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people, who are apt to be turned about with every wind of doctrine; and slily insinuating, under disguises and other shapes, such doctrines as, in their own proper colours, would be rejected.
5. The uselessness of many men eminent for piety and prudence, by whose great perspicacy and grave wisdom dangers might be discovered, breaches healed, difficulties removed, expedients offered, paths restored to walk in. A sad providence, when the Lord maketh the tongues of such men to cleave to the roof of their mouth, and lays them, in his displeasure (not to them, but to the nation) aside, as rejected stones, unfit for the building.
Lastly, The general senselessness of judgements past, or present; the sleep of slumber and security which is upon most of us, as upon Jonah in the tempest; few awakening themselves to cry unto God, or to pour out their confessions, complaints, or supplications at the throne of grace.
The Lord open our eyes, and persuade us, in this our day, to lay to heart the things which belong unto our peace, to prepare to meet our God, to hold him fast with strong cries, and love of his truth; and not to let him go till he preserve three sinful nations, and snatch them as brands out of the burning; or at least that we ourselves may be hid in the day of the Lord's anger.
I shall conclude with a few words of exhortation, both unto the people in general, and unto you who are magistrates of this great city in particular, unto such things as seem necessary remedies of our great danger, and means to keep our glory in the midst of us still. First, to the people. 1. Repent, and do your first works; else iniquity will be your ruin. Even after a bill of divorce, God allows an adulterous church to return unto him. (Jer. iii. 1, 22. Hos. ii. 2, 19) In a day of darkness and gloominess, of horses and horsemen, of fire and earthquake, of armies and terrors, the Lord calls on his people to turn to him, with intimation of a gracious answer; (Joel ii. 12, 13, 14, 18, 19) with a peradventure of mercy. (Zeph. ii. 3) This means God prescribeth unto Ephesus to preserve their candlestick amongst them. (Rev. ii. 5) If this be neglected, no people nearer unto cursing, than those who have enjoyed the light and
presence of God, ripening only thorns and briers. (Heb. vi. 8. Amos iii. 2)
2. Wrestle mightily with God; be not refused nor rejected; let the Lord know you are resolved to hold fast, and not to let him go without a blessing. (Gen. xxxii. 26) Lord, rather no Canaan, no milk, no honey, no houses, no vineyards, no herds, no flocks, no angel, than no God. (Exod. xxxiii. 14, 15, 16) Lord, whither shall we go to mend ourselves? Thou only hast the words of eternal life. (John vi. 67, 68) Will changes in government mend us? will a democracy, or aristocracy, or any other form of polity, mend us, if God be going away from us? Ask the prophet. Now,' saith he, they shall say, we have no king, because we feared not the Lord; what then should a king do unto us?' (Hos. x. 3) If we fear not the Lord, if we swear falsely in a covenant, if we be an empty vine, and if our heart be divided, and we are found faulty, the best governments can do us but little good.
3. Resolve every man with Joshua, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." (Josh. xxiv. 15) I will tread in the steps of my father Abraham, "I will command my children and my household to keep the way of the Lord," (Gen. xviii. 19) as David did Solomon. (Prov. iv. 3, 4) If they be my children, and my servants, if they expect from me the love of a father, or the care of a master, "My God shall be their God;" I will shew the love of a father and governor unto them, in not suffering their souls, by any neglect of mine, to be poisoned or endangered by any perverse or heretical doctrine. The way to keep God in a nation, is for every man to keep God in his own heart, and in his own family first.
4. Prize highly the presence of Christ in his ordinances, the communion of saints, the assembling of yourselves together. (Heb. x. 24) Contend earnestly for the faith. (Jude, rer. 3) Buy the truth, sell it not. (Prov. xxiii. 23) Let no interest, no party, no policy, make you willing to part with any truth of God, for promoting any design of man. If any man speak disgracefully of the scriptures; if any man tempt you to forsake the ordinances, or to beget any low or base. esteem of them in you, say unto him, as Christ to Satan,
I Get thee behind me;" Christ will not forsake those, to whom he is precious. The more value we set upon him, the more careful we will be to keep him, the more willing he will be to continue with us.
5. Pull off the vizard, and look through the disguises that are put upon false doctrines, to render them the more plausible. Heretics will bring in their opinions privily, and, by fair words and good speeches, will deceive the hearts of the simple. They have mystery on their foreheads3, (Rom. xvi. 17. Ephes. iv. 14. Col. ii. 8, 18. 2 Thes. ii. 3. 2 Pet. ii. 1. Rev. xvii. 5) When Agrippina poisoned Claudius, she mingled the poison with the meat that he loved, as men gild over bitter pills; and, as Lucretius speaks, tip the cup, wherein there is a bitter potion, with honey. Satan knows how to transform himself into an angel of light; and, under pretensions of higher perfection, like painted sepulchres, to veil over and palliate rotten and unsound opinions.
6. Judge of ends by the means which are used to compass and promote them: there never wants good means to advance good ends. We shall never need to do evil, that good may come of it. (Rom. iii. 8) The wife in the law was not to do an undecent thing in the defence of her own husband. (Deut. xxv. 11, 12) If you see men revile ministers, decry ordinances, broach heresies, foment divisions, disrespect and lay aside wise, and religious, sober, serious, grave, orthodox patriots, latet anguis in herba :" certainly, the ends may justly be suspected, that make use of such expedients as these to promote them.
