Die Mercurii 24. April, 1644.

IT is this day ordered by the Commons assem­bled in Parliament, That Sr Robert Harley and Sr Robert Pye do from this House give thanks unto Doctor Stanton and Master Greene, for the great paines they tooke in the Sermons they preached this day at St Magarets Westminster at the intreatie of this House, it being the day of publike Humi­liation: And they are desired to print their Ser­mons: And it is ordered that none shall presume to print their, or either of their Sermons, but by the Authoritie of their hands writing.

H. Elsyng. Cler. Parl. D. Com.

I appoint Philemon Stephens to print my Sermon,

John Greene.

NEHEMIAH'S Teares and Prayers FOR JƲDAH'S AFFLICTION, And the ruines and repaire of JERƲSALEM.

Delivered in a SERMON in the Church of Magarets Westminster, before the Honourable House of COMMONS upon the day of their Monethly Humiliation, April 24. 1644.

BY JOHN GREENE Master of Arts, late Pastour of Pencomb in the Countie of Hereford.

Isai. 22. 4.

Look away from me, I will weep bitterly, labour not to comfort me, because of the spoiling of the daughter of my people.

Ver. 9.

Ye have seen also the breaches of the citie of David, that they are many.

Psal. 51. 18.

Do good in thy good pleasure unto Sion: build thou the wals of Jerusalem.

LONDON, Printed by G. M. for Philemon Stephens, and are to be sold at his shop at the golden Lion in Pauls Church-yard. 1644.

D. O. V.

Amplitudini vestrae in Domino
Joh. Greene.

A SERMON PREACHED Before the Honourable House of COMMONS at their Monethly Fast on April 24. 1644.

NEHEMIAH 1. 3, 4.

And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the capti­vitie there in the Province, are in great affliction and re­proach: the wall of Ierusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof burnt with fire.

And it came to passe when I heard these words, that I sate downe and wept, and mourned certaine dayes, and fasted, and prayed before the God of Heaven.

THe first Verse of the words read (if you look back to that next before) are the answer of Hanani and cer­tain Vers. 1.men of Judah unto a question moved by Nehe­miah being then in Shushan the Palace, the winter­house Lavater ex Athenaeo, lib. 1 [...]. cap. 3. Antiquitar. lib. 10. cap. 5.of the Kings of Persia: Josephus relates the storie thus: Nehemiah meeting certaine strangers entring the gates of the Citie Shushan, perceiving them to have come a long journey, and hearing them speaking one to another in the Hebrew tongue, he demanded of them whence they came, they answering that they came out of Judea, he puts a two-fold question [Page 2] unto them, one how it stood with the people of the Jewes, that were returned out of the captivitie, and then in the province of Ju­dea; the other what the condition of Jerusalem: And in the for­mer words of the Text they give answer to both (and it was a sad answer) for the Jewes that came out of the captivitie, they are in a very miserable condition, in great affliction and reproach, under many hard pressures, full of scorne and contempt, and for Jerusalem it remaines still in its old ruines, the wals continue broken downe, the gates burnt with fire; and if we shall adde to these the time Nehem. 1. 1. 2. [...].when this report was made, which will appeare by comparing the first verse of this Chapter with the first of the second, to have been in the twentieth yeare of Artaxerxes the King, we have, as I con­ceive, the summe of that which the former verse holds out.

In the latter you may see how this sad report affected Nehemi­ah, it put him also into a sad condition, when he heard how it was with the people, how with Jerusalem, he wept and mourned, and it was not a little suddain melancholick fit for a time, but it held out certain dayes; and to shew that this mourning of his was reall, did really affect him, that it came indeed from bowels of pitie and compassion towards the people and the citie, it put him upon those meanes, that (if any) would minister reliefe to the citie and people, and make way for their freedome from former pressures, and ex­pedite the repaire of present ruines: And these are two, he fasted and he prayed, and in the latter you may consider unto whom he prayes, to the God of heaven, if you looke to the last verse of this Chapter, you shall finde Nehemiahs maine request was to the King, that he might finde favour in his sight, his suit was to a man on earth (so he calleth him in that verse, this man) yet he goes to heaven for the obtaining of it, as knowing it would little availe him to goe unto the King, unlesse he went first unto God to move the Kings heart, he had small hope that his petition could speed with man, which had not first been presented unto God.

Here is ground you see for varietie of observations, I shall doe, as you use, when you goe to a shop furnished with choice of severall wares, you will not take all that may be had, but only such as best fit your occasions; So shall I by Gods assistance out of this varietie observable from the Text, endeavour to single out what I conceive will best suit with our present times▪ and somewhat further the du­ties of this day.

[Page 3] Observ. 1. Jer. [...]9. 10, 11. You shall heare the Lord before the Captivitie making a grati­ous promise by the Prophet Jeremiah unto the people of the Jewes; when 70▪ yeares are accomplished at Babylon, I will visit you, and performe my good word towards you, in causing you to return to this place, for I know the thoughts, that I think towards you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evill, to give you an expected end. Here was a pretious Promise made before they knew the miserie, that should make them stand in need of such a Promise: And the Lord began to make this good, when in the first yeere of Cyrus, according to that Promise, the Lord stirred up the Ezra 1 [...], 2, [...]. spirit of Cyrus by Proclamation to grant free liberty unto all the people▪ to goe up unto Jerusalem, and to build the Temple: And if ver. 5.you goe to verse the fifth, you shall see how fairely the work pro­ceeded, The Lord stirred up also the spirits of the chiefe of the fa­thers of Judah, and Benjamin, and the Priests, and the Levites, with all them whose spirit God had raised, to goe up, to build the house of the Lord, which is in Jerusalem.

And yet many yeares after (as you shall heare in the following passages) comes this sad report to Nehemiah, that all was at a stand for Jerusalem, The remnant of the people that are left were in great affliction and reproach: the wall of the citie remained broken downe, and the gates thereof burnt with fire.

An expected end God had promised, and questionlesse the peo­ple of the Jewes had long looked for the accomplishment of this promise, but it must not come yet, they had more affliction to suffer, the wals of Jerusalem must remaine longer in their ruines, and the gates in their ashes.

Thus we shall find the Lord often dealing with his Church and people, they seldome injoy any great blessing, or enter upon the fruition of any speciall promised mercie, but it costs them deare: God made a mercifull Promise to Abraham, that he would give Gen. 15. 7.him and his posteritie that goodly land of Canaan, yet they must pay deare for this before they had it, Know of a surety, (saith God) that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and ver. 13. they shall serve them, and they shall afflict them foure hundred yeares. They must not look to have so pleasant and fruitfull a land for nothing; No it must cost them deare, many yeares hard service, a great deale of affliction, they must go through an iron furnace, [Page 4] Deut. 4. 20. Gen. 15. 17. Gen. 37. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. Psa. 105. 17, [...]8. Divino ju l [...]io quod de [...]l [...]r are conatisunt rea [...] ­tendo ser [...]e­runt, Greg Mo­ral. l 6. c 1 [...]. Ideò venditus est à [...]ra [...]r [...]b [...]s Ioseph ne a [...]o­raretur [...]ed [...]deò est adoratus, quia venditus, sic div [...]um consil [...]um du [...] devitatur, im­pletur, sic bu­manasaptentia, du n reluctatur, comprehend t [...]r, Id ibid. Isai. 65▪ 17, 18, 19. Rev. 21▪ 1, 2, 3, 4. 2 Pet. 3. 13. so is Egypt called, represented (as it may seeme) to Abraham in his vision in that smoaking furnace: another instance may be that of Joseph, who was assured that he should have the honour which his dreames had promised, but it must cost him his being sold for a servant, his casting into prison, his feet hurt with fetters, he was laid in it on, or as the margent, his soule came into iron, and hitherto he was brought into a far lower condition, then he was at the time of his dreames, yet see the over-ruling Providence of the most wise God so disposing, that every descent into a lower condition, was made unto him as a staire to ascend unto that honour which his dreames had promised.

To come neerer unto our selves, and that which concernes the Church in this latter age of the world, there was a glorious Pro­mise made to the Church by that Evangelicall Prophet Isay, Be­hold, I create new heavens, and a new earth, and the former shall not be remembred, nor come into minde. But be you glad and re­joyce for ever, in that which I create. And John the Propheticall Evangelist gives the Church such assurance of this, as if he had then seene it performed, I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away. And I John saw the holy citie, new Jerusalem comming downe from God out of heaven. And the Church expecteth the accomplishment hereof, We, saith the Apostle, according to his Promise, look for new heavens, and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousnesse. It is now the Churches expectation, we looke with John to see this new heaven, and new earth, and to behold that holy Citie comming downe from Hea­ven, we hope the Lord at this present is about this worke: but goe back to the former part of this prophecie, and you shall finde, that the Church must not have this new heaven and new earth, till it hath paid deare for them, you may see from the eighth Chapter to Rev. 12. 3, 4, 13, 15, 17.this 21. what the Church paid for this before she had it; I will in­stance only in the 12. and 13. Chapters, in the former you have a great red dragon, that is, as our best Interpreters take it, the Devill, and what mischiefe he did to the Church, you may find in severall passages of that Chapter, he stood before the woman, which was to be delivered, for to devoure her childe as soon as it was borne, not being able to devoure the childe, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man childe, casting out of his mouth water as a [Page 5] floud after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the floud, and when no prevailing against her, he went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keepe the Commande­ments of God, and have the testimonie of Jesus Christ.

Rev. 13▪ 1, 7, [...]1, 14. In the next Chapter there is one beast rising out of the sea, having seven heads and ten hornes, the heathenish Romane Empire, And to him it was given to make war with the Saints, and to overcome them, ver. 7. in ver. 11. there is another beast rising out of the earth, the Papacie, which had the power of the first beast, and did by many lying wonders deceive them that dwell on the earth; what the Church hath suffered by the crueltie and subtiltie of these two beasts, the histories of the Church doe abundantly manifest: It cost the Primitive times the tortures and bloud of many thousand Mar­tyrs before truth and peace setled by Constantine and Theodosius▪ I need not tell you what our owne Kingdome, Germanie and France paid for the beginning of Reformation.

If you would have my thoughts, why the Lord in his wisdome selleth his choice mercies at so deare a rate, I conceive it may be, Reas. 1 1. To try what esteem his Church hath of those mercies it looks for; the Church of God in all places expects great mercies, we of this land at this time look for speciall favours, we look for the Refor­mation of what is amisse in Church and State, for an establishment of Truth and Peace, the Lord now would trie how we esteeme these, how we prize them, what we are willing to pay for the in­joyment of them, we will not give much for that which we value at little, large offers argue an high esteeme: God is now trying the hearts of England, great matters are expected, but how doe we prize them? surely it cannot be better knowne, then by what we will give for the purchase of them: Will we part with all to injoy them? Doe we thinke our whole estates, our children, our neerest friends, our dearest bloud not too deare a price to pay for them? It is an undoubted evidence, that we highly prize those things which we neither will nor can want whatsoever they cost us, when all that we have, and more if we had it, shall freely goe for them, and que­stionlesse that wise merchant could no way so fully manifest his Matth. 13▪ 46.esteeme of the pearle to be more worth then all he had, then when he sold all that he had, and bought it.

