AN OLIVE BRANCH Found after A Storme in the Northern Seas. AND Presented to his MAJESTY in a Sermon at the Court in New-Castle.

By SAMUEL KEM, a little before his Majesties going to HOLMBEY.

GEN. 8.10,11.

And he stayed yet other seven dayes and againe he sent forth the Dove out of the Ark: And the Dove came into him in the evening, and loe in her mouth was an Olive sprig pluckt off: So Noah knew the waters were abated


Thus shall the glory of the latter House bee greater then the former sayeth the Lord of Hoasts, and in this place will I give peace saith the Lord of Hoasts.

Published according to Order.

LONDON. Printed by J. D. & R. I. for Andrew Kembe, and are to bee sold at his shop, at Margaret Hill, next doore to the Talbot-Gate in Southwark. 1647.

TO THE KINGS MOST Excellent Majesty.

May it please your Majesty,

WHen the King of Kings had fasted forty dayes and forty nights, hee was afterward an hungered: (although as­sisted by the deitie) and then for any within knowledge of it to neglect admi­nistring to him a morsell had really con­cluded them guilty of the highest ingra­titude and inhumanity. Man lives not by bread alone but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of[Page]God▪ Which your long abstinence from, in relation to publique administration; hath put mee upon this bold attempt, in tender compassion to your better part; as to present you with a branch the fruit whereof will, if savoured sensibly, pro­cure an appetite, to those delicates, which by more excellent hands are ready at your call to be served in unto you: which de­gree of recovery will disrobe thousands of Gods people, and your faithfull Sub­jects of their sad and sable thoughts, and serve up their hearts to the highest de­gree of prayse that hath, in relation to his glory, and your good, so far heard their prayers.

Thus, thus Sir, if your Majesty please to forsake your nets that intangle you; deny your selfe, and your self-rea­soning audience that assault You, and[Page]follow Jesus Christ in his ordinances the Prince of peace, whose name is Coun­cellor to advise you. You may yet create all good men your cordiall friends; and admit none to repine at your returne, but the Gospells and Religions enimies.

Great Sir, If this plainnesse bee an error it is my affection to your Majesties soule makes mee to erre, and the pros­perity of one fault, hath made mee con­fident to commit a second; for I professe I long after it, and make it one part of my designe, at the throne of grace, that God would so sanctifie all your experien­ces for the time past; that you may be a gratious Instrument for the advancing of his glorious will for the time to come: And now the Lord grant you usefull pro­fit, in perusing my poore indeavours so as shall best sort both for the accomplish­ment[Page]of your owne eternall good, and the Kingdomes just desires, yea the Lord grant that as this sermon received grace from you in hearing it with reverent attention; so it may increase grace in you by your serious intention. And the Lord of peace peaceably salute you by it: and grace you with all spirituall blessings till he bring you to injoy his, and your peoples firme love; your Parliaments councell; and Heavens Glory: which is and shall be the daily prayer of

Gods Majesties poore Embassador to You in this Treatise of Peace, and Your Loyall Subject SAMUEL KEM.

TO THE Right Honourable PHILIP Earle of Pembroke, BAZILL Earle of Denbeigh and the rest of the Honourable Commissioners with His Majesty at Holmbey.

Right Honorable,

I May not (without your leaves ob­tained) approach his Maiesty in person or paper; It is my duty to begge it; May it please your Lord­ships to grant it; I call God to record, and my conscience is cleare, I neither have, nor will speake one word but for his glory and the furthering, (if possible) the Kingdoms Peace and his Majesties good. I ingenuously con­fesse, if you search, you may finde about me one Epistle superscribed to his Majesty, but it is unseal'd, and on purpose for your per­usall; For my selfe I am unworthy to come under that roofe, being the meanest servant[Page]in my Masters Family; yet this Testimony I have in Heaven; I have ever desired to doe the best service I could in these sad times, to promote the Peace of Church and State; and although I have observed many men to have beene thought rare at an easie rate; yet it hath beene a peece of my infelicity to multiply e­nemies by acting and speaking to my power to settle Peace and Truth. Therefore as I implore your Lordships favour for your li­lence; so I humbly Petition your pardon for my boldnesse; and present all your conditi­ons daily to the Throne of Grace; that as you have beene Pillers of Gods Truth; so you may be prevailing Councellors with His Maiesty, and be honored in your generations, which is the hearty and constant prayer my Noble Lords and Gentlemen Of

Your Obliged and Immutable Servant, SAMUEL KEM.

TO THE Truly Noble, Faithfull, Vigilant and Valiant, William Batten Esquire Captaine of His Majesties Ship the St. Andrew, and Comman­der in Chiefe of the Fleet at Sea; for the service of the King and Parliament.

