BEING The Anniversary of His Sacred Majesty's most happy Return.

BY RICHARD ALLESTRY, D. D. and Chap­lain to His MAJESTY.

LONDON, Printed by I. Flesher for Iohn Martin, Iames Allestry, and Thomas Dicas, at the Bell in S. Pauls Church-yard. MDCLXII.

TO The Right Honourable EDWARD Earl of Clarendon, Lord high Chancellor of England, and Chancellor of the University of Oxford.

My Lord,

TO vouch your Lord­ships commands for the publishing this Discourse, I might reasonably think, would be to libel your judgement; and the pre­fixing your Name to it, and this mean address, would look ra­ther like revenge then homage or [Page] obedience: if I did not know that low performances are due to the transcendency of such a subject as I then discours'd upon, and such a Patron as I now de­dicate to: So I lie prostrate un­der my great Arguments, here in­sufficiency is Art and Rhetorick. And the truth is, my Lord, it was not this which made me so sollicitous to avoid your injun­ctions, but apprehensions of the unusefulness of the Dis­course it self.

When God's most signal me­thods of all sorts do not seem to have wrought much convi­ction; when neither our own dismal guilts, nor miseries, nor [Page] most express miracles of deli­verance have made us sensible, but after the equally stupen­dous 30th of Ianuary and 29th of May, and the black time that interven'd, we are still the same perverse untractable people; when luxury is the retribution made for plenty, licence for liberty, and A­theism for Religion, whil'st miracles of mercy are acknowledg'd only by prodigies of ingrateful disobedi­ence: and on the other side, when factious humors swell a­gainst all Laws, as they would either over-flow those mounds, or make them yield and give way to them; when Declarations and Decrees, which were infallible when [Page] they came only from a party of a part of a Parliament, are neither of force nor esteem when they have all solemnity and obli­gation that just and full authority can give; alas, what hopes of doing any thing can a weak Harangue entertain? But, my Lord, since you are pleas'd to command, I give up both it and my understanding to your Lordship, and the weaker the Discourse is, so much the more pregnant testimony is it of the obsequiousness of

My Lord,
Your Lordships most devoted and most humble servant RICHARD ALLESTRY.
HOSEA 3. 5.‘Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their King, and shall fear the Lord and his goodness.’

HE had said in the words before, that the children of Israel shall abide many daies without a King and without a Prince, without a sacrifice and without an image or al­tar, and without an Ephod and without Tera­phim. Now when they shall have been for many years in such a state of helpless desolation, shall have no King under whose shadow they, their laws and rights might hope for shelter; no Prince to guard them from the sad calamities of wild confusion or usurping violence; shall have no exer­cises of religion to allay and soften those ca­lamities, and give them comfort in the bearing of them; no Altar to lay hold on for security against them, or to stretch out [Page 2] their hands towards, for deprecation of them; no nor a God to put an end to this sad state; nor any means of direction what to doe under it, no Ephod to ask counsel at; nor yet the pageantry, the fallacy of these, no Teraphim for Ephods, nor Image for a God; the same destruction having sei­zed these and their worshippers, the people and their Idols going into Captivity together, and the onely true God having forsaken them: Now when the Prophet had de­nounc'd this state of Woe, which was to dwell with them so long as that their very expectations of deliverance should be dy­ing, having continued threescore years and ten, a longer and more wearisome age of patience then life, he then proceeds to swee­ten all by telling them of a return, and what things they shall doe in it; and they are three.

First, Seek the Lord their God, apply them­selves to his Worship and Obedience, and cleave to him; for so the word is rendred [...] Lev. 19. 31. and Ieremy repea­ting this c. 30. 9. words it, shall serve the Lord their God, and David their King:

[Page 3] Which is the second thing they were to doe. As the Ecclesiastical state was to be setled, so the secular too upon its just foun­dations: Religion and Loaylty both running in their ancient current.

Thirdly, They shall fear the Lord and his goodness: not onely tremble before him, who is the Lord, that did exert his power in their destruction; but shall much more revere his goodness, that did flow out in such plentiful miraculous expresses of de­liverance,

Now these being not onely prophecy what in that juncture they would doe, nor onely duties what they were to doe, but also counsels and directions immediately from God what they were best to doe, the onely prudent and safe course according to the policies of heaven; the direct view of these particulars in reference to that state of theirs is not an unconcerning pro­spect at this season, which is the Anniver­sary of an equal return; and therefore I shall lay them so before you, and the re­flexion on them in our practice shall make the application.

