MANS WRATH AND GODS PRAISE. OR, A Thanks-giving Sermon, Preached at Taunton, in the County of Somerset, the 11th. of May, (a Day to be had in everlasting remembrance) for the gratious deliverance of that poore Towne from the strait siege.

By GEORGE NEWTON, Mr. of Arts, and Minister of the Gospell in that place.

PSAL. 118.24

This is the day which the Lord hath made; made solemne above other dayes, by extraordinary mercy: and wee will make it solemne above other dayes, by extraordinary joy: Wee will rejoice and be glad in it.

LONDON, Printed by W. WILSON, for Francis Eglesfield at the Marigold in Pauls Church-yard, and are to be sold by George Treagle in TAUNTON, 1646.

To the VVorshipfull the Major, the Common Coun­cell, and the rest of the Inhabitants of Taunton Magdalen, my duely respected, and dearly affected friends.


THey that have been acquainted with my resolutions will admire to see any thing of mine (especially by my consent) made thus publick. This Infant as you know was very weake, and there was neither Will nor Strength to bring it forth in this way, but it was forc't into the world by strong expulsives. Now it is come a­broad my hope is, that either (like Zaccheus) it will bee hid among the croud of taller and more stout conceptions: or if a­ny chance to spy it, he will not be so unworthy to wrong such a poore weak thing as this is. If it may live to be to any of you a remembrancer of the uncomparable mercy of our God, who show'd himselfe upon the Mount, I have the utmost of my aime in this publication.

We finde sometimes in Scripture, that a heap of stones hath serv'd for a memoriall, as well as a more curious Pillar. Though this be but a heap of things, not orderly digested in a curious Method, but hastily throwne up together, as the short time for preparation would permit; (this service following close upon the Sabbath dayes labour) yet it may serve for a memo­riall of that sweet and pretious mercy, which if it dye in your [Page]thoughts, I desire to dye with it. The Lord set up a lasting monument of this deliverance in our hearts, and write it there with a pen of Iron, and the point of a Diamond in indeleble Characters, that no injuries of time may ever blot it out again; and give us yet at length, to render to him according to the benefits he hath done us, lest we provoke him to repent, and doe us evill after he hath done us good.

My heart bleedes when I thinke what God hath done, what he expects, what we returne, and what is likely to become of all in the latter end. I have a horrid apprehension of it, as the Prophet had; if after God hath punisht us farre lesse then our iniquities deserve, and giv'n us such a deliverance as this, we should againe breake his Commandements. We should againe? Why, we doe break them since there came deliverance, and that more frequently and boldly then wee did before. The Lord breake our hearts for it, and helpe us to make up our breaches and our controversies with him, in, and by him, who as our peace, before our houses (that be left) be all desolate; before it come to, Oh that thou hadst knowne; before the wrath of God arise against us, and there be no remedy.

All that I have to adde is this desire, that as the Sermon is a monument (such as it is) of Gods praise for the deliverance of this happy day: So this Dedication of it, may be a mo­nument of my thankfulnesse to you, for all the great encou­ragement, and kindnesse, and respect, with which you have re­fresht his bowells, who is, in the Apostles stile, 2 Cor. 4.5.

Your Servant for Jesus sake, GEO. NEWTON.


PSAL. 76.10.

Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee, the remainder of wrath shalt thou restraine.

WE are assembled in the presence of the Lord this day to make good this text. Not to preach upon it onely, nor to heare it, but to act it. To take occasion from the wrath of man to praise the Lord. And certaine­ly if ever any people in the world had cause to say, as the Prophet in my text, Surely the wrath of man shall prayse thee, we the poore peo­ple of this place have cause to say it. Surely the wrath of man, which was so largely manifested, and so mightily re­strain'd; shall quicken us and stirre us up to celebrate the prayses of the God of our salvation.

This Psalme is Eucharisticall, a Psalme of prayse, & there­fore yeelds fit matter for a day of prayse. Yea for this day of prayse as fit (I think) as any in the booke of God. For the occasion of it was the same (as most Interpreters resolve) with the occasion of the prayses of this solemne day; viz, the raysing of the siege which the Assyrian King had laid against Jerusalem.

His great Commanders were come up against it wth a migh­ty hast, as you may see 2 King. 18.17. & threatned utter ruine and destruction to it: & that in such a height of volence and pride and scorne, as ever any eare heard. So that the hearts of Hezekiah and his people melted in their bosomes: But God comes in and cheereth them with a most sweet and comfor­table message by the Prophet, Chap. 19.20. &c. And for the proud Assyrian King, he tells him that his wrath and rage & tumult were come up into his ears. And that how cruell, & how bloudy & how barbarous soever his intentons were; he should not bring them into act and execution: For he would put his booke into his nostrils, and his bridle in his lips, and turne him back by the way by which he came, ver. 27.28. And he would diligently defend the City and save it for his owne sake. vers. 34. And so accordingly the following night he sent an Angell that went out, and smote in the Campe of the Assyrians an hun­dred foure score and sive thousand men. ver. 35. And the next newes you hear, the siege is raised, and the City is delivered.

