The Most Honble. William Marquiss of Lothian

TWO SERMONS PREACHED Before His MAJESTIES HIGH COMMISSIONER, And the ESTATES of PARLIAMENT. By the appointment of the Provincial Synod of Lothian and Tweddale.

Upon Sabbath the 7th. of May, 1693. Unto which is subjoyned the Sermon Preach­ed at the opening up of the Synod. May 2. 1693.

By Mr. William Vetch Minister of Peebles.

From Haggai, 2.4.

And Col: 4.17.

Edinburgh, Printed by John Reid, to be sold by Alexander Hen­derson, Book seller in the Lochen-booths, Anno 1693.


MAY it please your Grace, If I had an Offering, that might be any way Acceptable, There is none to whom it is so much due, as unto your Grace; And that because I drew my first Breath, and had my first Education, where the Ancient, and Noble Fa­mily of Dowglas was the Grand Planet, Regnant in that Hemisphaere.

Secondlie, Your Grace, by the Alwise Providence of GOD, and the Choice of our Great, and Gracious Protestant King, being made his Majesties High Com­missioner to this Parliament: Stand in the place of Zerubbabel, in my Text, and are chiefly concerned to notice, What GOD calls for at your Hands, in Or­der to the Building up the walls of Our second Temple, the foundations whereof have been wonder­fullie and mercifullie laid some Years ago; And now, Your Grace, and this Honourable and High Court of Parliament, are again called to carrie on this begun Work, both by the Providence of GOD, that hath put a New Opportunitie in Your hands; And the Call of the Preached Word Awakening and stirring You up unto the Work. And O that Your Grace, and this Honour­able Court, may give such a speedie Return to both these Calls as this Jewish Government did: For we may see from the first chapter of this prophesie of Hag­gai, that within the space of three weeks & three daies; after this Prophets first sermon, they fell zealouslie to the work, and that with great courage and unani­mitie; And also without anie further delay, or anie visible dissent among them, and whereas the stoutest of them before had no great mind to the work, now when alarmed by the Prophet, in the Name of the LORD, the verie weakest and most timorous, are forward, and bold to carrie it on. Thirdlie, And who could be so fit in all the Nation for this Work, as Your Grace; Being not onlie of so Noble a Descent, where Va­lour [Page]and Courage has been remarkablie for so manie Ages Connatural to the Family: (And let it not be lost in You, especiallie when called to lay it out on so Noble an Interprize, as the Propagation and Protection of Religion, Liberty and Property:) But also, being advanced to Represent the Chief Fa­mily of the Kingdom, and whom GOD has blessed with a Goodlie Person, Excellent parts, a Numerous, Noble, and Hopeful Progenie: A Blessing that fitts You to speak with Your Enemies in the gate; And that Divine Hand, that has now promoted Your Grace, to so high a Trust, wherein Ye may do great things for the Advancement of CHRISTS Kingdom, will look for some proportionable Return: If the Great Land-LORD of the World expect a Rent from the meanest Cottage: What a large Revenue must he look for, from so great Families; For, to whom much is given, of them much will be required. Learn to pay this, and it will draw down not onlie Blessings on Your self, but on your Posterity. It was the Honour of Abrahams House, that from Father to Son, [...] many Generati­ons they were Heirs of the same Promise. Heb: 11.9. O that there were such a Succession to be found in the House of the Nobilitie, and Gentrie of our Land: But alace Plentie abused, disposes to Sin, and Vice: And it is toe Ordinarie for the Greatest, and bravest Spirits, to think the Power of Religion, a base and mean thing, which taketh off from their Grandeure, [Page]and Esteem among men, and that the strictness of it, is inglorious: But a Conjunction of Goodness and great­ness together, is the most Lovelie and comfortable thing in the World; And greatness without Goodness will be a Tastless Cordial at the Long Run.

I have presumed to thrust these following Sheets un­der Your Graees Patrocinie, being perswaded that a Favourable Smile from such a Potent Prince, will give them sufficient Protection; And although the Fab­rick be mean, yet the Statliness of the Frontispiece may beget a Curiosity in many to look into it: hoping that your Grace will Pardon wherein I have presumed, and will Favourably accept of the smal token of my Sincere affection to your Grace, and those Noble Fami­lies (for they that have not Gold must offer Goats Hair) I make Bold to subscribe myself,

Your GRACES Most Humble Servant, In the LORD, WILLIAM VETCH.


THERE is none in my Station, (I confess) so unfit to appear in Print, as I am, But the restless importunity of so ma­ny persons of all ranks, occasions me to do violence to my own inclinations, in pub­lishing the ensuing sermons; which you have here laid before you, with little addition, or alteration: Only let me tell you, that although I opened up this text, Haggai 2: 4. As it referred to the preceeding and subsequent verses of the Chapter, by way of Lecture, and did intermit according to the Custome; yet I have thought fit to put it, and the Forenoons Sermon together as one Entire Discourse.

Another Reason moving me to this under­taking is, That several things spoken in that Great Auditory upon this Subject, are Misre­presented, [Page]Mistaken, and Mis-improven, which this may be a mean to Cure, and Remove.

The Entertainment I acknowledge is so Course and Mean, that I cannot promise it an universal Acceptance: Seeing too too many in our Day, (wherein Fancie and Opinion, that Witch and Enchantress has got the Ascendant of Religion and Reason) are more devoted to what may please their palat, then prolong their health, and life. But if it may (as it is) be any wise serviceable to the publick good of the Church, and the work in hand, and any way profitable to any particular well wisher, of that Interest; I have attained my End. I am,

One of ZIONS Well-wishers, And thy Servant, W. V.

The First SERMON

HAGGAI 2: 4:

Yet now be strong. O Zerubbabel, saith the LORD, be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech the high Priest, and be strong all ye People of the Land, saith the LORD, and work: For I am with you, saith the LORD of Hosts.

I Shall for Lecture open up these words, as they referr unto the preceeding and subsequent part of the Chapter, and observe somethings from them, and then go on, and prosecute that Doctrine, which I think most suitable to this Occasion; I shall not have time to give a large, or Critical Ex­planation of the Text, with Respect to the per­sons mentioned in it, or the Prophet that de­livered this Message, or annent the time that he was sent to that People, for fear I come short of the main things I purpose to speak to this Honourable Auditorie.

We do not read that this People of the Jews, to whom this Propher Haggai was sent, had immediately after their return from the Babylo­nish Captivity, any Prophet among them, and [Page]yet they had such as were able to direct them in their work: But they proving sinfully and shamefully negligent and sloathful, for a con­siderable while after their return, in the work of Reformation which GOD had called them un­to: And for which they had the Civil Autho­rity even Cyrus his grant. The LORD at length raised up this prophet Haggai, and after him Ze­chariah, to awaken and stirr them up to their dutie, in carrying on this Work that was begun several years ago.

Their neglect and carelesness in this matter was occasioned partly from their own timerous­ness and weakness, being but few when compa­red with their Ancestours who builded the first Temple, and with the multitude of Enemies that at present opposed them, & no wonder they were timerous, having been so long houled and kept at under in Babylon. Where their long af­fliction and Captivitie had dispirited them.

Partly this neglect was occasioned from the bold and violent opposition of enemies that did what they could to mart the begun work of GOD in the Land; Such as Sanballat the Horo­nite, and his Complices.

Partly from their too too much minding the things of the world, and preferring them to the things of GOD, as we have them reproved for it [Page]chapter 1st. ver. 4th. Is it time for you, O Ye, to dwell in your Cicled houses, and this housely waste? and this is a disease that abounds much in our days!

This second chapter wherein my text lves, is full of encouragement for them, to proceed in the work, notwithstanding of the discourage­ments on the one hand, and the oppositions they met with on the other.

The first encouragement lys in the latter words of the text, from the promise of GOD's Presence with them in this work, For I am with You, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore be strong and work; you need not fear all your enemies that oppose you, when I am with you.

The second encouragement for removing their timerousness, and spiriting them to their work is taken from the standing Covenant that was between GOD & them, & that of a long & old date, even since the day that he had brought them out of the land of Egypt; where we have to admire GOD's faithfulness to them in keeping this Covenant, when they were guilty of many breaches thereof to him. Verse 5. According to the Word that I covenanted with you; when ye came out of Aegypt, so my Spirit remaineth with you, fear ye not.

The third Encouragement to go on in their [Page]work is taken from the Lords promise to com­pense the external despicableness and meanness of this fabrick they had begun, and about which they were so discouraged, because it had not that Extensiveness and Largeness of Building, neither had they Solomons riches to give it that internal splendor and Glory that Solomons Temple had, all this the LORD promises to make up, with his own Glory and the Mediators personal pre­sence, verse 7: 8, 9.

The 4. encouragement to proceed in the begun work is: that although for their neglect they were fal­sen under many Judgements, and especially that of famine, as in the preceeding Chapter Verse, 6. Ye have sown much, and brung in little, and also in this Chapter, When they came to an heap of twenty Measures, they proved but ten, when they came to the Press to draw out fifty Vessels full, it filled but twenty, Verse 16. By which ye might easily have conjec­tured that I had a controversy with you; And itconcerned you to have enquired unto the cau­ses of my controversie: But now sayes the LORD If ye will proceed in the work, O Zerubbabel, Joshua and the people. I will remove these Judgements, and bring Blessings in the room of them.

The last Argument which is very consider­able to move and encourage them to go on in their work, and should have great weight with [Page]us; Who are affraid of the Nations about us is the LORDS promising Safety and Security to them, in the midst of great Commotions, and desolating Judgements upon the Nations round about; As if he would say, though I make Kings and Nations fall by the Ears and destroy one another, though you may hear it or see it, yet it shall not come near you, and this ye see in the last verses of the Chapter, and it is like that sweet Promise to the Church, Psal: 91.7, 8. Verses, A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand: But it shall not come nigh thee; Only with thine eyes shall thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.

