At their late Solemn Fast,
Wednesday, Janu. 31. 1644.
Professor of Divinity in the University of St. Andrews.
And he looked, and behold, the Bush burned with fire, and the Bush was not consumed.
Published by Order of the House of Commons.
Printed at London by Richard Cotes, for Richard Whittakers & Andrew Crooke and are to be sold at their Shops in Pauls
EDINBURGH, Printed by Evan Tyler, Printer to the Kings most Excellent Majesty. 1644.
Die Mercurii 31. Januar. 1644
It is this day ordered by the Commons assembled in Parliament, That Mr. Rous do from this House give thanks unto Mr. Rutherfurd, for the great pains he took in the Sermon he preached this day (at the entreaty of the said Commons) at St. Margaret’s Westminster, it being the day of public Humiliation, and to desire him to print his Sermon. And it is ordered that none presume to print his Sermon without authority under the hand-writing of the said Mr. Rutherfurd.
H. Elsynge Cler. Parl. D. Com.
I appoint Richard Whittaker, and Andrew Crooke, to print my Sermon.
To the Christian Reader
Whether time or the fashion hath obtained of me (worthy Reader) that this Sermon should come under the providence of your favourable judgment and Candor, I can hardly determine: But you have it as it is, only I shall heartily desire, in reviewing of it, your serious thoughts in these ensuing considerations.
1. What I speak here of God and his excellency, is but a shadow to the expressions of others; and what others can say, men or Angels, is but a short and rude shadow of that infinite All, the High Jehovah, Creator of Heaven and Earth: so my thoughts come forth as shadows of shadows, for there behooved to be much honey in the Ink, much of Heaven in the breast, much of God in the Pen of any who speaketh of such a transcendent subject; yet if these do affect you, it is possible I say more, if not, I shall desire not to spill the Lord’s highest praises with my low-creeping under-expressions. 2. Concerning God’s dispensation now in Britain, and his Church’s condition; I shall be your debtor, in all humble modesty, to beg these thoughts to go along with God. As 1. Let the Lord have a charitable sense and good construction of his most wise dispensation, and believe that he who hath his fire in Zion, and his furnace in Jerusalem, [Isa. 31. 9.] seeth good that Christ’s Cross should be the Church of Christ’s birth-right, and that a life-rent of afflictions, is a surer way for Zion, than Summer-days. 2. You are not to stumble that God will not fit his times to men’s apprehensions, when to rain, and when to shine fair, neither is clay to usurp the chair, and dispute the matter, to make the All-wise providence a School-Problem, nor ask, Why is our Zion builded, with carcasses of men, in two kingdoms, fallen, as dung in the open field, and as the handful after the harvest man? [Jer. 9. 22.] Why is the wall of the daughter of Zion sprinkled with blood? One thing I know, It is better to believe, than to dispute; and to adore, than to plead with him who giveth not account of his matters. 3. Innocency in these times, is better than court with princes, and the condition of the heirs of Heaven, yea, their tears, better than the joy of the hypocrite. 4. Christ’s Church can neither shift nor adjourn such a share of affliction, as is written in God’s book. It is a standing and a current court which hath decreed what grains of Gall and Wormwood England must drink; what a cup is prepared for Scotland; and the Balance of wisdom hath weighed by ounce weights, how much wrath shall be mixed in the cup of wasted Ireland. 5. You know it is generally the condition of the Church, if she have any Summer, that it is but a good day betwixt two Fevers; Heaven, heaven is the home and the desired day of the Bride, the Lamb’s wife. 6. It is much better to be afflicted, than to be guilty; and that the Church may have pardon, and want peace. 7. That the faith which is more precious than gold, can bid the devil do his worst, and that the patience of the Saints can out-weary the malice of Babylon or Babel, on whose skirts is found the blood of the Saints. 8 That it is now and ever true, as when a hungry man dreameth, and behold he eateth, but he awaketh and his soul is empty; or, as when a thirsty man drinketh, but he awaketh, and behold he (is) faint, so shall the multitude of all nations be that fight against mount Zion. [Isa. 29. 8.] 9. Vengeance is gone out from the Lord against those who feast upon Zion’ tears, and they must die the death of the uncircumcised, [Ezek. 28. 10.] who clapped their hands, and stamped with the feet, and rejoiced in heart with all their despite against the land of Israel. [Ezek. 25. 6.] 10. They are in no better condition who refuse to help the Lord against the mighty, and whose heart is as a stone and a piece of dead flesh, at all the revolutions and tossings of Christ’s Kingdom, who dance, eat, and laugh within their own orb; and if their desires be concentric to the world and themselves, care not whether Joseph die in the stocks or not, or whether Zion sink or swim, because whatever they had of Religion, it was never their mind both to summer and winter Jesus Christ. 11. The rise of the Gospel-sun, is like the prodigious appearance of a new Comet, to the woman that sitteth on many waters, to that mother Rome-planted, as a Vine in blood, the Lioness, whose Whelps, Papists and Prelates in Ireland and England, have learned to catch the prey, and this Comet prophesieth, Wo to the Pope, King of the bottomless pit, and his bloody Lady Babel, if Christ shall arise, and shine in the power of his Gospel. 12. God hath now as great a work on the wheels, as concerneth the race of the Chariots of Jesus Christ through the habitable world; pray, O let his Kingdom come, and farewell.
Yours in the Lord Jesus,
Before the Honourable House
At their last solemn Fast, Wednesday,
January 31. 1644
I make a Decree, that in every Dominion of my Kingdom, men tremble and fear before the face of the God of Daniel, for he is the living God, and endureth for ever, and his Kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end.
Method requireth, that first, the words be expounded; secondly, that they be taken up in a right order; thirdly, that such observations be hence deduced as serve most for the present condition of the times.
The words are plain: here first is a Statute of a great King,שִים that the seventy interpreters render δόγμα [dogma], a decretal letter; for sometimes, though seldom, the Lord’s cause findeth the grace of fair justice with men. The matter of the Decree is, that men tremble and fear.
לֶהֱוֹ֤ן זָאְעִ֯ין֮ וְדָ֣חֲלִ֔ין The Seventy render it, τρέμοντας καὶ φοβουμένους, that is, that they be such as fear and tremble before the God of Daniel; fear is indeed put for the worship of the true God, so is God called, Gen. 31:42. The fear of Isaac, but it is not the word used here; a devout man as Simeon is called, one taken up with a religious fear, εὐλαβὴς, Luke 2:25. Act. 8:2. nor are the words used here, those which do express Job’s fearing of God, Job 1:1. though I know the words do express trembling and fear, and also horrour and dread, such as was given to creatures and false Gods; and therefore from this none can infer the conversion of this King to the true knowledge of Jehovah. God also is called,קַיָּם an enduring and standing God, from קום surrexit, and well rendered to the sense by the Seventy, καὶ μένων εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας, the Eternal God, in opposition to all falling and fading time-gods, and Kings of clay; and so he is a God to whom Daniel did with a great deal of reason, rather tender the honour of prayer, than to King Darius, or the supposed deities of Persia or Chaldea, who are not standing gods enduring for ever, but come out of time’s womb, and decay, and fall as creatures also do.
Lastly, his Kingdom, that is, his People and Servants, (such as Daniel, and his church) and his dominion shall endure to the end, עַד־סוֹפָֽא which is not so to be taken, as if עַד did signify a date or term-day, at which time the dominion of God should have an end; for 2 Samuel 6. last verse, it is said, Michal had no child,עַ֖ד י֥וֹם מוֹתָֽהּ even till the day of her death, that is, she never had any Child, for the sense cannot be that she had any Child after the day of her death: so Psalm 48:14. For this God is our God for ever and ever, he will be our guide עַל־מֽוּת even till death: it is not intended that the Lord shall cease to be their God and guide after death, which is contrary to express Scripture, Matth. 22:32. Rev. 7:16, 17. and Matthew 28:20. I am with you, ἕως τῆς συντελείας to the end of the world; the sense is, I am with you for ever, for at the end of the world Christ doth not leave his own servants, I know עד otherwise doth often signify a certain definite time, as Psal. 132. I will not sleep until I find a place for Jehovah עַד־אֶמְצָ֣א מָ֭קוֹם and 1 Sam. 14:9. Psal. 73:17. Psal. 105:19.
2. The words contain this general, a Proclamation royal of a great King: and for particulars,
1. Who giveth out the Proclamation, From my face a Decree goeth, I Darius make a Decree.
2. The parties to whom, to every dominion of my Kingdom.
3. The matter, that they fear and tremble.
4. The object, before the face of the God of Daniel.
5. The reasons of the Decree, for Law without reason is will, not Law; men go to heaven or hell with reason.
1. He is the living God: and this is from his nature.
2. He is eternal: then from his government, his kingdom, such as, 1. time, 2. violence, 3. wisdom cannot destroy; but such a Church and Kingdom as shall endure for ever, and his dominion endureth to the end.
[I make a Decree.] This Darius the Mede, called Nabonithus, succeeded to Belshazzar the son of Evil-Merodach, about the year of the world 3393. others 3442. and did reign 17. or 19. years. And having advanced Daniel to great honour, by force of a wicked law cast Daniel to the Lions, and God having miraculously delivered Daniel from the Lions, this King giveth out a Law, that all his Subjects fear and serve the God of Daniel. Whence observe,
1. All Princes are obliged to govern and rule for the Lord and his honour. 1. So Scripture speaketh, it shall be in the last days, Isa 49:25. Kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and Queens thy nursing mothers. Psal. 72:10. The Kings of Tarshish and of the Isles shall bring presents. (I would the King of this Island were in this Text) ver. 11. The Kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts, yea, all Kings shall fall down before him.
2. Princes are God’s Standard-bearers, they bear his sword by office, Rom. 13:4. and they hold Crown and Scepter of him, as great Landlord of all powers.
3. In a special manner they are second Gods. Psal. 81:6. Nor do rulers judge for men, the judgment is the Lords, 2 Chron. 19:6. All rulers in the act of judging are God’s deputies, even though their second calling be to be sent by a King, and therefore see what judgment God himself would pronounce, if he were on the bench, that same must they decree, except they would make the deputed mouth to belie the mind of the great Lord who sent them.
4. The Lord hath entrusted Christian Rulers with the most precious thing he hath on earth, he hath given his Bride and Spouse to their tutory and faith.
5. What sweeter comfort can the Ruler have, either when his soul lodgeth in an house of groaning and sick bones, and the image of death sitteth on his eye-lids; or in the day of his greatest calamity, then to look back and smile upon such an old friend, as a good conscience? and to say as Job doth, ch. 29:13. The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me, and I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy, &c.
Use 1. You are entrusted by God with an honourable Virgin, a King’s daughter, Psal. 45:9. Now then for her Father’s sake, and for her Father’s blessing, deal kindly with her: As you love the Bridegroom take care of the Bride. You have now amongst your hands Christ, his Crown, his Israel, his glory, Isa. 46:13. his Prerogative Royal: be faithful Tutorers and active Factors for the Privileges, Laws, and Liberties of the high Court of heaven.
Use 2. If this be the place and relation that Princes have to Christ and his Church, then can the Lord have given no power to any Ruler to waste and destroy the mountain of the Lord.
For, 1. All royal power given of God, Deut. 17:18, 19, 20. in the first moulding of royal highness, was a power to rule according to that which is written in the Book of the Law, and so there can be no royal power to the contrary, truly royal.
2. That power cannot be from God as a lawful power, the exercise and acts whereof are sinful. I speak of a lawful moral power.
3. If such an uncontrollable power as cannot be resisted, be of God, then are Princes given to the Churches and people of God, as judgments of God, then are all Christian States, actu primo, made slaves by God, in the very intention of God the giver, and of the gift, at what time he giveth them a Nurse-father to feed and govern them; and so shall God’s gifts be snares, plagues, and no gifts. If God give a fatherly power to a father to kill all his children, and if a State give to their General a military power to fell and destroy all his Souldiers, so as neither Sons nor Souldiers may defend themselves; then the fatherly power should be of its own nature a plague to the Sons. If any say, the Prince, the Father, because they fear God, will not put forth in acts such a power; I answer, thanks to the Prince’s goodness for that, but no thanks to his office and power. God gave him the Sword as a Prince, if he do not draw that royal Sword to drink blood, we cannot impute the cause to the nature of the royal gift or intention of God the giver, but to the goodness of a man; which must be bad divinity.
Doct. 2. So much as Darius hath of God, or any good Ruler, so far is his spirit for the public.
He heareth something of the God of Daniel, now then he hath a public spirit to send something of God to all nations, people, and languages, v. 25. Though there be nothing to prove that the man had saving grace, yet the general holdeth, so much of God as any hath, in so far is he for the public.
1. Because grace is a public beam of God, and a branch of God’s goodness, and so of a spreading nature; and the better things be, the more public they are: the Sun is better than a Candle; God best of all; because every thing that hath being, hath something of God; and Christ best of all, because he is the Saviour of many, and Col. 1:20. hath reconciled all things in heaven and earth to himself.
2. Grace’s end is the most public end of the world, even Gods glory, for all things are for God, Rom. 11:36. Prov. 16:4. men’s private ends are sinful ends.
3. The more gracious men be, the more public they are; David will not be David alone in praising God, but Psal. 148. he will have a world in with him, even Angels, Sun, Moon, Stars, Heaven of Heavens, Dragons, deeps, fire, hail, snow, vapour, stormy wind, mountains, trees, beasts, creeping things, fowls, Kings, Judges, old and, young, to hold up the song. Moses & Paul would lay out in ransom their part of heaven to redeem God’s glory, and salvation to the Lord’s Church; the Martyrs desired that their pain & torment might praise and exalt God. How broad, how catholic and public was his spirit who said, 1 Cor. 9:19. Though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. 20. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the Law, as under the Law, that I might gain them that are under the Law. 21. To them that are without the Law, as without Law, (being not without Law to God, but under the Law to Christ) that I might gain them that are without Law. 22. To the weak became I as weak; I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. A public spirit is not himself, he is made a Jew, a Gentile; a weak man, not a weak man; he is made Law and Gospel; he is made a bridge over a River, that the Church may go over him dry; he complieth with all who but lend out half a look to Christ; and he is, in a complement of grace, a servant to all. 2 Corinth. 4:5. We preach not ourselves (except we preach our own sins, our own condemnation by nature, and that we under-preach all eminency in our selves) but our selves your servants for Christ’s sake; yea, your servants’ servants for Christ. See the Complement of a public heart, of one who is willing to stoop, and put his head and hair under the feet of the Church, and of the poorest and most despised passenger who maketh out for heaven.
Use. Then Grace maketh men rich Parliament men, and there is a wide difference betwixt a public man, and a public spirit; all Parliament men are public men, but they are not all public spirits, else so many of them would not have deserted the public, and run away from Christ’s Colours, to seek their own private Idols. Men void of grace make an Idol of themselves, every wicked man is wholly himself, and wholly his own, Phil. 2:21. They all seek their own, not the things of Jesus Christ. He who is for the Bridegroom, cannot be against the Bride, nor against the Commonwealth; he who is a Statesman of heaven, and knoweth savingly the fundamental Laws of Jesus Christ, the power and prerogative royal of the King of Kings; he who is acquainted with the frame and constitution of the Kingdom of sin, in his own heart; he who feareth God, who feareth his own light, and is awed with the Decrees and Laws of an enlightened conscience, shall be fast for the public; and the man who selleth his Religion and his soul for his private ends, will soon sell his country, his Parliament, the Laws and Liberties of the Kingdom. Will he put the Law of God, and the Crown and Scepter of that Princely Lord Jesus to the market, and will he stick for his Court and Honour, to sell the Laws of England? and will he forfeit Heaven, and will he not forfeit you all, and your Parliament and Liberties? O then be entreated now to be for Heaven, and Christ, as his public State-wits, to convey Decrees for Christ’s honour, for Reformation (against Babylon and her sons) through this whole Kingdom. You have now power and opportunity to send the Glory of Christ over Sea, to all Europe; the eyes of Nations are upon you, exalt the Son of God: think it not sweet policy to have peace with Babylon, and war with God; consider if Church and State did ever prosper since the Queen’s Idol of the Mass was set up amongst you: and what is your part when many Masses are now in the King’s Court at Oxford?
