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swerable proportion, to bring glory to God, by zeal for the truth, by love to the ordinances, by comforting the ministers, and encouraging them in the work of the Lord, by executing justice and judgement, reforming all abuses, setting up the name of God in your families; preserving those that belong unto you, from the contagion of dangerous and dividing doctrines. God will be with you, while you are with him; he never breaks with a people first; do you give glory to him, and he will be glory to you.
Lastly; If God be thus your glory, let your glorying be in him alone. Glory not in your strength, or wisdom, or wealth, or splendor, in your ships or trade, or in the harvest of the river. Glory only in your wall of fire,' and in this, -That the Lord hath been hitherto so nigh unto you. And truly you have great reason to bless the Lord, and to make your boast of him all the day long, as for remoter mercies which you must not forget, though I cannot now recount them, so for those signal mercies, for the celebration whereof you are met together at this time.
What a deluge of confusion these poor nations were running into how deep the discontents of the people! how ready the tinder of unsatisfied spirits, in all parts of the nation, to take fire and break out into a flame! in what danger the function of a learned and orthodox ministry, and the maintenance thereof, was to be devoured! how desperately the ordinances were despised, the truths of religion rejected! what dangerous divulsions daily more and more made from the unity of the church of God amongst us! how near we were brought unto the brow of the precipice! It is now our comfort that we can, with thankfulness, recount, as surviving, so great dangers, as well as with sorrow bewail our exposedness unto them.
How should our hearts be enlarged, and our mouths filled, and our lives acted, with the praises of the Lord! what memorials, and monuments, and Ebenezers should we everywhere erect of those wonders, and terrible things which we looked not for; which the Lord hath wrought for us in a kind of parallel and proportion to those, which he wrought for Israel at the Red Sea !
That then, when force after force, and breach after breach, had been made upon the solemn conventions of the nations,
and the ancient honour of the English parliaments had been ravished and prostituted to the will and passions of their own servants; when the licentiousness of the times made way for men of corrupt principles and daring confidence, 'tantùm non' to spit in the face of magistracy and ministry, and all sobriety of judgement amongst us; then for the Lord to stir up the spirits of all the people of the land as one man, solemnly to own their native liberties, and with united affections to implore the vindication of them; then for the Lord to awaken an honourable instrument to assert the privileges and dignities of conculcated parliaments, and to restore the many grave and eminent members thereof to their longinterrupted right, and to the administration of their trust again; to stand by this famous city, who had cheerfully, with their treasures, their swords, their lives, their counsels, aided and asserted the public engagements;-that then, when your hearts were ready to sink at the demolishing of your city gates, immediately they should be revived with the opening of your parliament gates, that those worthy patriots, lovers of truth and righteousness, might enter in ;as we ought with great love and honour to respect the instruments, so ought we to ascribe the whole glory unto God alone, who only doth wondrous things; at whose presence the mountains have flowed down and become a plain": who, if we follow on to know the Lord", if we provoke him not by murmuring against instruments, or by deifying of them, but second their endeavours with our prayers, and God's mercies with our praises,-will perfect what he hath begun. And as he hath laid the foundation, will so consummate the whole structure of our settlement, that we shall at last bring forth the head-stone thereof, with shouting and acclamations, crying, "Grace, grace unto it!” i
f Psalm lxxii. 18.
Isai. lxiv. 1.
h Hos. vi. 3.
i Zech. iv. 7.
AUTHOR AND SUBJECT OF
HEALING IN THE CHURCH:
Set forth in a SERMON preached before the Right Honourable the Par liament of England, at St. Margaret's Church in Westminster, on Wednesday, April 25, 1660, being the first day of their Assembly.
MAL. iv. 2, 3.
But unto you that fear my name, shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall: and ye shall tread down the wicked.