Most Honored and Noble Sir,

I Shal desire to wave all Apologeti­call expressions in relation to my selfe and the weaknesse of this piece: You know that the quiet repose of the spiirit is the meanes to produce to the world, such births as may inrich it with admiration and delight, which my floating condition denyed mee the happines to injoy, having my intellectualls so Searummaged that they returned me but darke & unrefined notions: the product wherof are these poore expressions, void of all perfection, unles the heat of your affection and Noblenes please to hatch them to some formed beauty worthy acceptation: and to reduce the Chaos of my confusions to a serenity worthy the worlds meditation: Hover therefore (I[Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page]beseech you) with the wings of your protection over these feeble, but syncere indeavours, to promote, in this Iuncto of time, with his Majesty for a setled and well grounded Peace: for which I have esteemed my life as a trifle in way of purchase, and have for some yeares past; waded through variety of difficulties to this end. And although the ina­countable and uncontroleable waters, with their in­dependent ragings, sunke me to the eye of sense; yet God provided something like a Whale, that by a strange providence, cast me on shore (to behold) that which I beleived; and believing maintained; Our Brethren of Scotland their integrity to Our mutuall Covenant and the Kingdomes safety: and to act that which I never expected, as a poore messenger from the Prince of Peace, to salute his Majesty just before the comming of our Right Honourable Commissioners, as a providenti­all preparation to their invitation of him to take the Covenant, and in this now of time to accept of the Olive Branch of Peace, the best fignall be­twixt King and Parliament; if well grounded. For whose experience doth not informe him, what dismall confusion is, as the worst of plagues, upon us? Even amongst those I meane, who professe themselves to be Children of Gods owne Family?[Page]Since the breach of the bond of Love amongst our selves how dispicable are Pastors to their sheepe? how are the prophane and Irreligious strengthned in their impiety? how doth the common adversary of Gods Truth jeare at this our folly? and secretly as spectatours behind the curtaine, make themselves sport to see us so violently and industriously acting for them what they could never effect, with all their hellish plots for themselves to this day, ruine (if God prevent not) to our selves; and open a gap for them to enter and injoy prosperity. It hath se­verall times affected and afflicted me to see so ma­ny dying and wounded bodyes conveying out their soules in streames of bloud; but it hath lately a­frighted me to see the very heart of true Piety vul­turated since our fiery zeale to Christs honor is Mo­nopolized into a consuming fire of envy, malice & undermining (in zeale to our owne private ends) each others honour. And although I have never made Arithmatick my study, yet I easily may sum up what all our divisions, subdivisions, and sad con­tentions amongst our selves (when all professe to be Children of him of whom the whole Fami­ly in heaven and earth is named) will amount unto. viz. To Christs Kingdomes disbeautifying; Satans inlarging by impiety, superstition, aad he­resie.[Page]For what ever it cost, I would not have the Family want solid and sweet-refreshing fire; yet would I not have any to be affected meerely with such blazes as are not serviceable but to set the whole house on fire: which to prevent let us open the floud-gates of our soules, and turne the sluces of our eyes heaven-ward; & implore the great God to settle Gospell Peace and Truth in his Majesties three Kingdomes; and his Majesty in Truth, to bee an happy instrument for the speedy setling that peace, which may be for Gods glory; his peoples settlement, his Kingdomes inlargement; his owne felicity and all good to his posterity; This Sir is the prayer of him, who is

Yours faithfully, In the service of the Gospel, and for the good of his country as obleiged SAMUEL KEM.

AN Olive Branch, found after a Storme in the Northern Seas.

2 THESS. 3.16.

Now the Lord of peace himselfe give you peace alwayes, by all meanes.

IT is the happinesse of the Church of God, that although they cannot give peace, yet they may get it: and although they can­not settle it on earth, they may seek it from heaven: and they have this of Gods own minde, for their incouragement; that he thinks thoughts of peace towards them, and to give them an expected end, Esa. 29. ver. 11. and what is at any time most improbable to sense is visible to faith. And my present vision is a ladder reaching from heaven to earth, and this ladder is Christ, by whom all our prayers have their passage to the Throne of grace: and their rich and faithfull returnes made from Gods Treasury to supply all our wants. Which hath put me upon this designe in the travell of my soule, and I [Page 2]wish my words might have their passage through a ri­ver of teares, and every sentence be swadled up in sackcloth; and one, and all of us appeare on this lad­der as vile as dust and ashes: that in his glorious in­terest we might in this season be found prevailers with God for this sweet mercy of Peace, in relation to Your Majesty, and your three poore lasserated, di­stracted Kingdomes: And as I have not valued my life, so will I never think much of my labour, although Pioneer-like to cast in any matter as rubbish, and my self as dirt and clay to make up these Nationall brea­ches.

And of all effective meanes I finde none more speeding then prayer, Esay 29.11,12,13. Then shall you call upon mee, and you shall goe and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you: and you shall seek me, and finde mee, when you shall search for me with all your heart.

And if ever it were seasonable, now, yea now is Gods time, now your time, now its our time, now its high time, now, or it may be at no time. Now then if ever: and now although never: now what ever you doe, nay, now what ever you leave undone, let all that have interest in God through Jesus Christ, become importunate petitioners, and heartily pray, Now the very God of peace, give you, with him, with us, Peace, alwayes, by all moanes.

Thus hovering up and down upon the waters, I have at last made discovery of an Olive Branch; and what wee see by faith, the Lord assist us, as upon in­struments in our severall actings, to convey on the wing of prayer to the poore Ark, the Church of God,[Page 3]blown up and down by the tempestuous winds of He­resie, and Malignancy, that it may at last have hopes to settle on mount Ararat: and be firmely established as mount Zion.