[I make a Decree] There was a wicked Law and a cursed Decree made by Darius, that for thirty days, neither Daniel nor any of God’s people should pray to God, or to any god save to Darius: Daniel’s enemies prevail thus far, that Daniel, the Church’s right eye now in the Court, should be decourted [dismissed from court] and cast out to be meat to beasts; Behold the artifice and fathomless depth of God’s wisdom, who bringeth a contrary Decree out of this wicked Decree, even a Decree for adoring that God of Daniel, whom they had dishonoured.
Doct. It is the art of the deep wisdom of divine providence to bring good out of the sins of his enemies and the sufferings of his own.
Joseph’s brethren moved with envy, sell their brother; Potiphar casteth him in prison: the wisdom of God cometh in, in the game, and he exalteth Joseph, and keepeth alive people in famine. Herod, Pilate, Jews and Gentiles, crucify the Lord of glory, the Art of free grace, deep wisdom in God must be more than half play-maker here, and in this redeem the lost world. The Chaldeans spoil Job and plunder him; Satan maketh him an empty house, and a childless father; mercy cometh up in the Theater, and free Grace, maketh Job an illustrious and fair copy of patience and faith to all ages. Achitophel did, as many now with our King doth, he gave wicked counsel against the Lord’s servant and a just cause, divine justice cometh in in the game, and Achitophel hangeth himself.
The use of this shall answer two questions.
1. Why doth God suffer sin to be, and so much sin in England and Ireland?
2. Why doth he suffer his people in Covenant with him, to be a land of blood?
The former question is a general, a wicked Marcion asketh, why the Lord, who foresaw the event, did suffer Eve and the Devil to confer? and if he was able, why did he not hinder sin to be, except he had been either envious, and would not, or weak, and could not hinder the enters of sin in the world? Tertullian answereth, Because the Lord is free in his gifts. Augustine answereth, Epist. 59. ad Paulinum, Quia voluit, because it was his will. Prosper and Hilarius both with Augustine, say; The cause may be unknown, it cannot be unjust. Though it were in the Potters hand, to turn clay into brass, yet his power should not destroy his liberty, to cause him to make a lame vessel such, as if it had reason and will to fall, it should not be broken. Why should Daniel’s enemies prevail so as to cast him to Lions? that these knees that bowed often to God, and these hands which was lifted up to him, should be eaten with Lions? O lame vessel believe, believe but dispute not. And the answer is clear, sin is the worst thing that is, but the existence of sin is not ill: otherwise (saith Augustine) God should never permit it to be. Yea sins being in the world, is (silva justiciæ divinæ, officina gratiæ Christi) a field for the glory of revenging justice, and sin is the work house of the pardoning grace of God. And therefore there be good reasons why the Lord should permit sin, and such sins.
1. That there may be room in the play for pardoning grace; the colour and beauty of free grace had never been made obvious in such a way, to the eye of Angels and Men, if sin had not been.
2. There had been no employment for the mercy of a soul-redeeming Jesus.
3. We should not have had occasion in the ears of Angels, to hold up for ever and ever the new Psalm of the Praises of a Redeemer.
4. By this, nature, clay, and frail nature, and self-dependence is cried down, and God exalted.
5. By this, the humble love of the contrite and broken in heart is necessitated to kiss the bowels of him who bindeth up the broken hearted mourners in Zion, and furrows of blood put to real acknowledgement of everlasting compassion.
6. Hence also are minors and poor pupils put to improve their faith and dependence upon so Kingly a Tutor, as never enough loved and admired Jesus Christ.
7. Hence, to the praise of grace, Satan hath fair justice, and that (in foro contradictorio) in open patent Court, when clay triumpheth over Angels and Hell, through the strength of Jesus Christ.
The other question is also soon answered: Why should the cause of God be so oppressed, and his Church’s garments rolled in blood?
But 1. God must be known to be God in his own chair of estate, and he must be the Saviour of Israel in the time of trouble.
2. Satan, Prelates, Papists, Malignants, shall be under-workmen and kitchen-servants to him who hath his fire in Sion, and his furnace in Jerusalem, to purify and refine the vessels of mercy in the Lord’s house.
3. Christ’s Bride must know that this is their Inn, not their home; their Pilgrimage, not their Country; otherwise our Lord knoweth how to lead his passengers to Heaven, not by Sea, but by dry land.
4. All must see that the loss of men is not the Lord’s loss, but the Gospel’s gain.
5. His glorious grace must be commended who suiteth in marriage a spouse to himself, in no place rather than in the Furnace, Isa. 48:10.
6. Prayers and praises must be the rent paid to him to whom belongeth the issues from death. The Lord hath a great work now on the wheels in Britain. Be very charitable of our Lord’s dispensation, though the slain of the Lord be many in England and Ireland, look not on the dark side of God’s providence, or on the black and weeping side of his dispensation; widows are multiplied almost as the sand of the Sea; children weep and cry, Alas my father! mothers in Ireland die twice, when they see their children slain before their eyes, and then are killed themselves. Oh! (say men) why doth the Lord this? Behold, the fair and smiling side of God’s providence; contrary winds from Rome, from hell, by the art of omnipotency, promote the sailing and course of Christ’s ship.
1. God is now drawing an excellent portrait of a refined Church, but with the ink of the innocent blood of his people; say not, What is the Lord doing? or, Is there knowledge in the Almighty? who hath given the Lord counsel? better we be his courtiers, then his counsellors.
2. If we love the dust and the stones of Zion, Psalm 102:14. Christ is ravished with one of his Church’s eyes, and with a chain of her neck, Cant. 4:9. God loveth his own glory more ardently then I can love it.
3. The Church is dearer bought to Jesus than to me or you; he hath given too great a price for her, to lose her.
4. Rather when we cannot see to the bottom of providence, believe upon plain trust, and say as Isa. 8:17. I will wait upon the Lord that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him.
Part. 2. [In every dominion of my kingdom.] This is the second part, wherein the parties to whom this Law is given, are expressed in their universality, as they are, v. 25. To all people, nations, and languages that dwell on all the earth, peace: Whence observe; That Nations without the visible Church never wanted means, either ordinary or extraordinary, to know God; though we cannot in reason say that the Decree or Law of a heathen King is the Arminian universal grace, yet some means all have: And God hath laid open four books to all nations. 1. That book of creation of the Heavens and his works, Psalm 19:1. The Heavens מְֽסַפְּרִ֥ים כְּבֽוֹד־אֵ֑ל do book, and register the glory of God, Romans, 1:20.
2. The book of ordinary providence is a Chronicle or Diurnal of a God-head, and a Testimony that there is a God, Acts 14:17. Acts 17:27.
3. There is a book of the extraordinary works of God, and some report of the true God, upon occasion carried to Nations without the borders of the visible Church; As our text saith: And Rachab saith, Josh. 2:10. We have heard how the Lord dried up the Red Sea, &c. But as children sport themselves and play with the pictures in a book, and with the gold on the covering of the book, and the ribbons, not knowing the sense and meaning of this book; so do we sport our selves in looking on the outside of these three books, not searching it to read and understand the invisible things of God, his eternal power and God-head, Rom. 1:20.
4. The book of man’s conscience, Rom. 2:14, 15. doth speak of God to all Nations, though now by reason of our sinful blindness and dullness, that book be uncorrected, and dim-printed, written with white and watery Ink, so that we see not God distinctly in it; yet all these four serve to make men without excuse, because, when they know God, they glorify him not as God, neither are thankful, Rom. 1:20. But this condemneth us to whom there is laid open a better, and fairer, and learneder [more learned] piece, Psal. 19:7.
Use. The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the Soul.
Yea, if Christ in the Gospel had not come to us, we should have had no sin (no evangelic guilt of unbelief) but now we have (πρόφασι) no shift of Law, no cloak for our sin. Hence, though this Island be in a more blessed condition, by reason that the Sun shineth in his strength and light in our Meridian, (God hath not done so to every Nation, Psal. 147:19, 20.) yet by reason of despising salvation in this daylight of the Gospel, we are in a most dangerous condition.
1. Because Sodomy is not so heinous a sin as unbelief, and the despising of the Gospel, Matth. 10:15. For Evangelic unbelief is against the flower and garland (to speak so) of the excellency of God; not only against a Creator, but against a Saviour, and against those most lovely and soul-ravishing attributes of God, his mercy, goodness, free-grace, longanimity, patience, bowels of compassion: and therefore an unbelieving Covenanter with God in England and Scotland, is to look for a hotter furnace in the lake of fire and brimstone, then one of Sodom and Gomorrah.
2. Because there is some exception against the Law-vengeance, for the Gospel is a clear exception against those who are under the Law-curse, John 3:16. But there is no exception against the Gospel-vengeance: this is a year and age, and Eternity-vengeance, for the final rejecter of the Gospel hath not a Sacrifice for sin to look to, as the Law-breaker hath, Heb. 2:1, 2. Heb. 10:26, 27.
3. The rejecting of the Gospel is a fighting against the Spirit of the Gospel, whereas the Law is but a letter: and unbelief is a sin against the Holy Ghost, though it be not always the sin against the Holy Ghost; therefore are the despisers of the Gospel kept, as desperate robbers are, to the judgment of the great Court day, and chained up and fettered to the last and terrible vengeance, 2 Thes. 1:8, 9. Deut. 32:22. Heb. 10:26.
O tremble and stand in awe of this high treason, for your sin is not like Sodom’s, nor like the despising of the religious decree of such an heathen King as Darius. But ere I proceed, it may be asked, Is unbelief a greater sin than Sodomy, which hath a cry up to Heaven? unbelief soundeth no such cry to Heaven?
I answer: Heinous sins against the second Table are born with a shout and a cry in their mouth, and are very broad-faced and bloody, and have more of a natural conscience in them, because the duties of the second Table are written in our heart in fairer print, and in a bigger Character then the duties of the first Table. Therefore natural men can hear the cry of these sins; and that is our corruption, that a man is more wounded in mind if he offend his earthly Father, then if he blaspheme his heavenly Father, the great and eternal Jehovah. But the duties of the first Table are written in our heart by nature, in a more dim and obscure way, and hath less of natural conscience; and the principles of the Gospel are not written in our heart at all, at least as they are Evangelic, we know them not but by revelation, Gal. 1:15, 16. Mat. 16:17. and therefore sins against the Gospel are born dumb, and being more cleanly and spiritual sins, they have no shout or cry against the conscience, except in so far as they are enlightened supernaturally, in whom unbelief hath a stirring and a pain of Conscience. Hence observe a considerable difference by the way, betwixt the natural and renewed soul: A natural man may be pained in conscience with parricide, robberies, acts of cruelty, but never shall you hear him troubled in mind with unbelief, and doubting of a God-head, and the soul’s immortality, as Judas was wakened in conscience for blood and treachery against his innocent Master, but not for unbelief and blasphemy, whereof he was guilty in an high measure. But the renewed are troubled with spiritual sins, which are only discerned by a spiritual and supernatural light, as with unbelief, ignorance, security, wandering of heart in Prayer, doubtings of a providence that ruleth all.
Also it may be questioned, How it cometh to pass that God sendeth not sufficient helps to all Nations, that they may come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved?
I answer shortly: It is enough that he giveth sufficient means in this sense, That God’s justice is cleared, and men are without all excuse, in that they willfully lose themselves. 1. Men are not formally guilty because they are not saved. 2. Nor are all men guilty because the Gospel cometh not to them. 3. Nor are they all guilty because they believe not; For how shall they believe in him, of whom they have not heard? Romans 10:14. But they are guilty because they do not use that which is given them for God.
Object. 1. But God gave me no more grace, and what can I do without grace?
Answ. This argument toucheth those who hear the Gospel, as well as those who never heard of it: And it is a chiding with the sovereign Lord, because he gave not efficacious grace to all: And Patrons of nature, and Arminians, are no less straited with this incomprehensible dispensation of God then we are.
Object. 2. But if I had had such grace as God gave to Peter, I should have believed.
Answ. It is the carnal man’s argument, Rom. 9:18, 19. If he have mercy on whom he will; He cannot be angry against me, who do not believe, for no man resisteth his will. Yea, but as the clay should not dispute with the Potter, so the clay having a corrupted will, doth willfully refuse to believe, and the creatures willing disobedience, and God’s free decree of denying grace, doth meet in one, for which cause the creature is justly condemned.
Object. 3. But more grace should make me believe, and more grace God denieth to me.
Answ. It is easier to complain for what we have not, then thankfully to use what we have. If the creditor crave the payment of ten thousand pounds from a Land-waster, it is bad payment to say, You are to be blamed that I pay not, because you lent me not twenty thousand pound.
Object. 4. But I have a strong inclination, and cannot resist when I am tempted.
Answ. O lame vessel, tremble, but dispute not. 2. It is lawful to complain and sigh under those fetters, Rom. 7:24. but unlawful to child and excuse sinful rebellion.
Part. 3. That men tremble and fear before the face of the God of Daniel.
In this third Part we have to consider these two:
First, Who commandeth trembling and fear.
Secondly, The thing commanded, trembling, and fear.
1. The Commander is Darius, but whether converted, or not, is a question. I think there is no ground to hold that he was a converted man: 1. Because all that he commandeth, is trembling, and fear of God; upon the occasion of a miracle, the positive worship of God is not commanded. 2. He calleth not God, his God, but the God of Daniel. 3. He acknowledgeth Daniel’s God to be the living God, but doth not command that he only shall be served, and all dead gods cast off. 4. The Babylonish History sheweth he still kept his idol-gods. 5. The rise of this Proclamation is a miracle, and such as breedeth rather a servile fear then a filial adoring of God. 6. There is nothing here of the means to instruct his people in the knowledge of the true God: And to command Religion without information of the minds, is rather Tyranny over the conscience, then true zeal: Hence unrenewed men may out of the dominion of a convincing light, be forced to acknowledge the Lord, when yet the will and affections are not subdued to the knowledge of God. Hence I express my thoughts in this point, in these assertions.
1. Assertion. The natural conscience is not its own Lord in knowing, believing, and confessing something of God. For, first, Devils believe there is a God, but they tremble, Jam 2:19. They believe against their will, as a man condemned to death for a crime, believeth he must die, but his will is opposite to his faith. Judas awaked cannot choose but believe a vengeance. Light is a King, and a conqueror sometime. 2. You seldom find but enemies have given a testimony, now or then, for God. Exod. 14:25. Let us flee, (say the Egyptians) for the Lord fighteth for them, against the Egyptians: Pharaoh being mastered in conscience with the plague of hail mingled with fire, saith, Exod. 9:27. I have sinned [this] time: The Lord is righteous, and I and my people are wicked: Deut. 32:31. For their rock is not as our rock, our enemies being Judges: Psal. 126:2. Then said they amongst the heathen, the Lord hath done great things for them. Saul’s conscience speaketh truth, in a dream, through his sleep, though he went to bed again, 1 Sam. 24:17. Thou art more righteous then I, so speaketh he to David. The Devil can say no otherwise, Luke 4:34. I know thee who thou art, the holy one of God. Pilate must say of Christ, I find no fault in him. Caligula his fear must make his faith a liar, and when he heareth a thunder, say, Mine ears hear the God which my heart denieth to have any being. Nero cannot say but hell is begun in his soul before the time. The Apostate Julian said, Vicisti tandem Galilæe, At length, O Jesus, thou art victorious. Paul the third, a monster of men, said dying, I shall now be resolved of three things: 1. If the soul be immortal: 2. If there be a God: 3. If there be a hell. Plinius the second wrote to the Emperour, that Jesus Christ was a great Prophet, and a holy man. Many Papists of old gave testimony that the Waldenses were holy men. Many at Rome, said Luther, was for the truth, and counselled that Leo the tenth would reform the Church, as Guiciard. hist. l. 3. saith. Malignants on their death-bed have said, the Parliament of England is for justice and religion, and Scotland contend for the purity of the Gospel; and let but adversaries ask at their conscience in cold blood, whether the world, and their own ease, or the truth of God bottomed their conscience in following the ways of Cavaliers; and ask, on whose side are lies, perjury, blaspheming, mocking of godliness, the idolatry of the mass.
