Queen Esthers Resolves: OR A Princely Pattern of Heaven-born RESOLƲTION, For all the Lovers of God and their Country: OPENED IN A SERMON PREACHED BEFORE THE Honourable House of Commons, at the Monethly Fast, MAY 27. 1646.
By RICHARD HEYRICKE, Warden of Christs Colledge in Manchester in Lancashire, and one of the Assembly of DIVINES.
Yet now if thou wilt forgive their sin, and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy Book which thou hast written.
For I could wish that my self were accursed from Christ, for my Brethren, my kinsmen in the flesh.
They are not Valiant for the Truth upon the Earth.
LONDON, Printed by J. Macock, for LVKE FAVVNE, and are to be sold at his shop, at the sign of the Parrot in Pauls Church-yard. 1646.
Die Mercurii, 27 Maii 1646.
ORdered by the Commons As∣sembled in Parliament, That Colonell Moore do from this House, give Thanks to Mr Heyricke for the great paines he took in the Sermon he Preached this Day, at the intreaty of this House at St Margarets Westminster, it being the day of publike Humiliation; And to desire him to Print his Sermon: And it is Ordered that none shall presume to Print his Sermon without leave under his hand writing.
H. Elsynge Cler. Parl. D. Com.
I doe appoint LUKE FAVVNE to Print this Sermon.
A Sermon Preached at a late Solemn Fast, before the Honourable House of COMMONS. May 27. 1646.
—and if I perish I perish.
REsolution is the life of Action, a thing well resolved is more then half done, Vita sine proposito languida. Of all the Resolutions that I have read of, I finde none parallel with, nor comparable to this of Queen Esther. And this will ap∣pear if you will consider the Resoluti∣on it selfe, the acting or executing of this Resolution, the successe and issue; The Resolution had the royall stamp of Virtue and Glory; the Execution, of Wisdome and Courage; the Successe, of Wonder and Honour: The Resolution did breath an Heroick Virtue, the Execution a Religious Fortitude, the Successe Honour and Glory.
1.The Resolution is commended from the beauty, the Majesty, of her that resolved, a Woman, a Queen.
2. From the preparation she makes unto it, wherein we have.
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- 1.Her discreet deliberation with her selfe.
- 2.Her wise Consultation with others.
- 3.From the difficulties and dangers she was to en∣counter withall.
- 1.She must go uncal'd to the King, there she exposed her self to the penalty, to the danger of the Law.
- 2.She was to affront and confound the Minion of the Court, the Favorite of the King, she was to hazzard the frowns the thunder of the Kings Creature.
- 3.She must attempt to reverse a Law of the Medes and Persians, which were not to be changed, to be cancel'd.
In the first there was evident danger, in the second emi∣nent difficulty, in the third apparent impossibility; but not the one, nor the other, nor the third; not the danger, not the difficulty, not the Impossibility, could weaken or shake her Resolution.
4. This Resolution receives commendation from the Motives that invites her, from the Object, the end that en∣courageth and strengthens her to it.
- 1.The preservation of her Country people, unjustly and wickedly doom'd to ruin and destruction.
- 2.The continuation of her Jewish Religion, attempted to be corrupted, extirpated.
- 3.The Vindication of the glory of her God, which would be ecclipsed, blasphemed.
The Execution of this Resolution is commended: First, from the means by which she accomplisheth it, they are all fair, direct, and Lawfull.
2ly, From the circumstances which accompany it, they are Religious, Honest, and Seasonable; the means proclaims her Piety to God, the circumstances her policy to man.
The Successe and issue answerable to both these; she is crowned with glory, her enterprize with honour, God graciously heard her prayer, the King smilingly received her Page 3 Person, Mordecai her Uncle advanced, Haman the common Enemy hanged, the Jews her people rescued, the confede∣rate combined conspirators executed, her Religion establi∣shed, Gods glory mightily exalted. This is the resolution of this Resolution, of which briefly by way of Explication, then of Observation, and Confirmation, and in the close by Application.
[ 1] The first thing that adds lustre to this Resolution, was the Beauty, the Majesty, the Sex, the quality of her that resol∣ved; Ester, a Woman, a Queen. Admirabilior in foemina quam in viro virtus. We use to admire, saith Quintilian, the same virtue more in women then in men, whence his sen∣tence is, If we desire to beget in any the love and emulati∣on of courage, the instance of Horatius and Torquatus would not prove of so great efficacy, as of that woman who with her own hand slew Pyrrhus: In perswading you to true Christian resolution, the instance of Cato, the example of Joab, cannot be so powerfull as this of Queen Esther. It was a blindnesse to be pittied in Seneca, that he could not see a fairer Object for God, than Cato standing bolt upright in the midst of publike ruine; were it lawfull to speak in his swelling language, Ecce spectaculum, behold a spectacle truely worthy of God, not an Heathenish man desperately strugling with a private misfortune, but a virtuous woman more then manfully wrestling with publike danger and de∣struction; Behold strength in weaknesse, vertue in infirmi∣ty, Resolution in inconstancy; strength, virtue, resolution in a woman, Graetior est virtus veniens e corpore pulchro.
[ 2] Nor doth her Sex cast a brighter beam on her resolution then her condition; Majesty makes high the commendation; Had Queen Esther been yet amongst the Virgins of the com∣mon rank, within the wals of her obscure family, a Captive, a Stranger, she had then lost much of the glory of this Sacred Resolution; when Poverty and Obscurity exposeth it self Page 4 to a doubtfull danger for a publike safety, few observe them; many stars may be Ecclipsed and few take notice of it; miscarriage it self to a desperate condition is the cure of its misery, what is it for hunger-starved Lepers to adventure on the Enemy? If they kill us we shall but dye, this is not reso∣lution, but necessity; But for one without the verge of dan∣ger, to interest and hazzard her self in anothers rescue, is a Character of true fortitude, for one preferred to the height of Majesty, incompassed within the wals of strength and safety, incircled with Guards and Pensioners, for a Queen to expose her self in a voluntary compassion to the danger of a fall of death, this blazons an Heroick spirit and proclaims a Royall goodnesse, this commands amazement and admi∣ration; the sun Eclipsed, all eyes are fixed upon it.