And having this Olive branch in my mouth, give me leave to shew you the severall sprigs of it: which will yeeld fruite, to provoke our spirituall appetites; and such oyle as will not onely replenish our lamps, to light us to Christ, the Prince of Peace, but possesse us of such inward injoyments as hence forward to walk with a cheerful countenance: as possessed with it.

This Olive branch hath two more eminent sprigs:

  • The first is, Peace its opportunity, Now
  • The second is Peace its gaining, in this season: by importunity, by all meanes.

Or if you please to have it in smaller parcels, you have

  • First, its season to be prayed for, Now.
  • Secondly, the Donor, The Lord of peace give you Peace.
  • Thirdly, the Donum, Peace.
  • Fourthly, the Excellency of Gods peace above all other peace it is an alwayes peace, and an everlasting peace.


And now I hope you see that seasonable and impor­tunate prayer to God by Christ is a sure way to obtaine a well-grounded and lasting, yea, an everlasting Peace.

The learned can tell you that there is no bodily action betwixt hic & nunc: and therefore the acting this duty will admit of no delay. Now, that's the sea­son.

[Page 4] Quere, I but why such haste?

Sol. When I shall but tell you what peace is in the generall, and shew you the distinct members, you will be satisfyed; nay, not satisfyed without it.

In the generall, Peace is the well-being of all other in­joyments; all other mercies suck their liveli-hood at the brest of peace: It is the Mother of all prosperity, in relation to Arts, Sciences, Trades, all flourish or wi­ther in peace her presence or absence. It is the Milch­nurse of Religion, it thrives not in divisions nor con­tentions, Act. 12. When the Church had peace, it in­creased exceedingly, did you ever know a body with all the members out of joynt, thrive? when one is for Paul, another for Apollos, and a third for Cephas, few or none, more then formally, follow Jesus Christ. It is but one word, but it is big-bellyed with many, many mercies, Peace crownes the years with goodnesse, and her paths drop fatnesse. It is, or should be, the felicity of the Saints on earth, and the glory of the Angels in Heaven. The Jewes custome was, when they wished all happinesse, they used onely this ex­pression, Peace be with you.

There is something in this to affect us towards it, that all our endevours, Councells, Examples may act to this end. I am sure it was Davids practise to pray for peace for the Church: when he might have pre­ferred his own ease, and Kingship, Psal. 51.18. Be fa­vourable to Zion, build up the walls of Jerusalem, then shalt thou accept the sacrifices of righteousnesse. q.d. he will accept of no services in divisions. Moses practise was for this, Davids counsell, Pauls studies were bent to remove divisions, and settle order and peace in the [Page 5]Church of God, 2 Tim. 2.23,24. Avoyd foolish que­stions, the servants of the Lord must not strive: Sa­than is best known by his cloven foot: And the Py­thagorians have set a note of infamy on the figure of two: because it first parts from unity. To conclude in generall, as the life of old Jacob was laid up in the life of the lad Benjamin, so all our happinesse is inmantled in this: Peace with our God, and with one another.

More Particularly, Peace is distinguished by these three notions, Externall, Internall, Eternall.

It is of very large extent in Scripture.

First, I finde it used to expresse the making up of that great breach betwixt God and Man, Christ re­conciling us to God, is stiled our Peace-maker: For he is our peace Ephes. 2.14. Who hath made both one, 15 having abolished in his flesh the enmity. Rom. 5.1. Be­ing justified by faith, we have peace with God.

Secondly. For quietnesse in conscience which is a fruit of this peace. Rom. 14.17. when the commings of his smiling mercyes on the soule, when the storme of our contracted guilt is over, and a sweet calme in the Spirit that we may see his face.

Thirdly For mutuall concord betwixt man and man. Phil. 4.2,3. Forbearing one another in Love, In­deavouring to Keepe the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Psal. 34.14. Depart from evill, doe good, seeke peace and pursue it. And had I time whilst I am on this subject I could desire to melt into teares, and present You with the sad actings of these times, obvious to my owne experience.

Fourthly. For the presence of all outward blessings and mercies to a people. Ephes. 6.23. Peace be to the [Page 6]brethren. Which how farre from us we all know: and therefore full time to make towards them in the travels of our soules.

Fifthly, For the publicke tranquillitie and quiet estate of a Church when not troubled within, by blas­phemies, schismes, and heresies, nor without by per­secuting enemies, Psal. 122.6. O pray for the peace of Ierusalem. Acts 9.31. Then had the Churches rest (or peace) throughout all Iudea and Gallile and Samaria & were edefyed, walking in the feare of the Lord and com­fort of the Holy Ghost, and were multiplyed.

Sixtly. For the Tranquillity of the State when free from forraigne and civill warre 2 Kings 20.19. said good King Hezekiah is it not good if Peace and Truth be in my dayes; Ier. 9.7 seeke the peace of the City. &c.

Seaventhly. Security from alarms, all Armes, and dangerous effects of warre: In the peace thereof you shall have peace.

