ENGLANDS Looking-Glasse, PRESENTED IN A Sermon, Preached before the Honorable House of COMMONS, At their late solemne FAST, December 22. 1641.

By Edmund Calamy, B.D. And Preacher at Aldermanbury, LONDON.

EZEK. 18.31.
Cast away from you all your transgressions whereby ye have transgressed, and make you a new heart and a new Spirit, Why will yee die, O house of Israel.

Published by Order of the House.

LONDON, Printed by I. Raworth, for Chr. Meredith, and are to be sold at the Crane in Pauls Churchyard, 1642.

To the Honourable House of COMMONS Assembled in PARLIAMENT.

OBedience is a virtue of such great worth, that Luther did rather desire to have grace to be obedi­ent, than power to work miracles. Out of this very Principle it was, that I first adventured to preach before such a grave and judicious Senate, Mallem obe­dire quam miracula facere. Luther. coram tam multis viris & tam paucis hominibus. And from the same Principle it is, that I now present the Sermon to a more publike view. The time allotted for the making of it, was so short (by reason of your more serious affairs) that it might have been a sufficient Apology, to excuse both the preaching and [Page] printing of it, had not pure Obedience just­ly silenced all such Apologies. And now it is printed, the Sermon it self is so poor and mean, that it may fitly be answered to me, what Apelles once did to a Painter, who having drawn many Lines in a little space of time, and boasting to Apelles that he had done so much in so short a time; it was replyed, That he wondered that he had drawn no more. But yet howsoever, my humble request is, That you would accept of this poor Mite, this little Goats-haire, which your commands (like a Mid-wife) have brought into the world. And indeed the kinde entertainment it found in the hearing, and the great acknowledgement of your Thanks (farre above all expectati­on or desert) afterwards, is an abundantly sufficient incitement against all discourage­ment whatsoever. The subject of the Ser­mon is of great concernment. It is about the ruine and repair of Kingdoms and Na­tions; a matter sutable for you that are the representative Body of the Kingdom. Sin ruines Kingdoms. When Nicephorus Pho­cas had built a mighty Wall about his Pa­lace [Page] for his defense, he heard a voyce in the night, crying [...]. Though thou build'st thy walls as high as Heaven, sin is within, and this will easily batter down thy walls. Sin is like a Traytor in our own bosomes, that will open the gates to the enimy. Sin weakens our hands, and makes them unapt to fight. Sin taketh away the courage of our hearts. It was not the strength of Ai that overcame the Israelites, but Achans sin. Sinne causeth a great Army to be overcome by a little one.2 Chron. 24.24. The Army of the Syrians came with a small company of men, and the Lord delivered a very great host into their hand, because they had forsaken the Lord God of their Fathers. The sins of England, are the enimies of England. These beleaguer our Walls, and are as so many Canaanites alwayes rising up in rebellion against us. But now on the contrary, Repentance and Reformation repairs and upholds Kingdoms and Nati­ons: this is their Fortresse and Tower of defense; their Munition, Armour, and Wall of Brasse to defend them. Righteousnesse [Page] exalteth a Nation, but sinne is a reproach to any People. Prov. 14 34. The Lord in mercy ruinate our sinnes, and not the Nation! the same Lord worke a Nationall Reformation, and make you his Instruments in this great work! Much hath been done by you this way al­ready (which is acknowledged in this en­suing discourse, with great thankfulnesse) The Lord enable you to perfect what you have begun. He that is the Finisher of our faith, finish this much-desired Reformati­on! It is very observable, that when God raised up Magistrates, such as Nehemiah, Zerubbabel, and others, to pity Sion that lay in the dust, and to repair her breaches: at the same time he raised up Prophets also, such as Haggai, Zechariah, and others, to strengthen the hands of the Magistrates, and to encourage them in so noble a ser­vice: and therefore it is expresly said.Then the Prophets, Ezra 5.1. Haggai and Zechariah prophe­sied unto the Iews that were in Judah and Je­rusalem in the Name of the God of Israel, even unto them. Then (and not before) rose up Zerubbabel and Jeshua, and began to build the house of God which is at Jerusalem; and [Page] with them were the Prophets of God helping them. And Ezra 6.14. The Elders of the Iews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the Prophet, and Ze­chariah the sonne of Iddo; and they builded and finished it, according to the Commandment of the God of Israel, &c. By both these Texts it appears, that the Magistrates began and finished the reparations of Gods House, by the help of the Prophets of God. Suf­fer me, therefore (as divers others have done before) the unworthiest of all Gods Ministers, according to my duty and place, to beseech and exhort you to the consum­mation of those blessed good things which you have begun to do for the Church of God in England. And the God of all bles­sings, blesse you and yours.

So prayeth Your much obliged Spirituall Servant, EDMVND CALAMY.

A Sermon Preached at a Fast before the Honourable House of COMMONS.

Jerem. 18.7, 8, 9, 10.

At what instant I shall speak concerning a Nation, and concerning a Kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it.

If that Nation against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evill, I will repent of the evill that I thought to do unto them.

And at what instant I shall speak concerning a Nation, and concerning a Kingdom, to build and to plant it:

If it do evill in my sight, that it obey not my voyce, then I will repent of the good wherewith I said I would be­nefit them.

THis Text may fitly be called a Looking glasse for England and Ireland, or for any other King­dom whatsoever; wherein God Almighty declares what he can do with Nations and Kingdoms, and what he will do.

[Page 2]1. What he can do. He can build and plant a Nation. and he can pluck up, pull down, and destroy a Nation. And when a Kingdom is in the depth of misery, he can in an instant, if he but speake the word, raise it up to the top of happinesse; and when it is in the heigth and Zenith of hap­pinesse, he can in another instant speake a word, and throw it downe againe into an Abysse of misery.

2. What he will do. God will not alwayes use his Prerogative, but he will first speake before he strikes,Verse 7. he will first pronounce judgement before he executeth judgement.Verse 8. And if that Nation against which he hath pronounced the evill of punishment turn from their evill of sin,Verse 8. then will God repent of the evill he intended to do unto them: And not only so, but he will build and plant that Nation, and of a bar­ren wildernesse, make it a fruitfull Paradise. But if that Nation do evill in Gods sight, Verse 9. and will not obey his voice,Ver. 10.then will God repent of the good wherewith he would have benefited them, and pull down what he hath built, and pluck up what he hath planted, and of a fruitfull Paradise, make it a barren wildernesse.

By all this it appears, That as this day is a Na­tionall day, and this Honourable Assembly a Nati­onall Assembly, so this Text is a Nationall Text, every way sutable for the occasion about which we are met. The Lord make it as profitable to you, as it is sutable for you. From the words thus explai­ned, I gather these four Doctrinall conclusions.

[Page 3]1. That God hath an absolute power over all Kingdoms and Nations, to pluck them up, pull them down, and destroy them as he pleaseth.

2. That though God hath this absolute Pre­rogative over Kingdoms and Nations, yet he seldome useth this power, but first he gives warning.

3. If that Kingdome against which God hath threatned destruction, repent and turn from their evill; God will not only not destroy that King­dome, but build it, and plant it. Or thus,

Nationall Repentance will divert Nationall judgements, and procure Nationall blessings.

4. That when God begins to build and plant a Nation, if that Nation do evill in Gods sight, God will repent of the good he intended to do unto it.

The first is this,

1. That God hath an independent and illimi­ted Prerogative over all Kingdoms and Nations to build them,Doct. 1. or destroy them as he pleaseth.

This is set forth in the beginning of the Chap­ter, by ocular demonstration. God bids Ieremy Arise and go down to the Potters house, &c. them,Verse 2. and when he came there, he beheld the Potter making a Vessell of clay, and breaking it, and making it again another Vessell,Verse 4. as seemed good to the Potter to make it. And God himselfe makes the application; Oh House of Israel, cannot I do with you as this Potter, saith theVerse 6.Lord? Cannot I make you Vessells of honour, or dishonour? cannot I save [Page 4] you, or destroy you as I please? Behold, as the clay is in the Potters hand, so are ye in mine hand▪ O House of Israel. Because Nebuchadnezzar would not con­fesse this truth, he was driven to school to the beasts of the field, and he had the heart of an Oxe, till he acknowledged, that God doth whatso­ever he will in the Army of Heaven,Dan. 4.34, 35.and among the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What dost thou?

Reas. 1. This supremacy of Gods power, is founded upon this absolute Right that God hath over us as he is our Creator. For he is Jehovah, that gives being to all, and receives being from none. Of him, Ro. 11.36. and to him, and through him are all things. All creatures are beams from his Sun, drops from his Ocean. If I speak (saith the Text,) I in whom all men live, move, and have their being; I that made all things out of nothing, and can as easily turn all things into nothing, If I speak. This power of God over Kingdoms, hath two properties.

1. It is illimited and independent, which appears by three expressions in the Text 1. By these words, At what instant; which hold forth unto us, that God can destroy a Nation in an instant, in the very twinckling of an eye. In the morning the Sun shone upon Sodome, but before night it was destroyed with fire and brimstone. The old World was drowned (as Luther thinks) in the Spring time, when all things began to bud and blossome. The flood came suddenly, saith Christ, [Page 5] it came de repente, according to the vulgar transla­tion of these words, when they least expected it. And on the contrary, God can in an instant make a Nation happy. The Israelites were in an instant brought out of Egypt;Eodem die fuistis omni­um miserri­mi & omni­um beatissi­mi. Nox una non tantum vos a morte in vitam traduxit, sed ex abysso profundissi­ma evexit supra omnem terrenam faelicitatem, ac si in nubi­bios equita­retis. and were in one and the same day, of all people most miserable, and of all people most happy, as Calvin well ob­serveth upon this Text. 2. By these words— I shall speak. If God do but speak to destroy a Na­tion, it is presently destroyed: He spake the word, and the World was made; and if he speak the word, the World will return to its first Prin­ciples. If I bring a sword upon a land, and say, sword go through that land, so that I cut off man and beast from it. Though these three men were in it, as I live, saith the Lord, they shall deliver neither sons nor daughters, &c. Ezek. 14.17, 18. On the contrary, if God do but speak to plant a Nation, it is planted; for Gods benedicere, is benefacere. 3. This absolute power of God is likewise deciphered by three synonimicall expressions in the Text, To pluck up, pull down, and to destroy. Which three words do intimate, That God hath an illimited Preroga­tive over Kingdoms, and that he can overturn, overturn, overturn uhem, as it is said, Ezek. 21.27. Or as Hugo glosseth upon the words, He can pluck up all mercies, pull down all judgments, and destroy them; that is, make an utter ruine of them.

