; and here God makes a stop, stays till Loruhamah was weaned, I have read of the Jewes, that their manner was to be a long time, three yeeres sometimes, before they weaned their children. God then it seemes stayed long here, before he would have the third childe, (that is Lo∣ammi) born, before he would come with that dreadful sentence, you are not my people, and I will not be your God. First when Jezreel was born, then they are scattered up and down, yea but they are not all carried away captive yet: Then Lo-ruhamah is born, and then they are gone, carried away captive, never to return again. But for all this, God may yet own them in their captivity; This is not so bad as for God to say I will have no more to do with you as my people; Lord though we be under affliction, under the power of our enemies, own us still, acknowledge us to be thine, though we be in the fiery furnace, yet let us have thee to be our God, No (saith God) you shall not onely be scattered, but you shall be all carried away captive, and I will not own you neither, I will cast you off, you shall not be my peo∣ple, neither will I be your God. Now before this God makes a stop.

Hence observe first.

That God stops in his anger for a while as long as he pleaseth.* God is called, Nah. 1. 2. The Lord of anger, so are the words, though translated otherwise. We may apply it at least thus, God is the Lord of his own anger, he can let it out as far as he will, he canstop it when he will, he can command it to come in when he pleaseth.

It is not so with us; our anger, our passions are Lords over us; if we once let our anger our passions arise, we cannot get them down againe when we would, we cannot still them when we please; if we let our affections run, we cannot call them in when we will, but are sometimes slaves to our own passions,* and they lord it over us.

This is that frame of spirit that we should all labour for, to be like to God, though angry, yet sin not, so as we can stop when we will, and command our anger as we please. As it is said of God, that he sayes to the proud waves, Hi∣therto shalt thou go & no further: Oh that we were able to say to those proud waves of our passions,* Hitherto are you gone, but you shall goe no further!

Againe,* mark here, God stoppeth in his anger for a while. When this dreadful judgement was come to be executed, God is even ready to say (as he saith afterward in this Prophesie) How shall I give thee up? Oh Ephra∣im? How shall I deliver thee, O Israel? Teaching us thus much,

That those that have been once the people of God must not be suddenly rejected from being Gods people: but when we are about any such thing, Page  64 either to reject any particular man or woman (who have made profession of Religion) from being Gods, or to reject a Church from being Gods; we had need make a stop, we had need pause, we had need examine the mat∣ter very well; yea and when we have examined, and are ready to doe it, to make a stop againe, and to bethink our selves what we doe. We must not be too sudden in rejecting those that have been once the people of God. from being the people of God now: It is Gods way you see here.

Many men are too hasty in this point, in rejecting both particular servants of God, and particular Churches from belonging to God, assoone as they see some few things amisse in them, especially if there be any thing grosse, presently they are no Churches at all, they are altogether Antichristian, they belong to the Beast; and so while they strike at the Beast, they wound the Lamb. Certainly there is to be acknowledged much of Christ, not onely in particular Saints, but in regard of the Church Ordinances of many par∣ticular congregations in England: we must take heed therefore of too sud∣den rejection of them from belonging to God, to be his people in that way of Church fellowship.

We come now to the conception of the third childe. It was a sonne, and his name was Lo-ammi. The second childe a daughter, but the third a Son: What is the meaning of this? I told you (the last day) that by the second childe was noted the state of the people at that time, that it grew weaker and more effeminate: weaker in regard of their outward strength, and more ef∣feminate in regard of their spirits: And that I made good to you out of the History of those times in the book of the Kings. Well, but now it is a son, what doe they grow stronger then before, now they are come neerer to de∣struction then before? Yes, though neerer to ruine and destruction, and more heavy wrath then they were before, yet they get up a little strength be∣fore that time: Therefore the third childe is a sonne. Concerning the strength that this people had got at this time, a little before this their utter rejection, upon which their spirits were raised, you shall finde the History of it in 2 Kings 17. 4. where you have a declaration of the state of the ten Tribes then when Lo-ammi was borne; for the Text tells us, that they be∣gan to joyne in confederacy with the King of Egypt; and so whereas former∣ly they had done homage by presents to the King of Assyria, now being con∣federate with the King of Egypt, they refused to bring any more presents to him; they begin now to be a jolly people, and hoped to cast off that yoke of bondage under which they were in regard of the Assyrians.

God sometimes letteth men,* and Nations, and Churches to rise a little out of their affliction, before their utter ruine: he gives them a little reviv∣ing, they have a little lightning before their death. Many men think them∣selves in a very good condition, if having been in affliction, their afflictions doe begin once to abate, and they begin to get a little up; now they think they are safe, and they are ready to say with Agag, Surely the bitternesse of death is gone,* surely the worst is past. But you may sometimes be recover∣ed, Page  65 when God intendeth you should be suddenly rejected. Many may be preserved from some judgements, because they are reserved to greater judg∣ments. The Lord hath begun indeed to give us in England a little reviving, a little strength to enable us to rise against the oppressions of our Adversa∣ries, those cruel oppressions. But let us not be secure, notwithstanding this; for though we have some little reviving, if we follow not God on in the way of humiliation and reformation, this our little reviving may be but a light∣ning before our death.

And yet further, it is very observable, when the condition of Israel was at this time when God was about to say, Lo-ammi, they are not my people; what it was not only in regard of their strength, but what it was in regard of their sins. For you shall finde (if you examine the History) that the people of Israel were at this time somewhat better then they had been before: not on∣ly had gotten somwhat more strength, but they were somewhat better in re∣gard of their sins then they had been; Imeane they had lesse sins then they had before: yet now God is saying to them, Lo-ammi, You are not my peo∣ple. And for that observe, 2 Kings 17. 2. if you reade that Chap••, you shall finde that the very time of the utter rejection of Israel was in the dayes of Hoshea, and the Text saith, He did evil in the sight of the Lord; the King in whose dayes they were so rejected, did evil in the sight of the Lord, but not as the Kings of Israel that were before him. He was not so bad as the for∣mer Kings of Israel, and yet in his dayes there comes utter destruction upon Israel. Yea and as the King was not so bad then as others before him; so it may seeme the people were not so bad as in former time, for ver. 9. the Text saith, That the children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right, against the Lord their God. Indeed they were sinful, but their sinfulnes was secret, they did not sin with such an open impudent face, as it seemed, as heretofore. Yet in this Kings time, and when these people were thus, commeth their utter ruine.

What may we learne from hence?

This, That sometimes when there are greater sinnes, patience stayes judgement;* and yet afterward when a people seeme to be in a better con∣dition, not onely in regard of their outward strength,* but then in regard of their sins too, yet then God cometh with his wrath upon that people.

Let us not flatter our selves, although we can say that some things here a∣mongst us are not so bad as heretofore they have beene. Suppose there be some partial reformation, this is not ground enough to secure us. We cannot reason thus, Why heretofore the Land was more sinful then now; and the Governours were more oppressing then now, there hath been (thanks be to God) much reformation. This is not enough, we may be neerer the forest misery at this time (if our reformation be not a through reformation) then we were before. And the reason is this because God when he comes against a Nation, he doth not onely come against it for the present sins that they are actually guilty of at that time, but to reckon with them for their sins comited Page  66 fore, though the judgement falls out to be inflicted just at that time. It may be a concourse of many passages of Gods providence might so fall out as might sue with Gods ends, that the destruction of this nation should be at this time rather then before, yet the nation not more sinful then before, but to fulfill other passages of providence that God intends; and then he comes to reckon with them for sins that were along time ago committed, & for their present sinnes altogether. As hee doth sometimes with particular persons: perhaps they have been drunkards, unclean, wicked, 20. yeers agone, God hath spared them, afterward upon some lesser sins, God may take advan∣tage to come against them for all their other sins together. We use to say, It is not the last blow of the axe that fells the oak,* perhaps the last may be a weaker blow then any of the former, but the oake was a felling down all the while before, the other blowes made way for the felling of it, and at length a little blow comes and doth it. So our former sinnes may be the things that make way for our ruine, and then at length some lesser sinnes may do it.

You that have been guilty of grosse sins, take heed of small sins; for though God hath pared you when you were guilty of great sins, do not say that he will spare you now you commit lesser sins; but at this time of committing lesser sins, you may be called to an account for grosser. Did you never know a house stand out against many strong and blustring winds, yet afterward some little puffe of wind hath tumbled it down? So it is with Nations and people that somtimes stand out (through Gods patience when their sins are grosse and vile, & afterwards upon some lesser sins they are utterly undone.

VVhat is the name of his son?*

The name of this son is Lo-ammi, and the word signifieth (as it is inter∣preted here by God himselfe) You are not my people, and I will not be your God.

The people to whom Hosea prophesied, they might have objected against him thus: What, Hosea doe you say that God will not have any more mer∣cy upon us? what will not God have mercy upon his own people? Is not God our God? What doe you threaten such-things as these are?

The Prophet answers, It is true, God hath been your God, and you have been his people, but there is an end of those dayes, God now degradeth you from those glorious priviledges that formerly you had, he willowne you no more to be his, and you shall have no further right to own him to be yours.

From whence

First this, A people that have been once a people dear to God, may be so rejected as never to become a people of God more:* For so these did not, though afterwards wee shall bear of the promise for others in other Ages. God hath no need of men. God is able to raise up a people what wayes he pleases, even from the very stones in the street, to raise up children unto A∣braham. Though Rome may boast that they have been a glorious Church; True, there hath been heretofore a glorious Church in Rome, what then? Those that were his people are now no more his people.

Page  67 VVe shall meet further with this in the next Chapter.

Only in this Note, observe but this thing, The great difference betweene the estate of a Christian in communion with Christ by grace,* and a Church estate. Men and women may loose their Church estate, and that for ever; but their estate in communion with Jesus Christ by grace, they can never lose that: And this is a great difference, and affordeth abundance of com∣fort. True, our Church state (I mean in regard of an instituted Church in Congregations) it is a great priviledge, a great mercy; but our Commu∣nion with Jesus Christ is a higher priviledge, and that priviledge gan never be lost; we may be cut off from the one, but never cut off from the other.

Secondly,* yet it is a most heavy judgemen for any to have been hereto∣fore the people of God, now to be unpeopled, for God to be no more theirs, and for them to be no more the Lords. A heavy judgement for the Lord to say, Well, I will be no more a God to you whatsoever I am to others, no more yours in my goodnesse, in my mercy, in my power, or whatsoever I am in my selfe.

The being cast off from God.

First takes us off from that high honour that was before upon a people; for so in Esay, 4. 4. Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou host beene honourable, The people of God gathered together in Church Communi∣on, certainly are in an honourable condition; when they are dispeopled, they are cast off from this their priviledge, from their honour.

Secondly,* They have not the presence of God with them as before, not the care of God towards them, nor the protection of God over them, not the delight of God in them, nor the communication of God to them. What should I speake of all these particulars?* But among other priviledges they want this, namely that great priviledge of pleading with God for mercy u∣pon this relation, which was the usuall way of the Prophets to pleade with God, because they were the people of God. So Esay, 64. 9. Be not wroth very sore O Lord; neither remember iniquity for ever: upon what ground? Be∣hold, see we beseech thee, we are all thy people. This is a good Argument Againe, Jer. 14. 9. Why doest thou stand as a man astonished amongst us, as a mighty man that cannot save? Yet thou O Lord art in the middest of us, and we are called by thy name, leave us not. This Text is ours this day, and well may we say, O Lord why doest thou stand as a man astonished? Oh yet if we can but take up the second part, and say, We are called by thy name, we may make more comfortable use of the former, Why doest thou stand as a man astonished? How doth a man astonished stand? He stands still in a place, as if he knew not which way to goe, he is in a kinde of destraction. first he goes one way, and by and by he returns again. The Lord, we know, knoweth his purpose from eternity, but the Scriptures are pleased to expresse Gods wayes towards us in the similitude. Hath not God stood amongst us as a man astonished? God hath beene in a way of mercy, and then stood still, and then gone forward a little, and afterward gone back again; and yet Page  68 back and back still, and we have prayed and cryed, and God hath stood as a man astonished, as if he were not yet resolved which way to goe. Let us pray earnestly to God that he would not stand as a man astonished, but that the way of the Lords mercy may be made cleare before him, and cleare be∣fore us. But this I bring in to shew that the relation that people have to God, is the ground of their encouragement to pray to God, and when a peo∣ple is rejected they lose this priviledge.

Our relations to God are very sweet things, though ordinarily they are exceedingly abused;* yea they are glorious things. As it is said of other re∣lations. Relations are of the least entity, but of the greatest efficacy; so it is here, Our relations to God are of very great efficacy, whatsoever the entity be: and therefore to lose our relations to God, especially this relation of Gods being ours, and we being his, is a sore and he avy curse.

Again, You are not my people, and I will not be your God. Marke here, the first is, you are not my people, before the second commeth, I will not be your God.

VVe first begin with God in our apostacy,* before God begins with us in his rejection; I would not have withdrawn my self from being your God, if you had not first rejected me, and would not be my people. When God loveth, he begins first; we love not him, but he loveth us first: But when it comes to departing, it then begins on our side, wee first depart before the Lord doth: and this is that which will be a dreadful aggravation to wicked men another day to think with themselves. This evil is come upon us, God is gone, mercy is gone, but who began this first? where is the root and prin∣ciple? Thy perdition is of thy selfe:* I begin first, and therefore all the losse of that grace and mercy which is in God, I may thanke this proud, this di∣stempered, this base, passionate, wretched heart of mine owne for it.

Again, I will not be your God. He doth not say, you shall not have the fruite of my patience to be yours, you shall not have my creatures to be yours, you shall not have those fruites of my bounty to be yours: No, but I will not be yours, I my selfe will not be yours. This is the sorest threatning that posibly can be to a gracious heart.

It is a greater misery to lose God himself,* then to be deprived of whatsoever commeth from God. And this indeed is one special difference between an hypocrite, and a true gracious heart; an hypocrite is satisfied with what cometh from God, but a true gracious heart is satisfied with nothing but God himselfe: though God lets out never so many fruits of his bounty and goodnesse to him, yet he must have union with God himselfe, or else he is unsatisfied.* It is a notable speech of Bernard, Lord, saith he, As the good things that come from me, please not thee without my selfe; so the good things that come from thee please not me without thy selfe. This is the ex∣pression of a gracious heart. Let us tender up to God never so much, never such duties, with never so great strength, except we tender up to God our selves, they never please him: So let God bestow never so many favours Page  69 upon us, except God give us himselfe, they should never pleaseus; I mean please us, so as to satisfie us, so as to quiet us, if for our portion.

You know what God said to Abraham,*Fear not, I am thy exceeding great reward: But Lord what wilt thou give me, seeing I goe childelesse? What is all this to me so long as I have not the promise fulfilled, that so I may come in Christ to enjoy thy selfe?* And Moses would not be content∣ed though God told him his Angel should goe before them; No, saith hee, Except thou goe with us thy selfe, let us not depart hence. It is the difference between the Strumpet and the loving wife, the strumpet careth not so much for the person of her lover, as for his gists, for what she hath by him: but the true lover cannot be satisfied with lovetokens, but she must have the person himselfe. So it is with a gracious heart. It is very observable that of David in Psal. 51. 9. Turne away thy angry face from my sins. It seemes Gods face was angry;* and yet presently, ver. 11. Cast me not away, a facie tua, from thy face. Gods face was an angry face, yet David would not be cast away from this face of God: Oh no, rather let God be present with a gracious heart, though he be angry; though his anger continue, yet let me have his countenance. This is plainly gathered hence, in that God saith not, I will not give you these and these favours, but I will not be your God, that this is the sorest threatning that possibly can be to a gracious heart.

5. This is the judgement for sin,* Gods not being their God. It hence ap∣peares that sin carryes along with it in it selfe its own punishment. How is that? Thus, By sin we refuse to have God to be our God; by it we depart from God, we do not trust God, nor love him, nor fear him. The very na∣ture of sin hath this in it, that it causeth a sinner to depart from God, yea to reject God from being a God unto him, and this is the punishment, I will not be your God. And this is the sorest punishment to a sinner, that he shall not for ever have God to his God.

Lastly, You are not my people, and I will not be your God. Hence learn this.

When any forsake God from being their God,* we should do as God doth, reject them from being ours, if they will not be Gods, neither should they be ours: will not such a man have acquaintance with God, will he forsake him and his wayes, then he shall not have our acquaintance, we will forsake him. How far we may withdraw from a Church that it shall not be ours, we shal fully meet with all in the second Chap. somewhat will be said about it there: Onely now thus much, though it be true when a people forsake God, we are to forsake them, yet let them grow never so wicked, our natu∣ral and civill relations cannot be broken because of their wickednesse; but the relations of husband and wife, father and childe, master and servant must be acknowledged: servants must be dutiful to their masters though never so wicked; And the wife must be loving and dutiful to her husband, though he be never so wicked a man. But for any inward intimate familiarity with those, not thus joyned in such Relations, ought not to be; if they reject God, if they will not be Gods, they should not be ours. It is said Iob. 8, 20. That Page  70God will not take the ungodly by the hand; It should be true of us all, wee should not take the ungodly by the hand.

Thus much for the name of this third childe Lo-ammi, you are not my people, and I will not be your God.

That which remaineth in the Chapter, it is a promise of mercy, both to Israel, ver. 10. and afterwards to Israel and Judah together, ver. 11. To Israel first, and that is,

Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the Sea, which cannot be measured or numbred, &c. And so he goeth on with won∣derful gracious promises of mercy to Israel in future generations, though for the present God had determined what to do with this Israel.

Here then we have first a promise of mercy to Israel, in the middest of the sorest judgement that God threatneth, he comes in with promises of mercy even unto Israel. And Secondly, this mercy to be in future generations. And thirdly, to consist in the multitudes that should be gathered to Israel.

These three things are observable in general.

First, That there is such a gracious promise immediately after such a sore and dreadful threatning as this, as indeed it is one of the most dreadful threat∣nings we have in all the Book of God; yet here in the close of the Chapter, we have as gracious a promise again as is in the whole Book of God. From whence we may observe thus much.

That the Lord in Judgement remembreth Mercy.* It is a sore thing when God in mercy shall remember judgement, but it is as comfortable when God in judgement remembers mercy. When God threatneth most dread∣fully yet he promiseth most graciously. Wee should therefore when we most feare the threats of God, yet looke up to the promises of God, looke up to see when wrath is denounced in the most hideous and dreadfull way, whether we cannot spie a Promise,* whether there be not yet a little cloud, though but as big as a mans hand, whether there be not yet a little crevis through which we may see whether God doth not break forth with a little light in a way of promise.

It is a usual thing when we are in prosperity to forget all threatnings, and fo it is as usual when we are in adversity to forget all promises. When wee hear of mercy to Gods people, we are taken up and never thinke of Gods wrath; and on the other side when we heare of his wrath on unbeleeving hearts are taken up as wel, and never think of his grace and mercy. We ought to sanctifie the name of God in both: when God is in away of justice, look up to his grace; and when he is in a way of grace, look upon his justice, and sanctifie that name of his likewise. And for that end, I shall give you two notable Texts of Scripture; there are many of this kinde, but two I shall give you, that are as famous as any I know in the book of God: the one that declareth to you that when God expresseth the greatest mercy, yet then hee doth expresse greatest wrath; and the other when God expresseth greatest wrath he then expresseth greatest mercy: And I shall shew you the name of God oughto be sanctified in both.

Page  71 The first is in that 34. of Exod. 6. 7. The Lord there when he passed by before Moses proclaimed, The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long suffering, and abundant in goodnesse and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, for giving iniquity, & transgression and sinne. What abundance of mercy is here exprest? Now it followes. And that will by no meanes cleare the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the childrens children unto the third and fourth generation. Here is an expression of great wrath. And then for our sanctifying of Gods name in this, it followes, ver. 8. And when Moses heard this, he made hast and bowed his head toward the earth and worshipped before the Lord. Thus we must bow and worship before God in our sanctifying his Name in both together, both his mercy and justice.

On the other side, Nahum. 1. 2. and soon, God is jealous and the Lrd re∣vengeth, the Lord revengeth and is furious, the Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies, dreadful ex∣pressions, yet ver. 8. The Lord is slow to anger; there is a mittigation at first. Then he goeth on still in expressions of wrath, But he is great in pow∣er, and will not at all acquit the wicked: and ver. 5. The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burnt at his presence, yea the world and all that dwel therein: who can stand before his indignation, and who can abide the feircenesse of his anger? his fury is powred out like fire, and the Rocks are throwne downe by him. What more terrible expressions of wrath then these that come from God here? Now marke. ver. 7. The Lord is good and a strong hold in the day of trouble, and he knoweth those that trust in him. What a strong expression of grace is here? observe it my brethren, that in the middest of Gods anger, yet God is good still; a graci∣ous heart must acknowledge God, though he be provoked to anger, yet to be a good God still; and it is a good signe for the soul to fall downe before God when he is in the way of his wrath; and to say, the Lord is good. As that good old man Eli did after the denuntiation of that dreadful sentence against him and his house by Samuel, The word of the Lord is good, let him doe what seemes him best.

All of you will say when God bestoweth avours upon you,*The Lord is good, oh blessed be God he is a good God: but when God revealeth his greatest wrath, truely then the Lord is good. Luther saith he will acknowledge God to be a good God, though he should destroy all men in the world: much more then is he to be acknowledged in a day of trouble, when indeed he ap∣pears most graciously to his Saints. The Lord is good, and a strong hold in the day of trouble: Is God a strong hold now when such wrath is revealed? yea, and specially now, a strong hold to his Saints in the day of trouble, and he knoweth those that trust in him; for all his wrath is abroad in the world; he knoweth those that trust in him. Many men when they are angry they scarce know the difference betweene their foes and their friends: Many when they go abroad if any displease them, they come home and are angry Page  72 with their wives, with their servants, with their children, with their friends, with every one about them, they know not then who is a friend and who is not when they are in their passion, their wives, and children, and servants wonder what the matter is with them. Sure some body or other hath dis∣pleased my master abroad to day he is so touchie, so angry upon every little thing. My brethren, It is a dishonour to you in the eyes of your servants, and it layes low your authority in your families, for them to see you come home in such a per that you know not how to be pleased, though they have done nothing to displease you.

God doth not so, though he be never so angry, yet hee knowes those that trust in him. Let Gods anger be never so publick, and general abroad in the world, if there be but a poor soul in the world that lies in a poor cottage, in a hole, that is gracious, the Lord knowes it, and takes notice of it, and that soul shal know too that God doth know it. It is true, when the wrath of God is revealed abroad in the world, & seemes as if it would swallow up all those of the Saints, whose spirits are weake and fearfull, they are then afraid of Gods wrath, that they shall be swallowed up in the common calamity: be of good comfort, God knowes those that trust in him, even when his wrath is never so dreadful and general abroad in the world.

It is in this case with Gods children, as it is with a childe in the mothers Armes; if the father violently layes hold upon his servant and beates him, and thrust, him out of doores for his demerits, there is such a terrible reflecti∣on from the fathers anger against the servant upon the childe, that the poor childe falls a crying. So it is with the children of God, when they see God in a terrible way, aying hold upon wicked men, to execute wrath upon them, they cry out, they are afraid lest some evil should befall them too. Oh no, be of good comfort, The Lord is good, and a strong hold in the day of trouble, and knoweth them that trust in him, when his anger is never so great and general. So it is here; though this Israel be not my people, yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the Sea for all that, so you shall find it in the 15. ver. of that first of Nahum, Behold (saith the Text) upon the mountains, the feete of him that bringeth good tidings. What at this time though Gods way be in the whirl-winde and so terrible, yet now behold the feete of him that bringeth good tydings, that publisheth peace. God abroad publisheth war, yet he hath a messenger to publish life and peace to some.

Is it not so this day? It is true, the wrath of the Lord is kindled, the wrath of the Lord burneth as an oven, and it is hot, but it is against the ungody, but peace shall be upon Israel. And let us sanctifie the name of God in this too, for so it followes in this very Chap. of Nah. ver. 15. Oh Iudah keepe thy solemne feasts, performe thy vowes, for the wicked shall no more passe through thee. And because God revealeth such rich grace in the middest of judgement, let this engage your hearts to the Lord for ever.

Yea a little further (because it is an instraction of great use in these times, Page  73 and may be yet of further use in times we may live to see (not onely when God threatneth judgements, let us sanctifie Gods name in looking up to promises: but when judgements are actually upon us. Suppose we should live to have most fearful judgments of God upon us, yet even then we must look up to promises,* and exercise our faith, and have an eye to God in the way of his grace at that time, this is harder then in threatnings. You have an notable place for that in Esay, 26. 8. In the way of thy judgements, O Lord, have we waited for thee, the desire of our soule is to thy name. Oh blessed be God (my brethren) the Lord calleth us to wait upon him in the wayes of mercy for the present. It is true, there was a time not long since, that the Lord was in a way of judgement toward England; and there were some of Gods people, when he was in the wayes of his judgements amongst us, yet would wait upon God and keepe his wayes; though there were many be∣cause Gods judgements were abroad, and they saw that they were like to suffer, departed from God and declined his wayes. Much cause of bitterness of spirit, and of dread of humiliation have they that did so: But others may have comfort to their soules, that in the very wayes of Gods judgments they waited for him, & they can now with more comfort wait upon God when he is in the ways of his mercy. But if God should ever come untous in the ways of his judgments, let us learne even then to wait upon God & keep his way.

And yet another Text that may seeme to be more notable than this for this purpose, and that is Iere. 33. 24. Consider est thou not what this people have spoken, saying, the two families which the Lord hath chosen, he hath even cast them off; thus they have despised my people, that they should be no more a nation. Marke the low condition the people were in at this time: Oh, God hath cast them off, they are despised & contemptible, not worthy to be accounted a nation. This condition was very low: but though they were brought low, & in a condition contemptible, yet now God confirms his Co∣venant with them at this time. For observe, ver. 25. Thus saith the Lord. If my Covenant be not with day & night, and if I have not appointed the ordi∣nances of heaven & earth, then will I cast away the seed of Iacob, ond Da∣vid my servant. As if God should say, let them know that whatsoever their condition is now, yet my love, my mercy, my faithfulness is toward them as sure as my covenant with day & night, and as the ordinances of heaven and earth. An admirable Text to help not onely nations, but particular persons when they are cast under contempt by wicked & ungodly men; yet at that time the Lord is most ready to confirm his covenant with them, to be as sure as his covenant with day & night, and heaven & earth. This bringeth honour to God when at such times we can looke up to God and exercise our faith. And indeed this is the glory, and dignity, and beauty of faith to exercise it then, when Gods judgements are actually upon us.

But what promises are these? They were not promises to any that then lived: the promise that is here made, was to be fulfilled in future Ages, yet it is brought in by the Prophet as a comfort to the people of God living Page  74 then in that time. Hence this excellent note that nearly concerns us.

Gracious hearts are comforted with the promises of God made to the Church,* though not to be fulfilled in their dayes. If the Church may pros∣per and receive mercies from God, though I be dead and gone, and rotten in the grave, yet blessed be God. When Jacob was to die, saith he unto Jo∣seph. Behold I dye,*but God shall be with you and bring you again unto the land of your fathers; he will fulfill his promises to you though I am dead. Our fore-fathers, that generation of the Saints that lived a while since, how comfortably would they have dyed if God before their death had revealed to them, that within 3. or 4. or 7. yeares so much mercy should come to England as we now have seen in these dayes! Yea how comfortably should any of us have died (I appeal to any gracious heart here) suppose God should have taken thee away but this time two yeares, and he should have said thus to thee, Go and be gathered to thy fathers in peace, within these two years such and such things shall be done for England, as we now live to see; would not we willingly have dyed? would it not have been comfort enough against the fear of death but to have had revealed to us what should have been done in after time to our posterity? what mercy then is it now, that it is not one∣ly revealed to us but enjoyed by us? That is the second Note.

But thirdly,* What was this promise? This promise was that Israel should be a multitude, that the number of them shall be as the sand of the sea shore. VVe shall examine the excellency of the mercy of God in this promise by and by. Onely for the present, enquire we a little why God would expresse himselfe in this, that his grace should be manifested, in this to multiply them as the sand of the sea shore.

If we compare Scripture with Scripture, we shall finde that God there∣fore promiseth this, because he would thereby shew, that he did remember his old promise to Abraham, for that was the promise made to Abraham that God would multiply his seed as the starres of heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and now God along time after commeth in with renewing this promise. Hence we are to observe this Note.

That the Lord remembers his promises though made a long time since.*God is ever mindful of his Covenant, as it is, Psal. 111. 5.

When we have some new and fresh manifestations of Gods mercy, our hearts rejoyce in it, but the impression of it is soone gone. Many of you when you have beene seeking God, have had many manifestations of his love, and God hath entred into Covenant with you, & for a while you have been comforted, but you lose all your comfort againe within a short time: Oh remember,* God is ever mindefull of his Covenant, though made 20. 40. years agoe, he remains the same still, be you the same still; be you ever mindful of your Covenants. When men are brought into the bond of the Covenant, their consciences are awed with it, and they walke very strictly, and they clare not in the least thing goe from the Covenant at first: But af∣ter a few moneths or weekes are over their heads, they forget their engage∣ment, Page  75 their Covenant they made with God, there is not such a strong bond upon their spirits as there was before. Oh my brethren, know that this is a great and sore evil in you; God is ever mindfull of his Covenant, so you should be. And as of his Covenant, so of his threats too, by way of pro∣portion: God remembreth his threats that were made many years agoe; we are affected with Gods threats for the present, but within a while, the im∣pression is gone. But let us know, time altereth not God as it doth us.

But yet we must enquire a little further,* because it is often in Scripture that the children of Israel should be like the stars of the heaven and as the sand upon the Sea shore; Why did God expresse this covenant to Abra∣ham? what was the matter?

Thus,** First, Abraham hee left his fathers house and all his kindred at Gods command, and upon that first God made this covenant wih him that he would make his seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand of the Sea. As if God should have said to Abraham; Abraham be willing to leave your fathers house, I will make a great house of you, a great family of yours.

Secondly, you shall observe that afterwards God confirmed this covenant to Abraham, and that with an oath. It is very observable, when he came first out of his countrey, and left his fathers house, God made this promise of the encreasing of his seed, but not with an oath; but afterwards in Gen. 22 16. God renews this promise of multiplying his seed, and that by an Oath; for saith he, By my selfe have I sworne, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not witheld thy sonne, thine onely son, that in blessing I will blesse thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is upon the Sea shore. Marke here, It was upon Abrahams being willing to offer up his son Isaac, his onely son Isaac. Abraham was willing at Gods command to offer ship own son, and up∣on that God promiseth to multiply his seed as the stats of heaven, and as the sand of the sea. Yea he comes in with an oath, By my selfe I sweare, saith the Lord, that I will do it, because thou hast done this.

We have two most excellent notes from hence.

First,* there is nothing lost in being willing to lose for God. Abraham was willing to lose his fathers house, the comfort of his family for God: I will make thee a glorious family as the stars of heaven, saith God.

Againe, Abraham was willing to lose one son, his onely son for God. Art thou willing to lose one son for me▪ thou shalt have ten thousand sons for this one thou losest, yea though it be lost but in thy intention. Thou shalt have thy own son, and yet have ten thousand sons besides. Oh let us not be afraid to part with any thing for God: Gods people they know how to make up in God what ever they lose for God: But God will not onely make it up in himselfe, but will make it up even in the very thing it selfe, the creature it selfe thou losest for God. Art thou willing to lose a little of thy e∣state? Thou mayst with comfort expect (so far as if thou knewest all thou thy selfe wouldst desire) to have it made up in abundance, even in that very Page  76 way. You know the promise, He that forsaketh father, or mother, or wife or children, or lands, or houses for my sake, shal have an hundred fold in this world, and in the world to come life everlasting. How hath God fulfilled this this day in many of our eyes, and too many of our experiences! how many have you known who have beene willing to part with that they had, and to put it out (as it were) to the wide world; God hath made it up not onely in himselfe, but in the very thing it selfe, and thereby taught them and all the world to be willing to venture for God, to part with any thing for him and his cause.

Secondly,* When we are willing to lose for God, then is the time when God will renew and confirm his Covenant with us. Then God confirmed his covenant with Abraham when he was willing to part with his sonne, to be deprived of all his seed. The way to be made sure of what we have is to be willing to part with it. You all desire to be sure of your estates, oh that we could in these times, wherein we see nothing sure make our estates sure! this is the desire of every one. Would you make sure of your estates? sure! illing to imploy your estates for God & for a good cause: This is the way to have God to renew his covenant to you for an assurance of that way. Here is the best assurance office in the world.

But how comes this in at this time, & to his people in Hosea his Prophesie?

Thus it comes in now, because the Lord by the Prophet would answer an objection of the people. They might have said thus, What Hosea, doe you thus threaten judgement, the destruction of Israel? why, you promise mer∣cy to Judah, and Judah is but a handful to us, we are the ten Tribes, & with us are the chiefe, the greatest part, almost all the seed of Abraham, and yet you threaten our destruction, it can never possibly be: What will become of Gods promise then? Did not God promise Abraham, that his seed should be as the stars of heaven, & as the sand on the sea shore? you seeme to goe crosse to God, God saith that he would multiply that seed, and you take a course to make men beleeve that the seed of Abraham should bee brought into a narrow compasse and be nothing. Thus doubtless they were ready to pleade against the Prophet. The Prophet answereth thus.

What doe you say, what will become of Abrahams seed? Know that God can tell how to provide for his Church and fulfill his promise made to Abraham whatsoever becomes of you, for you are mistaken in thinking you alone are the seed of Abraham; for you shall know that Abraham hath not onely a carnal but a spiritual seed; all those that shal come to joyne in the faith of Abraham, and subject themselves to the God of Abraham, they shall be the seed of Abraham, and so they shall be the children of Is∣rael as well as you, and thus God will make good his word. And so the A∣postle, Rom. 9. doth quote this Scripture about Gods casting off of the peo∣ple of Israel threatned here by Hosea (ver. 25. As he saith also in Hosea, I will call them my people that were not my people: This is the very Text that the Apostle there quoteth, though all the words are not quoted, and it is Page  77 a very good thing to acquaint your selves with the Scripture, and to see how one Scripture lookes towards another, and specially in the new Testament to see how the old Testament is quoted.) This I say the Apostle applyeth to the Gentiles; and the holy Ghost (who is the best interpreter of Scriptures) there shewes, that it is at least in part fulfilled in so many of the Gentiles comming in, and being converted to the faith of the true Messia.

There are this and many other excellent Prophesies concerning the glo∣ry of Israel, that were made good in part in the first times of the Gospel; but that was but as the first fruites of the fulfilling of those promises & Pro∣phesies; the accomplishment of them is yet certainly to come, when the fulnesse of the Gentiles shall come in, and the Jews be converted; then not onely the spiritual seed, but the very carnal seed of Abraham shall have this promise made good, and shall be multiplyed and come into the faith too. Rom. 11. 26. The Apostle speakes there of a general salvation of Israel, that was yet to come after the fulnesse of the Gentiles. So it appears plainly, that those Prophesies concerning the glory of Israel, though they were in part made good in the first times of the Gospel, yet there was a further ac∣complishment of them after, when there should be a fulnesse of the Gentiles come in, and then Israel should be saved too.

I might spend a great deale of time in shewing how many promises con∣cerning the excellency of the Church were made good in part in the first times of the Gospel, and yet that but as the first fruites, and to be fully made good afterwards. And certainly this promise (as we shall afterward come to know) it is not yet throughly fulfilled: though it was in part made good at the calling of the Gentiles, there is a further degree of it to be accomplish∣ed another day, of which hereafter.

From hence (the words being thus opened to you) take these observati∣ons as they do immediately spring from them.*

First, that all beleevers, though of the Gentiles, are of the seed of Abraham, they are of Israel, and therefore have the same priviledges with Israel, the same in effect, yea (as we shall see afterward) better. They are all the heirs of Abraham, who in Rom. 4. is said to be the heir of the world, they have the dignity of Israel, to be the peculiar people of the Lord, to be the treasure, to be Gods portion. Whatsoever you reade of Israel, of excellent titles and ap∣pellations about Israel. they belong now to all beleevers, though they be the children of the Gentiles. A comfortable & sweet point to us of the Gentiles

Secondly, God hath a time to bring in abundance of people to the profes∣sion of the faith, to bring in multitudes, even as the sand of the sea-shore. He will do it, and he hath wayes enough to accomplish it. Though there is for the present this reproach upon the way and people of God,* that they are but a few, a company of poore mean kinde of people, a handful, and what are they in comparison of the rest? This reproach (my brethren) will be wiped away, & we may yet expect that before the world be come to an end, that the greatest part shall come in & imbrace the faith of Christ, and come to be godly too.

Page  80〈2 pages missing〉 ful vision, in which he saw a man of Macedonia, appearing to him, and pray∣ing him to come over to Macedonia & help them; one would have thought that when Paul had gone to preach there, all should have come flocking in, and there should have beene a glorious worke done, that hee should have brought in a great number to the faith: But when he came to Macedonia, he was faine to go into the fields by a rivers side to preach, and onely a few women came there to heare him (there was all the Auditory he had) and a∣mongst them, there was but one poor woman wrought upon. God opened the heart of Lydia, Here was all the great do that was upon such a mighty call; and yet we know how gloriously God went on with Paul. This I note to confirm you in this, that though the beginnings be very small, yet we may expect a glorious increase afterward. As it was with the Church at the be∣ginning, so it will be here: That which Bildad said of Job, Chap. 8. 7. may well be applyed to the Church, Though the beginning of it be small, yet the latter end of it shall greatly increase.

But thirdly,* As God hath a time to multiply his Church, so it is a great blessing to the Church of God when it is multiplyed. It is a fruite of Gods great grace and mercy to make the Church to be a numerous people: As the multitude of Subjects is the glory of a Prince,* so it is the glory of Jesus Christ, and therefore it was prophesied of him, that the Church should come in as the dew of the morning. Psal. 110. 3.

Thus it began in the Primitive times in the Apostles dayes, and presently after multitudes came into the Church. I remember Jerome Writing to Cromatius, saith that there might be computed for every day in the yeere (except in the first of January) five thousand Martyrs: therfore the Church was grown to a numerous multitude. And Tertullian speakes in his time that they were become so numerous then, that in his Apologetiques he tells the Heathen that they had filled their Cities, and that if they would they had strength enough to make their party good against them, but they were pa∣tient and submitted themselves to their Tyranny.

I know many make this of Tertullian an argument that men must lay down their necks, and suffer their throats to be cut, if those that are above them will it, and if they cannot obey actively, they must obey passively any thing that is acording to the will of such as are over them. Why (say they) did not the Christians so in the Primitive times? Yes, the Christians did so, they though they were under Idolaters, and were commanded to deny Christ, which was utterly unlawful; yet though they could not obey actively, they obeyed passively, they did subject and submit themselves to all their rage; and though they had strength, yet they would not resist. Why should not Christians do so now? You are exceedingly gulled with this argument ma∣ny times: true, we are bound to obey authority actively or passively, and yet this argument doth not serve the turne. There is a great deale of differ∣ence between authority abused, & men that are in authority commanding; here the difference lies not in authority abused, but in that which is no autho∣rity Page  81 at all. For there is no authority that we are subject to now, but (as I have said heretofore) according to the Laws and constitutions of the Countrey where we live.* Not to the commands & meer wils of men till it be brought to a Law are we bound in conscience to submit, no way, neither actively nor passively; though it be a good thing that is commanded, Conscience doth not bind to it, earatione, to yeeld to it, because it is commanded, till it be brought to a Law. Now when things are brought into a Law, & be accor∣ding to the agreements and covenants of the place and countrey wherein we live. And then suppose this authority be abused, & there be an ill Law made, then I confesse (if that Law be of force) wee must either quit our selves of the Countrey or else submit or suffer, for then the power of God is in it, though it be abused, and we are to be subject to all powers. When then it comes once to be a power, to be a Law, it is authority, though abused, and we must yeeld obedience to it either actively or passively. But we must en∣quire whether it be a power; It is not because the man that is in authority commandeth it, except he command it by vertue of that authority, which is according to the nature and condition of the fundamental constitutions of the Countrey where he liveth.

Now in the Primitive times they submitted themselves to suffer when they could not do the things that were commanded (as to deny Christ) be∣cause by the constitutions of that Countrey they had such a kinde of power given to them, a legal power to proceed against them; so that they had a power in their way given them, and they had authority, but they abused it in that they did. And therefore the Christians were so willing rather to suffer a∣ny thing than to resist, and were ours the same case wee should do so too, if once it come to passe that mischiefe be established by a Law, though it be mischiefe, yet if we cannot obey it actively we are bound to suffer or else to quit the Countrey, one of the two, if it be urged upon us: We may seek what we can to get it alleviated, but we must either do or suffer if once it be framed into a Law, otherwise we are not bound in conscience, bound wee may be in regard of prudence, and in regard of preventing other disturban∣ces, but conscience doth not bind to wils of men, but binds to Laws.

Thus much still, for the satisfaction of Conscience in this case.

But to come to what I brought this in for. The Christians were wonder∣fully encreased at this time. Now we know this is the point; We are to re∣joyce when the Church is increased, and to esteeme it as the great blessing of God when they are made as the sand upon the sea-shore. There is an ad∣mirable place for this in Psal. 72. where there is a large prophesie made of the Kingdome of Christ and of his Glory in this particular, ver. 8. He shal have dominion from sea to sea, and from the rivers to the end of the earth, then ver. 11. All Kings shall fall downe before him, and all Nations shall serve him: and ver. 17. His name shall endure for ever, and shall continue as long as the sunne, and men shall be blessed in him, all Nations shall call him blessed. Now marke upon this, how the Saints rejoyce and bless God, Page  82 VVhat shall all Nations come in and serve Christ? shall there come multi∣tudes in and joyne with the Church?*Oh blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel who onely doth wonderous things, and blessed be his glorious name for ever and ever, and let the whole earth be filled with his glory, Amen & Amen saith the Church of God then, let all the Saints send forth their eccho. Amen, yea and Amen to this, that all the earth shall be filled with the glory of Christ, this is that they are affected with, this is that they desire much, as if they should say, this is a blessed thing indeed.

My brethren this is a good and consely sight in a gracious eye to see mul∣titudes come in & to flock to Christ and to his Ordinances. It is true indeed, the spirit of Antichrist that is in many makes them that they cannot look up∣on his but with a malevolent eye, and their hearts do vexe, and rage, and fiet at this, as much as at any thing, they love scattering of them up and downe, but to see people come flocking to Ordinances, to see multitudes come in and joyne themselves to Christ, this they cannot endure.

The same malicious spirit that was against Christ, that we reade of in the Acts of the Apostles, yea, and in the Gospel too, wee finde it still in such kinde of men. Marke that Text, Act. 13. 44, 45. There it is said that almost the whole Cittie came together to hear the word of God, to heare a Sermon. Now the Pharises when they saw the multitude they were filled with envie: Why what hurt was there done? They saw no hurt done, but meerely saw the multitude, and they speake against those things that were spoken by Paul contradicting and blaspeming: When they saw the multitude, they could have borne it otherwise.

Marke againe the vile spirits of the Pharisees that envied at the multitude that followed Christ himselfe: not onely did they envy at the Apostles, for they might be factious and singular men in their esteem, but what say you to Christ himselfe? John. 12. 19. The Pharisees said, behold, perceive yee how ye prevaile nothing? behold, the world followes him.

Certainly the same Pharisaical spirit hath beene a prelatical spirit in our dayes. We know it hath beene matter enough for a godly, painful, conscio∣nable Minister to be outed of all he hath at an instant, and his mouth to be stopped, meerly upon this, though they had nothing against him, no, not for their own Laws, but because he was a popular man, and multitudes fol∣lowed him. What a dangerous thing hath it beene of late times for men to be popular, that is, to bee such as multitudes shall come and flock to the word preached by them. Certainly it is an evil spirit, for the promise of God to his Church is, that there shall come multitudes and joyne with the people of God in the way of his Ordinances.

Yea but it may be they do not envy at all that multitudes should follow that that is good,* but it is the humour and pride of such men to have multi∣tudes to follow after them.* Take heed first of putting this off with such a plea. Consider whether it will hold at that great day. The Devil himself did never plead against Christ or any of his wayes, but with some colour or o∣ther. Page  83 And surely these men they judge thus by looking into their own hearts, because they know that if multitudes should come to them, it could not be but their hearts would be lifted up, and so they judge accordingly of others.

But suppose it be so (for men are men) that they through corruption should have any such workings of pride, yet do they say anything that is not justi∣fyable? do they preach any thing that is not according to Christ? If they do not, then thou shouldest encourage that which is good, and for that which is evill leave it to the comming of Christ, except thou canst by prayer and in∣struction helpe it, have it I say till then. It is worse to envy at multitudes now then it was for the Jewes to envy Paul for multitudes following him, for they thought they could contradict him in what he said, and therefore for multitudes to follow such as should preach false doctrine (as they thought Paul did) they had some colour to contradiet it, & to envy at the multitudes following of him. But here it is nothing else in the World but meerely be∣cause multitudes come to heare the world, for though men first preach in corners privately, where they have but a few auditors, they will cry out of that, well, if they preach publikely, and multitudes come to hear them, then they cry out of that too. Nothing at all will please them, nothing can please envious & malicious spirits.* If we keep our selves retyred, that hath excepti∣ons enough, and then if we come in a publicke way, they have exceptions at that too. Here the grosse malice of Satan appeareth, because when the thing it selfe cannot be excepted against, he runs to the intention of the heart. and to mens inward aymes, and bringeth an argument of that which he knows no man can confute him in: For who can say that that is either true or false that men have inward aymes of pride, and vaine glory, and selfe-seeking in multitudes, flocking after them?

Here is the wisdome of the serpent too, because if they goe upon other ob∣jections they may be answered by all the world that there is no such thing as they pretend, but put them from those, and you may be sure to have such ob∣jections as no man can answer: Oh but (say they) their hearts are lifted up and they have ill aymes and ill intentions. Who can answer this objection? no body can confute this. Nay suppose we professe before the Lord & Christ as we desire to stand before him, and answer it at that day what our aimes are, this will not serve the turne. Why then (my brethren) if men will choose such an argument as cannot possibly come to be answered before the com∣ing of Christ, and so make a stumbling-block, there is no help but men must stumble and fall, and many do stumble and fall, and break their necks.

How ever let wisdom be justified of her children; Let the Saints rejoyce in this, that multitudes come in to the ministery of the word and to the Or∣dinances of Christ. Be careful and wise in this, and give no just occasion, and therefore give all due respect that possibly can be to those you have the most relation unto.

This you see is the promise that there shall come in such multitudes to the Church. But marke then how the promise runnes;

Page  84 As the sand of the sea.

Rabbin Ezra makes an allusion from hence, as the sand (saith he) keepes the waves of the sea from breaking in,* and drowning the world: so Israel, so the Saints keep the world from being drowned by the waves of Gods wrath.

I doe not say that this is the intention, but surely the intention of God is mainly this, to signifie the multitudes that should come into the Church: Onely this allusion we may make use of, as being a comfortable and pretty allusion, and it is a truth that Israel is as the sand of the sea, not onely in re∣spect of multitudes, but as the sand to keepe in the waves of Gods wrath from drowning the world: and indeed were it not for the Church of God, the waves of Gods wrath that are abroad would overflow all the world, and the world would quickly be confounded. So saith hee,

When the waves of Gods anger seeme as if they would overflow all the world; they doe but see Israel, and they returne back presently, they re∣tire and are not able then to overflow the world as they do desire.

The Fift Lecture

HOSEA.* I. the middle part of the 10. verse. and so on.

And it shall come to passe, that in the place where it was said unto them, Yea are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Yee are the sonnes of the living God.

Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gather∣ed together, &c.

ACcording to the division of the Chapter that Luther makes in his Comment upon this Prophet, we are al∣ready in the second Chapter; for he makes the second to begin at this tenth verse. From that to the end, we have the promise of mercy to Israel that was to come, and both to Israel and Judah together. Some part of Gods promise of mercy to Israel we finished the last day; now wee are to proceed.

And it shall còme to passe in that place, &c. In that place.]

This according to some hath reference to the very land of Canaan it selfe, that God will have a very glorious Church there, specially in Jerusalem be∣fore the end of the world come, and many Prophesies seeme to encline that way, as Zach. 12. 6. Jerusalem shall be inhabited againe, even in Jerusa∣lem. This cannot be meant onely of their returne out of Captivity that was in Cyrus his time, for the Text saith, In that day thee feeble among them shall be as David, and the house of David shall be as the Angel of God, & God will poure upon them the spirit of grace & supplication, and they shall looke upon him whom they have pierced, and the like. It shall be in that day when Jerusalem shall be inhabited, even in Jerusalem. The return of their Captivity at first was not so glorious, there was not such a glorious spirit put Page  85 upon them then; for if you read the story of it,* you shal find that even all that while they were in a contemptible condition before the nations about them. But God speaks here and in other places of a glorious returne of their cap∣tivity, & coming into their own Land. The Jewes have a tradition, (Bux∣torfius hath it in his Synagoga Iudaica) That there is a time that all the Iews where ever they dye, shall come through Meatus terrae, and rise againe at Jerusalem; and therefore some of them when they think they have not long time to live, they will sell all their possesions, and goe and live neere Jerusa∣lem, at least to prevent the trouble of coming through those Meatus terra that they speake of. Thus they are deluded in their conceits.

But yet more generally, In that place.

Whereas the place of my people was confined into a little and narrow roome, hereafter it shall be inlarged, and even among the Gentiles that shal be made spiritual Israel, where I was not known, among the Heathen, even there shall I come to be known, and I shall have a people there, and not on∣ly people, but sons, the sons of the living God, and that so apparently, that it shall be said unto them. Yee are the sonnes of the living God.

Thus Saint Peter seems to interpret this place, in the 1 Pet. 2. 10. speak∣ing of the Gentiles whom God would have a people among them, saith the Apostle, Which in times past were not a people, but are now the people of God. Generally Interpreters doe conclude that the Apostle had reference to this very place in Hosea: And so we may build then upon this interpretation howsoever, that it is the intention of the Spirit of God, that God would call home the Gentiles to himself, & so they that were no people should become his people, his sons: It should be said in that place where before it was said that they knew him not, that now they are his sons. Yea the Heathen shal be brought in, so as they shall be convinced of the vanity of their Idolatry. We worshipped dead stocks; our gods were dead stones & stocks that we were vassals unto; but now we see a people that is come in to the profession of this Christian Religion, they worship the living God, their God is the true God, certainely here are the sons of the living God.* This is the scope of the holy Ghost. For observation. 1. It is a comfortable thing to consider that in those places where God hath not been known & worshipped, that afterward in those places, God should be known & worshipped. That such nations, such Countreys and Towns that have lived in darkness & Idolatry, should now have the knowledge of the true God, that the true God should come to be worshipped amongst them, this is a blessed thing. England was once one of the most barbarons nations in the world, and in that place where it was said you are not my people, where there was nothing but a company of savage barbarous creatures that worshipped the Devill; how in this place, in En∣gland is it said, even by the nations round about us, surely they are the sonnes of the living God! And so many times in dark corners in the Coun∣trey where they never had the knowledge of Jesus Christ, but were nuzled up in Popery and in all kinde of supesticious vanity, God is pleased to send Page  87 some faithful Minister to carry the light of the knowledge of Christ unto them, and efficaciously to work faith in their hearts, and now, oh what an alteration is there in that towne! the like of a family. It may be said of ma∣ny a house and family,* in which nothing but blasphemy, and atheisme, and scorne of Religion, and uncleannesse, and all manner of wickednesse hath been, now it is a family filled with the servants and sonnes of the living God. As it is a grievous thing to think of a place wherein God hath been truely worshipped, that afterward the Devil should come to be served there, so it is a comfortable thing to think of other places wherein the Devil hath beene served, that God is truly worshipped there. Some stories report that the Turkes having possession of the Temple at Jerusalem, there where was the Arke, and the Cherubins, and the Seraphims, there now are Tygres, and Beares, and savage creatures; But on the other side to consider that in pla∣ces where there have been none but Tygres, and Bears and savage creatures, they should now be filled with Cherubins, and Seraphims; this is a comfor∣table thing. Secondly. It shall be said they are the sonnes of the living God.

It shall be said so.* God hath a time to convince the world of the excel∣lency of his Saints. They shall not onely be the sonnes of the living God, but it shall come to passe that it shall be said they are the sonnes of the liv∣ing God: all about them shall see such a lustre of the glory of God shining upon them, that they shall all say, Verily whatsoever other people have said hertofore, whatsoever the thoughts of men have beene, these are not onely the servants, but the sonnes of the living God. We have an excellent prophe∣fie of this in Zachar. 12. 5. The governours of Iudah shal say in their heart The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the Lord of hosts their God. Not onely the people shall be convinced of this, but the Gover∣nours of Judah, they shall say in their hearts, our strength is in the inhabi∣tants of Jerusalem, in the Lord of Hosts their God. Howsoever they were heretofore scandalized, as seditious, and factious, and as enemies of the State, yet now the Governours of Judah shall acknowledge that their strength is in them, and in the Lord their God, that this Lord of Hosts is their God. That time will be a blessed time when the Governours of Judah shall come to be convinced of this; when God shall so manifest the excellencies of his Saints, as that both great and smal shall confesse them to be the sonnes of the living God.* It is promised to the Church of Philadelphia, Revel. 3. 9. that the Lord would make them that said they were Jews, and were not, & said they were the Church and were not, but were of the Synagogue of Satan, to come and how before their feete, and to know (saith he) that I have loved them. There is a time that ungodly men shall be forced to know that God doth love his people. And one thing amongst the rest that will much convince the men of the world of the excellency of the Saints, will be the beauty of Gods ordinances that shall be set up amongst them, that shall even dazel the eyes of the beholders. For this you have an excellent promise, Ezek. 37. 28. The heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctifie Israel. How shall they Page  86 know it? when my sanctuary shall be in the middest of them for evermore, then they shall know that I the Lord do sanctifie Israel, when the beauty of my ordinances shall appeare in them, then they shall know it.

And if God be not onely satisfied in doing good to his people, but hee will have the world know it, and be convinced of it; Let the people of God then not be satisfied onely in having their hearts upon God, but let the world know that they love God too. You must do that that may make it appeare to all the world, that you are the children of the living God. Let your light so shine before men, that they seeing your good works may glorifie your Fa∣ther which is in heaven. It is one thing to do a thing that may be seene, and another thing to do a thing that it may be seen. And yet Gods people may do both, not do good onely that may be seen, but (if they keepe still the glory of God above in their eye, as the highest ayme) they may desire and be wil∣ling too that it may be seene to the praise of God. But this I confesse requi∣reth some strength of grace to do it, and yet to keep the heart upright. The excellency of grace doth consist not in casting off the outward comforts of the world, but to know how to enjoy them, and to over-rule them unto God: so the strength of grace doth consist, not in forbearing of such actions as are taken notice of by men, or not to dare to ayme at the publishing of those things that have excellency in them; but the strength of grace consists in this, in having the heart enabled to do this, and yet to keepe it under too, and to keep God above in his right place.

Thirdly, It shall be said they are sonnes, &c.

It is a great blessing unto Gods children that they shall be accounted so before others.* Not onely that they shall be so; but that they shall be ac∣counted so.*Blessed are the peace-makers for they shall be called the children of God, This is a blessing not onely to be Gods children, but to be called Gods children. We must account it so, and therefore we must walk so as may convince all with whom we do converse that we are the children of God; and not thinke this sufficient, well, let me approve my heart to God; and then what need I care what all the World thinks of me. God doth pro∣mise it as a blessing to have his people called the children of God, then this must not be slighted. You shall find it often in the Gospel that Christ made a great businesse of this to make it manifest to the world that he was sent of God, he would have them to know that his Father sent him, and that hee came from him: So the people of God should count it a blessing, and walk so as they may obtaine such a blessing that the world may know that they are of God.

Further. In the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sonnes of the living God.

Marke, It is not said thus, that in the place where it was said they are not my people, it shall be said to them they are my people. No, but further, it shall be said they are sonnes, and sonnes of the living God: this goeth be∣yond being his people. Hence then the observation is, That

Page  88 The grace of God under the Gospell, it is morefull, and large, and glori∣ous, then the grace of God under the Law.

For this is spoke of the estate of the Church under the Gospell, They were Gods people indeed under the Law, but the sonnes of the living God, this is reserved for the times under the Gospel. Sometime they under the Law are called by the name of sonnes;* but it appeareth by this Text that in com∣parison of that glorious son-ship that they shall have under the times of the Gospell, that they in former times were rather servants then sonnes. There is very little of our adoption in Christ revealed in the Old Testament, No, that was reserved for the Sonne of God to reveale, for him that came out of the bosome of the Father, and brought the treasures of his Fathers councel to the world, the revelation of these things were reserved to the time of his com∣ming, both adoption and eternal life was very little made knowne in the time of the Law, therefore Saint Paul saith, that life and immortality were brought to light through the Gospel. 2 Tim. 1. 10.

2. Sonnes,* Because in the time of the Gospell, the spirits of the Saints are of son-like dispositions, they are ingenuous, not mercenarie. In the time of the Law God carried on his people in offering rewards, especially in out∣ward things: but in the time of the Gospell we have no such rewards in out∣wards, but the Scripture speakes of afflictions most, there is not spoken so much of afflictions in the time of the Law, but much outward prosperity there was then: but in the time of the Gospel more affliction, because the dispositions of the hearts of people should not be so mercenary as they were before, they should be an ingenuous, a willing people in the day of Christs power.

3. Sonnes, Because of the son-like affection to be much for God their Father out of a naturall 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, that they should have more then in the times of the Law. I suppose some of you have heard of the story of Craesus his sonne, though he was dumb all his dayes, when he perceived a souldier strik∣ing his father, his affection brake the barres of his speech, and he cryed out to the Souldier to spare his rather. This is the affection of a sonne, and these affections doth God looke for from his children, especially in the time of the Gospel, that they should heare no wrong done to him, but though they could never speake in their own cause, yet their should be sure to speake in their Fathers cause.