With reference to this deliverance, this Psal. of thankfulnes was pen'd. In which the Prophet magnifieth God who brake the arrows of the bow, the shield, the sword, & battel of the ene­my: Who spoyled the stouthearted, & made them sleep their last sleepe; for so the Angell came upon them in the night you know, as it is likely when they were asleep, & never suffered them to wake more: Who caused judgement to be heard from heaven, for thence he sent that fatall messenger who made such bloudy worke among them. And in the end the [Page 3]Psalmist cheeres and comforts up himself, and all the people of the Lord, with this assurance, drawn out of experience, and out of that which he had seen the Lord to doe against the Proud Assyrian King when he was in the height and huffe of all his rage & violence against Jerusalem. Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee, the remainder of wrath shalt thou restraine.

So that the words (you see) containe the Prophets sweet and comfortable meditation against the wrath and rage of man; which they had lately experience of; in the attēpt of the Assyrian host against Jerusalem. And it is here set down in a gradation. First here is wrath. And then here's a remainder & an overplus of wrath. 1 Here is wrath let out to execution, and against that the comfort is that God will turn it to his Praise and advance his glory by it: Surely the wrath of man (so much as thou art pleased to give way unto, to suffer to be wrackt and vented on thy people) that shall praise thee. 2 And then here's a remainder & an overplus of wrath (for there is no end in it) and against that the comfort is, that God wil limit and restraine it. So much as he foresees will serve to the end and purpose, he restraines.

The wrath of man is not so full of rage and bitternesse, as these words are full of sweetnesse. And yet (my brethren) they are not so sweet, but they are as certaine too, and there­fore they are bound with an asseveration here, which takes away all scruple from them. Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee, the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.

If I should make the utmost of this golden sentence (eve­ry link of which is precious) the observations would be ma­ny. But because the time is short, I shall wrap up the sum of all that might be gathered hence in two conclusions; which you shall see to lye before you in the surface and the letter of the Text that the that runnes may reade them. 1. The wrath [Page 4]and rage of wicked men against the people of the Lord is very great, so great that there is no end of it. When they have pro­ceeded furthest in execution of their malice, there is an over­plus and a remainder, there is more behind still. 2. Though it have no limits in it, yet the Lord sets limits to it, and fetches prayse and glory to himselfe from it. I shall pursue them in their order, as the time will suffer, beginning with the first.

Doct. The wrath and rage of wicked men against the peo­ple of the Lord is very great, so great that there is no end of it. When they have proceeded furthest in execution of their malice, there is an overplus and a remainder, there is more behind still.

There is [...] alwayes in their wrath, the wrath of man shall praise thee, (saith the Psalmist in my Text) and the re­mainder of wrath shalt thou restraine. So that let them have executed what they will or what they can, there is a residue of rage and fury in the hearts of wicked men for God to curb; which if it were not mightily restrained by the hand of hea­ven, would break out even to the utter ruine and destructi­on of the Church. Their venome is not all spit, their malice is not all spent, there's no Non ultra in their cruelty.

For further cleering of the truth of this, it is to be consi­dered what the Holy Ghost observes of HEROD: that when hee had done many barbarous and bloody acts against the Church, he added yet this above all, that hee shut up Iohn in prison, Luk. 3.20. He had done enough be­fore, sufficient, any man would think, to have drawne his rage dry; but this comes after for a vantage, as you see, it is added above all. And there was more behind still, which you may readily observe to be drawn forth on all occasions along the current of his story. Those enemies of whom the Psal­mist speaks, Psal. 124.3. if they had been endued with pow­er according to their rage, they would have swallowed up Gods people quicke, so desperately they were bent against thous. Like ravenous beasts they would not have forborne so long [Page 5]to kill them first, and then to chew them and devoure them: no they would greedily and hastily have snapt them up, and swallowed them alive. The cruelty of Edom is remarkable, nothing wil satisfie him but the utter desolation of the Lords Jerusalem: Down with it, down with it even to the ground. And Babylon goes further yet, she takes the little ones, and dashes them against the stones. What souldiers heart almost would not relent and melt at this, not only in hot blood, to mow downe armed enemies together in the field: but afterwards to come deliberately into a conquered Towne, and there to take up little children sprawling by the heeles, and to dash out their braines against the walls? Yet thus dealt Babylon with Gods people. See how the Saints of God were us'd by bloody persecutors, and by cruell men, Hebr. 11.36. and the following verses. That place may serve in stead of all, where the Apostle setteth forth at large the matchlesse cruelties that they endured, and makes a Catalogue of divers exquisite and horrid tortures they suffered, which seemeth to be penn'd in characters and lines of blood. They had tryall of cruell mock­ings and scourgings, yea moreover of bonds and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword, they wandred about in sheep-skinnes and goat-skins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented. And yet the men who were expos'd to all this favage cruelty were such, and so unparalleld in holinesse, that the world was not worthy of them.

