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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ENGLANDS SEASON FOR Selfe-Reflection, AND Advancing Temple-worke.


HAGGAI 1. 7, 8.
7 Thus saith the Lord of Hoasts, Consider your wayes. 8 Goe up to the Mountain, and bring wood and build the House, and I will take pleasure in it, and I will bee glorified, saith the Lord.

IN reading the Holy Scripture,* that you may gain a more comprehensive knowledge thereof, you shall doe wisely, as to observe the originall Language, in which the Holy men of God spake, and to borrow what light you can from the neighbouring words, in the context; so withall very seriously to inquire into the Method of the severall bookes among themselves; Hereby might you often find the understanding of one booke to bee as a key to unlocke ano∣ther, to which it hath a peculiar reference. In the generall were you Page  2 well acquainted with the five Books of Moses,* (they being the Basisoll the Ist) It were a good preparation for your more in∣timate knowledge of the whole frame of Scripture. Then for the particulars, if you would clearly understand the Psalmes, read the Books of Samuel much, especially the Second; many of the Psalmes being penned occasionally, upon some passage of Story there men∣tioned, they will thence receive much light, And if you desire to bee well versed in the Proph••e, read over and over the two Bookes of the King, and the Second Booke of Chronicles, where you have the History of the Kings of Israel and Judab, in whose dayes the severall Prophets did prophecy; as doubtlesse in the New Testa∣ment,* dstinct knowledge of the Story of the Acts of the Apostles, would make many of their Epistles much more familiar to you.

You must not conceive (as too many doe) that the Res gestae, the things contained in the Scripture, were acted in the same order, wherein the Bookes are ordinarily ranked up in your Bibles. Let none thinke that Isaiah was the first of the Prophets in order, of pro∣phecying,* because hee is now placed first; (Learned men conclude out of 2 Kings 13. 25. that Jonh prophecyed first of all the six∣teen Prophets) Nor that Pauls Epistles to the Romans, and to the Corinthians, were the first hee wrote, because now so placed amongst the Bookes of the New Testament.* They who mind the story of the Acts of the Apostles, affirm the Epistles to the Thessalonians, to have the precedence. Who ever ranked the Bookes of the Prophets, and the Epistles of the Apostle Paul, did rather consider the quantity of the volume then the order of the Contents in them.

It's true, whereas the Prophets are ordinariy cast into three rankes, some who prophecyed before the captivity of Babylon, as Isaiah, Jere∣miah, and others, giving the people warning of it, some who were appointed to bring them cordials, in the captivity, as Ezekiel, and Daniel; some to quicken and direct them, after their return from the captivity, as Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi; These three you shall find in their proper place, which is to bee last in order. In reading them it is good to joyn the History with the Prophecy, one will Illustrate the other.

There are little Historicall Books which have some contempora∣neity with these,* as containing the story of Gods providence about his people, and their carriage towards him after their returne from Page  3 the captivity. If you please to cast your eye upon Ezra 5. ver. 1.* there you shall finde, upon the cessation of the building of the Temple, mentioned, Ezra 4. 23, 24. God stirred up Haggai, and Zechariah, to prophecy to the ews, as here, Hag. 1. 1. The word of the Lord came by Haggai the Prophet unto Zerubbabel, the sonne of Shealtiel Go∣vernour of Judah, and to Joshuah the sonne of Josedech the High Priest, whom hee finds readily willing to bee ingaged in Gods work; This you may observe in all stories.

When the Lord hath any glorious designe to carry on,* hee prepares some active Instruments to concurre with him therein.

Here Hagg ai was raised by God ro stirre up Zerubbabel, Joshuah, and the people, they were fitted to entertain the Prophets counsell, and to concurre with God in his great worke, as appeares most clearely, Ezra 5. 2. and Hag. 1. 14. where you have a most proper Echo to Haggai his Sermon, a joynt contribution of their indevours, The Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel, the spirit of Joshuah, and the spirit of all the remnnt of the people, and they came and did worke in the House of the Lord of Hoasts their God. And when the Lord intend∣ed to imploy Luther for the discovering and confounding the A∣bominations and usurpations of the Pope, what a Traine was there laid for that work, in the unexpected concurrence of others with him at that very time? Then were there some great persons stirred up by God, to appeare for him and protect him from the fury of his Adversaries, as the Duke of Saxony, &c. About that time there were some Learned men,* furnished with ability and courage to second him; as Zivinglius, &c. yea, and then some Cities prepared to receive his Doctrine, which so many others persecuted. As it was in Judah, in Hzekiahs dayes, The hand of God was upon them to give them one he, 2 Chron. 30. 12. So in Germany in Luthers time.

The same happy experience have wee found amongst our selves:* when the Lord was pleased to arise to have mercy upon his Sion, first in Scotland,* and now in England; what a constellation of provi∣dences hath appeared, in awakening the spirits of so many, to bee vigorously active for the blessed worke of Reformation? According to that in Psal. 110. 3. The people are willing in the day of his power. Some of our Zerubbabels, of our Joshuahs, and of the remnant of our peo∣ple, have been more willing then formerly to bee ingaged in Temple-worke. God will either finde or make Instruments to serve his pur∣pose Page  4 in advancing his owne great designe.

But bee the worke never so good, there will bee some obstructi∣ons, and though some Instruments bee prepared for action, yet there are too many ready to retard the best and most plausible things. Hereupon this man of God, the Prophet Haggai, being sent with a Message to quicken the building of the Temple; First, begins with complaints to their negligent intermission, in the Lords Worke, dis∣covering the carnall principle,* which did mis-lead them, ver. 2. This people say, the time is not come, the time that the Lords house should bee built. The Babylonish furnace had not burnt up all their drosse, they had been seventy yeeres at the Schoole of affliction, and yet many of them very poore proficients. They made good Solomons Proverbe, chap. 27. 22. Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a morter among wheat with a pestell, yet will not his foolishnesse depart from him.

Indeed they doe not here bluntly, and peremptorily refuse to joyne in building the Temple, but indevour cunuingly to put it off.

Sloathfull spirits will study pretences and excuses to palliate their negli∣gence in the Lords worke.*

And where ever it light they care not, so they may but shelter and justifie themselves in their own omissions.

They will bee so presumptuous as to devolve their negligence in re-edifying the Temple upon Gods providence, as if by those lets which had been an hinderance unto them, God had showne, that hee would have the worke deferred till some other time, and rather then they will bee put out of their pace, they will likewise cast re∣proach upon the zeale and forwardnesse of those who began to lay the foundation of the Temple, so soone after they returned from the Captivity. Their sloath and subtilty prompts them to cry out in this disparaging and discouraging language: The time is not yet come, the time is not yet come.

This is the very same spirit,* which now adayes breathes in our Anti-Reformers, (all carnall men, as carnall in all ages, are acted by the same principles) they cry impetuously, What need wee bee so forward in Reformation? cannot wee stay and do things by degrees? Oh how long doe you thinke should Haggai, Zerubbabel, and Joshu∣ah, have stayed for the building of the Temple, if they had wait∣ed till Rehum the Chancellour, Shimshai the Scribe, the Samaritan,Page  5 and the slothfull party had been willing, heartily to joyn with them? even as long as our Brethren of Scotland, and Gods servants in England should have expected, before the Popish and Prelaticall party will concurre with them to advance a Scripture Reformation. They all will still bee pretending something for their delayes.

But the Prophet well knew that the true reason of their intermit∣tings was the contempt of Gods service,* and their carnall affection to their own ease and pompe. This hee further reproves and confute, ver. 3, 4, 5, 6. by two arguments.

First, one drawn from the shamefull preferring themselves before God. ver. 4. Is it a time for you, O yee, to dwell in your seiled houses, and this house lye waste? most unlike to David,* who sware unto the Lord, Surely I will not come into the Tabernacle of my house, untill I finde out a place for the Lord; an abitation for the mighty God of Jacob. Psal. 132. 2, 3. 5. And as unanswerable was this carriage of theirs to all that distinguishing respect and indulgence which God had vouch∣safed them, in preserving and bringing them out of the Babylo∣nish prison.

Secondly, another drawn from those smarting evidences of Gods displeasure, against their negligence, ver. 6, 7. Now therefore, thus saith the Lord of Hoasts, Consider your wayes, yee have sown much, and bring in little, &c. And then like a good Physitian, after the discovery of a dangerous disease, hee applies a sutable Remedy, hee proceeds to ex∣hortation, ver. 7. 8. where you have:

First,* The Person speaking, the great God, Thus saith the Lord of Hoasts.

Secondly, The Counsell hee gives, consisting of two branches:

The first looking hackward, ver. 7. Consider your wayes: they must bee finding out what hath been amisse heretofore. Read over former neglects and successes.