In the Verse we have read to you more, par­ticularly we have these things to be considered. 1. The Exhortation be strong and work, this is the Call which the LORD sends by the Prophet Haggai. 2. We have the persons to whom this Call and Message is directed and sent, and that is to Zerubbabel to Joshua, and to all the People: Magistrates Ministers and People, they are the Persons to whom this Call comes. 3. We have the person calling, and that is the LORD of Hosts, by his Prophet Haggai. Thus saith the LORD of Hosts. 4. We have the Arguments which the LORD makes use of in this Verse, to press them unto the giving of a Cordial and pre­sent [Page]Obedience unto this Call and Message, and these Arguments are two, which ye would do well to take notice of, one of them is taken from the Patience of GOD, another is taken from the Promise of GOD. That which is taken from the Patience and Forbearance of GOD, lyes in the first Words of the Verse (yet now) after so long a foreslowing and neglect of the Work in you; (as if the LORD would say) and after so long Patience and Forbearance in me, it concerns you to fall upon this Work that I call you to, I might have come and de­stroyed you after I brought you out of Babylon, for your unanswerableness to My Command, yet have I forborne and stretched out My Pa­tience towards you, and put a new opportunity in your hands, and given you a new Call, ought not My former Patience and Forebear­ance, and My present Goodness to lead you to Repentance, to mourn over and redress the wrongs that you have been formerly guilty of.

The second Argument that he backs this Call withall, is in the last words of the Text, and that is the promise of his being with them in this undertaking, For I am with you saith the LORD of Hosts.

5ly. We have this message delivered with a double note of attention, to the leading men in Church and State, (persons too incident to be [Page]heedless) importing no less than this, that it concerned such as them at this verie Juncture, to give ready Obedience to GOD's Call, to be Zealous, and so a good example, to all the pe­ople under them: this note of attention calls all to take special notice of GOD's Messenger now unexpectedly sent to them, and also of the mes­sage that he carries.

And then in the last place we have this remar­keable, Thus saith the LORD, thrice repeated, the design of which I take to be this to clear, & confirm them in this call, as if the Prophet Hag­gai had said, it is not my message, a sick-brain fancie, or notion of mine, but it is the command of JEHOVAH the Lord of Hosts.

I might observe from these words several things; As

(1.) That the People of GOD may be cal­led by a wonderful cast of Providenee, and an Ex­traordinary Hand of GOD, out of great trouble and affliction, to carrie on a work of Refor­mation, and yet when they are most clearly called to it, it may meet with great Rubbs and and impediments: You see they were called to this, and yet it meets with great opposition; and they also notwithstanding of GODS Call, were careless and superficial in prosecuting this so great, so necessarie, and so profitable a work.

(2lie.) I might observe this, That the LORD [Page]takes special notice of His people, how they manage precious opportunities for His glory, his Churches good, and the advancement of Reli­gion which are put in their hands, and therefore he sends this Prophet Haggai to reprove their by past disobedience and negligence, and to a­waken them to their dutie for the future. But the main Doctrine which I take to comprehend the very scope of the words is this, That it is the dutie of all ranks of people in a land, to be strong and join cordiallie and unanimouslie together to carrie on a begun work of Reformation, when the LORD eminently calls them to it, & promises to be with them in it. And this is the Doctrine, that through the LORDS Assistance, I purpose to stand on, in prosecut­ing whereof, I shall follow this method.

1. To shew you what is meant here by, (be strong) and that I shall do first positively, shew­ing what it truely imports. 2. Negativelie, what it prohibites.

In the next place, I shall give you the Rea­sons of the doctrine, why all ranks of persons in a Land, should be strong and join cordially together, to carrie on a begun work of Refor­mation, when the LORD eminently calls them to it.

And lastly, I shall give you the use of all; This is the work that lyes before me. First, [Page]then by Being strong, is positively, and plainly meant in Scripture phrase, to take courage and resolution, that persons of all ranks, whom GOD calls to his Service, should put on cou­rage and resolution, especially such as GOD sets up in publick Offices; Ye may see this clear in the case of Joshua, in his first chapter, verse 9, When the LORD calls furth Joshua to install him in a publick Office, which he was to ma­nage for bringing the People of GOD through Jordan, out of the wilderness, and to bring them to the possession of Canaan, and to go before them as their Captain General in the Warrs, by which they were to execute GODS threatned judgements in destroying these Nations that were accursed, and were to meet with manie a bloodie Rancounter in the doing thereof; how does the LORD in order to all this, encourage Joshua, in this 9 verse, Have not I commanded thee? Be strong, and of a good courage, be not afraid, nei­ther be thou dismaid, for the LORD thy GOD is with thee, whithersoever thou goest. Magistrates are to be men of courage, Exod. 18.21. Thou shalt (saith the LORD to Moses,) provide thee able men, out of all the people, such as fear GOD, men of truth, hat­ing covetousness. The Original word in the He­brew, is men of courage and strength; Yea, they that are in publick Office must not only put on [Page]courage and resolution, but they must evidence it in the right management of the trust put in their hands Nehemiah chap. 6.11. Should such a man as I flee; Nay, I will neither fear, nor flee, but stand it out against Sanballat, and all his Complices, and all their power, their scoffs, their threats, their plots, this was the Answer he gave to such as were telling him such fright­full stories. That the Enemies would be too strong for him, that they would runn him and that work down, that he was come from Ar­taxerxes with a new Commission to propagate and carrie on; but he puts on Courage and Re­solution as an Antidote against all these Fears: I say, That persons that are Magistrates and Mi­nisters, and such as have a publick Trust com­mitted to them by the LORD, should be men of great courage, especiallie in a time when Refor­mation and Temple-work is in hand, as in my Text.

Samuel was a man of courage, 1 Sam. 15.25. to the 30 verse, when he told King Saul plainlie his sins, And That GOD had rejected him therefore, and rent the Kingdom from him.

Elijah also was a man of great Resolution and Courage, as you may see in that conference be­tween Obadiab and him, 1 Kings 18. ver. 15. &c. And when he told a threatning Abab, ver. 18. [Page] That it was he and his fathers house that troubled Israel, in that he had forsaken the LORD and follow­ed Baalim.

And the Priests of the LORD were men of Courage; 2 Chron. 26.17, 18: when they resisted King Ʋzziah, invading the Churches priviledges

2ly. I take this to be meant by (be strong and work) to be Livelie, Active, and diligent, in the work which they were now called to by the LORD, that they not only have a fittedness for their work, but that they be faithfull and di­ligent in the dispatch of it, and indeed I find that the Wise man. Eccles: 9: 10. does com­mend diligence & activitie in all a mans lawful bussiness in the world: Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might, &c. How much more commendable must it be, to be active and diligent in the great concernments of GOD and of His House, and Glorie, that must be a thing much more regarded than the concerns of our own houses; And that 1st because the mat­ters of God are preferable to our matters, that is the thing, that should be upon the heart, and Conscience, and affections of everie person, of publick trust, they should set the matters of GOD foremost, like those persons, Psal: 137 ver: 5, 6. If I forgetthee, O Zion; If I preferr not thee, to my chief Joy, let my right hand forget her cunning; [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page]and let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth.

Secondly. This diligence and Activitie for GOD and his matters with which we are entrus­ted, is the diligence that brings in the greatest Reward: though alace it is little believed; there are many of you that hears me this day, that if you would lay out your selves in places and stations for GOD and his work, it would bring you a greater reward, than you are aware of, and you will be made to see that your neglect in this thing will be of dreadfull consequence at the long run, and that the persuite of the things of the world, which divert you from this main business, will bring you no comfort, and be of no signification, except it be to disquiet your conscience, and increase your torment.

Thirdly, From this consideration, People of all Ranks should be moved to great Faithful­ness, Activity and Dilligence in the Matters of GOD, because the Enemies that oppose this Work, are very diligent, lively and active, Psal: 38.19. Verse, But mine Enemies are lively, and they are strong, and they that bate me wrongfully are multiplyed. The Godly man complains here of his Enemies (you see) That they were strong and livey, but does this discourage him; Nay, but on the contrare, it awakens him to a more vigorous prosecution of his Work.

Thirdly, This Exhortation being directed to [Page]all sorts of Persons, States-men, Church-men, and Commons (to be strong and work) it calls all those cordially to unite and joyn together to build up the Temple of GOD, whose founda­tions are already laid, and then they shall ac­complish the Prophesie of the latter dayes, Zeph: 3.9. For then will I turn to the people a pure Language, that they may all call upon the Name of the LORD to serve him with one consent: And as the words are rendred in the Originall Lan­guage, they shall serve the LORD with one Shoulder; I suppose that many may have heard of the Father that had a great many Sons, and when he was going to make his Latter Will, he called for them, and commended unto them a keeping of Unity, and Harmony to­gether in their Converse and Business, which would greatly tend to their Comfort and Ad­vantage, and to demonstrate this to them, he caused bring a Sheaf of Arrows, closely tyed to­gether, and gave them to the Eldest to break, but he could not breake them, and so he gave them to the Younger sucessively, and they could not break them, but when they were di­vided, they were easily broken, so it is with Magistrates, Ministers, and People in the Land; When they unanimously and cordially joyn together in the Work of GOD, they cannot [Page]easily be broken, and destroyed; We say, vis unita fortior, and Unanimity in the work of GOD when all joyn together as it were with one Shoulder without lying by, or interfeir­ing, or drawing back, or obstructing one an­other is a good taken of a thriving work, when Magistrates make such Laws as authorize only the true worship of GOD, and take care to see them duely execute, that such as hinder uni­formity in Religious Worship may be remov­ed, that so the Doctrine, Worship, Discipline, Government of the House of the GOD of Hea­ven, may be according to the Laws of the GOD of heaven through the whole Land: For purity of Doctrine does not consist in a Lawless Liberty or Tolleration for men to do, and say what they please in matters of Religion: But it con­sists in a joynt uniformity to Worship GOD, according to his own precept, and this promise (they shall all serve the LORD with one Consent) which was calculate for the latter days: So much then you see is implyed in this Exhorta­tion (be strong) viz: Courage and Resolution, Activity and Diligence, with Unity and Har­mony.