2. This power of God, is universall. For the words run in generall, At what instant I shall speak concerning a Nation: not this or that Na­tion, [Page 6] but a Nation indefinitely. There is no King­dome exempted from Gods jurisdiction, or that hath Letters Patents to priviledge it. If I speak concerning Ierusalem, or concerning England, &c. God is the Governour of the whole World, all alike to this Heavenly Potter.

Vse 1.If Gods power over Kingdomes be so large, If and so absolute; let all the World stand in awe, and not dare to sin against such a mighty and ter­rible God:Isa. 40.15. A God before whom all the Nations of the World are as a drop of a bucket, and as the small dust of the ballance. And if all Asia, Africa, Europe, and America be but as the drop of a bucket; what a little drop of that bucket is one man, though ne­ver so great? If all the World be but as the dust of the ballance, what a little little particle of this dust is one man?Iere. 10. 6, 7. Who would not fear thee, oh King of Nations? forasmuch as there is none like to thee, O Lord; Thou art great, and thy Name is great in might. Will ye not fear me, saith the Lord? will ye not tremble at my pre­sence, Iere. 5.22. which hath chained up the sea with fetters of sand? &c. That am the God of earthquakes, the God of thunder and lightning; a God that can cast both body and soule into Hell fire. Who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man, that shall dye, and of the son of man which shall bee made as grasse? and forgettest the Lord thy maker, Isa. 51.12, 13. that hath stretched forth the Heavens, and layd the foundatons of the earth? Think of this you that are greater in sin, than in greatnesse, that make no other use of your great­nesse, but as of Letters Patents to free your selves [Page 7] from all humane punishments, and to licence you to make your wills your laws, and your lusts your gods; and to commit not onely peccata, Text. but monstra, that are Pessimi maximi, not Opti­mi maximi. The great Jehovah against whom you sin, is greater than the greatest; he bindeth Kings in chains, and Nobles in lincks of iron. He hath provided Tophet of old; yea, for the King it is provi­ded. Isa. 30 33 Hell was made for great men as well as poore. Observe how resolutely and emphati­cally the Prophet speaks, yea, for the King it is prepared. Potentes potenter torquebuntur. Ingentia beneficia, ingentia vitia, ingentia supplicia. To whom God hath given great mercies, if they abound with great vices, God will inflict great punish­ments upon them. Think of this you that tram­ple the bloud of Christ under your feet, by your prodigious oathes, and by the contempt of the day, worship, and servants of Christ. The bloud which you contemne is nobler than the noblest bloud that runs in your veins: It is the bloud of the eternall God, of that God, before whom the great, as well as the small, must appear at the great day of Judgment; in which terrible day, the Kings of the earth, and the great men, Reve 6. 15, 16. and the rich men, vnd the chiefe Captains, and the mighty men will hide themselves in the dens, and in the rocks of the moun­tains: And say to the mountains and rocks fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the Throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, &c. They that are here cloath'd in silk and velvet, shall wish [Page 8] for the mountains to cover them (which yet shall be but a poor shelter; For the mountains melt at the presence of the Lord, and the rocks rend asunder when he is angry. They that made others to flye away from them as innocent Lambs, from de­vouring Wolves, shall be afraid of the wrath of the Lamb that sitteth on the Throne. Great men must dye as well as others, and when they are dead, there is no difference between the dead bones of Philip of Macedon, and other men, as Diogenes told Alexander. Remember the wofull Catrastophe of Herod the great, Agrippa the great, Pompey the great. Oh, let all men fear to sin against that God that removed the Assyrian Monarchy to the Per­sian, and the Persian to the Graecian, and the Grae­cian to the Roman. That toucheth the mountains and they smoak, before whom the Devils feare and tremble. Oh, let not our hearts be harder than the rocks, worser than Devils! Oh England, feare the God of Heaven and earth! Oh you House of Commons,Psal. 4. tremble and sin not; most in the World sin and tremble not. Do you tremble, and sin not: We are all in Gods hand, as a flye in the paw of a roaring Lion, as the clay in the hand of the Potter.1 Cor. 10.22. Do we provoke the Lord to jealousie, are we stronger than he? Consider the advantages God hath us at, and our dependencies upon him, and let us not dare to sin against him.

A Sanctuary in all distresses and dangers. Let us flye to this God of power,Vse 2. who giveth King­doms, and taketh away kingdoms as he pleaseth. [Page 9] The great superintendent. Fly to him as to thy Ark, thy Pella, thy City of refuge. And in our deepest miseries let us sing cheerfully the 46. Psalm, as Luther was wont to do. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. I will not feare though the earth be moved and though the moun­tains be carried into the midst of the sea, &c.

A divine project to secure a Nation from ruine;Vse 3. to make this great Jehovah our friend; for if God be on our side we need not feare those that are against us. Deus meus & omnia: Tranquillus Deus, tranquillat omnia. And for this very purpose we are here met this day in Gods Sanctuary, flying to the horns of the Altar, to beseech that God who is the only Potentate, King of kings, and Lord of lords, that only doth wonder­full things, that he would be reconciled unto us; that he would quiet the commotions that are in Ireland, reduce the Rebels into order, sheath up the sword that is there drawn, and quench the flames that are there kindled. That the Lord would knit the heart of our Soveraign to his peo­ple more and more, and of his people to him. That he would unite both Houses of Parliament, that they may joyn together with one heart as one man, to relieve poor Ireland, and reforme England. Athanas. in vita Antonij. Athanasius tells us that Anthony the Monk fought against the Divell with that Text, Psalm. 68.1. Let God arise, and let his enemies be scattered, let them also that hate him flee before him. The Divell is more afraid of this Text, then any [Page 10] other: for he knows he is Gods greatest enemy, and if God arise, he must needes be scattered. Oh, let us set God on work this day, to destroy the implacable enemies of his Church; arise oh Lord, and scatter the Irish rebells! arise oh Lord, and confound Antichrist, and build up the walls of Ierusalem! The Romans in a great distresse were driven to take the weapons out of the Temples of their Gods, and to fight with them, and so they overcome. This is our course this day, wee fight with the weapons of the Church, Prayers and Teares. The Spartans walls were their speares: Our walls are our prayers, our helpe standeth in the Name of the Lord, who hath made Heaven and earth. Lord speake a word and Iericho shall fall, be favourable to England and Ireland; Lord take away our tinne, and purely purge our drosse! Our trust is not in our bow, nor speare. Let us labour to become Gods favourites, and then we have all happinesse concen­tred in two words.

The second Doctrinall conclusion. Doct. 2.

Though God hath this absolute power over Kingdomes and Nations, yet he seldome useth this power, but first he gives warning. I say he seldome useth it: for I do not lay it downe as a generall rule: Deus non alligat suas manus! God may, and doth sometimes destroy at once, and give no warning. Thus he dealt with the Hea­then Ammonites and Idumaeans, as Calvin observes; but he seldome or never sends any great judge­ment [Page 11] upon his own people, but first he speaks before he strikes. First Verba, then Verbera, as it is in the Text. At what instant I shall speak, &c. If that Nation concerning which I have pronounced, &c. First God pronounceth a judgement before he executeth a judgment; he lightneth before he thundreth; he hangs out his white Flag of mercy, before his red Flag of utter defiance; first he shoots off his warning Peeces, before his murdering Pee­ces. And the Reasons are,

1. That all the World may take notice,Reas. 1. that all punishments and afflictions come not by chance, or fortune, but from the immediate hand of the great God. It is he that forms the light, and creates darknesse; it is he that makes peace, and creates evill, I the Lord do all these things. Isa. 45.7. And therefore God gives warning to imprint this do­ctrine: That there is no evill of punishment, but from God.

2. Because God is loath to punish.Reas. 2. Minatur De­us, ut non puniat: they that minde mischiefe, give no warning. When Absalom intended to murder Amnon, he spake neither good nor bad unto him, 2 Sam. 13.22. Neither would God reveale his intentions to destroy us, but only because he de­sires not to destroy us. I reade of one that came to murder one of the Roman Emperors, and by speaking these words, Hunc tibi pugionem mittit Senatus, detexit facinus fatuus, & non implevit. Ano­ther was seen whetting his sword, and by that, suspected and detected. But it is otherwise with [Page 12] God, he gives many items, and sets many Bea­cons on fire before he destroyes a Nation. As Ambrose observes upon Gen. 9.13. He puts his bow in the Cloud; Non sagittam, sed arcam, not his Arrow, but his Bow; the Bow cannot hurt us, but the Bow forewarns us of the Arrow; and the string of the Bow is to us-ward, to shew how unwilling God is to punish: He must first turn the Bow and put in the Arrow, before he can shoot. And as it is, Psalm. 7.12. If you will not turn, I will whet my sword, I will bend my Bow, and make ready my Arrow. First God whets his sword before he strikes, and bends his Bow before he shoots, his Arrow is unprepared, &c. And all this, because he is a Father of mercies, and a father you know is loath to whip his child. I afflict not willingly, Lamen. 3.33. Fury is not in me, Isa. 27.4. It is your sinnes that put thunder­bolts in my hands. As a Woman brings forth her childe with pain, and a Bee never stings, but when he is provoked: So it is with our good God, He never punisheth, but when there is no remedy, 2 Chron. 36. 15, 16. When God came to punish Adam, he came slowly, in the cool of the day; but when he commeth to shew mercy, he comes leaping over the hills, Cant. 2.8. and skipping over the mountains. God was but six dayes in making the whole World, and yet as Chrysostome well ob­serves, he was seven dayes destroying one City, the City of Iericho.

Reas. 3.God gives warning for the glorification of [Page 13] his justice. That all those persons and nations that are destroyed, may have no Apology, no excuse, but may be speechlesse at the great day of account, Ne dicant sibi non praedictum Cave. There is no Christian nation, shall be able to say, That God destroyed them, and yet never gave them warning. Read the second and third Chapters of the Reve­lation; observe Christs warning to the seven Churches. This made them without excuse; fore­warned, forearmed.

If this be Gods ordinary course,Vse 1. Let us admire and adore the patience of God towards our Per­sons in particular, and towards this Nation in ge­nerall, in which we live: A Nation not worthy to be beloved, A Nation as ripe for destruction, as any other Nation. How many Tapers hath God set on fire? How many white Flags of Mer­cy hath God hung out? How often hath he shot off his warning peeces, to forewarne this Nation, that God would pluck it up, pull it down, and de­stroy it. Ionathan shot three Arrowes, not to hurt David, but to help David by foretelling him of Sauls murderous intention against him; But God hath shot not only three, but eight Arrowes, to forewarne, and forearme us. The Lord awaken our secure hearts, to the consideration of these things: God hath spoken eight wayes to this Nation, by all which he hath intimated his intention to destroy us.