Eightly, For an happy union by way of Covenant before God betwixt the King and his people. 2 Chro. 15. And they entred into Covenant to seeke the Lord God of their Fathers with all their heart, and soule, and all Iudah rejoyced at the oath and he was found of them, and the Lord gave them peace round about, which the Lord perswade your heart unto, this day, for Iesus Christ sake.

And thus have I showne you the spriggs of this branch: and the pathway for a sound peace and the extent of Peace in the duty of prayer in this opportu­nity.

  • First▪ Now God be freinds with every one of you in [...]esus Christ.
  • [Page 7]Secondly. The Lord give you peace in conscience; a demonstration of it, make your conscience freinds with you.
  • Thirdly. make you friends one with another.
  • Fourthly. Multiply all blessings on you inward and out ward.
  • Fifthly send quieT in the Church.
  • Sixtly send quiet in the State and Kingdome from enemies.
  • Seaventhly. Send freedome from alarms and ease from taxes &c.
  • Eightly. A mutuall agreement and covenant be­twixt King and people.

And thus have you the spriggs extended, I now come to the season fore-goeing all; this prescribed: Now you may review the Observation.

That seasonable and importunate prayer to God through Christ is a sure way to obtaine the gift of a firme setled and well grounded peace with God and man.

You are to know; I therefore adde seasonable pray­er, because there are as well unseasonable, as unrea­sonable prayers abroad in the world: it was the folly of the Virgins that they cryed Lord Lord open unto us so late: there is a season wherein God gives this gift and there is a season wherin he will not give it.

There is a time for every thing, but there is an end of that time: There is a time when God is neere, and a time when he is farre off. Esay. 55 Omnia tempus habent, and as true in this season omnis qui querit in­venit, The Prophet preaching before King Manasses prayes him to seeke while he may be found, call whilst he is neere, in some time if Moses, Noah, Santuel, [Page 6] [...] [Page 7] [...] [Page 8]should pray he will not grant. Oh that we had the art to hit this [...] this joynt of time, I pray consider that place in Luke 19.41,42. If thou hadst knowne, e­ven thou at least in this thy day, but now these things are hid from thine eyes. You cannot have roses in winter, when the Angell moved the waters then was the nick of time to steppe in: else they might lye long enough for a healing: when the Lord said seek my face, then King Davids soule Ecchoed Lord thy face doe I seeke. To misse a tyde or a winde, is to loose a voy­age; in the 2 Cant. The Church drousily neglecting her season in the 3 Chap. Seekes it night and day, but ver. 1,2. found him not, Stephanus is his apologie for He­rodotus reports the practise of the warlike Scythian upon his tender of quarter aptly. Truly our season and time of prayer for Peace is but like the Jewes feastes some lasted longer then others, yet none all the yeare. Sentences have their periods: I and ut senten­tiae, sic regna.

The old world had a season of one hundred and twentie yeares, Israell in the Wildernesse but fortie yeares was hee grieved with that generation in Luke 13. but three yeares to the fig-tree under the Gospell: so you see as meanes hath been more excellent; the sea­son hath been shorter. Not that it is in the power of man to shorten it, but in sin to provoke God to doe it. Our season hath pantings, and yet life in it, although not health, the Lord heare our prayers to recover it out of its fits of convulsion: Is there no Balme in Gil­liad, that will doe it? 2 Chron. 7.14. If my people which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seeke my face, and turne from their wicked wayes, I[Page 9]will forgive their sin and heale their land.

1. Argument

The season of Peace, and the seasonable praying for Peace, hath been prescribed, limited, and termina­ted to all that have gone before us, in relation to Persons, Kings, or Kingdomes: Esaus season past, he could never get a returne of the blessing although sought with teares: The Gadarens could never get Christ over their water more; Nor the Iewes a second season as yet to learne Christ, loe I goe to the Gen­tiles Esa. 6. Osea 3.4. I have forsaken my house, I have left my heritage: The Monarchy of the Babilonians and Syrians was transferred to the Medes and Per­sians, The Macedonians to the Romans, The Empire of Constantinople to the Ottoman Familie: Joshua tooke ten stones out of Jordan and put other ten in the roome of them.

Secondly, It is but just with God, if none find any want of this pretious Iewell, to shut up his cabinet, and see who will seeke after it: God alwayes sub­stracts his mercies when they prove not usefull to us, or wee ungratefull for them: God knowes as well how to take them from us, as tender them to us, Ho­sea 2.3.9.

Thirdly, In relation to the Giver there can bee but a season expected: It is the Mighty God King of Kings, unto whom all the Nations of the earth are but as a drop of a bucket, &c. It becomes not Majesty to waite long upon the tender of their favours, the Lord will give inward peace, and outward peace; but he will seasonably be sought to for it: It is no dishonour for the greatest Monarch to attend his Majesty, but unbe­coming[Page 10]him to waite a moment, on the greatest earthly Prince: David esteemed it the height of his ambition to be a doore keeper, under-value not then; to be a receiver and in capacitie to enioy his favour,

Use of Exhortation

If this be so that wee have but a Now for it: I be­seech you support your drooping soules, because al­though neere yet is not our season past, for yet wee heare of peace from the cryers of peace in pub­lique: God hath not yet forbid us with Jeremiah not to cry peace unto you: cry for peace with mee.