OUR prophet was the last of all the prophets of the Old Testament; after which they were not to look for any other, till Elias the forerunner of the Angel of the Covenant (who was the great prophet of all) should come unto them. The church appears in his time to have been wofully corrupted, by those sharp reprehensions of priests and people, for corruption of worship, for violation of covenant, for contumacy against God, for reproaching his ways, and passing a hard and false charge against his services, as if they were vain and fruitless. In the midst of this hypocritical people, the Lord had a holy remnant who feared his name, and spake often to one another. Both these seemed to call for the coming of Christ, and seemed to delight in the promise of the Angel of the Covenant, Chap. ii. 17, and iii. 1. And accordingly here is a promise of his coming speedily. But though desired by both, he should come with great difference to the one and the other; to the one after a terrible manner, with refining fire, and fuller's soap; with fan and
sword, with a spirit of judgement and burning, to consume the stubble, to gather the body of that wicked people into Jerusalem, as into an oven and furnace, and there with a final and absolute wavoλelpía, to dissolve the Judaical polity, and leave them neither root nor branch, no visible hope of restitution again, Chap. iv. 1: which was done by the army of the Romans under Titus. To the other, with a promise of comfort and reviving. (Chap. iii. 17) "They shall be mine, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him." And that so remarkable, that the reproach, cast by the wicked hypocrites upon the ways of God, ver. 14, 15. "Ye have said, It is in vain to serve God: what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of Hosts? And now we call the proud happy," &c. should be clearly confuted, by the conspicuous difference which the Lord would make between the righteous and the wicked, verse 18: the one, jewels and sons to be preserved and spared; the other, stubble to be burnt and dissolved: the one, to be healed and restored; the other, to be trodden down and despised. Concluding all with an awakening precept, that "since they were not to expect any other prophet, till Elijah and Christ should come, they should therefore remember the law of Moses, and thereby fit themselves for the entertainment of their Messiah."
The words contain a gracious and discriminating mercy unto a holy remnant that feared God's name, for their supportance and comfort against the terror of the foregoing threatening, that unto them the Sun of Righteousness,' the promised Messiah, should arise in his incarnation, with healing in his wings;' and when gross darkness did cover the people, and they did sit even in the shadow of death, not only veiled over with the shadows and ceremonies of the law, but miserably misled by the corrupt glosses of Scribes and Pharisees, sold and devoured by their own shepherds,wofully oppressed under Alexander, Janneus, Hyrcanus, Aristobulus,―subdued by Pompey into the form of a Roman
a Matth. iii. 12. x. 34. v. 2.
b Isai. iv. 4.
e Isai. lx. 2.
e Zech. xi. 5.
province, and then sorely afflicted under the tyranny of Antipater and Herod; that, after such a night of darkness and distress, the promised Messiah should come to break the yoke and rod of their oppressor', and assert his people into light and liberty again. That he should come as the warm and welcome beams of the sun, after a dead winter, or a gloomy and tempestuous night, to heal and remove all the sins and sorrows of his people.
In the words, we have these particulars considerable; The discriminating grace of God between a remnant that feared his name, and the body of a corrupt and profane people. 2. The supposition of a state of sickness and soreness, of sin and sorrow, under which even this holy remnant did lie; with a gracious promise of healing' unto them. 3. The author of this healing, expressed metaphorically by the name of the Sun of Righteousness,' as, before, by the name of 'the Angel, or Messenger of the Covenant.' 4. The means of deriving this healing from this Sun of Righteousness. (1.) His rising.' (2.) His wings,' or beams, which are the vehicula of all the light and virtue, which floweth forth from him. 5. The proper and peculiar subject of this healing, singled out by way of gracious compellation; "Unto you that fear my name." 6. The effects and fruits of this healing, and they are three; (1.) Going forth, as recovered men used to do, out of their bed or chamber, when the sun shineth in a warm and beautiful day, to take the air and refresh themselves. (2.) Growing up, in stature, in strength, speedily, as fatted calves luxuriating in a full and pleasant pasture. (3.) Treading down and crushing the wicked as grapes in the press, as ashes under their feet, in a full and triumphant victory.
I shall handle the words thus distributed, after a double manner. 1. In the spiritual, proper, and theological sense of them, as they are a promise of Christ, and healing by him. to an afflicted remnant of men that fear God's name. 2. In an applicatory and particular sense, as they are suitable to the present solemnity and occasion.
1. The church of God was, at this time, in a most defaced and corrupted condition: God's worship profaned; his name
f Isai. ix. 4, 10, 27.