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positions whatsoever, while ye are about the building of the house of God, and establishing of the kingdom of Jesus Christ. If the enemies had been able to hinder it, it had never found any settling on earth. Principalities and powers in high places, the kingdoms of this world and the spirits of men, have been always bent against it; no power, no plot or policy, hath been or will be unassayed. Beside many particular hindrances of the settling of religion in particular places and nations, do but lift up your eyes and look back to the course of the world in the general. the first monarchy we find a fiery furnace; in the second, a den of lions; in the third, the madness and fury of Antiochus, justly surnamed Epimanes, which exceeded the former two; and in the fourth monarchy, the ten persecutions, ten times more bloody and grievous than all that went before. The kingdoms of this world are resembled by most bloody and monstrous wild beasts (Dan. vii.), and by mountains that are full of wild beasts, because of their craft and cruelty against the kingdom of Christ, (Psal. lxxvi. 4, Cant. iv. 8). But we may be comforted by that, "What art thou, O great mountain ?" (Zech. iv. 7); and I may add, all ye wild beasts? Be not troubled with the fears of the kingdoms of the world, in building the kingdom of Christ. For my part, I think it nothing strange, that the world and the God of this world, stand in a continual opposition. It is a greater wonder that any, especially of great ones, are found to have any courage for the kingdom of Christ. It is a miracle which we hear of, "The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard with the kid, and the young lion with the calf," &c. (Isa. xi.).
6. Take heed of imprudence in choosing and employing of instruments for the establishing the kingdom of Christ; the greatest show and profession of zeal, is not always the program of the greatest zeal. As a man of a calm constitution may seem to have more patience than another, which yet is not patience, but mildness of temper; so a choleric disposition may appear to be zeal, but it is only
a natural and earthly, not a spiritual and heavenly fire. Again, he that hath most true zeal and holiness to make him a spiritual soldier, hath not always the best abilities for a temporal war. It is a great mistake, and the mother of much confusion, to take grace for gifts, or gifts for grace. A man may have great gifts and abilities, which the Lord will bless for the benefit of his people, and yet have a small measure of grace for his own comfort and salvation. And a man may be a very gracious man, and yet have no more skill to be a good soldier, than to be a good shoemaker. It was said of old, that then it is well with kingdoms and commonwealths, when either philosophers reign, or they that reign are philosophers. We may say that it is a happy thing when such men are employed as have best gifts and grace, whether it be in the time of peace or war.
7. Take heed of fainting and wearying in setting up of the kingdom of Christ. The Lord hath made you instrumental in laying the foundation; ye must persevere till the headstone be brought forth with shoutings, otherwise it will be said, that these kingdoms did begin to build, but were not able to finish the work. Sometimes weakness may appear in one army, and sometimes in another; but the cause is the same, and with God Almighty there is no shadow of change; his power is not greater one day than another, for the infiniteness of omnipotency admitteth of no degrees. Pilate protested three times that he found no fault in Christ, and endeavoured for satisfying his own natural conscience, to set him free; but in end, lest he should be reputed an enemy to Cæsar, he delivered him to be crucified. Darius laboured all the day long, till the setting of the sun, to deliver Daniel; but overcome with importunity, he condemned him at last to the den of lions. We may change, the kingdoms of the world may change, but the cause and truth of Christ abide the same without change throughout all generations.
My exhortation therefore is, that you beware of self-respects, of indifferency, of division, of delays, of discouragements, of imprudency, and of inconstancy; and that you
give yourselves to sincerity, zeal, unity, diligence, magnanimity, prudence, and perseverance, that ye may be the choice and blessed instruments of God for the establishing of the kingdom of his Son, our Saviour, in the land.
The last use is for consolation, which is not repugnant to true humiliation. I will not trouble you with the general doctrine of such benefits and comforts as we are made partakers of by the princely office of Christ: for it were long to shew how by the virtue of this his office he applieth unto us all that he hath done and suffered, that the kingdoms of the world may be our Lord's and his Christ's, and he reign over them for evermore; and communicates with all true believers this grace, to be kings with him, to reign over their own lusts, which is greater than any earthly conquest. He that ruleth his own spirit, is better than he that winneth a city; to reign over the world, which still lieth in wickedness, and to reign over Satan the prince of this world, and worker of all mischief. If we find nothing of this, we believe nothing of the kingdom of Christ: if we endeavour not the sense and experience of this communion, our faith is but imagination. But leaving these generals, I would upon this ground, give you some comfort for the cause and work in hand, and it is this, first, if it be the cause of Christ which we maintain; next, if we be the servants and people of God, seeking his honour, and endeavouring that his kingdom may come, why may we not be comforted in this, that Christ is our King, and will one way or other vanquish and subdue all our enemies? I will use but two reasons for it: one is, from the great and glorious victories that he hath in former times obtained over so mighty enemies for the comfort of his people; if we do but remember what great things he hath done since the beginning of this war, we should deny our own experience, if we doubt for afterward. The other is, when we consider what is said in the end of the prayer which he taught his disciples, "Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory." If we pray and endeavour that his kingdom may come, if we desire the
crown to be put on his head, and the sceptre in his hand, we may be confident of success. Because his is the kingdom, he is bound by right to fight for, to defend, and to deliver his own subjects that are fighting for his kingdom. His is the power in heaven and in earth, over angels, over devils, over armies of men, and over all creatures. And his is the glory; the honour of his own actions will return upon himself. The first, that he is our King, teacheth us, that by office he ought to save us. The second, that he is able to do it, because power is his. And the third, that he will do it, because it will be dishonour to his name, to suffer his cause and people to perish, and it will be his glory to save them, and that not only in this world, but when we go hence. The penitent malefactor on the cross, cried out, "Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom:" we may rather with greater confidence say, Lord, remember us, when now after victory over Satan, the world, and death, thou dost possess thy kingdom. The time permitteth not to proceed to the other two branches of the text, and therefore here I cease.