A SERMON UPON ECCLESIASTES X. 17. Preached before an Extraordinary Assembly AT NEW ARK upon TRENT, May 29. 1660.

Being the Birth-day of our Soveraign Lord CHARLES II. KING of ENGLAND, &c.

By Samuel Brunsell Rector of Bingham in Notting.

London, Printed by E. C. for Henry Seile over against St. Dunstans Church in Fleetstreet. 1660.


ECCLES. X. 17.

Blessed art thou, O Land, when thy King is the Son of Nobles, and thy Princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness.

IT's very necessary in all meetings, especially those of a more publick concernment, that men should first understand the occasion, and not be like that rabble of Ephesus in their tumultuous concourse, of whom 'tis said, Act. 19.32. That the greatest part knew not wherefore they were come together: or like unto ma­sty in our later remembrances, that had lost the distinction between their dayes of Thanksgiving and Humiliation; ei­ther through the commonness of an hypocritical Sacrifice, with which not only men, but even God himself had been wearyed, or through the mis-apprehension and mis-applica­tion of the subject, whereby in the way of an inverted grati­tude, thanks have been frequently sent up to Heaven for the destructive prosperity of our sins; and men have been hum­bled for the greatest benefits; in such sort that as they have re­pented and bewailed their necessary duties, by putting some considerable parts of their Christian obligations into the black Catalogue of their mock-confessions, so have they not fail'd [Page 2]to bless even God himself for their Errors and Presumptions. To the end therefore that none who hear me, may be igno­rant of the intent and design of this present Assembly, I shall acquaint you with it much in the words of the Psalmist; 'Tis to serve the Lord with gladness, Psal. 100. and come before his presence with a song: to wait in his gates with thanksgiving and in his Courts with praise; to be thankful unto him and speak good of his Name: for that the Lord is gracious, and his mercy is everlasting, and his truth endureth from generation to generation; that is, from the father to the son. And blessed be he that sitteth on the Throne, and liveth for ever and ever, that hath performed that mercy and that truth to our David and his Seed, that gave, as on this day, to the Crowned Martyr a Royal Confessor (such had the sins of an unthankful people made them) to be the Heir at once both of his Crowns and Vertues.

If publique blessings deserve publique thanks and solemn commemorations; and that Nation be so blessed whose King is the Son of Nobles; and that blessing take its original from the birth of that Son, our thanks doubtless should keep time with the blessing. For if men be greedy to have bles­sings bestowed upon them, upon the earliest sense and first suggestion of their wants, 'tis fit they should be careful to date their Thanksgivings from the very first rise and birth of their blessings. The birth of a King, that is the Son of Nebles, is a blessing in the judgment of Solomon, the wisest both of Kings and men. And that blessing too is of no mean value, nor of a small extent, 'tis a Publique, a National blessing, that by which a whole land is blessed: Blessed art thou, O Land, &c. And this is the blessing of this Land, through the tender mercy of our God, whereby the day-spring from on high hath visited us, even at this day. Our King is the Son of No­bles, and our Princes eat in due season, for strength and not for drunkenness. Nobility of descent (as that imports gene­rosity not only of bloud, but of spirit also) and temperance in life, are very eminent and considerable parts of those Princely excellencies that qualifie the Person by whom our Land is blessed, and that render him the Darling both of Hea­ven and Earth. And this, I doubt not, will be acknowledged [Page 3]by all but the sons of Belial, the Shimei's of the time, 1 Sam. 10.26. or the company of Korah, Dathan and Abiram.

So then our duty and business is thankfulness, which pre­supposeth a blessing. Now as men value the blessing, so they dispose themselves for thanksgiving. Be the blessing what it will, if men do not esteem it so, they can never be thankful. Bread made of the corn of Heaven, even the very food of Angels, will be loath'd as light, by those that do not relish it. Not this man, but Barabbas, crie the Jews; though that man were their King, the holy one of Israel their Saviour. So some still say even unto God himself, Depart from us, we desire not the knowledge of thy wayes. If then men cannot be thankful for that which they do not value; it must needs be pertinent to our present purpose well to understand the nature of the bles­sing which at this time calls for our thanks. The thanks must be publique, for the blessing is no less: all that do not wil­fully forsake their own mercies, have a share and interest in it. And the words before us, are very proper to give us an accompt of its value, which from them I shall endeavour to do by these degrees, shewing,

  • 1. That 'tis a blessing for a Land to be under a Government.
  • 2. That 'tis yet a further degree of blessing to be under a King.
  • 3. That Kingly Government is then most blessed, when the King is the Son of Nobles, and the Princes eat in due sea­son, for strength and not for drunkenness.

How far we of this Nation are more immediately con­cern'd in these great improvements of blessing, will appear in the Applications.

For the first, if government were not a blessing, the world might have done well without it, each man being left to the dictate of his own will, and acting according to the sense of his own judgment, and the impulse of his own lusts. And so things might possibly have stood, if every one had been sufficient for himself, without being forc't to call for the aids of others, if the ground had not been curst for mans sake, but Nature had of her own accord, and from her own store­house, unaskt, brought forth all requisite supplies, and of­fer'd them gratis to the needs and acceptance of all. But [Page 4]sin had otherwise devis'd, and Justice hath accordingly de­termin'd. Job 5.7 Man now is born to labour as the sparks fly upward, and the decree is not to be reverst; In the sweat of thy brows, thou shalt eat bread all the dayes of thy life. Mans strengths are now weak, his wants many, his dangers sudden, his fore-sight short, his reason perplext, and his heart deceitful. A little care distracts him, a little pain tires him, the least accident afflicts him. However, care he will, and labour he must, in or­der to his own preservation; the desire whereof being root­ed in our very beings, the means to effect it could not but be­come the natural imployment of mankind, and so the pro­curing of food and rayment, with places of repose and shel­ter, are the first of all humane cares. But man finding himself capable of further enjoyments, and his appetite being loose and unconfin'd, he is still craving and asking, who will shew him any good? rests not satisfied with necessaries, but affects su­perfluity and abundance. Not only nature must be satisfied, but the sense must also be pleas'd, and the body pamper'd, by introducing luxurie and vanity the creature of fancy and opi­nion, acted by the insatiable lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes, and the pride of life. Hence, as men are able, they store themselves with provisions for all these desires; some of which, those chiefly of the first sort, are indeed lawful and al­lowable in due measure and order. But men were not so con­tented, neither would they stop there: their desires being much enlarg'd, they suit their endeavours thereafter, which that they may employ successfully without interruption, and also secure to themselves the possession of what their industry should procure, they could not but discern the necessity of constituting such a power, as might be sufficient for their con­stant protection and safety. Since therefore all power is either of one or of many, and those many must needs be either divi­ded or united; if single power be weak and unequal, and if power divided cannot stand, then that power which alone is sufficient for the fore-mentioned purposes, must needs be uni­ted, which it cannot be but in government, through an union of powers in a Soveraign, which union necessarily presuppo­seth a transferring or surrender of the single divided powers [Page 5]to him or them that are to use them conjoyn'd for the bene­fit of each particular. The state of men under such power is Government, which we have affirmed to be a blessing from the authority of the Text, and ought to be so esteemed, be­cause

1. By it a Land is delivered from an infinite number of the saddest and most insupportable evils, which, without such Government, cannot possibly be prevented or remedyed. Now those evils being no lesse then War and all its wilde retinue; whatever mischiefs, outrages, confusions, destructi­ons, and desolations, either are or can be committed by the insolence and violence of armed rage and fury, without di­stinction or restraint, upon the Lives and Liberties, Estates, or Persons of men, must needs be imputed to the want of that power which saves and protects those that submit to it, from all such Miseries and Calamities, as know no bound nor end, but the mercilesse utmost cruelty of an irreparable and uni­versall ruine. For where there is no Government, every man becomes his own Judge, and admits no measures or rules of right or wrong, but his own irregular and insatiable appe­tite; which cannot fail of being encountred with the like in others, who will be as impatient of not having their wills in opposition to his, as he of not having his in opposition to theirs. A man being left to his own single defence and aid, to act by his own instinct, to protect himself by his own sole power, and to use that power to what purposes he pleaseth, is not withheld from doing any mischief to ano­ther, that himself shall judge conducing to his own benefit or content, as tending either to his necessary safety and preser­vation, convenience, pleasure, luxury or wantonnesse. Now from whence come the greatest Plagues and Judgments? Come they not from dissensions, divisions and oppositions, from Wars and Fightings? Jam. 4.1. &c. And from whence come Wars and Fight­ings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust and have not, ye kill and desire to have, and cannot obtain, ye fight and war, yet ye have not: Which would not be, were mens Lusts curb'd by Laws, and the exercise of a Soveraign power in a fix'd or well­order'd [Page 6]order'd Government, which is also therefore a blessing, be­cause,

