Die Mercurij, 28. Augusti, 1644.

ORdered by the Commons Assembled in Parliament, that Master Erle doe from this House give thanks to Master Reyner, for the great paines he tooke in the Sermon he preached at the entreaty of this House at Saint Margarets Westminster (it being the day of publique Humiliation) and to desire him to print his Sermon; and it is Ordered, that none shall presume to print his Sermon with­out licence under his hand-writing.

Hen. Elsyng. Cler. Parl. D. Com.

I appoint Samuel Enderby to print my Sermon.

William Reyner.


Delivered in a SERMON before the ho­nourable house of COMMONS at Margarets Westminster, at their publique Fast, August 28. 1644.

By William Reyner Pastor of the Church of Christ, at Egham in Surrey, and a Mem­ber of the Assembly of Divines.

Dan. 7.26, 27.

But the judgement shall fit, and they shall take away his Domini­on to consume and to destroy it unto the end. And the Kingdome and Dominion, and the greatnesse of the Kingdome under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the Saints of the most high; whose kingdome is an everlasting kingdome, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.

LONDON: Printed by T. B. for Samuel Enderby, and are to be sold at the signe of the Starre in Popes-head-Alley. 1644.

To the Honourable, the Knights, Citi­zens and Burgesses Assembled in Parlia­ment, and now sitting at Westminster.

Honourable Senators:

HAving had for a long time strong ap­prehensions out of the word of God, of an approching storme upon the Nati­ons of Europe, for the ruining espe­cially of Antichrst's Kingdome; I thought it not unmeet for the times & Auditors (having your honorable call to the Worke) to treat in your presence upon such a subject. The Kingdoms & states of Europe are grown old, & a man would think, were come even to their years, & full ripenesse in all kind of sinfulnes & prophanenesse, but chiefly in ido­latry & persecution in the Ecclesiastical, & in tyranny and oppression in the Civill state, and that under and against a great deale of light and meanes that either they had or might have had. And there is a mervailous concurrence and agreement, both in the generall Comminations of the word against sinnes so aggravated (besides the examples) and in the particular Prophecies and Praedictions of the last times, all of them pitching upon this, as that period of time wherein the Lord will visit. The Lord is certainly driving on a great Worke both of mercy and justice; of [Page]mercy towards his owne (though by a way of severe corre­ction) in their Humiliation, Purgation, Probation, Re­formation, Redemption from bondage, and at last, in the Restauration and great enlargement of the Church: Of justice, against his incurable enemies of all sorts and sizes, in their perdition. We must not be moved that the Worke is so long in finishing among us, being haply not much more then begun. There is assuredly a great deale for a pub­lique calamity, still to doe (alas too much) in every Coun­try, City, Towne, Parish, Family, Person; many both per­sons and things are yet (as it is to be feared) among the Litigants on both sides, that are to be removed and subdu­ed. Besides, the Lord useth to deale with men as men, the great power of the wicked cannot by humane meanes (which God is pleased to use) be suddenly and easily breken.

Neither can the godly, [...]sa. 48.10. whom the Lord will not refine as silver, purging out all their drosse at once, be suddenly ham­mered unto a sufficient humiliation, reformation, &c. But this divine agent chooseth to worke upon them according to their receptivity. Neither let any be scandalized at some interruptions and rebates, as I may say, in the Lords proceedings, and at some successes now and then granted to his Churches adversaries; you shall find the like in all the great acts of God that be of the same nature: But all things are carried on by the steady hand of the Almighty, though through many oppositions, repulses, contingencies, &c. a­mong men, to their designed end and appointed period. Not to speake of this, that had not the enemies some encou­ragements, as the Lords worke would hardly, by them, be perfected and finished upon his owne people, so neither would they be hardned to their owne destruction: If Pharaoh had never been released of the first plagues, he would scarce [Page]have perished in the Sea at last: I hope it will neither be unprofitable nor unacceptable, as a Watch-man, to put your honours, and by you, others in mind of these things. I doe not deny, but in the course of humane affaires, there will be treaties among men, for the composing of those differen­ces that God casts in, to be the occasion and meanes of ex­ecuting his decrees: Yea, there must (and for some rea­sons peradventure there ought to) be such: But I know I speake to men too wise to beleeve that God's quarrels can be taken up by humane treaties; but they will without faile attaine the issue by God himselfe before prefixed, and by his Word threatned and promised.

Neither doe I doubt but that the Church shall obtaine her desired peace and rest in the end, when God's Worke is finished, though no such meanes were used at all, and give law to all her enemies; till which time I looke for no solid and durable quiet to be by the people of God enjoyed; yea, I am confident upon the faithfull word of God, that the Saints shall then enjoy things, which would be but by a few even of themselves now desired, and by the adverse party never yeelded. The Temple of Salomon was built in a peaceable, the latter Temple in a troublesome time; but now though there be great noyses of Axes, Hammers and tooles of Iron, partly about the preparation for the new building, but chiefely about the pulling downe of the old, (which is the great worke in hand) yet when the appointed time of building is come, the Church may promise unto her self from God, and undoubtedly expest, an absolute cessa­tion from all these disturbances in Church and Common­wealth, and a time, (farre above all that ever were) of admi­rable freedome, serenitie and tranquillitie.

There are some few things: concerning the happy estate [Page]of the Church, in her promised future reformation, which time would not then suffer me to bring in; I have here made bold briefly to adde them, without which the former would have been imperfect. I have purposely pretermitted some things subject to doubt and exception; I humbly pre­sent all to your judicious view, whom God hath thought worthy to make his Instruments to begin so great a Refor­mation in these Nations, which will (I feare not) have a good influence by divine blessing, upon others also abroad; hoping stedfastly, that the same God will through his in­finite mercy in Christ, by your hands in due time, finish the same. Which is the daily desire and prayer of him that is

Humbly devoted to your service in the Lord, WILLIAM REYNER.

BABYLONS ruining Earth-quake and the restauration of ZION.

Haggai 2.6, 7.

For thus saith the Lord of Hosts, yet once, it is a little while and I will shake the Heavens, and the Earth, and the Sea, and the dry Land: And I will shake all Nati­ons, and the desire of all Nations shall come, and I will fill this House with glory, saith the Lord of Hosts.

THE Prophet Haggai lived and flourished after the returne from the Captivity of Babylon: His prophecy is spent, partly in reproving the people of the Jewes, for their negligence in not building the Tem­ple of the Lord appointed for his wor­ship; partly in declaring Gods hand a­gainst them for the same, in their Corne, Cattell, and otherwise, because they came to build, and even to siele their owne house, and let Gods House lye waste; partly in exhorting and encouraging them unto the building.

This last he doth diversly: First, he tels them the Lord was with them, chap. 1. ver. 13. & chap. 2. ver. 4. And that therefore they need not feare the oppositions of their enemies; who formerly, so often as ever they began to build, did by their complaints to [Page 2]the Kings of Persia still stop the worke, and that his spirit did re­maine among them; now this was to be done, not by might, not by power, but by the spirit of the Lord, as Zec. his contemporany Prophet tels them, Zech. 4.6. even against might and against power; and this according to the Covenant he made with them, when they came out of Aegypt, chap. 2. ver. 5.

Next he assures them, that the disire of all Nations should come to this house, and that he would fill it with glory.

And whereas this house might seem to be a despicable and con­temptible thing, compared with the sumptuous Temple of Salomon that was before it, which made the old men weepe when they saw the foundations of it first laid, Ezra 1.12. he comforts them against that, and tels them, that the silver and gold are his; so that if true glory had consisted in them, he could have given them in aboun­dance, for the adorning of this second Temple, but he had a grea­ter glory to bestow upon it, namely Christ, and in this place he would give peace (viz. by Christ the Prince of peace) unto his people.

The words may be divided into two parts: First, a Commina­tion against the Nations as an antecedent, or a thing that in act and execution should goe before. Secondly, a consolation unto the Church, as a consequent, or a thing that in accomplishment should follow after the Commination.

The Commination is in these words, I will shake the Heavens and the Earth, &c. I will shake all Nations; the Consolation in the words following, and that consists of a double promise: First, The desire of all Nations shall come: Secondly, God will fill this house with glory. Both these are set out by two circumstances. First, of the person that saith these things; secondly, of the time. First, the person; Who is it that saith this? Answ. He that is a­ble to make good what he saith, thus saith the Lord of Hosts; and this to make all more sure, is put both before and after the Com­mination and Consolation. Secondly, we have the circumstance of time, and that is double. First, Quoties, how often shall this be before Christ come? Answ. Once. Secondly, Quando, or quam diù, when or how long is it before it be? Answ. ere it be long, yet a little while.

The sense of the Words.

The Prophets living in the Easterne regions did frequently use the phrase and stile of the Easterne Nations; they did not alwayes in a plaine, down-right manner, declare things as they be, as we for the most part doe; but did use many high phrases, tropicall speeches, and other figurative exornations, many continued me­taphors or allegorie's, aenigma's and darke riddles, hyperbolees, and excessive speeches many emblematicall and hieroglificall expres­sions; these puzzle us when we read them, but were familiar to the people of those times and places.

Heavens were used not onely for the coelestiall bodies above, but sometimes to set forth a State of dignity and prosperity: Earth a state of mediocrity hell of adversity. Againe, sometimes heavens were used to set forth things appertaining to the Church, or ecclesiastick State; earth, things appertaining to the Common-Weale, or civill State, as we shall heare afterwards: Seas and dry Land making up the whole Orbe of the universe, are put com­prehensively and extensively to signifie the extent of this shaking, so as it should be of all the world round about, as it is interpreted even in the next Words, I will shake all Nations, see further, verse 22.

By shaking we are to understand, the raising of great stirres in those Nations among all estates; whereby great alterations should follow, and desolations.

That such a sense is not insolent in the Scriptures, we may see in an instance or two, Isa. 14.12, 13, 14, 15. How art thou fallen from Heaven, O Lucifer, sonne of the morning, &c. Thou saidest I will ascend into Heaven, I will exalt my throne above the Starres of God, &c. Yet thou shalt be brought downe to hell, &c. Who was this Lucifer? Answ. None other but the King of Assyria, as appeares by the context.

What were the Heavens and Starres he exalted himself above? Answ. The great estates and Princes of the world compared there­to. What Heaven was he fallen from? Answ. from his high So­veraigne Dignity and Majesty, To what hell was he brought downe? Answ. To utter confusion and ruine; for not long after this, an hundred eighty five thousand of his Army were slaine by [Page 4]the Angell of God in one night, himself shortly after killed by his owne sonnes in his Idols Temple, and a little while after this, his whole Kingdome brought to destruction, and the Soveraignity transferred to another Family, viz. that of Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon, and that Kingdome at length also ruined.

Look upon another instance, Jer. 4.23, 24. I beheld the earth and be hold it was without forme, and voyd, and the Heavens, and they had no light; I beheld the Mountaines, and loe they trembled, and all the Hils moved lightly, &c. Did the Prophet Jeremy in­deed see any such thing? was the earth like an old confused Cha­os without all forme and voyd, so as no Grasse nor Tree did grow upon it? had the Heavens so lost their light, as that neither Sun, Moon, or Startes did shine? Did Jeremy see the Hils to skippe and leap? No such matter surely, but this was all the meaning, that there was a great confusion in the Land among all estates both in Church and Common-weale as appeares in the verses fol­lowing, which tell us that the fruitfull places were even become a Wildernesse, the Cities broken downe and the whole Land de­solate.

Let us goe on in the interpretation: And the desire of all Na­tions shall come. Some understand this of Beleevers, the desirable people of all Nations; others of other things; but no doubt it is meant concerning Christ by anticipation who was to be after­wards the desire of the Nations.

The words are to be read thus, Object. The desire of all Nations they shall come (a Noune of the singular number joyned to a Verb of the plurall) and therefore they cannot be meant of Christ. [...]

The learned in the Hebrew affirme such a Synrax, Answ. not to be unusuall among the Hebrewes, and namely when they set forth the dignity and excellency of a person; so that we may take it thus, Christ cloathed with all his Excellencies, Attributes, Offi­ces and Merits, shall come. Neither doe I see why this should be more absurd then the joyning of a Noune of the plurall number to a Verb of the singular, as we find, Gen. 1.1. In the beginning Godcrea [...]ed, word for word, Gods he created, denoting out the Trinity of the persons in the God-head, [...] and the unity of their Essence and Act in creating the World.

And I will fill this House with glory: Not with an externall [Page 5]glory of silver and gold, nor with a ceremoniall glory, such as the Arke, which was called the glory of Israel, 1 Sam. 4.21, 22. Psal. 78.61. which was now quite taken away, Jer. 3.16. (for God would now teach them to take their hearts quite off from ceremonies, and to look directly for the Messiah) but he would fill it with the glorious presence of Christ, who had the glory of the onely be­gotten Sonne of God, John 1.14. who is the Lord of Glory, James 2.1. who is the true Glory of Israel, Luke 2.32. who shewes his people the way, and is himselfe the undoubted means of glory.

Now from the words thus understood, we may observe these two generall Doctrines; one from the commination, the other from the consolation.

First, that great concussions, Doctrine 1 shakings and alterations of States and Nations great warres, and sometimes desolations both oft civill and ecclesiasticall State, doe in the course of Gods admini­stration often times goe before great and notable restaurations and Reformations of the Church.

Secondly, Doctrine 2 great and excellent Reformations of the Church, doe often times follow and ensue upon great combustions and concus­sions of Sates and Nations.

We will begin with the former of these, and in opening of it observe this method. First, we will set downe some proofes and examples of it in the Scriptures. Secondly, give some grounds and reasons of the Lords proceedings in this manner, such as the Scripture leads unto. Thirdly, we will declare some signes and indices of such an approching storme and earth-quake, and then apply it.

First therefore; we shall find such earth-quakes foretold and threatned before the Reformation of the Church, wherein the Lord intends not to ruine the Church as we are apt to imagine) but to restore and reforme it. See for this, Amos 9.8 9, 10, 11. Behold the eyes of the Lord are upon the sinfull Kingdomes, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth, saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob saith the Lord, for loe I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all Nations, like as Corne is sifted in a sieve, &c. All the sinners of my people [...]all dye by the sword, which say, the evill shall not overtake nor [Page 6]prevent us: In that day will I raise up the Tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof, and I will raise up his ruines, and I will build it as in the dayes of old, &c. Loe here, the Lord will first destroy the sinfull Kingdome (though not the whole Nation, for those are two things.)

He will sift the whole Nation, so that no graine shall escape tossing, and cut off the enormous transgressors among his people; and then when this is done, he will restore his Church, set forth under the Type of the Tabernable of David, as we see it expoun­ded by the Apostle James, Act. 15.14, 15, 16, 17. other predi­ctions we have of this kind, Isa. 4.1, 2, 3, 4. Zech. 13.8, 9.

We shall also find instances in the Scriptures of such mighty earth-quakes in the course of Gods providence going before nota­ble Reformations of the Church, and we will begin with this mentioned in the Text.

There have been foure famous Monarchies in the world the Ba­bylonian, the Persian, the Graecian and the Roman Monarchies. The Babylonian was lately fallen it was now about the middest of the Persian Kingdome, which continued for some 228. years, and then was utterly overthrowne by Alexander the Macedonian cal­led Alexander the Great. He brought in the Graecian Kingdome which continued divided amongst his successors (but with infinite troubles) 200. and odde yeers, and then was subdued by the Ro­mans. All these great changes (besides very great ones among the Romans themselves) happened between the time that the Prophet Haggai flourished, and the comming of Christ. The people of God, the people of the Jewes were under all these Mo­narchies, Neh. 9.36, 37. and held their Kingdom in vassalage of them, and as tri­butaries to them, and therefore must needs partake of their com­motions, as indeed they did, for there were great alterations in the Jewish State, both in Common-weale and Church.

