THE SAFETY OF JERUSALEM, EXPREST In a SERMON to the Right Honourable the Lord Mayor, with the Aldermen, and Common-Councill of LONDON.

In the Parish-Church of Laurence Jury. On Tuesday the XXIV of March, MDCLVI. Being, the day of Their Solemne THANKS-GIVING, For the Health and Safety of the City, In its Preservation from Pestilence, Fire, and other Calamities.


ESAY. 68.18.

Thou shalt call thy Walls SALVA­TION, and thy Gates PRAISE.

REVEL. 21.26.

They shall bring the GLORY and HONOƲR of the Nation into it.

LONDON: Printed for John Clarke at Mercers-Chappell in Cheap­side, neere the great Conduit, 1657.

The Epistle Dedicatory.
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE Sir ROBERT TICHBOURN, Knight Lord Mayor, with the Right Worshipfull the Aldermen, And the rest of the Common-Coun­cill of the Famous City of LONDON.


I WAS in good hope when this Sermon was once preached, that I had no further worke about it, ex­cept it were onely to work it upon my owne heart, and to pray for a Blessing upon it, in the hearts of those that heard it. Whereas now since some weekes after, I received an Order from your Court, for the commending it to publique view; But it took me at such a time, when I was very little at leasure for it; From whence it is now come forth both too soone and too late. Too soone in regard of it selfe, which deserves not this Publication, [Page]Too late in regard of the Occasion, which is now so long time past as that I feare it is almost for­gotten in the minds of many men, although it be such as hath cause to be alwayes remembred.

I doe so much the willinglyer close with the impartment of this Discourse, as it may serve to revive the memory of that mercy, which is the subject of it; and may conferre something to the renewall of our Thankfulnesse for it. The more and greater Blessings we doe professe to have received from God, the more and greater doe we consequently declare our Ingagements to be to Him which are to run out in answerable Fruitfulnesse and Activity for Him. That this may be the Generall Improvement of the mercy, which is here proclaim'd, is the hearty wish and Prayer of

Your Honour's most humble Servant for the Truth's sake, THOMAS HORTON.



For I will defend this City to save it for mine owne sake, and for my servant Davids sake.

IT is the great care, and tendernesse of God to­wards his Church and people, not only to keep them from Evill, but like­wise from the Feare of e­vill, which sometimes is a great deale more then the Evill it selfe; The former, to provide for their safe­ty; the latter to provide for their security, and tran­quillity of mind. Look, as on the one side the Ene­my, he does not only persecute, but threaten, nor he does not only project and designe mischief, but often [Page 2]braggs, and boasts of it aforehand thereby to daunt the courage and to allay the Spirits of the people of God: So on the other side God himselfe, he does not only protect, The Cohe­rence. but comfort, nor he does not only purpose and intend preservation, but gives some hints and predictions of it, that so thereby he may the better strengthen and incourage his peoples hearts. This we may observe him to doe in the drift of this pre­sent Scripture, which we have now in hand. Sena­cherib the King of Assyria had in the foregoing chap­ter, and this sent his servant Rebshakeh with an inso­lent and reviling message to Hezekiah, and the rest of Judah threatning them what great matters he would doe against them, and their City; This Hezekiah and his people were very much affrighted, at, and affected with, and accordingly spread their case and condition before the Lord. Now the Lord hereup­on undertakes the satisfying, and comforting of them; tells them what ever threats their enemy might make against them, he should not once come neer unto them, nor enter amongst them, and in the Verse which I have now read unto you gives an ac­count and reason of it whence it should be so; not from any change in the enemy, as if his mind were bettered towards them, but rather from Gods own constancy of affection to them, and care for them, For I will defend this City to save it for mine own sake &c. This is the Cohaerence of the words.

The Text (as you see) points at the safety and preservation of a City, the City of Jerusalem; and so very well sutes with the occasion of our coming to­gether at this time, which is the safety and preserva­tion of our own, the City of LONDON: And though not every way just in the same Circum­stances [Page 3]of deliverance, yet perhaps (if we consider all) not altogether different from them, and besides with some what more, joyned, and super-added un­to them, not onely from the sword of the Enemy, but also from the sword of the Angell, nor onely from the combustions of warr, but from the fires of Peace.

In the Text it selfe there are two generall parts observable, First, the Mercy signified, The Division. And Second­ly, the Ground, or Motive for the bestowing of it: The Mercy signified, that we have in these words; For I will defend this City to save it. The ground or Motive of it, in these; For my owne sake, and for my ser­vant Davids sake.

We begin with the first generall, viz. The first Gen­erall. The mer­cy signified, wherein two Particulars more. First, The Specification. And secondly, The Amplificati­on. The Specification, or mercy it selfe, which is ex­prest, I will defend this City. The Amplification or extent of the mercy, To save it.

First, To speak of the former, viz. The Specifica­tion of the mercy. The Specifica­tion of the mercy, or the mercy it selfe, which is here signified; it is Divine protection, and defence, I will defend this City, 1? Who is that? Namely, God himselfe, who here sends this message by his Pro­phet, it is he that takes this businesse of defence and protection upon him, one who was able enough to doe it, and to goe through with it. And this City which was that? Namely, Jerusalem, the City of God, where his name and worship was celebrated; That's the City which is here promised the benefit of Gods defence and preservation of it; so that there are two things here now considerable. The Defen­ded, and the Defendant, The Defended, that's this Ci­ty; The Defendant that's the God of Israell, Him­selfe.

For the First,The Defended. The place defended, it was Jerusa­lem, the City of God; This was that which was the object of this defence, and which this protection ex­tended unto, which accordingly shewes unto us the state and condition of the Church in all succeding ages and generations; This promise it is not to be limited or restrained to this present time, or occasi­on whereupon it was made, but in the force and effi­cacy of it, does reach to all periods of time through­out the World, And is written even for our consolation, upon whom the ends of the world are come, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope: Rom. 15.4. and 2 Cor. 10, 11. The point before us is this; That the Church and people of God, they are under a speciall safeguard and protection, for the security and defence of them. This City, though it be a word of mixture, and so does seeme to take in all with it, who were occasionally involved in the mercy, yet it does principally, and more particular­ly referr to the Church and true Believers, who were the better part of it. The Church it is not without a fence, it is a Garden enclosed; and those places where­in it resides, they doe partake of speciall custody, and preservation, in reference to it. This City it shall be defended; Thus Zechar. 2.4, 5. Jerusalem shall be in­habited as Townes without walls, for the multitude of men and cattell therein, For I (saith the Lord) will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her. So Zechar. 12.8. In that day shall the Lord defend the Inhabitants of Jerusalem, and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David, and the house of David shall be as God, as the Angell of the Lord before him. So Isa. 31.5. As birds flying, so will the Lord of Hosts defend Jerusalem, defending also he will [Page 5]deliver it, and passing over he will preserve it, As Birds flying, that is with great deale of tendernesse. Birds we know, they are very carefull of their young ones for the preserving of them; Even so will God be of his people. As an Eagle stirrs up her nest, flutters over her young, spreads abroad her wings, bears them on her wings, &c. Deut. 32.11. And so Matth. 23.37. O Jerusa­lem, Jerusalem, How often would I have gathered thee to­gether, as an hen gathereth her chickens under her wings! That is, with very much affection of and regard unto thee, He that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of mine eye Zechar. 2.8, 9. Or againe; as Birds flying, that is with a great deale of swiftnesse, and speed for the accomplishment of it, In Psal. 125.2. It is said, that as The mountaines are round about Jerusalem, so is the Lord round about his people, from henceforth even for ever. The Mountaines round about Jerusalem, they are for the Defence and security of it, even so is the Lord himselfe unto it, and a great deale more; For the Mountaines shall depart, and the hills shall be removed, but my kindnesse shall not depart from thee, &c. saith the Lord, that hath mercy on thee, Isa. 54.10.