[Page 4] 1. They shall seek the Lord their God is my first part, and the Lord's prime direction for the repairing of a broken Nation. Nei­ther indeed can any other course be taken; for till we have found him, while he does hide his face, nothing but darkness dwells upon the land; or if any light do break out, 'tis but the kindlings of his an­ger: so he expresses, Deut. 31. 17. This people will forsake me and break my Covenant; then my anger shall be kindled against them, and I will forsake them, and hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and trou­bles shall befall them, so that they will say in that day, Are not these evils come upon us because our God is not amongst us? This absence is onely another word for desolation: Be thou instructed, ô Ierusalem, saith God by Ieremy, c. 6. 8. lest my sould depart from thee, and I make thee desolate, a land not inhabited: As if with­out him there were nothing else but soli­tude in Cities and in Courts, and all were desert where he does not dwell. Yea there is something beyond desolation, Hos. 9. 11, 12. As for Ephraim, their glory shall flee away like a bird from the birth and from the [Page 5] womb, and from the conception: though they bring up their children, yet will I bereave them that there shall not be a man, [...] yea wo also to them when I depart from them. And it must needs be so; for let our state be never so calamitous, if God be not departed, there is comfort in it, and a deliverer at hand: If we are in the place of dragons, Psal. 44. 19. his presence will make heaven there; and although we be covered with the shadow of death, if the light of his Countenance break in, we are in glory; and the brightness of that will soon damp and shine out the fiery trial. But if the Lord depart, then there is no re­demption possible: God hath forsaken him, persecute him and take him, for there is none to deliver him, Psa. 71. 11. But if there were de­liverance some other way, yet the want of God's presence is an evil, such as nothing in the whole world can make good: the pre­sence of an angel in his stead does not. When the Lord said to Israel, I will not go up in the midst of thee, but I will send an Angel with thee, and drive out the Amorite, the Hittite, &c. yet when the people heard these evil tidings, they mourned, and no man did put on his Ornaments, [Page 6] Exod. 33. 4. Nay more, I shall not speak a contradiction if I shall say, that the most in­timate presence of the Godhead does not sup­ply God's absence; and such a small with­drawing of himself as may consist with being united hypostatically, was too much for him to bear who was Immanuel, when he complained God was not with him: I mean our Saviour on the Cross. He, Luk. 22. 44. who although he did beseech against his cup with fer­vencies that did breath out in heats of bloody sweat, with agonies of prayer; yet when he fell down under it, did chearfully sub­mit to it,Ver. 42. saying, Not my will, but thy will be done; yet when God hides himself, he does expostulate with him,Mat. 27. 46. crying out, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? His God could no more forsake him, then himself could be not himself: and yet the appre­hension of that which could not be was even insufferable to him, to whom no­thing could be insufferable. He seems to feel a very contradiction while he but seems to feel the want of the Lord's presence.

Such is the sad importance of God's not being with us; and this same instance tells [Page 7] us what drives him away. 'Twas sin that he withdrew from then: Christ did but take on him our guilt, and upon that the Lord forsook him: God could no more en­dure to behold wickedness in him, then the Sun could to see God suffer;Mat. 27. 45. Iniquity eclips'd them both, and sin did separate betwixt him and himself, and made that person who was God cry out, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? And it will doe the same betwixt God and a people. Isa. 59. 1, 2. Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortned that it cannot save, nor his ear heavy that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. His face is clothed with light, we know; but when Wickedness over-spreads a people, those deeds of darkness put out the light of his countenance. His hand although it be not shortned, yet it contracts and shuts it self, not onely to grasp and withhold his mercies from them, but to smite: Iniqui­ty builds such a wall of separation as does shut out omnipresence, and makes him who is every where, not be with such a people; [Page 8] not be in hearing of their needs; for when their sins do cry, no prayers can be heark­ned to; he will not hear you, saith the Pro­phet. And that gives us the very [...] of the Lord's departure from a people, and the manner of it.

He is taking away his peace and mer­cies from a Nation when he will hear no prayers for it; and He declares that he will hear no prayers when he withdraws once from his house of prayer, and makes his of­fices to cease. The place appointed for these offices, the Sanctuary, he calls, we know, the tabernacle of [...] meeting, that is, where he wouldExod. 29. 42, 43. meet his votaries, and hear and bless them; calls it hisPsal. 42. 4. house, hisPsal. 74. 7. dwelling-place, his court, hisPsal. 31. 20. presence, and hisJer. 17. 12. & 14. 21. throne: and if so, when he is not to be found in these, when he no longer dwels nor meets in them, we may be sure that he hath left the land.Psal. 74. The Psalmist, when he does complain men had done evil in the Ver. 3. 4 Sanctuary, the adversaries roared in the midst of the Congregations, and set up their banners 6 there for trophies; they broke down all the car­ved work thereof with axes and hammers, and [Page 9] had defiled the dwelling places of God's name Ver. 7. even to the ground, and burnt up all the houses of God in the land; he does suppose that God was then departed when they had left him no abiding place: and therefore he cries out, O God, Ver. 1. wherefore art thou absent from us so long? Remember Sion where thou hast dwelt. 2 But 'tis not only upon these Analogies I build this method of departure; we shall finde exactly in Ezekiel's Vision of that case to which my Text referres: it begins chap. 9. 3. And the glory of the God of Isreal (i.e. the shi­ning cloud, the token of his presence in the Sanctuary,) went up from the Cherub whereupon he was, to the threshold of the House, as going out; and then ver. 8. he does refuse to be entreated for the land: after that ch. 10. 18. The glory went from off the threshold to the midst of the City; and chap. 11. 23. it went from thence to the mountain without the City, and so away: And then nothing but de­solation dwelt upon the land, until the counsel of my Text was followed, and they did seek the Lord their God: for then the glory did return into the Sanctuary just as it went away, as you may find it ch. 43.

