TWO SERMONS PREACHED TO THE HONORABLE House of Commons Assembled in PARLIAMENT. AT THEIR PVBLIQVE FAST, NOVEM. 17. 1640:

BY Cornelius Burges D. D. AND Stephen Marshall B. D.

Published by Order of that House.

LONDON, Printed by T. B. and I. O. for S. Man, P. Stephens, and C. Meredith, at the Swanne and Gilded LION in Saint Pauls CHURCH-Yard. 1641.

TO THE HONOVRABLE HOVSE OF COMMONS now Assembled in PARLIAMENT.

WHen first it pleased You to re­quire our service in Preaching at Your late Publike Fast, we resolved to close our eyes against all Clouds of discouragement a­rising from our owne unworthinesse and insuffi­ciency, and to set our selves wholly to seek what the Lord would command us to deliver in his Name, at such a time, to such an Honourable and awfull Assembly,Psalm. 82. with a totall deniall of our selves.

And albeit we should have beene glad to have beene spared this exposing of our selves to the [Page] publike view; yet, You appointing otherwise, we hold it equall that the joynt entreaty of the Representative Body of the whole Commu­nalty of the kingdome should be regarded, and have chosen rather that others should censure us of weakenesse, than You should charge us with Disobedience: Your Request being no lesse than a command; and Your acceptance sufficient to give value to things of themselves both meane and worthlesse.

Wherefore, according to our Duty, so wil­lingly as the consciousnesse of our slender perfor­mances would permit, we obey Your Order, and doe now, although somewhat late, humbly offer these two plaine Sermons (for, who expects other in a Fast?) at the footstoole of Your Tribu­nall, as a lasting Monument of Our Gratitude for Your encouraging Approbation of, and solemne Thankes for our weake endeavours in the preaching of them.

If in some places we have taken that just li­berty which all others have done before us, we trust it shall not be imputed; so long as in the [Page] most materiall passages we have kept to the very words which at first wee used, so farre as was necessary; and have not wittingly swerved an haires bredth from the sense and substance in the residue.

Wee have indeed pared off some Repetitions, which in speaking had their use, the more to in­culcate, and the better to set on the matter, but would not have been so gratefull in Writing, be­cause Readers account every thing too long that hath any thing too much. We have likewise con­tracted some expressions, which in discourses of so much length, could hardly be so concise as wee desired, Memory being not alwayes at hand to give birth to every Conception of our minds in such formes as wee intended. And some few things we have added, where straites of time, or defect of memory made some balkes in the first delivery.

What ever our performances be, we humb­ly leave them in Your hands, and under Your Honourable Protection, which we are bold to ex­pect, because they are by Your owne Act drawne [Page] from us, and that in a time so queasie and di­stempered as can hardly beare that food, or Physik which is needfull for it. Seldome doth a wise Reproofe, a necessary Exhortation, or whol­some Doctrine meet with an obedient Eare.

The God of Heaven steere all Your weighty consultations by his own Counsell, to his owne Glory; cover You still under his own Wing, and make You the most accomplisht, best united, & most successefull & glorious house of Com­mons that ever sate in that High Court; but chiefly in the effectuall endeavouring of a fur­ther Sanction of, and stronger Guard about our true Palladium, the true Religion, already established among us; in the perfecting of the Reformation of it; in the erecting, maintai­ning, protecting, and incouraging of an able, godly, faithfull, zealous, profitable, Preaching This was our joynt & earnest suit to You, in Preaching; and we now again beseech You to set your hearts and hands to this work, as Benhail, Obadiah and other Prin­ces in Iudah did. Ministery, in every Parish Church and Chap­pell throughout England and Wales; and in the interceding to the Kings sacred Majesty for the setting up of a Faithfull, Iudicious, and Zealous Magistracy, 2 Chr. 17. 7, 8, 9. where yet the same is [Page] wanting, to bee ever at hand to back such a Mi­nistery: without either of which, not only the power of Godlinesse will soone degenerate in­to formality, and zeale into Luke warmenesse; but, Popery, Arminianisme, Socinianisme, Prophanenesse, Apostacy, and Atheisme it selfe will more and more croud in upon us, and prevaile against us, doe You all You can by all other meanes.

And now, commending You to God and to the Word of his grace,Acts 20. 32. which is able to build You up further, and to give You an inheritance among all them which bee sanctified; and these our Labours to his fur­ther blessing, whereby all may speedily be brought under the line of his Covenant,The Summe of both Ser­mons. which is our Safety; that hee may continue with us, which is our Glory; and wee with him, which is our happinesse: we rest,

Yours, most devoted to the service of Your Faith in all Dutie,
  • Cornelius Burges.
  • Stephen Marshall.

The Preface used in Preaching, be­fore the Text was read.

THat great Apostle Saint Paul, The Preface, shewing the reason of the choice of this Subject. when he had to doe with wise men, held it a point of wisdome to passe by some things which he would not have wayved among meaner capacities. His practise shall be now my president.

This honourable Assembly having de­signed me to beare so great a share in this weightie Worke, I hold it my dutie to consider, that, how weake and unworthy so ever I my selfe be, yet I am now to speake to Wise Men, who need not so much to be Catechised touching the Nature, as to be incited and quickned to the principall Use of a Re­ligious Fast, which consisteth not solely in such drawing neere to God by extraordinary Prayer and Humiliation as may pro­duce a totall divorce from our deerest Lusts, but also (and that more principally) in a particular, formall, solemne, entire engaging and binding of our selves, by an indissoluble Co­venant, to that God whose face and favour we seeke, and implore.

And this I apprehend to be a subject more necessary, by how [Page 2] much this dutie appeares to be lesse heeded and regarded by the greater number of the choycest Christians.The Pre­face.

For, as it too often falls out, even among the best, in par­ticipating that sacred and dreadfull Ordinance of the Lords Supper, (whereof also we are shortly to communicate) that moe labour more to discerne, and feed upon his blessed Body and Bloud, spiritually by faith, to make Christ their owne, (which must be done too) than actually, totally, and abso­lutely (then) to devote, resigne, and yeeld up themselves unto him, in the act of receiving, to be his servants: So it doth not seldome happen in the exercise of holy Fasting, that not a few of that small handfull which desire to approach the presence of God in trueth, are more conversant in searching, confessing, bewailing of sinne, and in craving of mercy, (all of which are necessary duties) than in working up their hearts to that indispensable pitch of heavenly resolution, sincerely to strike through a religious and inviolable Covenant with their God. Whereas, without this, all their labour will be ut­terly lost, their expectations frustrate, they take the glorious Name of God in vaine, provoke the eyes of his Glory more against them, causing him infinitely to loath and abominate both their persons, and service; nor shall they ever, by all their crying, and sighing, no not by whole rivers of teares, be able to draw down an arme of Mercy from Heaven to come and save them.

The more effectually therefore to provoke both my selfe and you at this time, to the due performance of this most neglected (but most necessary) dutie, I have thought fit, in a very plaine and familiar way sutable to the nature of this exercise (which ought to be as serious, as solemne) to worke and chafe into all our hearts the strength and spirit of that good Word of God, which you shall finde written for our instruction in▪

Jer. 50. 5.‘They shall aske the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying, Come, and let us joyne our selves unto the Lord in an everlasting Covenant that shall not be forgotten.’

WHich words are part of a Prophecie (terrible to Babylon, The Introdu­ction to the maine Dis­course. but comfortable to the Church) uttered, and penned by the Prophet Ieremy, about the fourth yeere both of the Babylonish captivitie, and of the tributary reigne of Zedekiah. The occasion, this.

The Prophet having laboured about thirtie yeers, to humble Judah by continually ringing in her eares the dolefull tydings of a sore captivitie approaching, could not be beleeved. But, when once the quick and sad sense of their bondage under the Chaldean yoke had forced from them an acknowledgement of the truth of his prophecies, he found it as hard a taske to worke their hearts to any hope of deliverance. For, as it is a worke even insuperable, to possesse a people ripe for destruction, that any evill is neere them, till the wrath of God breake in upon them and overwhelme them; so is it a businesse of little lesse difficultie to hold up the [Page 4] spirits even of Gods owne people,Introdu­ction. once cast under any great extreamitie, with any hope of rescue.

This was Iudah's case. Before the Babylonian had laid this yoke on their necks, God had plainly revealed, and often inculcated that it should lye upon them just 70. yeeres and no longer,Ier. 25. 11. 29. 10. after which they should have li­bertie of returne to their owne Land againe. Howbeit, the weight of their misery, the absence of God, (who had cast them out of his sight) together with the insolence and crueltie of their proud oppressors, had throwne them downe so low in a disconsolate condition, that no­thing which God could either now say or doe, was suffi­cient to raise up their hearts to any assurance of returne. The same strength which Lust hath to draw men from obedience, it will surely have afterwards to drive men from beleeving, in their greatest necessities of living by faith.

The maine beame which stucke in their eyes to hin­der ther sight of deliverance promised, was, the great­nesse and invincible potency of the Chaldean Monar­chy (then in her pride) and more especially the strength of Babylon the Queene and Mistresse of that puissant Empire. How could they hope to be delivered, when she that commanded the world detained them? Shall the prey be taken from the Mightie, Isay 49. 24. or the lawfull captive de­livered?

To cure them therefore of this desperate desponsion of minde, the Lord stirred up this Prophet to foretell the totall and finall subversion and ruine of Babylon and of that whole Monarchy; and further, to declare from God that the desolation thereof, should be the dissolu­tion of the captivitie of Iudah in it. The better to as­sure them of all this, Ieremiah wrote the whole Prophecy [Page 5] against Babylon (contained in this Chapter and the next following) in a Book by it self, which he sent to Babylon by the hand of Seraiah (Lord Chamberlaine to Zedekiah, Jer. 51. 59. and now going in an Embassie from his Master to Great Nebuchadnezzar) with Command from the Prophet that, after the reading thereof to the captives, he should binde a stone unto it, and cast it into the midst of Euphrates, with this saying pronounced over it, Thus shall Babylon siake, and shall not rise, &c.

But, to hasten to my Text, In the five first verses of this Chapter, the Prophet summarily compriseth the substance of his whole Prophecy against Babylon, de­claring, 1. her destruction, 2. the Meanes, 3. the conse­quent thereof to the people of God.

And first, he makes Proclamation, and an Oiyes! as 1 it were, to all the world, to come and behold the Great Worke he was to doe against Babylon the chiefe Citie of the Empire, against Bell the chiefe Idol of that Citie, and against Merodach the glory both of that Citie and Empire; yea, though the King then reigning when God meant to destroy it, should prove as potent as that great King, the first of that name, who for restoring the de­clining Empire to her ancient Splendor, and for transla­ting the Imperiall Seat from Nineve to Babylon, was by posteritie worshipped as a God, and transferred his name to all his successors, as the name of Pharaoh to the Egyptian Kings, of Benhadad to the Syrian Monarchs, and of Augustus to the Romane Emperours. Although all these should be joyned together to withstand the downfall of that Monarchy, yet desolation should be brought over them all, they should all be confounded and removed for ever, Vers. 1, 2. and all to make way for the deliverance of the Church.

[Page 6] But what should be the meanes of such an unexpected destruction? This was to be done by an Army from the North, that is, by the Medes and Persians, both of which, but more especially the Medes, were situated towards the North from Babylon, Omne malum ab Aquilone. and therefore ominous. That these were the men, appeares more fully by their de­scription in the residue of this, and of the 51. Chapter. This Northern Army should be the confusion of Baby­lon, the confusion of Babylon should prove the restoring of the Church (vers. 3.) And the restoring of the Church should produce a Covenant with God.

3 For, behold, the issue and consequent of the ruine of Babylon was, the return of the captive Jews, from thence to Jerusalem, and a renewing Covenant with him that had shewed such mercy on them, vers. 4, 5.

For, in those dayes, and in that time, saith the Lord, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Iudah together, going and weeping, they shall goe and seek the Lord their God. They shall aske the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying, Come and let us joyne our selves to the Lord in an everlasting Covenant that shall not be forgotten. This began to be fulfilled at the end of 70. yeeres deter­mined, when the Empire was first over-run and subdued by Cyrus the Persian. 2 Chron. 36. 22. For he made Proclamation of li­bertie to returne, in the first yeere of his reigne. And when they returned, this was their deportment; they went weeping; and, to seeke the Lord their God. They goe, not so much to repossesse their ancient patrimony and inheritance, and to grow rich in the world, as to seeke aud finde the Lord their God, and that with a re­solution to enter into Covenant with Him, and such a Covenant as should never be forgotten, but daily remem­bred and carefully performed.

[Page 7] You now see the Context. Should I now divide the Text, I might shew you here

First,Actus. an Act, expressed by their industry, in setting upon a long and tedious journey to Zion. They shall aske the way to Zion. Modus.

Secondly, the manner how they manage this jour­ney, it is

  • 1. With all intention of spirit, they aske the way to Zion, with their faces thitherward.
  • 2. With fervent charitie towards, and mutuall zeale for each other, to quicken and in­flame one another to the same work, saying, Come.

Thirdly,Finis. the end of their journey which, (with so much intention of spirit and inflamed charitie, calling and crying to one another in such a manner,) they set upon; all was for this: Let us joyne our selves to the Lord in an everlasting Covenant that shall not be forgotten.

I might easily also cast out these generals of the Text into many lesser branches: but it is not now a time to trifle, or to play with a Text. Yea, I shall not distinctly prosecute all the parts already laid out, but (as the dutie of this day requireth) insist rather upon that which is the maine, and bring in the other as subordinate there­unto, by occasion afterwards, in explication of the prin­cipall point. For we see troopes in the Text bound for Zion; and, so hasty thitherward, that they salute not any man by the way, nor so much as looke aside any way: they goe with their faces thitherward: all the stay they make, is but to call others along with them, and amongst these, us, saying, Come. And, what is the businesse; the end of all this hast? Nothing but this, Let us joyne our selves [Page 8] unto the Lord in an everlasting Covenant, &c. This, how­ever it were last in execution, yet was it first in their in­tention, in the undertaking of this journey, and there­fore now must be principally insisted upon.

You see here a people loosed from the Babylonish captivitie, and returning to Zion: and, in their returne to have this in their hearts, in their mouthes, and in their endeavours, namely, upon the receipt of this mercy, to make speed to their God, to enter into a new Contract and solemne Covenant with him. So that now the chiefe, and only point of instruction which I shall re­commend to, and presse upon you, and mine own heart with you, is plainly this, that

When God vouchsafes any deliverance to his Church,The maine Observation or Doctrine. e­specially from Babylon, then is it most seasonable and most ne­cessary to close with God by a more solemne, strict, and invio­lable Covenant to be his, and only his for ever.

In prosecuting this point (wherein I resolve to be plaine, and in earnest) I shall first shew you the [...] of it, that it is so. Next, the [...], if you will, how and in what manner this must be done. Thirdly, the [...], the grounds and reasons of it: and so proceed to the Appli­cation.

For the first,1. [...] quod fit. the [...], that it is so, this will appeare, 1. More generally,That it is so. upon receipt of any deliverance. 2. More specially, upon any deliverance from Babylon above all other.

1. In generall,Proved. that this use must be made of any de­liverance, appeares both by precept,1. More ge­nerally. aud example in ho­ly Scripture. We shall carry them along together.