1. He hath spoken unto us by the voice of his Ministers, that with one mouth and lip, have [Page 14] foretold us of desolation, and destruction. It hath beene the constant voice of Gods faithfull Servants, from the Pulpit, for these many yeares early and late. Now this voice is not to be slighted; For surely the Lord will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his Servants the Prophets, Amos 3.7.

2. He hath spoken to us by the voice of his lesser judgements. For God hath two sorts of judgements, Rods and Scorpions: Footmen, and Horsemen, as it is expressed, Ierem. 12.4. And he deales with a Nation, as a Physitian with his Patient. If a lesser potion will not worke, the Physitian will prescribe a stronger. God hath sent many lesser judgements, The Small-pox, unseasonable Weather, the Plague in a mode­rate way; but these judgements have beene slighted and contemned; And lesser judgements contemned, are Harbingers to usher in greater: God threatneth, Levit. 2.6. If his people will walk contrary to him, he will punish them seven times more: and afterwards he addes, That if they will not be reformed, he will punish them yet seven times more, and yet seven times more. Vers. 18.21, 24, 28. I, even I, will chastise you in fury, seven times more for your sins. As the ancient Consuls of Rome had Rods, and Axes, carried be­fore them: Rods as ensignes of their lenity to penitent offenders; But Axes as tokens of their severity, against incorrigible offenders: So God hath his Rods, and his Axes, his puning [Page 15] Knife, and his Axe. If his pruning Knife will not amend us, his Axe will hew us down, and cast us into the fire.

3. God hath spoken to us by the death of his godly Servants. For the righteous perish, and no man layeth it to heart, and mercifull men are taken away; none considering that the righteous is taken away, from the evill to come, Isa. 57.1. Thus Methusalem that godly Patriarch died, the very yeere the flood came. And his name signifieth, A messenger of death; His death did presage the flood. Thus Austin was taken away by death, immediately before the sacking of Hippo where he lived. Paraeus before the taking of Heilderberg. Luther a little before Warres came into Germany, as he himselfe did fore-signifie at his death. Thus the death of Saint Ambrose was a fore-runner of the ruine of Italy. The many Reverend Preachers, The Chariots, and Horsemen of Israel, that in these few yeares are gone to their graves in peace; are as so many blazing Comets to portend our ruine.

4. God hath spoken to us by the voice of other Protestant Nations beyond the Seas, that have drunk deepe of the Cup of Gods wrath. Herodotus tells us, that in a certaine Egyptian Temple, there was a Statue built for Sennacherib, (this was he that besieged Ierusalem, and blasphe­med the God of Israel, and was afterwards slaine by his sonnes) and upon this Statue was this In­scription; [...], Look upon me, and [Page 16] learn to be righteous. Me thinks I heare Rochell, Bo­hemia, the Palatinate, and other parts of Germany, saying: Oh England look upon us, and learn to be righteous. God will not alwayes make you like Goshen, when we are plagued as Egypt: make you like Noah in the Ark, when we are drowned with a flood of miseries: make you like Gideons dry Fleece, when we are like his wet Fleece, bedewed with sorrow and lamentation. You must not look alwayes to drink so deep of the Cup of prosperity, when we have drunk so deep of the Cup of adversity. God hath made us examples to you; but if you amend not, God will make you your selves the next examples. It is a most true saying: Legimus Historias, ne ipsi fiamus historia. If you will not learne righte­ousnesse by our History, God will make you the next History. Discite justitiam moniti & non temnere Divos. This is a loud and powerfull voyce.

5. God speaks now more neerly unto us, by the bloudy rebellion that is in Ireland; The sword that is there drawn, is like the Comet, that for a whole yeer hung over Ierusalem, in the likenesse of a fiery flaming sword. This sword is Gods warning peece to England: It is like Tamberlaines red Flag, threatning ruine, and de­solation to us; For it is an old saying, He that would England win, must with Ireland first begin. A Serpent, the neerer it is, the more dangerous it is. The sword is now come very neere us: It is [Page 17] like a Serpent in our bosomes: The Lord awaken our sleepy spirits. God hath 3. swords. The sword of the Angel, which is the plague: the sword of the Spirit which is his Word: and the sword of the Enemy. We have been wofully massacred with the first sword. The Plague hath been grie­vously upon our bodies, but the plague of sin still remaines upon our soules; this sword hath done little good. If the sword of the Spirit will not now at last cut down our sinnes, we must expect the sword of the enemy to cut us down, and to de­stroy us.

6. God now also speakes unto us by the many sad divisions, and unhappy fractions that are in Church and State. A Kingdome divided against it selfe, cannot stand. It is observeable, that scarce ever any great enemy entred this Kingdome, but when it was at Schisme and division within it selfe. Tacitus saith, that nothing gave the Romans more advantage against the ancient Brittains then this, Quod factionibus & studijs trahebantur. Man­dubratius (as Caesar cals him) out of hatred against Cassibellanus, brought in Iulius Caesar. Adminius, brought in Claudius. Gnortigernus first, and Mor­dredus after brought in the Saxons. In vita 1. Agrip. Toustains di­vision and inrode, made way for the Normans;Lib. 5 de Bell. Gal. and there were more divisions than one to helpe in the Danes. And there is nothing more likely to bring in the Romans once more into our King­dome, than these Mandubratians, the Adminians, J had almost said these Arminians. Oh sad divi­sions▪ [Page 18] these are as thicke blacke clouds threatning a great shower of desolation.

7. God speakes unto us by the great demur and delay of the reformation of the Church. For the Childe of reformation is come to the birth; but there wants strength to bring it forth. This is a signe, That there are some great obstructions in the Kingdome, that hinder the birth of this much de­sired Childe. And it shrewdly presageth, as if God had begunne to repent of the good, that hee hath begun to doe for us; And that, it will be with us, as it was with Tamar, in the time of her travell, Genes. 38.28,29. Zarah first puts forth his hand out of the Wombe, but afterwards drew it in againe, and Pharez came out in his stead. So it gives us cause to feare, least the Childe of Mercy should goe backe into the Wombe againe, and the Childe of judgement come forth in his stead.

8. God hath spoken to us by the voice of our owne consciences. There is no man that lives in any knowne sinne, but his conscience hath often told him as Abner did Ioah, Will not this sinne bring bitternesse in the latter end? And as Reuben to his Brethren, Did I not tell you of this aforehand? That this sinne would bring you to hell. There is a Light which God hath set up in all our soules, which is as a Beacon, set on fire, to give notice of Gods Wrath and Vengeance. This light is Conscience,Tertul. A­polog. which Tertullian calls praejudicium judicij. This is Gods bosome Preacher; and [Page 19] when this is silenced, it portends nothing, but utter ruine and desolation.

And thus you see how many waies, God hath gi­ven warning to this Kingdom.

Now I beseech you, Let the long-suffering, and goodnesse of God, drive us to repentance. This is the use the Apostle Paul makes, Rom. 2.4. which is the more to be laid to heart, because that Saint Peter pickes out this exhortation from out of all the Epistles of Paul, as one of the choisest, and urgeth it upon those, to whom he wrote, as you may read, 2 Pet. 3.15. And account the long suffering of the Lord, is salvation; even as our beloved Brother Paul also hath written unto you. Now I conceive, this is no where written, but in the place fore­mentioned. Let not that which is our salvation (as Peter saith) become our damnation. Let us follow the example of Noah, Heb. 11.7. Noah by faith being warned of God, of things not seen as yet, moved with fear prepared an Ark, to the saving of his house, &c. Noah had but one warning, and that of a judgement, which had no print in nature: But wee have had eight kindes of warnings, and there are many prints and foot-steps of Gods judgements amongst us. O let us beleeve these Voices of God and let faith worke feare, and feare worke care to prepare an Arke, before the Floud comes. Let us be amended by Gods war­ning-peeces, lest we be consumed by his murde­ring-peeces.

[Page 20] Motives There are two Motives to quicken us to the obe­dience of this exhortation.

1 Gods warnings are in Gods keeping. No man hath a locke and key of Gods patience. Hee is long-suffering, but not alwaies suffering, and how long he will suffer, no man knows. Sometimes God is warning of a people 120. yeers, as he was the old world. Sometimes but 40. yeeres, as he dealt with the Jews, before the destructi­on of Ierusalem, Sometimes but 40. dayes, as in Ninive's case. Sometimes but one night as in Lots case, who had warning of the burning of Sodom, but the night before. We in this Nation have had many yeers warning. I feare me, the Taper is almost burnt out: That the Sun of our prosperity is ready to set. And that the houre-glasse of our happinesse is almost run out. This is our last warning. Mistake me not; I doe not prophecy what God will do; but what wee de­serve God should doe, and what wee may justly expect he will doe, and what wee ought to pro­vide, if hee should doe. Let us amend now, or never; before the day of Mercy be past, be­fore the draw-Bridge be taken up. It may be too late the next yeer.

2 The warnings of God, when they are slighted, they will necessitate and aggravate our condem­nation.

1. They will necessitate our condemnation. For there are three degrees of Gods wrath. His threatning wrath, his punishing wrath, and his [Page 21] condemning Wrath. And this is Gods Methode. First, He threatneth▪ before he punisheth: And if his threatning anger reforme us, wee shall never feele his punishing anger; but if his threatnings prevaile not, wee shall certainly feele his punish­ing anger. And if neither threats, nor pu­nishments prevaile, nothing remains but his con­demning Wrath. Si non audies vocem misericordiae, senties vocem judicij. Si nonaudies primam tubam, Bernard. sen­ties ultimam. Si non audies Deum minantem, senties punientem & condemnantem. What destroyed the old World, but because they did not regard Noahs warning? What destroyed Lots sonnes in Law, but because they mocked at Lots war­ning.

