TO The Honourable House of COMMONS, Now Assembled in PARLIAMENT.
WHEN I received your Message, sent to me by one of Your Worthy Members, that you had appoynted mee to Preach before You, at the Monethly Fast then next to come, mine Insufficiency, a Age, and Weaknesse of Body, began immediately to put a just excuse •• my mouth: But the strong obligation in which the whole Land is obliged unto You, (being the onely powerfull b Saviours under God, of Church and State, from ruine and destruction, when they were allready o∣ver-runne, and at the poynt to bee swallowed up by the Page [unnumbered] Bands of Antichrist) did silence all Excuses. Besides, I was afraid to incurre the blame or suspicion of in∣gratitude to them who had delivered me from the paw of the Lyon, which thirsted after my bloud; and had set mee at liberty after two yeares imprisonment, and Voted a just recompence of the wrongs done to mee, and a Satisfaction from mine Oppressors, for all my losses and dammages, by their malice sustained. Which re∣compence, through your favour and forwardnesse to re∣lieve mee I had certainely received, if the multitude of Malignant spirits, then too prevalent among you, but now expelled out of your Assemblie, had not op∣posed and hindred the transmission of my Cause in due time, to the Honourable House of LORDS. I saw also a speciall hand of GOD in calling mee to Preach to so Honourable an Assemblie, and his pow∣er and providence, in frustrating and bringing to nought the Counsells and purposes of the proud persecuting Pre∣late of CANTERBURIE,* who on the same day of the VVeeke of the same moneth of the Yeare, six yeares before, brought mee to answer Ore tenus in the Star-Chamber, with full intent to lay a heavie Censure on mee: And when the truth of GOD for which I suffered, did beare mee out against all his Slanders, and false Accusations, hee most proudly affirmed, and bid me assure my selfe of it, That I should never come in a Pulpit to preach any more.
Vpon these Considerations, I did cheerefully submit my shoulders to beare this burthen, though it seemed farre heavier then my strength was able to sustaine and un∣dergoe. And now, Yee Worthies of GODS Israel, I humbly begge this favour at Your hands, that You will accept of the willingnesse of the Workman to serve Page [unnumbered] You, not the worth of the Service it selfe: Looke up∣on the pure, precious matter here handled, chosen out of a golden Psalme of DAVID, the sweet Singer of Israel, not on the weake handling of it. I conceived it verie seasonable for the Time and Occasion: For the pre∣sent Calamities by which the LORD calls us to pub∣like and generall Fasting and Humiliation, proceed from the Bands of the Brethren in Iniquitie, which are so many cursed Brambles of severall sorts, pestering the whole Land, and stinging us with their hurtfull pricks, which abound in everie Band, Sect, and Faction. The thing for which wee seeke unto GOD by Fasting and Pray∣er, is Deliverance of our Church and State from the mischiefe which they are sharply set to bring and inflict upon all that are Righteous and Religious in the Land. This Deliverance cannot bee fully and perfectly obtained, till the Lord our God bee pleased to cut downe these cursed Brambles, and to ridde these three Kingdomes of them. And this the LORD will doe verie speedily, so soone as hee sees us made ripe for Deliverance by true unfeigned repentance, and amendment of our lives: For then he will take away, as with a Storme and Whirle-winde, not onely the great Faction of the Antichristian Papists, Atheists, and Malignants, banded together, and wageing open VVarre against us, but also all the Sects of Anabaptists, Antinomians, Libertines, and Schismaticall Separatists, who by opposing the Reforma∣tion, and union of our Church, with the rest of the best Reformed Churches, both in Doctrine and Dis∣cipline, according to the written VVord of God, do act strong∣ly for Antichrist, and by raising up Divisions and Distra∣ctions, in the City, Countrey, and all our Armies, doe as much as in them is, to weaken us, make breaches in our VValls, and to lay us open and naked to the violence and furie of our Page [unnumbered] open enemies: All these things my Text, as I have faithfully opened and expounded it, doth offer to your grave and wise consideration; and in this Sermon I have proved every par∣ticular by cleare testimonies out of holy Scriptures, and in obe∣dience to your command, I have committed it to the Presse, and here humbly present it to your Honourable Assembly, with my hearty desire and prayer to God for you, that by it, and many other most godly and more learned Sermons, which sound conti∣nually in Your cares, You may take occasion to observe and note the danger in which our Land is, by reason of those many Sects and Hereticks, and Schismaticks, which like so many cursed Brambles grow up and increase daily, even to the over-sprea∣ding of the whole Kingdome▪ which when you come to doe once seriously; I doubt not but your zeale will stirre you up, to curb so many of them as are curable, and to cut off those that are incorrigible: even such Thorns and Brambles as David describes in his last words, saying, The sons of Belial are all of them as Thornes thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands. But the man that shall touch them, must be fully fenced with Iron, and the staffe of a Speare; and they shall bee utterly burnt with fire in the same place. 2 Sam. 23.6, 7. The great God, who hath so often, and won∣derfully preserved You heretofore from the secret treachery and open furie of these wicked men, bee still your shield, and your defence, and make his great worke to prosper in your hands. So prayeth,
Your humble and hearty (though weak and unworthy) Servant in the Lords Work, GEORGE WALKER.