Secondly, No outward blessing, whether conducing to mans being and necessary preservation, or to his well-being, can for any while with any the least satisfaction or security be possess'd or enjoyed without it. If it be a blessing for men to have protection for their persons, leisure and oppor­tunity to provide things honest either for present or future use, freedome and safety in the enjoyment, vindication from wrongs and injuries, which sometimes may and will happen: To have the avarice of some, the pride and am­bition of others curb'd and restrain'd, that they may not be made a prey to the insolent rage and rapine of every despe­rate and insulting Villain, and by all manner of licentious, lawless and barbarous Usages, to be devoured and torn in pieces; then needs must Government be reckoned in the first rank of temporall blessings, as comprehending all, since by it a remedy is provided for those evils, that otherwise must needs overtake us, and swallow us up; and supplies are procur'd for those wants, which, if not provided for, must needs render our subsistence impossible.

By this we many see, that if there were such a thing in Nature as a state of Ʋniversall Liberty, which some have fancyed; yet the consequences of that Liberty being endless strife and contention; as much as men value Liberty, 'twere better for them to endure the greatest grievances of the se­verest Discipline, then the sad Calamities of a mistaken Free­dome. Freedome from Government makes it free for every one to do what mischief he pleases; it withdrawes men from the regular power of some one or some few, and subjects them to the lawless arbitrary power and insolence of all. But freedome in Government subjects you to the just and or­derly power of some, and frees you from the merciless cru­elty of every malicious Cut-throat, and the inexorable fury of any rude multitude.

Besides, though freedome in Naturalls be a perfection, as when the body is in such a state of health and strength, as that it can freely exercise any proper motion, endure any [Page 7]labour or hard-ship; or the mind apply it self readily and ju­diciously to the consideration of any proportionable object, yet it is not so in morals; there the case is far otherwise. Now men help and benefit, or else hurt and hinder one another, ra­ther by their morals, as their wills act and are effective, then by their naturals. And therefore nothing can be more conducing to happiness, then to have that liberty, by which men have a freedom to evil, limited and restrain'd. For, if the acts of sin be damnable, the power, as such, must needs be very danger­ous, and, so far forth, not at all desirable. 'Tis the honour and perfection of God, as to his Truth, that he cannot lie; and, Numb. 3.19. Gen. 18.25. as to his Justice, that being Judge of all the world he cannot but do right; nor can he deny himself. And 'tis the happiness of triumphant Saints to be rais'd above both the liberty of sin­ning and the power of suffering. Luke 16.26. Between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us that would come from thence. And even in this state of moral freedom or rather imperfection, in which we now are, the more any man by the strength of Rea­son and Religion, diligent endeavour, and long custom and pra­ctise, hath made the doing of any vitious act very difficult for him and next to impossible, the better man he is, no doubt, and the nearer to perfection. Were a man to go over a narrow Bridge from whence he might easily fall; to have both sides so rail'd in, that he had not a liberty to tumble down head­long, were, doubtless, no disadvantage, not had he any reason at all to complain of that restraint: A drowning man also naturally quits his liberty of letting go any thing he gets hold on, that hath but the least appearance of conducing ought to his safety. Sin is one of the greatest enemies we have, and 'tis a liberty indeed to be able to commit a sin or not; but that power being the power of an enemy; he, that, if he might be quite freed from it, would yet be able to sin, by the exercise of that destructive power, cannot be imagined in the least to consult his own safety or welfare; but must rather be lookt on as one that hath made a covenant with death, and is with hell at agreement, as we read of some, Isai. 28.15. And if every single person despising the blessing of government, [Page 8]would have a liberty to do what himself listeth, and is right in his own eyes, Judg. 17.6. Gen. 16.12. as we read it was in Israel, when there was no King there; 'tis true, his hand like Ishmaels might be against every man; but then 'tis as true that every mans hand must needs al­so be against him. Now which is more eligible and desirable, to have it in my single choyce, to act what I please upon others, whilest every person besides my self (not one of which perhaps but may equal me on some occasion or other) shall have the like freedom to act what he lists upon me, or that we be both restrain'd? What good shall that weak and indefen­sible liberty do to me that am but one against a multitude, by every one of which I may at pleasure be opprest and ruin'd? And how then is it possible I should reasonably promise to my self the least comfortable enjoyment of any thing though but for a minute? and what's my life, if I have no enjoyment? What enjoyment can I have where there's no security? And what security can there be without peace? And what peace can be expected where there is no bond of government to bind and hold men to it?

What hath thus been said of government in the general is applicable both to the Church and state in particular, whether we consider the same persons either as men or Christians, Go­vernment is absolutely necessary to the safety and welfare, as of their humanity, so also of their Christianity. For should there be allowed in Christianity a liberty for men to profess & practise what they please, 'twere nothing but an empty name, since it can have no sense any further, then as it signifies such a Profession as laies upon all those that undertake it, some re­straints of subjection & obligation to others. For, if there be no such bond or obligation, there can be no union; & where there is no union, there can be no Society Corporation or body of men; where no body, no members; where no members, no Church. But Christ is the Saviour of his body, which is the Church; and in the body there are many members, yet but one body. 1 Cor. 12.12, 13, 14. For (saith the Apostle) as the body is one and hath many members, and all the members of that one body being many are one bo­dy, so also is Christ. For by one spirit we are all baptized into one bo­dy, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, bond or free: and have been all [Page 9]made to drink into one spirit, for the body is not one member, Ver. 19, 20. but ma­ny. If they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. To be a Christian then is to be one of many, of many in society or in a body. The self-dei­fied Enthusiast is but one by himself, above Church-Society, and so above Church-work, and so cannot be of the body, and so no Christian. The Independent is but one in a private Con­gregation, and is next to that which is next to none; but the Church is a body comprehensive of whole Nations, Jews and Gentiles. And all the multitude of Christians that in a con­verted Nation, do hold the Catholique Apostolique Faith, and profess obedience to the same, do therefore make one National Church, because they all submit to one and the same Ecclesiastical government, by the Laws and direction where­of every one that is duly made a member, is bound to act in such sort as not to violate the common faith or the publique peace. Common people therefore are abused by their false teachers, when they are made to believe that those who assert a National Church, understand no more to be required to make a man a member of such a Church, (suppose, for in­stance sake, this Church of England) then that he be born up­on English ground, or be descended from English Parents. If any thing had been sufficient to check the impudence of such bold impostors, the offices themselves, as they are publiquely exposed to every ones view, might have secur'd us from so gross a slander.

But how much soever these Depopulators of Churches may sport themselves with their own deceivings, & think they have gain'd some great advantage by their small inclosures, 'twill yet be very hard for them to make good any claim to the essential requisites of a Church. For albeit a multitude of Independent Congregations might all together be called a Church, yet they cannot make such a body as a Church should be, wherein the act of some must necessarily lay an obligation upon all the rest, which is quite contrary to the Independency and self-sufficiency of their single Congregati­ons. Such Societies therefore make no greater distinction from Universal Liberty in each individual, then a liberty or [Page 10]independency in each private family would do, which hath none of the fore-mentioned inconveniencies remedied by so small and inconsiderable an union. Such a State therefore is no better then a State of factious Division or religious War, inconsistent with Christianity, which is a religious peace.