The second looks forward, what they were now to bee doing, ver. 8. Goup to the Mountain, and bring wod, and build the house: which hee backs with undenyable reasons, and I will take pleasure in it, and I will bee glorifyed, saith the Lord.

I will beginne with the Person speaking: It is not onely Thus saith the Lord, which had been enough to have put them upon the most Page  6 serious consideration of their wayes, but divers times in this Chap∣ter, and in such other places of Scripture, where the people of God met with Armies of adversaries to hinder them from building the Temple; hee speakes to them as the Lord of Hoasts. Whence you may observe:

When the People of God conflict with much opposition in doing his great worke,* then especially is hee pleased to make known himselfe, as the Lord of Hoasts.

At the first there was but an Hoast, Tsebaam, in the singular number,* but one Army, Gen. 2. 1. Thus the Heavens and the Earth were finished, and all the Hoast of the Creatures; Indeed when Adam had fallen, then it is 〈◊〉Tsebaoth, ever since God said, Gen. 3. 15. I will put enmity betwixt the Serpent and the woman; and between their seed: there have been two Armies on foot in the field, the Dragon and his Angels, contending against Michael and his Angels, yet the Generall is still but one, who is Lord of Hoasts.

Quest. Why is God so often called the Lord of Hoasts?

Answ. There are divers good reasons why his creatures may be called his Hoast, as Exod. 12. 41. Psal. 148. 2.

First,* for their multitude, they are very numerous.

Secondly, for their Order, they are most wisely ranked in rese∣rence to the service of their Commander.

Thirdly,* in regard of their ready obedience to their great Gene∣rall. All creatures stand ready in battaile array, prest to doe the will of God,* as an Army set in Martiall Order.

Fourthly, some adde a fourth, God hath a speciall providence in governing the affaries of warre. Hee brings the Sword, Levit. 26. 25. And hee makes Peae, Psal. 46. 9. and therefore may well bee called the Lord of Hoasts.

Quest. Why doth the Lord then especially delight to make known himselfe as the Lord of Hoasts, when his people meet with oppo∣sition in doing his great worke?

Answ. It is the great wisdome and goodnesse of God, to repre∣sent himselfe by such Names, Titles, Relations, and Resemblances, as may most sutably discover his owne Glorious excellencies, and best draw forth the exercise of his childrens graces towards him. In Page  7 the New Testament, according to the riches, sweetnesse, and clear∣nesse of the new administration of the Covenant, God is known to his People, as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Pet. 1. 3. as the God of all Grace, 1 Pet. 5. 10, as the God of Peace, 1 Thess. 5. 23. but seldome as the Lord of Hoas•• I can remember it but twice there, in Rom. 9. 29. and in Jam. 5. 4. though in some copies, in Jam•• it is mis-printed, the Lord of Sabbath, in stead of Lord of 〈◊〉.

In the Old Testament (as some reckon) you shall finde the Lord of Hoasts, at least two hundred times, and most frequently in Hag∣gai, and Zachary, when the people of God were imployed about Temple-worke, and contested with many adversaries therein. In the second chapter of Haggai, you have it five times in foure verses, as in the 6, 7, 8, 9. verses, and in the eighth Chapter of Zachary, which consists but of three and twenty verses, you have no lesse than eigh∣teen times, The Lord of Hoasts.

God who is All-sufficient, accounts this his glory, to make known himselfe answerably to all the exigents of his Churches. When the Devill musters up forces against them, hee will approve himselfe the God of Hoasts, such a God who is able to doe more for them, than the Dragon and all his Angels can doe against them.

Then let us this day lye before God,* with an humble satisfaction of spirit, in the midst of all these commotions and confusions that are now in England, or any of the three Kingdomes. Our God being the Lord of Hoasts, could have prevented them, and can allay them, stilling the proudest waves as hee pleases. Hee knows how to pre∣serve his Friends, and to reserve his Adversaries, 2 Pet. 2. 9. Hee who can command light to shine out of darkenesse, 2 Cor, 4. 6. can as easily bring order out of confusion; and unlesse hee could bring good out of evill, hee who is the Supreame Governour of the whole world, would never suffer any evill to befall his People. It doth not argue any defect either in his power or love, that his people in En∣gland have so long smarted,* and still goe under such heavy pressures, but it is the manifold various wisedome of the great Lord Generall, so to marshall all his Hoasts, as they may doe execution according to the Counsell of his will, and all in reference to his grand de∣signe, The advancing his own great Name in the salvation of his People.Page  8 you have no reason to mutter, because sometimes it is male cum bonis, & bene cum malis, because sometimes the godly suffer, and the wicked prosper, (mis-interpreting such providences, humours and feeds Atheisme) why should not you allow God the honour of his Soveraignty? Hee is the Lord of Hoasts, and as hee makes use of his prerogative in saving the soules, and in using the parts and abi∣lities of men, so likewise in the sparing and afflicting of them. The same God who Isa 4. 56. hath said, Hee will create upon every dwel∣ling place of Mount Zion, and upon all the Assemblies, a cloud and a smsk by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night, &c. by way of pro∣tection; hath likewise said for affliction, Isa. 45. 7. I forme the light and create darknesse, I make peace, and create evill, I the Lord doe 〈◊〉 these things.

It is good therefore, when God is come out of the habitation of his holinesse, for all flesh to bee silent before him, Zach. 2. 13. and in stormy times to saile by the Psalmists Compasse, Psal. 37. 7. be silent to the Lord, and waite patiently for him. If God bring thy estate low, get thy spirit as low.* If God break and shatter the king∣dome, get thy heart broken and humbled under his mighty hand. Let thy soule lye levell with Gods providence. Remember the God of Hoasts is his name, Amos 4. 15.

If God delight in conficting times to represent himselfe to his Church as the Lord of Hoasts:*

Then beware of cowardly feare,* suffer not your selves to bee dis∣couraged by the most potent adversaries, when you are ingaged in his worke who is the God of Hoasts. Solomon tells us, Prov. 29. 25. The feare of man bringeth a snare; but who so putteth his trust in the Lord shall bee safe. Carnall feare betrayes reason, as well as faith, when it is predominant: Thousands in England have found this true by wofull experience, who out of distrustfull feares, chusing ra∣ther to sin than to suffer, have miserably insnared themselves, where∣as if by faith they had taken Sanctuary in him who is the Lord of Hoasts, hee would have been their safety, their high place.

What though puissant Armies should combine, and raise great mountains of opposition in the way, yet the great Lord Generall who commands heaven and earth, will carry on his own worke. Hence hee gives a challenge to those mountainous Adversaries who Page  9 did hinder Zerubbabel in Temple-work: Zach. 4. 7. Who art the••, O great Mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plaine, and bee shall bring forth the head stone thereof with shoutings. But how should this bee carryed on? not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts. What though enemies doe most proudly insult? then remember what the Lord saith, Zeph. 2. 8, 9, 10. I have heard the reproach of Moab, and the revilings of the children of Ammon, whereby they have reproached my people, and magnifyed themselves against their borders. Therefore, as I live, saith the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, surely Moab shall bee as Sodom, and the children of Ammon as Gomorrah, even the breeding of netles and saltpits, and a perpetuall desolation: This they shall have for their pride, because they have magnifyed themselves against the people of the Lord of Hosts. In defiance to the pride of railing Rabshakehs, the Lord of Hosts will still appeare like himselfe, in the behalfe of his own people; even when their power is gone; The Lord shall judge his people, their enemies shall slide in due time, Deut. 32. 35, 36. not alwayes in our time, but in due time. Often his chil∣drens extremity, proves his opportunity to helpe, as 2 King. 14. 25, 26.

Suppose your Army should bee in straits, the cause is still the same, and your God is still Lord of Hosts, possibly this may bee his Method, to our Redemption, first, to humble us, before hee will exalt us. I hope you keepe a fresh remembrance of the late glorious successe in the Northerne parts,* so far beyond your thoughts and hopes: Underprop your spirits when they beginne to sinke, with a branch of that Psalme which Luther delighted so much to sing, when the Church was in troubles, Psal. 46. 7. The Lord of Hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge.

If second causes should faile, the first cause the Lord of Hosts, can supply or govern their deficiency to his peoples advantage. Hee is great in counsell, and mighty in worke, a God that will do wonders rather than suffer his own cause or people to miscarry; no reason therefore in the worst times to bee discouraged.

Hence learne this Lesson, very seasonable for these Military times.

Page  10 Be improving daily this Stile,* whereby God makes known himselfe to his People, as the Lord of Hosts.

