PRAISES Bespoke for the GOD of Heaven, In a Thanksgiving SERMON.
It is Written in Isai. XII.5.
Sing unto the Lord, for He hath done Excellent Things; This is Known in all the Earth.
OUr Blessed Saviour, being to Preach upon a Text, fetcht out of that very Book from whence we have now taken ours, began His Holy Sermon, with sayings This Page 2 Day is this Scripture fulfilled in your Ears.〈◊〉 is by an unhappy Encounter of Gods Mercies and your Desires, that upon the Reading of the Text now before us, I may in like manner, close the Book, and say, This day is this Text fulfilled amongst us. Truly tis known abroad, that our God has done excel∣lent things; and for this cause we are with no less Grounded than Solemn THNKSGIVINGS endeavouring to Sing unto the Lord. Behold a Word of the day in its day here provided for you. May our further considering and under∣standing of the Text, but promote our fuller Conformi•y thereunto, and more exactly im∣print the shapes of this Heavenly Mould upon us.
As the Noble Prophet Isaiah, is in the Books of the New-Testament quoted perhaps no less than threescore times; thus the Dayes of the New-Testament are those which his Prophecies have their frequent and special References to.
Among other Employments of this An∣gelical, and Evangelical Pen, one was the pre∣paring of Sacred Songs, for the use of the Church, in the circumstances which there had been predictions of; and so, besides the Psalms which common conjectures have as∣cribed unto this Prophet the composing of; the forty-sixth particularly, which in imitat•on Page 3 of the great Luther, we may at this day make the Anodyne of our cares▪ we have two in∣spired Songs in this Chapter laid before us; in the first of the Songs, the Confessors of God endeavour themselves to celebrate the praises of that Eternal one; in the next they en∣deavour to excite and engage others unto a consort with them in this glorious Exercise. And here we have the Text which we are now to descant upon. [In that Day ye shall say] But What day is That day? we must be beholden unto the foregoing Chapter, for an Answer thereunto. We there find, that there will a Day come, when the Lord will set His Hand again the second time, to recover the remnant of his People: which will be when the Tribes of lost Israel are converted unto the Faith of the Lord Jesus; when according to the Language of the New-Testament, All Israel shall be saved. There will a Day come, when the Root of Iesse shall stand for an Ensign for the People: which will be at the second coming of our Lord; when according to the phrase taken by our Saviour from this very place, the sign of the Son of man shall ap∣pear. There will a Day come, when the Lord shall with the Breath of His Lips, slay the wicked; which will be when Antichrist shall perish by the fiery approach of the Lord Jesus, to take vengeance on His wickedest Page 4 Enemy: when according to the phrase taken by the Apostle also from this very place, The Lord shall consume that wicked one with the breath of his mouth, and shall destroy him with the brightnesr of his coming.
Tis that day which the Song now before us, is peculiarly calculated for. But certainly, we that are only getting into the Dawnings of that day, are not excluded from all medling with it; no, it is written for our Admoni∣tion.
In the Words to be now Handled, we have two Things
First, The Doings of God are here men∣tioned. It is said, He hath done Excellent Things: or as the Original imports, Great Things, and High Things: or as it may likewise be rendred Magnificent, and Il∣lustr•ous Things. The Hebrew Word (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉) is indeed a Substantive; and it intimates, that the Works of God are even Excellency in the Abstract, and Majesty it self. And the Chaldee Paraphrase here fitly puts upon them the term of 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 or Magnalia, noting in them something eminent and po∣werful. Such things are done by Him, who is Wonderful in Working!
Secondly, The Duties of men are then spe∣cified hereupon. Since excellent Things are done by God, there are two things to be done by us.
Page 5First, We are to sing the Praises of God. It is •here said, Sing unto the Lord. And such is the expression in the Holy style, as to sig∣nifie, not only an exactness, but also an in∣strument used in the Song. We are with a Sacred Musick to magnifie the God, who is worthy to be Praised.
Secondly, We are to spread the Praises of God. It is here said, This is known in all the Earth; but the version which is by some chosen for it rather is, Let this be known in all the Earth: We should not only our selves do it,, but likewise provoke and excite all the Earth to take notice of what Wonders have been done by Him who is fearful in Prai∣ses.
Wherefore the Truth to be now en∣tertained with us, is,
It is by the Propounding of two or three Conclusions that this Doctrine, will have its due Advantages.
There are multitudes of Praises due to the God of Heaven from us. To praise God, is to Acknowledge the persections that are in Him; 'tis to Acknowledge the infinite Power, Wisdom, Goodness, Justice and Holiness, which are His Attributes; and this we are to do, In all our ways. We have received our Being for this End; and our Grand, our Chief Errand into the World, is, That our God may have a Number of Rational Be∣holders to be sensible of His Excellencies. When Mankind came first out of His Glo∣rious Hand, He then said, as in Isa. 43.21. This people have I formed for my self, they shall shew forth my praise. In our Lower Little World, no Creatures can be found capable of Conceiving and Expressing those Ac∣knowledgments of God, which are, The Glory due unto his Name, besides MAN; who is therefore not unfitly called, The High-priest of the Creation. The devout Psalmist once called upon all Creatures, with a Repeated Invitation, Praise ye the Lord; but they all reply that Man is to do it for them, and they all therefore conspire to offer the Notices of the Almighty God unto Mans affectionate Contemplation.
Page [unnumbered]To praise God, is to Acknowledge in Him something Excellent, as 'tis said in Psal. 148.13. Let them praise the name of the Lord, for His Name alone is Excellent; thus, when we Acknowledge an Excellency in all those Ma∣nifestations which God maketh of Himself; then 'tis that we praise Him. Now the Praises owing to the God of Heaven from us, are ob∣liged not only by what He Is, but also by what He Does: indeed by what He Does it is that we come to Learn what He is. We ought to Acknowledge an Excellency in the Nature of God; which is to Ascribe Glory to Him. The Language of our praises is to be that in Psal. 89.6. Who can be compared, who can be Likened, unto the Lord? God should be truly Transcendent with us. We should appre∣hend, that as the Name of our God is, I AM, so all other Beings are as meer Non-Entities in comparison of Him; subscribing to that in Isa. 40.17. All are before Him as Nothing. We should apprehend the Being of God, so Independent, so Unchangeable, so Mysterious, as no other Being is; and with Dazzled Souls fall into such praises as to say, I cannot find out the Almighty to per∣fection. The perfections that are in the Al∣mighty God should even Astonish our Under∣standings; and fetch the Exclamations of Moses from us, in Exod. 15.11. Who is like Page 8 unto thee, O Lord, who is like unto thee? One while our praises are like Hannahs, to say. There is none Holy as the Lord! Another while our praises are like Ethans to say, Who is a Strong God like unto thee? Sometimes our Praises, like Pauls, are to say, God is only Wise; and sometimes again, God is True, but every man a Lyar; and then with David, we are to praise and say, O how great is thy Goodness! But the Excellency which is in the Works of God, is that which ren∣ders the Glory of His Essence, most apparent unto us; and the praises which we are to bring unto Him, are in a great measure to spring from thence. We are told in Isa. 28.29. The Lord of Hosts is Excellent in Working. Our praises of God, are in This to find the Reasons of them, He has done Excellent Things.