And if we search the stories of the Church (my brethren) we shall find, that the ages since our Saviour, have equal'd, yea exceeded those that went before him, in rage & cruelty against the Lords people. In the tenne persecutions of the Church, and in the Marian dayes in this Kingdome, the ene­mies were never at a stand, they never thought they had pro­ceeded far enough, though they were come to extreamity of rage against the Saints. No my beloved, they waxed still [Page 6] more mad against them, as the phrase is, Acts 26.11. And as a mad man knows no measure in his fury, so it was with these men. Mad they were, and madder every day they grew; so that they sought out new devised tortures, and hee was thought to have deserved well that did evill in the inventi­on. These dayes of war and desolation have furnisht us with the sad examples of the endlesse fury of ungodly men, so that I need to say no more, we have seene it by experience, that the wrath of wicked men against, &c. Nor need wee wonder at it my beloved, for

1. They are by nature full of all maliciousnesse, so full that they are like to burst with it. They are of barbarous, & blou­dy, and inhumane dispositions. Mercy (my brethren) is a fruit of Gods spirit, and consequently is indeed in none but Gods people, Wicked men have no mercie, and so they shew no mercie, as the Apostle Iames speakes. Or if they have a kind of mercy in them, it is a mercy mercilesse, (if I may ex­presse it so) their mercies, yea their tender mercies are cruell, Prov. 12.10. They are men of stupid spirits, of seared consci­ences, and hard hearts, they are as the Apostle speaks, Ephes. 4.19. [...] past feeling. Their wickednesse, in many of them, hath quite extinguisht those slender sparks of ingenu­ity which the decayes of nature left in them, so that for rage and cruelty they are become brute creatures. And hence the Scripture likens them to beares, and bulls, & asps, and tigers, and Leviathans, and other ravenous and fierce creatures. Yea as if they went beyond the cruellest of beasts on dryland, they are compared to Sea monsters. Lam. 4.3.

2. And as they are by Nature full of rage and malice, so their rage and malice is extremely heightned by the antipathy and enmitie they have against the Lords people: and hence it is, that there is no end in it. For enmity calls out the rage that is within, and makes it swell beyond all measure. Now there is in the hearts of wicked men a bitter enmity against [Page 7]the womans ford, against the Children of the Church, they hate them with a perfect hatred, and that to the very death; and therefore they will shew them no mercy: Some pity they may shew perhaps to other men, to men of their own Tribe, to persons that are lewd and wicked and abomina­ble like themselves: but for the Saints they shall not raste a drop of it. How pitifull was Saul to Agag? His tender heart (forsooth) would not permit him to destroy him; but he had no such tender heart to Holy David; if hee could once have gotten him into his power, hee had surely dyed for it: And he could kill almost an hundred of the Priests of God in one houre, without remorse or relucta­tion. So Ahab seemes to melt upon Benhadad, an open enemy of Gods people, he calla him brother; and he shall know that he will use him like a brother, and that he will not take away his life from him, though God himselfe had ap­poynted him to dye. And yet hee butchers all the Pro­phets of the Lord that hee can get into his hands, without mercy or compassion. This is the manner of ungodly men; Pity they have for vitious and prophane persons, but they have none for Gods People; no they must taste the utmost of their furie. Their malice and their rage against them is so great, that nothing will appease it but their utter extirpation, nothing but their cutting off, that they may have no more a being, no nor so much as the memoriall of a being, that the name of Israel may bee no more remem­bred, Psal. 83.4.

What was it that boyled up the rage of our malicious e­nemies so high against us, but because we were (as they ac­counted us) a strict and a precise Towne, though GOD knowes we have ever been too large and too loose? Indeed that hatred which arises from Religion is bitterest of any other. The first that ever was, was founded there, and you know how farre it went, it rested not, till it arrived at [Page 8]the shedding of a brothers bloud. This brings forth, im­mortale odium & nunquam sana [...]ile bellum. This makes the brother to destroy the brother, the father to deliver up the sonne to death, as Christ speaks Luke 21.16. It respects not countrey, friendship, allyance, kindred, any thing, it knowes no bounds of moderation. And hence it is (my brethren) that the rage of wicked men against the people of the Lord is such a bottomlesse and endlesse rage, because they hate them for holinesse and for religions sake.

Ʋse 1. And is it so (my brethren) that the rage of wicked men, &c. Then in the first place, let it be a Caveat to us, not to trust them, nor to leave any thing (if we can hinder it) to their mercy. It concernes us very deeply to tye them up as short, to keepe them in as straight a compasse as wee can. Their rage and fury if it once get loose, hath no bounds and limits in it; and therefore wee must limit it if wee bee able, wee must hamper them, and binde them as a man would doe wilde Beasts and brute Creatures. The Scripture likens them to such, as wee have shewed you; by which the Holy Ghost would have us to know; what disposition they are of, and how wee are to deale with them.

And yet mistake me not, I doe not say these brutish crea­tures should be curb'd by popular and private hands, in a tu­multaary way, (no, this is not the way of God) but by the hands of those who are the Ministers of God for this pur­pose. And I am very much afraid, that they who have autho­rity and power in this respect committed to them ard not so circumspect and cautious as they ought to be. That there is too much liberty already given (I do not say to such as have been moderate and of a milder disposition, but even) to such as have declared themselves to be implacable and desperate enemies of God, and of his people; and that they are let loose too soone. Perhaps they fawn and flatter, and submit, they [Page 9]give faire words and promises and protestations: and who would not doe so, if after he have shewed himselfe so farre, and had his hands so deep in so much blood; and as much as in him lyes, in the destruction of this glorious kingdome, he may be entertained and received upon equall terms, with those who have been most cordiall, and have laid out them­selves for God and for his cause; What ever wiser men may thinke, it's somewhat early, as it seems to me, to trust them, and to commit our selves to them.