4. Sonnes, Because they have not such a spirit of servility upon them as they had in the time of the Law. Christ is come to redeem us that we might serve the Lord in holinesse and righteousnesse before him without feare all the dayes of our life,* to take away the spirit of feare: Hence the Apostle saith, We have not received the spirit of feare but of love, and of a sound minde.* And Heb. 2. 15. Christ is come to redeem those who through feare of death were all their life time subject to bondage. The spirit of a sonne is not be spirit of feare, We have not received the spirit of bondage to feare again, but the spirit of adoption whereby we cry Abba Father. It is unbe∣seeming Page  89 the children of God, especially in the time of the Gospel, to be of such servile spirits as to feare every little danger, to be distracted with fear, and presently to be amazed. Hath not God revealed himselfe to us as a Father to his children that we must not feare? He would not have us feare himselfe,* not with a servile sear as men do, and therefore surely not to fear men be they what they will be. We are sons.

Again, Not only sons, for so we might find in Scripture, where the peo∣ple of God under the Law, perhaps are sometimes called so, but elder sons, sons come to yeares. It is true, they were before us, and so in that respect we are not elder; bnt sons that are come to our inheritance, that is it I mean that we are such sons; Not children under tutorage, not under School-ma∣sters and governours, as they were in the time under the Law. You know what comparison the Scripture makes of the difference betweene the Church in the time of the Gospell, and that in the time of the Law. In the time of the Law it is true indeed they were children, but how? they were children that were under tuttors and Governours, they were not as yet come to years, they were but as young children that were put out to school. But now as the Apostle saith, Gal. 4. 15. Chrst hath redeemed us from be∣ing under the Law, that we might receive the adoption of sonnes: marke, that we might receive it, so that now the state of the Church is like unto a child that cometh to be of age, and so is freed from his Tutors and Gover∣nors, and cometh to his inheritance, sui juris, as it were, so is the state of the Church now.

Therefore the Saints now are not to be dealt withal, as if stil they were in their childish condition. Now how were the Jewes dealt withall, because∣they were in their childish condition? Thus, they had outward externall ethings to gain them to serve God, they worshipped God much in externall things: As we deale with children, we give them apples and fine things to get them to doe what we would have them do, so God dealt with them: And as children when they begin to learne, they must have a great many gayes in their book; so God taught the Jewes with outward ceremonies, which afterward the Scripture calls but beggarly rudiments, poor things. Children you know are pleased much with gay things, and they that would bring in Jewish ceremonies, or ceremonies of their own invention in the Church, they make account the Church is in her childish condition still, as if gay things would please them, therefore they must have pictures, and I∣mages, and such things to please people, this makes the people of God be∣neath themselves as if they were yet children, and were to be pleased with such things as these. No, now in the state of the Gospel they are come to the adoption of sons. And so children you know are pleased as with fsghts, so with hearing of musick, and pipes, and such things, so men would bring such things still into the Church in the time of the Gospel. I remember Iust. Martyr in the 107. quest. ad orthodoxos, in answer to that about musicall instruments, he saith that they are fit for children and fooles, as Page  90 Organs and the like, and therefore hee sayes, they were not in use in the Church.* One of the most ancient Writers we have after the Apostles time gives this for a commendation of them. And indeed for the childish state of the Church those things are fit, but now when they are come to the a∣doption of sons, other services that are more spirituall, are more sutable and honourable, as a man that is grown to be a man, would think himselfe wronged much to be taught as a childe, to be put off with gay things; so should the people of God under the gospell think it a great wrong that hath been done to them, when men have sought to teach them with gayes and poor things, we are not still children, but so grown up to the adoption of sons as to receive our inheritance, and therefore are to have the priviledg of such.

Againe. In that place where it was said, yee are not my people, it shall be said, &c.

Israel that was cast off from God, now shall be brought in more fully then ever he was before. Thence the observation is,

When God is pleased to be reconciled to a people,* he is as fully theirs as ever, yea sometimes more fully. He comes rather with more full grace then ever formerly he did.

People before, but sons now. O what an incouragement is this to all a∣postatizing soules that have fallen off from God! Come in, come in, and be reconciled to God, and thou shalt not only find God as good as ever thou didst, but thou shalt find him much better and much sweeter then e∣ver thou didst in all thy life. It is seldome we are so. When men fall out one with another, though possibly they may be reconciled, yet it is seldome that they are so fully reconciled, so fully one as they were before; they are but as a broken vessell sodered together, that is very weake in the sodering place; or as garments that have been rent, and are mended, soon torn and quickly ready to fall in pieces in the place where they were mended; It is not so between God and a penitent soule.

Again, sons, not onely of God, but of the living God. There is much in this, that the people of God under the gospell should be called the sons of the living God: The life of God is the glory of God: he sweareth by his life: by this he is distinguished from the heathen gods, that hee is the living God. Life is the most excellent thing in the world; Augustine therefore saith, that the life of a very fly is more excellent then the Sun in the Firmament: and certainly it is the glory of God, that he is the living God. And as God is the living God, so he is the object of our faith, and so he is the happinesse of his people. Trust in the living God; my soule pants and thirsts after the li∣ving God, O when shall I come and appear before God.

But why is God called the living God in reference to his Church here? *〈…〉 thing we must enquire after.

This is a treasure of comfort to his people that he is called the living God in reference to his Church. God would hereby declare to them that all Page  91 that is in him shall be active for the good of his Church for ever, hee will shew himselfe not only to be a God, but a living God, hee will shew all his attributes to be living attributes for the good of his people. Did God shew himselfe active for his people in former times? much more may his Church in the time of the gospell expect the Lord to manifest himself to be active amongst them. Therefore we make use o what we read of Gods a∣ctiveness for the good of his Church in former times, to plead with God to shew himself as much active now. You shall see how the Church made use of the former activeness of God, Isa. 51. 9. Awake, Awake, put on strength, O arme of the Lord, awake as in the ancient dayes, in the gene∣rations of olde. Art not thou it that hath out Rahab and wounded the Dragon? Art thou not it which hath dried the sea, the waters of the great deep? &c. Thou hast been active heretofore for thy people, oh be so sti. If they might make use of former times, much more in our times of the gospell may we make use of former times, and plead with God, O Lord hast thou not shewn thy selfe glorious in defence of thy people, in helping thy fervants in their great straits, and in destroying thine enemies? wilt not thou be so still? In the times of the gospel, we may expect more activenes of God then ever he manifested since the world begun. Therefore when God would set out the state of the Church of the gospel, mark how he takes that title to himselfe. Revel. 4. 9. The 4. living creatures (mentioned in the verses before, by which is meant the state of the Church under the gos∣pel) they give glory, and honour, & thanks to him that sate on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever: and ver. 10. The 24. Elders fell downe be∣fore Him that sate on the Throne, and worshipped Him that liveth for e∣ver and ever, and Chap. 5. 14. both joyne together, The 4. living crea∣tures and the 24. Elders fell downe and worshipped him that liveth for e∣ver and ever. And Chap. 10. 5, 6. The Angell which stood upon the sea, and upon the earth, lifted up his hand and sware by him that liveth for e∣ver and ever. Thus the attribute of Gods life is made use of for the state of the Church in the gospell, to shew how active God will be for them. Thence Heb. 12. 22. the Church is called The Cities of the living God.

Now then if we expect that God should be a living God unto us, it be∣comes not us to have dead hearts in his service. If God be active for our good, let us be active for his honour. A living and a lively Christian is beautifull in the eyes of God and man. Let us labour not onely to be liviing, but to be lively for God and his cause. Abundance of service, and good, may living and lively Christians do in the places where they live, specially in these times. But oh what a few are there who are active and stirring, and are carryed on by the spirit of wisdome and zeale, for God and his cause! Away now with out cold and dead wishes, and luskish desires, let us up, and be doing,* and the Lord will be with us. The adversaries are lively, so saith the Psalmift, mine tnemies are lively, and they are strong, Psal. 38. 19. We may well make use of that expression too, our enemies they are Page  92 lively and strong; shall they be more lively and active for the Devill, and for their lusts, then we for the living God? As God is the object of our hap∣pinesse as he is the living God, so wee are the objects of Gods delight as we are living too. God is not the God of the dead, but he is the God of the living.

We should be lively and active, for we live upon the bread of life, and drink the water of life, we have lively Oracles, lively ordinances, therefore life and activity is required of us. Rom. 12. 11. Be fervent in spirit serving the Lord,* be burning, boyling up in your spirits, for you are serving the Lord, the living God, be boyling up in your spirits; dead spirits become not the services of the living God.

Grace is called the Divine nature, and God (wee know) is a pure act, and it is called the very life of God.* It is impossible then but a Christian must needs be active, seeing his grace is the very life of God in him.

By being lively and active, we shall prevent abundance of temptations, that otherwise will befallus: a dead luskish spirit is lyable to a thousand temptations: as when the honey is scalding hot and boyling, the flies will not come to it; when it is set in the window and grows cold, then the flies come to it: so when the spirits of men are boyling hot for God, Belzebub the god of flies with his temptations, comes not then upon them, but when their spirits begin to cool, and grow dull and heavy, then comes Belzebub, then comes all manner of temptation upon the soule. The breath that comes from life, we know it is warme breath, but artificiall breath that is cold; the breath that comes from the body of a man, that's hot, but the breath that cometh from a paire of Bellows, that is cold, because it is arti∣ficiall breath: so when men are cold in the services of God, it is to be fea∣red that their breath in praying and other duties, it is but artificiall breath, it is not the breath of life, if it were living, it would be warm. That was the reason why God would not have an asse offered him in the Law in sa∣crifice, but his neck must be broken, because the asse is a dull creature, God loves not dull creatures in his service.

I remember I have heard of a people that worshipped the sunne for their god, they sacrificed to the sun a flying horse; the reason was this, because they would offer to the sun somewhat sutable to it; they honoured the sun for the swiftness of his motion, and a horse you know is a swift creature, and therefore somewhat sutable, especially having that emble me upon him, with wings. They that would honour the sun as a god for swiftnes would not offer a snayle, but a flying horse; so if wee do honour God for a living God, an active God, let us not offer snayles to him, dull, heavy, sluggish services, but quick and lively services.

That which the Courtiers of Nebuchadnezzar flatteringly said to him, that in the name of God say I to you, Live for ever, Joh. 6. 57. saith Christ there, As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father, so he that eateth me even he shall live by me. Christ was active, exceeding Page  93 active in his way, in the work he was sent about; Why? because the living Father sent him; so letus consider, that in all our services and employ∣ments, it is a living God that sets us about them, and we shall be active as Christ was.

I am willing a little to inlarge this because of the necessity of it in regard of our present times, and give me leave to do it by telling you what this ac∣tiveness is that I would put you upon in these three things.*

First, stay not for company in any good cause. An active spirit will not stay till he see others to accompany him, but if he must go, rather then the cause should fall he will goe alone. Mark that saying, Isa. 51. 2. I called Abraham alone and blessed him:* Be not discouraged, if God give thee an active spirit and others will not appear, God calls thee alone, and he will blesset hee.

Secondly, when you have company do not lag behind, but he willing to be formost rather then any cause of God should suffer by your lagging;* do not stay to have others go before you. Hence in Pro. 30. 31. amongst the comely goings of many things there, the going of the he-goat is said to be very comely, why? because the he-goat useth to go before the flock. Those that out of love to the cause of God are willing (if they be called to it) to goe before the flock, they goe comely in the eyes of God.

Thirdly, do not forbear the work till all difficulties about it be first over. That is a sluggish spirit that wil not set about the work till they can see how all the difficulties about the worke are or may be removed. You must up and be doing, be doing presently, fall to the worke, and then when you are working, wisely to prevent and avoid the difficulties that come in it; As those active spirits did that we read of in Nehem. 4. 17. when they were at work, with one of their hands they wrought, and with the other hand they held a weapon; they did not stay the building of the wall of Jerusalem till all their adversaries were quashed; but prefently they fell to it, and with one hand they wrought in the work, and with the other held a weapon. This is an active spirit.

Further, we must not be active in a sudden mood, & upon a meer flash, and so gone,* but in a constant solid way; Active, yet solid. Many indeed are stirring and active for the present, but as the flame of a wispe of straw that makes a noise, and a great stir for the present, but soone after there re∣mains nothing but black dead ashes. But we must be considerately active; Therefore observe, the Scripture saith (speaking of the Saints specially in the time of the Gospel) that they are lively stones (you know the place of Peter) What a stone, and yet lively? A stone of all things is the most dead thing,* and so it is used to set out a dead spirit in that story of Nabal, when Abigail came to tell him of the business of David, the Text saith, that his heart dyed within him, and became as a stone. What is this but to shew, that though we must be lively and active, 〈…〉 must be solid, firme, and substantiall in our activeness; and again, that when we are solid, firm, and Page  94 substantiall, yet we must be active. There are many that know not how to be active solidly, and therefore grow slight and vain in their activity: and many others striving to be solid and substantiall, they quicly grow dull: many through a kind of affected gravity, they would forsooth be accoun∣ted solid and wise, and so become at last dull, and heavy, and of very little use in the Church of God. Take heed of either, and labour to compose both together, that is acceptable to God, to be living stones before him.

Ver. 11. Then shall the children of Judah, and the children of Israel be gathered together, &c.

Here you have a promise both to Israel and Judah together. Great was the enmity between Judah and Israel heretofore. They worshipped the same God, but in divers manners. One worshipped God according to his owne institution, Judah did. And Israel worshipped the same God, but after their own ways, according to their own inventions, so as might best sute with their politique ends. There was a great deale of bitternesse and vexation between these two people, though worshipping the same God; and God here makes it a great matter to bring these two together, that they should be gathered together in one. For that here wee have the pro∣mise: First, that there shall be an union: Secondly, that there shall be an union under one head.

First, that there shall be an union. Hence then the first observation is this:

The enmity of such as seem not much different in matters of Religion, and yet do differ, is sometime exceeding great and bitter.

There shall be an union between Judah and Israel saith God. Here is a mercy,* here is a wonderful worke of the Lord. In that God doth I say make this so great a matter, this observation doth spring forth of the Text clearly, that many times between such as professe the same Religion, and seem not to differ much, and yet do differ, their oppositions are most bit∣ter and ineconcileable, and requires a mighty worke of God to bring them in and reconcile them.

It appears it was so between Judah and Israel. I will give you but one Text for it, 2 Chr. 28. 9. The Prophet Obed tells the children of Israel, when he came to reprove them after the slaughter committed by them up∣on the children of Judah, saith he, Ye have slain them in a rage that reach∣eth up to heaven. What a rage was this this? and yet thus the people of Is∣rael were inraged against the people of Iudah, their opposition was very bitter, yea, more bitter were they many times one against another, then they were against the Heathen, the Philistims, and Assyrians, and Egypti∣ans that were round about them, they were nothing so bitter against them, as they were one against another.

Thus it hath been, and (untill that blessed time come that here is spoken of in the Text) thus it will be. You know the Calvinists and Lut he rans, though they agree together against Papists in the main fundamental things, yet h the bitternesse of their spirits one against another! A Lutheran is Page  95 scarce so bitter against a Papist as he is against a Calvinist. Luther himself complaineth,* Not only open wicked men are our enemies, but even our frends, and those that at first received the doctrine of the Gospel from us; even they persecute us most bitterly. And he complaineth in particular of Zuinglius; Zuing. (saith he) accuseth me of my wickedness, of any cruelty, so that the Papists doe not teare me so much as these my friends.* Again, speaking of Corolost adi∣us,* He is more deadly a∣gainst mee, more set a∣gainst me then ever any of my enemies were. Even hee that God did ufe together with Luther for great ends and purposes for the furtherance of the Gospell, yet such bitterness was between them.

And hath it not been so amongst us? Those that are Protestants and such as are nick-named Puritans, though they do agree in all the fundamentall points against popery, yet because there is some difference in matter of discipline and ceremonies, Oh what bitternesse of spirit is there? and it is so much the more sinfull in those who say themselves that discipline and ce∣remonies are but in different things, they themselves are specially to be blamed for bitterneesse on their side, because the conscience of the other is bound up and cannot yeeld, yea, not only such as doe contend against po∣pish discipline, but such as doe goe a further degree in reformation of dis∣cipline it selfe, yet because they are differing in some few particulars, oh the bitterness of spirit that is many times even among them!

These are times that call all the people of God to see what they can a∣gree in, and in that to joyne against the common adversary, and not to tear one another by dissentions. God may justly give us over to our adversaries, if we agree not among our selves, and they may chaine us together: Per∣haps a Prison may make us agree, as it was said of Ridley and Hooper; though Ridley stood much against Hooper in point of ceremonies, and they could not agree, yet when they came to Prison they did well enough there.* The Lord deliver us from that medicine of our dissentions, that wee be not made so to agree; Yea that we be not sodered together by our own blood.

Secondly,* God hath a time to gather Judah and Israel both together, that is, to bring peace to his Church: God hath a time to gather all his Churches together in a way of peace, that there shall be an universall peace amongst his Churches.

For thought it is true it be meant here of Judah and Israel literally, yet Israel and Judah is to set out to us all the Churches of God that shall bee afterwards among the Gentiles: and as God will fulfill this Scripture lite∣rally, Page  96 so he will fulfill it in the spirituall sense, to bring Judah and Israel, that is, all the Churches of God to be under one head. Isa. 11. 13. E∣phraim shall not envy Iudah, and Iudah shall not envy Ephraim. E∣phraim envyed Judah, because Judah challenged to himselfe the true wor∣ship of God, and Judah on the other side envyed Ephraim, because hee was the greatest, there was vexing spirits one against another: this shall not alvvays be, saith God, but the envy of Ephraim shall depart, I will take a∣way this envious, this vexatious spirit. Those two staves the holy Ghost speaks of in Zach. 11. 10, 11. 14. the staffe of beauty, and the staffe of bands, they were both broken, but God hath a time to unite together a∣gain, and for that mark that excellent prophecie in Ezek. 37. 16, 17. 22. 24. There you shall find fully set out Gods bringing Judah and Israel to∣gether, and joyning those sticks together again. Son of man (saith the Text there) take thee one sticke and write upon it, for Iudah and for the chil∣dren of Israel his companions, & then take another sticke, & write upon it, for Ioseph the sticke of Ephraim, & for all the house of Israel his com∣panions; and joyne them one to another into one sticke, & they shall become one in thy hand. And then ver. 19. this is interpreted of the union of them, Behold I will take the stick of Ioseph which is in the hand of Ephraim, & will put them with the stick of Iudah, & make them one sticke, & they shal be one in mine hand: And vers. 22. I will make them one Nation in the land upon he mountains of Israel, & one King shall be King to them all: And in the 24. ver. that King is said to be David which we shall afterward shew more fully, when we shall come to shew this head that they shall be under. Now this God hath never yet fulfilled, that the ten Tribes, and Ju∣dah and Benjamine should come together, and be set in one stick, he hath never set together the staffe of bonds that was broken, and yet this must be done, and it is the great blessing of God upon his Churches, the bringing about of this union one with another. Mark that Text for this purpose, Ier. 33. God having promised having promised there in the 10. ver. that in the latter dayes he would bring Judah & Israel together, and build them up at first: then in the 14. vers. Behold the dayes come, saith the Lord, that I will perform the good thing which I have promised unto the children of Israel, & to the house of Judah. What is that good thing that God had promised to the houses of Israel and Iudah? That good thing (my brethren) is the building them up together as they were at first; that is the good thing. Behold how good & pleasant a thing it is for brethren to live together in unity: It is like the precious ointment upon the head that ran downe upon the beard, even Aarons beard, that went down to the skirts of his garments, as the dew of Hermon, & as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion, for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even〈…〉 the Churches of God where there is this 〈…〉 here is God commanding blessing,* that 〈…〉 powerfully; commeth efficaciously, and blessing of Page  97 life, and life for evermore. O who would not then love union and peace in the Churches! Zach. 14. 9. The Lord shal be King over all the earth, in that day shall there be one Lord, & his name one. The Churches now, they have one Lord, they all acknowledg God & Christ to be their Lord, yea but this Lord hath not one name, though they all pretend to Christ, & that they will honour Christ, and set up Christ, yet this one Lord hath ma∣ny names. But here it is prophefied that there shall be but one Lord, and his name shall be but one neither. And Zeph. 3. 9. Then will I turne to a people of a pure languag that they may all cal upon the name of the Lord & serve him with one consent.* The word in the Originall is, one shoulder; all the people of God shall have but one shoulder that they shall set to the ser∣vice of God. O blessed time when they shall come so to be united as to have but one shoulder! And the greater will this blessing be of Iudahs and Israels gathering together, if you consider these two things (I beseech you observe them) and I goe no further then this very Scripture I am now o∣pening to you.

First, that they shall have this perfect union together even then when Is∣rael shall be as the sand of the sea:* when there shall be such multitudes comming in and flocking to the Church, yet then they shall be united into one, and then there shall be peace in the Churches. It is not a hard matter when there are but very few of a Church, perhaps halfe a dozen or halfe a score, for them then to be of one mind, and to agree in one lovingly toge∣ther, and to have no divisions nor dissentions among themselves; but when a Church grows to be a multitude, and a great many, then there lies the dif∣ficulty. When did ever any Church though never so well constituted at first, but increase in divisions and dissentions, as they increased in number and multitude?

You see you find it very hard when you have any meeting in any society, when any business concerns a great many, you finde it I say a very hard thing so to agree together as to be of one and the same mind.* An instru∣ment, as a watch or any thing that hath many wheels, is sooner out of frame then that which hath but a wheele or two. So when a great many come to∣gether about any businesse, it is mighty hard to bring them to be united in one. There are few families that have many persons in it, but quickly dissentions and brablings grow among them: perhaps where there are two or three in a family they keep well enough together: but where there are many, where there are but seven in a family, they cannot so well agree, nor so long a time together as the seven Devills did in Mary Magdalen, they agreed better and longer then many a seven in a family: But God hath made this promise to the Church, that though it shall increase as the sand on the sea shore, and that multitudes shall come flocking to the Church, yet they shall be all gathered together into 〈◊〉 under one head, and they shall have peace, for certainly that is the••〈◊〉 of the holy Ghost here.

Secondly,* They shall agree in one, not only when they are multitude, Page  98 but when they shall come to enjoy their full priviledges, and the full liberty that Christ hath purchased for them, even then there shal be a blessed agree∣ment. For it is spoken here of those times when they shall come under one head, and Christ alone shall rule them, and not mens inventious; Christ will grant his Church those priviledges that he hath purchased for them, & rule them according to those, and then there shall be a blessed agreement among them all. Men now think it impossible that the Church should have those li∣berties Christ hath purchased without dissentions, oh say they, grant them but such and such things, let them have but such liberty as they speak of, and we shall have nothing but brabling and divisions; what shall every man be left to do what he list? why then we shall have nothing but breaches in the Church, and heart-burning one against another. No, Christ hath never pur∣chased so much liberty for every man to do what he list in things apparently unlawfull against the common principles of Religion, In those there may be compulsion. But that liberty that Christ hath purchased, is the lawful use of the things of indifferency, and the lawfull use of his ordinances. And though now men think that even in such things that are in themselves indifferent, if men be left at their liberty, there will be such heart-burning, & such dissen∣tions, and no peace at all in the Church; they are much mistaken in this, for the onely way to have true peace in the Church, is to leave things as Christ hath left them, & to force nothing upon mens consciences that Christ would not have forced, this is the way of peace; and the special way of dissention (we have had experience of it) hath been and ever will be, the urging upon mens consciences those things Christ would not have urged, this is it that makes the greatest rent & division in the Church.* The urging of uniformity in all indifferent things as necessary to unity is a most false principle, you wil finde it so. It is a principle that many have been led by, but it is an extream, false, and corrupt principle, and is and will be found to bee the cause of the greatest distractions. VVhen this time comes that is here prophesied of, there shall not be any such neede of any Antichristian chaine, to chaine the servants of God together, but they shall be one without any such doings. It is true, Papists and Prelaticall men, they cry out of others; there are such di∣visions among them say they, none of them can agree, there is more unifor∣mity and unity with us than there is with them, every one there among them runs up and downe and doth what he pleaseth.

Marke these two Answers to that.

First, They have little cause to brag of their unity if we consider all; for in the meane time though many thousands of Christians, and hundreds of faith∣ful, painful, and conscionable Ministers of God that did more service to God and his Church then ever they wilo, though they be banished out of their countrey, and put 〈…〉••remities, and endure sore afflictions for 〈…〉••ch of unity with them at all, though 〈…〉 things they have caused many 〈◊〉〈…〉. This is no breach of unity with them.

Page  99 But suppose by their power they could have brought all to an uniformity, in their own inventions and innovations as they desired. What then? they have little cause to brag of that unity neither. Certainly there the remedy would have been worse then the disease, and work a greater mischief. Their bragging then of unity would have been no other but thus, as if a couple of prisoners chained to a block, and kept close all day, should see others goe a∣broad in the streets at a distance, and they should cry out to them, Why doe you not take example by us? you keep at a distance one from another, doe you not see that we keepe close together from morning to night? pray take example by us, and do not go so distant one from another. Would not such an argument be most ridiculous? What is the reason of their union but their choine? Certainly there is the same argument in these mens pleading for that uniformity that they force men to by such a kinde of Antichristian chaine.

What breach of unity is it if in a broad street one goes a little distant from another? and so what breach is it if in matters of indifferency one take one way and another another? It is the corrupt and perverse spirits of men that thinke they cannot have unity, and yet have things as Christ have left them. Christ needs no such things to cause unity in his Church, the spirit of his peo∣ple that shal love truth & peace is enough to cause that unity he would have. And O that this time that this gathering together were come, of all Chur∣ches to be made one, & be under one head! for abundance of mischief is done now among the Churches, and in the world by the spirit of division and dis∣sension. The Devil delights (especially that devil that is the spirit of division) to live in the region of the Church. There are some devils especially that are spirits of pride, (as the dumb devil) and some of dissention, and some of one kinde and some of another; and I remember Cajetan hath a note upon that place of the Gospel, where our Saviour Christ cast the devils out of the pos∣sessed man,* they besought him that he would let them enter into the swine, & that he would not send them out of that Region, because (saith he) they have several Regions where they most haunt, and they that are in such a Region, they are loath to be put out of it, but would faine keep their place. Whether that be so or no we will not say, but this we say, that if their be any Religion in the world that the unclean spirit of division loveth to be in, and is loath to be cast out; it is the Region of the Church, for their he doth the greatest mis∣chiefe. But Christ hath a time to cast this unelean spirit out of the Region of the Church, and that so, as hee never shall returne any more.

This point in regard we meet with it so fitly, and is so fully agreeable to the necessity of our times, I cannot tell (though I go a little beyond the or∣dinary way of exposition) how to get off from it.

This union of the Churches is that which will be the stability of it. You have an admirable place of this, Isa. 33. ••. Thine eyes sball see Jerusalem a quiet ation habit. O that our eyes migh〈◊〉 blessed 〈◊〉 behold Jerusalem a quiet habitation, then we should be will 〈…〉 hold Simeon to say, Lord now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy sal∣vation.

Page  100 Marke then what followes, a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down, nor one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken, but there the glory of God will be un¦to us a place of broad rivers and streames, wherein shal no galley with oare, neither shal gallant Ship passe thereby. The kingdoms of the world though they seem to be built upon mountaines, yet God will tosse them up and down, and they shall come to nothing: but the Church when it is made a quiet habitation (observe it) though it be but a tabernacle & set upon stakes, yet this tabernacle shall not be taken downe,* nor one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, though it be tyed by lines, yet not a cord thereof shal be broken. Yea in this the glory of the Church doth consist, for so saith the Text there, when it is a quiet habitation, the glory of God shall be there, God shall dwell among them as a glorious God.

No Church more honourable then the Church of Philadelphia, for that is the Church the Adversaries must come and bow before. Rev. 3. 9. and that Church carryeth Brotherly love in the very name of it, for so it signifies.

Cant. 6. 9. My dove, my undefiled is but one, the onely one of her mother. What followeth? The daughters saw her and blessed her, yea the Queens and the Concubines, and they praised her. When Christs dove and undefi∣led comes once to be but one, the daughters shall see her and blesse her.

Esay, 11. 7. 8. &c. There you have a promise of Judah and of Ephraims joyning together. Mark what followes, Chap. 12. 1. In that day thou shalt say, O Lord, I will praise thee. (Observe, In that day.) And again, ver. 4. In that day shall you say, Praise the Lord, proclaime his Name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted, Sing un∣to the Lord, for he hath done excellent things; cry out and shout thou inha∣bitant of Zion. Then indeed God doth excellent things, when he makes E∣phraim and Judah come to be but one. Therefore saith the Apostle, 1 Cor. 12. 31. Yet shew I unto you a more excellent way, What is that way? In the Chapter following he falls upon the commendation of Love, where you have the highest commendation of it that is in all the book of God; that is the more excellent way. Cant. 3. 9. There the Church is compared to the Charet of Solomon: The pillars of it (saith the Text) were all of silver, the bortome thereof gold, the covering of it of purple, and the middest thereof be∣ing paved with love. Then indeed doth the Church ride in triumph in her Charet, when there is much love and peace in the midst of it.

It is true (my brethren) considering the weakenesse and peevishnesse of mens spirits (yea of good men as well as evil) we may wonder how ever this shall come to passe; Is it possible that this shall ever be so? Indeed it must be a mighty work of God to do it. We must not think to effect it by strug∣ling one with another, and to say 〈◊〉 will make them be at peace and unity, or they shall sma••〈…〉 pull them together by Law. This will not do it, 〈…〉 for the accomplishing of this great thing. Ier. 33. 3. Thus 〈…〉, Call unto me and I will answer Page  101 thee, and shew thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not. What are those great and mighty things that we must call to God for? Amongst others this is one principal one, ver. 7. I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to returne, and will build them as at the first, and so make them bochone. And then ver. 9. It shall be to me a name of joy, a praise & an honour before all the Nations of the earth, when they shall heare of all the good that I doe unto them. Marke, joy, praise, honour, yea a name of joy, praise, honour, followes upon this blessed union, and that be∣fore all the Nations of the earth. For the accomplishment of this. Come Lord Jesus, come quickely! Yet let us further observe the difference between the scattering of the wicked, and the scattering of the Saints. Judah & Israel they were scattered, but, now they shall be gathered together.

There is a great deale of difference between the scattering of the Saints,* and the scattering of the wicked: When God scatters the Saints, he scatters them that they may be gathered; when he scatters the wicked, hee scatters them that he may destroy them, Psal. 68. 1. Let God arise, and let his enemies be scattered: How scattered? As smoake is driven away; so drive them away. Smoake you know is driven away and scattered, so as it comes to nothing. Psal. 144. 6. Cast forth lightning and scatter them, shoote out thine Ar∣rowes and destroy them. This is the scattering of the wicked: but as for the Saints, they may be scattered, but it is to spread abroad the gospell by them in the world. Acts 8. 4. The Text saith, They that were scattered abroad by reason of the persecution of Saul, went every where preaching the word: but within a while our God shall come and all his Saints with him, and hee will gather together the out-casts of Israel, with abundance of mercy: so Micah. 46. In that day saith the Lord, I will gather her that is driven out & her that I have afflicted; and Esay, 54. 7. For a time, for a small moment have I forsaken thee, but with great mercies I will gather thee. God will ga∣ther his people with great mercyes. God hath (my brethren) fulfilled this in a great part, in our eyes even this day. Many of those that were driven out of their places and Countryes, those that were afflicted, and those the land could not beare, God hath gathered together these out-casts of Israel.

Let every one take heed how he hinders this worke of the Lord, and how he addeth affliction to those that have been afflicted.

Again further. They shall be gathered together in that day, That is, in the time of the Gospel, when that shall prevail then Judah and Israel shall be ga∣thered together. Then, The more the Gospel prevailes, the more peace there shall be.* The Gospel is not the cause of divisions then, of seditions, of factions; No, It is a gospell of peace; the Prince of it is a Prince of peace, the Ambassage of it is an Ambassage of peace. It is next unto blasphemy, if not blasphemy it selfe, to say that since the preaching and profession of the Gospel, we had no peace, but it causes act 〈…〉 and divisions among the peo∣ple. It is true, people that are in the darke 〈…〉 and quiet together, as it is said of the Egyptians, when they were in the darke for those three dayes toge¦ther, Page  102 they stirred not from their stooles, there was no noise among them; shall the light be blamed because afterward when it came, every one stirred, and went, one, one way and another, another? so when we were in grosse darknesse, we saw nothing, we knew nothing; Now light begins to breake forth, and here one searcheth after one truth, and another after another, and yet we cannot attaine to perfection; shall we accuse the light for this?

Yea but we see too apparently that those that seem the strictest of all, that would worship God (as they say) in the purest manner in his Ordinances; yet there are woefull divisions and distractions even amongst them. How then is the Gospel a Gospel of peace? But a word in answer to this; To satisfie your consciences, that the Gospel may not be blamed, for indeed where the Gospel comes, there is promised peace. Consider this one reason that may be given for it. Because so long as we are here we are partly flesh and partly spirit. Yet those that have the Gospel prevaile with their consci∣ences, they come to be of this temper, that they cannot move any further then they can see light for, and their consciences will give them leave.

But now other men they have more liberty, they indeed quarrel not one with another, why? because they have wide, checker, lyther consciences, & having ends of their owne they will yeeld to any thing for the attaining of those ends;* so that here they have this advantage, that if they see that the con∣tention will bring them more trouble then they conceive the thing is worth, they will condescend though it be against light of conscience. But other men upon whom the light of the Gospel hath prevailed have that bond upon con∣science, that though all the world should differ from them, they must be con∣tent to lye down and suffer, they cannot yeeld, though you would give them all the world they cannot go against that light. But indeed they may search, and it may trouble them that their apprehensions of things should be differ∣ent from the apprehensions of their brethren, and that they cannot yeeld to that which their brethren yeeld too. It is true, they should be humbled, and suspect their hearts, and look to themselves, and fall down before God and pray, and use all means for advice and counsell, and consider of things again and again. Well, but suppose they have done all this, and yet the Lord doth not reveale to them any further light, though it be a sad affliction to them yet they must lye down under it, for they cannot yeeld, one known truth is more then all the world, therefore unlesse others will beare with them in their in∣firmity, they must suffer whatsoever men will lay upon them.

True indeed, the world calls this stoutness, and stifnesse, and being wedded to their own opinion. But they know it is otherwise, they can appeal to God and say, Lord thou knowest what a sad affliction it is unto me that I cannot see what my brother sees, and that I cannot yeeld to what my brother yeelds to, thou hast hid it from me: I 〈◊〉 wait upon thee till thou shalt reveal it, & in the 〈…〉 and not make disturbances in the places vvhere I come, but pray, 〈…〉 for light, and that thou wouldst incline the 〈◊〉 of my brethren unto me, 〈◊〉 they may not have hard thoughts of

Page  103 Do but thus, thou shalt have peace with God, and in thine own heart how∣soever. But again marke, Judah and Israel they shal be gathered together.

So soone as any are converted to the faith,* they are of a gathering dispo∣sition. They desire to gather to the Saints presently. Every childe of God that is converted is a gatherer,* as Solomon is called Ecclesiastes, so in the Greeke, but the Hebrew word is interpreted by some a soule gathered, be∣cause it is in the faeminine genger. None in the world love good fellowship so much as the Saints of God. They fly as doves to their windows, & doves you know use to fly in great flocks, thousands together. The more spirituall any one is, of the more joyning & uniting nature he is. Thousands of beames of the Sun will meet together in one better then the beams of a candle will doe. The Saints of God in the Apostles times when they were converted, it is said, they were added to the Church, they gathered presently. So in Esay. 66. (it is an observable place) ver. 20. the Text saith, They shall bring their brethren as an offering to the Lord out of all Nations, upon horses, and in chariots, &. in litters. How comes this? There shall be many that dwell a great way off. they shall not make that their excuse for their not joyning to the people of God, because they are afar off, It is a great journey; No, but there be horses to be got: But it may be some cannot ride? Then get Charets: But some per∣haps are so weake that they can neither ride on horses nor in Chariots, then they will get litters, and litters you know are to carry weake & sick persons. This shews the intention of spirit that is in the people of God to be gathered to the Church, either to be carryed on horses, or in Chariots, or in litters, one way or other they will come and joyn themselves to the people of God. For there is the presence of Christ, and the protection of Christ, and the comuni∣cation of Christ in their union and communion, and where the carcasse is, there will the Eagles resort. O they love alife to be going towards Sion, ga∣thering one to another, as in Psal. 84. 7. They walk from strength to strength, and at last they all appear before God in Zion. From strength to strength, that is thus: From one place of the Country perhaps there comes halfe a score, or twenty, to go toward Zion, and perhaps before they come to such a town or turning, they meet with halfe a score more, & so they grow stronger; when they are a mile or two further, perhaps they meet with another town com∣ing, and they joyn presently & are stronger, and so they go from strength to strength comfortably together till they come before God in Zion

They shall appoint themselves one Head.

Although they be multitudes, & be as the sand of the sea, yet this is no great matter, unless they come under one Head, & a right Head too. It is not mul∣titudes that is a sufficient argument of truth. A multitude coming under one Head, under Christ as one Head, they are the true Church. The Papists they give this Note of the Church, Universality, that there are so many Papists in the world. We must not regard people how 〈…〉 they are, but under what Head they are: They shall be gathered undermine Head, looke to the Head they follow; for so S. Paul tells us that there shall be an Apostasie before the revelation of that man of sin, 2 Thes. 2. 3. And Rev. 1. 3. 3.

Page  104All the world wandred after the beast: and ver. 2. The dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority: and Rev. 17. 1. The whore sit∣teth upon many waters; & ver. 15. these many waters are interpreted to be peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. The whore doth sit upon them, that is, doth use them vilely, and basely, sits upon the very consciences of them in a base manner, as if a whore should sit upon you and keep you un∣der. And who doth she sit upon? upon peoples and multitudes. It is not an argument then of a true Church though they are multitudes, though they be as the sand of the sea, though they be gathered together, for they must be ga∣thered under one Head, under Christ. Secondly, Neither is Unity a suffici∣ent argument of the verity of the Church. They shall be gathered together. they shall be joyned together in one way, with one consent; yea but if it be not under one Head, it is like Simeon & Levi, brethren in iniquity. It is not enough that we be one, unless we be one in Christ; and that is a blessed uni∣on: For a great deale of unity there shall be under Antichrist, Revel. 17. 13. These have one minde (saith the Text) and they shall give their strength & power to the beast. And Chap. 18. 5. Her sins reach unto heaven. Their sins cleave together, and so get up to heaven. A union of persons, and a union of sins there is amongst them. The Turks have as little dissention in their Re∣ligion as any;* they are allunited in one. But well may that garment have no seame, that hath no shape. And a notable place we have in Ps. 83. 3. 4. 5. &c. They have consulted together with one consent, they are confederate against thee. There are two or three things exceeding observable in this Scripture about the union of the wicked: First you have ten Countreys joyn together against the Church; there is the Edomites, the Moabites. &c. And it was not by accident that they joyned, but in a deliberate way, They consulted to∣gether, and not onely consulted together, but consulted together with one consent, or heartily, for that which is translated there with one consent, the word in the Hebrew is,*with heart together, their very heart was in the con∣sultation; but mark, it was against thy hidden ones, so ver. 3. Let them con∣sult together, let ten of them consult together, and consult with their hearts, yet the Saints are Gods hidden ones. Esay 54. 15. They shall surely gather to∣gether, but not my me; whosoever shall gather together against thee shal fall forthy sake. My brethren, Peace, though we should all desire it, yet so as not to have it too chargeable: Peace is then too chargeable when it costs us the losse of any truth. Take heed of any such costly Peace: There may hand joyn in hand together in wickednes, yet they shal not be unpunished, Pro. 16. 5. And Nah. 1. 10. While they are folded together as thorns, they shal be de∣voured as stubble fully dry. Wicked men they are as thorns to prick the peo∣ple of God, yea they are thorns ••lded together, there is a peace amongst them: yet though th•• be folded ••gether, they shall bedevoured, they shal be 〈…〉 division that comes by truth, is beter then the union that comes by 〈…〉 a noble speech of Luther, Rather then any thing should fall of the Kingdome of Christ and his glory, let not onely peace 〈◊〉, but let heaven and earth goe too: so wee should love peace,

Page  105

The Sixth Lecture *

HOSEA 1. the middle of the 11. verse.

And appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land.

FRom the tenth verse to the end, you have heard that God promiseth mercy to an Israel that he will in time raise up: although for that Israel to whom the Prophet spake, they shall go into captivity and shall not returne as Judah did.

Secondly, Mercy to Israel and Judah both together, and that first, In the multitude that shall be gathered, secondly, In the excellency of the state of the Church at that time above that which was before; before they were People, but then they shall be Sons: Thirdly, In the unity of them, Israel and Judah shall be both gathered together under one head. Some time was spent in the last exercise about unity, and the ex∣cellency of the unity of the Churches; wherein we laboured to convince you that uniformity in judgement, and practice is not necessary for unity in the Churches, for unity of hearts. It is a false principle that runnes in the world, that all men must needs be brought to believe and doe the same thing or else there can be no peace. If we would have light let in to us, we must so prise it as to be willing that in the discussion of truths there should be some hazard of some differences in lesser things. If a man have a house closed on every side with a thick brick-wall, and he is so desirous to keepe his house safe and stronge, that he will rather all his dayes sit in the darke, then be at the trouble to have a hole digged or a few bricks broken to let in any light, wee would accuse that man of folly. It is true indeed, we must not be so desirous of light as to break so much of the wall as to indanger the house, we must keepe that safe; but yet it is hard to let in light but there will be some bricks taken away, and there must be some trouble. A childe when he sees the work-man with his tooles breaking the wall and making a deale of rubbish, hee thinks he is pulling down the house, but a wise man knows it is but a little trouble for the present to let in light that shall be for the beauty of the house afterward.

Unity in the Churches is lovely. But it must be under one head.

They shal be gathered together and appoint themselves one head.

Agreement in errour is farre worse then division for the sake of truth. Bet∣ter to be divided from men that are erroneous, then to agree with them in the wayes of their arrour. A company gathered without the covenant of peace, without the observance of Gods law is a headlesse multitude, saies Bernard, it hath much of Babylon, but little of Jerusalem.

What is this Head?

I finde both the Jewes and divers of the ••cyents, Theodoret, Cyrill and others, that would make this head to be Zerubbabel, and onely to have refer∣ence Page  106 to the returne of the people from their Babylonish captivity.

But this certainly cannot be upon these two reasons, to name no more.

First,* Because both Israel and Judah are here to joyne together and to returne out of the land: there it was Judah and not the ten Tribes that were delivered from their captivity. Secondly, Compare this Scripture with o∣thers that are but a Comment upon it, and we shall finde that Zerubbabel cannot be meant, Ezeck. 34, and 37. (you may reade the Chapters at your leasure) In those Chapters wee have expressions such as plainly appeares they are but Comments to this Text of Hosea (for Ezekiel prophesied af∣ter Hosea did:) and especially in the 37. Chap. we have a prophesie of the union of all the Tribes together, Judah and Israel, and ver. 24. David my servant shall be King over them, and ver. 25. My servant David shall be their Prince for ever. That one head that they shall have when they come together shall be David. And so in Chap. 34. ver. 23. I will set one shepheard over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David: and ver. 24, I the Lord will be their God and my servant David, not Zerubbabel, Now by David we are to understand Christ cleerly, for so in other palaces, as Esay, 55. 3. I will give unto you the sure mercies of Da∣vid, they can onely be meant of the sure mercies of Christ, and so it is inter∣preted by S. Paul, Acts 13. 34. Therefore then we conclude certainly this is meant of Christ;* and they shall appoint Christ to be their Head.

This is then the first great point that we have in this Text, a head-point of Divinity indeed, that JESUS CHRIST, is the head of the Church.

And secondly,* he shall be so appointed. We shall shew you what the meaning of that is when we come unto it.

JESUS CHRIST It is he that is the head for the Church,* and shal appear so hereafter further then now he doth. The Church is not a headlesse multitude, it is a community of Saints that hath a glorious Head. That bo∣dy cannot be contemptible that hath a Head so honourable. It is he that is the brightnesse of the glory of his Father, in whom all fulnesse dwelleth, yea, the fulnesse of the Godhead bodily. It is he by whom all things consists, that is the beginning of all things, he that is the head of Angels themselves, Col. 2. 10. You are compleat in him which is the head of all principality & power.

The Head of Angels, how?

First,* because the Angels are joyned together with the Church, and are part of the Church triumphant, and so Christ is their Head.

Secondly,* Yea the Angels have influence from him. That Grace which they have from God, which is beyond naturals; it is from Christ, for Christ is canalis gratiae, the channel of grace from God. Their establishment in their condition it is from Christ, for it is not due to them in a natural way, yea the glor they 〈…〉 with the Church, it is above that which is due to their naturals, and 〈…〉 from Christ.

2. H•• the head of all men, 1 Cor. 11. 3. The head of every man is Christ.

Page  107 The head of every man, how? What are all men in the world the body of Christ? if he be the head, then it seemes they are all the members.

No, though Christ be the head of Angels,* yet Angels are not said to be members of him, yea in the same place of the Corinths, God is said to be the Head of Christ, and yet Christ is not a member of God. So that he may be the head of every man, and yet every man not a member of Christ.

The head of every man in regard of that superiority that Christ hath over every man, and some kinde of influence even from Christ commeth to e∣very man; he inlightneth every man that comes into the world.

Thirdly,* Yea, hee that is the head of his people, of his Church, is the head of al things. Ephe. 1. 22. God hath given him to be head of all things to the Church. Mark it, it is a most admirable place, that Christ is the head of all things. But how? To the Church, for the sake of the Church, as aym∣ing at the good of the Church especially. Sure it is the honour of the Church to have such a head, that is thus the brightenesse of his Fathers glory, the head of Angels,* the head of every man, the head of all things for the good of his Church. And as their honour consisteth in it, so secondly it is their strength.

Christ is the head of the Church in regard of the strength that the Church hath by him. An oppressed multitude cannot help it selfe if they have no head, but if God shall please to give them strength and a head, and that in a legall way, if they have hearts they may deliver themselves from oppression, this God hath done for us; if therefore God doth not vote us to misery and slavery, if we be not a people given up of God to ruine, we may have help.

The Church is a communion of Saints oppressed here in the world, their strength is in heaven, it is in their Head, that hath received all power to exer∣cise for them, in him is their strength, to him do they cleave, for him they blesse God even the Father, because he is their strength.

Thirdly, He is their head because the Saints do hold all upon Christ, all that they have they hold in Capite,* as the best tenure of all, the Tenure upon which the Saints hold all their comfort all their good in this world, it is in another way then other men hold it: other men have what they have through the bounty and patience of God; but the Saints hold all in Capite, in their head, in Christ, in the right they have in him.

Fourthly,* Their head, because their safety is in him: though the Church, all the members be under water, yet all is safe when the head is above water, our head is in Heaven. It is a speech of Luthers; He saith he was even as a Devil to them they did so accuse him, but let Christ live and raign, Christ is above, the head is above water.

Fifthly, Their head in regard of his compassion to his Church and people.

The meanest member here below, if wronged, Christ is sensible of it.

When but the toe is trodden upon,* the head cryes why doe you hurt me? Christ the head cryes, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And observe, the meaner and poorer the Members of Christ are here in the Church, the more is Christ sensible of their sorrowes and afflictions, and the more will Page  108 he appeare for them, when he shall appear a head yet more gloriously then ever he hath done. For this that forenamed place Ezek. 34. from the 16. ver to the 26. is very notable. You shall finde there Christ is said to be one shep∣heard to his people and a Prince to them; but mark what is promised, That he will binde up the broken, and bring back again that which was driven away, and strengthen that which was sick, but as for the fat of the flock and the strong he well destroy them, and feed them with judgement; and he will judge between cattell and cattell, between the rams and the hee-goats, he will judge between the fat and the leane cattell; he will judge those that thrust with side & with shoulder, and push at the diseased with their horns, untill they have scattered the sheep abroad.

When Christ shall appeare, he will not shew such respect to the jolly spi∣rits of those that were in the Church, to your brave, stout, jolly hearts, that would carry all before them with force; No, he will looke to the poor of the flocke, and those that thrust with the side, and pushed with the hornes, and scattered the poor, and the leane; they shall be judged.

My brethren, have you not known times when stout-hearted and cruel∣hearted men have thrust with the side, and pushed with the horne, and scat∣tered up and down in divers Countreys thousands of the weake ones & ten∣der conscioned Christians? VVell, but here is a promise, that Christ our head will come, and he shall be one shepheard, and he shall shew his tender affection toward the poor afflicted of the flocke, he shall take away from the land the evill beasts, as you have it there in the 25. vers. He is the head in regard of his compassion.

Sixthly,* Christ is their head in regard of guidance and direction. The bo∣dy is to be moved and guided by the head: so all truths, all doctrines of Re∣ligion must hold on Christ; they hold on Christ in Capite, Colos. 2. 19. The Apostle rebuking worshipping of Angels and other false opinions, he saith, that they did not hold of the head; All Doctrines in the Church therefore must hold of the head, and must not be obtruded upon the Church, but as they come from the head and hold there.

Seventhly,* And that principally, and which we must stick upon a while, which is intended here in the Text most of all. Christ is the head in re∣gard of his rule, in regard of his government; and therefore he that is called one head here is called a Prince in those two forenamed Chapters, Ezek 34 and 37. It would spend time needlesly to shew you in Scripture how Go∣vernours are called heads, that I suppose you are all acquainted with.

This therefore is the maine thing that we are now to open unto you, how Christ is the head of the Church in regard of his rule and government.

There are many things of concernment in this point.* I shall desire to de∣cline what possibly I may, all things that are controversall, especially with our brethren, & only speak of what I think for the present you are fit to beare

First then, There are four 〈…〉 especially of the government of Christ in his Church, for which he is to be accounted the head.

Page  109 First, All Offices and Officers in the Church hold upon Christ and are from him as from the head.* As (you know) it is in a civill body, the Offices of a civill State holds of the King; holds upon him in a legall way, the power of the King being regular, it regulateth all power in all other Officers; that which is done, is done (you know) in the name of the King. So all the Offi∣cers & Offices in the Church, are in the name of Christ, they all hold on him.

First,* That there can be no officer nor offices in the Church, but such as Christ himselfe hath appointed, for they must hold of him, they must be by institution. I beseech you observe the difference between Officers in a Ci∣vill State, and Officers in a Church. A Civill State because it directly rea∣cheth but to the outward man, hath liberty to appoint what officers it please according to the rules of prudence and justice; to appoint more or lesse ac∣cording to the necessity of the Country & place.* But it is not so in the Church, there we have no liberty to goe according to the rules of prudence meerly, to erect any office, because we think it may make for the good and peace of the Church; I say, therefore to erect any new office that is not erected before in the Word, we have not that liberty, we cannot do it, we are too bold if we shall do it, for such an office will not hold of the Head. In the State none can erect new Offices; new Courts, but the supreame power, the su∣preame Legislative power; So in the Church, none can erect new Offices, but onely from the Head. In the Civill State God leaveth a great deale of li∣berty; there may be change of Officers, those that are good now, perhaps they may seem not to be so fit afterwards, and those that are in one Coun∣try may not be so fit for another. But the Officers of the Church they must be all the same in all places, where they can be had, and no more but those that are appointed by Christ.

Again, further, the difference between the Civill State and Church State in their Offices and Officers is this:* The Civill State may limit their officers as they think fit. They may choose one into an office, but he shall goe but so far, he shall have power but in so many things, this shall be the object of his power, when he is come hither, there he shall stop, though he that was before him had more power, yet he that comes after him may not have that power, the Civill State may limit that, if they see it fit. But now in the Church State it cannot be so. And upon this ground, because they hold upon the Head.

Indeed the men that beare any office in the Church, are designed unto it by the Church, but they doe not hold of the Church, they hold of Christ the Head, therefore it is not in the power of the Church to limit them being in it, but they must go to the Word, for their office once taken upon them, (whe∣ther it be the office of Teachers or of Pastors) they cannot then be limited by any power, but what the Word saith is the office of a Teacher or of a Pa∣stor, that they must doe; they cannot have the rule so propounded to them, as, You shall go but thus far, and you shall do so much of the office of a Tea∣cher and no more, but when they are once 〈◊〉 they are in without any limita∣tion of the power of their office: it is onely from Christ the Head.

Page  110 Yea further, In a civill State there may be alteration, raising the dignity of the office,* and making of it lower then before; but in the Church no such thing, the officers of the Church are alwayes the same, no raising, no depres∣sing, why? because they hold upon the Head. Others depend upon mans prudence, but these are institutions by Christ, and hold of the Head.

2.* Christ is the Head in regard of rule, because all Ordinances hold on Christ too, and all Lawes. I will put both together, Ordinances and Laws, and Institutions do hold upon Christ the Head. It is not in the liberty of man to erect any new spirituall Ordinance in the Church, no nor to make Laws in the Church that are spiritual, that shall tend to the spirits of men, (according as I shall open it by and by.) No new Ordinance, no new In∣stitution can be in the Church. In the civil State there may be thousands of new Institutions.* I call that an Institution that hath an efficacy in it for the attaining of such an end by vertue of the Institution, not by vertue of any na∣turalnesse that is in the thing. As for example to instance in Divine Institu∣tions. The Sacrament is an Institution, and therefore is a virtue, a spirituall efficacy to be expected from that and by that, through the strength of the In∣stitution more then it hath in it in any naturall way. So in preaching the Word, and Ecclesiastical censures, there is more to be expected, more effi∣cacy to worke upon the soule, for the spiritual man, by virtue of the Institu∣tion, then there is in the natural things that are done there.

So for Lawes. Christ makes a law in the Church, it being an institution there is to be expected a spiritual efficacy and virtue to goe along together, with that thing that Christ commandeth, beyond what it had before it was commanded. Now then in rhis way no man in the world can make any Church institution, no, nor Law for the Church, so as to appoint any thing, to have any spirituall efficacy by vertue of that institution beyond what it hath in a natural way. We must take heed of being so bold, that when Christ hath made an institution, an ordinance, and revealed it to us, for us to think we may imitate Christ and make another Ordinance, or another institution like that, because Christ hath done so, because we finde such a thing in the Word therefore we may do so too; No, this is too bold, this is to set our post by Gods post, for which the Lord did charge the people, Ezek. 43. 8. In Esay 33. 22. it is said, The Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our Law-giver, the Lord is our King in this thing. But yet you will say, how is that opened fur∣ther? (for indeed it needeth opening) that there can be no new institution, nor no new Law made in this sense, but all must hold of Christ?

For the opening of that I shall afterward come to speake more fully about the power of Governours and what their authority is, but thus much for the present.* VVe are to consider that there are some things belonging to the Church (I beseech you observe) that are common with all other societies, 〈…〉 to them, that is natural and civill, and there 〈…〉••wer of man may come in, there the 〈…〉 may order things. Those things I say that belong to the Page  111 Church, that yet are not so proper, but belong to other societies too, there mans reason may come in. As for instance.

First, A Church is a spiritual society and community, they must meete together, and if they do meet they must meet in some place: This is com∣mon to all societies in the world, if they will meet they must meet in a place. Yea Secondly, if they meet in a place; this place must be determi∣ned where it shall be. This also is common to all societies.

Thirdly, This likewise is common to them with all other societies, that what they do in that place must be done decently & in order, all things ought to be managed in an orderly decent way. As if there be many things to be done, one thing must be before another, one thing must not exclude another; if they come together, they must come together as befitting men in a decent way. Therefore that rule of the Apostle, Let all things be done decently and in order, it is not properly an institution, it is nothing but the dictate of right reason, so that if we had never found such a sentence, such a maxime in Scrip∣ture, as let all things be done decently and in order, it had beene a truth that we were bound in conscience to.

Again, If men will come and meet together, it is natural and common to all societies, that they should be decent in their garments and otherwise.

But then you will say, When commeth it to an Institution? I meane an Institution that is forbidden, that none must meddle withall, that is proper to Christ.* Thus, when any man shall by virtue of any Law, any impositi∣on, put more into the thing then God, or then nature hath put into it, when they shall make their institution to put any efficacy into it for the wor∣ship of God more then God hath, this we call sinfull. As for instance

Suppose we should instance onely in garments. That all that meetes to∣gether in Christian Assemblies, should meet decently in decent garments, Ministers and others,* the light of nature tells us, and there may be law if men will be refractory to compell them unto it, to meet so as they may meet de∣cently in regard of their garments. But now if it come thus far, that we leave natural decency, and such or such a garment shall be made decent for Gods worship because it is appointed, whereas if it were not appointed it would not be decent at all. When I say all the decency doth not depend upon what God hath put into it, or what is natural to it, but depends meerly upon the institution of man, for take away that institution it would not be decent; as in some kinde of garments, put case men were left to their freedome, that there were no institution, I put it to your Consciences whether it would be decent to weare them: If it would not be decent, then it seems it is the in∣stitution that puts all upon it; and now here we must take heed. This then puts more upon that creature then nature or the God of nature hath put upon it, then in way of common prudence (I say were it not for an institution, that seemes to go further, that seemes to intrench upon an ordinance) would be done.* Further, There is more put upon 〈◊〉 then nature hath put into it, when there shall be expected by vertue of an institution, some kinde of spiri∣tual Page  112 efficacy to worke upon the soul, then it comes to be sinfull. As thu when that creature by virtue of the institution, and appointment shall be made, and esteemed, or accounted of more effectual to stirre up my mind, or to signifie such a thing, as purity or holynesse, then another creature that hath as much in it naturally to signifie the same thing, and to stirre up my minde; this is to imitate Gods institution, which is too much boldnesse in any man. As, when God doth appoint a thing in his Church, a Ceremo∣ny or the like, he will take some thing that hath a resemblance to put men in minde of such a holy thing, that hath some kinde of Metaphor or likenesse in it. But when God hath taken this creature and separated it from others, this creature must be expected to have more efficacy to signifie the thing to my soul, and to stiree up my soul to think of his holinesse, then any creature in the world not so appointed, though other creatures have as much in them naturally to do it. This is Gods institution. Now mans institution, that cometh neere to Gods, where there is a setting our post by his post, is when man shal take one creature from thousands of others, and all those thousands have as much in them naturally, and put into them by God, to put me in minde of holynesse, and to stirre up my heart; now this creature shall be se∣parated from the rest, and by virtue of an institution put upon it, there shall be expected more efficacy in this to stir up my mind, and to draw my heart nearer to God then other creatures that onely do it in a natural way, here I say is intrenching upon that which belongeth to the government of Christ.