Assertion 2. The will and affections have a dominion over conscience in many things; in that,
1. There is a Covenant betwixt conscience and concupiscence, while (as Chrysostom saith) Men believe not what they know, but what they will, and will is half play-maker [playwriter] in their faith, 2 Pet. 3:5. Of this they are willingly ignorant: excellently is it said, Jer. 9:6. בְּמִרְמָ֛ה In deceit they refuse to know me, saith the Lord. The will hath a pack-pull [secret-draw] on the mind: Light and malice, mind and will are woven through [each] other, the wills malice soureth and leaveneth the mind’s light, as rotten matter mixed with good wine overmastereth it, and taketh taste and colour from it.
2. The will and affection hath power to suspend the acts of considering of Christ’s excellency: 2. Sin’s horrour: 3. Truth’s beauty: 4. The sweet peace of obedience to God: 5. The eternity of heaven and hell. Hos. 7:1. The thief cometh in, and the troops of robbers spoil without, and they say not in heart, that I remember all their wickedness. The will and affections should engage and take the mind surety and obliged to consider of God and his ways: But it is here as when a merchant cometh in, and overbiddeth the customer, and causeth the seller and the customer part company. When the mind is upon this or the like: What shall the wrath or the smiles of a King do to me, when my eye-strings shall be broken? What thoughts can I have of gain, lust, pleasure, court, when worms shall make their nests in my eye-holes? In these, affections come in and divert the mind from such precious thoughts; and here be two errours in the will: First, a sort of wicked diverting of the mind from necessary truths. Secondly, a will-heresy, when faith and divinity is swallowed up in the will and affections.
3. The will and affections resist truth in the mind, as Act. 6:10. The adversaries could not resist the wisdom and spirit by which Stephen spake: then their mind was convinced, Act. 7:51. You do always (saith Stephen) resist the Holy Spirit. Behold, they could not resist light, yet they do of malice, resist light.
4. The will and affections can imprison and cast in fetters Truth, Rom. 1:18. They keep the truth of God captive, or in bonds: though Truth sometime break the fetters, and bolts, and escape, and come out to a confession, yet they apprehend Truth again, and lay it in fetters.
Assertion 3. The only saving grace of God, infused in the mind, will, and affections, doth subdue the conscience to truth, and obedience of the truth. Grace is the greatest conqueror of all. Jer. 20:9. I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay. Act. 4:20. We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. New wine must have vent.
Use 1. We would beware of sins against light, these are under water in the ship, and are sinking sins; a Reformation hath been calling on you, and offering it self to you these fourscore [eighty] years, and men have been saying, It is not time to build the house of the Lord: and consider I pray you, how fearful it is, for men not to stoop and fall down, as taken captives to the truth of God, for every thought should be brought as an apprehended souldier and a captive, to the obedience of Christ, 2 Cor. 10:5. And specially the land is to be humbled for such sins as by the light of the Gospel hath been cried against, as luxury, vanity, pride, and fullness of bread, uncleanness, swearing, lying, unjustice, oppression, but especially multiplied Altars, Idolatry, superstition, will-worship.
Use 2. The honourable Houses are to beware of the half reformation of Darius; nothing more odious to God then,
1. A negative devotion: Nebuchadnezzar thinketh he hath done all if nothing be spoken amiss of the true God, Dan. 3:29.
2. Agrippa his almost a Christian, is not a Christian at all, Jer. 3:10. Yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah hath not turned to me with her whole heart.
3. God detesteth lukewarmness, and coldness in his matters.
4. He hateth a mixture, it is a mark put on Samaria, 2 King. 17:33. They feared the Lord, and served their own Gods; this is that which bringeth the stretched-out arm of the Lord’s fury on the land, Zeph. 1:5. because they swear by the Lord, and by Malcom, and because the people halteth betwixt the Lord and Baal, 1 King. 18:21. And it is Jehu his reproachful reformation, 2 King. 10:28. Thus Jehu destroyed Baal out of Israel. 29. Nevertheless he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat; O how fearful to be under this? he is for the good cause, nevertheless he knoweth nothing of the power of Religion, so he is right in the house, nevertheless, he complaineth much with Malignants. It is known to you all when the Whore of Babylon was cast out of the Church, that she left behind her a gold ring, and some love tokens, I mean Episcopacy, and human Ceremonies; this was the whore’s policy to leave a token behind her, that she might find an errand in the house again: and she was indeed returning to the house to demand her love-token again, but it shall be Heavenly wisdom to make a perfect Reformation: keep nothing that belongeth to Babylon, and let not a stone, to be a corner-stone or a foundation, be taken out of Babylon for the building of the Lord’s house, for they are cursed stones.
[That they tremble and fear] In Part 2. of the third member of our Text we are to consider, that Jehovah is to be looked and served with fear and trembling; upon these six grounds all applicable to the present condition of times.
1. He is a great God, Jer. 30:6. For as much as there is none like unto thee O Lord, thou art great, and thy Name is great; who would not fear thee, O King of Nations? Jer. 5:22. Fear ye not me, saith the Lord; will ye not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand for the bound of the Sea, &c. Alas we fancy to ourselves a little God, and a great mortal King, therefore we tremble at the one, and fear not the other; so when we have to do with an earthly power, the soul is servilely timorous; when we have to do with God, the conscience is all made of stoutness.
2. The sins of the Land should make us tremble, Isa. 24:16. But I said, my leanness, my leanness, woe unto me, for the treacherous dealers dealeth treacherously, Jer. 23:9. My heart within me is broken, all my bones shake, &c. Psal. 119:53. Horrour hath taken hold of me, because of the wicked that keep not thy law: What should the sins of Court, of Prelates, make me tremble? are they my sins? Yea 1. every sin that I am not grieved for is mine. 2. He never mourned for his own sins, who is not humbled for the sins of the land. 3. A gracious Samuel will own the sins of Saul.
3. God’s great works call for trembling, Habak. 3. The Prophet considering God’s walking through the Red Sea with his horses, maketh him say, though it was a work of mercy, verse 16. When I heard it, my belly trembled, my lips quivered, rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in my self. O tremble at this Lord, who hath, 1. Wrought State miracles, if not miracles in nature; he hath commanded the Sun of righteousness to stand still in the Meridian of Britain. 2. He hath divided our Red Sea. 3. He hath brought us back from the bordel-house [brothel], and renewed a Covenant with us. 4. Our enemies are fallen, and those are enlarged who were banished, imprisoned, vexed by Prelates for the heinous crime (as they thought) of piety, holiness, and orthodoxy. Tremble at his goodness, fear the Lord and his goodness, Hos. 3:5. Rejoice in trembling, Psal. 2:11. An ingenuous mind feareth debt, mercies tendered to us are debts lying on us; O how shall we repay him? what shall we render to him? Are we not bankrupts to mercy and the goodness of God.
4. Tremble at God’s judgments, Psal. 119:120. My flesh trembleth for fear of thee, and I am afraid of thy judgments, Jer. 4:19. My bowels, my bowels, I am pained at the very heart, my heart maketh a noise within me, I cannot hold my peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war. Here is a waste field of trembling: God in Germany is God to be feared in all places, for in these lands the wife could scarce have the half of her husband to bury, the best half hath been blown up in the air with fire-work. 2. Horse hath been esteemed good meat. 3. In Ireland the mothers have heard their young children ask mercy at the rebel with his Skainzer [skene, or dagger] cutting the throat of her son; and hath not the Sword multiplied Widows, and multiplied Orphans in this land? It is fearful to man to bide it out, as a war, whether God’s displeasure will or no.
5. We are exceedingly to tremble at his anger, Amos 3:8. The Lion hath roared, who would not fear? When God doth but seem to be angry. The children of God have been distracted, and almost besides their wits with God’s terrours, Psal. 88:15. and they were scarce in the suburbs of hell. Is there not cause to fear, if any of the land break the oath of God, that the flying roll and book of vengeance, twenty cubits long, and ten cubits broad, shall enter into such a man’s house, and remain in the midst thereof, and shall consume it, both timber & stones? Zech. 5:4. When God declareth himself angry, mountains and hills do tremble, Psal. 114:3. The sea saw it, and fled, Jordan was driven back. 4. The mountains skipped like Rams, and the little hills like Lambs. 5. What ailed thee, O thou Sea, that thou fleddest? thou Jordan, that thou wast driven back? v. 7. Tremble thou earth at the presence of the Lord. Hab. 3:10. The mountains saw thee, and they trembled. That God is now angry, it may appear, 1. Because your adversaries never prospered in any wars before, and now the Lord hath girded them with strength. 2. The godly man is taken away, it is clear then there is evil coming, Isa. 57:1. Micah. 7:2. When an old sheep fleeth into an hedge, it is like a storm is coming. 3. There be more blood shed then would have recovered the Palatinate.
6. We are to tremble when the Lord is like to depart; and that Christ and the Gospel shall depart from this Kingdom, is intended by Papists and Prelates, for the extirpation of Protestants and Protestant Religion, is the design of Babylon, and of those in whom is any of her spirit: and consider what this is, Hos. 9:12. Though Ephraim bring no children, yet will I bereave her of them, that not a man shall be left; that is a sad condition: but this is a sadder case coming, also wo be to them when I depart from them, Zech. 11:9. Then said I, I will feed you no more. Nay, but (say some) we are not to tremble at that, if the Gospel be removed, and Popery come in, we shall have the good old world, and plenty of all things: Take heed of that good old world; in these same words, I will feed you no more, that which perisheth, let it perish, and that which is cut off, let it be cut off, and let the rest eat the flesh one of another: woe, woe to the Land if the Lord depart from us, and remove his Kingdom: this is worse than the Sword, therefore let Christ have welcome in the land, and his Throne be exalted, and his Temple builded, that he may delight to come and fill the Temple with the Cloud of his Glory.
[That they tremble and fear.] Darius requireth outward subjection to the God of Daniel, even trembling and inward subjection, fear; and both being put together, he then would teach, that the true God should have the highest bensel [point of eminence] and outmost pitch of the strength of the affections of fear, desire, joy, love, &c. Hence it may be questioned, whether or no, affections in their highest pitch are conducible in God’s Service.
I answer in these Assertions.
1. Assertion. Those affections which go before the deliberate acts of understanding, do overcloud and mist reason, and mar the acts of believing in God, and serving and obeying God, Luke 24:41. The disciples believed not for joy, and wondered: So hungering for Christ’s presence doth sometime hinder faith, and this is seen here, tam misere cupio ut vix credam, I so eagerly long for Christ, that I believe never to enjoy him.
2. Assertion. The more grace, the less passion; I mean the less inordinate affection; this is clear in Christ Jesus, in whom was the fulness of grace, and therefore affections in him were rather actions, then passions, John 11:33. Jesus groaned in spirit and was troubled, ἐτάραξεν ἑαυτὸν, he troubled himself, Christ did call upon sorrow to rise, and sorrow in him did not arise uncalled; affections in Christ were servants, in us they are masters. There is mud in our bottom, even when our affections are liquid and clear in the brim, especially the sensitive part is clayey and drimly [slow-moving] water. 2. Grace is a good stirsman [helmsman], and overmastereth passion; and reason, in the renewed man, is made a mass of Grace; and the most mortified have most reason, and strongest light, Romans 8:7. The carnal mind (that is, the unmortified mind) is enmity with God, Philippians 3:8. Yea doubtless, and I count all things loss for the super-excellent knowledge of God in Christ Jesus my Lord. Then he was dead to all his privileges, that he might excel in the knowledge of Christ; and where there is little or no mortification, there is little or no heavenly light: therefore, 2 Pet. 3:5. walkers after their lusts, and mockers and scoffers at the day of Christ’s second coming, are willingly ignorant, and brutish in that which they should know, and so there is as much Clay in the Fountain as Water.
3. Assertion. The more faith, the less passion; for as some say of the Sun, that light is not an accident of the Sun, but the essence thereof, so as the Sun is but a mass and body of pure light; so is faith a Globe of heavenly light of reason. The believer is the most reasonable man in the world, he who doth all by faith, doth all by the light of sound reason, and Paul, 2 Thess. 3. prayeth to be delivered from unreasonable men; but how unreasonable? because verse 2. they have no faith: faith is a beam of Heaven’s light; Idolaters are far from faith, and so they are cruel and superlative in passions of anger, hatred, envy: for this cause Babylon is fat with drinking much blood. When mortification is commanded, Rom. 12:1. it hath the name to be called reasonable service to God.
4. Assertion. If the action be done in faith, the more affection in the action, the better: But if it be not done in the light of faith, the action is the worse. Jehu casteth down Altars from anger and fury, not from faith: Hezekiah casteth Altars from the light of faith and zeal. If a strong ship be fair before the wind, if all other things be right, the more wind the better: so two principles of grace in Hezekiah, are better than one carnal principle in Jehu. In reformers of the Lord’s house, and in those who purge the Temple, and cast out the buyers and the sellers, there should be strong affections of love, anger, zeal; but all these are bad principles, if there be not much light of sound faith in reformers, yet a caution is here needful. In actions of the second table, where our self, or our neighbour, and not God or Religion hath place, the higher bent the affection be, the action is the worse; duties to Prince, parents, husband, wife, children, Parliament, require not all the love, all the fear, all the joy; half love is best here, and it is good that love, fear, joy, desire, anger, go by ounce weights; but Reformation, God, Religion calleth for all the heart, all the soul, all the strength, Psalm 42:2. David’s soul and his flesh are allowed in seeking after the living God, to long, to faint, to cry out with a shout for the living God; so more affection should be for Christ’s fundamental Laws, for Religion, than for the fundamental Laws of a Kingdom, or for the power and privileges of Parliament. And it is clear in ill actions, the less affection the better; Pilate’s slaying of Christ, had less hatred and envy, than the Scribes and Pharisees killing of him; and the more innocent that the affection be, the bad action is the less evil: fear is a more innocent affection than hatred. Those who out of fear desert the Lord’s cause, are not to be punished in that degree with those who out of malice and hatred to the truth joined to the Malignant faction. How ever, God challengeth the flower of our affections, and it is a sweet thing to spend the vigour and flower of the affection upon God, and if you had ten tongues to speak for God, a hundred hands to fight for him, many lives to lose for him, Achitophel’s wisdom to employ in his services, except you engage the heart and affections in his service, you do nothing to him. If Prelates, Papists and Malignants be hated only as hurtful to your State, to the gain and external peace of the Commonwealth, and not as God’s enemies, as Idolaters, as they are under the King of the bottomless pit, the Antichrist, and Comets who borrow light from that fallen Star, and not as servants to our King; the war is shedding of innocent blood; heart reduplications in the affections do mightily invert the nature of actions; Jehu 2 Kings 10:30. 31. did right in the sight of the eyes of God, and did to the house of Ahab according to all that was in God’s heart; yet because he did it with a crooked and bastard intention, for his own honour and Idol ends, his obedience is, Hosea, 1:4. murder before God.