For the civill State, sometimes they were under a Prince of their owne Nation, sometimes under a forreigne Governour; as Pilate the Roman Deputy was over Jerusalem, and the principall part of that Country in the time of our Saviour: Sometimes they were under Princes of the house of David, as Zerubbabel and others: Sometimes their Princes were of another Tribe, as the Macchabees, who are said to be of Lev: by the Fathers side, [Page 7]and of the Tribe of Judah by the Mother, till at length Herod the Idumaean tyrant, by the favour of the Roman Emperours u­surped the Kingdome, slew Hircanus the King his Father-in law, together with his owne Wife and Sonnes, being all of the Blood­royall and line of David, many of the Nobles of Iudah the whole Sanhedrim, or Councell of Elders.

And so that prophesie of Iacob was fully accomplished, Gen. 4 [...].10. The Scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a Law-giver from between his feet untill Shiloh come, meaning Christ. Some­times their Governour had the title of a Prince, sometimes of a King; they were now under a King, then under a Queen, as A­lexandra: Sometimes their Governour was both King and Priest, as was Hircanus a little before our Saviour came in the flesh; These changes were usually made, with many mighty stirres and dismall battels.

There were semblably great changes in the ecclesiasticall Sate, it seems they had sundry High-priests together sometimes, as Luke 3.2. Annas and Caiaphas; sometimes the High-priest was but annuall or but for a yeer in his office whereas by the law there was to be but one High-priest, and he for terme of life: There were divers different Sects of Religion risen up among them and some of them strange ones, as Sadduces that denied the Resurrection, Angels. &c. Pharisees, Essenes (what they were may be doubted.) They had put many false glosses upon the law morall, as we may see, Mat. 5.21. &c. They stood stiffely for the ceremoniall law as a thing that was to be perpetuall, as ap­peares by our Saviours telling them, that He came not to de­stroy it, but to fulfill it, Mat. 5.17. by their stoning of Stephen upon that false accusation, Act. 6.13, 14 15. Yea, the converted Jewes were very tenacious of it, Act. 21.20. The false Apostles urged some part of it as circumcision, &c. upon the Churches of the Gentiles, Act. 15.1. Insomuch as the Lord at length shakes downe Temple, Priests service, ceremoniall government and all and almost the whole Nation, and then was Christ made the de­sire of the Nations, &c. unto this shaking of the Church, and the antiquating the old administration and forme of worship; doth the Apostle apply this Text of Haggai in part. Heb. 12.26, 27. He hath promised, saying, yet once more I shake not the earth [Page 8]onely, but also heaven: And this word, yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made (that is of the ceremaniall Ordinances and Law) that those things that cannot be shaken may remaine, that is the Ordinances of Christ, as the Word and seales of the Word under the Gospell.

A second instance we have in the planting the people of Israel in the land of Canaan: In Aegypt they were under great oppres­sion, and it seems had no publique service of God, for when they desire leave of Pharaoh to goe out of the land, they told him they must serve the Lord, as he should command them, Ex. 8.27. and they knew not how that must be, till they came thither where he appointed them, Exod. 10.26.

The Lord therefore would have them out of Aegypt into Ca­naan, but before that he was forced first to shake Aegypt terribly with many sore plagues, and at last when it would not otherwise be, he tumbled Pharaoh and all his Army into the midst of the Sea, he destroyed six hundred thousand Israelites in fourty years space in the Wildernesse, and after that twenty or thirty King­domes of the Canaanites, and then plants in his people, and sets up his Tabernacle and Glory in the middest of them.

A third instance we have in the people of the Jewes after the captivity of Babylon; before, Religion was come to a low ebbe, the land was full of prophanenesse, idolatry, and contempt of God and his Word, 2 Chron. 36.14, 15, 16. Ezek. 22. Jer. 6.10. The Lord therefore doth as a man useth to doe with an old house that is too bad to patch and repaire, he puls it downe that he may build it fairer from the ground: Thus did the Lord, he puls downe all the Ecclesiastik & civill State too, destroyes the Temple, Priests Sa­crifices the Princes and Nobles of the Land, carries the Kings one after another into Babylon, suffers Nebuchadnezzar to put out the eyes of Zedekiah, having first slaine his Children before his sace, that that might be the last sight that ever he might see, (2 Kin. 24. & 25. 2 Chron. 36. Jer. 39.) captivates the people also, and be­slaves them to the Chaldeans for the space of seventy years; when those were over, wholy overthrowes the Babylonian Kingdome, and then brings back their captivity, settles them againe in the land of Judah, restores his glory to them, makes them take root­ing downward, and bring forth fruit upward.

[Page 9] Let us looke into the Christian Church under the new Testa­ment, and there we shall find predictions of such earth-quakes; one is already past, another is to come.

The Church (you know) was after our Saviours time almost 300. yeares, continually molested with dreadfull persecutions un­der the heathen Empire; at length the Lord upon the humble supplications of his people, and the cryes of their blood (Rev. 6.10.) was pleased to grant peace and liberty to his servants; but be­fore this could be done, there must be a great earth-quake, which makes a mighty confusion in all estates, as if heaven and earth were mingled together; the Sunne is darkned, the Moon is turned into blood, the Starres fall, &c. which is interpreted afterwards; the Kings of the Earth, the chiefe Captaines, the great men, &c. doe call to rocks and mountaines to fall upon them, and hide them from the face of the Lamb (who now is like a Lion,) Rev. 6.12, 13. &c. the meaning is, the heathen Emperours, when God stir­red up Constantine the great, who was the Churches first masculine child, to undertake the quarrell of Christ and of his Church a­gainst them, and being overcome in many dismall battels, were so amazed and confounded, together with their great Captains and Commanders, as that divers of them confessed Christ had over­come them, as Galerius, Maximinus, Licinius; happy was he that could first make an end of himselfe.

Maxentius a cruell enemy of Christ, after he had bin overcome in fight was drowned, or did drown himself in Tyber; Dioclesian is said to have poysoned himselfe, Maximinianus to have hanged himselfe, or to have been strangled by Constantine's command, as was afterward Licinius. Maximinus having in a rage slain many of his Idol-priests that stirred him up to warre against the Chri­stians and revoked his decrees, being sodainly stricken with Gods hand, was eaten away peece-meale, and so his eyes leaping out of his head, he breathed out his cruell Ghost: Galerius was eaten up with vermine, and rotted above ground: All of them extreamly frighted with Christs victories over them, in feare and tormert (together with multitudes of their Souldiers) ended their dayes. What was this but rocks and mountaines fall upon us, and hide us from the presence of the Lamb? After followed peace and liberty to the people of God.

[Page 10] These and many more are already past and gone; there is one earth-quake to come, that is the greatest that ever was in the world and shall be followed with the most notable Reformation of the Church that ever was; I call it the greatest that ever was, because the Text cals it so, Rev. 16.18. and it is very probable Daniel meanes the same, Dan. 12.1. where he speaks of a time of trouble that should be, such as never was since there was a Nation, even to that same time.

We read of it first, Rev. 11.13. the Beast hath long persecuted the Prophets, at last (besides many former) he got an unexpected victory over them, triumphed over them for three dayes and an halfe; but now in the middest of his jollity and his whores also, spoken of, Rev. 18.7, 8. an earthquake comes upon them both, (Rev. 11.13.) and utterly ruines them (for this fals out at the end of the Prophets prophecying in sack cloath (ver. 7.) and conse­quently, [...] Mead at the end of the B [...]asts reigne) and the tenth part of the City fals; by which we may understand the City of Rome that now is, being but the tenth part of that which it was, when it was in its glory; and in the earth-quake (not in the fall of the City, for the earth-quake is to shake down the whole Kingdome of the Beast throughout the world) in the earthquake (I say) were flaine of men seven thousand, that is, thousands upon thousands, and so the second woe, made up of Popi [...]h idolatry and Turkish cruelty, passeth away, ver. 14.

Now immediately upon this the seventh Angell sounds a Jubi­lee, and then there be great proclamations and acclamations in Heaven, that the Kingdomes of the World (indefinitely set downe, that is all the Kingdomes) are become Christ's, Kingdomes: And whereas before the Divell, Dragon, Beast & his hornes have reign­ed, now Christ takes to himselfe his great power and reignes; for which the whole Church (under the type of 24. Elders) praise him, though the Nations be angry, as they ever are when Christ puts forth his just power, ver. 15, 16, 17, 18. He now gives re­wards unto his servants the Prophets, &c. and destroyes them that destroyed the earth; that is, he ruines the wicked and idolatrous generations of Antichrist, who wasted his Church before, ver. 18. His Tabernacle is now opened in Heaven, and the Arke of his Te­stament seene, ver. 19. that is, Christ (represented by the Arke) is [Page 11]clearly manifested; before, that wicked generation had forbidden men to read the Scriptures, had kept them in unknowne tongues, had involved the mysteries of Christ in Masses, and rude heaps of other superstitions and ceremonies; but now he and all his excel­lencies shall be fully manifested to the Nations.

The other place is, Rev. 16.17. &c. where Antichrist having by his emissaries (that is, the uncleane spirits like Frogs) drawne the Kings of the earth into A militiae, or confoederati­on, subiect to the divine A­nath [...]ma. Hormageddon, i. e. into a cursed and crafty warre (for herein I assent to Graserus) sodainly the Angell finding them in that state powrs out the seventh Viall upon them, upon which follow thundrings, lightnings, and an earth-quake, such as was not since men were upon earth, so mighty an earth-quake and so great; it is called the greatest earth-quake that ever was, haply in regard of the sodainnesse and violence of it, or either else, in regard of the extent of it, as being to shake all the world.

1. The effects are, the great City is divided into three parts, 1 by which understand probably, that the Kingdome of the Beast shall be rent in peeces by fractions, and devisions, ver. 19.

2. The Cities of the Nations (or Gentiles) fall; 2 by which no doubt we are to understand, the false Christians that filled the vi­sible Church all Antichrists reigne, that is, Papists and false pro­fessors; for it is said, that these Gentiles (or Nations, for the word is the same) should tread down the holy City that is, the visible Church, Rev. 11.2. Peradventer these two effects of the earth-quake are now in fulfilling, ver. 19.

3. Unto great Babylon the cup of God's wrath is given, &c. 3 now shee shall be remembred and destroyed.

4. Yea, all parts of Antichrists monarchy shall fall. Object. 4 Some Kingdomes are strong and invincible like mighty mountaines, they will stand; others are remote like the Islands; they cannot be come at, they will continue: No saith the Text, every Island fled away, and the mountains were not found, ver. 20. nothing so re­mote as the Iland, nothing so mighty as the mountains could stand.

And because this ruine of the Beasts Kingdome is one of the greatest things that ever did, or ever shall fall out in the world, and shall have the strangest consequents; therefore the holy-Ghost is pleased after a description of the Beast and the Whore, [Page 12] chap. 17. that we may know who they are, the Beast to be the Pope, and the Whore Rome; The holy-Ghost is pleased (I say) to set downe these things particularly, and at large: First, the destruction of the Whore, chap. 18. then the destruction of the Beast himselfe, and all the Kings his partakers, chap. 19. after which followes the binding up of Sathan with its consequents, chap. 20. and then the glorious restauration of the Church, both of Jewes and Gentiles, under the type of the new Jerusalem, in the two last chapters.

In the next place, let us consider such grounds and reasons as the Scriptures lead us unto, why the Lord in the course of his admi­nistration and providence, doth cause such great shakings of Nati­ons before he doth reforme and refine his Church, and we shall find these three in speciall.

First, Reason 1 that he may plague and punish the persecutors and op­pressors of his Church, and so deliver his people from persecution and oppression. I joyne these two together, and we shall find them to be things the Lord hath alwayes aimed at in his concus­sions of States and Nations, if there were a Church there: Why did the Lord so terribly shake Aegypt, but that he might plague the oppressing Egyptians, and enlarge his persecuted people of Is­rael? And why Babylon, but that he might destroy the Babyloni­an tyrants and deliver captivated Judah? These things the Lord Intended when he ruined the Dragons Kingdome, the persecr­ting heathen Empire; and which he now intends, being about to destroy the Kingdome of Antichrist: take one place for all, Jer. 50.33, 34. The Children of Israel and the Children of Judah were oppressed together, and all that tooke them captives held them fast, they refused to let them goe; their Redeemer is strong, the Lord of Hosts is his name; He will thoroughly plead their cause, that he may give rest to the Land, and disquiet the Inhabitants of Babylon. Marke here, Gods people were oppressed, their enemies held them hard, as never minding to let them goo and deliver them, (no more did the enemies of God's Church now) well, who can help it? B. L. in his E­pist. Ded. be­fore his ans. to F [...]she [...]. they have no such strong assistance to back them (for so one hath written:) Yes (saith the Phophet) they have a strong Redeemer; what may his name be? the Lord of Hosts is his name; what will he doe for them? He will thoroughly plead their cause [Page 13]and give rest unto them; how will he doe that? by disquieting the Inhabitants of Babylon; it is a [...], he will disquiet, that is, he will destroy them: Observe it, wherefore would the Lord bring such a devastation upon Babylon, but that he might redeeme his people by oppressing their oppressors?

That he may take away the impediments of his Churches re­stauration, and namely these three. Reason 2

That he may take away the scandall of great sinnes: Imped. 1 The visible Church is like a draw-net, that takes in Fishes good and bad, it so falls out often times, that this Church is filled with grosse sins committed and permitted, with blasphemy, swearing cursing, ly­ing stealing, Hosea 4.2, 3. prophanation of Gods Ordinances and Sabbaths per­secutions of the godly, and all kinds of licentiousnesse, open sins against the very letter of the Law; and these lived in against the expresse doctrine which the committers of them know and pro­fesse: Now for these sinnes the name of the Lord lyes under much pollution and dishonour; Heathers and Turks can pull Christians by the sleeve and accuse them for them and wonder why they doe things so contrary to their profession: A man would certainly think that wicked men had a dispensation for these sins, or that God himselfe did not much dislike them, and would ne­ver punish them: Well, the Lord will not alwayes suffer this re­proach though he forbeare a long time; no (nor never did alwayes in any Nation) he will make blasphemers know at length that he will not hold them guiltlesse that take his name in vaine, and so for the rest. The Land shall mourne for these things at last, Hos. 4.3. He will have it appeare that he allowes not his to com­mit such sinnes; the Lord will have the scandall of sinne taken away.

Now the scandall of great sinnes is to be removed one of these two wayes, either by the Delinquents penetent confession and reformation; or secondly, by a speciall vindication.

1. Sometimes it is taken away by the offender himselfe, when he humbly confesseth his sinne and reformes, (if he confesse and not forsake, he doth not remove, but encrease the scandall) for then he takes the blame from off the profession and layes it upon himselfe.

I did indeed so and so transgresse, I did blaspheme, commit a­dultery, [Page 14]&c. but it was my corruption made me to doe it and not my Religion, it is utterly contrary to the doctrine I have received and doe professe, which utterly forbids such sinnes, and threatens eternall damnation to the sinner; I am heartily sorry for my sin, doe earnestly beg pardon for it of God the Father through Christ, and by divine grace in him doe fully purpose and will endeavour a thorough Reformation: this now dischargeth the profession of all blame and layes it upon the person.