It's evident then, that the want of a fixed Government, whether in Church or State, doth utterly destroy the being and constitution of either. What mischief it createth, what fires it kindles, both in the one and the other, must needs be obvious to any considering person, and you cannot but have sufficiently learnt it from our own late sad experience. How have Errors and Heresies, Blasphemies and Schisms, Impiety and Profaneness, Atheism and Barbarism, robbing both of men and God, invaded and over-run us? What Seas of bloud, what inundations of wickedness like fire and brimstone from the mouth of Hell, have as the waters of the Ocean without a bound at once broke in and overwhelm'd us? During that calamitous state of things, how have we been shifted through all the shapes and forms of usurped Tyranny? What whirling and rotation from one project to another, even as many as the hypocritical madness, or phantastique levity of every fil­thy dreamer, Jude 8. that had but the confidence to despise Dominion and to speak evil of Dignities, could invent? How have the wayes of Zion mourn'd and all her gates been desolate? How have her Priests sighed, and her Virgins been afflicted? for her beauty was all departed, and her Princes became like Harts that finde no pasture, and are gone before the pursuer. Yea how hath the daily Sacrifice been taken away, the solemn feasts and Sabbaths been forgotten, and the King and the Priest been despised? The precious sons of Sion, comparable to fine gold, have been esteemed as earthen pitchers, and the work of the hands of the Potter. They that did feed deli­cately have been desolate in the streets, and they that were brought up in Scarlet have embraced dunghils. Those that were purer then snow and whiter then milk, more ruddie in body then Rubies, and their polishing of Saphir, their visage hath been blacker then a coal, neither have they been known in the streets, their skin hath cleaved to their bones and [Page 11]withered and become like a stick. These are the consequen­ces of a subverted power, sufficient to instruct us how great a blessing it is for a Land to be built and setled upon the lasting Foundations of a well-order'd Government.

From hence also we may note the folly or rather madness of sedition and innovation, when once a good Government is well fixt and establisht. It is I confess a matter of very great ease to finde some faults in things not capable of absolute perfection, and so to remove one evill as to introduce a worse: But to mend that, which the wisdom and experience of ma­ny, and those the best and purest Ages have determin'd, is either the cheat of Mountebanks, or the confidence of Fools. Whatever men may promise to themselves, or pretend to others, the true and naturall effect of such Reforming, can certainly be nothing but meer Anarchy and Confusion, not more destructive to any then to the first Designers. An abused people may for a while indeed resign their judgement to im­plicit faith, and God in his just judgement may give them over, that received not the truth with love, to strong delusions to believe a lie; but so soon as the stroke of Divine Justice hath made them feel their Errour, they are no less eager to throw down those popular Idols, then they were zealous before to enshrine and worship them. To draw men into folly and danger, by abusing their hopes and betraying their Interests, is very fesible; but to abuse their hopes in betraying those their Interests, and not to incur their rage, may be concluded impossible.

Various and numberless are the shifts and perplexities, in­finite the hazards, and sad are the events which such Impo­stors do necessarily draw both upon themselves and others. In nothing do they suffer more then in those very points for which at first they engage. While they crie out for liberty, they make both themselves and their credulots followers the servants of Corruption; while Sea and Land is compassed to make a Proselyte, the man becomes ten times more the childe of the Devil then before. While all that is cryed up holds forth nothing but truth and peace, nothing suffers more then the one by lying and perjurie, and the other by tumult and in­surrection: [Page 12]And then no marvail too, if Justice, that was so loudly called for, be turned into Wormwood, the very Gall and bitterness of Cruelty and Oppression: And the whole Religion it self, the securing or refining whereof is evermore the great wheel in all popular Commotions, be so far adulte­rated, as to degenerate at last into manifest Apostasie and perfect Atheisme. The best recompense that such Deceivers can expect, for these their pernicious Counsels and mis­chievous practises, is a shame not to be wiped away; and the infamy of those vile arts of hypocrisie and falshood, slander and detraction which they were fain to exercise, thereby to draw the ignorant and unwary multitude into a dislike and hatred of the power to which they owe their subjection and their peace.

But 'tis to be hoped that experience hath now taught the most, what reason might have done long since, that it's the great concernment of any people to be fully perswaded that the benefits they receive from a good Government, are far more valuable then any thing that their Governours are able to receive from them, who feel indeed their own ease and enjoyments, but are less sensible of the others cares and burdens.

Men also that did own no other rule to order and justifie their seditious attempts then providence, nor any other Judge of Controversie then successe, have now a very fair occasion given them, either to quit their Principles, or deny their Con­clusions, but shall doubtless do best to do both.

And for those who in order to the unsetling of Govern­ment, are so apt to cavil at the directions of them that have the oversight of the Church, and to traduce some prudent accommodations of things to emergent occasions as irregu­lar Impositions, they shall do well to learn the use of so much modesty, as not to pass opprobrious censures upon the acts of their Governours, because themselves were not made acquainted with the grounds of what they did; and not fond­ly imagine that there can be no reason, which themselves do not understand. Every one is not so happy as to be able of himself to discern the true and proper causes of things. [Page 13]However, if they will not be so charitable (which they ought to be, even to the good name of any obscure person) as to think and speak the best, yet they might be at least so just, as first to inquire of those that could inform them, be­fore they usurp the seat of Judgement and pronounce their sentence. Certainly, contempt of Authority, the immediate parent of Disobedience, Schisme and Rebellion, and the pro­per issue of slandering the footsteps of Superiours, is of far worse consequence then the ignorance or dissatisfaction of any private judgement. The Apostles Caution, if hearkened to and observed, would doubtless prevent the petulant rash­ness of such intemperance. I say, Rom. 12.3. through the grace given unto me, to every one that is among you; that no man think more highly of himself then he ought to think, but that he think soberly according to discretion; or as others read it, that no man pre­sume to understand above that which is meet to understand, but that he understand according to sobriety, as God hath dealt to every man the measure of Faith. The Originall is too elegant to be exactly rendered in any other Language.

For men also to claim and contend for an arbitrary power or liberty in the publique Offices of the Church (which cer­tainly (if any) had need to be guided and regulated by the publique wisdom of the whole Government) and by vertue of that liberty to prescribe or dictate at pleasure what to them shall seem good; as it gives occasion to defile the Worship with polluted offerings, so it most affectedly disparages the piety and judgment of a Church and State, as fit to be rejected in comparison of the Scepticall and de­sultory Fancy of an Opinionative Novellist. And then, since to have the Government of any people, is nothing else but to have a power to dispose of their actions according to ones will, those actions chiefly that are of a publique nature; he that upon his own private account assumes the authority of dictating to a Congregation, or making them all act the same with himself, and not according to the legall appoint­ment of the Church, doubtless, arrogates, in a matter of great importance, the exercise of a piece of arbitrary Government, to very ill purposes. Such practise, whatever colours may be [Page 14]us'd to varnish it, is not really effectuall to mens greater edi­fication, or a better oeconomy, but rather subservient to the vain ostentation of a personall ability, and displaying the cheap Inventory of some striped Furniture to the itching ad­miration of ignorant and deluded people; who, if they be­come by this means more receptive of Errour, and more apt to be cloven into factious separations, must needs be expos'd to a very great temptation of attempting things inconsistent with Rule and Order, and consequently destructive both to the publique and themselves.