We might learne a point of prudence and Christian poli­cie in holy David, 1 Sam. 24. ult. There was ameere affinity by reason of his marriage between Saul and him. Saul had acknowledged Davids innocence, his kindnesse, and made him goodly protestations as a man could doe. And yet when all was done, the holy Ghost observes; that Saul departed home, and David get him up into the hold. As who should say, he would not trust him, notwithstanding all this. A sim­ple harmlesse man would have beleeved Saul, he would have thought that all had been in truth that hee had said, and so have put himselfe into his power. He would have reasoned with himselfe to this purpose. I see that Saul is altered now, for he acknowledges his errours, (as there hee doth in that place) he confesses his offence, he promises as fairely, and it should seeme as cordially as a man can doe. And shall I not give credite to his vowes and protestations? It is impossible now he hath so declared himselfe so publiquely, so earnest­ly, that hee should ever breake with me. But David was a little wiser then to commit himselfe to Saul, hee was too olde now to bee caught with a few faire words from him, in whom he had experience of so much falsenesse. No no, hee will not trust him yet, he will not slight his Garrison, hee will not yet deliver up the place of his defence. Saul depar­ted, faith the Text, and David and his men gat them up into the hold.

Vse 2. Is it so my brethren, that the rage of wicked men against the people of the Lord, is such a bottomlesse & end­lesse rage? Then let us earnestly beseech the Lord that we may not bee given up into their power what ever judgement come upon us. True it is, wee must confesse we have de­served heavy judgements, bitter tryalls, sharpe correcti­ons; and if the Lord see fit, we ought with meeknesse to submit to them, and patiently to beare his indignation be­cause wee have sinn'd against him. But yet let us bee earnest with him, that if he be resolved to scourge us, hee would be pleas'd to take the paines to chasten us himselfe, and not to give us up into the hands of those whose tender mercies are cruell. Oh let us begge as the Prophet David did in such a case, 2 Sam. 24.14. Let us fall now into the hands of God, for his mercies are great, and not into the hands of barbarous and bloody men. And let it be our studie and endeavour so to walke, that wee doe not provoke the Lord to take this sharpe and rigid course with us. And to this end wee must be carefull to avoid those sinnes which cause the Lord to leave a people or a person in the hands of such wretches. I might be very copious here; but I shall name but two par­ticulars for haste, and so on.

1. The first that I will mention is, forsaking God, and ca­sting off his service. When men wil be no longer subject to the Lord (at least they will not be obedient to him fully, but in some certaine things only) then he will make them subject to their cruell enemies. And when they cast away his easie yoake, the Lord will lay a heavier yoake upon them, the yoak of mercilesse oppression by barbarous and bloudy men. This is the sin for which he threatens it to his people, as you may see, Deut. 28.47. Because thou servedst not the Lord in glad­nesse and in joyfulnesse of heart in the abundance of all things; therefore thou shalt serve thine enemie in hunger and in thirst and nakednesse, and in the want of all things, and he shall put [Page 11]a yoake of iron on thy necke, untill he have destroyed thee. And this we see accordingly fulfilled on Israel often in the booke of Iudges. As long as they were faithfull and obedient, they were free from enemies, they flourisht in a prosperous state: but when they once forsooke the Lord, and grew weary of his service, their adversaries were the chiefe, and they that hated them, ruled over them. To this effect, we have a memo­rable instance, 2 Chro. 12.5. The Princes and the people had sate loose from God, and gone a whoring after other gods: and thereupon the Prophet comes and sounds this terrible allarum in their eares. Thus saith the Lord, ye have forsaken me, and therefore I have also left you in the hands of Shishack. q. d. I see that you are weary of my service, and therefore you shall serve your enemies another while, I have left you in their hands. There let them worry you and spoile you, there let them kill you and destroy you; let them doe what they will for me, you are out of my protection, I have left you, I take no further charge nor care of you.

2. Another thing provoking God to give a person or a people up into the hands of cruell men, is non-proficience by his hand upon them. For when he sees they will not profit by his mild and gentle hand, then he delivers them into the hands of those that will pay them to the purpose. You shall observe that there are some afflictions which are in a peculi­ar name called the hand of God in Scripture, as the pestilence for instance, for so you find it term'd, 2 Sam. 24.14. Let us fall now into the hand of God, saith David there. And that you may not doubt what is intended by the hand of God, it is immediately annexed in the following words: so the Lord sent a pestilence upon the people. Now then this hand of God prevailes not, when it is slighted and contemned, and brings forth no amendment in a people, when he perceives that it will never be unlesse there be some rougher dealing us'd, he leaves them in the hands of cruell men. The Lord himselfe [Page 12]hath an exceeding tender heart towards his people, his ve­ry bowels yearn upon them when hee heares them cry, so that hee knowes not how to lay so much upon them as their iniquities deserve, nor as is needfull for their reformation. And therefore when he meanes to have them soundly scour­ged indeed, he gives them up unto the power of wicked men, and they he knowes will doe it throughly. If hee chasten them himselfe, their cryes and teares will overcome him, and make his bowels yearn within him, as he speakes: and therefore he withdrawes himselfe, he goes away, and leaves that office to ungodly men, and they will scourge them till they bleed and roare, for they have no compassi­on in them; there is (as you have heard) no end of their fury.