Part. 4. [The God of Daniel.] This is the fourth point considerable here. Darius speaketh of the living God, as natural men do, with a note of estrangement of affection, he applieth him to Daniel, as the God of Daniel, but applieth him not to himself, as making him his own God, but rather doth insinuate that he had another God then Daniel’s God: So do natural spirits destitute of faith stand afar off from God, and bide at a distance with God, whereas only faith can claim interest in God, and father it self upon the Lord. Laban speaketh thus to Jacob, Gen. 31:29. The God of your father spake to me yesterday, Exod. 8:25. Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, Go ye sacrifice to your God in the land, 1 King. 13:6. Jeroboam saith to the Prophet. Entreat now the face of the Lord thy God, and pray for me: and Rachab speaking in the name of the people of Jericho saith, Josh. 2:11. For the Lord your God he is God in the Heaven above, and in the earth beneath; unbelief maketh the unbeliever that which he is, even a bastard and stranger, not a son nor an heir; whereas faith challengeth right and heritage in God, Psalm 5:2. Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King and my God, Psalm 7:1. O Lord my God, in thee do I put my trust. Psalm 18:1, 2. The Lord is my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer: my God, my strength in whom I will trust, my Buckler, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower; here be nine relations, nine My’s. 2 Chr. 20:12. Our God, wilt thou not judge them? Ezra, 9:6. O my God, I am ashamed, &c. Daniel 9:4. And I prayed unto the Lord my God: the three children say, Daniel 3:17. Our God is able to deliver us, Joh. 20:28. Thomas said, my Lord, my God. Daniel here is made proprietor and heritor of the true and living God; and Darius and all his people have their own Gods, called the Gods of nations, and Darius putteth it as a ground, That the God which any man serveth, and trusteth in, he hath a relation to him, as to his own God: every man may by Law claim what is his own. Hence are these two questions to be discussed.
1. Quest. Whether Application be essential to Faith or not?
2. What ground have those who hear of God, and those within the visible Church, to call God their God.
For the discussion of the first, these following assertions may resolve us.
1. Assertion. Faith is more than a naked, hungry, and poor assent to the truth, there is in it a fiducial acquiescence and a leaning upon Jehovah, expressed by divers expressions full of marrow, as Psalm 22:8. He trusted, the Hebrews say, He rolled himself on Jehovah; which is, when a wearied man sweating under a burden casteth himself and his burden both upon a place or a bed of rest גֹּ֣ל אֶל־יְהוָ֣ה as that Psal. 55:22. Cast thy burden on Jehovah, and 1 Pet. 5:7. Roll all your care on him, Psalm 37. the Chaldee Paraphrase saith on the place, for [he rolled himself on God] I spake praises to God, which holdeth forth, that Faith is a work of the heart and affection, rather than of the mind; So Psalm 37:5. Resign, and give over, or roll over thy ways to the Lord, as Jerome doth well turn it; Bibl. Complutense, flee in to Jehovah. Psalm 18:18. They prevented me in the day of my calamity, but Jehovah was my stay; referring this to the Lord his bearing up of David’s heart in his trouble (which in reason cannot be denied)מִשְׁעָ֣ן is, (as Arias Montanus turneth it) fulcrum; Junius, scipio, or baculus; the Seventy [LXX] Interpreters ἀντιστήριγμά the Lord was David’s stay and his staff: so is the word used, Isa. 3:1. The Lord taketh from Judah the stay and the staff; and it is not evil that Christ is the sinners stay, and the lamed man’s staff, Isa. 26:3. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed (as a house holden up by a prop) on thee, Psalm 112. He that feareth the Lord, is not afraid of ill tidings because his heart is fixed: סָמ֣וּךְ לִ֭בּוֹ leaning on the Lord; and believing is not simply in the word, a giving credit to God, in what he saith; but it is when men put their weight on God, as Isa. 10:20. The residue of Israel shall lean upon the Lord, the Holy one of Israel: and so is the word, Micah. 3:11. They lean upon the Lord, saying, Is not the Lord amongst us? and faith is termed, Hebrews 11:1. ἐλπιζομένων ὑπόστασις the substance of things hoped for: some do not ill expound it to be the pillar and ground-stone of the soul, in expecting good from God; and so is it the buckler of faith, Ephes. 6:16. and these two words say, that Faith is a most valiant Souldier, which yieldeth not to that which cometh against it, but that the believer, when he is killed and fallen, doth still stand and live. Doeg is thus made a wicked man, Psalm 52:7. Lo this is the man that made not God his strength; Mahhuzzo, his fortitude, saith Jerome; and in the matter of giving assent to truths. Consider in this comparison, how Faith layeth it self upon God: There be six men condemned to die for treason; the King sendeth a sealed pardon to one, all the six read the pardon, and all believe it is the true deed of the Prince, but five of them do believe it with sorrow, and no love to the Prince, because their names are not in the pardon; but the pardoned man believeth it, not only as true, but his heart cleaveth to it with a heat and warmness of soul resting upon the grace of the Prince: So doth the believer thrust his heart upon Christ, and his free grace, and hath a soul-kindness to the promises, when he heareth them, which is not in these, who only take the word as true, Canticles, 8:5. Who is she that cometh up out of the Wilderness associating, or neighboureth her self upon her well-beloved? Faith maketh Christ a neighbour and a companion to the soul, and therefore here must be an Application of the heart to God in Christ.
2. Assertion. Some even deserted and missing the Lord to their feeling, may, and do apply him to themselves, as their own Lord. Psalm 22:1. My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Canticles 5:6. I opened to my well-beloved, and my well-beloved had withdrawn himself; then a God hiding himself, and withdrawing his felt love to my faith, may be my God. Isa. 49:14. Zion saith, My Lord hath forgotten me: so Mary Magdalen saith, John 20:13. They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him: then he may be a forgetting and taken away Lord to my feeling, and yet to my faith also my Lord; as though I were in Hell and Christ in Heaven, I may believe and apprehend the relation standing to me, as the wife may believe that the angry and the forsaking husband is still her husband; God’s glooming [frowning] sometimes doth not break the relation of a Lord or Saviour to me, no not in my apprehension and feeling.
3. Assertion. To believe that God is my Lord, who from eternity did choose me, and of intention sent Christ to die for me, is not essential to saving faith; for the doubtings of many believers who dare not say (he is my God) and yet dare not renounce God, or give over their claim and interest in Christ, doth evidence manifestly that such doubting ones do also believe, though they cannot believe so much as appropriation of Christ as proper possession. Hence two cases they be in, who thus doubt.
1. They believe but in the dark; They stay on Jehovah, and yet see no light, Isa. 50:10. as children say their lesson sometimes without their book, and as those who are in the dark make their hands serve for their eyes, and grope with their hands stretched out, when they cannot see with their eyes.
2. They be ready to half the Covenant, and to divide it betwixt God and their souls, and believe God to be a father, and yet dare not say they are God’s sons: so the Prodigal divideth, as it were, the relation of a father, from the relation of a son, which is the bad Logic of unbelief, Luke 15:18. I will arise and go to my Father, and say, Father, I have sinned against thee; then he believed him with a broken and halting faith to be his Father, yet his petition, saith he, did not fully believe himself to be a son, and therefore he craveth a place in the house inferiour to a son, ver. 19. Make me as one of thy hired servants.
The other question is, What warrant hath any weak doubter to believe that God is his God in Christ? And there be two grounds on which the doubt is bottomed.
1. No man knoweth whether he be elected or reprobated, when he is first charged to believe.
2. The Lord is not really (a parte rei) the God and the Lord of the thousand part, who heareth the Gospel, and are condemned, because they believe not on the only begotten Son of God: I set down these Assertions for an Answer.
1. Assertion. The question is often, not so much whether a poor soul would have Christ or no, (for there is no question of that) as if he would have Christ to be his God, in his own legal way, that is, if he would first be holy and worthy, and then take Christ for his Saviour.
2. Assertion. God’s Decree of Election, or his intention to save me, is not the proper object of my Faith, but rather of my sense and feeling: we go mightily beside the line, in the method of believing, when we go to believe at first God’s intention to save me: The order is, being humbled for sin, we are to adhere to the goodness of the promise, not to look to his intention to persons, but to his complacency and tenderness of heart to all humble sinners: So Paul, 1 Tim. 1:15. embraceth by all means that good and faithful saying, Jesus Christ came to save sinners; before he put himself in as the first of these sinners, as the condemned man believeth first the Kings grace and clemency to all humbled supplicants, who sueth for grace, before he believe grace to himself; and if this were not, the method of applying Christ were unreasonable. The woman diseased with the bloody issue, heard of Jesus, and therefore came and touched the hem of his garment: What had she heard? nothing of his exorable kindness and tender mercy towards her self, but towards others, and upon this believed; so a Rope is cast down in the Sea to a multitude of drowned men, and all are bidden, for their life, lay hold on the Rope, that they may be saved; it were unseasonable and foolish curiosity for any of these poor men, now upon death and life, commanded to hold fast the Rope, to dispute whether did the man, who cast down the Rope, intend and purpose to save me, or not, and while my mind be at a point in that, I will not put out one finger to touch the Rope: but fool, dispute with hands and arms, and lay hold on the remedy, and do not thou begin a plea with Christ, and leave that question to another time. A Prince proclaimeth a free market of gold, monies, fine linen, rich garments, and all precious Jewels, to a number of poor men, upon a purpose to enrich some few men, whom of grace he purposeth to make honourable Courtiers and Officers of Estate; all these men are now not to dispute the King’s secret purpose, but to repair to the market, and to improve their Prince’s grace, and buy without money. Christ holdeth forth his Rope to drowned and lost sinners, and layeth out an open market of the rich treasures of heaven; do thou take it for granted, without any further dispute, as a principle after to be made good, that Christ hath thoughts of grace and peace concerning thee, and do but now husband well the grace offered, lay hold on Christ aye while he put thee away from him, and if there be any question concerning God’s intention of saving thee, let Christ first move the doubt, but do not thou be the first mover.
3. Assertion. It is true, your Christian name, John, Peter, Anne, Mary, are not in the New Testament, but here is as good and better, and a more individual designation then your Christian name, if thou bring sin with thee to Christ, and there be no man but he hath this name, bring a lost soul with thee. Luke 19:10. The son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost. Matthew 9:13. Christ saith, I am not come to call the righteous, but the sinners to repentance. Then if it be said, What is thy name, who layest hold on Christ? there is an answer, My name is a sinner. 2. Leave, behind thee, righteousness when thou comest to Christ, thou mayest easily leave true righteousness behind thee, and come without it, because true righteousness of thy own is a non-ens [nonentity], and just nothing, and nothing is the proper heritage of the poor; bring want and poverty with thee, and there is another name, say, Lord Jesus, my name is not in the royal promise of grace made to Traitours and Rebels against the Crown of Heaven, but my name is poverty, they call me want and necessity; and all men hitherto hath these two names, sinners, poor and unrighteous; but three bring some feeling and sense; come wearied and laden, and then thou hast a third name. This is harder, yet it is amongst the most easy things required of thee; the Law which worketh (if it were felt and heard) will work this in thee, and though then thou want it, thou hast that which is nearest to it, even sin; for these two be of one blood almost, to wit, want of clothing, and nakedness, a heavy load, and a wearied body; and nakedness is a near friend to shame and cold, and poverty is very near of kindred to hunger; hunger is come of that same stock and house; and if thou canst say, O Physician Jesus, my right name is sickness; O rich Jesus, they call me want; O bread of life, they call me hunger; it is enough.
Object. 1. But it is not faith, but presumption, for me, without a warrant, and without law or right, to believe in a God, who was indeed Daniel’s God, but not mine.
Answ. 1. Presumption is a sister to Pride; if thou be wearied and laden, thou cannot readily be proud. 2. Thou askest a warrant of Law to believe in Christ. I answer by another question: What Law or Warrant have country beggars to cry for Alms at the hands of the rich? often Acts of Parliament and Laws are against begging. What Warrant or Law have they to beg? Let the beggar answer it himself. I have no Law (he can answer) but I am poor, I have nothing, and I cannot steal, I cannot starve; so by the Law of want thou restest upon Jesus Christ; I want all things, Christ hath all things, and wanteth nothing; and this is as good as any act of Parliament in the world.
Object. 2. Daniel was one of the righteous men on earth; Noah, Job, and Daniel, were none-suchs, Ezek. 14:14.
Answ. The Cart wheel moveth, because it is round, not that it may be round, but the sinner doth not believe, because he is righteous, but that he may be righteous; it were a wicked faith, and it were to believe treacherously, to believe, because you are holy, or as holy as Daniel; faith’s bottom is want, sin, damnation; and the Kingdom of believers is but (as we say) a nest of beggars.
Object. 3. But if I were worthy to believe and rely upon Christ, I should then come to him with some boldness.
Answ. This is the Papists merit of congruity, that we will not come to Christ while we have an hire, and it is seeming humility, but real pride: I will not come to Christ’s Market, without money; you will not come to the fountain, while your thirst be quenched, nor to him who can give you fine gold, and fine linen, while first you be rich and well clothed, and that is cursed righteousness, and unholy holiness, that any soul getteth out of another than Jesus Christ.
Object. 4. But if I cannot come to Christ without sense of sin and poverty, then is my coming and my act of believing founded and bottomed upon something that I have before I come to Christ.
Answ. This is the question betwixt us and Antinomians, like the very question betwixt us and Papists concerning the authority of the Scripture: but I say, as the Church’s authority is not the formal reason why I believe Scripture to be the Word of God, yet the Church’s authority is not excluded from being a mean and motive; for, Romans Chapter 10. verse 17. Faith cometh by hearing, so Christ himself is the formal reason of my Faith, I rest on Christ, because he is Christ: sense of poverty is a strong motive, for except I be driven and compelled to come to Christ, I shall never come; sense of poverty is not the foundation of the wall, yet it may be a pinning in the wall.
Antinomians teach, that inherent qualifications and all works of sanctification are but doubtful evidences to us of our interest in Christ, or that we are in the state of grace. What then maketh me, John, Anne, by name, sure in my conscience that I am in Christ, even to the full removal of all heart-questions?
That which revealeth (say they) my evidence of assurance, that I am my well-beloveds, and that he is mine, is the Spirit speaking personally and particularly to my heart with a voice, Son, be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee; and this is that broad Seal of the Spirit making an immediate impression on my heart, without any begged testimony of works of sanctification, which is the revealing evidence of my interest in Christ; and the receiving evidence is Faith, believing this testimony of the Spirit, only because God’s Spirit saith so, not because I have evidences, by particular works of sanctification, such as are universal obedience, sincerity of heart, and love of the brethren.