In the next place I come to shew you nega­tively what this Exhortation (be strong) prohi­bits, or what is not meant by it. As 1. It for­bids [Page]timorousness, for men to be possessed with a humane or slavish fear, that keeps them back from their Duty to GOD, and His Work in their Station, this is a thing very unbecoming to such as are Zerubbabels, Joshuas, and Nehemiahs, should such persons as they fear, Whom had they to be affraid of, but cursed Canaanites, and such as were no better in after Generations: What could Nehemiah and these that were with with him be affraid of, when he was come from Babylon, cloathed with the Kings Letters and Au­thority, in order to the carrying on of the forslowed work of Reformation; surely he had not the King, neither the GOD of Heaven; nor the honest party of the Land to be affraid of; I know none that might be a terrour to him, and them that were joyned with him but the Gerizzim party, who were sinfully united to op­pose violently and cunningly the building of the Temple, and the true Worship of GOD, that they would so gladly have destroyed: Let me say it to this Honourable and High Court of Parliament without offence, and in all Hu­mility, what have you to be affraid of, that you should be Faint hearted in the Work of GOD; surely it cannot be of the GOD of Hea­ven, nor of our Gracious King and Queen, not of the Protestant Princes abroad, nor of such [Page]as are true Protestants at home; sure all these will be Cordial Friends to our carrying on the Work of Reformation, and when ye have all these on your side, you may well be strong, and put on Courage and Resolution, for you have a mighty great backing: But of whom are you indeed affraid? Is it of the Pope, or of the French King, and his Allies, or is it of the Geriz­zim party of these Lands, That they get up their head again, and that ye and your Poste­rity, and Estates be ruined? Surely the Mid­wives of Aegypt will rise up in Judgement against you, who were in worse Circumstances then you are, and yet were not affraid of the wrath of the King, but even over the Belly of Dange­rous Laws befriended the Children of Israel: How much more should ye whom GOD in his Providence has raised up to Midwive out the Churches deliverance, and are under the ter­rour of no bad Laws, to frighten you from your work: Put on Courage and Resolution to help your Travelling Mother the Church, to bring forth the Man-Child of a Glorious Refor­mation, and then I may promise ye shall be blessed as these Midwives were, Exod. 1.21. Of whom it is said, because they feared the LORD, be made them houses: That is he preserved, and Increased, Propagated, and Enriched them and [Page]their Familys. Will you read & believe that Scripture, Isaiah 51.12, 13. verses, compared with the 7 verse, I even I am be, that comforteth you, who art thou that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man that shall be made as grass, and forgettest the LORD thy Maker, Who hath stretched forth the Heavens, and laid the foundations of the Earth? And hast feared continualie everie day, because of the furie of the oppressour, as if he were readie to destroy, and where is the furie of the oppressour. And verse 7. Fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be afraid of their revilings. For verse 8. The Moth shall eat them like a Garment, and the Worms shall eat them like Wool, but my Righteousness shall be for ever, and my Salvation from Generation to Generation. But if these Enemies were never so formidable, and numerous. Let me bespeak you as the Leaders of the Philistins did their Armie, 1 Sam. 4: 9. O Be strong and quite your selves like men; do your duty with Resolution, Cou­rage, and Faithfulness, and the LORD shal be with you to deliver the Land from these Task-Masters: But if ye be not strong, &c: then you may provoke GOD to let us fall before the Phi­listins, even at Ebenezar, verse 1. and 2. The place where GOD has hitherto helped, will you take that prophetical Encouragement for the latter dayes to animate you to the work, [Page] Dan. 11.32. For tho such as do wickedly against the Covenant, be Corrupted by Flatteries, yet the People that know their GOD shall be strong and do Exploits: And if there be still any of you false and faint-hearted, in the Matters of GOD and the King, then I Proclaim Gideons Proclamation, Judges. 7.3. Whosever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount Gilead: And that Pro­clamation, Deut: 20. and 8 verse, And who is there that is fearful and faint-hearted, let him go and return unto his house, lest his Brethrens Heart faint as well as his Heart.

Secondly, This Call, be strong and work, thrice repeated, and thrice backed with, Thus saith the LORD, prohibites all further delay of the mat­ter, this People had done it too too long. You that are Magistrats, Ministers, and people would delay this business no longer, for by so doing: 1st. You discourage friends, and begets many fears in them, and doubtings what may be the Issue of such delays, and whether this begun work will thrive or not, and this cannot but be­get a great deal of sorrow in the hearts of the Godly,

Secondly. This gives great encouragement to the opposite partie, and puts a further opportu­nitie in their hands, to gather to a greater strength against the present work, to marr it, and if they [Page]could to overturn it: yea your fears and back­wardness gives the enemies to take greater heart and Courage: Therefore let me say to you as the Gibeonites did to Joshua, chap. 10, 6. Slack not thy hand, from thy servants, come up to us quickly and save us, for all the Kings of the Amorites, that dwell in the mountains are gathered together against us. You see the sad effects of a short delay, Exod: 32, 1. When Moses stayed but fourty days u­pon the mount, the people fell to Idolatrie, and what if your lingring to bring us out of the sad, I had almost said, Sodom like state, that we have too long been into; draw down remarkeable Judgements on us, as it did on that people. Gen: 19, 16, 17 ver: and are there not many of the people of GOD crying out, as it is Judges 5, 28. Why are his Chariot wheels so long of coming.

Thirdly, This Call in my Text (be strong, &c.) prohibits a Laish carelesness, and a Gallios un­concernedness in the great matters amongst your hands, and calls for Seriousness, Wisdom, and diligence in the managing of so great a Trust, and not to be like that People, of whom it was said, they dwelt carelesly, Judges 18.27. They were a quiet and secure people, and the Danites came upon them, and burnt their City with fire: Ye know Gallios Character, Acts 18.17. verse, He cared for none of these things: And is there [Page]any thing under Heaven, that we should be so much concerned about, or careful of, as the Work of GOD committed to us. And Magistrates, and all other persons concerned would often Remember, that as it is Great Trust, that is committed to them, so they must Answer for the right or wrong Management of it before an Impartial Judge, which should make us to endeavour so to act in our Station, as we may be approven, and accepted of him in that day. But peradventure this Argument will have greater weight with many, GOD in His Providence, hath put our Religion, Libertys, and Properties in one bot­tom, and he must have been very blind that did not see, that when our Religion was almost gone, our Liberties and Properties were follow­ing hard, and running the same fate, the one was going with the other. Therefore we would do well to have a special respect to, and care of the Work of GOD, now while we are called to recover it, and establish it, for it is the surest mean, for preserving our Liberties and pro­perties, and if we neglect the one, GOD may be provoked, to permitt our Enemies to Robbe us of all.

Fourthly, This Exhortation (be strong) seeing it calls (as we have said) to unitie and Harmo­nie) so on the other hand it prohibites Magistrats, [Page]Ministers & people to fall into divisions and fac­tions; for that will indeed make them weak, & so mar, & retard the work they are called to, If Satan & his instruments can make GODS Ministers and people, to differ and clash among themsel­ves, they know it will prove a notable mean to forslow the work of GOD among your hands; divide & impera is a Stratagem still made use of in all Ages; and it is not out of fashion yet, and O that we may not have no more reason to lament the divisions of our Reuben, Viz: (our rulers as the first born were) with that Lamentation, with which Deborah and Barak Lamented their divisions, because they came not out to help the LORD against the mighty, but abode among the sheepfolds; when they were eminently cal­led, to arise and unanimously to appear, and joyn for the reviving of the Work of GOD, that was lying in the Ashes, and though all the peo­ple of GOD in the Land were called to joyn with them, from all Corners; and help them in this work; Yet many lurked and withdrew, fear­ing that Undertaking might not prosper, and then if they had joyned, their Estates would have been Ruined; how was Deborah, and Ba­rab affected with this, as we may read in that doubled Lamentation, Judges, 5.15. and 16. verses, verse 15. For the divisions of Reuben, [Page] there were great thoughts of Heart, and these divisions the more they thought on them, were more deeply affect­ing & wounding, & therefore they must sigh and lament it over again. verse 16. For the divisions of Reuben, there were great searchings of heart enquiring (as it were) what might be the cause of these lamentable di­visions, as also what might be the Cure.

I come now to the Reasons of the Doctrine, which shew you why all Ranks of people in the Land, should be strong and joyn cordially and unanimously together to carry on a begun work of Reformation.

Reason 1. Because it is GODS Work; the building of His House, and the reforming of His Church from corruptions that it has been defiled with; is the most Honourable, Emi­nent, and special Work, that GOD calls the Children of men to, in this World. David did see, and think it to be a very Honourable and Excellent Work, when he made so many, and great preparations to bring home the Ark, which was fourty years out of its place: When he mustered up Thirty thousand of the chosen men of Israel to bring it from Kirjath Jearim: and we may not only see his fortitude and cour­rage in this Undertaking but his Zeal, as ye have it set down, Psal: 132. I will not go up to my bed, nor give sleep to mine eyes, nor slumber to mine [Page]eye lids, till I find out a place for the Mightie GOD of Jacob. And when they came to the Ark, you see what is their supplication. Verse 8. Arise, O LORD to thy rest; We are come to carrie GOD back again; (so to speak) and the Ark of GOD, that has been so long out of the Land, and out of the Sanctuary, we see also how glad­ly, he would have been at the building of the Temple, and what preparations he had made for it, But when he saw that the honour was to be conferred upon his Son Solomon, how does he press him to forwardness, and faithfulness in that matter. 1 Chron: 22. to the 14▪ Now my Son, The LORD be with thee, only the LORD give thee Wisdom and Ʋnderstanding; and give thee Charge concerning Israel, that thou mayest keep the Law of the LORD thy GOD, then shalt thou prosper, if thou takest heed to fulfil the Statutes and Judgements, which the LORD charged Moses with concerning Israel: Be strong, & of good Courage, dread not nor be dismayed: So that you see what estimate this great and holy man, put upon the work of GOD, and how concerned he was about it, as the princi­pal business he had to do in the World, and 1 Samuel 2.30. verse: GOD hath said, he that ho­nours me, I will honour. O how dangerous is it, to have an opportunity put in our hand, to serve GOD, and his Interest: and not to guide it well, and what ever figure any of You [Page]may make in the World; yet you only signify so far in the sight of GOD, as You act for him in your Station and Generation, and do you not know, that many may stand for a great summ & make a great figure in the eyes of men, that will stand but for ciphers in Heavens Arithmetick.

Reason second. As it is GODS Work so he visiblie, clearly, and eminently, calls us to it, and that by these six Calls.

First, By the call of his word; for the Refor­mation we are called to, is that which is suited unto GODS Law, contained in his written Word, and the LORD hath Honoured Scotland beyond many other Nations of the World, in that he hath written unto us the great things of his Law, Hosea, 8.12. O that we may not count them a light thing: And may it not be said of us; as Psal: 146: 19, 20: He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his Judgements unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with every Nation. Have we then GODS Laws, His Statutes, and his Judgements, then certainly we have them either for something, or nothing, and can they be given us for any thing else, but to direct our service and obedience to GOD, and is there a­ny of you, the honourable members of this Parliament, that will make Laws and promul­gatt them, and would not take it ill, if the peo­ple [Page]did not Obey: Would you not Judge such disobedient persons to the Law to be Rebells, and punish them accordingly: Of how much sorer punishment will they be found worthy, that take no heed to the Laws of GOD, reveal­led in His Word, that they may give a Constant and Conscientious Obedience thereunto.