And now (my brethren) I beseech you let us look home. The hand of God, I meane the plague of pestilence, hath been on us the people of this place, a first, a second, and a third time, within the compasse of a very few yeares. But what amendment hath there followed? May not the Lord complaine of us as once he did of Israel, Amos 4.10. I have sent pestilence among you after the manner of AEgypt, and yet you have not returned to me, saith the Lord? I make no que­stion there were some who were so farre affected with this stroke of God, that they returned to him that smote them, and reformed many things. But they were but a remnant that returned: they were but as the gleanings after the Vin­tage, as the Apostle speakes. Truly (my brethren) I have lookt abroad as wide as I am able, to see if any universall Reformation have followed this affliction in this place: and I professe unto you in the presence of the God of Heaven and Earth, that I know not where to finde it, nor yet in what particular to say, that wee are better then wee were before. Sure I am, that swearing, drunkennesse, un­cleannesse, profaning of Gods holy day; are not in the a­bating [Page 13]hand, the face of things among us looks as ill as ever, men seek the things of Christ as little, themselves & their own ends as much as ever. Ah my beloved, if this be all the fruit of the hand of God upon us, the clouds that for so long a time have lowred blacke upon us, are not so dispelled yet, but that the Lord can raise up other ene­mies among us, or bringin forreign enemies upon us, that shall make us know the price of slighting and despising his gentle and indulgent dealing with us.

Vse. 3. Is it so my brethren, that the wrath and rage of wicked men against the people of the Lord is such, and so exceeding great, that there is no end of it? Oh then what cause have we, the people of this place to magni­fie the Lord that hath delivered us from this wrath, and from the rage of these men? Alas how neere were wee to have it wreakt upon us to the very utmost! If the Lord had not beene on our side, now may we truly say, if the Lord had not beene on our side when men rose up against us; they had swallowed us up quicke, so desperately were they bent against us. Wee had assuredly beene made a prey to the enkindled and envenom'd rage of the most bloody, savage, hardned, and remorselesse enemies, that ever drew the sword in these warres; whose spight and rancour was raised to the height against us. Ah my beloved thinke upon it: What might you have expected from those savage creatures that were gathered round a­bout you? Nay, what did you expect, if this poore Towne had beene taken by assault? Looke backe a little I beseech you, and returne upon the thoughts and apprehensions that you had, when men came in with pale, and ghastly countenances, and with trembling hands and tongues, and cryed, Alas, alas, the eneomie is, broken in at such a place, hee is come within the [...]; aboundance of our men are slaine, and the rest have [Page 14]left the workes, the Towne is lost, there is no remedie. When such sad allarums were, bethinke your selves, what did you looke for from the enemie? consult with your owne hearts, I make no doubt, the worst that cru­elty it selfe could devise to inflict.

You may a little guesse (my BRETHREN) what they would have done, by that which they have done where they had power. You may reade it in the ruines of this place. Shall I say looke about the Towne of TAUNTON, and tell her Bulwarkes and her Towers, &c? No my beloved, looke about her and tell her heapes of rubbish, her consumed houses, a multitude of which are raked in their owne ashes. Here a poore forsaken Chimney, and there a little fragment of a Wall, that have escap't to tell what barbarous and monstrous wretches there have beene here. Cursed be their wrath, for it was fierce, and their rage, for it was cruell. But blessed be our GOD for ever, that did not give us over as a prey unto their teeth. Oh blessed be our God for evermore, that kept us from such endlesse and unsatiable rage as theirs was; Who when wee had no helpe nor hope left, wrought out a great salvation for a poore people. Me thinkes I could dwell here, but that the time runs, and there is a second observation, to which I am enforc't to hasten.

Doct. Be the wrath of wicked men as endlesse and un­satiable as it will; though it have no limits in it, yet the LORD sets limits to it; and fetches praise and glory to himselfe from it.

The observation as you see, consists of two parts or two branches. First, God sets limits to the wrath of wick­ed men. And secondly, he fetches glory from it. I wil pro­ceed with them distinctly and in order.

1. Branch. Sometimes the Lord sets limits to the wrath of wicked men: though hee permit a parcell of it to breake out, yet the remainder hee restraines, as you have it in my Text. Although their rancour have no bounds within, yet GOD sets bounds to the externall exercise of it. Let them bee as outragious as they will, and let them bristle while they can; the Lord hath them in a chaine, and hee will take them short at his pleasure. The Heathen rage, saith holy DA­VID, Psalme 2.1. their passions boyle within their bosomes, that is, the working of their sensuall pride; and then they plot, and they imagine how to vent, and how to wreake this rage of theirs, that is the working of their intellectuall part. But doe they execute it? No, GOD will not suffer them. Their policy and fury doth melt away, and come to nothing; they imagine a vaine thing. The wrath of the ASSYRI­AN was exceeding great, so great that GOD him­selfe takes notice of it, 2 KINGS 19.27. I know thy abode, saith hee, thy going out, and thy comming in, and thy rage against me; Hee takes it as against himselfe, because it was against his People. The enemie was full of rage, and on hee would against the Citie, and meant to doe great matters. But marke what fol­lowes: I will put my hooke into thy nostrills, and my bridle in thy lips, and turne thee backe by the way by which thou camest. And with respect to this saith the holy Prophet here: Surely the wrath of man shalt praise thee, the remainder of wrath shalt thou re­straine.