[ 2] Nor doth her Sex and quality, her beauty and Majesty more eternize her Resolution, then her wisdome in the man∣ner of resolving; none are but what of necessity they cannot avoyd, to commit their affairs to any contingency; Esther wisely considers the nature of the businesse, not onely in the superficiall and outward appearance, but she penetrates in∣to the inside, she weighes and considers the accidents and consequences, she balanceth the beauty, the excellency, the glory of the enterprize, together with the trouble, difficul∣ty, and danger. True Resolution is not an inconsiderate and rash temerity, not a sencelesse and brutish stupidity; this virtue cannot be without knowledge and apprehension; she seriously and soberly pondreth and weigheth all things, she ballanceth and poyzeth together the eminency, the worthi∣nesse of her undertaking, with her strength and ability; the weaknesse of her Sex, nor the Majesty of her Person doth not more commend her Resolution, then her wisdome in de∣liberating, her judgement and discretion in consulting a∣bout it, another circumstance that commends the Reso∣lution.
Page 5In difficult and dangerous affairs, in businesse of great consequence and importance, the wisest, they of most understanding, are to use advice and councell of others; two are better then one,*In the multitude of Councellors there is safety: Non unius mens tantae molis est capax; Esther consults with her Uncle, a wise, religious and faithfull friend, a grave and advised Councellor, she commends it to the whole City of Shusan, they approve it, they blesse it, she doth not pre∣cipitately nor rashly, being wedded to her own judgement, conceive, resolve, and execute: but she debates the matter, she canvaseth it pro and con, she puts it to the Vote; thus be∣ing prepared and fortified, she will not be deterr'd; it is not a Lyon in the way, nor a Legion of Devils, though she fore-sees she must encounter with both, yet she is arm'd, she knows the worst, she can but perish, and that standing in competi∣tion with her peoples safety she regards it not, Go I will unto the King which is not according to the Law.
The Court of Kings ought to be as the Court of Heaven, equally neer and distant to every one; it argues more Tyran∣ny than Majesty to have set and standing Guards to keep out Petitioners. Turkes, and Persians, that make it their glory to fear all, may keep such Guards and Enact such Laws, because they are afraid of all; But Christian Princes who are to rule by Law and not by will, they are to have their Courts open to all, the poorest subject may have liber∣ty to prefer his Petition, a priviledge that Esther though a Queen could not have, but if she would go uncal'd to the King, she must run the hazzard of the Law, for it was not ac∣cording to the Law.
How far such Laws do binde I cannot determine; He is no transgressor, saith the Civill Law, that crosseth not the mind of the Law-giver, though he break the Letter of the Law; and a reasonable cause, as the Casuists and the Schoolmen agree, ever excuseth the breaking of a humane Law; I heard Page 6 it very lately from the Authority of the Honourable House of Commons, what Laws, Ordinances, or Orders soever, that are against the Law of God, are by the Laws of this Land null'd; The observation of Laws is very commendable; but when exigences are so violent, when confusion hath turned all upside down, when the State is disturbed, when wicked men are combined, when all Order is perverted, then men are to look to the main chance, then to sollicite the principal businesse, and so much the more zealously, as Esther did, by how much there is lesse possibility of compassing it the or∣dinary way. When necessity is so urgent that it makes the observing of the Laws impossible; Nature, Reason, Laws, Religion, all instruct us to betake our selves to that which is most necessary; Prerogative, Priviledge, Liberty, all must be laid aside: It was a reproach unto Cato, he would rather suffer the Common-wealth to run into all extremity, when he might have succour'd it, would he have a little transgres'd the Laws: and contrary wise Epaminondas is commended, that in case of necessity he continued his charge beyond his time, though the Law upon pain of life did prohibite it. The Parliament shall ever be famous, they have not onely followed presidents but made them: Men may swerve from a second particular and municipall Obligation, denying obe∣dience to the Laws and Customes of the Country, when they are against the first and more ancient, against Universall Nature and Reason: the Queen did not contemn the Law, but necessity made her passe it over; this way it might please God to bring forth a glorious deliverance, and to make her a blessed Agent in her peoples rescue; if she should miscar∣ry, she might loose some of her hopes, none of her virtues; the Laws deterre her not, nor the greatnesse of her adversary; Go she will though Haman advanceth against her.
Sathan when he cannot master the truth by meaner Agents, he interesseth great ones; Haman his name discovers his hu∣mour, Page 7 he was a troubler, and at this time a troubler of Israel, by birth an Agagite, of that Nation which God cursed, and with whom the Jews were to have perpetuall Hostility; this was one reason why Mordecai refused to bow, he would not stoop to so accursed an Enemy of God and his people; Haman was incorporated a Persian, whose Princes exacted more then Civill observance; this was a second reason. He was advanced the second in the Kingdome, where he plots and contrives by a desperate and bloody Stratagem, the utter ruin and destruction of the Jewish people: Kings are but men, their favorites often the worst of men, they lye open to the envy of the people, which like the Sun-beams, beats al∣wayes most scorchingly upon rising grounds. What that Prerogative is I know not, that Kings cannot offend; Kings sin, and Kingdomes are ruin'd: Esther bows low to the King, but stands upright against Haman; she encounters his person, and is resolved either to stand by his fall, or to fall if he stands; this difficulty though a great one, yet not the onely one, the last is worst, there is a seeming impossibility, she must reverse the Law, the last discouragement.
Non conveniat (saith Caesar) vel ullum verbum; disconsonant it is that one word should passe vainly out of a Princes mouth. But when laws are enacted, decreed and established, when signed and sealed with the Kings seal, and that according to the Laws of the Medes and Persians which alter not, what hope to reverse or change it? set aside Principles, Grounds, Articles of Religion, unquestionable truths and undeniable Aphorisms, the Morall and Eternall Law of God; Men are not to make, nor may any entertain the Laws with an Oath never to change them; none may vow a perpetuall marriage to their own Mandates, there may be a cause for a Bill of divorce, room for retractations. What made these Persian Laws unalterable, but the Laws themselves? that po∣wer that makes, may change. This Esther knew, this might Page 8 be, though there was little hope this should be, but she will venter it, it was for her people, her Religion, her God, which are the Motives that moved her, the last consideration that commends the Resolution.
[ 4] Had Esther been of the ordinary temper, as jolly and proud of her Majesty and beauty as her predecessor Vasthi, how easie had it been for her to have over-looked the cala∣mity of her people? she that before neglected her Husband her Soveraign, how would she have here under-valued her servants, her subjects? her wise Ladies would have perswa∣ded her; yea, she would have said her self it had been an un∣necessary anxiety, to have interrupted her mirth with the thought of their misery; a businesse beneath the State of a Queen to undertake the rescue of a few despised Country∣men, especially with the hazzard of the forfeiture of her honour, the high displeasure of the King, the danger of the Law, the hazzard of her life, the small hope of successe. This certainly would have been her voyce, if they perish they pe∣rish; but Religious Esther she more esteemeth of her peo∣ples safety then her own, her life is bound up in theirs, if they perish she could not live, she would have been more misera∣ble had she surviv'd their Misery; who could desire to live when the Country is dead? all owe more to their Country then to themselves; this Esther knew which thus strengthned her resolution, together with the preservation of her Religi∣on, a second consideration.