As you indevour to fortifie your selves,* and the Kingdome a∣gainst numerous adversaries, so with all bee sure to cry mightily by Prayer to him who is the God of Hosts. It is a peace of sin∣gular Christian skill, when you addresse your selves to seeke God, then by an eye and hand of Faith to single out those di∣vine perfections in him, which are most sutable to your exigents. In these times of sad and bloody distractions in all the three Kingdomes, when so many are up in Armes, concurring with the Irish Rebells, who would plunder us of our Religion and lives, as well as of our Liberties and estates; it is a most pro∣per season for us all,* to muster up our teares and sighes, to be∣siege Heaven with our importunities, that wee may ingage the Lord of Hosts to appeare on our side; let us say, as in Psal. 74. 22, 23. Arise, O God, plead thine own cause; remember how the for∣lish man reproacheth thee daily, forget not the voyce of thine enemies, the tumult of those that rise up against thee increaseth continually.

I might produce a cloud of witnesses to incourage your Pray∣ers. You may read Exod. 17. 11. When Moses held up his hand Israel prevailed, and when hee let down his hand Amalek prevailed. This listing up of his hands was partly to hold forth the Red, as an Ensigne to strengthen the Faith of the Souldiers, and also to expresse the lifting up of his hands together with his heart in Prayer. Here you may see a different successe of the Israelites, accompanying the different gesture of Moses body, by the wise providence of God, appointed to bee a reall expression, both how forcible Moses prayers were, and also how weake the Isra∣elites were in themselves, if God (of whose assistance the Rod was a signe) should not stand on their sides. Who would not then, night and day lift up their hearts and hands, making use of their interest in the Lord of Hosts, in the behalfe of his con∣flicting people?

How did Jacob overcome inraged Esau, but by overcomming with his Prayers, the Great God of heaven, who hath a Throne Page  11 in all mens spirits? God was pleased, as appeares in Gen. 32. 24. to coniescend to wrastle with Jacob, both for his instruction, and his consolation,* hee would teach him hereby that hee must be content to bee a wrastler, and that therein hee should bee victo∣rious. Jacob had power with him and prevailed, when hee wept and made supplications into him, Hos. 12. 4. who in ver. 7. is the Lord of Hosts. Hee wrastled with him by his importunity in prayer, Gen. 32. 26. I will not let thee goe except thou blesse mee. Let us now when wee are humbling our selves before the Lord of Hosts,* deale like wrastlers. They will first spy out their advan tage, and there lay fast hold: Secondly, they pursue it with di∣ligence. Set faith on work, to spy out Gods Attributes, his Pro∣mises, or anything in him, whereon you may lay hold, and resolve to take no denyall, say every one, I will not let the Lord of Hsts goe till hee blesse us with hopes of a gracious deliverance from our desolating troubles.

Admit your Army bee in great straits, so was Asa and his Ar∣my, 2 Chron. 14. you may read ver. 9. A mighty Host of a thousand thousand,* came out against him. Hee made first his approaches to the great God by fervent prayer, ver. 11. And Asa cryed unto the Lord his God, and said, Lord, it is nothing with thee to helpe whether with many or with them that have no power. Helpe us, O Lord our God, for wee rest in thee, and in thy name wee go against this multitude. O Lord, thou art our God, let not Man prevaile against thee. Hee doth not say, against us, but against Thee; Hee did wisely interest God in his Cause, and thereby was triumphantly victorious, ver. 12, 13, 14, 15. So the Lord smote the Aethiopins before Asa, &c. The Parliament hath Asaes advantage, they appeare in the Cause of God, they may with the more boldnesse presse the Lord of Hosts to ingage himselfe for them; and though you cannot find a particular promise of good successe expressely made unto you herein, yet the Lord of Hosts hath a particular over-spreading pro∣vidence, on which you may depend in all your undertakings.

The same successefull Method did Jehosaphat use when hee was in feare of numerous and potent adversaries, 2 Chron. 20. 3. Hee 〈◊〉, and set himselfe to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a Fast. Some men would onely have complained in discontent against their ene∣mies, Page  12 others in policy would onely make warlike preparations, but good Jehosaphat would in the first place try what hee could doe with God by Fasting and Prayer, (that is a good feare which drives us to God, and begets Prayers unto him.) In his prayer (as prudent men use to doe in their Petitions to Princes) hee gathers together many strong Arguments. Hee. well knew that much of the strength of our Prayers lyes in the strength of the Ar∣guments wee therein use;* first, hee draws an Argument from God himselfe, and his Covenant, whereby they had interest in him; ver. 6. from his powerfull providence, and from their former ex∣perience, from Gods promise, from the Enemies, and their cruell opposition, ver. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. And lastly, hee appeales to God himselfe with much Rhetorick, ver. 12. O our God, wilt not thou judge them? for wee have no night against this great company, that com∣meth against us,*neither know wee what to doe, but our eyes are upon thee. Why should not wee take this course? Wee have been for many moneths, and for some yeeres ingaged in a bloody warre, wee have in severall Battailes appealed to the sword for justice upon the Sonnes of violence, (the Campe is the supreame Judicatory) let us now goe one step higher; As John Husse, when bee was con∣demned by his Popish Judges, appealed to Jesus Christ, the most high Judge; So let us appeale from enemies, yea and look above Instru∣ments, let us put our cause and all our affaires of greatest concern∣ment, into the hands of the Lord of Hosts, desiring him to judge betwixt us and our adversaries. Hang confidently upon that branch of his own word, Jer. 50. 33, 34. Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, the children of Israel and the children of Judah, were oppressed together, and all that took them captives held them fast, they refused to let them goe; Their Redeemer is strong, the Lord of Hosts is his Name, hee shall throughly plead their cause, that hee may give rest to the Land.

But with all when you have prayed, Remember that you act your Prayers.* All your worke is not done when Prayer is ended. As you waite epecting that the Lord should make good your Peti∣tions, so you should worke and do good according unto them, (by your prayers you ingage your selves as well as God.) This were an excellent temper of Spirit in these conflicting times. To Page  13pray with so much fervency, as if you were to carrie on things on∣ly by the power of your Prayers; and yet also to act with so much diligence, as if you were to worke out Englands welfare by the strength of your owne indeavours. You have good Jehosaphat in the same place, 2 Chron. 20. for your happy pattern herein, ver. 20. &c. hee did very industriously act, consult, as well as pray. Hee first prayed that hee might blesse his actions, then he acted that hee might backe his prayers; by both he became very victorious over his enemies. The Lord of Hosts so wonderfully appea∣red for him against his adversaries, that rather then they should prevaile, they should help to conquer and destroy one another, ver. 23.

Come we now to the second observation; In that the Pro∣phet presseth upon them with ingeminations, in the name of the Lord of Hosts, verse 5, & 7. Now therefore, to consider their wayes, being their endeavors did not prosper, verse 6. Yee have sown much and bring in little, yee eate and have not enough, yee drink &c. in divers kinds Gods disfavour was manifested, whereupon he calls on them, ver. 7. to consider their ways. Hence learn;

When the hand of God is stretched out against a people, it is then a proper season for them to set their hearts upon their wayes,* and seriously to consider them.

Consider your wayes. It is in the Hebrew, set your hearts upon your wayes,* doe not onely by direct acts in a brutish manner, follow on what is before you, and without your selves, but retire in words; seriously six your hearts upon your owne waies, that you may know and consider them. Considering imports a bending of the mind to thinke upon and observe any thing. The hearts reflecting upon its owne courses, by comparing them with the rule of Gods word, and withall here undoubtedly it implies a weighing the events and successes of their affaires, how God blesses and prospers them.

The holy Ghost commends unto us the considering of our wayes, as a singular meanes to steere our courses aright: It may possibly prevent the commission of sin, Psal. 4. 4. Stand in owe and sinne not, commune with your owne hearts. Prov. 4. 26, 27. Page  14Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy wayes bee established: turne not to the right hand nor to the left; remove thy foot from evil. It may reduce the straying soule when it hath sinned,*Lament. 3. 40. Let us search and try our wayes, and turne againe unto the Lord. The Devill well knows the spirituall advantage that may be gained by this practice, and therefore doth still with all his might upon every occasion oppose it.

You shall ordinarily find, that people are more easily drawne to read then to pray, and will sooner be perswaded to move in a track of customary praying, then seriously to consider themselves: The more necessary any duty is, the more opposite Satan and our wretched hearts are there unto. Amongst all others, whe∣ther Merchants, Travellers, &c. Consideration hath great in∣fluence; and without exception is as usefull in Christianity: And especially is most seasonable for Christians in evill times. This is one of Wise Solomons Oracles, Ecles. 7. 14. In the day of prosperity bee joyfull, but in the day of adversity consider. Every one can in the day of adversity complaine of their wants and troubles, can quarrell with the faults and impotency of Instruments; yea, and will very frequently repine at the dispensations of Gods providence; whereas the proper worke were to apply themselves to a serious consideration of their owne wayes. When you feele the smart of an evill of punishment, then you should bee searching for the evill of sinne; consider then both the inflicting and the procuring cause, who it is that smiles, and why he smites.