I shall enlarge my selfe no further here, but ap­peale to your experience. This day (my Brethren) was this SCRIPTURE and this point of Doctrine ful­filled in your eyes. How full of rancour those ma­licious [Page 16]wretches were who came against this poor Town, your selves who heard their railings and their bitter threatnings, who saw and felt their cruel deeds, can tell. They came upon you with an open mouth, and thought to have devoured you suddenly, but GOD would not suffer them. You saw (my brethren) ma­ny of you who are here beheld it; they came over your Workes, and the Line that you had made, and you could not hinder them. But GOD had made a line within yours, and over that they could not get, be­yond that they could not passe. And certainely if ever GOD did bound and limit furious men, if ever he did say unto them as the Psalmist personages him, spea­king to the Sea: thus farre you shall come, and no far­ther; Hee did it here in this place. You have seene it my beloved, you have found it by experience; and so you have reason now of any people in the WORLD to say, the wrath of Man did GOD restraine. Somewhat indeed hee suffered them to vent and to bring to execution, upon our friends, upon our Persons, up­on our houses and estates; But the remainder hee did restraine.

Reason. And this hee hath done, and will ever doe, because hee sees his people cannot beare the utmost of the wrath and rage of wicked men. If hee should suffer all the weight thereof to lye upon them; ei­ther they would reach forth their hands to evill, or else their hearts would faint and sinke under it.

Beloved, God is very tenderly affected to his poore people, (I speake it after the manner of men) and there­fore though hee suffer them sometimes to have a taste of the rage of wicked men for their correction: yet when they lay it on without measure, hee consi­ders with himselfe, as once he did concerning Ephra­im, [Page 17]Ieremie 30.20. Hee is my sonne, hee is my pleasant childe still. And therefore when hee sees his plea­sant childe about to faint, and when the enemies are ready to devoure his people, then his bowells worke within him, and out hee cryes, hold there, no more, I can suffer it no longer. Sometimes indeede hee goes away, and leaves his children in the hands of wicked and ungodly men to scourge them. But when hee heares them crye and roare, so that they are about to swound: then hee comes running in and sayes, Com­fort yee, comfort yee my people, they have received dou­ble. You mercilesse and cruell wretches, you have gi­ven my Children double, twice as much as they can beare: and so hee falls a kissing them to fetch life in them againe.

And so mee thinkes I see the Lord come running in a­mong the mercilesse besiegers of this place, and crying out as Isa. 3.15. What mean yee that yee beate my peo­ple in pieces? What doe you meane to doe to them? What doe you purpose to reduce this Towne to nothing; to consume it all to ashes? to butcher all my people here, so that I shall not have so much as one left? Is that your resolution and intent in­deed? I have permitted you to wreake a great deal of your rage upon the houses and the persons of my poore servants; But what doe you intend to burne all, and kill all? So that there shall not bee a house standing, nor a SAINT alive here? I cannot beare it: no, the remainder of your rage must I re­straine. And thus you see GOD limiteth the wrath of wicked men, which is the former member of the point.

2 Branch. And as he limits it in part, so that part of it which hee doth not limit, he turneth it to his owne [Page 18]praise, and fetches glory to himselfe from it. Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee, saith the Psalmist here, so much as is permitted unrestrained, shall bring honour to thy Name; and the remainder, &c. Al­though the wrath of man doe not accomplish the righ­teousnesse of God, it doth accomplish the glory of God. The Lord (as he design'd to doe) gat honour out of Pha­roah's rage, and out of the Assyrians rage, against his people. And I am confident hee will have ho­nour out of the wrath and rage of his and our mali­cious enemies against this place. Thus hee hath done heretofore, and will doe to the worlds end. But you will interpose and aske mee now, Which way doth the LORD fetch praise out of the wrath of wicked men against his people? I answer, principally, two wayes.

First, Hee fetches praise and glory from the rage of wicked men against his people, as it commends the greatnesse of his owne power. For it is a great thing that the LORD should keepe his people notwith­standing all their fury. That though there be e­nough of the Malignant Church to devoure the Mi­litant, to eate up GODS people as a man would eate bread. And though they bee so full of bitternesse and wrath against them as it is possible for men to be, GOD should preserve them notwithstanding safe and sound in the midst of these men. That hee should keepe them (as hee doth sometimes) unsinged and untoucht in a fournace of wrath, heate hotter then or­dinary; This setteth off the glory of his power.

Secondly, God fetches praise and glory to himselfe from the rage of wicked men against his people; as it doth accidentally commend the excellency of the graces which hee hath bestowed upon them. Is it not very [Page 19]much (my brethren) that the Saints should stand it out, and be upright; notwithstanding all the spite and fury of ungodly men against them? That all their malice, all their rage, and all their threatnings, should not cause them to desert or to deny the Cause of God, no nor to droop or faint under it? Have not the spirits of the Saints of God been admirably strengthned and up­held in these latter times of triall, when there were no outward meanes appearing to the eye of sence or reason, and when there were no hopes left? Is not the grace of God by which they were upheld (then he you) a glorious thing? Hath hee not much honour by it? It was an honour to the Lord that Iob continued con­stant and patient, notwithstanding all the malice of Satan and his Instruments, and the worst that they could doe. It glorified the grace of God in him. And therefore God me thinks doth vaunt and pride him­selfe in this pretious Saint of his, in that speech of his to Satan, Iob 2.3. Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, and still he holdeth fast his integrity? Though thou hast done thy utmost to him, hee hath not done as thou didst wickedly suggest hee would, hee hath not yet deser­ted or denyed mee: No, still hee holdeth fast his in­tegrity.