[Page 10] And having seen when and how God for­sakes a people, and for what, that does di­rect us how to seek him, and it is thus; When men forsake those paths in which they did not onely erre and goe astray, but did walk contrary to God, so that they did forsake each other; and do return, walk in his waies, the waies of his Commandments, and return also to his Church, and seek him in his house, fall low before his footstool, begge of him to meet in his tabernacle, renew his Worship, and all invitations of him to re­turn into his dwelling-place. For sure as it is in vain to seek him but in his own waies, nor can we hope to meet him but in his Tabernacle of meeting; so also Scripture calls both these to seek the Lord, and promises to both the finding him. To the first, Deut. 4. 29, 30. If from thy tribulation thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, if thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice. And to the second, Ier. 29. 12. speaking of this sad state to which my Text relates, Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me; and [Page 11] I will hearken unto you, and I will be found of you, saith the Lord, and I will turn away your captivity. I could produce you instances of Asa making all his people swear to seek the Lord: but because my Text speaks of Da­vid, he shall be the great explication, as he was the practice of this duty in both sen­ses. In the former, 119. Psal. I have sought thy Commandments above gold or precious stone; more then that which does make and does adorn my Crown, then that which furnishes all the necessities and all the pomps of Royalty. And for the other, Psal. 63. 1, 2. O God, thou art my God, early will I seek thee: my soul thirst­eth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land where no water is: To see thy power and thy glory, as I have seen thee in the Sanctuary. His very words do seem to la­bour too, and he does seek expressions to tell us how he seeks. The hot fits of a thirsty palate that call so oft and so impetuously are in his soul; it hath a pious fever, which cannot be allay'd but by pouring out of his soul to God in the Temple, by breathing out its heats in his devotion offices. Nay more, he longs, hath that I know not whether ap­petite, [Page 12] or passion, which is not to be under­stood, but onely suffered; to which all the unreasonable violences which passion can be heated into, all the defaillances nature can be opprest into, are natural; it is the bodies Ex­tasie. Now this he had towards the wor­ship of the Sanctuary; his very flesh found rapture in those exercises, and when he was in a barren and dry land, was driven from the plenties of a Court, and from the glories of a throne into a desert solitude, he found no other wants but of God's house; did mind, pant, and long after nothing else, did neither thirst for his necessities, nor long for his own Crown, but for the Tabernacle only. And besides the Religion of this, he had rea­son of State too to be thus affected; this was the best means to engage his Subjects to him and secure his Throne. He knew, if by establishing God's worship and by going with the multitude, Psal. 42. 4. as he did use, to the exercises of it; if by royal example and encouragements of vertue, and by discountenancing and cha­stising impiety, by doing as he did profess to doe Ps. 101. (that directory for a Court) he could people his land with holy living, and [Page 13] his Temple with holy-Worship; he knew he should then have good Subjects, loyal to him and at peace with themselves. If they will seek their God, then they will seek their King. The Lord saw this dependence, and therefore counselled this course should be taken. The Master of our Politicks discer­ned it too,Arist. Pol. l. 7. and therefore does advise that the first and chiefest publick cares should be about things of Religion, that and the same profession of it being [...], the cement of Com­munities, and the very foundation of all legisla­tive, and indeed all power in the Magistrate: and in the people [...], 'tis a most efficacious philtre, a charm, a Gordian knot of kindness. And as a Iew observed of their own Nation,Joseph. l. con. Appio. [...], To have one and the same opinions of God, and not to differ in their rites from one another, breeds the best harmony in mens affections. When on the other side no obligations, though the most signal and divine, will hold them in obedi­ence [Page 14] and peace, if their ambitions or inte­rests look another way: and if at any time present advantage, or an expectation, or some passion do encline them to seek David their King; yet the appearance of a change of Interest, that expectation defeated, or a cross animosity will burst those bonds, un­less Religion and Communion in Worship help to twist them. David had had experience of this.

Abner knew of God's oath to David that after Saul he should be King over all Israel; but he was otherwise concerned, and there­fore he made Ishbosheth King, maintained a long and a sore warre even against what he knew God was engaged to bring about, and made himself strong for the house of Saul, 2 Sam. 2, 3. ch. But when a quarrel happe­ned betwixt Ishbosheth and him, then, So doe God to Abner and more also, except as the Lord hath sworn to David, even so I doe to him, to set up the throne of David over Israel and over Iudah. And he sent Messengers to him saying, Whose is the land? make but thy league with me. c. 3. 9, 10, 11, 12. Do but look forward, and you find when Abner was cut off, and [Page 15] Ishbosheth was slain, and Israel had no lea­der, then they came to David, saying, Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh, and the Lord said to thee, Thou shalt feed my people Israel, c. 5. 1, 2. They knew all that before, yet would not let him doe it, till they had no other lea­der. Nay, when they had done that, by Absalom's insinuations (who in a way of treacherous pity did instill dislikes against the government, and did remonstrate in good wishes, as some men do in prayers, c. 15. 3, 4) they were all drawn into rebel­lion against this David, and made him flie out of the land, and became Subjects to that Absalom. When he was dead indeed they speak of bringing back the King, c. 19. 10. and when his own Iudah had done it, quarrell'd ver. 43. because that their advice was not first had: and though Iudah had no­thing but their service, for, Have we eaten at all of the Kings cost, or hath he given us any gift? say they, ver. 42. yet Israel is angry, be­cause he came not back upon their score, for they forsooth have ten parts in him, v. 43. and yet the next day every man of Israel went after him that said, We have no part [Page 16] in David, Sheba a man of Belial, ch. 20. 1. Thus no allegiance, no tie however sacred and divine will hold them who follow not upon God's score. Nay at the last, be­cause that Rehoboam would not ease their taxes,1 Kings 12. 16. all Israel cry out, What portion have we in David? see to thine own house, David. And to make this secession perpetual (which all the former did not prove) Ieroboam did use no other policy, but to change the Worship and the Priests: He knew he should divide their hearts and Nations for ever, when he had altered once the Service and the Officers; and if he could but keep them from seeking God at Ierusalem, he was secure they would not seek David their King. And so it proved. Now the Lord to prevent di­visions had provided so farre Uniformity in his worship, that he required a single U­nity; and that it might be but in one manner, he let it be but in one place.