Why is the consideration of our waies so seasonable when Gods hand is stretched out against us?*

Because such inside worke, as it is a good fruit of Heavenly wisedome,* so it may bee an evidence of our sincerity, which will prove an excellent cordiall to cheare us in evil dayes.

Hypocrisie may teach us to multiply out-side performances, sincerity draws the heart inwards to selfe-reflection, and to employ it selfe upon its owne wayes, by self-considering and self-judging. The bodily eye sees other things, but not it selfe, so the eye of the carnall mind: hence the Lord com∣plaines of their wickednesse appearing herein, No man saith Page  15 What have I done, Jer, 8. 6. But the more seriously any lay out their thoughts how to discover the evill of their owne wayes, the greater matter of rejoycing they have at home, what ever evils they meet withall abroad. The testimony of such a conscience in the worst times, would bee a continuall feast, when to him that wants it, All the dayes of the afflicted are evill, Prov. 15. 15.

Secondly, considering of our wayes is the most proper eccho of Gods correcting hand, and that spirituall emprovement hee ex∣pects wee should make of his chastising us, Mic. 6. 9. The Lords voice cryeth unto the City, and the man of wisdome shall see thy Name, Heare yee the Rod, and who hath appointed it. God speakes not onely by his Word, but also by his workes, and that with a louder voice, hee calls by his word, but hee cries by his Rods; even to this very end, that wee may consider what he saith by it. Our present Rod which hath whipped so many thousands to death, since this unnaturall Warre began, preacheth this doctrine of self-consideration unto ENGLAND.

In 1 King. 8. Solomon makes divers Prayers at the dedication of the Temple, answerable to the severall exigents of Gods people, one is that God would heare their prayers, and main∣taine their cause when they goe out to battell against their ene∣mies, vers. 44, 45. And suppose they then sinne against God and provoke him to deliver them into the hand of the ene∣my: yet their case is not desperate, verse 47. If they shall be∣thinke themselves,* and repent, then heare 〈◊〉 prayer, and main∣taine their cause, ver. 49.

Where you see that retiring into their own hearts, and bring∣ing their hearts upon their wayes, is that which the Lord lookes for in the evill day, before they shall find deliverance. When this is wanting hee complaines by his Prophets, as of Israel in Amos 4. yet have yee not returned unto me, this expressi∣on is found foure severall times in the same Chapter, ver. 6, 8, 10, 11. They did not return unto the Lord, because by his judgments they did not first learn to return into themselves.

Thirdly, because consideration of our wayes is the most com∣pendious method to our self-humbling, and self-reforming, and the Scripture way to obtaine reconci••ation with God. David Page  16 first considered his wayes, before hee turned his feet unto Gods testimonies, Psal. 119. 59. The Prodigall Sonne came first home to himselfe, Luke 15. 17. by the consideration of his former e∣vill wayes, before hee came home to his Fathers house to find gracious entertainment there. And then when once a sinner by his self-reflection hath learned to renounce his evils, the Lord is most ready to embrace him as a reconciled Father, with the sweetest evidences, of his love and favour, Esa. 1. 16, 17, 18. When you have learned by considering your wayes, to put away the evill of your doings from before Gods eyes: come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord.* The holy God would not en∣tertaine such a familiarity with them before they were clean∣sed.

By all which it clearly appeares, that as we desire a comfor∣table argument of our owne sincerity, to make a wise emprove∣ment of the correcting hand of our God, to bee loosened more from sinne, and to enjoy more sweet evidences of the favour of our God, in evill times especially, when his hand is stretched out, wee should set our hearts upon our wayes, and seriously consider them.

Here then two sorts of people their Errours in the glsse of this Truth.*

First,* of such as set their hearts upon their worldly comforts, upon their carnall ends and interests in evill times, when Gods hand is stretched out against England, but not upon their wayes to consider and reforme them. This was Baruchs di∣stemper, Jer. 45. 5. for which the Prophet reproves him round∣ly. What? when God is breaking downe what hee hath built, when God is plucking up what hee hath planted; what now art thou a seeking great things for thy selfe? Seeke them not. It is most unworthy of a Baruch, or any of Gods Servants, to be minding themselves onely, and their owne secular advantages in troublesome times, when they should bee concurring with their God in his dispensations. The Lord expects that his Judgements should drive you off from Creature comforts, into your selves, and Page  17 to thinke upon your owne wayes, that so thereby you might be drawne to neerer communion with himselfe. This were proper language for these blacke and bloody times; to bee able to over∣looke your selfe-respects and advantages, and in good earnest to breath out those holy expressions, Esa. 26. 8. In the way of thy judgements O Lord have we waited, for thee, the desire of our soule is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee.

Secondly, another Error is of such who set their hearts and thoughts much to consider when 〈◊〉 wayes,* that they overlooke and neglect their own. Too too many there are, who can write characters upon divers others, yet are great strangers to themselves. They are indeed 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, busie-bodies in other mens mat∣ters, Bishops in other mens Diocesses:* but in the meane time their own gardens overgrowne with noisome weeds, and this not considered.

Alassel it is very easie to spy out the haltings of others, to complaine of the stumblings of some in the way, or of their swerving from the wayes of God; and to arraigne many as Ineendiaries and Malignants; (and yet never consider how ma∣ny sticks wee our selves have gathered to enflame this desola∣ting Warre. This error is so much the more dangerous, be∣cause it is so common, and withall so unbeseeming the children of God, who ought presently to reflect by self-consideration, when they see their Fathers displeasure once begin to appeare: would these two sorts looke upon themselves in this glasse, they might goe away blushing with shame for such unsea∣sonable errors.

If when the hand of God is stretched out against us, it bee a proper season to consider our wayes then, Behold here Caveat against carnall security, especially, in evill dayes, as most unsuitable for such a time when Gods awakening judge∣ments are abroad. It argues a most wretched frame of spirit to fall on sleepe even under the Rod, for any to grow secure in some,* when God is whipping for sinne, is a signe of desperate wickednesse.

Solomon gives us a double character, Prov. 22. 3.*A prudent man foreseeth the evill, and hides himself. Hee discovers a judge∣ment Page  18 in the causes, presages symptomes aswell as in the begin∣nings of it, and accordingly hides himselfe in his God; But the simple passe on and are punished, goe plodding on in a sinfull course, by an heedlesse secure non-consideration of their wayes, and so at the last are broken all to pieces.

God expects and takes it for granted that, as in Esa. 26. 9. when his judgements are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learne righteousnesse: And is highly provoked by the con∣trary carriage, which you shall have expressed, ver. 11. Lord when thy hand is lifted up, they will not see: but they shall see, and bee ashamed for their envy at the people; yea the fire of thine enemies shall devoure them. They who will not see the judgments of God to their humiliation, shall feele them to their confusi∣on. This doth no question multiply our Rods, and draw our the Warre from Summer to Winter, from Winter to Summer; (and who knows how long it shall continue, if we still continue secure?) in that wee have not learned by so many reall Sermons from Heaven, to set our hearts upon our wayes. You may ob∣serve a terrifying hint in Ezek. 9. 8, 9. when God was slaying them, as now hee is in England, they were very secure in sinfull wyes, vers. 9. the Land was full of blood, and the City full of wresting of judgment: (Is not this our unhappy case?) the root of these cursed weeds was their Atheisme, they say, The Lord hath for∣saken the earth, and hee seeth not. God would not beare this secu∣rity in sin; and therfore thunders in vers. 10. Mine eye shal not spart, neither will I have pity, but I will recompence their way upon their hea••.

Our wisest men have been much puzled, and brought to a losse againe and againe since these troubles began. Both sides at first were ready to thinke that one battaile would decide this great controversie. But alas, standers by may see the hand of God contriving the protraction of these Warres, even when we have be∣gun to please our selves with some hopes of Peace. 1. Some∣times there have been overtures of a pacification, but then not a concurrent willingnesse on both sides at that time. 2. Sometimes when the Parliament Forces have had good successes, they have not been so happy in managing and pursuing, as in obtaining their victories. 3. Again, too often, in the very ick of time for great action, there have been some passionate selvish clashings among coun∣sellors,Page  19 amongst Commanders, or both. But what lyes at the bot∣tome of all this? Is there not a Jonah asleepe in the Ship, which occasions the storme? Are not wee still secure in our wonted sins? Doubtlesse,*Gods wise hind so orders the great affaires of England, that we may feed longer upon the bitter fruits of our own wick∣ed wayes, which wee have not yet seriously considered: we tread in Ephrains sinfull steps, and therefore no wonder, if wee tast of Ephraims judgments, Hosea 7. 1, 2. When I would have hesled Is∣rael, then the iniqutiy of Ephraim was discovered, and the wickednesse of Sanaria, for they commit salshood, the these commeth in, and the troope of Robbers spoileth without. (This is too true of England) And they consider not in their hearts that I remembers all their wickednes, now their owne doings have beset then about, they are before may face. It was Ephraims fault, they did not set their hearts upon their wayes; they did not say to their hearts, God remembers all our wickednesse, hereby they plunged themselves into heavy evils. It concernes us all to watch and pray, that such security betray not England into more devouring calamities.