2. They will aggravate our condemnation: For as a childe in the Mothers womb, the lon­ger it is in the wombe, before it comes forth, the bigger the childe will be, and the more pain it will put the Mother unto. So the longer God keeps in his wrath, and is patient toward a Nation, the bigger the childe of wrath will be, when it comes forth, and the greater will be our misery and affliction. This Metaphor God himselfe useth, Isaiah 42.14. I have a long time holden my peace, I have been still, and refrained my selfe; now will I cry like a travelling woman, I will destroy, and devoure at once. Though God hath leaden feet, yet he hath iron hands. The longer he is before hee strikes, the heavier the blow will be, when hee strikes. Patience is the pro­per [Page 22] purchase of the bloud of Christ. There was no patience under the first Covenant.Bernard. Sermon de triplici mi­seric. Deus non expectabat Angelos, non expectabat Adamum, God did not wait for the Angels, nor for Adam; but as soone as ever they had sinned, Hee throws the one out of Paradise, the other into Hell. But for us sinfull sons of Adam, God for Christs sake tarrieth, and waiteth our conversion. Oh, let us not sinne against the merit of Christs bloud! Read the 5c. Psa. 21, 22. These things thou hast done and I kept silence, thou thoughtest that I was altogether such a one as thy selfe: but I will reprove thee and set them in order before thine eyes. Now consider this, ye that forget God; lest I tear you in peeces, and there be none to deliver. Let us not stop our ears from hea­ring these eight Voices, lest God turne his words into blows, and stop his eares from hearing our voices in our extremities. There are two de­grees of mercy in God,Bernard. Sermon. de triplici mi­seric. & quatuor miserat. Misericordia parva, & mi­sericordia magna, His little mercy, and his great mercy. For God to wait our conversion, and to fore-warne us of evill to come, this is a mercy, and a great mercy in it selfe considered. But it is but a little in comparison of the second mercy, which is the great mercy. And that is, when God gives us grace to make a holy use of his pati­ence, to make his patience our salvation, and to be led to repentance by it The Lord bestow this great mercy upon us!

The third Doctrinall conclusion.

That Nationall turning from evill,Doct. 3. will di­vert [Page 23] Nationall judgements, and procure Natio­nall blessings. So saith the Text: If that Nation turne from their evill, then will I repent, and not only so, but verse. 9. I will build, and plant it, &c. The Doctrine is a mercifull qualification of Gods absolute power, he is so farre from using it, as that he indents and covenants with every Nation. If they repent, I will repent. Now whereas God is here said to repent, it is spoken [...], but it must be understood [...]. God is not as man, that he should repent; Hee is said to repent, because hee doth that which men doe when they repent. I will repent, That is,Deus vult mutationē sed nun­quam mu­tat volun­tatem, Aquinas. Deus ali­quando mutat sen­tentiam, sed nun­quam mu­tat decre­tum, Greg. I will turne my judgements into mercies. God doth sometimes will a change, but he never changeth his will. God from all eternity decreed to be served in the old Testament with types and figures, and in the New-Testament, in spirit and truth. Here was a will of achange, but no change in Gods will. When God is said to repent, the change is in us, not in God. As when the Sun softneth the wax, and hardneth the clay; here is a different act of the Sunne; but the change ariseth from the different object, not from the Sunne. So God from all eternity decrees to punish the impenitent, and to blesse the penitent. And when a Nation by Gods Almighty grace be­comes penitent, God turnes his punishments into blessings; but the change is in the Nation, not in God.

And now give me leave to speake my minde freely; [...], Naz. J am not come hither this day to feast [Page 24] your eares, but to wound your hearts; you must not expect elegant and fine phrases. Non licet in tanta miseria disertum esse, This is a day, not for humane, but divine eloquence. Non loquor disertae sed fortia. A day wherein we are to cry mightily unto God, to knock aloud at Heaven gates, and to extort mercy from Gods hands, by a holy and acceptable violence. And for my part I know not any Doctrine more sutable to worke upon your hearts and affections, then this plaine conclusion; That there is no other way to pro­cure blessings from God, or to turne away judge­ments from the Land, but by turning from sinne unto God. The wrath and punishments which sinne hath twisted, Repentance will untwist. Sinne is as a thicke Cloud, stopping the Sun-shine of Gods mercy; but if we turne from sinne, this will melt the cloud, and cause the Sonne of Righteous­nesse to shine upon us. Sinne, it is as a Divell in the Aire, to hinder our prayers from ascending; but if we turne from sinne, this will charme the Divell, and make Satan like lightning fall downe from Heaven. Sinne is like so many great peeces of Ordnance, planted and charged upon high mountaines, ready to shoote downe Cities and Kingdomes: But if we turne from sinne, this will take away the force of these Cannons, and make them as Paper-shot. Sinne is a wall of separation betweene God and us: To turne from sinne, will breake downe this wall. Sinne is the great make­bate betweene God, and man: Sinne dissolveth [Page 25] Parliament unhappily: Sinne puts variance be­tweene a King and his Subjects. Sinne destroyed Rochel and the Palatinate; it brought the sword into Ireland, and will bring it into England, unlesse we turne away from all our evill doings. To turne from sinne, is a key to unlock all the chests of Gods mercies. It is Clavis viscerum Dei, A preserva­tive against all misery. Oh the divine Rheto­rique, and omnipotent efficacie of Repentance! This is that Raine-bow, which if God seeth shi­ning in our hearts, he will never drowne our soules. That starre which will bring us to Christ. A repenting faith,Tertul. de paenit. Pae­nitentia radens & verrens peccata, Ibid. is our Sacra anchora to flye un­to; it is Ilex misericordiae: it tyes Gods hands, and charmes his wrath. There is no thunder-bolt so great, no wrath so furious in God, but Re­pentance will abolish it. This Abigail, will easily appeare our Heavenly David, though hee march never so furiously. Repentance is so acceptable to God, that he rewarded Ahab for his hypocri­ticall repentance, that others by his example might be provoked to turne truely to God, who knew not his repentance to be hypocriticall. I have here a large field of matter, for a yeare, ra­ther than a day: But as a little Boat may land a man into a large Continent; so a few words may suggest matter sufficient to a judicious eare, for a whole lives meditation. I shall not spend time in unfolding the nature of this duty of turning from sinne; or in shewing the reasons why this turning is so potent to divert judgements, and [Page 26] procure mercies (this is the worke of every Sermon.Use of ex­hortation unto two Duties. ) I will onely make one Use of exhor­tation (for it needes application, more then ex­plication.)

To beseech you to turne the doctrine into pra­ctice, and to expresse the sincerity of your Re­pentance, by two duties, which are as the two poles, upon which our turning from sinne doth move. By humiliation and reformation; Humi­liation for sinnes past, Reformation for the time to come: Humiliation without Reformation, is a foundation without a building: Reformation without Humiliation, proves often a building, without a foun­dation. Both of them together, comprehend the Essentialls of this great duty, which is the very quintessence of Practicall Divinity.

To Hu­miliation. Let us turne unto God by humiliation, for sinnes past. This day is a day of humiliation. A Sabbath of weeping and mourning: Wherein we should wash the feete of Christ with our teares, wherein we should weepe bitterly, before the Lord, powre forth our hearts like water, and strive who should put most teares into Gods bot­tle. I beseech you, let us turne unto God with true penitent teares, drawne from the Well of a broken heart, fetcht out with the backet of Gods love.

Let us sanctifie a fast, and afflict our soules be­fore the Lord, that this day may become a day of attonement. And because the Well is deepe, and our hearts are very hard, and some, it may [Page 27] be, want buckets to draw water withall:Seven Buckets to draw out the water of tears. Give mee leave to offer unto you seven buckets, which will serve, as seven helpes to humilia­tion.

1. Let every man consider his owne sins, which hee himselfe is guilty of. Have wee not broken the holy, and righteous Commandements of God a thousand times, and shall not this break our hearts? Have wee not broken our vowes and covenants which wee have often made with God, and will not the meditation of this break our hearts?Job 14. 17 Ps. 56. 8. God in Scripture is said to have a bagge and a bottle. A bagge to put our sins in, and a bottle to put our teares in. Have wee not filled Gods bag with our sinnes, and shall wee not now fill Gods bottle with our teares? Doth it not grieve us,Eph. 4 30. that wee have so often grieved the Holy Spirit of God? Are we not heavy laden with those sinnes,Am. 2. 13. with which God himself is pressed as a Cart with sheaves? Is not God himself broken with our whorish hearts, Ezek. 6. 9. and will not this break our hard hearts? Have wee not had yeares of sinning? Oh let us have one Day of mourning! Have we not trampled the bloud of Christ under our feete, and shall not the bloud of this Scape­goate melt our adamantine hearts? It is an ex­cellent saying, That in all the sins we commit, Six Rea­sons to move us to great sor­row for little sins. we must not so much consider the sin that is committed, as the God against whom it is committed. And this will provoke us to great Humiliation for little sins, as well as great sins. For there is no sinne simply lit­tle. [Page 28] 1 There is no little God to sinne against. The lest minimum spirituale, the least offence is commit­ted against an infinite God; and therefore de­serves 2 infinite punishment. There was no little price paid for little sins; the least sinne cost the shedding of the bloud of the eternall God. 3 There is no little disobedience in a little sinne. For as there is the same rotundity in a little round Ball, as in a great one: So there is the same disobedience against God, in a little sinne, 4 as well as in a great one. To dis-obey God in a little, is no little dis-obedience. There is no lit­tle unthankfulnesse in a little sin. For the lesser the thing is, in which wee offend God, the grea­ter is the unthankfulnesse, that we will sin against God, for so little a matter. There is no little 5 pollution and defilement, in a little sin. A little puddle may dirty a man, as well as a great one. A little Bodkin may wound a Caesar to death. 6 There is no little punishment, for little sins; For the wages of sin is death. The wages of sin as sin, and therefore of every sin. A quatenus ad omne valet consequentia. Non est distinguendum ubilex non distinguit. And therefore let us I beseech you, mourne with a great lamentation, for our little oaths, our idle words, our omissions of good duties, and defects in good duties, &c. Can we mourne for the losse of our estates, for the death of our Children? And shall we not mourne that we have lost God, and the peace of a good conscience by our sins; and that our hearts are [Page 29] so dead and dull to goodnesse? Can wee cry for the stone in the bladder, and not for a stony heart? The stone in the bladder can but kill the body; but a stony heart will cast body and soule into Hell. Weepe for those diseases that will destroy soule and body for ever. Wee have beene often in the valley of Hinnon, sacrificing our sonnes and daughters unto Divels, by their wicked educations; improoving our parts and mercies, to the service of the Divell. Oh, let us this day descend into the Valley of Bacah, and let us make this Church a Bochim, a place of weeping. We have many Church-sins, Sermon­sins, Sacrament-sins. Let us have Church-tears for our Church-sins.