Therefore I beseech you my brethren be not mistaken in this, because I know you are ordinarily led by that speech of the Apostle, let all thinge be, done decently and in order. Understand it aright, It is true we must do so and it is a sin, not to do things decently and in order, in the worship of God: but this doth not at all countenance any institution of mans when it comes to be spiritual, to draw the heart nearer unto God, or God nearer unto the heart, by virtue of mans separation of it from common use.

I might instance in other things, in places, That there should be a conve∣nient place for Gods worship, the light of nature will tell us: but when any man shall set one place aside separated from another, and shall make the worship of God to be better, and have more efficacy to draw men nearer unto God, or God nearer unto men, then another place that hath as much natural decency and fitness in it as that place hath; here it commeth to have the evil.* By these few instances you may judge of all things, when they do come to be institutions in Gods worship, and beyond the rule of the Apo∣stle, Let all things be done decently and in order,

This is the second thing of Christs government, that all Ordinances, all Lawes in the Church must hold on him the Head.

The third thing in Christs government in the Church is, that those Laws that he makes for the ordering and government of his Church, do not onely hold on him 〈…〉 such a virtue and efficacy in them com∣ming from the head, that they do binde the consciences of men, because they Page  113 come from him that is the head of the Church, they do lay bonds upon con∣sciences, and that primarily in another way, and more efficaciously then any law of any man in the world can. Yea they lay such a bond upon consci∣ence, that though a thing be commanded that hath no other reason for the command but meerly the will of Christ, and that we cannot see to what o∣ther good the thing doth tend, but meerly because Christ will have it, yet we are bound to obey, yea and that in secret; Yea so farre as the rule goeth, wee are bound to do what is required by it, though wee should suffer never so much prejudice to our selves. Here is the binding power of Christ in bind∣ing conscience. But there is no law of man doth in this way bind consci∣ence, perhaps these things, with some others that are to be delivered may at the first naming of them seeme to be somewhat tickle points: yet I know there is a necessity, and a kinde of absolute necessity to informe the conscien∣ces of men in them, especially in these times, and because they fall so full here in my way I could not out of conscience omit them: and yet still if you dili∣gently observe, I hope we shall carry on all so as to speake modestly and yet safely and fully too. I say therefore, the lawes of men are different from the Lawes of Christ. It is a part of the head-ship of Christ to lay bonds upon the conscience. But what will you say then to that Text of Scripture (I sup∣pose it is in every one of your thoughts, and would be ready in every one of your mouthes if you were from the Assembly) Rom. 13. Let every soul be subject to the higher powers; for there is no power but of God. Whosoever resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God, and they that resist, shall receive to themselves damnation. Yea ver. 5. You must be subject not out of feare of wrath, but for conscience sake.* This Text seemes to imply that the lawes of men do binde the conscience; And we finde it by experience how this is urged by many upon every thing, there is no kinde of institution of man whatsoever (except we can apparently shew, it is contrary to the word of God) but they thinke by virtue of this Text the consciences of men are bound; and so they flie upon men, that they are not men of conscience, that they will not obey authority. In that they doe not submit to authority, they sin against their consciences, &c. You shall have many men that will jeere at those that are so conscionable in Gods commands that seeme to be but lit∣tle things (and in themselves are little things) oh they dare not disobey be∣cause they are bound in conscience, they will jeere at the scrupulosity of their consciences there. But when it comes to mans commands, then they must obey in the least thing whatever it be, though in its own nature it be ne∣ver so indifferent; yet they must obey for conscience sake.

I shall desire as fully and as cleerly as I am able, to satisfie Consciences in this very thing. To open therefore that Scripture unto you.

First, you must observe, that every one is bound to be subject to the high∣er powers: (Mark) It is not to the Man first, but it is to the Power: Let every soule be subject to the higher power, where ever this power lyeth.

It is not to the will of a man that hath power, but it is to the power of that man.

Page  114 Now the power, the authority is that, that man hath in a legall way. The first must be understood.

Secondly, We must consider in what they must be subject: The laws of men are of three sorts. Some perhaps command that which is simply unlawfull, that we all yeeld the Scripture doth not binde us to be subject, there we must obey God rather then man.

But secondly, there are other things that are commanded, that are lawfull, and they are of two sorts. Either such things as do tend by the rules of justice and prudence to the publique good, to the good of the Community of which we are members: and there we are bound to obey for Conscience sake.

But still this not according to that obedience we owe to Christ our Head, this is secondarily, not primarily, because commanded by man, but because the rules of Justice and Prudence doth require this for the publique good, of which we are a community; and then because there commeth a Law of Christ to us to walk and live according to the rules of Justice and prudence: so wee are bound for conscience in those things, but not primarily, and so they cannot be said to bind conscience, so as Christs Lawes do.

There are other things that are commanded by man (and that especially concerns our question) and these are such things as indeed are neither here nor there for the common, for the publique good, the good of the com∣munity doth not at all depend upon them, and there is nothing in them but meerly the satisfaction of the wills of those that are in authority above us.

Now here is the Question, How far those Laws bind men, and bind Con∣science? Indeed many poor Christians that are conscientious have been ex∣treamly snared in these things.

To that I answer: That though such things should be commanded to be done, yet it they be not done.) so be it they be not omitted out of contempt, nor so as may bring scandall upon the authority that doth enjoyne them; and those that doe omit them shall patiently and willingly submit to what punishment the Law of the Land shall require) in such things this mans con∣science shall not, nor need not bind him over to answer before God, that he hath sinned against that rule, You will say, How do you prove that? How doth it appeare? For that must needs be made out.

I vvill make it appeare from the Text, from the nature of subjection that is required in the Text, and from Reason.

First, this Text here in Rom, 13. giveth this as the ground why we are to be subject, Because (saith the Text, ver. 4.) he is the minister of God for thy good. So that that which is the speciall ground of our subjection, is, be∣cause they that are in place are ministers for our good. But here is then an a∣buse of their power, if they will command what is not indeed tending to the good of the publique, but meerly the satisfaction of their own mindes.

But suppose it be an abuse, the Text saith we must be subject.

〈…〉You must do the thing for conscience 〈…〉 be subject, we must not re∣sist, Page  115 but be subject: The words are, We must be subordinate for conscience sake, (so it may be translated) Here is all that is required, that I must be sub∣ordinate and not resist,* that is, though there be a thing commanded by au∣thority, though this authority should be abused, yet I may not resist, I must be subject. If then out of that reverent respect I have to authority, though I do not doe the thing,* yet I doe not forbeare out of contempt: It is a thing exceedingly prejudiciall unto me, and it is not for the common good, but yet I am so carefull that authority shal not be despised that I will keep it secret.* I will not refuse to do it, so as shall be ascandall upon authority.

And yet further, if authority shall so far urge upon me as to inflict punish∣ment because I do not do it, I will patiently beare it. Now when these three things are done, here is that subordination to authority that the Apostle in that Scripture requires. And the reason why this of necessity must be gran∣ted, is, because otherwise all the Christian liberty that the Scripture so much speakes of, may be utterly taken away in regard of the practice, that it is in the power of man wholly to deprive us of it.

This Scripture cannot be so understood, that all that liberty we have in all things in their own nature indifferent should be so under the power of men, as that we for the practice, and for our conscience too must be tyed that we cannot have liberty, no not in secret, certainly that is that which is against the judgement of all Orthodox Divines of the Reformed Churches.

But it may be said, who shall be Judge whether things be tending to the publicke good yea or no?* will you take upon you to judge your self?

To that the Answer is thus plainly, that indeed those that are appointed by Law have the power to judge legally, and authoritatively to judge so as to bind others. But every man hath liberty so far as concerns his owne act to judge at his perill. And that a two-sold perill,

First at his perill,* lest he judging himself should sinne against God in this, that he should judge that not good for the publique, which indeed is good; that he should perhaps judge that to be of an indifferent nature that justice and prudence requireth of him: Here he mis-judgeth at his perill, hee sin∣neth against the Lord, against the rules of justice and prudence, and indan∣gereth his own soul if he goe amisse in this.

Secondly,* If he mis-judge it is at his perill that comes by the Lawes of men, that he is in danger then to suffer what the Laws of men shall inflict u∣pon him: And so submitting this way, his conscience may have some ease; and yet no gap open at all to liberty, or any disturbance to any lawfull authority for all this. This is necessary for men to know that they may un∣derstand* aright how to answer that question about Lawes binding of con∣science. You heare it is the prerogative of Christ our Head, so to be our Law-giver, so as to lay bonds upon conscience in such a manner as no man can doe the like. That is the third.

Fourthly,* Christ is the Head of the Church (in regard of some) even per∣sonally, so as to come and rule in the world in a glorious manner personally, Page  116 and so they thinke this may be interpreted, that Christ shall be a head (how said to be appointed, we shall speake of when we come unto it) that he shall come personally, and rule and governe things even in this world.

As Christ in his own person did exercise his Priestly and Propheticall of∣fices, so they thinke in his own person he shall exercise his Kingly power & office. Which opinion, because the further discussion of it, I suppose gene∣rally you are not able to beare yet, therefore in modesty I will forbeare, and though out of modesty I shal for the present forbeare, yet out of conscience I dare not altogether deny it, but so we will leave it, to see what trueth may be in this, we must expect to have light let in by degrees.

In these four things then we have the rule of Christ, three determined of, the fourth only propounded, which Christ in time will shew further light un∣to us in. Christ is then the Head.

Now from all this there followes three consequences that are very usefull.

1. Hence we learne that the seeking after the right government of Christ in his Church is not a light matter, it doth concern the Head-ship of Christ.

2.* By what hath been said we shal come to be instructed to know what is properly Antichristian and what not.

3. Wee shall come to have light how far the King may be said to be head of the Church. These things you will finde needfull for conscience to be in∣formed in, & I shal carry them on too I hope with modesty, fulness, & safety,

First,* I say it followes from hence that it is not a light matter to seeke af∣ter the right government of Christ in his Church, it concerns a head-ship of Christ. The head-ship of Christ in a speciall manner consisteth in that there are some other things in which it doth consist, which perhaps may be spo∣ken of hereafter, but here in this place especially that.

Indeed in the primitive times there the greatest contention was about the Doctrines of Religion, what Doctrines should hold upon Christ and what not, and the people of God did there suffer most for contending about the doctrines that held upon Christ the Head, they would not receive a Doct∣rine but what held on Christ, and what was obrtuded upon them, not hold∣ing upon Christ the Head they did reject. And Luther upon this place hath this speech, he tells us how much the Church in after time did suffer for this very thing, and saith, What kinde of dangers did inviron the Church, and do inviron it for acknowledging Christ to be the head, these our times doe sufficiently testifie. And further, because we preach Christ to be the whole head, therefore we are subject to Anathemas, and to all kinde of punish∣ment. And in these latter times it is like that the great contention will be, ra∣ther about the head-ship of Christ in the point of his government then in the other, the other being so cleare unto us; and the sufferings of the people of God will be so much the more grievous, because that this is accounted such a little thing, such a poor businesse: And further, because this doth not seem to be altogether so clearely revealed in the Scripture, as other Doctrinall points that hold upon Christ the ead. And Christ the rather hath so dispo∣sed Page  117 of things, that this shall not be so clearly revealed, because he intended to suffer Antichrist to rise to his height: and it cannot be imagined that if the Doctrine of Christs government in his Church had beene clearly and de∣monstratively laid down, so as there could have beene no gain-saying of it, I say it cannot be imagined how it is possible for Antichrist to have risen to that height that he hath; Christ because hee intended to bring about many passages of his providence, and many great workes of his that way in suf∣fering Antichrist to arise; therefore he hath left this point so in the word as is subject to many doubts, and may occasion many objections against it.

But the nearer the time comes for Antichrist to fall, the more clearly this shall be revealed.

Secondly,* By this that hath beene said we may learne what to account Antichristianisme, and what not: for there are many amongst us that cry out against every thing that displeaseth them, that it is Antichristianisme, that it is Antichristianisme, and yet understand but very little what Anti∣christianisme is.

But by this that hath beene said,* you must know that Antichristianisme is not every errour: It is true in a large sense Antichrist is as much as against Christ, and so every sin, every errour is against Christ, and in Antichristian∣isme, if you take it so. But you are to know the Scripture speakes of the An∣tichrist, and of Antichristianisme in a speciall acceptation. What is that?

This my brethren is Antichristianisme, that which shall oppose Christ as a Head, and set up another head-ship; here is the propriety of Antichrist and Antichristianisme; as in all those foure things named before.

First,* VVhosoever shall obtrude any Doctrine upon the Church to be believed, by their own authority, he is guilty of Antichristianisme, not who∣soever shall preach or hold an error in the Church. But when any shall pre∣sume to obtrude upon the Church, any Doctrine that holds upon humane authority, to be urged upon the authority of those that do impose it, this I say is properly Antichristianisme, for it doth oppose Christ in his head-ship.

Secondly,* The intrusion of such offices and officers in the Church as meerly belonging to the spirituall man, such as are properly Church offices, that do not hold upon Christ the Head, but only hold upon them, this is An∣tichristianisme.

Thirdly, The imposing of any Ordinance, any new institutions that are, as hath been opened,* upon the Church, belongeth to Antichristianisme.

Fourthly,* The imposing of lawes so to bind conscience as the Lawes of Christ do, here is Antichristianisme.

This is Antichristianisme, and that not onely because these things are di∣rectly against the head-ship of Christ, but because these things doe set up a∣nother head too; and so the word Antichrist may signifie as well for one to be in stead of Christ (for so 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the Greeke signifieth, sometime as well, for, as against as of his fulness we receive grace for grace, it is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, in the Greeke, grace for grace) so Antichrist is one that shall set up hm∣selfe Page  118 as head of the Church in stead of Christ, one that shall clayme unto himselfe that head-ship that is proper to Jesus Christ, and not to be com∣municated to any from Jesus Christ. This is Antichristianisme.

Now the Apostle faith that there were many Antichrists in his time, and this mystery of ungodlinesse, of inquity did worke then; but now it comes to grow to a height in that great Antichrist of Rome, (for you know) in these foure are the speciall things wherein he is the Antichrist; Because hee obtrudes Doctrines, Articles of Faith upon the Church by his owne autho∣rity; He makes all Offices of the Church to hold on him; And appointeth Lawes, Ordinances and Institutions likewise to hold on him; And claym∣eth the binding of Consciences, so as is proper to Jesus Christ.

And all those that hold thus on Antichrist, and are thus abettors of him in these things, these are guilty of this greatsinne of Antichristianisme.

That for your right information about the sin of Antichristianisme.

The third consequence.* You say Christ is the Head, but you know the King is called the Head of the Church, in what sense are we to understand that? Or how may we come to understand aright that Oath that is given, of Supremacie.

These things (my brethren) are necessary for information of Conscience, and the burthen lyes upon us to make out these things as cleare to you as we can, that you may go along with the more freedome of spirit and consci∣ence in your way, and yet give every one their right too.

You are to know that the Oath of Supremacy came into England thus: In the time of Popery, the Pope claymed unto himselfe the Head-ship of the Church: He being excluded, then came in that Oath to acknowledge the King or Queene the Head of the Church. But now you must know, first, that this title, The Head of the Church, as it hath been attributed to the King, hath been much abused, and it hath given some advantage to our ad∣versaries, for the King is not the Head of the Church, neither as Christ is, nor as the Pope claymed it:

Not as Christ: Christ is the Head to governe unlimitedly. No limits or bounds are set to the Government of Christ, but only his owne minde, his owne will. It is not so with any Prince in the world, he is not so the Head to governe. But all Governours have a two-fold limit; They are limited by Lawes of God, they are limited by the Lawes of man too.

Neither is he the Head, as the Pope challengeth unto himselfe, How is that? you will say. In the fore-named foure things, the Pope challengeth holding of doctrines, and holding of offices, and the like, upon him. Offi∣ces do not so hold upon any Governours, upon the King or others, as the Pope challengeth to hold upon him. How doth he challenge them to hold upon him? Thus, that all are in him virtually, and so to be derived from him to others. And indeed in a 〈◊〉 part do many of our Prelates say that 〈…〉: that is, that all the offices hold on 〈…〉, and o goe from them unto others: Page  119 and hence it is they account all other Ministers but their Curats, and they must not pray but as they will, and do nothing but what they will, Why? because they are but them substitutes, as if all offices were virtually in them, and so came from them unto others; whereas every office in the Church, e∣ven the meanest, holds upon Christ the Head.

Now it is true, in the civill State in some sense it may he said that the of∣ficers of the Common-wealth are in a kinde virtually in the King, he being the supreame, but you must not thinke that all are thus virtually in him in Church affaires, for if they were virtually in him, then he could himself dis∣pence those things that others by virtue of their office, can but that he can∣not, as to give the Sacrament and the like.

But how is he the head then, or in what sense may we quiet our Conscien∣ces in acknowledging the King to be the head of the Church?

Onely thus he is said to be the head, because he is the supreame to govern in a civill way, not onely the Civill State, but even affaires that belong to the Church too. We doe not deny the power of Princes even in affaires that be∣long to the Church. And because he is the supreame in that civill power, to governe in a civill way by civill Laws, so as to see Christ not dishonoured, so as to keepe out Idolatry, to protect the Church, to punish enormities that are there, to defend it from enemies. In that sense he is said to be the head, but that title of supreame Governor being understood in a civil way is more proper.* To make that a little out unto you; that there is some supremacy in this, not onely in the civill State but in Church affaires: For wee must not exclude the King quite out of all Church affaires, as some would do, no we doe not; but though we would informe your consciences aright, yet wee would not by any meanes take away any lawfull power God hath put into him. Now that he hath power even in Church affaires, there are many rea∣sons that fully move me to be perswaded in it.

The first that I shall name, I think it will least prevail (though it be the most ordinary) with them that make most doubt of it, therefore I will not stand upon it, only name it. We know that all along among the Jews in the time of the Old Testament, the Governours there, and Kings and Princes had power in affaires that belong to the Church as well as to the State.

But this I say I doe not think to be the greatest strength in this point, espe∣cially to p••swade them that make any scruple of it, they will us that the power there was but Tipicall and the like, and sobindeth not now.

There are therefore other reasons that perswade the same thing.

The first is this, because I finde that in the Prophets,* where wee have a Prophesie of the state of the Church in the times of the Gospel. God doth promise that he will make Kings to be their nursing fathers, and Queens to be their nursing mothers. Now if they be to be nursing fathers of the Church, surely they must have some influence by their power into it.

Secondly,* That place in Rom. 13. spealtes indifferently and faith, he is the Minister for thy good. It doth not say for thi; good or that good, 〈◊〉Page  120 this civill good or Ecclesiastical good, but he is the Minister for thy good, for all good unto thee so farre as his power can reach.

It is a hard thing you know (if men will put us unto it) to shew in the New Testament the power that Kings had, because there was then no King but Heathens,* yet saith he, they are Ministers for thy good, and speakes to Christians.

But thirdly, and that which yet may seeme to have more in it, I finde this in the New Testament that Saint Paul when he was accused by his bre∣thren in matters of Religion, hee did appeal unto Caesar. Act. 25. 9. who was a Heathen Magistrate, his accusation was in matters of Religion, in questions about their Law, and about one JESUS that was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive.

And yet in his answer to those things he appealeth unto Caesar, therefore there is somewhat that Caesar hath to doe in over-looking of the affaires of the Church, that concerns the wayes of Religion.

But you will say, How can he be a competent Judge? Can Caesar a Heathen be a competent Judge in matters of Religion? Is it possible? Or suppose that a Governour be wicked, can he be a competent Judge in mat∣ters of Religion?

I answer, the wickednesse of a Governour, though he be a Heathen, yet loseth not his power, he hath still a true and a lawfull power; yea he hath some oversight of things that concerne Church affaires.

How can that be?*

Christianity gives not the authority,* but enables to execute that authority, a Heathen Magistrate hath authority, it is his duty to see that Christians be not wronged, and if he doth not it is his sin, but if he becomes a Christian, he is the better able to do what he ought, but this puts not the power into him.

But if a man be wicked,* and understands not the things of the Church, how can he be a judge?

Thus,* though the King be not a competent judge of the Principles upon which the Church goes, whether right or no, he hath not skill to do that be∣ing such a one: yet he may have ability to judge betweene man and man, whether one to the other doth wrong yea or no, and that in matters of Reli∣gion. As thus; though he doth not think the Principles upon which they go to be right, yet he can judge whether according to those Principl they doe right one to another, whether according to their Principles, they doe not wrong one the other. And this is a great matter to be able to judge and to punish with civill punishment when any of the Church wrongs his brother against the Principles that himselfe doth professe.

As for example, though he be not a Physitian, he doth not understand the difference between the poyson and a wholesome Medicine, yet when things are brought before him, he may be a competent judge, by evidence so as to condemne a Physitian that hath poysoned a man instead of giving of him wholsome Physick.

Page  121 And that objection against his competency in judging in the affairs of the Church hath no more power then if it should have been objected that hee must not judge upon a Physitian, whether he hath poysoned a man or no, because he himself is not a Physitian. Thus wee have done with these three consequents that follow upon the opening of the headship of Christ in point of his government. And now we see more clearly how Christ is head & none but Christ, & what glory we are to give to Christ as the head of the Church.

There is one thing more belongs to the head-ship of Christ which must not be passed by, though it be not so fully aymed at in the text as what hath already been said, and that is the influence of spiritual life, that comes unto the Church by Christ the head, as the animall spirits come from the head to the members. And this is the very reason, first, why grace in the Saints is of such a beautifull and glorious nature as it is, because it comes from Christ the head.* Secondly, This is the reason of that power and efficacy that there is of grace in the Saints, because it comes from Christ the head. Thirdly, this is also the reason why grace in the Saints is of such an everlasting nature, and that beyond that of Adam. It hath more beauty then the grace Adam had, and it hath more power and efficacy then the grace Adam had, and it is of a more everlasting nature then that was, upon this ground, because the grace of the Saints holdeth upon Christ the head, & hath an influence from Christ, God-man in a speciall and peculiar way, such an influence as Adam had not. This is the excellency of grace in the Saints.

And to conclude this point of the Head-ship of Christ. The rather hath God the Father thus advanced Christ to be the Head, because he was willing to stoop so low, to be as a worme under foot, for so he saith of himself, Psal. 22. 6. I am a worme, and no man. Christ was low in his own eyes, and submitted himself to such a condition, and now behold the Father hath ad∣vanced him, for so it is said, Ephes. 1. 22. God hath made him head over all things, hath made him head over principalities, and powers, and domini∣ons, over Angels, and over all men and all things in the Church, hath ad∣vanced him to this high and glorious dignity, we see somewhat of it now, and we shall see more gloriously the head-ship of Christ hereafter.

In this God the Father doth shew that as he hath dealt with his Sonne, so he is willing to deale with the Members of his Son, in a proportion. His Son that was willing to be so low and under foot, is now advanced to such a high glory that all must stoop, and yeeld, and submit unto him.

Let us be willing to lye low, and though it be under foot, to be troden up∣on by the wicked and ungodly of the world; though we cannot expect to be advanced to be head, yet we may expect to be advanced to glory & dignity.

You know what God said to Saul, 1 Sam. 15. When thou wert little in thine own eyes then I made thee King.

The lesse any of us are in our own eyes, the more are we like to be advan∣ced by God, for God wlll observe a proportion between his dealings with Christ the head, and his dealings with all his Members.

Page  122

The Seventh Lecture

HOSEA 1. 11. the latter part of the verse

And appoint themselves one Head,* and they shall come up out of the Land for great shall be the day of Jezreel.

They shall [appoint] themselves one Head.

EPhes. 1. 11. It is said, God gave Christ to be Head over all things to the Chnrch. How then it is said here that they shall [appoint] to themselves one Head?

It is true, God the Father hath advanced his Son, and ex∣tolled him above all things, and hath given him to be Head over all: but yet when the Church, when the Saints shall choose this Christ to be their Head, when they shall come in freely, and wil∣lingly submit themselves unto Christ, lifting him up above all, honoring his ordinances, laws, institutions, depending upon him for light; They are said to appoint Christ to be their Head.

As, though Gods eternal Decree hath made himself to be the God of his Saints, yet when the Saints do choose God to be their God, God doth ac∣count himselfe to be made their God by them: they make God to be their God in choosing of him. So though Christ by the Father be appointed to be the Head over all, yet the act of the Church in choosing Christ, and com∣ming to him freely, and submitting unto him as to the Head, is accounted even an appointing of Christ to be Head.

This is that happy work which the Saints have been doing, and which we are to doe, and they will doe to the end of the world, appointing Christ a Head. Though there be some speciall time that this Text hath reference un∣to (of which by and by) yet in all Ages of the Church, when the Saints doe choose Christ to be their Head, they are said to appoint him.

Let us joyne in this blessed work, an honourable work for creatures to ap∣point the Lord JESUS to be Head over them. Let us say as Hushai did in another case, 2 Sam. 19. 18. Him whom the Lord, and this people, & all men of Israel choose for King, his will I be, and with him will I abide.

So, He whom God the Father shall give to be Head over all things, him whom the Saints have in all times chosen for their Head, it is he that shall be our Head and our King, his will we be, and with him will we abide.

Let us give Christ the preheminence above all, prizing his govern∣ment, his ordinances above all the comforts we have in this world, Psa. 137 6.*If I prefer not Jerusalem above my chiefe joy, The words are in the O∣••nal, If I make not Jerusa•••〈◊〉end above the head of my joy;

Page  123 Whatsoever is high in our thoughts, as a head, let Christ be above it;

Christ in his ordinances must be above the head of our joy. For otherwise he is not a Head unto us. If you invite a man of quality to your table, though you provide never such chear for him, yet if you should set any people of meane quality above him, he would not regard all your courtesies. When you tender up any thing unto Christ, when you seeme to entertaine him with the greatest respect, yet if there be any thing you set above him, especially if a vile lust be set above him, he cares not for all your entertainment.

We read in that Col. 2. 19. (the place we made use of in opening the for∣mer point) that there were some blamed for not holding of the Head; What is that? because they gave more honour to Angels then was due unto them.

It is spoken about the worshipping of Angels, though never such glorious creatures, yet by over-prizing they come, not to hold of the Head. What, is the giving undue honour to Angels enough to take us off from Christ the Head? Certainly then the prostrating our selves before our vile and base lusts, doth much more take us off from holding Christ to be the Head.

Let us look at all the offices and ordinances of Christ, as holding upon him the Head (as you heard before) that so we may have a more reverent esteem of them. Let us depend upon him for influence of life, and not depend up∣on means. Let us manifest in our conversation the spirit and life that wee have received from such a Head as Christ is, that we may not be a dishon∣our to this our head.

I remember Chrysostome in his Comment upon that first of the Ephesi∣ans,* sayes, in this regard wee must be better then Angels, yea greater then Arch-angels, and he hath three most excellent expressions about this, that Christians should take heed of dishonouring Christ their Head.

First, saith he, suppose a man had a precious Diadem upon his head, or a crown of gold, that would be some argument unto him to make him take heed of doing things unworthy of that ornament that is upon his head: and we (saith he) have not a Diadem, wee have not a crowne of gold upon our heads, we have Christ himself to be our Head, therefore let us doe nothing unworthy of this our head.

Secondly, he hath this expression. O the honour (saith he) that God af∣fordeth unto us in this! the thought of this were enough to terrifie us from sin, more then the setting of hell it self before our eyes. And indeed so it is.

The right understanding of Christ to be our Head, and we having so neer an union with him, is of power to terrifie us from sin more then the sight of hell, if it were before us.

Thirdly, he goes on further. Saith he, What, is Christ your head? doe you know next unto whom this your head doth sit in heaven? Is he not pla∣ced at the right hand of the Father above all principalities and powers? And shal the members of this head be trampled upon by the Devil? God forbid.

And yet so honour the head as to give the honor likewise to all that are un∣to him, to those that he hath placed for the administration of any ordinance of his unto us.

Page  124 We must not under pretence of giving Christ all the honour, dishonour those that are set over us by Christ. We have a notable expression of the A∣postle Paul, 1 Cor. 1. 12. where reproving the dissentions of the Church of Corinth: There are some (saith he) that say we are of Paul, and others wee are of Apollo, and others said, we are of Cephas, & others we are of Christ. Why, are these all blamed? how could those that said that they held of Christ be blarned? It is apparent that the Apostle blames them all, as well those that said they did hold of Christ, as those that said they did hold of Paul, or Apollo, or Cephas. How is that?

Thus. Among the Corinths there were some that made divisions, some were for some officer, others for others; we are for Paul said some, we for Apollo said others, and we for Cephas, and for our parts (said others) wee are for none of them all, we are neither for Paul, nor for Apollo, nor for Ce∣phas, but we are for Christ, what are men? what are officers? what are Or∣dinances? what are all those to us? Christ is all in all unto us, he is our head, and we are compleat in him, and we hold upon him, we are for neither of all the other. These are blamed as well as the other. We must so hold upon Christ, as yet to give all due honour to the Ordinances, to the Institutions, to the Officers and Offices of Christ. Yet I confesse when any that are in Christs stead to dispence his ordinances unto us, if they prove to be wicked, of all people in the world they are the most contemptible, and a just judge∣ment of God t is upon them. Esay, 9. 15. The ancient and honourable, he is the head, and the Prophet that teacher•• lyes, he is the taile,

Mark, The Prophet there speakes against those that were in place and power, though they were naught, yet still they retained the name of ancient and honourable, but the Prophet that teacheth lyes, a contemptiblename is put upon him, he is the taile, no generation in the world more contemptible then those when once they degenerate.

But you will say, though they should be vile in their lives, yet the wicked∣nesse of them that are in office doth not hinder the virtue and efficacy of the Ordinances, it depends not upon them. True, the efficacy of no Ordinance depends upon men, and it is not either because the Minister is vile, or Com∣municants are vile that communicate with you that can hinder the vertue of an Ordinance. If the Church contract no guilt upon themselves by retain∣ing such in place, and by not casting out such as doe come into communion with them. Take but that for granted that there is no guilt contracted.

It is not the wickednesse then of the Minister or of the people that hinders the efficacy of any Ordinance at all. But if it prove that there be guilt con∣tracted upon the Church through the negligence of their duty this way, then the case is the same with those of Corinth, 1 Cor. 5. 6. A little leaven lea∣veneth the whole lump, what is that whole lump but their Communion?

But was not Christ the Head before because now it is said,*They shall ap∣point themselves one Head? It is spoken of a glorious time when the Jews shall he called again, and 〈◊〉 and Judah shall joyne together.

Page  125 Now they shall appoint themselves one Head, Christ to be their Head.

Christ was the head to the Fathers under the Law, how now is he appoin∣ted their head?* Christ indeed was a head to the fore-fathers, but now in the times of the Gospel, especially at these times that are spoken of here, at the calling of the Jewes, and that glorious time that shall be then, Christ will appeare to be a Head in another manner, to governe in another way, farre more gloriously then now he doth, and far more influence of grace & light will come from him unto his members then now. Though Christ hath al∣wayes been a head to his Church, yet there is a time comming when the se∣venth Trumpet shall be sounded (spoken of Revel. 11. 15.) when that voyce shall be heard that yet was never heard, The Kingdomes of the earth are the Lords, and his Christs, and he shall reigne for evermore. A time comming wherein Christ shall say unto his people;*To him that overcom∣eth will I grant to sit with me in my Throne, even as I also overcame and am set downe with my Father in his Throne. The Throne that Christ sits u∣pon now, is his Fathers Throne; hee doth not call it his, and at the day of judgement the Scripture tells us that he shall give up the Kingdom unto his Father. There is a time therefore for the Throne of Christ to be here fur∣ther then it hath beene,* which Christ hath promised to those that doe over∣come. A time comming when there shall be heard the neise, not onely of many waters, but as a mighty thunder, saying, Allelujah, for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth. He shall be a head another way.

Now if it bee true that Christ himself is appointed by the Church to be head, then the officers and Ministers of the Church should not think much to be appointed in their places by the Church too. It is true, their offices hold on Christ the head, but the designation of persons it must be from some Church worke or other. Who of the Church, should do it, we do not now list to enter into any such controversie, but that there must be more then a civill act to make any man that was not before in the place of a Pa∣stor or teacher of a Church, now to be so, somewhat to make my consci∣ence to yeeld and submit unto him as an officer that JESUS CHRIST hath placed over me, some Church-work certainly there must be in this: Christ himself would be appointed a head by his people, that they might submit to him the more chearfully, and give glory to him with the more freedome of spirit. And as for all such as shall thrust themselves upon a people, no mar∣vaile though they complain of want of respect from them, or of their going away from them.* They never did any thing towards the appointing them officers over them. They sholl appoint themselves a head.

Not force Christ upon others by fire and sword. Heritiques are to be burnt with fire (saith Luther) but with what fire? the fire of charity.

They shall appoint to themselves. Let others do what they will, let others choose what head they please, yet the Saints will appoint to themselves the Lord Christ to be their head, they will blesse themselves in Christ, he shall be a head unto us, whatsoever he be unto others.

Page  126 Others it may be will choose unto themselves other heads, but the Saints say as they in Micah. 4. 5. All people will walke every one in th name of his God, and we will walke in the name of our God for ever & ever

Other people they will walke in their wayes, and choose to themselves such as they may have most liberty under, they perhaps thinke the government of Christ to be too strick for them, but for us we will blesse our selves in our Christ, we will never prostitute our consciences so to men, to lusts and hu∣mors as we have done, it is Christ shall be our head and we will submit un∣to him, it is he that is our Law-giver. Secret a mea mecum (it is an Hebrew proverb) my secret is with my selfe, what good we finde in Christ it is to our selves; Let Christ be a stumbling-block and a rock of offence to others, to us he is precious,* he is one of ten thousand, he is altogether lovely.

They shall appoint to themselves one Head. But one; The Church is not a Monster or divers heads, It hath but one head.

There cannot be a ministeriall head of the Church, Christ is alwayes pre∣sent, and hath left his laws with his people. If we consider the difference be∣tween Ecclesiasticall power and Civill power, wee shall see it cleare that there cannot be a ministeriall head of the Church (indeed there is a contra∣diction in the very mention of it:* a ministeriall head? it is absurd to speake it) It is true in the civill power, it is not against any institution of Christ that there should be one head over all the world, nor against any law: But for to have one head over the Church, yea to have any general officers over all the Churches (to challengde a head-ship) it cannot be. The reason is, because there can be no delegation of power that belongs to the Church. There may be a delegation of a civill power, one man may be King over many Coun∣treys, and he may appoint substitutes under him, and delegate them that they shall officate under him. There is no such matter in the Church, there is no delegation of power from one to another. Grant but once delegation of the teaching power here you stablish Non-residency; grant but delegation of the ruling power and you presently establish a Papacy. There is no such thing therefore.

Again, the civill power is by way of coaction, a Magistrate is not al∣wayes bound to give a reason of his injunctions, he may by way of com∣pulsion require obedience, But Church power is to deale with conscience; and therefore every one that hath any power must officiat himself, and deale with the consciences of men to perswade and to instruct.

These two things being granted it is impossible that there can be a head o∣ver all the Churches, yea or over many. But one; We must joyne nothing with JESUS CHRIST, in the way of his head-ship. As Alexander said to Darius, when he sent unto him that he would be willing to divide the Kingdom; No, saith Alexander, there is but one Sun in the firmament, and there can be but one King in a Kingdom. So saith Christ, but one head He head alone or no head at all; nothing must be joyned with him as head;

Indeed the heathen gods 〈…〉 to divide their honours, and to. Page  127 have but some, and other to have some other: and hence the Senate of Rome rejected Christ from taking in him to be a God, after they consulted about it, for said they, if Christ come to be acknowledged a God he will not share with the rest, he will have all himself, and so upon this reason they refused him, Thus do many reject Christ for a head, and for a God, because Christ will not share with others; he must be but one. And a speciall help is here to our faith in looking up to Christ for help and protection when all meanes faile (I beseech you observe it) What, doth Christ require of us that wee should make him head alone and joyne nothing with him as head? Then we may well expect from him in all our wants, a protection, and that he alone should help us; or otherwise, the condition of a Christian were the worst condition in the world, were worse then the condition of a heathen: For the gods of a heathen would be content to have but part of the honour of the heart and life because they could help but in part. If a heathen god should require the whole soulto be lifted up above all, and he alone to be honoured and worshipped as a God, and yet when it comes to a matter of helpe and protection, he could doe nothing without some other joyned with him, a heathen might well reason the ease with him as doing him wrong, certainly Christ will never wrong his people, so as to challenge from them, that they should lift up him alone, and joyne no other with him, and yet when it comes to their help and succour that there should be need to call in others besides himselfe to their help. Therefore as Christ doth challenge it from us to make him our head alone, so we may challenge it from Christ to helpe us alone when there is no other helpe for us.

Thus we have finished both the head-ship of Christ, and the Churches appointing him to be that head. Now followes the next mercy, the next blessing, and that but in a word, and then we come to the conclusion of this Chapter. They shall come up out of the land.

Aterrenis affectibus, So Jerome, he makes it a comming up from their earthly senses, earthly affections. A vita miserabili, so Luther upon the place, makes it a comming up from their miserable life and condition.

But rather thus, Come up out of the land, that is, out of their captivity.

Judah and Israel they shall joyne together in comming to Jerusalem, and so joyne in the same kinde of worship, as they were wont to come out of all parts of the countrey to worship at Jerusalem, and there were united in one kinde of worship, so they shall now come from all parts of the world where they are scattered, and joyne in the same way of worship, yea and it is very probable in their own land. There was a time when the people of God did sing songs of praise in the wildernesse, Exod, 15. But the time shall come when they shall do it in their own land; and this shall be a blessing of God upon them. Isa. 26. 1. In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah, VVe have a strong City, salvation will God appoint for walls and bulworkes. It shall be sung in the land of Judah,

Ezek. 20. 40. In the mountaines of the height of Israel, saith the Lord Page  128 God, there shall all the house of Israel, all of them in the land serve me, there will I accept them, and there will I require your offerings, and the first fruites of your oblations, with all your holy things.

Ezekiel. 37. 21. I will take the children of Israel from among the hea∣then whether they begone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land. This blessing hath God granted unto many of his servants this day; who never thought to have seen their owne land, their own good land: but God hath bin pleased to gather them up that they are come not onely into their own land, but they finde the armes and hearts of the Saints open to imbrace them, and call them to publicke imployments.

It was not long since that the land could not beare them; we hope that the time may come ere long that the Lord Christ may so rule and that in our land, that it will as hardly beare wicked and ungodly men as it hath borne the Saints, though it were hard to say that there should be so much violence used even to keep them from some sins, as hath been used here against the Saints to keep them from their God, yet time may come ere long that wic∣ked men may be glad to flye (though not forced unto it) out of their owne choyce, into another land, because they cannot have the enjoyment of their lusts so freely here: As the Saints have been forced to flye out of their land that they might serve the Lord and keep their consciences cleare.

But we let this passe, and come now to the close of the Chapter to the Epi∣phonema of it all. For great shall be the day of Jezreel.

They shall appoint themselves one head, and come up out of the land, for great, Licet, so Tremelius turnes it, although the day of Jezreel be great: & indeed the Hebrew particle 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 signifieth quamvis as well as quia,* It may be translated [although] as well as [for] And he translating it so, although the day of Iezreel be great, he takes it in this sense, that is, although the peo∣ple of Israel shall be brought into great affliction, yet God will be so merci∣full then when his time comes, as they shall be gathered together again, and appoint themselves one head, and come up out of the land. And from such an interpretation of the words there might be an excellent meditation raised, and that is this. That the greatnesse of the misery of the Church is no hin∣derance to the course of the freenesse and abundance of Gods mercy to it.

Although the day of Iezreel, their day be never so calamitous, never so afflictive, never so grievous, yet they shall come up out of the land and ap∣point themselves one head. The greatnesse of the Churches misery is no hin∣derance unto the Churches delivery: Why? because their deliverance de∣pendeth upon a God who doth delight not onely to manifest some power, but the excellency, and the glory, and the choyce of his power in their deli∣verance. For that take this Scripture, Isa. 62. 8. Where speaking of these very times that we shall heare of afterward, of Gods being mercifull unto his people, he saith, The Lord hath sworne by his right hand: and we have not onely mention thereof Gods right hand and swearing by it, but the arme of God too; Marke that, The arme of God and the arme of his strength:

Page  129 There is Gods hand, Gods arme,* the arme of his strength, & God sweareth by it.* Surely when God delighteth to put forth such power for the deliver∣ance of his Church, it is no great matter whether the afflicted estate be great or small. It makes no great matter for the hinderance of the Churches deli∣very, no more then if you should see two bubbles of water rise up, & one hath a little thicker skin then the other. Now there is as much difference in the difficulty that the thick skin bubble makes when a mighty Cannon or peece of Ordnance shal be shot off with a mighty Bullet to resist it, from the thin∣ner skin bubble, as the greatest and forest affliction that the people of God were ever under in this world makes a difference in the difficulty of their de∣liverance (when they have to deale with an infinite God) from the least af∣fliction that ever the Church was in. The difference is no more. If a childe indeed should see the thicker skin bubble, he might thinke tis harder to be broke then the thinner skin, but if a Cannon should be shot off, nay if it be but a Fillip, it makes no difference. Now the afflictions of Gods people they are to this right hand of Gods power, and the arme of his strength, but as a bubble of water before a mighty Cannon. Yea if there be not help at all to deliver Gods people in time of affliction yet God can create helpe, He will create Jerusalem a rejoycing, and their people a joy. Yea suppose their con∣dition be such as yet never was the like since the beginning of the world, yet Isa, 64. 4. Since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor percei∣ved by the care, either hath the eye seene what God hath prepared for them that waite for him. And as the greatnesse of the Churches deliverance is no hinderance of Gods power in delivering them, so it should be no hinderance to the work of our faith. Common prudence and reason will go a great way to uphold us under some affliction, but when the affliction comes to be sore, and grievous, and long; prudence & reason then sinketh under the burthen; but then should faith lift up it selfe, and cast an eye upon this right hand of Gods power, this arme of his strength that he hath sworne by, and exercise it self in the glorious acts of it. For certainly faith is appointed for such a time as this, when the Church is under grievous extremities. The ordinary afflic∣tions of the Church do not call for such a work of faith, but when they come to extraordinary that requires such a power of God for their deliverance, then there is called for a worke of faith proportionable, as Alexander when he was in great danger, Now (saith he) there is a danger fit for the spirit of Alexander to incounter withall.* So when the Church comes to be in any great danger, all the members of it should say, here is a danger, here is a trouble fit for the spirit of Christians, fit for the spirits of those that are able to exercise the most noble and glorious acts of faith.

This glorious exercise of faith, I may even say we are scarce yet for the present put to it, for reason and sense sees much help, they see that the cause of God at this day hath the better of the adversary; reason I say and pru∣dence may see far this way. Let us not look upon every difficulty as a thing that calleth for such a mighty glorious worke of faith, whereas men by rea∣son Page  130 and prudence, and may carry themselves under such difficulties much better then most of us doe. But we do not know but the Lord may call us unto such difficulties and dangers as requires such a faith as hath such a kinde of work as I have spoken of. Let us therefore lay up this Instruction for the time to come. Again, for great shall be the day of Jezreel,

If the words be read thus (as they are in your Bibles) and yet have refer∣ence to the calamitous time, and grievous extremities of the day of Jezreel, then there will be these two excellent meditations from thence. The first is,

That Gods bowels of compassion do work toward his Church because of the greatnesse of their affliction.* When their afflictions shall be very great, and the greater they are, the more do Gods bowels of compassion work to∣ward them. We know the misery of Gods people in Exo. 3. was a marvail∣ous quickning argument to the compassion of God (as I may so speake) I have seene, I have seene (saith he) the affliction of my people, and their sor∣rowes, and therefore am come down to deliver them.

If the greatness of the affliction of the Church move the bowels of Gods compassion, then let not the greatnesse of affliction hinder our faith. Let not the greatnesse of trouble reason down our faith, but rather let it reason up our faith, for so indeed it should; and so the Saints of God heretofore have done, by the greatness of the trouble we must reason up our faith as thus: It is ••me for thee O Lord to work, for men have almost destroyed thy law; yea the high time is come for thee to have mercy upon Zion,*for thy people begin to favour the dust thereof. What, was this a good argument, Have mercy u∣pon me, and pardon my sin for it is very great, to move God withall? Sure∣ly then this is a good argument, Deliver us in our afflictions, for they are ve∣ry great: for sin makes a great deale more distance betweene God and us then afflictions: yet if the greatness of sin shall come to be put as an argu∣ment for Gods mercy and compassion to work, much more the greatness of afflictions. Yet this is the grace of God in the second Covenant that even the sins that before made the creature the object of hatred, those sins come now to make it an object of compassion. So afflictions that before were part of the curse, they come now to be arguments for the moving of the bowels of Gods tender compassion toward his people. Another note (if you read it so, for great is their affliction) is this, the promise is the only sup∣port of the soul,* and that which carrieth it thorow the greatest affliction.

Afflictions are as leade to the net, the promise is as the corke, the promise keepes above water when the lead pulls down. But I leave these medita∣tions, though I finde many interpreters run this way. And I rather take it as a further expression of Gods wonderfull mercy unto his Church.

For great shall be the day of Jezreel, That is, God hath a great day of mercy for Jezreel. That is the meaning, they shall appoint themselves one head, they shall be gathered together and be made one, they shall come up out of the land, why? for God hath yet to come a great day of mercy to his pepole, A gr••• day of Jezreel.

Page  131 And herein therefore God makes use of the name of Jezreel in a good sense. They that carry it the other way would carry the signification of the name thus, for great is the day of scattering, of the scattered people, so Iez∣reel signifieth (as you heard in the beginning of the Chapter) But Jezreel signifieth likewise the seed of God. Before God made use of their name in the worse sense, that he would scatter them according to their name; now he makes use of their name in the best sense, they are the seed of God, and there is great mercy from God for them.

When God is reconciled unto a people,* he takes all in the best sense and makes the best acception of every thing, as he doth here of the name Jezreel.

We have onely these two things to consider of in this expression.

1. That the Saints of God, and the Church, they are Gods Jezreel. That is, they are the seed of God.

2. That there is for this seed of God a great day.

1. They are the seed of God. The seed of the blessed, and there is a bles∣sing in them. They are the precious seed that God preserves in the world, & hath done ever since the beginning of the world. They are that seed that pre∣serveth the glory of God in the world. Were it not for a few gracious, holy people in the world, where would the glory of God be? What would be∣come of it? Those that are godly, however contemptible in the world, they are the precious seed that God reserves in the world for great and glorious ends. They are the seed to preserve the continuation of the Doctrine of the Gospell, and the blessed truths of God; as Isa. 6. 13. The holy seed shall be the substance thereof. Though they shall be under great afflictions, yet there shall be a holy seed that shall be the substance thereof, and there shall be his blessing.*Psal. 72. 17. His name shall endure from generation to generati∣on: the words are read by Montanus, His name shall be childed, that is, so continued as families are continued, one generation after another, one beget∣teth another: and so shall the name of Christ continue in the world, and so it hath done. And though seed be but a handfull in comparison of the har∣vest, so the Saints of God then were, and yet are but as a handfull in compa∣rison of the glorious harvest that shall be, yet they are very precious before God, and God will make the world hereafter know that they are the preci∣ous ones of God, Isa. 61. 9. All that see them shall acknowledge them that they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed.

Seed (you know) a man will be carefull of that what ever becomes of his other corne. In the time of dearth the husbandman wil rather pinch his own belly, then have his seed-corne to be spent. So in times of common calami∣ty, of common dearth, yet Gods care is over his seed; the Saints are (as I may say) Gods seed-corne to preserve his name in the world, to other gene∣rations that are to come, he will not therefore have them destroyed.

Seed is the most precious of the corne, which is most winnowed and made cleane, and so are the Saints, the cleane ones and the most precious ones.

God perhaps doth winnow them and fanne them more than he doth others Page  132 by the fannes and winnows of afflictions, why? because they are his seed.

Perhaps other corne that hath drosse in it, the husband-man will give the fowles and the cattell that, he bestoweth not much winnowing upon it, but the corne that is for seed he winnows that, he would not willingly have a der∣nell amongst it. It may be thou complainest thou art more winnowed, more fanned then other men, perhaps thou art more precious in Gods eyes, thou art to be reserved as seed, as the seed of the blessed.

The wicked indeed they are seed too, but a corrupt seed, a seede of evill deers, Esay, 1. the grand-father was an enemy unto God, yea the great grand-father, and the father, and the children after him continue enemies to God. And God in mercy unto his Church doth many times cut downe the wicked before they do seed too much. As you that have gardens, if they have weeds in them, and you see the weeds come up and grow to seed, you think then that it is time to pull them up, you will not suffer them to seed. God lookes upon many families and sees wretched and sinfull men as a seed of e∣vil doers, and sees they are ready to seed, and if they be not cut down sudden∣ly there will be a wretched brood of wicked ones in such a family.* This is the reason of Gods suddain cutting down of many wicked families.

But to come to the point that is chiefly intended, that is, That this seed of the Lord shall have a great day. Great shall be the day of Jezreel.

The men of the world they have their day in which they ruffle it out, and they have all the doings. Saint Paul seemes to speake of this in 1 Cor. 4. 3. he saith there that he did not passe for mans judgement, the word is, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, for mans day. Now men have the day, they have all the bra∣very in the world, well saith Saint Paul, I doe not passe formans day, I ex∣pect another day, besides mans day. I know not how it commeth to passe to be otherwise translated, you translate it judgement in your books, but in the Originall it is day, Man hath a day.

As men have a day, so shall Gods Saints have a day too. Wee use to say many times when we see the Malignant party jocund and merry, surely they hope to have a day. My brethren be joyfull in the Lord, God hath a day for you, and a great day too, Great shall be the day of Jezreel. The beginning of Gods mercy to his people is called a day of small things, Zach. 4. 10. and that must not be despised, Let no man despise the day of small things. It was the beginning of the reformation and deliverance of the people of Judah from their captivity.* But God hath a day of great things, and certainly that day shall be honorable. A day first in which the glory of God shall excee∣dingly appear, wherein God shal be (as I may so speak with holy reverence) as it were in his robes: As we know Princes upon great dayes put on their robes, so the King of glory shall have a day for his people, wherein even he himself will put on his robes, Ps. 102. 16. When the Lord shall build up Zi∣on he shall appear in his glory. It seemeth while the Church is in affliction, while the witnesses prophesie in sack-cloath, God is as it were cloathed in sack-cloath, In all their afflictions he is afflicted, but because God hath a Page  133 day, a great day to his Churches, he will reserve his robes till then, and when that day commeth he will put on his robes, for when he shall build up Zion (saith the Text) then the Lord shall appeare in his glory. A great day it shall be for Jezreel, for the seed of the Lord.

Secondly,* It shall be a great day, for this day shall be the riches of the world. Marke that place in Rom. 11. 12, speaking of the Jews, If their fall (saith he) be the riches of the world, and their diminishing the riches of the Gentiles, how much more their fulness? It was a rich mercy to the Gentiles when they were brought out of darknesse, and called into the knowledge of Jesus Christ, here was riches to the world of the Gentiles: But God hath a greater day then that, for it is spoken here of a day that is to come, that is, their fall was the riches of the Gentiles, much more their calling in again.

So then there is such a day of calling home the people of God, as shall be the riches of the Gentiles, the riches of all the world.

Yea Thirdly,* Great shall be this day, for it shall be as a day of resurrecti∣on from death to life: so Dan. 12. 2. Many of them that sleepe in the dust shall awake, &c. It is not spoken of the great resurrection at the last day of judgement, for First, It is spoken but of some that shall arise:

Secondly, The greatest glory that is here put upon the just, is but to shine as the stars in the firmament, but at the last day the Saints shall shine as the sunne in the firmament, more and above the starres. Yea,

Thirdly, This that is here revealed to Daniel must be sealed up as a great secret till the appointed time come; but for the Resurrection at the last day that is no great secret, that they knew well enough, it is not as a secret to be shut up and sealed from men till the time appointed come. But this Resur∣rection here spoken of, it is to be sealed up as a great secret that was not knowne in the world, nor should be much knowne till the appointed time should come. And then Lastly, It was promised to Daniel in the 13. ver. that he should stand up in his lot, as a peculiar and speciall favour that God stould bestow upon him. Now it is not such a peculiar and special favour for a Saint to stand up at the great day, at the last day, this was a favour to Da∣niel as an eminent Saint, that he should stand up thus in his lot. Therefore this Resurrection is the same with this great day of Jezreel, wherein there shall be such a glorious work of God in calling Israel and Judah together & the fulness of the Gentiles, that it shall be as the Resurrection from death to life; so the Apostle calls it likewise in that Rom. 11. 15. What shall the re∣ceiving of them be but life from the dead?

4. Great shall be the day of Iezreel, for this shall bring refreshing to all the Saints, this is the time of the refreshing, Act. 3. 19. There shall be such things then as will refresh and revive the spirits of all the Saints. Yea,

5. It shall be the day of restitution of all things. Acts 3. 21. Vntill the times of rest it 〈◊〉 of all things come, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his Prop•• since the world began. I know it is ordinary carryed by many another way, concerning the last day; but that it cannot be so, it ap∣pears, Page  134 because that then there shall not be the restitution of all things, but the annihilation of many things. Further, this speakes of a restitution of all things, that was spoken of by the mouth of all the holy Prophets. Now the holy Prophets spake but very little concerning the day of Judgment, of ano∣ther life to come, we reade but little of it in the Prophets; and therefore the Apostle in 2 Tim. 1. 10. saith, that life and immortality was brought to light through the Gospel. Not but that it was known somewhat before, but it was very darkly known, there was very little spoken of life and immortali∣ty in the Prophets; But this speaks of a time that all the holy Prophets spake of as an argument that was the general theame of them all. And indeed there is no argument whatsoever that is more general among the Prophets, then this great argument of this great day of Jezreel.

Again, 6. A great day, for it shall be a new creation; a new heaven and a new earth shall be made when this great day of Iezreel shall come.*Esay, 66. 17. Behold I create new heavens and a new earth: And in ver. 18. if you observe it, you shall see what this new heaven and this new earth is: But be glad and rejoyce for ever in that which I create, for behold I create Ie∣rusalem are joycing, and her people a joy. Those are the new heavens & the new earth that are to be created: and this is meant of the Church plainly, for the Text, ver. 21. speakes of building houses, and inhabiting them, and of planting vineyards, and eating the fruit of them, upon these new heavens & this new earths creation. And 2 Pet. 3. 13. Neverthelesse according to this promise, we looke for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righ∣teousnesse. Now where is this promise? This is usually taken for the King∣dom of heaven hereafter. But where is this promise? We do not finde it a∣ny where but in that place I named before, Esay, 65. Now it is apparent that promise doth speak of an estate of the Church here in this world; and there is spoken of a new earth, as well as of a new heaven; if it were onely spoken of new heavens, it had bin another matter, but it speaks of a new earth like∣wise, therefore meant of an estate in this world, a new creation of a new heaven and earth, that is, there shall be such glorious things done by God, as shall manifest a creating power, as if God did now make new heavens and a new earth.* 7. Great shal be the day of Iezreel, for it shall be as another world, when this day cometh. Heb. 2. 5. 6. 7. 8. Vnto the Angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. But one in a cer∣tain place testified, (this certain place is in Psa. 104.) saying: What is man that thou art mindful of him, or the son of man that thou visitest him? Thou hast made him little lower then the Angels, thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands, thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. This is clearly interpreted of Christ, (as vers. 9. and so on) that all things must be subjected to hi•• man, What is man that thou shouldst regard him? That is, that thou 〈◊〉 advance the nature of man so far as to unite it even to thy Son, and pi•• things in sub∣jection under his feet. This the Apostle interpreteth of Christ.

Page  135 But saith he, wee see not yet all things put under him, that time is yet to come, for, saith he, We speak of things that concerne the world to come.

Therefore (mark my brethren) there must be such a time wherein all things, all creatures must be put under subjection to Christ, and this is in the world to come. Not in that world to come where the Saints shall raign glo∣riously in heaven, it cannot be meant of that, for the heavens must depart as a scroll, and many things shall then rather be annihilated, and the Kingdome must then be given up by Christ to God the Father, so the Apostle saith, 1 Cor 15. that is, when the Saints shall reigne gloriously with Christ in heaven.

But here this place speaks of a time when all creatures must come under subjection to Christ, and it is called the world to come, why? because of the great change there shall be of things, it shall be (as it were) a new world. As we call this world from Noahs time a new world, and when we speak of the other world we call it the old world; so the Scripture calls it, 2 Pet. 2. 5. God spared not the old world: And Chap. 3. 6. The world that then was being overflowed with water, perished. So this world that we live in is as the old world, and there is this day of Jezreel, in which there shall be such a glori∣ous change, all things being put in subjection under Christ, that it shall be as it were a new world, God hath made an excellent world in which there is much beauty and glory, and yet his enemies have the rule here; what then will that world be that God intends for his Saints?

