A SERMON PREACHED Before the Honourable House of COMMONS, At their Publique FAST, Novemb. 29. 1643.

BY VVILLIAM BRIDGE, sometimes Fellow of Emanuel Colledge in Cambridge, now Preacher of Gods Word at Yarmouth.

REVEL. 16. 15. Behold I come as a theef, blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments lest he walke naked, and they see his shame.


TO THE HONORABLE THE KNIGHTS, Citizens, and Burgesses of the Commons House of Parliament.

Right worthy Senators,

ACcording unto your command I have present­ed these notes unto your hands & the worlds view; give me leave withall to present my humble thankfulnes, for your unwearied labour of love to these three Kingdoms, and in them unto all the Churches of Christ: for as once the Poles Ambassador said in regard of the Turk, Per latus Poloniae petunt Europam, I may say in regard of your and our enemies, through the sides of England, Scotland and Ireland, they strike at all that i [...] truely called Christen­dome, your wisdome therefore doth well to make good these passages.

It is true indeed your work is, 1. great, but it is for the Sicut calere contra frigi­dum hoc est re­pugnare frig [...] ­do, virtutis est▪ atque vigoris, sic amare [...]t appet [...]re▪ insua­v [...] siv [...] molestum, &c. Paris. de fide. great God, and Solomon saith, The house that I build is great, for great is our God, 2 Chron. 2. 5. Shall not we do great things for him who hath done and suffered great things for us, and by us?

2. Your worke is clogged with many difficulties; but if it were not so, how should the strength of your love appeare either to your God, or to your Country? a man may be said to [Page] love the truth before the winde of opposition riseth, but he cannot be said to hold it fast or cleave unto it till he meets with some that would take it from him, Deut. 13. 1, 2, 3, 4. Difficulty doth commend duty; there was a stone rolled upon Christs grave, And there is a difficulty rolled upon every truth or way of God, which through the evil of the times hath been buried; But when you come to the graves mouth, the place where you think to meet with most diffi­cultie, Operum diffi­cultates coelo­tum saa [...]tates consequuntu [...]. there, and then, the stone shall be rolled away. The more difficulty in doing, the more sweetnes in the work done.

3. Your work is berounded with many dangers, but the Nec menda [...]ii utilitas est diuturna, nec veritatis damnum diu nocet. neglect of it is more dangerous, and the frown of a Prince may sometimes stand with the favour of God; neither shall flattery alwayes hold in credit, nor truth ever continue in disgrace.

4. Your work is reproached sometimes, and calumni­ated by divers adversaries; But as Seneca said to his friend (male de te loquuntur homines, sed mali) so Cur respondet Sacerdoti, sed Peninnae non respondeat Anna? quia Peninna [...]rat persona priva­ta, sacerdos autem publica: item Peninna loquebatur ex odio, sacerdos ex zelo: unde allud negligen­dum e [...]at, ille instruendus. Mend. in Sam. may I say to you, Men speak evil of you, but they are evil men, and it may be, yea tis likely, God will heare the language of your Peninnahs, & make you the more fruit­full, especially you doing as Hanna did, who though she was willing to answer to the charge of Eli, because he did speak from Zeale, yet she would not answer the reproach of Pe­ninnah, because she spake from hatred. Surely Malig­nants clamours are best answered when neglected. Tutius aliquando agit qui calumnias non exaudit; Jesus Christ was eclipsed, that Gods servants might shine.

5. Your work also is or may be disadvantagious unto [Page] your own particular interests, your publike imployments cannot but hinder your private affaires, yet be pleased to remember Moses and Joshua, who were men of great service in their generation, having as full an opportunity to have made themselves rich as ever men had, yet we do not read of any great lot they shared out to themselves or their posterity: You are now employed upon Gods service, As for your own private affaires, if you afford them some Reliques of your love, and so much onely as the publike Toleramus po­tius praesentia quam diliga­m [...]. Aug. leaves, it is enough; for what is too cold for God, is hot enough for the world; yet as the baggage unto an Army, so are things temporall to spirituall, and personall estates to publike employments.

And in the throng of all your discouragements, be plea­sed also to remember how good, how honourable, how suc­cessefull your service is and will be.

Tis good, first, in regard of the State; for you are now in travail for your Countries liberty, which though it may stick some time in the birth, and a dragon stand before you to devoure it before it is borne, yet in due time it shal be brought forth, and we shall not onely be liberati, but [...] Qui diruit ma­ceriam, eum mordebit ser­pens: qui legum constitutiones impingit, non feret impune; qui Religionis sacra violat, non erit a poe­na immunis. Drusius pro­verb. liberi. The Hebrews have a Proverb which they have borrowed of Solomon, That Whoso breaketh down the [...]edge, shall be bitten with serpents. The hedges of the State or Church are the Laws, (as Drusius inter­prets it) or the Ordinances thereof: Those enemies of yours or ours, that have or would tread down our hedges even to the ground, shall not ever goe unpunished. When the hedge is lowest, the serpent is nearest.

2. Good in regard of the Churches; for through your paines and labour of love, those swelling parts (I had al­most said wens) which engrossed all the outward nutri­ment [Page] unto themselves, (the direfull presage of a peoples [...] in corpore humano (cui [...] in [...] epi­stolarum sua­rum pas [...]bu [...] compa [...]a [...]) quod si nut [...]imentum luit ad unum membrum, ita ut [...]no [...]miter in­grossetur & al [...]a [...] attenuatione demacerentur nonpotest [...]; sicin c [...]rpore Eccles. si supe [...]iore [...] fiant ita graves attractione substantiae quod in [...]res vix possunt pra inopia se sustinere, hoc est signum [...]am prop [...]nquae ruinae. Gersom. death and ruine, saith Gersom) are either taken off, or made more proportionable.

2. Your service is very honorable; for what greater honour, then under Iesus Christ, to be your Countries sa­viours, and your Lords servants? Vpon Moses death it was said, Moses the servant of the Lord is dead; not Moses the Prince of the people, but the servant of the Lord: So Psalme 18. in the Title of the Psalme it is said, A Psalme of David the servant of the Lord; not a Psalme of David the Anointed King of Israel; but as if it were more honour to be Gods servant, then Israels King, tis said the servant of the Lord: such honour have all our Worthies.

3. Your service is and will be most successefull; tis truth you stand for; And though the truth may labour, (as Hie­romVeritas labora­re potest, vinci non potest. Hier. Quid enim [...] lo inexpugna­bilius? v [...]ritas arcem in coel [...] collocavit. Ps. 119. Mend. speakes) it cannot be overcome; For what (saith Mendoza) is more impregnable then the Heavens? and Truth hath built it selfe a towre there. Thy word, O Lord, is setled in the Heavens, Psal. 119. Wherefore worthy Sirs, as heretofore, so now much more be alwayes abounding in the worke of the Lord, in due time you shall reape if you faint not. If you want money to carry on your (yet not your, but Gods) publique Designe, remember what was promised unto Cyrus, who in regard of re-building the Temple, was to doe your worke in the type: I willEsay 45. 2, 3. goe before thee, saith God, and make the crooked places streight; I will breake in pieces the Gates [Page] of brasse, and cut in sunder the barres of iron, and will give thee the treasures of darknesse, and hidden riches of secret places. And doth not your owne expe­rience tell you, thus, even thus hath our God dealt by us? for the treasures of darkenesse, and hidden riches of secret places have beene brought forth unto us; Gold and silver that hath not seene the light for many yeares before: God is the same God still, and his promise, which is your Mint, the same.

If you want outward strength and power, then remem­ber how often when the Iews were to build the Temple, and therein to meet with enemies; the Lord inculcates that his Attribute upon them, The Lord of Hosts, (Thus saith the Lord of Hosts) thrice in one verse, Zach. 15. 3. and five times in foure short verses, Hag. 2. Silver is mine, and gold is mine, saith the Lord of Hosts; I will fill this house with my glory, saith the Lord of Hosts, &c.

And if you finde not the hearts of the people comming up alwayes to your forwardnesse, then your wisdome know­eth how to improve the heates of their hearts while they last; all things you know are easie and beautifull in their season; And because men know not time and judge­ment [...] therefore their misery is great upon them.