Be perswaded, I beseech you, as you desire to approve your selves good Christians,* good Patriots, emprove the hand of God that now lyes upon England, to a more full consideration of your owne wayes. It is good logick, and as seasonable divini∣ty, which the Prophet useth in ver. 5. Now therefore consider your waies, because God is angry with you, therefore set your hearts upon your wayes.

Religion should teach Christians not onely to meet God in the way of his ordinances, but also in the paths of his provi∣dences. It was their sinne, Jer. 8. 6. when God observed their carriage and language in evill dayes, They spake not aright, they made perverse interpretations of Gods Judgements, no man re∣pented of his wickedesse, saying, What have I done? The Lord expe∣cted that when hee spoke to them by his judgments, they should speake to them selves of their sinnes, saying, What have I done? what have J done?

And if you will be awakened to consider your wayes by any judgements, then me thinkes by the Sword, and most of all by such a devouring Sword as is now drawne in England, it being so great Page  20 signe of Gods high displeasure against us. Scarce ever any war managed with a greater Antipathy. As in the naturall body, Physi∣tians account those Diseases most dangerous, which are morbi complbi••••, where there is a concurrence of divers diseases;* so in the body politick, we may call Warre, plag. complicatissima; War for the most part,* especially if it continue long, brings with it cruelty and oppression, breeds, prophanenesse and Atheisme; Germany hath had fad experience hereof, God grant England may not find and seele the same! Therfore some Expositors observe upon those word, Lev. 26. 6. Neither shall the Sword goe through your Land: there is not onely a promise that they shall live in peace, and not be destroyed by the sword of their enemies, but that hee will keep the Sword from so much as going through the Land, because Armies of souldiers doe too often destroy Countries, not onely by fighting against them, but even by going through them.

It were a seasonable study for us all, and an excellent point of wisdom for the greatest Counsellors,* to find out the proper cause and remedy of these great evils which lie upon ENGLAND: wee may well say with the Prophet Jeremy, Chap. 9. 12. Who is the wise man that may understand this, and who is hee to whom the mouth of the Lord hath spoken, that hee may decalare it for what the Land perisheth, and is burnt up like a wildernesse, that none pas∣seth through? England hath a great stocke of prayers going in Scotland, in Germany, amongst the Protestants in France, and that gasping remnant in Ireland. Wee have had many solemne pray∣ing dayes at home, that this bloody Sword might be sheathed, we have often spoke that language; Jer. 47. 6. O thou Sword of the Lord, how long will it bee ere thou be quiet? Put up thy selfe into the Scabberd, rest and bee still. The Sword hath hither to answe∣red us negatively, as in vers. 7. How can it be quiet seeing the Lord hath given it acharge against Askelon? If God will charge the Sword in England to ride circuit from North to West, and so all over the Land, who can discharge it? In the end of vers. 7. there hath hee appointed it. It moves by commission from God, and doth execution where, and as long as he pleases. Doubt∣lesse we may conclude, being the Warres are still protracted, there is something yet undone by us, which God expects from us. Page  21 It was one of Solomons prayers to God, 1 Kings 8. 37, 38. If there were a pestilence, if there were a Caterpillar, or if their enemies be∣siege them in the Land, what prayer and supplication soever bee made by any man, or by all thy people Israel, which shall know every man 〈◊〉 plague of his owne heart,*then eare thou in Heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive. You have had many Parliament Fasts, but all this while it may bee you have not seriously considered your owne evill wayes; you have not yet knowne every man the plague of his one heart, and therefore God hath not yet answered your former prayers.

You are againe met upon a Solemne day, to humble your selves in your present straits, and to seeke Gods Face. As you desire the Lord should bee found of you, labour first to search and find out your owne bosome Achan. Wee feele by lamentable experi∣ence, the Lord still maintaines a controversie with the Land; Moh and Ammon, Papists and Atheists, or any adversarics, though never so much enraged, could not fight against us, unlesse our sins put Swords into their hands. This is the worke of the time, when Gods hand is stretched out against us, this is the duty of the day when we professe selfe-humbling, then to be very inqui∣sitive into our selves, that wee may ix our hearts upon our own wayes.

Many of you are Great Senators, who may looke upon your selves in a double capacity, as private and publike Men, and so have just occasion to consider both your personall and publique wayes. When you begin to fasten your thoughts upon your own personall wayes, that you may truly understand your selves, and have a right apprehension of your own wayes; be pleased to take these hints.

First, do not only compare your selves with your selves, and your present wayes onely with your owne former wayes.* That rule is too short. A hard-hearted Pharaoh, a wicked Herod may have some fits of goodnesse, some fleshly purposes and promises for God, and yet still the bent of the heart bee ingaged in evill wayes.

Secondly, doe not compare your owne wayes with other mens wayes. That rule will prove crooked. You may be much better Page  22 then some others, and not good in Gods account, not sound at the heart witnesse the Scribes and Pharisees.

Thirdly, wisely compare your own wayes with the unpartiall Rule of Gods Word, inquiing whether your wayes bee Gods wayes. You have sent abroad an excellent Ordinance for a strict obser∣ving the Lords Day, reflect and inquire how you keep it your selves: And whilst you consult about Church and State Refor∣mation,* are you selfe-Reformers? Do you indevour to walke in wayes of holinesse and righteousnesse before God all your dayes, as good first and second-Table men, giving both God and Man their due?

Againe, if you look upon your selves in your publick capaci∣ties, there will bee a great deale of work for consideration of your wayes, how you walk therein. You are advanced to this Honour, either by birth or by choyce, to bee the great Counsellors of the Kingdome. Hypocrisie in hearers, and flattery in Ministers are odious at any time, but most abominable upon a day of Hu∣miliation. I cannot approve my selfe to God and my own con∣science, unlesse I should knock at your doores who sit at the stern,* and beseech you who are such publick Persons in the two Houses of Parliament, to consider your own publick wayes. To this pur∣pose I will bee bold to propose these following Quaeres.

Do not some of you walke in wayes of Opposition to a through Scripture Reformation of the Church; and are too ready when the government of Christ is propounded,* to speak their lan∣guage, Luk. 19 14. Wee will not have this man to reign over us? Af∣ter you have had such elbow-roome for your lusts, are you not unwilling to take the yoke of Christ upon you, fearing the strict∣nesse of it? Insomuch that you cannot heartily say the three first Petitions of the Lords Prayer. Hallowed bee they Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will bee done in Earth, as it is in Heaven. What saith Conscience to this Quaere?

Are there not some amongst you who walk in such wayes of dull indifferencie,* and lukewarme neutraity, that though you do not oppose, yet you little care what becomes of Religion and Page  23 Reformation, so you may bee quiet? Provided you may have hopes to injoy your selves in your Palaces and your Parks, with your Hawkes and Hounds, and to swim in wonted Country contentments, without that slavery which is contrary to our En∣glish Spirits: as for Religion, whether any thing or nothing, how little do some of you care?

What answer will your Consciences give to this Quaere?

Are there none who pretending to Reformation,* yet walk in such wayes of politick Selfe-seekings, and Selfe-servings, that they value their own ends, intersts, advantages, and private opinions, much more then the welfare of the Kingdomes, and the publick promoting the Cause of God? must not all comply with their designes, stoope to their ingagements, concurre with their Opi∣nions, otherwise they care not to hazzard the welfare of the whole?

O that all your consciences could give a satisfying answer to this Quaere!

Are there not such to bee found amongst you,* who being got into warme and fat places, walk in wayes of covetousnesse and op∣pression therein? as they in Micah 2. 1, 2. Having porver in their band, they covet fields and take them by violence, and houses and take them away; oppresse a man and his house, even a man and his heri∣tage: yea, out of a greedy desire of gaine, doe not some falsifie the publick Trust, that they may feather their own nests, and make provision for themselves?

Are all your Consciences cleare in answering this Quaere?

Are there none amongst you who in your private Committees,* and in the administring of publick Justice walke in wayes of une∣••nnesse and partiality? Sometimes revenging themselves on such as have displeased them, other times conniving at great sinnes, and high offences in such as relate unto them; and too often out of meere favour, mis-imploy their power to make such of their friends Sequestrators, or other Officers, who both oppresse the Subjects and deceive the State. Under such (who ever put them Page  24 into their places) many parts of poore England sadly groanes. Can you all with conscience of your own Innocency confi∣dently answer this Quaere?