First, We ought with many praises to ob∣serve the Excellent Things which God has done for our selves. As the Psalmist call'd upon himself, in Psal. 103.1. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his Benefits; thus ought we to Reflect upon the many Benefits and Kindnesses of the most High towards our selves, with praises too many to be Numbred, too Hearty to be ended. We ought to see something of God, in all our Circumstances, and upon all that happens to us, we are to say, The Lord be magnify'd! But there are some Excellent Things done for us, Page 9 by our God; Things which no Friend, no Hand, none else could have done for our Good; and These Things we should with suitable praises be particularly grateful for. It is the manner of the Iems, to receive the Comforts of their Lives, with a Baruk Ado∣nai, or Blessed be the Lord. We that are Christians may not suffer our selves to be ex∣ceeded by any people, in Thankfulness un∣to God. It is related concerning our Lo•d Jesus Christ, in John 6.11. that he would not Eat a Meals Meat, without a Thanksgiv∣ing over it. Much more ought the more Excellent Things that are done for us, to be so Acknowledged. When God had heard a Prayer, there was that praise returned for it, in John 11.41. Father, I thank thee for it. We ought seriously to think, What Answers of our Prayers, what Reliefs of our Wants and Woes, the great God has in an excellent manner favoured us withal; and the Re∣sult of all should be, Lord, I thank thee for these Excellent Things. A good Hezekiah himself may smart by failing here. Those persons are worse than Pharisees, in whose mouths God be Thanked, is not a frequent but yet solemn interject on.
Secondly, We ought with many praises to observe the Excellent Things which God has done for Others as well as for our selves. Our Page 10praises must not be confined unto those mer∣cies of God, which we our selves have been the Subjects of. But all His Dispensations a∣broad in the world, are to be the Occasion of our Hallelujahs to Him. A Soul that is Fill'd with all the Fullness of God, will be Fil∣led with praises to Him for all his Workman∣ship. We should be like him that said, in Psal 139.14. I will praise thee, for marvel∣lous are thy Works. Whatever our God is Doing, we should upon the sight thereof be praising; and we should Acknowledge Him, in all those Excellent Things, which we see done in any part of the Universe. It was said in Psal. 40.5. Many, O Lord, my God, are the Wonderful Works which thou hast done. God has done many Wonderful Works, and many Excellent Things, in which we our selves have not an Immediate, or at least not a peculiar share; but we should all render praises unto Him on the account thereof. It is mentioned as the priviledge of a Righte∣ous man, in Psal. 112.9. His Horn shall be exalted. What if one thing intended in it should be This? That as the praises of God were sounded by His People, in Cornets of old, so there were Exalted Horns, or Exalted Notes, which He would have their praises to be Raised with. Thus we read in 1 Chron. 25.5. of, Words to Lift up the Horn▪ To Page 11 accommodate the Allusion; The Praises of God are to Sound High, in our Devotions. When we praise God for being Excellently Good unto our selves, we do well; but we are to Raise our praises unto an Higher pitch than so; they are to Expatiate upon all those things, wherein our God has exhibited Himself as Excellently Great, throughout the world Such Abstracted Praises are agreea∣ble to the Inclinations of every Godly man; he argues at that Rate, Great is the Lord, and therefore Greatly to be praised.
We ought both to Sing, and to Spread, the praises which we owe unto the God of Hea∣ven. Behold, a double Office incumbent on us, with respect unto those Acknowledgments which we are to pay unto our God; beside and beyond the first Motions of them, in our own Souls. Indeed the Spring of all the Acknowledgments which we make unto God, must be in our Hearts, and the gracious Opi∣nions and Resentmen•s which are first formed there. We must first look to this, that God be praised by the Thoughts in our minds, and, as the Psalmist speaks, by, All that is within us Blessing his Holy Name. They ne∣ver will praise God sufficiently or acceptably, who cannot say, as in Luke 1.46. My Soul Page 12 does Magnify the Lord. As all worship of God, so particularly, all praising of God, must be performed in Spirit; otherwise it will not be in Truth. But the praises of God, being shaped in the Honourable Thoughts of our Souls, what are we then to do?
First, We are to Sing the praises due to God for the Excellent Things that He hath done. And if we keep close to the Text, we shall see two things here demanded of us.
First, There should be an Exactness used, in our praising of God. There should be in our Praises▪ as on one side an Amputation of all that is improper, so on the other side no Omission of any Article that calls for our me∣ditations. The charge given to us is That in Psal. 103.2. Forget not all His Benefits. We should not Forget so much as One of the Ex∣cellent Things, which we can Remember to be done by God. The skipping of One stroke in a Lesson, often spoils the grace of the Musick. So does the missing of One Thing, in a Commemoration of what God has done. We should be careful with an often, yea with a daily Examination, to in∣form our selves, about the Things for which God is to be praised. It is hardly convenient for a man to sleep at Night, until he have pondered, What New Excellent Thing has been done by God this Day, that I should particularly Page 13 praise Him for? And we should be careful that our Sorrows do not swallow up our prai∣ses. 'Tis often so, that as that worthy wo∣man of old could not eat of the Peace Of∣ferings, which was a Thank-Offering, because She Wept; thus we can't praise God, because He Smites us. We cannot see Excellent Things done by God, because we feel Terrible Thins done to our selves. But this is our Folly.
Where we have One Trouble, we have a Thousand mercies of our own to be praising for. And if we were a million times more afflicted than we are, yet the Lord might challenge our Praises. It was a great Speech of the Renowned Gerson, Quiequid deme or∣dinaverit Deus, said He, However God may dispose of me for ever, whether to Eternal Weal or Wo; yet This I know, that He is worthy of my praises, and He shall have them all. Indeed Praises are a Debt owing to Him, even from those woful Spirits that are broken in the place of Dragons, and covered with the shadow of Death.
Secondly, There should also be an Instru∣ment used in our Praising of God. But of what kind? Far be it from us to plead for that which is properly instrumental Music in the Church of the Lord Jesus. Indeed be∣fore the coming of our Lord, there was in the Church a Divine appointment for such a thing▪ and between the Neginoth and the Page 14Nehiloth, I find, if I miscount not, sixteen or more kinds of Instruments for the main∣taining of it. But upon the Abolition of the Mosaic Pedagogy, we have no order for the continuance of this Temple Worship, by intro∣ducing of it into our Synagogues. The Primi∣tive Church had it not, as even a Bellarmine tells you; the Ancients often & loudly declaim against it, and Aquinas himself about four hun∣dred years ago, notwithstanding all his Po∣pery and Bigottry, yet bestows none of the kindest Remarks upon it. The Schoolmen themselves own, that Aliquid Fig•rabat, it was a Typical thing; and we having in the Tydings of the Gospel that grace and joy which this was a figure of, ought not to Iudaize by upholding the shadow in the presence of the Substance; nor ought we to bring into the House of God, a Troop of Of∣ficers which the Lord Jesus never instituted. What Instruments are we then to praise God withal? we are all furnished with two at least.
First, Our Lips are to be employed in the praises of God. The Psalmist called his Tongue my glory. Our Tongues are then our glory, when we glorifie God therewith all. 'Tis a proper service for them; Hence the Apostle sayes, Therewith we bless God. It is Desired for the Saints in Psal. 149 6. let Page 15 the High Praises of God be in their mouthes. And it is Resolved by one of them, in Psal. 145.21. My mouth shall speak the praises of the Lord. Hence the Apostle urges it, in Heb. 13.15 let us offer the Sacrifice of praises to God continually, that is the fruit of our lips. There were Offerings of many sorts, which God was praised withal of old; but our Lips are to be instead of the Calves and Lambs, and other Euchrristical Offerings that then were customary.