But because this is seldome done & only by penetents thorough­ly, therefore there is another way of taking away scandall from Gods Name for the grosse sinnes of professours and that is by visi­ting, or vindicating the sinne upon the sinner.

Now this vindication is either humane or divine.

The first is humane. For God requires that those that are un­der him and over others, should execute judgement for him upon their Subjects, for all open sinfulnesse according to the nature and degrees of it; this he expects from the Parent, Master, Magi­strate respectively, and they greatly sinne, and shall be punished if they doe it not.

Now because this humane vindication for the most part failes, therefore the Lord himselfe doth at length take the matter into his owne hand; when he sees judgement is turned backward, and justice stands a farre off, truth lyes in the street, equity cannot en­ter, and he that refraines from evill makes himselfe a prey, that it is lawfull to be any thing but good (as we have seen in our times) when he looks about him and sees that there is no man, and won­ders that there is no intercessor; that is, he wonders there is no body will appeare to execute judgement for him; then at length himselfe puts on righteousnesse as a brest-plat, he puts on the gar­ments of vengeance for cloathing, and is clad with zeale as with a cloake; according to their deeds, accordingly will he repay fury to his adversaries (farre and neere) even to the Islands he will repay recompence, Isa. 59.14, 15, 16, 17. and so he will take away the scandall sinne and sinners, permitters and committers altogether.

See an instance: The people of Israel had divers times mur­mured and tempted God; they doe it afresh when the spyes came home, and brought ill newes of the Land of Canaan, the Lord thereupon threatens to destroy them all; Moses intercedes for [Page 15]them and prevailes for the present; but withall the Lord sayes, and binds it with an oath, that surely and as truly as He lived, He would fill all the earth with his glory, and not one of those murmur­ers should see the promised Land, Numb. 14.21, 22, 23. And so it came to passe, for they were all rooted out in the Wildernesse, they had made all the earth ring of his dishonour in their mur­muring, and he would make it resound his honour againe in his punishing of them.

Because Elye's sonnes transcendently sinned and he being their Parent and Judge did not punish them as he ought, therefore the Lord threatens to bring such a punishment upon him and his house, that whosoever should he are of it both his ears should [...]ingle 1 Sam. 3.11. and so he did, chap. 4. Both his sonnes were slaine in one day, himselfe perished miserably, afterwards Saul flew (though unjustly) 85. of his Posterity at one time, and Abiather was af­terwards for taking part with Adonijah, cast out of the priest-hood by Salomon, and so his whole posterity brought to beggery; hereby was the word of the Lord fulfilled, 1 Kin. 2.27.

As deare as David was to God, yet when by his murther and adultery he had opened the mouthes of God's enemies to blas­pheme his Name though upon his repentance the Lord did pardon him, yet he would not remit the temporall punishment, but the child borne in adultery should dye, the sword should never depart from his house, he would raise up evill against him out of his own bowels, as he did in the rebellion of Absolom, 2 Sam. 12.10, 11, 14. And this I take to be one speciall reason, why the Lord at last hath destroyed all the States and Kingdomes of the world that e­ver yet have been, because that whereas they should have execu­ted judgement for him, they have executed judgement against him; whereas they should have been a terrour to evill works, and for the praise of them that doe well, they have generally been a ter­rour to good works, and for the praise of them that doe evill.

The second impidement of Reformation is great and enor­mous sinners; Imped. 2 these the Lord useth to sweep away by the earth­quake; they are of divers sorts, as

1. The scoffers at Religion, Sort 1 the bold affronters of Heaven that fit in the chayre of the scorner, these feare neither God nor de­vill, they make a tush at the threatnings of God; they say, the [Page 16]Prophets words shall become wind, Jer. 5.13.

They threaten the Prophets that threaten them; the Prophets tell them, they shall dye by sword and famine, they say thus shall it be done unto them, ibid. We will make them dye by sword and famine; our Saviour cals these dogs that bark at, & bite them that cast pearles to them. Such were those, Isa. 22.12.13. who when the Lord called to weeping & mourning, & behold there was joy and gladnesse with them, killing of Oxen and slaying of Sheep; let us eat and drinke (say they, speaking most impiously and securely) for to morrow we shall dye. The same Prophet tels us of a compa­ny that know not how to be sinfull enough, & denounceth a w [...]e against them from the Lord, Isa. 5.18, 19. though they be an idle generation, yet they will work like Cart-horses to commit sinne; they will draw iniquity to them with cords of vanity, and sinne as with Cart-ropes: How might one know them might some man say? why by this; they say, let him make speed and hasten his worke that we may see it, let the councell of the holy one of Israel draw nigh and come, that we may know it; as much as if they had said, we would see what he will doe, we would see his threats ex­ecuted, we will beleeve them when we see them; I, so did the men of the old world (just of this temper and sped accordingly) The most desperate Gyant of them all, when he saw the waters to cover the tops of the highest mountaines, no doubt beleeved the floud; but then it was too late to beleeve it: Blessed are they that beleeve, though they never saw. If Noah had been of that mind also, he had perished with them. The like we have in the place cited before, Amos 9.10. All the sinners of my people shall dye by the sword (note they are called sinners [...], that is, in a high degree) who? Why those that say the evill shall not overtake nor prevent us: They scorne the Prophets comminations then, ver. 11. In that day, when they are taken off, God will raise up the Tabernacle of David that is fallen, meaning the Church; but he will first knock them downe: Multitudes of such were remo­ved in the captivity of Babylon, before the Lord restored his Church in Judah.

The second sort are the obstinate resisters of Gods spirit, Sort 2 stri­ving with them in the use of his Ordinances and meanes of grace. (For his spirit shall not alwayes so strive with men in vaine, as we, [Page 17]see Gen. 6.3.) When the Lord is forced to say of a people unto whom he hath afforded all his Ordinances for a long time, as he doth of his Vineyard, which he had choicely planted and drest, &c. Isa. 5.4. What could I have done more to this people, then that I have done; meaning in an ordinary way of meanes setled by him­selfe (and God useth not to save Nations (though persons some­times) by a prerogative) why then it must be expected he will deale with that people as he did with his fruitlesse Vineyard break downe the hedge about them with his owne hand; let the wilde beasts rush and runne in and depopulate all. This was one cause of the captivity of Babylon. The Lord rose up early and sent his Prophets long before plagues came, but they mocked his Mes­sengers, despised his words, and mis-used his Prophets, untill the wrath of God rose against his people, untill there was no remedy; whilst men are without meanes, there is hope they might be re­formed; if they had meanes, but when as they have for a long time prophaned all meanes, their case growes hopelesse, therefore now the Lord brought upon them the King of the Chaldees who destroyed all, 2 Chron. 36.15, 16, 17. So, because our Saviour would have gathered to him the Jewes by his word, as the Hen her Chickens under her wings, and they would not, therefore their habitation should be left unto them desolate, Mat. 23.37, 38.

Sor. 3 A third sort, are the cruell persecutors of his people; persecuti­on ever goes along with prophanation and contempt of the means of grace, spoken of before: When the Husband-men reviled beat and stoned the servants whom the Lord had sent to demand rent and fruits of the Vineyard; he at last in fury sends out his men of warre, and kils those Husband-men, and then lets out his Vineyard to better Husband-men, that will yeeld him his fruits in their sea­son, Mat. 23 33, 34, &c.

A fourth sort of enormous transgressors, Sort 4 whom the Lord takes off in a publike calamity as the great impediments of Reformati­on are, the proud, strong, and otherwise invincible supporters of false worship, errors, haeresie. Idolatry, prophanenesse as the Popish & Hierarchicall generation, both of the ecclesiasticall and civill e­state. Thus the Lord destroyed the High-priests, and other suppor­ters of Idolatry in the captivity of Babylon, 2 Kin. 25.19, 20, 21. 2 Chron. 36. And so the Scribes and Pharisees, and the whole [Page 18]Jewish state in the last destruction of Jerusalem; and this is to be one maine effect of the earth-quake before the Churches future reformation; in a word, the Lord will take away whatsoever in Church or Common-weale is unreconcilable unto his Sonnes Scepter, even Kingdomes and all; see Dan. In the dayes of these Kings (speaking of the last times, and of the Kingdomes that issue out of the feet of the Image, or the iron. Empire of the Romans, viz. the Kingdomes of Europe) shall the God of Heaven set up a Kingdome that shall never be destroyed, and the Kingdome shall not be left to other people, but it shall breake in peeces all these Kingdomes, and it shall stand for ever, ver. 44. this interpretation is sure, ver. 45. see for this also Rev. 19.17, 18 &c.

Quest. Shall all of all these sorts be taken off in a publique calamity?

Answ. As many as necessity enforceth for freeing Gods way in the worke of Reformation: God usually takes off the tops princi­pals, and ring-leaders of all these kinds, he fels the great Cedars for clearing the ground where the City is to be built and stand, whose name is, the Lord is there.

Quest. Why are these kinds removed?

Answ. 1 First, because they have highly and in so extraordinary a manner provoked God that we parallelling them with such in other Scrip­tures, may justy suspect God hath sworne against them in his wrath, and then he will never reverse his threats; then their sinne cannot he purged away with sacrifice and offering for ever, as it said of Ely's house, 1 Sam. 3.14. Then though Noah, Daniel and Job should pray for them, they should not prevaile; for a man may sinne himselfe past and beyond mercy, so that though he should repent yet the externall plague should not be removed.

Secondly, 2 because they are not counted worthy to see the good that God will doe for his people, as the Text spea [...]eth of the false Prophet Shemajah the Nehelamite, Jer. 29.32. that made the Lord take off the old generation in the Wildernesse.

Thirdly, 3 they are unframable for God's building, they would never lye even nor keepe a due proportion with the foundation and the rest of the building; God hath tryed them sufficiently before.

Fourthly, 4 they would spoyle all Gods work; If all the six hun­dred [Page 19]thousand murmurers had come into the Land of Promise, how would they have hindred the advancement of Gods King­dome and worship, they being so inured to Idolatry, murmuring, &c. and so hardned therin? such would be like the enemies of the Jewes, Ezra 4.2. they would needs assist the Jewes in building the Temple, but they would have marr'd all the worke; they would have made a wise building, and as strange a worship would they have set up.

Quest. Whom doth God use to preserve in these great calamities?

Answ. Some of divers sorts: as,

First, a convenient number of Saints already called; not all, 1 but a sufficient number: There is (I take it) such a distinction inti­mated. Dan. 12.1. At that time thy people shall be delivered, not all in general, but every one that shall be found written in the book; im­plying that some of Daniels people the Saints, are written in the booke of life; that is of naturall life for escape, but not all; see also Isa. 4.3. God must have a number of these called ones; first, to be the constant objects of his love and grace; secondly, to praise and serve him; and thirdly, to be the pillar and ground of truth to support it before the world; and then fourthly, (if I may use so loe a comparison) as those that write of Bees, report the Bees still send out some of their old ones with the new swarmes to manage their work; so God will have a competent number of called ones preserved to carry on his worke of Reformation.

Secondly, all the Elect that are not yet called at lest, 2 till they be effectually converted, else their election would be frustrated, which is impossible. Thus 2 Pet. 3.9. The Lord is long-suffering to­wards the world, so that he destroyes it not, because he is not willing that any should perish; (i. e.) not any of his own chosen should pe­rish but that all, meaning all they, should come to repentance.

Thirdly, the progenitors of the Elect to come; 3 for otherwise the Elect that are to come of them would be prevented: And this I take to be our Saviours meaning, Mat. 24 2 [...] where speaking of the destruction of Jerusalem) he saith that except those dayes should be shortned, no flesh should be saved, but all the Jewes should have been destroyed: Why were they not? (might some man say) they that escaped were as bad as those that perished; why? saith our Saviour, for the Elects sake those dayes shall be short­ned, [Page 20]i. e. for the Elects sake that are to come of them (it may be) seventeene hundred, or two thousand yeeres after: And to the same sense are those words, Isa, 65.8. As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith destroy it not, for a blessing is in at; that is, let it grow till the vintage and there will be a blessing, viz. good wine in it; so will I doe for my servants sake, that I may not destroy them all; that is. I would destroy all this sinfull generati­on, were there not a blessing in them; namely, were it not for mine elect servants sakes that are to proceed from them.

Fourthly, 4 haply some may be saved out of a generall deluge, in some relation or respect to others of Gods people to whom they belong, as bad children for the godly Parents sakes. And backe againe, wicked Parents that they may nurse up children that are elect; these deliverances are blessings, not so much to the wicked themselves, as to the godly to whom they relate. They in the ship were saved for Pauls sake, Acts 27.24.44. that they might be of some use to his person, and their deliverance some honour to his office. Reprobates thus saved shall be as the Gibeonites, hewers of wood, and drawers of water to the people of God; they shall doe some baser drudgeries for them, study Arts and Sciences for them, as the heathen Philosophers did; God taking from him that hath not & giving unto him that hath, bestowing the use & be­nefit of wicked mens gifts, not upon themselus but upon the godly.

The third Impediment of the Churches restauration taken a­way by these great earth-quakes, Imped. is errour, haeresie, false worship, idolatry, &c. You cannot preach, nor pray them downe directly and immediately (though all other meanes depend upon these (and the Saints must own the thing) God is terrible out of his holy places, Psa. 68.35.) Well, that which the Word cannot do, the sword shall; that which the water cannot wash out, the fire will burn out. Unto this particular the Apostle applies this very text in part, namely concerning the shaking of the Heavens, Heb, 12.26, 27. Yet once more I shake not earth onely, but also heaven, &c. An earth-quake (as we have heard) was appointed to shake downe the ceremoniall Ordinances; now if this were necessary for the abolition of that divine worship, which had sometimes been by Gods owne holy institution, how much more shall that which hath been of humane invention (yea, the very fumes and fogs of the bottomlesse pit) to Gods infinite displeasure and dishonour, be tumbled downe [Page 21]with violence and vengeance to hell, from whence it came? And therefore as the heathenish idolatry fel with such a terrible earth­quake as shook down both it and all its supporters both Emperors and Empire; even so shall antichristian idolatry and haeresie with Babylon their Mother, the Beast their Father, and all their intoxi­cated and dementated defenders, be throwne like a Mil-stone into the bottome of the sea, Rev. 18.21.

The third generall Reason of these great Earth-quakes before the Churches restauration, is: that the Saints may be prepared and qualified for the right use of such a state and condition of happinesse and prosperity, and so made capable thereof. Reas. 3 The qua­lifications required, and whereof the earth-quake is a meanes, by the operation of Gods Spirit in the Saints are these:

First, they are thereby made humble: for so the Lord hum­bles his &c. that he may do them good in the latter end Deut. 8.16. The people of the Jew's before the captivity were exceeding proud despised Gods Word spoken by his Prophets &c. 2 Chron. 1 26, 16. yea in the time of the captivity when all was broken in peeces. Yet so proud and stubborne were they, that they would not beare the yoake of the King of Babylon, though the Lord would have had them, promising them in so doing safety and blessing; many of them would needs into Egypt, and when they came there would worship the Queene of heaven, the Sunne. Moone and Starres, though the Lord by Jeremi [...]h under great pe­nalties expresly forbad both the one and the other, Ier. 42, & 43. & 44. But after the Lord [...]ad hammer'd them thoroughly by 70. yeers captivity and hard bondage, how humble were they, and tame as Lambs? now you may doe any thing with them; now they come weeping to seeke the Lord, and exhorting one another to enter in­to a covenant with their God, never to be forgotten, Ier. 50.4.5. and so they did, as we may see at large. Nehem. 9, & 10. where they undertake some things that it is probable they never did be­fore as to live in Boothes in the feast of Tabernacles; and though they were very poore, yet they charged themselves deeply for the maintainance of the publique worship of God.