Lastly, suppose you could all wash your hearts and hands,* and leave not somuch as suspicion of any of the forementioned e∣vills; yet are there not many amongst you who have been ve∣ry remisse and sloathfull in Advancing Temple-work? Have you been valiant for the Truth?* Have you been fervent in spirit ser∣ving the Lord? Have you loved your God, who hath so glori∣ously preserved you in the midst of so many flames, with all your strength, improving all your Parliament power for him? O have not very many of you minded much more the building of your owne House, then the rebuilding of Gods Temple?

What saith Conscience to this Quaere? guilty or not guilty?

What if the All-seeing God should this day come downe a∣mongst you, and search our Parliament, as once Hierusalem, with candles, Zep. 1. 12. And if, as you have already Voted many of your Members out of the Houses, for their Delinquency, so the Lord should dismisse all others, as unworthy of such an Ho∣nourable Trust, who are still found within any of these ixe Rankes; I appeale to your selves, would not this much lessen your number?

Other bee intreated, when the hand of God upon England calls for it; you who are the Representative Kingdome, stirre up your selves and one another to consider all your wayes, Think, speak, and act, as in Lamentat. 3. 39, 40. Wherefore doth a li∣ving man complain, a man for the punishment of his sinnes? Let us search and try our wayes and turn again unto the Lord. This were very seasonable fruite for such a time as wee live in.

Come wee now to the second Branch of that Consel which the Lord of Hosts, here gives them. Having called them to lock back∣ward by selfe-reflection, ver. 17. Here hee quickens them to look forward, putting them upon Action.

Goe up to the Mountain, and bring Wood, and build the House, and Page  25 I will take pleasure in it, and I will bee glorisyed, saith the Lord.

The Temple was long in hand before it could bee finished (some sayaabove an hundred yeeres, till the time of Darius No∣thus,b others who cast it upon Darius Hystaspis, reckon it about eighteen yeeres,) there was Prophet upon Prophet, and Counsell after Counsell, yet all little enough to perswade them to Go up to the Mountain, and build the House.

Whence Observe,

Temple-work is not easily, not suddenly accomplished.*

If you please to read seriously the Story of Ezra, there you may perceive the many obstructions the Jews met with in re∣building the materiall Temple, and then to compare what Luke saith in the Acts of the Apostles, there you shall see as great im∣pediments to retard the Apostles, in building the Spirituall Tem∣ple, the Church of Christ. Rehum the Chancellour, and Shim∣shai the Scribe,* were not more desperately set against Zerubbabel and his Associates, Ezra 4. 7, 8. then the Rulers and Elders, and Scribes, Annas the High Priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander and as many as were of the kindred of the High Priest (the whole fraternity of the Jewish High Commission combined to∣gether) did indevour to hinder Peter and John in laying the foundation of the Spirituall Temple.* See Act. 4, 5, 6, 15, 16, 17, 18. how they convented, threatned, and would have silenced them, Commanding them not to speak at all, nor teach in the Name of Jesus.*

Temple-work is of that holy nature, that it findes a great An∣tipathy in most peoples spirits. The building of Gods house, wher∣in hee requires to bee worshipped and served according to his own will, doth so much crosse the wils and lusts of carnall men, that they cannot bee brought to comply with it. They are not willing to bee personally reformed, and therefore imploy their pow∣er and policy, their strength and wit, to oppose publick Refor∣mation; They who desire not themselves to bee built up a spiri∣tuall bonse, and to bee an holy Priest-hood, to offer sacrifices un∣to God, will not heartily promote Temple Work.*

Page  26 Temple work meets with implacable opposition from the Devil,* which much hinders the accomplishment of it, as in Rev. 12. 2. when the Church was travelling with Christ mysticall, and pain∣ed to be delivered, under pangs of persecution, to bring forth a glo∣rious birth, there was a great red Dragon, having seven heads, and ten hornes, and seven Crowns upon his heads, ver. 3. Which stood before the Woman which was ready to bee delivered, for to devoure her childe as soon as it was born, ver. 4. Here you have Satan and his Vice-roy the Roman Emperours, red with fury and the blood of Saints, having seven crowned heads, that is, seven kindes of Governments successively (as Kings, Consuls, Tribunes, Decem∣virs, Dictators, Emperours, and Popes) having ten hornes, that is,*ten Kingdomes, into which the Empire in the time of the last head is rent; This Dragon continually watched how to crush the Church of Christ, like Pharaoh and Herod, in the birth and infancy of it.* Hee well knows that the advancing of Christs Kingdome, in the building of the Temple, is the ruining of his u∣surped Dominion, which exasperates him so much that hee will muster up all his Forces to hinder the progresse of it.

The Adversaries of Temple-work are very subtile and industri∣ous to raise such prejudices against it,* as may cloud the glory of Reformation.

This is often whispered, though most unjustly, as if the Re∣formers would make, not a Renovation, but an Innovation, and as if they would erect a frame of Church-Government, opposite to Civill Authority. What the Devill, what the Jesuites, with all the seed of the Serpent can devise, shall bee throwne in as blocks in the builders way; they will still do their utmost to cast mountaines of difficulty; to keep off Zerubbabel from adding the top stone.*

The cordiall Instruments to carry on Temple-worke are but ew in comparison of adversaries,* and some of them too often either grow weary and sloathfull, if not treacherous, or being sway∣ed by earnall policy, degenerate into selfe-seekings, and selfe-servings,Page  27 and others, from whom much is expected, so miserably divided amongst themselves, that in stead of combining against the com∣mon Enemy, to advance the building of Gods House, they fall into sharpe contestations one with another, whereby Temple-work is most unhappily obstructed, England is like to find the sad experience of this as well as Germany.

Power and Authority, which have the great influence,* are seldom so happy as to bee imployed and improved readily for God, which oc∣casions many delays in Temple-work. 1 Cor. 1. 26. Not many migh∣ty men, not many noble are called, either to injoy Salvation in Hea∣ven, or to do great Services on Earth. Cunning adversaries know how to flatter Princes, to abuse their Greatnesse, to hinder Good∣nesse. Diverse of the Persian Governours acted successively in an opposing or hindering the re-building the Temple, before a Darius could be found who would resolutely promote the finish∣ing of it. There were many Generations of bloody persecuting Nerves amongst the Roman Emperours, before one Constantine who would imploy his power to advance the building of the Christian Church.

God will be All in all, and especially acknowledged in Tem∣ple-worke,* and therefore suffer it to bee carryed on through such delayes and difficulties, that wee shall have evident reason to cry Grace, Grace, to the Lord of Hosts, as in Zach. 4. 7. In the beginning of this Parliament, the Counsels of Reformation did move very vigorously, as if the work would have been suddainly done, People began to eye the Creature too much, and to set up some second causes too high, advancing them even into Gods Throne. The Lord hath since taken from us by death, divers zealous and worthy Instruments, and suffered so many intervening rubs to hinder our dispatch of Temple-work, that we are taught to eye God more, and now to speak this Language,*The zeale of the Lord of hosts will perform this, Isai. 9. 7.

If Temple-worke bee not easily, not suddenly accomplished, Then why should any bee offended with delayes and difficulties in the present work of Reformation?Page  28 Gods glorious works have ordinarily small beginnings, are carryed on without externall pompe, and for the most part make very slow progresse: this possibly may offend carnall specta∣tors; but our Saviour pronounces all them Blessed, who shall not bee offended in him, Matth. 11. 6. How mean so ever hee appeare in his word, or in his workes. God hath laid the Foundation of a glorious Temple for himselfe in England, The work indeed hangs long in our Zerubbabels and Joshuahs hands, many are herewith much offended and discouraged; Bee pleased to read o∣ver the Story of Gods Providences about the building and reform∣ing of his Church from time to time, you shall then finde the motion in Temple-work is seldome quick. Great works as well as great bodies move but slowly.

By the good hand of our God upon us, there is a beautifull Fabrick of his House, (as neere as wee can according to the A∣postolicall pattern) preparing amongst us, and some such things are already done towards it, as will bee of singular concernment both in reference to the Honour of the Lord himselfe, and also to the comfort of the Inhabitants.* In stead of the High Commission, which was a sore scourge to many godly and faithfull Ministers, wee have an Honourable Committee, that turns the wheele upon such as are scandalous and unworthy. In the roome of Jeroboams Priests, burning and shining Lights are multiplyed, in some dark places of the Land, which were full of the habitations of cru∣elty. In the place of a long Liturgie, wee are in hope of a pithy Directory. In stead of Prelaticall Railes about the Table, wee have the Scripture Railes of Church Discipline in good forwardnesse. Where Popish Altars and Crucifixes did abound, wee begin to see more of Christ crucifyed in the simplicity and purity of his Or∣dinances. In stead of the Prelates Oath, to establish their owne exorbitant power, with the appurtenances, wee have a Solemne Co∣venant with God, ingaging us to indevour Reformation, accor∣ding to his Word, yea, and the extirpation of Popery, and Pre∣lacy it selfe. Who could expect that such great matters should bee easily and suddenly effected?