A second help to humiliation,Buck. 2. is the conside­ration of the sinnes of the Nation wherin we live. This Kingdome is an Island incompassed with three Oceans; not onely with an Ocean of water, but also with an Ocean of mercies (no Nation more exalted in mercies) and I may as truly adde with an Ocean of sinnes. And that which makes our sinnes the greater, is because our mercies have beene so great. We have sinned under mercies; we have provoked God, at the Sea, even the red Sea. Ps. 105 7. This was a great aggravation of the Israe­lites sin, and so it is of ours. Wee have sinned not onely under mercies, but with our mercies, wee have made a golden Calfe, with the jewels of mercies which God hath bestowed upon us. We have taken the Members of Christ, and have [Page 30] made them the members of a Harlot. What sin is there under the cope of Heaven, whereof any Nation is guilty, which we have not ingros­sed to our selves? Let us weepe for the beastly drunkennesse of this Nation: But why do I call it beastly? for generally beasts are sober: It de­serves a name inferiour to beasts, for so it makes a man for the time.Aust. Epist 6 4. Austin saith, that in his days drunkennesse was growne to that heigth, as that there was no remedy against it, but by calling of a Synod. And in our dayes it is growne to that Gyant-like bignesse, as that there is no hope of redresse, but in the Parliament. Woe to this Land because of this sinne; this is that which will make us unable to stand before our enemies, and to stagger like a drunken man. For this sin God gives a Land over to the spirit of giddinesse. Let us weepe for the blasphemous swearing that is in the Nation, wherein (if in any thing) there is a pride taken in offending God, for other benefit of it I know none.

For this sinne the land mourneth, and let us mourne. Weepe for the adultery and fornication, which as an Epidemicall disease hath over­spread the Nation.Heb. 13.4. Whoremongers, and Adulterers God will judge. If man will not, God will. He that divorceth himselfe from his wife, and joyns himselfe to a harlot, God will divorce himself from such a man, and divorce his mercies and blessings from him. VVeepe for the covetousnes of the Nation. This sinne is the root of all evill: [Page 31] and for this sinne God will root out a Nation. He that is swallowed up with earth, (as Corah, and his company) his eares stopped with earth, his heart stuffed with earth, God will give him earth enough when he dyes; and they that love earth so immoderately, are likely to have little enough of Heaven. Weepe for the oppression, Extortion, Bribery, Lying, Griping, Usury, Cousenage and Deceit in trading. These sinnes will cause a fourth Ocean to encompasse this I­sland, and that is an Ocean of misery. Let us shed teares for the innocent blood that is shed in the Land; for the divellish pride that is amongst us: Pride of heart, pride of apparell, in fol­lowing the fashions of every Nation almost. How justly may wee expect, that God should make us slaves to that Nation, whose fashions we so eagerly follow? Mourne for the great pro­phanation of our Christian Sabbath-day: how can we expect that God should give us rest in this Land, if we will not give him a Sabbath, a day of rest? Oh, let our eyes gush downe with rivers of teares! Oh that our heads were fountaines of teares for the Idolatry (that Land-devouring sinne of Idolatry) for the superstition, the Apo­stasie, the contempt of the Gospel, and of the Ministers, and Ministery of it that raignes amongst us! It is time for God to deprive us of Manna, when we begin to be weary of it; the time may come we may have Sermons few enough, that neglect them so much as some doe. The Con­fessors [Page 32] that fled for their Religion in Queene Ma­ries daies,Vrsin's preface to his Cate­chisme. acknowledged (as Vrsinus relates) that that great inundation of misery came justly up­on them, for the neglect of, and unprofitable­nesse under the Gospel, which they had enjoyed in King Edwards dayes. And if they were so se­verely punished for a few yeares contempt of the Gospel; what a superlative degree of punish­ment doe we deserve, that have had the Gospel of Peace, and the peace of the Gospel, for al­most an hundred yeares, and yet are so unlike the Gospel in our conversations? The time would faile, if I should make a catalogue of our Natio­nall sinnes. Oh, let us be one of the mourners in Sion, for the abhominations of the Land; that so we may be mark't out for safety. And let us take this rule to perswade us. Those sinnes which we know others to commit, and yet mourne not for them, these sins become our owne sins: And therfore we may well pray with Austine, Lord deliver me from other mens sinnes, which for want of mourning and grieving for, I have made mine owne.

3.A third bucket to draw the water of teares withall; is the consideration of the great brea­ches that are in Church and State. We are di­vided in minutula frustula (as Austine of the Do­natists.) Let these breaches break our hearts, Let these rents rend our hard hearts. For the division of England let us have great thoughts of heart.

4.A fourth helpe to humiliation, is the conside­ration of the miseries that are like to come upon [Page 33] us as the woefull consequent of these breaches. As our Saviour Christ, when hee came neere Ie­rusalem, and beheld the sinne of it, and the desola­tion that was impendent over it, he wept, say­ing; Oh that thou hadst known, even thou, Luk 19. 41, 42. at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes, &c. So let us contemplate the sins of England, and the destru­ction which wee may justly expect as the fruite of our sinnes; and let us weepe over England, and say, Oh England, England, that killest the Prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee! Oh that thou hadst knowne, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong to thy peace. It is reported of Xerxes, Iustin. that having prepared 300000. men to fight with the Graecians, and be­holding so great a multitude of Souldiers; hee fell a weeping out of the consideration, that not one of them should remaine alive, within the space of an hundred years. Much more ought we to mourn, when we consider the abundance of people that are in England, and the abundance of sin perpetrated among us; and what shall be­come not onely of our bodies within these few years, but what shall become of our souls to all eternity.

A fifth Bucket is, the contemplation of Germany, A fifth help to hu­miliation. which is now become a Golgotha, a place of dead mens sculs, and an Aceldama, a field of bloud. Some Nations are chastised with the sword, O­thers with famine, Others with the man-destroy­ing [Page 34] Plague. But poore Germany hath been sorely whipped with all these three iron whips at the same time, and that for above twenty yeares space. Oh, let us make use of this Bucket, and draw out water, and poure it out before the Lord this day; let us send up our cries to Heaven for Germany. It is a signe that we are not true mem­bers of the body of Christ, because we have no more fellow-feeling of the miseries of the same body. A dead member hath no sense of its own mi­sery, or of the bodies distemper. If wee be living members, we will simpathize with the calamities of Gods people.

A sixth Bucket.A sixth helpe to Humiliation, is the conside­ration of the bleeding condition of Ireland. I need not relate (you have great reason to know it better than my selfe) the inhumane, barba­rous, Canniballisticall, and super-superlative out-rages, butcheries, and massacres that are there committed by those bloudy Rebels. Oh, let us send up one teare this day, as an Orator to the Throne of Grace, to plead for mercy for poore Ireland! This is one chiefe cause of this generall Fast, to pray and weep for Ireland. Help it (Right Honourable) Oh, helpe it vvith your Prayers and Tears. Tears have voices as vvell as words.Ps 6.8. I thank thee, oh Lord (saith David) that thou hast heard the voice of my weeping. Where note, weeping hath a voice. And as musicke upon the waters sounds farther, and more harmoniously than upon the Land: So Prayers joyned with [Page 35] Tears, cry louder in Gods eares, and make swee­ter musicke then when teares are absent. When Antipater had written a large letter against Alex­anders Mother unto Alexander, Plutarc. in vita. Alexand. the King answe­red him: Dost thou not know that one teare from my Mother, will wash away all her faults? So it is with God; A penitent teare is an undeni­able Embassador. An object look't upon when it is in the water, seemes bigger than when it is out of the water. Let us looke upon Irelands mi­sery through the water of our teares, and this will represent it in its due proportion. Let us weepe, because we cannot weepe, let our hearts weepe, because our eyes cannot weep. To move your hearts a little more, suffer mee to propound three examples. 1. The example of Abraham, who was so zealous for the preservation of So­dome, that by an humble importunity he brought God down to these terms, that if there had beene ten Wheat-ears in Sodome, all the Tares should have been spared for these ten mens sake. And when God was gone from Abraham, he conti­nued so solicitous for the good or Sodome; that (as Luther thinks) he could not sleepe all night. I am sure the Scripture saith,Gen. 19.27, 28. He gate up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the Lord, and he looked toward Sodom, to see what was become of his Prayers. If Abraham did thus much for Sodome, for wicked Sodome; ought not you to be much more zealous for the Protestants in Ire­land, who professe the same faith, and are un­der [Page 36] the same Government with us in England? 2.Neh. 1.3, 4 5. Let me offer the example of Nehemiah, who though for his owne particular he was in great prosperity, and in great favour at the Court; yet when he heard of the afflict on and misery of the people of God at Ierusalem, hee sate downe and wept, and mourned, and fasted, and never desisted, till hee had obtained leave to goe and helpe his brethren at Ierusalem. 3. I shall pro­pound the example of Hierome, who was writing a Commentary upon Ezekiel;Proemium Cōmentar. in Ezek. but when hee heard of the besieging of Rome (a place wherein he had formerly lived) and of the death of many godly people, he was so astonished and amazed at the newes, that for many nights and dayes hee could thinke of nothing. Et in captivitate San­ctorum se esse captivum putabat. He thought him­selfe taken captive,1 Sa. 4.19. amongst those that were taken captive. I might adde the story of Phineas wife, but I forbeare. Let these examples be your instruction and encouragement. Me thinks I heare a voice in Ireland, like the voice that was heard in Rama, Lamentation and weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, Mat. 2. 18. and would not be com­forted because they are not. Me thinks I see (do not you so also?) the poore people of Ireland looking out of their windows, and crying out as the Mother of Sisera. Jud, 5.28. Why is his chariot so long in comming? why tarry the wheels of his Chariot? Why is aide so long delayd? where are Englands bowels? Me thinks I see the very flames of this great fire that [Page 37] is kindled in Ireland. Oh, let this fire melt our hard hearts into pitty and compassion! I doubt not but this Bucket will draw out a great deal of water this day.

There is one Bucket more, the last,7. but not the least; and that is the consideration of the Lord Jesus Christ. His body was rent and torne for us. Oh, let this rend and teare our hearts that e­ver we should sinne against such a Christ! His bloud was poured forth as a sacrifice for our sins. Oh, let us pour forth our tears, for our of­fences against him! Beloved in the Lord; This is a day wherin we ought to make conscience to get our hearts affected with deep sorrow for sin; otherwise we do but take Gods name in vain. Now there is no way more powerfull to produce this effect, then by going to mount Cal­vary, and by burying our selves in the medita­tion of Christ crucified. There is a story of an Earle called Elzearus, that was much given to immoderate anger;In vita e­jus apud Surium. and the means he used to cure this disordered affection, was by studying of Christ, and of his patience in suffering the injuries and affronts that were offered unto him; and he never suffered this meditation to passe from him, before he found his heart transfor­med into the similitude of Jesus Christ. Wee are all sick of a hard and stony heart; and if ever we desire to be healed of this soule damning disease, let us have recourse to the Lord Jesus Christ; and never leave meditating of his brea­kings [Page 38] kings and woundings for us, till we finde ver­tue comming out of Christ, to break our hearts. Let us pray to the great heart-maker, that hee would be the heart-breaker. So much for the duty of humiliation.