I rather urge this, because our Government having Chri­stians for its Subjects, our late Contentions having been kindled at this fire from the Sanctuary: the effect whereof, among other ill Consequences of Subverted Government, hath been the offering of strange fire upon Gods Altars, by Priests made of the lowest of the people. The more have they to answer for, that still bring fuel to keep them alive, rather then water to quench and extinguish them. To speak that which I take to be clear and evident reason: when men meet together in publique to serve God by Prayers, Praises, Thanksgivings, Sacramentall Devotions, &c. the question is, Whether they shall act every one apart by the suggestion of his own spirit and fancy without any Rule and Govern­ment, or not? If so, then another coming in must needs say they are mad: Where's the Union, where the Communion of Saints? If they must not act in Division and Confusion, but in Conjunction and Order; of necessity they must all agree in one form, and proceed as that shall direct. The question now is, Who shall prescribe that Form? Let the Answer be, Such as may most reasonably pretend to be most able, prudent and judicious, to dictate that which is fit to be offered unto God by us all; who can best assure us that we do not present a blinde or a lame Sacrifice. Now would it not be a ridiculous presumption for any private ordinary Minister to step in, and say: I have a gift, and can hold it forth extempore, and you shall do better to give me occasion to exercise, and let you see that I have that gift, then to take that Form which the Church with the approbation of the [Page 15]State in so many Convocations, Synods and Parliaments, in solemn manner upon the wisest deliberation, upon a nice and careful disquisition of all particulars, were able to contrive and fit to all the ordinary and extraordinary necessities of Christi­ans? Might it not justly and reasonably be replyed, We are much better provided for and secur'd by the deliberate Judgment, and Wisdom, and Piety of the Church and State in this matter, then by the suddain incoherent effusions of your inconsiderate fancy that are but One, and that so small a Member, and so much inferiour every way perhaps to the least of them? When we pray with you, our spirit of prayer is restrained by a form of your devising, which what it will prove in the tryall, you as yet know not your self, much less can we. As it is not your business in this case to proclaim your gifts, so neither is it ours to admire you for them. Whatever reason you may have to think your self abler and fitter to dictate to us, then the ablest of the Church, in so many full and solemn Assemblies in severall Ages, after such clear and strict debates of all questions and doubts that did then offer themselves to their piercing observations, we, sure, can have no imaginable reason to think so of you. If you may be in the right, much more may they: If they may be mistaken in any thing, much more may you: It can therefore be no less then madness in us to reject them in comparison of you. We know also, and are assur'd, that, by the Laws of God, we owe obedience to their Authority, from which it is not in your power, should you pretend to more then ever any Pope did, to absolve us. Besides, the truth is, our own unhappy experience in this matter is such, that the most un­learned among us have been able to discern such mistakes and absurdities, yea sometimes blasphemies to have fallen from pretenders in this kinde, that our folly would be as inexcu­sable as theirs is manifest, should we rather choose to lean upon such broken Reeds, then on the Church of the living God, the Pillar and the ground of truth. For by its holy care and wise direction, the whole publique Worship is now so compleat in all the parts, and so fitted to the occasions and necessities of Christians; moreover for the comely fashion [Page 16]or manner of doing it, all is perform'd with such grave and decent Ceremony, fitted only to keep the mindes of peo­ple intent by apt Declarations of their due concurrence, and suitable improvements of their zeal and fervour, as also to gain a necessary regard and reverence to the action, that as the Church knew not how to provide for us better, so we have no reason to expect any other so good, but shall rather thank­fully joyn with the rest of Gods people happily subjected to the same Discipline, then follow a multitude to do evill. And this we believe must needs be more honourable to Re­ligion by the harmony and beauty, and more effectuall with God by the strength of so great an Union, and consequently much more reasonable and safe for us, then the pert inventions of any the most illuminated pretenders.

They must be, I conceive, extremely passionate, self-willed and prejudiced, that should hold such a Reply unreasonable. For certainly we have no cause to fear any danger from that which commonly men deem, and, by mistake, have learned to call Will-worship, which must needs be more chargeable on such as, in opposition to the sentence of the Church, follow the decrees of their own private wills in determining what comes nearest to the minde and will of God; and in projecting the very frame and method after which a Congre­gation of Christians assembled together for the service of God, are to present their devotions.

As little need we to fear the suspicion of Popery, in con­sorming to that way of publique Worship which our Church hath prescrib'd; when as this Conformity stands in a direct opposition to that Popery which the Romanists themselves, and also our Laws do account and have declar'd for such. For are not Papists forbidden, by the the Laws of their own Communion, to joyn in the publique Service of our Church, who yet are permitted to hear the Expositions and Sermons of the reformed, accompanyed with such of their prayers as are the present dictates of their private spirits. And are not the Reformed again on the other side generally as liberall and free to them, who, should they joyn in their Masses, and those other publique Offices, by which Papists distinguish [Page 17]and hold their Communion, would certainly be deem'd Proselytes by those of the Romish, and Apostates by the men of their own profession. Doubtless, that for which men are called Recusants, and censured by our Laws as such, hath more of Popery in it, then hath any ones conformity to the Service of our Church; the denyall of which confor­mity by the Romanists, being that by which they disclaim our Communion, is the very essence of Popery, as that is understood to signifie Recusancy.

As for those, who (that they may not seem sine ratione in­sanire, or neglect the necessary defense, as they think, of their errors and reputations) hold themselves engaged to justifie their disobedience, by traducing the decent and instructive Ceremonies of our Church as superstitious, or at least a too stiffe insisting upon smaller matters; If the Church had bidden them do some great thing, should they not have done it? how much more when she requires only such forms, gestures, or habits, as best serve to beget that reverence, and express that uniformity, without which all solemn actions must needs fall into contempt and indecency.

But 'tis to be hoped, that when upon a most strict and par­tial inquiry with a sincere heart and single eye, as in his sight before whose eyes all things are naked and open, they shall have clearly satisfied their Consciences in the grounds that mov'd them first to censure, and then to depart from that which themselves had formerly practised, and were obliged to by lawfull Oaths and Subscriptions; and when they shall well have weighed the consequences, which their eyes have seen to flow from their very Principles, and the confessed miscarriages of divers of their chiefest and most renowned Patrons; they may at length think it not only possible for them to erre, but more then probable that they have done so in the present case. The truth is, in many things we of­fend all; and infallibility is no more to be found at Geneva then at Rome, though the one be for the most part as per­emptory in denying the act, as the other the power; and though there be so little difference between him, that, upon the clearest instances, could never be brought to say he [Page 18] had erred, and him that sayes he never can. So soon there­fore as either their passion, prejudice or interest, and the im­plicit faith by which they embrace any thing that is with confidence delivered for sound and orthodox by those, whose persons, for some grave appearances of Learning and Godli­ness they have in admiration, shall give them leave to see and consider what Superstition is? and that as a good meaning cannot justifie an evil undertaking, so neither can the reputed honesty of a man of gifts, authorise an error either in faith or life; they will no longer look upon the powerfull con­victions of sequestred truth as so many Engines of Satan to beat them from their stedfastness; nor on those that have taken so much pains to save them, as on men of corrupt principles or profane hearts. Indeed when men have for a good while together had quiet possession of some congruous errour, the least disturbance proves very afflictive, and those that have long enjoyed the pleasure of thinking well of themselves and despising others, (like men prefer'd to honour in a dream) are much disquieted upon the first opening of their eyes and judgements to perceive the Delusion. So much more agreeable to naturall corruption is familiar error, then unacquainted truth.

Obj. But may it not seem strange and very improbable, that those who have alwayes been so very zealous against the formalitie and abuses of the times, should be so much mista­ken? Have not godly men long since complain'd of faults, and taxed the condition of things amiss both in Church and State, which (the Government standing as it did) could never be redress'd? If the complaint be not true, both they, our Ring-leaders, and we their close and constant followers or rather over-runners, have all this while been deceivers and de­ceived: and is it likely that so many of Gods people, whom we alwayes took and do take to be the only honest party, should complain without cause? Must we be look'd upon as men that had no just ground for what we laboured for, and took pains with prayer, and preaching, and fasting, even to strife and debate, and smiting with the fist of wickednesse? The very life of our Good Old Cause, the honour and reputation [Page 19]both of it and our selves are herein nearly concern'd: and what also will the world then think of us? Answ. I answer, even what it does; unless we shall repent and do our first works. Either we or those must be mistaken, who are far more considerable both for numbers and qualities then our selves.

Must the Church, the State, the best, the wisest, the holyest and the learnedst men be fools that we may appear wise? must they all have erred that we may seem not to have erred? or be all in the wrong that we may be in the right? Or will our error become none, and that which is wrong prove right by our not seeming to see it, by our unwillingness to own it, and resolution to persist in it? Yea, to excuse us, will Conscience cease to give in her evidence, or will the righteous Judge, in favour to our incorrigibleness forbear to pronounce and inflict his sentence? That we may be safe in our reputation, must all former Ages suffer in theirs? Must Antiquity lose its reverence, Truth its force, Kings their Majesty, Parliaments, Convocations and Synods their judgement and authority? Must Wisdom be no more with the Aged, nor Prudence with the Counsellors, nor Instruction with the Judges? Must such a Noble Army of Martyrs as seal'd our Reformation with their bloud, cast down their Crowns at our polluted feet to lift up our Axes and Hammers? Or rather were it not much more creditable and safe for us to engage Posterity to hide our greater shame by a present just and pious care not to ex­pose and deride, but cover our Parents nakedness in case of the least discovery?