2. Religion is the very Nerves and sinews of the Com∣mon-wealth, the very heart and prime fountain of life and livelihood, the Crown, the glory of a Nation, the beauty, the strength, the perfection, the Spirit, the soul of a King∣dome; In Religion is Embarqued the publike safety; when that is aimed at, the danger is dreadfull, the losse beyond re∣covery; Eli's heart trembled whilst the Arke was in the field, in doubtfull disputation; but when he heard the Arke Page 9 was taken, he fell from his seat, whose heart was sooner bro∣ken then his neck; yet with that he dyed; Happy death that made him not out-live the losse of the Arke! none but Atheists that know no life but the present, but they make Religion the first thing. The Heathen is recorded to all ages, for the laying aside his Father, Wife, and Children, and ta∣king the care of his Country gods; few make Religion their businesse, especially they that sit at the top of the wheel, cloath'd in soft rayment, dandled on the knee and lul'd in the bosome of soveraignty; there are that will sell Paradise for Paris, and will launce no farther forth, then they may return safe again; but Esther is of a more divine temper, she stands up for the defence of her Religion; In her Religion, she saw the glory of God had founded it, and it could not be ruin'd without a manifest hurt to the glory of that God which was dearer to her then her own life: the third and last encou∣ragement.
[ 3] Nothing is more dear, yea so dear to a Religious soul, as the glory of God; the glory of its own soul is valued at a cheap rate in respect of this; Gods glory is the supream, the highest glory, the sun of glory; if that be darkned, though all the stars shine, it is still night, whereas if that shines in its glory, though no stars shine, yet it is day: Chrysostome pro∣fessed he loved nor honoured Rome so much for her Antiqui∣ty, her multitude of inhabitants, her sumptuous fair buil∣dings, the great priviledges and immunities of the Citizens, the beauty and glory of the City, as for that the Lord of Glory was held forth there in the preaching of Peter and Paul: Heaven it self is not so glorious, as a poor Country Village, where the King of glory is preached: Queen Esther rather then the glory of God should be obscured by a black cloud of his servants blood, rather then the miscarriage and downfall of Religion should open the mouth of blasphemy to spit reproach in the face of Gods people, she will stake Page 10 her owne soul, lay her life at pawn to redeem the glory of God from such an injury, Finis dat amabilitatem, the end beautifies the enterprize; if any end can adde glory to any, surely this doth multiply on the head of Ester, she is resol∣ved, actum est, it is done already in her unbended resolution, she cloaths her self with Virtue, and puts on courage with her Jewels; Thus accompanied with Divine beauty, and heavenly Valour, she sets forward to her already bleeding Nati∣on; her Weapons are faith and prayer, her Armour courage and resolution, her Attendants beauty and virtue, her word Si pereo pereo, nor can danger, difficulty, or impossibi∣lity, Haman, Death, nor Devill turn her back again, Go I will.
Thus you have heard with what cautions, with what cou∣rage and wisdome Queen Esther, and by her Example, every good Christian ought to enter into a Resolution; here was an absolute integrity of all concurrencies, which made this resolution good, acceptable to God, comfortable to her self, profitable to her people; The person that made it fitly qualified, the end moving sufficiently warrantable, the cir∣cumstances honest and seasonable, the means direct and law∣full: Here was no defect, iniquity and exorbitancy of any particular, but a generall combination of all requisites: The Resolution was necessary and religious, which will the better appear, if we compare what Queen Esther did in Per∣sia, with what the Scriptures testifie the Saints and servants of God have done at other times, and ought to do at all times, which is my second thing, the Doctrine and the confirmation of it.
*In the Cause of God, Religion, and our Countries, we are not to passe for perishing. Gratious and Religious spirits, neither are nor ought to be out-dared in the cause of God, Religion, and their Countries safety, by the fear and danger of pe∣rishing.
Page 11They that are on Gods side as Moses proclaimed in the gate,* they are to know neither father nor mother, but every one to stay his brother, companion and neighbour;* Christ teacheth us to hate father and mother and wife and children and Brethren and Sisters; yea, and our own lives also, when they stand in competition with God; Saint Paul saith, 1 Cor. 16.22.*If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha; he speaks not of the Jews and Heathens, but of Christians; the Apostle blesseth those and prayes for them that love Jesus Christ in sincerity,*Ephes, 6.24. Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity; as the blessing is so is the curse, Anathema Maranatha to them that love not the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity: None can love Je∣sus Christ in sincerity, that love their lives before and above Christ. Saint Jerome protested he would trample upon Fa∣ther and Mother, if they hindred his way to Christ; Cursed be he, said that noble Marquesse, that counts the whole world to one houres enjoyment of Jesus Christ. Saint Paul could not by the prayers and teares of his friends be kept back from go∣ing to Hierusalem (though the Spirit witnessed, Bonds and afflictions did attend him there) why do ye break my heart?*for I am ready not to be bound onely, but also to dye at Hierusalem, for the Name of the Lord Jesus; All their tears and intreaties could no more prevail with him, then Dido's did with Aeneas, when Jupiter commanded his departure;*For my bre∣thren and kinsmen according to the flesh, I could wish that my self were accursed from Christ: Moses full of zeal and com∣passion, when wrath was going forth against Israel, when the destroying Angel was waving his sword over them, his sword furbished and garnished to make a sore slaughter, He bows his knee to the father of Jesus Christ, he cryeth out;*O this peo∣ple have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold; yet now if thou wilt forgive their sin: and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy Book, which thou hast written. He speaks after Page 12 the manner of men, in whom compassion and passion stops passage to further speech; an abrupt kind of speaking, an imperfect sentence, wherein much more is implyed then was expressed: Luther would to Wormes, though there were as many devils as tiles; and Antonius Marinarius said, standing up in the Councell of Trent, Though heaven fall and the whole world run headlong, yet I will look up to the good∣nesse of God, and though an Angel from heaven should perswade me the contrary, yet I would say Anathema to him. A French Cavalier protested for the recovery of Callis he would be content to lye two years in hell. A reverend Bi∣shop lying at the point of death, spake zealously and soberly Me moriente let me dye so the Church may flourish. Sejan with the hazzard of his own life did bear off the burthen that would have crusht Tiberius to death, and our Santleger recei∣ved the Arrow into his own brest, that would have pierced the King to the heart. Those Worthies did worthily, that pre∣sented the first Petition at York; and this Parliament shall live for ever, for the first Remonstrance and Protestation. This is a duty that we all owe to God, to our Religion and Country, which all that are eminently godly, truely religious and zealous Patriots, have ever preferred before their par∣ticular estates, honours, and Lives. I shall but com∣mend one Precept to you, with an example to illu∣strate and back it, you have them both in one verse of the same chapter,* 1 Iohn 3. v. 16. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he hath laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren, the example is the highest that can be given, and the Precept in every word emphati∣call; we ought in point of duty, it is not arbitrary nor volun∣tary, a necessity lies upon us, and woe unto us if we lay not down our lives for the brethren, to lay down freely and of our own accord, not by constraint and of necessity, but of choyse and desire; Our lives the highest thing in our power, higher Page 13 then our honours, our estates, our liberties, our priviledges, our present comforts, for the brethren, the Saints, the ser∣vants of God.