In Deut. 29. you shall finde Moses requiring the peo­ple to enter into a speciall Covenant with God,Exod. 19. 5. &c. beside the solemne Covenant which he made with them (and they with [Page 9] him) in Horeb. 1. That it is so, in the gene­rall. To induce them thereunto, Moses re­fresheth their memory with the repetition or represen­tation of the many deliverances God had given unto them, out of Egypt, and in the wildernesse by the space of fortie yeeres,The first so­lemne Cove­nant which they passed into, was af­ter their de­liverance out of Egypt. together with the wonders and mira­cles which he daily wrought for them. And in the seventh ver. he tels them, that when ye came into this place (that is, into the Land of Moab) Sihon the King of Heshbon, and Og the King of Bashan, came out against us unto battell, and we smote them; &c. What then? Here is deliverance upon deliverance,Vers. 1. and the inference is, Keep therefore the words of this Covenant, and doe them, vers. 9. But, that is the Covenant on Gods part, you will say? True, but that is not all. He therefore presseth them to an actuall perso­nall Covenant on their parts, and that upon considera­tion of so many deliverances. This was his maine busi­nesse with them at the Lords own command. There­fore in vers. 10. he thus bespeaks them,A second Covenant, a­bout fortie yeeres after the first, when they came neere to Ca­naan and shortly after were to enter into it. Ye stand this day all of you before the Lord your God, your Captaines of your tribes, your Elders, and your Officers, with all the men of Is­rael, your little ones, your wives, and thy stranger that is in thy Campe, from the hewer of thy wood to the drawer of thy water, That thou shouldst enter into Covenant with the Lord thy God, and into his Oath which the Lord thy God maketh with thee this day. And in vers. 14. he addeth. Neither with you only doe I make this Covenant, and this oath, but with him that standeth here with us this day before the Lord our God, and also with him that is not here with us this day. Thus you see a Covenant required, stricken, and ratifi­ed by solemne Oath of God and his people mutually to one another: they binde themselves by solemne Oath to him, as he by Oath had bound himselfe to them. Thus then it was in the time of Moses, No eminent [Page 10] deliverance went before, but a solemne Covenant fol­lowed afterAs Moses drew the peo­ple into a Co­venant before their entrance into Cana­an; so did Ioshua also, af­ter they were possessed of it, Iosh. 24. 25, 26. So did Iehoiada, upon the de­liverance of Iudah from the tyranny of that blou­dy monster Athaliah, 2 King. 11. 17.. And, To sweare a Covenant, is no new de­vice, no humane invention, nor arbitrary Action.

I will give you but one instance more (among many) of this kinde, and it is that of Asa, that good and reli­gious King of Iudah. When Zerah the Ethiopian infe­sted his kingdome with an huge army, even 1000000, and 300 Chariots, 2 Chron. 14. Asa falls to praying, God heard him; they joyned battell, Asa obtained the vi­ctory, and carryed away very much spoile. What was the issue? Another Covenant.

For, in Chap. 15. you shall finde that, presently upon this, God addresseth a Prophet to Asa, (Azariah the sonne of Oded) to tell him and the people, The Lord is with you while ye be with him. And, to encourage them to close with God, he addes, in vers. 7. Be ye strong there­fore, and let not your hands be weake: for your worke shall be rewarded. They must not only worke for God, but be strong to his worke; and that they might be so, there was no way like to that of entring into a Covenant with him. For, so Asa understood it, as appeares by the next words, where it is said, Asa, when he heard these words, tooke courage; and, although he had before done much in purging the Cities of Judah of Idolatry,2 Chron. 14. and Idols, of high places, Images, and groves, yet now he goes on to a more thorough reformation, and put away the remain­der of abominable Idols out of all the Land of Iudah and Ben­jamin and out of the Cities which he had taken from Mount Ephraim, and renewed the Altar of the Lord; for ever where Idols goe up, Gods Altars goe downe, therefore he pulleth downe the one, and setteth up the other.

And not this alone, but he offered unto the Lord a great sacrifice, and both himselfe and his people entred [Page 11] into a Covenant to seeke the Lord God of their fathers, with all their heart, and with all their soule, that whosoever would is not seeke the Lord God of Israel, should be put to death, whe­ther small or great, whether man or woman; and they sware unto the Lord with a loud voyce, and with shouting, and with trumpets, and with Cornets. And all this, immediately upon the deliverance and victory which he had obtain­ed: for, in vers. 11. it is said expressely, that they offered unto the Lord, the same time (or, in that very day) of the spoile which they had brought, 700. Oxen, and 7000. Sheepe; meaning of those, which they had carryed away from the Ethiopians that came out to battaile against them.

So that now you see another solemne Covenant entred into, not by Asa alone, but by all the people of God, a Covenant solemnized in publique by Sacrifice, by Oath, and under the highest penaltie of death it selfe to all that should not observe it.

In pursuit of which Covenant, see what he presently did. He spared not his owne Mother that regarded it not. For, when he perceived that, notwithstanding this Covenant, the Queene his Mother, Maacha, would needs retaine her puppet Gods still, and (amongst the rest) one abominable Idol, in a grove, so obscene as it is not fit to be named: (Abulensis In 3. Reg. 15. qu. 11. The Vulgar hath it in the Text, ne esset Princips in Sa­cris Pri [...]pi. observeth that it was Priapus, and conjectureth thence, that she was not only a grosse Idolatresse, but an abominable strumpet:Lyra is per­emptory for this, ibid. for, ordinarily, Idolatry and adultery, spirituall and bodily fornication goe togetherHom. against peril of Idol. par. 3. Rom. 1. 21, 22, 23, 24, &c. Wisd. 14. 23, &c. to vers. 28. Minut. Foelix in octavio A­than. orat. cont. Idol. Ter­tull. in Apo­log. cap. 15. B. Hall Con­templ. in Asa. Lorinus in Le­vit. 18. p. 536, Idem in Num. 16. pag. 572. Aliu (que) com­plures.) It is said, that he removed her from being Queene, because she had made an Idol in a grove, and Asa cut down her Idol, and stampt it, and burnt it at the brooke Kidron, vers. 16. Which passage is exprest with an emphasis, in 1 King. 15. 11. Also Maacha his Mo­ther, even Her, he removed from being Queene. Although a [Page 12] Queene, 1. That it is so. although a Mother Some sup­pose her to have been his Grand-mo­ther, others say she was his own Mo­ther, of the same name with his Grandmo­ther, which is more proba­ble, because Scripture stiles her so., yet even her he deposed from her dignitie.

This he did, and this he must doe, not only by reason of that voluntary Covenant into which he had entred, but by vertue of the speciall Command of God him­selfe, in what ever relation she had stood unto him. Yea, in Deut. 13. 6. the Law was more strict, for though she had been neerer than a Mother, even the wife of his bo­some, yet if she were an Idolater, and should entise him secretly, saying▪ Let us goe and serve other Gods, she must have been put to death, and his own hand must have been first upon her, vers. 9.

You now see the point proved in the generall, that thus it is with Gods people; upon any notable deliver­ance Yea, some­times upon consideration of Gods Judgements felt, or feared., they enter anew into solemne and strict Covenant with God.

2. But more especially ought this to be the care of the Church, when God gives her deliverance out of Babylon, out of that servitude and bondage which of all other was most heavy,2 Chro. 29. 10. and lay longest on her. See this in some instances,2 Chro. 34. 31, 32. both on Gods part ayming at this in giving deliverance,2. In spe­ciall. and on his peoples part performing this after deliverance from Babylon.

On Gods part, first. This was foreshewed under the similitude of the basket of good figs, Jer. 24. 5. There it is said by the Lord, the God of Israel, Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carryed away Captive of Iu­dah, whom I have sent out of this place into the Land of the Chaldeans for their good: for I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them againe to this Land, &c. And, in the seventh verse it followeth, I will give them an heart to know me that I am the Lord, and I will be their God: for they shall retnrne unto me with their whole heart. He will [Page 13] give them an heart to know him, 1. That it is so, in speciall. to returne, and become his people, which cannot be without a Covenant. Againe

That this is that which Gods heart is exceedingly set upon, and full of, namely, that he never meant to bring his people backe from Babylon, but upon this very con­dition (albeit it was a great while ere it was done, and therefore they thrived accordingly, as we shall shew a­non) will yet further appeare by many other passages of the Prophecy of Ieremy, to passe by sundry other Prophecies uttered by Isaiah, Micah, and others.

In Ier. 30. 18. we shall finde a Prophecy, that this should be done, (and I shall shew, by and by, that it was afterwards performed) Behold, saith the Lord, I will bring againe the captivitie of Iacobs tents, and have mercy on his dwelling places, &c. and, in vers. 21. I will cause him to draw neere, and he shall approach unto me; and then, as one assured of it, and admiring at it, he presently adds; for who is this that engaged his heart to approach unto me, saith the Lord? That is, both Governour and people, all of them should binde and engage themselves, (not their outward man alone, but even their very heart and soule also) by solemne Covenant to be the Lords. That this was the meaning, is cleare by the next verse. Ye shall be my people▪ and I will be your God. For it was such an enga­ging of their hearts, as that one should say, I am the Lords; and another shall call himselfe by the name of Iacob: and an­other shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, and sirname himselfe by the name of Israel, Vers. 31, &c. Isa. 44. 5.

So againe, in Ier. 31. the Lord having first promised to bring back the captivitie, he subjoynes; Behold, the dayes come, saith the [...]ord, that I will make a new Covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Iudah▪ not according to the Covenant which I made with their fathers▪ [Page 14] in the day that I tooke him out of the Land of Egypt, which my Covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord. But this shall be the Covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those dayes, saith the Lord, I will put my Law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and will be their God, and they shall be my people. Here is a Covenant, God begins the work, but his people follow. They imbrace the Covenant, and joyne themselves by mutuall Covenant to him. He puts his Law into their hearts, for this very purpose.

Once more. In Ier. 32. 37. there is a promise that God would gather his people out of all countries whi­ther he had cast them in his wrath, and that he would bring them back to their own place, and cause them to dwell safely. He presently addes this as the product of that mercy; they shall be my people, and I will be their God, and I will give them one heart, and one way that they may feare me for ever, &c. I will make an everlasting Covenant with them, that I will not turne away from them to do them good, but I will put my feare in their hearts that they shall not depart from me: Which words go no lesse than a solemn Covenant mutually made and strucken betweene God and his people.

Thus then you see, many plaine and pregnant places of Scripture shew, that the maine thing God on his part aymed at, and expected from his people in deliver­ing them from Babylon, was, the firme and solemne tying and engaging of themselves by a formall and effectu­all Covenant to him, and the remembring and keeping of it better than formerly they had done.

But, secondly, all these were but prophecies shewing what God foreshewed should be. Will you therefore see the thing acted, and all these promises fulfilled? True [Page 15] it is indeed that the people did not on their parts per­forme this, they entred not into such a solemne Cove­nant, so soone as deliverance was by Cyrus proclaimed; and they sped accordingly. Zorobbabel went indeed be­fore, in the first yeere of Cyrus, and laid the foundation of the Lords House: but we read of no Covenant then made. Therefore, the work was stayed, and the build­ing not finished in an 100 yeeres after, say the best Chro­nologers.

Then comes Ezra, and makes some reformation of manners; and not only so, but some Covenant he and the people entred into, Ezra 10. But that was but in a particular case (and it would be thought a strange one, to this age especially, should it now be pressed;) there were many that had trespassed against their God by ta­king strange wives of the people of the Land (that wor­shipped not the same God.) Such therefore, as now were duely touched with the sense of this sinne, desire Ezra that a solemne Covenant might now be made with God, to put away all such wives, and such as were borne of them, Vers. 3. Now, in the fifth verse, we shall finde this executed. For, Ezra arose, and made the chiefe Priests, the Levites, and all Israel to sweare that they should do accord­ing to this word, and they sware.

This was somewhat, but not enough: a partiall Co­venant, and such as came short of that intended in my Text. You shall see it more throughly performed af­terwards, in Nehemiahs time. For, after Ezra, came Ne­hemiah, and he makes a more thorough Reformation; not of mens manners only, but even of Religion also. He set up the Ordinances of God in their puritie, and tooke care in particular for the preaching of the Word. After all this, he and all the people entred into a so­lemne [Page 16] Covenant, and that at the time of a publique Fast? And this brings it home to the businesse we are now about. For, as they entred into Covenant upon receipt of such a deliverance, so they did it at the time of a solemne Fast. This will appeare throughout the whole ninth Chapter of Nehemiah, where it is first said, that the Children of Israel were assembled with fasting, and with sack-cloath, and with earth upon them: they separated themselves from strangers, they stood and confessed their sinnes, and the iniquities of their fathers. They justified God in all his proceedings against them, and in all the evils he had brought upon them. They acknow­ledged that neither they, their Princes, people, or fa­thers had kept the Law; they had not served God in that Kingdome he had bestowed upon them. Behold, say they, vers. 36. We are servants this day, and for the Land that thou gavest unto our fathers, to eate the fruit thereof, and the good thereof, behold we are servants in it, And it yeeldeth much encrease unto the Kings whom thou hast set over us, because of our sinnes: also they have dominion over our bodies, and over our cattell at their pleasure, and we are in great distresse. And because of all this, we make a sure Covenant, in the last verse) and write it, and our Princes, Levites, and Priests seale unto it.

Now here is the full accomplishment of that you have in my Text. What in the Text is set down by way of Prophecy, you here see acted in the History. In Nehe­miahs time, they come home unto it. And if you look into the tenth Chapter, you shall see who sealed this Co­venant: first, the Princes, the Officers, the Magistrates of the Kingdome, the Parliament men, if you will so call them; and then the rest of the people. And what is the substance of their Covenant? They entred into a curse, [Page 17] and into an Oath, 2. How it is so. to walke in Gods Law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the Com­mandements of the Lord their God, and his Iudgements, and Statutes, vers. 29.

Here then is their Covenant: you see also with what solemnitie it was made and ratified; by subscribing of hands, and setting to of their Seales, by an Oath, and by a curse; binding themselves by all the most solemne and strongest bonds that possibly they could; and all this in Publique, and at a Publique Fast. So that now the point is cleare, That it is so, and that the practise of Gods peo­ple hath ever been, upon any great deliverance, especi­ally from Babylon, to enter into solemne Covenant with the Lord.

Come we to the second branch propounded,2. [...], Quomodo sit. How this is to be done. which is the [...], shewing, in what manner this Covenant must be made, and how men are to joyne themselves to the Lord in this action.

This I shall demonstrate out of the bowels of the Text it self: for therein may you see somewhat requi­red, In a three-fold respect. 1. By way of disposition or preparation to it. 2. In re­spect of the substance of it. 3. In regard of the proper­ties belonging to it. These being opened, I shall give you a full view of this Text, and performe my promise before made unto you.

The first thing to be unfolded is,1. Of the disposition re­quisite to strike a Co­venant with God. Whereunto is required the disposition or pre­paration to the Covenant; and this appeares in two things, 1. In seeking seriously the face of God, They shall aske the way to Zion. 2. In the manner of their addresse unto him, with their faces thitherward, saying, Come.

1. The first thing requisite to dispose, 1. The asking the way to Zion. qualifie, and prepare men to strike a Covenant with God, is a serious and humble seeking of the face of God. They shall aske [Page 18] the way to Zion. 2. How this is to be done. And there first a word of the place to­ward which they were bound; secondly, of their con­tending and repaire to it, under that expression of asking the way thither.

The place, was Zion, where first (though it be but a Criticisme, it is yet not unnecessary to be taken notice of, because the word is often pronounced, and written amisse, which may cause ambiguity touching the place) you must put a difference between Sihon or Sion, and Zion: (for these were two different places, and are written in the originall with two different Letters, the former with [...] the other with [...]) you must not here understand this, [...] of the former, namely, of Mount Sihon, which is all one with Hermon, situate in the utmost con­fines of Israel North-East-ward, neere unto Jordan, (Deut. 4. 48.) but conceive it to be meant of [...] or Zion in Hierusalem, which was once the strong hold of the Jebusites, and held out longer unsubdued than any Peece belonging to that people. For, when Israel un­der the Conduct of Ioshua had conquered Iebus, after cal­led Hierusalem, yet could they not winne Zion in it. Zion was a strong Castle or Fort, erected upon a rocky mount, toward the South-west part of the Citie, over­looking all the rest; and that the Jebusites, having a­boundantly fortified and victualled it, still held, all the dayes of Ioshua, and long after, albeit the Israelites pos­sessed the rest of the Citie, Iosh. 15. 63. But afterwards when David came against it, even that strong hold (which the Jebusites thought to be so invincible, that, in scorne of him and his siege, they set up only a few blind & lame people on the walles to defend it) he conquered and called it the Citie of David, because after he had wonne it, himself dwelt in it, 2 Sam. 5. 7. This, for the Topography.