With our Lips we are to rehearse and re∣cite the Excellent Things that have been done by God, especially when we are with bended Knees and listed Eyes, presenting our selves before him. With mentioning what God has done, we are to do as he said, in Psal 145.2. Every Day will I bless thee my God.
But there is one Exercise of our Lips which God is more peculiarly to be praised with; and that is the Singing of Psalms. In those Commands of God which require the praises of God, even in our Dayes, we have such clauses as those, in Psal. 95 1. O come, let us sing to the Lord, let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our Salvation. The New Testament sufficiently inculcates this way of praising the most High; and if you will be¦lieve Tertullian, the Primitive Christians Page 16 hardly ever had a Feast without it. There are savoury Hymns, of an Humane Compo∣sure, which no doubt we may praise God by singing of. But Scriptural and inspired Hymns are those which we should principally thus put Regards upon. The Psalms of David are those which God is to be Praised by a Reverent, and Attentive Singing of. These were those, no doubt which our Saviour Himself Sang, at the Passover, more than a score of Times. And the very Angels whose Melodies the Shepherds overheard of old, seem to sing out of the Eighty fifth Psalm. Hence when the Apostle says, in Eph. 5.19. Speak to your selves in Psalms and Hymns, and Spiritual Songs; he alludes to the well-known Division of the Psalter. q. d. Go sing all the Psalms of David o∣ver. Till we can mend them, never let us leave them. He that shall sing those Blessed Psalms, and ordinarily spend at least one Observation, and one Ejaculation, upon every verse, as he goes along, will therein praise the great God, at no common rate.
Secondly, Our Lives are likewise to be Employ'd in the Praises of God. We have Hands as well as Tongues for it; and some thing there is that our Hand finds to do. The best Thanksgiving is Thanks-living.
Page 17We should sometimes put that Question to our selves, in Psal. 116.12. What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits? As a return to God for the Excellent things that are done by Him, we are to order our lives in such a manner as may be pleasing to him. Hence in Psal. 50.23. He that offers praise, and he that orders his conversation aright, are equivo∣lent.
There is a general Return of Obedience, which we are to praise God by yielding of. It is said in Phil. 1.1•. the f•uit's of Righteous∣ness are unto the glory and praise of God. Where God had carried Israel over Iordan, there were Ston•s erected for His praise; but what was inscribed on them? was it any History of what and been done by God? No, it was a Copy of the Law. Our keeping the Law is our praising of him that gave it. We praise God when we seen and blush to do any thing that he may be displeased at.
There is also a special Return of well-do∣ing which we should now and then praise God withal. As when David had seen ma∣ny mighty things done by God, he became inquisitive, in 2 Sam. 7.2 What shall I now do for the House of God? so some signal act of Piety, or of Charity should be done by us, that God may not be without his praise. We praise God when we are labouring Page 18 to do some singular thing, for the advance∣ment of His Truths and Wayes.
Secondly VVe are to Spread the praises due to God for the excellent things that He has done. Yea, our outmost is to be done that they may be known in all the Earth.
A good man desires that he may not be Alone in the praising of God, he would have all men to joyn with him in it. It is there∣fore said by such a man, Come, I will declare what God has done f•r my Soul. We are to praise God as publickly and as openly as we can; and to say like him in Psal. 22.25. My praise shall be of thee, in the great Congregation. And we are to do what we fairly can, that the excellent things done by God, may not be concealed things, but that all men may be acquainted with them: so are we advised in Psal. 105.1, 2. Give thanks to the Lord, make known His Deeds among the people: sing unto Him, talk ye of all His wondrous Works. We should render them as Notorious as they are Notable; and publish them among all our Neighbours, as the happy partakers did the healing Miracles of our Lord Jesus Christ. Hence it was the wish of the Psalmist, in Psal. 26.7. That I may publish with the voice of Thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works.
Page 19Yea, when God has done Excellent things, we are not only to speak of them, but (if we can) to write of them too. Every good man should leave to his Children, a Diary for a Legacy. Some written Memorials and Experi•nc•s of Excellent things which a good man in the time of his Pilgrimage hath seen done by the most High: these would be well worth beq•e•thing to them that should come after him, that they may set their hope in God.
And the more considerable Appearances of God in every Generation, ought with a fuller Publication to be transmitted unto Posterity, by the Pens of good Historians, That we have no more Books of Remarkable Providences, is an Omission that has wrong'd and rob'd the Almighty God of more than a Million praises: There should be compiled sufficient Narratives of the excellent things, oc∣curring in every Age and, every place; like the Books of Iasher, and Nathan, and Iddo, and other Seers; or like the Pillars among many Monuments of Antiquity. What shall I say more? when God has done a more conspicuously excellent thing, He is to be praised after that manner, in Psal. 102.18. This shall be written for the Generation to come, and the people that shall be Created shall praise the Lord.
Page 20But it remains, that these things be made useful to us.
And O that we might all stir up our selves this Day to Sing and Spread the praises due to the Eternal God for the excellent things which He has done.
It is an excellent thing indeed, that we may have a Day of Thanksgiving, while the World is in so much Confusion and Combustion, and every where Mens hearts are failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are doing upon the Earth. Let us be at some pains, that this Day be not lost, or that it may not evaporate in a few sensual satisfac∣tions. The Excellent things done by God, are now to be the Repast of our Souls.
Days of Thanksgiving as they are among the most Heavenly, so they will be among the most prosperous of all our Devotions. There are Pious Men that will now and then in secret places, keep their Dayes of Thanksgiving before the Lord; laying out whole Dayes in praising of the Great God for what He is, and what He does, and in pondering on What they shall do for God. And I'll assure you, such Page 21 persons ripen for Heaven a pace; yea they live in Heaven upon Earth.
But as for Dayes of Thanksgiving observed in the Assemblies of good men, all men have seen the wonderful successes of them. New Englands Prosperity has more visibly followed upon its Thanksgivings than upon its Humiliations, as in times both of War and of Sickness, has been more than once percei∣ved. We have seen the fulfilment of that Word in 2 Chron. 20.22. When they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushments a∣gainst their Enemies. Praises, thousands of high praises be to our God, that we may have a Day to celebrate His praises. But that our praises may be awakened, and that no man may make a Iar in our Harmony.
Consider how Reasonable these praises are for us all.
O consider with our selves, Who is God? it is He that Humbles Himself to behold the things that are in Heaven. Consider, Who is Man? a poor Worm, yea, a cursed Viper. Now that this GOD should look upon this man! Lord, What is man that thou shouldest be mindful of him? Yet the Eternal God has been doing of Ex∣cellent things, which we not only behold, but also enjoy. There is not one of us all, who has not excellent things to be this Day praising the Almighty for. They whose case is ne∣ver so bad, yet have cause to carry on this Page 22Day of Thanksgiving with us, in that it is no worse. The most miserable person in all this Congregation, may with an eye to his own condition, say like him in Psal. 119.156. Many are thy mercies O Lord. If I could find out the most unhappy, and the most complaining person among you all, even to that person would I say, God has done Excel∣lent things for thee, and some that never sinned so much, yet suffer more than you.
Consider Likewise, how profitable these Praises will be to us all. Behold an Expe∣dient for the obtaining of all the Blessings that can be wish'd for. It was said in Psal. 67.5, 6. Let the people praise thee; then our God shall bless us.