Now the Reformation that we are called to is most suitable unto this Divine Law, which has been owned contended for, and witnessed to by the Godly party in the Land, and that of all Ranks both while they lived, & when they dyed, and that as the purest Reformation of any Protestant Church; and this was testifyed many years ago, by a great man of this Nation; who Blessed GOD that he was born in a Church, whose Reformation was purer then that of Eng­land, of France, or Geneva: And seeing we have Ordinances, Means, and Opportunities again put in our hands: Persons of all Ranks had need to take Care to manage them so, as we may give a good accompt of the Trust committed to us. But least I transgress too far and trespass upon your patience. I shall Close at this time.

The Second SERMON

HAGGAI 2: 4:

Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the LORD, be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech the high Priest, and be strong all ye People of the Land, saith the LORD, and work: For I am with you, saith the LORD of Hosts.

THERE is nothing more to be la­mented by the Sons of Men, then this one thing, that we have sinned our selves unto such a benighted and dark Conditi­on, as that we can neither take up our danger aright to flee from it, nor our Duty, and what is the rightest season for the right performance the reof: So that in this Case we are more to be pittied then the beasts of the field. For the Ox knoweth his Owner, and the Ass his Masters Crib; But Israel doth not know, My Peo­ple doth not consider: Isaiah, 1.3. Yea, Jer: 8.7: Yea then the birds of the Aire, for the stork in the Heaven knoweth her appointed times, and the Turtle and the [Page]Cran, and the Swallow, observe the time of her coming, but My People know not the Judgement of the LORD; And is it not a great peice of Condescending Love and Mercy in GOD, that when we neither know nor consider our Work, nor the season of it, he Condesends to send Messengers to put us in mind of both; This people when they proved Ne­gligent in the greatest and most Important bunness, in which their happiness was folded up: He sends the Prophet Haggai, to tell them what they had to do, and what they had neglected, and that if they would mourn for what Sins they had committed, and what duties they had ne­glected, & be zealous and careful for the future in answering and obeying what GOD called them unto, all bygones should be bygones. (If I may so speak) yet now be Strong, &c. You know the Doctrine I was upon: That it is the dutie of all Ranks of People in a Land to joyn Cordially and unanimously together to carrie on a begun work of Reformation, when the LORD Emi­nently calls unto it, and promises to be with them in it. I am come the length of the 2d. reason of the Doctrine, to shew (this Honou­rable Auditory) that as this work, is the work of GOD, so he doth Eminently call you to it, and that first by the call of his word, as [Page]I have touched: for if the Laws of Heaven given to the Jewish Church, did obliedge them to re­nounce all Idolarrie, and false worship, and to reform and worship GOD, precisely according to the Divine Iustitution, do they not equallie oblige us, are they not the rule in our day, as well as they were in their day, he [...] not given us these statutes, laws and Judgements for that very end, that he gave them to the Church of old, which if we do we shall live in them, and which if we disobey and despise, they will not a little contribute to aggravate our Con­demnation.

The second Call, To carrie on a begun work of Reformation, is that of eminent and re­markable providences, when there has been nothing for many years, but a mixture of sad things to the Land, and the work of GOD in it, carried on by the black Horses, and speckled Horses, (if I may say so) strange and sad dis­pensations of Providence, whereby Jacob was given to the spoil, and Israel to the Robbers, where­by we were brought unto the brink of the pit, & ready to perish, all our expectations failing us u­pon the right and left hand, giving all up for lost, both our Civil and Sacred concerns, that at such a nick of distress as this, the LORD should by his wonderful providence raise up a [Page]Deliverer to his own Church, another Cyrus; Yea and greater then Cyrus, to give us such Revi­ving from our bondage, as we are Witnesses to this day, this is a thing that Remarkably calls us to observe the doing of the LORD, and he who sees it not to be the doing of JEHO­VAH must be lamentably blind: And does not our great and Gracious King; be speak you the Honourable Members of Parliament in the words that David bespoke his Princes. 1 Chron. 22.17 Verse, To the end: David also commanded all the Princes of Israel to help Solomon his Son, saying, is not the LORD your GOD with you; and hath He not given you Rest on every side, for he hath given the inhabitants of the Land unto mine hand, and the Land is subdued before the LORD, and before his people. Verse, 19 Now therefore set your heart and your Soul to seek the LORD your GOD; Arise therefore, and build ye the sanctuary of the LORD GOD, to bring the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD, and the holy Vessels of GOD into the house, that is to be built to the Name of the LORD. This is a thing that any thinking Person, when they seriously consider: Cannot but admire, and say, that this is a remarkable and Eminent call of the providence of GOD, to carrie on a be­gun work of Reformation when such an unde­served, and unexpected opportunity is put in [Page]our hands, and I am sure nothing will make his Majestie more renowned in after Generati­ons of the World, than that he has keeped so just a proportion, between his first declarations for the saftie and good of the Protestant Religion, and his future actings; and in this he Acts like the high and Noble Family of whom he is de­scended, who have been the great Protectours, and Propogators of the Protestant Religion and is not this a new call of his Providence: that though we these years bygone, have not so well manage opportunities pur in our hand, for advancing the work of GOD; he gives us this one opportunity more: For if he had not shewed his more then ordinary care these years bygone to preserve the work that he had begun, and to keep the Ark in its returning from being over­turned by special casts of providence, this be­gun deliverance had been utterly frustrated, and spoiled by our ill management; but O that we could admire the wisdom and goodness of GOD (and I take it as a Token for good) that he has preserved his begun work over the Bellie of the cunningest and strongest devices of adversaries, and of the undexterous and careless management of friends.

The third Call, To carrie on the work of Re­formation, is from our Mother the Church of [Page] Scotland, and that natural dutie, and becoming kindness, that we owe to her, as such who is not yet got out of her Ruines, she calls to us who are her professed Children, as the Jewish Church did of old to hers, by the Prophet Isa­iah Chap: 51, 18. verse. Is there none to guide her among all the Sons whom She hath brought forth? is there none that taketh her by the hand, of all the Sons that She hath brought up? They would be counted unnatural Children, that would no help their na­tural Mother, that gave them a natural life, out of her afflictions and distresses; how much more unnatural Children must they be, that will not help that Mother out of her miseries and trou­bles (Especially when an Eminent Opportu­nity is put in their hands) from whom they pretend to derive a Spiritual and Eternal Life: They that refuse to do this, they evidence them­selves to be bastards, and not true sons of the Church. These persons hearts are like to that Mother, that said to King Solomon, she would have him to divide the Child, but the true Mother was of another Sentiment, who said I would ra­ther ye should be Mother, false as you are than the Child should be divided; And by this she dis­covered her naturall Affection. I say then, we Evidence, our selves to be Bastards, and not true Children of the Church, that are nor for ad­vancing [Page]the work of the House of GOD, for setting up all the Pillars and Ordinances there­of. The Doctrine, Discipline, Worship, and Government of the House of the GOD of Hea­ven, according to the Laws of the GOD of Heaven, (the work must not be divided) and doing what in us lyes Nehemiah like, for that end, he was a man concerned in the City of his GOD, and sepulchres of his Fathers that were lying wast, he was a man that sought the well-fare of Israel, And what did he? I will tell you what he did, he obtained Letters from the King to Reverse Letters and Orders that the Enemys of GOD had received for hindering of the building, for you will see in the Book of Ezra, Chap: 4: from the 4: verse, That the people of the Land who were Gerizzim party did exceedingly weaken the hands of the people of Judah, and trou­bled them in the building. And verse 5: They hired Counsellours against them to frustrate their purpose, & the S. verse gives an account who they were, Rehum the Chancellour, and Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their Companions, mentioned verse 9. And when they obtained these Letters, they soon put them in execution to marr the pros­perity of the People, and Work of GOD; as you see in the 23: verse, of that Chapter, Now when the Copy of Artaxerxes Letter was read before [Page]Reburn, and Shimshai, the scribe and their Compani­ons, they went up in haste to Jerusalem, and to the Jews, and made them to cease by force and power, &c. But honest and good Nehemiah was much concer­ned for this, and was at no quiet till he procur­ed Letters from the King, that his stop might be taken away, that stood in the way of the Re­formation, he is made the Remarkable In­strument to discover this plot, that was for o­verturning the new begun Work of GOD and removing the impediments, and was never at rest till he got the Work set on foot again.

Now if the LORD in His Wonderful and gracious Providence, raise up some such Cour­tier or Cup bearer in our day (Nehemiah-like) when the case of our Church, and the Work of GOD in the Land, runs so much parallel with this, to get the plots and Plotters discover­ed, that opose this begun Work of GOD, the Letters ranverse, and the Impediments remov­ed, and Instructions from the King, to carry on the begun Work of GOD; Should not this be observed, as a new and Eminent call of GOD, for Clearing, Confirming, and Encou­raging all Ranks of people in the Land, to build up the Walls of the LORDS Temple a­mong us; And in this glasse of Providence may we not see clearly, that new Plots are like [Page]old Plots, new Opposition to the Work of GOD, like the old Oppositions, and new De­liverances like old Deliverances.

The Fourth Call to carry on this begun work of Reformation, is from the Noble Examples and Presidents in Scripture, who when ever the Providence of GOD put an opportunity in their hands, opened the doors of the House of the LORD, set up the Instituted Worship of GOD and removed the corruptions and defilements that Idolaters and others had brought unto the Temple, ye see a famous Instance of this Wor­thie of our Imitation in that good King Heze­kiah, 2 Chron: 29: and 3: verse, He in the first Year of his Reign, in the first moneth, opened the doors of the house of the LORD, and repaired them, and he brought in the Priests and the Levites and gathered them together unto the East street; and said unto them, Hear me ye Levites, sanctifie your selves, and sanctifie the house of the LORD GOD of your fathers, and carrie forth the filthiness out of the holie place. Verse 6. For our fathers have trespassed, and done that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD our GOD, and have foresaken him, and have turned away their faces from the habitation of the LORD, and turned their backs, &c. See also what good Jehosaphat and tender Josiah did in this matter, for Re­covering and Advancing the work of Re­formation; [Page]as they were great men, so they were greatly concerned in their day and Gene­ration for the Truths of GOD, for which they bear an honourable and savourie charac­ter in all Ages, while others that were opposers of GODS work have a black mark put upon them.