[Page 19] Then, you must know further, that, by Zion is some­times meant the whole city of Hierusalem, by a Synech­doche; sometimes it was taken for the place of Gods Worship in the holy city, or rather with reference to his Worship and presence there: for that City being the Capitall City of the Kingdome, where Thrones were set for Iudgement, was also the speciall place which God chose to place his name in: there, were the Altars placed for Gods worship, and thither the Tribes went up to worship, because there God pleased to manifest his more speciall presence, and to command the blessing for evermore. Thi­ther therefore these returning Captives repaired; even unto Zion, the Watch Towre, as St Hierome interprets it, whence God in speciall manner watched over his people for Good: there they seek his face, and enquire of him, before they presume to enter Covenant with him.

Now, their addresse to this place, is set forth in this Text, by asking the way to Zion. The word [...] From [...] to beseech or pray. though it sometimes import the demanding of a thing which is a point of Justice or equity to give, (as Gen. 34. 14.) yet is it usually applyed to note the seeking of some thing by humble prayers and intreaties: so as it is not seldome put for prayer it selfe, 2 Chro: 20. 4. and, some­times for an earnest & humble enquiry after some thing we know not, (Num: 27. 21. Deut: 13. 14.) that we may be directed aright, and pursue the direction with effect: So here, They aske the way to Zion, and that of God, not onely to seek of him a right way for them by fast­ing and prayer, Ezra 8. 21. but, as resolving that some­what should be done, that they would walke in it, and appeare before God in Zion: for, so much is intended here as is expressed more fully elsewhere, viz. in Isay 2. verse 2, 3. Mic. 4. 1, 2. where they not onely call [Page 20] on each other to undertake, but they also performe the journey, going up to the mountaine of the Lord. So the Pro­phet Zachary, the inhabitants of one City shall goe to a­nother, saying, Let us goe speedily to pray before the Lord, and to seeke the Lord of Hosts, I will goe also: yea, many peo­ple and strange nations shall come to seeke the Lord of Hosts in Hierusalem, and to pray before the Lord. Zach. 8. 21. 22. And how goe they? not sleightly, carelessely, proudly, but in all humility, yea (as in the verse before my Text) even with weeping, they shall seeke the Lord their God with deepe humiliation and godly sorrow for all those sinnes whereby they had formerly broken his Covenant, and for which he had entred upon the forfeiture, and laid those heavy afflictions upon their Loines. Going, and weeping, they shall goe to seeke their God in Zion. The very same thing was foretold before (to shew the neces­sity of the duty) touching Israel. Ier. 31. 9. They shall come with weeping, and with suplications will I lead them. So then, this is the first thing in this worke to dispose and prepare men for the Covenant; namely, to aske the way to Zion, by a serious, humble, affectionate inquiring and seeking after God in his Ordinances, even with ma­ny prayers and teares, that he would be pleased to ac­cept them.

Secondly,2. In regard of the manner. the manner of their addresse is as necessary as the former. It is not every manner that will serve the turne. It must be done with all intention of spirit in regard of themselves, and with fervent Charity towards others. For, they must aske the way to Zion with their faces thi­therward, saying Come.

Their intention and fervency of spirit wherewith they set upon this worke,That is, 1. With in­tention of Spi­rit. is set forth under that Hebraisme of asking the way to Zion with their faces thitherward. This [Page 21] phrase is usually an expression of the greatest intention, fervency, and contention of mind that can be, in the pursuit of any businesse on foote, or of any way wherein a man is going. Such a phrase you have in Luke 9. 51. where it is said of Christ, that he stedfastly set his face to goe to Hierusalem, or▪ as if he would goe to Hierusalem: for which cause the Samaritanes would not receive him, ver. 53. that is, they would not entertayne him with any re­spect, because, that stedfast setting of his face towards Hierusalem [...] manifested, by his very countenance and aspect, that, where ever his body was, his heart was at Hierusalem (which the Samaritanes could not brooke) and that nothing in the world could take him off from that journey, or, so farre prevaile with him, as to make him linger,He will no longer turne aside hither and thither, and goe about their villages and Cities. Tit. Bost. in Luc. 9. or loyter upon the way; no entreaties, feare, shame, nor anything could stay him, but, obstinata et im­perterritamente locum petiit, as it is exprest by Bede. He was no way afraid, or ashamed to be seene and knowne whither he was bound, and what he was going about.

When therefore it is here said, they shall aske the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, the thing meant thereby, is, that they shall set upon this work with their whole heart, with their whole man, without any feare, or being ashamed, or unwilling to owne the businesse: but, they shall doe it thoroughly and affectionately without wavering, lingring, halting: they shall doe it boldly, presently, openly, indefatigably and continual­ly. In a word, whatsoever can be sayd, or thought upon, to set forth the utmost intention of a mans Spirit in any worke that his heart is most set upon, and that he would lay out his life and all he hath upon, for the accomplish­ment of it; that was the resolution, & care of these peo­ple, & must be ours: this is to aske the way to Zion with [Page 22] Our faces thitherward. And without this, no entring into Covenant with God. This is, for substance no other (though otherwise expressed) than that of the people in Asa his time, when they sware the Covenant before mentioned, 2 Chron. 15. where it is said, they did it with all their heart, and with all their soule, and exprest it by the loudnesse of their voyces, and with shoutings, &c: re­joycing at the Oath, because they had sworne with all their hearts, and sought him with their whole desire, vers. 15. Men that will stand disputing, consulting with flesh and bloud, and casting about how the entring into such a Covenant may consist with their profits, honours, lusts, designes, relations, &c. are no fit Covenanters for God. His people shall be willing, Psal. 110 3. their heart, minde, spirit, body, countenance, all, shall professe, and pro­claime this to the whole world, that they are for God, for a Covenant, for putting themselves into the strongest bonds that can possibly be thought on to bind them hand and foot, soule and body to the Lord for ever.

2. Nor is this all.2. With cha­ritie towards others. For, the men in my Text, content not themselves to be thus earnestly addicted to the worke in their own particulars; but, (as one stick kin­dles another) they desire to kindle the same flame of af­fection in others also, and mutually to blow up the coales in one another, saying, Come.

This notes the fervency of their Charitie towards o­thers also. For, 'tis not here brought in as a formalitie, or complement, but as the evidence of a strong desire to draw as many others as they can to the same journey, and (if it be possible) to keep the same pace with them, as being most unwilling to leave any behind them. This indeed is true Love, unfained Charitie, to draw all we [Page 23] can along with us unto God. True Converts, when once they returne themselves, they cause others to returne also. And this was often prophecyed as a thing which should certainly be: Witnesse all those places in Isay 2. Mic. 4. and Zach. 8. before quoted. So then all these things are requisite, and previous to the Act of Cove­nanting with God. There must be a seeking to God with true humiliation, a seeking of him with all intenti­on of spirit, and with all manifestations of a resolution not to be terrified from, daunted at, or ashamed of the worke: yea, with fervent Charitie to draw others into the same Covenant also. Thus much for the disposition previous to the Covenant.

2. The next thing considerable in the [...] is,2. The Sub­stance of the Covenant. the Substance of the Covenant it self. Let us joyne our selves to the Lord, in a Covenant.

Two things here must be opened;Both in re­spect, the matter, and the forme of this solemne action.

1. The matter of this Act is set forth under this ex­pression, 1. Of the matter. Let us joyne our selves to the Lord. The original word [...] (from [...]) is very emphatical; so as that word, being explained, will sufficiently set out before you the nature of the Covenant here intended. Some Translators render it, Let us glue our selves unto the Lord; which imports a conjuction so neere, as nothing can come between, and so firme, as nothing can dissolve. But more particularly, the verb here used is in Scripture applyed to a double sense, or to denote two things: both of which being set together, will fully discover what it is to be joyned to the Lord in Covenant.

First, it signifyeth the binding of a mans self to the Usurer, of whom he hath borrowed money, to pay backe both principall and interest. So it is used in [Page 24] Nehem. 5. 4. where the people complaine, We have bor­rowed money [...], for the Kings tribute, and that upon our Lands and Vineyards. That is, they had engaged both Lands and Vineyards for securitie of the money bor­rowed, that the Usurer should enter upon all, in case they failed of payment at the day. So that, as men, to make sure, will have a Statute Staple, or recognisance in the nature of a Statute Staple, acknowledged, whereby a mans person, goods, lands, and all, are bound for the securitie of the Creditor, that he shall have both principall and interest at the day agreed upon (and here that of Solo­mon proves too true, The borrower is servant to the lender: for, he hath nothing left to his own dispose; if he would sell any Land, settle any joyncture, there is a Statute up­on it, he can dispose of nothing till that be taken off;) so it is in the case of any man joyning himself to the Lord by Covenant, he must even bind himself to God as firmely, as fully, as the poore borrower, who for his necessitie takes up money, binds himself to the Usurer. If God lend him any mercy, any blessing, he binds him­self to restore not only the principall (the blessing it self) when God shall call for it; but even the interest too; I meane, all possible homage, service, and honour which becomes those who have received so great a be­nefit.

This is more than implyed in that parable of our Sa­viour touching the talents dispensed, Matth. 25. 27. for even to him who had received but one talent, was it said, Thou oughtest to have put my money to the Exchangers, that at my coming I might have received mine own with usu­ry. God will have his returne, some interest, for every mercy; and expects a Statute Staple, that is, a Covenant, for his better securitie. God will have him bound, soul, [Page 25] body, estate, life and all; so as all he is, and hath, shall be forfeited, if he do not keep touch, and make pay­ment according to agreement and Covenant made be­tween them. This is the first use of the word, nilvu.

Secondly, there is yet more in it. For, though it be true that the obligation of a borrower to the usu­rer be as strong as bonds and Statutes can make it; yet, there is not such an entire, neere, firme, and lasting tye of the borrower to the Lender, nor such a thorough in­terest in the whole estate of the Usurer, as there is of him that is in Covenant with God. The Usurer, though he bind the poor borrower fast to him, yet he keeps him at distance, not giving him interest in, or use of any o­ther part of his estate, but only of the summe borrowed. But now this joyning of our selves to the Lord, is such, as is made by marriage; and gives interest in all that the Lord is, and hath, and admits us to the participation of all the most intimate, neerest, choysest expressions of the dee­rest Love of God, which is or can be found between the husband and the wife, who are joyned together by the bond of marriage, and made one flesh.

So the word is used, Gen. 29. 34 where Leah, being delivered of her third sonne, Levi, thus saith to the women about her, Now this time will my husband be joyn­ed [...] unto me, because I have born him three sonnes. That is, now shall my husband be more arctly united to me in all love, and in all demonstrations of it, and that in the most free, full, and intimate way of expression that possibly can passe between those who are coupled together in so neere a relation.

So then, lay both these together, and you have a cleare view of this joyning of our selves to the Lord by Co­venant. He that enters into Covenant with God, doth [Page 26] not only bind himself, as the needy borrower to the Co­vetous Vsurer, for a time; but, as the wife to the hus­band, to be wholly his for ever, without any reservation, limitation, or termination, till death dissolve the bond. As the wife hath interest in the goods, estate, and per­son of the husband; and all that he hath is hers: so by this joyning of our selves to the Lord, He becomes ours, as well as we become his, and both are mutually con­joyned to each other by an indissoluble bond for ever. All the power, wisdome, goodnesse, mercy, grace, glo­ry, that the Great God hath to communicate to the creature, is now assured and made over to every soule that thus engageth himself unto him. And on the other side, all the wit, strength, industry, wealth, honour, friends, life, and all that this man hath, he makes over, and resignes up actually, totally, absolutely, and for ever unto the Lord, to serve and honour him withall; and that with all his heart, and with his whole desire; to have nothing, to do nothing, to be nothing but for the Lord, though all the world be against him for it. This I take to be the full latitude of the Covenant, for the Matter of it.

2. Touching the forme of this Act of joyning our selves to the Lord, 2. In regard of the forme. it is expressed in the word [...] the Covenant. A Covenant is nothing else but an agree­ment or bargaine between two or moe persons, and ra­tified (ordinarily) by some externall solemnitie, or rites that may testifie and declare the agreement, and ratifie it, whereby it becomes unalterable. Therefore it is, that among the varietie of ratifications of Covenants mentioned in Scripture, still there is somewhat of out­ward solemnitie reported to have been used at the ma­king of them, to strike the bargaine thorough.

[Page 27] Sometimes they were made by Sacrifice, Psal. 50. 5. sometimes by Oath, Deut. 29. sometimes by an Oath, and a curse, Neh. 10. 29. sometimes by subscription of their hands,Isay. 44. 5. sometimes by sealing it with their seales also:Neh. 9. ult. Sometimes by all these, and by what ever else might most firmely & inviolable knit men unto God. And as it was then, so must it be still. To strike a Co­venant, is not, in a private or publique prayer only, to goe to God and say, Lord I will be thine, I here enter into a Covenant with thee, be thou a witnesse of it, &c. but it is, to stand and make it publiquely before the Lord, by some speciall solemnitie that may witnesse it to all the world, as Iosiah 2 Chro. 34. 31., Asa, and all the Godly ever did; (even as in in entring into bonds, or as in solemnizing of matri­mony, men use to doe) Whether by the Sacrament of the Lords Supper, by fasting, or by ought else, whereby they may become so firmely and arctly joyned to the Lord, that they may not only be no longer sui juris, to depart away from the Living God; but, not so much as to sit loose from God, or to stand in any termes of in­differency, which might leave them at libertie to serve, or not to serve God in any dutie, how difficult, or dan­gerous soever. And thus have you the Substance of the Covenant opened.

3. Take we now a short view of the properties of this Covenant,3. The Pro­perties of the Covenant, which are two. and they are two; perpetuitie and heedfulnesse.

1. It must be an everlasting Covenant, in regard of continuance. In the Originall it is [...], a Cove­nant of Ages. 1. It must be everlasting for continu­ance. And the 72 Interpreters render it to the same purpose, [...], that is, such a Covenant as no time shall terminate, till they who make it cease to be. Some understand this of engaging themselves to stick close to him in the due celebration of his Legal [Page 28] worship, so long as he should continue it in his Church, (which was till, Shiloh came) without those mixtures, wherein formerly they had been too bold, and for which God had spewed them out of his Church, and hurled them as farre as Babylon. Others conceive it to be meant of the Covenant of Grace that God had sealed to them in the bloud of his Sonne. But, neither of these are ful. For, it is clearly meant of an Act of theirs towards God, whereby they bind themselves to him, and that not for a definite time only, but for ever.

It is such a binding, as that of the borrower to the U­surer, whom nothing can satisfie but full payment. Or rather, such a closing with God, as is that of the wife to the husband, called, in particular reference to the nup­tiall knot, the Covenant of her God, Prov. 2. 17. She must be his for ever; that is, so long as she liveth, Rom. 7. So that, for men to bind themselves by an everlasting Cove­nant to the Lord, is to bind themselves never to step out from him to Idols, to their base lusts, to any creature, in any strait, upon any occasion, or tentation whatsoever; nor, with the dog, to returne any more to their vomit of any kind. They are in Covenant as the wife to the husband; for they are marryed unto the Lord for ever, Hos. 2.

2. It must be heeded and minded; 2. It must be heeded, and not forgotten. else, it will be to small purpose to be so lasting. It must be a Covenant that shall not be forgotten.