And so the Lord doth seeme to say in these dayes to the malicious enemies of his people: Looke upon those Saints of mine, though you have plundred them, and stript them, and turn'd them bare and naked to the mercy of the World, though you have imprison'd them, though you have threatned them with death it selfe, they never yeelded or complyed with you, they never took the cursed oath that you endeavoured to im­pose upon them; they never yet denied me nor my cause; [Page 20]but still they have held fast their integrity, though you have shewed the utmost of your rage and spight against them. Were not the rage of wicked men declared a­gainst the Saints of God, the glory of his power, and grace, could not be magnified and set off, as now it is. But now the wrath of man doth praise him.

Vse 1. Now to apply it very briefely, Is it so that though the wrath of wicked wretches have no limits in it, yet the Lord sets limits to it? Why then I say as Da­vid touching the Philistine, let no mans heart faile him by reason of the rage of these men. Let them fume, and let them storme, and let them swell even till they burst with inward fury; they shall doe but what the hand and counsell of God determined before to be done. When they have done what he determines, they shall not move one jot, they shall not stirre an inch further. And why then are you so affraid of the oppressor as the Prophet speakes, and forget the Lord your maker, who limiteth and boundeth their fury? Oh you of little faith, wherfore doe you doubt?

Why will you say, though God restraine the wrath and rage of wicked wretches many times, yet at some o­ther times he permits it to break out in a very great mea­sure: and so wee have cause to bee affraid of it? Yet here is comfort still (my brethren) for that which hee permitteth unrestrained, he turneth to his owne glory. And shall we not take sweet encouragement in this, that God is glorified, though our selves suffer? Should wee not cheerefully endure a little of their rage, so the Lord have honour by it? Should wee not preferre his glory farre beyond our owne quiet? So that you see wee want not something to support us every way, and however matters goe. If God restraine the wrath of wicked wretches, wee have ease, if hee permit it unrestrained: [Page 21] he hath praise. And this is not an empty notion; rais'd by fancy, but a certaine thing, there is no doubt, no question to be made of this; and hence the Holy Ghost hath set a surety on it in my Text; Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee, and the remainder of wrath shalt thou restraine.

Well then, (my brethren) in the second place, since the Lord will have it so, since hee hath said it shall be so, let the wrath of man praise him. There hath been much of the envenom'd rage of wicked men let out against this poore Towne. Oh let us praise the Lord that kept us unconsum'd in the heat of their fury; that when the Towne was storm'd so desperately (as you know it was) for so many dayes together, God kept you, who are here before him, in that storme, and did not suffer any of that haile to fall upon you. That when others fell by the Bullet and the Sword, your bloud was pretious, and your lives were deare to him. Say now as Hezekiah, Isaiah 38.19. O Lord, the li­ving, the living they shall praise thee, as we doe this day.

Nay, that GOD did not keep your bodies onely, but your spirits too, that he upheld them with unshaken resolution in the mid'st of such danger. That hee united you so firmly all together, who notwithstan­ding were not all of one minde, nor one way. That all the violence and rage that was declared against you, was so farre from causing you to desert the Cause of GOD, and to give up the Towne into the hands of those that fought against it, as that it made you to renew your resolutions to sticke the faster to the Lord, and to his Cause, to fight it out in the midst of fire and bloud. Here certainly, the wrath of man doth praise the Lord; the wrath of man sends us occasion to sing the praises of our God forever.

And if wee ought to praise the Lord with reference to that part of the wrath of man which he let out, much more with reference to that which hee restrain'd. Oh here was mercy to be spoken of to all ages, that God sets limits to the rage of these men. That when they set their heart as the heart of GOD himselfe, he made them know they were but men. That when they said of this poore Towne, Fall on, and take it, for there is no reliefe for it, there is none to deliver it; that when they were about to enter, GOD put his hook into their Nostrills, and his bridle in their Lippes, and carried them another way. Brethren, you may reflect upon the time when you stood loo­king out at the Windowes, and crying as the Mother of Sisera, Iudges 5.28. Why is the Chariot so long a comming? Why doe the Wheeles of the Chariot lin­ger? Why is Reliefe so long a comming? Why doth it stay and linger thus? Why doth it meet with such procrastinations and delays? And in the end conclu­ded, that there was no helpe for you, but you should surely perish by the hands of these men. And when your hearts were gone, and hopes were gone, when you were in the Wilderness, where if you met with any good or any comfort, it must come from Hea­ven: then GOD came in, and spake comfortably to you: Oh thinke upon the time when you gave your selves for lost, and on a suddaine some came running in and told you, Reliefe is come. Oh was not that a sweet and welcome word, Reliefe is come? Were you not as Israel was in such a case, like men that dreame? Did you not doubt this happy tidings was onely fancied and conceited in a Dreame, and that there was nothing of truth and reality in it? It was so farre above your hopes, and beyond your [Page 23]expectations. And now, my brethren, I beleeve your hearts are very much enlarged and ready to breake out into the praises of the Lord. Mee thinkes I heare you put the question to mee, what shall wee doe to make it to appeare that wee are sensible of this mercie? I give you some directions in a word, and I have done.