If the Earth send Vapours up to Heaven, Heaven will make Showers to descend on the Earth. Let our praises be continually ascending from us, and they will soon issue in those things that are called, The Showers of Blessing. When we have a Jealousie of a Leaky Vessel, we try it by first putting of Water, before we trust Better Liquors in it; if we that have little more than Water to comfort us, will yet not permit it to Leak without Praises from us, then God has more Excellent Things to do for us. To be always Begging and Craving, as a Dog for his Mor∣sels, ad Spem futuri semper hians, without Page 23 multiplyed praises unto God; this is a most vile Disingenuity. 'Tis no less than a Loss of, yea, no less than a Curse on, all our Bles∣sings, which we incurr by not praising the giver of them. But the praising Soul may fill himself with such a Ioyful Hope, as that in Psal. 71.14. I will Hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more. Those that are sollicitous least God should Loose any of His Praises, are the persons, for whom God will be concerned that they don't Loose any of His Blessings; these are they that shall expe∣rimentally understand the Loving kindness of the Lord. Man, wouldest thou have any Excellent Things done for thy self? Then bring thy praises for what Excellent Things have been done in the world.
I suppose by this time, we have generally got our Hallelujahs ready; but you call for a Catalogue of those Excellent Things, which they are to be fixed on. 'Tis a Feast that you are this Day to be treated at; and before you go out of these Doors, a Feast you shall have. I shall set before you a short Account of some Excellent Things, which I intend as a Feast for your praises; and believe me, though your praises had [and O that they may have!] no less than an Eternity to be Feeding on those matters in, they never would be glutted, never cloyed.
Page 24First, The Excellent Things done by God, in the Works of CREATION, call for our Praises. It was once the out-cry of the Psalmist, in a Rapture, Praise the Lord from the Heavens, praise the Lord from the Earth, praise the Lord all ye His Armies. Truly, 'Tis our Business to praise Him, for the Heavens, and for the Earth, and for all those Armies which He has replenished the World withal. We have a good pattern for us, in Psal 104.24, 33. says the Psalmist, O Lord, how mani∣fold are thy Works! in wisdom hast thou made them all. Well, and what is now incumbent upon us, that have the view thereof? It fol∣lows, I will sing praise unto my God, while I have any Being. Methinks the Children of Men too much imitate the Spider, when they Look after nothing but building a little House for themselves, and concern themselves with nothing but the petty Affairs thereof. We should remember that we are Citizens of the WORLD, and as far as we can, we should visit every Corner of it, with our Praises to Him, of whom and for whom is all! I make no question, but that we do in a blessed manner Antedate Heaven, by doing so. The Praises of God are Exhibited in e∣very part of the World, and we forfeit the priviledge of Reason, if we do not put as Page 25 many of them as we can, into our A•know∣ledgments. There are above six Thousand Plants growing on that little Spot of the World, which we Tread upon; and yet a Learned Man, has more than once, found One Vegetable enough to make a Subject for a Treatise on it. What might then be said upon the Hundred and fifty Quadrupeds, the Hundred and fifty Volatils, the five and Twen∣ty Reptiles, besides the vast multitudes of A∣quatils, added unto the rich variety of Gems and Minerals, in our World? Our own Bodies are, to use the Phrase of the Psal∣mist, So Fearfully and Wonderfully made, that one of the Ancient Heathen at the sight thereof▪ could not forbear breaking forth in∣to an Hymn unto the praise of the great Cre∣ator; 'Tis impossible that any thing should be better shaped! Indeed, All the Things that we have every Day before our eyes, have a most charming prospect in them; and the very Deformities which the Flood has brought upon this Terraquecus Globe, are made Beauties, by the Disposals of the Lord that sat upon the Flood. There is not a Fly, but what may confute an Atheist. And the Little things which our Naked Eyes cannot penetrate into, have in them a Greatness not to be seen without Astonishment. By the Assistence of Microscopes have I seen Ani∣malsPage 26 of which many Hundreds would not AEqual a Grain of Sand. How Exquisite, How stupendous must the Structure of them be! The Wholes that are sometimes found more than an Hundred Foot in Length, me∣thinks those moving Islands, are not such Wonders, as these minute Fishes are.
But alas, All this Globe is but as a Pins point, if compared with the mighty Uni∣verse. Never did any man yet make a tole∣lerable Guess at its Dimensions: but were we among the Stars, we should utterly lose the sight of our Earth, although it be above twenty six thousand Italian Miles in the com∣pass of it. Look upon the Wandring Stars, and you shall see so many Worlds, that swal∣low up all our Conjectures at the circum∣stances of them, and of their Satellites. Look upon the Fixed St••s, and what shall we say about the Bigness of them? Doubtless they many scores of times exceed the Bulk of this poor Lump of Clay, about a few Foot whereof the Inhabitants are so Quarrelsome. Or, what shall we say about the Number of them? For though they are but a few above a Thousand, That we ever see, without a Telescope, yet that will tell us, that the Six, which we commonly call, The Seven Stars, have above Sixty among them, and the rest are like the Sand of the Sea, in∣numerable. Page 27 But above all, the Sun, that p••ncipal Engine, which the whole Visible Creation hath such a manifest Dependence on; This declares the Glory of God, at such a Rate, that the Philosopher once thought himself Born on purpose, to Behold the Splen¦dors of it. This at last hath glar'd out my Eyes, that at this Time, I can look no fur∣ther upon the Marvels of the Creation. But, my Brethren, Let us take our Time to Tra∣vel over the World; (I hope, we shall one Day have Bodies more able to do it, than our Spirits at present are!) and then let us give many Thousands of Praises to Him, whose Omnipotent and Omniscient Hand hath Created all. O Sing unto the Lord, because He hath done Excellent Things, in making and managing the vast Fabrick of the World.