This serves to discover to us the happinesse and priviledge of Gods people,Ʋse. and their advantage a­bove other men. Happy art thou O Israel, who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord, who is the shield of thine help, and who is the sword of thine excellency! Duet. 33.29. As for other people in the world, there's no great care taken of them, for the defence and pro­tection of them. Oh but the Church, that's sure to be defended, what ever becomes of Babylon, God will be sure to look after Zion, and what ever be­comes of Lachish, God will be sure to defend Jerusa­lem, and to provide for the safety of it. Indeed, o­ther [Page 6]places and persons may occasionally, and acci­dentally partake of the protection of the Church; wicked, and ungodly men, who are intermixt with the people of God, they doe partake of defence with them, and defence from them, as cursed Cham from his abode in the Arke, but it is not they, which are so much aimed at, or intended in this preservati­on; no, but Gods people themselves, and the City, by which his Name is call'd on. He will defend this City especially; and this he will not be failing to it, in the defending of it, whiles He sayes He will doe it, He hereby signifies his Purpose about it. It is not onely a word of Intimation, but also of Resolution, and that peremptory which cannot be frustrated, or dis­appointed.

If against this shall now be objected,An Objection Answered. that experi­ence oftentimes proves the contrary; so that not­withstanding this promise here made, and this point maintained by us, there is not alwayes this defence vouchsafed, but that the people of God are, for all that, involved in sundry, and frequent evills; To this we answer, that still the promise of God stands sure, I will defend this City: Because as all other con­ditionall promises besides, it holds good for the most part, and so farr forth as may best consist, both with the Honour and Glory of God, and the greatest welfare of his people, This is a most certaine Truth; That God will be no way wanting to his Servants in the reasonable defence of them. The Lord God is a Sun and shield; Psal. 84.12. The Lord will give Grace and Glory, no Good thing will he withold from them that walke uprightly.

This is matter of very great comfort,Ʋse. and incou­ragement to them, which may make them to goe on with chearfulnesse, and resolution in his service; [Page 7]Fear and apprehension of danger, it is a grand ob­struction to performances. Where men cannot think themselves safe, they cannot there so quietly act, or undertake what belongs unto them; But, now this is the happinesse of Gods people, that they shall be kept and preserved from danger: whiles they walk in his wayes, they are sure to have his Pro­tection; Not only Cityes, and Publique places in Ge­nerall, but particular Persons; especially as their work is larger, and of more Generall concernment. Publique Persons they being themselves of Publique interest, and the Good and welfare of the Publique being in some manner wrapt up in them, they doe therefore accordingly partake of the Benefit, and comfort of those promises, which are made to Pub­lique Relations, whether in Church or Common wealth. Magistrates in the discharge of their places, and Ministers in the discharge of theirs; The De­fence of the City, it is the Defence also of them who are in a speciall, and more then ordinary considerati­on comprehended in it. And thus ye shall find it to be set even by the Scripture it selfe in those Incou­ragements, which are therein given unto them. Thus in Gods expression to Joshua, Josh. 1.5. There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the dayes of thy life; As I was with Moses, so will I be with thee, I will not leave thee nor forsake thee. And thus in Gods expression to Paul. Acts 18.9, 10. Be not affraid, but speake, and hold not thy peace; For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee; For I have much people in this City. I have much people in this City; what was this to Pauls protection? Yes very much; not only by taking it of those, which were Gods people already, and so likely to take his part against [Page 8]those, which would set themselves against him: but especially understanding it of those, which were Gods people in decree, to be converted, and wrought upon by Paul in his Ministry, which could not con­sist with the taking away of the Apostles life before that work was done by him. This is the great ad­vantage of those, which are the servants of God; that their Imployment is their security; and the more businesse they have to doe for him, the more defence they shall receive from him. And this for the Defen­ded, This City, in the full acception, and considerati­on of it.

Now as for the Defendant, The Defen­dant. that is here exprest to be God himselfe. It hath been intimated, and imply­ed hitherto in that which we have spoken all this while of the Defence, and Protection it self. But we may here now take a more particular view and no­tice of it. It is not said only: This City shall be defen­ded; which had been enough, as to the safety of the place; but I will defend this City, as pointing out the Principall Author, and Actor in the defence of it, It is God, and he alone that is, to any purpose, the Defender of the City, I the Lord doe keep it. I will water it every moment, least any hurt it, I will keep it night and day, as he speaks concerning his Ʋineyard, Isa. 27.3. It is true indeed, God does commonly make use of others to this purpose both Angells and men, which are Creatures. Magistrates they are in their places, [...]. and ex officio the Defenders of the City, and therefore called in Scripture the Shields of the Earth, Psal. 47.9. Because as a Shield does defend the Person that bears it, and by taking the blow it self does ward it off from him that uses it, even so also Governours in the execution of their places, are Per­sons [Page 9]of great Security to the People that partake of them. So also Counsellours and men of advice they are in like manner men of Protection. Wisdome, Eccles 7.12. (sayes Solomon) is a Defence and, money is a Defence; but the Excellency of knowledge is that wisdome giveth life to them that have it; which money without wisdome can­not doe, though wisedome can sometimes without that: The poore wise man by his wisdome delivered the City. Eccles. 9.15. And in the multitude of Counsel­lours is safety. Prov. 11.14. and Prov. 24.6. Watch­men, and inferiour officers, they have a share also in this defence; But yet these and all others with them, they fetch their strength and assistance from God, Ex­cept the LORD build the house, they labour in vaine that build it, except the LORD keep the the City, the watch­man watcheth but in vaine. It is God must help the Builders; and it is God must keep the Keepers, and it is God must watch the Watchers: If we desire to have an House, it is he that must raise it; and if we desire to keep an House, it is He that must watch it: It can neither goe up without him, nor yet stand without him, neither an House, nor whole City it selfe. We finde as I said in the Psalme before alledged, that Magistrates are call'd the shields of the Earth, but yet in the same place these shields are said to belong to God. They belong to God to make them, [...] and they belong to God to keep them and they belong to God to use them, and to manage them, and to defend with them. A shield in a weak hand, is to little purpose but is easi­ly struck out and remooved, yea, but therefore doe these hold upon God, without which they are all in vaine.

And as all defence is in vain without God, so none is in vaine with him; whensoever he undertakes it, [Page 10]there is safety and security enough even from his undertaking. This is also hinted to us in the Scope, and drift of the Text, where this I is to be taken not onely simply but emphatically. The Lord here for the comfort of his people, who were now insulted over by their enemyes, and apt to be daunted by them sets Himselfe in a way of opposition to all con­trary attempts, as a sufficient bulwark against them. What's Sennacherib to me? And what's Rabshakeh to me? Or what's all Assyria to me? as long as I have taken upon me this City for the defence and protec­tion of it, what evill can now happen unto it? or what Enemy in the assaulting of it, can prevaile against it? If God be for it, who can be against it? Or if he be to what purpose?

This is further observable from the Cansall, FOR in the beginning of the verse which joynes this, and the foregoing together; It was said there, that Ashur should not come into this City nor shoot an arrow there nor come before it, &c. Now it might be demanded, what might be the ground of so much considence in the consideration of so much danger? This is here answer'd in the Text. For I will defend this City, &c. It is no matter what may be the Danger, so long as God is the Defender, and undertaker, for de­liverance from it, which holds as in case of Enemyes, so also of all other evills besides, whether sicknesses, or famins or desolations, or what ever we can name; Forafmuch as the Lord hath all these in his own hand, and they are at his disposing therefore may the people of God in an holy manner triumph over them, and assure themselves so farr forth as is fitting of preservation from them. This is that which the Psalmist bottoms on, and teaches us to bottom on to. [Page 11] Psal. 115.9. O Israell trust in the Lord, he is their help and their shield: O house of Aaron trust in the Lord, he is their help and their shield. Te that feare the Lord trust in the Lord, he is their help, and their shield. It is thrice repeated, for the better carrying of our minds there­unto. And thus much of the mercy signified, as considerable in the Specification, or simple Propositi­on of it: For I will defend this City.