And truly, when men once depart from Uniformity, what measures can they set themselves of changing? what shall con­fine or put shores to them? what prin­ciple can they proceed upon which shall [Page 17] engage them to stay any where? and why may not divisions be as infinite as mens phansies? And though, when those are but in circumstantial things, those who are strong, and know them to be such, are no otherwise concerned to contend for them then on Authorities behalf, (to which every change is a Convulsion fitt,) and on the account of decency, and of com­pliance with the universal Church: yet when others do dogmatize, and put consci­ence in the not doing them, and stand at such a distance from them as to chuse Schisme, Disobedience, and Sedition rather, and there­fore must needs look upon damnation in them; these differences make as great a gulfe and chasme as that which does divideLuk. 16. 26. Dives from Abraham's bosome. It is one God, one Faith, one Worship makes hearts one. Hands lifted up together in the Temple they will joyn and clasp: and so Religion does fulfill its name à religando, binds Prince and Subjects all together; and they who thus do seek the Lord their God, will also seek David their King, God's next direction, and my second part.

[Page 18] 2. And here three things offer them­selves, a King, their King, and David their King.

I am not here to read a Lecture of State policy upon a vie of Governments; why seek a King, not any other sort of Govern­ment; and why their King, one that al­ready was so by the right of Succession, not whom addresses or election should make so. And though I think 'twere easie to demon­strate onely Monarchy had ever a divine or natural original, and that elective Monarchy is most unsafe and burthensome, full of dan­gerous and uneasie consequences, and this so much to sight, that choice for the most part bounds it self, proves but a ceremony of Succession: yet this I need not doe, for I am dealing with the Jews, who had God's judgement in the case, and his ap­pointment too; and to me that is argument enough. And when God hath declar'd,Prov. 28. 2. for the transgressions of a land many are the Prin­ces thereof; many at once, as in a Common­wealth, or many several families successively, for so God reckons also one or many; 'tis still, we see, David their King, while 'tis in [Page 19] David's line, and so the King does truly ne­ver die, while his race lives. If either of these many be God's punishment, for the sins of a land, I will not say that they who love the many Princes love the transgressions which God plagues so; but I will say, they who do chuse that which God calls his plague, that quarrel for his vengeance, and with great strife and hazard take his indignation by force, I can but pity them in their own options and enjoyments: but, O my soul, enter not thou into their counsels.

As for seeking their King, I shall content my self with that which Calvin saies upon the words; Nam aliterverè & ex animo Deum quaerere non potuit, quin se etiam subjiceret legi­timo imperio cui subjectus erat: For they could not otherwise truly and with all their heart seek God, except they did subject themselves to his Government to whom they did of right belong as Subjects. And I shall adde that they who do forsake their King, will soon forsake their God. TheR. Simeon the son of Jochai said, [...] and R. Simeon the son of Menasiah said, [...] Rabbines say it more severely [Page 20] of Israel, that they at once rejected three things, the Kingdome of the house of David, and the Kingdome of Heaven, and the Sanctuary. And truly, if we do consult that State from the beginning, we shall find that when they were without their King, they alwaies were without their God.

Moses was the first King in Ieshurun, Deut. 33. 5. and he was onely gone into the Mount for forty daies,Exo. 32. 1, 5. and they set up a golden Calf; they make themselves a God if they want him whom the Lord makes so, as he does the Magistrate: if they have not a Prince, that [...], living Image of God, then they must have an Idol. When Moses his next successor was dead, we read that the man Micah had an house of Gods, and con­secrated one of his sons to be his Priest: and truly he might make his Priest who made his Deities. And the account of this is gi­ven, In those daies there was no King in Israel, Iud. 17. 5, 6. The very same is said ch. 18. 1. to preface the Idolatry of the Tribe of Dan. There was no heir of restraint, as it is worded ver. 7. It seems, to curb impiety is the Princes Inheritance, which till it be sup­prest, [Page 21] he hath not what he is heir to. But Vice will know no boundaries if there be no King, whose sword is the onely mound and fence against it: for if we reade on there, 19, 20, 21 ch. we shall find those dismal tragedies of Lust and Warre, the one of which did sin to death the Levites wife; the other, besides 40000. slain of them who had a righteous cause, and whom God did bid fight, destroyed also a Tribe in Israel: these all sprang from the same oc­casion, for so the story closes it, In those daies there was no King in Israel, ch. 21. 25.

Just upon this, when God in their ne­cessities did raise them Iudges, that is, Kings, read all their story, you will find to almost every several Judge there did suc­ceed a several Idolatry: God still complai­ning,Judg. 3. 7. & ver. 12. the children of Israel did evil again after the death of such an one, till he raised them another.Ch. 4. 1. Ch. 6. 1. Ch. 10. 6. Ch. 13. 1. Those 450. years being divided all betwixt their Princes and their Idols. After them Ieroboam, he that made the great secession of that people from their Prince, hath got no other character from God but this, the1 Kings 16. 26. Ch. 21. 22. & 22. 52, &c. Man that did make Israel [Page 22] to sin, at once against God and against their King. Yea upon this account they are reckon'd by God to sin after both their Ido­latry and State were ended, when their calves and their Kingdome were destroyed. Ezek. 4. 4, 5. the Lord does bid the Prophet lie on his left side 390. daies, to bear the iniquity of Israel according to the number of the years of their iniquity. But this was more then the years of their State, which were onely 255. 390 years indeed there were betwixt the falling off of the ten Tribes, and the de­struction of Ierusalem by the King of Babel; but those ten Tribes were gone, their King­dome perfectly destroy'd above 130. years before: but their iniquity was not, it seems, that does outlive their State, so long as that God's Temple, that King's house did stand from which they did divide. As if Seditious and Schismaticks sin longer then they are, even while they are whom they do sin against in separating from.