Reas. 2 The Lord doth this to worke a greater esteeme of these mercies, [Page 6] when he is pleased to bestow them: health is much prized by all, but more by those that have lyen many yeeres upon the bed of lan­guishing: Libertie is sweet unto and desireable of all, but most of those that have knowne the hardship of a long imprisonment; the violence and danger of a storme makes a safe harbour the more wel­come: Mark 5. 25, 26, [...]7.the diseased woman that was cured of her issue of twelve yeares continuance, would have taken it for a great favour, if any of the Physitians she made use of could have cured her, but when she had spent all, and found her selfe not the better, but the worse, then Christ to come and heale her without any further cost or pains but only the touch of the hemme of his garment, could not but work in her a greater and more thankfull esteeme of her cure: The Joh. 5. 2, 4, 5, 6, 7.impotent man at the poole Bethesda, that had an infirmitie thirtie eight yeeres, would have been very glad if any man would have helped him into the water, when the Angel troubled it, and it was his complaint to Christ, that he could find no such favour from any, now when after so long waiting, man would doe nothing for him, for Christ to come and heale him with a word, it could not but work in him an high esteeme of that comfortable healing: Abra­ham much desired a child, and so desired, that when God told him, Gen. 15. 1, [...]. Gen. 17. 17. Gen. 21. 6, [...]8, 12. Riserat pater admirans in gaudio, riserat & mater dubi­tans in gaudio, sed side confir­mata ri [...]s [...]l [...]e non al irride [...] ­dum opprobr [...]i, sed ad celebran­dum gaudium pertinebat. Aug. de Civ. Dei, l. 18▪ c. 31. I am thy exceeding great reward, he replies, Alas, Lord, What wilt thou give me, seeing I goe childlesse? as if all that God could doe for him was nothing, till God gave him a childe: The Lord did at length give him a childe, but it was when Abraham and Sarah were out of all hope, and see how this affected both their hearts, the Text saith, Abraham laughed at the promise, he grew to such an excesse of joy, that he could not containe himselfe from laughter: and Sarah when the Promise was made good, and Isaac borne, God, saith she, hath made me to laugh: though her former laughter proceeded from unbeliefe, yet this from joy; and to shew the height of joy, whereunto this mercie had raised them, their son must beare the name of their joy, be called Isaac, that is, Laughter, Gen. 21. 3.

It is ordinarie with us, what costs little, we doe not usually esteeme much, and we can easily part with it; our common Pro­verbe, Lightly come, lightly goe: but such an estate, such an house cost me so many thousands the purchase, so much in building, so much in furnishing, and other accommodations for my content, [Page 7] so that I laid out my whole estate, nay, hazarded my life in running through some dangers to compasse it, what part with this? No, I will rather part with my life then forgoe this: Surely, I am per­swaded, that Reformation, just Liberties, and Priviledges, with other Mercies we now expect, if the Lord please to give unto us our expected end; or if this favour denyed to us, yet vouchsafed to our posteritie, I am perswaded (I say) that we and they will farre more prize and esteeme these, by how much more they cost our fore-fathers and our selves such losse in estates, so much bloud to purchase and obtaine them at Gods hand: Is not then that done for Religion, for Reformation, the assurance of just Liberties, and after Peace which we expect, and for which we have long pray'd, yea, and pai'd much also, surely it is to be feared, and we may pro­bably conceive, that we are not yet come to Gods price, England and Ireland must both bid more and abide more, before they enter upon those great desired mercies. Hath it cost us much of our estates alreadie? 'tis somewhat probable it must cost us more, suppose our whole estates, nay, our lives, yet that pearle in the Go­spel, the Kingdome of God in its power and puritie will prove more worth then all.

Ʋse 1 It is a wonder to see too many hazarding the losse of heaven to leave a great uncertaine estate to their posteritie on earth, and shall we thinke much at the cost of our purses, nay, of our lives, if God call for them, to leave unto a Kingdome, to a Church, to succee­ding ages a more cleare and prevailing way and meanes to that im­mortall inheritance, that is prepared and reserved for the Saints in Heaven.

Souldiers will never grudge the hazard of limmes, of life, so they may get the victorie, and what should dishearten or dismay any who [...]e hearts the Lord hath inclined to further the work in hand, willingly and cheerfully to lay out themselves, and what they have in their power, whereby they may help the Lamb to overcome, and to set Christ upon his Throne, that this and all the Kingdomes of the earth may be his, who is the King of kings, and Lord of lords.

It is storied of Epaminondas that having received by a speare Aemilias P [...]c­b [...] in vita E­paminond [...].his deaths wound in the battell betwixt the Thebans and Lacede­monians, the speare head remained in the wound till he heard that his armie had gotten the victorie, and then he rejoycingly com­manded [Page 8] it to be plucked out, his bloud and life issuing forth toge­ther, with these words, Satis vixi, invictus enim moriar, I have li­ved enough that die unconquer'd: and being told a little before his death that however he had lost his life, yet his shield was safe, he cryes out by way of exulting, Vester Epaminondas cum sic mori­tur, non moritur, your Epaminondas thus dying, doth not die.

Ephes. 6. 16. There is no shield like that of faith, and if the heart be right, he may die with comfort in that cause, which preserves life in the do­ctrine of faith, leaves that safe and entire: Oh tell me, is it not an estate well weakned, that strengthens the power of Religion? is it not a life well lost, that helpes to save the life of truth? and yet a life so lost (if we dare take Christs Word) is not lost, but saved, Mark [...] [...]5. Whosoever shall lose his life for my sake, and the Gospels, shall save it: since then we heare what Gods people have paid for such mer­cies as we expect, if we have not hitherto received what we desire▪ let us think, we are not yet come to that price which God lookes for, and which these great mercies must cost before we have them.

Ʋse 2 Again, when the Lord was about the raising up and imploying good Nehemiah for perfecting the worke of the Courts of the Temple, and repairing the ruines of the citie Jerusalem, had that which was alreadie done cost the people much affliction, many suf­ferings, and doth there yet come a sad report of the low, afflicted and despised condition of the Jewes then in Judea, let the conside­ration hereof helpe to support the spirits of Gods people in their most sad dejecting times: you have heard there is a new heaven and a new earth promised, a Jerusalem to come downe from hea­ven, a glorious building going up: And you know they which build large and great houses, being to set them upon hollow and false ground (as we call it) are forced to dig very deep before they lay the foundation, and usually when we see work-men digging ve­ry low for a foundation, we presently conclude, here is some great building, a frame of more then ordinarie weight to be set up: I hope this is the Churches present case; it hath been brought very low in Germanie, in Ireland, in our own land, and we trust the Lord is all this while digging the foundation, this is the work the Lord suffereth the Churches enemies to labour in, to prepare the ground-worke for erecting in his Church a glorious fabrick, that these at the worst shall be but the Lords mattocks and spades, and [Page 9] if the Lord be still pleased to continue them at their work in Ire­land, in England, it is to be feared, that it may be, too many of the Irish hearts are yet to God-ward as rotten and hollow as their bogs, and we in England, though we have firmer ground, yet I doubt as false hearts, a great deale of hypocrisie, hollownesse, and rottennesse remaining, so that the Lord, though he have alreadie gone very deep, brought us low, is not yet come to firme ground, so may goe on to bring us lower in our affliction, to work us lower in our humiliation.

And I could wish our spirits in regard of humiliation alwayes solow as our condition, that when God throwes us on the ground, we would lye on the ground, put our mouthes in the dust: but at no time to be low in distrust, for our confidence in God, to have highest spirits in lowest estates, as knowing that our raising up is then at hand: If a stranger one that never heard of the ebbing and slowing of the sea, and of your river, should come to your Thames side at an high water, and should stay and observe how much it fals in six or seven houres, he might probably thinke, that your river would run it selfe drie; whereas you that are acquainted with your tides, know that when your ebbe is at the lowest, the tide of a rising water is returning, and trust unto it the lowest estate of the Church Osiander Cent. 4. cap. 5. Sethu [...] Calvi­sius, anno Chri­sti, [...] 8. Osiand. Cent. 4. cap. 9. Idem Cent 4▪ cap 14. & 3 [...].is mostly an immediate fore-runner of its raising; the Church in the Primitive times found it thus, the most raging and violent of those ten bloudie Persecutions was that of Dioclesian, never the like tortures invented and executed, nor so many martyr'd and ba­nished, onely in Egypt 144000. put to death, 700000. banished, yea so violent his rage that his wife Serena (however a well de­serving Ladie) put to death, because a Christian; but this crueltie and rage of his followed with the milde and peaceable times of Constantius the father and Constantine the sonne: And it is the Lords promise it shall be thus, and that upon a right and religious observation of dayes, of fasting and humiliation, Is not this the fast Isai. 5 [...]. 6▪ 7▪ 8, 9, 10. that I have chosen, to loose the bands of wickedness? and in the close of ver. 10. then shall thy light rise in obscuritie, and thy darknesse Psal. 30. 5. be as the noone day, thy darkest and saddest night of calamitie shall be followed with a gladsome and comfortable morning of joy, so cleared from after-clouds of sorrow and distresse, as is the Sun at noon day, when it shineth in its full strength.

[Page 10] Observ. 2. To proceed, are the wals of Jerusalem broken downe, and her gates burnt with fire? Jerusalem that had out-stood so many sieges, from before which the confident, potent, and numerous ar­mie Isai. 37. 36, 37.of Zenacherib was forced to rise and retreat with shame and losse of 85000▪ in one night, of whom the Psalmist sung after that 2 Chron. [...]0.deliverance as some think, or as others after that from that combi­nation of those many Kings that came against Jehoshaphat, Com­passe Psa▪ 48. 12, 1 [...]. about Zion, goe round about, and tell the towers, mark well the wals thereof, behold her bulwarks, see if a stone shaken, or a turfe fallen in her out-works? what Jerusalem, She that was prin­cesse Lam. 1. 1. Calvisius ex Iosepho. among the nations, so strong, so populous, as twentie hundred thousand in it at the beginning of the siege, or as some above foure millions; in so seeming secure a condition, as the Kings of the Lam. 4. 12.earth, and all the inhabitants of the world would not have beleeved that the enemie should enter into the gates of Jerusalem; the wals of this Jerusalem broken down, and her gates burnt with fire?

Oh learne that former deliverances will not secure sinfull King­domes, and sinning Cities from after dangers and ruines; I will onely commend unto you the instance of Nineveh made secure by the Lords turning away a former threatned judgement, and within 40. dayes of execution, yet then exposed to a miserable ruine, Art Nehum 3. 8, 9. thou better then populous No? from ver. 8. to the end of the Chapter, a fit resemblance in many particulars of this land of ours, the Lord grant we may neither be like that in sin, or destruction.