But to speak a little of this for the times; The Papist is the black Devil, taking away all certainty of assurance that we are in Christ, or that any man can know this. The Antinomian is the Golden white Devil; a spirit of Hell clothed with all Heaven, and the notions of Free Grace: and first, the Well-head of all is, Free Grace in us is a dream, Sanctification inherent is a fiction, Christ is all, there is no Grace existent in the creature, Grace is all in Christ, and nothing but imputed righteousness, for if works of sanctification be not marks intelligible, or which can come in under the capacity of received light, to be known with any certainty or assurance. 1. The joy and rejoicing that we have in the testimony of a good conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have our conversation in the World, 2 Cor. 1:12. must be a dream. David, Job, Moses, Samuel, the Prophets and Apostles, their joying in a good conscience, arise from doubtful and conjectural evidences: yea, no man can say in any assurance, (I believe in Christ,) (in the inner man, I delight in the Law of the Lord,) (I am crucified to the world,) (my conversation is in Heaven) for all these are inherent qualifications in the child of God, but they are doubtful and uncertain. How then hath God promised to love the righteous, to reward believing with life eternal, to give the prize to him that runneth? &c. 2. The testimony of the Spirit bearing witness to our spirit, that we are the children of God, Rom. 8:16. is in this sense an immediate act of the Spirit, because reflex acts of the soul are performed without any other medium or means, but that whereby the direct acts are performed: I know that I know; I know that I believe; my sense by that same immediate operation of the Spirit, by the which I know God without any other light, teacheth me to know that I know God: even as by light I see colours, but my common sense needeth not another Sun, or another light, to make me know that I see colours. The Lamb when it seeth a Wolf, though it never did see a Wolf before, knoweth it to be an enemy, and fleeth: but to make it know that it knoweth the Wolf, there is nothing required but the internal and common instinct of nature: So when I believe in Christ, that habitual instinct of the grace of God, actuated and stirred up by the Spirit of God, maketh me know that I know God; and that I believe, and so that I am in Christ to my own certain feeling and apprehension; but this doth not hinder, but the assurance of my interest in Christ is made evident to me by other inferiour evidences, 1 Joh. 2:3 And hereby we know, that we know him, if we keep his Commandments. By the keeping of God’s Commandments we do not know simply that we know God by certainty of faith: But we know that we know God these two ways: 1. We know (the instinct of the new man being stirred up to action by that wind which bloweth when and where it listeth) our knowing of God to be sound saving, and true. We do not so much know our knowing of God, by this supernatural sense, as we know the supernatural qualification and sincerity of our knowing of God. So that we rather know the qualification of the act, that the work is done according to God, then the act according to its substance, though we do also know it in this relation, 1 Joh. 3:14. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren: that is, our love to the brethren doth evidence to us, both that we are translated to the Kingdom of grace, and also it doth evidence that that translation is real, true, sincere, sound and effectual by love, and all the fruits of the Spirit. 2. By these works of sanctification we have evidence that we have interest in Christ, not as by former light, suggesting to us that the immediate impression of this great and broad Seal of the King of glory, and his personal and particular testimony is true; (for God’s Spirit needeth not another witness to add authority to what he saith,) but because this conclusion, (Thou John, Anna, hast interest to Christ to thy own feeling) must be proved by Scripture (except with Enthusiasts and fanatic Spiritualists we separate the Word and the Spirit) therefore these works of sanctification prove the conclusion consequenter [in accordance] by Scripture and sense, and so lead us to the word of promise, thus to prove this conclusion, (I John, Peter, Anna, have interest in Christ, to my own reflect, and private assurance;) the major proposition is made good by Scripture; the Assumption by sense; and the conclusion leadeth us to the certainty of faith in the promises: as,
He that believeth, and maketh sure his belief, by walking not after the flesh, but after the Spirit, hath a clear evidence to his own feeling, that he hath interest in Christ.
But I John, Peter, Anna, do believe, and do make sure my belief, by walking not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Therefore I John, Peter, Anna have a clear evidence to my own feeling, that I have interest in Christ.
The proposition is Scripture, John 3:36. Joh. 5:24. Joh. 11:25, 26. Rom. 8:1, 2. 1 Joh. 1:4. 1 Joh. 2:3. The Assumption is made sure by sense, not at all times, but when the wind is fair, and the Spirit is breathing upon the soul; for though I do believe and walk after the Spirit, yet to my own feeling I have only evidence of my interest in Christ, when the Spirit stirreth up my sense to compare my faith, and walking with the promises of God in Christ: But saith the Antinomians, Alas, all the certainty then, and the whole personal evidence that I have to know that I have interest in Christ, is ultimately and principally resolved on this weak & rotten foundation, to wit, On my own good works, which being examined by the law of God, will be found so sinful as they shall involve me under the curse of God, & so the debate of conscience shall stand in full vigor, & I shall never be satisfactorily resolved of my interest in Christ: for you lead me from the impression of the immediate seal of the spirit to my good works; & this is to drive me off Christ, and put me back again to my old Jailor and my old keeper the law. But I answer, this consequence is just nothing: for if my good works of sanctification were causes of my peace of conscience, this connexion had some colour of truth; but though those works be sinful by concomitance, because sin cleaveth to them, yet because my supernatural sense of the Spirit suggesteth that these works are the fruits of faith, and are done in some measure of sincerity, and flow not from the spirit of the Law, but from the Spirit of the Gospel: therefore they lead me to Christ, and drive me upon a clear Evangelic promise, That 1. the adhering sinfulness of my works are purged in Christ’s blood. 2. That this promise is a shore before mine eyes. He that fighteth the good fight of faith, a Crown of righteousness is laid up for him, 2 Tim. 4:7, 8. He that runneth, shall obtain, 1 Cor. 9:24. And here is an Evangelic word, Revel. 22:14. Blessed are they that do his Commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates to the City. So that the right of your peace and clear evidence, in assurance of your right to the Tree of life, is not laid upon your works, but upon the promises of the Gospel: only your inherent qualification leadeth you as a moral motive to look to the promises of God, which is the bottom and the foundation of your peace; even as my walking, eating, drinking, may assure me I am a living man; and from the knowledge that I live, I come to know what I stand in relation to the King, as a son and an heir of a Crown; yet my right to the Crown (suppose I were the eldest son of a King) standeth not on this pillar, that I eat and drink and live, but upon my birth and my relation to such a father. All my inherent qualifications do well prove that the tree and stock they grow on, is faith; but is it hence proved that the Tree is bottomed upon the branches? nay, but by the contrary, the branches are stocked upon the Tree.
3. If works of sanctification be no sure marks of my interest in Christ, because sin adhereth to them, and the sin adhering to them, involveth me in condemnation; then neither can faith in Christ be a sure mark of my interest in Christ, because faith is always mixed with sinful doubting: for I do not think that Antinomians do believe with all their heart; and sin of unbelief adhering to our faith no less involveth the sinner in a curse, being committed against the Gospel, then sins against the Law. And therefore as faith justifieth, not because great and perfect, but because lively & true, as the palsy hand of a man may receive a sum of gold, no less than a strong and healthy arm; so also do our inherent works of sanctification give us evidences that we are in Christ, and so lead us to the promises of the Gospel, as signs, not causes of our interest in Christ, and that under this notion; because they are sincerely performed, not because they are perfect and without all contagion of sin cleaving to them.
4. In exalting Christ’s righteousness one way, by making Christ all, they make Christ nothing another way, by vilifying the glory of sanctifying grace; for we are not by good works to make our calling and election sure to our selves, and in the evidence of our own consciences, if our good works be no signs of our interest in Christ.
5. The spirit which these men make the only witness, must be known to us by Scripture, not to be a deluding spirit: for if this spirit cannot be known by these things which are called, Galat. 5:22. the fruits of the spirit, to wit, by love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: as the fruits are evidences of the life of the tree, men are to labour for faith, and the raptures, impressions, and immediate and personal influence of a Spirit from Heaven, without any conscience of holy living; and this is the path-way for men void of all sanctification and inherent qualifications to believe they are in Christ. So the Devil putteth upon holiness, inherent and constant walking with God, the foul scandal of fair white civility, and market morality, that so men may walk after the flesh, and believe the testimony of the broad Seal of an immediate working Spirit.
Object. 5. But what be these which go before faith in Christ?
Answ. 1. Sense of sin. 2. Half an hope, &c. What if I venture out upon Jesus Christ for my life? he is called a Saviour, a Prince of much tenderness of grace. 3. The soul is first put to What shall I do? Luke 16:3. 4. It is put to an half prizing of Christ, and to some raw wishes to have Jesus Christ, but otherwise no man can prize Christ, but he who hath him already. However, we have in all this an advantage of our adversaries the Papists now in Arms, they call faith and resting on God as our God, Pride: as if it were pride for the drowned man to flee to the rock, and pride for the Physician to cry, O my Physician help. Yet do Papists really cry, O my Idol, awake; O my god of bread, hear; O my intercessor Mary, answer me: But be not afraid of their gods: Nor are we to fear their prayers to Saints, or the Cavaliers’ Friday’s fasting. But we are to learn how in time of need to make use of faith; and let Israel trust in the Lord, he is an hiding place and a covering in the ill day: and let the weak soul that findeth nothing but darkness, wants, fears, from that flee to Christ: bleeding of wounds is here preparatory to believing: Want is beginning of motion; let it be made a motive of believing: the less evidence, let adherence be the stronger.
[The God of Daniel.] The History maketh it most evident, that Daniel’s God, and his Honour and Court, both were aimed at, to be laid on the dust by his enemies. Here Daniel’s name goeth through, verse 25. all people, nations, languages, that dwell on all the earth, and the God of Daniel is exalted. Hence observe, first, how God blesseth right preciseness and strictness in his way. Moses standeth by this (not an hoof) and he obtaineth his end, God bringeth him and Israel out of Egypt. Mordecai not half a leg to Haman, and he is promoted to great honour. What lost they ever, who stood upon the latitude of an hair for Christ? either they gained both life and God’s Cause, as Daniel did here, and Jesus Christ, who died, but put his life in pawn three days, and took it up again and gained the Cause; or if they lost their lives, they gained the Cause, as the Martyrs of Christ: and therefore let not the Saints bear the name of Precisians, except in an heavenly sense, because they walk precisely, Ephes. 5:15. These be the right Precisians who contend for substance, for God, for Heaven, for the purity of the Gospel. And certainly God is not a thing indifferent, and excellent Jesus Christ is no circumstance; but those be damnable Precisians who contend for feathers, and things indifferent. Now Court favour of Princes, this clay-world, honour, ease, are really in their nature things indifferent, and being compared with Christ (and Christ is no trifle, but all substance) are less than things indifferent, even toys, shadows, loss, dung; therefore the Malignants who make this choice, are the Precisians.
2. Obser. How God disappointeth all the purposes of his enemies, and honoureth those who fear him, and maketh Daniel evidently known to be the true Royalist: and observe how the enemies must be disappointed: how can it be otherwise? for first, they take two cross ways to compass their end: First, sinful means; there is no way for the Princes of Zoan to come by their ends but idolatry: surely they are fools, and drunken men staggering in their vomit, Isa. 19:11, 14. and the adversaries now find no better means to set up their Idol-god in Britain, and their abominable Mass, then after they have made the Prince glad with their lies, to kill and destroy the innocent, and devour and eat up the Lord’s people as bread. Secondly, they set the policy of hell against the wisdom of God: hence so many plots, first to divide, then to seduce; so many lies and perjuries in print, and all with this profession, To defend the true Protestant Religion: But surely he hath a strong Metaphysical faith, more subtle than solid, who believeth that an army of Papists, led on by the rules of Jesuits, and helped by the forces of the Irish Rebels, have a mind to defend the true Protestant Religion: I hope never to believe it. Yet as God disappointed Daniel’s enemies, so are they misled in all their purposes: God hath always done this. The enemy of God and a good Cause, Psal. 7:14. is with child, but the Justice of God is Godfather, and giveth the name of the child, it is named, A lie: behold, he travailleth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief: and the birth, when it is borne, is no King, no God, he bringeth forth a lie: Isa. 33:11. Ye shall conceive chaff: and the child is a monstrous bastard, a child of straw and stubble: and ye shall bring forth stubble: Job 15:35. They conceive mischief, and bring forth vanity. There is a long web now in weaving in England, and many hands spin threads to the web, as England, Scotland, Ireland, Rome, Italy, France, Spain, Denmark, Papists, Jesuits, Cardinals, Princes, Pope, Prelates, Politicians: and Jehovah the Lord hath an hand eminently in the contexture; and almost all (except the Lord and his Church have sundry ends) therefore they weave in threads of sundry colours, Babylon, Rome, and Papists are for their idolatry set up in Britain: God hath broken that thread once, twice, but they cast new knots, and do still spin and weave Prelates ends with shouting, and garments rolled in blood (let our great Diana stand) the honour, the bellies of fourteen, and twenty and six must be defended by the sword, and the blood of the Church of Christ. God hath often broken their thread: Ireland hath no end but that their Babel shall be built again with blood, and their hearts like a piece of the nether millstone are grinding blood and revenge; this end must fall. The Politician and Malignant’s end is the world, and the glory of Court, and their glory is very lean: Princes weave in their thread, to set up their absolute and independent sovereignty, and if any more be intended, God knoweth; but by the wool we may judge of the web. But when all is done in this long and great web, though the enemies’ black policy be transparent and sewed with white thread: hear the conclusion of all, Psal. 33:10. The Lord bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought, he maketh the devices of the people of none effect. 11. (But) the counsel of the Lord standeth for ever.
[For he is the living God] Darius saith in this verse, and in the following, much of God and of his Nature, Greatness, Power, and Sovereignty. Hence learn we, that how much of God is revealed to us, so far are we to have high & noble thoughts, and suitable expressions of God; hence are we Christians far more to think and speak of God;
1. The notion; and that great thing God is admirable. God will say no more to put Abraham upon a course of contentment, when he had the spoil of the Kings of Sodom, and to set him in a way of obedience, but Gen. 17:1. I am God all-sufficient, and goodness & mercy are included in the very essence of God, Hos. 11:9. I will not execute the fierceness of my wrath against Ephraim: for I am God, and not man. And he saith no more in the Covenant, and it is much and all. I will be your God; for if you say God, you say all that can be said.
2. For greatness any way, he is above all; hear what Zophar saith, Job. 11:7. Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? 8. It is high as Heaven, what canst thou do? deeper than hell, what canst thou know? 9. The measure thereof longer than the Earth, and broader than the Sea. 2. Consider the supreme absolute Sovereignty that he hath over Heaven and Earth; what created royalty is in the pieces of Clay, who carry diadems of clay on their heads, is eminently in him, Artaxerxes is but King of some Kings; but God is absolutely the supreme Monarch, Superiour, Landlord and King of Kings, and of all Kings and Lord of Lords, Ahasuerus sent his royal mandates through an hundred and twenty seven Provinces: he sendeth his Officers of the state of Heaven, his Angels, through his Monarchy of Heaven and Earth, and they fulfill his will, Psal. 103:20. He sendeth his Sea-posts, stormy winds to destroy Armadas, and to break the ships of Tarshish, Psal. 30. verse 4. The Lord is great, and greatly to be praised, he is to be feared above all Gods. And we put him out of his Throne, when we appoint Peers to sit and give Counsel, and make Laws with this highest Lord; make a Throne of glory the height of thousand thousand millions of Heaven of Heavens, and set that Throne above the circumference of all these Heavens; set Worlds of Angels and millions of Seraphims, or if there be created Archangels, and thousand thousands of Dominions, Thrones, and Principalities, as servants under the foot-stool of his Throne, yet he were set too low; he deserveth a Throne above that Throne.
3. Consider his gracious nature. 1. How tender hearted to his afflicted people, Jud. 10:16. The Lord’s soul was grieved for the misery of Israel, Jer. 31:20. Is Ephraim my dear son? is he a pleasant child? for since I did speak against him, I do earnestly remember him, my bowels are troubled for him, I will surely have mercy on him, saith the Lord? What tenderness! O what compassion in the heart of an infinite God! Psal. 147:3. The Lord healeth the broken in heart, he bindeth up their wounds. O how softly and compassionately doth his heavenly hand put in joint the bones of a broken heart? his Son Christ hath a room in his heart for the Lambs which are not able to go there alone, Isa. 40:11. He shall gather the Lambs with his arms, he shall carry them in his bosom.
4. He is (Psal. 13:1. Clothed with glory, Psal. 104:1. Clothed with honour and majesty. 2. Covered with light (uncreated light) as with a garment. How dear must every yard of that garment be? poor earthly Kings ride upon horses of flesh; He rode upon a Cherub, and did fly upon the wings of the wind, Psal. 18:10. Nor is he then upon his highest horse, he can ride higher than on the wings of the wind, Psal. 104:3. Psal. 18:10. Kings of Clay have their Tents on the cold Earth: He maketh dark Clouds his pavilion: It should kill the holiest on earth to see one glimpse of his glory.
5. What beauty must be in this Lord? Angels and glorified souls are not able to look off his Face for all eternity, Mat. 18:10. Revel. 22:3. Isa. 24:23. The Moon shall be confounded, and the Sun ashamed, when the Lord of Hosts shall reign in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem before his ancients gloriously. He must be a fair Lord when the fair Sun blusheth, and is ashamed to appear and shine before him. Nothing David desired in this side of time, but to dwell all the days of his life in the house of the Lord, and behold the beauty, (the heavenly increated beauty) of the Lord, Psal. 27:3. Put all the imaginable colours of the Firmament, of the morning sky, of all the Lilies and Roses of the Earth, which surpass Solomon’s royalty, in one; Imagine a Rose to be of the quantity of the Earth, all these should be but created shadows to him, Zech. 9:17. How great is his goodness? how great is his beauty? he is both good and fair.