Certainly our Fore-fathers (as quick-sighted, for ought appears to the contrary, as our selves) had they been able to see and remedy what we think we discover and can re­form, to wit, Errour, Superstition and folly in their careful Collections and wary Improvements, they would not, by a voluntary guilt, have brought a reproach upon the Nation, and an open infamy upon its Publique Acts, thereby wilfully drawing upon themselves, the Church and State, the just cen­sures and scorn of all knowing men. The event certainly and success of what they did, compar'd with that of what we have since essayed to do, must needs justifie them and condemn [Page 20]us; nor can our peevish obstinacy prevail with men to appre­hend it otherwise. Our wisest course certainly will be, never to be tampering any more with foundations and pil­lars, least, those being shaken, the whole pile fall down upon our giddy heads, and bury both us and our Inventions quick in the ruines. So dangerous and destructive is Innovation in Go­vernment; and so vain and troublesome, as well as infectious, is mens unnatural itch and greediness after it: a levity to which either the ignorance or wantonness of common peo­ple, like the desire of new, though undecent and uneasie fashions, hath been to apt to betray them. My son fear thou the Lord and the King, saith Solomon, and meddle not with them that are given to change, for their calamity shall rise sud­denly, and who knoweth the ruine of them both? Prov. 24.21, 21.

In reason, all change should be for the better, and such was that which was made from War to Peace; that is, from law­less boundless liberty, to Empire, Rule and Government. The motive to the change was good, settlement and order being as much better then giddiness and confusion (in which the greatest ease and security a man can promise himself, is no better then that of sleeping upon the top of a mast) as is a calm then a storm, health then sickness, or life it self then death. For what is such a life but a living death? or, as the Apostle expresseth it, a dying daily? For men to live, like the wild Beasts of a Wilderness, in the barbarous and sa­vage condition of war, must needs be the complement and fulness of all earthly misery. The drawn Sword of a destroy­ing Angel cutting down a Nation with Pestilence, was prefer'd by David before the Sword of an enemy. But of all War and enmity Civil War is the worst: and this is that which those men choose, that affect a change of Government; inasmuch as that change, without a power able to match the Soveraign Power, can never be effected. For the opposition of those Powers is War, the very worst of evils, which these men choose for a remedy of something they call evil; which, be it what it will, must needs be much better then the worst; and therefore make their choice most unreasonable, an act of so­lemn [Page 21]madness, reproachful even to humanity it self. For what can be thought more sottish then for men so far to listen to to the cry of their own passions, or the enchantments of sedi­cious Sorcerers, as to abandon themselves to misery by being ingaged in parties and factions, contriving and attempting to subvert a lawful power, only to make way for another, and that a greater power (such must that needs be, by which the former is expulst) and so more able to oppress and grind them, not resting there neither. For such as have no other title then that of forcible entrie, nor any surer possession then that of forcible detainer, do but invite a new force, and raise a new power to eject them. How many such turns may one succeed another, it is not easie to determine. The right owner being once set aside, all other pretenders have one and the same title, one just as much right as the other, and there­fore may set up and declare when and how they please. Now of these, there must needs be as many as those are whose crimes, wants or ambition promoted by cunning, colour'd with specious and hypocritical pretences, and backt with some external advantages may incline them to supplant the Supreme Authority; from the justice whereof, as they could not expect impunity for those crimes, so neither from the regular Administrations thereof, had they reason to look ei­ther that their needs should be extraordinarily supplyed, or their ambition satisfied.

But how long that dismal Tragedy may last, wherein there are so many Actors ready to enter the Stage, each re­solv'd in his turn to spin out his part to the utmost, till both himself and the sad spectators be quite worn out and spent, he alone knows that make Diviners mad, and wars to cease in the earth, that knappeth the Spear in sunder, and burneth the Chariot in the fire; so far pittying the follies of men, more brutish in this then the very brutes themselves (that act not contrary to that reason they never had) as in great mercy to raise up some to still the rage of man, and tame the beasts of the people, and so lead them forth of that vast howling Wil­derness, as he sometimes did the Israelites by the hands of Mo­ses and Aaron: Moses a Supreme Magistrate, and, in corre­spondence [Page 22]with him, Aaron a chief Priest, both such by the wise appointment & constitution even of God himself, whose Government being that of a King or Monarch (for God is King of all the Earth) must needs be therefore the most perfect, as we have affirmed Kingly Government to be in our second Proposition, which comes next to be handled.

2 As 'tis a blessing for a Land to be under a Government, so 'tis yet a further degree of blessing to be under a King.

Absence or Negation of Government is a State of Univer­sal Liberty and War; and therefore so far forth as the indivi­duals of a multitude surrenders their dispersed powers to the rule and disposal of a Soveraign (be that Soveraign a natural person, as a Monarch, or an Artificial, as a Senate or Coun­cil made one by a concurrence of voyces) so far they are un­der Government, and in a reasonable expectation of Peace, and no further. To counterpoise power with power, as weights do one another in a ballance, till they come to an aequilibrium, is to make the state of a people alterable with every the least grain of advantage. And certainly it is next to impossible for two distinct parties invested with equal pow­ers, to use those powers so equally, though but for a day, as that the one should make no gain, and the other sustain no loss. The nearer that Powers are matcht, the more jealous they are of encroachments, and the more apt to resent and contest the least transgression of bonds. Nor can that jea­lousie in either party be quencht, but by attempting some further security in an excess or usurpation of power, the pos­sibility and suspicion whereof at first in each other was the very spark that kindled it. Supremacy therefore of Power, as it is Essential to Government, so can it not be reconcil'd with co-ordination without a plain contradiction. To ima­gine such power in a people considered as so many loose individuals, is to conceive an unity in division, there being as many Soveraigns as men. And to think that so great a multitude as the vast generality of a people, can joyn and concur in such sort as to act every one for himself, or be otherwise embodyed and united, then by being made one term of a relation through the necessary position of some [Page 23]opposite term, is to dream or that which is impossible, to wit, of an inferiour without a Superiour; or of a Superiour where none are inferiour. When once a relation is put, the terms are immediately distinguisht, and therefore to con­found the properties peculiar to each term, by imposing sub­jection on those that govern, and attributing Supremacy of Power to those that are governed, is to make the son be­get the father, or the father become the child of his own son. Be it so that men, of their own accord, by their own consent and power, either through chance or choice, are fallen into a relation, yet being once there, they cannot make void or alienate the necessary duty, which God by his Law hath thereto firmly annext. A woman by her own con­sent, uncompell'd by any Law of God, makes her self a wife to a man, whom therefore she may be said to have made her husband; but being once in that relation, the wife may not, upon pretense of having made that man her husband, reverse the husbands power, and usurp authority over him. Much less, upon the like pretense, may the Subject recall or invert the power of the Magistrate; the duty of obedience and sub­mission being by God annex'd to Subjection. And there­fore men so related must needs be subject, not only for wrath, Rom. 13.5. but also for Conscience sake; whatever the motive or occasion were that first brought them into the relation. This bene­fit however must needs be necessarily intended in the erection of any Government, viz. That the Subjects may be secured, so far as is possible, from danger and mischief, through strife, violence and war, in the confused tyranny of one another. And that form of Government which best obtains that, which all Government, as such, doth chiefly if not solely intend, must needs be prefer'd before other forms, notwithstanding its being obnoxious, as all forms are, through one accident or other, to some defects and obliquities. Engines that have many wheels will sometimes be out of order, though no disparagement to him that either made or keeps them. And therefore it cannot be expected, that Monarchy with its greatest advantages should be able to satisfie all, or fully put to silence the ignorance of foolish men. The clearest [Page 24]light in heaven is observ'd to have some spots; and if God himself did never please all, is it possible that all should be pleas'd? However, to discover a weakness or imperfection in any thing is no argument that another is better, no more then it would be for any pretender to prudence and mode­ration to conclude himself wiser then Solomon, because he is able to charge Him with some act of folly. Upon such an account, it must needs be easie for any one to make good his claim to an universall precedency. The question is, What form of Government is best? Not whether that Government only ought to be prefer'd or admitted which is every way per­fect? No state or condition upon earth is so: and he that will not be satisfied upon any other terms, shall roll a stone with Sisyphus and never be at rest. Seeing then there always were, are, and will be defects in all; certainly that must heeds be best, which hath the least and fewest. And that we say is Kingly Government, or Monarchy, wherein the Elementall powers of a simple and unbodyed people, are drawn together and compacted in a single person. The reason is this.