Ʋse And it is the desire of my soule, that this citie honoured hitherto with safety, with the discoverie and defeat of so many plots and at­tempts would seriously lay this to heart, that former deliverances might not beget securitie, but more watchfulnesse, both to drive out those sins which are the apparant in-lets to an enemie, and to dis­cover and prevent the secret contrivances of false-hearted bre­thren, considering the continued vigilancie and unsatisfiable rage of the Churches enemies, and specially of your citie: The fenced 2 Chro. 12. 4. Isai. 36. 1, 2.cities that belonged to Judah would not satisfie Shishak the King of Egypt, but he came up against Jerusalem▪ the like of Zennache­rib, the like certainly the enemies malice and furie against your ci­ty, and me-thinks I heare their Generals saying of yours, as once [...] King. 22. 3. Ahab of Ramoth in Gilead, Know ye not that London is ours, and be we still, and take it not out of the hands of Rebels and trai­tours? [Page 11] (for so they call you) or as Haman once of Mordecai, all the Esther 5. 1 [...].honour and favour I enjoy availes me nothing, so long as I see Mor­decai the Jew sitting in the Kings gate: That they have Bristoll in the West, York in the North, with others, will not satisfie, unlesse they had London also: And beleeve it, their taking of other places, is but to make way for the surprizall of this: You shall observe a workman sent into a rough wood for the felling of some great Oke beset with bryars or smaller shrubs, first cutting up these; but for what End? surely that nothing might stand in his way, which might hinder his full stroake at the Oke to cut that down, so assu­redly their taking of what other places soever, is but to make way for their full (& if they could reach it) fatall blow against this Citie.

As therefore to raise up your hearts unto great thankfulnesse, we may say of your Citie, as they of Laish, It is a place where there is Judg. 18. 10. ver. 7. no want of any thing in the earth, so I beseech you, let not that be [...]aid of you, which was of them in a former verse, they saw the people that were therein, how they dwelt carelesse, quiet and se­cure, and no greater provocations to an attempt then wealth and securitie, the Danites presently set upon them; let therefore the ver. 9, 11, 12.enemies rage and vigilancie for your ruine, double your circum­spection, and increase the firmer union of hearts affections and en­deavours for your preservation.

Observ. 3. Calvisius, & al [...]is. To go yet further in the report, when came it to Nehemiah? it was (as you heard) in the twentieth yeare of Artaxerxes the King, as our best Chronologers compute, about 146. yeares after their return from Babylon. So slowly for the most part goe up the repaires of Gods people, not alone in the Civill, but Ecclesiastique state, the Temple whose foundation laid the second yeere after their Ezra 3. 8, 6, 15.return, not finished till 111. yeeres after, in the 6th yeere of Darius, and for Temple-Service and Worship, Reformation of many things concerning the Sabbath, teaching the Law, and re-building the gates of the Courts of the Temple, not done till after this time Osiander.by Ezra and Nehemiah: It was thus in the Primitive times, Phi­lip the first heathenish Emperour that was baptized began some Reformation in the yeere of Christ 247. Constantine went on where Philip left in the yeere 310. Theodosius 395. added what Constantine had omitted; so Reformation then an 150. yeeres growing to any measure of perfection.

[Page 12] Severall reasons might be given why Temple and Citie worke went on so slowly in Jerusalem, I shall intreat you to take notice of the most remarkable.

Reas. 1 The first, the violent oppositions of Jerusalems enemies, (and we never finde any good worke begun for the welfare of Church and Nehem. 2. 10.State, which the power and policie of Hell did not oppose.) It grieved exceedingly Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the ser­vant of the Ammonite, that there was come a man to seeke the welfare of the children of Israel: and in these enemies, we may Ezra 4. 8.consider first their qualitie, men of place and command, Rehum the Chancellour, or as Tremellius reads it, Praeses Concilii, President of the Councell, one that rul'd the Councell Table, and Shimshi the Scribe, or as in the Margent, the Secretarie, or as Tremellius, Legis Ezra 5▪ 3. peritus the Lawyer; and to their assistance came Tatnai the Go­vernour, or as the Geneva, the Captaine and his Companions, and to make them a square number, a quaternion, you shall find Noadiah a Nehem. 6. 14.Prophetesse (the female sex will be stirring) and other false Pro­phets appearing against the work, and the persons imployed in it, and surely when any good work is intended or begun for Church & State, it would be a wonder, and the devill might seeme much to forget himselfe, if he should not make use of some ill affected, or dis­affected Churchmen to hinder and oppose it.

I will not stay you with their Methods, by ingaging the Kings of Ezra 4. 12, 13.Persia in the opposition, by procuring Edicts and Letters, and Pro­clamations against them, and that upon false informations of re­bellion, sedition, not paying tribute, custome, and endamaging the Kings revenue; nor will I trouble you with their manner of oppo­sing, Nehem. 2. 19. 4. 2, 3, 8. 6. 10, 12.by scoffes against their persons and their work, by combinati­ons to take up armes, to hinder the work by the sword, and by hire to corrupt some of those that sided with Nehemiah, either to be­tray him, or to put him upon some dishonourable or hazardous at­tempt, all these are obvious to every eye that will but read the sto­ry, and I presume you often heare of them: so that whither you Judg. 15. 4▪ Cant. 3. 15. Isai. 9. [...]5.consider the varietie of the opposers, like Samsons foxes turned taile to taile and firebrands betwixt them (and I am sure the Scripture affordeth some of them no better names) an association of Courti­ers, Lawyers, Souldiers, false prophets; or their drawing in Kings to countenance, protect and authorize them, or lastly, all their Me­thods [Page 13] and proceedings, you may discerne our times so paralelling those, as if the present plot were drawne from theirs, and the modell fetcht from thence.

Reas. 2 A second reason may be the smallnesse of the number that retur­ned unto Judea and Jerusalem, but one of six, two tribes of twelve, Judah and Benjamin, and whether all of these a question, their Nehem. 7. 67.whole number with men and maid-servants under 50000. and those that did returne, so much minding their owne houses, the re­paire of their own ruines, as the Temple and Jerusalem neglected, so the Prophet, Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled Hag. 1. 4. houses, and this house lye waste?

What great hinderances have private interests been to the pub­lique good, the breaches of Jerusalem lesse minded, because too ma­ny too much mind their own, My house, saith the Lord, is waste, ver. 9. and why, ye run every man to his own house? It was that which Judg. 5. 17.kept Asher from joyning with Deborah and Barak against Sisera, Asher continued on the Sea shore, and abode in his breaches, he dwelt in a sea-towne much decai'd, had suffered alreadie by the enemie, and so had enough to do, to make up and make good his own breaches: Don Alfonso King of Arragon, was wont to say, Fr. Ch. de Fon­seca.that if he had been Emperour when Rome flourished, he would have built a Temple before the Capitoll, wherein the Senatours should lay downe all private interests, and lay aside their own parti­cular benefits whensoever any thing was to be done for the weale­publique, before they went to crave the assistance of their gods; And surely it is great pitie, that any mans private respect should hinder the common good; nor will it be well with the body poli­tique, where it is not with this as in the naturall, which will wil­lingly loose a great deale of bloud in some veine, many times unto fainting, will endure the cutting off a limme or two to preserve the health and life of the whole.

And here give me leave to commend unto all, (whose hearts and desires the Lord hath stirred up to further the publique good) these two short directions: 1. So seriously to mind the publique good, as if in respect of that they minded nothing else; and 2ly, to go about the publike work with united minds, see the fruit of these two both for Temple and State-work in the storie of Ezra and Nehemiah, Ezra 3. 1.how speedily went up the Altar and foundation of the Temple, [Page 14] Nehem 4. 6. when the people gathered themselves as one man to Jerusalem: and for the cities repaire, So built we the wall, and all the wall was joyned together unto the halfe thereof: and he will tell you what caused this, the people had a minde to worke, a mind and union of mindes what will they not compasse?

Reas. 3 The greatest number, even ten parts of twelve did choose rather to stay in Babylon to support that, and keepe their estates there, then return into Judea, and afford their help for rebuilding Jerusa­lem; And are there not too many that would willingly prop and keep up tottering Romish Babylon? too few whose hearts are re­all to repaire the decayes of spirituall Jerusalem, whereas if we cor­dially desire that Jerusalem may go up, we must in good earnest en­deavour that Babylon may come downe, for certainly Jerusalem will never be in its beautie, whilst Babylon is in her pride: And would we have incouragement to pull down Babylon, what grea­ter, then that of the Psalmist, which will as truly be verified of Ba­bylon Psal. 1 [...]7. 8. Calvis. anno Christi, 95. Rev. 18. 2.in Italie, as once of Babylon in Chaldea, Babylon, who art to be destroyed: and this so certain, as an Angel neere 1600. yeares ago, spake of it, as alreadie downe, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and the time of her fall is we hope so neere, as me thinkes I heare the Lord summoning all the parts of his Church throughout the world against Romish Babylon, as once against that other, Put Jer. 50. 14. your selves in aray against Babylon round about: all ye that bend the bow, shoot at her, spare no arrowes: for she hath sinned against the Lord. Let me, I pray you have your leave and audience to presse this with some inlargement.

Rev. 17. 17. The Lord long agoe fore-told, that those ten hornes, which had formerly given their power to the whore, should hate the whore, and shall not all be willing and readie to doe that, which God will have done, but must we go no farther, then to hate her, yes, this ha­tred must carry us on to the use of all meanes to make her desolate, and naked; but why hate her and shoot at her? because she seekes our lives, plunders us of our estates, bereaves us of our peace? no look at the close of the verse in the Prophet, for she hath sinned against the Lord, robbing in most of her doctrines God of his glorie, Christ of his honour.

The Bow and Arrowes were in former ages the glorie of our Nation, many glorious victories gotten by our English Archers, [Page 15] never sure more need to appeare then now, and the Lord now if ever calleth for them, and there is none in this Congregation from the greatest to the least, but God hath given him a Bow and Arrow wherewith he may shoot against Babylon.