The Reasons that strengthen this Doctrine are mighty convincing, and strong to invite if not to inforce the obedi∣ence to it.
This we ought to do in point of Equity, Honour,* and Policy.
1. In point of equity, what can we stake in Gods cause and our Countries, that we have not received from God and for Gods purposes? The Lord hath made all things for him∣selfe, the Lord found nothing made to his hand; what is there in heaven and earth, that can stand out against God and say, I made my selfe; it was a blaspheming sin, no sin of igno∣rance, which King Pharoah, belched forth, Who is the Lord that I should obey his voyce to let Israel go? I know not the Lord,*neither will I let Israel go: The great Turke blasphemed God in heaven, when he cryed out; O God hast thou not enough to do with thine own businesse in heaven, but thou interest∣eth and interposeth thy self with mine on earth; it was sordid & base flattery, Jupiter in coelis, God ruleth in heaven, Caesar on earth; the Tyrant set his mouth against heaven when he said, Is not this great Babylon that I have built for the house of the King∣dome, by the might of my power, and for the honour of my Majesty?* And as God made all himself, so he made all for himself; whē he made them, he made no overture of his interest & proprie∣ty: All that man hath, & all that man is, is from God, and ther∣fore all that he hath and all that he is, must be for God, Of him and to him, there is S. Pauls Alpha and Omega; when God en∣dowed man with the greatest trust, power, and prerogative; when he made him his Vice-Roy, his Vicegerent, his Lieute∣nant Generall, when he gave the foul of the Ayre, the beast of the field, the fish in the sea, the trees in the Garden to his command, yet then the Lord laid this restraint, but of the tree Page 14 in the midst of the Garden thou shalt not eate; That tree could then baffle Adam, when all the creatures besides would bow unto him, and give homage and obedience, then that would stand upright and say, Adam touch me not, passe by, lay no hand on me, lest thou dyest; what can we lay out for God, which we have not received from God, & for Gods purposes? if we lay out much of our silver and gold for God, God ther∣fore hath given us much because we should use much; Of thine own saith David we have given unto thee,* when the Kings and Princes offered liberally towards the building of the Temple; If we have large parts, hearts and heads inlar∣ged as the sand on the sea shore, so that we had as many choise notions as sands on the sea shore, God intended to make large use of them; Wisedome and Understanding calls God Fa∣ther, life it self was bestowed on man by God, that it might be bestowed on God by man; The Lord Jesus Christ him∣self received a body, not that he needed a body, but that with that body he might serve the great design of Gods Predesti∣nation,* and so he understood and acknowledged it, A body hast thou prepared for me, I come to do thy will O God. The whole Church resolves according to this,*My beloved is mine and I am his, He is mine in all he hath, he is mine in all he did, in all he suffer'd; he for my sake encountred with the malice of men, with the rage of devils, with the wrath of God, and therefore good reason I should be His, His in all I have, His in all I am, His in all I can do and suffer: O saith Spira, Were it with me as in times post, I would scorn the threats of the most cruell Tyrant with invincible Resolution, and glory in the outward profession of Christ, till I were choaked in the flame and my body consumed to Ashes: Certainly they are to be beg'd as fools, and to be esteem'd as mad, that rise against the Parliament that hath stood for them; we have received all from God, Judge ye, owe we not all to God? is not this equall?
Page 15 [ 2] In point of Honour; They that honour me, them will I honour, God honours them that are of publike Spirits,* that will lay out themselves and what they have for God; the greatest title of honour among the Romans, was to be inti∣tuled patres patriae, they had divine honours and were enrol'd among the Gods; the name of Quintus Curtius, of Attilius Regulus, of Papilius Decius the father and son, others are fa∣mous and renouned to this day; Constantine had the name great, and Theodosius had the name good, not from the great∣nesse of their Empire, but from the goodnesse of their Religi∣on. You have studyed to set marks of honour upon them that have jeoparded their lives in the high places of the Earth. King Darius upon a time opening a great Pomegranate, and being asked of what he would wish to have as many as there were grains in that Pomegranate, he answered presently, So many Zopirusses; Zopirus was a Valiant and Noble Com∣mander, who seeing the King his Master could hardly sur∣prize Babylon, where the trayterous Assyrians were intren∣ched, put in execution this wonderfull and strange Strata∣gem, he caused his servants to rent his whole body all over with scourging, to slit his nose, to cut his lips and eares, then flying covertly to Babylon he made the Assyrians beleeve Darius had used him so, because he had spoken in their be∣half, councelling him to break up his siege and to remove his Army from assaulting them; they beleeving the story, see∣ing his Massacred and dis-figured body, they gave him the first command, by which means he delivered them and the City into Darius power. When the Lord Jesus heard of the faith of the Centurion, the Text sayes, He wondred, 'tis read, he honoured it; this raiseth a man above himself, and sheweth that he hath more then man, somewhat of God in him; as there cannot be a greater reproach, ignominy and obloquy upon the name of any, then of them that have betray∣ed their Country, their names shall rot for ever, and their Page 16 memorials shall perish, it is their curse, and let their heires inherit it. The Jews to this day when they read this History of Esther, as often as mention is made of Haman, they stamp with their feet, frown, knock with their hands, shout and make an hydeous noyse: the name of the gunpowder Tray∣tors is abhord, and is in execration to this day, and after ages will abominate their basenesse and villanies, that have lifted up their hand against the Parliament; but the Esthers, the Mordicai's, the Religious Patriots, that have acted in the sphere, the brave souldiers whose lives were not dear unto them, the faithfull Ministers, the Horsemen, the Chariots of Israel, they shall be had in everlasting remembrance, their names shall be perpetuated to all generations, and their me∣mory shall live for ever; Jael shall be blessed above women, and David for killing Goliah shal marry the Kings daughter, and his house shall be free in Israel;*He is worthy, He loved our Nation and hath built us a Synagogue. Where ever (saith Christ) this Gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, for a memoriall of her. Pilate is gibbited up in the Creed for condemning Christ, whilst Christ for dying for his people, Is exalted above all principalities and powers.