Nay secondly, by a strange kind of working on the heart, his messengers day and night seeke peace for the three Kingdomes and your Majesty at the throne of grace, you are heartily presented by many thousands of religious conscientious, holy, faithfull, Subjects in both Kingdoms for peace to your soul &c. nor hath the Lord stopt our mouths as Jeremiah's 11.14. as yet to say to us pray not &c.

Yea, Thirdly, the conditions of Peace, and the Lords Propositions to be reconciled to him, are by his faithfull messengers presented and by many accep­ted of; the Lord incline your Majesties heart to signe for ever, his and your Kingdomes good.

Yea, it is your peoples hopes that you will with the Sun of righteousnesse gloriously arise with healing and peace under your wings, to your three Kingdomes, all sore wounded, and in blood. This doore of hope open­ed let all our seasonable prayers be presented for this blessing of Peace: ply this work heartily I beseech you.

1. Motive, you have but a Now sor it, much of the [Page 11]season spent; a great journey and little time puts up­on expedition and designe; Davids former experience of the misery of warre puts him upon the designe of of Prayer for Peace: Psal. 122. O pray, saith he, for the peace of Jerusalem, and he plies it night and day, Finis operationis est opus.

2 Motive, There is yet Peace to be had for his peo­ple, and although with Joseph, for a time, he hath spo­ken ruffely unto us, Gen. 45.1. yet I am consident he yernes in his bowells to us; he cannot contain him­selfe longer, ere he reveale himself unto us; and al­though the Cup of affliction hath been for a time inour sacks mouth, yet in the end it shall produce good, to us Isa. 63.8,9. Hee will not cast off his people; when they rebelled he was wrath, yet he said, Surely they are my people, I am their Saviour: Wherefore I be­seech you as the dumb son of Croesus when he saw his Father about to be slain, though never before brake silence, and cryed out violently, the strings of his tongue being loosed, Kill not King Croesus; so upon the vision of the sad actings of these times, breake si­lence and seasonably, every one cry out, Now the Lord of Peace himself give you peace alwayes, by all meanes.

Thirdly, Because we are all sharers in the Church and Kingdomes peace, more or lesse: every owner prayes and lookes after the safety of the ship, the Church of God is the ship, wherein our great joynt stock of Religion is imbarqued, and wee all beare a great adventure. It is at this day on a hazzardous voy­age, many seeming friends by their colours, ready to betray it: and what betwixt the Rocks of superstiti­on and Idolatry, and the quicksands of blasphemy,[Page 12]schisme, and heresie, it steeres sadly, we, nor our po­sterity, cannot stand after the losse; it will be their un­doing for ever: therefore now pray. Think it sad to poyson a pond, but a river much more: Oh think of your posterity what truths streamed to us in our Fa­thers blood, the Martyrs, let it run to our posterity in ours, or tears: and let us protest against blasphemy and errors: for jarring in Jerusalem is a sad and pro­digeous Omen: when the worshippers in Jerusalem were divided, the common enemy prevailed, Jer. 7.28. This is a Nation that receiveth not discipline, truth is perished from them, clean gone out of their mouths: then read ver. 33. Then I will cause to cease from the Cities of Judah and Jerusalem, the voyce of mirth and gladnesse, the land shall be desolate. Jer. 8.19. The cry of the daughter of my people is great, for feare of them of a farre Country: Nay further, that you may see the necessity of seasonable prayer, you may observe, our Saviour makes it a signe of the eternall ruine of the world, Mat. 24.1,2,3. They say, Master what signe wilt thou give us? Take heed none deceive you, for ma­ny shall come in my name, and deceive many. Many shall betray one another, hate one another, &c. See Deut. 28.47,48,49,50. The divisions amongst the Primitive Christians in the Eastern Churches, gave the Turk an opportunity to make them his vassals: when the Divines of Bohemia, and Germany, fell to discord, it proved a sad time, and when the Pelagians had made their faction strong, they set the whole Kingdome in a combustion: The Lord give us deli­verance from all factions and fractions from the truth of Jesus Christ.

[Page 13]Fourthly it is an honourable designe, and such be­come Christians, it is noble to do good to one with the Samaritan; but to doe good to a nation; nay three nations, is Heroicall and well becomes Majesty. Therefore now pray, yea excite all from Dan to Ber­sheba, and let it be your motion to set apart a day of fasting and prayer that no apple of contention may grow in our Paradise of God his Church. Every blessed action becommeth you; this is not onely bles­sed in it self, but makes you blessed: Beati pacifici is in­tailed upon you. Now as peace in Religion is the greatest blessing to a Kingdome, so to beget or con­serve this peace makes a man most blessed in a King­dome: and it is my soules desire you may be yet bles­sed of God and of your faithfull people.

Fifth Motive.

Our relation, yea neere relation to the Church and State, it is of us, we of it: The hurt of it will be our hurt: the bloud shed in warre, our bloud, wounds our wounds. It is a sad spectacle and moves much for a Captaine or Commander in Chiefe to see but a forlorne hope or a few scouts come off in bloud; but to see a field spread with dead bodyes like dung as of late times, a piercing calamity. For a tender mother to see, not a childe, but all her children sicke, puts her to an extacy of griefe, and importunity to seeke remedy: and that is the second sprigge of this Olive Branch: viz. That seasonable and importunate pray­er to God, through Christ, is a sure meanes to obtaine a firme lasting and well grounded peace.