Your Bow, noble and worthy Patriots, is that power which 1 God, your just Priviledges, and the Lawes of this Land have put into your hands, it is a bow of steele, and I hope the strongest arme of flesh shall never be able to break it, you have a quiver full of pre­tious and piercing arrowes, your wisdome, vigilancie, faithfulnesse, zeale, courage, your votes, orders, ordinances, and which is the strength of all, your blessed unanimitie; the morall of Scylurus the Plutarch. Mo­ral. de ga [...]ru [...] ­tate.Scythian King his 80. arrowes given to his 80. sons at his death, is I am perswaded well knowne, and I desire may be alwayes thought on, no strength being able to breake them, whilst bound up, and bundled together in the sheafe; the Lord give you Josephs blessing, and you, as he, have need of it, The Archers have sorely grieved Gen. 4 [...]. 23, 24. him, and s [...]ot at him, and hated him; is not your condition like? are not you those against whom the workers of iniquitie bend their Psal▪ 64. [...], [...], 4, 5. bowes, to shoot their arrowes, even bitter words? but his bow abode in strength, and the armes of his hands were made strong, by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; The Lord also be pleased to give you all a double portion of Jobs honour, My glory (saith he) I [...]b 29. [...]0. was fresh in me, and my bow was renewed in my hand, that is, say some, Let my power and authoritie be never diminished, let me not Pineda.erre in judgement, let all my counsels be directed and prospered by the Lord, or as others, let there be a daily increase of my strength, to Mercerus.passe through all oppositions, and to overcome all difficulties, and the Lord keep that in the Psalme far from every one of you; They Psal. 78. 57. turned back and dealt unfaithfully, they were turned aside like a broken bow?

Those unto whom the Lord hath given abilitie of bodie, their 2 bow and arrow is their strength, let them put out that, offer them­selves willingly, not need a presse, much lesse hide themselves from a presse, Gods people when ever God hath need of them are a wil­ling people; Voluntiers in Gods service are alwayes best accepted, Iudg. 5. 9. My heart is towards the governours of Israel, which offered them­selves willingly, it would be very pleasing unto God, if that might be found in them in the literall sence, which the Psalmist otherwise [Page 16] Psal. 110. 3. applyes, Thy people shall come willingly at the time of assembling thine armie, so the Geneva translation reads it, and know you can never more honour God with your strength, then by joyning with those that fight the battles of this strong Lord against Babylon.

3 You unto whom the Lord hath given wealth and estates, your bow and arrow is your Purse, spare not this, say not you have given or lent much already, and hope you may be now excused, and the rather, because you feare all you have given is lost, and for your parts here is such daily calling for further Contributions and loanes, as you now know not, what is best to doe, give me leave to tell you what I conceive will be best, let not Gods cause want whilst you have to give, let not that arrow which you may shoot, be hid in the quiver when God cals for it, and if you think all lost that hath been formerly given, doe as those which having shot two or three ar­rowes, which they thinke are lost, they will so neere as they can shoot towards the same place one or two arrowes after the former to find them out, you know not whether what you give or lend now to further the present expedition, may not by Gods blessing be a meanes to bring in with advantage what hath beene alreadie given, or to preserve what is left, if neither of these, yet O the com­fort that this will one day bring unto your consciences, when you can truly say, God gave me a great estate, and I thank my God, with comfort I can speak it, and I blesse his Name for it, he gave me an heart, not to see his cause at any time want, what I had to give. Let 1 Chron. 29. 6, 7, 9.me commend a worthy patterne unto you, of David and the chiefe of the fathers, the captains of thousands and hundreds, and it was for Temple work, and they offered largely, Then the people rejoyced for that they offered willingly, because with a perfect heart they of­fered willingly to the Lord, and David the King also rejoyced with great joy.

4 But it may be here is many an aged, a weake, a poore man, nay women and children, that have good hearts to be shooting against Babylon, if we could finde a bow and arrow that they were able to deale with, yes, I can fit you all, even the weakest arme in the Congregation, I shall commend a bow to you, which if used aright 2 Sam. 1. 22.will be as successefull, as that bow of Jonathan, that turneth not back from the bloud of the slaine, from the fat of the mightie, it is the bow of prayer, the ejaculations of an holy heart, shot up to hea­ven, [Page 17] these arrowes have steele heads, they will pierce and sticke where they light, sharpe and keen in the heart of the enemie, they are invisible arrowes, the enemie can neither discover nor decline them, they will kill in the darke, this arrow will find a joynt in 1 King. 22. 34. Ahabs armour, draw this arrow as Jehu did against Jehoram with 2 King. 9. [...]4.your full strength, and doubt not but it will in Gods time smite our Romish Jehoram at the heart, and sinke him in his Chariot and chaire of pride; O that when ever our armies are in the field char­ging the enemie, a showre of these arrowes of fervent prayers, a volley of this shot might light as thick on the enemies camp, as those hailestones at Bethoron, we should I doubt not see more slain Josh. 10. 11.by this showre of prayer then the sword.

Reas. 4 Are the wals of Jerusalem yet broken downe? it may be that which is the first work in repairing ruinous wals was not then done, the rubbish of the former decayes not yet removed, and this was the peoples reason and part of their complaint, there is much Neh. 4 10.rubbish, so that we are not able to build the wall.

I pray you lay this to heart, you that desire in any way to be re­pairers of our breaches, do repaires in Church and state move slow­ly? Let me aske, is all the rubbish of our Church and State remo­ved? God be blessed much is, but is there not too much remaining? are there no more oaths in our streets, in our armies? no Achans in our camps, that either beare too great affection to some rags of Josh 7. 21.the Babylonish garments of Rome? or look more after our shekels of silver, and wedges of gold; more to the pay, then an end of the war and the welfare of Church and State? Is there no more drun­kennesse in our taverns, no falshoods in our shops, no whoredomes in our chambers, no excesse and vanitie in our attire? what means that costlinesse and lightnesse in apparell, it may be, even on this day of mourning,

Non est conveniens luctibus ille color:

Surely sable colours will best suite with sad times, when the people mourned upon the hearing of evill tidings, No man did put on him Exod. 33. 4. his ornaments, or as the Geneva, no man put on his best ray­ment.

How doe I wish, that I might not justly take up that charge of the Prophet against Israel, with a little variation, and that to the worse, The pride of Israel doth testifie to his face, too openly Hosea 5. 5. [Page 18] and manifestly declares it selfe in the faces of some, what meanes the continuance of paint, of spots, of nakednesse, are not these part of that rubbish, which God looks we should remove? Let me rea­son a little with you, (if any such here) is it not better for you to remove them your selves, then stay till God in wrath come to re­move them? if you will not suffer your selves to be cured by ad­monition, God hath a cure for all these, which when it comes you cannot put off: They say there is white and red paint, oh wash them off with teares of repentance, lest God bring upon you that in Ier. 30. 5, 6.the Prophet, a voice of feare and trembling, and all faces gather Ioel 2. 2, 6. palenesse, either through feare or famine: and for black spots, think a day of blacknesse may come too soone, wherein all faces shall ga­ther blacknesse; heare Jeremie lamenting this when it came upon Lam 4. 7, 8. 5. 10.them, Their visage is blacker then a coale, even theirs who were purer then the snow, and whiter then milke, and whence came this? he will tell you in the following Chapter, Our skin was black like Isai. 47. 3. an Oven, because of the terrible famine; and for this nakednesse of pride, one Prophet will tell you, that God hath a nakednesse of ven­geance; and he hath an enemie as in another, that shall discover her nakednesse, shall take her sons and her daughters, shall slay her Ezek. 23. 10. with the sword and execute judgement upon her.

Much other rubbish and sinks of sin might be discovered in our persons, in our families, you have Scavingers to cleanse your streets, well were it for your citie, if there was not more filth in many houses and shops, then is cast out into the streets, happie would it be, if everie master of a familie (pardon the word) would play the Scavinger in his own house, in his own heart, that the in­side Matth. 23. 26.of the platter might be made cleane also, and take we heed lest the want of this besome of reformation, bring not upon your hou­ses Isai. 14 23.the besome of destruction.

Reas. 5 Lastly, are the gates of Jerusalem burnt with fire, and so conti­nue? it may be the matter which kindled that fire is not yet remo­ved: and will ye look that a fire should goe out, whilst the fewell remaines that feeds it: What kindled the fire in the gates of Jerusa­lem, the Prophet will tell you, If ye will not hearken unto me, to I [...]r. 17. 27. hallow the Sabbath day, and not to beare a burden, even entring in at the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day: then will I kin­dle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devoure the palaces [Page 19] of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched. And if you will goe to a following Chapter of this Book, you shall find Nehemiah com­plaining, Neh▪ 13. 17, 1 [...]and charging the Nobles of Judah with this sin of the people, what evill thing is this that ye doe and profane the Sabbath day, the profanation was by them, ver. 15. that trod wine-presses, and brought in sheaves on the Sabbath day, yet the Nobles not hin­dering it are charged with it, and all the evils brought on their fa­thers and the citie ascribed to this sin.

They were my Meditations upon the comming forth of that book for that sinfull Libertie on the Lords day, (and I did not for­beare to expresse them) when I too often heard in neighbouring Parishes drums beating up for a Morris or a May-poole on that day, we had just cause to feare, lest the Lord should punish that sin, with beating up drums for a march on that day; and the Lord hath brought our feares upon us, how many marches have been on that day since the beginning of these wars; I have long thought it one of the highest provoking sins of this land, and me thinks the Lord would have us take notice of it (as I presume many did) that lea­ding generall battell at Kineton on the Lords day, could it doe lesse then lead this Kingdome to take notice of that generall leading sin, the profanation of that day? But I hope those many Ordinances for suppressing this profanenesse will be a good meanes through Gods mercie to quench our unnaturall flames, if to good lawes, which are the life of a State, be added carefull execution, which is the life of lawes.

I have done with the report, and proceed to that it wrought in Nehemiah, And it came to passe when I heard these words, that I ver 4. sate down and wept, and mourned certaine dayes. One would think Nehemiah had little cause so to take on, at the report of the afflicti­on of the Jewes, and Jerusalems ruines, himselfe then injoying all the honour and content that the favour of the King and the palace Shushan could afford: But alas, Gratious and Religious hearts Observ. 4.have compassionate and tender affections, and they cannot easily put off the common miseries of Gods people; the Lord himselfe is affected with them, that is a sweet expression in the Prophet, of the Lords love and pitie towards his people, In all their affliction he Isai. [...] 9. Iudg 10. 16. was afflicted; but that in the book of Judges is beyond expression, [Page 20] His soule was grieved for the miserie of Israel, and surely there are none of the Lords people which are not in this partakers in part of the divine nature; I cannot omit that of Esay, Look away from Isai. 22. 4. me, I will weep bitterly, labour not to comfort me, because of the spoiling of the daughter of my people: and yet this when he did but Dan. 10. 2, 3.foresee and foretell the spoiling to come. So Daniel mourned three whole weekes, and did eate no pleasant bread, found no sweetnesse or delight in any bread or food that he took, whilst his brethren the Isai. 30. 20.Jewes fed (as Esay expresseth it) with the bread of adversitie, and the water of affliction.