[ 3] In point of Policy, were there nothing but self, self secu∣rity and safety, yet this would prompt us to it, Christ layeth it down as an irrefragable Axiom,*Luke 17.33. He that loseth his life shall preserve it; No man can give a cup of cold water, but shall have his reward: Who saith God hath shut my door for nought? God is not nor cannot be a barren wildernesse. He that hath pitty on the poor,* lendeth unto the Lord, and that which he hath given will he pay him again: read what Mordecai told Esther when her fear at first prevailed with her, chap. 4. v. 13, 14.* Think not with thy self that thou shalt escape in the Kings house more then all the Jews; for if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there inlargement and delive∣rance Page 17 arise to the Jews from another place, but thou and thy fa∣thers house shall be destroyed; and who knoweth whether thou be come to the Kingdome for such a time as this. A gratious spirit cannot enjoy it self, while the publike is in danger; that History is worthy your observing though Apocryphall: A spark is safer in the fire then separate alone;* how easie may it be quenched? joyn'd to the rest it preserves it self, and may burn them that seek to extinguish it: a drop taken from the rest instantly dryes away, in the sea it lives whiles the sea lives: one souldier from the Army in continuall danger, in the Army safe: certainly that policy is folly, that councel foolishnesse, that leaves men to themselves to di∣vide from the whole. He that bottles all the Tears, that num∣breth all the hayres, that pondreth all the steps, that keepeth all the Bones, so that not a tear shall be lost, not a hair fall, not a foot dash against a stone, not a bone break: if God takes care of the tears, the hairs, the out-goings, the bones of his people, how much more for their Liberty, for their liveli∣hood, for their blood, for their lives, for their bodies, for their souls? peruse the sacred book of God, search all the An∣nals, the Histories, the Records of the Bible, and finde me one, one example, one man, one woman, that ever were of publike spirits, that did but lay to heart the miseries of the Country, that did but weep and mourn for the Abomina∣tions and Desolations, and see if God did not ever preserve them, if he was not a Sanctuary, a City of Refuge, a hiding place, a Royall Pavilion to them; I could give twenty instances, how God hath preserved them, Enoch, Noah, Lot, Jeremy, Barach, Ebedmelech. God gives in expresse charge, Ezek. 9.4.*Go through the midst of the City, through the midst of Jerusa∣lem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of them that sigh and that cry for all the Abominations that be done in the midst thereof: Certainly they that will not perish for their Country, shall perish without it or with it; whereas they that care nor to Page 18 perish, so that their Country perish not, they may be savi∣ours to themselves and to the Country; neither they nor the Country shall perish, witnesse the successe and issue of this Resolution of Esthers perishing: and thus much for the Ob∣servation and Confirmation; I come in the third and last place to the Use and Application.
*Learn, God sometimes brings his people into a perishing condition, he leaves them hopelesse and helplesse, as Orphans and Widdows; the Jews they were at this time in a low and sad condition, the Decree was gone forth, the day was as∣signed, the Executioners ready; the Israel of God they have been as a valley of dead & dry bones,*without skin, without flesh, without life; the Church of God as Isaac, bound hand and foot, the knife at the throat, the fire burning; as Jonah in the belly of the Whale, in hell, as Christ in the Grave. How desperate was the condition of the Jewish Estate, in the Reign of King Ahaz, they were so low, that they knew not by what possibly they could rise again,* God said to him, Aske a sign of the Lord thy God, aske it either in the depth or in the height above; But Ahaz said I will not aske; and why would not he? He thought nothing in heaven, nor in earth could do him good. Israel was in Egypt as a burning Lamp in a smoaking furnace, as Abraham in a deep sleep, full of horror and of great dark∣nesse; in Babylon as a Lyon dead, in Rome as men kild, whose bodies lie unburied; the Church sometimes passeth through the waters, through the Rivers, through the fire, through the flame. Christ the head of the Church (therefore much more the Church) was as a Plant or Root, in a dry ground, without forme,* without comelinesse, without beauty; despised, rejected of men, a man of sorrows, one acquainted with griefes. Yea the Heroes, the worthies, they of the first Three, they are some∣times necessitated to passe through the Pikes, to break through an Host, an Army, to gain a little water. You your selves the Worthies of the Kingdome, have you not severall Page 19 times received the sentence of death within your selves? have you not been at your stands, at your losse, God will raise up Mountains of opposition that you may be nothing in your selves, that you may be all in him.
[ 2] Let them perish that bring the people of God into the hazard of perishing. Haman the common enemy that plot∣ted and contrived the utter ruin of the people of God, was himself hanged upon the same gallows that he prepared for Mordecai. —nec lex est justior— Nor did Haman dye alone, as the head of the Malignant partee, but Hamans ten sons drank of the same cup; yea, they that would have acted in so hellish a design, the Jews put to the sword 76000 men; it is worthy of your observation, the Jews that stood up for their Liberties, for their Religion, yet the Text twice expresly Records, That they layd not their hands on the Prey.* See what the Gibeonites asked of David, 2 Sam. 21.3, 4, 5, 6. What shall I do for you, and wherewith shall I make the Atonement,*that ye may blesse the inheritance of the Lord? And the Gibeonites said unto him, We will have no silver nor gold of Saul, nor of his house, neither for us shalt thou kill any man in Israel. And he said, What ye shall say that will I do for you: And they answered the King, The man that consumed us, and that devised against us, that we should be destroyed for remaining in any of the coasts of Israel, Let seven men of his sons be delivered unto us▪ and we will hang them up unto the Lord in Gibeah of Saul, whom the Lord did chuse: And the King said, I will give them. I do not deny but the Law of God, doth it self allow compositi∣on for mens lives,* men may in some cases redeem their lives with their Estates. Ismael did not slay them that said, They had treasure in the field: But if there be any whom God hath marked out for destruction,* they that give their lives to them, their lives may go for their lives, Cursed be he that doth the worke of the Lord negligently. All are not involved in the same guilt, that are in the same Action; 200 joyned them∣selves Page 20 to Absolon in his treasonable practise, yet they went in the simplicity of their hearts: Yet there are a partee that are leaders to the blind, that Justice may not shut her eye against them; in Babylon there are some that have not the mark of the Beast upon them, they are to be invited, to be called out, to be received in▪ but they that have the name, the number, the marke of the beast, they must dye without mercy, and like milstones be thrown into the midst of the Lake that burneth with fire and brimstone: the commands of God are not onely peremptory,*Reward her even as she hath rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works; in the cup