The Fifth Call, To carrie on this work of Reformation, is from the eminent Apostasie, and abounding wickedness, and profanitie that has followed thereupon in our Land; great backslidings, as they call for great Repentings, so also for Remarkable and great Returnings; especially when GOD gives unto People repea­ted calls thereunto: and have not we had such Remarkable and Repeated Calls, both from the VVord, and eminent providences; GOD has again and again spoken to us in that lan­guage that he spoke to His Church in the days of Jeremiah, as you may see in his third chapter the 1, the 14, and 22 verses, where we have the call for Returning thrice repeated, And O that the Inhabitants of our Land might give in such an answer as is recorded in that 22 verse, Return ye backsliding children, there is the Call, and I will heal your backslidings, there is the motive, And O that we could give in such an answer as fol­lows, Behold we come unto Thee, for Thou art the [Page]LORD our GOD. O ye who pretend to be con­cerned in the work of Reformation, will ye see if ye can prevent Souls from going down to the pit: Let there be such Laws made and revived, and carefully put in execution, as may suppress crying and abounding abominations, inconsis­tent with a true and through Reformation, such as Sabbath-breaking, swearing, drunkenness, and whoredom, the predominant sins in our Age, that cannot but draw down vengeance on the Land if not prevented. As also, all Anti­christianism errour, and ungodliness, and see­ing the season of doing this is put in the hands of Magistrates and Ministers, if they joyn not together and make a right use of it, for the end given, then it is likely to draw down that threatned judgement, Ezek. 24.13. verse, Be­cause I have purged thee, and thou wast not purged, thou shalt not be purged from thy filthiness any more, till I have caused my furie to rest upon thee. And that judgement which our Saviour pronounced upon that people who had a day and season of Refor­mation and Salvation given them, but they made ill use of it, and therefore you see, Luke 19.41. how He laments their folly, (and that with tears,) before He pronounce their doom, if thou hadst known even thou, at least in this thy day the things which belong unto thy peace, but now they [Page]are bid from thine eyes. And we know not how soon the day may come, when our Enemies shall cast a trench against us, and lay us and out Temple even with the ground, because we know not the time of our visitation; VVe never read that Christ wept but twice, and one of them was at the prospect of the death & burial of His Ancient Spouse, the Jewish Church: VVe have had a Three years and an half Gospel-day, which is thought to have been the time that CHRIST the Sun of Righteousness, after He ap­peared to preach the Gospel, shined in the Orb of Gospel Ordinances unto this Church, And yet that day proved not the day of their delive­rance, but only of their Tryal, and of ripening of them for a more desolating strock of Judge­ment, under which they ly unto this very day, And may we not be affraid that this be our ve­ry case, for we have had as long a season, and are like as badly to improve it: And there­fore I may put this Question to one and all of you to resolve; VVhether this be a time of try­all, or a time of deliverance that we are under? (for several judicious Christians do doubt of it) But you who are the Members of this Hono­rable Parliament have an opportunity to put in your hands, which if you manage well, may give a decision unto this Question: And O [Page]that you may have wisdom, Courage, and Re­solution given you so to do.

The sixth Gall, To carrie on this begun work of Reformation, is GOD's promise to be with you, whom he calls and employs in this publick service, and this is plainly, and I may say power­fully exprest in the last words of the Text (for I am with you) this is a clear and Comfortable promise, and then he backs it with power and Authority, and O that it might be so upon our hearts, when he says, I am with you saith, the LORD of hosts, This tittle JEHOVAH is thrice repeated, but in the last place it is thus exprest the LORD of hosts, which must import some what beyond the former two, and has certainly a great Emphasis in it, the scope of which I take to be for removing their fears, and stirring up their Zeal and Courage: As if he would say ye are but a few ct weak Companie to undertake the Reformation, who have been in miserie un­der the Babylonish Captivitie, and firy furnace of a prolonged affliction, and so have not that Cou­rage that is necessarie to carry on my work: But if you would study and endeavour to have right uptakings of me, as the LORD of hosts, Stronger by far than all your Enemies, then ye will not be affraid to go on in the work, when you see I am able to secure you against all op­positions; [Page]And indeed right uptakings of GOD and his promised presence, will be argument e­nough to put Life & Courage in the most timor­ous Member of this house, to act vigorously for GOD and his intrests, when inferiour Creatures are backed with superiour, they will put on cou­rage, and venter far: a cowardly Souldier or Servant when he is under a couragious Captain or Master, will be quite another thing than alone how much more should Magistrats, Ministers, and people be valiant for the truth, when they have GOD to own them. Psalm 118, 6. The LORD is on my side: I will not fear what man can do unto me: and how safe and secure will that Land & that Church, be about whom the LORD will be as a wall of fire; whatever carnal rea­son may say to the contrair, and to have God not only to be a wall of fire round about, But to be the Glory in the midst of us, must be a desireable state, for as this will reflect com­fort upon us who are lodged within such blessed Boundarie, so it will reflect terrour upon the Adversaries, which will make them not only not to come neat, but to flee away as you have it; Psal: and 6 Verse. GOD is known in her palaces for a Refuge. For Lo, the Kings were Assembled they passed by together, they saw it, and so they marvelled, they were troubled, and [Page]hasted away, fear took hold on them and pain as a Woman in Travel: And O what a Rich promise have we for such a securitie, if we will but answer GODS Call, and be found in our dutie, Zech. 2.5. For I saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glorie in the mdst of her: Why should we be affraid, for if we under so many eminent Calls of GOD, and so many gracious promises of his pre­sence and conduct, then we are under a Captain General that never failed his Church, & can ac­complish their compleat deliverance, over the greatest enemies that oppose it, he can lay Pha­raoh and his Army in the deepths of the Sea, and divide the mighty waters that his Redeemed might pass through, He can make the little hills and great mountains to get out of the Way, Psal: 114, verse 3. The sea saw it, and fled, Jordan was driven back, The mountarns skipped like Rams, & the little hills like Lambs: why what was the mat­ter, could not thou O Sea, have kept still thy ordinary motion and currents? & you little hils and great mountains your ordinary posture, and place, and have stopped the deliverance of the Church out of Aegypt, and their march towards Canaan? Was it the terrour of Pharaoh, and his host, or of Moses, and the armies of Israel, that made you quite your ground, and [Page]give way: No, no, it was for none of these, if they had not been headed by the Mighty GOD of Jacob; it was the presence of JEHOVAH that made the Earth to tremble, the depths dry up, and the mountains get out of the Churches way: verse 5. What ailed thee, O thou Sea, that thou fleddest? Thou Jordan, that thou wast driven back? Verse 6. Ye mountains that ye skipped like Rams, and ye little hills like Lambs? ver. 7. Tremble thou Earth, at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the GOD of Jacob. What need you fear then to throw down the Groves? Repair GODS Altar, and build His house, Gideon, and Nehemiah like, when the LORD of Hosts is with you: may you not clearly see, that your help is in the Name of the Lord, but your fear is in the name of man! Are you Zerubbabels, Jo­shuas, and Nehemiahs? Persons in publick Trust? then ye ought to carry like God, because ye are in Gods place, And carry by your Offices that Tittle in the World, Psal. 82.6. I said ye are Gods, &c. And among other things ye should resemble Him in Courage, and Holiness, are none of the least. What a vile sight is it to see a drunken god! or a swearing god! (if I may so express it) And how unbecoming a thing is it also to see a trembling god! You that ought to be a terrour to others, and would be so, if you [Page]manage that Office and Trust aright, with that Courage, Resolution, and Boldness, yet when you faint in it, in order to the work of God, it sayes that other persons, and inferiours too, are a terrour to you.

Now for removing of this distemper of Hu­mane and slavish fear, that Courage and Reso­lution may take its place. Let me recommend this one Remedie unto one and all of you, e­specially such as stand in publick Office, and it is a cure with a (probatum est) tryed, and left to Magistrates, and Ministers, by that great man Moses, Heb. 11.27. verse, it is said there, He feared not the wrath of a King, as seeing Him who is invisible: And yet any might think he had great reason to be afraid of so potent an Ene­mie, who with his Ancestours had detained the Church in bondage for four hundred years, and so it is like questioned neither his power, nor his right to detain them; But the Text tells you what was the Antidote against this fear, Viz. That by Faith be saw Him who is invisible; his faith was at work in heaven to get God to counsel, assist, & strength­en him, while his hands were at work on Earth, to relieve the Church and people of GOD from their Long and sore Bondage, I wish that all the great Ones of the Land, and especially such as are in publick Office had the Exercise of this Faith, by which they might [Page]take up the Almighty power of God, and his E­very where Presence, that so their fears and faint-heartedness, might be removed, if Moses had been possessed with many peoples fears in our day; it's like he would have made an Act of Com­prehension, and Compounded with Pharoah, and so matted the Churches deliverance: This was the Remedie, that good Hezekiah also made use of, to encouradge his Subjects and Souldiers, against the fears and threats of a very bold and huffie Adversary, as you may read 2 Chron: 32. Verse 7. Be strong and Couragious, be not afraid, nor dismayed for the King of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there is moe with us then with him. Verse 8. With him is an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us, and to fight our battels. And while he made use of this excellent Remedy, for their Sup­port and Encouragement, under such sad Cir­cumstances, how succesful was it for the relief of the spirits of that people: Therefore it is said in the Latter part of the 8. Verse. The People rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah King of Judah.

But did this great King, and his people rest so upon the LORD, as to neglect the use of Ordinary means? No, for we see Verse 5. That he strengthned himself, by the use of all outward means, and built up all the wall that was broken, and he raised it up to the Towers, and another wall [Page]without, and repaired Millo in the City of David, and made Darts and Shields in abundance. And verse 6. He set Captains of warr over the People, and ga­thered them together to him in the street of the gate of the City: And yet he counted all these outward lawful means, but as a Quick sand in compari­son, for you see in the 7. and 8. verses, which we have read, he dropt his main Anchor upon the ROCK of Ages; And the Issue declared that he was no looser thereby.

I come in the next place to the use of the Doctrine. And first, It reproves one and all of us, in the different, Stations, Offices, and Circumstances that we are into, for our negligence and unconcerned­ness in carrying on this work of God, when such a rich occasion, and eminent call has been put in our hands. But if we will mourn for our bygone negli­gence, and amend our wayes for the future, and fall vigorously to this Reformation Work which my Text calls us to; then we may expect that God will pardon bypast neglects, when he sees our future faithfulness and diligence.

The second Ʋse is, To Exhort one and all of you. Especially the Members of this Honourable and High Court of Parliament, carefully to set about this begun work of Reformation, and to take notice of Gods call to you this day, for this end and purpose: For, if I know any thing of the [Page]mind of GOD, this is the Message he has com­manded me to deliver you, and what obedience ye give to it, the Divine Eye will certainly observe: And if ye will answer Gods call aright, there is a sixfold Reformation, that all of us in our Stations must endeavour.