A Covenant, quod non tradetur oblivioni; as Tremelius well: that is, that shall not be cast behind their backs. It is but a plaine mockery for men so to enter Covenant with God, as young Gallants enter into bonds to the Usurer, never thinking more of them, till the day of payment be past, and the Sergeant ready to attach them. Vnto the [Page 29] wicked saith God, what hast thou to do to take my Covenant into thy mouth, seeing thou castest my words behind thee? Psal. 50. Only they rightly performe this dutie, who so joyne themselves to the Lord, as to remember, and minde the obligation they have sealed. As a poore man that meanes honestly, if he be necessitated to take up mo­ney upon his bond, he can hardly eate, walke, sleep, do any thing, be in any company, but that still his minde runs upon the obligation and day of payment: he com­plaines he is in debt, he hath given bond for so much money, and all his care is how to pay his debts, or to get longer time; so it is with a Godly man that hath entred Covenant with the Lord, he hath sealed a bond, and he knows it must be satisfied, or it will be put in suit. There­fore he beares it in minde, he is alwayes casting about how he may performe, and keep touch with God. I will ne­ver forget thy precepts, saith David, I have inclined mine heart to performe thy Statutes alwayes, even unto the end, Psal. 119. 112. This is one expression.

Againe, It is a Covenant to be remembred, as that of the wife, whereby she stands bound to her husband: she must ever remember it. It is the note of an harlot to forget the Covenant of her God. Prov. 2. 17. The chaste wife will so remember the marriage bond, that if she be solicited to unfaithfulnesse, to uncleannesse, &c. she ever hath this in her thoughts, that she hath given herself wholly a­way to an husband, and is bound to keep her only unto him during life; & this makes her to be even an impreg­nable wall against all assaults that might otherwise draw her to folly. So must it be in the case in hand: The Co­venant must still be in the heart, and in the memory. In every action of a mans life, in every passage and turn­ing of his estate and condition, in every designe or en­gagement, [Page 30] this must not be forgotten; viz. ‘I have en­tred into Covenant with God, as a wife with her hus­band; will that I am now doing, or going about, stand with my Covenant? Is this to performe Covenant with God? &c.’ If he be solicited to uncleannesse, to fraud, oppression, any evill whatsoever, this still runs in his minde, There is a Covenant between me and the Lord, I am bound from such courses by the strongest bonds; How then can I commit this great wickednesse, and sinne against God?

What was it for which Iudah, Psal. 78. 10. and Israel became Cap­tives, but the breach of the Covenant? They kept not the Covenant of God, saith the Psalmist. And, how so? Be­cause they did not remember it. As they soone forgot his workes, so it was not long ere they forgot God their Saviour himselfe too; and then no marvaile, if, at the next bout, they forgot his Covenant also, Psal. 106. He then, that would not breake Covenant, must not forget it; but mind, and performe it. Otherwise, it is like vowing unto God, and not paying, Eccles. 5. which is worse than not to vow at all.

Thus have I dispatcht the Second generall, the [...], and shewed you how and in what manner this Covenant must be striken: first, in regard of the disposition and pre­paration of the Soule unto it, it must be with serious seek­ing the face of God & humbling the soule before hand; it must be with all intention & earnestnes, with fervent Love and charity to draw others the same way. Next, in regard of the Covenant it self, it must be an act & firm joyning and binding our selves the Lord, as of the borrower to the Lender; of the wife to the husband; and that by some so­lemne Act, which may testifie it to all the world, and be a witnesse against us, if we keep it not. And all this, third­ly for properties, must be of everlasting continuance, and [Page 31] had in continuall remembrance, so as it may be continually performed of all that make it.

3. I proceed to the third and last branch,3. [...] Cu [...] sit. the [...], the Grounds and reasons why, The Grounds, why it is so. These are of 2 sorts. viz. upon receit of any deliverance, but more especially from Babylon, people should enter into such a covenant with God. And these respect delive­rances eitherin generall, or from Babylon in speciall.

1. The reasons why this must be done,1. Why, for a­ny delive­rance in gene­rall. upon any deli­verance in generall, are these.

1. Because God,1 God at such times gives clearest evi­dence of his readinesse to enter Cove­nant with us. at no time so much as when he be­stowes upon his people some notable deliverance, gives such cleere hints and demonstrations of his willingnesse to strike an everlasting Covenant with them. No sooner had the Lord delivered Israel out of Egypt, but within 3. Moneths after, he commanded Moses to tell the peo­ple from him; Ye have seene what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on Eagles wings, and brought you out unto my selfe. Now therefore if ye will obey my voyce and keep my Covenant, then yee shall be apeculiar treasure unto me above all people. Exod. 19. 1. and verse 4, 5. God himselfe, you see, was now earnest for a Covenant.

It is the nature of God, where he bestowes one bene­fit, to adde moe, and still to rise in his blessings. Where he once opens his hand to take a people into his prote­ction, he opens his heart to take them into his bosome. Where he puts forth his power to rescue a people, he puts out his heart to make them his owne, if then they have eyes to discerne the opportunity. See this most excel­lently demonstrated Ier. 32. from ver. 37. to the 42. His gathering them from their Captivity, first warmes, then melts, and after inflames his heart towards them, ma­king it even then to glow as it were upon them, & to be­come restlesse till he have bestowed himselfe wholly on [Page 32] them by solemne Covenant to be their God for ever.3. Why it is so, in the gene­rall.

Now then, shall God, at such a time, be so willing and desirous to enter Covenant with men, and shall they think it too much for them to be in Covenant with him? Shall he be fast bound to them, and they left free to sit loose from him? Indeed, this is that which our cor­rupt nature would willingly have: People would faine be their owne men; which yet in truth, is, to be the grea­test slaves. Necessary therefore it is for men, upon receit of any deliverance, to renew Covenant with God who is pleased to honour them so farre, as to be in Covenant with them. For, these two are relatives, and ever goe to­gether, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. God is not the God of any people but of his owne Covenant-Servants. The rest, he stiles, Lo-ammi. Hos. 1. 9. for yee are not my people, saith he, and I will not be your God. They will not enter into Covenant with me, and I will make no Covenant with them. That is the first reason.

2. As God is pleased to enter into Covenant with his people,2. God is content to be bound first. so is he first in the Covenant. God requires no man to bind himself by Covenant to Him, till the Lord first strike a Covenant with his Soule. As we love him, be­cause he loved us first; so we enter into Covenant with him, because he first entreth into Covenant with us. I will be their God, he is first bound, and seales first; and then, and not till then, it followes; they shall be my people. This is the constant tenor of the Covenant. And shall he begin, and we think much to follow? Can there be a marriage consummated where onely the man is first mar­ried to the woman, and the woman will not after, for her part, be married to the man? Now, God no way so much declares his willingnesse to be in Covenant, and to be first in it, as by deliverances (as we shall see more in the [Page 33] next reason:) great reason therefore, men should then second him by mutuall stipulation. It is an hard case, when men will not follow, where God leades.

3. In deliverances God more especially manifesteth his fidelity in keeping Covenant with his people,3. In delive­rances God more especi­ally manifest­eth his fidelity in the Grand Covenant. even when they have broken Covenant with him, and forfeited all into his hands. When God delivers a people out of any straite, doth not that usually suppose some folly of theirs going before, & provoking him to cast them into that affliction;Psal. 107. whence, upon their cry, he is pleased to deliver them?

And when they have so farre and so long broken the Lawes, and contemned the Counsel of the most high, and dealt unfaithfully in his Covenant, as that he hath bin even compelled to throw them into darknesse and the shadow of death: yet if then, upon their humiliation, he be pleased to deliver them out of all their distresses; this is to give them fresh experience of his infinite love in Keeping Covenant and mercy with them, that kept no Covenant with him. This is called a remembring of his Covenant with his people, after that their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, Levit. 26. 41 42. and that they accept of the punishment of their iniquity, when God should have cast them out of their land, among their enemies, as afterward he did. So that, in a deliverance, that which is most predomi­nant in God, and should be most sweet and pretious to his people and most eyed by them, is his fidelity, mer­cy, and unchangeable Love in bringing out that Cove­nant he once made with them, and spreading it before himselfe, and making of it good, even when they could not exspect it, nor durst to plead it. Hence that passio­nate speech of God to rebellious Ephraim. Ier. 31. 20. Is Ephraim my deare sonne? is he a pleasant child? As if he should have [Page 34] said, surely he cannot conclude so; yet, my love, by vertue of the ancient Covenant betwen us, makes me still so to account him: witnesse that which followes; for since I spake against him, (that is, as resolving to cast him off for ever) I remember him still, (I remember I am in Covenant with him,) therefore my bowels are troubled for him, I wil surely have mercy upon him, saith the Lord. Thus, deliverance is a thread drawne out of the bowells of his Covenant. Great reason therefore that, in this case, his people should think of renewing their league and Cove­nant with the Lord on their parts, when they have so shamefully broken it, and yet he goes on in so much mercy to manifest his fidelity in remembring and keeping the Couenant on his part, by giving them deliverance.

Againe, fourthly and lastly,4 No complete deliverance and happi­nesse, without a Covenant. All our hopes of a full deliverance, of complete happinesse, will be delayed, if not frustrate; and, the next deliverance will stick in the birth, and want strength to bring forth, if we come not up to a Covenant for deliverances already received. If God have delivered us once, he will do it no more: or, if he do somewhat, to hold us up by the chin that we sink not, yet will he hold us down from the throne, that we reigne not, till we come up actually and fully in this point of Covenanting with him. It is only to those that take hold of his Covenant, that he gives an everlasting name which shall not be cut off, Isay 56. 4, 5.

He that hath obtained most and greatest deliver­ances, will, ere long, stand in need of more. Now, one thing is necessary to draw down more, and to move God to command (further) deliverances for Iacob; yea, to powre out his whole bosome into the laps of his people, and to crowne all deliverances and blessings received, with this assurance, that he that hath delivered, will yet [Page 35] again deliver; 3. Why it is so and that is, to enter into a solemne Cove­nant with the Lord, upon consideration of what he hath done already, how ever he should please to deale with us for the future, or for removing any present pressures that lye upon us.See Iudges 10. from vers. 9. to vers. 17. Although God begin to deliver, yet he will never perfect the deliverance, till this be done. The people which returned from Babylon, found God to keep touch with them, to a day. So soone as the 70. yeeres determined, their captivitie was dissolved, and somewhat was done, the foundation of the Lords house was laid, but the building went slowly up, the reforma­tion of Church and State went heavily on; and, they were never in a thriving condition, till Nehemiah, by the good hand of God, lighted upon this course. Some Fasts they had kept before, yea very many; but they never thrived, till he added to their publique and so­lemne Fasting, the fastening of them to God by a solemne Covenant. Then, the worke of Reformation, and esta­blishment, went on merrily, then they prospered. Thus farre the Reasons concluding for a Covenant, upon re­ceit of deliverances in generall.

2. The Reasons inducing us thereunto,2 Why, for de­liverance from Babylon, in speci­all. upon deli­verance from Babylon in particular, are these.

1. Because Babylon (after once the Church was put under her power) had alwayes been the most insolent, heavy,1. Babylon hath ever been the sorest enemy. bitter, bloudy enemy that ever the Church felt. The violence of Babylon was unsupportable, her inso­lency intolerable, her bloud-thirstinesse insatiable. Hence the Church is bold to challenge all the world to match her misery under the yoke of Babylon; Behold, and see, if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me, (that is, by the heavy hand of Babylon) in the day of his fierce wrath, Lam. 1. 12.

[Page 36] This was so sore,3. Why it is so, in speciall. that it hath been by some Fathers, and others, conceived to be the fullest and most lively typicall expression of that matchlesse agony and extre­mitie which our Lord himselfe (hanging upon the Crosse) sustained, when he bare all our sinnes, and the wrath of God due to us for them, so farre as to make a full satisfaction to the Justice of his Father, in behalfe of all his people.

And, as it was with old Babylon, so it is, and ever will be with the new, (I meane, mysticall Babylon) to the end of the world; might she so long continue. Even she also delights in no other drink but the bloud of the Saints, as you shall finde in Rev. 17. 5. where the very name written upon her forehead sufficiently sets out her nature: Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of har­lots and abominations of the earth. And, what of her? I saw, saith Saint Iohn, the woman drunken with the bloud of the Saints, and with the bloud of the Martyrs of Iesus: and when I saw her, I wondred with great admiration, vers. 6. And well he might. A woman, and drunk! And, if drunk, would no liquor suffice, but bloud! no bloud, but that of Saints and Martyrs! She is never in her element, but when she is swimming in bloud. So insatiable is she, that like the horse-leeches daughter, she never saith, it is enough.

Therefore, when God gives any deliverance from thence, there is more than ordinary cause to close with the Lord, in a more solemne and extraordinary manner, giving him the praise and glory of so great a mercy. But then more especially, when God works out the full deliverance of his Church, by the totall, and finall ruine of Babylon. Oh then, then is the time when all the peo­ple in heaven must sing Hallelujah; ascribing, salvation, and honour, and power unto the Lord our God, Revel. 19. 1. [Page 37] And againe, Hallelujah, vers. 3. as if they could never sufficiently expresse themselves to God for such a deli­verance, such a mercy, such a vengeance.

2. Againe.2. Such a de­liverance im­plyes more than ordinary breach of Covenant on our parts, for which God formerly put us under such a yoke. When God delivereth from Babylon, there is more than ordinary cause of entring into so­lemne Covenant with him, because the very subjecting of the Godly under that iron yoke, argues more than ordinary breach of Covenant with the Lord in time past, which stirred him up to deale so sharply with them as to put them under the power of Babylon. The Pro­vocation was exceeding great, too much to be endured even by infinite Patience it selfe: else, the People of God had never been cast into such a furnace. It was for such a fault as dissolved the very marriage knot between God and his people: it was for going a whoring from him. For this it was, that God first put away Israel, giving her a Bill of divorce, Ier. 3. 8. And for this it was, that he afterwards cast Iudah also out of his sight, 2 King. 17. 19, 20. And as it was in former times, so in later Ages of the world. What was the reason that so many millions of soules have been exposed to the butchery of Anti­christ in Mysticall Babylon, and to be so hood-winckt and blinded by strong delusions, as to beleeve nothing but lyes; even that Great, Great soul-killing Lye, that they might be damned? Saint Paul tells us, it was this; They received not the love of the trueth that they might be saved, but had pleasure in unrighteousnesse, 2 Thess. 2. What un­righteousnesse? Is it meant of every unrighteousnesse (that is in the nature of it damnable) which is to be found in the world? Surely no: but (signanter) of that unrighteousnesse whereby men turned the truth of God into a lye, Rom. 1. that is, by corrupting the true worship of the true God, and afterwards falling off to down-right [Page 38] Idolatry, even within the pales of the Church it self.

Most of you are well seene in the History of the Church, and can soone, point with your finger to the times wherein Babylon began to besiege Hierusalem, and Antichrist began to pull of his vizzard, in the Churches of Christ: even then, when Pictures and Images began first to be set up in Churches, for remembrance; then, for ornament; then, for instruction too; and at last, for ado­ration and worship. Then, God suffered her to be over-run, and over-spred by Babylon, as by an hideous opacum or thick darknesse, and to be exposed and prostituted to all manner of whoredomes and filthinesse: so as the slavery of the Jewish Church in old Babylon, was scarce a flea-biting, in comparison of the miseries of the Church Christian under the New, which makes havock and mer­chandise not of the bodies only, but even of the soules of men, Revel. 18. 13.

Now then, when God pleaseth to deliver a people from such bondage, and to awaken them effectually to look up, and to reflect even with astonishment upon those great and gastly sins of theirs which had cut asun­der the cords of the Covenant between God and their Soules, and provoked God to subject them to so much bondage; and, that they must either renew Covenant, or be obnoxious to more wrath, and be laid open to more and greater temptations and sins; this cannot but exceedingly work upon their souls, causing their hearts to melt, and their very bowels to yearne after the Lord, to enter into a new, an everlasting Covenant that shall ne­ver be forgotten.