'Tis true, there was an Ahaz and Manasseh in the house of David, but Hezekiah and Io­siah did succeed. Mischief did not appear entail'd on Monarchy, as 'tis upon rebellion and [Page 23] having no King. It does appear their Kings were guards also to God and his Religion, the great defendors of his Faith and Worship. God and the Prince for the most part stood and fell together: Therefore S. Paul did afterwards advise to pray for Kings, 1 Tim. 2. 2. that we might live in godliness and honesty; and still they were the same who sought the Lord their God, and David the King.

But why David their King? for could his Kingdome disappear and be to seek, of whom the Lord had said, I have sworn once by my Holiness, Ver. 35. I will not fail David? Psal. 89. And his Throne therefore was as sure as God is holy. But yet the Lord had said to the people of Israel, 1 Sam. 12. 25. If ye doe wickedly, ye shall be destroyed both you and your King. There are other sins besides Rebellion and Treason that murder Kings and Governments. Those that support their Ills by their dependen­cies, and use great shadows for a shelter to rapacity, oppression, or licences, or any cry­ing wickedness; these prove Traitors to Majesty and themselves, strike at the root of that under which they took covert, fell that and crush themselves. National vices have [Page 24] all Treason in them, and every combination in such sins is a Conspiracy. If universal pra­ctice palliate them, we do not see their stain, it may be, think them slight; but their complexion is purple: Common blood is not deep enough to colour them, they die themselves in that that's sacred. Nay these do seem to spread contagion to God, as if they would not let the Lord be holy, nor suffer that to be which he swore by his ho­liness should be: for the Psalmist cries out, Where are thy old loving kindnesses which thou swarest unto David? Psal. 89. 49. But sure some of God's oaths will stand; if not those of his kind­ness, those will by which he swears the ru­ine of such sinners,Isa. 5. 16. and God that is holy will be sanctified in judgement upon them. Yea, up­on more then the offenders, for the guilty themselves are not a sacrifice equal to such piacular offences. Innocent Majesty must bleed for them too; If you doe wickedly, you shall be destroy'd both you and your King. Thus when God would remove Iudah out of his sight, good Iosiah must fall; and the same makes them be to seek David their King.

But how David their King, when 'twas [Page 25] Zorobabel? for with Theophylact and others I conclude he must be meant in the first literal importance of the words.

It was the custome of most Nations from some great eminent Prince to name all the Succession, so at once to suggest his Excellencies to his followers, and to make his glory live. Now without doubt David was Heroe enough for this, and his valour alone sufficient to ground the like pra­ctice upon. And though we do not find that done, yet we do find his piety and his uprightness made the standard by which that of his Successors is meted. Of one 'tis said he walked in the waies of David his father; 2 Chro. 34. 2. of another, he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, 2 King. 14. 3. but not like unto David his father. And because David went aside, and was upright with an Exception, once there­fore it is said,2 Chro. 17. 3. The Lord was with Iehoshaphat, because he walkt in the first waies of his father David. But besides this, his very name is given to two, Zorobabel, and the Messiah; both which were to be the restorers of their people: the one from Sin and Hell, to re­establish the Kingdome of heaven it self; the [Page 26] other to deliver his people from Babel, and to repair a broken Nation and demolish'd Tem­ple. And for this work God bids them seek David their King.

The waies from Babel to Ierusalem, from the Confusion of a people to a City that is at unity in it self, Psal. 122. 3, 5. the City of God where he appears in perfect beauty, and where the throne of the house of David is, must be the first waies of David: in those he walk'd to Sion, and did invest his people in God's promises, the whole land of Canaan. In those Zorobabel brought them back to that land and Sion. And in these our Messiah leads us to Mount Sion that is above, to the celestial Ierusalem; does build an universal Church and heaven it self. And all that have the like to doe must walk in those first waies, fulfill that part of David, and must copy Christ. Such the re­pairers of great breaches must be: these are the waies to settle Thrones, the onely waies in which we may find the goodness of the Lord; which to fear is the third di­rection, and my last part.

They shall fear the Lord and his goodness. 3. That Israel who came but now out [Page 27] of the furnace should fear the Lord whose wrath did kindle it, whose justice they had found such a consuming fire as to make the Temple it self a Sacrifice, and the whole Nation a burnt-offering, is reasonable to expect: but when his goodness had repair'd all this, to require them to fear that, does seem hard. That that goodness, which when it is once apprehended does com­mit a rape upon our faculties, and being tasted melts the heart, and causes dissolu­tion of soul through swoons of compla­cency, that this should be received with dread and trembling, is most strange. Indeed the Psalmist saies,Psal. 130. 4. There is mercy with God that he may be feared; for were there not, we should grow desperate: but how to fear those mercies is not easie. 'Tis true, when God made his goodness pass before Moses, shewed him the glory of it, as he saies, in those most comfortable attributes, the sight of which is beatifick Vision, Exod. 34. 6, &c. The Lord, the Lord God merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in good­ness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin; if that [Page 28] which follows there be part of it, forgiving sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation; if this be one ray of the glory of goodness, if it dart out such beams, alas, 'tis as de­vouring as the lake of fire, his very goodness stabs whole successions at once, and the guilty may tremble at it for themselves and their posterity. But if those words doe mean as we translate those very words, [...] Ier. 46. 28. I will not leave thee alto­gether unpunish'd, yet will not utterly cut off, not make a full end of the guilty, when I visit iniquities upon the children, but will leave them a remnant still; then there is nothing dreadful in it, but those very vi­sitations have kindness in them, and his rod comforts, and this issue of his good­ness also is not terrible but lovely. To fear God's goodness therefore is to revere it, to entertain it with a pious astonishment, acknowledging themselves unworthy of the crums of it, especially not daring to provoke it by surfeting, or by presuming on it, or by abusing it to serve ill ends, or any [Page 29] other then God sent it for, those of piety and obedience: not to comply with which, is to defeat God's kindness, and the de­signs of it. If when they sought the Lord, he was found of them, and came to his dwelling-place onely to be forc'd thence again by their abominations; if when his goodness had restor'd all to them, they had David their King but to conspire against, an Altar onely to pollute, and a Temple to separate from, as Manasses the Priest, San­ballat's son in law, with his accomplices did doe; this were both to affront and to renounce that goodness, which above all things they must dread the doing: for if this be offended too, ruine is irreversible; there is no other attribute in God a sinner can fly to with any hope. His Holiness cannot behold iniquity, his Iustice speaks no­thing but condemnation to guilt, his Power without kindness is but omnipotent destru­ction; but if we have his Goodness on our side, we have an Advocate in his own bo­some that will bear up against the rest, for his mercy is over all his attributes as well as works: but if this also be exasperated, [Page 30] and kindness grow severe, there is no re­fuge in the Lord, no shadow of him to take Sanctuary under; for there is no­thing to allay the anger of his Compassion and Bounty. This sure is the extremest ter­rour we are to dread, his kindness more then his severity and wrath; we have an antidote, a buckler against these, but none against the other if it be provok'd; and if the heats of love take fire and rise into in­dignation, 'tis unquenchable flame and ever­lasting burning. Therefore when God hath done all things that he can doe or they can wish, then most of all they must fear the Lord and his goodness.

