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though thereby they do them better service, judging it a corrupting and despising of commands, when they be not obeyed, though they be mended; how much more must the Most-wise God be offended with us, when we do his work not according unto his will, but our own, thereby presuming to see what is meet and convenient better than God himself, thereby taking upon us to be controllers of his wisdom; as learned Hooker speaks. It was a very pious proposal, which Sigismond the emperor made to the council of Trent, as we read in the learned review of that council; that they would conform their constitutions to the obligation of the law of God. Certainly, the more religion, and the church of God is settled by the rule of the word; the less matter of mere dispute and discrimination is admitted; the less of divided ends, and mere human interest, and partial design is attended; the more men seek the glory of God, the salvation of men, the peace of the church; the more they do, in simplicity and godly sincerity, consider what is intrinsically, and ' in natura rei,' necessary; what hic et nunc' expedient for edification; what course will be most healing, most uniting, most likely to establish truth, peace, and holiness in the church, to close up the divided minds of men, and cement them in that wherein they may all agree, or draw as near as may be to an agreement;-the more certainly will God be pleased and honoured, and the more will the churches of God abroad be joyed and comforted, with whom it is doubtless our religious interest, to procure as firm a union as

we can.

We have seen the encouragement, the means of it, a word; the vehicula of that word, Christ, and the prophet; the subject to be encouraged, Zerubbabel, the magistrate, who is to build the church by the help of the word and prophet. There only remaineth the matter of the comfort set forth: 1. Negatively: Not by might, nor by power.

2. Positively; But by my Spirit,' saith the Lord. Might and power is here denied, not generally and in thesi,' as if God did prohibit human power from looking after the interest of the church; for the magistrate is the

Aul. Gel. 1. 1. c. 13. Pereunte obsequio, etiam imperium intercidit. Tacit. Hist. 1. 1. h Hooker, 1. 2. sect. 6. lib. 6. cap. 6.

church's guardian. The same Lord did, by the victories and spoils of David, make provisions for Solomon's temple, who would use no such helps for the glory of Zerubbabel's. But it is excluded hypothetically, in this particular case and condition. Though they had potent enemies, though they were destitute of might and power in themselves, yet God will not have them desert their station, or despond of success. Because,

1. He can blast every sword that is formed against them. (Isa. liv. 17)

2. He can convert to the good of the church, that very power which doth oppose it; and make Haman's tongue the petitioner for Mordecai's honour. (Esther vi. 6, 7)

3. He can build the church upon the sufferings of his servants, as seed in the ground first dies and then multiplies. The more the adversaries of Paul, the wider the door of his ministry. (1 Cor. xvi. 9) It matters not how weak the instrument, when God is the agent.

The church and worship of God is reared and restored by the virtue of God's spirit alone. In the present case, the Lord, by his immediate providence, ordered various intercurrent means unto the finishing of the temple, which, of themselves, had no natural influence or tendency thereunto. It was the spirit of the Lord, that, by the ministry of Moses and Aaron, brought Israel out of an Egyptian bondage. It was the spirit of the Lord, that, in the wilderness, preserved them by miracles, with bread from heaven, and water out of the rock. It was the spirit of the Lord, that overruled the heart and tongue of Balaam to bless, when he was hired to curse them. It was the spirit of the Lord, that divided the waters of Jordan, and demolished the walls of Jericho by the sound of rams' horns. It was the spirit of the Lord, that stirred up saviours for his oppressed people, and by them wrought deliverance for them. It was the spirit of the Lord, that brought the ark from the Philistines into its place, by the conduct of kine contrary to nature. It was the spirit of the Lord, that rescued the Jews from the malice of Haman, by a chain of events, which had no cognation one with another, nor any natural suitableness to such an end. It was the spirit of the Lord, that, when they were as fast in Baby

lon as dry bones in a grave, stirred up the spirit of Cyrus to give them a resurrection.

This divine power may be observed both in the head, and in the mystical body of the church. For Christ the head, 1. His incarnation spiritual; a stone cut without hands; a tabernacle pitched by the Lord, and not by man; fashioned in the Virgin's womb, by the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost. 2. His economy in the work of redemption wholly spiritual, borrowing nothing of human power; by the Eternal Spirit he offered himself to God. (Heb. ix. 14) 3. His resurrection spiritual, made the chief corner stone, after he had been rejected by men. Thus the foundation of the building, laid nor by might, nor by power, but by the Spirit of God. (Psalm cxviii. 22, 23)

2. The church or mystical body of Christ had nothing, either in its original or propagation, from the power of man, but all from the Spirit of God.