8. Great shall be the day of Jezreel.*It shall be such a great day that all former things shall be even forgotten because of the lustre and glory of that great day. As Isa. 65. 17. The former heavens and the former earth shall not be remembred nor come into mind; And so Jer. 3. 16. In those dayes saith the Lord, they shall say no more the Arke of the Covenant of the Lord, nei∣ther shall it come to minde, neither shal they remember it; at that time they shal call Jerusalem the Throne of the Lord, and all the nations shal be ga∣thered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem, neither shal they walk any more after the imagination of their evil hearts (mark my brethren) In those dayes the house of Judah shall walke together, ver. 18. It is apparent that it is spoken of this great day of Iezreel; for now God saith he will ga∣ther Iudah and Israel together, and here he saith that they shall walke toge∣ther, and that then former things shall be forgotten; they shall call Jerusa∣lem the Throne of the Lord; heretofore even the Temple it self the glory of Jerusalem was but as the place of Gods feet, and the Arke of God was but Gods footstool. 1 Chron. 28. 2. It was in mine heart (saith David) to build a house of rest for the Arke of the Covenant of the Lord, and for the foot∣stoole of our God; and Isa. 60. 13. I will make Zion the place of my feet glo∣rious. But now in this great day, Jerusalem that was but Gods foot stool, the place of his feet, shall be Gods Throue; a great day certainly this shall be when all things shall be thus forgotten.

In the last place, a great day, because it shall be a day after which there shal be no night. And that you will say will be a great day indeed, after which Page  136 the Saints shall be raised to such a state of prosperity and happiness that shall never fall again, that shall never come to be darkened any more. The Chur∣ches here many times have had some little release, they have had their dayes of peace for a while, but it hath soone grown to be night, and a dismall night of darkness. But when this great day shall come it shall be a day that shall never have night, for so God promiseth here to his Jezreel, to make it to be an eternal excellency, and to make Jerusalem an everlasting joy, and Dan. 2. 44. God shall in the dayes of those Kings set up a Kingdom that shall ne∣ver be destroyed, that is, the great day of Jezreel.

The first thing that shall be done in this great day of Iezreel, shall be the deliverance of the Churches from wofull affliction which they shal be found to be in a little before. For so the Scripture tells us, Dan. 12. 1. that before this day there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time, and at that time thy people shall be deliver∣ed. I might tell you much how some of the Ancients have spoken of this, that though it be a point that seemes to be somewhat strange to us,* yet it was one of the most ordinariest things that was known in the primitive times. It was then so generally acknowledged, that I remember Just in Martyr (who was but 30. years after Saint John) hath such an expression as this, There is no man (saith he) that is of the Orthodox faith in all things, but he doth ac∣knowledge it. And Lactantius in his 7. book, cap. 15. 24. 28. and divers o∣ther chapters he spends in shewing the glory of this great day of Iezreel, but withall he shewes that a little before there shall be most grievous times that shal fall out, such times saith he, as that all right shall be confounded,* the law shall perish, no body shall know what is his own, the wicked they shal have the preheminence, & the Saints they shall be persecuted, so that (saith he) though in this our time wicked∣nesse is grown to such a height, that a man would think it could increase no higher, yet in comparison of the time a little before that great day, these times may be called Golden ages.

These expressions he hath, So that great times of affliction will be before that great day; and it is therefore called a great day, because God appear∣ing so gloriously in the deliverance of his Church at that day. The Scripture speakes of wonderfull thing that God will do, and shew himself marvaylous as he did in the people of Israels comming out of Eg••t. Who knowes but that God now sendeth abroad so much of the light of his Gospel, and is so working in the hearts of men, and giveth us such a time of reviving, and cal∣leth home so many young ones as he doth purposely because this great day is at hand, and because before this day wee may have a day of dismall darke∣nesse? and by this he will prepare people for those times, God will have a Page  137 great seed that he intends to be in the world, therefore so many young peo∣ple are converted and are so forward, because I say God meanes to prepare them by this light that we now have, for this seed, for this great day. And you that are young may expect to go thorow some difficulties & hardship before this great day comes, but be of good comfort, you may hope to live to see all the glory of this great day, and God gives you now time that you may lay up, and be fit seed for such a glorious day as this, that you may not when sufferings come, be found among the number of the fearfull ones, spoken of in Rev. 21. 8. that shal have their part in the lake which burneth with fire & brimstone; Those that through base cowardliness and complyance shall yeeld to base vile superstitious vanities shall be cast out amongst dogs when that great day comes. God now gives you a day that you may see the evil of superstitious vanities, that you may have truths revealed to you with more freedom then formerly, I say who knowes but this may be to prepare you for that darknesse that may come a little before this great day of Jezreel.

Secondly,* a great day in subduing the adversaries of the Church. Though they shall come to have a great deale of power a little before; yet when that great day of Iezreel shall come, they shal be certinly all subdued & brought under. Rev. 19. 13. Christ when he shall come in this great day he shal have his garments dipt in blood, in destroying the wicked and ungodly, and Rev, 15. the Saints when they see the wicked destroyed as the Egyptians were in the sea, the Text saith that they sung the song of Moses. What was this song of Moses, but the praysing of God for the destruction of their adversaries in the Sea? God hath another Sea to destroy the wicked, and God hath a day for his Saints to sing over the song of Moses again, and especially for the de∣struction of Popery. My brethren be not troubled to see Papists make a concourse and flock together,* be not troubled at it, for when this day shall come, God will so order things that his adversaries shall come and flock to∣gether, but it shall be that they may be destroyed, for God hath a great feast and a great Sacrifice, and he will sacrifice them especially. And therefore Lactantius that I spoke of before, and is one that lived 1300. yeares since, saith he (speaking then of this day) I have a thing to say, but I even tremble to speake it, but I must speake it, and what was it? Romanum nomen (saith he) de terra tolletur; those are his words, the Roman name shall be taken off from the earth. He in those primitive times prophsied of the destruction of Rome. Perhaps though he did not see it so clearly, yet God might so order it, as though hee understood it not, God might intend it for these times. God will destroy the enemies of his Churches then. Yea. Ezek. 28. 24. there is a promise to the Saints that there shall beno more a pricking bryar, nor any grieving thorne of any that are round about them that despise them, & in a∣nother place God saith that he will take away the Canaanite out of the Land.

Further,* the third thing that shall be done in this great day, is the glorious presence of Christ among the Saints, let it be personall or what it will, wee determine not, but thus far we may confidently affirme that there shall be a Page  138 more glorious presence of Jesus Christ among his people,* then ever yet was since the beginning of the world. Rev. 21. 22. The Lord God Almighty, and the Lamb, shall be the Temple of it: and Chap. 22. 3. 4. The Throne of God and of the Lamb shal be in it, and his servants shall serve him, & they shall see his face, and Ezek. 48. the last words of the Chapter, The name of [ 4] that place shall be Jehovah-shammah, that is, the Lord is there.

Fourthly, the glory that shall be put upon the Saints at that day, shewes it to be a great day. Glory shall be put upon them, first in regard of their ad∣mirable gifts & graces they shall be heightned and inlarged, the weake shall be as David, and they that are as David shall be as the Angel of God at that day. The bowing down of their adversaries before them, The high esteeme that they shall have, even in the thoughts and judgments of many great ones of the world, they shall be called up to heaven, that is, those that are in high∣est place and dignity, shall call them up and honour them in that day, yea the Text saith, The Kings of the earth in that day shall came in, and bring their glory to the Church. Therefore it is apparent, that place Rev. 21. 24. cannot be understood of heaven, for it is said, the Kings of the earth shal bring their glory, they shall not bring their glory to the Church, when the Church shall [ 5] be in heaven. And fiftly, a great day it shall be in regard of the wonderfull change of all creatures,* glorious, fruit∣full times, so I remember Lactantius speaks of that time, that the rocks them selves should issue forth honey and pre∣cious things; but that we cannot say, yet that there shall bee a wonderfull change of all things, and all creatures brought to a further happiness (even the sensitive creatures as well as others) then they had before, the Scriptures are cleare euough in it. And literally we are to understand many Scriptures that tend this way concerning the fruit∣fulnesse of the earth, and the outward external glory that there shall be in the creatures. As upon a great marriage feast or Coronation day, all the servants of the Prince are in their best array; so when Christ his Bridegroome shall come and meet with his wife, with his Spouse, all creatures shall be put into [ 6] a new cresse, shall have further glory. And lastly, that which we have here in the Text, the multitudes of all nations and people that shall flock to the Church,* that they shall be as the sand of the sea. But this I have spoken of be∣fore at large. Now put all these things together, and Great shall be the day of Jezreel.

Yea, but shall these things be so? shall they be so?

Though flesh and blood may reason against these things, yet I may apply that place, Zach. 2. 13. Be silent, O all flesh, before the Lord, for he is raised up out of his holy ha•••tion. Flesh may say, How can these things be?

Page  139 But let all flesh be silent, for God hath made known in his Word, the great things that he intends to bring to passe. And Zach. 8. 6. Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, if it be marvaylous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these dayes, should it also be marvaylous in mine eyes? saith the Lord of Hosts.

It may be applyed to this as well as the other. These things may seeme marveilous to your eyes, especially because we have been but little acquain∣ted with them, but they are not marveilons in the eyes of God. Yea we find it out of the Word that these things were to be kept hidden till the appointed time should come, till we draw neerer to that great day; we are not to won∣der why these things have not been opened unto us, for God tells us Dan. 12 that they were to be sealed up even to the time appointed, and Rev. 10. 11. God telleth Iohn that he must prophe sie again before the Kings of the earth, that is, before the time of the fulfilling of all things, that booke of the Revela∣tion shall be made out as cleere as if Iohn were come to prophesie again be∣fore men. And we hope it is comming, because God beginneth to let in light that way, and the morning star seemeth to begin to arise.

In Zach. 14. 6. you have mention of a day, that we may apply to the pre∣sent day that we have now. And it shall come to passe (saith the Text there) that the light shall not be cleere nor darke, but it shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord, not day nor night, but it shall come to passe that at e∣vening time it shall be light. Mark what shall be in that day, ver. 8. And it shall be in that day that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; & ver. 9, In that day shall there be but one Lord, and his name one; and then ver. 20. In that day shal there be upon the bels of the horses holiness to the Lord; and ver. 21. In that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord of Hosts. Certainly my brethren these Scriptures speakes of a glorious day that is a comming, but yet in the beginning of it is just like such a day as we have now for the present, wherein the light is neither cleere nor darke: It is true, not long since it was darke, now this darkenesse begin∣neth to be a little dispelled, but it is not cleere yet, many things for the present darken the light, and there is opposition and many dampes upon the hearts of Gods people, and things go not o••s we desire; but blessed be God it is not night with us, though it be not 〈◊〉 day it is not darke as it was, though it be not as cleere as we desire; therfore this is now a day which is neither cleer nor darke, but even as it were twilight. Well but it shall be one day that is one special day, and indeed it is our day now, it is the greatest day that ever yet England had. It shall be one day which shall be knowne to the Lord, a day wherein the Lord hath great thoughts and purposes to do great things, and certainly this our day is known to the Lord, great things God is about to do for his Churches, & laying a foundation of glorious things for the good of his people. And then mark, though it be neither day nor night, yet at the evening time it shall be light. What a strange expression is here? It shall be a duskie cloudy day all day, and then a man would thinke that at evening it should be quite dark, what to be cloudy at noone and to be darkish at three Page  140 or foure of the clock in the afternoone, what then will it be in the evening? surely then it must needes be more darke: No, though it be not cleere now, though it be a cloudy day and part of it darke,* yet at the evening time it shall be light: When it shall be least expected to have light, and when we shall most feare darknesse, when wee shall be ready to conclude, O our day is gone, once indeed God did bring a day to England, a comfortable day though it was a little darke, yet there was a glorious light in comparison of what we had before, but now it is grown towards evening, the evening be∣gins to shut upon us, we looked for light but behold darknesse. Perhaps ma∣ny will be complaining, if they see things go on with any difficulty and op∣position they will be ready to have their hearts sink within them, and to cry out, now our day is gone and the evening is comming, & we must look for darkness, yea and feare a dismall darknesse. Now my brethren, be of good comfort, for at evening time it shall be light; when we think it shall be e∣vening, when it is most unlikely to be light, then shall the light of the Lord breake forth most gloriously: For whensoever this day of Iezreel com∣meth, there must be such a glorious work of God as may magnify his name before the eyes of all men, and therefore at evening it shall be light.

And in that day living waters shall go out from Jerusalem: We have had some drops of living waters in this our day, but there is a day a com∣ming wherein living waters shall even flow out of Jerusalem.

Now to winde up all. There is a day for the Saints, a rest for the people of God, a day wherein God will deliver them from all afflictions. I have met with one, that speaking of the Sabbath, that the Jewes might kindle no fire upon their Sabbath, because that rest was to signifie the rest of the Saints, he applyeth it thus: That was (saith he) a type that there is such a time of rest for the Saints, that they shall be delivered from all fiery tryals, all their afflic∣tions shall be gone and taken away: Great shall be the day of Iezreel.

The consideration of this (me thinks) might be a strong argument to draw in all people to the wayes,* to the love of godlinesse and Religion; to come and joyne with the Churches in appointing Christ head over them.

All you wicked ones that hath forsaken the Lord hitherto, come in & joyn now, and submit unto Jesus Christ as your Head, for great shall be the day of Iezreel. There is a great day for the Church of God, a day of glory, a day of abundance of wonderfull mercy of God to the Churches. They shall have their day; come you in and embrace Religion, that you may partake of their glory. Certainly the Saints of God shall have the better of it: shall have the day of all the world, let the world strive against them what they can. Every man desires to follow the stronger party and to cleave to that: would you cleave to the stronger part? Cleave to the Saints of God, to the Church, for certainly it is the stronger part; It is a going up, it is rising, and will rise more and more till it be risen unto the heighth. Though there be some oppo∣sition, yet it is such as shall make the glory of the day so much the more.

Those men that 〈◊〉 shall stand to pleade for Antichrist, and to oppose the Page  141 work that God is about, certainly they are men borne out of time, borne in an ill hour. Your Papists and superstitious people that heretofore stood for that way, they prospered in their way, because the day of God was not so neare, but the day of his patience in permitting Antichrist to continue, was then. But doest thou come now? what superstitious now? what opposing the work of God now? when God is comming out to fight against Popery and superstition, when God is about to do such great things for his Churches as he certainly is, Thou fightest against God, and God will fight against thee, and thou shalt be throwen upon thy backe, Thou art borne in the worst time that possibly could be, worse then all the adversaries of the truth in for∣mer times. And if there be such a day, let us be willing to suffer for a while, [ 2] let us be willing to mourne for the Churches a while in that way of mourn∣ing that God calls us unto, for there is a recompence comming, glory e∣nough comming even in this world. There is a time of triumphing, let us be content with our warfare here for a while.

Thirdly, Let us study these things. These things are usefull for people in [ 3] these times to look into, to search into these truths of God, that so they may be the better prepared to meet Christ their Bride-groom when he cometh.

Marke that place, Ezek. 40. 4. It is spoken of the glorious times of the Gospel, especially of these times I am speaking of; where God saith to the Prophet, Behold with thine eyes, and heare with thine eares, and set thine heart upon all that I shal shew thee. And what did God shew him? hee shewed him the measure of the Temple and all the glorious things that there should be in the Church in future times. So I say to you my brethren con∣cerning that I have spoken of the great day of Jezreel; behold with your eyes, look into Gods book and see what is said there (for I have named but little) and heare with your eares, and set your hearts upon what hath been set before you. So in Isa. 41. 20. You have a place somewhat like this, speak∣ing of the mercies of God to his Church in latter times, saith the Text, That they may see, & know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the Lord hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it.

Mark how one word is heaped upon another, that they may see, & know, and consider, & understand what God would do for his people. And when God came to reveale the glorious things he intended for his Churches in fu∣ture times in the book of the Revelation (which is the special book that de∣clareth this unto us.) Mark how the Lord beginneth; It is said that God gave this first to Christ; secondly Christ to the Angel, thirdly the Angel to Iohn, and then there is pronounced a blessing to him that reads and hears the words of this prophesie and understands it. What a solemne way of blessing is here! There is not such an expression in all the book of God: where have you a blessing so solemnly proclaimed to the reading and hearing of any of the bookes of God as to that book? Therefore though they are things that seeme to be above us, yet certainly God would have us to inquire into these things. It is the fruit of the purchase of the blood of Christ to open these seales.

Page  142Rev. 5. 9. we reade that there was no man in heaven nor in earth that was able to open the book and to loose the seales thereof, only the Lambe that was slaine and that hath redeemed us unto God by his blood, he was onely worthy to open the seales. It is a fruit I say of the slaughter of Christ & of his blood, and therefore cry to him for the opening these things to thee. And though thou beest very weake in regard of parts, and thinkest with thy self, How can I understand such things as these? know that it is Christ that through his blood comes to open these seales, and seeing it is a fruite of his blood, it is no matter whether thou art weake or strong if he come to open them to thee: as Ier. 13. 2. saith God to the Prophet. Call unto me and I will shew thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not; so I say to you, be a pray∣ing people, call upon God and he will cause you to understand great and ex∣cellent things that you have not known.

[ 4] And (my brethren) seeing these things shall be thus, O what manner of persons ought wee to be? how heavenly? our hearts should rise up from the earth, seeing God intendeth to do such great things for his people. As it is Isa. 60. Arise, arise, shake off thy dust, for the light is come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee, So I may say to the Churches now, Arise arise shake of the dust of your earthly affections, for the light of God is now rea∣dy to arise upon you; Now sur sum corda, now lift up your hearts above the things of the world.

VVee reade in Rev. 4. of the foure living creatures that appeared unto John, the first was like a Lyon, and the second like an Oxe, and the third had a face as a Man, and the fourth was like a flying Eagle. They are (accord∣ing to the interpretaion that reverend Brightman gives) to set out unto us the foure states & conditions of the Church. The Primitive times were Ly∣on-like for their valour: the second age like an Oxe to beare the burthens of Antichrist, the third had a face as a man, that stood for their liberties and would not be under such slavery, and they are but times: and then the fourth as an Eagle that sored aloft: In the state of the Church hereafter they shall be like an Eagle, have heavenly hearts, no such drossy, base, earthly hearts as we have now. Labour we even now to be so that we may be fit for that day.

[ 5] And let us all prepare for the Bride groome against his comming. How shall we prepare? The cloathing that then shall be, shall be white linnen, which is the righteousnesse of the Saints. That great Doctrine of our justi∣fication by the righteousnesse of Christ shall be the great businesse of that day, in which the glory of the Saints shall much consist, and they shall be clothed with that, it shall be clearly understood of all men, they shall be a∣shamed to rest upon duties and ordinances as now they do. Let us study the Doctrine of the righteousnesse of Christ afore-hand, for that is like to be our clothing at that day, that is the white linnen of the Saints which shall be their glory. Let us prepare our Lamps and keepe them all burning and shining, the oyle not onely of ju•••cation, but sanctification, active, stirring in our hearts, that so we may 〈◊〉 to entertaine the Bride-groom whensoever 〈◊〉〈…〉.

Page  143 And all of you labour now to instruct your children in the knowledge of God and of Christ, bring them up in the feare of the Lord that they may be seed for that day. Acquaint them with these things, for though perhaps you may be dead and gone before this great day, yet they may live to see it; therefore catechize them, and instruct them, and drop into them those Prin∣ciples that may fit them for the meeting of JESUS CHRIST their Bride∣groome,

To conclude all. Let us be all praying Christians. It is that which is charged upon us in Isa. 62. 6. All you that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence and give him no rest, till he establish, till he make Jerusa∣lem apraise in the earth. God hath a day to set up Jerusalem as the praise of the whole earth, Oh be praying, praying Christians every one of you, and give God no rest till he effect this. And remember God of all his pro∣mises, search the Prophets, search the book of God, and urge God with his promises to the Church in this way. And you that are the weakest, be not discouraged in your prayers, and you may be a meanes to further and hasten this great day of Jezreel. Psal. 102. 17. The Psalmist had spoken be∣fore of Gods building up Zion, and certainly that Psalme is a Prophesie of the glorious times of the Church that shall be, marke what the Text saith, The Lord shall regard the prayer of the destitute, and shall not despise their prayer; speaking of those that shall live in those times a little before this day of Iezreel shall be, The Lord shall regard the prayer of the destitute: the word that is translated destitute,* it signifieth in the Hebrew, a poor shrub in the wildernesse, a poor shrub that the foot of every beast is ready to tread downe, and that poore shrub that perhaps is despicable in the eyes of the world, and despicable in his own eyes, yet saith the Text, the Lord shal re∣gard the prayer of that poor shrub. Is there ever a poor shrub though ne∣ver so destitute, so despicable in the eyes of the world or in thine owne eyes? yet be thou a praying Christian, a praying soul, praying for those things, and God will regard thy prayer, he will not despise thy prayer. Perhaps thou art ready to despise thy prayers thy self, but God will not despise them, let all our hearts be lifted up, and let us all cry with the Church, Come Lord Jesus, Come quickly. O let this day come, for great shall be the day of Jezreel.

Page  144


The First Lecture.

CHAP. 2. VER 1. 2.

Say 〈◊〉 your brethren, Ammi, and to your sisters, Ruhamah.

Pled with your mother, plead; for she is not my Wife, neither am I her husband, &c.

SOme joyne the first verse of this Chapter to the end of the former: and (according to a sense that may be given of the words, agreeable to the scope of the latter part of the for∣mer Chapter) it may seem more fit to be made the end of that, then the beginning of this.

In the latter end of the former, God was in a way of pro∣mising mercy to his people, that those that were not his people should be his people, and those that had not received mercy should receive mercy. Now he calleth upon all whose hearts were with God, to speake to one another of this great favour of God to his people, fo their mutuall encouragement, and for the praise of his Name. As if he should say, Well, you have been under dreadfull threats of God, your sins have called for dreadfull things; but my grace is free, and it is rich & powerfull, therefore you that were not my peo∣ple, and have deserved to be for ever cast off from being my people, you that had not obtained mercy shall obtaine mercy; Say to your brethren, Ammi, and to your sisters, Ruhamah, that is, O you that are godly, speak one to another, and tel one another, for the quickning of one anothers hearts; of this great favour of God of his free grace, Oh say, Ammi, Ammi, the peo∣ple of God, Ruhamah, Gods mercy: We were not his people, but now Ammi again, God hath promised to make us to be his people; we were re∣jected from mercy, but mercy is come again, now Ruhamah, O the mer∣cy of God, O that free grace of our God, that wee that have beene: so vile, so provoked the eyes of his glory, we that have so sinned against mercy it self, yet mercy should thus follow us, to make us his people, and to save us from his wrath!* It is a good thing to speake of the loving kindnesse of our God. Psal. 92. 1. It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to be telling of the goodnesse of God in the morning, and his faithfulnesse every night. That Psalme is appointed for the Sabbath. It is a work of the Sabbath to be speaking one to another of the goodnesse of God: Especially in this case, when a people were afraid that they should have been for ever reject∣ed, Page  145 that now God should call them againe,*Ammi, my people, and say now againe that he will have mercy upon them. Psal. 145. 4. 5. One generation shall praiss thy name to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts; I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works.

Mark what the wayes of God are toward his Church, when he commeth in the wayes of mercy; they are wondrous works of God, they are the migh∣ty acts of God, they are such wherein the honor of God appears, yea they are the honour of his Maesty, yea they are the glorious honour of his Majesty There is Majesty, honour of Majesty, glorious honour of Majesty, mighty works of God, wonderfull works of God. When these appeare, these are to be declared indeed; And for them to be able to say to one another, Ammi and Ruhamah, it was to declare the wonderfull works of God, and the glori∣ous honour of his Majesty. Yea it followeth further in that Psalme, verse 6.

Men shal speake of the might of thy terrible acts, and I will declae thy greatnesse. And verse 7. They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodnesse. Euctaut, so Arias Mntanus renders it, they shall not be able to keep it in, but break orth in the memory of thy goodnesse.

Happy are those people that God gants such subjects of discourses unto, that they may say one to another, to their brethren and sisters, Ammi, and Ruhamah. It was not long since, that when we met with our brethren, we could not have such a subject of discourse as this is, but usually when Chri∣stians met together after their Salutations, their first question was; Oh! what shall we do? what shall we doe? what course shall we take? All the Newes almost that was in the Kingdome, and the subject of discourses (specially among the Saints) was this, Such a Minister silenced in such a place, such a one banished in another place, such a one imprisoned in ano∣ther place, such a one High-Commissioned in another place, such signes of the wrath of God upon us, we are afraid that God is going, if he be not quite gone already, we are afraid that he will not onely reject us from being his people, but reject us from being a people upon the fac of the earth.

But blessed be God, he hath changed the subject of our dscourses. Now Gods wayes have begun to be towards us as if he intended to make us again to be his people. Now we may when we meet together have plentifull sub∣jects of discourses about Gods grace & mercy, to say Ammi, Ruhamah, O the Lord manifesteth goodnes to an unworthy Nation & we have hope that yet he will owne us to be his people, we have hope that yet he will shew mer∣cy to us though never so unworthy. Who would have thought ever to have seene and heard of such things as we have seene & heard? who would have thought ever to have seene the hearts of the adversaries so daunted,* their power so curbed, their rage so quelled, the wicked in their own workes so ensnared; their hopes so disappointed? who would ever have thought to have seene the Saints so rejoycing, their liberties so inlarged, their hearts and expectations so raised? This is the free grace of God: Ammi, Ruha∣mah, we have obtained mercy, God hath dealt with us in abundance of grace.

Page  146 This we must not discourse of when we meere,* as matter of newes onely, but we must speake of it to the praise of God, for the sanctifying of our hearts. Our brethren in Ireland have another subject of their discourses at this day. When a brother or a sister meet this is the subject of their discourse, Oh my Father, my mother taken such a day by the Rebels and cruelly masa∣cred, such a kinsman, such a kinswoman taken such a day and fearfully mur∣thered, such houses were fired, such Cities and Towns were taken, and with what gaftly visages doe you think they look one upon another, when they are thus relating these sad things?* The word of God came out against En∣gland, but it hath lighted upon Ireland. O unworthy are we of these mer∣cies we enjoy, if when we meete together our discourses be frothy and light, about vain and trivial things, when God hath given us such a subject of dis∣course as he hath done by such gracious, and wonderfull, and glorious wayes of his mercy towards us in this latter age.

Say to your brethren Ammi, and to your sisters Ruhamah.

The mercies of God are to be inculcated upon our spirits,* we should not onely tell them one to another, but again and again inculcate them upon our hearts. Indeed Gods mercies at first they seeme to take impression upon our spirits, but the impression is soone vanished.

Say to your brethren. This is (according to some) Let Judah to whom God shewed special mercy, say to Israel, to the ten Tribes that were more threatned then Judah, for Judah was not so threatned as Israel was, to be cast off from being the people of God. Let Judah rejoyce in this, that their brethren are received again to mercy.

A gracious heart should rejoyce in Gods mercies towards others.* Gods mercies are an infinite Ocean, there needes no envying there, no grieving for that which others have. Indeed when one man is richer then another, a∣nother is ready rather to envy him then to rejoyce: A Courier is ready to envy the favour that another hath, why? because these are narrow things.

But when we come to Gods mercy there is roome enough there, that soul that hath beene made partaker of mercy, counts it a great happinesse that a∣ny way the mercy of God may be magnified.

Say to your brethren and sisters, &c.

These whom God hath received unto mercy,* we should receive into bro∣therly affection. Hath God shewed mercy to such and such, well may wee account them our brethren and sisters then. If God takes them to mercy we must be ready willingly to take them into brotherly society.

But now if we take these words as the beginning of the second Chapter, then we shall see them carried in some different way. And taking of them so (as most doe) I shall first shew you the scope of the Chapter in the parts of it, and then shew in what sense the words may be carried, as the begin∣ning of this Chapter.

The scope of thi••ond Chapter is much according to that of the first, viz.〈◊〉 shew unto 〈◊〉 their sinne and their danger, and secondly to pro∣mise Page  147 Gods aboundant grace and mercy again.* The first is especially from the beginning to the 14. verse, and the second, from the 14. verse to the end of the Chapter. Yet this is not an exact division. neither can we give an exact division of this no more than we could give of the other. Why? Be∣cause things are so intermixed; for they are the patheticall expressions of a loving, and yet a provoked husband, and therefore when he is comming to ••••vince his spouse who hath dealt falsely with him, and to shew her her sin and danger, whilst he is manifesting of his displeasure, the bowels of his compassion begin to yerne, and he must have some expression of love in the middest of all; then when he hath had some expressions of love, he falls a∣gain to rebuke her and to shew her her sin again, and then his bowels yerne again, and he commeth to expressions of love again. We have found it so in the former Chapter, and shall find it so in this: For though the beginning of this Chapter to the 14. verse is specially spent in convincing of sinne and threatning of Judgement, yet in the sixth and seventh verses there is promise of mercy and favour, and expressions of love, and then in the eighth verse he goes to threatning againe, and in the 14. ver. begins to express mercy again.

As God doth in this case, so should we. When we rebuke others that are under us, we should so rebuke them, as yet to manifest love to them, and when we manifest love, to doe it so as yet to take notice what is amisse and to reprove them. Many parents know not how to rebuke their children, but they do it, so as that there is nothing but bitternesse; and they know not how to manifest their love but they do it so as that there is nothing but cockering and immoderate indulgency. God mixeth both together.

Say to your brethren, &c.

Take it for the beginning of the first part of this second Chapter, for the shewing of them their sinne, and rebuking them, What then must be the sense and scope of the words, Say to your brethren, Amm, &c.

Then it is carried thus. Some thing must be supplied for the making up of the full sense. As if God should have said, Oh Ammi, you whom I have re∣served to be my people, you to whom I have shewed mercy, there is yet re∣maining a handfull of you, while you remaine to be may people, and others cast off, and you obtayning mercy, and others rejected, let it be your care to exhort, perswade, convince, use all the meanes you can to bring your bre∣thren and sisters on to that grace of God you have received: Say to your brethren, say, it is not expressed what they should say, but by that which fol∣loweth wee may understand what the meaning of God is, when hee saith Plead with your mother, &c. that is, you that have received mercy and are my people, there is a remnant of you; do not you think that so long as you scape and are well enough your selves, no great matter what becomes of o∣thers, oh no, but let your hearts be much toward your brethren and sisters, let your bowels yerne toward them, oh seeke if it be possible to draw them unto God that they may receive mercy too, labour to convince them, say and speake to them that they may not yet stand out against God and be ob∣stinate; Page  148say to your brethren Ammi, and to your sisters Ruhamah, you that are Ammi, and you that have received mercy do you speake to your bre∣thren and sisters. And this affordeth unto us many excellent Observations.

As First, That in the most corrupt times of all, God doth use to reserve a people,* to deliver some from the guilt of the generall corruptions of the place where they live.* For so this Ammi and Ruhamah, were a remainder, that God did deliver thorough his grace from the generall corruptions of the place where they were; for otherwise they had not beene fit to have said to their brethren or to have spoken to their sisters in this sense.

Secondly, those whom God delivers from the guilt of generall corrupti∣ons are to be acknowledged the people of God, such as have receiv•• mercy from God in a speciall manner; It is free grace that hath made this differ∣ence between you and others; Augustin in his second book concerning pre∣servation, has a good note upon that Scripture, 1 King. 19. 18. I have left me seven thousand in Israel, God sayes not, there are left 7000, or they have left themselves, but I have left; It is the speciall work of God to pre∣serve any for himselfe in evil times.

Thirdly, the Lord takes speciall notice of such who are thus by his grace preserved in evill times. Ammi, Ruhamah, There are a people amongst these that are Ammi, my people, that have obtained mercy from me, mine eyes are upon them, my heart is toward them; there are a number that have kept their garments undefiled even in Sardis, and I will remember this for ever for their good.*Noah was a just man, prefect in his generation, Gen. 6. 9. and what then? Chap. 7. 1. Come thou and all thy house into the Ark, for thee have I seene righteous before me in this generation.

Fourthly,* Such as keep themselves from the corruptions of the times wher∣in they live, they and onely they are fit to exhort and reprove others.

Those that are not guilty themselves as others are, are fit to speak to others, to say to their brethren and to their sisters. They are fit to exhort, who per∣forme the duties themselves that they exhort unto.* We say it is a shamefull thing for one to be teaching if he be guilty himself; he cannot with freedom of spirit, say to his brethren and sisters.

Fifthly, It is the duty of those whom God hath delivered from the cor∣ruptions of the times, to seeke to draw all others to God; to seeke to con∣vince others of their evil wayes, and so bring them in to the truth. We eade Levit. 19. 17. Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart, thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, & not suffer sin to lye upon him. Surely those who have obtained mercy, have the impression of Gods mercy upon their spirits, they are farre from having hatefull hearts; now it is hatred for any to suffer sinne to lye upon his brother, and not to doe what in him lyeth to help him. It is desperate pride for men to triumph over others in their falls, and it is wicked cruelty to suffer others to lye down when they are fallen if they can raise them. 〈◊〉-faring men who are delivered themselves from ship∣vvrack, and all is 〈◊〉 with them, if they see another ship ready to sink in the Page  149 sea; and those on ship-board shoot out to have them come to helpe to save them, though they be never so farre remote, yet if it should be knowne that they decline to goe out to help them, all the sea-men would cry out shame on such, and be ready to stone them for etting a Ship sinke when they might have helped: Certainly the same case-it is with those to whom God hath shew ed mercy, if others lye in their sins they do not what they can for their help.

6. Say to your brethren and to your sisters.* The neerer the relation of any is to us, the more should our compassion be towards them, in seeking to de∣liver them from their sins; There is more likelihood of prevailing with your brethren and sisters. Hath God converted you, and have you a brother or a sister not converted, or any of your kindred? goe and say to them, tell them of the danger of their evil wayes, tell them of the excellency of the wayes of God, exhort them to come in, to make tryall of the blessed wayes of God.

When a brother speaks to a brother, or a sister to a sister, it is the bringing a hammer of gold to work upon gold,* and of silver to work upon silver.

Lastly, Say to your brethren and sisters. Exhortations unto and repre∣hensions of others should be with much love and meekenesse. Say to your brethren and sisters, yet look upon them as brethren and sisters, though they have not yet obtained the like mercy that you have. Saint Paul, 2 Thes. 3. 15. speaking of one that walketh inordinately, from whom we are to with∣draw in respect of any private familiar society, yet saith he, admonish him as a brother. Those who reprove and admonish others with bitternesse of spi∣rit and evill speaking, are like a foolish fowler who seekes to get the fowle, but he goes on boysterously, and makes a noise; the way (if he would get it) is to goe on quietly, softly, and gently; so the way to gaine a brother, is not by boisterousnesse and violence, but sofness, and gentleness. It is observed by some of the Jews out of that 25. Exod. ver. 3. where the matter of the Tabernacle is said to be gold, and silver, and brasse: you doe not see nor hear of iron to be required for the building of it; No, iron, rigid, severe, hard dispositions are not fit either to be matter of the Tabernacle themselves, or to draw others to be the matter of it.

Yea but if saying will not be enough to doe the deed, then there followes pleading. That is the second. Say to them, admonish them, exhort them, but what if that will not doe? doe not leave presently, but Plead, yea and Plead with your mother too, not onely with your brethren and with your sisters, but with your mother.

Plead with your mother, plead, for she is not my wife, &c.

Pleade, Litigate, so some, Contendite, strive, the old Latine hath Iudi∣cate, Iudge your mother.* It may seeme to be a hard and harsh phrase at first, but we shall labour to acquaint you with the minde of God in it.

Here is an exhortation even to the private members of the Church, to all, one o other, to plead even with their mother, to plead even with the Church of which they are members, and so to plead as to deale plainly and to tell her that she is not the wife of God. Pleade with her,

Page  150 First, here we see Gods condescension, that he will have us pleade the ease betwixt others and himselfe,* as Esay, 5. 3. Iudge between me and my Vine∣yard, faith God. This sheweth the equity of Gods dealing. Pleade the case, perhaps some of you might thinke. I deale hardly with your mother in so re∣jecting of her, in bringing such judgements upon her. No, not so, but plead you the case, plead rather with her then complaine of me for my dealing with her.

Secondly,*Plead with her. When exhortations and admonitions will not doe, we must strengthen our selves and falla pleading. If there be any way more powerfull then exhortation and admonition we should take that way, and not presently give over, for though it is not said here, Pleade with your brothers and sisters, yet they are included in this when he saith, Plead with your mother.

Thirdly, It is a hard thing to convince Idolaters of their sin, and of the Justice of God comming against them for their sinne. Plead with your mo∣ther, plead, shee will not acknowledge it, she will stand it out, and say she hath not done so ill, shee is not worthy to be cast off, you had need pleade and plead hard with her, she will stand out else: Idolaters have so many di∣stinctions, so many evasions, so many shifts and pretences, that it is a thou∣sand to one ever almost to prevaile with them. When you deale with Pa∣pists about worshipping of Images they will have such distinctions of wor∣ship,*perse, and worship per accidens, of honouring the creature, Propter se, & propter aliud, Proprie, improprie, and a hundred of such kinde of di∣stinctions and evasions, till they distinguish out the truth, and scarce under∣stand themselves what they meane by their distinctions. Hence Idolaters scorne at judgements threatned, they thinke onely a company of foolish & timorous people fear such things, they cry out, say they, that we are Idolaters, Idolaters and grievous judgements of God are comming ••on us, a com∣pany of foolish melancholly people they feare their own 〈◊〉. Was it not so heretofore when we were going on in the wayes of Idolatry space? Was it not the jeere and scorne of all such spirits? If any did seeme but to make a question about Idolatry, they would never be convinced of such a sinne, nor never feare any judgements hanging over our heads, Though God hath prevented it through his grace, and hath shewed his preroation in the ways of his mercy, yet certainly there was signe enough of dreadfull wrath hang∣ing over us, and what yet may be we know not.

Fourthly,*Plead with your mother, pleade. It is a 〈◊〉 of forensecall word, and carrieth with it such a kinde of pleading, as must be a convincing, a powerfull pleading. God loveth to have people dealt withall in a convin∣cing way. The Lord doth not cry out to the Prophet or to these other good people that were free from that Idolatry that the people of Israel were gene∣rally corrupted withall, he doth not say, I say, bid them go and terrifie them, and cry out of the〈◊〉 speake bitterly unto them; but 〈◊〉 and plead the cause with them, seeke to convince them, doc not goe and 〈◊〉 upon 〈◊〉〈…〉 them.

Page  151 God loveth to have people dealt withall in a convincing way, Let not therefore any thinke it enough either Minister or other, that they can speak terribly to people, and cry out of the sinnes of the people, but let them la∣bour to convince them, to deale with them as rationall creatures, and to take away their secret objections and their secret shifts, and to make their sinnes plaine before their consciences. A convincing Preacher and a convincing Christian is such a one as may be very usefull, and doe aboundance of good to the Church of God.

Fifthly, Pleade with your mother. It is very fit that God should have some to pleade for him,* to pleade his cause as well as the devil hath to pleade his. The devill never wants pleaders. When was there ever such an ill cause came to a Bench, or to any society in any publique way, but found some that would pleade for it? A shame that the worst cause in the world should have pleaders for it, and many times the cause of God suffers by mens be∣ing mute that should pleade for it. God will take this very ill at their hands.

It is true, God saith, hee will pleade his owne cause, and wee are bound to pray according to that of the Psalmist, that God would arise and pleade his owne cause. And indeed if God had not risen and pleaded his owne cause better then we did, his cause would have been in the dirt before this.

Though it is true, God is raising up his own cause, no thanke to us; wee have cause to lay our hands upon our mothes as guilty, in that we did so basely and cowardly let the cause of God suffer, and God appearing so im∣mediately and gloriously, is the rebuking of us because we did not, wee would not before stand up to plead his cause.

Sixthly,* When any have found mercy from God, the sweetnesse of that mercy so warmeth their hearts, that they cannot endure to see that blessed God be dishonoured. Pleade you Ammi, Ruhamah; what, my people, those to whom I have shewed mercy, what though it be your mother, what though it be any deare to you, what though they be great ones, though they be a multitude, yet pleade, plead for me against them, this note is grounded upon the title that God giveth them who should plead Ammi, and Ruha∣mah, those that are Gods people, those that have found mercy from God.

Gods mercy is so sweet, it doth so inflame them, that they must plead for God against any in the world.

Seventhly,*Pleade with your Mother. That is, with the Church, called a Mother, because as the Mother is as it were the roote from whence chil∣dren come, divideth her selfe into branches; so the community of a Commonwealth or a Church, any community, is called in Scrip∣ture a Mother, and the particulars they are as severall branches that growe from that roote, they are as children. Therefore you have such expressions in Scripture as the daughters of Jerusalem oftentimes, and there is no great difference between calling Jerusalem, that is, the State, Mother; or Jeru∣salem, that is, the Church, Mother, for indeed the Church and State were mixed both together. From this expression we learne that it is lawfull for Page  152 children to plead with their parents. Though it is true, this aimeth at a high∣er thing then what is between natural children and their parents, yet from the expression this is intimated and implied, That it is lawfull for children to pleade with their parents. If children see their parents in an ungodly way, they may lawfully pleade with them,* and their parents are bound to hearken to their pleading Gods cause. It is a speech of Tertullians, the begetter is to be beloved, and we may adde, he is to be honoured, but our Creator is to be preferred.* Children must give due respect to their parents, yet so as prefer∣ring the Lord before them; and if the parents goe against God, even their children must plead against them. As it is a great sinne for parents to pre∣fer their children before God, so it is a great sin for children to prefer their parents before God. Do not think I come to set children against their pa∣rents in this, be but content to heare to the end (though I will not be long in this observation) and you will be convinced I suppose of it, that it is fit for children to plead with their parents when they go from God.

Thus we see it was with Jonathan, 1 Sam. 19. 4. there you shall finde that he pleaded with his father when he saw him so furious and in such a pas∣sionate mood as he was in, and in such a cruell way toward poor David, Let not (saith he) he King sinne against his servant: Let not the King, he gives him very respectufll words, and sheweth his due honour to his father, Let not the King sinne against his servant, and then goeth on and tells his father of the good service David had done, and that David did not deserve such ill usage from him. Thus when children shall see their Fathers or Mo∣thers to be in a f••ous rage or passion, it is fit enough for them, if they come in an humble and submssive way, in a beseeching way, I be seech you father or mother, consider that by these distempered passions, in stead of helping your self, you sinne against God, you have known it by experience that you have often in such passion so broken out, that many sinnes have broken from you, and you have grieved for it afterwards, oh doe not againe that which your Conscience hath so often checked you for. If children should come thus in an humble and submissive way to plead with their parents, they doe no more then their duty, and their parents are bound to hearken to them in it.

I confesse they should be very carefull in keeping their due respect to their parents, and not speake mallapertly, but with all reverence and submission to them, and to speak privately too, if possibly it can be, not to divulge their parents weaknesses. You know Cham was cursed for discovering his fa∣thers nakedness, though he was drunk he did not shew his due respect at that time to his father; but if he had sought to cover his fathers nakednesse, and after had come and pleaded the case with him, certainly he had not beene cursed, but received a blessing.

Yea and there is a great deale of reason that children should pleade with heir parents, and that you should give them leave so to doe, because you know, children are the worse for your sinnes, God thrtneth to visit the sinnes of the parents upon the children, unto the third and fourth generati∣onPage  153 there are many threatnings against children for the sinnes of their parents, therefore it concerns your children that they should plead with you, and that you should suffer them. For you say, Sirrah what have you to do with me? What doth it concern you? Yes, the child if he doth it in modesty and hu∣mility may say, O father it doth concern me, I may fare the worse for your sinnes, God may come upon me for them, therefore give me leave I be∣seech you to pleade the cause of God with you. And if you will not give your children leave in this, they may rise up as witnesses against you ano∣ther day. If children in an humble and submissive way plead with their parents, and they will not hearken unto them then, a very good pleading will be for them to burst out into teares before their parents, and it is a very sutable and powerfull pleading, that when children cannot prevaile in an humble and submissive way, then to burst out into teares before them.

We read in the story of King Edward the sixth, when Cranmer and Rid∣ley came to him, and were so earnest to let him give way to his sister the Lady Mary to have Masse, he stood out and pleaded the case with them, & told them it was a sinne against God, they used many carnall arguments to perswade the King, but hee withstood them a great while; at length when King Edward (who was but a childe about 15 years of age) saw hee could not prevaile with pleading against those grave men, he burst out into teares, and that so prevailed with them, that they went away and concluded that the King had more Divinity in his little finger, then they had in all their bodies, and so yeelded to him. Certainly in such pleadings the heart of a parent must needs be much hardned if hee will not breake and yeeld to his child. You that are parents, looke upon your childrens pleading with you, and consider with your selves, what doth God send one out of my loins, out of my own wombe to come and plead the cause of God with me, to draw me from the wayes of sinne, and to do good to my soul for ever, surely it is a mercy to have one out of my owne bowels to stand for the cause of God; surely God is in it, I see this child in other things walks humbly and obediently unto me. As indeed you that are children, that plead with your parents, you need be carefull so much the rather to be obedient to them and not take upon you in an unseemly manner to check and reprove them; and then it cannot but convince the heart of a parent. What a blessing will it be to your children if you that have received your naturall life from your pa∣rents, should be a means of the spiritual and eternal life of them.

Thus much for the expression. Plead with your Mother.

Now for that which is chiefly aimed at, Plead with your mother, that is, the Church and State. Hence the Note is,

Those that are Godly should not onely sacrifice themselves to do good to themselves or friends in private,* but they are to labour to doe good to the publique too. Not onely say to your sisters and to your brethren, but pleade with your mother. There are many narrow spirited men, who if they can discharge as they think their consciences with their families, and can plead Page  154 with their servants and children, or some of their own neere acquaintance perhaps, they have done enough, though for the publique they take no care at all.* Hence it is apparently implyed, that all those that are members of any Church, ought to be men of knowledge; why? because they are such as are called upon to plead with their Mother. It is not for an ignorant Sot to plead with a Church of God; and yet such should be all the members of every Church,* as in some cases they should plead with their mother.

Lastly, which indeed is the maine Observation of all, God giveth liber∣ty to some private members of Churches,* yea it is their duty in some cases to plead with the whole Church. This we must speak unto a little more.

Gods wayes and his Cause are so equal, that private Christians, though they be very weak,* yet they may be able to plead it with a Church. It is true, there is a great deale of disadvantage that a poore, weak, private Christian hath, when he is to deale with a whole Church, where there are many godly and learned: but where as there is a disadvantage one way, so the advantage is as much the other way, in regard that the Cause of God is one the one side, and not on the other. The goodnesse of the Cause is as great an advan∣tage as the abilities and number on the other side is a disadvantage.

And sometimes particular members of a Church have no other way to free themselves from the guilt of the sinnes of the Church, but onely by pleading with them; except they plead, they are many times inwrapped in the guilt, and therefore of necessity they must do it, though they be never so weak,

Yea and sometimes God hath blessed the pleading of some few, and of weak ones too, with a multitude. Perhaps you may have heard of that no∣table Story we have in Ecclesiasticall Histories of Paphnutius, who being in the Councel of Nice where there were 318. Bishops, and the businesse was about the marriage of Ministers, and generally they cast against it, that those that were single should not marry: only Paphnutius, one man, comes and plead against them all in that case, and God so wrought it that he car∣ried the Cause, and he, one man, convinced all these 318. Bishops. There∣fore this is no discouragement for one man to stand up and plead against a great many.* So Petrus Waldensis in the Story of Waldenses, though he was but one at first, yet he stood against many thousands, and God blessed that which he did for the conversion of thousands. And Luther you know he stood against all the world almost.

Yea and though this one man may be but a private man, a weake man. God may blesse that which he saith sometimes more then that which more learned men shall say. I remember I have read in the Centuries this Story: A company of Bishops being met together, there was a Phylosopher that stood out against the Christian Religion, and so reasoned against them all, that be seemed to have the better of it: amongst them there was one, a very godly and holy man, but a very weak man; he seeing the Cause of God like 〈◊〉 suffer, desired leave to speak and encounter with this Phylosopher; all the rest being troubled at it, thinking that Gods Cause would suffer more by Page  155 him, knowing he was a very weak man, but yet knowing withall that hee was a very holy man,* none would oppose, but let him speak: So he begin∣neth with the Phylosopher, reciting many Articles of the Faith, Tell me, saith he, do you believe these things are so? (and spoke with Majesty and authority) doe not so reason the case about these Articles of our Faith, but do you believe? Presently the Phylosopher acknowledged himselfe over∣come: Hitherto (saith he) I have heard words, and returned words, but now I feel the Divine power, and I cannot further answer; and so yeelded to be a Christian upon the pleading of this poor weak man, yet a very holy and godly man. God hath blessed the pleading of weake ones, though it be a∣gainst those that are very strong, therefore they must not be contemned.

I remember Oecolampadius hath such an expression as this, saith hee, * Christ should be contemned and dishoncured, if we should not heare, were it but a child speaking with his Spirit, though all the world should be against it. And in Esay. 11. 6. there is a promise that in the times of the Gospel, the spirits of men should be so brought down, that they should not stand upon their greatnesse and learning, but the Text saith, A child should leade them; that is, the humble temper that God would have under the Gospell.

But it may be said, Will not this argue self-conceit? What, for one man, a private man to plead with so many, with a Church? it is a signe that such a one is very well opinionated of himself, that should think that what he ap∣prehendeth should be sufficient to stand against the apprehension of so ma∣ny learned and godly men as are in the Church. How can this be freed from arrogancy and proud conceitednesse.

I answer, Not so, it may be conscience, and not self-conceit, for the rule of conscience is not the abilities,* nor the holinesse, nor the multitude of o∣thers, but it is that light that God doth let in to convince according to his Word.* Nay further, I suppose I may convince you that this pleading for God, may proceed from much self-deniall, and the not pleading may pro∣ceed from very vile, sinfull self-respect.

How will that appeare?*

Thus. For a private man when he sees the truth of God to suffer, certain∣ly if he be an humble and an ingengous spirit, it cannot but be exceeding grievous unto him to think, that he must contest with such a multitude of a∣ble and Godly men,* more able then himself, it cannot but be to him a very hard work that God putteth him upon. He would rather a hundred times, if he did look at his own quiet and ease, sit down: For, think he, if I come to speak, then by this I shall be endangered to be accounted self-conceited, I shall have the accusation of pride, I shall displease many of my friends, I shall make a great disturbance in my self, I am sure to my own peace, what∣soever I do to others, and how much bette were it for me to sit still and be quiet. An humble spirit would reason thus; but only? Conscience puts him upon it; I shall contract guilt to my self, if I be not at least a witnesse for Page  156 Gods truth, therefore though I shall suffer so much in it, yet rather then the truth shall suffer, rather then conscience shall plead against me, I will plead though never so much to my disadvantage.

Now if such an one carry it humbly and quietly, certainly he is rather to be accounted a self-denying man in it; for it is a very hard taske.

VVhereas on the other side, self-love is more like to think thus; It is true, these things are right, I see they are not according to the truth of God.

Conscience indeed would have me speak, but I shall trouble my self, and what will they think of me on the other side, where there are so many able and godly men? surely I shall be thought a conceited fool, and therefore I were as good hold my peace, and sleepe in a whole skin, and be quiet.

Thus because they have so much self-respect, and love their own quiet, and cannot endure to suffer any trouble, they will leave the truth to suffer, and their consciences to be pleading with in against themselves; rather then thus to plead for the cause of God.

Certainly they that are charitable should rather take things in the better part then in the evill. It is true, it is possible that men may through pride of spirit be pleading with others (I shall speak a word of that by and by) but yet you may perceive it in the carriage of such a one, in the generall course of his way. Now if in the generall course of the way of a man, hee doth carry himselfe humbly and submissively, that you see him yeeldable as much as ever he can in all lawfull things, and then when he commeth to plead against an evil he is not suddain, he is not rash, and he pleads not a∣gainst every light evil neither, but when he comes he comes with a great deale of trouble in his spirit, and carrieth it with all quietnesse and humility, It is your rigidnesse, and that spirit which doth not beseeme a Christian, that is not the spirit of Christ in this thing, for to judge of this to be pride. For cer∣tainly under this false judge ment the cause of God hath suffered exceeding much.* You will say, How can it be imagined, that one man should see more then many, more then others that are able?

To that I answer.* In a community where there are many, though they should be godly, yet many of them may have their spirits biased with pre∣judice, vvith selfe-ends, and so not come to see the truth though they be more able.

Again perhaps though they may be moreable in most things, yet in some one God may leave them.* Yea, though they may be more able at other times, yet for some one time God may leave a man in a thing that he is ve∣ry able in it another time. And perhaps a great many of them for the pre∣sent may have so much distemper of spirit, as they may not speak according to what they think themselves. Therefore it may be usefull for some one man to be pleading with many others.

I beseech you consider of this, it is very usefull. Men must not think that God doth dispence the knowledge of his truth alwayes according to natural 〈…〉. For want of this consideration many are led into much evill.

Page  157 For thus they think with themselves, If a man have more abilities to un∣derstand natural things then others have, therefore he must needs have more abilities to understand spirituall things then others have. There is a mistake in this. A great learned man that hath great abilities, understands the rules of nature, yet a poor weake man may have the mind of Christ more then he hath. For the promise is to them that feare God. Psal. 25. 14. The secret of the Lord is with them that feare him. It may be another man hath more abilities, but this spirit may be more soild, may be more distempered then the poor weake mans.*I thanke thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast re∣vealed them unto babes; even so Father, for it seemed good in thy sight.

If multitudes had beene an argument against the truth, then in the Primi∣tive times, when Christian Religion began, certainly very few should have followed JESUS CHRIST. Yea, and there is not more disadvan∣tage and disproportion between one or two private members of a Church and the whole Church, then there was at that time disadvantage and dispro∣portion between the whole Church then and all the world. And if we mark Saint Iohn,*We know (saith he) that we are of God, and that the whole world lyeth in wickednesse. We know. What a singular spirit was here? here was singularity indeed, if you talke of singularity; you are afraid you should be counted self-conceited, and singular in differing from others. We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lyes in wickednesse.

Thus we see the thing a little cleared, as this point had need be, but we have not done with it, we must not let it go so. There must be some rules given for this, or otherwise we should wrong the point in naming it.

Christians may plead, private members may plead with their Mother, yet they must observe these rules.

First.* They must not plead with her for every light thing. For the Scrip∣ture giveth us this rule, That Love covereth a multitude of infirmiies; We must not stand pleading for every infirmity with our brother,* but rather passe by many and cover them, much lesse then with the Church.

But if there be that which is notorious, or if I be called unto it, that I can∣not have communion with them, but in my communication with them, I shall be wrapped up in the guilt except I testifie the truth. Certainly then I am bound to plead,

The second rule is,* it must be orderly done, that is, if possibly it may bee, you must make the Officers of the Church to be your mouth in pleading, I say if it can be. If it come to such a way of rebuking or declaring the evill to the Church, it should rather (if it can be) be by him whom God hath appointed to be his mouth to the Church. For you doe it in Gods name, therefore the most orderly way to do it (if it may be done) is by him that is Gods mouth.

Thirdly, It must be so as you must manifest all due respect to that socie∣ty you are of,* to that Church, shewing in your carriage, that you are appre∣hensive Page  158 and sensible even at this time of that distance that is betweene you and that whole society whereof you are a member.

[ 4] Fourthly, You must do it in a very peaceable way, so as to manifest that you desire peace, and not to be the least disturbance to the peace of the Church, but that the peace of it is deare & precious to you. Therefore when you have witnessed the truth and discharged your conscience in it, you must be then content to sit down quiet, for so the rule is, That the spirits of the Prophets must be subject to the Prophets, in that case: But if it should prove that the Church should continue, if the evill be notorious and great as re∣quires departing, and the Church after all means used & all patience should continue in it, in such a case, you may desire to be dismissed from it and de∣part. But in as peaceable a way as possibly can be, yet continuing in due re∣spect unto the Church for all that, though you should depart, onely leaving your witnesse behind you. The Papists cry out against us for pleading a∣gainst them, and say it is an ill bird that will defile its own nest, and they tell us the curse of Cham is upon us for discovering our parents nakednesse.

They are to know this, that there is more liberty for a member of a Church to plead with a Church then for a childe to pleade with his parent. Though there be liberty for a child, yet there is more liberty for the member of a Church. For a parent though he should be never so evil, yet hee doth not lose his right over his childe. Though your parents should be very wicked, yet know, that their wickednesse doth not discharge you of your duty; that all children should take notice of But a Church may so fall off from God, as the members of it may be free from their duty to it, and therefore may have more liberty to plead then a child with his parent. That but onely in answer to them. And certainly so far have they fallen from God, as they have dis∣charged those that plead against them.

Well but if a member, a particular may plead with a Church, a whole Church,* with their mother; Certainly then, there is no one Member of a Church so high but he may be pleaded withall, even by private people in that Church. Colos. 4. 17. Say to Archippus, look to thy Ministry, It is an Ex∣hortation to all the Church to say to Archippus and admonish him to looke to his Ministry. For though the officer of a Church be nearer to Christ the head (of which you heard before) then other members are, as the Arme is nearer the head then the hand; yet if the arme shall send forth any thing to the hand that it hath not from the head (as in a flux of putrid humours that resteth in the arme) then it would be the strength of the hand to resist those ill humours that the arme sends forth. So if any Officer of the Church shall send forth that which he did not receive from the head, to any Member, but some putrid humour of his own, It is the virtue of that Member to resist the receiving of any such humour.

Certainly it is the pride of many that thinke it scorne for any private peo∣ple any way to have to do with them. It is I say a pride in men which tho∣rough want of that right order that should be in all Churches is growen to Page  159 that height, that those that take to themselves as proper the name of Clergy, they think it such a dishonor to them for any other that is not a Clergy-man (as they speak) to speak to them or admonish them of any thing, or to rea∣son with them about any thing, or when they have preached, to come to them for further satisfaction in somewhat that they have delivered, or if they be negligent in their duty, to tell them of it though never so submissively & meekly, their pride makes them rise so high.