I dare not adventure to give reasons why it is, and ought to be thus, I shall only intreat you, before I apply, to take notice, that Two sorts of Teares.there are two sorts of teares required of Gods people, one of Com­passion, another of Humiliation, the former for the miseries of Gods people, the latter for the sins of Gods people that brought those miseries; both which like two streames falling into one channell met in good Nehemiah; I might for our imitation com­mend 1 severall instances of both, take one or two for the first, begin with that of Christ, even when he rode in state and triumph to­wards Jerusalem, he could not behold Jerusalem, nor think of the Luk. 19. 36, 37, 38, 41. 2 Ki. 8. 11, 12.desolation comming upon it with dry eyes, When he beheld the ci­tie, he wept over it: Adde that of Elisha, when he did but looke upon Hazael, The man of God wept. And when Hazael said, Why weepeth my lord? He answered, Because I know the evill that thou wilt doe unto the children of Israel: their strong holds wilt thou set on fire, and their young men wilt thou slay with the sword, and wilt dash their children, and rip up their women with childe.

Imperiall hi­storie, Pedro Mexia transla­ted by Edward Grimstone in the life of Iuli­us Caesar. The same in the life of Charles the 5. Turkish histo­ry, Kn [...]es. I might acquaint you with instances of compassion, even to­wards enemies, Julius Caesar pursuing Pompey into Egypt, and there presented with Pompeys head, he wept, and at his returne to Rome, refused to triumph for that victorie, because over Citi­zens of Rome, though in armes against him: the like of Charles the 5th upon his great victorie over the French King at the siege of Pavia, he strictly forbade all ringing of bels, bonefires, or any ex­pressions of joy for his victorie, because against Christians, though his enemies; yea, even the Scythian Tamerlane, when he walked amongst the slaine after a bloudie victorie against the Muscovites, [Page 21] he accounted those Princes unhappie, which by the destruction of their own kind, sought to advance their owne honour, protesting himselfe to be grieved even from his heart to see such sorrowfull tokens of his victorie.

And for teares of Humiliation, how these in the dayes of solemne 2 fasting required? how the fasts of Gods people recorded in his Isai. 22. 12. Joel 2. 12. Judg. 20. 26. 1 Sam. 7. 6. Esth. 4. 3. Luk. 10. 37.book have been watered with these, and what streames of mercie have issued from them, hath been at large in a very fruitfull Sermon delivered in this place, I will close both these with that of Christs upon the Samaritans compassion to the wounded man, Goe and doe thou likewise.

Ʋse 1 And for the first we cannot want objects for teares of Compassi­on, whether we look upon the plundered, fired, and bleeding condi­tion of our brethren in Germanie, Ireland, and the most parts of our own Nation: or (which should more melt us) the lamentable soule distresses of the remoter parts of our land, those [...] Wales and the Counties adjoyning, wherein there are [...] that in respect of the knowledge of God, of [...] way to salvation, know not the right hand from the left; now the good Lord incline your hearts to a seasonable and speedie prosecu­tion of that work which the Lord in mercie hath begun in some of those parts.

Nor if we look into our own bosomes, our families, our cities, our 2 countries, our armies, can we want objects for teares of Humiliati­on, causes too many for every soul, every familie to mourne apart, and surely did our land weep more for [...]in, it would bleed lesse; teares are the soules bloud, did th [...]se run as they ought, they might help to stay or turne the issue of bloud in our bodies, so often a bleeding wound is stanched by opening a veine and turning the bloud another way; and I am perswaded was Gods house on these dayes of Humiliation more moistened with unfained teares of pe­nitents, our fields and dwellings would not be soaked and watered with so much bloud of the slain, they are the expressions of Esay Isai. 34. 7. Ezek. 32. 6.and Ezekiel, full of awakening terrour if you please to read them, and the Lord bring it to your hearts.

Ʋse 2 And let me intreat you to make use of your teares of Compassi­on for the miseries of this land, to draw from you teares of Humilia­tion [Page 22] for the sins of this land: How melting are many of us at the reading of some dolefull and lamentable relation, which yet can read over and over the sad storie of their owne and the kingdoms sins without shedding a teare? whensoever then your hearts are affe­cted to expresse teares of compassion, [...]et them help to draw out teares of Humiliation: do for this, as those, that coming for water to a Pump out of order, first cast in water to fetch up water; let your soules take in teares of compassion, that they may be the apter to issue forth teares of Humiliation; And surely, I feare we have all cause to be more abundant in these of Humiliation, if for no other sin, but this, our want of teares of reall compassion for those former 2 King. 8.miseries the Church hath long endured; remember what fetcht teares from that man of God, when he lookt on Hazael, it was not for any thing at the present done, all runs in the future, the evill that thou wilt do: their strong holds thou wilt set on fire: and yet could [...] have thoughts of this in his heart without teares in his [...] were then our teares of compassion for Germanie and Ireland? wherein we have heard all these and worse have beene done, their strong holds have been set on fire, their young men have been slaine with the sword, their infants have been dashed in pieces, and their women with childe ripped up, and many more unheard of cruelties: have we read these with drie eyes? with unrelenting hearts? O labour we to see what great cause we have that our tears of Humiliation should be many, if for no other reason but this, be­cause our teares of compassion have been so few: That you may have both, pray unto the Lord to give unto you tendernesse of af­fection; a tender skin will bleed at the touch of a needles point, Be Rom 1 [...] [...]0, 15 kindly affectioned one towards another with brotherly love, weep with them that weep: beg also broken hearts and wounded soules, [...] 1. 9. 1.a wound in the heart will usually bleed at the eye, if the heart be full of bowels of pitie within, like full vessels a small touch or shake will Fo [...]s [...] est [...]or [...]punctum & do [...]ens Cornel▪ à l [...]p. in [...]oc. ubi [...].make them run over without: water in the head and heart will have a fountaine of teares in the eyes: We, upon such dayes as these offer (as we think) much to God, offer our lips in prayer, our eares in hearing, our persons and presence in attendance of almost a whole day in his house and service; but would you know, why the Lord hath not hitherto so fully manifested his acceptance of these [Page 23] offerings, in giving us what we have desired, nay, seem'd by with­holding that, to reject the other; let me tell you, I am afraid, there hath been too little of that offered, which I am sure the Lord will not refuse, what that is David upon his owne experience will tell you, The sacrifices of God [...]re a broken spirit, sacrifices in the plu­rall Psal. [...]1. 17.because this in stead of all, and all without this nothing, and he goes on, a broken and a contrite heart, O Lord, thou wilt not de­spise: We of this land may truly complaine with the Prophet, with some small variation, We have seen the breaches of our King­dome, Isai. 22. 9. that they are many, breaches in our counsels, in our armies, in our affections, in our estates, & I am perswaded all our breaches yet remaine great, because our hearts are so little broken for those great sins that made them; take we heed then lest the with-holding our teares of compassion from our brethrens distresses, doe not close Gods bowels of compassion towards our selves, and lest our land shedding so few teares for sin, loose not yet much more bloud, as the just punishment of our impenitencie, and want of Humiliation for sinne.

Observ. 5. But did Nehemiah rest in his teares for the afflictions of the peo­ple, and the ruines of Jerusalem? was his pitie only verball? like that mercie rejected by the Apostle, when to a brother or sister na­ked and destitute of daily food, one shall say unto him, Depart in Iam. 2. 15, 16. peace, be you warmed and filled: and yet give them not those things which are needfull for the bodie: had they only a returne of good words from Nehemiah? I am sorrie to heare of your affliction and reproach, that your wals yet remain broken downe, and your gates burnt with fire; but be of good comfort, build your wals, repaire your gates, I wish it were in my power to relieve you, and further the work. No, Nehemiahs heart was so really affected with their miseries and ruines, as it put him upon the use of those means, which if any would prevail for redresse of their miseries, and these are two, Fasting and Prayer; such as never failed, when used aright.

For incouragement to the first, I might commend unto you the 1 confidence that Gods people in all exigents placed in this, and their Fasting▪comfortable successe; that of Jehoshaphat set the enemies to kill one another; that of Esther changed the heart of the King and reversed 2 Chron. 20. E [...]ther 4. & 5.a bloudie decree neere execution; Ezra more trusted to this for a [Page 24] Ezr. 8. 21, 22, 23 1 King. 21. 27, 28, 29. 2 Chron. 12. 7, 9, 1 [...], 14. safe convoy, then to a band of the Kings souldiers: Ahabs hypo­criticall fast put off the judgement to his sons dayes: Rehoboam and his princes halfe humiliation (as I may call it) brought same deliverance, Shishak King of Egypt had onely power to plunder him of his treasures, not altogether to destroy him, our owne com­fortable experience since our last fast (blessed be our God) will speake, though we be silent.

And pitie it is, that so powerfull a remedie, through our miscar­riage in it, should loose its power, that our monethly use of it, should make it, like the same Physick often used, uneffectuall to us: Give me leave therefore in few words, to give you the principall heads of the doctrine of fasting, and because in this, I may deliver nothing which is not knowne to the most here present, these may please, whilst I speake (it may be) to some for information, to suffer their thoughts to goe along with me in a way of examination, remem­bring Joh. 13. 17.that of Christ, If ye know these things, happie are ye if ye doe them.

1 The day of our Fast should be observed as an holy day, an holy Levit. 2 [...]. 27, 28, 30, 31, 32. Numb. 29. 7. Joel [...]. 14. Nehem. 9. convocation, no work to be done on that day, it is called a Sabbath, and in all respects to be kept with as much, if not more strictnesse then the Sabbath, sanctified and set apart for holy duties, as praying, reading, preaching, hearing, confession of sin, renewing of Cove­nants, as in that whole Chapter of Nehemiah.

2 The continuance of the Fast, a whole day, from Even to Even: Lev. 23 31. Jos. 7. 6. Joshua and the Elders kept it till eventide.

3 All persons of all ages and conditions to observe it; in Jehosha­phats 2 Chro. [...]0. 13. Jon. 3. 5. fast all Judah stood before the Lord with their little ones, their wives and their children. In Ninevehs fast, all from the grea­test to the least.

1 The outward speciall duties are 1. Abstinence from food, so farre Ezra 10. 6. Esther 4. 16.as strength of nature will beare; Ezra in his fast did neither eate bread, nor drink water; In Esthers fast a charge not to eate nor drink.

2 Abstaining from marriage comforts, Let the bridegroome got Joel 2. 16. 1 Cor. 7. 5.forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet, that of the A­postle makes it cleare.

3 Forbearing better apparell, the Easterne parts used upon the [Page 25] dayes of their fast to lie in sackcloth, in Nehemiah's fast, in Davids, Nehem. 9. 1. Psal. 35. 13. Ionah 3. 5.in that of Nineveh, with other instances that might be added.

Abatement of our ordinarie sleepe, so that of Esther applyed by 4 our Divines, requiring the continuance of the fast three dayes, night Esth. 4. 16. Ioel 1. 13. and day, as also that of Joel, lye all night in sackcloth.