But above all things let your eye be upon that most which Gods eye is most upon, Truth, Reformation, and pure Re­ligion; State-hypocrites desire truth for peace sake, god­ly States-men desire peace for truths sake; warre is for peace, but peace for truth: Wherefore that I may serve you herein, I take the boldnesse to lay these few lines be­fore you.

The Sermon calleth for exactnesse of Reformation; if I [Page] have not beene exact whilst I have called for exactnesse, your goodnesse knoweth as well how to connive at what is mine, as to embrace what is God. Goe on right worthy Patriots, still to defend your Countrey, to contend for truth, to be willing to lose and be lost for Christ; whilst I live I shall live praying for you, and when I dye I hope I shal dye praising God for you.

Your humble servant in the Gospell of Iesus Christ, WILLIAM BRIDGE.

Die Mercurii 29. November. 1643.

IT is this day Ordered by the Commons assem­bled in Parliament, that Sir Robert Harley doe give thanks unto M. Bridge, for the great paines he tooke in the Sermon he preached this da [...] (at the intreaty of the Commons) at S. Margarets Westm. it being the day of publique Humiliation, and to desire him to print his Sermon.

H. Elsyng Cler. Parl. D Com.

A SERMON Preached at the Late Fast, before the Honourable House of COMMONS.

ZECHARIAH, CHAP. 2. VER. 18, 19, 20, 21. And CHAP. 2. VER. 1.‘18. Then lift I up mine eyes, and saw, and behold foure borns.‘19. And I said unto the Angel that talked with me, What be these? And he answered me, These are the horns which have scattered Iudah, Israel, and Ierusalem.‘20. And the Lord shewed me foure carpenters.‘21. Then said I, What come these to doe? and he spake, saying, These are the horns which have scattered Iudah, so that no man did lift up his head: but these are come to fray them, to cast out the hornes of the Gentiles, which lift up their horne over the land of Iudah to scatter it.‘1. I lift up mine eyes againe, and looked, and behold, a man with a measuring line in his hand.

ALthough according to our English Translation these words are parts of severall Chapters, yet in many He­brew Copies the second Chapter be­gins where my Text doth, and they have such connexion that I may not part them.

Three things there are which this Age of ours hath brought forth: Malignant enemies: Spe­ciall instruments of their ruine: And great endeavours for Reformation. Accordingly here are three Visions; A Vision [Page 2] of foure hornes, ver. 18, 19. A Vision of foure carpenters, ver. 20, 21. A Vision of a man with a measuring line in his hand, Chap. 2. ver. 1. Every Vision hath its

  • Narration,
  • and
  • Explication.

The Narration of the first Vision at the 18. verse, I saw, and behold foure hornes. The Explication in the 19. These are the hornes which have scattered Iudah, Israel, and Ierusa­lem. So that

1. You have the description of the Churches enemies, un­der the vision of foure hornes; who are here described, 1. From their number or multitude, they are foure hornes, according to the foure parts of the world; Quatuor cornua sunt quatuor mundi partes. 2. From their power & strength; the horn is a word that in Scripture phrase doth note strength; He hath raised up a horne of salvation for us, Luke 1. 69. that is, strong and powerfull salvation. 3. From their mischie­vous and malignant practice, They scattered Iudah, Israel, and Ierusalem.

2. In the second Vision you have the description of those speciall instruments that are raised up for their destruction, under the similitude of foure carpenters, or four smiths; who are here described, 1. From their number, foure: And 2. From their work, which is to scatter the hornes, and to cast out the Gentiles.

3. Then commeth in the third Vision, the endeavours for Reformation, under the similitude of a man with a meas [...]ring line in his hand; which is described two wayes: 1. From the instrument thereof, a man, or as in the Hebrew, an ex­cellent [...] man, explained to be Zerubbabel their Governour, Chap. 4. 10. 2. From the exactnesse thereof, he d [...]th work by line, I saw a man with a measuring line in his hand.

Give me l [...]ave to open the words, and draw out some short Observations upon them before I come to the maine truths.

VERSE 18. Then lift I up mine eyes, and saw.] That is, I [Page 3] stirred and rowsed up my self with all intensenes to receive this vision. Heavenly relations are not to be obtained in a drowsy and sleepy way.

And behold foure hornes, that is, enemies from all parts of the world, and especially those foure Monarchies who have all in their course and turne been vexatious to the people of God. It is no new thing for the Saints and Churches to be pushed, gored, scattered by cruell and beastly enemies. Yea the Churches may be so afflicted with enemies, that a man shall not know whither to fly for safety; for in every part of the world there shall be some opposers; I saw foure hornes, misery, and calamity, and persecution arising out of every part.

VERSE 19. And I said to the Angel that talked with me, &c. This Angel by Interpreters is said to be Christ him­self, the Angel of the Covenant, who is the best Interpreter of Heavenly visions and of hard Scriptures; When we under­stand them not, we should search, make enquiry and go to Christ, saying as Zechariah here, What are these, Lord?

And he answered me, these are the hornes which have scat­tered Iudah, Israel and Ierusalem.] The enemies of the Churches are not said here to have wounded, or killed Iudah, Israel, or Ierusalem, but ventilarunt, they have tossed them up [...] as it were into the aire, they have scattered, saith the English. It is the proper work of the enemies of the Churches to scat­ter Gods people. The Disciples of Christ are commanded to be without hornes, Be wise as Serpents, and innocent as Doves, the word in the Greek is without hornes as Doves; [...]. but here the enemies are said to sccatter Iudah, Israel and Ie­rusalem, that is their work and property.

VER. 20. And the Lord shewed me foure Carpenters.] The word is [...], that is, such Agents and Instruments as do [...] fabri­cavit. work with art, counsell and deliberation. Though the ene­mies of the Churches be unreasonable and cruell as horned beasts, yet the instruments that God rayseth up to suppresse them are full of humanity, wisdome and counsell; and they are foure too, a proportionable strength.

VER. 21. Then said I, What come these to do? And he spake saying, These are come to fray them away, and to cast out the hornes of the Gentiles. Look how they dealt by Gods peo­ple, so God will deale by them; they scattered Israel, and the God of Israel will raise up instruments that shall scatter them; they cast out Gods people, and they shall be cast out. Scattering enemies shal be scattered themselves at last.

CHAP. 2. VER. 1. I lift up mine eyes again.] Here is another vision brought to the same purpose, in generall, to up­hold and comfort the distressed s [...]rvants of God. When the the condition of the Saints is low and their fear [...]s great, there is need of repeating comforts; Then visions, promises and consolations must be oft repeated, I lift up mine eyes again.

And I looked, and behold a man with a measuring line in his hand; That is, for to build exactly. The second verse tells us it was for to measure Jerusalem, which cannot barely be understood litt [...]rally, for ver. 16. of Chap. 1. It is said, I am re­turned to Ierusalem with mercies, saith the Lord, my house shall be built in it, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Ierusalem, &c. which promise in its latitude was never yet fulfilled litterally, but it is to be understood of the New Jerusalem especially, mentioned in Revel. 21. Where we find a man also at this measuring work. So that we may yet say, though the afflictions of the Churches be very great, and their deso­lations many, yet if a man will lift up his eyes and stirre up himself, he may and shall behold a man with a measuring line in his hand. And thus you see that there is [...]ardly a word of these three visions, but affordeth some speciall instruction. But because I have not time for all, I shall especially close with those three Doctrines, that are especially held forth in these three visions. Thus.

1. In that here are four hornes that appeare, first, you may Doct. 1 observe this, That when God intendeth good and salvation to his Churches, he doth first suff [...]r many potent, malicious enemies to rise against them.

2. In that these foure Carpenters do appeare immediatly 2 after these foure hornes, as it were in the same vision, you may [Page 5] observe, That though God do suffer the enemies of his Churches and people to be exceeding strong, many and most mischievous, yet he will raise up an answerable strength a­gainst them; Foure Carpenters against foure hornes, which shall fray them away, and deale by them as they have done by others.

