TO THE RIGHT HONORABLE THE LORD MAJOR and Court of Aldermen, with other Citizens of the renowned City of LONDON.
THE Accompt that I make of my selfe and service is this: For my selfe, the reason of my slow∣nesse in this work grew not from any undervaluing of your so ho∣nourable invitation, but from mine owne distemper of body, which at the same time forced me to deprecate a greater service to a greater Assembly, and to lay aside this till it was too late to put it off. 2. For the works selfe, 1. in my choyce, I had respect to custome and entreaty, and in the pursuance of that choyce I lookt upon Page [unnumbered]the season and Auditory:* You have now by your motion (that is) command, made it publique, and it being your owne, it is in your power to make it good: That is a good Sermon which doth good, as that's good soyle which mends the ground: that good food or Physick that helps the body: Some worth you have put upon it in your calling for it, and sending it ready written to my hand; if now you please to translate it into practice, the work is done. And surely there lyes before you the fairest of opportunities; never was there a fitter seeds-time for Prayer and Almes; in the one the poorest may concurre, in the other they cannot; that's your happinesse that you can give, and will be more yours if you doe the thing. It was some comfort to me to heare (so soone after my service) of a designe for the poor, that newes was to me what Jonahs Gourd was to him; and my prayer is, that this may be more lasting then that: The poore are exceeding many, and their wants exceeding great, and it is not the least of our griefes, that many of us in the Ministery can doe no more; we meet them hourly, and part but sadly; they sighing because they cannot receive, and we because we cannot give; and give we can∣not, Page [unnumbered]til we receive better answers then we do from more then enow: We know you not, we can∣not, we will not, we may not support such a —I am not (I confesse) well read in your Char∣ter, I know not your bounds; this I know, that this famous City hath been heretofore much ho∣noured and blessed both by and for their Mini∣sters; this I know, that magistrates by calling are Heirs of restraint,* and that sinne uncontrold and unpunished by them, will be set upon their heads, and beaten upon their backs; Yea, and this I have read, that where vision (preach∣ing) failes, the people are naked, or (say some) idle and uselesse; that where men grow high in sin and scorne, the City is ensnared or fired, Pro. 29.8. that where any City is divided, it cannot stand, Mat. 12.25. This I am sure of, and there∣fore my humble suit unto you is, that as you ten∣der your selves, your safety, your City, your Posterity, your Religion, your Christ, your All, doe your utmost to restraine all destructive ways of sinne, errour, faction, &c. and to establish a setled Government, and sincere Religion among you: Oh! let it not be free for any men at plea∣sure to proclaime their Jubilees, to assert, to Page [unnumbered]preach, to print, what seems good to themselves, & under colour of Christian liberty & free grace, or I know not what new light, to cry downe Ma∣gistracy, Ministery, Repentance, Obedience, say I? nay Scripture it selfe, Christ himselfe in his Nature and Offices. My Lord, and worthy Sena∣tors, I'le trouble you no longer, the rest you shall read in silence; I commend your Persons, your Imployments, your honourable City, and all your publique Concernments to the grace of our Lord Jesus, beseeching him to raise up still amongst you Magistrates of Jethro's marke,* men of might for wisdome, wealth, courage, men of truth (whether for Theorie or Practice) but no men for selfe either ends or turnes: So prayes
Your humble Suppliant and obliged Servant in our common Lord, Robert Harris.