And wherefore all these, but to further the main dutie of the day, the humbling and afflicting of the soule; a dutie of such necessitie for that day, as whatsoever soule it be, that shall not be afflicted in Lev. 23. 29. that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people: And what will more humble the soule then the serious consideration of its un­worthinesse to receive pardon of sin, great mercies for the Church in generall, for it selfe in particular, then by its abstinence from all even the least outward comforts, to professe its unworthinesse of any the least of these: and surely we might by such meditations as these, help to put our soules on the day of our Humiliation into an humbled frame: We come, Lord, to beg this day pardon for our own sins, and the sins of our Nation, reconciliation for our selves, for Kingdomes, to intreat thy Majestie to give beautie for ashes, the Isal. 61. 3. oyle of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heavinesse, and we acknowledge these every way so needfull for our spirituall life, as food and raiment for our naturall, but, Lord, we professe our selves most unworthy the least of these, and shall we not be humbled to think, that we are altogether unworthy of any greater favour? I have given you a small hint, your private thoughts may more fully inlarge.

But are these outward observances, and inward afflicting of the soule sufficient? doe not we heare some in the Prophet complai­ning? Wherefore have we fasted, and thou seest not? wherefore Isai. 58. 3. have we afflicted our soules, and thou takest no knowledge? here you see is both fasting and afflicting, yet no acceptance, what's more then to be done? the Prophet will there tell you, it is a forsa­king of sinne (for I will instance only in that) without which whatsoever is done upon the day of our fast, will neither have pow­er with God, nor bring comfort to our selves: The Ninevites were very punctuall in the out-works of their fast, The King came down from his throne, put off his robes, clothed himselfe with sackoloth, there was crying mightily to the Lord, neither man nor beast took [Page 26] any food, questionlesse God took notice of all this, yet when the Prophet comes to set down, what moved the Lord not to bring upon them the destruction threatned, he over-looks, as it were all Ionah 3. 8.the rest, and fastens upon this, God saw their works, that they tur­ned from their evill way, and so he repented of the evill that he said he would doe unto them, and did it not; and beleeve it our fasts will never doe that work, for which we keep them, till this be done; now our soules are then truly afflicted for sin, when sin is in our soules, like a thorne in the joynt, that will give no rest, till it be out, and surely were our putrified sores of sin once throughly cleansed, I doubt not but the wounds of our land would soon be healed, had the strong Physick, which the Lord hath given our nation emptied it of the foulnesse and fulnesse of sin, we should ere long have cordi­als of truth and peace, and deliverance ministred unto us; to con­clude this, could the Lord see England and Ireland turning from their provoking sins, I doubt not, but England and Ireland should also see God turning from the fiercenesse of his wrath.

Observ. 6. The time hastens me to that other meanes of Nehemiahs helpe, his Prayer, (another main duty required on this day of Humiliati­on) 3. Incourage­ments to pray.and I might be very large in shewing what severall great in­couragements we have to use this helpe of Prayer in the behalfe of the Church, I shall reduce them to three, 1. in respect of God. 2. of Prayer. 3. of our selves.

1 In respect of God, the Lord commands it, nay, looks for it, for however God be willing to give, yet it is his will, that we shall aske what we desire to receive, his promises of giving are made upon the condition of asking, as that knowne place, of Christ, Aske, and it Matth. 7. 7. shall be given you. The Lord knowes what England and Ireland want, and what every one of us stand in need of, for our particular necessities, and God wants not will to give us, his Church, what mercies he seeth wanting, but yet he will be sought unto: Indeed Psal. 21. 3.we have cause to blesse God, that of his free goodnesse he often prevents us with liberall blessings, (so reads the Geneva) gives many unsought favours, yet it is not safe to stay, till God bestow mercies without asking: many gratious promises are made in the Ezek. 36. 37.former verses to Gods people, but thus saith the Lord God, I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to doe it for them: You [Page 27] have not, (saith the Apostle) because you aske not, and assuredly James 4. 12.we want many blessings from God, because the Lord hath not our Prayers for them.

The second incouragement is drawn from Gods power, I pray­ed 2 to the God of Heaven, this assures, that what Gods love makes him willing to do, his power inables him to doe, when you seek to God in prayer, what ever your necessities be, for soule, for bodie, for the Church, for your selves, you goe not to a weak God, that hath not where withall to satisfie your desires, but you go to the God of Heaven, that whatsoever is in Heaven, or in the earth, he hath it at his command to give.

I proceed to those incouragements that Prayer it selfe gives to 2 all those that will make use of it, and I hope by Gods blessing, they may be some provocations to put us more upon prayer, we all (I hope) desire to helpe somewhat towards the cause of God, let me tell you, a little to quicken your attention, there is no such way, whereby every one may help as this of Prayer.

First, it is an help of the largest extent, other helpes can goe no farther then your counsels, persons and purses can reach, but the help of Prayer can extend to the redresse of the miseries and di­stresses of Gods people in the farthest parts of the world; David Psal. 1 [...]9. 7, 8, [...].in his Meditations travelled through Heaven, earth, and the seas, and where ever he went, he sound God present▪ I am sure Gods Church and his servants at one time or other have found the like, and their Prayers have in all places met with God, on the land (as more anone) on the sea, as Jonah; the breath of the Churches prayers Jonah 2. 1.hath raised up such stormes in this, as hath scattered and distressed invincible navies of their enemies, as Englands prayers did that Spanish Armado in 88. they have also stirred up prosperous gales to bring ships for the Churches reliefe in strait sieges to their desi­red haven, they did it for late besieged Tredah in Ireland: in a word Psal. 107. 30.where ever God is there Prayer can come, and you know God is everie where, as the Lord himselfe, Am I a God at hand, saith the Jet. 23. 23, 24. Lord, and not a God afarre off? Doe not I fill heaven and earth?

Secondly, Prayer is a speedie help, many places miscarry and are 2 lost, because helpe comes too late, and many friends would helpe sooner, if they could tell how sooner to convey helpe: all other helps [Page 28] of men, armes, ammunition, money, &c. require time for raising and conveying, whereas this of prayer is a quick, a speedie and present help, our prayers (if such as they should be) are no sooner out of out mouthes, nay, in our hearts, but they are in Heaven, and no sooner in Heaven, but the benefit of them may be with the distressed Church many thousand miles distant, Daniel found this, Whiles I Dan. 9. 21, 22, 23. was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel being caused to fly swift­ly, informed me and said, at the beginning of thy supplications the commandement came forth, &c.

3 Thirdly, Prayer is an invisible help, many would willingly send reliefe to friends in distresse, if they knew how to convey it with safetie and without danger of intercepting, but there lye armies in the way, Scouts, ambushments, and many other hazards, now Prayer can avoid all these; it can goe to God and bring such helpe from Heaven, as the enemies Scouts can neither discover nor stop, no ambush can way-lay or surprize it.

4 Fourthly, no such universall help in all extremities as Prayer, It 1 Kin. 8. from 33. to the end of 39. & from 44. to the end of 50.is Salomons Catholicon, whatsoever plague, whatsoever sicknesse, war, want of raine, pestilence, famine, cities besieged, enemies pre­vailing, yet if they pray, and make supplications, turne from their sin, when thou afflictest them: then heare thou in Heaven, and for­give, and doe, and give to every man according to his wayes; I might single out many incouraging instances, Prayer can give vi­ctorie Exod. 17. 11.in doubtfull battels, as in Israels against Amalek, some­time Amalek prevailed, but in the end Moses hands lift up in Prayer, not Joshua's sword, got the victorie: It can recover lost Judg. 20. 26.battels, as in the Civill war betwixt the eleven tribes and the Ben­jamites, after two battels lost, wherein were slaine fortie thousand Isai. [...]7. 1 [...], 36.of the Israelites, Prayer in the third obtain'd the victorie: Prayer can raise a siege even a dangerous and confident one, as was that of Sennacherib against Jerusalem: Prayer can turne the plots and wisdome of the greatest State-Polititians into foolishnesse, and for them on to twist an halter for their own execution, the Prayer of [...] Sam. 15. 31. 17. [...]4, 23. David did it against Ahithophel: I might adde many other both out of forraigne and our own Histories, the victorie against Cedwall Fox. Martyr. vol. 1. 151, [...]98▪ 18 [...].and Penda in the time of the Saxons ascribed to the Prayers of Oswald, the like against Su [...]no the tyrant, and Alluded against the [Page 29] Danes, I remember an observation I have read of Constantine, that after God had blessed and honoured him with many victories, whereas the Effigies of other Emperours was engraven upon their loynes triumphing, he would be set in a posture of Prayer, kneeling, to manifest unto the world, that he attributed all his victories more to his Prayers then his sword: what was said of the wicked, their Psal. 57. 5. 59. 17. 149. 6. tongue is a sharp sword, swords are in their lips, may be truly said of the tongues and lips of Gods people in prayer, they are as two­edged swords in their hands to execute vengeance, and surely Gods enemies have often found the power of this sword of Prayer, and those which are the Lords people may say of this, when used as it ought, as David once of that which was Goliahs, There is none like 1 Sam. 21. 9. that, give it me.

To conclude this, such is the prevalent power of Prayer, that what is it, which God can doe, that Prayer hath not, or cannot do? I had almost said, that God cannot doe that which the Prayers of his servants will not have him doe, and I may say it, for the Lord Exod. 32. 10.himselfe hath said as much to Moses, Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot: and me thinks I heare Moses answe­ring, Lord, who lets thee? and God replying, My hands, Moses, are tyed from executing wrath, whilst thine hands in Prayer are lift up for mercie.

I come to the last incouragement in reference to our selves, 3 Prayer is,

First, a very safe helpe, many are kept from appearing in the 1 Churches behalfe, because afraid of danger, they may hazard the losse of their places of honour or profit, their estates, it may be, their lives: whereas Prayer is such an help, that you may use it against the enemie, and for the Church, even when you are in the enemies quarters, in the enemies dungeon, and that without all danger, nor can those fetters, that may chaine your hands and feet, tye your hearts, your tongues; yet give me leave to tell you, I feare, that such as are not willing to appeare openly in the cause of God, when they may doe good, will never heartily pray in private for the Churches good.

Secondly, it is an easie help, he that can do nothing else may pray, 2 the French have a Proverb, He that hath no money in his purse, let [Page 30] him have honey in his mouth: if you have not abilitie, estates ena­bling you to contribute, or lend towards the maintainance of an Armie, you may yet contribute your Prayers, and lay out these for the Lords blessing upon the Armie: you shall heare some of the meaner rank say, were we in such a condition, had we such an estate as these and these men have, we would doe this and that, which these and other rich men doe not, take heed, we have deceitfull hearts, I would have you try them by this, what doe you in that condition wherein you are, even in this of Prayer? Doe you herein what you can? are you often on your knees? earnest with God to pardon the sins of the land? that his cause may prosper, that the ex­pectation of the Churches enemies may be disappointed, that the Lord would give hearts unto all those, to whom he hath given abi­lities to lay out their utmost for the furtherance of Gods worke? certainly if ye be wanting in this, let me tell you, had you greater estates you would not do much, I cannot thinke, that he which will not use his tongue, will to any purpose use his hands or purse.