that she hath filled fill to her double: but a blessednesse is promised to them that execute this command:*O daughter of Babylon who art to be destroyed, happy shall he be that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us, Happy shall he be that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones: peruse that of the Lamenta∣tions and you shall see who they are that are to be destroyed, and how to be destroyed;*Render unto them a recompence O Lord according unto the work of their hands, give them sorrow of heart, thy curse unto them, persecute and destroy them in anger, from under the Heavens of the Lord: [Give them sorrow of heart] there is their character, there is their marke by which they are set out for destruction, there is that black beane, that fa∣tall robe which designs them for death; the margent of your Bible reads it, give them obstinacy of heart; an hard heart is a great evill; but an heart hardned, an obstinate heart, obsti∣nacy of heart, such a heart that will not, that cannot be soft∣ned: one reads it give them a veil upon their heart, they up∣on whose heart there is a vail,*that when Gods hand is lifted up they will not see: give them a shield upon their heart, a shield not to defend them from the fiery darts of Sathan, but as the Interlineary glosse reads it, ne penetrentur jaculo praedicationis. The sin against the holy Ghost is unpardonable, and could we distinctly know that sin, men should not pardon it more Page 21 then God; blasphemy was to be punished by death, this sin the highest blasphemy; I beleeve there are many at this day that are guilty of this sin; to sin against mighty convince∣ment (so Christ argueth against the Pharisees) is to sin this sin; they that fight against God as the Jews did that opposed Stephen, who were not able to resist the spirit by which he spake, yet they were cut to their heart, they gnashed on him with their teeth, they stopped their eares, they stoned him to death; if some are not guilty of this sin against the holy Ghost, yet there are many that are guilty of that sin which is unto death, of that sin which leads unto death, which shall never return again, that have stood out against the Word of God, the Providences of God, the mercies of God, that have grieved the Holy Spirit, resisted the Holy Ghost, quenched the Spirit and done despight unto the Spirit of grace: Christ would not spare the figtree above three years; they that stand out this year, after the master of the Vineyard hath been at so great cost, and hath taken so great pains, after he hath done so great things, that heaven and earth are asto∣nished, I fear not to say, they have sin'd this sin which is to death, which God will not, which men should not pardon: but if your charity be yet above my faith, That you beleeve there are that have not sin'd, neither the one nor the other, yet your sence cryes loud unto you, they have shed innocent blood, pretious blood, the blood of the sons of God, which God will not, nor you may not pardon; they have not onely fil'd Jerusalem, shed the blood of many of your Citi∣zens, but they have fil'd England, Scotland, Ireland, with blood; Recompence them according to their worke, they whose sword hath made many childlesse, let your sword make their mothers childlesse, Recompence them according to their work, yea, give them double not onely according to the work of their hands, but according to the mischiefe of their heart, which far exceeds the work of their hands, yea it is double Page 22 unto it; and therefore God which sees their bloody minds, bids his people recompence them according to what they have done, double unto them according to what they would have done: It was a bloody speech of one, once your priso∣ner, now Governour of a strong hold, that yet stands out a∣gainst you: If the King commanded him, he would not care but glory in it, to burn all the Cities of the Kingdome, to lay the Land as Sodome and Gomorrah, to sow this Garden of Eden with salt. O let not these sons of Zerviah that have shed the blood of war in peace, and have put the blood of war upon their girdle, and in their shooes that were on their feet, let not their hoary head go down to the grave in peace, they have been the troublers of Israel; God and you trouble them; enter into your chamber and shut the doors upon you, and then revolve again and again all the sad stories of these mens cruelty, sum up whatever losse or dammage the three Kingdomes have suffered by them; yea, exact not the prin∣cipall but the utmost farthing of Use and Interest: Our Sa∣viour Christ tels the Pharisees, That they have fil'd the mea∣sure of their sins,*and that they had brought upon them all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of Righteous Abell, unto the blood of Zacharias, son of Barachias, whom they slew between the Temple and the Altar: these men are guilty of all the blood that hath been shed in this Kingdome, in the cause of Liberty, of Priviledge, of Religion; God will lay all the blood to their charge, he will not loose one drop of the blood of his Saints. Abels blood yet cryes for vengeance: God when he comes to make Inquisition for blood, he will ac∣count for every drop of blood; he that pardons all other sins, will not pardon innocent blood. Teares shall not wipe away the guilt of blood, Reformation cannot hinder when God in∣quires for blood; God may defer his Visitation, yet come he will, and he will enquire whether there be any of the house of Babylon alive, to make restitution for blood. The same Page 23 Spirit that actuated Cain to kill his brother Abell, actuated the Pharisees to kill the servants the sons of God: the same have actuated these men to kill the Saints. The devill was a Murtherer from the beginning; the whole world lies in the wic∣ked one, they all walk by the same bloody principles, they have the same inraged spirit, with the same hellish rage which reacheth up to heaven, by which they have shed any of the blood of the Saints, they would have shed all; if all the blood that were shed from Abell to this time, did run in the veines of any one child of God, they would open that vein, and let out that blood, and spill it as water upon the ground: Caligula's bloody wish is in all their hearts, O that all the Saints and servants of God had but one head, that with one blow I might strike it off.
Neither let your eyes spare, though there are great ones that are guilty; Queen Vasthi too curiously wedded to the observation of the Persian Law which inhibits women to be seen of strangers, and too much doting upon her own beauty and Majesty, refuseth to come, though the King sends a first and second time, and therefore she shall never come more,* the King and his Councell Decree it, and give a Morall Reason for it; greatnesse and wickednesse may not twin to∣gether, Princes have not any licence to offend, Queens them∣selves have not an Obstante for sin: 'Tis the misery of great∣nesse, the offence is as great as the offender, the sin as sove∣raign as the Person; great Persons do not so much commit sin as teach it; their disobedience is ever Masculine, and it begets followers of it, as of their Persons; they are of a diffu∣sive and spreading nature. The highest Court may reach the highest Persons; Causes and not Persons are to be heard in Your Parliament:* Ile conclude this with that of Ezra chap. 7. ver. 26. Whosoever will not do the Law of thy God, nor the law of the King, let judgement be executed speedily upon him, whether it be unto death or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods or to Imprisonment.