Secondly, The Excellent Things done by God, in the works of REDEMPTION call for our Praises. It was the Exordium of a Psalm, in Psal. 107.1, 2. O give Thanks un∣to the Lord, for He is Good; Let the Redeemed of the Lord say so. Behold, a Constellation of Excellent Things here which the very An∣gels at this Day are with a million Praises adoring of. Could we steal a Look this Day into the Third Heaven, we should see Page 28the multitude of the Heavenly Host there clap∣ping of their Golden Wings, and hear them reiterating that Heavenly Shout, in Luke 2.14. Glory to God in the Highest, because there is on Earth Peace, and good will towards men. When the blessed Angels beheld the horrible Pit which Man by Sin was fallen down in∣to, doubtless they were even at their Wits ends about a way for his Reeovery; doubt∣less with pity and much Despair, they cry'd out, Alas, for miserable man; He is helpless and hopeless now for ever! But they have now seen a Remedy provided for undone wretched man, and therein they see, what they S•••p and Bend themselves to pry into; they see The manifold Wisdom of God; and they have ever since, even for more than five Thou∣sand years, been Praising of the God, that has Remembred us in our Low Estate, because his Mercy Endures for ever. That there should be a Man, who was Born perhaps in Septem∣ber, not seventeen Hundred years ago, and who yet is the Father of Eternity; a Man who lay in a Cradle, and who yet cannot be contain'd by the Heaven of Heavens; a man, who is his own Mothers Father, in a word, a man, in whom dwells the Fulness of the God-head, and from whose Fulness, all we receive! behold an Excellent thing which the very Angels cover their faces at. No man Page 29 Living is able to comprehend the Trium∣phant Praises that were among the Angels of God, when our Saviour was first Born into the world. When the Sun of Righte∣ousness first shone in our Horizon, doubtless these Morning Stars were presently making their Acclamations at it. The Tidings of it were quickly carried through all the quar∣ters of the Heavens, and the whole City of God was moved at the Report. When it was told, The Redeemer of L•st Man is Born! it set them all on Praising the most High God, and saying, Glory, Glory to the Highest, in the Highest for ever! Well, they call us, Their Brethren, and from the Lofty Battle∣ments of the Third Heaven, they call unto us, that we would not Leave them to Praise Alone. A famous Minister Lying at the point of Death, after he had been for some Time sensless, fell to Singing in a manner very extraordinary, and gave this Reason for it, I heard the Angels, and shall not I joyn with them! Surely our Interest in Redemp•••• is not inferiour to Theirs; but then strike up, Ye Redeemed of the Lord; where, O where are the Praises due to Him that hath Delivered you from all the fiery plagues, which you have madly expos'd yourselves unto. What could we Children of wrath have imagined, but that a just and a terrible God Page 30 would have said concerning us, I will aveng• me on those Adversaries! But instead thereo• behold, He has ready for us, a Iesus, wh• saves His People from their Sins; and th•• calls aloud unto us, O Look unto me, and 〈◊〉 saved. This is an Excellent Thing! 'Tis a•Excellent Thing which God has done, in 〈◊〉Loving the World as to give His only begotte• Son, that whosoever Believes, may not perish▪ but have Everlasting Life. 'Tis an Excellen• Thing which God has done, in ordering that He who thought it no Robbery to be Equal with God, should take on him the Form of a Servant for us thereby to gain the Dignity of Chil•dren. 'Tis an Excellent Thing, That He wh• knew no Sin, should be made Sin for us; and w•be made the Righteousness of God in Him; an• that we who have lain in the Belly of Hell should be Renewed by the holy Spirit, and 〈◊〉 made to sit together in Heavenly Places 〈◊〉 Christ Iesus. I am to tell you, That the Blackest of all the Devils are Saints, in com∣parison of that Man, whom these Excellen• Things do not Effectually bespeak all possible praises from. But you that by Regeneration are arrived unto a more Plenary, Actual sensible Interest in this Redemption, are 〈◊〉 be more abundant in your praises, O strai• the utmost of your Capacities, to shew fo• the praises of Him, who has called you out 〈◊〉Page 31 Darkness into his Marvellous Light; Come, SING unto the Lord, because He has done Ex∣cellent Things in the Recovering of Lost Man to an intimate, and Eternal Fellow∣ship with Himself.
Thirdly, The Excellent things done by God in the Gover•ment of the World, call upon us to praise His blessed Name for ever. The continual providence of God, is disposing of all things in an Excellent subordination to His own praise; the W•eels of providence are not carried on caeco impetu, but are full of eyes, and if we praise Him not for Things that every day occur unto us, tis because we are worse than blind. These two things are conjo•ned in Psal. 103.19, 20. The Lords Kingdom •uleth over all, Bless ye the Lord. We may see our eternal King after an excel∣lent manner keeping all the World in a real Order, notwithstanding all the seeming Distractions of it. We may see him fulfil∣ling of His promises and His Threa•nings, and giving Recompences among the children of men We may see him frustrating and con∣founding of His Enemies, and preserving his Church, As a burning Bush not consumed.
We should pursue a distinct sight of these things, and Bless the Lord. When we see, that His is the Kingdome, we should adde, And thine is the Glory too.
Page 32My arrival to this part of our Discours• puts me into a capacity to give you som• Recapitulations of the Excellent things which this Day of THANKSGIVING is more pa••ticularly designed for.
My Brethren, there are Excellent thing which our God has of late been doing i• the English World. He that moves the fo•• Wheels of Providence through all the fo•• parts of the Earth, has given the English Na∣tion lately to see those Revolutions which the Histories of all Ages can hardly parallel And now let us this Day sing unto the Lord for He hath done excellent things.
I. The Late Revolutions in the Land o• our Fore-Fathers Graves, afford unto us 〈◊〉 sight of Excellent Things which ought to b• had in Everlasting Remembrance.
The first and great and most comprehen∣sive matter of our Praises is, The Happy accession of their Maiesties, King Wil∣liam, and Queen Mary, To the Throne of the Three Kingdoms.
This was a Thing in all the parts of so Circumstanced, a• to make all men 〈◊〉Page 33This is the Lords Doing, and it is Marvellous in our Eyes! It made a Second EIGHTY EIGHT out-shining that in the former Century. For,
Consider, the Season of it. It was when the Protestant Religion was Lying at the Stake; and forreign Popish Writers did not stick to tell the World in Print, That there was a private League made between two of the most Potent Monarchs in Christendome, (which one of their own Ambassadors also▪ did in a manner own) for the Extirpation of Haeresy; and that not only the subduing of Holland, but also the Enslaving of Eng∣land were steps to be taken in order there∣unto. It was when the Indefatigable Drudg∣es of the Papacy, who had more than Ten years before declared, We have here a Migh∣ty Work upon our Hands, no less than the Con∣version of three Kingdoms, and by that perhaps the utter subduing a pestilent Heresy, which has domi••ered•a long time over a great part of this Northern World; whereof never such Hopes as now; had now got all the Advantageous Posts of the Nation into their Hands, and had so model'd all their Business that they counted themselves out of the Reach of chance for ever; and were even ready like Haman to cast Lots for a Lucky Day to throw all their Vizards off. It was when the Fundamental Page 34 Laws of the Kingdom were overturned, and the Frogs of the Romistr Egypt were swar∣ming in a m•in, to take possession of the Glorious Holy Mountain between the Seas▪ When things were thought hastening to that pass, that every vacancy in the publick Employ∣ments would have made several Proselytes un∣to Popery; when a great Creation would suddenly have given the Papists a majority in the House of Lords, and New Charters with Bold Returns might quickly have given them a Majority in the House of Commons too; a Condition of Affairs that was for∣midable to all that penetrate into the Ten∣dencies of Popery.
THEN it was that the (then) Prince of ORANGE entred upon his Glorious Enter∣prize of Rescuing the Church of God from the Bloody Altar, which it was now bound upon; and the Protestant Princes Com∣bining with him, offered up their Vows to God, for the prosperity of this Important Undertaking, as counting that in the mis∣carriage of it, All was Lost. There had been one or two Attempts made before, but a wrong step taken in them, onely brought a Ruine upon the unhappy peo∣ple Engaged therein. The Popish Party were then slash'd with their Successes, and forgot of sl•ghted the Dying Words of one Page 35 whom they Burnt (tis said) for only Relieving Distrested Sufferer; Though you are seemingly •xed, and using your Violence against those whom •ou have got under you, yet unless you can secure •he Lord Iesus Christ, and all His Holy Angels, •ou shall never do your Business; but Vengeance •ill be upon you, before you are aware.