The se­cond duty is Refor­mation. The second duty wherein wee must expresse our turning to God is Reformation. Humiliation is not sufficient without Reformation. It is not enough to be broken for sinne, but we must also be broken from sinne. As a bird cannot flie with one wing, nor a man walke with one leg; no more can we get to Heaven by Humiliation, without Reformation. Both of them conjoy­ned, are the legs and wings by which we walk and flie to Heaven, And therefore let me most earnestly exhort you to repent from sin, as well as for sin. The Crown we fight for this day, the Garland we run for, the Marke we aime at, is Mercy; this is our joynt suit, That God would shew mercy to England and Ireland. Now the way to obtaine mercy is clearly expressed, Prov. 28 13. He that confesseth and for saketh his sins, shall have mercy. This God cals for from Heaven; this all the faithfull Ministers in the City preach for this day, Reformation, Reformation, Refor­mation. As Master Bradford at the stake cried out, so do I at this time, Repent, O England, re­pent, repent. There is a three-fold Fast, a Fast from meat, from mirth, and from sinne. The two first will not suffice without the last. A beast may fast from meat. The Divels fast, saith [Page 39] Ambrose. The old World (as some thinke) did never eate Flesh, and yet they were all drowned. Though we could fast till we were perfect Anatomists; though we could pray and kneele, till our knees were as hard as Camels knees (as it is reported of Iames the brother of Christ) yet all were to no purpose, without this tur­ning from sin. This is jejunium magnum, as Austin saith. This is jejunium totius anni, jejunium omnium partium. This is the great and the everlasting fast, to fast from sin by reformation.

Now this Reformation,This Re­formation must be, it must have two Properties, vvhich are both of them mentioned in the Text. 1. It must be Personall, 2. It must be Nationall. It must be personall; for so saith the Text;1 Personal. If that Nation against vvhom I have pronounced, turn from their evill, A malitia sua. Every man hath some sinne vvhich is his peccatum in delicijs, his dilectum delictum, his belo­ved sin, the sin of his constitution. Let us turne from that sin, vvhatsoever it is; and if vve know not vvhat that sin is, let us turne from every sinne, and so vve shall be sure to turne from that sin. This the King of Niniveh commanded that eve­ry one of his Subjects should cry mightily unto God;Jona. 3.8. and not onely so, but every one to turne from his evill way, and from the violence that is in their hands. Thus must we; vve must be able to say vvith Da­vid, I have kept my selfe from my sin. Ps.18. 23. We live in times wherein there vvas never more turning. Some turne like the Dogge to the vomit, and like [Page 40] the Sow to the wallowing in the myre: Some turne Atheists, some Papists, some Socinians, some Arminians. Some turne like the weather­cock, which way the winde bloweth; which way soever preferment goes, that way they turne: Many turn Neurers: Many turne from Christs side, to be of Antichrists side; Many turne cold and Icy for God and his Church: Some are like unto the Chamelion, that will change it selfe into any colour but white. So ma­ny will turne to be any thing but good. If times turne ill, they will be naught; but if times turne good, they will not be good. But I be­seech you, let all us here present before the Lord this day, turn sincerely unto the Lord our God from all iniquity. Let us strip our selves stark naked, of all the rags of the old Adam. Repent of your pride; dust and ashes doth bet­ter become you. Repent of your gluttony and drunkennesse, let weeping be your drinke, and fasting your meate. Repent of your swearing. Condemne your selves out of your owne mouths, that God may justifie you. Repent of your co­vetousnesse: If ever you expect to gaine Heaven, looke not after the earth so much. Repent of your Adultery, that God may marry you unto himselfe, and least you be married to eternall flames. Repent of your security, that you may live securely. No way to escape damnation, but by Repentance; and no man that ever re­pented aright, but did escape damnation. Oh [Page 41] that this day might be the conversion of some sinner, that they may be able to say, From such a fasting day, I began to turn unto God! Oh that this Fasting-day might be a Festivall-day to the Angels in Heaven; who rejoyce at the conver­sion of a sinner! Oh that some Zacheus would make restitution this day! That some Prodigall childe would return to his Heavenly Father! God Almighty exceedingly delights to shew mercy to a penitent sinner. As a husband-man delights much in that ground, that after long unfruitfulnesse proves fruitfull, and calls his friends and neighbours, to behold that ground: As a Captain loves that Souldier, that once fled away cowardly, and afterwards returns and fights valiantly; Even so God is wonderfully inamoured with a sinner, that having once made shipwrack of a good conscience; yet at last re­turns and swims to Heaven upon the plank of Faith and Repentance. This is a notable provo­cation to all wretched hard-hearted sinners to turn unto God by true Repentance. God is so farre from refusing you, that he rejoyceth in your conversion, and is more ready to receive you, then you are to come. And I may safely adde, That in some sense God delights more in a penitent Prodigall, then in one of his righteous children. As the good Shepheard rejoyced more in his lost sheep, then in his 99. sheep;Luke 15. And the good Woman in her lost groat; And the good Father in his lost sonne, more then in [Page 42] the sonne that went not astray. It is true, that Innocency of life is better, simply and absolutely considered, than Repentance: And it is more to be desired to live without sin, than to have grace to repent after sin. As a whole Garment is better than a rent Garment, and yet a rent Garment may be so handsomely pieced together, that there shall be little difference between that and a whole Garment. A penitent sinner, that feel­ingly apprehends the great mercy of God in pardoning so great a sinner as he was; the sense of this distinguishing love of God towards him, raiseth up his heart to a higher pitch of zeal, and enables him to draw neer to God with more affection, and fervently to be more tender of sin, and to do, and suffer more for God many times, than those that are more righteous than he is. As suppose, two men at Sea, the one comes safely to shore without danger, the other escapes to shore not without great hazard and perill of life: He that comes without hazard hath more cause simply to be thankfull; yet ordinarily, he that had the greater danger, out of sense of his dan­ger, will return more praise than the other. Saint Paul laboured more than all the other A­postles, because he was a greater sinner than all the other Apostles, and had obtained greater mercy. Therefore Mary Magdalen loved much, be­cause much was forgiven her We never reade that the blessed Virgin ever came to wash the Feet of Christ with her tears. But Mary Magdalen, a great [Page 43] sinner she did it, and she comes first to the Sepul­cher, and afterwards (as some report) she spent 30. yeers in Gallia Narbonensi in weeping for her sins. Gregory brings the example of David, who after he had obtained pardon for murdering Vriah, and committing adultery with Bathsheba, fell a longing after the water of Bethlehem. But when the water was brought, He poured it forth before the Lord, 2 Sam. 23.15, 16. and would not drink of it, because it hazarded the lives of his men. Observe how tender of sin David was after his Repentance. He that before had spilt innocent blood, is now troubled in conscience, for putting the lives of his men in jeopardy: He that before longed for another mans wife, doth now repent, for desiring another mans water. Bernard brings the example of Peter, who before his denyall, considently told Christ, Though all for sook him, yet he would not; Yet after­wards, when he had repented of his denying of Christ, he was so tender, that when Christ purposedly asked him three times, Lovest thou me more than these? he answers not comparatively, as before, but positively; Onely Lord thou knowest I love thee. And this is another provocation to exhort all sinners to lay hold upon this holy Anchor, this wrath-charming Repentance. Come all ye prodigall children, all ye lost sheep that have gone astray: Behold your Heavenly Father is not onely ready, but joyfull to receive you; and if rightly understood, more joyfull, than in his faithfull Children. Was [Page 44] there ever mercy like to this! Oh that we had hearts to embrace it! And the greater any man is in estate, and parts, the more honour God shall have, if such a man will turn to God this day. Great men are the Looking-glasse of the Coun­trey where they live, according to which, most men dresse themselves: If they be wicked, the whole Countrey is much the worser by them. The vices of Rulers are rules of Vices,Quo gran­dius nomen ca grandius scandalum. Quicquid faciunt praecipere videntur. If the head be giddy, the members reel, If the liver be tainted, the body is dropsie. Ieroboam made all Israel to sin. But when great men prove good men, it is not to be expressed,Act. 18.8. what good they do. When Cris­pus the chief Ruler of the Synagogue, beleeved on the Lord, many of the Corinthians hearing, beleeved also. When the Master of the family was converted, his whole family were also baptized. The Lord make all great men, good men and good men (of parts and abilities) great men.

It must be nation­all. As this Reformation must be personall, so also it must be nationall. For so saith the Text, If that Nation against which, &c. A parti­cular man by turning unto God, may turn away a particular judgement. But when the sins of a Nation are generall, and the judgements upon a Nation generall, the turning must be generall. If the Sea hath broken the banks, and over­flown the Countrey, it is not the care of one or two men, by repairing their banks, that can prevent the inundation. Even so when God is [Page 45] overflowing a Land with a generall destruction, there must be a generall endeavour to make up the whole breach. There must be a Court-Re­formation, a Countrey-Reformation, a City-Reformation, Church and State-Reformation, a Generall-Reformation.

But how shall we do to obtain this generall Reformation?Quest.

Two wayes.Answ.

If you that are the representative Body of this 1 Nation, as you stand under this relation, be reformed, the Nation it self may be said to be reformed. For you are the Nation representa­tively, virtually, and eminently; you stand in the place of the whole Nation; and if you stand for Gods cause, the whole Nation doth it in you. Oh let it not be said, that the Reformers of others need Reformation themselves! If the eye be dark, how great is that darknesse, &c. If the Salt that seasoneth other things, be unsa­voury, wherewithall shall it be seasoned? This is the first way.