3. In that the man with a measuring line doth immediat­ly 3 follow upon these, you may observe, that when God shall please to raise up speciall instruments to suppresse the Churches enemies, then and then especially Reformation is to be much endeavoured, which is to be done with exactnes, even by Line.

I begin with the former vision of the foure hornes, and the Doct. 1 first Doctrine, namely, that when God intendeth any great good and salvation to his people, he doth first suffer malignant, potent, and many [...]nemies to rise against them. Was it not so with Israel wh [...]n God intended to bring them out of Egypt? Then their Taskemasters arose and doubled their work, and were more inimicitious to them then formerly. Was it not thus with the Jewes when God brought them out of Babylon to build the Temple? opposition they met withall in their remove, in their journey, and all along in their Temple-work. Was it not thus with the Israelit [...]s when they went to execute justice upon that malignant Tribe of Benjamin for the great sin of Gibeah? If you look into the 20. of Iudges, you shall find that before Benjamin was puni­shed they got two great victories upon Israel; Israel (if you count the numbers of their souldiers) w [...]re twelve to one; Israel had the best cause, and their work was good, they went forth to do just [...]ce on that delinquent Tribe; yet if you consult the story, the Tribe of Benjamin first slew of them down to the ground forty thousand m [...]n. This is Gods way still; He seldome or never destroyeth his enemies but out of Zeale; The Zeale of the Lord of Hosts hath done this, saith the Prophet: Now Zeale is nothing else but anger­ed love; and three things there are in the world that God doth love especially, His people, His truth, and His worship; [Page 6] When the enemies prevaile they spoile his people, they defile his worship, they scorne his truth, so his love is angred, his Zeale is stirred, and then his enemies are confounded.

But what reason is there why God should suffer his pre­cious Quest. servants and people to be thus handled, oppressed, go­red, scattered by cruell enemies?

Good reason for it. Totidem inimici, totidem paedagogi: Answ. so many enemies, so many school-masters. Make plain my way before me (saith the Psalmist) because of mine enemies; but in the Hebrew it is, because of mine observers; our ene­mies [...] Inimicus q [...]asi obser [...]a­tor dictus, quod semper obser [...]et et contempletur quibus malefa­cial. Buxtor [...]. are our observers, and their observation is our preserva­tion. As a mans best friend sometimes doth him more hurt then his worst enemy, so his worst enemie doth him more good then his best friend. Now suppose (saith Salmeron) that a man were in great want and need of money, and his friend should throw him a bag of gold, though in his catch­ing of it he might hurt his hands or head, yet when he hathMagna Dei mi­se [...]cordia in flag ello tempo­rall: ut si quis c [...]umenam g [...]a­vem & au [...]o onustam ex [...]di­to loco in caput cu [...]usdam p [...]o d [...]ito aliq [...]o in carce [...]om de­tenti proj [...]eret & dolorem ali­quem ei in­fe [...]et, & [...]um [...] ­rem capi [...]s ex­c [...]taret, & u­n [...]m vel alte­ram g [...]ttulam sang [...] [...] cl [...]ct, ille quidem [...]ei ignarus moleste serret in principio, & vicem suam magn [...]p [...] dole [...]et quod afflicto afflictio adde [...]etur; verum si paulo post animo [...]am tranquill [...] a l [...]xu [...] [...]culos suos convertet, & c [...]umenam multo auro refectam depre­hendat, quo possit debita sua persolvere, & q [...]od supe est ad vitam [...]t anquilie placideque traducendam suffi [...]e, p [...]osecto de ill ato tantillo vul [...]ere n [...]lla esset amplius querimonia vel memo [...]a, imo se [...]ta congratulat [...]o: Ad eundem mod [...]m de Christi flagellis consideran­dam. Salmer. de miracul. in J [...]an. 3. * Honor est testimonium de alicujus excellentia. Aqu. taken out the gold, he loves his friend never the lesse. There is no persecution but brings a bag of gold to Gods people; though it may somewhat hurt them in falling upon them, yet when they have picked out the gold thereof, they will love God the more.

L [...]t me instance.

1. Hereby they are occasioned to honour God, which is the end of their life and the comfort of their soule: for what is honour, but as H [...]nor est testimonium de alicujus excellentia. Aqu. Aquinas speaks, a testimony of anothers excellency? the more I testifie of any excellency in any truth or way of Gods, the more I honour him; and in times of persecution the Saints of God doe thus testifie of him.

2. Hereby the children of God are weaned from the world, [Page 7] and made to hie them home to their fathers house.

3. Hereby they are made more usefull in their places, and beneficiall unto their enemies; for therefore our enemies doe us so much hurt, because we doe them no more good.

4. Hereby they carry the truths of God and Christ into other parts; the enemy intendeth to scatter their persons, but God intendeth to scatter his truths.

5. Hereby the children of God receive a fuller and clearer testimony of their own graces. When the world frowns most, God smiles most upon them. When the enemie gives the loudest testimonie of their hypocrisie, God from heaven doth give the highest testimony of their sincerity to their bosomes.

6. Hereby the enemies themselves are more convinced. Some men snore so loud in their sleep, that they awake them­selves with their owne snortings; and some mens sinnes are so loud and unreasonable, that they convince themselves and others by their owne unreasonable dealing with the people of God. Master Fox tels of one in Queene Maries time, that had so basely and maliciously used that s [...]rvant of God Iames Abbes, that when that good man Iames Abbes was dead, the remembrance of this Martyrs patience and his owne un­reasonablenesse, made the Persecutor cry out and say, Iames Abbes is saved, and I am damned, and so he went wringing his hands to his grave, crying, Iames Abbes is saved and I am damned, Iames Abbes is saved and I am damned. It is recor­ded also of one Calocerius, that when he saw the malignancy of the enemies, and patience of the Martyrs, he cryed out and said, Of a truth great is the God of the Christians. And whatVere magnus Deus Christia­n [...]rum. can a Christian desire more? Is not Gods truth better then my house?

7. Hereby also the Saints are kept from and cured of di­visions among themselves. Cyprian meditating of the seve­rall causes that brought those sad and heavy persecutions in the primitive times, reckoneth up this for one, their owne divisions, wherefore God was fame to let out the dog upon the sheepe, that the sheepe might run together. Our punish­ments [Page 8] oftentimes weare the names of our sins in their fore­heads: And if ever, then now; God doth punish our divisi­ons with divisions; But it is to cure our divisions. He points to our sin by our punishment, that in our punishment wee may becured of sin.

8. Hereby also the servants of God may see and know by experience, that it is better to serve God then men. When [...] we worship God after and for the precepts of men, we doe rather worship men then God, and serve them then him; And when his servants do so, th [...]n God suffers men to rise up against them, that they may learne in a smarting way, as wel as they have done in a sinning way, what it is to serve men. This cause you have expressed, 2 Chron. 12. 7, 8. And when the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah, saying, They have humbled them­selves, therefore I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance, and my wrath shall not be poured out by the hand of Shishak; Neverthelesse they shall be his servants, that they may know my service and the service of the Kingdomes of the Countries.

9. Hereby againe the servants of God learne the right use of the rod, both in Church and State: Sometime it so falleth out that Justice is not executed in a Kingdome, and Disci­pline not exercised in a Church; Well then saith God, seeing that you will not take the rod into your hand, I will take it into mine owne, but it shall be in such a manner as shall make all your hearts to ake. In the second and third Chap­ters of the Revelation, you know there are seven Epistles written to the seven Churches, and there is none of all the Churches but are threatned with one affliction, calamity or another, save onely that of Philadelphia; and if you marke it, you shall finde that onely that Church had the keyes right­ly used and handled. And you shall finde this also in all Gods dealings both with States and Churches: Let a State or Kingdome be never so wicked, yet if Justice be executed there is hope thereof; Let a Church be never so defiled, yet if Discipline be exercised, there is hope of that: But if a King­dome [Page 9] where there is no Justice, or a Church where there is no Discipline, nor in tendentia to it, then the Lord himselfe ariseth and saith; W [...]ll, because you will not take this rod in­to your hand, I will, and I will raise up enemies against you that shall doe the same to you, that you should have done to them. Good reason therefore, yea infinitely good reason, that God should sometimes suffer his owne people to bee pushed, gored, scattered, by cruell and bloody enemies that are most unreasonable.