Consider also the Manner of it. It was •he Expecta•ion which the Late Earl of Ar∣•le Expired withal, That God would ac∣•omplish His work, Not by Might, nor by •ower, but by His own most Holy Spirit. And it has been done! The Spirit of God incli∣•ed the Dutch to give their Great PRINCE 〈◊〉 the Assistence that could be given. When∣•e Navy, with such Wonderful Turns of 〈◊〉Wind, as argued a particular Care of God •out it, was come into its Harbour, the Spi∣••• of God strangely inclined persons of all •egrees to an Agreement with the Princes ••claration: it was a Touch of God upon ••eir Souls! Whence, though the Nation •re Debauched on purpose to make Popery ac∣••ptable to them, yet many thousands that •re of no Religion at all, could not s•ow 〈◊〉 for that Religion. The same Spirit•t a Terror into the Great Oppressors of 〈◊〉 Nation, so that though there was a vast my to oppose the Prince, the very sound his Approach, put them to Rout, equal Page 36 to one given by the clearest Victory; and 〈◊〉they had endeavoured by Shams to establish• themselves, One piece of Paper, which ('ti• said) was a Sham, had no little Hand in th• Defeat of those Daring Criminals; nor wa• any blood shed in all these Transactions, bu• of a Little and a desperate Party that seem•ed weary of their Lives, or they might hav• kept them. Hence ensued, by the unexem•pled and scarce accountable Desertion of th• Late King, such a Dissolution of the Govern•ment as never had been known; and th• Throne becoming Vacant, the Crown is un•avoidably placed upon, those Illustriou• Heads, which, God grant Long to Reign!
And then, Consider the Prospect of it. Fo• what may be now hoped for, but a Protest•ant KING, Iust and Ruling in the Fear 〈◊〉 God, as a morning without Clouds unto th• Protestant World! We now see upon th• British Throne, A KING, whose unpara•lel'd zeal for the Church of the Lord Jes•• at the Lowest Ebb, hath made Him the Ph••nix of this Age; A KING in whom Co••rage and Prudence make a Temper which 〈◊〉 to be no where seen but in the Greatest H••roes; A KING that scornfully rejected 〈◊〉Soveraignty over his own Countrey, wh• he might have have had it, by betraying 〈◊〉Page 37 A KING, that uses to say, That be can •annot have so unworthy a Conception of God, 〈◊〉 so base Thoughts of Mankind, as to believe •hat any one person should be designed by the Al∣mighty King, to trample and oppress a Society •laced under him; A KING, that so abhors •ll Persecution, that when he accepted the Crown of Scotland, he Explained a clause •n the Coronation Oath, with this Proviso, 〈◊〉 will not be obliged to be a Persecutor: A KING, that has twice had a Crown of Light, appearing in the Heavens over his Principa∣•ity to signalize him unto the World: With him we see A QUEEN, whose Virtues •ad long since Enthron'd her in the Hearts of the whole English Nation: We do not now see a Romish Dalilah for the Philistins to Plough withal; nor is our Solomon under •he Temptations which the greatest Mo∣narchs have sometimes fell before. What can be hop'd for, but that the Chains with which the Tyrannous and Treacherous Grand Segniour of France had Fetter'd Europe, will now be broken? and that the most mon∣strous Tygre in the world, having the Forces of Three Kingdoms let loose upon him, while he is Attack'd with such a General Storm on every side as was never seen before, must quickly either perish, or proclaim Li∣•erty for that Religion which he has out done Page 38 all that ever Liv'd, for the Perscution of 'Tis an unaccountable Coincidence wit• this, That some hundreds of People i•France are lately fallen into prod•gious. Ex•tasies wherein being Dead asleep, they bot• speak of Things and speak with Tongues which before they had nothing of; an• they agree to tell us, The Late Revolutions England were to begin the Deliverance of th• Church of God. These are some of the Ex•cellent Things done by our God! Thus a• all the Affairs of Europe overturned.
But there is a further matter for our Pra•ses which has followed hereupon; and 〈◊〉 that are a Countrey of Nonconformists, ma• not pass it by unmentioned.
It is, The Repeal of those Laws which the Protestant Dissenters wer• long Harassed with.
It is well-known, That those whose Co••sciences did not allow them, to worship Go• in some Ways and Modes then by Law E•stablished, were not many years ago, Perse•cuted with a violence, to be abhorred by a• sober Men. It is well known that Five an• Twenty Hundred Faithful Ministers of th• Gospel, were Silenced in one Black Day because they could not comply with som•Page 93 things, by themselves justly counted, Sinful, but by the Imposers confess'd Indifferent. And it is affirmed, That by a modest Calcu∣lation, this Persecution procured the un∣timely Death of Three Thousand Nonconfor∣mists, by Imprisonment in Noisome Goals, and the Ruine of Threescore Thousand Fami∣•ies, within five and twenty years. As the Dissenters are far from charging their Suf∣ferings upon all that the Church of England•n its National Constitution acknowledges or her Sons; for we have seen the most Learned and Worthy Members of that Church make their publick Pleas for the Nonconformists, and Boldly beg for Moderati∣•n to them; and advance this Assertion, That •or every man to worship God according to his Conviction, is an Essential Right of Humane Nature; and we have Learnt, That the late •ersecutors were mostly a Knot of Ill men •ho professed, that they had rather be Pa∣••sts than Presbyterians, and that they would 〈◊〉 soon be Turks as Papists; and who sur∣•endred themselves as meer Tools to a Po∣••sh Party, that thought to grow great upon 〈◊〉 Ruines, of both the Pa•ties whom they 〈◊〉 set together by the Ears: So, I hope, the •issenters will now forgive and forget the most inhumane Injuries that they have ever 〈◊〉 sustained. The severity of that Perse∣cution,Page 40 which at last had broke up the Con•gregations of them that had perfected the Testimony to the Kingly Office of th• Lord Jesus, than Celebrating a Thanksgi••ing for it, indeed caused the Dissenters 〈◊〉 Accept of Liberty, tho' upon some Ter• which they approved not. You are not i••norant that we then told you, There wou•• quickly come an Earthquake that should ca••ry on that Liberty to more perfection; an behold it is now done in a Parliamenta• Way! Blessed be God, that Protestants a• come to a better understanding of the true Interest! May the Apples of Strife••mong them now be removed! May all God men concur in pursuance of that Reformati•• which God now calls His Church unto and may the Reformers have Peace among themselves, and (as one speaks) War wi•• none but Hell and Rome. But for 〈◊〉 Church of God, in Scotland, as their Cal••mities exceeded what their Neighbours fe•• which I suppose, the Martyrology they pr••mise us will demonstrate; so they have 〈◊〉 come behind them in Deliverances. what has God wrought? my Brethren, looks as if God had begun the Resurrection His Dead People. O Lord God, Thou hast •••gun to shew thy Servants thy Greatness, and mighty Hand, for what God is there in Heav••Page 41 or in Earth, that can do according to thy works? And if so, 'tis time for us to Lift up our Heads, with at least some Examination, whe∣ther we shall not shortly see the Vintage of the Papal Empire? Whether Italy be not near a greater Earthquake, than that which made hideous Desolations in above Thirty Cities, Towns, and Villages there, a little while ago? Whether the Blast of the Se∣cond Wo Trumpet, be not just expiring, and the Turkish Power be not within two or three years (at least) of that End, which will make him incapable to Disturb Europe any more. Yea, Whether the Gospel of the Lord Jesus will not quickly have Liberty with an Efficacy, not only in Popish Count•eys where it is Restrained; but also in Pagan Countreys, in One of which, we hear of near two Hundred Thousand Heathen, Converted unto true Christianity, within these few years?
In a word, Whether the Day is not at Hand, when the Kingdoms of the World, shall be the Kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ!
Whether we shall not very quickly see those, glorious Things which are spoken of thee, O thou City of God!