Yet still you must make account the Devil will bestire him∣selfe to ralise all the Forces hee can, from Hell, or on the Earth,Page  29 to hinder the progresse in this Blessed work, and admit your hopes should yet hee deferred, however suffer not your Spirits to sinke with discouragement. In these delayes the Adversaries may have one designe, hoping hereby to undermine the building, before it bee finished; but the wise God hath another designe herein, hee knows how to take the wise in their own craftinesse,* and through their retardings to carry on Temple-work with great advantage; All our delayes and difficulties may prove the Lords method to fetch off peoples Spirits, to close more fully with his own work. The businesse of Church-Reformation, stuck here most of all, even in the reluctancy of the peoples minds a∣gainst it, and their indisposednesse to comply with it, as in good Jehosophats dayes, The high places were not taken away, for as yet the people had not prepared their hearts unto the God of their Fathers, 2 Chron. 20. 33. Our Temple-work was no more forward, be∣cause the hearts of the most of England have been so backward to it. Behold here the admirable providence of God, how hee hath improved the lengthening of our Troubles; Hereby hee hath by little and little moulded peoples spirits to a more ply∣able disposition,* and made many much more ready to concurre in the building of the Temple, in the Advancing of Reforma∣tion.

When the warres began, thousands in England who in a hu∣mour would have taken up Armes to fight for the Prelacy and the Service-Book, have been so hammered and hewed by the conti∣nuance of Gods Judgements upon us, that now they are come to this; Let the Parliament and Assembly doe what they will with Prelacy and Liturgie, so the sword may bee sheathed, now Truth shall bee welcome, so they may have Peace.

O then, why should not you hold up your courage and confidence in the midst of all obstructions and difficulties? God walkes towards you in his ordinary pace. You have already reaped such good fruits as will helpe to beare the charges of our long delayes. The Lord hath hereby facilitated the rebuilding of his own house. There are wise men who think our Reformation would have been very low, had not God raised the spirits of our Reformers by the length of these multiplyed Troubles.

Page  30 It hath been more then once observed by such as looke on, that when our Parliament Spirits have begunne to faile and sinke, then some Plot or other of the undermining adversaries hath been discovered, whereby they have been quickned to the Lords work, and when they have begunne to clash and divide a∣mongst themselves, then hath appeared some common danger, wherein they were all involved, and so have been happily re∣united for the publick welfare of Church and State. God knows how to make all events subservient to his own purposes. You read in Isa. 1. 25. 27. Before Zion shall be redeemed with Judge∣ment, hee will purely purge away her drosse, and take away all her Tinne. Here was much drosse in England, both of persons and things. Wonder not if they bee not suddainly or easily remo∣ved. Many drossie persons and things have been taken away by the length of these troubles, which otherwise in all proba∣bility would still have clogged us. As in matters of State, the civill Sword being so indulgent, would not take off Delinquents, therefore the Lord still renues the Commission of the Militarie Sword, to doe Justice till his Counsell bee fulfilled. So in the Affaires of the Church, many poore deluded people in England were fond of their needlesse Ceremonies, and ready to dote on some Babylonish trinkets, who probably would not have been weaned from them, had not God whipped them off by the con∣tinuance of these troubles. You have the greater reason to bee satisfyed under his hand; who hereby makes us more willing heartily to return from Babylon to Hierusalem, that wee may goe up to the Mountaine, and build the Lords House: And so I hasten to the last observation out of the eighth verse. Goe up to the Moun¦tain and bring wood and build the house;

It is doubtful to some Expositors what Mountain is here meant, whether mount Moriah, where the former Temple was built,* that it might there bee raised againe:* Or whether it bee Libnus, and that they should goe up thither to cut trees, and so carry them to Hierusalem, to build the Temple. In reference to the main purpose,* both will come to the same, the Lord cals upon them with expedition to build his House.

Go up to the Mountain. You must (saith Hierom) Ascend Page  31 from the Vallies to the Hill, call off your mind from earthly things, if you would build the Temple of God. Ambrose glos∣ses upon it. Ascendite in montem Scripturarum caelestium, &c. Goe into the Mountain of the Heavenly Scriptures,* cut there the Tree of wisedome and life, &c. Let us leave these Allegories, and with Junius imbrace that which the whole series of the words most cleerly holds forth. The Lord here puts them upon a course how to recover themselves from under those evils which lye upon them, hee bids them shake off their sluggishnesse, breake through opposition, goe up to Sion, and build the Temple. Hence observe;

To set seriously and readily about building the Temple is a most com∣pendious way to obtain favour from the Lord of Hosts when his hand is lifted up against a people.*

The Lords great designe here on earth, is to prepare a Tem∣ple to raise a glorious Throme for his Sonne in his Church: This is the tenour of his promises, I will make thee an eternall excellen∣cy, a joy of many Generations, Isa. 60. 15. His providentiall dispensa∣tions runne this way, Isa. 62. 6, 7. I have set watchmen upon thy walls O Hierusalem, which shall never hold their peace, till hee make Hierusalem a praise in the earth. In the materiall and spiritu∣all Temple this was his great worke, what was typified in the one, shall bee gloriously accomplished in the other, Hag. 2. 7. 9. there hee doth ingage his favourable presence. In this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of Hosts.

Hence by his Prophets the Lord did so much incite the Jews to expedite this worke. Hereby he trayned them up to the ex∣pectation of Christ, and to faith and hope in him who was repre∣sented by this Temple; hereby they might be led Heaven-ward in the exercise of the duties of piety whilest they are imployed in Temple worke;* yea indeed the neglect of the building of this House would argue much prophanenesse of spirit, it being the place which God himselfe appointed for his solemn publick worship.

But I need not look further then the Text it selfe, which hath native strength in it to confirme the observation. Behold here a Page  32 double Reason to quicken you all, as you desire favour and rest in these troublous times to bee diligent in building Gods House.

The first reason speakes to their selfe-love.*And I will take pleasure in it, Ero propitius in ea, as Calvin reads it, with others. There you shall meet my blessing, there you shall have the privi∣ledge to seeke mee, and the happinesse to find mee. There the Lord had by his promise engaged his owne gracious presence with his people,* and his acceptance of their prayers and services. Com∣pare 1 Kings 8. 29. with Deut. 12. 11. My name shall bee there; and there should bee his eye, his eare, and his hand, according to their exigents.

The second reason suits as much with his owne glory,*And I will bee glorified, saith the Lord. Gods people have three glo∣rious and gracious aspects of their heavenly Father; in Christ, in the Church, and in Heaven: Hee first looked upon them in Christ from eternity, and they may behold him in Christ; then they meet him in his Church, in his house here upon earth; and afterwards shall come to enjoy him everlastingly in He∣ven. And indeed for the present, wee never see so much of Gods glorious goodnesse in Christ, wee never see so much of the glorious hopes of Heaven, as when wee converse with God in his owne house. There hee doth shew to his people most of his glory, manifestative, hee is glorified, and then also his people do active & objective, glorifie him, both in the building of his house, and worshipping him therein according to his will, Psalm. 102. 16. When the Lord shall build up Sion, hee shall appeare in his glory.

Is building Gods house the ready way to obtaine Gods blessings? Then,* as you desire to approve your selves friends to Englands tranquillity, take heed you bee not found, either Retarders, or Vnderminers of the building, in these times of Reformation.

The first Item shall be against Retarders of Temple-work,* who are of two sorts.

First, prophane Atheists, who cannot endure to thinke of any such Reformation as will confine and straiten them in making provision for their lusts.* There are too many of all rankes who Page  33 combine in this confederacy. They are not onely poore Peasants, the prafanum vulgus, who quarrell against the strictnesse of Reforma∣tion; I wish none of our great ones were to bee found in this Cata∣logue. I feare many of our Ministers will help to fill it up. When Christ was to come into his Temple, there needed a John Baptist to prepare the way, to make the mountaines lw, and the rough places plaine,* and all little enough, Mal. 3. 2. But who may abide the day of his omming? and who shall stand when bee appeareth? For hee is like a Re∣finers fire, and the Fullers sope. In such a posture Christ appeares in England, in these Reforming times, which makes profane ones who are not willing to be refined, retard what they can.

Secondly, Carnall Selfe-Seekers are deeply guilty of retarding Tem∣ple-worke;*, you shall find in 2 Tim. 3. 2. 4. there is a wicked Regi∣ment, a wretched conspiracy of such men as make the last times pe∣rilous. In the very front comes selfe-love, ver. 2. Men shall bee lo∣vers of their own selves, and withall, ver. 4. Such as are lovers of plea∣sures more then of God. They who value their carnall-selfe at so high a rate, that they will preferre their owne ends, their ease, their plea∣sures, any thing of themselves before God and his Honour, will bee ready upon every occasion, to hinder Reformation, and will rather imploy their wit and influence, to keep down Gods House, then that the building of Gods House should occasion the pulling down of their beloved carnall-self.