This is that which God by his servant Ezekiel, spake touching the deportment of the remnant of Israel, which should escape the sword among the nations and [Page 39] countries whither they had been carryed captives, Ezek. 6. 9. They should, upon such a deliverance, remember God, not only with griefe, but resolution also to joyne themselves to him more firmely in a perpetuall Cove­nant. For, of them, he saith there; they that escape of you shall remember me among the nations, because I am broken with their whorish heart which hath departed from me, and with their eyes which goe a whoring after their idols, and they shall loth themselves for the evils which they have commit­ted in all their abominations: And of the same people he saith, afterwards,cap. 11. 18, 19, 20. that, upon their returne home, They shall take away all the detestable things, and all the abomina­tions thereof from thence. And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them, I will take away the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them an heart of flesh, that they they may walke in my Statutes, and keep mine ordinan­ces, and doe them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God. So that here is a full Covenant striken, and that upon this ground: viz. the Consideration of those great sinnes they formerly committed, whereby they had broken their first Covenant and departed from their God.

So farre the Reasons, and Grounds of the point; I shall now as breifly as I can, endeavour to bring home, and set on all by some Application, which I shall reduce to 3. heads, namely to matter of Reproofe, Information and Exhortation. Application Threefold For, if, When God vouchsafeth any deliverance to his people, especially from Babylon, it be most seasonable and necessary to close with him, by a more solemne, firme, and in­violable Covenant, to be onely his forever: Then,

1. How may this reprove,1. Vse, ofs Re­proofe. and condemne of great in­gratitude and folly, many sorts of men among us, that are farre from making any such use of the deliverances [Page 40] which God hath wrought for them. O beloved! Should I but give you a Catalogue of the many, great, stupen­dious, and even miraculous deliverances which God hath given us; the personall deliverances he hath often given to each of us apart; the publique, eminent, glori­ous deliverances he hath given to us together with the whole State; that, in 88. and that of 1605. I meane from the horrid hellish Gun-powder-Treason; but especially, and above all the rest, our happy deliverance out of Ba­bylon by the blessed Reformation of Religion begun a­mongst us, some good number of yeeres by past; the time would faile me. But alas! What use have we made of them?Of foure sorts of men, viz. Hath this use ever been so much as thought of by us? Nay verily. For,

1. Some thinke it bootlesse,1. Of such as think a Co­venant need­full in trou­ble, but not after deliver­ance. thus to close in with God, after an evill is over. When Gods hand is heavy upon them, sense of smart compels them to thinke it then a fit season to do somewhat, to confesse their sins; to hum­ble themselves, and to seek God. In their affliction they will seek me early, Hosea 5. 15. saith the Lord. But so soone as he takes his hand off from them, they cast all care away, as if now (according to that homely proverb) the devill were dead, and no further use of any feare, or diligence were to be once thought upon, till (with Pharaoh) they come under a worse plague than before; and, as if God had delivered them to no other end, but to live as they list, to cast more dung into his face, and to dishonour and provoke him yet more than ever before.

I appeale to the consciences of many who heare me this day, and I require them from the Lord, to witnesse truly, whether it be not even thus with them. If the plague knock at their doore, if death get in at the win­dow, and begin to shake them by the hand; there is then [Page 41] some apprehension of wrath and judgement; some hum­bling, some hankering after God. Then, Oh what would not these men do, what would not they promise, on con­dition to be delivered from their present anguish, and feares! But once deliver them, and God shall heare no more of them, till they be in the same, or worse case a­gain. They turne Covenanters? Nay, leave that to the Puritans. For their parts, they think more of a Covenant with death and hell; for, God is in not in all their thoughts.

Had there been, upon the discovery of the Powder-Treason, (which this Honourable Assembly hath cause above all others to preserve eternally in fresh remem­brance, and to think more seriously what God looks for at all your hands upon such a deliverance) had there been, I say, no possibilitie of escaping that Blow, what would not men have then done! Oh what prayers, what fasting, what humiliation should we have seene! But, when the snare was once broken, what followed? A Co­venant with God? Nothing lesse; for, so soone as ever the danger, the feare, the amazement at such an hellish project, and the neere approach to the execution of it, was a little over; the Traitors themselves fell not dee­per into the pit of destruction which themselves had digged, than generally all sorts of men did into the gulfe of their old sins, as if they owed more to Hell, than to Heaven, for so great a deliverance. And, is it better now? Where is the Covenant (such a Covenant) with God; that so wonderfull a deliverance deserveth, and requireth?

These men may please themselves, and feed sweetly upon a vain dreame, that there is no harme in all this; but the Apostle brings them in a sad reckoning, after a sharp chiding for it, Rom. 2. 4, 5. What? saith he; Despisest [Page 42] thou the riches of his goodnesse and forbearance, and long suf­fering, not knowing that the goodnesse of God leadeth thee to repentance? The end of all Gods goodnesse in forbearing, advancing, and giving thee prosperitie; and of his long suffering, in sparing thee when thou hast abused prospe­ritie; and of all his mercy, in delivering thee out of ad­versitie; is, to lead thee to repentance, to draw thee neerer to Himself, even in an everlasting Covenant. And if it have not this effect on thee, the Apostle hath said it, and the God of Heaven will make it good, that thou de­spisest the riches of his goodnesse, &c. Thou tramplest all mercies under thine impure feet, when they do not raise and scrue thee up so neere to thy God, as to enter a so­lemne Covenant with them. And, what then? Thou wilt not stay there, but fall into more sinne, and under greater judgement; and, after thy hardnesse and impeni­tent heart, treasurest up unto thy selfe wrath (that is, more and more wrath) against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgement of God. This is the end of all who make not the Goodnesse of God, a prevailing mo­tive thus to joyne themselves to the Lord; they fall into moe, and greater sinnes, and abominations; and so adde daily to that great heape, and to those Sea's of divine wrath that hang over their heads, to overwhelme and confound them for ever.

2. Others,2. Of such as having means of deliver­ance think it enough to rid out of the way the in­struments of their evils. if, after some time of lying under the weight of many pressures of the Church and State, they arrive at some hopes and opportunities of easing them­selves of those burdens, and of freeing the Land of the great Instruments of all their evils; they conceit strongly, that, if this be done, all is done. If but some of the Nimrods who have invaded their Laws, and Liber­ties, be pulled down, (Which is an act of Justice) how do [Page 43] the Many (who do nothing towards any Reformation of themselves) rejoyce, and promise to themselves great matters! Now (think they) there will be an end of all our miseries,Amos 5. 24. and we shall see golden dayes; Iudgement shall run down like waters, and righteousnesse like a mightie streame.

Oh Brethren! deceive not your selves. If this be all you look at; if, upon opening this doore of hope, this be all you ayme at, to make use of the time to secure your selves against oppressors, and never thinke of closing with God; or, but thinke of it; you may perhaps goe farre in pursuit of your owne designes, in providing a­gainst the evils you sigh under; and, this Parliament may do great things this way: But let me tell you from God, that this will never do the deed, till the Covenant we have been all this while speaking of, be resolved on, and solemnly entred into by all those that expect any bles­sing from that High Assembly. Nor this, nor all the Parliaments in the world shall ever be able to make us happy in such a degree at least as we expect, till the Lord hath even glewed, and marryed us all unto himself by mu­tuall Covenant.

It is not only the making of good Lawes to remove our present grievances; no, nor the cutting down of all the evil Instruments in our State or Church at one blow, that can secure us against the like; yea, worse evils for the future; but rather, as one wave follows another, so one mischiefe will still tread on the heeles of another, and greater plagues will ever crowd in after the former, till we close with God by such a solemne Covenant.

The people of Palestine, or Philistia, made themselves marvellous merry, when any of the Governours or Kings of Israel, or Iudah (such as Sampson, David, Vzziah, &c.) [Page 44] that had sorely yoked and hampered them, were remo­ved by death, and others come in the roome that could do but little against them. When such an one as Ahaz who never wonne battaile of them, but still went by the worse, swayed the Scepter; oh how joyfull were the Philistines! But marke what a damp God cast in among them in the midst of all their mirth;Isay. 14. 28. Rejoyce not thou whole Palestina, because the rod of him that smote thee is bro­ken; (that Vzziah, and other Potent and successefull Kings are taken away, and weake unhappy Ahaz come in the roome) for out of the Serpents root shall come forth a Cockatrice, and his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent. Ahaz shall leave an Hezekiah behind him, that shall pay all his Fathers debts upon the Philistines, See 2. King. 28. 8. and plague them yet more than all that went before him.

And have not we seen this verified also neerer home? Have not some, in former times, been taken away, who have been great Oppressors, and Instruments of many sore pressures? And, how have men rejoyced at their falls? Nor know I, why they should not, if Justice in a just way have cut them off. But alas! what Good, in the issue, hath followed, or can be yet hoped for so long as men continue Philistines, enemies to God & his Church, Anti-Covenanters (even with Hell) rather than true Cove­nanters with God? Whether is our Condition any what better now than heretofore, when those Leviathans were alive, and in their height? I appeale to yourselves. And the reason of all is this, that men mistake the meanes of Cure, or at least fall short of it. The cutting off of evill Doers (how necessary soever it be) is not all, nor the maine requisite to make a people happy; unlesse also there be a thorough joyning of themselves to God by Covenant.

[Page 45] If you therefore that be now convened in Parliament, should sit so long as you desire, even these 7 yeares, (if your businesse should require it) and think, you would make such Examples of men that have violated the Lawes, and invaded your Liberties; and enact so many wholesome Lawes to prevent the like presumptions for the future, as should put us into a new world, causing men to admire the happy state and frame of Govern­ment which you would set up: yet all this would never produce the expected effect, but prove as a meer dreame of an hungry man, who in his dreame eateth aboundantly, but when he awakes, is empty; unlesse you also, not onely resolve upon, but execute this maine duty of entring Covenant with your God.

Againe,3. Of such as thinke ex­traordinary Fasting and Praeyer suffici­ent, without a Covenant. thirdly, others can roare like beares, and mourn sore like doves, when they find themselves disappointed of their hopes: when Parliaments have been broken up in discontent, when they have looked for Iudgment, and there is none, for salvation, but it hath bin farre from them: then, they have howled like dragons,Isa. 59. 11. not onely for afflictions, but perhaps for sinnes also, especially if deliverance up­on deliverance hath been snatcht from them, even when it hath seemed so neer that they had begun to take pos­session of it: yet, (silly men that they are!) their evills haunt them still, and prevaile more and more, after all their fastings, humblings, and strong cryes to God their Redeemer. For alas! what will all this doe without a Covenant, without taking hold of God, and joyning themselves to him to be his for ever? you may see such a State of the Church as this described by Isaiah: & good were it for us to take warning by it:Isa. 64. 6, 7. We all doe fade as a leafe, and our inquities like the wind have taken us away. And why all this? The next words will tell you; there is [Page 46] none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himselfe to take hold of thee, say they to the Lord who had hid his face from them, and consumed them for their sinnes. Not that they did not at all call upon God, but, because they did not so call upon him as to stirre up themselves to take hold of him by Covenant; therefore is it accounted no better than a not calling upon him at all. Thus men lose not onely their opportunities of deliverances offe­red, but their duties also by which they desire to further it against another time.4. Of such as are convinced of the necessi­ty of a Cove­nant, yet come not up to it.

4. Some, it may be, goe yet further. Vpon the hea­ring of such a duty (so much pressed and inculcated) they begin to be a little stirred; they are convinced that it is is indeed true, such a Covenant is fit to be made: but here (like Ephraim an unwise sonne) they stand still at the breaking forth of the Children of the Covenant.Hos. 13. 14. They faine would, but loth they be to go thorough with the bargaine. They begin to come on, and then fall back a­gaine. They are so long a cheapning, treating, comple­menting, disputing how safe it may be for them, how well it may stand with their profits, projects, ends, inte­rests, relations; that they coole againe, & never come up to a full resolution. Oh, sayes one, this is a good course, and fit to be taken: but, my engagements, callings, Al­liance, company, service will not consist with it. Ano­ther sweares, he could find in his heart to make triall of it, but that he should be jeered, scorned, and perhaps lose his place, or hopes, for it: another, he is for it, but at present he cannot enter upon it. Thus one thing or o­ther still keepes this duty without doores, and holds most men off from the worke for ever.

But beloved, take heed of this dallying. What ever you think, it is no better than a departing away from the [Page 47] living God, that springs from an evill heart of unbeleife; when, being fully convinced of the weight, necessity, and commodity of the duty, you will yet, while it is cal­led to day, adventure so farre to harden your hearts, as not to set upon the work instantly, and to go thorough with it. Heb. 3.

Woe unto all such dodging Christians; they shall find to their cost that God will write them Lo-ammi, Hos. 1. 9. and pronounce of them, They are not my people, and I am not their God.

If any think, what adoe is here? what meanes this man to be so earnest? would he have us all turne Cove­nanters? yes, with God. Why, what if I doe not? Then never looke for good from him, how faire soever thy hopes be. ‘No? sayes another; Ile try that, sure. I have seene many a good day in my time, and hope to see more, though I never swallow this doctrine:’ therefore he resolves to goe hence, as he came hither; as he lived yesterday, so he will to morrow, though this day he doe as his neighbours doe, keeping some order, (much against the will of his base lusts that ring him but an harsh peale in his eare for this little abstinence) yet to morrow he will be for his swearing, drinking, whoring, any excesse, and riot, as much as ever; and yet, by grace of God he hopes to prove all these words to be but wind, and to doe as well as the best of them all when he comes to die.

But woe worth the day that ever such a man was born that when he heares God calling him with so much im­portunity to-stand even this very day before the Lord, to en­ter into Covenant with the Lord his God, and into his Oath, shall so harden his neck; and harbour such a roote of gall and worme wood within his heart, as when he heares the [Page 48] of the Curse upon all those that will not enter into Cove­nant; or, entring into it shall not keep it, he shall blesse himselfe in his heart saying, I shall have peace, though I walke in the imagination of mine heart, and adde drunkennes to thirst: See, and tremble at what God hath resolved to doe with that man, Deut. 29. 20, 21. The Lord will not spare him▪ but the anger of the Lord, and his jealousy shall smoake against that man; and all the Curses that are written in (Gods) Booke shall ly upon him, and the Lord shall blot out his name from under Heaven. Here is nothing but fury powred out, upon such a wretch; not a blessing shall de­scend upon him, not a curse shall escape and go by him; not onely himselfe, and posterity, but his very name (so farre as it is an honour) shall all be cast out of the world, as out of the midst of a sling.

If he please himselfe with this, ‘Yet I shall live as long as some others; if they have any happinesse, I resolve to share with them;’ he will find that God will not leave him so, but the Lord will separate him unto evill out of all the the Tribes of Israel, so as, though all others be safe; yet, as a strucken Deere is unhearded from all the rest, and followed by the dogs till he be pull'd downe and kill'd; so shall it be with this man, according to all the curses of the the Covenant, that are written in the Booke of the Law. Although the whole Kingdome be safe, and all others in it be in peace, yet he and his house shall perish; the line of Confusion shall be stretched out over him, hell and damnation shall be his portion, how high soever he now beares his head, and how much so e­ver he suffer his heart to swell against the truth, suppo­sing all that he likes not, to be nothing but a spice of in­discretion, yea of faction, and (it may be) of Sedition; when yet nothing is offered, but what is (I trust) preg­ly [Page 49] proved out of Holy Scripture.2. Vse. Informa­tion, touching the chiefe cause why Reforma­tion and full redresse of our evils goes on so slowly. So farre the first Vse.

2. This may informe us touching the true cause (which most neerely concernes our selves) of the slow proceedings of Reformation of things amisse among us, both in the Church and Common-wealth: Why God hath not yet given us so full a deliverance from Babylon; why there have been so many ebbings and flowings in matters of Religion, yea, more ebbings than flowings; Why generall grievances swell to such an height, and that all the opportunities of cure have vanished, so soone as appeared: how it comes to passe that albeit God hath moved the heart of the King to call Parliament after Parliament, yet by and by, one spirit of division or another, sometimes from one quarter, sometimes from another, (like the evill spirit which God sent be­tween Abimelech, Judg. 9. 23, 24. aud the men of Shechem, to the ruine of both) still comes between, & blasteth all our hopes, lea­ving us in worse case than we were in before; & whence it is (in regard of our selves) that in stead of setting up the Kingdome and Ordinances of Christ in more puri­ty, there is such a contrary mixture, and such a corrupt­ing of all things, in Doctrine, in worship, in every thing; Arminianisme, Socinianisme and Popish Idolatry breaking in againe over all the Kingdome like a floud.