Page 24 [ 3] Let not them Perish, that have adventured the perishing, that you & the Kingdome might not perish; Esther found fa∣vor in the eies of the king & the king gave her Hamans house: It was the Piety of David that he inquired Whether there was any of the house of Saul,*that he might shew the kindnesse of God unto him: and it was a commendable custome in the Courts of Persia, to have the good Acts of the Subjects Chronicled;*Mordecai was found in the History, and the King highly advanced him for it. Would you be pleased to peruse your own Records, you may finde some places, that now like Mordecai lyes sad and desolate in the gate, that did you admirable service, whereof you did rejoyce and glory: pardon my zeal if I name the Town and Parish of Man∣chester unto you, a Town famous for Religion ever since the Reformation; beleeve it, it hath been a Goshen, a place of light, when most places of the Land have been places of darknesse, it hath been an hiding-place, a place of refuge and sanctuary against the Tyranny of Prelacy, the stormes and tempest of persecution; They were with the first that jeoparded themselves in the high places of the Earth, that ventured the perishing in the cause of God & the Kingdome; They offered themselves willingly amongst the people, and they laid out themselves in what they had for the publike service; yea, I know there were that like the Widdow threw in all their treasure into the publike Treasury; God did great things by them and for them; I fear not to say they preserved the North; Manchester was the pub∣like Magazine, the Sanctuary to poor Exiles, the Prison to proud Enemies, the Bulwark to the County; but now she sits like a Widdow desolate, the hand of God hath lately gone out against them, the onely Town untouch'd by the Enemy, and the onely town in all the County stroke of God: The Priests the Ministers of the Lord, that did bear the Ark of God upon their shoulders, there were sixteen of Page 25 them in that Parish, and now I know but one, one alone as Eliah left to do the service of the Lord, and he is upon tiptoe, ready to take his flight, scarce having bread (through the wickednesse of the times the great revenues of the Church being unjustly withheld from him) to put into his childrens mouth: the Wals of the Garrison they moulder away, and what the Enemy could never do, time hath made wide breaches in their Works, and there is not at this time that I know of, five souldiers to keep the Garrison; these things in a Petition, they have lately laid at your feet: Give me leave in theirs and others behalf to say, Let not so great labour of Love be forgotten, Let the blessing of them that are ready to perish be upon you, Comfort them, yea comfort them according to the time wherein they have been afflicted; yea, give them double for what they have done.
There are many Uses that I could make of this Doctrine, but time and strength would both fail me. I will conclude all with a short meditation; peruse 1 Kings 22.19, 20.*And he said hear thou therefore the Word of the Lord, I saw the Lord sitting upon his Throne, and all the Host of heaven standing by him, on his right hand and on his left: And the Lord said, Who shall perswade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth Gilead? and one said on this manner and another said on that. Be pleased to conceive a Parliament at this time conveen'd in Heaven, and God on his Throne asking this Question, Shall I destroy England? And so some An∣swers after this manner and some after that.
[ 1] One stands up and sayes, England must be destroyed, Eli∣jah a bold and daring man, he makes intercession to God a∣gainst Israel, Lord they have killed thy Prophets, and digged down thine Altars, thou hast consumed with the Spirit of thy mouth, and hast consumed with the brightnesse of thy comming, the great Antichrist, the Grand Imposter, the man of sin, the Page 26 son of Perdition, the wicked one; and behold there are many Antichrists, many wicked ones that are risen up in the room of him, there are little Foxes that spoyl the Vines, those Vines that have tender Grapes, and they are not taken away.
[ 2] A Second seconds the former, and saith, England must be destroyed, there is a great cry of injustice, of oppression, of wrong, of injury, blood toucheth blood, Courts of Ju∣stice, Committees, are Courts of Robbery and spoyl; the poor sheep flyes to the bush for shelter and loseth his fleece: Papists, Malignants compound, and they oppresse their poor Tenants, that have engaged themselves in the publike for the Lord against their lords.
[ 3] A third assents to what the two former hath said, Eng∣land must be destroyed, wrath is begun amongst them, they begin to imbrue their hands in each others blood, and be∣cause others cannot murther them, they will kill one ano∣ther: Lord what fears, what suspicions, what jealousies, what sad divisions amongst thine own people! they that Affliction made friends, prosperity makes enemies; they whom one heaven will contain, one Church cannot.
[ 4] A fourth confirmes and concludes with the three for∣mer, England must be destroyed, they have broke the Cove∣nant, they have falsified the Oath of God; Oaths and Cove∣nants are like Sampsons coards, every one makes use of them to their own Interests. To these agreed many more, there was a great cry heard in the house, Down with it, down with it, even to the ground: God looked from his throne and wondred there was not one found, not one to stand in the Gap, to make an Atonement, to speak in the behalf of England.
[ 1] After a short silence, one arose from his seat and said, Lord wilt thou destroy England, England for whom thou Page 27 hast done so great things, amongst whom thou hast magni∣fied thy Name, hast done Wonders, What Nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord their God is, in all things they have called upon him for? and what Nation is there so great, that have Statutes and judgements so righteous? Aske now of the dayes that are past which were be∣fore thee, since the day that God created man upon Earth,*and aske from the one side of heaven unto the other, whether there hath been any such thing, as this great thing is, or hath been heard like it? Did ever people hear the Voyce of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard and live? or hath God assayed to go & take him a Nation from the midst of another Nation, by temptation, by signes, and by wonders, and by War, and by a mighty hand, and by a stretched out Arme, and by great terrors, according to all that the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? God never did more by Josuah, by Macchabeus, by Alexander, by the King of Sweden, then by the Parliaments Army this year; wilt thou destroy what thine hand hath done? what will the Atheists, the Papists, the Malignants say, Surely God was not able to save them? save them for thy great Names sake.
[ 2] A second ariseth and saith, England must not be destroyed, Lord wilt thou destroy a righteous Nation, if there be fifty, for∣ty, thirty, twenty, ten, righteous there? shall not the Judge of all the Earth do that that is right? there are seven thousand at least that have not bowed their knees to Baal, there are sixty thousand and more, yea then sixty hundred thousand, that cannot discern betwixt the right hand and the left; thou ne∣ver didst destroy a praying, a reforming people, wilt thou now do what was never in thy thoughts before?
[ 3] A third ariseth after the second and pleads the same cause, England must not be destroyed, there is a Parliament in the midst of them, Physitians of great value, God hath Page 28 been amongst them and in the midst of them, and they are still acting for God and the Kingdomes safety, did ever Parliament perish before?
[ 4] After all these the fourth ariseth, that there might not appear fewer to speak for, then there was to speak against England, England must not be destroyed, they cannot dye alone, the three Kingdomes must dye with them, yea the Protestant Churches throughout the world; hast thou not said, That hell gates shall not prevail against thy people?