And for that observe, because they do it upon that ground that they are the Clergie, which signifies Gods inheritance and Gods lot, and so contemn∣ing others as inferiour. You shall find in Scripture the people are called Cler∣gy in distinction from the Ministers, and never the Ministers in the New Te∣stament from the people, the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 is not attributed to them to my re∣membrance, but I am sure it is attributed to the Congregation, to the pri∣vate members by way of distinction from them. That you shall see in 1 Pet. 5. 3.*Be not Lords over Gods inheritance. Doe not Lord it over Gods Clergy, over Gods Lot, so the words are, Now in that he saith do not Lord it, certainly that is spoken to the Officers of the Church, and they must not Lord it over Gods inheritance, that is, over Gods Clergy, for so I say the words are. The word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 therefore, from whence Clergy commeth, is you see attributed to the people. And we shall find in Scripture, Acts 18. 25. that Apollos an Eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, and a man of a fervent spirit, yet the Text saith, that Aquila and Priscilla, that were private people, tooke him unto them and expounded to him the way of God more perfectly. Where have you an Apollos now, an Eloquent man, a Schol∣ler, a great Clergy man, but would scorne and contemne that a poore man and his wife should take him home & instruct him in the way of God more perfectly? Yet Apollos an Eloquent man & mighty in the Scriptures tooke it well and was willing to receive further instruction from these people: And we finde Cant. 5. that in the time of reformation of the Church, the Church went to the watch-men, the watch-men beate her, shee had more reliefe from the daughters of Jerusalem then from them.

But we must not leave this so neither. It is true, there may be a notorious abuse of both these, and it is exceeding hard for a people to understand their liberty without abusing of it,* either against the Church or against the Offi∣cers of a Church. This power may be abused in people very much in too much pride, arrogancy, mallapertness, a spirit of contention in some, taking a delight in contradiction. There are many people I say that are of such a hu∣mor that it is their very delight to be in a way of contradiction, & they think they are no body except they have somewhat to say against their officers or against what is delivered, and upon that very ground will go quarrelling, not out of meere conscience, but that it may appear to others that for their parts they have a further reach than other men; It is true, such things are deliver∣ed, generally they are received: yea, but men must know that they look in∣to things further then others doe: And if they be in a community, they con∣ceive Page  160 that every one would think them no body if they stand still and say no∣thing, therefore that they may appeare to be some-body, they will speake, they will have somewhat to finde fault withall, though they scarce under∣stand what they say, or whereof they affirme, and shew it they will in a vi∣rulent spirit, in a domineering way, and brave it to the faces of those that God hath set over them. Certainly this is a grosse and abominable thing giving it may be reproachfull tearmes to such: Whereas the Rule of Christ is, Rehuke not an Elder, (1 Tim. 5. 1.) but intreate him as a Father, do not you think presently that because you may pleade with them, that Gods cause may not suffer by your silence; that therefore you may rebuke them in an undecent and unseemly manner. You may indeed in an humble way goe as acknowledging the distance betwixt you and him, hee being an Officer, and so inEreat him as a Father. Doe many of you so when you go and rea∣son the case with a Minister, whom you your selves will acknowledge to be Officers of Christ, yet it may be sometime through bitternesse of spirit you will be casting them off from being Officers of Christ before you have suffi∣cient warrant for it: and therefore the Apostle saith in the same Chapter ver. 19. Against an Elder receive not an accusation but before two or three witnesses; Marke, you must not receive an accusation, much lesse a con∣demnation, for the credit and honour of the Ministers of Christ are very deare and precious unto him, therefore take heed how through a violent and turbulent spirit you cast any dishonour upon those that Christ hath set over you. Thus I have indeavoured to discover the truth unto you, and so limi∣ted as I hope it may be for edification, and not for hurt at all to any.

Pleade with your Mother.

But what is this pleading? She is not my wife, neither am I her Husband.

It hath much bitternesse in it indeed if it be considered of, yet it is in as faire termes as can be set out. Shee is not my wife.

He doth not bid them say to their mother she is a whore,* but she is not my wife. You will say, why? what difference is there between her not be∣ing his wife and her being a whore? May we not call things as they are?

It is true,* the thing is the same, but hence the Spirit of God teacheth us an excellent note, that those who pleade against others must not give ill termes, especially when those they plead against are superiors, you may declare your mindes fully, but in as faire, modest, comely, the least provoking termes that can be. It is a foule evill in many if they see Ministers or Churches do things they ought not, presently to give reviling speeches, nothing is in their mouths but there is one of Baals Priests, and Antichristian, they cry out of every thing they dislike as Antichristian, whereas you are to study with your selves if there be any terme more mollising then other to make use of that terme, although the fault you pleade against might beare a harsher terme if rebuked by one in authority, yet you who are but private Christians should be very carefull in the fairest, gen••st termes that may be to erprove what you dislike. Again, ••ee is not my wife.

Page  161 For that point, that a people that have been Gods people, may prove not not to be Gods people, that we have already met withal in the former Chap∣ter. We shall not speak of it as then we did. Onely now wee have it more fully, that a Church may come to be un-churched.

Here is a difficult case, that is, when a Church may come not to be a Church. It is through Gods providence more then I did make account of when I began this Prophesie of Hosea, though I had spent some time in it before, yet little thought to have met with so many things so fully presented to me as I have found, that doth so neerly concerne us and the times.

I would not violently draw on any thing but what is so presented to us, as that I should be injurous to the Scripture and to you not to take notice of it: We have already met with as tickle points as can be almost, and this also is exceeding difficult. I desire in this to go as I have done, your own conscien∣ces witnessing with me as in the other, without the least spirit of contention and division, or medling with controversies, but laying the truth in the prin∣ciples of it plaine before you.

When may a Church come to this, that had God before to be her Hus∣band, now not to have God to her Husband.

I confesse for the Church of the Jews I cannot finde any thing to pitch up∣on certainly when they did cease to be a Church but onely this;* e••er when God did send them a bill of Divorce by some extraordinary men (as ever they had some amongst them, some Prophet) or that they did wholly leave off from being under the pedagogie that God put them under: For I finde this that their Idolatry was not enough to cut them off from being a Church actually. It is true their Idolatry was that which did deserve it. They broke the marriage bond by their Idolatry, but God did not alwaies take the ad∣vantage of that, hee did not alwaies send them a bill of Divorce when they did commit Idolatry. These ten Tribes had beene Idolaters a long time be∣fore God had said to them they were not his wife. Therefore barely Idola∣try did not cut off, no not the Jews. Neither do I think that all Idolatry (if it be through ignorance) cutteth of a Church now in the time of the Christi∣ans. The Lutherans certainly are guilty of Idolatry by consequence, and so other Churches may be through ignorance, and yet they not cease to bee Churches. Therefore in the time of the Jews, I say I do not finde any parti∣cular sin that did actually cut them off so long as they did keep under the pe∣dagogie of the Law, unlesse God by some extraordinary messenger sent them a bill of Divorce, they yet remained the people of God, Isa. 15. 1. Where is your bill of Divorce, saith God? It is true you have deserved it, but where is it? I have not given you a bill of Divorce, therefore they were a Church. But for the time of the Gospel this I think may very safely be as∣serted, that so long as there is a Communion of Saints imbodied, holding forth the profession of all fundamental truths, and joyning in all Ordinan∣ces, so far as they are convinced, so long there is a Church. Any commu∣nion of Saints imbodyed, holding forth the profession of all fundamentall Page  162 truths, and are willing to set up ordinances so far as they know to be Gods mind they should set them up,* this multitude though it should have abund∣ance of corruptions, though many wicked be mingled amongst them, yet they are a Church of God, though they should not set up all Ordinances, though perhaps through ignorance they are not convinced that such an Or∣dinance is an Ordinance, yea though they be convinced that it is an Ordi∣nance, and yet perhaps they are not convinced that it is Gods minde they should set it up, though this should be their error, yet this communion of Saints imbodyed, remaine0th a true Church of Christ.

But thus. Though it be a true Church of Christ, yet it may be such a Church, that perhaps you, nor I, nor another cannot have communion withall.

You will say,* How is that possible for any Church to be a true Church of Christ, and yet we may not have communion with it?

So far communion we may have as to acknowledge it to be a Church, and to have communion in some duties, but it may be a true Church of Christ, and I may acknowledge it so, & yet not have communion in all Or∣dinances. In what cases may that be?

First, If this Church shall so mingle any Ordinance, any work of their publique communion, as I for the present cannot joine without contradict∣ing guilt upon me,* as not seeing Gods will in it, I cannot have communion [ 1] with them now in such Ordinances.

[ 2] Yea secondly, If a Church shall require me to yeeld in my judgement, and subscribe to such and such things that I cannot satisfie my conscience in, they put me off communion with them, it is not my fault, but they violently keep me off. That is a second case.

[ 3] Thirdly, When they shall not suffer me to do the duty that God requires of me, I cannot have communion with them there neither, because if I should joine with them, not doing my duty which my conscience tells me I am bound to doe, I thereby contract guilt.

Nay further, A man may be of a Church, and perhaps they may not be so ill, but it may be lawfull to have communion with them in many ordinan∣ces, and yet for those that are free,* and are not by any speciall call of God ty∣ed to such a place, they are bound in consciences in some cases not to joyne with them as a member of them in a constant way. As thus.

First, when I cannot enjoy all Ordinances with them, but God openeth a door to another place where I may have communion in all Ordinances, I may receive Sacraments with them upon occasion, and yet not be constant∣ly with them as a member of that Church.

[ 1] It is true, if God did shut the door that I could not enjoy all Ordinances any where, then it were better to joine with a Church that hath not all, though I doe but en joy some.

[ 2] Secondly, when God offereth 〈◊〉 else where that I may enjoy the Ordi∣nances with more power and pu••, and with more freedom of spirit, and 〈…〉 (I suppose one to 〈◊〉 and not to be tied) then if there be no∣thing Page  163 but outward accommodations that shall cast the ballance on the one hand, and the purity and power of the Ordinances on the other, if I shall ra∣ther chuse the one then the other, it will be apparant that I love my body bet∣ter then my soule: In this case Conscience biddeth me to shew more re∣spect to my soul then my bodie.

This can be no controversie, for it is generally acknowledged by all that if one will but remove his house from one parish to another, he may go and joine with that parish. But that which I affirme is not so far as that, I doe but suppose that a Man is free and not yet actually joined, he is then if he be free to regard more the puritie and power of the Ordinances then outward accomodations.*Let her therefore put away her whoredoms.

The end of all pleading and exhortation,* is reformation, & not contention.

Plead with her; to what end? Let her put away her whore domes. Plead with her that she may reforme, oe not plead for contentions sake. There are many Men that will rebuke others, and plead with others, but what for? meerly in a spirit of contention, meerely that they may brave it over them, that they may upbraid them, shame them, and not out of love to reforme them, they care not whether they reforme or not;* if they have vented their gall and malice they have what they would have.

But how will you know that? how can you know a Mans heart? [ 1]

Thus. You shall know that Men come not to plead for reformation but for contention, first, if they rather make it appeare that they are glad of the sinnes of their brethren and doe not grieve for them. You shall have many a Man come in a sury and rage to rebuke Men they have advantage against,* but not with a spirit of sorrow and mourning; if you came to plead and re∣buke them for reformation, you should have come with a mourning spirit, You should have mourned that such a one should be taken away from you, [ 2] saith the Apostle to the Corinths. You should mourne at your very heatts that Church or the Member of it hath offended.

Secondly, VVhen Men are partiall in their pleading, when they will re∣buke others and that sharply too that are afar off, but such as are neere to them they are carelesse of. Ezek. 18. 32. Turne yee, turne yee that ye may not dye; (say your bookes there) turne your selves and live. Now the word is Reverti facite,* for so it is in Hiphil, Doe you make to returne, and so it may well be read. So Arias Montanus reads it, make others to returne.

You must plead so as to desire reformation, not that you may get the vic∣torie and have the better of it by your pleading, but with bowels of compas∣sion to seeke Reformation you must not cut as an enemie to conquer, but as a Chirurgian to heale: Therefore before you goe to rebuke and to plead you must goe to prayer, that God would blesse your rebuking, and your exhor∣tation to your brethren, and when you have done pray againe to God for a blessing upon it. And look after your reprehensions, and see what becom∣eth of them; and if they doe not prosper to Reformation, then mourn, and crie to God for your brethren; and if it do prosper, then blesse God that you Page  164 have converted a soule. Thus it was with the Tribes on this side Jordan, when they pleaded with the Tribes on the other side Jordan, you shall finde in the story that when they heard the answer of their brethren they blessed God when they saw that their brethren were free from sinne:* so you should do, you should goe and plead with your brethren, perhaps your brethren may have the better of it and may convince you that that which you appre∣hend to be a sinne is not a sinne, now many men perhaps are angry & will not be convinced that it is no sinne, then I shall goe a way with the shame, what dloe I rebuke him of a sinne, and it is no sinne? Many a man holds on in an argument what he hath begun, and is loath to yeeld that it is not a sin, whereas he should be glad to yeeld it. If a Minister plead or preach that men do any thing that he conceives is a sin, if another should come and convince him that it was no sin, it is a vile spirit in any Mnister not to blesse God that he is mistaken, why? Because now the g••ilt of his brother is removed in his heart. If I had not beene mistaken, tis true, my credit had beene some∣what, but I am mistaken, the sin is removed from my brother, Oh blessed be God that my brother is not guilty, though I am mistaken; if we plead a∣gainst others with such a spirit as this, God will blesse us.

The Second Lecture.

HOSEA The latter part of the second verse and verse 3.

Let her therefore put away her whoredomes out of her sight, and her adul∣teries from between her breasts.

Lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the day wherein shee was borne, and make her as a wildernesse, &c.

PLead with your mother, and plead so as to tell her plainly that she is no more my wife, she hath her bill of Divorce, shee is now none of mine. Well it seemeth then there is no hope, no helpe, God hath left us, forsaken us, hee hath said we are no more his wife, wee have our bill of divorce and we must be gone. Not so neither, but now it followeth, Let her put away from her sight her whoredomes, and her adulteries from betweeen her hreasts.

Herby insinuating at least, that her condition, yet notwithstanding the greatnesse of her sin and the fearfulnesse of the threat, is not altogether hope∣lesse, but he would have those that plead with her, yet to exhort her and to bid her put away her whoredomes. It is true, when a man puts away his wife for whoredom, and giveth a bill of divorce, he will never take her againe, upon no termes. Jer. 3. 1. Will a man when he putteth away his wife, re∣turne unto her again? As if he should say, no certainly, no man will do it; Yet returne unto me saith the Lord, and I will receive you againe.

Gods mercies are beyond mans.* It is a most excellent and usefull observa∣tion that we have from hence. There is no such dreadfull threatning against Page  165 any in the word of God for any of their sins (only we except that sin against the holy Ghost) but there is a dore of hope left for those sinners.*

Here seemeth to be the greatest sin, of Idolatry and forsaking of God as could be, the most dreadfull threatning, she is not my wife, shee is divorced from mee. Yet here is insinuated a hope of mercy.

I will give you one Text which is as notable for this as any I know in the booke of God,* that is in Judges 10. 13. 14. compared with ver. 16, In the 13. and 14. verses, saith God, You have for saken me, & served other gods. What then? I will deliver you no more. I am resolved against you now, I have delivered you often, but now I will deliver you no more; Go your wayes, Cry unto the gods you have chosen, let them deliver you in the time, of your tribulation. One would thinke this people to be in an ill case, of whom God saith thus much; For observe these foure things here. First, God chargeth them with the greatest sinne that could be, they had forsaken God and turned themselves idols. Secondly, This great sin is aggravated with the most aggravating circumstance almost that could bee, implyed here, this they had done notwithstanding God was wonderfull mercifull to them, and had often delivered them, yet they had still forsaken him & ser∣ved other Gods. Thirdly, Here is one of the most peremptory resolutions against shewing mercy that we can imagine, saith God, I will deliver you no more, now I have delivered you so oft. Fourthly, Here is a most bitter Sarcasme, a biting, upbrayding, taunting speech for their serving other gods.

As if he should say, what doe you come now? Now do you cry & howle to me now you are in trouble, in your prosperity I was no God for you, you let me then for other gods, and now I will be no God to you, to other gods I leave you, go now and cry to those other gods, and see whether they will help you. Put these together and one would thinke this people were in a hopeless condition. Is there any help for this people yet? Are they not a lost people? Is not repentance too late for this people? No, for all this, repen∣tance is not too late for such a people as this, for mark, the Text saith in the 15. ver. And the children of Israel said unto the Lord, we have sinned, do thou unto us what seemeth good unto thee, and ver. 16. They put away their strange gods from among them, and served the Lord. They do not now lye downe sullenly in their sinnes and say, there is no help, therefore we were as good go on in our sinfull wayes, but they venture to put away their strange gods, and crye unto the Lord, and tell him that they had sinned. What then? the Text saith, The soul of the Lord was grieved for the misery of Israel. Though he had thus pronounced against them, yet his soule was grieved for them, they were not the same they were before.

It is true, I will deliver you no more, you impenitent ones, I will deliver you no more, but God did not say he would not give them repentance; but when they had put away their strange gods, though they had grieved Gods Spirit with their sinnes, yet God was grieved for their affliction now, and though God had thus threatned them, yet his bowells now Page  166 do yerne towards them, and hee comes in again with mercie; and subdues their enemies under them, the children of Ammon were conquered, and God gives them twenty of their Cities, as Chap. 11. 33.

God never threatneth any people, but the condition of mercie upon re∣pentance, it is either expressed, or implyed. It is therefore the frowardness and the fulness of the hearts of sinners, to give over all upon the thought of the greatness of their sins, or the severity of Gods threatning against them, O no, you great sinners, that have beene guilty of many horrible sins, come in and repent, I may say to you as Secaniah did to the people in another case, of a grievous sin, Ezra. 10. 2. There is hope in Israel concerning this thing.

It is the cavill of many carnal hearts against many faithfull and Zealons Ministers, that they do nothing but preach judgement, and they threaten damnation, and say people shall be damned, and go to hell, aud the like.

This they speak against them, not mentioning at all the conditions upon which damnation and hell is threatned. Certainly there can scarce a Mini∣ster in the world be found that threatneth damnation or hell absolutely, but upon those termes of impenitency. I will give you one Scripture to shew you the most absurd perverse spirits of men in this kinde, how they will take a piece of the words of the Prophets and separate the threatning from the condition, on purpose that they may cavill at the word, it is in Jer. 26. 4. saith God to the Prophet there, Thou shalt say to them, Thus saith the Lord, If you will not hearken to me to walke in my Law which I have set be∣fore you, o hearken to the words of my servants the Prophets whom I sent unto you;*then will I make this house like Shiloh, and will make their Citie a curse to all the nations of the earth. See how fairely the words of the Prophet go, If you will not hearken to me to walke in my lawes, and the words of my Prophets whom I sent unto you, then I will do so and so. The Prophet delivers his message as faire as can be. But see now their pervers∣nesse in the 8. ver. It came to passe that when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking all that the Lord commanded him to speake unto all the people, that the Priests and the Prophets and all the people tooke him, saying, Thou shalt surely dye. What is the matter? Why hast thou Prophecyed in the name of the Lord, saying. This house shall be like Shiloh? They leave out, [if,] whereas he said, If you will not return and heare the words of the Lord, this house shall be as Shiloh; They come and lay hold upon him with vio∣lence, Why hast thou said this house shall be like Shiloh? and leave out the o∣ther. This is the perverseness of the hearts of men.

Well then, the conclusion of this Observation is this, that the worst plea∣ding against any for their sinnes, it is not to sinke the hearts in despaire, but to turne their hearts towards God that they may receive mercy; Let her put away her whoredomes.

Secondly, Let her put away her whoredomes. After such a kinde of plea∣ding that included a most dreadfull threatning in it, She is not my wife, yet God exhorteth. Hence the Observation is this.

Page  167 While God is pleased to speak to a people and call upon them, and exhort them to turne unto him,* the condition of that people is not desperate. Exhor∣tations from God do argue that the condition of a people may be hopefull.

So long as the King is but speaking to a Traytor, especially giving of him good counsel,* there may be hope: If he turne his backe upon him, and will speake no more, then he looks upon himself as a gone man. Many people are troubled that God doth so continue exhorting by his Ministers and o∣thers, and they cannot be at quiet. If thou hast such a quiet as God should leave exhorting and drawing thee from thy sinnes, woe to thee, thou art a lost creature. Make much of exhortations and threatnings.

Come we now to the Exhortation it selfe, Let her put away her whore∣domes out of her sight, and her adulteries from betweene her breasts. It is in the plurall number, her whoredomes, and her adulteries. They were ma∣ny, shee must put them away all. If a wife that hath been naught shall be contented to forsake divers of her lovers and retain but one there is no re∣conciliation, all her adulteries must be put away.

But the words are not onely in the plurall number, but those that under∣stand the Originall, well know, that there is somewhat in the words to ex∣tend the signification beyond the plurall number, and that is the duplication of the radicall letter, in the first word the second radicall letter which is [〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉] is double,* & in the second word the third radicall Letter [〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉] that is double.

It is the note of Tarnovius upon the place, saith he, the doubling of these radicall Letters shew the exceeding multitude of those whordomes and a∣dulteries that Israel was guilty of at this time. And indeed when once there is giving way to superstitious vanities there is growing to notorious whor∣domes and adulteries without measure, without number, ubi sistendum. We never know where to stop, if once our worship be corrupted.

Let her put away out of her sight.

The eye is the receiver of much uncleanness into the heart, and by it the un∣cleanuess of the heart is much exprest. The Scripture speakes of eies full of adulterie, Let her put her adulteries out of her sight, let them be abominable now in her eies, those things that before were delectable, let them now bee detestable. Let them cast away their Idols as a filthy menstruous cloath, and with indignation say, get yee hence.

Or from before her face, so it is in the Hebrew, noting her impudency in her idolatry, that it appeared in her very face. Though men at first may be a little wary, yet at length they grow to manifest outwardly their Idolatry in their very face. But what we shall meet with afterward.

And because Israel did not according to the exhortation of those that pleaded with her, put thus her whordomes out of her sight, God did put Is∣rael out of his sight, for so we have it, 2 King. 17. 22. 23. The children of Israel walked in all the sinnes of Jeroboam which he did, they departed not from them. Promises could not draw them, threatnings could not derer them. Vntill the Lord removed Israel out of his sight.

Page  168 They might have prevented this; if they had put their whoredomes out of their sight, God would never have put them out of his sight.

And from betweene her breasts.

Whores use to discover their filthyness much in their breasts, either in the nakedness of their breasts, or in those ornaments they hung about their breasts,* as they were wont to do in those Countreys, for the intsing of their lovers. Her breasts. Hypocrates sayes there are veins that goe from the belly to the breasts, and that is the reason he gives of the temptation to lust that is in the breasts. The whoredomes of the breasts in the nakednesse of them hath been condemned, not onely in the Churches of God, but amongst the heathen. Terrulian in his book de habitu muliebri hath this expression:

Women adorne themselves immode∣rately with gold, and silver, and preci∣ous apparell, this is, saith hee, crimen ambitionis, the sin of ambition; but for them to seek to adorne themselves solicitously carefull about their haire, and their skin, and those parts that draw the eyes, this is crimen prostitutionis, it is the sinnne of a prostituted whore so to doe.

Yea besides, Tertullian in another book of his, De velandis vergini∣bus, brings the Heathen, rebuking Christian women in those times: The very women of Arabia,* saith he, shall judge you, for they do not onely cover their faces, but even their heads, rather then they will have their nakedness ap∣peare, they will let the light but into one eye. Now if the Heathen did so, if they would not have their nakedness in any thing appeare, much more should Christians cover those parts that are incitements to lusts. That which is the Bedlams madness, and the Beg∣gars misery, namely, Nakedness, that is the whores pride, and the strumpets glory.

Let her put away her whordoms out of her sight, and her adulte∣ries from between her breasts.

That which is intended especially here, is, that they should not be con∣tent meerly with change of their hearts, to say, Well, we will acknowledge the Lord to be the true God, and our hearts shall wholly trust in him, but for these externall things what great matter is there in them? Oh no, they must abstaine from all appearance of evill; from the badges of Idolatry, there must not be so much as the garbe and dresse of a whore upon them, they must take away their adulteries from betweene their breasts.

The breasts of the Church are the Ordinances that are there, for out of them do the Saints suck sweetness and spirituall nourishment. So they are called in Isa. 66. 11. That you may suck and be satisfied with the breasts of consolation. Now certainly it is an evill thing for any thing that is whor∣ish Page  169 to be upon the breasts, to be in the Ordinances of the Church, to thinke to adorne them withall as whores do their breasts. No, the breasts are so neare the heart that it is pitty any thing should be upon them but Christ himselfe; it is most fit that he should lye there. Cant. 1. 13. A bundle of myrrhe is my wel-beloved unto me, he shall lye all night between my breasts, Myrrhe we know is a bitter thing, but though Christ were as a bundle of myrrhe, and brought many afflictions that adde bitternesse to the flesh, yet the Church would have Christ to lye between her breasts and she would re∣joyce in Christ, Christ was sweet to the Church though with afflictions, As a bundle of myrrhe is my wel-beloved. So many faithfull Ministers of God have been contented, yea joyfull to keep Christ between their breasts, and in the Ordinances, though as a bundle of myrrhe, though hee hath brought some afflictions to them, yet rather then they would endure any expression of that which is whorish upon the breasts of the Church,* upon the Ordi∣nances, the Word and Sacraments, Christ Jesus a bundle of myrrhe be∣tween their breasts hath been delightfull to them.

I finde another reading of the words in the Septuagint Translation.

Whereas we reade it, Let her take away her whoredoms from her sight, I finde that they reade it as a speech of God,*I will take away her whore∣doms from my face. And Ciryl reading the words according to the 70. hee hath an excellent note from thence. God (saith he) threatneth that he will take away her whoredomes from his face; as when a member of a body is so putrified that it cannot be cured by salves and medicynes, it is cut off, and so the disease commeth to be cured: so God laboureth to cure the people of Israel by admonitions, by exhortations, by threatnings, by promises of mercy, and when all would not do, then he threatneth to cure them by ano∣ther way, that is, by cutting them off by the Assyrians; I will send an ene∣my against them and he shall take them out of their owne land, and carry them into a strange land, & then they shal be farre enough from their calves, far enough from Dan and Bethel, so I will take their whoredomes from be∣fore my face. Thus many times doth God take away the sinnes of a peo∣ple or of a particular person from before his face.

As for instance, Thou drunkard, thou unclean person, thou hast had ex∣hortations, threatnings, many mercifull expressions from God toward thee from thy sinnes, to take away thy sinnes from thee; that will not do; God commeth with some noysome vile disease upon thy body that thou shalt not be able to act thy sinne any more, and God takes away the act of thy sinne at least that way in such a violent manner by his judgements: and so some∣times men and women that have estates, and will be proud, and vaine, and make their estates the fuel of their lusts, when the Word cannot take away their sinnes and the expression of their wickednesse, God by some violent judgement takes away their estates, that they shall not be able to com∣mit those sinnes that they did before though they would never so faine.

Page  170 This is a dreadfull taking away of sin. Yea when God shall come so to take away the sinne of men and women as to take away their souls together with taking away their sinne: for so it is threatned, Job. 27. 8. What is the hope of the hypocrite when God taketh away his soul? Thou that woul∣dest not suffer the word to take away thy sin, thou must expect that God wil take it away another way, even by taking away thy soule. Ezek. 21. 29. It may be said of some sinners as there God threatneth, The time is come (saith the Text) when their iniquity shal have an end. God will suffer them to live no longer to sin against him: he will take away their sinnes, but so as to take away their soules, they shall not sinne any more against God in this world.

Lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the day wherein she was borne.

There is much in these words, and because they are so exceeding sutable unto us (God still bringing points to hand sutable to our times) so long as this is, you must give me liberty to insist a while upon them, and not runne over them so fast as otherwise I would doe. I must not slightly passe over those truths that are so cleerly presented, and so neerly concerning us.

Lest I strip her naked, &c,

It seems by this that Israel had once been in a very low condition when she was borne, a very pittifull estate. But God had put many ornaments upon her, and now he threatneth to bring her again into the same condition, and to strip her naked.

In the day wherein she was borne. This I finde Interpreters to referre to divers conditions of Israel, but most refer it to the time of their deliverance out of Egypt: that is called here by God, the day wherein she was borne.

We must inquire first what was the condition of Israel in the day where∣in she was borne. Secondly, what ornaments God had put upon her after∣wards; and then we shall come to see the strength of the threat, that God would strip her naked, and set her as in the day wherein she was borne.

For the first two we shall not need to goe farre, we have them fully and most elegantly set out unto us in Ezek. 16. That Chapter may be a Com∣ment upon this, what Israel was in the day wherein she was borne, and what ornaments God had put upon her.

In the third verse, Thus saith the Lord God unto Jerusalem, Thy birth and thy nativity is of the land of Canaan, thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother an Hittite, ver. 4. And as for thy nativity in the day thou wast borne, thy avill was not cut, &c,

We must a little open the expression there, or else wee cannot open this Text in Hosea. Thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother an Hittite,

When thou wert borne thou wert in this condition. What, their father an Amorite, and their mother an Hittite, Abraham was their father, and Sarah their mother; why here an Amorite, and an Hittite?

Secondly, Because there were other nations besides Amorites & Hittites, the•• were the Jebusites & the Perizites; why rather an Amorite & Hit∣titePage  171 then a Jebusite and Perizite? These two questions must be answe∣red. First, Abraham was their father, yet because they were in such a dis∣position, so like to the Amorites and Hittites,* so vile and so wicked, now they deserve not to have the honour of Abrahams being their father, but to be called the children of the Amorite and the Hittite. As John Baptist cal∣leth the Pharisees the viperous, the serpentine brood, so those that are like the devil are called the Children of the Devil.

Secondly, Why the Amorite and Hittite rather then others?

For the first, the Amorite; because the Amorite was the chiefest of those nations in Canaan that were driven out. All the five were called by the name of Amorite: The sinnes of the Amorites are not yet full.

Secondly the Hittite, because they seemed to be the vilest of the five, and for that, there is a Text of Scripture that seemeth to infer so much. Gen. 27. 46. I am weary of my life (saith Rebekah) because of the daughters of Heth. She onely mentioneth the daughters of Heth, and those that were now called Hittites were of the daughters of Heth: And saith she, What good will my life doe, if Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth? Why, there were other daughters besides them, but those were the vilest, therefore she onely mentioneth them.

Yea, but what was Israel at this time when they were delivered out of Egypt (for that is the time wherein shee was borne that is spoken of here) were they in so ill a condition, as that their father was an Amorite and their mother an Hittite at that time?

There are two most usefull Observations that flow from hence, before we proceed any further in the explication of the words.

Israel though they had been 400. years in Egypt under grievous afflicti∣ons, yet they continued exceeding abominable and wicked. The fire of their affliction did seeme to harden their hearts, as much as the fire of the furnace did harden the bricks: Their hearts were clay, foule, dirty hearts, and were hardned by their afflictions.

And secondly,* when God came to deliver Israel out of Egypt, God found them to be in a very wicked condition then; then their Father was an Amorite, and their mother an Hittite, then they were thus vile when God came to deliver them, in the day wherein they were borne, (for their deliverance is their birth.)

Oh the freenesse of Gods grace! God often told them that his grace was free,* and so indeed it was if hee found them thus as he did, for so you shall finde if you read the story of the people of Israel, that when God sent Mo∣ses unto them, they were a very wicked and stubborn people, even at that very time when God came with his deliverance.

Let us then raise up our hearts and looke up to the free grace of God even toward us. We are vile, we are wicked, mercies, christisements have hard∣ned us; and yet all this hindreth not the free grace of God for the deliver∣ance of a people. God hath begun in a way of deliverance to us; and when Page  172 did he begin it?* Certainly England was never since it was borne, since it was delivered out of spiritual Egypt, out of the bondage of Popery, it was never in a worse condition then when God came in with his mercies of late to us: Then if ever it might be said of us that our father was an Amorite, and our mother an Hittite, we were then in the very high way towards E∣gypt again when God came with his free grace to deliver us. As hee dealt with his own people, so he hath dealt with us, magnified be the free grace of God towards us an unworthy people.

Further, Thy Navill was not cut. That is the expression how he was in the day wherein he was borne.

First,*Thy Navill was not cut, The loathsomenesse of their condition is set out by that. Naturallists observe that the nourishment that the childe hath from the mother, it is by the navill: as afterward the childe sucks of the breasts and so is battned, but all the while it is in the wombe, it is nour∣ished by a string, in the navill that draws nourishment from the mother.

Now Israel even when God did deliver them from Egypt, had not their navill cut, that is, they did even still seeme, nay, not only seeme but still they did draw their nourishment from Egypt; they did batten themselves & suck out the Egyptian manners, and customes, and superstitions; and in their growth up they did seeme rather to have their nourishment from Egypt then from God, so God himselfe chargeth them, Ezek. 23. 8. Neither left she her whoredomes brought from Egypt, saith the Text, her navill was not cut, shee drew, she sucked still the Egyptian manners, customes, and su∣perstitions.

It is not thus in part with us? Let me a little speake of this by way of al∣lusion at least. Is our navill cut to this very day? It is true, God hath deli∣vered us from Popery, from Egypt, as he did Israel, but still do not we con∣tinue sucking, drawing nourishment from our old superstitious wayes of Popery? we seeme to live still upon them, and to have our hearts delight∣ing in them. Oh how just were it with God to come in a violent way and cut our navill, even by the sword! it is mercy he commeth not thus to cut it, and so to take from us all those secret hankerings that wee have after the old E∣gyptian customes.

Yet again, seeing it is such a full allusion, wee may apply it to those that seeme to have a new birth to be borne again, those that seeme now to make very faire profession of Religion, and to forsake many evill wayes that for∣merly they have delighted in: but yet their navill is not cut neither; they do secretly suck sweetnesse and battning from their former lusts; the curse of the serpent is upon them, upon their bellies they doe goe and dust they do eate, their bellies do even cleave to the dust. Neither wast thou washed in water.

This also sets forth the wofull condition of Israel when he was borne, he was not washed. The infant when it commeth first into the world, cometh from blood and filth in which it was wrapped, that (as Plutarch saith) it is ra∣thr 〈◊〉 a childe killed, then a child born: so bloody and polluted it is, that Page  173 were it not that there were a natural affection stirring in parents, they would even loath the fruit of their wombes. It is true, parents may see that with their bodily eyes, but there is more polution in their soules; they are wrap∣ped up in original sin and filth, more then their bodyes are wrapped up in blood and filth in the wombe.

Therefore infants are washed, but thou wast not washed, thou wast let goe in thy filth. I have read of the Lacedemonians, that when their children were borne, they used to throw them into the river, to consolidate their members and parts of their bodies, as they say, to make them strong, that was the custome of that barbarous people.

Thou wast cast out in the open field. What is the meaning of this? We cannot understand it fully without examining what the custome of the peo∣ple was in those times. We finde in Histories that the custome of divers of the Heathen was, when their children were borne, to observe by their coun∣tenance, by the making of their members, whether they were like to be use∣full to the Commouwealth or not; and if not like they threw them away, and if they were like to be usefull they nourished them up. They nourished up no other children but those that they judged by their countenance or mak∣ing, would do good to the Common-wealth: We finde it in divers Histo∣ries. Strabo tells us that the Indians and Brachmanes had certaine Judges appointed for that very end;* their Office was, that when any childe was borne, to judge by the countenance and parts of the body of the childe, whe∣ther it were like to do any good in the Common-wealth,* & so either to save it or cast it out. So likewise AElian in his Various Histories telleth us of the Thebanes, that there was an express Law made among them in these words, That none of them should cast out their children, noting thereby that it was wont to be the custome a••ngst them.* So Clemens Romanus telleth us that indeed the Jews, as a thing peculiar to them, amongst them the chil∣dren are not cast out.

So that the holy Ghost alludeth to the way of the Gentiles and barbarous people, and telleth Israel that they were as a childe cast out, such a one as the countenance and feature promised no good, Thou wert cast out in the open field, because they never hoped to have any good of thee, and indeed (as if God should say) if I had regarded what I saw in you, I might have past this judgement upon you too, there was little hope of good from you. But what though the child be cast out in the field, yet there may come some by, accidentally (as Pharaohs daughter did) that may pitty the child, and have compassion on it. No (saith God) thou wast not onely cast out, but worse then so, thou wast cast out, and so cast out as no eye pityed thee. You have sometimes bastards & poor childred laid at your doors, and left there, some in baskets & otherways, yet when you open them & see a child, and a childe weeping, there is some pity in you, and you will take care some way or other that it may be fed & brought up. But saith God to Israel, You were cast out in the open field, & no eye pityed you, that is, all the heathen were against you, Page  174 and others in the land rose up against you,* the Egyptians they came out to destroy you, you had the sea before you, and them behind you, none had pit∣ty upon you. This was the condition wherein you were borne.

Now see what ornaments God had put upon them. They were in a sor∣ry condition you see when they were borne. But marke, that fore-named place of Ezek. ver. 8. I took the (saith God) and entred into covenant with thee, and then becamest mine. That is the way of a peoples becomming Gods, his entring into covenant with them. The Lord hath begun to enter into Covenant with us, and we with him in former Protestations, and if a∣ny farther Covenant binding us more strictly to God be tendred to us, know that God in this deals with us as he did with his own people. We are as chil∣dren cast out in the open field, and no eye pityeth us; but many plot against us, and seeke our ruine. If God will be pleased now to enter into Cove∣nant with us, and give all the people of the Land hearts to come close to the Covenant, to renew their Covenant with him, and that to more purpose then in former Covenants, the Lord yet will own us. The Covenant of God was the foundation of all the mercy the people of Israel had from God, and we are to look upon it as the foundation of our mercy; and therefore as in the presence of God willingly and cheerfully to renew it with him.

After Gods taking this people to himselfe as his own, it followes. ver. 11, 12. I decked thee also with ornaments, & I put bracelets upon thine hands, and a chaine on thy necke; And I put a jewell on thy fore-head, and ear∣rings in thine ears, & a beautiful crown upon thine head. Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver, and thy rayment of fine linnen, and silk & broi∣dred worke, and thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty. Thus God did with the people of Israel, he had added to what they had when they were born. Miserable they were when they were borne; but the mercies of God toward them are thus set out, And nowhee cometh to threaten that he will strip them naked and set them as in the day wherein they were born.

Yet further for the opening of this, we must know that it was the custome among the Jews, when any married, what they brought to their husbands, and their dowry was written down in a table: and if afterward he should di∣vorce his wife, except there could be proved some grosse and vile thing a∣gainst the woman, though she should go away, yet she was to go away with her Table, with her dowry and what she brought, she must not goe away naked. But if there could be proved some notorious villany that shee had committed, then she was sent away Sine Tabulis, naked without those ta∣bles wherein her dowry and other things were written, and destitute of all things, as being unworthy of them, because she had played the harlot.

Thus God threatneth this people. She is not my wife, but unlesse she put a∣way her whore doms from before her face, and her adultery from between her breasts, I will strip her naked as in the day wherein she was borne. She shal be se••ay without any tables, naked and wholly destitute. And thus you have th••pening of the words. The Observations follow.

Page  175 The first is, The beginnings of great excellencies are sometimes very low and meane. This plainly riseth up from the opposition of her condition when she was borne, and what she had gotten from God afterward, I will strip thee naked and set thee as in the day wherein thou wert borne. Therefore it is cleare she was born in a very mean condition, & gotten up to a very excel lent condition, though now they be high & glorious, yet once they were very low & mean. God many times raises up golden pillars upon leaden Bases, & the most glorious works of God have had the lowest beginnings. This beauti¦full frame of heaven & earth was raised out of a Chaos of confusion & dark∣ness. This is true, personally, or nationally, and that in regard of outward conditions or spirituall. How poor, and low, and meane, have many of your beginnings beene even in the world? who could ever have thought that such low beginnings could have beene raised unto such high things as some of you have beene raised unto in the world? It was not long since when you came hither to this City (which may be said to be the day wherein you were borne for your civill estate, though not your naturall) you were low enough, meane enough, you had but little to begin withall; you came hither with your staffe, and now behold two bands.

It is sometimes so likewise in regard of the spirituall estate. You may re∣member not long since, Oh what darkness and confusion was there in your mindes and hearts; what poore, low, meane thoughts had you of God and the things of his Kingdome, what unsavory spirits, when at first God was pleased to worke upon you? Oh what a poor condition were you in then? though you had some light put into you, yet you were as a childe new borne wrapped up in filth and blood, many noysome distempers and boisterous lusts there were in your hearts, as it is usuall with new converts, like a fire newly kindled where there is a great deale of smother and smoke that after∣wards weareth away. But now behold the shining of Gods face upon your soules, Oh the abilities that God hath given you to know his minde and doe his will! Oh the blessed communion that you have with God, & the spark∣ling of that divine nature! the glory and beauty of the divine nature is put u∣pon you. So for Nations, we will not goe further then our owne.

How low and meane were we at first? we were a most rude, barbarous, and savage people, almost as lived upon the earth. Brittons had their name frome hence, in the old Brittaine language, Birth signifies blew coloured, be∣cause those that lived here, instead of brave cloathes, as you have, they with woade besmeared their bodies with blew, they were from thence called Brittains; for [tania] was added as it is usuall in other Languages for the signification of such a Region or Countrey, as Mauritania, Lusitania, Aquitania, &c. so that Brittania is as much as to say, The Region of the blew coloured people, so called because they were thus painted: The best food that they were wnt to eate (Historians tell us) was barkes of trees and rootes. Hollinshed in his Chronickle sayes there were old men that he knew who told of times in England, that if the good man in the house had a matter∣res Page  176 or flock-bed, or a sack of chaffe to rest his head on, he thought himselfe as well lodged as the Lord of the Towne, for ordinarily they lay upon straw pellets covered with canvace, and a round log under their heads instead of a bolster, they said pillows were fit onely for women in child-bed, and in a good Farmers house it was rare to finde foure pieces of pewter, and it was accounted a great matter that a Farmer could shew five shillings or a noble in silver together. And Camden in his Britania tells of Ailesbury a Towne in Buckinghamshire, that there was in it a Mannour of the Kings, and the condition of holding certain lands there, was, that the possessor or holder of them should find straw for litter of the Kings bed when he came there, And Latimer in a Sermon before King Edward tells of his father whom he sayes kept good hospitality for his poor neighbours, and found a horse for the Kings service, brought him up at learning, and married his sisters with five pound or twenty nobles a piece for their portions. This was the poore and meane condition of these times. And Jerome contra Iovinianum, and Diodorus Siculus tells us concerning the people in Ireland, our neighbours, that the best delicates they used to eate in former times, were the flesh of young children, and paps of women; and the ships they used to have were sallowes wreathed together, and bowes twisted, and covered with the hides of beasts,* and the wives they had were common to all their brethren and pa∣rents. As for their Religion, they offered to the devll mans flesh, they wor∣shipped Apollo, and Jupiter, and Diana. And Gildas one of the ancient∣est Historians that relates the conditions of these Brittish people, hee sayes the Idols they had were such horrible, devillish, monstrous things, that they did even overcome the Egyptian Idols in number; and no people had so many Idol-gods, and so monstrous as the Egyptians, and yet these went be∣yond them. So saith he. Afterward, no people in the world more rent & torn with Civill wars then England hath been. And in the times when Po∣pery was here profeit and establisht, Oh the bondage we were under then! outward and spiritual bondage. Our bodyes, our soules, our estates, our con∣sciences were in miserable thraldome.

It is the most sordid, miserable slavery that it is possible for a rationall creature to be under, not onely to be bound to practice, but to be bound to beleeve for truth the dictates and determinations of men, yea and that upon paine of eternall damnation, to beleeve what they say, as the Articles of Faith upon which Salvation or Damnation depends, for Conscience to be under them, so as I must not question or scruple any thing; if any man that is a rationall creature should think there is any such distance between man and man, he debaseth himself beneath a man, and advanceth the other a∣bove a man. Better it is to be in slavery to another to scrape kennels, then to be in this slavery. And to have the Scriptures kept from us, the E∣pistle that God hath sent from heaven to us, that which enlightens the world, revealing the great counsels of God concerning eternal life; this is worse bond then to be ch•••ed up in dark holes all the dayes of our lives, to have Page  177 no Ordinances but according to the lusts and humours of vile men,* how great a slavery is this? The manifestation of the least suspition of the falsnes of the vilest errors, dislike of the basest practices, was enough to confiscate estate, to imprison, yea to take away life. Was not this a low condition, a base slavery that England was in? could any beare it but such as were slaves to their own lusts? But now what ornaments hath God put upon us!

No Nation under heaven more renowned then wee have beene, our re∣nown hath gone thorough the earth, England, O Angliquasi Angeli, and Albion, from our happinesse, we see now (by our selves) that glorious ex∣cellencies have many times low beginnings.

A second observation hence is,* when we have any excellency, and beauty upon us, it is Gods mercy that is all our beauty. I will strip you naked and set you as in the day wherein you were born. If you have any excellency it is my mercy. Gods mercie is a peoples beauty and glory, We have nothing belonging to us but shame and confusion, but misery, if we have any or∣naments, it is mercy, free mercy: therefore in the 14. ver. of that 16. Ezek. Thou wert perfect in beauty, How? through my comlinesse which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord. Let God take away but his mercy, we are quick∣ly left naked, and poor, and miserable; like the ragged walls in the Court when the King goeth away, and all the rich hangings are taken down, what a difference is there in their look from what was formerly? the beauty of the walls were the hangings when the King was there. So if wee have any thing that makes us beautifull, they are the hangings that God hath put up∣on us; his mercies are those hangings of gold, and silver, and needle-work, and when they are gone, we are poor, and ragged, and miserable.

Thirdly,*Lest I strip her naked, &c. God had said before that she was not his wife, she was guilty of whoredoms, yet it seemes shee was not yet stripped naked; she was left with Gods ornaments upon her, notwithstan∣ding her whoredoms. Hence the third Observation is,

Though sinners deserve great evils, to be stripped of all comforts, yet God in patience and clemencie continueth them a long time. They may be un∣der fearfull threatnings, and yet retaine many comforts; yea the truth is, it is possible for a people to be cast off from God, & yet to continue for a while in outward prosperity. The tree that is cut up by the roots, yet may have the leaves green for a while. Saul who was rejected of God, 1 Sam, 13. 14, yet after that (if you reade the Story you shall finde it) that God suffered Saul to prosper exceedingly in overcomming the Phylistims & the Amalekites

Fourthly,* The mercies that God bestoweth upon a Nation, the ornaments that God putteth upon a people that are but common favours, not spirituall graces, they are such as a people may be stripped of. Great mercies that a people have, they may wholly loose. Here is the difference between true spirituall graces, whereby JESUS CHRIST doth adorne his spouse, when Christ, not onely takes in an outward way a people to himselfe, but marries them to himself in a spirituall way, he decketh the soule with such Page  178 ornaments,* bestoweth suchmercies upon them, as shall never be taken a∣way. Such a soul hath no cause to feare that ever it can be stripped as in the day wherein it was born, you need not feare that you shall ever lose the jewels given you at that marriage day. It is true, common graces and gifts you may be stript of and made naked; as it is usuall in many professors that have not truth at heart, yet have excellent gifts, as of prayer and the like, but afterward they prove naught, God takes away their gifts from them, they have not that gift of prayer they were wont to have, though they have excel∣lent words, yet a man may perceive a shuffling in them, and such an unsa∣voriness mixed with their gifts, that it breeds loathing in others to joyne with them. As when the King goeth away from his Pallace, the hangings are ta∣ken down; so when God departeth from a soul (as from such he may) then their hangings, those excellent gifts are taken from them. But those gifts that are spirituall they are never stripped of them. We read in Ezek. 46. 17. when a King gave gifts to his servants,*they were to returne to him againe at the yeere of Jubilee, but when he gave them to his sonnes, they were to be their inheritance. There are many that are outwardly in the Church Gods servants, they have many gifts, but God will take them away and strip them naked of those gifts: but then there are his children, they shall have their gifts as an inheritance for ever. It is true, God may stay a while, as when the King is gone from Court, if there be any thought of his returne again the hangings do continue, but if the message come, the King will not be here this twelve moneths, or a long time, or it may be never any more, then the hangings are taken down; so though these gifts of the Hypocrite may stay a while,* yet they will vanish at last. The fifth Observation.—

Continuance in sinne, and especially the sin of spirituall whoredome, is that which will strip a Nation from all their excellencies, from all their or∣ments and beauty; the continuance in that sin especially; for so the words imply, Let her pnt away her adulteries from between her breasts, lest I strip her naked. &c. If she continue thus, certainly naked she shall be.

This alwayes brings nakednesse meritoriously, but if continued in, effec∣tually, it makes them naked. Exod. 32. 25. You may see there what made the people naked at that time, the Text saith, that Aaron had made the peo∣ple naked, that is, Aaron by consenting to the people to make the Calfe had made the people naked: naked, that is destitute now of Gods gracious pro∣tection, deprived of those favours from God that formerly they had. And as the Priest had made them naked, so you may finde it in 2 Chron. 28. 19. that the King made them naked too. The Lord brought Judah lowe, be∣cause of Ahaz King of Israel, for he made Judah naked and transgressed sore against the Lord. He made Judah naked, that is by countenancing I∣dolatry, by syding with those that were Idolaters, even he made Judah na∣ked at that time.

Here we may see who they are that are like to strip us, if ever God should come to strip us. We have many amongst us that see false burthens of all the Page  179 miseries and troubles that come upon the nation; they cry out presently of the Puritans, and of others that they say are factious and seditious spirits, and turbulent,* and all must be laid upon them. Certainly whosoever hath eyes in his head may easily see who makes us thus naked as we are, and if we be made more naked, who will be the cause of all? Those that stand against the way of Reformation, those that will keep their whoredoms in their sight, and their adulteries between their breasts, those that will not be willing that the Church shall be purged from that filth and whorish attire that it hath; these are they that make us naked. We read in Lamen. 2. 14. Thy Prophets have seene vaine and foolish things for thee, and they have not discovered thine iniquity to turne away thy captivity; but have seen for thee the false burthens, and causes of banishment. Mark it, the Prophets have seene vaine ad foolish things, they have not discovered thine iniquity, they have not dealt 〈◊〉 inly with thy people, neither have they told them the reason of their captivity, but they have seene for them false burthens and causes of banish∣ment, The Prophets say it is a company of these precise and strict ones, that will not be obedient to authority, and will not doe what is commanded in such and such things, and (when there were wayes of corruption in Gods worship) they would not submit to such and such orders. The Prophets lay the blame upon them, but they see false burthens, saith the Text, and false canses of banishment. We have many such Prophets amongst us who see false burthens and causes of banishment, and they cry out of those that cer∣tainly are the causes of our peace and of the good of the kingdom. Tertul∣lian tells us that in the Primitive times, if they had but any ill weather, or any trouble at all, they would cry out of the Christians as the cause of it, and pre∣sently the voice was, Adleons, let the Christians be dragged to the Lyons, and devoured by the Lyons; it hath beene so amongst us. But may we not answer as Elijah answered Ahab, when Ahah told him that he was the man that troubled Israel, I have not troubled Israel, but it is thou and thy fathers house. May we not well say to them as Jehu to Iehoram when hee asked him whether there was peace, What peace so long as the whoredomes of thy mother Iezebel and her witchcrafts are so many? Those have been popish, certainly they have endangered us of being stripped of all. Who were the causers of the first disturbances amongst us, even of all the persecu∣tion here of Gods Saints, and of all the discontent among the people? Who were they that perswaded the bringing in of an Arbitrary vvay of govern∣ment? Who were the cause of laying such things upon the people that they could not beare? Who were the causers of the troubles in Scotland, & sen∣ding of bookes thither full of superstitious vanities? was it not the Prelati∣call faction? Who are those that hinderthe Reformation at this day? Cer∣tainly, if it were as apparent that they that are called Puritans had been the cause of such charge to the Kingdom & disturbances to the State as the Pre∣latical faction hath been; it had been impossible for them to go in the streets but they would have been stoned to death.

Page  180 I speake not this as though we should do the like,* but I speake it to shew what the virulencie of their spirits would have beene to them if it had beene apparent that they had beene such charge to the Kingdome, and such distur∣bers of the State. The truth is, vve may charge our Papists, and charge o∣thers that are of that way) and we know who are next to them) we may well charge them as the cause of stripping of us naked as we have been.

It is cleere enough, those that put not away their whoredoms from them, but continue still superstitious and Idolaters, they are they that endauger a people to be stripped naked.

A sixth Observation that presents it selfe fully and cleerely without any the least straining,* is, That it is time for people then to pleade, when there is danger of desolation. Plead with your mother, plead, why so? why should we not be quiet? Lest I strip her naked and set her as in the day wherein she was borne. What, you are in such a condition as you are in danger to be stripped naked and to be left desolate as a wildernesse (as it followeth in the Text) Is it not time then to plead? Oh pleade with God, and pleade with those that are in authority, and plead one with another, and pleade with all, stirre up your selves and do what you can;* let there be no sluggish spirit, no neutralizing spirit. It is not time for any to be newters now. It is time now for all to come and plead, not so much time now to dispute of things, but now time for every one to stand, and appear, & plead, not only verbally, but other∣wise as God calls them to it. Luke 3. 9. When John saith, The axe is laid to the roote of the tree, what then? then every one commeth and saith what shall we doe? you (saith he to some) that have two coates impart to him that hath none: and to the souldiers when they say what shall we doe? doe you no violence to any man, and be content with your wages. Mark, when the Axe is laid to the roote of the tree, every one comes in then and saith what shall we doe? You that are women and inferiour, doe you pray, and cry, and further your husbands in all good, be not you backward, do not you dravv them away when they would be liberall and forward, and adventure themselves, thorough your nicenesse and daintiness. And you that are men of estates, if you aske what you should doe? It is apparent, He that hath two coates let him impart to him that hath none, bee willing to part with much of your estates in such a cause as this. And so souldiers, if you aske vvhat you should doe, behave your selves so as you may convince others, of∣fer no violence, but according to an orderly way, and be content with your wages, perhaps it may not come in so fully afterwards, yet let it appear that it is the cause that strengtheneth you rather then your wages.

Thus every one should be of an inquiring spirit when the Axe is laid to the roote of the tree. When we are in danger to be stripped of all, it is not time then to stand about curiosities and niceties.

Seventhly,*Lest I strip her naked, &c. I have sent my Prophets already before, and they have offered mercie and denounced threatnings: Well, I will now come another way, I will strip her naked, &c. The observation is,

Page  181 That those that will not be convinced by the word,* God hath other means to convince them, he hath other wayes then the word; if the word will not convince them, pleading will not doe it it seems, and convincing argu∣ments will not do it, well then, stripping naked shall doe it: As the expressi∣on is usuall in Scripture, Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I do thus and thus.* As you use to doe with those that are of a sleepy dispositi∣on, if you call up a servant that is sluggish & sleepy, he answereth Anon, and then falls down and sleeps again, you call him again, and he answers & then sleeps again, at length you come up and pull the cloaths of him & leave him naked, and that will awake him. So God, he calls upon them to leave their whoredoms and Idolatries, and to repent, he threatneth, and he offers mercie, and they seeme a little to awake, but to it again. Well, saith God, I will come another way, and strip you naked, and that will doe i.

Eighthly.*Lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the day wherein shee was borne. Lest I doe it. Whatsoever the means be of stripping a Nation naked, it is God that doth it. It is God that gives, and it is God that takes away. But let that passe.

9. It is a grievous Judgement for one that is advanced from a low de∣gree to an high to be brought thither again.*Lest I strip her naked and set her as in the day wherein she was borne. Thus Job aggravateth his misery.

You have it in the 29. and 30. Chapters of Job, The candle of God shin∣eth upon my head, I washed my steps in butter, and the rock powred me out Rivers of oyle, my glory was freh in me, and my bow was renewed in my hand, &c. But now (saith he) they that are younger then I have me in de∣rision, whose fathers I would have disdained to have set with the dogs of my flocke. &c. Thus he aggravateth his judgement because he was brought into a low condition having once beene in a high one. The like aggravati∣on of misery have we Lameat. 4. 2. The precious sonnes of Zion, compar∣able to fine gold, how are they esteemed as earthen pitchers? and vers. 5. They that did feede delic ately are desolate in the streetes, they that were brought up in scarlet embrace dunghils,

Thus the Scripture is cleare in it, and your experience is enough to con∣firme it. For a man that hath beene a bondslave in the Gallies, and after he should be ransomed by the liberality of his friends here in England, if hee should be taken and brought back again to the gallies, oh how tedious and grievous would it be! but if he had lived long here, and flourished and got∣ten preferment and lived bravely, and had grown a great Merchant, & then after this to be brought againe to the gallies, how sad a thing would this be! it would be very terrible to him. If some of you that have beene beggars heretofore,* if God by some way or other should bring you to the same po∣verty you were in before, oh how tedious would it be! you would rather venture the losse of your soules and God and all, then be brought into such a condition, and we see it that many men that have beene raised from a low e∣state to an high, are so afraid of returning to a low estate again, that they will Page  182 venture soule, and conscience, and God and all, rather then they will endan∣ger themselves in the least degree in their estates.

Hence it is very observable that the chiefe curse that God threatneth the people of Israel with, is that they should returne to Egypt again, that the Lord would bring them back to the condition wherein once they were.

You shall finde that whole Chapter, Deut. 28. is spent in denouncing most dreadfull curses upon the people; now for the conclusion of all, as the chiefe curse of all the rest, saith the Text, there ver. 68. The Lord shal bring thee into Egypt again, with shippes, and there you shall be sold unto your ene∣mies for bond-men and bond-women, and no man shall buy you.