1. I acknowledge the restraint of our malicious ene­mies to bee of GOD. That it was hee, and he alone that set limits to their siege. Say not, it was the valour or the skill of the COMMANDERS, it was the courage of the SOULDIERS (though many of them did be­yond the race of men, and deserv'd as high applause and commendation as instruments are capable of) but rather say, their wrath and rage did GOD restraine. And truly GOD was visibly and admirably seene in this businesse. For when our Line was almost empty of Defendants, and when the bodies of your ene­mies were not restrained by any thing that you could either doe or see, the LORD restrained their spirits, as the PROPHET speakes in the Verse that follows next save one upon my TEXT, so that they had no hearts to come on. And therefore now let all your bones cry out and say, LORD none is like to thee, that wee are yet unbroken. Let all your houses say, LORD none is like to thee, that wee are standing. Let all your Wives and Children say, LORD none is like to thee, that wee are living. They were not Workes, they were not Gunnes and Souldiers that preserved us, and destroyed our enemies, but their wrath did God restraine, and therefore let the Lord and he alone have all the glory.

2. Endeavour to bee large to him in duty who hath beene large to you in mercie. There was a time you know when you were shut up by your enemies, who [Page 24] kept you in on every side, when you were held with­in a very narrow compasse. But now the LORD hath set you in a large place. Oh let your hearts I pray you bee enlarged to him in praises, and let your hands be en­larged to him in service. Oh doe not goe, but run the wayes of his Commandements, now he hath set you thus at liberty. Doe not thinke it is enough to walke on in an ordinary track of duty, but strive to doe [...] as Christ speakes, some singular, fine, excellent, some extraor­dinary thing, and to abound in the worke of the LORD, who hath laid out the riches of his mercie on you.

3. Improve and lay out all that you have left for GOD, and bestow it all upon him. Beloved, GOD hath given you your somes, your wives, your children, your estates, your lives. If you have any thing, he gave it you the second time, hee renewed your tenure in it this day. If hee had but let loose the enemie, and if hee had not mightily restrained him, in all appearance you had lost all. You may truly say to GOD as David doth, thou art the God of our life, and therefore now live to him: Thou art the God of our strength, and our we with, and our comfort, and therefore lay out all for him.

4. Let all those Vowes and Covenants which you made to God in dayes of miserie, be remembred and ob­served in dayes of mercie. Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee, the remainder of wrath shalt thou nestraine; and then the next words are, Vow unto the Lord and pay it. Brethren I make no question when you look't for nothing else but death and ruine, you engag'd your selves to God by many obligations. Oh how obedient and how holy you would be, if he would but deliver you this once, if hee would save you from this death onely. You told the Lord a very fuire tale. But say my Bre­thren, [Page 25]have you paid those Vows? have you made good those Obligations? or did you onely flatter with him, as wee are wont to flatter men to attaine our owne ends? May that bee said of you which David notes of Israel, Psalme 78.36. When hee slew them, they sought him, &c. Neverthelesse, they did but flat­ter him, their heart was not right with him, nor were they stedfast in their Covenant? Well, bee assured God will not flatter, hee will not dally with you when hee comes about againe. Praise, and Obe­dience, and Thankfulnesse was due, before you made these Vowes to God; but you have made it doubly due, by laying on your selves such sacred Bonds as these are. And have you broken these Bonds? I feare when you examine what your wayes have been, since you had respite, you will acknowledge you have broken them indeed, and desperately cast a­way these Cords from you. I will not shake my Lap at you, as Nehemiah sometimes did, nor say as hee, Chapter 5. Verse 13. So God shake out every man from his house and from his labour, that hath not kept the promise that he made with God at that time; Even thus let him be shaken out and emptied. No, that bee farre from mee. But I will rather say as holy Hezekiah in another case, The good Lord pardon every one, that hath not kept his solemne Vowes, and remember not his breaches, to avenge the quarrell of his Covenant on him, when the next day of Visitation comes.

5. Endeavour to perpetuate the memory of this mercy, write it upon the Lintells of your doores, upon the Palmes of your hands, upon the Tables of your hearts, relate the story of it to your Chil­dren, that so the Generations that are yet to come, [Page 26]may blesse the Lord; that you may keep the Praises of your God alive, even to the worlds end. Oh let not such a sweet and precious mercy dye with you. Let not that bee charged upon you which DAVID chargeth upon Israel, That you forget the workes of God, and the wonders that hee hath shewne you. That you forget the time when the Enemy was entring, and God sent Reliefe from Heaven, and restrained his fury. Oh let this day bee alwaies solemne to you, a day of gladness, and of Feasting, and a good day, to all generations. I say as God unto Ezekiel, Ezek. 24.2. Write the name of the day, even of this same day, the eleventh of MAY, the Enemy of our Re­ligion, and of our Liberty, and Peace, set himselfe against TAUNTON this same day. The God of Heaven shewed himselfe for TAUNTON this same day. Hallelujah, Salvation, and Honour, and Glory, and Power, and Might, and Dominion, and Everlasting Praise be unto Him that sits upon the Throne, and to the Lamb in all the Churches of the Saints for ever and ever, AMEN.


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