Wherefore then let no man be stumbled or offend­edApplication. at Gods present proceedings in the world, or in this Kingdome, though very mysterious. Our Saviour sayes, These things I tell ye before, that when they come to passe, ye may not be offended; and whatsoever is now come to passe among us, Christ hath told us of it before; yea this Scripture. Yet, good Lord, how many are there that are offended! Oh, sayes one, we looked for reformation, and we meet with confusion; for light, and we meete with darkenes; we looked that Jesus Christ should at this time have restored his Kingdom to the Churches; for friends, and we meete with enemies; Can God love us, and suffer such enemies to rise against us? Were there ever any enemies that were like to ours? so potent, so cruell, so many, so blasphemous, so hellish, &c.

But who art thou, oh man, that speakest thus long with­out book under the command of unbeliefe, and darknest knowledge? Shouldst thou not rather write so and such over thy sins, then over thine afflictions? You say, had ever any of Gods people such enemies as we? so cruell, so many, so vile, &c? You should rather say, Come, O my soul, did ever any commit such sins as I do? so frequently, so knowingly, so deli­berately, so incorrigibly, so scandalously? Why do you not ra­ther write the So upon your sins, then upon your sorrowes? Thus did Eusebius Neiremburgius, aggravating his own sins, oh saith he, never any sinned so as I have done, the Devil sinned indeed, but Christ never died for him as he hath done for me; Iudas sinned indeed, but he was never pardoned as I have beene; Achan sinned indeed and troubled the kingdom, but [Page 12] enemies you know there are by whom you are most molested,

  • Flesh
  • Devil
  • World

First, the Flesh brings forth three great evils. 1. Ignorance in the understanding; In opposition to that Jesus Christ is called our Prophet. 2. Rebellion in the will; In opposition to that Jesus Christ is called our King. 3. Guiltines that ariseth from ignorance and rebellion; In opposition to that Jesus Christ is called our Priest.

The Devil our second enemy is armed with all weapons of hostility against us; therefore there are severall names given to him. He is said 1. to be the strong man, [...], when the strong man keepeth the house, &c. In opposition to that Jesus Christ is called [...] stronger then he. 2. TheLuke 11. 21. Devill is called the Accuser of the brethren; In opposition to that Jesus Christ is called our Advocate. 3. The Devil is called Apollyon, destroyer; In opposion to that Jesus Christ is called our Saviour. 4. The Devil is called the old Serpent; In opposition to that Jesus Christ is called the brazen Serpent. 5. The Devil is called a roaring Lion; in op­positionIste leo ob seri­tatem, Christus ob fortitudinem Christus l [...]o ad vincendum, di­abolus ad no­condum. Aug. to that Jesus Christ is called a Lion of the Tribe of Iudah. 6. The Devil is called the god of this world, the prince of the ayre; In opposition to that Jesus Christ is called the Prince of Peace, the mighty God. Thus what ever termes or titles of strength and power there is in Satan, there is some­what in Jesus Christ that answereth, yea that over-answer­eth all.

And for our third enemy, the world, you cannot have a more full description of its power then as it is presented to you Revel. 13. 1. I saw a Beast arising out of the Sea having seven heads and ten hornes. Our Text speakes but of foure hornes, and here are ten; yet if you look into the 5. Revel. you shall find an answerable strength in Christ, who is de­scribed to be a Lambe having seven hornes, seven rather then ten being the number of perfection in Scripture. But if you think that seven is not enough to equalize the ten, you find [Page 13] also in Habak. 3. ver. 4. that the Lord our God is said to have hornes in his hand, because all the works of his hand are done in strength and power. So that what ever your enemies are, there is strength enough in Jesus Christ to subdue their strength.

And why is Christ thus furnished, but for his Church and people? He is the Lord Keeper of all our comforts, the LordChristus com­ [...] thesa [...] ­ [...]. Luth. Treasurer of all our graces, and the great Magazine of all our Ammunition. He was anointed that he might anoint; he was sanctifyed that he might sanctifie; he received of the Father that he might give unto you, unto you I say and unto all the Churches. He is the Head of His Church, and there­fore as Luther observeth well, though every member is sensi­bleSen [...]s sub [...] ­o [...] & [...] est in capite quam in reliqui [...] membris corpo­r [...]: hoc experi­entia [...]idemus, nam laeso digi­tu [...]o aut ali [...] minima corpo­ris parte laesa, statim caput in vultu prodit s [...]se hoc sentire; nasus enim con­trabitu [...], oculi torvum vident: si [...] Christus ca­put nostrum af­flictiones no­st [...]as suas facit & ut in capite omnes sensus, &c. Luth. of wrong and hurt done to another member, yet the head is much more sensible then all the members, for the head is the se [...]te and habitation of all the senses; the hand may touch, but it cannot see; the foot may feel, but it cannot heare or tast; the head sees, and f [...]ls, and heares, and tasts, and smels; so sayes he, it is with Christ our Head, in whom all the senses dwell, and therefore infinitely more sensible of the Churches misery then any other member in all the world; and sensible he cannot be unlesse in due time he be helpfull unto them. Upon this very ground you shall find that God promiseth to raise up seven shepheards and eight principall men for the help of his people, Micah 5. 5. When the Assyrian shall come into our land, and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepheards and eight principall men; As if he should say, though you have been heretofore without Guides, and Captaines, and Commanders, and Princes, yet when the enemy is come into your land, I will raise up in­struments enow to suppresse them; and look what these Assy­rians have done unto you, that shall my instruments and work-men do unto them; do they come into your Countrey and tread down your palaces? so shall mine instruments go into their Country and tread down their palaces, ver. 6. And would you know the ground of all this? It is my love in Christ; for, Thou Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little [Page 14] among the thousands of Iudah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me, that is to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been from of old▪ from everlasting. And ver. 4. He shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the Majesty of the Name of the Lord his God, and they shall abide; And this man shall be the peace when the Assyrian shall come into our land. ver. 5. So that whosoever doth but seriously consider the strength and anointment of Jesus Christ, must needs conclude this Do­ctrine with me. Though God suffer the enemies of his Church and people to be many and great, yet in due time he will raise up a proportionable strength against them to sup­presse them, and to deale by them as they have done by o­thers.

The application of this Doctrine lookes two wayes,

To the
  • Saints in generall
  • Carpenters in speciall

To the Saints by way of consolation and incouragement.

To the Carpenters, to Gods workemen, by way of direction and exhortation.

First, here is consolation and incouragement unto all theApplication 1 Saints and people of God. Wonder not that in a day of hu­miliation, I speake of consolation. Beloved, you are neverSanctus dolet, & de dolo [...]e gaudet. Aug. more fit to mourne for sin, then when you can rejoyce in God. One grace makes way for another. It is the warme beames of Gods love and care must thaw our hearts. Two things that we are this day to do. To wrastle with God; To fight with our enemies. You cannot in your wrastling take better hold of God then by the skirt of a promise: you cannot fight better against your enemies then by faith. The Devil, with whom especially we fight in these wars, will not be killed with swords and knives; This is our victory whereby we overcome the world, even our faith. It is written in the life of Mr. Tindall, that when he was in the Nether­lands, there was a Conjurer that could command dishes of meat from severall mens tables, so that he would invite his friend to a dish of meat from such or such a Princes table; divers going to see his exploite, Mr. Tindall went with the [Page 15] rest, if it might be, to hinder it; and when he came there, he set himself in a way of beleeving to hinder this Conjurers proceedings, which he did accordingly, for when that wret­ched man should have done his exploit, his hands were held by Mr. Tindalls faith, and he cryed out and said, I cannot do it, there sits the man that hinders me, or to that purpose. What will not faith do, if good? What will it not hinder, if evil? I will not say that in these sad dayes of ours we have to deale with Conjurers, but surely with such persons as through their violence and thefts are able not onely to com­mand mens dishes off their tables, but all their goods out of their houses: Oh that we had but faith enough, we mightFides se demit­tit ad domestica soone beleeve them out of all their plundrings.