The second Item is for underminers of Templework, of whom there are likewise two sorts,* swayed by two different undermining prin∣ciples:

First,*Such who would have nothing jure divino, nothing stand by di∣vine right in Church affaires, but resolve all wholly into State power, and ci∣vill policy. Gods House will never bee built but by the Line of his own word. Moses had the pattern of the Tabernacle, Solomon of the Temple, and the Apostles of the Christian Church as the Lord directed. Doubtlesse there may bee an extreame on both hands, some would winde up jure divino too high, and seek an expresse institution for those things which are dictated by the very light of reason, common to all, or wrapped up in the generall Rules of Scripture. Others are so much afraid of jure divino, that they would turne it out of the Church, and bring all to jure humano; and so farre subordinate the Church to the State, that Jesus Christ the Lord of the house, shall Page  34 not bee allowed either to build or rule his own house according to his 〈◊〉.

I confesse it is good to bee wise herein,* not to put the stampe of Jus divinum upon any thing, without cleare warrant from the word of God. And withall, as you are to bee carefull that you doe not 〈◊〉 prudentials into the Throne of Divine institution; so you should beware, that you seek not to bring down divine Institutions into meere State prudentials, lest you bee found underminers of the Lords Temple. Bee not shie of Jus divinum, where you have verbum di∣vinum for it. The Kingdome of Christ is not inconsistent with any Civill policy, which tends to the publick good; it never hurts any States but such as do oppose it, them indeed it will break all to pee∣ces, witnesse the foure Monarchies one after another.

Secondly, Such who would have a toleration of all wayes of Religion in this Church;* These would lamentably undermine the building of Gods house amongst us, as being so contrary to the indevouring of a Scripure reformation unto which wee have so solemnly ingaged our selves. Doubtlesse the word of God holds forth one true way of Religion in the Christian Church. Let there bee a most exact inqui∣ry what Latitude the Scripture doth allow for different opinions and practises in that one true way.

But to set the doore so wide open as to tolerate all Religions, to make London an Amsterdam, (which yet some contend for, and would now bee content to tolerate Popery it selfe, so they might enjoy their own way, though not many yeeres since their spirits would have risen at the mention of such a thing in England) is such an undermining of the Temple, that this would soon pull down Gods house here, but never build it up. God forbid that any of you should bee sound either retarders or underminers of such a worke.

If the advancing of Temple-work bee the most compendious way to ob∣tain the blessing of the Lord of Hosts:*

Then (Right Honourable and Worthy Senators) as you de∣sire to contribute towards England welware, quicken your selves and one another to diligence in building the Lords Temple. The more you desire to see your own decayed houses, and estates repaired and setled, bee the more zealous and faithfull in re-building Gods house. It may Page  35 bee the wise God will not suffer you to injoy your Palaces, till you have finished the work of Reformation, that hee may injoy his Temple.

I desire you may remember all Gods diverting providences,* working for your good, that your active prudence may bee inga∣ged for his service. Had not the Lord of Hosts diverted the Kings Army from comming up towards London, when they had gotten Bristoll, and the Earle of New-Castles Forces from comming up to the then Associating Counties, when hee set down before Hull; yea, had not the Lords mighty hand kept Prince Ruperts for∣midable Army from comming Southward, when hee had got so great an advantage by raising the Siege at Yorke; how much more sad might Englands condition have been before this time? And I hope you will upon this day of humiliation so wisely ob∣serve his humbling providences in our present straites and troubles,* that you may bee awakened to a more serious consideration of your own wayes, and in an holy revenge of your former negli∣gence, set your selves upon the building of the Lord Christs house.

O that there were amongst our Nobles and Gentry, many more of Davids spirit, who made great preparations for the building of the Temple, 1 Chron. 22. 5. Yea in his trouble hee prepared for the house of the Lord, ver. 14. They have had a large share in these devouring troubles. Much of the blood of our Nobles and Gentry hath been spilt and many of their houses and estates ruined in this unnaturall Warre, as if the Lord had a speciall quarrell a∣gainst them, intending to staine the pride of their glory. The Lord make them wise who remaine to study Gods meaning herein. Certainly this were a good improvement of it, for you who have been preserved to consecrate your lives, your Honour, to the honour of your good God, in the building of his House.

Quest. What preparations should wee make for the building of Gods House? what may wee do towards it?

Answ. Bee pleased to accept of these few plain directions,* im∣prove your interest and influence for the acting of them.

First, Downe with the old building of Popery and Prelacy. The Pope hath been raising himselfe a pompous palace, for many yeeres together, upon Christs ground, a great incroachment upon Page  36 our deare Saviour, who is King of his Church, which must come down, it is designed to ruine, Rev. 14. 8. Prelacy was the Scaffold whereby this building of Popery was raised to so great an heighth, and now many would retain it as a crutch, to sup∣port tottering Babylon; Make good your Solemn Covenant; If you are not in a capacity for the overthrowing of it by the exercise of the Legisative power in a Bill; it's worthy your wise considerati∣on whether it were not fit to doe what you can by passing an Or∣dinance of Parliament against it.

Secondly,*, when you have pulled downe the old building, leave no rubbish upon the place. It was an unhappy defect in for∣mer Reformations, though some of the grand Idols were re∣moved, yet still there was so much Babylonish sfuffe left behind, which now hath occasioned great trouble. Away with Ceremo∣nies, Altars, and Crucifixes, away with the Popes Canon Law, or whatsoever may give any occasion to Samarit an builders, to make such a mixture in the Church, as is contrary to the simplicity in Christ, 2 Cor. 11. 3. which should bee the rule of the Churches Conformity.

Thirdly, Lay a good foundation,* in the building of Gods house, Christ in his Gospell a sure foundation, Isa. 28. 16. The foun∣dation is both the strength and the rule of the building, to which it should be commensurate: There is a foundation personall, Christ himselfe, 1. Cor. 3. 11. and doctrinall, as hee is held forth in the doctrine of the Prophets and Apostles, Ephes. 2. 20. The more you minde these in the worke of Reformation, the more glorious house you will raise for God to dwell in.

Fourthly, Look to the superstructions,* when you have laid a good foundation. Doe not multiply humane inventions, in stead of divine Ordinances. Consider what Offices, what Administrations the Lord of the house hath prescribed in his Word. Hee hath given Pastors and Teachers, Ephes. 4. 11. Hee hath set in the Church, Helpes, Governments, 1 Cor. 12. 28. not helpes in govern∣ment, (as it is in some Copies mis-printed) but Helpes, Govern∣ments, which most learned Expositors make to bee Deacons, and Ruling Elders, to assist the Pastors and Teachers; Let us not bee afraid of admitting such as God himselfe hath prescribed; there is no better way of building Gods House, then out of his own Materials.

Page  37 Fifthly, Labour to approve your selves lively stones, spirituall Temples to Jesus Christ,* then indeed you will adde very much to the building of Gods house: 1 Pet. 2. 4, 5. The Apostle repre∣sents Christ as the Living Stone, and if you come to him as lively stnes, yee are built up a spirituall house; Temple-worke will not bee advanced by dead stones.

Sixthly, Improve your Parliament power, to multiply builders in the Church.* Poore England complains under three great defects:

First, Schooles and Vniversities are much decayed, where builders might bee prepared.

Secondly, Ordination is wanting, whereby they might bee so∣lemnly set apart for so great a service.

Thirdly, Maintenance to incourage them in their work, is mi∣serably, and scandalously poore in many places.

Reckon it your Honour to cherish the Seminaries of Religion, and Learning, that many Candidates for the Ministery may bee trained up there. Bee pleased to quicken your Counsels in ripe∣ning the Ordinance for Ordination, according to the advice of the Assembly,* presented to the Honourable Houses, that such as are able and willing to helpe to build the Lords House, may bee admitted to the work; And let your wisdome contrive how the Lords builders may have a sufficient,* an honourable, and a certain maintenance. How much might an Ordinance for the reviving of the Ecoffees to recover Impropriations conduce to this happy purpose? Here∣by shall you bee renowned amongst those who have done much to helpe to build the old waste places, and to raise up the founda∣tion of many Generations, and you shall bee called the Repairers of the breach, the restorers of pathes to dwell in, Isa. 58. 12. which is a promise made to such a Fast, as God hath chosen. As I began, so I will end with the counsell of the Lord of Hosts, which hee backs with much sweet incouragement to such as are ready to build his house, Zach. 8. 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15. Let your hands bee strong, feare not, let your hands bee strong.

FINIS.