My Text and I have spoke all this while to the Iews: nor do I know whether I need to address any other way, all this did so directly point at us. The glories of this day need not the foil of those calami­ties from which this day redeem'd, to set them off: Or you may read them in my Prophet here, and our own guilts will make too sad a Comment on his Text, who were more barbarous Assyrians to our selves. We also were without a Prince and [Page 31] without Sacrifice, had neither King, nor Church, nor Offices, because we our selves had destroy'd them, and that we might not have them had engag'd or covenanted against them; ty'd to our miseries so, that with­out perjury we could neither be without them, nor yet have them. As we had broke through all our sacred oaths to invade and usurp calamity and guilt, so neither could we repent without breach of Vows. If this were not enough to make us be with­out a God too, then to drive him away we had defil'd his dwelling places to the ground, and by his ancient gists of remove he was certainly gone. There was indeed excee­ding much Religion among us, yet, God knows, almost none at all, while Christi­anity was crumbled into so many, so mi­nute professions, that 'twas divided into little nothings, and even lost in a crowd of it self; while each man was a Church, every single professor was a whole multi­tude of Sects. And in this tumult, this riot of faiths, if the son of Man should have come, could he have found any faith in the land? Vertue was out of countenance and pra­ctice, [Page 32] while prosperous and happy Villa­ny usurp'd its name, while Loyalty, and conscience of oaths, and duty were most unpardonable crimes, to which nothing but ruine was an equal punishment; and all those guilts that make the last times perillous, Blasphemy, disobedience, truce-break­ings and Treasons, Schisms and Rebellions, with all their dismal consequences and appendages, (for these are not single, per­sonal crimes, these have a politick capacity) all these did not onely walk in the dress of piety, and under holy Masks, but were themselves the very form of Godliness, by which 'twas constituted and distinguished, the Signature of a party of Saints, the Constella­tion of their graces: And on the other side, the detestation of such hypocrisie made others Libertines and Atheists; while seeing men such holy counterfeits, so violent in acting, and equally engag'd for every false Religion, made them conclude there was none true, or in earnest. And all this was because we were without our King; for 'twas the onely Interest of all those usurpations that were to contrive and preserve it thus. [Page 33] And when we had roll'd thus through every form of Government, addrest to each, mov'd every stone, and rais'd each stone to the top of the Mount, but every one still tumbled down again, and ours like Sisyphus's labour was like to have no end, onely restless and various Calamity; Ne­cessity then counsell'd us, and we appli­ed to God's directions in the Text, I know not whether in his method, but it is plain we did seek David our King. And my heart is towards the Governours of Israel, Judg. 5. 9. that offer'd themselves willingly among the people: bless ye the Lord: yea, Thou, ô Lord, bless them. May all the blessings which this was the birth-day of, all that my Text encloses, all the goodness of the Lord, be the sure por­tion of them and their Families; may they see the King in his beauty, and peace upon Is­rael, and may their Names be blest in their posterities for evermore. We sought him with the violent impatiences of ne­cessitous and furious desires, and our eyes, that had even fail'd with looking for him, did even fail with looking on him, as impotent and as unsatisfied in our fru­itions [Page 34] as expectations; and he was enter­tain'd with as many tears as pray'd for; as one whom not our Interests alone, but our guilts had endear'd to us, and our tears: he was as necessary to us as repentance, as without whom it was impossible for us to repent and return from those impi­eties to him, of usurping his rights, of exi­ling, of murthering him by wants, because we could not doe it by the Axe or Sword; without him 'twas impossible for us to give over the committing these; and the tears that did welcome him were one of our best lavers to wash off that blood that we had pull'd upon our selves. One en­dear'd also to us by God's most miracu­lous preservations of him for us: We can­not look upon his life but as the issue of prodigious bounty, snatch'd by immedi­ate Providence out of the gaping jaws of tyrannous, usurping, murtherous malice, merely to keep him for our needs, and for this day: One whom God had train'd up and manag'd for us, just as he did pre­pare David their King, 2 Sam. 5. 4. at thirty years of age to take possession of that Crown which [Page 35] God had given him by Samuel about twelve years before;Inter 7 & 9 and in those years to pre­pare him for Canaan by a Wilderness, Sauli qui re­gnavit an. to harden him with discipline,20. Vid. Sim Chron. that so the lu­xuries and the effeminacies of a Court might not emasculate and melt him; by constant Watches, cares and business, to make him equal for, habituated to, care­ful of, and affected with the business of a Kingdome;Psal. 120. 5. and by constraining him to dwell in Mesech, with Aliens to his Religi­on, to teach him to be constant to his own, and to love Sion. And hath he not pre­pared our David so for us? and we hope hath prepared for him too the first daies of David, having no Sheba in the Field, nor Achitophel in the Councel, nor an Abiathar in the Temple, not in that Temple which himself hath rais'd, God having made him instrument of that which he would not let David doe, building his house, and furnishing it with all its Offices, and making it fit for God to meet us in, when we do seek him also, which was the other perquisite of our Condition.

