The season for Englands selfe-reflection and advancing temple-vvork discovered in a sermon preached to the two Houses of Parliament at Margarets Westminster, Aug. 13, 1644, being an extraordinary day of humiliation
Hill, Thomas, d. 1653.
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THE Lord Jesus Christ, whose name is wonderfull, hath re∣served for this last age of the World, wherein hee intends to do great things for his Church and against his enemies, the accomplishment of many precious promises, and the discovery of most glorious providences. A∣mongst all other your State observations, I hope you treasure up the experiences of his wonder-working Page  [unnumbered] hand for you since this happy Parlia∣ment began, that so you may grow eminent as well in Christian, as in state-wisdom. Never had a∣ny Assembly of Counsellors in England, grea∣ter reason then you, to say with the Psalmist, Psal. 139. 17. How precious are thy thoughts unto mee, O God: how great is the summe of them! It were well worthy your wise care, to take some course, what ever it cost, by a discreet and faith∣full pen, to preserve the story of Gods provi∣dence about you since these troubles began, that so his honour might live therein, when you are dead.

Its true indeed, the Lords dispensations have been very various towards you, and the method of his counsels, past finding out; As the Israe∣lites in the wildernesse, were sometimes not far from Canaan, and then cast back for a long time; so you sometimes begin to think your selves got neere the shore, and to discover the Land, some hopes of a gracious issue, then a new storme a∣rises and drives you into the main Sea again: wit∣nesse your present straites, your renued per∣plexities. Amongst other reasons hereof, this may bee one; It may bee God will not finish your state-affaires, till you are more vigorous in his Temple-work.Page  [unnumbered] Who knows how soon poore England, yea and all the three Kingdoms, might become glori∣ously happy, could you remove such obstructions, as interrupt the building of Gods house? Your selves are not a little concerned in the expediting this great businesse of setling the Church; opi∣nions of most dangerous consequence begin now to spring up amongst us. The controversie is not now onely betwixt congregationall and classicall Divines, (who are called Independents, and Presbyterians) in point of Church government; (There seemes to bee some good hopes of a faire accommodation betwixt them) But with such others also who vehemently cry down not only the power of Ecclesiasticall Synods, but like∣wise the Authority of the Civill Magistrate, in matters of Religion,* thereby at once opening a doore to all licentiousnes in opinion & practice, even for Iewes, Turkes, and any whomsoever. The Good Lord stirre up your hearts who have so great a share in the managing, and in the suc∣cesse of the great work in hand, to do what be∣comes you in such times as these are; When so many of your own Ranke (the Lord humble them for their unfaithfulnesse) have deserted their Trust, You have obtained this great mercy, this Page  [unnumbered] high Honour, to be employed in Temple-service. I hope you often consider, who hath made you to differ,* and what he at this time expects from you.

You will please to allow mee the boldnesse to put you in mind of Davids carriage, who, when the three mighty men brake through the Host of the Philistims, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, 2 Sam. 23. 16. He would not drinke thereof, but poured it out unto the Lord: and hee said, Bee it farre from mee O Lord, that I shall doe this? Is not this the blood of men that went in jeopardy of their lives? therefore hee would not drinke it, ver. 17. The tranquillity and many sweet refreshings, the liberty and opportunity of doing Service to Church and State in the Parliament which you enjoy; Is it not the blood of very many men? How often have your Noble and couragi∣ous Generall with other VVorthies of the first Magnitude, jeoparded their lives in the High places of the field to secure you in your Houses, in your employments? How much trouble and hazzard have our deare Brethren of Scotland undergone to themselves and Kingdom, to keepe You from the danger of popery and slavery? yea how many thousands, some of all rankes, (it Page  [unnumbered] may make us bleed with sorrow to number them) have already shed their dearest blood, that you may possesse your lives and estates? God forbid, bee it farre from any of you, that what is pur∣chased at so deare a rate, should bee prostituted to your own selvishnesse, or any ignoble service. Let all you have, rather be powred out to the Lord, and consecrated to his service in building him an House,* who hath loved you so much and given so many men for your lives.

It was an high strain of couragious Rheto∣rique, in one of the City Souldiers at Newbury sight, (as it is related from good hands) who, when hee lay bleeding under mort all wounds, brea∣thed out this admirable expression: O that I had another life to loose for Jesus Christ! O that I had another life to loose for Jesus Christ! Let this speech live in you after his death. Bee willing at least to sacrifice the improvement of your Lives, which cost the precious blood of Christ, and many of his deare members, in lif∣ting up his Name, and advancing his Temple.

Nehemiah, when hee would incourage them in building the wall of Ierusalem, notwithstand∣ing all the scoffes of the adversaries, after hee had armed the Labourers, Nehem. 4. 13. 14. Hee Page  [unnumbered] said unto the Nobles, and to the Rulers, and to the rest of the people, Bee not afraid of them, remember the Lord which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sonnes and your daughters, your wives and your houses. The Lord in mercy turn your fight∣ing into building, and rebuke your enemies, that you may have more liberty to build his House.

Herein I can rise higher then Nehemiah; you build not onely for your Sonnes and Daughters, but for the Lord, who is the Husband of his Church, the Prince of Peace, the King of Glo∣ry, that hath prepared an house eternall in the heavens, for all that sincerely build his house here on Earth.*Arise therefore and bee doing, and the Lord bee with you. Which is the hearty prayer of him, who,

Though most unworthy, desires to serve you faithfully in the advancing Temple-work. THOMAS HILL.