What is a chiefe cause of all this? Have we not pray­ed? have we not fasted? Have we not had more Fasts at Parliaments of late, than in many yeares before? Yea, hath not there been, generally among Gods people, more frequent humiliations, more frequent seeking of God, notwithstanding the malice and rage of some men to discountenance and suppresse it, than in former times? Why then is Deliverance, and Reformation so slow in comming?

[Page 50] Surely, Beloved, we have all this while mistaken the maine businesse, and neglected the principall part of a Religious Fast. You come, Fast after Fast, to seek God in his House; You forbeare your victuals, afflict your soules, endure it out a long time; you pray, heare, con­fesse your sins, and freely acknowledge that all is just that God hath brought upon us, and that we suffer lesse than we deserve. All this is well. But here is the error, and the true Cause of the continuance of all our evils, and of their growing greater, namely, that all this while we have never, in any Fast, or at any other time, entred into such a solemne and publique Covenant with God, as his people of old have often done upon like occasions and exigents.

That I may yet more effectually bring home this to all our hearts, give me leave briefly to parallel the slow pace of our deliverance out of Mysticall Babylon with that of Iudah, and some of the remnant of Israel out of old Babylon, which for a long time had held them Cap­tives.

And here first, be pleased to call to minde, that, as touching the Captive Iewes, God failed not (on his part) of his promise. At the end of 70 yeeres, libertie of re­turne from Babylon to Hierusalem was proclaimed, in the first yeere of Cyrus the Persian Monarch:Ezra 1. 1, 2. whereupon, many did returne,Ezra. 2. under the conduct of Zorobbabel. Be­ing come home to Hierusalem, we may not conceive that they wer not at all touched with sense of their de­liverance, or of the sinnes which had formerly provoked the Lord to cast them into that great bondage out of which they were delivered.

Well, on they go; first, to offer sacrifices in the right place,Ezra. 3. 6. Although the foundation of the Temple of the Lord [Page 51] was not yet laid. In the second yeere of their coming Zorob­babel began to set forward the work of the house of the Lord, and the foundation was laid. But the adversaries of Iu­dah (the Great Officers of the Kingdome under the King of Persia) apprehending,Vers. 8. or rather pretending,Vers. 10. the going on of this building to be matter of prejudice and danger to that Monarchy,Ezra. 4. 1. they procure a stay of it, upon reason of State; so as it was well nigh an hundred yeers ere they got libertie to go on again, and it was above an 100 yeeres before the Temple could be finished. For, as many exact Chronologers observe, the Temple was not perfected in the reigne of Darius Hystaspis, as some have thought; but in the sixth yeere of Darius Nothus, be­tween whom and the former Darius, both Xerxes (the husband of Esther, and called in Scripture Ahashuerus) and Artaxerxes Longimanus successively swayed the Per­sian Scepter. In all which time, many things were amisse; Crueltie, Oppression, Adultery, Mixture with strange wives, and other great deformations remained. Then comes Ezra, after the Temple was finished, and some­what he did, to set forward the work of Reformation, in the seventh yeere of Artaxerxes Mnemon, Ezra 7. 7. successor to Darius Nothus. And yet, there was much more to do. After him therefore,Neh. 1. 1. comes Nehemiah, in the twentieth yeere of the same Artaxerxes Mnemon; and, after all the former endeavours, he findes the Church still weltring in her bloud, and even wallowing in her owne gore; I meane, in most of her old and long continued sins; (al­though cured of Idolatry) so that still there was great corruption in doctrine, in worship, and in manners.

Whereupon he now resolves, and sets upon a more thorough Reformation of all these; but could never effect it, till beside the proclaiming, and holding of a [Page 52] publique Fast, he and all the people lighted upon this course, namely, of entring into a publique and solemne Covenant with the Lord, subscribed, sealed▪ and sworne un­to, as before you have heard:Neh. 9. ult. and 10. 29. and so, from that time forward, the worke prospered, and the Church was pur­ged of many abominations, wherewith till that time she was defiled.

Behold here, Quantae molis erat dilectam condere Gen­tem, how great a work, how long a businesse to perfect a Reformation even of Gods deerest people. Their cap­tivitie in Babylon lasted not halfe so long time, as was spent after their returne thence, ere their Reformation could be brought to any tolerable perfection.

And why so? Did they omit prayer, and fasting, and seeking early after God? surely no. For, in Zach. 8. 19. we read of foure severall publique Fasts,(Quarto mense Vrbs fuit expugnata, quiato autem fuerat excisum Templum & consumptum incendio: sep­timo mense in­terfectus tan­dem sint Go­dolias, qui st [...]lerat cum residua plebe qui collecta fu­erat ab ejus manu. Iejuni­um autem deci­mi mens [...] pu­tant fuis [...] in­stitutum post urbem obs [...]s­sam. Ergo je­junium mensis decimi, tempore alio praecessit, Calvin. in Loc. Non, quod haec omnia in eo­dem accide­runt anno, sed diversis annorum in­tervallis▪ The fast of the fourth moneth, the fast of the fifth moneth, the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth moneth) which they held, not only by all the time of the 70 yeeres captivitie in Babylon, but many yeeres after their return thence, Zach. 7. 3. and vers. 5. But all this labour was in great part lost, for want of this addition to all their humiliation, and prayer; namely, The joyning of themselves to the Lord in an everlasting Covenant not to be forgotten.

And when God once directed Nehemiah to this course, see, how all things began to thrive and come on a maine. Now, not only the Temple, but even the walls of Hierusalem were built up, (and that within one twelve yeeres after this Covenant was smitten) which before lay wast many scores of yeeres.

Let us now reflect upon our selves, and the State of Religion, and progresse of Reformation in our owne Church, that we may make up the Parallel.

Some beginnings of our deliverance from Babylon, [Page 53] we received by King Henry the eighth. For, he threw out the Pope. His sonne King Edward the sixth came af­ter, and cast out Popery, in the body and bulke of it. A great work, and a large step, for the short time of his in­fant reigne. And indeed, he had many excellent helps that way, (beside the zeale of his own pious heart) an Excellent Archbishop, a Prudent and vigilant Prote­ctor, beside others; else he could never have done so much. Notwithstanding, the potency and secret under­minings of those mightie Factions then prevailing, hin­dred the work not a little, so that it exceeded not an in­fant-Reformation; yea, through the immature death of that Iosiah, it soone prov'd abortive.

The Princesse that came after, quickly turn'd the Tide, before it was half high water: and she set all the Gates wide open againe both for Pope, and Popery to re-enter with triumph, and to drink drunk of the bloud of our Ancestors, till God discharged her, and released his people from her crueltie.

So that when Queene Elizabeth (that glorious De­borah) mounted the Throne, although her heart was up­right and loathed the Idolatry of the former Reigne, yet found she worke enough to restore any thing at all, and to make any beginnings of a Reformation. She soone felt, when she would have throughly pluckt up Popery both root and branch, (superfluous Ceremo­nies, and all remaining raggs of superstition, as well as grosse Idolatry) that she had to do with an Hydra, ha­ving such a strong partie of stout Popelings to grap­ple with at home, and such potent and dangerous abet­ters of them, to cope withall abroad. I need not name them. I might adde hereunto, some difficulties arising from the interests and engagements of not a few of [Page 54] those (though good, and holy men) that underwent voluntary exile in the heat of the Marian persecution; who, while they were abroad, had a large share in the troubles at Franckford; (too eagerly, perhaps, pursuing the English Formes of Worship, and Discipline) and so, when upon their returne, they were advanced to places of Dignitie, and Government in this Church, they were the more apt and forward to maintaine and hold up that Cause wherein they had so farre appeared, and for which (some of them) with more heat than Charitie had so openly declared themselves, in forreine parts. And so, what by one impediment, and what by another, we see it hath been a long time ere our Reformation can be thoroughly polished and perfected as were to be wished and desired; for there is nothing so perfect, here, but is capable of more perfection.

Nay, so farre are we become now from going for­ward with the work, notwithstanding the pietie and care of our Princes since the last Restitution of Religion in this Kingdome, that (as it was in Iosiahs time, though his own heart were for God, yet there was a pack of rotten men, both Priests and People, very great pretenders to Devotion, but indeed mad upon Images, and Idols) we begin to fall quite back again; and, not only to coast a­new upon the brinks of Babylon, from whence we were happily delivered, but even to launch out into her deep­est Lakes of superstition and Idolatry, under pretence of some extraordinary pietie of the times, and of some good work in hand.

What is the reason of all this, but that (not so much as once) since the first beginning of Reformation of Religion in this Island, we never (for ought I know) entred into such a solemn, publique, universall Covenant [Page 55] to be the Lords, as he requireth for those beginnings al­ready given us; but have sate loose from God, and so have not joyned together as one man, zealously to pro­pugne his trueth and Ordinances, and to stand by him and his Cause, as becomes the people of God, in all just and warrantable wayes, against all opposers and gain-sayers.

So long as we please our selves in this libertie of our holding off from a Covenant with God, we may feed our selves with vaine hopes of redresse of things amisse, but shall speed no better than those libertines and back­sliders in Ier. 14. who lookt for great matters from God, but came short of all, and then seemed to wonder at the reason. For, thus they bespeake him, ver. 8. O the hope of Israel, the Saviour thereof in time of trouble, why shouldest thou be as a stranger in the Land, and as a wayfaring man, that turneth aside to tarry (onely) for a night? Why shouldst thou be as a man astonied, as a mighty man that cannot save? yet thou O Lord, art in the midst of us, and we are called by thy name. See here how they are put to it. They acknow­ledge his Power, Goodnesse, Presence, yet they are not saved. He seemes to be like Sampson, with his Locks cut off, as if he were not able to save, or would not do it: and this they wonder and stand amazed at, as a thing incre­dible, and impossible.

But, God makes them a short and sharp answer, (which may also serve us) vers. 10. Thus, saith the Lord, have they loved to wander, they have not refrained their feet; therefore the Lord doth not accept them. If God be as a wayfaring man; sometimes with a people, more often gone from them; sometimes blessing, sometimes cros­sing them, and suffering them to fall under heavy pres­sures, and never keeps an even and setled station or [Page 56] course of proceeding with them, it is but that he hath learnt from themselves (as I may so speake:) they will be their own men; they will not be tyed to him so strict­ly; they will have some libertie for their lusts, for the world, for the devill, for any thing: and loe here is the fruit of it, God will not be bound to, nor walke with them; he will not draw out that strength, that good­nesse, that compassion which might deliver them from the evils they howle under; He will neither heare them, nor any body else for them; not Ieremy himself, vers. 11. not Noah, Daniel, and Iob, Ezek. 14. Nothing there­fore, but a more solemne and strict Covenant with God, will put us into a posture and condition capable of per­fect redresse of our grievances, how faire so ever either now, or hereafter, we may seeme to be for it. This is the second use.

Thirdly,3. Vse, of Exhorta­tion. suffer, I beseech you, a few words of Exhortati­on. The returning Iewes (you see) call upon all their Na­tion to enter into Covenant. Give me leave then, to call upon You the Representative Body of this whole King­dome who stand here before the Lord this day to hum­ble your soules, and let me also prevaile with you all, to joyne your selves, even this day, to the Lord in an everlast­ing Covenant that shall not be forgotten. Make this day, a day in deed, a day of Covenanting with God, and God shall Covenant with you, and make it the beginning of more happines than ever you yet enjoyed.

Beloved, mistake me not, my meaning extends not to engage you in any Civill Covenant and Bond for de­fence of your Municipall Lawes and Liberties. No doubt you will be able to find meanes enow (by the blessing of God) to setle those things, in a legall way; especially if you be carefull to Covenant with God. [Page 57] Much lesse is it my purpose to draw you into that late Ecclesiasticall Oath and Covenant (enjoyned by the late Canon) which in my apprehension is little lesse than a Combination and Conspiracy against both King and State.3. Vse, Exhorta­tion. My businesse is, meerly to perswade you into a Religious Covenant with God, as himselfe hath prescribed and commanded; and, his people, in the best times of Reformation, have readily admitted: namely, every man to stirre up himself & to lift up his Soule to take hold of God, to be glued and united to him, in all faithfulnesse, sincerity, care, and diligence, to be onely his for ever.

This if we doe, we need not care much for other Co­venants: God will provide for that, and make a league for us even with the beasts of the field, and with the stones of the street; he will make our Exactors peace, and our Offi­cers righteousnesse, Isa. 60. 1 [...]. 18. violence shall no more be heard in the Land, nor wasting, nor destruction within our borders; our very walls shall be salvation, and our Gates praise. He will be a God of Covenants, and take care for our estates, Lawes, liberties, lives, children and all that belong to us, when once this is done.

Therfore I beseech you, yea, I require you in the name of the God of heaven, whose you are, whom you serve, before whom you stand, and from whom you expect salvation in the midst of the Earth, as well as in heaven, that you forthwith enter into this bond. Expect no assi­stance, no successe in any of your Consultations, in any Lawes that you agree upon, till you have fully brought your hearts to this point, to follow the Lord fully; to be no more for your selves than you would have the dea­rest wife of your bosome to be for any other man in the world; but, to be wholly for the Lord, to imploy and improve all your wit, abilities, industry, Counsells, [Page 58] actions, estate, honour, and lives to promote his service and honour, what ever become of your selves and yours for doing of it. Say not as some Jeerers (of whom it is hard to judge whether their malice or ignorance be the greater) doe,Gen. 17. 10. that there needes no more Covenants than what we made in Baptisme,Psal. 50. 5. and that all other Co­venants savour strongly of faction and the Puritan Lea­ven. For, so Gods people of old made a Covenant▪ by Circumcision, and after by Sacrifice, that is, in every sacri­fice which they offered, they did renew their Covenant begun in Circumcision. Neverthelesse, God thought it necessary often to call them out to strike another so­lemn Covenant with him besides the former. You have already heard that so soone as the Israelites were gone out of Egypt,Exod. 19. & entred a little way in the wildernesse, he put them upon a Covenant. Deut. 29. When he brought them neer to Canaan, he required another solemne Covenant of them. And when Ioshuah had brought them into Canaan, and divided to each of them the lot of his inheritance, he drew them into another solemne Covenant. Iosh. 24. So that here was Covenant upon Covenant, and yet can no man (without blasphemy) charge it with any Puri­tan humour, faction, or any thing superfluous or un­comely for the Greatest on earth to submit unto.

That I may a little more enforce this duty, and quicken you to the imbracing of it, give me leave to present you with some Motives further to presse you to it, and with some few Directions to guide you in it.

1. For, Motives. Motives to a Co­venant, 1. Our many Deliverances.

Consider. 1. how many, great, admirable, and even miraculous deliverances God hath given us; What great things he hath done for us. No Nation under heaven can say more to his praise, in this kind, than we [Page 59] have cause to do. Our Great deliverances out of Baby­lon, from the Spanish Invasion, from the Gun-powder Trea­son, and from many other evils and feares, do all call up­on you for a Covenant.Motives. Yea, even the present Mercy and Opportunitie of opening that Ancient, Regular and Approved Way of cure of those publique evils that threaten confusion and desolation to all, pleades hard for the same dutie. But, among all these, I desire You of that Great and honourable Body of the Parliament, to reflect sadly upon that Stupendious Deliverance from the Gun-powder Treason, which more especially and immediately was bent against You. For, albeit the ruine of the whole Kingdome was in their Eye who were the Cursed instruments of Antichrist, and of the Devill his Father, in that hellish Designe; yet, no blow could have come at us, but through Your sides. And, albeit some of You that have the honour to be members of this pre­sent Parliament, were then unborn; yet, had that Plot taken effect, scarce any of You had been this day in be­ing, to have sate there now, but had long since been co­vered and buryed under the ashes of confusion. Thinke now, whether such a preservation deserve lesse at Your hands, than to give Your selves to your Great Delive­rer, for so Great a Deliverance, whereby three Nations destinated at once to Death, received no lesse than a joyfull resurrection from the Dead, and were again born at once.