II. The late Revolutions among our selves, have also been attended with some Excellent Page 42 Things, where of we may say, The finger of God is here! Indeed nothing in the World could more exactly imitate and resemble the late circumstances of our Mother England than the Revolutions here, in all the steps thereof; and this, though we understood not one ano∣ther. This was from the Excellent operati∣ons of that God who turns a Wheel in a wheel! And what shall we now say? The Judg∣ments of God have been upon us heretofore; but this poor Land has cry'd unto the Lord, and the Lord has heard and sav'd. And the Ene∣mies of New-England have still perished be∣fore the Rebukes of that God who is our King, our Lord, our Lawgiver: It has been as dan∣gerous to seek the Hurt of this poor Coun∣trey, as ever it was to annoy the Piccardines of old; and they that have stretched out their long Arms to make us miserable, have brought upon their own Heads the vengeance of the Temple. But we were grown a world∣ly, Sensual, Factious People; and then our God fulfill'd unto us that Word of His, I will punish you yet seven times for your Iniquity.
Our Charters were taken from us, and our Land, Strangers devoured in our presence. You have seen cause to Declare, That there were deny'd unto us the Common Rights, which all English-men justly, reckon themselves born unto; and that all that was dear unto us, Page 43 was entirely given up to the Arbitrary disposals of four or five Men, that beyond all measure hated us, and made no stick to tell us, We were but Slaves.
You have seen cause to Declare, that we were now given to understand, Our Lands were none of our own; and that a Storm of un∣just Violence was every day falling upon the more Honest, and sober part of the Coun∣trey, while the wicked walked on every side, and the vilest Men were exalted.
Our Churches also began to feel the kind∣ness of those, who had Sworn by the Living God, to ruine them; and all Debauchery was coming in among us like a mighty Flood. All this while we were in a Sea of fire, mi∣serably scorched and scalded; and yet it was mingled with Ice; there were great cakes of Ice over our Heads; there was no getting out. That one person, who now hazarded his All to obtain us Relief, by carrying our Addresses for us, was made sensible of this.
Remember, O New-England, how often that cry then went up from thee to the Lord, Return we beseech thee, O God of Hosts! look down from Heaven and visit this Vine; And now, behold, He is Returned. Our Adversaries are what and where they are; and we see so far Our Iudges as at the first, Page 44 and our Councellors at the Beginning.
And there are several Excellent Things that have been done for for us by our God, while He has been effecting of our Deli∣verance.
We have cause to Praise the God of Hea∣ven, That in the Tumult of our Action, there was not the loss of a Drop of Blood, nor such Plunder and Outrage as would have been a Disgrace to our Profession.
We have cause to Praise Him, that our Soveraign has Declared, He took very well what we had done for Him, and for our selves in the Revolution.
We have cause to Praise Him, that we have been so comfortably carried through the Difficulties of a whole Summer, while we could not say That any Law was of any Force with us. Every Week erected a new Ebenezer for us!
We have cause to praise Him, for putting it into the Heart of a Person, well known unto you all, to take a Voyage into England, just before the late Overturnings there: on purpose to be in the way of those Oppor∣tunities, which his Faith was that he should have, to serve the Churches of the Lord Jesus here; by which means, (as our Friends there assure us) it is that we have been pre∣served from being totally udome.
Page 45We have cause to praise Him, for giving a check to those Indian Blood-Hounds, which have been worrying of us in the East; who having destroy'd several Plantations, met with no full stop, till they assaulted the first Place where a Gospel Ministry was main∣tained; but there they found such a Bar in their Carrier, that we now hear no more of them.
And may I not say it? We have cause to Praise the Glorious God, for some Excellent Things, which as yet we know not of. We gave Imperfect, but (with many) probable Accounts, of a Deliverance from a French Force, that the possession of this Territory, would have been a valuable Thing unto.
But this is indubitable. If it had not been the Lord, who was on our side, may New-Eng∣land now say, they had swallowed us up quick: Blessed be the Lord, who hath not given us as a prey to their Teeth.
New-England, Be humbly Thankful to thy God, and exalt the God of thy Fathers. God forbid there should be any Murmurers among us all. A year or two ago, we would have been Thankful for a small mo•ety of what we now enjoy: But if our Praises are not yet enough animated, I pray then, let us make a comparison of our Condition.
Compare our Condition with that of Page 46 them in H•ngary. The Protestant Churches there, have been made a Desolation, and it would break an heart of Stone to Hear, what both Pastors and People have endured. Should you see one of the poor Confessors come out of an hideous Dungeon full of T••ds, and Snakes, and Excremen•s; with their very Throats putrified, their Teeth fallen out, and their Eyes gone into their Heads, and their Flesh mangled in a thousand places, you could not forbear preaching a Sermon on, Thankfulness to God Imagine your selves under the continual Executions of the most witty Divels, and all that shall but relieve you with a bit of Bread, torn to pieces by the hand of an Hangman, and you will see what has befallen the most venerable Ministers of that Kingdome, until the Protestant Religion has been almost extirpated there, and this after the Oathes of their Monarch to support it.
Compare our Condition with that of them in Germany. The French King has there made even the Popish Provinces them∣selves a Stage of Blood, and laid all in Ashes for many Leagues together. He has given the Sun for his Device upon many of his Coines; and by the Fiery Destructions which his Bombs have made, he has given us cause to suspect whether he be not the Page 47S•n in the fourth Vial, that has power to S•orch men with Fire. Imagine that you were put under the French Contributions, and not only Rob'd of all you have in the World, but also driven like so many Cattle before their Slaughterers. Imagine your Towns laid all in Heaps, and your Persons obnoxious to all manner of Rapine and Murders from the worst of H•rpyes: this is what thou∣sands are now feeling of.
Compare our Condition with that of them in France. Except in the matter of our Sabbaths, what are we better than the People of God in that rueful Countrey? But all the Bloody Butcheries and Cruelties committed in the By-past Ages, are meer Trif•les in comparison of what that People have of late endured, and this after Faith given often •nough unto the contrary. After they •ad gone thorough intolerable vexations •n all those things that they had •ny kindness for, they have been at last •iven up into the claws of the merciless •ragoons: and were all the Divels of Hell In¦•arnate, they could not invent more or worse •ortures, than these Dragons inflict upon •ersons of all sorts, till they have compelled ••em to abjure the Truth of God; and thus all •he Flocks of the Lord Jesus have been wor∣•ed and Ruined there. Imagine a Swarm Page 48 of Lew'd Souldiers, like Locusts quartered 〈◊〉 your Houses, and there binding of you, that they might abuse your nearest Relations be∣fore your eyes; imagine them Hanging of you by the Hair of your Heads and then half Choaking of you with Smoke, or half Roasting of you with Fire; imagine them pricking of you with Knives and Bod•kins, and with ten thousand lingring Tor∣tures, making you Desire, while you may not enjoy, such a priviledge as Death; until at last you have been worried into an Abju∣ration, which makes the wounds on your Consciences no less than those on your Bodies were before.
To have done, Compare our Condition, with that of our English Brethren, in woful Ireland, especially the more Southern Coun∣ties of it. Behold, their Estates Confiscate: the value of Four Millions was long since the Account of the Losses felt by only them who had Fled into England. Behold their persons Confind; having sharp Skeins ready for their Throats, with just Fears day and nigh• of a new Massacre. What would you think, if you were driven like Dogs into the Goals of Galloway: if you were Enjoy•ed to carry your own Fathers Heads upon Poles in the Head of a Regiment, or if yo• lay at the mercy of a Wild Irish Rabble?
Page 49Behold these things, Behold them with Sympathy O New-England; and be not •canty in thy Praises to Him that has known thee above all the Families of the Earth.