The second is in the Amplification or Extent,2. The Am­plification. in these words; To save it. This is added to the for­mer by way of further in largement, and explanation of it. And there are two things considerable in it; First, The Efficacy of this Defence what it is, where­unto it attaines, And Secondly, The end of this De­fence, what it is whereunto it drives, and which is propounded in it, and it is salvation in either of them.

First, For the Efficacy or effect of it,1. The Effi­cacy. the thing whereunto it reaches or attaines, and that is to save; This is more then can be said of all defendings in the world, they doe not all end in saving, there's many a Person, and Place, and City, which is held up for a while, which yet at last is not preserv'd; because there is not so much Power, or strength or ability, as will amount to the preserving of it; yea, but where God undertakes, it is so, where ever he will defend he saves; where he defends in the undertaking, he saves also in the accomplishment. According to that againe in the prophet, Isa. 31.5. Defending also he will deliver, and passing over he will preserve. So Isa. 26.1 In that day shall this Song be sung in the Land of Judah; We have a strong City, Salvation will God prepare for Walls and Bulwarkes; His arme brought Salvation. Isa. 59.26. Stand still and see his salvation, Exod. 14.13. [Page 12]This is the excellency of the Lord; That he is mighty to save. Isa. 63.1. His hand is not shortned that it can­not save, Isa. 59.2. No, But he is able to save to the utter­most those that come to him, both in spiritualls and temporalls too.

This accordingly teaches his people to expect it from him,Ʋse. not to limit the holy one of Israell, or to call in Question his power, to this purpose, as the distrust­full, and unbelieving Israelites, sometime did, but to embrace it, and to depend upon it. As the Church, Isa. 25.9. Loe this is our God, we have wayted for him, and he will save us: This is the LORD, we have way­ted for him; we will be glad and rejoyce in his salvation. There's none that ever yet trusted, and depended upon God, as they should doe, who were frustrated in this particular. The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of them that feare him, He will also heare their cry, and will save them. He will save them in the actuall accomplishment of salvation to them.

This is the difference now betwixt God and men in this respect; Men they can use the meanes, but they cannot promise the successe: They can set upon the undertaking but they cannot assure the Perfomance; Physitians can give Physicke, but they cannot give Health, and Magistrates can give Assistance, but they cannot give Diliverance, yea, but the Lord he can doe all these; Health and Victory, and Protection, and Salvation it selfe; not onely in the Endeavour but in the Event, defend to save; as to the Efficacy, or Effect of it, that's the First Explication.

The Second is the End, 2. The End or intent. I will defend it to save it, as signifiing Gods gracious aime, and drift, in the defending of it. There are defendings some­times [Page 13]which as they doe not alwayes end in Salvati­on, so neither doe they alwayes tend to salvation, but rather no somewhat else, which is either contrary or different from it. Thus Enemies they sometimes de­fend those persons whom they take captive in War, but it is not so much to save them, as rather to make advantage of them, and sometimes advantage against them, to abuse them, and to exercise so much the greater cruelty upon them, as the Philistims did with Sampson whom they kept to make themselves Sport, and to insult so much the more over him. Judg. 16.28. Thus we see how that all defending, or keep­ing, it hath not saving with it, And as not with men, So not with God neither. The Lord he does not de­fend some people alwayes to save them, but rather in Indignation towards them. He keepes them from one Judgment that he may reserve them for another, and that for a worse, keepes them from the Pestilence, that he may deliver them to the Famine, delivers them from the Famine, that he may give them up to the Sword, he shifts and changes their punishments but does not remove them, or take them away. Accor­ding to that expression, Isa. 24.17, 18. Feare and the pit, and the snare are upon thee, O Inhabitant of the earth. And it shall come to passe, that he who fleeth from the noise of the feare, shall fall into the Pit, And he that cometh out of the midst of the Pit, shall be taken in the snare. Here's now defending, and evading, but yet still Salvation farr enough from it either in the thing it selfe, or in the intention of him that vouchsafes it; yea but here in the Text it is otherwise, when the Lord saies concer­ning Jerusalem, that he will defend that to save it, he signifies that he will defend it with the greatest benefit, and advantage to it, as he speaks sometimes to A­braham. [Page 14]Blessing I will blesse thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee; that is, I will make those things which are Blessings an Increase, in the shew, and purport of them, to be so indeed, in the Event and Effect, that thou maist finde them to be so to thy selfe, in thy owne experience. This is that which God promises to his people in his defending of them. Indeed they some­times make other interpretations of it; as if he defen­ded them to destroy them, rather then to save them. As the Israelites in their murmurring and repining temper.Numb. 21.5. He brought us out of Aegypt, that he might de­stroy us in the Wildernesse. Yea, but it was not so for all that; God had other intentions towards them. I know the thoughts that I thinke towards you, (saith the Lord) thoughts of peace, and not of evill, to give you an ex­pected end, Jer. 29.11. Men in their curtesies they are many times false and uncertain: If they doe one kindnesse, they'l doe sometimes two unkindnesses for it, Perhaps, unkindnesses in it. Timeo Danaos vel do­wa ferentes. but it is not so with God, He defends to save, and he saves in defending, especially such as are his people, and belong unto him.

This is a very great happinesse, and answerably should be pursued by us;Try all of our Conditions. we should examine not onely what we have, but upon what tearms we have it, to see that it be in mercy and love, and as a fruit of Gods good-will towards us, and as relishing his favor in it. This we may judge according as we are any thing made better by it, and doe any thing better with it Then are mercies saving, when they are sanctifying, and sanctified to us; Then they are bestowed in favor, when they are improved in fruitfulnesse, and made in­couragements to further usefulnesse and cheerfulnesse, and activity in Gods service, otherwise we shall have [Page 15]but little comfort or satisfaction from them, but even our blessings will be curst unto us. Malach. 2.2. which is the sad condition of many wicked and ungodly Persons, God defends them not so much to save them as rather to harden them, and so at last to ruine them, Psal. 92.7. when the wicked spring as the grasse, and all the workers of iniquity do flourish, it is that they shall be destroyed for ever. But as for the Servant, of God, he does not deale so with them, God hath not appointed them to wrath, but to Salvation, as the maine end of his dispensations towards them, which he promises here to this City of Judah; 1 Thess. 5.9. I will defend this City to SAVE it.

For a further opening and inlargeing of this pre­sent passage to us,The nature of the mercy. we may here moreover take notice of the Nature and quality of the mercy it self, and that is not of delivering mercy, but of preventing mercy. It is not said I will rescue this City but I will defend it, nor it is not said, I will recover this City, but I will preserve it. It is not said, I'le let the Assyrian come in, and when he hath been in for a while, and done his pleasure in it, i'le them expell him, and drive him out of it againe, no, but I will not suffer him so much as to enter into it, in the two verses before the Text. He shall not come into this City nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shields, nor cust a banke, against it, By the way that he came, by the same shall he returne, and shall not enter into the City (saith the Lord) See here, He shall not come into it, He shall not come into it; it's twice repeated to make it more remarkable; and that also with the Circumstances of it, not shoot at it, not besiege it, not encamp about it, such is the tendernesse of God towards his people, as to keep off calamities from them.

This is to be observed by them,1. Preventing. where it is, and to be acknowledged with greater Thankfulnesse. Preventing mercies are the greatest mercies of all: though such is our weaknesse, and corruption, that we are not alwayes so senssible of them, nor doe so much lay them to heart: we are commonly more apprehensive of Deliverances, then we are of Preser­vations; of health recover'd, then we are of health continued; and of safety or plenty restored, rather then of either of them maintain'd still unto us. But that is rather I say from our Infirmity, then from the Nature of the things themselves. If we take the thing simply in it self, so continuance is more then restauration, because it hath the sweetnesse of the Good in it, without experiences of the contrary Evill. In­deed in some cases, and accidentally, the latter may be much better then the former, and the restoring of a comfort, may be a greater mercy then the Constant injoyment: when as namely occasionally from the temporary want of that Comfort a mans Heart is made so much the better; As when from some in­termission of Health, a man has his Spirit hereby the more mortified, 2 Cor. 4.16. and crucified, and estranged from the world, and he growes stronger in the inward man, which is hence renewed day by day: here the recovery may be more happy then the Continuance; But yet absiractly and in the nature of the thing, es­pecially alike sanctified to us, so it is otherwise and to be apprehended by us: we should have our hearts much drawn out in Thankfulnesse for Gods with-holding of Evills from us, as it was here with this City before us. He did not rescue them so much as defend them; It was not restoring mercy, but pre­serving; Not delivering mercy, but preventing.