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1. The original alone heavenly, and from the Spirit, 'born not of the will of man, but of God.' (John i. 13, and iii. 5, 6) A kingdom not of this world,' (John xviii. 36) made by a heavenly calling,' (Heb. iii. 1) as dew which doth not stay for man.' (Psalm cx. iii. Mic. v. 7)

2. The propagation wholly from the Spirit, when mountains of opposition and persecution, the gates of hell, and powers of darkness, combined against it.

Now for a doctrine which taught men to deny themselves, to renounce the world, to take up a cross, to suffer afflictions, and follow Christ without the camp, bearing his reproach, for such a doctrine to prevail over the world, by twelve weak and naked men, upon the promise of things not seen, and the hopes of reward in another world, cannot be ascribed to the wisdom of man, but only to the Spirit of God, by whom alone the weapons of our warfare are mighty.

It is a spiritual building; and therefore not to be reared by human power: a kingdom unattended with worldly splendor, and therefore cometh not with observation. (Luke xvii. 20)

The enemies of it, for the most part, spiritual; and therefore not vanquished but by a spiritual power. (Ephes. vi. 12. 2 Cor. x. 4, 5) No human power able to encounter, no human wisdom to disappoint, the gates of hell. None but

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He who is the power and wisdom of God, hath power enough to overcome, or wisdom enough to defeat, the kingdom of darkness.

The special end which God had in erecting the church, was, to glorify his power, wisdom, and grace, in the nothingness of the matter, out of which he framed it.

The visible world, as it doth, by the beauty, order, and greatness thereof, set forth the glory of God, so in nothing more than this, That all this great being is made out of nothing.

Now God's glory is more magnified in the church than in the world. The church is the jewel; the world but the ring wherein it is set. The world, a house or farm, for creatures and tenants to dwell in; the church, God's own palace, wherein he dwells himself. (Psalm cxxxii. 13) And the excellency of this glory is, that it is a creation out of nothing, no material aptness, no active concurrence of the subject unto the heavenly being, which, by God's Spirit alone, is wrought in it.

We contribute no more to our own conversion of or from ourselves, than water doth to its own heating, which naturally resisteth the fire that heats it. We have no good in us, either formally or potentially, so as to be educed out of us; all is to be superinduced by the Spirit of God upon us. No flesh must glory but in free grace, which alone could raise a corrupted mass into so stately a palace.

And therefore we must not despair, when things seem to human view helpless and hopeless; but look up to the Spirit of God, who can, beyond all our thoughts, make those that dwell in the dust, to awake and sing. Whereas, if we build our hopes on human might or power, we shall find them vain, every man a liar; sometimes weak and cannot help us; sometimes false and will not help us; always mutable, and may not help us.

The more we attribute to persons, the more we derogate from God. Let us not, therefore, be troubled at mountains of opposition, or any difficulties which we conflict with in the work of God. It is his promise to bring all Christ's enemies under his feet. Let us believe it, and he will do it, though we see not how.

And now to conclude, and bring all home to the mercies

of this day. There is no nation had more experience of the truth of these words, than we in this land have had.

When the Lord had commanded the sword of a civil war back into the scabbard, and things seemed to draw towards a comfortable close, by the King's gracious concessions in the last treaty, Divine Providence was pleased to carry us back into doleful confusions, into the surges of the sea again, by the subtile counsels of a divided party; who, having pos session of the sword, and intending to use it to the altering of the fundamental constitution of government,-in order thereunto, debarred the Peers of their right; plucked out all such worthy persons from the other house, who would obstruct their work; laid the foundation of their Utopia in the blood of their natural prince, and in the exile of his children and family; and concluded, by might and power, to carry all before them. And now comes in the Spirit of the Lord, to stop this career of domination.

And first, he stirred up an Abimelech against these men of Shechem, who liked not that threescore and ten persons should reign, but rather to reign himself. By this hand a stop was put to their domination, till, by the strange conduct of the same Providence, his family was pulled down by the hands of his own allies. And so the threescore and ten get into the throne again.

These confusions in state, seconded with desperate confusions in religion, ministry, and universities, and all supports of truth and learning endangered, and by a miscellany of all religions, way made unto none at all;-the Spirit of the Lord then works again; mingleth a perverse spirit between them and their military officers; and divideth their counsels, and maketh use of another violence to thrust them out again."

The same Divine Providence awakeneth an honourable instrument in the north, to give a check to this new design; and on a sudden, by the secret power of the Spirit of God, the military officers, who had so long been the terror of the nation, became, no man can tell why, like women; their hearts dismayed, their counsels confounded, their soldiers scattered; and by that Divine Providence, whereby they had so often justified their irregular actions, were they, in one day, without might or power, but merely by impressions

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