The First is, Personal Reformation, which God calls for at the Hands of every person in par­ticular, Ezeck: 18. Verse 30. Pepent and turn your selves from all your Transgressions, so iniquity shall not be your ruine. And verse 31. Cast away from you, all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed, and make you a new Heart, and a new Spirit; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? And this personal Reformation is not only com­manded in the Old, but also in the New Testa­ment, 2 Cor: 7: 1: Let us cleanse our selves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting Holiness in the fear of God. Heb: 12.1. Let us lay aside every weight, Yea, and our predominant sins that so easily beset us: All which Scriptures tells us, both the necessity of this Reformation, and the dif­ficulty of it, which should awaken us unto great diligence and care there about.

And as this personal Reformation is Com­manded of GOD, so it is Commanded to others by those that have tryed it, and found the good of it themselves: as David did to his Son Solo­mon, [Page]and his Princes, 1 Chron. 22.19. Now set your heart, and your Soul to seek the LORD your GOD: And it is recorded to the Commendati­on of Jehosophat, 2 Chro: 20.3 That he set him­self to seek the LORD Kings, Nobles, Gentrie, Ministers and others, will be bad Reformers of such as are under their Charge, who seek not the LORD themselves: O that our Closets, our Consciences, and our Conversations might be witnesses to our Personal Reformation; It is clear enough from Scripture, that the LORD may make use of great Persons for the Church, and Children, who yet may be Strangers unto personal Reformation them­selves, as Jehu and Joash were but one of the best motives to make persons in publick trust, care­full for the Reformation of others, is to be truely Reformed themselves.

A Second Reformation which we should en­deavour in our station, and that is Family Re­formation what an Excellent patern, does David lay before us for this, Psal: 101. Particularly the 7 Verse, He that worketh in deceit, shall not dwell in my House. And how is Abraham com­mended by the LORD for this thing? Gen. 18 19 Verse. For I know him that he will Command his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD. O what a heavie Reckoning [Page]will many Masters of Families and Parents meet with, for their neglect of this at the great day, besides the Judgements that it draws down upon them, and their Families in this World: one Instance whereof ye have, not to name others. Zech. 14.17 Verse: And it shall be, that whose will not come up of all the Families of the Earth unto Jerusalem, to worship the King, the LORD of Hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. Which tells us, that persons and families who make no Consci­ence to attend upon the publick Instituted wor­ship of GOD, it is to be feared that they are strangers to a personal and family Reformation at home; whereas persons that make Consci­ence of family Reformation will not dare to slight and neglect the publick Instituted worsh­ip of GOD.

A Third Reformation, That we should endea­vour in our stations, and that is Sanctuarie Refor­mation, Hezekiah is an excellent pattern in this, who himself set about it so timeoussie, 2 Chron: 29.3. verse, In the first year of his reign, in the first moneth did he open the doors of the house of the Lord, and commanded the rubbish to be taken out, and set up Priests and Officers therein, and gave them a strict charge to mind their work; Lamenting the defile­ments and corruptions that had crept into it: To this I may add the necessity and profitable­ness [Page]of Universities and School Reformation, a thing greatly necessarie in order to Sanctuary and publick Reformation; For where Semina­ries of Learning are tainted, they prove the Bane of the Church, and State also.

A Fourth Reformation, That we should endea­vour in our Stations, is Judieatorie Reformation, That all the Judicatories in the Land, from the highest to the lowest, may be reformed: for upon search it will be found that many of them are not filled with such persons, as have sound principles disposing them to Advance the present work of Reformation, neither true loy­altie to their Majesties, nor affection to the Established Government, Great care therefore should be taken by the supream Judicatorie of this Nation, that truth which is fallen in our streets, & Judgement, may be raised to their feet again, And that the iniquitie, oppression, and Injus­tice, for which the Land mourns, may be re­moved, and we may have no more occasion for that Complaint, Isa: 59.14, 15. verses, And judge­ment is turned away backward, and Justice standeth a farr of, for Truth is fallen in the streets, and E­quity cannot enter: You in whom is lodged the Supream Power, would take care, that the poor, who hang to long on, and cannot get their Cause discussed, may get Justice Execut­ed [Page]speedily, and that without partiality.

5ly, You should also take special Care, of Militarie, or Armie Reformation, that such Officers only get and keep their Commissions, as are true to the Established Government: You have had sufficient warnings of these things already, to make you warry in time coming, but I must freely tell you that friendship Inte­rest, and Covetousness doth often spoile these things.

Lastly, You are called in your Stations, to mind a National Reformation, that the LORD may be worshipped according to the present E­stablished Government (which is most suitable to the Word of GOD, and to which we stand greatly obliedged) from the one End unto the other, according to the Example of good Je­hosophat, 2 Chron: 16: 4: And Jehosophat dwelt at Jerusalem, and be went out again through the peo­ple, from Beersheba to Mount Ephraim, and brought them back unto the LORD GOD of their Fathers: Your Care and Zeal in this Matter would make you bear that excellent name in future Ages; The repairers of the Breach of the Church of Seotland, and the restorers of the Paths to dwell in, Isa. 58: 12: This would be a mean to prevail with the LORD to come and dwell among us, [Page]and fill his House with his Glory. Magistrates should command it, Ministers should preach it, the People should pray for it, and Souldiers oversee it, where it is needful: And if all per­sons concerned would act Cordially and unani­mously with Resolution and Couradge in their several Stations, as they are called and Em­ployed: I doubt not but our Land might yet be called JEHOVA Shamma, the LORD is there.

But that I may shut up this Discourse, I shall only add a few Motives; and but name them to press you to this Duty.

The First Motive is this, That if you whom GOD hath put in Publick Trust, and Authority, take care to build GODS House, ye shall be no looser by it, for this is the way to engage GOD to build, and perpetuate your houses: If ye will establish His Throne, that he may reign in the Hearts of the Inhabitants of the Land, in & by his own Ordinances; This will be a no­table Mean for establishing the Kings Throne, Proverbs, 29: 14: Psal: 89: 2: 3: 4: verses, &c.

The Second Motive is this, That the Genera­tions to come, will bless you, who were Instru­mental in your places, to recover the Ruined Work of GOD in the Land, and to get the pure Gospel Light set up every where: To let [Page]the Wilderness-Travellers see the way to the Kingdom: Will not the posterity that came After us, & get the good of this Reformation, say, blessed be such a Noble family, and such a Gentlemans family and posterity, who laid out themselves for the true worship of GOD, who when it was ready to be swallowed up and ex­tinguished, who recovered it out of the hand of the Enemie, and delivered it cleanly and safely down to us their posterity, or else we had perished in superstition and darkness.

Thirdly, This should press you to a through and universal Refotmation in the Land, be­cause it will be a notable Bulwark, to defend us from the invasions of adversaries, & I lay it be­fore you that are States men, and are for State policie, as one of Heavens politicks, for the secu­ring the Nation, under the prospect of most imminent dangers, you have a tryed instance of this, 2 Chron: 17.7. Also in the third year of Jehosophats Reign, he sent to his Princes, even to Banhael, and to Obadiah, and to Zechariab, & to Nathaneel, and to Micajah, to teach in the citys of Judah, and with them he sent Levites, verse 8 and 9. They taught in Judah; and had the Book of the Law of the LORD with them, and went through­out all the Cities of Judah, and taught the people: and the 10 verse tells us, what a great securi­ty [Page]it brought along with it, to the Land, For the Fear of the LORD, fell upon all the Kingdoms of the Lands that were round about Judah: so that they made no war against Jehosophat, this you see is the sweet advantage, that arises from true & through Reformation, and should not this move you to make use of it, and then you will have GOD's security, and GOD's security is the best security.

Shew your selves therefore Men of Courage, and Zeal for GOD, and his cause, and interests, and ye need not question, but he will be for you.

Lastly, And I shall add no more, your being active and faithful for GOD & his work, will upon a reflection, even under troubles and tryals in this World, be verie supporting, and refreshing, But O What a cordial will it be in a dying houre, when all the Compositions of Apothecaties have lost their Relish, & when nei­ther Riches, nor Honours, nor pleasures of this World, will have any significancie: with good Hezekiah, Isaiah, 38: 2, 3. verses. Turn your faces to the wall, & pray, Remember now, O LORD, I beseech Thee, how I have walked before Thee in Truth, and with a perfect Heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. I say this will be the Great support, and Consolations of your hearts, who are persons of publick trust, when ye come to [Page]the last step, between time & eternitie: Let me therefore with all humility and earnestness, Be­seech you, O Zerubabel, his Majesties high Com­missioner, & you who are the Officers of State, and you the rest of the Members of this honou­rable Parliament, in the words of my Text, Yet Now, O Zerubabel, be strong, saith the LORD, and be strong O Joshua, Son of Josedech the high Priest; and be strong all ye people of the land, saith the LORD; and work, for I am with you, saith the LORD of Hosts; Even so be it. AMEN.

Col: 4.17.

And say to Archippus, take heed to the Ministrie which thou hast received in the LORD; that thou fulfill it.

THE Occasion of the Apostle Paul, his writing this Epistle from Rome, while he was Prisoner there, unto this Church of Collosse seems to be from the Information he bad by Epa­phras the Minister of the place, holding furth the danger, that, that Church was into, of be­ing corrupted both in her principles and wor­ship, and that as well from Jews upon the one hand, as Gentiles upon the other.

The Apostles scope in this Epistle, is to confirm them, in the Doctrine Preached by Epaphras, their honest Minister, and to press them to the further knowledge & practice of Godliness; and that both as to the General and special duties of [Page]Christianity, in the conclusion of this Epistle, which is from the 9 Verse to the End. We have several salutations, wherein some are sa­luted and Commended as Verses 10.11. Some saluted and exhorted, that they may stand per­fect and compleat in all the will of GOD, as Verse 12: &c. Some are saluted and directed, as Verse 16, and some are saluted and admoni­shed as in this Text: And say to Archippus, Take heed to the Ministrie which thou hast received in the LORD, that thou fulfill it. As if the Apostle Paul would say to the People, Commend me also to Archippus your Minister, and tell him from me, to take heed that he do not his work careleslie, and by halfs; But as he has received his Commission from the LORD, so let him fulfil it, and that by the constant and diligent performing of all the duties belonging to so great and weighty a Charge.