Because the more closely Soveraign power is united (as when the Sun-beams are drawn towards a point by a Burning­glass) the greater strength and aptitude it hath to obtain its end in the safety and honour of the whole Community. For these can never be well provided for, if a Magistrate want suf­ficient strength to suppress all attempts that may be made against the Government; or cannot exercise that strength so seasonably and readily, as by timely Discoveries and quick preventions to anticipate or countermine the practises of such as are enemies to the publique Peace, which is never more in danger, then when the Authors of sedition, to which all Governments are subject more or less, do receive incourage­ment from such probabilities of effecting their purposes, as the frequency of opportunities and greatness of temptations cannot but create and suggest.

If Ambition long for Empire, and be even choak'd with thirst after power: if pride affectedly think it self too good or great to be subject: if passion be impotent and cannot hold it self: if prejudice and errour would contest by force, what [Page 25]they cannot make good by reason: if ignorance will not see the good of Peace and ill of War: if wantonnesse being cloy'd and fall, despise the Honey-combe, or curse its own Bles­sings, and be undone for want of variety or something of a new mode: if covetousuesse would take and enjoy all, but con­tribute nothing towards the expensive administrations of ne­cessary Justice and Order: if self-love will be partiall, and blame the Government for those sufferings which the heed­less Subject hath incurr'd by his own default: if slothfulnesse, imprudence, luxury and pleasure will improve nothing, but spend all and be in want, and seek unlawfull supplies, or contract debts and suits: and if all these do wilfully and greedily expose themselves to danger by the guilt and pu­nishment of their crimes; how is it possible but that the natu­ral desire in man to save and preserve himself, should dispose and incline them all to secure themselves by force from be­ing accomptable to that Authority which they know must curb and correct their Insolencies? But then that Soveraign power, which is made perfect in one, to wit in a King or Monarch, must needs be best plac'd and dispos'd, because its Government, when well administred, doth evidently afford both lesse temptations, and fewer opportunities to trans­gress, and also less hopes of security and success.

For is it not much easier for an aspiring spirit to fancie its being one of a Senate, then one where there is but one, which makes the attempt more desperate? If Supremacy reside in a multitude, the natural desire of power will scarce penult any active person in that number to rest satisfied with [...] when he may fairly hope to have all? Nec quenquam jam ferre potest, Caesar, &c. Lucan. Equality is as offensive to one as Superiority is to another; and what men desire and hope for, or are in a possibility, to attain, they will attempt, if the fear of a common danger do not interpose, or that the partners do not over-highly va­lue each others strength and interest.

Is it not also more reasonable to infer the sense of pres­sures and grievances, which occasion great calamities, from a multitude in power then from One, whose experience con­stantly shewes him, that his own private interest can be no other then the publique; whereas in the other, the double interest of private and publique distinct and frequently op­pos'd, like two Masters requiring contrary services, gives oc­casion to men, whose first and greatest kindnesses do gene­rally regard themselves, to pretend the service of the pub­lique in order to the serving of themselves, and to sacrifice the common good to their own private advantage? Howe­ver, if One may abuse power, then certainly much more may a Number; and if Ones spending upon a Stock will waste something of it, what can in reason be expected when there are so many spenders?

And whereas the personall distance between the Senators and people is not very great, but between the Senators them­selves little or none at all; as the greatest do not exceed the proportion, so neither are they sufficiently arm'd against the sting of Envy, whose venom is so killing and infectious. Yet he, that, being no more then one that goes a share in the Soveraignty, and may be abundantly qualified to op­press the inferiour people, is not plac'd so high, as to be a­bove their affronts and injuries; must needs be inclin'd and inabled to abuse the publique force in the vindication of pri­vate wrongs, beyond the the limits of Justice.

Moreover, when a private estate becomes too small and weak to support the honour and dignity of one that is a publique person; it cannot prudently be imagin'd, but that the interest of corrupted power should be misapply'd in re­pairing it. And where there must needs be place for so great a variety of inconsistent ends and interests among so many jealous and suspicious equals, the house is soon divided, and therefore cannot stand, but multitudes are destroy'd by the fall. On the contrary, where the dispersed power of peo­ple is most closely united, as it cannot be more then when it's all reduc'd to one, it must needs there be strongest, and most able to guard the Palladium of a Nation, the safety of [Page 27]that Supreme Power by which alone it enjoyes peace, with­out which no injoyment at all.

Again, where power proceeds upon the concluding advice and executive order or will of One, it must needs be most se­eret and expedite. Where the consent of many is to be had, that are led by parties and Factions; nothing more practised nor practicable then discovery and delay, which are oft-times very fatall and dangerous, chiefly in the rise and progress of sedition. That a multitude therefore or Assembly should sooner agree and joyn in one, then one person with himself; that in such a multitude all should be sincere in their aims and designs, and equally desire and seek the common good: That in such a divided administration there should be less corruption and partiality where there is much more tempta­tion and opportunity; neither our reason nor experience will suffer us to believe.

From hence I suppose we may safely conclude in the generall, that as 'tis a blessing for a Land to be under a Govern­ment, so 'tis a further degree of blessing to be under a King, whose Government questionless is the best fence against the dangers of envy, pride and ambition, the best stay and sup­port of every just interest, the best prevention and remedy of hostility and confusion, and the best means of procuring and al­so securing the blessed enjoyments of peace.

As to the peculiar case of this our Nation, the Subjects whereof were not only born under, but also sworn to it; Nature, Reason and Religion, all concurring to fasten this blessing on us, how much better it is for us in all respects, as most agreeable to our temper and genius, to our Laws and Customes, most approved also by long and sharp tryalls, and that in great variety, hath been of late the subject of so ma­ny pens, that I shall not descend further into particulars, which I know are evident to the meanest observation among us. Only we shall do well to remember, how happy we have been under it, that thereby, and by the sense of what we have suffered for the want of it, we may the better under­stand and value the blessing of its restitution, and being once again made whole, sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto us. [Page 28]Doubtless, nothing could have made us miserable but the ignorance of our own happiness. How did Religion and Learning, Laws and Liberties, Truth and Peace flourish, and embrace each other? To what a height of glory, and dignity, and wealth, and power were we then arriv'd? Like Jesu [...]un, we were waxen fat, and it had been well for us, if we had not also kicked, Deut. 32.15. and lightly esteemed the Rock of our salvation. With what reverence, and Freedome, and equity, so far as humane infirmities will bear, was Justice administred? when the Subject might safely plead his right with the Prince, and was not at all prejudg'd from the liberty of a fair hearing, and a legal sentence? And for the Church, 'twas not in the power of every ordinary Minister, with three or four of his Parish to make a Consistory or Spiritual Court, and sit in judgement over the rest of his Neighbours, and admit to or reject at pleasure the rest from the Communion of Saints. In which case, the censur'd person, backt with his chief friends and relations, being apt to think himself wrong'd, and hardly dealt with by those of his own place, his own Minister and fellow-Parishioners; what hatred, and variance, and envy, and strife, and malice, and uncharitableness must needs ensue, and be fomented between Neighbour and Neighbour, Friend and Friend, Minister and People? Who, having so many common interests, and being engaged, by the mutual necessities of a daily commerce, in each others concernments, ought certainly to have no such bones cast among them, by publishing the secreta domûs, as must make them not only snarl at, but also bite and devour one ano­ther. All matters of importance so neerly concerning men in their spiritual interests, were wisely determin'd by the Laws and Constitutions of the Church, and the Controver­sies thence arising, decided by able, chosen and disinteressed persons, that had neither temptation nor incouragement to be partial, which must needs provide better for those rights of Christians, then a Neighbour and an Equal, that may have so many deflexions to the contrary; besides want of fitness and of ability for such matters, which every ordinary Pres­byter or Parishioner in so great a body, can with no more [Page 29]reason be thought furnisht with, then every common Law­yer or Solicitor be deem'd fit to manage the Office of a Judge.