Againe further, Take one more,2. Indefinite. It was not deter­mined mercy, but indefinite, I will defend this City to save it; To save it? from what? It may be you will say from the fury, and rage of the King of Assyri­a; from the oppressions of a forraine Enemy. It is true indeed, that was the occasion, and the maine and principall thing that was here intended, but yet that was not all. To defend and save, it is an ex­pression of large Extent, and comprehends many things in it. Those who are kept from the Evills of warr, are kept from more then warr it self, as having many other Evills with it, and consequent to it. Now this was the State and condition of this people, and Gods carriage towards them. His mercy it was full, and compleat; He did not only defend them, but save them; Not restore them only, but preserve them; Not preserve them from one Evill, but from many more together with it; from the Sword of their Enemies, with all the mischief attending upon it. Thus as in matter of Judgment where God be­gins, he will make an End, so also in matter of mercy, where he undertakes, he will fully accomplish, and bring to perfection.

And so I have done with the first Generall part of the Text which is the mercy signified both in the Specification and the Extent. I will defend this City to save it.

The Second is the Ground, The second Ge­nerall. or Motive for the con­ferring of it, and that is double; The one taken from God himself; For mine own sake, and the other taken from his servant; For my servant Davids sake.

We begin with the First, viz. The argument ta­ken from God himself: For mine own sake; where three things more by way of explication: First, [Page 18]For my mercies sake,1. Argument from God him­selfe. for the Honour of my free Grace. Secondly, for my Glories sake, For the ho­nour of my Great Name. Thirdly, For my Truths sake; For the honour of my Ancient promise.

First, For my mercies sake; for the honour of my free Grace; 1. For my mercy. The best account of Gods actions is that which is resolv'd into himself, but it holds good of none more then of his actions of Goodnesse, and Fa­vour. These take the chiefest rise from himself, as the Ground of them.1 Thes. 5.10 Even so O Father because it seemed good in thy sight, Mat. 11.26. It is true of spirituall, and eternall salvation, more especially, of Gods de­fending and saving from Hell, and from wrath to come, God does this for his own sake indeed; but it is true also of salvation, which is Temporall, and so of this in the Text; when the Lord would shew a reason of his Favour, and kindnesse to this people in preserving them from the Violence of their Ene­mies, He sayes I will defend this City to save it for mine own sake.

When it is said here; For mine own sake; we are to take this expression with restriction, signanter, & exclusive; Exclusive. It shutts out this people themselves as a­ny motives, or arguments hereunto. For mine own sake, that is, not for theirs. Thus Ezek. 36.22. I doe not this for your sake, O House of Israel, but for mine holy Names sake. And againe v. 32. Not for your sakes do I this (saith the Lord God) be it known unto you. And here two things more. First, Nothing in you to deserve so much from me. Secondly, Much in you to deserve the contrary from me; nothing on your part of meritt, why it should be: much on your part of provocation, why it should not be.

First, Nothing in you of merit to deserve it. It [Page 19]is the Conceit of most kind of men,1. No merit in them. when they have any thing more then ordinary from the hands of God, that it is from some speciall worth in them­selves; And so it is likely God saw that it was rea­dy to be with this people; Luke 17.10. for which cause he puts in this Caveat to prevent such a mistake in them. When we have done all we can, we must needs say we are unprofitable servants; we have done no more then was our Duty to doe, nor so much as that.Esay. 64.6. All our righteous­nesse but as a menstruous cloth, and as filthy ragges.

Secondly, Theres much also of Provocation, and contrary behaviour; as no merit, 2. Much de­merit so a great deale of demerit. We are so far from deserving from God, that we are obnoxious to him, and give him dayly occasion (if he would take occasion against us) utterly to consume, and destroy us. Thus it was with this people of Jsrael: It is noted of them, that they provoked him to anger from day to day by their continuall abominations, and yet notwithstand­ing he followed them with his mercies; He suffe­red them with a great deale of Patience, and bore with their manners in their mildernesse [...], or [...], as a Nurse beareth or feedeth her children, Acts 13.41. Doing acts of courtesy for them, even whiles they were full of frowardnesse, and rebellion against him, This is Gods way, and manner of dis­pensation.

From whence we may therefore learne occasio­nally how to deale with him,Direction. and to addresse our selves to him for any thing which we stand in need of. Alas, when we look upon our selves, and our own deservings, there is nothing at all, which may incourage us,1. How to deal-with God. nay there is much rather which may dishearten us, and keep us off; yea but heres now an [Page 20] argument which will take, and prevaile with him from his mercy, and free grace, and accordingly we should use it to him. Lord, if thou wilt not doe it for our sakes, yet do it at least for thine own; Theres nothing in us to move thee, but theres a great deale in thy self: Our deserts are none, our provocations are many, but thy grace is above them all: And there­fore according to the multitude of thy tender mer­cies be gracious to us; seeing God will do for it him­self, let us not loose such an argument as this is for prevailing with him. Thus we shall find the church to doe, Jer. 14.7. O Lord though our iniquities testifie against us, doe thou it for thy Names sake, for our bachsli­dings are many, wee have stnned against thee. And so David in his own particular; For thine Names sake O Lord pardon mine iniquity for it is great: As knowing that this would work upon him, where nothing else would.

And here as we have an argument to prevaile with God, 2. How with Satan. so an answer to returne upon Satan, when he labours to discourage us from the suggestion of our own unworthinesse, 2 Tim. 2.13. we may here tell him, that it is not upon such termes that we deale with God, but upon the account of his own mercy, and grace; Let us be what we will be, yet he still abides the same, and cannot deny himself.

Againe, For his mercies sake, that is, for his bow­ells, and out of regard to his own compassions, which never faile. God will save his people, as being him­self interested in their sufferings, and afflicted in all their afflictions; From whence he is ready to say with Esther, Esay 63.9. How can I indure to see the destruction of my people, Esther 8.6. And that's the first explication; For mine own sake, i. e. for my mercies sake, For the ho­nour [Page 21]of my Free Grace

Secondly, For mine owne sake, that is,2 For my Glory. for my Gloryes sake, For the honour of my great Name. The preservation of Gods people is for the glory of God himselfe, which therefore carryes him to it: And that in two respects. First, For his Glory, which would be otherwise neglected; He would have else none to serve him; Secondly, For his Glory which would be otherwise polluted; He would have else many to blaspheme him.

First, God preserves his people for his glory,1. Lest it be neglected. which would be otherwise neglected; He would have else none to serve him. Take away the Church of God, and ye take away the Service of God, destroy his People, and ye consequently destroy his Worship and his Name which is advanced by them, and by them alone. As for the rest of the World, which are altogether strangers to him, they care not what be­comes of him, nor of any honour which is done un­to him: It is the Church which is called by his Name, by whom his Name is called upon. Now therefore as they are tender of him, even so is he also of them, up­on the same consideration, As Samuell tells the Isra­elites, 2 Sam. 12.22. The Lord will not for sake his peo­ple, for his great Names sake, because it hath pleased the Lord to make you his people. And so Psal. 132.13. The Lord hath chosen Zion, he hath desired it for his habi­tation; This is my rest for ever, here will I dwell, &c. It is spoken in reference to the Arke, and to the Temple, in the dedication of it, The Arke, of God it hath a Blessing of preservation with it, which belongs unto it. 2. Sam. 6.12. The Lord hath blessed the house of Obed-Edom and all that pertaine unto him, because of the Arke of God, The same Priviledge also hath [Page 22] the Gospell, and Evangellicall Administrations in the right use and improvement of them, to wit a preserv­ing Efficacy to the Contryes and Cityes, wherein they are, so farr forth as God is zealous for his Glory, and the continuance of his worship in the world so far forth will he defend his people, where his true wor­ship and fear is maintain'd in the power and purity of it.