2. To you, that are magistrates in this great city:
1. Study your character, your authority, and your duty; carry yourselves like God's ministers, to be a terror to evil doers; be men of courage, loving truth, &c. (Exod. xviii. 21. 2 Sam. xxiii. 3, 4. Rom. xiii. 4) Beg wisdom of God, as Solomon did, that he may shew you the right way, that you may have him, his house and glory nearest to your heart. If you intend God's house, he will preserve and build yours. (2 Sam. vii. 11) If you appear for him, he will engage for
Recens vastatio vineæ vulpem indicat affuisse : sed nescio qua arte fingendi ita sua confundit vestigia callidissimum animal, ut qua vel intret vel exeat, haud facile queat ab homine apprehendi: cumque pateat opus, non apparet auctor, &c. Bernard. in Can. Ser. 65.
you. If you ask wisdom to serve him in your places, he will give honour, and other good things without your seeking. 2. Be zealous and valiant for the glory, name, worship, interests, truth of God; as Phinehas was'. His zeal for God put a stop to the wrath, which was gone out against Israel. A Moses, a Phinehas may stand in the breach, and turn away wrath, when God seemeth a departing. (Numb. xiv. 12, 17, 20. Psal. cvi. 23, 30) Put forth yourselves, be willing to shew yourselves nursing-fathers to God's church": nurses will do all they can to keep poison from their children: do you, in your places, labour to preserve the church of Christ in this city, from the leaven of dangerous and pernicious doctrines. When you are clearly satisfied and convinced, that this is your duty to own God and his truth, to promote, protect, encourage, countenance orthodox religion, to withstand and counterwork the projects of seducers, resolve as Nehemiah did, that "no fear shall weaken your hands." (Neh. vi. 9, 11, 13) Shew yourselves God's vicegerents, in publicly owning his truth and ordinances to all the world. This is our God whom we resolve to serve ; this is his worship and religion which we own; this the truth we will live and die in; these the dangerous doctrines we resolve in our · places and stations to withstand, and, by all righteous means, in God's way, to prevent the growth and progress of them.
What an honour would it be for such a famous city as this, to be a president to all these nations, in letting the world see and know their zeal for God, and love to his truth in these backsliding days, when many religions do threaten. the extirpation of all; how highly they value, how steadfastly they cleave to the unity and purity of that religion, under which they and their fathers flourished in piety, in peace, in plenty, in tranquillity, in prosperity, in honour, for above fourscore years together, maugre all the power and policy of adversaries; till of late years we ourselves, by our sins, have loosened the joints of religion and government, and done that with our own hands, which our enemies, by all their machinations, did in vain attempt. O that now, when the Lord saith, Seek my face,' we would all say, Thy face, Lord, we will seek.' When the Lord saith, Turn, ye back
Numb. xxv. 11, 13. VOL. V.
u Isai. xlix. 23. lx. 16.
x Isai. xxv. 9.
sliding children, and I will heal your backsliding;' we would all with one heart, with one soul, with one shoulder, answer, 'Behold, we come unto thee, for thou art the Lord our God.' If prayers, if tears, if strong cries, if reformed lives, if zealous purposes, if united counsels, will get a reprieve, and keep our God amongst us; we will stand in the gap, we will hold him fast, we will give him no rest till once again he make these nations a praise in the earth, and this city a 'Jehovah Shammah,' the Lord is there.
3. Believe not those Donatistical and Pontifician spirits, who go about to persuade you, that magistrates have nothing to do with religion. Nothing to do with religion? What then made David think of building God a house, (2 Sam. vii. 2) and to set in order the courses of the Levites, (1 Chron. xxiii. 6) and priests? (Chap. xxiv) How came Solomon the Wise to build a temple for God's worship, which he had nothing to do with? (2 Chron. 6) How came Asa so bold to command Judah to seek the Lord God, and that in order to the quietness of his kingdom, and victory over enemies? (2 Chron. xiv. 3, 4, 5, 6, 11) How came Jehoshaphat so much to mistake, as to take away high places and groves, to provide that the people might be taught, (2 Chron. xvii. 6-9) and to command the Priests and Levites to do their duties? (2 Chron. xix. 8, 9) How came Hezekiah to be so zealous to purge the temple, to command the Priests and Levites, (2 Chron. xxix. 4-11, 27, 20) to proclaim a passover, (2 Chron. xxx. 1—6) to appoint the courses of the Priests and Levites, (Chap. xxxi. 1, 2) to command the people to give them their portions, (and not, as we endeavour in this age, to take them away) that they might be encouraged in the law of the Lord? (ver. 4) How came young Josiah
y Donatus, solito furore succensus, in hæc verba prorupit, "Quid est imperatori cum Ecclesia?" Optat. lib. 3. Furorem hunc passim refutarunt viri magni; Calvin. Institut. lib. 4. cap. 20. sect. 9. Beza, Opusc. to. 1. de pun. Heret. Brent. to. 8. p. 175-198. Pet. Mart. loc. co. clas. 4. c. 13. sect. 31-33. Gerard. lo. com. to. 6. de Magist. polit. sect. 16. Rivet in decalog. p. 258. B. Jewel. defence p. 557-566. Sands. Ser. 2. sect. 13-20. Bilson of subjection. part 2. 124-129, 145, 151, 159, 178-191, 212, 249. et part 3. p. 530-545. Andrew. Tor. Torti, p. 364-382. Raynold. Confer. with Hart, p. 586, 587. Carleton, of Jurisdiction c. 3. Davenant, de judice et norm. fidei. c. 14. p. 71, &c. 16. p. 91. Zanch. in 4. præcep. 1. 1. c. 5. Willet Synops. controv. 7. qu. 2.