TO The Honourable House of COMMONS, Now Assembled in PARLIAMENT.
I Doe at last present you with that Cluster of Grapes, which have beene longer in the Presse then your Order doth seeme to permit: they are called the aGrapes of Eschol, because that Cluster was both a tast, and pledge of Canaan, to the few beleeving spies; but to the Page [unnumbered]rest, and to all other murmurers, they proved Grapes of gall, and bitter Clusters, as bMoses saith afterward. That History of Eschol would be se∣riously read by us all, in this juncture of time, for we may there fully find our present conditions and divisions, and guesse at our future estate. If you would bee in the same side and case with Caleb and Ioshua, I have two lessons to commend unto you. 1. Yee must be men ofcanother spirit, and must follow the Lord fully: an hard taske at such a time; but you may be excellently directed in it by that d holy man now with God. 2. You had need to plead strongly with all murmurers, both for God, and for their advance into the promi∣sed rest, yea, though they bidestone you with stones; lest the Lord smite us all with pestilence, and disinherite us. For mine owne part, I know that there are not onely a sort of fierce enemies, which like the Turkish Ianizaries will bee ready to stave, and breake the cask, because they are not to share in this wine; and to these I say, as he in the Epigram—Rode caper vites—; But there are also many voluntary fRechabites amongst our friends, which will not touch with these clusters, because they like not (perhaps) the vinePage [unnumbered]on which they grow. Alas! is there no way yet to make us all of a diet at our necessary food? Surely, hunger and thirst will bring us to it. In our History of Eshcol, I find two grand causes of that murmuring.
1. Base carnall feare of the enemies strength. bSurely the land floweth with milke and hony, and this is the fruit of it, neverthelesse the people be strong that dwell in the land, &c. The work is like to be long and bloudy. But what, shall we on that pre∣tence c 1. Repent of our coming out of Aegypt, and make us Captaines to returne thither againe? Or, 2. Shall we beleeve Caleb and Ioshua, that say; Feare them not, for they are bread for us? And will any man dislike a loafe of bread for its bignesse?
2. Cause was jealousie against, non-confiding in, the Cluster-bearers. The Lord remove all stum∣bling blockes, and heart-divisions, now that we are upon the borders of Eshcol, or of Hormah.* They are Satans last make against us, hee could not beate us by a common enemy, and therfore would now break us by one another; as that Iuno in the d Tragedy, dealt with Hercules when hee had conquered Hell, and was returned safe from all his labours. She concludes, none can conquer Her∣cules, Page [unnumbered]but Alcides. None can conquer the con∣quering party but themselves. No Arrow can wound us unlesse it bee made with our own feathers.* There are now but these foure choyses left to us; either to continue still in the wildernesse, or to returne back again to Aegypt, or to submit to the Canaanites, or to trust God and one ano∣ther, and so enter into that good rest. And tis notable, that these very Israelites which first murmured and recoiled because of difficulties, they could, would, did endeavour and adventure upon the worke at last, when their unbeliefe and murmuring had shut the dore, but then it was too late; then Eshcol was turned to aHormah, even discomfiture and desolation. Surely, there are common enemies and dangers enough,* there is work and wages enough in earth, or heaven, to imploy us all, wee need not to bhunt one another with a net.
But I forget that I am writing an Epistle, and that to a Parliament. Pardon I beseech you my necessary zeale at such a time, some men (they say) reade nothing of Sermons but the Epistles; and I would faine be some kind of (poore) re∣all Page [unnumbered]Ligature to this broken bone. Now the mighty God, the wonderfull Counseller, the Prince of peace, strengthen, direct you, to Land the great interests of our Religion, and Rights, without wracke or waste. So prayeth conti∣nually,
Savoy,Aug. 12. 1648.
The unworthiest of Your Servants, JOHN BOND.