Therefore, let not this Great mercy seeme small in Your eyes. And, remember too, that you may have as much need of God another time: nay, you know not what need you may have of him this present Parliament. You cannot be ignorant of the many murmures and more than whisperings of some desperate and devilish [Page 60] conception suspected to be now in the womb of the Jesuiticall faction: And, how neere it may be to the birth, or how prodigious it may prove being born, I take not upon me to divine: but this we are all sure of, that what ever it be which they are big withall, it shall not want the least graine of the utmost extremitie of malice and mischiefe that all the wit, power, and industry of Hell it self can contribute unto it; and, that they labour, as a woman in travaile, to be speedily delivered of it.

What dangers, and what cause of feare there may be at the present, I leave to your Wisdome to consider. But this be confident of, if Deliverances already recei­ved can prevaile with you for a Covenant, that Covenant will be your securitie; for it will certainly engage all the power and wisdome of the Great and only wise God of heaven and earth to be on your side for ever. So that if God himself have power enough, wisdome enough, and care enough, you cannot miscarry; no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper, no plot, no gates of hell shall prevaile against you. And, if he have goodnesse enough, mercy enough, bowels enow in him, he will then also, raine down aboundance of trueth, righteousnesse, ju­stice, peace and plentie upon all Corners of the Land from whence, and on whose errand, You are now come together. Therefore it becomes you, above all others, to be first in a Covenant.

2. Consider that,2. There can be no full enjoying of God, with­out a Cove­nant. till we do this, there cannot be such a full enjoying of God, as otherwise there might be. In­deed, the perfect fruition of God is not to be expected till we come to heaven, but yet we might have much more of God, even in this life, than now we have, could we be perswaded to such a Covenant with him.

Whatsoever experience we have of him now in any [Page 61] deliverance bestowed, it would be doubled, if, upon the deliverance received, we would thus be joyned to him. Nor is this a notion or conceit only, but a reall trueth.

For, marke what He saith to his people, Hos. 2. vers. 19, 20. I will marry thee unto me for ever, I will be­troath thee unto me in righteousnesse, and in Iudgement, and in loving kindnesse, and in mercies, I will even marry thee unto me in faithfulnesse, and thou shalt know the Lord. He that enters into Covenant with God, is betroathed, yea even married to him: And how married? even to the partaking of all his goods, of all he hath, yea of him­self, and of all that he is. As the wife may say, Vbi tu Caius, Gen. 31. 43. ego Caia; and, as Laban sometimes, of Iacobs wives, children, and cattell, These daughters are my daughters, and these children are my children, and these cattell are my cattell, and all that thou seest are mine: So a man once married to the Lord by Covenant, may without arrogan­cy say, this righteousnesse is my righteousnesse, this judge­ment is my judgement, this loving kindnesse, these mercies, this faithfulnesse which I see in thee, and all that thou hast is mine, for my comfort, supply, support, direction, salvation, and what not?

And take notice of that phrase, Thou shalt know the Lord. Did they not know him before? Yes; but never in such a manner, with such a Knowledge, at least in such a measure. They shall now know him in such neere, fami­liar, sweet and ineffable expressions of his deerest, deep­est, choycest conjugal love, as they never tasted, nor could taste of before.

We know how it is with a wife married to a loving husband. They loved one another before marriage, and many expressions of a speciall love passed betweene them, but they never enjoyed one another fully till the [Page 62] marriage was solemnized. Then, there is not only a more intimate manifestation of fervent, intire, loyall, chaste love; but a further enlarging and stretching out of mutuall affections to each other, than they could possibly have beleeved they should ever have reached unto, till now experience assure them of it. And even thus it is between us and God. Is he Good in deliver­ances? have we tasted of his love already? Oh how great would his goodnesse be, how full of grace, mercy, bountie; and, how would he communicate even whole rivers of all these to that Soule that would once come up to him, and close with him in an everlasting Cove­nant! All the wayes of the Lord are mercy and trueth, unto such as (make, and) keep Covenant with him, Psal. 25. 10.

3. Consider that what ever worke God calls You to,3. No buck­ling to the worke God calls us unto, without a Covenant. Yee will never buckle thoroughly to it, till you have entred into Covenant with him. An apprentise boy when he goes to a Master upon tryall onely, his minde is now on, then off againe; sometimes he could like the trade, by and by his minde hangs after his Mother at home, or after some other course of life, and he ne­never sets close to his businesse, till he be bound. When once the Indentures be sealed, and he enrolled, he knowes there is now no more time to deliberate, but he must fall to his busines, or else take what happens for his idlenesse and negligence. So is it with a wife; if she be but onely promised, or betroathed to a man, she may come to his house, and cast an eye up and downe; but it is rather to observe, than to act: she may perhaps cast out a word now and then somewhat freely also; but she never sets her selfe to guide the house, or to doe any thing to purpose, till she be married: then, she careth for the things of the world; that is, with all possible diligence [Page 63] looking to, and managing of the businesse of the family committed to her, how she may please her husband: all her thoughts, care, diligence run this way; she makes it her businesse that she must stick unto, and daily manage as a part of the marriage Covenant. And thus also it will be with you. You have much worke under your hands, and are likely to have more; and I hope you desire to doe all in truth of heart, for God, and not for ends of your owne: but let me tell you, this will never be done throughly till once you be marryed to him by solemne Covenant. Then, will you care indeed for the things of the Lord, how you may please the Lord, in every cause, in every Answer to any Petition, and in every Vote of any Bill, or sentence. You would then think, when you come to manage, debate, vote, any Question, ‘I am the Lords, not mine owne, not my friends; will this I doe, stand with my Covenant? will it please God? will it be pro­fitable for the State? is it agreeable to Justice and equi­tie?’ Then, on with it, no man shall divert, or take me off. But, till then, one will entreate for his friend, ano­ther for his; one will make you one way, another would draw you another way; and they are both your friends, and you knowe not how to deny either: and thus are you even torne in peeces betweene them, in so much as you sometimes resolve to be absent, or to sit still and say nothing; or, to gratifie him that hath most power with You, be the Cause what it will. But when once the Co­venant is sealed, all this will be at an end; You will quickly stop your eares against all perswasions that may hinder Justice and Reformation; and, when this is known, men will soone forbeare also to trouble You with such solicitations.4. Wicked men Cove­nant with Hell.

Againe fourthly; Wicked men stick not at a Covenant [Page 64] with death and hell it self, so they may but satisfie their Lusts; though they know the end thereof will be dam­nation. Oh then shall not we much more make a Cove­nant with our God to do his will, which will be beneficiall and comfortable both here and hereafter,Isay. 28. and procure a full torrent of his mercies, bountie, grace, and eternall life, to flow in upon us!

5.5. The Devil himselfe will do no great matters for his vassals without a Covenant. Consider that the Devill himself will have a Cove­nant from all his vassals that expect any extraordinary matters from him; else, he will not be engaged to be at their Command. There is not a Witch that hath the Devill at her beck, but she must seale a Covenant to him, sometimes with her bloud, sometimes by other rites and devices, and perhaps he must suck her too (as in those hellish bargaines you know they use;) and then, he is for her, during the time agreed upon. And shall we think God will be so cheap, as to be (with reverence be it spoken) at our Command, to help, direct, assist, de­liver and save us, who will not do so much for him as Witches and Sorcerers will do for the Devill?

In the 45 of Isay, vers. 11. there is a strong expression this way; Thus saith the Lord, the Holy one of Israel, and his Maker, aske of mee things to come concerning my sonnes, and concerning the work of my hands Command ye mee. It is not to be thought that God complementeth with his people, but is free and heartie in the expression of what they shall really find him. But marke; it concernes his Sonnes; that is, those that are truely in Covenant with him. This priviledge is for none else. So that the way to have God at Command, (with humilitie be it used) is to be his sonnes and daughters by Covenant. For, to whom it is said, I will be their God, and they shall be my people, to them is it spoken, I will be a father unto you, and ye shall be my [Page 65] sonnes and daughters, saith the Lord Almightie, 2 Cor. 6. 18. And to them he saith also, Command ye me.

6. Consider that it is the proper and chiefe businesse of a Fast, to enter into Covenant with God. You see it to be the practise of the Church in Nehemiah's time.6. This is the proper worke of a Religious Fast. And where this hath been omitted, the Fast hath been lost. God never accounted any of those foure annuall solemne Fasts before mentioned,Nehem. 9. that were so long in use among the Jews, to be fasts unto him; but calles them fasts to themselves, Zach. 7. 5, 6. Why, but because they looked no further in their Fasts,Isay 58. but to afflict their soules for a day, to bow down their heads as a bullrush, and to spread sack-cloth and ashes under them, and there an end. But they lost all their labour, getting nothing from God but a chiding, and contempt.

And in trueth, when will we thus joyne our selves to the Lord, if not at a Fast? Then, are our hearts in more than ordinary tune for such a work, when we are brought to set our sinnes before us, and humbly to confesse, be­waile and renounce them; when we have taken some paines with our Soules to soften, and melt them before the Lord; especially if then they be in any measure rai­sed up towards Him with any apprehension of his love in the pardon of so many and great sinnes, even when the Soule is most cast down for them. Then, I say strike through the Covenant, or it will never be. If you let slip this opportunitie, you may perhaps never obtaine the like while you live; but either your selves may be cut off, or your hearts shut up in desperate hardnesse, like unto Pharoah, whom every deliverance, and new experi­ence of Gods favour in taking off new evils, hardened more, and made worse.

[Page 66] 7. In the last place (and let it not have the least force of perswasion) remember and consider that this day, even this very day, the 17. of November, 82. yeeres sithence, began a new resurrection of this Kingdome from the dead,7. This very Day began the second Reformation of Religion. our second happy Reformation of Reli­gion by the auspitious entrance of our late Royal Debo­rah (worthy of eternall remembrance and honour) into her blessed and glorious Reigne; and that, from thence­forth Religion thrived, and prospered under her Go­vernment with admirable successe, against a whole world of oppositions from Popish factors at home and abroad: So as the very Gates of hell were never able to extinguish that Light, which God by her meanes hath set up amongst us.

Consider I beseech you, that it is not without a speci­all Providence that this your meeting was cast upon this very day (for, I presume, little did you think of the 17 of November, when you first fixed on this day for your Fast;) that, even from thence, one hammer might be borrowed to drive home this nayle of Exhortation; that the very memory of so blessed a work begun on this very day, might throughly inflame you with desire to enter into a Covenant; and so, to go forward to perfect that happy Reformation, which yet in many parts lyes unpo­lished and unperfect.

Oh suffer not that doore of hope by Her set open this day, to be again shut, for want of a Covenant. If you would indeed honour Her precious memory; yea, ho­nour God and your selves, and not only continue the possession of what she (as a most glorious Conduit pipe) hath transmitted to us, but perfect the work; set upon this duty of joyning your selves to the Lord in an everlasting [Page 67] Covenant that shall not be forgotten. And so have you the Motives.

2. I shall now shut up all with some few Directions to help us in it.Meanes how to enter into Covenant. And here, passing by what hath been al­ready spoken touching the preparatives to it, the Sub­stance of it, and the properties required in it, I shall only give you these sixe subsequent Directions.

1. Give a Bill of divorce to all your Lusts,1. Give a Bill of Divorce to all your Lusts. or kill them out-right. This Covenant is a marriage-Cove­nant, and there is no marrying with God, so long as your former husband, your base corruptions, your swearing, riot, drunkennesse, uncleannesse, pride, op­pression, and what ever else your soules know to be the plague of your own hearts, remaine alive and undivorced. For the woman which hath an husband, is bound by the Law to her husband so long as he liveth: but, if he be once dead, she is free from that Law, Rom. 7. Therefore send these packing, in the first place. A wise man will never marry a strumpet, nor with any woman, that hath another hus­band: his wife that shall be only his own, none else shall have interest in her. Much lesse then, will the Holy and Jealous God admit of any Spouse that is wedded to any lust, and so continueth. Say then, what wilt thou now do? wilt thou still keep thy darling lust? Hast thou been a swearer, and so thou wilt be? a drunkard, an un­cleane person, an oppressour, a prophane Esau, and wilt be so still? Know, that God will none of thee, but ab­horres all such as thou art. He will admit none into Co­venant but such as touch not the uncleane thing, but separate from it.2 Cor. 6. To them only it is, that he promiseth, I will be their God, 2. More especi­ally cast out all Idols and Idolatry. and they shall be my people.

2. More especially purge out and cast away (as a Men­struous cloth) all Idols and Idolatry in particular.Psal. 5. 4. All our [Page 68] Lusts are lothsome to his stomach, but nothing is so abo­minable to his Soule, as Idolatry. This is that spirituall whoredome which meritoriously dissolves the marriage bond where it is already knit,Meanes. and lies as a barre in the way to a Covenant with God,Ier. 44. 4. where yet it is not made. This was it for which the Lord proceeded so severely,2 Kin. 17. first against the ten Tribes, and then against the residue, as you all know. For this, the Land spewed them out. And where ever God promiseth to recall them, he usu­ally premiseth this, (which should first be done) From all your Idols will I cleanse you, Ezek. 36. 25. Ephraim also shall say, What have I to do any more with Idols? Hos. 14. 8. and all shall cast them away with detestation, saying, Get thee hence, Isay. 30. 22.

Every Idol is that great Image of Iealousy, which the Lord can by no meanes endure, and which will certain­ly be the destruction of King and People, where ever it is entertained, especially if againe received in, after it hath been once ejected. A sad example whereof we have in Iudah, where, after Iosiah had taken away all the abomi­nations out of all the countries that pertained to Israel, 2 Chro, 34. 33. and made all that were present in Israel to serve the Lord onely, the Act of Resumption of Idols and Idolatry by the suc­ceeding Kings (although it is probable they did it one­ly secretly like those in 2 Kin. 17. 9.) became the ruine of those Kings, and Kingdomes.

Beloved, let me speake freely, for I speake for God, and for all your safeties. You cannot be ignorant of the grosse Idolatry daily encreasing among us, and com­mitted not (as adultery) in Corners onely, but in the open light; people going to, and coming from the Masse in great multitudes, and that as ordinarily, open­ly, confidently as others go to and from our Chnrches. [Page 69] And I doubt not but some of you doe know the number of Masses to exceed that of Sermons.

Whose heart bleeds not over this prodigious growth of Popery and over flowing of Popish Masses? Who knowes not, that in the Masse is committed the most abominable Idolatry that ever the Sunne beheld in the Christian world? Who remembers not with indignati­on and horror, how often that insatiable Idol hath bath­ed it selfe in the bloud of many of our Ancestors and Progenitors? And can any be so silly as to beleeve, that it will rest satisfied till it swim againe in our bloud also; unlesse we will joyne with Idolaters, and so perish in Hell? For what ever some men talke of the possibility of the salvation of some persons in that Church, (as they call it) yet it is agreed on all hands, among us, that, for those of our owne Nation and once of our owne Church where the light hath so long shined in so much brightnesse, so as they have both received & professed it; if they shall (whether to gratifie a Parent, a wife, husband, friend, Master &c.) put out their owne eyes, and returne backe to Babylon from whence they were once set free, their case is very desperate and dismall, and it had been better for them never to have knowne the way of righteousnesse, 2. Pet. 2. then after they have knowne it to turne from the holy Commandement once delivered unto them. Therefore I beseech you to take care of these a­bove others.

Nor speake I this, onely to prevent a publique tole­ration, (which I hope, through the care of our Pious King, and your diligence, our eyes shall never see) but to put on Authority to the utter rooting out of that a­bomination, 2 Kin. 17. 9. although committed in secret; and with connivence onely.