Wherefore that I may raise up your faith a little, and keep you from discouragements, I lay before you this promise; Zechariah his vision is your promise; yea it is somewhat more, for as we say of Sacraments, so I say of these two last visions, they are promises unto the eye, unto sense. When Io­shua was to bring the children of Israel into Canaan, and so to meet with many enemies, before he went out, God, & Moses, and the people bestowed their severall exhortations on him; and if you consult the place, you shall find that all of them, God, Moses, and people wish him to be of good courage, and not to feare; Why so? Abulensis answereth, Rationabiliter enim timere potuit Ioshua; Ioshua might rationally feare, for he saw how that his master Moses was occasioned by theRationabiliter ergo timere po­terat Josua, quod cum ipse [...]agilio [...] ess [...]t sacillime pec­care pote [...]at, ita ut deus ipsum et populum in ho­stilem tradert potestatem. To­stat. in Josu. 1. cap. Israelites to sin against God, and to be angry, in so much as he was kept out of Canaan: Whereupon Ioshua might well think thus with himselfe, Oh Lord, if Moses who was the meekest man on earth was moved to anger, the holyest man, a man that saw God face to face, yet could not do this work, but through his failing was denyed entrance into Canaan; how shall I be able to lead this people up against all these enemies? Well therefore might he feare (saith Abulensis) lest God should give both him and his people into the hands of his enemies. Well, but how then doth God remove these feares, and relieve his heart? Onely thus, he strengthneth [Page 16] him with a promise, Feare not, (sayes God) neither be dis­mayed for I am with thee, and I will never leave thee nor for­sa [...]e thee. So now, are there any of you oppr [...]ss [...]d with di­vers seares because of these hornes that are risen up in several parts of the world, of this Kingdome? The Lord hath said that according to the number of the hornes, the carpenters shall be. Are there enemies in every part? There shall be carpenters in every part. Will you say, Oh but our en [...]mies are exceeding many, and very cru [...]ll? So were these menti­oned in the Text, who (as Sanctius observeth the words sig­nifie) were to doe mischief in quantum potuerunt & in quan­tum voluerunt, and as your English hath it, so that no man did lift up his head. Will you say, Oh but I doe not yet see these carpenters at worke? But is it not because you do not stir up your s [...]lves? I lift up mine eyes and saw, saith Z [...]cha­riah. Will you say, Oh but when I do stir up my selfe to be­hold things as they are, I cannot see foure for foure, a propor­tionable strength on the Churches side raised up against the enemies? Well, but yet you may see some strength in every place, where ever there is any opposition made by enemies, some there are in the same place that God hath raised up to resist them. And the Text is not, that God will raise up strong gigantean carpenters, but carpenters, foure carpenters, some or other that shall doe the work of God, though they be ne­ver so weak. In that Mic. 5. where the promise is to raise up seven shepherds, and eight principall men, he saith, ver. 7. The remnant of Iacob shall be as the dew that waiteth not for the sons of men. Mark that word, that waiteth not for the sons of men. When Sisera and all his host were discomfited, what were the carpenters? were not Deborah and Iael with her hammer amongst them? and saith the Text, So let all thine enemies perish; it is not onely a prayer, but a pro­phecie.

It is recorded in the life and death of Melancthon, that when Charles the 5. and the Pope of Rome threatned the Protestants with fire and sword, Luther, Melancthon, and others got together to seek a way for themselves, their little [Page 17] ones, and their substance; and on a certaine day after long deli­beration, Philip tired out with labour, rose up (exceeding sad and very sorrowfull) to go speake with some that knockt and enquired after him at the gate; in his returne to his company he heard in a roome as he passed by, the noyse of children, as it were pronouncing their Catechize; whereupon he put aside the dore where they were, and he saw the Ministers wives of the place, praying and praysing God with their children; up­on this Melancthon returned to his company exceeding cheer­full and very joyfull; Luther espying his gladsome counte­nance, said thus to him, Philip how commeth it to passe that you returne so joyfull that went out even now so sorrow­full? He answered, Let us be of good comfort, for I have seen them that will fight for us and defend us. Luther asked, what those stout and brave Captaines were? Oh (sayes Melanct­hon) they are the chast wives and vertuous children of holy men. It seemes that holy man Melancthon thought such Carpenters were a great matter in his time. Beloved, you have many such Carpenters as these at work for you: But besides these look into any part of the kingdom, and you shal find that where ever any horne is raised up, there is a Carpen­ter at work also, some or other that God hath unexpectedly raised up to make resistance. Wherefore then lift up your heads oh all ye people of the Lord, and be not discouraged; what Zechariah saw you shall find, Gods promise is your security, He will raise up four Carpenters to the foure Hornes.

Secondly, This Doctrine speakes direction to the Carpen­ters,Application 2. it tells them what they ought to do, and what is their work. The work of the foure Carpenters you see is not one­ly to fray these hornes away, but to cast out the Gentiles. Who ever therefore you are whom God hath raised up for this imployment, behold your service, up and be doing, and do it fully; Cursed is he that doth the worke of the Lord negligently: and with holdeth his hand from shedding of blood, they are knit together in one verse, Ierem. 48. 10.

But we are now upon the work of Reformation, building Object. the Temple, and if a man be a man of blood, he is not fit for that service.

Mistake me not, it is not in mine intention to call for blood. Answ. Oh that in this day of our humiliation and address [...]s to God, we could so touch the hemme of Christs garment, thtt Eng­lands bloody issue might be stanched I Be as mild as you can, so you be like unto Christ, who was both a Lamb and a Lion; a Lamb in his owne cause, a Lion in Gods. Meeknesse and Justice may well stand together: Moses was the meekest man upon earth you know, yet when Israel had defiled themselv [...]s with Idols in the matter of the golden calfe, he stood in the gate of the camp [...]. Sam. cap. 2. [...], ut [...] eis ne [...] sibi [...], & tamen d [...]nquentes si [...] pe [...]secutas est, q [...]os [...], ut eos etiam Domino parcente proster­n [...] et. Gr [...]gor. and said, Exod. 32. 27. Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, put every man his sword by his side, and goe in and out from gate to gate through the camp, and slay every man his bro­ther, and every man his com­panion, and every man his neighbour. He doth not say, Slay every man his enemy, or every man his countreyman, but every man his brother, and his companion, and his neighbour. And ver. 28. it is said. The children of Levi did according to the word of Moses; and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men; yet the Levites had their hand in Temple-work more then any other Tribe, and Moses had the honour to build the Taberna­cle. You reade also in Zech. 13. of a great and glorious Re­formation, so high, so great, and so convincing, that the very Priests who were wont to goe in rough garments to deceive the people, should throw away their Priest-coats, and say, ver. 5. I am no Prophet, I am an husbandman, for man taught me to keep cattel from my youth. As if they should say seve­rally, Though I am able to reade a Chapter, yet I am not fit to be a Minister, I have no learning, but in truth am more fit to goe to the plough: Well, but now mark I pray how this great change and Reformation is ushered in and brought about, not without some kind of holy violence, for it is said, ver. 2. It shall come to passe in that day, saith the Lord of [Page 19] hosts, that I will cut off the names of the Idols out of the land, and they shall be no more remembred; and also I will cause the Prophets and the uncleane spirits to passe out of the land: And ver. 3. It s [...]all come to passe that wh [...]n any shall yet pro­phesie, then his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesyeth. And ver. 6. when any should ask him, What are those wounds in thy hands? Then he shall answer, Those wherewith I was wounded in the house of my friends. Another notable Scripture you have for this purpose in Psal. 24. when the question is made at the third verse, Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord, and who shall stand in his holy place? That is, who is fit to be a member of a true Church? Answer is made to this at the 4. 5. and 6. ver­ses, He that hath cleane hands, and a pure heart, &c. Where­fore then saith the Psalmist, Lift up your heads O ye gates, that is, Magistrates that sit in the gates; and be ye lift up ye everla­sting doores, that is, of the Churches, for the doores of the Churches are everlasting doores, against which the gates of hell shall not prevaile: and then the King of glory shall come in: that is, God will come in and dwell amongst you in his great glory, and your very congregations shall be filled with glory. But, Who is the King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, saith the Psalmist, the Lord mighty in battell, the Lord of Hosts, he is the King of glory; that is, thus will hee bring his glory into the Churches by shewing himselfe to be the Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battell. Wherefore then lift up your heads O ye gates, and execute you justice and judgement, and be you lift up ye everlasting doors of the Churches, and be you reformed, and the King of glory shall come in with his glory into your congregations. But if you ask me who this King of glory is? I must tell you he is the Lord of hosts, and so he will be known unto you when he bringeth his glory amongst you, even the Lord strong and mighty in battell. Wherefore I say lift up your heads O you carpenters and servants of the Lord, drawn forth to that em­ployment: you see your work, the Text hath cut it out, I beseech you in the Lord CHRIST, doe it, and doe it [Page 20] throughly. Onely let me lay in one Caution, which is this:

When you have frayed away the hornes, and cast out the Gentiles, take heed that the spirit of the hornes doe not live in the carpenters. When the Children of Israel drove the Ca­naanites out of their land, they did as well inherit their sins as their lands, th [...]si [...]s they came to punish they did commit, the spirit of th [...] Canaa [...]ites did dwell in the Israelites. So it was with Iehu when he had beat down the house of Ahab: So with Am [...]ziah, who when he had destroyed the Edo­mites, he brought the gods of the children of Seir, and set the [...] up to be his gods, 2 Chron. 25. 14, 15. This is too com­mon in times of Reformation. You all know what a blessed instrument of Reformation Master Calvin was in his time, yet when he came to thatAt ego, inquit Calvinus, Chrys [...]ll [...]mum sequntus, occid [...] me potiu [...] patia, qua [...] hae [...] ma [...]us De [...] con­tempto [...]bus [...]udicat [...] sancta Domini pe [...]gat. matter of denying the Lords Supper to Bartlerius and o­ther Servetians who wereA prandio vero Cal [...] lo [...]um illum [...] Actorum Apost: so [...]te tractans in quo Paulus Ec­clesiae Ephesi [...]ae, testatu [...] se e [...]m non esse qui adver­sus magist [...]atum pugra [...]e sc [...]ret a [...] docer [...]t, [...]tum (que) mult [...] [...] co [...]ortatus ut in ea quam audi [...]sset doct [...]ina pe [...]severa [...]t, tandem [...] postremam con­cionem Gen [...]e hab [...]turus, & qu [...] mad [...]od [...], [...]qui [...], se res habent, [...]cat mihi quoque [...]atres apud [...] haec Apostols [...]e [...]ba [...]sur [...]a [...]e, Commendo vo [...] D [...]o & so mo [...] g [...]atiae ejus. M [...]l. Adam. de vita Calvini. most unworthy, those that otherwise were called Pro­testants, rose up in opposition to him, insomuch that he was ready, if not altogether for­ced to leave Geneva for a time. And was it not thus in that unhappy diffe­rence at Francford? In Queen Maries time you know thatHist. d [...] Franc. many left this their own countrey, and did fly to Germany; when they came there, did not many of them that fled for Religion prove pushing, goring hornes unto their brethren? yea some of them were so bitter to others, that they com­plained of and impeached that reverend man Master Knox of High Treason against Imperiall Dignity, in so much that he was banished from the City, and driven from his congre­gation. Oh what a sad thing is this that the spirit of Papists should live in Protestants! that the spirit of the horns should live in the carpenters! that the spirit of Prelats should live in [Page 21] those that are risen up to fray them away and cast them out! I say no more, but when we have done all, cast out the Gen­tiles, and frayed away the hornes, if then we shall turne to push, and gore, and cast out our brethren, and one another, God will finde it out, and will not put it up at Englands hands. Wherefore (my beloved) in the feare of God let us all remember this Caution, Oh take heed that the spirit of the horne doe not dwell in the carpenters; And so I come to the third Vision, A man with a measuring line in his hand, and the third Doctrine, which is this,

When God shall raise up his Carpenters against his Churches Doct. 3 enemies, then, and then especially Reformation is to be laid unto the line. You see how these three visions are knit together, one following immediately upon another, shewing not the coherence of the words onely, but of the matter: The Do­ctrine therefore falleth asunder into two Propositions.

1. Stones of reformation are to be laid with most exactnes. 1. Prop. 2.

2. When God raiseth up his Carpenters against his Churches enemies, then, and then especially this exact reformation is to be much endeavoured.

1. Stones of reformation are to be laid with most exact­nes.Propos. 1. Reas. 1. 1. Temple work is a great work and of great conse­quence. When the matter that a man is to work upon is precious, the eye curious and exact that he is to work unto, and the work it self of infinite consequence, there exactnes is much required, especially when a miscarriage can hardly be mended but with much difficulty. Now so it is in the work of reformation, the matter to be wrought upon are the soules of men and women, the most precious matter in the world; the eye that we are to work unto is Gods, is Christs, who walketh between the golden Candlestickes; And the busines it self is of infinite consequence, yours and mine and thousands eternities lying at the stake; And if there be a mis­carriage, it will be a hard thing to bring the whole Nation unto the work again. You see that when a man walketh upon the rope, he carryeth a pole in his hand to sway him, and he lookes diligently to his feet, Quia non licet his peccare, be­cause [Page 22] if he do fayle he cannot mend his miscarriage; And I say that in this work of reformation if there be the least slip; it will be a hard thing to r [...]cover it, when once a nation is setled in that miscarriage. Surely therefore the work is to be done with the most exactnes.

2. It is onely exactnes that doth cause conviction in those Reas. 2 that do behold. There is no Nationall Reformation but the eyes of Nations are upon it. Give me leave to tell you what I have read in a letter written from a learned Professour of Divinity in an Vniversity beyond the s [...]as, who writes thus to England: Upon your reformation (saith he) if happily per­formed,A [...] ex [...] [...]ari. D. V [...] et. doth depend the reformation of all the Churches in Christendom as upon a Rule and Exemplar. So that I say there is no reformation on foot in any Nation but the eyes of other Nations are upon it; If it be done exactly, the behold­ing Nations will also come in, and say, We will take hold of your skirt, and your God shall be our God. When Judah shineth, and Gods glory resteth upon them, then Nations come in and joyne themselves unto them; Esa. 60. 1, 2, 3. It is onely beauty that doth take the eye; when there is no beauty, there is no allurement; [...], beautifull, comes from [...], which signifies to call, because beauty cals forth the eye a [...]d holds it in its beams; Now 4. things must concur to beau­ty. 1. There must be all the parts. 2. All in their proportion. 3. All in their due place. 4. All laid over with a sweet and lively colour. So it is in the beauty of Gods house; There must be all the ordinances, all in their place, all in due proportion▪ and laid over with the power of godlines. When these meet in any Church, there is beauty; but meet they cannot, unlesse there be exactnes in reforming. Surely therefore stones of reformation are to be laid with most exactnes.

But what reason is there of the second Proposition, which Quest. is, that then this exact reformation is especially to be endea­voured, Propos. 2 when God shall raise up his Carpenters against the Churches enemies? for when the Carpenters do arise, the ti [...]s are troublous.

True, they are indeed. But God chooseth troublous times Answ. [Page 23] to build in both his house and walls of the City. TheEcclesia tunc semper fu [...]t op­tima quando a­gebat inte pes­si [...]os. Luth. Churches have alwayes lost most in times of peace, and gain­ed most in times of trouble. Whilest the 10. Persecutions conti [...]ued, the integrity of the Church [...]s was best preserved. The Psalmist saith, Send out thy light and thy truth, O Lord, Psal. 43. 4. and let them leade me unto thine Altar. There is no going unto Gods Altar with worship, without the leading hand of truth, and there is no building Gods house for an Altar with­out light. When God made the world, he first made light on the first day, as an example unto us in all our workes to work by light. Now light and truth do break forth much in troublous times.

1. Troublous times are praying times, and praying times Reas. 1 are knowing times. Prov. 2. 3, 4, 5. If thou cryest after know­ledge, and liftest up thy voyce for understanding, if thou seekest her as silver and searchest for her as for hid treasures, then shalt thou understand the feare of the Lord and finde the knowledge of God.