3 Thirdly, it is a lasting helpe, thy strength, thine estate may faile, thou maist be many wayes disabled from yeelding that helpe in other wayes, which thou desirest, nothing can disable thee from this, whilst thou hast an heart thou maist pray.

4 Lastly, in what place soever you are, you may by your Prayers [...] Tim. [...] 8. Ephes. 6▪ 18.helpe the Church, I will that men pray every where, said the Apo­stle; those Christians which have put upon them that piece of Armour Prayer may use it in their beds, in their chambers, in their shops, in their privatest closets; in a word, that souldier, which fights for the Church with his Prayers, (and all may be such) where ever he is, he still keeps file, cannot in any place be out of his rank.

Well then seeing Prayer is of such excellent use, and that where­by every one may help the Church, let me speake to all of this, as in Isai. 65. 8.the Prophet one once did of that Cluster, Destroy it not, for there is a blessing in it, O destroy not your Prayers, by not using them aright, it is a Cluster from whence may be pressed many sweet and comfortable blessings, take we heed then, lest by our not using them as we should they prove uselesse to us, and to the Churches cause for which we use them: the poorest and meanest amongst you may be instruments by this of great mercies to the people of God, [Page 31] and to your own soules, be carefull then what ever you doe, not to destroy your prayers by your ill usage of them; to helpe you here­in, give me leave to prescribe some few short and plain directions, for the right use of Prayer, and for your better improvement of this so excellent an helpe, to the best advancement of the cause of God.

First, Prayer that would prevaile with God, must goe up with an 1 humble and sorrowfull confession of sins, and well grounded reso­lution to forsake them, for certainly he that prayes to day, and re­turnes to his former sins to morrow, unprayes his prayers, and they which fast and confesse their sins to day, and fall to the practise of them to morrow, though they may seeme to fast unto God to day, yet indeed they feast the devill to morrow; the Lord looketh for at our hands, not alone the words of prayer, but (as I may call them) the works of prayer, and though on this day, We may cause Isai. 58. 4. our voice to be heard on high, yet not casting off our iniquities, our works of sin will outcry our words of prayer: Let every one then, I beseech you, search into his owne soul, and find out the sins [...]e stands guiltie of, and whenever he goes to prayer, to preface unto his soule with that of the Psalmist, If I regard iniquitie in my Psal. 66. 18. heart, the Lord will not heare me; and not forget that of the Apo­stle, I will that men pray every where lifting up pure hands, for 1 Tim. 2. 8. Isai. 1. 15.undoubtedly, If God see impuritie in our hands, we shall find little prevalencie in our prayers.

Prayer must goe up with fervencie, heat and ardencie of affecti­on, 2 Let my prayer come before thee as incense, said the Psalmist; and Psal. 141. [...].this never went up without fire, you know who said it, and upon what occasion, The effectuall fervent prayer of a righteous man James 5. 1 [...]. availeth much, effectuall and fervent joyned, to teach us, that our prayers the more fervent they are, are alwayes the more effectuall, the Geneva reads, The prayer of a righteous man availeth much if it be fervent, the more fervencie, the more prevalencie in our prayers; The souldiers of this Citie are commended for good fire­men, that there be powder and shot in their muskets will doe no execution unlesse they give fire well. O that we which are this day fighting with our prayers, would labour for this fervencie in our prayers, if they be nothing else but words, they are but as the pow­der [Page 32] and shot in a Pistoll, let there be no fire, no fervencie of spirit, they will never go off, so as either to reach Heaven, or the Churches enemies: of all the foure Elements, that of fire is neerest Heaven, the more fire in any thing, the higher it ascends heaven-ward; cold sluggish prayers have so much earth in them, that like the Gras­hopper, if they mount a little upward, they are presently downe again, fall short of Heaven: of all warlike engines your Grant does and fire-works are most deadly, of all prayers, those that have most fire, most fervencie, are most killing.

3 A third requisite in Prayer is Constancie and Perseverance, not easily upon the Lords delay, or seeming deniall, beat off, importuni­tie which is often offensive to man is alwaies pleasing to God, com­mended Luk. 11. 5, 8. 18. 1, 5.it was by Christ in those two Parables of the friend at midnight, and the widow with the unjust Judge; We may not say of our approaches to God, as Salomon of our neighbour, withdraw Prov. 25. 17. thy foot from thy neighbours house, or as in the Margent, Let thy foot be seldome in thy neighbours house, lest he be wearie of thee, and hate thee; no the oftener with God in his house, in our own houses, the more welcome, the Lord will not say, here is an unreaso­nable man and woman, I can never be rid of them, never at rest for them, they are still following me, praying, and crying, and seeking with every day a new suit, they came to me the other day for power against oaths, I gave it them; they came the next for strength against uncleannesse, I heard them; they come againe for power against pride, stabilitie to subdue sinfull passions, I denyed not, &c. and so what grace soever they want, they come to me for it, they askt an humbled and broken heart, I gave it them; a tender conscience, they have it; love of the word and helps to profit by it, I bestow­ed it, yet still they are following me, they cannot reade a Chapter, sing a Psalme, heare a Sermon, not receive food, undertake any bu­sinesse, but I am sought unto for a blessing: O no God will never cast it into thy teeth, that thou maist rest satisfied with what he hath done for thee, and trouble him no further, that thou comest too Isai. 43. 24.often; we shall indeed heare God complaining, thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities; but never, that he was wearied with the prayers of his people, when such as they ought, no suitours so wel­come to God, as those which are most importunate, Gods people [Page 33] may be upbraided with their unbeliefe, and hardnesse of heart, ne­ver Mark 16. 14. James 1. 5.with their too often praying, heare the Apostle, The Lord gi­veth liberally to all, and upbraideth not; Let me then speake to all those, whose spirits are readie to faile, and their hearts neere sinking, because after many prayers they have not what they desire, that if they will with Jacob hold God to it, not let him goe except he Gen. 32. 26. 1 Joh. 5. 14. blesse, such is the goodnesse of God, they, that asking according to his will, will take no nay, shall have no nay, but may be assured, that what they strive by earnestnesse and holy importunitie, to wrest (as it were) out of Gods hands, he will at length in his own good time give into their bosomes. The Canaanitish woman found it, who fastning the more upon Christ, by all those meanes where with he seem'd to beat her off, had at length, the utmost, if not more then she sought, Be it unto thee even as thou wilt. Matth. [...]5. 2 [...].

Observ. 7. In the last place, consider we unto whom Nehemiah goeth in Prayer, it is to the God of Heaven, I prayed before the God of Hea­ven. I have told you, that the maine businesse he went about, was that he might find mercie in the sight of the King, so the close of the last verse of this Chapter will tell you, and all the words following, till we come to that, are a continued prayer for this: He knew it was in the kings power to give libertie and assistance, for reliefe of the peoples miseries, and the repaire of Jerusalems ruines, that if there was a probable way on earth to doe it, it must be done by the King, yet observe his first step was Heaven-ward: he had a place of great trust and favour with the King, so he saith of him­selfe, Nehem. [...]. 11. I was the Kings Cup-bearer, or as others, Pragustator, his taster, which might have incouraged him first to make knowne unto the King the condition of the People and Citie, and his own heavi­nesse of heart for their affliction and decayes, but he durst not relye on that, therefore he begins with God, and prayed before the God of Heaven.

Ʋse I know the desire of all our soules hath long been and is, that (if God please) our Parliament, and those which adhere unto it, and the cause of God, Religion and lawfull Liberties and Priviledges, which they desire to preserve, might find grace and mercie in the sight of our King▪ learne we from Nehemiah's practise, what is the Observ.likeliest way to have our desires in this satisfied: In the following [Page 34] Nehem. 2. 2, 4. Chapter you shall heare the King asking Nehemiah, Why is thy countenance sad? for what dost thou make request? What would'st thou have me doe? one would thinke here was incou­ragement enough to put him upon the present making knowne all his desires to the King, yet he first goes to God, So I prayed to ver. 4, 5. the God of Heaven, and I said unto the King. He had no hope that his petition would find acceptance with man, which had not been first presented unto God: you shall heare the like of old Ja­cob in that great famine of Canaan, his sonnes at their first sen­ding into Egypt found a great deale of rough and hard both words and deeds from Joseph the governour, Simeon was left in prison behind them in Egypt, and they must not returne for fur­ther provision into Egypt, except they brought Benjamine with them, their good aged father was now in a wonderfull strait, the Gen. 42. 36.famine increased, their former corne eaten up, heare Jacob lamen­ting, Me have ye bereaved of my children, Joseph is not, and Si­meon is not, and ye will take Benjamine away, all these things are against me, but what was Jacobs way for helpe in this strait? he had no hope of reliefe, but in the Governours favour, and what course did he take to win it? He doth not omit other 43. 11. meanes, If it must needs be so now, do this: take of the best fruits in the land in your vessels, and carrie downe the man a pre­sent, but did Jacob trust in this, or the returne of double money in their sacks, and the sending of Benjamine with them? which last was all that Joseph desired: No Jacob rested in none of these, he had a former comfortable experience, which might help to Gen. [...] 9, 10, 11, 28.lesson him in this, it was not the present he sent to Esau, but the Prayer he put up to God, which gave him favour in the sight of 43. 14. Esau, it is this that he now trusts unto, God Almightie give you mercie before the man, and it was this that wrought it: and cer­tainly, let us rest assured, there is no such prevailing way to regaine the heart of our King, (which should have a chiefe place in the pe­titions of this day) as to beg it of God by Prayer.

Reas. That knowne place of Salomon gives sufficient ground for this, Prov. 21. 1. The heart of the King is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of waters, he turneth it whithersoever he will: I might be large in giving, though but a short touch upon the severall translations [Page 35] and Interpretations of those words [rivers of waters] every 1 one whereof may commend some usefull Meditation; the Ita­lian Deodate.reads it small springs, Sanctes Pagninus and Vatablus, rivuli, small prils, alluding to the custome of those which use to draw small springs, or brooks over drie and barren soyles, which they easily turn with an hand plough, which way they please, so ea­sily is the heart of the King inclined this or that way, as seemeth good to the Lord, instances Ahasuerus, Esth. 3. 11. 8. 8. Darius, Dan. 6 7, 8, 9, 26.