[Page 70] If then you will not halt betweene Two opinions, if you will be thorough for God, and follow him fully, downe with all Idols and Idolatry through the Kingdome, so farre as the making of the Lawes yet more strict and full for that purpose, may effect it. Till then, you may, if you will, talke of a Covenant, and thinke to doe great matters: but that Great God who is so jealous of his glory in that, above all other things, will abhorre all Covenants with you. And if you, having now such op­portunity and power, shall not throughly cleanse the Land of these spirituall whoredomes so boldly facing and even out-facing the glorious Gospell professed a­mong us; be sure, that, in stead of a blessing upon your Consulations and proceedings, you will draw downe a Curse that will cleave to you, and goe home with you, and featter like poyson over all parts and Corners of the Kingdome, till all be consumed and become a deso­lation.

You all I thinke, agree upon the necessity of a great Reformation. Where should you begin then, but where God ever begins? Looke into the Stories of Asa, Iehosa­phat, Hezekiah, Iosiah, and even of Manasseh himself, (the grosseft Idolater and most bloudy Tyrant that ever reigned in Iudah) when once God had throughly hum­bled him; and you shall ever finde that they began their grand Reformation at Idols, and Idolatry committed with them. I speake not this to backe or countenance any tumultuous or seditious spirits that have lately been stirred up to doe things without Commission; but to You, whom God hath duely called to the worke, and indispensibly requires it at your hands.3. Execute true Iudge­ment.

3. Execute true Iudgement and Justice. Loose the band of wickednesse, Isa. 58. 6. undoe the heavy burdens, let the oppressed goe [Page 71] free, and break every yoke of the oppressor. This is a maine part of an acceptable Fast, and therefore must be per­formed of all that will enter into Covenant with God. And this was part of Gods Answer to the Jewes enqui­ring of the Prophet whether they should continue their solemne Fasts? Zach. 7. Therefore herein deale im­partially and throughly, for hereby the Throne it felfe is established. It is true, a difference must be put be­tween those that are only led on in evill wayes by o­thers, and those that are leaders of others: but it be­comes not me to prescribe to you in this case, your own wisdome will teach you that. Only I am to pray you, that if you shall find any escapes to have been made in the Ordinary Courts of Justice, in the condigne punish­ment of Murder, and Idolatry, take notice of them, and there be sure to strike home, as Samuel did where Saul himselfe had been too indulgent. There is nothing makes you such faire Images of God (in the relation you now stand) as due execution of Justice and Judgement. Therefore, if you will indeed enter into a Covenant, let this be done.

4. Do your best to draw as many others as you can the same way.4. Draw others also. Parents and Masters are bound to take care that their children and families do feare, and serve God, as well as themselves. And You who now ap­peare before him in behalf of the kingdome, as you must enter into a Covenant for them as well as for your selves, so must you do your utmost that they also for themselves may passe under the same Covenant, with you. The representative Body of Israel that stood be­fore the Lord to make a Covenant, in Deut. 29. 15. made it not only for themselves and such as were present, but for all that were absent also▪ And Iosiah when he entred [Page 72] into a Covenant himself, he not only caused all that were present of Iudah at the house of the Lord, to stand to it, 2 Chron. 34. 32. But he made all Israel to serve, even to serve the Lord their God, vers. 33. that is, to strike a Covenant with him. Therefore take care that all others, when you returne home, may make a Covenant before the Lord to walk after him in all his Commandements: that God may be set up more and more, and the hearts of all men may be lifted up in the wayes of the Lord to take hold of his Covenant also. If you do not this, you do nothing: for more is required at your hands, than of private persons, who yet are bound to call upon others (as the men in my Text) saying, Come and let us joyne our selves unto the Lord in an everlasting Covenant.

5. Would you have this to be done,5. Set up Way-markes to Zion. namely, that all should appeare before God in Zion, for this purpose? Then set up Way-markes to direct them thither. Take speciall care that the Ordinances of God be set up, and held up, in more puritie, and plentie. Down at once with all in­ventions and fancies of men, which corrupt and adulte­rate the pure worship of God. Let none but He be wor­shipped, and let no worship be thrust upon him which himselfe hath not prescribed. Herein especially (yet still within your bounds) be zealous, and quit your selves like men.

Above all, take better order for the more frequent, and better performance, and due countenancing of that now▪ vilified (but highly necessary) Ordinance of Prea­ching, which, albeit it be Gods own arme and power unto salvation, is yet brought into so deep contempt (and by none more than by those who should labour most to hold up the honour of it) that it is made a mat­ter of scorne, and become the odious Character of a [Page 73] Puritan, to be an assiduous Preacher. Yea, so farre have some men run mad this way, that it is held a crime de­serving Censure in the highest Ecclesiasticall Court in this Kingdome, to tell but a few Clergy men out of a Pulpit, that it is an essentiall part of the Office of a Bishop, to PreachBut ab initio it was not so. The third part of the Hom. against the perill of Idolatry, speaking of the Bishops of the Primi­tive times, saith, that They were then Preaching Bi­shops, and more often seene in Pulpits than in Princes Pa­laces, more of­ten occupied in his Legacy, who said, Go yee into the whole world, and preach the Gospel to all men, than in Embassages and affaires of Princes of this world, pag. 59. edit. 1623.. Some of you know that I belye them not.

And is it not then high time to vindicate the honour of Preaching from those virulent and scurrilous tongues and pens, that have of late daies (more then ever) blas­phem'd this Ordinance; and, to take more pitie of the many darke and barren parts of this Kingdome, where many scarce have a Sermon in seven yeeres; nay some (as divers of worth do credibly report) not in their whole lives? Hath not God himselfe said plainly, Prov 29. 18. Where there is no vision the people perish? Is it not his own complaint,Hos. 4. 6. My people are destroyed for lack of know­ledge? And how so? thus; for a long season Israel had been without a teaching Priest, and without the Law, 2 Chro. 15. 3. And mark too, that while they had no teaching Priest they were without the true God also. For, there is no coming at the true God, in the ordinary way, but by a teaching Priest. Rom. 10. 14. How shall they heare without a Prea­cher? And1 Cor. 1. 2. it pleaseth God by the foolishnesse of preaching to save them that beleeve: andRom. 10. 17. faith comes by hearing.

Wherefore I dare pronounce, that while so many thousands within the Kings Dominions, especially in England, Wales, and Ireland, are still suffered to sit in such darknesse and in the shadow of death, and so to perish for ever for want of constant, sound, profitable Preach­ing, it is impossible that they should be capable of a Covenant with God; or, that it may be truely said, that the maine body of these Kingdomes are in case to [Page 74] make a Covenant with him; unlesse you, the Represen­tative Body thereof, take more care than ever yet hath been taken in this behalfe.

I know the many plea's of many idle droanes and mercilesse men to excuse and defend an unpreaching, or seldome-preaching Ministry; but all their fig-leaves are too short to cover their own shame, and the naked­nesse of those poore perishing people whom such men make naked, to their own destruction also.

To tell us, that preaching indeed is necessary for the planting of a Church, but not so afterwards: is nothing but to bewray their owne sottish ignorance. Is not the word preached,1 Pet. 2. 2. the milk and food whereby men are, and must be continually nourished to grow up in the body of Christ,Ephes. 4. as well as the Seed whereof they are first begot­ten unto Christ?Iam. 1. 18. And can men that are born,1 Pet 1. 23. and living, live safely, or at all, without continuall supply of food convenient for them?

What fearefull trifling is this in a businesse of such high Concernment! Good Iehoshaphar, when his heart was once lift up in the wayes of the Lord, tooke other or­der: for, he sent not only some of the prime Levites and Priests, who taught in Iudah and had the Book of the Law of the Lord with them, and went about through all the Cities of Iudah and taught the people, 2 Chron. 17. 8, 9. but with them, he sent divers of his Princes and chiefe Offi­cers, Benhail, Obadiah, and sundry others, to see that this work should be effectually done, vers. 7. yea (as our late Translation hath it) he sent to them to teach in the Cities of Iudah: that is, that they should take as much care of the businesse, by putting on the Priests and Le­vites, as if they themselves in person were bound to do all the worke. And hence it was, that God gave this [Page 75] testimony of Iehoshaphat, that he walked in the first wayes of his father David, vers. 3. that he had riches and honour in abundance, vers. 5. and that the feare of the Lord fell upon all the Kingdomes of the Land round about Iudah, so that they made no warre against Iehoshaphas, vers. 10. So that, beside the spirituall benefit, a Preaching Ministry is one of the best advantages to secure a State; it is (you see) not only an hedge, but walles and Bulwarks unto any Kingdome.

And yet, as many of our blind guides and Idol Shep­heards care not to erect Preaching where there is none, so doe they all they can to cheat and defraud those of it who doe or would enjoy it, sometimes by pulling it downe where it is set up, and (to fill up the measure of their wickednesse) glorying in it, when they have done; sometimes by striking out the teeth of it, that if men will needes preach, yet it shall be to little purpose; one­ly a frigid, toothlesse, saplesse discourse, never pier­cing deeper than the eare. If the Preacher come home to convince the Conscience of particulars that need re­formation, (which yet was the old course, and should be so still) the Preacher is either derided as worthy of no­thing but contempt, or else censured as indiscreet, rash, factious, and seditious.

And least men should surfeit of preaching, how be all Sermons, in the afternoones of the Lord's dayes, cryed downe, as the markes of Iudaizing Puritanisme, and as a burden intolerable to the people!

Indeed, it is true, that when Authority first command­ed the afternoones Sermon to be converted into Cate­chising, there was not onely no hurt done, but a wise and needfull course prescribed for the best edifying of popular Auditories. But as some have handled the mat­ter, [Page 76] it is now become a great hindrance to edification. If a Minister would carefully and solidly open the seve­rall heads of Catechisme, confirme them by Scripture, and bring them home by some short and familiar appli­cation most sutable to vulgar eares and Capacities; I hold it simply the most profitable exercise (at least for one part of the day) that can be set up for the increase of sound knowledge and Piety: and pity it is that this is so much neglected. But this, say our new Masters, is worse than preaching. Therefore they enjoyne all to keep one­ly to the bare Questions and Answers of the Chila's Catechisme. And if any presume to adde any exposition or instruction, he is by some hurried from post to pillar, and censured as a pernitious Malefactor.

And as they have thus thrust all preaching (be it but Catecheticall) out of the Church in the afternoones of the Lords day, so have they shut divers able, godly, dis­creet Pastors out of their owne Pulpits on the weeke dayes, even in Populous Townes, where the Ministers were willing to bestow their paines, (and so for many yeares with great fruit and comfort to the whole Coun­try had done) gratis, for the refreshing of many hungry Soules who had no preaching at home in their owne Pa­rishes, and dare not stirre thence on the Lords day to seeke it abroad.

Nay, some of your Cathedrall Men are come to that passe, that when any Sermon (such as it is) is preached in the Cathedrall or Collegiate Church, no Sermon must then be preached in the Parish Church or Church­es adjoyning, meerely to uphold the pompe and State of the Greater Church, and for feare of lessening the Auditory, or diminishing the honour of the Preacher, (who many times deserves little enough) where as not [Page 77] a fourth part of the Congregation (by this meanes de­frauded of Preaching in the Parish Church) can possibly come within hearing, or ken of the Cathedrall Pulpit­man.

Oh Beloved! are these, wayes to set forth Christ to the people for their salvation, to display God, in all his glorious Attributes and Perfections, and to bring them within view of the beauties and Excellencies of God in his Covenant and Communion with his people, so as to draw them to a Covenant! Nay hence, hence it comes to passe that God is extremely dishonoured, his Name blasphemed, his day abominably prophaned, and his people run headlong (like beasts to the Sham­bles) by droves, to Popery, Anabaptisme, Familisme, Atheisme, and what not, that may cast, and lock them under the hatches of everlasting damnation.

—Quis talia fando,
Temperet a lachrymis?—

I know that some of those Step-fathers and hard-hearted Wretches, who be indeed the chiefe (if not the onely) cause of all this, blush not to attribute the daily falling off of multitudes from our Church, to o­ver-much Preaching: but this is as rationall, as was his mad opinion touching Saint Paul, that much learning had made him mad. These are crying Abominations, that will cry as loud against you, as now they doe against the Authors of them, if you reforme them not.

Wonder not at my length, and heate in this point. It is a matter of greatest Consequence, and of all other most proper for a Preacher to be zealous in. And give me leave to tell you, that this must be put in the head of the Catalogue of your weightiest Consultations at this time, if you desire ever to draw the people of this & the [Page 78] minions into any Covenant and Communion with God, or to setle any thing for the good of your selves and countryes.

King Iames indeed took commiseration of the grosse ignorance of multitudes in the North parts of this Kingdome, and sent some Preachers at his owne charge among them. A Pious and a Noble worke! But what through the unsetled wandrings, idlenesse, the super­ficiall and unprofitable performances of some of these Preachers, and what through the supine negligence of some in Authoritie who should have looked better to those itinerary Ministers, most of that labour and charge was little better than lost. For, some of you know, that in no parts of the Kingdome hath there been such an increase of Papists, as in those very Corners, where that sleight meanes was used to reduce men from Popery.

I beseech you therefore by all the mercies of God, by all the Bowels of Christ in shedding of his deerest bloud for those precious Soules, who now, even by thousands and millions miserably perish in their ignorance and sins, that you would carefully reforme, or cast out all idle, unsound, unprofitable, and scandalous Ministers; and provide a sound, godly, profitable and setled Preaching Ministry in every Congregation through the Land and the annexed Dominions; and, to take no lesse care for their diligent and constant performance of their dutie both in life and Doctrine, as also for their liberall main­tenance, (that may be still capable of improvement, as the times grow harder, and commodities deerer) that both themselves who preach the Gospel, and all theirs also, may cheerefully and comfortably live of the Gospel. And let us once see Zion built up, by your in­dustry, in perfect beautie.

[Page 79] Lastly, When you set upon this great businesse of a Covenant, see that you do it out of love to God, and with all your heart: else, it will come to nothing. If you would to Zion, your faces must be set, and setled thither­ward. If you would make a Covenant, When a Co­venant is to be made, do it with all the heart; and forget it not when it is made. you must not be unwilling, afraid, ashamed to be accounted such Cove­nanters, but do it with a steddy, open, undaunted coun­tenance and resolution. You must love the name of your God to be his servants, Isay 56. 6. You have seen how Asa and all his Kingdome did it; they both entred into Co­venant, and they swore it, with all their heart, and sought him with their whole desire, 2 Chro. 15. 15. and he was found of them, and gave them rest round about.

Thus if you do, God shall be set up, Religion advan­ced, your grievances removed, you shall heare no more such complainings in our streets. All blessings shall follow, not your selves alone, but the whole Kingdome, in our King and his Government, in your Consultati­ons and proceedings, in the publique, setled, and glori­ous Peace, and prosperitie of both Church and State. The blessings of the Earth, in the Citie, the field, your bodies, posteritie, in all your goings out and comings in; The blessings of heaven in the meanes of Grace, the beginnings and growth in grace, the light of Gods countenance which is better than life; and, after all, even the fulnesse of both grace and glory in the full, cleare, and eternall fruition of God himselfe in the highest heavens, shall all compasse, and Crowne you for ever.

Provided alwayes, that when once this Covenant is made, you take care that it never be forgotten, but heeded, minded, and performed; that as you close with God, so you may alwayes continue with him. Then shall this [Page 80] whole nation and the children which are yet unborne praise and blesse the Lord for ever for this Parliament, and your endeavours in it. But I feele my self spent, and therefore must desist, yet with this hope, that my Re­verend fellow-labourer designed for the other part of this worke, will begin where▪ I leave, and set on with more strength what my weakness is not able to performe.

FINIS.

Errata.

Pag. 30. lin. 28. read arct. pag. 45. lin. 2. 1. sit. errors in the pointing, correct, or pardon.

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