Were it not a sad thing for us who have been acquainted with the glorious light of the Gospel, and with the blessed priviledges that come in thereby, for us to be brought into Popish bondage and thraldome again? As Ezra. 9. 8. we may use his words, Now for a little space grace hath been shewed from the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, & to give us a nayle in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little re∣viving in our bondage; And shall we (as in ver. 14.) again breake thy com∣mandements, and joyne in affinity with those abominations? As for our selves who have had now of late a little tast of the sweetnesse of our outward priviledges and our liberties, for us to be brought into the bondage that wee not long since were in, it would be a very sad thing. Who could endure to be under that bondage that he was in three or foure years agon, under every Parator, Promoter, Pursevant, Commissary, Chancelour, and tyrannical Prelate as formetly? we could not have met together and enjoyed the li∣berty of such exercises as these; no, you could not have met in your families to pray, but one or other would have been upon you and indangered your e∣states. The bondage was intollerable, we may well complaine it was a yoke that neither we nor our fathers could beare.

The last Observation,* and the way to prevent all is, When God hath de∣livered a people out of misery, and bestowed upon them great mercies, it is their duty often to thinke of the poor condition which once they were in, & to use all the means they can that they may not be brought thither again.

God loveth this, that we should remember and seriously take to heart, what once we were, so it is here, Lest I strip her naked and set her as in the day wherein she was borne; as if he should say, I would have you consider what condition you were in when you were borne, what a low condition it was, and consider of the danger you are in to be brought thither again, and to looke about you, and to seeke to prevent it if you have the hearts of men in you. This we shall finde in Deut. 26. 1. 2. When thou art come into the land which the Lord giveth thee for an inheritance and possessest it, thou shalt take of the first of all the fruite of the earth,*and thou shalt put it in a basket, and shalt goe unto the place which the Lord thy God shall chuse; and ver. 5. Thou shalt speake and say before the Lord thy God, A Syrian ready to perish was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and became there Page  183 a nation, and the Egyptians evil intreated us, and afflicted us and layed u∣pon us hard bondage. And Isa. 51. 1. Looke to the rocke whence you are hew∣en, and to the hole of the pit whence you are digged. It is very usefull for us to consider of our former low condition. It was a speech Master Deering in a Sermon that he preached before Queen Elizabeth, hee hath this bold ex∣pression to her, If there were a time that you thought your self Tanquam o∣vis, as a sheepe ready to be slaine, take heed that the words of the Prophet be not now true that you be not Tanquam indo mita Iuvencula, as an unta∣med heifer. You may note the difference between the spirits of men in for∣mer times in their plainness and boldness; and if there were an excesse that way, how far the other way are our Court Sermons now? Qeen Elizabeth was once in a very low condition indeed, and she thought her selfe to be as a sheepe appointed for the slaughter. It is usuall for men raised up from a low condition to forget God and themselves,* and to grow proud & scornfull.

Nothing is more sharpe then a low thing when it getteth up high; so there is none that have more proud and scornfull spirits then those that are raised from the dunghil and gotten up high, they know not then where they are; As the Proverb is, Set a beggar on horse backe, and he knowes not how nor whether to ride.

Thus it was with Saul, the vvay to humble Saul was for him to consider what he once was, and that is the way to humble us all who are subject to be proud of our prosperity that God hath raised us unto. When thou wast little in thine own sight, then thou wert made the head of the tribes of Israel. There was a time that he was little in his own eyes, and I beseech you observe the difference between the spirit of Saul when he was in a low condition, and his spirit vvhen he vvas raised. When Saul was in a low condition his spirit vvas low, therefore 1 Sam. 10. 27. you shall finde that though there vvere some children of Eelial that would not have Saul to reigne over them;

What? (say they) how shall this man save us? and they despised him and brought him no presents. But Saul (the Text saith) held his peace. And Chap. 11. 12. When Saul had gottensome credit and honour by his vic∣tories, some of the people said, where are they that said, shall Saul reine o∣ver us? Bring the men that we may put them to death. No, saith Saul, There shall not a man be put to death this day. O how meeke was Saul! what a quiet spirit had he before he got up high! But afterward when he got up and had many victories, then vvhat a furious and outragious spirit had Saul! You know the story of the four-score and five Priests that must be slaine in the City of Nob, and the whole Citie, men, women, and children, sucklings, Oxes, Asses, and sheep must be put to the sword, Why? because one of them did but give a little refreshing unto David. What a strange spi∣rit is here in Saul, different to that he had when he was low.

Is it not so with many of you? when God hath brought you low, you seeme to be humble, and meek, and quiet then, and then you are content with eve∣ry thing, and prize every little mercie. Oh the tenth, the hundreth part of Page  184 that will not serve your turne now, you vvould have been glad of then, and blessed God if you had had it; But now you know not your selves, your hearts are raised up as: your estates are. VVell it is good for you to looke to the condition that once you were in, vvhen you were low; As vve reade of Agathcles, that King, that was a Potters sonne, and after advanced to a kingdom, he vvould alwayes be served at his table in earthen vessels, to put him in mind of that condition he was in before: certainly if in any place in England it be seasonable to speake of this, it is here in London, where many that have been Potters children, and in a low degree, have been raised up high, and have gotten great estates. Let them remember in what condition once they were, that they may be humbled, and so may prevent that danger of being brought thither again. Many put others in mind of it in a taunting vvay, I know vvhat you were not long agoe, I know vvhat your father vvas, &c. But doe you put your own soules in mind of this in an humbling way? This is the vvay to continue mercies.

But now apply vve it a little to our selves for the generall and then vve shal conclude all. Let us vvork this upon our hearts. Look vve back to vvhat we vvere lately, and let us check our hearts for any discontent in our present e∣state. Not long since vvould not many of us have beene willing to have laid dovvn our lives to have purchased that mercy we have had this yeer or two? God hath granted to us our former mercies, & raised us from our low con∣dition of free cost hitherto. God hath been afore. hand with us; and what if those mercies that are to come will be at some vvhat a dearer rate then those vvee have had already? Those mercies vve have had already have been very precious and sweet; but surely they that are to come are more precious and sweet, and therefore vve may be content though they cost us deare.

Yet hovv vile are the spirits of men in forgetting the condition the sad con∣dition they lately were in, forgetting the Taxes and Monopolies, and un∣certainty of enjoying an thing that was your own; and now if there be but a little charge comming, you presently fall a murmuring and repining, Oh these are heavy burthens, the Parliament burthens the kingdome and the Couutrey, and as good have ship-money and other taxes as these burthens. Oh unworthy, unworthy are you to live to see the goodnesse of the Lord in these dayes: unworthy to have thine eyes open to see what God hath done, and thus to murmur. Thou shouldest magnifie Gods mercies, and not mur∣mur at his proceedings.

VVe have a notable parallel to this Numb. 16. in the story of Corah, Da∣than and Abiram, those murmurers, when they were but in a little strait, they come to Moses, and say, ver. 13. Why hast thou brought us up out of a land that floweth with milks and honey? What land was that, that Mo∣ses brought them up out of, that they said flowed with milke and honey? It was the land of Egypt, the land of their bondage indeed they were promised a land of Canaan that should flowe with milke and honey, and they put that upon the land of Egypt; though they had been in bondage and slavery in E∣gypt Page  185 and were now going to Canaan,* yet when they did but indure some trouble in the vvay, and had but some opposition, and were put to some straits, then Egypt was the Land that flowed vvith milke and honey, and who would come out of Egypt? So though God be bringing us to Cana∣an, to a blessed Land that floweth with milke and honey, yet because there are some straits in the way, some difficulties, some oppositions, that may cost us somewhat; now how doe men cry out we vvere better before, you talke of Reformation and such and such things, but for our parts would vve might have but vvhat we had before, and be as quiet as vve were then, why will you bring us out of a Land that floweth with milke and honey? Oh base murmuring and discontented spirits that forget what once they vvere, and rather prize the bondage they were in before, then are thankfull for Gods present mercies.

For us not to look back to Gods former mercies, it goeth to the very heart of God. God hath an expression that it frets him to the very heart: You have it in Ezek. 16. 43. Because thou hast not remembred the dayes of thy youth, but hast freted me in all these things. It is a thing that frets God at his heart to see a people so unworthy of mercie, when God commeth in such wayes of mercie to them as he doth. My brethren, God hath done great things for us whatsoever others say and thinke: Let them murmure, and repine, and say what they will, let us say God hath done great things for us: Let us lay to heart the condition we lately vvere in, that so we may be stirred up now to seeke after God, that wee may never be brought into that condition any more, if they would have it again, much good may it do them, but for us let it be our care to seeke God, and to use all lawfull meanes to prevent our bringing back to it again.

For even the very straits we now are in are an aggravation of our former misery and present mercie, it should not therefore make our former mise∣ry or present mercie seeme lesse, but greater.

How is that you will say?

Thus, If now wee have so much helpe and power to hinder a malignant party that seeke our ruine, yet they have so much strength and resolution, what would have become of us if this had been before, when we had no way nor no meanes to help us? If men complaine now, what vvould they have done then? Therefore whereas we make use of our straits, to make us thinke that our former misery was lesse, and we are now in a sadder condi∣tion then before, rather let us make it an aggravation of Gods mercie to∣wards us, and if wee be in such straits now when God hath raised up such meanes beyond all our thought to resist the flowing in of misery upon us, Lord whether were wee a going? what would have become of us if the streame which hath been so long a swelling had broke in upon us when there was no meanes to have resisted it? VVe may well see now that if their in∣tentions and resolutions be so strong for mischiefe as will not be hindered, notwithstanding the present strength God hath granted us to oppose them, Page  186 surely they had most vile intentions,* and dreadfull things were determined a∣gainst us, which would have brought us low indeed, and have made us the most miserable people upon the earth, if God had not come in so mira cu∣lously for our help as he hath done at this day.

Therefore as we read of Jeremiah, Chap. 37. 18. Let my supplication, saith he to the King, I pray thee be accept able before thee, that thou cause me not to returne to the house of Jonathan the Scribe, lest I dye there. So let us present our supplications to the King of heaven, that wee may not be sent back to that condition we were once in, that God may not strip us and leave us naked. Wee have many blessings, Lord do not strip us, doe not strip us of all the ornaments thou hast put upon us.

And would you not have God strip you of your ornaments? be you wil∣ling to strip your selves of your ornaments. Ezod. 33. 5. God calleth upon the people there. Put off your Ornaments from you that I may know what to doe unto you.

This is true and seasonable at this time in the literall sense, you are called now to strip you of your Ornaments. Strip from your fingers your gold∣rings now when there is neede of them, perhaps one gold-ring that you have upon your finger would serve to maintain a souldier a month or five weeks or more, and yet you may have the benefit of it againe afterward. Strip your Cup-boards from that pompous shew of plate that was wont to be up∣on them. It is much if you should not be willing to have your fingers strip∣ped naked when we are in danger to have the State stript naked of all our comforts and ornaments: Is it such a great matter to have your cup-board naked of plate now? what if a white cloath were upon it, and all that gliste∣ring shew taken away, were that such a great matter now when God is a∣bout to strip us naked, and set us as in the day wherein wee were borue? certainly all of you that shall keep your plate now for the pompous decking and adorning of your cup-boards you cannot but be ashamed of it in these times, surely you must rather keep it up in your trunkes and hutches, it can∣not but be both a sin and a shame to see such glistering pomp and glory in such times as these are.

Strip your selves of your ornaments that God strip you not; and not on∣ly outwardly, but strip your selves of your ornaments by your humiliation, for that is the meaning of that place in Exodus; Oh come and humble your selves, and come now with naked hearts before the Lord, open your hearts before God, bring them naked and sincere before him, lest he strip you and the Kingdom naked! Crie unto God for mercie, O Lord thou knowest what a vile heart I have had, a base time-serving heart, yet Lord I desire to take away all those clokes now, and to rend and bring this heart naked be∣fore thee, though it be a filthy heart, yet open it, Lord thou knowest those vile things, those innovasions, those superstitions, those horrible wickednes∣ses that were in danger to be let into the Church and Comman-wealth, yet they were things that could goe down very well with me, I could make shifts Page  187 to swallow them, and I had distinctions to colour them, but Lord it was my base heart that I could not trust thee, but now here I open it naked be∣fore thoe.

O Lord for these Ordinances of thine in the purity and power of them that others spake so much of, they have bin things unsavory to me, I had no skill in such things, Thou knowest I had a neutrelizing spirit, I looked which way the wind blew; how just were it for thee to give me upto be of a desperate malignant spirit! Now Lord I come as a naked wretched crea∣ture before thee, in the shame and guilt of my sin, and here I acknowledge thou maiest justly strip me naked of all the comforts of my estate, and leave me in the most miserable condition that ever poor creature was left in; And now my heart is open before thee, doe but shew me what I shall doe, and if thou doest reserve any of my estate and comforts which I have forfeited, in testimony of my humiliation for my former sinnes I bring it before thee, and am willing to give it up for the publique good, and to prevent that evill and mischiefe that I am sure my sinnes call for, for my sins cry for wrath a∣gainst the Land, that thou shouldst strip it naked; and if all had beene such base spirits as I have beene, what would have become of the Land by this time? In testimonie therefore of my humiliation for my sins, here I bring in this of my estate, though indeed if I had not been guilty of such sins, yet out of common prudence, and respect to my own security, I might bring some part in, but here is so much the more of my estate, because my consci∣ence tells me of my former guilt. And Lord for the time to come I am re∣solved to doe the uttermost I can for Thee and thy Cause. And those Wor∣thies that carry their lives in their hands for me, God forbid that I should have the least hand in betraying them, in withdrawing my hand and assist∣ance from them. Lord here I give up my self to thee, and my estate, I sur∣render it to thee in an everlasting Covenant.

This is to come with a naked heart indeed before the Lord.

Were it not better that we should be willing to strip our selves naked, then that God should doe it by violenee, that God should send Souldiers in∣to our houses to strip us naked, as they have dealt with our brethren in Ire∣land? they took not away their estates onely, but all their clothes, and sent them in droves as naked as ever they were borne. VVee know wee have deserved the like. If you will not strip your selves of your super ••uities, God may justly by them strip you naked as ever you were born; and not onely bring you into the same condition you were in, but into a far worse, for so he threatneth in that 28. Deut. You shall not onely be carryed backe a∣gaine into Egypt, but there you shall be sold for bondmen, and no man shall buy you; they should be in a worse condition the when they were first in Egypt. So if there be any of you that are willing to sell your consciences in hope of preferment; Oh the other side may get power and prevaile, and so out of hope to be, preferred, to sell your consciences, you may be disappoin∣ted, not only be brought into as ill but into a far worse condition; & perhaps Page  188 though you would have sold your selves, yet no bodie will buy you; if the Papists corne to have the power of your bodies and estates, you may misse of that preferment that you thinke of. So saith Ezra, Chap. 9. 14. after he had spoken of Gods mercie in giving them liberty, and remitting their cap∣tivitie, Shall we (saith he) yet continue in sin, & break the commandements of the Lord, would he not be angry with us till we were utterly destroyed?

And certainly if God do not awaken the hearts of people now, if God do not give the people throughout the Kingdom a heart to stick to the Cause of the Truth, and to those whom they have intrusted with their estates, liber∣ties and lives in every good way, it were the heaviest judgement of God that ever was upon a Nation since the beginning of the earth, it would never be paralleld, that ever a people should have such an opportunity put into their hands to help themselves, aud to vindicae themselves from slavery and bondage, yet out of I know not what respects to betray all those that have ventured their lives for them, and to have their blood shed; I say it were such an example as were not to be paralleld since the beginning of the world.

Therefore I beseech you my brethren let us lay this to heart, and the Lord make known to us all what is to be done in such a time as this, that we may not be stripped naked, and set as in the day wherein we were borne.

The Third Lecture.

HOSEA part of the third verse and verse 4.

And make her as a wildernesse, and set her like a dry land, and slay her with thirst.

And I will not have mercy upon her children, for they be the children of whoredomes.

IN the first part of this second Chapter, wee have already shewed part of Gods threatning, even to strip his people na∣ked as in the day wherein they were borne, to bring them into as low and mean a condition as ever they were in.

Now that which was more generally exprest the last day, we have in the latter end of this third Verse more particu∣larly set forth unto us. And make her as a wildernesse, and set as a dry land.

God would bring this people that dwelt in the land of Canaan flowing with milke and honey; that were in regard of the beauty that God had put upon them, excellent for beauty, now to be as a wildernesse.

In the former Chapter you heard that the state of the Ten Tribes vvas set out by Hoseas wife, her name was Gomer, ad this Gomer was the daughter of Diblaim. Gomer signifieth perfection, and what Diblaim signifieth I told you then.

Page  189 But now there is another signification of this Diblaim,* that we are to re∣fer unto this expression of the Lord in this place, that he will make her as a wildernesse, for you shall finde Ezek. 6. 14. that there is mention made of a desolate countrey and a wildernesse that was towards Diblath, to which this that the Prophet speaks of the mother of Gomer may seem to have reference.

Diblath then, it appeareth, was a place where there was a very desolate, waste wildernesse, and Gomer was the daughter of this Diblath, from whence Diblaim, that is, Though the ten Tribes were as Gomer in regard of their beauty, perfect, for so they were; yet she was the doughter of Dib∣lath, or Diblaim, that is, she came forth out of a low and meane conditi∣on, and was even brought out of a wildernesse, now shee shall be brought again into the same estate wherein shee was, for I will set her as a wilder∣nesse.

As a wildernesse.

The Church of God is in it selfe Gods garden, a garden inclosed, and so it is called Cant. 4. 12. As a garden inclosed is my sister, my Spouse. It is the place of Gods delight, not a place for beasts to come into, but inclosed, they are to be kept out of it; a place where very precious fruits doe grow, that are very pleasing to God,* a place that hath the dew, the showers of Gods blessing, the dew of Hermon, the dew that descendeth upon the moun∣tains of Zion, there God commandeth his blessing, even life for evermore. But now she must come to be a wildernesse.

For first, the hedge, the pale, the wall of Gods protection shall be taken a∣way from her, and she shall be laid open, lyable for all wilde beasts to come in and to devoure her. They loved liberty, and were loth to be inclosed, though it were in Gods garden, though it was with the pale & wall of Gods protection; Well, seeing you will have liverty, you shall have liberty, and this pale and wall of my garden shall be taken away, and your condition shall be like the condition of the beasts in the wildernesse.*

Againe, you shall be as a wildernesse. There shall no good grow among you. There was no good grew amongst you, that was your sin; and there shall no good grow among you, that shall be your plague and punishment.

The blessing of God shall be taken away from you, you shall not have those showers of blessing as formerly you were wont to have, but you shall be as a wildernesse, Jer. 17. 5. 6. Cursed be that man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arme, and departeth from the Lord: Why? For he shall be as the heath in the desart, and shall not see when good commeth, and he shall inherite the parched places of the wildernesse in a salt land.

Vatablus interprets this judgement upon the hearts of Idolaters; they are dry, unsavory; they are destitute of all spirituall good.

And I will set her as a dry land.] So the Septuagint read it, I will order you so. Your sinnes bring you out of order, but Gods plagues order that which sin doth disdorder. At a dry land. This is contrary to the blessing of a godly man, for he is said to be as the tree planted by the river of water.

Page  190 The graces and comforts of Gods Spirit are compared to waters in the Scripture, Psal. 87. 7. All my springs are in thee, All my comforts, all the gifts that I have, all the graces that I have are in thee. But now God will set them as a dry land, he will take away his gifts, and take away their com∣forts from them, and so leave them wast and desolate.

The Observation then from hence is,* That sinne is of a wasting nature: sinne layeth wast Countreyes and places that people live in. VVee have a most remarkable place of Scripture for that, Zach. 7. 14. They laid the pleasant land desolate, They, who are they? you shall finde it ver. 12. Those that made their hearts as an Adamant stone,*lest they should heare the law, and the words which the Lord of Hosts had sent in his spirit by the former Prophets, They made the pleasant land desolae.

VVe cry out of those that make stripe and waste, and there are actions commenced against them. O let not us lay waste this pleasant land, this good laud of ours, this garden of the Lord. It is indeed as an Eden, as a Pa∣radise, our fore-fathers have left us this our land as Gods garden; let not us through our sinnes leave it to our posterities as a wildernesse and a dry land, Psal. 107. 34. there is a threatning that God will make a fruitfull land bar∣ren for the wickednesse of them that dwell therein. Sinne hath heretofore laid wast as pleasant and fruitfull Countreys as ours. Those that travell in Germanie, their hearts even bleed within them sometime to see where fa∣mous Towns have stood, now the places are overgrowne with nettles, they are laid wast as a wildernesse. Aud in this God threatneth after the man∣ner of great Kings who when their Subjects obey them not, threaten to lay their Countreys wast and to destroy their Cities, as Ecclesiasticall Stories tell us of Theodosius, that had layed great taxes upon the City of Antioch at which they were much grieved, and imagining it seemes that the Queen had a speciall hand in it, they pulled down the brazen statue of the Queene that was in the Citie in a kinde of anger upon this, Theodosius threatneth to lay the Citie and Countrey wast as a fruite of his displeasure. It is a fruite of the anger of a Kings according to their power, to manifest it that way, not onely upon particular men, bnt to lay whole Countreyes wast.

God is the great King, and he threatneth this against his people for their sinnes, that he will lay them wast as awildernesse. God had rather that the wilde beasts should eate up the good of the land, then that wicked stubborn sinners should enjoy it: God had rather have a land under his curse, to have nothing but thornes and bryars brought forth of it, then that wicked wretches should partake of the sweetness and fruit of it, for sin doth not on∣ly pollute the sinner, but the land, and putteth both the sinner and the land under a curse.

And say them with thirst.

In the 36. Psal. ver. 8. VVe have a full expression of the plentifull provi∣sion of Cods people that dwell in the house of the Lord.he Text saith,

Page  191They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fulnesse of thy house, and thou shalt make them to drinke of the river of thy pleasures, O what a sweet promise is here to those that dwell in Gods house, and walke with God as beseemeth those that are in his house! they shall have fatnesse, and drinke of the river of his pleasures: but here is threatned slaying with thirst, that God will not onely take away those rivers, but even drops of water, they shall not have a drop to coole their tongues, but shall be slaine with thirst.

There was a time wherein God had such pittie upon his people, that hee would cause water to gush out of the rock, rather then their thirst should not he satisfied: But now God threatneth that hee will make the heavens as brasse, and the earth as iron, and though a little water might save their lives, they should not have it, He will slay them with thirst. Oh what an alterati∣on doth sin make in Gods administrations of his wayes towards us!

It is a great judgement thus to be slayn with thirst. I knew my self a man once that lying in a burning feaver, professed that if he had all the world at his dispose, he would give it all for one draught of beer. At so low a rate is the world at such a time as that is. If the want of a little beer or water to sa∣tisfie thirst for a little while be so great a judgement, Oh what is it then for all good to be eternally with drawn from all the faculties!* I have read of Da∣rius, that when he fled from his enemies, and being in great thirst (though those Kings had a delicate drinke that was peculiar to them which they called Coapsis, and others 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉) he met with a dirty puddle of water with carry on lying in it, and he sucked in that and dranke very heartily of it, and profest, that it was the sweetest draught that ever he dranke in his life.

This meditation may be very usefull upon this evil of thirst, that if a little puddle water can afford so much comfort when the faculties are in such a disposition as they are fit to draw out that comfort that is in this puddle wa∣ter, Oh then what comfort and goodnesse is there in an infinite God when he shall communicate to his creature all that good that is communicable, and when all the faculties of soul and body shall be in a full disposition, to receive all the good that is communicated, and not put into a disposion by reason of want, but by reason of the excellency of the faculty raised to such a height, and inlarged to receive what good God himselfe hath to communi∣cate to his creature?

But further, it is observable. Though God did bring them into a wilder∣nesse, and set them in a dry land, yet if they might have some drinke, though but water to refresh them in this wildernesse, and in this dry land, it were not so much.* Though they were in a scorching Countrey, in the wilderness, parched with heat, might they have but some refreshment there, the judge∣ment were not so great: but they shall be in a wildernesse, in a dry land, and there they shall be scorched with heat, and then God shall deny them all suc∣cour, all helpe. He will slay them with thirst.

God useth thus to deale with wicked men, to bring them into extremity, and there to leave them destitute of all succour, of all helpe,

Page  192 VVe have an excellent Scripture for this, Ezek. 22. 20. I will gather you in mie anger, and in my fury, and what then? I will leave you there and melt you, saith God. This may be a Comment upon this Text. I will bring into the widernesse and set them in a dry land and slay them with thirst.

The Saints may be brought into great extremity, but God leaveth them not there. God makes their extremity his opportunity for mercy, he bring∣eth refreshing to them then, they never have more sweet refreshings from God, then when they are in the greatest extremities in regard of trouble and affliction. God promiseth, Esay, 4. 6. that he will be a shadow for them in the day time from the heat, and a covert from storme and from raine.

This is Gods peculiar mercy to the Saints; perhaps they have no shelter now, but when the storme commeth they have a shelter then, and they have a shadow when the heat commeth; in their extremity they have comfort.

But it is otherwise with the wicked, the wicked perhaps may have many shelters before the storme commeth; but when the storme commeth, then they are destitute, they may have many shady places before the heat cometh, but when the heat commeth, then they are left fuccourless, then they are slain with thirst. When wicked men are in prosperity, then there may come one blessing after another (I meane that which is in it self a blessing) heaped upon them, but when they come into adversity, when they have most need of comfort, then they are left destitute.

This slaying with thirst is applyed by some spiritually; I will bring a spi∣rituall famine upon them. When they shall be in a wildernesse, in a dry land, when they shall have most need of comfort for their soules, they shall be deprived of it. Many men in the time of their health and prosperity have many sweet promises of the Gospel revealed unto them, many blessed mani∣festations of Gods free grace and goodnesse in his Christ made known un∣to them, but they slight and disregard them: But when God shall bring them into the wildernesse, when God shall cause them to be under the tor∣ment of a scorching conscience, when conscience shall be burning, and scal∣ding, then perhaps they may long, Oh that I had one drop of water, one promise out of the Word to comfort me! Oh that I might have but never so little refreshing! Oh that I might heare againe those things I have here∣tofore heard and neglected! But then God may deny one drop of water to coole their scorching consciences and stay them with thirst, slay their soules with thirst at that time: And thus many poore creatures are slain with thirst, that did so little regard those rivers of consolation, that in the time of their prosperity they might have had.

Ver. 4. And I will not have mercy upon her children, for they be the children of whoredoms.

I confesse at the first view, looking upon this verse I thought I might quickly passe it over, the rather because we had some such expressions in the former Chapter, where God threatned that he would have no more mercyPage  193 upon them: But the Scripture is a vast depth, and there are many excellent treasures in it, there is alwayes aliquid revisentibus, something for those that come to see again and looke again, and this something will appeare to be much, that we shall see out of these expressions further then before hath been observed.

And I will not have mercy] This Particle [And] hath much in it, it is a most terrible And. This conjunction many times in Scripture is as a ple∣onasme, and doth not serve for much use, but here in this place it is of great use, and it is filled with terrour as full as it is possible for such a little particle to hold.

I know there may be many curiosities sometimes in observatious of par∣ticles, of conjunctions: but we shall not meddle with any curiosity, but speake of that which is plain, and the intention of the Holy Ghost here. I say this And is a most dreadfull And; marke the conjunction, you had foure Ands before, saith God, I will strip her naked, [And] set her as in the day wherein she was borne, And] make her as a wildernesse, [And] set her as a dry Land, [And] slay her with thirst. Is not here enough? Oh no, there cometh a fifth And, and that is more terrible then all the former foure [And] I will have uo more mercy upon her children.

This addeth terrour to all the rest. Suppose that all the other foure had beene, and if this had not come, there had not beene such a grievous threat∣ning, If God had said, I will strip her naked & set her as in the day where∣in she was borne, and I will make her as a wildernesse, and set her as a dry land, and slay her with thirst, yet if there might be mercy in all this, their condition had not beene so miserable, but (saith God) I will doe all these, And I will have no more mercy upon them. Oh this hath that terrour in it, that it is impossible for the heart of a man that apprehends it to stand under it.

And for the opening of this I shall shew you how that all the former foure not only may stand with Gods mercy, but they have stood with Gods mer∣cy; that God had heretofore shewed mercy to them when they were in such a low condition in which they were borne, when they were in the wildernesse, when they were in a dry Land, yea when he did slay them, he shewed mer∣cy unto them. But now he saith, he will do thus and thus, and shew no mer∣cy unto them. So that then though this And be conjunctive in Grammar, yet here in Divnity it is a disjunctive, and a most dreadfull disjunctive to part them and mercy a sunder, yea and to part many of them and mercie e∣ternally asunder.

To shew you therefore the soure former, that though they were in such a condition heretofore, yet God did shew them mercie; now what a conditi∣on is that God will shew them no mercie. As

First, In the day wherein they were borne, that (as you may remember) I shewed you out of the 16. Ezek. what a low and pittifull condition the people of Israel were in, they were cast out in the field, & they were in theirPage  194 blood, and not washed, and the like: But mark in the 8. ver. I passed by thee and looked upon thee, behold the time was a time of love, and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakednesse, yea, I sware unto thee, and en∣tered into covenant with thee, and thou becamest mine. Here are the high∣est and the fullest expressions of Gods grace that could be. First, I looked upon her, and then the time was a time of love, and then, I spread my skirt over thee, and I entered into covenant with thee, and thou becamist mine: Here are all these expressions of mercy, even at that time when they were cast out as forlorne in the open field, and no eye pitted them: but now they are threatned to be cast out into the open field againe, and no eye to pittie them in heaven or in earth, no, nor the eye of God to pittie them: now God threatneth to cast them off for ever, so as he will see them in their blood, but it shall be no more a time of love, but a time of wrath, and he will no more enter into covenant with them, neither shall they be his.

2. When God brought them into the wildernesse, God there shewed them mercy, for that you have a marvellousfull Text, Deut. 32. 10. Hee found them in a desart land, and in the wast howling wildernesse; but mark, he led them about, he instructed them, he kept them as the apple of his eye. Though they were in a wast howling wildernesse, yet they were as deare to God as the apple of his eye. Yea further, ver. 11. As an eagie stirreeth up her nost, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings, so the Lord alone did lead them. It is the note of Paulus Fagius, citing for it Rabbi Solomon upon this, as the Eagle carries her young ones, not as other birds, for other birds it is observed carry their young ones in their claws, the Eagle bears hers up∣on her wings, and this is the reason that is observed, because the Eagle is more tender of her young ones then other birds are, why? for other birds carrying their young ones in their claws, if any shoot at them, they hit the young ones, and kill them first, but may misse the old one; but the Eagle carries hers upon her back, upon her wings, that whosoever shoots at her young ones, they must shoot through her first: So saith God, I carried you in the wildernesse as the Eagle carries her young ones upon her wings, that if any shoot at you to hurt you, they must shoote through me first be∣fore they can come at you. This was Gods mercy to them when they were in the wast howling wildernesse, here is not such an And, they were in a wil∣dernesse, yet God had much mercy upon them.

[ 3] Thirdly, milestone God brought them into a dry Land, in this wildernesse they wanted water, yet (though they were ready to murmure) he made them sucke honey out of the rocke, and oile out of the flinty rocke, Deut. 32. 13. You will say, when did God make them suck honey out of the rock? wee read indeed that water gushed out of the rocke in a dry land, but here the Scripture speaks, that he made them suck honey & oile out of the flinty rock. It is a note of Chrysostome speaking upon this very thing, of Gods making them sucke honey and oile out of the rocke: Not, saith he, that there was Page  195 indeed honey or oyle came out of the rock, but because they being in the wildernesse, and in such great want, the water that came out of the rock was to them as sweet and delightfull, as if it had beene honey or oyle.

Thence he gathered that note, that want and necessity will make every thing very sweet and comfortable, water will be as honey and oile to them that want. When you are at your full tables, This wine pleaseth you not, and that beere pleaseth you not; but if you were in necessitie, water would be as wine, it would be as honey and oile to you.

Yea but what say you to the fourth And, He will slay them with thirst? [ 4] Can you shew us any place wherein God did slay his people, yet shew mer∣cie to them? Yes, I can. There is a place where it is said, God slew his people, yet for all that at that very time he shewed abundance of mercie to his peo∣ple; when God did come with his sword in his hand, yet with abundance of compassion in his heart. The Scripture is in Psal. 78. 34. Marke what the Text saith there, When he slew them, then they sought him, and they return∣ed and enquired early after God, and they remembred that God was their Rocke. Well, they sought him, and they remembred this, that God was their Redeemer, but did God redeeme them at that time? Yes, verse 38. He being full of compassion for gave their iniquity, and destroyed them not, yea many a time he turned his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath, Or as the old Translation hath it, He called backe his anger, which here he will not doe: He was full of compassion, and forgave their iniquity, and called back his anger, though he did slay them at that time.

He denieth to doe it here, he letteth out his anger here to the full, and will not call it back, I will have no mercy upon them: And it is observable in this Scripture that yet the Text saith before that, they did but flatter God with their mouth: though they did but flatter God with their mouth, yet such was Gods mercie toward them, that he calleth back his anger.

My brethren, God hath a high esteeme of his worship in a Nation; though it should be but externall (but we must not rest in that) yet many times ex∣ternall humilliation and worshipping of God in a Nation hath beene ef∣fectuall to deliver them from externall judgements.

Therefore we have much cause to be incouraged, in that God doth stirre up our Nation at this day, yea and those particularly that are going in that expedition and service for the Kingdome, that God doth stirre them up to goe forth worshipping of him.

Our adversaries come against them with Oathes and curses, and they goe against them with fasting and prayer, not externally onely, but we hope internally many of them, and thousands that joine with them in our Nati∣on. And if God will shew so much mercy to them when they did but flat∣ter him with their mouth, surely then when as there are so many true wor∣shippers of him, yea those that are the instruments of the work; we have much cause to think that God will shew mercy to us, and that if anger were come out against us, yet God will call it backe.

Page  196 Thus then we see that so long as Gods people be Gods people, though they may be brought to great troubles (we cannot be secured from troubles) yet still there is mercie for them; so long as they are his people, so long as the knot is between God and them, and they are in Covenant, there is mercie for them. But now when they are cast off, now there commeth an and, I will doe thus and thus, bring them into these extremities, and I will shew no mercy to them, there shall be judgement without mercie. The observation then from hence is,* when God commeth upon the wicked with wrath, hee cometh with pure wrath. Wrath without mixture of mercie, and this is in∣tolerable. We have a remarkable place for this Isa. 7. 5. An evil (saith the Text) an onely evil,*behold it is comming. Marke, there may come an evil to the people of God, that which materially is evill, but it can never be said of Gods people that an evill, an only evill is comming: If an evil come, there cometh a great good together with that evil: but now it is upon the wicked, an evil, & an onely evil is coming. God threatneth Psal. 75. 8. that he hath a cup in his hand, full of mixture, the mixture of that is an aggrava∣tion of the wrath that is in it: but here there is a cup in Gods hand without mixture, and the want of mixture is the aggravation of the evil of this cup.

VVhen wrath is pure, then it is grown beyond anger, and grown to ha∣tred: [ 1] so long as it is but meere anger, it admitteth of mixture of love, but when once it is (as we may speak) grown to that height of sowerness that all the mixture of love is gone, then it is turned to hatred. There was a time when Israel spake in a murmuring way that God brought them into the wil∣dernesse because he hated them. Deut. 1. 27. But now God threatneth to bring them into the wildernesse and to hate them indeed, according to that Hosea 9. 15. All their wickednesse is in Gilgal, for there I hated them. David prayeth Psal. 6. 1. that God would not rebuke him in his wrath, neither chasten him in his hot displeasure; but what then? Have mercy u∣pon me O Lord: So long as God sheweth mercie he doth not chasten in his sore displeasure: but when God commeth with afflictions & denyeth mer∣cie, then he commeth in sore displeasure indeed, it is hatred.

[ 2] Secondly, When God commeth without mercie he commeth upon the wicked in the most unseasonable time for them that can be. That is the difference betwixt the evills that come upon the godly and the wicked.

There may be evills (that materially are so) upon the godly, but yet they shall come upon them when it shall be seasonable for them: but when they come upon the wicked it shal be when they are most unseasonable for them: As a husband-man if he would cut his Tree so as onely to lop it that it may grow and flourish again, he will be sure to do it in due time, as in January or February,* but if he would cut it that so it may dye, hee will lop it when it flourisheth most, at Midsummer. God indeed letteth wicked men grow up and flourish to the height of their prosperity, and then he commeth and loppeth them because then hee knowes they must die and perish. It were better to be lopped in January, in winter time before you flourish, then you Page  197 may live for your good; but if you stay till the summer, you die for it. You have an excellent Scripture, Zeph. 2. 4. They shall drive out Ashdod at noon day. In those Countries that were exceeding hot and scorching, she pheards and others that had their businesse abroad, used to keep their houses at noon day, or get into some shady places and sleepe. Now when God threatneth a judgement in wrath, and denyeth mercie, saith hee, they shall drive out Ashdod at noone day, in the worst time that possibly Ashdod can be driven out, in the middest of scorching. Because God intended to destroy them, he drives them out at noone day.

Again thirdly, When God commeth upon the wicked and denyeth mer∣cie, he regardeth not the proportion of any affliction or any evill, whether it be enough or not enough for them, what is that to him? When hee cometh upon his own people he weigheth out his wrath. Never did any skilfull Phy∣sitian or Apothecary more carefully weigh out to every dram what the po∣tion should be that is to be given to a child,* then God doth weigh out every affliction that he sendeth upon his children. The difference is just as if you should goe to the Apothecaries to take ratsbane to poyson or kill vermine, you doe not weigh out how much you should take, but give them it at ad∣venture, and let them take as much as they will, and let them burst: but if you take any thing for your child, if it have any strong vertue in i, or with∣out composition, it may be poison, you will take heed, you will not take a dram, a graine too much, but will be sure to weigh it out exactly.

Thus though when God commeth to his children hee weigheth out their afflictions, yet when he cometh with judgements upon the wicked, he cares not how much, how many or great they be, whether sutable to their condi∣tions or no, whether they can beare them or no, whether their backes breake or no, he cometh with judgements upon them to destroy them.

Fourthly,* When afflictions commeth without mercie upon the wicked, [ 4] God stoppeth his ears at all their cryes. If they cry when God cometh with judgements against them, he calleth their cryings howling. Hee tells them though they cry aloud, yea cry with teares he will not heare them,

Fifthly, God commandeth all creatures that they should deny help to [ 5] them. They may stand and be amazed, but help them they cannot. They all say how can we help, seeing God helpes not.

Sixthly, There is the curse of God mixed with every judgement to drive [ 6] them further from God, and to harden them more in their sinnes.

Lastly, One judgement is but the making way for another, yea all judg∣ments [ 7] in this world are but the fore-runners, and makers-way for eternall judgements. This is the portion of the cup of the wicked when God saith he will shew them no mercie. The afflictions of the Saints may seeme to be more grievous outwardly, but thus God never afflicteth them, there is mercie alwayes for them.

VVherefore all yee Saints of God who are under any affliction at any time, be patient and quiet, be contented under it, for though your afflictions Page  198 before and grievous,* yet God delivereth you from such afflictions as these wherein he saith he will shew no mercie.

But further. I will not have mercy upon her children.

Her children.] The judgement of God in punishing the sin of the fathers upon the children we spake somewhat of in the Chapter before, wee will wholly let that passe now: and onely consider children in another way then we did before, in a politicall consideration, for certainly that is the mean∣ing of the Text, I will not have mercy upon her children; that is, I will not have mercie upon the particular people that belong to Iezreel. Private and particular people are called the daughters of Jerusalem, the daughters of such a Country. So that the whole community together with the officers & Governours they are as the Mother, and the private and particular people they are as the children. So that when God saith he will have no mercy up∣on her children, hee doth not onely threaten the State and the Church, the Governours and the whole Community thus, but he threatneth every par∣ticular person of them, though you that are in the multitude perhaps thinke you may escape in the crowde; No saith God, I will looke to every one of you of the multitude of the private and particular persons of Israel, and my wrath shal not onely come out against those that are in higher places, but it shall come out against you also, I will slay her children.

It is true indeed, the heads and governours of places are usually most in∣velved in the guilt of the sins of nations, and their judgements are usually most dreadfull when God commeth with nationall judgements. As Num. 35. 3. 4. The Text saith there that Israel joyned themselves to Baal▪ Peor, and the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and the Lord said unto Moses, take all the heads of the people, and hang them up before the sunne. The Lords anger was kindled against the people, but he bade Mo∣ses especially look to the heads, and take them and hang them up be••re the Lord, that the fierce anger of the Lord might be turned away from Israel.

Certainly execution of wrath upon great ones, upon such as have beene heads in evill, is a Sacrifice exceeding well pleasing to God. But though God ay••e at them especially in nationall judgements, yet the multitude and private people must not thinke to escape, and that upon these grounds.

First, Because many times it is for their sins that God suffereth their Governours to doe so much evill as they doe,* As, Israel had sinned, and God was wrath with Israel, therefore David did what he did in numbring the people. When you see your Governours doe that which is naught, la∣ment for your own sins; doe not spend your time onely in crying out a∣gainst them, but look to yourselves, it is for your sinnes that God hath left [ 1] them to do as they have done.*

[ 2] Secondly, It may be the reason why Governours do not reforme, is, in the perversenesse of people, that they are not in a preparation to receive that good which otherwise our Governours had in their hands & hearts to bring to passe. As 2 Chron. 20. 33. it is cleere there, Howbeit the high places Page  199 were not taken away, why? For as yet the people had not prepared their hearts to seeke the God of their Fathers. Why? should they have pulled down the high places? no, but they should have beene in a preparation for the pulling of them downe. Certainly this is the great cause why our high places are not pulled downe, why Reformation hath gone on no better then it hath, and why we have so much evil remaining amongst us, because the people have not prepared their hearts, they are not in a disposition to receive the mercie that our governours have hearts to bring unto us.

They have hearts to work for us, but when we speake to them of what is fit to be done, their answer is, but is England in a fit disposition to receive such a thing as that is? so that the truth is, although you are ready to cry out of your Governours, you say, they have power in their hands, why doe they not reforme things? yet the guilt in great part devolves upon the people, they are not in a fit dsposition to receive such reformation: therefore God threat∣neth the childen, the peole here.

Again further, It may be it is from you that the Governours that are evil are so much incouraged and abetted in that which is evill: though you doe it not, yet you so much incourage them as the guilt redounds upon you.

Yea lastly, If you do but obey them in any thing that is evill, in doing of that, the guilt devolveth upon you, for you should not do it, but rather obey God then man.

Many thinke to make this their plea, they are commanded to doe thus and thus, and Governours would have them doe it, and it is Law and the like, and they thinke upon this plea they may do any thing in the world. This will not secure you, God may come with judgement without mercie upon the children as well as upon the Mother. And if Gods wrath should come in nationall judgements against England, let the people know that they are like to smart most dreadfully, for never was their a time in our dayes, nor in our fore-fathers dayes, that so much depended upon the people as at this day; never were they called to that help as now they are called to at this day.

So that the people now may have reformation,* they may have blessings, if it be not through their own default. As Cant. 7. 1. The Church is there described in her beauty, and it beginneth at her feete, How beautifull are thy feete? And Cant. 5. There Christ is described in his beauty, and it be∣ginneth at the head, His head is as the most faire gold.

God sometimes makes use of the people to be great meanes, and perhaps the beginning of means to bring beauty to the Church, though they cannot perfect it. Heretofore private persons could doe little: Alas though they were under grievous oppressions, they knew not now to help themselves.

Many men that had purses, and strength, and heads, and hearts and all, yet they knew not what to doe, but to make their moane one to another, and to heaven; but now it is otherwise, now you may do somewhat else besides making your moane one to another, yea besides making your moae to heaven: for you that have purses now you may see waies to employ them Page  100 for the publique good, for Religion, for liberty, you that have strength of body may know what to doe, you that have head-pieces, I mean parts, you are called to help, you may joyne together for God and the good of your Country, you may do much more then heretofore could be done.

Wherefore now if you should desert the Cause of God, and desert those that you have trusted, you must expect the most dreadfull wrath of God, and that without mercie, even upon the people that ever was upon any nati∣on since the beginning of the world, for never any nation that we know of, had more depending upon the people then there is at this day upon the peo∣ple of England, O consider of it, and oh that all the people of the land did but know what God would have them to do in such a time as this?

Again,*I will not have mercy upon her children: upon particular pri∣vate persons in the society. One note more upon that, It is a dangeraus thing for men in any societie to do as the most doe: If they be in a civill societie to give their votes and to do as the greater part doth; if you be in a Church societie, to do as the greater part doth without any examination of it, this dangerous. For though the greater part, the communitie may doe that which is evil, you shall not be excused by that, for you to say, why what could I help it, whn the most doth it? God commeth upon private and particular men, upon the children, even every one of them: And why?

For they are the children of whoredomes.

That is either passively or actively, passively, because they were begot∣ten of whoredomes and brought up, their education hath been in whore∣dome, they have had it from their parents, Or else they are the children of whoredomes actively, they live in the same whoredomes their Mother did.

From hence,

First,* There is little hope of children brought up in wicked education, who have wicked parents also. If the dye have beene in the wooll it is hard to get out of the cloth. If wickedness, if evill principles have beene dropped into children, there is little hope of them for good, especially of those chil∣dren that have been brought up in wayes of superstition and Idolatry,* their hearts being so soyled, and defiled, and hardned in superstitious and idola∣trous wayes, they seldome come to any good. Therefore that which hath been mentioned is very good, namely of wayes to take the children of Pa∣pists to bring them up in the education and knowledge of the truth.

Yet Secondly,* This shall not excuse children, though they be the children of whoredomes. It is no excuse for them to say they had it from their Pa∣rents, and they did as their Parents have done, and as they bade them, and according as they brought them up. No it excuseth not at all, for the wrath of God commeth upon them that are the children of whoredomes.

Then what a mercie is it for us to be brought up in the truth; to have Pa∣rents that doe professe the truth, and for our education to bee in the way of truth? It is a mercy that we do not consider of to give God the glory of it: How dangerous is it to have superstitious Idolatrous Parents, and to have Page  201 such kind of education! there is not one of ten thousand that altereth his reli∣gion: If they have Turks, or Jewes, or Papists to their parents, and such e∣ducation, it is not one of tenne thousand I say that altereth his religion. Therefore it is like our condition would have been the same if God had not cast it that our parents should be such as professe the truth, and our educa∣tion according to the truth. Blesse God for this. And you that are parents doe you look to your children, and bring them up in the truth. Children who have gracious principles dropped into them, and those watred by pray∣ers and tears, there is hope of them▪ and not of them alone, but of the nation where they live.

Lastly (which is the observation which mainely wee are to consider of) When Gods judgements come abroad in the world,* let the children of whoredomes look to it, God threatneth he will have no mercy upon them, or they are the children of whoredomes. The children of whoredomes are the butt of Gods wrath when his judgements come abroad in the world.

Isa. 27. 4 Furie is not in me, saith the Text, that is, it is not in mee to∣ward my Saints;* though I come out in a kind of fury, yet it is not in me to∣ward them, what then? Who would set the briers and thorns against mee in battle? I would goe thorough them, I would burn them together. When my wrath commeth against the briars and thornes, I will go through them, and burne them together; but for my children, fury is not in me toward them: When Gods wrath is abroad in the world, let not the children of the bride-chamber feare, but let the children of whoredomes feare and quake, let briars and thornes feare, but not the fruitfull trees in Gods garden: God∣judgements know how to make a difference between men, they are dis stinguishing things when they come abroad: God sendeth not his judge∣ments hand over head, but putteth into them a distinguishing quality. God hath a chamber of rest and safety for his people, wherein he will hide them till his indignation be over-past; but for the children of whoredomes, superstitious, Idolatrous, wicked and ungodly people, they are the peo∣ple of Gods indignation, they are like Idumea, the people of Gods curse, as you have it, Isa. 34. 5.

There are a people this day amongst us who are certainely the people of Gods curse, and let them look to it as well as they will. Rev. 14. 8. Babylon is fallen, is fallen (saith an Angell there) and mark what followeth. ver. 9. And another Angel followed, saying with a loud voyce, If any man wor∣ship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead or in his hand, the same shal drinke of the wine of the wrath of God which is powred out without mixture into the cup of his indignation. It is according to that in the Text here, God will have no mercy, they shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God without mixture, without mixture of any mercy at all. And further, He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy Angels, & in the presence of the Lambe, and the smoake of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever, And they have no rest day nor night that worship the beast and his image.

Page  202 Here is a dreadfull threat against the children of whoredomes, against such as follow the wayes of the great whore of Babylon. Blessed are they that in these times have testimony in their own consciences, that it hath been their care above all things to draw themselves out from the guilt of all su∣perstitious and Idolatrous vanities, and to keep themselves (according to that light that God hath discovered to them) pure from the pollutions of that man of sin. Blessed I say are these, they need not feare this day; but for those that have involved themselves in the guilt of those pollutions, they have need to humble their souls before God, and to cry mightily, for wrath is going out against the children of whoredomes. This Text here spoken of, is not meant only of hell hereafter, but it is meant of judgement even in this world: And above all times that ever yet have been since Antichrist began, it is a most desperate thing to be a Papist in these dayes, because now is the time for God to make these children of whoredomes the very Butt of his wrath and indignation.

We heare of wars, and rumors of wars, and a great deale of stir there is a∣broad: My brethren, keep your hearts chast to God, and fear not, for God hath another manner of people to deal withall then you; you shall be sealed first, before the wrath come out. Though I cannot excuse you altogether from suffering some afflictions, these children of whoredomes may bring some trouble upon the Saints for the present; yea perhaps some of you may have your blood spilt, but God hath mercy to bestow upon you, but for them there is wrath, and wrath without mixture, God saith he will have no mercy upon the children of whoredoms.

Let such as are going forth then in this Service, for Religion and Liberty, go forth with courage and undauntednesse of spirit, why? for they fight a∣gainst none but those that God fighteth against. Who are they but the chil∣dren of whoredomes that they go to fight against, those who have shewed themselves to be open fighters against God and his truth, such as are most abominable swearers, cursers, and blasphemers, such as make no other use of the light of the Gospel that they have, but only to scorn and contemn it, such as are open despisers of God and his truth, and of his people? Cer∣tainly if there be a cursed generation upon the face of the earth, these are the people, whose mouths are full of curses, and certainely Gods curse is upon them who are so full of cursings themselves. If there be any of you here that are now, or hereafter may go forth in this service, your spirits should even rise with indignation against such monsters upon earth, and goe against them as David against Goliah, What shall this uncircumcised Philistine defie the hoast of the living God? Thus your hearts should rise if you have any love to God and his truth; Shall a company of cursed monsters that do nothing but blaspheme, and curse, and sweare, and defie God and his ser∣vants, and his Tabernacle, and worship; shall these uncircumcised Philistins go on thus defying God and his truth? If you have the hearts of men with∣in you, especially of Christians, me thinks you should not be able to beare it, Page  203 but goe forth against them with fulnesse of spirit and resolution, certainely God will make them a prey to you, they are not only such as not only have put off Christianity, and are become Atheists, but they have put off all kind of humanity, and are rather turned monstrous beasts, or devils. Fear them not, though their hearts be full of pride and rage, and though they beast ne∣ver so much what they are, or what they have done, or what they will doe; I say feare them not, for this is part of the curse of God that is upon them that though God fighteth against them, they will not see it, they shall not see it, because God intendeth to destroy them; though judgments are out a∣gainst them,* yet they will not repent. You shall finde it divers times in the book of the Revelation, that those that followed Antichrist, though they were tormented, all the judgments of God were against them, yet they re∣pented not. This I say is the curse of God upon such, God will not give them repentance unto life, for they are the children of whoredoms, whom God intendeth to have no mercy upon: therefore the higher their rage ri∣seth, the higher your hearts should rise against them.

But we must go on to the 5. verse.

For their mother hath played the harlot.

Their mother, that is, the State and the Church, for they were both in∣volved in one, hath played the harlot. This [For] hath reference two ways; either it may have reference to those words, I will not have mercy upon them, for not only they are, but their mother is defiled with whoredomes, she hath played the harlot: or secondly, it hath reference onely to the latter part, they are the children of whoredomes, for their mother hath played the harlot: either it referreth to the reason why God will not have mercy upon them, because their mother hath played the harlot: or secondly to the rea∣son why they are the children of whoredomes, for their mother hath play∣ed the harlot. And from both these references we have very usefull obser∣vations for us.

The first,* God cannot endure a succession in wickednesse, I will not have mercy upon them, their mother hath played the harlot, they are children of whoredoms themselves, and their mother hath plaid the harlot, there is a succession of wickednesse among them, and that I cannot beare. The ground is, because those that keep up a succession of wickednesse from the mother to the children, and so goe on downeward, they are guilty of all the wickednesses that went before them in that line; Else how can that be understood where Christ saith he will require all the blood from Abel to Zacharias upon that generation;* but because they continuing in that way of sin, kept up the succession of that sin, and so that generation was guilty of all the sins of that kind that went before even unto Abel. So the father is a whore-master, and the child he proveth to be one too, and so goeth on, the child is not only guilty of that sinne of his owne, but of his fa∣thers, and of his grandfathers, and hee is guilty of all that kind of sinne that is gone before, even up to the beginning of the world; why? because hee Page  204 keepeth up the succession of that sinne in the world. This is a most terrible thing to consider of, enough to wound the strongest heart in the world, es∣pecially of those that know they have had wicked Parents.

Again, For their mother hath plaid the harlot, consider this word For, as having reference to the reason why they are children of whoredomes, for their mother hath plaid the harlot. The observation is,

Children usually goe according to their parents, which way their parents goe, commonly the children goe. It is a usuall thing where there are prophane parents to have prophane children, if the parents sweare to have swearing children, if the parents be superstitious to have superstitious chil∣dren; if parents be scorners of Religion, to have children scorners too: we find it true in experience, in that new nick-name that is brought up on the godly in roome of the former, it is as frequent in the mouths of children as in others, because children go according to what their fathers formerly did: I will give you one notable Text of Scripture for this, it is 2 King. 2. 23. When Elisha the Prophet was going up to Bethel, there came forth little children out of the City and said unto him, Goe up thou bald-head, goe up thou bald-head. The thing that I note it for is this, that not only the children did it, and so were destroyed, (for two she-beares came out of the wildernesse and tare 42. of them) but what children were they that did this? If you observe the Text, you shall finde that they were the children of Bethel; and what place was that? That was one of the places where the calves were set up, and it was a place of much super∣stition, and the children were as superstitious as their parents: A place that had the name, the house of God, but a place exceedingly abused, and no place did more degenerate from the name then it, it was a Bethaven, a house of vanity and wickednesse. It was the place that was most superstitious, and those were the children that scorned at the Prophet: But we need no o∣ther proof but only experience, yet there is one notable Scripture further for it, Jer. 7. 18. The children (saith the Text) gather wood, their fa∣thers kindle the fire, and their mothers kneaded the dough: the children joyned you see: Pelagius thought that there was no sinne came into the world but only by imitation, children imitating their parents. Certainly imitation is of great power and force to prevaile with the hearts of children. You that are wicked parents, had need to looke to it what you doe before your children. He that sinneth before a child, specially a parent, sinneth doubly,* for a child will be ready to imitate it. What, will you not only sin against God, and be enemies unto him, but will you leave a succession, that when you are dead and gone, some must out of your loynes, and from your bowels, blaspheme God after you are rotten in your graves? Suppose you that are parents had a plague sore upon you, would you goe among your children, and breath upon them? this cruelty is much worse, will you goe into your families, and breath infection into your children, and so make them like you, and guilty of your sins, and of the plagues of God together Page  205 with you? oh cruell parents!

On the otherside, as therefore children of whoredomes, because their mother hath plaid the harlot, why then should not children be gracious and godly, who have gracious and godly parents? Why should it not be said, This childe is a godly childe, for his mother was a gracious woman, and his father a godly man? You that have godly parents, let this be your Encomium, You are godly and gracious children, and you had godly and gracious parents, this will be your honour before the Saints. But how vile is it, when it may be said, Here is a wicked wretch, yet he had a godly father, and a godly mother; here is an uncleane and filthy liver, yet hee had gracious parents? It is no wonder to say thus, This man is filthy, for his fa∣ther was filthy, and his mother was a harlot; but to look upon one, and say, Here is a whoremaster, yet his father was a godly gracious man; Here is a harlot, yet her mother was a holy woman; O how vile is that! I remem∣ber a speech of that reverend Master Bolton, who died not long since; It is re∣poted, that upon his death-bed he had his children come to him, & he speaks thus unto them, I doe believe, saith he, there is never a one of you will dare to meet me at the tribunall of Christ in an unregenerate condition. So let me say to you that are evill children of Godly parents, let me in their names speak to you, How dare you, with what face doe you think you shall dare to meet with your godly father and gracious mother before the judgement seat of Jesus Christ? at that day if your godly father stand at the right hand of Christ, how dare you appeare before that face in the guilt of those horri∣ble wickednesses that you now live in? Certainly the thought of this hath power to daunt your hearts.

She hath done shamefully.

The word in the Hebrew (it is in Hyphil, and so it may be translated transitively) signifieth,*She hath made ashamed, as well as done shamefully; and so I find it according to some thus rendered, Shee hath made ashamed her husband, she hath made ashamed her children, shee hath made asha∣med her self, and all these three may be meant. Yea I conceive the intent of the holy Ghost is to expresse them all.