Secondly, they are thereby made hungry after Christ, Isa. 4.1.2. 2 when the Lord hath wasted them in the publique calamity so that there was but one man left for seven women, in that day (saith the text) the branch of the Lord, that is Christ, shall be beautifull and [Page 22]glorious; and the fruit of the earth, that is, Christ againe shall be excellent and comely to all that are escaped in Israel, that is, that have escaped perishing in the publique storme and earth-quake. Before, who cared for Christ? who beleeved the Prophets re­ports concerning him? there was neither forme nor beauty in him wherefore men should desire him; oh! but now there is beauty and glory in him; formerly who regarded this Manna? men slighted him before, and said as they of the Manna, what i [...] this? or if they reverenced him in their words, yet he did dwell powerfully but in a few hearts. Oh! but now Christ is excellent meat to those that have escaped. This and the former make a man or a people capable of blessings, Iames 4.6. Luke 1.52, 53.

Thirdly, 3 they are thereby made holy, Isa. 4.3, 4. He that is left is Zion, and he that remaines in Jerusalem shall be called holy, that is shall be holy, (for God cals things as they be) even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem; that is, every one that is left alive after the publique calamity. How shall this be done? When the Lord shall have washed away (saith the text) the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem (that is, their sinnes that defile like blood; or rather, when he shall have purged their sheddings of innocent blood) out of the middest thereof by the spirit of judgement and the spirit of burning.

The plain meaning is, that the publique calamity should by the working of Gods spirit there promised, be a meanes of purging a­way their sinfulnesse, and making of them holy, and to fit them for the deliverances and mercies in the verses following. Thus, Zeph. 3.8, 9, 10, 11. When the Lord hath powred out his indigna­tion upon the rebellious Nations, he turnes the remnant to him as a people of a pure language, that they may all call upon his Name, and serve him with one consent: Yea, he makes them bring to him acceptable Offerings delivers them from their shameful Idolatries and proud hypocrisies. In like sort, Zec. 13.8, 9. God would cut off two third parts in all the Land, the other third should be left alive, and he would bring that third part through the fire, and would refine them as silver is refined, and try them as gold is tryed. Now when this is done, then (saith the Lord) they shall call upon [Page 23]my name, and I will heare them; I will say it is my people; and they shall say; the Lord is my God. Thus we see that the Lord by these great Earth-quakes makes his people humble, hungry and holy, and so fit for restauration: God may now trust them, it is certaine now they will be thankfull and obedient, of which there could be no assurance before. And these are the fruits God ex­pects from his Church in a state of restauration and reformation.

It remaineth now that I should give some Signes and Indices whereby the approaching of a publique Earth-quake may be dis­cerned.

When a Nation or People doe revive their Fore, Signe 1 fathers old and (as I may call them) obsolete sinnes; which had (as it were) in some sort beene lay'd aside, especially their old idolatries and persecutions. This evidence of a judgement to come is made the stronger, when all sorts commit all other kindes of sinnes with an high hand, against light, meanes, lesser plagues, so as in then distress, they trespassed more against the Lord, as branded Ahaz. did, 2 Chron. 28 22. and as such Nations as fall to idolatry and per­secution ever use to doe, Revel. 16.9, 11. This reviving of those great sinnes useth to be the very nicke and period of time, when it hath continued a space, that the Lord takes to bring an evill up­on a people. For now the number of the Saints that are to be kil­ed, growes to be fulfilled, Rev. 6.11. now the grapes of the earth grow to be fully ripe, and therefore shall now be cast in whole clu­sters into the wine-presse of Gods wrath, Rev. 14.18, 19. Now wick­ed ones fill up the measure of their fathers, Mat. 23.32.

The people of the Jews had been exceeding idolatrous and cru­ell in the time of Manasseh, 2 Chron. 33. these sinnes had beene intermitted and broken off in the raigne of Josiah. who had wrought a wonderfull reformation; but were renewed againe by his Sonnes, and under their raignes Jer. 22.17. 2 Chro. 36. which made the time of Ierusalem to come, i.e. to come suddenly; so that now she had made her dayes to draw neere, and was come even un­to her yeeres; that is, to her yeeres of punishment, for so speakes Ezekiel that lived at that very same time, Ezek 22.3, 4. which immediately came upon them as we see 2 Chro. 26.17, 18. &c.

The Jewes before our Saviours time had given over their cruel persecucions; we read of no Prophets or holy men slaine of them [Page 24]for divers ages before; but in our Saviours dayes they revived all the cruelty of their fore-fathers; they pretended otherwise, that had they lived in their Father dayes, they would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the Prophets; and therefore they built the Prophets costly Tombes (as their successors our po­pish Hierarchists doe make Images to the old Saints and Marty [...]s) but for themseives, they would kill no Prophets that they would not; no, take heed of them: Oh ye Serpents (saith our Saviour) ye generation of Vipers, how can you escape the damnation of hell! you tell me you will kill no Prophets? Behold, I send unto you Prophets and Wise-men, and Scribes, and some of them ye shall kill & crucifie and some of them ye shall scourge in your Sy­nagogues and persecute them from City to City; for all that they would kil no Prophets yet they could make a shift among them to kill John the Baptist, Stephen. James, beside our Savior Christ him­selfe the Lord of all the Prophets: Therefore (saith our Saviour) All the righteous blood shed upon the earth frrom Abel to Zachary shall be required of the men of this generation, Mat. 23. from ver. 29. to the end. And so it came to passe, for some 36. or 37. yeers after our Saviours Ascention, the State of the Iewes was utterly dissolved in a most terrible calamity, and so remaines to this day.

The great persecutions of the Christians, after they had surcea­sed for a time, were most voilently renewed above all that had been before in the reigne of Dioclesian, Maximinian, &c. a little before the fall and ruine of the heathen Empire.

Thus the Antichristian Hierarchicall brood have in our time re­vived all their fore-fathers idolatries, and persecutions also, to as great an hight of extremity as possibly they could reach, or durst proceed: For it was not want of malice (wherein they goe be­yond all their fore-fathers) that kept them from blood (which they did also shed in part, and we see what they doe now.)

But because they durst not; it is (I take it) agreeable to the word, it should be so; besides, there was a fatall concurrence of subordinate causes to hinder them therefore wonder not if you see an earth-quake begin upon it.

Signe 2 When the enemies of Religion make an attempt upon the whole Church together to ruine it: It is with the Church as with a great City; it is very molestious to have an Enemy-King lyes [Page 25]loofe off with a mighty Army to hinder all trade and traffique, and to catch up and kill now one Citizen, then another, but if he hath once begirt it with a strong siege, made many great breaches & threatens to kill man, woman and child, if the King, to whom that City belongs, intend to save it, he must now appeare to their rescue: Even so the Lord can endure the enemies and persecutors of his people for a long time to destroy row one, then another of his Saints, (though they shall at last heare of him for it) but when once they determine and endeavour to cut them off from being a Nation, that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance, now the Lord must of necessity, and will eft-soon's appeare, for if he should suffer all his Church and people to be destroyed, what should he doe to his great Name? Josh. 7.9. he must needes have a people to beare up his Name before the world.

Doth Pharaoh to all his other cruell persecutions adde this, that he will destroy all the male-children of Israel? (for that strikes at the root of the Church) why, now have at Pharaoh, you shall heare of some mischiefe upon Aegypt ere it be long: Doth Ha­mon get a cruell decree against the Jewes, to destroy them altoge­ther upon one day, and so to cut off the necke of the whole Church, as it were, at one blow, and that upon a pretence, that their lawes differ from all other Nations, and that they keepe not the Kings lawes, and that it was not for the Kings profit to suffer them; (an ordinary accusation against the Saints) Hester 3.8 9. Well, now beware Hamon; if we read forward we shall find him hanged anon upon his own gallow's made for another, Hest. 7.10.

When Gog will needs come against the Land of Israel, then shall Gods fury come up in his face, Ezek. 38. from the 18. ver. to the end: Surely in that day the Lord will make a great shaking in the Land so that all Creatures shall shake at his presence, the moun­tains shall be thrown down, and every wall shall fall to the ground, he will call for a sword against him, throughout all his mountain; every mans sword shall be against his brother, & he wil plead against him in pestilence, blood hailstones fire and brimstone &c. When Gog and his Armies doe compasse about the Campe of the Saints and the beloved City, intending to ruine all (for that I take to be the Em­phasis of this word compasse about (and this by the way) is the last [Page 26]enemy that ever the Church of Christ shall conflict withall here upon earth) then suddenly fire comes down from God out of heaven and devoures them, Rev. 20.9.

The adversaries of Religion have now of late made desperate attempts upon the whole Church, plotted the ruine of it every where, and had as they imagined a compleat victory, both here and else-where; they rode in triumph: The great Whore began to sing and to say shee was now a Queen againe, was no widow and should see no sorrow, &c. but whilest the meat was yet in their mouthes, the heavy wrath of God fell upon them. Loe, even in the middest of their triumph an hand-writing upon the wall, that tels them, God hath numbered their Kingdome and finished it: An earth quake takes them, and hath already shaken thousands of them downe into the pit themselves had digged for others; and the earth at this present doth terribly tremble under their whole Kingdome.

When the Lord ariseth to the succour of his people upon their sufferings and supplications: Signe 3 For the oppression of the poore and the sighing of the needy, I will now arise saith the Lord. I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him, Psal. 12.5. and these words are as pure and true as refined silver, ver. 6. When the blood of the Saints cryed, Rev. 6.10. and their prayers also, Rev. 8.3, 4, 5, 6. instantly the Cens [...]r that brought up their prayers is filled with fire, [...]ed that cast down upon the earth, and immediatly follow thunde­rings, lightenings, and an earth-quake f [...]ure Angels with Trumpets sound a desiance against the World, and upon that follow foure plagues that utterly ruine the Roman Empire.

Now God is risen upon the prayers and teares of his people, groaning under the intollerable oppressions of Hierarchy, Prae­lates, High-commission, &c. (who Lorded it over their faith and consciences and tyrannized over their bodies and estates) & crying unto him day and night for helpe. For I am confident there was scarce ever the like crying of that nature in the world, as of late yeares there hath been in England; why should it not still be continued? The Lord therefore being up will not sit downe a­gaine till he have done his worke, and hath made his enemies his owne and his peoples footstoole. And whereas the enemies doe consult with hell, digging deepe and in the duke; (for Gods peo­ple [Page 27]in these quarrels doe not wrestle with flesh and blood onely, but with principalities and powers, and spirituall wickednesses,) yea, and whereas they doe with force and fury, with fire and sword goe about to propugne their idolatries and persecutions, and to withstand the Lord comming with power for the vindication of his inheritance: they in so doing. doe nothing else but accerse and draw downe upon themselves, the more certaine, utter, and irrecoverable destruction; even as the Canaanites of old were hardned in their hearts of the Lord to come against Israel in bat­tell, that they might have no favour, but be destroyed utterly, Jos. 11. [...]0. For the Lord will not be alwayes bearded, and out­braved by man, but will even strike through Kings in the day of his wrath; he shall iudge among the heathen; he shall fill the pla­ces w [...]th the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many Coun­tries; he shall drinke of the brooke in the way (like a chafed Con­querour pursuing his flying enemy unto perdition) therefore shall he l [...]fe up his head Psal. 110.5, 6, 7. When God causeth judgement to be heard from heaven, he makes the earth feare and be still▪ when he ariseth to judgement to save all the meeke of the earth sarely the wrath of man shall praise him; the remainder of wrath shall he restraine, Psa. 76.8, 9, 10. If the unjust Judge that nei­ther feared God nor man, would avenge the Widdow because of her troublesome importunity (and our Saviour bids hearken what the unjust Judge saith) how much more shall the Lord avenge his owne elect upon their desperate enemies, and that speedily, his people giving him no rest, but crying day and night unto him, Luk 18.5 6 7, 8. Surely the Lord will at last procure rest to himselfe from his peoples complaints, and unto his people from their ene­mies tyrannies, in their enemies destruction.

The great Earth-quake whereby the Kingdomes of the grand Antichrist. with his whore of Babylon, and all their supporters, Signe 4 shall be utterly subverted in all Nations draw's neere, if it be not already entered. I may well put an If to it, it is so probable. It may possibly be with us, as it was with the people of the Jew's when our Saviour Christ came in the flesh, or with the Churches of the Gentiles when Antichrist came; our Saviour was both come and gone before the Jew's generally would know him for the Messiah; and Antichrist was growne to his [...] to his full [Page 28]age and stature, before the world tooke any notice of him till the Waldenses and Albigenses, neere 500. yeares agoe, began a little to discerne him. I much suspect the last 26. yeares, ever since the troubles began in Bohemia, Anno 1618. I much more suspect the last seven or eight yeares, ever since the stirres began in Scot­land; but most of all these last foure yeeres, ever since, that by the endeavours of this noble Parliament in England, the Pro­phets are begun to be raised, as it were from the dead, the ene­mies to be mightily opposed; their triumph over the Prophets here ended, their power also beginning to be broken and ruined. Besides, since that time the storme, like a mighty whirlewinde, hath passed over into, and assayled, many other Nations, and the fire doth continue still there, and proceeds further and further, burning most fiercely and ragingly.

That this grand earth-quake is at hand, or else begun, appeares; because the Beast, Antichrist, who is to fall by it, is so well strick­en in yeeres, and so neere his end. The whole terme of his life and reigne, without the wombe (for the mystery of iniquity was framing this Embrio, even from the Apostles times, 2 Thes. 2.7.) is two and fourty months; Reve. 13.5. or one thousand two hun­dred and sixty dayes, that is one thousand two hundred and sixty yeares putting a day for a yeare, as we finde it in other instances, Numb. 14.34. Ezek. 4.6. Dan. 9.24. Now, these yeares grow to­ward their full period and expiration; for it is well neer so much time since they began. This will be made appeare by these two indices.

First it is almost so long time since the Papall state became the seventh head of the Roman Monarchy; 1 and when it began to be that head, then it began to be the Beast, Rev. 17.11. That we may understand this, we are to looke upon the text, Reve. 17.9, 10, 11. Here is the [...]inde that hath wisdome, the seven heads are seven mountaines on which the woman sits; and there are seven Kings, five are fallen, and one is, the other is not yet come, and when he commeth he must continue a short space, and the beast that was and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seventh, and goeth into perdition.

The seven heads of the Roman Monarchy signifie two things: first, seven hils upon which the woman sits; that is, upon which [Page 29]the City was built (for the City is called a woman, ver. 18.) and seven Kings.

The seven hils were famously celebrated by heathen writers, long before the Apostle writ his Revelation, Their names were these, the Palatine, the Capitoline, the Aventine, the Esquiline, the Quirinall, the Viminall, and the Janicular hils.

The heads did also signifie seven Kings; that is, seven severall supreme formes of Government that have beene in Rome: which makes Daniel when he describes the foure Monarchies compa­ring them to foure Beasts, say, that this was divers from all the rest, Dan. 7.8. The seven severall regiments are these; first, Kings; secondly, Tribunes; thirdly, Decemvirs; fourthly, Dictators; fift­ly, Consuls; sixtly, Emperours; (all these are enumerated by Ta­citus in the beginning of his History) seventhly, Popes.