The second way to reform a Nation, is when 2 you that are the representative Body of the Na­tion do, as much as in you lyeth, to reform the Nation you represent. This is a duty that God requires and expects from your hands. It was the complaint of Nehemiah, Nehe. 3, 1. that the Nobles of Te­koah did not put their necks to the yoak of the Lord, this was a great blemish to them. Let not, I beseech you, the like brand of infamy be cast upon any of [Page 46] you. It cannot be denied but that this Nation needs Reformation, not onely in reference to the Common-wealth, but also to the Church. The Prophet in the ninth verse, compares a Nation to a House that needs building, and to an Orchard that needs planting. And sure it is, that the House of this Nation is much out of repair: the House of the Lord lieth waste, and there is much rubbish in it. Many pollutions have crept into our Doctrine, much defilement into our Wor­ship, many illegall innovations have been ob­truded upon us; the very posts and pillars of this House, many of them are rotten, the stones are loose and uncemented; the House exceed­ingly divided and distracted with diversity of opinions; the very foundation is ready to shake, and the House to fall down about our ears. The Garden of this Nation is over grown with weeds; and there are many not onely unprofit­able, but hurtfull trees planted in this Garden. Now this is the great work that the Lord requi­reth at your hands, Oh ye Worthies of Israel! To stub up all these unprofitable Trees, and to repair the breaches of Gods House, to build it up in its beauty, according to the pattern in the Mount, and to bring us back not onely to our first Reformation in King Edwards dayes, but to reform the Reformation it self. For we were then newly crept out of Popery, and (like unto men that come newly out of prison, where they have been long detained) it was impossible but our gar­ments [Page 47] should smell a little of the Dungeon from whence we came. It is said of Lazarus, that when he came first out of the Grave,Ioh. 1 1.44. He came forth bound hand and foot with Grave-clothes, and his face was bound about with a Napkin. So it was with us in our first Reformation: it was a most bles­sed and glorious work, like the resurrection from the Grave: but yet notwithstanding we came out of this Grave bound hands and feet with our Grave clothes, and eyes-blinding Napkins; we brought many things out with us which should have been left behinde. Our Sa­viour Christ rose from the dead, and left all his linnen clothes behinde him.Ioh. 10.5. So must we bury all superstitious Ceremonies in the grave of oblivi­on, and perfect a Reformation according to the Word of God. And as our Saviour Christ, in the place forementioned,Ioh. 11 44. commanded his Dis­ciples to unbinde Lazarus, and to take away his Grave-clothes. Oh that you also would com­mand the Apostles of Christ, the faithfull and learned Ministers of this Kingdome to meet in a free Nationall Synod, for to inform you about the taking away of these grave clothes, and eies­blinding Napkins, or whatsoever else shall ap­pear to be prejudiciall to the piety and purity of of Gods Worship. But then I do most earnestly beseech you to take heed that those whom you call to this Synod, be not like unto the Cardi­nalls and Prelates who met at Rome, to consult a­bout Reformation of the Church,Sleidan Convent. of whom Lu­ther [Page 48] speaks. That they were like unto Foxes that came to sweep a house full of dust with their tails, and instead of sweeping out the dust, they swept it all about the house, and made a great smoke for the while, but when they were gone, the dust fell all down again. I doubt not but if this motion (which I offer in all humility) suc­ceed, your Wisedoms will be carefull to make such qualifications both of the Persons that are to chuse, and to be chosen, that no Minister lyable to any just exception, shall have a voice in this Synod, for fear lest our greatest remedy prove to be our greatest ruine. But this by the way.

Oh that the Lord would make me an instru­ment this day to encourage you to go on in the work of Reformation.Isai. 62.1. For Sions sake I will not hold my peace, and for Ierusalems sake I will not rest, untill the righteousnesse thereof go forth as bright­nesse, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. Arise, arise, have mercy upon Sion, for the time to fa­vour her, yea, the set time is come: Let it pitty you to see Sion in the dust. Let this be the product of this solemn Fast to quicken you to a Nationall Re­formation. When Moses had been conversing with God, his face shone when he came down. You are now conversing with God in the Mount; Oh that your lives might shine forth in holines, after this day: and that it may be with you as it was with Hezekiah, when he and all his people kept the Passeover together; the first thing they [Page 49] did before the killing of the Passeover was,2 Chron. 30.14, 15. 2 Chron, 31.1. the taking away all the Altars that were at Ierusalem, and casting them into the brook Kidron. And when the Passeover was finished, all Israel that were present, went out to the Cities of Iudah, and brake the Images in peeces, and cut down the groves, and threw down the high places, and the Altars out of all Iudah, and Ben­jamin, in Ephraim also, and Manasseh, untill they had utterly destroyed them all. I speak not of any tumul­tuous, disorderly, illegall way, but of an orderly and legall reformation: Which I desire (like this of Hezekiah) may be the issue of this day.

The Motives are many.Motives to a Refor­mation.

1. If you build Gods house, God will build Houses for you,1 as he did for the Hebrew Mid­wives, he will blesse and prosper you.Ex. 1.21. Remember what the Prophet Haggai saith. Is it time for you, O yee, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lye waste? Now therefore, thus saith the Lord; Hagg. 1.4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. consi­der your wayes, Yee have sown much, and bring in little, yee eat, but ye have not enough, ye cloath you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages, earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes. Thus saith the Lord, Consider your wayes, go up to the Mountain, and bring Wood and build the house, and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the Lord, &c. Read also, Verse 9, 10, 11.

2. Consider what Mordecai said unto Esther. 2 Esth. 11. 13, 14, 15. Think not with thy self that thou shalt escape in the Kings house, more then all the Iews, for if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement, [Page 50] and deliverance arise to the Iews from another place; But thou and thy Fathers House shall be destroyed. And who knoweth whether thou art come to the Kingdom, for such a time as this? As Ierome said concerning the day of judgement. That whether he did eat, or drink, or whatsoever he did, he did alwayes hear the voice of the Arch-Angel, Arise yee dead, and come to judgement. So doe I desire that you would at all times, and in all places, remem­ber and consider this soul-awakening speech of Mordecai and Esther.

3. Consider the famous examples of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Zerubbabel, what care and pains they took for the rebuilding, not only of the Walls, but also of the Temple of Ierusalem. It is not enough to set the State in tune, but you must remember to repair the Temple also. Be not afraid of Tobiah, Sanballat, or of any other enemy.Zach. 4 7. Who art thou O great Mountain? Before Ze­rubbabel thou shalt become a plain. A Parliament-man must be like Athanasius, who was Magnes & Ada­mas. A Loadstone, and an Adamant. A Load­stone by his affable carriage, and courteous be­haviour, drawing all men to the love of him. But in the cause of God he was as an Adamant, untameable and unconquerable.

4. If we reform and turn, God will turn; If we turn from the evill of our sins God will turn from the evill of his judgements. Tertullian speaks of himself,Tect. de poe­nitent. That he was born to nothing else but to Repentance. An excellent saying for every [Page 51] one to lay to heart. The first Text that ever Iohn Baptist preached on, was Repentance. Matth. 3. [...]. The first that ever Christ preached on, was Repen­tance. And the first thing that Christ comman­ded his Apostles to preach, was Repentance. Mat. 4. 17. God himself hath consecrated Repentance,Luk. 24. 47. by his own example, saith Tertullian, Tertul. de poenit. Dedicavit poeniten­tiam in semetipso. He repenteth to teach us to re­pent. This is that which God not only com­mands, and entreateth,Ezek. 18. but sweareth that he would have us to do. Happy we for whose sake God swears,Tertull but most unhappy if we beleeve not God when he swears, and if we live not as we beleeve.

Will a nationall reformation certainly divert Gods judgements from a Nation?Quest. Did not Iosiah reform, and yet it is expressely said, That notwithstanding this Reformation,2 King. 23. 26. Yet the Lord turned not from the fiercenesse of his great wrath, where­with his anger was kindled against Iudah, because of all the provocations that Manasses had provoked him withall.

1. A nationall reformation will certainly de­liver us from everlasting misery.Answ. 2. It is Gods ordinary way for the removeall of temporall judgements. There is no instance fully against it, but this of Iosiah: but to this it may be replyed, that Iosiahs reformation in reference to the mul­titude, was hypocriticall; and therefore it did only prorogue and adjourn; but not totally remove Gods wrath. That it was so in regard [Page 52] of the people, appears, Ierem. 3. 10. And yet for all this, her treacherous sister Judah hath not turned unto me with her whole heart, but fainedly, saith the Lord. A sincere Nationall turning will certainly divert Nationall Judgements, and procure Nati­onall Blessings.

5. If we will not turn, reform, and repent of our sins, God will repent with a new kinde of re­pentance, he will not repent of the evill, but repent that he hath repented of the evill; he will repent of the good wherewith he said he would benefit us. And this leads me to the fourth Doctrinall Conclusion.

Doctrine 4.Doct. 4.

That when God begins to build and plant a Nation; if that Nation do evill in Gods sight, God will unbuild, pluck up, and repent of the good he intended to do unto it. This is a point of great concernment, expressely set down in the tenth verse. It is certain that God hath be­gun to build and plant this Nation, and he hath made you his Instruments (Right Honourable) in this great work. We reade, Zechary 1.19. of four horns, which scattered Iudah and Ierusalem. By these four horns, are meant all the enemies of Gods people, that are alwayes pushing at them, and goring of them. And verse 20, we reade of four Carpenters whom God raised up to fray away these horns. Such Carpenters have you been unto us: You have knockt off all those horns wherewith the fat Buls of Bashan pushed at us: [Page 53] You have endeavoured to under-prop the House of this Kingdom, and to keep it from falling: You have stubb'd up many unprofitable Trees, and taken away (at least, in your endeavours) many rotten posts: you have removed a great deal of rubbidge: You have been our Ebed­melech's, to release our Ieremies out of the Dun­geon. Indeed you have done marvellous things, blessed be the Name of the Lord! And we have cause to be enlarged in much thankfulnesse, though you never have opportunity to do more for us. Ezra blessed God that had given them a little reviving in their bondage. Ezra 9 8. A man that hath been for many yeers in a dark Dungeon, will rejoyce exceedingly for a little crevise of light, though never so little. We have been in the Dungeon of despair, and we blesse God for the little crevise of light let in by your means. We have lien among the pots (inter ollas fuliginosas) sul­lied with filth;Psa. 68.13. and there is a crevise of hope (in the Valley of Achor) that we shall be as the wings of a Dove, covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold. And though this childe of hope be but yet an Embrio;Zac. 4.10. We will not despise the day of little things. Ezra 10. 11. When Ezra had laid the foundation of the Temple, there was great joy and rejoy­cing. We doubt not but there is a foundation laid of better times, and such a foundation which shall never be taken away. The Lord recompence all the pains you have taken, upon you and yours. And yet let me adde one word [Page 54] as a parenthesis;Nehe. 12.22. that Nehemiah after all his good services he had done for the Church, sub-joyns these words. Remember me, O my God, concern­ing this, and spare me; he begs pardon for his noble work of Reformation. Blessed be God here is hope of a faire building, and of a most beautifull Paradise, if things succeed as they have begun.