Come, and Sing unto the Lord, for the Ex∣cellent Things which He has done. But yet let us not put Him off with a Song. 'Tis a thing very pleasing to God, that we have a Day of Thanksgiving to Praise Him in; and if this Day, he duely kept, I doubt not but Good News will quickly put us upon the keep∣ing of Another. He that Inhabits the Praises •f Israel will keep House among us, if by Leaving off our Praises we turn Him not out of Doors. It was a Remarkable thing that befel One of our Neighbours, a while ago. By a Shipwrack, he was cast upon a desolate Island, where he was left many months Alone. After many a Day of Prayer, for succour, he at last kept a Day of Praise,•or the support which he had so long En∣•oy'd; and within a few Hours upon this, •here came a Vessel by that saved him. New-England has been, and yet is, in so many Troubles, that some have questioned whe∣ther a Day of Thanksgiving would be Season∣•ble! O Yes! most highly Seasonable! Keep it well, and it shall yet be said, Also in New-England, things went well.
But the principal Thing in our Thanksgiv∣••g, yet remains, and that is, a Thanks-DoingPage 50 Let us all Repent, and Reform, and set up on the Lively Doing of the Good Thing which the Lord our God Requires. The Apos•stle speaks pathetically, I beseech you, Bre∣thren, by the Mercies of God. It is This, I conclude withal; I beseech you Brethren, by the Mercies of God, that New England ma• be as a Noble Person sometimes call'd u•The best people in the world; and that no sca••dalous Things may be done here, to offen• the God that has done Excellent Things for us. I beseech you by the Mercies of God, that as we profess the Protestant Religion with the most exalted Purity, so we may practise it, in such an Exemplary manner, that, A•New-England man, may be a Term of Hon∣our in the world. I beseech you by the Mercies of God, that we may all sincerely intend th••ame Ends, which brought our Predecessor• here, even to propagate the Spiritual King•dom of our Lord Jesus Christ. May all due pains be taken, that not only the Englis• may every where have the Knowledge o• God, but that the Indians too, may shar• with us in it; for an Engagement whereunto God has given us to see, as that a ver• visible Blast has attended the Estates of the• who have grown Rich by Trading of Drin• with them, so a visible Blessing has acco••panied them who have Laboured in Preach••ngPage 51 of Truth to those poor Pagans; and since •t this day, the most powerful Nation of •hem, namely, the Mohawks, ask for the •ospel, it cannot but be a piece of Policy as •ell as Relig•on, in us to carry the Gospel unto ••em, while they cannot be reconciled unto 〈◊〉 Superstitions of our French Neighbours, ••at have been Tampering with them. O ••at we might not forget the Errand of our •ore-fathers hither! We shall then Flourish▪ • spite of all that wish ill unto us; Thus •ill Salvation be nigh unto us, and Glory shall well in our Land. May our God sanctifie 〈◊〉 His Dispensations to us; particularly those 〈◊〉 the Summer past, as well the Terrible as 〈◊〉Merciful. 'Tis a Metaphorical Earth∣••ake which has lately been among us, and •ere was a Literal one in some parts of the •ountrey preceding of it. May these Earth¦••akes produce better effects on us than those Lima in this our New-World America,〈◊〉 upon the people there a little while ago. •e are informed, That an horrible Earth∣••ake, after some Warnings of it, shook that •eat and Lewd City; till with incredible •o•se and Fury, it sunk a large Part of it •o the Earth, and the Sea came hideously ••lling in upon it. While the miserable •••niards were under Apprehensions of pe∣••ing in speedy Ruines, they that had been Ene∣mies Page 52 one to another immediately made R••conciliations; they professed a Deep Repe••tance of their former Vices; their fine O••naments and other Vanities, they burie• under ground; and with consternation cr••ed out, Our Oppression, our Injustice, the Ext••∣vagancies of our Cloathings and our Houses, 〈◊〉 brought all this upon us! We have newly be•• passing th•o' a Figurative Earth-quake, whic• is not yet quite over with us. God forbi• we should be Impaenitent after all; and, sin• I would End, where I began, God forbi• that we should be Unthankful for our prese••vations. New-England is not used unto suc• Follies as Bonfires, nor do we think Ringi•• of Bells, but Sin••ng of Psalms, to be a Than•••giving Exercise. Come then, Sing unto 〈◊〉 Lord; Sing the Praises which He may 〈◊〉 claim unto. It was a no less wonder••• than undoubted Thing which happened France a few months ago, when, upon 〈◊〉 Dissolution of the French Congregations, a• a particular Interdict upon the Singing 〈◊〉 Psalms thro' the Kingdom, there were tho••sands of persons, in hundreds of places, scores of Times, that plainly heard 〈◊〉Singing of Psalms after the manner of 〈◊〉French Assemblies with a most Ravishi•• Melody, by Invisible Singers in the Air; thing so notorious that the very Psalms we Page 53 often Distinctly as well as Audibly enough •ung, to let the Hearers know what Psalms •hey were; such as the Fifth, the Forty Se∣•ond, the Hundred and Thirty Eighth particu∣•arly; and even the Parliament of Pau made 〈◊〉 Decree that men should not go abroad to •ear this unaccountable Singing under a for∣•eiture of Two Thousand Crowns▪ upon which •he Reflection of the incomparable Iurieu is▪ This is a Reproach that the Providence of God •akes unto us; because you have not dared, n•r •een willing any more to Sing His Praises and •ongs of Thanksgiving. God has made mouths •n the midst of the Air! But behold an Happy Presage, that God will not suffer your •oices and your Songs to Dy, the Angels have •ezed on them.
Thus, give me Leave to ••y, That if we •ill not Sing unto the Lord, there are others•hat will; and we that will not, never shall! Yea, our Silence may provoke the very •ocks and Stones to loud Shouts, in praising••e Eternal God.
O come, and Sing unto the Lord; and •ough we do not certainly know what Changes yet may come upon us, nor how •r the Clouds may Return after the Rain; let •s nevertheless be found, Singing to the Lord.
They that Remember how many Princes•nd Interests were concerned for the Protest∣ant Page 54 Religion threescore years ago, and how almost all of them afterwards Disappeared▪ cannot yet be without Apprehensions in the midst of their Thanksgivings. But, though we may not Sing Requ•ems to our selves, ye• we may Sing Praises to our God: and what ever Fears may be upon us, I am now 〈◊〉 Repeat that Call; Awake, Awake, O Congr••gation, Awake, Awake, and utter a Song.〈◊〉 was a memorable Accident which happened near one of the Lee-ward Islands some year• ago. A Ship with some pious people in it was by a violent Storm driven between two hideous Rocks; where she lay on one side so that every moment they expected she would overset; In this Distress, in this De∣spair, they agree to Dy Singing, and ther• they sat Singing the Hundred and Forty sixth Psalm. But behold, a Dutch Ship that had newly taken a Spanish Vessel, at that Instant came by, and not only delivered them from the perils of their own Ship, which immedi∣ately perished, but also bestowed an other Vessel on them. Methinks, this poor Coun∣trey has been, and yet is, much in the con∣dition in which That serious people were Well, but supose we should Sink after al• the Excellent Things which have been done for us, (and yet we can't forbear saying, I• the Lord were pleased to kill us, would He have Page 55 shewed us all these things!) Let us however Sink and Sing both at once, and keep Sing∣ing to Him that has done Excellent Things, while we have any Breath; (and when we have None, we shall do it Better!) such a Course it is, which gives the greatest Likeli∣hoods, that He will with a perfection of De∣liverance, Arise and Save us.