Whither this Archippus was Collegue to Epa­phras, or whither he was Pastor of the Laodecean Church, (as some Interpreters assert, and the connexion with the proceeding verse, seems to favour it) I shall not determine, and it is a matter of no great importance; for wherever he was Minister, it is like he was fallen Remiss in his Office, A Fault, that I fear too too many of us may be charged with, which remissnes [Page]flows sometimes I conceive from prevalent cor­ruption within, and too much love of the world without, As also from these discouragements that Ministers often meet with from their people, either upon the account of their unprofitable­ness, under the means and pains bestowed upon them, or upon the account of that opposition which their people make to the work of GOD among their hands.

Thir words at first view, fall into two parts, viz. an injunction and a message, The injunction is to the people, in these words, and say to Ar­cbippus, the message they are to tell him from the Apostle, is to take heed to his Ministrie, how he has received it, and how he may fulfil it aright.

But this verse being an Exhortation, contains more particularly in it these four things, First, The person exhorted, the Lazie Minister. 2. The thing he is exhorted to take heed to thy Ministry, &c. 3. We have the Arguments pressing this heed­fulness: 1. Its a trust, and persons must take heed to their trust, because it is not so much their own matters, as others they are to be con­cerned about. 2. It is a great trust that Mini­sters have committed to them, when they have the Precious, and Immortal Souls of Men, to take care about.

The fourth thing in the words, is the modus, [Page]or the manner how he is to notice and manage this Ministry, he is to heed it and manage it so, as to fulfil it. And these that would dis­charge this Office aright, must carefully mind not only the Extensiveness, but also the Inten­siveness of this Work, for the meer tale of du­ties will not be sufficient to fulfil this Ministry, except they have their proportionable weight and measure, even such as will make them pass, when tryed and weighted in the ballance of the Sanctuary.

Thir words affoords us three Doctrines; the first Doctrine is this, That People perceiving their Minister fail in the Office of his Ministry, may and ought to admonish him, but in Love, and with all due respect to his Person and Of­fice, 1 Timothy 5.1. Rebuke not an Elder, but Ex­hort him as a Father, &c.

There is no power of Jurisdiction in the Peo­ple from this Text, to inflict Church Censures on their Minister: For all that is said here, in­ferreth no more, then such an admonition as any private Christian may give him.

The second Doctrine is, That great Heedful­ness is required of Ministers in order to the right discharge of their Office.

The third Doctrine is, That among other Considerations pressing us to fulfil this Ministry, [Page]this should be none of the least, that we have re­ceived it of the LORD.

Of the first Doctrine I shall say no more, and this third Observation will be touched in the Prosecution of the second, which is that I shall insist upon, as being most proper to this Occasion.

And that I may doe it as briefly as possible, I shall in the first place shew you some of these Qualifications implyed in this Heedfulness (that the Text calls for) which are necessary to the right fulfilling of a Mans Ministrie.

Secondly, I shall give you the Reasons of the Doctrine, and thirdly the use of All.

The first Qualification then implyed here, as necessary to make a Minister take heed to man­nage his Office a right is, Wisdom and Know­ledge, and that not only in the Speculative, but in the practical part of Religion. I think both these are needful to make a Minister apt to teach, 1 Tim. 3.2. or else his Ministry will be rather Art-work, then Heart-work. Unsancti­fied witts have been in all Ages greatly prejudi­cial to the Church, and we have not wanted sad Instances thereof in our day.

I say then, that the Ministers of Christ, must be men of Knowledge, for they are Watchmen, and Watchmen must have Eyes in their Head, [Page]therefore they are called Seers, 1 Sam. 9.9: Come let us go to the Seer, they are to point out to the People their Way, their Danger, and their Duty, as we may also see from Isaiah 21. and 6. Verse to the 13. Verse, And if they be blind, what hurt may suddenly befall the Church, Isaiah 9. Verse 16. For the leaders of this People cause them to Erre, and they that are led of them are destroyed.

Ignorance causes Error, and Error Destructi­on, therefore said the Apostle Paul to the El­ders of Ephesus, Acts 20.28. Take heed therfore unto your selves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed them, viz: With Knowledge and Understanding, that they may be soundly principled, & right in the Faith, and he gives the reason of it, Verses 29. and 30. For grievous wolves will enter in amongst you, speak­ing perverse things to corrupt your People, and to draw Disciples after them.

Ministers should be like the beasts about Christs Throne, Rev: 4.6. Full of Eyes within and without, before and behind: Within looking to the Frame and Constitution of their own Hearts, without to the Duties they ought to perform, and the Snares and Dangers they must beware of, in following of their Duty: They must have Eyes looking before them unto God for Counsel and Direction, and they must have [Page]eyes looking behind them unto the flocks which they lead. Every Minister is as it were the Treasurer of the place where he lives, Malachy 2.7. For the Priests lips should keep Knowledge, and the people should seek the law at his mouth, and if the Ministers want this Treasurie of Spiritual know­ledge and Wisdom, they will not be able to distinguish aright between Truth and Errour, Sin and Duty: They cannot instruct the Igno­ant, resolve doubts, quiet the troubled Conscience feed the Hungry, & comfort the discouraged Soul. Let Antichrist have blind and ignorant Watch­men, but Our LORD JESUS CHRIST should have such Ministers as are throughly furnished for every Good Work, 2 Tim: 3: 17: That the Man of GOD may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all Good Works.

The second Qualification implyed in this Take heed, (for a Ministers right discharging of his Office) is painfulness and diligence, for knowledge must issue unto action: Ministers are Angels, and Angels are not only full of Eyes (as I said before) but also full of Hands and Wings. Ezek: 1: 8: And they had the Hands of a Man under their Wings on their four sides, &c: Therefore it is said, Rev: 4: 8: That they rest not day nor night, they know much, therefore they Act much.

The Heathen could tell us that unpractical knowledge signifies nothing, Scire tuum nihil est, nisi te scire hoc sciat alter.

And the Aegyptians painted a Tongue with a hand under it to shew that knowledge, when practiced was good. And we see that the blessing is not promised to the bare knowledge, but to the practice of Commanded duties, John. 13.17. If ye know these things, happie are ye if you do them, and Rev: 22. Verse 14. Blessed are they that do his Commandments, that they may have Right to the Tree of Life, and enter in through the Gates unto the City. We are Spiritual harvest men, and the Crop is very precious, which we are to gather in, If it be lost by our sloath, we will pay dear for it.

The third qualification implyed here (in this, Take heed to your Ministrie) is faithful­ness: O how much need had we to take heed that we do our Ministerial work faithfullie, now faithfulness is a proportioning our obedi­ence to the Command: to be impartial in all the Administrations of the house of GOD: See what a charge the Apostle Paul gives Timothie, 1 Tim. 5.21. I Charge thee before GOD, and the LORD JESƲS CHRIST, and the elect Angels that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partialitie. Where we see [Page]that he that is partial cannot be faithful, an un­faithful Minister is perfidious both to GOD and man. Zeph. 3.4. It is said there, their Prophets are light and Treacherous persons: Treacherous Persons in the Hebrew, as a Learned Interpreter observes, is Viri Praevaricationum qui debitam Deo & populo fidem pariter violaverint. And it is the highest Treacherie that can be, to be false to GOD and Robb Him of the Souls of men; That is worthy of our Consideration recorded. Ezek: 3.20. Because thou hast not given him warning; He shall die in his sin, but his Blood shall I require at thine hand. Now if a Minister may Perish for not warning of Sinners, much more for Encour­aging them to Sin, by corrupt Doctrine, and a Lewd life, for If death be in an Gmission, much more must it be in positive Evils. Let me add one word more on this head, that a faithful mi­nister, must be a fearless Minister, he must not be affraid of the faces of men, when he is to de­liver the Truths of GOD. The LORD four times in one Verse. Ezek. 2.6. Forbids the Pro­phet to fear. And thou Son of man be not affraid of them, neither be affraid of their words, though Briers and Thorns be with thee, and thou doest dwell among Scorphions: Be not affraied of their words, nor dismayed at their [...]ooks, though they be a Rebellious House.

A Fourth qualification necessarie for man­aging [Page]this office implyed in this exhortation (take heed to thy Ministry) is prudence which is necessarie to direct us in the dexterous man­agement of all the parts of our work, and more especially as to the Methods whereby, and the Seasons wherein they may be done to the best advantage, and there is no part of our Ministerial work, which requires more pru­dence in the right managing of it, then that of Reproof, to do that so as it may be accepted as a kindness by the person reproved, and as an ex­cellent Oyle that will not break the head, as the Psalmist expresses it. Psal: 141. Verse, 5. Let the Righteous Smite me, it shall be a kindness; and let them reprove me, it shall be an excellent Oyl; which shall not break my head: For as faithfulness and wisdom ponders the necessity of the duty; So prudence does consider the fittest time, and manner of application with respect to the per­son, with what prudence and dexteritie did Nathan prepare David in that Parable. 2 Sam: 12. from the first Verse to the 6th. before he came to touch him in the quick with; Thou art the man, Verse 7.

Fifthly, if we would take heed to fulfil this Ministrie, we must be sincere and serious Ecles: 9.10. And it is not Liklie that we will press Gospel Truths and holiness, seriously home [Page]upon others, until we know the sweet and good of them our selves, and the Apostle tells us. 2 Cor: 1.12. Verse. That sincerity in our work and walk will be no smal ground of our re­joycing, when our consciences within, and beholders without can testifie, that we endeav­oured sincerely and carefully to Manage this trust committed to us, and Ministers had need to take heed to this, because their work lying about spiritual things they are more apt to be deceived by hypocrisies creeping in both to their hearts and duties, and many a time the frequencie of them, is like to take away the fervencie of them: Ministers therefore would often mind that word, to keep them diligent at their work, 1 Cor: 9.27. Least when I preach the Gospel to others, I my self be a cast away.

6ly. This take heed, includes constancie and perservance, we must not think to do this work by fits and starts; Nor be like these foolish Gala­tians, Galatians 3 chap. and 3 ver. To begin in the spirit, and end in the flesh, we must not put our hand to the plough and look back, Ye know what CHRIST says of such, Luke 9.62. They are not fit for the Kingdom of GOD, they are not fit for managing of his Kingdom aright in this world, and if they do not that, they may be affraid to be shut out of his Kingdom in the next.