And first I should discover to you what I meane by importunity, and in a word, it is a prayer that will[Page 14]take no nay of God; that if bare asking will not serve wee will seeke, if that doe not obtaine; we will be so bold as to knocke; that will not be put off with pri­mitive silence, or positive denyal, or any contumelious reproach; knowing well, as I said before, that Finis o­perationis est opus for Sions sake will not hold his peace, nor for Ierusalems sake give God no rest, till he make it the prayse of the earth.

And truely we had sped sooner had we prayed bet­ter; not that prayer merits it, but it's Gods meanes to obtaine it.

There are severall defects in prayer; and there are six, or seaven sorts which will stand us in little stead.

First, A Lazy prayer, God cannot away to have men reporters, when they should bee Petitioners.

Secondly, Empty Prayers that are not full, for prayer is a powring out of the whole hearth to God. Psal. 62.8. Now many powre out their wants, but not their sins, men should powre out their prayers like water not like Tar, the greatest part sticking behind.

Thirdly, Snatcht prayer, many give God a ragg of prayer, fitting your prayers to your businesses, not a Kingdoms miseries: or pressing necessities, &c.

Fourthly, Silent prayers, neglecting that in our pray­er which God lookes we should insist on, Ps, 32. Da­vid is said to roare for the disquietnesse of his heart & and yet was silent in relation to his blood-shed.

Fifthly, Seldome prayers, An Hypocrite can sometimes pray, but a good Christian prayes conti­nually, Dan. 3.

Sixthly, Lukewarme prayers, Prayers that can never boyle out the scumme of sin or take away the[Page 15]rawnesse of our fleshly part, Quifrigide orat oupit ne­gari, though you make many, Esa. 7.

Seventhly, By-thoughted Prayers, like that unworthy Oratour, invocating heaven, looking to the Earth, but in this case doe as Abraham, Gen. 15.11. when the birds peck't his sacrifice, hee husht them away, so do thou, that thy prayers may prove an acceptable service through Jesus Christ.

Quere, Sir, pray what need so much importunity?

Sol. First, in relation to Gods Majesty, as in Eze­kiel 36. from ver. 23. to ver. 27. The Lord shews his people in misery, rich mercies, and full compensa­tions, that he hath in his hands, but yet read ver. 27. Thus saith the Lord God, I will yet for all this be inqui­red after by the house of Israel to doe it for them, &c.

We have an homely Proverb, It is an ill dogge that is not worth a whistle. We find little want of, and lesse esteem, that mercy we omit in prayer. Princes freely contribute their favours, but to Petitioners. And God is the King of Kings: and I am yet boy'd up with hope, having hitherto rid out this storme, on a good ground, with the Sheare-Anchor of Faith, that God will by all our evills refine us, not ruine us; cor­rect us, not destruct us; and bring us all a pretious and refined people, out of all our devouring flames, both gracious and glorious.

Secondly, in relation to mercy: mercy appears best when we blazen out our misery: it is a disgrace to mercy to come on the wing of lazie prayer, Herculii duri celebrant Labores: Samuel shall be dedicated to God, that is, obtained by prayer, and that mercy made much of, and hugg'd in the bosome, that is obtained[Page 16]with the passion of the heart.

Thirdly, In relation to our selves: we would soone slight mercy if easily granted, Esa. 44.23. Soone got­ten, soone forgotten: who prodigall away their estates sooner then they that never swet to gaine a penny? Ier. 31.9. They shall come with weeping, and with sup­plications will I lead them: as a gentleman leads a beg­ger: that penny that a man hath begg'd for all day, is not commonly idly spent away: so if your Majesty and your three Kingdomes can but worke out their peace with God by prayer it will be the sweetest mercy that ever lay upon the pallates of our soules: It will relish our spirits after all our bitter potions wee have taken to physicke us.

2 Quere Why are not men more importunate in prayer?

Sol. Because most are Romanists in this point and esteeme prayer a pennance, an irkesome thing: Mal. 1.13. Behold you say what a wearinesse it is? yee have snuf­fed at it saith the Lord. A man can never be found a­bounding in that is tedious to him to performe, wee must count prayer a blessing if ever we will do good on it. Blessings are highly prized: I beseech you set a high price on this kinde of prayer.

2 Many are Formalists, and like the Peach, that hath a ragged stone under a smooth skin: so many, un­der faire and specious shewes and pretences, have strange selfe ends, sinfull ends and much raggednesse of Spirit. Now if I regard iniquity in my heart the Lord will not heare my prayer.

Thirdly, Men are gentlemen-beggers, they are loath to have the world know they want, or would be[Page 17]beholding to any, stand often upon this punctilio of Honour till they starve, so of old; have not we Abra­ham to our Father why should we be beholding to this Carpenters sonne? Men are loath to be beholding to God through Christ: and truely none are so misera­ble as they that hide their misery: now it is good to move pitty to spread our miserable condition before the Lord, and if ever there were more miserable visi­ons since mans fall then the evills of our times, I ap­peale, to urge God to heale and helpe us.