6. Who can speak of omnipotence and boundless power in God, Isa. 40:12. Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out Heaven with a span, and comprehended the dust of the Earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in Scales, and the hills in Balance? there is but one in all the World, and from eternity to eternity never was there any save one who can do all this. What fingers be those, which at one time are in the furthest borders of the Eastern Heaven, and of the Western Heaven? ver. 15. Behold the Nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are accounted as the small dust of the balance, behold he takes up the Isles as a very little thing. And he can take up the whole Isle of Britain in his hand, & can hang the weight of the massy body of Heaven and Earth on the top of his finger, who is he who hangeth the Earth, yea, the whole world upon nothing? what hindereth, (seeing there be such Broils, Tumults, Motions in Heaven, Earth, and Hell) but this great huge vessel of the great All, this whole world should fall to the one side and break? but omnipotence holdeth it up: who hath Arms to spread a web of black darkness from the East to the West? Isa. 50:3. I clothe the Heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering; and alas, all that I say here is nothing; it must be true here, præstat tacere quam pauca discere; better be silent in so great a matter, as speak little.
Use is, To teach us not to be in love with the creature, or with men. What is man, but a weeping, groaning, dying, nothing? Isa. 40:17. All Nations are before God as nothing and less than nothing, and vanity. What is nothing? it is the least thing that can be, but (I pray you) what is less than nothing? nothing can be less than nothing, but all Nations being compared with God evanish infinite miles, out of the world of some things: and if one man be nothing, nations of men, and nations of nations are nothing: multiply Cyphers to millions of millions, they cannot make a number, because every Cypher is nothing, and therefore the product must be nothing; so multiply infinitely Nations, let Spain, France, Italy, Ireland, Denmark, and what the power of men can make, the product shall be nothing. Millions and Hosts of men are millions and Hosts of vanities, God is all, and in infinite all, and what can we do to make him lovely and desirable. We may preach this admirable Lord, but we shall never out-preach him; and praise him, but shall never out-praise him, his favour is more to be sought then favour of Kings, he is more to be feared then Kings, Isa. 5:12. I, even I, am the Lord, the Lord that comforteth you: Who art thou that shouldest be afraid of a man, that shall die, and of the Son of man that shall be made as grass? Hence are you to see to the prerogative royal of the King, but more to the prerogative royal of the Prince of the Kings of the Earth: And therefore, O Judges be wise: O all you who carry on your heads, Diadems, and royal Crowns of yellow dust, and glistering clay, I mean of gold and precious stones, stoop, stoop before this Monarch, cast down your Crowns and Scepters at the feet of the King of Kings: Know your Superiour the highest Landlord of dying Monarchies, Zech. 2:12. It is said, The Lord shall inherit Judah, and shall choose Jerusalem: O but Kings and Dominions who keep Judah captive, cry out with a shout, Judah shall serve us, and our King, and Jesus Christ shall not reign over us: but there is a royal Proclamation given with an, ô yes, from his palace of glory, who inhabiteth Eternity, v. 13. Be silent, O all flesh, before the Lord. So Psal. 2:2. Jew and Gentile are upon foot raging, and consulting with all, Let us break his bands and cast his cords from us; nay v. 6. one who is not on foot, but sitteth in Heaven, laughing, not troubling himself with the Tumults of clay-nothings, sent out a princely mandate! I have set my King upon my holy Hill of Zion: I have put the Crown on Christ’s head, what men of dust and ashes shall pull it off his head? Psal. 46:9. He breaketh the Bow, and cutteth the Spear, he burneth the Chariots in the fire. The heathen cannot endure this, they fly on armies, and cry with a shout, He shall not break our Bowes, He shall not burn our Chariots with fire; therefore a royal Commandment and Decree cometh out, v. 10. Be still, and know that I am God, I will be exalted above the heathen, I will be exalted on Earth. He is crying, O Rome: O Spain: O Ireland: O Kings, and powers of the world, O Babylon, Lady of Nations: O Pope and Cardinals hold your peace, speak no more, Isa. 46:13. I bring near my Righteousness, it shall not be far off, and my salvation shall not tarry, and I will place salvation in Zion, for Israel, (for Britain) my glory.
2. Use is, To bring hearts in a fervour and sickness of love with God, and make us mold higher and more Majestic thoughts and conceptions of this most high Lord, then ordinarily we do; and therefore consider, how inconsiderable & incomprehensible he is. 2. Summon all created glory before him, by way of comparison. 3. Look at him as the last end. First then consider two words that Paul hath, Eph. 3:18, 19. That you may be able (it is his prayer) with all the Saints to comprehend, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, 19. And to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge. Now from the love of Christ you may take the measure, in some proportion, of this great Lord himself: Then conceive a love higher than the Heaven of Heavens, deeper than the Earth, broader than the Sea, yea broader and longer than the circumference of the outmost shell, or orb of the Heaven of Heavens, that love should not pass knowledge; but seeing I am warranted to speak of love according to dimensions of Height, Breadth, Depth, Length; But imagine, in the capacity of knowledge and understanding, ten thousand millions of new created Heavens and Worlds at the East end of this Heaven that now is, and ten thousand millions of new Worlds created at the West end of this Heaven that now is, and let your knowledge run along to the North and the South, and to the thirty two points of the four Cardinal arches, here would be great Height, Length, Breadth, and Depth of love; yet, I am sure, this love should not pass all knowledge, for the understanding of man will go along through all these, to multiply and multiply again and again, and yet all love within knowledge, What then must himself be? if we could separate God and God’s Love. Again, conceive so many multiplied new Worlds, new Heavens, new Earths, new Seas, new Forests, Woods, Trees, Reeds, Herbs, Grass, Stones, and all the rest multiplied; and conceive so many worlds of men and new created Angels, and let all these millions of Woods, Trees, Forests, Herbs, Grass, be all made [writing] pens, and let all these thousands millions of new created Seas, Fountain, Rivers, be all Ink; and all these thousands millions of Heavens, yea of Heavens, Air, Earth be paper, and let these thousands of millions of men and Angels write Books and Psalms of praise of this infinite and incomprehensible Lord, and let their wits be enlarged in the capacity of so many thousand millions of degrees of understanding, above what they now have, according to the former multiplied numbers, and let their wits for all eternity, conceive new expressions and most heavenly conceptions of the infinite excellency, transcendent glory, incomparable goodness, and matchless and boundless highness, greatness, omnipotence of this never enough admired and adored Lord, of this high and lofty one who inhabiteth eternity, and yet all these should not pass knowledge; for you and I, and any ordinary understanding of no great capacity may know all this, and therefore all these should not say any thing to express this Love and this Lord who passeth all knowledge. O if we could be drawn to a higher measure of Love, and to put a greater price on this Lord then we do. 2. From this we may easily see the comparison betwixt this Lord and Peers of created nothings: And if all Nations be before him as nothing, & as less than nothing, as it is said by himself Isa. 40:17. Then say, O small, base nothing of a Creature: O highest: O excellency of all things in the Creator: O little and really small creature: O great and surpassing great, and incomparable Creator: O man, poor man, that living lie; and that dying and expiring nothing: but O infinite all: O unspeakable and infinite glory of uncreated being! O man, a breathing fable, a living and a laughing vanity: O self-sufficient and all sufficient life of solid happiness: O creature: a dying vanity, and a weeping nothing, a nothing rejoicing, eating, drinking, sighing, dying: O highest Creator: O eternity of ever-living and ever-joying life: O self-living immortality of endless and uncreated joy: O created sparks, and poor drops of creature-goodness, and creature-mercy: O Sea: O boundless world of worlds of infinite goodness, and bottomless mercy in the Creator of all things: O shamed and despised royalty of Princes of Earth and Clay: O never enough admired glory of uncreated royalty in the incomprehensible God! O fair Sun! O beautiful Moon! but rather, O confounded and shamed Sun and Moon, Isa. 24:23. and, O infinitely fair and glorious Lord who made Sun and Moon: O pleasant Roses and Lilies: but, O pleasanter Lord the Creator of Roses and Lilies: O mighty and powerful Kings and Emperours, but most mighty and matchless King of Kings: O foolish and unwise men: O unsteadfast and changeable Angels: O Lord there is no searching out of thy understanding: O unchangeable and unmovable mover of all things: O pieces of Breathing, Laughing, and then dying Clay: O creature of yesterday, of the last by-past hour, for the world is not of one weeks standing to him; seeing a thousand years are to him as one day. But, O Lord, The ancient of days, Daniel 7:13. O Father of eternity, Isa. 9:6. O King of ages, 1. Tim. 1:17. And King of time: O weak men: O mightless and infirm Heavens which shall wax old as a garment: O eternal Lord: O what an Arm of omnipotency is in him, who shall with a shake of his right Arm move the Heavens and loose all the fixed Stars, and cause them to fall out of the Heaven, as Figs fall off a Fig-Tree shaken with a mighty Wind, Revel. 6:13. O all you created Gardens and Orchards and Paradises, be ashamed, blush and hide your selves beside the Tree of life, which beareth twelve manner of fruit every month: Every Apple growing on this Lord who is the Tree of life, is life eternal: O Gold: O Silver: O Rubies: O precious Stones, much desired by Adam’s sons! What are you to him whose City is fairer, Revel. 21:18. And the building of the Wall was of Jasper, and the City was pure gold like unto clear glass. He saith not there was abundance of gold in the City, and multitudes of precious stones, but the City was all gold, and precious stones; a City like Rome, Venetia, or Constantinople; in which, Timber, Walls, Stones, Streets, & all the buildings were nothing but precious stones and gold, were admirable; O all fair Rivers and Seas, what are you but pools of dead water, being compared with a pure River of water of life, proceeding out of the Throne of God, and of the Lamb? Rev. 22:1. Every drop of that water is an heaven. O created well-beloveds you are black, and the Sun hath looked on you, when you come out and stand beside the Standard bearer amongst ten thousand, Cant. 5:10. Oh, who are sick of love for this Lord: O for eternities leisure to look on him, to feast upon a sight of his Face: O for the long summer-Day of endless ages to stand beside him and to enjoy him! O time: O sin be removed out of the way: O Day: O fairest of Day’s dawn: O morning of eternity break out, and arise, that we may enjoy this incomprehensible Lord. And therefore, O come out of the Creature. 3. Make not Clay and the Creature whose mother is purum nihil, pure mere nothing, your last end; Alas, make not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus a post-horse to ride your own errands, or a Covenant with the most high Lord a Chariot and Stirrup to mount upon the height of your carnal and Clay-projects: this is, as if one should stop the entry of an Oven with a King’s robe-royal. Let God, only God, be your last end.
1. (He is the living God) The words חיה and חוה to be, and to live, are near of kindred together, for living is the most excellent being, and it is most agreeable to reason that Jehovah, who is the first being, and hath being of himself, should be the living God. And you do not find man called living man, though man have a life, as God is called the living God; he is the living God, because all life is originally in him, Psal. 36:9. With thee is the well of life, Joh. 1:4. In him was life; all heat is originally in fire, and in other things at the second hand: all light originally in the Sun; and other things have light by loan only; and light in other things is from the Sun by a sort of grace. 2. He is the living God, in opposition to dead Idols, who, Psal. 115. want life. 3. And have mouths and speak not, eyes they have, but see not: you need not be afraid of the Papists, gods of wood, and silver, and gold. But because I haste to an end. The use is. 1. If all things that live, and we mortal men borrow our life from God, we are to correct three errours. 1. We take this borrowed breath for our proper heritage, and we make this life our Idol and our last end: hence all is done for this life, men betray the cause of God for their life, men desert the cause of God, Parliament, Country and Religion, for a life to them and theirs; men kill and destroy for life; men rise early in the morning, and go late to bed at night, and eat the bread of sorrow for life: but oh! little do we for the living God, and a communion with the living God in the best life, the life of grace. Our second error is, that as our life is but a borrowed thing, we do not think on two things; 1. The paying of the annual of this borrowed sum, even the dedication of our life, actions, ways, and purposes to God, and his honour: Secondly, we do not think of paying back again the principal sum, and who hath the sum in his hand, and his soul in readiness to render to God? 2. But like bankrupts we mind not to pay except we be arrested, and then the soul is taken from money, but if we do not render it, the ghuest [guest] is pulled out, but doth not come out, anima ejicitur, non egreditur. Who liveth as having no morrow? who walketh as if death were always at his right side? 3. We love best the worst of our life, we are much for the time-accidents, and the clay-accidents of this life, such as are court, honour, riches, pleasure, ease: some sell Religion to be free from plundering, others to keep a whole skin, and to go to heaven, as they imagine without loss of blood, comply with Papists, Prelates, Court, and the Times. And for that which scarce deserveth the name of Life; men give, (as the Liar saith, Job. 2:4.) skin for skin, and all that they have for life: but oh! that noble accident of life, eternity of life, or rather that excellent substance, eternal life, is much neglected; the life hidden up with Christ in God, Col 3:3. is regarded.
2. How sweet is it to make God a friend sure and enduring to thy soul, who cannot die? is it sure to trust in the Prince who returneth to his Earth, the Earth whereof he is a landed heritor, when he dieth? Psal. 146:3. Is it not surer to trust in the Lord who made the Heaven and the Earth? vers. 6. Is it sure to trust, 1. Tim. 6:17. ἐπὶ πλούτου ἀδηλότητι, in riches which deal not plainly and fairly with us, nor go out the high way, but are uncertain, like a friend, and you know not when to have him, and when to want him? Is it not better to trust in that living God? that God who liveth for ever, whereas riches is a dead and a dying God; David speaking of his own greatness, valour in war through God’s strength, and of Nations, People, and Kingdoms, who served him, yet looketh on one above all, Psal. 18:46. The Lord liveth and blessed be my Rock: this putteth me in mind of a Prince, who heard of the death of many of great and noble friends in war, and that this Duke and this Prince, and this and this worthy friend was killed in war, yet comforted himself with this, vivit imperator, sat habeo; the Emperour liveth, and I am happy enough. But is not this better, to a soul that knoweth God, my father is killed, my brother lost, my Prince dead, my dear friend buried, but God liveth, and blessed be my Rock; yea, but say thy God the King of Britain liveth, yet his favour to thee may die before he die himself, and then what hast thou? Court, Court is made of glass, and can glister [glitter], and be broken in one hour, the pavement of the chamber of presence is Icy and slidy, and thou mayest fall: It is known to many, the Courtier is as a compter [counter] laid down in the compting [counting] Table to day for a thousand pound, and taken up and laid down in the next accompt [accounting] for a farthing: O but these two be sweetly combined; The ever-living God, and The ever-loving God: how comfortable that I believe God’s love toward me is as old as God, and that as God did never begin to be God, so he never began to love me, but as he is eternal, so his love is eternal, and I know the Court shall not change upon me.