To these many more joyn'd in heart and Vote; there was a considerable partee of both sides, nor could it be determin'd whether had more voyces, they that spake for the destructi∣on, or they that spake for the salvation of England: and ha∣ving said they were silent; And behold as we read in the Reve∣lation there was in heaven great silence for half an houre, both sides waiting for Gods determination; at last God in his glorious Majesty, raysed himself from his Throne, and effe∣ctually cryed out, How shall I give thee up England, how shall I give thee up? and so without Conclusion and finall deter∣mination, dissolved the Session, to the admiration and asto∣nishment of both parties.
Beloved, the truth is we are yet in an uncertain and doubt∣full condition, none knows what the sentence shall be at last, what God will do with us; God hath already done as much above our hopes as our deserts, God hath lengthned out our tranquillity, he hath given us a breathing time, great Salvation he hath wrought for us, he hath given us. Liberty and opportunity to work our salvation with fear and trembling; beleeve it the Lord waits for something from us; O yee that are the Lords remembrancers, ye Senators, ye Mini∣sters, ye people, speak often in his ears, give the Lord no rest, ye Israel of God, ye mighty Princes of the Lord, ye men and women of Prayer, O all ye that are before the Page 29 Lord this day, this Fasting day, open your mouthes wide unto the Lord, ask great things of God, ye Noahs, ye Da∣niels, ye Iobs, ye Moses, ye Aarons, ye Jeremiahs, ye Ba∣•u•hs, plead Englands cause with God, and let not God go till he hath left the blessing behind him; O pray, pray, pray with strong cryes and groans, pray away what ever it is, whether person or things, that keeps God from us; Est∣her, Mordecai, they of Shusan, they prayed Haman and all the Conspirators dead together; Haman and his wise Coun∣sellors, they for twelve Moneths together used Divi∣nation and Inchantment: Esther in three dayes praying, o∣verthrew what they were contriving twelve Moneths; no∣thing can stand against Prayer, Prayer is omnipotent, it is a Commander of the Heavens, a Controuler of the Ele∣ments, it commands God himselfe; one prayerfull Chri∣stian may do more then ten thousand beside; let not then God go, lay hands upon him, pray the sentence on your side. You that are the Parliament of England, act strong∣ly for God, act like your selves according to the trust re∣posed in you. Did Publius Scipio a private man kill Tybe∣rius Gracohus that did but lightly weaken the Common∣wealth? and shall we that are Consuls, saith the Consul of Rome, let Cataline alone to work a common-destruction? let not Malignants rest quiet amongst you, there can be no safety to our Country, to our Religion whiles such misere∣ants lurk in our dwelling; little know we what Gun-pow∣der Plots are now in hatching, and how neer they are to the Birth, whilst the Pope remains at Rome and the Devill in Hell, and their Agents in England, the sons of darknesse will be still working in the vault of Darknesse; to ruine the children of light; shew not the least countenance to the detestable Neutrality that is practised by many: God writes in his books, write you in yours, all Neuters Ene∣mies, Page 30 all that are not for you against you. The Hedgehog the Hierogliphick of the Newter, hath two holes the one to∣wards the South, the other toward the North; when the South wind blows, she stops that hole that is toward the North; when the North wind blows, she stops that towards the South; such urchins are all Temporizers that halt betwixt two opinions: And as for Apostates that are fals to their Co∣venant and to your State, let not your eye pitty them, let not your hand spare them, execute justice to the enemies of the Common-wealth, shew mercy with favour to your friends. You my Beloved in the Ministery, be zealous for God; if God bids us prophecy, nullus consultandi locus, no choise is then best; that Roman Magnanimity must then take place necesse ut eas non ut vivas. Silvanus and Timotheus peremp∣torily told the Emperor, Power thou hast O Emperor to punish us, but never to drive us from the Tenets of our fore∣fathers: Eusebius refused to deliver Constantius the Empe∣ror the Decree made by the Councell against the Arians, though he threatned to cut off his hand, yet he refused it: Theodosius reports that the King of Scythia slew Anacharsis the Philosopher for worshiping the mother of the gods, after the Athenian manner; and the Evangelist records, that twice our Saviour purged the Temple, he that was the mirrour of Patience see how he looseth the Reines in an holy Indig∣nation in Sacrilegious abuses, in Religious quarrels: The Multitude of the Offenders, the might and malice of the Observers, the danger of the Action, nor the perill of the consequence stayes his hands, but he scourgeth out the buy∣ers and sellers out of the Temple: Truly Phineas Zeal, Ie∣hu's March, Iosiahs Resolution, Luthers Heroicall Spirit are necessary for these times: It is all one to deny the faith and not to maintain it; silence strengthneth Error, and they that through fear or negligence hold their peace like sleepy Page 31 watchmen they betray the City when a truth in Religion is questioned, when error is preferred; he that to his pow∣er doth not resist, de suo damnabitur silentio shall be condem∣ned for his silence. Courage, the Lord is with you: And ye people of the land come forth and helpe the Lord against the mighty.*Curse ye Meroz (saith the Angel of the Lord) Curse ye bitterly the Inhabitants thereof, because they came not to the helpe of the Lord, to the helpe of the Lord against the mighty. These are not the words of an angry passionate Prophet, but of the Angell of the Lord, not rashly thun∣dered out from the Pulpit, but zealously from Heaven, not with meeknesse and calmnesse of Spirit, but in bitternesse and fervency of Spirit; Here is not a single Curse, but a double, a multiplyed Curse, not against the professed open Enemies, but against the lukewarm, the feigned friends, not against the Cities of the Cananites, but against Meroz a City now in the Confines of Israel: All Israel was against Achan, and all Israel must be for the publike safety. If a∣ny man draw back, Gods Soul shall have no pleasure in that man; they are no Israelites indeed that will sit still on this side Iordan, whilst their brethren are in the field. Be all active in your way: for encouragement I will onely say this, you shall see your desire of your Enemy, your soul shall be filled with the goodnesse of the Lord; for the first see Isaiah 60.14. The sons of them that afflicted thee shall come bending Unto thee,* and all they that despised thee shall bow down themselves at the soales of thy feet, and they shall call thee the City of the Lord, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel: God will make the sons of Princes bow down unto you, the greatest that have afflicted you and despised you, shall lie at your feet. For the second, see the successe of this Resolution, Esther 9.29, 30, 31, 32. Your Fasts shall be turned into Feasts, your dayes of mourning into dayes of rejoycing, Page 32 your good ones shall be made great, the Esthers, the Mor∣dicais shall be advanced; the Hamans the common Enemies shall be destroyed; Religion shall be established, the Peace and safety of the Country shall be secured, Gods glory shal be exalted, and you your selves highly Honoured; God shall have the glory, you the happinesse, posterity the bles∣sednesse of this desired Work.