Fourthly, Men have strang conceits of prayer: mean conceits of sinne, a wrong conceit of God, and a base conceit of importunity, which I am inforced but to hint in relation to my time and this presence.

3 Querie, Whither our prayers have beeue, or are prayers of Importunity?

Sol. If thou in the fashion and Image of thy soule have the stampe of Iesus Christ. It is in all petitio­ning a great matter who petitions: the Spirit of sup­plication is called the Spirit of Grace: Vnumquodque operatur ut est. The prayer of Moses a man of God: mala conscientia bene spirare non potest.

Secondly, It is the prayer of a pure conscience: it was of old writ over the doore of the Temple, let no impure conscience enter here: all such petitioners were to weake to wing it above the clouds, their prayers might well beat the aire but never arive to Knocke at the throne of Grace: the activity and strength of prayer, as grounded on Christs merits, stil runs strong­est in the channell of a good conscience.

Thirdly, It is a prayer ful of reason, Iob 23.1,2,3,4. I will fill my mouth with arguments. A good Orator [Page 18]before God is a good Logitian: shew God reason either from himselfe, in relation to his promises, or faithfullnesse, or in Iesus Christ &c.

4. It is a stout couragious prayer that will never give over but in victory, either with supply or support: In Scripture it is called Wrestling with God, it is such a prayer as hath its affections rather inflamed then a bated by disdaines and denyalls, Marke 7.24. It may in a holy sense be called an impudent prayer, Luke 5.19. That man sees such necessity that being crowded out will come to Christ, or untile the house.

And thus have I given you the reasons why we must pray for peace seasonably, Secondly, why we must pray importunately, and what importunity in relation to prayer is in its imperfections; and perfection: I come now to shew you the fountaine from whom we must, by this prayer, fetch this great mercy of a safe and well grounded peace. It is from the God of peace, or Prince of peace: from God through Iesus Christ: Note I pray. It is Jesus Christ is the sweet rise of all our rich mercies; especially of this of peace, Esay 11.1. and Chap. 12. all those mercyes in the 11 and 12 Chapter. which they were to injoy, flou­rish and spring forth of the root of Jesse: And indeed peace is not a mercy if it come not from this fountain: you may call meteors stars, but they are of a more viscous substance that fire by an [...] in and out immediately: you, if ignorant may thinke a skinning over to be a cure but it will break out again. 2 Sam. 11 Amnon thought he injoyed prosperity when hee was feasting, but then death was present. 2 Sam. 3.27. Abner thought all was peace when Ioab tooke him [Page 19]aside & spake quietly to him, but then he smote him under the fifth rib that he dyed, For Asabel his brother.

It is a sweet thing when afflictions arise from Gods love, and lead us to Jesus Christ for deliverance from them. There are varieties of mercies, and degrees of those varieties: Christ is the first step and the highest of those degrees: and we ought not to be satisfied till we have them from the love of God in Christ. It was a great and rare vision, Jacobs ladder. Every step was a mercy above another, but that which ravished Jacob was, that they came from God by the way of Jesus Christ the Ladder.

First, in relation to Reallity of Peace in him, it is Yea and Amen, and an alwayes Peace. Other peaces are meere Spectrums, shaddows, apparitions, like So­domes apples, appeare beautifull to the eye, touch it, it vanisheth to dust. Like a candle, gives light for a time, but goes out in a stinck. This is as a house built on a rock, others as on a foundation of sand. I beseech you now lay a good foundation on Gods Peace.

Secondly, in relation to the discovery of peace; there is no light but the light that [...]mes from the Sun of righteousnesse, by which we can see the excellency of it, as to desire it, or to receive it, In his light we see light. If we see it not come streaming in his blood, it is not a well-grounded Peace. It comes as from an enemy to an enemy. And as heaven it self would not be heaven, if Christ were not present: so will Peace be no peace, if Christ be not the Originall of it. The glory of the Mount was Christs presence.

Thirdly, we have no right or title to Peace, but by him. There was no mercy founded for us before Je­sus[Page 18] [...] [Page 19] [...] [Page 20]Christ. All that share in it are usurpers: now what is it to weare rich apperell and owe for it liable to arrests every moment? and to injoy peace and to ac­count for it to God for eternity?

Fourthly, If wee looke to the workings of mercy; for unlesse we have them from this fountain, no mer­cy can be sanctifyed unto us. Peace it selfe will har­den, not soften: we shall abuse it, not rightly use it: it fats us to wrath, not feeds us to perfection. Men may rise from a sick bed, and a bed of warre, but they cannot goe away and sin no more: They cannot take up their couch and follow Christ: they may promise faire, but are not able to performe but upon this ground.

Fiftly, Hee made it his designe from all eternity to bee so; and all the accumulated excellencies and riches, that he received in the God-head of his father, hee layed out and expended to this very end; that hee might be the meanes to convey peace from God the father to us, for hee needed none for himselfe.

Use of Exhortation.