The Septuagint, [...], impetus aquae, the violence of wa­ters, 2 or violent waters, so the verbe comming of this in the New [...], morus violentus & impetuosus, St ph. [...]. Psal. 29. 10.Testament is translated running or rushing violently, Matth. 8. 32. Act. 19. 29. implying, that let the Kings heart be set never so vio­lently on this or that resolution, yet the Lord that sitteth and ru­leth on the flouds, that can calme the greatest tempest, is able at his pleasure to quiet the most violent spirits of Princes: and some from hence referre it to the ebbing and flowing of the sea, to assure, that God who hath set barres and doores to the sea, and said, Hi­therto Job 38. 10, 11. shalt thou come, and no further, and here shall thy proud waves be stayed, or as the Psalmist, Thou rulest the raging of the Psal. 89. 9. sea, and when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them, the same God hath set the counsels and power of Kings their bounds and li­mits, which they shall not passe, and can easily, and if he please, sud­denly calme their rage: what a full and comfortable evidence here­of is that of Nebuchadnezzars rage and fury against Shadrach, Dan. 3. 13, 14, 19, 20. Meshach, and Abednego, ver. 13. full of fury, 19. yet see how quickly God calm'd him, ver. 26, 27, 28, 29. the place is worth your reading, and observation; you shall see how suddenly Nebuchad­nezzars blaspheming God, ver. 15. turned into his blessing God, ver. 28. his decree for worshipping the golden image, ver. 10. chan­ged into a decree for the honour of the true God, ver. 29. his rage and furie against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ver. 15. con­verted into his promoting them, ver. 30.

The vulgar Latine reads divisiones aquarum, the divisions of 3 waters, referring this either to the clouds those waters above, the bottles of Heaven, which the Lord is pleased to emptie on this Job 38. 37. Amos 4. 7.place, and not on that, as in the Prophet: Or to the river Nilus, [Page 36] whose overflowings sometimes fruitfull, sometimes hurtfull, so the Lord one while inclines the hearts of Kings to the good of his peo­ple, according to that of the Psalmist of a good King, He shall come Psal. 72. 6. downe like raine upon the mowen grasse: as showres that water the Exod. 15. 23. earth: another time to the hurt of their people, suffering them to be like the waters of Marah full of bitternesse, and which is worse, 7▪ [...]0, 21.like the waters in the rivers of Egypt turn'd into bloud, insomuch as there was bloud throughout all the land of Egypt: Others following the vulgar referre these divisions of water, to the Lords dividing the red sea, that when Pharaoh and his servants repen­ting of that libertie they had given to Israel for their passage out of Egypt, pursued them with their whole strength: as the Lord in that great strait of his people, made a division of the waters in the sea for their safe passage, but caused them to returne upon and drowne Pharaoh and all his forces; so the Lord can turne the counsels and pursuits of such Kings, as set themselves against God and his people, as to the good of his people, so to the ruine of them­selves and their adherenes; but in this the Lord be mercifull to our Soveraigne for his safetie, and if nothing will calme the rage of the sons of Belial, that then all the stormes and waves which their ma­lice and furie hath raised may returne upon their own heads, and overwhelme themselves.

Ʋse 1 To close all with some short Application, give me leave to ex­presse my thoughts, what is the best and likeliest way to have that mercie which Nehemiah here sought, that we might at the length find favour in the sight of our King; You have heard that the heart of the King is in the Lords hand, and if ever we have it to out com­fort, we must have it from thence; Now a prevailing way for this Neh▪ [...]. 3, 5, 7, 8with God is: Let the Lord in our Prayers for the Kings heart, see in us Nehemiah's spirit, he was all for the publike, as will appeare in severall verses of the second Chapter, not one word for his owne particular; let the Lord then see that our desires for the return of our King are for the generall good of Church and State, that Gods cause, Reformation may be advanced, that we may behold Jerusa­lem Prov▪ 29. 26.in its beautie, Religion in its Power and Puritie: Many (saith Salomon) seek the rulers favour, but for what, surely most for 1▪ Sam. 22. [...].that of Saul, He will give every one of you fields and vineyards, [Page 37] and make you all captains of thousands, and captains of hundreds. Are not too many of our hearts too much after such as these? so we may sit under our owne vine, we little care what becomes of Gods vineyard, let the wilde boare make what spoile and havock he will in this, it little troubles us, so we can keep him out of our own; Jerome reports of Nebridius the Empresse sisters sonne, a great Hieron. ad Sal­vinam de vi­duitate servan­da.Courtier, and in speciall favour with Princes, that he never put up any suit but for others, chiefly the poore, and such as were in di­stresse, insomuch as Princes usually granted his petitions; upon this ground, what we give unto him, we give to many; certainly it would much work with God, to give us our Kings favour, if he did see, that we would improve it for the common good, especially for Religion, when we much care not how it goes with us in our par­ticular, so that may be safe and prosper: David an excellent pat­tern, 2 Sam. 15. 1 [...], 14, 2 [...].when things were at the worst, as in severall Verses, yet what was the chiefest of Davids care, for himselfe, or his own safe­tie? No, he so much lookt to the publique, the safetie of the Arke, which was Israels glorie, as he overlooks himselfe, saying in that 1 Sam 4. [...]2. 1 Sam. 15. 25, [...]6.extremitie of his to Zadok, Carry back the Arke of God into the Citie, let that be safe, and for my selfe, and mine own safetie, I leave that to God, If I shall find favour in the eyes of the Lord, he will bring me againe, and shew me both it, and his habitation. But if he say, I have no delight in thee: behold, here am I, let him doe to me, as seemeth good unto him.

Ʋse 2 That God may be pleased to give us our Kings heart, let us in truth and sinceritie give God our hearts, be cordiall in his cause, look chiefly at his glorie, many in these times may be for the com­mon good, but it is for such things, as if we have them by meanes of our Kings favour and presence, we cannot truly say, it is that favour which God gives; And I am perswaded the Lord hath justly with-held our King from us, because in our desires for his returne, we have too little lookt to God, to Religion, too much unto other things; What's the common voice? had we the Court amongst us, our full Parliament, our usuall termes, how would all professi­ons begainers, our former trading goe forward, and profits come in? I must in this leave every one to the scrutinie of his owne heart, and to that God, who is the searcher of all hearts, he [Page 38] knoweth in this what our desires are, and at what we look in our desires, certainely had the Lord and his cause more realitie in our hearts, we should finde more interest in the heart of our King.

Ʋse 3 Must we goe to God for all favour that we would have from our King, such indeed as will bring comfort with it, and that be­cause the Kings heart is in Gods hand, let us not seeke to take it thence by any indirect or unwarrantable way, let us be sure, that what is given us by our King, is given in Gods way, and by such meanes, as we know the Lord will owne; let us not desire that fa­vour from our King, which we cannot truly say, we received from Gods hand, and which we know cannot stand with Gods honour to give; Let then, I beseech you, in the Name of our God (whom this concernes) be carefull That no Propositions for Peace be tendered to our King, but such as first in your serious thoughts Isai. 9. 6.have beene presented to Christ the Prince of Peace, finde out first the minde of Christ, before your minds made known to the King, for undoubtedly there can be no comfortable assurance of establishing that peace on earth, which hath not also its sanction in Heaven.

We are all for Peace, we daily pray for it, our Armies fight for it, yet not for Peace upon any termes, not a Peace dishonourable to God, but for such a peace, as may best further and keepe our peace with God (and I doubt not but the desires of all our worthy Patriots soules are for this▪) And here give me leave to minde you Plutarch. Pyrrhus.of Appius Claudius his carriage in the Treatie for Peace betwixt Pyrrhus and the Romanes, Pyrrhus fought three battles against the Romanes, in the two first he got the victorie, but with such great losse of his men in both, that it was said of him for the first, he might gloriari, non gaudere, brag of his victorie, not rejoyce; for the second himselfe was heard to say, that if he got such another victorie, he was undone; after the first, Overtures were made by Cine [...], Pyrrhus his Ambassadour in the Senate for Peace, and many were apt to incline unto it, as disheartened by Pyrrhus his late victorie, and feare of a speedie second attempt, whereof Appius Claudius having notice, being blind, very aged, and who had devoted himselfe wholly unto privacie, yet the noise of peace with Pyrrhus so wrought with him, as he caused him­selfe [Page 39] to be carried in his Couch unto the Senate house, and pre­sently breakes out, Worthy and noble Patriots and Senatours of Rome, I have hitherto with some griefe indured the losse of my sight, but now that I heare your consultations and inclinations to decree a Peace so unworthy and dishonourable to the glorie and renowne of this Citie of Rome, with Pyrrhus your profes­sed enemie, it now most troubles me, that I am only blind, and not also deafe, that mine eares might not heare so great an infamie and reproch to Rome. I know unto whom in this I speake, I shall leave the application to their own thoughts.

Ʋse 4 Lastly, will not the Lord be pleased to give us the favour of our King in a lawfull and warrantable way? cannot we yet obtaine that from him, which we may with confidence and comfort say, the Lord hath given? let this be the supporting cordiall of Gods people, that though they cannot have the Kings heart, yet God hath it in his hand, and why should we seeke to take it out of the Lords hand, otherwise then he will give it, can it be any where better? hath any more wisdome then God, to guide and steere it? can it be with any that beares more truth and tendernesse of af­fection to the Church then God doth? shall it not satisfie, that there is not a thought in the heart of any King, but what is dispo­sed of by the Lord? doth not that of Salomon hold true even of Kings? The preparations of the heart of man, and the answer Prov. 16. 1. of the tongue is from the Lord: as also that in a following Chapter, There are many devices in a mans heart, never­thelesse 1 [...]. 21. the counsell of the Lord that shall stand: assuredly, we may say of all the Kings on earth, as Balaam once of him­selfe, they cannot doe either good or bad of their owne mind, Numb. 24. 1 [...].but what the Lord puts into their hearts and hands. It will give us a great deale of satisfaction, when we heare of a power­full man, one that may doe us much hurt, and that wee know beareth us no great good will, yet wee are assured, that we have a fast friend, which hath his heart and hands in his power, and can turne and winde it (as wee say) at his pleasure, and we are confident, that he neither will nor can doe any thing against us but what our trustie faithfull friend will give way unto: This is the Churches condition, and in this its happi­nesse, [Page 40] and may keep up the spirits of Gods people, that how ever sonnes of Belial, and of violence have had, and still keep our Kings person, and it may be sometimes obtaine his hand, yet God still keeps his heart in the power of his hands, to dispose of it, as his love and wisdome seeth expedient, and there let us be content it may rest, till the Lord is pleased in his owne way, and his owne time to give it unto the prayers of his people, and those other meanes which the Lord shall please to owne and further.

I dare lead you no farther then to the Throne of Grace, to crave a Blessing upon what the Lord hath given you attention and patience to heare, and unto my weaknesse strength to deliver.




DEdication page line 11. read jussu vestro. page 7. li. 10 in the margent put Ʋse 1. p. 8. li. 2. read m [...]rior. p. 11. marg. r alii. p ibid. after Ezra 3. 8. in marg. Chap. [...]. 15. pa. 19. l. 13. r. May-pole. p. 2 [...]. l. 4. r. coynes. ibid. marg. Psal. 59. 7. p. 32. l. 25. r. abilitie. p. 34. l. 13, 17, 24. r. Benjamin. pa. 38. l. 12. r. I beseech you then.

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