Secondly,2. Lest it be polluted. For his Glory, as who would else have many to blaspheme him, If God should not defend his people, his enemies would be ready to reproach him, This is that which they have been ready still to doe upon the least advantage, we need to goe no further for an instance then the occasion of the Text it selfe, in Senacherib and Rabshakeh, Isa. 36.15. Let not Hezekiah make you to trust in the LORD, saying, The Lord will surely deliver us, This City shall not be de­livered &c. Where are they amongst all the Gods that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem out of mine hand? here now were provokeing speeches,Improvement. even to the dishonour of God himself, and therefore it concern'd him to bestir himselfe, and to deliver his people for his Names sake. Thus have the servants of God sometimes made it an argument to him; As Moses interceding for the Israelites, 3. By the Church. Numb. 14, 15. Now if thou shalt kill all this people as one man, then the NATIONS which have heard the fame of thee will speake saying, Because the Lord was not able to bring this people into the Land, which he sweare unto them, therefore hath he slain them, &c. And so Exod. 32.12. Wherefore should the Aegypti­ans say, for mischiefe did he bring them out to slay them, &c. And so Joshuah, in their discomfiture at At, Josh. 7.9. The Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the [Page 23]Land shall heare of it, and environ us round, &c. And what wilt thou doe unto thy GREAT NAME? still the Name of God (as ready otherwise to be blasphe­med by his enemies) is improved for the protection of his people.

And as it has been improved by them to him,2. By God himselfe. so it hath also been considered by himselfe, even of his owne accord, as yee may see in Deut. 32.26, 27. Speaking there of the people of Israel, I said I would seatter them into corners, I would make the remembrance of them to cease from among men, were it not that I feared the wrath of the enemy, lest the adversaries should behave themselves strangely, and least they should say, our hand is high, and the Lord hath not done all this, Gods people are sometimes accidentally so farr forth beholding to thier enemyes, as that their intollerable insolences doe move God to keep them from these evils, which otherwise for their owne provocations would fall upon them. The Blasphemyes of the Adversary they are the shelter and defence of the Church; for mine owne sake, (i. e.) for my gloryes sake, for the honour of my Great Name; that on the one side it may be advan­ced, and that on the other side it may not be blasphe­med, Thats the Second explication.

Thirdly, For mine owne sake; that is,3. For my Truth. for my Truths sake, for the glory of mine Ancient promises The Israelites they were people of Gods Covenant, whom he had bound and ingaged himselfe to, by many gracious and comfortable promises for the deliverance and preservation of them; and now therefore in referrence to these, will he defend them to save them, God hath magnified his word, that is his promise above all his Name, Psal. 138.2. Now this is that which He so much stands on, and makes [Page 24]it an argument to himselfe. The NAME of the LORD is a strong Tower, the righteous run unto it and are safe. Prov. 18.10. What's the Name of God? It is the True and faithfull one,Temporall Promises. The God that keeps Covenant. That's a great letter in his Name; and very much for the Comfort of his People,1. Of protec­tion in Gener­all. He is faith­full that hath promised, Heb. 10.23. His Truth shall be thy shield and buckler, Psal. 91.4. How is the Truth of God a shield? Namely, as included in his Promise, which ingages him to the protection of his people, according as he hath declared himselfe to them,2. In Parti­cular. and that in all sorts of conditions, John 5.19. He shall de­liver thee in six troubles and in seven there shall no evill touch thee, In famine he shall redeeme thee from Death, and in Warr from the power of the Sword, Thou shalt be hid from the Scourge of the Tongue, 1. From sick­nesse. At destruction and famine thou shalt laugh, So Psal. 91.5. Thou shalt not be affraid of the terrour by night, nor of the arrow that flyeth by day, nor of the Pestilence that wasteth in dark­nesse, nor of the Destruction that walketh at noon-day, a thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand but it shall not come nigh thee.

And againe,2. From Fire. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee, and through the rivers they shall not o­verflow thee, when thou walkest through the fire thou shalt not be burnt, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. Isa. 43.2. In these and many such Scriptures have we the promises of Temporall protection made to the people of God, and the Lord does answerably hold himselfe to be tyed and bound up by them, so farr forth as may best consist with the Glory of his own holy Name, and the greatest Good and Benefit of his people, and accordingly likewise may his people depend upon him for it, Lord remember thy Promise un­to [Page 25]thy Servant upon which thou hast caused me to hope. Ps. 119.49. For mine own sake, that is, for my Promise, That's the Third Explication. And so the First Part of the Argument, for Gods defending, and saving of his people, to wit, which is taken from himselfe.

The Second is taken from his Servant. And for my Servant Davids sake, where before we goe any further,Second Argu­ment from Da­vid.we may here by the way take notice of the Title, and hon­ourable Appellation, which God puts upon David, My Servant David. It was not plain David, nor it was not King David, but David my Servant. God cannot let David passe without a Title of Honour; and God cannot put a greater Honour upon David, then by calling him his Servant, Gods Servant, it is the best Title, and it is the best Office, In the Thing it selfe. there's none like unto it, Not but that there are other Titles, and such as are in their places also Honourable, and as Men to be acknowledged by us (Rligion does not destroy civility, but rather establishes it) but this is the Highest Title of all, especially in a Spirituall sense.

There are two things observable in this expres­sion; First,Gods Servant two wayes. That David was Gods Servant for the thing it selfe; And Secondly, That God does here owne him, and acknowledge him to be so, as to the Title, and Apellation.

First, He was Gods Servant, His Servant David, There were two wayes in which David (as any o­ther besides) might be said to be the Servant of God, 1. As to his work. either in reference to his Particular calling, and the work wherein he was imployed, or in reference to his Generall calling, and the frame and temper of his heart in it.

First, As to his particular calling as a Magistrate, and Governour of Gods people, He was the Servant [Page 26]of God thus, Magistrates, as they are Gods Vice-ge­rents so also his Servants, and his Servants therefore. This is a very great honour and Dignity to them, It is an Honour to be used by God though in works of an inferiour nature, not to be wholly uselesse or laid aside as broken vessels wherein is no pleasure, but the Higher the Service, still the higher the Honour, and the Honour is from the Service, this is the Honour of those which are in place of publique Gover­ment and Authority, But an Honour and Digni­ty with a duty belonging unto it, which is to approve themselves to him whose Servants they are.

But Secondly, As David was Gods Servant in re­gard of his place, and imployment, So more especi­ally in regard of his Spirit, and the frame of his heart, This was that which made him Gods Servant in a more Principall manner,2. As to his Spirit. and for which God does here so intitle him, There's a great deale of differ­ence betwixt my Servant David, and my Servant Ne­buchadneezzar, we shall finde in Scripture that Ne­buchadnezzar, was call'd Gods Servant, Jer. 25.9. Nebuchadnezzar the King of Babylon my Servant, Namely, as imployed by God in that work, which he used him for. There's not the worst men that are but in a sense, they may be Gods Servants, so farr forth as he does make use of them for the accomplish­ment of those Gracious ends, which he designes to himselfe, God improves many mens parts and pow­er, and wisedome, and interest, and estates beyond the thoughts of their owne minds; and so they are Servants to God in the matter, and substance of their Imployment. But this was not that which served David, neither should it serve any of us. He was the Servant of God in another manner then so; and that is in the Gracious frame of his soule, which was [Page 27]brought in subjection to God and whereby he aim'd at Gods glory in the service of him, this was that which was Davids temper and which was Davids Honour, and in which sense he might well say of himselfe, as he sometimes does; O Lord, truly I am thy Servant, I am thy Servant, &c. Psal. 116.16, David, He was Gods Servant in the Thing it selfe.