There never was so much pretence of [Page 36] seeking God as in those late daies of his absence from us; and it should seem in­deed we knew not where to find him, we took such several waies to seek him. But if God did look down from heaven then as he did Psal. 14. to see if any did understand and seek after God, should he not then have found it here as there? Psal. 14. They are altogether gone out of the way; Rom. 3. their throat is an open se­pulchre, with their tongues have they deceived, the poison of asps is under their lips, their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness, their feet are swift to shed blood: destruction and unhappiness is in their waies, and the way of peace have they not known; there is no fear of God before their eyes: They eat up my people as it were bread; and, which is worse in these then them, they even then call upon God, as if they craved a blessing from the Lord upon that meal that did devour his people; and when they did seek God, they meant to find a prey. Yet where were any others that did seek him? or that do cleave to him now? The Schismatick does not seek God, who shuns the place where he ap­pears, and meets, and dwells; nor does he [Page 37] cleave to God who tears himself off from the Lord's body.Rom. 16. 17. Mark such as cause divi­sions, saith S. Paul, and avoid them: and if all Christians must avoid them, then I am sure God is not with them. The other Schis­maticks that divide from the World by cut­ting off the World from them; do they seek God that are diverted by so many Saints and Angels? that terminate divinest Worship in a creature? or do they cleave to God, when their devotion embraceth stocks and stones? or did they seek God for the pur­pose of my Text, who did not seek David their King, but did apply themselves to seve­ral forein Princes, and to others which they hoped would set up their Golden calf? Incen­diaries, that make fires and raise commo­tions, these are farre from God;1 Kings 19. 11, 12. for the Lord was not in the fire, or in the Earth-quake, but in the still small voice, in the soft whispers of peace and love. The Atheist, he that saies in his heart there is no God, will not seek God, you may be sure: nor does he care to seek David his King, who is equally well under all Governments that will allow his licences, and who hath no Religion to tie [Page 38] him to any. If he at all dislik'd the for­mer, it was upon reasons of burthen, or of pride, or Libertinisme: so much Religion though counterfeit was a reproach to him, and the face of such strictness was uneasy to him. These are so farre from seeking God, that God saies these did drive him out of Israel, Ezek. 9. 9. And then when that hath so long been the Wit, that 'tis now the Complexion of the Age, and they who thought fit to shew their not being hy­pocrites by license, and (to give it an easie word) by drollery in sacred things, have now made nothing to be sacred to them; how shall the Lord dwell among such? they are enough to exorcise God out of a Na­tion. The Hypocrite also, for all his Fasts and Prayers, never did seek God, for he is but a whited Sepulchre, Mat. 23. 27. our Saviour saies. Now who would seek the living God among the dead? the Lord of life sure is not to be found in graves. Golgotha was a place to crucifie him in, not worship him: he takes not in the air of funeral Vaults for incense; 'twas a Demoniack that us'd to be among the Tombs. The subtle, false and faithless [Page 39] men that walk in mazes, never shall meet God; these are the windings and the tracts of the old Serpent, and they lead onely to his habitation. They that do climb as if they meant to find God on his own Throne, that follow Christ up to a pinnacle of the Temple, or to the top of that exceeding high Mount, whence they can overlook the glories of the World, and pick and chuse, these do not goe to seek Christ there: It is the Devil that does carry up thither,Mat. 4. up­on his own designs. Nor is it possible to seek the Lord in the waies that lead to the strange Womans house, Prov. 7. 27. for her house is the way to hell, Solomon saies, (and he did know;) nay more, her steps take hold on hell, Prov. 5. 5. seise on those everlasting burnings which her foul heats kindle and begin. In a word, they that seek their own, Phil. 2. 21. that turn all merely to their advantage, they cannot seek God too, he will not be joynt God with Mammon. And then where are the men that sought him? that did retrive him to us? or with whom does he dwell? If he be not among us, we do in vain flatter our selves in our prosperity and peace, gawd it in all [Page 40] our bright appearances. Have we not seen the Sun rise with the glory of a day about him, and mounting in his strength chase away all the little receptacles and re­cesses of the night, not leave a cloud to shelter the least relicks of her darkness, or any spot to checquer or to fleck the coun­tenance of day? when strait a small handful of vapour rais'd by that Sun it self did creep upon his face, and by little and little getting strength bedasht his shine, and pour'd out as full streams of storm as he had done of light; till it even put out the day, and shed a night upon the Earth in spight of him. So may prosperity it self, if the Lord and his bles­sing be not in it, raise that which will soon overcast and benight the most glo­rious condition of a Nation. That wine which now makes your hearts glad, may prove like that which did commit the Centaures and the Lapithae, first kindle Lusts, then Warres, and at last onely fill a Cup of trembling and astonishment; and that oyle that does make you chearful countenances, may make your paths slippery, and nourish [Page 41] flames that will devour and ruine all.