I come next to the Reasons of the doctrine, why Ministers must be very heedfull, and care­full about their Ministerial work, and that 1st. Because it is a great trust far above any other trust in this world, when immortal Souls are committed to us, about which the thoughts of the most high have been concerned from Eter­nity, and for the Redemption of which GOD manifested in the flesh, shed his precious blood: & for espousing of whom he has put us unto the Ministrie. I think we should never go this er­rand, but with Abrahams servant. Gen. 24 12. We should pray, O LORD GOD and Father of My Master JESƲS CHRIST, (Who has promised him a great backing and a numerous seed, upon which he may see the satisfaction of the travel of his Soul) send me good speed this day, and put forth thy power in the preached Gospel, that Thy people may be a willing people, O but it be a high and a great calling to trade about the saving of Souls, one of which is a more precious Jewel than the whole world can purchase or re­deem, And CHRIST tells us this out of his own Mouth, Matth: 16.26. Surely of all other persons Ministers should be most diligent, who have both their own Souls to save, and others.

The second reason why we must take heed to our Ministerial work is, because it is a difficult [Page]work, partly from the various and numerous e­nemies that oppose it, Satan that roaring lion, and restless enemie of the Church standing at our right hand. Zech. 3.1. Also what principaliti­es and powers and spiritual wickednessess in high places, what rulers of the darkness of this world have we to wrestle against. Eph: 6.12, yea what opposition from men among whom we live, some with open violence breaking down as far as they can the carved work: others under a vizour and pretence to build with us, like the false apostles; intending nothing less then to bring us back to abandoned Corrup­tions in the House of GOD.

Partly from our own Ignorance (the work is made difficult) which disables us to manage this trust to the best advantage, how hard is it for Ministers to speake aright to the various Cases and Conditions of their People, and to find fitt words to hold forth the Evil of Sin by, the Loveliness of Christ, The beauty of Holi­ness, the danger of living carelesly and uncon­cernedly under the means of Grace, and re­peated offers of the Gospel.

The third Reason why Ministers had need to take heed to their Ministry is this, that there has been Ministers in the Church, (and we have had sad Instances of it in our days) professing & pretending highly for CHRIST, and the purest [Page]work of Reformation, that afterwards when the Occasion and Tentation offered, have be­trayed the cause, discovered their rottenness, and ruined the Church, and Work of GOD, as far as they could. Some of them bewitched and enticed with the Riches of this World so to do, like Judas and Demas: Others with the Honours of this World, like Diotrephes, and O how many Archippus-like even in the best of times would be found Coldriffe and Remisse in this great Work.

4ly. We must take heed to our Ministry, if we consider what a great LORD and Master we have received it from. And whose Eye is alwayes upon us, to see how we manage this trust as it was upon the Angels of the seven Churches, and his writting to them since he Ascended, and discovering their failures and short comings, with the punishments due thereunto, should be a warning to Ministers in all succeed­ing Ages of the Church, to take heed to their Ministrie.

5ly We had need to take heed to our Minis­try, when we consider with what a severe certi­fication, our great LORD and Master has com­mitted it unto us, Ezek: 17, 18. ver. Son of man I have made thee a Watchman to the house of Israel, therefore bear the word at my mouth, and give them [Page]a warning from me, when I say unto the wicked thou shalt surelie die, and thou givest him not warning from me, nor speakest to warn the Wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, the same wicked man shall die in his iniquitie, but his blood will I require at thine hand.

6ly Ministers had need to take heed to man­nadge their trust aright, seeing a severe account will be required of them, for it is a stewardship that must be reckoned for, and none of us know how soon that message may be sent unto us, Luke 16.2. Give an account of thy Stewardship, and whether we have received moe or fewer talents, we would alwayes remember to be so laying them out, and impro­ving of them, as those that must give an account. Heb. 13: 17.

Lastly. Such Ministers as have been heedfull and faithfull, shall be greatly rewarded, Dan: 12 3 And they that be Wise, shall shine as the bright­ness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righ­teousness, as the starrs for ever and ever. Matt: 24.25, 26, 27. who then is a faithfull and wise servant, whom his Lord hath made ruler over his houshold to give them meat in due season, Blessed is that servant whom his LORD when he cometh shall find him so doing; Verily I say unto you, that he shall make him Ruler over all his goods. Rev: 2.10. Be thou faithful unto the death, and I will give thee a Crown of life. We would keep constantly and closely to this [Page]work, and prosecute it with the greatest dili­gence that believe such a reward as this, which will eternaly compense all the labour and toyle in this World: We would also frequently con­sider what severe punishments shall be inflicted on the heedless and sloathful servant, Matt: 24 Verse 48. Unto the end; But, and if that evil ser­vant shall say my Lord delayeth his coming, and shall begin to smite his fellow servant, and to eat and drink with the drunken. The Lord of that servant shall come in a day, when he Looketh not for him, and an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with hypocrites, where shall be weeping and gnashing of Teeth.

I come now to the use of the Doctrine, is heed­fulness, in managing of the Ministerial work so necessary in all the forementioned respects; Then let all of us that bear this office take heed to out Ministry, for this is the voice and call of my Text to every one of us, and especially with respect to those two things that ly in the latter part of the words.

The first is to take heed how, and from whom we received this Ministrie, whether from the LORD JESUS CHRIST or not, who is the only LORD and head of the Church, and whose prerrogative it is to set up and send forth Officers unto his Church, Ezek: 2 3. And He said unto him Son of man, I send thee unto the [Page]Children of Israel, I Who sit upon the Saphirine throne, as you have it in the first Chapter of this Pro­phesie of Ezek: 26: Verse, And who has all power in mine hand. Christ is invested with all power in Heaven and in Earth, Matth: 28: and 18: Verse, and therefore sends forth Officers unto all Nations. And for this End, we must see that we be come in at the right door, for there are some, as Christ tells us, who call themselves Sheepherds, that come not in at this doar, Jo: 10: 1: Verse, But climb up another way, if we be right Ministers of Christ, we must come in at three doors. 1. The door of an Internal call of GOD upon the Soul. 2. The door of the External call of the People. 3. The door of a legal Mission and Ordination, by the laying on of the hands of the Pres­bytry.

A second thing that lyes in the latter end of the Text, about which we must take special heed is this, that when ever we find out selves entered by the right door unto this great and difficult Work, we must take heed to fulfil it: Every Minister must take heed to fill up a right both the doing part, and the suffering part of his Ministry, so as the work may not suf­fer or be blamed on his Accompt: The Apostle took care of this, and sets it as a Copy before thir Collossians, Chapter first, [Page]24: Verse, Who now rejoyce in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the Afflict­ions of Christ, in my flesh, for his bodies sake, which is the Church. The metaphor may be taken from a piece of curious drawn work, that the person, in filling up thereof, never puts in a stitch, but they look on both sides to see it be rightly done, and they Papper it over to keep it cleanly that they may get the masters appro­bation, so should both Ministers and Christians be very careful, both in their doing and suffer­ing work, that they fill it up with all dexteritie, and keep it so as it may be presented with all purity; For I do believe that GOD has cut out so much doing and suffering work for his Church in the world, and that this is divided and subdivided to several Societies, and Persons, every one their part: So much for the Church in such an Age and place of the World, and so much for such an other Age and place of the World, and every Person ought to notice what is their particular allotment, that they may do it both proportionably, and commendablie, and not be like an Ignorant, careless, and nesty seamster, to whom in a suit of curious Hang­ings was committed: The doing of a head, or a hand, or a Leg, and when it comes to be set to­gether, it is either not filled up, or dispropor­tionable, [Page]or fullied, and so mars the beauty of the whole suite, and when the master comes in and sees how unhandsome it is, and calls the persons guilty; How will they be ashamed? with what care then should Ministers and peo­ple that profess Religion, to obey GODS Commands, and follow the noble Example of CHRIST and His Apostles, so mind to fill up what proportion, of either doing or suffer­ing work that is committed to them as they may be able to abide the tryal of that day, and not be ashamed. This is that which the Apostle Paul seems to call all the People of GOD to, both ministers and others in this Text, with respect to the doing part, and in that of the first Chapter 24 Verse, formerly cited as to the suff­ering part, but alace this is too little heeded by many.

Now that we may discharge our Ministeri­al work well; Let me Intreat our care as to these four things.

First, Let us take care to be well seen in all parts of our work, the Doctrine, Worship, Dis­cipline, and Government of the Church; and the Duties Relating to these.

Secondly, Let us be well seen into the cases of our People, that we may know how to instruct, Exhort, Reprove, and warn them both suitably [Page]and seasonably, as to their various cases and Conditions.

Thirdly, In the doing of these things, let us alwayes keep our eye upon the right Rule, which we are to work and walk by; every Cal­ling has some Rule to work by, which requires some Studie to know, or else a Person will but Bungle in his work. Now no calling hath a sure Rule, but the Christian calling, therefore it is that others varie in their Methods: But the Christian hath one standing Rule (The word of GOD) which is able to make the man of GOD perfect: this we must precisely keep by, and must not make the impositions of men, Education, Custome, Example, or Antiquity, our Rule, or any part of it, which the woman of Samaria pleads. Job: 4.20. For the justification of their worship in Mount Geriz­zim, being two hundred Years standing, But CHRIST Told her, Verse. 22. Ye Worship ye know not what, you have the wills, Examples, and Traditions of men for the warrant of your worship, but that is neither Law nor Light, nor Rule to you, seeing ye want my word which is the true Standart, and your good Intentions will neither make that worship which you dote upon acceptable to GOD, or profitable to you: For all Corrupt and false worship [Page]carries no other Character in the Estimation of GOD, but such as is recorded. Hosea. 11.12. Ephraim compasseth me about with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit; we would bewar of be­ing of that number, and endeavour to be of the tribe of Judah which ruleth with GOD, and is faithfull with the Saints.

Lastly, If we would fulfill our Ministrie aright, Let us wrestle much with the LOKD for his promised Spirit to teach us all things that concern the dis­charge of so great an office, to put us and keep us in a right frame for our work, to instruct us by a strong hand both what, and, how to speak to our people: And that he would make it first sa­vorie to our own Souls, and then go along with us in the dispensing of the word & seale it on the hearts of the hearers; for the Kings message is best belived & obeyed when it has the King's seal at it, then peoples faith will not stand in the wis­dom of Mans words, but in the power of GOD. 1. Cor: 2.4.5. And my speech and my preach­ing, was not with enticing words of mans wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit, and of power, that your faith may not stand in the wisdom of man, but in the power of God. And in the whole of our work, let us chiefly aim at the good of Souls, the enlarge­ment of CHRIST's Kingdom, and the Glory of GOD, from Whom, and by Whom, and to Whom are all things, to Him be Glorie for ever. Amen.


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