Of these, five were fallen when the Apostle received the Re­velation, that is, Kings, Tribunes, Decemvirs Dictators, Consuls. One is; that is, the Emperour a Souldier chosen for the most part by the Armies. And the other is not yet come. He doth not say the seventh, but the other; pointing no doubt at the Christian Emperour, who did not differ from the heathen Emperour as a distinct forme of Government (for they were both Souldiers, and chosen by the Souldiers;) but in the quality of his person; the one hating & persecuting the other loving and protecting christi­an Religion. And when he comes he must continue a short space. For the Empire after it came into the hands of the Christians, stood but a short time in its strength a matter of seventy or eigh­ty yeares, from about the middle of the reigne of Constantine the great (for till then he was exercised with mighty warres against the heathen Emperours) unto the end of the reigne of Theodosius the great, from about An. 316. or 320. untill 395.

It followes in the next verse, the beast that was and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven. The beast that was, viz, the Papall state was in respect of the bulke of the Empire, whereof he is a horne. And is not; that is, hath not any present existence in the Apostles time, as the seventh head for the time of that is not yet come. Even he is the eighth, and is of the seventh; that is, he is the eighth, if you make the Christian Emperour one; but is indeed the seventh; for there be but seven heads, and he [Page 30]is but the seventh distinct forme of Government, as was observ­ed before.

Now here lyes the argument. It is well towards the end of the 1260. yeeres since the Pope became the head of the Roman Kingdome: ergo, the earth-quake that must ruine him and his Kingdome draweth neer. To make this appeare, we are to know, there were (as some have observed) diuers degrees of the fall of that vast body of the Roman Empire. One after the death of Ju­lian the Apostate, about 365. for then the barbarous Nations in­vaded, and made huge havocke in the Provinces of the Empire. A second was about An. 410. when Rome it selfe was sack'd by Alaricus the Goth, and the Empire dismembred. A third a­bout An. 455. when ten Kings were risen up instead of the Empire.

Let me take the boldnesse to interpose one notable one (some­times suggested out of a learned manuscript) about An. 395. at the death of Theodosius the great: The barbarous Nations had made many attempts before, but were from time to time, especi­ally by his valour, repelled; but upon his death they brake in like a huge inundation, bare downe the Empire before them, shivered it into an hundred pieces, so as it never recovered any more.

This great earth quake was at least sixty yeares in doing its worke for so great a body, as the Empire could not by created humane meanes be ruined in a short time. And it is very remark­able, both because it made so great a change in the Kingdomes of Europe and Affrick, planting them almost universally with new Nations and names; and in specially, because that storme brought our fore fathers into this land, setling here a new Nation and language. It is thirdly also observable, because in it the sixth head of the Roman Monarchy the Emperour, went off and the seventh the Pope came on; onely the question is, about which of these times and degrees of the Empire destruction.

Haply not so high as Julians death, for the Empire stood in good strength after that for thirty yeeres at least: Nor so low as 455. when it was quite broken, and not long after lost its very name; but somewhere between, viz. either about 410. when Rome it selfe, the head of the Empire was taken, or rather about An. [...]96. when the Empire first began to be ruined, that is, plus mi­nus about 400. yeers after Christ.

[Page 31] Even as the seventy years of the Jewes captivity, are not to be computed from the 11. of Zedekiah when the City and Temple were taken and burnt and the State dissolved; for from that time there be not sixty years in all, till their returne under Cyrus; but they must be reckoned from the captivity of Jehojakim ten or eleven years before; even so, very probably it is here.

Now if the Beasts reigne began about 400. after Christ, then is there above 1240. gone of his 1260. yeeres, so that the ruining earth-quake must needs approach. And a man may wonder that so much worke should be done in so short a time as seemes to be remaining to it throughout Europe, yea, throughout the world, but that the Text tels us it is the greatest earth quake that ever was.

Object. The sixth head of the Empire continued long after the death of Theodosius the great.

Not in strength, Answ. 1 but was still more and more broken unto its dissolution.

It is not absurd to imagine that the sixth head and the seventh might be in some degrees together: For first, 2 it is but a compari­son, not like the naturall head, of which there can be but one at once, more makes a monster: and truly this Beast is a monster.

Besides, the Imperiall and Papall head did not so thwart and crosse one another at first as afterwards they did, so that it might be with them, as Logicians say of contrary qualities, they may consist together in the same subject, gradibus remissis, non inten­sis, they might both of them have their power, and yet not in­trench upon each other.

Popes at first medled in a manner onely with matters of the Church, as being desirous to settle their ecclesiasticall authority; and the Emperours on the other side, almost wholly busied them­selves about the civill State to governe and defend the Empire.

And yet further (which may lessen the absurdity) before that, you should have in the Roman goverment sometimes as it were, two heads at once; as Consuls, who were for their yeere; and a Dictator, chosen it may be for three months or six mouths upon some extraordinary exigences and necessities of the State, who was for the time supreme, and namely, in matters of warre, as the Consuls were supreme for other civill affaires.

[Page 32] The earth-quake whereby Antichrists Kingdome is to be ruined approaches, or is already entered, as may apreare by this second Indice or evidence: Because it is almost 1260. years since the ten Kings began and the Beast began with them, as may appeare, Rev. 17.12. The ten hornes which thou sawest, are ten Kings, which have received no Kingdome as yet, but received power as Kings one houre with the Beast.

The ten Kings, are the many Kingdomes that sprang up out of the ruines of the Empire, as the Kingdome of England, the King­dome of France, the Kingdome of Spaine, &c.

These are called hornes aptly, because Antichrist did with them as the Beast doth with his horne (so the Dragon, i. e. the heathen Empire had done before with them whilst they were his hornes, Rev. 12.3.) that is, propugne himselfe, and oppugne his adversa­ries: For this hath been Antichrists course all along, to push downe and gore even to death, for the most part, all those that opposed his idolatries and haeresies, in all Nations, by these hornes; that is by the Kings and peoples of those Nations, who have given their power and strength to the Beast, Rev. 17.13. and who doe generally continue it to the Beast with one mind and consent, making warre for him against the Lamb almost all, and that most desperately, unto this day.

Which have received no Kingdome as yet. For when the Apo­stle wrote, there were no su [...]h Kings, in rerum natura, or existent in the world, as the King of England. the King of France, &c. These Kingdomes then were hornes of the Dragon, i. e. Provin­ces of the Empire, and therefore in the description of the Dragon Rev. 12.3. the Crownes are not said to be upon the hornes, that is, upon the Kingdomes, who had then no Kings of their owne, but upon the heads, that is, upon the imperiall head at Rome; as for instance, this Land Brittaine, was in the Apostles time a Pro­vince or Kingdome, but it had no King of its owne and so no Crowne; that was upon the head of the Emperour at Rome, and he had supreme power over this Islrnd; but whenas these King­dames became the hornes of the Beast, they came also to have peculiar Kings of their owne; England had and hath its King, France its King, &c. And therefore in the description of the Beast the Crownes are not said to be upon the heads, but upon the [Page 33] hornes; upon his hornes ten crownes, Revel. 13.1.

But received power as Kings one houre with the Beast [...] that is, the Kings and the Beast began their reigne together. Now the Kings and Kingdomes began to arise about An. 400. after Christ, when the Empire began to be destroyed; haply some of them a little before; for they had begun to breake the Empire foure or five yeeres before, and therefore might then begin to be called Kings (for God lookes at (and so are we to looke at) realities.) The Histories indeed doe not speake much of them under the name and notion of Kings untill after 400. or 410. but the Histories are very confused, and no wonder, for those were times of most strange confusion.

The Beast is said to begin with them at one and the same houre, [...], or as the word may be interpreted the first houre; the word in the Greeke text that signifies one (as all that have any smattering in that language know) signifies also, first; and so it may be interpreted, that the Beast began to rise the very first houre the Kings began to rise; rather then the first houre after they were risen, for therein is a difference of many yeeres, it be­ing almost sixty yeeres from the first breaking of the Empire, before ten Kingdomes were set up in it. That the word that is here translated one, is used also to signifie first, we may see in ma­ny instances, as in that for one, Luke 24.1. [...], which is word for word one day of the Sabbaths or weeke; but is generally rendered (and so the meaning is) the first day of the weeke the women came to the Sepulcher. Now if the Kings and the Beast began their reigne together so long since, as abovt An. 400. plus minus; then is the earth quake that is to ruine him, and them also if they persist in his service, (Dan. 2.44 45. Rev 19, 18, 19. &c.) neer at hand.

Qu. Quest. What reason have we to thinke that the Pope about that time began to be the great Antichrist.

Ans. Answ. For answer: We are to know that there are two parti­cular characters of the Beast, as some Divines have observed out of the text, the former the cause of the later, viz. 1. Blasphemy; for he is full of names of blasphemie, Rev. 17.3. by which under­stand haeresie and Idolatry. 2. cruelty, for he is a skarlet-coloured heast, and makes warre with the Saints, ibid. & ch. 13.7. But both [Page 34]these flow from an higher principle, which is (as I may say) pro­prium quarti modi, and a more convertible character of the beast, and that is his primacy or supremacy: This supremacy hath in it two things that make it up; one is a claiming of authority over the consciences of men, and so over their faith and worship; se­condly the extending of this power to all Churches in all Nations.

I will not say that these two are the same thing, nor that they issue both from one and the same root; but surely this I may say, they are neer a kinne & have their roots not farre asunder, because they are generally still found in one and the selfe same person.

That both these meet in the grand Antichrist will appeare.

First, he arrogates authority over the soule; so much I take to be intimated in those words of Daniel speaking of him, Dan. 7.25 He shall speake great words against the most high, and thinke to change times and lawes; that he shall arrogate power to himselfe to change Gods lawes, as in coyning and altering Articles of Faith, apointing worship for God, &c. high words, great words against God; so the Apostle, 2 Thes. 2.4. He as God sits in the Temple of God, shewing himselfe that he is God. How does he that? viz. by Lording it over the consciences of Gods people as if he were God, and thereby he deprives Christ of one of the principall Flowers of his Crown, which is to have dominion over the Faith: see more for this. Rev. 13.5 6.15, 16.

Secondly, the great Antichrist is to extend this power, at least, presumptively and intentionally where he cannot doe it actually over all Kindreds, Tongues and Nations, Rev. 13.7.

It is Antichristian to claime such authority, though but over one man, or one Church; It is more Antichristian to claime such au­thority over many Churches, as the Hierarchicall Bishop useth to do; it is yet more Antichristian to claim this authority over whole Provinces as the Hierarchicall Archbishop useth to do; it is yet stil more Antichristian to claim it over many Provinces & Kingdoms, as the Hierarchicall Patriarch useth to do; but yet all these do not a­mount to the grand Antichrist, why? because there may be a greater; but now he that claims such soveraignty over all the Churches of the world is the grand Antichrist indeed, for there can be no greater.

Now, this the Pope doth; yea, that he may be sure to challenge as large a Dominion as Christ hath, he doth not onely arrogate [Page 35]authority over all the world, but also in heaven and hell where Christ hath power, yea, even in purgatory where Christ hath no power.

He that shall but looke upon the sentence condemnatory, of Pope Leo the tenth, in his his Bull against Luther, will find this true; wherein he doth not labour to convince Luther of errour, by solid demonstrations out of the Word of God, but mainly be­cause his doctrine was contrary to the decrees of Popes, &c. He doth also charge and command all Patriarchs, Metropolitans, Pri­mates, Arch-bishops, Bishops, and all other ecclesiasticall orders downwards, even to the begging Fryars, and then all Kings, E­lectors of the Empire, Princes, Dukes, and so on; and at last, all men throughout the Universall world (the very voyce, proper, and native language of the grand Antichrist) upon paine of the great Excommunication, that they doe not embrace Luther's doctrine, nor adhere to, or favour his person.

Now the Popes have challenged this supremacy in some de­grees, for above these 1240. yeares: Not to speake of their clai­ming the title of universall Bishop, nor yet their assuming the ti­tle of Pontifex Maximus, the name of the chiefe heathenish Priest among the Romans, which dignity many of the Emperours had annexed to their imperiall greatnesse, (which Gratian the Emperour first renounced about An. 380. and the rest after him) they did about that time plainly arrogate and usurpe a judiciary power over the Churches: To omit their authoritative excom­munications, some whereof had been long before; they did then claime this Prerogative, that appeales aught to be made to the Bishop of Rome from all Churches, and he to give the last defini­tive sentence; yea, so zealous were they about this that An. 418. and 419. three Popes Zosimus, Boniface, Coelestine, did in the sixt Councill of Carthage, in which St. Augustine was present, in the Cause of one Appiarius, who had appealed out of Affricke unto Rome (as many had done before) not onely challenge the recei­ving of Appellations from all Churches, but also forge a decree of the great Councill of Nice, which had been almost an hundred yeares before to support it. This was by the Fathers of the Synod indeed then rejected, and the pretended Canon found to be forged and spurious: Yet was this as a right, by the Popes [Page 36]then challenged. I never thinke upon these things, but methinks I see the grand Antichrist, as a great big Embryo, swelling in the wombe, ready to come forth, or rather, as a child lately borne ly­ing in his cradle; so that it is probable, if not more then proba­ble, that between 390. and 420. Antichrist began.

Daniel speaking of these horns, Object. intimates that the little horne Antichrist, that grew so great, should come up after the rest, Dan. 7.24.

He speakes as it was in his perception and observation, Answ. the little horne r [...]se with the rest, but he did not nocdiscerne it, Answ. untill he considered the hornes as it were with a prying eye, ver. 8. and as it was in the Virion, so it was in the accomplishment indeed; he rose imperceptibly, because the world mistooke what manner of creature he should be.

No: we may rather suspect that Antichrist was up before the Kings, the Papacy having such strange appearances of [...]im, before any of the Kings sprang up; and so some read those words, Rev. 17.12. they received power as Kings one houre (not with the Beast) but after the Beast, [...], not [...].

The two Witnesses spoken of, Object. Rev. 11. are not yet slaine by the Beast, neither is his triumph over them for three dayes and a halfe past, and therefore the Beasts ruine cannot be so neare.

Before I give a direct answer, Answ. I must premise a few things.

First, 1 two were the least sufficient number in the law, that could convincingly beare witnesse unto any thing; and so by the two Witnesses here I understand not any two singular persons onely, that either are or have been, for (I take it) that cannot con­sist with the Text; but in that number I include, all those whom God hath raised up, whether Ministers or others (though chiefly Ministers) to beare witnesse to his Truth, and to sustaine his Cause against Antichrist and his gentiles.

That the number of them should be the least sufficient number, as it were but two; no more then might meerely suffice to hold out Gods truth a little to the world: so few, that though haply you might heare in a Countrey of some few that rejected the common tenents as of Justification by Workes, the propitiato­ry sacrifice of the Masse &c. yet you should scarce learne how to finde out one of them; if they appeared, the Beast and his agents [Page 37]presently shap'd them up; therefore the woman and her children lived in the wildernesse all Antichrists reigne, Reve. 12.6.14. and the Prophets Prophecied in sackcloath, Rev. 11.3.

Towards the end of Antichrists reigne, the everlasting Gospell going forth should bring a great harvest to God, Rev. 14.6.15. and mightily encrease the number of the witnesses.

3 The terme and duration of their witnesse-bearing to the truth must be of as long continuance, as Antichrists opposing it, viz. 1260. dayes or yeares; and therefore these witnesses cannot be un­de [...]stood o [...] any two individuall persons.