As for the due ordering of Gods publique Worship in Religious Assemblies, private Christians, that have not the leisure or ability to dive into the depths of Divinity, had better assurance given them, that their devout Addresses were agreeable to Gods holy Will and Word, then the un­certain chance of a States-lay-preachers or other ordinary Church-mans fugitive and extempore Fancy, which must pro­duce as many distinct services in the Church, as there are Con­gregations and Inventions of private men. If all the Con­gregations make one Church, why should they not serve God after one and the same manner?

So they should, no doubt, and so they did, keeping the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.

And blessed be the God of Peace, that hath once more joyn'd us in that Unity, and tyed us again together in that Sacred Bond, which I hope we shall never more break asun­der, nor cast away these Cords from us! Better and stron­ger we cannot have: good Government an excellent bond of peace, the perfection of outward blessings; and of Go­vernments the best, namely, that of a King, nor so only, but Kingly Government in its greatest perfection, as being then most blesseds when the King is the Son of Nobles, and the Princes eat In due season, for strength and not for drunkenness. Which is the third and last Conclusion, of which briefly and in a word.

To be a Son of Nobles speaks a relation to the quality rather then the person: in the same sense that men of great Atchievements are called the Sons or honour, or those that apply themselves to a more curious search after knowledge, are usually styled the Sons of Art; or, that such are said to be the Children of Abraham, Jo [...]. 8.39. who follow the saith and works of that friend of God: whose sons and daughters also are those that do endear themselves unto his grace and savour, by their conformity to his image; and endeavouring to be perfect, as [...] Father [...] is perfect. Mat. 5.48. To a contrary [Page 30]purpose, the Scripture also expresseth a vitious person, by calling him a Son of Belial, or a Childe of the wicked one, his Father the Devil. For Children being the lively images of their Parents, by the participation (as of a common nature, so) of some special and more peculiar lineaments and apti­tudes, by which they frequently discover the Authors of their being; the appellation is very fitly given to those whose descent is reckon'd according to the pedegree of a moral, as well as that of a natural generation. And thus a Son of Nobles is one, in whom are to be found the special signatures and distinctive lineaments of those heroick en­dowments, that, being propagated in a line of succeeding ages, do make a race of generous and renowned persons, the bles­sing and glory of their times.

Seeing also that the manners of the minde have a great dependence upon the temper of the body, according to that vulgar saying, Mores animi sequuntur humores corporis; where the body is rendred exactly serviceable to the soul, in such sort as that sensuality and passion are perfectly kept under the command of Reason, (which is the great foundation of the best Nobility) no marvail, if the perfections not only of the inferiour, but also of the better part (as to strong in­clinations, propensities and dispositions) do many times descend together, especially where nature is not alloyed and debased with some vitious, sordid and unequal mixture, the great unhappiness of a mercenary and luxurious age. That which in Creatures of a lower rank, we commonly call a good breed, doth not unfitly represent the matter. And the care men use to procure and preserve it in their beasts, should, one would think, reproach the neglect of it in them­selves. A wretchedness occasioned by nothing more then a lazie degenerating from the spirit and industry of our Noble Ancestors, or matching the Childe of Vanity with the Son of Honour, whose light thereby grows more dim and ob­scure, being first wasted by that which impoverisheth the kinde, and is by Solomon discredited under the title of eating in the morning, as you have it in the Verse immediately be­fore, and directly oppos'd to my Text, where he makes the [Page 31]misery or ruine of a people, the necessary consequence of childishness and intemperance in their Rulers: Wo unto thee O Land, when thy King is a Childe, and thy Princes eat in the morning! that is, unseasonably: to which if we add, the vile end and design they propose to themselves in so doing, not strength but drunkenness, (the perfect contradictory to his end; whom the Text Crowns with temperance) we have a very eminent cause discovered to us of a Lands weal or woe. For without the due excercise of a power Supreme, there can be no good Government, and so no blessing. But pow­er is no power in a subject indispos'd to use it, because it can never be well reduc'd to act, there's no strength nor vigor in it, no grace or dignity belonging to it. Whatever there­fore weakens or empairs the strength either of the minde or body, hath no proportion or congruity with the proper quality and constitution of a Governour, the very formality of whose Office is to be a man of power. Debauchery therefore; by transubstantiating the man into the beast, which was never made for Rule and Dominion, is more pe­culiarly opposite to that state and condition by which a Land is blessed.

He then that would truely be styl'd the Son of Nobles, and possess more then an empty or ridiculous title, must not be one that eats out of season, or that eats for drunkenness, and so takes order, that such meats be procur'd, and in such sort prepard, as may best serve to inflame the thirst, and kindle unnatural fires in the bloud, to the great detriment of that health and soundness, without which the whole man consumes and decayes, till at length the enfeebled judge­ment, and besotted reason become useless and insufficient for the difficult conduct of those great affairs, in the right mana­ging whereof the blessing of a Land doth consist. So Princely and strengthening a vertue is Temperance: The Land, whose Rulers and Governours by their authority and examples have planted it to a thriving, is enrich'd and blessed by it. So happy also are the people whose King is the Son of Nobles, above them whose Rulers are passionate, ignorant, uncon­stant; rude and wanton, the usual properties of children, or [Page 32]such as is the childe before the Text, who, by being op­pos'd to the Son of Nobles, is suppos'd to be of some ig­noble breed, some riotous or mean extraction. Which we shall not at all think strange, if we consider how the mean­ness of their condition must needs render their envyed per­sons odious, and make their power contemptible. When the vilest men are exalted, Psal. 12.8. then the wicked walk on every side: then servants ride upon horseback, and Princes walk as servants upon Earth. Eccles. 10.7.

Mean persons have commonly tyrannical, sordid and in­sulting spirits, and are of a base and mercenary disposition. None so insolent, so scornfull and unsufferable, as such per­sons generally, when they get into place or power. Not that Noble qualities are the inseparable or sole attendants of persons otherwise Nobly born: if I should say so, I should hardly be able to maintain it. Nobility therefore here, is not restrain'd or appropriated to a bare external relation: it principally includes the better part of Nobility, so that the other is alwayes to be understood in conjunction with this. And may they ever go together, as things which God hath joyn'd, and never be put asunder!

But 'tis high time I came to some more special and parti­cular application, and more immediately referring to the pre­sent occasion.

The truth is, God himself hath made the application; 'tis he that hath put new life and vigour into the fainting spirits of a dying and despairing people.

'Twas our happiness, the blessedness of our Land, and can be no less then the joy and triumph of our souls, that as on this day to us a Son was born, May 29. 1630. who is every way the Son of Nobles, Heir to a Prince Noble in all the senses in which that word hath any commendable use. Noble by the emi­nent lustre of most Royal and renowned Ancestors: Noble by those eminent qualities that become so high a descent. Whatever either Art or Nature, Grace or Vertue, Reason or Religion might contribute to make a man truely noble, was eminently remarkable in that most Noble person and trans­lated saint his Royal Father, to the great honour of him whose [Page 33]Vicegerent he was, to the singular satisfaction of his friends & Loyal subjects; to the shame and confusion of his enemies, even to the wonder and admiration of all. Noble, for his zeal to Gods House, and for his love to an unthankfull people. Noble in his life, and more noble in his death, made so by a Martyrdom so neer in resemblance to that of the faithfull Witness in heaven, that 'twould be hard to finde any so exact a parallel in all the Annals and Records of time. But so it pleased God to make him, like his Saviour, perfect through sufferings; by which he had the honour of the No­blest Victory in subduing the very malice it self even of his bitterest enemies. For such was his patience and charity, such his meekness and constancy, such his prudence and fortitude, such his sanctity and piety, that even the Con­querours themselves were conquered, and being stript of all their hypocritical pretences, so as to have no cloak left for their sin, expos'd stark naked with the greatest shame to the contempt and scorn both of God and men: For no sooner was he lifted up, but he drew all men unto him.