And Secondly, God ownes him in it, 2. In the Ap­pellation. and so deno­minates him for the Appellation; My Servant David. Thus God delights still to speake of Ʋsefull, Persons, Abraham my Servant, and Jacob my Servant, and Moses my Servant, God speakes of them as takeing a great deale of Pleasure in their relation to him: He is not ashamed to be call'd their God, nor that they should be called his Servants.

Yea, and that also even under some defects, and infirmities, and imperfections, As David here, he had sometime his miscarriages, yet truly repenting, and turning to God, and becoming a New-man, God owns him for his integrity, and uprightnesse of heart, and reform'd conversation; My Servant still, still my Ser­vant, My Servant David, so much for that.

Now for the Argument it selfe, which is here used,The Argument it selfe. For my servant Davids sake, God joynes David with himselfe as an argument for his goodnesse to his people; why for Davids sake? Namely, for his Co­venant with David, and so it referrs to that which we spake of before, concerning his Truth, Thus Psal. 132.11. The Lord hath sworn in truth to DAVID, he will not turne from it. We might here at large take notice of the Benefit, which Posterity partake of from their Godly and Faithfull Predecessors; even then, when they are dead and deceased, DAVID was now gone, and in his grave many yeares since, yet this [Page 28]people they fare the better for his sake; not for his present Intercessions (as the Papists would faine in­force it) but for his peculiar Interest and relation, and the COVENANT which was formerly made with him; Jerusalem shall now be kept, and preserved for Davids sake, And so it is still from time to time. The just man walks in his integrity, his children are blest after him, After him, Yea, and for him, and in refer­rence to him. God will shew mercy unto thousands, of them that feare him, even unto the Third and Fourth Generation.

But this mention here of David in the Text hath somewhat a further reach in it,The Spirituall since. then as yet we have spoken unto; and that is as it points out Christ, of whom David was no more then a Type. And so it shewes us the true, and proper conveyance of all Good, and comfort to the Church. In these two ex­pressions before us: For mine own sake; and for my servant Davids sake; we have two main Principles of faith exhibited to us; The one is the Spring, and Fountaine of our mercies: The other is, the Con­duit-pipe, and derivation. The Spring, and Foun­taine, thats the free grace, and goodnesse of God; He does it for his own sake. The Dirivation, or con­veyance thats the mediation of Jesus Christ, He does if for his servant Davids sake.

The Summe of all is this; That all the Good, which Beleevers doe partake off from the hands of God,The Summe. it comes to them in the way of the New Cove­nant, which is founded in Christ; Who hath the Throne of David his Father given unto him, Luke 1, 32. And who sits upon this Throne and Kingdome to order it, and to establish it for ever, Isa. 9.6.7. Christ, who was figured by David and descended from him ac­cording [Page 29]to the Flesh, he hath changed Davids tempo­rall Kingdome into an everlasting, and spirituall one; And for his sake will the Lord in this sence defend Jerusalem to save it, that is, keep and preserve his true Church from all the Adversaryes, and Ene­mies of it. In his dayes shall Judah be saved, and Jeru­salem shall dwell safely, and this is the Name wherewith he shall be called The LORD OƲR RIGHTEOƲSNES, Jer. 23.6. and 33.16.

Here's the great safety, and security of the Church of God,The Safety of the Church. that it stands upon a Covenant made with the Son of God. God cannot break with Christ, in whom all his promises are made yea, and amen, and therefore he cannot forbeare to protect, and to de­fend the Church. Therefore the Gates of Hell shall not be able to prevaile against it. Sennacherib, and Rabsha­keh, and all the host of the Assyrians, they shall not be able to fight against this City, so, as to overcome it; that is, Satan, and all his instruments, they shall never be able to overthrow it. God will put his Hook into their noses, and his Bridle into their lipps, and turn them back by the way, in which they came. He hath sent Redemption to his people: He hath comman­ded his COƲENANT for ever. Holy, and Reverend is his Name, Psal. 111.9.

This is matter of Consolation not only to the Church in Generall, and at large,The Comfort of the Church. but likewise to every true believer, who is a part, and member of it; For upon the same termes as God defends this City it self, he does likewise defend every Citizen of it. Every good Christian may assure himself of pre­servation from all his Enemies from this Covenant, which God hath made with Christ, but I cannot now insist upon this. That's the Second motive or [Page 30]argument for Gods defending this City to save it. Namely, which is taken from his servant, For my servant Davids sake.

I shall have quickly done with the Text, when I have taken notice of one thing more, and then pro­ceed to Application. And that is the manner, or way in which the Lord did accomplish this promise,The manner of the Churches preservation. which he here makes for the defence of this City. This will appeare to us out of the Context in the following verse. Then the Angell of the Lord went forth, and smote in the Camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore, and five thousand. The Salvation of the Church, it is procured by the Ruine of the Enemy. The destruction of the Assyrians it is the Preservati­on of the People of God. These two are like a paire of Bucketts, or Ballances; when the one goes up, the other goes downe.

The Reason of it is this;The Reason. Because they are of Contrary interests, and consist of contrary Principles, which cannot Cohaere, or hold together. They are like fire and water, which doe mutually take away each other. The seed of the Woman, and the seed of the Serpent are opposites.

This is a point of very great Terror to the Church­es Enemies,1. Terrour to the Enemies. and shewes their ruine to be un-avoyd­able. If the people of God cannot be saved unlesse their Adversaries be destroy'd, then their Adversa­ries destruction is necessary, because their own salva­tion is infallible. Look upon what termes, the Church stands for safety, upon the same doe the Ene­mies for undoeing.

If it be ask't, why it pleases the Lord to take such a Course as this is. We answer,

First for his own sake, and the greater manifesta­tion [Page 31]of his Power, and dominion in the world; God could (if he had so pleased) have defeated Ashur, and yet not have destroyed them, hindred them from hurting Jerusalem, and yet not have hurt them­selves; yea but then this had not been so much for the advancement of his Power; which God delight­ed to manifest towards them, as he did with Pharo­ah. He would shew his Power in him, Rom 9.17. Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the Heathen: I will be exalted in the Earth, Psal. 46.10.

Secondly, for the comfort of his people. in their security, and greater satisfaction.2. Comfort to Gods People. If God had driven the Assyrians back, and kept them still alive, Jerusa­lem might still have been [...]om what anxious, and sol­licitous about it, as thinking that they might haply recruit, and recover themselves againe; now whiles they see them dead and destroy'd before their eyes, here this sollicitude is taken off from them, and they are now sensibly assured of this promise, which God made unto them; that he would defend them to save them.

Now in that it is here further said:The Instrument That this was done by the Angell of the Lord; it teaches us how these Glorious Spirits are ministring to the sal­vation of the Church, Psal. 78.49. and active in the preservation of it. Look, as sometimes they are instruments of Gods Corrections. He sent evill Angells amongst them. not evill in regard of their Nature, and in reference to sinne, but evill in regard of their Effects, and in reference to punishment, so are they also instruments of Gods preservation; both in the sheathing the sword, and in drawing it: In sheathing it as to the sparing of Jerusalem in Davids time. In drawing it as [Page 32]to the defending of Jerusalem now in the Time of Hezekiah. 2 Sam, 24.16. So much may be spoken of that. And so much also of the Text it self.

And now for the Application of the Text to the present Occasion.

THat which hath been hitherto said,The Appli­cation of the Text to the Occasion. in that by way of promise, the same is made good in this by way of accomplishment. And that which was true of Jerusalem, it is abundantly true of London in all particulars. The Lord hath defended this City to save it, for his owne sake, &c. Defending and saving (as I told you) is a large word & of indefinite signification, and truly we have found it so for our selves in the full latitude of it. There's no evill which any City could be well defended and saved from, but we have had our share and interest in that Salva­tion.