But now marke the Doctrine. When God be­gins to build, and plant, if that Nation do evill, God will un-build what he hath built, pluck up what he hath planted, He will repent of the good, &c. For you must know, that God repents as well of his mercies, as of his judgements. When God had made Saul King, and he proved stubborne and disobedient, God repented that ever he made him King. When God saw that the wic­kednesse of the old World was great upon earth,Gene. 6. He was grieved at the very heart,2 Sam. 6. and repented that ever he made man. When David was bring­ing home the Arke with great pompe, because it was not brought home in due order; and be­cause of Vzzah's sin, God repented of what he was doing, and the Arke stayed in the middle way. When the people of Israel were come out of Egypt, and very neere Canaan; because they brought an evill report upon the Land of Canaan, and murmured, The Lord repents of what he had done, and carries them backe a­gaine forty years journey through the vast howling Wildernesse.

[Page 55]Reason.Reason.

1. Because Gods Covenant with a nation is con­ditionall.1 It is quamdiu se benè gesserit. If that Na­tion obey my voice, then wil I build it and plant it: but if it disobey my voice, then will I pluck it up, pull it down, and destroy it. The Lord is with you, 2 Chron. 15 2. while ye be with him: and if ye seek him, he will be found of you: but if you forsake him, he will forsake you. 1 Sam. 12.23. If you do wickedly, you shall perish, both you and your King.

2. Because that sinne is so pernicious to a 2 that where sinne rules, there God and his mercy will not abide. Sinne takes away the favour of God, by which all Nations subsist. And if Gods favour be gone, all is gone. Sinne dissolves the very Joynts and Sinews of a Nati­on; Religion maintains and upholds Kingdoms. The Trojans had their Palladium; as long as that was safe, they were safe. The Romans had their Ancile; as long as that was kept, they were se­cure. The Israelites had their Ark; as long as that was sure, there was a defense upon Mount Zion. Pure and undefiled Religion, is the Pal­ladium, the Ancile, the Ark, to preserve King­doms. But sinne betrayeth Religion into the hands of superstition and idolatry. Sinne is a Serpent in the bosome, a thief in the house, poyson at the stomack, a sword at the very heart of a Na­tion. If the Serpent be in the bosome, it will bite; if a thief in the house, he will steal; if poyson in the stomack, it will pain us; if a sword at the heart, it will kill us.Vse. Use.

[Page 56]Hence we may learn what the reason is of the great delay in the Reformation of the Church; why the childe of Reformation sticks in the Birth; why the hand of mercy begins to be pulled in; and why many observers of the times begin to fear that this is not, as yet, the ap­pointed time wherein God will have mercy up­on Sion. I am very confident, that the fault is not in you to whom I speak; but it is laid down, 2 Chron. 20. 33. Howbeit the high places were not taken away, for as yet the people had not prepared their hearts unto the God of their Fathers. The people of the Land would not bear a thorow Reformati­on. I deny not but that the Land in which we live is a Land of uprightnesse. Ef. 26. As many amongst us truely religious, as in any place in the world, of the like bignesse. But yet the Bulk of our peo­ple are wicked, and their hearts are not as yet prepared to the yoke of the Lord. Oderunt vin­cula pietatis. They are unreformed themselves; and it is no wonder they are so opposite to a tho­row Reformation. It may be said of many a­mongst us, as Ieremy did once say of his people, The Prophets prophesie falsly, Ier. 5. 31. and the Priests bear rule by their means, and my people love to have it so; and what will ye do in the end thereof? Now it is this sin of the Land that weakens your hands, and divides you sometimes one from another, and keeps you from perfecting this great work of Reformati­on. And I conceive no way better to remedy this, than by sending a faithfull and painfull Mi­nistery [Page 57] thorowout the Kingdom. For if you will be pleased to observe, you will finde that those places which are rud'st and most ignorant, most irregular; and where the least Preaching hath been, are the greatest enemies to Reforma­tion. This is a work worth, of serious conside­ration. The Lord stir up your hearts to consider it, and open your eyes also, clearly to perceive that there are more with you, then against you; and that when God reformes a Nation, he doth not finde us prepared, but he makes us prepared. When God sheweth mercy to a Nation, there goeth power with the mercy to heal the Nation, Ezek. 36. 24, 25, 26, 27, 28.

If when a Nation doth evill in Gods sight,Vse 2. God will repent of the good he intended, &c. Let us repent of our evils committed against God, that he may not repent of the good he intends to do unto us. Chuse which you will, If we repent, God will repent of the evill, &c. If we repent not, God will repent of the good, &c. And suffer me to tell you. That when God begins to draw back his mercies from a Nation, that Na­tion is in a wofull plight, God repented that he made the old World; And what followed? The next news you hear, is, they were all drow­ned. He repented that he had made Saul King, and the next news we hear, is, That he was re­jected from being King. He repented that he had brought the Israelites out of Egypt; and thereupon he carries them back again, and [Page 58] swears that not one of them should enter into Canaan, but that all their carkases should perish in the Wildernesse. It is God only that can build and plant a Nation. He is the only Architect that can build our waste places, and make up our dilapidations, though never so great; he is the only Gardner to pluck up our Weeds, and to plant usefull and fruitfull Trees in the Or­chard of this Nation. And if he please he can do it, and that in an instant with a word speak­ing. For so it is in the Text, At what instant I speak concerning a Nation to build, and to plant it; Though the House of the Kingdom be never so much out of repair, God can in an instant build us, and plant us, and make us better then ever. But if God begin to repent of what he hath done, woe to the Nation,Psa. 1:7 1. For except the Lord build the House, they labour in vain that build it, in vain to rise up early, and to sit up late, &c. God will unravell all, and though he hath brought us neer Canaan, he will carry us back again, and make us to tarry forty yeers for a Reformation, or it may be he will at last carry us back again to Egypt, which was the last and greatest curse,Deut. 28 68. threatned against the people of Israel, and it is the greatest misery that can come upon this Nation.

But on the contrary, if we turn from our evill wayes, God will perfect his building, and finish his plantation, he will make us a glorious Paradise, an habitation fit for himself to dwell in; he will set up his ordinances after a purer [Page 59] manner, and watch over us for good from the beginning of the yeer to the end of it. Oh that these words of mine might be as goads, and as nails to fasten this point upon your hearts, that it may take deep impression, and abide for ever upon your spirits. It may be some will say, That this doctrine is as common as the high­way: It is true, It is a common high way, but it is the high way to heaven. And though it be not a Doctrine to glut your ears, yet it is savoury meat, such as Iacob provided for Esau, whereby he obtained the blessing. Turn or burn for ever in Hell. Let every man labour first to turn himself, and then let us endeavour to reform one another. There is a great complaint in the Kingdom. The Ministers complain of their people, that they are facti­ous, seditious, covetous, dis-respectfull of the Ministery, &c. And that because they do not reform; therefore the judgements of God are not turned away from us. The people complain of their Ministers, that they are dumb dogs, greedy dogs, which can never have enough, and that they are superstitious, more for pomp then substance; and that untill the scandalous Mini­sters be removed, Gods heavy hand will never be removed from us. The rich complain of the poor, that they are lazy, and theevish, The poor of the rich, that they are proud and hard-hearted. The superiours cry out against their inferiours, and the inferiours against the superi­ours. And because every man expects when [Page 60] his neighbour should turn, hence it cometh to passe that no man in particular turns. We look for that in another, which we forget to do in our selves. I know no way to reconcile this divi­sion, but by raising a new division, and by per­swading all sorts of people to strive, who should be the first in turning to God, who should first get into Christ, who should first get into the Ark. Every man strives for worldly prece­dency. Oh let us strive for this spirituall pre­cedency! It is no pride in this to go one before another. He is the humblest that goeth first. And being reformed in our own persons, let us in the next place labour to reform one another. We are all of one nation, of one body, one flesh, one Church. There is a Nationall Com­munion, a Morall Communion, a Politicall Communion, a Spirituall Communion amongst us. I may adde, There is a Communion in mi­sery. We are all in the same condemnation. Let us labour to pitty one another, and to turn one another. Let every man search what drun­kard, what swearer, what adulterer, &c. He hath in his House, and either cause the sin to de­part from the person, or both sin and person from his house.

First reforme your own families, and then you will be the fitter to reforme the family of God. Let the Master reforme his servant, the Father his childe, the Husband his Wife. Will a man keepe a servant in his house all night, if he were [Page 61] assured he would murther him before morning? Such a servant is sinne, It will murther soul and bodie. Let us cast it away from our selves, and from our families.

There is one Motive more, and that is from the ayd you are sending to Ireland, to distressed Ireland, that at this instant calls to England with aloud cry for help and assistance. I doubt not, but you are sensible that delay is as bad as deni­all almost. I shall offer only one Text to be considered on when you send forth your help, and that is Deut. 23. 9. When the Host goeth forth against their enemies, then keep thee from every wicked thing. If sin be in the Host, it will make you turn your backs upon your enemies; Turn to God, and he will make your enemies turn their backs upon you.

But it is not in my power to turn,Object. unlesse I were praedestinated?

I answer with Master Bradford, that we must first go to the Grammar-schoole of Repentance,Answ. before we can be admitted to the University of Praedestination. It is not a dispute about Praede­stination that will turn away Gods wrath, but it is the practise of humiliation and Reformation. It is most certain, that God is not the cause of any mans damnation. He found us sinners in Adam, but made none sinners. Thy perdition is of thy selfe, oh Israel! And it is as certain, that it is not in the power of man by nature to convert himselfe. And that therefore God commands [Page 62] what we cannot perform, that we might therby take notice what we should do, and what we once could do in Adam, and where we should go to get power to do that which we cannot do of our selves. Go to the Word, that hath a crea­ting power. God oftentimes in speaking gives power. Go to prayer, for converting Grace. Pray with Austine, Lord give me what thou com­mandest, and command what thou wilt. It is an excel­lent rule observed by the same Author. That there is nothing required of us from God as a duty in Scrip­ture, but it is either promised by God as a gift, or some of Gods Saints have prayed for it as a gift. As for example. God commands us to turn unto him, but Ieremy prayes for it; Turn us, oh Lord, and we shall be turned. And God promiseth it, Deut. 30. 6. Ezek. 36. 26. Let us therefore be sensible of our inability to keepe the commandement of the text; and let us beleeve in his promise, to give us power to keepe it, and pray for the perfor­mance of his promise.


This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.