To all in the practice of this duty of seasonable and importunate prayer to designe by the activity of faith: First to discover Jesus Christ, look out for Christ as Mariners at Sea for a Land-mark to their Port: Where they are to lade Riches for a good Voyage: If you can see the Fountain, water is at hand. If you can see the Sun, there is light to guide you in the way: See Christ, Peace will come easily: you need not question lower favours. God will never stick to give your Ma­jesty, or England Peace, if he give you the Prince of Peace, this is but as the Earnest to the Bargaine: Settle, Christ in the three Kingdomes, and you set­tle[Page 21]Peace I'le warrant you, and all blessings need­full below him: This will make Gospel, Peace, and Truth, Staple Commodities: But if Naomi goe out of the Country, Ruth will not stay behinde. If Christ ascend in a Cloud, the Disciples will be gaz­ing upward, and restlesse till they be with him. Riches, honour, &c. all are at his heeles, and there are that fol­low the Lamb where ever he goeth.

Use of Direction

Why are yee so dejected? why are your soules cast down and disquieted within you? what is it you want? in this juncture of time would any of you have peace? would you have it? seeke it seasonably, and impor­tunatly in the way of Jesus Christ: I dare assure you your wants: if you can but get to this Joseph, feare not in a famine thy sacks filling: his love, (although disquieted with frownes at present,) cannot send de­firing hungery soules after peace empty away. Col. 1.19. Its Gods pleasure wee should come to this foun­taine for them, they have taken up their abode there, nor can you shew mee in any time a seeking soule that ever lost his labour, Hee ever affords us supple­ment or supportment. Hee may try us for a time but at last, with Joseph, will long to manifest his love and selfe to us.

Doth your Majesty want councell what to doe in cases of difficulty? how to steere the great ship in this storme? I direct you to him whose name is Counsellor. Doe you want pardoning mercy? in his fullnesse is all you want. Doth any man want grace to carry him through temptations? why his grace is suf­ficient for thee. Truely the defect is not in God, nor[Page 22]in Jesus Christ, goodnesse, kindnesse, but in our un­faithfullnesse: That Hagar thirsted the fault was not in the well, but in her eyes that could not see it: There was no want in Gods assistance to his people, but the Prophets servants eyes, that could not see more with them, than against them. There was noe lesse Love, Peace, Glory, Beauty, and Riches in Jesus Christ when Saul persecuted him, then when he preached him; but the scales were on his eyes.

Illust. As there is the same light and heate in the Sunne at all times, although dead men feele it not, nor blind men see not. So there is the same love in Christ to give us peace. Why then should wee neglect so great salvation. I beseech you follow after it with holinesse, without which you cannot see God.

First Motive

He doth not only permit us as Laban permitted Jacob to love faire Rachel, but commands us to seeke after him; call upon me in the day of trouble and I will deliver you: you shall glorify mee, Aske, seeke, knock: If a child aske a father a fish will hee give him a Scorpi­on? nay hee expects, invites, intreates, &c.

First Illustration

Yea: as the visible Sun toucheth every thing with its lively heate, and as the common lover of that below, doth impart unto them requifite vigor to pro­duce: so doth Jesus Christ. I confesse of our selves wee can never attain to get peace: For naturally it is with us as with Aristotles reported bird called Apodes, whose legs are so short they cannot use them, if once they light on the ground, they are not able to take flight, or to rayse themselves on their feete: but re­maine[Page 23]puling and dying; unlesse the power of some wind, with a favorable blast, beare them up; and then they make use of their wings. Wee are naturally like these birds in relation to our flight to Jesus Christ for any mercy, till his spirit as wind act us to him.

Second Illustration

Then as the unhooded Hawke, having got her prey in view, doth suddenly launch her selfe upon the wing, and being held in her leach struggles upon the hand with extream ardour. So faith, having drawn the vaile of ignorance, and got a discovery of the sove­raigne good of peace, cannot be satisfied but in seek­ing after it in Christ: and as teares, were Davids practice so long as God seemed to bee absent: so prayer is their dayly practise, their obedience ecchoing to Gods command, till they doe injoy this peace.

2 Motive, Because if you practise seasonable and importunate prayer this way; you may be sure al­though you presently have not a return of your prayer in the present injoyment of a setled peace; if you have it not, he will be with you in your trouble and afflicti­ons as he was in the flaming bush and with the three children in the furnace. They lost nothing by it, they appeare most glorious in it: If the waters increase, the Arke and all in it get neerer heaven by it, there's all the inconvenience. Yea the time shall come that you shall say with David, It is good for mee that I was so af­flicted; All this shall worke for the best, when once you are interressed in the Prince of Peace. Therefore now if ever, I beseech you with the pressing desires of my soule to lay this sure foundation of peace, through Jesus Christ, with your God; and heartily, and joyfully[Page 24]incline to spell out Gods owne meaning in all the actings of his providence, that shall as meanes be pre­sented to you from your great and faithfull Councel­lors, for the framing out and perfecting that glorious Architect that may make you as glorious to posterity, as Solomon for building a house for his God, and may be a shelter for the people of God in your three Kingdomes; and the defence of you and your posteri­ty from the violent stormes of forraigne enemyes; which that you may with all cheerefulnesse act, as an Emminent Instrument in this oportunity, Let us all with all importunity seeke God with humble and sincere Spirits.


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