4 I assent to them that understand the slaughter of the witnesses civilly, that is they are to be slaine as Prophets, viz. put out of their direct way of witnessing, as suppose by Preaching, Prin­ting, &c. but not alwayes as men, that is to be put to death, at least in a judiciary way of proceeding; (for they are to be killed, but not buried.) Rev. 11.9. The enemies have given over that way of persecuting the Prophets generally, for a good space a mat­ter of sixty or seventy yeares, you shall not (I beleeve) finde ma­ny examples within that space of Gods servants called before tri­bunals accused for their doctrine and worship, formally Senten­ced unto death, and the sentence executed, which was the ad­versaries generall way of proceeding in former times; haply some few examples may be found, like a few drops of raine falling af­ter a great shoure. They have forborne this course, not our of any love or compassion unto the people of God, but meetely because they durst not, as hath beene said before; and also because they found by proofe, that this course praejudiced their cause, sanguis Martyrum semen Ecclesiae: the blood of the Martyrs, being the seed of the Church. Not to speake of this, that the Prophets here­by in the enemies, intention, were more exposed to contempt, their bodies lying dead in the street, Rev. 11.8. like despised bro­ken ido [...]s in whom there was no pleasure.

These things being praemised I come to answer the Ob­jection.

It is probable at least, that this last slaughter of the Prophets, Answ. and the Beast with his Gentiles triumphing over them for three dayes and a halfe, by which (according to the former expositi­on) we may understand three [...]ares and a halfe is already past [Page 38]and gone though but lately. Because that of late yeares, there hath beene such a slaughter of the Prophets, throughout almost all the Nations of Europe, and such a tearme of Antichrists tri­umph.

In the yeare 1618. began the devastation of the Churches in Bohemia, the same fire presently takes hold upon the Provinces thereof, Moravia, Silesia, Lusatia; proceeds to Austria and Hungaria, flies over also to the Palatinate, and so by degrees wastes all the Provinces of broad and wide Germany, killing the Witnesses generally in them all.

An. 1621. the storme assayles the Churches of France, and though by certaine intervals and spaces between, overcomes them and the Witnesses in them. And though by the Providence of God they have some, yet (I take it) but a very precariall liberty, unto this very day.

Very lately the Witnesses have beene overcome and slaine in Polonia, so that a very few yeares agoe, the Gospell was preach­ed publiquely but onely in two places in all those vast Domi­nions.

Last of all, came in the slaughter of the Witnesses in our Churches of England, Scotland and Ireland, and (as it is proba­ble) was brought to its period and perfection, when the three pre­cious witnesses of Christ were so outragiously sentenced, had their eares cut off, and were afterwards most unjustly and strange­ly exiled. The enemies then accounted themselves to have ob­tained a compleat victory, and so began their Song of triumph. For I doubt not, but this fact of theirs was in the enemies sence, an universall signal to al the Popish world that the day was theirs, and a perfect victory gotten; every place was fill'd with their re­joycings.

Now, after that three dayes and an halfe; that is, just three yeares and an halfe, in a manner from the slaughter of those three witnesses, were past; by the meanes of this happy Parliament, as by a voyce from heaven, the Prophets begin to arise againe as from the dead, and among them those three servants of God, and an earth-quake begins to shake the enemies in all these three Kingdomes; and no doubt will proceed further.

Neither let any man dispise this, for the Beasts triumph for [Page 39]three dayes and a halfe: whensoever it comes, is necessarily to be computed and aestimated, not from the end of the slaughter in all the Churches, but from the slaughter that shall be in that Church, wherein the Prophets shall be last slaine, which very probably was our Church. Neither can we imagine it to be otherwise, un­lesse we should surmise the slaughter of the Prophets to end in all the Churches at once; which considering the worke is to be done in so many severall States and Nations, is hardly possible. Besides, the Beast hath insulted longer then three yeares and an halfe o­ver the Witnesses that were first slaine in other Churches; but the Text speakes of his generall triumph, which could not be, untill he had overcome his adversaries in all the Churches gene­rally: and the Prophets resurrection is but yet, as it were in its very beginning; for they still lye slaine in most of the Churches.

The witnesses of some Churches have escaped; as of Holland, Object. Switzerland Geneva, &c.

They have beene slaine all over the greatest, Answ. 1 largest and most famous Churches, as hath beene declared.

2 It is unknowne to me how the Prophets have beene used in those Churches, at least, in a great part: though I know they have beene used badly enough. But it will not follow, we know it not, therefore it hath not beene.

To which answer I will sticke, 3 the Beast was to kill the Wit­nesses indefinitely set downe, Rom. 11.7. that is, generally, but not universally. It is no where said he shall kill all and singular that beare witnesse to the truth; the text tels us, Exod. 9.6. that all the cattell of Aegypt dyed of the Murraine, but yet if we read on to the 20. verse, when the plague of the Haile was threatned, we shall finde the Aegyptians that feared the word of the Lord, driving their cattell into their houses; by which it appeares that all and singular of the cattell d [...]ed not of the Murraine, but the cattell generally, or the cattell of all kindes. The Pharisees said, the world was gone after our Saviour, Ioh. 12.19. when as yet the hundred thousand part of the world did not beleeve on him then; but the meaning is the people of the Countries round about flocked after him: so here the Prophets were slaine generally, on for the most part, not universally.

The Prophets doe yet Prophesie in sackcloath; ergo, Object. this slaugh­ter and triumph is not past.

[Page 40] Whether this slaughter be past or to come, Answ. certaine it is by the Text, that the Prophets shall prophecy in sack-cloath, after it be both come and gone, even untill the Beasts dying day, for he and they are contemporanyes, as hath been mentioned before; their prophecying in sack-cloath and his reigne, as they began together, so they must end together: So long as he lives he will push with the horne and spurne with the heele, and woe to them that stand neare him: By the mercy of God and the means of this Parliament, the Prophets here are a little stagger'd up upon their feet, but one of the Beasts fillips would throw them downe again. Could but he reach them either with one of his armed hornes or hierarchicall heeles, which he mainly endeavours, they were gone.

A mistake concerning the two Witnesses, may peradventure make us looke for the earth-quake that shall ruine the Beast's Kingdome as a thing a farre off, when yet our selves may be in the middest of it.

The fifth Viall is not powred, Object. for that is to be upon the seat of the Beast, that is Rome, whereby his Kingdome becomes full of darkenesse, that is, Rome is destroyed, Rev. 16.10. therefore it is in vaine to think upon the earth-quake that is to ruine the Beast's Kingdome, which comes not till the seventh Viall be powred out.

For answer, Answ. 1 I acknowledge Rome to be the seat of the Beast, and that darknesse is often put for affliction and misery; but I de­ny the darkning of the Beasts Kingdome there spoken of to be the destruction of Rome; there be degrees of darknesse and mi­sery inferiour to destruction: Is not Rome darkned in her repu­tation, and so the Beasts Kingdome? How many thousands, yea millions be there that deny her to be the mistresse of the Faith and the mother of all Churches? that account her the mother of harlots? that contemne her decrees, &c? Is not shee darkned in her revennues, when as so many Nations have withdrawne their supplies from her, which were formerly swallowed up in her as in a deep gulfe?

If Rome be destroyed under the fifth Viall, this difficulty or absurdity will follow; then have ye Babylon the great to destroy under the seventh Viall, Rev. 16.19. whereas Babylon the great [Page 41]in all other places of the booke of the Revelations, is constantly put for Rome.

The fixt Viall is not poured upon the river Euphrates, Object. which must be before the earth-quake come under the seventh, Kev. 16.12. &c. Answ. 1

I must here deprecate the offence of many worthy & earned men, if lassent not to their expositions of that Viall. It shall suffice in a few words, to give that which is to me more then probable the sense therof. The river Euphrates running through the middest of the world between the farthest west and uttermost east, hath b [...]en for many ages a kinde of Land-marke, to separate the western Na­tions from the eastern so that they have had little communion one with another. Now this impedimentall River hath been dried up ever since these Navigations & Voyages have been found out into the Indies and other orientall parts. Whereupon the Beast finding himselfe mortally wounded here in the west hath as it followes in the text by the unclean spirits his emissaries by which I understand not onely Jesuits and others that are Papists by profession, but all Antichrists Agents though cloaked under the name of Protestants with infinite, strange, and uncouth wiles, and wonders laboured to involve not onely the Kings and Kingdomes of these parts of the world, but even of the east also into Hormageddon that is a cur­sed warre, as hath been said before. This feat the Frogges have most efficaciously wrought for him in these parts of the world as every observing eye may abundantly see; and although the Pa­pists doe frequently lye in their reports of the east, yet certaine it is that they have made many Countries and States there, one way or other more or lesse obnoxious to the Pope, as either to submit and acknowledge him, as those of Japan &c. are said to doe: or to oppugne his enemies as the Persian to assaile the Turke, whilst they are accomplishing their designes here in the west; or at least by way of Merchandize and traffique to be subservient to their supply; so that notwithstanding any thing in these two Vials the earth-quake may be at hand. And let us beware, that mistakes a­bout them, doe not make us put the earth-quake further off then indeed it is to our owne detriment and prejudice.

The Uses are of two sorts; some directing us what to doe in re­spect of the publique, others concerne our owne particulars.

[Page 42] For the publique, every one should assist the Lord in his place, in shaking downe the Kingdome of Antichrist and all his sup­porters.

Object. The Church will be shaken too.

True, Answ. but it will not be shaken downe by the earth-quake, but better rooted and setled.

Now that we may assist the Lord in this worke, three things are to be done.

We must shake the Kingdome of the Beast by the Word, Vse 2 this is to be done by all the Saints, especially by the Ministers of the Churches, and by them authoritatively: Every true Christian hath the Word of truth dwelling in his heart; as for instance, the doctrine of Gods free grace in Christ for a mans justification and salvation, the foundation upon which the Church is built; that God is to be purely worshipped in spirit and truth accor­ding to his owne prescriptions, and such like; by these truths he can detect and discover many blasphemies of the Beast and foe­dities of the Whore, as justification by workes, the propitiatory sacrifice of the Masse, &c. Yea, not onely discover them, but in an holy zeale deno [...]unce grievous judgements against the au­thors and fomenter of them, according to the Word.

These doctrines and denunciations thus breathed out, will prove even a sword of the Spirit (for so they are being put into mans spirit by the Holy-Ghost) to cut and kill, slash and slay the Anti­christian generation, see Revel. 2.16. & 19.21. Yea, not onely a sword to kill the enemy that stands neere, but an arrow also to kill the enemy that stands a farre off, Psal. 149.6, 7, 8, 9. an axe to hew downe, Hosea 6.5. Mat. 3.10. a wine cup of fury which they shall be forced to drinke, and then grow mad, spue and fall, and rise no more, Jer. 25.15, 16.27, 28. Lastly, this Word shall be a fire to burne them up, and they shall be as wood to it, and it shall devoure them, Jer. 5.14. For God will execute upon them the judgements threatned: It shall be an hot even to the wic­ked and proud, and they shall be as stubble, easily and utterly burnt, so it shall leave them neither root nor branch, Mal. 4.1. This fiery weapon of the Word, is one of those wherewith the poore sack­cloath-Prophets have defended themselves against Antichrist and his gentiles, all his long reigne, and wherewith they have offen­ded [Page 43]them, Rev. 11.5. and therefore still proper to be used against him the great wild Beast; for fire they say is the best weapon, and of most excellent use against wilde Beasts: Breathe out therefore this fire of the Word into their faces; run with these flaming torches, and thrust them into the dry thatch of Antichrists house that will set all on a light fire; it hath done it in a great measure already, the enemies feele the heat thereof to their great paine, Rev. 16.2.9, 10, 11. They cast on all the cold water that hell can afford them to quench it, as cruelties treacheries, but every thing proves oyle to encrease the flame; this Word at last will prove unto them unquenchable fire utterly to consume them.

Shake the Beasts Kingdome by prayer; Vse 2 David shook Saul and all his enemies downe by this meanes, see Psal. 18.6.7, 8. com­pared with the title of the Psalme, which David composed when the Lord had delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul; In my distresse (saith he) I called upon the Lord, and cryed unto my God, he heard my voyce out of his ho­ly temple, and my cry came before him, even into his eares. Then the earth shooke and trembled, the foundations also of the hils moved and were shaken, because he was wroth. God upon Da­vids cry laid about him, and overthrew all his adversaries; for the more the Saints pray, the more they accelerate plagues up­on their wicked enemies, which is often the meanes of the Saints deliverance.

By this the two Witnesses did shut the heavens against the Anti­christian brood, Rev. 11.6. And therfore our fight being with their armie's, we are to be instant in prayer against them, that is a weapon they have no skill at; they can blaspheme and curse, &c. but not pray. Moses and Eliah (to whom that text alludes) by this weopon and the Word, overcame whole Nations alone. Mo­ses did but speake to God, spreading out his hands, and then as a God could tell Pharaoh, that a plague would come, to morrow shall be such a plague or to morrow shall such a plague be remov­ed. Eliah could but pray to the Lord, that it might not raine and then confidently tell Ahab, that there should be no raine but ac­cording to his word. 1 King. 17.1.

Open therefore (O you servants of the Lord) the heavens by this Key; open Gods Armory, and get from thence the best dayes [Page 44]for the Church, the helpe of God the Father, the Mediation of the Sonne, the Spirit of strength, the assistance of Angels, Seas, rivers, windes, &c. get from thence wisdome, courage, stratagems, successe; shut the heavens against the enemies that they may not get one good looke from thence; not so much as one arrow, but if they have any plot in hand, get the heavens open for wise­dome to discover it; if any enterprize, get from thence power to defeat it; make it appeare to the enemies that Gods people have power with God.

Execute judgement for God, Vse 3 every one as farre as his power will stretch. First, doe judgement upon thine owne selfe for thy sinnes, in all wayes of godly revenge, as by Fasting &c. Sing mer­cy and judgement to thy Family, as David Psa. 101. Doe thy best that judgement that hath beene turned into Wormewood and Hemlocke, may run downe like a mighty streame, in publique; and where thy hand cannot reach a blow, or cast a stone at an ido­later, blasphemer, persecutor, &c. let thy heart at least doe it. For if a mans consenting to, or approving of an act of injustice may inguilt h [...]m, as I may say, in it; as it was with the Jewes, whose state was ruined for killing Christ and the Prophets, though most part of them had never seene any of them, Mat. 23.37. why may not a mans executing judgement, with his heart, when he can proceed no further, be accepted, in respect of him, for an act of justice, by him that is pleased both in good and evill actions, to accept the will for the deed?

This duty is principally incumbent upon the Magistrate, who is to execute the judgement of the Lord, not arbitrarily as him­selfe pleaseth; but according to the rule of the Word, both for matter and manner.

1 For the Matter man hath no warrant either to leave grosse and horrid sinnes unpunished in the committers of them; such as are the ring-leaders in idolatry and persecution; nor yet to commute or change the nature of the punishment. As (by the way) I que­stion, whether a pecuniary mulct, especially if it be alone, be a proper punishment for a sweater, or blasphemer; but it rather ought to be personall. And here I cannot choose but with griefe take notice of a miserable failing in our first Reformation, that the Maise priests were suffered still to continue in their places; [Page 45]for he that had said or sung Masse the last Lords day (and if he were a Preacher had Preached for Popery) if he would but take the new Oath of Supremacy and read the Service-Booke this Lords­day, was accounted a sufficie [...]t reformist a [...]d admitted to the Mi­nistry. So that of twenty thousand Prelates and P [...]iests at least in England and Ireland, very few were cast out of their places, and searce any of them (unlesse it were Boner) for any thing they had done. Oh wofull! (I confesse I thinke the State did then want due information in that point. But this hath been one thing that hath undone the Church, viz. those that have all along and do still infest the Church I mean the wicked and superstitious Clergie being their naturall, genuine and proper posterity. Let not such a sinne therefore lye any longer upon the State; out (therefore worthy Senators) with all the generation of erroni­ous Teachers, Altar-worshippers &c, and prophane ones, that have made so many abhorre the Offerings of the Lord. If any Object, that the Church will then be destitute of Pastors. I an­swer: I know no warrant at all that there is to put or keepe such Wolves among Gods flocke. Secondly, that a thousand or two of goldly and able men well distributed, if the other were out, might by Gods blessing doe more good by far, then now doe all the Ministers in England.