But God,Isay 65. 1. who is found of them that seek him not, Luk. 15▪ 4, 5. nay who himself sought the lost sheep and carried him, when with his straying he was wearied into impossibility of a re­turn, has also sought, and found, and brought together us and our great Shepherd: for this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes; these waies of his also are so past find­ing out, that we may well conclude they are the mere footsteps of his incompre­hensible goodness, and we have onely now to fear that goodness.

But give me leave to say, those that de­spise his goodness do not fear it; and they whom it does not lead to repentance, do de­spise it, S. Paul saies, Rom. 2. 4. Despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and long-sufferance, not knowing that the goodness of the Lord leads thee to repentance?

And now, ô Lord, what sort of men among us hath thy goodness wrought up­on, and made repent? Those whom it was directed to convince, and came on pur­pose to, to prove by their own onely argu­ment they had of providential Miracles, they [Page 42] were not in the right, but that destruction and misery were in their waies; yet these chuse rather to deny their own conclusions, and resist God's goodness, then to be convinc'd and repent: for we have seen them as bold Martyrs to their Sin as ever any to Reli­gion, signalize their resolv'd impenitence with chearful suffering, as if the fire they were condemn'd to were that triumphal Cha­riot in which the Prophet mounted up to heaven.2 King. 2. 11. Others that did not go so farre in condemnation nor guilt as they, and therefore think they have no reason to re­pent of that, do they repent of what they did contribute to it? Of those that lifted up their hands to swear and fight, how ma­ny are there that have made them fall, and smite their own thigh, Jer. 31. 19. saying, What have I done? Do not all rather justifie as farre as they themselves proceeded? and if all that were well, why do not we repent of our Alle­giance and Loyalty? if all that were well, what hath thy goodness done, ô Lord, that hath reverst it all? And for the rest, those that do not partake the plenties of thy goodness, murmure and repine at it; [Page 43] are discontent at having what they pray'd for, what they would have dy'd for: those that have been partakers of it, have turn'd it into wantonness, have made it furnish them for base unworthy practices. Such as have not the generosity of vice, have not a noble, manly wickedness, are poltron sins; have made it raise a cry on the faith­fullest party, the best Cause, and the purest Church in the World. While we have de­bauch'd God's own best Attribute, made his Goodness procure for our most wicked or self-ends: and the face of things is so vicious in every order and degree and sexe, that—But the Confession is onely fit for Litanies, and we have need to make the burthen of ours be, Lord, give us some affli­ctions again, send out thy Indignation, for we do fear thy goodness, it hath almost undone us: and truly, where it does not better, 'tis the most fearful of God's Attributes or plagues, Rom. 2. 5. for it does harden there. S. Paul saies so in the fore-cited place; and Origen does prove this very thing did harden Pha­raoh's heart, indulgence was his induration. Now induration is the being put in Hell [Page 44] upon the Earth: there is the same impenitence in both, and Iudgement is pronounc'd al­ready on the hardned, and the life they lead is but the interval betwixt the Sentence and the Execution, and all their Sun-shine of Prosperity is but kindled brimstone, onely without the stench. And then to make the treasures of God's bounty be treasures of wrath to us, to make his kindness, his long-suffering, that is,2 Pet. 3. 15. S. Peter sayes, salvation, condemne us, his very goodness be hell to us! But sure so great a goodness as this we have tasted cannot have such deadly is­sues; and it was great indeed, so perfectly miraculous in such strange and continued successes, resisting our contrivances and our sins too, overcoming all opposition of our vices and our own policies, that do not com­port with it, and in despight of all still do­ing us good; it was fatality of goodness. Now sure that which is so victorious will not be worsted by us. But oh! have we not reason so much more to fear the good­ness? The greater and more undeserv'd it is, the more suspicious it is: as if it were the last blaze of the candle of the Lord [Page 45] when its light gasps, its flash of shine be­fore it do goe out, the dying struggles and extreme efforts of goodness, to see if at the last any thing can be wrought by it. And if we did consider how some men menage the present goodness, make use of this time of it, and rake, and catch, we would believe they did fear the departure of it: but yet 'tis in our power to fixe it here. If we repent, God's gifts then are without re­pentance, but one of us must change: bring Piety and Vertue into countenance and fashion, and God will dwell among us. Nay S. Paul saies,Rom. 11. 22. Goodness to thee if thou con­tinue in his goodness. If we our selves do not forsake it and renounce it, not fear it so as to fly from it, but with the fears of sink­ing men, that catch, and grasp, lay fast dead hold upon it;Jer. 32. 40. if, as God promises, he so put his fear in our hearts, that we never depart from it, fear that hath love in it, and is as uni­tive as that, then it shall ne're depart from us; but we shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living, and shall be taken thence to the eternal fulness of it. This day shall be the birth-day of immortal life, [Page 46] the entring on a Kingdome that cannot be mo­ved. A Crown thus beautify'd is a Crown of glory here, and shall adde weight and splendour to the Crown hereafter: A Church thus furnish'd is a Church trium­phant in this World, and such a Govern­ment is the Kingdome of heaven upon Earth; and then we shall all reign with him who is the King of Kings, and who wash'd us in his blood to make us Kings and Priests to God and his Father, Apoc. 1. 5, 6. to whom be glory and dominion for ever. Amen.



Pag. 9. line 8. after build place the se­micolon; after departure in the line fol­lowing blot it out.

Pag. 16. line 18. for farre Uniformity reade for Uniformity.

Pag. 23. line 9. for David the King, read David their King.

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