2. In troublous times mens hearts are most low and Reas. 2 h [...]mbled, and so more apt and ready to receive and to be led into any truth. You read in Esa. 11. that God promiseth that in the latter times the whole earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord; and in the verses a little before, it is said of the Lion and the young Lion that a child shall lead them; these two go well together, but the stout Lion-like spirit will never be led by the hand of a sucking child till it be brought down and low by troublous time.

3. In troublous times God is pleased to communicate Reas. 3 himself more freely to his people. God is not unto his in affliction as at other times: he is most sweet when the world is most bitter. It is with a Nation, Church [...] & people in their reformation, as with a person in his first conversion; because of those many temptations that a converting person is to con­flict withall, God doth more abundantly reveal and commu­nicate himself unto him at his first conversion; so with a re­forming people, because of those many oppositions that they shall meet withall in that work, God doth then more then [Page 24] ordinarily communicate himself unto them. Thus troublous times do bring forth light and truth. God loveth to have a sacrifice from the hands of the children of Abraham out of the thickets and bryars. Opposition commendeth reformation, in troublous times there is much opposition, and therefore in those times reformation is very beautifull. The Doctrine is clear then, the application easie. Thus.

Hence we may all see and know what is the work of theApp [...] times, even to measure the Temple. Now for a long while we have had experience of the first Vision, and we have felt the hornes; the rising of the carpenters we have seen also: And who may not say, I have lift up mine eyes, and behold, a man with a measuring line in his hand? Blessed be God that we have lived to see this day, to see a man stand with a measuring line in his hand in England. And who ever you are that heare me this day, you are either such as have this measuring line in your hands, or else such as are to be mea­sured.

If you have the measuring line in your hands, then remem­ber 1 this Doctrine, the first Proposition, Stones of Reformati­on are to be laid with most exactnesse. Herein if you be exact, you shall be like unto Jesus Christ, who (as Salmeron ob­serveth) when he came to purge the Temple, did not onely admonish, chide, reprove the money-changers, or whip them away, but did overthrow their very Tables, Ne impi­um opus facile repeterent, Lest they should recover their tradeSac [...]dot [...] in Templ [...] [...] ­dentes su [...] [...] ­gellorum d [...] [...]. S [...]l [...]ner▪ in Joan. 3. againe. In other things you are very exact, men are exact in their trades, exact in their accounts, exact in their recko­nings, exact in their diet, exact in their sleep, exact in their haire both of head and face; In small things you are exact, and will you not be exact in this greatest? You know what other Reformed Churches have done, the Reformation of all other Churches are round about you, you have their wri­tings before you, their books, their practices, their exam­ples, and this for many yeeres; can you think that God hath set us now for an hundred yeeres upon their shoulders, to see no farther into Reformation then they have done? If two [Page 25] men be to do the same work, the one first and the other after; he that doth it first though he doth it never so well, yet will excuse himself and say, I never saw he work done before me, I was faine to invent my very tooles and instruments; and you will excuse him though there be some fayling in him: But when the second man commeth to the same work that hath a former example, and all his tooles to help him, you expect more exactnes from him. You know my meaning, I need not apply this; Oh that our God would make Eng­land the praise of the whole earth! Nothing will do it but our exactnes in reformation. Certainly this reformation that is now on foot, hath (as I may speake with reverence) cost our God very dear, the liberties, the estates, the lives and bloods of many of his deare children, of whom the world was not worthy. Do you think God will lay out all this for an imperfect, unexact, poor and low reformation? Let me pre­sent you with the prophesy of Bishop Hooper, who when he was in prison called his Printer to him, and said, You shal out­live these Marian times, and see the alteration of the present religion, when the Gospel shall be freely preached, wherefore remember me to my brethren as well in exile as others, and bid them be circumspect in displacing of Popish Priests, and put good Ministers in Churches, or else their end will be worse then ours. He said, be circumspect; I say, be exact; And though I do not wish that every morning there might be a boy crying at your doors as once at Philips, Mortalises, thou art mortall, thou art mortall; for that the Drum doth sufficiently every morning; yet I could wish that this sen­tence might be sounding in your hearts every morning and night, that it might lie down with you and rise with you, stones of reformation are to be laid with most exactnes.

But how shall that be? Quest.

Thus. 1. Be sure of this that you take the right line into Answ. your hands. Gods word it is our line, able to reach unto all particular affaires of the Churches.

Mistake me not, I pray. A Church is considered two wayes; As a meeting of people, men and women; O [...] as a Church [Page 26] meeting, a meeting of Saints, apparent Beleevers, coe [...]us side­lium. I doe not say that the Word is to be the onely line and rule to the Church in the first respect, so reason may be a rule to men as men; but in the second respect it is, the Word is able to reach unto all things belonging unto a Church as a Church. Our Commission is not larger now then the A­postles Commission was, and their Commission ran thus, Goe teach and baptize, &c. teaching men to observe what ever I command you, Mat. 28. If not commanded by Christ, then not to be preached by them nor by us. Jesus Christ was and is as fully Christ in his Propheticall as Priestly office, and his Priestly satisfaction reached unto all our sinnes, though they were never so small, therefore his Propheticall dire­ction reacheth to all our du­ties, [...] though they be never so little. That which com­meth not from heaven, can never bring you into heaven. If you say, There are some things indifferent; It is true, but Christs command is to keep them so then, and not to alter them. If you say that Circumstances are left unto the Church; Either you meane all Circumstances, or some; If you meane onely some, then you conclude no­thing, for a particular Proposition cannot make a generall Conclusion; If you meane that all Circumstances are left unto the Church, then you doe at once and at one stroke cut off three Commandements from the Decalogue; the first Commandement, Thou shalt have no other Gods but me, commandeth the substance of worship, the second the means, the third the manner, the fourth the time; and meanes, man­ner, [...] and time are circumstances. Herein Luther speaks well, Whatsoever a man beleeveth, or learneth, or teacheth be­sides [Page 27] the Word, it is sinne; and againe saith he, The ChurchNon enim no­stro [...]udicio in­s [...]nda est Rel [...]g [...], sed e [...] Dei. Om [...] a perver­tunt [...], cum Religio non verbo Dei, sed hominum a bit [...] [...]i [...]itur. Jew [...]l, Conci [...] ad Clerum de verbo Dei. is the daughter of Scripture, brought up at the fe [...]t of the Word. O the perfection of that line! it is a compleat line, a glorious line, a blessed line. Take this line therefore first into your hands.

2. When you have gotten this line into your hand, view your ground well, and stones well that you are to draw this line over. Three sorts there are that are especially to be lined by it: The Magistrates, the Ministers, the Congrega­tions. These three the Pope and Prelats, notwithstanding their slattering with Princes, have especially laboured to de­grade and to deprive of that power which was given unto them by Jesus Christ. 1. The Magistrates, and therefore the 1 man of sin is so described by the Apostle, that he shall exalt1 Thessal. 2. 4.himselfe above all that is called God. 2. The Ministers and 2 Elders of the Church, and therefore you shall observe that from the 7. Chapter of the Revelation to the 14. there is no more mention made of Elders (unlesse it be in relation unto that same time:) In the 4. Chapter the condition of the Church is stated, and then the Elders are mentioned; so a­gaine in the 5. and 7. but in the after Chapters to the 14. you have the story of Antichrist, his rise, his reigne and ruine; and till the fall of Antichrist (which is begun in the 14. and 3 perfected in the 18.) we reade no more of the Elders; but in the beginning of the 19. after Babylon is falne, then come forth the Elders againe, praising God, and with great joy. So in our Service-book, the Collect runs thus, Send down up­on our Bishops and Curats, &c. as if Ministers and Elders were onely Bishops Curats, and had no power but under them. 3. The Congregations also have been much oppres­sed by them, therefore Non i [...]a (que) in­siciamu [...] [...]ete­rem ritum ac mor [...]m Epis [...] ­pos [...]ligend [...], quo pl [...]be prae­sent [...], im [...] & [...]sius suffragi­is aliquand [...] [...] ­ligebantur [...]nam in Africa illum moremobservatum esse cons [...]at ex electione Eradii successoris S. August. in Graecia [...]tate S. Ch [...]ysoll. ex libro esus 3. de sacerdote: qua quidem eligendi Episcopi ra­tio us (que) ad Gregorium I. ut constat ex ejus epistolis, im [...] & ad Caroli Magni, & Ludovici R. [...]. Imperatorum us (que) tempor a perduravit. Azor. instit. Morab. p. 2. l. 3. c. 28. Azorius the Jesuite professeth inge­nuously [Page 28] that untill Gregory the first, and Charles the Great, the Congregations had the power of chusing their owne Mi­nisters; since Antichrists power the Congregations have lost their power.