Her husband first, the Church is the Spouse of Jesus Christ, Christ is the husband of the Church, and you know the Scripture saith that the wo∣man is the glory of the man. I remember I gave the meaning of that heretofore; So the Church being the Spouse of Christ, should be the glory of Christ: the woman should be the glory of the man, but yet being wick∣ed and filthy, she makes her husband many times ashamed. The evil of the wife is a shame to the husband, so the evill of the Church is a shame to Iesus Christ. The Church in Scripture is called the glory of Christ, 2 Cor. 8. 23. If our brethren be enquired after, they are the messengers of the Churches, and the glory of Christ. Isa. 4. 5. Vpon all the glory shall be a defence.

Page  206 It should be so, but when it commeth to be defiled, it shameth Christ, their wickednesse reflects upon Christ. Christ is said to walke in the mid∣dest of the golden Candlesticks, Rev. 2. 1. Every Church is a Candle-stick, and it should be a golden Candle-sticke, but if it come to be a filthy rustie Candle-stick,* it is a dishonour unto Christ who walketh amongst them.

Wicked men doe not shame Christ, but godly doe. My brethren let us take heed of that, It is an evill thing to bring shame to our selves, and one to another, but to bring shame upon JESUS CHRIST is the greatest e∣vil. Many of you perhaps are ashamed of Christ, take heed you be not a shame to Christ. They are ashamed of Christ that are ashamed to appeare in the cause of Christ; but as for you that are so, Christ hath more cause to be ashamed of you, for you are a shame to him.

It is true, I cannot deny it but many Churches of God, and that of late have brought some shame to Jesus Christ by their dissentions and fracti∣ons, and they must take shame to themselves, and they have taken shame to themselves, they have acknowledged it to the glory of Christ, and in that regard in some measure have washed off that shame that they have brought to Christ.

Againe further, a shame they are to their children. Wicked Parents are a shame to their children; when a child appeareth forward, towardly, and hopefull, and it be said, Would you not wonder to see him so forward? the father of him is a beastly drnkard, a filthy whore-monger, of a vile and malignant spirit;* now the child is ashamed to heare of the evil of his father, and of the evil of his mother. As foolish children are a shame to their Pa∣rents, so wicked Parents are a shame to their children. You that have gra∣cious children take heed you be not a shame to them, and so a shame to your selves.

And then a shame to her selfe, she hath plaid the harlot, she hath done shamefully. Wherein had she done shamefully? I will onely mention one particular. Certainly that shame of hers was especially in subjecting Re∣ligion to carnall policie. For what did she doe? what was the great sinne of the ten Tribes? It was this, because they were afraid that if they did go up to Jerusalem to worship, the people would then depart from the house of Jero∣boam, to the house of David, therefore out of politicall regards they would have the worship set up at Dan and Bethel, there they would have Calves, they must not goe up to Jerusalem the place which God had appointed to worship in, but at Dan and Bethel. This was a meere politique fetch, for they could not but acknowledg that God did require that they should wor∣ship at Jerusalem where the Temple was, and there was no other reason why they would worship at Dan and Bethel, but meerely out of State poli∣cie that they might prevent the people from going backe to the house of Da∣vid, and indeed they did professe so much themselves. Here then they did shamfully.

The Observation then from hence is, that for governours or any to sub∣ject Page  207 Religion to policie is a shamefull thing. It is shamefull to make Reli∣gion an underling, and to make policie the head. Perhaps they call this wisedome, a prudentiall way, wee must be carefull and wise to foresee in∣conveniences that may follow. But what if God give it another name? God may give it a name of base temporizing, a name of folly and wicked∣nesse: to subject Religion to policie it is shamefull, because it abaseth that which is the great honour of any Country, it makes it an underling: what is the excellency of man but Religion? what is the excellency of a Country but Religion? and what hath England been glorious for more then for Re∣ligion? Now to put the excellency of a thing under any inferiour, this is shamefull, to put the Crown that is for the head under ones foot is a dishon∣our to it: although a thing hath in it self but little excellencie, if it be brought beneath it selfe under other things that have not so great an excellency in them, it makes it vile.

And shamefull also it is because it holdeth forth this, that we dare not trust [ 1] God for our civill estate and for our peace, therefore Religion must come under.

Shamefull it is again because it is grosse folly, for there is no such way to [ 2] breede disturbance in a politicke state, no such way to undoe a State, as to make Religion an underling to policie. Was it not so here? That very way that they tooke to uphold their policie was the way to destroy their State, & did destroy it at last, even their corrupting of Gods worship.

What cause had they then to be ashamed of this, that God should take that which they thought to helpe themselves by, and make that the very thing that should cause their ruine? And certainly it will be so, they that are of the deepest and politikest ferches and reaches, if they thinke to secure themselves and preserve their peace, out of that principle, so as Religion must come un∣der, and must be serviceable, it will appeare at last they doe shamefully, God will make them ashamed of it one way or other, it will be the onely way to undoe themselves and us. I confesse in matters of Religion there are some commands that are affirmitive precepts: These though they doe liga∣re semper, yet not ad semper, there is not a necessity that at every time and instant they should be urged, so that it may be that a people may be in such a frame that men cannot but by degrees bring in a reformation to the height of it, and then it is not carnall policie to bring in such wayes of God gradu∣ally, as are commanded by affirmitive precepts; but negative precepts binde semper and adsemper, and the State must looke to that, that they do nothing against Christ out of policie that they doe not hinder by any positive Law the way of Christ, for though Christ may be willing to forbeare some Or∣dinances for a time, and he doth it out of mercy to a people, he saith he will have mercy and not sacrifice, but Christ will never beare that there should be any thing done against him in that time. If they should out of any State policie to preserve peace, or to gratifie an evill party, sacrifice any part of Religion, or any godly person, this will prove a shamefull thing, Christ ac∣counts Page  208 it so, and whosoever doth so will be ashamed of it at the last.

Now my brethren, why should not God be trusted? let us looke at Re∣ligion in the first place, and so pray wee that those who are our reformers who have power in their hands may never prove to be guilty of this shame∣full way of putting Religion under policie. I will give you a notable exam∣ple in Scripture about it. It is Josh. 5. When Joshua had brought the peo∣ple of Israel over Jordan (that you know was the very beginning of their entrance into Canaan) now as soone as they were brought unto the borders of the Land, they were to encounter with all their enemies, and you may i∣magine that when Joshua had passed the river the, people might thinke that all the Country would be about their eares, one would thinke then that po∣licy would have taught them to lay aside all thoughts of Religion, and to look to their enemies that were at hand, if ever they were outragious they would be then, and therefore now let us minde nothing but arming our selves a∣gainst them: But mark now God goeth another way to worke, as soone as they were gone over Jordan, and were upon the borders of the Land of Canaan, they must goe and circumcise themselves, and you know when they were circumcised they were sore that they could not fight. Simeon and Levi destroyed a whole City when they were circumcised, they were not then in a posture of fighting or defending themselves, but lay at the mercie of their enemies. But this was Gods wisedome. Nay further, they must go and keepe the passeover too, they must mind and tend Religion: And mark you shall finde in the latter end of the Chapter, that after they had been cir∣cumcised & kept the Passeover, then appeareth one to Ioshua with a drawn sword, and saith he, I am the Captain of the Lords Hosts. Then the Cap∣tain of the Lords Host appeareth to fight for them when they had once obey¦ed; whereas had they neglected Circumcision and the Passeover, & thought of fighting onely, they, might have missed of the Captaine of the Lords Hosts to have fought for them, and what would have become of them then? So you see God would have us minde Religion in the most dangerous times, and though we thinke we must mind our peace and safety, and lay our hands upon our swords or our defence, yet let us be carefull of our Religion, and then we shall have a Captain of the Lords host come and fight for us.

Marke 8. 15. we are charged to take heed of two sorts of leaven, The leaven of the Scribes and Pharises, and the leaven of Herod. The leaven of the Scribes and Pharises is corruption in Church affairs, the leaven of Herod is corruption in Religion too, but in order of the Common-wealth, in bring∣ing under things of God to the affairs of the State, for in this Herod was like Jeroboam, he was affraid of his kingdome as Ieroboam was, hee had many wayes and plots to keepe himselfe in that kingdom as Ieroboam had, and many did cleave to Herod in his plots, as Israel clave to Ieroboam in his, therefore saith Christ, take heed not onely of the leaven of the Scribes and Pharises but of the leaven of Herod. And it may be the Lord saw us to prone of sinfull compliances, even ready to have sacrificed much of his Page  209 worship and many of his Saints for the obtaining peace in the State,* and so to have fallen off from that reformation that both God and his people ex∣pected, hence hee hath taken the worke into his owne hands, hee will bring about his owne worke, though it may cost us deare, who knowes how much blood?

The Fourth Lecture.

HOSEA 2. 5.

Shee that conceived them hath done shamefully; for she said, I will goe after my lovers, that give me my bread, and my water, my wooll, and my flaxe, mine oyle and my drinke.

GOds threats against Israel to make her as a wilderness and as a dry land, to slay her with thirst, in the 3. verse, to shew no mercy to her children, in the 4. ver. The reason because her mother had played the harlot, in the beginning of this 5. ver. we finished the last day. Onely in a word to give you one note from that title of Mother here, that wee ob∣served not before.

The Community of the Church and civill State is called Mother, in way of distinction from private people, and private people are as the children of that Mother, so we opened it in the second ver.

The Observation is,

The Community of a State and Church should be to particular persons as a Mother.* They should have the affection of children to it, they should take much to heart those things that concerne it, the sufferings of State or Church should be the sufferings of all particulars. There are children of Be∣lial that are risen up among us,* that are even taring the bowels of our Mo∣ther, a viperous generation that seeke to eate out the bowels of her Mother, let our hearts breake for this, as Psal. 35. 14. I bowed down heavily as one that mourneth for his Mother. Let not us lift up our heads and be jolly now, but for the present bow down heavily as those that are called (though in some respects to rejoyce,) yet in many others to mourne this day for our Mother. Yea let our hearts rise against these vile monsters that joyne with a Malignant party to bring such woefull confusion and trouble even to our Mother. We may say to them justly as Saul said unto Ionathan passionat∣ly, You children of the rebellious and perverse, why have you chosen to joyne with them for the confusion of your Mothers nakednesse. Let us do what we can to help. Shall we see her bowells torne and not stirre at all? She calleth now to us to come and help her, and let us know that if it go ill with her, it cannot go well with us.

Page  210 If the Mothers breast thorough some incurable disease must be cut off, the tender Father takes away the children and will not suffer them to be∣hold the torture of their Mother; Who knows but that this hath been Gods end in taking away his deare children in former times, because hee would not have their tender hearts to see so much sorrow and evill as should befall their Mother? And what God hath reserved us to see in the sufferings of our Mother we do not know. Howsoever let not her suffer by us, let not her suffer for want of our help, let not her suffer without us, let not us be so unnaturall as to be every one shifting for himselfe, for the private and parti∣cular, neglecting the publicke, the community, neglecting our Mother that should be as deare to us as the bowels out of which we came.

She hath done shamefully. VVe should have the affections of children to her though she hath done shamefully. [ 1]

But further, Here you have the amplification of her whoredomes, shee hath plaid the harlot, and so plaid as she hath done shamefully: The latter end of the verse is by way of probation of this amplification, for how doth it appeare she hath done shamefully? for she hath said, I will goe after my lovers, &c. For the first then, this amplification of her whoredome, her whoredome is such as is shamefull, Hence first observe.

That sinne,* but especially whoredome is a shamefull thing. Pro. 13. 5. A wicked man is loathsome, and commeth to shame: Pro. 14. 34. Sinne is a reproach to a nation, or to any people; Sinne of its owne nature let it bee what it will be, it is shamefull: Much more then whoredome, to play the harlot, for all sinne doth drowne a man, it brings him beneath the excellency of a man, it is contrary to the image of God in man, to that wherein true honor, beauty, glory doth consist. It makes men vile. I will give you but one Text for it, Dan, 11. 21. And there shal arise a vile person. Who was that? It was according to interpreters, Antiochus Epiphanes, the great King of Assyria, and yet a vile person. Josephus tells us that the Samaritans when they were in danger of suffering from him because he thought them to be Jewes, they wrote to him in this manner. To Antiochus the mighty God; and his very Epithet, Epiphanes, is as much in our English as Illustrious, Antiochus the Illustrious, the famous, bright in his glory: He that was so illustrious and so great a Prince, that was written unto as the mighty God, yet in the Scripture language being wicked he is a vile person.

It is a special note of one that is fit to dwell in Gods Mountain,* of one that is a Saint, Psal. 15. 4. to be able to see the vilenesse of sin thorough all the glory of the world, in whose eyes a vile person is contemned. Sin is a shame because it deceiveth a man, The way of the wicked shall deceive him, What profit have you now of those things where of you are ashamed? It is a good signe of grace to be able to see into the deceits of sinne, so as to be ashamed of it. But though all sin be shamefull, yet whoredome especially, and that either bodily or spiritual.

First bodily, the expression of shamefulnesse though especially it aymeth Page  211 at their Idolatry, yet it hath its rise from bobily whoredome, if that were not shamefull, the expression could not be full; that she had played the har∣lot, and done shamefully, Pro. 6. 32. Whoso committeth adultery with a woman, lacketh understanding, he that doth it destroyeth his own soul; a wound and dishonour shall he get, and his reproach shall not be wiped away. It makes one to be as one of the fooles in Israel. And I (saith Tamer when Amnon defiled her) whether shall I cause my shame to go? and as for thee thou shalt be as one of the fooles in Israel. 2 Sam. 13. 13. Amnon though a Kings sonne, though a brave gallant, yet by his uncleannesse he makes him∣selfe as one of the fooles in Israel, Deut. 23. 18. Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, nor the price of a dogge into the house of the Lord; they are joyned both together, for Scripture language makes those to be doggs who are uncleane and filthy. When Ishbosheth charged Abner with the sinne of uncleannesse, 2 Sam. 3. 8. Am I a dogs head, saith he, that thou chargest me with a fault concerning this woman? Many Adulterers goe very fine and spruce, many young wantons are bravely drest, but in Gods esteeme they are as dogges thorough their uncleanness. It is not a harsher title then the spirit of God gives them. I have read of a people amongst the heathen that condemned this sinne with death, and with a shamefull death according to the nature of the sinne, the death was this, they would have the adulterers or adulteresses head to be put into the paunch of a beast, where lay all the filth and uncleannesse of it, and there to be stifled to death, a punishment fit for so filthy a sinne. And as this sin is ever shamefull, so especially the more lovely any yoke fellow is that is forsaken, and the more vile and fowle the whore is, so much the more shamefull is the sin: Athenaeus bringes in Pla∣to, bewayling himself in his own condition, that he was taken so much with a filthy whore. It is more shamefull for Christians then for heathens, because they know that the covenant of mariage is the covenant of God, as Pro. 2. 17.

But further, corruption in Gods worship is most shamefull, for that is aymed at especially here. The shamefulness of corrupting the worship of God is exprest in that most famous Text we have for this purpose. Exod. 32. 25. Aaron made the people naked unto their shame, how was that, but by false worship though it was of the true God? In false worship, there is shame because in that a man subjects his conscience to vile things.

Conscience that is not to be subject to any creature, only unto God him∣selfe is here made subject to low and vile things. Indeed it is not shamefull to subject our consciences to God in the use of creatures though never so meane appointed by himselfe, but those that doe subject unto creatures in wayes of false worship not appointed by God, subject not their consciences to God but unto those creatures, and that is shamefull.

In false worship though there may seeme to be a great deale of humility, yet there is notorious pride and presumption,* and therefore much shame.

For a creature to take upon him by his owne fancie and conceit to raise up creatures higher then ever God hath raised them, to put higher respects up∣on Page  212 creatures then ever God hath done, this is boldnesse and presumption, yea to presume so far as by his owne fancy and conceit, to raise up the crea∣ture so high as that God himself according to the humors of men must come to be nearer men, and to be more present with these creatures then other∣wise he would. Thus men presume to bring God to be under their fancies, and is not this shamefull.

Further it is extreame folly, for we contradict our selves when we thinke to honour God and yet goe against him, when wee put high esteeme upon such things as are abominable and detestable. Marke that excellent Scrip∣ture for this, Ierem. 44. 4. I sent unto you all my servants the Prophets, rising early and sending them, saying, O doe not this abominable thing that I hate. Marke, God cryeth out with a kinde of shrieke, all my servants the Prophets I sent, saying, O doe not this abominable thing; It is a delight∣full thing 〈◊〉 your eyes, but abominable in Gods. And Ezek. 22. 3. they are called by a word that signifieth the very excrements that come out of a man they glory in them,* but he saith, they defile themselves by them.

When God opens their eyes they will see false worship a shamefull thing, and when they doe so, God will shew them the Excellency of his own.

You have an excellent Scripture for this, Ezek. 43. 10. 11. Sonne of man shew the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their ini∣quities, and if that they be ashamed of all that they have done, that is, of all their false worship, what then? Then shew them the forme of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out thereof, and the commings in thereof, and all the formes thereof, and all the Lawes thereof, and all the Ordinances thereof, and write it in their sight that they may keepe the whole for me thereof, and all the ordinances thereof and doe them.

Marke my brethren, you see how God standeth much upon formes, all the formes thereof, and the forme thereof: Let not us slightly account of any thing in Gods worship, of circumstances for God standeth much upon his own forme in his own worship. Many who have no Religion but a forme, yet neglect Gods forme. Men love to stand much upon their owne forms, let them know God stands much upon his formes, and it is no hinderance but a furtherance to the power of Religion to keep close to Gods forme, and if we would come to know what are Gods Ordinances (we cry out, O that we could but know what is the right way) this is one way for you to know: First, be ashamed of what you have done, be ashamed of your former false worship, and then God will shew you the Ordinances of his House, and the true beauty of his true worship: till then there are so many distinctions, and evasions, and objections that they never come to understand it: when God humbleth the heart, and makes ashamed of what hath been naught be∣fore, all the distinctions, and evasions, and objections vanish away as the mist before the sunne.

And the more excellent the Lord is, and those Ordinances are from which we doe depart, the more shamefull is that ••lse worship that our hearts doe decline unto.

Page  213She hath done shamefully, why? she hath forsaken such a husband, she hath forsaken the Lord JESUS CHRIST who is so lovely, she hath forsaken the blessed Ordinances that God hath appointed,* and turned her selfe to vanities of her owne. Cant, 5. 16. Christ is there said to be altogether lovely, there is lovlinesse enough in Christ to satisfie the soul for ever. And Ezek. 7. 20. As for the beauty of his ornament (speaking of Gods Ordinances in his Temple) hee set it in Majesty, but they made the images of their abominations, and of their detestable things therein.

Oh how shamefull was this! This sheweth the shamefulnesse of it, be∣cause God set the beauty of his ornament in Majesty. The Ordinances of God that he appointed himselfe, they are Gods ornament they are the beau∣ty of his ornament, they are the beauty of his ornament set in Majesty; and shall these beautifull glorious things be forsaken, for vanities of our own in∣ventions? This is shamefull.

She hath done shamefully for she hath said thus and thus; Here is im∣plyed, that the thing done was not onely shamefull, but that she was shame∣lesse in that she had done. She hath played the harlot, and done shameful∣ly, for she hath said, &c.

From hence the Observation is,

Sinne,* especially whoredome either bodily or spirituall, being let alone to grow to a height, will growe to an impudencie; those that continue in these, will grow not onely to doe shamefully, but to be shamelesse in their doings, Ier. 6. 15. Were they ashamed they committed abomination? No, they were not all ashamed, neither could they blush. At first sin may seeme to be a little shame-faced, but afterward it growes brazen-faced; modest a little at the first, but bold, and impudent, and daring afterward. True, in∣deed if men should be told before-hand what they would doe afterward, they would be ready to say as Hazael to the Prophet, Am I a dead dog that I should do this? Their hearts would even shake at the thought of it: yet when sinne hath hardned their hearts but a while, they will doe it, and that with open face too. Whoredome you know at first, it is that that eve∣ry man blusheth at, but within a while, uncleane ones can make their boast of their filthynesse, But especially spirituall whoredome, the corruption of Gods worship at first may be a little modest, but see to what a height it growes if in time this be not prevented. I will give you a notable example of this, and that is of Solomon himselfe. At the first we shall finde Solomon very modest in the matter of Idolatry. 2 Chron. 8. 11. the Text saith there, that he brought up the daughter of Pharaoh out of the City of David to the house he had built for her, for he said, My wife shall not dwell in the house of David King of Israel, why? because the places are holy whereunto the Arke of the Lord hath come. Marke how carefull Solomon was of any pol∣lution, of any thing that had any seeming holinesse in it; My wife shall not so much as dwell in the house of David, I have so much respect to the Arke of God, to the worship of God, to those places that are holy that my wife Page  214 shall not so much as dwell there; But oh what did Solomon grow unto af∣terward he suffered Idolatry most shamefully, as we shall finde 1 King. 11. 5. there the Text saith, that he went after Ashoreth the goddesse of the Zidnians, and after Mileom the abomination of the Amorites, and built a high place for Chmosh the abomination of Moa in the hill that is be∣fore Jerusalem, just there he built it too, as if it had been in defiance to the Temple of God and his true worship, and that for Molech the abomina∣tion of the children of Amm••; and thus he did saith the Text, ver. 8. for all his strange wives which burnt incense, and sacrificed unto their gods.

This shamefulnesse he was grown unto▪ And thus we see it in experience; how faire are men in their wayes of superstition at first? At first it is one∣ly decency, that is all they plead for; well, afterward it riseth from decency to significancy, that is a little higher, to put them in minde. Thirdly, from significancy it riseth to efficacy, to stirre up the dull mind of man: Fourth∣ly, from efficacy, it riseth to necessity, that now it must be done, and the worship of God cannot be without it, and there shall be no ordinance, no administration at all without it. Decency, significancy, efficacy, and ne∣cessity, thus it riseth to be shamefull at last. So amongst the Papists in their traditions,* surely at first only they would come with this argument, What, will you not regard them as you would doe other bookes and other Histo∣ries? they are the traditions of our fore-fathers; but at length they came to this, in the fourth Sexion of the Councell of Trent, the Synod doth take & honour the bookes of the old and new Testament, and the traditions of the Fathers, with equal affection of piety and reverence as they doe them. To this shamefulnesse they grew to at last. And so for worshipping of Ima∣ges, why, it is it for the decency of Churches to have them, and they are but to put you in minde at the most; but at length they came to this, these are the very words, the same honour is due to the Image and to the Exemplar.

Lastly, from this amplification that she hath done shamefully; VVhen men doe grow shamelesse, impudent in evil, there is little hope of them.

I will have no mercy upon them, Why? For they have done thus, they are grown thus impudent. It is a good thing to keepe the bridle of shame as long as we can upon our children and servants, and any of our inferiours▪ therefore take this one instruction with you, be not too ready to rebuke and chastise your servants, your children, in reproachfull manner before others, left you bring them to that, that they shall see they have no honour to lose, and then there is little hope of them: Evermore keep such a hand over your children and servants as they may see they have some respect to lose,* that they may not be so ashamed by you, as for them to thinke they cannot be worse, they cannot be more disgraced, there is no such way to bring them to grow desperate as that is. It is very great wisedome in Governours to keepe the bridle of shame still, and not to let those raines goe, and this is the reason that your Bride-well or Goale-birds seldome or never come to good, why? because they have no bridle to keepe them in, they have lost Page  215 all their honour and they can lose no more, and there is no rational creature but would have honour, there is not the meanest servant you have but hath a kinde of respect to honour, and that will doe more then blows except they be grown to be very beasts.

But how doth he prove that it is shamefull? Thus, For she hath said, I will go after my lovers that give me my bread and my water, my wooll and my flaze, mine oyle and my drinke.

For she hath said: Hence first. Deliberate sins are most shamefull sinnes.

This is a proofe of her shamefulnesse, because that which she hath done she hath done upon deliberation,* she said she would do thus and thus, she con∣sidered before what she would doe, and yet she would doe it. Wickednesse committed de industria, ex consilio, of purpose resolved upon, this is very shamefull. Gal. 6. 1. It is said of Godly men that they may be overtaken with a fault: If a man be overtaken with a fault. It is one thing to be over∣taken with a sinne,* and another thing to overtake a sinne; a gracious heart may have sinne overtake it, but it is a shamelesse heart that overtakes sinne.

Secondly, She hath said I will goe. Whoredome either bodily or spiri∣tuall is usually very wilfull: as if she had said, let all the Prophets say what they can, let them talke out their hearts, I will have my minde, I will follow my lovers still. Thus it is with bodily whoredome. Those who are guilty of this usually grow extreame wilfull. Prov. 2. 19. None that goe unto her return again;*neither take they hold of the paths of life: It is a most dreadfull Scripture against all adulerers & unclean ones, There is none, saith the Text, make it out how you will, there is none that goe unto her return a∣again; neither take they hold of the paths of life, those are the words of the Holy Ghost, I leave the words with you. So Pro. 23. 27. A whore is a deepe ditch, and astrange woman is a narrow pit: they cannot easily get out, nor will they easily get out they are so▪ plunged in, 2 Pet. 2. 14. Eyes full of a∣dultery that cannot cease to sinne: why cannot they cease to sinne? it is not because they have a heart but no power, but their wills is brought into that bondage and subjection that they cannot will otherwise: therefore Ezek. 47. 11. wee finde that though the waters of the Sanctuary were very heal∣ing, yet saith the Text, the miry places and the maershes were not healed, miry, filthy, uncleane hearts are very seldome healed by the waters of the Sanctuary,* I remember AElian reporteth that there was a whore that did boast that she could easily get scholars away from Socrates, but Socrates could get no scholar from her, none of her followers. It is true, that a whore is prevalent, and when she hath once gotten them it is almost impossible to get them away from her. Therefore that place Heb. 6. that speakes of that sinne that is impossible to have repent anoe, Tertullian interprets it to be no other but the sinne of uncleannesse: The Author of this Epistle (saith hee) knew no promise of second repentance to the adulterer and fornicator; that is his expression, shewing how ordinarily those that are guilty of that sinne and are given up to it, grow wilfull in it: And therefore in Ephes. 4. 19, Page  216 these two are put together, being past feeling, and having given themselves over to laciviousness and want onness, wantons usually grow past feeling.

And for spirituall adultery, that usually is very wilfull too, for those that are left by God to that way of false worship,* to Superstition and Idolatry, they seldome returne againe but grow exceeding wilfull in that wickedness.

You have a notable Text for that, Jer. 44. 16. 17. the people say there, The word that thou hast spoken to us in the name of the Lord we will not heare, but we well doe whatsoever commeth out of our own mouth, to burn incense to the Queen of Heaven. VVee will goe on in that way to burne Incense to the Queene of heaven talk as long as you will.

And so you have it Jerem. 20. 10. Goe (saith God) passe over the Isles of Chitrim, and see, and send unto Kedar, and consider deligently, and see of there be such athing; Hath a nation changed their gods, which yet are no gods? Men are setled in the wayes of Idolatry, and will never give o∣ver the worshipping of their gods; but you have forsaken me: therefore be astonished O ye heavens at this, and be ye horribly afraid, be ye very de∣solate, saith the Lord. So Micah. 4. 5. All people will walke every one in the name of his god: Their hearts are set upon it, they will doe it.

Spirituall whoredome doth mightily besot the heart. I suppose you know the sext, it is a very famous one, Esay 44. 19. 20. None considereth in his heart, neither is there knowledg nor understanding to say, I have burnt part of i in the fire, yea also I have baked bread upon the coales thereof, I have rosted flesh and eaten it, and shall I make the residue thereof an abomina∣••? shall I fall down to the stock of a tree? He feedeth on ashes, a seduced heart hath urned him aside that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand. And so Rev. 16. 11. where, those that were gi∣ven up to Antichrist, though they were tormented, they blasphemed the God of heaven, because of their pains and their sores, and they repented not of their deeds.

Thirdly,* wilfulnesse in any sinne, but especially in these sinnes, is a very great aggravation of it: I will have no mercy upon them, I will give them up, why? They have done shamefully, and they have said, I will goe after my lovers. There are a great many who in their passion think it a brave spi∣rit to say, I will, and I will, and I will, and I care not, say what you can, or whatsoever becommeth of it I will doe, or I will have this and this: Espe∣cially men in place and of estates are not able to endure the controlling of their will in any thing, and therefore when their wills are but crost, they burst out into outragious speeches, and fall a blaspheeming, and swearing, and saying they will have their wills, though it cost them their lives.

Thus we find it in the people of Israel, 1 Sam. 8. 19, when Samuel from God came and told them in a long narration what hardship they should endure in having a King that was not them according to Gods minde, they 〈◊〉 him all that he said, and they doe not stand to answer any of Samu∣els arguments, but presently they break out into this resolution, Nay, but we will have a King.

Page  217 Those whom God leaveth to hardnesse of heart, and intendeth ruine to, he usually giveth them up to this wilfulnesse in their evill wayes.

The Scripture records Pharaoh for a famons example of one hardned and prepared for ruine. He was of a most wilfull spirit. Exod. 15. 9. you shall find his wilfulnesse expressed foure times there in that one verse, I will pursue, saith he; and then again, I will overtake, and thirdly, I will divide the spoile; and then fourthly, I will draw my sword: and there are two o∣ther expressions that come to the same effect, that are equivalent to the for∣mer even in the same verse, My lust shall be satisfied, my hand shall destroy them. Put all these six expressions that you have in that one verse, together, and where have you such an expression of a wilfull creature as Pharaoh was? and what became of him you all know.

Only one more example I find in Scripture paralleld to this, and that is the King of Babylon; Egypt and Babylon were two the most eminent for Ido∣latry and persecution of the Church that ever were in the world, and these are the two most famous examples for wilfulnesse that ever were, Esa. 14. 13, 14▪ you have in these two verses five times I will. 1. I will ascend in∣to heaven. 2. I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. 3. I will si upon the mount. 4. I will ascend above the heights. 5. I will be like the most high. And what became of him afterwards you all know, yea the next wods tell you, Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, &c.

These two little words, [I] and [Will] doe a great deale of mischefe in the world. Luther I remember npon Psal. 127. saith, I am of that opinion, saith he,* and verily perswaded, Monarchies would longer time by farre en∣dure, if those that are high Monarchs and States would but omit this one Pronoun, I, this same Ego. It is true, in publique wayes they express them∣selves in the plurall number, We, but private resolutions are in the singular number, I. This for that little word, I.

The second is Will, I will, that is a little word too; But I may say of this little Will, this little word, as James saith concerning the Tongue, It is in∣deed a little member in the body, but it setteth the whole world on fire, and it selfe is set on fire of hell. So it is true that this same little Will it is but a little word, but it setteth whole Kingdomes on fire, it setteth whole Townes and Cities on fire, and it is it selfe ston fire of hell, Bernard hath an ex∣pression, Take away Will once, and there will be no hell. O the mischiefe that it doth in the world! I will only say these two things to those that keepe such ado with these two little words, I, Will.

First, That which thou dost so much pride thy selfe in, and thinkest thy selfe such a man that canst say, I will and I will, know, It may be as heavy a judgement of God upon thee as can befall thee in this world, for God to give thee up to thy will.*

There is nothing wherein God doth more let out his wrath upon the chil∣dren of men here in this world, then in this, in giving them up to their will. Therefore tremble at this when thou hast so many expressions, I will and IPage  218 will doe this. I will give you a Scripture or two for it, sutable to the busi∣nesse: shevving the wilfulnesse of those that had their will in wayes of false worship, perhaps some of you may be set upon this, that you will have this, and let men say what they can, you will have this used: The place is, Ezek. 20. 39. Goe (saith God) serve yee every one his idols, and hereafter also, if you will not hearken unto me. Goe, saith hee, you will not hearken to me, you heare out of the word what should be the way of my worship in the purity of it, oh say you, that is novelty, a new thing, and you will not have it thus,* you answer not any arguments, but you cast it off, and say, you will not have it, wel saith God, go and serve your idols, if you will not heare me, if you beset upon your will, go and serve your idols, and take your fill of your own wayes. And Psal. 81. 11. My people would not hearken to my voyce, Israel would have none of me, they were all upon their will, they would not, and they would not: Marke what followeth, so I gave them up unto their owne hearts lusts, and they walked in their owne counsels. You will have your owne counsels, and your own will, and so God giveth you up to them, and then woe to you, you are undone.

Secondly, you that are set upon your wils in that which is evil, know God is and will be as wilful toward you as you can be toward him. Marke that notable Text, Jer. 44. 25. that setteth out the notorious height of wicked∣nesse that was in the people of those times who were so wilfull, You and your wives have both spoken with your mouths, & fulfilled with your hand that which is evill, you vvill not say onely you will doe it, but will doe it indeed. Well saith God, you have done so, you have both spoken with your mouths, and fulfilled with your hands, saying, We will surely perform the vowes wee have vowed, we have vowed it, and we will do it, we have vowed to burne incen use to the Queen of heaven, and to pour out drinke-offerings unto her; you will surely accomplish your vowes, and surely performe your vowes; you will goe on in your false wayes of worship; mark what followeth in vers. 26. Therefore heare ye the word of the Lord, I have sworn saith the Lord, you have vowed, and I have sworne, I have sworne by my great Name, that my Name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah, in all the land of Egypt: and vers. 27. Behold, saith God, I will watch o∣ver you for evill, and not for good, and all the men of Judah that are in the land of Egypt shall be confirmed by the sword and by the famine untill there be an end of them. God will be as resolute as you for your hearts, as the stoutest sinner that liveth: you will, and God will, who shall have their will think you? Answer to this you stout hearted that are farre from God, answer to this you stout children, and stout servants, and stout wives, you will and you will. A wilfull man never wanteth woe. If you will be resolute in any thing, my brethren, be resolute in that which is good, be resolute in the work of repentance: say with David, Psal. 32. I will confesse my sins, indeed I had many thoughts to come and shame my selfe, and open all un∣to God, but I could not get it off, at length I grew resolute, and said I willPage  219 and I have sworne to keepe thy righteous Precepts; and as they Mic. 4. we will walke in the name of the Lord our God; and as Joshua, I and my Louse will serve the Lord, doe you what you will, wee are resolute that wee will serve the Lord. This is a blessed wilfulnesse indeed. Oh that 〈◊〉outnesse and wilfulnesse of many people might be turned to this resolution for God and for his truth! especially carry this note home with you, you that have had such often expressions of your will, you will and you will, and turn it un∣to the willing of that which is good, I will follow my lovers, sayes the Apo∣state, from God; I will follow my Beloved, who is altogether lovely, let e∣very gracious soul say.

Fourthly, For she said: She profest what she would do. Profest sinnes are shamefull sins. It is an evill for sin to lye lurking in any ones heart, but for sin to breake out into open profession, this certainly is a great evil: This is to prove that she had done shamefully,* because she said she would doe so and so. There is a great deceite in the hearts of many men, they are ready to say, I were as good say so as thinke so, I say so, and perhaps others think so, it were as good for me to speake it as to keepe it in my heart. My bre thren there are two deceits in this kind of speaking.

First you suppose that when you speak so, that therefore it is not in your heart, and you make this comparison of what is in other mens hearts, and in your mouthes, as if the evil were in your mouthes onely, and in their hearts onely, as if the comparison lay thus, they think and doe not speak, and you speak and doe not thinke. Here is the deceit, for if you speake you have it in your hearts too, you both speak and think, for so the Scripture telleth us, that out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh; if you speak malici∣ously you have a malicious heart, if you speake uncleanly, you have an un∣cleane heart, if oathes be in your mouthes, you have a profane heart.

Secondly, here lyeth the deceit, as if you should have lesse in your heart because you vent it; as your passionate people will say, I were as good vent my minde and then I shall be quiet. Thou deceivest thy selfe; the venting of the corruption that lyeth in thy heart will never lessen it but increase it.

It is not with the corruption of our hearts, as it is with liquor in a vessell, that the more is let out the lesse is within it; but as it is with a fire in a house, that when it is kindled within and burstech out, there is not lesse within be∣cause it bursteth out, no, the more it bursteth out and flames, the more still brneth within: and as it is with water in a fountain, when it bursteth out of the fountain, there is never a whit the lesse water in the fountain, it may rather have the lesse by stopping, and fire may be lessened by smothering. Know therefore that professed wickedness it is aggravated wickednesse. It is true, secret sins may be more dangerous in regard of the cure, but they are more abominable to God in regard of the open dishonour that is done to him by them. The aggravation of the blood that was shed by the people, that God speakes of, Ezek. 24. 7. it is set out thus, The bloud that was shed, saith the text, it was not poured upon the ground to cover it with dust, that it might notPage  220 cause fury to come up to take vengeance, you did not conceale the blood, you did not cover it, but set it upon the top of a rock; what then? Not being co vere, but being professed and lad open, this did cause fury to come up with vengea••• against them, Gods anger would have been against them if they had shed blood though they had covered it; but to shed blood & not to co∣ver it, it causeth the fury of the Lord to come with vengeance. So you know he saith in that place of Isa. Chap. 3. 9. They declared their sin as Sodome, and hid it not: Woe unto her soul, saith he, woe unto them when they shall presume to declare their sin as Sodome. And as I said before, God will be as wilfull in punishing a sinner, as a sinner is wilfull insinning; so here God will be as professed in plauging, as thou shalt be professed in sinning for thy heart. That you shall see in that forenamed place of Ezek. they did not co∣ver the blood, well marke it, saith the Text, I have set her bloud upon the top of the rock that it should not be covered; Woe therefore to the bloody City, I will even make the pile for fire great, &c. I will be as profest in my plagues and punishments as you are profest in your sins.

My brethren,* if we will be profest in any thing, let us be professed in that which is good, let us do that as openly as we can, 2 Cor. 9. 13. the text saith there that God is glorified for their professed subjection to the Gospel, for their subjection of profession, so the words are. It is not enough for to sub∣ject to the Gospel, but there must be a professed subjection to it: therefore Rom. 10. 10. Confession with the mouth is there made as necessary to sal∣vation as beleeving with the heart, they are put together. There may be times that confession may be called for as well as beleeving, and as necessa∣ry to salvation. I remember I have reade of one Gordius a martyr, who when his friends came to him, and would have him keepe his heart to him∣selfe, & only with his mouth to deny what in his heart he beleeved was true, Oh no saith he,* it is fit for my mouth that was made for God should speake for God: And Zwinglius is of the opinion that we may even as well wor∣ship the Altar of Jupiter or Venus as hide our faith and profession when we live uuder Antichrist, such a speech he hath. The way to honour Religion & bring it into credit, it is for those that are godly to professe what they doe.

I knew once one that was noble both in birth and grace, and having to doe oftentimes with those of his ranke, greatones, that would be scorning at Religion under the name of putirrnisme, he would usually take this course, when he was to come into such company he would begin himselfe & owne himselfe to be one of those that they called a Puritan, and so he prevented them, and by that meanes prevented much sin in them, and much scorne of Religion by thus owning of it. It is certain, that the best way for the hono∣ring of Religion it for every one to owne it, though there be ignominous termes put upon it. If ever we were called to profession of what we doe be∣leeve, we are now called to it in these dayes. Certainly God professeth for us, God doth not onely respect us, but he doth professedly, he doth it open∣ly, Page  221 in the eyes before the faces of our adversaries. Let us not onely have God in our hearts, but professe his name openly before the faces of our adver∣saries. It is time now to do it.* It had beenewell if. you had professed here∣tofore when Gods truth called for it. It may be many of you may be found to be guilty in betraying the truth of God for professing no sooner then you did, but however betray it not now for want of profession, be willing now to professe of what party you are, that as wee reade of Jonah Chapter 9. when he was in the storme, and the marriners awaking he saith unto them, I am an Hebrew that feare the God of heaven, which made the sea and the dry land, and so he goeth on in making an open profession of himselfe.

My brethren, if we be not in a present storme, yet the clouds grow black, therefore awake you sluggards, you that are secure awake out of your secu∣rity, and now professe what you are, I am an Hebrew that feare God, whatsoever they talke of such and such men under such ignominious terms and titles, I am one of them, and I am willing to appeare so.

Many times you will be like Nichodemus you will come to JESUS by night, you are affraid to be seene: You would give in money to the Parli∣ment, and help to forward that worke God hath in hand, but onely you are affraid to be seene. I know there may be possibly some occasion to keepe some men in from appearing, but not many, the cases are very rare; Ordi∣narily, certainly it is not enough to do it, but to doe it professedly, let it bee declared who you are, and what side you take,

She said I will goe after my lovers.

If you say we live in wicked and evil times, it is dangerous to appeare, I may not onely keepe my heart right, but I will doe as much as another, but why should I appeare?

The worse the times are,* the more thou shouldest appeare. Mark. 8. 38 Whosoever shal be ashamed of me in this adulterous generation, of him shal the Son of man be ashamed when he commeth in the glory of his Father, with his holy Angels, If the generation were holy, it were nothing to appeare, not to be ashamed or affraid; but wee must not be either ashamed or af∣fraid in the midst of an adulterous generation. 2. Why should wickedness have this advantage, that it dares appeare, but godlinesse dares not?

3. If all should reason as you doe, what would become of the Cause? why should others venture themselves more then you? What is your flesh, your estate, your liberty more then theirs?

4. You must appeare for examples sake, to provoke others. This is a duty as well as any. 5. If the adversaries prevaile, they will finde you out, except you meane to give up your consciences to them, and then you will escape no more then others; to be sure you will not have so much peace as others who have most appeared. Fifthly, I will follow after my lovers,

Who are they? Either first they who they were in association withall, as the Egyptians and the Assyrians, (and so I finde some Interpre∣ters carry it) or thefIdols, and that is especially aymed at, but the Page  222 the other may beare an Observation, and perhaps both may be included.

It is a dangerous thing, very sinfull and vile for the people of God to joyne in aff••ciation with Forraigners that are of a different Religion,* to think to have help from them. The people of God, Jer. 42. were set upon this, to have their association with Egypt, and they could not be brought from it; and if you read that Story, it will appear to be very vile and dange∣rous; they seemed to yeeld unto God, that they would doe what hee would have them, and they would not goe into Egypt if he forbade it; but in Chap. 43. when Ieremiah had told them the mind of God, that they should con∣tinue in the land of Iudah, and not goe down into Egypt, Then spake A∣zariah, and Johaan, and all the proud men, saying unto seremiah, Thou speakest falsly, the Lord hath not sent thee to say, Goe not into Egypt to sojourn there. They are loth to break off their association with Egypt. I remember Gwalter in his Comment upon Hosea, though not upon this Text, telleth a story of the Grecian Churches, that in the yeare 1438. be∣cause they were afraid of the Turks breaking in upon them, they sent to the Bishop of Rome, that they would be under his subjection, meerly that they might have the help of the Latine Churches to keep them from the rage and tyrannie of their adversaries; but within a few yeares they were destroyed, Constantinople and the Empire were subdued, so as Heathenisme and A∣theisme prevailed, and this is the fruit saith hee of seeking the association of others in a sinfull way. But because this is not the chi•• thing that is aimed at we passe it by.

She said she would goe after her Lovers,* that is, her Idols. What those were we shall see by and by.

Idolaters use to keepe good thoughts of their Idols. They call them their Lovers, they look upon their Idols as those that love them; and hence they used to call them Baalim, from Baal, a husband. So it should be the care of the Saints, evermore to keep good thoughts of God, to look upon God as their Lover, as one that tendereth their good. Idolaters doe so to their Idols, shall not the Saints do so to the true God? My brethren, let us not be ready to entertain hard thoughts of God, it is a dangerous thing. Gods great care is to manifest to us, and to all the world that he loveth us, and he hath done much to manifest to us here in England,* and to our brethren of Scotland, that he loveth us and them. In Revel. 3. 9. the Text saith of the Church of Philadelphia, that God loved them. Forty yeares ago Master Brightman interpreted that Text of the Church of Scotland; Philadelphia signifieth as much as brotherly love: You know how they are joyned in Covenant one with another, and wee see that those that said they were Iewes, they were the Church, the Church, but proved themselves to be of the Synagogue of Satan, are forced to bow before them; and if they were not madde with malice, they must needs acknowledge that God hath loved that Church. And since God hath done great things for us, to manifest that he is the lo∣ver of England, let us then keep good thoughts of God.

Page  223 Seventhly, Idolaters highly prize the love of their Idols. They do not on∣ly maintain good thoughts of their Idols, or thinke that their Idols are their lovers,* but they set a price upon them, they said I will follow my lovers, I must make account of their love, they must doe me good for ought I know more then any thing you speak of.

It is true both of bodily whoredom and spirituall whoredom, I will one∣ly make use of one Scripture to daunt the heart of whore-masters and un∣cleane wretches that so much prize the love of their whores and whore-ma∣sters. You prize their love, but what get you by it? you get Gods hatred by it. You rejoyce that you have the love of your whores, and upon that God hateth and abhorreth you. Marke that good you will say. Thus, Pro. 22. 14. The mouth of a strange woman is a deepe pi, he that is abhorred of the Lord shall fall therein. What get you by this? your whores imbrace you, and God abhorres you. If there be any whore-master, any unclean wretch in this Congregation, either thou art an Aheist or this text must strike thee at thy heart. Art thou in that way and yet not repenting, thou art the man that this day God tells thee to thy face, that he abhorres thee.

But how then should wee prize the love of JESUS CHRIST our husband? Cant. 1. 4. The remembrance of thy love is better then wine.

The Church prizeth the love of JESUS CHRIST more then men in the world prize their delight in wine.* And my brethren doe you prize Christs love, and Christ will prize yours, and that is observable, according to the degree and way of your prizing Christs love, so Christ will prize your love. Cant. 4 18. you have there the same expression of Christs love to his Church, answerable to what hers was before, Thy love is better then wine saith the Church to Christ, How much better is thy love then wine? saith Christ to the Church:

Eightly, I will follow my lovers. In bodily and spirituall whoredome there is a following hard after those things they commit whoredome with∣all.* I will follow them and not onely say they are my lovers, but I will expresse it by following of them. The heart of whore-masters and Idola∣ters do follow hard after their uncleannesse in bodily and spirituall filthy∣nesse.

First for bodily filthyness, observe whore-masters how they follow their lovers, Josephus in his Antiquities tells us this strange story of one Decius Mundus, that offered to give so many hundred thousand Drachmies, that came to six thousand pound English money to satisfie his lust one night with a whore, yet could not obtaine his desire neither. Will not you be content now who have been guilty of spending a great part of your estate, in a way of uncleannesse, now to doe as much for Religion, for God, and Christ, and his Kingdome, as ever you have done for your whores? If there should be any in this place that have beene profuse for their uncleannesse, and yet now are strait handed in these publike affaires, such as these are fitter to be taken out of Christian congregations, and to be shut up in slies.

Page  224 For spirituall whoredome, I shall shew you how superstitious and Idola∣trous people as they prize their idols, so they follow hard after their lovers.

You know that story of the children of Israel when the Calfe was to be set up, upon proclamation all the men and women tooke off their ear-rings and their jewels, and brought them to Aaron to make the Calfe. What a shame will it be to us if we should keepe our eare-rings, and our jewels, and things perhaps that have not seene the sunne a great while, that we should keepe them now when God calleth for them! Let women do that for God & his truth, for your own liberties & posterities that they did for their Idols.

Though you have care-rings, and jewels, and rings that you prize much, yet let them be given up to this publicke cause. And it were a shame that gold-rings should be kept meerly to adorn the fingers when the Church and State is in such necessity as it is. Away with your niceties now and your fineness and bravery, and look to necessities, and to the preservation of the lives and liberties both of your selves and your children, If you should see a malignant party come with their spheares and pikes, and your children sprawling upon the toppes of them, and their blood gushing out, what would your gold-rings, what would all your niceties and braver doe you good?

I will give you for this (because it is a point of such concernment) foure notable expressions in Scripture about Idolaters eagerness and earnestness of spirit in following after their Idols.

The first is Isa, 57. 5. The Text saith there, that they were inflamed af∣ter their Idols, they were on fire after them.

The second is, Jer. 50. 38. They were madde upon their Idols.

Thirdly, You have a text more sutable to that I am speaking of; It is Isa 46. 6. it is said there, that they did lavih gold out of the bagga. They did not onely give their gold rings that were of no use, and part with that which they could well spare, but they did lavish gold that was in the bagge: they would not onely bring some of it, but they did lavish it, for so the word is; and they lavished not their silver but their gold, and that not a piece or two out of a paper, but out of the bagge, they brought their bagges of gold, and did lavish gold out of them, and this they did for their Idols, Oh what a shame is it then that any should be penurious, and not come off full in the publicke cause of the Church and Common-wealth?

The fourth Text is Jerem. 8. 2. and there we have five expressions toge∣ther of the pursuance of the heart of Idolaters after their Idols, the like wee have not in all the booke of God in one verse. Speaking of their Idols. First he saith, whom they have loved. Secondly, whom they have served. Third∣ly, after whom they have walked. Fourthly, whom they have sought. And Fifthly, whom they have worshipped: and all this in this one verse, O how are the hearts of people set upon the wayes of Idolatry! I remem∣ber Cambden reports of a King of England, Canutus, that spent as much upon one crosse, a the revenues of the Crowne came unto in a whole yeer, Page  225 he was so profuse in charges about his superstitious vanities.

Master Calvin in a Sermon of his upon that Text seeke ye my face, hath this expression. Foolish Idolaters when they endure much in their pilgri∣mages spend their money, waste their bodies, and abused in their travail, yet they goe on, and thinke all sufficiently recompenced, if they may see and worship some Image of a Saint or holy relicke: Shall the beholding, saith he, some dead carrion or apish Idol have more power to strengthen them then the face of God in his ordinances shall have to strengthen us?

My lovers that gave me my bread and my water, my wool and my flaxe, mine oyle and my drinke.

What were these Idols? The Idol that gave their bread was Caeres, shee was the goddesse that the Heathens did worship for corne. For their water, Luna, the Moone was the Idol they worshipped for their drinke, and all moist things.* For their wool and flaxe Ashtaroth was their god: And for their oyle Fryapus. The seventy translate that which wee say here wooll, clothes; and that which we say flaxe, they linnen; and they likewise for the fuller expression adde a word or two more, and all other necessary things.

So they, though their Idols gave them all, flaxe, and wool, and hempe and all things. Observe from hence.

Idolaters have a great many idols to supply their severall wants.*My lo∣vers, in the plural number. The idols of the Heathen do not supply all good, but one one thing, and another another thing. And that is the difference be∣tweene the true God and Idols. The excellency of the true God is, that he is an universal good, we have all good, flaxe, and oyle, and bread, and wine, and all in one, in our God, in our lover. And that is the reason that God chalengeth the whole heart. Idols are content with a partiall obedience, be∣cause they are but partiall in bestowing of good things, but God justly re∣quires the whole heart of his worshippers, because he is an universall good to them.

My Lovers that gave me my bread, &c.

Marke, The end that Idolaters ay me at in their worship is very low.

They follow their lovers and are very earnest, for what I pray? for their wool, and their flaxe, and their bread, and their water, their oyle and their drinke. These are the things they aime at; they desire no more, they look no higher, may their flesh be satisfied, give them but-liberty to sport on the Lords day, to have their feasts, their wakes, merry meetings and they care for no more. Their spirits are vile, and accordingly is their worship. There∣fore their worship is external, it is bodily, because their aimes are at exter∣nall and bodily things. As a mans end is, so is a man, either base or honou∣rable. There are many men that cry out as if they aimed at God and Reli∣gion in many things they doe, they make a noise about Religion, and God, and Christ, and his Ordinances, and the publicke good, but the truth is, their aimes are at gaine and credit, and at their wool and their flaxe, and herein they shew the baseness of their spirits, like the lapwings that make a loud Page  226 cry, as if they were come neere their nests, when their neasts are somewhere else.* VVhatever their cry be for God and the publicke good, but if you marke them, their neast is in their wool, in their flax, in their profit in their honour and preferment, in these outward things. But the end of the true wor∣shippers of God is a great deale higher, they soare aloft, there is a spirituall heighth of soule whereby they are raised upwards by the grace of God. A godly mans feete are where a wicked mans head is, that which he account∣eth his chiefe good, a godly man can trample under his feete. He lookes at God himselfe, at his service, he worshippeth the high God: he is a child of Abraham, not Abraham but Abraham, what is the signification of that? Pa∣ter excelsus;* a high Father, for he is the father of children of high spirits, not only of Children that are beleevers, but of those that have high & raised spi∣rits, so Abraham signifieth a high father. Cleopatria told Marcus Antoni∣us, that he was not to fish and angle for gudgeons and trouts, but for Castles, & Forts, and Towns; so I may say of a Christian, he doth not fish & angle, especially in matters of Religion, for wool, and flax, and oile, he hath no such low and base ends, but at God, and Christ, and heaven, and glory, and i∣mortality, he lookes there; he serves God not for these things, hee desires these things, that by them he may be fitted more to serve God. One that hath beene acquainted with the free grace of God in Christ will serve God for himselfe without indenting with him, he will be willing to go into Gods Vineyard, and not indent for a penny a day. You that will indent with God in his service and will have your penny, you who have such low and meane spirits, God may give you your penny and theres an end of you.

But further marke,* there is another observation flowes from hence.

There ends are ow, they looke no higher then corne, and flaxe, and wooll, and oyle.* Hence it followes, that that way of Religion that men can get most bread, and wool, and flaxe, and oile by, that is the way that most peo∣ple will follow, because the hearts of most people are low and base, and they aime at no higher things. That way of Religion that most estate is got by, that can please the sence, that is the Religion that pleases most people. It is the speech of one Pamchtius an Heathen, Make me a Bishop, saith he, and though I be now a Heathen yet I will bee a Christian as well as any other:* He saw in what pompe the Bishops lived, and by that he thought it was a fine thing to be a Christian. By outward pompe and glory Antichrist draw∣eth many followers, they go where they can have most wool and flaxe, they can get most preferment that way. I remember a story I have read of AE∣neas Silvius, hee observed the reason why the Pope prevailed against the Councel, though it was a general councell, which hee said was above the Pope, though afterwards when he came to be Pope himselfe his minde was changed, but how came it to passe that the Pope alwayes prevailed? this is the reason, saith he, the Pope hath a great many places of preferment and honour to give, the general councel hath none, the general Councel can en∣quire after the truth, and present the word, and can tell what is Gods mind, Page  227 but it hath no honour, no promotion, no preferment to give, therefore alas the general Councel prevailes little; the Pope getteth all, and all because he hath Bishopricks,* and Cardinals places, and livings, and great honours to bestow. Luther in his Comment upon Hosea, and upon this Text tells a notoble story of one that he knew that lived like a Noole man by his many Ecclesiasticall preferments, who when he was at his table, and bread and wine was brought to the table, that was excellent bread and wine, he (point∣ing to it with his finger) said these are the things tha make me that I can∣not leave this kinde of life, and so after he came to be a Bishop, who had se∣veral Canon-ships before. So certainly these are the arguments that pre∣vaile most in the world, arguments taken from bread, and flaxe, and wool and oyle, are stronger arguments then any taken from the Scripture, then a∣ny thing taken from the honour of the Father, Sonne, and holy Ghost, When men can come with Sauls arguments, 1 Sam. 22. 7. Will the sonne of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, and make you all Captaines of thousands, and Captains of hundreds? what will you follow him? can he prefer-you? O no, he can doe little for you; so I say when men come with this argument, you go along in this way, I pray what will this bring you in? what preferment will you get this way? you may get preserment in the o∣ther way, this drawes, this prevails. It was a speech, not many yeers agoe, in a publicke Commencement at Cambridge, made by the Vice-Chancel∣our, speaking to the young Scholars, wishing them to take heed of being Puritans, what can you get in that way saith he? you shall live poorely, per∣haps you may have some three halfe-penny benfice in following that way; but in the other way come to be children of the Church, and then you may be sure to have good benefices, you may come to be Prebends, to be Deans, to be Bishops: Thus he perswaded the young scholars to take heed of Puri∣tanisme. There is a mighty strength in this Argument upon the hearts of most.*

Hence the poverty of Christ is great scandall and offence to most people, when they see that Religion will not bring them flaxe, and wool, and oyle, but that they must live poorely, they scandalize at this exceedingly.

It is reported in the story of Charles the great, that he having war with an heathen King, Aygolandus King of Africa, because this King would make peace with Charles, hee made some profession as if hee would be a Christian, and Charles was very glad of this, and got him to his Court to parley with him; being in his Court he saw 30. poore people that Charles fed, who were halt, and may med, and blind, and in a very poore garb, Charles the great did it on purpose, because he would have poverty before his eyes continually, that hee might not be too high in, and proud of his prosperity. Now when Aygolandus saw them, who are these saith hee? These saith Charles are the servants of God: nay then replyed he, if your God will keep his servants no better, I will be none of his; I thought to be a Christian, and to serve your God, but seeing those that serve him have Page  228 no better food nor no better rayment then these, I will be none of those ser∣vants. Thus it is with many, thought their consciences are convinced which is the best way, yet because of the want of flaxe, and wool, and oyle, they will not come off.