Wee'l begin with that which is next at hand,Preservation. and in the scope of the Text, the evills and callamities of Warr, How hath the Lord saved us, and defended us from these!From War. Indeed we have heard of such a thing as this is, we have had the Rumors of Warr, amongst us but we never yet felt the smart of it, as other parts of the Nation have done; we have had the Alarme, but we never yet came to the Enconnter, [...]. Matth. 24.6. no compas­sing of our walls, no battering of our Forts, no plun­dering of our houses, no demolishing of our Temp­les no slaying of our Wives and Children before our eyes, nor carrying of our selves as Captives into a­nother Countrey; when almost all the Land besides as it were upon a light flame,Dan. 3.27. Not an haire of our head singed, nor our our coats changed, nor the smell of fire pas­sing upon us.

And as through the goodnesse of God we have been prevented from forraine invasions, so likewise, from domestick combustions, and tumults amongst our selves. No breaking in, Psal. 144.4 nor going our nor complaining in our streets. It is a thing wonderfull to consider, how in such a Populous City as this is, wherein there are such multitudes of Persons, and withall such va­rietys of Interests, and difference, and contrariety of affections, yet not withstanding there should be so much outward agreement, and correspondency and externall complyance, as is easie to be observ'd; Where againe almost in all the world can a man walk with so much safety at all times and houres of the night, without feare, or molestation, as he may doe in the City of London, or where may he stay in his House with so much security!

War, It does not usually goe alone, but for the most part hath other evills, and calamityes atten­ding upon it. The Scripture points out two es­pecially, The Famine and the Pestilence; as in that eminent place of the Prophet, Ezek. 7.15. The sword is without, and the Pestilence and the Famine within. He that is in the Field shall dye with the sword, and he that's in the City, Famine and Pestilence shall devoure him. This hath been the case of others, But this case hath not been ours, we have not known what Famine meant nor Pestilence neither.

For Famine, From Famine. though it is true it hath been an usual consequent of Warr, and of Civill warr, more especi­ally, yet it hath been so with us here in this Land, nor so consequently here in this City, nay we have been so far from being troubled with Famine, as that some of us (the more shame for us) we have rather been troubled at Plenty, and almost hungred for [Page 34] Famine it selfe, so great hath been the abundance of Food and Provision amongst us, which God hath bestowed upon us. Yea, and that in such Circum­stances to, as wherein the Contrary might rather have been expected, we have had years of Drought, and yet not years of Dearth; wanted Water, and yet not wanted Bread.

And for the Pestilence, From Pesti­lence. which is the buisinesse that we doe more particularly take notice of this day, in this our solemn meeting, we have cause to take no­tice of it indeed, as little lesse then a miracle it self, our preservation from it; especially so long together as we have been without it in these latter years, whiles other Countryes and Nations about us have been so sorely visited with it.

Especially if we shall also further add the forerun­ners, and prognostications which we have had of it in inferiour diseases, as small-pox measles and the like, yet not leaving this other in their roome as they are usually observ'd to doe, but so kindly part­ing with us, like the thaw of some great frost with­out a raine following upon it.

That we should have so much Health in so much Company; the number of Houses and Inhabitants in­creased unmeasurably; The number of the Dead not increased, but rather diminished; Take but this last week for an instance, wherein the summe of all the Buryalls within the City and Suburbs and Libertyes, and out-Parishes of it doth not come up to the number of two hundred in the whole ac­count.

Add to this (which is added in the occasion) our late remarkable preservations from Fire, From Fire. which for some time we had been afflicted withall,Tower-street. we [Page 35]know how many sad and fearfull accidents of this kinde did for a while happen unto us in sundry em­inent and seattered places of the City, Thread needle-street, Fleet-street. Bermondsey-street. &c. which in a sort was become another Taberah, to us, Numb. 11.2. God hath gratiously quench't and extenguish these flames amongst us, and he hath done it also as a re­turne of Prayer; as he did there with his people of Israel, in v. 2. of that Chapter, It is not a meere co-in­cidence, but a relative providence, & so we are to take it; Faith, whereof Prayer is the flame, it hath quen­ched the violence of fire, Heb. 11.34. And we are to blesse God for his acceptance of it. That we have neither the fire in our Bon [...]s, in burning and inflaming distempers, nor yet the fire in our Houses in those terrible and lamentable Conflagrations, nei­ther the Dever, nor the resheph; The Pestilence which goes before him, nor the burning coales which goe forth at his feet, as Officers, and Attendants upon him, both before and behinde, Habback. 3.5. But that each of these have been kept off from us, and restrain'd from their violence amongst us, what does this but de­clare Gods speciall care and tendernesse over us, for the defence and preservation of us? And how much does it concerne you all to consider it and to lay it to heart, and to be affected with it! ye goe in­to the Countrey, and ye find your houses and families safe there; ye come back againe to the City, and ye finde your houses and familyes safe here; ye change your Places, but ye doe not change your Protection, nor your condition with them. And this ye doe al­so in a Variety, and succession of Time, Psal. 65.12. Summer after Winter, and Winter after Summer, and one year after another; God Crownes your yeares with his Goodnesse, and his pathes dropp fatnesse to you,

I say it is God that does it and he exclusively; By God a­lone- it is as true of us, as ever it was of Jerusalem, He that is our God, is the God of our salvation, and to God the Lord belong the issues from Death, Ps. 68.20. But what is that which hath mooved him, & perswaded him and incouraged him hereunto all this while, Perhaps it hath been somewhat in us, who have deserved as much at his hands. It may be it hath been our strictnesse and exactnesse of conversation before him; Our care of his worship, our Vindication of his Truth, our observation of his Sabbaths, our Honor of his Ordinances, our respect to his Servants our love of his Children, Perchance it hath been our charity, our humility, our sobriety, our integrity, our zeale, &c. Which hath so far taken with him, and prevailed upon him, Surely, it is because he hath not spyed in us those errors, nor lusts, nor filthinesse; nor horrible abominations; which He hath seen, and beheld in some other places and times;Esay. 1.9. Oh Be­loved! should the Lord but have gone by this Rule, I fear this City had been in its ashes long before now, We had been as Sodom and had been made like unto Gomorrah. Not but that God has a Number, not a smal but a very great remnant of those that truly feare him amongst us,Act. 18.29. He hath much people in this City. But if we speak of the common frame of mens spirits, and tenour of their lives,For his own sake. we shall find it to be for other­wise, in somuch that the safety which we injoy, must be resolved into the Free-grace and goodnesse of God towards us; He hath defended us and saved us for his own sake, as the proper Ground and Motive to it.

And yet I must also add,For his Ser­vant Davids sake. as himselfe does here in the Text, For his servant Davids sake; too we injoy the [Page 37]Benefit of the graces of the Godly Martyrs, and o­ther holy Persons, our Fore Fathers in former ages who by their Prayers and votes for us, whiles they were here alive did reserve a speciall Blessing for us in these succeeding times; As we are not the worse neither for the faithfull Servants of God, which at this day reside amongst us, and are mingled with us, who both keep of many judgements from us, which we otherwise deserve, and secure many mer­cies to us, which we might otherwise lose.

Now what is the result of all this to our selves? Namely, that which is the proper work and buisi­nesse of our coming together, even to labour to get our hearts inlarged in thankfulnesse to God for it, It is a work well becoming the Representative body of the City, as ye are now met together this day, and wherein ye have very happily consulted the welfare of it, & of your selves, God expects such acts as these from us, answerable to his goodnesse to us, especially upon our intreatyes of him; Forasmuch as we had humbled our selves before God, for the vouchsafing of these mercyes to us (as sometimes we had done) we cannot in all reason but returne our acknow­ledgements to him for the bestowing of them Every day of humiliation, whensoever it obtains its effect hath a day of thanksgiving in course and of right belonging unto it. They that seek the Lord must praise him, Psal. 22.26.