(And abiding, or steadfast for ever.) This is another attribute of God’s blessed nature that Darius ascribeth to God; He is a God eternal, Daniel 7:13. He is the ancient of days, Psal. 102:26. The Heavens shall perish, but thou shalt endure, yea all of them wax old as a garment: as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed. 27. But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end. I know now that the whole created mass of heaven and earth, and all therein, is but as a web of cloth, and as a Suit of clothes, and the best end of the web is old and moth-eaten, and shall be laid by, as an old thread-bare Cloak, ragged and holed, when God shall endure for ever and ever. 2. Time goeth not about God, as it goeth about creatures, there is not with him yesterday and to morrow, and this year, and the last year; but his duration is an instant standing always still; you and I slide through months and years, and at length we are over ears in time, and under the water by death: but he standeth still, his being is in no flux or motion from first and last, from time past to time to come, because he is Revel. 1:17. The first and the last, and v. 8. The Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord: he which is, and which was, and which is to come. Imagine there were a verb that doth involve an action done and ended yesterday, and in doing to day, and to be done to morrow, and yet a completely perfected action that should express God’s duration best; whereas our being taketh three verbs to express it, this man was, and continueth yet, and to morrow shall be, but may not be, 2 Pet. 3:8. One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. And therefore he is the King of ages, 1 Tim. 1:17. as if generations and centuries of years were his subjects and servants. His Son Christ is, Isa. 9:6. אֲבִיעַ֖ד The Father of Eternity: And Isa. 57:15. He inhabiteth Eternity. Men do not inhabit Eternity, For, in this, we do but take by the curtains of time, and look into the borders of Eternity, and in the life to come we shall be beside Eternity, and not inhabit Eternity, so as if non-existence and our glorified natures should involve a contradiction; whereas existence is as essential to the glorious Majesty of God as his blessed essence, and his blessed essence involveth a contradiction not to be. And all time-gods are no gods: for if you say God, you say an eternal necessity of an eternal and ever living God: And this maketh God free from change, and from ups and downs, from falling and rising, that are incident to all created natures, even to men and Angels.
Use 1. If God be eternal and Lord of time, we must be careful that we say not as the people doth, Jer. 8:20. The harvest is past, and the summer is ended, and we are not saved. We are inclined to weep upon time as being too long, especially when we our selves, and the Lord’s Church have sad and bloody days. But the children of God have three advantages, which are as many motives to cause us to submit to God’s dispensation of time. 1. Wait on, for Psal. 9:18. The hope of the poor shall not perish for ever, Psal. 40:1. I waited patiently on the Lord; and what was the issue? and he inclined his ear and heard my cry. 2. He brought me also out of the horrible pit, out of the miry clays, and set my feet on a rock, and established my goings. Hence, as while the bellows blow, the fire casteth heat and light, so doth the heat and fervour of our long lodging under the cross make broad aims of praising and walking thankfully; and when the breathing of the Bellows ceaseth, the fire goeth out again; so when we are delivered, and are cooled, we turn cold in performing real thankfulness to God; but let faith in long troubles wait on, and sow seed in Heaven and on Christ (and that is excellent soil) and we shall reap in due time, if we faint not.
2. God’s delays are the seeds of greater mercies; we are (to borrow that expression) to pardon the long delayed salvation of God, and to forgive times leaden wheels which move slowly, because God recompenceth want of present deliverance with a super-plus of grace; Was it not best that Jacob was not blessed at the first? his faith was lengthened to continue with this; I will not let thee go while thou bless me. The woman of Canaan’s daughter’s body is not freed of the devil at the first or second cry, but her own soul is enriched with faith, great faith, and fervour of spirit, to continue in praying and humble submission to be willing to be a dog to Christ; and here the Lord often recompenceth the want of Brass with the presence of Gold. For faith here entrusteth a stock in God’s hand, and doth forbear and suspend both principal and annual till God’s time come. Therefore we are to take heed that while we fret and challenge our Lord, that he loseth time, that we be not in the mean time losing time our selves; if he hold his Church long in the furnace, if his Church do not join with God actively, to melt her self, and to humble her self under God’s mighty hand, then the Church loseth her time, but God doth not lose a moment. The Gold-smith should hold his vessel in the fire till it be melted and refined. Here also we are to consider, that to deliver out of some cross, as it is God’s mercy, so it is my duty. I lose a father, a child, a dear friend in war; I can never in this life be delivered from this cross, according to the reality of it: for my father, my child, my dear friend, once being dead, cannot return to me again: but though I cannot be delivered from the real loss, yet may I by God’s grace deliver my self from the impatient fretting and distrustful apprehension of that loss, by doing that for conscience to the God of patience, (who commandeth me to submit) which for length of time I shall do; but here we obey time rather than God.
3. God’s time is better than ours, for he knoweth when we are ripe for deliverance, and when the dross cometh away from the metal, and when we cast our scum. Here before we glorify him, we would bind him to deliver us; and we desire here to be served before God, that he should deliver before we be mortified and dead to our lusts. But it is better that our pain continue praising and believing, as both pain and faith be removed. How excellent is that of the Church crying out of the deep, Psal. 130:5. I wait for the Lord. But many lie still under the load, rather than wait, because they cannot help the business; therefore he addeth, My soul doth wait. 2. Many wait, and they know not whereon; it is a fool’s nest they seek; therefore he addeth, And in his Word do I trust. A soul is not bottomed on a dream in his on-waiting, when he hath the Word of God for his warrant. 3. Many do wait, but it is deliverance that they wait for, and not for God himself; therefore saith he, ver. 6. My soul waiteth for the Lord. It is as much for God and a communion with him that faith waiteth for, as for deliverance. 4. But many wait, but very lazily, and with great deadness; the Prophet expresseth more of himself, My soul waiteth for the Lord, more then they that watch for the morning, I say, more than they that watch for the morning. Such a waiter with these four qualifications can never be delivered out of time. Here then are news; Awake, O Sion, sit no longer in ashes, put on thy beautiful garments, O people really in Covenant with God; England, Britain, be not weary, the King is coming, Christ is in his journey posting, deliverance is at hand. O believer make no haste; O prisoner of hope, die not in the prison. Oh! we want faith. It is the art and cunning of faith to believe and not see, and to have memory for eyes and sense; but we would both sow and reap in one day, and would have physic [medicine] and health both in one hour; we would always be at miracles.
Use 2. If God be eternal, his love and decrees must be necessary and irresistible; nothing is so necessary as that which is eternal. Then I could easily yield, (considering who are this day against us) we should be sunk and overwhelmed, if those three hold good which Papists and Arminians hold. 1. Our salvation were in danger, if free-will, which hath its rise and working in time, were the Axel-tree [axle] upon which are rolled the wheels of eternal election and reprobation. But there is as good reason to say, that a sucking child may reach up his arm above the Sun and Stars, and roll about the wheel of the first Heaven from East to West, and turn the wheel again from West to East, as to say that time-free-will can turn about the eternal counsel of God, and that our acts of believing are not believing; and our good and evil works which have their rise from yesterday and to day, and are like Jonah’s gourd, up and down in one night, do roll about the eternal will and decree of God, from favour and love to hatred and rejecting of men. Better make the former of all things supreme and sovereign, then give the Prerogative Royal of all to naughty and sinful clay.
2. We could easily grant that it were in men’s power to destroy the Church of God, and that the King of the bottomless pit, and his Lady and Queen Babylon the great whore, and their sons, Papists and Prelates, might cut off the name of the Lord’s Israel, if upon the supposal of their dream of N. media scientia [new middle knowledge], the new eyes which Jesuits (with all humble submission and glory to the glorious God be it spoken) have given to the Almighty, contingency did rule all: for upon the nod and dominion of causes, without all determination of Gods righteous providence and eternal counsel, all revolutions of Church and Kingdoms depend, say they, and all hang upon these two poles, may be, may not be; what hindereth then that Christ have no Spouse, no redeemed people, and that he be a husband without a wife, a King without Subjects, a Saviour without a ransomed people, as they expressly teach, who with Arminians are advocates for nature, and pleaders against the grace of God; but we believe God to be eternal, and his counsel eternal, and his eternal decree to have a strong influence in the safety of his Church, against which the gates of hell shall not prevail, and that Devils, Men, Babylon, Rome, Spain, Irish rebels, powers on earth in their plots, machinations, counsels, endeavours, battels, victories, all which, come from free causes, are yet chained and fast linked to the high dominion and independent sovereignty of an eternal God. And we believe that this differenceth Jehovah from all other Gods, who, as Isaiah saith, Can neither do good nor evil. Therefore there is not an arrow steeped in hell and shot against the Church, but it cometh out of God’s bow, and he saith it, Isa. 43:13. Yea, before the day was, I am he, and there is none that can deliver out of my hand. I will work, and who shall let it? The Church’s victories and deliverance depend upon an eternal hand, and therefore the sons of Belial prevail not, and the sons of Jacob are not consumed. 3. It were a desperate matter for the elect to be saved, if the first Adam were our surety; but our Tutor Jesus Christ is old and wise, the ancient of days, Daniel 7:13. and he hath seven eyes; they cannot choose but hold the apostasy of the Saints, who make free-will our tutor: And therefore if I were half in heaven, and my one foot in eternity, and my other in time, if such a sinful principle as free-will should tutor and guide me, I should come back again out of heaven, and be damned eternally. If any weak soul apprehending wrath, and under a fervour of desertion should complain, What hindereth me to be eternally condemned? for I am not distracted, I am privy to my self, that I have sold my birth-right, and sinned against the grace of God heinously: Let me answer, That the selling of your birth-right dependeth upon the consent of your tutor Jesus Christ, who is the King of ages, as no minor can sell his inheritance without the consent of his tutor, and if he should do it, it cannot stand in Law, but may be revoked. Christ is first heir, and all the elect joint heirs with him, Rom. 8:17. and joint heirs in Law, though many persons, yet they make but one heir: consider then, if he who is your eternal King of ages, and so unchangeable, hath not given his consent to the bargain, that you should sell his birth-right and inheritance, and under him, your own birth-right, you had no power to do it; Christ because he is God eternal cannot subscribe, nor sign with his hand the writs wherein you have sold your inheritance, therefore the bargain in Law is a mere nullity.
Thirdly, if he be God enduring for ever, What fools are we to place our hope in a King that shall die? Surely they cast their anchor in ill ground, who trust in the creature; thou puttest thy heaven betwixt the brows of a King and in the light of his countenance; he is but a man, and may change, and though his favour were constant, yet when his eye-strings shall be broken, with one breath he shall breathe out his own soul, and thy heaven: And what canst thou then say or do? because sense and the flesh leadeth us, and time goeth about us from the cradle to the grave; we are all for time, we are for a time-Court, a time-Glory, a time-Prince, a time-Friend, a time-Husband, a time-Brother, a time-Heaven and happiness, a time-deliverance in trouble, time-Riches, time-joy and time-pleasure, time-triumphing, a time-life, &c. But we may find in this King of ages, who endureth for ever, these same good things of another nature, as we find in God, eternal Court, eternal Glory, an eternal King, an eternal Friend, an eternal Husband, an eternal Brother, an eternal Happiness, an eternal Salvation, eternal riches, eternal victory and triumph, and in sum, life eternal.
[His Kingdom such as cannot be destroyed] The other class of arguments to prove Daniel’s God to be the true God, is from his government; His Kingdom; that is, The people of his kingdom cannot be destroyed: and now the King doth say, though there be variety and choice of gods in Chaldea and Persia, yet Daniel’s God is incomparably above them all; and Daniel and his fellows are blessed and more happy in their God, than all that serve other gods. The Lord when he is tried, will be found the only excellent and matchless God above all gods, and none like to him and his people, the only happy people; that man’s portion is fallen in pleasant lines who hath the Lord for his portion; but I must go on to make good this doctrine, That the Kingdom and Church of God is the most permanent and enduring society on earth, and a Kingdom which cannot fail; and I go upon these grounds, There is a most firm and sure Covenant made betwixt the Lord and his people, Jer. 31:35. Thus saith the Lord that giveth the Sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the Moon and Stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar, the Lord of hosts is his name, vers. 36. If these ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel shall cease from being a Nation before me for ever. I might allege other Scriptures also, as Jer. 32:39, 40. Ezek. 36:26, 27, 28, 29. Isa. 54:10, 11, 12. Isa. 59:21. Heb. 8:7, 8, 9, 10, 11. Now then because God hath bottomed the eternity of his Church upon his own unchangeable counsel, they must raze the acts of Heaven who can take away the Church of God. I leave it to the thoughts of the judicious, if the rooting out of the Protestant Religion be a rational purpose of intelligent men. What if we should imagine a society of transported men should convene in Parliament, and make Statutes thus, We ordain as a Law and Statute, that from the 22. of January the Sun shall shine no more by day, and the Moon and Stars shall give no more light by night; also we inhibit and discharge, under the highest pain of treason, from this time forth the Sea shall never ebb or flow again. These or the like, should be but the notions of sick imaginations; acts of night counsels have been these; first, fire the City of London; secondly, cut off the Parliament; thirdly, leave not alive in Ireland a Protestant or their seed; fourthly, root them all out of France, and Germany; fifthly, destroy Scotland and their Covenant; sixthly, undo all reformation of Religion in Britain.
Secondly, Consider the strength of the Church of God, Numb. 24:8. He hath, as it were, the strength of an Unicorn; he shall eat up the nations his enemies, he shall break his bones, and pierce them through with his arrows. Why? and the Church is but a feeble worm: let it be so, yet he saith, Isa. 41:14. Fear not, worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel, I will help thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer, the holy One of Israel in the midst of thee. vers. 15. Behold, I will make thee (worm as thou art) a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth; thou shalt thresh the mountains and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff. vers. 16. Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirl wind shall scatter them. You have not seen such a miracle, that a worm shall destroy a great mountain, and blow it away as chaff; But it is God’s way, that Omnipotence rides on a straw, on a worm, and triumph. And how can it be but thus? The Church is the weakest thing in the earth, but in God incomparably the strongest, Psalm 46:1. God is our refuge and strength: God’s strength is the absolute greatest strength, and so overcome God and overcome the Church, for a greater strength must overcome the less. Where dwelleth he? in earth, in Hell, or in Heaven? who hath strength above the strength of God? they do not fly to the strongest side, who desert the Parliament and fly to Oxford; they run but down to Egypt, but Isa. 30:7. Their strength is to sit still.
Thirdly, the destroying of the Church is not a work of reason or deep policy, as men suppose; they will but swallow down and drink the Protestants, let them be doing and go on: Put the Church of Christ in a cup and drink her, but you will be sick when she is in your belly, and had better drink many quarts of lead or brass melted and coming hot out of the furnace, for Zech. 12:2, There is poison and death in the cup. I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about: The gall, the wormwood, the poison of the vengeance of the Lord, and the vengeance of his Temple is in the cup; Drink who will, they shall be sick, and drunken, and vomit, and fall, and die in their vomit, and never rise again. Pharaoh drank of this cup, but he was killed with it, and made fishes meat. Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar drank, but they swelled hand and foot, and died. Herod Acts 12. had the cup at his head, and took a draught of this wine, but he was stricken with worms: Papists, Prelates, the Irish good Catholic subjects, the Emperour, Spain, Rome, the Antichrist, the powers of the earth are now drinking one to another, and the cup of trembling goeth in a round to them all; but consider how sick they shall be, Zech. 14:12. And this shall be the plague wherewith the Lord shall smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem: their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their eyeholes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouths. Babylon’s cup-bearers, and Atheists, and Malignants, to whom the morning of a sound reformation is as the shadow of death, would then know how deadly a cup is now at their head.
Fourthly, consider God’s promises to his Church. There is a true Diurnal written from Heaven, that God is to make a glorious Church in the end of the world, Isa. 30:26. Moreover, the light of the Moon shall be as the light of the Sun, and the light of the Sun sevenfold, as the light of seven days. And when the new resurrection shall be, I mean the in-coming of that elder sister, the Church of the Jews, Rom. 11:15. and when all Israel shall be saved, What a glorious house shall he build for the Lord, when that shall be fulfilled! Isa. 60:13. And the glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee; the fir-tree, the pine tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary, and I will make the place of my feet glorious. v. 14. The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending to thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet, and they shall call thee The City of the Lord, The Zion of the holy One of Israel. v. 19. The sun shall no more be thy light by day, neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended. All which, with many other places, do make God say, That the Church shall stand, and never be prevailed against by the very gates of hell.
Fifthly, Christ cannot leave off to be a King, therefore his Kingdom must stand: there is a seed and a reward promised to Christ for his labours, Isa. 53:10. There be Articles of grace concluded betwixt the Father and his Son, which cannot be broken.