Further observe,

It is a shamefull thing for men to make Religion to be in subjection to their wool,* and corne, & oyle. They have done shamefully in this. Many wil do this,* but this is very shamefull. Before I shewed that it is shamefull to subject Religion to politique affairs, to the publique State of a Kingdome, but now to subject Religion to our owne base sensualities, to our own par∣ticular ends, for profit and preferment, oh this is very shamefull. Gain got∣ten this way, it is filthy lucre, as the Scripture saith of it, yet hujusmodi lucri dulcis odor, the smell of this gaine is very sweet unto many. What, is thy Religion serviceable to gain, to a trade, to sensuall lusts? what is this but to stop the holes of a mudd wall with diamonds and precious pearls? That were a folly you will say, that because you have a hole to be stopped in a mud wall, to put in diamonds and pearls to stop it, and to make such preci∣ous things serviceable to such base ends, thou dost as much, thou wouldst have that which shall be a content to thy flesh, and thou wilt make Religi∣on subject to that, thou art as base and vile in this. Religion my brethren is the glory of a man, the glory of a nation, and shall we turn this glory into shame? It is a base thing in Magistrates to subject the acts of justice to their base ends, for gain and profit; for a Judge, or a Justice of peace, or a Prelate to shew most favour where there is most flaxe, and wool, and oyle, where Butts, or rundlers of Sack, or the like are to be got, this is basenesse in them: But to subject Religion to such base ends as these, this is the villany of all basenesse. A generous spirit is far from this. It is observed of the ge∣nerous spirit of Luther, that when a Papist was vexed at him for his prea∣ching and writing, faith a Bishop, there is such a stir with this Luther, why do you not stop his mouth with preferment? As it hath been the speech of a Bishop here in this land, that hearing that a Kinsman of his was a zealous Preacher;* well falth he, let me alone, I will silence him; and indeed hee did, How? He gave him two livings, and that silenced him presently. So here, why do you not stop this Luthers mouth with preferment? He presently answered, That Germane beast cares not for money, he is above money. He called him beast in his anger, whereas he might have called him an An∣gel, because his spirit was above these things, his mouth would not be stop∣ped with them. Some mens lust of malice goes beyond their lust of cove∣tousnesse, like those Cockatrices,*Jer. 8. 17. that will not be charmed, it is a shamefull thing then that our zeale for God should not goe beyond our lust for gaine, to subject your Religion to flaxe, and wool, and oyle, it com∣meth from a base diffidence in God, as if he would not provide for us such outward things, therefore Luther hath this expression in his Comment up∣on Hosea. They followed their idols for bread, and wool, and flaxe, and Page  229 oyle, as if God would not give bread to his Church, or as if it were more safe to goe to the Devill for it, as if we could not have wool enough, and flaxe e∣nough, and oyle enough from God. Oh let us trust God for all, for our cloaths, for our meate and drink, for our estates, for our children, God cer∣tainely will feede his Church. And yet those men that have hearts so base themselves, they thinke it impossible for any man but to be taken with such arguments: They may talke of Religion and conscience say they, but I will warrant you they may be taken off with money, and preferment, places of profit and honour. They think it impossible for men to stand against these arguments. It putteth me in mind of that speech that Balaak used to Ba∣laam, Did not I earnestly send unto thee to call thee, wherefore camest thou not unto me? Am I not able to promote thee to honour? As if he should have said, Thou art a strange man indeed, did not I send thee word that I would promote thee to great honour, and give thee silver and gold, or whatsoever thou wouldst have? What will not preferment and money tempt you? I thought this would have tempted any man in the world. Thus many think that whatsoever mens Spirits are, they may be taken off with promotion and money: But let all such know that there are a generation of men in the world of true generous Spirits, that are above all these things, and take as much delight, and have as much sweetnesse in denying these places of honour and preferment, and gaine, as those that offer them have in the enjoying of them. It was a notable speech Plynie had concerning Ca∣to (It is in his Epistle Dedicatory to his naturall History) speaking of what a notable spirit he was, Cato (saith he) tooke as much glory in those digni∣ties and honours that he denyed, as he did in those he did enjoy, Certainly it is so with the Saints, the true generous spirit of Christians take as much content in those places of preferment they deny for Christ, as in any gaine they enjoy. There is no tempting of such men.

Let us pray therefore for those that are intrusted by us, not onely for ci∣vill things, but for matters of Religion, that temptations for bread, & corne, and wool, and flaxe, and wine, and oilemay never tempt them, that the pre∣ferment, and gaine may never byasse their spirits, may never sway them.

These meanes have been assayed (certain it is) totempt some of them with, such wayes have not been left untryed by some, and have prevailed, but tho∣rough Gods mercy he hath preserved others, and he hath made the world to know that Christ hath a people to whom Religion and the publicke good is more deare then all the flaxe, and wooll, and wine, and oyle in the world, then all the estates, and high places, and great preferments that can be offer∣ed them. And now the Lord our God keepe this in their and in our hearts for ever.

Page  230

The Fifth Lecture.

HOSEA 2. 6. 7.

Therefore behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not finde her paths.

And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and shall seeke them, but shall not finde them: them shall she say, I will goe and returne to my first husband; for then was it better with me then now.

THe last day (you may remember) wee spake of that reason that God giveth in the former verse, why he would shew Is∣rael no mercy, because that she hath done shamefully, and said she would go after her lovers that gave her her bread and her water, her wool and her flaxe, her oyle and her drinke.

There are yet one or two observations (that time would not give us leave to speak of the last day) in those words. I will onely give you a hint of them, and passe suddenly to these two verses.

The first is this,* Prosperity and successe in an evil way is a great hardning of the hearts of men in their evil. I will follow after my lovers, for they give me bread,*and water, and wooll, and flax, and the like. I remember Euse∣bius reports that Maximilian the Emperour in an Edict of his against the Christian, crying out of Christian Religion as an excrable vanity, & seek∣ing to confirme the Heathens in the worshipping of their idol gods. Behold saith he, how the earth bringeth forth fruit for the husbandman in abund∣ance, how our medows are adorned with flowes and hrbs, and moistned with the dews of heaven, what health we have, and what quiet and peacea∣ble lives; and thus he goeth on in seeking to conforme the hearts of Idola∣ters in their wicked wayes. Prosperity in a wicked way is exceeding hard∣ning. That story of Dyonisius is famously known, having committed sa∣crledge against their Idol-gods, robbing their Temples, yet his voyage be∣ing prospetous, after he had ended his journey, hee boasted himselfe that though he did not worship the gods as others did, yet he prospered as much as they. In that yeere when those Innovasions in Gods worship were prin∣cipaly brought in amongst us, especially in that Diocese of Norwich, is pro∣ved to be a very fruitfull yeere; and one Commissary among the rest in his Court, after the harvest was taken in, speakes to the Countrey-men in this way, Doe you not see how God prospereth us? What a plentifull harvest have we had this yeere? This is since you began to worship God with more decency then you we•• wont to doe. Thus attributing all the goodnesse of God to that way. Let it be all our prayers, that God will never prosper us in asinfull way.

Page  231 Further, It is very observable how often this word My is iterated: Give me My bread, and My water, and My flax, and My oyle, and My wooll, nothing but My. We noted the last day, what hurt those little words, those particles [I] and [Will] doe: Now we are to consider what evil there is in this particle [MY]

Hence the observation is,* That carnall heatts looke upon what they en∣joy as their owne, and thinke they may use it as their owne; and especially such as are Idolaters. Though they will acknowledge that that they have commeth from the Idols, (as here they did, for they said their Lovers gave it them, yet when they had these things, they thought they might do with them what they would, then they were theirs, Mine, and mine, and all is mine.

Thus it is usual for carnall spirits to acknowledge in the general that that they have commeth from God, but when they have it, then it is their owne they think; they little thinke that God reserveth the propriety of what they have after he hath given it them. You mistake if you think that that is all the acknowledgement you owe to God for what you enjoy, that you had it from God;* but you must acknowledg like wise that God reserveth his pro∣priety after he hath given it you. God doth never give any thing in that way that one friend giveth to another; a friend may give you a gift, yet when you have it, it is your owne, and you may use it as you please, your friend parteth with his own propriety. God never giveth any thing so, as to part with his own propriety; though he hath given it you, yet you cannot say it is Mine, in respect of God, it is still his. There is no such bond upon consci∣ence as to use all the comforts we have for God as this, & see that all comes from him in the way of a covenant of grace. I say this it is that will lay a bond upon conscience, to make use of your estates, and of all you enjoy for God, and not thinke to employ them for your own ends: It is not the slight acknowledgement that Idolaters have, that all comes from God, will doe it; Carnal men looke upon that they have, comming from God through se∣cond causes, and no further; but a Christian lookes upon that which he hath as coming from God in a covenant of grace, and this engageth the heart strongly to use all for God, from whom all is received in such a way.

Verse 6. Therefore behold, I will hedge up thy way with thornes, and make a wall, that she shall not finde her paths, &c.

These two verses are the workings of Gods bowels of mercy towards his Elect amongst Israel, in the midst of the most dreadfull threatnings against her. They are as it were a Parenthesis of grace (in the Chapter) to the E∣lect, though mingled with some severity.

They are indeed the Epitome of the whole Chapter, for I told you in the division of the Chapter at the beginning, that those were the two parts, declaring Israels sinne, with threatning judgement, and yet pro∣mising mercy unto the Elect, unto some amongst them. The first part is from the beginning to the 14. verse, the second from the 14. verse to the Page  235 end; Only this 6. and 7. ver. commeth in the midst, as it were a parenthe∣sis, and containeth the sum of all the other; for hee was in a threatning way altogether in the 4. and 5. verses, and you shall finde him in the 8. vers. and so on, going in a threatning way again: Onely in this 6. and 7, verses is a∣budance of grace, though mixed with some severity, as you shall see in the opening of them.

For the explication of the words.

Therefore. This must have reference to some-what before, and answer∣eth to a Wherefore, Therefore, Wherefore? Because I have dealt with you by the way of my Prophets; in convincing, in admonishing, in threatning, and all this will not doe, therefore I will deale with you in another way.

Therefore behold.] That way of mine that I now speak of, it is a singu∣lar way, you shall find much of the grace of God in this way, a wonderfull way that I will deale with you in now, Behold.

I will hedge up thy way.] There is a two-fold hedge that God makes a∣bout his people; There is the hedge of protection to keep evill from them, and there is the hedge of affliction to keep them from evill.

First, the hedge of protection, that you have in Isa. 5. 5. where God threatneth that he will take away the hedge from his vineyard, he will take away his protection; and so it is said of Job, that God had hedged him a∣bout; but that is not the hedg heer meant, it is the hedg of affliction. I will hedge up thy way, that is, I will bring fore and heavy afflictions upon you, but yet in a way of mercy, these afflictions shall be but as a hedge to keepe you from evill, they shall not do evill to you, or bring evill upon you.

I will hedge p thy way with thornes.] That is, I see you will be going on in these wayes of Idolatry and false worship, I will make them difficult to you, you shall goe through thornes; if you will goe to your Idols, you shall not get to your Idols, but you shall be pricked. It is a Metaphor ta∣ken from a husband-man, who when the cattle will break over pastures, makes thick hedges that they shall not get over, they shall be pricked, it shal be with much trouble if they do goe over. So I will deal with you saith God. Or when a husband-man seeth passengers make a path in his ground too broad, and so spoile the grasse or the corn, hee layeth thornes in the way that they cannot goe into his corne; or if they doe, they shall goe with some trouble: so saith God, I will hedge up your way with thorns.

And make a wall.] Maceriabo Maceriam, I will wall a wall, so the words are. It may be they will get through the thorns, but though they do get through I have another way to deale with them, I will come with stron∣ger afflictions and they shall be of more power to keepe them from their same, they shal be as a wall, and though they get through the thorns, they shal not get over the wall.

That she shall not find her paths.] Mark the change of the person, that is observable, I will ••dge up thy way, first, and then I will make a wall, and she shall not find her paths; the person is changed, and so wee have it often Page  233 in Scripture, that is to signifie some kind of perturbation of spirit, that man∣ner of speech is usuall amongst men when their spirits are troubled, they speak sometimes in one person, sometimes in another: And indeed the Lord here speaks after the manner of men, as if his Spirit were troubled at the per∣versenesse of his people. Besides the change of the person here is to expresse some indignation of God against their perversenesse, therefore he speakes as if he would turn from them, and rather speake to some body else, as if hee should say, I speake to these, yet they are stubborn and stout, well I will speake to all that are about them, to all the beholders, take notice of their stubbornesse, and perversnesse, and judge between them and me.

And she shall follow after her lovers, but shee shall not over take them; and she shall seeke them,*but she shall not finde them. In the 5. ver. it was but I will goe after my lovers, Vadam, but here it is, shee will follow, from that root which signifieth persequor, to follow with eagernesse, it is not on∣ly sectari, but insectari, the word is the very same that is used for persecu∣tors, who eagerly pursue those that they doe persecute. Psal. 7. 5. David speaking of his enemies following of him, the same word is used that is here, save me, saith he, Lest the enemy persecute my soule, It is the same, and so the Seventy turn it.

Yea, and beside the form of the word, it being (in Piel) that signifieth to do a thing auxiously, and diligently, carefully, whereas (in Cal.) it signi∣fieth onely a bare doing of a thing: but when it commeth into forme, as those that are skilfull in the Hebrew tongue know that fignifieth to doe a thing with care, that solicitiousnesse, and diligence, so therefore it is turned by Polanus, anxie prosecutus est, She hath prosecuted or followed with a great deale of care. So that this is more then the other, for it seems that after she had some affliction she grew worse for a while, and was more eager up∣on her Idols then she was before.

But she shall not over take them. Though she be never so much set upon that way of evill, yet I will take a course to keep her from it, she shall not o∣vertake them. Yea

She shall seeke them,*but shall not finde them. The word signifieth to seeke with a great deale of endeavour, not onely to seeke in ones thought and minde, but to goe on to walke up and downe that wee may finde it, is by the Seventy turned by divers words that signifie a seeking more then ordinary.*

But shall not find them. Let them be never so set upon their ways of Ido∣latry, yet I will keep them from them.

Then shall she say, I will goe, &c. This shall be the effect of it.* One would think all this were nothing but threatning, oh no, it is mercy, for it is for this end, that she might at length say, I will goe and returne to my first husband, &c.

You may take them in the meaning of these versus, and the scope of them in this short paraphrase: As if God should say, Oh you Israelites, all you Page  234 have grievously sinned against me in forsaking me, and following of your lovers, sore and heavy evills are ready to befall you, even you my elect ones, upon whom my heart is for good, you have involved your selves in the com∣mon guilt of this wickednesse, therefore even you must expect to be invol∣ved in the common calamity that shall come upon the nation, and when you are under those calamities, know that I know how to make a differ∣ence between sinner and sinner, though guilty of the same sin, though under the same affliction, that what shall be for the destruction of some, shall be in mercy to others, it shall be but to hedg up your ways, to keep you from further sinning, to make your wayes of sinne difficult, that so your soules might be saved: and although your hearts will be a long time perverse, and will not come in and submit to me, yet I will so order things in the way of my providence, that at length I will so worke upon your hearts, that you shall come in and return unto me, you shal bethink your selves and remem∣ber what sweetnesse once you had in my wayes, and you shall take shame to your selves, and acknowledge that it was then farre better with you then it is now, and so I will remain to be your God, and you shall give up your selves to worship and serve me for ever. This is the meaning and scope of the words.

Now then having the words thus opened and paraphrased, take the seve∣rall observations, for they are exceeding full, and very sweet and sutable.

First,* from the generall the observation is,

Though such as are in covenant with God may for their sins be involved in the same judgement with others, yet God will make difference between them and others that are not in covenant with him: God will have other ends in his afflictions towards his people then hee hath towards others, though the difference be not in the things that they suffer,* yet the difference is very broad and wide in the ends for which they suffer. When the bryars and thornes are set before God, it is that they may be destroyed, the fire of Gods anger passeth through them to destroy them; but when God cometh to his people, though some anger be stirred up for a while, yet all the fruit thereof it is to take away their sinne.* See what difference God makes be∣tween some and some even under the same affliction, in that 24. of Jer. ver. 5. I do not know a more remarkable place in the Scripture for this pur∣pose, saith God there, speaking of the basket of good figges, I will acknow∣ledge them that are carried captive of Iudah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Caldeans for their good.* Though they be carri∣ed into the Land of the Caldeans, I will acknowledg them there to be my people, and it shall be for their good. Well now there was likewise a bas∣ket that had very naughty figs, and they were carried away captive too, both went into captivity, what doth he say of them? I will deliver them (saith he, vers. 9.) to be removed into all the kingdomes of the earth for their hurt. I will 〈◊〉 at their hurt when I deliver them into captivity.

This should be a mighty support unto the Saints under all their afflictions,Page  235 though the affliction be the same to sence and view with that of the wicked, yet you see the difference is broad. It is true, may the troubled heart say, there may be different ends of Gods afflicting some & others; hee may af∣flict some for tryall, and others for their sins; but what will you say if an af∣fliction come upon us for our sins? Is there a difference here? Yes my bre∣thren, though your afflictions come upon you from your sins, if you be in co∣venant with God, the difference still may hold, for so it is here, those afflic∣tions that here are spoken of, God calleth the hedge and the wall, they were fore afflictions, and they were for their sins, for their perversness, and yet God intendeth good and mercy to them in those afflictions: Here is the vertue of the Covenant of grace, it takes out the sting, and venome, and curse even of afflictions, that are not onely for tryal but for sin, they are to keepe you from greater misery; if God bring some misery upon you (it so appea∣reth unto you) yet being in covenant with him, this is the blessing of God u∣pon you, that those troubles are to keep you from greater misery that would befall you. That for the general.

Now for the particulars, as the words lye, Therefore behold. This infer∣ence therefore I told you it was as if God should say, thou wilt still goe on, notwithstanding all admonitions and meanes that I shall use by my Pro∣phets, therefore behold I will doe thus and thus, From hence we may ob∣serve, first,* There is even in the Saints such a slavish disposition remaining that they will stand out against God along time even against admonitions exhortations, convictions, and threatnings of his word. Not only the repro∣bate will doe so, but such is the perversnesse of the hearts of men, that even the elect of God will many times do so, this is a sore and grievous evill that it should be said so of them, for if there be ingenuity in the spirit of men, the very notice of the minde of God is enough to cause the heart to yeeld, and surely grace doth make the heart of a man ingenuous, and God expects that there should be melting of spirit at the very notice given of his displeasure,* yet behold even in the hearts of the godly many times there remaineth so much slavishnesse, that they will not come in but upon Gods dealing very hardly with them, they must have many afflictions, they must be whipped home before they will returne home, God must send the dog many times to worry his sheepe before they will come in. This God complains of Jer. 2. 14. Is Israel a servant? is he a homs-borne-slave? why is he spoiled? ver. 17. Hast thou not procured this unto thy selfe? So it may be said of many, even of the Saints when we see how the wayes and dealings of God are toward them, yea even God himselfe speakes thus, What, is such a one a servant? is he a slave? is not such a one my child? how is it then that hee must be dealt with like a slave, like a servant?

Secondly, Therefore, because one meanes will not do it, namely my Pro∣phets admonishing, and threatning, therfore I will do thus & thus, therefore I will consider of some other way to deale with you. The observation is.*

VVhen one means will not keepe from sinne either those that wee have Page  236 to deale with, or our selves, we must not rest there, but set even our braines on work to look after other meanes. What will not this do it? Is there any things else that possibly may doe it? That means then shall be used. Thus God (as we may speak with reverence) even studyes his administrations to∣wards his people when he is frustrated in one, and if that do not do it, he be∣thinks with himselfe, is there any thing else will do it? if there be any thing in the world can do it,* it shal not be left unattempted. God doth not present∣ly cast off his people, because they stand out against him in the use of one meanes. It is true, for others that are not in covenant with him, God is quick with them, and if they come not in presently, he cuts them off, and will have o more to do with them, but for his own people though they stand out long, yet God tryeth one meanes after another, and after that another.

This is the grace of God towards his own.

It should be our care to imitate God in this, when you are to deale with others that are under you, with your children or servants, do not satisfie your selves in this, I have admonished them, and threatned them, and perswaded them, What then? yet they will not come in: What will you have no more to do with them then? Will you cast them off presently? You should study what further course may be taken, study their dispositions, What do I think will work upon them if this do not? will faire meanes? will foule meanes? vvill any thing do it? if any thing will, you should labour to deale with them that way. So for your own hearts, when you are convinced of the evill of your own hearts, it is true your consciences will not be quiet unlesse you use some meanes against that sinne that is in your heart, well, but I have used meanes, I have layed the word to my heart, the threatnings, the promises to my heart, and I have followed Gods ordinances: will it not doe? will not my heart come off? Is there no other meanes to be used? what doe you say to the afflicting of your soule? Try that; you have layed the word to your heart, and you finde it doth not work, try the afflicting of your soules in humilliations, fasting, and prayer, for the overcoming of your sinnes.

Thus God doth, when admonitions and exhortations of the Prophets vvill not doe, yet saith God, I will try another way, I will bethinke me of some other course, I will hedge up their way with thorns, & I will see whe∣ther I can bring them in that way. These two from the inference Therefore.

From the note of attention,*Behold, we have an excellent usefull observa∣tion that naturally springeth up.* For God to make the way of sin to be diffi∣cult to sinners, is a most singular mercy. Howsoever alwaies it doth not prove so, but take it at the worst, yet it is better for the way of sin to be hed∣ged with thorns, & to be made difficult to us, then to have the smoothest way that possibly can bee. As it is one of the greatest judgements of God upon wicked men to lay stumbling blocks before them in the way of righteousnesse; so it is one of the greatest mercies of God to his chil∣dren to lay stumbling blocks ••d difficulties before them in the way of sin.

It is an 〈◊〉 way of Gods dealing even with reprobates, with those he Page  237 hoth no love unto, that in the wayes of godlinesse, in the way to life, he in his just judgement layeth stumbling blocks before them, and they ap∣peare very difficult to them, the hedge of thornes compasses about the way of righteousnesse to the wicked, therefore you shall finde it in Pro. 15. 19. that the way of the slothfull man is said to be as an hedge of thornes; that is, a slothfull man (who is a wicked man there) hee lookes upon any duty that he should perform as compast about with an hedge of thornes, God in his just judgement suffereth difficulties at least to appeare to him in the way of his duties, that makes him to have no mind to them. Now this is a grie∣vous judgement of God to cause the way of his feare to appeare so difficult, and so scare them from it, What should I medling with such & such wayes? I see I must suffer thus and thus, there are these and these stumbling blocks that I must go over, these and these troubles that I must meete withall, I were better sit still and be quiet, I shall never be able to goe through. Such stumbling blocks God layes in the way of godlinesse before the wicked, and they stumble at them & fall, and break their necks. On the other side, God in abundance of mercy casteth stumbling blocks in the way of sin before his people that they cannot get over, if they stumble, it is but to break their shins and to save their soules. But when the wicked stumble, they breake their necks, and damn their soules. But now the wayes of God are plaine to the righteous, Prov. 8. 9. They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to him that findeth knowledge. Gods wayes are very plain to the god∣ly, and sins wayes are very difficult;* but on the other side, to the wicked Gods wayes are very difficult, and the wayes of sin are very plain. Oh un∣happy men, sayes Luther, when God leaveth them to themselves, and doth not resist them in their lusts! woe, woe to them at whose sinnes God doth wink, when God lets the way to hell be a smooth and pleasant way. That is a heavy judgement, and a signe of Gods indignation against men, a token of his rejection of them, that he doth not intend good unto them. You blesse your selves many times that in the way of sinne you finde no difficulty; if a whore-master, or a malicious man, who would accomplish his owne ends, find all things goe on as he desires, so that he hath not any rub in his way, no not so much as a prick, he blesseth himselfe. Blesse thy self? If thou knew∣est all, thou hast cause to howle, and wring thy hands, for the curse of God is upon thee, a dreadfull curse to make the way of sinne pleasant. On the other side, perhaps many of Gods Saints when they find the wayes of sinne somewhat difficult to them, they are troubled at it, that they cannot have their will. Troubled? thou hast cause to blesse God who hath thus crossed thee, for it is an argument of much love to thee. There is a Behold put to this, that God should be so mercifull to them, to make their wayes of ido∣latry and supersition difficult to them.

From hence these three observations:*I will hedg up her way with thorns.

First, there is much bruitishness in the hearts of Gods people. Not onely slayishnesse that was before, but bruitishness too: That is thus, they must Page  238 not only be dealt withall as slaves (hardly) and so be brought home, but as brute beasts, they must have some present evill upon them, or otherwise they will not return out of their evill way, except their sin be for the present grievous and troublesome to them. It is not enough (you know) to threa∣ten brute beasts, but they must have some present evill upon them, if wee would keep them from such a place we would not have them goe unto.* A man that hath some understanding, though he hath a slavish spirit, yet he may be kept for feare of future evils; but when a man comes to this, that nothing but present evils will keep him off, hee is worse then a slave in this, he cannot be kept from sinne by the exercise of his reason, God must also deale with him as a brute beast, God must come and let some present evill be upon him to prick him, or else he will goe on in an evill way. This is brutishness, even in the hearts of the Saints.

Secondly,* hence we may see the pronenesse of mens natures to Idolatry the way must be hedged up to keep men from it. It is not enough to fore∣warn men of it, but all means that can be used is little enough to keep off men. How wicked then is the way of many amonst us, who seeke to make the way of Idolatry too smooth, and plain, and open as they can! yea in stead of stopping such as have inclinations to it, they lay before them the inciting and intifing occasions which adde to their owne propension such delectati∣on as putteth them on forward with a swift facility.

Thirdly,* Afflictions to the people of God, are Gods hedges to keep them from sinne. The command of God is one hedge, and affliction is another. Therefore sinne is called by the name of Transgression, Transgression, what is that? That is, going beyond their bounds, going over the hedge; a man that sinneth goes over the hedge. And wee finde, Eccles. 10. 8. Hee that breaks the hedge a serpent shall bite him.;* It is true, in regard of the hedge of Gods command, he that will venture to break that hedge, must expect a serpent to bite him, must expect the biting of Conscience, the anguish and horrour of that: But when that hedge is broke, God cometh with another hedge to keep his people from sinne, so you have it exprest in Job 33. 17, 18. speaking of afflictions, By them, saith hee, hee withdraweth man from his purpose, and he keepeth back his soule from the pit. As suppose a beast be running to such a pasture, perhaps he doth not see the hedge, and it may be if he should run a little further, he would be plunged in a pit, and there destroy∣ed, but now the husbandman setteth a hedge there, and when the beast commeth just to the hedge, to the thornes, then it is withdrawn from what it was about, and so the life of it preserved; so it may be with a man that is running to such a place, when hee meeteth with something that hinders him, he is drawn from his purpose, and his soul is kept back from death.

You use to deale thus with your children, if you live in the Countrey neer ditches and pits of water, you will hedge about the pits, for feare your children should fall into them and so the hedge keepeth the Children a∣ive.

Page  239 As afflictions keep the Saints from sinne, as a hedge to them, so the diffi∣culties in Gods wayes keepes the wicked from God. VVhen difficulties therefore do fall out, it should teach us to consider what way we are in, why? for God useth to compasse about sinfull wayes, with difficulties, on purpose to keep his people from them. Well, I am in a way going on in it, I am sure I am compast about with difficulties, it may be these difficulties are but Gods hedges to keepe me from sinne; how shall I know that? for sometimes dif∣ficulties are but tryals of our graces, and they may be such as call for the stir∣ring up of our graces to breake through the hedge, so Pro. 8. 19. difficulties are said to be a hedge of thornes; they lye in the wayes of Gods people that are blessed wayes, then the worke of the Saints should be to stirre up their graces, and to breake thorough the hedge, though they be pricked, and their flesh torne, that is, their excellency, that they can breake thorough those difficulties, faith will carry through all difficulties in Gods wayes.

Therefore here is the triall, when I meet with difficulties, I must not for∣beare because there are difficulties, but I must examine, Is it the way of God or not? If it be the way of God, then lay aside the thought of diffi∣culties, if I have a rule for it let the difficulties be never so many, and the hedge never so thicke, yet I must breake through, and God is so much the more honoured by it: but on the otherside, if upon examination I finde the way I am in is not warrantable by God, then I must know that Gods end in laying difficulties in the way, is to stop my going on in it, and it is desperatenesse in me to seeke to breake thorow, in seeking to break thorow I may break my neck, therefore I must look to it that I have warrant from God for those waies I am in.

Oh that men would think of this when they meet with difficulties in their wayes! I might shew how the Saints have many times met with difficulties in their wayes, and yet have gone on with strength; That of Jacob is one of the most famous examples we have in the Book of God, the difficulties he met withall, and that in the way that God himselfe bad him go in. God bade him returne to his Father Isaac, and yet he met with sixe or seven pro∣digious difficulties, that one would have thought should have made him doubted whether he was in Gods way or not, and have caused him to re∣turne back againe. First, Laban pursueth him, and intends mischiefe gainst him; and Esau he in that journey comes to meet him with a purpose to destroy him,* his wives nurse dyed, and Rachell her selfe dyed in that jour∣ney, he had his daughter Diana defloured, his two sonnes committed that horrible wickednesse, in murthering the Sechemites: All these fell out in Jacobs journey; he might have said, Am I in the way that God would have me? Yes, Jacob was in his way, hee had an expresse warrant from God to goe that journey. Difficulties therefore must not discourage us, but we must breake through them; especially in these times. It were a low and poor spi∣rit, to be kept from a good way because of ••ew thorns, because of some dif∣ficulties that we meet withall in the way.

Page  240 If we know it be Gods way, goe through it in the name of God, let the difficulties be what they will. But if they be not warrantable by God, let the difficulties we meet withall stop us, for God intendeth them to be a hedge to keepe us from sin.

Againe, it should make us be content when any affliction befalls us; why, because it is more then we know that God intends abundance of good to us; It may be, if this affliction had not befallen thee, thou hadst undone thy self: If this affliction that thou doest sor riggle to get out of, and thinkest thy selfe so miserable under it, if it had not befalne thee, thou mightest have faln into the pit and beene lost, therefore be not troubled so much at the affliction, but examine whether it be not a hedge that God hath set, to keepe thee from a further misery. But it seemes that this will not serve, there must be a wall, as well as this hedge. Hence the observation is this,

The perversnesse of mans heart is such,* that he will breake through many difficulties to get unto sin.

We reade of Idolaters, who would cause their children to passe through the fire to their Idols, that was more then a hedge of thorns. We see it of∣ten that mens hearts are so strongly bent upon their sins, that though it were to passe through a great deale of trouble, though they prick and tare them∣selves, yet they will have their sin.* As that notable story that Ambrose tells us of, of one Philotimus who brought his body to grievous diseases, by un∣cleannesse and drunkennesse, and the Physitians told him, that if he did not abstain he would certainly lose his eyes, there was no help for him; as soone as ever he heareth this, he answereth thus, Valeat lumen amicum. Farewell O pleasant light, rather then I will deny my self in this, I will never see light more; he would venture the losse of his eyes, rather then lose the satisfacti∣on of his lusts. Thus it is with many, O what do they venture for their lusts! What an argument should that be to us to venture much for God, to indure hard things for the blessed God: though there be some hardship between us and our duty, breake through all to get to that duty; wicked men will break through great difficulties to get to their sins. There need be a wall as well as a hedge. VVell, if there be need of a wall, I will have a wall, saith God, I will wall up her way, though she may make a shift to breake downe the hedge, she shall not breake down the wall, it is too strong, and too high.

Hence the Observation is,

God when he pleaseth will keepe men from their sinnes in spight of their hearts,* they shall not have their way, they shall not have their desire do what they can. VVhen God sees Men set upon their wicked desires, if they be those that belong not to him, perhaps God may damne them for their wic∣ked desires, and yet they shall not have them neither; they shall goe to hell for them and never come to accomplish them. Saul, how desperately set was he to mischiefDavid? but God made a wall that he could not get to have his desire doe 〈…〉, Many, especially great Men, how strong∣ly are they set upon their desires! they must have it, and they will have it, Page  241 and they must and must, nothing commeth from them but must and will; well, they may be deceived, God knoweth how to crosse the most stub∣born and stout hearts that live upon the earth, that they shall not have what they would have in this world. I will make a wall. God doth thus make a wall about mens sinnes,* by sending sore and heavy afflictions, as about the drunkards way, when God brings some grievous disease upon his body, perhaps he is so stopped that he cannot drink, that is a wall about his sinne, that he cannot goe to it according to his desire: so the unclean person, God brings such a disease upon him, that hee cannot have the pleasure of his lust, though hee would never so faine: so when God brings poverty upon others, that they caunot follow their ambition and pride, doc what they can, these are as walls to them; but God doth not alwayes doe this in a way of mercy.*

I will make a wall. First, a hedge, and then a wall. Hence observe when lesser afflictions will not serve to keep men from their sins. God usu∣ally cometh with greater and sorer; I see some of them will break through the hedge, I will make a wall therefore, that is, I will come with stronger and greater afflictions, and so keep them off. Levit. 26. 18. If you will not for all this, saith God, turne unto mee, I will punish you seven times more, and I will breake the pride of your power; you thinke there is a power in your hand, and there is pride in your power, for power raiseth the heart up to pride; I will break it, I will never leave till I have broke your hearts in spight of you; and you shall find ein that Chapter four or five times mention of se∣ven times more. This is after the hedge, then there cometh a wall.

And they shall not find their paths.


God is able to strike men with blindness that they shall not see their way.* Though there be an evill way of mischief before them, yet God knows how to strike them with blindness, though there be nothing to hinder them in it, God can strike men with blindness one way or other, that they shall not bee able to see their way before them. We have this, this day exceedingly ful∣filled in our eyes, how doth God blind and befot our adversaries, that they cannot see their way? the truth of that Scripture, Job 5. 13. is this day be∣fore our eyes. He taketh the wise in their owne craft inesse, and the counsel of the froward is carried head long. How hath God taken wise men in their own craftinesse? & the counsell of froward men, their spirits are froward, be∣cause they are crost, they are vexed, & their counsell is carried headlong; God takes away their understanding, and doth baffle them in their own counsels. A notable Text we have in Psal. 75. 6. The stout-hearted are spoiled,*they have slept their sleep, and none of the men of might have found their hands. They are cast into a slumber, and know not what in the world to doe, they know not how to make use of that power they have in their hands; It fol∣loweth further in that Psalme, At thy rebuke O God of Iacob, both the charet, and horse are cast into a dead sleep.

Page  242 A strange expression, that a Charet should be cast into a deepe sleepe; the meaning is, they can no more tell how to make use of them, then if they all lay for dead, or asleepe. Let us not be afraid of the power of adversaries; suppose they had power in their hand, God can strike them with blindnesse, & they shall grope to find the door, they shall be baffled in their own waies, they shall not tell how to make use of their own power. Isa. 29. 14. Be∣hold (saith God) I will proceed to doe a marvailous worke, even a marvai∣lous work and a wonder: What is it? The wisedome of their wise men shall perish, & the understanding of their prudent men shal be hid: This is a won∣derfull thing that God will doe; yea, and he will mingle a perverse spirit in the midst of them, so you have it, Isa, 19. 11. Surely the Princes of Zoan are fooles, the counsell of the wise counsellours of Phaaoh is become brui∣ti; and verse 12. Where are they? where are thy wise men? And againe verse 13. The Princes of Zoan are become fooles, the Princes of Noph are deceived; and verse 14. The Lord hath mingled a perverse spirit it in the midst therof, they have caused Egypt to erre in his worke, as a drunken man that staggereth in his vomit. Here is the judgement of God upon Men, when he list he can blind them in their way that they shall erre in their worke, and they shall stagger in their own counsels and designes as a drunk∣en man in his vorit, they shall not finde their paths, they shall not know in the world what to doe.

VVell, Thus God dealeth with wicked men: But now let us consider this in reference to the Saints, to Gods own people, they shall not finde their paths; then the Observation is,

It is a good blindnesse for men not to see the way of sinne: It is promised here in a way of mercy, that they shall not finde their paths; this darkeness, it is not the shadow of death, but the way of life. It is rich mercy. I have read of one Maris, a Bishop of Calcedon, a blinde man, to whom Julius the Apostate giving some opproptious words, and calling him blinde foole, because he had rebuked Julian for his Apostacy; the good man answered thus, I blesse God that I have not my sight to see such an ungracious face as thine: So many may blesse God for their bodily blindnesse, because, it may be it hath prevented abundance of sinne that might have beene let in at the casements of their eyes; But especially for blindnesse, not to see the way of sinne, if we may call that blindnesse; It is a mercy that God doth not grant to all, it is a singular mercy to the Saints: For you shall finde there are a∣bundance of people exceedingly quick-sighted in the way of sinne that can finde the path there, and yet are exceedingly blinded in the way of God, and cannot find the path there: On the other side, that Saints are blinded in the way of sinne, but are quick-sighted in the wayes of God. How many men are wise to do evill, as the Scripture saith, they are able to see into the depths of Satan, they are profound to damn themselves, they can finde out such ob∣jections against the 〈…〉, & answer such things that are said against 〈…〉 devises & contrivances how to get Page  243 to their sinfull wayes, but when they come to the wayes of God, as blind as Moles, they cannot see such necessity of such strictnesse, they cannot under∣stand, men of great parts, great Rabbies, of great understanding otherwise, they have no skill in the wayes of God. I thank thee, O Father Lord of hea∣ven and earth (saith Christ) that thou hast hid these things from the wise and learned, and hast revealed them unto babes: Whereas on the other side, you shall find that the Saints are able when they come to Gods waies, to see farre into the excellency and glory of them, they have understanding there, though they be but weake otherwise, they can see into the great my∣steries of God,* into the beauty of his wayes, so that it dazeleth all the glory of the world in their eies, they are not easily catched with temptations, but can see into the subtilties of the devill that would draw them out of Gods waies; but when they come to the wayes of sin, there they want understan∣ding, and it is Gods mercy to them to doe so; there they are but bunglers, they do but grope as blinde men, they are not their crafts masters, they are not cunning artists in those waies, but as the Apostle saith, 2 Cor. 1. 1. Wee have not received the spirit af the world, wee cannot shift for our selves as the men of the world can, we cannot be so cunning to contrive such plots, & tricks, and devices for our owne ends as the men of the world can, but wee have received the Spirit of God, we can understand things there (through Gods mercy) to eternal life. There are many men cunning for their own destruction, they can find every secret path of sin, though sin be a labyrinth, they can goe up and down in it, finde out ever by-path in that way. When the waies of God are propounded to wicked men, there is a mist before their eyes, they cannot see, & when the wayes of sin are propunded to the Saints, God in mercy cafteth a mist before their eies that they cannot see. Eccles. 10. 15. The foole knoweth not how to goe to the City; wicked men they know not the path to the Church of God, to the Ordinances of God, they talke much about such and such Ordinances, and setting up of Christ in the way of his Ordinances, but they doe not see the way of it, they know not what the true worship of God meaneth; No, a foole doth not understand the way to the City of God, he cannot finde out that path.

But the Saints, though they know not the wayes of sinne, yet they can finde out the paths of God, they know the way to the City, Possidonius tells us a Austin, that when there was wait laid for his life, thorough Gods providence he mist his way, and so his life was preserved, and his enemies disappointed. So many times when you are going on in such a way of sin, perhaps you little thinke what danger there is in it; God in mercy therefore casteth a mist before your eies, and you misse that way and save your lives.

Ver. 7. She shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them, &c.*The Observation is,

Untill God subdues the hearto himselfe, men will grow worse and worse in their sinnes; yea, even Gods Elect ones to whom hee intendeth mer∣cy at last, yet till God commeth with his grace to subdue their hearts, Page  244 they may grow worse and worse: they would before goe after their lovers, and now here commeth afflictions upon them, yet still they will follow their lovers, and that with more eagernesse of affection, and with more violence then before. Afflictions in themselves are part of the curse of God, and there is no healing vertue in them, but an inraging quality to stir up sinne, till God sanctifie them by his grace, & God may suspend for a time the sancti∣fying worke of his grace to those he intended good to at last. Isa, 51. 20. The Text speakes of some whose afflictions were not sanctified, That they lye as a wild bull in a net in the streets, and they were full of the fury of the Lord; They were full of the fury of the Lord, and yet lay like a wild Bull in a net, in a raging manner. This distemper of heart proceeds from two grounds.

1. When outward comforts are taken away by affliction, the sinner ha∣ving no comfort in God, he knows not where to have comfort but in his sin, if conscience be not strong enough to keep from it, he runs madly upon it.

2. Because he thinks that others looke upon him as one opposed by God for his sin, therefore that he may declare to all the world that he is not daun∣ted at all, nor that he hath no misgiving thoughts, (though perhaps hee hath nipping gripes within) yet he will put a good face upon it, and follow his wayes more eagerly then formerly.

A second observations; She shall follow, but she shall not overtake,

A man may follow after the devises of his owne heart,* and may be disappointed; he may not overtake them. There is a great deale of diffe∣rence betwixt following Gods wayes, and our owne wayes; there was ne∣ver any in the world that was disappointed (if he knew all) in following Gods wayes, but he got, either the very thing he would have, or something that was as good, if not better for him: but in the wayes of sinne, in our owne wayes we may meet with disappointment; why should we not then rather follow God then follow our own desires? The desires after sin, as they are Desideria futilia, so they are Desideria inutilia, as one speakes; as they are foolish, so they are fruitlesse desires, they doe not attaine what they would have. How hath God disappointed men in our dayes they have not over∣taken what they greedily sought after; Our adversaries blessed themselvs in their designes, they thought to have their day, they propounded such an end, and thought to have it, but how hath God disappointed them! But whether God hath done this in mercy to them, (as it is spoken of here) that we know not, we hope God hath crost some of them in a way of mercy, though per∣haps he may deale in another way with other of them.

But further,

Disappointment in the way of sinne is a great mercy.*

As satisfaction in sin is a judgement of God, and a fearfull judgement, so disappointment in sin is a mercy and a great mercy, Prov. 14. 14. there you shall find, That the back-slyder in heart shall be filled with his own wayes: A dreadfull threatning to back-slyders and apostates; when God hath no Page  245 intention of love and mercy for backsliders, God will give them their owne devices, they shall have their fill in their owne wayes; you would have such a lust, you shall have it, you shall be satisfied to the full, and blesse your selves in your owne wayes. This is the judgment of God upon backsliders: but for the Saints, when they would have such a way of sin, God will disap∣point them, they shall not have it. We account it ordinarily very grievous to be disappointed of any thing, and many times I have had this meditation upon it; What, doth it trouble the hearts of men to be disappointed almost in any thing? Oh what a dreadfull vexation and horror will it be for a man to see himself disappointed of his half hopes! Remember when you are trou∣bled at any disappointment, what will be the terrour then and anguish of spirit if it should prove that any of you should be disappointed of your hopes for eternity! But those whom God doth often disappoint in the way of sin, they may have hope that God will deliver them from that great disappoint∣ment.

And againe yet further, Shee would have her Idols, but God will take them away, shee shall not have them saith God, though shee follow after them, and have a great mind to them, yet they shal not overtake them. God will remove them from their Idols, or their Idols from them, (that is the meaning) they should not come to their Dan or Bethel, they should either be removed far enough from their calves, or the calves from them.

Thus it should be with Governours,* they should take such a course as to take away Idols and superstitious vanities from those that will be worship∣ping of them, and sinning against God by them; Either take them away from those vanities, or their vanities from them, they should not so much as suffer those things to stand to be inticements and snares for the hearts of people, though they be very brave, and abundance of gold and excellent artificiall work be about such things, yet Deut. 7. 25. Thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein, but thou shalt utterly destroy it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it, for it is a cursed thing. You shall not look upon the bravery of the worke of their Idols, and upon the great cost that is bestowed upon them, and there∣fore spare them because of that, oh no, but take them away, that men may not be insnared by them; So God will do.

Further in the fifth place,*They shall follow after their lovers, but shall not overtake them. Idolaters hearts are after their Idols when they cannot get them.* Though they cannot get them, yet they will be following of them. It is of an excellent use for us, so it should be with us in the pursuing after Gods ordinances; though perhaps for the present we cannot enjoy the Ordinances of God, yet be sure to keep our hearts working after them. Ma∣ny deceive themselves in this, they think, we would have all the Ordinances of God, but we see we cannot, and so upon that we sit still & mind no more seeking after them, neither doe they labour to keepe their hearts in a burn∣ing desire after them; and hence many times it is, that the opportunities of enjoying them are let slip.

Page  246 But now if thou canst not have the beauty of an ordinance, if thou keep∣est thy heart in a burning desire after it in the use of all means for the attain∣ing it, know then, that the want of an ordinance is an ordinance to thee.

You shall finde in the English Chronicle of Edward the first, that he had a mighty desire to goe to the holy land, and because he could not goe thither, he gave charge to his sonne upon his death-bed that he should carry his heart thither, and he appointed 32000. pound to defray the charges of carrying his heart to the holy land, out of a superstitious respect he had to that place, though hee could not attaine it his heart should. Thus should our hearts worke after Ordinances.

And now we come to the close, and that is the blessed fruit of all this, she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them, and shee shall seeke them, but she shall not finde them.

VVhat followeth after all this? Now commeth in the close of mercy, for saith the Text, Then shall shee say, I will goe and returne to my first hus∣band, for then was it better with me then now. Now they shall returne, at length they shall bethinke themselves.

Hence we have likewise many sweet and excellent Observations.

As First,* In times of affliction the only rest of the soul is to return to God.

They keepe a rigling, and a stirre, and a shifting up and downe to provide for themselves, yea but they could finde no rest in what they did, but as a poor prisoner that is shakled keeps a stir with his chaines, but instead of get∣ting any freedom he galls his legs: but when the poor soul after all shiftings, and turnings, and vexings, comes to thinke of returning to the Lord, and of humbling and repenting it selfe before him, now it findes rest. Returne to thy rest, O my sole; so the words are. Remember after all your afflicti∣ons here is your rest in returning to the Lord.

Secondly,*Then they shall say, that is when they are so stopped in their way that they cannot tell in the world what to do, when they are hedged, and wal∣led, and cannot overtake their lovers, then they shall returne to the Lord.

Hence the Observation is, so long as men can have any thing in their sin∣full way to satisfie themselves withall, they will not returne to God: There is that perversnesse of spirit in men: Onely when men are stopped in the way o sinne, that they can have no satisfaction nor no hope, then they begin to think of returning to God.

This is the vilenesse of the spirits of men, they never or very rarely will come off to God till then. As the Prodigall, what shift did he make? hee goes to the farmer, to the swine, to the huskes to fill his belly, and it is likely if he had had his belly full of them he would never have thought of going to his father, but when he came to the huskes and could not tell how to fill his belly there, when he was in a desperate estate, then he beginneth to thinke of returning to his father. So you have it Isa, 57. 10. Yet saidest thou not, where is no hope, thou hast found the life of thy hands, therefore thou wast not grieved; thou wast not brought to such a desperate stand as to say the Page  247 is no hope, that noteth that till men be brought to such a stand that they can say, certainly there is no hope or helpe this way, they will seldome thinke of returning to God.* Thus is God infinitely dishonoured by us, It is very strange how the hearts of men will hanker after their sinne this way, and that way, till God take them quite off from hope of comfort by it, they will ne∣ver have a thought to returne unto God; God is faine to be the last refuge, we account our selves much dishonoured when we are the last refuge, when no body will I must. It seemes God is saine to yeeld to this, when no body will give satisfaction to the soul,* then men come to God, and God must.

But you will say, will ever God accept of such a one? Marke the next ob∣servation; returning to God, if it be in truth, though it be thus after wee have sought out for all other helpes, yet God is willing to accept of it.

This is an observation full of comfort, the Lord grant it may not be abu∣sed, but it is the word of the Lord, and it is a certaine truth, that returning after men have sought other meanes, and can finde no help, though they are driven to it by afflictions, yet it may be accepted by God. It is true, man will not accept upon these termes, but the thoughts of God are as sarre a∣bove the thoughts of men as the heaven is above the earth. It is true indeed some time God will not, nay God threatneth Pro. 1. 28. though they call upon him he will not answer, though they seee him early, yet shall not finde him. God is not thus gracious to all, therefore you must not presume up∣on it: God some time at the very first affliction hardneth his heart against men, that he will never regard them more, for his mercy is his owne; but those that are in covenant with him, though they come to him upon such termes, yet they may be accepted of him; therefore take this trueth for helping of you against this fore temptation, when you are in affliction, which will be apt to come in, Oh I cry to God now in my affliction, I should have done it before, surely God will not heare me now.

This may be a temptation; I confesse I cannot speake in this point with∣out a trembling heart lest it be abused, but the Text presents it fairely to you, and you must have the minde of God made known unto you though others abuse it,*Psal. 88. 9. Mine eye mourneth by reason of affliction, Lord I have called daily upon thee: This is spoken of Heman, and God did accept of him as it is apparrent in the Psalm, yet he cryed by reason of affliction; and Psal. 120. 1. In my distresse I cryed unto the Lord and he heard me; though it were in my distresse, yet the Lord heard me.

Onely take this one note about it,

It is true, Though our being stopped in all other wayes may make us cry to God, and God may heare us, but when God doth hear us, he works more then crying out by reason of that affliction; though at first our af∣fliction be the thing that carryeth ns unto God, yet before God hath done withus, and manifest and any acceptance of us, hee workes our hearts to higher aymes then deliverance from our affliction.

Againe further, I will goe and returne.

Page  247 A heart effectually wrought upon by God is a resolute heart to returne to God. As they were resolute in their way of Idolatry, I will follow after my lovers; so their hearts being converted, they shall be as resolute in Gods wayes, she shall say, I will returne to my first husband.

When God will worke upon the heart to purpose, he causeth strong argu∣ments to fasten upon the spirit, and nothing shal hinder it, no not father, nor mother, nor the dearest friend. Perhaps the Lord beginneth to worke upon the child, and the father scornes him, and the mother perhaps saith, What shall we have of you now? a Puritane? This grieveth the spirit of the child, yet there are such strong arguments fastned by God upon his heart, that it carryeth him thorough, he is resolute in his way, he will returne.

Further, Those who have ever found the sweetnesse of Christ in their hearts, have yet something remaining, that though they should be apostates, will at length draw them to him. Christ hath such hold upon their hearts as at one time or other he will get them in again, there will be some sparkes under those embers that will flame and draw the soule to returne againe to Christ. Therefore if any of you ever had any friends in whom you were ve∣rily perswaded there was a true work of grace, though they be exceedingly apostatized from Christ, do not give over your hope, for if ever there were any true tast of the sweetnesse that is in Christ, Christ hath such a hold upon their hearts, that he will bring them in again one time or other.

Further, I will return to my first husband, for them was it better with me.

There is nothing gotten by departing from Christ.* You goe from the bet∣ter to the worse when ever you depart from him; What fruit have you in those things,*whereof you are now ashamed? I the Lord (saith God, Isa, 48 17.) teach to profit; sinne doth not teach to profit, you can never get good by that, but the Lord teacheth to profit. It may be you may think to gaine something by departing from Christ,* but when you have cast up all the gain, you may put it into your eye, and it will doe you no hurt. Job, 27. 8. It is a notable place. What is the hope of the hypocrie, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his soul? Perhaps a hypocrite that is departed from God, a back-flider, that was forward before in the way of godlinesse, and now like Dema he hath forsaken those wayes and cleaved to the world, he thinkes he hath gained, and perhaps is grown richer, and liveth braver then before, yet what hope hath this back-slyder, this hypocrite, when God tak∣eth away his soul? then he will see that he hath gotten nothing. As it is said of the Idolater, Isay, 44. 20, A deceived heart hath turned him aside, he feeds upon ashes, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lye in my right hand? What shall there be more in a lust then in the blessed God? then in JESUS CHRIST who is the glory of Heaven, the de∣light of Angels, the satisfaction of the Father himselfe? Can a lust put thee into a better condition then Christ, who hath all fulnesse to satisfie the soul of God himself? certainly it cannot be.

Againe,* There must be a sight and an acknowledgement of our shame∣full Page  249 folly, or else there can be no true returning unto God; I will goe and re∣turn to my first husband, for then it was better with mee then now. As if the Church should say, I confesse I have plaid the foole, I have done shame∣fully, I have loft by departing from Christ, it was better farre then it is now. Ier. 3. 25. We lie downe in our shame, and our confusion covereth us, for wee have sinned against the Lord our God, saith the Church there; so it should be with all that come in to return to Christ, they must lie downe in their shame.

This I note as very seasonable in these times, we have many now who not long since have been very vile apostates, they have gone with the times, they saw preferment went such a way, and their hearts went that way; Now they see they cannot have preferment in that way they went, and God of his mercy hath changed the times, they will bee Converts: Wee have in England many parliamentary Converts, but such as wee are not to confide in.

Why should wee not confide in them?* If they will repent and returne, God accepteth them, and why should not we? It is true, such an one was before an enemy, and followed superstitious vanities, but now he is grown better, and preacheth against them, and why should not wee receive him?

To that I answer,* It is true, if deep humiliation have gone before that re∣formation, if together with their being better they have been willing to shame themselves before God and his people, to acknowledg their folly in departing from God, and be willing to professe before all that knew them, and have been scandalized by them.* It is true, God began with mee, and shewed me his wayes when I was young, I began to love them, and to walk in them: but when I saw how the times went, and preferment went, the Lord knows I had a base time-serving heart, I went away from God, they were no arguments that satisfied my conscience, but meerly livings and pre∣ferment, and now I doe desire to take shame and confusion of face to my selfe: Woe unto me for the folly and falsenesse of my heart, it is the infinite mercy of God ever to regard such a wretch as I. If they do thus take shame to themselves, and acknowledg their folly, this were something. We read in the Primitive times of one Ecebolius, who when he had revolted from the Truth, he cometh to the congregation, and falling down upon the threshold, cryeth out, Calcate, Calcate insipidum salem, tread upon me unsavory salt, I confesse I have made my selfe unsavory salt by departing from the Truth, let all tread upon me. This was a signe of true returning when this went before, we have done foolishly, it was better with us then now.

Againe, I will goe and returne, for it was better with mee then it is now:


Though acknowledgement must goe before,* yet returning must follow that. It is not enough to see and acknowledg, but there must be a returning: Page  250 For as reformation without humiliation is not enough, so humiliation with∣out reformation suffices not.* And I speak this the rather, because these are times wherein there is a great deale of seeming humiliation, and wee hope true humiliation: but you shall have many in their fasting days will acknow∣ledge how finfull,* how vile, how passionate they have been in their families, how worldly, what base selfe-ends they have had, and they will make such catalogues of their sins in those dayes of their humiliation, as causes admirati∣on: the thing itselfe is good, but I speak to this end, to shew the horrible wickednesse of mens hearts, that after they have ripped up all their sinnes, with all aggravations, acknowledged all their folly of their evill ways against God, yet no returning, after all this as passionate in their famlies, as frow∣ard, as peevish, as perverse as ever, as earthly as ever, as light and vaine in their carriage as ever. They will acknowledge what they have done, but they will not returne. Remember humiliation must goe before reforma∣tion, but Reformation must follow after Humiliation.

But the chiefe point of all is behind,* that is, The sight of this, how much better it was when the heart did cleave to Christ, over it is now, since depar∣ture from Christ, it is an effectuall meanes to cause the heart to returne to him. This is the way that Christ himselfe prescribed, Rev. 2. 5. Remem∣ber whence thou art falne, and repent. Thou wert in a better condition once then now thou art, oh come in and return, and that thou maist returne, re∣member whence thou art falne.

I will give but a little glimpse of what might be said in this point more largely.

The reasonings of the heart in the sight of this may briefely bee hinted thus:

Heretofore I was able through Gods mercy to look upon the face of God with joy.* When my heart did cleave to him, when I did walke close with God, then the glory of God shined upon mee, and caused my heart to spring within me every time I thought of him: But now, now, God knows, though the world takes little notice of it, the very thoughts of God are a ter∣rour to mee, the most terrible object in the world is to behold the face of God. Oh it was better with me then it is now.

Before this my apostasie I had free accesse to the Throne of Gods grace, I could come with humble and holy boldnesse unto God, and poure out my soule before him, such a chamber, such a closet can witnesse it: But now I have no heart to pray, yea I must be haled to it, meerely conscience pulleth me to it; yea every time I goe by that very closet where I was wont to have that accesse to the throne of grace, it strikes a terrour to my heart; I can ne∣ver come into Gods presence but it is out of slavish feare. Oh, it was better with me then, then it is now.

Before, Oh the sweet communion my soule enjoyed with Jesus Christ! one dayes communion with him, how much better was it then the enjoy∣ment of all the world! But now Jesus Christ is a stranger to mee, and I a stranger to him.

Page  251 Before, oh those sweet enlargements that my soule had in the ordinances of God! when I came to the word, my soule was refreshed, was warmed, my heart was inlightned; when I came to the Sacrament, oh the sweetness that was there! and to prayer with the people of God, it was even a heaven upon earth unto me: but it is otherwise now, the Ordinances of God are dead and empty things to me. Oh it was better with mee then, then it is now.

Before, oh the gracious visitations of Gods Spirit that I was wont to have! Yea, when I awaked in the night season, oh the glimpses of Gods face that were upon my soule! what quicknings, and refreshings, and inlivenings did I finde in them! I would give a world for one nights comfort I some∣times have had by the visitations of Gods Spirit, but now they are gone. Oh it was better then, then it is now.

Before, oh what peace of conscience had I within! whatsoever the world said, though they rayled and accused, yet my conscience spake peace to me, and was a thousand witnesses for me: but now I have a grating conscience within me, oh the black bosome that is in me, it flieth in my face every day, after I come from such and such company; I could come before from the society of the Saints, and my conscience smiled upon me: Now I go to wicked company, and when I come home, and in the night, Oh the gnaw∣ings of that worm! it was better with me then, then it is now.

Before, the graces of Gods Spirit, how were they sparkling in me, active and lively! I could exercise faith, humility, patience, and the like: Now I am as one bereft of all, unfit for any thing, even as a dead logg. Before God made use of me and imployed me in honorable services, now I am un∣fit for any service at all. Oh, it was better with me then, then it is now.

Before I could take hold upon promises, I could claim them as mine own, I could looke up to all those blessed, sweet promises that God had made in his word, and look upon them as mine inheritance. But now alas the pro∣mises are very little to me: before I could look upon the face of all troubles, and the face of death, I could look upon them with joy, but now the thought of affliction and of death, God knows how terrible they are to me. It was better with me then, then it is now.

Before in all creatures I could enjoy God, I tasted the sweetnesse and love of God, even in my meat and drinke: I could sit with my wife and chil∣dren, and see God in them, and looke upon the mercies of God through them as a fruit of the Covenant of grace; Oh how sweet was it with mee then! But now the creature is an empty thing unto mee, whether it come in love or hatred I do not know. It was better with me before then now.

Before I was under the protection of God where ever I went, but now I do not know what danger and miseries I am subject unto daily, what may befall me before night. God only kn