Such was the Father, such also is the Son, Nobilis ex Nobili, if not in the eyes and hearts of his own Subjects, yet cer­tainly of strangers and foraigners. For 'tis possible that a King as well as a Prophet, should not be without honour save in his own Countrey. And had not his worth and excellency spo­ken something more then ordinary, far above the usual ac­complishments of great persons, even those of his own rank, it cannot be imagined how he should ever have been able to keep up so long so great a reputation in such a depress'd condition, and when so many blinde and secret arts have been used, so much open slander and detraction uttered to stain and eclipse his glory, by those filthy men, Jude 8, 11, 13, who like raging waves of the Sea cast up their own filth, and shall perish in the gainsaying of Korah.

Commonly as men are outwardly prosperous and successe­full, so they are deem'd inwardly to be either wise or ver­tuous. The rich man thinks all that are poor are fools; and they that only admire wealth, neither know nor are capable of any other wisdom. But true wisdom is justified [Page 34]of her Children: and how much soever vertue in the general be of small account, little considered and less exercised, yet there is a Charm sometimes accompanying it, by which it hath so powerfull and secret an influence (as some persons have the judgement or felicity to manage it) upon the af­fections even of the least concern'd, that at forceth them into some degrees not only of love and honour, but of wonder also. The truth is, he that would be an accom­plisht person throughout, must not content himself with those external graces that render him acceptable to the first acquaintances and conversations of men, but be well stor'd with those inward, solid endowments, which commend themselves rather by the considerableness of their effects and after-consequences, then by the cecency and elegance of their present appearances.

And though 'tis possible for men to attain by their great care and practise some tolerable measures of both; yet the perfection of either is seldom attained without some neglect of the other.

'Tis a wonder, I confess, how persons of great and high birth, (considering their many and unavoidable diversions; besides the eminence of their condition, by which they are somewhat justly, but unhappily priviledg'd, from the impor­tunities of a strict, but advantageous discipline) should make any farther benefit or progress, then what is imputable to the arbitrary and uncertain improvements of Chance: Yet, if Divine Providence have so contriv'd out of it's infinite pity and goodness to a Nation, that a Son of Nobles in all re­spects shall be their blessing and their King: and that people shall be happy, not only by the force of his Precepts, but, the influence of his Example; if we are not the happiest people upon the face of the earth, it is our own fault, that neither do nor will know in this our day the things that do belong unto our peace. For what can more be done for us then God hath already done? When we all like Sheep were gone astray, wandring up and down as those that have no shepheard, made a prey to Lyons, and Bears, and Wolves, and Foxes, even all the beasts of the people, God hath been [Page 35]pleased, miraculously to put us under the conduct of one so fit, so ready and prepar'd to feed us, according to the inte­grity of his heart, and guide us by the skilfulness of his hands: who (besides a most excellent knowledge both of men and things, which renders him a perfect Master of the best con­versation, and the object of their praises, that have the ho­nour to observe and revere so great a Majesty in so sweet a presence graced with a happy and full concurrence of all per­sonal ornaments) doth by a special blessing and more imme­diate priviledge, lay so just a claim to that, which God him­self hath determined to be the perfection of Kings, in what he hath testified of David the Father, and Solomon the Son, who were the most eminent and glorious of all the Jewish Kings but he, who after he had in scorn been called by his malicious and implacable adversaries the pretended King, one that said he was the King of the Jews, did yet far exceed and transcend them all, as was then acknowledg'd even by those contradicting and blaspheming sinners, when God had made his foes his footstool.

Now 'twas, you know, King Davids honour to be styled frequently a man after Gods own heart, by his love to God, to his house and service, by his eminent Justice, Clemency and Integrity. Yet the matter of Ʋriah was very scandalous and reproachful to him. By the grace of God, and the as­sistance of his Holy Spirit, our David stands yet, and we have no cause to doubt, but by the power of the same grace he will continue to stand, to the last, untainted with any such guilt. Then as for his fidelity and integrity both to God and man, he hath all along given such signal evi­dences, as even slander it self is no longer able to questi­on it.

For a person so variously afflicted, so divested of out­ward incouragements, so surrounded with the strength of the most violent temptations, so constantly assaulted with all the force and subtilty of the most importunate attempts, to be so immoveable and constant in his Religion, as that neither the seasonable kindness of those of a contrary pro­fession, nor the scandalous unkindness of those of the same [Page 36]faith (either of which in a far lesse degree is an engine strong enough to batter the resolution of a boasting Pharisee) should ever yet be able to startle him; as it is no doubt an argument of greatest joy and rejoycing to himself, so must it be of highest conviction and satisfaction to others. It is more over notoriously evident, that the great value and kind­ness which he hath for those that have given constant and undoubted assurance of their Loyalty otherwise, could never yet insinuate their vices into his favour and connivance; but he hath and doth so manifestly declare himself an enemy to those scandalous sins of some of them, to wit, swearing and debauchery, that all pretenders to the honour of good Subjects, must henceforth in good earnest either resolve to be sober, or quit the reputation and reward of strict and severe Loyalty.

For Solomon the Son and Successor of David, 1 King. 3.6. you know what was his Petition to Almighty God, upon his taking possession of the Throne of the Kingdom, as also the success he had in that his request, which was so pleasing to God, and proved so beneficial and honourable to himself. And no question but wisdom and understanding are most essential qualifications of an accomplish'd Prince, without which he cannot well goe either in or out himself, and must therefore be content to be led by others before so great a people. So gra­cious in this particular hath God been unto us, in setting this Sacred person to Rule over us, that we may well say what was said of Israel in another case, The Lord hath not dealt so with any Nation, among the heads whereof it would not be easie to finde such a solidity of judgement, as needs not (out of any necessity) be forc'd either to depend on others, or distrust it self, but freely determine and stand to its own sentence, and that firmly and steddily, without any fickleness or aptness to be toss'd and turned about like a Ship without helm or balast, with every puff of Fancy or Conjecture. Moreover, what the Holy Scripture hath so ex­pressely declared, That he who walketh uprightly walketh sure­ly; his Majesties example hath most exactly verifyed, by giving a most undenyable instance that there is something [Page 37]more in Wisdom then Cunning, and that truth of Religion maketh the wisest, because the best men.

But then all these excellencies not being the effect only of meer study and sedentary speculation, must needs become so much the more expedite, ready and usefull, by how much the more they have been confirmed and increased by fre­quent encounters and negotiations with persons of so many different Nations and professions, and of so contrary interests, by an unwearyed vigilance and industry, in a full employ­ment and exercise of the strength and powers both of his minde and body. And all this in complyance with a life of duty, in a neer subservience to the great Majesty of Heaven, and governed also by the exactest rules of an impartial justice, with that presence, strength and vigour of spirit, which dan­gers do not terrifie, nor any sufferings or indignities discom­pose, nor the cross determinations of the all-ruling Provi­dence cast into the weak impatience of a mean despondency or abjection of minde.

And then when we consider what you all have seen, & your own eyes or ears can witness from his own Declaration, April 4/14 1660 how mercifull he is to his enemies, how pitifull and compassio­nate, as well to the follies and provocations, as to the ne­cessities and sufferings of his seduced people, it must needs be said of us as of some persons, like our selves, ignorant of their own felicities, O fortunati nimium! we should be even too happy, could we but understand it. The truth whereof will, I doubt not, through Gods blessing ere long become so evident, that albeit there be scarce faith to be found in the earth, it will yet be eminently and most fully verified even to the shame and conviction of the most incredulous.

For my own part, I shall only add at present, that I have not spoken all this by hear-say, and can therefore the more easily believe, that it will soon be found to be no flattery: should a person coming from far, as the Queen of Sheba did, say also to him, as she did there to Solomon, 1 King. 10.8. Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants that stand con­tinually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom! Blessed be the Lord thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the Throne [Page 38]of Israel! Because the Lord loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee King to do judgement and justice.

Which thou that art the King of Kings, by whom Kings reign, and Princes decree Justice, grant that he may constantly perform; and that we his Subjects, du [...]ly con­sidering whose Authority he hath, may faithfully serve, honour, and humbly obey him, in thee and for thee, accor­ding to thy blessed Word and Ordinance, who with thee and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth ever one God world without end. Amen.


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