Sixthly, there are in all the sufferings of the Church two things most considerable: first, a turn; secondly, a contexture: a turn or return, Gen. 39:21, 22. Joseph was cast in prison; But the Lord was with Joseph. Gen. 49:23. The archers have sorely grieved Joseph, and shot at him, and hated him: but consider the return, vers. 24. But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob. Psal. 3:2. Many say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. See so sweet a (But) vers. 3. But thou O Lord, art a shield for me, my glory, and the lifter up of my head. So is the child of God’s condition made up of two halts, Psal. 18:18. Hence the fall; They prevented me in the day of my calamity: Then the rise; But the Lord was my stay. Psal. 22:7. All that see me laugh me to scorn, &c. Hence faith’s rise, vers. 9. But thou art he that took me out of the womb, &c. Psal. 30:5. Weeping may endure for a night; then the return, But joy cometh in the morning. Psal. 34:19. Many are the troubles of the righteous; this is their down, but they lie not; But the Lord delivereth them out of all. Psal. 71:7. I am a wonder to many; that is dark night; but the day dawneth again; But thou art my strong hold. So doth the servant of God fall, Psal. 109:4. For my love they were mine adversaries; but faith riseth again, But I give my self to prayer, Psal. 118:13. Thou hast thrust sore at me that I might fall: see the escape, But the Lord helped me, vers. 18. The Lord hath chastised me sore; shall he lie in that condition? No, But he hath not delivered me to death. Isa. 54:7. For a small moment I have forsaken thee; behold the return, But with great mercies will I gather thee. Isa. 63:6. For we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness as filthy rags, & we all do fade as a leaf; our iniquities like the wind have taken us away: this is death; and look to life again, vers. 8. But thou, O Lord, art our Father, &c. Jer. 1:19. They shall fight against thee; there were but a whole Parliament, all the estates of the Land, Kings, Princes, Priests, and People against Jeremiah, but he must not lie on the dust; But they shall not prevail against thee, for I am with thee to deliver thee. Joh. 16:22. Ye now therefore have sorrow; that is a sad case, yet it hath a turn, But I will see you again, and ye shall rejoice, and your joy shall no man take from you; so are these two at once in the Lord’ witnesses his Apostles. 2 Cor. 4:9. persecuted, But not forsaken; cast down, But not destroyed. 2 Tim. 4:16. At my first appearing no man stood with me, but all men forsook me; yet is he lifted up, vers. 17. But the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me. Secondly, There is a contexture of contraries, as black and white, sweet and sour woven through other, as day-light and night in a morning twilight: as contraries in one subject. 2 Cor. 6:9. As dying, and behold we live; as chastened, yet not killed, verse 10. Or, as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing all things. How can these two be in one? They kill us, but we die not; they bury us, but we live again in the grave; we have nothing, and we have all things; we have, we want not. Rom. 8:36. Killed all the day long, and counted as sleep for the slaughter. 37. Nevertheless in all these more than Conquerours, &c. Hence they are killed all the day long, and they live all the day long. I know not how it is, but the Church’s death is a living and a breathing death, their poverty a rich poverty, their shame glorious shame, their sadness joyful sadness, their foils victorious foils, their pain [is] an health, and [in] an easy pain, their weakness strong and mighty weakness.
I desire to make some use of this, And 1. There be no worldly States and Monarchies of whom this can be said, Their Kingdom such as cannot be destroyed. Where is there a worldly Kingdom that cannot be shaken? Moab was a Kingdom, and yet Moab shall die in his own vomit. Jer. 48:26. Aegypt is a great Kingdom, and yet it is broken like an old Clay-pot or a lame Vessel. The four great Monarchies are become like four May-flowers, withered, and their rosy blossoms are fallen off them in their month. Did they mean no truth who said of earthly Kingdoms? Omnis fælicitas ad culmen perducta, retrogreditur; and, Magna suo pondere ruunt. Worldly felicity when it is at the height of the Stairs, sitteth down and slippeth back again; And great things of this Earth are a burden to themselves; summisque negatum stare diu. It is denied to great things to stand long. Alas, how long did one of the Kings of God’s People reign, even Zechariah? poor six months. Shallum came not to this, he reigned in Samaria one month. And Zimri who came to the Crown by blood, had a shorter reign; He did walk with a Crown seven days; If Pope Victor the fifth had a longer time of a golden chair, it was but five years; and Clemens the third ruled but three years; and Alexander the eleventh only two years. And though it be but a fiction that Kingdoms have their fatal years, and Monarchies are under Planetary hours, yet some truth must be in this; Kingdoms have their infancy, and come to a greater strength, till they come to their flower, and then they begin to turn: and it is congruous to their experienced truth, That Kingdoms find old age; And gray hairs are here and there upon Ephraim, and he knoweth not. 7:9. It is much better to be a subject, or one of the States of the Kingdom of grace; for grace knoweth no old age, nor hath grace an internal principle of corruption, for it is the seed of eternal glory; and though the Powers of the Earth may subvert the foundation and Fundamental Laws of earthly Kingdoms, yet cannot Christ’s Kingdom or the constitution of it be broken. But that which doth loose the Pillars of a Kingdom is sin. Amos. 1. For three transgressions of Edom and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof, So Ammon, Moab, Judah, are under the same punishment. There is no way to secure England from wrath, but turning to the Lord: And especially two sins in the State are to be seriously taken to heart. 1. You suffered many worthy servants of God who pleaded the Lord’s cause for a Reformation against the Prelates, to be silenced, deprived, imprisoned, banished. Both in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and of King James, Prelates oppressed the servants of Christ, and did tyrannize over the conscience of the Lord’s people in this Land: former Parliaments did not give Christ and his servants fair Justice, and now hath the Lord stirred up these oppressors to oppress your Parliament, and to raise bloody wars against the Land. 2. It is said, Hos. 5:11. Ephraim is oppressed and broken in judgment, because he willingly followed the Commandment. It hath been the sin of this Land, that when Episcopacy, Antichristian Ceremonies, Superstition, and Will-worship were enjoined by Law, to pleasure an earthly King, you willingly followed after the command, against the direction of the King of Kings: and now hath the Lord delivered the people of the Land into the hand of their KING. And for this the Sword of the Lord hath gone through the Land.
2. Use. From the perpetuity of the Lord’s Kingdom, we may infer, That this Cause of God shall prevail, and that the Church, though in the burning Bush, cannot be consumed; for JEHOVAH is in the Bush. There be three grounds that there is hope that God will build his own Jerusalem. 1. God never laid the foundation of so fair a building, and then deserted the Work: when he hath put it into the hearts of the Parliament and Land to enter into a Covenant with the Lord, the Cause doth now in formal and direct terms become the Lord’s Cause: And so the Lord is become surety for England. 2. When did the Lord ever finally prosper his bloody-hearted enemies? Babylon’s Womb and Bowels are swelled with blood, they intend to root out the Protestant Religion. Can God say Amen to this in Britain? No, he will not, this end was sworn at the council of Trent; It was aimed at by Charles the fifth, by Leo the tenth against Luther, and the design of the Actors of that bloody massacre of Paris; yet hitherto all hath failed them. 3. God’s Noble and stately acts of disappointing and discovering so many Plots, give us hope; for in them all God maketh true of England what is said, Isa. 66:7. Before she travelled, she brought forth, and before her pain came, she was delivered of a man-Child. When she was sleeping, ere the blow came, the Child was borne, and the Woman delivered.
[His Dominion shall be to the end] Dominion is a power to use a thing, as you please, for such ends as you think good; in the Creature, our pleasure is supposed to be regulated by Law and Reason; but men or Angel’s will or pleasure is not the rule of the use or lawful exercise of Dominion, but in God; whose blessed will, not being differenced from his holy reason, and infinite wisdom, its the rule of the use of his Dominion, and none may say to him, What doest thou? that but standeth still to the Creature as a binding Law. Illud tantum possumus quod jure possumus, we have no more lawful moral power given to us of God, then we can, or do lawfully exercise according to the moral rule: But God’s Dominion is to be discussed thus, as it standeth in those following heads. First, in the manner of it, its complete. Deus Dominatur in totum ens, & in totum entis; God hath Dominion over every being of the Creature, and over every part of the being. God hath Dominion over his Creature’s soul, and his soul’s faculties, his will, mind, conscience, affections, faith, hope, fear, love, joy; over the body, and all the powers and motions thereof. So God hath a complete Lordship over the Creature: One Creature hath not a complete Lordship or Dominion over another, yea a free reasonable Creature hath not a complete Dominion over himself. The reason is, God made the Creature, he made all and every being and part of the Creature; He made the soul, the body, the faculties of both, the actions and purposes of both: Therefore he hath an absolute Dominion over both. The potter hath a Dominion of art, not a Dominion by creation over the Lame-pot: he made the Lame-pot, but he created not the Clay: He hath therefore but a Dominion of art over the Clay, not to annihilate the Clay as God can do. His Dominion is of Art to frame of the Clay a Vessel of honour, for a King’s Table, or a Vessel of dishonour for the receiving of Urine. The Master amongst the Jews might sell his man-servant, and put him in his purse; but the truth is, when he sold him, he sold but his bodily-service, as he was useful to labour and work; but he could not sell his servant’s soul, nor his understanding, nor his will, nor his love, nor his faith or Religion, nor any of these: Courtiers then and Cavaliers, Prelates, Atheists who profess they are of the King’s Religion, and will dispose of their souls at the King’s pleasure, to kill the innocent, they make their souls bastards and unlawful broods, and they make the King the Creator of their souls, and the absolute Lord of their Religion: O fool, the King did not make thy Soul, there is an other Soul-Lord then the King! Ezek. 18:4. Behold all Souls are mine, saith the Lord; and there is another Soul-former, then the King of Britain: hear God speak himself, Isa. 57:16. If I should contend for ever, the spirits should fail before me, and the souls that I have made! O find me an Earthly King that can form Souls, and then let the Cavaliers swear that which many now practice, I am the King’s wholly, both soul and body, faith and conscience. But I pray you, are not all in England the King’s Subjects? yea truly and all in Scotland also, but not one soul, not one conscience in all the three Kingdoms is the King’s Subject.
2. God’s Dominion: for the matter is universal, he can press an Army in the Clouds, and in the Firmament, Judg. 5:20. The Stars in their course fought against Sisera: he hath an host in Hell, and raised an Army against the first-borne of Egypt, Psal. 78:49. He troubled them by sending. מַלְאֲכֵ֥י רָעִֽים Malaki’ ra‘yim, evil Angels, or Devils amongst them. He can blow a Trumpet, and cry to the dust of the Earth, Arms, Arms, and there ariseth an host of Caterpillars, or Canker-worms, Joel 2. and vers. 6. before the faces of these Worms the people is much pained, and all faces gather blackness; that is, strange to see valiant men of War tremble before a Worm, and one man with a tramp of his foot may kill hundreds of them, but this is the Dominion of Jehovah the Lord. He hath an host of Waters, every wave of the Sea being a Souldier, every fish receiving pay from Jehovah, first to drown Pharaoh, and then to eat him and his Princes.
3. He hath a Sovereign Dominion over the salvation and damnation of men, as Rom. 9:21. The potter hath power over the Clay. Arminians and Papists will have Freewill Lord and Carver of the white roll of election to glory, but God’s own Pen from eternity did write in the Lamb’s Book of life so many, and did book those from eternity, whom he was, of free grace, to make Senators of heaven, to walk with the Lamb in white: nor doth freewill pen its own doom: But God hateth Esau, before he doth good or ill.
4. God hath an absolute Dominion in all the operations of second Causes. The Stars these five thousand years have marched so orderly, and kept their Orbs, Distance, Line, that not one of them ever transgressed the borders of another. And God’s Dominion herein is so eminent, that in necessary causes the Lord worketh a sort of contingency, and in contingent causes, a sort of necessity; as he saith to the fire, Burn, Burn not; Burn those who cast into the Furnace the three Children; Burn not the three Children, Daniel 3:22, 24. He commandeth the Sun to move, and it moveth, Psal. 104:19. He commandeth it to stand still, and it doth so, in the days of Joshua. He saith! O sea, ebb and flow, Jer. 5:22. and it doth so. He saith! O sea, stand still, as a Wall, or as an heap of Ice, do not ebb, nor flow, while my people go through dry; and it doth so. And what he hath decreed must be, though it fall out in a contingent way; Joseph’s Brethren must fell him, Potiphar must cast him in prison, King Pharaoh must exalt him to honour.
5. When causes seem confused in their operations, God exerciseth his Dominion. Why should an Arrow smite Achab betwixt the joints of the harness, and kill him? many thousands may be killed as soon as he: But God shot the Arrow; the Bow and the Arrow of Jehovah’s Dominion was here, when two Armies of many thousands on every side join battle: What confusion is there, when thousands are rolled in blood? who marshalleth bullets through the Air? God ranketh Bullets, Arrows, and Fire-works as his Souldiers, flying in the Air, and will have a good man killed in a good cause, and a wicked man in an evil cause: to come fair and safe off here, must be the Dominion of God.
6. How is it that Satan and wicked men in their blackest works of hell are as Chariots and Horsemen, carrying on the counsels of Heaven, and serving God’s eternal counsel, when they are not serving God himself? we are to draw this into our selves, for God communicateth an inferiour Dominion to his Church and people, for the which he is to be adored.
1. God is conquering men’s judgment, that they yield to truth.
2. He hath given a Dominion to his saints, and given them to be above all things, and put all Creatures under the child of God, and hath put the world, life, death, court, glory, riches, under the fear, faith, love, and joy of his own children: nothing is great to a believer, but Christ; nothing high but the most high, nothing fair but he who is white and ruddy, and the fairest of the sons of men, Cant. 5:10. Psal. 45:2. Nothing ancient; as the ancient of days. Nothing honourable as the King of ages. Nothing desirable as the Lord, the desire of all Nations, when creatures have Dominion over us, and are above us, and too great in our affections, we be then under their power, and our hearts are mastered and over-loaded by clay and shadows; especially if death, torture, the sword, loss of the sweet pleasures of this life have a Dominion over us, our life is a bondage to us. The people of God are Rom. 8:36, 37. killed, and yet conquerors and victors.
3 We are to effect a Dominion over sin. How can this be? for the children of God for the most are foiled in their combat betwixt the spirit and the flesh; Paul was led captive: I answer, This may be, and yet the Dominion is on the child of God’s side. 1. Because victory must not be measured by one blow, but by the issue of the battle; Christ at length in all his Saints shall bring forth, Isa. 42:3. judgment unto truth, Mat. 12:20. into victory; The Gospel at length is victorious in the heart of the child of God. 2. That the spirit keepeth the fields in that same soul with the flesh, is a great Dominion; in carnal men the spirit is not in the Fields at all; and therefore he is a servant not a captive; and when the child of God sinneth, it is but with the half of the will, and so the flesh hath but half a vote; and there is a protestation made on the contrary by that supernatural instinct. A mortgaging, or a wood setting [erecting of wood] is not a buying, the soul giveth half consent, but with reversion, and a power to take back again at another time. what is now given. A man is legal proprietor, and Lord of Lands mortgaged, though he want the present use of them. 3. The foils of the child of God are the seed of humility, of hunger for a fuller measure of grace, of cautious and more strict walking; and often here falling one way is rising another way; and this fall is a virtual Dominion over pride. Sin helpeth, by God’s grace, to mortify it self.
4. We are to pray, that the Gospel may have a Dominion! O that we might be witnesses to see him who rideth on the white horse go forth through the habitable world with his Bow, and his Crown conquering, and to conquer, and that he would cause his servants always to triumph in Christ, and make manifest the savour of his knowledge in every place! Revel. 6:2. 2. Cor. 2:14. Pray, exalted be the glory of Jesus; high, high for evermore be his Throne! O that the Pearls and Diadems of his royal Crown may glister [glitter] as far as the beams of the Sun in the Firmament shine. Let the wheels of his Chariot be as the wings of an Eagle. Let his enemies bow before him, and those brazen knees, which will not bow to Jesus Christ, let them be broken! O Lord let thy Kingdom come.