Nay, I take it to be an absolute duty of them that have power to eject them, (besides, what may be said otherwise) even by the equity and analogy of that Text, Ezek. 44.10, 12, 13. The Levites that are gone away farre from me, which went astray from me af­ter their idols, they shall even beare their iniquity; because they ministred unto them before their idols, and caused the house of Is­rael to fall into iniquity, therefore have I lifted up my hand a­gainst them, saith the Lord God (i. e. I have sworne against them as most high transgressours, and so will not reverse it) and they shall beare their iniquity. And they shall not come neere unto me, to doe the office of a Priest unto me, nor to come neere to any of my holy things in the most holy place: but they shall beare their shame, and their abominations which they have commit­ted.

Besides punishments should be aggravated according to the aggravation of the sinne or sinnes. The most capitall offender can [Page 46]but be put to death; but when the guilt is transcendently hai­nous, it ought to be with such circumstances and expressions, as may make it appeare that the Judge or Magistrate hath a doe sense of that hainousnesse, and would reach it in the punishment, if it were possible. All Israel were to stone Achan, and to raise over him a great heape of stones, Jos. 7.25, 26. Now if this be so, I wonder what punishment will be found out sutable to the crimes of some malefactors now in question, who have wickedly endeavoured to seduce many whole Kingdomes quite to suppresse and extinguish true Religion in them (if not throughout the world) who have proudly trampled upon all lawes and estates, be­ing undoubtedly, if all things were laid together, of the greatest if not absolutely the greatest transgressors that ever were since men were upon the earth.

For the Manner, the Word requires that judgement be executed with the spirit of justice or judgement; of which the Text speaks Isa. 28.6. In hatred of sinne, love of God, Zeale for his glory, as Phenehas did; orherwise, if you punish a Malefactor with death, who hath deserved it instead of taking away an old murder, you adde a new and shal be punished accordingly, judgement ought to returne to justice, Psal. 94.15.

We have two remarkable examples in the Scriptures worthy to be taken notice of by all that are in authority, of two Kings that were both rewarded and punished for the very same thing.

Baasha destroyed Nadab and the house of Jeroboam, Jehu de­stroyed Jehoram, Jezabel and the whole house of Ahab; both of them had the Kingdome of Israel for their paines; and yet for these very acts, both their Families and Posterities were destroy­ed. Baasha because he killed him, viz. Nadab, 1 Kin. 16.7. and so I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, saith the Lord, Hos. 1.4. And so it came to passe, as may be seene in both their Histories; What was the cause, was there equity in this? Yes: the thing done was just, to punish these idolatrous Fa­milies; but the manner of doing it utterly displeased God, be­cause it was not done in the love of justice, &c. and so in respect of God; but out of spleen and ambition to get the Kingdome: That it was not done by either of them as an act of justice appea­red, in that they both continued in the sinnes of Jeroboam, which [Page 47]they seemed to punish, 1 Kin. 15.34. 2 Kin. 10.29. For that Ma­gistrate or man that lives openly in the sinne he punisheth in a­nother, cannot doe it as an act of justice, and so doth not please God; not to speake of this, that he that punisheth one sinne, as suppose theft, because God would have it punished, and so doth it as an act of justice, will also for the very same reason punish ano­ther sinne as much or more odious to God, as blasphemy, swea­ring, idolatry, if his arme be strong enough and long enough to reach the Offenders, which very thing may put (I feare) some suspicion sometimes upon our publique justice, in matter of theft. &c. and makes it questionable, whether it be done out of right principles, as because it is sinne against God, and punishable by his Word, or onely because man is trespassed, or no; which if it be so the very lawes herein ought to be reformed.

I will not insist upon this that judgement ought to be executed roundly and speedily (though protracting of it often takes off a great part of the edge of justice:) but I urge the doing of it in the manner before spoken.

Give me leave for a conclusion of this point, to adde these two Motives, for ensorcing the duty.

This execution of judgement is one of the best meanes in the world to expiate if I may so say, the old sinnes of a Nation; 1 as namely, the old idolatries and persecutions, in which kindes our Land is infinitely guilty. For besides universall strange and long continued idolatries, there is scarce any Nation under the Sunne, if any at all, that can equall ours in the slaughter of so many. Saints in a formall, judiciary way. Now if so be you wovld take the guilt of these away from the Nation, as there ought to be a Nationall confession and reformation of them, and strong appli­cation of Christs blood, by prayer of faith for attonement, repre­sented by the elders killing of the Heyfer for the expiation of an unknowne murder, Deut. 21.4. so there must be execution of judgement upon the slaughteters of the Saints. For if the blood of one man, and he a wicked man, unjustly shed, will bring sinne upon an whole Nation, till it be done away by the blood of him that shed it, as we may see Numb. 35.33. How much more will the blood of so many holy Martyrs cruelly slaine for Christs sake. [...]nguilt our Nation; no, assuredly God will cleanse the blood [Page 48]that he hath not cleansed. Now (right Honourable) because you cannot reach the old persecutors, doe justice upon their successors that have revived all their sinnes.

This is of speciall moment to stay a plague; 2 Phinehas executed judgement and the plague was stayed, Numb. 25. Psal. 106.50. Search (saith the Lord) and see if you can find a man in Jerusa­lem that executes [...]ndgement and I will spare it, Jer. 5 10. Josh. 7.25, 26. Hate the evill, love the good, and execute [...]udgement in the ga [...]e; it may be the Lord will be good to the remnant of Joseph, Am [...]s 5.15. This doth (as it were) make the gap up against Gods wrath: Let judgement therefore run downe as waters, and righte­ousnesse as a mighty streame, Amos 5.24. If you wovld not have God execute judgement upon us all (for when men faile to doe it, God at last will doe it) then doe you execute judgement for the Lord.

There be other Uses to be made of this doctrine, that concerne nor selves, that we may be fitted and prepared for such a storme and earth quake and find mercy in it: as,

God having revealed and threatned it we trust beleeve it; [...] I say beleeve it▪ I say againe cordially beleeve it. This I count a point of highest importance; the true and diligent use of all o­ther meanes depending thereupon. This faith will breed feare (for as faith in a promise will breed confidence, so faith in a threatning will breed feare) and feare will put a man upon the strong use of all meanes of prevention of a plague, or of provision against it. The true reason why wicked men doe not feare divine comminations, and so why they forsake not sinne, embrace not Christ, nor use other meanes of escaping, is because they beleeve them not: For were they cordially perswaded of the certainty of the threats of the Word they durst not continue in sinne, and af­front Heaven as they doe: And the reason why they beleeve not the threats of the Word, is the Atheisme of their hearts, making them deny Gods holinesse, justice, &c. to make a slight matter of sinne and of the Word forbidding and threatning sinne; they will beleeve its threatnings when they see them, Isa. 5.19. as we heard before.

I had once thought to have passed by this point, because that whereas the Prudent man hath long agoe foreseene the plague in [Page 49]sinne de [...]erving in the Word denouncing it, and otherwise; the Toole now begins to see it. But I revoked my selfe, and now put it in the [...]ont of these duties, considering that the fools faith comming by sight and sense, if there be no more added to it, ne­ [...]er doth any good. N [...]ab beleeved upon hearing and feared things of which there was [...]o sight to be had as yet, and so using me [...]ns e [...]cap [...]d, Heb. 11.7. whereas the unbeleeving world perished, Gen. [...]. t [...]e like we may see in Lot his sonnes in law and the Sodo­mites, Gen. 19. [...]e [...]shazzer was so farre from beleeving the threats of the God of Israel against Babylon and his promises for delive­ring his people by Cyrus our of the Babylomans hands; which promis [...]s he knew had encouraged Cyrus, as that he did of purpose make an imp [...]o [...]s feast when his City was besieged, in contempt of God profaned the Vessels brought from Jerusalem, praised the Gods of silver and gold, wood and stone, above the true God of Israel (as Daniel accuseth him,) as one who could not save his owne Temple and Vessels out of his Grand-father Nebuchadnez­zar's hands; but whilst he was in the middest of his prophane jollity, suddenly appeares the hand-writing upon the wall against him, that put him into a desperate feare, that night was he slaine, his City taken, his Empire destroyed and ended.

Behold here the terrible effects of this Atheisticall unbeliefe and contempt of the denunciations of the Word. Beleeve we therefore the threats of the Word: To speake the truth, this act of faith in beleeving threats goes before, and that not one­ly in nature, but in time also, the act of beleeving promi­ses. Hee that slights sinne, will slight Christ; he that appre­hends not the severity of God against sinne, set downe in the prohibitions and commnations of the law, will hardly ever, or not at all heartily embrace Christ set forth in the promises of the Gospell.

Be upright in thy generation, and walke with God, 2 thus did Noah and so escaped the floud, Gen. 6.9. & 7.1. Thou shalt en­ter into the Arke (saith God) for thee have I seene righteous be­fore me in this generation. When great stormes were comming upon the world, and all the foure winds were ready to breake out for the ruine of all; the Lord gives speciall charge to the An­gels [Page 50]that had the command of the winds, that they doe not let one puffe or breath goe out to doe the least hurt, till the servants of God were sealed in their fore-heads, Rev. 7.1, 2, 3. &c. God remembers them when he makes up his Jewels, and will spare them as a man spareth his sonne that serveth him, Mal 3.16, 17. Though the tribulation be never so great, yet thy people shall be delivered, saith the Lord to Daniel, even every one that is found written in the Booke, Dan. 12.1. for God will ever preserve a holy Seede of Saints unto himselfe, Isa. 6.13.

A man must be a mourner in Ston, one that laments first his owne sinnes and truly endeavours to forsake them, hen the sinnes of others; the horrible prophanenesse, licenciousnesse, blasphe­mies, idolatries, heresies of the the times; Such an one was Lot, who vexed his righteous soule in seeing and hearing of the sinnes of the Sodomites, 2 Pet. 2.8. and when they perished he was delivered. Thus the Lord causeth one with a vvriters Inke­horne by his side, to set a marke upon the fore-heads of the men that sigh and cry for all the abominations that are done in the middest of Jerusalem when he was about to destroy it, Ezek 9.4. Because Josiahs heart melted when he heard of the severe denunciat [...]ons of God's anger against the Land for the sinnes thereof; therefore had he a speciall promise made him of being ga [...]hered to his fathers in peace, before those judgements should be executed 2 Chron. 34.27 28.

Contest and contend for God, 4 for his pure Word, doctrine of Faith, pure worship and wayes: against the world. He that is for God in a time of publique defection. God will be for him in a time of publique destruction.

Caleb f [...]llowed the Lord fully as it was in his heart, and stood against the ten false Spyes that brought up an ill report upon the land [...]f promise, and against all the people that tooke part with them; and therefore when six hundred thousand of these Mur­murers fell in the wildernesse he onely with Joshuah escaped that storme and entered into the Lords inheritance, Numb. 14.24. Josh. 14.6, 7, 8 &c.

Memorable examples hereof we have in Eliah and Ieremy. In Eliahs dayes the people of Israel forsooke Gods Covenant, [Page 51]threw downe his Al [...]ars, stoned his Pro [...]h [...]s by heapes and hun­dreds: now, did this make him comply with them and fall into the streame? No: he was therefore the more zealous for God, all full or futy and zeale for God, 1 King. 19.10. Well, what be­came o [...] this Eliah if we doe but read 2 K [...]n. 2. we shall finde, that when Ahab was slaine, and his Army destroyed he was sent for up by a fiery hartot into heaven.

Ieremy was a man that stood for God in his time against all men, against the Kings, Princes, Priests Prophets and people of Iudah, they mightily opposed, and maliciously persecuted him; he was even weary of his life; they reviled slatidered him, whipped stock'd, imprisoned him, laid him in fetters and almost starved him; he was brought to that extremity, that sometimes he wished he had in the Wildernesse, a Cottage for way-fa [...] ­ring men, that he might never come among them, that his head were a fountaine of teares, that he might weepe abundant­ly for their pride, &c. Sometimes, that he had never beene borne; he cryes out that he was deceived, and that God had deceived him; for when he was sent to them armed with Gods commission, he thought every one would have stooped to his Message, but he found all contrary; (God often makes use of his Servants and Ministers to such pu [...]poses as they thinke not of) but yet he constantly held it out for God to the end, as his History sheweth. What was the issue? At last, when the City was taken, all the great Princes and Priests shine, and the Nation captivated, the King of Babylons chiefe Captaine takes him out of prison, knockes off his fetters that the Jewes had put upon him, sets him at liberty, offers him his choyce whether he would goe to Babylon, with promise of all kind usage there or stay in the Land of Judah, tells him the whole I and was before him, gives him a reward and so dis­misseth him. Now who but Jeremy? how glad would Zede­kiah the King have beene, if but halfe this kindnesse had beene offered to him? Well, let us remember to practice this duty.

May not a godly man be taken away in a publique calamity? Quest.

The maine thing the Lord aymes at, Answ. 1 is the preservation of the [Page 52]body of the Church, an holy seed, Isa. 6.13. and he writes them that shall escape downe in his booke, Dan. 12.1. For how­ever the Church consists of individuals, yet this, or that, or many singular persons may be taken away, and yet the Church be pre­served.

Every Christian shall be preserved untill he hath finished the worke the Lord hath given him to doe; but when that is done, God may take him off from his station in such a way as he may best glorisie God; yet so as generally there is some marke of mercy upon him, as he is either taken away before, or in the beginning of a storme, as Josiah was, and they, Isa. 57.1. Or Secondly, he sometimes survives it, as Daniel did, who outlived the whole time of the captivity, and long after, and that in mu [...]h honour. Or thirdly, he is taken away in an ordinary manner, as no doubt, many godly ones were during the seventy yeares of the captivity of Babylon, Or fourthly, he is taken away in a way of testimony, as Jeremy; who, as it is reported, was stoned by the Jewes in Aegypt. And so the Disciples and Apostles of our Saviour, who although they had power over Scorpions, Lyons, poyson, du [...]ing the terme of their Testimony; yet at length were taken away, and did glorifie God by violent deaths for their Testimonies sakes. Unto this may be referred the suffe­rings and deaths of the Saints, now under the mercilesse cruelties of the Cavalleeres for Religion's sake. Or fiftly, in propugning the Cause of God, in a generall combustion, which when it is undertaken out of love to the Truth, it is an high honour to a C [...]ristian to lose his life in the quarrell. Usually in such times, God puts glory upon his Saints, and makes their deaths which are precious in his sight to be honourable: But most of all, if they have beene great mourners in Zion, and contesters for him. And if he have further use of them, he doth continue them, yea, and sometimes strengthens their faith with confidence that it shall be so, Psal. 91. However, the godly are but taken out of this vale of teares, and brought to eternall blisse in his Kingdome of glory.