Now bel [...]ved in the Lord, there is none of all these three but have some power about Church-affaires; the Magistrate he hath his power, and therefore he is called a nursing Fa­ther; the Minister and Elder, he hath his power, therefore he is commanded [...], whic [...] signifi [...]th both to feed and rul [...]; The Con [...]r [...]gation hath its power, and therefore well saith that blessed and learned man D. Whitaker, who is now in H [...]aven: If you consider [...] the government of the Church in regard of its Head Christ, so it is Monarchicall; if in re­gard of the Elders, so it is A­ristocraticall; if in regard of the people who have a power to choose their own Officers; it is Democraticall: Whether this power of theirs be a mat­ter of priviledge or of juris­diction, I dispute not now; but a power they have: a po­wer the People, a power the Minister and Elder, a power the Magistrate; and if your line can be so drawn, as that every one of these three may have that native power which Jesus Christ hath left them by legacie, then have you drawn your line aright: view there­fore your ground well.

3. Which that you may doe, in the third place take heed of selfe-ingagements and self [...]-respects in this worke of Re­formation. Veritas st [...]t in aperto Campo, the truth stands in the open [...]ield, it s [...]es no house, it sees no friend, no home; And if your eye be upon your engagements, your hand will draw the Line awry. Chrysostome observeth, that when our [Page 29] Saviour propoundeth the Parable of the husbandmen untoMat. 21. 41. the Scribes and Pharisees, saying, What shall bee done to these Hu [...]bandmen? The Jews answered, He shall miserably destroy Luke 20. 16. those Husbandmen; yet in another Gospel when our Saviour saith, he shall miserably destroy them, the Jews answered, God forbid: In one Gospel their answer is related to be, He shall miserably destroy them; in the other Gospel their answer is related on the contrary, God forbid. How can these agree? Yes, sayes Chrysostome, for first they say, he will miserably destroy these husbandmen; but when they perceived that Christ aymed at them, then they said, God forbid. So mis­leading are all self [...]-respects and ingagements in receiving the truth; Reforming persons therefore must be selfe-deny­ing persons.

1. They must deny their owne wits, understandings, rea­sonings, though they be never so plausible; Da mihi baptiza­tam rationem, Give me baptized reason, saith one, mortified reason. Naturall reason may be a drawer of water unto the Temple, but no Officer in the Temple.

2. They must deny their owne wils and affections, though they be never so strong. The Saints in Heaven are the least proprietaries to their owne wils, and yet most happy. OurQ [...]i voluntati propria non di­vinae obedit, sibi parit rui­nam. Mendoza. Saviour sayes, I am not come to doe my owne will, but the will of him that sent me; and this must be the resolution and pra­ctise of all those that are sent by God upon any service.

3. They must deny their owne labours though they be ne­ver so great: So did Paul, who though hee laboured more abundantly then all, yet sayes, I am the least of all the Apostles. I have read or heard a story of one being in the boat where the Kings [...]rowne was, and the Crowne falling occasional­ly into the water, he leaped after it, and having recovered it, to save himselfe and it, he put the Crowne upon his owne head, that so he might swimme the better unto the boat or land; but though [...]e was thanked for his venture, yet he was sharply reproved for his boldnesse, for putting the Crowne upon his owne head. The case is ours, is yours, the Crowne of the Lord Jesus hath as it were fallen into the water, and [Page 30] beene ready to sinke; it is your duty and practise to venture for to save it, but you must not th [...]n set the Crowne upon the head of your owne labours, but upon Christ himselfe. The foure and twenty Elders threw down their Crownes at the feet of Christ, Revel. 4.

4. They must deny their own enjoyments, comforts and contentments, though they be never so sweet. So Nehemi­ah Nullu [...] [...]a [...]n­tem exci [...]abit nisi [...]n [...]one s [...]. August. denied his Court favours, his Governours table, and some­times to shift his own cloathes: he that will lift up one that is fallen must stoop himself.

5. They must deny their own relations though they be never so neare. Salmeron observeth that our Saviour Christ did still call his Mother Woman, Woman what have I to do with thee? not Mother, but woman; Why so, saies he, but toIn ca [...]sa [...] [...] [...]san­ [...] non esse [...]. Salmeron. shew that in matter of Religion we are to know no relati­ons. Thus must all reforming persons be self-denying per­sons. And thus right worthy Zerubbabels, if you do first take the right line into your hands, then view your ground well, giving unto every one those immunities that Christ hath left him, and deny your selves in working, your own reasons, wisdomes and understandings, your own affections, your own labours, your own outward contentments and all relations, I make no question but our stones of reformation shall be laid with much exactnes and the Lords blessing; And the Lord grant it may be so.

As for these that are to be measured, let them be willing to 2 be measured, to be reformed, exactly reformed, willing to be fully measured. Wonder not that I call upon you to be willing; I shall tell you what I read concerning Beza, who comming unto a disputation before the Court of France, and being very mighty in his arguments against the adversary, a Cardinall stood up and said unto some Peers, I would to God that either Beza were dumbe, or that we were all deafe; so unwilling were they to receive the truth, and to be reformed by it. And if people did not in their hearts wish as much now, why should they say in every place, Would to God we had never medled with this work of reformation, here is ado [Page 31] about reformation and exact reformation, see what it is come to, would to God that we had staied in our old condi­tion! Oh my beloved, do you not remember Christs com­plaint? I came unto my own and my own received me not. Shall Jesus Christ take up the like complaint and say, I came unto my own in England and they received me not; I offered, I tendered my own government unto them, and they would none of it? Oh England, England, how long have I stood knocking at thy door, and as it were put my finger in at the hole of the door by my providentiall workes! Wilt not thou yet open unto me? How often would I have gathered thee under my wings as a hen gathereth her chickens, and thou wouldest not? Wherefore now thy house is left unto thee desolate. Oh that people therefore would be willing! Yea, go to God and say, Behold Lord we are all here before thee, doe with us what is good in thine eyes, onely mea­sure us, measure my family, measure my children, measure my servants, measure my self, onely let the line of reforma­tion passe over me and mine; I am willing Lord, help my un­willingnes.

Then secondly, if ever God shall please to bring you unto the haven of your desires, reformation in exactnes, Christ in his own governement into your congregations, be sure that you lay fast hold of him, that he may never leave you or go from you any more. When the Spouse in the Canticles had lost Christ, she goes bemoaning, lamenting, crying and en­quiring after him; when she had found him, she brings him into the chamber of her Mother, and sayes, I charge you O ye daughters of Ierusalem, I charge ye by the Roes and by the Hinds that ye awake not my beloved untill he please. So do you, if ever you light on Jesus Christ again, a setled Gospel, carry him, oh carry him into the Chamber of your Mother as it were, and say unto all your freinds, neighbours and con­gregations, I charge ye oh ye daughters of England, yea by the Roes and Hinds of the fields, I charge ye oh ye daughters of England, that ye awake not my beloved untill he please. This do hereafter, and for the present ingage your selves there­unto.

[Page 32]3. In the meane while that you may do and have all this, now pray, pray alone and pray in company, pray in publique, pray in private. The man with a measuring line in his hand, saies pray, your Carpenters that are abroad in the field say pray; the examples of all reformed Churches say pray; your Parliament say pray; your Assembly say pray; your lives, your liberties, your Gospel, your all, sayes pray: Oh you that have any credit in Heaven pray now, you that never prayed before, pray now; It is but one houre and the work is done; Can ye not watch with Jesus Christ one houre? watch and pray: And that I say unto one I say unto all, and unto my own soul, Let us all watch and pray lest we enter into temp­tation.


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