Among many other matters besides as I have already mentioned which you have not excluded, there are two which ye have especially intended, The preservation of the City from Fier, and the pre­servation of it from sicknesse, and principally those contagious diseases, which have raged in other pla­ces [Page 38]of the world; and it is a very good course which is here taken by you, in the serious improve­ment of it for the preventing of such judgements from your selves by thankfulnesse and humble de­precation, as the Captaine of fifty, to Elijah, in 2 King. 1.13. This is that which we are to doe at this time; and that not for a day only, but all our lives. There's no such thankfulnesse as reformation, and and amendment of life.1 Sam 15.22 To obey is better then to sacri­fice; and to bearken then the fat of Rams. 1 King, 8.28. Alas Beloved, what will it availe us,Esay. 9.18. to be freed from the plague of the Body, and to be infected with the plague of the Heart? or to be freed from the firing of our Houses, and to be inflamed with the fire of lust? of wrath, of contention, of revenge, of wickednesse, which burnes as a fier? Scornfull Persons (as all ungodly men are both actively, Pro. 29.8. and passively) they set a City on fire, as Solomon tells us, But wise men, that is, those which are Gratious and Faithfull, they turne away wrath. This let us be carefull to doe. That so as God hath delivered us formerly, so he may please to deliver us still; and may say to us in the words of the Text in the future expression; I will defend this City to save it, That is; I will continually defend it, from fire, and sword, and pestilence and such evills as those are.

Yea, let us answer this goodnesse of God to us in a sutable and proportionable Improvement, Here are now two great mercies together, which we now celebrate, The one, that our Houses are not burnt downe. And the other, that our Houses are not shut up, Now each of these calls for answerable car­riage and conversation, on our behalfe, How should this now ingage us to make our Houses and Familyes [Page 39]to be the receptacles and habitations of Holinesse, and to devote them to his worship and service; that as they stand, so they may stand for Him, and his Spirit to dwell and reside in.

And so for our preservation from Pestilence, and such like distempers, what an ingagement is this to us to fruitfulnesse of society and communion one with another! To the frequenting of the publique Assemblyes: and congregations of the people of God, We need not now to be affraid of the breath one of another or of coming into one anothers company, which people in such times and cases and conditions are wont to be.

But yet withall, whiles we are thankfull for de­liverances, it concerns us to tremble at judgements The experiences of Italy and of Rome, especially which is mysticall Babylon the mother of Harlots, and Abominations of the earth; partake not in her sinnes, that so we may not partake in her plagues. The sinnes of Italy in England, Revel. 17.5. Revel. 18.4. are worse then in their proper place; by how much our profession is better, and our Religion purer, and our Ingage­ments more.

Therefore let us renew our Covenants with God this day, and labour to be every way answerable to his providences towards us; seeing He hath defen­ded us, let us also defend him in his Truth, and worship and Servants. And seeing it is God alone that can defend us, that is, defend us to save us, let us hide our selves all we can under his shelter, and wings, &c. We are now in the turn & revolution of another year, which we know not what it may bring forth; Oh but if we can get but a share and porti­on in God, we shall be provided against all occur­rences [Page 40]whatsoever they may be. He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty; He shall say unto the Lord, he is my Refuge, my God in him will I trust. Psal. 91.1, 2.

There are two things which lyes upon us in this particular, to be pursued by us. The one is Interest in God. And the other is Communion with him. The former as a foundation to the latter. And the latter as a Perfection of the former.

First, Accquaintance and Interest in God through Jesus Christ, Accquaint now thy selfe with him, and be at peace, Job 22.21. There is nothing more miser­able in times of publique danger or calamity, then for a man to be a stranger to God, and un-acquainted with him; It is sad and ill at any time, but it is then so more especially; that so we may by all meanes take heed of being guilty of it. Remember, that it is for Davids sake, take this City is defended and sa­ved; therefore those who have no portion in this David, they can expect none of this defence. Christ will owne none but his Members, in the day of his wrath, and them He will be sure to owne, one way or other. Then happy are all they that put their Trust in him. Lord I am thine, save me, that's the best plea of all. Psal. 119.94.

Secondly, as Interest in God, so likewise actuall Communion with him, let us preserve that also. As there should not be in us a strangnesse of condition so neither a strangnesse of Spirit, or conversation in such times as these are, but we should still be care­full to keep up our hearts in a blessed and constant frame of recourse unto him; that so, what ever may befall us, it may be sure to goe well with us; which is the difference betwixt the children of God, and [Page 41]other men; As for other People; Carnall, and worldly persons, they are well in times of Freedome, and security, when theres no plague, or judgement stirring abroad, then they can make a shift to doe as wel as any men else, and as they think better too; yea but how is it with them in times of Trouble, and sad­nesse indeed? Here they are all amort, and know not which way to turn themselves: as those which swagger most in a Calme, in a Storme are at their wits end; so is it with such kind of men. Eut I know it shall be well with them that fear the Lord, that fear before him, as the Preacher tells us, Eccles. 8.12. This is the Excellency of a Christian especially liv­ing in the Power of Christianity, that he can in some manner hold up even in bad times, and in bad condi­tions. He can be safe in the midst of evills, and ca­lamities themselves: safe, not only from them, but in them, yea and under them too, as it may be with him. The servants of God have this privi­ledge, that those things, which are evill in themselvs, yet they are not evill to them, as having all Estates sanctified to them through Christ. That which is a Plague in the nature of the Disease, and the Physicall consideration of it, yet it is not a plague to them, in regard to Gods ordering it to them, as having the Spirituall venome and malignity taken out of it for them; and so for any thing else besides; A Christi­an ha's learnt to commend all he ha's or is to the wise and holy providence of a gracious God; His Times are in Gods hands, and so he is not in thral­dome to sicknesse: and his Estates in Gods hands, and so he is not under the power of Fire, or wind, or water, or malice, or any other casualty whatso­ever; Theres nothing can absolutely hurt him, be­cause [Page 42]he is Good, and right himselfe. But I cannot presse these things at this time.

To return to that which we spake of before,The Conclusion. and which this performance call's us to, and so to con­clude. Let us be much in the thoughts and medita­tion of Gods goodnesse to us, whether in our own particular persons, in the mercies, which we have received there, or in the Generall state of the City, in the mercies, which we have received in common, and together with that; Both of them are to be con­sider'd by us, and both very sutable to this work of our Publick Thanksgiving. Look as in a day of pub­lick Humiliation, we are to be humbled, not only for Nationall, but for Personall sins: So also in a day of Publick Thanksgiving, we are to remember not only our Nationall, but Personall mercies; especially as our particular Persons have any thing more sh [...]red in those mercies as we have some of us done; In the recovery and continuance of our Healthe; In the in­crease, and preservation of our Estates; In the free­dome, and deliverance from Enemies, or whatever else we can name, or think of. Look how far any doe more partake in mercy, so should they more partake in Thanksgiving. The Observation of Pub­lick mercies should occasion in us private Reflexi­ons; And the reflecting upon private mercies, should more quicken us in publick acknowledge­ments. But this is our great misery, that we are for the most part but defective in either. We are so busy commonly in the injoyment of mercies, that we have no leasure to be thankefull for them. Though the Lord doth exceedingly abound in the manifestation of his Goodnesse to us in all re­spects, in our health, in our plenty, in our safety, [Page 43]and miraculous preservation: And above all in the continuance of his Gospel, and Ordinances, and soule opportunities amongst us; yet truly for the Generall we are very little sensible of them, or af­fected with them, or thankfull under them; even those who if they should loose them, would soonest misse them. What doe I speak of Thankefullnesse; when we have much adoe to keep our selves from murmuring and repining at Gods dealings with us. The Lord had never an heavier hand in his Con­testations with backsliding Israel, then he hath with many amongst our selves.

Well, Let us here be seasonably awakened from this present Occasion before us, to lay these things more to Heart, then ever yet we have done. Oh it should make us to love and serve this God so much the more, who ha's done so much for us; that so he may still take pleasure in us, and delight to dwell amongst us for Good: To blesse us in our Persons, in our imployments, in our estates, in our Families, and in all our Relations: And may defend this City to save it for his own sake, and for his servant Davids sake, that is, for his sonne Jesus Christs sake to all following, and succeeding Generations even to the end of the world. Amen, Amen!


This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. Searching, reading, printing, or downloading EEBO-TCP texts is reserved for the authorized users of these project partner institutions. Permission must be granted for subsequent distribution, in print or electronically, of this EEBO-TCP Phase II text, in whole or in part.