Seeke meekenesse, 3 quietly and humbly to submit to the com­mon calamity when it cometh, Zeph. 2.3. To which purpose it [Page 53]will be available to admit into our tho [...]g [...]ts these considera­tions.

That God is the Author of the calamity; whatsoever evill is done God doth it: That stopped David's mouth, Psal. 39.9. He hath absolute soveraignty over men, he is greater then man; why should we contend with him, for he gives no account of his do [...]gs, Job 33.12, 13. Would it not be a brave sight to see man sitting upon the Bench as a Judge, and God summoned to stand at the Barre as a Delinquent holding up his hand, and man to passe censure and sentence upon his actions, out of his owne shal­low conceptions, and irregular affections?

That God's will is the rule of justice; 2 it is therefore just because he wils it, and does it.

3 He that hath many reasons in the bottomlesse Abisse of his Councels that we see not, we are not able to sound to the bo [...] ­tome of it, nor to fadome his doings; and sometimes they are such as are not fit for us to know.

4 That sinne deserveth worse then any plague or earth-quake God sends upon the world, Ezra 9.13.

That sinne it selfe is the worst of all plagues, 5 and so to be estee­med.

If the heart be thorowly humbled for sinne, 6 it will accept of any outward punishment; see Levit. 26.41. and David's ex­ample, who meekly submitted to the cursing of Shimei, 2 Sam. 16.10 11, 12. he being then in the very act of repentance for his great sins of murder and adultery, which God was even then also actually visiting upon him in the unnaturall rebellion of Abse­lom, according as he had threatned, 2 Sam. 12.11. The man that is thorowly grieved for the idolatry, heresie, prophanenesse, and luke-warmnesse of our times, will thinke any outward e­vill easier then those sinnes, and will be contented to submit to sword, or any other plague, even to the burying of a great part of the Nation under the earth, provided that they may be re­moved.

7 That all outward evils shall turne to the Churches and Saints good in the end, Rom. 8.28. A thing that we now come to shew in the next poynt.

[Page 54] Great and notable restaurations of the Church use often to follow after great ruines and desolations of States and Nations, Doctrine 2 Amos 9.10 11. After the Lord had made a great destruction in the Nation among the sinners, as we see in the verse before; In that day, that is, after that, saith the Lord, I will raise up the ta­bernacle of David, which is fallen, &c. see also Zeph. 3.8, 9, 10, 11 12. Zeph. 13.8 9.

It was so in the land of Canaan, after the stormes of Aegypt and the Wildernesse; and in Judah, after the captivity of Baby­lon, the Lord made his peop [...]e take rooting downwards, and bring forth fruit upwards; it will be so and that more then ever, when the earth-quake shall have shaken downe Antichrists King­dome.

Quest. Wherein shall this great restauration and reformation of the Church consist?

In the fruition and enjoyment of certaine priviledges, Answ. such as the Church hath not at other times, at least not in the like degree.

The Priviledges are of two sorts; Privative and Positive.

1 The Church shall be freed from the inundation of prophane­nesse, with which it hath beene miserably annoyed, leavened and infected before. Such shall be the piety and strictnesse of the go­vernment Ecclesiasticall and Civill, that there shall not enter in­to the Church in any wise, any thing that defileth, Rev. 21.27.

She shall be purged from errors, 2 superstition, idolatry, false and formall worship. It is sufficient to prove it, that we finde no such thing mentioned in the Scriptures that speake of the state of the Church in the last times, besides what hath beene said already, and shall be by and by. During Antichrists reigne, men have beene, and still are so zealous and tenacious of their old mumpsimuses, they can in no wise indure to heare of parting with them; like Micah of mount Ephraim, Judg. 18.23.24. that followed after the Danites, crying and complaining; they turned about, and asked him what he ayled. Ye have taken away my gods (saith he) which I made, and my priest (which he him­selfe had consecrated for a priest) who should have blessed me, and doe you aske me what I ayle? What have I more? I pro­test [Page 55]I had as live you had taken away all that I have. So it is with the men of our generation: from these things shall the Church then be freed.

3 She shall have exemption from oppression and persecution both Civill and Ecclesiasticall; God shall w [...]pe away all teares from the Saints eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sor­row, nor crying, &c. Rev. 21.4. That must needs be ment of the Church in this world, as appeares by the cortext, Then shall the Lyon and the Lambe lye downe and feed together, and the Tygar become tame the Childe shall play with the Aspe and Cockatrice. Isa. 11.6.7. & 65.25. Rev. 7.16.

There be two reasons of these privative priviledges.

The earth-quake going before, 1 shall shake downe these evils and all their supporters, as we have heard; the Beast his Hierar­chy; his hornes, the Kings of the earth that shall defend him to the last. And as the Lord did destroy not onely the heathen Em­pire guilty of so much blood cruelty, and idolatry but would not let so much as that very forme of government to stand; so it is probable, if not more, that all the [...]e dignities that have so des­perately opposed the Scepter of Christ, shall be taken away, Dan. 2.34, 5.44. Rev. 19. from ver. 17. to the end. God will purge out rebels. Ezek. 20.38. that at last none shall dare so much as to speake for false worship, formall worship, &c. Then (and I doubt) not till then, will all these Sects and Divisions have an end.

Sathan shall then be bound and chained up, 2 that he shall not seduce the Nations to idolatry and persecution, as he hath al­wayes before done, Rev. 20.2. He hath beene cast downe before, as Rev. 12.9. but never bound, nor shall be till Antichrist's fall. And so this prevents that which might be objected: though the wicked be taken away with the Earth-quake, yet sinne will re­vive againe. Answ. No: Sathan shall be tyed up from sedu­cing that he cannot play such reakes in the world as before, mans corruption wanting those bellowes to blow it up which did for­me [...]y inflame it.

The positive priviledges of that reformed State are divers.

The first consists in the purity and plenty of the Ordinances of [Page 56]God and meanes of grace, which that Church shall enjoy. Thus R [...]. 11.19. After the [...] the Beasts Kingdome the Taber­ra [...] or Temple of [...] in Heaven in the Church, and the Arke of his [...]. Chr [...] represented by the Arke was before kept hid, and the Temple shut, true preaching forbidden, men were not acquainted with the natures and effects of Christ set forth by the Arke, as now they shall be; the wood of the Arke a [...]pe of Christs humane nature, the gold [...]verlaying it wholly, a type of the divine to which the humane was hypostatically united, the Tables of the law in the Arke set­ting forth the fulfilling of the law in Christ, and in the Saints by union with him and power from him; the Mercy-seat or cover of the Arke representing Christs righteousnesse covering the sinne of man, and the Tables of testimony wherein the curse was contained, so as no curse could be seene. This purity of the meanes is intended in those expressions, Rev. 21. that Gods Ta­bernacle is with men, ver. 3. new Jerusalem hath the glory of God, ver. 10 11. no Temple therein ver. 22. There is no need of any such fixed place as the old Temple was but every where his people should have communion with him in his Ordinances, Joh. 4.21.23. they shall have no need of the Sunne nor Moone, &c. ver. 23. meaning, the spirituall light and glory shall farre exceed all exter­nall; and chap. 22.1, 2. they shall enjoy a pure River of water of life, cleare as chrystall proceeding out of the Throne of God and of the Lamb, the tree of life also with his twelve manner of [...]its, &c.

The second priviledge consists in the multitudes of converts; 2 in Antichrists time but a few Witnesses, two; but an hundred fourty foure thousand sealed ones; a man should not need any great art of Arithmeticke to count them; but now a great mul­titude that no man could number, Rev. 7.9. then shall those promises in their height be fulfilled, the Church shall wonder at her owne fruitfulnesse, and aske who begat her those Children, see­ing she had lost so many, being life alone, that is, a Widow, with­out any earthly protector, Isa. 49.18, 19, 20 21, &c. Yea, her children shall aske her more roome to dwell in, ibid. Shee is bidden to lengthen and enlarge the place of her tent, &c. and promised [Page 57]that shee, though a Widow, shall breake out on the right hand and on the left, and abound in Children, for her maker is her hus­band, &c. Isa. 54.1, 2, 3, 4, 5. The Children proceeding from the wombe of the Church, shall be like the dew of the morning lying thick upon the ground, Psal. 110.3. Christ's flock shall not then be a little flock compared with the times which were before the Devill was bound.

In the excellency of the converts. 3 Where the Sunne shines most clearly, it heats most fervently: The City of the new Je­rusalem hath a light like unto a stone most precious, even like a Jasper-stone, cleare as Chrystall, it is of pure gold, Rev. 21.18. God is in it, dwels with his people, he and the Lamb are the light of is, Rev. 21.3.22. in this and other respects it is named, the Lord is there, Ez [...]k. 48.35. the people of it shall be all righteous, Isa. 60.21. What an admirable Reformation was that which follow­ed the storme in the Wildernesse, when all Israel, both the ten Tribes, and the two of Gad and Ruben, and the halfe Tribe of Manasseh abhorred the thoughts of idolatry, Iosh. 22. the Lord God of Gods, the Lord God of Gods, he knowes, and Israel he shall know (say the two Tribes and an halfe to the ten, being accused of an intention to revolt from God) if it be in rebellion, or if in transgression against the Lord (save us not this day) that we have built us an Altar to turne from following the Lord, &c. let the Lord himselfe require it, Iosh. 22.22, 23. Much more shall the Reformation be excellent in the last ages, wherein it is promised that there shall be new heavens and new earth (new Church and new Common-wealth) wherein righteousnesse shall dwell, 2 Pet. 3.13.

In the amplitude and extent of the Church, 4 before it was sometimes contained within the narrow bounds of Jury, after­wards the Nations of the Gentiles had it successively; first, the easterne Nations, then the westerne, &c. But now the Church shall be generally, if not universally spread over all the world. The Kingdomes of the world (that is, all the Kingdomes of the world) shall become the Kingdomes of our Lord, and of his Christ, Revel. 11.15. And so when the judgement hath sate, and the Beasts Kingdome is consumed to the end; then, and not [Page 58]before then, the Kingdome, Dominion, and the greatnesse of the Kingdome under the whole heaven, (it seemes to be spoken with­out all hyperbole) shall be given to the people of the Saints of the most high, Dan. 7.26.27. When the stone; that is, the King­dome of Christ, hath smitten the Image upon the feet, and bro­ken them to pieces, it selfe shall become a great Mountaine and fill the whole earth, Dan. 2.35. Then shall all Nations rejoyce in Christ, Psal. 67.2, 3, 4. then a great multitude (not of a few but) of all Nations, and Kindreds, and Peoples, and Tongues, shall stand before the Throne, and before the Lambe, praising God, Rav. 7.9. Nations shall be borne in a day, Isa. 66.8. All Nations shall serve him. Dan. 7. ult.

In the excellency of the government, 5 Christ shall then take to himselfe his great power and reigne, Rev. 11.17. and the Saints under him: The Saints of the most high shall take the Kingdome and possesse it for ever, even for ever and ever, age after age for many ages, Dan. 7.18.27. they shall reigne on the earth, Rev. 5. to & 20.4.6. a thousand yeares. They shall then indeed be the head, and the wicked the taile. Many tough and tedious disputes about government, which exercise the Church now, may haply be of small use in that Reformation.

It is to consist in the affluence and confluence, 6 both of spiritu­all and externall prosperity; for the Lord having humbled and broken his by the earthquake, may now trust them: The Church hath been before like an homely huswife, or like a poore woman living in a cave, having scarce a rag to cover her nakednesse, and bringing up her Children very hardly; whereas Antichrists Strumpet in the meane while hath beene gorgeously attired in Purple, with gold and precious-stones, and pearles; but now the Church shall be like a bride adorned for her husband, Rev. 21.2. Now her peace shall be as the Rivers, the Kings of the earth shall bring their glory and honour to her, Rev. 21.24.26.

Wait for it and hasten it by faith and prayer, Use. unbeliefe doth a world of mischiefe: Our Saviour could not doe many mighty workes in his owne Country because of their unbeliefe, Mat. 13.58. see also. chap. 17.16, 17, 20. How it hindred the healing of the Lunatick! the old Israelites for unbeleefe were debar­red [Page 59]from entering into the Land of Promise, Heb. 3.19. It hindered the building of the second Temple, for it is remark­able, that whilest the Jewes gave over the worke upon the com­plaints of their adversaries, and the inhibitions of the Persian Kings, unto whom they were then subject, it never prospered; but when they hearkned to the Prophets Haggai and Zecha­ry, and beleeved the promises which they brought from God, they went on thoroughly, and perfected the worke; the Persian King Darius Nothus (though the adversaries afresh complained) consenting, who also forbad their adversaries to hinder them, upon their greatest poenalties; yea, commanded them with all possible diligence to further the Jewes in the worke. God who hath the hearts of Kings in his hand, so framing that Kings heart that he entreated the Iewes to pray for his life, and the life of his Sonnes. He had lost one or two before, and now feared he should lose the rest, Ezra 6. and this was almost six score yeares after they had laid the first foundation; for in divers Kings reignes they were absolutely hindred, Ezra 4. and were at times, six and fourty yeares (as it seemes) in building it, Iohn 2.20.

I shall never see this Reformation. Quest.

Thou canst not certainly tell; Answ. 1 the eye sees the Sunne (I doubt not) that shall see the beginning thereof.

Seeing thou wilt buy houses and lands, yea, 2 reversions which thou never lookest to enjoy thy selfe, for thine heires; forward this for their sakes to come, that the little ones may goe in and see that good land, &c.

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, 3 it breeds such an apprehension of things promised and to come, as gives com­fort and confidence concerning them, as we may behold in Abraham, who rejoyced to see the day of Christ so many hundred yeares before it came, Iohn 8.56. and in the old Saints, Hebr. 11.13.40. who beleeving in him to come were saved. Thou maist by the tastes of these clusters of Grapes, set before thee in the former Priviledges, discerne what a good Land it is. Thou mayest by them as from off the top of Mount Pisgah, behold it with thine eyes, and [Page 60]view the Land round about: The beleeving praeapprehensi­on of these things will give a sweet fruition of them in mea­sure before hand unto the godly.

Lastly, 4 beleeve and wait, and though thou misse thy part in the new Ierusalem here on earth, yet shalt thou certain­ly be a Sharer in that Ierusalem which is eternall in the Hea­vens.


A passage or two pretermitted.

1 The westerne Roman Empire was the [...], or that which did let the appearing of Antichrist, which when it was ta­ken away then was the man of sinne revealed, 2 Thes. 2.6, 7, 8. This belongs to the first Indice, spoken of in the fourth Signe.

2. The two Witnesses include all those that did sustaine the Cause of Christ against Antichrist and his Gentiles; for the Text di­vides all within the visible Church during Antichrist's reigne, into two ranks and no more, viz. two Witnesses or Prophets (the same are called worshippers) and Gentiles, Rev. 11.1, 2, 3.

3. The 1260. dayes of the Witnesses, and the 42. months of the Beast, begin and end together: For else Christ should have none to be for him during some part of Antichrist's reigne. (For none are for him but the Witnesses) Besides, the Church was to be all that time in the Wildernesse, for which provision is made, Rev. 12.6.14.


Page 1. line 9. read ranne. l. 10. r. houses, p. 2. l. 12. r. Ezra 3. p. 3. l. 7. r. hieroglyphicall. p. 6. l. 9. r. Tabernacle. p. 13. l. 9. r. penitent. p. 36. l. 19. r. [...] p. 41. l. 6. r. learned. Curteous Reader; if there be any more verball or li­terall mistakes (as I doubt there are many) pardon the Printers over-sight, and correct them with thy Pen.

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